Gondola rides in Venice are now also possible for people in wheelchairs

first_imgA city located on 118 smaller islands in a bay in the north of the Adriatic Sea, a city bordered by more than 170 canals connected by over 400 bridges, a city with a rich history, a city of masks and much more – all this is Venice. One of the most popular symbols of Venice is the gondola, which has been used since the 11th century, and then, as today, it was used to transport passengers through the city. Today, there are about 500 of them and they are the most common tourist attraction. Venetian tradition dictates that a couple riding in a gondola must kiss under every bridge in order to remain in love forever.Gondola rides and the mentioned tradition have so far been an unattainable dream for people in wheelchairs, who have not had access to the gondola so far. But thanks to good people and the crowdfunding community, the dream has become a reality.” For over 20 years I have watched the unhappy faces and looks of people in wheelchairs who could not ride with us and the eyes that look at us with longing as if we were the last Coca-Cola in the desert. It destroyed me from within. But now it has come to an end“Points out Enrico Greifenberg, gondolier and project founder Gondollas4allA new private-public project, funded through the IndieGoGo campaign, called Gondolas4All – Gondola for All, introduced the service and the first place where there is a ramp for safe entry of people with wheelchairs into the famous Venetian gondola. The plan is to build even more ramps, and your own by donation you can help spread the project all over Venice as soon as possible. All information as well as booking your ride can be found at www.gondolas4all.comFreedom is when you are free to go wherever you want, points out the boy in a wheelchair at the beginning of the video. What is the situation in Croatia? Can people in wheelchairs move freely around our destinations? Can wheelchair users enter hotels and are our hotels adapted for the disabled? How accessible is Croatian tourism to people with disabilities?We will try to find the answer to these questions and explore the real situation in Croatian tourism. Everyone deserves freedom of movement! #slobodakretanja PS Let us know your experiences, suggestions, ideas and who to contact at [email protected]last_img read more

Art Park – an abandoned park in Zagreb becomes a unique open-air museum

first_imgPimp My Pump Association and Lapo Lapo Street Art Studio invite all citizens and tourists to ‘Art Park’ located between Tomićeva Street, Ilica and Strossmayer Promenade, which this summer, from June to September, will become an open-air museum complemented by a variety of art programs.After years of neglect, once known as ‘Hell’ and ‘Narkić Parkić’, the beautiful park in the very center of Zagreb will experience a complete revitalization. The first part of the landscaping was done last weekend when famous regional names from the world of street art, such as Lonac, Lunar, Artez, Linnch, Bare, Modul, Jedi and many others painted the walls of the park, cleaned it and opened the season. ‘Art Park’ open-air museum and thus created a unique park in this part of Europe.The second part of the ‘Art Park’ project begins this Saturday, June 12, 2016 with a pleasant afternoon gathering lasting from 15 to 21 hours with music and thus opens the season of various thematic workshops, screenings, exhibitions and other events that will enrich the summer in Zagreb. September. Also, the park will be open to the public at all times and panels that can be painted will be set up for all those interested. Participation in the summer program ‘Art Park’ has so far been confirmed by: Association Praktikum, Mali plac, Jungle Tribe agency, Sangha Yoga center, PMS gallery, Secret Zagreb walks & talks, Kino klub Zagreb, Bajk, informal youth group MaCro with an international project ” Drawing forward: Sketch your future ”, the Croatian Music Union, which will celebrate World Music Day in the park, on June 21 and many others.An excellent initiative and tourist story, as well as new urban-musical quality content in the City of Zagreb that will certainly attract tourists, especially young people traveling to Europe. Such initiatives are more than welcome, and this example can only be an incentive for other artists to wake up and act positively in their local community, to turn abandoned spaces into open galleries, museums and new tourist facilities.Find out more about the whole project at www.pmp.hr or over Facebook event pageslast_img read more

