NCI Director Norman Sharpless named acting FDA chief

first_img Sharpless has bolstered support for NCI-funded clinical trials and freed up funds for research grants by trimming the internal NCI budget. He introduced a new policy to support promising young investigators by adding 2 years to their initial 5-year research grants. A champion of big data, Sharpless had just begun to shape a plan to spend $50 million in 2020 in part to share data on pediatric cancer patients as part of a 10-year childhood cancer initiative proposed by President Donald Trump. Although he does not have an industry background, he has started two biotech companies.The highly regarded Gottlieb reportedly recommended Sharpless as his replacement. He tweeted today: “I’m delighted by the announcement from @SecAzar that @NCIDirector will serve as acting commissioner of #FDA. Ned is a friend to FDA, a great public health champion, a dedicated physician, and will be warmly welcomed into his new role. FDA will benefit greatly from his leadership.”NCI Deputy Director Douglas Lowy, who served a stint as acting NCI director from April 2015 to October 2017, will again step in as acting NCI director. Daniel Sone/National Cancer Institute Ned Sharpless Norman Sharpless, director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Bethesda, Maryland, will become acting administrator of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in Silver Spring, Maryland, after current FDA chief Scott Gottlieb steps down in early April.The announcement came this morning from Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar at a U.S. House of Representatives hearing. “Dr. Sharpless’ deep scientific background and expertise will make him a strong leader for FDA,” Azar said in a statement. “There will be no let-up in the agency’s focus, from ongoing efforts on drug approvals and combating the opioid crisis to modernizing food safety and addressing the rapid rise in youth use of e-cigarettes.”Gottlieb’s resignation to spend more time with his young family in Connecticut rattled markets and FDA watchers when it was announced last week. That uncertainty is at least temporarily eased by the acting appointment of Sharpless, a physician-scientist and former director of the University of North Carolina’s cancer center in Chapel Hill who has drawn praise as NCI director since October 2017. By Jocelyn KaiserMar. 12, 2019 , 2:45 PM Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrycenter_img Email Click to view the privacy policy. 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Lady Gaga fires up LGBTQ rally for Stonewall anniversary

first_img“Trump has really proliferated this hate towards us,” said Qweenb. Amor, 30, a trans-Latina. “It’s something we’re going to have to face every single day for the next 20 years, despite who wins the next election because these people who put Trump in power are people we have to work with every day of our lives.” More Explained Advertising Brunei says it won’t enforce gay death penalty after backlash Related News Appearing with a rainbow-colored jacket and thigh-high boots, she declared that Stonewall was the moment when LGBTQ people said: “enough is enough.” “I may not, to some people, be considered a part of this community, even though I like girls sometimes. I would never degrade the fight you have endured,” she told the cheering crowd. “You have the power. You are so, so powerful, and I hope you feel that power today.”Later the rally alternated between political speeches and block-party gaiety. Musical performances and rhythmic dancing rattled windows in the low-slung neighborhood. Drag queens sang ’80s hits like “I’m So Excited” in between speeches by activists from countries such as Uganda and Chechnya.U.S. politicians including presidential hopefuls Kirsten Gillibrand, one of New York state’s two U.S. senators, and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio also took the stage ahead of what organizers are calling the largest gay pride parade in history set for Sunday when some 150,000 marchers and 4 million spectators are expected.In between featured speakers, impromptu rallies formed and dispersed outside the bar, with people waving homemade signs such as “Closets are for Clothes!” and “Gay Liberation Front,” paying homage to the radical group that formed immediately after Stonewall. The message has been lost on many LGBTQ people, as the Trump administration opposes extending anti-discrimination protection to gay or transgender workers under federal employment law, a legal issue currently before the U.S. Supreme Court, with a ruling due within a year.In nearby Washington Square Park, some 500 pro-transgender activists staged a Trans Day of Action, where some held up “Black trans lives matter” signs, lamenting that 10 transgender people have been murdered in the United States in 2019 after 26 were killed in 2018 and 29 in 2017, according to the LGBTQ advocacy right Human Rights Campaign. Best Of Express Give us our basic rights and equality: LGBTQ activist and director of Outcast by Birth Advertising “Get laid, get drunk, and have a party,” said Martha Shelley, one of the Gay Liberation Front founders. “And then go home, roll up your sleeves, and fight.” While the anniversary has a celebratory air, activists see the occasion as a way to protest U.S. President Donald Trump’s record, which many consider hostile to LGBTQ people. They also want to highlight the still-precarious position of LGBTQ people in many parts of the world.Police raided the Stonewall, a Mafia-owned gay bar, ostensibly to crack down on organized crime. But their mistreatment of the patrons, part of a pattern of abuse against LGBTQ people, touched off the uprising.While celebrating 50 years of progress, many LGBTQ activists are sounding the alarm about Trump administration initiatives, including a ban on transgender people in the military, cuts in HIV/AIDS research and support for so-called religious freedom initiatives that eliminate LGBTQ protections.The White House claims Trump has long advocated LGBTQ equality, noting that he has backed a global campaign to decriminalize homosexuality. “President Trump has never considered LGBT Americans second-class citizens,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement. Karnataka trust vote today: Speaker’s call on resignations, says SC, but gives rebel MLAs a shield Post Comment(s) After Masood Azhar blacklisting, more isolation for Pakistan Ecuador’s highest court approves same-sex marriage By Reuters |New York | Published: June 29, 2019 10:11:17 am Taking stock of monsoon rain Lady Gaga,  LGBTQ rights, Lady Gaga at Stonewall, LGBTQ rights movement anniversary,  50th anniversary of the LGBTQ rights movement, 50th year of LGBTQ rights movement, World Pride events, Pride month, Pride month in New York, Stonewall uprising, 1969 Stonewall uprising, World News, Indian Express news Lady Gaga, a Grammy Award-winner whose signature song “Born This Way” has become an LGBTQ anthem, fired up the crowd, which began gathering in the park and public square outside the Stonewall. (File)Lady Gaga electrified thousands of revelers who gathered in New York on Friday to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the LGBTQ rights movement, exhorting the crowd to honor the past by using its “power” to extend and defend a half-century of progress. Virat Kohli won’t have a say in choosing new coach Advertising Her warm-up speech and a subsequent rally, part of a series of World Pride events in New York this week, commemorated the so-called Stonewall uprising of June 28, 1969.Early that morning, patrons of a Greenwich Village gay bar called the Stonewall Inn rose up in defiance of police harassment, triggering days of rioting. Their resistance gave birth to the national and global movement for equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other queer people.Lady Gaga, a Grammy Award-winner whose signature song “Born This Way” has become an LGBTQ anthem, fired up the crowd, which began gathering in the park and public square outside the Stonewall hours earlier.last_img read more

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Fracture causes bone density losses throughout the body

