20 July

Using human induced pluripotent stem cells for therapeutic drug testing

first_imgMay 8 2018Researchers at Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine of The University of Hong Kong (HKU) have successfully demonstrated the use of human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) from patients’ skin cells for therapeutic drug testing. The success of the research implies that scientists are one step closer to applying stem cells in precision medicine in treating patients suffering from various rare hereditary diseases.Since its invention by two independent research teams led by Professor Shinya Yamanaka at Kyoto University, Japan and Professor James Thomson at University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2007, patient-specific iPSCs hold promise to transform precision medicine, an emerging approach to disease treatment and prevention that takes into account of individual variability in the environment, lifestyle, and genetic makeup of patients, into real-life clinical practice. Sharing the same genetic composition of the donor patients and with the capacity to transform into all types of cells in our bodies, hiPSCs have been quickly emerging as the most promising candidate cell source for drug testing and drug screening.HKU team led by Professor David SIU Chung-wah, Clinical Professor, Department of Medicine, HKU, has been working for years to develop hiPSC-based therapy for various human diseases since 2008. In 2010, the team successfully developed custom-made protocol to generate animal product-free hiPSC. In the current study, hiPSC was generated from patients with a rare form hereditary cardiomyopathy due to mutations in the Lamin A/C (LMNA)-related cardiomyopathy in three families. Affected individuals develop heart failure, stroke, and sudden death in a relatively young age. To date, there is no specific treatment for this condition.Related StoriesCutting around 300 calories a day protects the heart even in svelte adultsNew research links “broken heart syndrome” to cancerStroke should be treated 15 minutes earlier to save lives, study suggestsResearch method and significanceThe team tests a drug, PTC124, which can suppress certain genetic mutations in other hereditary disease in the patient-specific iPSC transformed heart muscle cells. In brief, the procedure could be explained as follows:First, it was shown that these heart muscle cells reproduced the pathophysiological hallmarks of LMNA-related cardiomyopathy in a disc. Interestingly, PTC124 treatment restored the gene function and reversed pathological process in 1 of the 3 mutant heart muscle cell lines. Using cardiomyocytes derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells carrying different LMNA mutations, it was demonstrated that the effect of PTC124 is codon selective.A premature stop codon UGA appeared to be most responsive to PTC124 treatment. This reinforces the need for precision medicine. hiPSC technology and in vitro drug testing strategies provide unparalleled opportunities to realize the promise of precision medicine. This strategy may be exploited to select the patients with maximum drug responsiveness for standard clinical trials. Then, the expected drug effects may be much larger, and the required sample size would then be much smaller, making standard randomized clinical trials possible.While the technological breakthrough has moved the research closer to ultimate clinical uses of stem cells, the team has been contacting the drug company for clinical application. Meanwhile, Professor SIU and his team at the University are now building up a library of disease specific-hiPSC in order to facilitate research in understanding, treating, and preventing human diseases.Source: https://www.hku.hk/press/press-releases/detail/17760.htmllast_img read more

20 July

Study finds neuroinflammation in spinal cord nerve roots of patients with chronic

first_imgMay 10 2018A study by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators has found, for the first time in humans, that patients with chronic sciatica – back pain that shoots down the leg – have evidence of inflammation in key areas of the nervous system. In their paper published in the May issue of the journal Pain, the research team reports finding that average levels of a marker of neuroinflammation were elevated in both the spinal cord and the nerve roots of patients with chronic sciatica. Additionally, the study showed an association between neuroinflammation and response to anti-inflammatory steroid injections, with levels of neuroinflammation differing between those whose pain was and those whose pain was not relieved by steroid injection treatment.”Sciatica is an extremely common pain condition and is estimated to affect around 5 percent of men and 4 percent of women in their lifetimes,” says Yi Zhang, MD, PhD, of the Center for Pain Management in the MGH Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Management, a co-senior author of the report. “More than 5 million cases of sciatica are seen annually in the U.S., which represent a major cause of lost work days.”Several animal studies have documented activation of the immune system – including glial cells, which function as the immune cells of the nervous system – in chronic pain, raising the possibility that blocking neuroinflammation could be a viable treatment. Recent evidence from the laboratory of co-senior author Marco Loggia, PhD, of the MGH-based Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, found glial cell activation in the brains of patients with chronic pain, but no prior studies have demonstrated neuroinflammation beyond the brain in humans with chronic pain. Even though a contribution of inflammation to acute pain in sciatica provides the rationale for anti-inflammatory steroid injections, evidence linking neuroinflammation with chronic sciatic pain in humans has been limited.The current study combined both MR and PET imaging to test the hypothesis that chronic radiculopathy, a condition combining sciatica with additional lower-back-pain symptoms, would be associated with inflammatory activation in both the neuroforamina – the spaces around the spine through which nerve roots pass into the spinal cord – and within the spinal cord itself. Study participants – including 16 patients with chronic radiculopathy and 10 control volunteers – had combined MR/PET imaging with a radiopharmaceutical that binds to TSPO, a marker for neuroinflammation. MR/PET imaging focused on neuroforamina in the lumbar spine for all participants, and in a subset of 18 – 9 patients and 9 controls – images were also taken of the sections of the lower spinal cord that are connected to the nerve roots affected in sciatica.Related StoriesNeurons rely on their own electrical signals to keep track of normal functionsNerve stimulation therapy could help patients with the most common type of strokeScientists find ragweed compounds as potential neuroprotective agentsOverall the study results indicated that, compared with those of control participants, TSPO levels in sciatica patients were higher in both the neuroforamina and the spinal cord. The sciatica-associated elevations were seen in nerve roots on the side of affected legs and in spinal cord segments known to process sensory signals from the legs. Among 9 patient participants who received steroid injections as part of their clinical care – 2 before the scanning and 7 after – only 5 experienced significant relief from the procedure, and those 5 all had results indicating higher neuroforaminal TSPO levels.”The fact that patients with stronger TSPO elevations in the nerve roots benefited most from a local anti-inflammatory treatment makes sense,” says Loggia. “For patients who didn’t benefit from steroid injections, the source of pain and inflammation may be the spinal cord or, as shown in our previous paper, the brain itself.”Zhang adds, “If larger studies confirm that the efficacy of steroid injections correlates with nerve root inflammation, physicians will have a way to identify which patients are most likely to benefit from the procedure. Our results also suggest that directly treating neuroinflammation in the spinal cord may help patients who don’t respond to steroid injections. Finding a way to treat spinal neuroinflammation for those patients is a goal that we are actively pursuing.” Source:https://www.massgeneral.org/about/pressrelease.aspx?id=2251last_img read more

20 July

CedarsSinai study identifies gut gas associated with diarrhea

first_img Mobile health and food symptom tracker: How good are we at accurately associating what we eat with the development of gut trouble? Research led by Brennan M. Spiegel, MD, director of Health Services Research at Cedars-Sinai, tested a new questionnaire called the Food and Symptom Tracker (FAST). Investigators successfully validated the FAST questionnaire against existing measures. The findings suggest that FAST can be used as part of digital health apps for patients to more accurately track their food-specific gastrointestinal symptoms. “Creeping Fat” around intestines of IBD patients: Most Crohn’s disease patients develop what is known as “creeping fat” around sites of inflammation in the intestines. Does this phenomenon protect the intestines or lead to further disease complications? In a study of the make-up and behavior of “creeping fat,” investigators led by Suzanne Devkota, PhD, found that specific gut bacteria migrate to the fat tissue outside of the gut and stimulate that area of fat to grow. While this process may initially be a protective response to wounds in the intestine caused by Crohn’s, the extra fat can eventually cause fibrosis, making the disease worse. Source:https://www.cedars-sinai.org/newsroom/cedars-sinai-research-identifies-gut-gas-linked-to-diarrhea/center_img Jun 6 2018Cedars-Sinai investigators have for the first time identified a gas produced in gut that could improve the diagnosis and treatment of patients with two common intestinal illnesses-;small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).Patients complaining of pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation and other gastrointestinal distress are routinely given a breath test to determine if they have small intestine bacterial overgrowth, an excess of certain bacteria in the small intestine. The presence of methane gas often explains the symptoms but has not been linked to diarrhea in many patients.Now a large-scale clinical trial has identified the presence of another gut gas-;hydrogen sulfide-;among these patients who experience diarrhea.”This is a game-changer because we now see the full picture of fermentation gases, and it is hydrogen sulfide that appears to be linked to diarrhea,” said Mark Pimentel, MD, executive director of the Medically Associated Science and Technology (MAST) Program at Cedars-Sinai. “We knew something was missing from the conventional test.”Pimentel’s team unveiled the new study results at the Digestive Disease Week conference in Washington D.C., where Cedars-Sinai investigators shared other research findings as well. Pimentel, the study’s senior author, said the new research by his team has led to the development of a new four-gas breath test device that should be available to patients by the end of the year.”This novel device will allow physicians to better diagnose and treat small intestine bacterial overgrowth in patients. And the new tool will also be useful in screening for IBS-;the most common GI disorder in the world,” he said.Disclosure: “Mark Pimentel, MD, Ali Rezaie, MD and Kapil Gupta, MD are involved in the clinical trial and named on the patent application for the new breath test device. At this time, there is no financial value associated with the filed patent, however, it is possible that the investigators could receive royalty income should the patent be licensed in the future.”Cedars-Sinai investigations presented results of a variety of other studies at Digestive Disease Week, including the following:Related StoriesComplement system shown to remove dead cells in retinitis pigmentosa, contradicting previous researchTAU’s new Translational Medical Research Center acquires MILabs’ VECTor PET/SPECT/CTTrump administration cracks down on fetal tissue research Gender differences in inflammatory bowel disease: Gender differences in the genetic underpinnings of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are not well understood. Researchers at Cedars-Sinai’s Inflammatory Bowel and Immunobiology Research Institute, directed by Stephan R. Targan, MD, have identified gender-specific associations in patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, the two most prominent forms of IBD. The results of the genetic research suggest a closer look at gender may provide important insights into the severity with which IBD develops in male and female patients. The investigation was led by research scientist Talin Haritunians, PhD and Dermot P. McGovern, MD, PhD, director of Translational Research in the Inflammatory Bowel and Immunobiology Research Institute.last_img read more

