Criticism mounts of a longcontroversial chronic fatigue study

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Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)center_img The authors of a controversial 2011 trial that showed that exercise and behavioral therapy could help treat chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) today released a follow-up study that supports their original findings. But the new report comes on the heels of a lengthy and highly critical examination of the original trial by a journalist.At issue is an $8 million trial run in the United Kingdom, dubbed PACE, which examined a number of treatments for CFS, a disease also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) that has no known cause. In The Lancet, the PACE researchers reported that patients with CFS/ME experienced “moderate improvements” in their symptoms if they did a program of graded exercise or cognitive behavior therapy. Two other interventions tested, so-called specialist medical care and adaptive pacing therapy, did not help.The Lancet study drew immediate fire from patient groups, with some complaining that it appeared to suggest that CFS/ME is a psychological, rather than physical, disorder. Many researchers, meanwhile, argued that some of the study’s methods were seriously flawed. As The Lancet itself noted in an editorial a few months after publishing the 2011 study, the “response to the trial’s publication was swift and damning.” On 21 October, journalist David Tuller, who helps oversee a journalism program at the University of California (UC), Berkeley, published the first installment of a four-part series re-examining the trial. The series, “Trial by Error,” appears on the virology blog run by Columbia University microbiologist Vincent Racaniello.Tuller writes that after the PACE results were published, people with CFS/ME “bristled with offense at the suggestion they would get better if only they could change their perceptions about their condition.” And “pushing themselves to be more active not only wasn’t helpful, they insisted, but could trigger a serious and extended relapse.”Tuller quotes several scientists lambasting the PACE study for everything from its methodology and outcome measures to alleged conflicts of interest involving its authors. He reports that the authors did not reply to his inquiries. Comments about his series are flooding websites run by CFS/ME groups.The authors of the PACE study today added fuel to the fire, releasing an online paper in The Lancet Psychiatry that reports on a long-term follow-up of trial participants. It concludes that the benefits of the interventions were maintained.In the follow-up, a team led by psychiatrist Michael Sharpe of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom sent questionnaires to 604 of the trial participants and asked them to self-rate their health. The 481 participants who responded reflected a statistically valid sample of the patients who received the four interventions.After analyzing the responses, the researchers concluded that the benefits reported in the original study, which assessed participants at 1 year, were maintained for at least another 1.5 years. But the participants randomized to receive the two interventions that initially did nothing also improved, and there “was little evidence of differences in outcomes” when compared with the people in the other treatment groups. The authors suggest that this is because the people in the ineffective groups later decided to seek out graded exercise and cognitive behavior therapy.“These are not magic cures,” said Sharpe at a press conference in London today. “This is just the only game in town really in terms of an evidence-based treatment if you have got this condition to get yourself improved.”Rona Moss-Morris, a psychologist at King’s College London who was not involved in the study, said, “I think this is a robust study with some limitations that the authors have been clear about.”But in Tuller’s takedown of the PACE study, Arthur Reingold, an epidemiologist at UC Berkeley, is sharply critical of the original trial’s design. “Under the circumstances, an independent review of the trial conducted by experts not involved in the design or conduct of the study would seem to be very much in order,” Reingold asserts. University College London Neurologist Jonathan Edwards told Tuller that the PACE data are “a mass of uninterpretability” and said “the issues with the trial are extremely worrying.”At the press conference, Sharpe said he doesn’t think there’s “a growing army of people upset about this,” and he stressed that their findings are not suggesting that CFS/ME is a mental illness. “It’s sometimes quite hard to understand what motivates the very vocal minority that gets so upset about this apparently benign bit of moderately helpful treatment,” he said.last_img read more

Trump team puts controversial red team challenge to climate science on hold

first_img After the talk, the red team “has been put on hold,” according to someone familiar with the meeting.President Trump has privately told Pruitt he supports a public debate to challenge mainstream climate science, administration officials told E&E News (Climatewire, 11 December). But the administration isn’t unified behind the idea, and an official said prior to this week’s meeting that “Pruitt has not been given authorization to go ahead with red team, blue team; there are still many issues to be ironed out.”That came after Pruitt told House lawmakers last week that work on the red team is “ongoing” but that details could be unveiled as early as next month. “We may be able to get there as early as January next year,” he said.It appears there are still some sticking points within the administration, and it’s unclear when a formal initiative might be announced and what shape it might take. Conservatives and scientists outside the administration who support the general idea of a climate science red team are also divided over exactly what form it should take and where it should be housed. (See related story.)”There’s been speculation that Pruitt and the White House have differences of opinion over how it should be launched and what part of the government should be in charge of it,” said a source close to the administration. The White House Trump team puts controversial ‘red team’ challenge to climate science ‘on hold’ Pruitt has not been given authorization to go ahead with red team, blue team; there are still many issues to be ironed out. Anonymous Trump administration official Editor’s note: A nice scoop today from E&E News’ Robin Bravender on the status of a proposal to have a “red team” composed of climate science critics challenge a “blue team” of mainstream researchers.Originally published by E&E NewsThe effort by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to publicly debate mainstream climate science is on ice. The idea of a “red team, blue team” debate to critique climate science — championed by EPA boss Scott Pruitt — has created divisions within the Trump administration, spurring high-level staff discussions at the White House about how to proceed. Earlier this week, EPA air chief Bill Wehrum attended a White House meeting with Trump energy aide Mike Catanzaro, deputy chief of staff Rick Dearborn and others to discuss the future of the debate, according to an administration official. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country The White House center_img Pruitt frequently brings up the idea in interviews and has suggested the debate could air on television. But he typically steers clear of specifics.”So the red team, blue team approach … is something that puts experts in a room and lets them debate an issue,” Pruitt said on “Fox & Friends” in September. “The American people deserve that type of objective, transparent discussion.”He added: “We know the climate is always changing. We know humans contribute to it in some way. To what degree, to measure that with precision is very difficult. But what we don’t know: Are we in a situation where it’s an existential threat?”Asked yesterday about the status of a red team effort, EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman said, “We will share updates if/when they become available.”Reprinted from Greenwire with permission from E&E News. Copyright 2017. E&E provides essential news for energy and environment professionals at www.eenews.net Email By Robin Bravender, E&E NewsDec. 15, 2017 , 3:15 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 Click to view the privacy policy. 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Fields of fivestoryhigh ice blades could complicate landing on Jupiter moon

first_img Fields of five-story-high ice blades could complicate landing on Jupiter moon By Paul VoosenOct. 8, 2018 , 11:00 AM Email Scientists have long wanted to explore Jupiter’s frozen moon, Europa, which is home to a vast subsurface ocean that makes it a promising home for extraterrestrial life. Recently, that desire has gained prominent financial backing from the U.S. Congress, which has directed NASA to start to build a robotic lander to follow the Europa Clipper, which will chart the moon from above.But such a mission could be tricky. Probes have shown that Europa’s ice-bound surface is riven with fractures and ridges, and new work published today in Nature Geosciences suggests any robotic lander could face a nasty surprise, in the form of vast fields of ice spikes, each standing as tall as a semitruck is long.Such spikes are created on Earth in the frigid tropical peaks of the Andes Mountains, where they are called “penitentes,” for their resemblance to devout white-clad monks. First described by Charles Darwin, penitentes are sculpted by the sun in frozen regions that experience no melt; instead, the fixed patterns of light cause the ice to directly vaporize, amplifying minute surface variations that result in small hills and shadowed hollows. These dark hollows absorb more sunlight than the bright peaks around them, vaporizing down further in a feedback loop. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! 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Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) ESO Penitentes have already been seen on Pluto. And by calculating other competing erosional processes on Europa, such as impacts and charged particle bombardment, the new work suggests the vaporization of ice would be dominant in its equatorial belt, forming penitentes 15 meters tall spaced only 7 meters apart. Such formations could explain, the authors add, why radar observations of the planet dip in energy at its equator, the penitentes scattering the response. But the ultimate proof of whether Europa’s belly will be off limits to landing will come when the Clipper arrives in the mid-2020s.last_img read more

