April 7, 2021
ISRAEL HAS BECOME A HUB FOR PARKINSON'S RESEARCH
Shani Stern (second from right)
A high rate of genetic Parkinson’s makes Israel a perfect lab for finding ways to prevent, stop and even cure this fast-growing neurological disorder which affects up to 10 million people worldwide. The disease is most often diagnosed in people over 60, more often males. Classic symptoms include tremor in about 60 percent of cases, rigidity, poor posture and slow movement.

But several decades before diagnosis, subtler symptoms like sleep disturbances and loss of smell often appear together with constipation and erectile dysfunction.

In the University of Haifa electrophysiology lab led by Shani Stern (pictured second from right), induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology is used to create neuron cell lines derived from genetic and non-genetic Parkinson’s patients. Observing these nerve cells as they develop and age, the team looks for common traits of different types of Parkinson’s disease as well as the roles of various genes in the process.

April 11, the birthday of James Parkinson — who first described this syndrome in 1817 — kicks off World Parkinson’s Awareness Week. Continue reading
COVID LOCKDOWNS WORSENED CONDITION OF PARKINSON'S PATIENTS
About 43% of Parkinson's patients in Israel reported a worsening of their condition during the coronavirus lockdowns, according to a new study by the University of Haifa.

The study, conducted among 150 patients by Dr. Galit Yogev-Seligmann and Dr. Michal Kafri, University of Haifa, found that 43% of patients reported a worsening in muscle stiffness, tremors, imbalance and fatigue. Some 37% of patients reported a worsening in their ability to walk, 42% reported depression, anxiety and loneliness and 34% gained weight. About 25% of respondents reported an increase in their need for help for routine chores and day-to-day life. Continue reading
IMPROVING THE PERCEPTION OF ROBOTIC UNDERWATER VEHICLES
University of Haifa researchers are part of an international consortium, led by the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence, working to significantly improve the perception of robotic underwater vehicles.

The possible applications of robotic systems are numerous. However, in practice, there is often a lack of functional technologies that enable autonomous robots to comprehensively perceive complex environments. Visual sensors such as cameras, which are used in robotics for tasks such as autonomous navigation, manipulation, mapping and object recognition, provide detailed information about the environment. Continue reading
DRUZE LEADERS WHO ARE CHANGING ISRAEL FOR THE BETTER
The Druze of northern Israel are a tiny religious and ethnic minority. Neither Muslim nor Christian, they comprise just 145,000 of the country’s 1.95 million Arab citizens. Yet Druze Israelis are well represented at senior levels in academia, politics, the military, science, medicine, arts, sports and business.

Professor Faud Fares (pictured) Associate Professor at University of Haifa's Human Biology Department, was featured as one of six Druze leaders changing Israel for the better, according to ISRAEL21c. Prof. Fares founded the molecular genetics lab at Carmel Medical Center and has headed it for 24 years. His goal is to screen the insular Druze population for genetic diseases.  Continue reading
RAN KOCHAV APPOINTED NEXT IDF SPOKESPERSON
IDF Aerial Defense Division Brig.-Gen. Ran (Ranko) Kochav (pictured) was appointed as the IDF’s next spokesperson by IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit recently announced.

Kochav was born in 1971 and joined the IDF’s Aerial Defense Division in 1989, where he served as a combat fighter and an officer. He previously served as the commander of the Aerial Defense Academy and the Military Police Corps. Since 2018, he has served as the OC of the IDF’s Aerial Defense Command.

Kochav holds an MA from the Air Command and Staff College in Montgomery, Alabama, and another MA in political science from the University of Haifa. He will replace Brig.-Gen. Hidai Zilberman, who was appointed as the IDF attaché in Washington, and will be promoted to the rank of major-general.