P.M. NEWS Nigeria » Science and Technology http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com First with Nigeria News - Nigerian leading evening Newspaper - Sun, 14 Dec 2014 11:57:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 Technology Is Our Hope, Say Nigerians With Disabilities http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/03/technology-is-our-hope-say-nigerians-with-disabilities/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/03/technology-is-our-hope-say-nigerians-with-disabilities/#comments Wed, 03 Dec 2014 14:55:46 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=221615 Simon Ateba/Lagos

Technology represents hope and unlimited possibilities for persons with disabilities, it was said on Wednesday, as Nigerians came together to celebrate the International Day for people living with disabilities. ‎‎

The United Nations Day for persons with disabilities is celebrated every year on 3 December and in Lagos, the event was organised by the Lagos State Office for Disabilities Affairs, LASODA.

The theme for ‎the year 2014 , “Sustainable Development: The Promise of Technology “, could not have come at a better time because technology can be used as a tool to break barriers and forge an inclusive and more equal society, said Mrs. Tolulope Animashaun, Chairperson, Governing Board of LASODA.

Animashaun said the day (3 December) is important as it reminds everyone of the progress made so far and the challenges ahead.

She said Lagos,  the first state to enact the Special People’s Law to champion the cause of people living with disabilities, has made tremendous progress but more still needs to be done, especially in the area of awareness creation.

Some persons with disabilities in Lagos on Wednesday. Photo: Simon Ateba.

Some persons with disabilities in Lagos on Wednesday. Photo: Simon Ateba.

The private sector for instance, she added, needs to be brought in and should go beyond corporate social responsibility which often looks like charity.

To Akinola Emmanuella of Heroes Media Nigeria who champions issues with people with disabilities, “for people without disabilities technology makes things easier but for people with disabilities technology makes things possible.”

She described technology for people with disabilities as a tool of implementation and possibilities.

“Technology provides hope for sustainability of the SDGs,” Akinola said.

She said Nigeria cannot meet its Millennium Development Goals because it has failed to include people with disabilities in almost all its policy formulations.

According to Dr. Segun Oshiyimika, Permanent Secretary, Office of Youth and Social Development of the Lagos State Government, the celebration is necessary because people with disabilities represent “a sizeable chunk of the world population”.

“Recognising them is important as we cannot afford to neglect such a huge number of people vis-a-vis‎ Nigeria’s population.

But even as the country celebrated the achievements made so far, especially in Lagos, elsewhere the situation looked gloomier.

Only about four to five out of 36 states have passed the Special People’s Law and in  Lagos where the law was passed in 2011, LASODA only got their office this year, two years after it was officially set up by the government in 2012.

Nigeria still does not have a national law for people with disabilities and this is a shame, said Adebowale Ademiluyi, a physically challenged person.

He said what Nigeria has achieved for persons with disabilities is “grossly inadequate” and implementation is also a problem.

To Oshilim Constance, some progress has been made in Lagos, but there is need for a more inclusive society.

Nigeria, she said, should empower the physically challenged, passed laws that will protect them and create jobs for those who are graduates.

According to Vweta Chadwick, Global Programmes Director, ASHA Initiative, ‎the government has not fully explored the use of technology towards promoting the social inclusion of people with disabilities.

She gave the example of the use of tablets and other technological tools that can be used to promote literacy for people with disabilities.

For Deaconess Adedoyin Beyioku-Alase, National President Deaf Women Association of Nigeria, a lot needs to be done.

The government should empower people with disabilities and create and enabling environment for them.

As she spoke, many people with disabilities, especially those on wheelchairs struggled to access the ‎Adeyemi Bero Auditorium where the gathering took place because it was not accessible to them.

While some people on wheelchairs had to be carried others had to ride in the planks provided to make their movement easier and the shame less obvious.

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Social Media: Invaluable Tool for Free and Fair Election, says Aregbesola http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/11/17/social-media-invaluable-tool-for-free-and-fair-election-says-aregbesola/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/11/17/social-media-invaluable-tool-for-free-and-fair-election-says-aregbesola/#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2014 17:06:19 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=219991 Abiodun Onafuye/Abeokuta

Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun

Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun

Governor Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola of Osun has declared that digital form of journalism has become an integral part of our cherished political legacy as it offers new scope and invaluable tool of ensuring the conduct of free and fair elections in the country.

Aregbesola, however advised that it should be explored and protected for the betterment of our electoral process and political life, noting that, it should be constitutionally made part of our electoral process.

The governor stated this today while speaking as a Guest Speaker at the official opening ceremony of the 2014 Ogun NUJ Press week.

The programme which was held at the Press Centre, Iwe Iroyin, Oke Ilewo, Abeokuta had media dignitaries from across the Southwest in attendance.

The governor, who was represented by the State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Oluomo Sunday Akere spoke on the lecture titled: ‘Effectiveness of Journalism in a free and fair election: The Social Media advantage’. He explained the importance of digital journalism, especially as it affects elections in the country, adding that, it was part of what made him victorious during the last August governorship election Osun.

“A new frontier in press freedom has been opened with the advent of the internet and the social media. The internet offers new opportunity for freedom beyond the traditional reach of government clampdown. The internet has rightly observed, breaches and bridges the physical barriers once constituted by state borders. The internet, indeed, brings the world to a borderless state.

“The traditional print and electronic media functioned on information dissemination through restricted platforms in the sense that access to the platforms was controlled by their managers and their owners.

“On the other hand, they were also subject to easy crackdowns by governments. But today, the internet offers us a different world of freedom in digital information dissemination and sharing. The internet platform provides a virtual space of virtually unlimited access in which everybody can disseminate and share information and news to
unlimited number of audience. What’s more, such information and news are made available at the click of a button.

L-R: Ogun State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Alh.Yussuph Olaniyonu,Chairman Ogun NUJ,Comrade Wole Sokunbi,Osun State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Oluomo Sunday Akere, Comrade Dele Atunbi,Vice President,NUJ Zone B and the SSA to Governor Amosun on Media,Mrs Funmi Wakama

L-R: Ogun State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Alh.Yussuph Olaniyonu,Chairman Ogun NUJ,Comrade Wole Sokunbi,Osun State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Oluomo Sunday Akere, Comrade Dele Atunbi,Vice President,NUJ Zone B and the SSA to Governor Amosun on Media,Mrs Funmi Wakama

“It is a platform of information dissemination in which the barriers of time and space collapses. So the social media form of journalism is a powerful tool that can enhance press freedom in many ways. It thus offers a valuable advantage in that, it can be used to improve our political life as well. And I dare say it has been proving useful in this regard.

“I am fully aware that in the just conclude gubernatorial election in the State of Osun, the social media and the internet made it more difficult for the forces of darkness in our midst to ply their accustomed trade of election manipulation and rigging.