In this Sangrur town behind peculiar eyesores Captains minister his message

first_img Related News Congress renews bid for all-party Opposition alliance for Maharashtra assembly polls Post Comment(s) Best Of Express Karnataka trust vote today: Speaker’s call on resignations, says SC, but gives rebel MLAs a shield Asked how they allowed misuse of public property for political promotion, NHAI project director Vishal Gautam said he cannot answer the query.However, a senior NHAI official, requesting anonymity, said, “In this case, police should have taken action when flyover was defaced as NHAI has no magisterial powers. Police could have booked the offenders under the National Highways Act and the Punjab Prevention of Defacement of Property Act”.Section 3(1) of the Punjab Prevention of Defacement of Property Act calls for six months imprisonment and a fine of Rs 1,000 and makes it a cognizable offence. Written by Divya Goyal | Bhawanigarh (sangrur) | Updated: July 16, 2019 5:25:34 am BJP will make Maharashtra Congress-mukt, says party state chief Chandrakant Patil Advertisingcenter_img Sabka saath In this Sangrur town, behind peculiar eyesores: Captain’s minister, his message Painted faces of the Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Cabinet minister Vijay Inder Singla on a wall painting at Bhawanigarh in Sangrur. (Express Photo by Gurmeet Singh)Created by a Congress leader to publicize the promise of right price for agriculture produce after the party assumed power in Punjab in 2017, several wall paintings – on public properties such as flyovers on the National Highway from Sangrur to Patiala via Bhawanigarh – have now turned into eyesores. Cabinet asks finance panel to consider securing funds for defence After Masood Azhar blacklisting, more isolation for Pakistan Reason: Faces of Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh and cabinet minister Vijay Inder Singla, painted alongside the message have been blacked out – with green paint.These wall paintings in Bhawanigarh, a part of Sangrur assembly constituency from where Singla is MLA, were covered with paint after the model code of conduct was imposed during recently concluded Lok Sabha polls.Singla confessed that he had got these paintings done to “motivate” the farmers after Congress came to power. “We got these paintings done to motivate the farmers and to discourage them from committing suicides. So the motivational slogans were also painted along. I did not misuse my position as then Public Works Department (PWD) minister. These were done before I took the charge as a minister”. Singla, who is now school education minister, further claimed that most such paintings were either removed or blacked out during Lok Sabha polls. Painted faces of Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh and his minister Vijay Inder Singla under a flyover on Patiala-Sangrur highway. (Express Photo by Gurmeet Singh)Singla claimed that aim “never was to deface the public property” in any way. “But when code of conduct was enforced, they had to be covered. At most locations, we got them removed entirely.”Sangrur Deputy Commissioner Ghanshyam Thori said that the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) should answer how political paintings were allowed to be painted on the flyover. “We got most of them removed during LS polls and in some others, faces were painted as per rules. Many locations were repainted with graffitis related to voting. If some are left, we will see (that they are removed),” the DC said.Contacted PWD superintending engineer NP Singh too passed the buck onto the NHAI saying it was their property. Advertisinglast_img read more

Indonesian woman jailed for reporting sexual harassment to seek amnesty

first_imgBy Reuters |Jakarta | Published: July 8, 2019 8:39:56 pm Advertising The Supreme Court last week jailed Baiq Nuril Maknun, a former teacher from the island of Lombok, for six months for breaking a communications law, after she recorded lewd phone calls from the principal of the school she worked at and reported them to a colleague.Maknun, who is due to start serving her prison sentence next week, told reporters she would file for amnesty as soon as possible and she hoped the president would grant it. “As a child, who should I go to but a father,” said a softly spoken Maknun, 41, as she struggled to hold back tears.Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim country and is predominantly conservative. While some women have recounted experiences of sexual harassment as part of a #MeToo movement, in general, women are less likely to speak out about abuse compared with women in some other countries. Advertising Face of Indonesia disaster relief efforts dies at 49 Maknun had complained of getting lewd phone calls from the principal of the school where she worked from 2012, court documents showed. She secretly recorded some of the calls and gave a recording to a colleague, allegedly passing it on via an electronic device. But that opened her up to an accusation of spreading pornography under a communications law.Last week, the Supreme Court overturned a lower court’s decision to acquit her, imposed the jail term and also ordered her to pay a 500 million rupiah ($35,474) fine. Widodo, who was recently re-elected for a second term, has indicated he would pardon Maknun if she applied for amnesty, but he has also asked the public to honour the Supreme Court’s decision.Minister of Law and Human Rights Yasonna Laoly said women would not speak up if Maknun was not freed.“If she is not given an amnesty, there are tens of thousands of women, victims of sexual assault or harassment who won’t be brave enough to report it,” Laoly told reporters after meeting Maknun in Jakarta.The Supreme Court defended its verdict saying it was not asked to rule on sexual harassment allegations, but rather on whether or not Maknun had electronically disseminated pornographic content and violated the communications law. Undersea quake south of Indonesia’s Bali causes brief panic sexual harassment, Women harassment, Baiq Nuril Maknun, Baiq Nuril Maknun amnesty, Indonesia, sexual harassment, indonesian woman,Women harassment, Indonesia Women harassment Indonesia, indonesia news, World news, The Indian Express news Indonesia’s Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly talks to journalists during a press conference with Baiq Nuril Maknun, a teacher on the island of Lombok who was jailed after she tried to report sexual harassment, in Jakarta, Indonesia, July 8. (Photo: Reuters)An Indonesian woman sentenced to prison for reporting her employer for sexual harassment said on Monday she will ask President Joko Widodo for an amnesty. Related News Strong quake causes panic in eastern Indonesia, tsunami warning lifted 1 Comment(s)last_img read more

7yrold boy drowns in Mumbai drain 3rd such death in a week

first_img Advertising In undecided Congress, first open call for Priyanka: She should be party chief LiveMumbai building collapse LIVE UPDATES: 10 dead, several others feared trapped; CM orders probe Post Comment(s) Related News This is the third such death in a week in the metropolis.Divyansh, an 18-month-old boy, fell into an open gutter in suburban Goregaon on Wednesday night.BMC officials had called off the search 48 hours later after checkingover 10kilometres of the drain line in vain. On Monday, Dindoshi police filed a criminal case under section 304 A (causing death due to negligence) of the IPC against the officers and staff involved in supervision work of the drainage on the basis of a complaint filed by the child’s father Suraj Singh.Singh, talking to reporters during the operation, had accused the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and other forces of negligence during the search. Best Of Express Advertising Karnataka: SC to rule today, says Speaker’s powers need relook center_img Mumbai boy drowns, Mumbai boy drowns in Mumbai, Mumbai drowning, Minor boy drowns, Mumbai news, Indian Express news  The boy, Amit Munnalal Jaiswal, fell in the drain at the Rajiv Gandhi Colony in Dharavi, a sprawling slum colony in the heart of the city, an official said. (Representational)A seven-year-old boy died after falling into an open drain in Dharavi slum Monday, the third case of drowning of a minor in a week here, police said. The boy, Amit Munnalal Jaiswal, fell in the drain at the Rajiv Gandhi Colony in Dharavi, a sprawling slum colony in the heart of the city, an official said.The incident took place when Amit and his brother were playing near the drain, he said.After being alerted about the incident, the police rushed to the spot and pulled out the boy from the open drainage. He was rushed to Sion hospital, where he was declared brought dead, the official said. Mumbai: Bail after 7 years, man says said yes to LeT charge to avoid long trial NRC deadline approaching, families stranded in Assam floods stay home Singh had claimed the civic body did nothing about the open gutter despite constant reminders from local residents. On Saturday, a 12-year-old boy died after falling into a water-filled pit, dug for the construction of the CoastalRoad, near Worli.The boy, Bablu Kumar Paswan, had fallen in the pit near the Worli Sea Link on Friday, the police said. By PTI |Mumbai | Published: July 15, 2019 9:50:41 pm Mumbai Mayor’s vehicle found in no-parking zone; fined last_img read more

