Urban Foraging 101 Know Your Seasons

first_imgby, Kavan Peterson, Editor, ChangingAging.orgTweetShareShareEmail0 SharesI was totally surprised last week that my urban foraging blog post was the most popular story in the ChangingAging weekly roundup. I thought that was funny considering I was writing about a hobby only tangentially related to ChangingAging!No worries, I’m more than happy to continue blogging on this topic if it interests readers. I also think it does relate directly to major themes in the novel Tribes of Eden on sustainability, living closer to nature and slow living.Upon reflection, I can think of many ways foraging for edible plants is connected to aging, wisdom, growth and the “slow living” movement. It is a skill that takes incredible patience and years to truly master. It is extremely difficult to get started without a mentor — preferably an elder with a lifetime of experience — to guide you. And it absolutely demands a “slow living” approach — you cannot rush out willy-nilly and harvest edible plants the same way you fill your shopping cart at the grocery store.That was one of the first mistakes I made. After attending an urban foraging class put on by the Baltimore Department of Parks and Recreation featuring Leda Meredith, I couldn’t wait to run around my neighborhood park and begin “living off the land”. My brilliant idea was to collect edible plants during my daily jog through Herring Run Park, a beautiful watershed near my northeast Baltimore neighborhood. What a great idea, huh? Nearly every day I run through a smorgasbord of edible plants — all I needed to do was start collecting them!Well, you can imagine how well that worked. After a couple weeks of my urban-fit-foraging routine I didn’t have a lot to show for it. Turns out it’s pretty darn hard for a novice to spot edible plants while walking, let alone zipping by at a trot. I had to learn to SLOW down. At my age, that’s not easy.Lately I have two foraging accessories that help me slow down — a full-sized shovel and my five-year-old daughter. It’s hard to jog with either of those in tow.The shovel is for digging roots. Now that it’s well into fall there are fewer greens and berries available to harvest, but plenty of nuts and roots to dig up. So far I’ve found a few great patches of Burdock and Sassafras to dig up. And trust me, you need a full-size shovel to get these suckers out of the ground. Burdock roots are great in stir fries or boiled. And Sassafras, or course, is the main ingredient to homemade Root Beer. That’s actually how I found my favorite foraging blog by Hank Shaw — through his outstanding Root Beer recipe.I’m still in the novice stage of foraging and spending much more time trying to identify plants than harvesting, but I’ve put together a list of fall plants I’m trying to ID in my area. This is compiled mostly from Nature’s Garden by Samuel Thayer, one of the best introductions to foraging I’ve come across. Nature’s Garden: Edible Wild Plants, by Samuel ThayerFall Wild Edibles:Burdock (root – you can also buy in most Asian markets, but grows abundantly in wild)Evening Primrose (roots)Hopniss (tubers)Nanny berry (great for jam, etc.)Parsnip (just like store bought version, they grow abundantly in the wild)Stinging Nettles (always good for tea)Thistle (roots — and they’re pretty good too!)Virginia Waterleaf (one of the few edible greens available in the Fall)Wild Grapes (great for wine and jam!)Wild Leeks (similar to domestic)I’m working on a great Burdock video, but below is a short primer on Foraging 101:Related PostsLiving Off the GRID: Wild EdiblesOne of the themes in Tribes of Eden I personally found compelling was the idea of getting closer to nature and living off the land. Readers get their first taste of this when the survivors of the Wallace family, seemingly at their lowest point on the run from the terror…ChangingAging Blogstream Weekly RoundupBuilding a Pro-Aging Community Through the Blogstream By Dr. Bill Thomas What is the ChangingAging Blogstream? Who is it for and what is its purpose? I believe the Blogstream is going to play an important role in the future of aging in America. Dr. Bill Thomas on TEDxSF Alive! –…ChangingAging Weekly Blogstream Roundup Sept. 23-30Good morning! We are experimenting with a new look for the ChangingAging Weekly Blogstream Roundup. Please let us know what you think. ChangingAging with Dr. Bill Thomas Looking For A Graphic Artist By Dr. Bill Thomas My new novel, “Tribes of Eden” is coming out in early 2012. It needs a…TweetShareShareEmail0 SharesTags: slow living tribes of eden urban foraging wild edibleslast_img read more

The Minka Factory Opens Its Doors

first_imgby, Kyrié Carpenter, Managing EditorTweetShare25ShareEmail25 SharesJust outside of Ithaca, New York in a newly constructed warehouse. Sandwiched between a local solar company and a Lime Bike depot is another innovative and earth-friendly neighbor. The very first Minka factory rolled open it’s doors earlier this month.Zach Thomas, Director of Manufacturing and master builder Jeremy Andrews have been working tirelessly (and boisterously) on getting the shop ready to create Minka parts. The idea for Minka began at the start of the ChangingAging Tour. Since that time Dr. Thomas and his team have visited over 175 communities, spent countless hours on design, testing, and have generated millions of lines of proprietary code. All of this has brought us to today; the day when the machines turn on and we start creating Minka parts. Minka homes are pre-fabricated using robotic CNC machines, and then shipped and assembled on site in less than a week – with almost no waste.The Minka building system is a distinctive approach to home design, fabrication, and assembly that is faster, simpler, and less wasteful than conventional construction methods. When asked about how working at Minka compares to his work in the US CoastGuard Zach reports that his time serving prepared him well. The common thread he sees between that experience and Minka isAttention to detail toward a broad-reaching, positive goal…all while trying to streamline and find the most efficient ways to do things.Minka blends centuries-old Japanese joinery with state of the art robotic manufacturing tools. The result is a flexible, adaptable building system with components that can be combined and recombined to create any number of possible floor plans. Even better, this approach slashes waste and reduces the energy use. Zach thinks that what enables Minka to be so different is the company culture, “No idea is too crazy, no idea is stupid… Everyone is encouraged to explore the direction they want to go and we have the tools get them there. All of us work together to reach our goals. Everyone deeply cares about each other as individuals and the bigger picture.”You may have noticed Zach shares a last name with our founder Dr. Bill Thomas. He is in fact his eldest son. After years of collaborating with his wife Jude, beginning with the Eden Alternative, learning from his daughters Haleigh and Hannah, and working with his son Virgil on the early permutations of the tour, another Thomas has joined the family business (innovating to improve quality of life for people of all ages and abilities). This summer Thomas’ youngest son Caleb will also be helping out in the factory. When asked what it is like to work with family Zach replied,I never had any intention to work for or with my dad. It’s the dream I never knew I wanted…The shop is up and running. If you have been thinking about building a Minka of your own now is the time to let us know. Our production schedule is filling up fast – be sure to get YOUR Minka on the schedule!Related PostsMinka the AirBnBNestled into the shore of Lake Cayuga in Upstate New York sits the very first Minka. The Minka prototype was created for Haleigh Jane Thomas. Haleigh is now graciously sharing her Minka through Airbnb. Any Tribes of Eden fans out there? This is your chance to be hosted by the…MinkaI have done my level best to reform nursing homes through the “Eden Alternative.” I have tried to re-invent nursing homes with the “Green House” model. But up until now I felt I had still failed to answer the simplest and most important question: “What do people really want?”Minka MAGIC Homes and CommunitiesNationally renowned aging expert Dr. Bill Thomas unveiled today the first-of-its-kind robotic prefabricated Minka house built on the University of Southern Indiana (USI) campus in less than a week featuring universal design accessibility and advanced manufacturing technology.TweetShare25ShareEmail25 Shareslast_img read more

