Internet penetration has increased almost sevenfo

first_imgInternet penetration has increased almost seven-fold from 6.5 to 43 per cent of the global population between 2000 and 2015, according to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The ITU’s latest global research claims that by the end of 2015 there will be 3.2 billion people using the internet, 2 billion of whom will be from developing countries.However, four billion people in the developing world will remain offline, with 851 million of the almost one billion people living in the least developing countries not using the internet.The report claims that by the end of the year there are more than 7 billion mobile cellular subscriptions globally, corresponding to a penetration rate of 97%, up from 738 million in 2000.“Mobile broadband is the most dynamic market segment; globally, mobile broadband penetration reaches 47% in 2015, a value that increased 12 times since 2007,” said the ITU.The ITU is an agency for information and communication technology issues, and claims to be the “focal point” for governments and the private sector in developing networks and services.last_img read more

Last month a group of Australian scientists publi

first_imgLast month, a group of Australian scientists published a warning to the citizens of the country and of the world who collectively gobble up some $34 billion annually of its agricultural exports. The warning concerned the safety of a new type of wheat. As Australia’s number-one export, a $6-billion annual industry, and the most-consumed grain locally, wheat is of the utmost importance to the country. A serious safety risk from wheat – a mad wheat disease of sorts – would have disastrous effects for the country and for its customers. Which is why the alarm bells are being rung over a new variety of wheat being ushered toward production by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) of Australia. In a sense, the crop is little different than the wide variety of modern genetically modified foods. A sequence of the plant’s genes has been turned off to change the wheat’s natural behavior a bit, to make it more commercially viable (hardier, higher yielding, slower decaying, etc.). Franken-Wheat? What’s really different this time – and what has Professor Jack Heinemann of the University of Canterbury, NZ, and Associate Professor Judy Carman, a biochemist at Flinders University in Australia, holding press conferences to garner attention to the subject – is the technique employed to effectuate the genetic change. It doesn’t modify the genes of the wheat plants in question; instead, a specialized gene blocker interferes with the natural action of the genes. The process at issue, dubbed RNA interference or RNAi for short, has been a hotbed of research activity ever since the Nobel Prize-winning 1997 research paper that described the process. It is one of a number of so-called “antisense” technologies that help suppress natural genetic expression and provide a mechanism for suppressing undesirable genetic behaviors. RNAi’s appeal is simple: it can potentially provide a temporary, reversible off switch for genes. Unlike most other genetic modification techniques, it doesn’t require making permanent changes to the underlying genome of the target. Instead, specialized siRNAs – chemical DNA blockers based on the same mechanism our own bodies use to temporarily turn genes on and off as needed – are delivered into the target organism and act to block the messages cells use to express a particular gene. When those messages meet with their chemical opposites, they turn inert. And when all of the siRNA is used up, the effect wears off. The new wheat is in early-stage field trials (i.e., it’s been planted to grow somewhere, but has not yet been tested for human consumption), part of a multi-year process on its way to potential approval and not unlike the rigorous process many drugs go through. The researchers responsible are using RNAi to turn down the production of glycogen. They are targeting the production of the wheat branching enzyme which, if suppressed, would result in a much lower starch level for the wheat. The result would be a grain with a lower glycemic index – i.e., healthier wheat. This is a noble goal. However, Professors Heinemann and Carman warn, there’s a risk that the gene silencing done to these plants might make its way into humans and wreak havoc on our bodies. In their press conference and subsequent papers, they describe the possibility that the siRNA molecules – which are pretty hardy little chemicals and not easily gotten rid of – could wind up interacting with our RNA. If their theories prove true, the results might be as bad as mimicking glycogen storage disease IV, a super-rare genetic disorder which almost always leads to early childhood death. “Franken-Wheat Causes Massive Deaths from Liver Failure!” Now that is potentially headline-grabbing stuff. Unfortunately, much of it is mere speculation at this point, albeit rooted in scientific expertise on the subject. What they’ve produced is a series of opinion papers – not scientific research nor empirical data to prove that what they suspect might happen, actually does. They point to the possibilities that could happen if a number of criteria are met: If the siRNAs remain in the wheat in transferrable form, in large quantities, when the grain makes it to your plate. And… If the siRNA molecules interfere with the somewhat different but largely similar human branching enzyme as well. Then the result might be symptoms similar to such a condition, on some scale or another, anywhere from completely unnoticeable to highly impactful. They further postulate that if the same effect is seen in animals, it could result in devastating ecological impact. Dead bugs and dead wild animals. Luckily for us, as potential consumers of these foods, all of these are easily testable theories. And this is precisely the type of data the lengthy approval process is meant to look at. Opinion papers like this – while not to be confused with conclusions resulting from solid research – are a critically important part of the scientific process, challenging researchers to provide hard data on areas that other experts suspect could be overlooked. Professors Carman and Heinemann provide a very important public good in challenging the