Introducing Indoor Touch

first_imgThe sport of Touch Football continues to grow across the nation, with the ACT introducing Indoor Touch, enabling players to continue to enjoy the game, whilst avoiding the cold climate. Free trials held at 6:30pm on Thursday 19 June, Thursday 26 June and Thursday 3 July 2008 at mPowerDome, Fadden, ACTThe Indoor Touch Football season will start on Thursday 24 July 2008 (Term 3). Nominations will be taken for Men’s and Mixed competitions. To register or for further information please contact:ACT Touch Ph: 6212 2880mPowerDome Ph: 6298 5500last_img read more

Video: Auburn RB Corey Grant Ran A Blazing Sub-4.3 40 At The Tigers’ Pro Day

first_imgCorey Grant runs 40-yard dash.Former Auburn running back Corey Grant is doing a pretty good job impressing the scouts at the Tigers’ pro day this afternoon. The 5-foot-11, 205-pound running back did not receive an invite to the Senior Bowl or the NFL Combine, but he’s making up for that today. Grant might be the fastest player available in the upcoming NFL Draft. According to multiple people in attendance at Auburn’s pro day, Grant ran a sub-4.3 40-yard dash. Hearing unofficial 40 chatter of 4.27 and 4.28 for AU RB Corey Grant. Workout wonder. #AUProDay— Chase Goodbread (@ChaseGoodbread) March 3, 2015BREAKING: Corey Grant is fast. Unofficially a 4.27 40 at Pro Day— Tom Green (@Tomas_Verde) March 3, 2015Times are often a little faster at pro days than they are at the combine or at NFL team’s individual workouts, but that’s still an incredibly impressive performance by Grant. He’s certainly helping his draft stock today.last_img read more

Auburn Basketball Now Has The No. 1 Recruiting Class In The SEC For 2016

first_imgAuburn has the best basketball recruiting class for 2016.Auburn Basketball ClassAs of roughly 12 p.m. E.T. Sunday, Auburn’s men’s basketball program has the best recruiting class in the SEC for 2016. Yes, you read that correctly. The Tigers, after receiving the commitment of five-star small forward Mustapha Heron, have rose in 247 Sports’ Team Rankings to the top of the SEC and No. 7 in the country. Auburn has three commitments in the class: Heron, three-star point guard Jared Harper and three-star Anfernee McLemore. Now, there is a long way to go before teams are done recruiting for 2016. Kentucky will surely add multiple elite recruits to its class and probably end up with the top class in the conference. But, for a little while, Bruce Pearl’s program can claim to be at the top of the SEC recruiting mountain, and that’s pretty cool.last_img read more

Jim Harbaugh Remembers Crew Of Edmund Fitzgerald On 40th Anniversary Of Shipwreck

first_imgHead coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines listens in on an offensive huddle during the Michigan Football Spring Game.ANN ARBOR, MI – APRIL 04: Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines listens in on an offensive huddle during the Michigan Football Spring Game on April 4, 2015 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)Today is the 40th anniversary of the wreck of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald in Lake Superior off the coast of Michigan. The ship’s entire 29-man crew died in the tragedy. It’s a haunting historical event for many who live in the area. Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh has already admitted that his favorite song is Gordon Lightfoot’s “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” which is a tribute to the captain and crew of the ill-fated ship. This afternoon, Harbaugh tweeted out a link to Lightfoot’s song as a way of remembering those who perished in the storm 40 years ago. Remembering the captain and crew of the Edmund Fitzgerald today. God Bless You and Yours! https://t.co/OZl3bMYWuy— Coach Harbaugh (@CoachJim4UM) November 10, 2015Harbaugh truly is a Michigan Man, in more ways than one.last_img read more

Rosanna Davison Kiss Me Im Vegan

first_imgWearing green bodypaint – and little else – Rosanna Davison, daughter of “Lady in Red” singer Chris De Burgh, shows off her stunning plant-fuelled body in new photos for St Patrick’s Day.Painted, courtesy of make-up artist Shima Mistry, as a sexy leprechaun lady while holding a sign that proclaims, “Kiss Me. I’m Vegan!” the certified nutritionist is spreading the word that one of the best ways to stay healthy, slim and energised is by going vegan.“Vegan meals are packed with nutrients and free of unhealthy animal fat and cholesterol, so they’re a great way to keep your weight down and your energy up”, Davison says. “The best thing to do for your health and for animals is to go vegan – for St Patrick’s Day and every day!”PETA US’ website includes an array of “veganised” recipes for St Paddy’s Day, including Irish classics such as shepherd’s pie, colcannon, brown bread and more.In addition to being, on average, slimmer than meat-eaters are, vegans are less prone to cancer, heart disease, strokes and diabetes. Vegan meals are “greener”, too, as the meat industry is a leading cause of the greenhouse-gas emissions that contribute to climate change. And of course, each vegan saves many animals a year from extreme suffering on factory farms, in abattoirs and on the decks of fishing boats.Davison is part of a growing list of celebrities – including Pamela Anderson, Alicia Silverstone, Casey Affleck, Paul McCartney, Joaquin Phoenix, John Bishop and Emily Deschanel – who have teamed up with PETA and its affiliates to promote healthy, humane, meat-free meals.For more information, please visit PETA.org.uk.last_img read more

MEET THE 25YEAROLD CANADIAN JEWELLERY DESIGNER WHO JUST WON CHINAS EQUIVALENT OF

first_img Twitter Emily Gao considers herself an engineer as much as a jewellery designer.The 25-year-old Torontonian behind the accessories line JY Gao harnesses everyday kinetic energy to create jewellery with independent moving parts that swing, dangle, and oscillates when activated by the movement of the wearer. “It’s partly engineering because you envision something to look great, but when you actually test it out on the human body, it might not have the same effect,” Gao says of the trial-and-error process. She often prototypes her designs using inexpensive materials such as hinges from hardwares stores before rendering the finished product using sterling silver. (If the term ‘kinetic jewellery’ sounds unfamiliar that’s because “its something I sort of invented,” she says.)Currently, JY Gao is an under-the-radar accessories label founded in 2016 (a pair of the label’s earrings appeared in a shoot in the October 2018 issue of FASHION), but it may not stay that way for long, since Gao received a massive cash infusion after winning second place in China’s largest design competition, which awards cash prizes in excess of $1 million. (In comparison, the prestigious LVMH Prize gives out one 300,000-euro and one 150,000-euro prize each year.) Login/Register With: Facebook Advertisementcenter_img Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisementlast_img read more

