July 2019

first_img Jelte Wicherts,Tilburg University By Erik StokstadSep. 20, 2018 , 12:30 PM More and more scientists are preregistering their studies. Should you? Around the same time, a psychologist with a strong interest in the same issues joined his department. Jelte Wicherts, previously an assistant professor at the University of Amsterdam, wanted to find out why “smart researchers do stupid things with statistics,” as he puts it. The two hit it off, and have since created what psychologist Brian Nosek, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Open Science (COS) in Charlottesville, calls “one of the leading groups” in metascience, the study of science itself.Metaresearchers investigate how scientists operate, and how they can slip off the rails. “We’ve seen things that we felt were not OK,” Wicherts says. “The first way to deal with it, that’s our conviction, is to study these things.” They’re motivated by the desire to make science better, although Van Assen is drawn to the detective work. “What I like most is to solve puzzles,” he says. By scrutinizing the problems, metaresearchers aim to help scientists do more robust research. Thanks to a €2 million grant from the European Research Council (ERC), for example, the Tilburg group is starting to build software that could help researchers explore data with less risk of bias. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country This research group seeks to expose weaknesses in science—and they’ll step on some toes if they have to The metaresearch group, co-led by Jelte Wicherts (left), created a major stir with statcheck, an algorithm that Michèle Nuijten (right) helped develop. Email That Wicherts’s and Van Assen’s center was built on the ruins of Stapel’s deceit may seem like poetic justice, but straight-up scientific fraud is only a minor topic for the group. Its main focus is questionable research practices, such as massaging data and selective reporting of statistical tests. These misdemeanors don’t get a scientist fired, but they do help explain why so many findings are hard to reproduce—the “reproducibility crisis” that has gripped not just psychology, but many areas of basic biology and clinical medicine.For scientists who find themselves in the crosshairs, the experience can feel bruising. Several years ago, the Tilburg group—now more than a dozen faculty members and students—unveiled an algorithm, dubbed statcheck, to spot potential statistical problems in psychology studies. They ran it on tens of thousands of papers and posted the troubling results on PubPeer, a website for discussion of published papers. Some researchers felt unfairly attacked; one eminent psychologist insinuated that the group was part of a “self-appointed data police” harassing members of the research community. 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Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)center_img Wicherts now co-leads the group with Van Assen, who had focused on cognitive and mathematical psychology before he was drawn into the Stapel investigation. Its highest profile—some would say most notorious—project is statcheck. The algorithm, developed by Michèle Nuijten, then a Ph.D. student at Tilburg, together with Sacha Epskamp of the University of Amsterdam, scours papers for statistical results reported in standardized formats, then examines them for errors, like a mathematical spell checker. When statcheck scanned 30,717 papers published between 1985 and 2013, it found a “gross inconsistency” in one out of eight. Most of these results purported to be statistically significant, but in fact were not, Nuijten and colleagues reported in 2015. Statcheck can’t distinguish between honest errors and deceit, but “it’s not unimaginable that people do this on purpose,” says Nuijten, now an assistant professor.When Tilburg Ph.D. student Chris Hartgerink posted statcheck’s evaluations of 50,000 psychology studies on PubPeer, some scientists were furious. The most vocal critics complained that statcheck had claimed an error when in fact it wasn’t able to properly scan their statistics, which had been correct. “Statistical graffiti,” one called it. In a column, Susan Fiske of Princeton University, a past president of the Association for Psychological Science, decried a trend of “methodological terrorism.” (Fiske removed that term, which caused a tempest on social media after her draft leaked.) The German Psychological Society called for a moratorium on statcheck.In retrospect, Nuijten says she would have written fuller explanations for the PubPeer posts, in less brusque a style. But Vazire says she handled the controversy with aplomb, showing the kind of communication skills that can “win hearts and minds” in the campaign to improve psychology. Ultimately, says Eric-Jan Wagenmakers, a statistician at the University of Amsterdam, “I think it had a really positive effect. And wouldn’t have if they had done it more subtly.”Still, the episode showed how sensitive people can be to criticism. “If you make it personal,” Wicherts says, “then they can’t admit the errors.” Rather than calling out individuals, he now believes that metaresearchers should highlight the problems, encourage best practices, and create a system where errors can be caught before publication. One sign of progress is that two psychology journals now run submissions through statcheck.Reducing biasesOther attempts to take a hard look at psychology’s practices created a backlash as well. Van Assen and two students participated in the Reproducibility Project: Psychology, a large, 4-year collaboration organized by Nosek and COS that managed to replicate only 39% of the findings in 100 studies. Some senior psychologists quickly pushed back; Harvard University’s Daniel Gilbert and three co-authors, for instance, criticized the collaboration’s methods and their “pessimistic conclusions.” (A new project, published last month in Nature Human Behaviour, replicated 62% of experiments reported in recent papers in Science and Nature.)Wicherts says some researchers fear such critiques could jeopardize funding or breed mistrust in science. But it’s not the group’s job to protect psychology’s reputation, he says. And the Tilburg studies have shaken the illusion that scientists are more objective than most people, underscoring that most researchers have a poor ability to look objectively at data and overestimate the statistical power of their studies.With his ERC grant, Wicherts plans to develop software that will help psychologists avoid the temptation to test many hypotheses and only report those that have a significant p-value. The behavior, called data dredging, or HARKing, for “hypothesizing after results are known,” generates apparently well-founded results that often can’t be reproduced. Following an approach used in particle physics and other fields, the software will reveal a random sample of the data that researchers have gathered, letting them explore and generate hypotheses. Then it will deliver another random selection for rigorously testing those hypotheses. “I think there could be a role for this,” says psychologist Dorothy Bishop of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, though she suspects it will require large data sets.Wicherts’s main effort right now is leading a project in which scientists at five universities take a fresh look at the data behind 200 studies, repeating the analyses in many ways to find out whether the authors chose to report specific results that matched their hypotheses. “I think we’ll find quite a lot of biases in place,” Wicherts says.A corrupting influenceSince Wicherts’s discovery as a student that most psychology researchers don’t share their data when asked, he and others have pushed for change. Even today, only 10% of newly published psychology papers have data available, but the “open data” ethos is gaining traction in psychology and beyond. As an incentive, 41 journals now allow authors to slap a virtual open data “badge” on a paper; after Psychological Science adopted the practice, the share of open-data papers rose from 3% to 39% in just over a year. (Similar badges exist for “open materials” and study preregistration.)Like other metaresearchers, the Tilburg group has itself adopted a far-reaching open-data policy: It shares data, code, and materials, except when issues of copyright, privacy, or ownership are involved. “It’s a much harder way of working—it slows you down—but it makes you more thoughtful and confident,” Bishop says. Hartgerink even posted versions of chapters of his Ph.D. online as he wrote them. “I share almost everything as I do it,” he says. One risk of posting entire data sets is that competitors might analyze them and come up with new findings first. Although that’s arguably good for the field as a whole, some labs worry that younger scientists who have yet to make their name might lose a chance to publish a significant finding. TILBURG, THE NETHERLANDS—In August 2011, Diederik Stapel, a prominent psychologist and a dean at Tilburg University here, confessed to faking data for dozens of papers over 15 years. As part of an internal investigation, Marcel van Assen, a psychologist in the university’s Department of Methodology and Statistics, spent months looking into Stapel’s data, methods, and results. The scope of the fraud was staggering, but just as alarming as the fabricated data, Van Assen says, were the flawed analyses, rife with statistical problems, that Stapel had performed. The fact that all his papers had been approved by co-authors and published in respectable journals meant psychology had a larger problem, Van Assen says. “I thought, holy shit, this is not a characteristic just of Stapel or Tilburg.” More content from this package Van Assen and Wicherts say it was worth stepping on some toes to get the message across, and to flag mistakes in the literature. Members of the group have become outspoken advocates for statistical honesty, publishing editorials and papers with tips for how to avoid biases, and they have won fans. “I’m amazed that they were able to build that group. It feels very progressive to me,” says psychologist Simine Vazire of the University of California, Davis, a past chair of the executive committee of the Society for the Improvement of Psychological Science (SIPS).The work by the Tilburg center and others, including SIPS and COS, is beginning to have an impact. The practice of preregistering studies—declaring a plan for the research in advance, which can lessen the chance of dodgy analyses—is growing rapidly, as is making the data behind research papers immediately available so others can check the findings. Wicherts and others are optimistic that the perverse incentives of careerist academia, to hoard data and sacrifice rigor for headline-generating findings, will ultimately be fixed. “We created the culture,” Nosek says. “We can change the culture.”Data not availableTilburg might seem an unlikely place for academic innovation. The city, 90 kilometers south of Amsterdam, was once a center of the Dutch textile industry; after the woolen mills shut down, insurance and transportation businesses sprung up. Tilburg University was founded in 1927 as the Roman Catholic University of Commerce, but it is now best known for its social sciences departments, which fill a 10-story concrete building. Housed on a floor near the top, the metaresearchers have an expansive view of a forested 18th century park.One morning this May, Wicherts, an energetic and talkative 42-year-old, was making a cup of strong coffee as he related how he became involved in metascience. When he was a Ph.D. student in psychology in the mid-2000s, it was an open secret that many findings were irreproducible, he says, but scientists feared that discussing this would cast the whole field into doubt. Then in 2005, John Ioannidis, now co-director of Stanford University’s Meta-research Innovation Center in Palo Alto, California, published a provocative essay, “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False.” It argued that science suffers from an epidemic of small studies that try to detect modest effects, poorly designed by researchers “in chase of statistical significance.” Wicherts, inspired by the paper’s clarity and bravery, calls it a watershed event for psychology.Wicherts had his own encounter with poor scientific practices during his Ph.D. work on the rise of intelligence scores over generations. Curious about the impact of unusual data points on statistical analyses, he and his colleagues asked the authors of 141 recent papers for their data, so that they could reanalyze them. To their surprise, 73% of the authors didn’t reply or said they were not willing or able to share the data, even though the journals that published the studies stipulated they should. Wicherts dropped the study but described the experience in American Psychologist. The 2006 paper was an early alert about the importance of “open data,” Vazire says. “We need something better than ‘data available upon request.’” The reproducibility push has other potential downsides for younger researchers. Studies with respectable statistical power take major work and might fizzle. For her Ph.D., Paulette Flore, now an assistant professor at Tilburg, studied whether reminding girls of their gender hurts their performance on math tests, an effect found in many smaller studies. Flore set up the largest study of the effect ever—involving more than 2000 students at 21 Dutch high schools—only to find no evidence for it. “In earlier days, her career would have ended,” Wicherts says. “Now, you do the best you can, and let the chips fall where they may. I think this is the future.”At the moment, however, negative findings “won’t land you a fancy job,” says Daniël Lakens, an applied statistician at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. For that to change, science will need to put more value on good ideas, solid methods, and broadly collaborative work, and less on high-profile publications and citations. “There’s a corrupting influence of our current incentive structure,” Bishop says. “The pressure on younger people not to do research in a reproducible way can be quite intense.”Some of the young scientists at Tilburg are pessimistic that the situation will improve anytime soon. “At the current pace, it’s going to be 2100 before things are really different,” Hartgerink says. Wicherts believes avoiding bad practices in research will pay off for individual scientists in the long run. “Keep in mind that these better methods empower the truth, and that this ultimately promotes scientific progress and highlights your contributions.”*Correction, 21 September, 2 p.m.: This story has been updated to correct Susan Fiske’s affiliation. Related stories on metaresearch The pressure on younger people not to do research in a reproducible way can be quite intense. Meta-analyses were supposed to end scientific debates. Often, they only cause more controversy Dorothy Bishop, University of Oxford We’ve seen things that we felt were not OK. The first way to deal with it, that’s our conviction, is to study these things.last_img read more

