The “First Lady of American Cinema” Lillian Gish has had her name removed from a university theater and it’s not sitting well with many movie buffs. More than 50 film industry leaders ranging from Martin Scorsese to Helen Mirren to James Earl Jones are protesting the decision of Ohio’s Bowling Green State University to remove the name of actress Lillian Gish from a campus theater because she appeared in the 1915 film The Birth of a Nation. The letter accuses the university of making “a scapegoat in a broader political debate.” Lillian Gish is considered a pioneer of film acting. Her career spanned 75 years, beginning in 1912 in silent film shorts. The Whales of August in 1987 was her last film. She was called the First Lady of American Cinema, and for more than 40 years, the theater at Bowling Green has honored Ohio-born actresses Dorothy and Lillian Gish with its name.Lillian Gish in 1917That changed after students said they were upset that Lillian Gish appeared in The Birth of a Nation in 1915, a D.W. Griffith 3-hour silent movie that includes the Ku Klux Klan in what many claim to be a positive light.Doroth and Lillian Gish (right) with D.W. Griffiths in 1922In February, Bowling Green State University President Rodney Rogers released a statement on the building name hours before welcoming Black Lives Matter movement co-founder Opal Tometi, the leading key speaker for the university’s third annual “Beyond The Dream” series celebrating diversity and inclusion, according to the Toledo Blade. In his statement, Rogers said the administration was approached by Black Student Union leaders regarding “the propriety of the naming” of the theater.Posters for The Birth of a Nation (1915)A subsequent task force released a report finding the Gish name and associated Birth of a Nation displays “contribute to an intimidating, even hostile, educational environment.” Now prominent film artists, historians, actors and directors are petitioning Bowling Green State to restore the theater’s name.The petition, created by The Whales of August producer Mike Kaplan, calls the removal of the Gish sisters’ names “unfortunate and unjust,” according to a story in USA Today. Dorothy Gish, Lillian’s sister and the theater’s other namesake, was an actor as well, but did not act in The Birth of a Nation. The Gish sisters were born in Springfield, Ohio.Lillian Gish in 1922While the letter acknowledges the racism of The Birth of a Nation, Kaplan writes that “Lillian was no racist,” and notes that she went on to star in more inclusive films. The letter also argues that Lillian Gish’s contributions to film outweigh her starring role in the controversial film. However, the college had already made the point that while Gish was perhaps not a racist she still had to pay a price for her association with the film.Lillian Gish in 1983In its report, the college said that while the Gish sisters “do not appear to have been advocates for racist or exclusionary practices or perspectives,” the content and historical impact of an actor’s work should be taken into account, said the Toledo Blade. “The task force also stated it could not find documentation that Lillian Gish ever denounced the themes of the film or distanced herself from the director or his views.”Rogers reportedly praised the careful consideration of the task force of students, faculty, and staff, chaired by College of Arts and Sciences Dean Ray Craig.Check out Lillian Gish in The Birth of a Nation here:The film industry leaders said, “For a university to dishonor her by singling out just one film, however offensive it is, is unfortunate and unjust. Doing so makes her a scapegoat in a broader political debate. A university should be a bastion of free speech. This is a supreme ‘teachable moment’ if it can be handled with a more nuanced sense of history,” the letter states in part.Among those signing the letter calling for the restoration of the Gish Theater name are James Earl Jones, Helen Mirren, Martin Scorsese, George Stevens Jr., Peter Bogdanovich, Joseph McBride, Malcolm McDowell, Lauren Hutton, Larry Jackson, and Joe Dante.Related Article: 33 images of the gorgeous Lillian Gish, the “First Lady of American Cinema”In response, Bowling Green State has said it will not reverse its decision to remove the theater’s name, and that its duty to the best interest of an inclusive environment “outweighs the University’s small part in honoring the Gish sisters’ legacy.”Nancy Bilyeau, a former staff editor at Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, and InStyle, has written a trilogy of historical thrillers for Touchstone Books. Her new book, The Blue, is a spy story set in the 18th-century porcelain world. For more information, go to www.nancybilyeau.com