Rep OMalley House budget improves roads helps Northern Michigan families

first_imgSchools. The plan raises the state’s minimum per-pupil foundation allowance by $180 per student, which covers the majority of Michigan’s school districts. All districts would get at least $90 more per student under the House plan. This comes on top of the largest annual per-student increase of the past 15 years – which schools are receiving in the current budget year – while continuing to close the gap between the state’s lowest- and highest-funded districts. Early literacy and career training are special focuses as the overall school aid fund would surpass $15 billion. Respecting taxpayers through government efficiencies. Many state departments are being asked to find a savings of 3 percent in their administrative budgets. The House also has identified several state programs that do not spend as much money as taxpayers have been providing, so their budgets will be adjusted accordingly. The plan also helps rein in information technology project spending within state departments, which has been a problem area.The House budget plan costs taxpayers about $1.3 billion less than the plan recommended by the governor.### State Rep. Jack O’Malley this week supported record funding for Northern Michigan road repairs and schools – without increasing taxes on Michigan families.“I have traveled across the state listening to drivers about road funding concerns. This plan ensures all taxes paid at the pump will go directly towards fixing our roads. With this budget, we would use available state resources to boost road repairs without burdening Michigan drivers with extra costs,” said O’Malley, of Lake Ann, chair of the House Transportation Committee. “There are many good things in the greater budget, however I am concerned with some of the reductions for public transit in the Transportation budget. I will be working hard to get this funding restored.”The House approved several budget measures this week, advancing the plan to the Senate for further consideration.Key elements of the budget plan:Roads. The plan ensures every single penny spent on taxes at the gas pump goes to improve our roads – including the 6 percent sales tax motorists already pay. This change could add more than $800 million more per year to road repairs – without raising taxes – once fully phased in over two years. This change would be accomplished without sacrificing money for schools, local government revenue sharing or other essential public services. O’Malley has hosted several town hall meetings across the state to educate drivers about the accelerated meetings in the House Transportation Committee and help find affordable solutions to help fix Michigan roads. Strengthening communities and families. More resources will be dedicated to protect drinking water, clean up the environment, promote mental health and fight opioid addiction. Local communities will get an increase in revenue sharing to enhance essential public services. More Michigan State Police troopers and state prison corrections officers will be trained.center_img Categories: O’Malley News 13Jun Rep. O’Malley: House budget improves roads, helps Northern Michigan familieslast_img read more

Belarusian pay TV operator Cosmos TV is adding ent

first_imgBelarusian pay TV operator Cosmos TV is adding entertainment channel S-TV to its network.From April 20, the channel, which airs celebrity news and fashion programming, will be available in Cosmos TV’s Entertainment and Plus packages.last_img

