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Scientists link certain gut bacteria to lower heart disease risk – Science Daily

Changes in the gut microbiome have been implicated in a range of diseases including type 2 diabetes, obesity, and inflammatory bowel disease. Now, a team of researchers at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard along with Massachusetts General Hospital has found that microbes in the gut may affect cardiovascular disease as well. In a study published in Cell, the team has identified specific species of bacteria that consume cholesterol in the gut and may help lower cholesterol and heart disease risk in people.

Members of Ramnik Xavier’s lab, Broad’s Metabolomics Platform, and collaborators analyzed metabolites and microbial genomes from more than 1,400 participants in the Framingham Heart Study, a decades-long project focused on risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The team discovered that bacteria called Oscillibacter take up and metabolize cholesterol from their surroundings, and that people carrying higher levels of the microbe in their gut had lower levels of cholesterol. They also identified the mechanism the bacteria likely use to break down cholesterol. The results suggest that interventions that manipulate the microbiome in specific ways could one day help decrease cholesterol in people. The findings also lay the groundwork for more targeted investigations of how changes to the microbiome affect health and disease.

“Our research integrates findings from human subjects with experimental validation to ensure we achieve actionable mechanistic insight that will serve as starting points to improve cardiovascular health,” said Xavier, who is a core institute member, director of the Immunology Program, and co-director of the Infectious Disease and Microbiome Program at the Broad. He is also a professor at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital.

Postdoctoral researcher Chenhao Li and research scientist Martin Stražar, both in Xavier’s lab, were co-first authors on the study.

Cholesterol cues

In the past decade, other researchers have uncovered links between composition of the gut microbiome and elements of cardiovascular disease, such as a person’s triglycerides and blood sugar levels after a meal. But scientists haven’t been able to target those connections with therapies in part because they lack a complete understanding of metabolic pathways in the gut.

In the new study, the Broad team gained a more complete and detailed picture of the impact of gut microbes on metabolism. They combined shotgun metagenomic sequencing, which profiles all of the microbial DNA in a sample, with metabolomics, which measures the levels of hundreds of known and thousands of unknown metabolites. They used these tools to study stool samples from the Framingham Heart Study.

“The project outcomes underline the importance of high-quality, curated patient data,” Stražar said. “That allowed us to note effects that are really subtle and hard to measure and directly follow up on them.”

The approach uncovered more than 16,000 associations between microbes and metabolic traits, including one that was particularly strong: People with several species of bacteria from the Oscillibacter genus had lower cholesterol levels than those who lacked the bacteria. The researchers found that species in the Oscillibacter genus were surprisingly abundant in the gut, representing on average 1 in every 100 bacteria.

The researchers then wanted to figure out the biochemical pathway the microbes use to break down cholesterol. To do this, they first needed to grow the organism in the lab. Fortunately, the lab has spent years collecting bacteria from stool samples to create a unique library that also included Oscillibacter.

After successfully growing the bacteria, the team used mass spectrometry to identify the most likely byproducts of cholesterol metabolism in the bacteria. This allowed them to determine the pathways the bacteria uses to lower cholesterol levels. They found that the bacteria converted cholesterol into intermediate products that can then be broken down by other bacteria and excreted from the body. Next, the team used machine-learning models to identify the candidate enzymes responsible for this biochemical conversion, and then detected those enzymes and cholesterol breakdown products specifically in certain Oscillibacter in the lab.

The team found another gut bacterial species, Eubacterium coprostanoligenes, that also contributes to decreased cholesterol levels. This species carries a gene that the scientists had previously shown is involved in cholesterol metabolism. In the new work, the team discovered that Eubacterium might have a synergistic effect with Oscillibacter on cholesterol levels, which suggests that new experiments that study combinations of bacterial species could help shed light on how different microbial communities interact to affect human health.

Microbial messages

The vast majority of genes in the human gut microbiome remains uncharacterized, but the team is confident that their success in pinpointing cholesterol-metabolizing enzymes paves the way for the discovery of other similar metabolic pathways impacted by gut microbes, which could be targeted therapeutically.

“There are many clinical studies trying to do fecal microbiome transfer studies without much understanding of how the microbes interact with each other and the gut,” Li said. “Hopefully stepping back by focusing on one particular bug or gene first, we’ll get a systematic understanding of gut ecology and come up with better therapeutic strategies like targeting one or a few bugs.”

“Because of the large number of genes of unknown function in the gut microbiome, there are gaps in our ability to predict metabolic functions,” Li added. “Our work highlights the possibility that additional sterol metabolism pathways may be modified by gut microbes. There are potentially a lot of new discoveries to be made that will bring us closer to a mechanistic understanding of how microbes interact with the host.”

Funding: This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

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Watch: Astronaut Gives Virtual Tour Of International Space Station – NDTV

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Watch: Astronaut Gives Virtual Tour Of International Space Station

Andreas Mogensen first provided a sneak peek into the front section of the space station.

A European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut has offered the public a virtual tour of the International Space Station (ISS). Five space agencies namely NASA, JAXA, Roscosmos, CSA, ESA, and their contractors work together to manage the ISS, which is the largest space station ever constructed, in low Earth orbit. Andreas Mogensen made his way back to Earth from his six-and-a-half-month stay on ISS in the middle of March. He documented his time at the station as a member of NASA’s Crew-7 mission by recording a video inside and showing it to his social media followers. 