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Sep 25 2018Breaking a bone causes bone density losses throughout the body, not just close to the site of the fracture, and primarily around the time of the fracture, two new studies from UC Davis Health show.The studies are among the first to associate fractures with systemic bone loss. They also begin the path to finding treatments that preserve long-term skeletal health and reduce susceptibility to additional fractures and, potentially, osteoporosis, which is diagnosed when bone-density losses are severe.Both investigations were led by Blaine Christiansen, whose research focuses on identifying changes in musculoskeletal tissue due to injury, aging or disease.”We know one fracture seems to lead to others, but we haven’t known why,” said Christiansen, associate professor of orthopedic surgery at UC Davis. “Our work is the first step on the path to identifying the cellular mechanisms of systemic bone loss.”Related StoriesStudy reveals dual effects of new osteoporosis therapy on bone tissue’Text neck’ may be causing bone spurs in young peopleEngineered stem cells offer new treatment for metastatic bone cancerThe first study, published in Osteoporosis International, was based on about 4,000 participants in the Study of Osteoporotic Fractures, an observational study of older women that included hip bone mineral density (BMD) measures and fracture history gathered regularly over 20 years.Outcomes showed that hip BMD decreased over time for all women in the study, but was greatest for those who had fractured a bone ? even if the fracture was not near the hip. BMD reductions averaged between .89 and .77 percent per year for those with fractures, and .66 percent per year for those with no fractures. Those losses were greatest within the first two years of a break.Published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, the second study was conducted using mice with femur fractures and BMD tests in various bones. Once again, bone loss occurred throughout the body, most notably in the spine, and was greatest within the first two weeks of fracture. It also was accompanied by higher levels of inflammatory markers in the blood.Outcomes of the second study showed interesting age-related recovery differences as well. Younger mice eventually recovered their pre-fracture BMD levels, while older mice did not.Christiansen next hopes to further characterize the post-fracture inflammatory factors that may contribute to bone loss following fracture.”It’s possible that these factors are key to initiating BMD loss once a bone is broken,” Christiansen said. “Ultimately, we hope to develop therapeutic strategies that interrupt those processes and prevent bone loss.”Source: http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/publish/news/newsroom/13170last_img read more

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Study uncovers new molecule involved in regeneration of acute liver wounds

first_img Source:http://www.igc.gulbenkian.pt/pages/article.php/A=431___collection=pressReleases___year=2018 Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Sep 26 2018A new study from researchers of CEDOC-NOVA Medical School|Faculdade de Ciências Médicas and Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, led by Maria Paula Macedo and Carlos Penha-Gonçalves, respectively, published in Hepatology Communications, showed that a molecule CD26/DPP-4 is involved in the regeneration of acute liver wounds and is a promising biomarker for hepatic disease.It is known that DPP-4 regulates insulin secretion upon food intake. The regulation of the levels of “sugar in the blood” in type-2 diabetics is performed by therapeutic inhibition of enzymatic activity of the molecule CD26/DPP-4. This approach has earned clinical relevance. Moreover, apart from its role in the control of the amount of sugar present in blood, the molecule DPP4 appears to be related with inflammatory reactions in various pathological processes.Related StoriesResearchers discover novel cancer-promoting molecular mechanismNovel imaging molecule reveals brain changes linked to progressive MSComprehensive cell atlas of the human liverIn this study, the researchers explored the role of CD26/DPP-4 during injury of the hepatic tissue leading to evident reduction of the main liver immune cell population (Kupffer cells). It was shown that the blood levels of CD26/DPP-4 enzymatic activity are augmented when this population of liver immune cells is diminished, both in acute and chronic mouse models of liver injury. Inversely, the levels of blood enzymatic activity decreased during recovery of these cells. The authors observed that specific deletion of such immune liver cell population in absence of liver tissue damage also lead to significant increase in CD26/DPP4 blood enzymatic activity. Thus, these results show the close relation between functional changes in Kupffer cells associated with hepatic diseases and the molecule CD26/DPP-4.The relation between the liver immune cells and the enzymatic activity of CD26/DPP-4 in the blood, exhibited in this study, suggests that the level/amount of the enzymatic activity of the molecule CD26/DPP-4 in the blood might be used as a biomarker. Moreover, it can become a valuable biochemical parameter for the evaluation of hepatic lesion or disorder since so far can this evaluation can only be performed using invasive techniques.last_img read more

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Leak of Stale iOS Source Code Could Trigger Fresh Problems

first_img*ECT News Network editor’s note – Feb. 12, 2018: Our original published version of this column incorrectly stated that Apple spent $225,000 for iPhone-related bugs at Mobile Pwn2Own. We regret the error. Apple lawyers on Wednesday sent a copyright violation notice to Github, following the publication of leaked iOS 9 source code on the site. Though iOS 9 is a dated version of the company’s mobile operating system, it’s possible that the leaked code could be used to jailbreak older devices or worse.Publication of the code violated Apple’s rights under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, the attorneys wrote, demanding that the iBoot source code be removed.”Old source code from three years ago appears to have been leaked, but by design the security of our products doesn’t depend on the secrecy of our source code,” Apple said in a statement provided to TechNewsWorld by spokesperson Fred Sainz. “There are many layers of hardware and software protections built into our products, and we always encourage customers to update to the newest software releases to benefit from the protections.”Ninety-three percent of users have downloaded iOS 10 or later, and 65 percent have downloaded iOS 11, which includes the latest protections, according to the company.Source code can be leaked in a number of ways, Apple acknowledged — voluntarily, accidentally or through malicious intent.It contributes source code to the open source community, Apple pointed out. Leaking even part of the source code can facilitate the search for vulnerabilities in the boot loader, which can lead to new ways to jailbreak the device, said Leigh-Anne Galloway, cybersecurity resilience lead at Positive Technologies.It also could open up access to data on the device, she told TechNewsWorld.Seventy percent of iOS devices are highly vulnerable to such exposure, recent research suggests. While only a portion of the iOS 9 code was released on GitHub, the part that was made public is important to the overall security structure of the operating system, according to Ryan Spanier, director of research at Kudelski Security.While the source code could have been leaked using malware on a developer machine, the more likely scenarios range from a mistaken leak, or a deliberate leak by an employee or a third-party who had access to the code, he told TechNewsWorld.Protecting such large repositories of source code is difficult when many employees have access, Spanier said.”No company is 100 percent secure, so it’s not surprising this happened even at a company like Apple,” he told TechNewsWorld.”However, this is a big blow to iOS security as iBoot is critical to the secure boot process on the phone,” Spanier continued. “The code is for an older version of iBoot, but still could be used to help people jailbreak the system and find new ways to bypass controls or allow an attacker to develop an exploit against a vulnerability.”Having access to the source code also makes it easier for researchers to find bugs, according to Brian Gorenc, director of vulnerability research at Trend Micro. That’s applies to this case in particular, since the leaked source code is said to contain documentation.”If the documentation contains some crucial pieces — say file formats, interfaces or even Apple’s fuzzing methodology — the impact could be even greater,” he told TechNewsWorld. “An attacker can look at how Apple has documented their fuzzing process and look for bugs outside of that process, specifically so that the bugs they find will last longer.”Since the code that was leaked handles loading the OS, the bugs can be used for anything from enabling jailbreaks to loading something prior to the OS, Gorenc noted.That’s why Trend Micro spent US$225,000 for iPhone-related bugs at Mobile Pwn2Own last year, he said. [*Correction – Feb. 12, 2018] Partial Release Boot Vulnerable David Jones is a freelance writer based in Essex County, New Jersey. He has written for Reuters, Bloomberg, Crain’s New York Business and The New York Times.last_img read more

