A fisherman who pulled in his nets 25 kilometers off the coast of Taiwan got a surprising catch: the lower jawbone of an ancient human. The bone (pictured)—dredged from a watery grave in the Penghu Channel—is robust and sports unusually large molars and premolars, suggesting that it once belonged to an archaic member of our genus Homo, according to a report published online today in Nature Communications. The Penghu jaw and teeth most closely resemble a partial skull of H. erectus from Longtan Cave in Hexian on the mainland of China, as well as earlier H. erectus fossils. Although it wasn’t possible to date the jawbone directly, it was found with an extinct species of hyena that suggests this archaic human was alive in the past 400,000 years and, most likely, in the past 200,000 years. If so, the find suggests that H. erectus persisted late in Asia, or that there were several other types of humans still alive at the time in this region. It might even be a member of the mysterious Denisovan people, a close relative of Neandertals known only from a finger bone and two teeth from Denisova Cave in Russia and its ancient DNA. But “if Penghu is indeed a long-awaited Denisovan jawbone, it looks more primitive than I would have expected,” says paleoanthropologist Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum in London, who was not a co-author on the paper. And that question can only be answered if researchers can get DNA from Penghu.
Dogs were the first thing humans domesticated—before any plant, before any other animal. Yet scientists have argued for years over where and when they arose. Some studies suggest that canines evolved in Europe, others Asia, with time frames ranging from 15,000 to more than 30,000 years ago. Now, an unprecedented collaboration of archaeologists and geneticists has brought the warring camps together for the first time. The group is analyzing thousands of bones from around the world, employing new techniques, and trying to put aside years of bad blood and bruised egos. If it succeeds, it will uncover the history of man’s oldest friend—and solve one of the greatest mysteries of domestication.To read the full story, see the 17 April issue of Science.For more on man’s best friend, see Science’s latest coverage of doggy science.
Public execution and torture as criminal punishment goes back a long way in European history. Often the sentence was engineered to fit the crime, in some unthinkably gruesome ways. In France, during the period from 1789 to 1799, hundreds of thousands of men and women were arrested and tens of thousands executed in the name of the French Revolution. One prominent episode concerns Thomas de Mahy, Marquis de Favras, a high-profile nobleman who was hanged in 1790 for plotting to rescue King Louis XVI and his wife, Marie Antoinette.The Marquis de Favras was born in 1745 and was distinguished for his service in the army. His hanging marked an important turning point as he was the first nobleman for whom there was no class distinction in his mode of execution. By tradition, nobles were spared from a drawn-out public humiliation — those sentenced to death would receive a swift beheading by axe or sword.Commoners, in contrast, were made a spectacle of. One of the least brutal, although far from dignified, methods of execution was strangulation by hanging.The execution of the Marquis de Favras on February 19, 1790, in Paris.The Marquis did not have the fortunes to fit tradition. The times, they were changing. Crowds of people gathered for his public hanging on Place de Greve on February 19, 1790, with many cheering “Encore!”After he was executed, the French guards struggled to protect the body of the Marquis from being further mutilated by the crowd, who wanted to see his head mounted on a pike.But how exactly did Thomas de Mahy anger Parisians so much?Favras FamilyThe country was on the edge of a financial crisis after funding years of warfare but the royal couple continued to spend money as extravagantly as their predecessors. Drought and successive failed harvests did not stop Louis XVI demanding higher taxes — the angered populace finally cracked. When revolutionists stormed the Bastille fortress on July 14, 1789, the royal couple were captured and held at Tuileries Palace in Paris.The Marquis de Favras initially supported the societal changes that were looming upon France, at least until he realized the extent to which the Revolution degraded the royals so near and dear to him. Disillusioned with the violence, the Marquis got involved in a counter-movement, along with Louis Stanislas Xavier, Comte de Provence, the brother of Louis XVI.“Thomas de Mahy de Favras, Knight of the Royal and Military Order of St. Louis, born on March 26, 1744, condemned on February 18, 1790, died on the 19th with resignation the courage and firmness of a pure conscience and without reproach.”It’s safe to say that the Marquis de Favras was in a way used as a scapegoat by the Comte. If there was one mastermind to the entire plot, that was probably the Comte de Provence, and he needed the help of someone as loyal as de Favras.Favras acted recklessly as he went on with preparations. He disclosed information about the plot to the wrong people and someone betrayed him.A leaflet was circulated around Paris and it damaged the reputation of the noble. It claimed that he aimed to rescue the royal couple, but also revealed a range of other plans. Some of these plans included killing public figures like the Mayor of Paris, Sylvain Bailly, and the commander of the National Guard, the Marquis de Lafayette.Portrait of Monsieur le marquis de Favras in the Journal de Paris, February 20, 1790.It also outlined a scheme to make the Comte de Provence the next reigning monarch (he did eventually became Louis XVIII of France, but not until 1814).More of the plot? Gather 30,000 troops and lay siege the capital. Starve people so they forget about their revolutionary ideas. Magnifique! Except it wasn’t Magnifique — Thomas de Mahy, Marquis de Favras, was suddenly detested by everyone.18 Old English insults we need to bring backThe leaflet had angered Parisians enough that the Marquis de Favras was arrested. He was initially held in Abbaye Prison.To make things worse for the Marquis, the Comte de Provence, whose name appeared in the leaflet, didn’t waste time in disassociating himself from his loyal servant and friend. He was seemingly diplomatic, praising the revolution and the people. While the Comte was applauded, the Marquis was condemned.Thomas de Mahy, Marquis de Favras, was sentenced to death in 1790 after being accused of plotting to save the royal family.He was relocated to Grand Châtelet (today the site is occupied by the Place du Châtelet) which accommodated a courthouse, as well as facilities of both the police and the prison. The Grand Châtelet was heavily secured by guards during the trial to ensure the mob outside didn’t take justice into their own hands.The trial progressed slowly. What served as the most compelling piece of evidence was a letter sent to Marquis de Favras by a supporter of the conspiracy. The contents of the letter revolved around the alleged troops that were to besiege Paris.The Grand Châtelet c. 1800, looking south from Rue Saint-Denis.It was an insubstantial piece of proof. The supporter of the plot had asked de Mahy in the letter “Where are your troops? … From what direction will they enter Paris?” and stated “I would like to serve among them.”And that was it. The plan was probably still not ripe enough to happen.At one point during the two-month-long trial, the Marquis reportedly gave out names of people who were in some way involved with the plot, however, he would not exchange more details than that. He was ready to reveal greater details only if relieved of blame. But that did not happen.Thomas de Mahy, Marquis de Favras (1744-1790).Thomas de Mahy, Marquis de Favras, was sentenced to death by hanging on February 18, 1790, for the charge of treason.The most intriguing part? When he read through the order for his execution, the Marquis de Favras muttered: “I see that you have made three spelling mistakes.”Read another story from us: Will a new DNA sample help solve England’s leading cold case, the disappearance of the Princes in the Tower?With or without mistakes, the warrant was placed in order. His death took place the following day. The quote has become famous because the Marquis kept his sangfroid in the face of a painful and humiliating death, and he is revered by those who uphold the importance of correct grammar and spelling.De Mahy was reportedly deeply mourned by the royals. His widow, Madame de Favras, was later provided a pension by the Crown.As for Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette, they were both guillotined in 1793.
