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Dorchester fire displaces 12 people during holiday season

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Dorchester fire displaces 12 people during holiday season

Twelve people were left homeless during the holidays after a Dorchester triple-decker burned to the ground over the weekend.

Boston firefighters rushed to 383 Geneva Ave. around 8:30 p.m. Saturday for reports of “heavy fire showing,” the department said.

Crews immediately ordered a second alarm when they realized all three floors were entirely engulfed in flames. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Firefighters rescued a cat, Simba, as the fire tore through the home. Firefighters were able to reunite the cat with his family, officials said.

Companies knocked down the heavy fire just after 9 p.m. but were continuing to douse hot spots to keep them from flaring up into the night on Saturday, the department said. Detail companies remained on scene to monitor the building.

Six adults and six children were displaced in the fire and the Red Cross responded to assist at the scene and to offer assistance finding housing, officials said.

Video of the fire shared on the department’s Twitter page shows flames shooting up the side of the building to the roof line.

Two firefighters suffered minor injuries and were taken to local hospitals.

The Geneva Avenue fire was one of several blazes Boston firefighters fought to knock down over the past several days. Firefighters also responded to three-alarm blazes at 1063 Washington St. on Friday and 95 Washington St. on Dec. 1.

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Broncos interview Cincinnati assistant Brian Callahan two days before Bengals’ playoff game

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Broncos interview Cincinnati assistant Brian Callahan two days before Bengals’ playoff game

Two days ahead of his team’s first AFC Divisional round playoff game in 31 years, Cincinnati offensive coordinator Brian Callahan became the eighth head-coaching candidate to meet with Broncos officials.

Callahan was the first candidate to visit with Broncos general manager George Paton and Co., via video conference and the interview was completed around 4:45 p.m. The Broncos’ contingent flew from Philadelphia to Los Angeles earlier Thursday to interview Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell in-person later in the day.

Callahan, 37, was a Broncos assistant from 2010-15 and moved on to coach quarterbacks in Detroit (2016-17) and Oakland (2018) before coach Zac Taylor hired him as the Bengals’ offensive coordinator in ’19.

Callahan doesn’t call the plays but has merited head-coaching consideration as the Bengals have improved from two to four to 10 wins over three years and from 29th to 13th in scoring this year.

The Bengals play at Tennessee on Saturday and Callahan told reporters this week it has been “really easy” to keep his attention toward the game.

“My focus is 100% on this game and to our players; there is no other focus for me,” he said. “Anything I do outside of that framework, it’s on my own time late at night (or) early in the morning. These (interviews) are things you slowly prepare for over time and you get a chance to collect your thoughts.

“All of these things are personal accolades and it’s because the team has had success and you get individual benefit from the collective success and that’s certainly where I’m at right now. It’s an honor to be involved in a process like (the Broncos’).”

Callahan is the son of Bill Callahan, previously the head coach of the Raiders and Nebraska and currently the Cleveland Browns’ offensive line coach.

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CU Athletics launches Buffs NIL Exchange

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CU Athletics launches Buffs NIL Exchange

Colorado Athletics announced Thursday a partnership with INFLCR to launch the Buffs NIL Exchange.

The Exchange is a platform for businesses and individuals to connect with CU student-athletes on Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) opportunities. The Buffs NIL Exchange is a part of CU’s Buffs With A Brand program in helping student-athletes profit from their NIL.

“I’m thrilled we can offer the Buffs NIL Exchange as our NIL platform for all Buff supporters and current student-athletes,” CU athletic director Rick George said in a press release. “This platform will tremendously increase the NIL opportunities for our student-athletes while supporting local and national businesses.  We are excited for our student-athletes to capitalize in this new landscape and look forward to having our supporters and businesses utilize this platform.”

BOULDER, CO – FEBRUARY 12, 2020: University of Colorado athletic director Rick George addresses the media after Mel Tucker announces he is leaving.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

Through the Buffs NIL Exchange, individuals and businesses can register through an online portal to partner directly with CU athletes. The brand-focused partnership must meet legal requirements, per Colorado legislature, and follow University of Colorado NIL protocols. Registration will be approved by CU Athletics in advance.

Following registration in the online portal, NIL negotiations will be done directly between the student-athletes and the outside parties. The Buffs NIL Exchange is free for student-athletes and businesses.

