Dioxane levels rise; Michigan Medicine further restricts visitors; Small Business Saturday in A2

Happy Friday!

I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving, even though it likely looked different this year. Today is Black Friday, and although it’s known for great deals to be had at big-box stores, a lesser-known day is Small Business Saturday. Now more than ever, local businesses need support — especially as the pandemic and cold weather restrict operations.

Need some ideas? Main Street Ann Arbor just released its annual shopping guide. Here’s another guide that highlights businesses that are women- and minority-owned. Meanwhile, this gift guide focuses on local food and drink producers. Sarah has also spent the past several months speaking with local business owners and highlighting them for her Small Business Saturday series. Don’t see your favorite business on the list? Submit it here.

Have a great long weekend.

– Meredith (@meredith_A4)

What’s been happening:

⛔️ Michigan Medicine announced this week that no visitors are allowed for adult patients as COVID-19 cases spike across the state. There are some exceptions to the new policy, which took effect on Wednesday. (A4)

🚰 Recent tests from water samples taken in October in the West Park area reveal a spike in Dioxane levels, concerning local officials. (MLive)

🚶‍♀️ The city of Ann Arbor celebrated the grand opening of the Allen Creek Railroad Berm Project this week virtually. (A4)

🚲 Have a look at the new downtown protected bikeway on First Street. (MLive)

🛤 The long-awaited passenger train service from Ann Arbor to Traverse City — known as A2TC — has put test rides slated for 2021 on hold due to the pandemic. (Detroit Free Press)

🎓 A senior at the University of Michigan became the school’s 29th Rhodes Scholar since the awards were established in 1902. (A4)

💻 Toyota and Cisco have partnered to install free Wi-Fi at public sites in the region, including in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. (A4)

Good to know:

🌯 Vegan Kerrytown joint Detroit Street Filling Station expanded into the space next door. The owner said it could become a private dining space or intimate music venue. (A4)

🍪 Have kids ages 8 and up? Love holiday cookies? This local cooking school for kids will be hosting holiday cookie classes online for the whole family. (A4)

🎅 Santa’s Mailbox will return to Main St. this year. From Nov. 28-Dec. 14, write a letter to Santa with a return address and you will receive a response. (A4)

🤝 Tuesday is Giving Tuesday. The annual Rockin’ for the Hungry fund drive by Food Gatherers, ann arbor’s 107one and Kroger will kick off virtually on Tuesday, as will Ann Arbor Summer Festival’s campaign which will feature free performances by Michigan-based artists throughout the day. (A4)

Feature interview of the week:

“We had to pivot to something that is ironic for us, because the whole gist of Literati is that it is a community bookstore that

Read more

Outbreak Fueled By Small Get-Togethers, Puts LA In Tough Spot

LOS ANGELES, CA — At least a third of the people recently infected with the coronavirus in Los Angeles admitted to attending small get togethers while about 10 percent admitted to attending larger gatherings, according to ongoing USC study. More than half of those recently infected reported being close contact with people outside their household.

The study also found that roughly one-third of recently infected respondents reported visiting another person’s home in the previous seven days, while one- third said they had visitors at their own home. About 10% said they had attended a gathering of 10 or more people in the past week.

The study is among the mounting evidence that the outbreak is on the rise again in large part because of small gatherings and parties in defiance of health orders. The damage such gatherings can do during the pandemic is staggering.

“I know this sounds like a small number, but if 10% of L.A. residents attend gatherings, this translates to 1 million people gathering with others not in their household,”Los Angeles County’s Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said. “And if we assume that 2% of people can be infected, we could possibly have 20,000 people capable of infecting others who are milling about at these gatherings each week.”

The findings should serve as a warning that the virus can as easily spread among friends and family as it can among strangers in public places. Los Angeles County’s public health director warned Monday of an already worsening COVID-19 situation becoming even more dire during the upcoming holiday season without rapid behavioral changes.

Patients who have become infected with the coronavirus show steady increases in interactions with people outside their own households,Barbara Ferrer said . The ongoing USC study found that for the week ending Oct. 20, 57% of survey respondents reported being in close contact with someone they don’t live with in the previous seven days.

Ferrer said the USC data, combined with information collected during contact-tracing interviews with virus patients, shows “there’s ample evidence that gatherings are increasing and are one of the drivers of the increases in cases in L.A. County.”

And with Thanksgiving just weeks away, Ferrer said concern is mounting that the holidays could make things worse.

“With our case numbers already on the rise, we are concerned about the upcoming months,” Ferrer said. “Holiday gatherings and cooler weather, when people are more likely to gather indoors, are perfect conditions for spreading COVID-19.”

