Over 900 children reported ill in last three years after consuming midday

first_img Advertising Related News Advertising Mid-day meals: 37 samples below mark Respective state governments were requested to furnish action taken reports (ATRs) in the matter, he said.“As per the reports received, action such as issuing warning against the official responsible, terminating the contract of concerned NGOs and organisations, initiating criminal proceedings and imposing penalties against the defaulting persons,” the official said.The Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) has also issued guidelines on quality, safety and hygiene in school-level kitchens to all the states and the UTs.“The guidelines also provide instructions to schools to procure AGMARK quality and branded items for preparation of mid-day meals, tasting of meals by 2-3 adult members of school management committees, including at least one teacher before serving to children,” the official said. mid-day meals, mid-day meal in schools, students mid-day meal, government schools, literacy mid-day meal, mhrd, indian express The Midday Meal scheme comes under the HRD Ministry’s Department of School Education and Literacy. (File photo)More than 900 children were reported ill and none of them died after consuming mid-day meals across the country in last three years, according to HRD Ministry officials. Mothers to be quality controllers in mid-day meal scheme in Goa Post Comment(s) Those compromising with children’s nutrition must be hit with shoes: Madhya Pradesh minister The ministry had received 35 complaints from 15 states and Union Territories regarding substandard food quality during the same period.“A total number of 930 children were reported ill and none of them died after eating such food in the country during the last three years and current year. The overall responsibility for providing cooked and nutritious mid-day meal to eligible children lies with state governments,” a senior HRD Ministry official said.The Midday Meal scheme comes under the HRD Ministry’s Department of School Education and Literacy. By PTI |New Delhi | Published: July 14, 2019 4:11:25 pmlast_img read more

16 Opposition parties submit notice to Rajya Sabha chairman on media freedom

first_img Related News Advertising “A decision has been taken that every week the opposition parties in the Rajya Sabha will jointly move for one short duration discussion and one calling attention motion. The first mover will vary but the entire block would sign the notice. Issues are being decided after discussions with all parties on a week to week basis. The notice has been given at a time when the restrictions on the entry of accredited journalists to the finance ministry has caused a lot of concern so obviously that will come up. Some members have already spoken about in during other discussions,” said an Opposition MP.Congress MP Kapil Sibal had mentioned the matter in his speech during the Budget discussion. Current Session of Parliament may be extended to clear pending legislation rajya sabha, media freedom, finance ministry media ban, finance ministry media entry blocked, freedom of press, Subramanian Swamy, Sharad Pawar The Opposition is pushing for the notice to be taken up next week as this week disruptions continued in the Upper House over political developments in Karnataka. (RSTV/PTI Photo/Representational) AS CONTROVERSY continues over restrictions on access of government accredited journalists in the finance and commerce ministries, 16 opposition parties have submitted a notice to Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu, for a short duration discussion on media freedom. Explained: Why power costs vary, and uniform national rate is difficult to implement Advertising Parliament Highlights: RS passes bill paving way for two new central universities in Andhra Pradesh Among the signatories of the notice is BJP MP Subramanian Swamy and NCP chief Sharad Pawar.The Opposition is pushing for the notice to be taken up next week as this week disruptions continued in the Upper House over political developments in Karnataka. The parties that have signed the notice so far include Congress, Trinamool Congress, RJD, SP, BSP, Aam Aadmi Party, CPI, PDP, CPM, DMK, Kerala Congress (Mani), and IUML. BJD, according to sources, has informally conveyed to the Opposition block that it is not keen to be part of any joint notice, at least during the current session.Media freedom is the second of a series of issues the Opposition wants to discuss. Earlier, Rajya Sabha had similarly taken up a discussion on electoral reforms moved by Trinamool MP Derek O’Brien which all the other parties had signed. The initial decision had been to cooperate with the government on legislative business and also push for discussion on subjects chosen by various opposition parties, which is why out of the 27 sittings of the RS during the budget session, it was smooth sailing for the first 13 sittings. Exactly midway on the 14th day, disruptions have come back riding on the political developments in Karnataka. Written by Abantika Ghosh | New Delhi | Published: July 14, 2019 1:52:12 am Post Comment(s)last_img read more

New Android Apps Come to the Aid of HearingImpaired

first_imgGoogle is rolling out a limited beta version of the app gradually to users worldwide through its Play Store. It will be preinstalled on new Pixel 3 devices.Once on a phone, it can be activated from the Accessibility settings and launched from the Accessibility button on Android’s navigation bar. Google on Monday announced two new Android applications designed to make life easier for deaf and hard-of-hearing people.One of the apps, Live Transcribe, turns live speech into real-time captions by using a phone’s microphone; the other, Sound Amplifier, improves a phone’s sound output.Live Transcribe, which works on Android 5.0 Lollipop and up, will be available in 70 languages and dialects.It has a type-back keyboard for users who can’t or don’t want to speak, and works with external microphones to improve transcription accuracy. Although Live Transcribe doesn’t have some of the features of competing products, a big part of its appeal will be simplicity.”It doesn’t have bells and whistles, but is really darn good at its core function — to provide captions to what is spoken around you,” said Christian Vogler, director of the technology access program in the department of communication studies at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C.Google partnered with Gallaudet in developing Live Transcribe.”It doesn’t require any setup before it is ready to go, and it is always on, available from anywhere in Android at the touch of a button,” Vogler told TechNewsWorld.”Most competitors I have tried and am aware of can’t do this,” he explained. “They require multiple steps, more or less complex configuration, or a combination of those. By the time you’re ready to use it, the moment very well may have passed.” Power of Simplicity Game Changer for Deaf There’s been an increase in integration between smartphones and certain devices, like hearing aids, King noted.That’s usually accomplished via a Bluetooth connection that allows phone calls, music and podcasts to be streamed directly to the hearing aids, he explained.”The problem is that most hearing aids are expensive, and streaming features are typically available on high-end and high-priced products,” he said.”Live Transcribe and Sound Amplifier add hearing assistance capabilities to Android phones freely, so you can’t beat the price,” he observed.”More broadly speaking, the apps provide valuable access to disabled people and communities. That’s frankly an area that most IT vendors fail to put much investment or effort into,” King noted. “Google deserves kudos for these apps in that regard.”About one in three people between the ages of 65 and 74 has hearing loss, and half of folks over 75 have difficult hearing, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.By 2055, based on World Health Organization estimates, about 900 million people worldwide will be living with hearing loss. Although just released, Sound Amplifier initially was unveiled at last year’s Google I/O conference, the company’s annual developers forum.Sound Amplifier makes a phone’s audio clearer and easier to hear.Wired headphones can be used to filter, augment and amplify the sounds around you.The app increases quiet sounds without boosting loud sounds.Sound enhancement settings can be customized, and noise reduction can be applied with simple sliders and toggles to minimize distracting background noise.”Sound Amplifier enables an Android phone to be used as a sound booster, so you could use it to amplify speech or other sounds in your direct vicinity,” noted Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, a technology advisory firm in Hayward, California.”It’s a bit similar to TV Ears hearing devices — so you might use it with a pair of earbuds or headphones to increase the volume of TV or music without disturbing the people around you,” he told TechNewsWorld.The app is available from the Play Store now, as well as preinstalled on the Pixel 3. Foiled by Accents Can’t Beat Free Live Transcribe doesn’t work well in environments where the background noise is so loud people have to raise their voices to be heard, Vogler acknowledged.It also requires Internet access, he said, so it performs poorly if a phone is in a weak signal area.It can have a problem with accents, too, although it seems to work fine with foreign accents in English.”If two people with hearing loss use it for communicating with each other, and if their voices have a ‘deaf accent,’ this would be a challenge,” he said.Google showed it is aware of the noise problem by adding a visual indicator to Live Transcribe that displays the signal-to-noise ratio of a phone’s surroundings, so an operator can gauge if the app is going to perform effectively or not. John P. Mello Jr. has been an ECT News Network reportersince 2003. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, IT issues, privacy, e-commerce, social media, artificial intelligence, big data and consumer electronics. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including the Boston Business Journal, theBoston Phoenix, Megapixel.Net and GovernmentSecurity News. Email John. One of the biggest challenges to Google’s app will be noise.”Anything that is using speech-to-text software is going to rely on a good signal,” said Tina Childress, an audiologist in Champaign, Illinois, and late deafened adult with cochlea implants.”Trying to do live transcription in a noisy restaurant is going to be more difficult than doing it in a quiet place,” she told TechNewsWorld.The app needs a way to single out a person and transcribe what they’re saying, and cut out all the hubub, said H. Kennedy Hudner, a retired attorney with impaired hearing who lives in Glastonbury, Connecticut.”That’s called the ‘Restaurant Syndrome,'” he told TechNewsWorld. “It’s still the single most difficult situation for hard-of-hearing people, even when they have good hearing aids.”Accuracy could be another issue with the app.”Whenever I try to verbally do a Gmail, it’s always fascinating to see how the transcriber there completely mangles what I try to say,” Hudner observed.That said, using speech recognition for critical applications, such as delivering the news, requires a cautionary approach, said Childress.”Speech recognition is a lot better than it used to be, but I would not want to rely on that for things like news,” she said. “There are too many things that can go wrong. You need to rely on the accuracy of a live captioner.” Restaurant Syndrome Live Transcribe provides a new avenue of spontaneous access to interpersonal situations in which people with hearing problems otherwise might struggle, Vogler noted.Such situations include one-to-one or small group conversations where it’s difficult to lip-read or understand a speaker even with hearing devices on.Live Transcribe can be especially powerful for spontaneous, unplanned conversations, said Vogler.”Every person with hearing loss knows situations where they just nod and smile and hope that they wouldn’t get called out on their pretense of understanding. Typically, if we struggled, we would just give up,” he said.”You can also use the app to get a quick idea of what people in close proximity are talking about and jump in if you so desire. Personally, that is something I never ever have been able to do before, and it is incredibly liberating,” added Vogler. “For me personally, it has been a complete game changer in many ways.” Amp Up the Soundlast_img read more