Vallum receives FDA clearance to market PEEK spinal interbody fusion device

first_img Source:https://vallumcorp.com/ Jul 17 2018Vallum Corporation, a medical device company, today announced that it has received clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to market a polyetheretherketone (PEEK) spinal interbody fusion device with a PEEKplus® nanotextured surface created by Vallum’s proprietary and patented Accelerated Neutral Atom Beam (ANAB) technology.PEEKplus® is the first and only FDA-cleared nanotextured surface on a PEEK interbody device.Vallum’s PEEKplus® nanotextured surface is unique in the spinal device market. Nano-scale concavities of 20-50 nanometers are created by the impact of argon atoms across the entire existing microsurface of the PEEK to create the nanotexture of PEEKplus®. Importantly, nanotexturing below 100 nanometers has been shown to be beneficial to osteoblast functions that are necessary to grow bone and promote fusion.Related StoriesBlood based test using AI and nanotechnology devised for chronic fatigue syndromeMultifunctional nanoparticles could revolutionize treatments for complex bone diseasesNew nanophotonic devices could have applications in thermal imaging and resonant filteringPEEKplus is not a coating, it is not porous, and no chemicals are infused into the PEEK.”Technological advances to improve the performance of implantable medical devices are taking many forms,” said Prof. Elazer R. Edelman, MD, PhD, who provided the earliest advice and encouragement to Vallum’s management team. “I believe one of the most important of those technological advances is surface modification at the nano-scale, and Vallum’s FDA clearance is a significant step down that very promising path.”While this FDA clearance is specific to Vallum, its nanotexturing technology can be inexpensively applied to any fully manufactured PEEK interbody device without altering its design or size, and without affecting mechanical or chemical properties. Exact same PEEK interbody device – only now, truly differentiated in the spine market with a PEEKplus® nanotexture.”Our PEEKplus® is a breakthrough innovation in spinal fusion surgery and the result of a collaborative effort among surgeons, researchers, ion beam scientists, and biomedical engineers,” said Stephen M. Blinn, President and CEO of Vallum. “A substantial investment in time and capital has been made in developing our proprietary ANAB processing technology as well as the nano-processing techniques and protocols used to produce PEEKplus®.”Eric J. Woodard, M.D., Chairman of Vallum’s Medical Advisory Board, commented, “Receiving the first FDA clearance for a PEEK interbody fusion device incorporating nanotechnology is a tremendous milestone for Vallum. It is an important demonstration of Vallum’s leadership in developing advanced nano-processing technology for the spine and potentially for other orthopedic applications. It has been shown that nano-scale surface topographies generate osteogenic responses that drive bone growth required for a solid fusion. The ability to produce a nanotextured topography into the surface of a PEEK interbody device has the potential to set a new standard in the performance of spinal fusion interbody implants.”last_img read more

Wanted A leader for the toughest job in global health

first_imgTomorrow, the WHO Executive Board will select five of the candidates for interviews on Wednesday. The trio that will stand in the May election will then be announced on Wednesday evening.The winner will earn a paycheck of more than $200,000 but also face a daunting task: reforming an organization that has been heavily criticized for its handling of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and whose far-reaching mandate is “the attainment by all people of the highest possible level of health.” With an annual budget of about $2 billion, that’s a very tall order, says Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. “WHO does everything: disability and diabetes, outbreaks, smoking, human rights. All of these are important but you cannot do it all with $2 billion,” Hotez says. “I think what we need is a director-general who will look and see what you can actually do with the money.” Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Global health watchers will pay close attention to Geneva, Switzerland, on Wednesday, when the World Health Organization (WHO) will announce the final three candidates to take the agency’s top job. The decision by WHO’s Executive Board, made up of representatives of 34 member states, follows months of behind-the-scenes jockeying, campaigning by the candidates, and intense speculation. It will be followed in May by a final vote by WHO’s 194 member states.Six countries have fielded candidates to succeed Margaret Chan, the former Hong Kong, China, health official who is stepping down after 10 years at the helm. Among the top contenders, many say, is former Ethiopian Health Minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. The African Union has declared its support for him and some observers have suggested it’s time for WHO’s first director-general from the African continent. Another candidate widely seen as having good chances is David Nabarro, a physician nominated by the United Kingdom who has worked at WHO in various positions and was appointed the United Nations’ senior coordinator on Ebola in 2014.The other candidates are Pakistani cardiologist Sania Nishtar; former French Health Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy; Hungary’s former minister of health, Miklós Szócska; and WHO’s assistant director-general for family, women’s and children’s health, Flavia Bustreo from Italy. Email Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country The most important skill for any future director-general will be a keen sense of politics, says Ashish Jha, a global health expert at the Harvard School of Public Health. “You don’t need the world’s greatest public health expert. You need somebody who can corral public opinion, someone who understands how states trade interests and jockey and negotiate.” Chan’s flaw as a director-general was that she felt she could only do what the member states wanted to do, he argues; in a 2015 interview with Science she described how complicated having “194 bosses” made her task. “I think that is a fundamental misunderstanding of the job,” Jha argues.last_img read more

