US universities reassess collaborations with foreign scientists in wake of NIH letters

first_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Adam Kuspa tries to anticipate queries from his institution’s largest source of research funding, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland. “We like to tell NIH things before they ask us,” says Kuspa, senior vice president and dean of research at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) in Houston, Texas.In August 2018, NIH Director Francis Collins asked BCM and thousands of other institutions to be more vigilant in defending the U.S. research enterprise against efforts by unscrupulous foreign governments to steal ideas and technology. Kuspa had just attended a classified Federal Bureau of Investigation briefing on the topic for Houston-area academic leaders and figured the issue was heating up. So he ordered up an audit of the foreign affiliations of every BCM faculty member with current NIH funding. The review, which won’t be finished until the end of the year, has meant poking into the professional lives of roughly 500 of the college’s 3500 scientists. But Kuspa’s attempt to stay ahead of NIH came to naught. A few months into the audit, BCM received letters from NIH asking about four scientists it believed had violated the agency’s rule requiring them to disclose all foreign ties relating to their research. Click to view the privacy policy. 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Earlier this month, Collins told Congress that similar NIH letters had spawned investigations at more than 55 institutions. And BCM’s next-door neighbor, the MD Anderson Cancer Center, moved to fire three faculty members this month after NIH notified it of potentially “serious violations” by five faculty members, including sharing confidential grant applications and failing to report foreign funding and business ties. (MD Anderson had already suspended at least one of the scientists named by NIH after an investigation still underway.)BCM investigated the three faculty members named by NIH in the 29 November letters. “Each of the three had appointments at Chinese universities that Baylor knew about, but they were not always reported properly,” Kuspa explains, noting the three were born in China and are now naturalized U.S. citizens. “Two of the three held grants from the Chinese government that were not disclosed properly and did not undergo the required review by Baylor for research conflict of interest.”After completing the review, Kuspa says, Baylor decided none should be disciplined. Instead, he says, Baylor notified NIH that it has corrected the record by making sure all of their foreign affiliations are listed in the biosketch that accompanies every federal grant application, as well as the annual progress reports that grantees file with funding agencies, and in any publication stemming from the NIH-funded research. It has also tweaked its internal procedures to flag any grant proposal with a foreign component. The aim is to make sure the proposal has been thoroughly vetted—NIH requires researchers to explain why they need to work with a foreign partner—before being submitted.It’s impossible to know where MD Anderson and BCM fit along a continuum of institutional responses to the NIH letters. No other institution that ScienceInsider has contacted has been willing to discuss its response to the NIH letters flagging individual faculty members; most won’t even confirm they received any letters.This email response from the research chief at one major research university is illustrative: “We are in the middle of the investigation … and currently weighing the various options. We take foreign influence seriously but want our response to be measured and well thought out.”Working in the darkThe relatively mild nature of the violations at BCM may have made Kuspa more willing to talk about them publicly. “We have not seen any evidence of malice aforethought or attempts to acquire intellectual property or act inappropriately,” he says about the four researchers. “And we weren’t asked to investigate any of that.”At the same time, Kuspa says, BCM hasn’t simply gone back to business as usual. The NIH letters, he says, have revealed how hard it is for an institution to monitor the foreign ties of its researchers and the extent of its ignorance.“We wanted to do this audit in a way that would not harm international collaborations, which everyone agrees are a good thing in biomedical research,” Kuspa says. “And the first step is to describe what collaborations exist.”To do that, BCM administrators have relied on faculty members and their department chairs. “To be honest,” he says, “we have no way of knowing about some of these affiliations unless they tell us.” That dependency has prompted the medical school to consider several steps that would alter how its faculty members interact with colleagues around the world.One major change under consideration would eliminate dual appointments, that is, allowing faculty to operate a second lab at another institution. Such arrangements, which are not unusual, reflect the global nature of science, Kuspa acknowledges. They allow institutions to tap into expertise not available on the home campus, strengthen international ties, and, when located in a developing country, help build global capacity.Stretched too thin?But such dual connections have become a lightning rod for those who warn that foreign countries are trying to steal U.S. technologies developed in part by federally funded grants to university scientists. One highly visible target has been China’s Thousand Talents program, a decadelong effort to build ties with ethnic Chinese researchers working outside of China by offering them research support, salaries, and other perks. One common Thousand Talents arrangement involves the faculty member spending a few months a year in China while retaining their position in the United States.“We’ve done that in the past,” says Kuspa, recalling a handful of such arrangements he approved as chairman of the medical school’s biochemistry department. But the political winds have shifted, he says, and he thinks the practice is no longer viable.“Independent of NIH’s growing concern [about foreign affiliations],” says Kuspa, “it’s become increasing obvious that it’s extremely difficult, if not impossible, to oversee research by faculty members being carried out at another institution, especially one that is overseas. So going forward, we’re doing to discourage those sorts of interactions. And for legacy agreements, we’re thinking hard [about] whether to renew them, and we probably won’t.”Kuspa scoffs at the notion that the new policy would hinder a faculty member’s productivity, or the quality of the science being conducted. “No, I’m not worried, because they can still collaborate,” he says. “That second lab is generally based on having a good relationship with an individual in another department or at another institution. So why not just collaborate?”“And I’m not talking about just the Thousand Talents program or even a laboratory in China,” he says. “Imagine if I had to investigate one of my faculty members for an allegation of scientific misconduct? I would have no standing, as Baylor’s official representative, in [a different] country.”BCM does not currently have a policy barring dual appointments, Kuspa emphasizes. “If somebody wanted to make an argument for a second appointment, we’d look into it,” he says. “But I think the bar has been raised.”In defense of partnershipsLars Steinmetz cites his own scientific career to make the case for the benefits of dual appointments. The biophysicist now holds dual, tenured appointments at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, meaning he is simultaneously running two sizable laboratories on two continents. He spends 3 weeks at each lab, and every Monday—at 8 a.m. Pacific time and 5 p.m. German time—he leads a 2-hour group videoconference from wherever he happens to be.Despite that peripatetic travel schedule, he wouldn’t have it any other way.“I’ve asked myself that question for 15 years, because it requires a big commitment in terms of time and travel,” he says. “I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t think that there are a lot of advantages, scientifically. It enables us to do things we otherwise wouldn’t be able to do [with a single lab]. So I wouldn’t want to give it up.”In fact, Steinmetz has decided to double down on the arrangement. He’s lined up funding from a private foundation to launch a combined postdoctoral program this summer at the two institutions as part of the Life Science Alliance he directs. More than three dozen Stanford and EMBL faculty members have already agreed to provide lab space for what he calls “high-risk, high-reward” projects pitched by the newly minted Ph.D.s. “I think that’s a pretty good sign that they see the benefits of working with scientists at another institution,” he says.Science truly has no borders for Steinmetz, who joined EMBL in 2003 and was hired by Stanford in 2013, where he had retained a small lab after earning his Ph.D. in 2001. This month, he published a paper in collaboration with a team of Chinese scientists, one of whom has been a scientific partner for more than a decade. “They had already done the experiments and they wanted help in interpreting the data,” he says about the work, which documented that using the gene-editing tool CRISPR in mouse embryos yielded a surprisingly high number of off-target mutations.His principal collaborator, Wu Wei, has a similarly international pedigree. Wei had contacted Steinmetz as a graduate student in China and did a postdoc with Steinmetz at EMBL before working in Steinmetz’s lab as a staff scientist at Stanford. Now, he’s a professor at the Partner Institute for Computational Biology in Shanghai, China, a joint effort between the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Max Planck Institute. Wei moved there last year with the help of a grant from the Thousand Talents program.The collaborative work was carried out and published within 9 months, Steinmetz says, “an example of how well things can go if you take advantage of who’s out there. Of course, everyone has a network. But the larger the network, the easier it is to find the right partner.”Massachusetts Institute of Technology takes a closer lookAt a time when every foreign research collaboration attracts added scrutiny, however, it can be difficult to find the right partner. The environment has become so fraught that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge recently announced a new three-step process for evaluating the “elevated risk” of any projects involving China, Russia, and Saudi Arabia. Unlike in the case of BCM and MD Anderson, its actions appear to be motivated by a desire to cushion itself from outside criticism rather than to forestall some type of government intervention.In a 3 April letter to the MIT community, Associate Provost Richard Lester and Vice President for Research Maria Zuber describe the new approach as a way “to engage the world effectively, with responsible management of risks and in keeping with the values of our community.” The letter also contained the news that MIT will strike no new research deals with two Chinese high-tech companies, Huawei and ZTE.(The U.S. government has accused Huawei of stealing intellectual property and lying about its compliance with U.S. trade and financial sanctions against Iran. Last summer, the government lifted its ban on U.S. companies selling to ZTE after the company pleaded guilty to violating the trade sanctions. In February, MIT President Rafael Reif condemned the Saudi government’s reaction to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi but said it would continue to accept funding from Saudi entities.)Under the new MIT policy, any proposed collaboration with the three named countries would be vetted by a team of university managers familiar with federal laws and regulations governing interactions with foreign parties. If questions remain, the project would be passed along to Lester. He would then decide whether it should be reviewed by a faculty-led standing committee on international engagement or a “senior risk group” consisting of himself, Zuber, and the MIT general counsel.Zuber declined to discuss the rationale for the new procedures and said it was too early to measure its impact. But she told The Tech, MIT’s campus-based newspaper, that the new procedures are meant “to let our researchers feel comfortable and provide them with some cover in case anything goes wrong.”MIT has said it has not received any letters from NIH asking about individual faculty members, and Zuber told The Tech that “no one in the government said that they were threatening our funding.” She called the new procedures a way of “taking care of our institution and our researchers.”Part of the jobKuspa isn’t surprised that NIH found instances in which foreign ties were not reported to the agency. “It’s easy to find inconsistencies,” he says. “Anybody can do it. … If you have access to what we submit to NIH, all you have to do is look at the resulting publications by that PI [principal investigator] or from that grant,” and then flag any affiliations cited in the publications that were not reported to NIH.Kuspa hopes the ongoing audit will help BCM switch from playing defense to offense, a position he much prefers. “I have no idea how they selected those four [researchers]. But I can tell you we would have come up with those four as part of our audit.”Given the increased scrutiny, Kuspa thinks BCM may get additional letters in the months to come. But he’s not worried.“We have all sorts of accreditation bodies and oversight bodies, and they are always asking questions,” he says. “And we respond. In research administration, this is what we do every day.” U.S. universities reassess collaborations with foreign scientists in wake of NIH letters The main campus of the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas By Jeffrey MervisApr. 26, 2019 , 11:40 AMlast_img read more

