first_img By Toni Gibbons Holbrook’s Bread of Life Mission initially opened in 1996 as a way to provide shelter to those people who were living on the streets and dying due to exposure, but today itSubscribe or log in to read the rest of this content. Bottom Ad A chance for change brings a new direction for former gang member January 12, 2018center_img Photo by Toni GibbonsPhillip de Hoog takes a moment in the sun after working in the office at the Bread of Life Mission in Holbrook. De Hoog is working to complete the one-year Discipleship Program offered by the mission.last_img

first_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Skeletal stem cells found in humans for first time, promising new treatments for fractures and osteoporosis Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) By Michael PriceSep. 20, 2018 , 11:15 AM Email Chan and Longaker et al., Cell 175, 1 (2018) center_img In 2015, a team led by Michael Longaker of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California—he describes himself as “a stem cell biologist trapped in a plastic surgeon’s body”—and his colleague, plastic and reconstructive surgeon Charles Chan, looked at the mesenchymal stem cells inside “rainbow mice.” This rodent strain has been genetically engineered so that different stem cell types have distinct colors, allowing researchers to track exactly which ones give rise to skeleton-forming cells. Then, the team identified the genes in those cells, revealing a genetic signature for skeletal stem cells in mice.Repeating the process in our own species proved less straightforward, says Longaker, “because we don’t have ‘rainbow humans.’” Instead, he and colleagues worked with human fetal bones obtained from a company that provides tissues from fetuses that were aborted or otherwise did not survive. In these, they looked for cells sporting a similar genetic signature to the mice stem cells in the growth plate, the region of bone where new growth occurs during development. From those cells, the researchers isolated cells that could reliably form new bone and cartilage in lab dishes.To confirm they really had skeletal stem cells, the team obtained adult human bone fragments, which had been freshly cut out during hip and knee replacement surgery. They located the signature cells and grew them in dishes. Once again the cells formed new bone and cartilage, the researchers report today in Cell. Importantly, the cells didn’t turn into fat, muscle, or anything else. “These are true skeletal stem cells,” Longaker says.To find a way to reliably produce a large number of such cells, the team cultured some genetically modified normal adult cells, called induced pluripotent stem cells, in a bath of bone growth–promoting compounds and vitamins. When isolated and grown in a dish, these cells, too, only developed into bone and cartilage.The study identified one further, and unexpected, potential source skeletal stem cells: liposuctioned fat. Certain cells called stromal cells within fatty blood vessels are actually a type of stem cell. By isolating those cells and growing them in a dish alongside a bone growth factor protein, the scientists created skeletal stem cells.“A half-million times a year, U.S. citizens have their fat sucked out and it’s discarded as medical waste,” Longaker said. “That’s a lot of material we could use to generate skeletal stem cells.” Though practical applications are still years away, he envisions these cells being used to replace damaged bone and joint tissue or treat degenerative skeletal diseases like osteoporosis.“This is a major step forward,” says John Adams, a molecular biologist and physician at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. But he says the researchers still need to prove they can scale up the production of these cells. “Whether they can isolate them in large enough quantities to be clinically useful, that’s going to take a while to find out.” 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 Human skeletal stem cells can form new bone and cartilage. Researchers have finally triumphed in a decadeslong quest to identify human stem cells that reliably develop into the bone, cartilage, and other tissues that make up the body’s skeleton. The discovery, from a team that had previously identified such cells in mice, could pave the way for new treatments for fractures, joint damage, and osteoporosis. What’s more, these cells can apparently be coaxed into existence from fat that is normally discarded after liposuction, hinting at an abundant potential reservoir of stem cells to seed future research and therapies.The finding is a welcome confirmation that the cells exist in people, says Michael Kyba, a pediatric cancer researcher who studies stem cells at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis who wasn’t involved in the research. “Humans are a much more complex system than mice … so it’s important.”Early hunting expeditions for skeletal stem cells in human bone uncovered so-called mesenchymal stem cells. These mixtures of different kinds of stem cells can become skeletal tissue like bone and cartilage, but also fat, muscle, connective tissue, and blood vessels. Researchers struggled to pin down the precise cells that give rise to the new skeletal tissue.last_img read more

first_img By April ReeseOct. 23, 2018 , 7:01 PM Email Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) In the oxygen-poor air of the Mesozoic era, nothing should have been able to move very fast. But Velociraptors could run 64 kilometers per hour. Their secret weapon: superefficient, birdlike lungs, which would have pumped in a constant supply of oxygen, according to a new study. This unique adaptation may have given all dinos a leg up on their competition.Biologists have long known that birds, which descend from one branch of extinct dinosaurs, have an unusual, sophisticated respiratory system that enables powered flight. But paleontologists have long debated whether those superlungs arose only in birds or earlier in dinosaurs.Unlike humans and other mammals, whose lungs expand and deflate, bird lungs are rigid. Special air sacs alongside the lungs do the heavy lifting instead, pumping air through the lungs, where the oxygen diffuses into the bloodstream. The lungs are attached to the vertebrae and ribs, which form the “ceiling” of the rib cage—all of which helps keep the lungs stationary. A connector called the costovertebral joint, where the ribs and vertebrae meet, provides further support. That setup allows for a continuous stream of oxygen and requires less energy than inflating and deflating the lungs. It also allows paleontologists studying fossils to learn a lot about the lungs by examining the bones around them. Speedy Velociraptors may have been powered by souped-up lungs similar to those of birds.center_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe ‘Superlungs’ gave dinosaurs the energy to run and fight Daniel Eskridge/Stocktrek Images/Getty Images To find out when these superlungs evolved, paleobiologists Robert Brocklehurst and William Sellers of The University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, and biologist Emma Schachner of Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans turned to computer models. They compared the shapes of skeletal features like vertebrae and ribs in a range of bird and nonavian dinosaur species.Many dinosaurs, including therapods like Velociraptor and Spinosaurus, a large carnivorous dinosaur, had similar lung architecture to birds, the team reports today in Royal Society Open Science. These dinosaurs sported a costovertebral joint and the birdlike bony “ceiling” of vertebrae and ribs that helps keep the lungs rigid.All of this suggests dinos had the same kind of efficient respiratory organs as birds, the team concludes. These superlungs may help explain why dinosaurs were able to dominate and spread, despite the rarified air of the Mesozoic, Brocklehurst says. Back then, the air was only 10% to 15% oxygen, compared with 20% today.The work sheds light on how birds’ extraordinary lungs evolved, says Jingmai O’Connor, a paleontologist with the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing. “Birds are really weird compared to all other animals,” she says. “They have this highly evolved respiration system, [and] we’ve always wondered, ‘How did this evolve?’” Now, it seems likely that superlungs first developed in dinosaurs, and only later on evolved to support powered flight in birds, she says.But O’Connor adds that just because a fossil has the bone structure for birdlike lungs doesn’t necessarily mean it actually had such lungs. Finding lung tissue, which is almost never preserved, would be the clincher. She described what may be the first preserved lungs found in a bird fossil at the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology’s annual meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico, last week and in a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences yesterday. In that 120-million-year-old, dove-size bird from China, she and her team noted that although the putative lungs were sophisticated, the skeletal structure around them was primitive, suggesting bones and soft tissue may not evolve in lockstep.Not everyone is sure O’Connor’s bird organs are really lungs, however. The structures could be a mineral artifact, speculates Corwin Sullivan, a paleontologist at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, who studies the evolution of avian respiratory systems. But even if so, he says, the specimen is “absolutely fascinating.”*Correction, 24 October, 11:35 a.m.: This story has been updated to correct Emma Schachner’s affiliation.last_img read more