“They played very good roles in making the results available to the public as they were being formally announced by officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC. The fact that the announced results were already in the public domain – thanks to internet journalism – made it almost impossible for the election be declared inconclusive as it was done during the June 12, 19993 elections.

“Therefore, the digital form of journalism has become part of our cherished political legacy. It offers a new era and an invaluable tool of ensuring the conduct of free and fair elections in the country. This is something we must further explore and protect for the betterment of our electoral process and our political life. Indeed, it
is my belief that this should be constitutionally made a part of our electoral process.

“However, just as there are positives, there are also negatives on the internet. The internet offers a limitless opportunity for libel and falsehood. The kind of control possible in the print and electronic media does not exist on the internet. The internet therefore is also a veritable machine for election rigging. Recall the 2003 governorship election in Lagos when false results were posted on INEC’s website. While many thought that it was a deliberate action as a prelude to manipulating the result, INEC alleged that its website was hacked. The
truth is in between.

“Just as updates on electoral situation are being streamed online in real time, so also is falsehood. Conscious efforts are being made to address this problem in other lands. Legal actions can be taken against false reports and some online publications owners have been sent to prison for deliberate falsehood. However, some publications
can still be anonymous and difficult to trace. Some publications can be put down by the internet service provider.

“These disadvantages notwithstanding, the positives overwhelm the negatives and the internet has extended the frontiers of freedom; it has helped pulled down dictatorships and will promote the cause of free and fair election if put to the right use.

“We must continue to insist on the freedom of the people to know as a fundamental human right. This is necessary for the consolidation of our democratic development,” Aregbesola posited.

In his remark at the event, the Chairman of the occasion, Alhaji Yussuph Olaniyonu, who is also the Ogun State Commissioner for Information and Strategy thanked the organisers for choosing the topic and the Guest Speaker, which according to him, put a round peg in a round hole.

“I am very happy that this hall is filled to the brim as the topic we are discussing affects everybody. If this topic is well treated and we all listen to very well, I am very sure that 60 per cent of our problems would have been solved.

“We all know that we are entering into an election year in the country, but yet, we have not understood how to elect our leaders. If we look at the development, especially, concerning the registration of voter’s cards, if you go around the centres, people are on ground but the fear is that are they going to be registered.

“I don’t even know whether I am going to vote next year because I have not got my card. When we talk about this problem, discuss it and x-ray it today, we would have surmounted one of the problems of election and move ahead to
others,” Olaniyonu stated.

The State Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Ogun State chapter, Comrade Wole Sokunbi disclosed that this year’s event is a twin programme aiming at provides platform for all members to interact and recognize some members and well meaning Nigerian and also to raise fund for the construction of the permanent secretariat of Ogun NUJ.

The programme continues tomorrow with cultural activities where all members are enjoined to wear cultural attires.

The keynote address will also be delivered by the Osun State Commissioner for Home Affairs, Tourism and Culture, Hon. Sikiru Adetona Ayedun.

Programme for the fund raising of N150million construction of the permanent secretariat is slated for Wednesday at the new site, along Abiola way, Abeokuta while Thursday is for the Health walk and an Evening with Her Excellency, the wife of the State governor, Mrs Olufunsho Amosun.

The grand finale is billed for Friday evening after the Jumat prayer where some individuals and corporate organisations will be honoured.

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Three-man multinational space crew returns to Earth http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/11/10/three-man-multinational-space-crew-returns-to-earth/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/11/10/three-man-multinational-space-crew-returns-to-earth/#comments Mon, 10 Nov 2014 06:10:36 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=219174 (L-R) Alexander Gerst of Germany, Maxim Surayev of Russia and Reid Wiseman of the US

(L-R) Alexander Gerst of Germany, Maxim Surayev of Russia and Reid Wiseman of the US

A three-man multinational crew of astronauts returned to Earth Monday aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft, after spending 165 days working together at the International Space Station, NASA said.

ISS commander, Russia’s Maxim Surayev, his American colleague Reid Wiseman and German Alexander Gerst from the European Space Agency touched down at 10:58 pm Sunday (0358 GMT Monday).

The three men smiled broadly from reclining chairs as medical personnel tended to them amid patches of snow on the barren steppe just northeast of Arkalyk, Kazakhstan, where they landed.

Surayev flashed a V for victory sign while Wiseman pumped his fist as they waited to regain their land legs after nearly half a year of weightlessness.

“Everything was in the spirit of cooperation, so I think that everybody needs to learn and follow the example of the ISS crew members,” Surayev said.

“Let’s try to live together side by side. This is the most important thing,” he added.

While in space the crew traveled more than 70 million miles (112.7 million kilometers), NASA said.

The “bulls-eye” touchdown was executed amid low clouds and fog “following a flawless descent back into the atmosphere,” according to NASA TV.

The spacecraft was pulled onto its side by its parachute upon arrival, which NASA TV added was not uncommon.

The US space agency said the “departure of Wiseman, Gerst and Surayev marks the end of Expedition 41,” referring to their mission to the ISS to carry out equipment repairs, maintenance and experiments.

Surayev was on his second long ISS mission, having now spent a total of 334 days in space, while the other two astronauts were on their first trip.

The three men were pictured smiling and with their arms around each other before hitching the ride back home, undocking from ISS at 7:31 pm (0031 GMT).

Another three-person crew remains on the ISS to “continue research and maintenance aboard the station” and will be joined by three more astronauts who launch from Kazakhstan on November 23, NASA said.

NASA lost its ability to reach the space station when the shuttle program ended in 2011 after 30 years.

The US space agency has helped fund private companies in a push to restore US access to the ISS.

In the meantime, the world’s astronauts must rely on Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft to get to the ISS and back, at a cost of $70 million per seat.

There are 15 country participants in the ISS program, though the US and Russia contribute the lion’s share of funds for the project.

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Health benefits of milk under scrutiny http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/10/29/217754/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/10/29/217754/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 04:09:01 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=217754 Milk: still beneficial?

Milk: still beneficial?

For centuries doctors and nutritionists have recommended drinking lots of milk to strengthen one’s bones and boosting one’s health. Now, the centuries-old beliefs are being challenged in a new study.

A study in The BMJ medical journal Wednesday said Swedes with a high intake of cow’s milk died younger — and women suffered more fractures.

The findings may warrant questions about recommendations for milk consumption, although further research is needed, its authors said, as the association may be purely coincidental.

A Swedish team used data taken from 61,000 women aged 39-74 and monitored for about 20 years, and more than 45,000 men aged 45-79 followed for 11 years.

The volunteers gave details about diet and lifestyle, body weight, smoking habits, exercise frequency, education level and marital status.

