Cyberattackers Kick Down a Few Parliament Email Doors

first_imgCongress Next? A Preventable Attack The attack on its networks doesn’t appear to have been very sophisticated, based on the information Parliament has released so far.”They used a brute force attack to find users on the system with weak passwords,” said Asaf Cidon, vice president for content security services at Barracuda Networks.”Any teenager who knows how to download a script from the Web could do this. It’s one of the most classic attacks in the book,” he told TechNewsWorld.”The Parliament attack was like going door to door and trying doorknobs until you find an open door,” notedLastline CTO Giovanni Vigna.As organizations have moved to cloud email and collaboration platforms, attackers have adapted their tradecraft away from targeting networks to targeting people and their credentials, explained Ryan Kalember, senior vice president of cybersecurity strategy at Proofpoint.”As we’ve seen in prior attacks on governments and politicians,” he told TechNewsWorld, “few things are as valuable as a compromised email account.” One way to foil attacks like the one on Parliament is to deploy two-factor authentication. That method requires something in addition to a user name and password to get into an account — typically a six-digit number sent to a mobile phone in a text message.”I am surprised Parliament isn’t using two-factor authentication, which is something that would have removed the problem even in the case of weak passwords,” Lastline’s Vigna told TechNewsWorld.”That’s because in order to compromise your email account, they also have to compromise your phone, which raises the bar considerably,” he explained.Although Parliament has guidance in place for stronger passwords, requiring strong passwords would be more effective, Barracuda’s Cidon pointed out.”You can have your email system reject a password automatically if it’s not strong enough,” he said.”There really is no excuse for not enforcing a policy for ensuring that passwords are of a minimum length and complexity to help prevent a brute-force attack like this, especially for a communications system that contains highly sensitive data,” observed Patrick Tiquet, director of security and architecture at Keeper Security.”Any email system that does not enforce strong passwords or enforce multifactor authentication is vulnerable to this kind of attack,” he told TechNewsWorld. This attack on Parliament’s email network is an outcome of a continual lack of investment by government in security strategies that have become standard operating procedure in the private sector, maintained Spencer Young, regional vice president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Imperva.”This attack was unfortunately just a matter of time,” he told TechNewsWorld.The cyberattack on the UK’s Parliament raises the specter of a possible attack on the U.S. Congress.Since, like Parliament, Congress is comprised of a group of humans — and members of both groups likely have bad password habits — this type of attack easily could hit the U.S. as well, suggested Jonathan Sander, CTO of Stealthbits Technologies.”This attack is like a break-in targeting a house in a wealthy neighborhood where the bad guys expect that there is something worth stealing inside,” he told TechNewsWorld.”You can easily see that the UK Parliament is only one house on that block,” Sander continued, “and the U.S. Congress may as well be right across the street.”Even with good security hygiene, any institution is vulnerable to determined attackers.The attack on Parliament was very simple compared to something like the Russia-backed theft of the emails of John Podesta, former chairman of the 2016 presidential campaign for Hillary Clinton. The Podesta theft included a targeted phishing campaign and a domain scheme to capture information.”If the Chinese can hack the F-35, the Russians can hack Capitol Hill, which is a much softer target,” said Kenneth Geers, a senior research scientist at Comodo.”Cybersecurity is more Sun Tzu than Stalingrad,” he told TechNewsWorld, “and politicians are easier prey than soldiers.”center_img 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. Child’s Play The United Kingdom’s Parliament on Monday reported a cyberattack on its email system over the weekend, when hackers attempted to access user accounts without authorization.Due to the “robust measures” in place to protect the legislative body’s accounts and networks, fewer than 1 percent of the 9,000 accounts on the network were compromised, officials said in a statement.Accounts that were compromised had weak passwords that did not conform to guidance on creating strong passwords from the Parliamentary Digital Service, according to the statement.Individuals with compromised accounts have been notified and investigators are determining if the victims lost any data.It’s unlikely that any data that might have been lost would have included any information gems.”Big secrets are usually shared through unofficial email accounts,” said Csaba Krasznay, a product evangelist with Balabit.”An attack against some Gmail accounts promises much bigger gain,” he told TechNewsWorld.last_img read more