Advertising Written by Tabassum Barnagarwala | Mumbai | Published: July 17, 2019 2:41:07 am Over 300 structures declared unsafe in Pune so far, 57 in Pimpri-Chinchwad Shaheen Zariwala’s mother Sajida Zariwala (62), niece Kashaf Azad (12), and brother Arshan Zariwala (25) were all trapped under the debris.Three hours after the rescue operations began, a pink fluffy pillow was pulled out from the debris. A little later, as a blue blanket was recovered, Shaheen Zariwala, clad in a burkha, let out a scream. “That is my niece Kashaf’s.” More Explained Advertising As the search team removed one article after another, handing it over to the local residents, Shaheen, stood on a red stool on the opposite doorway shouting and pointing at spots where her family could possibly be. First an iron was pulled out, then a pink pillow and then a blue blanket — all belonging to the family.“She (Kashaf) slept with this (blue) blanket yesterday,” Shaheen cried.Till late Tuesday afternoon, rescue efforts to extricate those trapped on first and second floors of the building proved difficult as the narrow lanes prevented the firefighters from bringing in any heavy machinery to lift the debris.Kashaf’s father Aamir tried to stand atop the debris, desperately tryying to hear his daughter’s cry for help, but heard nothing. Chandrayaan-2 gets new launch date days after being called off P Rajagopal, Saravana Bhavan founder sentenced to life for murder, dies Advertising Mumbai building collapse: Narrow lanes bar machines, human chain clears debris Ayodhya dispute: Mediation to continue till July 31, SC hearing likely from August 2 Ibrahim’s father Naved, who works at a salon, however, escaped with a fracture. Related News Six hours after Kesarbai Mansion collapsed, the lifeless body of Kashaf Azad,12, was recovered from the debris. A little later, 18-month-old Ibrahim Salmani was found next to his mother Sana — both declared dead soon after.On Tuesday, minutes before the building collapsed in congested Dongri, Shaheen was on her two-wheeler. Her mother had thrown her the keys from the balcony and she was about to drive off when a shower of dust first fell on her. Shaheen abandoned her Activa and ran. Seconds later the building came crashing down swallowing her bike. Her mother Sajida Zariwala (62), niece Kashaf Azad (12), and brother Arshan Zariwala (25) were all trapped under the debris. 18-month-old Ibrahim Salmani and his mother Sana were found dead.Kashaf was sleeping with Sajida on the first floor of the Kesarbai Mansion. The child had fever for the last three days, so her mother, Huma, had decided to shift Kashaf to her mother’s house in the building located across the lane. “She had skipped school for the last two days,” Huma, Shaheen’s sister, said.Read | Narrow lanes bar machines, human chain clears debris Best Of Express Taking stock of monsoon rain Three-year-old Abdul Rehman was among the first to be rescued.Like Kashaf, 18-month-old Ibrahim Salmani was trapped for hours with his mother Sana (25). As their bodies were extricated, Ibrahim remained wrapped in a green and red bedsheet.Bodies of two other members of the Salmani family — Muzammil (14) and Zuber (20) — were also recovered. Seven members of the family were in their second-floor house when the building had collapsed. Mujib Khan, who passed bricks, crates and boulders feverishly from the collapse site, said, “We are handing the debris one by one till we can clear the space.”Also read | In 37 years, 894 people died in accidents involving MHADA buildingsIn the evening, Kashaf’s body was found. Doctors at JJ hospital said she had died around two hours ago. Soon after, her uncle Arshan’s body was also recovered.Her grandmother, Sajida, was found trapped in a gap amid the collapsed structure, her breathing shallow. The senior citizen was rushed to JJ hospital, where doctors said her condition was serious. Ten die in Mumbai building collapse, 3-year-old survives in his grandmother’s arms Post Comment(s)
Railway tribunal judge sacked in Rs 50-cr fraud claims case Related News IRCTC Special Tourist Train: Railways’ special Bharat Darshan package for Rs 7,560 Piyush Goyal: Railways won’t be privatised, but investment needed for modernisation Written by Adil Akhzer | Srinagar | Published: July 4, 2019 4:13:43 am Porters carry material for 32-km trek from Chandanwari, near Pahalgam. (Express photo by Shuaib Masoodi)Porters carry material for 32-km trek from Chandanwari, near Pahalgam. (Express photo by Shuaib Masoodi)The Northern Railways has announced suspension of train services in its Qazigund-Banihal railway section for five hours daily till the Amarnath Yatra is over.“It is pertinent to inform your good self that as per directions from your office, train operations will remain suspended between Qazigund- Banihal railway section from 1000 hrs to 1500hrs (cut off timing as per traffic advisory) w.e.f 3.7.2019 till completion of Amarnath Ji Yatra,” reads a letter sent by Railways’ Chief Area Manager(CAM) in Srinagar to Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Khan. 0 Comment(s)
Related News By Express Web Desk |New Delhi | Updated: July 4, 2019 6:24:18 pm Post Comment(s) Byculla prison: Indrani Mukerjea booked for rioting Advertising Advertising Special judge Arun Bhardwaj pardoned Indrani Mukerjea after she submitted that she voluntarily agreed to become an approver in the case. Indrani had filed a plea to turn approver in the Patiala House Court in Delhi in February this year.The court also issued a warrant requiring the presence of Mukerjea on July 11 to go through the relevant documents about her turning an approver in the case and give her consent, PTI reported.Earlier, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had endorsed Indrani’s application to turn approver and submitted to the court that she is privy to evidence, in the form of conversations, that could help consolidate the case.Special CBI Court allows Indrani Mukherjee application seeking to become an approver in CBI Case in connection with INX Case. @IndianExpress— Anand Mohan (@mohanreports) July 4, 2019In 2007, CBI had registered a case against Karti for irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance granted to the INX Media for receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007. This was when Chidambaram was the finance minister. Indrani Mukherjee is currently lodged in Mumbai’s Byculla Jail. (File Photo)A Special CBI court in Delhi Thursday allowed a plea by Indrani Mukerjea, currently lodged in Mumbai’s Byculla Jail, to turn approver in the INX Media case. The former head of the company, Indrani’s co-accused includes Lok Sabha MP Karti Chidambaram, the son of former finance minister P Chidambaram. Sheena bora murder case: CBI opposes Indrani’s bail plea, claims no threat to her life in jail In February 2018, Karti was arrested by the investigating agency in connection with the INX Media case. CBI officials had then said said Karti was arrested for “not cooperating with investigations”.Indrani is also awaiting trial for the murder of her daughter Sheena Bora.