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Oct 10 2018Customers at chain restaurants throughout the United States will start to see more menus that list calorie counts for different food options on the list, but will this motivate people to order healthier items?The new information on menus is the result of an Affordable Care Act rule that was formally implemented on May 7, 2018 in an effort to tackle the country’s obesity epidemic. Researchers have been studying the answer to this question in early-adopter states that rolled out the policy prior to 2018, but the results suggested that the calorie counts had little effect on consumer behavior.Rather than concluding that Americans are unwilling to opt for lower calorie items, behavioral scientists hypothesized that the location of the calorie information–to the right of the food item’s name–could explain the ineffectiveness of the calorie labeling legislation.Related StoriesNew anti-obesity drug trial set to launch at Alberta Diabetes InstituteResearch team receives federal grant to study obesity in children with spina bifidaHarnessing target of the brain chemical serotonin to combat obesity”There is a lot of research showing that the first piece of information people see seems to be given greater weight as they process details, and we wondered if this could have implications for the calorie counts on menus,” says Steven Dallas, PhD, who conducted the studies at New York University. The results were published online in June in the Journal of Consumer Psychology.To test the hypothesis, the researchers initiated an experiment at a casual chain restaurant in which they asked customers waiting in line to order from a paper copy of the restaurant’s menu. The paper menus had calorie information to the left of the items, to the right, or no calorie information, and they circled the items they planned to order. The results showed that participants with menus showing calories to the left of the food items ordered food with an average of 24 percent fewer calories than participants who ordered from the other two menus.”We were surprised to find such a significant difference between the groups,” Dallas says. One explanation for this finding may be a cognitive pattern called predecisional distortion in which people draw initial conclusions and then view subsequent information through that lens, Dallas says. If consumers initially read calorie information that leads them to believe an item is unhealthy, then they may process the following information about that option with the same negative bias.In another experiment, the researchers gave the three types of menus to a group of Hebrew-speaking Israelis who read from right to left rather than the left to right. As expected, they found the effect was reversed: Participants who received menus with calorie information to the right were more likely to order lower-calorie foods.”What this paper shows is that a trivially simple intervention could increase the power of the calorie information on menus,” Dallas says. “The calorie labeling policy should not necessarily be deemed a failure and could in fact become a powerful tool in combating the obesity epidemic.”​ Source: read more

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Nov 8 2018Researchers from the Collaborative Research Center CROSSING at Technische Universität Darmstadt (Germany) have developed a solution that will ensure decades of safe storage for sensitive health data in a joint project with Japanese and Canadian partners. An initial prototype was presented during a recent conference in Beijing, China. The system will go into trial operation in Japan in the coming weeks.The introduction of an electronic patient record system has been discussed in Germany and internationally for quite some time. However, development is often thwarted by concerns regarding data security. Health data in particular – which due to the progress of modern medicine contains genome information more frequently than ever before – must be securely stored for a lifetime and or even multiple generations.A major challenge are the technological developments that will occur over this extended time period, as these have an enormous impact on the security of existing cryptographic schemes. “All encryption methods used today will become insecure over the course of the next few years and decades”, explains Professor Johannes Buchmann, spokesperson for the Collaborative Research Center CROSSING. “The attackers’ computing power will increase and their attacks will improve. Therefore we can assume that all encrypted data will be compromised in 20 years if not sooner.”Buchmann and his team have been working to prevent this since 2015, in cooperation with Japanese research institute NICT (National Institute of Information and Communications Technology). Together they collaborate on the project “LINCOS – Long-Term Integrity and Confidentiality Protection System”. In 2017, the Japanese hospital operator Kochi Health Science Center and the Canadian company ISARA joined the project. The LINCOS system is the first to combine information theoretic confidentiality protection with renewable integrity protection. This means that no matter what computing capacity and algorithms are available in the future, noone shall be able to access or modify the protected data.Related StoriesRaw meat can act as reservoir for bacteria associated with hospital infectionsTAU’s new Translational Medical Research Center acquires MILabs’ VECTor PET/SPECT/CTBordeaux University Hospital uses 3D printing to improve kidney tumor removal surgeryThe guarantee of long-term confidentiality is achieved through a technology called “secret sharing”. The original data set is distributed among several servers in such a way that the individual parts are meaningless. Only when a sufficient number of parts – known as “shares” – are combined, the original data set of the patient file can be reconstructed. If one of the servers is compromised, the captured share is of no use to the attacker. In addition, the distribution is renewed regularly. The integrity, i.e. ensuring that data have not been changed, is achieved by quantum computer-resistant signatures. But even if the scheme utilised is classified as uncertain in the longterm, the researchers have taken precautions: The signature schemes are exchanged regularly. Integrity protection is thereby seamlessly ensured.The Canadian company ISARA, the industrial partner of the project, protects the data during transfer between the hospital and the server operators with quantum computer-resistant encryption. This is the third component of the LINCOS system. In the future, the researchers want to add yet another level of security that they have already realised in prototype with the Japanese team: quantum key exchange. This procedure guarantees sustainable secure keys, since it is impossible for an attacker to intercept the key exchange. The scientists at Collaborative Research Center CROSSING are even working on this research topic in their own quantum laboratory at TU Darmstadt.”The sustainable protection of electronic health records is only one example of areas where sustainable security is urgently needed. In our digitised world, we produce an unimaginable amount of sensitive data every day, which must remain confidential and unchanged over a long period of time, for instance in the implementation of Industry 4.0 which is crucial to Germany as an industrial nation. Policymakers are called upon to ensure the guaranteed long-term protection of our data”, appeals Buchmann. Source: read more

