Newmodel Ferdinand handed the ultimate test of selfdiscipline

first_imgSoccer Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Twitter Wed 26 Mar 2008 09.53 EDT Share on LinkedIn The Manchester United defender is rewarded for showing greater maturity, writes Dominic Fifield First published on Wed 26 Mar 2008 09.53 EDT news Share via Email Shares00 Soccer Share via Email It is ironic that Fabio Capello’s attempts to instil discipline and focus into his newly adopted England side have prompted him to appoint as his latest captain a player who has, on regular occasions, appeared to lack both. Rio Ferdinand has served a ban for missing a drugs test, been convicted four times for driving offences, and been prone to the odd aberration on the pitch with his languid style always suggesting carelessness. Yet this is also a player who, perhaps more than any other in this squad, has reinvented his reputation.It says everything about his endeavours that confirmation that the Manchester United centre-half would lead his country at the Stade de France tonight did not provoke astonishment. There is a new maturity to Ferdinand, which has been reflected in his performances this season. He has been the Premier League’s best centre-half, a key member of a defence that has conceded only 15 league goals.Off the pitch, there is a recognition of past failings and a willingness to avoid similar indiscretions. “Everyone goes through ups and downs in their careers, and their lives,” he said yesterday. “It’s how you come out of them. Do you take it on board and use it to your advantage? I’ve learnt from those problems and come out stronger. It took me a long time to realise the responsibility of being a professional footballer. But I’ve grasped that now. I’ve got a young family too. I’m not ashamed to say I made mistakes growing up and I might do again in the future, but as costly as those I made in the past? I hope not.”Four years ago any suggestion that Ferdinand might captain his country would have seemed ridiculous. This was a player who, when called up to Glenn Hoddle’s England squad for the first time ahead of a World Cup qualifier against Moldova in 1997, celebrated by hitting the town only to be caught drink driving. He was promptly denied a debut.Three years later he was one of a number of England internationals, omitted from the Euro 2000 squad, exposed by a Sunday newspaper filming each other having sex with girls they had picked up at the Cypriot holiday resort of Ayia Napa. A £30m move from Leeds to Manchester United reflected his immense talent, though his impact at Old Trafford was interrupted by the eight-month ban imposed after he failed to take a drugs test in 2003, with the episode tarnishing his image.Throw in a furore over an alleged meeting with Peter Kenyon at a London hotel – all parties denied it was prearranged – when contract negotiations appeared to be stalling in 2005 and an unwanted visit from balaclava-wearing United fans to his home and he was courting controversy too often. “But I’m more mature,” he explained. “I felt closure on the drug ban issue as soon as I walked out against Liverpool on my comeback and the fans were singing my name. That was a weight off my shoulders, a big moment for me.”I learnt who my friends were when I was banned. In periods like that you look deep into yourself. Have you got a thick skin, the character to keep training hard? I missed six days [training] in the whole time I was banned, working as hard as I ever have. That was the light at the end of the tunnel, as the manager said: ‘Make sure you come back in the best condition possible.’ People suggested I should get away, but I wanted to keep myself in the frame.”He returned wiser – he denies having organised the controversial United Christmas party in Manchester last year – playing a prominent role in the anti-knives campaign instigated in Peckham following the murder of Damilola Taylor. He has been just as responsible on the pitch. Nemanja Vidic’s strong-arm presence at his side has helped, his tendency to let his mind wander no longer such a problem.Sunday’s booking against Liverpool was a fifth of the season. He has taken the armband at Old Trafford in the absence of Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs. “Experience is important in the England role,” said Sir Alex Ferguson. “He wouldn’t have captained my side if he wasn’t capable of captaining England.””A new manager comes in and everyone’s on trial,” added Ferdinand. “Mr Capello has been successful throughout his whole club career. He leads by example and is very certain of his ideas, on the training ground and in the hotel. We’re on trial and we know that. The players who can’t adjust to that or deal with it won’t play.” A few years ago he might have fallen into that category. Yet this is a changed man.The two sides of Rio1996 Makes Premier League debut for West Ham at the age of 171997 Caught drink-driving and is dropped from his first England squad2000 In the tabloids because of a sex video filmed in Ayia Napa with Frank Lampard, Kieron Dyer and ‘a clutch of young girls’2000 Joins Leeds for £18m. Made club captain the following year2002 Signs for United for a record £30m and wins title in his first season2003 Banned eight months for missing a drug test and misses out on Euro 20042007 Wins second Premier League title with United2008 Made England captain Share on Messenger Share on Pinterest Topics Share on Facebook New-model Ferdinand handed the ultimate test of self-discipline This article is more than 11 years old This article is more than 11 years old Manchester United Share on WhatsApp Rio Ferdinand Reuse this contentlast_img read more

