Welterweights to battle for Contender payday

first_img (SUB DECK) Popular series gets under way on March 9 Welterweight boxers will be in the spotlight this year when the very popular Wray and Nephew 2016 Contender boxing series kicks off on Wednesday, March 9, at the Chinese Benevolent Association auditorium on Hope Road in St Andrew. The series, which started in 2011 and alternates between middleweight and welterweight boxers each year, is a made-for-television production that is sanctioned by the Jamaica Boxing Board.  It will be broadcast live each week on Television Jamaica (TVJ) at 9 p.m. and will see 16 boxers drawn from the Caribbean and the United States vying for top honours. The first prize is one million dollars. The team concept will again be used this year, with one team of eight boxers being designated Green and the other eight-man team Yellow. One boxer from each team will go up against a boxer from the opposing team every week in the preliminary rounds. At the quarter final stage, the eight boxers left in the competition will be seeded and a draw will take place to decide on the matchup each week. There will be eight preliminary bouts, four quarter-final fights, the two semi-finals and then the finals. There will also be two amateur bouts each night. There will be an official launch on Thursday this week, at which the promoters will give the details of the format that will be followed this year, the names of the boxers on the two teams and the total prize money that will be paid out to the boxers. The Caribbean team will have boxers from Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana and Barbados and will be a mixture of new talent and tried and proven crowd favourites. Previous winners were in 2011, middleweight boxer Ricardo Smith; 2012, welterweight Donovan “Police” Campbell; 2013 middleweight Devon Moncriffe; 2014 welterweight Sakima Mullings; and 2015 middleweight Kemahl Russell. BOXING: Wray & Nephewlast_img read more

Calabasas mother trying again to outrace cancer

first_imgCALABASAS – Cancer patient Nanci Sargent remembers when her son Scott wouldn’t cut his hair until her own hair grew back after a round of chemotherapy. And when her older daughter, Nicole, brought a favorite stuffed animal to the hospital to help ease the need for painkillers. And when she felt unattractive and broken, and her husband, Mike, made her feel whole again. Sargent will have another vivid memory of her 10-year battle with cancer Sunday, when she crosses the finish line in a 5K race her younger daughter, Kelli, organized with the help of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. What began during a brainstorming session for Kelli’s MBA thesis turned into the Run For Her 5K Run & Stay Strong Friendship Walk, the first time the renowned hospital has partnered with anyone to sponsor a charity race. “We get approached all of the time for fundraising ideas. But Kelli is one of the best advocates for ovarian-cancer awareness that I’ve ever met,” said Tony Braswell, administrator of the Women’s Cancer Research Institute, a Cedars-owned facility that will receive proceeds from the event. Kelli’s primary motivation is her mom. This is Nanci’s second bout with cancer. She was victorious the first time, defeating Hodgkin’s disease even as it progressed to the worst stage. After several years in remission, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and has been fighting it for more than five years. “My mom makes the disease less scary. She smiles every day. She jokes around with everyone,” Kelli said. “And if I ever come across something like this in my life, I know I’ll be able to get through it because of my mom.” It’s no surprise to those familiar with ovarian cancer that its euphemisms have changed in the past decade. Once referred to as “the silent killer,” ovarian cancer is now known as “the disease that whispers; so listen.” Nanci didn’t – at least in the beginning. She had just entered her 50s and thought the bloating and lower back pain was menopausal. “I was also in denial about having cancer again,” she said. What makes ovarian cancer so dangerous is that there are no consistently reliable methods of detection, which means women need to alert their doctor about symptoms at the earliest inkling. Some of those symptoms include bloating, and lower back and stomach discomfort. “We need to raise awareness in this country because research suggests there are many women who don’t know anything about the symptoms,” said Dr. Beth Karlan, director of the Women’s Cancer Research Institute. Back at the Sargent home, Kelli, Nanci and Mike are preparing for the