first_img Source: Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Nov 13 2018A study in Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging examines the neural signatures of restricted and repetitive behaviors in infancyA new study has identified unique functional brain networks associated with characteristic behaviors of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in 12- and 24-month old children at risk for developing ASD. The study is published in Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging.The findings help pinpoint brain regions involved in particular aspects of ASD and provide clues as to how the characteristic behaviors—known as restricted and repetitive behaviors—develop in the brain from an early age.”This study is the first to investigate which patterns of brain functional connectivity underlie the emergence of these behaviors in infancy,” said co-first author Claire McKinnon, a lab technician in the laboratory of John Pruett, MD, PhD, Washington University School of Medicine, a lead researcher of the study.Although the behaviors assessed in the study are important for typical development during infancy, increased prevalence of the behaviors at 12 months old is one of the earliest signs that an infant might later develop ASD. Few studies have managed to examine what is happening in the brain at this time because of the difficulty of using brain imaging techniques—such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)—with infants and toddlers. The new study provides an important window into the brain during this critical time when brain circuits and ASD behaviors are developing.”The study contributes to the growing body of evidence that changes in brain function, that can be measured in infants and young children using resting state fMRI, can reflect emerging differences in cognition and behavior that are associated with the autism spectrum and seen in children at increased risk for the disorder,” said Cameron Carter, MD, Editor of Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging.Related StoriesWearing a hearing aid may mitigate dementia riskStudy provides new insight into longitudinal decline in brain network integrity associated with agingTransgender and non-binary individuals more likely to display autistic traits, study finds”Functional connectivity correlates of repetitive behaviors observable in infancy could be candidates for biomarkers that predict features of ASD before a clinical diagnosis, which typically is only possible after 24 months,” said Ms. McKinnon. In addition to potential as an early prediction tool, the authors also hope that the results may have use for treatments in ASD. “There is currently a lack of effective interventions targeting repetitive behaviors, and the specific neural correlates identified in this study could also be studied as potential targets for measuring response to future treatments,” said Ms. McKinnon.The study divided the behaviors into three subcategories—restricted behaviors (e.g., limited interests), stereotyped behaviors (e.g., repetitive movements), and ritualistic/sameness behaviors (e.g., resistance to change). The abnormal functional connections associated with these subcategories involved several brain networks, including the default mode (a network typically most active at rest), visual, attention, and executive control networks. The unique associations between these networks and specific behaviors reinforces the subcategories, whereas overlapping associations indicate that some aspects of the behaviors may share common origins.last_img read more

first_img Source: Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Dec 12 2018In an International Journal of Cancer study of data on more than 280,000 people from North America and Europe, work stress was associated with a significantly increased risk of colorectal, esophagus, and lung cancers.When looking more closely at the data, investigators observed a link between work stress and colorectal cancer in North America, but not in Europe. By contrast, a significant association between work stress and esophagus cancer was found in Europe, but not in North America. In addition, there was no association between work stress and the risk of prostate, breast, or ovarian cancers.”There are several biological mechanisms whereby stress in work may lead to cancer,” the authors wrote.last_img read more

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Feb 21 2019In the most comprehensive international comparison of its kind, a USC study found that the United States has the highest drug overdose death rates among a set of high-income countries.Drug overdose mortality has reached unprecedented levels in the United States, more than tripling over the past two decades. But is this a uniquely American epidemic, or are other high-income counties facing a similar crisis?”The United States is experiencing a drug overdose epidemic of unprecedented magnitude, not only judging by its own history but also compared to the experiences of other high-income countries,” said study author Jessica Ho, assistant professor at USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology. “For over a decade now, the United States has had the highest drug overdose mortality among its peer countries.”The study, published February 21 in Population and Development Review, found that drug overdose death rates in the United States are 3.5 times higher on average when compared to 17 other high-income counties. The study is the first to demonstrate that the drug overdose epidemic is contributing to the widening gap in life expectancy between the United States and other high-income countries.Drug overdose deaths cut into American life expectancyThe study found that prior to the early 2000s, Finland and Sweden had the highest levels of drug overdose mortality. Drug overdose mortality in the United States is now more than 27 times higher than in Italy and Japan, which have the lowest drug overdose death rates, and double that of Finland and Sweden, the countries with the next highest death rates.By 2013, drug overdose accounted for 12 percent and 8 percent of the average life expectancy gap for men and women, respectively, between the United States and other high-income countries. Without drug overdose deaths, the increase in this gap between 2003 and 2013 would have been smaller: one-fifth smaller for men and one-third smaller for women.”The American epidemic has important consequences for international comparisons of life expectancy. While the United States is not alone in experiencing increases in drug overdose mortality, the magnitude of the differences in levels of drug overdose mortality is staggering,” said Ho.In 2003, life expectancy at birth would have been 0.28 years higher for American men and 0.17 years higher for American women in the absence of drug overdose deaths. Ten years later, these figures had increased to 0.45 years for American men and 0.30 years for women. In both 2003 and 2013, the United States lost the most years of life from drug overdose among high-income countries, with the difference increasing dramatically over that time period.”On average, Americans are living 2.6 fewer years than people in other high-income countries. This puts the United States more than a decade behind the life expectancy levels achieved by other high-income countries. American drug overdose deaths are widening this already significant gap and causing us to fall even further behind our peer countries,” Ho said.Related StoriesConcurrent use of benzodiazepine and opioids complicates neonatal abstinence syndromeFamily members’ drugs may be risk factor for overdose in individuals without prescriptionsSleep quality and fatigue among women with premature ovarian insufficiencyA uniquely American phenomena – but will it stay that way?Over 70,000 people died from drug overdoses in the United States in 2017, and the National Safety Council announced in January that Americans are now more likely to die of an accidental opioid overdose than in a car crash.Potential drivers of the country’s strikingly elevated drug overdose mortality levels include health care provision, financing and institutional structures, such as fee-for-service reimbursement systems and tying physician reimbursement to patient satisfaction. Additional factors include a well-documented marketing blitz by the manufacturers of Oxycontin, American cultural attitudes towards pain and the medical establishment, and the scarcity of substance abuse treatment in the United States, where only an estimated 10 percent of those with a substance abuse disorder receive treatment.Despite its rapid ascent to the top of this tragic list, the United States may soon have competition for its dubious distinction. Ho points to the potential for drug overdose mortality to increase in other countries in the near future, noting similar and troubling patterns in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom.While opioids became a cornerstone of pain treatment in the late 1990s and early 2000s in the United States, other countries either didn’t use strong opioids for pain relief or placed greater restrictions on their use. Exceptions include Australia, which experienced a switch from weak to strong opioids that is reflected in its 14-fold increase in oxycodone consumption between 1997 and 2008, and Ontario, Canada, which saw an 850 percent increase in oxycodone prescriptions between 1991 and 2007. Both countries also experienced large increases in drug overdose mortality.Although the current American epidemic started with prescription opioids, it is now rapidly transitioning to heroin and fentanyl. European countries may be on the opposite trajectory, which could nonetheless result in more drug overdose deaths over time. “The use of prescription opioids and synthetic drugs like fentanyl are becoming increasingly common in many high-income countries and constitute a common challenge to be confronted by these countries,” Ho said.The USC study utilized data on cause of death from the Human Mortality Database and the World Health Organization Mortality Database for the set of 18 countries, along with additional data from vital statistics agencies in Canada and the United States to produce country-, year-, sex-, and age-specific drug overdose death rates between 1994 and 2015. Deaths from both legal and illegal drugs (not limited to opioids) and deaths of all intents were included.​Source: read more