20 July

American Cancer Society outlines vision for cancer control in the decades ahead

first_imgJul 11 2018The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that begins publishing today. The series of articles forms the basis of a national cancer control plan; a blueprint toward the control of cancer and a mortality reduction goal for the year 2035.”It is our hope that this blueprint will be a call to action for cancer patients, family members of cancer patients, professional organizations, government agencies, the medical profession, academia, and industry to work together to implement what is known about cancer control,” write the authors, led by Chief Medical Officer Otis W. Brawley, M.D., MACP. The series is being published in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.Despite a 25-year decline in mortality rate, cancer remains the second-leading cause of death in the United States and is expected to become the leading cause of death in the next decade. To refocus nationwide efforts, the ACS has assessed the successes and challenges in cancer control and oncology, identifying key issues that must be addressed and what interventions must be implemented to most efficiently control cancer. The series will focus on areas such as prevention, screening and early detection, cancer care and treatment, and research.Related StoriesHow cell-free DNA can be targeted to prevent spread of tumorsStudy: Nearly a quarter of low-risk thyroid cancer patients receive more treatment than necessaryAdding immunotherapy after initial treatment improves survival in metastatic NSCLC patientsThe first article, now published, assesses progress thus far in cancer control by reviewing trends in cancer mortality and disparities in cancer outcomes. It highlights mortality trends for several cancers that demonstrate successes and challenges in cancer control, and describes gaps in cancer mortality by race/ethnicity, economic and educational level, and region of residence. The report concludes: “Assessment of the outcomes data clearly demonstrates one vital fact. We can do better.”One area of critical disparity is in socioeconomic status. Using educational attainment as a surrogate of socioeconomic status, ACS epidemiologists in this report estimate that one in four current cancer deaths would not occur if all Americans had the cancer death rate of college educated Americans. Applying the death rate for the most educated group (bachelor’s degree or above) to the entire population would lead to 59% fewer lung cancer deaths, 32% fewer colorectal cancer deaths, 19% fewer pancreas cancer deaths, and 50% fewer liver cancer deaths. In total, more than 150,000 of the estimated 610,000 cancer deaths in the U.S. in 2018 would not occur if all Americans had the same levels of cancer risk exposure and received the same amount and quality of care as college graduates.”This calculation speaks volumes,” write the authors. “The statistics demonstrate our obligation to deliver the fruits of already completed research to all Americans. They tell us what can be accomplished in cancer control without the development of new technology, new screening tests or new treatments.”Source: http://pressroom.cancer.org/BlueprintLaunch2018last_img read more

20 July

Researchers discover prionlike viral proteins that open new targets for antiviral drugs

first_imgJul 12 2018Researchers at the Human Microbiology Institute (HMI) and Tetz Laboratories have discovered thousands of prion-like domains in human viruses, prompting research that opens new ways of viral pathogenicity, suggests new targets for development of new antiviral drugs and links viruses to diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.The research by HMI George Tetz and Victor Tetz, was published this month in Nature’s Scientific Reports.In the paper, George and Victor discuss the discovery of over 2,600 proteins possessing prion-like structures across viruses. Prions are infectious proteins that due to their β-sheet-rich conformation can self-propagate, leading to the accumulation of misfolded proteins in the brain possesses neurotoxic effects and are known to be implicated in neurodegenerative diseases. The reason for the human prions formation remains inconclusive.Related StoriesMice cured of HIV in an experiment sparks new hopeVirus killing protein could be the real antiviral hero finds studyInnovative single-chip platform speeds up drug development processThe discovery of prions in viral proteins uncovers a previously unknown pathway for the development of diseases associated with protein misfolding, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, ataxias and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.Previous works have shown that viruses play a role in the development of some diseases listed above, and the discovery by HMI for the first time proposes that the misfolding of proteins is the previously unknown pathway for these prions to infect humans.Casey Maguire, PhD, assistant professor of neurology at the Massachusetts General Hospital, said the finding of prion-like domains in viral structures represents an important discovery for the field of virology.“What they have discovered are new possible targets that can be used for the development of novel antiviral drugs, which could have huge implications in how we treat and fight a whole host of diseases,” Maguire said.Victor Tetz, a professor of virology, said the research brings the understanding of the viral interactions with human cells to a new level.“In particular, this explains the previously unknown mechanisms of viral pathogenicity,” he said. “We are very excited to advance our discoveries to develop principally novel classes of antiviral drugs linked to these viral proteins.” Source:http://hmi-us.comlast_img read more

20 July

Big tobacco companies still facilitate tobacco smuggling studies find

first_imgAug 23 2018Two new studies from the Tobacco Control Research Group at the University of Bath, published in the BMJ journal, Tobacco Control, expose evidence that big tobacco companies are still facilitating tobacco smuggling, while attempting to control a global system designed to prevent it, and funding studies that routinely overestimate levels of tobacco smuggling.The findings come off the back of a major announcement last week from Bloomberg Philanthropies which makes Bath’s Tobacco Control Research Group one of the leaders of an all-new $20 million global tobacco industry watchdog aiming to counter the negative influences of the tobacco industry on public health. The global partnership aims in particular to highlight tobacco industry activity across low and middle income countries.The first study, which draws on leaked documents, highlights the elaborate lengths the industry has gone to control a global track and trace system and to undermine a major international agreement – the Illicit Trade Protocol – designed to stop the tobacco industry from smuggling tobacco.A linked blog and editorial in the BMJ, help explain the findings.In 2012, off the back of a string of inquiries, court cases and fines all aiming to hold the major tobacco companies to account for their involvement in global tobacco smuggling operations aimed to avoid paying taxes, governments around the world adopted the Illicit Trade Protocol (ITP). Part of a global treaty, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the ITP aims to root out tobacco industry smuggling through an effective track and trace system – a system in which tobacco packs are marked so they can be tracked through their distribution route and, if found on the illicit market, can be traced back to see where they originated.Fearful of developments, the new study argues that at this point the tobacco industry claimed to have changed, no longer the perpetrators of smuggling, but instead themselves now the victims of smuggled and counterfeited tobacco.Simultaneously the major tobacco companies developed their own track and trace system, ‘Codentify’, lobbying governments around the world to see it adopted as the global track and trace system of choice. Leaked documents show the four major transnational tobacco companies hatched a joint plan to use front groups and third parties to promote ‘Codentify’ to governments and have them believe it was independent of industry and how these plans were operationalized. For example, the study reveals how a supposedly independent company fronted for British American Tobacco (BAT) in a tender for a track and trace system in Kenya.Yet, reveal the researchers, growing evidence suggests the tobacco industry is still facilitating tobacco smuggling. Approximately two thirds of smuggled cigarettes may still derive from industry. At best, the authors suggest, this shows the tobacco industry’s failure to control its supply chain, but they point to growing evidence from government investigations, whistleblowers and leaked tobacco industry documents all suggesting ongoing industry involvement.The study suggests that in order to bolster support for their system and enhance their credibility, Big Tobacco created front groups, poured funding into organizations meant to hold it to account and into initiatives that would curry favor, and paid for misleading data and reports.Professor Anna Gilmore, Director of the Tobacco Control Research Group, explains: “This has to be one of the tobacco industry’s greatest scams: not only is it still involved in tobacco smuggling, but big tobacco is positioning itself to control the very system governments around the world have designed to stop it from doing so. The industry’s elaborate and underhand effort involves front groups, third parties, fake news and payments to the regulatory authorities meant to hold them to account.”Related StoriesOlympus Europe and Cytosurge join hands to accelerate drug development, single cell researchResearch sheds light on sun-induced DNA damage and repairAMSBIO offers new, best-in-class CAR-T cell range for research and immunotherapyThe second study, published today examines the quality of the data and reports on illicit tobacco that the tobacco industry has funded and raises further concerns about the tobacco industry’s conduct. It finds that industry-funded data routinely overestimates levels of tobacco smuggling.The first study to systematically identify and review literature that assesses industry-funded data on the illicit tobacco trade, it identifies widespread concerns with the quality, accuracy and transparency of tobacco-industry funded research. Industry-funded data were criticized for a fundamental lack of transparency at every stage of the research process, from sampling and data collection, through analysis to publication of findings.The authors posit that the consistency with which issues have been identified suggests that the tobacco industry may be intentionally producing misleading data on the topic.The authors suggest that despite overwhelming evidence of historical complicity in tobacco smuggling and their latest evidence suggesting that tobacco companies are continuing to fuel the illicit trade, the industry now portrays itself as key to solving the problem, presenting its funding of research as an example of its attempts to reduce illicit trade.Lead author Allen Gallagher from the Tobacco Control Research Group at Bath explains: “Our latest findings fit with the tobacco industry’s long history of manipulating research, including its extensive efforts to undermine and cause confusion on science showing the negative health impacts of smoking and second-hand smoke.”Second author Dr Karen Evans-Reeves added: “Despite far-reaching concerns over industry-funded data on this topic, tobacco companies continue to spend millions of pounds funding research into the illicit tobacco trade. As recently as 2016 Philip Morris International’s PMI IMPACT initiative pledged 100 million USD for this purpose. Yet, if industry-funded data consistently fails to reach the expected standards of replicable academic research, we must question if it has any use beyond helping the industry muddy the waters on an important public health issue.”The team is now calling on governments and international bodies to crack down on Big Tobacco’s tactics, to ensure that systems designed to control tobacco smuggling are truly independent of the industry and its front organizations, and that research on tobacco smuggling is free of industry interests.Professor Gilmore, senior author on both papers states: “Governments, tax and customs authorities around the world appear to have been hoodwinked by industry data and tactics. It is vital that they wake up and realize how much is at stake. Tobacco industry funded research cannot be trusted. No government should implement a track and trace system linked in any shape or form to the tobacco manufacturers. Doing so could allow the tobacco industry’s involvement in smuggling to continue with impunity.”Andy Rowell, co-author of the first paper states: “Governments need to be alert to what the tobacco industry is doing and to realize it is now operating via a complex web of front groups and companies. Any track and trace system linked to ‘Codentify’ simply cannot be trusted.” Source:https://www.bath.ac.uk/announcements/new-research-uncovers-one-of-the-tobacco-industrys-greatest-scams/last_img read more