first_img Top News Advertising French actor Julie Gayet attends with families of victims and activists a rally against “femicide”, gender-based violence targeted at women, in Paris, France, July 6, 2019. (Reuters)Hundreds of protesters gathered in central Paris on Saturday to raise awareness and demand tougher action on femicides in France. “It’s a massacre,” Julie Gayet, a French actress and partner of former French President Francois Hollande, said at the protest. “We need to raise awareness on what’s happening today, which means that despite society’s evolution, there’s a step backward, and even more women are dying today.”In an interview with weekly Journal du Dimanche, French Gender Equality Minister Marlene Schiappa said the government in September will launch a broad consultation to draft new measures to prevent femicides. The consultation will involve the interior and justice ministers, advocacy groups and other NGOs. She said the government will also launch campaigns to make sure domestic violence cases are reported.“No country has reached zero femicides, but I think that if we all work on it, we can collectively do better on the long run,” she said.In light of the numbers shared by “Femicides par compagnons ou ex”, women’s advocacy groups in France have grown more vocal in recent days demanding the government stick to its gender equality promise and act decisively against domestic violence.Several feminist campaigners published an op-ed piece in French newspaper Le Monde on Friday demanding the government take measures such as suspending child custody from men suspected of killing their wife or partner, and opening more shelter spaces for victims of domestic violence. Yelling “Enough” and carrying signs reading “Stop femicides” or “The planet needs women alive”, the crowd took to the Place de la Republique square as part of the demonstration organised by various women’s rights NGOs to protest the rate of femicides, the killing of a woman by a man because of her gender.The women of all ages and a few men also observed 74 seconds of silence in tribute to the 74 women allegedly killed in France so far this year, according to data collected by Facebook group “Femicides par compagnons ou ex” (Femicides by partners or exes). It said four were killed this week.Paris, Paris protest, femicides protest, femicide Paris, France Protest, world news, indian express Families of victims and activists attend a rally against “femicide”, gender-based violence targeted at women, in Paris, France, July 6, 2019. (Reuters)According to Interior Ministry figures, 130 women were allegedly killed in 2017 by their husband or partner, up from 123 in 2016. Karnataka trust vote today: Speaker’s call on resignations, says SC, but gives rebel MLAs a shield Advertising By Reuters |Paris | Published: July 7, 2019 9:51:07 am Cabinet asks finance panel to consider securing funds for defence After Masood Azhar blacklisting, more isolation for Pakistan Post Comment(s)last_img read more

