Naughty Professor Welcomes Chali 2na, Ivan Neville, Benny Bloom, Dave Shaw, And More On ‘Identity’

first_imgThere is an old adage that says, “You can judge a person by the company they keep.” If you take that as a given, then Naughty Professor is clearly one of the funkiest collectives on the scene right now. On their latest release, Identity, the New Orleans-based outfit brought funk luminaries like Chali 2na of Jurrasic 5, Ivan Neville of Dumpstaphunk, Eric “Benny” Bloom of Lettuce and The Shady Horns, David Shaw from The Revivalists, Jason Butler, Dexter Gilmore, Sasha Masakowski, Mike Dillon, Mykia Jovan, and Cliff Hines together to make each track a unique work of art. Though that list is incredible, the most impressive thing about the disc is that the band always maintains their musical voice, or, as the conceit of the title acknowledges, their Identity.“Mirrors” kicks in with a looping guitar line that lulls the listener into a trance before the welcome arrival of the horns and percussion. Using a disorienting track as the lead is a cunning move on their part, a move that lets listeners know that nothing can be taken for granted on Identity. The parade of guest stars on this record is, as previously mentioned, mind boggling. On “Without A Trace,” Jurassic 5’s Chali 2na brings his bass-heavy verbal flow to the proceedings while Ivan Neville croons the chorus and adds some lovely organ fills. Spot on horn breaks from the brass trio of Nick Ellman and Ian Bowman on sax and John Culbreth on trumpet provide a high register counter to 2na’s legendary deep flows while Neville funks up the middle ground. Benny Bloom blends his trumpet to the mix on the instrumental “Without A Trace” taking things down a smoky, jazzy journey down the Nawlins alleys before guitarist Bill Daniel lets loose a little sonic fury. Daniel provides some very clean and cutting licks to the next track, “Stray,” which features David Shaw of The Revivalists dropping by to add some palpable sensual undertones.Check out this wonderful video featuring David Shaw on “Stray”Keyboardist Jason Butler slides his gurgling jams into the snaking horn and percussion jam of the instrumental “Do You Like Dragons” so smoothly it seems as if he had always been there. When the smoothly expressive singer Dexter Gilmore enters “I Can’t Sleep at Night,” the Naughty Professor guys pull themselves back a pace, but even then, they can’t stop themselves from punctuating his sharper notes. Daniel delivers one of his crunchier solos, which serves as a perfect counterpoint to the R & B stylings of Gilmore. Breathy singer Sasha Masakowski is a revelation with her call-and-response riffs with the band during “Through It All.” Madman Mike Dillon pops in on “Venison Poetry” to build something truly beautiful before starting fires and watching the music burn.Watch Dillon team up with the Professor boys in this just-released video for “Venison Poetry”When Chali 2na and Dexter Gilmore team up to share the mic for “Darker Daze,” you get the feeling that the world can indeed be oppressive, but the splashy horns seem to insinuate that there is always hope.Check out the “Darker Daze” video from Naughty Professor below:Mykia Jovan almost steals the show on “Stolen Ones” with her lower key turn at the beginning of the track, and when she gets into the groove, her flow is unstoppable. Even artists accustomed to taking the lead, like bandleader, composer, and guitarist Cliff Hines works to add to the music rather than dominate the flow. Professor drummer Sam Shahin and bassist Noah Young are at their strongest while Hines works his fret board magic on “Psycho Switch.” The wild and horny “Funk 4 Lunch” shows that you really CAN’T have too much of a good thing as a plethora of horn players descend on the track like locusts, devouring everything in their wake.The performances on the record, from both the hosts and the parade of guest stars, are all spot on and somehow remain balanced and representative of each player’s natural sound. Special credit should go to Qmillion (Robert Glasper) for his deft production work on Identity. The members of Naughty Professor have a lot to be proud of on their latest release. Not a lot of bands could give themselves over to so many distinct voices and still make music that resonates with their own voice. Luckily for listeners, when it comes to identity, Naughty Professor is completely aware of who they are and what they do best.[Photo: Jeffrey Dupuis]last_img read more