Video Trying To Publicly Shame Kamala Harris Backfires

first_img 10. @SenKamalaHarris should have been like pic.twitter.com/9SYFyVNwVi— Dustin Cooper (@dustinjdapper) April 28, 2019 8. Just in case you can’t make it through the whole video, the final 2 seconds of it are focused on this bag. pic.twitter.com/CsUzXN5ehH— Eric Schmeltzer (@JustSchmeltzer) April 28, 2019 7. pic.twitter.com/W9xcA15LO9— Knot your average Mermaid (@NaughtKnot) April 28, 2019 3. Well, you didn’t win that one. pic.twitter.com/X9NhEJeyjZ— Impeach. Indict. Imprison. (@lindaOC949) April 28, 2019 13. & yet, she STILL proudly posted the video… Doritos & all. Poor thing. pic.twitter.com/htD5xXUD9V— Petty Boop (@BettyPettyBoop) April 28, 2019 4. Her point was she’s mad bc Kamala wants to reunite families separated @ the border? Wth pic.twitter.com/s2O0WmQxp5— Penny Madashell — AKA Bot #1543C (@rukiddingmelolz) April 28, 2019 6. pic.twitter.com/Ftiz4034ug— WandaSpeaks67 (@WandaSpeaks67) April 28, 2019 5. Anna, look at you fangirling! And looking like a fool doing it too. Your anticlimatic rant will give you notoriety but earned you zero respect for your nonsensical perspective on family reunification. You failed. Could smell the shame on your face as you walked away. Epic fool. pic.twitter.com/VrBE5oWYrd— Carrie’s Soapbox (@RiverStreet1) April 28, 2019 9. Travel tip: Dorito dust as cheek blusher (Aside from your breathless, finger jabbing, incoherent snorts in the general direction of the Senator, it may have behooved you to trim your video before tweeting to edit out the cringe inducing Dorito bag fisting at the end.) pic.twitter.com/LBCeE7mDve— Protest Radio (@ProtestRadio) April 28, 2019 1. Anna, to put it kindly, you look silly, and make no sense. @LaphonzaB is the real MVP. Keep donating to @KamalaHarris to beat back this ignorance. https://t.co/ozhOEPKJeF— Bakari Sellers (@Bakari_Sellers) April 28, 2019 A new video making the rounds on social media shows a self-identified employee of the same sunken organization that employs Candace Owens belligerently approaching Sen. Kamala Harris and attempting to aggressively interrogate about her stance on immigration.Anna Paulina, director of Hispanic engagement for Turning Point USA, posted a video to Twitter on Saturday night showing her confronting Harris in an airport while the Democratic candidate was trying to take a photo with some supporters. But Paulina’s attempt at putting Harris under the false pretense of discussing the treatment of children at the U.S. border quickly backfired on multiple levels.In the video, Harris was pleasant to Paulina when approached and politely told her, “I’m taking a picture.” But that apparently wasn’t enough for Paulina, who continued berating Harris until one of the senator’s senior advisers was forced to physically intervene by standing between them.Anna Paulina of Turning Point USA accosting Kamala HarrisTwitter screenshot“Those ladies asked to take a picture before you walked up,” Laphonza Butler calmly explained while Paulina continued her verbal assault.“I don’t care, you’re in my way, don’t talk to me,” Paulina shot back before trying to walk around Butler to continue menacing and pointing at Harris while rattling off wildly inaccurate and unsupported accusations. “She is damaging what is happening to women and children at the border. She is promoting reunification with child sex traffickers.”Harris, clearly not bothered, can be seen paying attention to everything but Paulina’s belligerence that had by that point began to cause a public scene in the airport. It was not immediately clear at which airport the video was recorded.As Harris took photos with other supporters, Paulina was still shouting at her to absolutely no avail.“Shame on you. … You’re not gonna win,” Paulina insisted as the camera panned down to the empty bag of Doritos she was apparently holding the entire time — a moment of unintentional levity not missed by eagle-eyed social media users.See the video below that Paulina posted Saturday night. 2. Just sent another donation to Kamala because your stupid ass. I encourage everyone else to do the same. pic.twitter.com/hWWl2sl7q0— chris evans (@notcapnamerica) April 28, 2019 11. Harassing people at an airport… pic.twitter.com/Xb8rB80zoZ— Milto (@nikmilto) April 28, 2019 Ran into @SenKamalaHarris at the airport. Shame on her. She exploits Hispanic women and children for votes. pic.twitter.com/Y9oDk79G3w— Anna Paulina (@realannapaulina) April 28, 2019To be clear, Harris’ stance against the treatment of children at the U.S. border has been well-documented. She questioned Customs and Border Patrol (CPB) Commissioner Kevin McAleenan during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing just last month about the horrifying conditions migrant children faced after being detained at the border.Paulina apparently missed that very public exchange between Harris and McAleenan. It clearly underscored Harris’ overt opposition to what she called “an unsafe condition” for migrant children separated from their families at the border and detained in facilities where they “face freezing temperatures, limited access to food and water, and verbal and physical assault.”Perhaps the best part of the sad video attempt to publicly shame Harris was the response from social media users, who promptly dubbed Paulina “Airport Anna” and reacted by donating to the senator’s presidential campaign. Scroll down to see some of the best reactions to Paulina’s pitiful video. 12. You posted this as if it were a win for you. pic.twitter.com/7mFhzdyfAo— Pro-Choice Panda (@oldmancoyote22) April 28, 2019 14. Major fail Anna, embarrassing pic.twitter.com/uvT0VyiPf5— Old Salt (@saltyconchy) April 28, 2019 15. Senator Harris, here’s your donation receipt. Prior to this video clip debacle, I didn’t know who this Anna Paulina was but I’ve followed your career and I’m impressed. Keep making inroads with voters and you should do just fine. pic.twitter.com/u94GcJnUEi— Buster Spiller (@BusterSpiller) April 28, 2019last_img read more

Citing security threats Army tells officers to quit WhatsApp groups

first_img 15 Comment(s) The directive issued last month requires all serving officers to exit WhatsApp and other social media groups except those consisting only serving officers whose identity could be verified. The new policy also restrained family members from posting information about serving officers on social media.In the officers-only social media groups, the directive allowed posts on general enquiries and assistance. For any location-specific communication, the officers have been advised to go “one-on-one” and use the military tel service.According to Army sources, the move followed attempts by foreign intelligence to gather information using social media platforms. “This is a cautionary step in line with the guidelines the Army keeps issuing from time to time. This is a new-age security requirement and it will not be right to call this censorship,” said a senior Army officer. Maharashtra: Cabinet nod to four-time increase in aid to martyrs’ kin Solan building collapse: Three dead, 26 Army personnel rescued; NDRF deployed Related News Indian Army, Indian Army officers social media, Indian Army WhatsApp groups, army WhatsApp groups, WhatsApp security, WhatsApp privacy, indian express The new policy also restrained family members from posting information about serving officers on social media.Army has barred its officers from being part of any social media group where non-serving persons, including Army veterans, are members. Even the officer-only groups, it said, would be checked periodically for breach of security. Army recruitment scam: Probe reveals involvement of three serving jawans, one posted in Pune A section of the Army, however, felt that the step was aimed at curbing criticism. “There is obvious discontent which the establishment thinks is fanned by the veterans. The retired officers are often the more outspoken ones in these groups but then we have always been one family,” said an officer.Last month, UP Police and military Intelligence spotted an attempt by a Pakistani spy to use bots and hack into computer systems of nearly 100 officials, including many from the military between 2015 and 2018. By Express News Service |New Delhi | Updated: July 10, 2019 7:15:31 am Advertising Advertisinglast_img read more

Boston College establishes Global Observatory on Pollution and Health

first_img Source:http://www.bc.edu/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Sep 25 2018Boston College has established the Global Observatory on Pollution and Health to track efforts to control pollution and prevent pollution-related diseases that account for an estimated 9 million deaths worldwide each year, the University announced today.The observatory, directed by public health expert and Professor of Biology Philip J. Landrigan, MD, takes shape as BC develops the Schiller Institute for Integrated Science and Society, the centerpiece of a $150-million life sciences facility slated to begin construction on campus next year.”The Observatory is going to take on major issues at the intersection of pollution, human health and public policy,” said Landrigan. “We’ll study particular segments of the problem – how it affects particular countries, different populations, like children, or particular diseases, like cancer. Our reports will be disseminated broadly and aimed at the general public as well as policy makers. What we want to do is mobilize society to see pollution as a serious threat, change public policy, prevent pollution and, ultimately, save lives.”The observatory will collaborate with the Center for Climate, Health and the Global Environment at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, directed by former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.The study center will focus its investigative lens on the impact of pollution upon issues including children’s health and adolescent health, cardiovascular disease and death, cancer, and the loss of “human capital” caused by toxic pollutants that impair brain function in children. Priority toxins to study include asbestos, lead, and mercury.Landrigan and BC officials signed a memorandum of understanding with the United Nations Environment agency today, establishing the Observatory’s first partnership in advance of a study of pollution in India, said Landrigan.Erik Solheim, Under Secretary General of the UN and Executive Director of the UN Environment said: “Air pollution is one of the biggest public health emergencies of our time. I welcome the partnership between UN Environment and Boston College in providing us high-quality, real-time data to tackle air pollution. Importantly, by providing us early warnings of air quality issues, we will have the science we need to chart a course for cleaner air for all.”Related StoriesPM2.5 exposure before and after birth associated with reduction in fundamental cognitive abilitiesLiving environment, air pollution may be linked to increased risk of hypertensionInternational tourists are more susceptible to harmful effects of air pollutionThe Observatory was inspired by the groundbreaking Commission on Pollution and Health established by the British medical journal The Lancet. Landrigan, BC Vice Provost for Research Thomas Chiles, and Dean of the School of Social Work Gautam Yadama served on the commission, which concluded pollution sources lead to approximately 9 million premature deaths per year – 16 percent of all deaths worldwide.The Lancet commission also found that the tools needed to control pollution and prevent pollution-related disease already exist, but need to be more evenly distributed.”The Observatory will add significant transnational and multidisciplinary collaborations to Boston College’s global public health initiatives,” said Chiles. “The University’s strategic goals ask us to draw upon our world-class faculty and scientific research to make an impact in the world – not just in the lab, but in society. We think this initiative can touch the lives of people in the U.S. and around the globe.”The Observatory would provide oversight in order to effectively track the global deployment of these tools and monitor progress on pollution control.”What makes the Observatory different is the comprehensive nature of our analyses,” said Landrigan. “There are other institutions looking at air pollution, but no one else is looking at all the different forms of pollution. As a pediatrician, I think we’ll be very well positioned to look at impact of pollution on the health of children, who are highly vulnerable and often suffer the greatest burden of disease and death caused by pollution.”last_img read more