first_imgSamsung is expected to unveil its new lineup of flagship smartphones on Feb. 20 at a Galaxy Unpacked event in San Francisco, and the rumor mill has been operating on overtime.It’s believed three new Galaxy S10 models will be announced at the event, as well as a folding phone. Banners promoting Unpacked are using the phrase “Unfolding the Future” as a tagline. The Samsung models will include the Galaxy S10 with a 6.1-inch, curved OLED display and 128 GB or 512GB of internal storage; a Galaxy S10 Plus with a 6.4-inch, curved OLED display and 128 GB, 512 GB or 1 TB of storage; and a new entry-level edition, the Galaxy S10 Lite, with 5.8-inch, flat display and 128 GB of storage, based on the latest rumors from XDA’s Max Weinbach and others.”That’s a winning strategy,” said Jack E. Gold, principal analyst at J.Gold Associates, an IT advisory company in Northborough, Mass.”It allows people to upgrade their phone without going to the (US)$1,000 level,” he told TechNewsWorld. “It’s not going to be the same feature set, but it gives people choice. In many markets, that choice is important.” It’s also believed the S10 and S10 Plus will have their fingerprint readers embedded under the display, while the Lite model will have the reader on its back, as do S9s.The S10 and Lite will have two cameras on their backs, while the Plus will have three cameras, according to Weinbach, XDA TV host and contributor to the XDA-Developers Portal, whose Twitter feed is a fountain of S10 rumors.All the phones will have a 12-megapixel, f1.5/2.4 camera with auto focus and optical image stabilization and a 16-MP, f1.9 ultra wide camera without autofocus or OIS.However, the Plus model also will have a 13-MP camera with an f2.4 telephoto lens and support for auto focus and OIS. It will support Bright Night and portrait lighting as well.The 5G version of the Plus will be distributed exclusively by Verizon for several months after its launch, Weinbach noted. Solving Upgrade Puzzle Have Smartphones Peaked? There’s another major change in the wings that could induce consumers to upgrade their phones. The carriers have begun building out their 5G networks. To reap the benefits of those networks, consumers will need 5G phones. As a remedy for sagging sales, though, 5G appears to be a longer-term solution.The first 5G phones aren’t likely to appear before the end of this year, which means there won’t be much volume this year, Gartner’s Nguyen noted.”Even after that, I expect adoption to be gradual,” he said. “First-generation devices tend to be bulky, expensive, slightly unattractive, and tend to be less desirable than the more developed and mature models of previous generations, so it’ll be the tech junkies and early adopters that will likely buy into the new devices.”Then there’s the network problem. It will be a while before coverage is widespread.”If you only have 5G covering part of town, or part of the country, it’s not as compelling, because it deprives the user of a consistent experience,” Nguyen explained. “It’s like saying, ‘Hey, I can give you mind blowing WiFi coverage in your home, but only when you’re standing in the bathroom, in this corner.'” 5G to the Rescue? While the final specs for the new lineup of S10s won’t be known until Feb. 20, rumors tend to be very accurate this close to a launch.”Many of the rumors are credible,” Gold said. “It’s pretty hard, in this day and age, for any company to keep secrets about what they’re coming out with in the next three to six months, because the supply chain leaks like a sieve.”Even if all the rumors about the S10s should prove true, there doesn’t seem to be anything that hasn’t been seen before, observed Ramon T. Llamas, senior research analyst for mobile devices technology and trends at IDC, a market research company in Framingham, Massachusetts.”The net on most of this is it’s variations on a theme that we’ve seen before,” he told TechNewsWorld.That could be bad news for a market segment struggling to maintain sales growth.”From the rumors, I don’t think the various S10 models will move the needle on high-end smartphone sales,” said Kevin Krewell, a San Jose, California-based principal analyst for Tirias Research, a high-tech research and advisory firm. Redditor qgtx captured this screen shot of the Galaxy S10, which briefly appeared on Samsung’s website last week. Deja Vu Camera Proliferation The biggest issue right now is getting consumers to understand the improved experience they will have with a new phone, maintained Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy, a technology analyst and advisory firm in Austin, Texas.”The improvements are coming at a slower pace than before,” he told TechNewsWorld.A slower pace of improvements could be a good thing for consumers.”The phones most of us have so are good, most consumers can barely make use of all they offer,” said Tuong Nguyen, a senior principal analyst at Gartner, a research and advisory company based in Stamford, Connecticut.”Consumers are not taxing the devices to the limit, except for maybe in terms of battery life, yet vendors are offering even more features beyond what consumers can reasonably utilize,” he told TechNewsWorld. “The three models will have improved cameras, but that is par for any new model,” Krewell told TechNewsWorld.”The physical design is slick, but edge-to-edge displays are becoming common,” he continued. “I really think we’re reached the peak in smartphones — until something major changes the market.” People need a “step change” in the same way they went from feature phones to smartphones before they upgrade, Nguyen maintained.”The new functions introduced — email, Internet, music, video, games, photos — were revolutionary, or at least significantly better than before,” he pointed out.”The interface was improved by touch, and most importantly, the value and utility was significantly higher,” Nguyen continued. “All these need to be overcome or addressed to convince users to replace their current device.”What will drive smartphone sales in the future, though, may have nothing to do with cameras, displays and slick industrial design.”I think the next big wave will be increased local intelligence on the phone,” Krewell predicted. “The new S10 will have more neural net processing, but it needs more software support, which will come in time.” John P. Mello Jr. has been an ECT News Network reportersince 2003. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, IT issues, privacy, e-commerce, social media, artificial intelligence, big data and consumer electronics. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including the Boston Business Journal, theBoston Phoenix, Megapixel.Net and GovernmentSecurity News. Email John.last_img read more

first_img This article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente. Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Nov 7 2018Health care proved important but apparently not pivotal in the 2018 midterm elections on Tuesday as voters gave Democrats control of the U.S. House, left Republicans in charge in the Senate and appeared to order an expansion of Medicaid in at least three states long controlled by Republicans.In taking over the House, Democrats are unlikely to be able to advance many initiatives when it comes to health policy, given the GOP’s control of the Senate and White House. But they will be able to deliver an effective veto to Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, convert the Medicaid health care system for low-income people into a block grant program and make major changes to Medicare.One likely development is an expansion of Medicaid in several of the 18 states that had so far not offered coverage made available by the Affordable Care Act. Early returns showed voters in Utah, Nebraska and Idaho easily approving ballot measures calling for expansion.In Montana, voters are deciding if the existing expansion should be continued and the state’s expenses covered by raising tobacco taxes. In preliminary results, opponents outnumbered supporters but key counties were not expected to release their tallies until Wednesday.Medicaid might also be expanded in Kansas, where Democratic gubernatorial candidate Laura Kelly defeated GOP Secretary of State Kris Kobach. The Kansas legislature had previously passed Medicaid expansion, but it was vetoed in 2017 by former GOP Gov. Sam Brownback. Kobach had not supported the ACA expansion.And in Maine, where voters approved Medicaid expansion in 2017 but GOP Gov. Paul LePage refused to implement it, Democrat Janet Mills was victorious. She has promised to follow the voters’ wishes. LePage was not running.In exit polling, as in many earlier surveys in 2018, voters said that health care, particularly preserving protections for people with preexisting conditions, was their top issue. But health care remained more important to Democrats than to Republicans.Those who urged Democrats to emphasize health care this year took credit for the congressional successes. “The race for the House was a referendum on the Republican war on health care. You know it, I know it, and the Republican incumbents who shamefully tried to cover up their real record on health care and lost their seats know it,” said Brad Woodhouse of the advocacy group Protect Our Care.Related StoriesStudy finds persistently high rate of long-term opioid prescribing for older cancer survivorsKHN’s ‘What the Health?’: All about ‘Medicare for All’Social Security error jeopardizes Medicare coverage for 250,000 seniorsBut the issue was not enough to save some of the Senate Democrats in states won by President Donald Trump in 2016. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) was defeated by GOP Attorney General Josh Hawley, who is a plaintiff in a key lawsuit seeking to declare the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional. Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), who also campaigned hard on health care, were defeated.Nonetheless, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) beat Republican Patrick Morrisey, the state’s attorney general who is also a plaintiff in the lawsuit seeking to upend the ACA.Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the leader of the House Democrats who would be first in line to take over as speaker, told supporters gathered in Washington for a victory celebration that her caucus would make health care a key legislative issue.”It’s about stopping the GOP and [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell’s assault on Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act and the health care of 130 million Americans living with preexisting medical conditions,” she said. She pledged that Democrats would take “very, very strong legislative action” to lower the cost of prescription drugs.Among the many new faces in the House is at least one with some significant experience in health policy. Former Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala, who ran the department for all eight years of the Clinton administration, won an open seat in Florida.last_img read more

