Analog Aging in a Digital World Part 2

first_imgby, Jeanette Leardi, ChangingAging ContributorTweetShareShareEmail0 SharesIn my most recent post, “Analog Aging in a Digital World,” I discussed “the benefits of adhering to a few analog ways of aging in the world, despite all the digital progress that’s been made” using these examples:Considering older adults as individuals rather than as memes or caricatures.Accepting aging as a natural process.Serving elders by using a person-centered rather than institutionalized approach.These values target healthy perceptions of aging and positive behaviors that arise from them. But there’s a bit more to be said about the benefits of taking analog approaches, especially while a person is young, years before entering older adulthood. Because everyone is aging, it’s smart to want to maintain a productive, quality life as long as possible and to accumulate the kind of social wisdom that comes with experience and a perspective that is honed over many years. In other words, everyone should aspire to be an elder in training. Therefore, why not anticipate that time of life by developing these analog habits early on?Appreciating silence. Our world is becoming more and more crowded with aural and visual noise: blaring music, ubiquitous advertisements, interrupting cross- conversations, superficial and/or strident cable and social media chatter. While these modern, digital situations are designed to convey information quickly, we often forget to question the necessity and quality of that information. Moreover, it seems as though we are losing the ability –– and desire –– to be comfortable with silence, to turn off our electronic devices and simply be in our environments, to really listen to someone else before speaking and to evaluate the level of truth of what we hear and say. Besides seeking freedom from distractions when focusing on tasks, elders often take great pleasure in savoring experiences for their intrinsic value, placing them in proper perspective. Not bad skills for elders in training to hone.Setting personal boundaries of information-sharing. One of the potential gifts of elderhood is the ability to be more discriminating, to know what is important and what is not in any given situation. While there have always been people of all ages who lack personal boundaries and have a compulsion to tell all about themselves or others, there is a growing ease bordering on recklessness regarding the desire to focus on self-important details and to constantly share those details with others. Taking selfies, tweeting, video messaging, texting, and sexting words and pictures are new technological ways of instantaneously updating the world about our lives. But often we don’t take into account that the Internet is an indelible medium and that there is a potential danger in posting personal information that can negatively affect our reputation, including the ability to get hired or keep a job. The question is: Do we gain more than we lose when we voluntarily give up our privacy and dignity to cyberspace on a global and permanent basis? It’s an analog question each of us at any age should ask and answer for ourselves.Making relationships mean something. Social isolation is one of the greatest health threats to older adults, not just because it can deny access to physical support but also because the loneliness and lack of opportunity to contribute to society can lead to depression. Fortunately, networking is one of the activities that the Internet has exponentially improved, and it can be an effective and empowering way to increase one’s presence and knowledge and to share one’s talents and services with others. That being said, it’s worth our while to understand that there are levels to intimacy and commitment, that “friending” thousands of people doesn’t make us popular or more cherished, and that by spending time casting our relationship nets too widely we might begin to neglect tending to relationships with those who are closest to us and whom we value the most. Using social media to keep in touch with family and real friends is a smart way to age in a digital world.These are analog issues that are simple and low-tech and reflect values that worked well in the past and can still apply today.Anyone, regardless of age, can embrace them.Related PostsAnalog Aging in a Digital WorldIt seems that as a society we keep throwing out the traditional baby with the bathwater every time a new cultural development occurs, just because it’s new. Here are a few examples of analog values we should retain that relate directly to aging.The Six Assets of AgingThe deterioration-decline meme that defines aging in our culture originates in a narrow perception of the lifespan that is blind to the priceless assets we accrue as we add years to our lives.What Are the Best Books on Aging?This week I received a guestblog submission from a wonderful ChangingAging reader who is writing a book on graceful aging and submitted a post listing her Top 15 Books onTweetShareShareEmail0 SharesTags: analog Elderhood Second Windlast_img read more

Read more

Every Minute Counts A Call To Action

first_imgby, ChangingAgingTweet110Share1KShare97Email1K SharesWhat causes the stigma and fear? It’s the stereotype of dementia: someone who cannot understand, remembers nothing, and is unaware of what is happening around them. This stereotype tugs at the heartstrings and loosens the purse strings, so is used in seeking funds for research, support and services. It’s a Catch 22, because Alzheimer’s associations promote our image as non-persons, and make the stigma worse.— Christine Bryden, Austrailian Advocate Living with DementiaOn January 25 PBS will air Alzheimer’s: Every Minute Counts, a documentary framed as “an urgent wake-up call about the national public health threat posed by Alzheimer’s disease.” The film starts with phoned in quotes about the tragedy of Alzheimer’s from the perspective of care partners overlaid with dramatic images and music and then goes to experts with catastrophizing predictions such as, “It is going to sink the health care economy and in turn sink the national economy” and “It will take us down, this disease will take us down.” The film details only one side of the story when it comes to Alzheimer’s. The result highlights just how hard care partnering can be without giving voice to people living with dementia or how society causes much of this suffering. The film uses scare tactics in the name of safety without respecting the dignity of taking risks  which those of us without a diagnosis take for granted every day. The film speaks about mounting medical costs with no mention of innovation or social capital. It warns us of the hardships of people living with dementia in isolation without highlighting communities who are banding together and helping each other live well regardless of cognitive ability. The film pathologizes “wandering” without asking how people are getting creative to protect the freedom to go where one chooses. The film interviews only one person living with dementia and the interview takes place immediately following her being given the diagnosis. The single ray of hope and possibility for living well comes at the end of the film when a family care partner is supported by hospice and remarks, “I have always been against any kind of help because I thought I would have to put her in a home or something, and I was totally wrong.” The film concludes with a plug for medical research funding as the only possible thing one can do about this so-called crisis.“How depressing! Where is the hope and encouragement for those who are being diagnosed now?” Larry Klika, a retired pharmacist in Missoula, Mont., diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2015, said after watching an advanced screening of the film provided by ChangingAging.org with his wife Linda.There’s nothing new about this film’s focus on the tragedy-only narrative of dementia, designed to catch media attention, social and otherwise, by stoking and feeding on our deepest fears about aging. We are calling on the ChangingAging community to take a stand and show the world that there is more to the story. Let’s enact one of the most important words in our language: ‘and.’Yes, medical research is important AND so are ways to make our communities and ourselves more dementia inclusive. Yes, there is suffering associated with Alzheimer’s AND much of this suffering is socially imposed by the tragedy-only narrative and can be alleviated through perspective shifts. If you watch this film on January 25, please do so with the word ‘and’ at the top of your mind. Where does ‘and’ need to be added? Where is only part of the story being told? Where is suffering being added rather than alleviated? PBS and underwriters for this documentary, such as the Alzheimer’s Association, have mounted major publicity and social media initiatives around this program. Together, we can be sure that the voices of people living with dementia and their allies are also heard!For inspiration we reached out to some of our favorite experts (those living with dementia) and allies, and here is what they have to say:Nowhere in this documentary does it mention the positive effects of exercise, socialization or a healthy diet. These have all been shown to slow down the progression of Alzheimers and in some cases prevent the symptoms from ever occurring (i.e. The Nun Study). We are talking about people here not just dollar signs. We deserve to live the best life we can for as long as we can! We need to encourage Dementia Friendly Attitudes in our Communities to help this become a reality.— Larry and Linda Klika, founders of Living Well With Dementia in Missoula, Mont. (Larry asked we also tell readers he loves running, enjoys being with his grandchildren and, as Forest Gump would say, “That’s all I have to say about that.”)There are almost 50 million people currently diagnosed wth dementia globally, and this is possibly a gross underestimate if we factored in that in the USA, only 50% pf people get a diagnosis, and in countries such as India, less than 10%. Of course, as a person diagnosed with a dementia, also representing the global organisation Dementia Alliance International, I would like a cure, but let’s get real. We want better health care, better support for ourselves and our families, and a focus to be on our human right  not only to a diagnosis, but to rehabilitation and disability support to enable independence for longer. This film simply highlights the negative and disempowering discourse of tragedy, told from the perspective of family carers, even though people with dementia have been advocating there must always be “Nothing about us, without us.” It continues to support the many myths including we are all end stage in our dementia, people with dementia cannot, and do not live good lives with dementia, and that we are unable to contribute in meaningful ways to our communities. It is wrong to continue to highlight the losses, in order to elicit money, for research or running advocacy organisations, especially when 67 years after the UN Declaration on Human Rights was signed, the OECD concluded in 2015 “Dementia receives the worst care in the developed world.— Kate Swaffer, Australian advocate living with dementiaTragedy sells but there is a market for hope too.— Dr. Jennifer Carson, University of Nevada-RenoIn an ageist society, worse than old is very old, and worst of all is very old and incurably ill. Add to that the tremendous stigma that accompanies mental impairment of any sort. It’s a quadruple whammy if you take into consideration the fact that family members often feel stigmatized by association. Fear-mongering of this type only deepens the stigma—and the burden on everyone involved. People with dementia are not as “lost” to an incurable disease—and therefore lost to us—but still present in various ways, with ongoing human needs for affection, connection, and expression. Let’s tell that story too.— Ashton Applewhite, New YorkAlzheimer’s, like any aspect of illness or wellness, is part of the human experience. It brings many life challenges, but also opportunities. Many advocates living with the diagnosis around the world are showing us how it is possible to live well with dementia. People living with Alzheimer’s are writing books, giving testimony at the UN and WHO, volunteering in their communities, creating art, or engaging with preschoolers in intergenerational programs.There are two serious consequences that spring from the discourse expressed in this documentary: One is that such a stigmatizing portrayal of people with dementia leads us to disempower and marginalize them, causing excess disability and actually increasing the burdens on families and care systems, financial and otherwise. The second is that an inordinate focus on cure suggests that your only path to a life worth living lies in us being able to make you more like the rest of us. This creates an underlying message that difference and disability are not to be valued or tolerated, and that creates a dangerous world, into which we will all grow old.— Al Power, MDI live in a community in Seattle that welcomes people living with dementia and provides an incredible abundance of creative and fun opportunities to engage and contribute to the community. We can pursue both medical research on dementia AND community development in support of living well with dementia. But we can’t pursue one at the expense of the other. The stigma and fear created by the tragedy-only narrative are real and contribute to isolation and make it that much harder to support people living with dementia. We can help alleviate the stigma and fear by taking a “nothing about us without us” approach.— Kavan Peterson, Editor and Director of ChangingAging and President of Harvest Home CareAdd your voice in the comments below and join us on social media using the hashtag #EveryPersonCounts!Related PostsTrust at StakeThe full text of Eilon Caspi’s recent journal article “Trust at stake: Is the “dual mission” of the U.S. Alzheimer’s Association out of balance?” is now available for free thanks to an anonymous donor seeking to raise awareness of the gross imbalance of effort and funding between the Association’s dual…Power Up – Speaking Out(I just received this eloquent commentary from Mike Donohue, so in honor of the upcoming Independence Day, I thought I would share it with readers of this blog): I Am Sick and Tired of Being an Oversight in Alzheimer’s World … Continue reading →While Awaiting A CureWe owe it to ourselves and our communities to stand up and demand that, while we await development of a cure or treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease, resources are to also be spent on figuring out how to live well with dementia.Tweet110Share1KShare97Email1K SharesTags: Ageism alzheimer’s association Alzheimer’s Disease Dementia Disrupt Dementia Momentialast_img read more

