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ACVs new Travel Advisory Board will make company a better partner says

first_img Share Friday, September 2, 2016 Cindy Sosroutomo << Previous PostNext Post >> TORONTO — “Ask questions. A lot of them.” This is the single most important lesson that Craig Landry has learned in his first eight months as President of Air Canada Leisure Group (ACLG). Although having already been part of the Air Canada family for the past 22 years, Landry admits that stepping into his new role from his previous post as Vice President of Marketing was a “big change,” especially since as President, he now oversees two major arms of the company: Air Canada Vacations (ACV) and Air Canada Rouge.“The tour operator business is an inherently commercial business so you’re dealing with product and pricing, distribution and marketing, but the context and challenge of business is very different from what I’ve done previously,” he says. “Rouge is also a big departure because it’s very operational. It’s about integrating new aircraft into the fleet, getting those aircraft retrofit and entry into service, recruiting large numbers of flight attendants and pilots, and getting them properly trained and qualified. And with the rapid expansion that we’ve been in, the operational requirements are very heavy and significant. There’s been a lot to learn and a lot to do.”So you ask questions, a lot of them, because according to Landry, “this business is moving very quickly and we aspire to change with the times, and the only way you get to do that is by being curious.”More news:  Air Canada’s global sales update includes Managing Director, Canada & USA SalesIt is this sense of curiosity and desire to learn that has perhaps inspired ACV to launch a brand new Travel Advisory Board. Beginning this month and managed by Vice President of Sales and Partnerships George Platanitis, the Board is expected to include anywhere from 20 to 30 members across the country who will provide insight into relevant industry issues.“We understand that the perspective on our product, the market and on consumers is different in different parts of the country, so it’s important that we have representatives from the west coast, central Canada, eastern Canada and so on,” adds Landry. “The idea is to bring together a group of folks and ask them to help us be a better partner to them. It’s very clear in our mind that when the travel agency community is successful, then we as a business is successful.”Landry, who says that approximately two-thirds of Air Canada Vacations’ bookings are made by travel agents, anticipates a number of issues to be brought up by the Board, primarily regarding ways to improve agent interaction. “One of the things we hear from the travel agency community,” he says, “is that agents are looking for us to make their lives as easy as possible, and we are of the same mindset.”More news:  Transat calls Groupe Mach’s latest offer “highly abusive, coercive and misleading”ACV’s Sales Team has sent out invitations to chains, consortia and independents in the hope of acquiring 20-30 members in total. Launching this month, the company plans to share the names of board members on Sept. 7, the first day of its cross-country Product Launch.The Board will meet monthly for the first six months, after which it will meet quarterly at ACV’s Toronto and Montreal offices and via conference calls.To read the full article, check out the Sept. 1 issue of Travelweek, click here to see the digital edition.To subscribe to Travelweek, click here. ACV’s new Travel Advisory Board will make company a better partner, says Landry Tags: Air Canada Vacations Posted by About Latest Posts Cindy SosroutomoDeputy Editor at TravelweekCindy is Deputy Editor at Travelweek and has worked for the company since 2007. She has travelled to more than 50 countries and counts Kenya, Morocco, Thailand and Turkey among her favourite destinations. Latest posts by Cindy Sosroutomo (see all) Frustrations mount over elusive consumer-pay model: Will it ever happen? – July 16, 2019 “It’s in everyone’s best interest to stay open”: Beaches Turks & Caicos will not close in 2021 – May 15, 2019 Putting “Partners First”: NCL’s CEO lauds agents and the new Norwegian Joy – April 29, 2019last_img read more

Princess Cruises announces biggest European season

first_imgPrincess Cruises’ Enchanted PrincessPrincess Cruises announces biggest European season with newest ship Enchanted PrincessPrincess Cruises has announced 2020 will be its biggest European season ever[2], and is set to see its fifth Royal-class ship Enchanted Princess debut in June 2020 with a series of Mediterranean voyages.As part of its maiden season, Enchanted Princess will sail from Barcelona, Athens and Rome, offering a variety of cruises from seven to 12-nights.“Europe is our top long-haul fly-cruise destination for Australian guests – and, in 2020 we’re pleased to announce we have three of Princes Cruises’ newest ships Enchanted, Sky and Regal based in the region,” says Senior Vice President Princess Cruises Asia Pacific, Stuart Allison.“Australians love discovering Europe by sea, with the continent offering a rich mix of history and culture that appeals to our guests.”In addition, the 2,200-guest Island Princess will spend August to October sailing around Northern Europe while the 3,080 Crown Princess will cruise both Northern and Southern Europe.Both ships including a series of new voyages:An eight-day Norwegian Fjords voyage on Crown Princess to Bergen, Aalesund, Olden/Nordfjord, Hellesylt Geiranger and StavangerA 13-day summer holiday cruise in August on Crown Princess to Barcelona, Marseille, Florence/Pisa, Rome, Sardinia and Ceuta in Spanish MoroccoA 17-day Mediterranean voyage on Crown Princess to Lisbon, Santorini (Greece), Mykonos (Greece), Kusadasi (Turkey), Katakolon (Turkey) and Cartagena (Spain)A 12-day Northern Capitals cruise on Island Princess to cities including Hamburg (for Berlin), Copenhagen, Oslo, Amsterdam, Brussels and Paris (via Le Havre)A 14-day Scandinavia & Russia Collection cruise on Island Princess to Bornholm (Denmark), Stockholm, Helsinki (Finland), St. Petersburg, Tallinn (Estonia), Riga (Latvia), Visby (Sweden), Helsingborg (Sweden) and Copenhagen. The calls to Stockholm and St Petersburg are both overnight visitsTwo 12-day Northern Lights cruises on Island Princess via the Norwegian destinations of Aalesund, Tromso, Alta (overnight) and StavangerMeanwhile the 3,660-guest Sky Princess, which launches in 2019, will spend its first European spring and summer season sailing Scandinavia and Russia roundtrip from Copenhagen. From April to September Sky Princess will take in the likes of Stockholm, Oslo, Tallinn, Helsinki, Berlin and an overnight stay in St Petersburg.Closer to home, the cruise line announced 2020 will be its longest Japan season yet – with Diamond Princess set to offer 44 itineraries, travelling to 41 destinations across Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Russia.The sailings will explore Japan’s natural beauty and rich culture, featuring 10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, seven local festivals and five spring flower voyages among the highlights.“Our 2020 Japan journeys give Australian travellers more choice than ever before. And, with ten of our ports offering More Ashore, we’re confident our guests will have the opportunity to experience all that Japan has to offer – from the shining lights of Shinjuku to the charm of cherry blossom season,” says Allison.The announcements form part of Princess Cruises’ 2020 programme, which includes sailings across Europe as well as Asia, the Caribbean, Alaska and Canada & New England.Further afield, highlights include:65 Japan voyages setting sail from either Tokyo or Kobe on the 2,670-guest Diamond Princess28 summer Caribbean cruises from Fort Lauderdale with seven, 14 and 21-night optionsOver 130 Alaska sailings across eight ships, with departures from Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, Whittier and Vancouver16 Canada & New England sailings on Sky Princess or Caribbean Princess, which depart from Fort Lauderdale, New York or QuebecFares for 14-night cruise onboard Enchanted Princess’ Western Mediterranean & Aegean Medley cruise from Barcelona to Athens departing 25 July 2020 start from $4,219 per person twin share.**Subject to availability, conditions apply.Source = Princess Cruiseslast_img read more

Rep Brann votes to lower car insurance rates for Michigan drivers

first_img Categories: Brann News 09May Rep. Brann votes to lower car insurance rates for Michigan drivers State Rep. Tommy Brann today voted to approve a landmark plan to fix Michigan’s broken car insurance system and reduce rates for drivers all across the state.Brann said the plan offers drivers personal injury coverage options, reins in medical costs and fights fraud – reforms designed to end Michigan’s long-standing tenure as the state with the highest car insurance rates in the nation.Michigan is the only state to mandate unlimited lifetime health care coverage through car insurance. The plan approved today allows people currently using the coverage to keep it, and those who want it in the future to continue buying it – while providing more affordable options.“This is one of the issues I hear about most from people in our community,” Brann, of Wyoming, said after the vote. “I’m glad we were able to deliver a solution that lowers rates. I fought hard to keep the option to continue purchasing coverage that provides unlimited lifetime health care if they are injured in a car crash. This was not in the Senate bill and is important to me. This is the option my wife and I will be selecting – and I hope others will seriously consider it as well – but people deserve to weigh their options.”The plan:Guarantees lower personal injury protection rates for all Michigan drivers;Gives drivers a choice on car insurance policies;Stops potential price gouging on medical services for car accident victims;Combats fraudulent claims to help lower costs.The sweeping legislation now advances to the Senate for consideration.###last_img read more

BT has agreed a deal to sell Skys lowcost OTT TV

first_imgBT has agreed a deal to sell Sky’s low-cost OTT TV service Now TV to BT TV customers.Sky will make the full Now TV service, which includes content such as Sky Sports, Sky Cinema and the Sky Atlantic channel, available via BT TV set-tops. BT will be able to sell Now TV subscriptions direct to its customers.BT has also agreed to wholesale its BT Sports channels to Sky for the first time, allowing Sky to sell them direct to its satellite customers. BT Sport holds exclusive rights to Champions League football and BT’s package of Premier league matches. Sky customers will now be able to buy BT Sport from Sky as well as from BT.Carrying Now TV means that BT customers will have direct access to Sky Sports. Currently, BT TV customers can only buy Sky Sports Main Event as a bolt-on to their TV service for £27.50 per month, and are not able to choose from the full range of Sky Sports channels.Through Now TV, BT will be able to offer all eleven Sky Sports channels, as well as a Now TV Entertainment passes.BT said the reciprocal deal marked a successful conclusion to years of “on and off” negotiations. The services are expected to be available to customers from early next year.BT CEO Gavin Patterson“This is an important day for BT and for our customers, who will be able to enjoy a whole range of Sky’s sport and entertainment programming on their BT TV boxes,” said BT CEO Gavin Patterson.“This is the next logical step for our TV and content strategy. Having built up an outstanding portfolio of exclusive sports rights and a loyal base of customers, we feel that now is the right time to broaden the ways in which we distribute BT Sport. This agreement fits with our strategic goal of being the best provider in the UK of converged network services, and adding Now TV boosts our growing roster of outstanding content from the likes of Netflix, great pay channels like AMC and all the major catch-up services.”BT’s third-quarter results highlighted the toll that sports costs are taking on the company and its struggle to successfully build on its rights to grow its TV base. The operator, which added only 7,000 TV customers in the three months to March, saw operating costs increase to £1.02 billion, resulting in lower EBITDA.“This deal has taken many years but it is great news for consumers. They don’t have to sign up to different providers. However, this means more to BT giving its ailing TV service, which has been struggling to see meaningful net adds over recent quarter. Hopefully the addition of these premium Sky channels along with the hugely successful BT Sport service, will make BT TV more attractive and drive consumer uptake,” said Paolo Pescatore, SVP, multiplay and media at analyst outfit CCS Insight.“Furthermore this is a significant move for the new head of the combined consumer units of BT and EE. All eyes will now be on the premier league and whatever the outcome both BT and Sky will be in a strong position to air all the premier league matches on their respective platforms. Arguably the biggest losers in this tie up are TalkTalk and Virgin Media.”last_img read more