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Nov 29 2018Medical physicist Dr. Aswin Hoffmann and his team from the Institute of Radiooncology – OncoRay at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) are the first researchers worldwide to combine magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with a proton beam, thus demonstrating that in principle, this commonly used imaging method can indeed work with particle beam cancer treatments. This opens up new opportunities for targeted, healthy tissue-sparing cancer therapy. The researchers have published their results in the journal Physics in Medicine and Biology (DOI: 10.1088/1361-6560/aaece8).Radiation therapy has long been part of the standard oncological treatment practice. A specific amount of energy, called dose, is deposited into the tumor tissue where it will damage the cancer cells’ genetic material, preventing them from dividing and ideally, destroying them. The most commonly used form of radiation therapy today is called photon therapy, which uses high-energy x-ray beams. Here, a substantial portion of the beam penetrates the patient’s body, while depositing harmful dose in healthy tissue surrounding the tumor.Atomic nuclei as weapons against cancerAn alternative is radiation therapy with charged atomic nuclei, such as protons. The penetration depth of these particles depends on their initial energy. They release their maximum dose at the end of their trajectory. No dose will be deposited beyond this so-called “Bragg peak”. The challenge for physicians administering this kind of therapy is to control the proton beam to exactly match the shape of the tumor tissue and thus spare as much of the surrounding normal tissue as possible. Before the treatment, they conduct an x-ray-based computed tomography (CT) scan to select their target volume.”This has various disadvantages,” Hoffmann says. “First of all, the soft-tissue contrast in CT scans is poor, and secondly, dose is deposited into healthy tissue outside of the target volume.” On top of this, proton therapy is more susceptible to organ motion and anatomical changes than radiation therapy with x-rays, which impairs the targeting precision when treating mobile tumors. At present, there is no direct way of visualizing tumor motion during irradiation. That is the biggest obstacle when it comes to using proton therapy. “We don’t know exactly whether the proton beam will hit the tumor as planned,” Hoffmann explains. Therefore, physicians today have to use large safety margins around the tumor. “But that damages more of the healthy tissue than would be necessary if radiation were more targeted. That means we are not yet exploiting the full potential of proton therapy.”First prototype for MR-guided particle therapyHoffmann and his team want to change that. In cooperation with the Belgian proton therapy equipment manufacturer IBA (Ion Beam Applications SA), his research group’s objective is to integrate proton therapy and real-time MR imaging. Unlike x-ray or CT imaging, MRI delivers excellent soft-tissue contrast and enables continuous imaging during irradiation. “There are already two such hybrid devices for clinical use in MR-guided photon therapy; but none exists for particle therapy.”This is mainly due to electromagnetic interactions between the MRI scanner and the proton therapy equipment. On the one hand, MRI scanners need highly homogeneous magnetic fields in order to generate geometrically accurate images. The proton beam, on the other hand, is generated in a cyclotron, a circular accelerator in which electromagnetic fields force charged particles onto a circular trajectory and accelerate them. The proton beam is also steered and shaped by magnets, whose magnetic fields can interfere with the MRI scanner’s homogeneous magnetic field.Related StoriesUsing machine learning algorithm to accurately diagnose breast cancerStudy reveals link between inflammatory diet and colorectal cancer riskHow cell-free DNA can be targeted to prevent spread of tumors”When we launched the project three and a half years ago, many international colleagues were skeptical. They thought it was impossible to operate an MRI scanner in a proton beam because of all the electromagnetic disturbances,” Hoffmann explains. “Yet we were able to show in our experiments that an MRI scanner can indeed operate in a proton beam. High-contrast real-time images and precise proton beam steering are not mutually exclusive.” Many experts predicted another difficulty to occur from proton beam behavior: when electrically charged particles move in the magnetic field of an MRI scanner, Lorentz forces will deflect the beam from its straight trajectory. However, here, as well, the researchers were able to demonstrate that this deflection can be anticipated and thus corrected for.Competence center featuring a cyclotron and a large experimental roomTo explore these mutual interactions, Hoffmann and his team used the experimental room at the National Center for Radiation Research in Oncology – OncoRay. This joint research platform operated by HZDR, TU Dresden and University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus was founded in 2005 as an innovative center of excellence. Since the UPTD (University Proton Therapy Dresden) was established in 2014, patients have been receiving proton therapy in the OncoRay facility. Today, more than 120 scientists at OncoRay conduct research on innovative approaches and technologies for radiation therapy.”Our mission is to individualize proton therapy biologically and to optimize it technologically towards its physical limits,” says Hoffmann, head of the research group on MR-guided radiation therapy at the HZDR. OncoRay has its own cyclotron to deliver the proton beam into the therapy room as well as into the experimental room. Hoffmann and his colleagues used the latter for their research activities. With the support of IBA and the Paramed MRI Unit of ASG Superconductors SpA, they installed an open MRI scanner in the path of the proton beam, realizing the world’s first prototype of MR-guided particle therapy. “We are lucky to have an experimental room that is large enough to accommodate an MRI scanner. That is one of OncoRay’s unique features.”Knee phantom, mixed sausage and predictable diversionFor their experiments on this first prototype, they initially used what is called a knee phantom, a small plastic cylinder filled with an aqueous contrast liquid and a variety of differently shaped plastic pieces. Hoffmann and his team used it to conduct quantitative analyses of image quality. In a second series of experiments, the researchers used a piece of Dresden mixed sausage. “When the Dutch research group studied imaging for their MR-guided photon therapy device in 2009, they used pork chop,” Hoffmann says. “In 2016, Australian researchers demonstrated their MR-photon therapy device on a Kangaroo steak. Since we also wanted to go regional for our prototype in MR-guided particle therapy, we used Dresden mixed sausage.” Both the series of experiments with the phantom and with the sausage showed that the magnetic fields from proton therapy did not distort the image. They merely caused minor shifts in the MR image, which can be corrected for.The project is currently entering its next phase. The goal is to develop the world’s first prototype for MR-guided particle therapy that is applicable for clinical use.Source: https://www.hzdr.de/db/Cms?pOid=57255&pNid=99last_img read more

first_img Source:https://medicine.wustl.edu/news/topical-immunotherapy-keeps-skin-cancer-risk-at-bay/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Mar 22 2019A combination of two topical creams already shown to clear precancerous skin lesions from sun-damaged skin also lowers the risk that patients will later develop squamous cell carcinoma of the skin.The study, from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Harvard Medical School, appears March 21 in JCI Insight.”Squamous cell carcinoma of the skin is the second most common cancer in the U.S., and its incidence is continuing to rise,” said Washington University dermatologist and study co-author Lynn A. Cornelius, MD, the Winfred A. and Emma R. Showman Professor and director of the Division of Dermatology. “This skin cancer and its treatment can be disfiguring, costly and even life-threatening, making it essential to improve preventive strategies.”The therapy combines a cream formulation of a common chemotherapy drug called 5-fluorouracil with a synthetic form of vitamin D called calcipotriol. Standard therapy for the precancerous skin lesions — called actinic keratoses — is topical 5-fluorouracil alone. Calcipotriol is a standard therapy for psoriasis, an autoimmune disorder that causes red, scaly patches of skin.The same research team has shown that calcipotriol activates the immune system’s T cells, which then attack the tumor cells. In a past clinical trial conducted at Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine, a combination of this immunotherapy plus chemotherapy cleared actinic keratoses better than standard chemotherapy alone.The investigators obtained follow-up data for more than half of the 132 patients in the original clinical trial for up to three years after initial treatment. The researchers found that patients who had received the combination therapy had a lower risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma on the skin of the face and scalp than patients who had received standard therapy. Of 30 patients who received the combination therapy, two (7 percent) developed skin squamous cell carcinoma within three years. Of 40 patients who received standard therapy, 11 (28 percent) developed skin squamous cell carcinoma in the same time frame. This difference was statistically significant.Related StoriesLiving with advanced breast cancerSpecial blood test may predict relapse risk for breast cancer patientsNew study to ease plight of patients with advanced cancer”This finding provides the first clinical proof-of-concept that an immunotherapy directed against premalignant tumors can prevent cancer,” said senior author Shawn Demehri, MD, PhD, of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. “We hope our findings will establish that the use of premalignant lesions as personalized therapeutic targets can train the immune system to fight against the progression to cancer.”The investigators, including first author Abby R. Rosenberg, a Washington University medical student, found that the therapy reduced the development of skin squamous cell carcinoma on the scalp and face but not the arms. They speculated that the topical therapies may penetrate the skin of the face and scalp more than that of the arms and induce a stronger immune response in those areas. The researchers also noted that this treatment regimen was relatively short — topical treatments were applied twice daily for four days — and a longer regimen may be necessary to be effective on the skin of the arms and other parts of the body.last_img read more

