BJP ally begins campaign in Assam against Citizenship Bill

first_imgThe Asom Gana Parishad, one of two allies of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in Assam, on Saturday began a mass signature campaign against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill of 2016 that seeks to grant citizenship to non-Muslims facing persecution in countries neighbouring India.Various parties and NGOs have been protesting against the Bill since the 16-member Joint Parliamentary Committee began its hearing in Assam and Meghalaya on Monday. While the Meghalaya government opposed the Bill, its Assam counterpart said it would wait for the Supreme Court-monitored exercise to update the National Register of Citizens to be over by June 30 before reacting. The BJP is a constituent of the government in both northeastern States. “We will organise the signature campaign across Assam till May 30. We are against the Bill that will threaten the existence of the indigenous peoples and will not hesitate to pull out of the government if the Bill is pushed through,” AGP president and Minister Atul Bora said.Saturday also saw the members of the North East Students’ Organisation, with representatives of the eight northeastern States, staging a protest against the Bill in Guwahati.last_img read more

Promising technology could improve detection diagnosis of fatal ovarian cancer

first_imgReviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Nov 14 2018Ovarian cancer claims the lives of more than 14,000 in the U.S. each year, ranking fifth among cancer deaths in women. A multidisciplinary team at Washington University in St. Louis has found an innovative way to use sound and light, or photoacoustic, imaging to diagnose ovarian tumors, which may lead to a promising new diagnostic imaging technique to improve current standard of care for patients with ovarian cancer.Quing Zhu, professor of biomedical engineering in the School of Engineering & Applied Science and of radiology, and a team of physicians and researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis recently conducted a pilot study using co-registered photoacoustic tomography with ultrasound to evaluate ovarian tumors on 16 patients at the School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Results of the study were recently published online in Radiology.”When ovarian cancer is detected at an early, localized stage — stage 1 or 2 — the five-year survival rate after surgery and chemotherapy is 70 to 90 percent, compared with 20 percent or less when it is diagnosed at later stages, 3 or 4,” said Zhu, a pioneer of combining ultrasound and near-infrared imaging modalities for cancer diagnosis and treatment assessment. “Clearly, early detection is critical, yet due the lack of effective screening tools only 20-25 percent of ovarian cancers are diagnosed early. If detected in later stages, the survival rate is very low.”In their approach, researchers use transvaginal ultrasound to obtain information about ovarian tumors, but ultrasound lacks accuracy in diagnosis of ovarian masses, Zhu said. Photoacoustic tomography, however, gives researchers a very detailed look at the tumor’s vasculature, or tumor angiogenesis, and blood oxygen saturation (sO2) by lighting up the tumor’s vasculature bed and allowing for more accurate diagnoses of ovarian masses seen by ultrasound.Both tumor angiogenesis and tumor sO2 are related to tumor growth, metabolism and therapeutic response. The Washington University team is the only team using co-registered photoacoustic imaging and ultrasound to diagnose ovarian cancer.In the pilot study, Zhu and her team created a sheath with optical fibers that wrap around a standard transvaginal ultrasound probe. The optical fibers are connected to a laser. Once the probe is inside the patient, Zhu turns the laser on, which shines through the vaginal muscle wall. With photoacoustic tomography, the light from the laser propagates, gets absorbed by the tumor and generates sound waves, revealing information about the tumor angiogenesis and sO2 inside the ultrasound-visible ovaries. A normal ovary contains a lot of collagen, Zhu said, but an ovary with invasive cancers has extensive blood vessels and lower sO2.The team used two biomarkers to characterize the ovaries: relative total hemoglobin concentration (rHbT), which is directly related to tumor angiogenesis, and mean oxygen saturation (sO2). In this pilot study, the team found that the rHbT was 1.9 times higher for invasive epithelial cancerous ovaries, which make up 90 percent of ovarian cancers, than for normal ovaries. The mean oxygen saturation of invasive epithelial cancers was 9.1 percent lower than normal and benign ovaries. All five invasive epithelial cancerous ovaries, including two stage 1 and 2 cancers, showed extensive rHbT distribution and lower sO2.Related StoriesStudy reveals link between inflammatory diet and colorectal cancer riskUsing machine learning algorithm to accurately diagnose breast cancerNew protein target for deadly ovarian cancer”Physicians are very excited about this because it might bring significant change into current clinical practice,” Zhu said. “It is very valuable to detect and diagnose ovarian cancers at early stages. It is also important to provide information and assurance to patients that there is no worry about their ovaries, instead of removing a patient’s ovaries. This technology can also be valuable to monitor high-risk patients who have increased risk of ovarian and breast cancers due to their genetic mutations. The current standard of care for these women is performing risk reduction surgeries to remove their ovaries at some point, which affects their quality of life and causes other health problems.””We are very fortunate to participate in this research endeavor headed by Dr. Zhu,” said Cary Siegel, MD, professor of radiology and chief of gastrointestinal/genitourinary radiology at the School of Medicine. “This photoacoustic imaging study has great potential to better identify ovarian cancers and may play a valuable role in screening high-risk patients and triaging patients for follow-up imaging or surgical excision.”Zhu credits her physician collaborators, including Siegel; Matthew Powell, MD, associate professor and chief of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology; Ian Hagemann, MD, PhD, assistant professor of pathology & immunology; David Mutch, MD, the Ira C. and Judith Gall Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology; the radiology team and the entire gynecology group, as well as her doctoral students Sreyankar Nandy, Atahar Mostafa and Eghbal Amidi, who worked on instrumentation, control software and data processing.”I really appreciated this as a group effort to bring the study to this point,” Zhu said. “This technology may provide a means to improve early ovarian cancer detection, help avoid surgery in most patients with a normal or benign ovary, substantially reduce medical costs, and improve women’s quality of life. We look forward to bringing this study to the next level.”These initial results will need to be validated with more patients, Zhu said, and the team is applying for funding to conduct a large clinical trial.Source: https://source.wustl.edu/2018/11/hopeful-technology-could-change-detection-diagnosis-of-deadly-ovarian-cancer/last_img read more

