November 20 2002 Saturday November16 2002 at 4

first_imgNovember 20, 2002 Saturday,November16, 2002, at 4 p.m., two hundred people from around the countryand the valley gathered at Cosanti to remember Mel Roman (June 27, 1927 – November 9, 2002).[Photo: T & portrait photo: a courtesy of Louise Roman] Of Mel, Chairman ofthe Board of Trustees of the Cosanti Foundation since 1977, PaoloSoleri wrote: THE GENEROSITY OF HIS LIFE HAS PUT MEL IN THE ARISTOCRACYOF THE DOING AND THINKING WORLD. IN THAT POSITION, A PRIVILEGE OF THEFEW, HE HAS BEEN SURROUNDED BY AN HETEROGENEOUS AND LARGE NUMBER OFFRIENDS. THE GAINS FOR US ALL HAVE BEEN PALPABLE. A SALUTE TO MEL INSADNESS AND IN GRATITUDE. [Photo: T]last_img

Want a Michigan fall travel guide Contact Rep Leutheuser

first_img05Oct Want a Michigan fall travel guide? Contact Rep. Leutheuser Categories: Leutheuser News,News State Rep. Eric Leutheuser is offering area residents a taste of Pure Michigan – just in time for the autumn color tour.The Pure Michigan 2018 Fall Travel guide is available by emailing ericleutheuser@house.mi.gov or calling the legislator’s office at (517) 373-1794. Leave your mailing address and the free 80-plus page guide will be on its way.“The peak time for fall color this year in southern Michigan is expected to begin around Oct. 14. But colors already are peaking in the Upper Peninsula and our county fairs have concluded, so the season has officially begun,” Leutheuser said. “Some of the best ways to enjoy our state’s scenic beauty are to hit the highway, find a bike path or take a nature hike and see the fantastic fall foliage.”The Pure Michigan guide features articles and attractions from all over the state. The guide includes information on scenic color tours, hiking and bike trails, outdoor dining and more.“The autumn color show lasts only a few weeks, but it’s a magical time,” Leutheuser said. “Get out there and enjoy Pure Michigan.”Leutheuser represents Branch and Hillsdale counties in the Michigan House of Representatives.###last_img read more

Subject to inflation increase

first_img *Subject to inflation increase Age 65 65 65 Benefit Period 3 years 3 years 6 years Many advisors would recommend the first policy with the 30-day elimination period, because you might not require care for long periods of time. The 180-day elimination period means you pay for an additional 150 days out of pocket before the insurance company kicks in. The additional cost is $22,500 (150 days x $150/day), and many argue it’s a poor investment because the probability of needing care for three years or longer is small. On the other hand, the 180-day elimination period (quotes #2 and #3) gives you a lot more coverage for the same premium. In effect, #2 and #3 cost $22,500 more out of pocket in exchange for $54,750 or $208,050 in additional coverage. The only way to turn the policy premium and additional out-of-pocket costs into a good investment is to require expensive, long-term care. Most of us would prefer to never have to collect a dime. Families with a member requiring years of expensive care would tell you it was one of the best investments they ever made. But insurance is not an investment; it’s a transfer of risk.The Risk of Leaving Your Spouse Penniless If a couple has enough assets to be ineligible for Medicaid coverage, a week or two in a nursing home is not the risk they should be transferring. That’s a big nuisance, not a catastrophe. The risk they should transfer is financial ruin for the surviving spouse—in other words, 90 or 180-plus days of care. Paying insurance premiums for short waiting periods is like buying a $100 deductible on your car instead of a $500 deductible. If you have an accident, you have to make up that gap out of pocket. Your insurance dollars are better spent insuring against the catastrophe, not avoiding the deductible. Today, Jo and I would opt for door #3. I have two policies: one with a 90-day waiting period and the other, 180 days. I would not recommend anything less than 90 days. My primary concern is leaving Jo with enough assets to live comfortably for the rest of her life, which could easily be 20-plus years. Paying for 90 days of care would not undo that.Family Is Not Always the Answer Why have long-term care insurance? To make sure you have enough money for the best care right until the end without depleting all of your assets. Whether your final days are at home, in an assisted-living facility, or in a nursing home is secondary. If you can pay for the most appropriate care, that decision will be based on your health and comfort, not your wallet. Many advocates of long-term care insurance actually call it “avoid nursing home insurance” because it helps pay for in-home care. Jo’s parents never thought about nursing home insurance. They could tell you every detail about their fire insurance, auto insurance, or crop insurance, but long-term care insurance was not part of their world. Without realizing it, they were committed to self-insuring. When Jo’s mom died, she was in an assisted-living facility and able to do some of her ADLs, but not all. Which reminds me—assisting with three of the ADLs requires caregivers to do heavy lifting. Don’t make the mistake of thinking a family member, particularly an aging spouse, will be able to do the job even if he or she is willing. We have a dear friend whose husband is nearing the end. She asked Jo to look at nursing homes with her since soon she’ll be unable to care for her husband without around-the-clock help, which can be more expensive than a nursing home. They have some tough financial and emotional decisions ahead. No one wants to feel they’ve let their spouse down at the end, but logically she knows he’ll receive better care than they can afford at home.No, I Do Not Sell Insurance There is a reason they call it “long-term care insurance” and not “short-term.” The exorbitant cost of health care over the long haul can wipe out a nest egg and leave a family penniless. After publishing a recent missive on annuities, several subscribers wrote kind notes saying it was the first time they’d read something on the topic not written by annuity salesman. That’s because our mandate is education—education to help you retire rich and stay that way.Money Forever gives you the tools to build, protect, and preserve your nest egg over the long haul. Without adequate planning, long-term care costs and a slew of other threats could wipe you out. Tumultuous markets aren’t the only menace. For guidance on how to protect yourself from financial jeopardy and unique investment opportunities geared to seniors and savers, sign up for a no-risk subscription to Money Forever today. A newsletter that might not fit your needs is one risk you don’t have to worry about. Try us out, and if we’re not your cup of tea, we’ll refund 100% of the cost without hassle or headache.On the Lighter Side This season marks the 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field. They’re celebrating a different decade with each home stand, and this week it’s the 1930s. In 1932 the Cubs and the New York Yankees were in the World Series. Of course, the Cubs lost. Babe Ruth came to bat, and the pitcher got two quick strikes on him. The team and fans were giving him a hard time. He pointed his finger—some say at the pitcher, but legend has it he was pointing out to center field. The next pitch came whizzing in to the plate, and he hit a blast deep into the seats where he’d pointed. The mighty Babe had struck again and became even more famous for calling his shot. What a treat it was last week when the Cubs invited his daughter, who’s in her late 90s and legally blind, to come lead the fans singing Take Me Out to the Ball Game. Listening to her was a real treat. And finally… Over the last few weeks, young men and women all dressed up for prom enjoyed themselves at local restaurants. Now the graduation season is upon us. I wish all the graduates the best of luck as they pass this important milestone. It seemed like the blink of an eye before we were celebrating our 50th class reunion. My oldest grandson Justin is celebrating his 10th-year reunion this year. For this week’s funnies, I thought I would pass along a cute cartoon. Until next week… Risk Class Preferred Preferred Preferred We’d all been waiting for the big day, but the chapel the ceremony took place in was very small—just a room with Christian symbols and a few chairs. Jo’s father was waiting for us in his hospital bed, grinning from ear to ear. Despite the feeding tube, he still managed to devour a few bites of our wedding cake. Parkinson’s is a powerful disease; it can take the sturdiest tree in the forest and wilt it like an aging rose. Yes, Jo and I got married in a nursing home chapel. Little did we know that we would spend the better part of the first 18 years of our marriage dealing with nursing homes and assisted-living facilities for both sets of parents. Constant care is expensive. Jo’s father didn’t have long-term care insurance, and in 1988 his care cost close to $3,000 per month. Fortunately, he and my mother-in-law had the money to pay for it. It’s frightening to imagine a time when you can no longer bathe, dress, eat, transport yourself, or hold your bladder and bowels. In insurance-speak, those are called “activities of daily living” (ADLs). Mercifully, not everyone reaches that point. However, two out of three Americans over age 65 will need some form of long-term care during their lifetime. That might mean home health care or moving to an assisted-living facility or a nursing home. Regardless, it’s pricey. Nationwide, the average cost of a single-occupancy room in a nursing home is $6,653 per month. Home care averages $3,432 per month; assisted living, 3,300; and adult day care (which sounds just awful), $1,322. Years of paying those costs can spell financial ruin for an aging couple—the surviving spouse in particular. My aunt spent close to 10 years in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s disease before she passed away. Her long stint is not at all unusual. While most patients live an average of 4-8 years after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, many live as long as 20.Medicaid Is Not the Solution While Medicaid will pick up the tab for lower-income people, the income and asset limits to qualify are quite stringent. While the rules vary from state to state, a helpful rule of thumb is that an individual must make less than 300% of the Supplemental Security Income limit, or $2,130 in 2013, and have less than $2,000 in countable assets to qualify. Although your home (up to a certain amount of equity) is not normally a countable asset, many if not most of our readers don’t fall in this camp. After a recent chat on long-term care insurance with financial guru David Holland on his radio show, David told me anyone choosing to self-insure should have at least $2 million in liquid assets. Even then, it’s risky. One of my biggest fears is needing long-term care, having the ability to pay for it, depleting our assets, and leaving Jo flat broke. So where does that leave people unlikely to qualify for Medicaid but unable or unwilling to self-insure? Long-term care insurance, of course.Opt for the 180-Day Elimination Period Buying any type of insurance means transferring some type of personal risk to an insurance carrier. Clearly defining the risk you want to transfer and then tailoring a policy to best accomplish that goal is critical to getting the best value. David Holland generously shared some quotes to help illustrate this point. While there are countless long-term care options available today, we’re going to keep this example simple. Mary Sample is age 65. She wants a policy paying $150 in daily coverage with some inflation protection. Name Mary Sample Mary Sample Mary Sample Total Premium $6,415.20 $6,415.20 $6,375.51center_img Benefit Amount $150* daily $200* daily $170* daily Policy Limit $164,250 $219,000 $372,300 Home Care Benefit $4,500 $6,000 $5,100 Elimination Period 30 days 180 days 180 days Benefit Selection Quotation 1 Quotation 2 Quotation 3 Inflation Option 5% compounded 5% compounded 5% compoundedlast_img read more

