San Francisco, California – Reported by Elite Traveler, the Private Jet Lifestyle MagazineCalifornia-based airline Virgin America has launched its newest Mexican routes with nonstop flights now traveling between Cancun International Airport and both Los Angeles International Airport and San Francisco International Airport.To celebrate the maiden voyage of the new nonstop Mexican flights, Virgin America paired with VH1 to host the first “mile-high” episode of the network’s “Top 20 Video Countdown.” Host Jim Shearer sat down with Grammy-nominated band Goo Goo Dolls during a special “Countdown to Cancun” episode, filmed at 35,000 feet while flying from LAX to CUN. Virgin America also announced plans to christen one of its new aircraft “Air VH1” later this year.“As an airline known for bringing some fun back to flying, it is only fitting we’re teaming up with VH1 to kick off our Cancun route in high style,” said Virgin America President and CEO David Cush. “We think flyers deserve to start their Mexican getaways as soon as they board their flight—and with the best in entertainment, beautiful cabins and outstanding service, we think travelers will agree that Virgin America is the perfect way to jump-start their Mexican vacation a few hours early.”“We’re excited to welcome Virgin America to the hottest spot in the Mexican Caribbean. Virgin America is offering an exceptional new, low-fare airline option for travelers headed to Cancun’s world-class resorts, beaches and attractions. We welcome Virgin American travelers to come and experience all that Cancun and the treasures of the Caribbean have to offer,” added Jesus Almaguer, Director of the Cancun Convention and Visitors Bureau.And to truly launch the new route with a bang, Virgin America and VH1 partnered with the luxurious Live Aqua resort to offer the ultimate Cancun getaway for three lucky VIPs: Prizewinners will receive roundtrip flights care of Virgin America and a spectacular three-day stay for two at Live Aqua. Enter online at www.countdowntocancun.com.Visit www.virginamerica.com.
Content delivery network specialist Akamai Technologies and Verimatrix have launched an alliance that integrates Akamai’s Sola Media Solutions’ viewer-enhancing client technologies into components of the Verimatrix Video Content Authority System (VCAS). The solution combines multi-network revenue security from Verimatrix with Akamai’s delivery acceleration and audience analytics technologies.“By aligning Akamai’s Sola Media Solutions’ capabilities with the Verimatrix VCAS offerings, we intend to add value for our customers by giving them greater visibility of, and control over, the performance of their premium video services,” said Troy Snyder, vice-president, business development, Akamai. “Working together with Verimatrix allows our two companies to better address the broader marketplace for multi-network digital TV services. The integration of VCAS stream security with Sola Media Solutions is expected to enable our customers to provide a high quality, and highly secure, viewing experience for their subscribers.”Separately, Verimatrix has partnered with TV software company Access to launch what the companies claim to be the first ‘studio confident’ media sharing solution. The solution features the integration of Verimatrix ViewRight security with the Access NetFront Living Connect DLNA Technology Component.
courtevidencePSNI FOYLESMILE….YOU ARE ON POLICE BODY CAMERA AND VIDEO! THIS is the PSNI’S new evidence-gathering ‘toy’.Officers in PSNI Foyle are among those who have been trained in use of the new equipment.A spokesperson said: “Local officers have been trained in the use of Body Worn Video, which they will be using to gather evidence. ShareTweet “It is fully auditable, transparent and will only be used when appropriate, proportionate and justifiable.“We hope it will help our local communities stay safe and will show an accurate account of not only the actions of members of the public who are involved in incidents but that of our officers too.”SMILE….YOU ARE ON POLICE BODY CAMERA AND VIDEO! was last modified: September 1st, 2016 by John2John2 Tags:
In This Issue.*Currencies attempt to recover. *10-year Treasury recovers. *Canada’s jobs data is strong! *$136 Billion more stimulus for Japan.And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts!Fundamentals Return!Good day. And a Marvelous Monday to you! The first Monday of the year! The NFL playoffs this past weekend didn’t exactly have me riveted to my seat, as the games weren’t very exciting. (except if your team won!) The NHL has decided to salvage ½ of their season, and will begin games soon. I’ve complained about the lack of hockey this winter, so, this was welcomed news to hear. And so it goes for the first weekend of 2013.On Friday morning, I told you about the dollar rally that was kicked off by a stupid statement in the FOMC meeting minutes about ending Quantitative Easing (QE) in 2013. Recall that I said it was stupid for the markets to have reacted they way they did, for the FOMC didn’t say “when in 2013!” they could continue with QE until 12/31 and it would still be 2013! And I think that calmer heads began to pop up and prevail on Friday, as the ugliness of the morning, didn’t last all day. Friday’s, end of day, price action in the currencies and metals wasn’t good, but at least it wasn’t as bad as earlier in the day!You can watch the 10-year Treasury most of the time to get the pulse on what the Fed is up to. On Friday morning I told you that the 10-yr Treasury yield had risen to 1.96%… A little later that morning, I was talking to the Big Boss, Frank Trotter, and I said, “you watch, I think the Fed will be in to buy, for they can’t have the 10-year’ yield breaking through 2%”. And guess what? Or better yet, guess where the 10-year yield is this morning? Back down to 1.90%… So. Friday’s claims by some pundits that the rise in yields would remove the need to own risk assets, turned out to be exactly what I thought, and said it would be. a lot of nothing! Could it still occur? Sure it could. But not in my opinion. not now. Shoot Rudy, I don’t think I have to remind you all that The Fed has said they will leave interest rates near zero for a long time still, The Fed is still buying $85 Billion in bonds to stimulate the economy and keep interest rates down for a reason. The economy is walking on eggshells.OK. speaking of economies. Ty Keough sent me some data that I thought was very good at illustrating a point that I’ve been making. and that is the relative calm that is spreading in the Eurozone. For instance. did you know that Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain all reported current account surpluses in late 2012. To me, I see nothing but more relative calm from news like this. The head of Economic research at UBS told CNBC that “The euro breakup call has been proved entirely wrong. The economy is recovering. European imbalances have been reduced massively, half of the GDP of Europe is now in countries which are able to stabilize their debt-to-GDP ratio.”Does this mean the euro or Eurozone are out of the woods? Hardly! It just means that things are looking up and for once the light at the end of the tunnel for the Eurozone isn’t an oncoming train!The Jobs Jamboree on Friday turned out to be OK. not great, just OK. and I guess that’s better than a negative report. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) said that 154,000 jobs were created in December (152K was forecast).. The Unemployment rate ticked higher though to 7.8% (from 7.7%). So. the report was OK. nothing more, nothing less. certainly not the stuff that strong economies drive. And with the Fed’s new “tying of interest rates to the unemployment rate” tells us that interest rates aren’t going anywhere for now!So, the winners and losers from Friday though the overnight trading last night, are wide spread. and I was telling a dealer friend on Friday, that I’ve been writing about the divergence that’s returning to the markets. Which means the Risk On, Risk Off Days of explaining what’s going on are ending. Because you may have days when the Aussie dollar (A$) rallies and the euro or yen get sold. Or days when stocks go up but currencies go down, or days when Gold gets sold but Oil and the euro rally. So. once again, we’ll get back to fundamentals for valuations. I LOVE IT! We’re not “all-in” on this yet, so there will be days that we revert, but for the most part, fundamentals are returning. YAHOO!For instance. this morning, the euro has lost about 1/4-cent, but the A$ is stronger, and the Canadian dollar / loonie is stronger on news that Canadian employment jumped by 39,000 in December (only 5,000 was expected) with the unemployment rate falling to 7.1% from 7.2%… And the “real good news” is that the Average Hourly Wages for full-time workers were 2.5% higher than in 2011. Now that’s the kind of news that screams strong fundamentals, and that a currency should be rewarded. and so it was!The A$ is rallying on the news that the price of Iron ore is rallying to the highest level since October 2011! This is just another illustration of what I’ve been telling you about the Chinese economy. The Chinese economy is recovering and with that is their renewed demand in raw materials. if the demand for iron ore wasn’t strong, the price wouldn’t be hitting its highest level in over a year!So, see. it’s much easier to explain why a currency is going up or down in a day when their movements are tied to fundamentals, and not if the markets’ think it’s a Risk On or Risk Off Day!China and Brazil have renewed their currency swap agreement, which allows them to remove dollars from the terms of transactions between the two countries. So, Brazil can sell oil to China without having to use U.S. dollars to settle the transaction. The first time I read about these currency swap agreements I saw them for what they truly were. and told you! These agreements are to lessen the role of the dollar. China has signed these agreements with a medium list of countries, and continues to look for more countries that no longer want to be saddled with depreciating dollars in their reserves! Australia and Japan signed last year. And there are still rumors of the Arab countries signing an agreement with China. Should that happen, then the dollar’s relevancy in the world will have taken a HUGE blow!OK.. so there I was on Sunday morning, sipping some coffee, and taking my last bite of the scrumptious egg casserole I had prepared that morning, when a story in my local paper’s business section caught my eye… The title of this story was: For Peace Of Mind, Spread The Risk… OK! now I’m interested to see what this is all about… but, as I suspected before I read one word of the story, not one investment adviser that was interviewed about how they would, in their minds, diversify investors’ portfolios, talked about currencies… or Gold/ Silver / Platinum… Only one, even mentioned in passing that an investor might want to allocate some money to commodities… of course, he didn’t say which ones… This is the battle that I have fought for a long time now.. The battle to make investment advisers accept currencies and precious metals as asset classes that should be used when properly diversifying an investment portfolio.. Why do these investment advisers refuse to include these two asset classes? Because they don’t: 1. understand them 2. takes away from their mutual fund commissions 3. their brokerage doesn’t allow these asset classes in accounts… So, if they have to do all this work to get their accounts properly diversified… forgetaboutit! And so…. I’m out here, by my lonesome, battling to get investment advisers to understand that there’s more to diversification than stocks, bonds, and mutual funds! And it looks as though I’ve got a tough row to hoe, given this story in my local paper… UGH!Did you see what St. Louis Fed President, James Bullard said on CNBC last Friday? When it was stated that “it is easy for you to say, you have a lot of dollars to spend; you get to print them” Bullard replied, “Ahhh- indeed we do”. the Fed Heads have been out in force since the printing of the FOMC meeting minutes that caused the big hub-bub in the markets on Friday. The Fed Heads are making certain that the markets know that the Fed Heads believe that the economy is weak and in need of QE!And then we have the Japanese doing everything they’ve already not done, to weaken the yen, inject inflation, and revive the economy. They’ve played this game for almost 2 decades now. The latest is a demand by new Japanese PM, Abe, to inflate the economy, and he will introduce a $136 Billion stimulus. I’m shaking my head in disgust. but. weaken the yen, he will get his wish, soon enough.Then There Was This. the story I found on Bloomberg plays well with the thoughts I have for the euro and the Eurozone. So. here you go! “Futures traders reversed bets that the euro will decline against the dollar, wagering for the first time since August 2011 that the shared currency will gain, figures from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission show.The difference in the number of wagers by hedge funds and other large speculators on an advance in the euro compared with those on a drop, so-called net longs, was 5,126 on Jan. 1, compared with net shorts of 2,549 a week earlier. The figures reflect holdings in currency-futures contracts at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange as of Tuesday.The euro halted a two-year losing streak versus the greenback in 2012 as European Central Bank President Mario Draghi’s commitment to backstop the shared currency stymied the debt-contagion threat. The shared currency rose 1.8 percent in 2012, after sliding almost 10 percent during the prior two years, aided by a 2.6 percent gain in the fourth quarter.To recap. The currency & metals selloff on Friday morning, pared back a bit as the day went on, and the 10-year Treasury yield gained back to 1.90% (it had been as high as 1.96%) The risk assets continue to move away from the Risk On / Risk Off trading and back to fundamentals. The Jobs Jamboree in the U.S. was just OK. Canada’s job data was very strong, and Japan is going to announce a $136 Billion stimulus.Currencies today 1/7/13. American Style: A$ $1.05, kiwi .8355, C$ $1.0135, euro 1.3035, sterling 1.6065, Swiss $1.0785, .. European Style : rand 8.6065, krone 5.6075, SEK 6.53, forint 223.85, zloty 3.1610, koruna 19.5795, RUB 30.41, yen 87.75, sing 1.2295, HKD 7.7510, INR 55.22, China 6.2295, pesos 12.74, BRL 2.03, Dollar Index 80.59, Oil $92.72, 10-year 1.90%, Silver $30.23, and Gold. $1.656.30That’s it for today. Well. 625 NHL games were cancelled but at least the remainder of the season will get played. I received a few notes on our Sunday Pfennig & Pfriends video, that the “link didn’t work”. Make certain you are viewing the whole email, and have accepted downloads and pictures, when you do, you’ll see a video box with Frank, Chris and Chuck. Hope that helps. Last Friday, I was remiss in not mentioning that it was my dad’s birthday. He’s been gone since 1995, but not forgotten. He would have been 88 this year. Next week I’ll be on hiatus in S. Florida for the week. Chris and Mike will have the conn on the Pfennig, as I get away from the cold weather for a few days! And I hope your weekend was grand. Thanks for reading the Pfennig, now go out and make this a Marvelous Monday!Chuck Butler President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 1-314-647-3837
Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Circular.About Tristram Stuart’s TED TalkOur industrial food system is doing serious damage to our planet and food waste is a rampant problem. Tristram Stuart offers one strategy to combat food waste: cook scraps and feed them to livestock.About Tristram StuartTristram Stuart is an environmental activist working to combat food waste. He is the founder of Feedback, a charity that works to improve the environmental impact of food around the world. Also, in 2016, he founded Toast Ale, a company that brews beer from leftover bread.Stuart is the author of The Bloodless Revolution, and Waste: Uncovering The Global Food Scandal. He is an Ashoka Fellow, a WEF Young Global Leader, and the recipient of the international environmental award, the Sophie Prize. Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.
Paralympians heading to Rio next week have lost their Motability vehicles after being reassessed as part of the government’s programme of benefit cuts and reforms, a member of the ParalympicsGB team has revealed.Some Paralympians have spoken previously of the importance of the support they receive from the benefits system particularly through disability living allowance (DLA), but this is the first confirmation that any of them have lost that support as a result of the government’s austerity programme.The concerns were raised by wheelchair-racer Ben Rowlings, one of the young track stars of the British team, who is set to compete in the T34 100 metres and 800 metres in Rio, and holds the British record at 100, 200, 400 and 800 metres.He currently receives the higher rate mobility component of DLA, which has allowed him to use that payment to lease a vehicle through the Motability scheme.But like hundreds of thousands of other disabled people, he has been told he will be reassessed for the government’s new personal independence payment (PIP) – introduced in 2013 in a bid to cut working-age DLA spending by 20 per cent – and that an assessment of his eligibility will take place next year.The Shropshire resident does much of his training 50 miles away in Coventry, alongside fellow Paralympians Kare Adenegan and Mel Nicholls, and told Disability News Service this week that the PIP reassessment could put his career in jeopardy if it results in him losing his Motability car.He said: “It is something that’s on my mind because without the access to having my Motability car… I wouldn’t be able to get to any of the training that I do.“I need my car, I need the support to get me around to places, and training and work, because racing is my job, and without the support of the Motability [car] and the DLA, I wouldn’t be able to get to training.”The 20-year-old said he knew of fellow Paralympians who have already lost their Motability cars after being reassessed for PIP.He said: “There have been Paralympians who have been told that they are too able to claim Motability and they have had to fight to get the cars back because they have been taken off them.“I don’t know too much about it, I haven’t spoken to them about it because that’s a personal matter for them, but it’s something I’m a little bit concerned about.”He said he was not comfortable providing further details about colleagues, and could not say how many fellow team-members had lost their Motability vehicles, but added: “All I know is anyone with disabilities is getting assessed at the moment, so it’s a possibility for any of us.”Last month, another ParalympicsGB star wheelchair-racer, Hannah Cockroft (pictured with Rowlings), told DNS she was “scared” that she would lose her independence when she was reassessed for PIP.Cockroft, who won double gold at London 2012, has also yet to be assessed for PIP, but she said that she was dreading her eventual reassessment, the possibility of having her support cut, and potentially losing the car she leases through the Motability scheme.Motability has said that it expects 35,000 vehicles will have to be returned by disabled people during 2016 as a result of the PIP reassessment programme.Of Motability customers reassessed for PIP so far, 44 per cent of them have lost their entitlement to the scheme and have had to hand their vehicles back.Activists who took part in a national day of action last month – organised by Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), WinVisible and the Mental Health Resistance Network – said they believed PIP was “rotten to the core”, and pointed to growing evidence of the “shoddy nature” of PIP assessments, which are carried out by the government’s contractors, Capita and Atos.The British Paralympic Association – which manages the ParalympicsGB team – has not responded to a request for a comment.Asked how removing a Motability vehicle from a Paralympian training for Rio would have helped their medal efforts, a Department for Work and Pensions spokeswoman said: “This question is unfounded.“Decisions on Motability are made based on claimants’ individual needs and after consideration of all the evidence, including an assessment and information provided by the claimant and their GP.“All claimants have the opportunity to appeal their decision.”Asked how many Paralympians had lost their Motability vehicles after being reassessed, she said: “We do not ask PIP claimants whether they are Paralympians, and they are not required to disclose this information when making a claim.“Therefore, we are unable to answer this question.”But she said there were now more people on the Motability scheme than before PIP was introduced*, while the “majority of people leaving the Motability scheme will be eligible for a one-off payment of £2,000**, which will help ensure their mobility needs continue to be met”.Asked if DWP accepted that DLA and PIP played a vital part in providing the support that disabled people need to live independently and contribute to society, she said: “Yes. DLA and PIP provide important support for those who have been assessed as meeting the criteria for the benefit(s).”Meanwhile, research by the MS Society suggests that up to one in 10 of the 100,000 people with multiple sclerosis in the UK could lose the highest rate of mobility support as a result of the PIP reassessment process.The charity has estimated that more than 1,000 people with MS have already had their benefits cut since PIP was introduced.Under DLA, 93 per cent of people with MS who received the benefit [not everyone with MS claims DLA or PIP] were awarded the highest rate of the mobility component, and of the 4,349 DLA claimants with MS who have so far been reassessed and awarded any kind of PIP award, only 70 per cent have received the equivalent rate. The charity is calling on people with MS to share their experiences of the reassessment process with the government’s second independent review of PIP.*The Motability scheme is still growing slowly overall, at about 1.5 per cent a year, because of the number of new members joining, and currently has 651,000 vehicles (636,000 through the car scheme and 15,000 powered wheelchairs and scooters). Motability expects the overall number of customers to start falling at some stage in the reassessment process but does “not expect the number of vehicles to fall below 600,000 over the next few year”.**This payment applies to those customers who joined the scheme before January 2013.