Fermentation of flaxseed fibers in the gut changes microbiota to improve health

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Feb 5 2019Flaxseed supplements increase ‘good’ bacteria and fatty acids in mouse studyResearch in mice suggests that fermentation of flaxseed fibers in the gut changes the microbiota to improve metabolic health and protect against diet-induced obesity. The study, published ahead of print in the American Journal of Physiology–Endocrinology and Metabolism, was chosen as an APS​select article for February.The organisms that live in the digestive tract (gut microbiota) play a role in regulating weight and the way the body processes sugar (glucose tolerance). The breakdown of dietary fiber in the gut–a process called fermentation–can produce favorable changes in the digestive system, such as an increase in beneficial fatty acids, which may reduce the production of fat tissue in the body and improve immune function. Flaxseed is a fiber-rich plant that has been shown to improve cholesterol levels and inflammation in the colon. However, there is little research on the fermentability of flaxseed and how flaxseed fiber affects gut microbiota.Researchers studied mice assigned to four different diets: The research team measured the amount of oxygen the mice used, carbon dioxide produced, food and water consumed and energy expended. Glucose tolerance was also measured near the end of the trial. At the end of 12 weeks, the researchers examined the animals’ cecal contents–bacteria and other biological materials in the pouch that forms the beginning of the large intestine (cecum).Related StoriesResearchers find link between maternal obesity and childhood cancer in offspringSupervised fun, exercise both improve psychosocial health of children with obesityResearch team receives federal grant to study obesity in children with spina bifidaThe high-fat group had fewer bacteria associated with improved metabolic health, lower levels of beneficial fatty acids and more of a bacterium linked to obesity when compared to the other groups. Bacteria levels in both the cellulose and flaxseed groups returned to healthier levels when compared to the high-fat group. The flaxseed group was more physically active and had less weight gain than the other high-fat diet groups. The mice that received flaxseed supplements also had better glucose control and levels of beneficial fatty acids that were comparable to the healthy control group. When examining the cecal contents, the research team found evidence that the bacteria present ferment fibers from the thick, glue-like layer of the flaxseed shell. The bacteria that perform fermentation then produce more beneficial fatty acids.”Our data suggest that flaxseed fiber supplementation affects host metabolism by increasing energy expenditure and reducing obesity as well as by improving glucose tolerance. Future research should be directed to understand relative contribution of the different microbes and delineate underlying mechanisms for how flaxseed fibers affect host metabolism,” the researchers wrote. a standard diet that contained 4.6 percent soy-based fiber (“control”); a high-fat diet that contained no fiber (“high-fat”); a high-fat diet that contained 10 percent indigestible cellulose fiber (“cellulose”); and a high-fat diet that contained 10 percent flaxseed fiber (“flaxseed”).center_img Source: read more

Researchers pinpoint a set of enzymes involved in colon cancer growth

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Feb 26 2019University of Massachusetts Amherst food science researchers have pinpointed a set of enzymes involved in tumor growth that could be targeted to prevent or treat colon cancer.”We think this is a very interesting discovery,” says Guodong Zhang, assistant professor of food science, whose study was published in the journal Cancer Research. “Our research identifies a novel therapeutic target and could help to develop novel strategies to reduce the risks of colon cancer.”Colon cancer is the third most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, claiming some 50,000 lives each year. Those statistics emphasize the need to discover new cellular targets that are crucial in the development of colon cancer, Zhang says.In their study, UMass Amherst researchers tested their hypothesis that once present, colon cancer was increased by enzymes known as cytochrome P450 (CYP) monooxygenases and the fatty acid metabolites they form, epoxyoctadecenoic acids (EpOMEs). The researchers compared healthy mice and mice with colon cancer by performing metabolomics, a comprehensive and complex analysis of metabolites, which are produced when food and chemicals are broken down.In recent years, metabolomics has emerged as a powerful technology in precision medicine because it can offer a detailed picture of biological processes and molecular phenotypes, or characteristics. Precision medicine tailors treatment to an individual’s unique genetic and molecular profile.As they suspected, the researchers found that certain fatty acid metabolites were more abundant in colon cancer. “If a mouse has colon cancer, the plasma and colon concentrations of EpOMEs are very dramatically increased and the EpOME-producing enzymes, CYP monooxygenases, are overexpressed in the colon,” Zhang says.Researchers also studied human colon cancer cells, comparing them to normal colon cells, and found the same results: an overexpression, or plethora, of the CYP monooxygenase enzymes.Next, using pharmacological and genetic approaches, the researchers removed or inhibited the CYP monooxygenase enzymes in mice with colon cancer and found that tumor growth was suppressed. “If you block the enzyme, colon cancer can be significantly reduced,” Zhang says.Related StoriesResearchers use AI to develop early gastric cancer endoscopic diagnosis systemBacteria in the birth canal linked to lower risk of ovarian cancerStudy: Nearly a quarter of low-risk thyroid cancer patients receive more treatment than necessaryIn an effort to determine which metabolites were involved in the colon cancer-enhancing effects, researchers studied the biological actions of CYP monooxygenase metabolites. In an in vitro test, they found that EpOME, but not other CYP monooxygenase metabolites, increased inflammation in both inflammatory and colon cancer cells. They then treated cancer-induced mice with EpOME and found an increase in the number and size of tumors. “We showed that at a low dose this metabolite can make colon cancer more aggressive,” Zhang says.Taken together, the results of the research demonstrate “that the previously unappreciated CYP monooxygenase pathway” could be explored for preventing or treating colon cancer, Zhang concludes.He points out that previous studies have shown that some FDA-approved drugs inhibit CYP monooxygenases, including Micardis, a blood pressure medication, and Lopid, which is used to lower cholesterol. “That suggests that these drugs could be repurposed for preventing or treating colon cancer,” Zhang says. “And novel monooxygenase inhibitors could be developed for use in humans.”Using data from his groundbreaking research, Zhang has received a $406,000 USDA grant to study how dietary fats may regulate colon cancer. EpOMEs are metabolites of linoleic acid, which are found in vegetable oils and red meat.”Based on our findings, overconsumption of linoleic acid could increase tissue concentrations of EpOMEs, which have potent effects to exaggerate inflammation and tumor growth in the colon,” Zhang says.More research is needed in animal models, which can be controlled more easily than human studies. “We need to better understand this pathway in colon cancer, which ultimately may help us suggest nutritional and therapeutic approaches to reduce the risks of colon cancer,” Zhang says. Source: read more