‘Abduction, gangrape’ on Mainpuri Highway: Attempt to murder case against SO, 3 constables Related News Advertising By Express News Service |Meerut | Updated: July 17, 2019 4:05:25 am Advertising The Muzaffarnagar police Tuesday gunned down Rohit Sandu who was carrying a reward of Rs 1 lakh, and his aide, Rakesh Yadav (reward of Rs 50,000) in a shootout near Bilaspur village in Muzaffarnagar. Rohit was a resident of Johra village in Mansoorpur police station in the district while Yadav was a resident of Ayodhya. Two cops, Ajay Kumar and Vineet Kapasia, suffered injuries and were taken to hospital and released after primary treatment, the police said.Sandu had been freed from police custody when a police team escorting him was ambushed by six persons near Salarpur village in Muzaffarnagar on July 2. A sub-inspector, Durg Vijay Singh, who was shot at, died at a Delhi hospital on July 11. All the slain persons were involved in the attack on the police team on July 2, the police claimed.In Meerut, two members of the Sandu gang, Rajat alias Ravindra and Amit alias Sheru, were killed in an exchange of fire with the police on Sardhana-Daurala state highway Tuesday afternoon. They were also involved in the attack on the police team in Muzzafarnagar on July 2, the police claimed. In Meerut, two members of the Sandu gang, Rajat alias Ravindra and Amit alias Sheru, were killed in an encounter on Sardhana-Daurala state highway Tuesday afternoon.THE MEERUT and Muzaffarnagar police killed four criminals in shootouts at separate places in both the districts since the early hours of Tuesday. Three policemen, including a Deputy SP, suffered injuries in the two incidents. Post Comment(s) Deputy SP (Daurala) Jitendra Sargam, was injured in the exchange of fire. He was released from hospital after primary treatment, the police said. “They were in a car and when we asked them to stop, they sped away and we chased them. They were intercepted at the entry point of Sardhana-Daurala road. The criminals opened fire and we retaliated and both were killed on the spot,” said Meerut SSP Ajay Sahni.“The plan to get Sandu freed from police custody was prepared by Bhupendra Baafar, who wanted him (Sandu) fo the killing of another gangster, Sushil Moonch, who is lodged in Muzaffarnagar jail. We arrested Baafar from Muzaffarnagar on July 12,” said Muzaffarnagar SSP Abhisek Yadav. At the time of his arrest, two police guards were also present with him who were provided by the Meerut police for his security.BJP MLA from Sardhana, Sangeet Som, has demanded a high-level inquiry into how and why the Meerut police has provided two policemen for security of a “notorious gangster” who is facing seven cases of murder and several other cases in different police stations of UP and Uttarakhand.“The policemen were provided to Baafar as he expressed fear of being killed after Sushil Moonch surrendered himself in Muzaffarnagar in April. We will look into the issue,” said SSP Sahni. Uttar Pradesh: Pratapgarh SP removed after VHP leader’s murder Cops: Two prisoners flee from UP jail; 1 run over by train
Source:https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Oct 19 2018Hospitals should be cautious of group purchasing organizations, or entities that act as middlemen between health care providers and manufacturers, says Martin Makary, M.D., M.P.H., a professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.”The group purchasing industry has morphed from a business centered on bulk purchasing in order to provide significant discounts for hospitals to a business littered with pay-to-play deals and kickbacks,” says Makary, senior author of an Oct. 18 JAMA article on group purchasing.Since their inception in 1910, group purchasing organizations (GPOs) have helped streamline the process of hospitals purchasing medical supplies from thousands of manufacturers by cataloging hospital supplies ranging from hand soap to epinephrine. A recent estimate by the Healthcare Supply Chain Association found that 98 percent of hospitals use a GPO for their main purchasing needs. GPO advocates point to their ability to negotiate lower prices for hospitals, as well as the time and resources hospitals are spared by avoiding negotiating and contracting with multiple manufacturers.However, the Johns Hopkins researchers point out that current law allows GPOs to receive undisclosed fees from manufacturers to list products more favorably in their catalogs. In order to offset these extra fees, manufacturers incorporate the payment in the price of the products in the catalog.”These secret deals are a little-known driver of escalating hospital supply costs, including that of drugs, which end up falling on the patient to pay,” says Will Bruhn, a research fellow at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and co-author of the study. “These deals can also contribute to sudden critical shortages of drugs that have been common and inexpensive for decades.”Related StoriesChildren’s Colorado granted IAC’s Cardiovascular Catheterization accreditationIt is okay for women with lupus to get pregnant with proper care, says new studyStudy looks at impact of hospital readmissions penalties on targeted surgical conditionsThese fees, which are banned by federal law in most industries, are permitted because in 1987 GPOs received exemption from a 1972 law that banned kickbacks, bribes or rebates for furnishing items or services. This exemption has allowed GPOs to solicit fees to have products placed in catalogs, or premiums for manufacturers to become sole suppliers. This can then halt competition, says Makary, resulting in only one or two manufacturers gaining market dominance.For a premium pay-to-play fee, GPOs sometimes designate a manufacturer as the sole supplier of a product, creating a regional or national dependence on one company or supply chain. This can create shortages of the most basic and essential hospital supplies if the sole manufacturer has supply chain problems. The authors point out how these GPO contractual arrangements may have contributed to the widespread shortage of saline bags in the United States after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico and damaged the manufacturing plant that dominated the U.S. saline bag market.”The money games of paying extra to become a sole supplier is one reason doctors are seeing a surge of critical shortages of drugs and supplies that have been around for over 50 years,” adds Makary.Makary says GPOs can provide a valuable service and they shouldn’t be eliminated, but he urges GPOs to avoid sole supplier contracts and hospitals to avoid exclusive contracts with GPOs to ensure competition.Makary also recommends that policymakers reevaluate laws that exempt GPOs from anti-kickback statutes in order to protect consumers and increase price transparency.
