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Month

June 2018

Viruses are found to be the most common cause of meningitis but diagnosis is often delayed

The first major paper looking at the causes and consequences of meningitis in the UK has found that viruses are now the most common cause of meningitis in adults and a cause of substantial long-term ill health. The paper also… Continue Reading →

Air pollution contributes significantly to diabetes globally

New research links outdoor air pollution — even at levels deemed safe — to an increased risk of diabetes globally, according to a study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the Veterans Affairs (VA) St. Louis… Continue Reading →

‘Dancing’ holes in droplets submerged in water-ethanol mixtures

Researchers from Tokyo Metropolitan University have observed the formation of holes that move by themselves in droplets of ionic liquids (IL) sitting inside water-ethanol mixtures. This curious, complex phenomenon is driven by an interplay between how ionic liquids dissolve, and… Continue Reading →

These Farmers Switched to Organic After Pesticides Made Them or Their Family Sick

Levi Lyle (right) transitioned his family’s farm to organic after his father Trent (right) overcame cancer. Photo credit: Bill Tiedje Some farmers transition to organic production to earn premium prices paid for organic crops. Others switch to make their farms… Continue Reading →

DBS treatment may slow the progression of Parkinson’s tremor in early-stage patients

Analysis of data from a clinical trial conducted at Vanderbilt suggests that deep brain stimulation (DBS) administered to patients with very early-stage Parkinson's disease slowed the progression of rest tremor. The study, published June 29 in Neurology, is significant because… Continue Reading →

Forests may lose ability to protect against extremes of climate change

Forests, one of the most dominate ecosystems on Earth, harbor significant biodiversity. Scientists have become increasingly interested in how this diversity is enhanced by the sheltering microclimates produced by trees. A recent University of Montana study suggests that a warming… Continue Reading →

Complication of ‘fat freezing’ procedure may be more common than thought

Cryolipolysis is a noninvasive cosmetic procedure that eliminates excess fat by freezing it. But a complication called paradoxical adipose hyperplasia (PAH) -a hardened area of localized fat developing after cryolipolysis — may be more common than previously thought, suggests a… Continue Reading →

Senate Farm Bill Offers Hope to Sustainable Agriculture Advocates

North Dakota Farmer Stephanie Blumhagen with Senator Heitkamp (D-ND) on Capitol Hill. Photo credit: NSAC. On June 28, the Senate passed its version of the 2018 Farm Bill with strong, bipartisan support – 86 Senators voted in favor of passage,… Continue Reading →

Planted Acreage Report Surprises

USDA’s planted acreage report out Friday contained some surprising numbers for the trade. The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) estimates 89.6 million acres of soybeans planted in the United States for 2018, down 1 percent from last year, and corn… Continue Reading →

Timac Agro USA Introduces Fertiactyl®ST Seed Treatment

Timac Agro USA, a provider of crop nutritional solutions, introduces Fertiactyl® ST, a liquid seed treatment suitable for any crop started from seed. This formulation was developed from Timac Agro’s Fertiactyl® GZ to help farmers battle environmental stress during spring… Continue Reading →

Up to half of childhood cancer survivors will develop hormone disorders

The Endocrine Society today issued a Clinical Practice Guideline advising healthcare providers on how to diagnose and treat the endocrine disorders that affect a significant portion of childhood cancer survivors in the United States today. The guideline, titled "Hypothalamic-Pituitary and… Continue Reading →

Simple sampling method eases identification of foot and mouth disease outbreaks

Sampling the environment is an effective way to detect foot and mouth disease, according to a paper published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology. The sampling method, swabbing environmental surfaces where livestock are… Continue Reading →

Off the scale: Can forensics save the world’s most-trafficked mammal?