By the end of this long study period, 25,500 of the group had died and 22,000 had suffered a fracture.

Higher milk intake was not accompanied by a lower risk of fractures but “may be associated with a higher rate of death”, the study said.

Among the women, 180 per 1,000 in the group which drank three glasses of milk or more a day died during a 10-year period, compared to the group average, independent of milk consumption, of 126 per 1,000.

Among those who drank a glass or less per day, the rate was 110 per 1,000, co-author Karl Michaelsson of Uppsala University told AFP.

The figures for hip fracture was 42 out of 1,000 women who drank a lot of milk, 35 per 1,000 on average, and 31 per 1,000 of women who drank the least milk.

“Women who consumed three glasses or more per day had a 90 percent higher risk of death, 60 percent higher risk of hip fracture and 15 percent higher risk of any fracture compared to those who drank less than a glass,” said Michaelsson.

For men, the difference in death rate was less pronounced: 207 per 1,000 among the three-glasses-a-day group over 10 years, 189 per 1,000 on average, and 182 per 1,000 among low consumers. There was no difference in fracture rates.

“The higher risk of mortality was evident with all types of milk: full-fat, half-fat and skimmed milk,” Michaelsson added — and started from a daily intake of about two glasses of milk.

At a lower consumption of half a glass to one glass per day, “there was a tendency of slightly reduced hip fracture risk” compared to zero intake, but the same was not true for mortality risk.

The team found that fermented milk products like cheese or yoghurt were associated with lower mortality and fracture rates, particularly in women.

One reason, the authors speculated, is that milk, but not cheese, is high in D-galactose, a type of sugar that in animal studies was shown to hasten ageing and shorten lifespan.

The researchers said it was impossible to draw any conclusions or make recommendations on milk consumption until further work is carried out.

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Exposed: Ebolavirus US bio-warfare, Africans guinea-pigs http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/10/22/exposed-ebolavirus-us-bio-warfare-africans-guinea-pigs/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/10/22/exposed-ebolavirus-us-bio-warfare-africans-guinea-pigs/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 14:59:17 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=217057 Ebola Virus: bio-warfare?

Ebola Virus: bio-warfare?

Could Ebola Have Escaped From US Bio-warfare Labs? American law professor, Francis A. Boyle, answers questions for tvxs.gr and reveals that USA have been using West Africa as an offshore to circumvent the Convention on Biological Weapons and do bio-warfare work.

Boyle is a leading American professor, practitioner and advocate of international law. He was responsible for drafting the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989, the American implementing legislation for the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention.

He served on the Board of Directors of Amnesty International (1988-1992), and represented Bosnia – Herzegovina at the World Court. Professor Boyle teaches international law at the University of Illinois, Champaign. He holds a Doctor of Law Magna Cum Laude as well as a Ph.D. in Political Science, both from Harvard University.

He is also the author of “Biowarfare and Terrorism”. The book outlines how and why the United States government initiated, sustained and then dramatically expanded an illegal biological arms buildup.

He was interviewed by Aggeliki Dimopoulou

Q: Is Ebola just a result of health crisis in Africa – because of the large gaps in personnel, equipment and medicines – as some experts suggest?

That isn’t true at all. This is just propaganda being put out by everyone. It seems to me, that what we are dealing with here is a biological warfare work that was conducted at the bio-warfare laboratories set up by the USA on the west coast of Africa. And if you look at a map produced by the Center of Disease Control you can see where these laboratories are located. And they are across the heart of Ebola epidemic, at the west coast of Africa. So, I think these laboratories, one or more of them, are the origins of the Ebola epidemic.

US government agencies are supposed to do defensive biological warfare research in these labs. Is there any information about what are they working on?

Well, that’s what they tell you. But if you study what the CDC and the Pentagon do… They say it is defensive, but this is just for public relation purposes than anything. It’s a trick. What it means is what they decide at these bio-warfare labs. They say, “well we have to develop a vaccine”, so that’s their defensive argument. Then what they do is to develop the bio-warfare agent itself. Usually by means of DNA genetic engineering. And then they say, “well to get the vaccine we have to develop the bio-warfare agent” – usually by DNA genetic engineering – and then they try to work on the vaccine. So it’s two uses type of work. I haven’t read all these bio-warfare contracts but that’s typical of the way the Pentagon CDC has been doing this since at least the 1980’s. I have absolute proof from a Pentagon document that the Center of Disease Control was doing bio-warfare work for the Pentagon in Sierra Leone, the heart of the outbreak, as early as 1988. And indeed it was probably before then because they would have had to construct the lab and that would have taken some time. So we know that Fort Detrick and the Center for Disease Control are over there, Tulane University, which is a well-known bio-warfare center here in USA – I would say notorious for it – is there. They all have been over there.

In addition, USA government made sure that Liberia, a former colony of the USA, never became a party to the Biological Weapons Convention, so they were able to do bio – warfare work over there – going back to 1980’s – the USA government, in order to circumvent the Biological Weapons Convention. Likewise, Guinea the third state affected here – and there is an increase now – didn’t even sign the Biological Weapons Convention. So, it seems to me, that the different agencies of the US government have been always there try to circumvent the Biological Weapons Convention and engage bio-warfare work. Indeed, we had one of these two lab bio-warriors admit in the NY Times that they were not over there for the purpose of either screening or treating people. That’s not what these labs are about. These labs are there in my opinion to do bio-warfare work for different agencies of the US government. Indeed, many of them were set up by USAID. And everyone knows that USAID is penetrated all up and down by the CIA and CIA has been involved in bio-warfare work as well.

Professor Francis A Boyle: blows the whistle

Professor Francis A Boyle: blows the whistle

Are we being told the truth about Ebola? Is that big outbreak began all of a sudden? How does it spread so quickly?

The whole outbreak that we see in the west coast of Africa, this is Zaire/Ebola. The most dangerous of five subtypes of Ebola. Zaire/Ebola originated 3500 km from the west coast of Africa. There is absolutely no way that it could have been transmitted 3500 km. And if you read the recently published Harvard study on the DNA analysis of the west Africas’ Zaire/Ebola there is no explanation about how the virus moved there. And indeed, it’s been reported in the NY Times that the Zaire/Ebola was found there in 1976, and then WHO ordered to be set to Porton Down in Britain, which is the British equivalent to Fort Detrick, where they manufacture all the biological weapons for Britain. And then Britain sent it to the US Center for Disease Control. And we know for a fact that the Center for Disease Control has been involved in biological warfare work. And then it appears, at least from whatever I’ve been able to put together in a public record, that the CDC and several others US bio-warriors exported Zaire/Ebola to west Africa, to their labs there, where they were doing bio-warfare work on it. So, I believe this is the origins of the Zaire/Ebola pandemic we are seeing now in west Africa.