At CES, Netflix Shows Off … Lab-Grown Bodies? Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Netflix has a booth here at CES, but it’s easy to miss. The setup is not showcasing Stranger Things or HDR, but … human immortality?Stop by and you’ll find two lab-grown bodies inside glass pods, asleep and held in icy stasis. The signage out front? Psychasec, a Silicon Valley “company” that can download human minds into new bodies. As you might expect, the display has been attracting crowds and prompting dumbfounded looks. In reality, the booth is a marketing campaign for Netflix’s upcoming sci-fi series Altered Carbon.Based on the novel by Richard K. Morgan, the show envisions a dystopian future where anyone can digitally transfer their mind into a new body. As a result, people can live forever, exchanging old bodies for new ones, even switching genders.Sound a bit bizarre? CES attendees apparently did, too. The booth fooled many into asking serious questions about Psychasec’s fictional product.Employees at the booth played along. “Want to be taller? Want to be darker? Want to be genetically physically superior?” one of them asked. “Anything you can design, we can achieve here at Psychasec.”The booth itself is quite elaborate. On display are videos explaining the company’s “technology” and its “cortical stack,” which facilitates the mind transfer. Psychasec employees will also show you a catalog of lab-grown bodies on offer.Deep inside the booth is another lab-grown body — this one still in its package. However, CES attendees who take the full booth tour will soon be let in on the joke. At the end is a video trailer for the show, which is slated to arrive on Feb. 2. Reporter –shares The Psychasec booth on the CES show floor is an elaborate marketing stunt for Netflix’s new show, Altered Carbon, and some people are falling for it. Next Article Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Guest Writer Register Now » CES 2 min read January 11, 2018 This story originally appeared on PCMag Image credit: via PC Mag Michael Kan Add to Queue
March 3, 2016 4 min read John Gaudiosi Image credit: Pixabay The Super Bowl of Drone Racing Will Offer $1 Million in Prize Money Guest Writer Add to Queue Drones –shares Next Article One million dollars is up for grabs at the world’s biggest drone racing competition.The inaugural World Drone Prix, which will take place on March 11 and 12 in Dubai, will feature 32 competitors who will try to navigate their aircraft through an obstacle as fast as possible. The competition will be livestreamed online here.Over 100 teams have been invited to compete in Dubai following a series of pre-qualifying events in Los Angeles, Seoul, Berlin and cities across China this year. That tournament will take place March 7 and 8 and whittle the field down to the top 32 racers.The $1 million will be divided across different categories including best track team, best lap time, best freestyle team, and best constructor (for these custom-built drones). Fans will vote on a Best Team award winner.This marks the first drone racing event in an annual calendar of global competitions organized by the World Organization of Racing Drones and Sheikh Hamdan, crown prince of Dubai to promote the advancement of drone sport and drone technology.Drone pilot Ryo Rex, who founded the separate Aerial Grand Prix series of races in Los Angeles in 2014 and is working with World Drone Prix, says this is peek into the future. The outdoor physical track was custom built for drone racing to include obstacles and other challenges for the racers.“Over the last two months, the team has gathered the best engineers and partners from around the globe to create micro-race technology that has never been done before in any technical sport,” Rex says, referring to the miniature drones that race at high speeds and in close proximity.There are other drone competitions, but nothing on this global scale. Rex says Drone Racing League is currently a web series open only to selected pilots who compete within a small group, and it’s not open for entries from the public.“World Drone Prix initiated its mission by opening the selection process to the entire world,” Rex says.World Drone Prix competitors were chosen based on videos they submitted of them piloting drones in a way that met certain guidelines. Pilots are allowed to use any kind of drone and components, which Rex says opens up the league to the hundreds of drone manufacturers that want to gain publicity.“The mission of World Drone Prix was created to provide a professional arena which the community would benefit from, as opposed to the other way around,” Rex says.Early sponsors of the league include Skydive Dubai and XDubai, which are local Dubai tourist attractions. Rex says additional parties are interested in this new “sport.” The league was commissioned by Sheikh Hamdan.Future competitions are expected after the initial World Drone Prix, Rex says.Drone pilots around the world currently fly and compete in parks, fields, canyons, parking garages, inside office buildings, warehouses, and underground caverns, and over oceans. Rex hopes this Dubai event elevates the hobby to a professional grade sport.“A few have taken the leap towards a full-time drone pilot,” Rex says. “Some have their own drone manufacturing companies, some are fully sponsored by corporations. We hope this continues so more pilots can do this full-time.”Rex also sees a role for virtual reality in the league’s future. The initial events will be livestreamed in high definition in 2D, but 360-degree video is just around the corner.“As digital 360-degree VR improves, we will see the racing and competition formats expand to accommodate for the technical innovations,” Rex says. “VR would make things a lot more realistic, further transporting your consciousness into the seat of the drone.”Many pilots use virtual reality headsets to steer their drones through racing events because it offers a better view of the action. Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. This story originally appeared on Fortune Magazine Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Register Now »
