November 19

Study: Genes linked to lower educational attainment also predict criminal behavior

first_imgShare on Twitter Share on Facebook LinkedIn Pinterest Sharecenter_img “Previous work shows that both ‘nature’ and ‘nurture’ contribute to individual differences in antisocial behavior. In this study we wanted to take a closer look at genetic associations with crime, by testing whether a genetic signature previously discovered in a genome-wide association study of educational attainment can also predict criminal offending and if so, why.”The previous research has allowed scientists to create a “polygenic score” for educational attainment, which summarizes the joint effects of specific genetic variants. Those with a lower score tend to complete fewer years of formal education.Wertz and her colleagues examined data collected in two longitudinal studies from the United Kingdom and New Zealand: the E-Risk Longitudinal Twin Study and the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study. They found that individuals with lower polygenic scores for educational attainment were slightly more likely to have a criminal record in adulthood. This association remained even after the researchers accounted for the effects of socioeconomic deprivation and parental antisocial behavior. “I think there are three main takeaways: First, genetic discoveries for educational attainment are not related to education only. The same genetics also predict other important outcomes, such as criminal offending,” Wertz told PsyPost.“Second, the effects of the genetic score on crime were small. The majority of people will never receive a criminal record, regardless of their polygenic score. It is not possible to accurately predict who will become a criminal based on our findings. “Third, the genetic influences we examined became visible as behavioural difficulties already early in life,” Wertz said. “Thus, genetics shape behavioral risks for crime that are manifest well before differences in educational attainment crystallize. Helping children develop better cognitive and self-control skills and improving their school experiences may prevent genetic influences on crime from unfolding.”Wertz and her colleagues also found that low cognitive ability, poor self-control, academic difficulties and truancy, connected differences partially mediated the association between the polygenic scores for educational attainment and criminal behavior. In other words, these factors connected differences in DNA with participants’ later criminal offending.“Our understanding of why the education polygenic score is associated with crime (or any other outcome for that matter) is still very limited,” Wertz explained. “We found that poor cognitive and self-control skills explained part of the association, but the pathway from genes to behaviors is very long and we are yet to fully understand what happens in the bodies and brains of people with a low versus high polygenic score that might affect their behaviors.” “Another interesting question follows from our finding that the polygenic score was associated with the criminogenic environments people grew up in. Although this did not explain away our findings, it is an interesting observation in itself because it blurs the separation of ‘nature’ and ‘nurture’. It will be interesting to study further how nature and nurture combine to influence people’s lives.”Both genetic and environmental factors contribute to criminal behavior. “Some people mistakenly think that genetic influences on antisocial behavior imply that some people are born criminals. However, this interpretation is incorrect for several reasons,” Wertz said.“First, although we found that having a low polygenic score for educational attainment increased the risk of engaging in crime, even among individuals with very low scores the majority had no criminal record.”“Second, environments are at least as important as genetic influences in explaining why some people behave more antisocially than others and, third, genetic risk operated through behaviors and characteristic that can provide targets for intervention, such as low self-control and academic difficulties,” Wertz concluded.The study, “Genetics and Crime: Integrating New Genomic Discoveries Into Psychological Research About Antisocial Behavior“, was authored by J. Wertz, A. Caspi, D. W. Belsky, A. L. Beckley, L. Arseneault, J. C. Barnes, D. L. Corcoran, S. Hogan, R. M. Houts, N. Morgan, C. L. Odgers, J. A. Prinz, K. Sugden, B. S. Williams, R. Poulton, and T. E. Moffitt. Scientists have found evidence that a genetic risk for low educational attainment is associated with having a criminal record in adulthood. Their new study, published in Psychological Science, provides evidence that some genetic variants are loosely linked to criminal behaviors. But the findings don’t mean some people are destined to a life of crime just because of their DNA.“I am interested in finding out why some people become involved in crime and antisocial behavior whereas others do not,” explained Jasmin Wertz, a postdoctoral fellow at Duke University and corresponding author of the study. Emaillast_img read more

