The 5 Takeaways from the Coyotes introduction of

first_img The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Wilson’s intensity was unmatched, his toughness feared and his loyalty unprecedented. He was a Cardinal through and through, and when he hangs up his cleats for good there will no doubt be a place for him in the team’s Ring of Honor. Because there are not enough ways to honor someone who was a five-time team captain and is one of just six players in league history with at least 25 sacks and 25 interceptions.But that’s still a few years down the road. No doubt Wilson believes he can still play at a high level, and it would not be at all surprising to see him put together a couple more quality seasons. Putting on another team’s uniform will be strange for Wilson, just as it will be weird to see him wearing any color other than Cardinal Red. But that’s life in the NFL, and it’s something Cardinals fans should hope they have to start getting used to. This is new territory for the Arizona Cardinals.Rarely have they had a player as great as Adrian Wilson, and rarely have they had a player as great as Adrian Wilson stick around for more than a decade.But that’s what the safety did, and his 12-year run with the team officially came to an end Friday when the Cardinals announced his release.It was no doubt a difficult decision, but it’s one that many teams have made many times before. Just not the Cardinals, and that’s what makes this so tough to swallow. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling But it was time.A five-time Pro Bowler, Wilson is clearly on the downside of his career. He racked up just 54 tackles in 2012 after seeing his role reduced, and it was time for the team to go in a different direction.“All of us thank Adrian for what he has meant not only to our organization but also to this community,” said Cardinals President Michael Bidwill in a press release. “In every franchise, there is a select group of players whose contributions earn them iconic status and for us, Adrian Wilson will always be one of those players.”The Cardinals never would have reached relevancy had it not been for Wilson. The Cardinals never would have won back-to-back NFC West titles had it not been for Wilson. The Cardinals never would have reached Super Bowl XLIII if not for Wilson.But the NFL is a business, and a harsh one at that. There’s little room for sentimentality if the goal is to win, and Bidwill has made it quite clear what his priority is. So, if that means parting with a fan favorite and franchise stalwart, so be it. This is the NFL, folks, and that’s what happens.“Decisions like this are never easy but it’s especially tough with someone like Adrian because he’s been such a special player and important part of this organization for the last 12 years,” Cardinals GM Steve Keim said in the same press release. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Top Stories Comments   Share   Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impactlast_img read more

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2019-08-11

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Russian pay TV operator ERTelecom has added Fox c

first_imgRussian pay TV operator ER-Telecom has added Fox channels National Geographic and Fox Life to its line-up.The deal between Fox Channels and ER-Telecom will see Nat Geo programmes including Air Crash Investigation and Alaska’s Toughest Pilots airing on ER-Telecom’s platform. Fox Life broadcasts US series including Desperate Housewives, Ugly Betty and Grey’s Anatomy. Both channels are available in the operator’s basic package.ER-Telecom ended 2011 with 1.73 million pay TV subscribers having added half a million new subs during the year.ER-Telecom is reportedly planning to launch digital TV services under the Dom.ru brand in 15 cities between now and 2013, including a basic package with about 100 channels. Services are currently available in Perm, Samara, Tyumen and Chelyabinsk.last_img read more

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2019-08-07

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The Times has reported that the number of UK homes

first_imgThe Times has reported that the number of UK homes that have told public broadcaster the BBC they do not need a TV licence now exceeds 400,000 with the newspaper saying that consumers accessing iPlayer and other catch-up services is driving the number up.The newspaper received the figures following a Freedom of Information request, initially refused by the BBC, which relented after successful appeal by The Times.The data supplied by the BBC reveals that in 2012 428,359 UK homes told the pubcaster that they did not need to pay the £145.50 TV license. The 2011 figure was 425,590.The BBC told The Times that watching catch-up services was only one of several reasons people were legitimately not paying the license fee. It said that only 0.2% of all UK viewers watch TV exclusively on catch-up services.last_img read more

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2019-08-07

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Better Call Saul Hungarian service provider Digi h

first_imgBetter Call SaulHungarian service provider Digi has added the AMC channel its programming line-up. The move takes AMC’s total reach in Hungary to 2.2 million homes.Digi has added to AMC to its basic satellite package as of today and will carry the service on its digital basic cable tier as of August 1, adding a total of 700,000 to AMC’s reach.AMC was launched in Hungary last November, taking content including Better Call Saul, Sons of Anarchy, Breaking Bad, Fargo and Halt and Catch Fire to Hungarian viewers.AMC’s forthcoming Fear the Walking Dead, a companion series to The Walking Dead, will be broadcast internationally on the channel simultaneously with its US debut in August.“At the time of AMC’s launch we promised not only top quality content, but also premiere times very close to the U.S. premieres. I am proud we have fulfilled both these promises and I am extremely happy that thanks to Digi’s distribution of the channel, so many new viewers can enjoy these top-class hits,” said AMC Networks International Central Europe CEO, Levente Málnay.Annamária Kállai, head of marketing of Digi, said, “We are very excited about this landmark launch on the Digi platforms. Expanding the range of top quality content is a continuing priority for us and we believe that the AMC channel can add tremendous value to our offering.  We look forward to working with AMC on delivering great content to our viewers.”last_img read more

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2019-08-07

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English Club TV an educational network designed t

first_imgEnglish Club TV, an educational network designed to help people learn English, has launched on the Apple TV platform globally.The English Club TV Plus App features both live and on-demand content, is powered by OTT app provider Stormcast Cinema, and is the latest in a string of device launches for English Club TV.This week the network also launched the English Club TV Plus App on Amazon Fire TV and Roku devices, offering a range of educational programmes for English learners of all levels.“Multi-screening is currently one of the main TV market trends and we are capitalising on it by developing and adapting our apps for different platforms and regions to satisfy the needs of today’s customers,” said English Club TV Group CEO, Andrew Semchenko.“The English Club TV Plus App on Apple TV is a new effective and enjoyable tool for learners to acquire English without too much effort – it all comes from their TV screens or mobile devices.”last_img read more

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2019-08-06

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Laurent Eichinger Altice France has named Laurent

first_imgLaurent EichingerAltice France has named Laurent Eichinger as CEO of RMC Sport, replacing François Pesenti, who is leaving the group.Eichinger has most recently been working as head of equestrian channel Equidia, having previously taken part in the launch of BFMTV as director of production and subsequently headed up sports thematic channels Infosport+, Sport+ and Golf+ at pay TV group Canal+.He will take up his new role on March 4, heading up pay TV channels RMC Sport 1, 2, 3 and 4, working alongside editorial chief Laurent Salvaudon and director of broadcasting and production Luc Pannier.Separately, Rodolphe Massé has been named as head of news at RMC Sport.Altice France CEO Alain Weill took the opportunity to express his confidence in the future of RMC Sport, both in news and pay TV.There has been speculation that Pesenti, who has worked for RMC since 2001, could be a likely candidate to head up rival broadcaster Mediapro’s forthcoming French service. Spanish broadcaster Mediapro secured the rights to top-tier Ligue 1 football for the 2020-24 seasons in a coup that shook up the French premium TV industry last June, and announced plans to launch a channel to air Ligue 1 games.However, Pesenti firmly denied that he was in the frame to head up Mediapro’s service to French sports paper L’Équipe this week.Mediapro chief executive Jaume Roures has said he will name the head of the new channel on February 1.last_img read more