The CME Daily Delivery Report showed that zero gol

first_img The CME Daily Delivery Report showed that zero gold and zero silver contracts were posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved depositories on Monday.  With only three delivery days left in the April contract, I find this lack of activity very strange. The CME Preliminary Report for the Thursday session showed that gold open interest in April declined by 31 contract—and total o.i. left remaining is 440 contracts.  In silver, o.i. fell by 1 contract, leaving 22 left to deliver. There were no reported changes in GLD yesterday—but there was a big deposit in SLV, as a chunky 1,912,276 troy ounces were deposited by an authorized participant. Since yesterday was Thursday, Joshua Gibbons, the Guru of the SLV Bar List, updated his website with the current data from the iShares.com Internet site—and this is what he had to report. “Analysis of the 22 April 2015 bar list, and comparison to the previous week’s list:  1,435,000.1 troy ounces were added (all to Brinks London)—and no bars were removed or had serial number changes.“ “The bars added were from: Solar Applied Materials (0.7M oz), Russian State Refineries (0.6M oz), Yunnan Copper (0.1M oz), and 2 others.“ “As of the time that the bar list was produced, it was overallocated 699.3 oz.  All daily changes are reflected on the bar list.“ There was no sales report from the U.S. Mint on Thursday. There was no in/out movement in gold at all at the COMEX-approved depositories on Wednesday—and not a lot of activity in silver, as only 5,772 troy ounces were reported received—and only 53,779 troy ounces were shipped out the door.  The link to the silver activity is here. It was a another monster day over at the COMEX-approved gold kilobar depositories in Hong Kong on Wednesday.  Brink’s, Inc. reported receiving 10,288 kilobars—and shipped out 8,100 kilobars.  One wonders if this level of hyperactivity is a permanent feature of this newly-created depository.  Time will tell, I suppose.  The link to the above activity in troy ounces is here. Here are a couple of charts that Nick Laird passed around yesterday evening while I was working away on today’s column—and I hope you find them as interesting as I did.  They show Switzerland’s gold imports and exports for March.  Nick says that the export number to China would include Hong Kong’s imports as well.  There’s a story about this further down in the Critical Reads section. Here’s the 5-minute gold tick chart courtesy of Brad Robertson.  The volume really began to pick up about 12:45 p.m. in London, when the rally that was underway at the time got turned over.  After that, heavier volume began to appear as the short sellers of last resort were on hand to provide “liquidity/price capping” against the new buying that was coming into the market.  You should also note that the price decline that started at 2:45 p.m. EDT was accomplished with very little volume.   The vertical gray line is 10:00 p.m. MST/midnight EST, so add two hours—and don’t forget the ‘click to enlarge’ feature. The dollar index closed late Wednesday afternoon in New York at 98.06—and chopped higher from there, hitting its 98.40 high tick shortly after 8:30 a.m. BST in London.  The 97.15 low came at 2:30 p.m. EDT, which was about the time that gold began to get sold off in electronic trading in New York yesterday.  It rallied a bit from there—and closed at 97.31—down 75 basis points on the day. Up until the 10 a.m. EDT London gold fix, there was absolutely no correlation allowed between the dollar index and the precious metal prices.  But the moment the dollar index bottomed out at 2:30 p.m. EDT—and then rallied a hair, there was a seller there to make sure that almost half of yesterday’s gains in gold vanished before the close. The silver price followed a similar pattern, but was much more subdued.  However, the inflection points all occurred at the same time as gold.  Silver’s low came at the London p.m. fix—and not in morning trading in Hong Kong, as did gold’s low. The low and high were recorded as $15.705 and $15.92 in the May contract. Silver finished the Thursday session in New York at $15.85 spot, up 9 whole cents.  Gross volume was very high, but once the roll-overs were netted it out, the volume was only 21,000 contracts. The gold stocks opened up a bit—and then rallied in a straight line until the not-for-profit seller showed up around 2:45 p.m. in the gold market—and sold the price down going into the close.  The equities followed suit, as the HUI finished the Thursday session up 2.42 percent. And as I write paragraph, the London open is about fifteen minutes away.  Gold sold down a few dollars in Far East trading on their Friday, with the low over there coming at 1 p.m. Hong Kong time—and at the moment it has rallied a buck above unchanged.  Silver, platinum and palladium have erased their tiny losses as well during the last hour or so. Net gold volume is 11,000 contracts, with 99.9 percent of that occurring in the current front month, so it’s all of the HFT variety.  Net silver volume is around 2,700 contracts, with roll-overs out of the May contract in that metal about 25 percent of the gross volume.  The large traders have to be out of the May contract by the close of COMEX trading on Tuesday—and the rest by the COMEX close on Wednesday—and first day notice for delivery in May silver is Thursday.  All eyes should be on JPMorgan at that time.  Mine certainly will be. The dollar index rallied to around 97.57 just before lunch in Hong Kong on their Friday morning—and began to slide from there.  It then did a 35+ basis point face plant about 2:15 p.m. Hong Kong time, about forty-five minutes before the London open.  It’s sitting at 97.04 right now, down 27 basis points from Thursday’s close in New York, but over 50 points off its Far East high. Today at 3:30 p.m. EDT we get the latest COT Report from the CFTC’s website for positions held at the close of COMEX trading on Tuesday—and as I said yesterday, gold is a tough call.  I’d guess that we’ll see some deterioration because of the upward penetration of the 50-day moving average during the reporting week, but I wouldn’t bet the ranch on that.  Silver is much easier, as there will be further improvement in the Commercial net short position in that metal, as prices are down on the week.  And as I also said yesterday, it’s too bad that Wednesday’s price action won’t be in it, as we would have substantial improvements in both metals—so in a way, today’s COT Report is already yesterday’s news.  I’ll have all the details tomorrow. And as I hit the ‘send’ button on today’s column at 5:10 a.m. EDT, I see that with the exception of palladium, which is only up two bucks at the moment, the other three precious metals are now down a bit on the day even though the dollar index is 38 basis points lower at the moment—and was down over 50 earlier.  Net gold volume is around 19,500 contracts—and silver’s net volume is at 3,600 contracts.  This is very light volume. Here’s the 1-year dollar index chart—and it’s current as of 5:10 a.m. EDT this morning—and it certainly looks toppy to me.  