Serena Williams withdraws from Australian Open

first_imgSerena Williams reluctantly pulled out of this year’s Australian Open on Friday, the American saying that while she was close to regaining full fitness after giving birth to her first child in September, she was not fully ready to defend her title.The 36-year-old was eight weeks pregnant last year when she triumphed for a seventh time at Melbourne Park to claim an Open-era record 23rd grand slam title and then took the rest of the year off before giving birth to a daughter. She has played just once in public since, losing to French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in Abu Dhabi last week, but was still hopeful of making a remarkable return at the Australian Open until she admitted defeat a week ahead of the event.“My coach and team always said ‘only go to tournaments when you are prepared to go all the way’. I can compete – but I don’t want to just compete, I want to do far better than that and to do so, I will need a little more time,” Williams said in a statement.Williams had told Vogue magazine last August about her “outrageous plan” to defend her title but the short turnaround after giving birth has proven too much for even the greatest player of her generation. Williams, whose grand slam tally is just one shy of the all-time record held by Australian Margaret Court, said she was disappointed to withdraw but looked forward to returning in the future.“After competing in Abu Dhabi I realised that although I am super close, I’m not where I personally want to be,” Williams added. “With that being said, and even though I am disappointed about it, I’ve decided not to compete in the Australian Open this year.”Tournament director Craig Tiley called Williams’ efforts to try and be ready for a title defence at the Australian Open “Herculean” and said she transcended the sport. “It was never going to be good enough for her to just compete, she wants to give herself the best chance to win,” Tiley said. “I’ve been in constant contact with Serena and her team and know this is why she has pushed it and pushed it until the eleventh hour to make her final decision.”Williams is the latest big name to withdraw from the year’s opening grand slam, which will be played from Jan. 15-28, with Britain’s Andy Murray (hip) and Japan’s Kei Nishikori (wrist) having already said they would not compete. There is also uncertainty over whether former champions Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka and Rafa Nadal, the latter of which arrived in Melbourne earlier on Friday, will be fit to take to the court. COMMENTS SHARE January 05, 2018 Serena Williams was eight weeks pregnant last year when she triumphed for a seventh time at Melbourne Park.   –  Reuters COMMENT null Serena aims for ‘outrageous’ Australian Open comeback Serena Williams was eight weeks pregnant last year when she triumphed for a seventh time at Melbourne Park.   –  Reuterscenter_img × Published on Joins list of big names to withdraw from grand slam Andy Murray pulls out of Australian Open SHARE SHARE EMAIL tennis RELATED last_img read more

Scientists find overlap between causes of RA and Huntingtons disease

first_imgMay 15 2018Using new analytic tools, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have decoded the epigenetic landscape for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a common autoimmune disease that affects more than 1.3 million Americans. In unveiling RA’s epigenome — the proteins and molecules that decorate DNA and help turn genes on and off — scientists made a surprising discovery: an overlap between the causes of RA and Huntington’s disease, a fatal and incurable genetic brain disease.The findings are published online in the May 15 issue of Nature Communications.The research team, led by senior author Gary S. Firestein, MD, dean and associate vice chancellor of translational medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine, said the unexpected connection between RA and Huntington’s disease opens up the possibility of new therapeutic targets and drugs for both conditions.”We did not expect to find an overlap between rheumatoid arthritis and Huntington’s disease, but discovering the unexpected was the reason that we developed this technology. Now that we have uncovered this connection, we hope that it opens a door for treatment options for people living with either disease,” said Firestein.RA is a chronic inflammatory disorder that causes pain and swelling in joints. As an autoimmune disease, it can also affect other organs, including heart and blood vessels. Treatment for RA has improved, but 10 to 20 percent of patients do not respond to any available medicines.The investigative approach used by the research team involved developing a novel algorithm, or set of computational rules, called EpiSig, which integrated and reduced the number of epigenetic combinations in the genes of patients with RA. The team could then identify new cell signaling pathways.Related StoriesMultiple breaches of injection safety practices identified in New Jersey septic arthritis outbreakResearch suggests new way to improve the efficacy of arthritis drugResearchers identify new molecular mechanism causing rheumatoid arthritis”Comparing different types of epigenomic data is difficult because it involves a variety of different data subsets that cannot normally be analyzed together, including various methods in which DNA gets modified,” said Wei Wang, PhD, professor of chemistry, biochemistry and cellular and molecular medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine.”This methodology can also be used to find connections between other diseases, not just rheumatoid arthritis,” added Firestein. “As genes involved are discovered, researchers can potentially identify new treatment options and even repurpose existing drugs.”Firestein and team studied the epigenome in cells from the joints of patients with RA. Patients with osteoarthritis, which is a disease of cartilage degeneration, served as a control group. Both data sets were analyzed through an expansive process that examines chromatin, DNA and histone modifications. The results produced 12 terabytes of data (12 trillion bytes) that were then analyzed using EpiSig.Epigenetics, or “above the genome”, is the study of processes that alter the gene structure without changing the DNA sequence itself. These DNA modifications are essential to human growth and development and change throughout people’s lives. Epigenetic changes are influenced by a variety of environmental factors, including stress, activity and lifestyle choices.”By revealing the comprehensive epigenetics behind rheumatoid arthritis, we now have a better understanding of this disease. More importantly, our new approach, could not only help patients with rheumatoid arthritis, but also people with other immune-mediated diseases,” Firestein said.Source: http://www.ucsd.edu/last_img read more