Tuesday night did not go the way the Indiana Pacers had hoped. Seeking to close out the Washington Wizards in Indianapolis, the home team instead lost by 23 points in a game that was all but over before the fourth quarter began.The Pacers were outplayed in a number of areas, but nowhere more so than in the rebounding battle. The final tally was 62-23 in favor of the Wizards, making it the largest rebounding differential in the NBA playoffs going back to the 1985-86 season.There were two challenges for the Pacers on Tuesday night: They didn’t get themselves in position to grab rebounds, and they didn’t convert those opportunities when they had them.The Pacers rely heavily on their starting five, a reliable rebounding group for most of the season. Of the 21 lineups in the league that played at least 400 minutes together this season, the Pacers’ starters grabbed 51.7 percent of available rebounds — ninth best in the league. But the NBA’s SportVU Player Tracking data can give us a closer look at how well that unit usually rebounds and exactly how atrocious its performance was on the glass in Game 5.SportVU Player Tracking statistics include rebound chances, defined as any time a player was within 3.5 feet of a rebound (multiple players can meet that definition for a single shot). Rebound chances can be compared with actual rebounds to calculate a conversion percentage for each player. It’s important to remember those multiple opportunities here. Even if the Pacers grabbed every rebound, their conversion percentage might not be 100 percent because more than one teammate could have earned a rebound chance by being around the ball on a single shot.Here we can see the dramatic drop off in both rebound opportunities and conversions in Game 5. The Pacers starters put themselves in rebounding position far less often and lost far more of those individual rebounding battles than they usually do. Circling back to total rebound percentage, we find this group grabbed just 25 percent of the available rebounds in the 20 minutes they played together in Game 5.This performance can’t be pinned entirely on the Pacers; the Wizards were aggressive from the opening tip and deserve plenty of credit for forcing the Pacers into this kind of drab performance. Wizards center Marcin Gortat was a force, pulling in 16 rebounds on 24 rebound chances. But this kind of rebounding disparity requires effort (or the lack thereof) from both teams.It’s unlikely the Pacers will put up another rebounding performance this disastrous, but the damage may be done. By allowing themselves to be so thoroughly pushed around on the interior, they have given the Wizards new life. read more

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The Brooklyn Nets lost to the Portland Trail Blazers 108-98 on Monday night at Barclays Center, handing the Blazers their seventh straight victory.The Nets scored on 19 of their first 20 possessions en route to a 40-point opening quarter, but things soon cooled off after Portland’s defense settled in.“I thought it was a testament to our guys as far as how they competed,” said Portland head coach Terry Stotts. “They never lost confidence, they kept competing and kept chipping away at it. When you have that belief that you can do something it makes it easier.”For Portland, Wesley Matthews netted 24 points in the win, while Damian Lillard contributed 19 points and nine assists and Mo Williams added 12 points off the bench.“It never felt like we were out of the game,” said Matthews. “They were on a roll and we weren’t getting any stops, we never felt out of the game.”Portland trailed 63-56 at halftime before assuming control midway through the third quarter. Matthews tied the score at 69-69 with a driving layup and Aldridge hit a jumper moments later to put the Blazers in front.In the fourth quarter, Mo Williams’ floater in the lane with four seconds left had Portland’s lead at eight points heading into the final frame. Portland quickly pushed its lead to double figures and kept it until Paul Pierce hit a  layup making it 105-96  but with 1:03 left in the game the Nets never recovered.Following the game, the Nets, who fall to 3-7 on the season,  held a players-only meeting. According to  the NY Post, guard Joe Johnson spoke about the private huddle, stating,“Just talking about the game, and what we’ve got to figure out…We’ve just got to get some chemistry, because when we get stagnant to where we can’t get a bucket, we have to have something we can go to and we’ve just got to figure it out.” read more

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The NBA regular season ends Wednesday, and the playoffs begin Saturday. And with that in mind, we’re going to shake things up a bit with regard to FiveThirtyEight’s NBA Power Ratings.Until now, we’ve ranked every team according to a projection of its true talent over the upcoming week — and the upcoming week only — using Real Plus-Minus (RPM) player ratings provided by Jeremias Engelmann and Steve Ilardi. (For more details on the original methodology, see our introductory rankings post.)But this week, with many teams resting key players in preparation for the playoffs, we’re ranking every team according to its projected playoff power rating. This means we’re projecting every team to be at “full strength” in terms of minutes given to players who will be available for the postseason, instead of only projecting for the next week. Playoff probabilities and expected end-of-season wins are still driven by projected minute distributions over the next few days, but the power ratings themselves have been geared to capture the talent that each team is bringing into the playoffs.With the playoffs being emphasized more in our ratings, it’s fitting that the San Antonio Spurs rank in the top two for the first time since early February. They’ve won 11 straight games, a run backed up by the underlying talent of one of the league’s best teams.The Atlanta Hawks also benefit from our switch to “playoff power” — while Thabo Sefolosha’s bizarre season-ending injury hurts their chances of winning the championship, we’ve boosted the playing time for many of their good players who have consistently been listed as day-to-day in the injury report in recent weeks.As for teams on the fringe of the playoffs, we noted last week that the Boston Celtics were basically a coin flip to make the playoffs, battling it out with the Brooklyn Nets, Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers for one of the two remaining postseason slots in the Eastern Conference. A week later, the Celtics have all but completely claimed their spot; our model now gives them a 98.9 percent probability of making the playoffs.By the same token, the Heat have almost completely dropped out of the race, with just a 2.4 percent chance of qualifying for the postseason. That leaves the Nets and Pacers to fight over one spot with two games left per team. Our calculations give Brooklyn the inside track largely because of the team’s possession of the tiebreaker over Indiana, in addition to an easier remaining schedule (the Nets face the No. 9 Chicago Bulls and No. 23 Orlando Magic; Indiana faces No. 7 Memphis and No. 15 Washington).Out West, the race for the No. 8 seed is between the New Orleans Pelicans and Oklahoma City Thunder, and the Pelicans have the edge in our simulations. Oklahoma City is marginally more talented, according to RPM, and is even projected to win fractionally more games on average, but New Orleans holds the tiebreaker over the Thunder.In no small part because of those tiebreakers, there’s a 45 percent probability that the Nets and Pelicans will be the final two teams to slip into the playoffs when the season ends Wednesday. read more