Inform me if ministers skip Parliament duty PM Modi tells party brass

first_img Advertising By Express Web Desk |New Delhi | Updated: July 16, 2019 10:05:15 pm Advertising ‘Kulbhushan Jadhav will get justice’: PM Modi after ICJ verdict PM Narendra Modi pulls up ministers for being absent in House Narendra Modi, farmers income, doubling farmers income, Modi farmer policy, European Union, Donald Trump, India farm policy According to PTI, Modi has in the past expressed displeasure at MPs’ absence from the Parliament when in session and said that attending Parliament is not only meant for MPs. (Reuters/Representational)For the second time in a month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday pulled up BJP MPs for their poor attendance in Parliament and told the party leadership that he should be informed if they skip their duty, PTI reported. Modi further said that he should be given names of all absentee ministers the same evening, according to PTI. Speaking at a BJP parliamentary party meeting, Modi said the ongoing Monsoon session could be extended if it was necessary to pass the government’s legislative agenda. The Monsoon session is scheduled to end on July 26.Watch Pralhad Joshi addressing the press on PM Modi’s speech to BJP MPsAddressing a large number of first-timer MPs, Modi said, “The first impression is the last impression.” He also asked the Union ministers to carry out their Parliament roster duty, when they are meant to be present in one of the Houses as a government representative, as assigned. Related News Kulbhushan Jadhav ICJ Verdict: Govt, Oppn hail ruling; PM Modi says truth prevailed Even before the start of the Parliament session, PM Modi had pulled up BJP MPs for absenteeism during House sessions and asked them to be present during legislative proceedings.The prime minister also asked BJP MPs to look after their constituency by playing a leading role in its development, PTI quoted Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi as saying.While briefing the media, Joshi said that the PM told the parliamentarians that they should take up a social cause or an issue of human sensitivity as a “mission” apart from carrying out their duties as MPs.Modi also spoke about diseases like leprosy and tuberculosis. Stressing on the need to eradicate the disease, Modi quoted Mahatma Gandhi saying that on an occasion of inaugurating a hospital for lepers, Gandhi had said that he would rather be invited to put a lock on it, PTI reported. 55 Comment(s)last_img read more

From Search Engine to Sale – How to Generate Leads from Application

first_imgBy Stuart MilneNov 1 2018Reviewed by Ben Stibbs-Eaton Instead, content should be written so it can be easily digested, clearly broken down into punchy paragraphs, and spotted with engaging images and data to keep the reader’s attention. Science equipment manufacturers can either make their web content from scratch, or they can simplify their existing white papers to make it more web appropriate. The latter option, being more economical and just as effective is a clever place to start.AZoInsight: Of the 85 million visitors who visit an AZoNetwork website on an annual basis, approximately 73% found a piece of our content using a search engine. AZoNetwork can help with this process. We are online marketing experts who regularly convert dry and dusty white papers into web-ready content that is made for a digital audience.The heavier white paper can then be made available for download to anyone who needs more information – a great opportunity for lead capture.Weaving a Narrative Narratives are the backbone of a story, and they can make the difference between good and bad content. While the content on the latest application of a spectrometer is never going to be the next Harry Potter, this doesn’t mean that the story must be told in a dry or uninteresting way.Before starting work on a piece of content a clear goal should be set. Reach your target audience with optimum quality content for their stage in the buyer’s journey. Once the attention of the reader (your potential customer) has been sufficiently grabbed and they have reached the bottom of the funnel it is time to introduce them to specific information on your product; at which point they are far more likely to be interested and follow up with a purchase.AZoTopTip: The content you present online should contain a mix of top, middle and bottom of the funnel information. If you can’t offer your readers a logical next step then you are probably missing a piece of content.Content marketing is a proven method of generating more interest and leads, with companies that produce online content being shown to generate 67% more leads than companies that don’t.3AZoNetwork are experts at content marketing to a scientific audience – let us help you take your potential customers on a journey that leads them straight to you.Start Your Free TrialReferences & Further Reading Smart Insights – Search volume per day The Content Marketing Institute – Data on search demographics BOLD – Attention span in the digital age Crazy Egg – Lead generation from B2B content marketing About AZoNetworkHaving worked in the Advanced Ceramics industry for over a decade in the 90’s, founder, Dr. Ian Birkby recognized that engineers, designers and scientists often required educating in the potential uses and applications of Advanced Materials before they could utilize them in their products and processes.This recognition of market demand and the emerging power of the internet led to the launch of our first site, – The A to Z of Materials in 2000.Although the business has grown significantly to include a range of science, technology, medical and life science platforms, it has always stayed true to its principal aim: We love telling science, technology and medical stories to people who can make a difference. Everything else follows from that. Image Credit: Internet is the greatest source of information in human history. More than 3.5 billion searches are made on Google every day; and this is just one search engine.1 Whenever someone needs to quickly find information, the Internet is the first place they turn to, whether they are a domestic user, a scientist, or an engineer.The Internet is a goldmine for scientists. Trawling through academic libraries to find a useful journal has been replaced by a quick search on Google, and many research communities have moved online as a result. With close to 50% of the population between 18 and 49 years old using the Internet as their primary source of information,2 and an already established online science community, its important that scientific equipment manufacturers have easily found and easily digested content online.The rise of the Internet has revolutionized both the way people find content and the way they consume it. In addition, the attention span of humans in the digital age has decreased;3 meaning lengthy technical documents don’t stand a chance.Telling Science Stories Online These are all questions that should be answered in the text.Weaving these elements together around a core application story, where your system is used to solve a problem or provide better data, is a guaranteed way to develop interest.Content should aim to target pain spots in scientist’s research routines and show them that life could be easier were they to use your system – This is a far more effective way of demonstrating the value of your equipment than a difficult to read journal paper or the bullet-pointed lists of product features frequently seen on product data sheets.Taking Readers on a Journey The theory behind online marketing often refers to the sales funnel. The Sales funnel first engages the reader by offering a broad solution to their problem before funneling them to information on a specific solution, i.e. your equipment.Your articles should aim to guide your readers through this process. Your article content should capture readers at the top of the funnel by providing the solution to a common problem (e.g. how can NMR be used to image brain structure) before guiding them further down the funnel to content which is specific to their research (e.g. using NMR to image brain damage). Today we tell these stories across all digital platforms to a monthly addressable audience in excess of 5 million unique individuals.Our customers come from all scientific, technological and medical sectors. Our extensive web footprint and subscriber base allows us to display a measurable return on investment to billion dollar multi-nationals and SME start-ups.From Content Creation, through targeted distribution to closing the loop with the unique AZoIntel Content Performance analytics platform, AZoNetwork now provides a highly effective Science Marketing Platform based on its own unique Marketing Science. What is the target application? How will your system make researchers life easier? What system features will researchers love the most?last_img read more

