Whereas Pokémon Go was built around finding and capturing creatures andthen battling in game-world gyms, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite takes it up a notchwith the RPG elements, as well as the ability to “unite” with otherplayers in team-based challenges.Here is where Niantic could fail to catch lightning in a bottle theway it has done with its past AR games. Die-hard HarryPotter fans may appreciate the ability to create character. Still, theleveling up of said characters — dealing with skill trees and then theturn-based combat — could bring the real-world adventure to a grinding halt if it means constantly looking down at the screen to engage in activity.Yet, for legions of Potter fans, this might not be an issue.”People loved going out for Pokémon hunting, and there is pent-updemand for a location-based augmented reality game,” said Ted Pollak,game industry senior analyst at Jon Peddie Research.”It might not have the same impact as Pokémon Go, as it was partiallythe new technology of location-based AR gaming itself that caused someof its success, but this could still have mass appeal,” he told TechNewsWorld.”Adding the RPG element is probably a good thing to keep peopleengaged,” added Pollak. “That was one of Pokémon Go’s weaknesses, asthe novelty of the hunting wore out eventually.” Casting Future Spells The AR features are optional, meaning that players candisable or ignore them without impacting the core gameplayexperience.”Developers have chosen to implement AR this way for two main reasons:First, AR is still relatively new — a significant percentage ofsmartphones do not currently support this technology, and requiring itmeans losing these consumers as potential users,” Hanich explained.”Second, while gamers are much more interested in AR than non-gamers,they don’t find it universally appealing,” she added.In U.S. homes with broadband, roughly half of the heads of household who played games for an hour or more per week rated “seeingand interacting with game characters as if they were in front of youin the real world” as appealing (rating 5-7 on a 7 point scale), while athird found it unappealing (rating 1-3), Parks Associates found.”In the future, AR-first gaming may prove to be wildly successful, butbefore that happens, AR-capable smartphones need to become more widelyadopted, and game developers need to figure which AR features moststrongly resonate with their players,” said Hanich, “and as always, the core gameplay experience will be king.” Perhaps the greatest selling point of the game is that Harry Potter:Wizards Unite promises an adventure in the real world. Of course the”real magic” will come not from spells or a wand, but from the power ofAR and a handset screen.In J.K. Rowling’s world, the magical realmexists side-by-side with the non-magical world, and through AR playersare able to cross over.”Since Pokémon Go first launched in 2016, we’ve seen a number of otherAR games launch as well,” said Kristen Hanich, senior analyst at ParksAssociates.However, none have risen to the same level of success, and evenPokémon Go was “successful mainly because of its tie-in to theextremely popular Pokémon brand, as well as its core gameplayelements,” she told TechNewsWorld.The question is whether this game could be too ambitious for today’sAR technology.”AR games should be best with AR glasses, but most of those suck or aretargeted at industrial applications, and playing AR Harry Potter on aphone or tablet won’t have the same level of magic,” said Rob Enderle,principal analyst at the Enderle Group.”Pokémon Go lent itself to using a phone, but if you want to do magic, thentruly engaging with the content would, I think, be more of arequirement,” he told TechNewsWorld.”So, while I think it has a lot of potential, the lack of AR glassesand high expectations set by the video — that likely won’t be met — willmake this a problematic game to bring to market,” Enderle added.Of course, venturing into the world with today’s VR headsets is notpractical, and even the now-defunct Google Glass really wasn’t up tothe task of allowing for an AR experience that could simulatethe magic of Rowling’s world effectively.”The big issue with this game is that the video sets expectations at alevel that we just can’t execute yet, and disappointment tends to wipeout the advocates you need to get to a critical mass of regularplayers,” noted Enderle. The game’s biggest impact might be in highlighting how AR could beused with other properties — everything fromsuperhero franchises to Star Wars.”This game type could translate into hundreds of different genres, andthis would allow the games to appeal to people of many differentinterests — from cars to toys to hunting and fishing,” said Jon PeddieResearch’s Pollak.”Augmented reality gaming that is accessible to the mass market willonly get better over time, and these games are leading the charge,” headded.Given the success of Niantic’s past games, even if this one isn’t asmash hit, it could serve as a portent for how AR could be used forfuture titles.”Consumers and developers are becoming more familiar with AR and itspossibilities,” said Hanich.”However, we’ve seen that the most successful AR apps to date offer ARas an optional add-on. Niantic’s games — Ingress, Pokémon Go, and now Wizards Unite — are much more location-based games than AR-based,”she noted. To get started, players will be able to choose their wizarding houses. Gryffindor likely will be a fan favorite, but don’t rule out Slytherin, Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff. Potter purists, who believe they shouldn’t choose, can go to the Harry Potter official website and have theenchanted Sorting Hat place them in the house best suited to their magical background.The next step will be to choose an appropriate wand for castingspells. As any would-be wizard knows, this can take someconsideration. However, both wands and houses can be switched at anytime. This is the era of self-expression, so clearly the game’sdevelopers don’t want to lock players into anything.Where this game takes a notable turn from the more simplisticgathering gameplay of Pokémon Go is in the ability to assume a profession,such as professor, auror (an officer with the Department ofMagical Law Enforcement of the Ministry of Magic) or magizoolgist.Players also can snap a selfie and edit the photo to outfit themselveswith witch or wizard attire. Then, like magic, it is time to play. In the context of the Harry Potter series, a Muggle is a person lackingany magical ability or who was not born in a magical family. The gamecertainly could give our real world Muggles the ability to feel abit magical.”Like Pokémon, Harry Potter is a highly popular media franchise,particularly among millennials,” Parks’ Hanich added.”The brand does not have quite the same universal appeal as Pokémon,but it does have a core group of fans who are deeply involved in thelore of the world,” she pointed out.”A complex role-playing game is likely to appeal to this group andalso keep them more deeply engaged over the long run than a moresimplistic game aimed at casual players,” Hanich noted.Harry Potter: Wizards Unite could succeed, but it probably will not become a sensation on the level of Pokémon Go, she suggested.In fact, the RPG element might deter some gamers who are not the most hardcore fans.”Harry Potter fans are legion, so getting people to try the game won’tbe hard, but it will depend on how much fun the game is,” said Enderle.Its success could come down to “gotchas, like in game purchases– or personal information sharing — and overall game play dynamics,” he added. AR Magic More AR Worlds to Come Magic for Muggles Peter Suciu has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2012. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile phones, displays, streaming media, pay TV and autonomous vehicles. He has written and edited for numerous publications and websites, including Newsweek, Wired and FoxNews.com.Email Peter. Sorting App Niantic last week offered a few members of the gaming press achance to take in the magic of its upcoming Harry Potter: WizardsUnite augmented reality game. The game, which is being developed as partof a joint effort with WB Games San Francisco under the Portkey Gameslabel, promises to build on Niantic’s hugely popular Pokémon Go mobilephone game.Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, firstannounced in 2017, will use a mobile phone to blend augmented reality with the real world, much like Pokémon Go.Android users can preregister for theupcoming game on the Google Play store. It will be released later thisyear for both Android and iOS devices — with an iOS preorder comingsoon.Given Niantic’s involvement, it is a given that the gameplay willresemble that of Pokémon Go, but it also will take AR gaming in a newdirection. Players won’t just gather collectible creatures via theirhandsets. This time around, there are role-playing game (RPG) elements, including the ability to cast spells, discover artifacts, and encounter icon beasts and characters from the HarryPotter universe. Magic the Ungathering