But so far, the powers-that-be have not allowed precious metal prices to reflect the decline of the last few weeks—and it remains to be seen how the dollar/gold ratio unfolds if this dollar decline really develops some legs. I have a very decent number of stories for you today—and I will ruthlessly edit any further news items that come in over the remainder of Thursday evening. The big news event, of course, [was Tuesday’s] joint filing of civil charges by the CFTC and criminal charges by the Justice Department against a London trader for his participation in the infamous “Flash Crash” in the stock market on May 6, 2010. That was when the Dow Jones Average fell 1,000 points in a very short period of time before recovering almost as sharply. Yesterday’s filing places much of the blame for the crash on this London trader who “spoofed” the market, by entering and immediately canceling large orders on stock index futures contracts whose prime intent was to manipulate prices. (I suppose he’s not the one spoofing prices lower in COMEX gold and silver today, Wednesday, but someone certainly is). According to Eric Hunsader, from the market data company, Nanex, “I’m dumbfounded that they missed this until now.” After watching the agency’s handling of the increasingly obvious silver manipulation, I’m less surprised and I am left with the feeling that the evidence provided by the unnamed whistleblower must have been overwhelmingly convincing for the CFTC to change its tune so radically. I am not at all surprised at the article’s negative portrayal of the role of the CME in this matter. The article quotes the London trader, in an e-mail more than four years ago, as having told the exchange who was inquiring into his activities, “to kiss my ass.” I’m sure that wasn’t what took the CME so long to crack down on the trader, since there is no evidence the CME ever cracked down on him. The CME hasn’t cracked down on High Frequency Trading, no matter how egregious it has become for the simple reason it is the greatest beneficiary of the mindless and manipulative trading in the form of exchange fees. The CME is the prime promoter of HFT. That’s the problem with self-regulation when the regulator is a beneficiary of the manipulative trading – it will never be ended by the conflicted regulator. The irony, of course, with the charges of manipulation in the stock market that occurred five years ago is that the same manipulation is occurring in COMEX silver and gold today [Wednesday – Ed] as I write this. As I’ve written previously, the HFT computer jocks have been careful not to trip off another stock market crash because they know it will not be tolerated. But because both the CFTC and the CME have openly signaled that high speed computer manipulation is OK in COMEX silver and gold, the manipulative practice has actually intensified. Whereas crashing the stock market damages too many investors, the number of investors hurt in the silver manipulation is so small in comparison that the CFTC and the CME look the other way. Th at’s the way these regulators swing – they only do what they are forced to do. – Silver analyst Ted Butler: 22 April 2015 I was happy to see that the precious metals rallied yesterday, but as I pointed out earlier, it had nothing whatsoever to do with what was going on in the currency markets, as the dollar index was in the dumpster during the whole time they were trading flat—and the only time that they were allowed to rally meaningfully was once the London p.m. gold fix was in.  They even capped those rallies in electronic trading in New York, so they were modest, at least in gold and silver—and that’s being kind. Gold made it to its 50-day moving average, but didn’t close above it.  Silver hasn’t been above its 50-day moving average for over two weeks, so there wasn’t much damage done from a Commitment of Traders perspective. Here are the 6-month charts for all four precious metals as of the close of trading yesterday.center_img As to what may happen during the rest of the Friday session, I haven’t a clue—although I’m somewhat apprehensive because of the punk price action on the big drop in the dollar index, the second one in as many days.   And as I’ve pointed out on many occasions, we’ve still got a ways to go in both metals to the downside before JPMorgan et al can get maximum long and minimum short in all four precious metals, so nothing will surprise me, up or down, when I crawl out of bed later this morning. Enjoy your weekend, or what’s left of it—and I’ll see you here tomorrow. In a way, today’s COT Report is already yesterday’s news Except for the spike low just after 9:30 a.m. Hong Kong time, the gold price traded mostly in a five dollar price band through all of Far East and London trading on their respective Thursday’s.  Once the London p.m. gold “fix” was in, the price rallied a bit before getting sold down starting around 2:45 p.m. EDT in electronic trading. The low and high ticks were reported by the crooks over at the CME Group as $1,183.60 and $1,197.40 in the June contract. Gold finished the Thursday trading session at $1,193.50 spot, up $6.70 on the day—and would have obviously closed above $1,200 spot if the sellers of last resort hadn’t shown up during the electronic trading session in New York.  Net volume was 112,000 contract, with 93 percent of that number trading in the current front month. The silver equities opened unchanged—and then sold down a bit, but reversed direction around 10:20 a.m. EDT.  They then followed an identical trajectory as the gold stocks—selling off at the same time was well, giving up about a percent of their gains in the last hour or so of the trading day.  As a result, Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed up only 1.60 percent. The platinum and palladium prices traded similarly, with platinum closing at $1,134 spot, up 6 bucks on the day—and palladium closed at $753 spot, up 16 dollars on the day, recouping all of Wednesday’s loss, plus a few dollars more.  Here are the charts. PERUVIAN GOVERNMENT AWARDS DYNACOR PERMIT TO BUILD NEW LARGER-SCALE MILL AT CHALA Dynacor’s newly approved, second gold processing plant will create value for many years as a direct result of production increases and lower cost/units. Another near term catalyst exists in the form of exploration results at our high-grade gold project, Tumipampa.  As the steady flow of news hits the wire, value will be added to the asset through demonstration of the economic viability and a growing resource base. Dynacor is debt-free, results driven company proving its mettle year after year with or without a ‪bull market. The company exercises discipline in its strategy to build growth by eliminating the risk of having to sell equity to the public to raise cash for operations or pay back debt payments. With zero debt, solid working capital of $21 million and a consistent flow of cash coming from operations even in a low gold price environment, Dynacor is in a unique and strong position to advance both of its divisions, production and exploration/development. Dynacor, with its last equity financing over five years ago, is a shareholder-first company focusing on delivering real value. Please contact Dale Nejmeldeen with questions or to learn more about the company.last_img read more