In This Issue   Initially dollar gets sold bu

first_imgIn This Issue. *  Initially dollar gets sold, but that gets reversed! *  Gold spikes then fades and holds on. *  Chinese manufacturing recovers. *  RBI begins to change things. And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts! No Tapering Clues, But Lots Of Singing From The Same Song Sheet.  Good day. And a Tub Thumpin’ Thursday to you! Well. I was bang on with my thought that the FOMC Meeting Minutes would NOT contain any clues as to when the tapering of QE3 might start. But there wasn’t even a Cupie doll as my prize. And the markets’ reaction to the revelation that there were no clues, was also bang on. But what happened next was not on my agenda, and thus surprised me. So, I guess I’ll spend all morning, explaining what happened next. Or. I could just touch on it briefly and move along to other things.  OK, twist my arm, I’ll take what’s behind door number 2. So, as I just said, there were no clues, and the initial reaction of assets like Gold was one of “go into rally gear”. Gold ripped higher from yesterday morning’s $1,367 to reach $1,379.38, and looked like $1,400 would be taken out in a New York Minute. The euro, which is the offset currency to the dollar, jumped too, but then a funny thing happened on the way to the forum. OK, not really funny as in funny-HAHA. What I’m talking about is after perusing the FOMC Meeting Minutes for clues, it occurred to those doing the perusing that a number of Fed Heads were singing from the same song sheet, and that song sheet contained the music to the “it’s time to end QE melody”. And then the euphoria of the risk assets that no clues were in the minutes went poof! And soon we were watching the reversal and eventual down day for the risk assets.  That reversal has continued through the overnight markets, with the euro losing almost 1/2-cent, and Gold struggling to hold on to a $2 gain.  And that’s all the news that’s fit to print this morning, I’ll talk to you tomorrow morning. Alright, I won’t go just yet. Although I sure there are quite a few of you who wish I would go away for good!  HA!  OK. Let’s talk about the “other stuff” going on this morning. And there’s no better place to start than with China. OK, long ago and in a not so far-away-place, I explained to you the two different reports on the same subject that get printed in China. I’m talking about the Manufacturing Index. HSBC Holdings prints one, and the Chinese Gov’t prints one, and it seems like never do the two match up. HSBC prints their report first, and is usually the one that is on the weaker side of the Gov’t report. OK, now that we’ve got that out of the way, the HSBC report on the Manufacturing Index saw a big jump higher in July from a June reading of 47.7 to a July reading of 50.1. This index works just like the one here in the U.S. in that any reading above 50 signals expansion, and any reading below 50 signals contraction of the sector.  If HSBC’s report is this promising, the Gov’t’s report should be something! But the thing that I want to point out here is that China’s economy which had slowed down quite a bit in the 2nd QTR, looks as though stabilization is occurring. And I’m not there, I don’t play a Chinese Gov’t official on TV, nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, but from my view in the cheap seats, I find this to be great news not only for China but for global growth.  You see, this stabilization came about without Gov’t stimulus. The Gov’t told the markets & Banks to work it out and it appears they did! Sure, as I always say one month’s data doesn’t make a trend, just as one swallow doesn’t make a summer, so we can’t go all seashells and balloons here, just yet. The Aussie dollar (A$) which slipped below 90-cents yesterday, is seeing some interest this morning from buyers that believe in the global growth story based on the HSBC report. This slippage from the A$ this week has come as a surprise to me, as I really thought the negativity surrounding the A$ had passed. The A$’s rally after the last rate cut had signaled that to me, but I guess the A$ was not ready for prime time. The markets’ reaction to the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) meeting minutes hasn’t helped the A$, but those backward looking words. I’m looking forward, folks. And the future of global growth is in good hands as long as China is cooking with gas. The currencies that I think have good fundamentals are not performing the way they should be. They include: Norwegian krone, Swedish krona, Canadian dollar / loonie, Singapore dollar, Aussie dollar and Chinese renminbi, and Gold & Silver.  Oh well, until the markets return to rewarding currencies with strong fundamentals, and something to sell that other countries want, we have to deal with these weak periods for these currencies. It seems to me that right now, the markets are into rewarding currencies from countries with economic growth. If you look at the best performing currencies in the past 3 months, you would have the euro, Swiss franc, and British pound sterling would be in the top 5. Swedish krona ekes out a small gain, and the Japanese yen finishes out the top 5. The yen is a story onto itself, folks. I still believe that Japan’s fundamentals are toast, and that the yen is rallying on borrowed time. Economic growth is a good fundamental to have, so there’s nothing wrong with using that as a reason to buy. But Economic growth has to go hand in hand with other things, and a HUGE debt like the U.K. has isn’t one of them. about 12 years ago, when the U.S. was coming out of its recession caused by the Tech bubble bursting, we saw the same thing going on with currencies. In fact, some currencies would rally when the respective country would cut rates, which should debase the currency. But if that’s the direction the markets want to go, then who’s to stop them? We have to adapt, innovate, change, and go with the flow. What the heck am I saying? That’s not me! I don’t go with anyone’s flow! I’m usually out on the limb all by my lonesome! But. when it comes to a direction the markets are going, if I don’t agree with it, I just batten down the hatches and wait for the air to clear. My wife, who’s leaving today for a few days with her mom, dad, and sister, will be devastated this morning to hear that her childhood heartthrob, David Cassidy, was arrested overnight in NY. A year or so ago, the two of us ran into David Cassidy at a restaurant in Juno Beach, Florida, and that’s all she talked about for days! Sorry, just saw that news and the next thing I know I was typing about it! Well, the U.S. 10-year Treasury Note, hit a 2-year high in yield of 2.93% overnight (it’s 2.91% right now) Remember earlier this week I showed you the loss in dollar terms when the yield was 2.87%…  And also remember that our mortgage guys think the 10-year’s yield will be over 3% by year-end, which would mean a higher than 5% mortgage yield. I had a reader send me a note the other day, asking me why I thought the mortgage / housing recovery would stop if mortgage rates rose to 5%… It made me stop and think for a minute, in that it’s true that people still bought houses back in the early 80’s when mortgage rates were sky high. Shoot Rudy, my first house had a mortgage rate that was tied to the 90-day Treasury Bill, which at the time was 13.5%!  So, I explained that when I said that, I didn’t mean to say that the housing recovery would be wiped out. It will suffer though, until which time borrowers become comfortably numb with higher rates, that we haven’t see in a year of Sundays! Like I did, when I signed on the dotted line for a mortgage with a 13.5% interest rate! But remember, back then, rates were on their way down, so that 90-day T-Bill rate was on its way down, along with my mortgage rate! It would be quite different now 30 years later…  And long time readers know how much I dislike the saying, “it’s different this time”. I was reading last night (Cardinals played and won a day game, that I slept through most of) and came across some research that was saying the same thing I’ve been saying about how the economic data here in the U.S. will be the straw that stirs the Fed Heads’ tapering drink. And the report repeated what I’ve been saying (Wait! Maybe they are Pfennig readers too!) that the U.S. economic data has NOT been the stuff that would lead anyone to believe that the tapering would begin. We get the Weekly Initial Jobless Claims today, because it’s a Tub Thumpin’ Thursday! And, with all the focus on economic data, I guess this report will get more attention than usual.  Look for the claims to be added to from the previous week, keeping the weak data trend going. In Canada today, Canadian June Retail Sales will print, with hopes that it can wrap a tourniquet around the loonie. Unfortunately, after soaring 1.9% in May, June’s Retail Sales are expected to fall .4%, due mainly from the floods in Alberta. I would hope that an averaging out of the data would be the way the markets look at this. but then, again one month’s data doesn’t make a trend. I just saw a news story flash across the screens saying that Eurozone Services data had increased for the first time in 19 months! And it’s highest level in 2 years! I’d have to say that the move out of recession territory has been decisive for the Eurozone, eh?  And we saw some market and economy moving decisions from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) yesterday. The RBI partially eased its recent tightening measures, moving back to a bond purchasing program, and offering temporary relief to bank’s bond investment and liquidity maintenance requirements. We immediately saw a pullback in bond yields. But the life preserver that the RBI attempted to throw to the rupee didn’t quite make it to the currency. And once again another all-time record low in the rupee printed. I think that the rupee needs to see a huge shift in inflows, and with bond yields pulling back, and the forecasts for more rate cuts, the rupee is going to struggle for some time. But, if all these things that the new RBI Gov. get a chance to work, the tides could change in India. For What It’s Worth. I found this over at moneynews.com and it’s an article by Michael Snyder, author of the Economic Collapse blog.  He’s talking about the rising Treasury yields, that I’ve highlighted since they began, and talked about the bubble bursting for over two years now. Let’s listen in to what Mr. Snyder has to say. “Investors who want to monitor the source of the next financial disaster should be keeping an eye glued to U.S. Treasury yields. The yield on 10-year U.S. Treasury is regarded as a key barometer because it affects many other interest rates in the financial system, from mortgages to consumer loans. That yield has been nudging toward 3 percent in recent weeks, and is up nearly 120 basis points since the start of May. Snyder cited a litany of potential ills if interest rates continue on their upward trajectory – it will be more expensive for the state and local governments to borrow money, the housing market will be harmed, consumer debt interest will rise and the huge amount of federal debt from quantitative easing (QE) could implode. We are truly moving into unprecedented territory, because we have been in a bull market for U.S. Treasury for the last 30 years. Many investors don’t even know that it is possible to lose money on U.S. Treasuries. They have been described as ‘risk-free’ investments, but that is far from the truth.” If Treasury yields hit 3 percent, it will be harmful to the U.S. economy and be a drag on stocks, Snyder stated. But he said a July Bank of America Merrill Lynch investor survey predicted that if yields rise even higher to 3.5 percent, it will trigger a “disorderly rotation” or spiral of higher rates. According to Snyder, a primary reason Treasury yields are increasing is that foreign holders, who own a huge amount of U.S. bonds, are becoming net sellers. “Unfortunately, there is no way that the party that the U.S. government has been throwing can continue without foreigners buying our debt.” Chuck again. Yes, this is a major problem for the U.S. and the fact that foreigners have been backing out of Treasuries is the reason the Fed has become the major player at the Treasury auctions. My back of the envelope figures have the Fed holding over $200 billion in mark-to-market losses in their balance sheet holdings right now. If they were a U.S. corporation, it would not be pretty. To recap. The FOMC Meeting Minutes didn’t contain any clues as to when the tapering would start, but it did show broad support with most of the Fed Heads singing from the same song sheet. And that sent the dollar higher, VS Gold and currencies.  Looks like the markets have changed horses in the middle of the stream again, and are now rewarding currencies from countries promoting growth. Currencies today 8/22/13. American Style: A$ .8990, kiwi .7815, C$. 9530, euro 1.3310, sterling 1.5570, Swiss $1.0780, . European Style: rand 10.3350, krone 6.09, SEK 6.52, forint 225.05, zloty 3.1865, koruna 19.3290, RUB 33.15, yen 98.65, sing 1.2830, HKD 7.7555, INR 64.62, China 6.1698, pesos 13.22, BRL 2.4540, Dollar Index 81.63, Oil $104.33, 10-year 2.91%, Silver $23.04, Platinum $1,518.57, Palladium $747.43, and Gold. $1,368.26 That’s it for today. Good luck today to my good friend, Duane Moody, who is having surgery on his disconnected bicep. The surgery sounds like it will be more painful than the actual tear was. Cardinals hit 3 homers in a game! There’s been a real “home run drought” this summer with the Cardinals, but as long as they keep winning series I’ll be happy! I have a video interview with Joe Deux at the Street.com this morning. It won’t take long for them to post the video on their site, so if you want to hear me talk about Gold. here’s your chance! I sure hope I get more people to view the site than I had come to listen to me talk last week in San Francisco!  OK.. time to go! I hope you have a Tub Thumpin’ Thursday! Chuck Butler President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 1-314-647-3837last_img read more