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2019-08-06

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By Doug Casey Casey Research Legendary contrari

first_imgBy Doug Casey, Casey Research Legendary contrarian investor and the original International Man Doug Casey takes aim at the US Constitution, from its sneaky beginnings to its encroachments on individual liberty and free markets. Louis: Doug, we’ve threatened to talk about the Constitution many times. Since there’s  increasing interest in the country’s economic and political future, maybe now is a good time to put that into a fuller historical context.. Doug: Good idea. I confess I suspected this was coming up, so I just now read the Constitution again. This is actually something I recommend to everyone. Unfortunately, the Constitution is now a dead letter, but reading it is instructive in a number of ways, and it only takes about ten minutes. One should know the law of the land, even if it no longer applies. That will probably be enough for one conversation, but we should probably also take up the amendments, especially the Bill of Rights, in a future conversation, and then maybe another on the Declaration of Independence – another short document everyone should read. L: Well, some might argue that since the Constitution was ratified with the Bill of Rights attached, they really ought to be considered together, but I’d certainly agree that the later amendments – like the ones establishing and repealing Prohibition – should be a separate conversation. Doug: Thank heaven for the Bill of Rights; it slowed the descent of the US considerably, while it was still taken seriously. So, where to begin… L: How about with the fact that there wasn’t supposed to be a constitution? The Continental Congress authorized delegates to gather to amend and improve on the Articles of Confederation, not to replace them with a new form of government. Doug: I’ve read that James Madison of Virginia showed up with a document called the “Virginia Plan,” bearing close resemblance to the current Constitution, except that it clearly described a single, national government. That didn’t sit too well with the more independent-minded delegates, so they struck the words “national government” and replaced them with “United States,” which went over a lot better. Now, I wasn’t there – and the convention was held behind closed doors – so I hope readers will give me a little wiggle room if they read a book that tells a different story, but my impression has long been that the adoption of the Constitution was actually something of a coup. It replaced a confederation of separate governments with a single super-government. Many people didn’t realize this at the time, or they would have objected. The War Between the States demonstrated the reality of the matter, when people did object. L: I think I’ve read the same books you have. Or maybe I’m just remembering our conversation on the Civil War. Doug: People often gush about what a wonderful thing the Constitution is, but I’ve always suspected that US and world history would be different – and better – if those delegates had done as they were told and just smoothed over the rough spots in the Articles rather than replaced them with the Constitution. Greater independence among the states could have led to more innovation, and I doubt there would have been the unpleasantness of 1861-’65. People with differing ethical values and economic interests would not have been forced to obey the same laws. L: Perhaps. But they did, and we’re stuck with the Constitution we have, for now. Doug: For now. Sometimes I think those who’ve called for a new constitutional convention are on to something, because the one we have now has fallen into almost complete disuse. People talk as though it were carved into the sacred bedrock of the universe, but few people have actually read it, and most of those who have seem to spend their time trying to figure out ways to get out of the clear and simple rules it set out, rather than abide by it. People talk about how it should be a “living document” that evolves with the times. But those people almost always want to abolish what few limitations there are on the government. They want to change the actual working parts of the Constitution, the ones that define and shape the government, not the tedious pages with “Robert’s Rules of Order” type stuff governing how motions are passed in Congress and the like. Curiously, this trivia – about how the president of the Senate is elected and so forth – is the only part of the Constitution that the government still adheres to. It follows the trivia fastidiously but disregards the important parts that designate what the government may and may not do. L: Ah, the irony. But a constitutional convention is a terrible idea, Doug; you know that if we had one now, we wouldn’t get anything like enumerated and restricted powers or the Bill of Rights. The average “educated” person in the US has been taught that the Great Depression proved that capitalism doesn’t work; and the average couch potato believes that work is a tedious imposition to be avoided, rather than a virtue. If a new constitution were drafted today, we’d get unlimited and expansive powers and a Bill of Entitlements. Doug: [Sighs] You’re absolutely right. All institutions – countries, companies, clubs, whatever – inevitably degrade and become corrupt over time. That’s one reason why revolutions occur in countries. But okay, let’s look at the one we’ve got. Some things stand out. Let’s start with the item you tripped over, the power given to Congress to regulate commerce with foreign nations, Indian tribes, and between the states. That was a problematical idea from the get-go. There should be separation of economy and state for the same reason that we have separation of church and state. And there should be a separation of state and education, and everything else that might be provided by society. Otherwise the state will insinuate itself and eventually try to usurp the whole area. Even though the founders’ idea of “regulate” was very different from the current one of total control, it left the door open to misinterpretation. In those days it meant simply to “make regular” or to normalize. The idea, as I understand it, was to ensure a level playing field between the states, since some of the states had sweetheart deals with some states and trade barriers with yet others, greatly complicating business concerning them all. Over the years, this concept has devolved into a blanket power to control every minute detail of any good or service that might cross state lines – or might not even do that, but could affect prices in other states simply by existing wherever it is. What was a very reasonable intent has opened Pandora’s box. And now corporatists, lobbyists, bureaucrats, and influence-peddlers completely control the coercive power of the state and use it to destroy their competition and enrich themselves. L: As opposed to beating the competition in a fair contest in the marketplace. Doug: Yes; we’re told competition is supposed to be “fair,” not “cutthroat” – although both terms are ridiculous misnomers. But Article I, Section 8 is full of things that have been perverted or really shouldn’t be there to start with. It says the Congress has the power to coin money and regulate its value, as well as establish weights and measures. Any sensible person could have told the guys who wrote this that that’s like asking the fox to guard the henhouse. Money is a market phenomenon that’s quite capable of orderly evolution in a free-market environment. Governments are not necessary to establish money and should never be trusted with a monopoly power over money – when they have it, they always abuse it and debase the currency. It happened in ancient Rome and has happened again and again throughout history; it’s the easiest – but also the most destructive – way for the state to get revenue. L: Fine, but you’re an anarchist, and the writers of the Constitution were not. They were practical men of their day, trying to set up a system they thought would work. Keeping the state’s grubby hands off the money supply was not an idea they would have been familiar with… Doug: Not really. Bank notes back then were issued by private companies – banks, gold- and silversmiths, and such. They issued notes stating that so-and-so had X amount of gold or silver on deposit. Many people used all sorts of gold and silver not issued by nor regulated by their local governments for money. If memory serves, in the original colonies that formed the United States of America, Spanish pieces of eight were among the most common items used for money. The framers