Source:https://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/ Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Dec 3 2018After over a decade of preclinical research and development, a new gene therapy treatment for Sickle Cell Anemia (SCA) is reversing disease symptoms in two adults and showing early potential for transportability to resource-challenged parts of the world where SCA is most common.Preliminary data from a pilot Phase 1-2 clinical trial testing the gene-addition therapy were presented Dec. 3 at the American Society of Hematology’s (ASH) annual meeting in San Diego by principal investigator Punam Malik, MD. She is a physician-scientist at the Cincinnati Children’s Cancer and Blood Diseases Institute and director of its Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center. Malik called the data promising.”One year after treatment of our first patient, and six months after treatment of our second patient, both have seen a remarkable improvement in the quality of life due to remarkable reduction in disease symptoms. This includes near elimination of chronic pain and sickling events and improved anemia,” Malik said. “Although it’s still early post-treatment, these preliminary results are quite promising. If sustained this therapy will provide a transportable, safe and feasible gene therapy for all SCA patients.”SCA is a painful, inherited disease where blood cells become sickle-shaped and stuck in the vascular system. It can damage vital organs and cause death.How the Therapy WorksThe gene therapy developed by Cincinnati Children’s uses a modified gamma globin lentivirus vector to transfer a healthy fetal hemoglobin gene into a patient’s blood stem cells (hematopoietic stem cells, HSC). The lentivirus is modified so it does not cause illness.The therapy comes from the observation that some adults never stop producing fetal hemoglobin (HbF). This prevents red blood cell sickling when sufficient quantities of HbF are present in the body.Normally, the fetal hemoglobin gene switches off shortly after birth. The new gene therapy approach designed by Malik and team places a fetal hemoglobin gene in the bone marrow cells that cannot switch off.Cells are collected earlier from the SCA patient and genetically reprogrammed in a clean lab facility with the modified lentivirus vector. Then the patient’s bone marrow is preconditioned with one low-dose of chemotherapy, after which the gene-corrected cells are infused back into the patient. Patients recover their blood counts within a week to 10 days and recover from the chemotherapy effects by two weeks, Malik said.A key feature of the treatment regimen is the reduced-intensity preconditioning for patients receiving the therapy for SCA. The method is less toxic and expensive than myeloablative preconditioning normally used in bone marrow transplants, according to the researchers.Related StoriesSlug serves as ‘command central’ for determining breast stem cell healthNANOLIVE‘s novel CX-A defines a new standard for live cell imaging in 96 well plates for continuous organelle monitoring in cell populationsAlternate cell growth pathway could open door to new treatments for metastatic cancersMyeloablative conditioning uses high-intensity chemotherapy to prepare a transplant patient’s bone marrow for healthy gene-corrected blood stem cells (HSCs). This typically results in low blood counts and other side effects. These can include severe infections and long stays in transplant units for one or two months.This means transplants using myeloablative conditioning have to be performed at large and sophisticated medical centers in developed parts of the world. Malik said this limits access to people in underdeveloped regions where SCA is more common, like Africa, India, the Caribbean and South America.Reaching High-Need RegionsOne goal for Malik and her colleagues is that their therapy’s reduced intensity conditioning will allow it to be offered at hospitals in places like Central Africa and other underdeveloped regions of the world.SCA affects more than 90,000 people in the United States, and millions of people worldwide have the disease, according to the researchers.Malik said additional data from the study will tell investigators of the consistent and long-term clinical benefit of this therapy to patients with severe SCA. The trial is scheduled to treat up to 10 patients with SCA. Preclinical studies by the research team suggested the treatment allows the body to produce normal red blood cells instead of the sickle-shaped cells that define the inherited disorder.Improved Quality of LifeBoth adult patients included in the ASH presentation are 35 and 25 years old who, respectively, had gene transfer therapy 15 and 12 months ago. In the year and a half prior to receiving gene-correction therapy, both patients had more than a dozen acute sickle events per year, according to Malik. These included acute chest and pain crises, chronic pain, and required the ongoing use of oral or injectable opioids on a regular basis.Investigators report that one year following therapy, the first patient no longer requires daily oral opioids for chronic pain and has had one acute sickle cell event. The second patient no longer uses oral opioids and has no vaso-occlusive events, where blood cells become stuck in the vascular system.Launch of Aruvant SciencesIn an effort to accelerate the development of the therapy, Cincinnati Children’s has partnered with Roivant Sciences to create Aruvant Sciences. The joint venture is focused on developing and commercializing innovative therapies for hematological conditions. Aruvant’s lead candidate is RVT-1801, the gene therapy used to treat both patients in Malik’s ASH presentation of early clinical trial data. Aruvant Sciences will be based in Cincinnati.