event. Nanci’s sporting a “Run For Her” magnet on her SUV, along with a customized license plate with the charity’s name. Kelli’s been balancing her full-time job at a brand-licensing firm while solidifying the charity’s logistics. And Mike is serving as husband, dad and chief support system for a family whose life has been devoted to raising cancer awareness. “Once cancer hits, it changes your life forever,” Mike said. “But the thing about Nanci is that people gravitate to her. She’s so personal with people, people that she doesn’t even know. “And out of this pain and suffering and terrible disease, I thank God for Nance and every day I’m with her. She has really helped me with the meaning of life.” Evan Pondel, (818) 713-3662 evan.pondel@dailynews.com IF YOU GO Run for Her will start at 7:30 a.m. Sunday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, 8700 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles. Proceeds will benefit the Women’s Cancer Research Institute. For information, call (562) 728-8829, Ext. 1. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Sharks’ Brent Burns in running to win another Norris Trophy

first_imgClick here if you’re unable to view the photo gallery on your mobile device.LAS VEGAS — Brent Burns was named a finalist for the Norris Trophy for the third time in four years Sunday after he posted another record-breaking season for a Sharks defenseman.Burns joins Mark Giordano of the Calgary Flames and Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning as finalists for the award, given annually to the NHL’s best defenseman. Burns won the award in 2017, becoming the first Sharks player to do so, and …last_img

Plant Brains Solve Problems

first_imgWithout a physical brain or nervous system, plants know how to get about in place.Shade sensor (PhysOrg): How do you find light without eyes? And without skin, how do you sense that someone’s shadow is getting in your light’s way? Plants solve these and other problems.  “Despite seeming passive, plants wage wars with each other to outgrow and absorb sunlight. If a plant is shaded by another, it becomes cut off from essential sunlight it needs to survive,” this article says.To escape this deadly shade, plants have light sensors that can set off an internal alarm when threatened by the shade of other plants. Their sensors can detect depletion of red and blue light (wavelengths absorbed by vegetation) to distinguish between an aggressive nearby plant from a passing cloud.Scientists at the Salk Institute have discovered a way by which plants assess the quality of shade to outgrow menacing neighbors, a finding that could be used to improve the productivity of crops. The new work, published Dec. 24, 2015 in Cell, shows how the depletion of blue light detected by molecular sensors in plants triggers accelerated growth to overcome a competing plant.Their secret lies in light-sensitive organelles called cryptochromes. When activated, they turn on epigenetic controls to switch on genes for growth. “We found that cryptochromes contact these transcription factors on DNA, activating genes completely different than what other photoreceptors activate,” the Salk scientists said. It’s a short pathway so that the plant can respond quickly, but not too quickly.Latex survival: The milky-white sap in dandelions is there for a reason. It repels bug larvae in the soil that might munch on the roots. “Dandelions are survival experts,” Science Daily says, pointing out two other amazing feats for the tender-looking little herb. It’s cosmopolitan and has muscle!Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale agg.) are well-known plants of European and Asian origin that have spread around most of the temperate world. Children love their yellow flowers and even more the fluffy seed heads with their parachute-like seeds that can travel long distances by wind. Young plants grow with such force that they can penetrate even asphalt. Therefore dandelions have become a symbol for survival in modern cities.Geological instrumentation: You’re a seedling in the soil. You have sensors telling you to move upward, but how do you know how far it is to get into the air? This could be crucial to survival. You have to conserve resources before sunlight can help your developing shoots to grow leaves. Seedlings have special equipment to measure the depth and mechanical pressure of the soil above them, report scientists in Current Biology. The instrumentation involves a protein, COP1, that responds to light to adjust the transcription factors for ethylene production, a chemical that mediates seedling emergence. Did you have any idea a little