I have a secret to share For the last 43 years I

first_imgI have a secret to share. For the last 43 years, I have been an educator—first traveling all over the world conducting training classes and now through the written word. You’ve probably heard the adage: when the student is ready to learn, the teacher shall appear. The counterpoint to that line of thinking is that you can teach all day long, but it makes little difference if the other person does not want to learn. I agree for the most part, but that doesn’t mean educators should sit around waiting for a magic teaching moment. A good educator knows it is his job to grab people’s attention. So here I sit at my computer, trying to find the magic words to motivate our readers to explore a subject that might be a little scary, but it’s also the best avenue I know of to prevent our life savings from being wiped out in either a high inflationary or a deflationary market. OK, here goes: regular people like you and me should consider internationalizing some of our assets. I hope folks don’t stop reading at the last sentence, thinking this does not apply to them. There is something about the subject of internationalization that turns off a lot of people. I hear comments like: “I’m not leaving this country. My family is here.” Or “That’s for ultra-rich people, drug dealers, and Tina Turner.” Or the one I find really frightening, “I’m keeping my money right here where it is safe and protected by the government.”The Most Powerful Thug I have quizzed many investors who have internationalized a portion of their financial assets, and there is one common line of thought among them. As a government grows, it needs to confiscate a larger portion of private wealth to support its bureaucracies. It also needs to reallocate private wealth to bribe voters and stay in power. It finds ways to “enhance revenue,” as opposed to shrinking its bloated bureaucracy. Hell, our government probably spends a few million tax dollars on a politically connected public relations firm to come up with euphemistic terms like that. Governments are parasites; they must siphon wealth from the producers to survive. For a government to siphon off wealth efficiently, it must know where the wealth is, set up ways to take it, and have a strong enough police force to make sure citizens comply. The intention is to make it easier to pay up than go to jail. Even people with modest nest eggs are constantly looking for ways to legally protect their wealth. Lawyers love it, since it means citizens need a variety of trusts and complicated legal avenues for minimizing taxes. That’s part of the game. As governments press on, the stakes escalate, taxes increase, and we have to escalate our efforts to protect ourselves. Look to New Jersey or France—which recently passed “millionaire taxes” to facilitate going after the super-wealthy. A year later both governments found that the tax revenue they received from the ultra-wealthy had dropped even though they taxed at a much higher percentage of their earnings. What happened? The wealthy moved and took their money with them. Frankly, I’m amazed that the political class seemed so surprised. Instead of more tax dollars coming in, they ended up with fewer. The next move—look for additional ways to “enhance revenue.”Thugs Steal Land Have you heard of the term “eminent domain?” It means that the government has the legal right to confiscate your property for public use. For generations, it meant that if the government was building an airport or school, it could force a property owner to sell needed land to the government. Here in the United States, the Fifth Amendment limits the federal government’s ability to exercise that right. Americans put up with eminent domain because most of us have never had to deal with it. In 2005, the Supreme Court vastly expanded when eminent domain could be used. The Kelo decision allowed a Connecticut city to take private property and transfer it to another private owner as part of the city’s comprehensive economic redevelopment plan. In short, the definition of “public use” is running wild. Just look to the suburban towns in Cook County, Illinois, where private citizens were forced to sell their old Archie Bunker-type houses to the government. Then the government re-sold them to a politically connected developer who built a large condominium complex. Why did they do that? If 20 houses are torn down and 100 condominiums are built in their place, the government increases its tax base and increases “revenue enhancement” by 400% or more. Is this really a public use, or government use?Thugs Steal Gold Additionally, the government has targeted specific assets to confiscate. President Roosevelt confiscated gold by executive order in 1933. When he issued the order, gold was $20/oz. in round numbers. He made it a criminal offense to own gold to “encourage” citizens to comply with the law and redeem their gold for paper money. The price of gold from the Treasury was then raised to $35/oz. Those people holding fresh cash from the government took a huge hit to their wealth virtually overnight. In effect, the US government legally stole wealth from the private sector with the stroke of Roosevelt’s pen. It would be foolhardy to think something like that couldn’t happen again. A recent Casey Research special report on Obamacare makes it clear that seniors may be forced to go offshore for health care that we may be denied in the US. Should my wife Jo or I need a hip replacement or a heart procedure, I don’t want any delays because I have to find a way to move money offshore to pay for the care. Better safe than sorry. We can protect our nest egg by making it more difficult for a confiscatory government to steal it. The government makes more rules, and prudent investors have to look for ways to legally work around them and protect themselves. Offshore investing offers one of the best means to do just that. Of course, the US government doesn’t make it easy. Under the guise of the Patriot Act and the war on drugs, our government has instituted a series of forms demanding that US citizens report all of their foreign assets on a regular basis. In addition, it is escalating its demands on foreign banks to share data with it even though doing so may be in violation of the laws in the local country. Because of the hassle, a lot of foreign banks are getting rid of US clients. Bingo! That’s exactly what our government wants them to do to us. The federal government is frantically escalating its efforts to identify and locate all assets belonging to US citizens all over the world. If you don’t supply the information, there are criminal penalties. It is watching—as Edward Snowden recently pointed out. And it also owns the police force—as Mr. Snowden quickly found out. Prudent people who understand the game will take steps while they still can to legally move some of their assets out of their home country, just like the people of New Jersey and France have done. The government likes to label those who do so as “selfish tax evaders” and “cheats” to discourage us from protecting ourselves. Always comply with the law. Report and pay taxes on your income, but use every legal avenue to protect your nest egg, or you could lose it.Added Benefits to Internationalization Not all of the reasons for going international are defensive. Offshore investments not only offer good investment choices that are not available in the US, they can also provide a tremendous advantage for protecting against inflation. When the dollar inflates, its buying power drops in relation to other currencies. Inside my offshore Roth IRA, I have investments denominated in eight different foreign currencies. As the value of the dollar decreases—which it has for the last 100 years—owning assets denominated in a currency that is increasing in value can offset those effects. I bought a stock on a foreign exchange that could have been bought here in the US. When I sold it for a nice gain, I realized that not only did I take a gain on the stock, I also had an additional profit due to the foreign currency increasing in value against the USD. My goal today is to help our readers understand why a lot of investors, even with smaller portfolios, are looking outside the US to protect themselves and their nest eggs. Internationalizing some of our assets is a darn good insurance policy. How many get-togethers have we had where friends expressed concern about the government and the direction the country is going? The next step in the government chess game will be instituting capital controls, like Argentina has already done. That means the amount of money citizens can take out of the country will be tightly controlled by the government. If we wait until that happens, it will be too late. While Jo and I have no plans to move out of the country—after all, our grandchildren are here—we think it’s plain old common sense to hold some of our investments internationally. In addition to good investment opportunities, we just feel safer because we are better protected from inflation, deflation, or outright confiscation. —- I decided to write this article after reading a new Casey Research special report, Going Global 2013, and quickly realizing that it applied to my readers and myself. I liked that the report covers how small investors can easily get started and discusses investments we can make even if we want to keep our money closer to home. The report also shows us how we can find and open accounts—including an IRA—all around the world, and details more sophisticated foreign trusts and legal ways for larger investors to pass their wealth down to future generations. It even offers steps we can take from our own home to store physical gold in safe jurisdictions like Singapore and Switzerland. Unlike most of the material I read on internationalization, which is written for ultra-wealthy investors (by someone who is trying to garner their business), this report is written for you and me. While most of us will never progress beyond Chapter 8, we can progress to our personal level of comfort and protect our nest egg accordingly. I’ve worked out an arrangement with the authors so you can purchase Going Global 2013and get a free three-month subscription to Money Forever. During your free three months, you’ll receive three issues, have access to all the research on the investments in our portfolio, and access to all of our special reports, like the popular monthly income plan, Money Every Month. Click here for more about Going Global 2013 and this special offer. If this sounds right up your alley, plan to check out the August issue of Money Forever—we have a terrific interview with Nick Giambruno, senior editor of International Man, lined up. Nick’s perspective only amplifies why folks like you and me should take advantage of international investing, and he answers some of the questions that may have popped into your mind as you read this article. Money Forever subscribers should look for the issue in their inboxes on Tuesday, August 20.On the Lighter Side The NFL season will soon arrive. It held its annual Hall of Fame game last week, and this weekend we have a full slate of preseason games. If you are a football fan, I urge you to add a trip to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio to your bucket list. I spent a good bit of time walking around the museum, relating childhood memories to Jo. At one time, I had Bears season tickets. It always griped me that the franchise made season ticket holders pay full price for two preseason games or they lost the right to buy the tickets for the regular games. Football, like most professional sports, may receive a rude awakening if our economy does not improve. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were Super Bowl champions a decade ago and bragged that they had 57,000 people on their season-ticket waiting list. Now they have a hard time filling their stadium, and many of their home games are blacked out locally as a result. On a happier note, I am still receiving colorful emails from our readers about their career encores. Thank you to everyone who took the time to write in. If you have ideas to share and you have not yet dropped me a line, please send your story my way. I plan to share some of your ideas in Money Weekly towards the end of the month. And finally… As long as we are focusing on the government, here are some clever political quotations provided by Courtenay W. We hang petty thieves and appoint the great thieves to public office.—Aesop, Greek slave & fable author. Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich by promising to protect each from the other.—Oscar Ameringer, “the Mark Twain of American Socialism.” Until next week…last_img read more