strength of the due-diligence process for RNAi’s use in agriculture, an incomplete subject we continue to discover more about every day. However, we’ll have to wait until the data come back on this particular experiment – among thousands of similar ones being conducted at government labs, universities, and in the research facilities of commercial agribusinesses like Monsanto and Cargill – to know if this wheat variety would in fact result in a dietary apocalypse. That’s a notion many anti-genetically modified organism (GMO) pundits seem to have latched onto following the press conference the professors held. But if the history of modern agriculture can teach us anything, it’s that far more aggressive forms of GMO foods appear to have had a huge net positive effect on the global economy and our lives. Not only have they not killed us, in many ways GMO foods have been responsible for the massive increases in public health and quality of life around the world. The Roots of the GMO Food Debate The debate over genetically modified (GM) food is a heated one. Few contest that we are working in somewhat murky waters when it comes to genetically modified anything, human or plant alike. At issue, really, is the question of whether we are prepared to use the technologies we’ve discovered. In other words, are we the equivalent of a herd of monkeys armed with bazookas, unable to comprehend the sheer destructive power we possess yet perfectly capable of pulling the trigger? Or do we simply face the same type of daunting intellectual challenge as those who discovered fire, electricity, or even penicillin, at a time when the tools to fully understand how they worked had not yet been conceived of? In all of those cases, we were able to probe, study, and learn the mysteries of these incredible discoveries over time. Sure, there were certainly costly mistakes along the way. But we were also able to make great use of them to advance civilization long before we fully understood how they worked at a scientific level. Much is the same in the study and practical use of GM foods. While the fundamentals of DNA have been well understood for decades, we are still in the process of uncovering many of the inner workings of what is arguably the single most advanced form of programming humans have ever encountered. It is still very much a rapidly evolving science to this day. For example, in the 1990s, an idea known simply as “gene therapy” – really a generalized term for a host of new-at-the-time experimental techniques that share the simple characteristic of permanently modifying the genetic make-up of an organism – was all the rage in medical study. Two decades on, it’s hardly ever spoken of. That’s because the great majority of attempted disease therapies from genetic modification failed, with many resulting in terrible side effects and even death for the patients who underwent the treatments. Its use in the early days, of course, was limited almost exclusively to some of the world’s most debilitating, genetically rooted diseases. Still – whether in their zeal to use a fledgling tool to cure a dreadful malady or in selfish, hurried desire to be recognized among the pioneers of what they thought would be the very future of medicine – doctors chose to move forward at a dangerous pace with gene therapy. In one famous case, and somewhat typical of the times, University of Pennsylvania physicians enrolled a sick 18-year-old boy with a liver mutation into a trial for a gene therapy that was known to have resulted in the deaths of some of the monkeys it had just been tested on. The treatment resulted in the young man’s death a few days later, and the lengthy investigation that followed resulted in serious accusations of what can only be called “cowboy medicine.” Not one of science’s prouder moments, to be sure. But could GM foods be following the same dangerous path? After all, the first GM foods made their way to market during the same time period. The 1980s saw large-scale genetic-science research and experimentation from agricultural companies, producing everything from antibiotic-resistant tobacco to pesticide-hardy corn. After much debate and study, in 1994 the FDA gave approval to the first GM food to be sold in the United States: the ironically named Flavr Savr tomato, with its delayed ripening genes which made it an ideal candidate for sitting for days or weeks on grocery store shelves. Ever since, there has been a seeming rush of modified foods into the marketplace. Modern GM foods include soybeans, corn, cotton, canola, sugar beets, and a number of squash and greens varieties, as well as products made from them. One of the most prevalent modifications is to make plants glyphosate-resistant, or in common terms, “Roundup Ready.” This yields varieties that are able to stand up to much heavier doses of the herbicide Roundup, which is used to keep weeds and other pest plants from damaging large monoculture fields, thereby reducing costs and lowering risks. In total it is estimated that modern GM crops have grown to become a $12 billion annual business since their commercialization in 1994, according to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA). Over 15 million farms around the world are reported to have grown GM crops, and their popularity increases every year. They’ve brought huge improvements in shelf life, pathogen and other stress resistance, and even added nutritional benefits. For instance, yellow rice – which was the first approved crop with an entirely new genetic pathway added artificially – provides beta-carotene to a large population of people around the world who otherwise struggle to find enough in their diets. However, the race for horticulturalists to the genetic table in the past few decades – what could be described accurately as the transgenic generation of research – has by no means been our first experiment with the genetic manipulation of food. In fact, if anything, it is a more deliberate, well studied, and careful advance than those that came before it. A VERY Brief History of Genetically Modified Food Some proponents of GMO foods are quick to point out that humans have been modifying foods at the genetic level since the dawn of agriculture itself. We crossbreed plants with each other to produce hybrids (can I interest you in a boysenberry?). And of course, we select our