Mayo Clinic, collaborators working to advance aging research via clinical trials

Kurzweil AI - Fri, 19/08/2016 - 6:04am

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Mayo Clinic and other members of the Geroscience Network* have developed strategies for taking new drugs to clinical trials — specifically, drugs that target processes underlying multiple age-related diseases and disabilities. And they’ve written six supporting articles that appeared Wednesday Aug. 17 in The Journals of Gerontology: Series A – Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences.

The Geroscience Network consists of 18 academic aging center, with the participation of more than 100 investigators from across the U.S. and Europe.

Aging may be a modifiable risk factor

“Aging is the largest risk factor for most chronic diseases, including stroke, heart disease, cancer, dementias, osteoporosis, arthritis, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, blindness and frailty,” said James Kirkland, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Mayo Clinic Robert and Arlene Kogod Center on Aging.

However, he said recent research suggests that aging may actually be a modifiable risk factor. “The goal of our network’s collaborative efforts is to accelerate the pace of discovery in developing interventions to delay, prevent, or treat these conditions as a group, instead of one at a time.”

Felipe Sierra, Ph.D., of the National Institute on Aging and a member of the Geroscience Network, describes the potential impact of such discoveries in his article, “Moving Geroscience into Uncharted Waters.” He notes that in addition to the direct health issues, care for the elderly currently accounts for 43 percent of the total health care spending in the U.S,, or approximately 1 trillion dollars a year, and that this number is expected to rise as baby boomers reach retirement age.

“Reducing these costs is critical for the survival of society as we know it,” he said. “A 2013 paper by Dana Goldman and colleagues calculated that a just modest increase (2.2 years) in lifespan and healthspan could reduce those expenses by 7 trillion dollars by 2050.”

This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Paul Glenn Foundation, Nathan Shock Centers of Excellence for the Biology of Aging, the Connor Group, and the Noaber and Ted Nash foundations.

The first two articles cited below are open-access.

* In addition to Mayo Clinic, members of the Geroscience Network are Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Buck Institute for Research on Aging, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, National Institute on Aging, the Scripps Research Institute, Stanford University, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the University of Arkansas, the University of Connecticut, the University of Michigan, the University of Minnesota, the University of Oklahoma, the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, the University of Southern California, the University of Washington, and Wake Forest University as well as members from other institutions across the U.S. and Europe.

Categories: Science

Satellite Images Can Map Poverty

Slashdot - Fri, 19/08/2016 - 3:30am
A new study using satellite images and machine learning plans to map poverty from space in an effort to "fix the world's problems." Satellite imagery can be less dangerous, slow and expensive than gathering the data on the ground. BBC reports: "A team from Stanford University were able to train a computer system to identify impoverished areas from satellite and survey data in five African countries. The latest study looked at daylight images that capture features such as paved roads and metal roofs -- markers that can help distinguish different levels of economic wellbeing in developing countries. They then used a sophisticated computer model to categorize the various indicators in daytime satellite images of Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Malawi. 'If you give a computer enough data it can figure out what to look for. We trained a computer model to find things in imagery that are predictive of poverty,' said Dr Burke. 'It finds things like roads, like urban areas, like farmland, it finds waterways -- those are things we recognize. It also finds things we don't recognize. It finds patterns in imagery that to you or I don't really look like anything... but it's something the computer has figured out is predictive of where poor people are.' The researchers used imagery from countries for which survey data were available to validate the computer model's findings." The results of the study are published in the journal Science.

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New oral diabetes drugs may also protect patients' kidney health

Science Daily - Fri, 19/08/2016 - 1:29am
In a clinical trial of patients with type 2 diabetes, canagliflozin (a sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitor) slowed kidney function decline to a greater extent than glimepiride (a sulfonylurea), while having similar blood sugar–lowering effects, report investigators.
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Ethnicity of women undergoing fertility treatment can affect outcomes, study finds

Science Daily - Fri, 19/08/2016 - 1:29am
The ethnicity of women undergoing fertility treatments like IVF can affect the rate of successful live births, according to new research. After adjusting for certain factors including age of patient at time of treatment, cause of female or male infertility, and type of treatment, the study found that White Irish, South Asian Indian, South Asian Bangladeshi, South Asian Pakistani, Black African, and Other Asian women had a significantly lower odds of a live birth than White British women.
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'Ecosystem canaries' provide early warning signs of catastrophic changes to ecosystems

Science Daily - Fri, 19/08/2016 - 1:28am
'Ecosystem canaries' can provide early warning signals of large, potentially catastrophic, changes or tipping points in ecosystems, say researchers. Like canaries that coal miners used to check for poisonous gasses deep underground, ‘ecosystem canaries’ are species that are often the first to disappear from a stressed ecosystem. Their vanishing can be linked to changes in the functioning of ecosystems, which can serve as a warning that a tipping point is approaching.
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Pacific sea level predicts global temperature changes