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Robot cheerleaders, health T-shirts, mind-reading bar unveiled in Japan http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/10/07/robot-cheerleaders-health-t-shirts-mind-reading-bar-unveiled-in-japan/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/10/07/robot-cheerleaders-health-t-shirts-mind-reading-bar-unveiled-in-japan/#comments Tue, 07 Oct 2014 07:59:04 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=214976 Toshiba unveils the humanoid robot "Aiko Chihira" which demonstrates sign language at the CEATEC electronics trade show

Toshiba unveils the humanoid robot “Aiko Chihira” which demonstrates sign language at the CEATEC electronics trade show

Glasses that tell you how to get home, adverts that know where you are looking and a T-shirt that knows how fast your heart is beating were on display at a huge tech gathering in Japan Tuesday.

The gadgets were all part of this year’s Cutting-Edge IT & Electronics Comprehensive Exhibition (CEATEC), Asia’s largest electronics fair, just outside Tokyo.

Leading the pack was a tiny projection device that can be attached to a pair of glasses to give the wearer an ever-visible screen.

The prototype — dubbed Toshiba Glass and weighing 42 grammes (less than 1.5 oz) — might offer directions or a simultaneous translation, or could assist factory workers who need both hands free while working, a Toshiba researcher said.

“We still don’t know what wearable formats will be the most accepted in the future,” said Toshiba senior research scientist Yoshiyuki Kokojima.

“Constantly seeing a small screen may get tiring to the eyes, but you could get information without even lifting a finger. It’s less effort than consulting a wrist watch.”

Leading mobile carrier NTT Docomo was showcasing a T-shirt that uses a special textile to keep track of the wearer’s pulse.

Murata Manufacturing unveils 10 small robots for cheerleading

Murata Manufacturing unveils 10 small robots for cheerleading

The data is transmitted to a smartphone, which must run a specific app, the company said.

While Docomo’s offering might have concentrated on health, Fujitsu unveiled something to encourage a bit more relaxation, in the form of a device that could help a barman read his customers’ minds.

Small sensors in a bar track where a drinker is looking and automatically offer information on screens about that bottle of expensive wine he keeps gazing at — such as where it comes from and what year it is.

“This could be one way of marketing in the future,” said Fujitsu spokesman Naoki Mishiro.

NTT Docomo’s Yubi Navi might prove useful for customers struggling to find their way home after a night at such an accommodating bar.

Billed as “just like holding someone’s hand”, the small rubber cuboid fits snugly in the palm and buzzes or vibrates to guide the user through unfamiliar streets.

The kit offers freedom from the tyranny of having to keep your eyes glued to a smartphone for directions, the company said.

After a user types in the intended address on their connected phone, the device takes over, nudging left or right until the destination hoves into view.

Its inventors say the Yubi Navi also offers a way to communicate with someone who is far away, effectively “squeezing” their hand by activating your own device.

“Touch sensation can create a new type of gadget for the future,” an NTT Docomo presenter said.

Nearly 550 companies are taking part in the trade show, which has gathered foreign exhibitors from 24 countries and territories.

The show runs until Saturday.

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Woman has baby after womb transplant in world first http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/10/04/woman-has-baby-after-womb-transplant-in-world-first/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/10/04/woman-has-baby-after-womb-transplant-in-world-first/#comments Sat, 04 Oct 2014 04:25:07 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=214600 A 36-year old Swede has become the world’s first woman to give birth after receiving a womb transplant, medical journal The Lancet said on Saturday, describing the event as a breakthrough for infertile women.

The healthy baby boy was born last month, it said. Both mother and infant are doing well.

Weighing 1.775 kilos (3.9 pounds), the baby was born by Caesarean section at 31 weeks after the mother developed pre-eclampsia, a pregnancy condition, the journal said.

The woman had a genetic condition called Rokitansky syndrome which meant she was born without a womb, although her ovaries were intact.

The surgeons said the exploit smashes through the last major barrier of female infertility — the absence of a uterus as a result of heredity or surgical removal for medical reasons.

“Absolute uterine factor infertility is the only major type of female infertility that is still viewed as untreatable,” they said in a paper published by the British journal.

The replacement organ came from a 61-year old woman, a close family friend who had been through menopause seven years earlier. The organ was transplanted in a 10-hour operation last year.

Embryo

The recipient underwent in-vitro fertilisation, in which eggs were harvested from her ovaries and fertilised using sperm from her partner, and then cryogenically preserved.

A year after the transplant, a single early-stage embryo was inserted into the transplanted womb. A pregnancy test three weeks later was positive.

The womb encountered a brief episode of rejection, but this was successfully tackled by increasing a dose of corticosteroid drugs to suppress the immune system.

“Our success is based on more than 10 years of intensive animal research and surgical training by our team and opens up the possibility of treating many young females worldwide that suffer from uterine infertility,” the Lancet quoted Professor Matts Braennstroem of the University of Gothenburg, who led the operation, as saying.

“What is more, we have demonstrated the feasibility of live-donor uterus transplantation, even from a post-menopausal donor.”

Rokitansky syndrome — Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuester-Hauser syndrome to give it its full name — affects approximately one in 4,500 newborn girls, previous research has found.

The options open to women with this disorder, or who have had a hysterectomy, are adoption or having a baby through a surrogate mother.

But surrogacy is not allowed in many countries because of ethical, legal or religious reasons.

The unnamed Swede was one of nine who received a uterus from live donors under Braennstroem’s programme.

Two of them had to undergo hysterectomy within a few months, either because the womb became infected or blood flow to it became clotted, the paper said.

The other seven women began menstruation during the first two to three months, and the transplanted organs remained viable during the first year after the operation.

Two other transplant attempts have been reported elsewhere, but neither resulted in a live birth.

The first, carried out in Saudi Arabia in 2000, ended in failure after three months when the uterus became necrotic and had to removed.

The second, carried out in Turkey in 2011, entailed a uterus that was transplanted from a deceased donor, resulting in pregnancies that miscarried within six weeks.

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Vaccinated’ mosquitos released in Rio to combat dengue http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/10/02/vaccinated-mosquitos-released-in-rio-to-combat-dengue/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/10/02/vaccinated-mosquitos-released-in-rio-to-combat-dengue/#comments Thu, 02 Oct 2014 22:54:20 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=214380 View of Aedes aegypti mosquito larvae infected with the Wolbachia bacterium

View of Aedes aegypti mosquito larvae infected with the Wolbachia bacterium

Ten thousand mosquitos immunized against dengue fever have been released in Brazil as part of an innovative attempt to curb the spread of the tropical viral sickness, biologists said Thursday.

Gabriel Sylvestre Ribeiro told AFP that the Aedes aegypti mosquitos were released in Tubiacanga neighborhood in northern Rio state.