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Friday Roundup

first_img FCPA Institute – Boston (Oct. 3-4) A unique two-day learning experience ideal for a diverse group of professionals seeking to elevate their FCPA knowledge and practical skills through active learning. Learn more, spend less. CLE credit is available. Learn More & Register Interesting, more charges, sentenced, Telia-related, scrutiny alert, ISO-37001 related, across the pond, so true, odd, it can work, and for the reading stack. It’s all here in the Friday roundup.InterestingAccording to this Global Investigations Review report based on documents received through the FOIA process, the DOJ approved $711,800 to spend on Hui Chen’s former compliance consultant position over two years. According to the report, Chen’s salary at the DOJ was greater than the DOJ criminal division chief, the deputy attorney general and the attorney general.More ChargesThis recent post highlighted the DOJ’s criminal charges against Joseph Baptiste “for his alleged role in a foreign bribery and money laundering scheme in connection with a planned $84 million port development project in Haiti.” As it often does when it appears that a criminal defendant is going to put the DOJ to its burden of proof, the DOJ piled on charges and recently filed this indictment adding Travel Act and money laundering cases against Baptiste.SentencedHarrisAs highlighted in this previous post, in January 2017 the DOJ announced an unusual individual FCPA enforcement action concerning a commercial building in Vietnam. What made the action unusual was that the alleged bribery scheme was unsuccessful and the third party intended to facilitate the bribery scheme simply pocketed the money for himself. That individual – Malcom Harris – was criminally charged (not with FCPA offenses) but with one count of wire fraud, one count of conducting monetary transactions in illegal funds and aggravated identity theft.As highlighted here, in June 2017 Harris pleaded guilty and earlier this week the DOJ announced that Harris was sentenced to 42 months in prison.PierucciAs highlighted in this prior post, in April 2013 Frederic Pierucci (a French national) was among a group of current or former Alstom executives criminally charged in connection with an alleged bribery scheme in Indonesia. As highlighted here, in August 2013 Pierucci pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to violate the FCPA and one count of violating the FCPA. Recently, Pierucci was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison and ordered to pay a $20,000 fine. The sentencing judge credited 14 months for time Pierucci has already being detained.RichersAs highlighted in this prior post, in July 2011 Amadeus Richers (a former director of Cinergy) was criminally charged with one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA and to commit wire fraud, six counts of FCPA violations, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and 19 counts of money laundering in the sprawling Haiti Teleco enforcement actions. For years, Richers was a fugitive until his arrest and ultimate extradition from Panama earlier this year at which time he pleaded guilty. (See here). Recently, Richers was sentenced to time served and three years of supervised release.If you are trying to figure out how an FCPA defendant who evaded the law for years and pleaded guilty only after his capture was sentenced to less time than numerous other FCPA defendants, well that is an informed thought. See here for the prior post titled “The Randomness of FCPA Sentences.”Former Telia Execs Charged in SwedenAs highlighted in this report, a day after the Telia enforcement action (see here and here for prior posts)“Swedish prosecutors have charged three former executives from theTelia Company with corruption a day after the telecom giant agreed to pay nearly $1 billion in penalties to help settle a years-long corruption probe involving bribes paid in Uzbekistan.The Swedish Prosecution Authority said on September 22 that former chief executive Lars Nyberg and two other codefendants are suspected of paying large sums of money to Takilant, a Gibraltar-based company associated with Gulnara Karimova, one of the daughters of Uzbekistan’s late authoritarian leader, in return for a mobile-phone license.”Scrutiny AlertAs noted in this recent Wall Street Journal article:“Federal securities regulators are investigating an allegation by PepsiCo Inc. former top lawyer that the company fired her in retaliation for the way she handled an internal probe into potential wrongdoing in Russia, according to people familiar with the matter and internal documents.Maura Smith, who was PepsiCo’s general counsel from May 2011 to June 2012, oversaw outside lawyers hired by the company to dig into business practices at Wimm-Bill-Dann, a big Russian maker of dairy products and juices that PepsiCo spent about $5 billion to acquire in 2011, the documents show.”The article also states:“PepsiCo engaged law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP to “tip over every rock” at Wimm-Bill-Dann, one of the people said. The investigation unearthed evidence of theft, improper land deals and millions of dollars in questionable consulting contracts and gratuities, including a company-owned Audi A8 sedan that was provided to a regional governor of Russia to use for free, according to internal documents. These practices had started when Wimm-Bill-Dann was an independent company, and some had continued after the PepsiCo takeover.Gibson Dunn concluded that the car and the consulting contracts “likely constitute potential violations” of accounting provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a law that bars U.S.-listed companies from paying bribes to foreign officials and requires firms to maintain strong internal controls. The investigation found no conclusive evidence of more serious violations of the law’s antibribery provisions, according to the documents.”ISO 37001 RelatedSee here for latest laughable ISO 37001 post.For starters, “industry sweeps” are properly thought of as an SEC (not DOJ) tool. As explained in this post from a leading FCPA practitioner: “Industry sweeps are often led by the SEC which has broad subpoena power as a regulatory agency, arguably broader oversight authority than prosecutors.” More substantively, the notion that a company needs an ISO 37001 certification to act consistent with established best practices is just not true. There is a wide body of best practices metrics in the public domain long before ISO 37001 was released in Oct. 2016 and all of these metrics (but not ISO 37001) are specifically cited in the DOJ’s Feb. 2017 policy document titled “Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs.”As to the assertion that “ISO 37001 is written in straightforward business language — rather than complex legal jargon that permeates guidance provided by anti-bribery enforcement agencies in the U.S. and UK,” I have read all sources of best practices and my opinion is that ISO 37001 is the most difficult to read because it is full of so much ISO jargon.Across the PondThe U.K. Serious Fraud Office recently announced:“F.H. Bertling Ltd and six current and former employees have been convicted of conspiracy to make corrupt payments to an agent of the Angolan state oil company, Sonangol, in relation to F.H. Bertling’s freight forwarding business in Angola and a contract worth approximately $20m. One defendant was acquitted of the charges.On 1 September 2016, Jose Morreale (62) and Stephen Emler (49) pleaded guilty to the charges.On 17 March 2017, Joerg Blumberg (71), Ralf Petersen (now deceased), Dirk Juergensen (46) and Marc Schweiger (47) pleaded guilty.On 1 August 2017, F.H. Bertling Ltd pleaded guilty.Peter Ferdinand (78) was acquitted by a jury at Southwark Crown Court on 21 September 2017.”In the release, SFO Director David Green stated:“F.H. Bertling sought to obtain contracts through bribery. Corrupt practice by British companies such as this undermines the UK’s reputation as a safe place to do business and distorts the market, not to mention the damage it causes in the countries where the bribes are paid. This is a clear example of the SFO holding a company and its senior executives to account for corrupt behaviour, following an investigation that required skill, energy and determination to detect the extent and reach of this criminality.”So TrueThis recent FCPA Blog post states:“I am all for academics trumpeting themselves having the answer to a complex problem. But it is not meaningful to spout the obvious and then pretend that you have detected what nobody else knew.”So true in the FCPA context.Related to the above topic, is this recent Prawfsblawg post including comments concerning the “norms of giving proper credit when ideas or even writing came from someone else” and that “no one should make a claim about originality unless is it absolutely true. Students [I would expand this to the public at large] are easily tricked by professors who claim to make original arguments but are actually just rehashing existing work.”Again, so true in the FCPA context.OddIn this recent speech, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein stated: “If corporate fraud spikes, it may take resources away from other important issues like drug enforcement, national security, violent crime, and cyber hacking.”Related to the FCPA enforcement context, I find the statement odd.Government enforcement programs feed themselves. Thus, if the DOJ’s FCPA Unit is running out of FCPA cases to process, it might manufacture FCPA cases (as it has in the past), not shift prosecutors to street crimes. If the DOJ’s FCPA Unit is running out of FCPA cases to process, it might (as it has in the past) come up with new and creative ways of interpreting the statute to exercise its leverage, not shift prosecutors to street crimes.It Can WorkAs informed professionals know, in several FCPA enforcement actions the government has identified decentralized business structures as an internal control deficiency. Thus, I took note of this WSJ article about Amazon which states that “one defining element of Amazon’s business practices” is its “highly decentralized structure with small siloed team” which is the equivalent of “1,000 independent businesses.”For the Reading StackA solid critique of non-prosecution and deferred prosecution agreements by Professor Peter Reilly.The latest edition of the always informative FCPA Update by Debevoise & Plimpton is here.The New York Times goes in-depth on Unaoil.last_img read more