Stimulant drugs like Adderall and Ritalin are comm

first_imgStimulant drugs like Adderall and Ritalin are commonly prescribed to kids with what’s known as ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. But recently, adults became the biggest users of these drugs.That’s partially because more adults are being diagnosed with ADHD for the first time. But the new Netflix documentary Take Your Pills focuses on the use of these drugs to boost cognitive performance in college classrooms and the workplace.”What the film really looks at is really: What do these pills promise, and what do people desire?” says director Alison Klayman. “And these drugs are associated with keeping better focus — it’s better attention, it’s better productivity — in this moment when people are all really feeling squeezed, feeling pressure to perform.”Klayman, a former All Things Considered intern and now a filmmaker, spoke with us from NPR’s studios in New York City.Interview HighlightsOn what Klayman generally heard from adult users of these drugsThere were at least two different camps. There are some adults who were using it since high school and even earlier. And then there were some who found it for the first time as an adult. And there was a cycle that people go through where at first, it seems like something that’s jet fuel that gets you everything you want. And slowly, people report needing more and more — higher doses in order to keep the efficacy. And then, people report different side effects, and also kind of an identity issue — of wondering, you know, is it correct that I am associating my success with a need for this as a tool, as a supplement? I think for people who grew up on the medication, a lot of the people that we talked to — and we talked to well over 100 people — they want to see if they can go off of it.On the reasons interview subjects cited for taking these pillsSometimes it’s because they feel like everyone else is doing it — that was the experience of the anonymous worker from Goldman Sachs. Same thing in coding — that’s another environment where it’s expected that you’re going to do these long runs. [The coder in the film] describes the first time he took it was 1 a.m., given to him by another person at this coding bootcamp. It’s a big thing for high-functioning and successful people in America.On the cited research suggesting that these drugs don’t actually improve cognitive performance, but do make people feel as if they’re performing better While we were shooting the film, people who use Adderall, Ritalin, these drugs regularly — I was surprised how many young people would say, “So, you’re working on this film — does it work?” … I think they could tell it was doing something, but again this identity question of: How much is me, how much is the drug and how much is it really helping?And what’s amazing is that one of the effects of Adderall — which is, you know, amphetamine, mixed amphetamine — is that it makes you feel like you are doing better. But the idea that these are “smart pills” or that they’re cognitive enhancers is a little bit misguided.On potential harm in the widespread use of these stimulants, whether long-term or otherwiseI think the harm that is most urgent, that applies to the most people, is what the film focuses on, which is a little bit more of the identity questions of, you know: What is lost if we are all in an Adderall world? What does it mean to feel like you need it to succeed? It’s just — it’s true, we don’t know what the impact is. And that’s part of the reason why I see this film as a real conversation starter. Is this the kind of world we want to live in? And then we’ll continue to do research from there.Denise Guerra and Emily Kopp produced and edited this interview for broadcast. Patrick Jarenwattananon adapted it for the Web. Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.last_img read more

The mother of a disabled man who starved to death

first_imgThe mother of a disabled man who starved to death after he was found “fit for work” and lost his out-of-work disability benefits has called for ministers to face criminal charges.Jill Gant says work and pensions ministers should be tried for misconduct in public office for failing to take action that could have saved the life of her son, Mark Wood.She spoke out after signing a letter, drawn up by the Green Party and backed by Disabled People Against Cuts, that calls on work and pensions secretary Damian Green to order an independent inquiry into the links between his department’s procedures and the deaths of benefit claimants.The party has produced a dossier of 50 cases in which the deaths of benefit claimants have been linked to decisions taken by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).Mark Wood (pictured) starved to death in 2013 after being found ineligible for employment and support allowance (ESA), even though he had never been able to cope with the demands of a job and his GP had said he was completely incapable of working.The decision to find him fit for work caused him extreme anxiety and distress and exaggerated his eating disorder.He died in the summer of 2013, apparently from natural causes and as a result of becoming dangerously underweight, four months after his incapacity benefit was stopped.Because of his complex mental health condition and other impairments, including the eating disorder, Asperger’s syndrome and multple chemical sensitivity, he had not provided the evidence needed in his ESA application, or at a face-to-face work capability assessment (WCA).But he had stated in the ESA form that he had problems with anxiety and depression, while the assessment was carried out at the cottage where he lived alone, rather than at an Atos assessment centre in Oxford, because of the severity of his panic attacks.Because of his complex mental health issues, he was unable to cope with either support workers or help from his family, and his mother says he was unaware of the purpose of the WCA.She said that neither the Atos assessor nor the DWP decision-maker made any attempt to secure further medical evidence about his mental health from his GP, who would have told them that he was unable to work.His GP told his inquest in February 2014 that he had handed Mark a note, explaining that he was extremely unwell and completely unfit to work, but the note does not appear to have reached his local jobcentre.The GP also told the inquest: “Something pushed him or affected him in the time before he died and the only thing I can put my finger on is the pressure he felt he was under when his benefits were removed.”His death came three years after ministers had been warned by a coroner – following the death of Stephen Carré in January 2010 – that they needed to review their policy not to seek further medical evidence from the GPs and psychiatrists of ESA claimants with mental health conditions.And a year after Mark Wood died, another letter was sent to DWP by a coroner, raising the same concerns and making almost identical recommendations, this time following the death of a disabled man from north London.But nearly seven years after the Stephen Carré inquest, these safety concerns have still not been addressed, despite many other deaths, and a DWP promise to a tribunal that it would test ways to collect further medical evidence through a pilot project, although a DWP spokesman said today (Thursday) that the pilot project had now been completed.Former DWP ministers Iain Duncan Smith and Chris Grayling have been heavily criticised for failing to act on the coroner’s advice in 2010, for covering-up that report, and failing to pass it to Professor Malcolm Harrington – the expert they had commissioned to review the WCA – as well as failing to show Harrington secret DWP reports linking the WCA with the deaths of benefit claimants.Attempts by the user-led grassroots group Black Triangle (BT) to secure a prosecution of Duncan Smith and Grayling in Scotland – over the deaths of three Scottish benefit claimants – have so far failed because of resistance from the Scottish criminal justice system, although BT is seeking legal representation to help push for a case to be taken in the Scottish courts.Mark Wood’s mother, Jill Gant, said she would like to see ministers held accountable by the criminal justice system for their failure to act on the Stephen Carré coroner’s report, which she believes led to her son’s death.The retired education social worker, now 78, and from Abingdon, Oxfordshire, said: “Quite honestly, I think they have failed in their duty. They doggedly refused to consider and act on this very clear, simple suggestion.”She said it would be “stunning” if a case could be brought against ministers, and added: “They certainly need to be called to account.”She secured a meeting with the minister for disabled people, Mark Harper, in March 2015, but said that he had “a heart of stone” and had made no effort to be “friendly or understanding”, and when she asked him about the need to secure further medical evidence “he refused to answer the question directly”.She said it was “shocking” that Harper now chaired the all-party parliamentary group on learning disability.Her search for answers following her son’s death had quickly focused on the single issue of why further medical evidence had not been sought.Confronted by the refusal of Conservative ministers, including Harper and employment minister Priti Patel*, to answer her questions, she has now told her Tory MP, Nicola Blackwood, that the refusal to act was “not fair and in my view it is not moral or legal”.The final letter from Patel was sent to her last July and said that DWP was still working with Maximus – the discredited US outsourcing giant now carrying out WCAs – to “expand the current guidance” on securing further medical evidence and “ensure that evidence is gathered in more circumstances than at present, especially for those claimants with a mental health condition”.She said: “They must have no conscience at all. Each of these stories, each of them, is a massive tragedy and a painful time for these poor people.“In the end I [told my MP] that I looked forward to having a government where there was compassion and understanding and which would seek to protect the most vulnerable.”A DWP spokesman said this morning (Thursday): “The department will respond to the [Green Party] letter once it has been received.“The pilot has been completed, and the outcomes of that will help to inform training and staff guidance.”It is not yet clear what action DWP will take following the pilot project.*Both of them have now left the departmentlast_img read more