Study Racial disparities found in oral anticoagulant use

first_img Source: Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Nov 28 2018Black patients with atrial fibrillation are significantly less likely to receive oral anticoagulants–particularly newer, more effective versions–than white and Hispanic patients, according to a new study published today in JAMA Cardiology.First author Utibe R. Essien, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor in the University of Pittsburgh Division of General Internal Medicine, used the Outcomes Registry for Better Informed Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation II registry (ORBIT-AF II) to source patient data for the study. He conducted the research during his fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital.Related StoriesStudy: Two-thirds of pneumonia patients receive more antibiotics than they probably needResearch sheds light on sun-induced DNA damage and repairBordeaux University Hospital uses 3D printing to improve kidney tumor removal surgeryRegistry data for 11,100 white patients, 646 black patients and 671 Hispanic patients with atrial fibrillation collected from February 2013 through June 2016 was included in the analysis. After controlling for clinical and sociodemographic factors, black patients had 25 percent lower odds of receiving any oral anticoagulant drugs compared to their white and Hispanic counterparts, and 37 percent lower odds of receiving the easier to use and likely safer direct-acting oral anticoagulants. There was no difference in prescriptions between whites and Hispanics.”For patients with atrial fibrillation, long-term oral anticoagulant use can reduce their risk of stroke. Even after our analysis adjusted for socioeconomic factors, black patients were still less likely to receive these types of drugs,” said Essien. “Blacks with atrial fibrillation are already at a higher risk of complications, so improving health literacy and reducing disparities related to medication use could help improve their overall quality of care and reduce complications.”Many factors, including limited access to specialists, out-of-pocket costs, medication adherence and implicit bias, have been suggested as possible reasons for the disparities in care for patients with atrial fibrillation, but further research is needed to address and correct these issues.last_img read more

Varying rules on disposal of organic household rubbish across Europe

first_img Source: Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Dec 27 2018Across Europe rules about the disposal of organic household rubbish vary. Some waste management companies let people line their food waste caddies with compostable plastic bags, while others ban all plastics from organic waste binsIf you walk into a council office or a recycling center in Germany today you might see a poster for the #wirfuerbio campaign, which states that no plastics including compostable plastics should be added to organic bins. But if you live across the border in Austria the latest campaign encourages people to use compostable plastic bags to collect their food waste. This pattern is repeated across Europe: different rules on adding plastics to organic trash bins exist between countries and even within countries, creating confusion among the public.The companies behind the #wirfuerbio campaign say that compostable plastics do not fully breakdown in their waste processing plants. But others claim that allowing plastic bags has benefits.Stefanie Siebert, executive director of the European Compost Network believes that you get “much higher food capture rates” if you allow people to use bags, because food waste is messy and people don’t like cleaning the bins.Sandra Uschnig, from the Austrian Compost and Biogas Association agrees: letting people line their organic bins with plastic bags (compostable, of course) encourages them to use separate food waste collections. “Every year in Austria 255,000 tonnes of organic waste is thrown out with non-recyclable rubbish”, she says.Earlier this year, at a European bio-waste conference, composting and biogas associations reported that around five per cent of materials entering bio-waste plants is non-organic: and that most of the contaminants are plastic. In 2017 researchers at the University of Bayreuth in Germany, found that a kilogramme of fertiliser produced from household rubbish can contain almost 150 microplastic particles. They estimated that compost from bio-waste plants in Germany add billions of microplastic particles to the environment every year.In the European Union, bags described as compostable need to conform to the EN 14995 directive. Bruno De Wilde, Lab Manager at OWS, which carries out compostability testing, explains that a bag is compostable if it biodegrades (at least 90 per cent of it has broken-down to C02 by biological action) within six months in an industrial composting plant operating at 60 °C, and has visibly disintegrated within three months. This, it turns out, is key to the different organic waste rules across Europe.Related StoriesResearch aims to use orange peels for improving heart healthGut bacteria linked to metabolic changes and autism in new studyNew drug minimizes damage after a heart attack by 60 percentSome composting plants operate on shorter time scales than the six months assumed by the EN 14995 directive, meaning that some compostable plastics do not fully biodegrade.And in other places food waste is not actually composted. When De Wilde talks about “industrial composting”, he is referring to aerobic composting plants. But in some areas organic waste – plus any compostable bags – is sent to anaerobic digestion plants that produce biogas. “Composting is aerobic, that is with oxygen”, De Wilde says. Anaerobic digestion, however, is without oxygen and is therefore not strictly composting, which means that it doesn’t breakdown compostable plastics. “[Compostable bags] cannot be used for bio-gasification,” De Wilde adds.Veronika Bátori, a researcher at the Department of Resource Recovery and Building Technology, University of Borås, Sweden, thinks that we need to develop a new standard for plastics that will biodegrade in biogas plants. In a recent review of the anaerobic degradation of bioplastics, Bátori and her colleagues identified some promising biopolymers – such as starch, cellulose and pectin.De Wilde explains that currently there is no certification for plastics that breakdown in anaerobic conditions, because the biogas plants run on various different systems, using different microorganisms, and operating at different temperatures and for different lengths of time, making developing a standard challenging.While researchers investigate new solutions, Siebert calls on municipalities to keep people informed. “They must have a good education campaign and advice on what is allowed in the bio-bin,” she concludes.last_img read more

OHS pipeline program enhance academic preparedness of students from minority groups

first_imgReviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Jan 30 2019Boston University’s Oral Health Sciences (OHS) master’s program is a successful credential-enhancing program for dental school applicants, while also serving as a pipeline to increase the number of qualified applicants from underrepresented minority (URM) groups.There are a variety of academic enrichment programs for medical school applicants however, development of pre-dental enrichment programs has lagged behind. In 2005, BU’s Goldman School of Dental Medicine (GSDM), in collaboration with Boston University School of Medicine’s (BUSM) Graduate Medical Sciences, introduced the OHS pipeline program to enhance the academic preparedness of students from URM groups for dental school admission.Related StoriesLiving with advanced breast cancerAge-related risk of Alzheimer’s explained at the molecular levelIt is okay for women with lupus to get pregnant with proper care, says new studyIn order to evaluate the OHS program’s success, acceptance to dental school and performance at GSDM in the first and second years among URM students was measured from 2005-15 and compared to non-URM OHS graduates and non-OHS dental students. A total of 55 URM students completed the OHS program during this period, with 49 successfully matriculating to a dental school in the U.S. and 33 attending GSDM.The researchers also found the average OHS GPA was higher for those URM students accepted to dental school than for those who did not gain admission (3.36 vs. 2.94). Evaluation of the academic performance of URM OHS students in the first year and second year at GSDM showed that these students performed as well as the non-OHS and non-URM OHS students.”These results demonstrate that the OHS master’s program has been successful in its mission of increasing the number of qualified applicants from groups historically underrepresented in the dental profession. It is one of our strongest master’s program helping to fulfill our mission of promoting diversity, equity and inclusion,” said corresponding author Theresa A. Davies, PhD, director of the Oral Health Sciences program at BUSM.”The collaboration between OHS and GSDM prepares its graduates to practice as expanded healthcare providers, integrating the concepts of dentistry, medicine and public health. The academic foundation established by OHS Masters’ Program positions our students for personal and professional success,” added co-author Larry Dunham, DMD, director of Diversity at GSDM.Although pipeline programs have positively impacted the number of URM enrollees in dental school, a low number of URM dental students and practitioners still exists. “Attempts to diversify faculty along with effective recruitment and retention strategies for URM students must continue.”​ Source: read more

Alzheimers and brain health could soon be detected using an eye exam

first_imgThe team found that there were tell-tale signs of changes in the retinal blood vessels among those who have a mild cognitive impairment, a known precursor for Alzheimer’s disease. This is due to changes in the retinal nerve layers with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s. We know that there are changes that occur in the brain in the small blood vessels in people with Alzheimer’s disease, and because the retina is an extension of the brain, we wanted to investigate whether these changes could be detected in the retina using a new technology that is less invasive and easy to obtain.Dilraj S. Grewal, Lead Author He said that they used a non-invasive technology called optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA) to measure the blood flow in each of the layers of the retina. Some of the changes detected were in capillaries or blood vessels that measured less than the width of a human hair he explained.Fekrat said, “Ultimately, the goal would be to use this technology to detect Alzheimer’s early, before symptoms of memory loss are evident, and be able to monitor these changes over time in participants of clinical trials studying new Alzheimer’s treatments.”The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health, 2018 Unrestricted Grant from Research to Prevent Blindness and the Karen L. Wrenn Alzheimer’s Disease Award. We’re measuring blood vessels that can’t be seen during a regular eye exam and we’re doing that with relatively new noninvasive technology that takes high-resolution images of very small blood vessels within the retina in just a few minutes. It’s possible that these changes in blood vessel density in the retina could mirror what’s going on in the tiny blood vessels in the brain, perhaps before we are able to detect any changes in cognition.”Sharon Fekrat, Senior Authorcenter_img By Dr. Ananya Mandal, MDMar 12 2019Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Soon, an eye examination may be all that is needed to confirm a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, according to researchers at Duke’s Health.4 PM production | ShutterstockDuke Eye Center recently recruited and studied the retinas of over 200 individuals to see if there were any differences between those with Alzheimer’s and those without. The results of the study titled, “Retinal Microvascular and Neurodegenerative Changes in Alzheimer’s Disease and Mild Cognitive Impairment Compared with Control Participants,” were published in the latest issue of the journal Ophthalmology Retina.The results showed that people who have a healthy brain function have a dense microscopic network of blood vessels in the retina, which can be observed through an eye examination. This web-like network of vessels was much less pronounced in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.The data is based on retinal images from 133 healthy participants and 39 individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. Age, gender, level of education was adjusted for all cases and controls to remove the influence of bias in the results.Duke ophthalmologist and retinal surgeon Sharon Fekrat, senior author of the study said that the differences were significant among cases and controls: Source:Retinal Microvascular and Neurodegenerative Changes in Alzheimer’s Disease and Mild Cognitive Impairment Compared with Control Participants. Ophthalmology Retina. 2019.last_img read more

