Griffins blow past San Juan

Los Alamitos High’s football team achieved a blowout 42-7 non-league victory against San Juan Hills High on Thursday, Sept. 25.The Griffins came out thundering since the start of the game and never let up.“It’s a good win. We played very well on defense, and ran a lot of plays on offense,” said Los Al’s head coach John Barnes.Defense was the key word in Los Al’s victory as they allowed no points through the first half and the latter parts of the third quarter.Griffins’ Matt Locher was pivotal in the victory as his dominating presence in the defensive line broke down San Juan’s running game.Just as pivotal in the victory was the Griffins offense. They capitalized on the opportunities afforded to them by the defense and walked into the locker room at the half up 35-0.Griffins’ quarterback Jack Telenko had three touchdown passes and even ran one in on his own for a rushing score.“I think he’s great,” said Barnes. “ He’s getting better all the time and he makes our team good.”Telenko threw all three touchdown receptions in the first half of the game.His first was to out to the right to receiver Jacob Gasser for a 10-yard reception to get themselves on the scoreboard.Telenko’s next scoring throw was up the middle of the field to receiver Joe Wysocki who brushed off a couple of tackles on his way to the endzone with about a minute left in the first quarter.His last was to running back Schuyler Whitehead to make it 28-0. Whitehead would go on later in the second quarter to notch home his second rushing touchdown making it 35-0 with less than five minutes left in the half.San Juan Hills never really found it’s rhythm against Los Al. They had turnover after turnover, which is why the Griffins were able to put up mass amounts of points quickly.San Juan did muster up a bit of momentum to get themselves on the scoreboard late in the third quarter. After a huge reception by their standout receiver Jacob Huff, San Juan suddenly found itself a yard away from the endzone. On the next play San Juan forced its way in the endzone and onto the scoreboard.Despite mustering some momentum, the efforts from San Juan came far to late to worry the Los Al sideline.The Griffins never skipped a beat on defense, and make their opponents feel their presence up until the end of the game.Well into San Juan’s final drive of the game, Los Al would deliver its final morale killing play.Griffins’ Trevor Repogle picked off a forced pass up out to the right with only a two minutes left in the game.Los Al would wind out the clock to finish the game, and were met with a roaring reception by its fan who made the drive out to Veterans Stadium.After the game, Los Al’s coach John Barnes had only one response to what he believes was his team’s strongest facet and that is “winning.”Los Al will look to improve on it 4-0 winning record when it faces its next opponent, Narbonne High, on Oct. 3 away from home.

Chargers win five straight to take tourney

The Cypress College girls’ basketball team defeated East Los Angeles, 57-4,5 to win the 29th annual Lady Charger Classic. Cypress won five games in a row to improve its record to 6-3 on the season.Jeana Magana led all scorers with 16 points and Sloan Turner scored 8 points and pulled down 16 rebounds. East LA's Karina Ortiz led the Huskies with 13 points and 14 boards and selected to the All-Tourney team. Turner was named to the tourney's MVP, Magana and point guard Sam Soria were named to the All-Tourney team.The victory also provided the Chargers with some sweet revenge. After all, Cypress College lost to East LA last year in the championship game. The Chargers are heading to Antelope Valley for their next tournament. The Chargers defeat East LA 57-45 to win the 29th Annual Lady Charger Classic. Cypress won five games in a row to improve its record to 6-3 on the season. Jeana Magana led all scorers with 16 points while Sloan Turner scored 8 points and pulled down 16 rebounds. East LA's Karina Ortiz led the Huskies with 13 points and 14 boards and selected to the All-Tourney team. Turner was named to the tourney's MVP, Magana and point guard Sam Soria were named to the All-Tourney team.The victory for the Chargers meant they got some sweet revenge, because they lost to East LA last year in the championship game. The Chargers are heading to Antelope Valley for their next tournament