Free health check up ignored by more than half of the population

first_imgDoctor measuring blood pressure with sphygmomanometer. Image Credit: Kurhan / Shutterstock The free health tests included screening for dementia, heart diseases, kidney ailments and type 2 diabetes. The NHS said that over 15 million people were eligible to take the tests while only a minority took them. Since 2013, only 7.15 million individuals have taken these tests.  Experts have added that the tests would be just 20 minutes long but help detect many conditions and save lives. A GP or a nurse would check the body weight and height and measure the blood pressure as part of the test. Irregular heartbeats, risks for strokes can all be identified with the test. Strokes and risks of vascular dementias could also be assessed say experts.They explain that dementia and Alzheimer’s kills thousands each year in England and Wales. These tests could help diagnose the conditions early. Alistair Burns, national clinical director for dementia at NHS England says, “The start of a new year is exactly the right time to commit to taking a simple, free and potentially life-saving step towards a healthier life.”Related StoriesHealthy lifestyle lowers dementia risk despite genetic predispositionResearch team to create new technology for tackling concussionArtificial intelligence can help accurately predict acute kidney injury in burn patientsThese health check-ups are offered to all individuals aged between 40 and 74 with no pre-existing health conditions. They are provided every five years. Laura Phipps, head of communications at Alzheimer’s Research UK says, “There is good evidence to suggest that what’s good for the heart is also good for the brain, but while 77% people believe they can reduce their risk of heart disease, only 34% of people know they can reduce their risk of dementia… Research shows that midlife is a crucial time to take action that will help maintain a healthy brain into later life. With dementia now the UK’s leading cause of death, we must encourage everyone to take positive steps to maintain good brain health throughout life and into older age.”These five yearly checks are part of the NHS’ effort to diagnose dementia early among the population of England. The organization is trying to ensure that least two thirds of the people with dementia are diagnosed and treated early.The programme at the Public Health England is led by Jamie Waterall who said, “The NHS health check looks at the top causes of premature death and ill health but more importantly supports people to take action of reducing their risk of preventable conditions such as dementia and heart disease.”The test is followed by advice on improving health and lifestyle that includes having a healthy balanced diet, regular exercise, quitting smoking, taking medications to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, losing excess body weight etc. By Dr. Ananya Mandal, MDJan 1 2019The NHS England provided a free health check up to the population over forty years of age and has noted that more than half of them did not take the health check-ups that could detect and treat dementias and other conditions.last_img read more