Nicotine concentration in JUUL ecigarette products is dangerously high finds study

first_imgReviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Apr 9 2019Little is known about the potential health effects of JUUL e-cigarette products that have recently risen in popularity, especially among adolescents. The Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, has a growing concern about this uptick in their use because these electronic cigarettes deliver nicotine — a highly addictive stimulant, with potential to affect the still-developing adolescent brain.A research team led by Prue Talbot, a professor in the Department of Molecular, Cell and Systems Biology at the University of California, Riverside, and James F. Pankow, a professor of chemistry as well as civil and environmental engineering at Portland State University, Oregon, has now found that nicotine concentrations are higher in JUUL electronic cigarettes than in any of the hundreds of other electronic cigarette products the team analyzed.”The nicotine concentrations are sufficiently high to be cytotoxic, or toxic to living cells, when tested in vitro with cultured respiratory system cells,” said Talbot, the director of the UCR Stem Cell Center. “JUUL is the only electronic cigarette product we found with nicotine concentrations high enough to be toxic in standard cytotoxicity tests. A big concern is that its use will addict a new generation of adolescents to nicotine.”Study results appear in Chemical Research in Toxicology.JUUL e-cigarettes are made by JUUL Labs, an electronic cigarette company. JUUL use is widespread among middle and high school students.The research team made a second finding: Although each flavor of the JUUL pod — eight different flavors are available — has relatively few flavor chemicals, several of these chemicals are present in high concentrations.”Some JUUL flavor pods have sufficiently high concentrations of flavor chemicals that may make them attractive to youth,” Pankow said. “We still need to determine if JUUL products will lead to adverse health effects with chronic use.”Related StoriesSmoke-free generation ‘in sight’ as numbers of smokers drop dramaticallyNew regulations on e-cigarettes may have unintended consequencesE-cigarette vaping with nicotine appears to impair mucus clearance”We found some flavor chemicals, such as ethyl maltol, also correlate with cytotoxicity, but nicotine seems to be the most potent chemical in JUUL products, due to it very high concentration,” Talbot said.The nicotine found in JUUL products is currently, on average, about 61 milligrams per milliliter of fluid in pods–equivalent to more than one pack of conventional cigarettes.Talbot is hopeful that the FDA will limit the permissible concentration of nicotine in electronic cigarette products.”The FDA is trying to prevent sales of JUULs to those under 21, but these products still find their way into high schools,” she said. “Our data reinforce the need to prevent adolescents from using products with these extremely high nicotine concentrations.”UCR prohibits smoking and the use of smokeless tobacco products or electronic smoking devices, including JUULS, on campus.”Despite advertisements promoting e-cigarettes and JUUL products as smoking cessation tools, studies have shown, concerningly, that increasing use of these products among youth and adolescents can serve as gateways to tobacco and other substance abuse,” said Julie Chobdee, the coordinator of the Wellness Program at UCR, who did not participate in the study.Talbot explained that various flavor chemicals present in e-cigarette refill fluids, such as diacetyl, cinnamaldehyde, menthol, and ethyl vanillin, are popularly found in sweet, buttery/creamy and fruity/citrus e-liquids.”Depending on their concentrations in the products, these chemicals can elicit varying toxic effects, as has been noted in case reports and laboratory studies,” she said. “For example, diacetyl is a flavoring ingredient commonly found in popcorn. Inhalation of diacetyl, however, can cause a serious lung disease called bronchiolitis obliterans.” Source: read more

New drug could alleviate symptoms of rare musculoskeletal condition

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)May 20 2019A new study shows a drug developed in conjunction with investigators at Indiana University School of Medicine to alleviate symptoms of a rare musculoskeletal condition is significantly more effective than conventional therapies. The findings are published in Lancet.X-linked hypophosphatemia, or XLH, is a phosphate-wasting disease that causes rickets and osteomalacia, or softening of the bones, and can cause short stature, bowed legs, dental abscesses and bone pain. This rare, genetic disease affects about 1 in every 20,000 people.Researchers recruited 61 children between the ages of 1 and 12 at 16 centers around the world, including the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Australia, Japan and Korea. The children were randomly assigned to either receive Burosumab, a biweekly injection that was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in April 2018, or conventional therapies of taking oral phosphate and active vitamin D several times a day. The primary outcome was improvement in rickets on X-rays, as scored by radiologists that were unaware of which treatment group the participant was in.The children were observed for 64 weeks, and by 40 weeks of treatment, researchers found 72 percent of the children who received Burosumab achieved substantial healing of rickets, while only 6 percent of those in the conventional therapy group saw substantial healing. Burosumab also led to greater improvements in leg deformities, growth, distance walked in a 6-minute test and serum phosphorus and active vitamin D levels. Related StoriesStudy: Treatment of psychosis can be targeted to specific genetic mutationNew study identifies eight genetic variants associated with anorexia nervosaStudy: Causes of anorexia are likely metabolic and psychologicalResearchers plan to continue studying the long-term effects of Burosumab, including the effect treating children has on height outcomes as an adult and whether this treatment will decrease the need for surgeries to correct bowed legs.Burosumab blocks a protein called fibroblast growth factor 23 that was originally discovered by investigators at Indiana University School of Medicine. Burosumab is marketed by Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical, Inc. in collaboration with Kyowa Hakko Kirin Co., Ltd. and its European subsidiary, Kyowa Kirin International PLC, under the brand name Crysvita.Source:Indiana UniversityJournal reference:Imel, E A. et al, (2019) Burosumab versus conventional therapy in children with X-linked hypophosphataemia: a randomised, active-controlled, open-label, phase 3 trial. The Lancet. This is the first study comparing Burosumab head-to-head with conventional therapy. We now know the magnitude of benefit from Burosumab over the prior approach with conventional therapy. This information is critical for doctors to make treatment decisions for patients with XLH.”Erik Imel, MD, Lead investigator and Associate Professor of Medicine, IU School of Medicinelast_img read more