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Oct 24 2018An NJIT-led team of engineers, game designers, artists and clinicians won two major international awards for its vision therapy platform, including “most innovative breakthrough,” at the 2018 Augmented World Expo Europe (AWE EU), the leading industry conference for augmented reality technology.The competition pitted NJIT against 114 teams from design programs at MIT, Caltech, NASA and other leaders in the field. Sponsors of the award, announced in Munich before hundreds of designers, CEOs and investors from the sector, also include the global engineering organization IEEE and VR First, the virtual reality educational outreach organization.”We are thrilled to win the Auggie Innovation Award – and to be here at all. Conferences such as AWE EU are a critical meeting ground for industry and academia, serving as a catalyst that can lead to breakthroughs that change our society,” said Tara Alvarez, professor of biomedical engineering at NJIT and the team’s leader. “So much great science exists within our labs, but it can be a challenge to translate those ideas into broader societal impacts.”Alvarez, the lone woman standing on the confetti-strewn stage, also won the “Woman Laureate” award, which recognizes project leadership skills.The NJIT project, VERVE (Virtual Eye Rotation Vision Exercises), employs virtual reality games to correct an eye motor disorder called convergence insufficiency, in which the muscles that control eye movements do not coordinate to focus on near objects. Because each eye sees images separately, the person experiences double and blurred vision, headaches and difficulty concentrating. The impact on cognition and learning can be severe, particularly in children.The device, which has potential as a biomarker for concussion, is being tested in children’s hospitals across the country, and Alvarez and her alumni NJIT students have started a company, OculoMotor Technologies, to commercialize it. Alvarez is the company’s chief scientific officer, Mitchell Scheiman, O.D., Ph.D., of Salus University, is the chief clinical officer and John Vito d’Antonio-Bertagnolli ’16 H MS ’17 and Chang Yaramothu,’13 MS ’14 Ph.D. ’17 are CEO and chief technology officer, respectively. Their collaborators and backers include Salus University, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, New Jersey Health Foundation and the National Science Foundation.”These therapies have not evolved much since the 70s, and while they’re very good, they’re incredibly boring,” noted Alvarez, founder of NJIT’s Vision and Neural Engineering Laboratory. “We hope to address that by creating virtual reality games that are going to be done correctly because of the equipment, and they’ll be fun so people want to do them.”AWE EU shared the meeting space in Munich with IEEE’s annual ISMAR (International Symposium of Mixed and Augmented Reality) conference, billed as the leading international academic conference in the fields of augmented reality and mixed reality. The expo floor featured flashy demos from big companies like Bosch, as well as an expansive “startup alley” showcasing new projects.”We met so many people from all over the world, and everyone was an expert in their own way. To be recognized and awarded out of such a talented group of people is very meaningful for a small resource-strapped startup like our own,” noted d’Antonio-Bertagnolli, who accompanied Alvarez. “This was such an incredible experience, from start to finish. The NJIT community really came together to support our team and our project, so I would have been happy as a finalist even if we didn’t win. But to come away with two awards, one to our company, and one to Tara, was just the icing on the cake.”Related StoriesStudy provides new insight into longitudinal decline in brain network integrity associated with agingNew network for children and youth with special health care needs seeks to improve systems of careNew therapy shows promise in preventing brain damage after traumatic brain injuryIndeed, the campus-based site of the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps program was an early supporter of the project and the team went on to win a $50,000 grant from the national program. Alvarez called I-Corps, along with the Center for Translation of Rehabilitation Engineering Advances and Technology, critical in teaching scientists how to become entrepreneurs and to “move science forward.””The Auggie Awards are a validation of the tremendous progress the team has made in melding skills from multiple disciplines – engineering, information technology, digital design – to address critical vision disorders using AR/VR technology,” noted Judith Sheft, associate vice president for technology development at NJIT and co-principal investigator of the campus-based I-Corps program, who has worked with the team to incorporate customer insights into its device and to develop a robust business model to deploy it.The team’s diagnostic machine integrates two devices – a functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) imaging machine and a video-based eye-tracking system – that together detect how changes in brain activity following an injury, including a mild concussion, correspond with changes in eye movements. Strapped to the head, the fNIRS machine uses light beams to measure blood oxygen levels – indicators of neural activity – in different regions of the brain. An ocular device Alvarez has created, known as a Vision and Neural Assessment Equipment system, measures eye movements and accommodation – the ability to see images clearly, which are promising biomarkers for neurological functions such as visual attention and memory.The goal is to create a portable medical device that can be carried to sports arenas to measure the severity of a brain injury on the spot, helping the coach and team doctor determine whether an athlete is at risk if sent back into the game. Repeated injuries exacerbate neurological problems down the road.”The visual neural circuit composes a lot of space in the brain, and is thus easily damaged by a concussion,” explained Alvarez. “In terms of cognitive load, if someone is expending significantly more energy acquiring visual information, then less energy is available for thinking.”Alvarez said she savored the “Woman Laureate” award, because it gave her the chance to thank her “most impactful teachers – my kids.””My son, Christian, has taught me the importance of play, and my daughter, Ari, has showed me how to be more compassionate towards others. These lessons are deeply integrated in the philosophy with which I lead my lab and the way John, Chang, Mitch and I lead our company, OculoMotor Technologies,” she said. Source:http://news.njit.edu/njit-team-takes-two-awards