Dog walking increases risk of bone fractures in older adults

first_imgDog walking has a number of physical and emotional benefits, and many older people regularly walk dogs to stay active and enjoy the company of their pets. However, the number of older people needing medical treatment for injuries associated with walking dogs has seen a significant increase, up from 1,700 in 2014 to 4,400 in 2017, approximately.A retrospective, cross-sectional analysis formed the basis of the study, with information taken from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System database of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, which provides anonymous data on product- and activity-related injuries available to the public. It includes around 100 US hospital emergency departments.The team reviewed 1033 fracture cases occurring between 2004 and 2017 in patients of 65 years or older. Their review discovered a sex disparity in injury burden, with women suffering the most fracture cases, urging that older women be made “aware of the risk” of dog ownership.Hip fractures were the most common injury sustained, with the upper extremity being the most frequently injured region, including wrist, upper arm, finger, and shoulder fractures. Out of all patients, 28.7 percent required hospital treatment.Mortality rates related to hip fractures in patients over 65 almost reach 30%. This is due to hip fractures leading to sudden, significant changes in lifestyle, such as decreased activity levels and mobility.The publication acknowledged some limitations to the study, stating, “our findings likely underestimate the morbidity associated with elderly Americans walking leashed dogs.”The study, which is believed to be the first of its kind, only investigated reported fracture cases, and cases from people who visited an emergency room. Other injuries, such as tendon and muscle damage, and patients who did not wish to follow up other types of care were not included in the study.Details like the size of the dogs and whether operative interventions were needed were also not included in the investigation.The study, which was published in JAMA Surgery on March 6th 2019, does not intend to deter older people from staying active by walking dogs. Instead, it aims to draw “attention to an activity that can result in significant injury.”It goes on to say that for “older adults – especially those living alone and with decreased bone mineral density – the risks associated with walking leashed dogs merit consideration.” By Lois Zoppi, BAMar 8 2019Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Older Americans who stay active by dog walking are more likely to fracture a bone than their peers, according to a new study by Penn Medicine researchers. Everyday actions mean everyday consequences. […] While it is important for medicine to sometimes focus on the rarer but devastating conditions such as cancer and heart attacks, we also have to remember that understanding and improving the little things in life can have a dramatic, positive effect.”Jaimo Ahn, MD, Ph.D., Senior Author Discussing their findings, authors of the study wrote that clinicians could help minimize risk of fractures in older people by “advocating for preventative actions, such as obedience training […] or suggesting smaller dog breeds”. Source:Fractures in Elderly Americans Associated With Walking Leashed Dogs. JAMA Surgery. 2019.last_img read more