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Consumption of fermented dairy products may lower heart disease risk

first_imgHere in Finland, people’s habits of consuming different dairy products have changed over the past decades. For instance, the consumption of milk and sour milk have declined, while many fermented dairy products, such as yoghurt, quark and cheeses, have gained in popularity,”Adjunct Professor Jyrki Virtanen from the University of Eastern Finland Oct 30 2018Men who eat plenty of fermented dairy products have a smaller risk of incident coronary heart disease than men who eat less of these products, according to a new study from the University of Eastern Finland. A very high consumption of non-fermented dairy products, on the other hand, was associated with an increased risk of incident coronary heart disease. The findings were published in the British Journal of Nutrition.Earlier studies have shown that fermented dairy products have more positive effects on blood lipid profiles and on the risk of heart disease than other dairy products. Examples of fermented dairy products include cheese, yogurt, quark, kefir, and sour milk. However, research into the topic remains scarce.The Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study ongoing at the University of Eastern Finland explored the associations of fermented and non-fermented dairy products with the risk of incident coronary heart disease. Approximately 2,000 men participated in the study. Their dietary habits were assessed at the beginning of the study in 1984–1989, and they were followed up for an average of 20 years. During this follow-up, 472 men experienced an incident coronary heart disease event.Related StoriesHeart disease is still the number 1 killer in Australia, according to latest figuresStroke should be treated 15 minutes earlier to save lives, study suggestsRNA-binding protein SRSF3 appears to be key factor for proper heart contraction, survivalThe study participants were divided into groups on the basis of how much they ate different dairy products, and the researchers compared the groups with the highest and lowest consumption, while also taking various lifestyle and nutrition factors into consideration.When the study participants were divided into four groups on the basis of their consumption of fermented dairy products with less than 3.5% fat, the risk of incident coronary heart disease was 26% lower in the highest consumption group compared to the lowest consumption group. Sour milk was the most commonly used low-fat fermented dairy product. The consumption of high-fat fermented dairy products, such as cheese, was not associated with the risk of incident coronary heart disease.However, the researchers found that a very high consumption on non-fermented dairy products was associated with an increased risk of incident coronary heart disease. Milk was the most commonly used product in this category, and a very high consumption was defined as an average daily milk intake of 0.9 litres. Lower consumption levels were not associated with the risk. The new study provides further evidence on the health benefits that fermented dairy products may have over non-fermented ones. All the mechanisms are not understood yet, but they may be linked to compounds forming during the fermentation process.Source: http://www.uef.fi/-/hapanmaitotuotteiden-kaytto-saattaa-suojata-sydaninfarktiltalast_img read more

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Up to a third of knee replacements pack pain and regret

first_imgReviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Dec 25 2018Danette Lake thought surgery would relieve the pain in her knees.The arthritis pain began as a dull ache in her early 40s, brought on largely by the pressure of unwanted weight. Lake managed to lose 200 pounds through dieting and exercise, but the pain in her knees persisted.A sexual assault two years ago left Lake with physical and psychological trauma. She damaged her knees while fighting off her attacker, who had broken into her home. Although she managed to escape, her knees never recovered. At times, the sharp pain drove her to the emergency room. Lake’s job, which involved loading luggage onto airplanes, often left her in misery.When a doctor said that knee replacement would reduce her arthritis pain by 75 percent, Lake was overjoyed.”I thought the knee replacement was going to be a cure,” said Lake, now 52 and living in rural Iowa. “I got all excited, thinking, ‘Finally, the pain is going to end and I will have some quality of life.'”But one year after surgery on her right knee, Lake said she’s still suffering.”I’m in constant pain, 24/7,” said Lake, who is too disabled to work. “There are times when I can’t even sleep.”Most knee replacements are considered successful, and the procedure is known for being safe and cost-effective. Rates of the surgery doubled from 1999 to 2008, with 3.5 million procedures a year expected by 2030.But Lake’s ordeal illustrates the surgery’s risks and limitations. Doctors are increasingly concerned that the procedure is overused and that its benefits have been oversold.Research suggests that up to one-third of those who have knees replaced continue to experience chronic pain, while 1 in 5 are dissatisfied with the results. A study published last year in the BMJ found that knee replacement had “minimal effects on quality of life,” especially for patients with less severe arthritis.One-third of patients who undergo knee replacement may not even be appropriate candidates for the procedure, because their arthritis symptoms aren’t severe enough to merit aggressive intervention, according to a 2014 study in Arthritis & Rheumatology.”We do too many knee replacements,” said Dr. James Rickert, president of the Society for Patient Centered Orthopedics, which advocates for affordable health care, in an interview. “People will argue about the exact amount. But hardly anyone would argue that we don’t do too many.”Although Americans are aging and getting heavier, those factors alone don’t explain the explosive growth in knee replacement. The increase may be fueled by a higher rate of injuries among younger patients and doctors’ greater willingness to operate on younger people, such as those in their 50s and early 60s, said Rickert, an orthopedic surgeon in Bedford, Ind. That shift has occurred because new implants can last longer — perhaps 20 years — before wearing out.Yet even the newest models don’t last forever. Over time, implants can loosen and detach from the bone, causing pain. Plastic components of the artificial knee slowly wear out, creating debris that can cause inflammation. The wear and tear can cause the knee to break. Patients who remain obese after surgery can put extra pressure on implants, further shortening their lifespan.The younger patients are, the more likely they are to “outlive” their knee implants and require a second surgery. Such “revision” procedures are more difficult to perform for many reasons, including the presence of scar tissue from the original surgery. Bone cement used in the first surgery also can be difficult to extract, and bones can fracture as the older artificial knee is removed, Rickert said.Revisions are also more likely to cause complications. Among patients younger than 60, about 35 percent of men need a revision surgery, along with 20 percent of women, according to a November article in the Lancet.Yet hospitals and surgery centers market knee replacements heavily, with ads that show patients running, bicycling, even playing basketball after the procedure, said Dr. Nicholas DiNubile, a Havertown, Pa., orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine. While many people with artificial knees can return to moderate exercise — such as doubles tennis — it’s unrealistic to imagine them playing full-court basketball again, he said.”Hospitals are all competing with each other,” DiNubile said. Marketing can mislead younger patients into thinking, “‘I’ll get a new joint and go back to doing everything I did before,'” he said. To Rickert, “medical advertising is a big part of the problem. Its purpose is to sell patients on the procedures.”Rickert said that some patients are offered surgery they don’t need and that money can be a factor.Knee replacements, which cost $31,000 on average, are “really crucial to the financial health of hospitals and doctors’ practices,” he said. “The doctor earns a lot more if they do the surgery.”Ignoring AlternativesYet surgery isn’t the only way to treat arthritis.Patients with early disease often benefit from over-the-counter pain relievers, dietary advice, physical therapy and education about their condition, said Daniel Riddle, a physical therapy researcher and professor at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.Related StoriesDistractions and exercise may be key to managing chronic painMini MRI device could help diagnose knee injuries more quickly and accuratelyAre Chronic Pain Relief Drugs for Children Effective?Studies show that these approaches can even help people with more severe arthritis.In a study published in Osteoarthritis and Cartilage in April, researchers compared surgical and non-surgical treatments in 100 older patients eligible for knee replacement.Over two years, all of the patients improved, whether they were offered surgery or a combination of non-surgical therapies. Patients randomly assigned to undergo immediate knee replacement did better, improving twice as much as those given combination therapy, as measured on standard medical tests of pain and functioning.But surgery also carried risks. Surgical patients developed four times as many complications, including infections, blood clots or knee stiffness severe enough to require another medical procedure under anesthesia. In general, 1 in every 100 to 200 patients who undergo a knee replacement die within 90 days of surgery.Significantly, most of those treated with non-surgical therapies were satisfied with their progress. Although all were eligible to have knee replacement later, two-thirds chose not to do it.Tia Floyd Williams suffered from painful arthritis for 15 years before having a knee replaced in September 2017. Although the procedure seemed to go smoothly, her pain returned after about four months, spreading to her hips and lower back.She was told she needed a second, more extensive surgery to put a rod in her lower leg, said Williams, 52, of Nashville.”At this point, I thought I would be getting a second knee done, not redoing the first one,” Williams said.Other patients, such as Ellen Stutts, are happy with their results. Stutts, in Durham, N.C., had one knee replaced in 2016 and the other replaced this year. “It’s definitely better than before the surgery,” Stutts said.Making Informed DecisionsDoctors and economists are increasingly concerned about inappropriate joint surgery of all types, not just knees.Inappropriate treatment doesn’t harm only patients; it harms the health care system by raising costs for everyone, said Dr. John Mafi, an assistant professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.The 723,000 knee replacements performed in 2014 cost patients, insurers and taxpayers more than $40 billion. Those costs are projected to surge as the nation ages and grapples with the effects of the obesity epidemic, and an aging population.To avoid inappropriate joint replacements, some health systems are developing “decision aids,” easy-to-understand written materials and videos about the risks, benefits and limits of surgery to help patients make more informed choices.In 2009, Group Health introduced decision aids for patients considering joint replacement for hips and knees.Blue Shield of California implemented a similar “shared decision-making” initiative.Executives at the health plan have been especially concerned about the big increase in younger patients undergoing knee replacement surgery, said Henry Garlich, director of health care value solutions and enhanced clinical programs.The percentage of knee replacements performed on people 45 to 64 increased from 30 percent in 2000 to 40 percent in 2015, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.Because the devices can wear out in as little as a few years, a younger person could outlive their knees and require a replacement, Garlich said. But “revision” surgeries are much more complicated procedures, with a higher risk of complications and failure.”Patients think after they have a knee replacement, they will be competing in the Olympics,” Garlich said.Danette Lake once planned to undergo knee replacement surgery on her other knee. Today, she’s not sure what to do. She is afraid of being disappointed by a second surgery.Sometimes, she said, “I think, ‘I might as well just stay in pain.’” This article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.last_img read more