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jul 9 2019Crying is, for babies, the earliest way of expressing and communicating needs like hunger, pain, discomfort or tiredness. Apart from that, the cry is an acoustic signal containing information that provides insights into the medical status of an infant. Much research has been conducted to explore the acoustic properties of infant cries and the potential to identify differences in those properties between healthy and non-healthy cries, using computational models and algorithms as well as by human listeners. Although the previous researches did not examine sufficiently to see if human listeners are able to differentiate not only between healthy and non-healthy cries but also between different types of pathologies and a comparison of the classification skills of computational models in contrast to the skills of human listeners.The authors of the paper analyzed and compared the ability of human listeners and automatic classification models to rate the health state of infants by their crying. During the experiment the listeners, such as naïve listeners (students and parents) and expert listeners (nurses/midwives and therapists), were trained to auditorily discriminate the cries of healthy infants, as well as infants with various pathologies like hearing impairment (HI), cleft-lip-and palate (CLP), asphyxia (AS), laryngomalacia (LA), brain damage (BD), etc . After training, the listeners rated cries of infants with different health states and their rating skills were compared to the classification skills of computation models.Generally the infant cry classification can be performed in two ways: computational classification of cries or auditory discrimination by human listeners. This article compares both of them. During the experiment a total number of 120 participants were divided into the 4 groups: naïve listeners (group 1), parents (group 2), nurses/midwives (group 3) and therapists (group 4).Based on the following inclusion and exclusion criteria, these groups were chosen to capture listeners with varying experience in hearing infant cries:a) Naïve listeners: no experience in hearing infant cryingb) Parents: frequent long-term contact to a limited, familiar group of healthy infantsc) Nurses, midwives: frequent short-term contact to many healthy and rare contact to non-healthy infantsd) Therapists: frequent long-term contact to many non-healthy infantsAll participants were female and German without hearing impairments.Related StoriesResearch sheds light on sun-induced DNA damage and repairPosterior parietal cortex plays crucial role in making decisions, research showsResearch team to create new technology for tackling concussionAll listeners were trained in hearing cries of healthy infants and cries of infants suffering from cleft-lip-and-palate, hearing impairment, laryngomalacia, asphyxia and brain damage. After training, a listening experiment was performed by allocating 18 infant cries to the cry groups. All infant cry samples used in this study were taken from a dataset of infant cries, created during research by authors on infant cry classification. The authors collected cry samples of 69 infants between 1 and 7 months of age, in total, 6 different infant groups were recorded: 31 infants were healthy, without any developmental disorders, 10 infants had an unilateral cleft-lip-and palate (CLP), 19 infants were hearing impaired (HI, threshold of -60dB hearing loss), 4 infants were suffering from laryngomalacia, 3 were asphyxiated infants and 2 infants had brain damage.The cries of the infants were recorded with a sampling rate of 48 kHz and 24-bit digital resolution on a Zoom H2n recorder. The Zoom H2n recorder features a built-in microphone. The microphone was held about 30 cm away from the infants’ mouths. The infants lay in a supine position during the recording. Recordings were made in similar environments. One full episode of crying was recorded for each infant. Recordings started with the first cry of the infant (using the H2n’s pre-recording function).Recordings were stopped when there was a 15 second pause with no crying. Each recording lasted about 10 to 30 seconds.The multiple supervised-learning classifications models used in the experiment were calculated on the basis of the cries’ acoustic properties. The accuracy of the models was compared to the accuracy of the human listeners.The study showed interesting results for using the infant cry as a screening instrument, the human hearing can only give the first hints to an existing pathology. The listeners were not able to identify various pathologies with a high accuracy by hearing the infants’ cry. However, human listeners acted better when selecting if the cries were healthy or not healthy.The highest precision in rating infant cries was achieved by computational supervised-learning models. These were able to rate healthy and non-healthy cries and were able to distinguish various pathologies with higher accuracy. Supervised-learning classification models performed significantly better than the human listeners when categorize infant cries. Source:De Gruyter PolandJournal reference:Fuhr, T. et al. (2019) Comparison of Supervised-Learning Models and Auditory Discrimination of Infant Cries for the Early Detection of Developmental Disorders / Vergleich von Supervised-Learning Klassifikationsmodellen und menschlicher auditiver Diskriminationsfähigkeit zur Unterscheidung von Säuglingsschreien mit kongenitalen Entwicklungsstörungen. International Journal of Health Professions. doi.org/10.2478/ijhp-2019-0003last_img read more

first_imgWe managed to separate the effect of the fish per se on diabetes risk from the effect of various environmental pollutants that are present in fish. Our study showed that fish consumption as a whole has no effect on diabetes risk. We then screened out the effect of environmental pollutants using a new data analysis method based on machine learning. We were then able to see that fish themselves provide clear protection against type 2 diabetes.”Lin Shi, a Postdoc in Food and Nutrition science “Protection is provided primarily by consumption of fatty fish. However, at the same time, we saw a link between high consumption of fatty fish and high contents of environmental pollutants in the blood.”Environmental pollutants measured in the present study are persistent organic pollutants (POPs), for example dioxins, DDT and PCB. Previous research has shown that they may be linked to increased risk of type 2 diabetes. The varying effect of fish on diabetes risk in different studies could therefore be due to varying levels of consumption of fish from polluted areas in the different studies.According to the Swedish National Food Agency, food is the main source of exposure to dioxins and PCBs. These substances are fat soluble and are primarily found in fatty animal foods such as fish, meat and dairy products. Particularly high contents are found in fatty fish such as herring and wild salmon from polluted areas. In Sweden, for example, this means the Baltic Sea, the Gulf of Bothnia and the biggest lakes, Vänern and Vättern.Related StoriesResearchers highlight need to intensify diabetes screening among older patients with HIVIntermittent fasting may protect against type 2 diabetesStudy: Antidepressants reduce mortality by 35% in patients with diabetesThe Chalmers researchers also used a new method to find out what the study participants had eaten, as a complement to questionnaires on dietary habits. Previous research has often relied entirely on questionnaires. This produces sources of error that may also have contributed to the contradictory results concerning fish and type 2 diabetes.”Using a technique known as mass spectrometry-based metabolomics, we identified around 30 biomarkers in blood samples, i.e. specific molecules that could be used to objectively measure of how much fish the study participants had consumed,” says Lin Shi.Overall, the new methodology provides considerably better tools for this research field. They can be used to better discern which dietary factors are the actual causes of different types of health effects. Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Jun 19 2019If the fatty fish we eat were free of environmental pollutants, it would reduce our risk of developing type 2 diabetes. However, the pollutants in the fish have the opposite effect and appears to eliminate the protective effect from fatty fish intake. This has been shown by researchers at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, using innovative methods that could be used to address several questions about food and health in future studies.Research on the effect of fish consumption on diabetes risk has produced contradictory results in recent years. Some studies show that eating a lot of fish reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, while others show it has no effect, and some studies show it even tends to increase the risk. Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology conducted a study with an entirely new design and have now arrived at a possible explanation for this puzzle. Metabolomics and the new way of analyzing data give us new opportunities to distinguish between effects from different exposures that are correlated. This is very important as otherwise it is difficult to determine whether it is diet, environmental pollutants or both that affect the risks of disease.”Rikard Landberg, Professor of Food and Nutrition Science at Chalmers More about the study:The study is a case-control study nested in a prospective cohort in Västerbotten in northern Sweden. The participants had completed questionnaires on dietary habits and lifestyle, and provided blood samples, which were frozen. A total of 421 people who had developed type 2 diabetes after an average of 7 years were included, and they were compared with 421 healthy control individuals. The original blood samples were then analyzed. In addition, blood samples were analyzed that had been provided ten years after the first blood samples by 149 of the case-control pairs. Source:Chalmers University of TechnologyJournal reference:Landberg, R. et al. (2019) Joint Analysis of Metabolite Markers of Fish Intake and Persistent Organic Pollutants in Relation to Type 2 Diabetes Risk in Swedish Adults. The Journal of Nutrition. doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxz068.last_img read more

first_imgJun 20 2019The Stroke Foundation has applauded the announcement of a long-awaited National Preventative Health Strategy, claiming it has the potential to ease the country’s stroke and chronic disease burden.Australian Health Minister the Hon Greg Hunt MP revealed the Australian Government would develop a long-term strategy, investing in prevention interventions that work.Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer Sharon McGowan said stroke was a highly preventable disease and this strategy was a positive step forward in helping to save lives and reduce unnecessary disability as a result of stroke. Source:Stroke Foundation There will be more than 56,000 strokes in Australia this year. Frighteningly, that number continues to rise largely due to an increasingly sedentary lifestyle.Without action now, the Australian community will experience more than 132,000 strokes a year by 2050, but it does not need to be that way.An investment in prevention will help more Australians live well, reduce their risk of stroke and avoidable hospital admissions.”Sharon McGowan, Chief Executive Officer, Stroke Foundation Related StoriesStudy explores role of iron in over 900 diseasesNew promising approach repairs system of blood vessels following strokeCancer patients taking statin medication has lower risk of suffering a strokeResearch tells us that more than 80 percent of strokes can be prevented by managing blood pressure and cholesterol and living a healthy lifestyle. This includes eating a well-balanced diet, exercising regularly, not smoking and only drinking alcohol in moderation.Ms McGowan said Stroke Foundation and fellow health groups had long called for Government recognition of the value of prevention programs to help more Australians live long and healthy lives. Investment in prevention today generates health dividends tomorrow and into the future.Research shows that for every dollar invested in prevention within Australia there is a return of $14, in addition to the return of the original investment, back to the wider health and social economy.The Stroke Foundation looks forward to working with the Government to prevent stroke and reduce the burden of chronic disease on our community.”Sharon McGowanlast_img read more