first_imgBy Kate Bass, B.Sc.Mar 7 2019Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)A recent review of published data indicates that protein ingested prior to overnight sleep stimulates protein synthesis. A bedtime protein shake could, therefore, help build muscles mass after resistance exercise and prevent muscle wastage in the elderly.  Vergani Fotografia | ShutterstockThe synergistic effect between nutrition and exercise on the synthesis of muscle protein is well established. Resistance exercise stimulates muscle breakdown as well as an increase in skeletal muscle mass. Protein intake after exercise is therefore needed to prevent an overall loss in muscle mass.It is for this reason that many athletes and people undertaking weight training take protein shakes after exercise. The extent of the effect on muscle mass, however, varies according to the type, amount, distribution, and timing of the protein ingestion.Most recently, it has been postulated that the impact of ingested protein on muscle mass is greatest when it is taken just before bedtime. Numerous studies have been conducted with varying conclusions.Researchers at NUTRIM School of Nutrition and Translational Research in Metabolism in Maastricht have reviewed the available data in a paper published yesterday in Frontiers in Nutrition. In one of the studies, Snijders and his team assessed the effect of bedtime protein intake in 44 healthy young men on a 12-week lifting program.Half of the participants received a pre-sleep protein shake containing about 30g of casein and 15 grams of carbs every night, whilst the others were given an energy-free drink. The training effectively increased quadricep muscle size in both groups, but the increase was significantly greater in the group taking bedtime protein and was associated with a greater increase in muscle strength and size.The team also wanted to assess whether these muscle gains were achieved by the timing of the protein intake rather than just additional protein intake. However, they calculated that in order to achieve adequate power to detect a difference, such a study would require a huge number of volunteers. This explains why studies conducted to date on this issue have been inconclusive.Although it has not been definitively proven, the available facts do support the importance of the timing of protein intake.Muscle recovery and growth tend to occur during sleep when the muscles are not being used. However, in order for this to occur amino acids are needed and these are not stored by the body.Increasing the level of circulating amino acids before going to sleep thus makes more available for overnight muscle repair, and so increases muscle growth. In addition, late-night protein intake has not been found to affect sleep quality or increase the amount of fat stored.The team concluded that that protein taken last thing at night is effectively digested and absorbed during sleep. This in turn increases the availability of amino acids and stimulates the synthesis of muscle protein during overnight sleep. This effect is increased if pre-sleep protein intake follows exercise performed earlier that evening.SourceSnijders T, et al. The Impact of Pre-sleep Protein Ingestion on the Skeletal Muscle Adaptive Response to Exercise in Humans: An Update. Front. Nutr., 06 March 2019. Several one-night studies have shown that pre-sleep protein intake increases muscle protein synthesis during overnight sleep in young adults. These have fuelled the idea that over a longer period, a pre-sleep protein supplement can maximize the strength and muscle mass gains during regular resistance exercise training.”Dr. Tim Snijders, Lead Authorlast_img read more

first_imgI am confident that our study provides the most accurate estimates available today of the prevalence of mental health conditions in areas of conflict. Estimates from previous studies have been inconsistent, with some finding inconceivably low or high rates. In this study we used more stringent inclusion and exclusion criteria for the literature search, and advanced search strategies and statistical methods.”Lead author of the study Fiona Charlson of the University of Queensland, Australia and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, USA Currently, there are major conflict-induced humanitarian crises in a number of countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. In 2016, the number of armed conflicts reached an all-time high, with 53 ongoing conflicts in 37 countries and 12% of the world’s population living in an active conflict zone. Nearly 69 million people worldwide have been forcibly displaced by violence and conflict, the highest number since World War II.Related StoriesEffective stop smoking treatments less likely to be prescribed to people with mental health conditionsInternational study aims to more accurately describe mental health disordersGoing teetotal shown to improve women’s mental health”The new estimates, together with already available practical tools for helping people with mental health conditions in emergencies, add yet more weight to the argument for immediate and sustained investment, so that mental and psychosocial support is made available to all people in need living through conflict and its aftermath,” said study author Dr Mark van Ommeren, of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse at the World Health Organization.Dr van Ommeren concludes: The authors note some limitations due to the complexity of data collection in conflict settings, which means that there is variation in the data used, and so there is uncertainty in the estimates. In addition, cultural variation in diagnosis and changes in diagnostic criteria might have affected prevalence estimates.Past research has suggested that psychosis is more common in populations affected by conflict. However, the new estimates for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are based on global averages, not specifically conflict settings, so these may underestimate the issue.Writing in a linked Comment, Dr Cristiane S Duarte, Columbia University, USA, says: In conflict situations and other humanitarian emergencies, WHO provides support in many ways: firstly, by supporting coordination and by assessing the mental health needs of populations affected, secondly by determining what existing support is available on the ground and what more is needed; and thirdly by helping provide the capacity for support when it isn’t sufficient, either through training or bringing in additional resources. Despite their tragic consequences, when the political will exists, emergencies can be catalysts for building quality, sustainable mental health services that continue to help people in the long-term.” Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jun 12 2019New estimates from the World Health Organization (WHO) highlight need for increased, sustained investment in the development of mental health services in areas affected by conflict.One in five people (22%) living in an area affected by conflict has depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, and about 9% of conflict-affected populations have a moderate to severe mental health condition, according to an analysis of 129 studies published in The Lancet. The figures are substantially higher than the global estimate for these mental health conditions in the general population, which stands at one in 14 people (as shown in the Lancet infographic).Depression and anxiety appeared to increase with age in conflict settings, and depression was more common among women than men.The findings suggest that past studies underestimated the burden of mental health conditions in conflict-affected areas – with higher rates of severe mental health conditions (5% at any one time in the new study compared to 3-4% over a 12-month-period in the 2005 estimates), and also of mild to moderate mental health conditions (17% at any one time in the new estimates compared to 15-20% over a 12-month period in previous estimates).Overall, the mean prevalence was highest for mild mental health conditions (13%), for moderate the prevalence was 4%, and for severe conditions the prevalence was 5%.The revised estimates use research from 129 studies and data from 39 countries published between 1980 and August 2017, including 45 new studies published between 2013 and August 2017. Settings that have experienced conflict in the last 10 years were included. There was limited data for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, so estimates for these conditions were based on global estimates and do not take into account any increased risk of these conditions in conflict settings. Cases were categorised as mild, moderate or severe. Natural disasters and public health emergencies, such as Ebola, were not included. The many challenges inherent to generating information capable of guiding policy in the absence of reliable data need to be balanced against the alarming need suggested by current estimates: the prevalence of mental disorders (depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia) was 22·1% (95% uncertainty interval 18·8-25·7) at any point in time in the conflict-affected populations assessed and the burden is substantial. Work towards producing more accurate estimates needs to continue. Improved estimates can guide strategic implementation of services and more effective allocation of scarce resources. Notwithstanding its limitations, current estimates warrant greater investment in prevention and treatment of mental disorders in conflict-affected populations.” Source:The Lancetlast_img read more