Advertising Post Comment(s) By Reuters |Berlin | Published: June 24, 2019 7:20:57 pm India eyes ‘flawless’ Typhoon for 7 bn pounds : report Related News The jets, belonging to the German armed forces, crashed near the Laage military base in the eastern state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, the air force added on its Twitter account. (Representational Image) Two Eurofighter warplanes crashed in northeastern Germany after a mid-air collision on Monday, the German air force said, adding that both pilots had managed to use their ejector seats. The jets, belonging to the German armed forces, crashed near the Laage military base in the eastern state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, the air force added on its Twitter account.“Together with a third Eurofighter they were flying an Air Combat Mission,” the German force tweeted. “The pilot of the third Eurofighter observed the collision and reported that two parachutes descended to the ground.”Ostseewelle radio, which first reported the crash, posted a video sent in by one of its readers which it said showed two plumes of smoke rising from separate crash sites at some distance from each other.Focus magazine said one of the pilots of the Eurofighters – made by Airbus, BAE Systems and Leonardo – had been found alive while the other was yet to be located. Negotiations on with Dassault for fighters jets: IAF chief India says it is negotiating contract with Dassault
There is a rule of thumb in marketing that says that one of the telltale signs that a CMO (chief marketing officer) has no clue what to do is a decision to change the firm’s name or logo. As with all rules, however, there is one big exception — and that exception is when the brand is working against you.Now the brand “HP” doesn’t have negative equity. The fact they sales are as good as they are showcases this. The problem is the image of the company and how it is trading.The big indication of this is that both HPE and HP made a recently published list of the most-hated CEOs, placing at No. 8 and No. 10 respectively. It is clear from the criteria that it was attitudes toward the legacy HP and HPE that drove the decisions.Dion Weisler is almost unknown outside of HP — but in HP, as you might expect, he is a bit of hero, and HP’s performance has been well beyond expectations. The employees there seem to love him, the channel seems to love him, and the investors should love him because they love anyone who can execute — and man can he execute! These are the groups that picked the supposedly most-hated CEOs.My takeaway is that it is the drag from HPE and the history of HP before the breakup that is causing Dion to be so badly reviewed. In short, it isn’t his performance that is hurting him — it is Meg Whitman’s performance that is driving the perceptions surrounding both HP brands. If HPE continues to underperform and be defined by market mistakes, executive instability and layoffs, HP and Dion won’t be able to own their own image.Even though the HP brand doesn’t have negative equity (by the way, that is when a consumer would pay more for a non-branded product than one with the negative brand), HPE is creating an ongoing drag on the image of HP, which must be hurting sales and company valuation.Granted, given how tightly printers and PCs are tied to the HP brand, such a move wouldn’t come easily or cheaply — but unless HPE can be convinced to rebrand (in contrast, it seems very close to dropping into negative equity in the enterprise space), HP’s only fix is to bite the bullet and take full control over its destiny.Now, you wouldn’t just cut the brand — you’d transition it, and the likely first step would be to strengthen the sub-brands, similar to what IBM did with ThinkPad before selling the line and firm to Lenovo. But which brand? Changing a Company Name HP’s Turnaround SmartflowerPOP Bring Back Compaq! While HP always has been bigger in printers, Compaq was by far the bigger player in the PC space. It too had its operational and leadership problems, but even though it has been well over a decade since it operated under its own brand, I expect that folks mostly remember it fondly (or don’t remember it at all).In any case, it is a storied brand, HP owns it, and were HP to migrate to Compaq it would free it from all the negative equity it is getting from HPE’s problems, and allow it to take a clean step away from the HP history that it is ever more slightly connected to.Think about this another way. Right now, HP sells PCs and printers and looks far more like Apple prior to the iPhone than like the old HP, which historically was far more of a big iron back-office company.Admittedly, printers would be a big problem given the firm’s dominance, and perhaps maintaining HP as a sub-brand for the printers alone might be the safest path going forward — much like Lenovo maintains the sub-brand ThinkPad and likely always will, even though the “Think” part of the brand still has heavy IBM connections. There are a lot of amazing and somewhat ironic things this decade. We have a government run by the Republicans, who currently are doing more to advance a variety of social agendas they don’t agree with (albeit unintentionally) than the Democrats who support those agendas are able to do.The auto industry is rushing to autonomous cars, which likely will destroy the auto industry as we know it (not that it has a choice).Massive firms are working on artificial intelligence to make everyone but their CEOs smarter, which is where AI would have the greatest impact.Global warming advocates are overstating the horrendous outcomes so aggressively that they are discrediting the entire effort.Also, a little company with a big brand showed the world that even with the deck stacked against you, you still can prevail, through leadership, focus, strategy and execution.So, I think HP should rebrand, step away from the past, and fully embrace the future it can define rather than be defined by the past or by a sister firm where execution, even with the deck stacked in its favor, is an almost