By Sally Robertson, B.Sc.Mar 18 2019New research published by the American Psychological Association has found that the rate of certain mental health disorders has increased significantly over the last decade among young adults, but not among older adults. Lead author of the study, Jean Twenge (San Diego State University), believes the use of digital media and electronic media may be changing how people socially interact and affecting their mood.More U.S. adolescents and young adults in the late 2010s, versus the mid-2000s, experienced serious psychological distress, major depression or suicidal thoughts, as well as more attempted suicide, reports Twenge: “These trends are weak or non-existent among adults 26 years and over, suggesting a generational shift in mood disorders instead of an overall increase across all ages.”Related StoriesInternational study aims to more accurately describe mental health disordersOnline training program helps managers to support employees’ mental health needsBiden calling ACA ‘breakthrough’ for mental health parity highlights gapsAs reported in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Twenge and team looked at data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which has monitored drug/alcohol use and mental health among people (aged 12 and older) in the U.S. since 1971.They compared data for more than 200,000 individuals aged 12 to 17 between 2005 and 2017 with data for nearly 400,000 people aged 18 or over between 2008 and 2017.Among the adolescents, the rate of major depression symptoms in the previous year increased by 52% between 2005 and 2017. Among young adults (aged 18 to 25), the rate increased by 63% between 2009 and 2017 and there was also a 71% increase in reports of serious psychological distress in the previous 30 days between 2008 and 2017. Furthermore, the rate of suicidal thoughts or other suicide-related outcomes among young adults increased by 47% between 2008 and 2017.During these same time periods, there were no significant increases in the rates of depression or psychological distress among older adults.”Cultural trends in the last 10 years may have had a larger effect on mood disorders and suicide-related outcomes among younger generations compared with older generations,” says Twenge.She suggests that the increased use of digital media and electronic communication may have affected adolescents and young adults more because older adults have more stable social lives that may have changed less than the social lives of younger people. Older adults may also be less likely to let social media disrupt their sleep by staying up late using their phones, for example.”These results suggest a need for more research to understand how digital communication versus face-to-face social interaction influences mood disorders and suicide-related outcomes and to develop specialized interventions for younger age groups,” concludes Twenge.Source: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-03/apa-mhi030819.php
“That’s when you should take a step back and say, ‘Maybe, I shouldn’t be eating this. What else is out there?'” Huffman said. Drop that yogurt. Instead, try this one with less sugar, fat and fewer unpronounceable additives. The FoodSwitch app allows users to compare similar products to quickly see which one is healthier. The app scanned two bags of chips and displayed them in order of healthiness in its comparison. Credit: Northwestern University App makes low salt and gluten-free shopping easy A SaltSwitch filter within the app can guide users to foods with less salt. During a recent grocery shopping trip, a SaltSwitch scan of a bag of Lay’s classic potato chips resulted in three red traffic lights (fat, saturated fat and sodium) and one green traffic light (sugar). The list of healthier alternatives suggested trying Lay’s Lightly Salted Potato Chips instead, which had only two red traffic lights (fat, saturated fat), one yellow traffic light (sodium) and one green (sugar).Fourth of July (sodium) fireworksWith Fourth of July cookouts around the corner, it’s important keep in mind that, on average, a meal consisting of two hotdogs and two servings of chips will account for a whopping 117 percent of a person’s recommended daily sodium intake and 75 percent of their recommended daily total fat intake.Using the SaltSwitch filter, a recent FoodSwitch scan of hotdogs said, “There are no low-salt products in this category. We have listed any similar products with a healthier profile and less salt, but suggest you limit your intake in this category.”FoodSwitch can help cookout hosts make healthier choices at the grocery store for their guests by scanning products to find lower-sodium alternatives.FoodSwitch USA is the latest launch of the FoodSwitch appFoodSwitch has already launched successfully in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, India, China, South Africa and Hong Kong. FoodSwitch is novel because, unlike other apps, the FoodSwitch team will use data to monitor and improve the healthfulness of the U.S. food supply by linking FoodSwitch USA to its global partners for cross-country comparisons. If similar products are healthier in other countries, Huffman and his team want to help Americans know and to press manufacturers to improve them.”We need detailed information on our food supply to improve it,” he said. The FoodSwitch team also is developing the app as a platform for research to test and improve behavioral and nutritional research.By expanding the app’s reach to the U.S., which has the largest food supply in the world (about 400,000 foods compared to 150,000 foods in Australia), the number of foods in the FoodSwitch database should more than double.The app’s database of foods and their nutritional values will continually grow to include foods consumers find in stores such as small, ethnic mom-and-pop shops to supermarkets.”The U.S. food supply is so large and so unique because this is a great country of immigrants,” Huffman said. “Whether it’s South-Asian foods or Ethiopian grocery stores, we’ll be able to capture that scope, size and detail.” That’s the message from FoodSwitch—a free mobile app developed by Northwestern researchers. Using FoodSwitch is like having a nutritionist at your side in the grocery store.”FoodSwitch is unique in that users don’t have to hunt for healthier alternatives. They’re all listed in the app,” said FoodSwitch collaborator Dr. Mark Huffman, associate professor of preventive medicine and medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a Northwestern Medicine cardiologist.Unlike other nutrition apps, FoodSwitch asks users to crowdsource information on new and changing foods within the U.S. food supply to update the app’s 268,000-product database in real time. Given that 20 percent of the packaged foods in the U.S. turn over every year, having a constantly updated database helps track what is in the global food supply and how healthy it is.Although the app will officially launch June 28, it is already available in Apple and Google Play stores. SaltSwitch, a salt-focused filter within the app, will be available Monday, June 25. SugarSwitch and FatSwitch modes will be available for those on specialized diet plans in the coming months.FoodSwitch USA was developed by The George Institute for Global Health in Australia in collaboration with Northwestern Medicine and Chicago-based Label Insight.The whispering nutritionist: How the app worksWith a tap of the screen, users can scan a packaged food’s barcode, quickly see its nutritional rating and identify similar foods that are healthier. The app provides a simple Health Star Rating that scores each food between 0.5 stars (unhealthy) to 5 stars (healthiest). The scoring is based on a scientific algorithm that weights the impact of different nutrients on health. The app