UCDP: fatalities in organised violence still decreasing

Press Releases   •   Jun 18, 2018 07:00 BST

New data from the Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP), Uppsala University shows that the number of fatalities in organised violence decreased for the third consecutive year. In 2017, almost 90,000 deaths were recorded by UCDP, a decrease of 32% compared to the latest peak in 2014. The most significant drop took place in Syria.

The past five years have witnessed high levels of fatalities compared to most years since the end of the Cold War. The wars in Syria have driven this trend.

“However, one should remember that the wars of the 21st century have been nowhere near as lethal as the large-scale wars of the 20th century, including Korea, Vietnam and the both world wars” says Therése Pettersson, project leader at the UCDP, Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University. “This long-term trend towards a more peaceful world holds even more strongly when controlling for increases in world population during this time period”, Pettersson clarifies.

In addition, the number of conflicts involving the state decreased, from 53 conflicts 2016 to 49 in 2017. The group known as the Islamic State (IS) has dominated the picture lately, and the group was challenging 15 different governments around the world during 2017. This is the highest number since IS announced its caliphate in 2014. They also fought against numerous different rebel groups as well as targeted civilians. Both Syria and Iraq launched large-scale offensives to defeat the group and by the end of 2017, IS had lost most of its territory in the region.

“This does not mean that the group is crushed”, warns Therése Pettersson. “IS groups have established themselves in many countries of the world and they continue to constitute a serious threat to people. One example comes from the Philippines, where an IS group attacked Marawi City in May 2017. The five-month siege resulted in over one thousand fatalities”.

Experts have warned that attacks against civilians, including terror attacks, may increase when IS is weakened. So far, however, the data from UCDP do not seem to support this forecast.

“Even if IS is the group targeting most civilians, the total number of victims in their attacks decreased in 2017 compared to in 2016”, says Pettersson.

Regarding conflicts between non-state groups – such as rebel groups or ethnic groups – the development in Africa has been worrying, Central African Republic and DR Congo in particular. UCDP registered the highest number of non-state conflict in the world during the entire 1989-2017 period, 82 non-state conflicts in 2107. Fifty of these took place in Africa.

The results presented in the press release will be published in the Journal of Peace Research. 
 http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0022343318784101, DOI: 10.1177/0022343318784101,

For more information, please contact:

Project manager Therése Pettersson, UCDP, Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University, Sweden. Phone: +4670-6496491 Email: therese.pettersson@pcr.uu.se 

Uppsala University -- quality, knowledge, and creativity since 1477
World-class research and outstanding education of global benefit to society, business, and culture.
Uppsala University is one of northern Europe's highest ranked academic institutions. www.uu.se

​New data from the Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP), Uppsala University shows that the number of fatalities in organised violence decreased for the third consecutive year. In 2017, almost 90,000 deaths were recorded by UCDP, a decrease of 32% compared to the latest peak in 2014. The most significant drop took place in Syria.

Read more »

Endocrine-disrupting pesticides impair frog reproduction

Press Releases   •   Jun 14, 2018 10:00 BST

In a new study, researchers from Sweden and Britain have investigated how the endocrine-disrupting substance linuron affects reproduction in the West African clawed frog. The scientists found that linuron, which is used as a pesticicide, impaired the males’ fertility, and that tadpoles developed ovaries instead of testicles to a greater extent, which caused a female‐biased sex ratio.

Large-scale whaling in north Scandinavia may date back to 6th century

Press Releases   •   Jun 13, 2018 14:12 BST

The intensive whaling that has pushed many species to the brink of extinction today may be several centuries older than previously assumed. This view is held by archaeologists from Uppsala and York whose findings are presented in the European Journal of Archaeology.