Study reveals changes in functioning of older individuals central nervous system

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Sep 26 2018The central nervous system of older individuals responds to movement and initiates muscular contraction differently compared to young individuals. This is the result of a study led by researcher Simon Walker at the University of Jyväskylä with Postdoctoral Researcher funding from the Academy of Finland. Walker’s team also found links between the ability to sense movement and balance control.The team performed a series of studies, testing healthy young (aged 35 and under) and older (aged 65‒75) individuals who did not regularly exercise. The results revealed changes in the functioning of the older individuals’ central nervous system.In the first study, the researchers rotated the test subjects’ both feet independently, up and down, with a specially built device and recorded brain signals using magnetoencephalography. They then analyzed the results with a technique known as coherence, comparing the amount of similarity between two signals, in this case the frequency of brain signals and the frequency of the foot movement. They found stronger coherence levels in the older participants. The coherence level was related to the amount of body sway during quiet standing.Related StoriesNew insights into molecular motors could help treat neurological disordersBotulinum toxin may offer relief from chronic pelvic pain in women with endometriosisSchwann cells capable of generating protective myelin over nerves finds research”We interpret these findings to mean that those who require greater brain processing of movement have a compromised ability to sense movement. Therefore, they are not as efficient in controlling movement or standing,” Walker explains.In a separate study, Walker’s team investigated coherence between two thigh muscles during a voluntary contraction. Here, the older individuals showed lower coherence at several frequencies. According to Walker, this possibly means that older people cannot control their leg muscles as well as young people.Exercise was used to try to improve the functioning of the central nervous system. However, 14 weeks of resistance training did not change the level of coherence between the muscles of the older individuals during the contractions. “We don’t know yet if this is because this type of intervention doesn’t enhance central nervous system function, if the duration of the intervention wasn’t long enough, if the changes in the central nervous system of older people aren’t redeemable, or if it’s some combination of all these things,” Walker says.Both of these results occurred in apparently healthy older individuals. These people had a high physical function and good balance control. Nevertheless, they displayed a compromised central nervous system function.”Hence, there are probably other mechanisms that need to be enhanced to maintain the level of function. Also, it’s apparent that when older people need to produce force voluntarily, the electrical signals that control such movement are different compared to young people. Therefore, aging modifies not only the sensing of movement but also the execution of movement. We need to continue to design interventions and tests to determine whether these changes are reversible,” Walker says. Source:http://www.aka.fi/en/about-us/media/press-releases/2018/changes-in-older-peoples-central-nervous-system-leads-to-compromised-ability-to-sense-movement/last_img read more

Flavoring additive ingredients in ecigarettes may increase inflammation and impair lung function

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Oct 11 2018Flavoring and additive ingredients in e-cigarettes may increase inflammation and impair lung function, according to new research. The study, published ahead of print in the American Journal of Physiology–Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology, also found that short-term exposure to e-cigarettes was enough to cause lung inflammation similar or worse than that seen in traditional cigarette use. The research was chosen as an APSselect article for October.E-cigarettes, popular battery-powered devices that simulate the act of smoking a traditional cigarette, dispense a vapor derived from liquid chemicals in a refillable cartridge. The refills typically contain propylene glycol, nicotine and often flavorings. Propylene glycol–a colorless, odorless food additive–is found in numerous processed food and beverages; it is also used as a solvent in a number pharmaceuticals. E-cigarette devices and refills are not well regulated, and the long-term health effects of e-cigarette use are not widely known.Researchers studied several groups of mice that received whole-body exposure to varying chemical combinations four times each day. Each exposure session was separated by 30-minute smoke-free intervals. Related StoriesAcute exposure to flavored e-liquids exacerbates endothelial cell dysfunction, study findsNew regulations on e-cigarettes may have unintended consequencesStudy finds increase in cigarette smoking among minority teens after college affirmative action bansThe cigarette and e-cigarette groups were compared with a control group that was exposed to medical-grade air. Some of the animals in each group were exposed to short-term cigarette smoke or e-cigarette vapor (three days), while others were exposed for a longer term (four weeks).The research team found an increase in markers of inflammation, mucus production and altered lung function in the propylene, propylene + nicotine and flavoring groups after three days. However, the propylene group showed fewer negative effects with long-term exposure, suggesting the additive alone elicits only a temporary irritation that eventually subsides with continued use. In addition, two inflammation-producing proteins became elevated only in the flavoring group, suggesting that some of the many flavoring components on the market may not be safe for even short-term use.The condition of the e-cigarette groups in comparison with the cigarette group surprised the researchers. The level of oxidative stress–stress at a cellular level–in the flavoring group was equal to or higher than that of the cigarette group. However, respiratory mechanics were adversely affected only in mice exposed to cigarette smoke and not to e-cigarette vapor after prolonged treatment. “The observed detrimental effects in the lung upon [e-cigarette] vapor exposure in animal models highlight the need for further investigation of safety and toxicity of these rapidly expanding devices worldwide,” the researchers wrote.Source: http://www.the-aps.org/mm/hp/Audiences/Public-Press/2018/63.html One group was exposed to cigarette smoke (“cigarette”); One group was exposed to e-cigarette vapor containing propylene glycol and vegetable glycerol, an odorless liquid derived from plant oils (“propylene”); One group was exposed to e-cigarette vapor containing propylene glycol and nicotine (“propylene + nicotine”) and One group was exposed to e-cigarette vapor containing propylene glycol, nicotine and tobacco flavoring (“flavoring”).last_img read more

Researchers discover mechanisms that lead to osteoarthritis after knee joint injury

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Oct 25 2018Knee joint injuries are typically related to sports, such as football, rugby or ice hockey, but people often do not know that such injuries may lead to joint inflammation and post-traumatic osteoarthritis. In advanced post-traumatic osteoarthritis, joint cartilage breaks down completely, causing severe joint pain, lack of mobility and even social isolation. However, the mechanisms leading to osteoarthritis are not known. Currently, it is not possible for a physician examining a patient to predict future joint condition and possible development of osteoarthritis. In the future, however, this may be possible, as a new study from the University of Eastern Finland and Massachusetts Institute of Technology now shows that articular cartilage degenerates specifically around injury areas when the fluid flow velocity becomes excessive. The findings were reported in Scientific Reports.Related StoriesNew type of treatment for osteoarthritis shows promise for use in humansNew technology to harvest energy from the human kneeMortality risk from cardiovascular disease higher for people with osteoarthritisThe study presents a new mechanobiological model for cartilage degeneration by implementing tissue deformation and fluid flow as mechanisms for cartilage breakdown when a normal dynamic loading, such as walking, is applied to the joint. The results were compared to experimentally observed degradation of articular cartilage. Ultimately, the new model could be used to predict osteoarthritis in personal medicine, to suggest optimal rehabilitation protocols, and to improve the quality of life.The researchers found that different mechanisms, such as fluid flow and tissue deformation, can cause cartilage degradation after a knee injury. The results obtained using the novel algorithm agreed well with the experimentally observed proteoglycan content and cell death in cartilage samples. According to the researchers, a numerical analysis shows that both fluid flow and tissue deformation are plausible mechanisms leading to osteoarthritis, but increased fluid flow from cartilage seems to be better in line with the experiments.”Our findings indicate that after an injury in the knee and subsequent tissue loading, osteoarthritis is caused by easy leakage of proteoglycans through the injury surface by high fluid outflow,” Early Stage Researcher Gustavo A. Orozco from the University of Eastern Finland explains.The findings are significant, and could open up new avenues for the model to be employed in the prediction of subject-specific progression of post-traumatic osteoarthritis, and in the evaluation of the effect of clinical interventions in the future. Specifically, the model could identify high and low-risk lesions in the cartilage for osteoarthritis development and suggest an optimal and individual rehabilitation protocol. Source:http://www.uef.fi/-/tutkijat-loysivat-syyn-miksi-nivelvammat-johtavat-nivelrikkoonlast_img read more