In an elaborate post that Andreas Mogensen posted on X (formerly Twitter) on April 12, the ESA astronaut revealed, “It’s been a month since I left the International Space Station. One of the very last things that I did on undock day, was film a tour of the Space Station. It is as much a keepsake for me as it is a way for me to share the wonder of the International Space Station with you. Whenever I will miss my time onboard ISS, and especially my crewmates, I will have this video to look at.”

Andreas Mogensen first provided a sneak peek into the front section of the space station. Above it, there was a SpaceX Dragon craft, which brought him to Earth on March 12. The roughly 114-by-22-foot Columbus module, which the ESA supplied as a science lab back in 2008 could be spotted in the clip. Viewers could also make out the smaller Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) kept across the lab. Also known as Kibo, it was built soon after the construction of Columbus. 

Several more ISS amenities, like the workstations, storage units, restrooms, exercise equipment, several docking nodes, and even the station kitchen, were shown by Andreas Mogensen through first-hand observation. The cupola, which offers an unparalleled 360-degree panorama of the Earth as well as an impressive look at the space station’s overall size, is unquestionably the most stunning spot on the entire International Space Station (ISS).

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Atomos Ninja Phone Announced – Record Footage on iPhone 15 Pro/Pro Max – CineD

Atomos Ninja Phone Announced - Record Footage on iPhone 15 Pro/Pro Max

Atomos announced a unique accessory to turn your phone into an Atomos Ninja monitors/recorder: the Atomos Ninja Phone. If you already own an iPhone 15 Pro/Pro Max and a mirrorless camera, this might be the least expensive way to get ProRes recording from a camera with interchangeable lenses.

The iPhone has a great screen, so it makes sense to use it as a monitor for your compact camera when shooting video. But most of those compact mirrorless cameras use highly compressed formats when recording video. This makes it difficult to make necessary adjustments to the picture in post-production. The Atomos Ninja Phone accessory seeks to solve that problem.

Atomos unveils the Ninja Phone

The Ninja Phone attempts to bridge the gap between your iPhone 15 Pro and your mirrorless camera. A “co-processor” unit clips into the back of a custom iPhone case. Both the unit and the case have locking mechanisms for the USB-C and HDMI cables that need to go between the two devices. The Ninja Phone is powered by a single Sony NP battery.

The Ninja Phone converts the video signal out of your camera’s HDMI feed into a stream that goes into your iPhone’s USB-C port. The Atomos app then records that video to your phone’s internal storage (you might want to opt for an iPhone with a large internal capacity) as ProRes and also 10 bit H.265 simultaneously. Additionally, you can stream your video feed to Atomos’ Cloud Service via 5G or Wi-Fi.

Atomos Ninja Phone
Atomos Ninja Phone. Image Credit: Atomos

The Ninja Phone delivers app gives shooters access to Atomos’ array of tools. Users can select focus and exposure overlays that may be a big improvement over the tools on their mirrorless camera.

Atomos also included support for external USB-C mics through a jack on the back of the unit. The Nina Phone will match the sample rate of your microphone and lock the audio to video on the output.

The iPhone’s incredible screen

Some may not realize it, but the iPhone’s screen is better than many stand-alone monitors. Apple has equipped the iPhone with an HDR OLED display that can hit a peak brightness of 1600nits. This makes the phone easy to see in broad daylight. The iPhone’s 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio delivers excellent contrast. And the Super Retina XDR display boasts a spec of 460ppi . This means the display on the iPhone will be more crisp when zoomed in.

Atomos Ninja Phone
Atomos Ninja Phone. Image Credit: Atomos

Shooting Vertical Video

Atomos has included a 9:16 feature to help shooters compose their shots for social media. The app automatically adjusts to the proper orientation.

Atomos Ninja Phone
Atomos Ninja Phone. Image Credit: Atomos

Limitations: 1080p 60fps

It’s critically important to note that the Ninja Phone’s performance tops out at 1080p 60fps. Creators will have to weigh this limitation against 4K options with more highly compressed codecs, like H.265, that are available within many cameras.

Here are the specifications for the output from the Ninja Phone to the iPhone

  • ProRes HQ / ProRes 422 / ProRes LT / ProRes Proxy / H.265 Main 10 / H.265 8b / H.264 8b
  • 1080p 60 / 59.94 / 50 / 30 / 29.97 / 25 / 24 / 23.98fps
  • 720p 60 / 59.94 / 50fps

Is it practical?

Getting ProRes recording out of smaller mirrorless cameras is great. However, the 1080p limit may be a limiting factor for many. The ability to easily stream to major platforms from your mirrorless camera may be the strongest selling point of this device. While the iPhone does have an excellent screen, 1600nits is the peak brightness; so you may find that the sustained brightness of the iPhone is just a bit dimmer than you’d like in broad daylight.

On a recent corporate shoot, I was asked if I could stream the interview to a third party who could chime in with suggested questions. The third-party was on the phone, and the interviewer had an Airpod in their ear. We streamed the audio, but we needed another crew member or additional gear without a quick and easy way of streaming video and audio together. The Ninja Phone would have been a great solution for this use case if only for the streaming capability.

Pricing and availability

The Atomos Ninja Phone will be priced at $399 and is available for pre-order now.

For more information visit Atomos’ website.

What do you think about using Atomos Ninja Phone so you can use your iPhone as a monitor and recorder on set? Let us know in the comments below!

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Zimbabwe economy | Former Finance Minister labels ZiG a waste of time – eNCA

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