Ferrer announced another 1,406 coronavirus cases on Monday — a day that is typically marked by relatively low daily case numbers due to reporting lags from the weekend. She noted that the county has reported almost 3,000 new cases over the last two days, a time of week when numbers are always lower than the rest of the week.

“So if that trend holds true, then we’re going to see higher numbers for the rest of this week,” she said. “And that would in fact not only create a

Read more

Capacity limitations threaten the survival of Tucson’s small fitness businesses | Business News

MAKING IT WORK

Concerned about whether their businesses can survive under the current capacity limitations, some owners have turned to outdoor classes, which are not limited by ADHS requirements as long as physical distancing is possible.

Soleil Chiquette, the owner of Let’s Sweat, opted to offer only outdoor classes after the second COVID-19 shutdown inhibited gyms and studios from operating in June.

Chiquette knew her customers weren’t comfortable being back inside, so she decided to offer spin and strength classes out on the Let’s Sweat patio, 439 N. Sixth Ave., and at Catalina Park instead. Let’s Sweat’s outdoor classes are popular among their clients, and they have allowed Chiquette to stay above water.

The same can be said for Lucas, the owner of Session Yoga. Lucas owns two studios at 123 S. Eastbourne Ave. and 1135 N. Jefferson Ave. One of her spaces is a strictly indoor studio that offers hot yoga classes, and the other has both indoor and outdoor options.

Lucas has been able to consistently offer outdoor classes, which has helped her keep her studios afloat.

“Luckily, I was able to continue with the outdoor yoga, so that sustained us from not closing permanently. Without that, I don’t think we would have made it,” Lucas said.

Some studio owners have been unable to transition to outdoor classes because they rely on an indoor environment to create a specific atmosphere.

At Tucson Yoga Sol, a hot yoga studio in northwest Tucson, this is the case. Instructors manipulate heaters to facilitate Bikram yoga and hot Pilates classes. The owner, Diane Van Maren, is unsure if she will be able to keep her business up and running if the current restrictions remain in place.

Source Article

Read more

In A Small Pennsylvania City, A Mental Crisis Call To 911 Turns Tragic : Shots

Rulennis Munoz (center right) outside Lancaster Courthouse Oct. 14, after learning that the police officer who fatally shot her brother had been cleared of criminal wrongdoing by the Lancaster County District Attorney. Her mother, Miguelina Peña, and her attorney Michael Perna (far right) stood by.

Brett Sholtis/WITF


hide caption

toggle caption

Brett Sholtis/WITF

Rulennis Muñoz remembers the phone ringing on Sept. 13. Her mother was calling from the car, frustrated. Rulennis could also hear her brother Ricardo shouting in the background. Her mom told her that Ricardo, who was 27, wouldn’t take his medication. He had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia five years earlier.

Ricardo lived with his mother in Lancaster, Pa., but earlier that day he had been over at Rulennis’ house across town. Rulennis remembers that her brother had been having what she calls “an episode” that morning. Ricardo had become agitated because his phone charger was missing. When she found it for him, he insisted it wasn’t the same one.

Rulennis knew that her brother was in crisis and that he needed psychiatric care. But she also knew from experience that there were few emergency resources available for Ricardo unless a judge deemed him a threat to himself or others.

After talking with her mom, Rulennis called a county crisis intervention line to see if Ricardo could be committed for inpatient care. It was Sunday afternoon. The crisis worker told her to call the police to see if the officers could petition a judge to force Ricardo to go to the hospital for psychiatric treatment, in what’s called an involuntary commitment. Reluctant to call 911, and wanting more information, Rulennis dialed the non-emergency police number.

Meanwhile, her mother, Miguelina Peña, was back in her own neighborhood. Her other daughter, Deborah, lived only a few doors down. Peña started telling Deborah what was going on. Ricardo was becoming aggressive; he had punched the inside of the car. Back on their block, he was still yelling and upset, and couldn’t be calmed. Deborah called 911 to get help for Ricardo. She didn’t know that her sister was trying the non-emergency line.

The problems and perils of calling 911 for help with mental health

A recording and transcript of the 911 call show that the dispatcher gave Deborah three options: police, fire or ambulance. Deborah wasn’t sure, so she said “police.” Then she went on to explain that Ricardo was being aggressive, had a mental illness and needed to go to the hospital.

Meanwhile, Ricardo had moved on, walking up the street to where he and his mother lived. When the dispatcher questioned Deborah further, she also mentioned that Ricardo was trying “to break into” his mom’s house. She didn’t mention that Ricardo also lived in that house. She did mention that her mother “was afraid” to go back home with him.