Egg metabolites in blood linked to reduced risk of type 2 diabetes

first_imgJan 3 2019Consumption of one egg every day seems to associate with a blood metabolite profile that is related to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, a new study conducted in the University of Eastern Finland shows. The findings were published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research. Although it is too early to draw any causal conclusions, we now have some hints about certain egg-related compounds that may have a role in type 2 diabetes development. Further detailed investigations with both cell models and intervention studies in humans that use modern techniques, such as metabolomics, are needed to understand the mechanisms behind physiological effects of egg intake.”Stefania Noerman Related StoriesSome people treated for type 1 diabetes may have monogenic diabetes, study findsAADE’s comprehensive guidance on care of children, young adults with diabetes releasedDiet and physical exercise do not reduce risk of gestational diabetesThe study found that the blood samples of men who ate more eggs included certain lipid molecules that positively correlated with the blood profile of men who remained free of type 2 diabetes. In addition, the researchers identified several biochemical compounds in blood that predicted a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, including the amino acid tyrosine.The study suggests some plausible mechanisms which could at least partly explain the inverse association between egg intake and the previously observed lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Source:http://www.uef.fi/-/kananmunan-aineenvaihduntatuotteilla-yhteys-pienempaan-diabetesriskiin?inheritRedirect=true&redirect=%2Fen%2Fetusivu The purpose of the current study was to explore potential compounds that could explain this association using non-targeted metabolomics, a technique that enables a broad profiling of chemicals in a sample.”Early Stage Researcher and lead author of the study Stefania Noerman from the University of Eastern Finland Eggs remain one of the most controversial food items. High intake of eggs has traditionally been discouraged, mainly due to their high cholesterol content. However, eggs are also a rich source of many bioactive compounds that can have beneficial effects on health. This means that the health effects of consuming eggs are difficult to determine based solely on their cholesterol content.The investigators have previously shown that eating roughly one egg per day was associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes among middle-aged men participating in the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study in eastern Finland. Eating one egg every day seems to associate with a blood metabolite profile that is related to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.last_img read more

Discharged dismissed ERs often miss chance to set overdose survivors on better

first_img This article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente. Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Feb 15 2019The last time heroin landed Marissa Angerer in a Midland, Texas, emergency room — naked and unconscious — was May 2016. But that wasn’t her first drug-related interaction with the health system. Doctors had treated her a number of times before, either for alcohol poisoning or for ailments related to heavy drug use. Though her immediate, acute health issues were addressed in each episode, doctors and nurses never dealt with her underlying illness: addiction.Angerer, now 36 and in recovery, had been battling substance use disorder since she started drinking alcohol at age 16. She moved onto prescription pain medication after she broke her ankle and then eventually to street opiates like heroin and fentanyl.Just two months before that 2016 overdose, doctors replaced an infected heart valve, a byproduct of her drug use. She was discharged from the hospital and began using again the next day, leading to a reinfection that ultimately cost her all 10 toes and eight fingers.”[The hospital] didn’t have any programs or anything to go to,” Angerer said. “It’s nobody’s fault but my own, but it definitely would have been helpful if I didn’t get brushed off.”This scenario plays out in emergency departments across the country, where the next step — a means to divert addicted patients into treatment — remains elusive, creating a missed opportunity in the health system.A recent study of Medicaid claims in West Virginia, which has an opioid overdose rate more than three times the national average and the highest death rate from drug overdoses in the country, documented this disconnect.Researchers analyzed claims for 301 people who had nonfatal overdoses in 2014 and 2015. By examining hospital codes for opioid poisoning, researchers followed the patients’ treatment, seeing if they were billed in the following months for mental health visits, opioid counseling visits or prescriptions for psychiatric and substance abuse medications.They found that fewer than 10 percent of people in the study received, per month, medications like naltrexone or buprenorphine to treat their substance use disorder. (Methadone is another option to treat substance use, but it isn’t covered by West Virginia Medicaid and wasn’t included in the study.) In the month of the overdose, about 15 percent received mental health counseling. However, on average, in the year after the overdose, that number fell to fewer than 10 percent per month.”We expected more … especially given the national news about opioid abuse,” said Neel Koyawala, a second-year medical student at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, and the lead author on the study, which was published last month in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.It’s an opportunity that’s being missed in emergency rooms everywhere, said Andrew Kolodny, the co-director of Opioid Policy Research at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University outside Boston.Related StoriesResearch opens possibility of developing single-dose gene therapy for inherited arrhythmiasResearch sheds light on sun-induced DNA damage and repairImplanted device uses microcurrent to exercise heart muscle in cardiomyopathy patients”There’s a lot of evidence that we’re failing to take advantage of this low-hanging fruit with individuals who have experienced a nonfatal overdose,” Kolodny said. “We should be focusing resources on that population. We should be doing everything we can to get them plugged into treatment.”He compared it to someone who came into the emergency room with a heart attack. It’s taken for granted that the patient would leave with heart medication and a referral to a cardiac specialist. Similarly, he wants patients who come in with an overdose to start buprenorphine in the hospital and leave with a referral to other forms of treatment.Kolodny and Koyawala both noted that a lack of training and understanding among health professionals continues to undermine what happens after the overdose patient is stabilized.”Our colleagues in emergency rooms are not particularly well trained to be able to help people in a situation like this,” said Dr. Margaret Jarvis, the medical director of a residential addiction treatment center in Pennsylvania.It was clear, Angerer said, that her doctors were not equipped to deal with her addiction. They didn’t know, for instance, what she was talking about when she said she was “dope sick,” feeling ill while she was going through withdrawal.”They were completely unaware of so much, and it completely blew my mind,” she said.When she left the hospital after her toe and finger amputations, Angerer recalls her next stop seemed to be a tent city somewhere in Midland, where she feared she would end up dead. Instead, she persuaded her mother to drive her about 300 miles to a treatment facility in Dallas. She had found it on her own.”There were a lot of times I could have gone down a better path, and I fell through the cracks,” Angerer said.The bottom line, Jarvis said, is that when a patient comes into the emergency room with an overdose, they’re feeling sick, uncomfortable and “miserable.” But surviving that episode, she emphasized, doesn’t necessarily change their perilous condition.”Risk for overdose is just as high the day after as the day before an overdose,” said Dr. Matt Christiansen, an assistant professor in the Department of Family & Community Health at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine in West Virginia.last_img read more

Earlycareer job loss has long term health implications

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Feb 20 2019Sociologists at the University of Bamberg analyze employment biographiesNumerous studies have suggested that job loss and unemployment lead to poorer health. Sociologists at the University of Bamberg are now continuing this research and have set out to answer whether job loss still has health-related consequences even if it occurred decades ago and subsequent employment may have been found. Jonas Voβemer and Professor Michael Gebel, Chair of Methods of Empirical Social Research at the University of Bamberg, have shown with their current research that involuntary loss of employment early in a person’s career has long term health implications. Even more than 30 years later, negative health impacts can be traced back to early-career job loss.Related StoriesBridging the Gaps to Advance Research in the Cannabis IndustryTrump administration cracks down on fetal tissue researchOlympus launches next-generation X Line objectives for clinical, research applicationsFor their study, the researchers used data from the SHARELIFE survey which is the third wave of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). The transnational study interviewed approximately 28,000 Europeans over the age of 50 about their social and familial networks, health, and socio-economic status over the course of their lives. The analyses, carried out by Voβemer and Gebel in cooperation with Dr. Olena Nizalova of the University of Kent in England and Olga Nikolaieva of the Kyiv School of Economics in Ukraine, reveal that people who involuntarily lost their jobs within the first ten years of their professional lives were on average 6 percentage points more likely to rate their own health as fair or poor compared to those who had not experienced a loss of employment in the same phase, but had otherwise similar characteristics.The researchers were also able to show that the effects were the same for employees who were laid off and for those whose jobs were lost due to plant closures. This suggests that the data analyses could avoid the effects of confounding factors, because in the case of a plant closure, all employees are affected and it is less likely that the job loss could be explained by personal characteristics that would also affect health. So what conclusions can be drawn from these findings? Voβemer says, “Consistent with earlier studies, we have shown that losing a job and periods of unemployment have more than just financial consequences. Moreover, our study indicates that these consequences may be long lasting.” These findings, if replicated in future studies, suggest that policy makers should consider both health implications and their persistence when evaluating the costs of job loss and unemployment.The study is part of the international and interdisciplinary EXCEPT project (Social Exclusion of Youth in Europe: Cumulative Disadvantage, Coping Strategies, Effective Policies and Transfer) which received approximately 2.4 million euros in funding from the European Union. Source:https://www.uni-bamberg.de/en/last_img read more