first_img Tokyo-based Yoriso said Thursday its new feature would enable users to listen to three-minute sermons via a smart speaker given by four monks depending on their mood.A three-minute sermon is often given at religious services to commemorate the anniversary of a loved one’s death in Japan.Users can talk to a smart speaker developed by Japan’s messaging app giant Line and decide how they are feeling: uncertain, angry or sad.The speaker will then choose a sermon randomly from 12 talks.”We hope that people will feel close to Buddhist monks” through the new service, Ayaka Takada, spokeswoman for Yoriso, told AFP.Buddhism and Shintoism are the two major religions in Japan but attachment to religion has dropped.As the population ages and rural communities shrink, some 30 percent of Japan’s 75,000 Buddhist temples are at risk of closing by 2040, according to Kenji Ishii, a professor of Kokugakuin University in Tokyo.The new service will be launched late next month. Citation: Zensational! Japan firm launches Buddhist sermon service (2018, June 28) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-06-zensational-japan-firm-buddhist-sermon.html Buddhist sermon? There’s an app for that Feeling uncertain about life? Need a bit of guidance? A Japanese firm is launching a new service allowing you to talk to a smart speaker and receive a sermon from Buddhist monks. © 2018 AFPcenter_img Explore further 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. Thailand to check monks’ bad habits with ‘smart ID cards’last_img read more

first_imgIn this Jan. 29, 2019, file photo, the logos of Huawei are displayed at its retail shop window reflecting the Ministry of Foreign Affairs office in Beijing. China’s Huawei is set to take the wraps off a new folding-screen phone, in a fresh bid for global dominance of the stagnating smartphone market. The company is expected on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019 to unveil the new device, which can be used on superfast next-generation mobile networks due to come online in the coming years. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File) © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. China’s Huawei is set to take the wraps off a new folding-screen phone, joining the latest trend for bendable devices as it challenges the global smartphone market’s dominant players, Apple and Samsung. The company on Sunday plans to unveil the device, which can be used on superfast next-generation mobile networks that are due to come online in the coming years.Update: Huawei unveils 5G phone with foldable screenHuawei will reveal the phone on the eve of MWC Barcelona, a four-day showcase of mobile devices, as the company battles U.S. allegations it is a cybersecurity risk.Device makers are looking to folding screens as the industry’s next big thing to help them break out of an innovation malaise, although most analysts think the market is limited, at least in the early days.Samsung recently revealed its own highly anticipated foldable smartphone, the Galaxy Fold, which comes complete with a hefty price tag of nearly $2,000.Huawei Technologies is trying to raise its profile in the fiercely competitive smartphone market. Almost everyone with a smartphone has heard of Apple and Samsung, the top device makers, and Google, the power behind Android’s pervasive software.Huawei, a Chinese company with a name many people in the West don’t know how to pronounce (it’s “HWA-way”), wants to join the market’s upper echelon.It’s getting close. Samsung was the No. 1 smartphone seller for all of last year, followed by Apple, according to research firm International Data Corp. Huawei came third, though in some quarters it took second place, IDC data showed.The company stealthily became an industry star by plowing into new markets, honing its technology, and developing a line-up of phones that offer affordable options for low-income households and luxury models that are siphoning upper-crust sales from Apple and Samsung in China and Europe.But Huawei’s products are few and far between in the U.S. The scarcity stems from long-running security concerns that the company could facilitate digital espionage on behalf of China’s government. Washington has been lobbying European allies to keep its equipment out of new 5G networks.The cloud over Huawei also includes U.S. criminal charges filed last month against the company and its chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, who U.S. prosecutors want to extradite from Canada. They accuse her of fraud and say the company stole trade secrets, including technology that mobile carrier T-Mobile used to test smartphones.Huawei is making its push at a time that both Samsung and Apple are struggling with declining smartphone sales amid a lull in industry innovation that is causing more consumers to hold on to the devices until they wear out instead of upgrading to the latest model as quickly as they once did.The company sells high-priced smartphones as well as an extensive range of cheaper models priced from $200 to $600 that offer a good camera and other features most consumers want, analysts said.But Huawei wouldn’t be where it is today if it had been content focusing merely on China and other Asian markets.The company took a huge step forward several years ago when it began pouring millions into promoting its brand and building partnerships in major European markets such as Germany, France, Britain, Spain and Italy. Research firm Gartner estimates it now sells about 13 percent of its phones in Europe.As for the U.S., Huawei can only make so much headway as long as the government is casting the company as a cyber-villain, said Gartner analyst Tuong Nguyen.”Brand building is a long-term exercise, but it’s going to be especially difficult in the U.S. because of the way they have branded all of China,” he said. “The barriers in the U.S. are just getting more difficult.” Under fire Huawei and foldable screens in focus at top mobile faircenter_img Explore further Citation: China’s Huawei set to unveil 5G phone with folding screen (2019, February 24) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-02-china-huawei-unveil-5g-screen.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

first_imgSplashing the cash was the easy part, with Real Madrid spending €315 million (£284m/$353m) on new players by the middle of June.Now, comes the hard part: balancing the books. And then hopefully generating enough money through sales to finance one more major move. https://images.performgroup.com/di/library/GOAL/43/c/de-laurentiis-james-rodriguez-ancelotti-napoli-real-madrid-ps_sco2zbs605wy11a7rmd0vmzvn.png?t=-187205101&w=500&quality=80The Italian also tried to negotiate a loan deal for the attacking midfielder – similar to the one that saw him spend two years at Bayern Munich – but Real will only currently entertain a permanent transfer after the Bavarians ceded to the Colombian’s request not to enact their right to make the transfer permanent.Madrid’s stance on Ceballos was also initially similar to that of James – with Zidane happy to see the player leave permanently. Arsenal have now made a loan move for the player, and if such a deal was completed then Madrid would miss out on up to €40m this summer.That would be an issue as Real know they will require anywhere between €150m and €180m to sign Pogba, with United unsurprisingly determined to make a massive profit on their most high-profile player.Consequently, Madrid are hoping to make approximately €160m from offloading Bale (€60m), James and Isco (both €50m). That would raise their sales revenue to €280m.Navas, meanwhile, is valued at €10m, while flogging Mariano, Vallejo and Borja Mayoral would take the total made from departures well past the €300m mark. Ceballos would also generate a loan fee from Arsenal if that type of deal goes through.Up until now, Real have done a sterling job cashing in on their fringe players this summer and by selling even just a couple more at a decent profit, they will have more than have enough money in the bank to soothe any Financial Fair Play (FFP) concerns. Watch Premier League beginning August 2019 | Soccer Live Streaming | DAZN CAPaul Pogba remains on Zinedine Zidane’s summer wishlist and, as we already know, thanks to the Frenchman and his agent, Mino Raiola, the midfielder is looking for a “new challenge” away from Old Trafford.The good news for all of the parties involved is that Real are well-placed – perhaps uniquely well-placed – to raise the kind of money required to persuade Manchester United to part company with a player they paid £89 million for just three years ago.Madrid have a squad packed with valuable assets.To date, they have already raised €120 million (£112m/$140m) from the departures of just four players who were never anything more than reserves: Mateo Kovacic (€45m), Marcos Llorente (€35m), Raul De Tomas (€20m) and Theo Hernandez (€20m) – while Sergio Reguilon, Luca Zidane and Martin Odegaard have all been sent out on loan to reduce the size of Zidane’s massive squad.Real are confident that they can generate further funds by offloading Jesus Vallejo, Borja Mayoral and Dani Ceballos (although Arsenal have just made a loan move for the latter) – all of whom starred for Spain during this summer’s triumphant Under-21 European Championship campaign – and Mariano Diaz, who is being offered to Premier League and Serie A sides having been deemed surplus to requirements a year after returning to the Santiago Bernabeu from Lyon for €23m.In theory, getting rid of their unwanted superstars should be easier and more lucrative. However, it’s proving slightly more difficult than expected. Getty/Goal https://images.performgroup.com/di/library/GOAL/8f/63/mariano-diaz-real-madrid-vs-villarreal-la-liga-2018-19_10d5s39xsylh71qp26yk5iqej2.jpg?t=-2006113742&w=500&quality=80There have been no offers, thus far, for Keylor Navas, Isco and Gareth Bale – three men who played pivotal roles in Real’s run of three consecutive Champions League victories.The lack of interest in Bale is particularly frustrating for Madrid, given the Wales international has little desire to facilitate a transfer.”He’s got a lovely life and home in Spain,” the winger’s agent, Jonathan Barnett, pointed out.”I think it would take something exceptional for him to leave and loans are not on the menu.”That is undeniably true, as underlined by the current impasse over James Rodriguez’s proposed move to Napoli.Carlo Ancelotti is keen to be reunited with his former charge at the San Paolo but club president Aurelio de Laurentiis has already publicly claimed that the Blancos are demanding too much money for the star of the 2014 World Cup.”James is in our hearts, especially in the heart of he who coaches him better than anyone else, Ancelotti,” De Laurentiis told Radio Kiss Kiss, alluding to the fact that Rodriguez and the Napoli coach have previously worked together at Real and Bayern Munich.”James’ problem is that we have to deal with Real Madrid. We are tough, we do not want to yield to the unjust demands of Real Madrid.” Getty Images However, if they are to land Pogba, striking lucrative deals for Bale, James and Isco will be essential. What’s more, they need to be done soon.United, remember, will be unwilling to countenance any sale without sufficient time to acquire a replacement. Therefore, the clock is ticking.The big Real Madrid summer firesale is about to get even more chaotic.last_img read more