Bradford and GE Healthcare collaborate to build new AIpowered hospital Command Center

first_img Source:https://www.gehealthcare.com/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Oct 4 2018Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is collaborating with GE Healthcare to build a Command Center – like an air traffic control – at the Bradford Royal Infirmary (BRI), UK. A first of its kind in Europe, the Command Center will transform how care is delivered and organized as the number of patients at the hospital continues to increase. Utilizing artificial intelligence (AI), it will provide a clear, instant, and real-time overview across the 800-bed hospital and help staff make quick and informed decisions on how to best manage patient care.Up to 20 Trust staff based in the Command Center will monitor a “wall of analytics” that constantly pulls in streams of real-time data from the multiple systems at the hospital. Advanced algorithms will help staff to anticipate and resolve bottlenecks in care delivery before they occur, recommending actions to enable faster, more responsive patient care and better allocation of resources. The data will be displayed on multiple high definition screens in the Command Center – as well as on tablets and mobile devices, providing 24-7 support to busy medical teams across the hospital.The Command Center will be located centrally in a refurbished space at the BRI site. It will help to reduce unnecessary time spent in hospital after a patient is medically ready to leave, increase the proportion of patients who arrive and are admitted, transferred or discharged from A&E (Emergency Department) within four hours, and help ensure that patients are always treated in the wards best suited to manage their care.Over 96% of bed capacity at BRI is used regularly and it has 125,000 A&E attendances each year, up by more than 40% over the past decade. The Command Center program helps meet the vision of Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to decrease length of stay, alleviate the need for additional wards and beds – especially during peak winter times – and reduce cancellations for non-emergency surgery.Related StoriesHome-based support network helps stroke patients adjust after hospital discharge’Traffic light’ food labels associated with reduction in calories purchased by hospital employeesApplication of machine learning methods to healthcare outcomes research”Demand for services is growing at Bradford Teaching Hospitals every year” said Professor Clive Kay, Chief Executive of Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. “The Command Center will enable us to optimize our use of resources and improve how we move patients around the hospital for treatment and successful discharge. Around 350-400 patients come through our A&E every day, and relieving pressure on our 6,000 staff means they can spend more time delivering care, and less time organizing care.””Hospitals are increasingly looking to boost the efficiency of their operations so they can continue to deliver high quality care as patient volume increases. Command Centers help to orchestrate the delivery of care across the organization, bringing consistency to processes, prioritizing actions, eliminating waste and predicting tomorrow’s pressure points,” said Mark Ebbens, European Command Center Lead at GE Healthcare.Command Centers have been adopted by several hospitals in North America including The Johns Hopkins Hospital, a major not-for-profit 1100 bed hospital in Baltimore, US, and Humber River Hospital, Toronto, Canada. Since the Command Center began operating at Johns Hopkins, patients from other hospitals are transferred 60% faster, Emergency Room (A&E) wait times have been cut by 25%, and time spent waiting in the operating theatre for a post-surgical bed decreased by 70%.”GE Healthcare’s vision is to enable precision health. We are honored to serve the NHS Bradford team as they look to deliver the most effective patient care,” added Jeff Terry, GE Healthcare’s Command Center CEO.Bradford Teaching Hospitals’ Command Center will open in spring 2019.last_img read more

Googles Ugly Duckling Glass Becomes Enterprise Swan

first_imgSince Glass’ introduction, The Team at X (a subsidiary of Google parent Alphabet), has improved the design and hardware, making it lighter and more comfortable to wear for long periods of time. The team also increased the power and battery life for the unit.More than 50 businesses now are using Glass to improve worker productivity, Kothari pointed out.”Based on the positive feedback we’ve received from these customers in a special program we’ve been running for the past two years, we’re now making Glass Enterprise Edition available to more businesses through our network of partners,” he said. John P. Mello Jr. has been an ECT News Network reportersince 2003. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, IT issues, privacy, e-commerce, social media, artificial intelligence, big data and consumer electronics. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including the Boston Business Journal, theBoston Phoenix, Megapixel.Net and GovernmentSecurity News. Email John. ‘Unmitigated Disaster’ Unlike the consumer market, where Glass failed to gain traction, the enterprise has been open to the new technology.”Workers look at it as a tool,” said Brian Ballard, CEO of Upskill, a Glass partner.”They see it as beneficial,” he told TechNewsWorld. “It empowers them, helps them perform their jobs better, and there’s universal excitement for it.”That’s a far cry from Glass’ reputation in the consumer market.”The first-generation consumer Glass was an unmitigated disaster on many fronts, so it won’t be too hard to top it with the new commercial version,” observed Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy.In the consumer realm, Glass quickly became socially unacceptable, recalled Ian Hughes, an Internet of Things analyst with 451 Research.”The device caused suspicion and discomfort to others not wearing it,” he told TechNewsWorld, “but in the workplace, where safety goggles and hardhats might be worn, those devices makes more sense.” There were three problems with the consumer version of Glass, explained Ross Rubin, principal analyst at Reticle Research. It was conspicuous, it was pricey, and it lacked applications.”Selling to the enterprise addresses all those issues,” Rubin told TechNewsWorld.”Its price can be justified because it can save on costs, [and] enterprises also have developers who can create content for Glass,” he said.”As for conspicuousness, people will be using it for limited applications and not in their daily lives,” Rubin noted.For consumers, Glass was a luxury item, like a smartwatch, said Eric Abbruzzese, a senior analyst at ABI Research.”In the enterprise, it can be seen to pay for itself in every role that we’ve seen,” he told TechNewsWorld. “It’s hard to find something that can make that kind of impact.” Google’s augmented reality goggles were a flop several years ago — when intrepid explorers wore the devices in restaurants and bars, sparking reactions ranging from disapproval to outright violence — but they have become very welcome in the workplace. Their success in a host of business settings led The Team at X on Tuesday to announce an expansion of its Glass Enterprise Edition program.The latest version of Glass looks like a pair of safety glasses, but it’s really a small, lightweight wearable computer with a transparent display that can bring information into the wearer’s line of sight.What the Glass team has found since introducing the original version in 2014 is that workers in many fields — such as manufacturing, logistics, field services and healthcare — have discovered the advantages of accessing information while both hands are busy.”That’s why we’ve spent the last two years working closely with a network of more than 30 expert partners to build customized software and business solutions for Glass for people in these fields,” noted Glass Project Lead Jay Kothari. Classic Mistakecenter_img Forgiving Market Google made a classic mistake when it introduced Glass.”I’m always recommending to companies to go after industrial applications first, but they never want to because they all have big dollar signs in their eyes,” said Jim McGregor, principal analyst at Tirias Research.”They all want that billion-unit consumer pot of gold,” he told TechNewsWorld.”That’s exactly what Google did instead of first going after the embedded and industrial market,” McGregor said.”The reason it makes more sense to go to that market first is it’s in these applications that you see an immediate return on investment,” he added.”It doesn’t matter if it costs $1,300, $1,500 or $2,000, because you can justify the value of it in terms of improved productivity, fewer defects and enhanced capabilities,” McGregor explained.”Plus, when you put it in these environments first, it helps build interest in it for consumers going forward,” he said, “for the time when prices come down and the technology becomes more flexible for consumer applications.” The enterprise market can be more forgiving than the consumer market.”Everything doesn’t have to be perfect to extract value,” Moorhead told TechNewsWorld.”The glasses can be larger, they don’t have to last all day, and don’t have to be the easiest thing to use to derive business value,” he said.”Look at the way computers started in business,” Moorhead continued. “They were big, bulky, ugly and expensive before consumer adoption took off.”Because the enterprise has more control over its workers’ tools, it can avoid the privacy problems connected to the consumer version of Glass.”It was always predicted that Glass was going to be useful in certain industrial contexts,” said Timothy Toohey, an attorney with Greenberg Glusker.”The problem is when you take it out of those contexts, it has facial recognition issues and surreptitious recording issues that violate the privacy law of some states,” he told TechNewsWorld.”Unless an enterprise disables those functions, it will have the same problems,” Toohey added. The Right Place On the left is an assembly engine manual that GE Aviation’s mechanics used to consult. Now they use Glass Enterprise Edition on the right.last_img read more