first_imgThe current process of credentialing requires physicians and other health care practitioners to provide state medical boards, hospitals and insurance companies documentation of education and training that is sent directly from the issuing institution or which has been verified independently by a third party. To assist physicians in this process, the FSMB operates the Federation Credentials Verification Service (FCVS), an NCQA-certified credentials verification platform, that is widely used by physicians and physician assistants seeking medical licensure and credentialing. Each year, FCVS is used in approximately 50% of medical licensing decisions made in the United States. However, the report concludes that the current process continues to reflect a paper-based chain of custody and is filled with redundancies that ultimately increase the time and costs borne out throughout the system. Digitization of the necessary documentation is specifically cited as an achievable way to address these issues, as well as reduce administrative burdens cited as a contributing factor to physician burnout.”Over the last two years, our internal review of the credentials creation and verification process illustrated that available technologies were not being used to their fullest potential,” said FSMB Chief Information Officer Michael Dugan. “Although this report started as an internal project to review our own systems, it became evident that a comprehensive review of available and developing technologies to provide trust and public safety is not only timely, but necessary. The FSMB and other stakeholders are continuously working to evolve the licensing and credentialing process to meet the needs of the healthcare market of the future.”Related StoriesFDA’s added sugar label could have substantial health and cost-saving benefitsEffective hand hygiene key to reducing hospital-based infectionsMany healthcare workers often care for patients while sick, study findsTo assist in the review of the technologies currently being used and developed in the area of education and credentialing, the FSMB partnered with Learning Machine, a leading contributor to open standards for digital credentials and a provider of software solutions for the creation of digital credentials by educational and governmental institutions. Natalie Smolenski, SVP of Business Development at Learning Machine, explained the rationale for the report: “Policymakers, educators, medical practitioners and patients are all looking for guidance about the options available to them for making the credential sharing and verification process far more efficient and secure. This report provides a much-needed primer, outlining the technical and practical contexts in which different types of digital credentials are best used.”The report specifically surveys three available technologies: digital signatures, Open Badges, and blockchain-enabled credentials (Blockcerts). While no binding guidance is issued on what technology should be adopted, the report analyzes which of these technical solutions sufficiently meet existing legal and regulatory requirements of healthcare, while also delivering improved document portability, independence, and the level of trust patients expect in modern healthcare delivery models.Moreover, it provides descriptions of the unique technical features of each digital credential format and how these features align with the requirements for medical licensing and credentialing. Finally, the report calls for an industry-wide willingness to evaluate process and implement changes that specifically address existing inefficiencies and barriers. “Any organization or institution considering digital credentials can benefit from the research found in this report, and it is our hope that it sparks additional interest and collaboration that will modernize the licensure and credentialing process,” said Dugan. Source:Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jun 18 2019The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) has released a report entitled “Healthcare and Digital Credentials: Technical, Legal, and Regulatory Considerations”. This report surveys and expands upon the FSMB’s experience applying digital technologies, such as blockchain and OpenBadges, in its efforts to alleviate administrative burdens and promote best practices that can be implemented by state medical boards and health care administrators who use the licensing and credentialing process in fulfilling their mission of protecting the public. The FSMB is taking a leading role in analyzing the practical application of digital credentials in both healthcare and the regulated professions. The insight found in this report is timely as all regulatory boards look to see how technology can be implemented in service to patient safety and regulatory excellence.”FSMB CEO and President Humayun Chaudhry, DO, MACPlast_img read more

first_imgIn patients with NMOSD, the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells and proteins in the body, most often in the optic nerves and spinal cord. Individuals with NMOSD typically have attacks of optic neuritis, which causes eye pain and vision loss. Individuals also can have attacks resulting in transverse myelitis, which often causes numbness, weakness, or paralysis of the arms and legs, along with loss of bladder and bowel control. Most attacks occur in clusters, days to months to years apart, followed by partial recovery during periods of remission. Approximately 50% of patients with NMOSD have permanent visual impairment and paralysis caused by NMOSD attacks. According to the National Institutes of Health, women are more often affected by NMOSD than men and African Americans are at greater risk of the disease than Caucasians. Estimates vary, but NMOSD is thought to impact approximately 4,000 to 8,000 patients in the United States.NMOSD can be associated with antibodies that bind to a protein called aquaporin-4 (AQP4). Binding of the anti-AQP4 antibody appears to activate other components of the immune system, causing inflammation and damage to the central nervous system.The effectiveness of Soliris for the treatment of NMOSD was demonstrated in a clinical study of 143 patients with NMOSD who had antibodies against AQP4 (anti-AQP4 positive) who were randomized to receive either Soliris treatment or placebo. Compared to treatment with placebo, the study showed that treatment with Soliris reduced the number of NMOSD relapses by 94 percent over the 48-week course of the trial. Soliris also reduced the need for hospitalizations and the need for treatment of acute attacks with corticosteroids and plasma exchange.Related StoriesStudy shows potential culprit behind LupusNew insights into molecular motors could help treat neurological disordersWhat happens when you eliminate sugar and adopt the keto diet?Soliris has a boxed warning to alert health care professionals and patients that life-threatening and fatal meningococcal infections have occurred in patients treated with Soliris, and that such infections may become rapidly life-threatening or fatal if not recognized and treated early. Patients should be monitored for early signs of meningococcal infections and evaluated immediately if infection is suspected. Use should be discontinued in patients who are being treated for serious meningococcal infections. Health care professionals should use caution when administering Soliris to patients with any other infection. In the NMOSD clinical trial, no cases of meningococcal infection were observed.Soliris is available only through a restricted program under a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS). Prescribers must enroll in the REMS program. Prescribers must counsel patients about the risk of meningococcal infection, provide the patients with the REMS educational materials and ensure patients are vaccinated with meningococcal vaccine(s). The drug must be dispensed with the FDA-approved patient Medication Guide that provides important information about the drug’s uses and risks.The most frequently reported adverse reactions reported by patients in the NMOSD clinical trial were: upper respiratory infection, common cold (nasopharyngitis), diarrhea, back pain, dizziness, influenza, joint pain (arthralgia), sore throat (pharyngitis) and contusion.The FDA granted the approval of Soliris to Alexion Pharmaceuticals.Soliris was first approved by the FDA in 2007. The drug is approved to reduce destruction of red blood cells in adults with a rare blood disease called paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, for the treatment of adults and children with a rare disease that causes abnormal blood clots to form in small blood vessels in the kidneys (atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome to inhibit complement-mediated thrombotic microangiopathy), and for the treatment of adults with Myasthenia Gravis who are anti-acetylcholine receptor antibody positive.The FDA granted this application Priority Review. The use for NMOSD received Orphan Drug designation, which provides incentives to assist and encourage the development of drugs for rare diseases. Source:U.S. Food and Drug Administration Soliris provides the first FDA-approved treatment for neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder, a debilitating disease that profoundly impacts patients’ lives. This approval changes the landscape of therapy for patients with NMOSD. Having an approved therapy for this condition is the culmination of extensive work we have engaged in with drug companies to expedite the development and approval of safe and effective treatments for patients with NMOSD, and we remain committed to these efforts for other rare diseases.”Billy Dunn, M.D., director of the Division of Neurology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Jun 27 2019The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Soliris (eculizumab) injection for intravenous use for the treatment of neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) in adult patients who are anti-aquaporin-4 (AQP4) antibody positive. NMOSD is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system that mainly affects the optic nerves and spinal cord.last_img read more