GraphExeter—the bestknown roomtemperature transp

first_img GraphExeter—the best-known room-temperature transparent conductor—is a material built up of several graphene sheets with a layer of ferric chloride molecules in between each sheet. Exeter’s device converts light into electrical signals by exploiting the unique attributes of this material. Says Exeter physics professor Saverio Russo, “This new flexible and transparent photosensitive device uses graphene and graphExeter to convert light into electrical signals with efficiency comparable to that found in opaque devices based on graphene and metals.” At just a few atoms thick, it is ultra-lightweight and portable. Applications? How about photovoltaic textiles that enable your clothes to act as solar panels and charge your mobile phone while you’re walking down the street? Or an intelligent window that can both harvest electricity and display images, all while remaining transparent to the outside? “Smart clothing”—that can monitor a wide range of our functions as we go about our daily lives—is another recent development. Normally, it’s created by weaving conductive materials into fabrics. But that results in flexibility limitations, and it can only be achieved when the conductors are integrated into the design of the clothing from the start. But now, scientists at the UK’s National Physical Laboratory (NPL) have come up with a way to print silver directly onto fibers. The technique involves chemically bonding a nano‐silver layer onto individual fibers to a thickness of 20 nanometers, so that the conductive layer fully encapsulates fibers and has good adhesion and excellent conductivity. Chris Hunt, NPL’s lead researcher on the project, says: “The technique has many potential applications. One particularly exciting area is wearable sensors and antennas which could be used for monitoring, for example checking on patients and vulnerable people; data capture and feedback for soldiers in the field; and performance monitoring in sports. It offers particular benefits over the ‘weaving in’ approach, as the conductive pattern and flexibility ensures that sensors are always positioned in the same location on the body.” Or, how about having a touchscreen on your shirt sleeve? Further possibilities for printed metal inks are being pursued. Scientists at the American Chemical society have employed copper nanosheets, which are inexpensive and highly conductive, as a flexible circuit ink. They took the copper nanosheets, coated them with silver nanoparticles, and incorporated this material into an ink pen, using it to draw patterns of lines, words, and flowers on regular printer paper. Then, to show that the ink could conduct electricity, they connected a battery and lit up an LED at the drawing’s center. Courtesy Northwestern University The battery will continue to work—illuminating that LED—even when stretched, folded, twisted, or mounted on a human elbow. Power and voltage are similar to a conventional lithium-ion battery of the same size. It will stretch up to 300% of its original size with no loss of efficiency and can function for eight to nine hours before it needs recharging, which can be done wirelessly. So far, batteries—which presently power nearly all portable devices—have maintained their edge over supercapacitors for a couple of reasons. One, they’re way cheaper. And two, supercapacitors have low energy density, meaning that the amount of energy they can store per unit weight is relatively small. On the plus side, supercapacitors can be charged quickly and don’t lose their storage capabilities over time. They can literally last for millions of charge/discharge cycles without losing energy-storage capability, whereas the same process in batteries is slow and degrades their internal chemical compounds over time. Should supercapacitors overcome their deficiencies, however, they could be the wave of the future… in which case, we will need flexible ones. A group at the University of Delaware is experimenting with just such a device, using carbon nanotube macrofilms, polyurethane membranes, and organic electrolytes. Research is in the early stages, but the group says that the supercapacitor it’s developed in the lab has achieved excellent stability in preliminary testing. Meanwhile, a team of researchers at the Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research in Dresden announced last year that they have created a powerful micro-supercapacitor, just nanometers thick and less than half a centimeter across. And it’s bendable. Tests on the new device showed that the tiny power supply can store more energy and provide more power per unit volume than state-of-the-art supercapacitors. Team members are now working on ways to bring down its cost. Another power source that can be harnessed is the sun, through a flexible, transparent, photosensitive device developed at the University of Exeter in England. The device converts light into electrical signals by exploiting the unique properties of two “miracle” carbon-based materials: graphene and graphExeter (developed at the eponymous university). Carbon is a unique element in that its atoms can arrange themselves in many different ways (tubes, spheres, sheets, cubes, meshes), known as allotropes. Each of them, from graphite to diamonds, has distinctive properties. As depicted below, graphene is a carbon allotrope in which the atoms are arranged in a single layer in one plane. It is the thinnest known conductive material. “C’mon Sis, quit crumpling my computer!” It may seem unlikely that those words might soon issue from a young fellow’s mouth. Yet they could, in the not-too-distant future. And it’s because of the hottest trend in consumer products today: Flexible electronics. Some stunning advances in materials technology have made possible a lot of things we never expected to see (or maybe only dreamed of). They are about to lead to a flood of everyday electronic items that you can bend, stretch, crumple, and fold (but not spindle or mutilate). This is a big, big business. One analysis projects that the global flexible electronics market will reach $13.23 billion by 2020, at an estimated CAGR of around 22%. And that’s probably conservative. There’s so much going on in this sector that it’s hard to decide where to begin. But that crumply computer is as good a jumping-off point as any. Remember the old days, when people read newspapers on the train to work, then rolled them up and stuffed the parts they weren’t finished with into their back pockets? The newspaper of the future is going to be kinda like that. Neatly rollable, adaptable to a back pocket. It’s just not going to be made of paper. A September 2013 article from Science Daily asks us to envision “an electronic display nearly as clear as a window, or a curtain that illuminates a room, or a smartphone screen that doubles in size, stretching like rubber.” At UCLA, for example, scientists have fabricated “an elastomeric polymer light-emitting device (EPLED)” that can be repeatedly stretched, folded, and twisted at room temperature while still remaining lit and holding its original shape. The material has a single layer of electro-luminescent polymer sandwiched between a pair of transparent elastic composite electrodes that are made of a network of silver nanowires inlaid into a rubbery polymer. (The EPLED is a type of polymer light-emitting electrochemical cell [PLEC] device. Research is also ongoing in the development of flexible versions of organic light-emitting diode [OLED] displays commonly found in today’s smartphones, but the UCLA team chose PLECs instead because they’re easier to fabricate and simpler to work with.) The developers stretched and re-stretched their PLEC display 1,000 times, extending it 30% beyond its original shape and size, and it still continued to work at a high efficiency. In another test to determine the material’s maximum stretch, the researchers found it could be stretched to more than twice its original size while still functioning. It can also be folded 180° and twisted in multiple directions. Qibing Pei, UCLA’s principal investigator on the project says confidently that “[W]e believe that fully stretchable interactive displays that are as thin as wallpaper will be achieved in the near future.” Roll up the news and take it with you? That may not be far off. Samsung is also working on a flexible screen. The company is mounting its display on silicone that can be bent in half 100,000 times (Samsung claims), yet suffer a loss of light intensity in the crease zone of just 6%—all but undetectable by the human eye. Think of a smartphone whose screen size could be doubled by simply unfolding it. And the technology can be adapted to simple lighting, too. Is this your next desk lamp?center_img Of course, as our electronics become flexible, so must their power supplies, especially in the case of mobile devices. How that power is delivered will depend on how the war between batteries and supercapacitors is ultimately resolved. But scientists are currently working on flexible versions of both. In early 2013, collaborating researchers from Northwestern and the University of Illinois unveiled the first stretchable lithium-ion battery. American Chemical Society To test the ink’s flexibility, the researchers folded the paper 1,000 times, even crumpling it up, and demonstrated that the ink maintained 80-90% of its conductivity. But perhaps the most exciting roles flexible electronics will be playing in the years to come are in the realm of medicine. Because the human body is always in motion, the design of wearable health monitors and implants must take that into account. Yong Xu of Wayne State University has pushed the research forward by inventing a method for fabricating high-performance and high-density semiconductor circuits, and bonding them to flexible substrates. “The ultimate goal is to develop flexible and stretchable systems integrated with electronics, sensors, microfluidics, and power sources, which will have a profound impact on personalized medicine, telemedicine, and health care delivery,” Xu says. Surgery could be transformed. Consider what happens today after a doctor operates to remove a tumor from a patient’s liver. Even after following up with radiation and/or chemotherapy, the surgeon can never be positive that the treatment was successful. “But,” says Tom Jackson, an engineering professor at Penn State, “suppose I could apply a flexible circuit to the liver and image the tissue. If we see a new malignancy, it could release a drug directly onto that spot, or heat up a section of the circuit to kill the remaining cancerous cells. And when we were done, the body would resorb the material. “What I want is something that matches the flexibility and thermal conductivity of the body,” and conventional silicon technology is too rigid and thermally conductive for work like that. Jackson is going to get what he wants. Yes, conventional silicon tech is inappropriate for many uses in and on the body. But might there be a new form of silicon that captures its stability, efficiency, and low cost, yet bends and stretches? Indeed there is, says John Rogers, a cutting-edge materials scientist at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Rogers’ team has found a way to trick silicon into a more malleable form. Rather than making transistors from conventional wafers, they slice the material into sheets several times thinner than a human hair. “At this scale,” Rogers says, “something that would otherwise be brittle is completely floppy … [in the way that] a 2-by-4 is rigid, but a sheet of paper is not—similar materials, just different thicknesses.” The applications he’s working on are truly mind-blowing. Here are just a few: Imagine a sensor array that can precisely mold to the shape of an organ. Start with the heart. Sensors made of a stretchable, lightweight material and embedded with electronics could wrap around a beating heart like a glove, providing real-time measurements of cardiac activity. The goal, Rogers says, is to detect early signs of arrhythmia and deliver coordinated voltages across the entire organ, rather than administering massive shocks at a few points, as current defibrillators do. Collaborators at Washington University in St. Louis have tested the device, which he calls an “artificial pericardium,” on rabbits and on human hearts removed from transplant recipients. Trials in live patients could be just around the corner. He and his colleagues have also created an electronic “second skin.” It’s a wireless circuit board less than a micron thick that can be stamped directly onto the skin and sealed with a spray-on bandage. The device could enable doctors to monitor a wide range of biological functions, including heart rate, skin temperature, muscle activity, and hydration, for starters—and it conforms so well to the shifting creases and troughs of human skin that it can stay on for up to two weeks before it is sloughed off. It can also send small electric currents to stimulate muscles as part of a physical therapy regimen. And its noninvasiveness makes it especially useful in neonatal care. Finally, Rogers is well on the way to developing Prof. Jackson’s desired resorbable devices. These “transient electronics,” as he calls them, could monitor and prevent infection at surgical sites, then melt away according to a set schedule of days or weeks. And—made up of ingredients found in antacids and vitamin pills—they’re harmless to the human body. During a talk at an electrical engineering conference, a skeptical colleague bet Rogers that he wouldn’t dare swallow one of his transient devices on stage. Rogers won that bet. The shift to flexible electronics is a trend that means a financial windfall for companies poised to cash in on it. One of them—our July recommendation—presently sits in the BIG TECH portfolio. This company makes equipment used to encapsulate organic light-emitting diodes, part of the process that enables electronics to be folded or rolled. As demand for flexible devices takes off, so too will demand for this company’s equipment. For access to this recommendation, simply sign up for a risk-free 90-day trial of BIG TECH.last_img read more