impossibly elusive thing. What do you think — should HP bring back Compaq? Wrapping Up This thing is brilliant. In the morning, it opens like a flower. Then it tracks the sun till the end of the day, closing down again at night or during harsh weather (to protect the panels). It looks cool, it comes in purple (a requirement for my wife), it has decent yields for its size (largely due to the tracking part), and it is relatively simple to set up. (You can simply drill it into the ground and trench to your power meter). It comes mostly pre-assembled in a box. You likely will need a crane, though, as it isn’t light.It also has that critical wow factor, as folks simply have not seen one of these before. Be aware, though, that getting one is a bit of an issue right now. Since it came to the states from Europe, it has been selling out, and until the company builds a U.S. factory (in planning), supply is a tad light and thus there aren’t a lot of installers yet (I’m having trouble buying one myself).Still — man is this thing ever cool, and it likely is the only product like this that my wife has seen and just immediately said “buy it.” High-tech lawn art that pays the bills? That’s a natural for my product of the week! Solar power is incredibly attractive to me because it seems so much like magic. You put some glass panels on your roof or in your yard, and magically you have electrical power. I took our last house to solar power in the early part of last decade, and it cut my power bill substantially — even though the panel yields were a fraction of what current panels put out.However, I live in Oregon now, and our house isn’t ideal for a roof-mounted solution. Plus, with roof-mounted solutions, the panels don’t move, so much of the time they are facing in the wrong direction.Putting panels on tracking frames so they follow the sun isn’t just more expensive — the result looks like crap. The typical solution looks little better than if your kid built a poorly-thought-through science project in your yard, which you couldn’t take down without causing hurt feelings.What I needed was a yard implementation of a tracking solution that didn’t look like crap. You’d think that would be easy, but apparently it isn’t.However, what I found was the Smartflower. I’m simply amazed by HP’s performance. It was clear when Meg Whitman spun out HP that she didn’t believe it had a chance in hell of succeeding. Firmly convinced that both PCs and printers were dead, she saddled the firm with virtually all the combined company’s debt — pretty much stacking the deck to ensure that HP died while HPE succeeded.Many of Dion Weisler’s peers privately thought that he wanted to be CEO so badly he simply didn’t see that he couldn’t succeed and foolishly took the job. Maybe it’s good no one told him that because now, when you look at the two companies, HP is a stunning success — HPE not so much.In fact, HPE is a bit of an industry joke now. I mean, how do you stack the deck like that and still find it impossible to execute? What is scary is that if Meg Whitman had won the California election, Southern California likely would be part of Mexico today.You can just imagine, at the split, the HPE employees looking down on their HP compatriots, thinking just how screwed those poor suckers were going to be — and now realizing they’re the ones screwed. At the next joint company reunion, HP employees should wear T-Shirts with two letters: The first should be “H” but the second should be “A,” as in “HA!” It does show that strong leadership, focus, and simplicity can do amazing things in any firm. HP just took over the PC market lead worldwide. You probably don’t get how incredible this is, so here’s an analogy: It’s as if a crooked referee put a bunch of lead on a racer who already was overweight and shuffled him to the back of the pack, but in the end, the guy finished first. You’d seriously want to look under his T-Shirt to see if you’d find Superman’s costume.This isn’t Apple coming up with an iPod or iPhone and flanking the market — this is a firm that simply pushed on the gas pedal at a time when everyone said it was going in the wrong direction (PCs were dead, remember?) — and kicked everyone’s ass.As impressive as that is, there’s more. This is also basically a brand new firm with a new focus, but people still see it with all the baggage the “HP” name brings, including the bad reflection from the massive mismanagement over at its sister company, HPE — which, in contrast to HP, had all the advantages but couldn’t seem to find the gas pedal.This is a perfect example of why a firm should consider changing its name — and Compaq, a powerful brand it owns, could be the perfect answer.I’ll expound on that and close with my product of the week: the Smartflower, which must be the coolest solar solution for your home in the world now. Rob Enderle has been an ECT News Network columnist since 2003. His areas of interest include AI, autonomous driving, drones, personal technology, emerging technology, regulation, litigation, M&E, and technology in politics. He has undergrad degrees in merchandising and manpower management, and an MBA in human resources, marketing and computer science. He is also a certified management accountant. Enderle currently is president and principal analyst of the Enderle Group. He formerly served as a senior research fellow at Giga Information Group and Forrester. Email Rob.