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Link between glycemic control and family support among Nigerians with type 2

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jan 7 2019In the current issue of Family Medicine and Community Health (Volume 6, Number 4, 2018; DOI: https://doi.org/10.15212/FMCH.2018.0115, Nnenna A. Osuji, Oluwaseun Solomon Ojo, Sunday O. Malomo, Peter T. Sogunle, Ademola O. Egunjobi and Olufisayo O. Odebunmi of the Family Medicine Department, Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta, Nigeria describe how Nigeria and other sub-Saharan African countries are currently experiencing a rapid increase in the incidence of noncommunicable diseases, especially diabetes mellitus (DM), as a result of increasing urbanization and changing lifestyles.People with diseases such as DM that require lifelong management may be tired of taking medications and adhering to the lifestyle modifications over time. This underscores the importance of motivation in people with DM. The authors consider whether support from the family can motivate people with DM to improve self-management behaviors and ultimately their glycemic control? Few studies have looked at the relationship between perceived family support and glycemic control among people with type 2 DM.Source: http://fmch-journal.org/last_img read more

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Child nutrition remained stable a year after 2015 earthquake in Nepal finds

first_img Source:https://www.jhsph.edu/news/news-releases/2019/following-nepals-devastating-2015-earthquake-crisis-in-childhood-malnutrition-averted.html Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jan 10 2019Despite widespread destruction, including severe agricultural-related losses caused by the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, child nutrition remained stable in the hardest hit areas, a new study finds.A team of researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Tufts University found that indicators of childhood malnutrition improved or remained stable a year after the earthquake hit.The study, published in November by PLOS One, also found that household food insecurity decreased significantly over the same period.The 2015 earthquake in Nepal caused over $7.1 billion in losses to infrastructure and economic production and killed nearly 9,000 people and injured nearly 22,000. Extensive losses related to food production and delivery raised concerns that childhood undernutrition could worsen. To prevent this, substantial humanitarian relief efforts were spearheaded by the government of Nepal, the United Nations and NGOs.”Our findings raise the question of whether the improved nutrition and food security situation in these areas a year after the earthquake may have been due to the aid pouring into these areas, the ongoing nutrition and agriculture aid programs that were already operating in the area, or the resilience of these communities,” says lead author Andrew Thorne-Lyman, ScD, associate scientist in the Bloomberg School’s Department of International Health. “The most important thing is, according to multiple indicators, a nutrition crisis was averted.”For their study, researchers analyzed data from the same hardest-hit districts in Nepal, both in 2014 and 2016. In both years, data were collected from over 900 households and approximately 2,000 women and children.The study found that child wasting–a term that describes weight and body-mass loss–declined significantly in the study areas, from 4.5 percent to 2.1 percent. Child wasting is an indicator of a child’s thinness that is often used to evaluate a post-disaster nutrition situation. Children who shows signs of wasting are also at an elevated risk of death. The researchers also found that child stunting–being too short for their age–declined from 23.1 to 21.6 percent in the study period, although the decline was not statistically significant. Stunting is associated with cognitive impairments such as delayed motor development, impaired brain function and poor school performance.Related StoriesLiving in a warzone linked to increased risk of heart attack and stroke, finds studyAnalyzing properties of texture-modified foods for people with dysphagiaWomen’s work in agriculture seems to have negative impact on household nutritionFood insecurity in the study region decreased significantly from 17.6 percent to 12.4 percent between 2014 and 2016. Food insecurity is broadly defined as not having sufficient access to safe and nutritious foods needed for a healthy life. To assess this, researchers used the Household Food Insecurity Access Scale, which has been tested in multiple international studies, and asks a series of questions reflecting different dimensions of food security including access to food.Researchers also asked household members to recall any shocks experienced the previous year, including death of a family member, structural damage to their house and crop and livestock losses. These statistics were compared for 2016 against 2014 data from the same study. As expected, due to the quake, losses were much more severe in 2016 than in 2014. For example, while fewer than 2 percent of households reported damage to their house in 2014, nearly half did so in 2016. Crop and animal loses increased to 20 percent and there were twice as many deaths reported in households in 2016 compared to 2014.”While the nutritional well-being of children appears to have been spared, it’s clear from our data that households experienced significant damages and trauma due to the earthquake, including structural damages, crop and animal loss and loss of life. A year later, many were still rebuilding their lives,” said Keith P. West Jr., DrPH, the George G. Graham Professor in International Health at the Bloomberg School and senior author of the study.Researchers were able to make before-and-after comparisons in this study because the data are part of a larger project called the Policy and Science for Health, Agriculture and Nutrition (PoSHAN) Community surveys. These surveys are nationally representative and assess household agricultural practices, socioeconomic status, food security, and diet, health, and nutritional status of preschool children and women of reproductive age. Authors of this study limited their analysis to data from PoSHAN districts that the government of Nepal categorized as “earthquake-affected” to focus on the effects of the earthquake.last_img read more

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Eating breakfast as part of weightloss strategy could have the opposite effect

first_img Sources:https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-47070173https://www.bmj.com/content/364/bmj.l42 By Sally Robertson, B.Sc.Feb 1 2019Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Researchers at Monash University in Australia say that eating breakfast as part of a weight loss strategy may not be as beneficial as dieters are led to believe.Foxys Forest Manufacture | ShutterstockResearch has previously suggested that including breakfast in your daily diet can supply energy, ramp up metabolism and help to prevent snacking later on in the day.According to the British Diabetic Association, “people who eat breakfast have more balanced diets than those who skip it, are less likely to be overweight (and) lose weight more successfully if overweight.”However, the current study by Flavia Cicuttini and colleagues did not find any evidence to support these claims. This study suggests that the addition of breakfast might not be a good strategy for weight loss, regardless of established breakfast habit. Caution is needed when recommending breakfast for weight loss in adults, as it could have the opposite effect.”center_img The team conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of 13 randomized controlled trials examining the effect of eating breakfast on weight gain in high-income countries, including the UK.The trials compared body weight and energy intake between adults who consumed breakfast and those who did not.As reported in the British Medical Journal, the pooled results showed that participants who did not include breakfast in their diet weighed an average of 0.44kg less than those who did include it.Breakfast eaters had an overall daily energy intake that was an average of 260 calories higher per day  than those who skipped breakfast. Furthermore, people who ate breakfast were not found to snack more later on in the day.Cicuttini and team also found no evidence to support the idea that eating breakfast boosts metabolism or helps with weight loss by increasing the efficiency of calorie burning.It should be noted that there were limitations to the study and the findings should be interpreted with caution; participants were only followed for short periods of between two and 16 weeks and the between-group difference in calorie intake was small.The researchers say that the long-term effect of missing or including breakfast as part of the daily diet still needs further research“Further randomized controlled trials of high quality are needed to examine the role of breakfast eating in the approach to weight management,” concludes the team.last_img read more