20 July

MyVytalics launches new personal app focusing on genes related to sleep patterns

first_img Source:https://myvytalics.com/ Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Sep 10 2018MyVytalics, a privately held company, today announced the release of MySleepInsights, a personal genomics app focusing on genes associated with sleep patterns and nutrition. MyVytalics has developed the app in partnership with Helix, a personal genomics company, and plans to develop more innovative wellness genomic insight applications with a focus on healthy aging.”We are at a tipping point in our understanding of DNA. We believe this empowering information should be accessible to everyone to help improve their lives,” said Adrian Vilalta, Ph.D., co-founder of MyVytalics.Related StoriesResearchers identify gene mutations linked to leukemia in children with Down’s syndromeSome people treated for type 1 diabetes may have monogenic diabetes, study findsUnpleasant experiences could be countered with a good night’s REM sleepIndividuals will be able to select MyVytalics applications on the Helix store. The process for customers is simple: after the purchase of MyVytalics MySleepInsights from Helix’s website, the DNA testing kit arrives in a few days. The saliva sample is sent to Helix’s CLIA and CAP-accredited lab in San Diego, where the DNA is sequenced; the insights are then available after about 8 weeks on a secure portal. The process is much faster for existing Helix customers.”We’re pleased that individuals using our platform will have access to MyVytalics’ deep understanding of the genomics of healthy aging,” said Justin Kao, co-founder and SVP of Helix. “We believe every person can benefit from the opportunity to discover insights into their DNA, and, in particular, how it informs their health decisions.””Genes are not destiny. However, knowledge of our genetic risks can help us make better health decisions. Our partnership with Helix will increase the accessibility of affordable, high-quality DNA insights to a great number of people,” said Eric Dec, M.D., co-founder of MyVytalics.The first MyVytalics DNA app is available at helix.com and more genetic insight apps are expected to be available in 2018.Health insights from MyVytalics are not intended as a diagnostic test. The company will provide genomic results to educate its customers about the contribution of DNA to their overall health with a unique focus on wellness in aging.last_img read more

20 July

Research goes to the dogs—and the drones

That scenario might still be science fiction, but a team of U.S. scientists is working hard to make it a reality with a project called the Smart Emergency Response System (SERS). Last week, the group brought a prototype to Washington, D.C., as one of 24 participants in the SmartAmerica Challenge, a novel event designed by the Obama administration to demonstrate how federally funded research can deliver tangible benefits to society.“Basic research often ends up with just research,” said Sokwoo Rhee, who helped devise and implement the challenge during his 12-month stint as a Presidential Innovation Fellow. “That is not enough of a goal for the SmartAmerica challenge. How does the research benefit society and human life? We wanted to shift the discussion in that direction.”The White House created the innovation fellows program 2 years ago as a way for government agencies to enlist outside help in tackling important technological challenges. Rhee, a serial entrepreneur with a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering, volunteered to run a project on improving the interplay between smart devices, a research field called cyber-physical systems (CPS).Rhee and another fellow, Geoff Mulligan, looked at hundreds of CPS research abstracts from academia, industry, and the federal government and selected the authors of 65 to take part in the program. In December, the participants came to Washington for a day with the goal of expanding their current CPS-related research into something with clear societal benefits.“It was a very random process,” said Yosuke Bando, a visiting scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab in Cambridge who was working on a smart phone middleware application that allows users to exchange pictures and other data based on proximity instead of relying on Wi-Fi or a cellular signal. “They wanted to make us form teams in an autonomous and spontaneous manner.”The SERS team—15 researchers from nine academic institutions and companies spread across the country—came together after the participants realized their individual projects could be modified to make disaster relief efforts more effective.Each team had only 6 months to expand and integrate their projects, which ranged from enhanced water distribution to smarter energy production. The researchers received no additional funding and had to pay for any equipment and travel expenses themselves.Given their far-flung locations, the SERS team used weekly teleconferences to refine their ideas. In May, they met for the first and only time before the expo, spending 3 days at the University of Washington (UW), Seattle.The room was filled with soldering irons, welding torches, robots, dogs, and lots of graduate students. “We spent all day trying to get our projects to work together,” said Howard Chizeck, a SERS member from UW Seattle’s BioRobotics Lab. “And then we were at it again the next day, and most of the day after that!”The hard work paid off.  “Despite the obstacles, we were able to integrate everything we needed to for the expo,” Bando said.  Rhee and Mulligan’s fellowship ended this week, but the White House hopes that several of the SmartAmerica teams will agree to scale up their projects under a new challenge, called Global Cities. The SERS team hasn’t figured out what’s next, but its members seem eager to continue working together.“Some of the collaborations will definitely persist,” Chizeck said, “and there will be some new, smaller projects. I don’t know if you could reproduce this or not—but would I do it again? Absolutely!” Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: A cyborg dog, an aerial drone, and a robot walk into a bar and …You haven’t? Okay, so the bar in question was just hit by an earthquake and several patrons are still trapped inside. The local emergency response team dispatches a rescue dog equipped with sensors and other devices. The dogs sense the survivors and alert central control, which sends aerial drones to scout the otherwise unnavigable disaster area.Cell service is down, but the patrons are able to communicate with first responders by connecting to wireless routers set down by the drones. Ruling out a live rescue team because of the danger, the first responders instead send in a remotely operated robot, which leads the patrons to safety. Email 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 (*) Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country read more

20 July

Women best men in STEM faculty hiring study

first_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country 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 (*) A woman applying for a tenure-track faculty position in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) at a U.S. university is twice as likely to be hired as an equally qualified man, if both candidates are highly qualified, according to a new study.The results run counter to widely held perceptions and suggest that this is a good time for women to be pursuing academic careers. Some observers, however, say that the study—which involved actual faculty members rating hypothetical candidates—may not be relevant to real-world hiring. And they worry the results may leave the incorrect impression that universities have achieved gender parity in STEM fields.Still, the “important” results will spark “a lot of discussion,” predicts psychologist Virginia Valian of Hunter College in New York City. “It will definitely make people think more thoroughly and more subtly” about the issue.center_img Email In previous research, the authors, psychologists Wendy Williams and Stephen Ceci of Cornell University, found that men and women generally fare equally well once they are hired into tenure-track positions (although some critics have challenged those findings). For this study, the researchers focused on the hiring phase. It “is a key juncture in understanding the problem of women’s underrepresentation” on STEM faculties, they wrote in an e-mail.To better understand hiring dynamics, the researchers invented three hypothetical candidates for an assistant professorship: an extremely well-qualified woman, an extremely well-qualified man, and a slightly less qualified man. Then, they wrote a job application summary for each candidate. It included a description of a search committee’s impression of the candidate, quotes from letters of recommendation, and an overall score for the candidate’s job talk and interview. In the last step, they asked 873 tenure-track faculty members from four fields, randomly selected from institutions across the United States, to rank the candidates. The group included an approximately equal number of men and women.Overall, raters in most fields were twice as likely to tag the woman as the best candidate, the researchers report online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The one exception was economics, where male raters showed a slight preference for the well-qualified male candidate.Williams and Ceci say they were shocked when they saw how much better the woman fared. And although they did not investigate the potential causes of the outcome, they suspect it may be due to some combination of successful training programs about gender and hiring, a growing belief that gender balance among STEM faculty is important, and the retirement of older faculty.The authors also investigated how a candidate’s marital and family status influenced ratings. They varied the description of the candidates, making them single or married, childless or parents. Some had working spouses, others did not. In general, these factors did not change the outcome.Again, however, there was one exception. Rating differences did arise when they described the female candidate as having had a child during graduate school. Male raters preferred a candidate who took a 1-year parental leave, whereas female raters preferred the one who did not take a leave.University of Mississippi, Oxford, business school management professor H. Kristl Davison found this result particularly intriguing. “I almost wonder if there’s a bit of paternalism going on” from the male raters, she says. “It also made me wonder if there’s a female bias present in terms of, ‘I struggled through grad school without taking leave; I think others should do so as well.’ ”Some worry that the study does not sufficiently take into account the many factors at play in hiring decisions. “My major concern is really the generalizability of this, whether what they found … would translate to the real world,” Davison says. “That’s the ultimate question.”Potential bias may arise even earlier in the hiring process, she and others note, before candidates even make it to the final selection round. Men and women can be perceived differently during preliminary interviews, for instance, based on personality traits that have nothing to do with their qualifications or potential for success. The new study, however, focuses only on “a very specific and late point in the game,” Valian says. “We need to understand the subtleties of evaluation at each stage in the process. Right now we have fragments of data that tell us about different parts of the process, but we don’t have a good picture of how it all fits together.”Others object to the authors’ assertion that men and women fare the same after hiring. “I think it’s fair to say that the women who have run the gauntlet and gotten advanced STEM degrees will find the labor market quite welcoming if they choose to seek employment in academic STEM jobs,” writes Jennifer Glass, a sociologist at the University of Texas, Austin, in an e-mail. “What happens once they are there is another matter entirely.” She says studies suggest that women still have higher attrition rates in some STEM careers.Despite apparent good news in the findings, “I think it’s too soon to say, ‘OK, problem solved,’ ” Valian says. “We haven’t solved the problem of underrepresentation of women in the sciences,” she says, “and I wouldn’t want people to think that this paper demonstrates that we have solved it.”last_img read more