Uranium toxicity might have caused obesity and diabetes in Kuwait finds new

first_imgBy Dr. Liji Thomas, MDJul 9 2019According to a new research report, the extremely high prevalence of diabetes and obesity in the Gulf nation of Kuwait might be linked to the very high levels of uranium in these individuals. This in turn could be associated with the large amounts of depleted uranium dumped here in the form of US munitions during the Gulf war of 1990-91.More than half of the Kuwait population is obese and a quarter are diabetic. Prolonged uranium uptake is already known to be associated with the development of diabetes and impaired kidney function. It causes both radiation-induced and chemical toxicity to the human kidneys, lungs and liver through a variety of mechanisms. Quite low exposures of 50 ppb (parts per billion) to 20 ppm (parts per million) can cause uranium poisoning with impaired renal function. In the present study, the researchers took samples of saliva from 94 healthy 10-year-old children in Kuwait at two time points, once in 2012 and then again in 2014. This was then analyzed for a range of biomarkers, including 2PY. The children were also assessed for blood pressure, height, and weight at each visit.The results showed that at the second measurement, over 50% of the previously healthy children had become obese and showed signs of the metabolic syndrome. This is characterized by high blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and has an increased risk of cardiovascular disease later in life.Related StoriesMetformin use linked to lower risk of dementia in African Americans with type 2 diabetesUCR biomedical professor to investigate how body’s cannabis-like molecules influence obesityNew anti-obesity drug trial set to launch at Alberta Diabetes InstituteIn the obese subgroup of children, researchers observed high salivary levels of a chemical called N1-methyl-2-pyridone-5-carboxamide (2PY). Among all the biomarkers, 2PY was most strongly associated with obesity in these children. While practically everyone has some 2PY in their saliva, high levels were found only in the saliva of children from Kuwait who had become obese. A group of comparably obese children from Maine and Massachusetts whose saliva was also measured, as a control group, failed to show the same rise in 2PY levels. This study is the first to report the association of rising 2PY levels with obesity.2PY is formed from the vitamin niacin or nicotinamide found in meat, fish, mushrooms and nuts. 2PY inhibits an enzyme called PARP-1 which is required for repairing damaged DNA, and is related to poor renal function in humans. In rats, it is known to be associated with long-term exposure to low-level uranium.Goodson comments, “The implication is that these children may be suffering from uranium toxicity, which may be contributing to the high rates of obesity and diabetes in Kuwait.” The uranium is probably from the contamination caused by the estimated 300 tons of US weaponry dropped on the country during the Gulf war in 1990-91. The central part of the country, where the munitions were dropped, is also the same area where soil radioactivity from 238U is at a peak and where the military is most active. It has the highest prevalence of obesity and the greatest elevations in salivary 2PY levels, while the border areas have the lowest.The presumption is that the ingestion of low amounts of uranium over a long time has led to this metabolic disorder. However, confounding factors such as the large-scale adoption of a Westernized diet in the country following the war also must be considered.The link between salivary 2PY and uranium exposure has so far been demonstrated in rats only, and therefore uranium levels need to be assessed in saliva and in blood before this association is confirmed in humans. Moreover, 2PY is only an indirect biomarker for uranium. Direct uranium measurements in blood and saliva in the Kuwaiti population are necessary to examine the premise that these metabolic conditions are really due to uranium toxicity. Journal reference:Goodson Jo Max, Hardt Markus, Hartman Mor-Li, Alqaderi Hend, Green Daniel, Tavares Mary, Mutawa Al-Sabiha, Ariga Jitendra, Soparkar Pramod, Behbehani Jawad, Behbehani Kazem, “Salivary N1-Methyl-2-Pyridone-5-Carboxamide, a Biomarker for Uranium Uptake, in Kuwaiti Children Exhibiting Exceptional Weight Gain”, Frontiers in Endocrinology,DOI:10.3389/fendo.2019.00382, Kuwait City, Kuwait – circa April 1991 : Burned shell of Kuwait AIrways headquarters in Kuwait City following Operation Desert Storm in Persian Gulf War. Image Credit: Karenfoleyphotography / Shutterstocklast_img read more

Gates says billionaires should pay significantly more taxes

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates says billionaires should pay “significantly” more in taxes Bill Gates says he has paid more than $10 billion in taxes over a lifetime but billionaires like him should pay “significantly” more because they benefit more from the system. © 2018 AFP The Microsoft co-founder, the world’s second richest man after Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, was critical of a recent US tax overhaul that slashed corporate taxes and lowered the top bracket for individual income.”I’ve paid more taxes, over $10 billion, than anyone else, but the government should require the people in my position to pay significantly higher taxes,” he said in an interview Sunday with CNN.He said the tax overhaul passed in December favors the rich despite Republican claims it will help the middle and working classes.”People who are wealthier tended to get dramatically more benefits than the middle class or those who are poor, and so it runs counter to the general trend you’d like to see, where the safety net is getting stronger and those at the top are paying higher taxes,” he said.With a sixth of the US population living in what he called “disappointing” conditions, he said US policymakers need to think about rising inequality and ask, “Why aren’t we doing a better job for those people?” Explore further Ireland to start collecting $15 billion in tax from Apple 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: Gates says billionaires should pay ‘significantly’ more taxes (2018, February 19) retrieved 18 July 2019 from read more

France cracks down on undeclared Airbnb listings

Airbnb could face thousands of euros in fines in France if it does not ensure homeowners have registered to pay taxes on renting out their properties via the website. The high cost of short-term rentals in New York City Paris—the world’s third-most visited city, according to a Mastercard ranking—is one of Airbnb’s top markets, with some 65,000 homes listed. Another 35,000 are available on rival platforms.Faced with complaints from hoteliers as well as locals who believe that holiday rentals are fuelling property speculation and pricing them out of the market, the city of Paris has already slapped restrictions on short-term rentals of apartments and rooms.”Home-sharing platforms are good because they allow people to increase their purchasing power and visit cities at a lower cost,” Julien Denormandie, the junior minister responsible for housing, told France 2 television.”But there are rules. It’s now the law of the jungle.”Since December 1, anyone wanting to rent their French home on an online platform must register it and display a number on their ad.The system allows authorities to ensure the property is not being rented for more than 120 days a year—the maximum duration a person can rent out their main residence—and also ensure they are paying their taxes.But many homeowners are flouting the rules and continue to advertise properties they have not declared.A new bill will increase the fines they face to between 5,000 and 10,000 euros ($6,100-$12,200), and also introduce fines of between 10,000 and 50,000 euros per ad for sites that continue to list them.Airbnb has come under heavy scrutiny in France, where tax authorities are tightening the noose around homeowners who fail to declare their rental income.In December, the city of Paris threatened Airbnb with legal action, saying only about 11,000 of its Paris listings had been registered with the authorities, around a fifth of the total.No updated figures were immediately available. Explore further Citation: France cracks down on undeclared Airbnb listings (2018, March 1) retrieved 18 July 2019 from 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. © 2018 AFP The French government announced plans Thursday to clamp down on Airbnb, saying it would fine the home-sharing giant for carrying ads from people who do not register their properties with local authorities. read more

Ridesharing platforms may be taking the place of managers in the gig

Ratings, ride assignments and other aspects of Uber’s ride-sharing computer platform in some ways subtly serve as the manager for the company’s drivers, according to an international team of researchers. Provided by Pennsylvania State University Egypt court suspends ban on Uber and Careem Citation: Ride-sharing platforms may be taking the place of managers in the gig economy (2018, April 24) retrieved 18 July 2019 from 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. In a study of Uber drivers’ discussions, the researchers said that the ride-sharing company’s platform seems to perform similar roles to human managers. However, the drivers have little ability to voice grievances, pitch ideas to work better with customers, or influence policy changes as they might with a human manager, said Benjamin Hanrahan, assistant professor of information sciences and technology.”There has been some work on algorithms as managers and how people interact with algorithmic management, but this looks more deeply at how the platform embodies the management philosophy and how you can judge the ethical nature of that management philosophy,” said Hanrahan.According to the researchers, Uber’s platform primarily addresses the needs of people who are looking for a ride, which may mean that drivers’ concerns do not have equal weight.”All of Uber’s different management decisions are embodied in the platform as the company’s platform is actually doing the management,” said Hanrahan. “When we looked at it, Uber’s platform seems to focus on one user—the person who wants a ride—somewhat at the expense of the drivers.”Most Uber drivers indicated they joined the ride-share service because of the autonomy it offered. However, the platform reinforces the idea that the job is a blur between employee and independent contractor, said Hanrahan.”Uber—at least legally—views drivers as independent from the company,” said Hanrahan. “But if you look at the way the platform relates to the drivers, they are treated as employees, in some ways, and as contractors in others. The drivers, who identify as independent, tend to chafe when they perceive the platform is trying to manage them.”For example, if drivers are independent, they should have more say in who they choose as riders, but the platform does not allow drivers to make those choices, Hanrahan added.The researchers, who present their findings at the CHI Conference today (April 24) in Montreal, studied posts on an active Uber internet forum, which is independent from the company. The site has 93,000 active members and 150,000 discussions. They focused mainly on the most relevant posts in the advice, complaints and technology sections from January 2014 to April 2017.”What we were really looking at is what were these drivers dealing with—what did they like about driving, what did they not like about driving, and what role did the platform have in this,” said Hanrahan.The researchers framed their study in stakeholder theory, a management ethics concept that suggests that a company’s managers should make decisions based on the considerations of all parties, including workers, rather than just basing their initiatives exclusively on stockholders.In the future, the researchers will study using interfaces to improve the relationship between the driver and rider, said Ning F. Ma, doctoral student in information sciences and technology, who worked with Hanrahan.”We want to present the driver, not just as a driver, but as a person with the back stories of the area and present them as someone who is a local expert,” said Ma. “The drivers could recommend places to riders through the interface, for example. We’re thinking of installing a tablet in the dashboard of the vehicle as one possible interface for this.”Hanrahan said this is a step toward making the driver more integral in Uber’s stakeholder structure.”This is one of the grander directions we’re taking,” said Hanrahan. “How can you make the stakeholder structure simpler and make it more driver- and rider-run?” read more