Read more

Federal grant extends and expands research into acute kidney failure

first_imgAug 22 2018The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has renewed a grant shared by the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine and the University of California at San Diego School of Medicine that will extend and expand research into acute kidney failure, or acute kidney injury, which affects about 1.2 million hospitalized patients per year and kills 70 to 80 percent of patients in intensive care units who develop the disease.The grant, which is worth $5.67 million, will fund the O’Brien Center for Acute Kidney Injury Research for another five years. The center is one of eight federally funded centers in the country aimed at making state-of-the-art technologies and resources readily accessible to researchers pursuing studies in relevant areas related to kidney diseases. The center serves as a national core resource to identify and fund promising research and to provide important scientific services to the funded investigators.”Acute kidney injury causes more deaths per year than breast cancer, prostate cancer, heart failure and diabetes combined,” said Anupam Agarwal, M.D., director of the Division of Nephrology at UAB. “The center helps with our mission to improve the health of patients by fostering research that is centered on the prevention and treatment of AKI and its complications.”Agarwal has led the O’Brien Center since 2008 when UAB received the first award from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. The grant will fund the center through 2023.”The O’Brien Center has helped fund research, recruit faculty and increase the number of existing pilot programs,” Agarwal said. “Since the grant was renewed for the second time in 2013, UAB has recruited 19 new faculty members to our nephrology program. A large reason they came here is the resources available through the center.”Related StoriesResearch highlights persistent gaps in quality of care for patients with chronic kidney diseaseOlympus Europe and Cytosurge join hands to accelerate drug development, single cell researchNew research links “broken heart syndrome” to cancer”We focus on understanding the relationship of acute kidney injury to development of chronic kidney disease and developing novel strategies to map the continuum of the disease for targeted interventions,” said Ravindra L. Mehta, M.D., nephrologist and professor of medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine. “The center offers several biomarker assays to evaluate kidney injury and function to improve diagnosis, identify targets for intervention and help in decision-making for physicians managing patients with these diseases.”The center has catalyzed significant growth of kidney-related research at UAB and UC San Diego. As of October 2017, the total kidney-related National Institutes of Health funding increased by 38 percent from 2012 to $32.6 million, and funding from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has nearly doubled from $8.2 million to $15.5 million.”The center enables our investigators pursuing kidney-related research to have state-of-the-art, cutting-edge technologies that they can utilize without having to set it up in their own laboratories,” Agarwal said.This cycle will offer a new resource that researchers hope will advance their findings. For the first time, investigators will have access to a biorepository of human kidney tissue and human blood and urine samples.”A big problem in kidney research is that a lot of people do research on animal models and they find a drug that is very effective; but when they perform the clinical trial, it doesn’t work,” Agarwal explained. “Having access to biopsied human kidney tissue will enable researchers to use the tissue to verify their data from the animal model before they begin a clinical trial.” Source:http://www.uab.edu/news/health/item/9699-grant-extends-expands-kidney-failure-researchlast_img read more

Read more

Video A camera that powers itself

first_imgAs fancy as cameras get, they continue to have one big problem: When their batteries stop working, so do they. Now, engineers have developed a prototype camera that powers itself with the light it gathers. The device’s sensor contains circuitry that doesn’t just collect light to form an image; it converts light into power like a solar cell does. After the sensor collects enough light to charge up its energy-storing components (a process that takes just a few milliseconds), it uses that energy to record and read out an image, the researchers will report on 25 April in Houston, Texas, at the International Conference on Computational Photography. Then, it swings back into recharge mode. The researchers used the 30-by-40-pixel sensor to record videos (above) that capture one frame of video per second. Each pixel in the prototype device is about 4 millimeters across, about 1000 times the size of a pixel found on a typical digital camera’s light-collecting sensor. But if the new prototype’s circuitry were miniaturized and etched onto an energy-efficient chip, it could readily power itself in a moderately sized, lamp-lit room and capture 640-by-480-pixel video (a standard size known as Video Graphics Array, or VGA) at a rate of 30 frames per second, the researchers estimate.(Video credit: Computer Vision Laboratory, Columbia Engineering)last_img read more

Read more

Podcast The smell of death Earths destruction and measuring IQ in animals

first_imgIs there a human-specific smell of death? Could the planet Mercury one day destroy Earth? And can we measure IQ in other animals? Science’s Online News Editor David Grimm chats about these stories and more with Science’s Sarah Crespi. Plus, Kimberly Dunham-Snary discusses the long-term health considerations of gene therapy for mitochondrial diseases.last_img

Read more

Experimental anticancer drug may tackle heart disease too

first_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Email Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country What do a cancerous tumor and fatty buildup in an artery have in common? Their harmful cells may have the same way of hiding themselves from the immune system, a study out today suggests. In the new work, researchers studying atherosclerosis—the progressive buildup of fat-laden cells into arterial plaque—found a signaling molecule that may prevent dead cells in the arteries from being eaten and disposed of. Blocking that signal, they found, reduces arterial plaque in mice. And because their signal blocker is an antibody already in phase I clinical trials for cancer treatment, they’re hoping to make a quick jump into human testing for cardiovascular disease.“It’s going to be a new platform of therapy, not just another cholesterol-lowering drug,” says Nicholas Leeper, a vascular biologist at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, and senior author on the new study.Although cholesterol contributes to atherosclerosis, the story of the disease’s progression is much more complex. When these fatty deposits damage an artery wall, immune cells flock to the scene—notably macrophages, which gobble up dying and damaged cells all over the body. But when they arrive at the inflamed artery, they fail to perform that cleanup. Soon, dying muscle cells and dying macrophages join a growing plaque on the artery wall. Nestled inside is a “necrotic core,” a graveyard of cells that destabilizes the rest of the plaque and makes it prone to rupture, which can block the artery and cause a heart attack or stroke.center_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Leeper and his colleagues have been studying the signaling between dying cells and the macrophages that are supposed to put them out of their misery. The team previously found that many of these dying cells are missing a surface molecule that labels them for destruction—called calreticulin—in people at risk for cardiovascular disease. But other common surface molecules in the body send a different signal: “I’m healthy—leave me alone!” And that may give scientists an opening. It might be easier to block that message than to force cells to express more “eat me” signals. In fact, researchers at Stanford are already collaborating on initial clinical trials of an antibody that blocks cancer cells from displaying one such death-evading signal—a molecule called CD47.Atherosclerosis researchers have had their eye on “don’t eat me” signaling molecules like CD47 for some time, says Matthias Nahrendorf, a cell biologist at Harvard Medical School in Boston who was not involved in the new study. But no one had measured this common molecule in arterial plaques. “I don’t have a good reason why people haven’t looked at this particular molecule in atherosclerosis before,” he says. “Retrospectively, it’s an obvious choice.”Leeper’s team analyzed samples of arterial plaque from people undergoing surgery for a clogged carotid artery and from organ donors without cardiovascular disease. They found that arterial plaque contained significantly higher levels of CD47 than healthy arterial tissue. To see whether blocking CD47 could reverse plaque buildup, the group tested the experimental anticancer antibody drug in several different mouse models of cardiovascular disease. On a high-fat diet, these animals quickly develop plaques in their arteries because they lack a gene that regulates cholesterol metabolism. But intravenous treatment with the anti-CD47 treatment reduced by roughly half the buildup of plaque in these mice, Leeper and colleagues report online today in Nature.“These findings are groundbreaking for the field of atherosclerosis research,” says MacRae Linton, an endocrinologist at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, who was not involved in the study. The results make anti-CD47 antibodies a promising drug candidate for cardiovascular disease, he notes, though there may be other “don’t eat me” signaling molecules in plaques that it can’t address. If the drug progresses to human trials, researchers will also have to watch for anemia, a side effect hinted at in the mouse results. CD47 is key to protecting red blood cells from macrophages, and red blood cells are particularly sensitive to the blocking effects of the antibody as they get older, Leeper says. Treated mice in the study did show drops in red blood cell count, though they showed no clinical sign of illness.The researchers have patented their treatment approach and licensed it to Forty Seven Inc., the Stanford spinout already developing anti-CD47 antibodies for cancer. Stanford stem cell biologist and Forty Seven Inc. founder Irving Weissman, whose group pioneered research on CD47 in cancer, is a co-author on the new paper. Although no new therapy faces a smooth or certain path to the clinic, this one may have a head start. The drug has already demonstrated safety in nonhuman primate trials, and the cardiovascular research might even be able to skip ahead to a larger phase II trial based on safety data from the ongoing phase I studies, Leeper suggests. “This may be a very unusual circumstance where we can piggyback.”last_img read more