November 18

FLU NEWS SCAN: Southern Hemisphere activity, synthetic protein looks promising, H1N1 vaccine uptake

first_img WHO: Flu season starts in Southern HemisphereThe flu season has started in most of the temperate Southern Hemisphere countries that collect surveillance information, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Jul 6 in its latest global flu update. The H3N2 virus is dominant overall, but the virologic picture varies by country, with some, including Bolivia, reporting high levels of 2009 H1N1 infections and others seeing co-circulation of influenza B. In Chile, flu activity has almost reached the country’s alert threshold, and the proportion of emergency visits for respiratory disease has reached 31%, surpassing the level reported for the same period in the last 2 years. Most virus detections there are H3N2. Brazil has reported a sustained rise in flu detections since the middle of May, with a notable increase in severe respiratory infections, 80% from the 2009 H1N1 virus and the rest from H3N2. In Bolivia, more than 50% of samples tested were positive for flu, and the country has seen a recent rise in severe infections. In sub Saharan Africa, limited data suggests low or no flu activity in most countries, except for Ghana, Ivory Coast, and Madagascar. South Africa’s flu season started in late May and is persisting. Meanwhile, flu activity in Australia has been rising over the past 5 weeks, with the H3N2 virus dominant. Virus detections are also increasing in New Zealand, but levels are still below the national baseline. In tropical Asian countries, flu activity was low or undetectable, with persistent activity in Hong Kong now easing off.Jul 6 WHO global flu update Study: Synthetic protein jump-starts immune response to fluExperiments with a synthetic protein called EP67 in mice found that the substance activated the innate immune system within 2 hours of flu infection, raising hopes that the treatment could speed protection against a broad range of other respiratory pathogens, including bacteria and fungi. The findings, from researchers at San Diego State University (SDSU) and the University of Nebraska Medical Center, were published in Public Library of Science (PLoS) One on Jul 6. The mice were infected with influenza A (H1N1) and then given an inhaled formulation of EP67, which has previously been used as a vaccine adjuvant. Mice that were treated within 24 hours after infection lost only 6% of their weight, compared with the 20% that’s typical for flu-infected mice, according to a Jun 6 EurekAlert press release. Mice that were treated the day after they were infected with a usually-lethal dose of flu virus did not die. The researchers wrote that a single treatment induced a potent antiviral response with rapid cytokine induction followed by an influx of innate effector-cell populations. A dose delivered 2 or 3 days after infection, however, yielded no benefit. Though the treatment induced an early, robust innate response, it did not appear to hurt humoral protection, they wrote. Joy Phillips, PhD, an SDSU immunologist and lead author of the study, said in the press release, “EP67 could potentially be a therapeutic that someone would take when they know they’ve been exposed that would help the body fight off the virus before you get sick.” She added that the treatment could be useful for battling new pathogens that emerge, even before they are identified.Jul 6 PLoS One abstractJul 6 EurekAlert press release Jul 9, 2012center_img Pandemic vaccine uptake was poor in pregnant French womenDespite an active campaign in France urging pregnant women to receive the 2009 H1N1 pandemic vaccine, poor coverage ensued, with social disparities and no increase in protection for women at highest risk for complications, according to a study published online Jul 7 in Vaccine. Data from 13,453 French women who were in their second trimester during the campaign were analyzed. Coverage was 29.3% (95% confidence interval [CI], 28.6%-30.1%). Among women not getting the vaccine, 91.2% gave as the reason that they did not want it. The vaccination rate was higher in pregnant women who were older, were employed, were born in France, had fewer than three children, and had positive health behaviors during pregnancy. Women who had received postgraduate education had an adjusted odds ratio for vaccination of 4.1 (95% CI, 3.5-4.8) compared with those having less than a high school education. The vaccination rates for women with risk factors for complications from flu (eg, diabetes, asthma) and those without were similar.Jul 7 Vaccine studylast_img read more