of the Constitution should have known better. And maybe they did; the Constitution gives Congress the power to coin money, but it doesn’t forbid anyone else from doing the same thing. So anyone could have gone into the business of minting coins for use as means of exchange and stores of value. The market would decide which were the most reliable. L: I wonder when and how competing with the government on that front became a crime. Doug: I’m not sure it is, even today. What the government has done to people who’ve issued private money in recent times, like the creators of the Liberty Dollar, is to prosecute them for counterfeiting, which is spelled out as a crime in the Constitution – but only if you counterfeit the currency of the United States. During the War Between the States, a printer in Philadelphia hit upon the idea of counterfeiting Confederate currency and made a huge amount of money for himself. He was never prosecuted. Washington overlooked it because it aided its war effort. But by late in 1863 it was no longer even worth the man’s effort, because the Confederate dollar had lost so much value – due mostly to the foolish policies of the Confederate government in Richmond. I suspect that was a major, but generally overlooked, contributing factor to the collapse of the South. L: I’ve long thought the North’s victory was largely economic, not military. “Unconditional Surrender” Grant’s bloody march into Virginia was an insanely expensive way to beat Lee. Anyway, you may be right about counterfeiting, but everyone has gotten the message: Money is the state’s turf, and woe unto ye if you trespass. Doug: Yes, we live on a prison planet. Trapped here by the aberrations of human psychology. L: So, what else would you list among Doug Casey’s top ten gripes with the US Constitution? Doug: The provision to establish post offices and post roads. The post office is a paragon of inefficiency and bad service, was never necessary as a government function, and absolutely should never have been a monopoly. And the first roads in America were private toll roads. L: I remember reading that Lysander Spooner competed with the US Post Office in the 1840s, and did a better job at lower cost until the government shut him down. Doug: Once again, the power to establish post offices and post roads is given, but the authority to crush private competition is not. The first power was later interpreted to include the second, and so it’s been with everything in the Constitution ever since it was written. Things like this and the power to coin money were the camel’s nose under the tent flap; now the state camel has filled the tent, and there’s hardly any room for individual freedom. L: Okay, what else? Doug: The item setting up copyrights and patents was, at least arguably, another mistake along these lines, and for the same reasons. As a writer who wants to benefit from the effort I put into using words to communicate valuable information, I’m a bit ambivalent about that, but I don’t see how it’s possible for anyone to own an idea, and I’m sure getting the government involved is a bad move. L: We published a conversation with our friend Paul Rosenberg on the subject of “intellectual property.” His conclusion was that the state’s involvement has become useless anyway. All creators can do now is adapt to the marketplace. Doug: It’s interesting to me that in spite of all the hand-wringing on this subject, the ongoing demise of patents and copyrights has not stopped inventors from inventing, nor musicians or writers from creating. In fact, wikis and open-source projects have created many valuable things. Patents, copyrights, and trademarks really just turned into a bonanza for lawyers. I do want to benefit from my intellectual work, but I suspect Paul is right; all we can do is adapt. It’s also interesting to me that aside from counterfeiting, which we’ve already mentioned, there are only two other crimes mentioned in the Constitution. One is piracy, and the other is treason. Today, nobody knows for sure how many crimes there are on the books, but it’s thought that there are over 5,000 crimes defined in federal law. I’ve read that the average US citizen breaks three federal laws every day, intentionally or otherwise. And now many federal agencies have armed – sometimes heavily armed – branches that round up people and prosecute them for these so-called crimes. I suppose I could live with just three federal laws – piracy, counterfeiting, and treason would be easy to remember, at least. L: But counterfeiting wouldn’t be a federal crime if we got the government out of the money business, as you suggest. Doug: That’s right, and piracy could be handled by letters of marque and reprisal, as it was in the old days. L: What about treason? Doug: Well… you could look at that as the state’s right to self-defense – but let me just ask: when the state becomes unjust, what is a just man or woman to do? L: On an ethical plane, the answer is clear, but on a practical plane, that’s a tough one. Doug: Indeed. Another thing worth covering is the power to declare war. The authors of the Constitution were rightly worried about leaders with the power of kings to plunge nations into war for personal or imagined grievances, so they gave the power to declare war to Congress. But like everything remotely sensible about the Constitution, that too has been set aside. The US has had numerous wars, one after the other, for decades – but the last time Congress actually declared war was World War II. L: Really? I thought Korea was declared. Doug: No, that was a “police action.” Technically, it was a UN police action against North Korea, but in reality it was a war between the US and China. At any rate, it’s just another example of how thoroughly ignored the Constitution is in the US. The president can now unilaterally send US troops anywhere to do almost anything. In fact, he can do almost anything, period… at least, if media lapdogs are able to justify and rationalize it. L: Wasn’t it Henry Kissinger who said that doing something illegal was no problem and that doing something unconstitutional just took a little longer? Doug: “The illegal we do immediately, the unconstitutional takes a little longer.” You’ve got to admit Henry is a clever guy. Come the day I write an obit for him, perhaps I’ll subtitle it: Comedian and War Criminal. L: Okay, okay, I get the picture. I don’t think we need to go through every clause to see how far the US has fallen from the America That Was. That prompts me to say to those who think this conversation shows that we hate America that just the opposite is true. Personally, I love the idea that was America, and I still love the land of America, from sea to shining sea. What I loathe and despise is the corruption being visited upon her by the maggots in Washington, D.C. who’ve been gutting all that is good and noble about her. At any rate, we’ve been saying for a long time that all is not well in Mudville. Are there any practical implications to this conversation? Investment implications? Doug: It’s yet another sign that the US has gone way beyond the point of no return. You can’t make a sensible investment in a country which doesn’t have the rule of law; you can only speculate – which is to say, try to capitalize on politically caused distortions in the market. There’s no way the US federal government can or will return to observing the Constitution; it’s just something it pays lip service to – and then only rarely. When you’re on a slippery slope that’s rapidly turning vertical, it’s no longer a question of if there will be a painful stop at the bottom, only when. L: Does your guru sense give you any feeling for how close we are to that crash? Doug: You know I don’t like to predict what and when at the same time, but I can’t make myself believe it can be put off too much longer – a couple of years at most. And it could still quite possibly happen this year. L: In which case we invest for crisis, as you’ve been saying all along. Doug: Yet another reason, yes. We’re headed for a genuinely historic time of troubles. L: Roger that. Until next week, then. Doug: Travel safe, and see you soon. Personally, I dread and despise the interrogation and searching one gets from ICE when entering the US. But I suppose it’s no more degrading than the grope from the TSA. No problem though – it must be somewhere in the Constitution. I better read it again. L: Sure, Doug, it’s right next to the clause granting everyone free health care, free education, and a free lunch. Doug: [Laughs] [The government’s trampling of the Constitution threatens to wipe out the wealth of countless savers, but you can protect yourself if you act in time.]last_img read more