More harm than good Assessing the nuclear arsenal tipping point

first_img A table from the paper details the number of starvation deaths that could be expected based on the millions of tons of smoke created by nuclear blasts of varying sizes. Credit: Joshua Pearce and David Denkenberger “We should be clear this analysis represents a severe underestimate on the number of dead Americans,” Pearce says. “We assume severe rationing, which is the best way to keep the most people alive when there is this level of food shortage. It means anyone who would die of starvation is immediately cut off from food.”I don’t think rationing would go overly smoothly—a lot more people would die in violence internally than what we estimated based on lack of calories.”Putting numbers to the evaluation, Pearce and Denkenberger examined the threat potential of a 7,000-weapon arsenal, a 1,000-weapon arsenal and a 100-weapon arsenal. Playing out a hypothetical scenario, the researchers explain that if the U.S. used 100 nuclear weapons against China’s most populous cities, initial blasts would likely kill more than 30 million people. This would kill a higher fraction of the population than even severe pandemics, providing plenty of deterrence to prevent another nation from attacking. Sunlight would decrease 10 to 20 percent and precipitation 19 percent (and in some places, even more).Pearce and Denkenberger, based on previous work, built a model of the burnable material in cities, how much would burn in a nuclear attack, how much of that would turn into smoke, and how much of that smoke would make it into the upper atmosphere. Then they used the result of climate and crop simulations to predict the impact on food supply. They coupled this with food storage to predict how many people would starve.The agricultural loss from this so-called “nuclear autumn” would range from 10-20 percent, enough to cause widespread food shortages in wealthier nations and mass starvation in poorer nations.Starvation could result because nuclear weapons would cause cities to burn, putting smoke into the upper atmosphere and blocking sunlight for years. This could cause lower rainfall and lower temperatures, potentially causing winter-like weather in the summer, called “nuclear winter.” Less severe reduction in sunlight is called “nuclear autumn,” which could still cause many millions of people to starve.It is clear that even 100 nuclear weapons is more than enough to dramatically reshape the globe, and Pearce and Denkenberger argue it’s also more than enough to deter other countries. Maintaining more than that number, the authors state, is not only against the best interest of a nation to protect its people, but also cost a significant amount to maintain.Policy recommendationsIn addition to a large arsenal reduction, Pearce and Denkenberger make other policy recommendations. They argue that the Department of Defense should extend its nuclear disaster modeling past the initial blast to include potential deaths caused by nuclear autumn.Says Denkenberger: “The U.S. government should greatly increase focus on producing alternative food to provide for survivors in the case of nuclear war; with supply chains cut-off, all food Americans eat will have to come from within the nation’s borders.””It is not rational to spend billions of dollars maintaining a nuclear arsenal that would destabilize your country if they were ever used,” Pearce says. “Other countries are far worse off. Even if they fired off relatively few nuclear weapons and were not hit by any of them and did not suffer retaliation, North Korea or Israel would be committing national suicide.” To put that number in perspective, the U.S. and Russia each currently have thousands of nuclear weapons. Both nations hew to the concept of nuclear deterrence—more firepower is intimidating and makes other countries think twice before picking a fight.More than 100 nuclear weapons in a nation’s arsenal does more harm than good—as using them can destabilize the country that uses them even in a best-case scenario.Joshua Pearce, professor at Michigan Technological University, and David Denkenberger, assistant professor at Tennessee State University and director of Alliance to Feed the Earth in Disasters (ALLFED), co-authored an article published today in the journal Safety.In “A National Pragmatic Safety Limit for Nuclear Weapon Quantities”, Pearce and Denkenberger examined direct negative physical consequences of the use of nuclear weapons to the nation firing them, including impacts such as starvation and global supply chain disruption coupled with the cost to maintain an extensive arsenal.To summarize: A nation willing to use its nuclear weaponry against another must determine whether it has the ability to survive the problems of its own making.There are nine nuclear weaponized nations: the U.S., Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea. There are approximately 15,000 nuclear weapons globally. Under the disarmament proposed in the paper, this number would drop to 900 or fewer.”With 100 nuclear weapons, you still get nuclear deterrence, but avoid the probable blowback from nuclear autumn that kills your own people,” Pearce says. “Defense expenditures post-9/11 show we care about protecting Americans. If we use 1,000 nuclear warheads against an enemy and no one retaliates, we will see about 50 times more Americans die than did on 9/11 due to the after-effects of our own weapons.”Pearce notes this is the first study to quantitatively demonstrate just how dangerous the use of nuclear weapons is even for the aggressor nation that fired off the nukes. Citation: More harm than good: Assessing the nuclear arsenal tipping point (2018, June 13) retrieved 18 July 2019 from The consequences of environmental blow-back include a significant drop in global temperature because of soot from nuclear blasts blocking the sunlight from reaching Earth’s surface, decreased precipitation, a drop in food production because of blocked sunlight and less moisture, increased ultraviolet radiation resulting from a badly damaged atmosphere, and non-functioning supply chains. Credit: Sarah Bird/Michigan Tech Provided by Michigan Technological University 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. One hundred. That’s the number researchers argue is a pragmatic quantity of nuclear weapons for any nation to have. After-effects of nuclear aggressionIn the paper, Pearce and Denkenberger write, “No country should have more nuclear weapons than the number necessary for unacceptable levels of environmental blow-back on the nuclear power’s own country if they were used.”The consequences of environmental blow-back include a significant drop in global temperature because of soot from nuclear blasts blocking the sunlight from reaching Earth’s surface, decreased precipitation, a drop in food production because of blocked sunlight and less moisture, increased ultraviolet radiation resulting from a badly damaged atmosphere, and non-functioning supply chains. Can we track the world’s nuclear weapons?last_img read more

What if the companies that profit from your data had to pay

first_img Provided by The Conversation When it comes to digital privacy, there are plenty of organisations making money out of using your data – Google and Facebook are just two examples. But what if you were the one making the money? 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. Indeed, concerns about Facebook’s ability to continue to exploit personal data have likely contributed to Facebook’s recent drop in share price. If you combine your Facebook data with the rest of your digital footprint, some estimate that an average US consumer could make up to US$240 per year. This amount could be much higher if you include other valuable data,  such as your purchase history, location, and financial information. So our data could make us money.Some companies already pay for itMarket research companies have been paying people for their data for decades. Nowadays, YouTube pays creators for posts via AdSense. Opinion Outpost pays you for voicing your opinion. Swagbucks pays you to do everyday things on the internet. And Small Business Knowledge Center even pays you for your junk mail. So if some companies are already paying for personal data, why isn’t everyone paying for it? There are two main reasons for this. First, our data are dispersed, fragmented and inaccessible. People who use ad blockers, “do not track” tools, and high privacy settings erode the quality of data that can be gathered about them. So each company with which they interact has only a small portion of their data, which can lead to errors in targeted marketing. The holy grail of data integrity is when your data comes directly from you. This means it’s 100% accurate, comprehensive, and handed over with explicit consent.Second, unlike other possessions, it’s hard for individuals to trade data. If data can’t be easily sold at the owner’s will, it’s difficult to extract value from it.Companies such as the UK startup allow users to upload and store their data in a single app where they have control over it. Others, such as the European Union-based Wibson, Singapore non-profit Ocean, and the US startup Datacoup, promise users the ability to trade their data with interested parties for money or credit.The beginning of the ‘Internet of Me’ revolutionThis philosophy of placing power over data back in the hands of the people it belongs to is embodied in the concept of the “Internet of Me”.While still small, these startups represent a significant step in correcting the exploitation currently seen in personal data markets. More accurate data should allow for better targeted advertising, more accurate credit scoring, improved market research, important training of AI systems, and even more personalised health care. Finally we might have fairer option when it comes to dealing with our digital data. What if those organisations profiting from your data had to pay you a share of that earning? This idea – raised in a recent article in Quartz – is gaining ground. American author and law professor Eric Posner says data creation is labour, pointing out that in the largest technology companies, the share of income going to labour is only about 5-15%. That’s way below the estimated 80% share that Walmart, for example, pays for labour. So if you accept Posner’s theory that data is labour, then companies who make money from marketing your data are essentially getting labour for free. And it’s not only your personal data they exploit. It’s also the many hours of labour it takes to create social media content in the first place – and the hours we spend viewing and responding to the content made by others. Working out what your data is worthDespite the personal data industry generating some US$200 billion in revenue every year, data brokers give little, if any, money back to the providers of this asset.Admittedly, valuing personal data isn’t easy. Let’s take Facebook, for example. If we divide its revenue (US$40.7 billion in 2017) by the number of monthly active users (2.196 billion), then each user is worth US$18.53 on average. You could think of this figure as the amount that your Facebook data is worth. Of course, this is a very simplistic calculation. Even without using your data to target you with ads, Facebook’s size means it could still make money from advertising – just like any other media outlet. But it’s the targeting that helps Facebook dominate the digital advertising market. center_img In the largest technology companies, the share of income going to labour is only about 5 to 15%. Credit: Shutterstock Big tech firms agree on ‘data portability’ plan Citation: What if the companies that profit from your data had to pay you? (2018, July 30) retrieved 18 July 2019 from This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.last_img read more