bean seedling you grew in science class has the equivalent of a PhD in mechanical engineering and organic chemistry? Here’s a taste of what happens as the little seedling grows through that heavy soil toward the light:We show that COP1 directly targets the F box proteins EBF1 and EBF2 for ubiquitination and degradation, thus stabilizing EIN3. As seedlings grow toward the surface, the depth of soil overlay decreases, resulting in a gradual increase of light fluences. COP1 channels the light signals, while ethylene transduces the information on soil mechanical conditions, which cooperatively control EIN3 protein levels to promote seedling emergence from the soil. The COP1-EBF1/2-EIN3 module reveals a mechanism by which plants sense the depth to surface and uncovers a novel regulatory paradigm of an ubiquitin E3 ligase cascade.Plants are so beautiful and smart, don’t you just want to hug them sometimes? Just don’t reach for the ragweed or poison oak. They’ll perceive you as a threat and call their defense agency. If a dandelion can punch through asphalt, imagine what it could do to you if it operated at high speed. (Visited 131 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Independent film makes Venice cut

first_imgIndependent filmmaker, Sibs Shongwe-La Mer, is challenging the film industry with his high quality low-fi movies.(Image: Shamin Chibba) Shongwe-La Mer’s “Territorial Pissings” will feature at the 70th Venice International Film Festival at the end of August.(Image: The Whitman Independent) A scene from “Territorial Pissings” depicting dispossessed youth, which is a major theme in the story.(Image: The Whitman Independent) MEDIA CONTACTS • Sibs Shongwe-La Mer   +27 82 0700 640 RELATED ARTICLES • Triggerfish takes on the big boys • Locally-made films get Oscar nod • Local presence at global film event • Hollywood honour for local filmmaker Shamin ChibbaWhen South African low-fi filmmaker Sibs Shongwe-La Mer stood up on stage at TEDx Johannesburg, a conference where creative minds gather to share ideas, he seized the audience’s attention by asking: “What happened to that inner child? What happened to the creative we have left to die?” The 21-year-old was referring to society’s willingness to give its creative powers to a handful of industry gatekeepers.Dressed in a scruffy checked jacket, jeans, a red beanie and two silver studs hanging from his bottom lip, Shongwe-La Mer epitomised the anti-establishment message he delivered on stage. “I believe we should all just express ourselves. As an audience member let me decide what is good or not. I hate the idea of gatekeepers.”It is this courage to challenge the creative industry, coupled with some bold filmmaking, that has taken Shongwe-La Mer to the 70th Venice International Film Festival. His latest offering, Territorial Pissings, has been selected for the festival’s first edition of the Final Cut in Venice workshop, which will take place on 31 August. The programme will showcase four African films that are in post-production.Named after a song by American grunge band Nirvana, Territorial Pissings plays out over Youth Day and focuses on the conversations between disillusioned, middle-class young adults living in suburban Johannesburg. “Even though it is Youth Day, you see all these kids doing drugs, experimenting with their sexuality, and not knowing where they are. This is the generation I grew up in.”Shongwe La-Mer said every part of the film was taken from his experiences as a black youth raised in an affluent suburb, including the dramatic hanging of one of the characters in the introduction. “Suburbs are not havens. Bad things happen there.”At the festival, the film will compete against The Cat by Ibrahim El Batout of Egypt, Challat Tunes by Kaouther Ben Hania of Tunisia, and Avec Presque Rien by Nantenaina Lova of Madagascar. Producers, distributors, buyers and festival programmers will assess each film, after which they will choose the best one for the grand prize. The winner will receive more than €55 000 (R750 000 or $73 000) in technical expertise, including sound mixing, digital colour correction and special effects.Even though the festival is still to start, just being selected has already brought Shongwe La-Mer international recognition. Russian, Ukrainian and French distributors have approached him to buy Territorial Pissings to distribute it globally.Shongwe-La Mer’s low-fi films are created with little or no budget, which means he needs to use equipment ranging from a camera phone to a handheld camcorder. And as with Territorial Pissings, his production crew is no more than four people. Yet he never intended on