Greeks vote in 1st parliamentary election since bailout end Related News Advertising Post Comment(s) Greece recognizes Venezuela’s Juan Guaido as interim president Karnataka: SC to rule today, says Speaker’s powers need relook With a quiet handshake at the door of Maximos Mansion on a tree-lined street in central Athens, Alexis Tsipras ceded the office of prime minister Monday to the New Democracy leader, Kyriakos Mitsotakis.It was the kind of uneventful handover of power that heralded Greece’s return to normality after being ground zero of one of the most tumultuous periods in global economic history.The election victory Sunday by a traditional center-right party was the end of Greece’s flirtation with radical left-wing populist politics, even as the radicals of Tsipras’ Syriza party transformed themselves into a mainstream force of the center-left. The Tsipras experiment may hold important lessons for Europe and its new ranks of anti-establishment populists. While many, as in Italy, gleefully thumb their noses at the European Union and its rules, once in power the risks of following through on their rebelliousness may corral them from the extremes.Greece represented a special, wrenching case, but its experience showed that, especially for small countries, if you are in the eurozone, “you’re not free to run a radical financial policy,” said Charles Grant, the director of the Center for European Reform. “The combination of EU rules and the financial markets forced a kind of orthodoxy on Greece, and will probably work similarly with Italy.”The other major lesson, Grant said, is that “the idea of a small country leaving the euro, whatever the good and bad of the euro, is bonkers, and that the euro itself is not going to fall to pieces.”Mujtaba Rahman, managing director for Europe of Eurasia Group, underlined the point. “The Syriza experiment is consistent with the experience of other EU member states that also tried to defy the EU and capital markets and failed — such as Portugal, and more recently, Italy,” he said. More Explained In undecided Congress, first open call for Priyanka: She should be party chief Best Of Express Explained: Kulbhushan Jadhav case file By New York Times |Athens, Greece | Published: July 10, 2019 10:18:13 am NRC deadline approaching, families stranded in Assam floods stay home “When the EU and capital markets align, in seeking changes that will make a country’s finances more sustainable or improving the environment in which the private sector operates, governments — no matter how radical — have no real choice but to reform,” Rahman said. “Greece’s experience is a cautionary tale, but Portugal’s, Spain’s and Italy’s have all been, too.”While all populists are hardly the same, and many of Europe’s newer ones, as in Hungary, have come to power on anti-immigrant policies, Greece could be an indication that populists in power can end up behaving responsibly, said Mark Leonard, the director of the European Council on Foreign Relations.“Populists are not always as scary in office as they may appear,” he said, noting the continuing populist experiment in much-larger Italy, where euroskeptics are in power but remain reluctant to challenge the European Union and the budget rules of the euro.Tsipras won praise in Brussels and Washington for his transformation into an establishment politician, a shape shift that some regard as betrayal. His critics say that transformation came only after he did severe damage to the Greek economy. If Greece has returned to normality, the new normal in some ways is a lot like the old, with Greece reverting to being a peripheral European country that no longer has the potential to destabilize global markets or bring down the euro.“The last four years have been a waste and totally unnecessary,” said Maria Demertzis, deputy director of Bruegel, an economic research institute in Brussels, who is herself Greek. “Tsipras learned fast, but not before he had inflicted such a cost on the economy.”Facing a choice between default on its debt in a crisis that began in 2010, and another bailout from creditors that would bring more austerity, Tsipras called for a referendum in 2015 and asked Greeks to reject it.They did, only to have Tsipras accept even harsher terms to avoid expulsion from the eurozone, ushering in even tougher austerity policies and costing the economy billions of euros after he put the financial system on lockdown, destroying confidence in banks.Tsipras ultimately did little, despite promises to Brussels and the International Monetary Fund, to confront and restructure Greece’s large civil service and its clientelist economy.In many ways, Demertzis said, it was the waste of a crisis that could have been used to modernize the Greek state. For that reason, even though Greeks may be poor and exhausted by the long debt crisis, “there will be no honeymoon,” for the next prime minister, she said.While the economy is again showing modest growth, expected to be about 2% this year, Greece’s national output shrank by one-quarter during the crisis. Poverty is rife; unemployment, at around 18%, is the highest in the eurozone; and many of Greece’s smartest and best-educated are working abroad.Mitsotakis, who is business-friendly, intends to try to unblock some of the privatization projects Tsipras agreed to but never carried out. And he has promised to reduce the primary surplus — the budget surplus without counting debt service — to 2.5% from the current 3.5% of GDP demanded by Greece’s creditors, in an effort to free up more space for the tax cuts he has promised the middle class.“He is right that the middle class in Greece needs saving,” Demertzis said. “But it has to be done in agreement” with Brussels, which has so far said that no changes can be made to the bailout deal. “Mitsotakis has said he won’t do it right away, to gain credibility with the creditors first,” she said. “But it’s not his decision alone.”Mitsotakis’ biggest challenge is likely to be trying to change an overregulated and dysfunctional state as he tries to deliver quickly on promises of investments and reforms that will create higher-paying jobs.Panos Tsakloglou, who teaches economics at Athens University and served as chairman of the Greek council of economic advisers from 2012 to 2014, says Tsipras’ government could not have pushed through public-sector reforms it did not believe in.“To do market liberalization, you need to believe in market liberalization,” he said.“Mitsotakis will be better placed to go ahead with some of these reforms, he understands what kind of reforms are needed and knows how to do them,” he said.And while Mitsotakis may be able to cut taxes as promised, if the international creditors decide to give him a little space to build goodwill, that is unlikely to be enough to speed up Greece’s growth or create decently paying jobs.Demertzis noted that Mitsotakis had already moved to reduce the size of government with a smaller Cabinet and has said that he will establish his office not in Maximos Mansion, but in the ministry for reform.At the same time, said Leonard of the European Council on Foreign Relations, the European Union itself has learned from the Greek crisis that “you need to have a more balanced economic deal.” Greece, he said, “was an important petri dish for strict German economics, which haven’t succeeded.”The actions of the European Central Bank have been crucial in restoring some stability by “allowing a bit more oxygen into the system,” he said, while noting that the most successful countries that had market-enforced austerity, like Spain and Portugal, were not led by populist governments and “now look mainstream.”It is difficult to generalize too much from the Greek example, Leonard said. But it is also striking that a once-derided center-right party, New Democracy, could return to power with a majority.Greece appeared to be back to what is a traditional two-party system, with the transformed Syriza taking over the role of the center-left opposition from the nearly defunct Pasok, which has suffered many of the same problems as other traditional socialist parties in Europe, like Germany’s Social Democrats. Advertising “We’re back to the two-party system we had before the crisis,” Demertzis said. “Is that good or bad? It’s hard to say. But it’s what Greece knows, and it provides stability.” Alexis Tsipras ceded the office of prime minister Monday to the New Democracy leader, Kyriakos Mitsotakis. (The New York Times)Written by Matina Stevis-Gridneff and Steven Erlanger Greek police fire tear gas at migrants as border convoy grows Advertising
Medical Advances vs. Ethical Dilemmas Real World Cyborgs One facet of such a connection that hasn’t been discussed much is privacy. If a brain-to-computer interface can allow for the uploading of thoughts, then what happens as thoughts become data?”It isn’t so much your brain being hacked — but there will be other challenges that come with a neural and electronic interface,” said technology and privacy consultant Frederick Lane.”The real worry is that thoughts are truly the definition of private information,” Lane told TechNewsWorld.”It is the literal definition, and it doesn’t get more private than that, so when you put your memories in the cloud you have to worry about how they will be protected,” he added.Companies are increasingly good at collecting data, but they aren’t very good at protecting it. Further, it’s conceivable that personal thoughts could get individuals in serious trouble.”We have a legal system that already wants to punish fantasy,” noted Lane. “This opens the way for thought police — where you think about a potential crime and could be prosecuted for just having that thought.” Privacy Concerns Exactly what a direct connection between a computer and brain could do has been the fodder of science fiction debates, but whether it is possible is the great unanswered question.”The technique of trepanning — drilling holes in our skulls to try to fix problems with people’s brains — appears to be as ancient as humanity itself, and the idea of implanting electrodes is decades old,” said Paul Teich, principal analyst at Tirias Research.”However, the medical imaging sensors and processing power required to figure out how a human brain works to a level of detail that can be used to implant sensor and exciter networks that have specific, precise and deterministic functions is still in its infancy,” he told TechNewsWorld.”We still have a long way to go toward developing a complex bi-directional link directly to the brain,” added Kevin Krewell, also a principal analyst at Tirias Research. Treatment of brain damage perhaps tops the list of reasons to pursue such a connection between brain and computer.”Neuralink will develop advanced electrodes that can be attached or implanted within the brain, and this direct connection between the brain and electronics could allow direct stimulation of specific brain areas, which can be used for therapy for some neural disorders,” Krewell told TechNewsWorld.What Musk is attempting, in essence, is basic medical research backed by new computational science methods. However, it likely will be a long time before anyone’s brain can be “plugged” directly into a computer — at least in the way it’s suggested in the works of science fiction writers William Gibson and Bruce Sterling.”While I’m sure there will be a lot of animal and human experimentation and field trials over the next decades, it’s going to be a long time before countries with liberal medical device approval processes will see widespread use of these technologies — never mind our FDA approval process in the U.S.,” observed Teich.”Technology turns into a very different beast when you begin to work on the human body,” said futurist Michael Rogers.”During R&D, there are ethical concerns about human experimentation,” he told TechNewsWorld, “and when you go to market, there are major hurdles with agencies like the FDA.” 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. Not So Plug and Play Tech visionary Elon Musk, who currently helms both Tesla and SpaceX, has launched a startup, Neuralink, dedicated to developing technology that will connect human brains directly to a computer.This venture is in its very early stages, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal that Musk confirmed via Twitter.Long Neuralink piece coming out on @waitbutwhy in about a week. Difficult to dedicate the time, but existential risk is too high not to.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 28, 2017Neuralink, which Musk is funding privately, is a medical research firm that aims to develop “neural lace” — a technology that could allow the implanting of small electrodes into the brain.Musk reportedly has recruited leading academics in the field to work with the company. Beyond the unhappy prospect of thought policing, there is the potential debate on whether electronics could change the very nature of a human being — whether this technology, or something like it, could be the first step toward another staple of science-fiction, the cyborg.”A sensor on the brain could be used to send signals to the electronics and then be used to control electronics,” suggested Tirias Research’s Krewell.”Eventually, we can have direct interfaces between the brain and electronics, enabling augmented humans — but the problem is that it can create a future of haves and have nots — of augmentations,” he added.It’s ironic that Musk announced his new venture the same week that the movie Ghost in the Shell is being released, “which is a science fiction movie involving the future of augmented humans and human cyborgs,” remarked Krewell.”The most likely positive outcome would be enhanced access to data and knowledge and mind-to-mind communication,” said futurist Glen Hiemstra.However, “the negative possibilities include radically unequal access to the tech, leading to even more radical inequality in human opportunity,” he told TechNewsWorld.It may be a long time before anyone has to deal with such worrisome issues, however.”There is already a lot of exciting work being done in the therapeutic use of brain-computer or nervous system-computer interfaces, and with further work there is a valuable investment,” Rogers added.Creating a consumer product would be something else, though.”My guess,” offered Rogers, “is that Elon will have his Mars colony well before the average person can order cosmetic brain surgery.”