Science Daily - Fri, 19/08/2016 - 1:27am
Sea level changes in the Pacific Ocean can be used to estimate future global surface temperatures, according to a new paper. Scientists knew both the rate at which global surface temperature is rising and sea level in the Pacific varied, but had not connected the two phenomena. The researchers estimate by the end of 2016, average surface temperature will increase up to 0.5 F (0.28 C) more than in 2014.
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America's First Offshore Wind Farm In Pictures

Slashdot - Fri, 19/08/2016 - 1:00am
Last week, an anonymous Slashdot reader submitted a story from the Associated Press, detailing the United States' first offshore wind farm that is set to open off the cost of Rhode Island this fall. Business Insider issued a report today with some additional specifications and stunning pictures of the Block Island Wind Farm: "GE and Deepwater Wind, a developer of offshore turbines, are installing five massive wind turbines in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. They will make up the first offshore wind farm in North America, called the Block Island Wind Farm. Over the past several weeks, the teams have worked to install the turbines 30 miles off the cost of Rhode Island, and are expected to finish by the end of August 2016. The farm will be fully operational by November 2016." Fun fact: GE's offshore wind farm has turbines that are twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty. You can view the slideshow of images here.

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RealDoll CEO Aims To Make Its Sex Dolls Love You Back Via AI App

Slashdot - Fri, 19/08/2016 - 12:20am
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Mirror.co.uk: Matt McMullen, CEO of RealDoll, revealed the next step in making the high-end sex toys will be to give them artificial intelligence to replicate humans more closely than ever. "We are building an AI system which can either be connected to a robotic doll OR experienced in a VR environment," he revealed as part of an AMA (ask me anything) on Reddit. "I think it will allow for an option that never existed before, and for some, may represent a happiness they [users] never thought they could have. We are designing the AI to be fun and engaging, more than focusing on whether it can fool you into thinking it's a person," he said. He later added, when someone asked if dolls will ever love us back: "I hope that we can at least simulate that," McMullen responded. "That's the goal." In addition to AI and VR, Teledildonics are coming to the sex industry as well. "Teledildonics is technology for remote sex where tactile sensations are communicated over a data link between the participants -- with Siri, Alexa, Cortana and other AI software," reports Mirror.co.uk. The company is "putting the finishing touches" on its AI app, with plans to release it within the next six months. Oh, and it's also working on releasing a RealDoll with a robotic head by the end of 2017 to celebrate its 20th anniversary.

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Judge Rejects Uber’s $100 Million Settlement with Drivers

Wired News - Fri, 19/08/2016 - 12:04am
Still no closure for this three-year-old lawsuit—or for the 1099 economy. The post Judge Rejects Uber’s $100 Million Settlement with Drivers appeared first on WIRED.
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'Smart' Electrical Socket Leaks Your Email Address, Can Launch DDoS Attacks

Slashdot - Thu, 18/08/2016 - 11:40pm
An anonymous reader writes from a report via Softpedia: There is an insecure IoT smart electrical socket on the market that leaks your Wi-Fi password, your email credentials (if configured), and is also poorly coded, allowing attackers to hijack the device via a simple command injection in the password field. Researchers say that because of the nature of the flaws, attackers can overwrite its firmware and add the device to a botnet, possibly using it for DDoS attacks, among other things. Bitdefender didn't reveal the device's manufacturer but said the vendor is working on a fix, which will be released in late Q3 2016. Problems with the device include a lack of encryption for device communications and the lack of any basic input sanitization for the password field. "Up until now most IoT vulnerabilities could be exploited only in the proximity of the smart home they were serving, however, this flaw allows hackers to control devices over the internet and bypass the limitations of the network address translation," says Alexandru Balan, Chief Security Researcher at Bitdefender. "This is a serious vulnerability, we could see botnets made up of these power outlets."

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Naked Trump Statues Swing Into Action

Wired News - Thu, 18/08/2016 - 11:19pm
Statues of the GOP presidential candidate, naked and unafraid, appeared mysteriously around the country. The post Naked Trump Statues Swing Into Action appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