AI Meets VR in New Nvidia Tech

first_imgLearning From Video Nvidia on Monday announced a breakthrough in 3D rendering research that may have far-reaching ramifications for future virtual worlds.A team led by Nvidia Vice President Bryan Catanzaro discovered a way to use a neural network to render synthetic 3D environments in real time, using a model trained on real-world videos.Now, each object in a virtual world has to be modeled individually. With Nvidia’s technology, worlds can be populated with objects “learned” from video input.Nvidia’s technology offers the potential to quickly create virtual worlds for gaming, automotive, architecture, robotics or virtual reality. The network can, for example, generate interactive scenes based on real-world locations or show consumers dancing like their favorite pop stars.”Nvidia has been inventing new ways to generate interactive graphics for 25 years, and this is the first time we can do so with a neural network,” Catanzaro said.”Neural networks — specifically generative models — will change how graphics are created,” he added. “This will enable developers to create new scenes at a fraction of the traditional cost.” Competition for Hollywood Simulating Bad Behavior Rendering 3D graphics is a labor-intensive process right now. Nvidia’s technology could change that in the future.”This is cool because it’s using deep learning to cut down on what has traditionally been a very manual and resource-intensive activity,” said Tuong Nguyen, an analyst with Gartner, a research and advisory company based in Stamford, Connecticut.”This has applications wherever 3D graphics are used — video games, augmented reality, virtual reality, TV and movies,” he told TechNewsWorld.”It frees up the graphic professionals’ time so they can do other things, such as improve on a scene’s quality with additional details,” Nguyen added. “The idea is to lay the foundation, or at least do a lot of the heavy lifting, so you can spend more time and energy on making a project stand out in many other different ways.””Developers and users of virtual environments will especially benefit from the new technology,” noted Tamar Shinar, an assistant professor in the department of computer science and engineering at the University of California, Riverside.”It potentially replaces the laborious process of designing the appearance of a virtual world, and expensive methods to render it photorealistically, with a process based on video input and computation at interactive rates,” she told TechNewsWorld.”It enables the rendering of virtual environments from video data,” Shinar continued. “This novel approach to interactive rendering of virtual environments opens many possibilities for interactive applications such as games, telecommunication and training simulators.” Reducing Labor Overhead The virtual urban environment rendered by a neural network was trained on videos of real-life urban environments. The network learned to model the appearance of the world, including lighting, materials and their dynamics.Since the output is synthetically generated, a scene easily can be edited to remove, modify or add objects. By taking the drudgery out of 3D rendering, Nvidia’s technology also could bring into the market players that previously had been priced out of it.”Currently, the creation of 3D content and scenes has been very labor-intensive and limited to companies with big budgets — primarily games companies,” said Bill Orner, a senior member of IEEE, a technical professional organization with corporate headquarters in New York City.”This deep learning model will enable other industries that don’t have ‘Hollywood’ budgets to create 3D interactive tools,” he told TechNewsWorld.”One thing that artificial intelligence and machine learning does is take the human out of some of the process,” explained Michael Goodman, director for digital media in the Newton, Massachusetts, office of Strategy Analytics, a research, advisory and analytics firm.”That allows a lot of money to be saved,” he told TechNewsWorld.That could be good news for content producers for virtual reality headsets.”Currently, VR content creation is prohibitively costly, and it is difficult to create the kinds of experiences consumers are looking for,” explained Kristen Hanich, a research analyst with Dallas, Texas-based Parks Assocates, a market research and consulting company specializing in consumer technology products.”Lowering the barrier to entry should help with the VR industry’s content problem — there’s a lack of it,” she told TechNewsWorld.Nevertheless, Nvidia has some work to do before the promise of its deep learning technology can be fulfilled.”While interesting, the technology is in its early stages,” observed Parks Associates analyst Craig Leslie Sr.”The graphics aren’t photorealistic, showing the fuzziness encountered with many AI-generated images,” he told TechNewsWorld. “It will require significant improvement before it will be considered market ready.” The Nvidia technology also may find a home in the automotive industry.”A computer’s ability to quickly read and understand real-life environments is a critical piece of the self-driving future,” said Eric Yaverbaum, CEO of Ericho Communications, a public relations firm in New York City.”These deep-learning tools could make it easier for cars to make sense of the world around them and navigate their surroundings with less chance for error,” he told TechNewsWorld.”As much as this technology can be used to create rich 3D worlds for gaming technologies,” he added, “its application in automobiles seems more profound. It could give AI-driven cars a more accurate computer model that would dramatically improve passenger safety.”A problem currently faced by self-driving car developers is simulating real-life driving environments.”Traffic models now are too simplistic,” said Richard Wallace, transportation systems analysis director for the Center for Automotive Research, a nonprofit automotive research organization in Ann Arbor, Michigan.”Simulation drivers are too well-behaved. We need more realism,” he told TechNewsWorld.”The industry is beginning to realize that these AI systems can never drive enough real-world miles to get all the learning they need to drive a vehicle, so simulation is starting to become prevalent everywhere,” Wallace added. “Nvidia’s technology could be very useful for that.” The research currently is on display at the NeurIPS conference in Montreal, Canada, a show for artificial intelligence researchers.Nvidia’s team created a simple driving game for the conference that allows attendees to interactively navigate an AI-generated environment. John P. Mello Jr. has been an ECT News Network reportersince 2003. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, IT issues, privacy, e-commerce, social media, artificial intelligence, big data and consumer electronics. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including the Boston Business Journal, theBoston Phoenix, Megapixel.Net and GovernmentSecurity News. Email John.last_img read more

New urea sorbent could speed up the development of wearable artificial kidney

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Oct 19 2018There just aren’t enough kidney transplants available for the millions of people with renal failure. Aside from a transplant, the only alternative for patients is to undergo regular dialysis sessions to clear harmful cellular waste from their bodies. Now, scientists report in ACS Nano a new urea sorbent that could accelerate progress toward the development of a lightweight, wearable artificial kidney with the potential to make dialysis more convenient, comfortable and effective.Dialysis typically requires three visits every week to a health care center, where patients are tethered to a machine for hours. Not only is this cumbersome, but health outcomes with the treatment are poor. The problem is that kidneys filter blood around the clock; dialysis just can’t do as good of a job when performed for only a few times each week. Scientists are eager to develop an artificial kidney that could be worn all the time, continuously performing dialysis. One obstacle, though, is urea, which must be removed to maintain the body’s nitrogen balance. Currently, dialysis deals with urea using an enzyme that breaks the molecule down into ammonia and carbon dioxide, but the amount of material required to perform this reaction is too big and heavy to be comfortably worn on the body. So, Babak Anasori, Yury Gogotsi and colleagues wanted to try a new approach.The researchers turned to an emerging nanomaterial called MXene, two-dimensional nanosheets of metal carbides. Instead of breaking down urea, MXene can capture the compound by sandwiching urea molecules between its nanometer-thin layers. At room temperature, the material could capture 94 percent of urea from the discarded materials from dialysis machines. When tested at body temperature (98.6 F), the material could hold onto even more urea. Furthermore, MXene did not kill cells, suggesting that it could be safely used in people. The researchers conclude that the material could help turn the concept of a comfortably wearable artificial kidney into a reality. Source:https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/pressroom/presspacs/2018/acs-presspac-october-17-2018/taking-steps-toward-a-wearable-artificial-kidney.html?_ga=2.256303115.1602730744.1539923896-1531772223.1518084339last_img read more