Griffins miss opportunity

The Los Alamitos High football team had a solid defensive effort but could not muster enough offense, as the Griffins were eliminated from the CIF-SS Southwest Division playoffs with a 10-7 loss to La Habra on Friday at La Habra High.The Griffins compiled just 141 total yards of offense and suffered some key turnovers to end scoring chances. While the Griffin defense exchanged big stops and turnover with the La Habra defense, the Highlanders were finally able to take advantage of a big play late in the game.On third and five from their own 16-yard line, the Highlanders had a short pass to running back Christian Casas that turned into a 54-yard play down to the Griffin 30 yard line. The Highlanders then moved the ball to the eight yard line before kicking a go-ahead field goal with 3:18 left in the game.The Griffins started the ensuing possession at their own 20-yard line, but a trick play resulted in an intentional grounding penalty that put the Griffins back at their own seven yard line on second and 24. The Griffins were eventually forced to punt and La Habra was able to run out the clock.The game had started with a missed opportunity for the Griffins as they forced a fumble on the opening kickoff. Matt Locher recovered the fumble to set the Griffins up at La Habra 29-yard line. But the Griffins could not capitalize as they attempted a fourth and 15 from the 22-yard line. The La Habra defense hit quarterback Cody Marshall as he set up to pass and forced a fumble.La Habra was able to convert the turnover into a 7-0 lead as they drove 72 yards in eight plays to get a five-yard touchdown run by Greg Gaines. La Habra was able to compile 302 total yards of offense, but the Griffin defense came up with key stops to keep the game in check.The Griffins were able to tie the game late in the first quarter after forcing a punt that was downed at the Los Alamitos 48 yard line. Aided by a pass interference penalty, the Griffins were able to move the ball to the Highlander 21-yard line.From there, Kendall Brownlow was able to break free for a 21-yard touchdown run that tied the game with 1:16 left in the first quarter. Late in the second quarter, the Highlanders moved the ball to the Los Alamitos 10-yard line, but the Griffin defense forced a fumble that was recovered by Connor Burley to end the threat.La Habra would get another chance a few minutes later after forcing a fumble. They moved the ball to the Griffin 31-yard line, but on fourth-and-8, Griffin linebacker Kevin Small sacked the quarterback to end the threat.Late in the third quarter, the Highlanders moved to the Los Alamitos 20-yard line but defensive back Dashawn Gordon intercepted a pass at the 1-yard line to end the drive. Early in the fourth, Locher came up with a fourth down sack to give the Griffins the ball at the Highlander 41-yard line, but Los Alamitos could not convert it into points.

It’s time to play ball!

Play ball! The inaugural Crescent Little League baseball season has begun! La Palma Continental Little League and Buena Park American Little League have merged into one league. On Saturday, Feb. 28, the newfound league kicked off the season with its Opening Day ceremony. A robust pancake breakfast preceded the ceremony.The Kiwanis Club of La Palma was at Walker Jr. High School bright and early, preparing breakfast for the teams, coaches and parents. Breakfast was served in the gymnasium of the junior high. Perfectly shaped pancakes and sausages were served and orange juice and coffee flowed freely. The local club has been serving this event for more than 15 years and is proud and happy to continue the service.For most of the early morning, the line for food was out of the gym door, as parents and young ballplayers filtered in at different times, but always in healthy numbers. Once they entered the gym, they were greeted by members of the Kennedy High School freshman football team, who were there to show support and to fundraise. Members of the team handed out plates and utensils to the eager eaters. There was a station of Kennedy stickers, tee shirts, and hoodies to dig into if one wanted to reciprocate the support.Gift certificates from local restaurants, complimentary meal passes, bobble heads, pitching lessons, and coolers were raffled off, among other items. There was also a 50/50 raffle, which ended up netting the lucky winner $206.After two hours of breakfast being served, everyone marched on to the neighboring Continental fields. Once the teams had organized in and around the baseball diamond, the opening day ceremony was initiated by league president, Bill Mead. After the Pledge of Allegiance, the National Anthem, and God Bless America had been voiced, last year’s All Star team was introduced and celebrated.After a few familiar guest speakers, Mr. Mead introduced the teams, beginning with the sluggers of the t-ball division. These teams were followed by teams in the Minor C, Minor B, Minor A, Majors, and Challenger divisions.“What a start to the day,” said Mead. “To start with an awesome breakfast and to blend two great traditions into one makes this really special.”The players were ready. They could be seen running the bases or playing catch whenever they could get away with it. In addition to serving large portions of Buena Park and La Palma, the Crescent Little League also serves areas of Cypress, but not all. Interested parties can visit the league website, www.crescentlittleleague.org, for an official league boundary map and other official league information.After introductions, some select teams stayed on the fields and began warming up. Games ran from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. because opening day is exactly that. The season is here and full of possibilities. Games will be played at the Continental fields in La Palma and at the American fields in Buena Park.“As a parent, these days never get old,” said Alyssa Mora. “To see the kids having fun, ready to start the season is priceless.”

