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. May 11 2018President Donald Trump didn’t mention Novartis or other drugmakers by name last year when he said the industry is “getting away with murder.”Yet executives at the Switzerland-based pharmaceutical giant shelled out $1.2 million to Trump lawyer Michael Cohen to “advise” its executives on health policy and what was happening in the Trump White House.Novartis paid more money to Cohen than did any of his clients revealed thus far.The company said it quickly determined he was unable to deliver the help but paid the full amount owed in his contract. “We made a mistake” in hiring him, CEO Vasant Narasimhan told Novartis employees on Thursday.Hiring the president’s personal attorney matches a history of aggressively courting government officials by a corporation with much to lose in the debate over high drug prices.Novartis has nine blockbuster drugs generating around $1 billion or more in annual sales and priced so high in some cases that patients have trouble affording them even with insurance. Another nine drugs produce more than $500 million in sales.High costs and copayments for Novartis’ Gleevec, which treats a form of leukemia, are associated with patients delaying or skipping doses, said researcher Stacie Dusetzina of Vanderbilt University.Gleevec often must be taken for life and costs $148,000 a year — three times more than when it came out, according to Connecture, which provides technology to help people save money on prescriptions.Novartis also makes drugs for psoriasis and multiple sclerosis that cost more than $100,000 a year. The price tag for Kymriah, a Novartis leukemia treatment approved last year, is $475,000.The company earned $7.7 billion in profits last year on worldwide sales of $49 billion.Related StoriesUnited Nations sounds alarm bell on drug-resistant infectionsCancer stem cells elude the body’s immune cells by deactivating danger detectorHeart failure drug could be effective in treating leukemiaNovartis’ political action committee has been a sizable contributor on Capitol Hill, donating $204,500 last year to candidates for federal office and other political causes.The company spent $8.8 million lobbying U.S. lawmakers in 2017, its highest amount ever, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That doesn’t count the previously undisclosed payments to Cohen, which the company said were for consulting, not lobbying.One issue that especially interests the company: the importation of drugs from Canada and other countries, which would undercut its high U.S. prices and badly hurt profits. Novartis sells its drugs for a fraction of U.S. prices in other developed countries. In 2015, Gleevec sold for $38,000 a year in Canada while a generic version of the same drug sold for only $8,800.Importation was one of Novartis’ most lobbied issues last year.
Source:https://www.jyu.fi/en/current/archive/2018/05/gut-inhabiting-enterobacter-increases-subcutaneous-fat-mass Jun 1 2018A research project performed at the universities of Jyväskylä and Turku studied the effects of a specific gut enterobacterium on body fat mass.The researchers administered either live enterobacterium or a saline solution to mice intragastrically over a 12-week period. The mice that received the enterobacterium had significantly higher subcutaneous fat mass than the mice that received saline.”In addition, we noted that the size of the adipocytes was greater, which is an indication of hypertrophic obesity. This may be the reason for that their adipose tissue seemed less insulin sensitive. Insulin regulates the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats in the body,” says the project’s principal investigator, Academy of Finland Researcher Satu Pekkala, from the Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Jyväskylä.Related StoriesResearchers explain why fascioliasis patients have increased risk for neurological diseasesNew technique reduces postoperative deficit of oxygen in the blood in patients with morbid obesityMetabolic enzyme tied to obesity and fatty liver diseasePekkala’s research group also found that the enterobacterium caused liver damage in the mice. This was seen in increased concentrations of liver damage markers – aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) – in the blood. The researchers were expecting to find liver fat accumulation in the mice but this was not the case. Instead, they found increased fibrosis in the liver. Fibrosis is the formation of excess fibrous connective tissue in an organ. In advanced fibrosis, the hepatic cells are destroyed, leading to the replacement of normal tissue by scar tissue, then to a decline in the synthetic and secretory processes and finally to cirrhosis of the liver.The researchers selected Enterobacter cloacae (ATCC® 13047™) for the study because an earlier report had found its phylogenetically close relative, Enterobacter B29, in a morbidly obese Chinese patient. “In the future,” Pekkala says, “it would be interesting to study how frequently the abundance of gut enterobacteria is increased in obesity and liver damage, and whether and how we could affect their abundance as a means to possibly reverse the health-compromising effects.”
Jul 30 2018What do one in five breast cancers have in common? Large amounts of a protein called HER2 (or human epidermal growth factor receptor 2).”Every healthy cell produces a normal amount of HER2, but HER2 is produced 10 to 20 times more in a cancer cell,” said Yehenew Agazie, an associate professor of biochemistry at the West Virginia University School of Medicine.Agazie is researching an alternative treatment for HER2-positive breast cancers, which tend to grow and spread especially fast. The National Cancer Institute, a division of the National Institutes of Health, has awarded him $1.6 million over five years to study the treatment’s effectiveness in preclinical models.In addition to Agazie, the research team includes Yon Rojanasakul, pharmaceutical sciences professor in the WVU School of Pharmacy Sijin Wen, assistant professor of biostatistics in the WVU School of Public Health Paul Lockman, assistant vice president for experimental therapeutics at the WVU Health Sciences Center and associate director for translational research for the WVU Cancer Institute Source:https://wvutoday.wvu.edu/stories/2018/07/30/wvu-researchers-working-to-stop-cancer-growth-protein “There are different types of drugs-;one of them being Herceptin-;that are anti-HER2. However, treatments so far show that patients can still develop resistance against those drugs,” he said. “One very important aspect is that all of those anti-HER2 drugs are targeting the already expressed HER2 protein without an impact on the process of expression.”The compound at the center of Agazie’s new study is different. Instead of inactivating HER2 in cells, it prevents cells from making too much HER2 to begin with. An analogy is cooking dinner in one big pot to cut down on dirty dishes, instead of using every pot in the kitchen and having to wash them all.Related StoriesNew research links “broken heart syndrome” to cancerLiving with advanced breast cancerCancer killing capability of lesser-known immune cells identifiedIn 2017, Agazie and his former doctoral student Zachary Hartmann received a patent for the compound, which has shown promise at preventing breast cancer recurrence in previous laboratory studies.Now Agazie and his research team will pinpoint how well the compound keeps cancer-causing genes from expressing themselves, prevents normal cells from becoming cancerous, and if tumors do form, stops cancerous cells from overrunning the healthy, surrounding tissue. The group will also determine what dose of the compound maximizes its effectiveness and minimizes its toxicity.Another benefit of the compound is that it works even if a tumor has grown resistant to other drugs that target HER2-positive cancers. What’s more, the compound is effective against breast cancer that has spread to the brain, a common spot for breast cancer invasion. Treating tumors in the brain is especially vexing because the blood–brain barrier often blocks therapeutic drugs from reaching them.”Treating brain metastasis is a hard, uphill climb. It’s one of the major hurdles in drug therapy for cancer,” Lockman said. “If this novel drug molecule is successful, this experimental therapeutic could improve the treatment of brain tumors in women with breast cancer.”