Platinums high came shortly after 8 am in Hong

first_img Platinum’s high came shortly after 8 a.m. in Hong Kong on their Wednesday morning—and it chopped ten bucks lower from there until the real selling began shortly before 2 p.m. Zurich time—and the same time as gold and silver got hit in London.  The HFT boyz peeled another ten bucks off the price going into the COMEX close—and it  traded ruler flat from here.  Platinum closed at $1,129 spot, down 19 bucks from Tuesday’s close. It was just about as bad for the silver equities.  They opened down as well—and crashed to their low ticks minutes after 10:30 a.m. EDT.  They barely moved off their lows after that, as Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed down 3.06 percent. Here’s the 5-minute gold tick chart courtesy of Brad Robertson.  Midnight EDT/noon in Hong Kong is the vertical gray line at the 22:00 MDT mark.  You can see that the price/volume action that really mattered occurred between 6:30 and 9:00 a.m. Mountain Daylight time on this chart, with the big volume spike happening once the London p.m. fix was in and the HFT boyz spun their algorithms.  The rest really doesn’t matter.  Don’t forget to add two hours for EDT—and the ‘click to enlarge’ feature is a must. The dollar index closed late on Tuesday afternoon in New York at 97.99—and made it as high as 98.10 in the early going in Far East trading on their Wednesday morning.  It began to slide from there, with the 97.43 low coming just after 10:15 a.m. BST in London.  The subsequent rally made it back to within a basis point or two of unchanged by 11:00 a.m. EDT—and it chopped sideways from there into the close.  The index finished the day at 98.06—up 7 basis points. As you can tell, there was absolute no correlation between the what the currencies were doing and what was going on in the precious metal market. Ditto for palladium, except the selling in that metal was pretty much done by 1 p.m. EDT—and it traded flat in the 5:15 p.m. close of electronic trading as well.  Palladium got smoked for 23 dollars—and closed at $753 spot. With only one exception, the silver chart was a carbon copy of the gold chart—and the HFT boyz really smacked silver at the gold fix.  The low in silver came minutes before 10:30 a.m. in New York.  Gold’s low came about thirty minutes later. The high and low were reported as $16.075 and $15.655 in the May contract. Silver finished the Wednesday trading session at $15.67 spot, down another 22 cents.  Net volume wasn’t overly heavy, which I found surprising, as it was only  26,000 contracts, a thousand contracts more than on Tuesday. The gold stocks opened down a bit—and kept right on going, with the lows coming just before 2 p.m. EDT.  After that they didn’t do much.  The HUI got hit for 3.63 percent. The CME Daily Delivery Report showed that zero gold and 1 lonely silver contract was posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved depositories on Friday. The CME Preliminary Report for the Wednesday trading session showed that gold open interest in April declined by 54 contracts—and that leaves 471 contracts still open.  Not surprisingly, the silver o.i. fell by the 150 contracts posted for delivery yesterday—and that will be delivered today.  There are 23 contracts still open in April. There were no reported changes in GLD—and as of 9:32 p.m. EDT yesterday evening, there were no reported changes in SLV, either. Over at Switzerland’s Zürcher Kantonalbank for the week ending Friday, April 17—they reported increases in both their gold and silver ETFs for a change.  In gold they added 15,832 troy ounces—and in silver it was 68,360 troy ounces. There was another sales report from the U.S. Mint yesterday.  They sold 3,500 troy ounces of gold eagles—1,000 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes—and 30,000 silver eagles. It was another very busy day in gold over at the COMEX-approved depositories on Tuesday, as 141,031 troy ounces were reported received—and only 100 troy ounces were shipped out.  Most of the gold deposited disappeared into the vaults of HSBC USA.  The link to that activity is here. Silver activity was also very decent, as 631,802 troy ounces were received—and 555,071 were shipped out.  A bit over half the silver that was shipped out came out of JPMorgan’s vault.  The link to that action is here. Over at the COMEX-approved gold depositories in Hong Kong on Tuesday, Brink’s, Inc. reported receiving 8,319 kilobars, but they also shipped out a chunky 14,759 kilobars.  That’s big movement, dear reader.  The link to that activity in troy ounces is here. I have the usual number of stories for a weekday column—and I’ll happily leave the final edit up to you. [Last] Wednesday, I commented that the COMEX is artificially setting the price of silver and gold by means of a purely private betting game (aka bucket shop) comprised exclusively of speculators with no real producer or consumer participation. I attempted to prove this by pointing out that the Managed Money category accounts for 90% of contract position change on both price declines and increases. Since Managed Money traders are defined by the CFTC and the exchange as being pure speculators (as opposed to legitimate hedgers) there can be little doubt that they are just that – speculators. And the same can be said of the financial institutions trading against the managed money traders; since no legitimate producers (miners) or users are involved in the game, the commercial traders are also nothing more than speculators. I hope you recognize that the 90% figure of all positioning is a very conservative estimate on my part, when it comes to typical managed money participation. In fact, the percentage is, at times, much greater than 100%. In recapping last week’s COT Report and compared to their commercial counterparties, the Managed Money traders in gold accounted for 160% of commercial positioning (7,600 contracts vs. 4,700 commercial contracts) and in silver, the managed money traders accounted for 130% of commercial positioning (8,600 contracts vs. 6,600 commercial net contracts). I’d like to see someone from the CFTC or the CME Group try to explain how this wasn’t proof of manipulation on its face, but neither appear to be forthcoming on any serious market matter. – Silver analyst Ted Butler: 18 April 2015 Another day—and more salami slicing—the same old, same old. Taking another look at the gold and silver charts, it’s easy to see that we still have 40 dollars or so to go in gold—and about 50 cents in silver at the most to get back to where we were about five weeks ago. Of course, it’s never the price that matters.  As Ted Butler continually points out, it’s the number of long contracts that JPMorgan et al can get the technical funds in the Managed Money category to sell—and then how much they can get them loaded up on the short side on top of that.  When those two numbers are reached in both gold and silver, the bottom will be in—and we’re not there yet. Here are the 6-month charts for all four precious metals, updated with yesterday’s damage. Another day—and more salami slicing—the same old, same old Despite the fact that the dollar index got smoked in Far East trading for most of their Wednesday session, the gold price didn’t react much to that fact, or wasn’t allowed to—you pick.  The gold price continued to chop a few dollars around either side of unchanged until shortly before 1 p.m. in London trading.  The HFT boyz showed up ten minutes after the COMEX open—and then finished the job once the London p.m. gold “fix” was in, with the low coming just minutes before the London close, which was 11:00 a.m. EDT.  The subsequent rally didn’t get far—and after the 1:30 p.m. COMEX close, it traded flat for the remainder of the Wednesday session. The high and low ticks were reported by the CME Group as $1,204.40 and $1,185.00 in the June contract. Gold finished the Wednesday trading day at $1,186.80 spot, down and even 15 dollars from Tuesday’s close.  Net volume was pretty decent at 139,000 contracts. Of course outside circumstance may intervene at some point—and we could get rallies regardless, but at the moment one must assume that nothing has changed in the short to medium term—and that “da boyz” and their algorithms are still the masters  of the precious metal market. And as I type this paragraph, the London open is about ten minutes away.  Gold hit a new low for this move down shortly before 10 a.m. Hong Kong time on their Thursday morning.  The metal rallied above unchanged for a while, but has begun to head lower in the last hour of trading.  The silver price hasn’t done much at all during Thursday trading in the Far East—and is basically unchanged from it’s Wednesday close in New York.   Platinum and palladium have been chopping around unchanged as well. Gold’s net volume is getting very close to the 20,000 contract mark—and 99.9 percent of it is in the current front month, so it’s all of the HFT variety.  Silver’s net volume is at the 2,400 contract mark, with very decent roll-over volume.  The dollar index is chopping higher—and is currently up 13 basis points. It’s unfortunate that yesterday’s trading volume won’t be included in tomorrow’s Commitment of Traders Report as there certainly was improvement in the Commercial net short positions in both silver and gold.  This would be especially true in gold, as JPMorgan et al closed it well below its 50-day moving average—and back below $1,200 spot. And as I send today’s effort out the door at 5:20 a.m. EDT, I see that gold and silver aren’t doing much, or aren’t being allowed to do much, although silver is up about a dime at the moment.  Both platinum and palladium set minor new lows for this move down—and are trading about unchanged. Gold’s net volume is at 29,500 contracts, which is pretty heavy for such tiny moves in the gold price, so it appears that whatever rally attempts are being made, the price is not being allowed to get far.  Silver’s net volume is around 4,500 contracts—and a decent amount is roll-overs out of the May contract.  The dollar index, which had been up earlier, is now down a hair. I’m done for another day.  It remains to be seen how the rest of the Thursday trading session turns out.  It appears that despite what the dollar index is doing, the precious metal prices are being totally controlled by JPMorgan et al in the COMEX futures market—and unless something comes out of left field, I expect that the current trend will continue. See you tomorrow, Integra’s Lamaque South Gold Project and Sigma-Lamaque Milling Complex and Mines are located directly east from the city of Val-d’Or along the prolific Abitibi Greenstone belt in the Province of Québec, Canada, approximately 550 km northwest of Montréal. Québec is rated one of the best mining jurisdictions in the world. Infrastructure, human resources and mining expertise are readily available. The Company’s primary focus is on production planning for its high-grade Lamaque South project. The Lamaque South property is divided into three clusters, the North, South and West cluster. The primary targets are the high-grade Parallel Zone in the North Cluster and the Triangle Zone in the South Cluster. The acquired Sigma Mill, located 1 kilometer from the Parallel Zone and 3 kilometers from the Triangle Zone, is a fully-permitted, 2,200 ton per day mill and tailings facility. The Sigma-Lamaque Mill and Mining Complex include the historic Sigma and Lamaque Mines which operated for 75 and 52 years respectively and produced more than 9 million ounces of gold in total. Please visit our website for more information.last_img read more