crops for breeding from those with the most desirable traits, effectively encouraging genetic mutations that would have otherwise resulted in natural failure, if not helped along by human hands. Corn as we know it, for example, would never have survived in nature without our help in breeding it. Using that as a justification for genetic meddling, however, is like saying we know that NASCAR drivers don’t need seatbelts because kids have been building soapbox racers without them for years. Nature, had the mix not been near ideal to begin with, would have prevented such crossbreeding. Despite Hollywood’s desires, one can’t simply crossbreed a human and a fly, or even a bee and a mosquito, for that matter – their genetics are too different to naturally mix. And even if it did somehow occur, if it did not make for a hardier result, then natural selection would have quickly kicked in. No, I am talking about real, scientific genetic mucking – the kind we imagined would result in the destruction of the world from giant killer tomatoes or man-eating cockroaches in our B-grade science-fiction films. Radiation mutants. Enterprising agrarians have been blasting plants with radiation of all sorts ever since we started messing around with atomic science at the dawn of the 20th century. In the 1920s, just when Einstein and Fermi were getting in their grooves, Dr. Lewis Stadler at the University of Missouri was busy blasting barley seeds with X-rays – research that would usher in a frenzy of mutation breeding to follow. With the advent of nuclear technology from the war effort, X-rays expanded into atomic radiation, with the use of gamma rays leading the pack. The United States even actively encouraged the practice for decades, through a program dubbed “Atoms for Peace” that proliferated nuclear technology throughout various parts of the private sector in a hope that it would improve the lives of many. And it did. Today, thousands of agricultural varieties we take for granted – including, according to a 2007 New York Times feature on the practice, “rice, wheat, barley, pears, peas, cotton, peppermint, sunflowers, peanuts, grapefruit, sesame, bananas, cassava and sorghum” – are a direct result of mutation breeding. They would not be classified as GM foods, in the sense that we did not use modern transgenic techniques to make them, but they are genetically altered nonetheless, to the same or greater degree than most modern GMO strains. Unlike modern GM foods – which are often closely protected by patents and armies of lawyers to ensure the inventing companies reap maximum profits from their use – the overwhelming majority of the original generations of radiation-mutated plant varieties came out of academic and government sponsored research, and thus were provided free and clear for farmers to use without restriction. With the chemical revolution of the mid-20th century, radiation-based mutations were followed by the use of chemical agents like the methyl sulfate family of mutagens. And after that, the crudest forms of organic genetic manipulation came into use, such as the uses of transposons, highly repetitive strands of DNA discovered in 1948 that can be used like biological duct tape to cover whole sections the genome. These modified crops stood up better to pests, lessened famines, reduced reliance on pesticides, and most of all enabled farmers to increase their effective yields. Coupled with the development of commercial machinery like tractors and harvesters, the rise of mutagenic breeding resulted in an agricultural revolution of a magnitude few truly appreciate. In the late 1800s, the overwhelming majority of global populations lived in rural areas, and most people spent their lives in agrarian pursuits. From subsistence farmers to small commercial operations, the majority of the population of every country, the US included, was employed in agriculture. Today, less than 2% of the American population (legal and illegal combined) works in farming of any kind. Yet we have more than enough food to feed all of our people, and a surplus to export to more densely populated nations like China and India. The result is that a sizable percentage of the world’s plant crops today – the ones on top of which much of the modern-era GMO experiments are done – are already genetic mutants. Hence the slippery slope that serves as the foundation of the resistance from regulators over the labeling of GM food products. Where do you draw the line on what to label? And frankly, how do you even know for sure, following the Wild-West days of blasting everything that could grow with some form or another of radiation, what plants are truly virgin DNA? The world’s public is largely unaware that many of the foods they eat today – far more than those targeted by anti-GMO protestors and labeling advocates – are genetically modified. Yet we don’t seem to be dying off in large numbers, like the anti-RNAi researchers project will happen. In fact, global lifespans have increased dramatically across the board in the last century. The Rise of Careful The science of GM food has advanced considerably since the dark ages of the 1920s. Previous versions of mutation breeding were akin to trying to fix a pair of eyeglasses with a sledgehammer – messy and imprecise, with rare positive results. And the outputs of those experiments were often foisted upon a public without any knowledge or understanding of what they were consuming. Modern-day GM foods are produced with a much more precise toolset, which means less unintended collateral damage. Of course it also opens up a veritable Pandora’s box of new possibilities (glow-in-the-dark corn, anyone?) and with it a whole host of potential new risks. Like any sufficiently powerful technology, such as the radiation and harsh chemicals used in prior generations of mutation breeding, without careful control over its use, the results can be devastating. This fact is only outweighed by the massive improvements over the prior, messier generation of techniques. And thus, regulatory regimes from the FDA to CSIRO to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) are taking increasing steps to ensure that GM foods are thoroughly tested long before they come to market. In many ways, the tests are far more rigorous than those that prescription drugs undergo, as the target population is not