Source:https://media.jamanetwork.com/news-item/higher-depression-risk-in-young-adulthood-associated-with-autism-spectrum-disorders/ Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Aug 31 2018Bottom Line: Autism spectrum disorders (ASD), especially without an accompanying intellectual disability, were associated with greater risk for depression in young adulthood compared with the general population and siblings without ASD.Why The Research Is Interesting: Mental health problems, including depression, are considered common in people with ASD. Understanding depression in people with ASD is important because it can further reduce social function. The identification and treatment of depression in people with ASD may help improve their quality of life.Related StoriesCaregiver depression linked to increased emergency department visits for patients with dementiaSocial media use and television viewing linked to rise in adolescent depressive symptomsTeens who can describe negative emotions are better protected against depressionWho and When: 223,842 individuals in Sweden followed up to age 27 by 2011, of whom 4,073 were diagnosed with ASD and 219,769 were notWhat (Study Measures and Outcomes): Clinical diagnosis of depressive disorders identified in local and national patient registersHow (Study Design): This was an observational study. Researchers were not intervening for purposes of the study and cannot control all the natural differences that could explain the study findings.Authors: Dheeraj Rai, M.R.C.Psych., Ph.D., of the University of Bristol, United Kingdom, and coauthorsStudy Limitations: Study population may have included people with undiagnosed depression and others may have been misclassified as having depression.
Compact elliptical galaxies have always been a conundrum. They look like a galaxy stripped bare: as if a normal elliptical galaxy—the sort that is a featureless mass of stars without a spiral structure—has had all its outer stars removed, leaving just the dense core of stars at its center. These rare systems—only a few tens were known until recently—were thought to have had their outer coats of stars ripped away by the gravity of other, larger galaxies as they passed nearby, a theory supported by the fact that they were usually found in the centers of large clusters of galaxies. But in 2013, an isolated compact elliptical galaxy was found, far from any predator galaxies able to rob it of its coat. So how was it created? To find out, astronomers scoured publicly available astronomy databases. They found 195 compact ellipticals; most were in galaxy clusters, but 11 were free fliers, the team reports online today in Science. What’s more, these galaxies had properties just like the others, so they should have had a common origin. The researchers conclude that these outliers were originally in clusters like the others, but after having their outer stars stripped away while orbiting a larger galaxy (orbit shown in this simulation), they had a close encounter with a third galaxy (approaching from bottom) whose gravity flung them out of the cluster like a slingshot. Such a process is known to occur in planetary systems when close encounters can cast a planet into deep space, and within galaxies when a star can get ejected, but these lonely compact galaxies are the result of slingshots on a supergalactic scale.
Tyrannosaur’s sensitive skin may have helped it capture prey By Carolyn GramlingMar. 30, 2017 , 9:00 AM In the twilight of the Age of Dinosaurs, tyrannosaurs were the apex predators. The bipedal carnivores spanned the globe for 14 million years in the late Cretaceous era, and fossils from Mongolia to North America offer scientists today a wealth of data on their biomechanics, anatomy, and evolution. But a fossil representing a new tyrannosaur species, dug up in Montana, may help show their sensitive side. The species, dubbed Daspletosaurus horneri (in honor of paleontologist Jack Horner), lived about 75 million years ago and stood about 2 meters tall and 9 meters long from snout to tail (about the length of a city bus). Because the skull and jaws of D. horneri were so well preserved, the team was able to study in detail its coarse, complex textures and determine what sorts of soft tissue once covered its face, they report online today in Scientific Reports. Their analysis suggests that tyrannosaurs’ faces were covered with flat scales, similar to modern-day crocodiles. And like those crocs, the tyrannosaur skulls have an array of holes within the bone; in the modern reptiles, nerves and blood vessels pass through those holes, transmitting sensory information from the facial skin. That sensitive skin, the authors suggest, may have given tyrannosaurs a leg up when it comes to identifying and capturing prey.
Ross was in better spirits Sunday morning, when she tweeted, “Im feeling better , it took a minute.” I love New Orleans it was an incredible night at the jazz fest pic.twitter.com/hCvIUo4FZ8— Ms. Ross (@DianaRoss) May 5, 2019 Gov. Cuomo Slams Mayor Bill De Blasio For The Eric Garner Case But He Also Failed The Family OK so on one hand I’m treated like royalty in New Orleans and at the airport I was treated like shit— Ms. Ross (@DianaRoss) May 5, 2019 Meghan McCain Whines That She Can’t Attack llhan Omar Because Trump Is Too Racist However, the very next day, she tweeted about her experience flying at New Orleans’ airport.“OK so on one hand I’m treated like royalty in New Orleans and at the airport I was treated like shit.” She continued in a separate tweet: “Let me be clear , Not the peiple [sic] or Delta BUT TSA , was over the top !! Makes me want to cry.”She also added in a third tweet, “Its not what was done but how , I am feeling violated – I still feel her hands between my legs , front and back ( saying to me it her job ,) WOW!!really mixed emotions I always like to see the good things but not feeling good right now.” Its not what was done but how , I am feeling violated – I still feel her hands between my legs , front and back ( saying to me it her job ,) WOW!!really mixed emotions I always like to see the good things but not feeling good right now— Ms. Ross (@DianaRoss) May 5, 2019The TSA defended its behavior but said it would look into Ross’ claims, the Guardian reported Monday morning.“Initial review of CCTV indicates that the officers involved with Ms Ross’s screening correctly followed all protocols, however, TSA leadership will continue to investigate the matter further,” a TSA spokesperson said. “We encourage Ms Ross to reach out to TSA so we can work with her directly to address her concerns.”This isn’t Miss Ross’ first time having an issue with airport security. Back in 1999, she was arrested at Heathrow Airport in London after allegedly assaulting a female security officer who tried to body-search her. When Ross’ breasts were checked during a search, she touched the officer’s breast, saying, “How do you like it?”She told reporters: “I’m absolutely furious. Do you know when they search you, they actually touch your breast? It’s disgraceful. They wouldn’t touch a man’s penis, would they?”A security man guard said, “She suddenly went mad. She was shouting and screaming that the girl had touched her breast.”After being arrested, Ross was released, a spokesperson said at the time, “She has been released after being cautioned. It is a black mark, but not a charge. That was deemed the appropriate action.” Let me be clear , Not the peiple or Delta BUT TSA , was over the top !!Makes me want to cry !!!— Ms. Ross (@DianaRoss) May 5, 2019 Jesse Jackson Demands ‘Justice Now’ At EJ Bradford’s Moving Funeral Ceremony Diana Ross , New Orleans , TSA More By NewsOne Staff A$AP Rocky Being In A Swedish Prison Will Not Stop Her From Going To The Country That Showed Her ‘So Much Love’ Im feeling better , it took a minute pic.twitter.com/zZcpMXG8g4— Ms. Ross (@DianaRoss) May 5, 2019SEE ALSO:All The Ways Cops Are Still Trying To Cover Up LaQuan McDonald’s ExecutionOutrageous! Figurines Of White Cherub Crushing Head Of Black Angel Removed From Dollar StoreMeet Jogger Joe, The Man Who Took Racist Cue From BBQ Becky In Tossing Homeless Man’s Clothes The legendary Diana Ross said she had an uncomfortable experience at an airport over the weekend and has now come out and slammed the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for her ordeal. The 75-year-old icon was performing at Jazz Fest in New Orleans and took to Twitter on Saturday to express how happy she was to be in the city for the show.