Republicans drive to tighten immigration overlooks need for doctors

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Oct 30 2018Dr. Alluri Raju, a native of India, vividly remembers how his ethnicity prompted concern and discrimination in the southwest Georgia town of Richland. Doctors there hesitated to grant the family practitioner and general surgeon privileges to the local hospital when he arrived in 1981.“I guess they wanted to cut me off so that I wouldn’t be a competitor,” he recalled.Yet, in the 37 years Raju has been practicing in Richland, more than 20 doctors have come and gone and he’s the only physician left — not just in Richland, but in all of Stewart County and neighboring Webster County, an area roughly half the size of Rhode Island with a population of more than 8,000.“Today, I’m it,” he said. And his patients, he said, treat him with respect — and not as a foreigner.Stories like Raju’s are the common thread for many immigrant doctors in the United States.The American Medical Association said that, as of last year, 18 percent of practicing physicians and medical residents in the U.S. in patient care were born in other countries. Georgia’s percentage of foreign-born doctors is similar, at 17 percent.Yet President Donald Trump’s focus on securing U.S. borders and restricting immigration — and the bitter arguments between the national political parties on the issue during midterm campaigns — have sown concerns about opportunities for foreign-born doctors.Many of these doctors, like Raju, work in rural areas that are desperate to attract medical professionals. Yet those areas are often reliable supporters of Trump and his strict immigration policies. A recent national poll found that immigration is the top concern for Republican voters.Some health care experts say Trump’s tough stance could make it harder for rural areas such as Richland to relieve critical physician shortages.Georgia’s Republican lawmakers have considered legislation in recent years that opponents say would have restricted the rights of some immigrants. And Republican candidates for governor here campaigned in the primary this year on cracking down on illegal immigrants, though advocates for that position say bias is not the motivation, but rather the need for border security.Raju’s patients say they don’t see any problem in seeking care from an immigrant. Raju has been treating Willie Hawkins, a retired road worker, for 30 years, as well as his mother and his sister.Sometimes, Hawkins said with a smile, he has to ask the nurse what the doctor just said.“You know, he talks a little funny,” said Hawkins, 66. “But who cares?”Maybe when Raju first came here to practice, people were a bit skeptical, Hawkins recalled. Many had never met someone from India before, he said. “But today it just doesn’t matter,” he said.Foreign-born doctors are vital to the national health system. The U.S. is grappling with a doctor shortage that’s expected to grow to as many as 120,000 physicians by 2030, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.Even now, primary care doctors are relatively scarce in certain areas of the country. Georgia has a few counties without any doctors at all, and many counties lack a pediatrician or an OB-GYN.These immigrants help fill some of the gaps, especially in primary care, said Dr. William Salazar of Augusta University’s Medical College of Georgia, who came to the U.S. from Colombia. And rural Georgia has a higher percentage of immigrant doctors than do urban areas, said Jimmy Lewis of HomeTown Health, an association of rural hospitals mostly in Georgia.”Foreign-born doctors go to places no one wants to go,” said Dr. Gulshan Harjee, a Tanzanian-born physician who co-founded the Clarkston Community Health Center, a free clinic serving mainly immigrants and refugees in metro Atlanta.Patients’ BiasSeveral foreign-born doctors here recalled awkward interactions with patients, occasionally experiencing bias.”When they think you’re different, they think you’re not as smart, and think they won’t understand what you’re saying,” said Salazar. “You develop skills to overcome that.”But patients overall are getting used to people from other countries, he added.Saeed Raees, a pharmacist originally from Pakistan who co-founded the Clarkston clinic, said that “you’ll run into a small minority who don’t want to be seen by a foreign-born doctor or a Muslim doctor.”Physicians from predominantly Muslim countries face increased pressure after the Trump administration tightened its visa and immigration policies. Several doctors said that their visa applications take longer than before or are on hold, and re-entry into the U.S. after traveling was difficult.Nearly half of Muslim physicians in the U.S. felt more scrutiny at work compared with their peers, and many said they experienced discrimination in the workplace, according to a study by Dr. Aasim Padela at the University of Chicago. Nearly a tenth of the physicians surveyed reported that patients had refused their care because they were Muslim.There is also acceptance.Dr. Buthena Nagi, a native of Libya, is employed as a hospitalist at Navicent Health in Macon. Nagi, 40, completed her residency at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta in 2015. But to stay in the country she has to meet immigration criteria.Most foreign physicians complete their residency in the U.S., typically on a student visa. To remain beyond that, U.S. immigration law requires them to practice in a medically underserved area for at least three years. Afterward, they can apply for a green card and, eventually, American citizenship.Related StoriesStudy analyzes high capacity of A. baumannii to persist on various surfacesStudy: Two-thirds of pneumonia patients receive more antibiotics than they probably needBordeaux University Hospital uses 3D printing to improve kidney tumor removal surgeryNagi wears a hijab — a traditional head covering for many Muslim women — with her scrubs, and sometimes patients and colleagues ask her about it.“I then explain that this is part of my religion,” she said. “And once the dialogue kicks in, the fear dies down, and people seem to understand that I’m not an alien from outer space.”In metro Atlanta’s highly diverse DeKalb County, about 75 percent of the patients at the free Clarkston health center are immigrants, refugees or migrant workers. Up to 30 languages are spoken there. Co-founder Harjee said she speaks “only six.”Sameera Vadsariya, 37, said through an interpreter that she loves the services there. She was born in India and is here on a visa. She has no health insurance, so the free services are worth the long wait for treatment.Most of the volunteer doctors at the Clarkston clinic are foreign-born, said Harjee. “This is a passion for them. They want to give back.”Opportunity LostBelsy Garcia Manrique also wants to play a role.At age 7, she left her home in Zacapa, Guatemala, and headed north through Mexico with her mother and sister. It was a two-week odyssey — a combination of walking and driving — up to the southern tip of Texas. Her father, Felix, who had come to the U.S. two years earlier seeking political asylum, met them and drove the family to his home in Georgia.For many years, she dreamed of being a doctor, hoping to treat Spanish-speaking patients in the parts of northwest Georgia where she was raised.U.S. immigration policy, however, blocked her path to medical school. She was not a legal resident. Most states, including Georgia, prevented undocumented immigrant children like Garcia Manrique from qualifying for in-state tuition at public universities.But Garcia Manrique caught a break when President Barack Obama issued an executive order six years ago that created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. DACA offered more than 800,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. by their parents a chance to stay without fear of deportation.From 2012 to 2016, medical schools from California to Massachusetts accepted roughly 100 DACA students, whose families hailed from Mexico, Pakistan, Venezuela and other countries. Garcia Manrique applied to nearly 40 schools. The Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University Chicago, the first medical school to accept DACA students, was the only one that offered her admission.Shortly after taking office in 2017, Trump rescinded DACA, a move that has become the subject of ongoing legal and political battles. If the law stands, Garcia Manrique will be allowed to stay in the U.S. But if it’s overturned, she and DACA medical trainees won’t be allowed to renew their work permits.Garcia Manrique is finishing medical school and applying for a residency program to train in family medicine. Only two Georgia medical programs — at Emory University and Morehouse College — said they would consider a DACA recipient. She applied to both.Of her 50 applications, Garcia Manrique received interview offers from nearly a dozen programs, including ones in Illinois, California and Washington. She hasn’t heard from the ones in Georgia.And these days she isn’t sure if the Georgia she knew, and the Georgia she loved, is a place where she’d feel welcome.”After a certain time of being looked down upon, being told ‘no,’ going the extra mile to get the same benefits, you get tired of that,” Garcia Manrique said. “I’ve seen many immigrants who have talent in the South move out. Why not be somewhere where you’re wanted?” This article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.last_img read more