One of the enduring mysteries of biology is why so

first_imgOne of the enduring mysteries of biology is why so much of the DNA in our chromosomes appears to be simply junk. In fact, about half of the human genome consists of repetitive bits of DNA that cut and paste themselves randomly into our chromosomes, with no obvious purpose.A study published Thursday finds that some of these snippets may actually play a vital role in the development of embryos.The noted biologist Barbara McClintock, who died in 1992, discovered these odd bits of DNA decades ago in corn, and dubbed them “jumping genes.” (She won a Nobel prize for that finding in 1983.) McClintock’s discovery stimulated generations of scientists to seek to understand this bizarre phenomenon.Some biologists have considered these weird bits of DNA parasites, since they essentially hop around our chromosomes and infect them, sometimes disrupting genes and leaving illness in their wake. But Miguel Ramalho-Santos, a biologist at the University of California, San Francisco, doesn’t like that narrative.”It seemed like a waste of this real estate in our genome — and in our cells — to have these elements and not have them there for any particular purpose,” Ramalho-Santos says. “So we just asked a very simple question: Could they be doing something that’s actually beneficial?”He and his colleagues focused on a jumping gene called LINE-1; all told, copies of it make up a whopping 20 percent of our entire DNA. Ramalho-Santos’ lab studies embryos, so the team wondered whether LINE-1 played any role in prompting a single fertilized egg to develop into an embryo.Normally, when biologists want to study one bit of a cell’s genetic material, they find a way to eliminate it to see how the cell behaves in its absence. That’s impossible to do in the case of the LINE-1 genes, since that would mean editing out 20 percent of the entire genome, notes postdoctoral researcher Michelle Percharde.Instead, the scientists devised a way to silence this abundant DNA inside the cells of a mouse embryo to see what would happen.”What we found was that, instead of it being good for the cells,” she says, “the cells did very poorly.”In a series of experiments published in the journal Cell, the scientists conclude that LINE-1 seems to be essential in the earliest stages of an embryo’s development.”That’s a very key role,” says Ramalho-Santos, “because, as you can imagine, if you can’t make a tiny little embryo — if you can’t make embryonic stem cells, which are the cells that give rise to the entire body — you don’t have any body.”His team’s discovery hinged, in part, on developing new lab techniques, but Ramalho-Santos says that’s not all.”I think the biggest advancement here was actually a mentality shift.”What’s been commonly dismissed as “junk DNA” does clutter the genome, and it’s clear that it can also cause harm. But Ramalho-Santos argues that biologists should also think harder about its function.Nels Elde, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Utah, agrees — up to a point.”I might be a little old-fashioned, but I’m still holding onto this notion of junk DNA,” Elde says. “Think of it this way. If you come into my office and look at the desk, you’ll look at it and say, ‘This thing is strewn with junk.’ And I may say to you, ‘Actually that’s a very customized filing system that you’re looking at.’ In fact, I think we’re both right.”Elde believes that these repetitive bits of DNA (known technically as transposable elements) exist primarily because they cut and paste themselves throughout the genome. They reproduce. And in that sense they are parasites.Sometimes they cause disease by disrupting the DNA where they insert themselves. But sometimes the mutations they cause can lead, for example, to new varieties of crops and new breeds of dogs.”You can make massive genetic jumps — just in single events — that can really change the course of an entire species,” Elde says.From the point of view of an evolutionary biologist, that’s enough reason for them to exist. But it’s increasingly clear that there’s even more to the story of these jumping genes.”These things may be repurposed” to perform other functions in the cell, Elde says. “And that’s what we’re starting to discover, and that’s what [the new research] paper begins to tackle as well.”Ramalho-Santos is pursuing these questions as he moves his lab to the University of Toronto, and Percharde says she plans to keep exploring these questions, as well. Her postdoctoral fellowship is now at an end, so she’s moving back to London to continue her research career.The two are not alone in finding this a fruitful line of research. Elde says this idea is starting to gain momentum, as scientists figure out new ways to explore this fascinating realm of biology. Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.last_img read more