By Express News Service |Chandigarh | Updated: July 1, 2019 8:30:12 am Ayodhya dispute: Mediation to continue till July 31, SC hearing likely from August 2 Advertising Top News P Rajagopal, Saravana Bhavan founder sentenced to life for murder, dies Best Of Express Advertising Keshni took over the assignment after the retirement of Chief Secretary D S Dhesi on Sunday. Till now, Keshni was Haryana’s Additional Chief Secretary (Revenue). Due to retire on September 30, 2020, she will be able to retain the post for more than a year.“Good governance and transparency in the system will be my top priority,” Keshni told The Indian Express on Sunday. “I will focus on implementing flagship schemes of the central and state government apart from working for inclusive growth.”Keshni’s eldest sister, Meenakshi Anand Chaudhary, a 1969-batch IAS officer, was first woman Chief Secretary of Haryana. Later, her elder sister Urvashi Gulati, 1975-batch IAS officer, also held this position. Chaudhary retired from the post of Chief Secretary in 2005, while Gulati had held the post till 2012. Their father, Prof J C Anand, taught Political Science in Panjab University and all three daughters were also his students. 1 Comment(s) Chandrayaan-2 gets new launch date days after being called off Chandrayaan-2 gets new launch date days after being called off “My mother, a housewife, always used to say that it is studying that makes a difference. Both parents were source of motivation for us,” recalls Keshni. Keshni lost her father three years back, while her mother had died earlier.Each of the three sisters not only topped their post graduation in Political Science, but also cleared the Civil Services Examination in the first attempt and were allotted the Haryana cadre.Keshni had topped the girls in IAS batch of 1983. She is MBA from University of Western Sydney, Australia. She was appointed the first lady Deputy Commissioner in Haryana when the government had given her responsibility to lead administration in Yamunanagar in 1990. During her tenure there, she played an important role in implementation of adult literacy through voluntary organisations apart from handling law and order situation during the Mandal Commission stir.As Principal Secretary Tourism, she introduced online system for reservation of Haryana Tourism rooms and facilities with online payment gateway, which was replicated by other states/central government organisations. She also worked as Deputy Director General, UIDAI, Regional Office, Chandigarh with Government of India, wherein she was instrumental in implementing Aadhaar and Aadhaar applications in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh (UT), Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir and linkage of Aadhaar with LPG. She had contributed significantly in implementing Aadhaar-based DBT (Direct Benefit Transfer) in MGNREGA, various scholarships and social welfare pensions and other DBT schemes. “The state could save crores of rupees due to Aadhaar based de-duplication of beneficiaries,” said an official.Keshni also worked as state’s Additional Chief Secretary (School Education) where she was directly associated in preparing the online Teachers Transfer Policy for school teachers. This was implemented as first of its kind initiative in the country and many states/central organisations replicated this initiative.As Additional Chief Secretary (Revenue), she conceptualised and implemented many innovative e-governance projects like e-registration of properties, mandatory e-stamping, online PAN verification. The implementation of these e-governance initiatives and close monitoring helped the state in collection of Rs 5679.45 crore as registration fee and stamp duty in the year 2018-19, which is Rs 1414.27 crore higher than 2017-18 (more than 33 per cent) and highest in the history of Haryana. (From left) Keshni Anand Arora, Meenakshi Anand Chaudhary and Urvashi Gulati. (Express)When 1983-batch IAS officer Keshni Anand Arora Sunday took over as Haryana’s new Chief Secretary, she made history by becoming the third sister from a family to hold top administrative post of the state. Bureaucrats in Haryana believe that in no other part of the country, three sisters have ever risen to the post of the Chief Secretary of a state. Ayodhya dispute: Mediation to continue till July 31, SC hearing likely from August 2 P Rajagopal, Saravana Bhavan founder sentenced to life for murder, dies
How This Will Change Online Business Google took on French lawyers at the EuropeanUnion Court of Justice this week, in an effort to fend off expansion of the EU’s “right to be forgotten” judgment.The EU’s attempts to broaden the scope ofthat judgment would be “completely unenvisagable,” andit could result in impositions on the values of different countries around the world, Google argued.The right to be forgotten directive, which the EU imposed six years ago,allows individuals to request the removal of content from a search engine.Although details about the actual review process were not disclosed, EU regulators released guidelines in the fall of 2014. However, Google already had removed nearly 1.4 million URLs months earlier. The company has maintained that it accommodated reasonable requests.Google earlier this year said that it had complied with 43 percent of the 2.4 million requests it received between 2014 and 2017.One point of disagreement is over the EU’sproposal that delinking requests made by EU citizens beimplemented by Google globally and not be limited to Europeanversions of the search engine. European regulators have called forGoogle to delink the content to prevent circumvention of the law.Google so far has refused the French Data Protection Agency’s demandto apply the right to be forgotten internationally, which hasresulted in the search company becoming the subject of afour-year-long antitrust investigation.The French watchdog group, Commission Nationale del’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL) this week argued before the 15-judge panel that by limiting the delinking to Europe alone, content would be rendered difficult to find, but it would not be removed.For example, information could be retrieved from non-EU URLs orby using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) tool to conduct the searches, the group noted.Google is not the only tech company to face fines underthe right to be forgotten law. Yahoo, Microsoft, Facebook and Twitter also have had to comply with requests to be forgotten in the EU. EU Overreach? Is There a Right Way to Be Forgotten? One major consideration is whether this is, in fact, simplyabout protecting consumer privacy online — and if so, whether privacy protections should be limited to one continent.”The request of the EU has some legs. It doesn’t make sense to beforgotten on one version of Google’s search site but not on another,just on the grounds of a different language or a differentgeographical location,” suggested Mounir Hahad, head of Juniper ThreatLabs at Juniper Networks.”An EU citizen could be traveling to non-EU countries andinadvertently have access to search results that are supposed to befiltered,” he told TechNewsWorld.For those motivated to find filtered information, a VPNconnection is all it takes, and there are many free ones available.”Governments have been slow to realize that the digital informationthat describes, constrains and defines it citizens should beprotected as part of this responsibility,” observed Enderle.”I’ve always thought that, given companies like Google are largely funded by mining and selling this information, they would either be nationalized or constrained,”he added. “More countries in the EU, and eventually the U.S., will follow thisexample.” More EU Regulations on the Way How this plays out could revolve around the issue ofthe so-called “right” to be forgotten, especially when so much online contentseems to live forever.Fully addressing the problem could involve much more than enforcing aregulation. Someone, somewhere still could keep the content alive.”The scope of complying with the EU’s expansion of ‘the right to beforgotten’ is hard to conceive,” said Charles King, principal analystat Pund-IT.”An inadequate comparison would be to demand that libraries beresponsible for all the information in the books on their shelves, aswell as for removing citations that individuals believe areinaccurate, inappropriate or offensive,” he told TechNewsWorld.”The fact is that libel laws offer people ways to pursue and policesuch information in hard copy publications, but nothing similar existsfor online content,” King added.”This goofy scenario could become even more complex and costly ifGoogle and other search companies were required to exert these controlmechanisms on a country-by-country basis according to differingregulations,” he suggested.”Google has taken a hard-line stand on removing anything from theirindex,” said Safko. “Since the beginning, it has said they are notthe Internet police, and they will not make determinations of whatshould be indexed.” An Issue of Privacy One of the major concerns being voiced by opponents of the EU’s right to be forgotten and GDPR, is how these regulations could impact online businesses.Expanding the scope won’t have any substantial impact on the waybusinesses use the Internet, according to Hahad.”The current situation, if itstands, may indeed push some businesses to bypass EU local searchengine versions in favor of unfiltered ones,” he said. “On the contrary,companies would prefer to apply the same rules across the globe andnot have to deal with local regulations.”However, there is the view that it still boils down to censorship –even if done for compelling reasons, such as to stop