sick and in need of urgent care, and for which side effects can be tolerated. This is why a great many of the proposed GM foods of the last 20 years, including the controversial “suicide seeds” meant to protect the intellectual property of the large GM seed producers like Monsanto (which bought out Calgene, the inventor of that Flavr Savr tomato, and is now the 800-lb. gorilla of the GM food business), were never allowed to market. Still, with the 15 years from 1996 to 2011 seeing a 96-fold increase in the amount of land dedicated to growing GM crops and the incalculable success of the generations of pre-transgenic mutants before them, scientists and corporations are still in a mad sprint to find the next billion-dollar GM blockbuster. In doing so they are seeking tools that make the discovery of such breakthroughs faster and more reliable. With RNAi, they may just have found one such tool. If it holds true to its laboratory promises, its benefits will be obvious from all sides. Unlike previous generations of GMO, RNAi-treated crops do not need to be permanently modified. This means that mutations which outlive their usefulness, like resistance to a plague which is eradicated, do not need to live on forever. This allows companies to be more responsive, and potentially provides a big relief to consumers concerned about the implications of eating foods with permanent genetic modifications. The simple science of creating RNAi molecules is also attractive to people who develop these new agricultural products, as once a messenger RNA is identified, there is a precise formula to tell you exactly how to shut it off, potentially saving millions or even billions of dollars that would be spent in the research lab trying to figure out exactly how to affect a particular genetic process. And with the temporary nature of the technique, both the farmers and the Monsantos of the world can breathe easily over the huge intellectual-property questions of how to deal with genetically altered seeds. Not to mention the questions of natural spread of strains between farms who might not want GMO crops in their midst. Instead of needing to engineer in complex genetic functions to ensure progeny don’t pass down enhancements for free and that black markets in GMO seeds don’t flourish, the economic equation becomes as simple as fertilizer: use it or don’t. While RNAi is not a panacea for GMO scientists – it serves as an off switch, but cannot add new traits nor even turn on dormant ones – the dawn of antisense techniques is likely to mean an even further acceleration of the science of genetic meddling in agriculture. Its tools are more precise even than many of the most recent permanent genetic-modification methods. And the temporary nature of the technique – the ability to apply it selectively as needed versus breeding it directly into plants which may not benefit from the change decades on – is sure to please farmers, and maybe even consumers as well. That is, unless the scientists in Australia are proven correct, and the siRNAs used in experiments today make their way into humans and affect the same genetic functions in us as they do in the plants. The science behind their assertions still needs a great deal of testing. Much of their assertion defies the basic understanding of how siRNA molecules are delivered – an incredibly difficult and delicate process that has been the subject of hundreds of millions of dollars of research thus far, and still remains, thanks to our incredible immune systems, a daunting challenge in front of one of the most promising forms of medicine (and now of farming too). Still, their perspective is important food for thought… and likely fuel for much more debate to come. After all, even if you must label your products as containing GMO-derived ingredients, does that apply if you just treated an otherwise normal plant with a temporary, consumable, genetic on or off switch? In theory, the plant which ends up on your plate is once again genetically no different than the one which would have been on your plate had no siRNAs been used during its formative stages. One thing is sure: the GMO food train left the station nearly a century ago and is now a very big business that will continue to grow and to innovate, using RNAi and other techniques to come. The Casey Extraordinary Technology team has been tracking the leading lights of the RNAi medical industry for some time. Recently, one of our small biotech upstarts struck a potentially massive, exclusive deal with an agricultural giant to seed its own RNAi research program. Success could mean billions for both firms. If you’d like to know what company we believe will profit most from the next generation of GM food development, subscribe to CET. Bits & Bytes Last Chance for RIM? (CNN Money) Few companies have been written off as frequently as Research in Motion, whose Blackberry was once state of the art and which now finds itself fighting for its life. Its stock just soared 9% merely because it said release of the new Blackberry 10 is still on schedule for early next year. Whether the 10 will be able to put a dent into the Apple/Android monolith remains to be seen, but for RIM it could be the last, best hope. Giant Media Merger (LA Times) What do you get when you mate Han Solo with Minnie Mouse? We’re about to find out – fiscally, if not physically – with Tuesday’s announcement that Disney is acquiring Lucasfilm for a cool $4 billion. Disney is projecting it’ll get its money back within three years, while George is, well, retiring – as he is now well able to do. Google Settles Final AdWords Dispute (Ars Technica) Several companies have taken Google to court over AdWords, saying Google shouldn’t be allowed to key advertisements to their names, which are protected trademarks. The last and one of the most persistent has been Rosetta Stone, a language-software maker that sued Google in 2009, but lost in federal court. However, its case was revived on appeal, and yesterday it finally was settled on confidential terms. How Easy Is a Tablet to Use? (TechCrunch) Pretty damn easy, as it turns out. In a remarkable experiment, OLPC (One Laptop per Child) researchers in Ethiopia handed a Motorola Xoom tablet to each of a group of illiterate village children aged four to eight. Click the link to learn the amazing results.last_img read more

