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‘It Takes A Village’ events provide neighborhood resources, interactive sustainability lessons

‘It Takes A Village’ events provide neighborhood resources, interactive sustainability lessons

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – The “It’s A Village” events are back for a second summer with a goal to bring the community together at local Madison public parks.

Event organizer and Madison Public Library- Goodman South Teen Services Librarian Will R. Glenn Sr. said the events can connect people to community resources.

”That all adults aren’t mean, the police are human just like we are and that everyone that works in your community is a human being just like you are,” Glenn Sr. said.

The event also featured Dane County Dept. of Waste and Renewables’ Trash Lab.

The Trash Lab is a mobile museum that provides interactive lessons about the way trash cycles through Dane County.

Solid waste engineer Sujata Gautam said the goal is to provide a landfill tour for community members in their area, so they don’t have to travel to the landfill.

”It’s a wonderful opportunity for us to meet those goals of meeting people where they’re at in their spaces and telling them, ‘Hey! You know the trash that you throw away here travels all the way to us,” Gautam said.

Gautam guides families through the immersive, but not smelly or dirty look at where trash goes and how it can be improved.

”I get such a felling of joy that yes! People are making the connection of, ‘Wow. People throw away really all sorts of things that don’t need to be in the trash and why is it that our community and society at large is operating this way?’’ Gautam said. ”Learn that story. Think about that journey and how we can be a little bit more mindful when it comes to what are we consuming and bringing into our lives and what are we trying to get rid of and where does it go?”

Future events will be held on these days:

  • Thursday, July 14- 1-4 p.m.
  • Thursday, July 28- 1-4 p.m.
  • Thursday, Aug. 11- 1-4 p.m.

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CARE for Newcomers hosting interactive event June 24 celebrating World Refugee Day

CARE for Newcomers hosting interactive event June 24 celebrating World Refugee Day

Three rooms will be utilized in the museum for the event.

The first room, Llupi says, will share stories of refugees and their journeys of how they came to a place of safety.

The second room will consist of short presentations by the three collaborating members and a period for questions on what services are offered to refugees. CSS are the first to welcome and accommodate refugees, helping to find housing. CAIWA works with families, particularly women and children. CARE will be discussing their work with youth in schools and English courses.

The third room will be set like a theatre with what Llupi calls a “human library”. Eight refugees, rotating in groups of four, will gather to answer questions about their experience coming to Canada. Llupi says each story is unique, some coming as refugees from Colombia, others are high school students.

Llupi says that over the last three weeks, refugees coming to Red Deer include those from Afghanistan, Jordan, and Syria, with some moving to various different refugee camps before landing in Canada.

Despite the Russian-Ukrainian war, she says most Ukrainians coming to Canada are not registered as refugees but rather as “politically displaced persons”. This title, she says, does not provide them with the same help that refugees receive in Canada and has caused some confusion among organizations as to what they are allowed to provide them with.

Coming as an immigrant herself but not a refugee, Llupi hopes the event will provide a space for people to gain insight from those going through this journey first-hand and understanding their experience.

“I would like to break a little bit the barrier that you can ask questions if someone looks different or has an accent,” she said.

The organization also posted on their social media pages the films created by Reuben Tschetter, in association with CARE, from the 2016 live performances of “Journeys of Hope”, depicting the stories of multiple refugees.

On June 23 from 6 – 8 p.m., individuals can view a public showing of the films and meet those refugees in the Maple Room at CARE for Newcomers (202 – 5000 Gaetz Ave). Free refreshments will be available.

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Interactive web portal details the extent of splicing events in noncoding sequences

Interactive web portal details the extent of splicing events in noncoding sequences

An online tool reveals the extent of gene-restructuring events in noncoding sequences.

An interactive web portal developed by scientists at KAUST offers a platform for cancer researchers to interrogate how RNA splicing in noncoding parts of genes fuels the growth of different types of tumors.

The new resource, named SpUR (short for Splicing in Untranslated Regions) and freely available online, details more than 1,000 splicing events found frequently in cancers in noncoding regions of mRNA located just downstream of protein-coding stop signals. The sites and expression levels of these events are catalogued and visualized for nearly 8,000 samples across 10 cancer types and corresponding normal tissues.

With the tool, independent research teams can now further probe the role of individual splice events in cancer development and progression.