If we are to take a stand against the continent’s deadliest cancer, we must address the insufficient research funding; that is where the European Union can lead the way. Whilst medical and scientific innovations have positively changed the prospects for many cancer patients, those diagnosed with pancreatic cancer have not been blessed with much clinically meaningful progress. To deliver earlier diagnoses and improved treatments we need to engage now in more basic as well as applied research to see real progress for our patients in the years to come.” Pancreatic cancer 9.30 9.72 +5% ‘Pancreatic Cancer Across Europe’, published by United European Gastroenterology (UEG) to coincide with World Pancreatic Cancer Day, examines the past and current state of pancreatic cancer care and treatment, as well as the future prospects, such as targeting the microbiome, for improving the prognosis for patients. Whilst lung, breast and colorectal cancer have seen significant reductions in death rates since 1990, deaths from pancreatic cancer continue to rise. Experts also believe that pancreatic cancer has now overtaken breast cancer as the third leading cause of death from cancer in the EU.% Change in Pancreatic Cancer Death Rates Across EU28 (1990-2016) Tracheal, bronchial and lung cancer 37.77 30.30 -20% Cancer Site 1990 Death Rate 2016 Death Rate % Change Between 1990 and 2016 Research looking at the impact of the microbiome on pancreatic cancer is a particularly exciting new area, as the pancreas was previously thought of as a sterile organ. Such research will also improve our understanding of the microenvironment in a metastatic setting and how the tumor responds to its environment. This will inform the metastatic behavior and ultimately alter disease progression.” Colorectal cancer 21.80 18.72 -14% Nov 15 2018Pancreatic cancer death rates in the European Union (EU) have increased by 5% between 1990 and 2016, a report launched today reveals. This is the highest increase in any of the EU’s top five cancer killers which, as well as pancreatic cancer, includes lung, colorectal, breast and prostate cancer. Prostate cancer 8.74 8.83 +1% Breast cancer 14.82 11.11 -25% Pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival of all cancers in Europe. Now responsible for over 95,000 EU deaths every year, the median survival time at the point of diagnosis is just 4.6 months, with patients losing 98% of their healthy life expectancy. Often referred to as ‘the silent killer’, symptoms can be hard to identify, thus making it difficult to diagnose the disease early which is essential for life-saving surgery.Despite the rise in death rates and dreadfully low survival rates, pancreatic cancer receives less than 2% of all cancer research funding in Europe. Markus Peck, UEG expert, explains: Microbiome – the key to turning the tide?Related StoriesResearchers use AI to develop early gastric cancer endoscopic diagnosis systemStudy: Nearly a quarter of low-risk thyroid cancer patients receive more treatment than necessaryStudy reveals link between inflammatory diet and colorectal cancer riskAfter forty years of limited progress in pancreatic cancer research, experts claim that new treatment options could finally be on the horizon as researchers investigate how changing the pancreas’ microbiome may help to slow tumour growth and enable the body to develop its own ‘defence mechanism’. The microbial population of a cancerous pancreas has been found to be approximately 1,000 times larger than that of a non-cancerous pancreas and research has shown that removing bacteria from the gut and pancreas slowed cancer growth and ‘reprogrammed’ immune cells to react against cancer cells.This development could lead to significant changes in clinical practice as removing bacterial species could improve the efficacy of chemotherapy or immunotherapy, offering hope that clinicians will finally be able to slow tumor growth, alter metastatic behavior and ultimately change the disease’s progression.Professor Thomas Seufferlein, pancreatic cancer expert, comments: Number of Pancreatic Cancer Deaths in EU (1990-2016) “With continued investment in pancreatic cancer research, we should have new, important findings within the next five years and, hopefully, find that targeting the microbiome as well as tumour cells will significantly improve treatment outcomes and reduce death rates”, adds Professor Seufferlein. Source:https://www.ueg.eu/press/releases/ueg-press-release/article/pancreatic-cancer-death-rates-rising-across-europe-report-reveals/?type=&cHash=5e2d058cdf0da6406f24f5ccb7bc744c
By Sally Robertson, B.Sc.Feb 7 2019Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)The UK’s chief medical officers are calling on parents to ensure that the time children spend on phones and tablets does not interfere with their sleep, exercise and education. aleks333 | ShutterstockThe officers have released guidelines advising on measures parents should take, including not letting children take their devices to bed or use them during mealtimes.The new recommendations follow a review by the Commons science and technology select committee, which assessed evidence on the impact screen-time has on children’s mental health and well-being.The review found that heavy use of social media was associated with a two-fold increase in risk for depressive symptoms.Of teenage girls who spent more than five hours a day on social media sites, 38.1% suffered from depressive symptoms, compared with 18.1% of those who spent three hours or less on the sites. Among teenage boys, the corresponding figures were 14.5% and 6.8%.The review also states that there is not yet sufficient evidence to make specific recommendations about the daily limits for screen time. However, the CMO guidelines advise taking a “precautionary approach” and limiting children to no more than two hours at a time on smartphones and similar devices.CMO Dame Sally Davies advises that children take a rest from using such devices every couple of hours, as well as being careful about sharing photographs and ensuring that they get enough sleep. She is also calling for digital technology companies to make more effort to enforce age limits and limit the “normalization” of bullying and self-harm.The new guidelines come as Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned social media providers: “clean up your act” – or face new laws enforcing compliance with duty of care. We do not yet have enough evidence to draw a definite causal link between amount of screen time use and mental health problems but it is clear that some of the content that young people are viewing online, such as pro-anorexia, suicide or self-harming content, can be incredibly harmful.”Dr. Bernadka Dubicka Technology is an unavoidable aspect of modern life and technology companies have a duty of care. They must make more effort to keep their users safe from harm, particularly children and young people.”Dame Sally Davis, Chief Medical Officer Davis also advises that parents talk to their children about the content they are viewing and to be on the lookout for changes in behavior.Families are encouraged to have “screen-free mealtimes” and parents to pay full attention to their children, away from smartphones and other electronic devices.“The chief medical officer is right to be cautious about how long children are spending looking at screens rather than talking to their friends or getting a good night’s sleep,” says Dr. Bernadka Dubicka from the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Source:United Kingdom Chief Medical Officers’ commentary on ‘Screen-based activities and children and young people’s mental health and psychosocial wellbeing: a systematic map of reviews.
