Month: July 2019

  • Australia continues to see steady drop in new HIV infections

    first_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Aggressive promotion of condom use has helped curb HIV infections in Australia. This giant condom in Sydney was part of a 2014 awareness campaign. Australia continues to see steady drop in new HIV infections By Dennis NormileJul. 2, 2019 , 11:20 AM 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 This arsenal of tools got a big boost in April 2018, when the federal government added pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a daily pill that protects HIV-negative people from infection, to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme that subsidizes the medicines. This cut the cost of PrEP from AU$10,000 per year to just AU$480 per year, according to the government-funded healthdirect website. Those qualifying for greater subsidies pay even less.The number of individuals taking advantage of subsidized PrEP soared from just 1980 in April 2018 to 18,530 that December. The Kirby Institute figures that 41% of at-risk Australian men were on PrEP in 2017, says Andrew Grulich, a Kirby Institute medical epidemiologist. Coverage needs to be up to 75% “if we want to keep moving toward HIV elimination,” Grulich says. PrEP uptake is lagging among MSM not born in Australia. “Gay and bisexual men from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds really need to be a target for further PrEP rollout,” he says.It will be particularly challenging to drive down infections in Indigenous groups that suffer high infection rates among those who inject drugs. And diagnoses are typically made at a later stage of infection. This “very different picture” of HIV infection requires “targeted interventions to make sure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are not left behind,” says James Ward, an infectious disease specialist at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute in Adelaide.Still, “the decline we’re seeing nationwide in Australia is being seen in very few other places in the world,” Grulich says. The combination of preventions—condom promotion, treatment as prevention, and PrEP—all “act together to decrease HIV infections,” he says. He is convinced that the critical component in the progress is Australia’s universal health care system, which provides “free or easily affordable access to testing, to treatment, and to PrEP.”center_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Email Australia continues to be at the forefront of reversing the increase in HIV infections, with a study released today showing that the number of new diagnoses in 2018 dropped 13% year-on-year, to 835 cases. The pace of the decline more than doubled from the previous year, according to the Kirby Institute for Infection and Immunity in Society at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. New infections are at the lowest level in 18 years and the decline is seen across the country, says Rebecca Guy, a Kirby Institute epidemiologist.The decline in new infections is concentrated among men who have sex with men (MSM), particularly those born in Australia. But that good news is tempered by a modest drop in heterosexually acquired infections, from 238 to 189, and stubbornly persistent levels of new infections in Indigenous peoples, particularly those in remote areas. “Australia is tracking toward elimination of the transmission of HIV,” Guy says, though she and others emphasize there is still much work to be done.The downward trend in new infections among MSM has been gathering steam for several years, thanks to aggressive promotion of condom use, widely available testing, and successful efforts to get those infected quickly started on antiretroviral drugs, which drive down viral loads, making the host unlikely to pass HIV on to partners. SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images last_img read more

  • Donald Trump backs away from barriers on foreign uranium

    first_img Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump US, US Uranium imports, Uranium import US, US uranium import quota, world news After several months of deliberation, the commerce secretary determined that the high volume of uranium imports do pose a threat to national security. Trump rejected that finding. (The New York Times)(Written by Ana Swanson) US mulls increasing merit-based immigration to 57% Post Comment(s) ‘Truth, justice have prevailed’: PM Modi on Kulbhushan Jadhav verdict ‘I can’t breathe’ case: No charges against NY police in 2014 choking death of black man “We are down to where we are effectively producing nothing when it comes to newly mined uranium,” said Mark Chalmers, the president of Energy Fuels. “That should shock people.”“We’re basically chucking our car keys at the Chinese and the Russians and saying go ahead and produce our uranium for us,” he said.Energy Fuels and Ur-Energy say they have had to cut their workforce because of falling global prices. They claim that Russia and Kazakhstan have heavily subsidized their production, and China has been buying up uranium mines around the world, threatening the supply of uranium from the United States and close allies like Canada and Australia.But those who criticized the petition — including foreign uranium miners and domestic utilities — viewed the request as a transparent grab for protection of a struggling domestic industry. They say mining uranium has not been economical in the United States for a decade, and note that the country maintains a strategic reserve of uranium that can supply the military for many years.The Ad Hoc Utilities Group, which runs a majority of the nuclear generators in the United States, said in comments submitted to the Trump administration last September that restricting imports would endanger the viability of nuclear plants and the entire industry. The quota that the petitioners had requested would effectively tax nuclear generators by $500 million to $800 million a year, the utilities group said, risking thousands of jobs in the industry. Advertising Related News Trump says ‘will take a look’ at accusations over Google, China By New York Times |Washington | Published: July 14, 2019 9:18:05 am Advertising “Although I agree that the secretary’s findings raise significant concerns regarding the impact of uranium imports on the national security with respect to domestic mining, I find that a fuller analysis of national security considerations with respect to the entire nuclear fuel supply chain is necessary at this time,” the president said in a statement.The potential for trade barriers on foreign uranium stemmed from an investigation into whether imported uranium ore and related products, which are essential components for the United States’ nuclear arsenal, submarines, aircraft carriers and power plants, were a security threat.Trump’s decision means that the United States will not impose the quotas that the domestic uranium industry had requested, which would have limited imports to guarantee that American miners supply one-quarter of the uranium used domestically. Instead, the president said he would establish a working group to develop recommendations in the next 90 days for reviving and expanding domestic nuclear fuel production.The announcement was a rare instance in which the Trump administration chose not to exercise the full extent of its powers to give American companies a trade advantage over foreign competitors. Best Of Express Jharkhand court drops ‘donate Quran’ condition for bail to Ranchi woman over offensive post Salve hails verdict, says ICJ protected Jadhav from being executed “Maintaining nuclear plants is a cornerstone of the present administration’s policy,” the utilities company said. “However, this investigation’s potential impact on restricting nuclear fuel imports would do just the opposite.” Taking stock of monsoon rain The Trump administration has used similar national security-related investigations to levy tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum, and it has threatened to do the same with imported automobiles and auto parts. Foreign leaders from Canada, Mexico, Europe and elsewhere have bristled at being branded a national security threat and imposed retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products in return.Unlike the investigations in foreign metals and cars, which the Trump administration initiated on its own, two American uranium mining companies, Ur-Energy and Energy Fuels, had requested the inquiry into uranium. Both businesses claimed that subsidized foreign products had flooded the U.S. market, putting them at a competitive disadvantage, forcing them to cut jobs and putting the domestic supply of uranium at risk.But in seeking protection, Ur-Energy and Energy Fuels found themselves at odds with American nuclear power plants and the utilities that depend on that power, which would face higher material prices and operating costs if quotas were put into place. Nuclear plants generate about one-fifth of the country’s electricity, but they are rapidly losing market share to cheaper electricity from shale gas and wind turbines.The United States is the world’s largest consumer of uranium. But it imported 93% of the uranium it used in 2017, with the vast majority coming from Australia, Canada, Kazakhstan and Russia. In its report, the Commerce Department said that imports had risen from satisfying 85.8% of the domestic market in 2009 as a result of increased production by foreign state-owned enterprises that distorted global prices and made it difficult for American miners to compete. Advertising More Explained US President Donald Trump said he would not impose quotas on imports of uranium, backing away from one of many trade confrontations the administration has threatened as it tries to protect US industry.Trump, in an announcement late Friday night, said that he did not agree with the commerce secretary’s findings that foreign uranium poses a threat to national security. It was a rare dissent for a president who has determined that foreign metals, autos and auto parts are a threat to America’s national security and should be restricted.After several months of deliberation, the commerce secretary determined that the high volume of uranium imports do pose a threat to national security. Trump rejected that finding.last_img read more

  • Form standing committees fast demand Oppn leaders

    first_imgBy Express News Service |New Delhi | Published: July 16, 2019 3:14:11 am Advertising Current Session may be extended to clear pending legislation Related News Post Comment(s) Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India Bill passed in Rajya Sabha Opposition criticises low priority to agriculture in Budget The issue came up when Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, V Muraleedharan, was moving a motion to allow a Bill to be passed in the Upper House, without referring to a standing committee.Responding to the Opposition’s demands, the minister said the process of constituting these committees was underway. Stating that the Centre did not want to bypass standing committees, he said the Bill had to be passed because of an emergency situation and added that this happened in 2006, 2009 and 2014 as well.“When would the committees be constituted?” asked former finance minister Chidambaram, to which, Muraleedharan said it is a process which involved members of all parties. O’Brien observed that more than seven Bills had been passed without referring to standing committees, so far.Congress MP Jairam Ramesh was among those who raised concerns on the issue. parliament, parliament session, parliament session 2019, parliament live, parliament live today, parliament live news, parliament monsoon session, parliament monsoon session 2019, parliament monsoon session live news, parliament monsoon session today news, parliament monsoon session today live news, Amit Shah, Budget discussion, parliament monsoon session 2019 news, karnataka mla resign, karnataka mla resign news, Congress MP Jairam Ramesh was among those who raised concerns on the issue.Opposition leaders, including the Congress’s P Chidambaram and TMC’s Derek O’ Brien on Monday demanded in the Rajya Sabha that several Parliamentary standing committees be constituted soon so that key Bills can be scrutinised by them.last_img read more