20 July

If you fail to reproduce another scientists results this journal wants to

first_img 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 Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country A growing number of retractions—a few linked to fraud—have helped stir concerns about irreproducible results. Amgen itself raised the alarm 4 years ago when one of its scientists, who had recently left the firm, co-authored a commentary in Nature announcing that Amgen researchers could replicate just six of 53 landmark cancer biology studies. Bayer had published a similar analysis a few months earlier. The Amgen report drew criticism, however, because the company did not release any data or even reveal which studies it examined. (The former Amgen scientist, C. Glenn Begley, said one reason was confidentiality agreements with some of the original authors.)The new channel, in contrast, will publish both methods and data from the replication attempts. “I do think it’s proper to show data and let people decide for themselves, and that’s the plan here,” says Kamb, who joined forces with Alberts after they attended a retreat on integrity in science early last year.Putting the contradictory data out in the open will “force the original authors to clarify [the discrepancies],” Alberts says. “Maybe it was correct, but the original description of what they did was flawed.” Publishing the data will also give the replicators credit for the time they’ve spent, he and Kamb say.Amgen chose the three papers initially highlighted on the site not because they were particularly noteworthy, but because the company’s scientists were ready to write them up, Kamb says. In one study, Amgen was not able to confirm a 2012 report in Science that a cancer drug, bexarotene, could clear β-amyloid plaques and reverse cognitive problems associated with Alzheimer’s disease in mice. Four other groups had already questioned the findings in technical comments in Science. But Kamb says Amgen’s contribution, which uses a different tool molecule to test bexarotene’s purported mechanism, adds “another very large brick.”Amgen also reports that it failed to confirm a 2010 Nature study finding that blocking an enzyme called Usp14 helped cells degrade toxic proteins involved in Alzheimer’s and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The Amgen work “raises questions about the utility of Usp14 as a therapeutic target for neurodegenerative disease,” Kamb says. In their third paper, Amgen scientists report that a genetic flaw in a commercially available mouse model that lacks the gene for the protein Gpr21 led both an earlier Amgen team and an academic lab to erroneously report that Gpr21 influences body weight and glucose metabolism. (Amgen gave reporters summaries of the three studies on the condition that they not contact the original authors until after the new channel launched.)Like other F1000Research “channels,” the new journal will first post the raw manuscripts, then invite peer reviews that will be added with the reviewers’ names. F1000Research charges author fees of $150—$1000 per paper depending on length. If the papers are accepted after peer review, they will be indexed in PubMed and “become part of the record,” Alberts says.The project joins other efforts to promote reproducibility. The nonprofit Center for Open Science headed by psychologist Brian Nosek of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville is working with contract labs to replicate experiments from up to 50 high-impact papers in cancer biology. The project contacts the papers’ original authors for input on protocols and will also invite them to peer review the results before they are published in the open-access journal eLife. Such consultation has “social and cultural value,” Nosek says, but he doesn’t see it as a requirement and supports the new channel.National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, Deputy Director Lawrence Tabak says NIH is also “supportive of the new channel” and is “encouraged by Amgen’s leadership role.” Microbiologist Arturo Casadevall of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, is a fan as well, but he cautions that a failed confirmation doesn’t always mean original findings were incorrect. Ideally, the original authors will “try to understand the variables” that led to different conclusions, he says. Email The biotech company Amgen Inc. and prominent biochemist Bruce Alberts have created a new online journal that aims to lift the curtain on often hidden results in biomedicine: failed efforts to confirm other groups’ published papers. Amgen is seeding the publication with reports on its own futile attempts to replicate three studies in diabetes and neurodegenerative disease and hopes other companies will follow suit.The contradictory results—along with successful confirmations—will be published by F1000Research, an open-access, online-only publisher. Its new “Preclinical Reproducibility and Robustness channel,” launched today, will allow both companies and academic scientists to share their replications so that others will be less likely to waste time following up on flawed findings, says Sasha Kamb, senior vice president for research at Amgen in Thousand Oaks, California. The aim is “to help improve the self-correcting nature of science to benefit society as a whole, including those of us trying to create new medicines.” Alberts, a former Science editor-in-chief and National Academy of Sciences president who is at the University of California, San Francisco, says the journal will be a place for data that other journals often aren’t interested in publishing because replication efforts lack novelty. “The whole idea is to lower the energy barrier for people doing this,” Alberts says.last_img read more

20 July

This new fuel cell could turbocharge renewable power

first_img Email Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) This new fuel cell could turbocharge renewable power Two teams have gotten close. One group, led by Ryan O’Hayre, a materials scientist at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, reported last year in Science that it had produced an intermediate temperature fuel cell capable of producing 455 mW/cm2. Another group, led by Ji-Won Son, a materials chemist with the Korea Institute of Science and Technology in Seoul, reported last year in Nature Communications that it got a similar result at the ideal operating temperature of 500°C.Now, a group led by Sossina Haile, a chemical engineer at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, has crossed the goal line. Haile and her colleagues figured out that one key problem was occurring as soon as the reaction started. Both PEM fuel cells and SOFCs, like batteries, have two electrodes separated by an ion-conducting electrolyte. At one electrode, fuel molecules are broken apart and stripped of negatively charged electrons, which pass through an external circuit to a second electrode. Meanwhile, positively charged ions ripped from the fuel molecules travel through the electrolyte to the second electrode where they recombine with the traveling electrons.Haile discovered that the connection point between the first electrode—called an anode—and the electrolyte was weak, blocking protons from zipping through to the second electrode, or cathode. So Haile and colleagues added a thin but dense layer of catalyst material atop the bulk of their anode catalyst, creating an easier transition for protons to move into the electrolyte. The researchers also tweaked the composition of their ceramic electrodes to make them more stable in the presence of steam and carbon dioxide. As they report today in Nature Energy their devices produced nearly 550 mW/cm2 at 500°C. They were stable for hundreds of hours of operation with few signs of degradation.O’Hayre says the new work is “a great contribution,” and calls the performance “impressive.” But he notes that there are still a few issues that need to be solved before these devices are ready for market. For starters, the current cells are small, just a few centimeters in diameter. Researchers would need to find a way to make much larger versions, which could be tricky. That’s because the dense coating on the anode was formed by a technique called pulsed laser deposition, which is difficult to do large-scale on a commercial assembly line.Another challenge, adds David Tew, a program manager at DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy in Washington, D.C., is that the all-ceramic electrodes and electrolyte are extremely brittle, which could make them less durable for use in real-world conditions.Haile doesn’t disagree with those concerns. But she says her team’s advance should encourage researchers to solve those problems. If they do, intermediate range fuel cells could transform renewable energy, because they can also be used to convert electricity—say from a wind turbine—into hydrogen and other fuels for storage, and later turn them back into electricity. That would solve renewable energy’s biggest challenge: storing energy when the sun isn’t shining and the wind is still. That’s a combination that even Goldilocks might say could be just right for the future of fuel cells. 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 A new type of ceramic fuel cell cranks out record amounts of power.center_img S. Choi et al., Nature Energy 10.1038 (2018) Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Fuel cells are far greener than gas-powered engines because they produce electricity without burning up the hydrogen (or other fuel) that powers them. But they’re often impractical on a commercial scale because they’re so much more expensive to make. Now, researchers report that by creating a fuel cell that can run at a midrange temperature, they’ve made an inexpensive, powerful version that could boost the prospects for plentiful green energy.Most fuel cells run at temperatures too hot or too cool to make at a reasonable price. One class, the polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) cells that power cars and buses, run at about 100°C. Another class, the solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) that power backup generators for hospitals and other buildings, typically run at 1000°C. The lower temperature of PEM cells makes the essential chemical reactions sluggish, requiring the use of expensive metal catalysts, such as platinum, to speed them up. But the feverish temperatures of SOFCs means that even if they don’t need the pricy catalysts, they need to be built from expensive metal alloys that can handle the scorching operating temperatures.So in recent years, fuel cell researchers have pursued a Goldilocks strategy, looking for midrange temperature fuel cells that operate at about 500°C. That’s warm enough for reactions to proceed quickly, but cool enough to allow them to be built from cheaper metals, such as stainless steel. Initially, scientists tried doing so with catalysts borrowed from SOFCs. The devices worked, but they generated just 200 milliwatts of power per square centimeter (mW/cm2) of electrode surface area, well behind the performance of PEM fuel cells and SOFCs. To make it commercially, such fuel cells would need to produce at least 500 mW/cm2, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). By Robert F. ServiceFeb. 12, 2018 , 1:20 PMlast_img read more

