Congress Weighing Changes To Medicare Reimbursements For Doctors

first_imgCongress Weighing Changes To Medicare Reimbursements For Doctors In other Medicare news, USA Today looks at the debate over whether the government should pay for Alzheimer’s PET scans.Medpage Today: Will These Changes Pay For SGR Repeal?Congress left town last week with at least one series of proposals on the table that could make up for the nearly $140 billion shortfall that would occur if and when Medicare’s sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula is repealed. The House Ways and Means Committee has recently proposed a number of changes to Medicare’s beneficiary cost-sharing structure and post-acute care system as part of its broader mission of entitlement reform. The proposals are designed is to make Medicare more solvent, but questions remain over how or if they will connect to ongoing efforts to repeal the SGR (Pittman, 8/8).USA Today: Experts Debate Coverage Of Scans For Alzheimer’sThe federal government will decide in early fall whether to pay for brain scans in people with suspected Alzheimer’s disease. The PET scans, which cost about $3,000-$5,000 apiece, have proved useful for research, and neurologists are eager to have access to them, but a recent government review raised questions about their effectiveness at detecting dementia (Weintraub, 8/8). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.last_img read more

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States Report Surges In Health Plan SignUps California At The Front Of

first_imgThe increase has ranged from 30 percent to 40 percent, reports ABC News. In California, an estimated 50,000 people picked a health plan in the first week of December. News outlets also reported on the latest developments in Maryland, Oregon and Minnesota.   ABC News: States Cite Surge In Obamacare Sign-Ups Ahead Of First DeadlineStates running their own Obamacare insurance exchanges are reporting a significant surge in sign-ups just four days before the first major enrollment deadline. The increase has ranged from 30 percent to 40 percent in the past few weeks, according to state officials who briefed reporters Wednesday. Monday is the last day to sign up for a plan that will guarantee health coverage effective Jan. 1. California, which has one of the most successful programs, averaged 15,000 enrollments a day last week, up from an average 7,000 a day the week before, state officials said. In all of November, 80,000 Californians picked a plan; in the first week of December, 50,000 signed up (Dwyer, 12/19).Los Angeles Times: State Healthcare Exchange Reports Share Increase In EnrollmentCalifornia’s health insurance exchange reported sharply higher enrollment ahead of Monday’s sign-up deadline for Jan. 1 coverage, amid mounting criticism over how it handles consumer privacy. The Covered California exchange said Thursday that 53,510 people enrolled in health plans over a three-day period this week, culminating with more than 20,000 people picking an insurance company on Wednesday alone. Last week, about 15,000 people were enrolling daily (Terhune, 12/19).The Sacramento Bee: More Than 50K Californians Enroll In Obamacare In Three-Day PeriodCovered California, the state’s health insurance exchange, is experiencing a significant surge in enrollment, officials said Thursday. More than 53,500 customers selected health coverage plans in the last three days – about 60 percent more than the entire month of October when the exchange opened for business. That includes 20,506 customers Wednesday, 19,351 Tuesday and 13,653 Monday, Executive Director Peter V. Lee told reporters. He said the increases illustrate how hundreds of thousands of residents are “anxious, excited and determined to get coverage” (Cadelago, 12/19).The Washington Post: Gansler: Maryland’s Health Exchange Reminds Him Of ‘Saturday Night Live’ SketchGansler, a Democratic candidate for governor, has been highly critical of the role played by his rival, Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D), in overseeing the implementation of the federal health care law in Maryland. Brown co-chairs a council that has guided reforms in the state but has said he was not involved in the day-to-day operations of the exchange (Wagner, 12/19).The Associated Press: Oregon Health Care Official Carolyn Lawson ResignsA senior state manager who oversaw most of the development of Oregon’s struggling health insurance exchange resigned Thursday as developers continue trying to find some way get the online enrollment system to work. Carolyn Lawson stepped down as chief information officer of the Oregon Health Authority and the Department of Human Services for “personal reasons,” the agencies’ leaders wrote in a terse memo to Lawson’s staff and other senior officials (12/19).The Oregonian: Cover Oregon, Insurers Extend Premium Payment Deadline To Jan. 15Health insurance carriers and the state’s troubled exchange agreed to give individuals buying coverage on Cover Oregon more time to pay their first binding premium. Consumers purchasing individual polices through Cover Oregon will have until Jan. 15 to get their first premium payment to the insurer, exchange spokesman Michael Cox said late Thursday. Coverage will be retroactive to Jan. 1. Washington’s exchange announced the same extension on Wednesday, and insurers nationwide are giving consumers buying coverage on other federal and state exchanges until Jan. 10 to make a payment. The moves are being made to address technological hangups and other problems the exchanges are having meeting initial enrollment deadlines (Hunsberger, 12/19).Minnesota Public Radio: Dayton On MNsure Problems: ‘The Buck Stops Here’DFL Gov. Mark Dayton wouldn’t say today whether he asked April Todd-Malmlov to resign earlier this week as director of Minnesota’s new health insurance exchange. Dayton declined to answer the question several times during a state Capitol news conference, which was his first public appearance since Todd-Malmlov tendered her resignation Tuesday. Dayton said he has indirect influence over the MNsure board and had publicly expressed his displeasure with recent enrollment problems. But he stressed that the independent MNsure board has sole authority over personnel decisions (Pugmire, 12/19). Minnesota Public Radio: MNsure Officials, Insurance Companies Consider Deadline ExtensionFive of the state’s insurance companies and officials with the state’s online health insurance marketplace are discussing a possible extension to a key deadline for people to obtain health insurance. Under current rules, consumers who use the MNsure site must pick a plan by Dec. 23 to be covered on Jan. 1. But in the midst of ongoing technical problems with the site that are preventing people from signing up, extending the deadline is a good idea, MNsure Board Chair Brian Beutner said (Richert, 12/19).Kaiser Health News: Capsules: After Exposure, Security Holes Sealed In Minnesota’s Health ExchangeA security flaw has been fixed on MNsure, Minnesota’s health insurance marketplace — one that had left users vulnerable to data interception by hackers. The fix follows an MPR story last week and a meeting Monday between forensic analyst Mark Lanterman and the state’s chief information security officer, Chris Buse. At the meeting, Lanterman explained how he discovered the flaw and how the state could resolve the problem (Stawicki, 12/19).Pioneer Press: MNsure ‘Tech Surge’ To Rescue Health Exchange; Call Center Average Waits Top 90 MinutesA “tech surge” has been launched at MNsure headquarters in St. Paul, with IBM workers brought in to try to rescue an overwhelmed call center and free about 1,100 insurance applications stuck in computer limbo. No state money is being spent on the extra workers, Jenni Bowring-McDonough, a MNsure spokeswoman, said in a statement (Snowbeck, 12/19). States Report Surges In Health Plan Sign-Ups; California At The Front Of The Pack This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.last_img read more

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Undercover Agents Get Health Insurance Subsidies With Fake IDs

first_imgFederal investigators, working undercover for the Government Accountability Office, said they had been able to obtain subsidized health insurance under the health law using fictitious identities and false documents. The administration said it was working on remedying the verification problems.The New York Times: Investigators Detail Missteps In Verification For Health CareFederal investigators working undercover said Tuesday that they had been able to obtain subsidized health insurance under the Affordable Care Act using fictitious identities and false documents. The investigators, from the Government Accountability Office, said their tests indicated the Obama administration was not adequately verifying information submitted by applicants (7/22).The Washington Post: Federal Undercover Investigation Signs Up Fake Applicants For ACA CoverageThe results of the inquiry by the Government Accountability Office are evidence of still-imperfect work by specialists intended to assist new insurance customers as well as government contractors hired to verify that coverage and subsidies are legitimate. The GAO also pointed to flaws that linger in the marketplace’s website, healthcare.gov (Goldstein, 7/22).The Wall Street Journal: Fictitious Applicants Able To Get U.S. Health-Insurance Tax CreditsThe investigation will be the focus of a House Ways and Means subcommittee hearing Wednesday on the potential for waste and fraud in the subsidies. Republicans opposed to the health law say the GAO’s findings are evidence of the government’s inability to verify information, which they say creates the potential for fraud and abuse (Armour, 7/22).The Associated Press: Agents Get Subsidized ‘Obamacare’ Using Fake IDsUndercover investigators using fake identities were able to secure taxpayer-subsidized health insurance under President Barack Obama’s health care law. The weak link in the system seemed to be call centers that handled applications for thousands of consumers unable to get through online (7/23).NBC News: GAO Sting Finds It Easy to Fake It, Get Obamacare PremiumsEleven out of 12 fake applications for government-subsidized health insurance got through a verification process and the bogus beneficiaries are still covered, the Government Accountability Office said Tuesday. The GAO launched the sting to check to see how well the Obamacare process checks for counterfeit applications. The results were messy, GAO’s Seto Bagdoyan says in testimony prepared for a hearing Wednesday of the House Ways and Means oversight subcommittee (Fox and Seidman, 7/23). Undercover Agents Get Health Insurance Subsidies With Fake IDs This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.last_img read more