These events could become candidates to study RNA dysregulations in cancer for academic researchers. Or they could serve as a primary source for the development of RNA-based anti-cancer drugs.”

Xin Gao, acting associate director of the Computational Bioscience Research Center and deputy director of the Smart Health Initiative at KAUST

Computer scientist Gao, together with postdoc Bin Zhang and research engineer Adil Salhi, created the SpUR database in collaboration with researchers at the Cancer Science Institute of Singapore.

The research showed that splicing in downstream sequences of a gene (known as 3′ untranslated regions, or 3′ UTRs) is pervasive in cancers, especially in genes linked to tumor aggression. Consequently, patients whose cancers harbor more of these gene-restructuring events tend to have poorer survival outcomes.

As a proof of principle, the researchers designed splice-switching agents known as antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) that could block this splicing process in 3′ UTRs. When administered to liver cancer cells, these drugs helped repress tumor growth. And since the same kinds of splicing events are “ubiquitously expressed across different cancer types,” Gao notes, this type of therapeutic strategy “could be helpful to develop broad-spectrum anti-cancer drugs.”

One potential target:CTNNB1, which is a gene that provides instructions for making a protein called beta-catenin. Drug companies have long tried to target beta-catenin, given its central role in many cancer-signaling pathways, but with only limited success. The study from Gao and his collaborators showed that splicing in the 3′ UTR ofCTNNB1is widespread across cancers of the liver, breast, colon, kidney, lung and other organs, and that a spliced variant is the predominant driver of tumor progression.

In a mouse model of liver cancer, blocking this splicing resulted in complete tumor regression. An ASO therapy directed atCTNNB1splicing could therefore have broad utility in patients, and, as Gao points out, it is not likely to be the only one.


Journal reference:

Chan, J.J., et al. (2022) Pan-cancer, pervasive upregulation of 3’UTR splicing drives tumorigenesis. Nature Cell Biology.

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What is an ‘adverse event?’ Inside the recently released report on Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine

What is an 'adverse event?' Inside the recently released report on Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine

A document circulating on social media and elsewhere is being cited as a smoking gun to suggest Pfizer knew its COVID-19 vaccine causes more “adverse events” than previously stated, a claim some experts say requires a more nuanced look.

Released by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as part of a recent U.S. court order, the one-year-old, 38-page report of post-marketing data from Pfizer includes an appendix listing hundreds of reported adverse events from its COVID-19 vaccine, all of which are defined as being of “special interest.”

Whether the data is being, or can be, accurately interpreted is a point some experts are flagging as an issue with the document, particularly given the amount of real-world data gathered since then.

Experts say not every adverse event cited in the report can be chalked up to the vaccine, while others are consistent with the vaccine’s known side-effects. spoke to two infectious disease specialists about the report to better understand what the data does, and does not, show.


The document itself is an accumulation of post-authorization adverse event reports from Dec. 1, 2020, through to February 2021, taken from the U.S. and other countries, of which there were 42,086 cases in total.

An adverse event is defined as “any untoward medical occurrence that follows immunization,” including an unfavourable or unintended sign such as a skin rash, an abnormal lab finding, symptom or disease.

Dr. Dale Kalina, an infectious disease doctor at Joseph Brant Hospital in Burlington, Ont., told in a Zoom interview on Tuesday that Pfizer is required to report any adverse events.

However, just because someone reports an adverse event doesn’t mean it was caused by the vaccine itself.

As the document states, adverse event reports do not necessarily mean they were caused by the drug in question, but could be due to an underlying disease or other factor.

During the Pfizer vaccine trial for those between five and 11-years-old, Kalina says one participant swallowed a penny, which was reported as an adverse event.

“And I think we can all agree that swallowing a penny isn’t related to the vaccine itself,” he said.

“But of course, it highlights the fact that it needs to be reported and that’s what we’re seeing, and that’s the type of data that we’re getting.”

During Modern’s vaccine trials, a 72-year-old participant with arrhythmia, who died after being struck by lightning 28 days post-vaccination, was reported as experiencing a severe adverse event.

Dr. Martha Fulford, an associate professor of medicine at McMaster University, says it’s also unclear in the list whether the adverse events were actually linked to the vaccine or if it was by coincidence.

“I look at this document and I think I sort of come away thinking it’s a little uninterpretable to me,” she told in a phone interview on Wednesday.