Watch Phish’s 20-Minute First Set “Tweezer” From The Beast Of A Show That Was 12/30/17 [Video]

first_imgOn Saturday, December 30th, Phish returned to Madison Square Gardenin the final “regular” date on Phish‘s landmark 2017 calendar, and while it marked the 16th time this year the foursome graced the world-famous arena’s stage, it instantly asserted its place among the best shows in recent memory…And when we say “instantly,” we really do mean instantly. From the first notes of the rare show-opening “Mike’s Song” it was clear that this show would be something special–and it only got better from there.Following the classic “Mike’s (Hydrogen) Groove,” the band dropped into A Picture of Nectar classic “Tweezer”, perhaps the mightiest jam vehicle in their extensive catalogue. At least in the modern era, first-set “Tweezer” jams have tended to both be shorter and hew more closely to the song’s structure. However, on this night, “Tweezer” was neither straightforward nor compact. The band worked the jam through several distinct sections, from fabulous Jon Fishman and Mike Gordon-led funk bounces, to Baker’s Dozen-style Page McConnell cocktail lounge fare, to major key piano-and-guitar nirvana, to a “Piper”-like build toward a towering white-light peak from Trey Anastasio.A (nearly) 20-minute “Tweezer” jam is often an easy choice as the highlight of any show in which it appears. That choice is even easier to make when that “Tweezer” shows up in the first set. Yet on this fantastic night of Phish, “Tweezer” was far from the “jam of the show”–that title goes to the monster “Down With Disease”(-> “Steam”, > “Light”) that opened the second set. It’s not even a surefire pick for the best jam of this show’s first set: that “Bathtub Gin” a couple songs later packed an absurd amount of heat into its own 15 minutes in the spotlight.So went the Phish in 2017: Just when you thought you’d seen the top of the mountain, the band would find yet another peak to climb. 35 years into their voyage, Trey, Page, Mike, and Fish are still finding ways to excite and amaze, and playing with as much gleeful vigor as ever. Here’s to another fantastic year of Phish in 2018.Watch high-quality fan-shot footage of the fantastic 12/30/17 “Tweezer” courtesy of the venerable videographer LazyLightning55a, synced with audio taped by Noah Bickart:SETLIST: Phish | Madison Square Garden | New York City, NY | 12/30/17I: Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Tweezer > Ass Handed, Kill Devil Falls > Bathtub Gin, Brother, MoreII: Down with Disease[1] -> Steam > Light > Farmhouse, Run Like an AntelopeE: Sleeping Monkey > Tweezer Reprise[1] Unfinished[Cover photo via Phish From The Road/Rene Huemer]last_img read more

Greensky Bluegrass Welcomes Drummer Jeremy Salken For Steppenwolf Cover In CO [Photo/Audio]

first_imgLoad remaining images On Saturday night, Greensky Bluegrass returned to the Ogden Theatre for a smoking hot finale that produced a wide array of highlights–from a rare guest drummer, to the debut of a classic rock n’ roll standard, to a Paul Hoffman/Dave Bruzza duo encore (hoFFZZa). The band opened with a “Before Bring Out Your Dead”>”Bring Out Your Dead” sequence off 2011’s Handguns. The opening segment got the packed-to-the-brim Denver crowd boogying, making for a high-energy start to their third and final show of their three-night Denver run. The band continued to play more recent material with a sweet rendition of “Wings for Wheels”, followed by the groovy “Ain’t No Bread In The Breadbox”, which included Paul Hoffman and dobro-wizard Anders Beck trading off scorching hot solos.Next, Greensky shifted gears to a bit more old school whipping out “Bottle Dry,” before the band dove deep into a beautifully jammed-out “No Idea”>”Lose My Way.” With Hoffamn leading the way on vocals, the 1600-capacity theater had never felt so much like home, as fans hung a massive sign over the balcony reading “Colorado Love’s GSBG.” Dave Bruzza then took over on vocals, leading the band through “Steam Powered Aeroplane” before ending the set with some new tunes: “Hold On” and “Run or Die”, off their 2016 album Shouted, Written Down, & Quoted.After a first set that perfectly mixed new and old favorites, Greensky Bluegrass opened set two with a cover of Jimmy Martin’s “Hit Parade of Love.” A jam-packed “All Four” sandwich followed, with a powerful cover of Van Morrison’s “Into The Mystic” thrown in the middle. After “Past My Prime,” the group performed 2011’s “Jaywalking,” with the bluegrass generals firing off on all cylinders.To close set two, the band served up another delectable sandwich with “Burn Them” > ”Miss September” > “Burn Them,” inviting Guido Batista onstage to help out on tambourine. The guests kept coming, as Greensky welcomed drummer Jeremy Salken (Big Gigantic) up for a rendition of “Old Barns,” before closing the set with another favorite off Handguns, “Don’t Lie.” “Don’t Lie” included teases of Phish’s “Contact” and “Living Over,” bringing set two to a triumphant close.As the band came onstage for encore, Anders Beck stepped up to the mic declaring how excited and ready he is for Greensky’s first two-night headlining run at Red Rocks this upcoming September. Hoffman and Bruzza kicked off the encore with a rare duet, performing a cover of Gillian Welch’s “I Want To Sing That Rock and Roll,” before inviting the rest of the band and Jeremy Salken back up for a debut cover of Steppenwolf’s “Born To Be Wild.”Listen to full audio from Greensky’s Denver closer courtesy of taper Rob O’Brien:Next up for Greensky is a performance at Egyptian Room at Old National Centre in Indianapolis. For a full list of upcoming tour dates, head to the band’s website.SETLIST: Greensky Bluegrass | Ogden Theatre| Denver, CO | 1/13/2018Set 1: Before Bring Out Your Dead> Bring Out Your Dead, Wings for Wheels, Ain’t No Bread in the Breadbox> Bottle Dry, No Idea> Lose My Way, Steam Powered Aeroplane, Hold On>Exuberance> Run or DieSet 2: Hit Parade of Love, All Four> Into the Mystic> All Four, Past My Prime, Jaywalking, Burn Them> Miss September> Burn Them (1), Old Barns (2), Don’t Lie (2) (3) (4)Encore: I Want to Sing That Rock and Roll (5), Born To Be Wild (2)1) – w/ Guido Batista (tambourine)(2) – w/ Jeremy Salken (drums)(3) – Contact tease(4) – Living Over tease(5) – Dave and Paul duetBelow, view a beautiful gallery of photos from the show via photographer Chris Klein:Greensky Bluegrass | Ogden Theatre| Denver, CO | 1/13/2018 | Photos: Chris Kleinlast_img read more