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Through New Pay Model CMS Wants To Reward Primary Care Physicians For

first_img Larger practices and health systems would have additional choices, which could be very lucrative but pose steeper risks. Under the first “professional option,” providers would assume 50% of the risk, including savings and losses. Under the “global option,” providers would take on full risk. There is also a “geographic option,” in which health systems or insurance plans could assume the risk for the total cost of primary care for a swath of communities within a particular region. Most of the newly announced Innovation Center models will launch in January 2020. The geographic option is projected to begin in mid-2020. (Luthi, 4/22) The initiative, called CMS Primary Cares, includes five new payment options for small and large providers, allowing them to take varying levels of financial responsibility for improving care and lowering costs. It broadly seeks to change how primary care is delivered in the U.S. by rewarding doctors for improving management of patients with chronic illnesses such as diabetes and high blood pressure, and averting expensive trips to the hospital. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar called the program “an historic turning point in American health care” that is projected to enroll a quarter or more of the 44 million Americans served by traditional Medicare. (Ross, 4/22) The Trump administration is launching a program to offer new ways of paying primary-care doctors, including flat monthly payments to physicians and higher payments for medical practices specializing in the chronically ill, as a way to lessen the costs of Medicare’s usual fee-for-service system. Seema Verma, the Medicare administrator under President Trump, said the flat-fee method and other payment alternatives could be a path for the Medicare payment system to achieve better outcomes for patients instead of the current fee-for-service method that creates “perverse incentives to offer more care.” (Burton, 4/22) Stat: U.S. Health Officials Unveil Experiment To Overhaul Primary Care CQ HealthBeat: Medicare Proposal Would Set Flat Monthly Rates For Primary Care Modern Healthcare: CMS To Launch New Direct-Contracting Pay Models In 2020 center_img Through New Pay Model, CMS Wants To Reward Primary Care Physicians For Keeping Patients Healthy, Out Of Hospital HHS Secretary Alex Azar says the new primary care experiment will transform the U.S. health system, and “move [the nation] toward a system where providers are paid for outcomes rather than procedures, and free up doctors to focus on the patients in front of them, rather than the paperwork we send them.” This new initiative is the most sweeping attempt to date to change primary care. While the program is voluntary, the administration hopes that as many as one-fourth of all primary-care doctors will participate. The Wall Street Journal: Trump Administration Launches Program To Rein In Medicare Costs Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate’s health committee, praised the administration’s emphasis on primary care, which he said influences whether patients need more expensive specialty care or hospital services. “This focus on the nation’s more than 300,000 primary care doctors is the right way to create better experiences, better outcomes and lower costs for patients,” he said. (Siddons, 4/22) This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.last_img read more

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5 Ways to Choose a WinterReady EV Charging Station

first_imgWinter is coming. With temperatures gradually dropping, it’s time to think about how the cold will affect your EV charging station. The FLO Home Level 2 charging station will ensure you leave each morning fully charged, so you can make the most of your range all winter.The post 5 Ways to Choose a Winter-Ready EV Charging Station appeared first on EV Obsession. Source: EV Obsession RSS Feedlast_img

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MercedesBenz Delivers eCitaro Electric Bus To Cities In Germany

first_imgSource: Electric Vehicle News More cities get their first eCitaroMercedes-Benz recently delivered three all-electric eCitaro buses to Rhein-Neckar-Verkehr GmbH (rnv), which will operate them in Heidelberg’s historic city center and Mannheim’s new Franklin district.Those are among the first eCitaro buses in the world, as the German manufacturer slowly starts production and sales. The current model is equipped with 243 kWh battery and is expected to cope with the requirement of driving around 200 km (124 miles) daily.Mercedes-Benz eCitaro BVG Berlin Orders 15 Mercedes-Benz eCitaro Electric Buses Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on January 15, 2019Categories Electric Vehicle News First electric bus services in the Rhine-Neckar triangleThe first purely electric eCitaro bus service in Heidelberg goes from the main train station via the Seegarten to the Karlsplatz and then later to the Altstadt commuter rail station. Bus route 20 travels through Heidelberg’s city centre every 20 minutes, whereby it is expected that in the future two vehicles will cover the four kilometre long route with 12 stops. One of Mannheim’s electric bus routes leaves from Käfertal train station and travels via Wasserwerkstraße to the Franklin district, a new district where members of the US armed forces used to live. The other route begins at the Platz der Freundschaft and ends at the new Taylor industrial estate, which also once belonged to the US armed forces. One eCitaro will be in operation on each route.In Heidelberg, the vehicles will be on the road between 9.00 a.m. and 10.00 p.m. and in Mannheim between 6.00 a.m. and midnight. This corresponds to a daily mileage of about 200 kilometres or more per vehicle. Accordingly lithium-ion batteries with a total capacity of 243 kWh will provide the electric power. The battery design is modular, comprising 10 modules each with an output of 25 kWh. In addition to the six battery modules on the vehicle’s roof, four battery modules in the rear take the position of today’s drive system combination of combustion engine and transmission.Charging technology in the depotWith its charging technology the eCitaro adapts to the conditions provided by rnv. The target is a mileage of 200 km or more for each vehicle which can be achieved with fast charging in the form of top-up charging during breaks in operation. During these breaks another eCitaro will be in operation in Heidelberg and Mannheim, otherwise it would not be possible to meet requirements. The buses are charged using a combi-2 plug, located on the right in the direction of travel above the front wheel housing. The new ISO 15118 standard offers extended functions which enable for example automatic authentication of vehicles without a separate charging card. With the help of extended data transmission, Mercedes‑Benz developed a function with which automatic control of preconditioning in buses is realised via the charging connector. Thus, there is no need for additional cables or lines for compressed air, low voltage or communication. The newly developed charging device has an output of up to 150 kW and is to be delivered to rnv together with the eCitaro. This guarantees the simplest, fastest and most favourably priced variant of the power supply.Mercedes-Benz eCitaro specs:electric portal axle ZF AVE 130 with electric motors at the wheel hubs. The peak output of the motors is 2 x 125 kW, while torque is 2 x 485 Nmup to 243 kWh battery for 150 km (93 miles) of range in SORT2 test cycle (250 km / 155 miles at best)weight of 13.44 tonnes. As the gross vehicle weight is 19.5 tonnes, this corresponds to a payload of more than six tonnes or around 88 passengers.embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }.embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }center_img Mercedes-Benz Presents eCitaro Electric Bus (w/videos) “Rhein-Neckar-Verkehr GmbH (rnv) ceremoniously started operation of three fully-electric Mercedes‑Benz city buses. At the bus depot in Mannheim, Till Oberwörder, Head of Daimler Buses, and Martin in der Beek, Technical Managing Director at rnv, presented the new eCitaro buses in the presence of Dr. Peter Kurz, Mayor of Mannheim, as well as Christian Specht, first Mayor of Mannheim, and then in the presence of Professor Eckart Würzner, Mayor of Heidelberg.“The eCitaro is redefining conventionally driven bus transportation and is for us the symbol for future-oriented local public transport. A holistic approach is very important to us. That is why we have put together a comprehensive package comprising the vehicle, charging management and consultation with which we are supporting the transport company in its endeavour to electrify its buses,” says Till Oberwörder.Martin in der Beek sees the electrification of bus transportation as a clear company goal: “For us electromobility is the quintessence in modern, environmentally-friendly and sustainable drive system technology. Our city trains have been serving the local public transportation system electrically for more than 100 years. Now, we must do the same for buses. The eCitaro will give our buses a completely new face and will literally provide for better air in the area serviced by rnv.”Dr. Peter Kurz, Mayor of Mannheim, and Prof. Eckart Würzner, Mayor of Heidelberg, praise the far-sighted commitment of rnv with regard to “green urban traffic”. Dr. Peter Kurz: “The local public transportation system in Mannheim stands for a holistic concept comprising both buses and trains. The electrification of buses is now an important milestone on the way to a clean city and will make local public transport significantly more attractive.“Prof. Eckart Würzner: „We are delighted that the eCitaro buses have arrived. At the end of January the first electric bus service in the region – our historic city service – can go into operation. This is an important step towards emission-free local transport and a climate-smart city. We hope that production of these buses will now really take off.”  “ Mercedes-Benz Delivers 1st eCitaro Electric Bus To Hamburger Hochbahnlast_img read more