The Muñoz family has since emphasized that Ricardo was never a threat to them. However, by the time police got the message, they believed they were responding to

Read more

How a Small Biotech Survives Amid Looming Antibiotic Crisis

What if the drug that could save you or a loved one from a case of drug-resistant bacterial pneumonia was invented, approved and for sale, but you couldn’t get it?

What if there were several new approved drugs that could fight against a growing threat of aggressive bacterial infections, but the companies making them either have gone bankrupt or they’re struggling to get doctors to prescribe them?

It couldn’t happen, right? Think again.

“Bankruptcy is destroying antibiotics much faster than resistance,” said Kevin Outterson, a Boston University health and disability law professor, in an email to TheStreet.

In the U.S. and around the globe, creating new antibiotics is becoming failing business model — and it’s hurting health care as much as the drugs’ makers. Almost half of the Food and Drug Administration-approved antibiotics in the last decade have suffered an “economic wipe-out” in the past two years, said Outterson, who’s followed the industry for nearly two decades.

The obstacles are many: A broken marketplace for new antibiotics, unrealistic drug pricing expectations and a pervasive belief that new artillery against bacteria should be held onto tightly instead of firing on the front lines.

One outlier is Paratek  (PRTK) – Get Report, a biotech whose main product is Nuzyra, a tetracycline-class antibiotic that’s considered an upgraded weapon in the battle against bacterial pneumonia and acute skin infections. It’s surviving, but struggling to get its drug to patients. Its stock currently trades on Nasdaq for around five bucks — a fraction of its value years ago.

Outterson says the problem is so bad that only two of the new small public companies with FDA-approved antibiotics have avoided bankruptcy or getting bought up at fire-sale prices. One is Paratek and the other is a biotech called Nabriva  (NBRV) – Get Report, whose main product is Lefamulin, a partially synthetic compound that prevents bacteria from growing.

“The companies behind five other antibiotics have gone through either bankruptcy or a sale at a steep discount,” said Outterson. 

The cost of developing new antibiotic drugs can get close to $1.5 billion overall, according to a 2017 paper funded by AstraZeneca. Yearly revenues for the new products, however, are a crumb of that amount.

“With antibiotics, people still believe that you should be getting them for a buck,” Dr. Evan Loh, chief executive of Paratek, told TheStreet during a recent phone interview. But, he said, “with small biotechs like Paratek now accounting for about 95% of the innovation in antibiotics, we just don’t have the ability, nor are we able, to sell our products at a loss.”

The pricing for antibiotics, he and other industry experts say, is far different from, say, drugs used for cancer treatment. 

“On day-one, with a new oncology product that extends someone’s life for six weeks – but that is not life-saving like antibiotics are – you can charge $50,000 or $60,000 and doctors and health systems are willing to pay for that,” said Loh.

This

Read more

Coronavirus bears down on a small Montana town

Whitefish city council member Steve Qunell urged restrictions to curb spread of the coronavirus.
Whitefish City Council member Steve Qunell urged restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus. (Richard Read / Los Angeles Times)

When Steve Qunell won a seat on the City Council last year in this town of 8,000, he figured he’d be dealing with potholes and affordable housing.

Instead, he finds himself at the center of a raging debate over how to fight the coronavirus, which is surging in Montana like never before.

The state’s governor, Steve Bullock, a Democrat who is in the final stretch of a tight U.S. Senate race and has been reluctant to impose restrictions that could hurt his campaign, called on the hardest-hit counties to consider shutting bars and enforcing a statewide mask mandate.

There was little appetite for that in conservative Flathead County, where the health board has been dominated by an outspoken doctor who argues that the pandemic is a hoax.

That left the Whitefish City Council.

“We are the last line of defense,” Qunell, a 49-year-old high school social studies teacher, told his fellow council members during an online public meeting this week. “Are we going to lead? Or are we just going to follow the nonbelievers in the county?”

Places like Whitefish once could afford to view the pandemic as a distant big-city problem. Through mid-September, sparsely populated Montana had a death toll of 140.

But that figure has doubled over the last five weeks as a new wave of infections sweeps the country. More than 85,000 cases were reported nationwide Friday, the most in a single day since the pandemic began.

The worst outbreaks are in the rural Midwest and Rocky Mountains. With 4,693 new cases over the last week, Montana had the country’s third-highest infection rate, trailing only the Dakotas.

The rise in Montana has overwhelmed efforts to conduct contact tracing and strained health systems across the state.

And as events in Whitefish show, efforts to stem exponential increases are pushing up against a culture that prides itself on rugged independence and freedom from government rules.