first_imgIt is important to note that while our study found a link between high BMI and a lower risk of ALS, it is possible that genetics could make a person more likely to have both a low BMI and a higher risk of ALS without one causing another. People must not interpret the results of our study as a suggestion that gaining weight may prevent ALS. Plus, the health risks of having a high BMI would be greater than any protective effect.”Study author Ola Nakken, MD, of the University of Oslo in Norway Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jun 27 2019People who have a high body mass index (BMI) or who gain weight as they get older may have a lower risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, according to a large study published in the June 26, 2019, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.ALS is a rare, progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. People with ALS lose the ability to initiate and control muscle movement, which often leads to total paralysis and death. The average life span after diagnosis is two to five years.BMI is a measure of a person’s body size based on their height and weight. People are considered underweight if they have a BMI lower than 18.5 kg/m2, healthy if it is between 18.5 and 24.9, overweight if they have a BMI of 25 to 29 and obese with a BMI 30 or higher. For the study, researchers reviewed a Norwegian database that included BMI measurements for the majority of people living in Norway between 1963 and 1975. Researchers included nearly 1.5 million people in the study, identifying 2,968 people who later developed ALS over an average of 33 years. Many people in the database also completed follow-up surveys about lifestyle and health, including weight change.Related StoriesNew study identifies eight genetic variants associated with anorexia nervosaPosterior parietal cortex plays crucial role in making decisions, research showsWearing a hearing aid may mitigate dementia riskResearchers found that for every five-point increase in BMI from the low-normal BMI range, from the start to the end of the study, there was a 17-percent lower risk of developing ALS later. Of the 468,853 people in the low-normal range, 1,002 people developed ALS, or 0.21 percent. Of the 139,158 people in the obese range, 182 people developed ALS, or 0.13 percent.After 50 years, participants had a 31-percent lower risk of developing ALS for every five-point increase in BMI.The researchers also found that people who had a BMI in the obese range at the start of the study had a 34-percent lower chance of developing ALS compared to people in the low-normal BMI range, and people who had a BMI in the overweight range had an 18-percent lower risk.Participants who gained the most weight had a 37-percent lower risk of ALS than those who didn’t gain weight or lost weight.The results remained the same after adjusting for smoking, cholesterol levels and physical activity.”While some cases of ALS are genetic, most cases do not appear to have a genetic cause, and an increasing body of evidence suggests that there may be a link between a fast metabolism that can lead to a low BMI and ALS,” said Nakken. “Much more research is needed to further examine the relationship between BMI and ALS.”A limitation of the study was that most participants were white, so the results may not be the same for other populations. Source:American Academy of Neurology (AAN)last_img read more

Fake news production and social media ‘trolls’ A new online game puts players in the shoes of an aspiring propagandist to give the public a taste of the techniques and motivations behind the spread of disinformation—potentially “inoculating” them against the influence of so-called fake news in the process. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Roozenbeek points out that some efforts to combat fake news are seen as ideologically charged. “The framework of our game allows players to lean towards the left or right of the political spectrum. It’s the experience of misleading through news that counts,” he says.The pilot study in the Netherlands using a paper version of the game involved 95 students with an average age of 16, randomly divided into treatment and control.This version of the game focused on the refugee crisis, and all participants were randomly presented with fabricated news articles on the topic at the end of the experiment.The treatment group were assigned roles—alarmist, denier, conspiracy theorist or clickbait monger—and tasked with distorting a government fact sheet on asylum seekers using a set of cards outlining common propaganda tactics consistent with their role.They found fake news to be significantly less reliable than the control group, who had not produced their own fake article. Researchers describe the results of this small study as limited but promising. The study has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Risk Research.The team are aiming to take their “fake news vaccine” trials to the next level with today’s launch of the online game.With content written mostly by the Cambridge researchers along with Ruurd Oosterwoud, founder of DROG, the game only takes a few minutes to complete. The hope is that players will then share it to help create a large anonymous dataset of journeys through the game.The researchers can then use this data to refine techniques for increasing media literacy and fake news resilience in a ‘post-truth’ world. “We try to let players experience what it is like to create a filter bubble so they are more likely to realize they may be living in one,” adds van der Linden. Citation: Fake news ‘vaccine’: Online game may ‘inoculate’ by simulating propaganda tactics (2018, February 19) retrieved 18 July 2019 from Screenshot of the English version of the Fake News Game, available to play at Credit: DROG The Fake News Game simulates propaganda tactics such as impersonation, and awards badges once a round is completed. Credit: DROG/ Researchers at the University of Cambridge have already shown that briefly exposing people to tactics used by fake news producers can act as a “psychological vaccine” against bogus anti-science campaigns.While the previous study focused on disinformation about climate science, the new online game is an experiment in providing “general immunity” against the wide range of fake news that has infected public debate.The game encourages players to stoke anger, mistrust and fear in the public by manipulating digital news and social media within the simulation.Players build audiences for their fake news sites by publishing polarizing falsehoods, deploying twitter bots, photo-shopping evidence, and inciting conspiracy theories in the wake of public tragedy—all while maintaining a “credibility score” to remain as persuasive as possible.A pilot study conducted with teenagers in a Dutch high school used an early paper-and-pen trial of the game, and showed the perceived “reliability” of fake news to be diminished in those that played compared to a control group.The research and education project, a collaboration between Cambridge researchers and Dutch media collective DROG, is launching an English version of the game online today at Explore further The Fake News Game as it appears on the screen of a smart phone. The game only take a few minutes to complete. Credit: DROG/ The psychological theory behind the research is called “inoculation”:”A biological vaccine administers a small dose of the disease to build immunity. Similarly, inoculation theory suggests that exposure to a weak or demystified version of an argument makes it easier to refute when confronted with more persuasive claims,” says Dr. Sander van der Linden, Director of Cambridge University’s Social Decision-Making Lab.”If you know what it is like to walk in the shoes of someone who is actively trying to deceive you, it should increase your ability to spot and resist the techniques of deceit. We want to help grow ‘mental antibodies’ that can provide some immunity against the rapid spread of misinformation.” Provided by University of Cambridge Based in part on existing studies of online disinformation, and taking cues from actual conspiracy theories about organisations such as the United Nations, the game is set to be translated for countries such as Ukraine, where disinformation casts a heavy shadow.There are also plans to adapt the framework of the game for anti-radicalisation purposes, as many of the same manipulation techniques—using false information to provoke intense emotions, for example—are commonly deployed by recruiters for religious extremist groups.”You don’t have to be a master spin doctor to create effective disinformation. Anyone can start a site and artificially amplify it through twitter bots, for example. But recognising and resisting fake news doesn’t require a Ph.D. in media studies either,” says Jon Roozenbeek, a researcher from Cambridge’s Department of Slavonic Studies and one of the game’s designers.”We aren’t trying to drastically change behavior, but instead trigger a simple thought process to help foster critical and informed news consumption.” read more