20 July

Following charges of flawed statistics major medical journal sets the record straight

first_img But, “Although my analysis throws up questions, it doesn’t necessarily throw up answers,” Carlisle says. For that, the journals needed to step in. Within days of Carlisle’s report, NEJM had homed in on 11 of its papers with the loudest alarm bells. Six turned out to contain mistakes. In five cases, the issue was a mixup of statistical terms—for example, writing “standard deviation,” which measures variability across data, in place of “standard error,” a type of standard deviation that depends on sample size.But in the sixth, a large clinical trial in Spain published in 2013, which had reported that a Mediterranean diet could prevent heart disease in people at risk, deeper problems surfaced. “It turned out when we contacted the investigators, they had already been working on it, they had seen the same thing we had and been concerned,” says NEJM Editor-in-Chief Jeffrey Drazen in Waltham, Massachusetts.Nearly 7500 people all over Spain had enrolled in the trial as long as 15 years ago, so tracking down what might have gone wrong was no easy feat. A months-long inquiry by the Spanish researchers and NEJM staff uncovered that up to 1588 people in the trial hadn’t been properly randomized: Some were assigned to the same diet as someone else in their household (a common feature of diet studies, but not reported in the original paper). Others, who lived in a rural area, were assigned to different diets based on the clinic closest to them—for example, one group had to pick up a liter of olive oil each week. “The investigator realized he couldn’t get people to travel as far as they needed so he made his study ‘cluster randomized,’” by clinic rather than by individual, Drazen says.The authors reanalyzed their data without those 1588 participants and found that despite the missteps, the conclusion held: Nuts, olive oil, and fatty fish remained a net positive on heart health, though the conclusions came with somewhat less statistical oomph than in the original paper.And what of the other seven journals targeted by Carlisle last year? Science contacted all of them to ask whether they, too, had investigated. The editor-in-chief of one, the Canadian Journal of Anesthesia, said an inquiry is in progress, but running slowly because of limited resources. At another journal, Anesthesiology, editors had looked over the papers and found no reason to retract any of them. The other journals either didn’t respond or have chosen not to investigate. Some noted that Carlisle’s paper had come under criticism when it was published, in part because its methods assumed certain variables, like height and weight, are unrelated. (Carlisle agrees this was a limitation, and says not every paper he identified necessarily contains errors.)Carlisle pinpointed eight papers at his own journal, Anaesthesia, worth probing. “We wrote to the authors and got two responses … the others have not responded,” he says. In one of those two, a correction was published this week, though it didn’t impact the paper’s conclusions; in the second, the authors said they no longer had the patient data the journal was requesting. For the six whose answer was radio silence, Carlisle isn’t sure how hard to push. “How far do you drill into it?” he wonders, especially when the time and money to do so are scarce.Although most of the errors so far are minor ones, Carlisle wonders whether they’re a harbinger of statistical problems in parts of papers he didn’t examine, such as the all-important results section. Drazen was unsettled enough by what his own journal found to give his manuscript editors a statistics course, and implement extra scrutiny of statistics in accepted papers. Jozef Polc/500px 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 One year after a damning review suggested that many published clinical trials contain statistical errors, The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) today is correcting five of the papers fingered and retracting and republishing a sixth, about whether a Mediterranean diet helps prevent heart disease. (Spoiler alert: It still does, according to the new version of the paper.) Despite errors missed until now, in many ways the journal system worked as intended, with NEJM launching an inquiry within days of the accusations.The journal’s unusual move was prompted by a controversial analysis published in June 2017. Writing in Anaesthesia, where he is also an editor, anesthesiologist John Carlisle of Torbay Hospital in Torquay, U.K., took a statistical deep dive into 5087 randomized, controlled trials. With the help of a computer program, Carlisle looked for a specific type of anomaly: nonrandom assignment of volunteers to different treatments, when the trial had claimed the assignments were random. This can skew a trial’s results—for example, if many more elderly people are assigned to a control group while younger ones get an experimental treatment, the new drug may look like it has fewer side effects because the people getting it are healthier.Across eight journals, Carlisle analyzed how certain features of the volunteers—such as their height, weight, and age—were spread across the treatments tested. If he didn’t see certain patterns—if the distribution was too perfect, or too far off—he suspected the assignments were not truly random, whether because of scientific misconduct or honest error. Roughly 2% of the papers he ran through his program fell into this questionable category. Following charges of flawed statistics, major medical journal sets the record straightcenter_img Email Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country A study of the health benefits of a Mediterranean diet was rewritten after a statistical analysis set off alarm bells. By Jennifer Couzin-FrankelJun. 13, 2018 , 5:00 PMlast_img read more

19 July

Electric charging stations could promote local tourism

first_imgPhoto by Toni GibbonsTEVA representatives David Gebert (right) and Jerry Asher (second from right) take a lunch break at Joe and Aggie’s Café on April 26. The 2017 Tesla Model X Electric Vehicle is pulling the classic 2011 Nissan Leading Economical Affordable Family car known as the Spirit of AZ. Also pictured are (left to right) Holbrook City Councilman Earl Kester, and Stanley Gallegos, owner of Joe and Aggie’s Café. May 9, 2018 Electric charging stations could promote local tourismcenter_img By Toni Gibbons In a “Back to the Future” moment, Plug’n All Around Arizona Team P3A hummed into Holbrook on April 26, sporting a 2017 Tesla Model X Electric Vehicle (EV) towing the classic 2011Subscribe or log in to read the rest of this content. Bottom Adlast_img read more

19 July

In Social Media Summit Trump praises loyal meme makers

first_imgBy New York Times |Washington | Updated: July 12, 2019 8:18:54 am Advertising NRC deadline approaching, families stranded in Assam floods stay home “Sadly,” he said, “today’s gathering entirely misses the mark with its highly politicized guest list that excludes important voices and includes conspiracy peddlers and purveyors of false information who might more rightly be viewed as part of the problem.” Donald Trump and Democrats clash over President’s ‘racist’ tweets Explained: Kulbhushan Jadhav case file Karnataka: SC to rule today, says Speaker’s powers need relook Post Comment(s) They’re not afraid Advertising As he opened an event that had brought 200 conservative social media firebrands to the White House, President Donald Trump wanted his guests to know just how much he appreciated their work helping shape the online narrative about his presidency and a reelection fight.“The crap you think of,” Trump said as he surveyed his Twitter kingdom, “is unbelievable.”Trump was once an outsider political candidate who prided himself on bending rules and subverting norms, and he wants to keep that sensibility as a candidate in 2020. So Thursday, the president went in search of outside-the-box campaign ideas from a group that also has little use for playing by the rules. Related News Another activist, Joy Villa, twirled in the background in a floor-length red gown emblazoned with the word “freedom.” “Fake news is over!” Villa shouted amid the melee, before talking about who designed her gown.Other supporters who had made the journey from the internet’s backwaters to the White House included “Carpe Donktum,” who created a fake video of Joe Biden, the former vice president, which Trump then shared to his Twitter account. There was also Bill Mitchell, who enjoys discussing QAnon, an online conspiracy theory that purports to share government secrets. And there was Ali Alexander, who shared a tweet questioning Sen. Kamala Harris’ racial background.Ostensibly, the entire exercise was a chance for Trump to hear grievances from his supporters. That is what some of them said, anyway. Charlie Kirk, the 25-year-old founder of Turning Point USA, a group that reaches out to young conservatives, said before the event that he was going into it with a “center right” view on how the president should search for evidence that social media platforms were silencing conservative voices. Kirk and members of his organization have been criticized by the Southern Poverty Law Center for tweets that contained anti-immigrant or racist views.“I think that’s a positive thing that the president is hearing new ideas and entertaining difference of opinion” and seeing if he could use his power to tackle conservatives’ complaints, Kirk said. In undecided Congress, first open call for Priyanka: She should be party chief President Donald Trump speaks during his Social Media Summit event in the East Room of the White House, in Washington. (The New York Times)Written by Katie Rogers The president and his supporters feel as though their voices have been silenced by platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Google, while making the somewhat confounding argument that their efforts are indeed covered breathlessly in the media but just not to their liking.Weeks ago, the president and his social media director, Dan Scavino, hatched the idea to hold the event. The White House created a website that was meant to capture evidence of Google, Twitter and Facebook suppressing conservative voices. In the end, representatives of all three were left off the guest list.“At a time when social media platforms are banning conservative voices and supporters of the president,” said Brad Parscale, the president’s 2020 campaign manager, “it’s important for President Trump to emphasize that he appreciates their support and wants to protect their First Amendment rights.”Before the event devolved into a dumpster fire in the Rose Garden, Trump treated his audience to an unusually detailed look into one of the hallmarks of his presidency — his tweets. He said his tweets were intended to kick-start a new news cycle, and lately he was wondering why he seemed to notice lower engagement numbers. Could something more nefarious be afoot?“I used to watch it like a rocket ship when I put out a beauty,” Trump said, waxing poetic about those early days running the Twitter account as president. Recounting a tweet accusing President Barack Obama of wiretapping his office, he said: “Remember I said somebody was spying on me? That was like a rocket.”Trump had special praise for his golf-caddie-turned-social-media impresario. Once upon a time, Trump noticed that Scavino — “My Dan,” as he called him — loved to stare at his computer screen all day long. These days, he said, Scavino works directly with many of the president’s digital supporters, who send him content that he then runs by the president in the Oval Office. That summary was pretty much open confirmation of the White House’s slapdash social media system.“He works about 28 hours a day,” Trump said, “working with all of you, many of you.”In between complaining about houseflies — “I hate flies!” — and talking about his hair, Trump gave his own unique interpretation of the First Amendment.“To me free speech is not when you see something good and then you purposely write bad,” Trump said, describing the kind of thing the First Amendment is designed to protect. “To me that’s very dangerous speech, and you become angry at it. But that’s not free speech.”Not surprisingly, the whole concept of the event alarmed the president’s critics.Madihha Ahussain, a lawyer with Muslim Advocates, a nonprofit legal and advocacy organization, described it as a ruse.“Enforcing basic standards of decency on social media isn’t censoring conservative speech,” Ahussain said in a statement. “Hate speech is hate speech, regardless of whether the person spewing it has met with the president.”She added, “We urge social media platforms to ignore the circus at the White House and instead commit to enforcing their hate-content policies objectively and forcefully.”Thomas Melia, the Washington director of the PEN American Center, a nonprofit organization that advocates press freedom and advancement of literature, said that the United States needed “high-level dialogues” about the role of private companies in the practice of content moderation and crafting terms of service policies.The White House, Melia said, was not the place for this Thursday. Explained: Trump’s immigrant policy; what the ICE planned, and why More Explained Advertising Sandwiched between a flurry of morning presidential tweets and bleeding into Trump’s early evening news conference on how his administration would collect data on citizenship, the White House Social Media Summit was dominated by activists willing to share unverified smears against Democratic presidential candidates, disseminate QAnon conspiracy theories and create memes the president might share.“Earlier this year, the White House launched a tool to allow Americans, regardless of their political views, to share how they have been affected by bias online,” Judd Deere, a White House spokesman, said in an email explaining the origins of the event. “After receiving thousands of responses, the president wants to engage directly with these digital leaders in a discussion on the power of social media.”That’s really not what happened.Before all was said and done, the East Room event featuring a rambling speech by Trump on everything from Federal Reserve policy to his hairstyle devolved into a confrontation in the Rose Garden after the presidential news conference between Sebastian Gorka, the former White House official-turned-media-personality, and a journalist as James O’Keefe, an activist who likes to capture videos under false pretenses to embarrass liberals and journalists, filmed the scene.“Gorka! Gorka! Gorka!” his supporters chanted as Gorka called a journalist a “punk.” Best Of Express last_img read more