  • Apple May Transform Diabetes Care and Treatment Report

    first_imgApple has an existing partnership with Dexcom, which offers the G5 continuous glucose monitor. It allows Apple Watch users to monitor their blood sugar using an app that syncs with iPhone.Many CGM devices have accuracy issues and require frequent calibration with blood glucose sensors. However, regulators last year found the G5 readings were accurate enough to require calibration just once every 12 hours.Abbott’s Libre blood testing system has a sensor worn on the upper arm up to 14 days at a time, which measures interstitial fluid under the skin every minute. The system originated in 2014 in Europe and now is available in 30 countries worldwide; it is under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.Medtronic, one of the leading makers of diabetic insulin pumps and continuous glucose sensors in the U.S. last year received approval in Europe, Latin America and Australia for its Guardian Connect device, according to company spokesperson Danielle Swanson. The device currently is under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.”CGM is extremely valuable to people with diabetes, as it allows them to see current glucose levels at any time on their phone without a fingerstick,” Swanson told TechNewsWorld. “People with diabetes can also receive alerts to help them avoid high and low blood glucose levels.”The app, which is being rolled out on a country by country basis, initially was made for the iOS system. Medtronic will release an Android version at a later date.Under a partnership announced last year, Medtronic will offer glucose tracking on Fitbit’s iPro2 mLog mobile app, using data from Medtronic’s iPro2 professional CGM system, to give patients a record of their exercise and blood glucose levels. The app is available for both iOS and Android mobile devices.UK-based Nemaura Medical has developed the sugarBEAT system, a glucose monitoring device that uses a noninvasive, disposable patch. The 10mm coin-sized device measures molecular amounts of interstitial fluid using an electric current .The same technology is being developed for a variety of other uses, such as taking measurements related to athletic performance and measuring oxygen depletion in patients. The patch would last up to 14 days before needing to be changed.The company signed a letter of intent with a China-based Shenzen CAS Health Corp. in a joint venture to manufacture and distribute the sensors in China, pending regulatory approval.”We have designed sugarBEAT around the needs of the user,” Nemaura Medical Director Bashir Timol told TechNewsWorld. “Accordingly, the primary interface is the app accessible on users’ existing smart device.” Apple is working on a secret project to develop wearable devices that can monitor the blood sugar of diabetics without using invasive finger sticks, part of a vision that originated with company founder Steve Jobs, CNBC reported earlier this week.Apple has assembled a team of biomedical engineers from various companies to work on the project, according to the report.Cor, a company Apple acquired in 2010, has been working for more than five years on a way to integrate noninvasive glucose monitoring into a wearable like an Apple Watch device.Glucose monitoring traditionally has required that diabetics use lancets to pierce their fingertips at least four times daily, measuring blood glucose levels before and after meals, when waking up, and before going to bed.Many Type 1 diabetics wear pumps to deliver insulin, and they sometimes test up to 16 times a day.One of the benefits of continuous glucose monitoring, or CGM, is to warn diabetics when blood glucose is rising or falling rapidly. Hypoglycemia can result when glucose levels fall below 70 milligrams per deciliter. Hyperglycemia, a rapid rise of blood glucose, can lead to ketoacidosis or, worse, a diabetic coma.Apple reportedly has begun feasibility studies in the Bay Area and has retained consultants to help with regulatory issues. Lucrative Market Managing diabetes has been a rapidly evolving focus in both the smartphone and wearable device markets.Integrating glucose sensors into wearable devices is a difficult challenge, but the market potential is very great, noted Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst for WW mobile device trackers at IDC.”Today most wearables are consumer products, but there’s an untapped opportunity in the medical community,” he told TechNewsWorld.The overall diabetic testing market will reach US$17 billion in 2021, up from $12 billion in 2016, ABI has estimated. Revenue from CGM devices is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 41 percent. More than 9 million wearable CGM devices are expected to ship by 2021, and wearable device makers like Apple and other competitors want to get a bite of that market. center_img Existing Products David Jones is a freelance writer based in Essex County, New Jersey. He has written for Reuters, Bloomberg, Crain’s New York Business and The New York Times.last_img read more

  • Apple Highlights User Experience in New OS Lineup

    first_imgiOS 13 will come with a new way to sign on to apps and websites. Instead of using a social ID from Facebook or Google, you can use your Apple credentials to sign in.The new offering, called “Sign in with Apple,” lets you use a biometric — face or fingerprint — to log-in to an app or site. The feature has two-factor-authentication built in for an additional layer of security.Apple also announced a new iOS-based operating system for the iPad.”The new iPadOS and related features will be a boon to iPad users, especially those who depend on the device for productivity applications,” Pund-IT’s King said.”The new features and functions will also allow the iPad to compete more effectively against commercial laptops, a market that Apple desperately needs to crack,” he added.For years, the iPad has been emulating the user interaction of the iPhone, explained IHS Markit’s Lam, but with features like multi-windowing and the use of keyboards and mice, the platform is becoming more sophisticated.”Most surprising of all was a feature buried in the Accessibility settings — support for wired or Bluetooth mouse devices,” King said.”That wasn’t mentioned on stage and since the feature was reported, Apple and supporters have reportedly tried to downplay its importance,” he continued, “but taken in concert with these other new iPadOS features, it seems obvious that Apple is finally coming to grips with the iPad’s greatest shortcomings — all related to its lack of common, valuable functions that PC owners enjoy every day.” “The code-named ‘Marzipan’ tool makes it easier to port iOS apps onto the Mac, which allows developers to sell on iOS and Mac App Stores without reconfiguring their apps,” Loup Ventures analyst Gene Munster observed in a research note.”Catalyst is pretty cool,” said Jack E. Gold, principal analyst at J.Gold Associates, an IT advisory company in Northborough, Massachusetts.”It’s going to get a lot of interest because there’s a lot iOS apps out there that people want to run on other devices,” he told TechNewsWorld.With Catalina, Apple is retiring iTunes and replacing it with three new apps: one for music, one for podcasts, and one for TV shows and movies.Apple also has added a feature called “Sidecar” that lets you use an iPad as a second display or a drawing tablet.Apple also showed the WWDC crowd a new voice-control app for Catalina that allows users who are unable to operate a computer with traditional devices to control it with their voice. Through a system of labels and grids, users can interact with virtually any app using comprehensive navigation tools. macOS Catalina IOS 13 Tweaks Among the changes coming to the next version of Apple’s iOS mobile operating system is an improved Maps app. It has broader road coverage, better pedestrian data, more precise addresses, and more detailed land cover, as well as a new “Look Around” feature that allows you to experience a location at street-level.”For years, Apple Maps has lagged significantly behind Google Maps in terms of features, functions and local details,” said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, a technology advisory firm in Hayward, California.”The new enhancements discussed at WWDC should be a welcome relief to both Apple developers and customers,” he told TechNewsWorld.Apple has added a new “Dark Mode” in iOS 13 too. It’s especially useful in low-light conditions. What’s more, Apple has opened it up to developers so they can use it in their apps. With the next version of watchOS, Apple Watch will get its own App Store and users will be able to download apps without the assistance of the iPhone.”The ability to get apps separately is a big deal,” Technalysis’ O’Donnell said. “To me, it’s the first sign of making the watch independent completely and potentially have it work with other platforms.”A separate watchOS could be good for the watch’s ecosystem, too.”The use cases for the Watch have long been debated, due in part to consumers not being aware of the available watchOS apps,” Munster wrote. “We believe an App Store on the Watch will increase consumer awareness.””Increased awareness will drive developers to create more and better Watch-based apps and the Watch should become more useful over time,” he continued. “This should have the small effect of increasing demand for Apple Watch, which now accounts for about 5 percent of Apple’s revenue.”Apple also announced some new apps for watchOS, including Cycle Tracking, which allows women to log important information about their menstrual cycles, and Noise, an app that tracks sound levels that could be damaging to a user’s hearing. Embracing Dark Mode across its platforms could be an indicator of where Apple is headed with its display technology, observed Wayne Lam, principal analyst for mobile devices and networks at IHS Markit, a research, analysis and advisory firm headquartered in London.”If they’re going to go with Dark Mode, the best type of display is going to be an OLED display,” he told TechNewsWorld, “so it suggests that their 2019 product line will be all OLED displays.”Apple also beefed up Photo apps in the new operating system. The photo software uses on-board machine learning to curate a photo collection, making it easier to relive moments by day, month or year.Photo-editing tools are more accessible, and they incorporate sliders for application of effects. In addition, users can apply editing effects to video.Portrait mode is accessible directly in the camera app. New features let you move your light source in and out on a subject to change the ambiance of a shot. There’s also a “High-Key Mono” effect for creating distinctive monochromatic portraits. “They’re breaking out the iPadOS into it’s own code base,” he told TechNewsWorld, “and continuing a path toward autonomy for watchOS.”More than anything else, Apple has been about the user experience, observed Tuong Nguyen, senior principal analyst at Gartner, a research and advisory company based in Stamford, Connecticut.”A strong part of that was technological innovation,” he told TechNewsWorld. “This year it was about improvements and adopted features — features like Swipe, Dark Mode and Desktop Browsing that have existed on other platforms for quite some time.””A lot of iOS 13 is just playing catch-up with Android, which was way ahead of Apple in certain areas,” said Bob O’Donnell, chief analyst at Technalysis Research, a technology market research and consulting firm in Foster City, California.”It was great to see the improvements in Maps, but that was really playing catch-up,” he told TechNewsWorld. Apple dangled the next versions of iOS, macOS and watchOS before developers’ eyes during Monday’s keynote event at its World Wide Developers Conference in San Jose, California.In this round of operating system upgrades, Apple seems focused on improvements.”They’re polishing a number of aspects of the operating systems, ” said Ross Rubin, principal analyst at Reticle Research, a consumer technology advisory firm in New York City. watchOS Moves Out New Kind of Sign In Apple departed from previous naming conventions with the next release of macOS. Called “Catalina,” it will be able to run iOS apps thanks to Project Catalyst, formerly known as “Marzipan.” John P. Mello Jr. has been an ECT News Network reportersince 2003. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, IT issues, privacy, e-commerce, social media, artificial intelligence, big data and consumer electronics. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including the Boston Business Journal, theBoston Phoenix, Megapixel.Net and GovernmentSecurity News. Email John.last_img read more