A pioneering new project trials fingerprinting techniques to battle pangolin poaching. Forensic fingerprinting techniques will now be used in the battle against illegal wildlife trade as new methods of lifting fingermarks from trafficked animals, are announced today. Researchers at the… Continue Reading →

Lemurs can smell weakness in each other

Some people watch the competition carefully for the slightest signs of weakness. Lemurs, on the other hand, just give them a sniff. These primates from Madagascar can tell that a fellow lemur is weaker just by the natural scents they… Continue Reading →

USDA Quarterly Hogs & Pigs Report

As of June 1, there were 73.5 million hogs and pigs on U.S. farms, up three percent from June 2017, and up 1 percent from March 1, according to the USDA’s Quarterly Hogs and Pigs Report out Thursday. The National… Continue Reading →

Climate predictions should include impacts of CO2 on life

Climate change predictions are not taking account of the full range of possible effects of rising carbon dioxide levels, researchers say. Scientists currently use models in which warming of 1.5°C coincides with carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of between 425… Continue Reading →

Administering hormones affects DNA

The public debate on endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) — exogenous substances that have the same or similar effects as endogenous hormones — has been going on for some time. Chemicals such as bisphenol A or phthalates, the latter of which… Continue Reading →

Simple logic for nanofluidic computing simulated

Invigorating the idea of computers based on fluids instead of silicon, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have shown how computational logic operations could be performed in a liquid medium by simulating the trapping of ions… Continue Reading →

The culprit of some GaN defects could be nitrogen

As silicon-based semiconductors reach their performance limits, gallium nitride (GaN) is becoming the next go-to material to advance light-emitting diode (LED) technologies, high-frequency transistors and photovoltaic devices. Holding GaN back, however, is its high numbers of defects. This material degradation… Continue Reading →

Timing is key for bacteria surviving antibiotics

For bacteria facing a dose of antibiotics, timing might be the key to evading destruction. In a series of experiments, Princeton researchers found that cells that repaired DNA damaged by antibiotics before resuming growth had a much better chance of… Continue Reading →

Connection between genes, response to environmental chemicals

Why do individuals respond differently to the same environment? Researchers from North Carolina State University and Oregon State University have pinpointed a genetic difference in zebrafish tied to differing responses to the same environmental chemical. The work could have implications… Continue Reading →

Computing power used to track the spread of cancer

Princeton researchers have developed a new computational method that increases the ability to track the spread of cancer cells from one part of the body to another. This migration of cells can lead to metastatic disease, which causes about 90… Continue Reading →

Sintering atomically thin materials with ceramics now possible

For the first time, researchers have created a nanocomposite of ceramics and a two-dimensional material, opening the door for new designs of nanocomposites with such applications as solid-state batteries, thermoelectrics, varistors, catalysts, chemical sensors and much more. Sintering uses high… Continue Reading →

Newly developed therapeutic shown to combat drug addiction

A new therapeutic may help reverse chemical imbalances made to the brain by habitual drug use and could one day help recovering drug addicts avoid future drug use. Researchers from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston developed and… Continue Reading →

Zimfo Bytes 6/29

The Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) has announced that Corteva Agriscience Vice President of External Affairs and Chief Sustainability Officer Krysta Harden will receive the 5th annual Rosalind Franklin Award for Leadership in Industrial Biotechnology and Agriculture. Distinguished Professor Sang Yup… Continue Reading →

New testing finds synergistic combination leads to toxicity in nanomaterials

A new study finds reason for caution — a clear emergence of toxicity — in nanomaterial product formulations, but it also provides an early testing technique that could help the industry continue to move forward. In a surprise discovery, University… Continue Reading →

Higher doses of rifampin appear more effective in fighting TB without increasing risk of adverse events

Higher daily doses of rifampin, a cornerstone of tuberculosis treatment, killed more TB bacteria in sputum cultures, and the higher doses did so without increasing the adverse effects of treatment, according to a randomized controlled trial published online in the… Continue Reading →

Astronomers observe the magnetic field of the remains of supernova 1987A

For the first time, astronomers have directly observed the magnetism in one of astronomy's most studied objects: the remains of Supernova 1987A (SN 1987A), a dying star that appeared in our skies over thirty years ago. In addition to being… Continue Reading →

New coatings make natural fabrics waterproof

Fabrics that resist water are essential for everything from rainwear to military tents, but conventional water-repellent coatings have been shown to persist in the environment and accumulate in our bodies, and so are likely to be phased out for safety… Continue Reading →