New evidence proves that the controversial outsour

first_imgNew evidence proves that the controversial outsourcing contractor Atos should be stripped of all of its disability benefit assessment contracts, say disabled campaigners.Fresh concerns about the behaviour of Atos and its assessors emerged after Disability News Service (DNS) revealed last week how an Atos nurse repeatedly lied about a disabled man he was assessing for personal independence payment (PIP).The nurse, who is believed to be still carrying out assessments for Atos, stated in his report – in addition to a string of other incorrect statements – that Colin Stupples-Whyley had attended the PIP assessment alone, even though his partner had sat with him throughout the interview.Now, following the publication of that story, other disabled claimants have come forward to describe to DNS how their Atos assessors “lied” about them in benefit assessment reports.Former nurse Sue Hardy, who lectured on nursing for 22 years at the University of Bedfordshire, until she was forced to retire due to ill-health in 2013, said she was appalled when she read the report written by the Atos nurse who assessed her for the out-of-work disability benefit employment and support allowance (ESA).The report was littered with errors, but most worrying was the cognitive tests section, which was filled in by the assessor even though none of the tests had been carried out.Hardy, who was accompanied by a friend to the assessment, said: “This nurse lied on my assessment form. Having just had to give up my 35-year career as a nurse and senior lecturer, I found her assessment erroneous in many areas.”She appealed against the decision to place her in the work-related activity group of ESA, and won her appeal at tribunal, but also lodged a complaint with Atos, and with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).In the NMC complaint, she said the assessor had “completely fabricated, and invented the results of the cognitive assessment”.She told DNS: “I think Atos is a joke. How many people out there are being denied a fair assessment?“Nurses have a duty of care to all patients and clients and are bound by their code of conduct.“To omit an assessment or part thereof is negligence, and thus that duty of care is broken.“Atos employ nurses alongside doctors and physiotherapists, who are bound by similar codes of conduct.“So if the nurses are being caught fabricating assessment results, what about the other disciplines?“It is very worrying, and Atos obviously can’t perform these assessments to the required standards, resulting in people missing out on their benefits.”Although Atos handed over the ESA contract to another company earlier this year, it still has two major contracts to carry out PIP assessments.Colleen Hardy [no relation to Sue Hardy], from Kent, has described how a report written by the Atos physiotherapist who assessed her was littered with either basic errors or deliberate untruths about the impact of several chronic health conditions, including depression, anxiety, a thyroid disorder, and fibromyalgia.She was accompanied to the Atos building for the assessment by both a community psychiatric nurse and a friend, and both of them were able to dismiss the assessor’s claims that she had climbed a flight of stairs without help and by holding onto the bannister.Hardy later told DWP that the assessor was “either unqualified to give an informed opinion or she is being blatantly misleading and/or obstructive with the actual evidence”, and that she had simplified the impact of the fibromyalgia to a “ridiculous extent”.She said: “When I received my copy of the report, I was gobsmacked. It was full of inaccuracies and, let’s call a spade a spade here, lies!”As a result of the assessment in July 2012, she was removed from the support group of ESA and placed in the work-related activity group.After she appealed, a tribunal ruled that the original report was accurate, but still placed her back in the support group, although it did not reimburse her for the benefits she had lost in the meantime.Hardy said: “Atos and all involved never once explained any of the outlined inaccuracies in that report and stood by the physiotherapist completely.“I lost a fair amount of money, I lost confidence and my health suffered so much. This was all after the assessor deciding – despite all the professional opinion to the contrary she was shown – that in three months’ time I would be fit enough to work.”She added: “I can’t believe that Atos are more than happy to allow a liar to continue working for them.”Three other claimants have also come forward to accuse Atos assessors of lying in their reports.One told DNS how her Atos assessor asked her three questions, two of which required one-word answers, and then told her that her medical records answered all of the other questions.After giving the assessor a two-minute rundown of her week, she was “ushered out” of the assessment.She said: “When I was told I had (of course) failed the test, scoring the usual ‘0’ for mental health issues, I was shocked to read the report, which stated the interview had lasted 25 minutes, and a whole raft of questions had been asked!“To say the least, I was gobsmacked at this thick tome of utter fabrication.”Another claimant, with conditions including diabetes, a chronic degenerative disease that has ruptured all but two of the discs in her neck, arthritis, high blood pressure, and panic attacks, was told she had scored zero points in her assessment.She said: “The tissue of lies was unbelievable. It’s a bloody farce, the whole thing.”Among the inaccuracies in the report, the assessor claimed the claimant had opened the door to the assessment centre, when her daughter had done so, and that she had no problem removing her coat and undoing the buttons, even though she had not been wearing a coat.She said: “There was nothing to indicate any of the responses I’d given. They also stated I had no problems getting on the couch, [even though] they had to get me a step and she had to help me down.”A third claimant – the fifth in all to describe their experiences – described how an Atos doctor wrote in his report that he had performed “squats” in front of him, and “repeatedly climbed on and off the assessment couch without problems”.He said: “Not only is it impossible for me to squat, but the assessor actually had to provide me with steps to get onto the couch and help (alongside another person)… lift me on and off.”Although a tribunal subsequently found the report to be accurate, despite a witness and statements from specialists and doctors saying it could not have happened, the assessment was subsequently “completely dismissed” at a supersession – which allows DWP to change a benefit decision if a claimant’s circumstances change or if the decision was made without knowledge of the full facts – requested by his MP.He said: “The whole system is obscene and bordering on corrupt.”Rick Burgess, co-founder of the campaign group New Approach, said he was now hearing of many PIP claimants who were experiencing the same kind of “fraudulent healthcare professional reports” that ESA claimants had been subjected to, allowing DWP decision-makers to disallow their claims.He said: “I have yet to meet someone who thought their report accurately recorded the assessment and their impairment/illness. Seriously, no-one!“Sadly, the abuse and horror that was meted out to ESA claimants is now going to come to DLA/PIP claimants on a scale hitherto unseen.“I think many who have not experienced a work capability assessment and tribunal have been sceptical of the reports of abuse and fraud from Atos and the DWP, but unfortunately that will be happening to those making PIP claims now.“The government has a target to cut half a million [PIP] claims… the only way to do that is to commit medical/welfare fraud on disabled people on a massive scale; just as they do with ESA.”Lawyer and benefits expert Nick Dilworth, also a co-founder of New Approach, said he had helped hundreds of disabled people with appeals and requests for reconsiderations of benefit decisions, mainly those who had undergone testing for ESA eligibility by Atos.He said it was “commonplace for question-marks to be raised by clients over inconsistencies in what had been said with the healthcare professional conducting face-to-face assessments”.  He said: “Clients would regularly allege that Atos lied over how long they had remained sitting or standing or [had been] seen walking from waiting areas to the examination room.  “The amount of time a claimant was reported as ‘sitting continuously’ simply wouldn’t tally with the timing on the ESA85 [assessment form] detailing how long the assessment lasted.  “You could see the same report remarking on how, within the same time, the ‘claimant rose unaided several times’; it didn’t add up.”He said it was too early to say whether PIP assessments were any better than those for ESA.Dilworth said he had been impressed when he attended an Atos PIP assessment, although “others have told me the whole report is ‘a complete joke’”.  Linda Burnip, a co-founder of Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), said: “Sadly none of these complaints about the appallingly low standard of Atos assessors comes as a surprise.“Atos has consistently failed to meet the terms of their contracts for PIP assessments, with inaccessible centres still being used in many parts of the country.“They are still unable to attract high-calibre staff and they should be stripped of the PIP contracts with immediate effect.”John McArdle, co-founder of the Black Triangle campaign, said he agreed with Hardy’s concerns about assessors who were doctors, physiotherapists and occupational therapists, as well as nurses.He said: “Private companies should be driven out of anything to do with the assessment of disabled people, because their first duty is to shareholders, to maximise profits.”He said the concerns raised with DNS were just “the tip of a massive iceberg”.He said: “Atos are still employing people who are demonstrably liars. It shows the General Medical Council [for doctors] and the NMC are not doing their job.”DPAC researcher Anita Bellows added: “We have received similar complaints about PIP assessments.“I would advise claimants to request the assessment to be audio-recorded and to bring somebody with them.“If they are unhappy about the outcome, they should request the assessor’s report. In the meantime, this needs to be formally investigated.”An Atos spokeswoman said: “All assessment services for ESA transferred to a new provider earlier this year.“As part of that process, we transferred all the claimant data we held to the DWP.“Therefore we now have no way to look back at these cases and investigate but can assure you that we had a stringent complaints policy in place when we ran the contract and all complaints made were fully investigated.”When asked if that meant that Atos had no record of complaints made against its staff while it was carrying out the WCA contract, she declined to comment.An NMC spokeswoman said the organisation did not have any data on complaints about Atos assessors, and could not confirm any details about a specific complaint unless it reached a “fitness to practice” hearing.last_img read more