Andee Harris is the CEO of HighGround.In this exclusive interview, Harris discusses the ins and outs of human capital management, including its role in cultivating strong leadership skills. TNW: What is the relationship between human capital management and technology?Harris: One important area is social recognition. With technology you can give people gift cards and experiences, making it meaningful. The second piece is rather than doing a year-end performance review on paper, there can be real-time coaching, giving people feedback and coaching immediately.TNW: What is the role of data science in human capital management?Harris: Looking at the data helps us understand what’s happening in our organization — what managers are getting feedback, and that feedback gives a sense of what improves performance.TNW: How is the field of human capital management evolving and changing? What’s in its future?Harris: I think it’s really going to be focusing more on people systems, rather than on core HR systems… having more consumer-like apps, since people expect those things both in their consumer life and in their work experience.We’re also becoming more of gig economy, and we’re using technology to connect people, seeing what people are working on, and sharing goals. I think given how we work now, from home or from remote workspaces, that collaboration is really important.TNW: What challenges have you faced as a woman in a tech field?Harris: The biggest thing is the micro-aggressions, and the things that people don’t say. They assume if you’re a woman, for instance, you don’t know about technology. There’s always the assumption that women aren’t technical or don’t understand parts of the business. It’s still very much a male-dominated culture.TNW: What kinds of programs can help create safe spaces and comfortable work environments for women, particularly with our increased understanding and awareness of the dynamics of sexual harassment?Harris: Training is one part of that, but it’s really about behavior changes — and how do you correct things as they’re happening. HighGround focuses on our team leaders, making sure that we’re getting feedback.We’re constantly trying to create an environment that’s diverse. We have female engineers, and we make sure that there’s a diverse leadership team. We often ask for feedback for team leaders, and with that we can help them understand where their problems might be. And if we get feedback, we can certainly pinpoint where those issues might be.TNW: What advice would you give to girls and women who are interested in working in the tech field?Harris: People assume that you have to be technical to work in tech fields. Often, women shy away from software or technology companies because they’re not technical. It’s important for them to understand that there are lots of things to do in tech companies that aren’t technical.Other things you can do is look for a team that has women and is diverse. The important thing is finding an advocate, someone who can advocate for you in an organization.As women, we don’t often do a good job telling people what we need. Figure out who your people are, and then make sure that you’re clear about what you need or want from them. One of the things that can help you succeed is feeling comfortable in communicating what you need and what you know. We assume people are mind readers, and they often aren’t. HighGround CEO Andee HarrisTechNewsWorld: What is HighGround’s mission?Andee Harris: Our mission is to help employees feel more connected to work, and to bring their best selves to work. We can help companies engage with their employees and make sure that their employees are happy and more productive.TNW: What is human capital management, and why is it important?Harris: Human capital management is the idea that your humans are your capital, and so you should be investing in them and managing them, making sure that you’re giving your talent opportunities to grow, and that they have purpose in their work. Human resources is more about HR benefits and core HR systems. Ours is more about people systems.TNW: Explain why you have a passion for human capital management.Harris: You spend most of your waking hours at work, and if you don’t feel like you’re bringing your best self to work each day, it can be depressing. We expect so much of our employees these days, and we need to make sure that we’re creating environments where they can be happy and productive. Who you work for is important, and having a leader that you can work with is very important, and we’re helping people be those leaders. Vivian Wagner has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. Her main areas of focus are technology, business, CRM, e-commerce, privacy, security, arts, culture and diversity. She has extensive experience reporting on business and technology for a varietyof outlets, including The Atlantic, The Establishment and O, The Oprah Magazine. She holds a PhD in English with a specialty in modern American literature and culture. She received a first-place feature reporting award from the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists.Email Vivian.
Source:https://www.ohio.edu/ucm/media/news-story.cfm?newsItem=86615DD9-5056-A874-1D631237677FFFED Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Nov 7 2018The number of overdose deaths involving methamphetamines and amphetamines in the state of Ohio increased more than 5,000 percent over the course of eight years, according to data collected by the Ohio Alliance for Innovation in Population Health.The Alliance is a collaboration established by Ohio University’s College of Health Sciences and Professions, the University of Toledo’s College of Health and Human Services and OHIO’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs. The Alliance recently completed a review of unintentional overdose fatalities in Ohio from 2010 to 2017 with a focus on the presence of cocaine and psychostimulant drugs such as methamphetamines and amphetamines.”This research is invaluable because it gives us deeper understanding, and an early warning indicator, in the ongoing drug crisis,” said Rick Hodges, director of the Alliance and Executive-in-Residence in Ohio University’s College of Health Sciences and Professions.Orman Hall, author of the analysis and another executive-in-residence at OHIO, noted, “Cocaine (including crack) and psychostimulants have similar effects. Users experience increased alertness as well as intense feelings of exhilaration and euphoria. While addiction to stimulants is common, the recent surge of stimulant-related fatalities in Ohio is concerning.” Psychostimulants were found in nine unintentional overdose deaths in 2010. That number rose to 509 in 2017, a staggering increase of 5,556 percent.”Based on what we’re seeing on the streets, I’m not surprised,” said Dennis Lowe, commander of the Major Crimes Unit that serves Athens, Hocking and Fairfield counties, in response to the analysis’ results. Lowe guessed that many of those deaths also involved the opioid fentanyl, and he was correct.The analysis found that 71 percent of overdose deaths in 2017 involving psychostimulants occurred with fentanyl and 79 percent occurred with some form of opioid. The 2017 data also showed that 12 percent of all unintentional overdose deaths included the use of a psychostimulant.The data showed Wayne County with the highest percentage of overdose deaths from 2010-2017 that included a psychostimulant with 17.2 percent, followed by Pike County with 14.5 percent and Wyandot County with 14.3 percent.Overdose deaths that included cocaine rose 617 percent from 212 in 2010 to 1,520 in 2017. Seventy percent of the overdose deaths involving cocaine in 2017 occurred with fentanyl and 81 percent occurred with some form of opioid. Thirty-two percent of all unintentional overdose deaths included cocaine in 2017.Franklin County had the highest percentage of overdose deaths from 2010-2017 that included cocaine with 36.1 percent. Seven other counties had more than 30 percent of overdose deaths involving cocaine: Cuyahoga, Lorain, Mahoning, Clark, Darke, Ross and Hamilton.Related StoriesFamily members’ drugs may be risk factor for overdose in individuals without prescriptionsOpioid overdose deaths on the decline says CDC but the real picture may still be grimConcurrent use of benzodiazepine and opioids complicates neonatal abstinence syndromeWhile Caucasian decedents had a higher rate (12 percent) of a psychostimulant mention in 2017 than African American decedents (2 percent), a mention of cocaine in overdose deaths rated higher among African American decedents (54 percent) than Caucasian decedents (28.8 percent).”These serious findings in Ohio are part of a rapid national escalation in the supply of, demand for, and deaths from stimulants,” said John Eadie, public health and prescription drug monitoring program project coordinator for the National Emerging Threats Initiative (NETI), a National High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Program. “Law enforcement agencies across the country are seizing larger and larger quantities of cocaine and methamphetamines that are being trafficked for illegal use and physicians and other prescribers are increasing the prescribing of stimulants like amphetamines and methylphenidate, more and more of which are being diverted into illicit use.””It’s an alarming trend,” Lowe said. “Drug cartels are using fentanyl and fentanyl analogs as cutting agents with things like cocaine and methamphetamine. That’s disturbing. There are people out there purchasing what they think is straight cocaine or straight methamphetamine when it in fact contains something that very likely will kill them.”Lowe said Mexican drug cartels are finding methamphetamine to be profitable.”They’ve almost single-handedly eliminated meth labs in the state of Ohio. We see one every few months now where we used to seize over 100 in a year,” the commander said. “People are getting a better quality product and it’s cheaper to buy from a cartel.”The law calls for the manufacture of even a small amount of methamphetamine to be a high-level felony whereas possession of the same amount of methamphetamine is only a low-level felony. Lowe said that locally and across Ohio the trend is that opiate use “has kind of gone underground and methamphetamine and cocaine are charging to the front.” Reports from the Ohio Department of Health echo that statement as opioid and heroin overdose deaths are currently at a four-year low.A number of factors have led to the trend, including law enforcement’s multi-year focus on opioids, legislation restricting the prescribing of opioids by physicians, drugs such as naloxone and Vivitrol and an increase in treatment programs. Lowe noted that law enforcement can also be limited when combatting drugs other than opioids due to federal and state funding that is earmarked exclusively for opioid responses. Nonetheless, Lowe said the task force works through outreach programs to try to connect people to treatment and prevention programs regardless of the drug use.
Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Jan 7 2019Researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) have received a $3.2 million grant from the National Institute of Neurological Diseases (NINDS) to study the use of neuroimaging to pinpoint the risk factors of stroke recurrence.It is the first-ever R01 grant for the Department of Radiology at the UC College of Medicine. Achala Vagal, MD, associate professor and vice chair of research in the Department of Radiology, is the principal investigator (PI) on the study, along with co-PIs Pooja Khatri, MD, professor of neurology and director of the UC Stroke Team, and Brett Kissela, MD, Albert Barnes Voorheis Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurology and Rehabilitation Medicine and senior associate dean for clinical research.Recurring stroke makes up about 25 percent of all stroke cases–nearly 800,000 annually–in the U.S. alone. Someone who has suffered a stroke has an increased risk of a recurring stroke for up to five years after the initial event.”Compared to our understanding of the risk factors of an initial stroke, we have limited understanding of the factors surrounding recurrent strokes,” says Vagal.Titled APRISE (Assessing Population-based Radiological brain health in Stroke Epidemiology), the study will build off of the Greater Cincinnati Northern Kentucky Stroke Study (GCNKSS), a compilation of population-level stroke data since the 1990s that has been the source of national data on stroke in numerous studies.”We hope by looking at imaging of small and large vessel disease in the brain, we could determine an accurate measure of a patient’s brain health or a predictor of future cerebrovascular events, like stroke or vascular dementia,” says Vagal, whose research is focused primarily on what happens to the brain and blood vessels after an initial stroke.Vagal and neuroimaging researchers will assess imaging for signs of small vessel disease in the brain; this can be in the form of previous injury, microbleeds, white matter disease (wearing away of tissue) or brain atrophy, among other observations. This type of focus on small vessel disease is an area of priority for NINDS.Related StoriesInvestment in stroke prevention interventions is good for the futureNew method improves detection of atrial fibrillation in stroke survivorsUse of statins linked to reduction of mortality risk in dementia patients”The development of a clinical prediction tool, incorporating our full range of modern imaging techniques, will enhance our ability to identify patients at a higher risk for recurrent strokes,” says Vagal.She adds that imaging is a critical component of almost all clinical research and it is very beneficial to have radiologists actively involved in study design and reading the scans.Khatri says this award leverages the extensive infrastructure of the GCNKSS already in place and puts “[UC] in a unique position to characterize brain health with remarkable efficiency and generalizability.”She adds that the study will be the first and only population-based report of the entire imaging spectrum of brain health in patients who experience stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA), a stroke-like incident. The study encompasses a racially diverse population, characterizing around 2,700 cases.The new R01 is a milestone for both Vagal and the Department of Radiology, and she acknowledges the great support and mentors she had to help her pursue research work in neuroradiology. Vagal was a previous recipient of research and career development support from the American Roentgen Ray Society and the Center for Clinical and Translational Science and Training (CCTST). Khatri was her primary mentor for both these career development awards.”The mentorship of Dr. Khatri has been critical for my career. I have always had incredible support from the radiology department, but to have additional cheerleaders in neurology and the UC Stroke team is an added advantage; it really does feel like my second home,” says Vagal.”It has been incredibly gratifying to mentor Dr. Vagal, to see our radiology department grow its research portfolio and to now partner with her to achieve our synergistic goals. It has also been very rewarding to see our community work together toward better stroke care regionally and nationally,” notes Khatri. Source:https://www.uc.edu/news/articles/2019/01/n2059045.html
Source:https://medicine.wustl.edu/news/gene-therapy-blocks-peripheral-nerve-damage-in-mice/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jan 18 2019Nerve axons serve as the wiring of the nervous system, sending electrical signals that control movement and sense of touch. When axons are damaged, whether by injury or as a side effect of certain drugs, a program is triggered that leads axons to self-destruct. This destruction likely plays an important role in multiple neurodegenerative conditions, including peripheral neuropathy, Parkinson’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).Now, scientists have developed a gene therapy that blocks this process, preventing axon destruction in mice and suggesting a therapeutic strategy that could help prevent the loss of peripheral nerves in multiple conditions.The study, from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, appears in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.The strategy could help prevent peripheral neuropathy, a disease that currently affects about 20 million people in the United States. Peripheral neuropathy can result from chemotherapy for cancer treatment or poorly controlled diabetes, and it causes persistent pain, numbness, burning, itching and muscle weakness.”Peripheral neuropathies are the most common neurodegenerative diseases in the world,” said first author Stefanie Geisler, MD, an assistant professor of neurology. “Many peripheral neuropathies are caused by breakdown of nerve fibers, but we currently don’t have therapies that can directly block this process. For many neuropathies, we can’t halt progression of the disease and are limited to trying to treat the symptoms. We are somewhat successful decreasing neuropathic pain, but it is very difficult to alleviate numbness.”I see many patients with chemotherapy-induced neuropathy, and it can severely impact their quality of life,” she said. “To benefit patients, we will need to test this treatment in human clinical trials, but our current finding is significant because we have shown for the first time that we can effectively block nerve fiber breakdown in mice with a standard viral gene therapy.”When an axon is injured, whether cut or crushed by injury or damaged by drugs, a protein called SARM1 becomes active. In healthy nerves, this protein is switched off. Past studies by this research team have shown that activated SARM1 triggers axons to self-destruct, kicking off a chain of events that quickly consumes all of a nerve cell’s energy supply. The axons of such cells break into pieces.Related StoriesNew gene-editing protocol allows perfect mutation-effect matchingResearchers capture high-resolution, 3D images of gene-editing enzymesNerve transfer surgery restores upper limb function in people with tetraplegiaIn this study, scientists used a virus — one that can’t cause disease — to deliver into cells a mutated version of the SARM1 protein that blocks axon destruction.This mutated SARM1 prevents the characteristic rapid energy loss and subsequent destruction of axons, even in the most extreme form of injury — a complete severing of the axon.”With our viral gene therapy, we delivered a mutated form of SARM1 that is not only inactive itself but also blocks normal SARM1 proteins that have become activated in mice with nerve injuries,” said senior author Jeffrey D. Milbrandt, MD, PhD, the James S. McDonnell Professor and head of the Department of Genetics. “For a long time, viral gene therapy was a pipe dream, but there are now a number of ongoing clinical trials in other disorders that suggest we are on a promising track.”For example, a similar viral gene therapy is now in clinical trials for a genetic disorder called Duchenne muscular dystrophy. In that case, a different protein is delivered to address muscle loss, but the virus is the same.In theory, it could be possible to change the viral packaging to direct the viruses to deliver their gene payload to different types of cells — sensory neurons for peripheral neuropathy or motor neurons for ALS, for example.”This has the potential to be transformative because it cuts across so many diseases,” said co-senior author Aaron DiAntonio, MD, PhD, the Alan A. and Edith L. Wolff Professor of Developmental Biology. “Rather than addressing a single disease, it is potentially a treatment for a disease process that is shared among many different neurodegenerative disorders.”In addition to this viral gene therapy, the researchers are studying other possible ways to block SARM1, including small molecules for drug development.