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2019-08-04

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Chances are you havent heard about nootropics ye

first_imgChances are, you haven’t heard about nootropics yet. They’re still pretty far out of the mainstream. But they’re beginning to gather some steam as they head for the public consciousness (pun intended), and it seems likely they’ll be getting increasing press in the near future. So what are they? Wikipedia says nootropics are also known as “smart drugs, memory enhancers, neuro enhancers, cognitive enhancers, and intelligence enhancers,” and “are drugs, supplements, nutraceuticals, and functional foods that improve one or more aspects of mental function, such as working memory, motivation, and attention.” The term was coined in 1972 by Romanian psychologist Corneliu Giurgea and is a synthesis of the Greek words for “mind” and “to bend or turn.” Giurgea synthesized piracetam, the first nootropic, in 1964, and he subsequently established a set of criteria these drugs should meet. For him, nootropics must enhance learning, increase the coupling of the brain’s hemispheres, and improve executive processing (which involves tasks such as planning, paying attention, and spatial awareness). It was also important to him that the drugs be nontoxic and nonaddictive. As he put it in his book Fundamentals to a Pharmacology of the Mind: “Man is not going to wait passively for millions of years before evolution offers him a better brain.” That seems inarguable. History affirms that there’s a basic human drive to improve ourselves between the ears. But can nootropics actually accomplish this? Before answering that question, a distinction must be made. Wikipedia’s definition features synonyms such as “cognitive enhancers” and “smart drugs.” This is a source of some confusion, since much of what you may read on the subject of nootropics includes in that category such prescription drugs as Adderall, Ritalin, and the like. These are amphetamines or amphetamine-like substances that were originally intended to treat specific conditions, such as ADHD, sleep apnea, shift-work disorder, chronic fatigue syndrome, and narcolepsy. But they are increasingly taken these days for off-label purposes. Adderall, for example, is as freely available as pot on college campuses at the moment. It’s the drug of choice as a study aid, especially when deadlines are involved. Amphetamines have the brief but efficient effect of promoting mental clarity and enabling increased focus. In that sense, they are cognitive enhancers, but they are often erroneously classified as nootropics, which, as Giurgea posited, must be nontoxic and nonaddictive. These medications are neither, plus they carry the risk of serious side effects. A nootropic, on the other hand, is a nutritional supplement designed to improve brainpower in healthy adults over extended periods of time—safely. Even excluding the aforementioned prescription drugs, the range of potential nootropics is wide. A whole host of naturally occurring foods and herbs—everything from ginseng to krill oil, grapeseed extract, yerba mate, even licorice, and many, many more—are touted as having nootropic properties. But for our purposes, let’s concentrate on the newer, more exotic compounds that are attracting the most attention. A sampler (with acknowledgments to Nootriment, the most comprehensive website out there): The “racetams.” As noted above, piracetam was Giurgea’s original creation, but its group now includes many newer arrivals that purport to be stronger and/or better, such as aniracetam, oxiracetam, coluracetam, nefiracetam, and pramiracetam. Racetams work by increasing levels of neurotransmitters and other chemicals required for proper brain function. Tests have shown that they improve cognitive function and increase the communication between the two hemispheres of the brain. Noopept. The newest kid on the block. Not technically a racetam, though it is derived from this class and has similar mechanisms of action. Said to be over 1,000 times more concentrated than piracetam. Seen as being effective for disorders such as depression and anxiety. It activates receptors for dopamine as well as selective serotonin receptors and increases levels of nerve growth factor, which is a hormone involved in the maintenance and repair of healthy brain cells. Choline. A compound that naturally occurs in many foods and has been added to the B-complex family of vitamins. It’s the precursor of acetylcholine, a crucial brain chemical necessary for the development and maintenance of healthy brain-cell membranes to ensure effective signaling, structural integrity, and neuronal fluidity. Those heavily involved with nootropics (so-called “noonauts”) usually take a combination of ingredients—a practice called “stacking”—and some form of choline is part of every stack. Pyritinol. A synthetic derivative of Vitamin B6, pyritinol is a precursor of dopamine, which it transforms into once it successfully crosses the blood/brain barrier. Pyritinol can improve attention span, facilitate recall, elevate mood, and eliminate hangovers. It also aids in glucose uptake, which can be beneficial during periods of mental strain that diminish the glucose stores on which the brain depends for its energy. Vinpocetine. A biosynthetic derived from an alkaloid found in the periwinkle plant. It’s a cerebral vasodilator that improves and increases blood flow specifically to the brain; blood pressure in other parts of the body is not affected. It’s been shown to increase the levels of many of the most important brain neurotransmitters, including acetylcholine, noradrenaline, serotonin, and dopamine, as well as ATP, the primary source of intracellular energy. Adrafinil. The precursor to the prescription medication modafinil. Modafinil—possession of which is a felony without a prescription—belongs to a class of drugs known as “eugeroics,” which promote mental alertness without the side effects of amphetamines, for which they are used as a substitute. It stimulates hormones like epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine. The jury is out on modafinil’s long-term safety and susceptibility to abuse. But committed noonauts take it (or adrafinil) anyway. All of this leads to some big questions. First, of course, is: do nootropics work? The answer: probably. While the evidence with some is anecdotal, there has been a surprising amount of scientific research done on others. Citations are available on the Nootriment website (although you have to dig around a bit to find them). Second, are they safe? They seem to be. But since nootropics have only arrived relatively recently, long-term effects are generally unknown… so we can’t be sure. And of course, the consequences are unpredictable if someone mixes up a big stack combination of his or her own devising. Third, are they legal? Yes. Apart from prescription drugs like Adderall and modafinil, possession of nootropics in any amount is legal for US citizens. However, they cannot be marketed as supplements, but only for purposes of “education and research.” This restriction is the responsibility of the seller and doesn’t apply to the consumer. Note also that other countries may have different laws. Finally, is there any way to invest in nootropics? Since they’re already very popular in Silicon Valley, it’s likely just a matter of time before acceptance becomes much more widespread. They could develop into very big business indeed. But it’s not one that many public companies are jumping into. One problem is likely the constraints on vendors’ abilities to market these substances as supplements. But almost certainly, the primary reason is that nootropics are already in the public domain, and exclusivity cannot be had. Most manufacturing is done in China and India. Thus, for example, while a big drug company like Belgium’s UCB does make piracetam, it’s a very small part of UCB’s business. The only pure play we can find is Optigenex Inc. (OTC Pink: OPGX), makers of AC-11, a patented botanical extract that’s the main ingredient in a nootropic blend called AlphaBrain, from private company Onnit Labs. It trades for about a penny a share with close to zero volume. Not a very good bet. It’s possible that a way to profit from nootropics will crop up in the future, as (and if) the drugs catch on. But that remains to be seen.last_img read more

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2019-08-04

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Cancer drugs that speed onto the market based on e

first_imgCancer drugs that speed onto the market based on encouraging preliminary studies often don’t show clear benefits when more careful follow-up trials are done, according to research published Tuesday. These cancer drugs are granted accelerated approval to give patients faster access to the treatments and to allow drug companies to reap the economic rewards sooner. As a condition of this process, the Food and Drug Administration requires drug companies to conduct more research, to confirm whether the medications actually work and are safe.In 2018, the FDA looked back on 93 cancer drugs granted accelerated approval and touted that only five had been removed from the market over a 25-year span. A research team at Harvard Medical School’s Program on Regulation, Therapeutics and Law dug deeper to see what had happened with the rest.In the follow-up studies, only 19 of the 93 drugs clearly extended the lives of the patients taking them, according to the study, published in the latest JAMA Internal Medicine. For example, Genentech’s Avastin, or bevacizumab, won accelerated approval to treat the deadly brain cancer glioblastoma, but the drug did not extend the lives of patients in a follow-up study.Sometimes patients value drugs because they improve their quality of life. This drug didn’t do that either, yet the FDA left it on the market as an approved treatment for glioblastoma.”So that was the most baffling thing,” says Bishal Gyawali, an oncologist on the research team. “I find it very difficult to understand.”The researchers said follow-up studies for these cancer drugs often didn’t even use overall survival or improved quality of life as the benchmark.Instead, many used the same measure that formed the basis for their preliminary approval — for example, tumor shrinkage. Those targets, called “surrogate endpoints,” often don’t predict who will live longer or more comfortably. “How can we use the same surrogate endpoint and say they have clinical benefit in a confirmatory trial?” Gyawali asks, when that endpoint clearly wasn’t sufficient for full approval of the drug at the outset. (Gyawali is now at Queens University in Ontario.) “The reason for giving these approvals should be transparent,” he says, but the FDA doesn’t explain its reasoning.A second study in the same issue looked at cancer drugs approved based on a specific surrogate endpoint called “response rate.” Response to a drug can be anything from spectacular and complete remission to weak and transitory shrinkage of a tumor. And these responses don’t necessarily mean people will live longer or be more comfortable.The study looked at 59 cancer drugs approved initially on the basis of their response rate and found that just six eventually won regular approval based on their overall survival benefit.Studies based on response rate don’t include a comparison group, so the scientists at Oregon Health and Science University argue that it’s difficult to say whether these new drugs are better than other drugs already on the market.Sometimes there is no comparison group because these are rare cancers, or the drug targets a rare mutation in a common cancer, so it’s difficult to pull together a study that randomizes patients into different treatment groups, says Dr. Richard Schilsky, the senior vice president and chief medical officer at the American Society of Clinical Oncology.But for other circumstances, “if we put the investment in it we would be able to do randomized controlled trials,” says Emerson Chen, an oncology fellow at OHSU. Those studies often add another year or more to a follow-up study, he says, but he advocates for them because they provide “more definitive information about the survival and the inpatient-reported outcomes.””One of the reasons we don’t do those kinds of studies is that people say these drugs are so potent it would be wrong to do those kinds of studies … ethically or practically,” says oncologist Vinay Prasad, senior author of the paper. “But I think what we find is these drugs unfortunately are not that potent.”In a commentary, Dr. Ezekiel Emmanuel and colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania write that there “is no good reason for the FDA to rely so heavily on accelerated approval using response rates or other unreliable surrogate end points.” “Drugs with unproven effectiveness sell false hope to desperate patients, who are likely paying thousands of dollars out of pocket for them,” they write, adding, “Approval of ineffective drugs also crowds out innovation that might produce effective treatment.”The FDA gets pressure both from patients and from drug companies to accelerate approval of new cancer drugs and constantly needs to strike a balance between innovation and caution, ASCO’s Schilsky says.Randomized trials are the gold standard for cancer research, but he says they can be challenging if a drug is already on the market.”When the preliminary results with some of these new treatments are looking very promising, it’s particularly difficult to get patients to accept randomization to a standard therapy that may be far inferior — or at least appear to be far inferior — to the new treatment,” Schilsky says.He also pushes back against the “sweeping generalizations” in these two studies. “Regulatory decisions have to be made on a case by case basis and in a particular context,” he says. But he agrees that the FDA should be more transparent about its decisions, so scientists can better understand them.The FDA did not provide NPR with details about its decision to leave Avastin on the market for brain cancer. In a statement, an agency spokeswoman notes that the FDA weighs risk and benefits, saying, “It has been widely accepted that benefit can be demonstrated by a number of endpoints, not just overall survival.”You can contact NPR science correspondent Richard Harris at rharris@npr.org. Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.last_img read more