Wrapping Up IBM and the Workplace Environment Dell’s Support for Women One of the most annoying things IBM did to me when I worked there was eliminate ROLM’s Great Place to Work organization. I’d gone to the company with the express goal of working for and maybe running it eventually, and before I was able to make the transfer, IBM bought ROLM, eliminated that extremely well-regarded group, and moved to kill the company.It finally made amends this year by focusing its Watson engine on making IBM a far better place to work. It has applied artificial intelligence to helping employees retrain and maintain a diverse skill set. (Another back story is that my mentor told me that the only way to advance was to specialize, a recommendation that I did not take. Now, those with diverse skill sets are far better able to survive organizational changes than specialists.)IBM’s new programs aggressively support and reward diverse skill sets, making IBM employees far more valuable, due to their increasing flexibility, than most other corporate workforces I’ve studied. While it hasn’t recreated that old Great Place to Work department, it has made IBM a far better place to work, and it also has been very aggressive at hiring and advancing women in the firm, which is led by a woman, CEO Ginni Rometty.IBM once was known for how well it treated its employees; its latest efforts will go a long way toward once again making the company a leader in this regard. This is in sharp contrast to the impressive number of companies threatening and otherwise treating their employees poorly (note that Tesla is on this list). It is great to see my old company, IBM, once again step up to be a strong example of good employee treatment. Cisco and Corporate Responsibility In a world where we increasingly are faced with technology used against us, this is a solid example of technology that could be used for our benefit. In effect, these services change HR from the compliance organization it sadly has become, to the employee advocate it initially was supposed to be.Across the set of services, firms can do a better job at scale at finding the best employees; identifying individual problems; providing training for skills that make employees valuable; and ensuring an agile, relatively happy and productive work force.We will be facing an unbelievable amount of change in the next decade, and if we don’t focus on giving employees broader skill sets, thousands who otherwise would be employed will be out of jobs.We no longer can afford to throw bodies at jobs they are ill suited for and hate — particularly when there are other unemployed folks who likely need and would appreciate some of these less attractive jobs. Because IBM Talent & Transformation Services could make any company a Great Place to Work, it is my product of the week. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network. As I write this, President Trump is refusing to sign a stopgap spending bill that would allow thousands of government employees to enjoy the holidays, and instead is using them as hostages for an expensive wall that would function more as a monument to Trump than as effective border protection.In a year defined by #MeToo, abuse at scale — as detailed by Dan Lyons’ book Lab Rats: How Silicon Valley Made Work Miserable for the Rest of Us (read it) — and rather impressively bad behavior by CEOs like Elon Musk, it is both refreshing and important that some companies have been standing fast and have shown by example that you can do well by doing good.I think Cisco, Dell and IBM have set solid examples this year. As we go into the holidays, I think 2018 was like the year 2261 in Babylon 5 Season 4, and I’m kind of glad it is almost over. When I think of corporate responsibility, one company tends to float to the top, and that is Cisco. With massive efforts to train people all over the world in the critical networking skills needed to secure and expand global communications, Cisco has been taking a major chunk out of joblessness.It has invested millions to reduce homelessness near its headquarters — something most of the tech firms seem to ignore — and it has been aggressive in deploying crisis teams during disasters to ensure timely communications to first responders.On diversity, Cisco is unlike most firms, which seem to work from the bottom up and protect white male dominance in the executive ranks. Cisco has started from the top and arguably is the most diverse of the old school tech firms in the technology segment.They realized early on that you can’t fix a diversity problem from the bottom up, because the executive staff will tend to protect their turf and create glass ceilings to prevent minority advancement.Largely apolitical, Cisco leads by example, which is both wiser and more effective than entering into pointless political arguments. The firm ranked first for philanthropy in the tech segment in Silicon Valley.A great deal of credit goes to Tae Yoo Cisco’s SVP of corporate affairs, and to Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins, who made leading in this space a personal priority. Where Dell stands out is in its efforts to deal specifically with misogyny, discrimination, and abuse targeting women. The company has been spending millions of dollars every year promoting women entrepreneurs, and it is the only firm I know of that maintains an entrepreneur in residence with the role historically filled by a woman.CEO Michael Dell personally lays down the law in the company, and he has implemented program that aggressively calls out and terminates abusers, and then communicates the