Extent of immune response associated with degree of inflammation and joint damage in rheumatoid arthritis

Press Releases   •   Jun 12, 2018 09:00 BST

To diagnose rheumatoid arthritis, antibodies to the amino acid citrulline are commonly measured. A new study from Uppsala University shows that a broad mix of different antibodies in the joints is the dominant factor that can be associated with severe inflammation and joint damage. These findings, published in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, may eventually lead to improved diagnostics.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects joints and other organs. To assist diagnosis of the disease, analysis of antibodies to the amino acid citrulline is performed. These ACPAs (anti-citrullinated protein antibodies), which form in response to inflammation, were first described some 20 years ago. ACPAs can be demonstrated in roughly two-thirds of all patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

Subsequent research has shown genetic differences between RA patients with and without ACPAs. The onset of ACPA-positive RA has also proved to be strongly associated with smoking, while this does not apply to RA patients without ACPA.

“So RA patients with and without ACPA probably have different diseases with separate causes, but start with a similar clinical picture,” explains Professor Johan Rönnelid, who heads the research team behind the study.

As a category, RA patients with ACPAs have more joint inflammation, with more joint damage assessed by means of X-rays, than RA patients without ACPAs. Common ACPA tests are designed to detect most ACPAs irrespective of which proteins they react with, but it is known that different RA patients react by producing antibodies against different citrullinated proteins or protein fragments.

When auto-antibodies bind to corresponding substances naturally produced by (native to) the body, immune complexes are formed that can then trigger inflammation. As two research groups have shown, ACPAs can form these immune complexes in vitro and cause inflammation there. ACPAs have been assumed to induce inflammation through their presence in immune complexes in the inflamed joint.

“But no one has previously shown that immune complexes containing ACPAs are present in RA patients’ body fluids. Overall, there has been very little research on which antibodies are present in immune complexes associated with different diseases, since practicable lab methods have been lacking,” Rönnelid says.

Azita Sohrabian, a PhD student and research engineer at the Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology at Uppsala University, has developed a method of isolating immune complexes from various body fluids, and then combined this method with measurement of 19 ACPAs against various citrulline-containing protein fragments in serum and synovial fluid, and in immune complexes, from 77 RA patients. No single ACPA was found to be generally more associated than the other ACPAs with the degree of inflammation and joint damage. On the other hand, the number of different ACPAs that it was possible to demonstrate in the immune complexes from inflamed joints was associated with several different measures of joint destruction and inflammation.

These findings support the suspicion that ACPAs can be pathogenic by forming immune complexes in the joints of RA patients, where these immune complexes can then cause joint inflammation. No single ACPA appears to be particularly important. Instead, the results indicate that a wide range of ACPAs in immune complexes from the joints can induce the local inflammation and drive the process of joint damage in RA. These findings correspond to what has previously been shown in antibody-induced joint inflammation in experimental animals, where various different antibodies to the same protein are required simultaneously to generate inflammation.

Reference: Sohrabian A, Mathsson-Alm L, Hansson M, et al. Ann Rheum Dis Epub ahead
of print 12062018 doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2017-212627

For more information, please contact Professor Johan Rönnelid, 070 3379416, johan.ronnelid@igp.uu.se

Uppsala University -- quality, knowledge, and creativity since 1477
World-class research and outstanding education of global benefit to society, business, and culture.
Uppsala University is one of northern Europe's highest ranked academic institutions. www.uu.se

To diagnose rheumatoid arthritis, antibodies to the amino acid citrulline are commonly measured. A new study from Uppsala University shows that a broad mix of different antibodies in the joints is the dominant factor that can be associated with severe inflammation and joint damage. These findings, published in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, may eventually lead to improved diagnostics.

Read more »

​First public forecasts from ViEWS, a political Violence Early-Warning System

Press Releases   •   Jun 08, 2018 10:24 BST

The challenges of preventing, mitigating, and adapting to largescale political violence are daunting, particularly when violence escalates where it is not expected. With funding from the European Research Council, ViEWS: a political Violence Early-Warning System is developing a system that is rigorous, data-based, and publicly available to researchers and the international community.

Shamus Khan awarded the 2018 Hans L. Zetterberg Prize

Press Releases   •   Jun 05, 2018 08:57 BST

Professor Shamus Khan at Columbia University is the second recipient of the Hans L. Zetterberg Prize in Sociology. The prize sum is SEK 100,000.