“We inoculated them in the lab with the Wolbachia bacteria, which block the development of the dengue virus,” he said.

“We release the ‘good mosquitoes’ in front of people’s houses so that they enter and reproduce with the wild mosquitoes. Their progeny will no longer transmit dengue,” which can be fatal, said the biologist.

After two years of research, this is the first time that a Latin American country has tested a method already functioning in Vietnam, Indonesia and Australia, where the first eggs of the dengue-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquitos inoculated with Wolbachia were imported to Brazil.

The researchers hope to obtain results next year when the majority of the mosquitoes in Tubiacanga should already be immunized and harmless to people.

Brazil has been the country most affected by dengue since 2000, with seven million cases reported. Over the past five years, the sickness has caused some 800 deaths.

The Fiocruz experiment is an addition to a project using genetically modified mosquitos and will be rolled out to other neighborhoods and cities.

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Gov. Lamido lauds NIS 64-page e-passport http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/09/26/gov-lamido-lauds-nis-64-page-e-passport/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/09/26/gov-lamido-lauds-nis-64-page-e-passport/#comments Fri, 26 Sep 2014 12:39:25 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=213510 Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State

Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State

Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa on Friday commended the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) for introducing 64-page e-passport system for frequent travelers.

Lamido made the commendation while fielding questions from newsmen shortly after receiving the newly- introduced traveling document from the NIS Comptroller in the state, Alhaji Isa Gere, in Dutse.

Describing the innovation as “a positive step”, the governor said that the initiative would address the problems faced by frequent travelers for unnecessary request and renewals of international passports.

He said that before the introduction of the 64-page passport, frequent travelers had difficulties in handling multiple passports which, he explained, was a burden.

“For instance, when I was Foreign Affairs Minister, I had about seven passports before the end of my tenure, which was a burden on me,” Lamido said.

Gere said that the new passport was part of reforms by the Service to reduce frequent request and renewal of passports. According to him, the N8, 750.00 cost for the old 32-page passport remains, adding that the 64-page e-passport costs N20,000.00 per unit.

“Both the old and the new passports have same security features,” Gere noted.

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1st made-in-Nigeria satellite to be launched by 2018 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/09/24/1st-made-in-nigeria-satellite-to-be-launched-by-2018/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/09/24/1st-made-in-nigeria-satellite-to-be-launched-by-2018/#comments Wed, 24 Sep 2014 04:56:53 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=213129 Obasanjo Space Centre

The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Abdu Bulama, said on Tuesday in Abuja that Nigeria would design, fabricate, test and launch its indigenous satellite by 2018.

Bulama stated this when he inspected facilities at the Obasanjo Space Centre of the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA).

The minister said the centre had the mandate to launch Nigeria’s first indigenous satellite by 2018, and described space science and technology programme as an important component of the Nigerian dream.

According to him, the satellite programme has a very positive role to play in the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.

Bulama directed that the assembly, testing and integration centre, and the Synthetic Aperture Rader Satellite, which are under construction, be completed by 2015.

“The Assembly, Testing and Integration Centre, and the Synthetic Aperture Rader Satellite are the nucleus of NASRDA.

“It is here that we will, by the grace of God, launch our first made in Nigeria satellite by 2018.

“By 2018, by the grace of God, we want to see made-in-Nigeria satellite launched. It will be built in this laboratory and launched by our Nigerian scientists,” he said.

According to him, competence and capabilities in satellite technology serve as tool for national growth and a huge contribution to the development and benefit of mankind.

Director-General of NASRDA, Dr Seidu Mohammed, who conducted Bulama round the facilities, said the agency could boast of world-class technology in term of facilities.

Mohammed said that the about six million U.S. dollars (about N1 billion) annual budgetary allocation to NASRDA was inadequate, given the huge development expected of the agency.

The director-general also said that no serious country allocates less than 100 million U.S. dollars to its space agency.

According to him, NASRDA pays N1.6 million monthly to an Israeli company to maintain facilities at one of the centres of the agency, and also spends 100 pounds servicing its two dishes.

He said the Emergency Management Project of the agency could be used in tracking kidnapped victims, car theft, pipeline vandalisation, fire outbreak, flood and accidents.

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69% of youths online illegally http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/09/08/69-of-youths-online-illegally/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/09/08/69-of-youths-online-illegally/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 15:12:49 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=210725 Iranians at a cybercafe

Iranians at a cybercafe

More than two thirds of young Iranian Internet users are using illegal software to reach websites that are officially banned, government research cited by media said Monday.

The study, by the research centre of the ministry of sport and young people, was publicised just one day after President Hassan Rouhani said existing Internet controls were counter-productive.

Mohammad Taghi Hassanzadeh, head of the research centre, said that “69.3 percent use proxies (servers in other countries) to circumvent censorship and go on the Internet”, according to ISNA news agency.

Iran has a filtering policy that makes popular websites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube inaccessible without the use of prohibited software capable of creating a VPN (Virtual Private Network) across a regular public Internet connection.

Advocates of filtering in the Islamic republic say it protects citizens from immoral content, such as pornographic websites, but opponents say VPNs render such restrictions pointless.

The research centre study was conducted in the 12 months following March 2013 and it involved 15,000 Iranians aged between 15 and 29.

According to its findings, 67.4 percent of all those who were surveyed use the Internet.

Some 19.1 percent chat online, 15.3 percent use social networks and 15.2 percent cite entertainment as a reason for using the Internet.

Only 10.4 percent are doing scientific research online, it added and a mere five percent admitted that they access “immoral” websites, the research said without being more specific.

Rouhani, who has cited science and educational use as a reason for fewer Internet restrictions, re-entered an edgy debate on censorship on Sunday, saying the current regulations were not working.

“Force does not produce results,” he said in a speech broadcast live on state television. “Some people think we can fix these problems by building walls, but when you create filters, they create proxies.”

The decision of Rouhani’s government to approve faster 3G mobile Internet licences for two Iranian companies last month was seen as a first step toward making Internet access easier.

As well as filtering, Iranian authorities are often accused of deliberately slowing down the Internet, which makes gaining access to even legally-sanctioned websites harder.

The granting of the 3G permits caused controversy with some of Iran’s conservative clerics and officials who said video call functions on smartphones could expose youngsters to dubious content.

The ministry of telecommunications, technology and information later stated that video calling would not be available, despite such services — including FaceTime and Skype — being accessible on regular Internet connections.

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Ebola stricken Nigeria doctor in Liberia receives rare serum http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/08/17/ebola-stricken-nigeria-doctor-in-liberia-receives-rare-serum/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/08/17/ebola-stricken-nigeria-doctor-in-liberia-receives-rare-serum/#comments Sun, 17 Aug 2014 06:40:27 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=207390 Health care workers in Liberia have administered three doses of the rare, experimental drug ZMapp to three doctors, one of them a Nigerian, suffering from Ebola, two medical workers in Monrovia told Reuters.