Read more

This new surgical procedure could lead to lifelike prosthetic limbs

first_img Biomechatronics Lab Email Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) This new surgical procedure could lead to lifelike prosthetic limbs Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe By Matthew HutsonMay. 31, 2017 , 2:15 PMcenter_img Smart prosthetics such as the one in this rendering could be more responsive after the new surgical technique. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country The new technique, developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, creates such a pairing for prosthetic joint control. It respects “the fundamental motor unit in biology, two muscles acting in opposition,” says Hugh Herr, a biophysicist at MIT and co-developer of the method.Let’s say you lost your leg above the knee. Surgeons would take two small muscle grafts from somewhere in your body, each a few centimeters long, and suture them together end-to-end to form a linear pair. They would place the pair under the skin near the amputation site. Then they’d suture the two ends to the tissue under the skin, so that when one half of the muscle graft contracts, the other stretches. Finally, they’d connect severed nerve endings to the graft and allow the nerves to grow into it.Once the graft is healthy and connected, the researchers would use electrodes to connect each muscle to a smart prosthetic leg. The severed nerves that would normally tell the ankle to extend, for example, would instead go to one of the grafted muscles, which would contract, sending a signal to the robotic ankle to extend. As the grafted muscle contracts, its mirror opposite would stretch, sending a signal back to the brain. The grafts would receive additional electrical feedback from the smart prosthesis, indicating the ankle joint’s position and force, allowing for finer adjustments. Additional grafts could be added to control other joints in the prosthesis.The new technique, called an agonist­-antagonist myoneural interface, was tested in rodents. The MIT team operated on seven rats, severing muscles and nerves in the back right leg of each. Researchers then grafted on a pair of muscles about 3 centimeters long, connected severed nerves, and let the rats heal for 4 months. When electrodes were attached, the grafted muscles worked in tandem, one contracting and the other stretching. They also emitted electrical signals in proportion to the stimulation. That response suggests that the technique could allow for fine-grained control of a human prosthetic, the researchers report today in Science Robotics. What’s more, inspection under a microscope showed that the grafts healed well and were populated with new nerves and blood vessels and healthy neuromuscular junctions.“This is fairly low-risk. It’s minor surgery,” says Rickard Branemark, an orthopedic surgeon and prosthetics researcher at the University of California, San Francisco. Even without adding a prosthesis, growing severed nerves into muscle grafts could prevent painful neuromas, or abnormal nerve growth. With the new method and a smart prosthesis, “there’s every expectation that the human will feel position, will feel speed, will feel force in the same way that they once felt when they had a limb,” says Herr, who lost his own legs below the knees to frostbite while ice climbing, and is in line to get the procedure. He says they’ll have results from human trials within the next 2 years. Medicine has progressed a lot since the Civil War, but amputations haven’t. Once a limb is sliced off, surgeons wrap muscle around the raw end, bury nerve endings, and often attach a fixed prosthesis that is nowhere near as agile as the flesh-and-blood original. Better robotic limbs are available, but engineers are still figuring out how to attach them to people and give users fine motor control. Now, a team of researchers and clinicians has developed a simple surgical technique that could lead to prosthetics that are almost as responsive as real limbs.“It’s a very clever model,” says Melanie Urbanchek, a muscle physiologist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. “[It makes] use of what the body naturally has to offer.”The biggest barrier to lifelike limbs is that signals can no longer travel in an unbroken path from the brain to the limb and back. Scientists have developed several ways to bridge the gap. The simplest is to place electrodes on remaining muscle near the amputation site. For finer control, doctors can use severed nerves themselves to relay the signals, through electronic attachments. But when they aren’t rejected by nerve tissue, such attachments tend to receive weak signals. A stronger signal comes from attaching nerve endings to small muscle grafts that amplify the signal and relay it using electrodes. But even this method fails to take advantage of a simple biological solution for joint control: the pairing of agonistic and antagonistic muscles. When you contract your biceps to bend your elbow, for example, your triceps on the other side of the joint stretches, providing resistance and feedback. Together, such opposing muscle pairs let you fluidly adjust a limb’s force, position, and speed.last_img read more

Read more

Computers are starting to reason like humans

first_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Computers are starting to reason like humans By Matthew HutsonJun. 14, 2017 , 4:00 PM A new type of neural network (not depicted) can reason about complex relationships, including the locations of different objects. How many parks are near the new home you’re thinking of buying? What’s the best dinner-wine pairing at a restaurant? These everyday questions require relational reasoning, an important component of higher thought that has been difficult for artificial intelligence (AI) to master. Now, researchers at Google’s DeepMind have developed a simple algorithm to handle such reasoning—and it has already beaten humans at a complex image comprehension test.Humans are generally pretty good at relational reasoning, a kind of thinking that uses logic to connect and compare places, sequences, and other entities. But the two main types of AI—statistical and symbolic—have been slow to develop similar capacities. Statistical AI, or machine learning, is great at pattern recognition, but not at using logic. And symbolic AI can reason about relationships using predetermined rules, but it’s not great at learning on the fly.The new study proposes a way to bridge the gap: an artificial neural network for relational reasoning. Similar to the way neurons are connected in the brain, neural nets stitch together tiny programs that collaboratively find patterns in data. They can have specialized architectures for processing images, parsing language, or even learning games. In this case, the new “relation network” is wired to compare every pair of objects in a scenario individually. “We’re explicitly forcing the network to discover the relationships that exist between the objects,” says Timothy Lillicrap, a computer scientist at DeepMind in London who co-authored the paper.center_img Email He and his team challenged their relation network with several tasks. The first was to answer questions about relationships between objects in a single image, such as cubes, balls, and cylinders. For example: “There is an object in front of the blue thing; does it have the same shape as the tiny cyan thing that is to the right of the gray metal ball?” For this task, the relation network was combined with two other types of neural nets: one for recognizing objects in the image, and one for interpreting the question. Over many images and questions, other machine-learning algorithms were right 42% to 77% of the time. Humans scored a respectable 92%. The new relation network combo was correct 96% of the time, a superhuman score, the researchers report in a paper posted last week on the preprint server arXiv.The DeepMind team also tried its neural net on a language-based task, in which it received sets of statements such as, “Sandra picked up the football” and “Sandra went to the office.” These were followed by questions like: “Where is the football?” (the office). It performed about as well as its competing AI algorithms on most types of questions, but it really shined on so-called inference questions: “Lily is a Swan. Lily is white. Greg is a swan. What color is Greg?” (white). On those questions, the relation network scored 98%, whereas its competitors each scored about 45%. Finally, the algorithm analyzed animations in which 10 balls bounced around, some connected by invisible springs or rods. Using the patterns of motion alone, it was able to identify more than 90% of the connections. It then used the same training to identify human forms represented by nothing more than moving dots. “One of the strengths of their approach is that it’s conceptually quite simple,” says Kate Saenko, a computer scientist at Boston University who was not involved in the new work but has also just co-developed an algorithm that can answer complex questions about images. That simplicity—Lillicrap says most of the advance is captured in a single equation—allows it to be combined with other networks, as it was in the object comparison task. The paper calls it “a simple plug-and-play module” that allows other parts of the system to focus on what they’re good at.“I was pretty impressed by the results,” says Justin Johnson, a computer scientist at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, who co-developed the object comparison task­—and also co-developed an algorithm that does well on it. Saenko adds that a relation network could one day help study social networks, analyze surveillance footage, or guide autonomous cars through traffic.To approach humanlike flexibility, though, it will have to learn to answer more challenging questions, Johnson says. Doing so might require comparing not just pairs of things, but triplets, pairs of pairs, or only some pairs in a larger set (for efficiency). “I’m interested in moving toward models that come up with their own strategy,” he says. “DeepMind is modeling a particular type of reasoning and not really going after more general relational reasoning. But it is still a superimportant step in the right direction.” v_alex/iStockphoto Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrylast_img read more

Read more

Killer gas aids elephant seals deep dives

first_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country This elephant seal pup has a deep diving future partly thanks to high carbon monoxide in its blood.  Killer gas aids elephant seals’ deep dives Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe By Elizabeth PennisiNov. 1, 2017 , 10:59 AMcenter_img HALIFAX, CANADA—Colorless, odorless, and potentially lethal, carbon monoxide is so feared by people that we have special monitors in our homes to detect it. But its accumulation in the blood helps elephant seals make deep dives in the ocean, researchers reported here last week at the biennial meeting of the Marine Mammal Society. Aside from helping explain how elephant seals can stay so deep for so long, the work could one day help people recover from traumatic events like heart attacks and organ transplants.Elephant seals are remarkable divers, spending up to 1.5 hours underwater and reaching depths of more than 1700 meters in their search for food. To understand how they do this, Michael Tift, a comparative physiologist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, California, has tracked the gases in elephant seal blood, both as they dive in the wild and as they sleep in the lab. In 2014, he and his colleagues discovered sky-high carbon monoxide levels, equivalent to those of heavy human smokers. What’s more, that level appears to be consistently high—whether the animals are diving or at rest.Moreover, the elephant seal’s blood level of carbon monoxide is 10 times higher than that of average humans, pilot whales, and killer whales, and about two to three times higher than in beluga and Weddell seals, Tift reported at the meeting. The elephant seal also has much more red blood cells than these other animals. Because red blood cells release carbon monoxide when they break down and die—which happens on a routine basis—the higher levels make sense, he says. WaterFrame/Alamy Stock Photo Email People worry about carbon monoxide exposure because the gas can bind to red blood cells and slow the delivery of oxygen to the body. But in elephant seals, this slowdown may be what enables the elephant seal to stay underwater so long, Tift told meeting attendees. He discovered that at the end of their dives, seals have 16% more oxygen in their blood than expected, thanks to how the carbon monoxide slowed oxygen use.The work “[turns] what you think you know on your head,” says Ann Pabst, a functional morphologist at the University of North Carolina in Wilmington, who was not involved with the study. “We think of carbon monoxide as bad, but it’s decreasing the rate as which oxygen is [used], and that’s good.”To see just how good carbon monoxide might be, Tift is now working with biomedical researchers. Initial studies in mice indicate that a little extra carbon monoxide may have anti-inflammatory effects, protect against programmed cell death, and even slow the rate at which cells divide and spread. As they dive, elephant seals slow their heart rates to as low as three beats per minute, too slow to keep supplying most of their tissues with blood; the protective effects of carbon monoxide may help tissues cope with the sudden restoration of blood flow when the dive ends. “They go through this event with no sign of injury,” Tift says. Hearts and organ transplants require this same restoration of blood flow, and carbon monoxide may reduce the risk of damage.It’s not natural for lab mice or rats to have high carbon monoxide levels in their blood, so Tift is using the elephant seal as a model. “The goal is to see what we can learn from these amazing animals and their extreme behavior to further our knowledge in humans,” he says. “Carbon monoxide is an easy, cheap tool if we can find out how it is protecting tissue.”last_img read more