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England leave out Hoggard and hope to maintain momentum

first_imgShare via Email Share on LinkedIn Share on WhatsApp Sign up to the Spin – our weekly cricket round-up England captains are not in the habit of naming their final XI the day before the start of a home series, so it was tempting to discern a statement of intent in Michael Vaughan’s decision to omit Matthew Hoggard from today’s first Test against New Zealand and declare an unchanged side from the one that secured a series win in Napier in March.The absence of Hoggard is a vote of confidence in a relatively inexperienced bowling attack which, along with the injured Andrew Flintoff, now looks set to form the basis of England’s assault on the Ashes in 2009. There is plenty of cricket ahead but the plan is that the combination of Ryan Sidebottom, Stuart Broad, Jimmy Anderson and Monty Panesar will feature in many more matches after its home debut.”Stuart Broad’s only played three games and bowling at Lord’s is totally different to Wellington and Napier, but he seems to have a lot about him and learns fast,” said Vaughan. “Jimmy Anderson’s exciting, and he’s said he’d like to be more consistent, so that’s his goal. Ryan is undoubtedly the bowler of the year, not just for England but probably around the world, and obviously there’s Monty’s spin bowling.”Hoggy’s done everything we could have asked but, when you’ve won a series, those guys deserve another opportunity and hopefully they can produce some really good performances.”Vaughan balanced his ambitions with caveats about the “workmanlike” qualities of the New Zealanders. But despite the promotion of the explosive wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum to No5, the vulnerability of their top order made it an area “we’ll try and expose”. In Wellington and Napier New Zealand’s two first innings totalled less than four sessions, and with poor weather forecast in north London over the next few days the need for another quick kill may be paramount.The New Zealand captain, Daniel Vettori, fit again after a finger injury, said he regarded the “workmanlike” epithet as a compliment but insisted his side were not here simply to make up the numbers. Share on Facebook First published on Wed 14 May 2008 22.39 EDT England leave out Hoggard and hope to maintain momentum Share via Email “For us to succeed we have to be near the top of our game all the time,” he said. “We aren’t blessed with the stars that other sides have. We just have to play exactly the way we played at Hamilton [where New Zealand won the first Test]. That was a complete performance – there wasn’t a session we let slip.”Pitch watchThe recent sublime weather has given Mick Hunt ideal conditions in which to prepare his pitch and it looks a beauty, flat with just enough grass to encourage carry Win toss and batTime was when early May and a high water table encouraged captains to think about bowling first. With super drainage and a heatwave that should not be the case hereWeather Heavy rain and north-easterly wind forecastTemperature 15CRelative humidity 79%EnglandAlastair Cook EssexAndrew Strauss MiddlesexMichael Vaughan YorkshireKevin Pietersen HampshireIan Bell WarwickshirePaul Collingwood DurhamTim Ambrose WarwickshireStuart Broad NottsRyan Sidebottom NottsMonty Panesar NorthantsJimmy Anderson LancashireNew ZealandFrom Jamie How, Aaron Redmond, James Marshall, Ross Taylor, Brendon McCullum, Daniel Flynn, Jacob Oram, Daniel Vettori, Kyle Mills, Tim Southee, Chris Martin, Iain O’Brien Umpires S Taufel & S BucknorMatch referee R Madugalle Share on Twitter Wed 14 May 2008 22.39 EDT Read more Share on Pinterest England cricket team Matthew Hoggard will miss out on the first Test against New Zealand. Photograph: Clive Rose/Getty Images Support The Guardian Topics … we have a small favour to ask. The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Share on Twitter Cricket Reuse this content Share on Facebook England cricket team Shares00 Lawrence Booth England v New Zealand 2008 Share on Messenger Since you’re here…last_img read more

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Carrington Coleman Opens East Texas Office

first_img Password Not a subscriber? Sign up for The Texas Lawbook. © 2014 The Texas Lawbook.By Brooks IgoStaff Writer for The Texas Lawbook(January 30) — Dallas-based Carrington Coleman has opened an East Texas office in Longview, the firm announced this week. Rodney Lawson, a Longview native and chair of the firm’s healthcare practice, will be in charge of the office.“East Texas historically has been a significant region of the state and is an important part of the legal landscape, both locally and nationally,” Lawson said in a statement. “This is something I have personally looked forward to . . .You must be a subscriber to The Texas Lawbook to access this content. Usernamecenter_img Lost your password? Remember melast_img read more

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The Motivating Power of Generational Marketing and Baby Boomers

first_imgby, Brent Green, BoomersTweetShareShareEmail0 SharesIn the realm of marketing to adults older than 45, vigorous debates arise about how best to construct advertising messages and frame offers in memorable and compelling ways. Pundit opinions fall into three overlapping theoretical camps.Some are proponents of “Ageless Marketing” as conceived and articulated by my late colleague David Wolfe. Ageless Marketing is “marketing based not on age but on values and universal desires that appeal to people across generational divides. Age-based marketing reduces the reach of brands because of its exclusionary nature. In contrast ageless marketing extends the reach of brands because of its inclusionary focus.”Some are impassioned about “Life-Stage Marketing,” which understands the consumer from the life-stage they’re experiencing in the present. So, for example, adults between 45 and 55 today have a lot in common such as children in high school or college, the beginning of caregiving for aging parents, accumulation of significant consumer debt, and so forth. Further, stage of life implies psychological priorities. Thus, some argue that middle-age or the “Fall Stage” includes a reduction of material pursuits in favor of accumulating experiences.And some are committed to “Generational Marketing,” an approach for which I’m a proponent. As I write in my newest book, Generation Reinvention:“… a generation implies membership in a unique group, bound by common history, which eventually develops similar values, a sense of shared history, and collective ways of interpreting experiences as the group progresses through the life course.“One way to describe this phenomenon of generational identification is the concept of cohort effect, which sociologist Karl Mannheim wrote about as ‘the taste, outlook, and spirit characteristic of a period or generation.’ He also referred to the notion of zeitgeist, the idea that a generation has a collectively shared sense of its formative historical period.“Marketers tap into the cohort effect when they remind consumers of cherished events and experiences from the past and connect these acquired memories with brand identity.”Critics deride Generational Marketing as superficial: feckless attempts to connect nostalgic memories with products. Boomers aren’t invested in their formative years, critics argue, they’re looking ahead. Formative experiences are of little contemporary consequence. What’s done is done.Aside from my assertion that humans always recall nostalgic moments with enduring and emotionally powerful reflections—and therefore these memories can become potent motivational triggers in contemporary marketing communications—sophisticated new consumer research substantiates the affirming power of nostalgia.Authors of a multi-continent research study, published by the Association for Psychological Science, determined that feelings of loneliness—emotions such as unhappiness, pessimism, self-blame and depression—reduce perceptions of social support. Loneliness can be alleviated by seeking support from social networks. And here’s the surprising psychological insight: nostalgia, a sentimental longing for the past, increases perceptions of social support. A sense of social connectedness nourishes the soul. Nostalgia functions similar to optimism in maintaining health. Nostalgia, appropriately harnessed, inspires positive feelings, including positive brand associations and affinity. (APS, Vol. 19, #10)This does not mean that creating an advertising strategy around shared generational experiences is always on target or well-executed. Creative problems begin when brand associations are hackneyed or arbitrary.Misjudgments sometimes occur when those outside a generational cohort superficially interpret generational experiences. We’ve seen recent ads targeting Boomers that connect brands with peace symbols, classic rock music, and the rebellious spirit of Boomer youth. Once potentially powerful as a creative approach, connecting brands to the spirit of the sixties has been done.Other marketers create messages where psychic connection between nostalgic memories and a brand have little in common; that is, brand utilities have nothing to do with the creative message.EH, Beaver St. Joseph Aspirin recently launched a TV ad featuring Ken Osmond, the actor who played Eddie Haskell, cheeky friend of Beaver Cleaver in the hit 1950s sitcom, Leave It to Beaver. Significantly, this is the first situation comedy ever written from a child’s viewpoint, thus elevating potential for nostalgic resonance with the children of that time: Leading-Edge Boomers.Although this ad deserves acknowledgement for resurrecting an actor who is part of Boomer nostalgia in a fairly big way, we are left wondering what Eddie Haskell has to do with headache pain relief. (Maybe the product is a palliative for the headaches Eddie often caused Beaver’s parents, June and Ward.) But brand connections between Eddie and an OTC analgesic are vague. Even minor copy changes could have strengthened ties between Eddie, the obnoxious neighborhood headache, and a popular aspirin brand of the same time. To the credit of this advertisement’s creators, contemporary Eddie helps reposition the brand for what Boomers need today: cardiovascular health. (A note of caution: Ad critiques rarely consider sales or measured changes in brand awareness/preference generated by a campaign, and these performance measures are, indeed, the bottom line in judging marketing effectiveness.)Successful Generational Marketing requires mastery of nuance and meaning. Linkages between a brand and nostalgic meaning must make sense. Further, all formative life experiences of a generation, from early childhood through young adulthood, have potential for development. Boomers possess a rich repertoire of shared experiences beyond those that occurred between 1967 and 1973. Potential nostalgic motivational triggers go way beyond Woodstock.Based on thirty years of experience marketing to Boomers, I can affirm with my career and portfolio that Generational Marketing succeeds when executed properly. I have created numerous ad campaigns and promotions, dating back to 1981, that performed by generating sales, memberships, donations, inquiries and leads.Some argue that Generational Marketing is exclusionary:  marketing messages that appeal to a specific generation exclude members of other generations who might not identify with the message or conclude that the product is not for them.I say, “Welcome to market segmentation.” Target marketing forces choices about who is most likely to buy a product, their common characteristics, and the most potent ways to evoke an emotional connection, to inspire a brand-consumer relationship. These choices force exclusion. As one of my mentors once instructed, “Brent, always make your easiest sales first.” Some of my successes in advertising and marketing correlate with the degree to which my team was effectively exclusionary.Further, big brand marketers create and target messages to multiple segments for the same brand. When I handled advertising and sales promotions for McDonald’s in Colorado, we executed campaigns targeting young parents, children, Latinos, African Americans, and older customers. Each of these segmented campaigns involved sophisticated messaging that considered cultural and social nuances of the segment. McDonald’s meant slightly different things to different segments.As I have written and instructed in my speeches, Boomers, particularly Leading-Edge Boomers (born between 1946 and 1955) have a sturdy sense of generational identification. This is due to two factors.First, the Leading-Edge grew up during significant cultural and social upheaval. Karl Mannheim and several social science researchers have confirmed that turmoil in youth strengthens generational identification and durability of formative experiences.Second, Boomers comprise the only generation to have grown up with just three monolithic television networks. No generation older or younger experienced this convergence of technology with youth. Boomers growing up in Alaska and Florida shared many of the same televised moments and thus learned the same cultural and social messages. We watched Eddie Haskell weekly in dominant generational percentages. We either liked or disliked Eddie, but we all recall his shifty character. This isn’t about the past or future; it’s about who we are: the sum-total of our life experiences.Nevertheless, as a marketer, I’ve always maintained a full toolbox. The three Boomer marketing approaches discussed here can succeed when well executed. All three approaches can fail when creators have inadequate understanding of the market, message, methodology or meaning conveyed through their ads.Ageless Marketing can inspire advertising messages that appeal across generational divides because of commonly shared values, such as the nearly universal desire for a cleaner environment. Boomers and their Generation Y children share passion almost equally for greener living and sustainability.Life-stage Marketing can offer another path to success for those who connect a product or service with a stage need. Many Boomers today need help in understanding their caregiving challenges and responsibilities. This hallmark of their current life-stage predisposes them to offers of caregiving support and education.And Generational Marketing can create powerful associations between a brand and a segment’s formative experiences. These nostalgic associations can become instant shorthand for positioning a contemporary brand constrained by cluttered media and product/service parity. Nostalgia is rich with opportunities for deeply personal brand interactions.Those who insist that Generational Marketing is the least effective way to create advertising targeting Boomers may simply not understand this approach at a level of expertise necessary to be successful.Related PostsMarketing to Baby Boomers Getting Older: Part TwoA Renaissance of Boomer Marketing – The Journey So Far Following a recent resurgence of business interest in Boomers as a market niche, aging or not, companies targeting them have become more sophisticated at developing communications that tap into amorphous and dynamic values that accompany generational affiliation and stage-of-life. A…Boomers as Consumers, The New York Times, and the Value of Aging“After 40 years of catering to younger consumers, advertisers and media executives are coming to a different realization: older people aren’t so bad, after all.” So goes the lead to a recent New York Times article about a marketing transformation underway. Suddenly the venerable newspaper has produced an article that…A Hosting Odyssey on the WeEarth Global Radio Network: Boomer Future, Aging, Business, Marketing, Advertising, and Public Policy Thought LeadersAmazing conversations awaken a stronger sense of where the Boomer generation is heading. Amazing conversations instill clarity, insight, motivation … even hope. Amazing conversations showcase the brightest minds in Boomer business, marketing and aging today. Thought leaders. Trendsetters. For nearly a year, I have been undertaking a radio host odyssey…TweetShareShareEmail0 SharesTags: boomers ChangingAging history marketing media sociologylast_img read more