first_imgIndia has objected to the CPEC project on many occasions. (file photo)   –  Asim Hafeez China COMMENT COMMENTS CPEC may turn Beijing a mediator on Kashmir issue: Chinese media report China stops funding CPEC road projects over graft issue:report Pakistan’s central bank allows yuan-based trade with China SHARE SHARE EMAIL June 27, 2018center_img Published on Pakistan diplomacy SHARE Even Himalayas can’t stop China, India if there is political trust: Chinese foreign minister RELATED India continues to oppose the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a part of Beijing’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative, as it “encroaches” on sovereignty and territorial integrity, a senior government official has said.“We have a problem there. We have a problem with CPEC, our problems are well known because it completely encroaches on our sovereignty and territorial integrity. And that is not acceptable,” the official told PTI, requesting anonymity.“We have to keep making them aware that this is a sensitive issue…there are sensitivities and you can’t be insensitive to somebody’s core concerns and we will articulate it,” the official added. Asked about the country’s stance at the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) on lending to OBOR projects , the official claimed that New Delhi’s posturing gives a “balance” at the multilateral bank. “Our perspective gets a balance….otherwise it will be tilted too much one way,” the official said. China is the largest shareholder of AIIB with a 31 per cent holding, while India is the second largest with over 8 per cent holding. In the last two years, India has been the biggest beneficiary of AIIB’s activities, with over USD 1.6 billion being committed across seven projects. On India’s stance on funding for projects at the AIIB, the official said we will not “shy away” from funding. When asked about engagements like the one at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) recently, the official said, “There are areas where there is immense scope for collaboration, we will continue to work.” The comments from the official came after AIIB president Jin Liqun yesterday made a mention about China’s Belt and Road Initiative in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “It is an invitation by China to other sovereign nations and multilateral partners to cooperate and collaborate in line with the principles of broad consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits,” he said. AIIB will “promote co-operation” in all such areas provided the projects meet the bank’s expectations of high standards, he added. The multilateral development bank concluded a two-day annual meeting of its highest decision making body, the board of governors, in the financial capital yesterday. There was intense speculation on India’s stance on the OBOR in the run up to the event. On the eve of the meeting, a senior bureaucrat had been guarded in his response on the issue, while on Monday, Finance Minister Piyush Goyal had said that we should not worry about the projects which AIIB may finance, but should rather focus on how we can benefit from its lending.“I think we should look at what we can do and what we can benefit from engagements (with AIIB) rather than focusing on what they should be not doing,” Goyal had said. The multi-billion-dollar initiative by Beijing aims at building transcontinental roads, railhead and ports linking Asia with Europe. New Delhi has gone public with its concerns on Beijing’s strategic initiative at various international fora over the past two years. So far, no project lending proposal linked to the OBOR has come up for funding before the AIIB, economic affairs secretary S C Garg had said on Monday. The government is specifically concerned over the USD 57-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that passes through the Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir and is fully funded by Beijing under the OBOR. “The AIIB is a multilateral development bank. It is as much an Indian bank as it is a Chinese or British bank,” AIIB vice-president Sir Danny Alexander had said. He had further said no project would be financed unless it meets the laid-down principles which are created by all AIIB member-countries and that the approval of the board is necessary for any funding. When asked specifically if AIIB is sympathetic to Indian concerns over the CPEC, he said, “Our bank is apolitical. We don’t comment on the internal affairs of any member-country, be it India or anybody else. What drives our investments is projects, not politics.” last_img read more

first_img SHARE SHARE EMAIL vaccines and immunisation COMMENT Despite recent revelation that 1.5 lakh vials of Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) in India were adulterated, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has retained India’s polio-free status and lauded the country for taking quick corrective steps.The Type 2 strain of polio virus was said to be eradicated and WHO had instructed that all vaccine facilities should destroy its presence. However, it was found again in a weak form in the OPV vaccines manufactured by Ghaziabad-based Bio-Med Pvt Ltd.Experts have said that such sudden re-introduction of Type 2 strain after two years of absence can trigger the emergence of a potent mutated form of virus that can cripple children. WHO has also accepted that there is minimal risk of vaccine-derived polio. The WHO statement says: “Despite the risk of vaccine-derived polio being minimal, the immediate withdrawal of these vaccines demonstrates the commitment of the government to the health of children.”Certified polio-free in March 2014, India continues to remain vigilant against all three types of polio viruses – Type 1, 2 and 3. The last polio case due to wild polio virus in the country was detected on January 13, 2011.“Recently, Type 2 polio vaccine virus was found in some sewage and stool samples. The detection of Type 2 vaccine virus demonstrates a robust polio surveillance system jointly managed by the Health Ministry, WHO and partners,” further says the statement. “WHO and UNICEF stand committed to support the government in maintaining a Polio-free India.”Type 2 polio virus containing vaccine has been phased out globally. In India it was done in April 2016, as a part of the polio End Game strategy. As elsewhere, bivalent oral polio vaccine (bOPV) has replaced the trivalent OPV (tOPV) in all polio campaigns and routine immunisation in India.Also, WHO reiterated that polio vaccines are safe for administration. “In view of high routine immunisation coverage being achieved in India under the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP), the risk of children getting vaccine derived polio virus is minimal. All vaccines provided under the UIP are safe. Ensuring your child is vaccinated against polio is not only essential for his/ her protection but also important to keep India polio free,” the statement said. Published on SHAREcenter_img October 11, 2018 healthcare industry Booster dose: Rotary’s partnership was a game-changer in the government’s anti-polio drive   –  IMAGE COURTESY: ROTARY COMMENTSlast_img read more