Selfcare program for COPD patients reduces emergency room visits and burdensome symptoms

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Nov 21 2018Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers report that a program designed to enhance self-care and lead to more seamless management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in adults successfully reduced rates of emergency room visits and hospitalization, and the burdensome symptoms and limitations caused by the condition.Describing results of the six-month trial of the program in the Nov. 12 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association, the investigators said patients in the new program (called BREATHE) were re-hospitalized at half the rate of a similar group of patients who received standard care without the program. BREATHE patients also reported improved quality of life, the research team said–a boon to high value health care efforts being made in the field of medicine.”When a person with COPD gets admitted to the hospital with difficulty breathing, the doctors and nurses focus on their immediate problem and not their chronic disease and overall health, and so the chance that the person will have another flare-up and end up in the hospital again remains high,” says lead author Hanan Aboumatar, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “About half of patients will end up back in the hospital within six months.””COPD is incurable and chronic, and our new program–which combines hospital to home transition support with chronic disease management support–is one way of reorganizing care in a way that reduces future hospitalization risk and expenses, while preserving patients’ quality of life,” she adds.COPD is a label applied to a group of chronic conditions –including emphysema and chronic bronchitis– that damage the lungs and cause breathing problems. An estimated 16 million Americans are living with COPD, generating costs to the health care system of more than $30 billion annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Smoking, air pollution, lung injury and genetics can all play a role in the development of COPD. Coughing, shortness of breath and wheezing symptoms range in severity, and people with COPD often experience worsening flare-ups over time.Because the damage is irreversible and progressive, treatment focus is on symptom management with drugs, oxygen, and lifestyle changes. Previous studies have shown that patients who follow a set of strategies to manage their COPD do much better and have a greater quality of life, says Aboumatar, but “getting these strategies to patients and ensuring their successful use has been a challenge.”To address that challenge, Aboumatar and her colleagues teamed up with COPD patients and caregivers to design a program that would give patients better support immediately after being hospitalized with a COPD flare-up.Specifically, the program–delivered to COPD patients admitted to medical units at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center between March 2015 and May 2016–paired patients and their family caregivers with a COPD nurse who met with them during hospitalization. The nurse continued consultation with the patient and caregiver, on average, 6.1 times over the three months after hospitalization through phone calls and/or home visits depending on patients’ preference.Related StoriesStudy analyzes high capacity of A. baumannii to persist on various surfacesStudy: Two-thirds of pneumonia patients receive more antibiotics than they probably needHome-based support network helps stroke patients adjust after hospital dischargeThe nurse offered tailored support on how to take medications, use inhalers and breathing techniques, and manage COPD symptoms. In addition, the nurse worked through issues patients may face when living with COPD, including access to care, mobility services and other community resources.Overall, 240 patients hospitalized for COPD were randomized to receive either the standard of care or the new three-month program. The control and intervention groups had average patient ages of 63.9 and 66, respectively, were 36.7 and 40 percent men, and 83.3 and 81.6 percent white. Participants in both groups had been diagnosed with COPD for an average of three years. The patients’ hospitalizations and emergency department visits, as well as quality of life scores, were tracked for six months from the time of initial hospitalization.Some 203 patients completed the six months of follow-up. During that time, there were 15 deaths and 337 subsequent hospitalizations. The number of COPD-related acute care events–either hospitalization or emergency department visits–per participant was 1.4 in the control group and 0.72 among those enrolled in the new program.In addition, the quality of life– as measured by a standard questionnaire known as the St. George’s Respiratory Questionnaire–showed better scores in the intervention compared to the control group. While the score declined by 1.53 points on average over the six months of study for those in the intervention group, it increased by 5.44 points for those in the control group. The St. George’s Respiratory Questionnaire scores range from 0-100 (lower scores indicate better quality of life), and a four-point difference on the 100 point scale is considered clinically meaningful.”Our findings support the idea that a comprehensive program that reorganizes care for patients to help address long-term COPD self-management at a time when they’re already struggling with a hospitalization due to a COPD flare-up is more effective than limited support that is focused on recovery from the current hospitalization,” says Aboumatar. “When hospitalized due to a COPD flare-up, this condition becomes more of a priority, so it’s a good moment to start a conversation with a patient about what they can do to successfully manage it.” Aboumatar adds that having the same nurse interact with patients both in the hospital setting and after discharge helped build a relationship that allowed the patients to communicate effectively with and trust their nurse.Aboumatar and her colleagues plan to test the program in other settings. She acknowledges that the program may be less feasible in rural areas, where patients and resources are more geographically spread out. The program is also being adapted for potential use with other chronic diseases marked by acute flare-ups, such as congestive heart failure.The BREATHE program was developed in partnership with COPD patients, their family caregivers and clinicians of various disciplines. Source:https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/newsroom/news-releases/study-self-management-program-for-patients-with-copd-boosts-quality-of-life-cuts-rehospitalization-risklast_img read more

Quarter of parents remain unprepared for parenting hangover reports study

Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Dec 17 2018Parents may plan for transportation and childcare ahead of holiday gatherings but are they prepared for a potential, day-after “parenting hangover?”A quarter of parents of young children who drink alcohol on special occasions do not think about limiting how much they drink or whether they’ll be able to take care of their child the next day, according to a report from the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health at the University of Michigan.The nationally-representative report is based on responses from 1,170 parents with at least one child ages 0-9 years.Three in 10 parents (29 percent) also said they know of an adult who may have caused an unsafe situation for their child due to drinking alcohol at a special celebration. These parents were most concerned that the other adult was too impaired or hung over to supervise their child (61 percent) or to handle a possible emergency (48 percent); and less commonly that the adult drove with a child while impaired (37 percent), got violent or out of control in front of the child (28 percent), or injured the child (7 percent).Another 1 in 12 parents (8 percent) admitted to a prior situation where they may have been too impaired from alcohol to take care of their parenting responsibilities. About the same proportion of mothers and fathers acknowledged a prior lapse in judgment related to alcohol.”Most parents planning to drink alcoholic beverages on a night out arrange for a designated driver and childcare for the event itself,” says poll co-director Sarah Clark. “Fewer parents may consider how their alcohol consumption could impact parenting responsibilities to their young children the next day.”Most parents reported drinking alcoholic beverages during special events, either often (27 percent), sometimes (36 percent) or rarely (17 percent). Among those, 73 percent said they were very likely to make plans in advance for someone to watch their child during the event, and 68 percent were very likely to plan for safe transportation.Related StoriesCancer incidence among children and young adults with congenital heart diseaseResearch reveals the parenting habits of our earliest extinct ancestorsHelping teenagers to be safe while drivingHowever, just 47 percent were very likely to think in advance about how much they will drink, and 64 percent said they are very likely to make plans for someone to take care of their child the day after the event.”The amount of alcohol consumed can affect parenting the next day,” Clark says. “A parent passed out on the couch will not be effective in recognizing and reacting to the everyday safety risks that occur with children.”One particularly interesting finding: Parents who said they drink rarely were less likely to plan in advance for childcare and transportation the night of the special event and childcare responsibilities the following day compared to parents who drink sometimes or often.However, even rare instances of celebrating with alcohol can have serious consequences for children, Clark says.Parents may prevent overindulging by alternating alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic drinks, Clark notes. But if they aren’t sure whether their alcohol consumption may impair parenting abilities, it’s better to be safe than sorry.”Parents who plan to drink alcoholic beverages during an outing should plan ahead for transportation to ensure they arrive home safely,” Clark says.”If alcohol use may potentially impact their ability to take care of their children the following day, parents may also consider childcare arrangements. Having children stay the night at a relative’s home or asking a grandparent to stay overnight are options to ensure young children are in a safe and supervised environment.” Source:http://www.med.umich.edu/ read more