Brian Wilson Goes Back To High School, Gets The ‘F’ He Got For “Surfin’” Changed To An ‘A’

first_imgBrian Wilson, co-founding singer, songwriter, and widely-renowned recording wizard for The Beach Boys, is widely considered to be something of a musical genius, composing countless timeless hit songs and revolutionizing the art of studio engineering with his meticulously constructed records. Powered largely by Wilson’s creative direction, The Beach Boys had over eighty songs chart worldwide, with thirty-six of them becoming U.S. Top 40 hits (the most by an American rock band) and four reaching #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The Beach Boys have sold in excess of 100 million records worldwide, making them one of the world’s best-selling bands of all time.However, Wilson’s work wasn’t always held in such high regard. In 1959, when Brian Wilson and the rest of the original Beach Boys were still in school together at Hawthorne High School in Hawthorne, CA, he composed a song called “Surfin’” and submitted it for an assignment in his music class. His music teacher, Mr. Fred Morgan, gave the project an ‘F’.Listen to The Beach Boys’ “Surfin” below:As we now know, “Surfin’” would wound up making its way onto the Beach Boy’s 1962 debut album, Surfin’ Safari, and went on to become their first of many hit records. As Brian’s high school music teacher Fred Morgan explains, “Brian wrote a composition for me and it turned out to be ‘Surfin.’ That composition got an F, but it made a million dollars.” Earlier this week, the now 75-year-old Wilson returned to Hawthorne High School where the current principal, Dr. Vanessa Landesfeind, officially changed Wilson’s grade on “Surfin’” to an ‘A’. Wilson has been working through an enormous world tour celebrating the 50th anniversary of his masterpiece LP, Pet Sounds, and has several more dates scheduled for this Spring. For a list up upcoming dates, head to Wilson’s website.Congrats on that A, Brian–maybe now you can get into a good college! All’s well that ends well.[h/t – Billboard]last_img read more

Rebirth Brass Band Announces Intimate Pop-Up Show In NYC

first_imgNew Orleans institution Rebirth Brass Band has announced a surprise, last-minute show in New York City! The iconic Crescent City brass band, who will be in New York for a three-day workshop at the 92nd Street Y, will now bring their 35th Anniversary Tour to DROM for an intimate performance on this coming Tuesday, January 29th.Rebirth Brass Band, formed in 1983 by the Frazier brothers, is a staple of New Orleans culture. Whether you’ve seen them on HBO’s Treme or during one of their shows from their long-running residency at the world-famous NOLA venue The Maple Leaf, the band has become one of the go-to torchbearers of the city’s music and culture. The band is fully committed to upholding the rich tradition of the brass band while also infusing elements of funk and hip-hop into their rich and vibrant sound. Rebirth Brass Band is the undisputed leader of the pack, and now, in their 35th year as a band, they’re showing no signs of slowing down.Rebirth Brass Band’s special pop-up show at DROM is on sale NOW at this link. See below for full info for this special, intimate show.Date: Tuesday, January 29thArtist: Live For Live Music Presents: Rebirth Brass BandVenue: DROM – 85 Avenue A, New York, NY 10019Tickets: $25Time: 9:00 PMlast_img read more

