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    The richest award in science is going to a Stanford scientist and other top thinkers in their fields, named winners of the glitzy Breakthrough Prize on Thursday morning. Dr. Emmanuel Mignot of the Stanford University School of Medicine will share the $3 million prize with Masashi Yanagisawa of Japan’s University of Tsukuba for discovering the cause of a sleep disorder called narcolepsy, paving the way for the development of new treatments for arousal and sleep problems. “I think receiving this Breakthrough Prize is incredible, and I also definitely have the reward of seeing my patients completely changed by these new drugs,” said Mignot, in a prepared statement. “It’s a fantastic kind of human adventure.” In addition, two young Stanford mathematicians, both women, were awarded the “New Horizons” prize, in which $500,000 is split among early-career researchers. Maggie Miller, a visiting fellow, won for work in the area of knot theory. Jinyoung Park won for her contributions to the field of probabilistic combinatorics, which sheds light on how structure emerges in random sets and graphs. Mignot, Miller, Park and other researchers will...
    SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The omicron surge has caused the CDC to finally update its mask guidance late last week, indicating a clear preference for the level of protection offered by N95 and KN95 masks.It's also reopened the conversation about mask efficacy.One test that has emerged on social media is the "blow out the candle" test. If you can blow out a candle through your mask, that means too much air is getting through, potentially expelling COVID viral particles to others near you.RELATED: CDC encourages more Americans to wear N95 masks to slow spread of COVID-19ABC7 News Anchor Kristen Sze performed the experiment Monday using three different masks: N95, surgical and cloth. She was unable to blow out the candle wearing N95 or surgical, but easily blew out the candle in a cloth mask.Dr. Amy Price, a senior research scientist at Stanford's Anesthesia Informatics and Media Lab, joined Sze on ABC7 News 3 p.m. program "Getting Answers" Monday to discuss the reveals and limits of the candle test.Price says the candle test is far from fool proof, but is a...
    PALO ALTO, Calif. -- A record heat wave in the Pacific Northwest is serving as a sign for California firefighters of what's to come this fire season.ABC7 News reporter Luz Pena spoke to a Stanford climate expert who says multiple data points serve as evidence that climate change is contributing to these heat events.Wildfires are unpredictable, but as the drought worsens and heat waves intensify scientists view these as red flags.LIVE: Temps climb into triple digits in Northern California amid heat wave"California is now in a new climate. We are in a climate now where essentially, all of our years are warm years. We are getting these very severe heat waves as a result. We are getting rapid snow melt that means that water supply that we have counted on in the past is much less reliable and the vegetation is much drier," said Dr. Noah Diffenbaugh, Stanford University Climate Scientist.Dr. Diffenbaugh has been studying California's climate for years and believes the wildfire risk is elevated. The heat wave hitting the Pacific Northwest is proof of that."We found for example...
    Every author that commits to writing a book knows they are also committing to a certain degree of isolation. It is part of why Tracie White—an award winning journalist with more than 30 years of experience under her belt—was apprehensive when an agent approached her with the idea in 2017. Tracie White (Margarita Gallardo — Contributed)  “I get lonely sitting at a desk for 10 hours a day,” she said, laughing softly during a recent phone interview. But there was a quiet determination in her voice. White knew the isolation required to write her first book from her home in Aptos paled in comparison to the isolation experienced on a daily basis by the person for whom the book was written. And she was not going to let him down. That person is Whitney Dafoe and the book is called “The Puzzle Solver: A Scientist’s Desperate Quest to Cure the Illness that Stole his Son.” It was released in January by Hachette Book Group. It tells the story of Dafoe’s father, Ronald Davis, PhD—the “scientist” referenced in the title. Davis,...
    (CNN)At the height of a luminous career in genetics, Ron Davis, professor of biochemistry and genetics at Stanford University in California, switched to researching a disease that many of his colleagues had never heard of.Prior to that shift seven years ago, his breakthrough work had led to dozens of patents and laid the groundwork for the Human Genome Project, revolutionizing modern biology by giving scientists a complete map of all genes in the human species.But when his son Whitney Dafoe, then in his 20s, came down with myalgic encephalomyelitis -- better known as chronic fatigue syndrome -- he was left bedbound, unable to speak, and unable to eat solid food.After moving in with his parents 10 years ago, Dafoe, now 37, has made little progress in getting his old life back. Davis did what he does best -- turning to science and rallying several Nobel Prize-winning colleagues in his latest quest. Read MoreThis time, he means to cure ME/CFS, which affects between 836,000 and 2.5 million Americans, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency estimates...
    The Justice Department broadened its charges against a Chinese military scientist who concealed her ties to the People’s Liberation Army as a researcher at Stanford University, accusing her of attempting to obstruct the investigation into her student visa fraud. Federal prosecutors announced a superseding indictment against Chen Song, 39, this week, charging her with “visa fraud, obstruction of justice, destruction of documents, and false statements in connection with a scheme to conceal and lie about her status” as a member of China’s military while she was inside the United States. Song had already been hit with charges in July 2020 and an indictment in January, but the details were laid out over how she lied about her Chinese military service ending in 2011 when she applied for a work-and-study-based exchange visitor program visa and allegedly study brain diseases at Stanford University. In reality, she was still secretly a part of the Chinese military, prosecutors said. “Song was a member of the People’s Liberation Army, the Chinese military, when she entered and while she was in the United...