In “Fish Oil Supplementation in Overweight/Obese Patients with Uncontrolled Asthma: A Randomized Trial,” Jason E. Lang, MD, MPH, and co-authors report that four grams of fish oil a day for six months did not improve asthma control, as measured by a standard asthma control questionnaire, breathing tests, urgent care visits and severe asthma exacerbations. Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jan 25 2019Fish oil does not appear to improve asthma control in adolescents and young adults with uncontrolled asthma who are overweight or obese, according to new research published online in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society. Related StoriesNew app helps improve the lives of children with asthmaNovel lung map reveals new cells responsible for asthmaPrenatal exposure to paternal tobacco smoking linked to high asthma riskThe 98 overweight/obese participants in the study ranged in age from 12 to 25 (average age: 14.6). All were diagnosed with asthma by a physician but had poor asthma control, despite using a daily inhaled corticosteroid to control their asthma. About half the participants were African American. For every three participants assigned to take fish oil for 25 weeks, one was assigned to take the soy oil placebo.The researchers also looked at whether a variant in the gene ALOX5 affected study findings. It is known that mutations in the gene can reduce responses to anti-leukotriene drugs. Leukotrienes are inflammatory molecules that play a critical role in triggering asthma attacks. In this study, the ALOX5 variant did appear to be linked to leukotriene production but not to the effectiveness of fish oil in providing asthma control.The authors wrote that the study’s negative findings may not be the last word on fish oil and asthma. They acknowledged that larger doses of fish oil over a longer period of time may produce a different result.Based on the current study, however, “there is insufficient evidence for clinicians to suggest to patients with uncontrolled asthma that they should take daily fish oil supplements to help their asthma,” Dr. Lang said. Source:http://www.thoracic.org/ We don’t know why asthma control in obese patients is more difficult, but there is growing evidence that obesity causes systemic inflammation. Because the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil have anti-inflammatory properties, we wanted to test whether fish oil would have therapeutic benefits for these patients.”Jason E. Lang, lead study author, associate professor of pediatrics, Duke University
Source:Cardiovascular disease burden from ambient air pollution in Europe reassessed using novel hazard ratio functions. European Heart Journal. 12th March 2019. Since most air pollutants come from the burning of fossil fuels, we need to switch to other sources of energy urgently. When we use clean, renewable energy, we are not just fulfilling the Paris agreement to mitigate the effects of climate change, we could also reduce air pollution-related death rates by up to 55%.”Prof Jos Lelieveld, Author By Dr. Ananya Mandal, MDMar 13 2019Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)A new study has shown that air pollution may be responsible for killing more people than previously thought. The study titled, “Cardiovascular disease burden from ambient air pollution in Europe reassessed using novel hazard ratio functions,” was published in the latest issue of the European Heart Journal and says that air pollution may be killing more people than smoking tobacco.Toa55 | ShutterstockAccording to the study, in 2015, air pollution was responsible for killing 8.8 million more people than expected. It was earlier speculated that air pollution could be responsible for killing around 4.5 million to 6.5 million (in 2015 and 2016 respectively) people across the world. The actual findings are much more and are thus cause for concern.In Europe alone, air pollution was responsible for 800,000 premature deaths in 2015 and there were 659,000 deaths across the 28 member states of the European Union.To obtain the results, the team used statistical models that could simulate the effects of the atmospheric interactions with chemicals, traffic and agricultural emissions etc. This was added to the global exposure and death rates across the world from the World Health Organization.Results revealed that 120 extra deaths were caused each year per 100,000 people of the population due to air pollution. In Europe, the figures are 133, which is more than any other region. In Germany the rate is 154, in Poland 150, in Italy 136, in France 105 and in United Kingdom 90, says the study. The rates were around 200 for Eastern European countries such as Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania and Ukraine.Air pollution is responsible for double the number of deaths caused by heart disease than lung disease. The team found that air pollution could be the reason behind more number of people suffering from high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, heart attacks, and heart failure.Co-author of the study, Professor Thomas Munzel from the Department of Cardiology of the University Medical Centre Mainz in Mainz, Germany said that heart disease due to air pollution could be “much higher than expected.” He added, “To put this into perspective, this means that air pollution causes more extra deaths a year than tobacco smoking, which the World Health Organization estimates was responsible for an extra 7.2 million deaths in 2015. Smoking is avoidable but air pollution is not.” The number of deaths from cardiovascular disease that can be attributed to air pollution is much higher than expected. In Europe alone, the excess number of deaths is nearly 800,000 a year and each of these deaths represents an average reduction in life expectancy of more than two years.”Professor Thomas Munzel, Co-author Münzel said particles below the size of 2.5 microns in size (PM2.5) are commonly overlooked. “The EU is lagging a long way behind,” Münzel said. “We as doctors and patients cannot alter the limits for air pollution, so the politicians have to stand up and give us an environment that keeps us safe.”The team urges countries around the world to sit up and take notice and reduce air pollution by more stringent regulations and move towards alternation clean and renewable energy sources.
Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)May 16 2019A new way to cleanly separate out cancer cells from a blood sample enables comprehensive genetic profiling of the cancer cells, which could help doctors target tumors and monitor treatments more effectively.It is a dramatic improvement over current approaches because it also encompasses the variation among cancer cells within a single patient.”This could be a whole different ball game,” said Max Wicha, the Madeline and Sidney Forbes Professor of Oncology at the University of Michigan and senior physician on the study in Nature Communications.Earlier techniques meant a trade-off between a comprehensive genetic profile of a limited subset of cancer cells, or capturing most of the cancer cells and only being able to look for a few genes. As a result, the genetic profiles often neglected important populations of cancer cells–including cells believed to spread cancer in the body. Our chip allows us to capture pure circulating tumor cells and then extract genetic information without any contamination from red and white blood cells.”Euisik Yoon, U-M professor of electrical engineering and computer science and senior author on the study Many modern cancer drugs work by going after cells with certain genes in play–genes that flag their identities as cancer cells. But these genes aren’t uniformly active in a patient’s cancer cell population and can change over the course of treatment.Repeated biopsies to monitor the tumor are painful and potentially dangerous for the patient. Capturing cancer cells from blood samples offers a noninvasive way to observe whether the cancer is disappearing or whether it is becoming resistant to the treatment.”It allows you not only to select targeted therapies, but to monitor the effects of these therapies in patients by doing this blood test,” Wicha said.Using this method, the team collected and analyzed 666 cancer cells from the blood of 21 breast cancer patients.The genetic analysis confirmed that even within a single patient, the cancer cells often behave very differently. Wicha’s group has previously shown that cancer metastasis is mediated by cancer cells that have the properties of stem cells. Although cancer stem cells make up only a few percent of a tumor’s cells, they make up a higher proportion of the cancer cells in the bloodstream. In this study, about 30-50% of the cancer cells captured from the blood samples displayed stem-like properties.This population is particularly easy to miss with techniques that capture clean-but-incomplete samples of cancer cells from patient blood by grabbing onto proteins on the cells’ surfaces. Stem-like cells are on a spectrum between two more-typical cell types, which means that they don’t display consistent protein markers.To get a clean and unbiased set of cancer cells from a vial of blood, the team started with a technique that removes blood cells by sorting the blood sample according to cell size. Starting with about one cancer cell in a billion blood cells, this step left only about 95 or so blood cells for every cancer cell. But that’s still far too contaminated for a detailed genetic analysis.Related StoriesNew protein target for deadly ovarian cancerHealthy lifestyle lowers dementia risk despite genetic predispositionResearchers identify gene mutations linked to leukemia in children with Down’s syndromeThe new method, which the researchers call Hydro-Seq, gets rid of those last blood cells and then analyzes each cell.The key technology is a chip with a system of channels and chambers. It traps cancer cells one at a time by drawing fluid through a drain in each chamber, which gets plugged when a cancer cell arrives. Once the chamber is plugged, cells in the channel pass it by and get sucked into the next chamber. Then, to “wash” the blood cells off the chip, they ran clean fluid backward through the chip and drew it out again, taking nearly all the rest of the contaminating cells along.With a clean sample of isolated cancer cells, the team did the genetic profiles. They went after the cells’ “transcriptomes”–basically, snapshots of what DNA was being read and used by each cell. This revealed the cells’ active genes.They captured the transcriptomes with barcoded beads, a method that until now was difficult to use with small cell samples. The team dropped a barcoded bead into each chamber and then closed the chambers before destroying the cell membranes. This released the RNA–the little bits of genetic code recently read from the cell’s DNA–so that the RNA attached to barcoded genetic code on the bead. The team could then analyze the contents of each cell separately. Before, we could measure two or three genes at a time with staining methods, but now we get a comprehensive picture of circulating tumor cells by measuring thousands of genes in each cell at once.”Yu-Chih Chen, U-M assistant research scientist in electrical engineering and computer science and co-first author on the study Source:University of MichiganJournal reference:Yoon,E. et al. (2019) Hydro-Seq enables contamination-free high-throughput single-cell RNA-sequencing for circulating tumor cells. Nature Communications. doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-10122-2 Cancer treatment can be a moving target, with cancers changing their gene expression as drugs kill off some cells but not others. Monika Burness, U-M assistant professor of internal medicine at and co-author on the study, expects to be using the new device to track the progress of patients in an upcoming drug trial.”It’s a very powerful tool to monitor–at the cellular level–what a treatment does to tumors over time,” said Burness, who studies new drug therapies for cancer patients.The study is published open-access in Nature Communications.