Study Involvement of prefrontal cortex areas decreases with aging

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Apr 26 2019Researchers from HSE University and York University have become the first to analyze the results of 82 functional neuroimaging studies on working memory mechanisms in different adult age groups. The meta-analyses showed that across studies the agreement of various areas of the prefrontal cortex decreases with aging, suggesting reorganization of brain function during healthy aging. The results have been published in the paper ‘Meta-analyses of the n-back working memory task: fMRI evidence of age-related changes in prefrontal cortex involvement across the adult lifespan’: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2019.03.074Working memory is a system that helps keep information readily available as we use it for performing tasks here and now, including complex intellectual operations such as learning, understanding and reasoning. For example, we use this type of memory to detect and remember the most important things in another person’s speech and then give that person a meaningful answer. The resources of working memory are limited, and with age, its size changes.Marie Arsalidou, Zachary Yaple, and Dale Stevens analyzed data on brain activity in 2020 adults, divided into three age groups: young (18-35), middle-aged (35-55), and older adults (55-85). In all the studies, research volunteers played a game called the ‘n-back task’: they were asked to detect and respond whether they had seen the image demonstrated at the moment, ‘n’ positions back. The complexity of the task depends on the value of ‘n’. During an experiment, each study monitored the brain areas that are activated using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).Meta-analysis demonstrated that the involvement of prefrontal cortex areas and their coordination during a task showed increased agreement across studies in young people, lower agreement in middle-aged adults, and no significant agreement in older adults. Lack of agreement in older adults suggests increased variability and individual differences in this group. With older age, parietal regions of the cortex are activated more often, which might be a sign of functional re-organization of working memory mechanisms or of these regions’ compensatory function.Related StoriesAn active brain and body associated with reduced risk of dementiaWearing a hearing aid may mitigate dementia riskStudy provides new insight into longitudinal decline in brain network integrity associated with agingThe prefrontal cortex plays a key role in complicated intellectual processes, including the coordination of different brain areas that are activated during the use of working memory.’Brain changes throughout adulthood, and it appears to be more dynamic that we initially thought. Because the original studies did not consistently report performance scores, we analyzed brain responses with the assumption that working memory performance was comparable. Therefore, we cannot say from our study that working memory skills decrease with age. What we can say is that variability in prefrontal cortex activity may suggest differences in strategies used to problem solve across adulthood. This gives a good target for future work to decipher direct relations among age, brain function and performance’ believes one of the study’s authors, Marie Arsalidou, Assistant Professor at the HSE School of Psychology.The results of this study are comparable with the conclusions of the previous meta-analysis of working memory mechanisms in children, which was carried out by Marie Arsalidou together with HSE researcher Zachary Yaple: during n-back task performance, not only prefrontal and parietal cortex regions are activated in children, but also other brain areas. Further research in this area will help us understand how working memory mechanisms change during development in humans. Source:https://iq.hse.ru/en/news/266810949.htmllast_img read more