Scientists discover new genetic mutations causing inherited deafblindness

first_img Source:http://www.sechenov.ru/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jan 23 2019A team of scientists from Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University (MSMU) together with their colleagues described a number of genetic mutations causing Usher syndrome (inherited deaf-blindness)A team of scientists from Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University (MSMU) together with their colleagues from leading scientific centers of Moscow and India described a number of genetic mutations causing Usher syndrome (inherited deaf-blindness). They found previously unstudied unique mutations in investigated DNA regions. The results of the study were published in the Ophthalmic Genetics journal.Usher syndrome is an inherited disorder that accounts for almost a half of all cases of deaf-blindness. There are three types of the disease that are differentiated based on the level of deafness (type I – innate deafness, type II – diminished hearing that does not worsen with time, and type III -progressive decrease in hearing). According to one of the works dating back to 2010, the disease affects 3 to 6 in 100,000 people depending on the region of study. However, among American children the share of patients with this condition may reach 1 in 6,000. Mutations that cause Usher syndrome occur with different frequencies in different populations.The authors of the work studied and described mutations in Russian patients with Usher syndrome. Due to the rarity of this condition the team worked with 28 patients (11 men and 17 women) 35-60 years of age in which the disease manifested when they were 1 to 18 years old. The group consisted of 21 (75%) Russians (of Slavic origin), 3 (10%) Ukrainians, 2 (7%) Jews, 1 (4%) Belarusian, and 1 (4%) Chuvash. The patients were selected according to their medical records and underwent tests to confirm their clinical diagnosis. All participants suffered from vestibular sickness and vision disorders, and 22 out of 28 also had hearing problems.Clinical examinations of vision, hearing, and vestibular system showed that 15 and 11 patients had USH of type I and II respectively. Genetic testing demonstrated different mutations associated with the development of Usher syndrome in 23 patients. 11 patients had mutations in the genes associated with type I USH: MYO7A (8 people; a gene that codes a protein in charge of cell movement and intracellular transportation), CDH23 (1), PCDH15 (1) (genes that code signal proteins playing a role in the work of retina and inner ear), and USH1C (1) (a gene that codes a protein playing a role in the development of retina and inner ear). MYO7A displayed 11 mutations, 6 of them have not been described before. 2 new mutations were found in the PCDH15 gene. Genetic testing confirmed around 91% of type II USH diagnoses. The USH2A gene associated with type II USH showed 11 mutations, 3 of which turned out to be new. The prevalence of type II USH in Russian patients was lower than in other countries, and the frequency of mutations in MYO7A in charge of type I USH was very high.Related StoriesRetina can restructure itself following gene therapyMarijuana isn’t a great choice for glaucoma treatment, says expertResearch identifies new approach to staving off the detrimental effects of aging”While analyzing the databases of mutations associated with Usher syndrome we understood that some of the mutations we had found were completely new. Unfortunately, they would not help recognize the disease on earlier stages or with higher probability, but would be able to confirm the diagnosis. The search for new genetic variations associated with the syndrome may help identify new targets for specific therapy. However, this is not happening in the near future,” said Prof. Dmitry Zaletaev, a chief research associate at the laboratory of Medical Genetics, Sechenov University.Among the participants of the study were scientists from India, employees of Ophthalmic Ltd, Center for Ophthalmology of the Federal Medical and Biological Agency of Russia, Research Centre for Medical Genetics, Institute of General Pathology and Pathophysiology, and many others. The work was carried out with the support of So-Edinenie Deaf-Blind Support Foundation and Sensor-Tech Laboratory.last_img read more

Second man cured of HIV

first_imgRelated StoriesEven when HIV prevention drug is covered, other costs block treatmentHIV therapy leaves unrepaired holes in the immune system’s wall of defensePatients with HIV DNA in cerebrospinal fluid have high risk of experiencing cognitive deficitsLead researcher Ravindra Gupta of University College London explained that they hoped that this transplant would help the cancer as well as the HIV infection. He said it was an “improbable event” and “has not been observed more frequently.” After the transplant the patient developed a resistance to the HIV infection. He stopped the anti-HIV drugs voluntarily to see if the cancer was coming back. In usual cases the virus tends to resurface within two to three weeks after stopping the drugs. Even after 18 months since he stopped the medication, the virus has not returned say the researchers.Dr. Gero Hutter, who treated the first German patient and cured him of HIV applauded this second case and said that it was a “piece in the HIV cure puzzle.” Prof Ravindra Gupta cited the unethical research by the Chinese scientist where he created designer babies with the CCR5 gene-editing to make them immune to HIV. He said, “A field was generated as a result of the Berlin patient. You may have heard of the Chinese babies that were having experimental knockout of that particular gene…What this second case says is this is a bonafide research target and probably the most promising we have for any HIV cure.” “It’s important because there are 36 million-odd people with HIV worldwide. The aim is to get everybody on treatment for the rest of their lives and that’s a huge undertaking both for drug delivery but also making sure people can stay on medication for decades. There is a cost issue for developing countries,” he said in a statement. Source:https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-019-1027-4 By Dr. Ananya Mandal, MDMar 5 2019A man in London, England is now free of HIV/AIDS after stem cell transplant therapy. This is the second such case after Timothy Ray Brown from the United States was cured of HIV in Germany some 12 years ago. This new case in London also used a stem cell transplant. Experts have warned that stem cell transplant in these cases may not be free of danger and could be fatal or ineffective. This new success however has shown that it may work in some patients. The results of this new case and its details were published this week in the latest issue of the journal Nature. It will be presented at an HIV conference in Seattle.According to the report, the patient was diagnosed with HIV in 2003 and was on anti-HIV drugs since 2012. That same year, he developed Hodgkin lymphoma and was treated with stem cell transplant for the cancer in 2016. The physicians treating him found a donor marrow that contained a gene which is naturally resistant to HIV infection. They had found that northern Europeans descendents possess a genetic make-up that make them immune to HIV infection. The donor marrow for this case had a double copy of this mutation at the CCR5 gene. HIV Virus – Illustration Credit: Liya Graphics / Shutterstocklast_img read more