Quitting drinking may improve healthrelated quality of life for women

first_imgThe study carried out by Dr. Xiaoxin Yao, Dr. Michael Ni, Dr. Herbert Pang and colleagues at HKU included 10 386 people from the FAMILY Cohort in Hong Kong who were nondrinkers or moderate drinkers (14 drinks or less per week for men and 7 drinks or less per week for women) between 2009 and 2013. The researchers compared their findings with data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions, a representative survey of 31 079 people conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in the United States.Related StoriesRomantic relationships can alter the impact of genetic influences on alcohol outcomesOne pint of beer or large glass of wine can compromise person’s sense of agencyRecreational marijuana users tend to drink more alcohol, medicinal users drink lessThe mean age of participants in the FAMILY Cohort was 49 years and 56% were women. About 64% of men were nondrinkers (abstainers and former drinkers) and almost 88% of women were nondrinkers. Men and women who were lifetime abstainers had the highest level of mental well-being at the start of the study (baseline). For women who were moderate drinkers and quit drinking, quitting was linked to a favorable change in mental well-being in both Chinese and American study populations. These results were apparent after adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics, body mass index, smoking status, and other factors.”Global alcohol consumption is expected to continue to increase unless effective strategies are employed,” says Dr. Ni. “Our findings suggest caution in recommendations that moderate drinking could improve health-related quality of life. Instead, quitting drinking may be associated with a more favorable change in mental well-being, approaching the level of lifetime abstainers.””Change in moderate alcohol consumption and quality of life: evidence from 2 population-based cohorts” is published July 8, 2019. Source:CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) More evidence suggests caution in recommending moderate drinking as part of a healthy diet.”Dr. Michael Ni, School of Public Health and The State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive Science, University of Hong Kong (HKU) Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jul 8 2019Quitting alcohol may improve health-related quality of life for women, especially their mental well-being, according to a study from Hong Kong published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).last_img read more

Homebased HIT appears to be effective for improving fitness in obese individuals

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jun 20 2019How much do you exercise? Government guidelines suggest that, in order to stay healthy, adults should perform at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every week – that’s exercise that gets your breathing and heart rate up.A new study, published in The Journal of Physiology investigated a home-based high-intensity interval training (Home-HIT) program and studied its benefits for clinically obese individuals with an elevated risk of heart disease.Previous research has demonstrated that under controlled laboratory conditions, you can get the same benefits from three 20-minute exercise sessions, as from the Government-recommended 150 minutes. However, the question is whether data produced in highly controlled laboratory environments can be translated to the real world.Related StoriesCutting around 300 calories a day protects the heart even in svelte adultsTAU’s new Translational Medical Research Center acquires MILabs’ VECTor PET/SPECT/CTStroke should be treated 15 minutes earlier to save lives, study suggestsThe research team at Liverpool John Moores University were interested in whether Home-HIT is a time-efficient strategy that helps to reduce other common exercise barriers such as difficulty with access to exercise facilities due travel time and cost.In this study, 32 obese people completed a 12-week program of either: 1) a supervised, lab-based cycling HIT program, 2) the Government-recommended 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise or 3) a home-based HIT program of simple bodyweight exercises suitable for people with low fitness and low mobility, and performed without equipment. For all of these regimens, the exercise was performed three times per week.The researchers measured a range of health markers in these participants, including body composition, cardiovascular disease risk, and the ability to regulate glucose. They found that the home-based HIT was as effective as both the Government-recommended 150 minutes and the supervised, lab-based HIT program for improving fitness in obese individuals.Sam Scott, first author of the study said: An exercise regimen, such as Home-HIT, that reduces barriers to exercise, such as time, cost, and access, and increases adherence in previously inactive individuals gives people a more attainable exercise goal and thus could help improve the health of countless individuals.” Source:The Physiological SocietyJournal reference:Scott, S. et al. (2019) Home-hit improves muscle capillarization and enos/nad(p)hoxidase protein ratio in obese individuals with elevated cardiovascular disease risk. The Journal of Physiology. read more

Introduction of globally recognized surgical guideline reduce postoperative deaths