Uncovering the secrets of the human bodys perception of touch

More information: Masashi Nakatani et al. TECHTILE Workshop for Creating Haptic Content, Pervasive Haptics (2016). DOI: 10.1007/978-4-431-55772-2_12 Masashi Nakatani et al. Softness sensor system for simultaneously measuring the mechanical properties of superficial skin layer and whole skin, Skin Research and Technology (2012). DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0846.2012.00648.x Srdjan Maksimovic et al. Epidermal Merkel cells are mechanosensory cells that tune mammalian touch receptors, Nature (2014). DOI: 10.1038/nature13250 Journal information: Nature Nakatani and colleagues invented the TECHTILE toolkit to promote people to appreciate the sense of touch. “I think that modern haptic devices must provide greater value for us to enjoy our daily lives,” says Nakatani. One of Nakatani’s students, Kazuki Sakurada, has developed a smartphone-based haptic chat system with audio-vibrotactile feedback to provide a sense of presence of others during text conversations. “This study may yield clues about the importance of somatic feedback in emotional attachment with other people (Fig. 2),” says Nakatani. “In the long term, I would like to enhance human abilities to extract valuable knowledge from overwhelming, excessive information in the environment.” Now, Nakatani is concentrating on developmental psychology in infants, a topic that was triggered by a chance meeting with an educator developing parenting classes for children from 0 to 6 years old, who wanted to use state-of-the-art media technology that included haptics. “This sounded like a very cool concept and I decided to collaborate to develop a parenting service for children,” explains Nakatani. “I’m studying how infants explore and ‘feel their world’ using their vision and touch before they have even acquired language skills. They are collecting information needed to survive.” Underscoring concerns about the effects of modern technology on children’s behavior, Nakatani is analyzing how current technologies such as smartphones and tablet PCs affect their visual and haptic exploratory behavior. “My working hypothesis is that some kids have less opportunities to explore with touch modality because of exposure to massive amounts of information and communications via visual modality, so that they explore environments less manually and actively,” explains Nakatani. The Keio SFC campus is also conducive for interdisciplinary research, an important factor for Nakatani to be able to pursue his studies on haptics and other research field. “I am working with a music-neuroscientist, Dr. Shinya Fujii, on the relationship between auditory and haptic feedback on subjective frisson, that is the ‘feeling of being chilled and touched’,” says Nakatani. “One of my goals is to clarify how body perception helps us acquire cognitive skills that are unique to human beings, particularly in the modern information age” (Fig.1). Provided by Keio University Scientific research has yielded deep understanding on the human senses of sight, hearing, smell, and taste. But knowledge about bodily perceptions of the sense of touch is still limited. For example, during a handshake, who is shaking whose hand? The answer to this question is just one of the multifaceted aspects of touch being studied by ‘haptics scientist’ Masashi Nakatani. “I am intrigued by human somatosensory (touch and body) perception and its utilization for positive psychological and cognitive effects in our daily lives,” says Nakatani, who commenced his research on the Shonan Fujisawa Campus (SFC), Keio University, in April 2017. “I started studying touch modality 16 years ago as an undergraduate. My doctorate was about human tactile perception for developing tactile displays that can provide information through the skin surface.” After his doctorate, Nakatani investigated touch receptors embedded in the skin in a dermatology laboratory and also worked in industry on developing tactile sensors for evaluating cosmetics. Controlling core switching in Pac-man disks Explore further Figure 2: Smartphone-based haptic text-based chat system with audio-vibrotactile feedback for sense of presence. Credit: Kazuki Sakurada, SFC TOUCH LAB Figure 1: Children from 0 to 6 years old explore their environments to collect information necessary for their survival. Credit: ISETAN SHINJUKU Citation: Uncovering the secrets of the human body’s perception of touch (2018, March 8) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-uncovering-secrets-human-body-perception.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. read more

Can FraudBuster help insurers use big data to combat fraud

FraudBuster is a new data-driven approach designed to help insurers in high fraud rate markets, such as the automobile insurance market, proactively identify risk and reduce fraud. The unique design and deployment of FraudBuster is described in an article in Big Data. Citation: Can FraudBuster help insurers use big data to combat fraud? (2018, April 16) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-04-fraudbuster-big-combat-fraud.html More information: Saurabh Nagrecha et al, FraudBuster: Reducing Fraud in an Auto Insurance Market, Big Data (2018). DOI: 10.1089/big.2017.0083 Explore further Credit: Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers Pain of rejection makes us more likely to commit fraud Provided by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc The Special Issue on Profit-Driven Analytics was led by Guest Editors Bart Baesens (KU Leuven, Belgium), Wouter Verbeke (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium), and Cristián Bravo (University of Southampton, U.K.).In the article entitled “FraudBuster: Reducing Fraud in an Auto Insurance Market,” Saurabh Nagrecha, Reid Johnson and Nitesh Chawla, University of Notre Dame, IN, described how their novel approach focused on proactively predicting bad risks at the underwriting stage, rather than waiting until a claim is filed to identify fraud. The authors showed that while FraudBuster cannot predict which drivers are likely to get into an accident and commit fraud, it can help identify drivers that are unprofitable and are likely to be fraudulent risks.The special issue also features the article “A Literature Survey and Experimental Evaluation of the State-of-the-Art in Uplift Modeling; A Stepping Stone Toward the Development of Prescriptive Analytics,” by Floris Devriendt and Wouter Verbeke, Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Darie Moldovan, Babe?-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania. In this article the researchers provide an extensive comparative overview of the different approaches to uplift modeling. They perform an experimental evaluation of four real-world data sets to demonstrate the advantages and limitations of different uplift models, which are used to estimate the effect of a strategy, such as a direct marketing campaign, on the outcome based on identified control variables. 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. read more