  • Twitter Tweaks Desktop Design

    first_imgTwitter on Tuesday unveiled a fresh new look for its desktop website that mimics the look and feel of its mobile platforms.The company has been testing a new version of its desktop website since the beginning of the year. The most noticeable change is the organization and layout of the Twitter home screen itself.The upgraded design simplifies navigation with a new and larger left-hand sidebar that directs you to all of Twitter’s key sections: Notifications, Direct Messages, Explore, Bookmarks and Lists. A key goal was making conversations easier to find and follow.Gone is Twitter’s old boxy look for everything from borders to buttons and avatars, noted Katie Sievert, senior software engineer, and Jon Koon, staff software engineer, in a post on the redesign.The new look was driven by a change to component-basic design strategies that built in more than one hundred components. That process makes it easier for engineers to reuse, modify and test website elements.The update gives Twitter a stronger foundation for bringing updated features at a faster pace. It was the next phase in creating a look and feel more consistent with Twitter’s appearance on other devices, the company said.This update makes it easier to access favorite features, and offers more options to make Twitter more personalized. It also makes using the desktop website easier and more inviting.The new Twitter design is definitely different — less formal and more “in your face,” observed long-time Twitter user Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.”Like any advertising-based business, it is all about eyeballs. The company is hoping to grow its regular user base so as to increase ad rates and revenues. If it delivers the improved user engagement Twitter is looking for, the complaints will be easy to ignore,” he told TechNewsWorld. Negative Views Just collateral Damage Appearances Count As with all change, avid Twitter users may feel uncomfortable at first. When Facebook launched its News Feed in 2006, it was met with a heated backlash until people got used to it, according to Michelle Kubot, vice president of marketing at Ambrosia Treatment Center.She is an avid Twitter user with more than 47,000 followers.”Since Twitter didn’t add or take away any features with the redesign, I don’t expect much negativity,” Kubot told TechNewsWorld.Sometimes websites make design changes for specific purposes like releasing, promoting or removing features, or to open up more advertising. However, Twitter’s recent changes are all about brand image, she noted.”Websites have to constantly evolve to stay relevant, including looking and feeling modern. Usually, this is done in relatively small steps, but occasionally you need a full overhaul,” Kubot said.Twitter did serious user testing before rolling out the major changes. Twitter officials generally knew what kind of impact the changes would have, she added, and rolled it out because results were positive. The new desktop website mimics the smooth timeline viewed on mobile app screens with one key difference. The desktop design has added features that you can access without tapping or scrolling.The new look also involves a large-font main menu, along with access to notifications, messages, bookmarks and lists. The Trends feature is more prominent as well.Other design changes provide expanded Direct Messages so you can see conversations and send texts from the same view. The updated site includes dark mode options — Dim and Lights Out. Also, designers added the ability to change font size and color scheme (choose from blue, yellow, pink, purple, orange or green).”I’m still getting used to it so I’ll focus on the pros. On the plus side, navigating the settings and preferences seems simpler than it used to be. I also like the built-in analytics dashboard,” King said. Jack M. Germain has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2003. His main areas of focus are enterprise IT, Linux and open source technologies. He has written numerous reviews of Linux distros and other open source software.Email Jack. Motive Behind Changes Appearance Makeovercenter_img A Lot to Take In Users can expect more personalized live video and local moments with added context, Twitter said. Top Trends will be accessible in any view.The new design makes it easier to navigate Twitter. With the old layout, users had to click on their Profile icon to access features like Lists, Themes, Settings and other options.In this new design, the Explore feature is more prominent. It directs users to more live videos and personalized local moments, according to Twitter’s announcement. This is also where the Top Trends feature is located. Personalized Trends is now featured on the right-hand sidebar on the home screen.The Bookmarks feature moved to the desktop’s main navigation. The new navigation menu includes: Home, Explore, Notifications, Messages, Bookmarks, Lists and Profile. You will also find More, a menu for items like Moments, Twitter’s ad tools, Settings, and other features.Direct Messages is expanded to include an inbox-like screen for viewing and responding to conversations centrally. Plus, it is easy to switch profiles, use more theses, and do advanced searches. Counting Eyeballs The recent Twitter overhaul is about appearances, but more was behind the move than purely cosmetic changes, according to Dan Willis, the Millennial Motivator an international public speaker focusing on how community and relationships are the future of marketing in the millennial marketplace.”The changes to the user interface and new functionality and focus around video and picture content are an attempt to bring Twitter into more conversations as a leader in social media,” he told TechNewsWorld.Competitors like TikTok and Instagram continue to garner a lot of attention and press due to their committed focus to evolving mediums like video, pictures and audio, and Twitter needed to adapt to get back into sight, Willis said. “This overhaul is the first step in revitalizing the platform for a new generation of content creators on the go.” The negative reactions to the new layout are merely the result of breaking from familiarity, according to Willis. Twitter had gone a long time without change.”My view is that it needed to happen. The network was visually feeling dated, and [Twitter officials] avoided the problem Snapchat faced with its overhaul by leaving functionality relatively unchanged,” he added.Willis is a massive Twitter video user with over 4 million impressions a month on his content.”I have found since the shift the views and reach of video content has spiked considerably,” he said. It is more likely that the massive website platform redesign was needed to support an ongoing marketing effort. Most of the tweets about the new design that King has seen so far have been negative.”Complaints come with the territory on Twitter, and people are generally resistant to changes in websites they use regularly,” he pointed out. “That said, I haven’t seen many people saying they’ll stop using Twitter because of the changes.”Unless they incorporate valuable new features, massive changes can cause more headaches than benefits. The focus on a new look and feel could help Twitter sidestep more serious issues with its user base, King suggested.”Frankly, there are larger issues that Twitter needs to focus on — the prevalence of hate speech, identifying and removing bots and fake accounts, reining in belligerent celebrities and politicians,” he suggested.Doing a graphic redesign instead is “a bit like slapping a new coat of paint on a car with faulty brakes and a bad engine knock,” King quipped. last_img read more

  • Lumitron HyperVIEW system set to redefine diagnosis and treatment of cancer

    first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Oct 9 2018At an exclusive event held at University of California, Irvine (UCI) Applied Innovation Center, Lumitron Technologies, Inc. celebrated its arrival in the university’s prestigious Research Park and introduced the gathered luminaries to the HyperVIEW system. Lumitron’s laser-based, X-ray technology will boast imaging capabilities far beyond current medical standards to reach Superman® resolutions and have the unique ability to produce single color X-rays that enable cellular-level identification and treatment of disease.The HyperVIEW platform utilizes a proprietary X-ray technology conceived and developed at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). Professor Chris Barty of UCI, former CTO of LLNL’s National Ignition Facility and Photon Science Directorate, home of the world’s largest laser system, has overseen the establishment of Lumitron’s commercial endeavor in Irvine, CA and is now shepherding the company’s development of the patents he helped create. Lumitron holds exclusive commercial development rights.According to Prof. Barty, the HyperVIEW technology presents the potential to create the first true theranostics machine capable of both unprecedented imaging detail and cellular level treatment, simultaneously. The implications for medical applications in particular are astounding.”As part of its mission, LLNL develops transformational technologies that can be transferred to industry for the public benefit,” said Richard Rankin, director, LLNL Innovation and Partnerships Office. “This represents a major step forward in achieving that objective.”The HyperVIEW system, is the first major leap forward in imaging capabilities since X-rays were discovered in the late 1800s. Referring to the platform’s potential to selectively locate and treat disease without patient movement, world renowned uro-oncologist, Professor Phil Stricker, Chairman Department Urology St Vincent’s Sydney & Director of The Australian Prostate Cancer Research Center – NSW commented that the Lumitron’s platform would “…have the potential to change everything. With it, we have the potential to image and treat cancer precisely and non-invasively. It could eliminate surgery.”Lumitron has now established its global R&D and manufacturing facility within the industrial research park of the University of California, Irvine, home of the world-renowned Beckman Laser Institute and Medical Clinic. Establishment of the company’s headquarters in Irvine will provide Lumitron, and its university research partners, the opportunity to work collaboratively going forward.Related StoriesNew protein target for deadly ovarian cancerBacteria in the birth canal linked to lower risk of ovarian cancerStudy reveals link between inflammatory diet and colorectal cancer risk”We see this as a pivotal moment in imaging,” said Dr. Bruce Tromberg, Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Surgery, and Director of the Beckman Laser Institute and Medical Clinic, co-located on the UCI campus. “As this technology becomes a reality, our teams are excited to work alongside Professor Barty and Lumitron to explore the implementation possibilities. There is little doubt that this represents a new frontier for medicine.”The collaborative nature of the UCI Applied Innovations initiative was a key factor in the location selection. The university’s commitment to entrepreneurial endeavors and nurturing new technologies has enabled Lumitron to locate its facility among leaders in technology and applied sciences.”We are excited about the potential of this technology,” said Pramod P. Khargonekar, Vice Chancellor for Research, University of California, Irvine. “This is what is so exciting about the growth in UCI research: our ability to attract top tier innovators and very quickly commercialize technologies, going from breakthrough research to practical application in the marketplace.” Khargonekar went on to note that UCI students will also benefit from Lumitron’s establishment at UCI explaining that Professor Barty’s arrival includes development of an applied innovations lab on campus.Lumitron is already looking beyond the medical applications of its technology. The HyperVIEW system holds many industrial implications. The powerful platform’s imaging and elemental-analysis capabilities are already being contemplated for use in a variety of industries that have long struggled with next-gen imaging needs such as homeland security and 3D manufacturing.”This new, accessible science will commercially enable breakthrough applications beyond medicine and has applicability to non-destructive materials evaluation, 3D printing, mining, waste management and security,” said Mr. Maurie Stang, founder of Lumitron. Stang continued, “…Lumitron’s initial focus will be to market its HyperVIEW systems to leading international research institutes and university hospitals to support the development of new applications as well as harness the capability and innovation of many leading institutions in their respective fields throughout the world.”The HyperVIEW platform leverages three complete generations of machine design, construction and test at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and more than USD$220 million of R&D in advanced X-ray, laser and accelerator science undertaken by the U.S. Department of Energy.Source: read more