Bringing home the hardware

Baseball is a game for all seasons. Summertime is usually when baseball becomes the apple of the public’s eye when it comes to sports. At least for a couple of months it is before football take over the sports programming.For now, don’t be surprised with the abundance of Little League and youth baseball travel ball teams sprouting up everywhere throughout the summer. This is where Cypress resident Jaylin Cannon and Buena Park’s Sebastian McSherry get their swerve on.It has paid dividends for the two young players. The two neighboring buddies, along with Long Beach resident Zackary Morgan, are making waves and raves with their play for the Compton-based Major League Baseball Urban Youth Academy. The local players were selected to play on the Los Angeles Dodgers Reviving Baseball in the Inner City travel team (ages 11 and 12) this spring.The UYA team successfully went through a myriad of squads to capture the MLB Jr. RBI Showcase classic title game by posting an 18-17 victory against the Dodgers Boys & Girls Club of Venice. MLB’s Jr. RBI Showcase Classic was won with a walkoff home run. The three area-bound players did their part. Morgan connected for a home run. McSherry walloped three home runs during the tournament. Cannon made the infield his own playground by turning over one remarkable play after another.

Brain to robot: ‘Move, please’

One in six people will suffer a stroke in their lifetime. In Switzerland alone, stroke affects 16,000 people every year. Two thirds of those affected suffer from paralysis of the arm. Intensive training can — depending on the extent of damage to the brain — help patients regain a certain degree of control over their arms and hands. This may take the form of classic physio- and occupational therapy, or it may also involve robots.

Roger Gassert, Professor of Rehabilitation Engineering at ETH Zurich, has developed a number of robotic devices that train hand functions and sees this as a good way to support patient therapy. However, both physio- and robot-assisted therapy are usually limited to one or two training sessions a day; and for patients, travelling to and from therapy can also be time consuming.

Exoskeletons as exercise robots

“My vision is that instead of performing exercises in an abstract situation at the clinic, patients will be able to integrate them into their daily life at home, supported — depending on the severity of their impairments — by a robot,” Gassert says, presenting an exoskeleton for the hand. He developed the idea for this robotic device together with Professor Jumpei Arata from Kyushu University (Japan) while the latter was working in Gassert’s laboratory during a sabbatical in 2010.

“Existing exoskeletons are heavy, and this is a problem for our patients because it renders them unable to lift their hands,” Gassert says, explaining the concept. The patients also have difficulty feeling objects and exerting the right amount of force. “That’s why we wanted to develop a model that leaves the palm of the hand more or less free, allowing patients to perform daily activities that support not only motor functions but somatosensory functions as well,” he says. Arata developed a mechanism for the finger featuring three overlapping leaf springs. A motor moves the middle spring, which transmits the force to the different segments of the finger through the other two springs. The fingers thus automatically adapt to the shape of the object the patient wants to grasp.

However, the integrated motors brought the weight of the exoskeleton to 250 grams, which in clinical tests proved too heavy for patients. The solution was to remove the motors from the hand and fix them to the patient’s back. The force is transmitted to the exoskeleton using a bicycle brake cable. The hand module now weighs slightly less than 120 grams and is strong enough to lift a litre bottle of mineral water.

Researching brain processes

Gassert is currently driven by the question of what happens in the brain and how commands pass from the brain to reach the extremities after a stroke. “Especially with seriously affected patients, the connection between the brain and the hand is often severely or completely disrupted,” Gassert explains, “so we are looking for a solution that will help patients pass on commands to the robotic device intuitively.” The idea is to detect in the brain a patient’s intention to move his or her hand and directly pass this information on to the exoskeleton. This may also produce a therapeutic benefit. According to Gassert, a number of studies show that it is possible to strengthen existing neural connections between the brain and the hand with regular exercise. An important component for this is that the brain receives somatosensory feedback from the hand when it produces a command to move.

In order to understand what goes on in the brain, Gassert is carrying out fundamental research with clinicians, neuroscientists and therapists. For their research, the scientists can draw on a number of imaging techniques, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which allows them to map the activities of the whole brain. While this technology allows them to gain fundamental new insights, fMRI is both very expensive and highly complex and consequently not suitable for therapy. “And of course, it’s not portable,” Gassert adds with a mind to his project. He therefore focuses on simpler techniques such as electroencephalography (EEG) — and in particular functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), the least expensive of these technologies. Gassert is currently engaged in the challenging task of figuring out whether and how fNIRS can be robustly employed. He is working on this together with a group from the University Hospital, who are contributing their experience in clinical application of the technology.

Fundamental insights

Another question that is still not fully understood is how the brain controls limbs that interact with the environment. “Here, robotics is making a valuable contribution to basic research because it is ideally suited for capturing a movement, perturbing it and measuring the reaction,” Gassert explains. For example, the robotics experts have developed an exoskeleton that makes it possible to block the knee for 200 milliseconds while walking and extend it by 5 degrees. With the help of sensors, the scientists measure the forces that are involved and use this data to infer how the brain modulates the stiffness of the knee. These findings then flow into applications such as the control of new, active prostheses.