Kristina Cunningham was in stable condition on an evening in June, when EMTs lifted her gurney into a medical flight, bound for Boston.The 34-year-old couldn’t use her right arm or speak clearly after a stroke six days earlier, and still had two blood clots at the base of her brain. Cunningham’s dad, Jim Royer, remembers doctors at the small hospital in Wichita, Kan., where Cunningham had attended a family wedding, saying she needed to see a neurosurgeon.“There was discussion of flying her to St. Louis, there was discussion of flying her to Chicago, there was discussion of flying her to Dallas,” Royer recalled, but “we don’t have family in any of those locations.”So the doctors arranged to transfer Cunningham, via an Angel MedFlight Learjet, to Massachusetts General Hospital, where she would be diagnosed with a rare blood vessel disease of the brain. MGH is about an hour from Cunningham’s home in Berlin, Mass. — and her 7-year-old son. Cunningham’s doctors and her insurer, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, based in Maryland, agreed the transfer was medically necessary.“We assumed it would be [covered],” Royer said, “because it was supposedly preapproved by the insurer before any flight took place.”Royer said he and Cunningham didn’t think about the Angel MedFlight piece of her health scare again until a letter arrived in August. It was a one-page “explanation of benefits” with a jaw-dropping total in a column labeled “other amounts not covered.”“When I got the bill for $474,725, I’m thinking six or seven flights, and you can buy a whole new jet,” Royer said with a wry laugh.That nearly half-million dollars is the total of four items, the largest of which is a per-mile charge. That figure, $389,125, breaks down to $275 a mile.“It’s larger than any surprise medical bill I’ve personally seen,” said Chuck Bell, program director for the advocacy division at Consumer Reports. “It’s really outrageous.”In a study last year, Consumer Reports detailed some of the reasons excessively high air ambulance bills have become more common. Use of air ambulances is rising as more rural hospitals close, baby boomers age and the use of telemedicine increases.“The industry has really grown by leaps and bounds over the last 15 years and prices have doubled or tripled,” Bell said. “Most of the operators of air ambulances now are for-profit, Wall Street-type corporations reporting very large profits to investors.”The Association of Air Medical Services (AAMS), a trade group, counters that it is not unique, that many hospitals and health insurers across the country are also for-profit and that some are owned by private equity firms.AAMS said a key reason bills for patients with private insurance plans are often high is this: Companies have to make up for the money they lose transporting other patients.”Medicare pays about 60 percent of the cost of the flight. Medicaid pays 35 percent or less. Self-paid patients pay a few cents on the dollar. And that has led to a crisis of being able to sustain the service,” Christopher Eastlee, AAMS vice president for government relations, said in a statement, stressing that he has cost data only for emergency helicopter transports, not jets like the one in which Cunningham traveled.In 2018, Medicare paid $8.65 per mile for a fixed-wing aircraft like the Learjet that transported Cunningham. That’s a stark contrast to Angel MedFlight’s $275 charge per mile. There are no guidelines for determining reasonable charges in this case.Cunningham’s insurer, CareFirst, initially paid $14,304.55, leaving about $460,420 unpaid. In Massachusetts, a ground-based ambulance could not demand that Cunningham pay the balance, as state law doesn’t allow so-called balance billing. But air ambulances are governed by federal aviation laws. There are numerous cases of companies demanding payments from patients. A few states have tried to intervene but been unsuccessful, with courts saying that federal law prevails.Cunningham has been focused on recovering her speech and preparing for surgery. In January, she will meet with her doctors to decide which type of surgery they recommend for removing or bypassing the blood clots at the base of her brain.But Cunningham and her father have another worry: what the mail may bring.“I don’t know, we’ll see,” Cunningham said, with a shrug.“It’s a big bill to be sitting out there wondering what’s going on,” said Royer. “It would force her into bankruptcy.”Angel MedFlight COO Andrew Bess told WBUR the company is negotiating with CareFirst and will not demand payment from Cunningham.“We’re quite confident we’ll come to a clear resolution despite the insurer placing the patient in the middle of the dispute,” said Bess.Royer said it was a letter from Angel MedFlight that sounded threatening. As he read it, the company told Cunningham she must sign over the rights for Angel MedFlight to negotiate with CareFirst or risk being held liable if the insurer did not pay. Cunningham signed the request.Related StoriesStroke should be treated 15 minutes earlier to save lives, study suggestsMeasuring blood protein levels in diabetic patients to predict risk of strokeNew discovery may explain some forms of strokeBell, with Consumer Reports, said agreeing to such terms can be risky. Some air ambulance companies ask for detailed information about the patient’s personal finances, information they then use to determine how much the patient can pay if the insurance reimbursement is deemed inadequate.During inquiries for this story, CareFirst told WBUR it would increase the proposed payment to Angel MedFlight. The insurer said it had discovered an error in its initial reimbursement to Angel MedFlight. CareFirst is now proposing to pay $70,864.90, or about one-seventh of the original charge.“Unfortunately, exorbitant charges like these by air ambulance providers are not uncommon,” said Scott Graham, a spokesman for CareFirst, in an email. “This is an issue because companies like Angel MedFlight typically do not contract with health insurers on negotiated rates.”WBUR forwarded this update to Bess, who called it a “meaningful offer” in his emailed response.“We provide a valuable service, and for that providers should be fairly compensated and reimbursed,” Bess said. “We strive to work with our patients and advocate on behalf of them to get coverage rightfully owed to them under their insurance plans.”Royer, a retired Air Force air traffic control systems manager, knows something about the cost of operating jets. To him, it looks like Angel MedFlight inflated the bill, hoping the insurer would agree to a generous settlement.“I guess that the way things work nowadays. You ask for the moon and if you only get a large island, that’s what you get,” Royer said.Bess responded to Royer’s claim in a statement.“Staffing what is essentially an Intensive Care Unit at 30,000 feet presents unique medical and aviation challenges that may not be apparent to those outside of the medical aviation industry,” Bess wrote. “The amount we receive per flight is a fraction of the billed charge.”Patients caught up in an air ambulance billing dispute can file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Transportation.A recent push for stricter federal billing regulations was stripped out of the Federal Aviation Reauthorization Act, passed in October. The legislation did establish a council of industry representatives, including air ambulance providers and insurance company representatives, among others, to write and re-evaluate consumer protections, including balance-billing practices. It did not add a requirement for more price and other data transparency called for in a Government Accountability Office report on the air ambulance industry.The National Association of Insurance Commissioners says federal legislation is needed so that states can intervene to oppose unreasonable air ambulance charges. Lawmakers from rural states, including Sen. Jon Tester, a Montana Democrat, said they’ll reintroduce such legislation.The air ambulance trade group says any such change would create “borders in the sky” that would interfere with lifesaving air rescues across state borders.This story is part of a partnership that includes WBUR, NPR and Kaiser Health News. Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Dec 21 2018 This article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.
Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Jan 31 2019 This article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente. The early jockeying among Democrats running for president is likely to overshadow any efforts to make changes to the Affordable Care Act or help stabilize its insurance marketplaces. Legislative remedies for the ACA marketplaces are expected to hit the same roadblock that senators found in 2017: demands by conservatives that plans operating in those insurance exchanges be banned from offering abortion coverage. Although the general idea of expanding Medicare garners high public support, if Democrats agree on a plan to push forward, it could be expected to meet strong opposition from the health care industry. Republicans and Democrats have expressed interest in moving legislation to help lower drug prices. One area where they could find common ground might be revisions to the patent laws to help spur more lower-cost generic drugs. Both parties also say they are concerned about surprise bills that patients receive after receiving medical care. Still, there is no consensus on how to approach the problem, and industry stakeholders are split on what remedies the country should take. Related StoriesDelaney’s debate claim that ‘Medicare for All’ will shutter hospitals goes overboardRevolutionary cancer drugs that target any tumor to be fast-tracked into hospitals by NHSMedicare recipients may pay more for generics than their brand-name counterparts, study findsThe panelists also discussed Anna Edney’s series on the dangers of generic drugs. You can read her stories here, here and here.To hear all our podcasts, click here.And subscribe to What the Health? on iTunes, Stitcher or Google Play. The 2020 presidential campaign has begun and health is a big part of it, with Democratic candidates pledging their support for “Medicare-for-all” and many of its variations.Meanwhile, Republicans and Democrats are both promising to do something about drug prices and “surprise” medical bills. But whether they can translate that agreement on the broad problem to a detailed solution remains to be seen.This week’s panelists for KHN’s “What the Health?” are Julie Rovner of Kaiser Health News, Joanne Kenen of Politico, Anna Edney of Bloomberg News and Kimberly Leonard of The Washington Examiner. Joining the panel for this week’s live show was Tom Miller of the American Enterprise Institute.Among the takeaways from this week’s podcast:
Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Mar 14 2019Caring for older adults with multiple chronic conditions can create challenging situations. For example, some treatments may be harmful to older adults who live with and manage several chronic conditions. In some cases, several treatments might be available but healthcare providers may not know which are best for a particular individual. In other cases, older adults and caregivers could even receive different treatment recommendations depending on the healthcare providers who offer guidance. Most important of all, managing care for multiple chronic conditions can make it difficult to focus on what matters most to us as individual–a key priority when we think about the high-quality, person-centered care we all want and need as we age.In 2010, the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) convened a panel of medical experts to address how to provide the best care for older adults living with multiple chronic conditions. The panel reviewed a host of clinical studies and developed the AGS Guiding Principles for the Care of Older Adults with Multimorbidity as a result.The expert panel identified five “key principles” that healthcare providers should follow to support the best care for older adults with multiple chronic conditions:1. Include personal preferences in care decision-making. Older adults who have multiple chronic health conditions should be asked how they wish to make medical decisions affecting their care. Whenever appropriate, caregivers and family members should also be involved in these discussions.2. Understand the limits of evidence on treatment options. Clinicians must understand that specific, evidence-backed answers to questions about the best medical choices for individual older adults may not exist. That’s because every older adult and every health situation is unique.3. Weigh benefits versus harms. When addressing multiple chronic conditions for an older individual, clinicians must consider how a person might be burdened by one medical plan or treatment versus others. They also must weigh the benefits of treatment options, as well as information on the person’s functional status (their ability to perform daily activities such as bathing and eating), life expectancy (how long they are likely to live), and quality of life.4. Consider if treatment is manageable. When sharing recommendations, clinicians must account for the complexity of a treatment and whether it suits an older adult’s particular situation.5. Make the best informed choice possible. Ultimately, healthcare professionals also must try to choose therapies that have the most benefit, pose the least harm, and will work to enhance an older person’s quality of life.Now, an expert group of geriatricians, cardiologists, and general physicians have identified a set of action steps based on those guiding principles to help healthcare providers work with older adults and caregivers to make the best treatment choices possible when addressing multiple chronic conditions.These steps include:1) Identify and communicate your health priorities.* Health Priorities and Decision-Making. There are many reasons we might make a decision about different health tests or treatments, but the best care possible supports decisions based on our personal needs and preferences. The first step toward supporting that type of care is identifying those needs and preferences.Sitting down for a frank conversation with your health professionals, family, and caregivers can help you identify and communicate what matters most to you in your health and health care. We all prioritize things differently when we are faced with tradeoffs, which are common when we have multiple chronic conditions. The more you and those who care for you understand what matters most, the better you can align your healthcare to help achieve what matters most. For some people, what matters most may mean living as long as possible (even if our quality of life isn’t the same as it once was). For others, it may mean living independently as long as we can (even if that means choosing less aggressive treatments because they might impact our ability to live on our own). Some people make health decisions for religious reasons. Others may be most concerned about staying in a particular location. And others may make decisions based on additional, personal factors. It’s important to remember that none of these decision-making strategies are “right” or “wrong,” but they can only be implemented when you take the time to identify and discuss them with partners like your caregivers and health professionals.* Health Trajectory & Your “Health Future.” Work with your health professionals to assess and take into consideration your anticipated future health when it comes to deciding on treatments. As older adults, our “health trajectory” and “health future” anticipate how likely it is that we will live for a given number of years, and how likely it is for us to continue performing our daily activities during that same timeframe. Discussing how our health and function may change over time helps identify the most beneficial treatments.Related StoriesComputer-generated flu vaccine enters clinical trials in the USAn active brain and body associated with reduced risk of dementiaDynamic Light Scattering measurements in concentrated solutions2) Stop, Start, or Continue Care Based on Health Priorities, Potential Benefits/Harms, and Health Trajectory.* Understanding “Harmful Treatments” and “Medical Uncertainty.” “Do no harm” is a guiding principle for all of our health care. It’s also a principle that’s especially important for people who may be managing multiple treatment plans and how they interact (especially if they may result in unintended consequences when managed together). Since having more than one chronic condition means one health concern (or even its treatment) can worsen another, older adults need to work closely with their health professionals to assess all treatment options (including any treatments you may buy “over the counter” from a pharmacy or supermarket). We should consider the risks of each individual treatment plan in light of all the other care we may be receiving. It’s also important that we understand what potential outcomes from treatment may be “uncertain.” While research and health expertise gives our health professionals a solid sense of how safe and effective various treatment options may be, care is always personal (and not all research involves older adults specifically). That means that what’s very effective for one individual may not work for another. Knowing about uncertainties in advance can help us make educated decisions about the potential benefits and harms of different treatment options.* Understanding “Beneficial Treatments.” Many beneficial treatments exist for older adults with multiple chronic diseases. Some are preventive (meaning they help us avoid a potential disease, such as getting an annual flu vaccine to avoid the flu virus). Some are diagnostic (meaning they help determine if we are living with a condition, such as a chest x-ray to see if you have pneumonia). Others, such as diuretics (water pills), control the symptoms of a chronic disease. And others are palliative (meaning they are designed to help make us feel better), rehabilitative (meaning they work to restore our function or quality of life), or supportive (meaning they help us to live as best as we can with a care condition or concern).Though many of us may only think about “cures” when we consider treatment, it’s important to think about all these beneficial options when it comes to our care–especially because some options (like rehabilitation) may be even more helpful in promoting what we most want and need from care.* Minimizing “Treatment Burden.” Older adults and caregivers managing multiple chronic conditions spend an average of two hours daily on healthcare-related activities. They also spend up to two hours at each healthcare visit–and there can be many visits to coordinate when you have multiple health concerns. This much care risks causing what health professionals refer to as “treatment burden” (the term for feeling overwhelmed or incapable when it comes to carrying out our treatment plans). When we consider all the options available for multiple chronic conditions, it’s important to consider which treatments may be most helpful in light of our abilities, and which–conversely–may be more difficult for us to follow or implement (especially when we may need assistance from a caregiver). Removing healthcare that is burdensome and not beneficial creates the opportunity to start care that is helpful and consistent with our own personal health priorities.3) Align Decisions and Care for Us, Our Caregivers, and Our Clinicians Based on Our Health Priorities and Health Trajectory.* Seeking Agreement on Health Priorities & Health Information. Two critical steps for anyone living with multiple chronic conditions are (1) identifying our own health priorities and (2) getting information on how treatment options can help us achieve our health priorities. To make the most of these actions, however, we need to make sure everyone involved in our care understands our care priorities and can help us make sense of health information based on our needs. Everyone involved in our care should be using the same information when it comes to decisions about treatment plans.* Promoting Communication. Seeing a number of specialists for multiple chronic conditions can lead to fragmented healthcare (the term for care that feels uncoordinated or “choppy”). In some cases, fragmented care can lead to conflicting treatment recommendations from different providers, as well as burdensome treatments that may not be focused on what matters most to us individually. Decision-making and communication must fit into our care decisions and care plans. This means keeping an open, honest, and ongoing dialogue with our health providers, as well as any individuals (such as our caregivers) who we may want to play a role in our care. If you’re worried about coordinating care with different providers/offices, it may also be helpful to identify a primary point-of-contact (such as your geriatrician), who can gather information from all your providers and help you understand and assess different options. Source:https://www.healthinaging.org/blog/ags-releases-new-action-steps-to-guide-care-for-older-adults-with-multiple-chronic-illnesses/
Source:http://www.uky.edu/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Apr 4 2019Alzheimer’s disease wreaks emotional havoc on patients, who are robbed of their memories, their dignity, and their lives. It’s financially devastating as well: care for Alzheimer’s patients is predicted to top $1 trillion by about the time children born today are having children of their own.To date, there have been very few successes in the pursuit of a treatment. But one drug that looks at AD from a different angle is now ready for its first round of testing in humans.The vast majority of AD treatments that are currently FDA-approved or in the pipeline target amyloid, which is responsible for the hallmark plaques that interfere with cognition. As the so-called “Amyloid Theory” has produced one drug failure after another, scientists have begun to explore other therapeutic avenues. Linda Van Eldik, Director of the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging at the University of Kentucky, has set her sights on an understudied, but (in her view) more promising target: brain inflammation.”Inflammation is normally a ‘good guy.’ It clears infections and helps heal wounds, for example,” said Van Eldik. “But in Alzheimer’s disease, the inflammation somehow gets out of whack. It gets too strong and sustains for too long — it’s now turned into a ‘bad guy,’ destroying the neurons that carry signals from one part of the brain to the next.”Van Eldik began collaborating with Martin Watterson at Northwestern University to identify a drug that would block the “bad” inflammation in the brain without affecting the “good” inflammation that helps jumpstart repair.After years of research, Van Eldik is ready to test this drug — enigmatically named MW-151 — in humans. Both the National Institutes of Health and the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation are sufficiently intrigued that they’ve bet a combined $5.5 million to underwrite her efforts.This is quite an accomplishment: current estimates say that for every 5,000 to 10,000 compounds that enter the drug discovery process, only five will go into a human clinical trial.Related StoriesAn active brain and body associated with reduced risk of dementiaCaregiver depression linked to increased emergency department visits for patients with dementiaOU Health Sciences Center awarded federal grant to enhance dementia care across OklahomaEven if MW-151 beats the considerable odds that confront every potential new drug, it’s years away from being available to the public. If the drug ultimately proves safe and effective, Van Eldik believes that MW-151 will function as a once-daily pill that staves off dementia, much like a baby aspirin prescribed to prevent heart attack or stroke.That could be a game-changer in the fight against AD. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, delaying the onset of dementia by just five years would cut the incidence almost in half, which translates to enormous financial and emotional savings for patients and their families.Van Eldik does not consider MW-151 a silver bullet, however.”This is a very complex disease ” she cautions. “A single approach — even our approach against inflammation — may not be enough.””I think this drug it will be most effective as part of a ‘cocktail’ of drugs that target multiple mechanisms of the disease. If that worked out, boy, that would be a slam dunk.”The Sanders-Brown Center on Aging was founded at the University of Kentucky in 1972, quickly establishing itself as a national leader in efforts to improve the quality of life for the elderly through research and education.Sanders-Brown has played an instrumental role in several landmark breakthroughs related to Alzheimer’s and other dementias, including the discovery that there are changes in the brain decades before there are outward symptoms of the disease.In 1985, Sanders-Brown was among the first 10 Alzheimer’s Disease Centers funded by the National Institutes of Health. Currently, only 31 designated Alzheimer’s Disease Centers exist in the U.S. and only nine — including Sanders-Brown — has been continuously funded since the designation was launched.