  • New therapeutic drug monitoring service could benefit children with cancer

    first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Nov 28 2018Children with cancer are to benefit nationally from a service which for the first time will allow doctors to personalize their treatment.The therapeutic drug monitoring service, developed by Newcastle University experts, allows clinicians to obtain vital information about how much chemotherapy individual young patients should receive.Youngsters diagnosed with cancer, including infants in the first weeks of life, can be particularly hard to treat as it is difficult to know how much chemotherapy to give.Doctors sometimes have to make tough decisions about the most appropriate dose of a drug, without enough scientific information to help them decide on the best course of action.Drug monitoring The service was set up at the request of doctors at the Great North Children’s Hospital, in Newcastle, UK, and other childhood cancer primary treatment centers around the UK.It works by collecting blood samples after chemotherapy is administered on the first day of treatment. The samples are analyzed in real-time to measure individual patient drug exposure, with the results generated used to adjust dosing accordingly.The amount of chemotherapy given over subsequent days is then set to ensure that the patient receives a dose that is most likely to be effective but without causing too much toxicity, such as sickness and diarrhea.Professor Gareth Veal, from the Northern Institute for Cancer Research at Newcastle University, is leading the programme which is already benefitting many patients.He said: “Establishing the correct dose of cancer treatment for very young patients has long presented a major clinical challenge as developmental physiological changes can markedly impact on the effect of a drug once it has been administered.”If the patient is under-dosed then the tumor may not respond to treatment, whereas if the patient is overdosed then they are likely to experience more unwanted side effects of the drugs.”It is difficult to predict what happens to a drug following administration in terms of how efficiently it is broken down and removed from the body.”Our therapeutic drug monitoring service involves measuring drug levels in individual childhood cancer patients during treatment and modifying the dose of drug that they are given to help provide the best clinical outcome.”Need for serviceBefore the service, clinicians would work out the infant or child’s chemotherapy dose by the patient’s weight and age, with a ‘one size fits all’ modelDr Gail Halliday, Consultant Paediatric Oncologist at Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The therapeutic drug monitoring service has transformed the way young cancer patients are treated and the positive outcomes they have.”Before it was something of a guessing game as to the most appropriate dose of chemotherapy for each child, whereas now we can be rest assured that what we are giving is correct.Related StoriesHow cell-free DNA can be targeted to prevent spread of tumorsUsing machine learning algorithm to accurately diagnose breast cancerStudy: Nearly a quarter of low-risk thyroid cancer patients receive more treatment than necessary”In the past, the risk factors were you either under-dosed and if the tumor came back it would be more difficult to cure, or you overdosed and the child suffered lasting effects from the toxicity.”It is vital that we do everything we can to give each patient the best chance of responding effectively to treatment, whilst minimizing the chances of experiencing unwanted drug side effects.”Now there is real confidence that we’re achieving a gold standard of care and it is thanks to the Newcastle University team that this is possible.”Further researchThe service has been running at the Great North Children’s Hospital for the past few years, but now the National Institute for Health Research has provided funding to Newcastle University to run a three year study to expand the service nationally.Professor Veal said: “This will not only positively impact on patients recruited to the study, but will also generate data which will have a significant impact on future patient treatment through the provision of national guidelines for anti-cancer drugs in defined patient populations.”The therapeutic drug monitoring service is a finalist in the Bright Ideas in Health Awards, which celebrates the achievements of those within the NHS, industry and academia to improve patient care, with the awards evening being held later this week.Patient’s storyLittle Blazej Sarnicki is lucky to be alive after the most challenging few years of his young life.The five-year-old was diagnosed with aggressive Wilms’ tumors in both kidneys in 2016 and is now on dialysis three times a week after both organs were removed to save his life.The youngster has been in intensive care at the Great North Children’s Hospital a number of times and it was touch and go as to whether he would survive. In the future he will need a kidney transplant.Blazej was among the first to benefit from the therapeutic drug monitoring service as he required intensive chemotherapy and doctors needed to tailor his dose to his individual medical needs.His mother, Monika, 38, a teacher, said: “It is fantastic to see how well Blazej is doing and it’s thanks to the treatment he received that he’s doing so well.”We were devastated when Blazej was diagnosed with Wilms’ tumors as we had never heard of the disease and there were times when we thought we’d lose him.”I know that the therapeutic drug monitoring service helped to give him the best-personalized treatment, and the medical team have worked incredibly hard to help Blazej.”To have a service like this based in Newcastle is of great benefit to the North East and further afield.”Blazej is back at school and enjoying life with his twin brother, Olivier, sister, Julia, nine, and parents Monika and Grezegorz.Source: read more

  • Brains of people with severe mental illness are not all the same

    first_img Source: Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Jan 5 2019A new multi-site brain imaging study in The American Journal of Psychiatry shows that sub-groups of people use their brains differently when imitating emotional faces – a task that reflects their ability to interact socially.Interestingly, individuals with schizophrenia do not have categorically different social brain function than those without mental illness but fall into different sub-groups that may respond to different types of treatments. These findings call into question the most common research approaches in mental health.”We know that, on average, people with schizophrenia have more social impairment than people in the general population,” says senior author Dr. Aristotle Voineskos in the Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto.”But we needed to take an agnostic approach and let the data tell us what the brain-behavioral profiles of our study participants looked like. It turned out that the relationship between brain function and social behavior had nothing to do with conventional diagnostic categories in the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders).”Most brain research in the mental health field compares a disease group to a non-disease or “healthy” group to search for biomarkers, a biological measure of mental health symptoms. This search for biomarkers has been elusive.This multi-site research study – which included 179 participants recruited at CAMH in Toronto, Zucker Hillside Hospital in New York and the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center in Baltimore – calls that paradigm into question because people with the same mental illness may not show the same biological patterns.The study, which involved participants completing a facial imitation task while undergoing functional MRI brain scans, found three “activation profiles,” says first author Dr. Colin Hawco, also of CAMH. These can be described as typical, over-activated and de-activated profiles.”We think those with over-activated networks may be ‘inefficient’ in terms of brain activity – they probably struggled more and needed to work harder to do the same task compared to the other groups,” says Dr. Hawco.Related StoriesStudy: Many patients with schizophrenia and epilepsy die before reaching the age of fiftyRandomized controlled trial introduces new psychotherapeutic approach to schizophreniaTexting helps improve medication adherence, health outcomes for patients with schizophrenia”The ‘de-activating’ group seemed to show very efficient use of their brain, and did better on behavioral tests of social processing as well.” These findings were true for participants with and without schizophrenia.”There is really no effective treatment to deal with these social impairments, which is why we’re really invested in figuring out the brain networks of social behaviors as targets for treatment and research,” says Dr. Anil Malhotra, Director of Research at the Zucker Hillside Hospital.”We are now positioned to test treatments to help change brain function, rather than focusing on symptoms alone, when it comes to helping people with social impairment.”People with social impairments may not be able to react as expected to emotions they see in others, such as fear, sadness or happiness.”As social impairments become more severe, people are more likely to be isolated, unable to function in daily life, and have a marked reduction in their quality of life,” says Dr. Robert Buchanan, Director of the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center, a psychiatrist and researcher who has been working to find new treatments to improve social function over the past three decades.The findings were bolstered by an independent replication sample of 108 participants, which showed the same brain function findings as in the original sample.The study, known as the Social Processes Initiative in Neurobiology of the Schizophrenia(s) (SPINS) was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health as part of its Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) initiative.This study and other recent discoveries may provide a new platform to overcome the limited treatment innovation in psychiatry research over the past few decades, says Dr. Voineskos.”It’s great to see that a different approach may open a new window for treatment research. We can’t keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect a different result.”last_img read more

  • Demand for longacting reversible contraception seems to be on rise

    first_img Source: Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Feb 4 2019Not long after Donald Trump was elected president, descriptive reports began rolling in: Demand for long-acting, reversible contraception (LARCs) such as intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants seemed to be on the rise. But was this trend based on a real shift in women’s use of LARCs or just due to normal fluctuations in interest in IUDs and implants or due to other factors? A new, robust study conducted by investigators at Brigham and Women’s Hospital quantifies the increase, finding that rates went up by 21.6 percent in the 30 days after the election compared to rates at the same time of year in 2015. These results are published in JAMA Internal Medicine.”LARC methods are by far the most effective form of reversible birth control available. We have seen that when LARC is made more available to women, the rates of unintended pregnancies go down,” said corresponding author Lydia E. W. Pace, MD, a primary care physician in the Division of Women’s Health and General Internal Medicine and director of the Women’s Health Policy and Advocacy Program for the Connors Center for Women’s Health at Brigham. “Our study tells us something important about women’s health preferences in a changing political climate. Women responded to this political event by seeking out this method of contraception, perhaps because the threat of losing access expedited a decision or encouraged them to seek out a method they hadn’t previously considered.”Related StoriesUnisex, hormone-free contraceptive pill on the horizonSchwann cells capable of generating protective myelin over nerves finds researchWill ties to a Catholic hospital system tie doctors’ hands?Pace and colleagues used the IBM/Truven MarketScan Analytics Commercial Claims and Encounters Database to study more than 3 million women aged 18 to 45 with commercial insurance. The team compared rates of LARC insertions in this population for the 30 business days before and after November 8, 2015 with that same timespan before and after Election Day on November 8, 2016.The team found that the rates in 2015 changed little before and after Nov. 8, with an average of 12.9 per 100,000 women per day receiving LARC insertion before and 13.7 per 100,000 women per day receiving LARC insertion after that date. In 2016, however, the daily rate changed from 13.4 per 100,000 women before the election to 16.3 per 100,000 women after–a 21.6 percent increase. Compared to the change noted before and after November 8 in 2015, there were about 2.1 additional insertions per 100,00 women per day after the 2016 election.”If our findings were projected to the approximately 33 million women in the U.S. in this age range with employer-sponsored health insurance, this would correspond to 700 additional insertions per day in association with the 2016 election,” said Pace. “The changes in rate that we report here could reflect women’s concerns about losing contraceptive coverage under the Trump administration.”Pace is also the author of a recent opinion piece in Women’s Health Issues on the administration’s proposed legislation on contraception. That piece can be found here.last_img read more