Professor Shamus Khan at Columbia University is awarded the prize for his outstanding contributions to the study of elites. By turning our gaze towards the elite, Khan refers to classic sociology as well as contributes to the reinvigoration of research on stratification and inequality. Khan shows how the US elite functions, how it reproduces, and its role in modern society. Elite education has been central in his works. In addition, Khan studies the role of elites in the sphere of art.

The Hans L. Zetterberg Prize is awarded to “young researchers, from Sweden or elsewhere, who have advanced the research front with their academic work, preferably by fruitfully combining theory and practice”. The award shall be presented annually and considered international.

The prize ceremony will take place in Uppsala on September 27, 2018.

About the prize:
The award has been made possible through a donation from Hans L. Zetterberg’s family: his wife Karin Busch Zetterberg; son Martin C. Zetterberg and daughter Anne D. Zetterberg. The donation also covers furnishing and books in the Hans L. Zetterberg Room at the Department of Sociology at Uppsala University. Hans L. Zetterberg (1927–2014) studied sociology in Uppsala and was one of Torgny Segerstedt’s first students in the new subject which was first taught in Sweden in 1947. He worked at the Department of Sociology at Uppsala University for several years (Licentiate of Arts 1952).

For more information please contact: Patrik Aspers, Professor at the Department of Sociology, tel: + 46 18-471 5191, email: patrik.aspers@soc.uu.se

Uppsala University -- quality, knowledge, and creativity since 1477
World-class research and outstanding education of global benefit to society, business, and culture.
Uppsala University is one of northern Europe's highest ranked academic institutions. www.uu.se

Professor Shamus Khan at Columbia University is the second recipient of the Hans L. Zetterberg Prize in Sociology. The prize sum is SEK 100,000.

Read more »

Press Registration Now Open for Uppsala Health Summit 2018 on Cancer Challenges

Press Releases   •   Jun 04, 2018 14:34 BST

The challenges of future cancer care are in focus when Uppsala Health Summit 2018 opens next week. The annual summit will be attended by important international actors from health organisations, academia, industry, civil society and policy organisations.

The number of people who fall ill in cancer is increasing globally. Medical advancements open up unprecedented opportunities for slowing down and treat cancer, but the gap between what is medically possible and what healthcare can provide is constantly growing. Many important discoveries do not benefit individual patients as they are either too expensive, do not live up to regulatory standards or access is unequally distributed in society. A recent report, published ahead of the meeting, points to the underused potential of many the new treatments and drugs, and the obstacles associated with their use. The goal of Uppsala Health Summit is to meet across sector borders, share experiences and generate insights that can help advance cancer care globally.

Time and Place: Uppsala Castle, Uppsala, 14–15 June, 09:00–17:00.

Journalists are welcome on both days. To sign up, please register using this link:
https://reg.akademikonferens.se/uhs2018/Press

All plenary sessions and workshops are open to journalists. Please note that participation in workshops require registration which is only valid for one workshop on each day. Moving between workshops during ongoing discussions is not permitted.

Click here for the summit programme.

Download the Uppsala Health Summit Pre-Conference Report.

Links to previous press releases:
Uppsala Health Summit Report: "Time to ask tough questions about cancer" (28 May 2018)

World Cancer Day 2018: Better cancer care in focus at Uppsala Health Summit 2018 (2 Feb 2018)

For enquiries, please contact Uppsala University Senior Press Officer Anneli Waara,
tel: +46 18 070 425 07 18, or Press Officer Linda Koffmar, tel: +46 70 425 08 64, or presskontakt@uadm.uu.se

Uppsala Health Summit is a collaborative project led by Uppsala University, which includes the Swedish University of Agricultural Science, Uppsala Region, Uppsala University Hospital, the Medical Products Agency, the National Veterinary Institute, the National Food Agency, Uppsala Monitoring Centre, the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (Forte), the City of Uppsala, the network World Class Uppsala and the Swedish Childhood Cancer Foundation.

The challenges of future cancer care are in focus when Uppsala Health Summit 2018 opens next week. The annual summit will be attended by important international actors from health organisations, academia, industry, civil society and policy organisations.