Rajinikanth not to contest TN Assembly bypoll

first_img SHARE SHARE EMAIL The actor is yet to launch his political outfit, though on December 31, 2017, he had announced that his political entry was sure to fructify. Top film star Rajinikanth on Sunday said he would not contest the bypoll expected to the Tamil Nadu Assembly, nearly a month after declaring that his target was only the Assembly election.While bypolls are expected to 21 Assembly constituencies in the state, Rajinikanth, when asked if he would fight the bypoll since he had declared the Assembly polls to be his only target, tersely said, “No.” The actor is yet to launch his political outfit, though on December 31, 2017, he had announced that his political entry was sure to fructify.To questions like which party he would support (in the bypolls), Rajinikanth told reporters at the airport here, “Sorry, I cannot say anything now.” Asked whether he had meant a national or a regional party when he had mentioned last month that only that party should be supported which would resolve the “water problem” of Tamil Nadu, he said, “Both.” On February 17, Rajinikanth had said “water is Tamil Nadu’s important problem” and asked his fans and people to vote for a party whom they thought would permanently resolve the issue by formulating and implementing projects.The jargon “water problem” is perceived as a reference to water scarcity in parts of the state and the vexed Cauvery issue as well.Rajinikanth had strongly pledged his support for interlinking rivers on more than one occasion in the past.The top actor had also said last month that he would not contest the upcoming Lok Sabha election.“Our target is only the Assembly polls. I am not supporting anyone,” he had said and barred anyone from using his images or the flag of the Rajini Makkal Mandram for political purposes. politics Published on Actor Rajinikanth.   –  The Hindu Tamil Nadu March 10, 2019 SHARE COMMENT COMMENTSlast_img read more

Disruption by Congress in RS continues House adjourned till 2 pmDisruption by

first_img COMMENT July 09, 2019 Uproar by opposition Congress over developments in Karnataka stalled pre-noon proceedings in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, with practically no business conducted in the House. As the protest by Congress members continued, the House was again adjourned till 2 PM. Within minutes of Assembly of the House, Congress members stormed into the well shouting slogans against the ruling BJP at the Centre, which it has blamed for instigating a rebellion within the Congress-JD-S government in Karnataka. Congress members were shouting slogans to imply that democracy was being killed in reference to developments in Karnataka. TMC members too trooped into the well against privatisation of public sector units, forcing Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu to adjourn proceedings till 1200 hours. When the House re-assembled at noon to take up the Question Hour, there were almost similar scenes with slogan shouting Congress and TMC members trooping in the Well. Deputy Chairman Harivansh, who was chairing the proceedings, made repeated efforts to persuade protesting members to return to their seats so that the Question Hour could be conducted. However, his appeals went unheeded and the House was adjourned till 2 pm. Before adjourning the House till 2 pm, he told protesting Congress members that the Chairman had allowed them to raise the Karnataka issue during the Zero Hour, but it was not availed. The year-old Congress-Janata Dal (S) coalition government in Karnataka is on the brink of collapse after a spate of resignations by MLAs. The Karnataka Assembly has 225 members, including one nominated MLA. The halfway mark in the 225-member Assembly is 113. Earlier during the Zero Hour, Naidu said he has received a notice under rule 267 from Congress member B K Hariprasad, seeking suspension of the listed business to take up the Karnataka issue. “I am not allowing it,” he said, prompting Congress members to rush to the well shouting slogans. Naidu also said he has received a notice under rule 267 from Dola Singh of TMC but it cannot be allowed as the same had been raised through a Zero Hour mention on June 21, the first day of the session. Karnataka crisis triggered by Rahul’s exit, claims Rajnath Singh SHARE SHARE EMAIL Published on Karnatakacenter_img SHARE politics RELATED Rajya Sabha COMMENTSlast_img read more