Targeted treatment offers symptom relief for patients with psychosis

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Jul 3 2019Treatment for individuals who experience psychosis, such as hallucinations and delusions as a result of a psychiatric illness, can be targeted to a specific structural mutation, according to a study published by researchers from McLean Hospital and other institutions in the journal Biological Psychiatry.The study was led by Deborah L. Levy, PhD, director of the Psychology Research Laboratory at McLean Hospital, the largest psychiatric affiliate of Harvard Medical School. The research provides a proof-of-principle demonstration of symptom relief by targeting a specific genotype and links an individual structural mutation to the pathophysiology of psychosis and treatment response.In the last decade, significant progress has been made in identifying genetic factors underlying schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other psychiatric disorders. Hundreds if not thousands of common genetic variants are collective risk factors for schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. However, the impact of each individual variant is both very small and indecisive in determining risk.Rare genetic variants, on the other hand, can have large effects on risk. These variants are thus assumed to impact core pathophysiological processes.Large-effect mutations are individually rare, with even the most recurrent impacting relatively few individuals. Some are so rare that they are private mutations, known to occur in only one or a few families, as is the mutation described by Levy and her colleagues.Levy’s study describes a variant that is characterized by an increase in the number of copies of specific genes (i.e., a copy number variant or CNV). In this case, is effectively due to the presence of a small extra chromosome. This CNV includes the gene encoding the enzyme glycine decarboxylase (GLDC). “The compelling aspect is that this CNV can be linked to pathophysiology, and, as the new study shows, to treatment,” said Levy.GLDC breaks down glycine, which is a co-agonist at the NMDA receptor, a type of excitatory glutamate receptor. The patients in this study have four, instead of the usual two, copies of the GLDC gene. Source:McLean Hospital We thus predicted that they would have increased glycine breakdown and thus less glycine available at the glycine modulatory site of the NMDA receptor. This results in NMDA receptor hypofunction.”Uwe Rudolph, MD, former director of the Laboratory of Genetic Neuropharmacology at McLean Hospital The present study illustrates that targeting structural genetic variants is a promising approach but because these variants are individually rare, most studies will have very small sample sizes, complicating the usual approach to statistical analysis.” Nevertheless, she said, “Because the effects of a targeted treatment can be large, it is important to prioritize opportunities to study even small groups of patients who may benefit.” NMDA receptor hypofunction has long been considered an important factor in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. Variants in genes associated with NMDA receptor function are overrepresented in schizophrenia.According to Levy, the presence of an increased number of copies of GLDC raised the question of whether this CNV is medically actionable in individuals with this mutation.Related Stories$10 million endowed gift supports psychosis research effortsGeorgia researcher receives grant to develop models to better predict mental health disordersResearch on cannabis use in women limited, finds new study”Starting with individual carriers of the mutation, meaning using a ‘genotype-first’ approach, we sought to determine whether the predicted reduced glycine availability attributable to the increased copy number could be potentially normalized with agents that increase glycine or D-serine availability,” explained Levy. “This approach contrasts with the usual standard clinical practice of treating individuals on the basis of clinical symptoms or diagnosis independent of specific genetic variants.”Participants in the study had four identical copies of the GLDC gene. The authors showed that supplementation of standard psychotropic agents (including clozapine) with glycine or D-cycloserine (a partial selective agonist at the NMDA receptor) resulted in improvement in clinical symptoms. The researchers provided two independent proof-of-principle demonstrations of symptom relief by targeting this specific genotype.Notably, the same rare mutation occurred here in different clinical disorders (schizoaffective disorder and bipolar disorder with psychotic features). This suggest that treatment response was determined by the targeted mutation independently of clinical diagnosis.”It is important to note that the two subjects studied here bore little clinical resemblance, with distinctly different symptom burdens, and highly dissimilar courses of illness,” noted J. Alexander Bodkin, MD. Bodkin, the director of the Clinical Psychopharmacology Research Program at McLean, oversaw psychiatric care of both subjects throughout the blinded and open-label trials of glycine and d-cycloserine.”The findings may implicate a ‘molecular subtype’ that may respond to treatments that normalize dysregulation of the glutamatergic system” said Levy, “Specifically, carriers of other related mutations may potentially benefit from low-dose D-cycloserine as well. If it becomes possible one day to identify patients with such molecular subtypes in clinical practice, studies could be conducted that would potentially make targeted treatment approaches available to a larger group of patients.”Moreover, one of the study’s authors, Charity J. Morgan, PhD, University of Alabama at Birmingham, stated:last_img read more

Stem cell stimulation shows promise as potential stroke treatment

first_imgRelated StoriesBrain stimulation accelerates visual learning and recoveryHealthy blood vessels could help stave off cognitive declineDysfunctional neurons repaired in dementia mouse modelLing Wei, Shang Ping Yu, and colleagues at Emory University injected neural stem cells into the brains of mice after a stroke and activated the cells through nasal administration of a protein. The stem cells activated by this new, noninvasive technique called optochemogenetics grew healthier and formed more connections compared to the stem cells that did not receive stimulation. Additionally, the mice that received both stem cells and stimulation displayed the most recovery, with some behaviors returning to pre-stroke levels.The combination of stem cell injection and stimulation increased the likelihood of a successful stroke recovery in mice. Instead of just injecting stem cells in the damaged area of the brain, following up with stimulation creates an ideal environment for the cells to develop and form connections with surrounding neurons. Source:Society for NeuroscienceJournal reference:Wei, L. et al. (2019) Optochemogenetics Stimulation of Transplanted iPS-NPCs Enhances Neuronal Repair and Functional Recovery after Ischemic Stroke. Journal of Neuroscience. doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2010-18.2019. Jul 3 2019Stem cell stimulation shows promise as a potential noninvasive stroke treatment, according to research in mice published in JNeurosci. If extended to humans, this technique could greatly improve patients’ quality of life.last_img read more