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Jun 25 2019The English National Health Service (NHS) reduced post-operative deaths by 37.2% following the introduction of globally recognized surgical guidelines – paving the way for life-saving action in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), a new study reveals.Researchers at the University of Birmingham have confirmed that the NHS achieved the reduction between 1998 and 2014, coinciding with the introduction of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Surgical Safety Checklist in 2008.Investigation of data showed a consistent downward trend over the 16-year period, with the greatest reductions achieved in oesophagogastric (68.8%) and breast (69.3%) surgery.The researchers published their analysis on the reduction of postoperative mortality rates (POMR) in a research letter to British Journal of Surgery. Their findings echo the results of similar research into NHS Scotland for the period 2000 to 2014, which found that the WHO Checklist was a key driver in POMR by 39%.Mr Aneel Bhangu, Senior Lecturer, University of Birmingham: Funds, supports and delivers high quality research that benefits the NHS, public health and social care Engages and involves patients, carers and the public in order to improve the reach, quality and impact of research Attracts, trains and supports the best researchers to tackle the complex health and care challenges of the future Invests in world-class infrastructure and a skilled delivery workforce to translate discoveries into improved treatments and services Partners with other public funders, charities and industry to maximise the value of research to patients and the economy Source:University of BirminghamJournal reference:Ramsay, G. et al. (2019) Reducing surgical mortality in Scotland by use of the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist. British Journal of Surgery. For more information or interviews, please contact: The NIHR was established in 2006 to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research, and is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care. In addition to its national role, the NIHR commissions applied health research to benefit the poorest people in low- and middle-income countries, using Official Development Assistance funding. NIHR funder the NIHR Global Health Research Unit on Global Surgery built capacity and sustainable surgical research infrastructures in partner LMICs. The Unit working closely together with its UK and LMIC partners to deliver research studies and disseminate the findings. For the current 2019 fiscal year, the World Bank defines low-income economies as those with a GNI per capita, calculated using the World Bank Atlas method, of $995 or less in 2017; lower middle-income economies are those with a GNI per capita between $996 and $3,895; upper middle-income economies are those with a GNI per capita between $3,896 and $12,055; high-income economies are those with a GNI per capita of $12,056 or more. Tony Moran, International Communications Manager, University of Birmingham on +44 (0) 121 414 8254 or +44 (0)782 783 2312 or For out-of-hours enquiries, please call +44 (0) 7789 921 165.center_img Notes for editors He added that the checklist was essential part of improving perioperative safety, although variable reductions in deaths across specialties suggested that procedure specific initiatives have made a major contribution to reducing overall POMR.Researchers at the University’s NIHR Global Health Research Unit on Global Surgery replicated the analysis of NHS Scotland performance using publicly available inpatient POMR data. They discovered a 37.2% relative reduction (1.21 to 0.76%) in overall inpatient POMR.The study followed the Unit’s research, published earlier this year in The Lancet, which discovered the figure of 4.2 million deaths every year within 30 days after surgery.There is also a significant unmet need for surgery in LMICs and researchers believe that if operations were provided for all patients who need them the number of global post-operative deaths would increase to 6.1 million.Around 4.8 billion people worldwide lack timely access to safe and affordable surgery and it is estimated that there is an annual unmet need for 143 million procedures in LMICs.Related StoriesFight for Sight poll: Brits put their eyesight at risk through unsafe contact lens habitsCommon cold virus strain could be a breakthrough in bladder cancer treatmentTransobturator sling surgery shows promise for stress urinary incontinence ‘Reducing surgical mortality in Scotland by use of the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist’ – G. Ramsay, A. B. Haynes, S. R. Lipsitz, I. Solsky, J. Leitch, A. A. Gawande and M. Kumar. Around the world 4.2 million people die every year within 30 days after surgery – with half of these deaths occurring in LMICs. Identification of strategies to reduce postoperative mortality is now a global research priority.It is encouraging that despite having among the lowest baseline rates globally, both Scotland and England have achieved a greater than one-third reduction in overall POMR. Replicating these gains internationally could avoid thousands of postoperative deaths, with the greatest potential gains in LMICs.” The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions, its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 6,500 international students from over 150 countries. The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is the nation’s largest funder of health and care research. The NIHR:last_img read more

Wood fuels key to easing food insecurity situation in subSaharan Africa

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. Citation: Wood fuels key to easing food insecurity situation in sub-Saharan Africa (2018, February 27) retrieved 18 July 2019 from “Before policy makers can integrate energy considerations into food security interventions, it is necessary to consider the state of wood fuel research and how it might be expanded to better serve social needs,” Mendum said. “If we ignore this practice of wood burning, which is so widespread, particularly among the continent’s poorest people, we risk putting together solution steps for food security that are not effective.”After poring over the literature, Mendum and Njenga reported that little previous empirical research into wood burning in sub-Saharan Africa has been conducted, so policy makers have scant data to guide them in formulating best practices for sustainable biomass production and consumption. In their study, published this month in Facets, they have some recommendations.They suggest creating financial policy to support wood-burning systems and developing agroforestry to ease the burden on wood gatherers. In rural areas, encourage the planting of trees and then pruning them to use the branches for firewood. As a result, more trees would be in place and people could care for trees and collect firewood on their own properties instead of carrying it long distances.”That means all the negative impacts of hauling wood on women’s backs would be eliminated,” Mendum said.They also recommend conducting more research on the complex issues that connect the use of women’s time, environmental degradation and competition for agricultural nutrients. There are a host of other factors surrounding wood-fuel energy use in sub-Saharan Africa that remain poorly understood, Mendum said.This research gap will not be filled as long as wood-fuel use remains ignored because the assumption is being made that a 21st-century economy must move up the energy ladder, the researchers concluded. Wood fuel is widely used, it has a long history of use, and there are food cultural barriers, widespread poverty and daunting geographic conditions that make other forms of fuel unpopular or unavailable.”We shouldn’t wait until we know the exact nutritional or agricultural productivity impacts of wood-fuel use—that’s information that we may never have the capacity to fully collect,” Mendum said. “It is important to expand the work being done on improving wood-fuel systems with clear attention paid to the impacts of such improvements on food security and agricultural productivity.” Access to wood fuels for cooking must be considered when formulating policy to deal with food insecurity in sub-Saharan Africa, according to researchers who advocate expanding the effort to improve wood-fuel systems and make them more sustainable. Although the health risks of collecting and using firewood and charcoal in traditional ways are real, policy makers, researchers and donors need to address the sustainability and viability of the biomass used by the majority of people, according to Ruth Mendum, director of gender initiatives in the Office of International Programs, College of Agricultural Sciences, Penn State. She collaborated with Mary Njenga, a research scientist who specializes in bioenergy at the World Agroforestry Centre in Kenya.Firewood collection in African society is a gender issue because it is done almost exclusively by women, noted Mendum, who said inadequate sources of cooking energy contribute to food insecurity, particularly for very low income, food-insecure individuals. She believes that that reality has been overlooked intentionally by decision-makers in countries such as Ethiopia, Kenya, Nairobi, Tanzania and Zambia in their efforts to advocate for progressive cooking energy.”It’s not always a question of money—in many cases people simply prefer cooking with wood,” she said. “But we have literally been in places where people have food but don’t have a way to cook it. It is an uncomfortable issue but it’s an issue we need to understand better and learn how to make wood burning for cooking sustainable.”Wood fuels are by far the most widely used for cooking in sub-Saharan Africa. On the continent as a whole, more than 90 percent of the population relies on firewood or charcoal. Charcoal is mostly used in urban centers while firewood is the predominant form of wood fuel used in rural areas. But because wood burning is seen as outdated and environmentally unfriendly, governments have tried to persuade their citizens to use other fuels, such as liquefied natural gas and electricity.Despite those efforts, the use of wood fuels is rising due to population growth and emerging urbanization trends, the researchers point out. For example, a 1 percent rise in urbanization has been linked to a 14 percent rise in charcoal consumption. They recommend that energy availability for household use—specifically wood fuels—should be added to the short list of essential drivers of food insecurity in sub-Saharan Africa. Fungal enzymes could hold secret to making renewable energy from wood Provided by Pennsylvania State University read more