Liberia, the West African country with the highest death toll from the tropical virus at 413, received three doses of the rare serum in a special consignment this week.

Doctors Zukunis Ireland and Abraham Borbor from Liberia and Dr. Aroh Cosmos Izuchukwu from Nigeria are the first Africans to receive the treatment. The drug has already been administered to two American healthcare workers and a Spanish priest, all previously working in Liberian hospitals.

The U.S. healthcare workers’ health has since improved but the Spanish priest died.

“Three doctors are currently being administered treatment with the experimental Ebola drug ZMapp. Treatment began on Thursday evening,” said Dr. Billy Johnson, chief medical officer of John F. Kennedy Medical Centre in Monrovia where two of the doctors served before contracting the deadly virus.

A second healthcare worker at the Elwa centre which is housing the sick doctors confirmed that they were on their third day of a six-day ZMapp treatment.

Details of their condition are not known.

The U.N. health agency said only around 10 to 12 doses of the drug have been made and this raises difficult ethical questions about who should get priority access.

The apparent improvement in the two U.S. healthcare workers’ condition has stoked popular pressure to make the drug available to Africans – a cause advocated by the Twitter hashtag group #giveustheserum.

There is currently no vaccine against the highly-contagious disease and other forms of treatment are only designed to relieve symptoms such as fever, vomiting and haemorrhaging.

Up to 90 percent of victims die – a fatality rate so high that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) classifies the illness as a category A “bioterrorism agent” – although the current outbreak fatality rate is near 60 percent.

Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has declared a state of emergency due to the outbreak, widely seen as the country’s biggest challenge since the 1989-2003 civil war.

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American Diplomats Highlight U.S./Nigeria Ties http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/07/07/american-diplomats-highlight-u-s-nigeria-ties/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/07/07/american-diplomats-highlight-u-s-nigeria-ties/#comments Mon, 07 Jul 2014 14:58:34 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=201973 Simon Ateba

The United States and Nigeria are two exceptional countries in the world and share many values in common beyond just commercial and cultural ties, U.S. top diplomats in Nigeria said at a party to mark their country’s 238th anniversary.

The United States declared independence on 4 July 1776 from the Kingdom of Great Britain, now officially known as the United Kingdom, and the date is celebrated every year by Americans at home and abroad.

“I find Nigeria to be a truly fascinating country,” the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle, said at an American-style cookout held at the residence of Jeffrey Hawkins, the U.S. Consul General in Lagos, western Nigeria, on Saturday.

“As I travel around this country, and as I talk to Nigerians on any subject, it quickly becomes clear the depth and the breadth of the relationship between our two great democracies.”

•Americans during American and Nigerian national anthems at the independence anniversary party in Lagos on Saturday

•Americans during American and Nigerian national anthems at the independence anniversary party in Lagos on Saturday

Entwistle said the relationship between Nigeria and America has been ‘good and wonderful’ for many decades.

“Whether you’re talking about military assistance, commercial ties, cultural ties, the relationship between our two countries has been good, has been wonderful for many decades.”

Hawkins, the U.S. Consul General in Lagos, said apart from huge trade ties and the big Nigerian population in America, there are at least three values that make Nigeria and America exceptional in the world.

“Nigerians are really American and Americans are really Nigerian. The two countries are very very similar; they share a lot of values,” Hawkins told hundreds of American and Nigerian guests.

“Just three examples of that: We are both very forward looking people, we’re always looking ahead, we’re optimistic. (We) are people of great faith,” Hawkins said.

He said Nigeria and America are also two truly democratic countries and pledged America’s partnership for that democracy to be strengthened in the 2015 elections.

 “And as we go forward, and as we look at 2015 and the great electoral contest that is coming up here, we’re very interested in cementing those values further, and working with all sorts of partners to make sure that 2015 elections are peaceful and credible.”

Hawkins said Nigeria and America also believe they are called to play a greater role in the world affairs.

“The United States plays that role and Nigeria does too. You see that on the Security Council or the work that you do in peace keeping and engagements in the African Union. Those are the things that we share in common.”

Hawkins did not mention Boko Haram by name but said despite terrorist threats and other concerns, Nigeria and America will remain partners and will continue to play greater role in the world.

The event was attended by at least 500 Nigerians and Americans who defied the heavy rain, including the king of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, ex-governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, diplomats and other low and mighty residents in Nigeria. The guests were entertained by American band, Henhouse Prowlers.

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In Argentina, dinosaur hunters embark on next phase http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/07/05/in-argentina-dinosaur-hunters-embark-on-next-phase/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/07/05/in-argentina-dinosaur-hunters-embark-on-next-phase/#comments Sat, 05 Jul 2014 06:30:23 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=201711 ARGENTINA-DINOSAUR-PALEONTOLOGY-EXHIBITION

A few months ago, Argentine scientists found the remains of a giant dinosaur. Now they look forward to digging up hundreds more fossils, but what they really want is the big one’s head.

In recent years, the discovery of fossils of such sauropods — giant plant-eaters with thin necks and a long tail — in Argentina’s Patagonia region confirmed that the remote area was once home to the largest dinosaurs to roam the Earth.

In May, scientists announced they had found the remains of a humongous 80-ton sauropod and bones of six other specimens of the creature.

It marked a milestone for paleontologists and prompted them to plan more digs for the southern hemispheric spring starting in September and summer starting in December.

ARGENTINA-DINOSAUR-PALEONTOLOGY-EXHIBITION

The goal is to find a sauropod skull, which could come up as diggers gingerly search amid the rocks for more fossils.

“All we have from the skull is a tooth,” said Jose Luis Carballido, a paleontologist from the Egidio Feruglio Museum in the city of Trelew, 1,400 kilometers (870 miles) south of Buenos Aires.

“Finding the skull is particularly important because there are not too many skulls from sauropods from this stage of the evolution we believe these animals went through,” he told AFP.

Until now scientists have seen skulls from an earlier evolutionary stage and then from a later one, said Carballido.

The remains found this year are from an animal that was “in the middle of that evolution, but we do not know what its head looked like,” he added.

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US, Japanese cancer researchers win Asian ‘Nobel’ Prize http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/06/19/us-japanese-cancer-researchers-win-asian-nobel-prize/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/06/19/us-japanese-cancer-researchers-win-asian-nobel-prize/#comments Thu, 19 Jun 2014 06:46:14 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=199350 An American and a Japanese immunologists were Thursday named joint recipients of the Tang Prize, touted as Asia’s version of the Nobels, for their contributions in the fight against cancer.

