DAILY DOSE: UK denies entry to thousands of scientists and students; An entire insect brain has been mapped in detail.


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The United Kingdom has taken steps to reduce the entry of scientists from China into the country. According to a report in The Guardian,

More than 1,000 scientists and postgraduate students were barred from working in the UK last year on national security grounds, amid a major government crackdown on research collaborations with China.

Figures obtained by the Guardian reveal that a record 1,104 scientists and postgraduate students were rejected by Foreign Office vetting in 2022, up from 128 in 2020 and just 13 in 2016.

The sharp increase follows a hardening of the government’s stance on scientific ties with China, with warnings from MI5 of a growing espionage threat, major research centres being quietly shut down and accusations by a government minister that China’s leading genomics company had regularly sought to hack into the NHS’s genetic database.

It will be interesting to see how many other countries take a similar approach. http://bit.ly/3JjbVEW

A popular Ivermectin-advocate has died and his followers are beginning to freak out that they may be next. Per Vice,

“Just before 7 am on March 3, Danny Lemoi posted an update in his hugely popular pro-ivermectin Telegram group, Dirt Road Discussions: “HAPPY FRIDAY ALL YOU POISONOUS HORSE PASTE EATING SURVIVORS !!!”

Hours later, Lemoi was dead.

For the last decade, Lemoi had taken a daily dose of veterinary ivermectin, a dewormer designed to be used on large animals like horses and cows. In 2021, as ivermectin became a popular alternative COVID-19 treatment among anti-vaxxers, he launched what became one of the largest Telegram channels dedicated to promoting the use of it, including instructions on how to administer ivermectin to children.

But despite Lemoi’s death, the administrators of his channel are pushing his misinformation—even as his followers share their own worrying possible side effects from taking ivermectin and some question the safety of the drug.

While it is undoubtedly true that Ivermectin has very important human uses, the moral of the story is that you shouldn’t be taking dosages manufactured for animals. http://bit.ly/3lgR39i

Researchers have constructed a detailed map of the neurons and the connections between them in the brain of a larval fruit fly. With 3,016 neurons and 548,000 connections, called synapses, the result is by far the most complex map of a whole brain ever made. According to the paper published in Science,

Because of technological constraints, imaging entire brains with electron microscopy and reconstructing circuits from such datasets has been challenging. Complete synaptic-resolution connectomes have until now only been mapped for three organisms with up to several hundred brain neurons. Winding et al. describe a three-dimensional electron microscopy–based reconstruction of the larval fruit fly brain. The brain of the Drosophila larva has an order of magnitude more neurons, an even greater scale more synapses, and a complex brain organization. This insect brain connectome will be a lasting resource, providing a basis for a multitude of theoretical and experimental follow-up studies.

This is an amazing accomplishment. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear as if a human version is going to happen for a very, very long time. https://bit.ly/3mYcmgs

Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.

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