19 July

Odisha Police to receive award for promoting use of IT

first_img Advertising Related News Odisha Police to receive award for promoting use of IT Odisha police are being hailed for use of a mobile application Arakhi, which serves as a database for all FIRs registered in police stations. (file)Odisha Police has been selected for the DGP National Crime Records Bureau Running Trophy for effective use of Information Technology to empower its personnel. Odisha police to destroy drug-fund link of Maoists Advertising The state police are being hailed for use of a mobile application Arakhi, which serves as a database for all FIRs registered in police stations. “Arakhi is an extension of CCTNS (Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems), which the state adopted in 2005. Data spanning back to 14 years has been transferred onto the application,” said Director State Crime Records Bureau, Dr Sudhanshu Sarangi.According to SCRB, which is overseeing the development and use of the app, police officers benefit on two counts. The app can be used by an investigating officer outside the police station and without access to the police desktop. In addition, details of the activities of investigating officer on the field, for example, search and seizure, can be uploaded through the app so that it cannot be denied later by the affected party.The app also has an offline feature that allows officers in poor connectivity areas to enter data, which later uploads when the phone accesses network coverage. Written by Sampad Patnaik | Bhubaneswar | Published: July 16, 2019 8:55:57 am Post Comment(s) Odisha police station attacked, records burnt after death in custody Forensic lab finds no semen stains on Kunduli girl’s clothes “This app fundamentally changes the way police has worked”, Sarangi added. However, some senior police officers said that while most personnel were embracing the use of Arakhi, there were certain pockets that encountered some resistance.“There may be some vested interests or corruption (agenda) preventing certain pockets from full use of the app. But that is in select areas”, said the Superintendent of Police of a rural district.The app is undergoing further development and aims to use Artificial Intelligence for better user interface.Odisha Police will be given a running trophy at the All India Police Duty Meet scheduled to be held in Lucknow for five days from July 16.last_img read more

19 July

Disney Goes Over the Top How Does Its Streaming Service Stack Up

first_imgContent Play Service Saturation Exclusive Content By the time it launched its streaming business a dozen years ago, following years of operating as a DVD-by-mail rental service, Netflix had become akin to a”great online library” for films and TV content. Now, with greater competition in the OTT space, none of the services can claim to have a “complete” library.Even before Disney acquired LucasArts in 2012, its value to Netflixcouldn’t be understated. Taking away that content will leave a big gap.”Netflix was the easiest way to give Disney content the onlinepresence it deserved,” said Michael Greeson, president of TDG.”Netflix was a distributor — an important one — and this relationshipwould look much like those previously reserved for pay-TV networks,”he told TechNewsWorld.”At that time, investors were questioning whether Netflix had legsbeyond 25 million U.S. subscribers, so the Disney partnership was awelcome relief,” Greeson added.Flash forward to 2017, and after five years of mutually acknowledgedsuccess, Disney announced that it would terminate its relationshipwith Netflix at the end of 2019.”As we predicted in 2011, Disney and other studios have evolved tounderstand the power of IP and thus bypass aggregators and selldirectly to consumers,” said Greeson. The Value of Disney More-Competitive Environment Peter Suciu has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2012. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile phones, displays, streaming media, pay TV and autonomous vehicles. He has written and edited for numerous publications and websites, including Newsweek, Wired and FoxNews.com.Email Peter. A Marvel Universe and More Back to Bundles The Walt Disney Corporationofficially announced Disney+, its direct-to-consumer streaming service, during its Investor Day webcast last week. The new over-the-top (OTT) service will become available on Nov. 12 for a US$6.99 month subscription. Disney+ willarrive with more than 25 new TV programs, as well as more than 10 newmovies.The service will expand to include more than 400 movies fromthe Disney vaults, as well as other intellectual properties from Pixar, Marvel,Lucasfilm, National Geographic, and 20th Century Fox — all now ownedby the Mouse House.Disney+ will be available via smart TVs, Web browsers, mobile devices, gameconsoles, and assorted set-top boxes. Disney already has secured a distribution deal with Roku. In addition to classic Disney content, something that could appeal tokids as well as nostalgic parents, this OTT service will be herocentral — and potentially the only game in town for exclusive Marvelcontent, including shows featuring fan favorites who typically don’tget as much screen time as the A-level players.The Falcon and The Winter Soldier will be jumping into action within the first year of the service’s launch. Tom Hiddleston hassigned on to reprise his role of Loki in an original series, as haveElizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany for WandaVision< focusing on theadventures of Wanda Maximoff and The Vision.Besides the B-team characters from the Marvel Universe, Disney+ will offer an animated Monsters at Work series based on the hit moviefranchise.Disney also will offer on-demand content from itsincreasingly vast library of movies and TV shows, of course -- and the company hassaid that by the end of year one, Disney+ will offer more than 7,500 episodesof classic TV shows and more than 500 movies.center_img What makes Disney+ notable is that out of the gate itwill be the only place in town to see the still to be releasedAvengers: Endgame, Toy Story 4 and Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker when these films hit the streaming market. That is typically well before the paid-TV channels but often coincides with other home videoon DVD/Blu-ray.Disney+ will follow the established OTT playbook that waswritten by Netflix, Amazon and Hulu — and which Apple seems about tofollow with its own streaming service — by including totallyoriginal content. In this case, it will be the only choice for seeingthe first live-action Star Wars universe TV series, The Mandalorian.The eight-episode series will highlight the exploits of a bountyhunter who looks and seems to act much like fan favorite Boba Fett.As the series is set after the events of Return of the Jedi, it appearsto be an “original character,” but given that Mr. Fett apparently was aclone, we can only speculate on what that means. Regardless of thecharacter’s origin, The Mandalorian could be enough to build galactic-size interest in the series.To ensure that hardcore fans don’t subscribe and then make a jump tolightspeed-style exit, other content from that galaxy far, far away isalso in the development stages. One such project is the still untitledCassian Andor series that feature Diego Luna reprising his rolefrom the standalone film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Billed as asci-fi spy thriller, its release is expected within two yearsof the launch, ensuring that fans stay a while. The Walt Disney Company isn’t alone in creating a streaming servicewith its own exclusive content. CBS All Access, which launched in 2014to deliver sports and catalog programming from the Eyeball Network,already offers exclusive content not available via the traditionalbroadcast.Disney’s move takes it even further by including a truly deepcatalog but with even more exclusive programming.”It certainly creates an even more competitive environment in theexisting battle for eyeballs, as well as a richer content choice forviewers who now have, as [Walt Disney CEO] Bob Iger himself has stated, the ultimatepower over media firms with their viewing choices,” said Bea Alonso,director of global product marketing at Ooyala.”As new streaming players introduce more content choices, the Netflixesand Amazons of this world will certainly need to step up their game tocreate highly competitive — better quality, less repetitive — content,or provide flexible and financially enticing offers,” she toldTechNewsWorld.If Disney+ is a success, it would seem logical that NBCUniversal might follow suit.”You’ve got the Disney-type companies of the world going direct in tothe consumer, but they are prepared to take the necessary steps tobring the crown jewels to their own service,” suggested MTM’s Cryan.”There are major content owners that haven’t been as willing to go all in, but the reality is that if you’re going to grow your own direct-to-consumer business, you have to have the content,” he explained. “This means large volumes of exclusive content — beyond the films in the vault — so that people keep paying month to month.” The large players, from the broadcast network to the cable channels tothe OTT services, already have accepted that the future will meansmaller “niche” audiences. The question is whether all theseservices can survive with limited content.That is, if every content producer — as in the studios — becomes acontent provider, then it could diminish the value of the services.”When Netflix was younger and there wasn’t the same confidence thatstreaming would be the powerful platform that it has become now,companies were quick to license to Netflix for the ‘extra income,'”said IHS’ Brannon.Now that cord-cutting is a reality and streaming has gone mainstream,everyone is making their own OTT play.”When any industry matures, there is a point when competitors learn howto maximize profits,” Brannon observed. “We’re at a point like that withstreaming — hence so many competitive services offering exclusivecontent — and the net effect will be a reduced monthly expenditure toend consumers, but it won’t be as significant as we had hoped.” One question that is asked each time there is a new OTT service is,”when have we reached saturation?” Can the market really support Amazon,Apple, CBS All Access, Disney+, Hulu, Netflix and the dozen or sosmaller, truly niche players?”No doubt subscription fatigue is becoming an issue, but it remains tobe seen just how many subscription streaming services are sufficient, and that’s what matters,” said Greeson.Even with these services costing only $6 to $13 a month,that number can add up quickly. If there is value, consumers will pay,but there are only so many hours in the day to binge on the latestmust-see show.”There will be a need to subscribe to multiple services, but by thetime consumers get access to the content they want, they could bespending nearly as much for streaming as they did for traditional payTV,” warned Brannon.Further, “consumers face an oversupply of content, not only fromthe large content creators and distributors, but also from socialmedia and streaming gaming platforms like Twitch,” said Alonso.”Subscription platforms will need to think carefully about the bundlesand pricing they offer to maintain viewership, but indeed today’saudiences are likely to favor providers that allow flexibility to tapin and out of different services and bundles,” she added.Good content also will drive consumer choices, but the key word is “good.””This is a cyclical phenomenon — part and parcel of the TV industry:from a few networks offering a wide range of content, tomultiplication of choices and services, just to return to consolidation,” suggested Alonso.”We are seeing a similar process in the streaming video landscape with increased fragmentation,” she said, “with the impending launch of Disney+ and eventually Apple TV Plus, which will inevitably end up in consolidation again.” Original and Exclusive Programming The consolidation could allow consumers to bundle their OTT services.The Mouse House also owns 80 percent of ESPN and has a stake in Hulu,so a partnership is possible — just as Amazon Prime Video offers HBOas a paid, standalone channel for Amazon Prime members.”We are seeing the beginnings of this in Europe with large contentcreators joining forces to offer joint OTT services, so they cancompete with the streaming giants in terms of quantity, quality andcost,” said Alonso.This could lead to a “spotifyzation” of video content, and consumerscould pick and choose what they want to watch, she suggested.This might not be limited to video. Amazon Video is a service for those who pay for the free shipping via Amazon Prime, for example — but it could extend in other ways.”Apple could introduce a ‘plus’ that included music and other mediaservices; so a video product could become part of this, much like theway cable services offer cable plus broadband,” said Cryan. Bandwidth Burnout It’s unclear how OTT services will change consumption.Just as the DVR created time-shifting, OTT has enabled location shiftingto become a reality.”With the promise of 5G, it may be possible to get better and fasterbandwidth at home, and certainly revolutionize content consumption outof the house,” said Alonso.However, this could come at a cost. Over-the-air broadcast, cable andsatellite really don’t have bandwidth caps, so if all content goesstreaming — especially as UHD/4K is adopted — this could be anotherdiscussion.”The price for broadband is on the rise, and ISPs are smart about datacaps and pricing,” noted Brannon.”The 1TB data cap from Comcast is a great example. It sets people upfor overage charges if they do significant amounts of streaming inthe home,” he pointed out. “In the next few years, consumers will becomeaware of the problems — and then the cycle of angst will play itself out again.” Disney+ thus could be further diminishing Netflix, not to mention itsrival, Amazon Prime Video.”Ultimately, as services move toward exclusivity, I see the number offuture deals for Netflix and Amazon dwindling,” said Erik Brannon,associate director at IHS Markit Technology.”That’s why they’re positioning themselves as providers of significantamounts of original content,” he told TechNewsWorld.”That original content is their nod to the fact that the world ischanging, and that there won’t be the same access to licensed contentthat there once was,” Brannon added.This truly could upset the status quo in the OTT world.”To date, the other providers have been prioritizing licensing dealsdeveloping the original content,” suggested Dan Cryan, principalanalyst at MTM in London.As a result, Amazon and Netflix may need to become even more reliant ongenuinely original content, either developed by them, or as part of aninternational co-production, Cryan told TechNewsWorld.”The libraries have been swinging towards this exclusivity for sometime,” he added.Netflix is losing key content, but it has had time to prepare for thiseventual separation.”Netflix anticipated this reality five years ago, amping upinvestments in originals to prepare for this day,” noted TDG’s Greeson, “and it is well prepared, with a vast arsenal of originals, incomparable reach, and a super-strong brand.”last_img read more