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Quenton Nelson looks exactly like a franchise-cornerstone left tackle: Standing 6 foot 5, 325 pounds, Nelson is “built like a bank safe” and blessed with the athleticism and aggressiveness to be a perennial All-Pro. The quarterback’s protector is often called the second-most-important offensive position, so it’s no wonder that Nelson’s in the mix to be the first non-quarterback to be picked in this year’s draft.But one thing does separate Nelson from other highly coveted tackles on draft day: He isn’t a tackle. He’s a guard.How players at one position in the NFL’s otherwise-anonymous quintet of trench warriors became some of American sports’ most-prized athletes is a story so well-known it was turned into a best-selling book, and even a movie: The uniquely gifted protectors of “The Blind Side” emerged in the 1990s to stop the pass-rushing outside linebackers of the 1980s, like eight-time All-Pro Lawrence Taylor.For years afterward, teams trying to land the next Orlando Pace or Walter Jones had no qualms about throwing high draft picks at top tackles. Even less-than-perfect tackle prospects like Michigan’s Jake Long and Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher were deemed “safe” picks at No. 1 overall — because unlike quarterbacks, who are unlikely to play another position well, if those tackles fail to establish themselves as quality starters, teams have the option of kicking them inside to guard.As recently as 2012, guards were still afterthoughts, not worthy of the draft-value (and contract) investment that comes with a high first-round selection. Outstanding guard prospect David DeCastro, whom many evaluators deemed worthy of at least a top-10 pick, didn’t come off the board until No. 24 that year.In the 32-team era,1Since 2002. 62 tackles have been drafted in the first round compared to just 14 guards. On average, those tackles were taken with the 14th pick, while the average guard went between 23 and 24. In fact, after “The Blind Side” was released in September 2006, NFL teams went on a four-year tackle binge, drafting 19 first-round tackles compared to just three centers and two guards.Last season, though, the market for elite tackles seemed to dry up. Only two — Garett Bolles and Ryan Ramczyk — went in the first round, and both were picked in the back end of the round (20 and 32 respectively). After Alabama’s Cam Robinson was taken with the second pick of the second round, which was lower than most expected, no tackles were taken until pick No. 85. To get a sense of how high in the draft tackles have tended to go over time, we can quantify pick position using Jimmy Johnson’s draft-pick value chart, which assigns a point value to every pick in the draft based solely on how early the pick is, not on which player is taken. Last year, the picks used on tackles in rounds one and two were worth a total of 2000 points, the lowest sum since at least 1994. By comparison, the picks used on the six tackles taken in the first two rounds in 2013 were worth more than 10,000 points. The trend of devaluing tackles seems certain to continue in the 2018 NFL draft. After Nelson, tackle Mike McGlinchey (average mock draft position: 22.2) is the next offensive lineman projected to go. But then it’s a run of interior linemen: Center James Daniels (28.5) and guards Isaiah Wynn (28.8) and Will Hernandez (28.9) are all set to be drafted ahead of the only other tackle who’s projected to be taken on the draft’s first night, Kolton Miller (31.2).If Miller doesn’t make it into the first round, it’ll be the first time that fewer than two tackles have been drafted in any first round since “The Blind Side” was released, and it would match the 2005-2006 nadir for high-pick tackles — only three tackles were taken in the first round in each of those two back-to-back draft classes.It’s not like NFL teams suddenly decided that the offensive line isn’t important, it’s more that the value pendulum is shifting away from left tackle. If Nelson goes as high as he’s expected to, he’ll be the third guard picked in the top 10 in the last six seasons (the fourth if you count Washington’s Brandon Scherff, who was drafted as a tackle but has since become a Pro Bowl guard2Washington initially tried Scherff at tackle before switching him to guard in his first training camp.). Before Chance Warmack and Jonathan Cooper went in the top 10 in 2013, no guard had been picked that high in a dozen years.3Leonard Davis went No. 2 overall in 2001 as a guard, though he went on to play both tackle and guard in the NFL.But it’s not just draft capital that teams are investing in a previously neglected position.This spring, All-Pro guard Andrew Norwell signed a five-year, $66.5 million unrestricted free-agency deal that briefly made him the NFL’s highest-paid offensive lineman. Though former New England Patriots left tackle Nate Solder’s four-year, $62 million contract with the New York Giants topped Norwell’s $13.3 million average annual value, Norwell remains No. 2.In 2016, the five biggest free-agency deals4In terms of contracts’ average annual value. given to offensive linemen went to left tackles. In 2017, half of the eight offensive-line contracts worth at least $10 million per year went to left tackles — but the other half went to three guards and a center. In 2018, Solder’s was the only one of the top six offensive-line deals that did not go to a guard or center.So why the sudden change? For starters, the evolution of the left tackle was a response to a defensive revolution that’s been over for a long time; Taylor’s 10-season Pro Bowl streak ended 27 years ago. From Dick LeBeau’s zone blitzes to Jim Johnson’s and Jim Schwartz’s aggressive 4-3s, Wade Phillips’s one-gap 3-4 schemes to Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia’s hybrid/multiple fronts attack, defensive coordinators have as many different ways to send pass rushers at quarterbacks as there are gaps between offensive linemen.According to ESPN Stats & Information Group, 36 percent of the 1,082.5 sacks by front-seven players in 2017 were registered by a player lined up at right defensive end or right outside linebacker. That means even a Hall of Fame left tackle can’t possibly help with at least two-thirds of the pressure that defenses are generating.Then there’s the fact that quarterbacks don’t really have a “blind side” anymore. The heavy use of shotgun formation in today’s NFL allows quarterbacks to keep the whole defense in front of them. According to ESPN Stats & Info, just 13,319 of 32,436 offensive plays (41 percent) were run from under center in 2017– and of those, a quarterback dropped back to pass on just 4,201 plays (13 percent of all offensive plays).The average left tackle, then, will only be called upon to keep his quarterback clean during a traditional dropback about 1/8th of the time he’s on the field.But don’t tell Nelson, Wynn, Hernandez or any of the other guards set to be drafted this weekend that the value of offensive linemen has crashed. They’re about to prove that the NFL has finally figured out that anyone who can get keep a pass-rusher from getting to a quarterback is worth an awful lot — regardless of where he’s positioned on the line. read more