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Urban park visit improves emotional wellbeing

first_img Source:https://www.uab.edu/news/research/item/10222-urban-parks-could-make-you-happier Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Feb 26 2019Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Occupational Therapy have published new findings that suggest spending 20 minutes in an urban park will make someone happier regardless of whether they are engaging in exercise or not during the visit.According to the study, published in International Journal of Environmental Health Research, urban parks have been recognized as key neighborhood places that provide residents with opportunities to experience nature and engage in various activities. Through contact with the natural environment and engagement in health-promoting and/or social and recreational activities in parks, users experience physical and mental health benefits such as stress reduction and recovery from mental fatigue.Related StoriesSchwann cells capable of generating protective myelin over nerves finds researchExercise during pregnancy can promote bone health of both mother and childAMSBIO offers new, best-in-class CAR-T cell range for research and immunotherapyPrinciple investigator Hon K. Yuen, Ph.D., OTR/L, professor in the UAB Department of Occupational Therapy, said the original intent of the project was to validate previous research findings on the impact of park visit on emotional well-being, and evaluate the contribution of choosing to participate in physical activity in the park in relation to emotional well-being after the park visit.”Overall, we found park visitors reported an improvement in emotional well-being after the park visit,” said Yuen. “However, we did not find levels of physical activity are related to improved emotional well-being. Instead, we found time spent in the park is related to improved emotional well-being.”Co-author and chair of the department Gavin R. Jenkins, Ph.D., OTR/L, said this means that potentially all people can benefit from time in a park. If you cannot be physically active due to aging, a disability or any other limitations, the study implies a person can still gain health benefits just from a visit to a local park.Participants of the study were adult visitors to one of the three urban parks — Overton, Jemison and Cahaba River Walk Parks — in Mountain Brook, Alabama. Data were collected from 98 adult park visitors; four visitors reported that they participated in this study twice. Data from the second participation were excluded, resulting in 94 unique participants participating in the study. These parks were selected for the study because they were the three main public parks in Mountain Brook and had a relatively high volume of visitors daily.Yuen said several limitations of the study included the lack of objective data to measure emotional health and confining the study to just three urban parks in a six-month data collection period.Although a small study, Jenkins said the significance of these findings helps reinforce the need for more urban parks and the conservation of those that already exist.”There is increasing pressure on green space within urban settings,” said Jenkins. “Planners and developers look to replace green space with residential and commercial property. The challenge facing cities is that there is an increasing evidence about the value of city parks but we continue to see the demise of theses spaces.”last_img read more

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Finding ways to solve old age care crisis in Germany

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Mar 5 2019Germany is facing an old age care crisis. Old age care structures in this country have for too long been starved of cash and personnel, and there is still no evidence of improvement. In fact, the contrary seems to be the case: As the numbers of old people in need of care are increasing, there are more individuals who would like to receive care at home. Many families feel a moral obligation to take care of family members at home even though many are not in the position to manage this on their own. A certain amount of support can be obtained by employing foreign care staff. However, this arrangement can be problematic for various reasons. Immigrant nurses often do not have sufficient training and need to be available around the clock, but at the same time they earn less than the minimum wage. A research team at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) has been looking at such care arrangements and is planning to hold an international conference on the subject of the care crisis on March 11-12, 2019.Increasing costs, family members unable to cope, the lack of care personnel, and the increasing complexity of the entire system are the main factors underlying the persisting care crisis in Germany. Not only state institutions, but also private and public care organizations are searching for new staff abroad. According to a survey undertaken by Stiftung Warentest, a leading German consumer safety group, more than 250 recruiting agencies are offering private households the option of round-the-clock care provided by non-German care staff. Previously, immigrant nursing staff came primarily from Poland, but women from other Eastern European countries such as Romania and Slovakia are being attracted into this form of employment. They live under the same roof as the family and look after the person needing care while some of them also do household chores.According to a survey by the Hans Böckler Foundation, about 200,000 care workers from Central and Eastern Europe are employed in Germany, but the estimated numbers of unregistered care staff are high. “We were surprised how widespread these care arrangements with immigrant workers have become,” said Professor Cornelia Schweppe of JGU in view of the results of the three-year study. “The vast majority of these jobs are informal, meaning that there is no regulated employment contract. Work hours are too long and wages are low. Everyone knows this but nothing is being done about it.” This is presumably because these arrangements appear to be in the interests of all parties involved: The families have found a solution, the immigrant workers are receiving better pay than they could expect in their home countries, and the state can retain the current care system instead of implementing reforms that would be unpopular because they would be expensive.Employment of immigrant care workers by families: The chemistry has to be rightThe research of Schweppe and her team shows that the fact that immigrant care workers generally do not have appropriate training is of little concern to family members. The interpersonal level is much more important. “The chemistry has to be right,” emphasized Schweppe, referring to findings based on interviews with family members and immigrant workers.The researchers have not only discovered that these types of care arrangement are massively on the increase but also that these can take a wide variety of different forms. In the classic model, there are two care personnel involved, who alternately provide care or commute home in a three month cycle. In cases requiring the most care, family members are still extensively involved in caregiving. In other cases, non-local family members are brought in to release the foreign care personnel for a trip home or two immigrant care workers are employed simultaneously. “The concept is extraordinarily flexible to meet all possible needs,” explained Dr. Vincent Horn, a research associate and member of Schweppe’s team. According to Horn, the fact that such arrangements are so common can be explained by the fact that there is reluctance to consign the person in question to a nursing home although the corresponding family has reached its limits in terms of the provision of care. “The family members feel a major sense of obligation towards the person needing care, and this is, to some extent, further fostered by the poor image that nursing homes have gained,” continued Horn.Austria and the Netherlands as positive examples?Related StoriesComplement system shown to remove dead cells in retinitis pigmentosa, contradicting previous researchStudy: Stress experienced by premature infants can carry on throughout their adult lifeSchwann cells capable of generating protective myelin over nerves finds research”We can’t draw general conclusions about what constitutes good care on the basis of our study. The conditions in the individual families are too different,” said Horn. However, there is no doubt that the German system of care for the elderly is a hotchpotch of various structures that above all includes families in the responsibilities – and leaves them alone to make their own care arrangements. But it can be done differently: Austria, for example, put quality-assured 24-hour care on a legal basis in 2007. The Netherlands decided decades ago to create a professional public care sector, at the same time removing the responsibility from families. “Today, the Netherlands has a very good network of outpatient services and other help for households,” Horn pointed out. However, with the financial means available and the current form of social nursing care insurance in Germany, this would not be possible here.The future of care for the elderly in Germany and internationally will be the topic of a symposium in Mainz from March 11-12, 2019. The symposium “The Long-Term Care Crisis: Tapping into Labour Resources Within and Across National Borders” will address the problem existing in many industrialized countries and propose sustainable, effective solutions for the future – in particular with a view to the fact that the availability of immigrant care workers may well be limited in the future. The symposium will also discuss how qualified care at home can be organized and how to minimalize the risk of violence against the elderly. In addition, participants will be looking at how working conditions can be made fair and put on a legal basis and how care systems operate in other countries. Speakers from the USA, Asia, Israel and Europe will outline the care crisis in their home countries and the background to the migration of care workers across borders. The symposium will take place on Monday, March 11, and Tuesday, March 12, in the Erbacher Hof, Grebenstr.24-26, 55116 Mainz.The symposium marks the completion of the three-year research project on “Development and Significance of Transnational Elderly Care Arrangements”, which was undertaken by the Social Pedagogy work group at the JGU Institute of Education in association with Radboud University of Nijmegen in the Netherlands. The project was financed by the German Research Foundation and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). Source:http://www.uni-mainz.de/eng/last_img read more