The German automaker said the funds will go towards beefing up the Chattanooga, Tennessee plant to build additional Atlas sport utility vehicles geared towards the US market. VW plans a five-passenger version of the vehicle in addition to the seven-passenger Atlas that was introduced in 2017.”The Atlas has built strong momentum for Volkswagen in the SUV segment, and we are excited to grow our SUV portfolio with this new, Chattanooga-assembled five-passenger SUV,” said Hinrich Woebcken, chief executive of Volkswagen Group of America.”We are not only committed to this market, we are committed to our US manufacturing home in Chattanooga, Tennessee.”The move comes after President Donald Trump earlier this month imposed steep tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, a move that drew sharp criticism from US trading partners and prompted European Union officials to threaten to retaliate against some US goods. Trump also has singled out German carmakers as a potential target for tariffs in an escalating conflict. Analysts warn the situation has increased the risk of a trade war.German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier expressed optimism Monday about the possibility of resolving the tariff issue, following a meeting with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.Talks this week could make it “possible to find a solution that can still avoid a decline into a heavy trade conflict,” Altmaier told reporters outside the White House. Volkswagen will invest another $340 million to build SUVs at its US factory, a sign of confidence despite rising friction on international trade, the company announced Monday. Citation: VW to invest $340 mn more in Tennessee plant (2018, March 19) retrieved 18 July 2019 from Nissan undaunted by bid to stop electric vehicle tax credits Volkswagen plans to ramp up prodcution of its Atlas SUV for the US market with a major new investment in its Chattanooga plant This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. © 2018 AFP Explore further read more

first_img More information: Rick Davis et al, Workshop report: research roadmap for reducing the fire hazard of materials in the future, (2018). DOI: 10.6028/NIST.SP.1220 Fire researchers will tell you that there’s a simple solution for reducing fire hazards: eliminate flammable materials. If it doesn’t burn, the experts say, then there won’t be a fire. Of course, that option isn’t very practical or realistic; after all, who wants to sit on a block of cement when you can have a cushiony recliner? Citation: New NIST roadmap charts path to reduced fire hazards from materials (2018, May 21) retrieved 18 July 2019 from NIST firefighters Justin Grossnickle and Martin Neal look over the end of a controlled test to study the impact of fire on cross-laminated timber buildings. CLT is a construction material identified in a new NIST report as needing more flammability research. Credit: NIST Explore further The workshop participants agreed that the highest priority for future scientific studies and development projects in flammability should go to cross-cutting research approaches that can work against multiple hazards across a wide range of materials and applications. These are:Real fire behaviors: To understand how the actual use of a product impacts its fire service-life (the fire resistance over the life of a product) and burning behavior;Engineered fire-safe products: To enable the development of technologies that yield products compliant with flammability regulations for their entire lifetime; andBench-scale and computational tools: To develop and use physical testing methods and computer modeling systems that accurately predict a material’s real-life fire behavior.The new roadmap strongly recommends that these research approaches be applied to the five most critical and urgent fire hazards as defined by the experts at the recent workshop. These are: residential upholstered furniture, residential buildings in Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) communities, timber used for multistory buildings, passenger railway cars and insulation applied to the exteriors of high-rise buildings.”The workshop participants determined that these application areas should be prioritized for R&D because reducing flammability in all five should significantly reduce the overall losses from fires in the future,” Davis said.The benefits from the new research roadmap, Davis said, could eventually be greater than just getting low-fire-hazard products to market. “It’s our hope that the research resulting from the roadmap will lead to science-based quality control measures, testing procedures and performance standards for materials flammability, which in turn, should reduce the costs of making products, simplify regulatory compliance for manufacturers, and provide consumers with more fire-safe product choices,” he explained.Davis added that along with being actively engaged with its partners to promote and urge acceptance and use of the new roadmap by others, NIST has already begun putting it to work.”Based on extensive discussions with our in-house experts after considering the roadmap’s guidelines, we are planning changes in our upcoming year’s research and modifying our long-term strategies,” he said.center_img Carbon Nanofibers Cut Flammability of Upholstered Furniture Provided by National Institute of Standards and Technology A better strategy for reducing the thousands of deaths and injuries and billions of dollars in damage resulting from the more than a million fires each year in the United States is detailed in a new research roadmap published by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The roadmap provides guidelines for developing science-based approaches to solving numerous fire problems for multiple materials, from lightweight automobile composites to cross-laminated timbers, and prioritizes the most critical and urgent fire hazards to which they can be applied, such as upholstered furniture.”Our hope is that this roadmap will help the global fire community develop research strategies and implementation plans for addressing fire and materials problems, now and in the future,” said NIST materials research engineer Rick Davis, one of the authors. “The roadmap identifies and describes the major challenges associated with these problems and then details potential solutions so that users such as designers and manufacturers can continue to create safer materials that still yield quality products with high consumer satisfaction and market profitability.”The research roadmap resulted from a recent NIST-led workshop that brought together key national and international stakeholders from industry, government, academia and public laboratories.Workshop attendees focused their discussions on four areas in which fire hazards are major concerns: innovative construction materials such as the growing use of cross-laminated wood for tall buildings; advanced polymers and composites such as polyester fabrics used in furniture and lightweight composites used in automobile bodies; next-generation fire retardants, with an emphasis on those that suppress combustion without being health hazards; and transportation and infrastructure vulnerabilities such as fire risks on trains.For each of these areas, the experts considered the direction of current R&D and how it may impact future fire hazard reduction goals such as developing new materials, establishing product flammability standards and advancing computational tools. They also addressed emerging technologies and practices such as the increasing use of high-energy density (lithium-ion) batteries that have been in the news for flammability concerns. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