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2019-08-03

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A judge has failed to treat the murder of a disabl

first_imgA judge has failed to treat the murder of a disabled man who was imprisoned and tortured to death by his killer as a disability hate crime, raising fresh concerns about flawed legislation that is supposed to ensure higher sentences for such offences.Newcastle Crown Court heard during an eight-week trial how James Wheatley, 29, of Studdon Walk, Kenton Bar, Newcastle, repeatedly kicked, punched and stamped on Lee Irving in attacks that took place over nine days, leaving him with multiple broken bones and other injuries.Irving (pictured), 24, who had learning difficulties, thought Wheatley was his friend and was living in his house at the time of the attacks.But Wheatley and his co-defendants targeted Irving for his money and possessions, with Wheatley signing him up to online banking so he could empty his account.After the final attack that led to his death, Irving’s body was taken on a pushchair through a housing estate and dumped on a patch of grass near the A1.Gerry Wareham, chief crown prosecutor for the north-east, said after the trial that Wheatley had “exploited the friendship of Lee Irving in the worst way imaginable”.He said: “Lee only wanted friendship but, instead, became the target of Wheatley’s aggression.“After the attacks on Lee Irving, the defendants made every effort to hide what they had done: sedating and imprisoning him in their home, moving his body after death and removing key evidence.“Even those defendants not directly involved in the attacks would have recognised that the extent of his injuries required immediate medical attention. Not one of them tried to assist Lee or to prevent further injury to him.”Wheatley was found guilty on Friday (2 December) of murder, and sentenced to life in prison, where he will have to serve a minimum of 23 years.But the offences Wheatley committed were not treated as hate crimes by the judge, Mr Justice Soole, under section 146 of the Criminal Justice Act.If they had been, he would have had to serve at least 30 years in prison.Three other defendants – Wheatley’s mother Julie Mills, 52, girlfriend Nicole Lawrence, 22, and lodger Barry Imray, 35 – were convicted of conspiring to pervert the course of justice, as was Wheatley, and of causing or allowing the death of a vulnerable adult, and all three were jailed.Both Northumbria police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had treated Irving’s death as a hate crime, but Mr Justice Soole, in sentencing Wheatley, decided there was not enough evidence to prove the killing was motivated by disability-related hostility.Lee Irving’s death now becomes the latest in a lengthy line of brutal crimes in which disabled people have been targeted because of their impairment, but which have not been acknowledged as disability hate crimes because of the flawed criminal justice system.One of them was the murder of Brent Martin, another man with learning difficulties, who was killed in nearby Sunderland by three young men who took turns to see which of them could knock him out for a £5 bet.But his killing in 2007 was never treated as a disability hate crime by Northumbria police, the same force that investigated Lee Irving’s death, or by the courts.In July this year, CPS was criticised for failing to treat as a disability hate crime a case in which a man with learning difficulties was forced to live in a shed for 35 years, and work for a pittance, and was beaten if he failed to work hard enough.And last year, the criminal justice system was again criticised after a court failed to treat the brutal murder of Peter Hedley as a disability hate crime, when again the judge merely took account of Hedley’s “vulnerability” in sentencing.The failure to sentence Lee Irving’s murderer under disability hate crime legislation will provide further fuel for disabled campaigners who have been pushing the government for years to ensure that it takes the issue seriously.Northumbria police had failed to comment by noon today (8 December).But a CPS spokesman confirmed that its lawyers had treated Lee Irving’s murder as a disability hate crime.He said in a statement: “We always apply to increase sentences where disability is an aggravating factor but ultimately it is the court’s decision.“The proportion of sentence uplifts applied in 2015-16 was the highest it has ever been and we are working with the judiciary and the courts in support of their consistent application.”CPS said that where there was not enough evidence of disability hostility for a section 146 uplift, but disability was a factor in another way – such as the victim’s perceived “vulnerability” – it can present evidence to the court of these other “aggravating” factors that can increase the seriousness of the offence and the sentence.A public consultation on CPS’s policy on prosecuting crimes against disabled people is due to end on 9 January 2017.last_img read more

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2019-07-31

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Disabled people who employ personal assistants PA

first_imgDisabled people who employ personal assistants (PAs) will not be exempt from a new government scheme designed to ensure that sleep-in care workers receive the minimum wage back pay they are due, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has confirmed.Disability News Service (DNS) has been told by HMRC that some individual employers of PAs are still being investigated over their failure to pay the full national minimum wage (NMW) to PAs who had worked overnight “sleep-ins”.And HMRC has made it clear that any arrears owed by disabled employers of PAs will eventually have to be paid.But it is not clear whether those arrears will be the responsibility of local authorities who funded direct payments that paid for PAs, or if individual disabled employers will have to meet that liability themselves.Other disabled employers of PAs may have funded that support themselves.The government announced this week that it was launching a new “compliance scheme”, which will give social care employers up to a year to identify how much they owe to staff who have been incorrectly paid below the legal minimum wage for sleep-in shifts.At the end of this period, employers who have identified arrears will have up to three months to pay workers what they are owed.Those who decide not to opt in to the scheme will be “subject to the full HMRC investigative process”, which could lead to financial penalties, public naming and shaming, and prosecution.The government had previously waived further penalties for sleep-in shifts underpayment that took place before 26 July 2017, and temporarily suspended enforcement action between 26 July and 1 November 2017.That action in July followed a high-profile tribunal ruling involving the disability charity Mencap, which found in April that many care workers should have been paid at least the minimum wage for the hours when spent on an overnight shift.An HMRC spokesman told DNS this week that his department was not able to say how many individual PA employers were being investigated for non-payment of sleep-in NMW arrears.But he said: “The government is aware that individuals who have used their own money, or direct payments, to fund sleep-in shifts could be personally liable for NMW arrears.“These individuals are themselves extremely vulnerable, and the government is committed to doing all it can to prevent them from suffering financial difficulties as a result of this issue.“However, the law states that all employers must pay NMW for sleep-in shifts, and this includes cases where an individual becomes an employer.“The government is working with local authorities to develop solutions that enable these arrears to be paid to workers without causing financial hardship for individuals.“Personal budget holders who have NMW arrears will be eligible for the social care compliance scheme as part of the government’s efforts to make sure that vulnerable individuals receive the support they require.”But he added: “The Care Act sets out a number of duties on a local authority to ensure a personal budget adequately reflects personal needs.”Asked whether this meant that HMRC believed it could be the responsibility of local authorities to meet the arrears faced by PA employers who receive direct payments, he said the government had “engaged local authorities to ensure personal budget allocations take into account the rules on NMW and when time spent asleep is working time for NMW purposes.“The government will work with local authorities to provide appropriate support on a case by case basis and intends to carefully monitor any additional local authority spending as a result of supporting individuals and the effect on local authority finances.”But he had not been able to clarify by noon today (Thursday) whether HMRC believed local authorities who funded direct payments could now be responsible for meeting the sleep-in shift NMW arrears of individual PA employers.Meanwhile, Sue Bott (pictured), deputy chief executive of Disability Rights UK, has warned that some disabled people are now having to cut back on their day-time support in order to be able to pay NMW rates during the night.She said: “Although employers will have longer to deal with any underpayment of sleep-ins, the government announcement fails to get to the heart of the problem. “Of course, PAs and other social care staff should be paid the proper rate for the job, but a direct payment must be sufficient to cover the costs. “Unfortunately, what we are seeing is that people are having to reduce the support they have in the day to pay for support at night. “The hole in social care funding just gets deeper every day with disabled people and older people having to pay the price through lack of essential support.”Cllr Izzi Seccombe, chair of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, said: “The fact that employers won’t have to settle any back-payment for sleep-in costs until March 2019 is helpful and buys some much-needed time to further understand the size and potential impact of the historic liability.“But this announcement does not end the uncertainty for providers, care workers, the people they care for and their families, and those who pay for their own care or employ a personal assistant through a personal budget.“It was misleading government guidance in the past which caused the confusion over whether national minimum/living wage should apply for sleep-in shifts.“Now the government has clarified the position, it needs to provide genuinely new funding to deal with back-payment.”last_img read more