James P. Allison of the MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas, and Tasuku Honjo of Kyoto University beat out some 100 nominees from around the world to take the inaugural prize in the category of biopharmaceutical sciences.

“This is an exciting time in our fight against cancer,” the Tang Prize Foundation said.

“Their pioneering research has led to a new field in the therapy of cancers, which are already the leading killers to mankind,” Chen Chien-jen, vice president of Taiwan’s top academic body Academia Sinica, told reporters.

Allison, currently chair of Immunology and director of Immunotherapy Platform at the University of Texas, was one of the two scientists to identify the ligand CTLA-4 as an inhibitory receptor on T-cells in 1995, and was the first to recognise it as a potential target for cancer therapy.

T-cells are a type of lymphocyte that play a central role in cell-mediated immunity.

Research by Allison’s team has led to the development of a monoclonal antibody drug, which was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2011 for the treatment of melanoma.

Honjo discovered the ligand PD-1, also an inhibitory receptor on T-cells, in 1992. Antibodies against PD-1 have been approved by the FDA as an investigational new drug and developed for the treatment of cancer.

Yun Yen, president of Taipei Medical University, said that outlook for the related drugs are promising as combination therapy, a mixture of anti-CTLA-4 and anti-PD-1, has been shown to enhance the long-term survival rates in cancer patients.

Named after China’s Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907), the Asian prize was founded by Taiwanese billionaire Samuel Yin in 2012 with a donation of Tw$3 billion.

Former Norwegian premier Gro Harlem Brundtland was named Wednesday as the first recipient of the prize for her work as the “godmother” of sustainable development.

Winners in the last two categories — Sinology (the study of China) and “rule of law” — will be unveiled Friday and Saturday.

The winner in each category will receive Tw$50 million ($1.7 million), with Tw$40 million in cash and the remainder in a research grant — a richer purse than the eight million Swedish kronor ($1.2 million) that comes with a Nobel Prize.

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No driver needed: Google unveils a self-driving car http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/05/29/no-driver-needed-google-unveils-a-self-driving-car/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/05/29/no-driver-needed-google-unveils-a-self-driving-car/#comments Thu, 29 May 2014 12:42:29 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=196468 The world has seen pilotless aircraft called drones. We have seen driverless trains.

Now Google is set to unveil a self-driving car.

It’s a car that will drive on its own — minus the steering wheel.

The internet giant said that it hopes to begin testing the car in the coming months.

“They won’t have a steering wheel, accelerator pedal, or brake pedal… because they don’t need them. Our software and sensors do all the work,” Google’s Chris Urmson said in a blog post.

Google's own self-driving cars, no steering wheel

Google’s own self-driving cars, no steering wheel

Urmson said Google plans to build about 100 prototype vehicles, “and later this summer, our safety drivers will start testing early versions of these vehicles that have manual controls.”

He added, “If all goes well, we’d like to run a small pilot program here in California in the next couple of years.”

For Google, the car marks a shift away from adapting vehicles made by others in its quest to pioneer individual transport that needs only a stop-and-go function.

“It was inspiring to start with a blank sheet of paper and ask, ‘What should be different about this kind of vehicle?'” the post said.

The top speed of the battery-powered prototypes will be 40 kilometers (25 miles) per hour and are designed for utility, not luxury.

“We’re light on creature comforts, but we’ll have two seats (with seatbelts), a space for passengers’ belongings, buttons to start and stop, and a screen that shows the route — and that’s about it,” Urmson said.

The blog post shows a photo of a prototype and an artist’s rendering — both rounded bug-looking vehicles.

“We took a look from the ground up of what a self-driving car would look like,” Google co-founder Sergey Brin told the Re/code conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. (See the car in motion here:)

“The reason I’m so excited about these prototypes and the self-driving car project in general is the ability to change the world and the community around you,” Brin added.

Brin said Google is likely “to partner with a lot of companies” on the project, but declined to elaborate.

Until now Google has been re-fitting Lexus and Honda cars to work as self-driving ones.

In an interview with Re/code, Urmson said the new Google cars will have numerous safety features learned from the company’s research.

“In our car there is no steering wheel so we have to design really fundamental capabilities,” he said.

“So we have effectively two motors and they work so if one of them fails the other can steer, so the car can always control where it’s going, and similar with brakes.”

In addition to crash protection for the occupant, the car has features to avoid pedestrians and other road users.

“So the front end is a whole new approach where it’s compressible foam and a flexible windshield that should do a much better job of protecting people if an accident should occur,” Urmson told Re/code.

Several automakers have been working on autonomous or semi-autonomous features for cars, such as self-parking, but no fully autonomous car has come to market.

A study last year by KPMG said consumers would welcome these vehicles if companies “get the value proposition right.”

This might mean “mobility on demand,” or the ability to share a vehicle or order one as needed.

Google said recently it was making progress on its project. Prototype Google cars have driven more than 100,000 miles (160,000 kilometers) on public roads, always with someone ready to take the wheel.

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Leprosy Vaccine Scientist Dies At 100 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/05/13/leprosy-vaccine-scientist-dies-at-100/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/05/13/leprosy-vaccine-scientist-dies-at-100/#comments Tue, 13 May 2014 19:15:28 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=194453 Jacinto Convit

Jacinto Convit

Venezuelan scientist and doctor Jacinto Convit, renowned for developing a vaccine against leprosy, has died at the age of 100, BBC said.

His family said the centenarian had dedicated his life to humanity via medicine.

Convit also discovered a vaccine against the tropical skin disease leishmaniasis.

He won many awards, including France’s Legion of Honour, but missed out on the 1988 Nobel Prize for Medicine.

According to BBC, Dr Barry Bloom, who collaborated with Dr Convit for 15 years, recalled his dedication to his work: “Dr Convit was a very special person. He was first and foremost a physician in the best sense – he knew his patients by name. And after a lifetime of work I think he still knew every patient he ever met.

“He had a passion to deal with two of the most stigmatised diseases in the world – leprosy and a parasite called leishmaniasis. And he devoted his life to finding ways to improve the health of people who, for much of the world and much of the world of science, had been forgotten.”

In his later years, Convit worked on finding a cure for cancer.

Born in 1913 of a Spanish immigrant family and educated at a university in Caracas, Convit was moved by the stigmatisation of leprosy patients and worked with them in the marginalised outskirts of the city as well as remote jungle areas.

Convit combined existing tuberculosis treatment and a bacteria found in armadillos to design a new vaccination against leprosy.

But scientists are still working to perfect a vaccine that could help eradicate leprosy for good.

Untreated, the disease, caused by a bacterium transmitted through coughs and sneezes, can render progressive and permanent damage to the skin, nerves, limbs and eyes.