Source:https://www.swansea.ac.uk/press-office/latest-research/researchersbreakthroughintacklingchallengeofantifungalresistance.php Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Apr 4 2019Ground-breaking work by university experts in Tennessee, Texas and Swansea is helping develop a better understanding of the growing threat posed by antifungal drug resistance.Invasive aspergillosis is a devastating disease caused by breathing in small airborne spores of the fungus Aspergillus fumigatus and it is a condition where drug resistance has been encountered.In a healthy person these spores are destroyed by the body’s immune system but in those with a weakened immune system – such as following organ transplantation or in someone with a lung condition such as asthma or cystic fibrosis – they can trigger a range of problems including infections.Related StoriesAXT enhances cellular research product portfolio with solutions from StemBioSysSchwann cells capable of generating protective myelin over nerves finds researchOlympus Europe and Cytosurge join hands to accelerate drug development, single cell researchEvery year aspergillosis leads to more than 200,000 life-threatening infections and increasingly resistance to vital antifungal drug treatments makes those infections harder to treat.National Institutes of Health (USA) funding supported a collaboration between the University of Tennessee, the University of Texas and Swansea University as part of a $2 million, five-year research program. This support enabled investigation of resistance to the triazole class of antifungal drugs used for treating the diseaseA new paper, published in the prestigious American Microbiology Society journal mBio, reveals how researchers have been able to identify a previously uncharacterized genetic mutation in clinical isolates that leads to resistance.Professor Jarrod Fortwendel, from the University of Tennessee, said: “As with bacteria, antifungal drug resistance is a real challenge facing medicine.”Understanding how the fungus becomes drug resistant is important for designing changes in therapy to overcome aspergillosis.”Professor Dave Rogers, also from the University of Tennessee, added: “It is very important that the research continues and we find out more about why it is happening and how we can tackle it for the future.”Swansea University’s Professor Steve Kelly, whose experience researching the field of antifungal resistance dates back to 1984, described the findings as a real breakthrough.He said: “This paper is the result of a lot of hard work and we are delighted to now be able to publish our findings.”
Source:https://www.stir.ac.uk/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)May 7 2019Levels of second-hand smoke in Scotland’s prisons fell by more than 80 percent in the week after smoking was banned, according to new University of Stirling research.The study – published in the British Medical Journal’s Tobacco Control – is the first of its kind to examine second-hand tobacco smoke (SHS) concentrations across an entire prison estate where smoking is prohibited in all establishments.Led by Stirling’s Institute of Social Marketing (ISM), the study – involving the University of Glasgow and conducted in partnership with the Scottish Prison Service – confirms the positive impact of the smoke-free policy, introduced in November 2018, on the air quality within Scotland’s 15 prisons.Dr Sean Semple, Associate Professor at the ISM, led the work – which is part of the broader Tobacco in Prisons Study (TIPS) – alongside Ruaraidh Dobson, Research Assistant.Dr Semple said: “We collected more than 110,000 minutes of second-hand smoke measurements from across the prison estate in the week that the smoking ban was introduced – and we compared these readings with measurements taken as part of the TIPS research in 2016.”Our study shows improvements in the levels of second-hand smoke in every prison in Scotland, with an average fall of 81 percent. This is similar to the scale of change observed when pubs became smoke-free in 2006 – and the concentrations of fine particles in prison air has now reduced to levels similar to those measured in outdoor air in Scotland.”This research confirms that exposure to second-hand smoke has been drastically reduced and, ultimately, this will have a positive impact on the health of prison staff and prisoners.”A serious indoor air pollutant, SHS is linked to many illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.Since 2006, smoking has been banned in most enclosed public spaces in Scotland, however, prisoners continued to be permitted to smoke in their cells, with the doors closed. This situation changed on November 30, 2018, when smoking was banned in all prisons in Scotland.Despite the change in policy, experts were unsure if smoking would immediately cease as it was believed that prisoners could have stockpiled tobacco ahead of the ban. Therefore, the TIPS team was keen to measure the impact of the new policy immediately after its introduction.The team have been using air quality monitors to measure fine particulate matter, which is widely used as a proxy measurement for SHS, in each prison since 2016 and did so again during the week when the ban came into force – allowing observation of the periods immediately before and after the introduction of the ban.The results showed that airborne levels of fine particles declined substantially in every prison between 2016 and December 3, 2018, the first full working day following the introduction of the ban. The overall median reduction in particle concentrations was 81 percent across all prisons.Related StoriesStudies show no evidence of fall in cigarette consumption due to WHO’s FCTCTax increase on tobacco, alcohol, and SSBs could save millions of livesPublic health concerns as MPs’ connection to organization part-funded by tobacco industry revealedProfessor Kate Hunt, Acting Director of ISM and Principal Investigator of TIPS, said: “This study is the first evaluation of changes in SHS concentrations across all prisons within a country that has introduced nationwide prohibition of smoking in prisons.”It demonstrates widespread improvements in prison air quality as a result of the smoke-free policy with all 15 prisons reporting substantial and statistically significant reductions in fine particulate matter concentrations in the week when the smoke-free policy was implemented, compared to previous directly comparable measurements made in 2016.”The exposure of prison staff and prisoners to SHS is likely to be considerably reduced as a result of implementation of this policy.”An SPS spokesman said “All Scottish prisons went Smoke Free on November 30, 2018 and there have been no significant incidents as a result. This amazing achievement is a testament to the contribution made by all of our staff, especially those on the front line, and the cooperation of those in our care. Having data from the TIPs research helped in our planning and collaboration with the NHS, and has been key to ensuring people in our care were prepared for going smoke free and were offered help to quit in advance, similar to the support people in the community can access through their local pharmacy or GP.”Debbie Sigerson, Organisational Lead for Tobacco in NHS Health Scotland said: “Smoking rates in prisons were much higher than they are outside. It was anticipated that creating a smoke free environment in prison would contribute to addressing this health inequality, and that the health of people who live and work there would be improved.”We are delighted that the results from this study, early on in the implementation of smoke free prisons, shows that one factor that impacts on that harm – exposure to second hand smoke – has significantly reduced. Everyone has a right to live in a smoke free Scotland and today’s results show that we are one step further along the way to getting there.”The study, The impact of implementation of a national smoke-free prisons policy on indoor air quality: results from the Tobacco in Prisons Study, also involved Ashley Brown, Research Fellow at the ISM, and Dr Helen Sweeting, Reader at the Institute of Health and Wellbeing at the University of Glasgow. The team worked with the SPS and NHS colleagues in the design of the study.
Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)May 22 2019Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the major cause of dementia and so far, no effective treatment can prevent, delay or stop its progression. We know that AD has an extensive prodromal stage (with initial symptoms preceding the disease) which lasts 15 to 20 years before clinical signs are evident. To envision an effective future treatment for AD, we need to be able to accurately diagnose AD at its earliest (prodromal) stages. At present, there is no biomarker that can be used for prodromal AD diagnosis on a routine clinical screening base. Amyloid-β or tau detection by positron emission tomography (PET) or in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) have emerged as biomarkers for the progression of AD. However, all these biomarkers have a high economical cost and are invasive, making them unsuitable for routine screening.Related StoriesBlood based test using AI and nanotechnology devised for chronic fatigue syndrome’Google Maps’ for cancer: Image-based model accurately represents blood traffic inside tumorsHealthy blood vessels could help stave off cognitive declineA recent report published by a team of researchers from the UAB Institute of Neuroscience (INc) and the Network Center for Biomedical Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases (CIBERNED), as well as other collaborators, and led by INc researcher Dolors Siedlecki-Wullich, identified in plasma a miRNA-based signature composed by miR-92a-3p, miR-181c-5p and miR-210-3p. The authors found a significant increase in the plasma levels of these miRNAs in mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and AD patients. Moreover, preliminary data support that this miRNAs signature can be used to predict the progression from mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to AD. Source:UABJournal reference:Siedlecki-Wullich, D. et al. (2019) Altered microRNAs related to synaptic function as potential plasma biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer ‘s Research & Therapy. doi.org/10.1186/s13195-019-0501-4. We have identified a cost-effective blood-based biomarker which would improve participants´ recruitment in future clinical trials, boosting the therapeutic advancement in AD. Moreover, it would allow patients and their families to benefit from an earlier implementation of non-pharmacological therapies used to maintain cognitive function, improving the overall quality of life of AD patients.”UAB’s INc researcher José Rodríguez These observations would support the future development of a molecular kit that shall provide an easy, minimally invasive, effective and affordable method for prodromal AD diagnosis in routine clinical screening worldwide”. According to Dolors Siedlecki-Wullich:
Analysts were less certain about potential impacts. ‘Post-peak’ period”There continues to be the debate—’Is the president using hyperbole to get something less severe because he’s a skilled negotiator, or does he seriously think that we need to be exiting NAFTA,'” said Cox Automotive economist Jonathan Smoke.Meanwhile, the effects of the recently enacted $1.5 trillion in tax cuts were expected to be varied by region and income level. Among the clearest winners will be luxury vehicles because of the tax bill’s bounty to those with incomes over $150,000 a year, said Smoke.Highlighting the tax changes, which reduced corporate rates, Chao pointed to Fiat Chrysler’s decision to move production of its Ram trucks from Mexico to an assembly plant near Detroit. The car maker said it would invest $1 billion and add 2,500 jobs.”This is just one example of the positive impact that the tax cuts and jobs act will have on workers, job creators, employers and our country,” Chao said.But analysts said many households still don’t have a clear sense of how much they will benefit from the complex changes to tax laws.”There’s some people that are probably putting off purchases because they don’t really know… what our paychecks are going to look like,” industry analyst Rebecca Lindland of Kelley Blue Book told AFP. Actor and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) takes part in the unveilling of the new Mercedes G-Class at the Detroit auto show In a break from most of the big launches at the Detroit auto show, Volkswagen highlighted its Jetta sedan “As a full-line automaker… you need to have a competitive, strong sedan,” VW North American chief executive Hinrich Woebcken told reporters after the launch.NAFTAOn the sidelines of the flashy announcements, industry insiders were taking a wait-and-see attitude toward talks to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement, which has generated fears of huge tariffs on Mexican-made imports to the US.Negotiations have been ongoing for months at the insistence of US President Donald Trump, who has threatened to abandon the agreement if a beneficial deal is not struck.”There’s good conversation going on to modernize NAFTA,” said Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors. “We’re going to continue to interact constructively to make sure people understand the very complex nature of our business.” Ray Tanguay, automotive advisor to the Canadian government, highlighted his country’s close ties to the Michigan car industry, and cautioned that losing NAFTA could cost American car buyers higher prices. “The integration is so much that if you try to break that, you’re going to hurt the consumer,” he told AFP. Explore further Detroit auto show begins amid talk of NAFTA, tax cuts The base price of $18,545 won especially loud applause at a glitzy launch, and was a counterpoint to the pricey SUVs and trucks that can easily cost twice that amount and more. US Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao highlighted President Donald Trump’s tax cuts at the Detroit auto show US actress Molly McQueen presents the 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt, inspired by the car driven by her grandfather Steve McQueen in the film “Bullitt” Citation: Amid tax and trade concerns, Detroit auto show offers nostalgia, glamor (2018, January 15) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-01-tax-detroit-auto-nostalgia-glamor.html But on the sidelines, there were lingering questions about policy and politics. Arnold Schwarzenegger emerged from a Mercedes-Benz G-Class SUV. The granddaughter of screen legend Steve McQueen arrived in the latest version of the Ford Mustang he immortalized on film. In a keynote address, US Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao touted just-enacted US tax cuts, which reduced the US corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent, saying the move will attract more US investment.There were also cautious statements about ongoing renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement, on which the North American car industry heavily relies. But the auto show is about the cars, and automakers did their best to stay focused on their products. With Americans’ appetite for trucks and SUVs expected to remain robust in 2018, brands highlighted a number of new offerings in that category. Mercedes-Benz debuted a redesigned G-Class SUV, significantly updating the interior with new technologies. The vehicles were made to climb steep ramps as flames shot up from the ground and confetti cannons blasted. As one finally stopped, Schwarzenegger emerged from a passenger seat. Star-studded unveils”I have driven G-Wagens now for 25 years,” glowed the actor of Austrian heritage. “I think this car became so historic,” he said, “because of its look.”Ford unveiled its own nostalgic offering, showing off a new mid-sized Ranger pickup, redesigned and reintroduced to the North American market. It also offered a new sports trim of its Edge SUV, as well a third iteration of a “Bullitt” special edition of its Mustang sports car. Actor McQueen drove a 1968 Mustang in the thriller film “Bullitt,” creating an indelible link between the car and American pop culture. His granddaughter Molly McQueen emerged from the latest special edition, comparing it favorably with the original. “It is fun. It’s fast and effortlessly cool,” she said. In a break from most of the big launches, Volkswagen highlighted a sedan, releasing its updated version of the Jetta, the German automaker’s top-selling vehicle in the US. © 2018 AFP The Detroit auto show arrived Sunday with showman’s flair, as the car industry tied its latest offerings to American nostalgia and Hollywood glamor. 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.
Explore further Billionaire investor George Soros took aim at Trump, tech giants and bitcoin in his speech at Davos Citation: Soros to Google and Facebook: ‘Your days are numbered’ (2018, January 26) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-01-soros-google-facebook-days.html China to step up cryptocurrency crackdown During an annual dinner he hosts at the World Economic Forum, held this week in the Swiss alpine resort, Soros turned his sights on a host of subjects including US President Donald Trump and the speculation frenzy surrounding the bitcoin cryptocurrency.But much of the Hungarian-born financier’s ire was reserved for the tech giants of Silicon Valley who, he argued, needed to be more strictly regulated. “Facebook and Google effectively control over half of all internet advertising revenue,” the 87-year-old told diners during a speech. “They claim that they are merely distributors of information. The fact that they are near-monopoly distributors makes them public utilities and should subject them to more stringent regulations, aimed at preserving competition, innovation, and fair and open universal access.”He predicted that tech giants would “compromise themselves” to access key markets like China, creating an “alliance between authoritarian states and these large, data rich IT monopolies.””This may well result in a web of totalitarian control the likes of which not even Aldous Huxley or George Orwell could have imagined,” he warned.Predicting governments would start to more heavily regulate the sector he said: “Davos is a good place to announce that their days are numbered.”Known for his legendarily successful currency trading, Soros dismissed bitcoin as a “typical bubble”. But he said the cryptocurrency would likely avoid a full crash because authoritarians would still use it to make secret investments abroad.He described Russia’s Vladimir Putin as presiding over a “mafia state” and called Trump a “danger to the world”.But he predicted that the US president’s appeal would not last. “I regard it as a purely temporary phenomenon that will disappear in 2020 or even sooner.”But the investor’s traditional Davos predictions do not always pan out. Last year in Switzerland he warned that the stock market rally would end after Trump’s election and that China’s growth rate was unsustainable.China’s growth has continued while US stocks are regularly hitting record highs. Billionaire investor George Soros launched a scathing attack on tech giants at the Davos summit on Thursday, calling them monopolies that could be manipulated by authoritarians to subvert democracy. © 2018 AFP 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.