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2019-07-31

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Graffitti to host Protest against the Dictatorship of the developers

first_img <a href=’http://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/ck.php?n=ab2c8853&amp;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’https://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=97&amp;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a> Activist group, Moviment Graffitti has announced that in light of the recent incidents of houses collapsing due to construction work, they are organizing a protest to express anger against  the Dictatorship of Malta’s developers.In their statement, Graffitti said that the protest will be held on Tuesday 18 June and will start from near St. Luke’s Hospital in Gwardamangia at 6pm and end outside the MDA headquarters, ‘to protest the arrogance of Sandro Chetcuti’s lobby.’MDA “shocked” after yet another construction blunderThey state that they have long warned about this situation, stressing that developers can no longer do as they please at the expense of residents who are faced with noise, dust, closed roads, cranes, illegal waste disposal, hazards and “the arrogance of unscrupulous developers” on a daily basis. They claim that all of this is done with the blessing of the Planning Authority.Added to this, they state that with such recent incidents and media pressure, the government has now begun to address this problem “that has spread out of control”.Their protest comes in the wake of a number of very recent building collapses in Malta in Pieta and Mellieha.The Prime Minister Joseph Muscat announced on Thursday that demolition and excavation permits would be suspended until further notice.Miguela Xuereb – Pieta – Thursday 13th JuneRead more:Updated: Demolition and excavation permits suspended until further notice – MuscatUpdate 2: Mellieħa: Should membership of the new construction regulator be mandatory?Current construction regulations ‘outdated’ and ‘inadequate’ – KTP PresidentProcess of establishing building and construction regulator ongoing – Minister BorgPhoto by Branko Stoilov – Mellieha – 8th JuneUrgent demandsMoviment Graffitti outlines a list of urgent demands in order to safeguard the safety of residents around Malta, who are now scared of staying in their own homes:An end to the boundless arrogance and bullying of developers on residents;A limit to permits issued by the various authorities and an end to the laissez-faire in the planning sector;A restriction on the hours in which construction and excavation works can be carried out, and a limit on the number of road closures and parking slots stolen from residents;A law that imposes decent standards to safeguard the residents’ health and safety in areas close to construction sites;A serious enforcement of the laws regulating construction, to give, without exception, protection and dignity to workers and residents alike;That responsibility is taken for the permanent deformation of our islands, particularly when such incidents are involved: so far, nobody has taken responsibility for any of these accidents.Photo by Miguela Xuereb – 24th April“We agree that the geological and geo-technical surveys made mandatory” – FAAIn a statement from Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar, claims that the Prime Minister’s decision to temporarily suspend the demolition and excavation was too late. Despite this, they welcomed the proposal for making geological and geo-technical surveys mandatory for all excavation work.The FAA also questioned whether to begin introducing tests on concrete durability believing that there are many residential buildings being built now which will face major problems in the next 30 or 40 years.The group argued that although the authorities are trying to point fingers at referees, the governments had tried repeatedly to reform the building regulations since 2007. This has also included requests from Kamra Tal-Periti.WhatsApp SharePrintlast_img read more

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2019-07-30

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Facetune2 Joins the Google Play Store Following the Incredible Success of iOS

first_img AIAndroid PlatformFacetune2LightricksMarketing TechnologyNewsZeev Farbman Previous ArticleNew Book Lifts the Veil on Amazon Advertising, revealing the secrets to Expand Your Brand Both Online and OfflineNext ArticleSurveyMonkey Advances Cloud Operations in Europe for Enterprise Customers with Launch of Data Centre Facetune2 Joins the Google Play Store, Following the Incredible Success of iOS App PRNewswireMay 26, 2019, 4:27 pmMay 27, 2019 Popular Photo Editor by Lightricks Isn’t Just for iOS Users AnymoreLightricks, developers of award-winning apps designed to bring creativity to everyone, announced today the company is making the next generation of its celebrated app, Facetune2, available to Android users. The new availability on the Android Platform will empower every smartphone user to achieve their professional-grade photo-editing goals from the palm of their hand, further fulfilling the company’s mission to democratize creativity.Facetune2 is powered by the latest image-processing technologies available, including advanced AI, machine learning, and face recognition, which will provide Android customers with first-class photo editing tools for seamless user experiences and results. In addition to both brand new and upgraded original features, Facetune2 is available as a free app with the ability to subscribe for added capabilities.Marketing Technology News: MicroStrategy Scores Highest in Four Use Cases in Gartner’s Critical Capabilities for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms Report“At Lightricks, we are committed to making fun and powerful creative tools accessible for everyone and are thrilled today to announce the highly anticipated launch of Facetune2 for Android,” says Zeev Farbman, Lightricks CEO. “The rapid growth we’ve experienced since Facetune2 for iOS was launched in 2016 has been incredible. We’re excited to see where this next step takes us.”The announcement follows Facetune’s success, where the original ranked as the #1 paid app in 130+ countries, was Apple’s most downloaded paid app in 2017 and in 2018 was deemed Google Play’s best app of 2014. Facetune2, available on iPhone only until today, has over 60 million downloads and over 1 million subscribers on iOS alone. The app is also acclaimed within the influencer community, and celebrity subscribers include Khloe Kardashian and Leah Remini, who describe it as “life-changing.” Together, Lightricks’ six app offerings boast over 110 million downloads.Marketing Technology News: Relativity Showcases a New Way to Analyze Short Message and Mobile DataLightricks is the creator of popular, award-winning image and video editing apps. Since the company hit the ground running with its flagship product Facetune, which has become a household term in countries around the world, Lightricks has now built an arsenal of powerful creativity apps used by millions.Marketing Technology News: Spectrum Equity Announces Sale of Ethoca to Mastercardlast_img read more

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2019-07-24

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Study uncovers new mechanism of action in a firstline drug for diabetes