October 20

CSME: Poor Implementation Performance Appraisal

first_imgBy Elizabeth Morgan Performance Appraisal rating My previous article on the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) addressed the lackadaisical attitude to implementation of decisions which persist in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). In the Communique of the 40th Heads of Government Conference, St. Lucia, July 3-5, Heads, in their appraisal of CSME implementation, “expressed their concern at the slow pace and low level of implementation of the CSME and lack of urgency exhibited by some Member States in enacting the necessary legislation and putting in place the administrative measures for implementation.” Thus, it seems to me that the overall grade which the region received in the CSME performance appraisal was about “C”. You may be interested in… In their assessment, the Heads recognized that there were factors contributing to the poor performance.  Capacity constraints among Member States were identified. They agreed that more support should be provided to national CSME Focal Points and acknowledged the importance of timely reporting and public education and outreach. It was also reported that there was progress in establishing a CARICOM Private Sector Organization (CPSO). Responsibility of the Political Directorate It is my view that to improve the CSME implementation grade moving it to B or A, the Heads themselves have to give clear instructions to their national Cabinets that CSME implementation is a priority and should be mainstreamed into national development policies, plans and programmes. Financial and human resources have to be provided recognizing that the CSME contributes to national development. The political directorate has to acknowledge that CSME implementation positions the region not only to engage in intra-regional trade, but also in trade and other economic activities with the world in these challenging times. Caribbean small economies are particularly vulnerable to natural and economic disasters and need to cooperate. This is where the report of the CARICOM Commission on the Economy could make a useful contribution regarding the economic strategy. The Heads themselves have to signal their own commitment to CSME implementation and problem-solving. There are mixed messages coming from the political directorate. At CARICOM Meetings, the message is support for regional integration and, at home, it is one of indifference with national interests taking precedence. In engagements with third countries, even the region’s trade and economic interests can be deferred on the basis that politicians are elected to serve their national interest. The CARICOM Heads, if they genuinely support regional integration, need to provide the leadership required to demonstrate that the national and regional agendas converge in a common interest. I mentioned in a previous article that Heads should show their regional commitment by the importance they attach to their quasi-Cabinet assignments. CSME implementation does not only rest with the Prime Minister of Barbados. Other Heads of Government have CSME responsibilities in their Quasi-Cabinet portfolios, for example: Antigua and Barbuda – Trade in Services Dominica – Labour including CSME Movement of Skilled Persons Grenada – Science and Technology including Information and Communications Guyana – Agriculture Jamaica – External Trade Negotiations St. Lucia – Sustainable Development St. Vincent and the Grenadines – Transportation The Bahamas, though not in the CSME, as a CARICOM Member, has responsibility for Tourism. CSME implementation also requires Community bodies, such as the Council for Finance and Planning (COFAP) and the Legal Affairs Committee (LAC), to meet regularly with attendance of a critical mass of Ministers and Attorneys General to facilitate decision-making. The participation of the private sector is critical thus progress on CPSO is welcomed. Without the commitment from the political leaders, the private sector and other parts of civil society, including academia and the media, then the CSME will make little progress, the grade will not improve, and as the Trinidadians say, the region will continue “spinning top in mud”, or as the headline recently declared “revving with the handbrake up”. CARICOM leaders need to release the handbrake in the common national and regional interest. Oct 14, 2020 CARICOM Competition Authorities encouraged to co-operate Oct 7, 2020 Oct 1, 2020 Sep 23, 2020 Trade in Services – For CARICOM, Tourism dominates Trade-in-Services and Technology: More missed opportunities… CARICOM/CSME: The Persisting Implementation QuestionCARICOM Day        On July 1, Guyana and possibly a few other Member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) commemorated CARICOM Day marking the signing on July 4, 1973 of the Treaty of Chaguaramas creating the Caribbean Community and Common Market. It seems the day is usually marked on the first…July 4, 2019In “CARICOM”CARICOM/CSME: Private Sector RepresentationBy Elizabeth Morgan On November 5, Prime Minister Mia Mottley of Barbados, who has lead responsibility in the quasi-Cabinet for the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), hosted a regional town hall meeting on the CSME. This meeting was scheduled in the lead up to the 49th meeting of the…November 14, 2019In “CSME”Special CARICOM Heads Meeting must achieve CSME results OpinionBy Elizabeth Morgan THROUGH complacency, poor management and lack of vision the West Indies cricket team is now the sick man of cricket, struggling for a place at the bottom. It is said that the state of cricket in the Caribbean reflects the political, social and economic state of the…December 3, 2018In “CARICOM”Share this on WhatsApp Submitted by Elizabeth Morgan, Specialist in International Trade Policy and International Politics Share this:PrintTwitterFacebookLinkedInLike this:Like Loading… Relations within the Western Hemisphere: an uneasy alliance last_img read more