Curing at the touch of a button—carbon fiber composites and underwater adhesives

first_img Credit: Vienna University of Technology “We are developing special compounds in which light triggers a chemical reaction”, explains Robert Liska. “This can be a bright flash of visible light, but we also have compounds which only react to UV light.” At the point where the light strikes the resin, a reaction is started that releases heat. This heat spreads and initiates a chemical cascade elsewhere until all the resin has been cured. “The key advantage of this method is that it isn’t necessary to illuminate the entire resin as with other light-curing materials”, explains Liska. “It’s sufficient to irradiate any part of the resin with light. The rest then cures even if it’s situated deep in a dark crack that you want to fill.” Within seconds the new material can be completely transformed. Initially, the material is transparent and either in liquid or paste form; then, when any part of it is irradiated with the appropriate light, the entire resin begins to solidify and takes on a dark colour. The special epoxy resin formula that makes this possible has been patented by TU Wien. Now, researchers have even successfully carried out the process underwater. This means that the new epoxy resin can be used for jobs that, up until now, had been very difficult to carry out, such as filling underwater cracks in bridge pillars or dams, or repairing pipes during ongoing operation. As a further novelty, the special formula can be applied in combination with carbon fibres and carbon fibre mats. Many possibilities arise for applications in aerospace engineering, wind turbines, shipbuilding or automotive industry—in every field where highest mechanical properties need to be combined with lightweight design. Ordinary material with an extraordinary additionEpoxy resins are standard materials that are used in the industrial sector for many different purposes, such as insulating electronic components or securing mechanical parts. The research group headed up by Professor Robert Liska (Institute of Applied Synthetic Chemistry, TU Wien) develops additives that are added to ordinary epoxy resin in order to adjust its properties and enable targeted curing at the touch of a button. Novel method for curing of epoxy resins uses local UV flashes to initiate a chemical cascade Explore further “A key reason for this is that the chemical reaction brings the water to the boil”, explains Robert Liska. “A thin protective layer of water vapour then forms between the hardening resin and the surrounding water.”Researchers are now looking for further users from industry to explore the potential of this special resin. Besides the application of glass- and carbon fibre-reinforced composites in aerospace, shipbuilding and automotive manufacturing, the restoration of buildings is a particularly interesting area. For example, you could fill cracks in buildings that are built in water with viscous resin and then cure them with a flash of light. The maintenance of pipelines is another job that is often difficult to carry out – the use of the new resin could also be suitable here. “There are many possibilities and we are hoping for some interesting new ideas”, says Robert Liska. Provided by Vienna University of Technology Citation: Curing at the touch of a button—carbon fiber composites and underwater adhesives (2018, June 4) retrieved 18 July 2019 from Credit: Vienna University of Technology Industrial sector interest A special formula for epoxy resins has been developed at TU Wien, which can be used for fibre-reinforced composites in aerospace, shipbuilding and automotive manufacturing, or even for underwater renovation. This is achieved merely by irradiating any part of the resin with light. Partner companies from industry have enquired whether this process would also be possible in presence of “dark” fillers or fibres as self-curing epoxy resin would be extremely useful for some of these more difficult applications. “On the surface, this idea contradicts all theories”, thinks Liska. “The light has a very low penetration depth into the material because it is strongly absorbed by the carbon fibres”, still experiments at TU Wien impressively showed the working process.Also the efficient underwater curing contradicts the theory. “Initially we didn’t think it would be possible. One would first expect that the water would chemically react with the components of the resin, and also that it would remove the heat required to sustain the reaction.” Surprisingly, however, it was still possible for the light-triggered self-curing process to take place underwater. Carbon fibre mats can be used with the new epoxy resin. Credit: Vienna University of Technology The novel material can be hardened under water. Credit: Vienna University of Technology 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

