Posts Tagged ‘University of Washington’

Study Estimates 100,000 Premature Deaths From Indonesia Haze

September 19, 2016

By Steven Wright
The Associated Press
September 19, 2016 — 12:11 AM EDT

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Can DNA technology help put a stop to elephant poaching?

June 20, 2015
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Tanzania calls for int'l ban on ivory, rhino trade
Police display elephant ivory seized during illegal shipments and sale

Scientists have discovered a new DNA technology that could help crack down on the illegal trade that is destroying the African elephant population.

By Beatrice Gitau
Christian Science Monitor

Scientists are now better able to pinpoint elephant poaching hotspots in Africa, thanks to a pioneering study.

By matching the DNA fingerprints of seized elephant ivory to DNA profiles from the dung of elephants living throughout the continent, scientist were able to establish the origin of illegal ivory to just two areas in Africa.

The data, published in Science, shows that tusks of forest elephants were most likely to come from the central African Tridom region that covers the Central African Republic, Gabon, and the Republic of Congo. Tusks from savannah elephants focused on the border area between Tanzania and Mozambique.

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Scientists hope that knowing the primary areas where elephants are poached could help fight ivory trafficking at its source, by increasing law enforcement.

“When you’re losing a tenth of the population a year, you have to do something more urgent – nail down where the major killing is happening and stop it at the source,” Samuel Wasser, co-author of the report from the University of Washington, said in a statement.

According to the University of Washington’s Center for Conservation Biology, as many as 50,000elephants could be killed for their ivory every year, with only approximately 400,000 elephants remaining. Conservationists warn African elephants could be virtually extinct in the next decade. The trade in ivory was outlawed in 1989, but poaching continues and remains a challenge to African governments and conservationists.

Identifying the origins of seized ivory helps reveal where to focus law enforcement as well as tactics used by ivory poachers and traders.

“Hopefully our results will force the primary source countries to accept more responsibility for their part in this illegal trade, encourage the international community to work closely with these countries to contain the poaching, and these actions will choke the criminal networks that enable this transnational organized crime to operate,” Wasser told the University of Washington.

Speaking to Agence France-Presse, Interpol adviser Bill Clark said that the study will help Interpol to understand the structure and the dynamics of the transnational organized crime syndicates behind it. “It’s part of a puzzle. Looking, finding, identifying the origin of the ivory is helping us piece together that puzzle.” Mr. Clark said.

This new study was developed out of research from Alfred Roca in 2012. Roca, an assistant professor from the University of Illinois, discovered that forensic tools can be used to catch poachers.

Robust conservation efforts to fight wildlife poaching have been implemented in some African countries and awareness created to reduce ivory demands. On Friday, the US government destroyed more than one ton of illegal ivory before crowds in New York’s Times Square, in a move to show its commitment on the crackdown of the illegal trade.

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Chinese tourists have posted photographs of themselves online showing off their catch, including endangered reefer sharks and red coral. Photo: Guangzhou Daily

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In this April 13, 2013 photo released by the Philippine Coast Guard, an officer of the Philippine Coast Guard holds a frozen pangolin or scaly anteater on board a Chinese vessel that ran into the Tubbataha coral reef, a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site, in the southwestern Philippines. Authorities discovered more than 10,000 kilograms (22,000 pounds) of meat from the protected species inside the Chinese vessel F/N Min Long Yu. (AP Photo/ Philippine Coast Guard)

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Endangered green turtles crawl toward Honda Bay in the Philippines, after being tagged and released into the wild.  Photo by Romeo Gacad/AFP/Getty Images

Dead sea turtles confiscated from Chinese poachers by the Philippine National Police. Photo by PNP-SBU-PIA

 

Changing wind patterns – and not global warming – are causing temperatures to rise on America’s West Coast according to new study

September 24, 2014

Climate Change and America’s West Coast

  • According to a new study increased temperatures on the West Coast of America are the result of changing wind patterns, not global warming
  • Temperatures in that area have increased about 1 degree Fahrenheit over the past 100 years 
  • This from a study conducted by researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Washington 

By Chris Spargo for MailOnline

Increased temperatures on America’s West Coast are not a result of human-caused climate change, but rather naturally occurring wind changes according to a new study.

