At an advocacy on child rights earlier this week by Children’s Rights in Goa (CRG) and Arz, an organisation working for victims of trafficking, presented a study of four slums that identified children and adolescents residing in these areas as most vulnerable to sexual abuse.Advocate Sushma Mandrekar alias Chodankar, Chairperson, Goa State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (GSCPCR) on Friday said that the organisation has taken note of the study presented by director of Arz, Arun Pandey, and she will take appropriate action after consulting various stakeholders. She said that many of the issues will be addressed once their State Action Plan of was implemented in the near future.She said that GSCPCR was mandated to look into all children’s issues. “As per the Goa Children’s Act, we need to work with every department related to children, it cannot be only be Directorate of Women and Child Development.”Ms. Mandrekar further said,“My first task when I joined the Commission was activation of village child committees but most of them did not respond.”Mr. Pandey said that they conducted the study in the port taluk of Marmugao in south Goa. Through questionnaires, focus and group discussions, they researched sexual abuse of children in the age group 10 to 18 years and develop skills and suggestions to address it. They found that boys were sexually abused in jungles and houses when their parents were not there and girls were molested and eve teased.It also found that child marriage still existed among migrants who have settled in Goa for many years. In Baina girls are married as early as 12 years, Mangoor 14 to 17 years, Birla 14-15 years and Zarre 13 to 14 years.These children were not aware of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. They were only aware about penetrative sex and nothing else. Mr. Pandey identified some unsafe places such as in Baina, burial grounds, toilets, railway stations, Vasco bridge, and named certain bars and hotels. In Mangoor, the jungle, construction sites, toilets, and named a school, bars and hotels and a prayer place. In Birla, it was paan shops, a public hotel and some bars, hotels; for Zuari, public toilets, laundry, narrow lanes, and four slums areas.Arz said that suggestions from the children in these areas included police patrolling near bus stops, installing CCTV cameras, taking away license from bars, separate entry for toilets, government constructed toilets inside the house, proper street lights, setting up an outpost, a women’s helpline and sensitisation programmes with the police. Arz shared the suggestions with various authorities in Vasco, Verna, BDO, Chief Officer and Mormugao Municipality but no change was seen. He said that the State must play a pro-active role in safeguarding children by providing timely human resources and infrastructure.Father Maverick Fernandes, member of GSCPCR, said that from June a Child Help Desk was set up on Margao Railway Station by Childline in south Goa, where child and human trafficking used to take place.Children are most vulnerabe to drugs, he said. Because of the cost, the children even sniff whiteners. Authorities are aware of this but are helpless as the law is not stringent enough for children and are often misused. In north Goa beaches, children were found selling blowing objects late at night. Teenage pregnancies in schools are also on the rise.Snehal Salgaonkar from CRG said that they conducted a survey of children in Kharaswaddo and Calangute and found problems of corporal punishment, truancy, Balika Manch not functioning, inadequate toilets, no provision to throw sanitary pads, loud music and eve teasing.
Last fall, Geoffrey Ling, a top biotechnology research official at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), challenged neuroscientists to do something extraordinary: Develop an implantable device that can restore memory loss in vets with traumatic brain injuries. Offering up to $40 million in short-term, high-stakes funding, Ling said, “Here’s the golden ring—who’s brave enough to step up and actually grab it?”Today, DARPA announced two academic teams that will spend the next 4 years attempting to meet that challenge as part of President Barack Obama’s roughly $110 million Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative. Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), will receive up to $15 million to develop a memory-restoring prosthesis that focuses on the entorhinal cortex and hippocampus—brain regions key to memory formation. A second team at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) will receive up to $22.5 million to develop a device that can monitor and modulate many different brain regions involved in memory formation and storage.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Some researchers, however, are skeptical that the efforts will make major headway on such a complicated problem.Both the UCLA team, led by neurosurgeon Itzhak Fried, and the UPenn team, led by neuroscientist Michael Kahana, will start out by studying neuronal activity in people with epilepsy, who are often recruited for brain stimulation studies because they were already treated through open-brain surgery. Fried will build on his earlier work in epileptic patients, which has shown that stimulating the entorhinal cortex improves performance on a computer game that requires players to quickly learn and remember where to drop off taxi passengers in a virtual city. Next, he will use data from those studies to build computational models of how the entorhinal cortex and hippocampus work together to convert daily experiences into lasting memories.Kahana also aims to develop a computational model of memory formation, but using a different approach. By searching the brains of epileptic patients for electrical “biomarkers” of memory retrieval and storage, he hopes to build a program that can detect when memory goes awry and instruct a device to help repair it.The U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and the device manufacturer Medtronic will also contribute to the efforts, aiming to build neurostimulators at least 10 times smaller than previous devices. Contractual agreements about rights to the technologies are still under way, according to DARPA officials.If successful, the researchers ultimately hope to conduct the first clinical trials of deep brain stimulation in people with traumatic brain injury. That’s a “very achievable and realizable” goal because the teams are building on solid existing research in people and animals, says James Giordano, a neuroscientist at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., who serves as a neuroethics adviser to DARPA’s BRAIN-related efforts.The viability of the DARPA effort will depend greatly on what kind of memory loss people with traumatic brain injury actually have, says Roger Redondo, a neuroscientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. Memory loss can result from problems with either storage or retrieval, he notes. In the case of a storage problem, the connections that form a memory were either never formed to begin with, or were destroyed, he says. In such cases, “no implantable device is going to help.”On the other hand, if a traumatic injury produces a retrieval problem, in which most of a memory is there, but simply difficult to access, stimulation could potentially be useful, he says. “It is going to be extremely hard,” however, to determine which cells contain the memory and precisely tune electrical stimulation to drive its retrieval, he says. “The complexity of the brain, and the hippocampus, is such that any change in voltage that a microelectrode or chip can apply, even in a tiny area, will affect multitudes of neurons in uncontrolled ways,” he says.Relying too heavily on epilepsy as a model for traumatic brain injury could also be problematic, says neuropsychologist James Sumowski of the Kessler Foundation in West Orange, New Jersey. Although some people with such injuries go on to develop epilepsy, most don’t show the same patterns of abnormal electrical activity or areas of atrophy that epileptic patients do, he says. “They are very different disorders.”On the bright side, such challenges define the kind of “blue-sky, high-risk” project that DARPA is uniquely positioned to take on, Redondo says. Given the 270,000 veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars who have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury, nothing less than a major scientific leap is required, says Justin Sanchez, program manager for DARPA’s memory restoration program. As things stand, the options for injured service members “are very few.”*Correction, 11 July, 12:10 p.m.: A previous version of this story attributed the final quote by Justin Sanchez to Geoffrey Ling. The story has been corrected.