The hidden complexity underlying a common cause of autism

Genes located in a large chromosomal aberration associated with autism interact with each other to modulate the variable symptoms of the disease, according to new research. A collaborative team led by Penn State researchers tested the role of these genes… Continue Reading →

New technology enables man to hold his granddaughter again

In the first known study of how amputees use advanced sensory-enabled prostheses outside the lab, subjects used a mechanical hand more regularly and for longer periods of time compared to traditional prostheses — and also reported a greater sense of… Continue Reading →

Novel hybrid catalyst to split water discovered

Researchers from the University of Houston and the California Institute of Technology have reported an inexpensive hybrid catalyst capable of splitting water to produce hydrogen, suitable for large-scale commercialization. Most systems to split water into its components — hydrogen and… Continue Reading →

Small bee ‘pollen thieves’ are not effective bumblebee substitutes

Bumblebee populations are declining in the United States for a range of reasons — loss of habitat, pesticide use, climate change, competition from non-native species, and non-native parasites. As major plant pollinators, bumblebees are important to plant reproduction and the… Continue Reading →

New mystery discovered regarding active asteroid phaethon

Based on a new study of how near-Earth asteroid Phaethon reflects light at different angles, astronomers think that its surface may reflect less light than previously thought. This is an exciting mystery for the recently approved DESTINY+ mission to investigate… Continue Reading →

Discovery unlocks secrets behind cancer drug resistance

University of Otago research provides insights into an underlying mechanism that could explain why new cancer therapies to help treat metastatic melanoma do not always work on patients, paving the way for predicting which patients will benefit from certain drugs…. Continue Reading →

Breakthrough in perovskite solar cell technology

The University of Surrey has helped to create a technique that has produced the highest performing inverted perovskite solar cell ever recorded. Perovskite based cells are widely viewed as the next generation of solar cells, offering similar power conversion efficiency… Continue Reading →

The novel function of self-renewal factor of spermatogonial stem cells is identified

A research team found a novel function of fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2), a self-renewal factor for spermatogonial stem cell (SSC) which is the origin of the sperm production. Although it has demonstrated that both FGF2 and glial cell line-derived… Continue Reading →

Drinking changes young adults’ metabolite profile

Adolescent drinking is associated with changes in the metabolite profile, a new study from the University of Eastern Finland and Kuopio University Hospital shows. Some of these changes were found to correlate with reduced brain grey matter volume, especially in… Continue Reading →

Self-monitoring of type 2 diabetes reduces follow-up costs by more than half

Self-monitoring of type 2 diabetes used in combination with an electronic feedback system results in considerable savings on health care costs especially in sparsely populated areas, a new study from the University of Eastern Finland shows. Self-monitoring delivers considerable savings… Continue Reading →

The scent of a man: What odors do female blackbuck find enticing in a male?

At Tal Chhapar, a wildlife sanctuary in the heart of the Thar desert, a strange drama is staged twice every year. In the blistering heat of summer from March to April and the post-monsoon months of September and October, up… Continue Reading →

Fish Fraud is Real. What Should we Eat?

There was a time in my life, not too long ago, when the only fish I ate were the fish I caught myself. Sportfishing was my passion. Back then, I’d have sooner driven a Hummer than bought a slab of… Continue Reading →

Farming With Intentional Biodiversity

Klaas Martens grew up farming intensively with chemicals; now he and his wife Mary-Howell are organic devotees operating a thriving farm and grain mill helping boost the regional economy in upstate New York “The day will come, probably in the… Continue Reading →

Monsanto's Roundup Weed-Killer Goes on Trial With Billions at Stake

After it was introduced in the 1970s, Roundup was promoted as an "herbicide that gets to the root of the problem." Now, four decades later, manufacturer Monsanto will face a lawsuit that seeks to get to the root of another… Continue Reading →

Can Organic Milk Survive Dairy's Decline?

