Daily Archives: October 3, 2014

BBC News – Aids: Origin of pandemic ‘was 1920s Kinshasa’

By James Gallagher Health editor, BBC News website

Kinshasa, pictured in 1955, was at the centre of the pandemic, scientists say
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The origin of the Aids pandemic has been traced to the 1920s in the city of Kinshasa, in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo, scientists say.

An international team of scientists say a “perfect storm” of population growth, sex and railways allowed HIV to spread.

A feat of viral archaeology was used to find the pandemic’s origin, the team report in the journal Science.

They used archived samples of HIV’s genetic code to trace its source, with evidence pointing to 1920s Kinshasa.

Their report says a roaring sex trade, rapid population growth and unsterilised needles used in health clinics probably spread the virus.

Meanwhile Belgium-backed railways had one million people flowing through the city each year, taking the virus to neighbouring regions.

Experts said it was a fascinating insight into the start of the pandemic.

HIV came to global attention in the 1980s and has infected nearly 75 million people.

It has a much longer history in Africa, but where the pandemic started has remained the source of considerable debate.

Family affair

A team at the University of Oxford and the University of Leuven, in Belgium, tried to reconstruct HIV’s “family tree” and find out where its oldest ancestors came from.

The research group analysed mutations in HIV’s genetic code.

“You can see the footprints of history in today’s genomes, it has left a record, a mutation mark in the HIV genome that can’t be eradicated,” Prof Oliver Pybus from the University of Oxford told the BBC.

(read more).

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Science on Saturday: The Evolution of Birds: Why Birds are Dinosaurs


Yale University

Published on Sep 12, 2014

Science Saturdays is a special lecture series designed for families that brings the excitement of research and the passion of scientists to school-age children and adults. Each event involves a lecture by a Yale professor and engaging science demonstrations run by Yale college students. The lectures are free and open to the public and the topics explored are for kids in 7th grade and above. On October 8, 2005 the presentation was “The Evolution of Birds: Why Birds are Dinosaurs” by Richard Prum, Biologist.

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Moralities of Everyday Life


Yale University

Published on Oct 3, 2014

How can we explain kindness and cruelty? Where does our sense of right and wrong come from? Why do people so often disagree about moral issues? Paul Bloom’s Moralities of Everyday Life course on Coursera explores the psychological foundations of our moral lives.

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World Bank Chief: Fighting Poverty Helps Fight Ebola


VOAvideo

Published on Oct 3, 2014

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim says the fight against Ebola is a key part of the struggle against poverty and inequality, giving special urgency to the October 6 gathering of top economic officials from around the world in Washington. With Ebola and other issues in mind, the head of the International Monetary Fund is urging member nations to step up efforts to overcome what she called “mediocre” economic growth. VOA’s Jim Randle reports from Washington.
Originally published at – http://www.voanews.com/media/video/wo…

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Abraham (Avi) Loeb: New Search Methods for Primitive and Intelligent Life Far from Earth


Harvard University

Published on Oct 3, 2014

Are we alone or is the universe teeming with life? is one of the most fundamental questions in science. The answer could have a dramatic impact on society and culture. Over the next decade, advances in technology will allow astronomers to address this question in new ways. Abraham (Avi) Loeb will describe a few novel techniques that could potentially detect primitive or intelligent forms of life in the solar system and around nearby stars. He will then discuss how early after the Big Bang life may have started, as well as its prospects for survival in our long-term cosmic future.

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Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel: Ebola outbreak in the U.S. is unlikely


PBS NewsHour

Published on Oct 3, 2014

Judy Woodruff talks to Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel about Ebola in the U.S.

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The Ebola Disaster: How Did We Get Here and What’s Next?


Harvard Public Health

Published on Oct 3, 2014

The current Ebola outbreak is the largest outbreak of the hemorrhagic disease in history, according to the CDC. Experimental treatments and vaccine testing offer hope of relief. However, the crisis has dramatically strained healthcare systems and humanitarian efforts, while sparking deep concern in the public. How did we get here and what’s to be done to help the affected countries and to prevent further spread?

Presented October 2, 2014 in Collaboration with NPR.

Watch the entire series from The Forum at Harvard School of Public Health at www.ForumHSPH.org.

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