AstraZeneca to present Phase III CVOT DECLARETIMI 58 results at AHA Scientific

first_imgData will also be presented on potential risk factors for repeated or persistent hyperkalemia (Poster # SuMDP65). Source:https://www.astrazeneca.com/media-centre/press-releases/2018/the-landmark-declare-timi-58-cardiovascular-outcomes-trial-of-farxiga-in-patients-with-type-2-diabetes-to-be-featured-at-aha-01112018.html Whether clinical characteristics predicting bleeding and ischemic risk identify subgroups of patients who may derive benefit from long-term treatment with BRILINTA, with a lower risk of major bleeding (Poster #Sa2100) The effects of long-term use of BRILINTA in patients who have had a heart attack and who did not receive a coronary stent vs. those who did receive a coronary stent placement (Oral Presentation #102) The use of high-sensitivity cardiac troponin to identify patients who are at a higher-risk of major CV events (Oral Presentation #100)center_img Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Nov 1 2018AstraZeneca will present 20 abstracts including a late-breaking oral presentation on the full results from the Phase III cardiovascular (CV) outcomes trial (CVOT) DECLARE (Dapagliflozin Effect on Cardiovascular Events)-TIMI 58, the broadest SGLT2 inhibitor CVOT conducted to date, as well as new research from the Company’s Cardiovascular, Renal & Metabolism (CVMD) therapy area at the American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions, November 10-12, 2018, in Chicago, Illinois, USA.New evidence will build on broad clinical research from AstraZeneca that aims to help redefine the management of CVMD diseases and address the need for a more proactive and holistic approach to patient care. Presentations will include findings from some of the largest trials in broad patient populations with FARXIGA (dapagliflozin) in type 2 diabetes (T2D), BRILINTA (ticagrelor) in patients with a history of heart attack, and in hyperkalemia.Danilo Verge, Vice President, Cardiovascular, Renal & Metabolism, Global Medical Affairs, said: “An estimated 20 million people each year die from cardiovascular, renal and metabolic diseases, yet shared risk factors are frequently not diagnosed or addressed holistically. Our data at AHA reflect an integrated approach to managing the needs of patients living with type 2 diabetes and risk of cardiovascular or renal disease, and those with a history of cardiovascular disease at acute and long-term risk of recurrence. We stand firmly behind our mission to provide new solutions earlier in disease management to these patients at risk for multiple complications.”DECLARE-TIMI 58: a landmark CVOT evaluating CV risk in patients with T2DClinical trial results showing the safety and efficacy of FARXIGA vs. placebo on primary CV and secondary renal efficacy outcomes in adults with T2D who have multiple CV risk factors or established CV disease, will be presented in a late-breaking oral presentation (Late Breaking Abstract #19485). DECLARE-TIMI 58 evaluated the CV outcomes of FARXIGA vs. placebo over a period of up to five years, across 33 countries and in more than 17,000 adults with T2D with multiple CV risk factors or established CV disease.Related StoriesMetformin use linked to lower risk of dementia in African Americans with type 2 diabetesNew biomaterial could encapsulate and protect implanted insulin-producing cellsObese patients with Type 1 diabetes could safely receive robotic pancreas transplantIn September 2018, AstraZeneca announced that FARXIGA met its primary safety endpoint of non-inferiority for major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) and achieved a statistically-significant reduction in the composite endpoint of hospitalization for heart failure (hHF) or CV death, one of the two primary efficacy endpoints. Additionally, fewer MACE events were observed with FARXIGA for the other primary efficacy endpoint, however, this did not reach statistical significance. Clinical trial results presented at AHA Scientific Sessions 2018 will include additional details on the primary CV safety and efficacy, as well as secondary renal efficacy outcomes from DECLARE-TIMI 58. FARXIGA is not indicated to reduce the risk of CV events, hHF or renal outcomes.Three new sub-analyses from the PEGASUS-TIMI 54 trial will also be presented. The trial compared BRILINTA (90mg or 60mg twice daily) plus aspirin vs. aspirin alone in 21,162 patients with prior (1 to 3 years) heart attack. The sub-analyses evaluate:last_img read more