Read more »

Uppsala University and EATRIS announce public–private collaboration

Press Releases   •   Jun 04, 2018 11:00 BST

Uppsala University, Uppsala University Hospital and the European Infrastructure for Translational Medicine (EATRIS) have formed a collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to deliver a clinical and scientific expert network for the development and application of innovative imaging methods for inflammatory diseases. This international multi-site hub will produce several projects per year with enhanced speed and throughput.

While existing clinical imaging tools provide useful endpoints in clinical trials, they typically lack sufficient cellular and molecular information to fully understand drug response. Imaging has the potential to interrogate inflammatory cell populations, quantitatively in different tissues. This alliance aims to unlock this potential by delivering new clinical tools. Applying imaging in information-rich, small cohort studies can provide a high, immediate impact to enhance R&D productivity: developing our understanding of disease in the patient; enriching clinical trial cohorts; measuring therapeutic response.

“It is a great opportunity for Uppsala University and Uppsala University Hospital to be a part of this immune inflammation imaging hub. With unique expertise, Uppsala will have an important role in this network and the scientific challenging projects to come. We hope for a long-term and productive collaboration with one of the largest pharmaceutical companies of the market,” says Mats Larhed, EATRIS National Director, Sweden.

The imaging hub aims to achieve these goals by: (1) optimising existing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) technology for drug development. (2) translating emerging PET and optical cell-specific probes towards the clinic. The first three projects with a focus around immune cell specific imaging have now been initiated.

The initiative creates a scientific bridge between GSK’s clinical imaging scientists and five leading European imaging and experimental medicine research institutes within the EATRIS network: Academic Medical Center Amsterdam, Radboud University Medical Center Nijmegen, University Medical Center Groningen, VU University Medical Center Amsterdam in the Netherlands, and Uppsala University and Uppsala University Hospital in Sweden. To enable experts in the alliance to fully focus on the scientific and technical challenges, EATRIS acts as portfolio manager, playing a key role in developing and administering the legal framework and operations, for optimal speed and efficiency. EATRIS will facilitate initiation of both independent and collaborative transnational projects under a master framework, with up-front auditing and quality agreements.

“In Europe, EATRIS is in a unique position to construct bespoke international research collaborations from concept to execution of contracts. We are very excited about this novel collaboration format, combining GSK’s wealth of knowledge around drug development with the clinical and technical expertise from EATRIS institutions having highly specialised molecular imaging and experimental medicine capacity, all supported with dedicated coordination staff within the EATRIS central support office,” says Anton Ussi, Operations and Finance Director of EATRIS.


About EATRIS

The European Infrastructure for Translational Medicine (EATRIS) is a non-profit, permanent European research infrastructure consortium (ERIC) that comprises more than 90 research institutions in 12 European countries. EATRIS focuses on accelerating medical discoveries to clinical development through innovative use of infrastructure and scientific expertise provided by top-level European academic research centres. EATRIS is active in the fields of ATMP, biomarkers, imaging and tracing, small molecules and vaccines.

For more information see: www.eatris.eu or contact Ulrika Bäckman, National coordinator, EATRIS Sweden, tel: + 46 70-1679474 email: ulrika.backman@medsci.uu.se

Uppsala University -- quality, knowledge, and creativity since 1477
World-class research and outstanding education of global benefit to society, business, and culture.
Uppsala University is one of northern Europe's highest ranked academic institutions. www.uu.se

Uppsala University, Uppsala University Hospital and the European Infrastructure for Translational Medicine (EATRIS) have formed a collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to deliver a clinical and scientific expert network for the development and application of innovative imaging methods for inflammatory diseases.

Read more »

Ticks on migratory birds found to carry newly discovered hemorrhagic fever virus

Press Releases   •   Jun 01, 2018 07:20 BST

In a new study, researchers at Uppsala University and other institutions have identified genetic material from the recently identified Alkhurma hemorrhagic fever virus in the tick species Hyalomma rufipes. The discovery was made after thousands of ticks were collected from migratory birds . The results indicate that birds could contribute to spreading the virus to new geographical areas.

Virus genes from city pond rescue bacteria

Press Releases   •   May 28, 2018 16:00 BST

A key question in evolutionary biology is how new functions arise. New research at Uppsala University shows that bacteriophages (viruses that infect bacteria) can contribute to new functions by revealing hidden potential in their bacterial hosts.