Walmart says it will pump $2 billion into Flipkart, giving the Indian e-tailer a bigger war chest to fight off a huge challenge from Amazon This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. © 2018 AFP Citation: Walmart buys 77% of India’s Flipkart for $16 bn (2018, May 9) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-05-walmart-india-flipkart-e-commerce-mega.html Explore further He said SoftBank’s $2.5 billion stake in the company would be worth $4 billion with the acquisition.Small stakes will be held by existing Flipkart shareholders, including Binny Bansal, Tencent Holdings, Tiger Global Management and Microsoft.The companies said the board makeup was yet to be decided but that Flipkart and Walmart would remain distinct brands.They added that the deal is expected to be completed by the end of the year, subject to regulatory approval.Venture capitalists have pumped billions of dollars into Flipkart over the past few years but the company is still posting massive losses.Flipkart saw losses rise 68 percent to 87.71 billion rupees ($1.31 billion) in the financial year that ended 31 March 2017.Analysts said the deal helps Walmart gain a foothold in Indian retail without having to open commercial stores which is problematic under Indian foreign direct investment rules.It currently runs 21 wholesale stores in the country.Walmart’s logistics expertise will greatly help Flipkart reach customers in more remote corners of India, according to experts.”Flipkart lacks the expertise in mom-and-pop stores while Walmart understands retail and ‘kirana’ (small family-run) stores.”It has infrastructure in place for supply chain management and stocking which Flipkart doesn’t,” Sanchit Vir Gogia, chief executive of Greyhound Research, told AFP.The deal has faced opposition from independent traders, however.The Confederation of All India Traders, which represents thousands of small businesses, has written to the government urging it to block the deal.”It will adversely affect both online and offline retailers as the Indian e-commerce space is already crippled with malpractices and predatory pricing,” Pravin Khandelwal, the body’s secretary general, told AFP.”The deal will create an uneven playing field with retailers unable to compete,” he added. Flipkart board approves $15 bn deal with Walmart: report The blockbuster takeover, which is also Walmart’s most expensive acquisition, threatens a major blow to rival Amazon’s lofty ambitions in India.Flipkart and Amazon have been going head-to-head in a costly battle for domination of one of the fastest growing online retail markets since 2013.The deal, announced in a joint statement, values Flipkart, India’s largest e-tailer by sales, at just over $20 billion.”India is one of the most attractive retail markets in the world, given its size and growth rate, and our investment is an opportunity to partner with the company that is leading transformation of e-commerce in the market,” Walmart president Doug McMillon said.The announcement ended months of speculation that Walmart, the world’s biggest retailer, was preparing to take over Flipkart. Both had repeatedly declined to comment on the talks.Walmart said it would pump $2 billion of new equity into Flipkart, giving the Indian e-tailer a bigger war chest to fight off a huge challenge from Amazon, which is rapidly expanding its reach.Binny Bansal, Flipkart’s co-founder and group chief executive officer, said the deal “is of immense importance for India and will help fuel our ambition to deepen our connection with buyers and sellers and to create the next wave of retail in India”.The announcement came a day after Amazon said it was injecting an extra 26 billion rupees ($386 million) into its Indian subsidiary.Boss Jeff Bezos has committed more than $5 billion to grabbing a big slice of India’s e-commerce pie after failing to make inroads in China.E-commerce sales in India hit $21 billion last year according to market research company Forrester, and are expected to soar as its population of 1.25 billion people make greater use of internet access.Flipkart was founded in 2007 by former Amazon employees Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, who are not related.Like Amazon, it started as an online bookstore. Flipkart now sells everything from mobile phones, televisions and juicers to running shoes, sofas and beauty products.’Unable to compete’Masayoshi Son, chief executive of Japan’s SoftBank, had earlier confirmed to reporters in Tokyo that the Walmart-Flipkart deal had been agreed. US retail behemoth Walmart said Wednesday it will buy a 77 percent stake in Indian online sales giant Flipkart for $16 billion in the world’s biggest e-commerce deal.
Explore further Robert Cornish, former chief information office at NYSE, will begin his job as chief technology officer at New York-based Gemini later this month.Cornish will join the exchange founded by the twins who made a fortune in cryptocurrency after settling a claim they came up the idea for Facebook.”Rob is a tremendous addition to our team,” Gemini chief executive and co-founder Tyler Winklevoss said in a release.Winklevoss and his brother, Cameron, earlier this year pitched a plan to create a body to police the wild digital money market.Bitcoin is independent of governments and banks and uses blockchain technology, where encrypted digital coins are created by supercomputers.The virtual currency is not regulated by any central bank but is instead overseen by a community of users who try to guard against counterfeiting.Virtual currency exchanges have seen tremendous volatility, and have sparked concerns they can be used to launder money for criminal networks.The Winklevoss twins are part of the story of Facebook’s controversial genesis story.In 2008, a $65 million settlement was reached with three Harvard classmates—the Winklevoss twins and Divya Narendra—over their charges that Mark Zuckerberg had stolen the idea for Facebook from them. Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, seen at the premiere of the film Ocean’s 8 in New York, have been seeking to make bitcoin more popular with their exchange called Gemini Citation: Bitcoin exchange brings on technology chief (2018, July 6) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-07-bitcoin-exchange-technology-chief.html Winklevoss twins pitch plan to regulate digital money © 2018 AFP 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. A bitcoin exchange headed by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss announced Friday it hired a former New York Stock Exchange executive to head its technology team as it seeks to bring cryptocurrency to a wider market.