Researchers develop promising reconstruction method based on 3Dprinted esophageal grafts

first_img Source:Mary Ann Liebert, IncJournal reference:Kim, W. et al. (2019) Tissue-Engineered Esophagus via Bioreactor Cultivation for Circumferential Esophageal Reconstruction. Tissue Engineering. doi.org/10.1089/ten.tea.2018.0277 Dr. Chung and colleagues from Korea present an exciting approach for esophageal repair using a combined 3D printing and bioreactor cultivation strategy. Critically, their work shows integration of the engineered esophageal tissue with host tissue, indicating a clinically viable strategy for circumferential esophageal reconstruction.”John P. Fisher, PhD, Tissue Engineering Co-Editor-in-Chief, Fischell Family Distinguished Professor and Department Chair, and Director of the NIH Center for Engineering Complex Tissues at the University of Maryland Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jun 18 2019The loss of complete segments of the esophagus often results from treatments for esophageal cancer or congenital abnormalities, and current methods to re-establish continuity are inadequate. Now, working with a rat model, researchers have developed a promising reconstruction method based on the use of 3D-printed esophageal grafts. Their work is published in Tissue Engineering, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers.Eun-Jae Chung, MD, PhD, Seoul National University Hospital, Korea, Jung-Woog Shin, PhD, Inje University, Korea, and colleagues present their research in an article titled “Tissue-Engineered Esophagus via Bioreactor Cultivation for Circumferential Esophageal Reconstruction”. The authors created a two-layered tubular scaffold with an electrospun nanofiber inner layer and 3D-printed strands in the outer layer. After seeding human mesenchymal stem cells on the inner layer, constructs were cultured in a bioreactor, and a new surgical technique was used for implantation, including the placement of a thyroid gland flap over the scaffold. Efficacy was compared with omentum-cultured scaffolding technology, and successful implantation and esophageal reconstruction were achieved based on several metrics.last_img read more

Study Micronutrient deficiencies are common in adults at the time of celiac

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jun 24 2019Micronutrient deficiencies, including vitamins B12 and D, as well as folate, iron, zinc and copper, are common in adults at the time of diagnosis with celiac disease. These deficiencies should be addressed at that time, according to a study by Mayo Clinic researchers.The retrospective study of 309 adults newly diagnosed with celiac disease at Mayo Clinic from 2000 to 2014 also found that low body weight and weight loss, which are commonly associated with celiac disease, were less common. Weight loss was seen in only 25.2% of patients, and the average body mass index was categorized as overweight. The study will appear in the July issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Related StoriesTAU’s new Translational Medical Research Center acquires MILabs’ VECTor PET/SPECT/CTSwimming pools could be breeding grounds for diarrhea-causing germsOlympus Europe and Cytosurge join hands to accelerate drug development, single cell researchCeliac disease is an immune reaction to consuming gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Eating gluten triggers an immune response in the small intestine that over time damages the intestine’s lining and prevents it from absorbing some nutrients, leading to diarrhea, fatigue, anemia, weight loss and other complications.Based on recent data, the prevalence of celiac disease in the U.S. is 1 in 141 people, and its prevalence has increased over the past 50 years.”Our study suggests that the presentation of celiac disease has changed from the classic weight loss, anemia and diarrhea, with increasing numbers of patients diagnosed with nonclassical symptoms,” says Dr. Bledsoe, the study’s primary author. “Micronutrient deficiencies remain common in adults, however, and should be assessed.” Assessment should include vitamin D, iron, folic acid, vitamin B12, zinc and copper.Zinc deficiency was observed most frequently at diagnosis, the study says, with 59.4% of patients having a deficiency. Other deficiencies included iron, vitamin D, copper, vitamin B12 and folate.The nutritional deficiencies have potential health ramifications, though in this retrospective study the clinical implications remain unknown. “Further studies are needed to better define the implications of the deficiencies, optimal replacement strategies and follow-up,” says Dr. Bledsoe. Source:Mayo Clinic It was somewhat surprising to see the frequency of micronutrient deficiencies in this group of newly diagnosed patients, given that they were presenting fewer symptoms of malabsorption.”Adam Bledsoe, M.D., a gastroenterology fellow at Mayo Clinic’s Rochester campuslast_img read more