Vampire Weekend Sold Grateful Dead-Inspired Merch At Webster Hall Album Release Show

first_imgVampire Weekend will head out on a North American tour in support of their new release beginning on June 5th in Toronto and continuing until October 8th with a performance at Denver’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre. For more tickets and tour info, head to the band’s website. Vampire Weekend was in New York City over the weekend to celebrate the long-awaited release of their new studio album, Father of the Bride. To celebrate, the popular rock band took up an entire day at the recently-reopened Webster Hall, where they treated their hometown fans to three sets performed throughout the day on Sunday, in addition to sharing some fresh merch for those who actually lasted throughout the entire event.The all-day concert event may have featured surprise sit-ins from notable pop acts like Haim, but for jam fans in attendance, the real highlight was that of the band’s special t-shirt designed for the show. At first glance, the shirts sold at the event may just look like another overpriced piece of merch specifically designed for a new album cycle. To the average Deadhead, however, the shirt’s design strikes an awfully close resemblance to the artwork featured on the Grateful Dead‘s 1991 live album, One From The Vault. Related: Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig Interviews Twiddle’s Mihali Savoulidis About “Jamflowman”As one Deadhead in attendance at this weekend’s event pointed out on social media, the script formatting on the back of Vampire Weekend’s t-shirts was themed around the copy used on the Dead’s 1991 album, which was originally recorded in 1975 during their hiatus from 1974-76. Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig is an outspoken fan of jam bands, and has incorporated the Dead’s music into their own performances in the past, so it should come as a surprise to no one that he decided to use the famous rock band as inspiration. Fans can take a look at the two photos below to decide for themselves.last_img read more

Memorial service for Leon Kirchner

first_imgA memorial gathering in remembrance of Leon Kirchner, the Walter Bigelow Rosen Professor of Music Emeritus, will be held on Apr. 8 (7:30-9:30 p.m.) at John Knowles Paine Concert Hall.The service will be sponsored by the Harvard Department of Music. Family members, former students, colleagues, and friends, are welcome to attend.last_img

Bringing faiths together

first_imgIt is fondly referred to as God’s motel.And the two-story building on Francis Avenue, with its apartment-style residences and idyllic courtyard, has long hosted religious scholars from near and far.This year marks the golden anniversary of Harvard’s Center for the Study of World Religions (CSWR), which through its diverse programming, faculty appointments, visiting scholars, and research initiatives has broadened and shaped Harvard’s work in religious and spiritual traditions.Plans for the center were cemented with a gift to HDS from a group of anonymous donors in 1957, and the building was completed in 1960. The bequest was intended to “help Harvard University maintain graduate and undergraduate courses in the religions of the world, to train teachers in this field, to give ministers a sympathetic appreciation of other religions, and to stimulate undergraduate interest in the religions of the world.”And since then it has done just that, expanding the vision of the Harvard Divinity School from a largely Christian seminary to one that has embraced and expanded the study and exploration of religions.Take, for example, the center’s faculty grants program. Recent recipients have studied everything from the ways that New Zealand Maori experience biotechnological interventions, to the curricula of madrasas in Pakistan, to the influence of African-American televangelists on the African diaspora.The center’s directors have left a legacy of religious diversity. Early directors helped to establish an undergraduate honors concentration in the comparative study of religion, as well as a Ph.D. program that incorporates comparative perspectives.Lawrence E. Sullivan, an authority on the religions of South America and central Africa who directed the center from 1990 to 2003, initiated research programs that brought scholars from around the world to the center to explore the intersection of religion and the sciences, politics, art, law, and economics.Current director Donald Swearer took over in 2004. A scholar of Buddhism, Swearer has helped to shape the center’s programming around local and global community building.His efforts include the World Religions Café, where CSWR residents can discuss their research and work with their peers. He has also worked to develop programming with other Harvard departments, such as the thematic lecture series “The Ecologies of Human Flourishing,” created in conjunction with the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, the Harvard University Center for the Environment, and the Initiative on Religion in International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School.Swearer helped to develop the center’s International Research Associate/Visiting Faculty program, which brings an international scholar to the CSWR to collaborate with a Harvard faculty member on research and teaching, and has fostered collaboration with other institutions.“I truly see the center here at the center of a mandala that networks out, and involves people from across the University and the globe in the exploration of the world’s religions,” said Swearer, HDS Distinguished Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies.Francis X. Clooney, Parkman Professor of Divinity and professor of comparative theology, will take leadership of the CSWR in July. Clooney, who joined HDS in 2005, sees his role as continuing the work of his predecessors, and helping the center to expand the work involving different faiths and scholarly endeavors.He hopes to use his early months as a “thinking year” during which he can explore ways to expand faculty grant programs, involve students more in the work of the center, and continue to broaden its interreligious ties elsewhere.“By developing quality connections among ourselves and closer to home, we open the way to fresh explorations into the territory of our increasingly interreligious world,” said Clooney.Two-day symposiumIn honor of the CSWR’s anniversary, the center is hosting a two-day symposium, April 15-16, focused on the future of the study of religion. The event will include the creation of a Tibetan sand mandala by scholar and former Buddhist monk Losang Samten. For more information, visit the Center for the Study of World Religions web site.last_img read more