  • AeroForm Tissue Expanders makes breast reconstruction after mastectomy more comfortable

    first_img Source: Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Mar 20 2019Henry Ford Cancer Institute is the first in Michigan to offer a needle-free, patient-controlled tissue expansion system for women undergoing breast reconstruction after mastectomy.The FDA-approved AeroForm Tissue Expanders eliminate the need for weekly saline injections at the physician’s office, improves patient comfort and may decrease the rate of expander infection. Instead, the system fills temporary implants with small doses of carbon dioxide triggered by a “medical wand” that patients can control at their own rate and comfort.Jessica Linders is a Henry Ford breast cancer patient who used the AeroForm Tissue Expanders. Because Linders had a genetic mutation, known as BRCA2, she decided to have a double mastectomy after she was diagnosed with an invasive and aggressive lobular breast cancer that had metastasized to the lymph nodes in her armpit. She is one of more than 100,000 women each year in the U.S. who have surgery to remove one or both cancerous breasts.Like 42 percent of women, Linders opted for reconstructive surgery after mastectomy – a process that often starts immediately at the time that the breast is removed.In her case, a temporary expander was inserted under the chest muscle to stretch the skin and the muscle in preparation for an eventual permanent implant.Traditionally, to stretch the tissue, patients would need to visit the plastic surgeon’s office for weekly fills with saline injections. In Linders’s case, AeroForm Tissue Expanders gave her control of her expansion process under the direction of her physician. There were no injections, no large weekly boluses of fluid, minimal pain, and decreased visits to the plastic surgeon’s office.In addition to anxiety related to enlarging a recent surgical site, painful cramps may occur when chest tissue is expanded quickly by saline injections.”It can feel torturous if a doctor gives 75 cc’s or more of saline during one office visit. And the sensitive area can remain painful and tight for 48-72 hours,” says Dunya Atisha, M.D., director, of Breast Reconstruction and Microsurgery at Henry Ford.But if the patient controls the process, it is less painful, she says. The woman regulates how much air is used and on what days it is used. Patients can pump themselves up a little each day, or they can take a break for a day or two.When Dr. Atisha explained how the new air-expander technology worked and compared it with saline expanders, Linders chose the air expander.”It was a done deal. Just knowing I didn’t have to have another needle stuck in my chest helped me make the decision,” says Linders.The concept of using expansion devices which did not require injections into a tissue expander was generated by a Silicon Valley plastic surgeon. Dr. Dan Jacob was concerned about his cancer patients who required needle injections to fill their saline expanders.Related StoriesBacteria in the birth canal linked to lower risk of ovarian cancerHealthy lifestyle lowers dementia risk despite genetic predispositionStudy reveals link between inflammatory diet and colorectal cancer risk”This technology revolutionizes the expansion process,” says Dr. Atisha. “The needle-free alternative is the first major change in breast tissue expansion in more than 40 years. This new system is the future of our field. It offers patients enhanced comfort and convenience, and it also provides women with a sense of control as they navigate their recovery from breast cancer.”In addition, it theoretically decreases the risk for infection as there is no need to inject a needle through the patient’s chest skin to get to the expander. It also minimizes the patient’s need to take time off from their day to day function due to several appointments and the recovery process of weekly saline injections.”Results from the XPAND clinical trial show that patients using the AeroForm device completed tissue expansion in a median of 21 days, compared to a median of 46 days for patients undergoing saline expansion. Also, women who used the AeroForm device progressed to breast implantation one month faster on average than the saline group.However, expansion varies depending on the size of the woman, the amount of volume needed and the patient’s comfort level. “Everyone’s experience is different and the time it takes someone to get to their goal varies,” says Dr. Atisha.To gradually stretch the skin on the chest wall using AeroForm Tissue Expanders, the woman holds a wireless device near her chest, and she presses a button to activate electronics inside the temporary implant. From a reservoir in the implant, compressed carbon dioxide is gradually released in small amounts into the expander. The process can be repeated three times a day.”It was cool that I could wave a medical wand over my breast and control the air flow as I expanded myself,” says Linders, a 41-year old Fenton resident and transition specialist for special education students. “It’s a little like blowing up a balloon. You can see the expansion and feel a little of the air pressure.””I’ve been 98 percent satisfied,” she says. The only downside was that a small amount of air was released each day, but it wasn’t a significant reduction.The released carbon dioxide is not harmful. Carbon dioxide is actually a byproduct of what we exhale with every breath, says Dr. Atisha.Linders used the AeroForm AirXpanders to stretch the skin on her chest for four weeks, and then the expansion process was complete.After chest expansion, the average patient will keep the expander implants in place for 2-3 months from says Dr. Atisha. However, patients who need chemotherapy and radiation will retain the implants for 9-12 months.”I would recommend this device to anyone undergoing breast reconstruction,” says Linders.last_img read more

  • The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust tops targets after adopting new imaging

    first_imgBefore we implemented the system we would have undoubtedly been ranked in the 20’s for ED and in the teens for inpatients.The fact that we are now one of the leading organizations for reporting in both ED and inpatients in the country is without a doubt directly proportional to the efficiencies that the Agfa Enterprise Imaging system is bringing combined with our great and proactive staff who continue to see the benefits of using it.The trust is now able to see more patients, more quickly and provide a faster and a highly efficient diagnostic service without compromising on quality.”​ Jun 20 2019The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust (PAHT) has been placed among the top six trusts nationwide in a review of radiology reporting standards in NHS organizations published by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).Radiology reports are fundamental to diagnosis in medical interventions, and timely reporting is crucial and requires radiologists to analyze and interpret medical images. The radiology department at PAHT processes 20,000 radiology images a month and has been in the forefront of adopting a new system, from Agfa Healthcare, which is being rolled out in the NHS.  New standards were published last year by the Royal College of Radiologists (RCR) after the CQC identified a lack of national standards in reporting radiology patient examinations. The RCR responded by developing a reporting framework. A range of standards were adopted including that reporting should prompt appropriate care and that the language used should be unambiguous. The result is to speed up diagnosis and treatment.Related Stories’Traffic light’ food labels associated with reduction in calories purchased by hospital employeesStudy looks at impact of hospital readmissions penalties on targeted surgical conditionsHave cancer, must travel: Patients left in lurch after hospital closesThe CQC has since published reporting figures for trusts. The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust has been placed second in the country place for the proportion of patient images reported within the 24 hours target for inpatient services and in sixth place for the proportion of emergency department (ED) images reported within the four-hour target.The PAHT radiology teams have worked hard as part of a cohort of early adopters of the software, which was rolled out last year.Dr Sri Redla, consultant radiologist and associate medical director for cancer, cardiology and clinical support services at the trust said: Stephen Townrow, Imaging Systems Manager added: Within just a few months of using the system the Trust has been able to significantly improve patient care. Resources are used effectively to ensure examinations are reported in an appropriate timeframe as recommended by NHS England’s National Review of Radiology Reporting. Using Enterprise Imaging means that we often have reporting completed in real-time, which means zero backlog of images requiring reports.” Source:The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trustlast_img read more