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OSU sophomore Keita Bates-Diop (33) takes a free throw in a game against Louisiana Tech on Nov. 24 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU lost 82-74. Credit: Maria Martello | Lantern PhotographerIn Ohio State coach Thad Matta’s head coaching career, he has stood on the sideline for 531 games.He has won 403 of those, while dropping 128. But in none of those 531 contests has his team had more losses than wins in the record column.That will change on Tuesday, as the Buckeyes (2-3) are set to welcome No. 10 Virginia (5-1) to the Schottenstein Center for a 7:30 p.m. matchup as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.OSU’s season started off without any noteworthy results, grabbing 20-plus-point victories over a pair of unspectacular opponents. The wheels came off from there, however, as consecutive home losses to Texas-Arlington and Louisiana Tech dropped OSU to .500, before an overtime loss to Memphis in Miami gave Matta a losing record for the first time in his career.Sophomore forward Jae’Sean Tate said having a losing record comes as a shock when a player comes to a school like OSU, but the team has to keep its composure and keep getting back on track.“None of us expected to be 2-3, but we’ve just got to stay the course,” Tate said. “We have to learn how to grow, how to improve every week in practice.”Tate and fellow sophomore forward Keita Bates-Diop each offered the same two culprits for the Buckeyes’ struggles: turnovers and poor free-throw shooting.“We’re not losing games by a lot. They’re close games. It’s just the turnovers, we have to cut back on those, and make our free throws,” Bates-Diop said. “We could be getting different questions right now if we’re doing that.”The Buckeyes are turning the ball over 16.2 times per game, ranking 323rd in the nation out of 346 qualifying Division I schools. Virginia, on the other hand, ranks second with just 7.5 turnovers per game.Matta said the praise for the Cavaliers’ efficiency lies with coach Tony Bennett, who is now in his seventh season in Charlottesville, Virginia.“I think Tony Bennett has done a tremendous job in terms of coming in and establishing that program … I don’t think Virginia gets the respect of other schools, but they’re as good as any of them, that’s for sure,” Matta said.For the Buckeyes, Tate said it is never easy to snap a losing streak, and the team is unlikely to get any help against a team like the Cavaliers. Still, he said the team is trying its hardest to keep its focus one game at a time.“Any loss will have an impact on your confidence, but coach is doing a great job telling us to stay the course,” Tate said. “Teams go through losses all the time, it’s just how you bounce back the next game.”A glance at the CavaliersVirginia comes into Tuesday night’s matchup 5-1, with the lone loss coming in a second-game hiccup at George Washington.While the quality of its other five opponents hasn’t been the strongest, Matta said he has been more than impressed with what he’s watched.“They’re as good of a basketball team as I’ve seen this year … They’re such a great blend of the positions, inside, outside,” Matta said. “It’s definitely a veteran basketball team that’s going to be a great challenge for us.”Virginia — which earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament a season ago but was ultimately upset by Michigan State in the Round of 32 — uses a balanced offensive attack rather than relying on a go-to scorer.Redshirt senior guard Malcolm Brogdon leads the team with 16.7 points per game. The 2014-15 AP All-American Second-Team recipient has also chipped in 4.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game.The Cavaliers have shot exceptionally well this season, shooting the ball at a 51.7 percent clip from the field while holding opponents to 39.1 percent. Those marks rank 13th and 74th in the nation, respectively.“They’re a great defensive team,” Tate said. “They run a lot of offense through their post, so post defense will be really key. We’ve just got to execute and take care of the ball.”Up nextAfter the Cavaliers, the Buckeyes are set to resume action on Saturday against another school from the 10th state — Virginia Military Institute. Tip is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center. read more

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OSU freshman Luke Fletcher celebrates his first varsity victory over Missouri’s Zach Synon. Credit: Sam Janicki. Courtesy of OSU AthleticsFollowing a dominant 30-12 victory at Maryland on Jan. 22, the No. 4 Ohio State wrestling team will take on No. 3 Iowa on the road this week and top-ranked Penn State at home next week.The absence of junior Kyle Snyder, the returning national champion at heavyweight, this week could spell trouble for OSU late in the dual. He is currently representing the United States in the Ivan Yarygin Memorial Grand Prix in Krasnoyarsk, Russia.“There are no better opportunities in our schedule than these opportunities to really learn a lot about where we are,” OSU coach Tom Ryan said. “You’ve got a great team in Iowa, in an away venue, and then you’ve got another opportunity at home, in front of the home crowd, to wrestle (against Penn State).”The matchup against Iowa will feature a plethora of marquee matchups, including fifth-ranked 149-pounder Micah Jordan (OSU) against second-ranked Brandon Sorensen (Iowa), tenth-ranked 184-pounder Myles Martin (OSU) against fifth-ranked Sammy Brooks (Iowa) and first-ranked 133-pounder Nathan Tomasello (OSU) against fourth-ranked Cory Clark (Iowa).Micah Jordan missed last week’s action against Maryland due to illness, along with his brother — 174-pounder Bo Jordan — and 125-pounder Jose Rodriguez.“I haven’t wrestled anyone (ranked) at one or two yet,” Micah Jordan said. “The next two weeks I have No. 2 and then No. 1, so I’m really excited to see where I’m at.”In addition to the tough team matchups, many of the wrestlers will face their most talented opponents yet.“We’ve wrestled some tough teams, but I’m just really looking forward to these next couple of matches,” Martin said. “Especially for me, a lot of the guys I have are top five in the country.”Over the next four matchups, all of Martin’s projected opponents are ranked in the top 13, including No. 5 Sammy Brooks (Iowa) and No. 2 Bo Nickal (Penn State).Bo Jordan did not compete against Maryland, but could have wrestled if needed. Ryan held him out in order to give him another week to recover from injury, and prepare for the tough task ahead.“If we needed him to step in there to win the dual, we could’ve wrestled him,” Ryan said. “But, logically, it made no sense to risk further injury when you’ve got Iowa coming up next weekend.”The Buckeyes look to be in good health, as the only starter expected to be out is Snyder in the heavyweight division.“Kyle (Snyder) gives you a sense that, of the 10 weights, we’re getting bonus points in this weight, so we’re going to need for (redshirt senior heavyweight) Josh Fox to really step up,” Ryan said. “There’s much less room for error, so it’s just compete to the best of your ability.”The match will start at 8 p.m. on Friday in the Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa. read more

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Near the midway point of its 2009-10 campaign, the Ohio State men’s hockey team will host the team up north.This weekend, the Buckeyes (4-5-1 CCHA, 6-9-1 overall) will host the Michigan Wolverines (3-5-0 CCHA, 7-7-0 overall) in a vital CCHA rivalry matchup. The contests aren’t only significant because of the schools’ historic rivalry, but because they provide an opportunity for both teams to move up in the CCHA standings as both squads move closer to the main stretch of the season.Ohio State trails the all-time series with Michigan, 29-64-11, and has lost six of the past 10 meetings.Michigan currently sits near the CCHA cellar in 11th place, while OSU checks in at the eighth spot. The Buckeyes will be storming into this series riding one of their finest victories of the season after defeating No. 6 Bemidji State in overtime 2-1 on Nov. 28. OSU also improved its record to 5-2-1 in Saturday’s contests. The Buckeyes will look to turn around their abysmal 1-7-0 record on Friday.Coming off of a 29-12-0 overall record and a 20-8-0 CCHA record, in which it led the CCHA in overall team offense and was tied for the best team defense, Michigan was skating into this season with dreams of a CCHA championship.It looked as if the Wolverines would follow the coaches and media poll predictions of being in the top spot in the CCHA as they started 4-2. But contests versus elite opponents such as Miami University and Michigan State humbled Michigan as it fell in five consecutive contests.However, the Wolverines have turned the page, as the team has won its past three contests while outscoring its opponents 13-3.Both schools’ coaches have left a significant mark on their school’s program. Red Berenson is in his 26th year as the coach of the Wolverines. He has also accounted for two of Michigan’s NCAA-record nine NCAA Division I championships.John Markell is in his 14th season behind the Ohio State bench. He has led the Buckeyes to the NCAA tournament five times, the only appearances in program history.Michigan will enter this weekend’s contests hosting a number of the CCHA’s best offensive players. Junior forward Carl Hagelin leads the Wolverines with 12 points and seven goals. Fellow junior forwards Matt Rust and Louie Caporusso have scored 11 and 10 goals apiece, respectively.Junior goalie Bryan Hogan has started between the poles every contest for the Wolverines and hosts an impressive .903 save percentage and a goals allowed per game average of 2.30.Zac Dalpe is the Buckeyes’ lead scorer. The junior has a team-high nine goals and 17 points.Ohio State has two goaltenders who stand in the crease every other contest. Sophomore Cal Heeter currently holds a superior record to senior goaltender Dustin Carlson, at 5-2-1 compared to 1-7-0. But Carlson actually holds a better save percentage, .908 to Heeter’s .907.This weekend’s matchup between the two schools will add another chapter to one of the most historic rivalries in collegiate sports. OSU will host Michigan at the Schottenstein Center Friday at 7:05 p.m. and Saturday at 8:05 p.m. read more