also provides a breakdown of the food’s fat, saturated fat, sugars and salt in grams and gives a percentage of an adult’s daily intake for each. This is shown as red, yellow and green traffic lights.When a food gets few stars or multiple red lights, consumers can see it’s high in fat, saturated fat, sugars and salt. Users also can compare multiple products in the same category, such as regular and fat-free salad dressing, to quickly determine which product is healthier.Crowdsourcing new and changing packaged food information If a user scans a barcode and the food is not in the database, the app prompts the user to photograph the packaging, its nutrition facts panel and ingredient list so the app’s team can add it to the database. This type of crowdsourcing is vital for the app’s success, Huffman said, because manufacturers frequently update or add products, and independent grocers carry foods that are not always found in mainstream grocery stores. There is an approximately 20 percent turnover in the U.S. food supply every year, he said.”Our food supply is a big system that changes constantly,” Huffman said. “FoodSwitch is a really good way to capture that change in real time because people are so interested in food. We think users will want to participate in building the largest, most up-to-date database.”Tracking the global food supplyPackaged food manufacturers change their products frequently, which can make it difficult to track how well they are reducing sodium, added sugars or saturated fats in their foods. FoodSwitch can help. As users crowdsource new information they find on packaged foods and update the FoodSwitch database, it will become easier to track what’s in the global food supply and how healthy it is.Huffman said it is important to empower individuals who know they should be eating healthful food but who don’t always have easy access to it.”With FoodSwitch, we’re making it easier for consumers to know what’s in the food they’re eating, so they can make healthier purchasing decisions,” Huffman said. “Since the app tells them which healthier alternatives are out there, they can demand those from their grocers.”SaltSwitch, other specialized diet filtersExcess sodium in one’s diet can lead to high blood pressure, the “silent killer,” and the majority of excess salt in peoples’ diets comes from processed foods. The American Heart Association says eating less sodium can help blunt the rise in blood pressure that occurs with age,and reduce the risk of heart attack, heart failure, stroke, kidney disease, osteoporosis, stomach cancer and even headaches. Explore further A user reviews the nutritional information of a yogurt using the traffic light rating within the FoodSwitch app. Credit: Northwestern University 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. Provided by Northwestern University A user scrolls through the healthier options that FoodSwitch provided after they scanned the barcode of a packaged food. Credit: Northwestern University Citation: Maybe you shouldn’t eat that: Novel app switches you to healthier options (2018, June 28) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-06-shouldnt-app-healthier-options.html
Explore further © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. In this Sept. 27, 2017, file photo fog drifts through a Christmas tree farm near Starks Mountain in Fryeburg, Maine. Amazon plans to sell and ship fresh, full-size Christmas trees this year. They’ll go on sale in November and be sent within 10 days of being cut. Amazon says they should survive the shipping fine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File) This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Amazon hits the Christmas jackpot as ‘tens of millions’ of Echo devices sold But a live tree is no paperback book. Amazon says the Christmas trees, including Douglas firs and Norfolk Island pines, will be bound and shipped without water in the usual sort of box. Amazon said they’ll be sent within 10 days of being cut down, possibly even sooner, and should survive the shipping just fine.Amazon.com said the trees, wreaths and garlands will go on sale in November. Some will qualify for Prime free shipping, and Amazon will offer pre-orders so shoppers can choose a delivery date.The company sold trees shorter than 3 feet last year, and some other merchants sold bigger ones using its platform as a marketplace. But this is the first year Amazon is offering the larger trees itself.”Given the popularity among customers, we increased the assortment,” the company said.A 7-foot Fraser fir from a North Carolina farm will cost $115, according to an Amazon holiday preview book. Also listed are a $50 wreath and a $25 red-leafed plant with a decorative candy cane speared into the soil.Will people buy a Christmas tree sight unseen? Tim O’Connor, the executive director of the National Christmas Tree Association, said picking out a tree and hauling it back home is part of the fun for families. The association estimates that only about 1 to 2 percent of the 27 million real Christmas trees purchased last year were bought online, mostly from grower’s own sites. “It’s so small, it’s almost undetectable,” O’Connor said.But Amazon has a history of shaking up shopping habits. It changed how people buy books, diapers and many other goods. It recently expanded the selection of live plants it sells, including potted succulents and orchids. Watch out for the 7-foot box on the doorstep. Amazon plans to sell and ship fresh, full-size Christmas trees this year. Citation: What’s in the Amazon box? Maybe a real 7-foot Christmas tree (2018, September 11) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-09-amazon-real-foot-christmas-tree.html
Citation: Alliance talks continue as Ford, VW call off joint Detroit appearance (2019, January 15) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-01-ford-vw-joint-detroit-alliance.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. With a flair of showmanship that included virtual-reality goggles and a sports car levitating down from the ceiling, Ford revealed a high-powered version of the Mustang called the Shelby GT500—boasting of more than 700 horsepower. A practically jubilant Akio Toyoda introduced a refresh of his beloved sports car Supra, which Toyota stopped producing 17 years ago. Toyoda trotted out Spanish racecar driver Fernando Alonso to attest to the car’s racing authenticity with an everyman appeal.”It’s like a race car you can drive quite comfortably every day,” Alonso said during a scripted presentation. Explore further The two car giants have been in discussions for more than six months over a partnership to develop self-driving and electric technologies. But a source close to the talks told AFP that they had so far only produced a deal over commercial vehicles.A highly-anticipated announcement at the US’s premiere auto show in the Motor City was called off late Monday, and the two sides planned a conference call with reporters instead for the following morning.”We don’t have enough details yet to go out in front of more than 500 journalists, so we decided to call it off,” Ford spokesman Mark Truby told AFP.Earlier in the day, Ford Chairman Bill Ford had told reporters that discussions were going well but that they would have “more to say later this week.”Both Ford and Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess appeared optimistic about a potential partnership. “Volkswagen is a really big car company worldwide… but we are not as big in small commercial vehicles,” Diess told the Detroit Free Press newspaper.”So we decided to join forces there. And we will become very, very competitive together in this segment—which consists of small commercial vans and small and midsize pickup trucks.”SUVs, trucks, sports carsAside from the abrupt cancellation by Ford and