The global prevalence of leprosy has decreased considerably in recent years – the World Health Organization (WHO) target of reducing leprosy to less than one case per 10,000 people globally was met in 2000.

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Science and technology gets less than 1% of national budget – Minister http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/05/13/science-and-technology-gets-less-than-1-of-national-budget-minister/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/05/13/science-and-technology-gets-less-than-1-of-national-budget-minister/#comments Tue, 13 May 2014 18:20:13 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=194447 Minister Omobola Johnson

Minister Omobola Johnson

The Supervising Minister of Science and Technology, Mrs Omobola Johnson, on Tuesday decried the allocation of less than one per cent of the national budget to the ministry.

Johnson, who appeared before the National Conference Committee on Science, Technology and Development, said the amount was grossly inadequate.

She said the sector should be given topmost priority by government, if the country is to realise its aspiration of becoming one of the most industrialised countries by 2020.

“Of the budgetary allocation, only N35 billion is allocated to the 17 agencies under the ministry, while N1 billion is for the ministry.

“The 2014 budget that has been passed by the National Assembly for Mr President’s assent is N4.9 trillion, but only N36 billion is for science and technology.

“The amount may sound much to a layman, but when you look at it, that is less than one per cent of the national budget.

“I don’t think that, we are serious; talking about less than one per cent of the 2014 budget for such an important sector, it is very frustrating,”she said.

Johnson, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita, said the Asian Tigers got to where they are due to diligent investment in science, engineering and technology.

She, therefore, called for the establishment of a pool of funds for the sector to enable Nigeria to transform into an industrialised country and realise the Vision 20: 2020.

“Nothing can be achieved if there is no serious determination of government to improve and streamline the issue of science and technology funds.

“There should be dedicated funds, which draws its sources from strategic avenues and this dedicated fund should be managed.

“We want to appeal to the committee that the National Policy on Science, Technology, Innovation, Research and Development should be captured as a constitutional matter.

“It should not just be a policy that has been passed or discussed at the Federal Executive Council; it should be captured in our constitution.

“Such that, it is not changed by any subsequent government or at the whims and caprices of some personal issues,” she said.

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First Earth-sized planet in star’s “habitable zone” found http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/04/18/first-earth-sized-planet-in-stars-habitable-zone-found/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/04/18/first-earth-sized-planet-in-stars-habitable-zone-found/#comments Fri, 18 Apr 2014 05:57:48 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=191850 As­tro­no­mers said they have found an Earth-sized plan­et, out­side our own so­lar sys­tem, or­bit­ing a star at a dis­tance suit­a­ble to al­low liq­uid wa­ter on the plan­et’s sur­face. But do not dream yet of living in the planet designated as Kepler-186F: Kep­ler-186f is meas­ured to be so far away from us that even mov­ing at light speed, it would take al­most an es­ti­mat­ed five cen­turies to get there. Any radio or light signals reach­ing us from the plan­et would be that old also.

Still, “this is the first de­fin­i­tive Earth-sized plan­et found in the ‘hab­it­a­ble zone’ around an­oth­er star,” said Elisa Quin­tana of the SETI In­sti­tute at NASA Ames Re­search Cen­ter in Moun­tain View, Ca­lif. She is the lead au­thor of a re­port on the find­ings pub­lished in the re­search jour­nal Sci­ence.

“Find­ing such plan­ets is a pri­ma­ry goal of the Kep­ler space tele­scope,” she added. “The star is a main-sequence M-dwarf, a very com­mon type. More than 70 per­cent of the hun­dreds of bil­lions of stars in our gal­axy are M-dwarfs.”

The finding will surely shape fu­ture in­ves­ti­ga­t­ions of exoplan­ets, or plan­ets out­side our own so­lar sys­tem, with pos­si­ble Earth-like sur­faces, sci­en­tists said. The body is the fifth and out­er­most world to be de­tected in the plan­etary sys­tem of a red dwarf star known as Kep­ler-186. The star lies ap­prox­i­mate­ly in the dir­ect­ion of the con­stell­ation Cyg­nus, the Swan, in the north­ern sky on the plane of the Mil­ky Way.

Of the nearly 1,800 con­firmed exoplan­ets found in the past two dec­ades, about 20 are thought to or­bit their host star in the hab­it­a­ble zone—a range of or­bital dis­tances at which sur­face wa­ter on a plan­et with an at­mos­phere would nei­ther freeze nor boil. But all of these are larg­er than Earth, so they might be gas­e­ous plan­ets, like the larg­er plan­ets of our own so­lar sys­tem. The au­thors es­ti­mate the new­found plan­et is less then 10 per­cent wider than Earth, based on a meas­ured dim­ming of star­light from Kep­ler-186 as the plan­et passes in front of it.

The­o­ret­i­cal mod­els sug­gest that plan­ets up to about 1.5 times as wide as Earth “are un­likely to be swathed in at­mos­pheres of hy­dro­gen and he­li­um, the fate that’s be­fall­en the gas gi­ants of our own so­lar sys­tem,” ex­plained Thom­as Barc­lay, a staff sci­ent­ist for the Kep­ler mis­sion af­fil­i­at­ed with both NASA and the Bay Ar­ea En­vi­ron­men­tal Re­search In­sti­tute.

So “Kep­ler-186f is likely a rocky world, and in that sense si­m­i­lar to Ve­nus, Earth and Mars.”

.Written by SETI Institute and World Science Staff

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Brazil’s scientists clone goat to treat rare disease http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/04/15/brazils-scientists-clone-goat-to-treat-rare-disease/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/04/15/brazils-scientists-clone-goat-to-treat-rare-disease/#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 22:21:57 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=191487 Scientists in Brazil have genetically modified a goat to produce milk with an enzyme to treat a rare genetic disorder, O Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper reported Tuesday.

The goat, named “Gluca,” is the first of its kind in South America. It has been genetically modified to produce the enzyme glucocerebrosidase.

Gaucher’s disease is a rare human genetic condition caused by hereditary deficiency of that enzyme.

People with Gaucher’s — which can manifest itself with fatigue, bruising, anemia, low blood platelets and an enlarged liver and spleen — often are treated with drugs and bone marrow transplants but still face pain and often poor long-range health prospects.

Brazil, where about 600 patients are affected, imports $113 million a year in drugs to treat them, according to the newspaper.

“It is cheaper to feed goats than to feed cell lines. And purifying the protein (for use in treatment) is basically the same,” said researcher Luciana Bertolini at the University of Fortaleza in the northeast, where the goat was cloned.

Gluca was born March 27. She should start producing milk about four months from now. “We need to see how much of the protein she is producing and test its efectiveness,” said Bertolini.

If all goes well, and her milk has a high content of glucocerebrosidase, scientists plan to clone her so that identical animals can produce the protein on a larger scale.

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