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)May 17 2019Researchers at Nemours Children’s Health System have found that an artificial intelligence (AI) behavioral coach, nicknamed Tess (X2ai, Inc), is feasible and useful for behavioral counseling of adolescent patients in a weight management program. The study, published today in the journal Translational Behavioral Medicine, demonstrates adolescents’ willingness and positive reaction to engaging in SMS text conversations with the chatbot technology that simulates human interactions. Nemours collaborated with X2ai, an innovator in using artificial intelligence for psychological coaching. Nemours clinicians reviewed a library of goal setting behavioral interactions collected over five years. Working with behavioral specialists, the team spent two years pre-populating Tess with hundreds of prompts and responses to counsel obese and pre-diabetic adolescents, including expressions of empathy and compassion for their weight-loss struggles. The chatbot was also customized to interact on the goals of specific individuals, such as a teenage boy who committed to playing basketball to be more active and a girl who shared her interest in cooking and exchanged messages around healthy food choices.Nemours’ Healthy Choices Clinic enrolled 23 patients, ages 9-18, with obesity symptoms to participate in the pilot study to determine the feasibility of adding an AI component to complement existing treatment. Over the course of 10-12 weeks, participants exchanged 4,123 messages with the chatbot in 270 conversations. The chatbot initiated most conversations (73 percent), providing a total of 55 hours, 45 minutes of support, with an average conversation length of 12.5 minutes. Overall, participants indicated 96 percent of the interactions were helpful.Researchers said the two primary reasons that parents stop taking children to weight-loss programs is the inconvenience and cost of travelling for clinic visits. The chatbot was intended to reduce the dropout rate by providing 24/7 on-demand services to allow participants to engage during off-hours at their own frequency and intensity. Nearly one in five conversations occurred outside typical office hours. The researchers also noted a potential benefit from the anonymous nature of the communication for improving help-seeking behaviors and decreasing stigma of seeking behavioral support. For example, one teen boy who was quiet during face-to-face encounters exchanged 425 messages.Related StoriesResearch team receives federal grant to study obesity in children with spina bifidaMaternal obesity may negatively affect children’s lung developmentSupervised fun, exercise both improve psychosocial health of children with obesityIntensive behavioral counseling is considered a crucial part of effective weight-loss programs. Conversations were screened regularly by a psychologist to detect potential behavioral warnings. However, reading and responding to 4,123 texts would have taken as much as 137 staff hours. Researchers estimate the chatbot provided an estimated $8,933 savings.”Everyone is used to AI technology, it’s like Siri on your iPhone, so texting with a chatbot isn’t that weird. The difference with Tess is that you can actually text her about what you need to achieve or improve your goals and she’s encouraging. You can’t do that with Siri,” said Laura Hernandez, 20, a participant in the study from Davenport, Florida. “Tess would ask me, ‘Did you meet that goal?’ and then give me ways to improve or encourage me to continue working on that goal.”Nemours Children’s Health System is committed to investing and supporting prevention services like the Healthy Choices Clinic at Nemours Children’s Hospital. The researchers plan to continue this research in to further understand the benefits and challenges of integrating AI in a clinical weight management program. The study was supported through in-kind efforts from the collaborators in order to test the feasibility of the intervention. In addition to Dr. Werk, authors included Taylor Stephens of the Children and Adolescents Psychotherapy and Technology Research Lab, and Angela Joerin and Michiel Rauws of X2AI Inc., the maker of the chatbot.Source:NemoursJournal reference:Werk, L. et al. (2019) Feasibility of pediatric obesity and prediabetes treatment support through Tess, the AI behavioral coaching chatbot. Translational Behavioral Medicine. doi.org/10.1093/tbm/ibz043 Nemours uses innovative tools, such as telemedicine health coaching and text reminders, to help patients and families achieve their weight-loss goals, and overcome the time and resource demands of regular office visits. A natural next step was adding an AI behavioral coach to allow more frequent and shorter interactions to keep patients engaged on the path toward healthier behaviors, as well as provide an extra layer of care outside of office hours.”Lloyd Werk, MD, MPH, director of the Healthy Choices Clinic at Nemours Children Hospital in Orlando
To stay vigilant about health and safety, Iyengar recommends having one thing at hand.”It’s easy to be forgetful in the heat, so I tell all my patients to create a summer survival bag and take it everywhere. Fill it with all the essentials like sunscreen, insect repellent, and water containing electrolytes. Add to it as you go, so you have everything at your fingertips in one place,” said Iyengar, medical director of family medicine at UT Physicians, the clinical practice of McGovern Medical School.To reduce your chances of seeing the inside of doctor’s office instead of the great outdoors, follow these tips:1. Stay hydratedIf you’re soaked in sweat, it’s definitely time to pour yourself a strictly non-alcoholic drink. Dehydration can happen fast in high temperatures – thirst, dry mouth, dark yellow urine, dry and cool skin, headache, and muscle cramps are all common symptoms. Drinking enough fluids is one of the most important things you can do to prevent heat illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).”Dehydration is the No. 1 issue, especially among older people who are often out doing yardwork and, because body water content decreases with age, are at an increased risk of having problems,” Iyengar said. “Seniors may also have heart conditions, which restrict fluid intake, so they should be sure to talk to their physicians about how to regulate this.”Water will normally maintain hydration during work in the heat, providing you eat regular meals to replace salt lost in sweat. If you’re sweating for several hours, sports drinks with balanced electrolytes can help. Steer clear of alcohol as it increases water loss and reduces the ability to notice signs of dehydration.2. Protect your skinThere’s no such thing as a healthy tan, so be sure to guard against the sun’s harmful rays. Use a broad spectrum sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30. Don’t forget to reapply every two hours, or after 80 minutes if you are sweating or swimming.”Even if you’re in a shady area with lots of trees, you can still burn because the sun is so strong and ozone levels may be low,” Iyengar warned.Clothing with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) is another good option – UPF 50 is best, and remember that only the areas covered are protected, so you’ll still need sunscreen. The American Academy of Dermatology has more sunscreen advice.3. Be swim-savvyIf you are out on the water, make sure everyone in your party has a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket. If swimming at a pool, keep a close eye on children and never let them swim alone. Remember that water wings or noodles are no substitute.”Pool injuries are common. Parents should make sure their children wear slip-resistant shoes and screen the pool area for danger spots,” Iyengar said. “Tell them where it’s safe to dive, so they don’t hit their heads.”Sticking to well-maintained pools and well-monitored beaches will also help lower your risk of coming down with waterborne illnesses.At the beach, be aware of hazards and weather conditions, check for rip tide information in the area, and stay in designated areas with lifeguards. The American Red Cross has more safety tips.4. Speaking of poolsPools can be dangerous even when you’re not swimming. According to the CDC, unintentional drowning claims the lives of around 10 people every day in the U.S. with children ages 1 to 4 most vulnerable. Among that age group, most drownings occur in home swimming pools. That’s why teaching children to swim, providing close supervision, and creating barriers including fencing between the pool area and house, are vital. Remove floats, balls, and other toys from the pool so children aren’t tempted to enter the pool area unsupervised.Related StoriesNew therapeutic food boosts key growth-promoting gut microbes in malnourished childrenNew network for children and youth with special health care needs seeks to improve systems of careAlcohol reduction associated with improved viral suppression in women living with HIV5. Hot cars killHot cars can be death traps for children. According to the National Safety Council, a record 52 children died last year from heat-related deaths after being trapped inside vehicles. Even with windows left slightly open, the temperature inside a car can increase by 20 degrees in just 10 minutes. Preventive measures include teaching children that the car is not a safe place to play, keeping car keys out of their reach, putting something you need in the back seat when transporting a child, and utilizing apps or new technology that use sensors to alert parents or caregivers that a child is still in the car.6. Workers should acclimatizeBefore working in hot conditions, it’s important to help the body adjust, a process called acclimatization. Typically, acclimatization should be done over a seven- to 14-day period, according to the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The U.S. Department