Cannabisbased compound shows promise to reduce seizures in children with epilepsy

first_img Source:https://newsroom.wiley.com/press-release/epilepsia/cannabis-based-compound-may-reduce-seizures-children-epilepsy Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Dec 5 2018Interest has been growing in the use of cannabinoids–the active chemicals in cannabis or marijuana– for the treatment of epilepsy in children. A recent Epilepsia analysis of relevant published studies indicates that this strategy looks promising.The analysis included four randomized controlled trials and 19 non-randomized studies, primarily involving cannabidiol, a particular type of cannabinoid that does not have psychoactive effects.Related StoriesRevolutionary gene replacement surgery restores vision in patients with retinal degenerationPuzzling paralysis affecting healthy children warns CDCWhy Mattresses Could be a Health Threat to Sleeping ChildrenAmong randomized controlled trials involving children with severe forms of epilepsy, there was no statistically significant difference between cannabidiol and placebo in terms of freedom from seizures, sleep disruption, or vomiting. There was a statistically significant reduction in the median frequency of monthly seizures with cannabidiol compared with placebo and an increase in number of participants with at least a 50 percent reduction in seizures.”Although we saw no significant difference in the number of children who became completely seizure free, we that found a significant number of these children achieved a 50 percent or more reduction in seizures. Any reduction in seizures has a striking impact on the lives of these children and their families,” said lead author Jesse Elliott, of the University of Ottawa, in Canada. “Research in this area is active, and we expect a dramatic increase in the number of studies over the next few years.”last_img read more

Researchers aim to identify and target high blood pressure indicators

first_img Source:https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/news/research-to-identify-and-target-high-blood-pressure-indicators Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Dec 10 2018New research led by the University of Plymouth could identify how to target hypertension and other blood vessel problems — by using proteomics technologyHigh blood pressure, or hypertension, is a leading cause of stroke and heart attacks worldwide – and one in four people have it.Now new research led by the University of Plymouth could identify how to target this condition and other blood vessel problems. Researchers will do this by focusing on vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC), the predominant components of blood vessels, and how they interact with myeloid cells, which are present in the blood circulation.Working with University College Dublin (UCD), Dr Vikram Sharma from the University of Plymouth’s Institute of Translational and Stratified Medicine (ITSMed) is leading the work on the proteomic (protein) profile of VSMC, thanks to a £12,000 grant from the Royal Society.Myeloid cells are present in the blood circulation, and Dr Arun Kumar’s Stemcology group at UCD recently proved that they influence the contraction of VSMC.By understanding this interaction, it opens up new perspectives when exploring diseases associated with blood vessel malfunction, such as hypertension and atherosclerosis, a disease in which plaque builds up inside the arteries. Unstable plaques are major cause of heart attack or stroke and currently scientists do not have any biomarkers (natural indicators) to identify them.Dr Sharma, who is in the University of Plymouth School of Biomedical Sciences, said: “We believe that looking at and comparing the proteomic profile has potential to identify novel biomarkers for identifying unstable plaques, or spot a therapeutic target for treating blood vessel complications in hypertension.Related StoriesDon’t Miss the Blood-Brain Barrier Drug Delivery (B3DD) Summit this AugustSchwann cells capable of generating protective myelin over nerves finds researchBlood pressure self-monitoring can help patients with hypertension to stick with exercise program”We’re fortunate at Plymouth to have the advanced technological platform in our Proteomics Core Services Laboratory in the Systems Biology Facility to explore the crosstalk between myeloid cells and VSMC. Coupled with UCD’s expertise in cardiovascular pharmacology, this means we could get to the bottom of how to target blood vessel problems before they develop, potentially preventing heart attacks and stroke.”VSMC can exist in three forms – 1) proliferative (quickly growing) 2) intermediate or 3) contractile (capable of producing contractions). Quickly growing types of VSMC are relevant to atherosclerosis plaques, as their interaction with myeloid cells in the blood circulation may cause the plaque to become unstable.The interaction of myeloid cells with 2) intermediate or 3) contractile type of VSMC is reported to be responsible for blood vessel thickening in hypertension. So in this project, the team will evaluate the complete proteomic profile of the myeloid cells’ interaction with all three forms of VSMC.Dr Sharma continued: “The proteomic profile will be compared to identify myeloid cells or VSMC specific potential targets. This is a two-year project, so the data from this study will then be used to secure further funding to test and develop the targets identified in suitable translational models.”last_img read more

Changes in hippocampal structural connectivity differentiate responders of electroconvulsive therapy

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jan 16 2019A study in Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging investigates the biological mechanisms of electroconvulsive therapy response in depressionA new study in people with major depression reports that electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) induces changes in the fibers connecting the hippocampus to brain regions involved in mood and emotion. Only patients who responded to the treatment showed these changes, and those who had the greatest changes in hippocampal pathways also showed the largest improvements in mood.The study, conducted by researchers at University of California, Los Angeles, was published in Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging.Related StoriesDon’t Miss the Blood-Brain Barrier Drug Delivery (B3DD) Summit this AugustResearch team to create new technology for tackling concussionMercy Medical Center adds O-arm imaging system to improve spinal surgery resultsThe findings reveal that ECT causes subtle changes in the structural integrity of the fiber paths, which can affect how well information is transferred between brain regions. “The nature of these changes suggests plasticity in the brain’s structural connections contribute to successful therapeutic response,” said senior author Katherine Narr, PhD.”ECT is highly effective for treating patients with severe depression who have not benefited from standard antidepressant treatments. However, researchers are still trying to understand how and why ECT works to improve depressive symptoms,” said Dr. Narr.So Dr. Narr and colleagues conducted brain scans of the hippocampus—the brain region most affected by depression—in people with the disorder before and after ECT, and assessed the participants’ changes in mood. Because the changes in structural integrity of the hippocampal pathways were only observed in patients who responded to ECT, the findings suggest that ECT produces its therapeutic effects in the brain by improving this structural integrity.”These data add to the growing evidence that response to ECT is associated with changes in brain structure, in this case anatomical measures of white matter, in individuals undergoing this treatment for major depression,” said Cameron Carter, MD, Editor of Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging.Hippocampal structural connectivity before ECT was not related to treatment response, meaning that the measures can’t be used to predict how a patient will respond to ECT. Despite that, the connection between the structural changes induced by ECT and therapeutic response suggests that changes of hippocampal structural connectivity could be used during the development of new treatments to test how well they might work. Source:https://www.elsevier.com/last_img read more

CHOP physicianresearchers analyze opioid prescription patterns in children

first_img Source:https://www.chop.edu/ Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Jan 29 2019As the opioid epidemic continues to plague the United States, physician-researchers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) analyzed prescription patterns in children. They found that both duration of treatment and dose amounts declined between 2013 and 2017, while the rate of prescribing remained the same.The findings were published January 17, 2019 in Pain Medicine.Researchers analyzed 65,190 pediatric cases between 2013 and 2017 across nine different surgical specialties in the CHOP Network. They found that while rates of prescribing remained stable, doctors prescribed opioids for shorter durations and lower individual dose amounts. While that trend is encouraging, researchers also found that doctors were more likely to prescribe opioids to females, ethnic minorities and patients with public insurance.Related StoriesResearchers identify gene mutations linked to leukemia in children with Down’s syndromeRevolutionary gene replacement surgery restores vision in patients with retinal degenerationFamily members’ drugs may be risk factor for overdose in individuals without prescriptions”The trends we saw in our study are reassuring,” says Ronald S. Litman, DO, corresponding author and an anesthesiologist in the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine at CHOP. “However, we are concerned about the bias we found in prescribing trends, and need to better understand why doctors are prescribing certain patients more opioids.”The rate of fatal overdoses from legally prescribed opioids, such as oxycodone or hydrocodone, has risen steadily from 2000 to 2015, eventually matching rates of fatal heroin overdoses. Studies show that living in a home with a prescription opioid user is linked to an increase risk in abusing the medication and may lead to opioid addiction. In recent years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have published revised pain treatment guidelines that emphasize a shorter duration of opioid prescription to combat the opioid epidemic in the United States.last_img read more