  • Machine learning identifies bugs that spread Chagas disease

    first_imgBecause this model is able to understand, based on pixel tones and colors, what is involved in one image, it can take out the information and analyze it in a way the model can understand — and then you give them other images to test and it can identify them with a really good identification rate. That’s without preprocessing — you just start with raw images, which is awesome. That was the goal. Previously, it was impossible to do the same thing as accurately and certainly not without preprocessing the images.”Ali Khalighifar, a KU doctoral student at the Biodiversity Institute and the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Jun 20 2019New research from the University of Kansas shows machine learning is capable of identifying insects that spread the incurable disease called Chagas with high precision, based on ordinary digital photos. The idea is to give public health officials where Chagas is prevalent a new tool to stem the spread of the disease and eventually to offer identification services directly to the general public.Chagas is particularly nasty because most people who have it don’t know they’ve been infected. But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some 20 percent to 30 percent of the 8 million people with Chagas worldwide are struck at some later point with heart rhythm abnormalities that can bring on sudden death; dilated hearts that don’t pump blood efficiently; or a dilated esophagus or colon.The disease is caused most often when triatomine bugs — more commonly known as “kissing bugs” — bite people and transmit the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi into their bloodstreams. Chagas is most prevalent in rural areas of Mexico, Central America and South America.A recent undertaking at KU, called the Virtual Vector Project, sought to enable public health officials to identify triatomine that carry Chagas with their smartphones, using a kind of portable photo studio for taking pictures of the bugs.Now, a graduate student at KU has built on that project with proof-of-concept research showing artificial intelligence can recognize 12 Mexican and 39 Brazilian species of kissing bugs with high accuracy by analyzing ordinary photos — an advantage for officials looking to cut the spread of Chagas disease.Ali Khalighifar, a KU doctoral student at the Biodiversity Institute and the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, headed a team that just published findings in the Journal of Medical Entomology. To identify the kissing bugs from regular photos, Khalighfar and his colleagues worked with open-source, deep-learning software from Google, called TensorFlow that is similar to the technology underpinning Google’s reverse image search. Khalighifar and his coauthors — Ed Komp, researcher at KU’s Information and Telecommunication Technology Center, Janine M. Ramsey of Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Salud Publica, Rodrigo Gurgel-Gonçalves of Brazil’s Universidade de Brasília, and A. Townsend Peterson, KU Distinguished Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and senior curator with the KU Biodiversity Institute — trained their algorithm with 405 images of Mexican triatomine species and 1,584 images of Brazilian triatomine species.Related StoriesAI coach feasible and useful for behavioral counseling of teens in weight-loss programMachine learning can be a modern approach in cognitive brain health assessmentResearchers use artificial intelligence to predict molecular classification of colorectal cancerAt first, the team was able to achieve, “83.0 and 86.7 percent correct identification rates across all Mexican and Brazilian species, respectively, an improvement over comparable rates from statistical classifiers,” they write. But after adding information about kissing bugs’ geographic distributions into the algorithm, the researchers boosted the accuracy of identification to 95.8 percent for Mexican species and 98.9 percent for Brazilian species.According to Khalighifar, the algorithm-based technology could allow public health officials and others to identify triatomine species with an unprecedented level of accuracy, to better understand disease vectors on the ground.”In the future, we’re hoping to develop an application or a web platform of this model that is constantly trained based on the new images, so it’s always being updated, that provides high-quality identifications to any interested user in real time,” he said.Khalighifar now is applying a similar approach using TensorFlow for instant identification of mosquitoes based on the sounds of their wings and frogs based on their calls.”I’m working right now on mosquito recordings,” he said. “I’ve shifted from image processing to signal processing of recordings of the wing beats of mosquitoes. We get the recordings of mosquitoes using an ordinary cell phone, and then we convert them from recordings to images of signals. Then we use TensorFlow to identify the mosquito species. The other project that I’m working right now is frogs, with Dr. Rafe Brown at the Biodiversity Institute. And we are designing the same system to identify those species based on the calls given by each species.”While often artificial intelligence is popularly portrayed as a job-killing threat or even an existential threat to humanity, Khalighifar said his research showed how AI could be a boon to scientists studying biodiversity.”It’s amazing — AI really is capable of doing everything, for better or for worse,” he said. “There are uses appearing that are scary, like identifying Muslim faces on the street. Imagine, if we can identify frogs or mosquitoes, how easy it might be to identify human voices. So, there are certainly dark sides of AI. But this study shows a positive AI application — we’re trying to use the good side of that technology to promote biodiversity conservation and support public health work.” Source:University of KansasJournal reference:Khalighifar, A. et al. (2019) Deep Learning Algorithms Improve Automated Identification of Chagas Disease Vectors. Journal of Medical Entomology. read more

  • Family members drugs may be risk factor for overdose in individuals without prescriptions

    first_imgWhen prescriptions are filled and there are extra pills in the medicine cabinet, family members with access to those medications could overdose or become dependent. But few studies have systematically examined and quantified this risk.”Joshua Gagne, PharmD, ScD, Pharmacoepidemiologist, Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics, Brigham and Women’s Hospital Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jul 17 2019According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioid overdoses were responsible for more than 42,000 deaths in 2016. Access to family members’ drugs may be a strong risk factor for overdose in individuals without their own prescriptions, according to a new study by investigators from Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Their findings were published recently in JAMA Internal Medicine. Related StoriesOpioids are major cause of pregnancy-related deaths in UtahBirth, child outcomes linked with maternal opioid use during pregnancyParental opioid use doubles the risk of suicide attempts by their childrenThe Brigham investigators drew from the health care utilization data from a large commercial insurance company in the United States, spanning 2004-2015. A total of 2,303 individuals who overdosed on opioids were matched with 9,212 controls, and all participants had no prior opioid prescriptions of their own. The investigators found that opioid dispensing to family members on the same health insurance plan was associated with a 2.89-fold increase in odds of an individual without a prescription overdosing. The association was present regardless of age; both children and adults were likelier to overdose if a family member had an opioid prescription.The researchers looked exclusively at family members on the same health insurance plan. They acknowledged that they could not confirm whether the overdose was related to the family member’s prescription or whether the opioids were obtained illicitly. In addition, they were unable to determine whether family members resided in the same household, which would have impacted the accessibility of the drugs.The investigators hope that their findings can inform preventative strategies for combatting opioid misuse. Interventions may focus on expanding access to opioid antagonists, safely storing prescription opioids in the home, and providing greater patient education to limit overdose among family members. In addition, they cited that opioid prescriptions should be limited to the number of pills a patient needs, reducing the number of excess drugs being available.”Effective communication by physicians, pharmacists, nurses or public service announcements could increase awareness of opioids as a risk factor for family member overdose. Education is essential for reducing accidental exposure and misuse,” said Gagne. Source:Brigham and Women’s HospitalJournal reference:Khan, N.F et al. Association of Opioid Overdose With Opioid Prescriptions to Family Members. JAMA Internal Medicine.​last_img read more