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Social Coercion

first_imgby, David Goff, ChangingAging ContributorTweet2Share2ShareEmail4 SharesA friend of mine, a co-host on our radio show, had no more than uttered these words “social coercion”, when the part of me that is looking for possible Slow Lane material started up. I don’t know exactly why these words agitated me so. I’m hoping to find out as I reflect upon what got stirred within me. All I know for sure is that I could smell something that was more complex than it seemed. I think I gravitated to it much like the salmon is drawn back to its spawning place.Social coercion. That sounds so much like being bullied by the masses. I guess for some it is. It implies that actions are the result of others. This is an anti-democratic nightmare. Somebody manipulates others to have their will. It is no wonder that groups are not trustworthy. The social arena is full of this harmful possibility. People worry because social coercion is everywhere; from advertising, political spin, religious proselytizing and all forms of fixing, healing and converting. The world of social connection is full of it.There is a necessary evil that haunts us as a social animal (social coercion), so much so that I think we would rather demonize it than learn to deal with it. In other words, social coercion is a natural phenomenon in a world of connection. Throwing it out, or acting surprised and intolerant of it, would be like throwing the baby out with the bath water. I don’t think my friend was doing anything like this when he mentioned social coercion, but my antenna went wild, because we live in such a fragmented culture, and there is so much distrust around, that I could believe someone might argue that if we could put an end to social coercion we might have a saner more humane world.As you probably can tell, I think social coercion is one form of that which binds each of us to the other. Relationship necessarily involves enough pushing and shoving so that all parties can learn, if they want to, how to take care of themselves. Relationship, if it is the real deal, involves realities colliding; a certain amount of jousting to find out what is possible. If coercion, taking one’s own position and advocating for it, was looked at a path to social hell, then we as a species would be so cut-off, and so isolated that we could no longer consider ourselves to be social animals.Maybe this isn’t common knowledge, or it isn’t something people actually grasp, but each of us lives in a bubble we call reality. This bubble is composed of everything we see and believe in. The world we live in is partially composed of the bubble (worldview) we apply to it. From the world we create with our bubbles comes our sense of self. The science of human development reveals that maturation involves giving up one bubble (the partial worldview), and sense of self you have, for a more complex, more complete bubble (another less-partial worldview), and a more capable, functional self. The great spiritual practices are based upon the same recognition. Reality becomes more real, more as it is, as we give up our insistences that it conform to our constructs. Life, more or less, coerces us out of blindness into the light.People give up their bubbles for various reasons, sometimes it’s voluntary, sometimes it’s not. In the meantime all of these bubbles coexist and press on each other. Social reality is made up of multiple coexisting bubbles, upon which, there are also multiple identities — selves trying to live up to their worldviews. To be true to oneself in this kind of tumultuous free for all social space is hard. And, this hardship, plus exposure to all of these partial worldviews, is just what humans need to grow and become what they are capable of being. The tumult, including what can be considered social coercion, tempers us, and confers upon us the choices we must make to become ourselves.Social coercion is a complex phenomenon. I’d like to do away with some forms of it (for example gang or fraternity hazing rites) but I’m concerned that that would weaken our social immune system and leave us even more vulnerable to toxic world-views. I think that social coercion begs not to be stopped, but to be outgrown. The more solid I am, the more confident I am in my own worldview (bubble), the less I worry about coercion. Paradoxically, this strength or confidence, comes from regularly and completely rubbing shoulders with this sea of others who hold differing viewpoints. The most useful response to social coercion is through exposure to social coercion.I am more worried about the impulse to limit the pressures of social coercion, than I am concerned about social coercion. I know a lot of damage has been done, especially to voiceless minorities, but I don’t want us (humanity) to denature ourselves (each other) rather than grow ourselves. Social coercion is the water we learn to be ourselves in; it is the complex environment that coaxes out of us our own nuances.While I’m dwelling on this topic I just have to say that one of the most basic and virulent forms of social coercion is the misuse of the word “we.” We is a powerful word. It can refer to the existence of the collective, the community of connection, that always exists, or it can be used as the worst form of inclusiveness that paradoxically excludes differences. “We” has been a generalization that has led to genocide, slavery and many forms of extreme prejudice. It behooves us all to pay attention to how the word is used by each of us. It is an indicator of what kind of bubble any of us lives in.I think it better not to think so much in terms of social coercion, but to think more in terms of social diversity.Related PostsGrading Obama on Social SecurityBack in 2010, President Barack Obama agreed to a “temporary” 2 percent cut in the FICA payroll tax for 2011. That cut was renewed for this year and the loss to Social Security revenue is made up from the general…Slowing DownIt is too easy to get caught up in going at the pace of cultural life, to be at the mercy of machine-time. I almost forgot that it has been slowing down, one of the conditions imposed upon me by my stroke, that has given me some ability to pause…Romney Plan Would Balance Budget……on the backs of elders. So what else is new. In a speech last Friday at a gathering of the Koch brothers’ organization, Americans for Prosperity, Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney laid out his plan to cut government spending and…Tweet2Share2ShareEmail4 SharesTags: community diversity Slow Lanelast_img read more