result. Those actions create what should be one of the safest environments in tech.The tech segment is called out in the book Brotopia as having an excessive culture of abuse, down to some managers and executives making sexual engagement part of a woman’s “normal” job responsibilities.Michael Dell and Karen Quintos have focused on this problem with a near manic obsession, which is critical to changing the abusive behavior that has become so ingrained in the culture of so many firms.Dell is one of too few firms that have gone the extra yard to put in place mechanisms that truly protect women who step up, rather than perpetuating the more typical practice of leaving them exposed during and after they take action against offending employees. This was an unusual year, largely defined by actions by President Trump that seemed focused on harming the majority of people in and outside the United States. However, the rise of those speaking up, taking action, and making real changes also was unprecedented.In the end, I actually think the country is on the path to positive change, and many in the technology market have been stepping up to make a real difference.I’ll revisit some of the highlights of this year and close with my last product of the week: an offering from IBM that could transform human resources from a paper-pushing compliance organization to one that will help ensure your career and future. When I was briefed on this a few weeks back, I was stuck with just how critical a service like this is. Based on IBM’s solid AI Watson technology, IBM Talent & Transformation Services are a suite of services designed to make employees not only more productive but also far happier and with their jobs. Rob Enderle has been an ECT News Network columnist since 2003. His areas of interest include AI, autonomous driving, drones, personal technology, emerging technology, regulation, litigation, M&E, and technology in politics. He has an MBA in human resources, marketing and computer science. He is also a certified management accountant. Enderle currently is president and principal analyst of the Enderle Group, a consultancy that serves the technology industry. He formerly served as a senior research fellow at Giga Information Group and Forrester. Email Rob.
Source:http://agencia.fapesp.br/colored-filter-improves-dyslexic-childrens-reading-speed/28849/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Oct 19 2018Reading, one of the most difficult activities for children with dyslexia, can be improved by the use of green filters.A study described in an article by Brazilian and French researchers reports increased reading speed for nine- and ten-year-old volunteers with dyslexia who used green filters. The filters had no effect on age-matched children without dyslexia.Colored filters for the treatment of learning disabilities were first patented in 1983. They were also designed for use by children with autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).”However, studies of their efficacy were methodologically flawed. We used a highly rigorous methodology for the first time,” said Milena Razuk, first author of the article, published in the journal Research in Developmental Disabilities.The filters are not widely used in Brazil owing to a lack of research, although they have been adopted in some countries, such as France.Razuk, who completed her PhD in April at Cruzeiro do Sul University (São Paulo, Brazil), performed the experiment while in France on a research internship at Paris Diderot University (Paris 7), with support from the Sao Paulo Research Foundation – FAPESP.Eighteen children with dyslexia and 18 without dyslexia were selected for the study at Robert Debré Hospital in Paris. The researchers decided to use yellow and green filters in the experiment.”Twelve colors are available, but we chose two because a very long test would be too demanding for the volunteers,” said José Angelo Barela, a professor at São Paulo State University’s Rio Claro Bioscience Institute (IBRC-UNESP) in Brazil and principal investigator for the project.Faster ReadingAll 36 children were asked to read passages from children’s books suited to their reading age. The texts were displayed on a computer screen with a yellow filter, a green filter, and no filter.Their eye movements were recorded with the Mobile EyeBrain Tracker®, a French eye-tracking device certified for medical purposes, consisting of goggles fitted with cameras that record the movements of each eye independently via infrared light signals.”A child with dyslexia has to fix his or her gaze on the words for a longer time to understand a text. Reading speed is slower as a result,” Barela told.Related StoriesResearch reveals genetic cause of deadly digestive disease in childrenRevolutionary gene replacement surgery restores vision in patients with retinal degenerationResearchers identify gene mutations linked to leukemia in children with Down’s syndromeWhile the filters did not affect reading speed for the children without dyslexia, the eye-tracking device detected a statistically significant difference for children with dyslexia, who read fastest with the green filter, fixing their gaze on groups of words for 500 thousandths of a second, compared with 600 thousandths of a second using the yellow filter or no filter. The fixation period with or without filters was 400 thousandths of a second for children without dyslexia.The authors of the study stress that they did not evaluate whether the use of a green filter improved comprehension of what was read and that further research is needed to explore this dimension.Dyslexia