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Mar 20 2019Women who develop diabetes in pregnancy but are not diagnosed are much more likely to experience stillbirth than women without the condition, according to new research.The study, led by the University of Leeds and the University of Manchester, found that the risk of stillbirth was over four-times higher in women who developed signs of gestational diabetes but were not diagnosed.However, with appropriate screening and diagnosis that increased risk of stillbirth disappeared.Funded by the charities Action Medical Research, Cure Kids, Sands and Tommy’s, the study compared the symptoms and care of 291 women who experienced a stillbirth to 733 similar women who did not experience a stillbirth across 41 maternity units in England.Researchers found that across all women with high blood sugar, measured after a period of fasting, they had on average twice the risk of stillbirth than women without the condition.The increased risk was likely to be caused by the missed diagnoses and lack of subsequent care experienced by many of the women, although the results show an association only, and cannot provide certainty about cause and effect.The new research was published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.Dr Tomasina Stacey, who led the study at the University of Leeds and now works at the University of Huddersfield, said: “There’s good news and there’s bad news. The good news is that women with gestational diabetes have no increase in stillbirth risk if national guidelines are followed for screening, diagnosis and management. The bad news is that the guidelines are not always followed and some women therefore experience avoidably higher risk.”According to recent figures, approximately 5% of women in the UK experience gestational diabetes during pregnancy.The National Institute for Care Excellence (NICE) recommends that all women at a higher risk of gestational diabetes should receive blood screening for the condition: this includes women with a raised body mass index (a BMI of over 30), or from South Asian or Black Caribbean ethnic groups.Only 74.3% of the participating women with a raised BMI and 74.7% of the participating women from South Asian or Black Caribbean ethnic groups received screening.On average, women at higher risk of gestational diabetes who were not screened according to the NICE guidelines also experienced higher risks of stillbirth.Co-author Professor Alexander Heazell, from the University of Manchester and Clinical Director of Tommy’s Stillbirth Research Centre, said: “It’s not clear why some women missed out on being screened or diagnosed for gestational diabetes, but this needs to be improved.”Gestational diabetes can cause serious complications in pregnancy. It’s important that we detect every woman with symptoms so she can receive the appropriate care and support.”Related StoriesMetformin use linked to lower risk of dementia in African Americans with type 2 diabetesNew biomaterial could encapsulate and protect implanted insulin-producing cellsDiabetes patients experiencing empathy from PCPs have beneficial long-term clinical outcomesIn 2015, the NICE raised the threshold for diagnosing gestational diabetes to a fasting plasma glucose concentration – where blood sugar is measured after fasting – of greater than 5.6mmol/L. In the United States the threshold is 5.1mmol/L, and there is considerable debate worldwide about the appropriate level for diagnosis.The present study found little evidence to support one threshold over another, instead finding that the risk of stillbirth increased steadily with increasing glucose concentration.Dr Stacey, who also works at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, added: “There’s no blood sugar level where the risk suddenly jumps. The choice of the right threshold for diagnosis is therefore more about pragmatism and finding the right balance of risk to resource, and avoiding over-medicalization. Our study shows that the current NICE guidelines can be effective, but only if they are followed.”According to recent figures from MBBRACE-UK, around four in every thousand pregnancies in the UK result in stillbirth.Commenting on the research, Mr Edward Morris, Vice President of Clinical Quality at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: “Women with gestational diabetes are more likely to have a stillbirth, but with adequate monitoring, care and treatment, this risk can be managed so that women can maximize their chances of having a healthy pregnancy and birth.”Maternity units should follow NICE clinical guidance to ensure women are diagnosed and supported to avoid complications and ensure the best possible outcomes.”The study is unique for separating the harmful biological effects of raised glucose from the benefits of diagnosis, which typically leads to better care and management of the condition.Co-author Dr Peter Tennant, from the University of Leeds and the Alan Turing Institute, explained why this is so important. He said: “There’s a lot of debate about the true impact of gestational diabetes, and whether it’s worth spending so much time and money on screening, diagnosis, and care for these mothers. But most women with diabetes currently receive good care, and this really seems to help.”Only when you look at women who aren’t appropriately screened or diagnosed, does the full impact of gestational diabetes become clear.”The research project came out of a Stillbirth Summit in 2011, and was created with the help of more than 550 parents and members of the public. It was designed by and for parents, to try to maximize the positive impact it could have on society. Source:https://www.leeds.ac.uk/
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Mar 21 2019FINDINGSResearchers from UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center have identified a possible new therapeutic strategy using two types of drug inhibitors at once to treat one of the world’s deadliest cancers. The combination approach uses one drug that inhibits the process — known as lysosome — that allows cancer cells to recycle essential nutrients to survive, and another drug that blocks the pathway used to repair DNA. Researchers found the approach to be promising after testing it on pancreatic cancer cells and mice in the laboratory.BACKGROUNDPancreatic cancer, which is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, is known to be highly resistant to treatments. The lack of effective treatments also suggests there is an inadequate understanding of the biologic complexity of the disease and the mechanisms to explain why this type of cancer often becomes resistant to therapies that work in treating other types of cancers.Related StoriesNew study to ease plight of patients with advanced cancerBacteria in the birth canal linked to lower risk of ovarian cancerHow cell-free DNA can be targeted to prevent spread of tumorsBecause of these limitations, researchers have sought to better understand how the cancer cell pathways work to help identify potential new targets for therapies. Pancreatic cancer cells rely on lysosome-dependent pathways, which are an essential component of autophagy, where cancer cells break down and recycle some of their own components for fuel. Understanding the underlying mechanism and impact of inhibiting this pathway can lead to new treatment strategies for the disease.METHODResearchers studied two sets of data to try to understand the mechanism of lysosome-dependent pathways. The team first took chloroquine, a readily available drug used to treat malaria, and combined it with more than 500 different inhibitors to screen for any unexplored interactions that could yield a “synergistic” effect. This occurs when the effects of two drugs combined together produce a more powerful response than if they were used alone. With this information, the team found a complementary inhibitor called replication stress response inhibitor. In the second set of data, the researchers measured metabolites — small molecules — in pancreatic tumor cells that were treated with chloroquine alone. They found the drug causes a reduction in aspartate, an important amino acid to synthesize nucleotides, the building blocks for DNA replication and repair.IMPACTThe study provides evidence that using chloroquine in combination with an inhibitor of the replication stress response pathway could be a new treatment to reduce tumor growth in pancreatic cancer patients and help improve the prognosis for people with the disease. The findings also stress the importance of learning how existing drugs work to repurpose them for potential use in treating other diseases. Source:http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/ucla-potential-new-combination-treatment-pancreatic-cancer