entering the independent arena. “I make and release a lot of music; I exhibit as a photographer and I write. So filmmaking kind of came full-circle. Film, it seemed, would embody everything that I love.” Anti-establishment sentimentsHis independent style, he implied, challenged the conventional way films were made. For him, being chosen for the festival was testament to the idea that films did not need budgets or gatekeepers to be successful. “Who are these five people who have money and are dictating how things are going to be? They are not experts of the soul or spirit quality. We are. What we need is people doing things with creative ideas.”In his TEDx talk, Shongwe-La Mer said the film industry was dying. Strong words indeed, which many around him feared would anger industry role players. But he was unfazed. He added that creativity started before industry put a price tag on it. “Our history was of a free creativity way before enterprise. And now enterprise has wasted away and because of that they are saying we cannot be creative anymore. But I say, ‘No, that is not true’. This is the most beautiful time because we are returning to the roots of creativity.” Minimalist filmmaking is his messageAfter graduating from high school, Shongwe La-Mer tried to join the film industry but was rejected. After some deliberation, he realised he could produce his own films without the approval of the industry. He began by using a high-definition cellphone for filming as well as a small production crew. He quickly gained recognition online for his honest storytelling. “If you have a Facebook account there will be 2 000 people who have you in their pockets at any time.”While Territorial Pissings may depict a group of directionless youth trying to make sense of life, Shongwe-La Mer said he was not trying to punt a particular message. Instead, he held that his message lay in the way he made his films. His focus is on practical action that will encourage creativity in people. “If you do what you do in an interesting way, people will be inspired to do even better things from that platform. For a lot of people, what I spoke about on [the TEDx] stage will not hit home. Not until they pick up a camera and create something, even just for fun.” The Whitman IndependentShongwe-La Mer established The Whitman Independent, a platform for independent filmmakers, artists and photographers to showcase their work at minimal cost compared to mainstream platforms.In its short existence, it has already challenged an established gallery by representing Cape Town fine art photographer Jordan Sweke. Sweke approached the gallery on his own to ask if it would exhibit display his work, but he was turned away. But after The Whitman Independent represented Sweke in an exhibition at the same gallery, the owners praised his photography. “What is this system that is killing artists like [Sweke]?” asked Shongwe-La Mer. “After being rejected, an artist does not go to the next gallery. You know what he does? He makes a fashion photography reel and goes into advertising because he does not believe he can be an artist.”The Whitman Independent, which operates in Johannesburg and Cape Town, has hosted 15 exhibitions and two film festivals since February. It has also published its first book, Culture, a compilation of illustrations, short stories and poetry. In September, it will go beyond the confines of art when it hosts its first food day in the Mother City. “Me and the Cape Town curator were saying that the first sign of a free society is when food becomes less expensive,” said Shongwe La-Mer.View an excerpt of Territorial Pissings on the Brand South Africa blog.last_img read more

Bollywood stars tackle pain, but in style

first_imgBollywood star Hrithik Roshan,38, struggled with chronic pain for 27 years. He is free of it now, thanks to cutting-edge treatments that spell new hope for managing suffering.Look at the irony of it. I have a broken back, broken knees, I have torn my shoulders six or seven times and,Bollywood star Hrithik Roshan,38, struggled with chronic pain for 27 years. He is free of it now, thanks to cutting-edge treatments that spell new hope for managing suffering.Look at the irony of it. I have a broken back, broken knees, I have torn my shoulders six or seven times and I’m playing a superhero.” That’s 38-year-old actor Hrithik Roshan’s way of poking fun at his intimate enemy of 27 years: Constant and relentless pain. “I don’t remember those days when I did not have any pain.” He was just 11, when his knees hurt and a “strange, shooting pain” often hit him like a knife up the spine. At 19, he ended up with a herniated