Training with states of matter search algorithm enables neuron model pruning

first_img Evolution process of states of matter search (SMS) are based on the physical principle of the thermal-energy motion ratio. The whole optimization process is divided into the following three phases: the gas state (50 percent), the liquid state (40 percent) and the solid state (10 percent). Each state has its own operations with different exploration-exploitation ratios. The gas state is a pure exploration at the beginning of the optimization process. The liquid state simultaneously possesses the exploration and exploitation searching, and the solid state focuses on the exploitation simply at the latter part of the optimization process. The algorithm optimized in this way can achieve a suitable balance between exploration and exploitation. Credit: Kanazawa University More information: Junkai Ji et al, Approximate logic neuron model trained by states of matter search algorithm, Knowledge-Based Systems (2018). DOI: 10.1016/j.knosys.2018.08.020 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. Axons of presynaptic neurons (input X) connect to branches of dendrites (horizontal rectangles) by synaptic layers; the membrane layer (vertical rectangles) sums the dendritic activations, and transfers the sum to the soma body (black sphere). Synaptic layers have four different connection cases, namely, the direct connection, the inverse connection, the constant 0 connection and the constant 1 connection. Credit: Kanazawa University Artificial neural networks are machine learning systems composed of a large number of connected nodes called artificial neurons. Similar to the neurons in a biological brain, these artificial neurons are the primary basic units that are used to perform neural computations and solve problems. Advances in neurobiology have illustrated the important role played by dendritic cell structures in neural computation, and this has led to the development of artificial neuron models based on these structures. Provided by Kanazawa University ALNM is capable of simplifying the neural models by synaptic pruning and dendritic pruning during the training process. Then, the simplified structures of ALNM can be substituted by logical circuits, which merely consists of the ‘comparators’ and logic NOT, AND and OR gates. Among them, the ‘comparator’ works as an analog-to-digital converter which compares the input with the threshold θ. If the input X exceeds the threshold θ, the ‘comparator’ will output 1. Otherwise, it will output 0. When implemented on hardware, these logical circuits can be adopted as efficient classifiers to solve the six benchmark problems. Credit: Kanazawa Universitycenter_img Scientists improve deep learning method for neural networks Citation: Training with states of matter search algorithm enables neuron model pruning (2018, November 5) retrieved 17 July 2019 from “A classifier based on the ALNM and SMS was also compared with several other popular classification methods,” states Associate Professor Todo, “and the statistical results verified this classifier’s superiority on these benchmark problems.”During the training process, the ALNM simplified the neural models through synaptic pruning and dendritic pruning procedures, and the simplified structures were then substituted using logic circuits. These circuits also provided satisfactory classification accuracy for each of the benchmark problems. The ease of hardware implementation of these logic circuits suggests that future research will see the ALNM and SMS used to solve increasingly complex and high-dimensional real-world problems. The recently developed approximate logic neuron model (ALNM) is a single neural model that has a dynamic dendritic structure. The ALNM can use a neural pruning function to eliminate unnecessary dendrite branches and synapses during training to address a specific problem. The resulting simplified model can then be implemented in the form of a hardware logic circuit.However, the well-known backpropagation (BP) algorithm that was used to train the ALMN actually restricted the neuron model’s computational capacity. “The BP algorithm was sensitive to initial values and could easily be trapped into local minima,” says corresponding author Yuki Todo of Kanazawa University’s Faculty of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “We therefore evaluated the capabilities of several heuristic optimization methods for training of the ALMN.”After a series of experiments, the states of matter search (SMS) algorithm was selected as the most appropriate training method for the ALMN. Six benchmark classification problems were then used to evaluate the ALNM’s optimization performance when it was trained using the SMS as a learning algorithm, and the results showed that SMS provided superior training performance when compared with BP and the other heuristic algorithms in terms of both accuracy and convergence speed. Explore furtherlast_img read more

Evolving speech and AI as the window into mental health

first_imgCredit: IBM Provided by IBM Mental health and neurological disorders are a growing epidemic. In the U.S., nearly one in every five people has a mental health condition. Prediction of psychotic onset with AI language analysis Citation: Evolving speech and AI as the window into mental health (2018, November 9) retrieved 17 July 2019 from This story is republished courtesy of IBM Research. Read the original story here.center_img Explore further Yet there is a growing shortage of mental health professionals to adequately treat this need. By 2025, it’s estimated that demand for psychiatrists may outstrip supply by up to 15,600 psychiatrists. To help clinicians with limited resources support the growing number of patients who seek treatment, the research field of Computational Psychiatry applies data and metrics-driven approaches to psychiatry to study thought, emotion, and behavior.In January 2017, IBM made the bold statement that within five years, health professionals could apply AI to better understand how words and speech paint a clear window into our mental health. Almost two years later, we’re already seeing promising early results. Since then, the work and research we’ve done has solidified our position: individualized data—from speech to word choice to written text and physiological indicators—coupled with AI could be the key to helping health professionals better understand our own minds.Over the past year, teams from IBM Research have collaborated with clinicians to publish the following research in this space, all of which demonstrates the potential of AI and speech to help inform professionals and help them paint a more detailed picture of what’s happening within our minds.We’ve made progress in building AI algorithms to help inform clinicians about users’ mental state based on the structural complexity of their sentences, which can point to patterns of cognitive impairment.We have also proven that AI and machine learning can be used to help clinicians identify critical language patterns that determine, with 95 percent accuracy, speech samples which traditionally correspond to schizophrenic patients vs. those that correspond to individuals deemed more likely to experience psychosis by health professionals or healthy controls. Specifically, changes in discourse coherence (the way meaning is established between sentences) as well as discourse richness (the context added around words) can prominently indicate schizophrenia.We have developed a way to use machine learning to quickly automate the analysis of verbal speech and alert clinicians, with more than 83 percent accuracy, of the possibility of a psychotic episodes within cohorts that have been identified as more likely to experience psychosis, regardless of the diagnostic protocol. This could prove vital to helping professionals to predict psychosis before symptoms start to show, as subtle changes in language could point to it even before its full onset.We envision a future where these technologies can be put into the hands of mental health professionals and ultimately enable them to do their jobs more intelligently, with greater confidence, and with the ability to effectively treat a growing volume of patients with the right data at their fingertips.While this is great progress, this is still just the tip of the iceberg. We’re continuing to refine and build out these techniques further, and expand their use to help clinicians get an even broader view of what could be happening within an individual’s brain when it comes to mental health and neurological disorders. Hopefully, health professionals will soon be able to frequently use speech to tap into the power of AI and make more informed diagnoses. More information: 2015 Report: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: … /NSDUH-FFR1-2015.pdfNational Council for Behavioral Health: … ational-Council-.pdf 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