terroristpropaganda, or simply to keep personal information trulypersonal. Governments could determine what actually was fake news, andpotentially even censor content that they found offensive to their positions.”In such a situation, terrible deeds could be perpetrated without fear ofcensure, repercussion, or even the judgment of history,” said DouglasCrawford, online privacy expert at BestVPN.com.These deeds simply would disappear from the public record, Crawfordtold TechNewsWorld.”Whatever happens, though, the right to be forgotten ruling will havelittle impact on the way business is done in Europe,” he added.”What will make a difference to Americans doing business in Europe, though, is how and when [Europe] chooses to enforce the Privacy Shield obligations that the U.S. government agreed to in 2016,” Crawford said.Although the deadline for meeting these obligations has now passed, theEU has yet to respond. Many businesses still could be taking a wait-and-see approach.”Businesses will likely choose between shifting resources to the lessregulated markets or taking a blanket approach, where the moststringent measures are applied across the board,” said The MediaTrust’s Rowland.”The blanket approach will most likely be the most frequently used,which will lead to a universal application of the most stringent laws,” he added, “and in short, consolidation rather than fracturing could be theresult.”The final question may be what right does one region have to enforceits rules on another region that doesn’t want them?”There hasn’t been any shortage of countries that already try toenforce their own censorship rules locally,” said Crawford, “but thesehave no power to exert their version of reality on the world at large,and thereby permanently change the historical record.” Clearly, the right to be forgotten is not something that easily can be contained within the borders of the EU. Does it follow that regulators in Europe should have a say about what individuals across the world can — or in this case, cannot — see?”This isn’t only an issue for Google,” said Niles Rowland, director of product development for The Media Trust.Other tech giants with a global reach also have come under threat from a growing number of EU laws, Rowland told TechNewsWorld.Google knows it’s being watched closely — not only by regulators, but also byother companies and consumers. It has been treading carefully betweencomplying with EU privacy laws and ensuring that they do not exceed the intended scope and jurisdiction, Rowland pointed out.”Google is not alone in opposing the expansion. The EU executive arm,human rights activists and others see the potential for abuse byheads of countries with weak democratic traditions,” he added.”The ‘right to be forgotten’ for the EU is very relevant,” said Laurence Pitt, strategic security director at Juniper Networks.It “meansthat businesses and individuals have to act as data controllers forthe information that they post to, or host on, the Internet — whetheror not they own it,” he explained.”Google alone has had hundreds of thousands of individual requests fordata to be removed — the workload for this is huge,” Pitt toldTechNewsWorld.This is where it gets complicated. Should Google somehow berequired to expand the EU directive globally isn’t feasible, given currentinternational laws.”It needs to be driven by a global agreement with all countries aroundthe world approving the change,” suggested Pitt. “Otherwise, it’s simplynot workable.” While Google has been attempting to push back against the right to be forgotten law,regulators in the EU have been pushing for more privacy and dataprotection.The EU earlier this year implemented the General DataProtection Regulation, which gives consumers greatercontrol of personal data collected by companies online.The EU recently has been considering rules that would require search engines and social media companies to remove allegedterrorist propaganda from their respective platforms within an hour ofa “competent” authority’s notification.Europe, which has experienced a rash of terrorist attacks, evidently aims to crack down on the spread of such propaganda online, including its use as a recruiting tool.In his annual State ofthe Union speech, European Commission President Jean-Claude Junckercalled for the removal of such content as way to reduce the likelihoodof attacks.Addressing terrorist threats is just one topic in the back-and-forthdiscussions between the European Commission and techcompanies. The companies have emphasized the progress they’ve made in removing extremist content via automated detection technology.Google, Facebook and other companies have not yet responded to the EU’scalls for action, but given the nature of Juncker’s message, the tech companies may find it difficult to mount opposition. It’s highly unlikely that any of them would characterize stopping terrrorism as an overreach.”Governments have many rights and powers but only one true unalienableresponsibility — to protect and nurture the citizens that underlie thatgovernment,” said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.”France, in this instance, is stepping up to this responsibility andapplying it broadly as they should,” he told TechNewsWorld.”Facebook isn’t obligated under the First Amendment freedom of speech,” noted social media consultant Lon Sakfo, “and they aren’t required to print everything every nut-bag has to say.”Torture videos and worse have been posted online.”There are just some things that don’t belong on a happy social network,” Safko toldTechNewsWorld. 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.
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Sep 25 2018Future robots will assist the elderly while adapting to the culture of the individual they are caring for. The first of this type of robots are now being tested in retirement homes within the scope of “Caresses”, an interdisciplinary project where AI researchers from örebro University are participating.”Already today, robots are present in our lives. They’re found in our schools, hospitals, our homes and businesses, and we believe that if they are also culturally competent, they will more easily be accepted by the people they interact with,” says Alessandro Saffiotti, Professor of Computer Science at örebro University.For two years, he has been working together with researchers from Europe and Japan to add cultural skills to a robot – a world’s first. This means that the robot may adapt the way it moves, talks, gestures and how it suggests appropriate topics of conversation depending on the individual it is interacting with.”The idea is that robots should be capable of adapting to human culture in a broad sense, defined by a person’s belonging to a particular ethnic group. At the same time, robots must be able to adapt to an individual’s personal preferences, so in that sense, it doesn’t matter if you’re Italian or Indian,” says Alessandro Saffiotti.Tested by elderly from diverse cultural backgroundsThese robots will now be tested by the elderly from diverse cultural backgrounds in retirement homes in England and Japan.”We’ll be examining if people feel more comfortable with robots that take into account their culture and if their presence increases the quality of life of the elderly,” said Alessandro Saffiotti.This newly developed type of artificial intelligence, which allows robots to adapt to the culture and habits of different people, should be able to be installed in all types of robots. The particular robot being tested within the framework of Caresses can remind users to take their medication, hold a simple conversation and encourage them to stay active and to keep in touch with family and friends.”The testing of robots outside of the laboratory environment and in interaction with the elderly will without a doubt be the most interesting part of our project,” he says.A natural part of our livesAlessandro Saffiotti is convinced that robots in the future will be more complex and play a more prominent role in our lives. Therefore, their ability to take into consideration cultural differences will be all that more essential.”It will add value to robots intended to interact with people. Which is not to say that today’s robots are completely culture-neutral. Instead, they unintentionally reflect the culture of the humans who build and program them.”Culturally competent robots have other advantages too, such as the economic aspects.”Companies should also be interested in selling robots to people of different cultural backgrounds in different countries,” says Alessandro Saffiotti. Source:https://www.oru.se/english/news/culturally-competent-robots-the-future-in-elderly-care/