Novel computer model reveals unintended consequences of cocaine interdiction

first_imgApr 4 2019Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Efforts to curtail the flow of cocaine into the United States from South America have made drug trafficking operations more widespread and harder to eradicate, according to new research published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.The National Science Foundation supported the study, which included an Oregon State University geographer and was led by Nicholas Magliocca from University of Alabama. The collaboration also included researchers from The Ohio State University, Northern Arizona University, Arizona State University, Texas State University-San Marcos, the University of Wyoming and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.”It really is surprising how the model matches our observations,” said David Wrathall of OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences. “Our team consists of researchers who worked in different parts of Central America during the 2000s and witnessed a massive surge of drugs into the region that coincided with a reinvigoration of the war on drugs. We asked ourselves: did drug interdiction push drug traffickers into these places?”The findings are important because after five decades, the United States’ war on drugs has yet to prove itself effective or cost-efficient for dealing with cocaine trafficking, the researchers note. The study comes at a time of increased attention on Central American migrants fleeing drug-related violence in their home countries.The scientists developed a computer model named NarcoLogic that shows how drug traffickers respond to interdiction strategies and tactics. It differs from previous approaches because it models local- and network-level trafficking dynamics at the same time.Interdiction efforts are linked to the spread and fragmentation of trafficking routes – a phenomenon known as the “balloon and cockroach effect.” When interdiction efforts are focused in one location, drug traffickers simply relocate.”Between 1996 and 2017, the Western Hemisphere transit zone grew from 2 million to 7 million square miles, making it more difficult and costly for law enforcement to track and disrupt trafficking networks,” Wrathall said. “But as trafficking spread, it triggered a host of smuggling-related collateral damages: violence, corruption, proliferation of weapons, and extensive and rapid environmental destruction, which has been the focus of my work.”Related StoriesTAU’s new Translational Medical Research Center acquires MILabs’ VECTor PET/SPECT/CTArtificial DNA can help release active ingredients from drugs in sequenceEating fatty fish free of environmental pollutants could reduce type 2 diabetes riskSince the Nixon Administration launched the war on drugs in 1971 and declared drug abuse to be “public enemy No. 1,” the United States has spent an estimated $1 trillion on drug prevention and enforcement efforts.That includes roughly $5 billion annually on cocaine interdiction, without having much effect on the drug’s supply or its price, the researchers say.”Wholesale cocaine prices in the United States have actually dropped significantly since 1980, deaths from cocaine overdose are rising, and counterdrug forces intercept cocaine shipments at a low rate. More cocaine entered the United States in 2015 than in any other year,” Wrathall said. “And one thing people who support interdiction and those who don’t can agree on is that change is needed. This model can help determine what that change should look like.”The researchers’ main hypothesis, borne out by comparing NarcoLogic’s predictions of where, when and how cocaine shipments were trafficked from2000-14 against the actual patterns recorded in interdiction databases, was that trafficking operations didn’t become more widespread and resilient because of ineffective interdiction – but did so simply as a result of interdiction.”The study is a victory for observation and theory. This model successfully recreates the dynamic our team had observed,” Wrathall said. “It tells us that increased interdiction will continue to push traffickers into new areas, spreading networks, and allowing them to continue to move drugs north.” Source:https://today.oregonstate.edu/news/%E2%80%98narcologic%E2%80%99-computer-model-shows-unintended-consequences-cocaine-interdictionlast_img read more

Scientists develop new class of drugs to treat hereditary kidney disease

first_imgMironid’s next step is to refine the compounds in anticipation of being able to develop a new medicine to treat ADPKD patients.Dr David Henderson, Senior Investigator at Mironid added: This exciting publication highlights the innovative science behind our LoAc® PDE4 activator technology. These first-in-class small molecules have the potential to address unmet clinical need in Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease (ADPKD), and potentially have further utility across different therapeutic areas where unbalanced cellular signalling drives disease progression. Looking to the future, we are excited and enthusiastic in our continued collaboration to translate this novel approach into real therapeutic benefit.” Drug development usually focuses on looking for ways to block molecular and chemical processes, not switch them on, so this is a rare mode of action. As a researcher, it’s very exciting to be involved in the early stage development of a completely new class of drugs.It’s also very heartening for me as a clinician since like most genetic diseases, ADPKD cannot be cured. This discovery gives me hope for the many patients I see in my clinics that there could be another effective new treatment in the future to keep the disease in check for much longer, either on its own or in combination with other drugs such as tolvaptan.I would love to think that ADPKD could one day be a disease that people can successfully manage throughout their natural lives, rather than one that could shorten their lives.” Related StoriesNanotechnology-based compound used to deliver hepatitis B vaccineAtomwise and Enamine launch 10 billion compound virtual drug screening initiativeChronic kidney disease patients are excluded from clinical trialsKidney Research UK has funded work on ADPKD at the University of Sheffield for several years, helping to develop vital knowledge on the mechanism of the disease and ways in which it might be managed.Chief executive of the charity, Sandra Currie, said: “We are proud to have supported several ADPKD studies led by Professor Ong and his team at Sheffield over the years. Most recently, we funded Professor Ong’s investigations into how to control the ‘messenger molecule’, cyclic AMP, which affects the rate at which cysts grow and expand in the kidneys.”It is really encouraging news that this collaboration with Mironid has now successfully laboratory-tested a compound which reduces levels of the cyclic AMP molecule. This could bring new hope to the 12 million people living with ADPKD worldwide – we look forward to further developments.” Source:University of SheffieldJournal reference:Henderson, D. et al. (2019) Small-molecule allosteric activators of PDE4 long form cyclic AMP phosphodiesterases. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1822113116. Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Jun 18 2019Scientists from the University of Sheffield are part of an international collaboration to develop a new class of drugs to treat a common genetic kidney disease which is a major cause of kidney failure.Working with Glasgow-based biotech company Mironid and colleagues in the US, the Sheffield researchers have carried out successful laboratory tests of a compound developed by Mironid to treat autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD), a hereditary, progressive disease which affects over 60,000 people in the UK and around 12 million people worldwide.ADPKD is caused by a genetic fault that disrupts the normal development of kidney cells and causes cysts to form inside the kidneys. The cysts, which are like fluid-filled blisters, grow and eventually destroy normal kidney tissue causing the kidneys to stop working properly. This leaves patients needing life-saving treatments, such as dialysis or a kidney transplant.In ADPKD cells, cysts develop and grow because they express higher than normal levels of a ‘messenger molecule’ called cyclic AMP (or cAMP). One of the many known functions of cAMP is to tell cells when to divide and when to secrete fluid.The new compound discovered by Mironid activates an enzyme called PDE4, whose natural role is to break down cAMP. Researchers at Mironid Ltd describe how the novel small molecule activators of PDE4 enzymes act to supress disease driving cAMP signalling.Using cell lines and patient tissues derived from ADPKD patient kidneys, researchers at Sheffield and in the US confirmed that when the Mironid compound switched PDE4 on, levels of cAMP in the disease cells were reduced and the number and growth of the cysts were suppressed. The findings are published today (18 June 2019) in the prestigious US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).Moreover, the reversible nature of the compound means that PDE4 activity may be rapidly and accurately controlled in patients, according to the dose decided by the clinician. This suggests that a future treatment for ADPKD could be tailored to an individual patients’ needs and the severity of their disease without the side effects seen with other approaches. In theory, the compound could also suppress cyst formation due to ADPKD in other organs apart from the kidney, especially in the liver.Professor Albert Ong, a consultant nephrologist and professor of renal medicine who led the experiments conducted at the University of Sheffield said:last_img read more