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News Flash – Canadian Businesses Prefer Less Harsh Criminal Sanctions And Other

first_img Learn More & Register FCPA Institute – Boston (Oct. 3-4) A unique two-day learning experience ideal for a diverse group of professionals seeking to elevate their FCPA knowledge and practical skills through active learning. Learn more, spend less. CLE credit is available. These pages have closely followed Canada’s movement towards DPAs. (See here and here for prior posts including my submission to the Canadian government encouraging it to say “no” to DPAs).As predicted in my 2010 article “The Facade of FCPA Enforcement” other nations would soon start to salivate over alternative resolution vehicles because they are easy, efficient and yield a greater quantity of enforcement actions allowing them to “catch up” to the U.S. in terms of “enforcing” bribery laws. This is precisely what happened in the U.K. and France and is happening in Australia and Canada.Recently, the Canadian government released this document titled “Expanding Canada’s Toolkit to Address Corporate Wrongdoing: What We Heard.” As discussed below the document is laughable in certain respects and otherwise fails to capture several salient points relevant to Canada’s movement towards DPAs.In pertinent part, the document states:“The majority of participants supported having a Canadian DPA regime, as they were of the view that DPAs could be a useful additional tool for prosecutors to use at their discretion in appropriate circumstances to address corporate criminal wrongdoing. They were of the view that DPAs could result in effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions, while also meeting other objectives, such as helping to identify corporate and individual criminal liability (for example, by encouraging self-reporting and requiring corporate accused to identify implicated individuals for prosecution purposes); enhancing compliance and improving corporate culture; and reducing the potential negative impact of a conviction on innocent third parties. Some, however, did not think that there is a demonstrable need for DPAs. They and others were concerned that DPAs could be viewed as favouring large companies over small companies and individual offenders.[…]Feedback was received from a variety of participants across Canada, including industry associations, businesses, justice sector stakeholders (including law enforcement) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and academics. Government officials held over 40 meetings with approximately 370 participants to listen to views on the consultation topics. The Government of Canada received 30 online submissions related to potential enhancements to the Integrity Regime and 45 submissions on the possible adoption of a DPA regime in Canada.[…]A plurality of submissions regarding DPAs were provided by business (47%); the remaining submissions came from individuals (26%), the justice sector (including law enforcement) (20%), and NGOs (7%).”Let’s pause here for a second. Is it any surprise that the “majority of participants supported having a Canadian DPA regime” when approximately 50% of the submissions were from business? Of course business favors less harsh criminal sanctions.As indicated above, an additional 26% of submissions can from individuals and it would be great to know what percentage of those submissions were from individuals associated law firms, accounting firms and others that stand to benefit from more “enforcement” of Canada’s Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act as well as the expected post-enforcement action compliance obligations and reporting requirements.Elsewhere, the document states:“The majority of participants (particularly those from the business sector) thought that DPAs could be useful and cited advantages [… including …] the benefits of having a tool that avoided a binary (prosecute or not prosecute) outcome and that focused on rehabilitation rather than on punishment. Possible justice system efficiencies were also mentioned, along with facilitating victim restitution, where appropriate. Others did not support DPAs as they were of the view that there was no demonstrable need for them in Canada. A number expressed concerns that a DPA regime would give too much discretion to prosecutors and could compromise public confidence in the justice system. Related to this was a concern expressed by some that DPAs could be seen as favouring large companies over smaller companies and individual offenders. Of the responses that compared a possible Canadian regime to the U.S. policy-based regime and the UK statutory regime, most favoured the UK model for reasons of transparency. It should be noted in this respect that Australia introduced its own DPA legislation on December 6, 2017 and the first arrangement has been entered into under France’s recently enacted DPA-like regime.[…]Participants were asked for their views with respect to the potential advantages and disadvantages of using DPAs to address corporate criminal liability in Canada. This issue received the most attention from participants, with the majority taking the view that the advantages of having a DPA regime would outweigh the possible disadvantages.AdvantagesThe majority of participants thought that a DPA regime would encourage self-reporting, promote accountability, foster a compliance culture and enhance public confidence in addressing corporate wrongdoing. A DPA regime is also viewed as a means to improve enforcement outcomes and could increase justice system efficiencies by avoiding protracted criminal trials. The extent to which DPAs would encourage self-reporting is dependent on the predictability of the outcome, which in turn is linked to how the DPA regime is structured. While there is little judicial involvement in the US DPA process, under the UK regime, the courts must find that the terms are fair and reasonable. This adds a degree of uncertainty, as the court could require that changes be made or may not approve the DPA at all. Several participants noted that DPAs provide greater flexibility for prosecutors to structure tailored resolutions in appropriate cases, while reducing the negative consequences of a company’s conviction for innocent third parties, such as employees. Other cited advantages include that DPAs may: help Canada put in place a tool for prosecutors that is available in other jurisdictions; provide an alternative means of holding a corporation accountable for misconduct, while avoiding the legal and reputational harm that could result from prosecution and conviction; and facilitate the more timely payment of compensation to