19 July

Researchers successfully implant biomimetic hybrid prosthesis imitating bone structure

first_img“We have successfully performed a prosthetic operation. The implant is durable, as it corresponds to the weight of the dog and the bone size. Here, the long-term results are more important so the implant is accustomed and rooted in the bone. We can expect [a lot of] progress, but it takes time. Now we are watching the dog as it undergoes chemotherapy”, said Ilya Vilkovyskiy, head doctor at “MedVet”.The Biomimetix team plans to continue working in the field of biomimetic prosthetics for veterinary use.Source: http://en.misis.ru/university/news/science/2018-10/5603/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Oct 10 2018For the first time ever, a research team from the small innovative enterprise Biomimetix, implementing several NUST MISIS developments, has successfully implanted a biomimetic hybrid prosthesis imitating bone structure made from ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene and titanium alloy into a patient’s femoral bone. The successful surgery was carried out at the request of the “MedVet” veterinarian clinic.The operation, which aimed to implant an experimental biomimetic (similar in structure to the tissues of a living organism) prothesis into a dog with osteosarcoma of the femur, was successfully carried out in August 2018. In just a few days, the animal was again able to walk, and, according to forecasts, its mobility will fully be restored within the next few months.Osteosarcoma (osteogenic sarcoma) is a fast-growing cancer whose cells originate from bone tissue, leading to its gradual destruction and, accordingly, the loss of mobility. Osteosarcoma is the most common type of bone tumor in both humans and animals.Treatment for the disease includes a course of chemotherapy and surgery to remove the affected tissues. Advanced technologies allow for organ-preserving surgery, and to support the affected bones, doctors usually insert a metal, ceramic or polymer implant into the bone. Despite the fact that prostheses can restore mobility, they are very different in structure from bone tissue, and this can lead to a number of significant difficulties. The traditional materials for medical prosthetics have a number of significant disadvantages: for example, titanium implants take on too much of the load intended for the bone, and the latter begins to thin out. In this situation, the bone at the junction with the prosthesis may break. Another option is ceramics, but they are more fragile, which may limit the size of the recovered bone tissue. In addition, the structure of these materials does not allow them to “grow together” with the bone – a constant tight fixation is required”explained Fedor Senatov, General Director of Biomimetix and research assistant at the NUST MISIS Center of Composite Materials. Since the dog was big, it used to move [very much], so 11 cm of bone was required to be removed, and the prosthesis [needed to be] a hybrid. On the titanium tube, made with 3D printing by “Konmet”, our partners, we have increased the layer of solid ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene, and the inner part is made of porous ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene, identical to the structure of the spongy bone. During the operation, part of the coating was cut to “fit” the implant to the bone. A few days after the surgery, the dog was able to walk. If the fusion of the polymer and bone tissue is successful, it will be possible to remove the fixing plates after some time”- said Senatov. Related StoriesResearchers describe how prostate cancer cells develop ability to mimic osteoblastsResearchers examine strains between bone and graft from animal modelsCommon antibacterial agent may be bad news for bone healthThe Biomimetix team has been engaged in the development of biomimetic implants for several years. Scientists work with ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene – proven biocompatible materials, but they modify the materials in a unique way that gives the implants the necessary structure. This is the world`s first example of creating biomimetic prostheses from a polymeric material like this. In August 2018, at the request of the “MedVed” veterinary center, the Biomimetix team developed an experimental biomimetic prosthesis for the femur of a dog with osteosarcoma.last_img