of Labor recommends that workloads should be increased incrementally with workers taking more breaks as they acclimatize. Outdoor workers should also regularly seek shade, drink plenty of water, and know the signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke.”Workers like lawn service crews, construction workers, lifeguards, and camp leaders are at high risk and need to be particularly careful,” Iyengar said.7. Get your grill on message Keep meat, poultry, and seafood refrigerated until ready to grill. When transporting, keep below 40 degrees in an insulated cooler. Your grill, utensils, and hands all need to be squeaky clean before you begin. Use a food thermometer to ensure meat is cooked hot enough to kill harmful germs. Avoid cross-contamination by using clean utensils and a clean plate to remove cooked meat from the grill. Remember to put leftovers in the fridge or freezer within two hours of cooking or one hour if it’s hotter than 90 degrees outside. The CDC has further guidance.8. Once bitten, twice wiseMost insect bites are harmless, but some can spread dangerous diseases like Zika virus, dengue, Lyme disease, and malaria. It’s important to take precautions, especially if you are visiting areas with known insect-borne diseases. To protect against mosquitoes, ticks, and other bugs, use insect repellent that contains 20 to 30% DEET on exposed skin and clothing. Don’t forget to apply your sunscreen first. Cover exposed skin as much as possible by wearing long-sleeved shirts, pants, socks, and closed shoes instead of sandals. If camping, use bed nets, preferably pretreated with pyrethroid insecticide, to protect against mosquitoes. Pay attention to outbreaks by checking CDC Travel Health Notices and following recommendations.9. Camp and party safelyWhether you’re spending a night under the stars, planning a get-together on the beach, or going to a pool party, there are pitfalls that could get in your way of having a good time.”Making sure you have the right strength of insect repellent for the situation is only half the battle. I see all sorts of injuries, including lacerations from cutting mishaps, wood splinters in the eye, and burns from campfires,” Iyengar said. “Even when in high spirits, you have to be on your guard. Keep long hair tied back and don’t wear perfumes and scented creams, which are flammable.”Alcohol consumption only exacerbates the risks, as it impairs both physical and mental abilities, as well as decreasing inhibitions. In fact, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, research shows that up to 70% of all water recreation deaths of teens and adults involve the use of alcohol.Even when you’re not partying, alcohol and heat are a lethal cocktail, as the fluid lost from sweating in addition to increased urination can quickly lead to dehydration or heatstroke. That’s another reason to rethink your drink and stick to nonalcoholic options.10. Chill outWhen temperatures go sky-high, are you more prone to hitting the roof? You’re not alone. According to the Association for Psychological Science, researchers have observed a correlation between hot weather and hotter tempers.So it makes sense to try and keep your cool in more ways than one. The CDC advises staying in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible; drinking plenty of fluids even if you don’t feel thirsty; wearing loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing; and taking cool showers or baths to cool down. Using the stove or oven to cook will make you and your home hotter, so firing up the grill outside and chilling out with friends and family could be the perfect solution. I estimate more than 90% of heat-related health complaints can be avoided if you’re aware of the dangers and follow the necessary advice. It’s often about using common sense, which can slip our minds when we’re feeling hot and bothered.”Deepa Iyengar, MD, MPH, professor of family and community medicine at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)May 24 2019Dehydration, sunburn, heatstroke, insect bites, rashes, and lacerations – summer can spell health meltdown with a seemingly endless list of unsightly, uncomfortable, and potentially lethal hazards. The good news is that the vast majority of them are preventable if you take the necessary precautions. Experts at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) can get you started on a summer of happy memories instead of hapless injuries. Source:University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jun 7 2019Florida is still in dire need of more nurses and is among the top states in the nation experiencing a shortage. Florida, Texas and California combined account for almost 40 percent of the national nursing shortage. According to the Florida Center for Nursing, more than 40 percent of Florida nurses are approaching retirement age in the next 10 years, leaving the state to face a shortage of registered nurses (RNs) that could cripple the state’s health care system and impact medical care for Florida residents. To further complicate matters, by 2030 1 in 5 people will be 65 years or older.Nurses are at the forefront of caring for older adults in a number of settings including skilled nursing facilities, hospitals, and long-term care facilities, among others. As the population of aging Americans reaches 83.7 million by 2050, RNs will be instrumental in caring for them.The next generation of nurses need the right tools to ensure that they are poised to deliver age-appropriate care and address the specialized needs of an older population. Teaching undergraduate nursing students clinical care of older adults is complex and challenging given the large number of students, limited clinical sites, and educators who may not be prepared to teach geriatric nursing.To address these challenges, researchers from Florida Atlantic University’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, and Rutgers – The State University of New Jersey, School of Nursing, Blackwood, developed and tested an innovative new curricular approach to educate undergraduate nursing students in geriatric care. Using six types of learning assignments during a seven-week clinical practicum, 124 nursing students were exposed to interactive learning assignments based on competencies in interviewing, performance-based assessment, clinical decision-making, and problem-based learning.Deanna Gray-Miceli, Ph.D., senior author, an associate professor in FAU’s College of Nursing, and a faculty fellow in FAU’s Institute for Sensing and Embedded Network Systems Engineering (I-SENSE), one of the university’s four research pillars said: Related StoriesResearch sheds light on sun-induced DNA damage and repairAn active brain and body associated with reduced risk of dementiaStudy paints clear picture of the staffing levels of nurses at nursing homesThe model Gray-Miceli and Catherine Morse, Ed.D., co-author and a clinical assistant professor and program director at Rutgers-The State University of New Jersey, School of Nursing, Blackwood, used for this program taught the nursing students to care for a patient based on his/her ability to perform activities of daily living. The curriculum began with the newborn and ended with the geriatric population, emphasizing patients’ ability to provide self-care based on his/her age. Concepts that underscored the cycle of life were integrated throughout the curriculum.Findings from this approach, published in the journal Nurse Educator, support the use of interactive learning assignments to increase students’ understanding, confidence, and competence in performing an assessment of an older adult.To implement the new program, Gray-Miceli and Morse worked with a premier long-term care facility that allowed the students to rotate through the assisted-living facility to complete their assignments. Students were exposed to direct, hands-on clinical care in a community senior center, dementia care unit or acute care setting as well as simulated clinical experiences that took place in a laboratory. The students were immersed in this intensive seven-week geriatric program with their clinical preceptors.Three of the six assignments were interactive; one assignment involved a mandatory eight-hour workshop devoted to reviewing an evolving case scenario of an elderly individual who received senior services from a state agency. Students learned about the rules for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, state-funded programs and services, and accessing senior services through community agencies.The project was well-received by the students and provided them with multiple learning activities to master geriatric content in clinical practice. For example, the interactive assignments such as interviewing older adults were viewed more favorably by the students. Conversely, the least preferred and effective assignment was the eight hours spent learning about services available to senior citizens, which students felt had limited additive value to their overall understanding of the geriatric content.”Based on these outcomes, we believe that activities are valuable learning experiences to teach nursing students the content and skills necessary to provide safe, competent, and compassionate care to the geriatric patient population,” said Gray-Miceli. Sources:Florida Atlantic UniversityJournal reference: Gray-Miceli, D. et al. (2019) Curricular Innovations for Teaching Undergraduate Nursing Students Care of Older Adults. Nurse Educator. doi.org/10.1097/NNE.0000000000000583. It is essential for undergraduate nursing curricula to ensure that graduates develop competencies for caring for geriatric patients and are equipped to face the challenges of a complex and dynamic health care delivery system. Our program, which specifically focuses on geriatric nursing content, was designed for the purpose of improving students’ ability to care for older adults in clinical practice.”