New eHealth tool shows potential to improve quality of asthma care

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Feb 14 2019A new electronic decision support tool for managing asthma has the potential to improve the quality of asthma care in primary care settings, suggests a study led by St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Canada.The research, published today in the European Respiratory Journal, aimed to determine whether the Electronic Asthma Management System (eAMS) could help close existing gaps in asthma care. The system is a first-of-its-kind evidence-based computerized decision support tool.”We have excellent therapies for this disease, yet most patients do not receive the best care, and as a result, are poorly controlled,” said Dr. Samir Gupta, an associate scientist at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael’s Hospital, who led this study. “There are many barriers facing busy primary care physicians in providing the best care, including lack of time, knowledge, training, and local resources. We sought to try to overcome these barriers by leveraging the power of technology.”Dr. Gupta and his team followed 23 physicians for two years across three large family health teams, assessing care provided to 1,272 unique patients with asthma. The study analyzed baseline care for one year, then integrated the eAMS into the practices and monitored care for another year to identify changes in the quality of care. The evaluation of an electronic tool builds on recent research led by Dr. Gupta that found that significant gaps persist in asthma care in these areas across the province.With the eAMS, asthma control assessment increased from 14 per cent to 59 per cent of patients. The tool also increased the proportion of patients who received an asthma action plan from 0 to 18 per cent. This is a self-management tool that lets patients know how to adjust their medications in case their asthma flares up. Asthma control assessment and action plans have been key recommendations in asthma care guidelines for more than 20 years.Related StoriesStudy estimates health care costs of uncontrolled asthma in the U.S. over next 20 yearsGrowing up on farm with animals may half risk of asthma and allergies, suggests studyWorld Asthma Day: How climate change is increasing cases of asthma”Our research demonstrates that a carefully designed eHealth tool can effectively be used in busy primary care settings, and can improve asthma care,” said Courtney Price, who was a summer student at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute while the analysis was completed. “This is especially important as asthma affects 339 million people globally, is one of the most common chronic diseases in Canada, and is continuing to increase in both prevalence and cost.”The decision support tool consists of: Dr. Gupta and his team hope to provide access to the eAMS to all family physicians in Canada. Next steps will include integrating the system across the different electronic medical record systems in use across Canada, further studies to show its impact on patient health, and adding additional features to the tool.”In the future, we also hope to use the valuable lessons learned in this study to design similar tools for other chronic diseases,” he said. An electronic questionnaire which patients typically complete on a tablet device in the physician waiting room (providing information about their asthma); An automated, computerized decision support system which then processes these data to instantly produce a set of asthma care recommendations and presents these to the clinician upon opening the patient’s electronic chart; and A printable asthma action plan that is auto-populated by the eAMS and given to patients by the clinician (an evidence-based tool which provides guidance on what patients should do if their asthma flares up).center_img Source:http://www.stmichaelshospital.com/last_img read more

How to fight scary superbugs Cooperation — and a special soap

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Apr 12 2019Hospitals and nursing homes in California and Illinois are testing a surprisingly simple strategy against the dangerous, antibiotic-resistant superbugs that kill thousands of people each year: washing patients with a special soap.The efforts — funded with roughly $8 million from the federal government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — are taking place at 50 facilities in those two states.This novel approach recognizes that superbugs don’t remain isolated in one hospital or nursing home but move quickly through a community, said Dr. John Jernigan, who directs the CDC’s office on health care-acquired infection research.”No health care facility is an island,” Jernigan said. “We all are in this complicated network.”At least 2 million people in the U.S. become infected with an antibiotic-resistant bacterium each year, and about 23,000 die from those infections, according to the CDC.People in hospitals are vulnerable to these bugs, and people in nursing homes are particularly vulnerable. Up to 15% of hospital patients and 65% of nursing home residents harbor drug-resistant organisms, though not all of them will develop an infection, said Dr. Susan Huang, who specializes in infectious diseases at the University of California-Irvine.”Superbugs are scary and they are unabated,” Huang said. “They don’t go away.”Some of the most common bacteria in health care facilities are methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, and carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE, often called “nightmare bacteria.” E. coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae are two common germs that can fall into this category when they become resistant to last-resort antibiotics known as carbapenems. CRE bacteria cause an estimated 600 deaths each year, according to the CDC.CREs have “basically spread widely” among health care facilities in the Chicago region, said Dr. Michael Lin, an infectious-diseases specialist at Rush University Medical Center, who is heading the CDC-funded effort there. “If MRSA is a superbug, this is the extreme — the super superbug.”Containing the dangerous bacteria has been a challenge for hospitals and nursing homes. As part of the CDC effort, doctors and health care workers in Chicago and Southern California are using the antimicrobial soap chlorhexidine, which has been shown to reduce infections when patients bathe with it. Though chlorhexidine is frequently used for bathing in hospital intensive care units and as a mouthwash for dental infections, it is used less commonly for bathing in nursing homes.In Chicago, researchers are working with 14 nursing homes and long-term acute care hospitals, where staff are screening people for the CRE bacteria at admission and bathing them daily with chlorhexidine.The Chicago project, which started in 2017 and ends in September, includes a campaign to promote handwashing and increased communication among hospitals about which patients carry the drug-resistant organisms.The infection-control work was new to many nursing homes, which don’t have the same resources as hospitals, Lin said.In fact, three-quarters of nursing homes in the U.S. received citations for infection-control problems over a four-year period, according to a Kaiser Health News analysis, and the facilities with repeat citations almost never were fined. Nursing home residents often are sent back to hospitals because of infections.In California, health officials are closely watching the CRE bacteria, which are less prevalent there than elsewhere in the country, and they are trying to prevent CRE from taking hold, said Dr. Matthew Zahn, medical director of epidemiology at the Orange County Health Care Agency. “We don’t have an infinite amount of time,” he said. “Taking a chance to try to make a difference in CRE’s trajectory now is really important.”The CDC-funded project in California is based in Orange County, where 36 hospitals and nursing homes are using the antiseptic wash along with an iodine-based nose swab. The goal is to prevent new people from getting drug-resistant bacteria and keep the ones who already have the bacteria on their skin or elsewhere from developing infections, said Huang, who is leading the project.Related StoriesBacteria in the birth canal linked to lower risk of ovarian cancerOlympus Europe and Cytosurge join hands to accelerate drug development, single cell researchFinger-prick blood test could help prevent unnecessary antibiotic prescribing for patients with COPDHuang kicked off the project by studying how patients move among different hospitals and nursing homes in Orange County, and discovered they do so far more than imagined. That prompted a key question: “What can we do to not just protect our patients but to protect them when they start to move all over the place?” she recalled.Her previous research showed that patients with the MRSA bacteria who used chlorhexidine for bathing and as a mouthwash, and swabbed their noses with a nasal antibiotic, could reduce their risk of developing a MRSA infection by 30%. But all the patients in that study, published in February in the New England Journal of Medicine, already had been discharged from hospitals.Now the goal is to target patients still in hospitals or nursing homes and extend the work to CRE. The traditional hospitals participating in the new project are focusing on patients in intensive care units and those who already carried drug-resistant bacteria, while the nursing homes and the long-term acute care hospitals perform the cleaning — also called “decolonizing” — on every resident.One recent morning at Coventry Court Health Center, a nursing home in Anaheim, Calif., 94-year-old Neva Shinkle sat patiently in her wheelchair. Licensed vocational nurse Joana Bartolome swabbed her nose and asked if she remembered what it did.”It kills germs,” Shinkle responded.”That’s right — it protects you from infection.”In a nearby room, senior project coordinator Raveena Singh from UC-Irvine talked with Caridad Coca, 71, who had recently arrived at the facility. She explained that Coca would bathe with the chlorhexidine rather than regular soap. “If you have some kind of open wound or cut, it helps protect you from getting an infection,” Singh said. “And we are not just protecting you, one person. We protect everybody in the nursing home.”Coca said she had a cousin who had spent months in the hospital after getting MRSA. “Luckily, I’ve never had it,” she said.Coventry Court administrator Shaun Dahl said he was eager to participate because people were arriving at the nursing home carrying MRSA or other bugs. “They were sick there and they are sick here,” Dahl said.Results from the Chicago project are pending. Preliminary results of the Orange County project, which ends in May, show that it seems to be working, Huang said. After 18 months, researchers saw a 25% decline in drug-resistant organisms in nursing home residents, 34% in patients of long-term acute care hospitals and 9% in traditional hospital patients. The most dramatic drops were in CRE, though the number of patients with that type of bacteria was smaller.The preliminary data also shows a promising ripple effect in facilities that aren’t part of the effort, a sign that the project may be starting to make a difference in the county, said Zahn of the Orange County Health Care Agency.”In our community, we have seen an increase in antimicrobial-resistant infections,” he said. “This offers an opportunity to intervene and bend the curve in the right direction.”This KHN story first published on California Healthline, a service of the California Health Care Foundation. This article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.last_img read more