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Parents always tell their children to appreciate the little things people do: hold the door open for a stranger, say “please” and “thank you,” don’t underestimate the power of a smile. It’s time for Ohio State fans to start appreciating the little things that men’s basketball coach Thad Matta does for the OSU program.Matta has put Buckeye basketball on the map. He keeps the program’s image clean and clear of the NCAA’s compliance department. Even when courting high profile high school prospects, Matta follows the rules. There’s never been a whisper of recruiting violations since he’s been at the helm. There’s no baggage attached to him like a John Calipari or Kelvin Sampson.With regard to recruiting, Matta is a regular Rembrandt. His ability to recruit is second to none, from finding diamonds in the rough (see Evan Turner) to bringing in superstar classes such as the “Thad Five” and this year’s “Super Six.” He doesn’t just recruit players, he recruits good people. Matta’s players regularly stay out of trouble.Before taking over as the head of Buckeye basketball, Matta enjoyed an incredible run of success at Butler and Xavier. In his first and only season at Butler, he coached the Bulldogs to 24 wins and to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. At Xavier, Matta posted three consecutive 26-win seasons and an Elite Eight appearance, the furthest the Musketeers have ever advanced in the tournament. In five-and-a-half seasons in Columbus, he’s posted a record of 141-52, already good for third all-time in OSU history, and guided the Buckeyes to a National Championship game in 2007. He’s one of two coaches to win 20 or more games in each of his first nine seasons as a head coach.Matta’s personality also stands out. Watch him during a game. He’s the polar opposite of Jim Tressel. He looks like he’s in a Richard Simmons video, jumping around and shuffling up and down the sideline. Matta does his share of yelling and screaming, both at his players and the officials, but he’s also not afraid to crack a smile or dish out encouragement. He’s also a bit of an oddball. Last year in a home game against Wisconsin, Matta was chewing a piece of gum when it subsequently dropped from his mouth to the gym floor, which of course had been dirtied for the past hour or so by the player’s sneakers. Laws of sanitation be damned, Matta, an obvious follower of the five second rule, quickly picked up the wad of gum, popped it back into his mouth, and started chomping away. Tell me another coach that would have done that. Certainly not The Vest.Matta is under contract through 2016 and makes $2.5 million a year, which makes him the fourth highest-paid college basketball coach in the country. Presumably, the job is his for life, which is pretty good job security for a guy who turns 43 in July. But Ohio State is the epitome of a football school. If jobs opened up at schools where basketball reigns supreme such as Kansas or Duke, Athletic Director Gene Smith might get a little nervous. A little appreciation goes a long way. Start by heading to the Schottenstein Center sometime this season and supporting Matta and his troops. read more

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The Senior Bowl, held in Mobile, Ala., is an opportunity for senior football players to showcase their talents in front of pro scouts and coaches. And Former Ohio State football players Ross Homan and Dane Sanzenbacher were invited to the field. Homan and Sanzenbacher understand the importance of the opportunity. “The best players in the nation are out here, competing and trying to showcase their skills,” Homan said. Being at your best and separating yourself from the rest is something Homan said is crucial in a game like this. “It’s very important. You’re always being evaluated every time you step on the field,” Homan said. “It’s a huge job interview; that’s the way I look at it.” Sanzenbacher agreed. “It’s an opportunity for you to show your talents and stand out from everybody else,” he said. Since the Sugar Bowl, Homan and Sanzenbacher have been training for the NFL draft process. Both were recently invited to the NFL Combine, and both said they plan to attend. During practice, Homan said coaches and scouts have been telling him to keep doing what he is doing and to relax and play to his ability. Sanzenbacher, who was a late addition to the Senior Bowl, had his first day of practice Tuesday, and said the competition there is one of a kind. “You can’t really replace that competition. It makes everybody better,” he said. “You’re working with some of the best players in the nation and it makes every rep that much more critical.” Being so close to the NFL, Homan said he is ready to make the most of the opportunity. “It’s a dream come true,” he said. “I have dreamed of it since I was a little kid, and now I have the opportunity to make it a reality.” Sanzenbacher said the feeling is surreal. “It’s weird. It doesn’t feel that close,” Sanzenbacher said. “There’s still a lot of steps that you need to go through to actually put on that jersey and play in the NFL.” Homan’s ultimate goal is to be a success and leave nothing undone. “Just be successful; just have no regrets,” Homan said. “Never look back and wish I could have done this or could have done that.” Sanzenbacher has different ambitions. “(I want) to put myself in a position to be successful after football,” Sanzenbacher said. “Obviously you want to play well and take (football) as far as you can, but ultimately, while you’re playing, set yourself up for the future.” Neither Homan nor Sanzenbacher has a preference of what team he would like to compete for. They said would just be grateful for the chance to play in the NFL. Sanzenbacher said he would never forget the experiences he had playing for OSU. “It kind of made me the football player that I am,” he said. “Being able to run out on Senior Day, to get your name announced as captain and your family on the field was definitely up there for me.” What Homan will remember most about OSU is his success on the team. “The close games, battles, sealing the deal on Big Ten championships,” Homan said. “Everything we’ve won, I’ll keep memory of.” The Senior Bowl will be televised at 4 p.m. Saturday on the NFL Network. read more