victimsDisadvantagesThere was a sense among some participants that instituting a DPA regime could give companies a false sense of security as they might consider that they would not be at risk of prosecution, but could, rather, “buy their way” out of trouble through the payment of financial penalties rather than being held accountable by a court of law. If this were to be the case, it could weaken the deterrent effect of the criminal law on corporations and ultimately undermine public confidence in the criminal justice system. Further disadvantages that were identified include that a DPA regime may: shield employees who have played an active role in the misconduct by focusing enforcement on the company rather than on pursuing charges against individual offenders; allow corporate monitors too much leeway over their mandates, such that the terms of the DPA go beyond what was intended; result in wasted effort and resources and potentially compromise a subsequent prosecution in cases where significant time is spent trying, unsuccessfully, to negotiate a DPA. Some thought that providing more investigation and prosecution resources would be more effective than adopting a DPA regime in addressing a possible perception that commercial crime and corruption are not sufficiently investigated and prosecuted in Canada.[…]The majority of participants favoured the UK model, which provides for strong judicial oversight throughout the DPA process. This would include the need for the courts to review the draft DPA to ensure that it is in the public interest and that its terms are fair, reasonable and proportionate. The court should also be involved in variance and termination determinations. Viewing DPAs principally as agreements between the prosecutor and the accused, a few participants thought the role of the court should be limited (for example, to serving as a repository for DPAs). A smaller number of participants indicated that the courts should be given an even broader oversight role from negotiation to conclusion of the DPA, with a regular review function. Others cautioned that a close supervisory role from the courts would place an unnecessary burden on court resources, and may be more appropriately handled outside of the court system. One written submission was supportive of the U.S. model, where DPAs are registered with the court for enforcement in the event of a breach.”In closing the document stated:“The Government of Canada will further review the feedback received and assess whether enhancements to the Integrity Regime are warranted to ensure that the Regime continues to achieve its objectives, is efficient in doing so, and addresses new trends and risks in a constantly changing marketplace. Feedback will also be used by the Government of Canada in considering the possibility of introducing a Canadian DPA regime as an additional tool for prosecutors, to be used in appropriate circumstances, to address corporate crime. While this public consultation has ended, the Government of Canada remains committed to hearing from interested parties regarding both the Integrity Regime and DPAs.”As stated in my submission there is really no evidence, indeed the evidence suggests the contrary, that DPAs would – in the words of the Canadian government – “encourage self-reporting, promote accountability, foster a compliance culture and enhance public confidence in addressing corporate wrongdoing.”Consider the following from the U.S. experience with DPAs (and other alternative resolution vehicles).Voluntary DisclosureThe DOJ has been using DPAs (and other alternative resolution vehicles) to resolve alleged instances of corporate FCPA liability since 2004 and have long encouraged business organizations to self-disclosure FCPA conduct. Yet there is no evidence that DPAs are encouraging self-disclosure. Indeed, the DOJ’s launch of an FCPA Pilot Program in April 2016 was largely motivated by the DOJ’s recognition that its long-standing efforts spanning over a decade (including through use of DPAs) to motivate self-disclosure were not successful. In the words of the DOJ’s then Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division, the goal of the pilot program is to “encourage self-reporting” because companies have information about individuals who have violated the FCPA and have documents relevant to FCPA violations. If DPA’s encouraged self-disclosure as the Government of Canada asserts, there would have been no reason for the DOJ to unveil the FCPA Pilot Program in April 2016. And if the FCPA Pilot Program was encouraging voluntarily disclose, why the need for the DOJ to once again revamp its FCPA corporate enforcement policy as it did in November 2017 (see here) to further motivate voluntary disclosure?Deterrence and AccountabilityThere is no reliable evidence to suggest that alternative resolution vehicles used to resolve alleged FCPA offenses has enhanced compliance or the accountability of business organizations resolving such offenses. Indeed, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (“OECD”) report on FCPA enforcement observed that the “actual deterrent effect [of NPAs and DPAs] has not been quantified,” and it requested that the U.S. “[m]ake public any information about the impact of NPAs and DPAs on deterring the bribery of foreign public officials.”The DOJ’s response to this request stated:“Scholars have recognized that quantifying deterrence is extremely difficult. This is equally true for the deterrent effect of DPAs and NPAs. Thus . . . measuring ‘the impact of NPAs and DPAs in deterring the bribery of foreign public officials’ would be a difficult task, save providing certain anecdotal and other circumstantial evidence. One of the best sources of anecdotal evidence demonstrating that DPAs and NPAs have a deterrent effect comes from the companies themselves. The companies against which DPAs and NPAs have been brought have often undergone dramatic changes.”Moreover, the assertion that DPAs deter and/or increase compliance is undermined by the fact that several companies that resolved alleged FCPA offenses through DPAs (Aibel Group Ltd., Marubeni, Biomet, Orthofix, etc.) have since become FCPA repeat offenders or are currently under FCPA scrutiny yet again.In short, given the nature of the responses received the finding that “the majority of participants supported having a Canadian DPA regime” is laughable and the recent report by the Canadian government otherwise fails to capture several salient points relevant to Canada’s movement towards DPAs. In any event, as I previously stated many times, if a country is to have a DPA regime, the DPA regime in other peer countries is far more sound compared to the U.S.last_img read more