INFLCR is one of the national leaders in athlete brand building. According to CU’s press release, through INFLCR, student-athletes will have access to third parties who provide NIL opportunities such as autographs, social media brand promotion, endorsements and more.

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Post-COVID ‘brain fog’ could be result of virus changing patients’ spinal fluid

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Post-COVID ‘brain fog’ could be result of virus changing patients’ spinal fluid

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (StudyFinds.org) – Cases of “brain fog” among COVID patients are becoming more and more common, even among people recovering from mild infections. Now, new research is finally providing some potential answers to why people have difficulty concentrating, thinking clearly, and completing easy daily tasks after battling COVID. A team from the University of California-San Francisco say brain fog may result from how the virus alters a person’s spinal fluid — just like other diseases which attack the brain.

Their study finds certain patients who develop cognitive symptoms following a mild case of COVID-19 display abnormalities in their cerebrospinal fluid, similar to the kinds which appear in patients with diseases like Alzheimer’s. While this is only a start, study authors are optimistic this work is an important first step toward understanding what exactly SARS-CoV-2 can do to the human brain.

“They manifest as problems remembering recent events, coming up with names or words, staying focused, and issues with holding onto and manipulating information, as well as slowed processing speed,” explains senior study author Joanna Hellmuth, MD, MHS, of the UCSF Memory and Aging Center, in a university release.

Post-COVID brain fog is likely much more common than most people realize. One recently released study focusing on a post-COVID clinic in New York found that a staggering 67 percent of 156 recovered COVID-19 patients experienced some form of brain fog.

Brain fog patients experience more brain inflammation

This latest research featured 32 adults. All participants had recovered from a COVID-19 infection but did not require hospitalization. Twenty-two exhibited genuine cognitive symptoms, while the rest served as a healthy control group.

Among the entire group, 17 (including 13 with brain fog symptoms) agreed to have their cerebrospinal fluid analyzed. Scientists extracted the fluids from the lower back, on average, about 10 months after each patient’s first COVID symptoms.

Those tests showed 10 of the 13 participants with cognitive symptoms had anomalies within their cerebrospinal fluid. Importantly, the other four cerebrospinal fluid samples collected from people without brain fog showed no anomalies whatsoever. Participants experiencing cognitive issues tended to be older, with an average age of 48, while the control group’s average age was younger: 39 years-old.

All of the patients come from the Long-term Impact of Infection with Novel Coronavirus (LIINC) study, which tracks and assesses adults recovering from SARS-CoV-2.

Further analyses performed on the cerebrospinal fluid samples showed higher-than-normal protein levels and the presence of some unexpected antibodies usually found in an activated immune system. Researchers say these observations suggest a high level of inflammation. Some of these antibodies were seen in the blood and cerebrospinal fluid, implying a systemic inflammatory response. Some antibodies, however, were unique to the cerebrospinal fluid, which hints at brain inflammation specifically.

Study authors don’t know the intended target of these antibodies yet, but theorize they may attack the body itself, like an autoimmune disease.

“It’s possible that the immune system, stimulated by the virus, may be functioning in an unintended pathological way,” explains Dr. Hellmuth, who is the principal investigator of the UCSF Coronavirus Neurocognitive Study. “This would be the case even though the individuals did not have the virus in their bodies.”

Pre-existing conditions raise the risk of COVID brain fog

Notably, patients dealing with brain fog symptoms had an average of 2.5 cognitive risk factors, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or a history of ADHD, in comparison to an average of less than one average risk factor for participants without brain fog symptoms.

These cognitive risk factors are relevant because they potentially raise an individual’s risk of stroke, mild cognitive impairment, vascular dementia, and generally make the mind more susceptible to executive functioning issues. Additional risk factors include drug use, learning disabilities, anxiety, and depression.

Additionally, all participants underwent a series of cognitive tests with a neuropsychologist modeled after the criteria used for HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder (HAND). To the research team’s surprise, 59 percent of patients dealing with brain fog met HAND criteria, while 70 percent of the control subjects did the same.

“Comparing cognitive performance to normative references may not identify true changes, particularly in those with a high pre-COVID baseline, who may have experienced a notable drop but still fall within normal limits,” Dr. Hellmuth concludes. “If people tell us they have new thinking and memory issues, I think we should believe them rather than require that they meet certain severity criteria.”

The study is published in the journal Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology.

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