October 19

Meet Santa And Elf On Barranca Mesa Christmas Eve

first_imgScene of Christmas lights at 113 El Gancho on Barranca Mesa. By John McHale/ Tyler, Jean and Larry Marr invite the communities of Los Alamos and White Rock to visit 113 El Gancho on Barranca Mesa on Christmas Eve. Santa and his elf will be handing out candy canes 5:30-9:30 p.m. and Santa thanks the community for spending their Christmas Eve with him at the Marr Home during the last 25 years. Merry Christmas to one and all! Photo by John McHale/ Santa and his elf will be handing out candy canes 5:30-9:30 p.m. Christmas Eve at 13 El Gancho on Barranca Mesa. Photo by John McHale/ladailypost.comcenter_img Scene of Christmas lights at 113 El Gancho on Barranca Mesa. By John McHale/ladailypost.comScene of Christmas lights at 113 El Gancho on Barranca Mesa. By John McHale/ladailypost.comlast_img read more

October 19

New Mexico Auditor Colón Earns CFE Credential Joining Distinguished Association Of Certified Fraud Examiners

first_imgAuditor Brian ColónSTATE News:SANTA FE — New Mexico State Auditor Brian Colón successfully obtained the distinguished Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) credential. Auditor Colón was awarded the CFE credential by completing international requirements and passing a rigorous four-part exam.The exam covered a body of knowledge that includes: Financial transactions and fraud schemes; Law; Investigation; and Fraud prevention and deterrence. “In obtaining this credential I am upholding my promise to New Mexicans to combat waste, fraud, and abuse and to work every toward accountability, transparency, and excellence at all levels of government,” Auditor Colón said. “The ACFE is the world’s largest and most well-respected anti-fraud organization and it is my duty as State Auditor to ensure I am equipped with the tools and education necessary to protect New Mexican taxpayers. I am proud to join the prestigious ranks of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners as a Certified Fraud Examiner.”Auditor Colón joins his predecessors the Honorable Tim Keller and the Honorable Hector Balderas in becoming a CFE while serving as the State Auditor. Currently, the Office of the State Auditor boasts six CFE credentialed team members, including Auditor Colón, they are: Director of the Government Accountability Office, Stephanie W. Telles, MBA, CFE; Director of the Special Investigations Division (SID), Shawn Beck, CFE; and Audit Supervisors, David Mora, CFE,  Alanna Goodman, CFE, and Darla Brewer, CFE. New Mexicans concerned about potential instances of fraud, waste, and abuse should contact the Office of the State auditor. Reports may be made anonymously through our website at or by calling 1.866.OSA.FRAUD. You may also speak to an investigator by calling 505.476.3800.last_img read more