Organic dairy has outperformed traditional dairy products by appealing to customers who look for the "USDA Organic" seal and view it as a guarantee of fresher, healthier products. According to the Organic Trade Association, parents between the ages of 18… Continue Reading →

Altering Human Genetics Through Vaccination

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has launched efforts to create a vaccine that would protect people from most flu strains, all at once, with a single shot. Over the years, I’ve written many articles refuting claims… Continue Reading →

More Than 200 Commonly Used Drugs Are Known to Cause Depression as a Side Effect

Historically, conventional science views depression as a side effect of a chemical imbalance in the brain. Most pharmaceutical-oriented solutions for depression still to this day revolve around this theory, even though the serotonin-hypothesis has been largely debunked.1 As noted in… Continue Reading →

The EU Must Reject the GMO Industry's Efforts to Hide Its New GMOs

New GMOs must be evaluated for safety – and if they are put on the market, they must be labelled and tracked, says seed group The European Court of Justice has announced that it will decide on the legal status… Continue Reading →

Tropical Forests Suffered Near-Record Tree Losses in 2017

In Brazil, forest fires set by farmers and ranchers to clear land for agriculture raged out of control last year, wiping out more than 3 million acres of trees as a severe drought gripped the region. Those losses undermined Brazil’s… Continue Reading →

Opinion: If We Want to Solve Complex Social and Environmental Problems, We Need to Think in Terms of Systems

Understanding how various parts of our world connect will help us shape solutions that don’t just create more challenges Most of us are taught, from a young age, that in order to solve a problem, we simply need to break… Continue Reading →

COMMENT: Senate Farm Bill Paves the Way for Farmer-Forward Farm Bill

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Reana KovalcikNational Sustainable Agriculture Coalition202-547-5754, [email protected] Senate Farm Bill Paves the Way for Farmer-Forward Farm BillNational Sustainable Agriculture praises bill, but laments lack of action on crop insurance reform Washington, DC, June 28, 2018 – Upon… Continue Reading →

Adding Value with Identity Preservation

Identity preservation (IP) is a popular way to add value to a grower’s corn crop, but it takes some attention to detail. “Identity preservation is a mindset,” said Chuck Hill, specialty products manager for AgriGold Hybrids. “You’re not producing corn…. Continue Reading →

Self-heating, fast-charging battery makes electric vehicles climate-immune

Californians do not purchase electric vehicles because they are cool, they buy EVs because they live in a warm climate. Conventional lithium-ion batteries cannot be rapidly charged at temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, but now a team of Penn State… Continue Reading →

Carbon dioxide-to-methanol process improved by catalyst

Dramatic improvements have been made to the process of converting carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, to methanol, a fuel and building block for a wide range of everyday materials, according to Penn State researchers. Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations are increasing… Continue Reading →

CAR-T immunotherapies may have a new player

Emerging CAR-T immunotherapies leverage modified versions of patient's T-cells to target and kill cancer cells. In a new study, published June 28 online in Cell Stem Cell, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and University of… Continue Reading →

Promising therapy’ for alcohol abuse

Alcohol abuse is among the leading causes of preventable death in the United States, killing more than 88,000 people a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control. That total is higher than the combined death tolls of HIV/AIDS, gun… Continue Reading →

Rapid 3D analysis of rockfalls in Yosemite

Yosemite National Park contains some of the world's most iconic landforms, including Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, and El Capitan. Although the cliffs of Yosemite Valley may appear static, rockfalls from these cliffs are common, with a rockfall occurring every four… Continue Reading →

The odds of living to 110-plus level out — once you hit 105

Want to be a supercentenarian? The chances of reaching the ripe old age of 110 are within reach — if you survive the perilous 90s and make it to 105 when death rates level out, according to a study of… Continue Reading →

Using artificial intelligence to understand volcanic eruptions from tiny ash

Scientists led by Daigo Shoji from the Earth-Life Science Institute (Tokyo Institute of Technology) have shown that an artificial intelligence program called a Convolutional Neural Network can be trained to categorize volcanic ash particle shapes. Because the shapes of volcanic… Continue Reading →

Men and women have different genetic risk factors for developing brain cancer

Glioma is the most common type of primary malignant brain tumor in the United States; glioblastoma being the most common type of glioma in adults. While sex differences in the incidence and survival rates of glioma were known, researchers had… Continue Reading →