RESEARCH: Find out from which markets there is the greatest interest in Croatia

first_imgAll previous announcements, reactions from tourist fairs and markets, research and the number of bookings so far, tell us that this tourist season will be better than last, which was a record.According to the Croatian National Bank (CNB), in 2015, revenues from tourism from foreign guests amounted to 7 billion and 961 million, which compared to 2014 (7 billion and 401 million euros), represents growth of 7,6%, ie 559,5 million euros, and when we add domestic consumption, total revenues from tourism amounted to 9,3 billion euros. The share of tourism revenues in total GDP in 2015 was 18,1% which represents an increase of 0,9 percentage points compared to 2014.The weather forecast is also meeting our needs, although we can never be sure with long-term forecasts, but it is also one of the important factors in deciding the location for the holiday of foreign guests. The first real test, after Easter, was the recent extended one vikend regarding the feast of Corpus Christi when more than 288 thousand arrivals and 1.08 million overnight stays were realized in Croatia.The answer to the real interest of foreign tourists in Croatia, we can best come with real-time statistics, which allow us the benefits of technology. trivago, as the largest website for comparing accommodation prices online, uses the largest metasearch, which is an excellent indicator of “buzz” and the interest of foreign tourists in Croatia.From which markets is the greatest interest in Croatia and which destination is the most sought after?Using the research he conducted trivago, we found out from which market the greatest interest in Croatia reigns and which destination is the most sought after, and we present it exclusively to you.On the occasion of the beginning of the season, trivago conducted an analysis of the most popular destinations in Croatia depending on the country of origin of tourists, and the data are based on traffic extracts from a database of over 120 million users, which makes the data very reliable, said Sven Ladovic. points out:  “Most facilities are already ready to receive guests, but that does not mean that the potential for service quality cannot be improved yet. We hope that the trivago analysis will help hoteliers, large and small, to prepare the perfect offer for the right group of tourists. ” In accordance with the obtained data from the alarms, we bring you from which markets the greatest interest in Croatia reigns and which cities are the most interesting in our emitting markets of Austria, Germany, Italy, Great Britain and Poland. Foreign tourists from these five countries showed the most interest in Dubrovnik, Poreč and Split, followed by Pula, Rovinj and Makarska. Look at the order of destinations according to the amount of traffic, ie how many people search and click on certain destinations, which shows the interest of foreign tourists in Croatia, by country.“These data can provide hoteliers with an insight into the languages ​​into which they could translate their online pages, predict average consumption according to the purchasing power of countries of origin of tourists, and much more in which trivago offers support at every step. This way, trivago wants to invite hoteliers, but also users, to rely on customer support if they have questions or ambiguities related to the service and information we offer. – Ladovic points outIn the total share of tourists, not only in the five countries mentioned above, the greatest interest in Croatia through the metasearch of anxiety was shown by the German market.The attached data show us that Germany is still our main emitting market, which according to the number of inhabitants and travel still ranks first in tourist travel. In 2015, Germans traveled 69 million times, spent 71 billion euros on travel, and took a third of their travel outside national borders. According to the announcements from the ITB tourist fair held in Berlin, the interest in Croatia from the German market has increased, and it is still among the five most popular destinations of Germans, which is confirmed by the attached data.Related news: Meet trivago – the largest website to compare accommodation prices onlinelast_img read more

CBS: 288 round trips in Croatia in the first half of the year

first_imgIn the period from January to June 2016, there were 288 cruises of foreign ships in the Republic of Croatia, which is 2 percent more than in the same period last year, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS).There were a total of 371.656 passengers on board, which is 20,5 thousand more than last year at the same time, and on average they stayed 2 days. Also, the total number of days of stay is 689 days and is higher by 12,2 percent. Compared to the same period in 2015, the number of trips increased by 1,8%, and the number of passengers who entered the Republic of Croatia in this way increased by 5,9%. The total number of days the ship spent in the same period increased by 12,2 percent.In the structure of cruises of foreign ships, most foreign ships on cruises recorded the first entry into the territorial sea of ​​the Republic of Croatia in Dubrovnik-Neretva (63,2%) and Split-Dalmatia County (21,5%), which is a total of 84,7% . The other 15,3% of foreign cruise ships recorded their first entry into the territorial sea of ​​the Republic of Croatia in the other five counties: Zadar (6,3%), Istria (5,6%), Šibenik-Knin (2,4%), Primorje-Gorski Kotar (0,7%) and Lika-Senj (0,3%).Read the full CBS report herelast_img read more