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Mar 21 2019Can artificial intelligence (AI) help us understand how the brain understands language? Can neuroscience help us understand why AI and neural networks are effective at predicting human perception?Research from Alexander Huth and Shailee Jain from The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) suggests both are possible.In a paper presented at the 2018 Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS), the scholars described the results of experiments that used artificial neural networks to predict with greater accuracy than ever before how different areas in the brain respond to specific words.”As words come into our heads, we form ideas of what someone is saying to us, and we want to understand how that comes to us inside the brain,” said Huth, assistant professor of Neuroscience and Computer Science at UT Austin. “It seems like there should be systems to it, but practically, that’s just not how language works. Like anything in biology, it’s very hard to reduce down to a simple set of equations.”The work employed a type of recurrent neural network called long short-term memory (LSTM) that includes in its calculations the relationships of each word to what came before to better preserve context.”If a word has multiple meanings, you infer the meaning of that word for that particular sentence depending on what was said earlier,” said Jain, a PhD student in Huth’s lab at UT Austin. “Our hypothesis is that this would lead to better predictions of brain activity because the brain cares about context.”It sounds obvious, but for decades neuroscience experiments considered the response of the brain to individual words without a sense of their connection to chains of words or sentences. (Huth describes the importance of doing “real-world neuroscience” in a March 2019 paper in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience.)In their work, the researchers ran experiments to test, and ultimately predict, how different areas in the brain would respond when listening to stories (specifically, the Moth Radio Hour). They used data collected from fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) machines that capture changes in the blood oxygenation level in the brain based on how active groups of neurons are. This serves as a correspondent for where language concepts are “represented” in the brain.Using powerful supercomputers at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC), they trained a language model using the LSTM method so it could effectively predict what word would come next – a task akin to Google auto-complete searches, which the human mind is particularly adept at.”In trying to predict the next word, this model has to implicitly learn all this other stuff about how language works,” said Huth, “like which words tend to follow other words, without ever actually accessing the brain or any data about the brain.”Based on both the language model and fMRI data, they trained a system that could predict how the brain would respond when it hears each word in a new story for the first time.Past efforts had shown that it is possible to localize language responses in the brain effectively. However, the new research showed that adding the contextual element – in this case up to 20 words that came before – improved brain activity predictions significantly. They found that their predictions improve even when the least amount of context was used. The more context provided, the better the accuracy of their predictions.”Our analysis showed that if the LSTM incorporates more words, then it gets better at predicting the next word,” said Jain, “which means that it must be including information from all the words in the past.”The research went further. It explored which parts of the brain were more sensitive to the amount of context included. They found, for instance, that concepts that seem to be localized to the auditory cortex were less dependent on context.”If you hear the word dog, this area doesn’t care what the 10 words were before that, it’s just going to respond to the sound of the word dog”, Huth explained.Related StoriesRepurposing a heart drug could increase survival rate of children with ependymomaWearing a hearing aid may mitigate dementia riskNeural pathways explain the relationship between imagination and willingness to helpOn the other hand, brain areas that deal with higher-level thinking were easier to pinpoint when more context was included. This supports theories of the mind and language comprehension.”There was a really nice correspondence between the hierarchy of the artificial network and the hierarchy of the brain, which we found interesting,” Huth said.Natural language processing — or NLP — has taken great strides in recent years. But when it comes to answering questions, having natural conversations, or analyzing the sentiments in written texts, NLP still has a long way to go. The researchers believe their LSTM-developed language model can help in these areas.The LSTM (and neural networks in general) works by assigning values in high-dimensional space to individual components (here, words) so that each component can be defined by its thousands of disparate relationships to many other things.The researchers trained the language model by feeding it tens of millions of words drawn from Reddit posts. Their system then made predictions for how thousands of voxels (three-dimensional pixels) in the brains of six subjects would respond to a second set of stories that neither the model nor the individuals had heard before. Because they were interested in the effects of context length and the effect of individual layers in the neural network, they essentially tested 60 different factors (20 lengths of context retention and three different layer dimensions) for each subject.All of this leads to computational problems of enormous scale, requiring massive amounts of computing power, memory, storage, and data retrieval. TACC’s resources were well suited to the problem. The researchers used the Maverick supercomputer, which contains both GPUs and CPUs for the computing tasks, and Corral, a storage and data management resource, to preserve and distribute the data. By parallelizing the problem across many processors, they were able to run the computational experiment in weeks rather than years.”To develop these models effectively, you need a lot of training data,” Huth said. “That means you have to pass through your entire dataset every time you want to update the weights. And that’s inherently very slow if you don’t use parallel resources like those at TACC.”If it sounds complex, well — it is.This is leading Huth and Jain to consider a more streamlined version of the system, where instead of developing a language prediction model and then applying it to the brain, they develop a model that directly predicts brain response. They call this an end-to-end system and it’s where Huth and Jain hope to go in their future research. Such a model would improve its performance directly on brain responses. A wrong prediction of brain activity would feedback into the model and spur improvements.”If this works, then it’s possible that this network could learn to read text or intake language similarly to how our brains do,” Huth said. “Imagine Google Translate, but it understands what you’re saying, instead of just learning a set of rules.”With such a system in place, Huth believes it is only a matter of time until a mind-reading system that can translate brain activity into language is feasible. In the meantime, they are gaining insights into both neuroscience and artificial intelligence from their experiments.”The brain is a very effective computation machine and the aim of artificial intelligence is to build machines that are really good at all the tasks a brain can do,” Jain said. “But, we don’t understand a lot about the brain. So, we try to use artificial intelligence to first question how the brain works, and then, based on the insights we gain through this method of interrogation, and through theoretical neuroscience, we use those results to develop better artificial Intelligence.”The idea is to understand cognitive systems, both biological and artificial, and to use them in tandem to understand and build better machines.”Source: https://www.tacc.utexas.edu/-/brain-inspired-ai-inspires-insights-about-the-brain-and-vice-versa-