Role of hospital and healthsystem pharmacists in drug therapy monitoring

first_imgGanio is also an author of the studyThe National Survey of Pharmacy Practice in Hospital Settings — 2018 analyzes pharmacy’s role in drug therapy monitoring and patient education. In addition to opioid stewardship programs, the survey covers several contemporary pharmacy practice issues, including management of medication therapy activities, and pharmacist participation in outpatient clinics. The study includes responses from pharmacy directors in 811 general and children’s hospitals in the U.S.The most common strategies that health systems employ for preventing opioid misuse include providing clinician education and guidelines (71.4 percent), followed by using prescription drug monitoring database searches to track prescribing practices and patient behaviors that can lead to abuse (65.3 percent), and opioid diversion detection programs (55.6 percent).In opioid stewardship, pharmacists most commonly play a role in diversion detection (70.8 percent). Pharmacists are also likely to be involved in clinical utilization review (57.2 percent), leadership and accountability (54.8 percent), and prescribing support (34.5 percent).Related StoriesResearch reveals genetic cause of deadly digestive disease in childrenChaos in the house and asthma in children – the connectionResearchers develop new technique to accurately detect ASD in childrenOther health-system strategies to prevent opioid misuse include limiting supplies of opioid prescriptions on home discharge, naloxone dispensing or education, opioid medication reconciliation during transitions of care, prescription opioid takeback programs, and medication-assisted opioid addiction management. Strategies employed to encourage appropriate prescribing include monitoring opioid prescribing practices to identify outliers among clinicians, using clinical decision-support, imposing restrictions on specific opioids or doses, and providing daily feedback to prescribers.Medication MonitoringThe survey also shows that pharmacists are integral to drug therapy management, a comprehensive and proactive approach to medication monitoring that involves selecting appropriate drug therapies, educating and monitoring patients, and assessing patient outcomes. More than 60 percent of hospitals routinely assign pharmacists to provide drug therapy management services to a majority of patients.Pharmacists are managing medication therapy activities that include, but are not limited to, monitoring therapeutic drug levels, patient outcomes and laboratory results, adverse drug event monitoring, adjusting medication regimens, and monitoring medication errors – for a growing portion of their patients. More than 75 percent of patients were monitored in more than 60 percent of hospitals in 2018 compared to just 20 percent of hospitals in 2000. A third of hospitals have pharmacists monitor all medication therapy, while 47 percent use electronic health records or clinical surveillance software to identify patients in need of additional pharmacist monitoring. Less than 8 percent, typically smaller hospitals, use a paper-based screening process to identify patients whose medication should be monitored by pharmacists.A third of health-systems have pharmacists practicing in primary or specialty care clinics, including anticoagulation, oncology, family medicine, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and infectious disease.Survey responses were collected online between July 2018 and September 2018 from general and children’s medical-surgical hospitals in the United States in the IMS Health hospital database. Source:ASHP (American Society of Health-System Pharmacists)Journal reference:Pedersen, C. et al. (2019) ASHP national survey of pharmacy practice in hospital settings: Monitoring and patient education—2018. American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy. doi.org/10.1093/ajhp/zxz099 Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jul 4 2019As hospitals look for ways to stem the opioid crisis, a survey of health-system pharmacy directors released today found that most large health systems have active stewardship programs to prevent the misuse of opioids — with pharmacists playing a key role in detecting drug diversion and identifying strategies to encourage appropriate opioid prescribing. The findings are part of the National Survey of Pharmacy Practice in Hospital Settings, published in the AJHP, the journal of ASHP (American Society of Health-System Pharmacists). The survey also explores the expanding role of hospital and health-system pharmacists in drug therapy monitoring and providing care in outpatient clinics. Hospital and health-system pharmacists play a major role as patient care providers on the interprofessional team in managing medication therapy, educating patients and other providers, and helping to solve public health issues like the opioid crisis and drug shortages. Pharmacists possess unique knowledge, skills, and abilities that make them critical team members to help ensure that medication use is optimal, safe, and effective. That is why hospitals and health systems rely on them to take a leading role in addressing the opioid crisis and many other medication-related areas.”Michael Ganio, Pharm.D., M.S., ASHP’s Director of Pharmacy Practice and Qualitylast_img read more

New computational tool quickly identifies hidden affiliations among persons

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jul 17 2019The social network Linkedin will tell a user how he/she is connected to another. In real life, points of connection are not always that evident. However, identifying patterns or relationships and commonalities among entities is a task that is critically important advantage for businesses, biologists, doctors, patients and more.A new computational tool developed in the lab of USC Viterbi School Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering professor Paul Bodgan in collaboration with Ming Hsieh professor Edmond Jonckheere, is able to quickly identify the hidden affiliations and interrelationships among groups/items/persons with greater accuracy than existing tools.The researchers in Bogdan’s lab are sort of like detectives and the puzzle they are trying to figure out is how one clue, person, item or action is connected and related to another entity. Imagine a lab dedicated to a scientific “Six degrees of …” to discover hidden interrelationships. The problem they are tackling is known by researchers who study complex networks as the “community detection problem”–identifying and mapping out which individuals or items have in common and how they are connected.Such a computational tool could be leveraged by various groups: political strategists trying to find voters’ overlapping values or shared attributes; or biologists who want to predict the potential of a drug’s side effects or interactions –without running years’ worth of live experiments. Their research is also being deployed to identify which parts of the brain are working on the same functions–a key piece of information for neuroscientists and individuals suffering from brain damage to anticipate if certain areas of the brain might take over functionality for injured tissue. One can also imagine this lab’s algorithm working on finding points of contact on seemingly unrelated information.Related StoriesResearch team to create new technology for tackling concussionRepurposing a heart drug could increase survival rate of children with ependymomaNew therapy shows promise in preventing brain damage after traumatic brain injuryTheir recent paper, titled “Ollivier-Ricci Curvature-Based Method to Community Detection in Complex Networks”, in the journal Nature Scientific Reports, documents the method the group has developed to create this improved tool.Methodology/Proof of Concept:PhD candidate Jayson Sia who worked on the research indicates that the algorithm they developed, the Ollivier-Ricci curvature (ORC)-based community identification, was tested and validated on four known real-world data sets the field for which the goal is to find the point of connection among the “nodes” or individuals/ individual items in a group by looking at the links between them or what is known in technical jargon as “edges.” The data sets include a drug-drug interaction network, the Zachary’s Karate Club; a college football conference affiliations; and a set of over 1000 political blogs. In this paper, we utilized a novel geometric approach via the Ollivier-Ricci curvature which offers a natural method to discover inherent network community structures.”Jayson Sia, PhD Candidate, University of Southern California Curvature in the geometric context, explains Sia, “essentially measures how a surface deviates from being flat (or how a surface ‘curves’). The geometry of surfaces is related to the study of map projections and how distances are measured in a curved surface such as the Earth. The Ollivier-Ricci curvature extends this concept of ‘curvature’ to networks with positively curved edges being ‘well connected’ and naturally forming a ‘community.’ Negatively curved edges on the other hand are interpreted as ‘bridges’ between communities and cutting such edges would isolate information flow between communities.” Source:University of Southern CaliforniaJournal reference:Sia, J. et al. (2019) Ollivier-Ricci Curvature-Based Method to Community Detection in Complex Networks. Scientific Reports. doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-46079-xlast_img read more