One of the events listed is hantavirus pulmonary infection, which can occur after coming into contact with rodent urine, droppings or saliva.

“Product availability issue” also is another adverse event on the list.

“Some of that stuff strikes me as highly improbable as doing anything with the vaccine,” Fulford said.

Reporting of adverse events, generally, is underreported, Fulford says, which is something the Pfizer document notes, as well.

But she says it’s unclear how many actual cases of each adverse event were reported or if they appeared at higher rates than what you would see by random chance in the general population.

“The key is whether or not there’s a link and so people reporting something that’s happened, we would need to look at what the overall reported rates would be across a population in a normal period of time,” Fulford said.


Both Kalina and Fulford pointed to the lack of a denominator in the document, or in this case how many people received the vaccine at that point in time.

Near the end of February 2021, the United States was vaccinating as many as 1.7 million Americans on average per day, with 63 million Modern and Pfizer vaccines administered.

Looking at the more common adverse events in the Pfizer document, seen in two per cent of cases or more, all are what one would expect after getting a vaccine and when the immune system is excited, namely sore arm, mild fatigue and headache, Kalina says.

The “heaps” of data produced since then around the world have underscored that, he says.

“But to label it as adverse, I think, is a bit of a misnomer because it is actually exactly what you would expect,” he said.

“You’re expecting that reaction and although it’s adverse, it’s not pleasant, it is what you would expect from the medication itself.”

Kalina says any suggestion of a cover-up by Pfizer is being made for “nefarious purposes.”

“It’s a pharmaceutical company, they’re here to make money and I recognize that, there’s no doubt in my mind about that, but the product works,” he said.

While the initial optimism around transmission, for example, has certainly waned as more vaccinated individuals became infected with the Omicron variant, that doesn’t take away from the power of the vaccine to prevent serious disease, hospitalization and death, Fulford says.

“I think most of us, myself included, feel very strongly that for vulnerable people who are at risk from COVID, the vaccines have fundamentally changed what we were dealing with,” she said.

“We saw a huge difference in hospital admissions and severe disease mortality in people who had been vaccinated, this is unquestioned. The risk-benefit conversation obviously changes very much depending on the baseline risk of the person receiving the vaccine, it’s just not an absolute answer.”


The Public Health Agency of Canada says that as of Feb. 25, 2022, a total of 40,011 adverse events following immunization have been reported, out of nearly 80.8 million doses administered, for a rate of 0.05 per cent. Most of the adverse effects are classified as non-serious.

At the time the Pfizer report was made, many of those who got the vaccine initially were generally older and potentially vulnerable to COVID-19 infection.

Since then, vaccines have been administered to more, and younger, age groups, providing further evidence to back certain adverse events.

As Fulford says, what needs to be monitored with any medication or vaccine is whether certain signals present at a higher rate than what you would normally see.

This proved to be the case with blood clots and the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Although blood clots can emerge from sitting too long due to travel and certain birth control, their presence after receiving AstraZeneca, while rare, made it distinct, Fulford says.

A similar situation has played out with myocarditis and pericarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle and lining around the heart respectively.

While also considered rare, people have reported cases after receiving a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine, with higher rates observed following a second dose, among young and adolescent males, and with the Moderna vaccine, the latter possibly due to it being a higher dose than Pfizer.

A report on adverse events from Public Health Ontario shows that rates of myocarditis and pericarditis in males 12-17 and 18-24 after receiving a second dose was 157.9 and 199.4 respectively per million doses, which is roughly two to 13 times higher compared to other age groups.

One recent study also points to the need for individual strategies for vaccinating adolescent boys, due to the elevated risks of myocarditis and pericarditis, and depending on their health and history of COVID-19 infection.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommended in December 2021 that Pfizer be the preferred COVID-19 vaccine over Moderna for those 12 to 29-years-old.

Some studies also have looked into the potential effects of COVID-19 vaccines on women’s menstrual cycles.

Ultimately, Fulford says conversations around the risks and benefits of getting the vaccine will vary depending on the individual.

“It’s not to say that people should or should not be vaccinated, it’s simply acknowledging that yes, we have seen in some people adverse events, and acknowledging that there’s an adverse event is not an all or nothing, and we’ve sort of made it an all or nothing,” Fulford said.

“One can be in favour of vaccines while acknowledging this is the risk in this age group of this adverse outcome, and have that risk-benefit conversation.”

With files from CTV News