Function of a mysterious component of the inner ear revealed

A few years ago, Ian Swinburne, HMS research fellow in systems biology, noticed something odd while conducting a time-lapse microscopy study of the inner ear of zebrafish. A tiny structure in the inner ear was pulsing like clockwork, inflating and… Continue Reading →

More than half of Amazonian armadillos carry leprosy

The bacteria that causes leprosy, a chronic disease that can lead to disfigurement and nerve damage, is known to be transmitted to humans from nine-banded armadillos. A new study in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases reports that 62% of the armadillos… Continue Reading →

Ancient Moroccan dental remains elucidate history of long-lost African fauna

Long before rhinoceros, giraffes, hippos, and antelopes roamed the African savannah, a group of large and highly specialized mammals known as embrithopods inhabited the continent. The most well known is Arsinoitherium, an animal that looked much like a rhinoceros but… Continue Reading →

The neuroscience of human vocal pitch

Among primates, humans are uniquely able to consciously control the pitch of their voices, making it possible to hit high notes in singing or stress a word in a sentence to convey meaning. On June 28 in the journal Cell,… Continue Reading →

How the flu virus builds a better mousetrap

For the first time, scientists have directly visualized in real-time structural changes in the surface protein of the influenza virus that may help the virus to fuse with and enter target cells before hijacking their functions. Researchers at Tufts University… Continue Reading →

New insights bolster Einstein’s idea about how heat moves through solids

A discovery by scientists at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory supports a century-old theory by Albert Einstein that explains how heat moves through everything from travel mugs to engine parts. The transfer of heat is fundamental to… Continue Reading →

Path to zero emissions starts out easy, but gets steep

Carbon dioxide emissions from human activities must approach zero within several decades to avoid risking grave damage from the effects of climate change. This will require creativity and innovation, because some types of industrial sources of atmospheric carbon lack affordable… Continue Reading →

Atomic movie of melting gold could help design materials for future fusion reactors

Researchers at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have recorded the most detailed atomic movie of gold melting after being blasted by laser light. The insights they gained into how metals liquefy have potential to aid the development… Continue Reading →

The evolution of testes

The loss of anatomical features is a frequent evolutionary event. For example, humans and other great apes have lost their tail and whales have lost their legs. The most convincing evidence comes from the presence of vestiges in fossils. Unfortunately,… Continue Reading →

Exploring bacterial social interactions to manipulate bacterial pathogens

A new study, to be published in Current Biology on 28 June, proposes new strategies to induce the collapse of bacterial populations, by manipulating social interactions in the human pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacterium that causes chronic lung infections. A… Continue Reading →

Study debunks notion that large chunks of Medicare go to lost causes

Around 25 percent of Medicare spending in the U.S. occurs in the last year of people's lives. This is sometimes discussed as a questionable use of resources: Is society throwing large amounts of medical treatment at some patients in a… Continue Reading →

Mutations in gene TRAF7 are associated with a multisystem disorder

A group of seven patients presenting with a similar disorder of unknown origin now know of a possible genetic root of their condition. A team of researchers sequenced all the protein-coding genes in the patients' genomes and identified four different… Continue Reading →

Injectable electronics offer powerful new tool in understanding how retinal cells work

Charles Lieber and his group are rewriting the rules of how scientists study retinal cells, and they're doing it with a single injection. For decades, scientists hoping to understand how the retina interprets visual input have often had to resort… Continue Reading →

The problem with solving problems

Although it's far from perfect by virtually any measure — whether poverty rates, violence, access to education, racism and prejudice or any number of others — the world continues to improve. Why, then, do polls consistently show that people believe… Continue Reading →

Global surface area of rivers and streams is 45 percent higher than previously thought

Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Texas A&M University used satellite images, on-the-ground measurements and a statistical model to determine how much of the earth is covered by rivers and streams. They found that global… Continue Reading →

Open relationships just as satisfying as monogamous ones

A new University of Guelph study has revealed that people in open relationships are as happy as their coupled-up counterparts. "We found people in consensual, non-monogamous relationships experience the same levels of relationship satisfaction, psychological well-being and sexual satisfaction as… Continue Reading →