A close look at the brains of 40 US Embassy work

first_imgA close look at the brains of 40 U.S. Embassy workers in Cuba who developed mysterious symptoms has found no evidence of injury. The State Department has said the employees were hurt by some sort of attack.Advanced brain imaging techniques did reveal some subtle differences in the workers’ brains, says Ragini Verma, a professor of radiology at the University of Pennsylvania and an author of the study published in this week’s JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association.But those differences “do not reflect the imaging differences that we see in [traumatic brain injury] or concussion,” Verma says.”All you can say is something happened, which caused their brain to change,” she says.And even that conclusion was challenged by brain scientists who have been skeptical that any diplomat was attacked or injured from what became known as “Havana syndrome.”The differences could have been random or simply the result of different life experiences that can change the brain — like learning a foreign language, says Sergio Della Sala, a professor of human cognitive neuroscience at the University of Edinburgh in the U.K. He called the study in JAMA “half-baked.””There is no evidence of any pathology,” says Douglas Fields, a neuroscientist who has investigated and written about the events in Cuba. “And when you look at the data, there’s no coherent syndrome, no pattern.”The new results should end speculation that embassy workers were injured by a sonic weapon or something even more exotic, Fields says. “The physical evidence to support the idea that there was some sort of an energy beam is completely lacking,” he says.The study is the latest development in a mystery that began in 2016, when dozens of people associated with the U.S. Embassy in Havana began reporting strange, high-pitched sounds or sudden changes in air pressure. Shortly after these events, they began experiencing dizziness, headaches, sleep problems, hearing problems and foggy thinking.The State Department began referring those workers to the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Brain Injury and Repair.In 2018, doctors there reported in JAMA that 21 workers had symptoms that resembled those of a traumatic brain injury or concussion.As part of their evaluation, people sent to the University of Pennsylvania also got MRI brain scans, which appeared normal.”Just a traditional read of the images did not reveal much,” Verma says.Verma and several colleagues decided to take another look using advanced imaging techniques usually reserved for scientific research.They studied brain scans from 40 government workers who had reported symptoms. Then they compared those images with brain images from groups of healthy people.This time, the team did find something.”The most important thing is that there were differences,” Verma says.The differences were subtle and involved measures of brain volume, brain networks and the fibers that carry signals around the brain. They were most apparent in an area called the cerebellum, which is involved in balance and movement, and were also found in areas of the brain that process sound.Differences in those areas, Verma says, might help explain why the workers reported symptoms involving balance and hearing.But Fields says even that is a reach.”First of all, these techniques are not diagnostic, they are descriptive,” he says. “And they don’t provide any clinical evidence of any kind of abnormality or pathology. What they show are minor differences between two groups.”And the existence of some differences is hardly surprising, he says.”These methods are used to find differences that are associated with being left-handed or right-handed, male or female, low IQ [or] high IQ, whether you are a musician or not,” he says. “They’re all within the normal range.”And 12 of the workers had a history of concussion, which also could account for some of the differences.The real importance of the study is in what it did not find, Fields says.”If there’d been brain injury, that would have been evident on the clinical brain imaging studies that were done before,” he says. “There was no evidence of any pathology, and these more sophisticated measures confirm that.”The State Department did not respond to requests for comment on the study. Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.last_img read more

Trump Basically Says ObamaEra Marijuana Policies Arent Going to Change

first_imgCannabis It’s been an April to remember for the legal marijuana industry in the United States.First came the news that former marijuana opponent John Boehner, the former Speaker of the House, had joined the board of Acreage Holdings, one of the largest cannabis companies in the United States.Now President Donald Trump has reportedly assured U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado that he will support protection of states that have legalized marijuana from federal interference.But Trump apparently went beyond even that. In January, Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision to rescind the Cole Memo — an Obama-era Justice Department memo that essentially protected states that have legalized marijuana from federal interference — caused concern in the cannabis industry that a crackdown could happen.According to Gardner, Trump told him that will not be the case. He then went one step beyond that, saying he plans to support changes at the federal level that will strengthen state’s rights.Related: Where to Find Funding for a Cannabis BusinessAll this is based on a statement Gardner released on his website, in which he said, “I received a commitment from the president that the Department of Justice’s rescission of the Cole memo will not impact Colorado’s legal marijuana industry. Furthermore, President Trump has assured me that he will support a federalism-based legislative solution to fix this states’ rights issue once and for all.”The White House later confirmed the accuracy of Gardner’s statement.Art of the Marijuana DealApparently, all of this — which seemed unlikely just months ago — happened because of Sessions’ decision to rescind the memo.In reaction to Sessions’ action, Gardner has since held up 20 of the Trump Administration’s nominations to the Department of Justice. Gardner said he would stop blocking nominees “based on these commitments” he received from Trump that Colorado’s marijuana industry is not in jeopardy.While not straightforward, it’s one of the first signs from the Trump Administration that it won’t crack down on legal marijuana states.Sessions position is well known. Up until this month, Trump had remained largely silent on the marijuana. Marc Short, the legislative affairs director for the White House, told the Washington Post the administration was “reluctant to reward” Gardner’s maneuvering.“But at the same time, we’re anxious to get our team at the Department of Justice,” Short said. He also went on to say that Trump “does respect Colorado’s right to decide for themselves how to best approach this issue.”That last part is likely what marijuana industry entrepreneurs will most pay attention to.Related: Marijuana Edibles Make the List of Top 10 Food Trends This YearChallenges AheadTrump’s assurances to Gardner, coupled with the Boehner decision, has created yet another buzz in many places about marijuana moving into the mainstream and the challenges it still faces.One good example is from NPR. While making the point that Boehner certainly did well politically in opposing marijuana, the article also notes that his decision to join the Acreage Holdings board signals a shift.His decision “comes in time to help people who see cannabis as a promising business opportunity,” the article states. However, it also points out that minorities continue to get arrested for marijuana in disproportionate numbers and could get shut out of the legal marijuana industry.To stay up to date on the latest marijuana related news make sure to like dispensaries.com on Facebook Next Article A conservative Republican senator from Colorado has wrung a big concession from the administration to protect his state’s booming cannabis business. dispensaries.com Add to Queue 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Download Our Free Android App Free Green Entrepreneur App Keep up with the latest trends and news in the cannabis industry with our free articles and videos, plus subscribe to the digital edition of Green Entrepreneur magazine. Image credit: Mandel Ngan | Getty Images Trump Basically Says Obama-Era Marijuana Policies Aren’t Going to Change Easy Search. Quality Finds. Your partner and digital portal for the cannabis community. –shares April 24, 2018 Guest Writerlast_img read more

Salesfusion Marketing Automation Platform from SugarCRM Integrates with Google Ads to Meet