Samsung no doubt hopes that its Note8 launch at the end of the month will not be plagued by the problems that doomed its predecessor, the Note7. That model made headlines with its battery fires and subsequent recalls. After less than 90 days on the market, Samsung stopped producing it.It’s not likely that those headlines will impact Note8 sales, however.”Not that many people were affected by those problems. I think 95 percent of the people don’t even remember the problems,” Gold said.”They appear to have recovered from the problems, and people aren’t avoiding the brand or the product,” Enderle noted.”Given the similarities between the Note8 and the S8,” said Moar, “that is likely to have a bigger impact on sales than the Note7 problems.” When the Note8 is released, it can expect some tough competition from phones like the LG V30, Huawei Mate 10, Google Pixel 2, and of course the iPhone 8.A key difference between the Note8 and other phones will be its broader support of virtual reality platforms, Juniper’s Moar maintained. The LG and Google models will support the Daydream platform, but the Note8 will support both Daydream and Gear VR platforms.”This will be a big draw to both VR early adopters and some industries looking to deploy smartphone VR to their customers,” he pointed out.That, along with Samsung’s strong relationships with channel partners, could help the company outsell its competitors — if the price is right, suggested Moar.However, there are signs that the price won’t be right. There are reports that Samsung may be getting Apple fever and could price the Note8 at US$1,000 or more.”This would put a huge dent in sales, both for the real price hike and the psychological effect of the $1,000 barrier on consumers,” Moar maintained.”If priced at over $1,000, the Note8 will fare badly, particularly with the S8 being so close to it in features for $200 or so less.” Maximized Display Real Estate Weathering Firestorm Blass’ photos appear to support other reports on the Note8 build.The device is designed to maximize screen real estate on its 6.3-inch QHD+ Super AMOLED Infinity display. The power-lock screen key is on the right side of the phone. On the left are the volume buttons and key for accessing Samsung’s Bixby digital assistant.Along with the dual cameras on the back, there’s a dual LED, dual tone flash; fingerprint scanner; and, according to some accounts, a heart-rate scanner.Chances are there will be two versions of the device — one with a Snapdragon 835 64-bit octa-core SoC and another with Samsung’s Exynos 8895 64-bit octa-core chip.The unit is expected to have 6 GB of RAM, 64 GB or 128 GB of expandable internal storage, and a 3,500-mAh battery. It likely will run Android 7.1.1 Nougat with the customary Samsung UI on top. Similar to Galaxy S8 Although the Note8 is larger than the recently released Galaxy S8, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of physical difference between the devices.”There appears to be very little to distinguish the two phones at this stage, beyond the presence of the S Pen,” said James Moar, a research analyst at Juniper Research.”The same bezel-less design is evident, as well as a dedicated button for Bixby,” he told TechNewsWorld.”The biggest distinguishing feature appears to be the dual camera, which is becoming a standard feature for many current-gen smartphones,” Moar added.In the Note8, Samsung may try to address an issue that already has cropped up with the S8 since its release.”Feedback from users of the S8 is that when they’re not looking at the phone, they’re putting their finger on the camera’s lens instead of the fingerprint sensor because they’re adjacent,” said Jeff Orr, senior practice director for mobile devices at ABI Research.”Maybe that gets remedied on the Note8, because there’s more room on it to move around the camera’s sensors or the fingerprint sensor,” he told TechNewsWorld. Photos posted to Twitter show the next Samsung Note phone will have a dual lens camera.When it rains etc. pic.twitter.com/D0lFR5Wn1B— Evan Blass (@evleaks) August 1, 2017Evan Blass, a reporter for VentureBeat, posted a photo of the front of a black Note8 to Twitter on Monday. On Tuesday, he added front and back images of gold and black versions of the phone, as well as a stylus device called the “S Pen.”The latest photos show a dual lens camera at the back of the phone. The mobile’s front has an edge-to-edge display across the width of the device and thin bezels at its top and bottom.The photos represent early renderings of the phones, Blass tweeted.While these early-stage “DIY renders” certainly give a feel for a phone’s basic design, the final product can differ significantly. pic.twitter.com/YwQMAx6Y3X— Evan Blass (@evleaks) August 1, 2017However, it’s noteworthy that his past early renderings have proven to be very accurate. Pricing may not be a problem in the United States, though.”There’s an appetite for higher-end phones here,” said Ramon T. Llamas, a senior research analyst at IDC.”There are also plans in place for people to buy high-end phones,” he told TechNewsWorld. “If you tell someone they’ve got to pay $1,000 up front, they’ll probably balk at that. But tell them to put $200 down and $25 a month, and they can deal with that.”With the exception of Apple, Samsung has another advantage over its competitors.”People don’t know these other brands as well as they know Samsung,” said Jack E. Gold, principal analyst at J. Gold Associates.”People know Samsung and feel comfortable with it,” he told TechNewsWorld.Samsung also does a better job of marketing its phones than others, added Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.”It’s going to come down to marketing execution,” he told TechNewsWorld. “I have no doubt that they’ll have the budget because they just had a phenomenal quarter.”However, there is already speculation about the Note 9, Enderle noted.”That could do damage to the Note8 the way iPhone 7 sales were hurt by the expectations that the iPhone 8 would be a very special phone,” he said. 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. 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Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Nov 7 2018Elevated levels of trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO)–a compound linked with the consumption of fish, seafood and a primarily vegetarian diet–may reduce hypertension-related heart disease symptoms. New research in rats finds that low-dose treatment with TMAO reduced heart thickening (cardiac fibrosis) and markers of heart failure in an animal model of hypertension. The study is published ahead of print in the American Journal of Physiology–Heart and Circulatory Physiology and was chosen as an APSselect article for November.TMAO levels in the blood significantly increase after eating TMAO-rich food such as fish and vegetables. In addition, the liver produces TMAO from trimethylamine (TMA), a substance made by gut bacteria. The cause of high TMAO levels in the blood and the compound’s effects on the heart and circulatory system are unclear, and earlier research has been contradictory. It was previously thought that TMAO blood plasma levels–and heart disease risk–rise after the consumption of red meat and eggs. However, “it seems that a fish-rich and vegetarian diet, which is beneficial or at least neutral for cardiovascular risk, is associated with a significantly higher plasma TMAO than red meat- and egg-rich diets, which are considered to increase the cardiovascular risk,” researchers from the Medical University of Warsaw in Poland and the Polish Academy of Sciences wrote.Related StoriesRepurposing a heart drug could increase survival rate of children with ependymomaHeart disease is still the number 1 killer in Australia, according to latest figuresImplanted device uses microcurrent to exercise heart muscle in cardiomyopathy patientsThe researchers studied the effect of TMAO on rats that have a genetic tendency to develop high blood pressure (spontaneously hypertensive rats). One group of hypertensive rats was given low-dose TMAO supplements in their drinking water, and another group received plain water. They were compared to a control group of rats that does not have the same genetic predisposition and received plain water. The dosage of TMAO was designed to increase blood TMAO levels approximately four times higher than what the body normally produces. The rats were given TMAO therapy for either 12 weeks or 56 weeks and were assessed for heart and kidney damage and high blood pressure.TMAO treatment did not affect the development of high blood pressure in any of the spontaneously hypertensive rats. However, condition of the animals given the compound was better than expected, even after more than a year of low-dose TMAO treatment. “A new finding of our study is that [a] four- to five-fold increase in plasma TMAO does not exert negative effects on the circulatory system. In contrast, a low-dose TMAO treatment is associated with reduced cardiac fibrosis and [markers of] failing heart in spontaneously hypertensive rats,” the researchers wrote.”Our study provides new evidence for a potential beneficial effect of a moderate increase in plasma TMAO on pressure-overloaded heart,” the research team wrote. The researchers acknowledge that further study is needed to assess the effect of TMAO and TMA on the circulatory system. However, an indirect conclusion from the study could underscore the heart-healthy benefits of following a Mediterranean-style diet rich in fish and vegetables. Source:http://www.the-aps.org/mm/hp/Audiences/Public-Press/2018/72.html