Utah driver sues Tesla after crashing in Autopilot mode

first_img Heather Lommatzsch claimed in the lawsuit filed Tuesday that Tesla salespeople told her in 2016 when she purchased the Model S that she could just touch the steering wheel occasionally while using the Autopilot mode. Lommatzsch, 29, said she tried to brake when she saw the stopped cars, but that the car’s brakes did not work.The accident happened May 11 in the Salt Lake City suburb of South Jordan. Lommatzsch broke her foot and was charged with a misdemeanor traffic citation for failure to keep a proper lookout. The firetruck’s driver suffered injuries but was not hospitalized.Tesla spokesman Dave Arnold said in a statement about the lawsuit that the company “has always been clear that Autopilot doesn’t make the car impervious to all accidents.””When using Autopilot, drivers are continuously reminded of their responsibility to keep their hands on the wheel and maintain control of the vehicle at all times,” Arnold said.Arnold stressed that Lommatzsch was cited and that the final police report said she told police she was looking at her phone before the crash. Car data showed Lommatzsch did not touch the steering wheel for 80 seconds before the crash, the report said.Data taken from her car showed it picked up speed for 3.5 seconds before crashing into the firetruck, the report said. The driver then manually hit the brakes a fraction of a second before the impact.Police suggested that the car was following another vehicle and dropped its speed to 55 mph (89 kph) to match the leading vehicle. They say the leading vehicle then likely changed lanes and the Tesla automatically sped up to its preset speed of 60 mph (97 kph) without noticing the stopped cars ahead. A Utah driver who slammed her Tesla into a stopped firetruck at a red light earlier this year while using the vehicle’s semi-autonomous function has sued the company, saying salespeople told her the car would stop on its own in Autopilot mode if something was in its path. In this May 11, 2018, file photo, released by the South Jordan Police Department shows a traffic collision involving a Tesla Model S sedan with a fire department mechanic truck stopped at a red light in South Jordan, Utah. Heather Lommatzsch, the Utah driver who slammed her Tesla into the stopped firetruck at a red light while using the vehicle’s semi-autonomous function, is suing the company. (South Jordan Police Department via AP, File) 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: Utah driver sues Tesla after crashing in Autopilot mode (2018, September 5) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-09-utah-driver-sues-tesla-autopilot.html All Teslas are equipped with automatic emergency braking, which Tesla says will detect objects and brake to help avoid or lessen impact of crashes. Tesla warns drivers to pay attention and not to rely on the system entirely.The National Transportation Safety Board recently issued initial findings about two separate crashes involving Tesla vehicles in which three people died.The agency found that a Tesla Model S electric car that crashed and burned last month in Florida, killing two teenagers, was traveling 116 mph (187 kph) three seconds before impact and only slowed to 86 mpg (138 kph) as the air bags were inflated.The agency said that a Tesla Model X SUV using Autopilot accelerated just before crashing into a California freeway barrier in March, killing its driver.The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is still investigating the Utah crash and cannot yet make public details, said spokeswoman Kathryn Henry.A study released in August by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that cars and trucks with electronic driver-assist systems may not see stopped vehicles and could even steer a driver into a crash if the driver is not paying attention. The paper, titled “Reality Check,” issued the warning after testing five of the systems from Tesla, Mercedes, BMW and Volvo on a track and public roads. The upshot is while they could save your life, the systems can fail under many circumstances. Lommatzsch claimed she has suffered serious physical injuries that have deprived her of being able to enjoy life and led to substantial medical bills. She is seeking at least $300,000 in damages.The Utah crash is one of several Tesla accidents that have brought scrutiny to its Autopilot, the company’s semi-autonomous system designed to keep a vehicle centered in its lane at a set distance from cars in front of it. The system also can also guide the cars to change lanes automatically. Explore further © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Tesla in Autopilot mode sped up before crashing In this May 11, 2018, file photo, released by the South Jordan Police Department shows a traffic collision involving a Tesla Model S sedan with a fire department mechanic truck stopped at a red light in South Jordan, Utah. Heather Lommatzsch, the Utah driver who slammed her Tesla into the stopped firetruck at a red light while using the vehicle’s semi-autonomous function, is suing the company. (South Jordan Police Department via AP, File)last_img read more