Early in the pandemic, Whitefish, a gateway to ski areas and Glacier National Park, moved more decisively than many other communities to contain the virus.

Whitefish Mountain Resort looms above Whitefish, Mont., gateway to Glacier National Park.
Whitefish Mountain Resort looms above Whitefish, Mont., gateway to Glacier National Park. (Richard Read / Los Angeles Times)

Last spring, the City Council ordered hotels and short-term rental properties to take in only essential workers — a requirement that remained in place until the end of May.

Whitefish was also one of the first cities in Montana to make people wear masks — though the governor soon issued a mandate statewide.

Still, from the beginning, there was strong local opposition to such restrictions.

Leading the resistance was Dr. Annie Bukacek, a 62-year-old internist known for her far-right views and opposition to vaccination.

Flathead County commissioners appointed her to the county health board last December after dismissing two other doctors with more public health experience — changes the commissioners said were meant to increase the diversity of

Read more

Cyanobacteria: Small candidates as great hopes for medicine and biotechnology

IMAGE

IMAGE: The team headed by Dr Paul D’Agostino will sequence 40 symbiotic and rare terrestrial cyanobacteria for the production of new active agents and to explore the potential for applications in…
view more 

Credit: Paul D’Agostino

In order to unlock the genetic potential of unusual cyanobacteria for the production of new active agents and to explore the potential for applications in biotechnology, the team headed by Dr Paul D’Agostino has been awarded a competitive whole-genome sequencing grant from the Joint Genome Institute (JGI) in the USA.

An ever-growing global population, an increasing standard of living and environmental challenges such as anthropogenic climate change, ocean pollution, the declining availability of arable land and dwindling fossil resources – these are today’s global challenges. Therefore, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research has dedicated the Science Year 2020/21 to the topic Bioeconomy with the aim of meeting these challenges with little heroes. The “stars” of bioeconomy are proteins, algae, microorganisms, and other tiny creatures with great impact.

At the Chair of Technical Biochemistry at TU Dresden, the researchers will now focus on some of the oldest of such little superheroes: cyanobacteria. There are about 2000 species of cyanobacteria and many of these species have been poorly researched. Dr Paul D’Agostino, Professor Tobias Gulder and their team – including cooperation partners Michelle Gehringer (TU Kaiserslautern), Michael Lakatos and Patrick Jung (both Hochschule Kaiserslautern) – hope that unusual cyanobacteria will yield promising results and make an innovative contribution to bioeconomy.

“Microorganisms produce valuable organic molecules with great potential for many applications. It is important to know that unusual organisms often also produce novel bioactive agents. The discovery of such new, bioactive molecules is essential if one thinks, for example, of new medical challenges such as the coronavirus and the progressive development of resistance to established active agents. Within the scope of this project, we therefore want to investigate the genetic potential of very unusual cyanobacteria for the production of innovative active pharmaceutical ingredients,” explains Gulder.

As a first step, the team will predict the potential of natural compounds by sequencing the genomes and subsequent bioinformatic analysis.

The results can then be translated into the targeted discovery of new molecules using modern methods of synthetic biology and biotechnology. As a final step, the project will focus on the production and characterization of these natural compounds and on the application of the enzymes producing these compounds as biocatalysts for the development of sustainable chemical processes.

###

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

Source Article

Read more

A Small Bit Of Lacquer

Operation Stroll strives to increase the good quality of life for impoverished individuals by means of the direct and indirect delivery of orthopedic well being care. From talks offered in custom a made theater with multiple configurations for listening and notion capture to our hands-on technology lab to beachside morning yoga, dinners and bonfires – Exponential Medicine is a high energy, bold redesign of a medical conference.

Take Home Message: Although most of the NBA very first round draft picks were single-sport athletes in higher college they had been also much more probably to suffer injuries and participate in much less games compared with their multi-sport peers.

Both of these incidents occurred outdoors Australia’s door, but it makes you wonder why in Australia, our government makes it possible for unlicensed, unqualified, untrained folks to make recommednations such as taking a homeopathic therapy or stop taking medicine in exchange for an untested herbal remedy.

The emphasis for the duration of the clinical studies (Years four, 5 and six) in Cambridge is on finding out in clinical settings: at the bedside, in outpatient clinics and in GP surgeries, which is supported by seminars, tutorials and discussion groups.

During this Theme you will undertake a analysis encounter, collecting data that will be presented as a poster in a Festival of Science at the end of Year 2. Problem based learning is also component of this theme and taught in little groups in Year 1.…

Read more
  • Partner links