Read more

Is it time to retire cholesterol tests

first_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) In this illustration of a low-density lipoprotein particle, apolipoprotein B (blue) is surrounded by various forms of cholesterol (orange and yellow) and other lipids. Is it time to retire cholesterol tests? By Mitch LeslieDec. 6, 2017 , 2:45 PM Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe JUAN GAERTNER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY center_img The next time you go in for a medical checkup, your doctor will probably make a mistake that could endanger your life, contends cardiologist Allan Sniderman of McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Most physicians order what he considers the wrong test to gauge heart disease risk: a standard cholesterol readout, which may indicate levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or non-high density lipoprotein (non-HDL) cholesterol. What they should request instead, Sniderman argues, is an inexpensive assay for a blood protein known as apolipoprotein B (apoB).ApoB indicates the number of cholesterol-laden particles circulating in the blood—a truer indicator of the threat to our arteries than absolute cholesterol levels, some researchers believe. Sniderman asserts that routine apoB tests, which he says cost as little as $20, would identify millions more patients who could benefit from cholesterol-cutting therapies and would spare many others from unnecessary treatment. “If I can diagnose [heart disease] more accurately using apoB, and if I can treat more effectively using apoB, it’s worth 20 bucks,” he says.Sniderman and a cadre of other scientists have been stumping for apoB for years, but recent reanalyses of clinical data, together with genetic studies, have boosted their confidence. At last month’s American Heart Association (AHA) meeting in Anaheim, California, for example, Sniderman presented a new take on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a famous census of the U.S. population’s health. The reexamination, which compared people with different apoB levels but the same non-HDL cholesterol readings, crystallizes the importance of measuring the protein, he says. Across the United States, patients who have the highest apoB readings will suffer nearly 3 million more heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular events in the next 15 years than will people with the lowest levels, Sniderman reported. As lipidologist Daniel Rader of the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine puts it, the question of whether LDL cholesterol is the best measure of cardiovascular risk now has a clear answer: “No.” But plenty of scientists disagree. “Many lines of evidence say there’s not a lot more predictive power of apoB over LDL cholesterol,” says cholesterol researcher Scott Grundy of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, who has helped craft several sets of cardiology care guidelines. And changing clinical practice would be disruptive. Standard heart disease risk guidelines downplay or omit apoB, and the algorithms that help doctors decide which patients to treat don’t incorporate it.ApoB backers have a new opportunity to make their case. A committee of researchers and doctors is reworking the most influential U.S. recommendations for cholesterol treatment, published by the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and AHA, and should issue an update next year. The European equivalents are also being revamped, although a new version won’t be ready for 2 to 3 years, says cardiologist and genetic epidemiologist Brian Ference of the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, who is taking part in the rewrite.Nobody expects these latest revisions to jilt cholesterol for apoB, but its advocates say there’s increasing science on their side. Cholesterol cruises through our blood in several kinds of protein-containing particles, including HDLs, LDLs, and very low-density lipoproteins (VLDLs). When certain particles, such as LDLs and VLDLs, depart the bloodstream and get stuck in the lining of our arteries, atherosclerosis can result. Total cholesterol level was the first widely used indicator of this risk, but after researchers discovered that one form of cholesterol, HDL, may be protective, LDL cholesterol became the benchmark. Now, some physicians favor non-HDL cholesterol, which encompasses multiple cholesterol types, including LDL and VLDL.All of these measures, however, reveal the amount of lipid in the blood, rather than the number of cholesterol-hauling particles. ApoB, in contrast, provides a direct measure of their abundance because each LDL or VLDL particle contains a single copy of the protein.Still, even apoB advocates admit that LDL cholesterol’s track record is pretty good. About 85% of the time, it provides an accurate indication of a patient’s likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease, Ference says. But that means it’s wrong 15% of the time, he adds.A 2009 study found that nearly half of patients admitted to hospitals because of heart attacks had normal or low LDL levels. So by measuring LDL alone, doctors risk overlooking people who need treatment or, if they are already taking drugs to trim their cholesterol levels, a more intensive regimen.At the same time, some people taking drugs for what seem to be dangerously high LDL cholesterol levels may not need treatment, Sniderman says. A more discriminating test for cardiovascular risk could spare these people from potential side effects and save money. Although cholesterol-lowering statins are cheap, Sniderman notes that newer drugs given when statins aren’t enough, such as the PCSK9 inhibitors, can cost tens of thousands of dollars per year.Switching to measuring apoB would improve diagnoses because it better reflects the mechanism of cardiovascular disease, according to Sniderman. “The data support that it’s the LDL particles themselves that are the bad actors,” rather than the cholesterol they contain, Rader says. The more of these particles that course through a patient’s blood, the more get stuck in the arterial walls and the higher the probability of cardiovascular disease. Because LDL cholesterol and apoB are intertwined, both measures give the same result for many patients. However, the amount of cholesterol a particle contains can vary. So LDL cholesterol levels can be misleading for patients who have few large particles or many small ones.No current drugs drive down just apoB, making its impact difficult to untangle from the effect of lowering cholesterol overall. But in a 2015 paper, Sniderman and colleagues reanalyzed data from the famous Framingham Heart Study, which has been probing the causes of cardiovascular disease for nearly 70 years. The patients with the best odds of surviving for at least 20 years had low levels of apoB and non-HDL cholesterol, the team found. But the patients with the worst chances had high levels of apoB, even though their non-HDL cholesterol was low. Similarly, the reassessment of the NHANES data that Sniderman presented at the AHA meeting suggests that apoB is a better predictor of risk.Also pointing to apoB’s importance is a type of analysis in which researchers comb through genetic data from large numbers of patients to identify gene variants that influence a particular trait. Scientists then track the variants’ sway on health, a method called Mendelian randomization because it relies on accidents of heredity to create comparison groups. “It’s essentially nature’s randomized trial,” Ference says. In a study in The Journal of the American Medical Association in September, he and his colleagues dissected the impact of variants of two genes involved in cholesterol metabolism: CETP and HMGCR.Using data from more than 100,000 patients, the researchers found that people with sluggish versions of the enzyme encoded by CETP showed equivalent reductions in apoB and LDL cholesterol levels and were less likely than people with vigorous versions of the enzyme to suffer cardiovascular crises such as heart attacks or strokes. But the scientists saw a telling difference when they analyzed patients who also produced underactive versions of HMGCR’s enzyme. Although these people showed further decreases in LDL cholesterol, their apoB levels—and their cardiovascular risk—didn’t decline by as much. That discrepancy suggests that reducing apoB has a bigger protective effect than lowering LDL, Ference says.The picture is clear, says preventive cardiologist Seth Martin of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. “The totality of evidence is in favor of apoB being an important marker that can identify risk even when LDL is controlled.”But would the gains be worth the disruption? “The poor frontline primary care doctor doesn’t want to have to think about apoB and non-HDL cholesterol,” says preventive cardiologist and epidemiologist Jennifer Robinson of the University of Iowa in Iowa City, who was vice chair of the committee that drafted the most recent ACC/AHA recommendations in 2013. “It’s too much information—and when you give people too much information they ignore it.”Cardiologist Robert Eckel of the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora, who was also on the ACC/AHA committee, agrees. “I don’t see apoB changing the playing field very much,” he says.Many apoB advocates reluctantly concur. LDL cholesterol is deeply entrenched in medical routines, and “it’s not going to change any time soon,” Rader says. “I go from depression to worse depression,” Sniderman says.But if future guidelines start to emphasize apoB’s diagnostic value and drug companies begin to target it, Ference thinks physicians will eventually pay heed to the protein. “The argument is that LDL cholesterol is good enough,” he says. “But as we move toward more personalized medicine, it’s not.” Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Emaillast_img read more