is poorly understoodThe causes of dyslexia are unknown. In addition to reading difficulties, other deficits have been found to be associated with the disorder, including impaired sensorimotor integration. “It’s as if some source of noise disturbs the brain’s communication with the rest of the body,” Razuk said.Extensive testing has shown that neither impaired eyesight nor intellectual deficiency is part of the condition. “IQ must be normal or above average for dyslexia to be diagnosed,” noted the FAPESP-supported researcher.In the article, the authors of the study say the improvement in reading time with the green filter might be due to changes in the visual stimuli available for central nervous system processing.Other studies have suggested that colored filters may reduce cortical hyperexcitability in the brain, which may be greater in dyslexic people, thereby attenuating contrasts in visual stimuli and hence improving reading performance.This suggestion was reinforced by a 2015 study in which functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) showed significant activation of the cerebral cortex during reading with colored filters (mostly blue in this case) compared with reading without filters. The authors hypothesized that the filters reduced visual stress and distortion, enhancing visual processing and reading performance.The next step for the group at IBRC-UNESP will be to use fMRI scans to analyze the brain activity of dyslexic children while reading. Barela has purchased an MRI machine with funding from Brazil’s National Council for Scientific & Technological Development (CNPq).
Source:https://www.isglobal.org/en/new/-/asset_publisher/JZ9fGljXnWpI/content/long-term-exposure-to-road-traffic-noise-may-increase-the-risk-of-obesity Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Nov 16 2018Long term exposure to road traffic noise is associated with increased risk of obesity. This was the conclusion of a study involving the participation of the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), a research center supported by the “la Caixa” Banking Foundation. The study has been published in Environment International.The authors of this study wanted to find out whether new research would confirm the results of the few earlier studies that had demonstrated associations between traffic noise and several markers for obesity. To do this, they studied 3796 adults who took part in the population-based Swiss SAPALDIA cohort study and had attended at least two follow-up visits between 2001 and 2011. The study is based on objective measures, such as the participants’ weight, height, body mass index, waist circumference, and abdominal fat. These data were analyzed together with estimates of exposure to transportation noise developed in the context of the Swiss SiRENE project.”Our analysis shows that people exposed to the highest levels of traffic noise are at greater risk of being obese” explains ISGlobal research Maria Foraster, first author of the study. “For example, we observed that a 10 dB increase in mean noise level was associated with a 17% increase in obesity.”The study authors also analyzed exposure to noise generated by aircraft and railway traffic and found no significant associations except in the case of long-term exposure to railway noise, which was associated with a higher risk of overweight but not of obesity.The methodology and design of the study were chosen to allow the authors to look at the data from two different perspectives. Cross-sectional analysis was used to study the participant population at a specific time point in the study and to examine more objective measures. The longitudinal design, on the other hand, allowed the authors to evaluate how the risk of obesity evolved over the study period. The associations with traffic-related noise pollution were consistent in both cases. Overweight was only associated with exposure to traffic-related noise in the cross-sectional analysis. The authors found no association between noise exposure and body mass index measured continuously throughout the longitudinal analysis.Related StoriesUCR biomedical professor to investigate how body’s cannabis-like molecules influence obesityMaternal obesity may negatively affect children’s lung developmentResearchers find link between maternal obesity and childhood cancer in offspring”Our study contributes additional evidence to support the hypothesis that traffic-related noise affects obesity because the results we obtained in a different population were the same as those reported by the authors of earlier studies. Nevertheless, more longitudinal studies are needed to confirm the association and to examine certain inconsistencies in the data which, to date, have prevented us from formulating an explanation accepted by the scientific community as a whole”, explains Maria Foraster.Unfortunately, sustained exposure to noise pollution is a widespread public health problem that is more serious than previously thought. Noise generates stress and affects our sleep. It alters hormone levels and increases blood pressure. Moreover, among other effects, sleep disturbance deregulates glucose metabolism and alters the appetite. “In the long term, these effects could give rise to chronic physiological alterations, which would explain the proven association between persistent exposure to traffic-related noise and cardiovascular disease or the more recently discovered associations with diabetes and obesity. Our findings suggest that reducing traffic-related noise could also be a way of combating the obesity epidemic” adds Maria Foraster.