Related StoriesNovel bed system with VR brainwave-control for sleep blissUnpleasant experiences could be countered with a good night’s REM sleepScientists discover hundreds of protein-pairs through coevolution studyIt may be a harsh comparison, but think about how drug addicts live on a day-to-day basis. Work is either low quality or non-existent; workouts are either minimal intensity, or again non-existent; and their sleep patterns are constantly disturbed without ever feeling fully rested. Sugar is an addictive substance for some people, so it really is necessary to approach it in a similar manner to drug/alcohol detoxification.How do you get through the withdrawal stage without backsliding?You can get through the withdrawals by upping your water intake, or by chewing on gum or snacking on fruit for a sweet sensation without all the artificial sugar. Just give your mind and mouth something else to think about when a sugar craving approaches.Sugar often makes us feel lethargic, fatigued and begging for more, which also takes a toll on the body. Some people may feel the positive effects of a sugar-free diet right away, while others may take a little longer. If you experience withdrawal symptoms, you may not even realize the benefits that are happening at the same time during that two-week period.When do these positive changes start?Everyone’s body is different, but for some people it’s possible to start to see, taste and feel changes in as early as three days. Fruit may start to taste sweet again -; almost like candy -; because your taste receptors have been given a chance to relax and stop searching for that sugar. Your sweetness tolerance starts to reduce in only a few days as well. The higher your sugar tolerance was, the longer it may take for naturally sweetened foods to taste as sweet as before. You may even find that certain foods are almost too sweet for your new preference.Again, every person and body is different. Many factors, such as genetics, presence of or risk factors for certain chronic diseases and conditions, physical activity level, carb/sugar sensitivity, age, gender -; may play a role in how, and how long, your body reacts to the removal of sugar. Source:University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) Hair, skin and nails start to improve Cravings change drastically (once you remove sugar for enough time, you start to miss it less and less) Performance in the gym improves and you’ll recover from workouts more quickly and potentially reduce your risk for injury Productivity at work should improve and you’ll need fewer sick days Belly fat decreases because your body won’t have any excess sugar to store as fat in your adipose tissue Sleep cycles become longer and more consistent (sugar can negatively affect your REM sleep if your body is constantly searching for its next fix) Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jul 17 2019From birthday cakes to Thanksgiving pie to cold summer treats, every holiday, season or special occasion harkens mouth-watering memories of a favorite sugary treat.But what if you’re trying to get healthy by shutting down the sugar in your diet?Samantha Coogan, director of UNLV’s Didactic Program in Nutrition & Dietetics and president of the Nevada Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, explains how putting a halt on sweet treats affects the body.How does the body react when you cease the sugar in your diet, and how long do symptoms last? When you cut out sugar, you’ll be cutting out a boatload of empty, useless calories, which should help with weight loss -; as long as you don’t replace those sugar calories with other empty calories!Replacing sugar with things like fiber and protein will increase your satiety values, allowing you to feel fuller for longer while reducing your overall caloric intake. Sugar has a very low satiety value and causes sharp spikes and dips in blood sugar, causing you to feel that “shaky” sensation and almost ravenous levels of hunger soon after consumption.Sugar is quite addictive, so some may experience withdrawal symptoms. It sounds silly, but it’s true: When your body becomes accustomed to certain substances, removing that substance essentially leaves your body in a state of shock. It will cause some uncomfortable moments such as headaches, stomach upset, or disruption in bowel activity as your body starts to reset itself. Withdrawal symptoms could last anywhere from a few days to two week.Once you get past the immediate withdrawal, what can you expect? Once you weather the initial withdrawal symptoms -; if they even occur -; your overall energy should improve in all areas of your life. For example, you may notice your:
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. Murdoch companies name son Lachlan co-chairman Rupert Murdoch (R) and his son Lachlan Murdoch, seen at a 2015 conference, share the title of executive chairman at 21st Century Fox, the parent of Fox News Explore further Fox News on Thursday named longtime executive Suzanne Scott as chief executive of the cable news channel which is a favorite of conservatives and President Donald Trump. Citation: Fox News names veteran executive Suzanne Scott as CEO (2018, May 17) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-05-fox-news-veteran-suzanne-scott.html © 2018 AFP Scott had served as the president of programming for both Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network and has been with the group since its inception nearly 22 years ago. “Suzanne has been instrumental in the success of Fox News and she has now made history as its first female CEO,” said Lachlan Murdoch, who is co-executive chairman of parent firm 21st Century Fox.Fox has been at or near the top of viewer rankings among the three US cable news channels even as it has dealt with turmoil over the ousting of longtime chairman Roger Ailes—who subsequently died—and a series of sexual harassment claims against hosts and executives.Rupert Murdoch, 87, who launched Fox, took over as executive chairman at the network after Ailes was ousted in 2016 amid sex harassment claims. The elder Murdoch shares the role of executive chairman at parent firm 21st Century Fox with his son.The media-entertainment group has reached a deal to sell to Walt Disney Co its Hollywood studios and some television operations, leaving a more tightly focused group centered around Fox News.The company also said Jay Wallace has been appointed president of Fox News and executive editor, while Jack Abernethy will continue as CEO of the newly expanded Fox Television Stations Group.
© 2018 AFP Citation: GM cuts 2018 profit forecast, says trade war hit to car sales (2018, July 25) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-07-gm-profit-war-car-sales.html GM trimmed its earnings forecast from its prior range of $5.52 to $5.82 per diluted share to approximately $5.14 per share.The company cited a “significant” increase in commodity costs, as well as the sinking valuation of the Argentine peso and Brazilian real that have marred its sales outlook in those markets.These two effects will add $1 billion to GM costs in 2018, the company said.”It appears that the trade war President Donald Trump has brought on the auto industry—and General Motors specifically—has impacted earnings,” said a note from Briefing.com.”Announced tariffs on steel and aluminum imports caused GM’s raw materials costs to increase, and thus, an increase in the price of the finished product.”GM continues to see US auto sales coming in above the solid level of 17 million vehicles for all of 2018 but views the outlook for 2019 as up in the air in light of trade policy uncertainty, said Chief Financial Officer Chuck Stevens.”We’re not expecting a tariff impact to impact the US industry in 2018,” Stevens told reporters.”What happens beyond 2018, I think there’s a lot of uncertainty in this space at this point in time. We’re going to have to see where it lands and how ultimately that impacts the US industry and the global industry frankly.”Executives told financial analysts on a conference call that they had raised prices on some vehicles in the US to account for higher costs but that the market was “challenging” because of competitive pressures.Like other leading automakers, GM has been a vocal critic of President Donald Trump’s proposed tariff of up to 25 percent on foreign vehicles and parts, joining a chorus of industry officials in blasting the idea at a hearing last week. The US giant has warned that the tariffs could “lead to a smaller GM.” The Commerce Department has collected public comments on the proposal and is not expected to present its findings to the White House for about two months.Higher costsThe biggest US automaker reported second-quarter profit of $2.4 billion, which was up 44 percent from the year-ago level following car sales increases in North America and China.Revenues were $36.8 billion, down 0.6 percent from a year ago.GM’s North America sales continued to benefit from a strong performance in sport utility vehicles, pickups and other large vehicles, with key vehicles scoring double-digit increases in sales in the United States. GM also reported another round of strong sales in China, where its unit delivered more than 858,000 vehicles in the second quarter.Several other industrial companies including Whirlpool and Alcoa have cited higher costs for metals and oil-related commodities as a drag in the second quarter.One factor has been US tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. Stevens said most of GM’s steel and aluminum was sourced in the US.In South America, GM has been able to raise prices because of currency hits in Argentina, which has a “hyperinflationary environment,” but not in Brazil. The hope is that Brazil’s situation will stabilize after elections in October, executives said.Stevens said GM’s performance in China bested expectations in the first half of 2018 but that the second half of the year would be tougher due to more pricing pressure from competitors and the lower valuation of the Chinese yuan. Without these efforts, the hit would have been $2 billion, they said.Shares of GM sank 7.1 percent to $36.69 in midday trading. General Motors cut its full-year profit forecast on Wednesday, in part due to higher commodity costs as it amplified its warning that mushrooming trade conflicts could dent US and global car sales. US car sales mostly up in 1H as larger vehicles reign General Motors is cutting its earnings forecast for the year, in part because of higher commodity costs Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
The future of the U.S. Interstate Highway System is threatened by a persistent and growing backlog of structural and operational deficiencies and by various looming challenges, such as the progress of automated vehicles, developments in electric vehicles, and vulnerabilities due to climate change. Unless a commitment is made to remedy the system’s deficiencies and prepare for these oncoming challenges, there is a real risk that the nation’s interstates will become increasingly unreliable and congested, far more costly to maintain, less safe, incompatible with evolving technology, and vulnerable to the effects of extreme weather, says a new congressionally mandated report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The report calls for a 20-year “blueprint for action,” which includes creating an “Interstate Highway System Renewal and Modernization Program,” increasing the federal fuel tax to help pay for it, and allowing tolls and per-mile-charges on more interstate routes. Citation: US interstate highways need overhaul, says new report (2018, December 6) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-12-interstate-highways-overhaul.html Provided by National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine “The interstates have long been the backbone of our country’s transportation system, but most of them have exceeded their design lives and in many places are worn and overused,” said Norman Augustine, former chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin Corp. and chair of the committee that wrote the report. “These aging interstates are highly congested oftentimes and in need of reconstruction. Furthermore, technological advances are offering new opportunities, but they may also undermine a principal source of income for the interstates, namely the tax on fuel. We recommend a course of action that is aggressive and ambitious, but by no means novel. Essentially, we need a reinvigoration of the federal and state partnership that produced the Interstate Highway System in the first place.”The Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways was authorized in 1956 and designed to provide safe and efficient transportation across states. The highways serve as both urban commuter and inter-urban travel corridors, integrate the country’s freight system by connecting to major ports and