first_imgSalesfusion Marketing Automation Platform from SugarCRM Integrates with Google Ads to Meet Mid-Market Demand PRNewswireMay 24, 2019, 3:53 pmMay 24, 2019 googleGoogle Adsmarketing automationMarketing TechnologyNewspaid search advertisingsalesfusionsugarcrm Previous ArticleAvtex and NuSoft Solutions Combine to Create Microsoft Business Applications PowerhouseNext ArticleStackla Expands Partnership with Simpleview to Help Global Destination Marketers Deliver Engaging Travel Experiences with User-Generated Content Marketers Can Now Create, Manage and Measure ROI of Google Paid Search Campaigns with Salesfusion for Google AdsSugarCRM Inc., the company that helps organizations deliver exceptional customer experiences, announced the release of Salesfusion for Google Ads, marking a strategic partnership with Google that will allow customers to create, manage, optimize and track paid search advertising from within the platform. The integration will simplify Google paid search complexities by allowing customers to launch campaigns quickly and directly from within Salesfusion. Using powerful machine learning for optimizations, users will benefit from executing conversion-driven campaigns with automated bidding, empowering small to mid-sized marketing teams to grow their business without relying on a third-party agency or in-house expertise. The Ads feature is available to all Salesfusion users and will allow marketers to drive more qualified traffic to their websites—and ultimately drive more revenue.@SugarCRM announces the release of @Salesfusion for Google Ads, a strategic partnership with @Google that will allow customers to create, manage, optimize and track paid search advertising from within the platform. #CX #GoogleAds #CRM #marketingautomation“Search advertising is a fundamental component to any marketer’s inbound marketing program to engage potential customers during the research phase of the buyer’s journey,” said Logan Henderson, general manager of marketing automation at SugarCRM. “The average business earns $2 for every $1 spent on search advertising and can boost brand awareness by as much of 80 percent. “We know this can be a pain point for our customers, and as B2B industry innovators focused on tools that marketers need most, we put effective paid search marketing success within reach for small marketing teams.”Marketing Technology News: Teleperformance Groups ‘Praxidia Knowledge Services’ partners with CallMiner to launch TP Interact – a Comprehensive Interaction Analytics SolutionThe release of Salesfusion for Google Ads is another step forward for Salesfusion on its mission to provide the modern marketer with the innovative functionality they need in a solution built to work for them. Aside from the new integration allowing paid search advertising, Salesfusion recently announced its acquisition by SugarCRM, a strategic union with a lightning focus on the next generation of customer experience innovation.Marketing Technology News: DataRobot and Informatica Partner to Accelerate Adoption of AI Across the EnterpriseGoogle Ads, Google’s online advertising program, allows your business to be found by people on Google precisely when they’re searching for products or services like yours. Whether you’re looking to bring in new website visitors or grow online sales, Google Ads can help.Marketing Technology News: MRC Continues DoubleVerify’s Accreditation for Desktop, Mobile Web & In-App Impressions, SIVT Traffic Filtration & Viewabilitylast_img read more

Matterport to Acquire AIDriven Production Platform Arraiy

first_imgMatterport to Acquire AI-Driven Production Platform Arraiy PRNewswireJuly 11, 2019, 3:13 pmJuly 11, 2019 3D capture and visualization technology3D capture technologyArraiyArtificial IntelligenceMarketing TechnologyMatterportNews Previous ArticleCORRECTING and REPLACING Flexjet Unveils Premium Lifestyle Experiences and Luxury Brand Benefits for Its OwnersNext ArticleOracle Names Rona Fairhead to the Board of Directors Matterport, the world leader in 3D capture technology and data, announced that it intends to acquire Arraiy, the pioneer behind breakthrough machine learning and computer vision technology that allows visual creators to integrate real and virtual worlds.Matterport introduced the category of affordable 3D capture for business and has increased adoption of 3D capture and visualization technology across industries, including architecture, engineering and construction (AEC); insurance, restoration, and property claims; travel and hospitality; residential and commercial real estate; among others. Arraiy has developed a self-improving artificial intelligence (AI) software that leverages machine learning and computer vision to unlock new techniques for integrating real and virtual digital imagery.Upon completion, the acquisition will integrate Arraiy’s core engineering team into Matterport in support of the company’s mission to build the industry’s leading computer vision data platform. Earlier this year, Matterport took a significant step toward achieving this aim with the launch of its proprietary cloud software, Matterport Cloud 3.0, and AI engine Cortex, leveraging AI-powered image-processing technology to transform panoramic and 360-degree images into fully immersive 3D models; understand objects, rooms and the detailed characteristics of a space and label specific rooms on a floor plan.Marketing Technology News: Veritonic Launches First Audio Score For Marketers To Understand Relative Power Of Their Creative Assets“Arraiy has assembled some of the very best minds in the industry to solve really hard problems in machine learning and computer vision today,” said RJ Pittman, CEO of Matterport. “By integrating Arraiy’s groundbreaking technology and talented team, we will be able to accelerate the creation of new products and features that will make Matterport significantly more powerful and accessible to both new and existing users.”“The Arraiy team is thrilled to join with Matterport to continue to innovate with computer vision and machine learning,” said Ethan Rublee, CTO and founder of Arraiy. “I’m convinced that Matterport’s platform will enable incredible opportunities to leverage AI in the places we live and work.”The Arraiy acquisition will also bring Matterport into close collaboration with OpenCV, the AI industry’s leading open source computer vision and machine learning software initiative, led by Arraiy co-founder Gary Bradski.Marketing Technology News: SeQuel Response Hires New Director of Marketing to Propel Brand Awareness“We look forward to working closely with our newest team members and the Arraiy CV tech stack, along with Gary Bradski and the OpenCV initiative to expand our role helping to shape the computer vision industry,” said Dave Gausebeck, co-founder and CTO of Matterport.“Matterport’s industry-leading 3D capture technology has harnessed the power of computer vision and deep learning to transform multiple industries throughout the built world,” said Bradski. “We see fresh potential to further disrupt these markets by leveraging our combined advancements in the field of computer vision and machine learning.”Marketing Technology News: Community Management Is the Main Course for Hospitality Sectorlast_img read more