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Nov 14 2018Individual and work-related factors may be helpful in promoting positive engagement with work among hospital physicians, according to a study in the December issue of Medical Care. The journal is published in the Lippincott portfolio by Wolters Kluwer.The study provides insights into the emerging evidence on the characteristics and outcomes affecting physician engagement – an area of growing focus in healthcare improvement efforts. “By understanding how individual and work characteristics impact engagement, hospital administrator leaders are better positioned to positively approach physician engagement within their hospitals,” write Tyrone A. Perreira, PhD, MEd, and colleagues of University of Toronto and the Ontario Hospital Association.Hospital Physician Engagement – Individual and Work-Related FactorsBuilding on the concept of “positive psychology,” physician engagement is viewed as a critical factor for improving the quality and efficiency of healthcare, increasing physician satisfaction and retention, and improving patient safety and outcomes. “‘Engagement’ in healthcare is often defined as a positive, fulfilling work-related state of mind, which is characterized by vigor, dedication and absorption,” Dr. Perreira and coauthors write.In a scoping review, the researchers identified 15 studies of hospital physician engagement. Reflecting the growing interest in this concept, all of the studies were published between 2012 and 2017. Dr. Perreira and colleagues performed quantitative and qualitative analyses to identify factors associated with physician engagement, as well as its impact on work outcomes.The studies identified a range of individual characteristics related to physician engagement. Younger physicians (aged 26 to 35) had the highest physician engagement scores, but more experienced doctors were also more engaged. Single physicians had higher engagement than married physicians. Among physicians with children, men had higher engagement than women. Several personal attributes were linked to higher engagement, including resiliency, self-efficacy (confidence in the ability to get things done), and optimism.Related StoriesTransobturator sling surgery shows promise for stress urinary incontinenceApplication of machine learning methods to healthcare outcomes researchDogs and cats relieve academic stress and lift students’ mood, according to a new studyWork-related characteristics related to increased engagement included higher quality of work life and increased job resources – for example, high levels of job control and supervisory and organizational support. In contrast, high job stress and high job demands were linked to lower physician engagement. Based on limited data, high physician engagement was associated with some important work outcomes, including increased job satisfaction, increased work ability, and decreased medical errors.The study provides a useful initial overview of the emerging research for hospitals seeking to improve physician engagement, Dr. Perreira and colleagues believe. Although hospital leadership can’t do much to change individual characteristics such as physician age, gender, or family life, knowledge of these factors may help in targeting doctors for interventions to improve physician engagement.In contrast, the work-related factors might be helpful in guiding steps to promote engagement in healthcare settings. “Preliminary findings support healthy work environments, which include a good work-life balance, fair scheduling, as well as decreased job stress and job demands such as work overload and/or overtime,” the researchers write.Dr. Perreira and colleagues highlight the need for further research on hospital physician engagement, including the impact on key outcomes such as job satisfaction and patient safety. The authors believe their study provides a “strong evidence-based platform to further advance knowledge around physician engagement” – which may lead to new strategies to improve the hospital work environment, with the ultimate outcome of improving patient care. Source:http://home.lww.com/news.entry.html/2018/11/13/how_can_hospitalske-JdM2.html
Source:https://www.rand.org/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Dec 6 2018Providing supervised access to medical-grade heroin to people whose use continues after trying multiple traditional treatments has been successful in other countries, and should be piloted and studied in the United States, according to a new RAND Corporation study.Evidence from other nations suggests that prescribing heroin to be injected under medical observation — with optional take-home methadone — can offer benefits over methadone alone for those who have repeatedly tried traditional treatments for heroin use disorder, including methadone, but still inject heroin, according to the analysis. This approach often is referred to as heroin-assisted treatment.While the researchers say that the top priority is increasing access to traditional FDA-approved medications like methadone and buprenorphine, the severity of the opioid crisis provides urgency to evaluate other tools that might reduce its impact and save lives.”Given the increasing number of deaths associated with fentanyl and successful use of heroin-assisted treatment abroad, the U.S. should pilot and study this approach in some cities,” said Beau Kilmer, leader of the project and co-director of the RAND Drug Policy Research Center. “This is not a silver bullet or first-line treatment. But there is evidence that it helps stabilize the lives of some people who use heroin.”Researchers found studies from multiple countries suggesting that the approach can be more cost-beneficial than continuing to offer only methadone to those who have not responded well to methadone, notably because it is more effective at reducing criminal activity.Opioid use disorders affect an estimated 9 out of every 1,000 Americans and opioid overdose-related deaths have quadrupled over the past 15 years. More than 49,000 people died from opioid-involved overdoses in the U.S. in 2017.The RAND findings appear in five related RAND publications and are based upon one of the most-exhaustive analyses to date of the experiences in other parts of the world with two interventions that are implemented in some other countries, but not in the United States: heroin-assisted treatment and supervised consumption sites.Supervised consumption sites, sometimes called drug consumption rooms or safe injection facilities, are places where individuals can consume already-purchased street drugs using sterile injection supplies in the presence of trained staff who monitor for overdose or risky injection practices, intervening when necessary. Some supervised consumption sites also provide additional services, such as referrals to treatment and access to drug content testing.To assess the effectiveness of heroin-assisted treatment and supervised consumption sites, RAND researchers reviewed the high-quality scientific evidence and talked to more than two dozen stakeholders in Canada, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom to learn about their experiences with the approaches.They also spoke to more than 150 people in New Hampshire and Ohio — including policy professionals, frontline service providers and people who use heroin or other opioids — to examine interest in the two approaches and perceived barriers. The two states have been hit hard by the U.S. opioid epidemic.Related StoriesFlorida is the latest Republican-led state to adopt clean needle exchangesCannabidiol reduces cue-induced craving and anxiety in individuals with history of heroin abuseAddiction medicine mostly prescribed to whites, even as opioid deaths rose among blacksWhile the researchers found there were published clinical trials that support the benefits of heroin-assisted treatment, the full range of benefits of supervised consumption sites were not as well documented. The effects on consumption within a supervised consumption site are directly observed, but scientific evidence about the claimed and anticipated spill-over effects on behavior outside the facility’s walls is limited both in quality and in the number of locations evaluated.Although the RAND study found that supervised consumption sites can reduce the risk of a fatal overdose, disease transmission and other harms associated with unhygienic drug use practices, there is uncertainty about the magnitude of population-level effects of the strategy. Yet many such programs have been around for 15 to 30 years and have survived multiple changes in local and national governments.”Persistence does not imply effectiveness, but it seems unlikely that supervised consumption sites — which were initially controversial in many places — would have such longevity if they had serious adverse consequences for their clients or communities,” Kilmer said.In the U.S., there are significant legal issues surrounding the implementation of supervised consumption sites. Interviews with international stakeholders also found that there often was vocal opposition to supervised consumption sites when initially discussed or opened. This opposition primarily revolved around concerns about enabling drug use and potential negative community effects. However, that resistance tended to dissipate over time.The researchers suggest that it may be constructive to view heroin-assisted treatment and supervised consumption sites as exemplars of broader strategies, not as the only option within their class.For example, supervised consumption sites currently supervise a very small proportion of all injection sessions even in cities where they are well established. Canadian cities recently have expanded the scale of supervised consumption by deploying smaller overdose prevention sites that typically offer fewer services than formal supervised consumption sites.”It may even be worth asking whether the benefits of supervised consumption sites depend on there being a physical brick-and-mortar site, which may become a lightning rod for opposition, or if the key is just that consumption is supervised and whether there are other ways to get more opioid consumption supervised,” said Jonathan P. Caulkins, a report co-author and a professor of public policy at Carnegie Mellon University.Caulkins said it also is possible that supervised injection of hydromorphone — a prescription opioid medication — may achieve similar benefits as offering supervised injectable heroin for those with heroin use disorder, but with fewer regulatory barriers.While heroin cannot now be prescribed in the United States because it is a Schedule I drug, it would be legal under federal law to conduct randomized controlled trials with the drug, according to the study. Hydromorphone is classified as a Schedule II drug and is currently prescribed for pain.