disc, excruciating pain and a long list of can’ts and don’ts. That was also the first time he heard the words: “You should not be an actor.” He proved his doctors wrong. But at 33, when he was put on crutches for six months for arthritis on his right knee, he despaired. “The pain was unbearable. There was hardly any cartilage left. That’s when fear set in and made me imagine the worst.”Click here to EnlargeHis journey captures the story of seven million Indians, who live, work and fight with debilitating pain every year. Modern medicine has conquered many diseases and halted others, but attitude towards patients in pain-even the terminally ill-has largely remained primitive. Roshan, however, is free of pain now. He happens to be a beneficiary of the new emerging science of pain. After decades of slow progress, an explosion of new research, treatments and therapeutics is changing the way pain is understood and managed. There is new hope in what scientists have learned about how pain works: That it’s not the reality of your injury or illness, pain is how unwell your brain thinks you are.advertisementClick here to EnlargeIs a pain-free future on the horizon? Roshan, for one, certainly thinks so. He has gone through cutting-edge treatments-from functional manual therapy to myofascial tissue massage-that would have been impossible even a few years ago. Now Indian scientists have come up with a new drug that can target cells at the level of molecules and stop the brain from responding ’emotionally’ to what it perceives to be damage to the body-or pain. Now waiting for global patent, it is the only reported such pain molecule in the world to have gone through clinical trials.Pain hit the headlines this year with a vengeance, as Bollywood’s glamorous stars went in and out of hospitals. Amitabh Bachchan blogged in April about his “horrendous pain” that made it difficult for him to “walk, stand, sit or lie down”. Shah Rukh Khan wrote on Facebook in January about pain in his ribs: “Hurts only when I laugh or breathe.” Salman Khan complained of “unbearable pain” in his jaws and cheeks, a recurring issue. Roshan went public about his condition after completing 85 days of “non-stop, hardcore action” for his forthcoming science fiction film, Krrish 3: “Hanging from a harness 100 feet off the ground is probably the worst thing for any spine.”Click here to EnlargeIt hasn’t quite made the headlines but the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) is organising lectures on pain management for MBBS students this year-the first such in India. “For years, chronic pain has been neglected by doctors,” says Dr Sushma Bhatnagar, anaesthesiologist with the cancer centre at AIIMS. “Most treat it as a symptom of other diseases and not as a disorder that should be targeted in itself for relief.” The Medical Council of India recognised it as an MD specialisation in 2011, after global NGO Human Rights Watch revealed in its report the lack of basic knowledge among Indian doctors about pain management.The God is in biology. Way back in the 1990s, when behavioural neurologist V.S. Ramachandran experimented with mirrors on a patient tortured by “phantom pain” in an amputated arm, it led to the most exciting story in all of pain science: That chronic pain has more to do with the way the brain rewires itself after mining all its data-thoughts, feelings, beliefs, expectations, memories and genetics.”It was a radical shift in opinion,” says Ramachandran, now the director of Center for Brain and Cognition at University of California, San Diego, US. “We have been urging the new view that something like chronic pain is caused by a shift in equilibrium in the brain. Often, you just need a reset button to shift it back with very simple procedures.” A decade-and-a-half of brain imaging has proved that.advertisementImagine this: You get hurt. Your cells start oozing enzymes, signalling white blood cells to come over and heal. The heat produced in the rush upsets little ‘molecular thermometers’ located on the pain receptors of your skin. They communicate electrical impulses about what is happening in your body’s environment through the spinal cord to your brain. The brain immediately sends it to various units to interpret the signal: Where does the pain came from? What is it like? How does it compare with other pain it knows? The emotional hub, the limbic system, is the final interpreter. Depending on how it decides to ‘feel’ the pain, you yell, cry, break out in sweat, or your heart starts racing. All within a fraction of a second.Click here to EnlargeWhat if there is a drug that can stop the little ‘thermometers’ from communicating with the brain? That’s exactly what a team of 60 scientists is trying to do at the sprawling Novel Chemical Entities lab of Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd at Mahape in Navi Mumbai. A world of biotech is gathering momentum here since 2007 on pain therapeutics. Scientists are designing novel molecule structures and making new compounds. “The new science shows unique pain pathways,” says chief scientist Neelima Joshi. The molecule they have discovered, GRC 15300, can act on one such pathway, ‘molecular thermometer’ TRPV3, and block it from transmitting signals to the brain. “No pharma company in the world has been able to discover and develop a TRPV3 molecule and take it to clinics,” she adds. “There has been little breakthrough in pain therapeutics in the last 80-100 years,” says Glenn Saldanha, Chairman and MD of Glenmark. “Old pain-relieving options like opioids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) have limited impact, addiction potential and safety issues.” But the market for painkillers is going up by 16-20 per cent a year, as chronic pain-lower-back pain, arthritis and headaches top the list-keeps 30 per cent of Indians from enjoying life, according to data compiled by the Delhi Pain Clinic. Moreover, with few or no drugs available for excruciating pain linked to cancer, osteoarthritis or neuropathies, there is a large unmet need for pain as an area of treatment.So what goes wrong in chronic pain? Shouldn’t the pain stop after an injury or damage heals? “In chronic pain, the body’s alarm system breaks down,” says orthopaedic surgeon Dr Rajesh Malhotra of AIIMS. “There is no threat to the body, yet nerves continue to fire pain messages to the brain and that becomes the pattern.” But why do some patients develop chronic pain while others don’t? The answer is likely to be genetic, he says.That raises another sticky issue: Is it possible to measure pain? “Most physicians work largely in the dark,” says neurologist Dr Sumit Singh of Medanta-The Medicity in Gurgaon, “relying on patient narrative and the four vital signs: Temperature, pulse, respiration and blood pressure.” But new ways of rating pain, allowing patients to choose their pain level, are being devised: From verbal to numerical, facial expression to visual analogue scales.advertisementNew treatment approaches are pouring out of clinics and hospitals. Hip-replacement surgeries are often being substituted by a newer alternative, visco-supplementation, a relatively painless procedure where a liquid is pumped into the joint for temporary relief for arthritic pain. Skin patches that deliver painkiller drugs are also being used to treat back-neck-shoulder pain due to a sedentary lifestyle, or chronic arthritis and muscle pain. Botulinum toxin A, a wrinkle-fighter, is gaining currency as a tool for fighting headaches. Botox blocks a neurotransmitter that sends messages from brain to muscles to clench.The new approach to pain management is making seasoned hospital entrepreneurs to look for an edge in marketing healthcare in a new avatar: The pain clinic. Dr Gerd Mueller’s brand new pain boutique, ActivOrtho, in Vasant Vihar, Delhi, is one such. An orthopaedic surgeon and expert in pain and sports medicine, Mueller has been running centres in Germany. But the continuous flow of patients from India led him to the idea of creating a broader pain management clinic in Delhi.”We are bringing in the idea of European Rehabilitation focused on a multidisciplinary approach towards chronic pain,” says Mueller. That means addressing all the dimensions of a person’s life to treat pain: Structural issues (is there any problem with the spine or bones?); functional (are the muscles in order?), social (what sort of lifestyle and social support does the patient have?) and psychological (is the patient suffering from anxiety and depression?).Clinics like Mueller’s show how quickly pain treatment is changing. As a student in the 1970s, Dr Rajesh Malhotra remembers how little was understood about the processes behind pain. “Most of the neurotransmitters were not known,” he says. Can pain be conquered? “I certainly think so,” he says with infectious optimism.Roshan still gives himself an hour a day to stay out of pain, but that old fear of mortality is gone. He can play with his children, act and lead an active life again. And he certainly does not have to say goodbye to dance or to his movies. “If I believed what was told to me by my doctors, I would have given up very early in life,” he says. “But I’ve always believed that nothing is impossible. And here I am.”-With Shilpa Mehta.last_img read more