Japan embracing cryptocurrencies despite big theft cases

In this March 15, 2018 photo, Mark Karpeles, the former CEO of Japan-based bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox speaks during an interview in Tokyo. Four years after popular Tokyo-based bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox was hacked and went bankrupt, the case still casts a shadow over the regulatory regime put in place to protect Japan’s thriving cryptocurrency market. The former CEO of Mt. Gox, facing a criminal trial in Japan, hopes the remaining bitcoins can be used to pay back losses from the heist at the lost bitcoins’ current value.(AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko) Mt. Gox was a wakeup call for Japan, though the relatively strong regulatory regime set up after the bitcoin dealer has not prevented further hacks. Earlier this year the Tokyo-based Coincheck exchange reported a 58-billion yen ($547 million) loss of a cryptocurrency called NEM due to suspected hacking.About half the world’s bitcoin trading is estimated to be in yen and there are 16 licensed virtual currency exchanges in Japan, where bitcoin owners alone number 2 million to 3 million. That could grow to 10 million this year, said Yuzo Kano, chief executive for BitFlyer, one of Japan’s largest licensed cryptocurrency exchanges.”Japan is now bitcoin’s heart, the country that is at the center of its support,” said Kano, who helped the government set up its licensing system and other regulations.Kano heads the Japan Blockchain Association and was recently tapped to head a new organization to beef up regulations, working with the Financial Services Agency.Financial regulators worldwide are scrambling to catch up with the boom in cryptocurrencies and Japan is treading carefully, seeking to minimize risks while maneuvering to attain global leadership and nurture entrepreneurship in the new financial technology. He likens how cryptocurrencies work, and the precariousness of their value, to a game of musical chairs—with about 10,000 people around each chair.”As long as everyone is dancing, it’s fine, but if everyone wants to sit at the same time there won’t be enough chairs,” he said. In this Aug. 1, 2015 photo, Japan police arrest Mark Karpeles, the French founder and former CEO of Mt. Gox, in Tokyo. Four years after popular Tokyo-based bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox was hacked and went bankrupt, the case still casts a shadow over the regulatory regime put in place to protect Japan’s thriving cryptocurrency market. Karpeles says he hopes to recoup the millions lost by his customers in the heist – now a possibility, given the surge in bitcoin’s value in recent years to some 10 times its earlier value. (Kyodo News via AP) Mark Karpeles, the French founder and former CEO of Mt. Gox, says he hopes to recoup the millions lost by his customers in the heist. That’s now a possibility, given the surge in bitcoin’s value in recent years to some 10 times its earlier value.”What I’m trying to do is to find the best solution,” Karpeles said in a recent interview, “because I believe it is my responsibility as CEO of Mt. Gox.”Mt. Gox still had about 200,000 bitcoins left in a separate storage location after 850,000 disappeared in 2014. Those holdings are managed by court-appointed trustees who have sold 35,000 bitcoins, raising 44 billion yen ($415 million) in cash to reimburse losses from the exchange’s failure. Based on today’s prices, the remaining bitcoins are worth far more than the estimated $620 million in earlier losses.The trustees deny claims that sale triggered a recent slight drop in highly volatile bitcoin prices.After Mt. Gox collapsed, Karpeles was detained for months before being released on 10 million yen ($94,000) bail while awaiting the outcome of his trial for embezzlement and data manipulation, charges unrelated to the hack. In this Feb. 11, 2018 photo, a huge advertisement of Bitcoin is displayed near Shibuya train station in Tokyo. Bitcoin has been a legal form of payment in Japan since April 2017, and a handful of major retailers already accept bitcoin payments.(AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi) In this March 15, 2018 photo, Mark Karpeles, the former CEO of Japan-based bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox speaks during an interview in Tokyo. Four years after popular Tokyo-based bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox was hacked and went bankrupt, the case still casts a shadow over the regulatory regime put in place to protect Japan’s thriving cryptocurrency market. The former CEO of Mt. Gox, facing a criminal trial in Japan, hopes the remaining bitcoins can be used to pay back losses from the heist at the lost bitcoins’ current value. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko) In this Jan. 26, 2018 photo, Koichiro Wada, left, president of the Tokyo-based Coincheck exchange bows in apology during a press conference in Tokyo. Earlier this year the Tokyo-based Coincheck exchange reported a 58-billion yen ($547 million) loss of a cryptocurrency called NEM due to suspected hacking. At right is Yusuke Otsuka, the company’s chief operating officer. (Takuya Inaba/Kyodo News via AP) In this Feb. 11, 2018 photo, a huge advertisement of Bitcoin is displayed near Shibuya train station in Tokyo. Bitcoin has been a legal form of payment in Japan since April 2017, and a handful of major retailers already accept bitcoin payments. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi) Bitcoin has been a legal form of payment in Japan since April 2017, and a handful of major retailers already accept bitcoin payments. Japan penalizes several cryptocurrency exchanges after hack This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Citation: Japan embracing cryptocurrencies despite big theft cases (2018, March 28) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-japan-embracing-cryptocurrencies-big-theft.html © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Some governments, such as in China and South Korea, have adopted a more cautious approach, while others, like Switzerland and Canada, are wooing the “miners” whose high-powered computers process the algorithms used to create virtual currency tokens. The U.S. falls somewhere in between.There have been no arrests for the theft at Coincheck, which has acknowledged that it erred in keeping a stash of the digital money in what’s known as a “hot wallet,” within reach of hackers. Cybersecurity experts say large amounts of virtual currency should be kept offline, in so-called “cold wallets.”The exchange is reimbursing losses from that heist and strengthening its security.So far, the cases seem to have done little to discourage Japanese, who have turned to stashing yen at home since banks pay near-zero interest rates, from dabbling in cryptocurrencies. In this March 15, 2018 photo, Mark Karpeles, the former CEO of Japan-based bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox speaks during an interview in Tokyo. Four years after popular Tokyo-based bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox was hacked and went bankrupt, the case still casts a shadow over the regulatory regime put in place to protect Japan’s thriving cryptocurrency market. The former CEO of Mt. Gox, facing a criminal trial in Japan, hopes the remaining bitcoins can be used to pay back losses from the heist at the lost bitcoins’ current value. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko) Four years after popular Tokyo-based bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox was hacked and went bankrupt, the case still casts a shadow over the regulatory regime put in place to protect Japan’s thriving cryptocurrency market. In this March 15, 2018 photo, Mark Karpeles, the former CEO of Japan-based bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox speaks during an interview in Tokyo. Four years after popular Tokyo-based bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox was hacked and went bankrupt, the case still casts a shadow over the regulatory regime put in place to protect Japan’s thriving cryptocurrency market. The former CEO of Mt. Gox, facing a criminal trial in Japan, hopes the remaining bitcoins can be used to pay back losses from the heist at the lost bitcoins’ current value.(AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko) Giant billboards and TV ads sing praise of Bitcoin. The warnings about buying at your own risk come in tiny print. A band called Kasotsuka Shojo, or “virtual currency girls,” in stereotypical housemaid outfits, literally sings praise of bitcoins: “Let’s go mining. Dig right there. I’m going to make money to pay my utility bill.”Karpeles is hoping the arrest in July in Greece of a main suspect in the Mt. Gox theft, Alexander Vinnick, will help vanquish any lingering suspicions that he might have pocketed the missing bitcoins. A California grand jury has indicted Vinnick, a Russian, on allegations he used funds from the Mt. Gox hack for money-laundering, though it’s unclear whether he’ll be extradited to the U.S. or to Russia.Karpeles is not overly optimistic about tracking down the missing bitcoin. His lawyers have portrayed the young French man as a convenient scapegoat for Japanese authorities eager to find someone to blame for an embarrassingly massive cybercrime.He denied any intention of embezzling funds. His defense team has argued that the money and data he is alleged to have handled improperly were used for company operations or actually belonged to him.Not permitted to leave Japan while still facing trial, Karpeles works at a couple of technology jobs, such as voice-over-internet-protocol and video-game development. Fluent in Japanese after eight years in the country, he appears on YouTube and on a Japanese online streaming video service, offering advice on cryptocurrencies. In this Aug. 1, 2015 photo, Japan police arrest Mark Karpeles, the French founder and former CEO of Mt. Gox, in Tokyo. Four years after popular Tokyo-based bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox was hacked and went bankrupt, the case still casts a shadow over the regulatory regime put in place to protect Japan’s thriving cryptocurrency market. Karpeles says he hopes to recoup the millions lost by his customers in the heist – now a possibility, given the surge in bitcoin’s value in recent years to some 10 times its earlier value. (Kyodo News via AP) In this March 15, 2018 photo, Mark Karpeles, the former CEO of Japan-based bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox speaks during an interview in Tokyo. Four years after popular Tokyo-based bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox was hacked and went bankrupt, the case still casts a shadow over the regulatory regime put in place to protect Japan’s thriving cryptocurrency market. The former CEO of Mt. Gox, facing a criminal trial in Japan, hopes the remaining bitcoins can be used to pay back losses from the heist at the lost bitcoins’ current value. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko) In this March 2, 2018 photo, Yuzo Kano, right, chief executive for BitFlyer, one of Japan’s largest licensed cryptocurrency exchanges, attends a press conference in Tokyo. Kano heads the Japan Blockchain Association and was recently tapped to head a new organization to beef up regulations, working with the Financial Services Agency. At left is Taizen Okuyama, president of Money Partners. (Junji Yamashita/Kyodo News via AP) Explore further read more