Read more

Researchers win some lose some in final US tax bill

first_imgShawn Clover/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0) Researchers win some, lose some in final U.S. tax bill Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) The U.S. research community experienced both the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat in lobbying congressional Republicans as they wrapped up a major overhaul of the nation’s tax code.Research advocates persuaded lawmakers to drop changes that would have eliminated a valuable tax break for companies that invest in research, forced graduate students to pay taxes on tuition assistance, and reduced incentives for investing in renewable energy technologies. But scientific, academic, and other groups failed to kill several other provisions, notably, a reduction in a tax break designed to encourage companies to develop drugs for rare diseases, the opening of the Arctic Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil drilling, and a new tax on the largest university endowments.The release yesterday of the final version of the Republican-backed bill marks the end of a fierce but remarkably brief battle over the biggest rewrite of the U.S. tax code in decades. Both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate passed versions of the tax bill in the past month that had been drafted largely out of public view. No Democrats or Independent lawmakers voted for either bill. The campaign by science advocates included plenty of backroom maneuvering and some very public drama, including the Capitol Hill arrests of science graduate students who demonstrated against a plan to tax tuition waivers. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country By David MalakoffDec. 16, 2017 , 10:15 AM Email Tax bill opponents had to act quickly because House and Senate Republicans had promised President Donald Trump they would send him legislation to sign before the end of the year. Congress is expected to vote this coming week on the compromise unveiled yesterday.The final measure makes a deep cut to corporate rates and, over a decade, will deliver a majority of its benefits to the most affluent individuals. The bill also eliminates the penalty individuals must now pay if they don’t acquire health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, and sweetens a child tax credit for lower-income families. Many analysts estimate the bill will add at least $1 trillion to the national debt—now about $20 trillion—over the next decade (although some Republicans argue that the cuts will pay for themselves by boosting economic growth).Here is how the battle over some research-related provisions turned out:Orphan drugsThe 3-decade-old orphan drug tax credit will be cut in half. Current law allows companies to write off 50% of the research costs of developing drugs for diseases that strike fewer than 200,000 people. Now, the credit will drop to 25%. That is a partial win for drug companies and patient groups, because the House version of the tax bill had eliminated the tax break entirely. Still, patient groups fear that trimming the break will slow the development of new drugs. Critics of the credit, however, have argued that companies have abused it by claiming write-offs for drugs already in wide use.Tuition waiversA tsunami of graduate student activism helped convince lawmakers to drop a House provision that would have required graduate students to pay taxes on certain tuition allowances. Currently, graduate students are taxed on money they earn working in a laboratory or classroom, but not on tuition discounts they receive from a university, which can be worth tens of thousands of dollars. Analysts estimated that taxes paid by some students could double or triple under the provision. News that lawmakers had killed the provision prompted celebrations on social media. “We’ve been spared!” tweeted Alex Pawlowski, a doctoral student in energy science and engineering at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.Endowment taxWealthy universities failed to remove a new 1.4% tax on endowment earnings. The provision applies only to colleges with more than 500 students and endowments with at least $500,000 per student. The tax is initially expected to hit fewer than 30 colleges. The final bill also says the tax applies only to institutions with “more than 50% of the tuition paying students … located in the United States.” The schools have argued the tax will reduce the amount of money available for scholarships, internal research grants, and other initiatives.Arctic oil drillingConservationists and climate activists failed to persuade legislators to drop a provision allowing oil drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, home to one of North America’s largest caribou herds. Conservation groups fear development will harm the animals, and scar sensitive ecosystems.Renewable energyClean energy advocates won a fight to preserve tax breaks for wind and solar projects, and for some buyers of electric vehicles. But they failed to fully eliminate a provision that tweaks how the government taxes cash that firms transfer into the United States. Renewable energy groups are concerned that the change could reduce the flow of investment in green power projects.R&D tax credit fixLawmakers dropped provisions that unintentionally undermined one of the nation’s most valuable research-related tax breaks. But the final bill will require companies to write off research-related expenses over a longer time period.Under current law, companies are allowed to write off many of the costs associated with R&D, and they can take the deductions immediately, in a single year. But in a last-minute change, the Senate had inserted language in its bill that would have essentially gutted the credit, which has been worth some $7 billion annually to companies in recent years. Lawmakers removed that language, but changed the rules so that companies must write off their R&D investments over 5 or more years instead of in a single year.Other provisionsHouse and Senate negotiators killed a House provision that would have allowed nonprofit research institutions to avoid taxes on income generated by research activities only if the results of the research were “freely available to the general public.” Currently, such income is sheltered from taxes, and the final bill preserves that protection. Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwelast_img read more

Read more

Advocates celebrate funding bump for USDAfunded research

first_imgWheat in Oklahoma. Farm science advocates had some success this year in boosting federal funding for the discipline.The 2018 spending bill approved by Congress this week gives a slight but meaningful boost to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) research accounts—including its competitive grants program for universities and other institutions.The bill gives a $25 million, 6.7% increase, to $400 million, to USDA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI). Advocates have been pushing Congress to increase AFRI’s budget for years, and they welcomed this year’s number—while noting it still falls short of a $700 million goal for AFRI once set by Congress. The increase is “a good move” given “the context of the very scarce resources,” says Thomas Grumbly, president of the Supporters of Agricultural Research Foundation in Arlington, Virginia. Overall, AFRI funding has climbed by nearly 25% in the past 3 years, he notes. The Agricultural Research Service (ARS), USDA’s in-house research agency, saw a nearly 3% increase, to $1.2 billion. The increase is yet another case where Congress disregarded a dramatic proposed cut in President Donald Trump’s budget request, which would have stripped 15% from ARS funding.Now, advocates for agricultural science are looking ahead to the 2019 funding fight, with hopes of replicating the biomedical research community’s success in winning big budget increases. “If the university community would come forward with a prioritized set of asks [for agricultural research] that the scientific community had validated,” Grumbly says, “it would be easier to lift all the boats.” Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Email Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)center_img By Kelly ServickMar. 23, 2018 , 2:55 PM Advocates celebrate funding bump for USDA-funded research George Thomas/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrylast_img read more

Read more

Turkish F35 pilots no longer flying at US base Pentagon

first_img Advertising LiveKarnataka floor test: Will Kumaraswamy’s 14-month-old govt survive? Best Of Express “Without a change in Turkish policy, we will continue to work closely with our Turkish ally on winding down their participation in the F-35 program.”A second US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters that a local commander at Luke decided last week to halt the training of Turkish pilots and maintenance crews over safety concerns.Some training of Turkish maintenance personnel continues at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, the official said.If Turkey were removed from the F-35 program, it would be one of the most significant ruptures in recent history in the relationship with the United States, experts said. Turkey continues receiving Russian S-400 air defense parts By Reuters |Washington | Published: June 11, 2019 10:39:39 am Advertising us turkey, us turkish ties, us turkish relations, turkish pilots us, us air base, turkish pilots f-35, f-35 fighter jets, f-35 jets, us air base arizona, us ankara, ankara turkey, world news, indian express news “Without a change in Turkish policy, we will continue to work closely with our Turkish ally on winding down their participation in the F-35 program.” (Reuters)Training by Turkish pilots on F-35 fighter jets has come to a faster-than-expected halt at a US air base in Arizona, US officials said on Monday, as the United States winds down Ankara’s involvement in the program over Turkey’s plans to buy a Russian air defense system. The United States says Turkey’s acquisition of Russia’s S-400 air defenses poses a threat to the Lockheed Martin Corp’s F-35 stealthy fighters, which Turkey also plans to buy. Washington says Ankara cannot have both.The move to halt training at Luke Air Force Base, first reported by Reuters, came just days after acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told his Turkish counterpart that Turkish pilots already in the United States could remain there until the end of July. That would have allowed time for more training and for Turkey to rethink its plans.“The department is aware that the Turkish pilots at Luke AFB are not flying,” Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Mike Andrews, a Pentagon spokesman, told Reuters.center_img Virat Kohli won’t have a say in choosing new coach But strains in US-Turkish ties already extend beyond the F-35 to include conflicting strategy in Syria, Iran sanctions and the detention of US consular staff in Turkey.Reuters on Thursday first reported a US decision to stop accepting more Turkish pilots to enter the United States for training, in what had been one of the most concrete signs that the dispute over the F-35 was reaching a breaking point.Turkey seems to be moving ahead with the S-400 purchase, regardless of the US warnings. President Tayyip Erdogan said last week it was “out of the question” for Turkey to back away from its deal with Moscow.Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on May 22 that Turkish military personnel were receiving training in Russia to use the S-400, and that Russian personnel may go to Turkey. EU slaps sanctions on Turkey over gas drilling off Cyprus Turkey begins receiving Russian missiles in challenge to US and NATO Kulbhushan Jadhav ‘guilty of crimes’, will proceed further as per law: Imran Khan Related News 1 Comment(s)last_img read more

Read more

Trump aims to slash number of federal advisory committees

first_img Imran Khan welcomes ICJ verdict on Kulbhushan Jadhav, says will proceed further as per law Advertising Hold the applause until Hafiz Saeed is convicted: US committee to Donald Trump US House rejects Saudi weapons sales; Trump to veto Post Comment(s) donald trump, us, federal advisory committees, number of federal advisory committees, us news, trump news, world news, indian express Trump signed an executive order Friday that directs every federal agency to evaluate the need for all of its advisory committees created under the Federal Advisory Committee Act. (Reuters)President Donald Trump is trying to take an ax to federal advisory committees, ordering that their numbers be slashed. Advertising By AP |Washington | Published: June 15, 2019 8:22:32 am “Advisory committees have played an important role in shaping programs and policies of the federal government from the earliest days of the Republic,” the agency says on its website, adding that: Since President George Washington sought the advice of such a committee during the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794, the contributions made by these groups have been impressive and diverse.”Rush Holt, chief executive of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, said he was concerned about the move to cut back on advisory panels, especially ones involved with health and the environment.“Advisory committees help the government become better informed, and making smart decisions should not be seen as optional or dispensable,” he said.GSA, which is also tasked with conducting annual reviews of the committees, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.Under the order, agency heads will also have until Aug. 1 to weigh in on whether they believe any advisory committees established by the president at their agencies should live on.center_img Best Of Express A government-wide review of FACA committees has not been done since the early 1990s, according to the White House.“The president believes it is time to once more review and eliminate ones that are not relevant and providing valuable services so that we are good stewards of the taxpayers’ money,” said Judd Deere, a White House spokesman.The order does not apply to merit review panels, like those that reward grants to the National Institutes of Health or provide scientific expertise to agencies about product safety. Agencies may request waivers from the Office of Management and Budget, and those with fewer than three eligible committees will be exempt.The U.S. General Services Administration, which helps oversee FACA implementation, says there are approximately 1,000 federal advisory committees and 50 federal agencies with FACA programs in effect at any given time. The order seeks to cap the total number of committees at 350, and will bar agencies from establishing new committees without waivers until the number drops. Unbowed, Trump intensifies attacks on four Democratic congresswomen Related News Virat Kohli won’t have a say in choosing new coach Trump signed an executive order Friday that directs every federal agency to evaluate the need for all of its advisory committees created under the Federal Advisory Committee Act. And it gives agency heads until September to terminate at least one-third of current committees created by agency heads.Federal advisory committees are typically made up of private citizens who offer advice and assistance to the executive branch.The White House did not immediately provide any justification for the order. But it appears to assume that many of the committees are redundant or have been convened to address issues that are now obsolete. It says that committees will be eliminated if their “stated objectives” have been accomplished, if the “subject matter or work of the committee has become obsolete,” if their “primary functions have been assumed by another entity” and if the agency determines “the cost of operation is excessive in relation to the benefits to the Federal Government.” LiveKarnataka floor test: Will Kumaraswamy’s 14-month-old govt survive? last_img read more