The 1 degree Fahrenheit of warming that has been recorded on the coast of the northwest Pacific Ocean is due to weaker winds and changing ocean circulation, not a buildup of greenhouse gasses.

These weaker winds accounted for more than 80% of the warming trend along the Pacific Northwest coast between Washington and Northern California, and 60% of the warming in Southern California. 

Getting hotter: Temperature increases on the coast of the northwest Pacific Ocean (above) are due to weaker winds and changing ocean circulation

Getting hotter: Temperature increases on the coast of the northwest Pacific Ocean (above) are due to weaker winds and changing ocean circulation

Not expected: In places like Oregon (above) 80% of the warming trend is due to weaker winds, not global warming

Not expected: In places like Oregon (above) 80% of the warming trend is due to weaker winds, not global warming

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2767456/Changing-wind-patterns-not-global-warming-causing-temperatures-rise-America-s-West-Coast-according-new-study.html#ixzz3EDajdxPb
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This was discovered in a study conducted by researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Washington.

 

More…

‘Changing winds appear to explain a very large fraction of the warming from year to year, decade to decade and the long-term,’ said study leader James Johnstone according to the Los Angeles Times.

The slower the wind gets, the less evaporation that occurs, which then leads to lower pressure, less rain, and, over time, higher temperatures.

Greenhouse gasses do, however. play some role in the rising temperature, just not as much as had been assumed in this region of the world.

Most of the warming occurred between 1900 and 1940 the study found, when the wind was much weaker and greenhouse gasses far, far lower.

Keeps rising: temperatures in places like Washington (above) have increased roughly 1 degree Fahrenheit over the past 100 years

Keeps rising: temperatures in places like Washington (above) have increased roughly 1 degree Fahrenheit over the past 100 years

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2767456/Changing-wind-patterns-not-global-warming-causing-temperatures-rise-America-s-West-Coast-according-new-study.html#ixzz3EDbTdFoJ
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Some however are calling this study into question, including Kevin Trenberth, a climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research., who questions if there is enough data, and the quality of the data, from the first half of the twentieth century to make these claims.

He also said this study in no way calls into question ‘the concept of global warming.’

Does this video show global warming is HIDING under the sea?

Read more:

 

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2767456/Changing-wind-patterns-not-global-warming-causing-temperatures-rise-America-s-West-Coast-according-new-study.html#ixzz3EDaRDA18 Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Cigarettes: Gateway to Marijuana and Then More Dangerous Drugs?

May 5, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC – Teen smokers who rationalize their use of cigarettes by saying, “At least, I’m not doing drugs,” may not always be able to use that line.

New research to be presented Sunday, May 5, at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Washington, DC, supports the theory that cigarettes are a gateway drug to marijuana.

“Contrary to what we would expect, we also found that students who smoked both tobacco and marijuana were more likely to smoke more tobacco than those who smoked only tobacco,” said study author Megan Moreno, MD, MSEd, MPH, FAAP, an investigator at Seattle Children’s Research Institute and associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington.

Dr. Moreno and her colleagues randomly selected incoming college students from two universities — one in the Northwest and one in the Midwest — to participate in the longitudinal study. Students were interviewed prior to entering college and again at the end of their freshman year regarding their attitudes, intentions and experiences with substances.

Specifically, students were asked if they had used tobacco or marijuana ever in their lives and in the past 28 days. Researchers also assessed the quantity and frequency of marijuana and tobacco use in the past 28 days.

Results showed that prior to entering college, 33 percent of the 315 participants reported lifetime tobacco use, and 43 percent of lifetime users were current users. In addition, tobacco users were more likely to have used marijuana than those who did not use tobacco.

By the end of their freshman year, 66 percent of participants who reported tobacco use prior to entering college remained current users with an average of 34 tobacco episodes per month. Of these, 53 percent reported concurrent marijuana use. Overall, users of both substances averaged significantly more tobacco episodes per month than current users of tobacco only (42 vs. 24).