Since designing and launching a specialized workflow management system in 2010, a research team from the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory has continuously updated the technology to help computational scientists develop software, visualize data and solve problems. Citation: Technology streamlines computational science projects (2018, September 15) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-09-technology-science.html Workflow management systems allow users to prepare, produce and analyze scientific processes to help simplify complex simulations. Known as the Eclipse Integrated Computational Environment, or ICE, this particular system incorporates a comprehensive suite of scientific computing tools designed to save time and effort expended during modeling and simulation experiments.Compiling these resources into a single platform both improves the overall user experience and expedites scientific breakthroughs. Using ICE, software developers, engineers, scientists and programmers can define problems, run simulations locally on personal computers or remotely on other systems—even supercomputers—and then analyze results and archive data. Recently, the team published an article in SoftwareX that both details the history of the system and previews the potential benefits of upcoming versions.”What I really love about this project is making complicated computational science automatic,” said Jay Jay Billings, a researcher in ORNL’s Computer Science and Mathematics Division who leads the ICE development team. “Building workflow management systems and automation tools is a type of futurism, and it’s challenging and rewarding to operate at the edge of what’s possible.”Researchers use ICE to study topics in fields including nuclear energy, astrophysics, additive manufacturing, advanced materials, neutron science and quantum computing, answering questions such as how batteries behave and how some 3-D-printed parts deform when exposed to heat.Several factors differentiate ICE from other workflow management systems. For example, because ICE exists on an open-source software framework called the Eclipse Rich Client Platform, anyone can access, download and use it. Users also can create custom combinations of reusable resources and deploy simulation environments tailored to tackle specific research challenges.”Eclipse ICE is an excellent example of how open-source software can be leveraged to accelerate science and discovery, especially in scientific computing,” said Eclipse Foundation Executive Director Mike Milinkovich. “The Eclipse Foundation, through its community-led Science Working Group, is fostering open-source solutions for advanced research in all areas of science.” Additionally, ICE circumvents the steep and time-consuming learning curve that usually accompanies any computational science project. Although other systems require expert knowledge of the code and computer in question, ICE enables users to immediately begin facilitating their experiments, thus helping them gather data and achieve results much faster.”We’ve produced a streamlined interface to computational workflows that differs from complicated systems that you have to be specifically qualified in to use properly,” Billings said.Throughout this project, Billings has also emphasized the importance of accessibility and usability to ensure that users of all ages and experience levels, including nonscientists, can use the system without prior training.”The problem with a lot of workflow management systems and with modeling and simulation codes in general is that they are usually unusable to the lay person,” Billings said. “We designed ICE to be usable and accessible so anyone can pick up an existing code and use it to address pressing computational science problems.”ICE uses the programming language Java to define workflows, whereas other systems use more obscure languages. Thus, students in grade school, high school and college have successfully run codes using ICE.Finally, instead of relying on grid workflows—collections of orchestrated computing processes—ICE focuses on flexible modeling and simulation workflows that give users interactive control over their projects. Grid workflows are defined by strict parameters and executed without human intervention, but ICE allows users to input additional information during simulations to produce more complicated scenarios.”In ICE you can have humans in the loop, meaning the program can stop, ask questions and receive instructions before resuming activity,” Billings said. “This feature allows system users to complete more complex tasks like looping and conditional branching.”Next, the development team intends to combine the most practical aspects of ICE and other systems through workflow interoperability, a concept referring to the ability of two different systems to seamlessly communicate. Combining the best features of grid workflows with modeling and simulation workflows would allow scientists to address even greater challenges and solve scientific mysteries more efficiently.”If I’m using ICE and someone else is using a different system, we want to be able to address problems together with our combined resources,” Billings said. “With workflow interoperability, our systems would have a standard method of ‘talking’ to one another.”To further improve ICE’s accessibility and usability, the team is also developing a cloud-based version to provide even more interactive computing services for simplifying scientific workflows.”That’s what research is—we keep figuring out the next step to understand the system better,” Billings said. Explore further Collaboration yields open source technology for computational science More information: Jay Jay Billings et al, The eclipse integrated computational environment, SoftwareX (2018). DOI: 10.1016/j.softx.2018.07.004 Jay Jay Billings and Alex McCaskey observe visualizations of ICE simulation data on ORNL’s Exploratory Visualization Environment for Research in Science and Technology facility. Credit: Jason Richards/ORNL 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. Provided by Oak Ridge National Laboratory
The opening spots were taken by top scorer Rohit Sharma and England star Jason Roy.MORE: Umpires made crucial error amid Ben Stokes overthrow incidentThere were two Aussies named however, with fast bowler Mitchell Starc and keeper-batsman Alex Carey both selected.Starc amassed 27 wickets for the tournament, well ahead of Lockie Ferguson (21) in second place, while Carey emerged as key part of Australia’s line up, playing several crucial innings to finish with 375 runs for the tournament.Winner’s England had the most inclusions, with Roy joined by batsman Joe Root, final man-of-the-match Ben Stokes and Super Over hero Jofra Archer.Runners-up New Zealand had player of the tournament and skipper Kane Williamson and paceman Ferguson selected, while Jasprit Bumrah joined Rohit as the only Indians. Aussie opener David Warner fell one run short of topping the run-scorers tally at the World Cup, though there wasn’t room for him in the team of the tournament. The left-hander finished with 647 runs, including a tournament-high knock of 166 against Bangladesh in Nottingham. Bangladeshi all-rounder Shakid Al Hasan was a worthy selection after impressing with both bat and ball throughout.The team was put together by a five-person panel made up of Ian Bishop, Ian Smith, Isa Guha, Geoff Allardice and Lawrence Booth.ICC’s 2019 World Cup team of the tournament:Jason Roy, Rohit Sharma, Kane Williamson (c), Joe Root, Shakib Al Hasan, Ben Stokes, Alex Carey (wk), Mitchell Starc, Jofra Archer, Lockie Ferguson, Jasprit Bumrah
Originally published on Live Science. Acanthamoeba is a single-celled amoeba that’s commonly found in water, soil and air, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Contact lens wearers face a risk of contracting this infection if they engage in certain practices, such as disinfecting lenses with tap water or swimming or showering while wearing lenses, the CDC said. This amoeba has a particular affinity for the surfaces of contact lenses, meaning the lenses can be “a vehicle for the harboring, transmission and delivery of microorganisms to the eye,” according to a 2010 review paper on the topic published in the Journal of Optometry. But when Humphreys started wearing contact lenses in 2013 so he could play sports without glasses, he wasn’t aware of this showering risk. He would often hop in the shower with his contact lenses in after a morning workout. “I thought nothing of it at the time. I was never told not to wear contact lenses in the shower. There’s no warning on the packaging, and my opticians never mentioned a risk,” Humphreys said. After he was diagnosed with Acanthamoeba keratitis in early 2018, he was given eyedrops for his infection, but a few months later, he suddenly went blind in his right eye, according to PA Media. Humphreys was then prescribed a stronger medication, which needed to be applied to his eyes every hour, even at night. Humphreys became housebound and experienced severe pain in his right eye. “The pain in my eye was too much, and the only time I would leave was to visit the hospital,” Humphreys told PA Media. He would later undergo two operations in his right eye, the first to strengthen the tissue in his cornea and the second to protect the cornea with a graft of tissue from a fetal placenta. That procedure is known as an amniotic membrane transplant. Although his infection cleared up, Humphreys remains blind in his right eye. He is scheduled to undergo a corneal transplant in August. This operation replaces damaged corneal tissue with healthy corneal tissue from a deceased donor. Humphreys now works with the charity Fight for Sight to raise awareness about the risks of showering or swimming with contact lenses. “It’s crucial that people out there know this is a reality and it can happen because of something as simple as getting in the shower,” Humphreys said. 27 Oddest Medical Case Reports 27 Devastating Infectious Diseases 8 Awful Parasite Infections That Will Make Your Skin Crawl Our fantastic Fight for Sight supporter, Nick Humphreys, is raising awareness of the need for correct contact lens care and clearer information on contact lens packaging, after losing his sight in one eye to Acanthamoeba keratitis: https://t.co/ooUYXWlyYF #ContactLenses #AKby Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksYou May LikeVikings: Free Online GamePlay this for 1 min and see why everyone is addicted!Vikings: Free Online GameUndoTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionOne Thing All Liars Have in Common, Brace YourselfTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionUndoGundry MD Total Restore SupplementU.S. Cardiologist: It’s Like a Pressure Wash for Your InsidesGundry MD Total Restore SupplementUndoNucificTop Dr. Reveals The 1 Nutrient Your Gut Must HaveNucificUndoYahoo SearchYou’ve Never Seen Luxury Like This On A Cruise Ship. Search Luxury Mediterranean CruisesYahoo SearchUndoKelley Blue Book2019 Lexus Vehicles Worth Buying for Their Resale ValueKelley Blue BookUndo — Fight for Sight (@fightforsightUK) July 9, 2019 Your daily shower isn’t usually a health risk, but for one man in England, it may have led to a serious eye infection that left him blind in one eye, according to news reports. The man, 29-year-old Nick Humphreys of Shropshire, England, typically left his contact lenses in while showering, without knowing that this practice can increase the risk of eye infections, according to PA Media, a U.K.-based media agency. In 2018, he contracted Acanthamoeba keratitis, a rare parasitic infection of the cornea, or the eye’s transparent outer covering. “If I’d have known how dangerous it was to wear contacts in the shower, I would never have got them in the first place,” Humphreys told PA Media. [‘Eye’ Can’t Look: 9 Eyeball Injuries That Will Make You Squirm] Don’t Flush Your Contact Lenses! Here’s WhyHere’s what happens when you flush contact lenses down the toilet or drain. Hint: It’s not good for the environment.Volume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9关闭选项Automated Captions – en-US facebook twitter 发邮件 reddit 链接https://www.livescience.com/65916-parasitic-eye-infection-showering-with-contact-lenses.html?jwsource=cl已复制直播00:0001:0001:00Your Recommended Playlist01:33Better Bug Sprays?01:08Why Do French Fries Taste So Bad When They’re Cold?04:24Sperm Whale Befriends Underwater Robot00:29Robot Jumps Like a Grasshopper, Rolls Like a Ball00:29Video – Giggly Robot02:31Surgical Robotics关闭