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Wireless Vital Signs Monitor tracks critical health information in warfighters and civilians

first_imgAug 3 2018A technology designed to treat injured warfighters on the battlefield is proving its worth to civilian emergency-response teams.The sensor-laden Wireless Vital Signs Monitor (WVSM) tracks critical health information like heart rate, pulse and blood pressure. Sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR), it weighs less than a pound and can be carried easily into combat zones or mass-casualty emergency situations.The device is strapped to a patient’s arm and transmits data wirelessly via a specialized software app to a tablet or smart phone, which is handled by attending medical personnel such as Navy corpsmen. This enables the medics to monitor the vital signs of more than 15 patients at once.”Since this technology can monitor multiple patients simultaneously, corpsmen can attend to someone, move to the next patient or even step away to get supplies–while still keeping an eye on everyone in their care,” said Dr. Timothy Bentley, a program manager in ONR’s Warfighter Performance Department, which has sponsored the WVSM’s development.A collaboration between ONR, the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research and industry partner Athena GTX, the WVSM recently was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. More than 200 of the monitors so far have been sold to emergency-response units in Iowa, Texas, North Carolina, Maryland, Missouri and Pennsylvania.The WVSM also is used currently by the U.S. Special Operations Command and the Air Force.Through complex software algorithms, the WVSM analyzes patient data; determines if someone is in stable or worsening condition; and calculates the need for life-saving interventions such as surgery or blood transfusions. This differs from traditional vital signs monitors, which provide basic health information but can’t predict if someone’s medical condition is about to deteriorate.Related StoriesImplanted device uses microcurrent to exercise heart muscle in cardiomyopathy patientsHeart disease is still the number 1 killer in Australia, according to latest figuresNew research links “broken heart syndrome” to cancerFirst responders already have used the WVSM successfully in training exercises and emergencies such as fires, tornados, hurricanes and large public events where groups of people required medical attention. In June, Texas emergency crews treated people injured during a hospital explosion.”The feedback from customers has been very positive,” said Dr. Mark Darrah, president and chief executive officer of Athena GTX. “They like that the WVSM is lightweight, portable and can provide crucial vital sign data quickly. The sooner you can receive such data, the better the outcome in an emergency.”The WVSM is designed as part of the ONR-sponsored Automated Critical Care System (ACCS)–a patient-care system that can be described as an intensive care unit in a suitcase. Weighing under 25 pounds, with an accompanying stretcher, ACCS is ideal for diverse missions.”Expeditionary forces penetrate deep into remote areas where casualties can take hours or days to evacuate,” said Bentley. “The capabilities needed for patient care must be compact, lightweight and scalable to mission requirements. ACCS makes the clinical expertise and capabilities of a critical-care center available to warfighters in the most severe conditions.”ACCS can provide care such as vital signs monitoring; resuscitation and breathing assistance; supplemental oxygen; fluid and drug therapy; and patient data gathering, storage and transmission. The system can monitor and treat patients under the control of a medic–or autonomously within pre-determined parameters. Source:https://www.onr.navy.mil/Media-Center/Press-Releases/2018/WVSM-ONR-ACCS-First-Responderslast_img read more

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Social environment plays substantial role in progression of noncontagious diseases