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Dec 7 2018Ning “Jenny” Jiang, an associate professor in the Cockrell School of Engineering’s Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Dell Medical School’s Department of Oncology, has been awarded a $2.5 million grant from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) to participate in the philanthropic organization’s inaugural Neurodegeneration Challenge Network.The CZI, founded by Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and medical doctor Priscilla Chan, will give $51.95 million in research funding to mark the launch of an ambitious collaborative project aimed at improving our understanding of the underlying causes of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.Jiang, who is the sole researcher from The University of Texas at Austin to receive a CZI grant, will study the “high-throughput 3D profiling of single T cells in neurodegenerative diseases” — a novel approach to understanding our immune system response.Although it is understood immune cells play a part in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases, we know relatively little about the specific composition of the so-called T cells involved and how they react to the corresponding antigens specific to neurodegeneration.Jiang’s primary goal for the CZI grant will be to advance understanding of the function of infiltrating immune cells, especially T cells, in neurodegenerative diseases.”I am extremely grateful for this opportunity,” Jiang said. “It is a true honor for such a forward-thinking organization to recognize the merit in my research, given how many other worthy candidates were also in the running.”Jiang has developed systems immunology tools in her lab at UT that profile single T cells known to infiltrate the brain during neurodegeneration. The technology provides greater understanding of the role of the immune system, thereby potentially offering new immune-based diagnostic approaches and more effective treatments.Related StoriesTrump administration cracks down on fetal tissue researchSchwann cells capable of generating protective myelin over nerves finds researchResearch sheds light on sun-induced DNA damage and repairThrough the CZI program, top early-career engineers, physicians and scientists with expertise in neuroscience, cell biology, biochemistry, immunology and genomics will use the funding to conduct collaborative research into neurodegeneration in an effort to learn more about diseases where many questions remain unanswered.More than 500 applications were submitted to the CZI to participate in the Neurodegeneration Challenge Network, and Jiang was one of only 17 individuals to receive an award, along with nine collaborative science teams from research institutions nationwide.”To fill gaps in our understanding of neurodegenerative diseases, we need to support new approaches, explore new ideas and help experts connect across disciplines,” said Cori Bargmann, the head of science for CZI. “We’re excited to welcome the first group of CZI Neurodegeneration Challenge Network grantees. Together, their work will increase our knowledge of the basic biology of these diseases — and we need that knowledge to develop better treatments.”Jiang has devoted her career to learning more about how the human immune system works. Her research has already earned her international recognition as a thought leader in her field, with numerous publications in major academic journals, including related research in a recent issue of the journal Nature Biotechnology.”We are still learning how and why immune cells behave the way they do in the human body,” she said. “But my long-term goal is to advance new methods for earlier diagnoses of neurodegenerative diseases and, by extension, the development of more effective treatments.” Source:https://news.utexas.edu/2018/12/05/neurodegenerative-disease-research-at-ut-gets-financial-boost-thanks-to-facebook-founder/
Source:http://www.thelancet.com/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Feb 20 2019Cervical cancer could be eliminated as a public health problem in most countries by the end of the century by rapid expansion of existing interventions, according to a modeling study published in The Lancet Oncology journal.The estimates, which are the first of their kind at a global-scale, indicate that combining high uptake of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine and high HPV-based cervical screening rates in all countries from 2020 onwards could prevent up to 13.4 million cases of cervical cancer within 50 years (by 2069), and the average rate of annual cases across all countries could fall to less than 4 cases per 100,000 women by the end of the century–which is a potential threshold for considering cervical cancer to be eliminated as a major public health problem.Under a more gradual scale-up scenario, cervical cancer elimination is expected in countries with very high and high levels of development by the end of the century, but average rates would remain above the threshold in countries with medium (4.4 cases per 100,000) and low (14 per 100,000) levels of development.Without expanding current prevention programs, however, the study predicts that 44.4 million cervical cancer cases would be diagnosed over the next 50 years–rising from 600,000 in 2020 to 1.3 million in 2069 due to population growth and ageing.In May, 2018, the Director General of WHO called for coordinated action globally to eliminate this highly preventable cancer. The findings from this study have helped inform initial discussions of elimination targets as part of the development of the WHO strategy, and future modelling studies will support the development of the final goals and targets for cervical cancer elimination.WHO has called for urgent action to scale up implementation of proven measures towards achieving the elimination of cervical cancer as a global public health problem (including vaccination against HPV, screening and treatment of pre-cancer, early detection and prompt treatment of early invasive cancers and palliative care). A draft global strategy to accelerate cervical cancer elimination, with goals and targets for the period 2020-2030, will be considered at the World Health Assembly in 2020.”Despite the enormity of the problem, our findings suggest that global elimination is within reach with tools that are already available, provided that both high coverage of HPV vaccination and cervical screening can be achieved”, says Professor Karen Canfell from the Cancer Council New South Wales, Sydney, Australia who led the study.”More than two thirds of cases prevented would be in countries with low and medium levels of human development like India, Nigeria, and Malawi, where there has so far been limited access to HPV vaccination or cervical screening. The WHO call-to-action provides an enormous opportunity to increase the level of investment in proven cervical cancer interventions in the world’s poorest countries. Failure to adopt these interventions will lead to millions of avoidable premature deaths.”Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women, with an estimated 570,000 new cases diagnosed worldwide in 2018, of which around 85% occur in less developed regions. HPV, a group of more than 150 viruses, is responsible for the majority of cervical cancers. Proven methods are available to screen for and treat cervical pre-cancers, and broad-spectrum HPV vaccines can potentially prevent up to 84-90% of cervical cancers.Nevertheless, large disparities exist in cervical screening and HPV vaccination coverage between countries. In low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), overall screening rates in 2008 were as low as 19%, compared to 63% in high-income regions; whilst by 2014 less than 3% of females aged 10-20 years in LMICs received the full course of HPV vaccination in 2014, compared to over a third in high-income countries.Related StoriesLiving with advanced breast cancerSugary drinks linked to cancer finds studyNovel vaccine against bee sting allergy successfully testedThe authors analysed high-quality registry data from the International Agency for Research on Cancer to predict future trends in cervical cancer if further action is not taken. They then used a dynamic model to calculate the impact of scaling up HPV vaccination and cervical screening on the cervical cancer burden globally, and in 181 countries of all levels of development, between 2020 and the end of the century.The modelling focused on the deployment of vaccination and screening in low- and medium- income countries rather than detailed modelling of all the more recent improvements in countries with high levels of development, which may have underestimated timing to elimination in