first_imgPublished on May 26, 2019 COMMENT RELATED At his first public address in Ahmedabad after the thumping victory in the recently-concluded Lok Sabha Polls, Prime Minister Narendra Modi underlined the next five years to be crucial to take concrete steps to make India a trouble-free country.He equated his previous tenure as Prime Minister during 2014-19 to the five years of 1942-47 before Independence as being crucial in building the foundation for a strong India.Addressing BJP supporters at the party’s Ahmedabad office in Khanpur, he said, “If we see the five years before Independence between 1942-47, they were crucial to revive the Indian spirit and energise people to give a fight to the external forces and come out of problems. This is a similar opportunity to awaken the public conscience and work to scale new achievements for the country. We must work as one society with one purpose in one direction to achieve this goal.”On a two-day visit to their home State, Prime Minister Modi and BJP President Amit Shah were given a simple welcome without much celebrations in memory of the victims of Surat fire that claimed 22 lives on Friday. Modi told the gathering that his arrival in the State was to convey his and the party’s gratitude to the people for giving such a massive mandate.After arriving at Ahmedabad airport, Modi and Shah offered floral tributes to the statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel at the airport. From there, the leaders reached the State BJP headquarters at JP Chowk in the Khanpur area. Notably, as the then BJP Organisation Secretary, Modi, lived here in a room in the late 1980s during the party’s formative years in the State.Modi will stay overnight in Gandhinagar and on Monday morning will visit his mother Hiraba to take her blessings at his younger brother’s house at Raisan area in Gandhinagar before leaving for Varanasi. Modi to be sworn in as PM on May 30 We must work as one society with one purpose in one direction to achieve this goal: Modi SHAREcenter_img Modi appeal cuts across caste, communities SHARE SHARE EMAIL politics national politics Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah wave at supporters during a public meeting in Ahmedabad, on Sunday   –  REUTERS COMMENTSlast_img read more

first_imgIt connects east and west phases of Electronics City COMMENT COMMENTS Electronics City Industrial Township Authority (ELCITA) in collaboration with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), inaugurated a footover bridge connecting the east and west phases of Electronics City on Hosur Road near the toll plaza on Thursday to avoid accidents involving pedestrians crossing the road.“This is a useful addition to Electronics City’s infrastructure. This bridge will ensure road safety and also help reduce pollution levels as vehicles need not stop at this EC-Hosur road junction”, said Hari Prasad Hegde, Chairman, ELCITA.sees Throughout the day, nearly 30,000 people use the stretch to cross the street. Pedestrians get hit by speeding vehicles as vehicles pick up speed just after the toll. N S Rama, CEO, ELCITA said, “ELCITA wants to make Electronics City a pedestrian-friendly locality. This bridge is a valuable contribution towards road safety, which will help not only pedestrians but also the civic authorities like the traffic police to regulate traffic. We thank NHAI and BETPL for their approval to construct the FoB.” Published oncenter_img SHARE SHARE EMAIL SHARE May 09, 2019last_img read more

first_imgLONDON (Reuters) – New Zealand coach Gary Stead says his team are tapping into the support they are getting from home as TV-watching fans prepare to burn the midnight oil to watch them take on England in Sunday’s Cricket World Cup final.The match is due to start at 0930 GMT – 2130 in New Zealand – as the nation’s cricket team attempts to emulate the All Blacks rugby side by being crowned world champions for the first time.”We’ve had a lot of supportive messages and we’re really excited about what’s ahead,” Stead told reporters at Lord’s on Friday. “My understanding is it’s on free-to-air back home, which is awesome.”Many people will stay up late and I know a lot of them will be spending some late hours. Monday might be a holiday back home because most of New Zealand will be staying up watching the game.” Cricket 08 Jul 2019 New Zealand can beat India with an explosive start, says Vettori Cricket 10 Jul 2019 Rain-hit India-New Zealand semis to continue on Wednesday {{category}} {{time}} {{title}} Related Newscenter_img England’s eight-wicket thrashing of Australia in the semi-finals, a mauling of New Zealand in the group stages and home advantage are all factors that make the hosts heavy favourites.But Stead backed the Kiwis to tap into their ability to scrap for a result in order to spoil England’s party. “When you strip it back, it’s just another game of cricket,” he said.”We’re excited about the opportunity ahead of us and we start the game with a 50-50 chance, we just need to be that bit better than England. We know the force they’ve become and that’s why they start the game as favourites. “You can do all the scenario training you want but you can’t replicate what goes on in a big moment like this. There is pressure on both teams because neither have won a World Cup. It’s about how you handle it.” (Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Mitch Phillips) Cricket 07 Jul 2019 Happy underdogs New Zealand promise ‘scrap’ against India Related Newslast_img read more

first_img World 11 Jul 2019 Gibraltar police arrest captain of detained Iranian tanker Iran has demanded that Britain release the ship and denies that it was taking oil to Syria in violation of sanctions. The affair has led to an increase in tension in the Gulf, with Britain saying on Thursday that it fended off Iranian ships that tried to block a British tanker.Tehran blames the United States for arranging to have its ship seized. Washington has imposed sanctions against Iran with the aim of halting all Iranian oil exports. European countries do not have sanctions against Iran, but have had them in place against Iran’s ally Syria since 2011.Police in Gibraltar said on Thursday they had arrested the captain and chief officer of the supertanker and seized documents and electronic devices. Picardo said it was carrying 2.1 million barrels of light crude oil.”All relevant decisions in respect of this matter were taken only as a direct result of the government of Gibraltar having reasonable grounds to believe the vessel was acting in breach of established EU sanctions against Syria,” Picardo said.”We will not allow Gibraltar to be used or knowingly or unknowingly complicit in the breach of EU or other international sanctions.”He said the provenance and origin of the cargo had not been relevant to the actions, which he also said could be challenged in the courts. (Reporting by Costas Pitas; editing by Michael Holden) World 09 Jul 2019 Seized supertanker was full to capacity with crude – Gibraltar World 07 Jul 2019 Iranian tanker wasn’t headed to Syria – Iran deputy foreign minister Related Newscenter_img LONDON (Reuters) – Gibraltar took the decision to seize an Iranian tanker last week solely because the ship was in breach of European Union sanctions and not on the request of any other country, the British territory’s chief minister said on Friday.The Grace 1 was seized by British Royal Marines off the coast of Gibraltar on suspicion of violating sanctions against Syria.”The decisions of Her Majesty’s government of Gibraltar were taken totally independently, based on breaches of existing law and not at all based on extraneous political considerations,” Fabian Picardo told Gibraltar’s parliament.”These important decisions about breaches of our laws were not decisions taken at the political behest or instruction of any other state or third party.” Related News {{category}} {{time}} {{title}}last_img read more

first_img Nation 10 Jul 2019 Wanita Umno slams govt, says transgender appointment is against our moral values PETALING JAYA: MCA has called for Perak exco member Paul Yong Choo Kiong to go on leave or be suspended from his post following a rape allegation, while Umno wants the investigation into the case to be free from political interference.Wanita MCA chief Datuk Heng Seai Kie said Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu should suspend Yong temporarily from his duties as the State Housing and Local Government Committee chairman pending the police probe. She added that even Perak DAP chairman Nga Kor Ming had said that it was a “very serious allegation”. Heng said Yong’s leave of absence is important in the interest of the public as well as to ensure the independence and impartiality of investigations by the police and the Attorney General’s Chambers. Nation 10 Jul 2019 Perak exco member Paul Yong says shocked and baffled by rape allegation Related News Nation 10 Jul 2019 Case probed under rape, Perak exco member out on bailcenter_img “The police must be praised for executing their duties without fear or favour by swiftly arresting the accused. “After all, this is a serious crime. In particular, the suspect is a second-term elected representative who has been appointed as a state exco member,” she said in a statement yesterday. Heng also questioned whether the state exco member was telling the truth, as it was claimed that the accused had surrendered to the police. This, she added, contradicted the statement by the police who had said that Yong was arrested. “In any case, the most important thing is that justice must not only be done but be seen to be done, and the truth must be restored because the rakyat have the right to know the truth. “The Pakatan Harapan state and federal governments and DAP should shoulder the responsibility of clarifying details of this matter,” she said. Perak police chief Comm Datuk Razarudin Husain had earlier confirmed that Yong was arrested on Tuesday to assist in investigations. In another statement, Wanita Umno chief Datuk Noraini Ahmad asked the authorities to investigate, without prejudice, the allegation against Yong.She said the government should ensure no political interference in the investigations. She claimed that lately, the legal system of the country was not respected, especially when it came to decisions involving individuals who had links to the government.“Nonetheless, Wanita Umno belie­ves that the authorities will conduct their duties in a fair and transparent manner without hiding the facts,” she added.Related story:‘Yong may be asked to go on leave’ Related News {{category}} {{time}} {{title}}last_img read more