Facebook says Chinese phone makers got access to data Update

first_imgThe Huawei logo is seen in a shop in Shanghai on May 3, 2018; The Chinese phone maker was able to access Facebook data to get the leading social network’s applications to perform on its devices Huawei was able to access Facebook data to get the leading social network’s applications to perform on smartphones, according to the California-based company.”Facebook along with many other US tech companies have worked with them and other Chinese manufacturers to integrate their services onto these phones,” Facebook mobile partnerships leader Francisco Varela said in a statement.”Given the interest from Congress, we wanted to make clear that all the information from these integrations with Huawei was stored on the device, not on Huawei’s servers.”Facebook also had data access deals with Lenovo, OPPO and TCL of China, according to Varela.”Facebook’s integrations with Huawei, Lenovo, OPPO and TCL were controlled from the get go,” Varela said.Huawei has long disputed any links to the Chinese government, while noting that its infrastructure and computing products are used in 170 countries.”Concerns about Huawei aren’t new,” US Senator Mark Warner, vice chairman of the senate select committee on intelligence, said Tuesday.”I look forward to learning more about how Facebook ensured that information about their users was not sent to Chinese servers.”Contracts with phone makers placed tight limits on what could be done with data, and “approved experiences” were reviewed by engineers and managers before being deployed, according to the social network.Facebook said that it does not know of any privacy abuse by cellphone makers who years ago were able to gain access to personal data on users and their friends.Done with dealsBefore now-ubiquitous apps standardized the social media experience on smartphones, some 60 device makers like Amazon, Apple, Blackberry, HTC, Microsoft and Samsung worked with Facebook to adapt interfaces for the Facebook website to their own phones, the company said.Facebook is winding up the interface arrangements with device makers as the company’s smartphone apps dominate the service. The integration partnership with Huawei will terminate by the end of this week, according to the social network.The social media leader said it “disagreed” with the conclusions of a New York Times report that found that the device makers could access information on Facebook users’ friends without their explicit consent.But the report raised concerns that massive databases on users and their friends—including personal data and photographs—could be in the hands of device makers.Huawei maintains that its products “meet the highest standards of security, privacy and engineering in every country we operate,” and that “no government has ever asked us to compromise the security or integrity of any of our networks or devices.”The social network came under attack early this year over British political consultant Cambridge Analytica’s harvesting of personal data on 87 million Facebook users and their friends.Cambridge Analytica obtained the data without Facebook’s permission and used it to help the election campaign of US President Donald Trump.In April, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg apologized in Congress over the Cambridge Analytica fiasco, amid rising calls for more regulation of the company. © 2018 AFP This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. China’s Huawei says to keep investing in US despite setbackcenter_img Facebook on Tuesday confirmed that a Chinese phone maker deemed a national security threat by the US was among companies given access to data on users. Citation: Facebook says Chinese phone makers got access to data (Update) (2018, June 6) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-06-facebook-user-chinese-handset-makers.html Explore furtherlast_img read more

Judge Social media user isnt entitled to anonymity

first_imgA social media platform can be compelled to divulge account information belonging to a woman who anonymously chatted online about plans for last summer’s deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, a federal magistrate judge ruled Monday. © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero’s 28-page order says the woman’s First Amendment rights to anonymous speech don’t outweigh the importance of disclosing her identity to plaintiffs’ attorneys suing over the rally’s violence. Leaked Discord messages indicate the woman, identified only as “Jane Doe” in court papers, likely was involved in planning the event last August, the magistrate said.San Francisco-based Discord, an app that allows for text and voice chats, is popular with video game players. But the service also has been a communication tool for far-right extremists, including organizers of the Charlottesville rally.The woman’s attorneys had asked the San Francisco-based magistrate to quash a subpoena for Discord to turn over her account information and content of her communications to the lawyers, who filed a federal suit in Virginia against organizers of the “Unite the Right” rally last August.At the rally last summer, hundreds of people traveled to Charlottesville to participate in the rally and protest the city’s plans to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee from a park that was named after the Confederate general.Sunday is the anniversary of the deadly rally is Charlottesville, where white supremacists and counterprotesters clashed in the streets before a car plowed into a crowd, killing 32-year-old counterprotester Heather Heyer.Spero said federal law prohibits Discord from releasing the content of a message without the sender or receiver’s consent. But he ruled the plaintiffs’ interest in her account information outweighs any impact on her First Amendment rights.The magistrate noted that the woman’s personally identifying information can remain confidential, or “highly confidential” and therefore kept from plaintiffs’ lawyers, under a protective order issued in the Virginia lawsuit.The woman had asked the court to quash a subpoena for Discord to turn over subscriber information and communications belonging to at least 32 accounts. But the magistrate said the woman only had legal standing to challenge the subpoena on behalf of other users.Lawyers for the user argued the subpoena is a “fishing expedition” designed to expose the identities and destroy the lives of people with “unpopular political views.” “Doe has a constitutional right to associate with people who think as she does and to engage in controversial political speech anonymously, and the Plaintiffs have no right to acquire her correspondence or information,” her attorneys wrote.But plaintiffs’ attorneys say the Discord chat logs are “evidence at the heart of the case” against the Charlottesville rally’s organizers, who posted instructions for participants, including what weapons to bring.Jane Doe is a self-described “political dissident” who used the handle “kristall.night” on Discord. Her alias appears to refer to the Nazis’ deadly, anti-Jewish Kristallnacht pogroms in Germany before World War II.Leaked excerpts of the Charlottesville chat logs show Jane Doe was involved in planning that weekend’s events and shared the rally organizers’ “goals of violence and intimidation and their motivation of racial animus,” plaintiffs’ lawyers claim.”She declared, ‘Without complicit whites, Jews wouldn’t be a problem,’ and ‘I hate miscegenation so much more after actually talking to mixed race people about their identity,'” they wrote.Doe’s lawyers said her statements were “nothing more than generic advice to others interested in attending” the rally.”Plaintiffs cannot violate Jane Doe’s constitutional rights simply because she holds personal viewpoints of which they disapprove,” they wrote.Plaintiffs’ attorneys served Discord with the subpoena in January. Discord had deleted data sought by the subpoena but created backup tapes that likely included that data, according to the lawyers.Doe’s lawyers said a 1958 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court held that a subpoena couldn’t be used to identify members of the NAACP because it would have a chilling effect on the First Amendment. They argue that the anonymous Discord users “may not have all the formalities of the NAACP” but are “no less an organization of like-minded individuals sharing their political beliefs and advocating for social change, no matter how noxious Plaintiffs may find this advocacy to be.”Doe is represented by Marc Randazza, a Las Vegas-based attorney who specializes in First Amendment cases. Randazza’s clients also include neo-Nazi website publisher Andrew Anglin and Infowars radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Explore further Credit: CC0 Public Domain Trump can’t block his critics on Twitter, judge rules Citation: Judge: Social media user isn’t entitled to anonymity (2018, August 6) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-08-social-media-user-isnt-entitled.htmllast_img read more

Body support device helps people learn to walk again after a stroke

first_img Explore further Provided by Purdue University New robotic technology may provide more insight into neurological diseases, which affect about one-third of Americans A Purdue University researcher with a passion to use engineering technology to improve health care has created a weight support system to help people suffering from walking disabilities after a stroke. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says about 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke each year, and it is the leading cause of disability in older adults. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.center_img Purdue University’s Xiumin Diao led a team to create a weight support system to help people suffering from walking disabilities after a stroke. Credit: Purdue University The Purdue team created an alternative to traditional gait rehabilitation training, an important part of retraining the legs for proper walking after a stroke or trauma.”We applied our engineering expertise to create a better device for people learning to walk again,” said Xiumin Diao, an assistant professor in Purdue’s School of Engineering Technology.The cable-driven body weight support system helps support walking training across all three dimensions, not just in the vertical direction like many current options.Purdue’s weight support system uses thin, strong cables attached to a manipulator that secures around the patient in a fashion similar to a parachuting harness. The system compensates for any amount of a person’s body weight in all three dimensions as they learn to retrain their legs for proper walking.”This is a much more responsive system,” Diao said. “We provide increased support based on the fact that normal walking undergoes 3-D motion. Our body weight support system eases the burden on the patient. Given its economical features, it may one day provide support for low-income patients who may not have the resources for current training.”Diao said the Purdue system is easier to reconfigure than traditional training systems and provides a lower equipment cost. He said the system is also easier to put together and take apart and provides a larger training space than current systems on the market. Citation: Body support device helps people learn to walk again after a stroke, trauma (2018, September 19) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-09-body-device-people-trauma.htmllast_img read more