VW, the show began as scripted, with SUVs, trucks and sports cars center stage, with extra showmanship to pump up the excitement despite fewer carmakers and more uncertainty this year. Under pressure to change, Ford is reinventing itself © 2019 AFP The Detroit auto show was abuzz over what Ford and Volkswagen would announce Tuesday, after the car giants called off a joint appearance during which they were widely expected to announce an alliance. The 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is unveiled during day one of the Detroit auto show Automakers have all but abandoned compact cars and sedans, an ever-shrinking portion of the North American market, as evidenced by what models were on display.Trucks, SUVs and high-performance vehicles dominated the new debuts. Volkswagen was among the few exceptions with a new Passat sedan.For the first time, Ford publicly displayed a redesigned Explorer SUV, including a hybrid version, which first debuted in Detroit on Friday.Fiat Chrysler unveiled redesigns of larger models of its popular Ram truck.For those looking for an alternative, carmakers were emphasizing sporty cars and nostalgic pasts—largely eschewing the traditional sedan in favor of flashier options. A Mustang Convertible is seen on its side at the Ford booth during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan on January 14, 2019 Aside from Volkswagen, German carmakers abandoned the 2019 Detroit show Future ‘less positive’Aside from VW, German carmakers abandoned the Detroit show this year, amid competition from events in New York, Miami and Las Vegas where increasingly tech-centered car announcements were presented. Hoping to revitalize the show, organizers were holding the event for the last time in January and will move to June next year to allow for outdoor activities such as test drives.For the industry at large, the hope was that bigger and more profitable SUVs and trucks would help weather economic storms—whether from tariffs or fewer consumers buying cars due to rising prices, higher interest rates or a lagging world economy. Analysts predicted slowing sales in 2019, following a decade of growth.The Detroit show was also clouded by uncertainty in US trade policy.Beijing and Washington remained locked in a trade war that could escalate as soon as next month, when the Commerce Department is expected to deliver a report on possible new auto tariffs. Analysts predict rapid contraction in the auto industry should more tariffs take effect.”Tariffs would be devastating to the entire industry,” said Robert Carter, chief of Toyota’s North American sales, adding that vehicle prices would increase and suppress sales.”Not only would it affect the Toyota brand, it’s going to affect every brand in the industry, every car in the industry.”The president of Chinese automaker GAC, Yu Jun, said the ongoing trade war had delayed the company’s entry into the US market from 2019 to the first half of 2020.”We have postponed our plans due to the recent development on trade. We’re making steady progress towards it,” Yu said, according to a company interpreter.
The European Commission said Google, Facebook, Twitter, Mozilla and advertising groups have made “some progress” toward meeting their pledges to fight fake news by removing bogus accounts and curbing suspect sites.However, “the pace of progress needs to be faster,” the EU’s security commissioner, Julian King, said just four months before elections for a new European Parliament.”We cannot afford to wake up the day after the elections and find we could and should have done more,” King told a press conference in Brussels.The European Commission, the 28-nation union’s executive arm, gave its first report on what the internet players have done to meet pledges made late last year in a “code of practice” to fight disinformation.The commission said “additional action is needed to ensure full transparency of political ads” by the start of the election campaign in EU member countries.It also urged platforms to give European researchers access to their data, something King said leading researchers claim Facebook has failed to do. The commission called on the platforms to ensure cooperation with member countries through the Rapid Alert System.Planned for March, the system will allow members to share data and analysis on propaganda campaigns and promote what the bloc says will be objective communications about its values and policies.Mariya Gabriel, the commissioner for digital economy and society, said internet players must intensify their monitoring and reporting while increasing cooperation with fact checkers and researchers.”The time for fine words is over,” Gabriel told the press conference.Facebook came under the biggest spotlight in the commission report despite unveiling new tools on Monday to counter online political meddling.The US tech giant’s vice president, former British deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, said in Brussels that the methods would become available in late March and help “make political advertising on Facebook more transparent”.’Water pistols’King welcomed the Facebook announcement but said it “would have been better” had the Silicon Valley firm submitted the details for the progress report. © 2019 AFP Facebook has ‘new tools’ against EU election meddling While praising Facebook for removing new fake accounts, he said Facebook must still take down up to 90 million old accounts that the firm estimates still exist.He said Facebook must also extend cooperation with fact-checkers from seven member countries to the entire bloc. The social network has in the past been accused of being used as a platform to spread divisive or misleading information, most notably during the 2016 election that put US President Donald Trump in the White House.Facebook ads have also been at the centre of the FBI investigation over Russia’s alleged meddling in that election and suspicions are rife that the Kremlin has interfered in votes across Europe.Moscow has repeatedly denied allegations of hacking and meddling in foreign elections through disinformation over recent years.The commission said Google was helping to make political advertising more transparent but said some tools to help users were limited to only a few member countries.It said trade associations like the World Federation of Advertisers and Interactive Advertising Bureau Europe have raised awareness about the code of practice but noted the absence of corporate signatories.The commission renewed warnings it could take “regulatory” action if the online platforms fail to honour their pledges, which will now be reviewed in monthly reports.Activist group Avaaz said Facebook and others see the code of practice as a “PR stunt” and will not fight the lies and hate it says are destroying European democracies.”Europe is on fire, and social media platforms bring water pistols to fight the flames,” Avaaz campaign director Christoph Schott said. “It’s now on the EU Commission to do what they’ve threatened for a year: Legislate.” Analysts warn that populist parties opposed to founding EU democratic values could do well in the May 23-26 elections by playing on anti-immigrant sentiment.Such parties have already done well in national elections, including coming to power in Italy. 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. The European Union on Tuesday urged US internet giants and advertising firms to intensify the fight against disinformation campaigns before EU elections in May, or risk regulation. European Commission officials are campaigning against “disinformation” which they see as a threat in election campaigns Citation: EU urges internet firms to intensify fake news fight (2019, January 29) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-01-eu-urges-internet-firms-fake.html Explore further