By Dr. Ananya Mandal, MDMar 29 2019Because of global warming, it is estimated that there will be a major surge in mosquito-transmitted diseases which would kill half a billion more people over the next three decades.A new study reveals that the areas at risk that are newly exposed to this threat include Canada and parts of northern Europe with more people in these regions getting infected with Zika, dengue, yellow fever and Chikungunya among other diseases. These diseases till date affected only the tropical regions of the world say the researchers. The results of the study were published in an article in the latest issue of the journal PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases. Mapping current temperature suitability for transmission. Maps of current monthly suitability based on mean temperatures using a temperature suitability threshold determined by the posterior probability that scaled R0 > 0 is 97.5% for (a) Aedes aegypti and (b) Ae. albopictus, and (c) the number of people at risk (in billions) as a function of their months of exposure for Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus.Co-author of the study Sadie Ryan, from the University of Florida, explained that this study shows the effects of these diseases so that policy makers and health care professionals can take notice of the changing epidemiology of these vector borne illnesses. She said, “As you move into a hotter world, the places that get really hot are going to have all kinds of other vulnerabilities with them. Having studies like this that say, hey, this is potentially where these things can show up is going to be one tool in a big tool box.”Related StoriesNew diagnostic tool helps develop improved RDTs and support public health surveillanceGM fungus kills 99% of mosquitoes in Malaria-endemic region of AfricaScientists identify malaria’s Achilles’ heelThe study shows that at present there are over six billion people living in regions where the two species of mosquitoes can survive for a month or more annually. These two species of mosquitoes – Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus were targeted because of their ability to spread disease. The study shows that as milder and warmer climate travels up towards the poles, there are more and more areas where these mosquitoes can breed and survive. Aedes aegypti for example spreads yellow fever and survives in a warm climate. Aedes albopictus, on the other hand survives in cooler climates. The team of researchers looked at possible situations where rise in temperatures could affect the survival of both kinds of mosquitoes.Ryan said that in 2016 there was a Zika outbreak in southern Florida affecting pregnant women and their unborn babies. The spread of the infection was not just direct but also via travel and immigration say the researchers. Ryan explained, “You might not think to look across the midwest at this point for potential mosquitoes, but what if people are landing in Chicago? Every year we see little bits of malaria showing up in the [US], we see little bits of dengue popping up.”The team speculated that by 2030 these infections would be common up to the northern limits of the Midlands and by 2050 the spread maybe throughout England and Wales. A report from the UN has warned that there is a record rise in the sea levels and this would lead to floods, heat waves and storms due to the climate change. UN secretary general Antonio Guterres warned “there is no longer any time for delay” speaking about reducing the greenhouse gas emissions.This study missed out malaria in its analysis. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mosquito borne malaria kills over 400,000 people annually across the globe.Biologist Colin J. Carlson, a postdoctoral fellow in Georgetown University’s biology department, and co-author of the study, in a statement said, “Plain and simple, climate change is going to kill a lot of people… Mosquito-borne diseases are going to be a big way that happens, especially as they spread from the tropics to temperate countries.” On a more optimistic note he added, “I think we don’t talk about [hope] enough. We’re not staring down a certain apocalypse, because I don’t think there’s a future where people take no steps to combat the effects of climate change.” Source:https://journals.plos.org/plosntds/article?id=10.1371/journal.pntd.0007213