    By OLGA R. RODRIGUEZ, Associated Press SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A Chinese researcher visiting Stanford University who was charged with visa fraud after she allegedly hid her military background is facing new charges, federal prosecutors said. A federal grand jury charged Chen Song, 39, with obstruction of justice, destruction of documents and making false statements to a government agency, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Thursday. “We allege that while Chen Song worked as a researcher at Stanford University, she was secretly a member of China’s military, the People’s Liberation Army,” U.S. Attorney David Anderson said in a statement. “When Song feared discovery, she destroyed documents in a failed attempt to conceal her true identity. This prosecution will help to protect elite institutions like Stanford from illicit foreign influences.” Song was one of four Chinese scientists living in the U.S. and doing research at universities who were arrested last July by the Justice Department, which accused them of lying about their status as members of the People’s Liberation Army. All were charged with visa fraud. “The FBI’s investigation revealed Song Chen...
    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A Chinese researcher visiting Stanford University who was charged with visa fraud after she allegedly hid her military background is facing new charges, federal prosecutors said. A federal grand jury charged Chen Song, 39, with obstruction of justice, destruction of documents and making false statements to a government agency, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Thursday. “We allege that while Chen Song worked as a researcher at Stanford University, she was secretly a member of China’s military, the People’s Liberation Army,” U.S. Attorney David Anderson said in a statement. “When Song feared discovery, she destroyed documents in a failed attempt to conceal her true identity. This prosecution will help to protect elite institutions like Stanford from illicit foreign influences.” Song was one of four Chinese scientists living in the U.S. and doing research at universities who were arrested last July by the Justice Department, which accused them of lying about their status as members of the People’s Liberation Army. All were charged with visa fraud. “The FBI’s investigation revealed Song Chen took active steps to destroy...
    One of the main authors of the Great Barrington Declaration, Dr Jayanta Bhattacharya (pictured), is under investigation by Stanford for a study that downplayed the deadliness of COVID-19  One of the main authors of an open letter calling for governments to end COVID-19 restrictions is under investigation by his university for implying the virus is more widespread - but less fatal - than previously thought. The so-called Great Barrington Declaration, named after the Massachusetts town in which it was drafted, advocates for the controversial practice of letting the virus spread in low-risk groups to achieve 'herd immunity.' The three-co-authors Drs Martin Kulldorff of Harvard University, Sunetra Gupta of Oxford University and Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford University even met with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to push the idea. However, Bhattacharya is currently being investigated by Stanford for downplaying the deadliness of the pandemic. Official figures in Santa Clara County, in California, showed the pandemic had a fatality rate of 0.3 percent at the time he conducted his research, back in April. But Bhattacharya claimed that the true fatality rate is closer...
    STANFORD, Calif. (KGO) -- Research by Noah Diffenbaugh, climate scientist and Stanford professor and senior fellow points to California experiencing an increase of warming.His latest paper on the frequency of the extreme wildfire weather conditions in California during the autumn season found that the current heatwave is just glimpse of what lies ahead.RELATED: Live tracker shows where wildfires are burning in Bay Area, across California"Our paper reports about a degree Celsius of warming just in the last four decades. This means we are much more likely to experience severely warm autumn seasons and severe warm spells. This elevates the risk of heat on human health but also the risk of wildfires" said Diffenbaugh.Diffenbaugh has been tracking this dramatic change of climate in our state for years."It actually has profound implications. It has created a different climate for California. It's a climate where we are much likely to experience heat waves and wildfire weather," said Diffenbaugh.In Castro Valley temperatures hit the triple digits today. Some residents were using their cars as cooling center.VIDEO: CA passes first-in-nation law requiring minimum recycled content...
    SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- In the last three weeks, California has set highly concerning records. With over 900 fires burning across the state, scientists are categorizing this as unprecedented territory and a sign of what lies ahead.INTERACTIVE MAP: Track wildfires across Bay Area, other parts of CA"We are also seeing that the area burned in California is going up substantially," said Noah Diffenbaugh, Climate Scientist and Stanford Professor/Senior Fellow. "The vast majority of the large wildfires in California's history have occurred in the last two decades. Right now, just over the last three weeks, we've had California's second, third, and fourth largest wildfires," he said.Over 1.8 million acres burned in the past 30 days. The main contributing fires the LNU, CZU and SCU, lighting complexes all of them ignited by dry lighting. An event that only occurs every 10 to 12 years.RELATED: Comparing the 10 biggest wildfires in CA history"The fact that we had a dry rainy season and low snow pack means that fuel is everywhere vulnerable and fires are burning hotter and spreading easier than usual," said Steve...
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