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Social anxiety disorder may have a direct effect on alcoholism

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Mar 6 2019New research published in Depression and Anxiety indicates that, unlike other anxiety disorders, social anxiety disorder may have a direct effect on alcoholism.For the study, researchers assessed alcoholism, social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, agoraphobia, and specific phobias through interviews with 2,801 adult Norwegian twins.Related StoriesIndividual variation in genes alters our ability to regulate emotionsEarly life adversity and high levels of FKBP5 protein amplify anxiety-like behaviorCannabidiol reduces cue-induced craving and anxiety in individuals with history of heroin abuseSocial anxiety disorder had the strongest association with alcoholism, and it predicted alcoholism over and above the effect of other anxiety disorders. In addition, social anxiety disorder was linked with a higher risk of later developing alcoholism, whereas other anxiety disorders were not.The findings suggest that interventions aimed at prevention or treatment of social anxiety disorder may have an additional beneficial effect of preventing alcoholism.”Many individuals with social anxiety are not in treatment. This means that we have an underutilized potential, not only for reducing the burden of social anxiety, but also for preventing alcohol problems,” said lead author Dr. Fartein Ask Torvik, of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. “Cognitive behavioral therapy with controlled exposure to the feared situations has shown good results.” Source:https://newsroom.wiley.com/press-release/depression-and-anxiety/social-anxiety-disorder-may-increase-risk-alcoholismlast_img read more

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Researchers move closer to finding the root cause of MS

first_imgWe have treatments that address the symptoms of MS, but not the causes. People with MS take drugs that reduce the attacks, but the disease still progresses. Now, with knowledge of these mutations, which suggest a common biological process that leads to increased inflammation in MS families, we can try to address the root causes.”Carles Vilariño-Güell These genes are like a lighthouse illuminating where the root cause of MS is.”Lead author Carles Vilariño-Güell, assistant professor in the UBC faculty of medicine’s department of medical genetics and a Michael Smith Scholar Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jun 7 2019An international team of researchers led by the University of British Columbia has made a scientific advance they hope will lead to the development of preventative treatments for multiple sclerosis (MS).In a study published today in PLOS Genetics, researchers found mutations in 12 genes believed to be largely responsible for the onset of MS in families with multiple members diagnosed with the disease. MS is a disease that affects the central nervous system, in which cells from the immune system attack and damage the nerve cells’ protective sheath. The disease often results in disability and can have a significant impact on quality of life.For the study, researchers sequenced all known genes in three or more MS patients from 34 families and examined the genetic variants in family members both affected by and unaffected by MS. By looking at the genes of 132 patients, they identified 12 genetic mutations that can lead to an overactive autoimmune system that attacks myelin, the insulating layer around nerves in the brain and spinal cord.Of people diagnosed with MS, only 13 per cent are believed to have a genetic form of the disease, but those presenting the mutations identified in this new study were estimated to have an up to 85 per cent chance of developing MS in their lifetime.Vilariño-Güell aims to develop cellular and animal models with the identified mutations to mimic the biological processes responsible for the onset of MS in patients, with the goal of eventually developing preventative treatments for the disease. The researchers hope the findings will one day lead to personalized treatments for MS patients and preventative strategies for those at greater risk of developing the disease.Source:University of British ColumbiaJournal reference:Vilariño-Güell, C. et al. (2019) Exome sequencing in multiple sclerosis families identifies 12 candidate genes and nominates biological pathways for the genesis of disease. PLOS Genetics. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1008180.last_img read more

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Toyota Genesis among Consumer Reports top auto picks

Explore further Citation: Toyota, Genesis among Consumer Reports’ top auto picks (2018, February 22) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-02-toyota-genesis-consumer-auto.html The Toyota Corolla and Toyota Camry are the magazine’s choice for best small and midsize cars. The Toyota Sienna led the minivan category and the Toyota Highlander is the best midsize SUV.The Chevrolet Bolt electric car is best small green car, a new category. The Ford F-150 is the top full-size pickup truck.The rankings are based on driving tests as well as reliability and satisfaction scores from Consumer Reports’ subscribers. Top picks also must have standard automatic emergency braking and forward collision warning systems.Consumer Reports’ rankings are closely watched by the industry since many buyers make decisions based on its advice.Here are some more details of the 2018 rankings:7/8— Hyundai Motor Co.’s luxury Genesis brand was the top performer in Consumer Reports’ brand rankings, which are sorted by the number of models per brand that Consumer Reports recommends. But the magazine noted that it tested only two vehicles from the relatively new Genesis brand. Audi, BMW, Lexus and Porsche rounded out the top five brands. Electric car brand Tesla was eighth, with two of its four models recommended. Toyota was tenth, with 15 of its 20 models recommended.— The Subaru Forester was the top pick among small SUVs for the fifth straight year. The Chevrolet Impala was the top pick among large sedans for the fourth straight year.— Consumer Reports didn’t recommend any vehicles from these 11 brands, either because of low road test scores, poor crash test performance or questionable reliability: Fiat, Jeep, Land Rover, Alfa Romeo, Mitsubishi, Jaguar, GMC, Dodge, Mini, Cadillac and Volvo.— Consumer Reports, a Yonkers, New York-based nonprofit, buys all the vehicles it tests to ensure impartiality. It performs more than 50 tests on each vehicle and racks up around 6,000 miles of general driving in its tests. Toyota has four of the 10 vehicles on Consumer Reports’ annual top picks, the most of any brand. Toyota tops Consumer Reports’ auto reliability rankings © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. read more

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New VW chief Diess aims to steer giant out of diesel cloud