“These findings are significant because in the past year we have seen legislation passed that legalizes marijuana in two states,” Dr. Moreno said. “While the impact of these laws on marijuana use is a critical issue, our findings suggest that we should also consider whether increased marijuana use will impact tobacco use among older adolescents.”

Future work should involve designing educational campaigns highlighting the increased risks of using these substances together, Dr. Moreno concluded.

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics

Religious Experience that Transformed Woman with Borderline Personality Disorder

November 19, 2012

The Power of Rescuing Others: Marsha Linehan, a therapist and researcher at the University of Washington who suffered from borderline personality disorder, recalls the religious experience that transformed her as a young woman.  Damon Winter/The New York Times

By Benedict Carey
The New York Times

HARTFORD — Are you one of us?

The patient wanted to know, and her therapist — Marsha M. Linehan of the University of Washington, creator of a treatment used worldwide for severely suicidal people — had a ready answer. It was the one she always used to cut the question short, whether a patient asked it hopefully, accusingly or knowingly, having glimpsed the macramé of faded burns, cuts and welts on Dr. Linehan’s arms:

“You mean, have I suffered?”

“No, Marsha,” the patient replied, in an encounter last spring. “I mean one of us. Like us. Because if you were, it would give all of us so much hope.”

“That did it,” said Dr. Linehan, 68, who told her story in public for the first time last week before an audience of friends, family and doctors at the Institute of Living, the Hartford clinic where she was first treated for extreme social withdrawal at age 17. “So many people have begged me to come forward, and I just thought — well, I have to do this. I owe it to them. I cannot die a coward.”

No one knows how many people with severe mental illness live what appear to be normal, successful lives, because such people are not in the habit of announcing themselves. They are too busy juggling responsibilities, paying the bills, studying, raising families — all while weathering gusts of dark emotions or delusions that would quickly overwhelm almost anyone else.

Now, an increasing number of them are risking exposure of their secret, saying that the time is right. The nation’smental health system is a shambles, they say, criminalizing many patients and warehousing some of the most severe in nursing and group homes where they receive care from workers with minimal qualifications.

Moreover, the enduring stigma of mental illness teaches people with such a diagnosis to think of themselves as victims, snuffing out the one thing that can motivate them to find treatment: hope.

“There’s a tremendous need to implode the myths of mental illness, to put a face on it, to show people that a diagnosis does not have to lead to a painful and oblique life,” said Elyn R. Saks, a professor at the University of Southern California School of Law who chronicles her own struggles with schizophrenia in “The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness.” “We who struggle with these disorders can lead full, happy, productive lives, if we have the right resources.”

These include medication (usually), therapy (often), a measure of good luck (always) — and, most of all, the inner strength to manage one’s demons, if not banish them. That strength can come from any number of places, these former patients say: love, forgiveness, faith in God, a lifelong friendship.

But Dr. Linehan’s case shows there is no recipe. She was driven by a mission to rescue people who are chronically suicidal, often as a result of borderline personality disorder, an enigmatic condition characterized in part by self-destructive urges.

“I honestly didn’t realize at the time that I was dealing with myself,” she said. “But I suppose it’s true that I developed a therapy that provides the things I needed for so many years and never got.”

‘I Was in Hell’

She learned the central tragedy of severe mental illness the hard way, banging her head against the wall of a locked room.

Marsha Linehan arrived at the Institute of Living on March 9, 1961, at age 17, and quickly became the sole occupant of the seclusion room on the unit known as Thompson Two, for the most severely ill patients. The staff saw no alternative: The girl attacked herself habitually, burning her wrists with cigarettes, slashing her arms, her legs, her midsection, using any sharp object she could get her hands on.

The seclusion room, a small cell with a bed, a chair and a tiny, barred window, had no such weapon. Yet her urge to die only deepened. So she did the only thing that made any sense to her at the time: banged her head against the wall and, later, the floor. Hard.