  • Russian hackers hunt hitech secrets exploiting US weakness

    Retired Air Force Maj. Gen. James Poss, speaks in his home office in Ocean Springs, Miss., on Jan. 17, 2018. Poss, whose Gmail was nearly compromised in a phishing attempt, said that military spying is now far easier than when somebody needed to carry blueprints or photographs out of office buildings. “You’d need maybe 2,000 spies to do in the real world what a small group of cyberspies can do,” he says. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) This combination of photos shows an Air Force F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jet, left, an MQ-9 Reaper/”Predator B” drone, right, and an X-37B unmanned spacecraft, bottom. Data supplied by the cybersecurity firm Secureworks shows Fancy Bear’s hacking targets included defense contractor employees at Lockheed Martin, General Atomics, and Boeing, involved in the development of these systems. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, Heather Ainsworth, U.S. Air Force via AP) Jessica Balik, left, and Keven Gambold, right, CEO of Unmanned Experts, prepare a drone for a demonstration at the Searchlight airport in Searchlight, Nev., on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. Gambold, a hacking target, said his own company is so worried about hacking that “we’ve almost gone back in time to use stand-alone systems if we’re processing client proprietary data—we’re FedEx’ing hard drives around.” (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken) Some officials were particularly upset by the failure to notify employees of cloud computing companies that handle data for intelligence agencies. The cloud is a “huge target for foreign intelligence services in general—they love to get into that shared environment,” said Sowell, the former adviser to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.”At some point, wouldn’t someone who’s responsible for the defense contractor base be aware of this and try to reach out?” he asked.Even successful hacks might not translate into new weapons for Russia, where the economy is weighed down by corruption and international sanctions.However, experts say Russia, while still behind the U.S., has been making more advanced drones in recent years. Russian officials have recently been bragging as their increasingly sophisticated drones are spotted over war zones in Ukraine and Syria.At a 2017 air show outside Moscow, plans were announced for a new generation of Russian combat drones.Rogozin, the deputy prime minister, boasted that the technological gap between Russia and the United States “has been sharply reduced and will be completely eliminated in the near future.” Less than two weeks later, Fancy Bear tried to penetrate the Gmail account of a senior engineer on the X-37B project at Boeing.Fancy Bear has also tried to hack into the emails of several members of the Arlington, Virginia-based Aerospace Industries Association, including its president, former Army Secretary Eric Fanning. It went after Lt. Gen. Mark Shackelford, who has served in the military and aerospace industry as a corporate board member. He has been involved with major weapons and space programs like SpaceX, the reusable orbital rocket company founded by billionaire tech entrepreneur Elon Musk.Along another path, the hackers chased people who work on cloud-based services, the off-site computer networks that enable collaborators to easily access and juggle data.In 2013, the CIA signed a $600 million deal with web giant Amazon to build a system to share secure data across the U.S. intelligence community. Other spy services followed, and the government cleared them last year to move classified data to the cloud at the “secret” level—a step below the nation’s most sensitive information.Fancy Bear’s target list suggests the Russians have noticed these developments.The hackers tried to get into the Gmail accounts of a cloud compliance officer at Palantir and a manager of cloud platform operations at SAP National Security Services, two companies that do extensive government work. Another target was at Mellanox Federal Systems, which helps the government with high-speed storage networks, data analysis and cloud computing. Its clients include the FBI and other intelligence agencies.Yet of the 31 targets reached by the AP, just one got any warning from U.S. officials.”They said we have a Fancy Bear issue we need to talk about,” said security consultant Bill Davidson. He said an Air Force cybersecurity investigator inspected his computer shortly after the 2015 phishing attempt but found no sign that it succeeded. He believes he was contacted because his name was recognized at the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, where he used to work. What ultimately may have been stolen is uncertain, but the hackers clearly exploited a national vulnerability in cybersecurity: poorly protected email and barely any direct notification to victims.The hackers known as Fancy Bear, who also intruded in the U.S. election, went after at least 87 people working on militarized drones, missiles, rockets, stealth fighter jets, cloud-computing platforms or other sensitive activities, the AP found.Employees at both small companies and defense giants like Lockheed Martin Corp., Raytheon Co., Boeing Co., Airbus Group and General Atomics were targeted by the hackers. A handful of people in Fancy Bear’s sights also worked for trade groups, contractors in U.S.-allied countries or on corporate boards.”The programs that they appear to target and the people who work on those programs are some of the most forward-leaning, advanced technologies,” said Charles Sowell, a former senior adviser to the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence, who reviewed the list of names for the AP. “And if those programs are compromised in any way, then our competitive advantage and our defense is compromised.””That’s what’s really scary,” added Sowell, who was one of the hacking targets.The AP identified the defense and security targets from about 19,000 lines of email phishing data created by hackers and collected by the U.S.-based cybersecurity company Secureworks, which calls the hackers Iron Twilight. The data is partial and extends only from March 2015 to May 2016. Of 87 scientists, engineers, managers and others, 31 agreed to be interviewed by the AP.Most of the targets’ work was classified. Yet as many as 40 percent of them clicked on the hackers’ phishing links, the AP analysis indicates. That was the first step in potentially opening their personal email accounts or computer files to data theft by the digital spies. 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. Countries like Russia are racing to make better drones as the remote-control aircraft have moved to the forefront of modern warfare. They can fire missiles, hunt down adversaries, or secretly monitor targets for days—all while keeping human pilots safely behind computer controls.The U.S. Air Force now needs more pilots for drones than for any other single type of aircraft, a training official said last year. Drones will lead growth in the aerospace industry over the next decade, with military uses driving the boom, the Teal Group predicted in November. Production was expected to balloon from $4.2 billion to $10.3 billion.So far, though, Russia has nothing that compares with the new-generation U.S. Reaper, which has been called “the most feared” U.S. drone. General Atomics’ 5,000-pound mega-drone can fly more than 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) to deliver Hellfire missiles and smart bombs. It has seen action in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.The hackers went after General Atomics, targeting a drone sensor specialist. He did not respond to requests for comment.They also made a run at the Gmail account of Michael Buet, an electronics engineer who has worked on ultra-durable batteries and high-altitude drones for SunCondor, a small South Carolina company owned by Star Technology and Research. Such machines could be a useful surveillance tool for a country like Russia, with its global military engagements and vast domestic border frontier.”This bird is quite unique,” said Buet. “It can fly at 62,000 feet (18,600 meters) and doesn’t land for five years.”The Russians also appeared eager to catch up in space, once an arena for Cold War competition in the race for the moon. They seemed to be carefully eyeing the X-37B, an American unmanned space plane that looks like a miniature shuttle but is shrouded in secrecy.In a reference to an X-37B flight in May 2015, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin invoked the vehicle as evidence that his country’s space program was faltering. “The United States is pushing ahead,” he warned Russian lawmakers. Citation: Russian hackers hunt hi-tech secrets, exploiting US weakness (2018, February 7) retrieved 18 July 2019 from Explore further Keven Gambold, CEO of Unmanned Experts, demonstrates how to fly a drone at the Searchlight airport in Searchlight, Nev., on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. Gambold, a hacking target, said the Russians might be counting on espionage to catch up with the Americans. “This would allow them to leapfrog years of hard-won experience,” he said. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken) “I clicked on it and instantly knew that I had been had,” the retired Air Force major general said. Poss says he realized his mistake before entering his credentials, which would have exposed his email to the hackers.Hackers predominantly targeted personal Gmail, with a few corporate accounts mixed in.Personal accounts can convey snippets of classified information, whether through carelessness or expediency. They also can lead to other more valuable targets or carry embarrassing personal details that can be used for blackmail or to recruit spies.Drone consultant Keven Gambold, a hacking target himself, said the espionage could help Russia catch up with the Americans. “This would allow them to leapfrog years of hard-won experience,” he said.He said his own company is so worried about hacking that “we’ve almost gone back in time to use stand-alone systems if we’re processing client proprietary data—we’re FedEx’ing hard drives around.”The AP has previously reported on Fancy Bear’s attempts to break into the Gmail accounts of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, American national security officials, journalists, and Kremlin critics and adversaries around the world. U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded the hackers worked for the Kremlin and stole U.S. campaign email to tilt the 2016 election toward Donald Trump—all of which Russian leader Vladimir Putin has denied.But the hackers clearly had broader aims. Fifteen of the targets identified by the AP worked on drones—the single largest group of weapons specialists. In this Monday, Jan. 11, 2016 file photo, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin holds a model of an S-300 surface-to-air missile system at a news conference in Belgrade, Serbia. In May 2015, Rogozin invoked the X-37B unmanned space plane as evidence that his country’s space program was faltering. “The United States is pushing ahead,” he warned Russian lawmakers. Less than two weeks later, the hacking group Fancy Bear tried to penetrate the Gmail account of a senior engineer on the X-37B project at Boeing. (Marina Lopicic/Kurir via AP) Report: Dutch spies caught Russian hackers on tape © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The FBI declined to give on-the-record details of its response to this Russian operation. Agency spokeswoman Jillian Stickels said the FBI does sometimes notify individual targets. “The FBI takes … all potential threats to public and private sector systems very seriously,” she said in an email.However, three people familiar with the matter—including a current and a former government official—previously told the AP that the FBI knew the details of Fancy Bear’s phishing campaign for more than a year.Pressed about notification in that case, a senior FBI official, who was not authorized to publicly discuss the hacking operation because of its sensitivity, said the bureau was overwhelmed by the sheer number of attempted hacks. “It’s a matter of triaging to the best of our ability the volume of the targets who are out there,” he said.A Pentagon spokeswoman, Heather Babb, said she could release no details about any Defense Department response, citing “operational security reasons.” But she said the department recognizes the evolving cyber threat and continues to update training and technology. “This extends to all of our workforce—military, civilian and contractor,” she added.The Defense Security Service, which protects classified U.S. technology and trains industry in computer security, focuses on safeguarding corporate computer networks. “We simply have no insight into or oversight of anyone’s personal email accounts or how they are protected or notified when something is amiss,” spokeswoman Cynthia McGovern said in an email.Contacted by the AP, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Boeing, Airbus and General Atomics did not respond to requests for comment.Jerome Pearson, a space system and drone developer, acknowledged that he has not focused on security training at his company, Star Technology, where Buet has consulted. “No, we really haven’t done that,” he said with a nervous laugh. “We may be a little bit remiss in that area.” He said they may do training for future contracts.Cybersecurity experts say it’s no surprise that spies go after less secure personal email as an opening to more protected systems. “For a good operator, it’s like hammering a wedge,” said Richard Ford, chief scientist at the Forcepoint cybersecurity company. “Private email is the soft target.” Russian cyberspies pursuing the secrets of military drones and other sensitive U.S. defense technology tricked key contract workers into exposing their email to theft, an Associated Press investigation has found. Retired Air Force Maj. Gen. James Poss, speaks about a hacking attempt on him, and the danger of such attacks in general, in his home office in Ocean Springs, Miss., on Jan. 17, 2018. An expert with three decades of experience in the military, Poss now consults on drones and intelligence. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) James Poss, who ran a partnership doing drone research for the Federal Aviation Administration, was about to catch a taxi to the 2015 Paris Air Show when what appeared to be a Google security alert materialized in his inbox. Distracted, he moved his cursor to the blue prompt on his laptop. read more

  • Tech firm offers new hires student loan assistance to make Bay Area

    The situation is even more daunting in the Bay Area. A smaller Apartment List survey of young renters in the San Francisco metro area—including Alameda, Marin, Contra Costa and San Mateo counties—found recent college grads with no debt will spend 12 years saving for a home. Recent college grads with debt will spend 27 years.”Even for college grads without debt, they’re still in a pretty tough spot,” said Apartment List housing economist Chris Salviati. “And then adding student loans on top of that really makes it an untenable position for a lot of these Millennials.”The amount of money Americans owe in student loans nearly tripled between 2006 and 2017—from $500 billion to almost $1.5 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Meanwhile, salaries and housing prices are not keeping pace. Since 1980, the median family income in the U.S. has increased by 25 percent, while the median home price has jumped by 60 percent and the average cost of undergraduate tuition has increased by 160 percent, according to Apartment List.In California, the average 2016 graduate had almost $22,744 in debt, according to the Institute for College Access & Success. But many grads have much more. One employee using the platform owes a whopping $563,000 in student loans—the highest amount on the platform, Thompson said.As the student debt burden grows, more companies are taking notice. has seen its client base increase by 20 times this year compared to the year before, Thompson said.Nvidia, the Santa Clara-based chip company known for its graphics and self-driving car technology, offers to reimburse employees who have graduated within the past three years up to $6,000 a year for student loan payments using a platform powered by EdAssist. The reimbursements are taxable, according to the company’s website.Fidelity Investments in September launched a similar pilot program for employers who want to help workers pay off their debt.Santa Clara-based education-tech company Chegg offers employees $1,000 a year toward loan repayment through the platform. About 20 percent of Chegg’s 450 U.S. employees have student debt, and nearly all take advantage of the company’s repayment program, Chegg chief people officer Jenny Brandemuehl said.”We have people in their early 30s that have families that are still paying off student debt,” she said.The program also is a major draw for job candidates, Brandemuehl said.Loan repayment perks can even reduce office turnover, said’s Thompson. In workplaces where at least 100 employees have used the platform for 12 months, the average turnover is 40 percent lower for workers who receive the debt assistance compared to those who do not, Thompson said.Coupa’s launch of its student loan repayment program stemmed in part from a realization by upper management that “it’s really hard to work here,” said Coupa executive vice president Ray Martinelli.”Whatever we can do to reduce costs on a monthly basis for employees, regardless of who they are, we believe helps with affordability in the Bay Area,” he said, “because it’s just so outrageous.” Explore further ©2018 The Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. New report details experiences of graduates with student loan debt during the Great Recession Citation: Tech firm offers new hires student loan assistance to make Bay Area more affordable (2018, May 5) retrieved 18 July 2019 from San Mateo-based Coupa Software this year rolled out a new program that contributes $50 a month toward eligible employees’ student debt, and other local companies including Nvidia, Chegg and Hewlett-Packard have similar perks. It’s a service in high demand as Americans owe nearly $1.5 trillion in student loan debt, and paying down those loans—especially in the pricey Bay Area—can make it difficult to afford rent or to buy a home.”You can’t imagine saving for a house,” said Scott Thompson, CEO at San Mateo-based student loan repayment startup “Forget saving for retirement, if you’re struggling on a daily basis with paying off the debt.”Many companies already contribute money to their employees’ 401(k) plans, but student debt—not future retirement—is often a more pressing issue for today’s young workers.’s platform, launched about three years ago, helps companies figure out how much student debt their employees have, set up loan-repayment plans and facilitate the payments. It announced a deal in February with Coupa Software, and so far, 62 out of Coupa’s 475 U.S. employees have signed up.Justin Stern, a 25-year-old financial analyst at Coupa, expects the new program will help him pay off his debt up to two years faster. Stern pays about $250 a month toward his student loans, on top of the $2,200 he pays monthly for the 500-square-foot apartment he shares with his girlfriend in San Mateo. The student loan payment has a major impact on his finances, Stern said.”It definitely is another expense that is hindering moving forward on any other financial goals—buying a house, getting a new car,” he said.Stern isn’t alone. According to a national renter survey conducted by Apartment List, recent college graduates without debt will spend eight years saving for a 20 percent down payment on a condo—but those saddled with student debt will take 12 years. Sexy office perks like free food, gym classes and tropical retreats are so last year. These days, a growing number of companies are offering employees a more practical incentive—helping them pay off their student loans. 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. read more