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Obesity and overweight associated with chronic disease risks for survivors of TBI

first_imgJul 6 2018Especially at longer follow-up times, overweight and obesity are associated with chronic disease risks for survivors of moderate to severe traumatic brain injury (TBI), reports a study in the July/August issue of the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation (JHTR). The official journal of the Brain Injury Association of America, JHTR is published in the Lippincott portfolio by Wolters Kluwer.”Being obese or overweight presents a health risk in the years following rehabilitation for TBI,” according to the new research, led by Laura E. Dreer, PhD, of The University of Alabama at Birmingham. The findings highlight the need for a proactive approach to managing weight and related health conditions in long-term TBI survivors.High Body Weight Linked to Health Problems after Acute Rehabilitation for TBIThe study included 7,287 adults with TBI who had undergone inpatient acute rehabilitation. Inpatient rehabilitation consists of intensive therapy, provided by a team of specialists, designed to improve physical and mental functioning. Care was provided by rehabilitation centers participating in the the Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems (TBIMS) program, sponsored by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research.About three-fourths of patients were men; the average age was 46 years. The relationship between body weight and functional and health outcomes was assessed from one to 25 years after TBI. At the most recent follow-up, 23 percent of TBI survivors were classified as obese, 36 percent as overweight, 39 percent as normal weight, and three percent as underweight.Overweight and obesity were less likely for patients under age 30, as well as those aged 80 years or older. While the percentage of overweight patients was relatively stable, the obesity rate increased over time – especially five years or longer after TBI.Being overweight or obese was strongly associated with several chronic health conditions, including high blood pressure, heart failure, and diabetes. Overweight/obese patients also rated themselves as having poorer general health. The frequency of seizures – a common problem among TBI survivors – was also related to differences in body weight and health status.Related StoriesDon’t Miss the Blood-Brain Barrier Drug Delivery (B3DD) Summit this AugustResearch team to create new technology for tackling concussionStudy provides new insight into longitudinal decline in brain network integrity associated with agingThe overall rate of overweight/obesity in the TBI patients (59 percent) was lower than reported in the general US population (over 70 percent). This may be attributed to several reasons in need of further examination – for example, a higher rate of health complications, rehospitalizations, medication side effects, or death among individuals who were already obese at the time of TBI and thus were excluded from the follow-up study.”Achieving and maintaining a healthy diet and engaging in regular physical activity following a TBI are critical goals for recovery,” Dr. Dreer and coauthors write. During the early recovery period, patients may lose weight due to increased metabolic rate and other physical effects of TBI. In the later phases, weight gain may occur due to a wide range of factors including medical conditions, medications, cognitive or behavioral changes, physical limitations, and lack of transportation or other resources.Based on the large-scale TBIMS database, the new study confirms that being overweight or obese is associated with significant health problems for survivors of moderate to severe TBI who require acute rehabilitation. The researchers note some important limitations of their study, including the lack of information on the timing of weight problems and associated health conditions.”However, these findings do highlight the potential importance of surveillance, prevention, and management of weight and related health conditions during the years postinjury,” Dr. Dreer and colleagues conclude. “Lifestyle and health behaviors related to weight gain will need to be a component of any proactive approach to managing TBI as a chronic health condition.” Source:https://wolterskluwer.com/last_img read more

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Individualized therapies targeting specific features show promise in transforming cancer treatment

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Sep 10 2018Individualized therapies that target the specific genetic features of tumors have the potential to transform cancer diagnosis, treatment and care. However, several challenges still need to be overcome before these approaches can be widely used in the clinic. Two DNA testing programs have been implemented in institutes in Spain and the UK, to match patient tumor profiles with targets of early clinical trials, and to embed whole genome sequencing (WGS) in routine oncology practice, respectively. The results of these programmes, to be presented at MAP 2018, illustrate that new sequencing techniques and process restructuring at the system level can be the drivers of a model that promises new opportunities for the greatest number of patients.Matching tumor profiles to targeted therapiesIn 2010, the Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO) in Barcelona, Spain, introduced a molecular pre-screening programme (MPP) to match genomic alterations in patients’ tumors to targeted drugs and immunotherapies being tested in early clinical trials (ECTs). A recent assessment of the programme’s clinical utility shows that the rapid evolution of sequencing techniques over the last eight years has gone hand in hand with the multiplication of alterations being targeted in biomarker matched trials.There are at least 200 forms of cancer, and many more subtypes. Every one of them is caused by errors in DNA, known as genetic mutations, that make cells in the body grow abnormally fast. In the last decade, cancer genomics research, based on sequencing the full DNA (or genome) of tumors, has been driven forward by several international initiatives that cataloged countless alterations found in the tumor tissue of tens of thousands of patients. These studies revealed that tumors are made up of several different subsets of molecules, each driven by distinct alterations – which suggested that they could be treated according to their individual molecular landscape.Susana Aguilar, responsible for the MPP review, said: “When we started the programme, there were 13 phase I trials open at our institute, 11 of which were for drugs that targeted the same gene mutation. By 2017, the number of trials had increased tenfold and targeted a much broader array of alterations – 40% were immunotherapy trials. The MPP grew accordingly, from 207 patients screened in 2010 to 1,168 tumors analyzed in 2017.”Initially, patients were screened using so-called IHC (immunohistochemistry), FISH (fluorescence in situ hybridization) analyses and hotspot mutation panels to search for alterations in a small number of genes and proteins known to play a role in cancer. In the last three years, next-generation sequencing (NGS) was implemented alongside other multigene assays to allow screening for mutations in as many as 61 genes simultaneously.By 2017, these new molecular profiling techniques were used in most patients in the MPP: 10% of patients were enrolled in early clinical trials as a result, based on 18 different biomarker matches. “This proportion may seem low, but it is partly due to many other factors that determine patients’ eligibility for a trial, including their overall clinical condition, distance to get to the hospital and treatment alternatives available,” Aguilar explained. “Going forward, the clear trend in favor of immunotherapy trials will guide us in our implementation of new markers and tools to identify them in patients.”Carmen Criscitiello of the European Institute of Oncology in Milan, Italy, commented on the findings: “The evolution of sequencing techniques has allowed us to look for a wider array of mutations. For many of these, there is no registered drug available to target them. That’s why a key approach to implementing personalized medicine in the management of advanced-stage cancer is to develop clinical trials that show the effectiveness of drugs in cohorts of patients defined by the same genomic alteration,” she said.”As these trials target more and more distinct alterations in smaller and smaller populations, the main challenge now is patient accrual: with targeted mutations detectable in less than 10% of tumors, we need to screen huge numbers of individuals to find just a handful of people eligible for a trial. Managing the expectations of the many patients for whom analyses don’t lead to any meaningful treatment options is an issue that oncologists urgently need to address,” Criscitiello added.Bringing genetic sequencing into the daily clinic In the UK, the 100,000 Genomes Project is the cornerstone of the country’s Personalised Medicine Strategy. As part of this project, an initiative of the National Health Service (NHS) has sought to establish standard operational processes for whole genome sequencing (WGS) of patients’ tumors in routine clinical practice. The results of this project indicate that new consent models and coordinated processes for sample collection could make genetic testing for cancer patients viable on a large scale.Jane Rogan of the Manchester Cancer Research Centre (MCRC) Biobank, which coordinated sample collection and delivered the project for the Greater Manchester area, explained the initial challenges: “One major topic from the start was the length of the consent form: we needed patient consent not just to store their tissue samples in our biobank, but also to sequence the tumor tissue. The former had to be obtained before the surgery to harvest the sample – a time when some patients didn’t even have confirmation of their diagnosis yet, and many were in a state of distress,” she said. “To avoid subjecting patients to lengthy discussions about genomic consent unnecessarily, we introduced a two-tiered model whereby the second level of consent was requested only after sample eligibility had been confirmed.”Related StoriesThioredoxin antioxidant could soon be used to improve cancer treatmentResearchers explain how ‘viral’ agents of neurological diseases ended up in our DNAHow cell-free DNA can be targeted to prevent spread of tumors”Another constraint was that only frozen tumor samples could be admitted for analysis. The most common medium for sample preservation is formalin, but this is not ideal for DNA extraction,” said Rogan. “To ensure that as many patients as possible could be recruited while simultaneously minimizing sample failure rates – due to improper preservation or insufficient tumor content, for instance – we had to integrate our biobanking activity with standard clinical pathways.”This included the rollout of a shared patient tracker to record the status of candidates for the project, a process to guarantee the overnight refrigeration of samples collected outside the working hours of pathology departments, and a “biopsy pathway” to give patients access to the project outside of the surgery setting. “To date, about 900 samples from 18 different tumor types have been submitted for whole genome sequencing in Manchester: since we started collecting them, we have been able to reduce failure rates by over 10%,” Rogan reported.Reflecting on these achievements, she added: “WGS has the potential to change our entire health system. Bringing it into routine cancer care is expensive – but when we spend money on appropriate diagnosis and finding the right treatment, we save money on ineffective therapies that don’t help patients but do have a long-term healthcare cost.”Criscitiello commented: “The significant number of samples collected and the 10% reduction of failure rates show that the implemented system was successful. The clear takeaway from this is that although it may be feasible to use WGS as a standard clinical tool, it can work only if there is structured cooperation between all the professional players involved: oncologists, pathologists, research facilities, service providers and hospitals.”According to Criscitiello, however, the major hurdle to this approach is obtaining the tumor tissue required for genetic testing: “Depending on the tumor type and location, neither surgery nor biopsy are safe or even feasible for many patients,” she said. “Liquid biopsies, which would allow us to collect so-called circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) from a simple blood draw, are the most promising solution to this problem. As a non-invasive procedure, they would also enable us to do repeat analyses throughout a patient’s treatment, and thus potentially target alterations as they occur in continually evolving tumors – their use as a standard of care is continually expanding.”However great the difficulties of putting all the pieces of the personalized medicine puzzle together, there is promise of a greater reward. Patients are already benefiting from the first tailored therapies that target their tumors’ genetic mutations: BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, for example, are important for repairing the damage to DNA that occurs routinely throughout a cell’s life-cycle. Mutations of these genes within a cell can lead to DNA repair errors and ultimately to the cell’s death. In ovarian and breast cancers where such alterations are present, targeted drugs are used successfully to accelerate the death of tumor cells.One major puzzle for oncologists – the prioritization of multiple clinically relevant mutations in the same patient to inform therapeutic choices – was recently addressed with the ESMO Scale for Clinical Actionability of molecular Targets (ESCAT) published in August 2018. “It provides a classification of known tumor DNA mutations according to the level of clinical evidence supporting the use of specific drugs – registered or in development – to target them, which should simplify our decision-making as oncologists and make treatments even more cost-effective,” Criscitiello stated.To drive the investigation forward, MAP 2018 – Molecular Analysis for Personalised Therapy, a joint initiative of Cancer Research UK, UNICANCER and ESMO, will bring medical oncologists, regulators and industry representatives together with the leading academic experts working in personalized medicine for cancer patients. The event taking place on 14-15 September in Paris, France, will be a platform to present the latest and best evidence available in the field and unlock the secrets of making individualized treatment strategies work for more and more patients.Source: https://www.esmo.org/Press-Office/Press-Releases/MAP-tumour-DNA-genome-sequencing-personalised-precision-medicinelast_img read more