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Oct 23 2018For decades, metformin has been the first-line drug in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, lowering blood glucose levels by inhibiting glucose production in the liver. Metformin also improves glucose uptake and use by muscle tissue.The effect of metformin on hepatic glucose production is most likely transmitted through the mitochondrial respiratory chain. However, up to now the mechanism through which the drug increases glucose uptake in muscle tissue has been unknown.A research group led by Professor Sanna Lehtonen at the University of Helsinki has now demonstrated in cell cultures and in an animal model that metformin directly binds to the lipid phosphatase SHIP2, reducing its activity. The reduction in SHIP2 activity increased glucose uptake in muscle cells and decreased cell death in podocytes, or glomerular epithelial cells.The lipid phosphatase SHIP2 suppresses the insulin signalling pathway. Prior studies have demonstrated through animal models that individuals suffering from diabetes have elevated levels of SHIP2 in their kidney, muscle and adipose tissue. This reduces the ability of tissue to react to insulin signalling and reduces its glucose uptake. Elevated SHIP2 concentration also increases programmed cell death in podocytes.In addition to an animal model, Lehtonen’s group utilised patient samples in the study. Their analysis revealed that in patients with type 2 diabetes who were not taking metformin, SHIP2 activity in the kidneys was elevated, in addition to which their podocyte loss was remarkable. In patients taking metformin, SHIP2 activity did not deviate from people without diabetes, while podocyte loss was also lower than in patients using another drug therapy.”Our results indicate that the lipid phosphatase SHIP2 has a significant role in regulating glucose metabolism and cell death in podocytes. So, regulating SHIP2 activity with metformin or another suitable pharmaceutical agent is crucial in managing type 2 diabetes and particularly in preventing related diabetic kidney disease,” Lehtonen says.UNDERSTANDING THE MECHANISM OF ACTION HELPS TARGET DRUG THERAPYMetformin’s mechanism of action is being enthusiastically investigated due to its diverse effects on the body, making it potentially useful in treating diseases other than diabetes in the future. Better understanding of the mechanism also helps target the therapy precisely to those patient groups that will benefit from it.Related StoriesNew biomaterial could encapsulate and protect implanted insulin-producing cellsIntermittent fasting may protect against type 2 diabetesDiet and physical exercise do not reduce risk of gestational diabetes”Combined with the research results published last spring by Professor Leif Groop and Docent Tiinamaija Tuomi, the findings of my group highlight the significance of metformin in treating a certain group of patients with diabetes,” Lehtonen states.Based on the study conducted by Groop and Tuomi (Ahlqvist et al., Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. 6: 361-, 2018), a proposal has been made to classify diabetes into five different subgroups, one of which would be severe insulin-resistant diabetes. Patients with this type of diabetes are at an exceptionally high risk of also contracting diabetic kidney disease. The researchers estimate that it would be this group in particular that would benefit from metformin.The results gained by Lehtonen’s group support this view.”Our findings prove that metformin could protect patients from renal damage by suppressing SHIP2 activity. This introduces a new, direct mechanism of action, through which metformin protects the kidneys from damage.According to a recent finding, metformin impacts metabolism also by affecting the gut microbiota,” Lehtonen points out.NEW INDICATIONS – NEW DRUGS?Identifying new mechanisms of action can expand metformin’s indications for use outside diabetes in treating, among other disorders, cancer and cardiovascular diseases – research is already underway in these fields – as well as in regulating aging.”Our new study highlights SHIP2’s significance as a drug target. Prior studies support this notion, but knowing that the most common diabetes drug acts precisely through SHIP2 encourages us to find new SHIP2 inhibitors that are more effective than metformin,” Lehtonen says.Diabetes is one of the diseases that are gaining in prevalence the fastest, both in Finland and globally. Source:https://www.helsinki.fi/en/news/health-news/versatility-in-a-first-line-drug-for-diabetes-researchers-discover-an-interesting-mechanism-of-actionlast_img read more

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2019-07-19

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Researchers uncover new lead for mechanism of action of frontline Type 2

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Oct 24 2018Canadian and British researchers have discovered how the frontline Type 2 diabetes drug metformin may work to help cells better take up and use glucose. Their study, published today in the prestigious journal Cell, may also explain other potential beneficial effects of metformin for prevention of a variety of chronic diseases, including cancers.To show that metformin appeared to make the cells act as if they are starved for the essential mineral iron, biochemists at Université de Montréal used a new method to simultaneously probe how all of a cell’s biochemical processes respond to the presence of a drug. Collaborating with researchers at the Francis Crick Institute in London, the UdeM team showed that metformin has a global effect on iron distribution in cells, resulting in alteration of essential biochemical processes.Related StoriesDiabetes patients experiencing empathy from PCPs have beneficial long-term clinical outcomesDiet and physical exercise do not reduce risk of gestational diabetesUTHealth researchers investigate how to reduce stress-driven alcohol useThe novel technology that made this discovery possible was developed in the lab of lead author Stephen Michnick, a biochemistry professor at UdeM andholder of a Canada Research Chair in cell architecture. “If you want to know what a drug or any other molecule is doing in the body, you need to survey everything going on in it’s cells at once,” said Dr. Michnick. “Today there are several ways to do this, but our method, called hdPCA, has the merit of being extremely simple to perform and interpret, non-invasive and inexpensive; it can be done in almost any lab.” The method can be deployed to rapidly predict and confirm how a drug might affect cells and simultaneously identify any liabilities the drug might have if introduced into humans.”We’d chosen to use metformin, mostly because it was an interesting test case, having no clear mechanism of action,”added the study’s first author, UdeM biochemist Bram Stynen. “The lead to effects of metformin on iron homeostasis was a bonus of this study. A connection between iron metabolism and diabetes was already suspected but no-one had ever showed a specific antidiabetic effect of metformin in living cells connected to iron homeostasis.” Added collaborator Markus Ralser, a biochemist at Francis Crick, “this makes a lot of sense; glucose metabolism most likely emerged evolutionarily from iron-dependent chemical reactions; such chemical relationships don’t disappear in evolution.”Further cell and animal studies will have to be done to pin down how important iron-starvation mimicking effects of metformin are to glucose metabolism and how this mechanism might be better exploited to improve diabetes treatments. Source:https://www.umontreal.ca/en/last_img read more

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2019-07-19

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New guidelines for detecting and managing sarcopenia to be launched in the