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Junior defenseman, Clark Cristofoli (6), takes control of the puck in a game against Canisius. OSU won 3-0 at the Schottenstein Center Nov. 15. Credit: Brooke Sayre / Lantern photographer With freshman goalie Logan Davis’ first two collegiate starts came two victories as the Ohio State men’s ice hockey team swept Canisius College over the weekend.Davis took over the reins after fellow freshman Matt Tomkins sustained a lower-body injury in the first four minutes of OSU’s victory against Niagara Nov. 9.“That’s why (Davis is) out there in practice every day,” OSU coach Steve Rohlik said. “Sometimes you take it for granted, and I know our guys don’t, and Logan went out there and did his job.”Alongside Davis’ performance, Rohlik attributed the Buckeyes’ (8-4-0, 0-0-0) wins to their defensive unit, which he said has been a focus of the team.“Our guys played hard. Our guys blocked a lot of shots – I think we blocked over 40 shots this weekend – and Logan, in the nets, did his job,” Rohlik said of the defense, which gave up only one goal against the Golden Griffins. “When guys buy in and they’re willing to sacrifice their body in this game and get in front of pucks like that, you know you’ve got something special, and I think we can build on this.”Coach Dave Smith of Canisius (2-7-0, 1-3-0) shared the same sentiment of the Buckeyes’ defense, saying “their desperation and their commitment to blocking shots was the difference in the game.”The second game of the two-game series was played Saturday, and the Buckeyes managed to hold onto to the lead to win, 3-1.Both teams were held scoreless in the first period, but OSU got on the board and took a 2-0 lead with two goals by senior forward Alex Szczechura and freshman defenseman Josh Healey. Canisius responded with a wraparound goal by junior forward Mitch McCrank at 7:49 to pull the Golden Griffins within one goal.For the remainder of the game, OSU played a defense-centric game and fended off any attack on the net that Canisius attempted. With less than a second left on the clock, junior forward Ryan Dzingel sealed the victory with an empty-net goal.The Buckeyes outshot the Golden Griffins in the game, 29-23, and Davis stopped 22 of the shots he faced in his third victory as a goalie.Healey said playing consistently and not making drastic changes to the gameplay was what helped the team to keep its lead.“We just stuck to our game plan and kept going,” Healey said. “They pushed at the end, but we stuck to our game — get pucks deep, keep (the puck) on the other side and keep the lead.”The two-game series opened up Friday, and OSU came away with a shutout victory over the Golden Griffins.After a goal in the first period by Dzingel, who leads the team with seven on the season, the Buckeyes opened up the gap even more in the second period with goals from junior defenseman Justin DaSilva and freshman forward Nick Schilkey. With these, OSU extended the lead to 3-0, which was decidedly the final score after neither team scored in the third stanza.The series ended the Buckeyes’ seven-game homestand, during which they won six games. The team has a weekend off before it is slated to open Big Ten play with against rival Michigan in Ann Arbor Nov. 29 at 7 p.m. OSU is then scheduled to return home against the Wolverines Dec. 2 at 7:05 p.m. read more

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Ohio State’s junior-forward Mason Jobst (26) steals the puck away from NotreDame’s sophomore forward Mike O’Leary (19) during a Big Ten conference matchup at the Schottenstein Center on November 3, 2017 in Columbus, Ohio. OSU lost 1-4. Credit: Alex Hulvalchick | For the LanternThe No. 6 Ohio State men’s hockey team will go on the road for the final time this season against No. 10 Minnesota, aiming to secure the program’s first-ever season sweep of the Gophers. Although that’s significant, it means a bit more for redshirt sophomore defenseman Wyatt Ege.Ege hails from Elk River, Minnesota, which is just outside the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Ege said a win against the Gophers would be huge, not just for the team, but for his family watching the game from the stands.“It’d mean a lot. Not playing for them, playing for a different school. You play for big time Ohio State now,” Ege said. “To go home and get a couple wins in front of my family and some people I know will be awesome.” Ohio State (19-7-4, 12-7-1-0 Big Ten) is coming off a weekend series split against top-ranked Notre Dame, with a narrow 2-1 loss on Feb. 9 and a 5-1 win Saturday. Minnesota (18-13-1, 9-10-1-1 Big Ten) returns home after sweeping Wisconsin on the road by a combined score of 11-3 in a two-game weekend series. With a record of 11-3-1, the Buckeyes have had ample success on the road.Ohio State assistant coach JB Bittner said completing a season sweep in college hockey is always tough, regardless of the opponent.“Even Friday and Saturday is hard, then you throw in the season series of four games, that’s really tough to do,” Bittner said. “We’ll expect that they’ll be at their best this weekend.”The Golden Gophers have a surplus of scoring depth with five players registering at least 20 points each. Junior forward Tyler Sheehy earned the Big Ten First Star of the Week this week, racking up three goals and five points in two games against Wisconsin.The forward depth doesn’t just stop at Sheehy. Minnesota also has one of the most electrifying players in the country in freshman forward Casey Mittelstadt.Mittelstadt was the eighth overall pick in the 2017 NHL draft by the Buffalo Sabres. Mittelstadt also helped Ohio State associate head coach Steve Miller and the United States win a bronze medal at the 2018 U-20 World Junior Hockey Championship, during which he earned Most Valuable Player honors.“He’s an elite player, one of the elite players in the country,” Bittner said. “We’ll just be aware when they’re on the ice with him and take away his time and space, don’t let him have freedom to kind of do what he wants.”Traveling to 3M Arena at Mariucci will be a test for the Buckeyes, not just because Minnesota has the top home record in the Big Ten at 12-5-0, but it has a bigger ice sheet than any other venue.Minnesota’s rink is Olympic sized (200-feet long, 100-feet wide) instead of the average ice rink size (200-feet long, 85-feet wide), giving a skilled team like the Gophers a lot of room to make plays. Although the ice size has changed since the teams first met in Columbus, Minnesota is still the same team.“I think their tendencies would be similar, but just the way they do everything will be different. They have a lot more room,” redshirt junior goaltender Sean Romeo said. “They’re a skilled team. They love having that room on the ice. It helps them, but it’s nothing that we’re not ready for.”Romeo earned the Big Ten Second Star of the Week Tuesday for his stellar goaltending against Notre Dame. Romeo gave up just three goals and had a .957 save percentage, along with a career-high 39-save performance in Saturday’s win. Romeo offered a simple mentality on how he will approach the game on the bigger ice sheet with a wide grin on his face.“Just got to stop the puck,” Romeo said.Puck drop for the weekend series is at 9 p.m. Friday on Big Ten Network, then 5 p.m. Saturday on ESPNU. read more