Bacteriophages are the most numerous organisms on Earth (about1031). Every day, they infect and kill 15–30% of all bacteria in the world’s oceans. In a new study, published in Nature Ecology & Evolution, researchers have investigated how bacteriophages, instead of killing bacteria, transmit genes that help the bacterium Escherichia coli (E. coli) survive.

“We found a new, unexpected mechanism whereby genes from bacteriophages enable bacteria to use their hidden potential and establish a new function,” says researcher and lead author Jon Jerlström-Hultqvist.

First, the scientists removed an essential gene (ilvA) from the bacterium. They then investigated whether bacteriophage genes (isolated from Svandammen, “Swan Pond”, in central Uppsala) could rescue the bacteria. The researchers identified a new group of genes that code for enzymes: S-adenosyl methionine (SAM) hydrolases. These enzymes break down SAM and, as a result, boost biosynthesis of the amino acid methionine, a precursor to SAM. One of the enzymes required for methionine biosynthesis has a side reaction that enables the E. coli bacterium to compensate for the absence of the essential ilvA gene.

The study in question shows that, to understand how a bacterium works, the functions normally found in bacteria are not the only ones that need investigating. The hidden potential of the bacterial cell can be manifested when its metabolic state changes, for example in a bacteriophage infection. According to Professor Dan I. Andersson, who heads the study in question,

“The new function in this study is that these bacteriophage enzymes have the ability to break down an important cell component (SAM) of the bacterium. When this component breaks down, the bacterial cell resets its metabolism and a new function becomes available. Moreover, it is very important to understand the hidden potential of bacteria and whether it can affect the development of antibiotic resistance and its pathogenicity,” says Professor Andersson, who heads the study.

The research was funded by the Swedish Research Council and the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation (KAW).

Article: Jon Jerlström Hultqvist, Omar Warsi, Annika Söderholm, Michael Knopp, Ulrich Eckhard, Egor Vorontsov, Maria Selmer, and Dan I. Andersson. A bacteriophage enzyme induces bacterial metabolic perturbation that confers a novel promiscuous function. Nature Ecology & Evolution. Advance Online Publication May 28, 2018. DOI 10.1038/s41559-018-0568-5

For information about this research at Uppsala University, contact:
Dan I. Andersson, phone: +46 (0)70-167 90 77, email: Dan.Andersson@imbim.uu.se; Maria Selmer, email Maria.Selmer@icm.uu.se, phone: +46 (0)18-471 41 77, maria.selmer@imbim.uu.se, or Jon Jerlström Hultqvist, email jon.jerlstromhultqvist@dal.ca

Uppsala University -- quality, knowledge, and creativity since 1477
World-class research and outstanding education of global benefit to society, business, and culture.
Uppsala University is one of northern Europe's highest ranked academic institutions. www.uu.se

​A key question in evolutionary biology is how new functions arise. New research at Uppsala University shows that bacteriophages (viruses that infect bacteria) can contribute to new functions by revealing hidden potential in their bacterial hosts.

Read more »

Contacts 8 contacts

  • Press Contact
  • Press Officer
  • elin.backstrom@uadm.uu.se
  • +46 18 471 17 06
  • +46 70 425 09 83

  • Press Contact
  • Press Officer
  • shliquwenda.kocfuxrttrffwkdxmar@ualqdm.uwdrtrnhxepmklfsru.se
  • +46 (0)18-471 19 59
  • +46 (0)70-425 08 64

  • Press Contact
  • Senior Press Officer
  • anneli.waara@uadm.uu.se
  • +46 (0)18-471 1974
  • +46 (0)70-425 0718

About Uppsala University

Uppsala University -- quality, knowledge, and creativity since 1477

World-class research and outstanding education of global benefit to society, business, and culture.
Uppsala University is one of northern Europe's highest ranked academic institutions. www.uu.se

Address

  • Uppsala University
  • S:t Olofsgatan 10B, Box 256
  • 751 05 Uppsala
  • Our homepage