The new CEO of Germany’s scandal-hit auto giant Volkswagen, Herbert Diess, is a former BMW executive known as a fierce cost-cutter who is unafraid to clash with labour unions. Scandal-hit Volkswagen expected to name new CEO Explore further The 59-year-old Austrian only joined VW in July 2015, months before the “dieselgate” emissions cheating revelations plunged the German corporate titan into its worst-ever crisis.Taking over as chief executive from Matthias Mueller, Diess, the former head of Volkswagen-branded cars in the sprawling group, will be tasked with helping the world’s largest carmaker turn the page on the crisis. In addition to his role as CEO and head of the VW brand, he will also be responsible for group research and development.Born in Munich in 1958, Diess studied automotive technology and earned a PhD in mechanical engineering, began his automotive career at parts maker Bosch in 1989 after a brief stint in research. He moved to BMW in 1996 and ran British plants in Oxford and Birmingham, then headed BMW Motorcycles and from 2007 became a member of the board of management.He arrived at Volkswagen only months before it emerged the company had rigged the software of 11 million of its diesel cars to hide their real emissions of nitrogen oxides, which are associated with respiratory and cardiovascular disorders. Mueller himself had been called to the rescue by Volkswagen at the height of the scandal that ended the career of veteran boss Martin Winterkorn. Herbert Diess with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and now former Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller last year at the Frankfurt auto show © 2018 AFP The future of the Volkswagen Group is now in the hands of Herbert Diess Citation: New VW chief Diess aims to steer giant out of diesel cloud (2018, April 13) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-04-vw-chief-diess-aims-giant.html 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. Having joined from BMW, Diess has the advantage of being largely untainted by dieselgate—giving VW a chance at a fresh start.In his time running the flagship Volkswagen brand, Diess could boast of having doubled profitability in two years, making him a favourite with investors.While VW has not made large-scale job cuts, labour leaders in its powerful unions opposed his tough cost-slashing and efficiency drive.Diess “is acting in a deeply anti-social way,” VW staff representative Bernd Osterloh charged in an open letter in early 2017.”Diess has no problem making enemies,” the Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily wrote, recounting how the “tough-as-nails” executive drove a hard bargain with suppliers as head of purchasing at BMW.Diess won the support of keys shareholders, the Porsche-Piech families, who allowed him to become head of both the core VW brand and the group as a whole, with its 12 makes of cars, trucks and motorbikes.While Mueller recently made headlines with ill-advised remarks, saying that highly paid managers like him always had “one foot in jail”, Diess has largely avoided controversy.One of Diess’s biggest challenges as he takes the helm will be to clarify VW’s vision for the future as the auto giant navigates between a pivot towards electric vehicles and clinging to the diesel technology it has invested so heavily in.Just last month, Diess said: “We need diesel, diesel has a future.” read more

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Your internet use could change as net neutrality ends

first_imgAlthough the FCC issued a report in January 2017 saying such arrangements, known as “zero rating,” are probably anti-consumer, the agency did not require companies to change their practices right away. After President Donald Trump appointed a new chairman to the FCC, the agency reversed its stance on zero rating and proceeded to kill net neutrality.Critics of net neutrality, including the Trump administration, say such rules impeded companies’ ability to adapt to a quickly evolving internet.But consumer advocates say that the repeal is just pandering to big business and that cable and phone giants will now be free to block access to services they don’t like. They can also set up “fast lanes” for preferred services—in turn, relegating everyone else to “slow lanes.” Tech companies such as Netflix, Spotify and Snap echoed similar concerns in regulatory filings. This Dec. 14, 2017, file photo, shows the seal of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) before a meeting in Washington. Your ability to watch and use your favorite apps and services could start to change, though not right away, following a formal repeal of Obama-era internet protections on Monday, June 11, 2018. The repeal takes effect six months after the FCC voted to undo “net neutrality” rules that had barred broadband and cellphone companies from favoring their own services and discriminating against rivals such as Netflix. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File) What is net neutrality and why does it matter? © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. In this Friday, Jan. 17, 2014, file photo, a person displays Netflix on a tablet in North Andover, Mass. Your ability to watch and use your favorite apps and services could start to change, though not right away, following a formal repeal of Obama-era internet protections on Monday, June 11, 2018. The repeal takes effect six months after the FCC voted to undo “net neutrality” rules that had barred broadband and cellphone companies from favoring their own services and discriminating against rivals such as Netflix. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File) The battle isn’t entirely over, though. Some states are moving to restore net neutrality, and lawsuits are pending. Also, the Senate voted to save net neutrality, though that effort isn’t likely to become law.For now, broadband providers insist they won’t do anything that would harm the “internet experience” for consumers. Most currently have service terms that specify they won’t give preferential treatment to certain websites and services, including their own.However, companies are likely to drop these self-imposed restrictions; they will just wait until people aren’t paying a lot of attention, said Marc Martin, a former FCC staffer who is now chairman of communications practice at the law firm Perkins Coie. Any changes now, while the spotlight is on net neutrality, could lead to a public relations backlash.Companies are likely to start testing the boundaries over the next six months to a year. Expect to see more offers like AT&T’s exemption of its DirecTV Now streaming TV service from customers’ mobile data limits. Rival services like Sling TV and Netflix count video against data caps, essentially making them more expensive to watch. In this Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017 file photo, Demonstrators rally in support of net neutrality outside a Verizon store in New York. Consumers aren’t likely to see immediate changes following Monday, June 11, 2018 formal repeal of Obama-era internet rules that had ensured equal treatment for all. Rather, any changes are likely to happen slowly, and companies will try to make sure that consumers are on board with the moves, experts say. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File) Martin said broadband providers probably won’t mess with existing services like Netflix, as that could alienate consumers.But they could start charging extra for services not yet offered. For instance, they might charge more to view high-resolution “4K” video, while offering lower-quality video for free. The fees would be paid by the video services, such as Hulu, and could be passed along to consumers in higher subscription rates.More than 20 states sued the government to stop the repeal, as did the public-interest group Free Press and the think tank Open Technology Institute and Firefox browser maker Mozilla.Washington and Oregon now have their own net neutrality laws, and a bill is pending in California’s legislature.That’s another reason companies are likely to move slowly, at least at first.”They don’t want to add fuel to the fire,” Martin said. Any changes are likely to happen slowly, as companies assess how much consumers will tolerate.The repeal of “net neutrality” took effect six months after the Federal Communications Commission voted to undo the rules, which had barred broadband and cellphone companies from favoring their own services and discriminating against rivals such as Netflix.Internet providers such as AT&T, Verizon and Comcast had to treat all traffic equally. They couldn’t slow down or block websites and apps of their choosing. Nor could they charge Netflix and other video services extra to reach viewers more smoothly. The rules also barred a broadband provider from, say, slowing down Amazon’s shopping site to extract business concessions.Now, all that is legal as long as companies post their policies online.The change comes as broadband and cellphone providers expand their efforts to deliver video and other content to consumers.With net neutrality rules gone, AT&T and Verizon can give priority to their own movies and TV shows, while hurting rivals such as Amazon, YouTube and startups yet to be born. Your ability to watch and use your favorite apps and services could start to change—though not right away—following the official demise Monday of Obama-era internet protections. Citation: Your internet use could change as ‘net neutrality’ ends (2018, June 11) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-06-internet-net-neutrality.html Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

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After Trump bashing tech firms gird for congressional grilling