Joshua trees — some of the most unusual and iconic plants of the American Southwest — have survived as a species for some 2.5 million years in the inhospitable Mojave Desert. Now, they may face imminent extinction due to climate change. In a new study published June 3 in the journal Ecosphere, researchers and volunteer scientists surveyed nearly 4,000 trees in southern California’s Joshua Tree National Park to figure out where the oldest trees tended to thrive during historic periods of extreme heat and drought. (A single Joshua tree can live up to 300 years.) Then, the researchers estimated how much of these Joshua safe zones (or “refugia”) would survive to the end of the century based on a range of climate change predictions. [Desert Green: Images of Joshua Tree National Park] The study authors found that, if greenhouse gas emissions are seriously curbed and summer temperatures are limited to an increase of 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit (3 degrees Celsius), about 19% of the park’s Joshua tree habitat would survive after the year 2070.Headbutting Tiny Worms Are Really, Really LoudThis rapid strike produces a loud ‘pop’ comparable to those made by snapping shrimps, one of the most intense biological sounds measured at sea.Your Recommended PlaylistVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9接下来播放Why Is It ‘Snowing’ Salt in the Dead Sea?01:53 facebook twitter 发邮件 reddit 链接https://www.livescience.com/65953-climate-change-destroying-joshua-trees.html?jwsource=cl已复制直播00:0000:3500:35 If no action is taken to reduce carbon emissions and summer temperatures rise by 9 F (5 C) or more, however, only 0.02% of the tree’s habitat would survive to the end of the century — leaving the rare tree a hair away from extinction. “The fate of these unusual, amazing trees is in all of our hands,” lead study author Lynn Sweet, a plant ecologist at the University of California, Riverside said in a statement. “Their numbers will decline, but how much depends on us.” Survivors in the sand Joshua Tree National Park covers 1,200 square miles (3,200 square kilometers) of sandy, hilly terrain in the desert between Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Arizona. The spiny-armed Joshua trees have survived millions of years of climate ups and downs by holding on to large amounts of water to carry them through the region’s harshest droughts. However, the study authors wrote, young Joshua trees and seedlings aren’t able to store enough water to weather these dry spells. During long droughts — such as the epic, 376-week-long one that lasted from December 2011 to March 2019 in California — various parts of the park became too parched to support young Joshua tree growth, preventing the species from reproducing properly. As global temperatures rise, more and longer droughts are expected to occur around the world, and that means fewer and fewer new Joshua trees surviving to adulthood. To find out which parts of the tree’s desert habitat were safest and which were most at risk of drying up, a team of park researchers and volunteers counted thousands of trees in various parts of the park, noting each tree’s height (which helped predict the tree’s age) and the number of new sprouts in the area. They found that, in general, trees growing in higher-elevation spots, which tend to be cooler and retain more moisture, survived much better than those in lower, drier regions. The team compared these survey results with historic climate records to predict how much of the Joshua tree’s habitat was likely to shrink as temperatures rise and rainfall decreases over the rest of the century. Under the best-case scenario, they found, just 1 in 5 Joshua trees will survive the next 50 years. Taking swift action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is the only way to save the Joshua trees from extinction, the researchers found. However, even trees in the best-hydrated habitats will still face a serious threat from wildfires, which have also been occurring with greater frequency and intensity as the climate warms, they said. According to the researchers, fewer than 10% of Joshua trees survive when wildfires rush through their habitats — thanks, in part, to car exhaust coating desert shrubs with flammable nitrogen. This, at least, is a threat that can be addressed on a local level, right now. “Fires are just as much a threat to the trees as climate change, and removing grasses is a way park rangers are helping to protect the area today,” Sweet said. “By protecting the trees, they’re protecting a host of other native insects and animals that depend on them as well.” Originally published on Live Science.by Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksYou May LikeVikings: Free Online GamePlay this for 1 min and see why everyone is addicted!Vikings: Free Online GameUndoTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionOne Thing All Liars Have in Common, Brace YourselfTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionUndoTop 10 Best Meal DeliveryMeal Kit Wars: 10 Tested & Ranked. 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Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao SHARE SHARE EMAIL Published on COMMENTS Ahead of Telangana elections, loan waivers set to hit banks, agri sector RELATED November 12, 2018 0 COMMENT The Election Commission on Monday issued notification for the December 7 election to the Telangana Legislative Assembly.According to the notification, nominations would be accepted from November 12 to 19 while the date for scrutiny of papers has been fixed on November 20.The last date for withdrawing nominations is November 22. Polls are scheduled to be held on December 7 and counting would be held on December 11.According to an earlier communication from the Chief Electoral officer’s office, the total number of voters in Telangana have gone down by nearly nine lakh to 2.73 crore for the Assembly polls.There would be more than 32,574 polling stations in the state and few more may be set up depending on the number of voters.The 119-member Assembly was dissolved on September 6 on the recommendation of the K Chandrasekhar Rao-led government, more than eight months ahead of the expiry of its term.The Election Commission on Friday imposed a near month-long ban on holding exit polls beginning November 12 in the five poll-bound states including Telangana.Caretaker Chief Minister and TRS supremo K Chandrasekhar Rao handed over B-Forms to party’s contesting candidates Sunday after a brainstorming session with them.He is expected to file his nomination from Gajwel constituency in Medak district on November 14.The TRS has already announced its candidates for 107 segments, including 105 at one go within minutes of the Assembly dissolution, giving it a jump-start to the campaign and stunning the opposition.The main opposition Congress forged an electoral pact with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) headed by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, the Telangana Jana Samiti (TJS) founded by retired Osmania University Political Science Professor Kodandaram and the Communist Party of India.However the “Grand Alliance” is yet to announce the list of the contesting candidates.BJP had so far announced 66 nominees in two tranches. Telangana SHARE elections Polls are scheduled to be held on December 7 and counting would be held on December 11. Lull before the storm in Telangana
Press Trust of India BengaluruJuly 13, 2019UPDATED: July 13, 2019 19:17 IST Vice President Venkaiah Naidu said there should be no imposition of any language, nor should there be any opposition to any language. (File Photo)Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu Saturday suggested making the mother tongue the medium of instruction in schools, at least at the primary level.”Our languages must unite us in the cause for inclusive and sustainable development and must not end up as tools to divide us,” he said.Naidu said there should be no imposition of any language, nor should there be any opposition to any language.The Vice President said language preservation and development needs a multi-pronged approach and added that it was time to rethink and reinvent the entire language education in the country.Addressing the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL) at Mysuru, he said, “We must start by making the mother tongue the medium of instruction in our schools, at least at the primary level.”Pointing out that a number of global studies by expert groups had established that teaching the mother tongue at the initial stages of education gives an impetus to the growth of the mind and thought and makes children more creative and logical, Naidu said they must be taught multiple languages to widen their horizons.The Vice President also expressed happiness over the new draft National Education Policy, noting that it has given a number of suggestions to support education in home languages and mother tongues, tribal as well as sign languages.The policy rightly states that children have the potential to acquire multilingual skills and these need to be encouraged at the earliest, he said in his speech, a copy of which was released to the media here.Hoping that more people would start using their native languages at home, in the community, in meetings and in administration, Naidu said a sense of dignity and pride must be accorded to those who speak, write and communicate in these languages.”Language should become a catalyst for inclusive development,” he said, adding that language promotion should be an integral part of good governance.Stressing that many more bold decisions must be made to protect and nurture our languages, Naidu said, “Our languages must unite us in the cause for inclusive and sustainable development and must not end up as tools to divide us.There should be no imposition of any language, nor should there be any opposition to any language, he said.”Every language is important and worth our efforts in preserving and propagating it. Let us strive to communicate with each other and understand each other better,” he added.Noting that more than 19,500 languages or dialects are spoken in India as mother tongues, according to the Language Census, Naidu said there are 121 languages spoken by 10,000 or more people in India.”It is extremely disheartening to learn that 196 languages of our country are classified as endangered. We may have to ensure that this number doesnt increase,” he said, adding that the only way to protect and preserve the languages was to constantly use them.ALSO READ | Three language row: No imposition of any language, it’s just a draft policy, clarifies Union Education SecretaryALSO WATCH | Row erupts over new education policy draftFor the latest World Cup news, live scores and fixtures for World Cup 2019, log on to indiatoday.in/sports. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for World Cup news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted bySnigdha Choudhury Make mother tongue medium of instruction in schools, says Vice President Venkaiah NaiduVice President M Venkaiah Naidu said language preservation and development needs a multi-pronged approach and added that it was time to rethink and reinvent the entire language education in the country.advertisement Next