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Ohio State junior blocker Madison Smeathers (4) taps the ball to Michigan State on Sunday, Oct. 14 at St. John’s Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State beat Michigan State in 3 matches. Credit: Claire Kudika | Assistant Design EditorThe Ohio State women’s volleyball team returns home on Wednesday to face No. 9 Nebraska. The team will enjoy a home-field advantage for six of its 10 remaining matches. Nebraska is heading into the game with a record of 15-5 and 6-4 in Big Ten play, losing four of its past five matches. The Buckeyes stand at 12-10 and 3-7 in the Big Ten. Nebraska leads the all-time series against the Buckeyes 13-7, dating back to 1978. Ohio State head coach Geoff Carlston said the team is working on making improvements after lackluster Big Ten play.“We are constantly trying to re-evaluate what we need to do,” Carlston said. “In terms of personnel, I think we have the best unit out there, so it’s a matter of being the best at what we can do.”The Buckeyes have 1,077 kills this season compared with the Cornhuskers with 955.Nebraska’s freshman middle blocker Callie Schwarzenbach leads the Big Ten and ranks fourth nationally with 1.64 blocks per set. Carlston said matchups like this against Nebraska is a good way to grow for his team.“Our young players are maturing, but they’re trying to learn and grow in the middle of the best conference in the country,” Carlston said. “We have a good group across all ages, learning how to compete on the road in a pretty hostile environment. Our kids want to win, and we want to win, but it’s a balance.”Ohio State sophomore setter Becca Mauer voiced the same focus for the Nebraska match and the rest of the season: decreasing the number of errors.“One of the biggest things for us to focus on is making the other team make the mistakes,” Mauer said. “A lot of times we are making the mistakes for them. If we limit the errors on our side of the net, the matches, the games, the sets will all go a lot differently. We aren’t giving ourselves a chance to play ball.”The Buckeyes have 438 attack errors, 193 serve errors, 111 serve reception errors and 44 block errors this season, while the Cornhuskers compare with 335 attack errors, 173 serve errors, 67 serve reception errors and 53 block errors. “Our Achilles’ heel is our passing errors,” Carlston said. “We want to be able to put the ball away.”Mauer is determined to make that happen.“The setters kind of run the offense,”Mauer said. “One of my main goals for the rest of the season is putting my hitters in the best situation possible. This past week we couldn’t really get our hitters going.”Ohio State will play  Nebraska at St. John Arena at 7 p.m on Wednesday. read more

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first_imgArtificial eggs have been grown in a petri dish for the first time, and used to create living animals in a breakthrough hailed as ‘remarkable’ by British experts. Scientists in Japan proved it is possible to take tissue cells from the tail of a mouse, reprogramme them as stem cells and then turn them into eggs in the lab.The ‘eggs in a dish’ were then fertilised and the resulting embryos were implanted in  female mice which went on to give birth to 11 healthy pups. This  is a remarkable achievementProf Martin Johnson, University of Cambridge The Japanese team warned that the pups had different genetic expression compared with control animals, and some chromosomal abnormalities, although all appeared to be healthy. British experts warned that the research could throw up ethical problems if used in humans.“I would say that fully mature and functional ‘eggs in a dish’ should be first produced in large animals – pigs, sheep and cows – before attempting human,”  said Prof James Adjaye, director of the institute for stem cell research and regenerative medicine at the University of Düsseldorf. “It is all a matter of ethics. It would be interesting to allow deriving human ‘eggs in a dish’ but not to be fertilised.”The research was published in the journal Nature.  The scientists took cells from a mouse tail and programmed them to become pluripotent stem cells, which can go on to produce any type of cell.They then created a chemical soup in the lab which mimicked the conditions of  an ovary, to encourage the stem cells to become follicles – tiny tubes found in the ovaries which produce eggs. From those follicles, the scientists were able to harvest healthy eggs.The team then fertilised the eggs using mouse sperm and implanted them into female mice, from which 11 healthy pups were born.British experts hailed the research as ‘very important’, a ‘remarkable achievement’ and the ‘first convincing evidence’ that eggs could be made entirely artificially.Richard Anderson, professor of clinical reproductive science at the University of Edinburgh, said: “This is the first report of anyone being able to develop fully mature and fertilisable eggs in a laboratory setting right through from the earliest stages of egg development.“Although we are a long way from making artificial eggs for women at the moment, this study also provides us with a basis for experimental models to explore how eggs develop from other species, including in women. “One day this approach might be useful for women who have lost their fertility at an early age, as well as for improvements in more conventional infertility treatments.” The embryos developed normally Credit:Dr. Katsuhiko Hayashi The mouse pups at four weeks old Credit:Dr. Katsuhiko Hayashi The mouse pups at four weeks old  If the procedure is found to work in humans it could help more women become mothers. Women are born with all their eggs, so can struggle to conceive as they grow older because their eggs also age.But if eggs could be made from stem cells they would be brand new, and may even produce healthier babies.The technique could also help women who are born with fewer eggs than normal, or whose ovaries have stopped releasing eggs. Scientists say it could even help to bring back extinct animals.Professor Katsuhiko Hayashi, of the department of developmental stem cell biology at Kyushu University, said: “This is the first time a functional egg has been produced from stem cells in culture which gives us some clue to human egg production from stem cells.“We need to now carefully look at the quality of mouse artificial eggs. This kind of quality check will contribute to an application to humans in future.”  Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Mouse pups born through the procedure  The embryos developed normally  Mouse pups born through the procedure Credit:Dr. Katsuhiko Hayashi Martin Johnson, professor of reproductive science at the University of Cambridge, added: “This  is a remarkable achievement, involving good quality research.“(It is) potentially of clinical interest to those patients lacking eggs of their own.”However some scientists said the process could be hindered by the fact that in humans eggs take more than 10 years to fully develop after birth, not maturing until puberty.Prof Robin Lovell-Badge, group leader, The Francis Crick Institute, said “This is the first convincing evidence that it is possible to go all the way from pluripotent stem cells to functional eggs entirely [in the lab], which can then be fertilised and give rise to apparently healthy mice.“Clearly, if applied to humans, being able to get functional eggs would have importance in overcoming female infertility, e.g. due to cancer treatment as a child, but it also opens up many other uses in research, in regenerative medicine, and potentially in avoiding genetic disease“There is a long way to go before these methods could be adapted and used in humans. There is the question of time. It usually takes longer than a decade to have fully grown eggs in humans.“Will it take this long to recapitulate the process in vitro, which would pose immense practical challenges, or will parts of the process speed up in vitro where the constraints that normally operate in vivo will be absent?”last_img read more