Mars valleys traced back to precipitation

The surface of Mars bears imprints of structures that resemble fluvial steam networks on Earth. Scientists therefore assume that there must have been once enough water on the red planet to feed water streams that incised their path into the… Continue Reading →

More clues that Earth-like exoplanets are indeed Earth-like

A new study from the Georgia Institute of Technology provides new clues indicating that an exoplanet 500 light-years away is much like Earth. Kepler-186f is the first identified Earth-sized planet outside the solar system orbiting a star in the habitable… Continue Reading →

Genetic ancestry test users ‘cherry-pick’ which races to identify with

Genetic ancestry tests are often advertised as a tool to uncover new connections to diverse cultures and ancestries, but new research from the University of British Columbia has found people tend to pick and choose which races they identify with… Continue Reading →

New promise in search for simple, early test for Alzheimer’s disease

Researchers at Indiana University have found early evidence that tiny snippets of genetic material called microRNA may help with early detection of conditions such as Alzheimer's disease. The study, published June 18 in Nature Scientific Reports, found that changes in… Continue Reading →

Computational models provide novel genetic insights into atherosclerosis

Researchers have identified a new gene-activation pathway caused by lipids associated with coronary artery disease, a finding that could help identify new directions in research and drug development. The study was published in June in Nature Communications. The discovery that… Continue Reading →

Obesity + aging linked to Alzheimer’s markers in the brain

A new study suggests that when a high-fat, high-sugar diet that leads to obesity is paired with normal aging, it may contribute to the development of Alzheimer's disease. In addition, researchers discovered that certain areas of the brain respond differently… Continue Reading →

Farmers Take Sustainable Agriculture Priorities to Congress

Georgia farmer and NSAC farmer fly-in participant Tim Robinson II with NSAC Policy Specialist Wes King on Capitol Hill. Photo credit: Reana Kovalcik. Last week, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) hosted our second farmer fly-in of 2018, bringing in… Continue Reading →

Molecular brake on human cell division prevents cancer

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, and the University of Sussex, England, have discovered that the process of copying DNA generates a brake signal that stalls cell division. This molecular brake ensures that the cell has two complete copies of DNA… Continue Reading →

Light mixer generates 11 colors simultaneously

A multicolor laser pointer you can use to change the color of the laser with a button click — similar to a multicolor ballpoint pen — is one step closer to reality thanks to a new tiny synthetic material made… Continue Reading →

Mars dust storm may lead to new weather discoveries

Mars is experiencing an estimated 15.8-million-square-mile dust storm, roughly the size of North and South America. This storm may not be good news for the NASA solar-powered Opportunity rover, but one Penn State professor sees this as a chance to… Continue Reading →

What’s giant panda conservation worth? Billions every year, study shows

In China, the giant panda is clearly a cultural icon. And yet panda conservation, and the panda itself, is often criticized because of the associated cost. But an analysis reported in Current Biology on June 28 shows that panda conservation… Continue Reading →

I am human, hear me roar: Judging formidability from human vocalizations

Many animals — including sea lions, red deer, and dogs — use vocalizations to judge one another's size and physical formidability when in competition for mates or other resources. Now, researchers reporting in the journal iScience on June 28 have… Continue Reading →

Novel drug therapy partially restores hearing in mice

A small-molecule drug is the first to preserve hearing in a mouse model of an inherited form of progressive human deafness, report investigators at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, and the National Institutes of Health's National Institute on Deafness… Continue Reading →

Spectral cloaking could make objects invisible under realistic conditions

Researchers and engineers have long sought ways to conceal objects by manipulating how light interacts with them. A new study offers the first demonstration of invisibility cloaking based on the manipulation of the frequency (color) of light waves as they… Continue Reading →

Nanoaggregation on command

A combination of natural microtubules and synthetic macrocyclic receptors allows for the light-controlled, reversible aggregation of the microtubules into larger nanostructures. As Chinese scientists have reported in the journal Angewandte Chemie, when in a cellular environment these aggregated microtubules can… Continue Reading →

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