A disability charity that has signed up to the gov

first_imgA disability charity that has signed up to the government’s Disability Confident scheme for employers has been forced to pay more than £3,000 to a disabled woman who claimed she was discriminated against and unfairly dismissed.Tmara Senior (pictured) worked for Cloverleaf Advocacy in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, for more than three years, before she says she was forced out after her year-long research project ended.After learning that she was facing redundancy, she applied for another position with the charity, only to be sent a print letter telling her when to attend an interview, even though she is blind.It later sent her other print letters in connection with her application, she said, even after she complained that she could not read them.She said that she was rejected for one position she applied for with the charity because she failed to describe in the interview how she would use visual forms of communication in that job.And she said that her own personal assistant was able to shadow advocates working for the charity, when she was not given similar opportunities until after she had left her job.Senior has also told how the charity refused to publish her research report, which detailed the views of disabled people about the barriers they faced in accessing social and leisure opportunities in the Kirklees area.Cloverleaf also prevented the report being shared with the local council.She said: “I never got to present it to anyone because they decided nothing was going to be done with it.”She believes the charity failed to publish it because she had refused to remove criticisms made by disabled people she had spoken to about local organisations that Cloverleaf worked with.She said: “I didn’t alter what was said because I wanted it to be accurate and reflect the views of disabled people.“How can you advocate on behalf of disabled people and not want their views to be taken into account?“Why wouldn’t you want to publish a report to the council saying these are the reasons disabled people are not happy? That’s not advocacy.”After Senior took legal action against Cloverleaf, the charity tried to convince her to sign a confidentiality agreement as part of its settlement of her claim, but she refused to do so because she wanted to speak out about the way she had been treated.Although Cloverleaf did not admit liability for Senior’s claims of unfair dismissal and disability discrimination, it has agreed to pay her £3,250 to settle her claim, as well as paying for her to take an advocacy course.She said she believed she was discriminated against, and blames the “culture” of the charity.She said: “My work had always been very good but in the end it is almost as if what I did was not really valued very highly.“It really does hurt because I worked there for quite a while. I loved my job and I never wanted to leave.“I feel like I was just pushed out.”She also said the charity failed to deal with two members of staff who had confronted her in the office, shortly before she was made redundant, leaving her too frightened to return to work and “feeling extremely anxious for some weeks afterwards”.Suzi Henderson, Cloverleaf’s chief executive, said the charity did not want to respond to the individual allegations because it would not be “fair” to Senior to do so due to “confidentiality” reasons, although she said they “very strongly feel that the allegations she has made are untrue”.She said that all of the issues raised by Senior have been “reflected on by the organisation as part of the process of reaching the settlement” and that “all the actions we have taken were fair and lawful and appropriate”.But she admitted that “in terms of our reflections, we have updated all of our application forms now to accommodate additional communication needs, alternative communication needs”.She declined to discuss any more of the allegations, but she said in a statement: “Since 1995 our core values have driven us to be passionate about equality.“We firmly believe that every individual should be an equal member of society: everyone has the right to plan their own life, to be listened to, taken seriously and to be respected.“We constantly review all our activities to help ensure that we are doing everything possible to support all our 160-plus staff while providing the best possible service for thousands of individuals.“Regarding the specific issues, we remain confident that our actions have been right. “We do not tolerate any incorrect behaviour and take immediate action wherever appropriate.“The settlement made was a commercial settlement by our insurers and does not indicate any liability.”The charity, which says it offers “high quality advocacy services to people with mental health needs, learning disabilities, older people, people with physical and sensory impairment, and carers”, is a member of the government’s Disability Confident scheme that aims to promote the employment of disabled people.Cloverleaf secured its status as a “Disability Confident Employer” – the middle of the government scheme’s three levels – through self-assessing its own policies and procedures.As a Disability Confident Employer, it is supposed to “make a commitment to employ and retain disabled people”, “make sure all documentation is available in different formats”, “make sure people involved in the recruitment process are Disability Confident and know how to support disabled applicants”, and provide “a fully inclusive and accessible recruitment process”.Senior said that Cloverleaf’s claim to be a Disability Confident Employer was “just laughable”.She said: “If they can do what they have done to me, why wouldn’t they do it to anybody else who was disabled?“They should not be a member of that scheme when you consider what they have done to me and the way I have been treated.”She added: “I really believe in disabled people being heard and the voices of disabled people being heard but I don’t believe they believe in that.”Disability News Service reported last November how analysis by disabled campaigner David Gillon suggested that Disability Confident was “trivially easy to abuse” and allowed organisations to describe themselves as “Disability Confident” even if they failed to comply with anti-discrimination laws.last_img read more

What Top Performers Can Learn From Disneys Firing of the Voice of

first_img Last week, Steve Whitmire, the actor and muppeteer who had been the the voice of Kermit the Frog since creator Jim Henson’s death, was fired after 27 years on the job.In a blog post, Whitmire wrote that in October 2016, he was told the role was going to be recast. “This is my life’s work since I was 19 years old. I feel that I am at the top of my game, and I want all of you who love the Muppets to know that I would never consider abandoning Kermit or any of the others because to do so would be to forsake the assignment entrusted to me by Jim Henson, my friend and mentor, but even more, my hero.”Related: Kermit the Frog’s Voice Actor Publishes a Heartbreaking Letter After Being FiredHe went on to say that while he “offered multiple remedies” to Muppets Studio higher ups’ “two stated issues which had never been mentioned to me prior to that phone call,” it was to no avail. Whitmire described feeling “devastated” that he wasn’t able to fulfill his duty to Henson.The actor said he believed that his “continued involvement with the characters is in the best interest of the Muppets.”But now Disney, which has owned the Muppets since 2004, and Henson’s children Lisa and Brian shared their side of the story, citing conflict around both the creative vision for the character as well as the handling of business negotiations.Related: Why Teamwork Matters at Every Level“He played brinkmanship very aggressively in contract negotiations,” Lisa Henson, who is also the president of the Jim Henson Company, told The New York Times.In speaking to The Times, Brian Henson said that Whitmire would “send emails and letters attacking everyone, attacking the writing and attacking the director.” In Brian’s recounting of events, Whitmire also did not want to have an understudy and would not appear with younger performers who could potentially take on the role.”For workers of all stripes, this story brings to light the surprising tie between some top performers and toxic behaviors.”In a 2015 study from Harvard Business School, researchers found that the very traits that some of the highest performing employees have can actually make them some of the most toxic. Workers that are terminated due to toxic behavior are often more self-regarding, more confident and also work more quickly and are more productive — in terms of quantity, not quality — than workers who are not fired for that reason.Related: 5 Toxic People Who Will Stunt Your Business GrowthBut having a toxic team member can be both emotionally and financially taxing, especially with regard to having to replace the people that a company can lose as a result of one bad apple.“The total estimated cost is $12,489 and does not include other potential costs, such as litigation, regulatory penalty and reduced employee morale,” wrote researchers Michael Housman and Dylan Minor. “Also not included are the secondary costs of turnover that come from a new worker’s learning curve: a time of lower productivity precedes a return to higher productivity. … Even if a firm could replace an average worker with one who performs in the top 1 percent, it would still be better off by replacing a toxic worker with an average worker by more than two-to-one.”Which goes to show, even those at the top of their game still need to be team players. Because if you follow the money, even superstars sometimes need to be replaced. What Top Performers Can Learn From Disney’s Firing of the Voice of Kermit the Frog 4 min read Next Article Nina Zipkin Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture. Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Firing –sharescenter_img It comes to show that even at the highest level, you still need to be a team player. Register Now » July 18, 2017 Image credit: Cindy Ord | Getty Images Add to Queue Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Entrepreneur Stafflast_img read more