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first_imgIndependent schools have been accused of “gaming the system” after new analysis has revealed that one in five students were given extra time to complete their GCSE and A-level exams last year.Across the country, nearly 30,000 fee-paying pupils were given a special measures consideration – significantly higher than the one in eight pupils given additional time at state schools.The analysis, carried out by Radio 4’s Today programme, has rung alarm bells with teachers in the state sector, with headteachers claiming that the figures raised “serious questions” of the special measures system.While a fifth of all private schooled pupils received extra time last year, only 200,000, or 12 percent, of their state-educated peers received the same measures when taking their exams. Commenting on the disparity,  former shadow education minister Lucy Powell claimed that independent schools were unfairly benefiting from a “double advantage”, adding that their pupils “shouldn’t get an exam advantage because you pay for it.”“These figures don’t make any sense, it’s a double advantage. Clearly the evidence shows that there has been a trend developing for many years, where the independent sector is being much more effective at getting special access arrangements.“The discrepancy is alarming. I would think that the level getting extra time would be more in line with the percentage of students registered with special needs – which is 14 percent.“I don’t understand why Ofqual or the Department for Education have not looked at the figures and asked these questions before.”Geoff Barton, headteacher of King Edward VI comprehensive school in Bury St Edmunds, blamed a system of results-driven league tables for creating a “high stakes” game in which schools look to push students forward for extra time.“Whether they are getting special consideration does seem to be something that isn’t only done in the interests of the youngster, but also can have an effect for the school,” he said.“So there’s no surprise that schools will reflect on that as they are planning the exam season.” However, Ofqual, the examination regulator for England, said the disparity was down to the “readiness”of independent schools to identify students in need of extra time.“It is also worth noting that ‘Independent’, also includes ‘Independent Special Schools’ where at least half of the pupils have Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND),” a spokesman said.“Generally we would expect there to be a higher proportion of students who would have access arrangements at special schools and this may impact the percentages when comparing across the different centre types.”Peter Hamilton, chair of HMC and headmaster at Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School, added that independent schools were better able to spot and monitor pupils in need of additional exam requirements.“We are also fortunate to have proper resourcing and specialist departments, which can be lacking in state maintained schools. All heads want to see learning support staff given the time and money necessary to ensure all pupils are able to claim their rights.”However, figures provided by the DfE show that only 3,815 students are enrolled at independent specialist providers, compared to more than 105,000 enrolled at state maintained schools – meaning that the figures for the private sector remain disproportionately high.“Surely Ofqual’s first job is to ensure a standardised playing field,” Ms Powell added. “I think they’re just looking for excuses – and they shouldn’t be. Their job should be to ask the questions and look for solutions.”center_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

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Christopher Snowdon, the director of lifestyle economics at the Institute of Economic Affairs, told The Telegraph: “I would say that Scots will be hopping across the border to buy alcohol that is, in some cases, less than half price. Some retailers, however, have welcomed the new legislation.Norman Loughery, Off-trade Sales Director at C&C, which owns Scottish lager brand Tennent’s, said: “Today is a landmark day for Scotland.“We’ve been supporters of Minimum Unit Pricing since it was first proposed in 2011 and have worked closely with the Scottish Government and our customers around its successful implementation. “We’ve been brewing in Scotland since 1556 and producing cider in Ireland since 1935, and have always held responsible consumption of alcohol as a key priority of our business.”We strongly believe that the industry must play its part in tackling alcohol abuse and will therefore continue to work with relevant bodies in the territories in which we operate, including Ireland and Northern Ireland, to seek the introduction of MUP legislation.” “As with booze cruises to France, some will be doing it legally for their own consumption and others will be doing it to sell illegally in Scotland.”A large and legal online business is likely to emerge to satisfy demand and there is nothing the SNP can do about it.”This is their folly and they will have to live with the consequences. For those who live a long way from the English border, we may see a growth in home brewing and home distilling. A rise in drug use is also on the cards as people use substances such as Spice as a substitute for cheap alcohol.”Scottish people determined to get their hands on cheap alcohol can also purchase it online. Businesses with Scottish premises – this includes Amazon – have to enforce minimum pricing, but those without do not.A business impact report commissioned by the Scottish government explains: “Where alcohol is purchased through the internet or mail order and despatched from outside Scotland, these sales are not subject to the 2005 Act and so minimum pricing will not apply.  “However, we are heavily expanding our lower-end line, and hoping that those who live in the borders will come and buy from us, and we are running promotions for those who live in Scotland and are coming to visit our store.”The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) said the price increases will cause consumers to hop across the border.Mike Beale, Chief Executive of the WSTA, told The Telegraph: “The Scottish Government’s policy will increase the price of around half of the alcohol on supermarket shelves and will impact most drinkers, particularly those on lowest incomes. “The WSTA’s long held view is that MUP is likely to be ineffective in changing the behavior of problem drinkers. There are also serious questions about the potential impact on cross border trade and illicit alcohol.“It is vital therefore that the impact of on businesses and on consumers of the MUP experiment in Scotland is rigorously and objectively monitored and evaluated over time.” He said he hopes the minimum pricing rule will boost his business, explaining: “I hope so – a lot of the products we have are top end so the alcohol minimum prices won’t affect those.  Show more “Like the potential for cross-border shopping, the incentive to buy from outwith Scotland via the internet will be greater the bigger the price differential between the price of alcohol in Scotland and elsewhere, combined with the volume of goods being purchased.” Whisky shops in Berwick and Carlisle are preparing for Scottish drinkers on booze cruises after the introduction of minimum pricing.Industry experts have warned the new rules will mean drinkers may cross the border in search of cheaper alcohol. At midnight tonight, new pricing rules to discourage problem drinking will increase the prices of alcohol in Scotland.Shops in England are already preparing for the surge in Scottish customers by increasing stock of whisky, other spirits and beer.The law will affect lower-end whisky, as it is the less expensive brands which will be hit by the minimum alcohol pricing, with price per unit set at 50p. This means that 70cl bottle of whisky (28 units of alcohol) could not be sold for less than £14.The House of Malt in Carlisle is hoping to cash in on the minimum alcohol pricing ruling. The shop specialises in high-end whiskys but is expanding its lower-end range for Scots hoping to buy cheap booze.Store manager Mike Little told The Telegraph they have bought in more for their blended range, and are putting on deals for those hopping across the border from tomorrow. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

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Alcohol-related deaths among women are at their highest ever level, new figures have revealed. Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that last year there were 8 female deaths from alcohol for every 100,000 people in the UK – the greatest number since records began in 2001. This was being driven by an overall rise in alcohol deaths among 55 to 74-year-olds in recent years.John Britton, professor of epidemiology at the University of Nottingham and director of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, said the figures pointed to a generation paying for past excesses as well as continued heavy drinking.He said: “I think we have a cohort of past heavy drinkers going through and they are roughly my age, 63.“It is a legacy of probably a lifetime’s behaviour rather than something that is just happening now.“But if you look at what is happening now this age group of people, certainly those with money in their pockets, are probably consuming more alcohol than most people.” The ONS figures showed the overall number of alcohol related deaths in the UK had risen from 7,327 in 2016 to 7,697 last year.Far more men than women continued die from drink-related conditions, at a rate of 17 deaths per 100,000 people last year. However the office said one of the drivers for the general rise was an increase in deaths for women aged between 60 and 64. Prof Britton said the generation who grew up in the swinging sixties where now at an age where they were most susceptible to the major alcohol-related diseases.He added: “If everybody stopped drinking today you would still have this cohort coming through with a lot of alcohol problems in the next decade or two.“It’s sobering in more ways than one if you’re 63.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