A school telescope, through the Internet

first_imgHarvard scientists are creating a group of interstellar “ambassadors” who are helping to explain the universe in school classrooms through a web-based program that lets students soar through space to view planets, stars, and the gassy clouds where the latter are born.The Worldwide Telescope Ambassadors Program is the brainchild of astronomy Professor Alyssa Goodman, who has been working with Microsoft programmers for several years on their Internet-based Worldwide Telescope, a free program. Goodman has worked with its creator, Curtis Wong, at Microsoft Research, suggesting updates and changes that have added functionality useful to researchers.Through the main interface, users can zoom “through” the universe to explore. A click of the mouse will call up links to research databases, putting the current knowledge about a particular stellar body or region at the user’s fingertips. For more-basic users, there are also a series of “tours” — guided introductions to specific astronomy topics — to get them started.The ambassadors program, cosponsored by Microsoft Research and WGBH, is run by Patricia Udomprasert out of Goodman’s Viz-e-Lab. The lab was founded earlier this year to develop ways that researchers can visualize and manipulate large data sets. The lab emphasizes low-cost, affordable technology and has developed a 3-D interface with the Worldwide Telescope, using a standard high-definition, flat-screen television and Microsoft Kinect, an add-on to the software giant’s Xbox 360 system that lets users control games with their bodies. The result is that users can navigate the 3-D universe not only with a mouse and keyboard but, at least in the Viz-e-Lab, by standing in front of the screen and moving their arms to swim closer to or further from an object.Goodman says that the technology, though still experimental, is just one example of new ways to interact with the large sets of data accumulated by projects affiliated with the lab, such as the Dataverse, Seamless Astronomy, and High Dimensional Data Visualization and Interaction. While data in the past has typically been displayed in charts and graphs, technology in recent years has enabled the collection of such large volumes of data that traditional display methods are inadequate. By displaying the data in three dimensions or by interacting with it graphically, researchers may be able to not only better explain what they’ve found but also understand it better themselves, Goodman said.The ambassadors program takes that same approach to teaching astronomy. The ambassadors themselves are astronomy-savvy individuals, such as retired astronomers, astronomy hobbyists, researchers seeking to add an educational component to their work, and even Harvard undergraduates interested in the subject.In one year, the ambassadors program has grown from several ambassadors working with 80 students in one school to a dozen ambassadors and 400 students at two schools, Lexington’s Clarke Middle School and Prospect Hill Academy in Somerville, Udomprasert said. Goodman and Udomprasert said they hope the program will continue to expand as funding becomes available.“People learn with this in a different way than they do with books,” Goodman said.Michelle Bartley, a sixth-grade science teacher at Clarke Middle School, where the program kicked off last year, said the traditional curriculum required students to do projects on subjects covered in class, like constellations and the life and death of a star. The Worldwide Telescope not only engages this generation of video-savvy kids better, it allows them much greater freedom to explore the universe on their own and to pick astronomy projects that follow their interest.As Bartley taught the year’s astronomy lessons, ambassadors were there to help, working one-on-one with students, helping them if they got stuck with the software, and allowing them to move ahead with their projects.“They’re phenomenal,” Bartley said of the ambassadors. “They’re there from day one, walking around the class and talking with the kids. The program really gets kids excited about astronomy.”Dick Post, a retired businessman and member of the Amateur Telescope Makers of Boston, worked with Bartley and other Clarke teachers two days a week this spring. He said that with 20 kids in a class working on the software, it’s critical that someone other than the instructor be there to help.“Even if you know the program, the kids will do something you’ve never thought about,” Post said. “This age group is amazing. You can’t believe how fast these kids learn.”last_img read more