New, open-source software tracks worm embryo’s brain development

first_imgShare on Twitter A new, open-source software that can help track the embryonic development and movement of neuronal cells throughout the body of the worm, is now available to scientists. The software is described in a paper published in the open access journal, eLife on December 3rd by researchers at the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) and the Center for Information Technology (CIT); along with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Institute, New York City; Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut; Zhejiang University, China; and the University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington. NIBIB is part of the National Institutes of Health.As far as biologists have come in understanding the brain, much remains to be revealed. One significant challenge is determining the formation of complex neuronal structures made up of billions of cells in the human brain. As with many biological challenges, researchers are first examining this question in simpler organisms, such as worms.Although scientists have identified a number of important proteins that determine how neurons navigate during brain formation, it’s largely unknown how all of these proteins interact in a living organism. Model animals, despite their differences from humans, have already revealed much about human physiology because they are much simpler and easier to understand. In this case, researchers chose Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans), because it has only 302 neurons, 222 of which form while the worm is still an embryo. While some of these neurons go to the worm nerve ring (brain) they also spread along the ventral nerve cord, which is broadly analogous to the spinal cord in humans. The worm even has its own versions of many of the same proteins used to direct brain formation in more complex organisms such as flies, mice, or humans. Share LinkedIn Share on Facebookcenter_img Email Pinterest “Understanding why and how neurons form and the path they take to reach their final destination could one day give us valuable information about how proteins and other molecular factors interact during neuronal development,” said Hari Shroff, Ph.D., head of the NIBIB research team. “We don’t yet understand neurodevelopment even in the context of the humble worm, but we’re using it as a simple model of how these factors work together to drive the development of the worm brain and neuronal structure. We’re hoping that by doing so, some of the lessons will translate all the way up to humans.”However, following neurons as they travel through the worm during its embryonic development is not as simple as it might seem. The first challenge was to create new microscopes that could record the embryogenesis of these worms without damaging them through too much light exposure while still getting the resolution needed to clearly see individual cells. Shroff and his team at NIBIB, in collaboration with Daniel Colon-Ramos at Yale University and Zhirong Bao at Sloan-Kettering, tackled this problem by developing new microscopes that improved the speed and resolution at which they could image worm embryonic development. (Read more at: http://www.nibib.nih.gov/news-events/newsroom/new-microscopes-nih-reveal-live-developing-cells-unprecedented-3-d-clarity)The second problem was that during development the worm begins to “twitch”, moving around inside the egg. The folding and twisting makes it hard to track cells and parse out movement. For example, if a neuron moves in the span of a couple of minutes, is it because the embryo twisted or because the neuron actually changed position within the embryo? Understanding the mechanisms that move neurons to their final destination is an important factor in understanding how brains form–and is difficult to determine without knowing where and how a neuron is moving. Finally, it can be challenging to determine where a neuron is in 3D space while looking at a two-dimensional image–especially of a worm that’s folded up.Imagine you’re trying to keep track of everyone in a crowded auditorium, except that you can only see one person at a time, and the auditorium itself is invisible. This is what it’s like trying to track how neurons in the worm relate to each other,” said Ryan Christensen, Ph.D., the postdoctoral fellow who led the project. “You either need the ability to see everyone at once, or make the auditorium visible so you can place each person in the proper spot and figure out everyone’s movements that way. Our untwisting software allows us to make the auditorium visible and allows us to place individual people (neurons) in their proper context.”The worm embryo is normally transparent, but the researchers made several cells in the embryo glow with fluorescent proteins to act as markers. When a microscopic image of these cells is fed into the program, the computer identifies each cell and uses the information to create a model of the worm, which it then computationally “untwists” to generate a straightened image. The program also enables a user to check the accuracy of the computer model and edit it when any mistakes are discovered.“In addition, users can also mark cells or structures within the worm embryo they want the program to track, allowing the users to follow the position of a cell as it moves and grows in the developing embryo. This feature could help scientists understand how certain cells develop into neurons, as opposed to other types of cells, and what factors influence the development of the brain and neuronal structure.Shroff and his colleagues say that such technology will be pivotal in their project to create a 4D neurodevelopmental “worm atlas,” (see also http://www.wormguides.org) that attempts to catalog the formation of the worm nervous system. This catalog will be the first comprehensive view of how an entire nervous system develops, and Dr. Shroff and his colleagues believe that it will be helpful in understanding the fundamental mechanisms by which all nervous systems, including ours, assemble. They also expect that some of the concepts developed, such as the approach taken to combine neuronal data from multiple embryos, can be applied to additional model organisms besides the worm.last_img read more