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Following last May’s timetable launch, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) and Northern cancelled up to 470 and 310 trains respectively each day.Train companies, government-owned infrastructure company Network Rail and Transport Secretary Chris Grayling have all been blamed for the chaos.A review by Office of Rail and Road (ORR) chairman Professor Stephen Glaister called for the industry to improve how information is provided to passengers.Earlier this year, a Commons report warned rail passengers faced “another difficult year” in 2019 amid more timetable changes and an increase in engineering work.The Public Accounts Committee claimed there was still “a way to go” before Network Rail and train operating companies collaborated in a way that minimised disruption during infrastructure projects. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has faced criticism over the train disruption last year Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has faced criticism over the train disruption last year Rail authorities say they have “learned the lessons” of last year’s chaos as they prepare to roll out more timetable changes.More train timetable adjustments are set to come into force on May 19 as more than 1,000 extra services are added in a bid to tackle overcrowding.It comes a year after passengers faced chaos when the introduction of new schedules crippled large parts of the network in the north and south-east of England.The Rail Delivery Group said it had “learned the lessons” from last year’s disruption and that new services were only being introduced where there was “high confidence” infrastructure, staffing plans and trains would be ready.Paul Plummer, Chief executive of the body, said: “The scale of our ambition to improve means that this is a significant challenge and while there may be some teething problems, train operators and Network Rail have worked together to carefully assess where new services can be introduced without impacting reliability.”Many parts of the country are set to benefit this summer from a better service, but where introducing improvements puts reliability at risk, we are rightly taking a more cautious approach.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

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Hypnosis works better than strong anaesthetic and could soon become the norm for elderly people undergoing arthritis operations following a landmark trial.Medics have hailed the results of a new study where anaesthetic powerful enough to put patients to sleep was successfully replaced with a virtual reality experience.Participants in need of shoulder, hand or knee operations were given headsets and taken on a virtual submarine tour, with a soothing female voice pointing out various fish and other underwater features.They had each been given a local anaesthetic, but the virtual reality hypnosis distraction (VRHD) was used to replace the intravenous sedation such patients would normally have got.This can put people to sleep, but does not induce the full controlled coma of a general anaesthetic.Doctors at the CUB Erasmus Hospital in Brussels found that the VRHD successfully replaced intravenous sedation in three quarters of patients who had the submarine sedation during the operation.Meanwhile 90 per cent of those who had VRHD for ten minutes before as well as during the operation did not require intravenous sedation.The researchers said virtual reality hypnosis would be ideal for elderly patients undergoing these types of non-major joint operations because they do not come with the risks of heavy sedation and the longer recovery time.Intravenous sedation typically causes side-effects such as drowsiness, headaches and dry mouth for several hours.Dr Delphine Van Hecke, who co-led the research, said: “While it is not clear exactly how virtual reality works to reduce anxiety and pain, it’s thought that it creates a distraction that stops the mind feeling pain.“Further studies should focus on other procedures suited for the use of VRHD, particularly its potential benefit in children as premedication or during low pain procedures.”Presented at the Euroanaesthesia Congress in Vienna, the results also showed that patients receiving VRHD showed similar comfort and satisfaction levels before and during the procedure as those given intravenous sedation.The virtual reality software, which allowed the patients to look round 360 degrees, was designed to slow the patients’ breathing rhythm.Dr Dragos Chirnoaga, the other lead researcher, said: “Given the immersive and distracting nature of the virtual reality experience, this technology has the ability to act as a preventative intervention transforming local anaesthesia into a less distressing and potentially pain-free medical procedure.”The trial involved 60 adults scheduled for orthopaedic surgery with a local anaesthetic. A control group of twenty were randomly assigned standard intravenous sedation without any virtual reality, while a second group was given VRHD during the procedure and only given intravenous sedation if patients reported pain scores of three out of 10.The third group of 20 started the VRHD before the procedure. The results also showed a reduction in anxiety in patients who had not had intravenous sedation compared to those who had.One-off cases of people undergoing operations without anaesthetic following hypnosis have long been reported, however scientists have until now failed to devise a standardised hypnosis approach which works for all patients.Dr Chirnoaga said his method would need to be trialed on larger patient bodies before being approved for general use. Parallel research is also taking place into the genetic explanations for pain in a bid to devise therapies to “switch off” genes responsible. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

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Orchids at McBean's Orchid Nursery in East Sussex Greenhouses are dying out because gardens are getting smaller, causing rare orchid varieties to be at risk of becoming extinct, leading horticulturalists have said. Laurence Hobbs, one of the world’s top orchid growers, told an audience at Gardeners’ World Live on Thursday that he was concerned about the future of the popular pot plant as hobbyists no longer want to have greenhouses in their gardens. The grower, who has been tending to his orchids in Crawley, Sussex since 1987, said: “We now live in a time where orchids are endangered. Orchid growers like me are even more endangered as there are less and less hobbyist growers every year because no one wants a greenhouse in their back garden.“This means you have to be very careful where you buy them from as large supermarkets who source their orchids from abroad for example sell blue orchids which are dyed and when they grow they will turn white.” Hobbyists and specialist growers are crucial for keeping rare ornamental orchid species alive – while there have been around 30,000 of the pretty plants discovered in the wild, enthusiasts have managed to cross-breed and create over 200,000 different varieties.  Orchids at McBean’s Orchid Nursery in East SussexCredit:Christopher Pledger Guy Barter, the chief horticultural advisor at the Royal Horticultural Society agreed that the greenhouse use is declining. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Although orchid-growing used to be a fascinating hobby taken up by those of small means, he said,  an increasing lack of garden space means that fewer people want to put up greenhouses for the hothouse plants. He added: “Orchid nurseries catering to enthusiasts selling choice rarities are getting fewer. “People are also less willing to heat greenhouses for delicate orchids on grounds of cost and smaller garden mean less space for greenhouses in any case. At one time there were many orchid hobbyists, often people of slender means.  Specialist societies have largely declined as seems to be the case with horticultural societies in general.”Even the most famous gardeners in the country are succumbing to the trend. Gardeners’ World presenter Monty Don, also speaking at the show, said he used to have three greenhouses before recently getting rid of one.He revealed: “We had a greenhouse that i loved and used to grow lettuce and tomatoes in, I had it for 20 years, but the BBC deemed it a health and safety risk as pieces of glass kept falling on people.“I couldn’t afford another one myself and the BBC pointed out I already have two and that seems quite enough.” read more

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