Research team improves code to benefit industrial engineers

first_img SDSC joins the Intel Parallel Computing Centers program This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. The Ohio Supercomputer Center’s (OSC) Karen Tomko, Ph.D., and the University of Illinois/Urbana’s Robert Dodds, Ph.D., recently wrapped up a project that will greatly enhance the simulation capabilities of manufacturing engineers. Provided by Ohio Supercomputer Center Citation: Research team improves code to benefit industrial engineers (2018, July 12) retrieved 18 July 2019 from Explore further Tomko and Dodds were co-principal investigators on the Intel Parallel Computer Center project, a two-year project with the goal of code modernizing WARP3D, an open-source code used by engineers to optimize the robotic welding process for heavy equipment. It is a code used in industry, government laboratories and academia for 3-D nonlinear analysis of solids using finite elements.The Intel PCC program provides funding to universities, institutions, and research labs to modernize key community codes used across a wide range of disciplines to run on current state-of-the-art parallel architectures. The primary focus is to modernize applications to increase parallelism and scalability through optimizations that leverage cores, caches, threads, and vector capabilities of microprocessors and coprocessors.”It was definitely an interesting project because WARP3D was developed as a research code but it has very practical applications in industry, so that makes it more rewarding,” said Tomko, director of research software applications at OSC. “It’s going to do more than just produce a research paper. It’s going to help people designing heavy equipment, it will be used by industry engineers, in the energy and other sectors working with large structures.”The code modernization project was a collaborative effort of Tomko and Dodds, a code developer and professor emeritus at the University of Illinois/Urbana, along with OSC’s Samuel Khuvis, Ph.D., scientific applications engineer, and Jeremy Nicklas, Ph.D., web and interface app engineer.”This was a project I was interested in for two reasons,” Dodds said. “It was an opportunity to continue working with the OSC applications group, with Karen and her staff, as well as the interactions we were going to have with the Intel technical people. It was also an opportunity to re-examine the key parts of our code, to improve performance and reliability.”The major goal and accomplishment of the project was improving the code so it could run on multiple nodes on a supercomputer using Message Passing Interface (MPI), a portable message-passing system that functions on a wide variety of parallel computers.”We’ve enabled larger, more complex models to be simulated,” Tomko said. “Users can use the same input files whether they’re running on two nodes, four nodes or eight nodes, and that was not the case when we got started.”The ability to solve larger problems is a major benefit to companies such as Caterpillar and EMC2, with which Dodds works closely on manufacturing research and development. These code improvements will help Caterpillar and other heavy machinery companies optimize their welding simulations.”The interest is to predict the deformations of these large components caused by the robotic welding process,” Dodds said. “It’s a fairly severe computational challenge.”In terms of the efficiency of the code and reliability of the code, we can solve significantly larger numbers than we were able to handle before. It gives us confidence going forward that it can be used in simulations for manufacturing design, but also for defect assessment of existing components.”Because this code is open source, it offers a major benefit to smaller and mid-sized companies, according to Dodds.”The technology transfer aspect of this is absolutely crucial,” he said. “As soon as you get away from the largest companies, the ability to access the technical expertise needed to improve on a trial-and-error method of manufacturing design, as opposed to a simulation-based design becomes a huge challenge quickly as you downscale in size of companies. Having facilities like OSC, where companies can go for support and using open sourced software, is absolutely critical.”The code has already been used by a mix of academic, industry, and government labs all over the world, with thousands of downloads in the past year.last_img read more

Coal shortage affecting captive power plants in Odisha

first_imgSHARE SHARE EMAIL December 08, 2018 Coal-based industries in Odisha are facing acute shortage of the fossil fuel which is affecting operations of several captive power plants in the state, industrialists said here on Saturday.Speaking at a deliberation organised by the Utkal Chamber of Commerce and Industry (UCCI) here, they said that unless the issue is addressed quickly, it would hit the future of many major stakeholders and in turn affect the overall industrial climate under the long-term vision of ‘Make in Odisha’.“Odisha is one of the largest coal producing states in the country. However, it is unfortunate that our own coal-based industries are not getting priority in our own land. It is a serious concern for all of us and we should take it up at appropriate forums at the state and national level with the help of the key stakeholders, said UCCI president Ramesh Mahapatra.The chamber has already flagged the issue with the Odisha Chief Secretary and requested the state government to intervene. If required, the chamber said, it would approach the Union coal minister, he added. In his address, Abhijit Pati, CEO Vedanta Ltd said: “Due to coal scarcity, power plants are operating at 60-70 per cent of their installed capacity which is ultimately hampering the interests of the state and nation. SS Upadhyaya of Jindal Stainless Ltd raised the issue linked with transportation of coal to the designated plants. Non-availability of rakes is worsening the coal crisis in the state. Imported coal often lies stagnant at Paradip, Dhamra and other ports as there are no rakes to transport them. Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) produces about 140 million tonnes which can eadily cater to the needs of the local industry. However, the entire industrial fraternity requiring coal is reeling under acute shortage as the supplies to the captive power plants by Coal India is only 12-13 million tonnes which is 30 per cent of the requirement. MCL officials could not be reached for comment. coal COMMENTS SHARE Orissa Published on COMMENTlast_img read more

Turkeys purchase of Russian S400s does not change strategic orientation minister

first_imgTurkey’s Defence Ministry also cited Akar as saying Ankara was still assessing the bid to acquire U.S. Patriot air defence systems and that a deterioration of bilateral relations would not serve the interests of either country. (Reporting by Daren Butler; editing by Jonathan Oatis) World 12 Jun 2019 Turkey says it has already bought Russian S-400 defence systems Related News Related News {{category}} {{time}} {{title}}center_img ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 missile systems does not mean a change of the country’s strategic orientation, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar told his U.S. counterpart by phone on Friday, adding that the acquisition was a necessity. World 29 Apr 2019 Trump, Erdogan discuss working group on Russian S-400 missile system World 10 Jul 2019 Two Qatari military training planes collide, pilots eject safely – defence ministrylast_img read more