Reaping benefits of exercise minus the sweat

first_imgA team led by researchers at Harvard-affiliated Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has isolated a natural hormone from muscle cells that triggers some of the key health benefits of exercise. They say the protein, which serves as a chemical messenger, is a highly promising candidate for development as a novel treatment for diabetes, obesity, and perhaps other disorders, including cancer.Bruce Spiegelman, a cell biologist at Dana-Farber, is senior author of the report, posted as an advance online publication by the journal Nature. The first author is Pontus Bostrom, a postdoctoral fellow in the Spiegelman lab.“It’s exciting to find a natural substance connected to exercise that has such clear therapeutic potential,” said Bostrom.Spiegelman dubbed the hormone “irisin,” after Iris, a Greek messenger goddess. He said the discovery is an important first step in understanding the biological mechanisms that translate physical exercise into beneficial changes throughout the body, both in healthy people and in preventing or treating disease.“There has been a feeling in the field that exercise ‘talks to’ various tissues in the body,” said Spiegelman, a professor of cell biology at Harvard Medical School. “But the question has been, how?”According to the report, the irisin hormone has direct and “powerful effects” on adipose, or fatty, tissue — subcutaneous deposits of white fat that store excess calories and that contribute to obesity.When irisin levels rise through exercise — or, in this study, when irisin was injected into mice — the hormone switches on genes that convert white fat into “good” brown fat. This is beneficial because brown fat burns off more excess calories than does exercise alone.Only a small amount of brown fat is found in adults, but infants have more — an evolutionary echo of how mammals keep themselves warm while hibernating. In the wake of findings by Spiegelman and others, there has been a surge of interest in the therapeutic possibilities of increasing brown fat in adults.Along with stimulating brown fat development, irisin was shown to improve glucose tolerance, a key measure of metabolic health, in mice fed a high-fat diet.The discovery won’t allow people to skip the gym and build muscles by taking irisin supplements, Spiegelman cautioned, because the hormone doesn’t appear to make muscles stronger. Experiments showed that irisin levels increase as a result of repeated bouts of prolonged exercise, but not during short-term muscle activity.The Dana-Farber team identified irisin in a search for genes and proteins regulated by a master metabolic regulator, called PGC1-alpha, which is turned on by exercise. Spiegelman’s group had discovered PGC1-alpha in previous research.Bostrom said the hunt for molecular targets of increased PGC1-alpha activity ultimately pinpointed irisin, which turned out to be located within the outer membrane of muscle cells. This discovery ran counter to other scientists’ contentions that such a protein would reside in the cell’s nucleus.To test whether increasing irisin alone could mimic exercise benefits, the scientists injected modest amounts into sedentary mice that were obese and pre-diabetic.With 10 days of treatment, the mice had better control of blood sugar and insulin levels — in effect, preventing the onset of diabetes — and lost a small amount of weight. Although the weight loss was small, Spiegelman said that the hormone may have a greater effect when given for longer periods.There were no signs of toxicity or side effects, a finding that was predicted because the researchers limited the increase of irisin to levels typically caused by exercise.In part because it is a natural substance and because the mouse and human forms of the protein are identical, Spiegelman said it should be possible to move an irisin-based drug rapidly into clinical testing — perhaps within two years.The irisin discovery has been licensed by Dana-Farber exclusively to Ember Therapeutics for drug development. Ember is a Boston-based startup co-founded by Spiegelman and scientists at the Harvard-affiliated Joslin Diabetes Center and the Scripps Research Institute in Florida.The scientists said their findings merely scratch the surface of irisin’s multiple effects. They are continuing to explore the hormone’s possible benefits in metabolic diseases like diabetes, insulin resistance, and obesity, which constitute a growing epidemic around the world, as well as neurodegenerative illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease.Spiegelman added that as growing evidence implicates obesity and physical inactivity in cancer development, it’s conceivable irisin-based drugs may have value in prevention and treatment of the disease.Other authors, in addition to Spiegelman and Bostrom, are from Dana-Farber; Harvard Medical School; Harvard affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital; University of California, San Francisco; Universita Politecnica delle Marche, Ancona, Italy; Odense University Hospital, Denmark; and LakePharma, Belmont, Calif.The National Institutes of Health funded the research.last_img read more