Mortality risk from cardiovascular disease higher for people with osteoarthritis

first_imgRelated StoriesEating blueberries daily reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseaseSofrito cooking technique releases healthy nutrientsDeaths from cardiovascular disease have risen by 4 percent in the last 5 yearsThis means that for every 100 000 inhabitants who have had osteoarthritis for 9-11 years, 40more die of cardiovascular diseases per year, compared with the population without osteoarthritis (in corresponding gender and age distribution).The study did not investigate the mechanisms behind osteoarthritis and cardiovascular disease and the causal link is not fully known. However, Martin Englund has a theory on the reason behind the results.”Osteoarthritis causes pain, which often results in people not being as mobile and becoming sedentary instead. Thus, there is a risk of weight gain, which we know leads to secondary diseases, including cardiovascular diseases. There are also other background factors in common for osteoarthritis and cardiovascular disease. Inflammation can be a contributory cause of osteoarthritis, and can also lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Regardless, it’s important to be physically active and keep body weight in check. In many countries there are special education programs for those suffering from osteoarthritis where you can get information on the disease as well as help and exercise advice”, concludes Martin Englund. Source:Lund UniversityJournal reference:Turkiewicz, A. et al. (2019) Cause-specific mortality in osteoarthritis of peripheral joints. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. doi.org/10.1016/j.joca.2019.02.793. Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jul 16 2019Researchers at Lund University in Sweden have investigated the link between osteoarthritis and mortality in an epidemiological study. It was shown that the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease was higher for people with osteoarthritis than for the rest of the population.Using population registers, the researchers studied approximately 469000 people living in Skåne, Sweden, who in 2003 were between 45 and 84 years old and followed them through to 2014. The group included 16000 patients with knee arthritis, 9000 with hip arthritis, 4000 with wrist arthritis and 5500 with other forms of osteoarthritis. They had all been diagnosed in 2003 or before. We looked at the cause of death for those who died between 2004 and 2014 and who had previously been diagnosed with osteoarthritis and compared the results with the rest of the population in the same region. The groups were not different in terms of most causes of death, but we saw the risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease was higher for those with an osteoarthritis diagnosis. The risk did not increase in the short term after the osteoarthritis diagnosis, but the longer a person had had osteoarthritis, the higher the risk of mortality from cardiovascular diseases compared with the background population, e.g. if a person had a knee arthritis diagnosis for 9 to 11 years, the risk was 16 per cent higher.”Martin Englund, professor at Lund University and physician at Skåne University Hospital, who led the studylast_img read more

Need your yard mowed Uber for lawn care coming to Sacramento

Need someone to care for your lawn? There’s an app for that. ©2018 The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. 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. Nashville-based GreenPal launched this month in the Sacramento area. The app connects homeowners with local, vetted lawn care professionals.”After successfully launching in 20 other markets, we are excited to help homeowners in Sacramento find reliable, local lawn care,” said co-founder Gene Caballero.Caballero said GreenPal “has been described as Uber for lawn care.”The app enables homeowners to list their lawns with service dates and specific lawn-care needs. From there, local lawn-care professionals can bid on the respective properties.The company says lawn professionals have been pre-screened, and the bidding process is based on Google street and aerial images, plus details provided by the homeowners.Homeowners can select service providers based on vendor ratings, review and price.Once lawn service is completed, homeowners are sent a time-stamped photo of the finished work. Payment can be done via the app.In a recent email, Caballero said the service is available in an area stretching “from Elk Grove to Roseville.”GreenPal currently operates in in Fresno, San Jose, and San Diego, plus major cities in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Missouri.The service area and more details can be found at https://www.yourgreenpal.com/local/lawn-care-sacramento-ca . Explore further Mowing the lawn less often improves bee habitat Citation: Need your yard mowed? ‘Uber for lawn care’ coming to Sacramento (2018, March 16) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-yard-uber-lawn-sacramento.html read more

New solar PV tool accurately calculates degradation rates saving money and guiding

Provided by National Renewable Energy Laboratory Citation: New solar PV tool accurately calculates degradation rates, saving money and guiding business decisions (2018, April 11) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-04-solar-pv-tool-accurately-degradation.html How long a product can be expected to perform at a high level is a fundamental indication of quality and durability. In the solar industry, accurately predicting the longevity of photovoltaic (PV) panels is essential to increase energy production, lower costs, and raise investor and consumer confidence. A new software package developed by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and industry partners SunPower and kWh Analytics is making the measurement of PV system expected lifetime performance more reliable, consistent, and accurate. Explore further NREL adds solar array field to help inform consumers RdTools combines best practices with years of NREL degradation research to deliver new methodologies that change how solar field production data is evaluated. The software package makes it possible to accurately evaluate PV systems faster, despite common challenges with performance data.”There’s a high level of interest in this software because it provides user-friendly, accurate, and objective assessments that can help owners make sense of their data,” said Dirk Jordan, engineer and solar PV researcher at NREL. “We spent years building consensus in the industry around a common set of analytical rules. Now PV stakeholders can learn much more about the performance of their technology and improve decision-making on multiple fronts.”PV module and system degradation have been historically difficult to assess in the PV industry. Field performance can be impacted by many confounding variables including ambient weather conditions, seasonal changes, sensor drift, and soiling, to name a few. Extracting system degradation rates previously required years of production data, high accuracy instrumentation, and the presence of staff scientists to conduct the evaluation.The RdTools software package solves these problems by providing a robust and validated software toolkit for calculating and analyzing PV system performance and degradation over time. The tool can deliver valuable insights for manufacturers, engineers, investors and owners who have a stake in system performance, such as identifying under-performing sub-arrays, and quantifying system performance relative to neighboring systems.For co-developer SunPower, the results of its own data analysis were compelling. “The RdTools method was used to analyze energy generation from 264 PV systems at locations across the globe, revealing that degradation rates were slower than expected,” said Greg Kimball, a senior performance engineer at SunPower. “The result prompted improvements to and extension of our warranty coverage to customers.”According to Adam Shinn, a data scientist for co-developer kWh Analytics, RdTools is valuable because of the information it provides to the solar investors with whom they work. “As more and more solar is deployed, there is an ever-increasing amount of PV performance data available to analyze,” Shinn said. “For solar investors who seek to understand the long-term financial risks of their energy-producing assets, analysis RdTools will help them quantify PV durability.”Organizations interested in testing and contributing to the software can contact NREL at RdTools@nrel.gov or visit the website at www.nrel.gov/pv/rdtools.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. RdTools results show time-series data along with a year-on-year degradation distribution. The same system is analyzed with the clear-sky method (a), and sensor-based method with a poorly maintained sensor (b). In this case, high reported degradation is likely caused by sensor drift, rather than a degrading PV module. Credit: National Renewable Energy Laboratory read more

Study examines denigration when people call a place a shithole

By tracing the use of the word and hashtag ‘shithole’ on Twitter, researchers have examined who is engaged in the stigmatizing discourse of denigration, the types of place that are stigmatized, and the responses to stigmatized places. Provided by Wiley Small numbers of churches embrace same-sex marriage 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. Citation: Study examines denigration when people call a place a ‘shithole’ (2018, April 25) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-04-denigration-people-shithole.html More information: Alice Butler et al, What does it mean when people call a place a shithole? Understanding a discourse of denigration in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers (2018). DOI: 10.1111/tran.12247 In a Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers study, the majority of tweets were aimed at places where the tweeter was not from, a form of othering consistent with how territories are stigmatized by those in positions of power such as policymakers, politicians, and journalists. Also, an important and gendered minority of tweets were characterized by a ‘cry for help’ and powerlessness, where the stigma was aimed at their own places.”As well as showing what people think about other places, our research showed how people talk about the places where they live and how a significant proportion—38% of the tweets we studied—maligned the place where they live,” said lead author Alice Butler, of the University of Leeds, in the UK. “There was a significant gender difference in the way that men and women experience living in a place, and we also noted a tendency to try and separate place from self-identity.” Explore further read more