first_img Source:https://www.cnrs.fr/paris-michel-ange/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Sep 3 2018What if social behavior affected the progression of even noncontagious diseases? This is precisely what has been demonstrated by French CNRS teams, with support from the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD), Paris-Sud University, the University of Montpellier, the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), and colleagues from Spain and Australia. Using a fly model of intestinal cancer, the researchers have shown that disease progression is impacted both by social isolation—which has a negative effect—and the composition of the social group with which individuals associate. Their findings are published in Nature Communications.For many animals, humans included, social behavior can play a critical role in the survival of individuals. The effect that interactions between individuals can have on the spread of communicable diseases is well known. But is there any connection between social interactions and the progression, within sick individuals, of noncommunicable diseases like cancers? To address this question, the scientists chose the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as their research model. Control of the social environment and experimental induction of disease (an intestinal cancer in this case) are both easily achieved when working with drosophilas. The team sought to determine whether the social environment of diseased individuals altered the speed of tumor progression and if these flies could choose their social environment to slow this progression.They observed that disease progression in sick flies was faster in social isolation than when interacting with other flies. Even more surprisingly, the very structure of a diseased fly’s social group could affect the progression of its illness. When a sick fly is in the company of healthy ones, its tumor spreads more quickly than when interacting with other sick individuals. Detailed analyses of interactions between flies, monitored through video, suggest that sick flies interact less with healthy ones in their presence—effectively exhibiting a sort of isolation in the midst of the healthy crowd.Related StoriesNew research links “broken heart syndrome” to cancerStudy: Nearly a quarter of low-risk thyroid cancer patients receive more treatment than necessaryStudy reveals link between inflammatory diet and colorectal cancer riskIt is interesting to note that, when given the choice between a sick or healthy group, a sick fly will choose to join other sick flies—at least during the early stages of illness. Once the tumor is in an advanced state, the fly no longer shows any preference. The behavior of healthy flies is different. Though they make no distinction between healthy flies and sick flies at an early stage of disease, they will avoid sick flies with more advanced tumors and prefer the company of other healthy flies. The exact reasons for such avoidance are still poorly understood and currently under study. It may reflect a nonspecific response to the risks posed by diseases in general—such as contagion, compromised reproductive potential, and greater vulnerability to predators.Though these findings cannot yet be extrapolated to humans, they suggest that social environment plays a substantial, even major, role in the development of a disease like cancer.last_img read more

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DNA tape recorder stores a cells memories

first_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) If cells could talk, they’d have quite a story to tell: Their life history would include what molecules they’d seen passing by, which signals they’d sent to neighbors, and how they’d grown and changed. Researchers haven’t quite given cells a voice, but they have now furnished them with a memory of sorts—one that’s designed to record bits of their life history over the span of several weeks. The new method uses strands of DNA to store the data in a way that scientists can then read. Eventually, it could turn cells into environmental sensors, enabling them to report on their exposure to particular chemicals, among other applications.“They’ve done a really exceptional job turning DNA into readable, writable memory inside living cells,” says Ahmad Khalil, a biomedical engineer at Boston University who was not involved in the new work. “I think it’s a very cool new direction for synthetic biology to take.”In the past, researchers have turned cells into simple sensors by switching on or off the production of proteins in response to a stimulus. But each switch could record only one simple piece of information—whether the cell had been exposed to the stimulus—not the duration or magnitude of this exposure. And if the cell died, the information—encoded in a protein—would be lost. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Emailcenter_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe “We wanted a system that would be easier to scale up to collect more than one piece of information,” says synthetic biologist Timothy Lu of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. “So we started out, as engineers, thinking about what an ideal memory system would look like.”Lu’s team settled on a biological program that rewrites a living cell’s DNA when the cell senses a signal—from a flash of light to the presence of a chemical. Once the DNA is altered, the information remains embedded in the genetic material even if the cell dies. By sequencing the genes of a population of cells that all contain the program, researchers can determine the magnitude and duration of the signal: The more cells have the genetic mutation, the stronger or longer the signal was.The approach, dubbed Synthetic Cellular Recorders Integrating Biological Events (SCRIBE), relies on retrons—which make up a genetic system found naturally in some bacteria that produces single-stranded DNA that the bacteria normally use to alter their host. Lu’s team started with bacterial cells and inserted a retron that would be turned on—producing the unique DNA—only in response to a specific stimulus like a chemical. While the cell is in the process of copying its genetic material, the new DNA would then replace a nearly identical existing gene segment in the cell, changing it slightly.  Lu tested SCRIBE on cells that he engineered to sense light, as well as others that responded to a common biological reagent. In one instance, he made the memory especially easy to read by engineering the cells to mutate an antibiotic resistance gene in response to light. When cells were then grown in the presence of the antibiotic, the researchers could immediately see which cells contained the new gene. The results were confirmed by sequencing the bacteria’s genomes. But SCRIBE, described online today in Science, could be designed to sense other stimuli and cause any desired genetic mutation in return.“There are a bunch of potential applications of this system,” Lu says. “One is being able to do long-term recording of a cell’s environment.” For example, he says, living cells could be left in an area of water for a week, then collected. Sequencing the DNA from the cells could then reveal whether the cells had been exposed to certain bacteria or toxins in the water. SCRIBE could also be a boon to basic researchers, Lu adds. “During development, as you go from a single cell to a multicellular organism, each cell encounters different cues,” he says. SCRIBE could let researchers record what each cell encountered to shape its fate.“What’s neat about this strategy is that you have a lot more diversity and flexibility than other methods to give cells memory,” Khalil says. Because scientists can choose the stimulus—or multiple different stimuli—that they want the cell to record, as well as what gene change they want to use as a marker, the possibilities for applications are wide, he says.last_img read more

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QUIZ Whats your digital privacy IQ