For the Perfect SocialImpact Investment Look No Further Than Cannabis

first_img For many investors, making a positive social impact is becoming increasingly important. For some, doing good has become as essential as doing well. This goal is at the heart of impact investing, which the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) defines as investing “with the intention to generate social and environmental impact alongside financial return.”The pursuit of this so-called double-bottom-line is the Holy Grail for the impact investing industry. However, the challenge still facing many investors is how to make a significant impact without sacrificing returns. This is especially true of institutional investors, who often need to write eight- or nine-figure checks in order to justify an allocation.Cannabis is one of the few industries that satisfies all of the above conditions, making it the perfect impact investment. First, let’s discuss financial return: Analysts at Cowen & Co. estimate that the U.S. market for cannabis will reach more than $50 billion by 2026, up from about $9 billion today. Although cannabis is still a nascent market, global consumer demand is well-established. According to recent polls, approximately 1 in 8 U.S. adults consider themselves regular consumers. Despite the many risks unique to cannabis investment, investors who get in early may be able to enjoy hyper growth returns reminiscent of the dot-com boom.Related: Getting Healthy, Not High: Using Cannabis to Fight CancerSecond, let’s discuss social impact. I asked Emily Paxhia, founding partner of Poseidon Asset Management, a prominent cannabis investment fund, for her take on the matter. “Investing in cannabis is rewarding not only for the returns we see, but also for the social and environmental benefits. While it might not seem like impact investing at first glance, there are additional positive outcomes to capitalizing the cannabis industry. We have seen communities benefit from job creation, reduced opiate addiction and advances in criminal justice reform.”Here are examples of how cannabis can generate significant positive social impact:Public HealthThe medical benefits of cannabis are well-documented, and millions of patients have now embraced cannabis as a cheaper, safer and more effective option to help treat severe illnesses such as cancer, epilepsy and PTSD.With proper R&D and regulation, cannabis will regain its place as a mainstay in the medicine cabinets of every American household –a status the plant enjoyed prior to prohibition. Medical marijuana also represents one of the only viable, scalable solutions to the opiate epidemic, which experts estimate is costing the U.S. more than $500 billion in economic productivity each year (to say nothing of tens of thousands of overdoes deaths).Related: Minnesota Study Adds to Growing Evidence Medical Marijuana Reduces Opioid UseCriminal Justice ReformThe war on drugs has really been mostly a war on young people of color. Even though cannabis consumption rates are nearly uniform across races, black and brown Americans are anywhere from four to 10 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana use or possession, depending on geography. There are today more than half a million Americans serving sentences in federal prison for possession of marijuana. The mass incarceration and criminalization of drug users may be great for the prison industry, but for the rest of society it fuels systemic racial and economic inequality which is destructive to our nation’s values and well-being.As legalization advances and prohibition eventually ends on the federal level, the millions of lives damaged by the war on drugs will be able to receive some healing, support and perhaps participation in the now booming industry. Furthermore, the policy shift around cannabis represents an opportunity to institute a more compassionate, harm-reduction approach toward drug users. Imagine if instead of criminalizing, punishing and dehumanizing people who suffer from substance abuse problems, our institutions provided counseling, mindful care and rehabilitative treatment.Related: What Every Cannabis Entrepreneur Needs to Understand About the Cole MemoAgriculture & SustainabilityHemp was farmed in most parts of the country from earliest colonial time right up until the onset of cannabis prohibition in the early 1900s. Hemp is easier and cheaper to grow than cotton or corn, is far less harmful to the surrounding environment and much more versatile for a wide range of textiles. Hemp is used to make products as varied as footwear, luggage, clothing, rope, paper and plastic.Compared to cotton, hemp requires about two-thirds as much water to grow and one quarter as much water to process. One acre of hemp will produce as much fiber as two to three acres of cotton. Hemp fiber is also stronger than cotton and lasts twice as long. Industrial hemp has the potential to revive entire agricultural communities.Hemp can even be used to remove toxic chemicals from the ground or surrounding streams. A joint effort in 1998 to decontaminate the area around Chernobyl found that hemp plants can absorb large amounts of radiation through its roots, effectively removing many of the contaminants in the water and soil. Hemp has also been proven to absorb heavy metals from soil, making it a potentially cost-effective solution to cleaning up the thousands of contaminated sites scattered around the country. Currently, America is the world’s leading importer of hemp.Related: Hemp Is the Multibillion-Dollar Cannabis Opportunity Few Have Heard AboutFood & NutritionHemp is also a superfood. Hemp seeds are high in fiber, iron, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, zinc, vitamin E and magnesium. The plant contains all 20 amino acids, including nine of the essential amino acids our bodies can’t produce. Compared to other popular sources of nutrition such as chia seeds, quinoa and flax seeds, hemp seeds provide as much as 75 percent more protein. It’s no surprise, then, that hemp seeds are often used in protein powers and health foods such as energy bars. Hemp seeds can also be used by farmers as animal feed for horses, cows and chickens — likely a healthier choice than what they’re fed today.Many investment firms have already taken steps toward growing the cannabis industry. By viewing cannabis through the lens of both its financial and social potential, investors have an opportunity to make a positive and long-lasting impact. To view cannabis as anything other than an impact investment is to be missing the bigger picture. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Listen Now Cannabis Perhaps the final unhappy irony of cannabis prohibition is that the plant is a benign substitute for many problematic products and raw materials. May 21, 2018 Michael Zaytsev Image credit: Norman Posselt | Getty Images For the Perfect Social-Impact Investment, Look No Further Than Cannabis 6 min read Green Entrepreneur Podcast Business Coach and Cannabis Author Next Article Guest Writer Each week hear inspiring stories of business owners who have taken the cannabis challenge and are now navigating the exciting but unpredictable Green Rush. –shares Add to Queuelast_img read more

Twitter Begins Discussions to Explore a Sale

first_img Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. BACK North Carolina superintendent says new app can help reduce violence in schools Next Article Economy adds 75K jobs in May Add to Queue Figure Out Your Family Tree Just in Time For Father’s Day As rivals such as Instagram and Snapchat gain traction with advertisers and social media users, investors have questioned how long Twitter could persist as a stand-alone company. Up Next: Figure Out Your Family Tree Just in Time For Father’s Day Memorial Day Weekend Heat Wave Could Smash May Records Airbnb Wants to Take You on an All-Inclusive Adventure A Safe Way to Get Rid Of Bugs in Your Home IndyCar Beefing Up Business as Indy 500 Approaches 2 min read Twitter Inc. has initiated talks with several technology companies to explore selling itself, a person familiar with the matter said on Friday, as the social media company grapples with its slowest revenue growth since going public in 2013.The sale negotiations will test Twitter’s value both as a data and multimedia company, as other social media services such as Facebook’s Instagram and Snapchat are expanding their footprints and developing new ways to generate profits.CNBC reported earlier on Friday, citing anonymous sources, that Twitter is in talks with companies that include Alphabet’s Google and Salesforce.com, and may receive a formal bid soon.Twitter and Alphabet could not be reached immediately for comment. Salesforce declined to comment.Twitter shares rose the most since its stock market debut in 2013, up 21 percent to $22.59, giving the company a market capitalization of close to $16 billion.Twitter has been a near-constant focus of takeover speculation amid persistently disappointing sales and user engagement. In its most recent quarterly earnings statement, Twitter’s revenue missed Wall Street estimates and the revenue forecast for the current quarter of $590 million to $610 million was well below the average analyst estimate of $678.18 million. As rivals such as Instagram and Snapchat gain traction with advertisers and social media users, investors have questioned how long Twitter could persist as a stand-alone company.Co-founder Jack Dorsey returned to the company as chief executive in 2015, but his plan for reviving Twitter is at best seen as unfinished.(Reporting By Greg Roumeliotis and Sinead Carew in New York; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli) A Petition Is Coming ? for a ‘Game of Thrones’ Final Season Do-Over IHOP Sees Explosive Growth in To-Go Sales Twitter Begins Discussions to Explore a Sale Summer Beauty Survival Must-Haves Beyond Meat Earnings Are Beyond Analyst Expectations Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand 2 Musts for Tackling Allergy Season Delicious Summer Entertaining Ideas A LifeMinute with Ryan Seacrest Economy adds 75K jobs in May Congress Is Back as President Trump Heads to the UK Sunlight Shines on Grand Canyon Figure Out Your Family Tree Just in Time For Father’s Day This story originally appeared on Reuters Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Guitarist Don ‘Fingers’ Felder Releases New Album New York takes aim at skyscrapers’ sky-high energy usage Memorial Day Weekend Heat Wave Could Smash May Records US Navy: Russian destroyer almost collided with cruiser in the Philippine Sea Justin Bieber Launches Plant-Based Deodorant DiCaprio, Pitt want to team up again after Tarantino hit A Safe Way to Get Rid Of Bugs in Your Home Turning Up the Heat in the Southeast for Holiday Weekend How Human Behavior is Hurting Animals and What We Can Do to Protect Them Privacy Policy   |   Terms of Use 2 Delicious Summer Entertaining Ideas September 23, 2016 2020 Toyota Camry 2020 Ballots May Have a New Box to Check ? Vice President Sophie Turner Talks Dark Phoenix, Co-Star Jessica Chastain and GoT Sophie Turner Talks Dark Phoenix, Co-Star Jessica Chastain and GoT –shares HBO’s ‘Chernobyl’ Phenomenon Summer is here and there are some great looks this season for women of all shapes and sizes. Check out the hottest styles for hourglass, rectangle and pear shaped women. Figure Out Your Family Tree Just in Time For Father’s Day Father’s Day is such a special moment for the whole family to come together and spend quality time with one another – and those are moments dad will cherish. What better way for dad to connect with his loved ones than learning about his family’s stor Lifeminute tv The requested video is no longer available A Petition Is Coming ? for a ‘Game of Thrones’ Final Season Do-Over 2 Musts for Tackling Allergy Season Summer Beauty Survival Must-Haves Embed Reuters Twitter Albany Steps Closer to Releasing Trump’s State Tax Returns After Assembly Vote Saint Laurent dazzles with men’s collection on Malibu beach Autoplay: On | Off Airbnb Wants to Take You on an All-Inclusive Adventure Heat Snapshot Swimwear Styles for All Shapes and Sizes Cannes: ticketless festival-goers seek seats for films Cannes: ticketless festival-goers seek seats for films Figure Out Your Family Tree Just in Time For Father’s Day Photo of solider placing flag at Tomb of Unknown Solider goes viral A LifeMinute with John Lithgow: The Actor Discusses His Latest Projects Southern Charm’ Star Talks New Season Former world paragliding champion Rémy soars over Pyrenees Enroll Now for $5last_img read more