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Mar 26 2019GPs will have a pivotal role in ensuring the success of the new Faster Diagnosis Standard (FDS) for Cancer, new research from the University of Surrey finds.In the first study of its kind, published today in the British Journal of General Practice and funded by Cancer Research UK, researchers investigated public attitudes towards the new FDS for Cancer. Scheduled to be introduced in England next year, this new standard will give patients a diagnosis or all-clear for cancer within 28 days of referral with suspected cancer.Conducting focus group sessions in Bradford and Guildford with participants who in the last six months had undergone diagnostic tests for cancer and received results, researchers identified a degree of scepticism amongst the groups about how the new standard would work. Many participants had experienced swift referrals for diagnostic testing but encountered a delay when receiving test results and were unsure about how the FDS would rectify this.Concern existed amongst participants that the FDS may ultimately extend waiting times and could become more of a ‘tick box’ exercise, with one participant noting:’So what happens is that as soon as 28 days appears anywhere that becomes the standard, rather than the last resort, so when suddenly you go, well we’ve got 28 days, we’ll give them a … we’ll get in touch with them in three weeks’ time […].’Participants also described a lack of transparency in the referral process and were apprehensive about getting lost in the system. This feeling was exacerbated by not knowing what to expect and/or being unable to draw upon past experiences due to inconsistency between one referral and the next.Related StoriesBacteria in the birth canal linked to lower risk of ovarian cancerCancer killing capability of lesser-known immune cells identifiedSpecial blood test may predict relapse risk for breast cancer patientsInterestingly, researchers found that participants valued reassurance and support from their GP as highly as a speedy referral. A feeling of being listened to by a GP was found to be important to participants when being referred for diagnostic tests.’Being listened to I think, so it’s being heard and my GP was fine, has really really been… it was really quick, it couldn’t have been quicker, but it was feeling… I suppose it’s being listened to and then almost like being believed.’Dr Katriina Whitaker, Reader in Cancer Care at the University of Surrey, said: “The new Faster Diagnosis Standard for Cancer is an important step in diagnosing cancer earlier and faster. However we have found that although patients value a speedy referral there are other factors that they regard as just as important.”Simple steps such as informing patients about the diagnostic testing and referral processes and about time scales will help patients better prepare, both physically and emotionally, for the next phase. This will ultimately fall to GPs, who will need clear guidance so they are able to support their patients.”Dr Jodie Moffat from Cancer Research UK said: “We need to redouble our efforts to reduce the late stage diagnosis of cancer, so that more people survive their disease. Reducing late stage diagnosis of cancer requires action on a range of fronts, and we all have a part to play. Ensuring there’s enough workforce in the system – whether that’s in primary care or in hospitals – is vital to achieving our early diagnosis ambitions.” Source:https://www.surrey.ac.uk/
Explore further Cryptocurrencies are a way for Africans to make payments online and abroad when banks or transfer companies won’t, or only for high fees “We were expecting scam allegations,” said Samuel-Biyi, referring to Nigeria’s unenviable reputation for online financial fraud. “But the world really accepted it.” On the surface, digital coins may not seem like a good idea in a country where corruption is rampant and stacks of hard cash are often smuggled overseas.Yet West Africa’s biggest economy has the world’s third-largest bitcoin holdings as a percentage of gross domestic (GDP), behind Russia and New Zealand, according to Citigroup.That may be because blockchain technology—public, online ledgers that underpin cryptocurrencies—is liberating Nigerians sidelined by the global financial system as it dramatically improves the ease of doing business.Olaoluwa Samuel-Biyi, a slight 27-year-old entrepreneur, looks the part of an aspiring corporate disrupter, dressed in skinny jeans with dishevelled hair.He first considered using cryptocurrency when credit card firms and other established payment providers refused to partner with his global remittance company, deeming the venture too risky.”They said the markets were too high risk and that people could finance terrorism,” he told AFP, laughing. “It’s ridiculous.”He realised that the only way he could solve the problem was to use cryptocurrency. “It’s so hard to send money from Nigeria to Zimbabwe, or from the United States to Sudan,” he explained. Banks were “very tedious” and payment companies “generally exploitative”, he said.”There’s heavy discrimination, definitely. We have to go all around them to succeed.” ‘Financial inclusion’Samuel-Biyi’s company, SureRemit, developed its own virtual token—a kind of custom cryptocurrency like bitcoin or one of the many alternatives such as ether.The tokens are used to buy vouchers, which may be used to purchase goods and pay bills at participating merchants anywhere in the world, cutting out cumbersome middlemen and eliminating fees. In January, SureRemit held its “initial coin offering” (ICO), a form of online crowdfunding where people purchase the tokens to be put in circulation for use in eight countries, mostly in Africa and the Middle East. The 500 million tokens, each worth two US cents, sold out in just two days and were snapped up by major cryptocurrency players, including South Korea’s Hashed, raising $7 million for the company. The difficulty of transferring money in sub-Saharan Africa has made cryptocurrencies attractive for Nigerians despite the volatility of bitcoin While bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have suffered precipitous falls in recent weeks, the units remain popular in Nigeria where they make it easier to do business. If the token system works, SureRemit stands to take a chunk of the world’s remittance market, which was worth $429 billion in 2016, according to the World Bank.It’s hardly surprising that SureRemit was conceived in Nigeria: remittance flows that year were worth $19 billion—more than four percent of GDP.Sub-Saharan Africa has some of the highest remittance costs in the world, with the most expensive fees seen within the continent. To send money from France to Mali incurs a five percent fee, a quarter of how much it costs to send from Nigeria to Mali. Such high fees have for years forced Nigerians to find alternative, sometimes risky, ways to transfer money. “I remember back in 2004, e-gold (a defunct digital currency) was the only option anyone in Nigeria had to make online payments,” said Tim Akinbo, the founder of Tanjalo, a Nigerian exchange where people can buy bitcoin with the local naira currency. “There are still African countries cut off from international commerce online. Bitcoin is technology that allows financial inclusion.” Naira volatilityThe depreciation of the naira, which has sunk to 305 against the US dollar from 169 in 2015, has made cryptocurrencies even more attractive—and the authorities are paying attention. Nigeria’s central bank governor Godwin Emefiele warned recently that “cryptocurrency or bitcoin is like a gamble”, though the Senate has launched an investigation into “the viability of bitcoin as a form of investment”. Stern warnings haven’t made an impact on trading, said Owenizi Odia, Nigeria spokesman for Luno, another cryptocurrency exchange operating in the country. “I think there’s an acknowledgement that this technology is the future, going beyond bricks and mortar to improve cost efficiency,” added Muyiwa Oni, an analyst at Stanbic IBTC Holdings in Lagos.”For now we’re still trying to distinguish who the main players will be.” Samuel-Biyi hopes to be one of them. “Whether or not the authorities call it gambling, Nigerians are just looking for any opportunity to get ahead of the curve,” he said. “It’s part of the hustle.” Central banker takes stab at bitcoin ‘bubble’ © 2018 AFP Citation: Nigerian cryptocurrency craze unfazed by bitcoin plunge (2018, February 7) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-02-nigerian-cryptocurrency-craze-unfazed-bitcoin.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.
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. While one federal agency is openly feuding with Tesla over a crash investigation, another one probing the same crash says the company is cooperating. Explore further © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. US investigating fatal Tesla crash in California Citation: Tesla feuds with one federal agency, cooperates with another (2018, April 13) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-04-tesla-feuds-federal-agency-cooperates.html The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says on Friday that it has no concerns with the electric car maker.But on Thursday the National Transportation Safety Board said it kicked Telsa out of a group investigating the crash because the company violated an agreement not to release information.Both agencies are investigating a March 23 crash of a Tesla Model X SUV on a California highway that killed the driver.They’re looking into the performance of Tesla’s semi-autonomous Autopilot driving system.The safety board determines the cause of crashes and makes recommendations to prevent them. The traffic safety administration can fine automakers and impose regulations.