Imaging the brain at multiple size scales: New technique can reveal subcellular details

first_imgShare on Facebook Email MIT researchers have developed a new technique for imaging brain tissue at multiple scales, allowing them to peer at molecules within cells or take a wider view of the long-range connections between neurons.This technique, known as magnified analysis of proteome (MAP), should help scientists in their ongoing efforts to chart the connectivity and functions of neurons in the human brain, says Kwanghun Chung, the Samuel A. Goldblith Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering, and a member of MIT’s Institute for Medical Engineering and Science (IMES) and Picower Institute for Learning and Memory.“We use a chemical process to make the whole brain size-adjustable, while preserving pretty much everything. We preserve the proteome (the collection of proteins found in a biological sample), we preserve nanoscopic details, and we also preserve brain-wide connectivity,” says Chung, the senior author of a paper describing the method in the July 25 issue of Nature Biotechnology. Share The researchers also showed that the technique is applicable to other organs such as the heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys.The paper’s lead authors are postdoc Taeyun Ku, graduate student Justin Swaney, and visiting scholar Jeong-Yoon Park.Multiscale imagingThe new MAP technique builds on a tissue transformation method known as CLARITY, which Chung developed as a postdoc at Stanford University. CLARITY preserves cells and molecules in brain tissue and makes them transparent so the molecules inside the cell can be imaged in 3-D. In the new study, Chung sought a way to image the brain at multiple scales, within the same tissue sample.“There is no effective technology that allows you to obtain this multilevel detail, from brain region connectivity all the way down to subcellular details, plus molecular information,” he says.To achieve that, the researchers developed a method to reversibly expand tissue samples in a way that preserves nearly all of the proteins within the cells. Those proteins can then be labeled with fluorescent molecules and imaged.The technique relies on flooding the brain tissue with acrylamide polymers, which can form a dense gel. In this case, the gel is 10 times denser than the one used for the CLARITY technique, which gives the sample much more stability. This stability allows the researchers to denature and dissociate the proteins inside the cells without destroying the structural integrity of the tissue sample.Before denaturing the proteins, the researchers attach them to the gel using formaldehyde, as Chung did in the CLARITY method. Once the proteins are attached and denatured, the gel expands the tissue sample to four or five times its original size.“It is reversible and you can do it many times,” Chung says. “You can then use off-the-shelf molecular markers like antibodies to label and visualize the distribution of all these preserved biomolecules.”There are hundreds of thousands of commercially available antibodies that can be used to fluorescently tag specific proteins. In this study, the researchers imaged neuronal structures such as axons and synapses by labeling proteins found in those structures, and they also labeled proteins that allow them to distinguish neurons from glial cells.“We can use these antibodies to visualize any target structures or molecules,” Chung says. “We can visualize different neuron types and their projections to see their connectivity. We can also visualize signaling molecules or functionally important proteins.”High resolutionOnce the tissue is expanded, the researchers can use any of several common microscopes to obtain images with a resolution as high as 60 nanometers — much better than the usual 200 to 250-nanometer limit of light microscopes, which are constrained by the wavelength of visible light. The researchers also demonstrated that this approach works with relatively large tissue samples, up to 2 millimeters thick.“This is, as far as I know, the first demonstration of super-resolution proteomic imaging of millimeter-scale samples,” Chung says.Currently, efforts to map the connections of the human brain rely on electron microscopy, but Chung and colleagues demonstrated that the higher-resolution MAP imaging technique can trace those connections more accurately.Chung’s lab is now working on speeding up the imaging and the image processing, which is challenging because there is so much data generated from imaging the expanded tissue samples.“It’s already easier than other techniques because the process is really simple and you can use off-the-shelf molecular markers, but we are trying to make it even simpler,” Chung says.center_img Share on Twitter Pinterest LinkedInlast_img read more