Jebbits Newest Consumer Data Trust Index Indicates Declining Trust in Worlds Leading

first_img Consumer Data Trust IndexConsumer Privacy Actdata privacyJebbitMarketing TechnologyNews Previous ArticleKsquare’s Google Analytics Connector 2.0 for Mulesoft 4.X Provides an Out-Of-The-Box Solution to Integrate Your Google Analytics Data With Your Other Business ApplicationsNext ArticleBen Abbatiello Departs SpotX, Joins Video Ad Tech Beachfront Jebbit’s Newest Consumer Data Trust Index Indicates Declining Trust in World’s Leading Brands MTS Staff WriterJune 14, 2019, 6:25 pmJune 14, 2019 Recent Survey Shows Broad Support for Data Privacy Legislation as Consumers Remain Leery of Brands Requesting Too Much InformationJebbit, the world’s leading declared data platform, announced the release of their most recent Consumer Data Trust Index, a report surveying consumer trust in 100 of the world’s leading public-facing companies. Adult consumers from the United States were asked to rate, on a scale of one to ten, their level of trust in brands to use their personal data in exchange for more relevant offers, goods and services. Consumers were also asked a variety of question to evaluate their motivations and concerns when sharing data with companies and brands. The recurring study, first published in 2018, shows a continued decline in trust by survey respondents in major companies.The three companies most trusted by consumers according to the Consumer Data Trust Index (CDTI) are Amazon, Microsoft, and UPS. For the second time in a row, Amazon was the only company to score higher than 6.0 in average consumer trust, demonstrating a continued lack of improvement in trustworthiness across the board among consumers. However, the comparatively strong results of companies like Amazon, UPS, Walgreens and Google also show the continued importance for companies to deliver value in exchange for consumer data.Marketing Technology News: Volly Launches Point-of-Sale Mobile App and Rebrands CRM Mobile AppIn response to the need to better safeguard consumer data and increase trust, and as new legislation like the California Consumer Privacy Act and Europe’s GDPR take hold in the marketplace, nearly three-quarters of survey respondents indicated their support for data privacy legislation at a federal level. Only five percent of respondents opposed such legislation.The CDTI continued to show poor results for Facebook following the company’s ongoing struggle with data privacy issues. Facebook fell six spots to 95th in the most recent survey, after having been ranked 89th in the previous survey and dead last in the first CDTI. This lack of trust was recorded in spite of Facebook’s increasing user base, indicating that users are not sufficiently motivated to stop using the platform even while they mistrust Facebook’s data practices.Marketing Technology News: PipelineDeals Launches the Women in Tech Scholarship“Jebbit’s Consumer Data Trust Index continues to offer a comprehensive picture of consumer attitudes with regard to the world’s leading companies and their data collection strategies. As overall trust continues to decline, brands must take the opportunity to demonstrate an equitable value exchange and regain consumer trust,” commented Jonathan Lacoste, President of Jebbit.Marketing Technology News: Idaptive Named a Leader in Identity-as-a-Service for Enterprise by Independent Research Firmlast_img read more

Walking downhill after meals can reduce bone resorption in postmenopausal women with

first_img Source:https://www.endocrine.org/ Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Mar 25 2019Walking downhill after eating can reduce bone resorption, the process in which old bone is broken down and removed from the body, in postmenopausal women with diabetes, according to research to be presented Sunday, March 24 at ENDO 2019, the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society, in New Orleans, La. Walking uphill does not have the same benefit, the study found.All women are at risk of bone loss after menopause because of a loss of estrogen. Postmenopausal women with diabetes experience more broken bones than postmenopausal women who do not have the condition. “We wanted to see whether eating before or after meals, and walking downhill or uphill, had an effect on markers of bone formation and resorption in these women,” said lead researcher Katarina T. Borer, Ph.D., of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich.Related StoriesDiet and physical exercise do not reduce risk of gestational diabetesLong-term follow-up of childhood cancer survivors is essential to maintain bone healthCommon antibacterial agent may be bad news for bone healthThe researchers studied 15 postmenopausal women with diabetes in two of five day-long experiments. One group did not exercise. The remaining groups spent 40 minutes exercising on either an uphill or downhill treadmill. The participants exercised either an hour before or an hour after eating each of two daily meals.The women’s blood was measured hourly to look for markers of bone formation and resorption. Their levels of glucose and insulin were also measured. The women wore special shoe insoles to measure the impact of their walking. The study found the most effective way to reduce the breakdown of the protein collagen, which helps form bone, was to walk downhill after eating.”Exercising after eating may help nutrients from the food get absorbed into the bloodstream,” Borer said. “The best exercise for your bones is the weight-bearing kind, which forces you to work against gravity. When you walk downhill, the pull of gravity is greater.”Borer noted that an easy way to walk downhill is to walk down stairs. While most treadmills are only adjustable upwards, not downwards, she said it may be possible to put cement blocks under the back of the treadmill to tilt it downwards.In the future, postmenopausal women with diabetes might be able to combine exercising after meals with walking downhill to reduce their need for osteoporosis medication, Borer said.”Before we recommend this, studies would need to be done to determine exactly how much bone mineral they are losing and how much exercise must be done to compensate for reducing the medication,” she said.last_img read more

Revolutionary treatment uses fat cells to correct vaginal and postmenopausal problems

first_imgApr 3 2019For the first time ever British women are being offered a revolutionary new treatment to correct a broad range of vaginal, gynecological and post-menopausal related problems. The Regenerative Woman Clinic opens its doors this April 2019.More than 50%* of menopausal women in the UK say their life has been impacted negatively with little or no help offered in most communities. 294* million women worldwide suffer with vaginal atrophy as a result of the menopause and 75%* go untreated. For the first time ever British women are now being offered a revolutionary and natural new treatment to correct a broad range of vaginal, gynecological and post-menopausal related problems.The Regenerative Woman Clinic provides pioneering Lipogems® technology treatment for vaginal atrophy and a host of other conditions. Mesenchmyal Stem Cells (MSCs) present in fat tissue are harvested and once prepared the cells are injected into areas of the vagina and vulva where they stimulate healthy cell growth and repair alleviating common symptoms such as dryness, soreness, burning sensations and discomfort during intercourse.The clinic has assembled a team of specialist gynecological Harley Street consultants, each one an expert in their own field of gynecology including; Related StoriesTrends in colonoscopy rates not aligned with increase in early onset colorectal cancerSugary drinks linked to cancer finds studyHow cell-free DNA can be targeted to prevent spread of tumorsWithout the use of synthetic chemicals or replacements, Lipogems® technology rejuvenates the vagina, and is a natural solution helping to restore vaginal health; lifting the physical and emotional burden women often feel when struggling with their vaginal health.Lipogems® technology can be used for the effective treatment of vaginal atrophy, dryness, soreness and pain during sex. For each woman the experience of the menopause is extremely personal however, it is estimated that over 40% of menopausal women will experience symptoms related to vaginal atrophy. It is particularly helpful for multiple uses for other conditions such as Lichen sclerosis, Lichen Planus, Lichen simplex, stress incontinence, tearing as a result of birth-trauma and problems caused by oestrogen deficiency. The orthopaedic sister clinic under the leadership of Professor Adrian Wilson has successfully conducted thousands of Lipogems® treatments on hips, knees, ankles and shoulders contributing to a global total of more than 30,000 Lipogems® procedures worldwide.Miss Jeannie Yoon, says: We are very excited about the potential of this technique and the positive impact that it can bring to women’s lives. I see women everyday with diverse problems and needs. We believe that this treatment may have superior longevity compared to other alternatives. Lipogems offers a more natural alternative to women who want or need to avoid hormonal treatment, for example, those women who have had cancer or are at risk of getting cancer. This will revolutionize many women’s lives.”center_img Miss Shoreh Beski, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynecologist with 25 years’ experience in the private health sector and NHS with a special interest in sub fertility, regenerative medicine and high risk obstetrics Miss Jeannie Yoon, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynecologist having worked at St Thomas’, Queen Charlotte’s, Chelsea & Westminster and the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. Miss Yoon has specialist knowledge of abnormal smears and colposcopy, having spent three years at the Royal Marsden Hospital as the Cancer Research Campaign Fellow and is a recognized BMS (British Menopause Society) specialist Dr Richard Smith, Consultant Gynecologist, was a Senior Lecturer at Charing Cross & Westminster School of Medicine and thereafter Consultant and Director of Gynaecology at the Chelsea & Westminster Hospital. He is the First editor of the book, Gynecologic Oncology and the author Women’s Cancers: Pathways to Healing Dr. Joseph Aquilina, Consultant Obstetrician & Gyneologist, is a Consultant at St.Bartholomew’s and Royal London Hospitals and an Honorary Senior Lecturer at Queen Mary University of London. His work has been recognized as a preceptor for training in gynecological scanning by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and has been the Editor for Women’s Health Section of Current Opinion in Obstetrics and Gynecology Source:https://www.theregenerativewomanclinic.co.uk/last_img read more

CSUs Infectious Disease Research Center recognized as BioscienceMedical Manufacturer of the Year

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Apr 30 2019Colorado State University’s Infectious Disease Research Center was recognized as the 2019 Bioscience/ Medical Manufacturer of the Year at the Colorado Manufacturing Awards on April 4 in Denver.The Colorado Manufacturing Awards are presented by CompanyWeek, which provides digital media reporting on the regional manufacturing economy, and Manufacturers Edge, the official representative of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership in Colorado.Center spurs collaborative research on human, animal diseasesThe Center was honored for its work to support the development and manufacturing of diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccine products on behalf of government, academic and private sector organizations.Related StoriesComplement system shown to remove dead cells in retinitis pigmentosa, contradicting previous researchOlympus launches next-generation X Line objectives for clinical, research applicationsTAU’s new Translational Medical Research Center acquires MILabs’ VECTor PET/SPECT/CTFinalists for the award included Cambrex and Osypka Medtec, both based in Longmont.The Infectious Disease Research Center offers university investigators, government scientists and industry representatives opportunities to collaboratively research the basic biology, biochemistry, molecular biology and epidemiology of bacteria and viruses that cause human and animal diseases.Ray Goodrich, director of the Infectious Disease Research Center, said he and his team were thrilled to be recognized for their efforts.”We work hard to integrate academic research and entrepreneurial companies at our world-class bio-manufacturing operation,” he added. Goodrich is also a professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology, which is part of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at CSU.Nomination highlights innovation, educationDan Powers, director of CO-LABS, a consortium which includes federal research laboratories, universities, state and local governments, economic development organizations, private businesses and nonprofit organizations, nominated the Infectious Disease Research Center for the award.In his nomination, Powers highlighted the work of the Rocky Mountain Regional Biocontainment Laboratory, Research Innovation Center, and BioMARC, which makes vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics — all of which are based at the Infectious Disease Research Center on CSU’s Foothills campus. He also described the ways each of the facilities support innovation and education in the bioscience and medical realms throughout Colorado.”The Infectious Disease Research Center competed against some of the top manufacturers in Colorado,” said Alan Rudolph, vice president for research at CSU. “This is an exceptional award to win, especially for an academic institution.” Source:https://source.colostate.edu/infectious-disease-research-center-named-2019-bioscience-medical-manufacturer-of-the-year/last_img read more