Congress trashes CAG report on Rafale

first_img SHARE SHARE EMAIL Rafale RELATED SHARE What does the CAG’s Rafale report say? ‘Not worth paper it’s printed on’ February 13, 2019 Published oncenter_img NDA Rafale deal cheaper than UPA offer: CAG Congress President Rahul Gandhi along with Sonia Gandhi, Former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh with party MP’s protesting at Parliament against Rafale deal controversy, in New Delhi on Wednesday.   –  Sandeep Saxena Rahul Gandhi Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report on the Rafale jet fighter deal is “not worth the paper it is printed on” as it does not include the dissent note by the expert negotiating team.At a press conference called within hours after the federal auditor tabled the performance audit report on capital acquisition of the Indian Air Force in the Rajya Sabha, the Opposition Leader said while he does not agree with the findings of the report, its conclusion that the 36 Rafale jet deal by the BJP-led NDA government through an inter-governmental agreement (IGA) is 2.86 per cent cheaper than an earlier deal for 126 jets, “proves that the Prime Minister, the Defence Minister and the Finance Minister lied to Parliament when they said the price difference was between 9-20 per cent”.Fresh revelations Quoting fresh revelations in The Hindu on Wednesday, based on the notings by three domain experts who were part of the Indian Negotiating Team (INT), which pointed out that the new deal worked out by the BJP through the IGA was “not on better terms” than the deal being negotiated by the previous UPA government, Gandhi said the Centre’s twin rationale for negotiating a fresh deal has been “totally demolished”.Refuting rationale“They said that the new deal was worked out because it would be cheaper and bring the aircraft earlier. The note by the technical and financial experts in the negotiating team has totally demolished these two reasons. The only reason for the new deal is to give ₹30,000 crore to Anil Ambani,” the Congress chief alleged.Gandhi questioned why the note by three domain experts was not factored in by the CAG in India in its audit report.To another question on the CAG report, he said, “In my opinion, any audit of a deal that does not take into account the considered opinion of the technical and financial experts on the deal is not worth the paper it is written on.”Gandhi asserted that the fresh revelations in The Hindu have validated the accusation that there is a scam in the Rafale jet deal. “When the domain experts are putting their objections in writing, they are distancing themselves from the corruption in the deal. They will not be held liable if there is an enquiry into the deal,” said Gandhi.On SC orderTo a question about the government’s assertion that the Congress’s accusations about a scam in the Rafale deal have been refuted by the Supreme Court (SC) earlier, and by the CAG now, Gandhi said, “I want to ask — was this note by the domain experts presented to the SC? The facts were hidden.”The Congress President reiterated the demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee enquiry into the deal. COMMENT COMMENTSlast_img read more

Rahul Gandhi quits as Congress President

first_img COMMENT SHARE SHARE EMAIL July 03, 2019 SHARE Urges party to find successor At the receiving end of fervent appeals to stay on, with a worker even attempting suicide to this end, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday publicly underlined his resolve to quit and released the letter he had written to the Congress Working Committee accepting responsibility for the party’s defeat in the just-concluded general elections.The Wayanad MP told reporters that he has urged the CWC to select his successor at the earliest. Discussions are reportedly veering around Sushil Kumar Shinde and Mallikarjun Kharge as frontrunners for the post. The CWC is likely to meet soon to elect the president, which will have to be ratified by a session of the All India Congress Committee.Gandhi, meanwhile, told reporters that there is no question of him continuing any longer than it is absolutely necessary.“I am no longer the Congress president. I have already resigned. The CWC should convene a meeting immediately and decide on the new Congress president,” he said.In the four-page letter released to the media through Twitter, Gandhi said it is essential to fix accountability for the losses suffered by the Congress under his leadership.It is an honour for me to serve the Congress Party, whose values and ideals have served as the lifeblood of our beautiful nation. I owe the country and my organisation a debt of tremendous gratitude and love.Jai Hind pic.twitter.com/WWGYt5YG4V— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) July 3, 2019“As President of the Congress Party, I am responsible for the loss of the 2019 election. Accountability is critical for the future growth of our party. It is for this reason that I have resigned as Congress President,” he said in the letter. He said rebuilding the Congress requires hard decisions and numerous people will have to be made accountable for the failure of 2019. “It would be unjust to hold others accountable but ignore my own responsibility as President of the party,” he said.He also ruled out the suggestion that the next Congress President should be his nominee. He said in the letter that the party will make the best decision regarding who can lead it with courage, love and fidelity.The idea of IndiaGandhi urged the party to transform radically to fight the Sangh Parivar. “I have no hatred or anger towards the BJP but every living cell in my body instinctively resists their idea of India. This resistance arises because my being is permeated with an Indian idea that is and has always been in direct conflict with theirs. This is not a new battle; it has been waged on our soil for thousands of years. Where they see differences, I see similarity. Where they see hatred, I see love. What they fear, I embrace,” he said.He maintained that his fight has never been a simple battle for political power. He said an election will not be free if one party has a complete monopoly on financial resources.“It is now crystal clear that our once cherished institutional neutrality no longer exists in India. The stated objective of the RSS, — the capture of our country’s institutional structure — is now complete. Our democracy has been fundamentally weakened. There is a real danger that from now on, elections will go from being a determinant of India’s future to a mere ritual,” the Wayanad MP saidcenter_img Congress President Rahul Gandhi   –  Bloomberg Indian National Congress Published on COMMENTSlast_img read more