“My whole experience of these episodes was that someone else was doing it; it was like ‘I know this is coming, I’m out of control, somebody help me; where are you, God?’ ” she said. “I felt totally empty, like the Tin Man; I had no way to communicate what was going on, no way to understand it.”

Her childhood, in Tulsa, Okla., provided few clues. An excellent student from early on, a natural on the piano, she was the third of six children of an oilman and his wife, an outgoing woman who juggled child care with the Junior League and Tulsa social events.

People who knew the Linehans at that time remember that their precocious third child was often in trouble at home, and Dr. Linehan recalls feeling deeply inadequate compared with her attractive and accomplished siblings. But whatever currents of distress ran under the surface, no one took much notice until she was bedridden with headaches in her senior year of high school.

Her younger sister, Aline Haynes, said: “This was Tulsa in the 1960s, and I don’t think my parents had any idea what to do with Marsha. No one really knew what mental illness was.”

Soon, a local psychiatrist recommended a stay at the Institute of Living, to get to the bottom of the problem. There, doctors gave her a diagnosis of schizophrenia; dosed her with ThorazineLibrium and other powerful drugs, as well as hours of Freudian analysis; and strapped her down for electroshock treatments, 14 shocks the first time through and 16 the second, according to her medical records. Nothing changed, and soon enough the patient was back in seclusion on the locked ward.

“Everyone was terrified of ending up in there,” said Sebern Fisher, a fellow patient who became a close friend. But whatever her surroundings, Ms. Fisher added, “Marsha was capable of caring a great deal about another person; her passion was as deep as her loneliness.”

A discharge summary, dated May 31, 1963, noted that “during 26 months of hospitalization, Miss Linehan was, for a considerable part of this time, one of the most disturbed patients in the hospital.”

A verse the troubled girl wrote at the time reads:

They put me in a four-walled room

But left me really out

My soul was tossed somewhere askew

My limbs were tossed here about

Bang her head where she would, the tragedy remained: no one knew what was happening to her, and as a result medical care only made it worse. Any real treatment would have to be based not on some theory, she later concluded, but on facts: which precise emotion led to which thought led to the latest gruesome act. It would have to break that chain — and teach a new behavior.

“I was in hell,” she said. “And I made a vow: when I get out, I’m going to come back and get others out of here.”

Radical Acceptance

She sensed the power of another principle while praying in a small chapel in Chicago.

It was 1967, several years after she left the institute as a desperate 20-year-old whom doctors gave little chance of surviving outside the hospital. Survive she did, barely: there was at least one suicide attempt in Tulsa, when she first arrived home; and another episode after she moved to a Y.M.C.A. in Chicago to start over.

She was hospitalized again and emerged confused, lonely and more committed than ever to her Catholic faith. She moved into another Y, found a job as a clerk in an insurance company, started taking night classes at Loyola University — and prayed, often, at a chapel in the Cenacle Retreat Center.

“One night I was kneeling in there, looking up at the cross, and the whole place became gold — and suddenly I felt something coming toward me,” she said. “It was this shimmering experience, and I just ran back to my room and said, ‘I love myself.’ It was the first time I remember talking to myself in the first person. I felt transformed.”

The high lasted about a year, before the feelings of devastation returned in the wake of a romance that ended. But something was different. She could now weather her emotional storms without cutting or harming herself.

What had changed?

It took years of study in psychology — she earned a Ph.D. at Loyola in 1971 — before she found an answer. On the surface, it seemed obvious: She had accepted herself as she was. She had tried to kill herself so many times because the gulf between the person she wanted to be and the person she was left her desperate, hopeless, deeply homesick for a life she would never know. That gulf was real, and unbridgeable.

That basic idea — radical acceptance, she now calls it — became increasingly important as she began working with patients, first at a suicide clinic in Buffalo and later as a researcher. Yes, real change was possible. The emerging discipline of behaviorism taught that people could learn new behaviors — and that acting differently can in time alter underlying emotions from the top down.

But deeply suicidal people have tried to change a million times and failed. The only way to get through to them was to acknowledge that their behavior made sense: Thoughts of death were sweet release given what they were suffering.