Millions of PCs Targeted by CryptocurrencyMining Malware

first_imgCybersecurity 3 min read Guest Writer Add to Queue Image credit: via PC Mag Register Now » Next Article This story originally appeared on PCMag The hackers behind the malware appear to have been selling the hijacked computing power on the mining platform NiceHash, according to Palo Alto Networks. Millions of PCs Targeted by Cryptocurrency-Mining Malware Malware is increasingly developing an appetite for cryptocurrency mining. One newly discovered strain has tried to infect millions of Windows machines, all in an effort to siphon their computing power and possibly sell it for mining purposes.The operation has been going on for over four months, and may have targeted around 15 million machines or more, security firm Palo Alto Networks said Wednesday.To spread the malware, the hackers have been disguising the code as EXE files made to look like file-sharing downloads with names such as “File4org,” “RapidFiles” and “Dropmefiles.” Those EXE files have then been circulated online via shortened URL links through services like Bitly and possibly Adfly. It isn’t clear where the hackers have been posting the links, but they’ve generated at least 15 million clicks, according to Palo Alto Networks.Once the malware infects, it will secretly run an open-source utility called XMRig, which mines Monero, a digital currency now worth about $310 per coin.”In this case the attackers set it to never use more than 20 percent of (CPU) resources,” said Josh Grunzweig, a malware researcher with Palo Alto Networks, in an email. As a result, most victims probably won’t notice that the mining is taking place.However, the hackers may be less interested in generating the Monero for themselves than helping others mine it. The malware’s code actually contains a reference to NiceHash, an online marketplace for people to buy and sell computing power to mine cryptocurrencies.”In our research, we’ve seen that the attackers using it as the marketplace where they ‘sell’ the hash processing power of the systems they’ve loaded XMRig on,” Grunzweig said.Palo Alto Networks doesn’t know how much Monero the hackers have mined with their malware, but it’s been targeting computers mainly in Southeast Asia, North Africa and South America.The scheme is among the latest hacking threats to capitalize on the rising value of Monero, which was worth only $13 a year ago. Last month, F5 Networks reported that hackers were using leaked NSA cyberweapons to take over Windows and Linux systems, and download malware to mine Monero.Meanwhile, other cybercriminals have been hijacking websites to run Monero mining scripts over internet browsers. Victims may notice a hit in their computer’s processing power when they load the affected websites. Fortunately, antivirus software and browser add-ons can block the activity. Reporter January 26, 2018 Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. –shares Michael Kan Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goalslast_img read more

Facebook Changes Policies on Trending Topics After Criticism

first_img This story originally appeared on Reuters Facebook Inc. said on Monday that it had changed some of the procedures for its “Trending Topics” section after a news report alleging it suppressed conservative news prompted a U.S. Congressional demand for more transparency.The company said an internal probe showed no evidence of political bias in the selection of news stories for Trending Topics, a feature that is separate from the main “news feed” where most Facebook users get their news.But the world’s largest social network said in a blogpost that it was introducing several changes, including elimination of a top-10 list of approved websites, more training and clearer guidelines to help human editors avoid ideological or political bias, and more robust review procedures.Earlier this month, a former Facebook contractor had accused the company’s editors of deliberately suppressing conservative news. The allegations were reported by technology news website Gizmodo, which did not identify the ex-contractor.The report led Republican Sen. John Thune to write a letter demanding that the company explain how it selects news articles for its Trending Topics list.Two days after Thune’s letter, Facebook published a lengthy blogpost detailing how Trending Topics works even though it rarely discloses such practices. Previously, it had never discussed the inner workings of the feature, which displays topics and news articles in the top right hand corner of the desktop homepage for its more than 1.6 billion users.Facebook said its investigation showed that conservative and liberal topics were approved as trending topics at nearly identical rates. It said it was unable to substantiate any allegations of politically motivated suppression of particular subjects or sources.But it did not rule out human error in selecting topics.”Our investigation could not fully exclude the possibility of isolated improper actions or unintentional bias in the implementation of our guidelines or policies,” Colin Stretch, Facebook’s General Counsel, wrote in a company blogpost.Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg met last week with more than a dozen conservative politicians and media personalities to discuss issues of trust in the social network.In his letter, Thune had called on Facebook to respond to the criticism and sought answers by May 24 to several questions about its internal practices.”Any attempt by a neutral and inclusive social media platform to censor or manipulate political discussion is an abuse of trust and inconsistent with the values of an open internet,” Thune said.(Reporting by Yasmeen Abutaleb in San Francisco and Sangameswaran S in Bengaluru; Editing by Jonathan Weber and Muralikumar Anantharaman) Facebook Changes Policies on ‘Trending Topics’ After Criticism –shares Next Article Facebook Add to Queue Image credit: Shutterstockcenter_img 3 min read Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. May 24, 2016 Reuters Register Now »last_img read more

The Source Code for Vine was Accidentally Made Public

first_img –shares Vine Apply Now » James Cook 1 min read Image credit: Rebecca Cook via Business Insider Jack Dorsey The Source Code for Vine was Accidentally Made Public July 25, 2016center_img The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. European Technology Reporter at Business Insider This story originally appeared on Business Insider The source code for Twitter’s six-second video app Vine was accidentally revealed online, The Register reports.A security researcher who goes by the username “avicoder” published a blog post about his discovery. He says that he found a subdomain on Vine’s website which led to him discovering Vine’s entire source code available for download.The source code for apps and programs is usually a closely guarded secret as it shows the inner working of exactly how an app functions, and public exposure is a big security risk.Avicoder reported his finding to Twitter, and it was removed within five minutes. He was later paid a $10,080 bug bounty for finding the code. Twitter declined to comment on this story.In case you were wondering, here’s what it looks like to receive a $10,000 payment from Twitter:Happiness is this !!!Write-up is coming soon at https://t.co/JbmlhNVzc0 … pic.twitter.com/phEnaPt39W— {{ avicoder }} (@avicoder) April 2, 2016 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List Next Article Add to Queuelast_img read more