How The US Will Likely Respond To Shadow Brokers Leak

Slashdot - Thu, 18/08/2016 - 11:00pm
blottsie writes: The NSA and FBI are both expected to investigate the leak of NSA-linked cyberweapons this week by an entity calling itself the Shadow Brokers, experts with knowledge of the process tell the Daily Dot. However, multiple experts say any retaliation by the U.S. will likely remain secret to keep the tactical advantage. Meanwhile, Motherboard reports that some former NSA staffers believe the leak is the work of a "rogue NSA insider." "First, the incident will be investigated by the National Security Agency as it tracks down exactly what went so wrong that top-secret offensive code and exploits ended up stolen and published for the world to see," reports Daily Dot. "An FBI counterintelligence investigation will likely follow, according to experts with knowledge of the process. [...] Following the investigation, the NSA and other entities within the United States government will have to decide on a response." The response will depend on a lot of things, such as whether or not an insider at the NSA is responsible for the breach -- a theory that is backed by a former NSA staffer and other experts. "The process is called an IGL: Intelligence Gain/Loss," reports Daily Dot. "Authorities suss out a pro and con list for various reactions, including directly and publicly blaming another country. [Chris Finan, a former director of cybersecurity legislation in the Obama administration and now CEO of the security firm Manifold Technology, said:] 'Some people think about responding in kind: A U.S. cyberattack. Doing that gives up the asymmetric response advantage you have in cyberspace.' Finan urged authorities to look at all tools, including economic sanctions against individuals, companies, groups, governments, or diplomatic constraints, to send a message through money rather than possibly burning a cyberwar advantage. Exactly if and how the U.S. responds to the Shadow Brokers incident will depend on the source of the attack. Attribution in cyberwar is tricky or even impossible much of the time. It quickly becomes a highly politicized process ripe with anonymous sources and little solid fact."

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Airbus Details Plan To Build Flying Taxis

Slashdot - Thu, 18/08/2016 - 10:20pm
CityAirbus is a new program from Airbus that aims to put commuters in the air to combat overcrowded cities. It sounds a lot like an airborne Uber, writes Brandon Turkus from Autoblog: "Passengers can use an app to book passage, head to their local helipad, climb aboard with a number of other passengers, and in the words of Airbus are 'whisked away to their destination.' Each ride would cost 'nearly the equivalent of a normal taxi ride for each passenger.' Beyond the advantages of avoiding traffic, Airbus claims its new conveyance will be faster, more sustainable, and, obviously, more exciting. Initially, the program would rely on a human pilot, but as with nearly every mode of modern transport, there would eventually be an autonomous version." The company has no timeline for when CityAirbuses will be ready for flight. They did note that the autonomous functionality will be the biggest challenge. "No country in the world today allows drones without remote pilots to fly over cities -- with or without passengers," writes Bruno Trabel from Airbus Helicopters. He leads the Skyways project, "which aims to help evolve current regulatory constraints." Project Vahana, a similar project that consists of an electric-powered, autonomous helicopter used for personal and cargo flights, will be tested in late 2017.

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iOS and Android Combined For Record 99% of Smartphone Sales Last Quarter

Slashdot - Thu, 18/08/2016 - 9:35pm
An anonymous reader writes: The research firm Gartner has crunched some numbers and found that Android and iOS accounted for a record 99.1% worldwide market share in the second calendar quarter of 2016, which is compared to 96.8% in the year-ago period. What some may view as even more shocking is that Android accounted for 86.2% of the market share in the second quarter, up from 82.2% a year ago. Meanwhile, iOS lost some ground as it dropped to 12.9% market share from 14.6% in the year-ago period. It's no surprise that Windows and BlackBerry have been losing market share. They dropped to 0.6% and 0.1% market share worldwide respectively. Just six years ago, BlackBerry and Symbian operating systems were industry leaders. Now, they're industry losers. Which third-party operating system has what it takes to take on the establishment?

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Twins, especially male identical twins, live longer

Science Daily - Thu, 18/08/2016 - 9:01pm
Analysis of almost 3,000 pairs of Danish twins shows that they live longer than the general population. The authors believe it reflects the benefits of lifelong social support.
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Why Russian tuberculosis is the most infectious

Science Daily - Thu, 18/08/2016 - 8:59pm
Scientists conducted a large-scale analysis of the proteins and genomes of mycobacterium tuberculosis strains that are common in Russia and countries of the former Soviet Union and found features that provide a possible explanation for their epidemiological success.
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Smoking marijuana provides more pain relief for men than women

Science Daily - Thu, 18/08/2016 - 8:59pm
Men had greater pain relief than women after smoking marijuana, a new study has found. Despite differences in pain relief, men and women did not report differences in how intoxicated they felt or how much they liked the effect of the active cannabis.
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In cells, some oxidants are needed

Science Daily - Thu, 18/08/2016 - 8:59pm
Some studies are showing that reactive oxygen species (ROS) molecules sometimes can aid in maintaining health -- findings now boosted by a surprising discovery from the researchers.
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Paleontologists discover major T. rex fossil

Science Daily - Thu, 18/08/2016 - 8:59pm
Paleontologists have discovered a Tyrannosaurus rex, including a very complete skull. The find, which paleontologists estimate to be about 20 percent of the animal, includes vertebrae, ribs, hips and lower jaw bones.
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Study confirms long-term effects of 'chemobrain' in mice

Science Daily - Thu, 18/08/2016 - 8:59pm
Women undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer have long complained of lingering cognitive impairments after treatment. These effects are referred to as 'chemobrain,' a feeling of mental fogginess. A new study reports long-lasting cognitive impairments in mice when they are administered a chemotherapy regimen used to treat breast cancer in humans.
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