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Issues continue to dog the testing of Ebola drugs and vaccines

first_img Email Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country At a U.S. congressional hearing today that examined the country’s public health response to Ebola, an official from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it’s working to develop “a flexible and innovative protocol” to evaluate experimental treatments for the disease. The fact that no such common protocol already exists speaks to the complex practical and ethical issues that surround the use of untested drugs and vaccines in the midst of explosive spread of a virus that kills more than half the people it infects.Given the epidemic’s unprecedented scale, a panel of bioethicists and infectious disease specialists convened by the World Health Organization (WHO) in August unanimously decided that it was ethical to use unproven treatments and preventions against this deadly disease. The panel also said there was a “moral obligation” to gather and share scientifically relevant data about whether these products were safe and effective. But it did not suggest how this should happen, and as the FDA official’s testimony indicated, new views are still emerging while others are being refined.Over the past few months, subsequent WHO consultations and opinion pieces by prominent public health experts and ethicists have spelled out detailed visions of how to proceed with testing of experimental Ebola medicines. The issues, both practical and ethical, are starkly different for drugs and vaccines. Unproven drugs go to the sick, who are fighting for their lives and often have few options, whereas experimental vaccines are tested in healthy people—most will be first-line workers—in an effort to protect them from the deadly virus. “Ethical arguments are not the same for all levels of risk,” noted 17 prominent researchers and ethicists from 11 countries in an editorial about Ebola drug testing published online on 10 October in The Lancet. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)center_img 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 The gold standard of clinical trial design for both drugs and vaccines is the randomized controlled trial (RCT), in which half the participants are randomly assigned to receive the experimental medicine, while the control group receives conventional care, sometimes including a placebo. Doctors Without Borders (MSF), which has treated more Ebola patients in West Africa than any other group, emphatically opposes RCTs in affected countries for either treatments or vaccines. MSF’s Annick Antierens, who oversees “investigational platforms” for experimental Ebola products, says “this cannot be defended ethically.”The Lancet editorial, led by Piero Olliaro of WHO and the United Kingdom’s University of Oxford, sided with MSF with regard to treatments. In making their case, the authors question the meaning of “equipoise,” a fundamental ethical principle behind RCTs that says investigators should not know whether an intervention is better than what’s offered to the control group. “Equipoise is a useful principle, but it can break down when conventional care offers little benefit and mortality is extremely high,” the authors write. “This is precisely the problem with Ebola: current conventional care does not much affect clinical outcomes and mortality is as high as 70%. When conventional care means such a high probability of death, it is problematic to insist on randomising patients to it when the intervention arm holds out at least the possibility of benefit.”The editorial rebuts an article published online on 11 September in The Journal of the American Medical Association by bioethicist Steven Joffe of the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) and an earlier one by bioethicists Annette Rid of King’s College London and Penn’s Ezekiel Emanuel that ran online on 21 August in The Lancet. Those authors contend that “compassionate use” of experimental Ebola medicines outside of RCTs, as has happened in a few patients with the antibody cocktail called ZMapp and a drug made by Tekmira, risks compromising the ability to gather scientific evidence and, as Joffe writes, “will not necessarily prevent more deaths than would administration of the drug in a well-designed clinical trial.”Rid says Olliaro and co-authors wrongly assume that receiving an experimental treatment is necessarily better than receiving effective supportive care—which has not been available to many infected people in West Africa. She further contends that the editorial “underplays the possibility that experimental interventions can make people worse off” and “neglects the population-level concern that, even if the interventions don’t make individuals worse off, they may be ineffective and we would end up misallocating scarce resources.”The design of real-world studies to test whether Ebola vaccines work has similarly triggered impassioned discussions. Many researchers at a WHO consultation held 29 and 30 September came to the meeting thinking that traditional RCTs were off the table: Sentiment seemed to be leaning toward a strategy known as stepped-wedge that would give all participants the Ebola vaccine at different points in time and then look to see whether people who received it later were more vulnerable to infection. But at the meeting, Ripley Ballou from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), which has the Ebola vaccine furthest in development, won wide support for his argument that the fastest, most ethical way to assess whether the product works is with an RCT that uses an “active control”—such as a proven vaccine against an unrelated disease—rather than a dummy placebo shot.In the wake of that meeting, some have questioned whether an active control is more ethical than a placebo. Peter Smith, an epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine who attended that meeting as well as a 2013 WHO consultation on the use of placebos in vaccine trials, contends the issue is practical, not ethical: An active control may persuade more participants to join the study. “If it’s easier to do the trial if you use an active control rather than a placebo, then fine, do the trial that way,” Smith says. “But to believe one is more ethical than the other is not the issue.” He stresses that the main benefit of joining a vaccine trial, especially in resource-strained countries like these, is that people who do develop the disease “are generally looked after better than people not in trials.”Arthur Caplan, a bioethicist at New York University in New York City who co-authored the latest Lancet editorial opposing RCTs for Ebola drugs, supports their use for Ebola vaccines. But he worries that an active control may cause problems. Immune responses triggered by the vaccine in the active control arm, he notes, “could complicate interpreting the results” in people who received the Ebola vaccine. It also raises ethical dilemmas if an active control arm uses a vaccine that the country cannot afford to use routinely.Bioethicist Nir Eyal of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, who also supports RCTs for Ebola vaccines, says it’s “an enormous privilege” to be offered a chance to participate in a trial that gives people a 50% chance of receiving a vaccination with some promise of success. “Of course nobody wants the placebo,” Eyal says. “But the point of medical trials is not to provide the intervention that’s medically best for the research subject. It’s to establish something that’s important—and this point is crucial—for a far larger population and to prevent human catastrophe.”Even MSF does not rule out other trial designs that offer the Ebola vaccine to all participants. Aside from the stepped-wedge scheme, researchers could stage less rigorous “observational” trials, which are typically used after vaccines come to market to see how well they work in entire populations. “After licensure, there are plenty of observational studies that give us very, very useful and meaningful results that we believe,” says epidemiologist Arthur Reingold of the University of California, Berkeley.In this scheme, vaccine is distributed without an organized study and investigators would look at Ebola rates in a cohort of vaccinated people—say, the health care workers at one hospital—or assess vaccination rates in people who develop Ebola. “The key issue when you start calculating vaccine effectiveness is whether people who get the vaccine and people who don’t get the vaccine are relatively comparable,” Reingold says.Yet another hot-button issue is who should be eligible to receive experimental drugs or treatments. Scarce treatments like ZMapp have preferentially gone to health care workers because, as the August WHO consultation emphasized, they put their lives at risk for others and they are needed to control the epidemic. Rid and Emanuel question whether this makes sense, noting that health care workers have special ties to the medical community and relatively higher levels of income. “Their priority might therefore be viewed as further privileging of the already well-off, especially by contrast with those who provide care without being trained as health professionals.”On the vaccine front, GSK may have up to 20,000 doses ready for efficacy tests in January, but that still means there likely will be far more interested participants than product. The latest WHO consultation says front-line workers should go first—not just doctors and nurses—a group that includes anyone who helps care for patients or even buries those who die.For practical reasons, meeting participant Michael Selgelid of Monash University, Clayton, in Australia says it makes the most sense to offer the vaccine to the “traditionally conceived” notion of a health care worker. “They are best able to give proper informed consent, and it’s crucial in this scenario that we have really good informed consent,” he says. At the end of the day, Selgelid says, regulators like FDA likely will heavily influence trial design as they are the ones who will ultimately decide whether these products can come to market. “Just how flexible the regulators are going to be is a question for them rather than me,” he says.*The Ebola Files: Given the current Ebola outbreak, unprecedented in terms of number of people killed and rapid geographic spread, Science and Science Translational Medicine have made a collection of research and news articles on the viral disease freely available to researchers and the general public.last_img read more