rail hubs, and are critical to the logistics of national defense. Constituting about 1 percent of public road mileage, the interstates carry about one-fourth of the nation’s vehicle miles traveled, including about one-half of the miles traveled by heavy trucks. Moreover, per vehicle mile traveled, interstate highways are the safest roads in the country. Because of their heavy use, however, they still account for more than 5,000 traffic deaths per year. Nevertheless, today they suffer from severe congestion, mainly in urban areas, and in many cases are in need of costly reconstruction.Looming ChallengesThe committee identified a series of challenges—both long-standing and emerging ones—that confront the future of the interstates. These include rebuilding the system’s pavements, bridges, and other aging assets before they become unserviceable and less safe; adding more traffic capacity and demand management capabilities, especially on congested urban segments; ensuring the system’s coverage keeps pace with changes in the location of the country’s population and economic growth; improving safety as traffic volumes increase; adapting to changing vehicle technologies; adopting new user-based funding mechanisms that will generate the needed reinvestment revenues; and incorporating changing climate conditions into planning and design. For example, more than one-third of interstate bridges have been in service for more than 50 years and will require repair and renewal investments that will add significantly to the major outlays required for rebuilding the system’s original pavement foundation. In addition, large metropolitan areas are expected to continue to account for most of the country’s population growth, yet their interstates have little room to expand locally and are likely to require innovative solutions to accommodate growing travel demand. The committee noted that advances in technology—ranging from more efficient and faster construction methods and more durable materials to electronic tolling and increasingly connected and automated vehicles—could make the rebuilding of the Interstate Highway System and the allocation of its capacity more manageable, while also furthering the continual goal of increasing the system’s capacity and level of safety.An Investment ImperativeThe report’s proposed major upgrade of the Interstate Highway System would require the federal and state governments to coordinate and focus their efforts on a goal similar to the one that motivated the system’s development under the original Interstate Highway System Construction Program. Therefore, the committee recommended that Congress legislate the Interstate Highway System Renewal and Modernization Program (RAMP) to reinforce a partnership where the federal government would provide leadership, vision, and the bulk of the funding, and the states would prioritize and execute projects in their traditional role as owners, builders, and maintainers of the system.Recent combined state and federal capital spending on the interstates has been approximately $25 billion annually. To renew and modernize these highways over the next 20 years, $45 billion to $70 billion will be required annually, depending on uncertainties, such as the rate of growth of vehicle miles traveled. The committee noted, however, that these estimates may be low, because they do not include funding required to reconfigure and reconstruct many of the interstates’ 15,000 interchanges or make the system more resilient to the effects of climate change.To raise the additional new revenue needed for system upgrades, the committee recommended increasing the federal fuel tax in the near term and allowing tolls or per-mile charges on interstate users. Lifting the ban on tolling that applies to most general purpose interstate lanes would provide states and metropolitan areas with more options for raising revenue for their share of RAMP investments and for managing the traffic demand on and operations of interstate segments that offer limited opportunity for physical expansion.Additional RecommendationsCongress should direct the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to establish criteria for “rightsizing” the interstates—which would extend the system’s length and scope of coverage and remediate disruptions caused by highway segments that are viewed as intrusive to local communities. These criteria should be developed in consultation with states, local communities, highway users, and the general public and take into account the needs of growing regions and cities for improved access to the transportation network, as well as the interests of jurisdictions that have been harmed by interstate segments that divide or isolate neighborhoods.In addition, Congress should direct U.S. DOT and FHWA—working with states, industry, and independent technical experts—to start planning for the transition to more automated and connected vehicle operations, the committee said. This effort should entail the needed research and updates to Interstate Highway System requirements and standards to ensure that basic intelligent transportation system instrumentation is adopted on a consistent and systemwide basis, and that uniformity and other attributes of pavement markings, interchange design, and the like are capable of facilitating eventual interstate use by connected and automated vehicles. 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. Credit: CC0 Public Domain Explore further What roadkill is costing California
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. Governor Gavin Newsom of California said his “data dividend” plan would allow state residents to share in the wealth derived from tech firms monetizing personal information from online users California nixes plans for high-speed LA-SF rail line Explore further Governor Gavin Newsom announced the proposal during a “State of the State” address, reasoning that people should share in money that technology firms make off of what they know about users.”Consumers have a right to know and control how their data is being used,” Newsom said, referring to state privacy legislation passed last year.”But California’s consumers should also be able to share in the wealth that is created from their data.”Silicon Valley-based Google and Facebook dominate the multi-billion dollar global online digital advertising market, using what they learn about users to target advertisements that might be of interest.The practice has fueled debate about whether people have, in a way, been turned into products by internet companies whose paying customers are advertisers.Concerns have also risen regarding whether the privacy of users is being sufficiently protected.”California is proud to be home to technology companies determined to change the world,” Newsom said.The move comes with technology giants under pressure from regulators around the world to disclose more about their data collection and give users better control over personal information.”But companies that make billions of dollars collecting, curating and monetizing our personal data have a duty to protect it.”Newsom shared little detail about his proposal, saying he had asked members of his team to work on it because “we recognize that your data has value and it belongs to you.” Citation: Governor urges ‘data dividend’ to share tech wealth (2019, February 13) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-02-governor-urges-dividend-tech-wealth.html © 2019 AFP The new governor of the state that is home to Silicon Valley said Tuesday his team is working on a plan for a “data dividend” that internet firms would pay users.
Explore further Citation: Sony logs record profits, warns of headwinds to come (2019, April 26) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-04-sony-profits-headwinds.html Profits are great now but Sony faces headwinds Sony nearly doubles first-half net profits, upgrades forecast The PlayStation manufacturer also said the integration of EMI Music Publishing as a fully-owned subsidiary had played well.Net profits soared 86.7 percent on-year to 916.3 billion yen ($8.2 billion) in the year ended in March while operating profit climbed 21.7 percent to 894.2 billion yen. Sales edged up 1.4 percent to 8.7 trillion yen.However, the future is looking less bright as this year’s one-off boost partly from integrating EMI Music Publishing will make annual comparisons less rosy.Net profits for the current fiscal year to March 2020 were forecast to drop 45 percent to 500 billion yen with operating profit sagging nine percent to 810 billion yen.Sales however were seen growing 1.5 percent to 8.8 trillion yen.”Sony had achieved a V-shape recovery until the last fiscal year but its growth is expected to slow down in the current fiscal year,” said Hideki Yasuda, an analyst at Ace Research Institute in Tokyo. “PS4, which spearheaded Sony’s revival, is now peaking out while its mobile phone businesses are expected to continue squeezing profits,” he told AFP.Sony continued to struggle in the mobile business with its operating loss more than tripling to 97 billion yen because of reduced smartphone sales.Profits also fell in Sony’s semiconductor and financial services businesses.But it enjoyed strong growth in its games and network businesses, including an online service that allows users to enjoy music and video titles via their PlayStation accounts.Operating profit in that sector soared 75 percent to 311 billion yen.Revenue from PlayStation4 consoles fell but software sales and network services logged robust rises.Sony said it expects revenue from this core sector will sag due to a continued fall in game hardware sales, costs to develop the next-generation console, and unfavourable foreign exchange rates.Yasuo Imanaka, an analyst at Rakuten Securities in Tokyo, said Sony’s game business also faces a threat from new entrants in the sector.”Google’s Stadia can be a powerful rival. Sony is expected to launch PS5 in the near future but may have to review its game business strategy due to the emergence of Stadia,” he said.The Stadia platform will let gamers stream blockbuster titles to any device they wish. Japan’s Sony said Friday that robust games and entertainment divisions had pushed annual profits to a second consecutive record high but warned of a looming downturn in its bottom line. 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. © 2019 AFP
Press Trust of India DehradunJuly 12, 2019UPDATED: July 13, 2019 11:54 IST Rishikesh administration ordered stopping of public movement on ‘Lakshman Jhula’, citing its dilapidated condition. (Photo: ANI)HIGHLIGHTSThe bridge was closed on the recommendation of a team of expertsThey found most of its parts in “fail” or “collapse” conditionThe team recommended immediate closure of the bridge to all trafficLakshman Jhula, the iconic suspension bridge across the Ganga in Rishikesh, was closed to traffic Friday as experts feel it cannot sustain more load, officials said.The bridge was closed on the recommendation of a team of experts who found most of its parts in “fail” or “collapse” condition, Additional Chief Secretary Om Prakash said.The team recommended immediate closure of the bridge to all traffic and pedestrian movement as it was not in a condition to sustain any more load, he said.There has been an unprecedented rise in traffic and pedestrian movement along the bridge in recent times and the bridge towers appear to be leaning towards one side, he said.The decision was taken as keeping it operational could have been risky, the official said.”It is highly recommended that the bridge should be closed with immediate effect otherwise any big mishap can take place anytime,” the team of experts had said in its report to authorities.Built in 1923 over the Ganga river, Lakshman Jhula is an iconic landmark in this city of Uttarakhand that is renowned as a center for studying yoga and meditation.It connects Tapovan village in Tehri district on the western bank of the river with Jonk in Pauri district.One of the main attractions for tourists and devotees coming to Rishikesh, the pedestrian bridge also used by two-wheelers was named after Hindu mythological character Lakshman as it stands where he is said to have crossed the river with the help of jute ropes.Many successful Hindi movies and serials like “Ganga Ki Saugandh”, “Sanyasi” and popular detective serial “CID” have been shot at the Lakshman Jhula.Also Read | Karnataka: 1 dead, 8 rescued as under-construction building collapses in BengaluruAlso Watch | CST bridge collapse case: Structural auditor’s bail plea rejectedFor 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 byChanchal Chauhan Rishikesh’s iconic Lakshman Jhula shut FOREVER after experts call it beyond repairThe bridge was closed on the recommendation of a team of experts who found most of its parts in “fail” or “collapse” condition, Additional Chief Secretary Om Prakash said. advertisement Next