first_img Explore further It’s no secret that people would rather get something for free than pay for it. And faced with the possibility of paying $10.99 a month for Netflix or getting it for nothing, it should come as no surprise that someone might want to use another person’s password to log in and binge on the latest season of “Orange Is The New Black.” And when it comes to password sharing for streaming TV services, millennials lead the way in getting something for nothing. That’s according to the results of a study on streaming video-watching habits from media and entertainment research firm Magid.The 2018 Magid Video Entertainment Survey, which included 2,000 Americans from the ages of 8 to 64, showed that when it comes to millennials, 26 percent of the group uses the password from someone else’s account to watch shows on a streaming TV service such as Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime Video. Magid defines millennials as consumers between the ages of 22 and 40.But, even more than millennials, those in the 18-to-21 age bracket like to stream their TV shows with the password of someone paying for the service, with 27 percent of the group, which Magid calls “Adult Plurals,” doing so.Jill Rosengard Hill, of Magid, said the high rate of streaming TV password sharing among millennials is indicative of what she called the “shared economy,” in which participants of a group try to save money and help out their friends at the same time.”For them, it’s no different than having their parents pay for their insurance or their cell phone,” Hill said. “What many do is: Someone will subscribe to Netflix, while someone else will subscribe to Hulu, and they will swap passwords with each other. That way, they can say they are each paying for something.”Hill said the concept of password sharing is definitely more in vogue with younger streaming TV viewers. The Magid study showed 10 percent of Gen Xers, those between the ages of 41 and 51, share streaming TV passwords, while just 8 percent of Baby Boomers do so.One of the ongoing questions involving password sharing is how much money the likes of Netflix and Hulu are losing in the process. Netflix allows for five individual profiles with one paid account, while a Hulu account can have up to six profiles. However, the multi-profile feature is intended to be used by different members of the same family so that they can watch shows they prefer. Sharing passwords with friends, or others not under the same roof, is a different matter.”How much money is it worth?’ asked Hill. “It’s really hard to say. But it’s going to be a bigger question as more and more streaming TV services become available.” Citation: What’s the password? Millennials leaders in getting streaming TV for free (2018, August 23) retrieved 18 July 2019 from Netflix CFO leaving TV streaming titancenter_img Credit: CC0 Public Domain ©2018 The Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

first_img Facebook unveils Quest, its new virtual-reality headset Facebook on Wednesday unveiled an upgraded Oculus virtual reality headset with power to handle the intensive graphics of digital worlds in a wire-free experience. Citation: Facebook unveils upgraded wireless Oculus headset in VR push (2018, September 27) retrieved 17 July 2019 from Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.center_img © 2018 AFP The new Oculus Quest headset showcased at the Facebook unit’s developer conference is being aimed at gamers seeking immersion in virtual worlds, with other potential applications likely in the future.”This is the wireless virtual reality experience we have been waiting for,” Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said as he unveiled the new hardware and reaffirmed Facebook’s commitment to virtual reality. The standalone VR headset boasting the same quality experiences as the Oculus Rift but without wires will hit the market early next year at a price of $399.Oculus vice president Hugo Barra said Quest combined the capabilities of Rift and the portability of Go, the current headgear in the company’s lineup, with a strong focus on games.Rift was the first VR gear released by Facebook-owned Oculus, but needs to be plugged into computers powerful enough to handle the graphics rich, immersive nature of digital worlds.Go is a lightweight portable headset for virtual reality.Step into ‘Star Wars’Oculus promised 50 game titles available at launch, including “Vader Immortal,” which will let Quest users play through the opening episode of a new virtual reality experience set in a castle of infamous “Star Wars” villain Darth Vader.The “Star Wars” virtual reality experience was described as a combination game and immersive film.In a self-deprecating moment on stage, Zuckerberg recalled setting a goal of getting a billion people into virtual reality after buying Oculus some four years ago in a deal valued then at $2 billion.He chuckled along with the audience as he shared a graph showing they were a scant one percent of the way to that goal.”This isn’t a question of whether we are going to get there, it is how,” Zuckerberg said, while acknowledging the path may be longer than first expected.He said a speed bump on the road to adoption that Quest was intended to solve was making VR more convenient and portable.A second challenge, he said, was creating a vast, enticing ecosystem of games, films, meeting spaces and other experiences in virtual reality.The two-day Connect conference was intended to inspire software makers to help create that ecosystem.”We are going to make some big leaps in both technology and content,” Zuckerberg told the gathering.”This is all still early, but this is the basic road map.”Virtual visitsAnshel Sag, analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, said the Quest could make it easier to get into virtual reality gaming at a reasonable price.”I think this brings console quality gaming and experiences to a price point that previously wasn’t possible,” Sag said.”It makes it easier to get into virtual reality without spending a lot of money.”Despite technology advances in recent years, virtual reality gear remains the stuff of early-adopters like video game lovers and hasn’t gone mainstream with consumers.Facebook’s vision of virtual reality goes far beyond games to a time when members of the leading online social network can virtually visit one another with the help of avatars.”There is simply no substitute for being there,” vice president of augmented and virtual reality Andrew Bosworth told the gathering.”Tools we are building in AR and VR have the opportunity to answer the question of what it would be like to be transported.” Facebook, which last year unveiled its wireless virtual reality headset Oculus Go, on Wednesday announced a more powerful wire-free device called Oculus Connectlast_img read more

first_img UK fines Facebook over data privacy scandal, EU seeks audit Britain’s Information Commissioner Office leveled the fine after concluding Facebook processed the personal information of users unfairly by giving app developers access to their information without informed consent.The ICO said a subset of the data was later shared with other organizations, including SCL Group, the parent company of political consultancy Cambridge Analytica, which counted U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign among its clients.The ICO did not definitively assert that U.K. users had their data shared for campaigning, but said the information was harvested and “put at risk of further misuse.”Though the fine is minuscule by the standards of the tech giant’s revenues, the firm appealed because of what it saw as an unacceptable precedent outlined by the decision.”Their reasoning challenges some of the basic principles of how people should be allowed to share information online, with implications which go far beyond just Facebook, which is why we have chosen to appeal,” said Facebook lawyer Anna Benckert in a statement. “For example, under ICO’s theory people should not be allowed to forward an email or message without having agreement from each person on the original thread. These are things done by millions of people every day on services across the internet.”The ICO was not immediately available for comment. Explore further © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Facebook has appealed its 500,000-pound ($644,000) fine for failing to protect the privacy of its users in the Cambridge Analytica scandal, arguing that U.K regulators failed to prove that British users were directly affected. Citation: Facebook appeals its UK fine in Cambridge Analytica scandal (2018, November 21) retrieved 17 July 2019 from This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more