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Carbon tomb buried deep under Chinese desert

first_img Kmusser/Creative Commons/Wikimedia 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 By the time the water reaches the aquifers, it contains so much carbon that it would fizz like a soda if it surfaced, says lead author and desert biogeochemist Li Yan of the Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography in China. And because the brine is unsuitable for drinking or irrigation, no one has bothered to pump it back up. “It is basically a one-way trip,” Li says.He and his colleagues estimate that if similar systems exist in the world’s other major desert basins—the Northwestern Sahara Basin, Australia’s Murray Basin, and the Great Basin in the United States—they could be storing up to 1000 billion tons of carbon, more than all the living plants on earth. Annually, that means saline desert aquifers would be taking in and storing about 4% of the missing carbon.To reach that number, admittedly an “upper bound,” Li and his colleagues collected more than 600 samples from glaciers, fields, and aquifers in the Tarim Basin, a vast depression that encompasses the Taklamakan. They tapped into desert wells up to 300 meters deep and measured the carbon content of their samples. They then calculated age and accumulation rates using carbon 14 dating.They discovered that the amount of carbon stored in the basin has accelerated dramatically, from only 2 grams per square meter 8000 years ago to more than 21 grams per square meter for the last 1000 years. The biggest jump came between 2000 and 5000 years ago, when farming activity increased. This suggests that the region’s carbon storage increased along with the expansion of human agricultural activity, Li says. He says that it may even explain a small part of the mystery of the missing carbon.But the new sink seems like an unlikely candidate to square up the budget, says William Schlesinger, a biochemist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York, who was not involved in the study. “We ought to recognize it for an interesting piece of work, but it’s not going to set the carbon cycling community on its head,” he says.To solve the mystery, any new sink would have to show a dramatic increase in storage capacity over the last 150 years, Schlesinger says. Prior to that, carbon production and storage were balanced, without the massive deficit seen today. “You can’t turn around and say, we’ve measured a new sink that accounts for the uptake of fossil fuel carbon dioxide from the industrial revolution, because essentially [this sink] was there before.” Li contends that carbon storage in the basin has continued to grow over the past 150 years, but his data isn’t detailed enough to prove it.Regardless, Evans says the study shows the remarkable carbon storage capacity of deserts. He says it may be worth testing other desert basins. “It opens up another mechanism that we perhaps haven’t thought about,” he says. “And I think it’s up to us to test it now.” The Tarim Basin lies at the heart of Asia, where meltwater from glaciers in the surrounding mountains empties into an oasis-dotted depression. That something is a previously unknown method of carbon storage that has been going on for thousands of years—as long as humans have been farming the world’s deserts. According to the study, carbon-rich runoff from irrigation started seeping into saline aquifers under the Taklamakan nearly 5000 years ago, when humans first took hoe to the region. Since then, it has continued to collect. The water, from high mountain glaciers surrounding the desert, picks up carbon dioxide from decaying plant matter as it flows through fields and riverbeds. Without an outlet to the sea, the runoff has no place to go but the deep desert aquifers that store the region’s water. Because of their high pressure and salt content, these aquifers can hold more than twice as much dissolved carbon content as the ocean, by unit volume. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Email Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) China’s Taklamakan desert—a windswept landscape of sand dunes and dried-out riverbeds—has been called the place where “you can go in, but you can’t come out.” That saying might apply to more than just people. Carbon—as much as 20 billion tons—has found its final resting place in aquifers hundreds of meters beneath the shifting sands there, according to a new study. The findings may extend to other deserts around the world, shedding light on a long-standing mystery about where the world’s carbon goes after we burn it.For the last 150 years, humans have been burning fossil fuels and spewing carbon into the atmosphere—11 billion tons per year, at last count. Half of that stays in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, where it traps heat and contributes to global warming. The other half accumulates in the oceans and on land. Although climate scientists can measure the carbon stored in the oceans, air, and forests, they can’t account for it all. In fact, billions of tons of carbon go missing every year—up to 2 billion in 2014—and researchers have been searching for it for decades.The new study, in Geophysical Research Letters, says deserts might be a good place to look. “There’s a lot going on in these arid regions that we’re just finding out about,” says R. Dave Evans, an ecologist at Washington State University in Pullman, who was not involved in the study. “I think [the researchers] are onto something.”last_img read more

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Test your smarts on big brains artificial brains and the fourth domain

first_img It can buy into stereotypes Sucking it from moist sand Start Quiz Top Ranker Giant lobbyist What is the average airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow—in space? Recycling it from human urine Question How warm are Enceladus’s plumes? Score How did you score on the quiz? Challenge your friends to a science news duel! An error occurred loading the Quiz. Please try again later. A sewage treatment plant Nigeria Giant mole rat Too few calories How old are Saturn’s rings? It can buy into stereotypes. One of the great promises of AI is a world free of petty human bias. Hiring by algorithm would give everyone an equal chance at work, and predicting criminal behavior with big data would sidestep prejudice in policing. But a new study shows that computers can also be biased, especially when they learn from us. When algorithms glean the meaning of words by gobbling up lots of human-written text, they adopt stereotypes very similar to our own. “Don’t think that AI is some fairy godmother,” says one scientist. “AI is just an extension of our existing culture.” A pigsty Cuba Just last week, NASA announced that it had found molecular hydrogen—a key ingredient for life as we know it—on which of our solar system’s moons? LOADING Great Britain. Long before Brexit was even a gleam in the eyes of Homo heidelbergensis, Britain was part of Europe. A high ridge of limestone—today exposed as the white cliffs of Dover—extended all the way to what is now France, letting mammoths, hippos, and eventually humans freely pass back and forth. But about 450,000 years ago, this rocky road was cut off by a flood of unimaginable proportions. The Science Quiz By Catherine MatacicApr. 19, 2017 , 11:30 AM Enceladus. In 2005, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft spied jets of vapor erupting into space from fissures on Enceladus, evidence of a salty ocean beneath the saturnian moon’s placid surface. Now, it turns out that the jets contain hydrogen gas, a sign of ongoing chemical reactions on the floor of that alien sea. Because such chemistry provides energy for microbial life on Earth, Enceladus now becomes the solar system’s top candidate for hosting life beyond Earth—besting even Europa, another icy moon with an ocean. Results: You answered out of correctly – Click to revisit Europa 0 / 10 Giant shipworm You 0 Imperial College London/Chase Stone Scientists now suspect that almost half a million years ago, ice age waterfalls cut off this current island from the rest of its continent: The Science Quiz tests your knowledge of this past month’s biggest science news stories. No matter how much you know, you’re still likely to learn something–give it a try! How old are Saturn’s rings? It’s time to place your bets, for Cassini is swooping close enough to take a look. On 26 April, it will thread the gap between the gas giant and its rings in the first of 22 orbits that will culminate in September with a fiery and fatal plunge into the planet’s atmosphere. The Grand Finale, as NASA is calling it, should help answer whether Saturn’s water ice rings are 4.5 billion years old—nearly as old as the planet—or perhaps even young enough to enjoy the odd Monty Python reference. Test your smarts on big brains, artificial brains, and the fourth domain of life! It can pretend to agree with programmers Sexual competition Giant shipworm. Before this year, the shipworm was known only from the meter-long calcium carbonate tubes it left behind in shallow lagoons in the Philippines. But scientists caught the world’s longest bivalve by digging 3 meters down into the dark mud of a former log storage pond. What they found thrilled them. The giant shipworm, which is related to clams and oysters, lives off noxious hydrogen sulfide expelled by microbes in the lagoon—which other microbes living in the worm’s gills then harness to build carbon. As a result, the shipworm rarely eats—or poops. Group hunting Pulling it directly from the air. Sorry, Dune fans—no stillsuits yet. But wringing water from the desert sky is now possible, thanks to a new spongelike device that uses sunlight to suck water vapor from arid air. The device can harvest nearly 3 liters of water a day using molecule-grabbing powders, and scientists say future versions will be even better. That could—in theory—give homes in the driest parts of the world cheap appliances that can deliver all the water they need.center_img A sewage treatment plant. Tourists visiting the Austrian town of Klosterneuburg often head for the 12th century monastery or the memorial to author Franz Kafka. Virologists and evolutionary biologists, however, may one day pay homage to the town’s sewage treatment plant, which has yielded a genome from one of the most cell-like viruses yet. The genetic material challenges the controversial hypothesis that giant viruses are descendants of a vanished group of cellular organisms—a so-called fourth domain of life. According to a delectable new study, why don’t we eat each other for dinner? Time’s Up! Too few calories. Man may be the most dangerous game, but he’s hardly the most nutritious. A new study based on the calorie count of average humans suggests that man-eating was mostly ritualistic, not dietary, among hominins. The average adult male packs 125,822 calories, enough to meet the daily requirements of some 60 people. But compared with animals like mammoths (3,600,000 calories), wooly rhinoceroses (1,260,000 calories), and aurochs (979,200 calories), it hardly seems worthwhile to hunt those that are just as wily and dangerous—or even more so—than the hunters. Fruit eating. Ask any biologist what makes primates special, and they’ll tell you the same thing: big brains. Those impressive noggins make it possible to use tools, find food, and navigate the complex relationships of group living. But scientists have long disagreed on what drove us to evolve big brains in the first place. Now, a new study finds that the caloric boost of fruit—and the complex foraging needed to find it—provided the energy needed for larger brains. Somalia This week, scientists found the first-ever live specimen of this mud-burrowing creature: Filtering it from seawater How cold is Jupiter’s Great Cold Spot? Japan Pulling it directly from the air Giant Gippsland earthworm It can “forget” birthdays and anniversaries Indirect victims of an ongoing armed conflict, children in this country are experiencing record rates of malnutrition, which is compounding the effects of disease outbreaks like measles and even polio: Fruit eating According to a new study, what behavior likely led to the development of our (relatively) large brains? Share your score Cannibalism Charon A chemical plant As Cassini starts its final mission next week, what question will it seek to answer? April 19, 2017 The Science Quiz Take the Science Quiz and test your knowledge of the month’s hottest science news. The faster you answer, the higher you score! Ganymede Too many communicable diseases Great Britain Iceland A disturbing resemblance to Boca burgers Afghanistan Last month, one of the world’s most complex viruses, a member of the so-called giant virus family, was found in what place? Enceladus Average A new study shows that artificial intelligence (AI) has become more like humans in this way: Nigeria. Of all Africa’s crises, this may be the worst, according to aid workers. Families uprooted from fighting with Boko Haram find themselves crammed into squalid camps and towns already too destitute to deal with the influx. Food, water, and sanitation are scarce or nonexistent. And in a deadly cycle, malnutrition renders children susceptible to infection and less able to fight it. Yet the crisis in Nigeria’s northeast remains remarkably unrecognized and hugely underfunded, leaving aid workers struggling with how to deliver lifesaving interventions when the needs are so great and the resources so paltry. A children’s hospital Pakistan April 19, 2017 A buildup of toxins in the fat tissue A new solar-powered device can produce up to 3 liters of water a day by doing what? It can accurately interpret body languagelast_img read more