From a microwave to a clock Amazon is taking Alexa beyond speakers

first_img Amazon aims to make Alexa assistant bigger part of users’ lives Here are some of the more unexpected devices Amazon announced.AmazonBasics MicrowaveAt $59.99, the new microwave under the company’s AmazonBasics brand is a potentially cheaper option compared with traditional, nonsmart enabled appliances. But Amazon’s microwave, of course, integrates with Alexa over Bluetooth, allowing you to tell a nearby Echo smart speaker to set a timer for tasks such as heating up a potato or reordering items such as popcorn.A blue “Ask Alexa” button on the front of the microwave enables you to you summon the digital assistant on command.Available for preorder Thursday, the microwave is scheduled to ship later this year.Echo Wall ClockAmazon’s Echo line traditionally has been used for the company’s line of speakers. Now, it also applies to analog clocks.Featuring Bluetooth to connect to an existing Echo device, you can use the Wall Clock to set timers, alarms and reminders. Since it is internet-connected, Amazon says it will adjust itself automatically at the start and end of Daylight Savings Time.There is no firm release date, but the Wall Clock will cost $29.99 when it ships later this year.Amazon Smart PlugIf controlling the microwave isn’t enough, Amazon’s new plug will let you control other traditionally nonsmart devices such as lamps and coffee makers, enabling you to turn them on and off with your voice.These types of smart plugs—a device that goes between your appliance and your wall outlet to add features such as Wi-Fi—have been around for a while. Amazon, however, says its product will stand out thanks to a streamlined process that should make setting up these devices much easier.The Smart Plug is scheduled to start shipping next month, and it will be available for $24.99.Echo AutoAlexa won’t just be in the kitchen. It’s coming to the car, too.Called Echo Auto, the new device features eight microphones to make sure it can hear you in the car. It also has Bluetooth wireless technology to connect to your phone. Bluetooth or a 3.5mm auxiliary jack can be used to connect the device to your car.Once connected, you can ask Alexa for nearby destinations, directions or to play music or audiobooks. Powered by either your car’s USB port or its 12V cigarette lighter outlet, Amazon says Echo Auto will be able to boot up within a “few seconds” after hitting the ignition. Amazon’s product blitz Thursday wasn’t just about new Echo speakers and new Fire TV DVR. In announcing 70 new products, the tech and delivery giant made clear it will bring Alexa to new gadgets ranging from cars to clocks and even microwaves. Explore further ©2018 USA Today Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. Citation: From a microwave to a clock, Amazon is taking Alexa beyond speakers (2018, September 24) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-09-microwave-clock-amazon-alexa-speakers.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.last_img read more

Breakingviews Driverless Argonauts are all on valuation quests

first_imgSign up for a free trial of our full service at https://www.breakingviews.com/trial and follow us on Twitter @Breakingviews and at www.breakingviews.com. All opinions expressed are those of the authors. An Argo Ai self driving prototype vehicle is seen outside a Ford and Volkswagen joint news conference in New York City, New York, U.S., July 12, 2019. REUTERS/Mike SegarNEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) – Ford Motor boss Jim Hackett says the self-driving joint venture he struck with Volkswagen’s Herbert Diess on Friday “instantaneously makes it the biggest platform” in the industry. Autonomous vehicles can potentially reduce congestion and traffic-related fatalities, improve carmaker margins and more. The trouble is that working out how to value these outfits is a quest in itself. The worth Ford and VW have put on their now shared self-driving unit, Argo AI, is a case in point. The headline figure is more than $7 billion. That’s the enterprise value, which includes $1 billion in operational funding from VW as well as Ford’s contribution. The equity is worth around $5.5 billion, based on the values ascribed to Argo and VW’s Autonomous Intelligent Driving unit, which are to be merged. Yet it’s hard to justify those figures – or the $19 billion or so that General Motors, Honda Motor, SoftBank and asset-manager T. Rowe Price put on GM’s Cruise division in May. That’s because no one knows when autonomous driving will take off and how much revenue it will earn. It will probably take several years for carefully circumscribed operations to get underway in more than a few cities. Broad adoption is for long in the future, according to Bryan Salesky, Argo AI’s CEO. Finding the winning formula and locating its value is, appropriately, like the Argonauts’ roving search for the Golden Fleece. Investment bank UBS reckons some $50 billion of revenue could be up for grabs in 2030 from selling autonomous-vehicle operating systems. That’d be worth perhaps $100 billion in market value, marked at two times sales – just above suppliers Aptiv and TomTom. But that’s more than a decade away – and how much of that, if any, Argo, Cruise or any other competitor will deserve is anybody’s guess. Moreover, as of last summer Alphabet-owned Waymo was responsible for 14% of the autonomous-driving patents filed in the United States, according to UBS – roughly twice Ford’s share. Waymo’s vehicles have completed the most test miles, Evercore ISI says, and require half as much human intervention as Cruise’s. The broker reckons Waymo’s accumulated experience may be about seven times as valuable as Cruise and Argo combined. Much of that can change over the next decade, of course. But that leaves valuations even more all over the map.BreakingviewsReuters Breakingviews is the world’s leading source of agenda-setting financial insight. As the Reuters brand for financial commentary, we dissect the big business and economic stories as they break around the world every day. A global team of about 30 correspondents in New York, London, Hong Kong and other major cities provides expert analysis in real time.last_img read more

How Can You Tell if Someone or Something Is Conscious

first_imgHow can you know that any animal, other human beings, or anything that seems conscious, isn’t just faking it? Does it enjoy an internal subjective experience, complete with sensations and emotions like hunger, joy, or sadness? After all, the only consciousness you can know with certainty is your own. Everything else is inference. The nature of consciousness makes it by necessity a wholly private affair. These questions are more than philosophical. As intelligent digital assistants, self-driving cars and other robots start to proliferate, are these AIs actually conscious or just seem like it? Or what about patients in comas — how can doctors know with any certainty what kind of consciousness is or is not present, and prescribe treatment accordingly? In my work, often with with psychologist Jonathan Schooler at the University of California, Santa Barbara, we’re developing a framework for thinking about the many different ways to possibly test for the presence of consciousness.Headbutting Tiny Worms Are Really, Really LoudThis rapid strike produces a loud ‘pop’ comparable to those made by snapping shrimps, one of the most intense biological sounds measured at sea.Your Recommended PlaylistVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9接下来播放Why Is It ‘Snowing’ Salt in the Dead Sea?01:53 facebook twitter 发邮件 reddit 链接https://www.livescience.com/65874-tests-for-consciousness.html?jwsource=cl已复制直播00:0000:3500:35  There is a small but growing field looking at how to assess the presence and even quantity of consciousness in various entities. I’ve divided possible tests into three broad categories that I call the measurable correlates of consciousness. You can look for brain activity that occurs at the same time as reported subjective states. Or you can look for physical actions that seem to be accompanied by subjective states. Finally, you can look for the products of consciousness, like artwork or music, or this article I’ve written, that can be separated from the entity that created them to infer the presence — or not — of consciousness. Neural correlates of consciousness Over the last two decades, scientists have proposed various ways to probe cognition and consciousness in unresponsive patients. In such cases, there aren’t any behaviors to observe or any creative products to assess. You can check for the neural correlates of consciousness, though. What’s physically going on in the brain? Neuroimaging tools such as EEG, MEG, fMRI and transcranial magnetic stimulation (each with their own strengths and weaknesses), are able to provide information on activity happening within the brain even in coma and vegetative patients. Cognitive neuroscientist Stanislas Dehaene has identified what he calls four signatures of consciousness — specific aspects of brain activity he deems necessary for normal consciousness. He focuses on what’s known as the “P3 wave” in the dorsolateral cortex — the part of the brain behind the top of your forehead — because it seems to correlate most reliably with normal conscious states. He also focuses on long-range synchronized electric fields between different parts of the brain as another key signature of consciousness. In tests which look for these signals in vegetative and minimally conscious patients, Dehaene and his colleagues have successfully predicted which patients are most likely to regain more normal states of consciousness. Sid Kouider, another cognitive neuroscientist, has examined infants in order to assess the likelihood that very young babies are conscious. He and his team looked for specific neural signatures that go along with subjective experience in adults. They looked specifically for a certain type of brain waves, similar to the P3 wave Dehaene focuses on, that are reliable indicators of consciousness in adults. They found clear analogs of the P3 wave in the brains of babies as young as five months old. Kouider concludes — unsurprisingly — that even young babies are very likely conscious in various complex ways, such as recognizing faces. Behavioral correlates of consciousness When considering potentially conscious entities that can’t communicate directly, and that won’t allow neuroscientific measurement tools on their head (if they even have heads), it’s possible to consider physical behaviors as clues for the presence and type of consciousness. You know that a massive range of human behaviors are accompanied by conscious experience. So when you see similar behaviors in other animals or even non-animals, can you reasonably infer the presence of consciousness? For example, are cats conscious? Their brain architecture is a little different than humans’. They have very minimal prefrontal cortex, which some scientists think is the center of many higher-order activities of the human brain. But is a prefrontal cortex necessary for consciousness? Cat behavior is complex and pretty easy to map onto human behavior in many ways. Cats purr, flex their toes and snuggle when petted, in similar ways to people demonstrating pleasure when physically stimulated — minus the purrs, of course. They meow loudly for food when hungry and stop meowing when fed. They demonstrate curiosity or fear about other cats or humans with various types of body language. These and many other easily observable behaviors add up to convincing evidence for most people that cats are indeed conscious and have rich emotional lives. You can imagine looking for other familiar behaviors in a rat, or an ant or a plant — if you see things close enough to what you’d expect in conscious humans, you may credit the observed creature with a certain type of consciousness. Creative correlates of consciousness If, for whatever reason, you can’t examine neural or behavioral correlates of consciousness, maybe you can look to creative outputs for clues that would indicate consciousness. For example, when examining ancient megalithic structures such as Stonehenge, or cave paintings created as far back as 65,000 years ago, is it reasonable to assume that their creators were conscious in ways similar to us? Most people would likely say yes. You know from experience that it would take high intelligence and consciousness to produce such items today, so reasonably conclude that our ancient ancestors had similar levels of consciousness. What if explorers find obviously unnatural artifacts on Mars or elsewhere in the solar system? It will depend on the artifacts in question, but if astronauts were to find anything remotely similar to human dwellings or machinery that was clearly not human in origin, it would be reasonable to infer that the creators of these artifacts were also conscious. Closer to home, artificial intelligence has produced some pretty impressive art — impressive enough to fetch over US$400,000 in a recent art auction. At what point do reasonable people conclude that creating art requires consciousness? Researchers could conduct a kind of “artistic Turing Test”: ask study participants to consider various artworks and say which ones they conclude were probably created by a human. If AI artwork consistently fools people into thinking it was made by a person, is that good evidence to conclude that the AI is at least in some ways conscious? So far AI aren’t convincing most observers, but it’s reasonable to expect that they will be able to in the future. Where’s my ‘consciousness-ometer’? Can anyone get a definitive answer about the presence of consciousness, and how much? Unfortunately, the answer to both questions is no. There is not yet a “consciousness-ometer,” but various researchers, including Dehaene, have some ideas. Neuroscientist Giulio Tononi and his colleagues like Christof Koch focus on what they call “integrated information” as a measure of consciousness. This theory suggests that anything that integrates at least one bit of information has at least a tiny amount of consciousness. A light diode, for example, contains just one bit of information and thus has a very limited type of consciousness. With just two possible states, on or off, however, it’s a rather uninteresting kind of consciousness. In my work, my collaborators and I share this “panpsychist” foundation. We accept as a working hypothesis that any physical system has some associated consciousness, however small it may be in the vast majority of cases. Rather than integrated information as the key measure of consciousness, however, we focus on resonance and synchronization and the degree to which parts of a whole resonate at the same or similar frequencies. Resonance in the case of the human brain generally means shared electric field oscillation rates, such as gamma band synchrony (40-120 Hertz). Our consciousness-ometer would then look at the degree of shared resonance and resulting information flows as the measure of consciousness. Humans and other mammals enjoy a particularly rich kind of consciousness, because there are many levels of pervasive shared synchronization throughout the brain, nervous system and body. Tests for consciousness are still in their infancy. But this field of study is undergoing a renaissance because the study of consciousness more generally has finally become a respectable scientific pursuit. Before too long it may be possible to measure just how much consciousness is present in various entities — including in you and me. [Deep knowledge, daily. Sign up for The Conversation’s newsletter. ] This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.by Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksYou May LikeVikings: Free Online GamePlay this for 1 min and see why everyone is addicted!Vikings: Free Online GameUndoTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionOne Thing All Liars Have in Common, Brace YourselfTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionUndoGundry MD Total Restore SupplementU.S. Cardiologist: It’s Like a Pressure Wash for Your InsidesGundry MD Total Restore SupplementUndoNucificTop Dr. Reveals The 1 Nutrient Your Gut Must HaveNucificUndoArticles VallyDad Cuts Daughter’s Hair Off For Getting Birthday Highlights, Then Mom Does The UnthinkableArticles VallyUndoKelley Blue Book2019 Lexus Vehicles Worth Buying for Their Resale ValueKelley Blue BookUndo Tam Hunt, Affiliate Guest in Psychology, University of California, Santa Barbaralast_img read more