MarTech Interview with Vrahram Kadkhodaian CEO at PROLIFIQ

first_img Tell us about your role and journey into Technology. What inspired you to start at PROLIFIQ?I’ve spent my entire career in CRM and HighTech, selling into organizations that need to operationalize their sales, marketing, and customer service business units. I was inspired to join PROLIFIQ because its products fill some of the biggest gaps in CRM actually helping sales professionals sell.What is PROLIFIQ and how does it make Sales teams more powerful?PROLIFIQ is a Sales Enablement productivity suite for the Salesforce Customer. We brought the two most valuable selling motions (Key Account Management and Digital Content Management) back into Salesforce. In almost every organization, these things happen outside of the CRM which is counterproductive and creates huge challenges.Why should Marketing and Sales teams leverage Sales Enablement platforms? What are the benefits? They leverage them already but not always in unison with their CRM Strategies. Documents, spreadsheets, PowerPoints and static ‘things’ fly all around the companies. However, they are not standardized or created for the way the sales professional sells making it very difficult for the end-user to do their job. The benefit of having an integrated CRM/Sales Enablement strategy is pretty logical. Sales professionals leverage CRM to do what they need to do which is to serve their customers and grow their book of business all within one platform.How do you focus on bringing Automation and AI together at PROLIFIQ? What are the core technologies driving your product? We’re fortunate enough to have the power of the Salesforce Platform behind us and we are beneficiaries of the powerful AI capabilities Einstein has to offer. As a native app, we can leverage the data and insights within CRM and complement them with Einstein to drive those capabilities for our customers.Tell us more about your Salesforce-side of the business. How do you leverage Salesforce features to solve customer’s challenges?We complement, not compete with Salesforce. Many Sales Enablement applications compete with CRM. PROLIFIQ extends CRM Capabilities to the sales reps versus trying to recreate what CRM already does.According to you, which set of industries and departments are the fastest to adopt Sales Enablement for their sales success? It’s really anyone that has a B2B Business Model and works closely with others to manage customers and prospects. Some of the industries that have been very fast adopters for us include HighTech, MedTech, FinTech, Professional Services, and Manufacturing.What message do you have for the industries that are lagging in the race or are yet to invest in Sales Enablement platforms?Define what Sales Enablement means for you. It’s a broad term– It can mean training, technology, process, etc. We are the technology provider, but we incorporate all of these aspects of ‘Sales Enablement’ in our offerings.Which Marketing and Sales Automation tools and technologies do you currently use?At PROLIFIQ, we practice what we preach; our sales and marketing efforts live and breathe in Salesforce and AppExchange. Whether using our own Sales Enablement suite or the apps that round out our multichannel approach to marketing, we go native every chance we get. It simplifies mundane tasks and keeps us focused.What are your predictions on the most impactful disruptions in the Salesforce technology for 2019-2020?I think Einstein and AI are going to change this industry. Consumers are smarter about what they want, so vendors servicing them need to get better at engaging with them. I see our future hinged around predictability, but it’s dangerous because AI is powered by data. So, data quality is paramount and that’s driven by simplifying platforms, not complicating them.What startups in the technology industry are you watching keenly right now? There are so many. I really love what’s happening in tech right now – so many entrepreneurs and companies are challenging the status quo and disrupting the same way that PROLIFIQ is.How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a Business Leader?Define AI for your business first. AI is a slippery slope if you don’t know what you’re trying to accomplish in the first place and what business value it’s going to drive. Having AI just to have AI isn’t a strategy.How do you inspire your people to work with technology?It needs to be seamless. The technology needs to complement their natural selling motions and it needs to make their lives easier. The second the ‘shiny toy’ starts deviating their motions, it becomes a distraction.One word that best describes how you work.GRITTYWhat apps/software/tools can’t you live without?Salesforce CRM, emailWhat’s your smartest work-related shortcut or productivity hack?Dashboards with every detail or metric I need at my fingertips to manage the business.  Also, in this age of email and disconnected communication, I feel like picking up the phone is becoming productivity have, believe it or not.What are you currently reading?I’m reading ‘Unshakeable’ by Tony Robbins. I consume information in a variety of different ways and it really comes down to the type of information I’m consuming. I prefer discussion.What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?That’s a tough one; there are so many. I think this one applies to all of the entrepreneurs out there: “Successful people are successful for one simple reason: they think about failure differently.”Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?When you break away from all the noise, it all comes down to GRITTag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read: Marc Benioff @benioffThank you, Vrahram! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon. “Consumers are smarter about what they want, so vendors servicing them need to get better at engaging with them.” About VrahramAbout PROLIFIQAbout Vrahram AIAppExchangeB2BcrmFintechinterviewsMarTech InterviewPROLIFIQSalesforceVrahram Kadkhodaian Previous ArticleTechBytes with Keith Fenech, VP, Software Analytics at RevulyticsNext ArticleMarTech Interview with Mike Myer, Founder and CEO at Quiq MarTech Interview with Vrahram Kadkhodaian, CEO at PROLIFIQ Sudipto GhoshJune 24, 2019, 1:30 pmJune 21, 2019 PROLIFIQ is the leading sales enablement company, pioneering native Salesforce account planning and content delivery software that empowers sales teams to boost performance and become trusted customer advisers.The world’s leading brands choose PROLIFIQ to crush competitors and ace the customer experience.center_img MarTech Interview Series About PROLIFIQ The MTS Martech Interview Series is a fun Q&A style chat which we really enjoy doing with martech leaders. With inspiration from Lifehacker’s How I work interviews, the MarTech Series Interviews follows a two part format On Marketing Technology, and This Is How I Work. The format was chosen because when we decided to start an interview series with the biggest and brightest minds in martech – we wanted to get insight into two areas … one – their ideas on marketing tech and two – insights into the philosophy and methods that make these leaders tick. As CEO, Vrahram is passionate about driving record growth, exceeding customer expectations and being an employer of choice. He specializes in scaling and building teams with methods that are proven across all market segments. Prior to leading PROLIFIQ, he served as an executive sales leader at Salesforce where he contributed to the company’s hyper growth and he has over a decade of additional sales leadership experience.last_img read more

Breastfed babies are more likely to be right handed

first_imgNewborn baby being breastfed, study on breastfeeding and handedness. Image Credit: Lumen Photos / Shutterstock Hujoel noted that children who were bottle fed were more likely to develop their left hands as their dominant hands. While children who had been breast fed for nine months or more had a greater prevalence of right handedness. The reason the researcher says could be in the dominant side of the brain that controls the hand. Hujoel, a dentistry professor at the UW School of Public Health said, “We think breastfeeding optimises the process the brain undergoes when solidifying handedness… That’s important because it provides an independent line of evidence that breastfeeding may need to last six to nine months.”Related StoriesResearch questions whether tongue-tie surgery to improve breastfeeding is neededRevolutionary gene replacement surgery restores vision in patients with retinal degenerationNeural pathways explain the relationship between imagination and willingness to helpThe study looked at 62,129 mother-child pairs from five nations (including United States, United Kingdom and Ireland) for this study and found that breastfeeding could be classified as; By Dr. Ananya Mandal, MDJan 8 2019Babies who are breast fed for a longer duration are more likely to be right handed finds a new study. The study titled, ‘Breastfeeding and handedness: a systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data’, by Philippe P. Hujoel of the University of Washington is published in the journal Laterality: Asymmetries of Body, Brain and Cognition. The research found that babies who breast fed for less than one month had a 9 percent decreased chance of left handedness compared to bottle fed babies. This was raised to 15 and 22 percent respectively among babies who were breast fed for one to six months and over six months respectively. Breastfeeding for more than six months reduced the chances of left handedness from 13 to 10 percent, they found.The author writes, “Breastfeeding for more than 6 months, when compared to bottle feeding, was associated with an absolute 3 per cent decreased prevalence for nonrighthandedness, from 13 per cent to 10 per cent, respectively. Twenty-two percent, or about one in five cases of non-righthandedness among bottle-fed infants may thus be attributable to a lack of breast feeding for more than 6 months.”Hujoel emphasised that the study does not say that breast feeding can lead to right handedness. He explained that handedness is predominantly set while the baby is still within the womb and is influenced by genetics. He said that the reasons behind these findings could be the nutritional content of breast milk and formula that could be influencing the hormones of the baby. For less than one month For one to six months For more than six monthslast_img read more