Promising methods for early detection and treatment of rheumatoid arthritis

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Jun 10 2019Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disorder that leads to significant health issues as well as high treatment costs. In this themed issue of Clinical Therapeutics, published by Elsevier, experts review multiple aspects of RA detection and intervention with the overall goal of moving the field closer to developing effective preventive measures. Identifying people before they develop the disorder could significantly alter the course of disease and spare people its damaging effects.RA affects around one percent of the population worldwide. It leads to swollen, painful joints and can also damage other body systems such as the skin, eyes, lungs, heart, and blood vessels. This debilitating disease results in diminished quality of life, loss of work, pain, and suffering. It is also largely a “forever” disease from which patients with full-blown RA will suffer for the rest of their lives. While medications can control RA for many patients, very few experience a complete cure and are able to discontinue treatment. RA is an expensive disease. In the United States it currently costs around $20,000-30,000 per patient annually for treatment.Guest-edited by Kevin D. Deane, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine, Denver, CO, USA; and Tsang Tommy Cheung, MBBS (HK), Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, LKS Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, this themed issue taps into the expertise of many scientists across the world and discusses multiple aspects of RA prevention. “These discussions will hopefully provide insights into how we can move RA forward to the point where we are preventing disease and also give guidance on how other autoimmune diseases could be prevented as well,” explain the Guest Editors.Many studies are already underway to learn how to prevent RA, however, prevention of autoimmune diseases is still new territory and there is a lot to discuss and learn. “Most people are familiar with prevention for diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, or cancer,” notes Dr. Deane. “For example, it is very common for someone to have routine blood tests, which might reveal high cholesterol, a potential risk factor for a future heart attack. That individual can then implement lifestyle changes like more healthful eating, smoking cessation, and more exercise, or taking a medication to lower the risk of a future heart attack. We developed these approaches for heart attack prevention through clinical trials. The RA community has learned from these approaches and similar prevention-type trials are now underway in RA.””Most autoimmune diseases are only identified once an individual gets ‘sick.’ For example, with RA, once someone has painful, swollen joints,” adds Dr. Cheung. “Blood-based tests can now identify individuals who are at risk before they feel sick, opening a whole new world of screening and possible prevention. Treating RA very early may allow for cheaper, safer therapies to work because once full-blown RA has developed, typically very powerful medications are needed to control disease.”In a Commentary on the clinical burden of RA, John M. Davis III, MD, MS, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science, Rochester, MN, USA, makes the case that preventive approaches would greatly benefit RA patients. “There have been great advances in the development of conventional synthetic, biologic, and targeted disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) to treat RA as well as strategies to use these agents to control disease-associated inflammation to the state of either low disease activity or clinical remission,” he comments. “However, with any given treatment strategy, up to 40-60 percent of patients ultimately respond inadequately. Investment in developing preventive strategies is expected to lead eventually to a paradigm shift from treating disease and disease-related complications to maintaining health of people worldwide.”Related StoriesResearch suggests new way to improve the efficacy of arthritis drugResearchers develop NO-scavenging hydrogel for treatment of rheumatoid arthritisStudy shows link between BMI and disease severity in psoriatic arthritisThe rigorously peer-reviewed articles in this themed issue cover topics such as the natural history of RA; nomenclature for the stages of development of RA; potential pharmacological targets; potential for prevention by targeting mucosal processes; predicting RA in at-risk individuals; optimal trial design for RA prevention studies; patient preferences; regulatory considerations; system challenges; monitoring safety; and adverse events. All of the authors contributed in a significant way to the overall picture of how RA prevention is developing.The issue identifies several important challenges: Finding individuals who are at-risk for future RA through simple methods, which could be population-based blood testing or other approaches. Getting the research and medical community to agree on the right terminology for RA. “Right now, RA is only applied once someone has arthritis. But it may be that we need to develop new terms like ‘Pre-RA’ that can be used to identify someone at high risk for future RA. For example, the term pre-diabetes is commonly used and is helpful for people to understand that they are in a stage of disease that indicates that they are at risk for getting worse unless they do something. We need similar terms in RA that can resonate with people, and help them take action,” comments Dr. Deane. Editor-in-Chief Richard Shader, MD, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA comments: The efforts of this team of experts to raise awareness of RA and to explore methods for early detection and intervention should catalyze the medical and scientific communities to increase their efforts to find better ways to treat and perhaps even prevent RA and its complications.” Many other rheumatic and autoimmune diseases follow a similar model as RA where there are blood markers that are abnormal, sometimes years before an individual feels “sick” from disease. These diseases include lupus, gout, and others such as vasculitis. Getting society to invest in prevention, which requires that groups such as governments, the insurance industry, and pharmaceutical companies are also interested in prevention and willing to support it.center_img RA science is in a fortunate situation compared to many other inflammatory diseases where it is rarely known when and where disease-specific immunity may be triggered and how it may gradually evolve towards targeting of the end organ. Research and solutions proposed in this issue may also serve as a demonstration example for many other chronic immune-mediated diseases.”Lars Klareskog, MD, PhD, Rheumatology Unit, Department of Medicine, Karolinska Institutet and Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden, in a Guest Editorial Prior research has already shown that the development of RA can be delayed with a single dose of medication that is typically used in people who have full-blown RA. That finding suggests that if individuals can be identified at the right time, future RA can be delayed or completely prevented. There are also multiple clinical trials underway that should help determine which drugs have the potential to prevent RA and who the best candidates are to receive this treatment.”Treating RA very early may allow for cheaper, safer therapies to work because once full-blown RA has developed, typically very powerful medications are needed to control the disease. This is like stopping a fire when it is still at the stage of a candle – pretty easy. However, stopping a fire once a full-blow forest fire has developed is very hard!” conclude the Guest Editors. Patient preference is also a major challenge. “Asking at-risk individuals to take medications with possible side effects when there is no clinically apparent disease is not easy at all,” observes Dr. Cheung. Finding prevention approaches that work – whether drugs or lifestyle changes (e.g., smoking cessation), or combinations of both. Source:Elsevierlast_img read more

Discovery by NETRFfunded researchers may help predict recurrence of pNETs

first_imgThis significant research is a result of the collaborative spirit NETRF fosters among our funded researchers. Drs. Ramesh Shivdasani and Bradley Bernstein assembled a top team of scientists who shared knowledge and resources, to advance our understanding of NETs that can help us improve care for those facing the highest risks.”Elyse Gellerman, NETRF chief executive officer Currently, physicians predict a patient’s risk of pNET recurrence using tumor size. Non-functional pNETs larger than 2 centimeters are considered the most likely to metastasize following surgery.Building on molecular findings in about a dozen pNETs, Shivdasani and colleagues analyzed the molecular profiles of another 142 pNET tumor specimens using new laboratory tests for expression of specific proteins. Shivdasani notes that the findings divided pNETs, sharply and unexpectedly, into roughly equal fractions of those that resemble normal alpha cells and express the regulatory protein ARX and others that resemble beta cells and express the regulatory protein PDX1.Related StoriesScientists reveal mechanism of tumor metastasis and tumor-suppressive role of UDP-glucoseNovel anticancer agents show promise to control tumor growth in nearly every cancer type3D breast tumor models may improve drug discovery and testingThe researchers were able to analyze data on tumor relapse for most patients whose tumor specimens were included in the study. Tumors with exclusive ARX expression had more than 35% risk of recurrence following surgery, compared to less than 5% risk if the tumor lacked ARX. Among study participants whose tumors showed high ARX levels, cancer recurred in the liver within 1 to 4 years, compared to the rare recurrence of tumors that expressed PDX1.ARX and PDX1 levels can be measured using immunohistochemistry (IHC), a test that stains tumor tissue and is routine in clinical laboratories. Current IHC assays do not test for these proteins, but the researchers note that they could easily be brought into routine diagnostic testing in a matter of months. Should the findings of this study be corroborated in future clinical research, the prognostic impact for patients with a new pNET diagnosis will be significant.The next steps are to make the distinction of the new pNET subtypes possible in clinical laboratories and to confirm the findings in larger groups of patients.This laboratory study is an early step in identifying prognostic markers for non-functioning pNETs. Medical research often starts in the laboratory and then takes years to move into clinical testing in humans. Because IHC assays for ARX and PDX1 can be developed readily, the new findings could be implemented into routine patient care considerably faster.The finding is the result of NETRF grants given to Drs. Shivdasani and Matthew Kulke at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Drs. Bradley Bernstein and Daniel Chung at Massachusetts General Hospital. All the investigators are on the faculty of Harvard Medical School. Source:Neuroendocrine Tumor Research FoundationJournal reference:Shivdasani, R et al. (2019) Enhancer signatures stratify and predict outcomes of non-functional pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors. Nature Medicine. doi.org/10.1038/s41591-019-0493-4. Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jul 2 2019A group of researchers funded by Neuroendocrine Tumor Research Foundation (NETRF) has discovered molecular information that may help predict recurrence of non-functional pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (pNETs), which do not release excess hormones into the bloodstream. In a paper published today in Nature Medicine, the researchers describe new subtypes of pNETs with vastly different risks of recurrence.Lead investigator Ramesh Shivdasani, MD, PhD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, said the finding moves us closer to being able to identify patients with a high risk for metastasis at diagnosis and initial treatment. “These patients can be monitored vigilantly for recurrent cancers, which may be treatable if detected early, while patients with the less aggressive kind of pNET can be advised that the prognosis is excellent.”last_img read more