18K banks branches post offices have Aadhaar facility UIDAI

first_img COMMENT public sector banks Published on Less than a year after banks and post offices were asked to set up Aadhaar facility on their premises, as many as 18,000 centres have come up for enrolment and updation of the biometric ID at such locations, sais Ajay Bhushan Pandey, UIDAI CEO. The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), in July last year, had asked private as well as public sector banks to set up Aadhaar facility in at least one out of 10 branches.“Aadhaar centres are being set up in banks and post offices. So far, about 18,000 centres have been set up in their premises and in the remaining places also, centres will be set up,” Pandey said. Overall, about 26,000 centres are slated to come up at banks and post offices. The ‘Bank Aadhaar Kendras’ are being set up with a view to making the Aadhaar verification process of bank accounts convenient for people and to ensure that the enrolment takes place in a secure and supervised environment.About 10,000 branches of private and public sector banks have set up Aadhaar enrolment and updation centres on their premises, compared to over 13,800 branches that need to do so.“About 8,000 such centres have come up in post offices out of 13,000 that are targeted,” Pandey pointed out. The UIDAI Chief declined to specify the timeline for achieving the targets set, but emphasised that the process of establishing the remaining centres is underway. Offering a major breather to banks about a fortnight back, the UIDAI had reduced by half, the daily minimum Aadhaar enrolment or updation targets for the stipulated bank branches. It said that the bank premises with Aadhaar facility will have to ensure at least eight enrolments or updations in each branch daily from July 1, 2018 – a bar that will be raised to a minimum of 12 transactions per day per branch from October 1, and to 16 from January 1, 2019 onwards. The banks were, so far, facing a target of logging 16 daily enrolments or updations in each of these branches. File Photo   –  V_V_KRISHNAN June 20, 2018 SHARE SHARE EMAIL UIDAI government SHARE COMMENTSlast_img read more

100 MW Veltoor solar power plant in Telangana gets quality certification100 MW

first_imgSHARE SHARE EMAIL SHARE The Veltoor Solar Power Project in Telangana, owned by SE Solar Ltd, Suzlon’s Special Purpose Vehicle with CLP India, has been awarded the world’s first solar project quality certificate for a photovoltaic plant. According to Suzlon, it is the world’s first, and currently only, global guideline for certifying solar PV projects.The certification by DNV GL awarded to the 100 MW Veltoor Solar Power Project conforms with all relevant safety features required of a solar park, and demonstrates the technical compliance of the project with globally recognised standards.The certification process encompassed an overall evaluation of the asset, with an in-depth review of the design basis, design, grid code compliance, manufacturing process, transport and installation, commissioning and optionally in-service phases.Rajiv Mishra, Managing Director of CLP India, said, “Operational excellence is part of our DNA and CLP maintains the highest quality standards across all facets of our work. As the only certification body that provided complete guidelines for PV projects, DNV GL has worked hand-in-hand with us to help the Veltoor project meet our quality objectives.”J. P. Chalasani, Group CEO, Suzlon said, “Suzlon has demonstrated turnkey capabilities in both wind and solar, giving us a strong competitive edge in India. With such capabilities we aim to harness the emerging opportunities in wind-solar hybrid, which is gaining traction in India, with around 5 GW of bid pipeline already sanctioned.”The solar project by CLP India was developed by SE Solar Ltd., a special purpose vehicle (SPV) of Suzlon Energy Ltd and CLP India. This joint venture marked Suzlon’s and CLP India’s entry into the solar energy sector. solar August 29, 2018 COMMENTS COMMENT Published on renewable energylast_img read more

Chamber appeals for extension of date for filing of GST returnsChamber appeals

first_imgCOMMENTS COMMENT SHARE SHARE SHARE EMAIL Tamilnadu Chamber of Commerce and Industry has requested the Union Finance Ministry and the GST Council to extend the last date for filing of GST annual return Form 9 by three months to March 31, 2019. The due date for filing GST annual return Form 9 along with reconciliation statement is December 31. “Due to various hurdles faced in the uploading process, tax payers and professionals spend more time resolving and reloading the returns. Further, registration of HSN-wise declaration of inward and outward supply of goods has been a huge hassle for the tax payers,” said S Rethinavelu, Senior President of TN Chamber.He explained that HSN code for inward supplies was not required for GSTR-3B returns. But the same had to be mentioned in the annual return.“As such, tax payers will have to scrutinise all their past purchases and monthly past returns to fill up the particulars in the annual return. For those engaged in small business/trade, the process is found to be more strenuous and time consuming as they do not have the expertise to review all past purchases. With due dates for filing GSTR-3B extended for different months, compliance on payment of interest and late fee has become cumbersome,” he said. Published on December 07, 2018 GST industry associationlast_img read more