first_img Source:https://www.ncl.ac.uk/ Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Nov 15 2018Newcastle University experts are chairing a national session on new guidelines for the early detection and treatment of sarcopenia – a loss of muscle strength that affects many older people in the UK.It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of older people live with the condition in the UK, and identification and treatment is a major challenge for modern medicine.Now new guidelines for early detection and treatment of sarcopenia will be launched in the UK on Friday (November 16) at the British Geriatrics Society Autumn Meeting in London.Newcastle experts’ roleProfessors Avan Sayer and Miles Witham, from the NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre, at Newcastle University and Newcastle Hospitals, UK, will chair a session that outlines the process of creating the guidelines with the European Working Group on Sarcopenia in Older People (EWGSOP).Professor Alfonso Cruz-Jentoft, Director of the Geriatric Department of the Hospital Universitario Ramón y Cajal in Madrid, and lead author of the new guidelines, will discuss the recommendations as part of the session.Professor Avan Sayer, Director of the NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre, was a member of the Working Group.She said: “These guidelines are an update of the previous ones published in 2010 and will provide a step change in how we both recognize and manage sarcopenia.”They will underpin the growing research activity in this area as well as support the development of new clinical services for older people.”We are keen to get this message out as widely as possible to patients and the public where sarcopenia is not so well known.”The new consensus is endorsed by a number of international Societies, including the European Geriatric Medicine Society, the European Society for Clinical Nutrition, the European Society for Clinical and Economic Aspects of Osteoporosis Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases, the International Osteoporosis Foundation and International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics for the European Region.Sarcopenia researchStudies have shown that sarcopenia increases risk of falls and fractures, impairs ability to perform activities of daily living, lowers quality of life, leads to loss of independence, and is associated with increased mortality rates.In financial terms, sarcopenia is costly to healthcare systems as among older adults who are hospitalised, those with sarcopenia on admission are five times more likely to have higher hospital costs.There are a number of important changes to the guidance from 2010, including an easier way to screen for sarcopenia risk using a simple questionnaire, a systematic way to make the sarcopenia diagnosis, and suggestions for practical tools and tests at each step. The new consensus also underscores the importance of poor physical function as a “red flag” for severe sarcopenia.Related StoriesResearchers discover gene linked to healthy aging in wormsStudy provides new insight into longitudinal decline in brain network integrity associated with agingImplanted device uses microcurrent to exercise heart muscle in cardiomyopathy patientsThe new consensus also highlights areas requiring further research, such as the underlying mechanisms of the disease remain poorly understood.There may be multiple types of sarcopenia, driven by different underlying risk factors or diseases. The new guidance attempts an important next step in classifying sarcopenia into primary and secondary forms, which should accelerate research in this area.Professors Sayer and Witham’s work at Newcastle University and the NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre harnesses scientific expertise, input from patients, the public and industry, in order to improve the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of ageing syndromes, including sarcopenia. Their work seeks to understand why muscle becomes weaker with age, identify ways to prevent or reverse sarcopenia, and then test these potential treatments in clinical trials.Professor Alfonso Cruz-Jentoft said: “There is no doubt that sarcopenia is now well established as an important area of research activity, both within geriatric medicine and increasingly in organ specialities, such as cardiology, respiratory medicine, and oncology.”Will this research activity translate into clinical activity focused on sarcopenia, as we would like to see? For this to happen, sarcopenia has to be routinely detected and addressed in clinical practice.”Diagnosing sarcopenia will have to lead to treatment strategies that would otherwise not be triggered as part of current care. The treatments proven to work so far – resistance training and nutrition intervention – are not unique to sarcopenia and are already indicated for the related syndrome of frailty.”It may be that for sarcopenia to find a place in daily geriatric medicine practice – and in general medical care – we must wait for specific, effective treatments that merit spending time and effort on making the diagnosis of sarcopenia. As research progresses towards that goal, these new guidelines are an important next step on the road.”Read the Age and Ageing paper Sarcopenia: revised European consensus on definition and diagnosisThese new guidelines are an update to the previously published Sarcopenia: European consensus on definition and diagnosis: Report of the European Working Group on Sarcopenia in Older People published in Age and Ageing in 2010.last_img read more

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2019-07-19

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Why the electric vehicle revolution will bring problems of its own

After years of being derided as a joke by car manufacturers and the public, interest in electric vehicles has increased sharply as governments around the world move to ban petrol and diesel cars. Electric cars are taking over – but they really as green as they look? Credit: Jack Amick / flickr, CC BY-NC This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Provided by The Conversation This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. Plug-in hybrid vehicles are better than their reputation The elements used in battery production are finite and in limited supply. This makes it impossible to electrify all of the world’s transport with current battery technology. Meanwhile, there is still no environmentally safe way of recycling lithium-ion batteries.While electric cars produce no exhaust, there is concern about fine particle emissions. Electric cars are often heavier than conventional cars, and heavier vehicles are often accompanied by higher levels of non-exhaust emissions. The large torque of electric vehicles further adds to the fine dust problem, as it causes greater tyre wear and dispersion of dust particles.Different motor, same problemElectric vehicles share many other issues with conventional cars too. Both require roads, parking areas and other infrastructure, which is especially a problem in cities. Roads divide communities and make access to essential services difficult for those without cars. A shift in people’s reliance on combustion cars to electric cars also does little to address sedentary urban lifestyles, as it perpetuates our lack of physical activity. Other problems relate to congestion. In Australia, the avoidable social cost of traffic congestion in 2015 was estimated at A$16.5 billion. This is expected to increase by 2% every year until 2030. Given trends in population growth and urbanisation globally and in Australia, electric cars – despite obvious advantages over fossil fuels – are unlikely to solve urban mobility and infrastructure-related problems.Technology or regulation may solve these technical and environmental headaches. Improvements in recycling, innovation, and the greening of battery factories can go a long way towards reducing the impacts of battery production. Certification schemes, such as the one proposed in Sweden, could help deliver low-impact battery value chains and avoid conflict minerals and human rights violations in the industry. A new transport paradigmYet, while climate change concerns alone seem to warrant a speedy transition towards electric mobility, it may prove to be merely a transition technology. Electric cars will do little for urban mobility and liveability in the years to come. Established car makers such as Porsche are working on new modes of transportation, especially for congested and growing markets such as China. Nevertheless, their vision is still one of personal vehicles – relying on electric cars coupled with smart traffic guidance systems to avoid urban road congestion. Instead of having fewer cars, as called for by transport experts, car makers continue to promote individualised transport, albeit a greener version.With a growing population, a paradigm shift in transport may be needed – one that looks to urban design to solve transportation problems.In Copenhagen, for example, bikes now outnumber cars in the city’s centre, which is primed to be car-free within the next ten years. Many other cities, including Oslo in Norway and Chengdu in China, are also on their way to being free of cars. Experts are already devising new ways to design cities. They combine efficient public transport, as found in Curitiba, Brazil, with principles of walkability, as seen in Vauben, Germany. They feature mixed-use, mixed-income and transit-oriented developments, as seen in places like Fruitvale Village in Oakland, California. These developments don’t just address transport-related environmental problems. They enhance liveability by reclaiming urban space for green developments. They reduce the cost of living by cutting commuting cost and time. They deliver health benefits, thanks to reduced pollution and more active lifestyles. They improve social cohesion, by fostering human interaction in urban streetscapes, and help to reduce crime. And of course, they improve economic performance by reducing the loss of productivity caused by congestion.Electric cars are a quick-to-deploy technology fix that helps tackle climate change and improve urban air quality – at least to a point. But the sustainability endgame is to eliminate many of our daily travel needs altogether through smart design, while improving the parts of our lives we lost sight of during our decades-long dependence on cars. We have seen a tremendous rise in availability, especially at the premium end of the market, where Tesla is giving established brands a run for their money. Electric cars are likely to penetrate the rest of the market quickly too. Prices should be on par with conventional cars by 2025. Electric cars are praised as the answer to questions of green and clean mobility. But the overall sustainability of electric vehicles is far from clear. On closer examination, our entire transport paradigm may need to be rethought.Compared with combustion engines, electric transport has obvious advantages for emissions and human health. Transport is responsible for around 23% of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions globally. This is expected to double by 2050. Motor vehicles also put a burden on society, especially in urban environments where they are chiefly responsible for noise and air pollution. Avoiding these issues is why electric vehicles are considered a key technology in cleaning up the transport sector. However, electric cars come with problems of their own.Dirt in the supply chainFor one, electric vehicles have a concerning supply chain. Cobalt, a key component of the lithium-ion batteries in electric cars, is linked to reports of child labour. The nickel used in those same batteries is toxic to extract from the ground. And there are environmental concerns and land use conflicts connected with lithium mining in countries like Tibet and Bolivia. Explore further Citation: Why the electric vehicle revolution will bring problems of its own (2018, April 17) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-04-electric-vehicle-revolution-problems.html read more

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2019-07-18

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