Primary motor cortex contributes to word comprehension, study finds

first_imgTraditional modular views of cognition suggest that, to encode and comprehend the meaning of a word such as ‘throw’, the brain’s “language module” does not to involve any structures related to the meaning per se (i.e. the “motor module” responsible for the associated movements programs such as the arm and hand movements involved in the act of throwing.An alternative is offered by an embodied or distributed view suggesting that the brain areas encoding the meaning of a word include both the areas specialised for representing linguistic information, such as the word’s acoustic form, but also those brain areas that are responsible for the control of the corresponding perception or action. On this account, in order to fully comprehend the meaning of the word ‘throw’, the brain needs to activate the cortical areas related to hand movement control. The representation of the word’s meaning is, therefore, ‘distributed’ across several brain areas, some of which reflect experiential or physical aspects of its meaning.A team of researchers from Denmark, England, and Russia (Nikola Vukovic, Matteo Feurra, Anna Shpektor, Andriy Myachykov, and Yury Shtyrov) investigated the nature and the mechanisms of such distributed word representations. They carried out a series of experiments aiming at finding out how stimulating motor cortex using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) affects word comprehension.28 volunteers took part in these experiments. A TMS magnetic pulse was delivered to the areas in motor cortex responsible for hand movements as participants engaged in one of the two computer-based experimental tasks: detecting whether a presented string of letters is a word or not, and choosing whether the presented stimulus relates to an abstract or a concrete action.‘We used TMS to inhibit neural activity in the motor cortex as participants tried to distinguish between words related or unrelated to hand movements,’ says Andriy Myachykov, leading Research Fellow at the HSE Centre for Cognition & Decision Making and a Senior Lecturer at Northumbria University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. He notes: ‘The advantage of TMS methodology is that it allows to establish the causal link between the stimulated brain area and the cognitive function or behaviour it’s hypothesised to support. This distinguishes TMS from many other existing neuroimaging methods. If motor programmes are directly involved during the comprehension of action words, then suppressing neural activity in hand-related motor cortex would interfere with word processing but only if the word also denotes hand movement. Namely, this should lead to increase in task performance errors and longer reaction times. This is exactly what we found’.These new findings suggest that language-specialised brain areas work in constant interaction with other areas known to support other cognitive processes, such as perception and action. The resulting distributed meaning representations act as dynamic cortical networks rather than a series of specialised modules as suggested by traditional theories. Share on Facebook LinkedIn Pinterest Sharecenter_img Email Researchers from HSE, Northumbria University, and Aarhus University have experimentally confirmed the hypothesis, whereby comprehension of a word’s meaning involves not only the ‘classic’ language brain centres but also the cortical regions responsible for the control of body muscles, such as hand movements. The resulting brain representations are, therefore, distributed across a network of locations involving both areas specialised for language processing and those responsible for the control of the associated action.The results have been published in the journal Neuropsychologia.One of the basic issues related to the nature of human cognition is the question about the correspondence between physical experiences and feelings, on one hand, and the nature of the brain representations of words and sentences describing these experiences, on the other. Share on Twitterlast_img read more

Can the psychedelic drug ayahuasca help fight suicide?

first_img“Current interventions for suicidality have important limitations, which means there is a need for developing and identifying novel interventions for suicidality. Given this need, as well as research indicating that ayahuasca shows promise as an intervention for various mental health concerns (e.g., depression), we were interested in exploring whether the positive therapeutic effects of ayahuasca extended to suicidality.”The researchers conducted a secondary analysis on data from a randomized placebo-controlled trial, which was published in Psychological Medicine in 2019. The study provided preliminary evidence that the psychedelic brew had rapid antidepressant effects.“When administered within the appropriate context, and with proper preparation, the psychoactive brew ayahuasca may show promise as an intervention for suicidality,” Zeifman told PsyPost.In the study, 29 participants with treatment-resistant depression and no history of psychotic disorders were randomly assigned to undergo a single treatment session, in which they were given either ayahuasca or a placebo substance to drink. None of the participants had prior experience using psychedelics.A trained psychiatrist assessed suicidality before the treatment session, as well as 1 day, 2 days, and 7 days afterward.Zeifman and his colleagues found ayahuasca had a medium to large effect on suicidality, but this effect was not statistically significant. In other words, it is possible that ayahuasca may not lead to decreases in suicidality.However, it is also possible that ayahuasca does reduce suicidality, but the study lacked the power to reach statistical significance because there were not enough participants. The effect sizes suggest the topic warrants further consideration, the researchers said.“Our study is characterized by a number of important limitations, including a small sample size, exclusion of individuals that were acutely suicidal, and short-term follow-up (i.e., 7 days after administration). Ultimately, it will be import for future research to use larger samples, as well as examine the safety and effectiveness of ayahuasca as an intervention for individuals with acute levels of suicidality,” Zeifman said.“These findings help to extend past research on the potential therapeutic benefits associated with ayahuasca. Nonetheless, our findings are preliminary and suggest that there is an important need for additional research exploring the potential therapeutic benefits associated with ayahuasca.”The study, “The Impact of Ayahuasca on Suicidality: Results from a Randomized Controlled Trial“, was authored by Richard Zeifman, Fernanda Palhano-Fontes, Jaime Hallak, Emerson A. Nunes, João Paulo Maia-de-Oliveira, and Draulio B. de Araujo. Share on Facebook Share Scientists are beginning to examine whether the psychedelic brew known as ayahuasca can help reduce suicide risk. But the first study to examine the topic has found inconclusive results. The research has been accepted for publication in Frontiers in Pharmacology.Ayahuasca, a psychedelic concoction used for centuries by indigenous Amazon tribes, contains the powerful psychedelic drug dimethyltryptamine (DMT).“Suicide is one of the leading causes of death, accounting for nearly 1 million deaths each year,” said study author Richard Zeifman, a PhD student in Clinical Psychology at Ryerson University. LinkedIncenter_img Email Pinterest Share on Twitterlast_img read more