October 18

Climate change tsar disputes cost issues

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October 18

Audley gets green light on Romsey redevelopment

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September 30

Dishing it out in court

first_imgWhen home secretary Theresa May recently indicated that anti-social behaviour orders could soon be deemed anti-social by the new government, Obiter put out a request to the profession for first-hand experience of unusual asbos. We received an intriguing response from a prosecutor in the north of England, revealing a fascinating, if slightly worrying, insight into just how exactly asbos are sometimes devised. Our correspondent says: ‘One of the first asbos that we completed at the magistrates’ court quite a few years ago was in the form of a young man being banned from entering an exclusion area centred on the home of a person he had threatened and intimidated. A plan was attached to the order, and the circular exclusion area was drawn accordingly.’ He adds: ‘We actually managed to secure a much larger area than we had expected, because there was only one size of plate in the court’s canteen.’ Exclusion zones hastily drawn out using court crockery; small wonder that the asbo is on its way out.last_img read more

September 30

UK needs its foreign lawyers

first_img Business threatsAt a recent UK Border Agency meeting, legal advisers raised compelling examples of business threats faced by their clients in view of the interim measures. Plans to establish new enterprises or expand were being jeopardised by needed specialists now not being allowed into the UK. The government official’s response was indifferent at best, but this approach can not last. Pankina, a recent Court of Appeal decision, should inspire us to tackle the current shambolic approach to capping immigration. In his judgment, Lord Justice Sedley highlighted the need for immigration rules to be subjected to parliamentary scrutiny, not altered by ad hoc changes to Home Office policy guides. The government cannot change its core policy, and the cap would be such a departure, on a whim. Two judicial reviews in the works will challenge the interim measures by focusing on employers’ and skilled workers’ legitimate expectations. Having spent thousands (if not millions) on developing business plans which rely on key specialists, as well as workers investing their future in the UK, can the government suddenly pull the carpet from underneath them? Previous cases suggest otherwise. In the meantime, practices will have to think strategically about how they will manage without the right mix of skills previously gleaned from overseas. But there are positive signs the legal industry will not take this lying down. The Law Society’s contribution to the recent government ‘cap’ consultations demonstrates that we can make our voice heard. Exerting pressure by working contacts inside parliament and lobbying may pay dividends. Exert all the pressure you can. The proposal of an immigration cap, part of the Conservative election platform earlier this year, was aimed at giving the electorate a very clear message that ‘something is being done’ about so-called uncontrolled levels of immigration. To test the waters, the government imposed interim measures from 19 July to restrict skilled non-European Economic Area (EEA) workers. For law firms, and many other sectors that rely on highly skilled workers, the poorly conceived restriction on the best and brightest minds joining the UK’s workforce is wreaking havoc and clearly indicates what is to come if the cap is not carefully managed. From smaller international firms who want their staff to move freely between say, New York and London, to magic circle and City practices recruiting large numbers of trainees from emerging market countries, the UK’s legal profession has long relied on overseas staff to bring in the knowledge and expertise that it simply cannot get at home. If you need a specialist in US capital markets, the logical place to look for that experience is in the US. Furthermore, London is a global centre for legal services; it is where minds meet and deals are put together and finalised. If, by way of immigration restrictions, the right talent and experience cannot be found, business will relocate to other countries free of these constraints. And for ambitious overseas lawyers wanting to further their international legal careers, the UK is not the only option. Cynical immigration practitioners among us would say that the current attention on foreign skilled workers is a ruse to distract attention away from the reality that immigration cannot be controlled, at least not in the ways the government would have us believe. It has claimed the cap is there to protect British jobs and ‘allow public services to cope’. But foreign highly skilled workers pay for themselves, by their economic and tax contribution. They can’t take British jobs either, because any post they apply for has to be offered to British and EEA nationals first. With EEA workers exercising freedom of movement rights, the UK has difficulty capping their numbers, let alone monitoring how numerous they are. Is the government focusing on non-EEA foreign nationals because they are easier to count?center_img Natasha Gya Williams is a specialist immigration lawyer with Nicholas Moore. She co-chairs the South West chapter of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association and sits on the Law Society’s immigration committeelast_img read more

September 29

Back to school

first_imgSubscribe now for unlimited access Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY To continue enjoying, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Stay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our communitylast_img read more