“She was very creative with people. I saw that right away,” said Gerald C. Davison, who in 1972 admitted Dr. Linehan into a postdoctoral program in behavioral therapy at Stony Brook University. (He is now a psychologist at the University of Southern California.) “She could get people off center, challenge them with things they didn’t want to hear without making them feel put down.”

No therapist could promise a quick transformation or even sudden “insight,” much less a shimmering religious vision. But now Dr. Linehan was closing in on two seemingly opposed principles that could form the basis of a treatment: acceptance of life as it is, not as it is supposed to be; and the need to change, despite that reality and because of it. The only way to know for sure whether she had something more than a theory was to test it scientifically in the real world — and there was never any doubt where to start.

Getting Through the Day

“I decided to get supersuicidal people, the very worst cases, because I figured these are the most miserable people in the world — they think they’re evil, that they’re bad, bad, bad — and I understood that they weren’t,” she said. “I understood their suffering because I’d been there, in hell, with no idea how to get out.”

In particular she chose to treat people with a diagnosis that she would have given her young self: borderline personality disorder, a poorly understood condition characterized by neediness, outbursts and self-destructive urges, often leading to cutting or burning. In therapy, borderline patients can be terrors — manipulative, hostile, sometimes ominously mute, and notorious for storming out threatening suicide.

Dr. Linehan found that the tension of acceptance could at least keep people in the room: patients accept who they are, that they feel the mental squalls of rage, emptiness and anxiety far more intensely than most people do. In turn, the therapist accepts that given all this, cutting, burning andsuicide attempts make some sense.

Finally, the therapist elicits a commitment from the patient to change his or her behavior, a verbal pledge in exchange for a chance to live: “Therapy does not work for people who are dead” is one way she puts it.

Yet even as she climbed the academic ladder, moving from the Catholic University of America to the University of Washington in 1977, she understood from her own experience that acceptance and change were hardly enough. During those first years in Seattle she sometimes felt suicidal while driving to work; even today, she can feel rushes of panic, most recently while driving through tunnels. She relied on therapists herself, off and on over the years, for support and guidance (she does not remember taking medication after leaving the institute).

Dr. Linehan’s own emerging approach to treatment — now called dialectical behavior therapy, or D.B.T. — would also have to include day-to-day skills. A commitment means very little, after all, if people do not have the tools to carry it out. She borrowed some of these from other behavioral therapies and added elements, like opposite action, in which patients act opposite to the way they feel when an emotion is inappropriate; and mindfulness meditation, a Zen technique in which people focus on their breath and observe their emotions come and go without acting on them. (Mindfulness is now a staple of many kinds of psychotherapy.)

In studies in the 1980s and ’90s, researchers at the University of Washington and elsewhere tracked the progress of hundreds of borderline patients at high risk of suicide who attended weekly dialectical therapy sessions. Compared with similar patients who got other experts’ treatments, those who learned Dr. Linehan’s approach made far fewer suicide attempts, landed in the hospital less often and were much more likely to stay in treatment. D.B.T. is now widely used for a variety of stubborn clients, including juvenile offenders, people with eating disorders and those with drug addictions.

“I think the reason D.B.T. has made such a splash is that it addresses something that couldn’t be treated before; people were just at a loss when it came to borderline,” said Lisa Onken, chief of the behavioral and integrative treatment branch of the National Institutes of Health. “But I think the reason it has resonated so much with community therapists has a lot to do with Marsha Linehan’s charisma, her ability to connect with clinical people as well as a scientific audience.”

Most remarkably, perhaps, Dr. Linehan has reached a place where she can stand up and tell her story, come what will. “I’m a very happy person now,” she said in an interview at her house near campus, where she lives with her adopted daughter, Geraldine, and Geraldine’s husband, Nate. “I still have ups and downs, of course, but I think no more than anyone else.”

After her coming-out speech last week, she visited the seclusion room, which has since been converted to a small office. “Well, look at that, they changed the windows,” she said, holding her palms up. “There’s so much more light.”