How not to break the bank on streaming services

first_img This March 19, 2018 file photo shows Amazon’s Prime Video streaming app on an iPad in Baltimore. There are more TV streaming services than ever before and more people are opting to drop cable in favor of streaming services. But monthly subscriptions can add up fast. A little research on which services are best for you can help save big bucks. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File) Classic movies can be difficult to find streaming. Movie fans suffered a loss when AT&T, which bought Time Warner last year, decided to discontinue FilmStruck, a streaming service that was a collaboration between Turner Classic Movies and the Criterion Collection. But a similar service called The Criterion Channel that offers 1,000 classic and contemporary films is stepping up to fill the void. It costs $11 a month or $99 for a year.Other movie-centric streaming services include Fandor ($6 per month or $50 per year) or Mubi ($11 per month). Both offer a curated selection of movies.Those on a budget can try Kanopy, a streaming service that works with public libraries and universities to offer library card holders streaming movies for free. © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This June 24, 2015, file photo shows the Hulu Apple TV app icon in South Orange, N.J. There are more TV streaming services than ever before and more people are opting to drop cable in favor of streaming services. But monthly subscriptions can add up fast. A little research on which services are best for you can help save big bucks.(AP Photo/Dan Goodman, File) FOR SPORTS FANSSports fans do have streaming options, but they cost more since sports must be watched live. Basic live TV options are cheaper but may not include sports channels. Which service you choose depends on which sport or which team you want to watch.There are a variety of live TV streaming services that offer a wide range of sports, but they’ve recently been raising their prices . Fubo TV offers more than 85 channels including ones that broadcast football, baseball, soccer and other sports. It costs $45 for the first month, then $55 a month after that. DirecTV Now costs $50 a month for the cheapest tier. Sling TV costs $25 to $40 a month. Hulu raised the price for its live-TV service in February, by $5, to $45. Sony’s PlayStation Vue costs $45 to $80 a month. Google’s YouTube TV is increasing its monthly fee to $50. It launched at $35 and has raised prices as it added more channels. Most of the live TV services offer the major sports channels such as Fox Sports and NBC Sports Network, as well as games broadcast on network TV. But ESPN, for example, is on Hulu Live and YouTube TV but not Fubo TV, so fans of a specific team or sport should examine the channel listings for each service.There’s no budget offering for watching high profile sporting events. But Disney’s ESPN Plus costs $5 a month or $50 for the year. It offers some live games, including some hockey, soccer and baseball games, as well as content about sports like ESPN’s “30 for 30″ documentary series. But you can’t watch most major league sports games on the service.MIX AND MATCHIf you’re a sports fan who also loves movies and has a family, you’ll have to mix and match services while trying to stay within your budget. It is still possible to stay below the monthly cost of cable, says the NFCC’s McClary.”The acceptable threshold for spending is up to each household, but most ‘live’ and ‘on demand’ streaming services would be on the low end of the scale compared to traditional cable packages,” he said. “One good measuring stick is to compare the monthly rate to your monthly content consumption patterns and what it would cost if you paid movie rental rates each time you watch a program.” Explore further With more TV streaming services than ever before, from newcomers like Disney Plus to stalwarts like Netflix, consumers may feel the ideal viewing experience is finally at hand. Disney closes $71B deal for Fox entertainment assets For some kids, there may be no substitute for watching Disney’s “Frozen” over and over again. But other services that families might already subscribe to have a lot of family-friendly programming too. Amazon Prime ($119 per year or $13 per month for Prime loyalty program membership; Prime Video alone costs $9 a month), Hulu ($6 to $12 per month), and Netflix ($9 to $16 per month) all offer kids programming.Another choice for parents: HBO Now ($15 a month) is the home for the classic kids TV show “Sesame Street.” And for spendthrifts, YouTube’s free Kids channel offers an endless stream of kid-friendly fare, although quality varies widely.FOR MOVIE BUFFSMovie fans will soon have to work a bit harder to find movies to stream. As Disney, Fox, Universal and Warner Brothers and others offer their own streaming services, they will all eventually pull their content from Netflix. But niche services are there to fill the void. Americans have, on average, three streaming video subscription services, according to a recent study of digital media trends by Deloitte. While some have dropped cable and its average bill of around $100 a month altogether, about 43% have both pay TV and streaming subscriptions.Yet patching together a variety of services to get just what one wants isn’t always seamless. Families and individuals can still find themselves with service that doesn’t perfectly suit their viewing habits. And those monthly subscriptions can add up fast.”It doesn’t make sense to pay for a bunch of content you have no interest in watching,” said Bruce McClary, vice president of marketing for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. “Finding a service that lets you scale your channel lineup based on your interests can also help you avoid paying for things you don’t need.”A little research on which services are best for you can help save big bucks.FOR FAMILIESDisney is making the biggest play for family viewership. The owner of Disney Channel, the Star Wars franchise and most recently Fox’s entertainment business is betting its mix of family-friendly franchises and beloved animated classics, along with original programming, will make the Disney Plus service irresistible to families, even if they already subscribe to other services. The service, launching Nov. 12, will cost $7 a month initially. This March 19, 2018, file photo shows the Netflix app on an iPad in Baltimore. There are more TV streaming services than ever before and more people are opting to drop cable in favor of streaming services. But monthly subscriptions can add up fast. A little research on which services are best for you can help save big bucks. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File) Citation: How not to break the bank on streaming services (2019, April 12) retrieved 17 July 2019 from 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

US gears up for antitrust battles with Big Tech

first_img 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. US preparing antitrust probe of Google: report Explore further The US administration is stepping up scrutiny of Big Tech firms, which could result in a series of drawn-out legal battles aimed at reining in—and potentially breaking up—giants such as Google, Amazon and Facebook. The Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission have carved out territory for the investigations to set the stage for reviews of the dominance of the largest of the Silicon Valley firms, media reports said.According to the Wall Street Journal, the Justice Department will lead the Google probe, leaving the FTC to review the competition practices of Amazon and Facebook.Separately, the House Judiciary Committee announced its own investigation into “competition in digital markets,” saying: “A small number of dominant, unregulated platforms have extraordinary power over commerce, communication, and information online.”The moves comes amid a rising “techlash” stemming from privacy and data protection lapses at tech firms, and growing concerns about the sheer dominance of these firms. Politicians on both sides of the political aisle have been stepping up criticism, and some presidential candidates have called for the biggest firms to be broken up.Analysts say the political winds have shifted against Silicon Valley firms, which had been among the most admired US companies, following revelations on how much personal data they are scooping up.”Google knows just about everything there is to know about us,” said Jack Gold, analyst at the consultancy J. Gold Associates.Gold said Google and Facebook, the dominant players in online advertising, have developed sophisticated tools to gather data on users.”It gives them a leg up,” Gold said. “They can target ads much better than anyone else. The question is whether there is anybody who can compete with them.”Sound and furyBut some legal scholars say antitrust enforcers will face an uphill battle in taking on Big Tech. Under most legal interpretations, the government will need to show tech firms abused their monopoly position and harmed consumers—a difficult task with respect to Google and Facebook, which offer most services for free.”I see this as a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing,” said Larry Downes, project director at Georgetown University’s Center for Business and Public Policy. “The law hasn’t changed. You can’t just go after companies because you don’t like them.”Downes said probes are unlikely to find that tech firms have violated the “consumer welfare standard,” which has guided policy for more than four decades.But the rise of Big Tech has prompted a rethinking of that standard, said Maurice Stucke, a former Justice Department lawyer now on the law school faculty of the University of Tennessee.”The consumer welfare standard is not the law,” Stucke said, arguing that there is no need to show higher prices if tech firms stifle competition.EU roadmap?Stucke said European antitrust actions against Google have created a “road map” for US officials that may help accelerate their probes.”All of the areas the Europeans identified could be brought by the US,” he said.Stucke noted that US antitrust enforcers have an advantage over their EU counterparts with the ability to require “structural” remedies, or a break-up of dominant firms as was done in the 1980s with telecom monopoly AT&T and in the initial ruling against Microsoft, which was overturned on appeal.But US and EU law are vastly different on antitrust, according to Eric Goldman, director of the High-Tech Law Institute at Santa Clara University.”European law cares about competitors while US law cares about competition, and that makes a huge difference,” he said. Rutgers University law professor Michael Carrier agreed that a case against Google could be challenging: “I’m not sure if the consumer has been harmed, so an antitrust case could be harder than it seems.”‘It looks very fishy’Christopher Sagers, a professor of antitrust at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, said there may be legitimate grounds to review Google for favoring its own services, but that courts may be cautious.Additionally, he said President Donald Trump’s complaints about tech bias against conservatives have muddied the waters.”It could be the Trump administration is trying to appease a conservative base which believes Silicon Valley tech firms are censoring political speech,” Sagers said.Sagers said that despite tough talk by some officials, the Trump administration has been noticeably lax on other, less politically sensitive antitrust cases.”It looks very fishy,” Sagers said. “If you’re bringing the biggest set of antitrust cases since the Great Depression, why are you letting all these other mergers go through?”Sagers said court-ordered breakups are extremely rare, and that a more likely outcome would be an injunction or order to stop stifling competition.But any remedy against Google would likely be complicated if it involved oversight of its search algorithm, according to Sagers, because it would likely mean a government-appointed monitor—a difficult sell to free-speech defenders.”People would say it’s big government,” Sagers said. “And a court might be quite sympathetic to that argument.” © 2019 AFP Citation: US gears up for antitrust battles with Big Tech (2019, June 4) retrieved 17 July 2019 from Credit: CC0 Public Domainlast_img read more