Study provides new insight into blood cell and immune cell production

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Mar 22 2019A healthy adult makes about 2 million blood cells every second, and 99 percent of them are oxygen-carrying red blood cells. The other one percent are platelets and the various white blood cells of the immune system. How all the different kinds of mature blood cells are derived from the same “hematopoietic” stem cells in the bone marrow has been the subject of intense research, but most studies have focused on the one percent, the immune cells.”It’s a bit odd, but because red blood cells are enucleated and therefore hard to track by genetic markers, their production has been more or less ignored by the vast number of studies in the past couple of decades,” said Camilla Forsberg, professor of biomolecular engineering in the Baskin School of Engineering at UC Santa Cruz.In a new study, published March 21 in Stem Cell Reports, Forsberg’s lab overcame technical obstacles to provide a thorough accounting of blood cell production from hematopoietic stem cells. Their findings are important for understanding disorders such as anemia, diseases of the immune system, and blood cancers such as leukemias and lymphomas.”We’re trying to understand the balance of production of blood cells and immune cells, which goes wrong in many kinds of disorders,” Forsberg said.The process by which hematopoietic stem cells give rise to mature blood cells involves multiple populations of progenitor cells that become progressively more committed to a specific “fate” as they develop into fully mature cells. A major fork in the road is between “lymphoid progenitors,” which give rise to white blood cells called lymphocytes, and “myeloid progenitors,” which give rise to other kinds of white blood cells, as well as red blood cells and platelets. The majority of cells in the bone marrow are in the myeloid lineage.Related StoriesInnovative microfluidic device simplifies study of blood cells, opens new organ-on-chip possibilitiesRadiometer’s ABL9 blood gas analyzer awarded Red Dot Design AwardDon’t Miss the Blood-Brain Barrier Drug Delivery (B3DD) Summit this AugustA key finding of the new study is that all progenitor cells with myeloid potential produce far more red blood cells than any other cell type. This was surprising because many previous studies in which progenitor cells were grown in cell cultures (“in vitro”) found they had limited capacity to produce red blood cells and platelets. Forsberg said those results now appear to be an artifact of the culture conditions.”It’s been hard to make sense of a lot of those experiments, because we know our bodies need to make a lot of red blood cells and platelets,” she said. “Our results show that these progenitor cells retain a lot of red blood cell potential. In fact, we propose that red blood cell production is the default pathway.”In experiments led by first author Scott Boyer, a graduate student in Forsberg’s lab, researchers transplanted different progenitor cell populations into mice and tracked the production of red blood cells as well as platelets (the second largest component of blood) and immune cells. Boyer was also able to transplant single progenitor cells and then identify the blood and immune cells it produced.By quantifying the numbers of mature blood cells produced from transplanted progenitors, the researchers were able to show that red blood cells were by far the most abundant cell type produced by every type of progenitor cell, with the exception of lymphoid progenitors. Their findings led to the development of a model of hematopoietic differentiation that focuses on red blood cells as the default pathway for all myeloid progenitors.Source: http://www.ucsc.edu/last_img read more

Study explores factors that impact fertility preservation decisions in transgender youth

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Apr 16 2019The last thing on most teens’ minds is whether or not they want to have kids someday. But transitioning transgender adolescents are forced to consider whether to preserve their sperm or eggs at a young age.Whether or not they pursue fertility preservation is influenced by certain key factors, such as their family values, gender dysphoria, the cost of the procedure or not feeling ready to make such an important, lifelong decision at their age, reports a new study from Northwestern Medicine and the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.The findings shed light on how difficult this choice can be for such young adults (aged 15 to 24), and highlight the need to establish standardized protocols for primary care doctors when counseling transgender patients as they consider sex reassignment.”As a child psychologist, I’m usually talking to adolescent patients about contraception to prevent unwanted pregnancies, not, ‘Down the line, do you want to be a parent? And if so, how important to you is a genetic connection to your child?’,” said first author Diane Chen, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a pediatric psychologist at Lurie Children’s. “It can be difficult for kids who are transitioning in adolescence to have to be thinking about these things. It’s not developmentally typical.”The study was published Monday, April 15, in the journal LGBT Health. It is the first study to use in-depth interviews rather than retrospective chart reviews to explore factors that impact fertility preservation decisions in transgender adolescents and young adults.Fertility preservation only recently became an elective option for transgender youth. It can be difficult and ethically complex to approach the topic with adolescents, which is why Chen was drawn to the research.”Potentially compromised fertility should not be a reason to prevent transgender adolescents from transitioning with hormones, but we should be taking steps to train doctors on how to talk to transgender youth about options for fertility presentation and support them in making these decisions,” Chen said.This can be particularly complicated because it is not until a person is in their mid-20s that their frontal lobe is fully developed, which has led some to question whether adolescents and young adults can fully understand the potential implications of their decisions.Related StoriesHealthy mice pups can be produced from sperm without short RNA chainsRecurrent pregnancy loss may be caused by sperm DNA damage, finds studyExposure to particulate air pollution may lead to reduced sperm productionAdditionally, doctors should consider referring some patients to see a specialized fertility counselor for support, Chen said. But even specialists might need to revamp their protocols to include more information, which, as one study participant said, can be lacking.”I do kind of regret not doing the fertility [preservation] thing,” said one 18-year-old study participant who had received fertility preservation counseling but did not pursue fertility preservation. “I felt like if I didn’t do my own research, and I didn’t know, hey, I can be on testosterone then get off, and then I can just like start taking ovulation medication … like imagine if I didn’t do my own research! I just wish they had told me, ‘hey, there is a way, even after you start testosterone to do [fertility preservation].'”The study identified the following four key factors that influence transitioning transgender youth when deciding whether to pursue fertility preservation:1. Either knowing they wanted biological children or weren’t sure2. Family values such as a parent encouraging or pressuring them to consider fertility preservation3. The cost of the procedure and storage of their eggs or sperm4. Concern for worsening gender dysphoria by completing invasive fertility preservation or delaying testosterone or estrogen initiation”In this population in particular, there are unique barriers to fertility preservation related to gender dysphoria,” Chen said. “If someone feels their reproductive organs don’t align with their gender identity, it could be distressing to pursue fertility preservation.”A trans male who was assigned female at birth and wants to preserve his eggs, for instance, will need to go through a cycle of hormonal stimulation and egg retrieval similar to a woman pursuing in vitro fertilization due to infertility, which Chen said can be quite invasive.Determining fertility options at a young age is not a new concept. For years, female pediatric cancer patients at Northwestern’s Oncofertility Consortium have received consultation about whether and how to preserve their eggs before undergoing their cancer treatment.The transitioning transgender study involved 18 patients between the ages of 15 and 24 years old. See the attached table for a breakdown of their responses.Source: https://news.northwestern.edu/stories/2019/04/transgender-fertility-preservation/last_img read more