Study provides new insight into longitudinal decline in brain network integrity associated

first_imgThe human brain contains functionally segregated neuronal networks with dense internal connections and sparse inter-connectivity. Aging is thought to be associated with reduced functional specialization and segregation of these brain networks.Joint senior authors Assoc Prof Zhou and Prof Michael Chee, Director of Duke-NUS’ Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, led the research team, collecting data from neuropsychological assessments and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) brain scans from a cohort of 57 healthy young adults and 72 healthy elderly Singaporeans. Each elderly participant was scanned two to three times during a period of up to four years. The neuropsychological assessments tested participants’ ability to process information quickly, focus their attention, remember verbal and visuo-spatial information, and plan and execute tasks. The fMRI scans measured how brain regions are functionally connected based on low-frequency blood oxygenation level fluctuations over time. Participants were asked to relax with their eyes open and remain still as these were performed.Related StoriesRush University Medical Center offers new FDA-approved treatment for brain aneurysmsNew therapy shows promise in preventing brain damage after traumatic brain injuryResearch team to create new technology for tackling concussionDr Joanna Chong, first author of the paper and a PhD graduate from Assoc Prof Zhou’s lab at Duke-NUS, developed approaches to convert the fMRI images into graphic representations that depict the inter- and intra-network connectedness of each individual’s brain. She then compared differences in brain functional networks between the young and elderly participants, and in the elderly over time.The team tracked changes in brain functional networks that affected specific cognitive abilities, such as goal-oriented thought and action, and choosing where to focus attention. As one ages, these networks associated with cognition are less efficient in information transfer, more vulnerable to disturbance, and less distinctive.”Overall, our research advances understanding of brain network changes over time, underlying cognitive decline in healthy aging,” said Assoc Prof Zhou. “This can facilitate future work to identify elderly individuals at risk of aging-related disorders or to identify strategies that can preserve cognitive function.”Commenting on the study, Prof Patrick Casey, Senior Vice Dean for Research at Duke-NUS, stated, “Aging is a significant risk factor for a variety of chronic diseases in people, including neurodegenerative and cerebrovascular diseases. Governments worldwide are concerned about the public health implications of increasingly aging populations. Basic research such as this plays a vital role in informing efforts to help us stay healthy longer as we live longer lives.”The researchers aim to next examine how various factors, such as genetic and cardiovascular risks, might influence aging-related changes in brain networks. By studying a larger group of healthy young, middle-aged and older adults, they hope to develop better ways to predict cognitive decline. Source:Duke-NUS Medical SchoolJournal reference:Chong, J.S.X. et al. (2019) Longitudinal Changes in the Cerebral Cortex Functional Organization of Healthy Elderly. The Journal of Neuroscience. doi.org/10.1523/jneurosci.1451-18.2019. We currently live in a rapidly aging society. Compared to cross-sectional studies, it is vital to understand brain changes over time that underlie both healthy and pathologic aging, in order to inform efforts to slow down cognitive aging.”Study’s corresponding author, Associate Professor Juan Helen Zhou, neuroscientist from the faculty of Duke-NUS’ Neuroscience and Behavioral Disorders program Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Jul 14 2019Functional regions within the brain become less distinct and inter-connected in the elderly over time, especially in those networks related to attention span and cognition. The finding, published by researchers at Duke-NUS Medical School in The Journal of Neuroscience, adds to current understanding of longitudinal decline in brain network integrity associated with aging.last_img read more

Bikeshare companies are transforming US cities – and theyre just getting started

Citibike station in midtown Manhattan. Credit: Jim Henderson, CC BY Seattle turned to dockless companies to fill the gap after a publicly funded dock bike-share system there failed in 2016. The city could soon have one of the largest bike-share systems in the country. Cities around Boston that are outside of the service area of Hubway, the area’s public bike-share system, just reached a deal to provide dockless bike-share service, expanding access to hundreds of thousands of people. And in San Francisco, Uber recently purchased Jump Bikes, a dockless electric bike-share startup, and soon will allow users to reserve electric bikes with their Uber app. If recent examples are any indication, bike sharing in the United States will be a mix of complementary dock-based and dockless systems, run by both public entities and private companies. The humble bicycle, aided by smartphone technology, is resurging as an urban transportation option. Officials in Dallas warn dockless bike-share companies to keep bikes from blocking sidewalks, ramps and trails. Dockless systems are also helping to address equity issues posed by public dock-based systems, which often are located in more affluent and predominantly white urban neighborhoods. Because dockless systems don’t require stations, they can be rapidly deployed in zones that dock-based systems may be slow to reach. Students at Beijing University developed this approach in 2014 to improve campus mobility. Dockless bike-share companies have flooded Chinese cities with bikes in the past two years, leading to massive piles of discarded bicycles in public spaces. The modern concept of bike sharing – offering bikes for short-term public rental from multiple stations in cities – was launched in Copenhagen in 1995, but U.S. cities only started piloting their own systems in the past decade. Washington D.C. led the way, launching SmartBike DC in 2008 and an expanded network called Capital Bikeshare in 2010. This program now boasts over 480 stations and a daily ridership of 5,700. Within a few years, bike-share systems launched in Boston, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle and dozens of other cities. In 2016 there were 55 systems across the country with a total of over 40,000 bikes. And momentum continues to grow. In 2017 Citi Bike in New York City added 2,000 bikes, increasing its fleet to a total of 12,000. San Francisco is expanding its system from just 700 bikes to 7,000, thanks to a sponsorship deal with Ford. Going docklessThe newest twist in this rapid expansion is dockless bike sharing, which lets users park bikes anywhere within defined districts and lock and unlock their bikes with smartphone apps. Users don’t have to locate docking stations or worry about whether space will be available at their destination. These systems also are cheaper to set up, so providers can charge lower user fees. Some dockless bike-share companies offer rides for as little as US$1 for the first half hour. Provided by The Conversation Dockless bike-share hits US capital, following craze in China (Update) Dockless cycle share bike in Seattle. Credit: Joe Mabel, CC BY Explore further Citation: Bike-share companies are transforming US cities – and they’re just getting started (2018, April 19) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-04-bike-share-companies-cities-theyre.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. Residents of major U.S. cities are becoming used to seeing docks for bike sharing programs nestled into parking spaces or next to subway station entrances. Adorned with stylish branding and corporate sponsors’ logos, these facilities are transforming transportation in cities across the country. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. read more