Fungal meningitis outbreak cases top 300

first_img In 2004 pharmacists in Iowa and Wisconsin told the board that NECC and Cadden, its chief pharmacist, were soliciting out-of-state prescriptions for office use and using an unapproved form, according to the Reuters story. In the same year a Texas pharmacist aired complaints about other products marketed by Cadden. In a separate letter to Cadden’s attorney, the House committee raised concerns about other inspections in 2002 and 2003 that stemmed from an adverse medical event report related to the type of steroid that has been recalled in the current outbreak. Yesterday the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) posted new lists of customers who received the recalled steroids from NECC, but it found some technical problems with them and has taken them down. The FDA said it is working to correct the lists and will repost them when the agency can ensure that it is accurate. A congressional committee has also launched a probe of the company. Yesterday the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent a letter to NECC and one of its former owners requesting documents related to the current outbreak and some relating to other investigations that have centered on NECC and related business operations, the committee said in a statement yesterday. When the FDA released the lists yesterday it said the information was from NECC and it couldn’t guarantee its accuracy and completeness, but it was making it available as a way to inform facilities and providers who received recalled shipments. In the letter, they said the patient safety issues are critical, especially since VA medical centers purchased products from NECC and a related company, Ameridose. See also: “Over 250 American patients have become ill including 20 that have died because of contaminated medical products from this one compounding facility,” DeLauro and Bishop wrote. “This type of outbreak should be preventable, and we would hope that private insurance companies will take similar steps to protect their patients.” The new cases push the outbreak total to 308, but no new deaths were reported, the CDC said. Seventeen states are now affected. Besides back pain, the recalled methylprednisolone acetate injections were also used to treat joint problems, and the CDC reported one more joint infection, raising that total to 4. So far no deaths have been attributed to the joint infections. Committee members also raised concerns about how NECC was able to continue distributing bulk supplies of the steroid. In earlier reports, Massachusetts officials said NECC appeared to be operating outside the scope of its license in distributing the steroids. Oct 22 House Energy and Commerce Committee letters In other developments, Reuters reported that documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) suggest that the company avoided harsh punishment by regulators in earlier investigations, with problems stretching back to 1999. The committee said it asked Barry Cadden, NECC’s former owner, president, and director of pharmacy, for related documents from his personal e-mail account, after Cadden’s attorney told the committee that Cadden would not comply with its Oct 11 request for outbreak briefings. Oct 23 CDC fungal meningitis outbreak update According to today’s report from Reuters, the Massachusetts pharmacy board in 2004 recommended a 3-year sanction against the company for violating accepted standards for compounding methylprednisolone acetate, the same drug linked to the current outbreak. However, the following year the board agreed to a nondisciplinary settlement, according to Reuters. In other developments, two members of Congress sent a letter to federal health officials on Oct 19 asking them to protect seniors, veterans, and other patients by ensuring the safety of compounded medications, according to an Oct 19 statement from Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn. The letter, also signed by Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Ga., was sent to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric Shinseki. The steroid drug came from New England Compounding Center (NECC) in Framingham, Mass., which is under investigation by federal and state authorities. Oct 23 Reuters story “While we are disappointed that neither you nor anyone else from the NECC could make themselves available to brief committee staff, the committee must proceed with the investigation. We expect that you will cooperate in this matter,” the committee said in its letter. NECC said in a statement yesterday that it has worked with the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Pharmacy to resolve any problems that have been brought to the agency’s attention, Reuters reported. Oct 22 House Energy and Commerce committee statement Oct 22 FDA statement Oct 23, 2012 (CIDRAP News) – Eleven more cases were reported in a multistate fungal meningitis outbreak linked to contaminated steroid injections, including the first patient from Georgia, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported today.last_img read more