individual countries with high levels of development.The researchers also predicted the earliest date when rates of cervical cancer might fall enough to achieve elimination (considering a possible elimination threshold of less than 4 cases per 100,000 individuals). The average worldwide age-standardised rate of cervical cancer in 2012 was 12 per 100,000.Results showed that rapid vaccination scale-up to 80-100% coverage globally by 2020 using a broad-spectrum HPV vaccine could prevent 6.7-7.7 million cases–but more than half of these would be averted after 2060.If, in addition, cervical screening were scaled-up to high coverage by 2020 (with all women offered screening twice in their lifetime and 70% coverage globally), this could prevent an additional 5.7-5.8 million cases of cervical cancer in the next 50 years, and substantially speed up elimination.Such efforts could result in cervical cancer being eliminated as a public health problem, with average rates across countries falling to less than 4 cases per 100,000 by 2055-59 in countries with very high levels of development (including the USA, Finland, the UK and Canada); 2065-69 for countries with high levels of development (including Mexico, Brazil, and China); 2070-79 for countries with medium levels of development (including India, Vietnam, and the Philippines); and 2090-2100 onwards for countries with low levels of development (such as Ethiopia, Haiti, and Papua New Guinea).However, rates of less than 4 cases per 100,000 would not be achieved by the end of the century in all individual countries in Africa (eg, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda) even if high coverage vaccination and twice lifetime cervical screening could be achieved by 2020.The authors note several limitations, including that their predictions are constrained by a lack of high-quality cancer incidence data over time, particularly in developing countries. They also note that the model assumed lifetime duration of vaccine protection and did not fully account for geographical differences in sexual behaviour, which might affect the accuracy of the estimates. They also assumed in their rapid scale-up scenarios that very high global vaccination coverage rates (of 80% or higher) would be achievable worldwide–but successfully providing two doses of the HPV vaccine with appropriate spacing is likely to be challenging, particularly in less developed regions. Finally, the rapid scale-up scenario examined in the study did not account for cultural, logistical, and financial barriers to scaling up screening in low-resource settings.
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Mar 21 2019A new algae-based treatment could reduce the need for amputation in people with critical limb ischaemia, according to new research funded by the British Heart Foundation, published today in the journal npj Regenerative Medicine.Researchers at St Thomas’ Hospital and King’s College London have made small capsules from brown algae which hold macrophages, a type of white blood cell. Tests in mice have shown that these algae capsules may be able to increase blood flow in the limbs where tissue has been damaged. The researchers now hope to progress this research into human clinical trials to help the people visiting hospital with critical limb ischaemia (CLI). It is estimated that there are up to 60,000 new cases of CLI per year in the UK.Scientists have been experimenting with cells as a treatment to grow arteries in the leg for years, however, these treatments have not been effective in humans. A big challenge is that many of the cells injected into the injured area die, move away to surrounding areas, or are detected as ‘foreign’ by the immune system and rejected.In this study, surgeon Professor Bijan Modarai and his team of scientists delivered the new algae-based capsules containing macrophages to areas of injured muscle tissue in the back legs of mice. Alginate from the cell walls of brown algae, which is mainly found in cold waters in the Northern Hemisphere, was used to form the capsules. They found that these macrophages successfully remained in the injured area, new blood vessels formed, and as a result more blood reached the damaged area.CLI is a serious condition which occurs when the arteries in the limbs become blocked as a result of a build-up of fatty deposits, reducing blood flow to the hands and feet. Smoking, diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure can all lead to CLI. If blood flow is not restored, up to 50 per cent of people with CLI will either die or need amputation within one year (1).Related StoriesNew study reveals ‘clutch’ proteins responsible for putting T cell activation ‘into gear’Diet and physical exercise do not reduce risk of gestational diabetesBordeaux University Hospital uses 3D printing to improve kidney tumor removal surgeryCurrently, to treat CLI and restore blood flow in the limbs, the blocked section of the artery has to be either bypassed during surgery or widened using a small piece of expandable mesh called a stent. However, in up to a third of patients, these methods will eventually fail or are not possible to begin with and amputation is the only option.Professor Bijan Modarai therefore hopes that this new way of delivering cells could be the key to creating an effective treatment for people suffering with CLI.Professor Bijan Modarai, Professor of Vascular Surgery and BHF Senior Fellow at King’s College London/St Thomas’ Hospital, said:”We hope that this new method of cell therapy will greatly reduce the need for limb amputations in those people whose CLI is untreatable, and would otherwise have no other option.”The beauty of this new algae-based treatment is that it harnesses the potential of natural materials. Not only does this make it a very attractive solution, but we know we can use it to safely treat people with CLI.”Professor Metin Avkiran, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation which funded the research said:”You might associate algae with your garden pond, but our researchers are proving these diverse organisms could hold the key to a new treatment for one of the leading causes of limb amputation – CLI.”Losing a limb is an all too devastating reality for many patients with CLI. The condition is caused by blockages in arteries that supply blood to the legs and feet, and is triggered by the same process that blocks coronary arteries when someone has a heart attack.”This research brings us a step closer to finding treatments for the thousands of people affected by this disabling condition in the UK.”Source: https://www.bhf.org.uk/what-we-do/news-from-the-bhf/news-archive/2019/march/algae-could-prevent-limb-amputation
Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Apr 16 2019FINDINGSUCLA researchers have developed a new artificial intelligence system to help radiologists improve their ability to diagnose prostate cancer. The system, called FocalNet, helps identify and predict the aggressiveness of the disease evaluating magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, scans, and it does so with nearly the same level of accuracy as experienced radiologists. In tests, FocalNet was 80.5 percent accurate in reading MRIs, while radiologists with at least 10 years of experience were 83.9 percent accurate.BACKGROUNDRadiologists use MRI to detect and assess the aggressiveness of malignant prostate tumors. However, it typically takes practicing on thousands of scans to learn how to accurately determine whether a tumor is cancerous or benign and to accurately estimate the grade of the cancer. In addition, many hospitals do not have the resources to implement the highly specialized training required for detecting cancer from MRIs.Related StoriesTrends in colonoscopy rates not aligned with increase in early onset colorectal cancerLiving with advanced breast cancerUsing machine learning algorithm to accurately diagnose breast cancerMETHODFocalNet is an artificial neural network that uses an algorithm that comprises more than a million trainable variables; it was developed by the UCLA researchers. The team trained the system by having it analyze MRI scans of 417 men with prostate cancer; scans were fed into the system so that it could learn to assess and classify tumors in a consistent way and have it compare the results to the actual pathology specimen. Researchers compared the artificial intelligence system’s results with readings by UCLA radiologists who had more than 10 years of experience.IMPACTThe research suggests that an artificial intelligence system could save time and potentially provide diagnostic guidance to less-experienced radiologists.Source: http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/artificial-intelligence-radiologists-detecting-prostate-cancer