  • All of a flutter Chinese bet big on World Cup

    first_imgXia converted his auto dealership into a “lottery shop” six years ago and business has boomed during the World Cup, with hundreds of thousands of yuan being bet daily—more than 10 times the stakes for a normal day.Despite the absence of home interest, the World Cup “has brought out the passion from people who were not interested in football before”, he told AFP.”Everyone is watching it. People who didn’t bet are all betting now,” said the 59-year-old Shanghai local, who also has cashiers taking bets over the phone.Like punters all over the world, many gamblers in China lost a packet during some of the tournament’s more surprising results, especially the demise of defending champions Germany, who failed to get out of the group stage for the first time since 1938.Li Feng, a gambler who has rigged up a big screen at his fried chicken joint to show the games, said he had lost 1,000 yuan betting on Die Mannschaft to beat the unfancied South Koreans in the group stage.But in one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history, South Korea beat the footballing superpower 2-0 with two late goals to break German hearts—and Li’s. China has spent 28.6 billion yuan in football betting in the three weeks up to July 1, dwarfing the less than five billion wagered in the three weeks previous to that, according to figures from the China Sports Lottery Management Centre China may not have a team at the World Cup in Russia but this has not dampened the enthusiasm of the country’s gamblers, with bets in the first three weeks already outstripping the whole of the 2014 tournament in Brazil.Energetic betting in these technically illegal, but officially sanctioned shops reflects the prevailing attitude towards sports, which are seen as a chance to make money as much as a spectacle to be enjoyed.Before the first knockout game between France and Argentina, punters—known as caimin, or “lottery citizens”, in Chinese—queued up to place large bets.Gao Liushun, 55, had previously lost a bundle on Argentina, so doubled down on an Argentinian win because “I need to win back what I lost, right?”He lost 1,000 yuan ($150) after France’s thrilling 4-3 victory, his heaviest loss of the World Cup so far.Fellow gambler Xia Junmin, a 25-year-old freelancer, lost five times that amount after wagering on a draw.Underground bettingThe World Cup-inspired surge in betting is borne out in the official figures. Citation: All of a flutter: Chinese bet big on World Cup (2018, July 4) retrieved 18 July 2019 from China has spent 28.6 billion yuan in football betting in the three weeks up to July 1, dwarfing the less than five billion wagered in the three weeks previous to that, according to figures from the China Sports Lottery Management Centre.This is more than double the roughly 11.5 billion yuan wagered during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and does not take into account underground betting and syndicated gambling, which is widespread in the country.China’s underground gambling networks are often cited as an impetus for match-fixing incidents worldwide, usually in obscure leagues but also in Italy’s Serie A and occasionally in World Cup qualifiers.Although all gambling is technically illegal in China, it is permitted in the country’s hundreds and thousands of “lottery shops”.These are run by China’s Sports Administration with part of the proceeds ploughed back into sport ranging from financing stadiums to training the next generation of Chinese athletes.However, the government remains vigilant and dozens of unauthorised “lottery ticket” apps, which enable punters to place a bet with a single click, were closed down in the first week of the World Cup. Chart showing sales of football lottery in China. “No sane person would have bet on South Korea to win,” he complained bitterly.Gao Liushan, a regular at the bookies, said he was disappointed that China did not make it to the World Cup finals this time around.”To be frank, China not making it was harmful to us,” he said.”But President Xi Jinping said don’t forget your first love. The Chinese dream will be realised one day. I also believe in Chinese football. The dream will be realised in the near future.” © 2018 AFP China may not have a team at the World Cup in Russia but this has not dampened the enthusiasm of the country’s gamblers, with bets in the first three weeks already outstripping the whole of the 2014 tournament in Brazil ‘Everyone is watching it’ Fans watch the 2018 Russia World Cup round of 16 football match between Brazil and Mexico at a China Sports Lottery outlet in Shanghai China web firms odds-on winners with World Cup gambling At Xia Lugen’s run-down, smoky betting shop in downtown Shanghai, hordes of young men cluster around banks of computers, as betting slips and a huge World Cup chart adorn the walls and a projector beams matches onto a makeshift screen. 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.last_img read more

  • No farms no food

    first_img Citation: No farms, no food (2018, September 5) retrieved 17 July 2019 from AgroPad: A set of circles on the back of the card provide colorimetric test results; the color of each circle represents the amount of a particular chemical in the sample. Credit: IBM This story is republished courtesy of IBM Research. Read the original story here. Database analysis more reliable than animal testing for toxic chemicals Provided by IBM Explore further My team set out to find a way to simplify the testing process and make it affordable for small farmers to monitor the health of their soil and water. Our prototype, the AgroPad, enables real-time, on-location, chemical analysis of a soil or water sample, using AI.So – how does it work?A drop of water or soil sample is placed on the AgroPad, which is a paper device about the size of a business card. The microfluidics chip inside the card performs on-the-spot a chemical analysis of the sample, providing results in less than 10 seconds.The set of circles on the back of the card provide colorimetric test results; the color of each circle represents the amount of a particular chemical in the sample. Using a smartphone, the farmer would then take a single snapshot of the AgroPad by using a dedicated mobile application and immediately receives a chemical test result.AgroPad: “AI on the edge”This “AI on the edge” computing approach uses machine learning and machine vision algorithms to translate the measured color composition and intensity into concentrations of chemicals in the sample, making it more reliable than tests based on human vision alone. Test data can be simultaneously streamed onto a cloud computing platform and labeled with a digital tag that uniquely identifies the time, location and results of the chemical analysis. The cloud platform allows management and integration of millions of individual tests performed at various times and locations. This is an important feature for monitoring, for example, the change in fertilizer concentration in a particular region throughout the year.We currently have a five-parameter prototype solution for soil and water testing that measures pH, nitrogen dioxide, aluminum, magnesium and chlorine. We’re continually extending the library of chemical indicators available for deployment; each AgroPad could be personalized based on the needs of the individual user.Since the paper-based tests can be reliably performed by non-experts, public data collection with instant digitization in chemical sensing becomes a real possibility. Along with low cost, mass production of the paper based device and large scale deployment through mobile and cloud technologies, the exploratory prototype could revolutionize digital agriculture and environmental testing. Agriculture consumes more than 70 percent of the world’s annual water usage. With small farms producing nearly 80 percent of food for the developing world, ensuring the quality and safety of our water supply is critical. Environmental analysis for agriculture often relies on expensive and time-consuming laboratory tests performed far away from the farm. As a result, chemical analysis is quickly outdated and limited to small sample numbers. 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

  • Ground report from Mumbai building collapse site

    first_imgOther Videos from India 03:34 Wed, 17 Jul, 2019 Death toll in Mumbai building collapse touches 10 03:21 Tue, 16 Jul, 2019 After Jai Shri Ram row, now war over Hanuman Chalisa in Howrah 03:44 Tue, 16 Jul, 2019 BJP, TMC workers clash in Bengal’s North 24 Parganas district 01:45 Tue, 16 Jul, 2019 Mumbai building collapse: PM Modi offers condolences to victims’ kin 05:17 Tue, 16 Jul, 2019 Four-storey building collapses in Mumbai, over 40 trapped 01:50 Tue, 16 Jul, 2019 Pakistan reopens its airspace for civilian traffic 03:04 Tue, 16 Jul, 2019 Find solution for water crisis, look beyond politics, Modi directs MPs in BJP parliamentary meet 04:02 Mon, 15 Jul, 2019 Pakistan’s anti-terror court grants bail to 26/11 Mumbai attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed Load More Other Video CategoriesIndiaSportsWorldMoviesSo SorryTelevisionlast_img read more

  • Rahul Gandhi visits floodhit Kerala

    first_imgFile Photo of Congress president Rahul Gandhi.   –  The Hindu Visit various relief camps in the two-day tour Congress president Rahul Gandhi arrived here on a two-day visit to the flood-ravaged areas of the state, particularly the central and northern parts.He is scheduled to board a helicopter and reach Chengannur in Alappuzha district where he will visit a relief camp at the Engineering College, at 10.30 am. Then, he will visit Edanad village in Chengannur and, later, a relief camp at the Camelot Convention Centre in Alappuzha where he would felicitate a group of fishermen for their contribution to the rescue operations.At 1.30 pm, Gandhi will visit a relief camp at the LEO XIII School, Alappuzha, and take off to Thrissur district where he will visit TRS Puram, Chalakudy, at 3.30 pm. He will then meet people at relief camp in Saint Francis Assisi School, Paravoor, Ernakulam, and nearby Kerala Auditorium, before retiring for the day.On Wednesday, Gandhi will flag off a convoy of relief material trucks at Marine Drive, Kochi, and take off for Wayanad where he will visit the relief camp at Kothara town at 11 am. He will later touch down at the last stopover at the relief camp at Kolaval Colony in Wayanad before flying back to New Delhi. August 28, 2018 flood COMMENTS COMMENT Kerala Floods Published on Kerala SHARE SHARE SHARE EMAILlast_img read more