Read more

UP MLAs daughters marriage Eloped couples coverage will lead to rise in

first_img Advertising Vicky Bhartaul, Rajesh Mishra, UP Bareily MLA, Dalit, Rajeev Rana, UP BJP, BJP, Sakshi Mishra, inter caste marriage, UP Police, UP Crime, Pappu Bhartaul, Indian Express Sakshi and Ajitesh got married on July 4.In an apparent reference to last week’s TV coverage of a wedding between a Dalit boy and an upper caste girl from Uttar Pradesh, Leader of Opposition in Madhya Pradesh Assembly, Gopal Bhargava, on Sunday claimed that such reports will lead to an unprecedented rise in cases of female infanticide and a skewed gender ratio over the next three years. Was duped into joining BJP-backed film outfit, says actor Madhabi Mukhopadhyay Written by Milind Ghatwai | Bhopal | Published: July 15, 2019 2:05:46 am Uttarakhand legislator Pranav Singh expelled from BJP for six years over video with guns Calling it his personal opinion, the BJP leader posted a thread on Twitter in which he asserted that illegal abortions will rise in nursing homes and clinics because of such coverage. “To increase their TRPs and to make money, these channels are engaging in anti-social and anti-national work. Their deeds will ensure that the decade-old Beti Bachao Beti Padhao and the national campaign will go back by 50 years,” he wrote.Without naming any channel, he tweeted that in their lust for TRPs and money, channels were making a mockery of a sad father over a modern version of “Laila Majnu”.His tweets come in the wake of a video that surfaced last week on social media in which, Sakshi Mishra (23), daughter of UP BJP MLA Rajesh Mishra, claimed that she was being harassed for marrying a Dalit boy. A TV channel called the couple to its studio and also spoke to the father. Post Comment(s) Related News BJP will make Maharashtra Congress-mukt, says party state chief Chandrakant Patil last_img read more

Read more

Smaller safer cheaper One company aims to reinvent the nuclear reactor and

first_img CORVALLIS, OREGON—To a world facing the existential threat of global warming, nuclear power would appear to be a lifeline. Advocates say nuclear reactors, compact and able to deliver steady, carbon-free power, are ideal replacements for fossil fuels and a way to slash greenhouse gas emissions. However, in most of the world, the nuclear industry is in retreat. The public continues to distrust it, especially after three reactors melted down in a 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan. Nations also continue to dither over what to do with radioactive reactor waste. Most important, with new reactors costing $7 billion or more, the nuclear industry struggles to compete with cheaper forms of energy, such as natural gas. So even as global temperatures break one record after another, just one nuclear reactor has turned on in the United States in the past 20 years. Globally, nuclear power supplies just 11% of electrical power, down from a high of 17.6% in 1996.Jose Reyes, a nuclear engineer and cofounder of NuScale Power, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, says he and his colleagues can revive nuclear by thinking small. Reyes and NuScale’s 350 employees have designed a small modular reactor (SMR) that would take up 1% of the space of a conventional reactor. Whereas a typical commercial reactor cranks out a gigawatt of power, each NuScale SMR would generate just 60 megawatts. For about $3 billion, NuScale would stack up to 12 SMRs side by side, like beer cans in a six-pack, to form a power plant.But size alone isn’t a panacea. “If I just scale down a large reactor, I’ll lose, no doubt,” says Reyes, 63, a soft-spoken native of New York City and son of Honduran and Dominican immigrants. To make their reactors safer, NuScale engineers have simplified them, eliminating pumps, valves, and other moving parts while adding safeguards in a design they say would be virtually impervious to meltdown. To make their reactors cheaper, the engineers plan to fabricate them whole in a factory instead of assembling them at a construction site, cutting costs enough to compete with other forms of energy. By Adrian ChoFor all their innovations, NuScale Power’s small modular reactors remain conventional in one way: They would use ordinary commercial reactor fuel that’s meant to be used once and safely disposed of. But for decades, nuclear engineers envisioned a world powered by “fast reactors” that can breed an essentially boundless supply of fuel as they operate while producing less long-lived radioactive waste to boot. The dream lives on today in dozens of designs for advanced fast reactors meant to be cheaper and safer than their predecessors.The uranium fuel for a typical nuclear reactor contains less than 5% of the isotope uranium-235. Its nuclei can split, or fission, to release energy and neutrons. The dilute fuel sustains a chain reaction only if the neutrons are slowed by a moderator, typically the reactor’s cooling water, to increase the probability that they’ll split other nuclei. In contrast, a fast reactor runs without a moderator by using a fuel richer in uranium-235, or one containing plutonium. Both fuels produce copious neutrons. They enable a fast reactor to breed more fuel as neutrons shower nuclei of uranium-238, turning them into fissile plutonium-239, which can be recovered by reprocessing the fuel.In the 1950s, early in the atomic age, experts believed nuclear energy would one day supply most of the world’s power, raising the specter of uranium fuel shortage and boosting interest in fast breeder reactors.However, those reactors are complex and hard to manage. They must be cooled with substances such as liquid sodium or molten salt. The chemically intensive recycling process produces plenty of its own hazardous waste. And the closed fuel cycle would establish a global market for plutonium, the stuff of atomic weapons, raising proliferation concerns. Just 19 fast reactors—most, small research reactors—have ever run. Today, only five are operating: three in Russia, one in China, and one in India.Just as with conventional water-cooled reactors (see main story), engineers are now emphasizing small modular designs for fast reactors. In some designs, the plutonium is bred and then “burned” in place, eliminating the need to reprocess the fuel.But some experts doubt that fast reactors will ever become mainstream. “The waste issues are probably what’s going to choke the life out of the fast-reactor designs,” says Allison Macfarlane, a professor of public policy and geologist at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and former chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.Perhaps most important, nuclear energy supplies just 11% of global electrical power, and uranium reserves are larger than once expected. The world is in no danger of running out of uranium, says Jacopo Buongiorno, a nuclear engineer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. Fast reactors aren’t needed, he says, “certainly not in the U.S. and probably not anywhere.” Spun out of nearby Oregon State University (OSU) here in 2007, NuScale has spent more than $800 million on its design—$288 million from the Department of Energy (DOE) and the rest mainly from NuScale’s backer, the global engineering and construction firm Fluor. The design is now working its way through licensing with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and the company has lined up a first customer, a utility association that wants to start construction on a plant in Idaho in 2023.NuScale is far from alone. With similar projects rising in China and Russia, the company is riding a global wave of interest in SMRs. “SMRs as a class have a potential to change the economics,” says Robert Rosner, a physicist at the University of Chicago in Illinois who co-wrote a 2011 report on them. In the United States, NuScale is the only company seeking to license and build an SMR. Rosner is optimistic about its prospects. “NuScale has really made the case that they’ll be able to pull it off,” Rosner says.For now, NuScale’s reactors exist mostly as computer models. But in an industrial area north of town here, the company has built a full-size mock-up of the upper portion of a reactor. Festooned with pipes, the 8-meter-tall gray cylinder isn’t exactly small. It resembles the conning tower of a submarine, one that has somehow surfaced through the dusty ground. NuScale built it to see if workers could squeeze inside for inspections, says Ben Heald, a NuScale reactor designer. “It’s a great marketing tool.”Not everyone thinks NuScale will make the transition from mock-up to reality, however. Dozens of advanced reactor designs have come and gone. And even if NuScale and other startups succeed, the nuclear industry won’t build enough plants quickly enough to matter in the fight against climate change, says Allison Macfarlane, a professor of public policy and geologist at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., who chaired NRC from 2012 through 2014. “Nuclear does not do anything quickly,” she says. By Adrian ChoFeb. 21, 2019 , 8:00 AM Turbine Steam line NuScale has really made the case that they’ll be able to pull it off. A nuclear reactor is a glorified boiler. Within its core hang ranks of fuel rods, usually filled with pellets of uranium oxide. The radioactive uranium atoms spontaneously split, releasing energy and neutrons that go on to split more uranium atoms in a chain reaction called fission. Heat from the chain reaction ultimately boils water to drive steam turbines and generate electricity. Designs vary (see sidebar), but 85% of the world’s 452 power reactors circulate water through the core to cool it and ferry heat to a steam generator that drives a turbine.The water plays a second safety role. Power reactors typically use a fuel with a small amount of the fissile isotope uranium-235. The dilute fuel sustains a chain reaction only if the neutrons are slowed to increase the probability that they’ll split other atoms. The cooling water itself serves to slow, or moderate, the neutrons. If that water is lost in an accident, fission fizzles, preventing a runaway chain reaction like the one that blew up a graphite-moderated reactor in 1986 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine.Even after the chain reaction dies, however, heat from the radioactive decay of nuclei created by fission can melt the core. That happened at Fukushima when a tsunami swamped the emergency generators needed to pump water through the plant’s reactors.NuScale’s design would reduce such risks in multiple ways. First, in an accident the small cores would produce far less decay heat. NuScale engineers have also cut out the pumps that drive the cooling water through the core, relying instead on natural convection. That design eliminates moving parts that could fail and cause an accident in the first place, says Eric Young, a NuScale engineer. “If it’s not there, it can’t break,” he says.NuScale’s new reactor housings offer further protection. A conventional reactor sits within a reinforced concrete containment vessel up to 40 meters in diameter. Each 3-meter-wide NuScale reactor nestles into its own 4.6-meter-wide steel containment vessel, which by virtue of its much smaller diameter can withstand pressures 15 times greater. The vessels sit submerged in a vast pool of water: NuScale’s ultimate line of defense.For example, in an emergency, operators can cool the core by diverting steam from the turbines to heat exchangers in the pool. During normal operations, the space between the reactor and the containment vessel is kept under vacuum, like a thermos, to insulate the core and allow it to heat up. But if the reactor overheats, relief valves would pop open to release steam and water into the vacuum space, where they would transfer heat to the pool. Such passive features ensure that in just about any conceivable accident, the core would remain intact, Reyes says.To prove that the reactor will behave as predicted, NuScale engineers have constructed a one-third scale model. A 7-metertall tangle of pipes, valves, and wires lurks in the corner of a lab at OSU’s department of nuclear engineering. The model aims not to run exactly like the real reactor, Young says, but rather to validate the computer models that NRC will use to evaluate the design’s safety. The model’s core heats water not with nuclear fuel but with 56 electric heaters like those in curling irons, Young says. “It’s like a big percolator,” he says. “We set up a test and watch coffee being made for 3 days.”Making a reactor smaller has a downside, says M. V. Ramana, a physicist at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. A smaller reactor will extract less energy from every ton of fuel, he argues, driving up operating costs. “There’s a reason reactors became larger,” Ramana says. “Inherently, NuScale is giving up the advantages of economies of scale.”But small size pays off in versatility, Reyes says. One little reactor might power a plant to desalinate seawater or supply heat for an industrial process. A customized NuScale plant might support a developing country’s smaller electrical grid. And in the developed world, where intermittent renewable sources are growing rapidly, a full 12-pack of reactors could provide steady power to make up for the fitful output of windmills and solar panels. By varying the number of reactors producing power, a NuScale plant could “load follow” and fill in the gaps, Reyes says. Smaller, safer, cheaper: One company aims to reinvent the nuclear reactor and save a warming planet Robert Rosner, University of Chicago Tom Mundy, NuScale Such visions point to another key aspect of NuScale’s plans: Designers want to dramatically change how nuclear plants are organized and run. Under NRC regulations, a control room can operate no more than two reactors, in which case it must have a staff of at least six operators. NuScale wants permission to run a dozen of their simpler, safer reactors from such a control room. “People have laughed at me when I said I could run this plant with six people,” says NuScale senior operations engineer Ross Snuggerud.To show that it’s possible, NuScale engineers built a fully operational control room to run a virtual power plant. The control room, locked away on the second floor of NuScale’s building in an industrial park along the Willamette River, has a wall of jumbo high-resolution monitors that display the 12 virtual reactors’ performance. On a recent day, Snuggerud manipulates a touch screen to cook up a mock crisis. Reactivity spikes in one of the 12 virtual reactors. Boron carbide control rods, which should drop into the core to absorb neutrons and stop the reaction, fail to respond.An alarm sounds. Lights flash. The core’s temperature surges. But the NuScale reactor handles the crisis with ease. Within minutes, temperatures fall as the reactor automatically shunts heat into the pool. So is melting the core impossible? “No responsible engineer would say ‘never,’” Snuggerud says. “But we’ve done a lot of things right to ensure the core’s integrity.”NuScale engineers must convince NRC that a real plant would run as placidly. Two years ago, the company submitted its 12,000-page application, and the review should conclude by September 2020. The NuScale team has plenty of experience with such reviews. While Reyes was at OSU, he helped NRC certify two conventional Westinghouse designs. If approved, NuScale’s design would be the first that NRC has licensed since 2014.NuScale has responded to more than 1500 formal requests for more information, about a third of the typical number, says Carrie Fosaaen, a licensing specialist at NuScale. “I think that speaks volumes about what we put together up front,” she says. Still, Fosaaen says, “Our design is so different that it’s a challenge even for people who have done a lot of licensing.”If interpreted strictly, Fosaaen says, NRC regulations would push NuScale engineers toward building a miniature version of a conventional reactor—exactly what they don’t want to do. So the task, she says, is to explain to regulators how the NuScale design is safe without having to add back layers of complexity.Some of NuScale’s requests are bold. The company has asked NRC to eliminate a requirement for backup electrical power because its reactors can shut down without power. Similarly, NuScale wants to avoid a requirement for an emergency evacuation zone 32 kilometers wide, arguing its reactors pose no risk of spreading radiation beyond the plant boundary. Such a rule change would enable a utility to replace an aging coal plant with a NuScale plant in a populated area. “That’s something that utilities really want,” Reyes says.Such requests strike one prominent critic as hubris. Nuclear safety relies on layers of protection, says Edwin Lyman, a physicist with the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington, D.C., and NuScale is peeling them away to cut costs. “To say that you know so well how a new reactor will work that you don’t need an emergency evacuation zone, that’s just dangerous and irresponsible,” he says. However, Jacopo Buongiorno, a nuclear engineer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, says NuScale’s requests are reasonable and likely to win approval. “I would disagree that they’re removing safety features,” he says. “Quite the opposite.” Twelve-pack of power A NuScale plant would submerge 12 small modular reactors in a single pool of water. Each reactor has passive safety features that would help avoid a meltdown, and the simple design eliminates the pumps and pipes that could fail and cause an accident. To keep costs down, the factory-built reactors would be sent whole to a construction site. 82 m 4.6 m Containment vessel Control rod assembly Reactor pressurevessel Internal steam generator simplifies the design and increases safety. Reactor core Fuel rods The space between vessels is kept under vacuum to allow the core to heat up. To cool an overheating reactor, steam can be diverted to heat exchangers in the pool. If the core overheats, relief valves vent steam and water into the vacuum space. The heat is passed into the pool. Natural convection drives the cooling water through the core, obviating pumps. Reactorimporttrolley Steam todrive turbines Feed water forgenerating steam Refuelingmachine Tools for removingspent fuel from reactor NuScalereactor There are many companies that don’t want to be first but would clearly like to be second in line. Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Cooling pool Large and small More than 100 NuScale modular reactors could fit within the containment building of a single conventional gigawatt reactor. And a NuScale reactor’s core would contain only 8% as much fuel as the bigger reactor’s core. NuScalereactor Westinghouse AP1000 containment structure 44 meters (m) 25 m Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Main reactor building Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) NuScale engineers are itching to build a real plant. The company has a tentative deal with Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS), a consortium of 46 public utilities in six western states, to build a 12-pack plant at DOE’s Idaho National Laboratory near Idaho Falls as part of UAMPS’s carbon-free power project. As DOE’s lead nuclear energy lab, Idaho National Laboratory would use one module for research and another to supply the lab with power. The other 10 modules would feed the grid. UAMPS should decide this year about the plant, which would be built by 2027.NuScale expects other customers to follow. “There are many companies that don’t want to be first but would clearly like to be second in line,” says Tom Mundy, NuScale’s chief commercial officer. According to a 2014 report by the National Nuclear Laboratory in Sellafield, U.K., by 2035 SMRs could provide 65 to 85 gigawatts of power globally, a building spree worth between $320 billion and $510 billion. Engineers in Argentina, China, Russia, and South Korea have all developed SMR designs. However, because of the quality of its design, “internationally, NuScale is going to be a formidable competitor,” Rosner predicts.To succeed, NuScale will have to compete with cheap natural gas. The company aims to produce electricity at a total cost, including construction and operations, of $65 per megawatt-hour. That’s about 20% higher than the current cost of energy from a gas-powered plant. However, Rosner says, “The price of gas isn’t going to stay low forever.” Countries also could put a price on carbon emissions, which would drive up the cost of fossil-fuel power. In fact, a September 2018 report from MIT indicated that a carbon tax could make nuclear competitive with gas.Nuclear power could face even stiffer competition from renewable sources of energy such as wind and solar power, which are getting cheaper and cheaper, Ramana says. And given the numbers, Lyman says he expects NuScale will find few customers—and that’s only if DOE subsidizes the deals, as it has for UAMPS. “I just don’t see this tsunami of small reactors around the world,” he says, “and it’s because the economics is so bad.” But like many experts, Reyes argues that an energy economy based on renewables will require some form of steady “baseload” power—and nuclear, unlike gas, can deliver it without carbon emissions.Although NuScale is eager to break ground in the United States, an indicator of its prospects may come from across the Atlantic. To reduce carbon emissions, the United Kingdom has committed to shuttering its remaining seven coal-fired power plants by 2025. It could replace them with gas-fired plants, but NuScale is trying to persuade U.K. government officials to make a bolder choice and opt for its nuclear plants. “We are not a concept, we are not a technology that is still on the drawing board,” Mundy says. “We’re real.” A few years should tell whether that’s true.*Correction, 22 February, 10:30 a.m.: This story has been changed to reflect the proper composition of the NuScale reactor’s control rods. Power generating building Cooling pool Fuelpool Overheadcrane C. BICKEL/SCIENCE Related story The quest for boundless energy Emaillast_img read more