BL Santhosh replaces Ram Lal Why does RSS want greater control over

first_img Prabhash K Dutta New DelhiJuly 15, 2019UPDATED: July 15, 2019 16:18 IST Newly appointed BJP general secretary (organisation) BL Santhosh at South Point in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. (Photo: Twitter/@blsanthosh)HIGHLIGHTSRam Lal served in the BJP for over 12 years acting as a link with the RSSRam Lal has been replaced with more assertive RSS ideologue BL SanthoshContrary to BJP’s view, RSS has shied away from giving credit to PM Modi for Lok Sabha election winRam Lal, the longest-serving Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) general secretary (organisation) is back with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). He was repatriated over the weekend after serving as bridge between the BJP and the RSS for 12 years.Ram Lal has been replaced by BL Santhosh, who is considered a more purist Sangh ideologue than his predecessor. Unlike Ram Lal, Santhosh is not known to hold back his views if a BJP leader or the party leadership deviates from the core RSS ideology of Hindutva.The development comes at a crucial time when there has been unease in the RSS over the organisation being “ignored” by the BJP leadership in giving credit for the Lok Sabha election result.It follows a national conclave of RSS prant pracharaks at Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh ending on Saturday. The RSS conclave decided to increase “our effortsfor the purpose of social transformation.” At the three-day conclave, the RSS leaders sounded uncomfortable with the BJP leaders giving total credit for the party’s win to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity and Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s organisational skills.At the end of the conclave, RSS joint secretary Manmohan Vaidya minced no words in reminding the BJP about its contribution to the return of the Narendra Modi government. Vaidya said the RSS volunteers conducted door-to-door campaign in 4.5 lakh of the 5.5 lakh villages across the country “creating awareness” during the Lok Sabha election.Who got BJP votes in Lok Sabha election?He said sar-sanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat called for 100 per cent voting during the Lok Sabha election. “The swayamsevaks were also involved in the task of spreading public awareness to increase the voting percentage and encourage people to vote on issues of national interest. The swayamsevaks did door-to-door contact and held small indoor meetings,” said Vaidya.He asserted that “out of the 5.5 lakh villages across India, they reached around 4.5 lakh villages. As per the sangh’s structure, there are 56,000 mandals [divisions]. Swayamsevaks reached out to 50,000 mandals out of them. In the public awareness programmes, around 11 lakh Swayamsevaks and society at large had participated. Among the participants, there were 1 lakh women too.”This reminder is consistent with RSS general secretary Bhaiyyaji Joshi’s statement after the Lok Sabha election results on May 23. When the BJP leaders were singing paeans for PM Modi after the party got 303 Lok Sabha seats, Joshi described the election result as the “triumph of national forces”. He did not give credit to Narendra Modi or Amit Shah.The recall of Ram Lal and elevation of hardliner BL Santhosh also happened on the eve of organisational elections in the BJP. These elections are likely to be held in July-August and speculation is rife that Amit Shah might relinquish the post of party president and working BJP president JP Nadda will be given charge. More space is likely to be given to RSS leaders in the organisation at the cost of “independent” members.Why BL Santhosh?An RSS pracharak, Santhosh was inducted into the BJP in 2006 and has been a key figure in deciding the BJP’s position in the southern states. He had been Karnataka BJP general secretary for eight years before he was given a national role in 2014 as an associate of Ram Lal in-charge of the southern states.In 2019 election, Santhosh is said to be reason for a surprise BJP ticket to Tejaswi Surya from late Ananth Kumar’s Bangalore South Lok Sabha seat. The BJP had almost finalised the candidature for Ananth Kumar’s wife Tejaswini before nominating Surya.Santhosh had then said the BJP tickets cannot be given on the basis of DNA and genes. He had also previously criticised BS Yeddyurappa over issues of corruption and the style of functioning.The general secretary (organisation), the second-most powerful post, in the BJP has always gone to an RSS pracharak — N Govindacharya, Sanjay Joshi and Ram Lal all having the same qualification. But Santosh’s appointment indicates greater control of the RSS on the BJP.Nadda, the working BJP president, has risen through the ranks after beginning his political career in the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the student wing of the RSS.So, why does the RSS need to have greater control over the BJP when it has won bigger mandate in election, and it has enjoyed a smoother relation with PM Modi and Amit Shah at the helm of affairs unlike the past when Atal Bihari Vajpayee and LK Advani ran the BJP. Many insiders believe that it has a lot to do with Modi and Shah gaining overarching influence.And, Ayodhya is also thereThere could be other issues as well. The RSS has been pushing for two major changes — education policy and labour reforms. The new education draft is ready but labour reforms draft is still in the works. The RSS is said to be unhappy with the pace of progress.Also, the RSS has raised the chorus for speedier resolution of Ayodhya dispute and early construction of a Ram temple at the disputed site. Mohan Bhagwat had in November last year criticised the Supreme Court saying the Ram temple issue “is not a priority for the apex court”. He followed it up with another statement in February this year that construction of Ram temple at Ayodhya would begin in four months.The Ayodhya dispute has been referred to a Supreme Court-mandated mediation panel, which has set August 15 as deadline. The Supreme Court last week asked the panel to submit status report by July 25.The RSS is reported to be getting impatient with the Ayodhya matter lingering in the Supreme Court and the BJP – since 2014 – side-stepping the emotive issue in favour of politics of development. The party’s manifesto for 2014 and 2019 did not list Ram temple construction as its key poll promises.Santosh, as an assertive RSS ideologue, is expected to push the BJP leadership to explore other ways for early construction of Ram temple at Ayodhya and speedy implementation of key policy matters to the satisfaction of the organisation.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 byPrabhash Kumar Dutta BL Santhosh replaces Ram Lal: Why does RSS want greater control over BJP?Prime Minister Narendra Modi was an RSS pracharak before joining the BJP. Working BJP chief JP Nadda came from ABVP, the students wing of the RSS. Still, the RSS felt the need for a stronger ideologue than Ram Lal as general secretary (organisation) in the BJP.advertisement Nextlast_img read more

Egypts Bent Pyramid Opens for First Time in More Than 50 Years

first_img Purrfect Photos: Cat Mummies and Wooden Cat Statues Discovered at Ancient Egyptian Burial Complex For the first time since 1965, two pyramids built by the ancient Egyptians, including the unique “Bent Pyramid,” are being opened to the public, according to the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities. The two pyramids — the Bent Pyramid and its satellite in the Dashur royal necropolis — sit about 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of Cairo. Both are more than 4,000 years old. Along with the announcement, made Saturday (July 13), the ministry revealed its latest discoveries of stone, clay and wooden sarcophagi, some of which contained mummies with wooden funerary masks. The findings also included stone-cutting tools dated to the Late Period, which lasted from 664 B.C. to 332 B.C., or about the time of Alexander the Great. [Photos: Exquisitely Preserved Ancient Tomb Discovered at Saqqara]Headbutting Tiny Worms Are Really, Really LoudThis rapid strike produces a loud ‘pop’ comparable to those made by snapping shrimps, one of the most intense biological sounds measured at sea.Your Recommended PlaylistVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9接下来播放Why Is It ‘Snowing’ Salt in the Dead Sea?01:53 facebook twitter 发邮件 reddit 链接已复制直播00:0000:3500:35  The Bent Pyramid, built in about 2600 B.C. by the Pharaoh Sneferu during the Old Kingdom, is a one-of-a-kind structure. Archaeologists note that its architecture is a transition between the Djoser Step Pyramid, built between 2667 B.C. and 2648 B.C., and the Meidum Pyramid, which also dates to 2600 B.C., Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anani said in a statement. The pyramid almost looks like its shedding: the bottom half is still covered with its original limestone casing. The sides rise at a streep 54 degrees angle, but later tapers off at a 43 degree angle toward the top, giving it a “bent” look. Photos: Mummies Discovered in Tombs in Ancient Egyptian City “Sneferu lived a very long time … the architects wanted to reach the complete shape, the pyramid shape,” Mohamed Shiha, director of the Dahshur site, said, according to The Guardian. “Exactly where he was buried, we are not sure of that. Maybe in this [Bent] pyramid, who knows?” Shiha said. The Bent Pyramid, as well as the other pyramids in the Dashur royal necropolis (a part of the Memphis necropolis), are registered as World Heritage sites with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Originally published on Live Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksYou May LikeVikings: Free Online GamePlay this for 1 min and see why everyone is addicted!Vikings: Free Online GameUndoTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionOne Thing All Liars Have in Common, Brace YourselfTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionUndoAncestryThe Story Behind Your Last Name Will Surprise YouAncestryUndoKelley Blue Book2019 Lexus Vehicles Worth Buying for Their Resale ValueKelley Blue BookUndoGundry MD Total Restore SupplementU.S. Cardiologist: It’s Like a Pressure Wash for Your InsidesGundry MD Total Restore SupplementUndoArticles VallyDad Cuts Daughter’s Hair Off For Getting Birthday Highlights, Then Mom Does The UnthinkableArticles VallyUndo Photos: Teen’s Skeleton Buried Next to Pyramid in Egypt An ancient mummy with a funerary mask. Credit: Photo courtesy Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities The ministry’s project department restored the 331-foot-tall (101 meters) Bent Pyramid and its satellite during their closure. Some of this restoration process included work on the internal and external stairs, the addition of a lighting network, and the repair of some of the stone work in the corridors and burial chamber. In addition, the ministry announced that its archaeologists had found the remains of an ancient wall that dated to the Middle Kingdom, about 4,000 years ago. This nearly 200-foot-tall (60 m) wall sits south of another pyramid from the 12th dynasty pharaoh King Amenemhat II, which is also in the Dahshur necropolis. In recent years, Egypt has announced archaeological discoveries with the hope of increasing tourism, which took a hit after a 2011 uprising against the Egyptian government. A recently discovered mummy in a sarcophagus. Credit: Photo courtesy Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities last_img read more