first_img Top Ranker It is sometimes possible to re-identify people who have contributed to genomic databases even if their DNA sequences have been stripped of identifying information. What kind of additional data has been used to identify persons in these databases? Ten 1940s Analyzing the ratio of the longest word to the shortest 0 Medical records LOADING An error occurred loading the Quiz. Please try again later. 1920s Email address Start Quiz Question What Internet security technology included a flaw that the U.S. government could exploit to secretly eavesdrop on communications? A 2013 paper based on mobility data for 1.5 million people over 15 months showed that just four spatio-temporal points on a person’s trajectory can be enough to identify them in an anonymized mobile phone data set. So far such hacking seems to be confined to fiction—the Homeland TV series in particular. But the concern is real enough for Vice President Dick Cheney’s cardiologist to have disabled the wireless functionality of his pacemaker in 2007. Average Facebook started selling targeted ads based on information collected from users’ profiles just a few years after it launched. But in June 2014, the site confirmed that it was also collecting information on users’ general Web-browsing activities and sharing this information with advertisers. Four Activity on websites and apps outside of Facebook, including Internet searches Which government agency is said to be the largest employer of mathematicians in the United States? Information shared on Facebook, such as which Pages users “like” Read more about privacy — and your vulnerabilities — in Science. 256 kilobytes (a small image file) You North Korean leader Kim Jong-un How much information is required to mathematically capture the unique features of your face? Results: You answered out of correctly – Click to revisit Much of the National Security Agency’s work involves the highly mathematical exercise of creating and cracking codes. The secretive agency does not disclose staffing or funding levels, but in addition to employing large number of mathematicians, it is a major funder of mathematics teaching and research on campuses. In an age of big data, ever more capable devices, and ubiquitous Internet connections, it’s hard to hide from a determined sleuth. Find out how well you understand your vulnerabilities. In 2014, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that individuals can request that search engines refrain from displaying specific results about them. What percentage of the 180,000 requests “to be forgotten” that Google received in the 5 months following ruling have been accepted? Until the 1960s, U.S. newspapers regularly shared personal information about people infected with diseases. By the 1970s, the advent of large databases of medical records brought privacy concerns to the fore, along with a new caution about sharing health details. Analyzing the frequencies at which the sound is concentrated All of the above DeepFace, Facebook’s facial recognition system, is nearly as good as a human at recognizing faces. The program can distill the personal identity of a face to just 256 bits—meaning that an ordinary thumb drive could in principle hold the unique identifiers for a billion faces. 256 gigabytes (an entire computer hard drive) The National Science Foundation 0 / 10 256 bits (a single sentence)center_img What’s your digital privacy IQ? Physical traits like the length of your vocal tract and the state of your dental work shape the dominant frequencies in your voice, turning it into a unique identifier that companies are beginning to exploit. 40 Analyzing the amplitudes of the sound wave German Chancellor Angela Merkel Analyzing the transitional probabilities of the syllables Major U.S. newspapers routinely printed the names and addresses of people with infectious diseases such as polio until the: The Census Bureau 1900s Homeland’s fictional Vice President William Walden Many implanted medical devices, like pacemakers, are now wirelessly accessible, making them a new focus of privacy concerns. What prominent figure dramatized the risk that an implanted device could be hacked? Quantum cryptography 20 Last four digits of social security number NASA Details on a Facebook profile like age, gender, and location Age and state of residence It turns out that the Internet can forget. As of 21 January 2015 Google has removed 40% of the URLs processed in response to requests. 60 By comparing DNA from a genomic database with a partial Y chromosome sequence from the same person, posted on a genealogy website, and adding the donor’s age and state of residence, sleuths can sometimes identify the donor of the DNA. 256 megabytes (a big movie file) The National Security Agency Two In 2013, researchers showed that, in theory, a small amount of data on a person’s movements is enough to uniquely identify them in an anonymized mobile phone metadata set. How many locations and times are needed to identify someone? Antivirus software 80 Time’s Up! A pseudorandom number generator Former Vice President Dick Cheney Like a fingerprint, your voice is a unique spectral signature of your identity. Voiceprints are created by recording a segment of speech and: Seven Sensitive online communications, like checking your back account, are encrypted using a technique that relies on seemingly random numbers. A flaw in the standard algorithm for generating pseudorandom numbers provided an opening for the National Security Agency to decrypt supposedly secure communications. Some believe that the agency itself engineered the flaw. The Enigma cipher Score 1960s Many Facebook users have noticed that the ads the site serves have become increasingly targeted to their interests, sometimes referencing products or interests that they have never mentioned on Facebook. Facebook is able to show such specific ads because they collect and track: Share your scorelast_img read more

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QUIZ How well do you know your dog

first_img When was the dog genome published? A few dozen Mark Twain wrote A Dog’s Tale in 1904, a story about the life of a family pet. The novel was one of the first to be told from a dog’s perspective. 0 / 10 1000 Though scientists used to think that dogs could understand only a few dozen human words, Chaser, a South Carolina border collie, proved them wrong. Chaser can understand more than 1000 words, indicating that—with some training—other dogs can, too. 2003 QUIZ: How well do you know your dog? Point at an object, and a dog will look at where you’re pointing—an intuitive reading of our intentions (“I’m trying to show you something”) that wolves and even chimpanzees find difficult to understand. Cats come close, but dogs still have the upper hand—or paw. Start Quiz Results: You answered out of correctly – Click to revisit Sebastien Micke/Paris Match via Getty Images 0 What animal did dogs evolve from? Share your score udithawix/Flickr None of the above Dogs have about 1000 genes that code for smell receptors. (Humans have fewer than 400.) That may explain why we use dogs to sniff out bombs, drugs, and other contraband. Want to know more about dogs? Find out where dogs really came from and see why they’re a scientist’s best friend! Dogs were the very first thing humans domesticated—before any other plant, before any other animal. Exactly when this happened is a matter of debate, but scientists generally agree that dogs were domesticated sometime between 30,000 and 15,000 years ago. Time’s Up! Jackal Question Fewer than 10 Scientists don’t agree on where dogs came from. Archaeological and genetic evidence seems to indicate either a European or Asian origin. A new collaboration of dog experts may soon solve the mystery once and for all. Coyote Asia George Orwell 10 © fStop Images GmbH / Alamy elycefeliz/Flickr Dogs evolved from the gray wolf. The two species share 99.9% of their DNA. Adults An error occurred loading the Quiz. Please try again later. 10,000 Cats greenkozi/Flickr Europe 2001 100 Chimpanzees One Aldous Huxley Averagecenter_img Fewer than 20 The dog genome was fully sequenced in 2004, 4 years after the human genome. The dog genome was published in 2005. Five We don’t know yet In his later years, Darwin proposed that dogs were capable of feeling pleasure and happiness. He felt that if humans had these traits, so, too, must other animals. More than 1000 © Arterra Picture Library / Alamy Wolf Toasters Which famous novelist wrote a dog “autobiography”? Though many of us treat our pets like children, U.S. law considers them personal property, no different than a couch or a toaster. That status is slowly evolving, however, as judges become more open to hearing pet custody cases, for example, and lawmakers pass harsher and harsher fines for people who kill or abuse dogs and other animals. Fox Score DrRave/istockphoto Top Ranker You LOADING Feel happiness In the United States, the legal status of dogs is most similar to that of … How many genes do dogs have for detecting smells? Mark Twain North America 2007 Reto Stockli with the help of Alan Nelson, under the leadership of Fritz Hasler 2005 Charles Darwin suggested that dogs could … Dogs understand the human pointing gesture better than which animals? © Bildagentur-online/McPhoto / Alamy How many species did humans domesticate before we domesticated dogs? What part of the world did dogs come from? Ten Wolves Bill Selak/Flickr None Children Run faster than cheetahs if they had to Humans have lived with dogs for thousands of years, but just how well do you know our canine companions? Test your knowledge of man’s best friend! All of the above How many words, at maximum, can dogs understand? One day evolve to be hairless Ernest Hemingway Wildlifelast_img read more