Not a social media influencer You can still get paid

first_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Citation: Not a social media influencer? You can still get paid (2018, September 27) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-09-social-media-paid.html Glazier says it shouldn’t be so hard to make money from your recommendations. And you shouldn’t have to be internet-famous to get paid when you directly encourage a sale, he says.”You don’t have to be an influencer to have influence,” Glazier said.HOW IT WORKSAnyone can download the Wildlink app for free (available on Android, iOS, or as a software download for your computer). It runs in the background while you go about your business. Then, let’s say you post a picture of yourself on Facebook, and a friend replies, “I love your dress. Where did you buy it?” If you reply with a link to the dress on Nordstrom’s website, then Wildlink’s app will convert that URL to a trackable link. If your friend follows that link and eventually purchases the item, you get a commission that’s paid to a virtual wallet.Once a month, you can cash out your Wildlink commissions to your PayPal account.The company, which is working out of the Connect coworking space in University City, has built several ways to make this process seamless for the user. For example, once you download the app, its technology is built into your cell phone’s keyboard. The software can then guess when you’re typing a brand name, product, or service. Once you type out the word “REI,” for example, the software gives you an option to insert a link to REI directly from your keyboard.WHAT ABOUT PRIVACY?Warning bells may be ringing for the privacy-conscious. Will Wildfire now be reading my text messages, emails, and social media posts? Glazier says no. The software runs on your device, and it’s only searching for brands that match with its database of merchants. And the user always has the option of generating a link or ignoring the software’s suggestion.But Wildfire may have to deal with other concerns. For example, will a friend’s recommendation lose its power of influence if it’s known that they’re making a commission off the recommendation?Miro Copic, a marketing professor at San Diego State University, says there’s a big transition going on in the influencer space in which fans want transparency from the influencers they follow about their economic incentives.. Fans and followers want those individuals to be transparent about the economic incentives they’re getting to pitch a product.”The nuance here is disclosure,” Copic said. “Not that your friend won’t be your friend anymore, but they might question your motives if they find out you’re being compensated for your suggestions.”Malcolm Bohm, CEO at a company called Liquid Grids in San Diego, has been working in a similar space for years. His company also uses natural language processing to understand what internet users are saying on health forums, and how it relates to brands.Bohm says Wildfire could be onto something big, but it’s critical that they maintain transparency along the way”At the grassroots level, this could be disruptive in terms of how brands get recommendations,” Bohm said. “As long as they maintain authenticity, it could be really positive.”Glazier said Wildlink asks users to disclose this information themselves, notifying friends and family that they might be compensated for their recommendations.”In our terms of service we require that people follow the guidelines, but it’s really up to them to do so,” Glazier said.NEXT STEPSWildfire has received $2 million in seed money, led by Santa Monica-based investor group Mucker Capital in 2017. The company plans to raise another round of financing this fall, and will use those funds to expand its marketing and business development team in San Diego. Don’t try to make money off my online behavior—unless, of course, I get a commission. ©2018 The San Diego Union-Tribune Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.center_img A new app pays you for product recommendations Explore further That’s the idea behind San Diego tech startup Wildfire Systems, which is launching an app to help internet users make money off of conversations they’re already having online. The local company, founded by a former eBay executive, lets users earn commissions from recommendations they share on the Internet, whether it’s on social media, by email, or through text messaging apps.If, for example, a friend buys an Instant Pot after you raved about the pressure cooker on Instagram, then this startup’s software would let you get a cut of the sale.The idea is particularly timely considering the public outcry against tech giants like Facebook, who’ve been lambasted in recent months for making money off their users’ activity and personal data.Now, merchants are tripping over themselves to sign onto Wildfire’s platform, which already has 20,000 retailers on board, including giants like Expedia, Nordstrom’s, REI, and Walmart.The quick adoption may have something to do with the startup’s CEO, Jordan Glazier, who founded Wildfire Systems last year. Glazier is best known locally for leading a San Diego company called Eventful, which gained some fame a few years ago as the first global events calendar online. He grew that company to more than 25 million users before selling it to CBS in 2014. Before that, he was an early employee at eBay, where he helped transform the company from a collectibles website to the e-commerce giant it is today.WE’RE ALL INFLUENCERS?Glazier’s new app, Wildlink, brings to mind the marketing tactics that bloggers and other folks of online fame use, in which they get kickbacks from brands for pitching products online.In the industry, this is called “affiliate marketing,” and it’s a tool mostly used by people who have large followings on social media (collectively known as “influencers”). But it’s not so easy to make money this way. People have to sign up for individual affiliate marketing programs depending on the brand or retailer and then jump through hoops for each one before they can start earning cash.last_img read more

Buying a new 4K HDR TV this holiday season Read this first

first_img A 50-inch Philips 4K UHD HDR TV for $249.99 at Target? A 43-inch Toshiba 4K Fire TV with HDR for $129.99 at Best Buy? It has plenty of flashy tech terms, most notably the popular TV buzzwords: 4K and HDR.When buying a new TV in 2018, nearly any set above 40 inches will feature both technologies, even ones normally priced below $300. But don’t let the acronyms fool you. It is important to know what you’re buying and where you might actually benefit from this technology.Here are a few things to keep in mind.HDRAlso known as high dynamic range, HDR automatically adjusts the colors and contrasts of a picture, making scenes more realistic. For instance, with richer colors and a sharper picture, you’ll notice HDR when watching really bright or really dark scenes in movies, with those moments looking more realistic.Often synonymous with 4K and Ultra HD, which are roughly four times the resolution of HD, or high definition, HDR often will be the more appreciated of the two technologies, especially for movie lovers and gamers, who appreciate the added sharpness.But in order to see HDR shine, you’ll need the right shows to stream, movies to watch or game systems to play. Not all programming has it. More on this below.When it comes to HDR, in 2018 there are two main options: industry standard HDR 10 (also listed as HDR) and Dolby Vision. Dolby Vision is the more premium of the two, offering more colors and sometimes better brightness than traditional HDR. Televisions that support Dolby Vision also support HDR 10.ContentJust like HD, you won’t see the true benefits of 4K and HDR without the proper content that capitalizes on the technology. Whether it’s in 4K HDR Netflix or Amazon shows, Blu-ray movies or games played on a new Xbox One or PlayStation 4, without the proper video, it doesn’t really matter.The Xbox One S and regular PlayStation 4 can both output video games with HDR, while their more powerful siblings the One X and PS4 Pro can do so in 4K HDR.Netflix requires that you subscribe to its $13.99 “Premium” plan to stream in 4K and HDR. Content that is available in 4K HDR or Dolby Vision usually includes a logo by their description, assuming you pay for Premium. The company also recommends an internet connection of at least 25 Mbps for streaming.Members of Amazon’s Prime expedited shipping and entertainment service get HDR video as part of the $119 yearly fee—you’d just need to watch on a device that supports HDR to take advantage of that. With Amazon, look for the section in its menu that showcases UHD and HDR content.A number of popular devices have 4K HDR, including Amazon’s Fire TV Stick 4K and Fire TV Cube; Roku’s Streaming Stick+, Premiere, Premiere+ and Ultra; Google’s Chromecast; and Apple’s Apple TV 4K.One other thing to note: Some TVs will need you to go into the picture settings to enable HDR. This sometimes is referred to as HDMI UHD Color (on Samsung TVs), HDMI Ultra HD Deep Color (on LG TVs) or making sure the TV input is set to HDMI 2.0 (on Roku TVs). When in doubt, a quick search on how to enable HDR on your device and TV of choice should help to get things promptly set up.Is it worth it?If what you are mainly doing is watching traditional television through a cable box, antenna or streaming service, you likely won’t see the difference as most of those broadcasts are in traditional HD, not even 4K.Likewise, if you don’t pay for Netflix’s Premium plan or rent movies in 4K from a service such as Vudu. Things will stream in HD and that is fine. HD videos still look great and will continue to do so on your new TV.But with more content being made available with 4K and HDR support all the time (all Netflix Originals are now shot in 4K), getting the right TV this Black Friday will not only get you a deal today but grant you the flexibility to take advantage of the technology in the future. Explore further Citation: Buying a new 4K HDR TV this holiday season? Read this first (2018, November 23) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-11-4k-hdr-tv-holiday-season.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. 2018 Gift Guide: Ideas for cord-cutters and wannabes Look through early Black Friday ads at Best Buy and Target, and you’ll find plenty of eye-catching TV deals. (c)2018 USA TodayDistributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.last_img read more