Read more

G20 leaders urged to denounce Japans cruel assault on whales

first_img G20 summit: India pitches strongly for fight against fugitive economic offenders Advertising Japan G20 summit, G20 summit, Commercial whaling in Japan, Assault on whales, Protection of whales, International Whaling Commission, IWC, World news, Indian Express Tokyo is halting the Antarctic research whaling that took some 330 minke whales a year (Representative image)Environmentalists from around the world urged global leaders at the G20 summit on Friday not to “turn a blind eye” to what they called a “cruel assault on whales” planned by host Japan when it restarts commercial whaling next week. Japan is withdrawing from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) on Sunday and resuming commercial whaling a day later after roughly three decades, during which its widely reviled “scientific research” whaling program was decried by opponents as commercial whaling in disguise.“This week, while one part of the Japanese government is proudly facilitating international cooperation by hosting the G20 meeting, another is quietly extricating itself from the obligation for global collaboration on the protection and management of the world’s whales,” said Kitty Block, president of Humane Society International, in a statement.Follow G-20 Summit 2019 Live Updates here.“Japan leaving the IWC and defying international law to pursue its commercial whaling ambitions is renegade, retrograde and myopic….”Block and others, including anthropologist Jane Goodall, are calling for an “international whaling intervention” to be staged at the meeting in the western city of Osaka, and letters have been sent to all G20 leaders urging them to tell Japan it is out of step with the world and call for an end to all commercial whaling, the statement added. Related News Advertising Modi, Erdogan talk S-400 air defence deal, US sanctions By Reuters |Tokyo | Updated: June 28, 2019 1:48:47 pm G20 Summit: US-China trade talks, climate change dominate final session “World leaders meeting in Japan this week should not turn a blind eye to the cruel assault planned on whales of the North Pacific,” Block said.Tokyo, which maintains many whale species are not endangered and that eating whale is a cherished cultural tradition, is halting the Antarctic research whaling that took some 330 minke whales a year but will hunt minkes, sei whales and Bryde’s whales in its exclusive economic zone.Japan has yet to announce its hunt quota, but many in the industry believe the number taken will fall between the 180 minkes and sei whales taken in the Northern Pacific and the 330 minkes hunted in the Antarctic. Some Japanese media have said the announcement is being delayed to avoid trouble at the G20 meeting, but industry experts deny this.Consumption of whale peaked in the early 1960s and has been diminishing ever since. Barely 300 people are directly connected to whaling, and whale represented only about 0.1 percent of Japan’s total meat consumption in 2016.The prospect of growth in the industry is far from certain, both environmentalists and whaling advocates say, but Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose district includes a major whaling center, has long pushed to resume commercial whaling. Post Comment(s)last_img read more