Credit: rawpixel, PixabayRelated StoriesHave cancer, must travel: Patients left in lurch after hospital closesStudy looks at impact of hospital readmissions penalties on targeted surgical conditionsStudy analyzes high capacity of A. baumannii to persist on various surfacesLower socioeconomic position (SEP) is a known risk factor for reduced life expectancy and earlier onset of diseases. In this study, researchers carried out a systematic review of studies that reported an association between any measure of SEP—including income, education, occupation, or housing—and healthcare received by adults in their last year of life. 209 studies were included in the review, including data on 142 health outcomes in people from North America, Europe, Australia and Asia.Compared to people living in the least deprived neighborhoods, those living in the most deprived neighborhoods were more likely to die in the hospital than at home, more likely to receive acute hospital-based care in the last three months of life, and less likely to receive specialist palliative care. The least educated people were also less likely to receive specialist palliative care. Specialist palliative care is known to reduce symptoms and improve wellbeing.“These findings should stimulate widespread efforts to reduce socioeconomic inequality towards the end of life,” the authors say. “We recommend that all research on care received towards the end of life should attempt to account for SEP; end of life care interventions should be analyzed for their different effects across the social strata; and the planning and provision of end of life care services should consider SEP in local populations.” Apr 24 2019In high-income countries, people with low socioeconomic position are more likely to receive poor quality end of life care and die in hospital, according to a large meta-analysis by Joanna Davies of King’s College London, UK, and colleagues, published this week in PLOS Medicine. Source:https://www.plos.org
Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)May 28 2019A new study adds to the growing body of evidence that it is unnecessary for most patients to fast before having bloodwork done to measure lipid levels to determine risk of future cardiovascular events. Since the 1970s, studies have suggested that fasting and nonfasting before a complete cholesterol test, otherwise known as lipid level testing, may make little difference in assessing who is at risk for a future heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular event.But most of these studies were conducted by comparing groups of people at a population level rather than in the same individuals. This left a lingering question about how well nonfasting lipid levels can predict future events for patients. A large study led by investigators at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and Imperial College provides robust evidence that nonfasting lipid levels were similar to fasting lipid levels in the same individuals, predicting cardiovascular risk just as well. The results are published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Mora and colleagues note some important limitations to the study. ASCOT-LLA involved European participants, and while they represent multiple European countries, the majority were white and male. The researchers expect that the findings will be relevant to more diverse populations but note that future research should assess potential ethnic and/or racial differences. To conduct their study, Mora and colleagues conducted a post hoc prospective follow-up study of participants from the Anglo-Scandinavian Cardiac Outcomes Trial-Lipid Lowering Arm (ASCOT-LLA), a randomized clinical trial. Fasting and nonfasting lipid levels for more than 8,000 participants were measured four weeks apart with no intervention in between. Patients were followed for a median of 3.3 years for major coronary events (heart attacks, fatal coronary heart disease) and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (heart attacks, stroke, and related deaths).The team found that risk associations of nonfasting lipid levels with coronary events were similar to those for fasting lipid levels measured four weeks later. When patients were not fasting, they had modestly higher triglyceride levels but similar cholesterol levels compared to when they were fasting. We spend most of our lives in a nonfasting state. And for some patients, especially those who are elderly or have diabetes, it can be risky to fast before lipid testing. Health care providers held back because of concerns of variability within individuals, but the data here is so convincing. It should allow people to feel more comfortable with nonfasting lipid testing for cardiovascular risk assessment, including when taking a statin.”Samia Mora We hope this study will be the final nail in the coffin, providing strong evidence that, within the same person, fasting or not before a lipid level test doesn’t matter for predicting cardiovascular risk. This should reassure health care providers and patients that it doesn’t make a difference if you fast or don’t fast if the goal is to predict your cardiovascular risk.”Corresponding author Samia Mora, MD, MHS, a cardiovascular medicine specialist and director of the Center for Lipid Metabolomics in the Divisions of Preventive and Cardiovascular Medicine at the Brigham and an associate professor at Harvard Medical School Source:Brigham and Women’s Hospital