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The unusual sex life of the vampire squid

first_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Despite its name, the vampire squid is not an aggressive predator, nor does it feed on blood. It glides slowly through the depths, feeding on detritus and plankton. “It has a slow pace of life,” says Henk-Jan Hoving, a marine biologist at the Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany. Hoving has been studying squid for more than a decade and discovered the museum’s cache of preserved vampire squid while researching what the animals eat. He noticed that the collection contained a large number of females that might allow him to unravel the specifics of the mysterious squid’s reproductive strategy. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Email SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA—Though the average patron will never find it, a massive collection of one of Earth’s most mysterious deep-sea animals lives cataloged in a lab at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. Jars stuffed with gelatinous appendages line the shelves of one room from floor to ceiling, and murky eyes peer unseeingly through their alcohol preservative. The label on the shelf reads Vampyroteuthis infernalis.Ordinarily, there is no light—from the sun or the overhead museum fluorescents—in the habitat of the vampire squid. The 30-cm-long animal lives 500 to 3000 meters below the ocean’s surface, in a zone where oxygen is low and photons are rare. To survive the choking darkness, according to a new study, the squid has evolved a reproduction strategy unlike any of its kin—one that has extended its time on Earth.“The study has given us a brand-new way of understanding how some cephalopods reproduce, and also has given us the first insight into what the possible life span of this animal might be,” says Kathrin Bolstad, a teuthologist at the Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand who was not involved in the work. “Every little tiny piece of the puzzle about deep-sea animals that we can put together is a fantastic advance.” Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe DAVID SHULTZTwo vampire squids preserved in alcohol at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.His research, published today in Current Biology, suggests that unlike most cephalopods, vampire squid undergo multiple reproductive cycles during their lifetime. This contrasts dramatically with other squid and octopuses, which reproduce in one spectacular event and then die shortly thereafter. Multiple spawning events may better suit this squid’s low-energy lifestyle. “I don’t think this slow pace of life allows one big reproductive spawning event,” Hoving says.For the new study, Hoving and colleagues dissected 47 females. Similar to humans, squid egg cells mature in the ovary and are supported by a shell of cells known as a follicle. The immature egg cell is eventually released during ovulation, but the follicles are left behind. Fortunately for the team, the ovary reabsorbs these postovulatory follicles quite slowly in vampire squid, allowing the researchers to count and characterize different batches of eggs produced by the mature females.Using the follicles to reconstruct the vampire squids’ spawning history allowed researchers to make several surprising discoveries. First, unlike any other squid, the vampire has a gonadal resting phase, meaning there are times when the ovary has no growing or ripe egg cells. The authors suspect that the resting period between egg batches enables the females to store up enough energy to start a new reproductive cycle. Furthermore, it appears that developing eggs can be reabsorbed into the ovary to save energy if times are particularly lean.The insight into the squids’ reproductive lives has also helped Hoving and his team refine their estimates for how long the creatures might live. The largest female in the museum’s collection was estimated to have spawned 38 times and contained enough reproductive cells for another 65 rounds. “If we assume 38–100 spawning events … the duration of the adult stage is at least 3–8 years in this specimen, with the total life span exceeding these numbers,” the authors write. Such longevity would dwarf the vampire’s shallow water relatives, which usually only live between 6 and 18 months. Bolstad affirms that the study “has given us the first insight into what the possible life span of this animal might be.”There are, however, a lot of unknowns that need to be answered before the life span can be confirmed with more certainty. Researchers still don’t know how long it takes a follicle to be reabsorbed completely. Nor do they know how long gonadal resting phase between spawning events last or how long it takes an egg to reach maturity. “It would be nice to keep animals in the lab alive for as long as possible to try to figure out how fast they grow,” Hoving says.Regrettably, the study was unable to identify any trends in when or where the spawning takes place. So as tantalizing as it might be to imagine hordes of vampire squid gathering to reproduce at specific locations in the pitch-black darkness, any such discovery will have to wait—but waiting is probably what the vampire squid does best.last_img read more

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