19 July

Wireless biopatch could aid recovery after breast reconstruction surgery

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Nov 8 2018Patient studies of a new sensing device have proved it can provide early warning of the potential failure of breast reconstruction surgery, making it easier to take effective remedial action.Funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and led by Imperial College London, an international team has developed the wireless ‘bio-patch’ as part of the Smart Sensing for Surgery project.Incorporating electronics measuring just 1.8 x 1.1cm, the bio-patch was attached to a group of patients for 48 hours following breast reconstruction surgery.It successfully performed continuous monitoring of the level of oxygen saturation in transferred tissue – a key indicator of whether there is a risk of reconstruction failure.Professor Guang-Zhong Yang, Director of the Hamlyn Centre at Imperial College London, has led the Smart Sensing for Surgery project. He says: “Poor blood supply or failure of breast reconstruction surgery can have a major impact on a breast cancer patient’s recovery, prognosis and mental wellbeing.Clinical signs of failure often occur late and patients may be returned to the operating room on clinical suspicion. Our new bio-patch tackles this problem by providing objective data as an early warning system for medical staff, enabling earlier and simpler interventions, as well as giving patients increased peace of mind.”Breast reconstruction surgery following a mastectomy routinely includes transfer of the patient’s own tissue to help rebuild the breast. This procedure achieves high success rates but early detection of possible problems could help further reduce post-surgical complications and cut surgery failure rates.Science Minister Sam Gyimah said: “This technology has the potential to be truly life-saving. It is scientific inventions like this, pioneered by our world-leading experts and institutions, that will help us meet the grand challenges of tomorrow.Related StoriesStudy reveals link between inflammatory diet and colorectal cancer riskBacteria in the birth canal linked to lower risk of ovarian cancerNew protein target for deadly ovarian cancer”We want to keep the UK at the front of the pack when it comes to innovative science. That’s why we have committed to the biggest ever increase in research and development spending by 2027.”Professor Lynn Gladden,EPSRC’s Executive Chair, says: “This Smart Sensing for Surgery project is an excellent example of how science and engineering can have direct impacts on people’s lives. Spotting post-surgery problems early can help clinicians treat patients quickly and improve outcomes. It is particularly heartening to hear about the application of this technology during Breast Cancer Awareness month.”Harnessing a technique known as near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), the new device safely captures and transmits data using sensors hermetically sealed inside fully biocompatible materials. The data is encrypted to ensure security and privacy.Early trials have opened up the prospect of the bio-patch becoming available for widespread clinical use within two to three years. The project team is currently exploring the scope to secure commercial or National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) support for the next stage of development and commercialization.The device is now being adapted to help monitor conditions such as dementia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).Smart Sensing for Surgery has achieved other promising advances, including development of sensors that can be implanted just under the skin to provide continuous measurement of pulse rate, temperature and pH balance, for example, and development of ‘smart’ catheters or drains enabling problems (e.g. relating to infection) to be spotted early on.Professor Yang says: “The Smart Sensing for Surgery project demonstrates how engineers and clinicians can come together to develop ‘smart’ solutions that have huge potential not just to enhance patient health and wellbeing but also to help reduce the burden on healthcare resources.” Source:https://epsrc.ukri.org/newsevents/news/new-wireless-device-can-aid-recovery-of-breast-cancer-patients/last_img read more

19 July

Montanas legislature could decide Medicaid expansions fate

first_img This article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente. Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Nov 9 2018A ballot initiative that would have continued funding Montana’s Medicaid expansion beyond June 2019 has failed. But advocates say they’ll continue to push for money to keep the expansion going after that financial sunset.“We now turn our attention to the legislature to maintain Montana’s bipartisan Medicaid expansion and protect those enrolled from harmful restrictions that would take away health insurance coverage,” said a concession statement Wednesday from Chris Laslovich, campaign manager with the advocacy group Healthy Montana, which supported the measure.The initiative, called I-185, was the single most expensive ballot measure in Montana history. Final fundraising tallies aren’t in yet, but tobacco companies poured more than $17 million into Montana this election season to defeat the initiative. That’s more than twice as much cash as supporters were able to muster.Most of the money in favor of I-185 came from the Montana Hospital Association. “I’m definitely disappointed that big money can have such an outsized influence on our political process,” said Dr. Jason Cohen, chief medical officer of North Valley Hospital in Whitefish.The ballot measure would have tacked an additional $2-per-pack tax on cigarettes. It would have also taxed other tobacco products, as well as electronic cigarettes, which aren’t currently taxed in Montana.Part of the expected $74 million in additional tax revenue would have funded continuation of Medicaid expansion in Montana.Unless state lawmakers vote to continue funding the Medicaid expansion, it’s set to expire in June 2019. If that happens, Montana would become the first state to undo a Medicaid expansion made under the Affordable Care Act.In September, Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat, told the Montana Association of Counties that if the Medicaid initiative failed, “we’re going to be in for a tough [2019 legislative] session. Because if you thought cuts from last special session were difficult, I think you should brace, unfortunately, for even more.”Republican State Rep. Nancy Ballance, who opposed I-185, disagrees with Bullock’s position. “I think one of the mistakes that was made continually with I-185 was the belief that there were only two options: If it failed, Medicaid expansion would go away; if it passed, Medicaid expansion would continue forever as it was.”Related Stories’Traffic light’ food labels associated with reduction in calories purchased by hospital employeesStudy: Two-thirds of pneumonia patients receive more antibiotics than they probably needRaw meat can act as reservoir for bacteria associated with hospital infectionsBallance, who didn’t receive money to campaign against the initiative, said Medicaid expansion in Montana can be tweaked without resorting to a sweeping new tax on tobacco products.“No one was willing to talk about a middle-ground solution where Medicaid expansion is adjusted to correct some of the things that we saw as issues or deficiencies in that program,” she said. “I think now is the time to roll up our sleeves and come up with a solution that takes both sides into consideration.”Ballance said conservatives in the legislature want recipients of expansion benefits to face a tougher work requirement and means testing, so those with low incomes who also have significant assets like real estate won’t qualify.In any event, Ballance said she suspects that if the initiative had passed, it would have immediately faced a court challenge.North Valley Hospital’s Cohen said he hopes Montana will pass a tobacco tax hike someday. “We all know how devastating tobacco is to our families, our friends and our communities,” Cohen said. “And I think we also all know how important having insurance coverage is, and so I think people are dedicated to fighting this battle and winning it.”This story is part of a partnership that includes Montana Public Radio, NPR and Kaiser Health News. Montana Public Radio’s Edward O’Brien contributed to the story.last_img read more

19 July

Without Obamacare penalty think itll be nice to drop your plan Better

first_img This article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente. Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Dec 5 2018Dana Farrell’s car insurance is due. So is her homeowner’s insurance — plus her property taxes.It’s also time to re-up her health coverage. But that’s where Farrell, a 54-year-old former social worker, is drawing the line.”I’ve been retired two years and my savings is gone. I’m at my wit’s end,” says the Murrieta, Calif., resident.So Farrell plans — reluctantly — to drop her health coverage next year because the Affordable Care Act tax penalty for not having insurance is going away.That penalty — which can reach thousands of dollars annually — was a key reason that Farrell, who considers herself healthy, kept her coverage.Now, “why do it?” she wonders. “I don’t have any major health issues and I’ve got a lot of bills that just popped up. I can’t afford to pay it anymore.”Farrell is among millions of people likely to dump their health insurance because of a provision in last year’s Republican tax bill that repeals the Obamacare tax penalty, starting in 2019, by zeroing out the fines.The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the repeal of the penalty would move 4 million people to drop their health insurance next year — or not buy it in the first place — and 13 million in 2027.Some people who hated Obamacare from the start will drop their coverage as a political statement. For people like Farrell, it’s simply an issue of affordability.Since Farrell started buying her own insurance through the open market in 2016, her monthly premium has swelled by about $200, she says, and she bears the entire cost of her premium because she doesn’t qualify for federal ACA tax credits. Next year, she says, her premium would have jumped to about $600 a month.Instead, she plans to pay cash for her doctor visits at about $80 a pop, and for any medications she might use — all the while praying that she doesn’t get into a car accident or have a medical emergency.”It’s a situation that a lot of people find themselves in,” says Miranda Dietz, lead author of a new study that projects how ending the penalty will affect California.People like Farrell whose incomes are too high to qualify for tax credits are especially vulnerable, says Dietz, a research and policy associate at the University of California-Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education. They must pay the entire premium themselves.Premiums, even for a bronze plan with a deductible of more than $6,000, are enormous in some cases, she says. “The state’s done a great job of implementing the ACA,” she says, “but there are still Californians who just find insurance out of reach.”Up to 450,000 more Californians may be uninsured in 2020 as a result of the penalty ending, and up to 790,000 more by 2023, boosting the state’s uninsurance rate for residents under 65 to 12.9 percent, according to the study. The individual market would suffer the biggest losses.Covered California, the state health insurance exchange, predicts that enrollment in the individual market — both on and off the exchange — could drop by 12 percent next year, says agency spokesman James Scullary.Exchange officials also blame the end of the penalty for a 3.5 percent average increase in premiums, because the departure of some healthy people from the market will lead to a sicker and costlier insurance pool.Related StoriesSugary drinks linked to cancer finds studyHow cell-free DNA can be targeted to prevent spread of tumorsStudy reveals link between inflammatory diet and colorectal cancer riskHealth insurance can be difficult to afford, but going without it is a “bad gamble,” Scullary says. Keep in mind: More than 22,000 Covered California enrollees broke, dislocated or sprained arms or shoulders in 2017, and 50,000 enrollees were either diagnosed with — or treated for — cancer, he explains.”We know that none of those people began the year thinking, ‘This is when I’m going to break my arm,’ or ‘This is the year I get cancer,'” he says.If you’re considering dropping your plan and risking the devastating financial consequences of an unexpected medical expense, check first to see if you can lower your premium.”A big mistake for people is to look at the notice they get for their current health insurance and see it’s going up a lot and then throw up their hands and decide they’re going to go without,” says Donna Rosato, a New York-based editor at Consumer Reports who covers health care cost issues.”Before you do that, look at other options.”The most important thing to do is seek free help from a certified insurance agent or enrollment “navigator.” You can find local options by clicking on the “Find Help” tab on Covered California’s website, http://www.CoveredCA.com.Next, see if you can qualify for more financial aid. For instance, if your income is close to the threshold to qualify for tax credits through Covered California or another Obamacare insurance exchange — about $48,500 for an individual or $100,000 for a family of four this year — check with a financial professional about adjusting it, Rosato suggests. You might be able to contribute to an IRA, 401(k) or health savings account to lower the total, she says.Beyond that, be flexible and willing to switch plans, she advises. Consider different coverage levels, both on and off health insurance exchanges. If you’re in a silver-level plan (the second-lowest tier), you might save money by purchasing a less expensive bronze-level plan that has higher out-of-pocket costs but would protect you in case of a medical emergency.This year, Farrell got a clean bill of health from her doctor after a round of tests. She’s nervous about being without coverage next year, but feels she doesn’t have a choice.”It’s going to be the first time in my life I’m not going to have insurance,” she says.This story was produced by Kaiser Health News, which publishes California Healthline, a service of the California Health Care Foundation.last_img read more