first_imgAfter days of vitriol from President Donald Trump, big Silicon Valley firms face lawmakers in the coming week with a chance to burnish their image—or face a fresh bashing. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is set to appear at two congressional hearings where he is likely to face questions on foreign influence campaigns and political bias by social media firms Top executives from Twitter and Facebook were to appear in two hearings on Wednesday, with Google’s participation a question mark.The hearings come with online firms facing intense scrutiny for allowing the propagation of misinformation and hate speech, and amid allegations of political bias from the president and his allies.Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey and Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg were set to appear at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing. Lawmakers were seeking a top executive from Google or its parent Alphabet, but it remained unclear if the search giant would be represented.The tech giants are likely to face a cool reception at best from members of Congress, said Roslyn Layton, an American Enterprise Institute visiting scholar specializing in telecom and internet issues.”The Democrats are upset about the spread of misinformation in the 2016 election, and the Republicans over the perception of bias,” Layton said.”They are equally angry, but for different reasons.”Layton, who was a member of the Trump transition team on telecom issues, said she did not view the president’s comments as a threat to start regulation, but that Silicon Valley firms could nonetheless expect tougher scrutiny.This could come in the form of tougher enforcement on consumer protection and deceptive practices by the Federal Trade Commission, or congressional action on privacy in response to a law passed in California.Still, she said the tech firms have a chance to improve their public image if they emphasize what made them successful.”They forget to emphasize how much people love their products, how people use them around the world, including dissidents,” she said. “Now they are on the back foot.” Dorsey testifies later in the day at a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on online “transparency and accountability.”Questions of biasBoth hearings could offer lawmakers a chance to vent at the firms following claims from Trump and some Republicans that online firms have suppressed conservative voices.In a series of tweets in recent days, Trump assailed Google for what he termed “rigged” results that hide news from conservative outlets and promote content from what he called “left-wing” media.That followed similar comments from Republican lawmakers including House majority leader Kevin McCarthy who claimed that “conservatives are too often finding their voices silenced” on online platforms.Technology and media analysts say there is little evidence to suggest Google is skewing results for political reasons. And if they did, the president would have little recourse under the constitution’s free speech protections.But public perception is another matter.A Pew Research Center survey released in June found 43 percent of Americans think major technology firms support the views of liberals over conservatives, and 72 percent accepted the idea that social media platforms actively censor opposing political views.Kathleen Hall Jamieson, a University of Pennsylvania professor and author of an upcoming book on Russia’s role in election hacking, said the hearings could give the companies a platform to explain how they operate. Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, will represent the leading social network at a congressional hearing on foreign influence operations © 2018 AFP Explore further Dorsey and Sandberg were to appear at a morning hearing in the Senate on “Foreign Influence Operations and Their Use of Social Media Platforms,” which could see an empty chair for Google.Sources familiar with the matter said Google offered chief legal officer Kent Walker, who the company said is most knowledgeable on foreign interference, but that senators had asked for the participation of CEO Sundar Pichai or Alphabet CEO Larry Page. President Donald Trump recently warned Google, Facebook and Twitter to “be careful” with respect to political bias but stopped short of calling for regulation Citation: After Trump bashing, tech firms gird for congressional grilling (2018, September 4) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-09-trump-bashing-tech-firms-gird.html “Hearings are an opportunity as well as a liability,” she said.”These companies have put in place fixes (on foreign manipulation) but they have done it incrementally, and they have not communicated that to a national audience.”‘An opportunity’Adam Chiara, a University of Harford professor who follows social media and politics, said the public hearings will offer an opportunity for Silicon Valley firms to deliver their message to the public.”I think we’ll see the tech companies much better prepared than (in hearings) in November 2017,” Chiara said.While Silicon Valley’s image has been battered in recent months, Chiara said, “if they can come up with a concrete message that the lawmakers can understand and the public can understand, maybe they can gain control of the wheel.”Chiara said Google’s likely absence could end up hurting the company.”Google is missing an opportunity to craft a message for itself,” he said.Jeff Hemsley, a Syracuse University communications professor, said the hearings are likely to bring greater public scrutiny to concerns which may have only been raised by a small percentage of the population.”Being in front of Congress, regardless of the outcome, elevates some of these data privacy and social media bias issues into the national conversation,” Hemsley said.To avoid a further deterioration of their image, the companies “need to be seen to answer the questions and show they are paying attention.. they have to do their best to show the bias they are accused of is not there.” Trump says Google is ‘rigged’ with bad news about him This document is subject to copyright. 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Video What Google can learn from your Android phone

first_img Provided by Vanderbilt University Credit: CC0 Public Domain Credit: Vanderbilt University Doug Schmidt was able to track the practice for a study commissioned by Digital Content Next, a trade group representing digital publishers.Google owns both Android and the Chrome search engine and, according to Schmidt’s study, a dormant Android phone running Chrome in the background sent location information roughly 14 times an hour. Data requests to Apple phones occur far less frequently, he found.Read the full report here. Explore further Google collects data around the clock from the phones of Android users in particular – their location, shopping habits, music, searches and more, a Vanderbilt computer science professor found. Citation: Video: What Google can learn from your Android phone (2018, September 10) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-09-video-google-android.html Android software puts Google at heart of mobile life This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

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The future of flight is now

first_imgIon-propelled device. Credit: Case Western Reserve University Many experts agree the future of flight will rely on zero-emission and/or renewable energy technology. That is, aircraft will be propelled by ions—electrically charged molecules—that create thrust in their wake. Provided by Case Western Reserve University Citation: The future of flight is now (2018, November 26) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-11-future-flight.html Ion drive space engine used on aircraft for first timecenter_img Explore further But Northeast Ohio inventor Ethan Krauss says the technology is already here. In fact, he’s invented an aircraft that flies silently, with no moving parts, and no emissions.”People think this is something that we will do in the future,” he said. “I’ve done it now.”Krauss recently obtained a U.S. patent for his ion-propelled aircraft with help from volunteer attorneys as part of the Ohio Patent Pro Bono Program and Case Western Reserve University School of Law’s IP Venture Clinic (IPVC)—where startup companies, entrepreneurs and “garage inventors” throughout Ohio can get free legal service to obtain a patent for their intellectual property (IP).”I’ve been working on this for 18 years,” said Krauss, 55, of Oberlin. “When I was a kid, I’d order plans for hang-gliders and hovercraft from Popular Science magazine; I would build them. I started to design my own vehicles from there. I built solar-powered vehicles when I was in my 20s.”At the very least, Krauss thinks his aircraft could find a market in the toy sector. At best, the technology could revolutionize the future of flight.”It looks like a magic trick, an amazing demonstration of physics in action,” Krauss said. “It feels like science fiction come true.”Here’s how it works: Krauss discharges electrical current between two electrodes—one larger than the other—creating wind in the air between. With enough voltage, the resulting wind produces thrust without the help of motors or fuel.This phenomenon, technically called electrohydrodynamic thrust—or colloquially “ionic wind”—has been around for decades. Krauss came across a 1964 patent for an “ion-propelled aircraft.”He’s not the first to try it. For years, hobbyists and basement enthusiasts have built lightweight crafts that can fly, but the attached power sources were too heavy to stay onboard.So, literally, the idea couldn’t get off the ground. Until now. Krauss’s patent specifically covers “ion-powered vehicles carrying their own power supply.”Krauss, who by day teaches guitar classes at the Strongsville Academy of Music, studied electrical engineering in college years ago. It’s been a hobby-turned-passion since.Now, with a working prototype, he’s enthusiastically looking to take the idea to the next level, but didn’t have the resources or the know-how to legally protect his idea.Enter the IP Venture Clinic and the Ohio Patent Pro Bono Program for Ohio.Krauss has been working with volunteer patent attorneys Rich Wesorick and Brian Bolinger from Tarolli, Sundheim, Covell & Tummino in Cleveland to prepare and file a patent application for his invention. Starting last year, the IPVC began working with Krauss to form a new business (Electron Air, LLC) and start the process of approaching potential investors. The legal help has been a big boost, he said.Under the umbrella of the IPVC, inventors can file and secure a patent, while maintaining attorney/client privilege to keep their ideas legally protected. The program recruits inventors and patent lawyers statewide, matching them based on the invention and an attorney’s expertise.”This is how these programs work together,” said IPVC Managing Attorney Ted Theofrastous. “Inventors do not have the resources or knowhow necessary to prepare and file a patent application and see the complex process through. Now that Mr. Krauss has a solid invention, we helped him stand up a new venture around his technology that can (hopefully) take advantage of our regional venture ecosystem”Krauss’s hexagonally shaped prototype, thin and lightweight, is tethered to a table (not a power supply) in his workshop. He’s got to be careful: the 4-foot frame may be a bit too fragile to be turned loose outside.The craft harkens back to a time when the Wright brothers used thin wood, canvas and spare parts for their early airplanes.”You’ve got to start somewhere,” Krauss said. “I really feel like this can really take off.” This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

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