Saudi coronavirus cluster grows as France reports possible new cases

first_imgEditor’s Note: This story was updated in the afternoon of May 9 to report the suspected cases in France.May 9, 2013 (CIDRAP News) – Saudi Arabian officials reported today that their investigation of a healthcare-associated cluster of novel coronavirus (nCoV) cases has uncovered two more illnesses, increasing the cluster to 15, as France reported two suspected cases related to its first nCoV case, reported yesterday.The Saudi cases involve a 48-year-old man who is hospitalized in stable condition and a 58-year-old man who recovered and was discharged from the hospital on May 3, according to Ziad A. Memish, MD, Saudi Arabia’s deputy minister for public health. He reported the cases via ProMED, the reporting service of the International Society for Infectious Diseases.The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed the cases in a statement today and said both patients “are from the same cluster reported since the beginning of May 2013, which is linked to an outbreak in a healthcare facility.” Press reports have linked the cases to a hospital in Hofuf, in the country’s Eastern province. Seven of the patients have died.The two cases raise the global total of confirmed nCoV cases to 33 with 18 deaths since the virus emerged in April 2012. Saudi Arabia has been the site of 25 of the 33 cases.Memish’s report said, “Actions implemented and fully applied by 1 May 2013 have been effective to date in preventing NEW cases related to this cluster from emerging. But in-depth look back and search among contacts of earlier reported cases and repeat testing of suspected cases revealed 2 new cases yesterday [May 8].”Memish said the 58-year-old man fell ill on Apr 6, which is 8 days earlier than the earliest previously reported onset date in the cluster, Apr 14. He also noted that the man had “multiple comorbidities” and that his case/ was confirmed through repeat testing.The 48-year-old got sick on Apr 29 and also had a comorbidity, according to Memish’s report. He did not offer any specifics on how the two cases were related to the others in the cluster.The WHO noted that the case cluster consists of 12 men and 3 women, with ages ranging from 24 to 94.The cluster has raised concern about a possible increase in person-to-person transmission of the virus. Several case clusters have been noted previously, but human transmission has been clearly demonstrated only once, in a three-person family cluster in the United Kingdom. No ongoing human transmission has been observed.Possible nCoV spread in FranceIn France, meanwhile, a patient who shared a ward with a 65-year-old man who had traveled to the United Arab Emirates and became the country’s first nCoV case-patient has also become ill, as has a physician who treated the 65-year-old, Reuters reported today.The patient shared a ward with the nCoV patient in a hospital in the northern town of Valenciennes at the end of April, and the physician treated the index patient there. The 65-year-old has since been transferred to Lille, where he is in critical condition, the Reuters story said.”They show symptoms which require a special infectious diseases consultation,” the local health authority said in a statement. “The results of the tests carried out on these two people will be known soon and will be made public.”The patient is in his 50s, and the doctor is 35, according to a machine-translated version of an Agence France-Presse (AFP) story.No change in recommendationsThe WHO continued to advise health authorities to be alert for severe respiratory infections, especially in travelers returning from affected countries. The agency does not recommend screening travelers at points of entry or imposing any travel or trade restrictions.An international team of experts is now in Saudi Arabia at the government’s invitation to help investigate the nCoV cases, according to a Canadian Press report today.Editorial director Jim Wappes contributed to the updated version of this story.See also: May 9 Memish report via ProMEDMay 9 WHO statementMay 9 Reuters storyMay 9 AFP article (in French)May 9 Canadian Press storylast_img read more