If the researchers succeed in establishing an interaction between the brain and the exoskeleton, the result will be a device that is ideally suited for therapy. If, on the other hand, the deficits are permanent, a robotic device could offer long-term support — as an alternative to invasive methods, which are also being researched. These for instance envisage implanting electrodes in the brain and triggering stimulators in the muscles. However, as long as stroke patients can expect to experience a reasonable degree of recovery, the robot-assisted therapy will be the obvious choice.

Cyclotron opens up new prospects for fundamental, applied research in radiopharmaceutical chemistry

A new particle accelerator is further enhancing the research landscape at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). It is to be employed to conduct research into potential applications of medical relevance. The cyclotron was installed in a basement building at the JGU Institute of Nuclear Chemistry in December 2015 and has now been officially put into operation. It will be used to generate isotopes with a short half-life, which are important for fundamental research but are also required for the medical imaging technique known as positron emission tomography (PET). The German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Rhineland-Palatinate Research Initiative funded this research facility worth some EUR 1 million.

The JGU cyclotron is a ring-shaped particle accelerator that occupies an approximate floor space of 7.5 square meters and has a height of some two meters. The accelerator weighs about 50 tonnes and when it was installed in December 2015, a crane had to be used to lower it through a hole in the ceiling into the basement room. Mainz University constructed this new building complex at a cost of around EUR 1.2 million. It is accommodating the cyclotron and includes other facilities containing technical and control equipment plus an air lock. The structure is linked directly to the extension building of the Institute of Nuclear Chemistry and has all safety-relevant features.

As it is able to accelerate protons to an energy of 9.6 mega electron volts (MeV), the cyclotron can be used to generate the two radioactive elements fluorine-18 and carbon-11. These will be mainly employed for chemical and pharmaceutical research purposes but are also required for the PET medical diagnostic imaging technique. F-18 and C-11 have short half-lives of just two hours and 20 minutes, respectively, which makes it necessary to generate them near the location at which they are to be used to ensure that they are available in sufficient quantities. The launch of the new cyclotron means is it now possible to produce C-11-labelled radiopharmaceuticals on site in Mainz.

Chemists devise revolutionary 3-D bone-scanning technique

The chemists attach luminescent compounds to tiny gold structures to form biologically safe ‘nanoagents’ that are attracted to calcium-rich surfaces, which appear when bones crack – even at a micro level. These nanoagents target and highlight the cracks formed in bones, allowing researchers to produce a complete 3D image of the damaged regions.

The technique will have major implications for the health sector as it can be used to diagnose bone strength and provide a detailed blueprint of the extent and precise positioning of any weakness or injury. Additionally, this knowledge should help prevent the need for bone implants in many cases, and act as an early-warning system for people at a high risk of degenerative bone diseases, such as osteoporosis.

The research, led by the Trinity College Dublin team of Professor of Chemistry, Thorri Gunnlaugsson, and Postdoctoral Researcher, Esther Surender, has just been published in the leading journal Chem, a sister journal to Cell, which is published by CellPress.

Professor Gunnlaugsson said: “This work is the outcome of many years of successful collaboration between chemists from Trinity and medical and engineering experts from RCSI. We have demonstrated that we can achieve a three-dimensional map of bone damage, showing the so-called microcracks, using non-invasive luminescence imaging. The nanoagent we have developed allows us to visualise the nature and the extent of the damage in a manner that wasn’t previously possible. This is a major step forward in our endeavour to develop targeted contrast agents for bone diagnostics for use in clinical applications.”

Producing radioisotopes for medical imaging, disease treatment

“Two patients underwent these treatments and they were cured,” said Cathy Cutler, director of the Medical Isotope Research and Production Program at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory. “Their cancer was gone.

This is what we want to do — supply this material so that more patients can get this treatment,” she said.

The material is a molecule tagged with Actinium-225, a radioactive isotope. When designed to specifically bind with a protein on the surface of cancer cells, the radiolabeled molecule delivers a lethal, localized punch — alpha particles that kill the cancer with minimal damage to surrounding tissues.

Actinium-225 can only be produced in the large quantities needed to support clinical applications at facilities that have high-energy particle accelerators.

“This is why I came to Brookhaven,” Cutler said in a recent talk she gave to highlight her group’s work. “We can make these alpha emitters and this is really giving doctors a chance to treat these patients!”

Radiochemistry redux

Brookhaven Lab and the Department of Energy Isotope Program have a long history of developing radioisotopes for uses in medicine and other applications. These radioactive forms of chemical elements can be used alone or attached to a variety of molecules to track and target disease.

“If it wasn’t for the U.S. Department of Energy and its isotope development program, I’m not sure we’d have nuclear medicine,” Cutler said.