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Superlungs gave dinosaurs the energy to run and fight

first_img Daniel Eskridge/Stocktrek Images/Getty Images Email Speedy Velociraptors may have been powered by souped-up lungs similar to those of birds. By April ReeseOct. 23, 2018 , 7:01 PM 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 Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrycenter_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) ‘Superlungs’ gave dinosaurs the energy to run and fight In the oxygen-poor air of the Mesozoic era, nothing should have been able to move very fast. But Velociraptors could run 64 kilometers per hour. Their secret weapon: superefficient, birdlike lungs, which would have pumped in a constant supply of oxygen, according to a new study. This unique adaptation may have given all dinos a leg up on their competition.Biologists have long known that birds, which descend from one branch of extinct dinosaurs, have an unusual, sophisticated respiratory system that enables powered flight. But paleontologists have long debated whether those superlungs arose only in birds or earlier in dinosaurs.Unlike humans and other mammals, whose lungs expand and deflate, bird lungs are rigid. Special air sacs alongside the lungs do the heavy lifting instead, pumping air through the lungs, where the oxygen diffuses into the bloodstream. The lungs are attached to the vertebrae and ribs, which form the “ceiling” of the rib cage—all of which helps keep the lungs stationary. A connector called the costovertebral joint, where the ribs and vertebrae meet, provides further support. That setup allows for a continuous stream of oxygen and requires less energy than inflating and deflating the lungs. It also allows paleontologists studying fossils to learn a lot about the lungs by examining the bones around them. To find out when these superlungs evolved, paleobiologists Robert Brocklehurst and William Sellers of The University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, and biologist Emma Schachner of Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans turned to computer models. They compared the shapes of skeletal features like vertebrae and ribs in a range of bird and nonavian dinosaur species.Many dinosaurs, including therapods like Velociraptor and Spinosaurus, a large carnivorous dinosaur, had similar lung architecture to birds, the team reports today in Royal Society Open Science. These dinosaurs sported a costovertebral joint and the birdlike bony “ceiling” of vertebrae and ribs that helps keep the lungs rigid.All of this suggests dinos had the same kind of efficient respiratory organs as birds, the team concludes. These superlungs may help explain why dinosaurs were able to dominate and spread, despite the rarified air of the Mesozoic, Brocklehurst says. Back then, the air was only 10% to 15% oxygen, compared with 20% today.The work sheds light on how birds’ extraordinary lungs evolved, says Jingmai O’Connor, a paleontologist with the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing. “Birds are really weird compared to all other animals,” she says. “They have this highly evolved respiration system, [and] we’ve always wondered, ‘How did this evolve?’” Now, it seems likely that superlungs first developed in dinosaurs, and only later on evolved to support powered flight in birds, she says.But O’Connor adds that just because a fossil has the bone structure for birdlike lungs doesn’t necessarily mean it actually had such lungs. Finding lung tissue, which is almost never preserved, would be the clincher. She described what may be the first preserved lungs found in a bird fossil at the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology’s annual meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico, last week and in a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences yesterday. In that 120-million-year-old, dove-size bird from China, she and her team noted that although the putative lungs were sophisticated, the skeletal structure around them was primitive, suggesting bones and soft tissue may not evolve in lockstep.Not everyone is sure O’Connor’s bird organs are really lungs, however. The structures could be a mineral artifact, speculates Corwin Sullivan, a paleontologist at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, who studies the evolution of avian respiratory systems. But even if so, he says, the specimen is “absolutely fascinating.”*Correction, 24 October, 11:35 a.m.: This story has been updated to correct Emma Schachner’s affiliation.last_img read more

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Listen to this pianoplaying robot hit all the right notes

first_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Email Listen to this piano-playing robot hit all the right notes Robots are smarter, stronger, and more complex than ever before, but they still stumble over nuanced motions that most humans take for granted, like adjusting finger pressure and speed to overcome a sticky keyboard or a lagging smartphone screen. To make these subtle adjustments, our brains interpret cues from the environment, and our finely tuned bodies modify our movements.Taking a page from nature, researchers used 3D printing to integrate polymers of different stiffness into several soft, skeletonlike robotic hands. By creating the robot out of elastic materials, the scientists eliminated the need for motors or actuators at every joint, saving power and simplifying the design.The scientists then mounted the skeleton hands on a robotic arm and had them play piano music in several different styles—from bouncy staccato notes to smooth glissando slides, which require the hand to stretch across an entire octave. The entire time, the robot used only its arm motor to drive the movements. 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 Zimbabwecenter_img By Frankie SchembriDec. 19, 2018 , 2:00 PM Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country When researchers used sensors on the keyboard to track the timing and force of the robot hand, they found a close match to the movements of humans playing the same pieces of music. Compared with stiff-fingered robots, whose note hitting tends to be more precise but lacks style, the new robots were capable of more complex musical phrasing, they report today in Science Robotics.The new hands might one day have touch sensors that can help the robot in tasks that require a delicate touch, like picking fruit or feeling for tumors. For humans, they could even be used to create more lifelike prosthetics. But for now, they’re more likely to strike a festive note at your holiday party.last_img read more

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The City of Holbrook looks forward to more improvements

first_imgThe City of Holbrook looks forward to more improvements By Toni Gibbons       With the hiring of a new city manager still a couple of months away, Holbrook Interim City Manager Cher Reyes is focusing on getting essential maintenance done on the city’s buildingsSubscribe or log in to read the rest of this content. Bottom Ad January 2, 2019last_img

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Article 370 temporary provision in Constitution Govt tells Rajya Sabha

first_img Post Comment(s) By PTI |New Delhi | Published: July 10, 2019 6:27:21 pm Pro-Hindu outfit takes on Centre for going slow on Article 370 repeal J&K: Article 370 has to go lock stock and barrel, says Ram Madhav Advertising Article 370, Jammu and Kashmir, Article 370 Jammu and Kashmir, Rajya Sabha, Rajya Sabha news, Jammu and Kashmir news, Article 35A, Constitution, Rajya Sabha, G. Kishan Reddy, Parliament Minister of State for Home G Kishan ReddyThe government on Wednesday said Article 370, which provides for special status to Jammu and Kashmir, is a temporary provision in the Constitution and Article 35A, which gives special rights to the natives of the state, was added through a Constitution order issued by the President of India. Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy told the Rajya Sabha that at present, Article 370 is contained as a temporary provision with respect to Jammu and Kashmir in Part XXI (Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions) of the Constitution.“At present, Article 35A is contained in the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1954 which was added through the Constitution Order issued by the President of India under Article 370,” he said in a written reply.Reddy said Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and matters relating to the Constitution are internal and entirely for the Parliament to deal with.“No foreign government or organisation has any locus standi in the matter,” he said. The reply came in response to a question on whether the government is going to repeal articles 370 and 35A and whether the repeal of these articles in any way violate United Nations regulations or any international obligation of the country. Article 370 temporary provision, separatists in Valley scared: Amit Shah Related News last_img read more

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