Dundee and Bukwang Pharm announce partnership to develop new drug for Parkinsons

first_img Source:University of Dundee Related StoriesRush University Medical Center offers new FDA-approved treatment for brain aneurysmsStudy provides new insight into longitudinal decline in brain network integrity associated with agingResearchers discover new therapeutic target for treatment of Alzheimer’s diseaseThe partnership with Bukwang Pharm strengthens the existing Dundee-Oxford relationship, which has been supported by the Medical Research Council. Bukwang Pharm will facilitate a further three-year program of work at Dundee and Oxford to advance these drug-like molecules towards clinical development.The aim is to formulate much-needed therapies for Parkinson’s disease and other diseases where α-synuclein pathology is implicated. Bukwang Pharm holds an exclusive option to acquire worldwide development and commercialization rights of resulting novel molecules.Professor Paul Wyatt, Head of the Drug Discovery Unit, said, “We are delighted to be announcing this partnership with Bukwang Pharm. Drug discovery for neurological disorders is especially challenging and an area where academia and industry need to be working together. This project brings together the clinical and translational research expertise in Oxford with Dundee’s professional drug discovery capabilities allowing us to move one stage further towards a treatment.”Hee-Won Yoo, CEO Bukwang Pharm, said: Finding treatments that target the alpha-synuclein protein holds promise for one day slowing or stopping the progression of Parkinson’s – something no current treatment can do.It’s an exciting time for Parkinson’s research. Our increased understanding of the biology of the condition means we’re now at a stage to turn our wealth of knowledge into much-needed treatments for people with Parkinson’s.It’s great to hear that researchers from the University of Dundee are joining forces with the University of Oxford, and Bukwang Pharmaceutical Company, to drive forward the development of drugs to help all those living with Parkinson’s.” Bukwang Pharm has a firm focus on research and development and a real commitment to innovation in drug development. We are very impressed with the DDU’s depth of expertise and track record and are pleased to be able to include the University of Oxford in this new partnership.” Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jul 3 2019The University of Dundee’s Drug Discovery Unit (DDU) has announced a multi-million-pound partnership with Korea-based Bukwang Pharmaceutical Company in a bid to develop a new drug treatment for Parkinson’s disease.Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurological disorder, after Alzheimer’s disease, affecting around two people in every 1000 across the population. There are around 6.1 million people worldwide and 120,000 people in the UK living with the condition.A key biological event in the development of Parkinson’s disease is the accumulation and misfolding of a small protein in the brain called α-synuclein, which can kill nerve cells. Research at the University of Oxford has shown that an enzyme, USP8, prevents the natural breakdown of α-synuclein.Working in collaboration with Dr George Tofaris at Oxford, the DDU has identified a series of drug-like molecules that block USP8 and could reduce the levels of α-synuclein in the brain, potentially providing a treatment for Parkinson’s disease.Dr Beckie Port, Research Manager at Parkinson’s UK, said:last_img read more

Mice study could lead to potential treatment for vestibular disorders

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jul 10 2019Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have found a way to regenerate hair cells in the inner ears of mice, allowing the animals to recover vestibular function. It’s the first time such recovery has been observed in mature mammals.If further research shows that the technique can be applied to humans, it would be an initial step toward treating vestibular disorders, such as dizziness. There is currently no effective treatment for dizziness and balance disorders caused by damaged or lost vestibular hair cells. The only available therapy is teaching patients coping mechanisms through physical therapy. Related StoriesWhy Mattresses Could be a Health Threat to Sleeping ChildrenExciting study shows how centrioles center the process of cell divisionNanoparticles used to deliver CRISPR gene editing tools into the cellCheng is the senior author of a paper about the research, which will be published July 9 in Cell Reports. Zahra Sayyid, an MD-PhD student at Stanford, is the lead author.The hair cells in the utricle, a section of the inner ear, help maintain balance and spatial orientation and regulate eye movement. Some antibiotics can damage these cells. Damage can also occur from infections or genetic disorders, or as a result of aging. In mature mammals, vestibular hair cells regenerate on their own only minimally. (Birds and fish, however, have the ability to completely regenerate them.)In the United States, about 69 million people experience vestibular dysfunction, some because of problems with inner ear hair cells. They can feel as if they’re spinning, lose their balance easily, suffer from nausea and have trouble tracking objects with their eyes. The symptoms can prevent patients from engaging in activities, including exercise and driving, and can lead to social isolation.To study these vestibular disorders, the researchers impaired the inner ear hair cells of mice and measured how well they regenerated on their own. The researchers found that about a third of the cells regenerated spontaneously but appeared immature, and vestibular function was inconsistent.Next, they manipulated Atoh1, a transcription factor that regulates hair cell formation, in the mice. In the animals that overexpressed Atoh1, as much as 70% of hair cells regenerated. The regenerated cells appeared relatively mature, and about 70% of these mice recovered vestibular function.”This is very exciting. It’s an important first step to find treatment for vestibular disorders,” Cheng said. “We couldn’t get sufficient regeneration to recover function before.”The researchers plan to study how other methods to enhance Atoh1’s function may affect regeneration.While the finding is a proof of concept, “it has opened the door for many more possibilities that could lead to treatment in people with vestibular disorders,” Sayyid said. Source:Stanford Medicine This disabling condition is very common among the elderly, and one of the primary causes of falls.”  Alan Cheng, MD, associate professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgerylast_img read more

Fantastically Preserved Viking Boat Grave and Skeletons Unearthed in Sweden

first_img Photos: Vikings Accessorized with Tiny Metal Dragons Photos: 10th-Century Viking Tomb Unearthed in Denmark Fierce Fighters: 7 Secrets of Viking Seamen Archaeologists recently unearthed two Viking burial boats in Uppsala, Sweden — one of which was exceptionally preserved and held the remains of a dog, a man and a horse. The Vikings sent a handful of their powerful elites to the afterlife in boats laden with sacrificed animals, weapons and treasure; the funeral practice dates back to the Iron Age (A.D. 550 to 800) but was used throughout the Viking age (A.D. 800 to 1050), according to a statement. These richly appointed graves have been discovered across Scandinavia. For example, archaeologists had previously found one such burial boat in Norway that had evidence of human remains and one in western Scotland that contained a slew of burial items such as an ax, a shield boss, a ringed pin, a hammer and tongs. The elites who were given such elaborate send-offs were also often buried with animals, such as stallions.Headbutting Tiny Worms Are Really, Really LoudThis rapid strike produces a loud ‘pop’ comparable to those made by snapping shrimps, one of the most intense biological sounds measured at sea.Your Recommended PlaylistVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9接下来播放Why Is It ‘Snowing’ Salt in the Dead Sea?01:53 facebook twitter 发邮件 reddit 链接https://www.livescience.com/65892-viking-burial-boats-discovered-sweden.html?jwsource=cl已复制直播00:0000:3500:35  These burial boats were typically built with overlapping wooden planks (called “clinker built”) and had symmetrical ends, a true keel and overlapping planks joined together, said Johan Anund, the regional manager for The Archaeologists, an archeological organization working with the National Historical Museums in Sweden. Archaeologists have also found other, simpler boat structures, such as logboats, which are like a dugout wide canoe, Anand told Live Science in an email. [Photos: A Man, a Horse and a Dog Found in Viking Boat Burials] The remains of the dog and the horse were nestled in the bow of the well-preserved boat, while the remains of the man were found in the stern. “We don’t know much” about the man yet, Anund said. But analysis of the skeleton will reveal how old he was, how tall he was and if he had any injuries or diseases. Anund’s group may even be able to figure out where the man grew up and where he lived for most of his life, Anund said. As for the animals buried with him, they could have been sacrificed to help the dead person on the “other side” but could also be there to show the man’s status and rank, Anund said. It’s common to find horses and dogs in such burials, but also big birds like falcons. Archaeologists also found other items on the boat such as a sword, spear, shield, an ornate comb, and leftover wood and iron nails that were likely used in its construction. The other boat was badly damaged, probably because a 16th-century medieval cellar was built right on top of it, according to the statement. Some human and animal bones were still preserved on the damaged ship, but they seem to have been moved around, making it difficult for archaeologists to say much about them, Anund said. Archaeologists discovered the ships, the well and the cellar after a plot of land outside Uppsala was marked off to become a new building for the vicarage of Gamla Uppsala parish. They excavated the boats last month and some of the finds will go on display at Gamla Uppsala museum and the Swedish History Museum in Stockholm. Live Science Editor-in-Chief Jeanna Bryner contributed to this story. Editor’s Note: This article was updated to correct the fact that “clinker” boats meant the boats were made of overlapping wooden planks. Originally published on Live Science.by Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksYou May LikeDugiFeedThis Is What Will Happen When You Eat Bananas Every DayDugiFeedUndoBrilliant Future10 Worst Paying College MajorsBrilliant FutureUndoMy Daily DiscoveryHow To Keep Your Photos And Videos SafeMy Daily DiscoveryUndoThe SideHairstyles That Make You Look Younger Than EverThe SideUndoeasyrecipes20 Toughest Restaurants Worldwide To Get A Reservation (But Worth The Wait)easyrecipesUndoComparisons.orgCalifornia Drivers With No Tickets In 3 Years Must Read ThisComparisons.orglast_img read more