Read more

Twitter to Test Drive DoubleWide Tweets

first_imgTwitter’s internal data show that only 0.4 percent of tweets sent in Japanese were 140 characters long, while 9 percent of English language tweets were 140 characters, Rosen and Ihara wrote.The character limit has been a major source of frustration for English language users, based on the company’s research, but Japanese users don’t have similar complaints, they added.When they are not limited to140 characters, more people tweet, Rosen and Ihara noted.Twitter wants to test the change with a small number of users before taking it company wide, they said. They did not elaborate on how many people would participate in the testing or what the criteria would be for selecting them. It’s not clear how users will react to the increased character limit. While some clearly have longed for an increase in the limit, others oppose it, arguing that the requirement to condense information into short bursts is what made Twitter unique in the social media space.”Not to sound like a nostalgist, but from a user standpoint, I think this is another change for the worse,” said Rick Edmonds, media business analyst at Poynter.The proposed change may be a response to pressure to continue a growth pattern, but the 140-character limit and the chronological display were what made Twitter distinctive, he told TechNewsWorld.”Twitter excels at helping users get the most ideas in the shortest time,” noted Wayne Kurtzman, research director for social and experiential solutions at IDC.”Brevity is a strength, and people love that strength,” he told TechNewsWorld.Depending on how the increase is implemented, Twitter risks harming the relationship it has with is base users, Kurtzman said.If only the first 140 characters were displayed in large tweets, the change could work, he suggested. The responsibility then would shift to the author to “front load the tweet with relevance.”On the other hand, a growing body of users feel constrained by the 140-character limit, observed Michael Jude, research manager at Stratecast/Frost & Sullivan..”The latest trend towards consecutive tweets indicates that many topics simply don’t fit 140 characters,” he told TechNewsWorld. “Raising the limit will probably be popular with users.”There are strong arguments on both sides of the issue, said Kevin Krewell, principal analyst at Tirias Research.The 280-character limit will make it easier for users who tend to favor multiple-entry tweet storms, he told TechNewsWorld, but that could negate part of the appeal of Twitter, which is the compressed nature of the posts. Lost in Translation Get Shorty?center_img Twitter on Tuesday announced a limited test to double the maximum tweet size to 280 characters.Twitter has been struggling to boost user engagement for the last couple of years, and its tweet character limitation has been the subject of a longstanding debate among customers and company insiders.One reason for the possible change is to correct for the imbalance between applying the maximum character count to Asian characters — like Japanese, Chinese and Korean — and applying it to characters in western languages like English, Spanish, Portugese or French, noted Twitter Product Manager Aliza Rosen and Senior Software Engineer Ikuhiro Ihara in an online post.Because of the meanings attached to characters, users are able to convey twice as much information in a tweet rendered in Asian languages, they pointed out. Because of that difference, Twitter plans to test doubling the character limit for all languages except Japanese, Chinese and Korean.The change is minor from a technical standpoint, but it could dramatically change the way users can express themselves, noted Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.This is a small change, but a big move for us. 140 was an arbitrary choice based on the 160 character SMS limit. Proud of how thoughtful the team has been in solving a real problem people have when trying to tweet. And at the same time maintaining our brevity, speed, and essence! https://t.co/TuHj51MsTu— jack (@jack) September 26, 2017 David Jones is a freelance writer based in Essex County, New Jersey. He has written for Reuters, Bloomberg, Crain’s New York Business and The New York Times.last_img read more

Read more

New report highlights key focus areas to help cancer screening realize its

first_img Research to develop increasingly refined, risk-based screening strategies All approaches to screening incorporate assessments of risk. Organizations have issued guidelines to screen individuals who are at higher than average risk for some cancers, but the depth of data supporting these recommendations is highly variable. It may someday be possible to identify individuals who are well below average risk and might choose to forgo screening or to be screened differently. However, to date, reducing the intensity of screening to levels below those currently recommended for average-risk individuals has led to a loss of screening effectiveness overall in exchange for reducing the number of adults who undergo screening and reducing the overall rate of harms. Related StoriesAdding immunotherapy after initial treatment improves survival in metastatic NSCLC patientsTrends in colonoscopy rates not aligned with increase in early onset colorectal cancerStudy reveals link between inflammatory diet and colorectal cancer risk”The capacity to screen for asymptomatic cancer and cancer precursors defines one of the great successes in the history of cancer control, but the full potential of cancer screening is not being achieved,” said Dr. Smith. “Millions of individuals who should be screened are not being screened, and millions who are being screened are not receiving the highest quality testing available.”The report concludes that “the barriers that are impeding improvements in screening rates need to be systematically identified and rectified with no less than a mission-oriented commitment. Research dedicated to improving existing screening strategies and finding new ones is necessary, and the current level of investment in this type of research is insufficient.”Source: https://www.cancer.org/ Research to improve the quality and performance of currently available screening tests Increased financial commitment is needed to evaluate the performance of current screening technology in the community, to support research and development to improve and evolve existing technology, and to develop new technology. No less important are strong quality assurance programs to ensure that performance is monitored and that steps are taken when performance falls below acceptable standards Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Nov 19 2018Cancer screening has contributed substantially to reduced incidence, morbidity, and mortality, but issues like access and quality care and have kept screening from fulfilling its full potential, according to a new report. The report, published in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, is the latest installment in the ACS’s blueprint for cancer control. The authors summarize the status of cancer screening and propose key areas where attention is needed to further advance screening’s contribution to cancer control.Since the mid-20th century, accumulating evidence has supported the introduction of screening for cancers of the cervix, breast, colon and rectum, prostate (via shared decisions), and lung. The authors of the new report, led by Robert A. Smith, Ph.D., vice president of screening for the American Cancer Society say even as new discoveries could improve outcomes, there has been a failure to fulfill the potential of existing technology, due to lack of access among the target population and the delivery of state-of-the art care at each crucial step in cancer care. The report adds there is insufficient commitment to invest in the development of new technologies, incentivize the development of new ideas, and rapidly evaluate promising new technology.The report outlines five key focus areas to help cancer screening realize its full potential: Research to develop effective ways to screen for cancers for which screening tests do not currently exist At this time, no screening strategy has been developed and tested for pancreatic cancer, which by 2030 is likely to become the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States among men and women are combined. Liver cancer and bladder cancer are other diseases for which reliable and practical risk-based screening tests are needed. Screening for less common causes of cancer-related death may be possible but would demand highly accurate screening tests and well-defined and acceptable diagnostic and treatment approaches, to favorably tip the risk/benefit ratio. Research to improve the implementation of existing screening modalities Research should be directed at facilitating the uptake of organized screening, including for populations that are less likely to undergo screening. Elements of this research should include the study of reminder systems, population management, public messaging, team-based care, and navigation. On a broader scale, studies of different approaches to organizing and paying for health care are needed. Research to develop entirely new screening strategies to screen for cancers currently amendable to screening New directions in breast cancer screening that are functional versus anatomic, including contrast-enhanced MRI and molecular breast imaging, are being tested, with promising results in overcoming the limits of 2D and 3D mammography in women with significant mammographic breast density. Blood tests that detect circulating DNA and potentially can detect many types of asymptomatic cancers are in development. Developing new higher performing, more affordable, and/or more culturally acceptable screening tests warrants a substantial research investment.last_img read more

Read more

PAXMAN to showcase latest scalp cooling system at Arab Heath 2019

first_imgThe improved simplicity of the new generation of PAXMAN Scalp Cooling employs an interactive user interface and touchscreen ensuring ease of use for clinical staff.  Maintaining coolant levels is also simplified by a visual warning system and an easy-to-use self-drain coolant refill bag.The new control pump manages the speed and coolant flow, improving the consistency of treatment. Manufacturing technique changes have also been introduced – the front cover of the scalp cooling machine is now injection molded rather than RIM molded – to improve the overall aesthetics of the system.Following the successful launch in the US, this updated model is being rolled out across the Middle East, UK and rest of world markets. This is the first time it will be showcased at Arab Health and the company is keen to find new partners from across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.The PAXMAN Cooling System (also known as the ‘cold cap’) alleviates the damage caused to the hair follicle by chemotherapy. It works by reducing the temperature of the scalp by a few degrees immediately before, during and after the administration of chemotherapy.Related StoriesTSRI study reveals new approach to intervene in deadly diseasePaxman to showcase FDA approved scalp cooler for chemotherapy induced alopecia at ASCOScalp cooling provides safe, effective treatment in prevention of chemotherapy-induced alopeciaMade from lightweight silicone, the scalp cooling cap is soft and flexible – providing a snug, yet comfortable fit during treatment, molding to all head shapes and sizes. Liquid coolant passes through the cap, extracting heat from the young person’s scalp, ensuring it remains at an even, constant temperature to minimize hair loss.Chemotherapy works by targeting all rapidly dividing cells in the body. Hair is the second fastest dividing cell, and this is the reason why many chemotherapy drugs cause alopecia. The hair follicles in the growth phase are attacked, resulting in hair loss approximately two weeks after the commencement of chemotherapy treatment. Chemotherapy-induced hair loss is consistently ranked in the top five most distressing cancer chemotherapy side effects and we are working hard to ensure that cancer patients have a choice against hair loss. We are delighted to be able to offer scalp cooling to Middle Eastern patients and are keen to find new partners from across the region.”Richard Paxman, CEO at PAXMAN​​ The Arab Health Exhibition & Congress is taking place from 28th – 31st January 2019 at the Dubai Convention and Exhibition Centre. Throughout the exhibition the Paxman Scalp Cooler will be located on the Leeds City Region stand (H7.H51) in the UK Pavilion. Jan 10 2019Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)British scalp cooling expert, PAXMAN is showcasing the latest model of the PAXMAN Scalp Cooling System (PSCS) at Arab Health 2019. The British-developed pioneering treatment prevents Middle Eastern cancer patients from losing their hair and retain a feeling of normality during chemotherapy. Source:https://www.paxmanscalpcooling.com/last_img read more

Read more