No spring in Syafiqs step on first day of World Aquatics Cships

first_img Diving 29 May 2019 Junior diver Kimberly Bong likely to partner Pandelela at world meet For the second day at the world meet, Chew Yiwei and Ooi Tze Liang will compete in the preliminary rounds of the 3m springboard synchro event today.The duo are unlikely to make an impression but Yiwei’s main focus will be on securing Olympic qualification points in the 10m platform event by making it past the preliminary round and semi-finals next Friday. {{category}} {{time}} {{title}} Related News Related Newscenter_img Diving 11 May 2019 No fear of nosedive Diving 04 Jul 2019 Diver Chew Yiwei out to emulate Bryan’s 2007 feat at World Aquatics Championships PETALING JAYA: It was a disappointing opening day for the Malaysian diving team at the World Aquatics Championship in Gwangju, South Korea.Diver Muhd Syafiq Puteh (pic) could only finish in 33rd place after accumulating a total score of 283.20 points during the preliminary round of the men’s 1m springboard event yesterday, thus missing out on the top-12 final round scheduled for Sunday.China’s duo of Wang Zongyuan and Peng Jianfeng were in a class of their own as they took the top two spots with scores of 429.40 and 410.80 points respectively.Their scores were miles ahead of South Korea’s Haram Woo who was third with 396.10 points.last_img read more

Train carrying water from Jolarpettai arrives in parched Chennai

first_img Press Trust of India ChennaiJuly 12, 2019UPDATED: July 12, 2019 14:15 IST Around 100 inlet pipes installed near the railway tracks would be used to discharge 2.5 million litres of water. (Photo: IANS)A train carrying 2.5 million litres of water arrived in Chennai, which has been grappling with an acute water crisis over the past few months, officials said Friday.The train with 50 tank wagons (BTPN), carrying 50,000 litres of water in each of them from Jolarpettai in Tamil Nadu’s Vellore district, reached the filling station at the Integral Coach Factory in Villivakkam Friday afternoon.Around 100 inlet pipes installed near the railway tracks would be used to discharge 2.5 million litres of water in all the wagons to be sent to a treatment plant after passing through a conduit, an official of Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board said.”After treatment it would be sent for distribution. This arrangement has been made for the next six months until the (advent of the) north-east monsoon,” the official told PTI.The train was supposed to reach Chennai on Thursday, but leakages in the valves led to the delay. Jolarpettai is 217 km away from the southern metropolis.All the arrangements took around 20 days of time to complete.The initiative would be formally inaugurated by Tamil Nadu Ministers later in the day, the official said.Chennai has been grappling with an acute water crisis over the past few months. The southern metropolis is facing a daily water deficit of at least 200 million litres, and the four reservoirs supplying to the city have run dry.The Tamil Nadu government had earlier requested the railways to help them ferry the water to the city.Earlier, Chief Minister K Palaniswami had announced mitigating Chennai’s water woes by getting drinking water supplied from Jolarpettai with an allocation of Rs 65 crore.ALSO READ | Water woes: Running out of time | India Today InsightALSO WATCH | Tamil Nadu remains on edge as state struggles to endure water crisisFor the latest World Cup news, live scores and fixtures for World Cup 2019, log on to Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for World Cup news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted bySnigdha Choudhury Train carrying water from Jolarpettai arrives in parched ChennaiThe train with 50 tank wagons (BTPN), carrying 50,000 litres of water in each of them from Jolarpettai in Tamil Nadu’s Vellore district, reached the filling station at the Integral Coach Factory in Villivakkam Friday afternoon.advertisement Nextlast_img read more

Man in Audi performs stunts outside Parliament Watch

first_img Next Arvind Ojha New DelhiJuly 13, 2019UPDATED: July 13, 2019 21:39 IST The whole incident was captured on a CCTV camera. (Photo: Screengrab from the video)HIGHLIGHTSThe incident happened at around 4 amPolice are currently looking for the driver of the AudiAn investigation, in this case, is underwayA man in Audi was spotted performing stunts in front of Parliament on Saturday morning. The incident happened at around 4 am at the heavily guarded Vijay Chowk area where the Prime Minister’s Office is only at a short distance.Police are currently looking for the driver of the Audi which was spotted performing stunts in the early hours of Saturday in front of Parliament. The police are yet to find the registration number of the vehicle.AUDI PERFORMS STUNTS NEAR PARLIAMENT: WATCHThe whole incident was captured on CCTV. In the CCTV footage, the Audi driver is seen circling the police kiosk two times before disappearing from the scene.Eyewitnesses claim that there were no police or security personnel present at the scene when the incident happened.Police have said that a case of rash and negligent driving has been registered and the CCTV footages from the Raj Path and the Raisina Road are being scanned to identify the car and the driver.A massive manhunt has been launched to nab them. An investigation, in this case, is underway.Also Read | Ranchi death reminds what not to do on escalatorsAlso Read | Chennai students climb, fall off moving bus while celebrating Bus Day | WatchAlso Watch | Watch: Audi spotted performing stunt at Delhi’s Vijay ChowkFor the latest World Cup news, live scores and fixtures for World Cup 2019, log on to Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for World Cup news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byChanchal Chauhan Man in Audi performs stunts outside Parliament | WatchPolice are currently looking for the driver of the Audi which was spotted performing stunts in the early hours of Saturday in front of Parliament.advertisementlast_img read more