Sunday, March 1, 2015
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OUR LATEST POSTS

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A revolutionary method in fighting the spread of Ebola virus will soon be available courtesy of the New Orleans’s science laboratories.

Scientists’ from Tulane played a critical role in producing the latest in rapid test for Ebola virus which was just granted approval by the FDA. By using the common finger prick method, health personnel can immediately determine if the person is infected with Ebola virus even in the field.

The currently used test could take several days in order to get the results requiring complicated lab procedure and placing the doctors at greater risk when withdrawing a vial full of blood. Doctors’ are of one opinion that the new system is definitely a “game changer”.

“It will enable us to get people into the treatment centers faster and get them out of the situation where they can transmit the virus to somebody else,” said Dr. Robert Garry, a Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at Tulane Medical School. He has been to West Africa many times and just finished quarantine Sunday from his last trip.

Tulane doctors are hoping to ship the test to West Africa as soon as possible to help in containing the Ebola outbreak which keeps on coming back despite the best effort of WHO.

Some of the rapid testing materials will be manufactured right there in New Orleans. Corgenis, a company operating out of Denver will produce and market the drug.

The Ebola virus outbreak last year, and it even continued up to the earliest part of this year, has infected more than 21,000 people and killed more than 9,000 to date. The worst may seem over but some pockets of resurgence are kept on coming back which may result to a return of a full blown epidemic.

This new rapid testing technique will really help a lot in stopping the Ebola virus on its tract.

 

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Google will no longer regulate sexually explicit blogs to go private on its blogger platform. According to critics that the distinct subject matter is an expression of the individual’s private identity.

Just few days ago, the giant online search engine company expressed its intention of creating a private niche for sexually explicit pictures and videos starting March 23 this year.

The massive negative feedback that came pouring concerning the company’s ruling led to its change of heart. It will continue with its present policy and disregard the new plan for the time being. Nothing will be done about it.

However, the tag “adult” content will continue to identify these pictures and videos. This will mean that a warning page will be shown before readers are allowed to view the site.

Google will have the option also to add the “adult” tag to Blogger blogs which it deems it fits the definition.

The “acceptable use” policy link currently redirects users to a posted information which reads as follows:

“We’ve had a ton of feedback, in particular about the introduction of a retroactive change (some people have had accounts for 10+ years), but also about the negative impact on individuals who post sexually explicit content to express their identities”.

“So rather than implement this change, we’ve decided to step up enforcement around our existing policy prohibiting commercial porn.”

“As long as bloggers have correctly identified their adult blogs they need take no further action,” the message adds.

Google came out with proposed new rule which forces bloggers with currently existing explicit blogs to go private in March. It also warned that it will remove or delete those blogs posted after the March 23 deadline.

Well it seems the company is sensitive to public opinion and has bowed down to its wishes and I think it’s doing the right thing.

 

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It’s common knowledge among scientists and climatologists that the great body of waters of our planet have a direct influence on our climate and the weather that we have, This is study that you are about to read will bring us closer to the understanding what these oceans can do in helping cool down our planet and neutralize global warming.

The question is how long they can sustain the role they play we won’t cooperate and take steps in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The oceans constitute 71 percent of the Earth’s surface and 97 percent of our planet’s body of water. So it’s highly possible for them to keep our planet cool just like what the Pacific Ocean is doing from time to time.

The natural seasonal cooling cycle of the pacific has put a halt to the global warming recently.  This is according to US based researchers on Thursday.  It baffled the experts no end how the rate of increasing temperatures went to a decline in the years between 1980s and 1990s when in fact the emission of greenhouses gas continue to rise in record levels.

Michael Mann, a climatologist from Pennsylvania State University, said, “We know that it is important to distinguish between human-caused and natural climate variability so we can assess the impact of human-caused climate change”. Mann said that Pacific seemed to be the main cause of the pause.

To get a better picture of what is happening in the Northern Hemisphere, what factors contribute to the changes in the climate there, Mann and his associates did a combination of real-world information and the most advance climate model.

The scientists went back to the year 1850 in verifying both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans’ temperature readings in order to know if there occurred natural fluctuations in winds and currents that lasted for several decades. The study results were published today in the journal Science.

In the journal, scientists stated that their observations have led them to hypothesize that current trends h “produce a slowdown or ‘false pause’ in warming in the last 10 years.

The researchers concluded that the northern part of the Pacific Ocean’s cooler periods and the untypical slowdown in warming conditions have a direct connection to the heat being restricted beneath tropical Pacific and its susceptibility for long periods of La Niña type situations.

Scientists believe that understanding the downturn is critical in predicting upcoming warming conditions and to come to a common understanding in reducing emissions.

 

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Oculus VR has just dangled out a whopping $1 Million for app developers to  incorporate fresh ideas and engaging features for the futuristic headset Gear VR Innovator Edition.

The Oculus Mobile VR Jam 2015  will unfurl on April 13 up to May 11, and interested participants may sign-up now at ChallengePost. The Jam is divided into two segments: Games and Apps for Experiences, where the top three finishers will bring home the platinum, gold and silver plums in each division.

The Platinum Gold winner will take a juicy $200,000 cold cash, while $100,000 awaits the Platinum App or Experience snags. The other winners on each segment will also receive cash prizes, including the $10,000 for each of the Bronze winner.

The Oculus Mobile VR Jam participants should be able to accomplish four milestones at set deadline such as “Pitches” (April 20), “Screenshots” (April 27), “Videos” (May 4) and the “Final Build” (May 11 at 9am PT)

And when the smoke of battle dies down Oculus will reveal the winners on June 4. Developers may work on their own, together as a team or represent an organization. Solitary developers who would like to make their own group may form theirs on ChallengePost.

The challenge puts the spotlight on the Gear VR Innovator Edition, a virtual reality headset that employs the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, along with Oculus VR software. According to EndGadget The Gear VR Innovator Edition that was launched last September was impressive but it still needs some fine tuning, and the highly anticipated event will eventually enhance the headset further.

A representative from Samsung told Endgadget that Jam is created to resolve technical issues and the same time the “Innovator Edition,” was designed for early adopters, VR enthusiasts and professionals. It appears that Gear VR is making its presence felt and this is also an indication that Samsung’s upcoming flagship phone, a refined Galaxy S6 will be launched at the Mobile World Conference in early March.

 

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Now the cat is really out. The flu vaccine that has been in used this season is just a tad better than a placebo. Placebos are nothing but made of filling materials, without medicinal value and the flu vaccine.

Federal officials this week said this season’s flu vaccine, already acknowledged to be highly ineffective, is performing even worse than earlier estimated, according to HealthjDay, a National Institutes of Health online news publication. First the CDC said it was approximately 50 percent effective, then it was down to 23 percent effective and now it’s even lower than that at 18 percent.

This is the reason why the dominant flu virus strain H3N2 was able to have its way infecting a lot of people.

And you will be shocked to know is even much lower for children who are the most susceptible to flu at only 2-8 percent. The injected vaccine is only at most 15 percent effective for children the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a released statement.

Even worse, the nasal spray vaccine has zero effect on them, it said. “Neither vaccine worked well in protecting against H3N2 viruses this season” for children, it said.

Upon evaluating the new data, the CDC cancelled its support for the recommendation of nasal spray flu vaccine for children. It will come up with another recommendation who could use the spay this coming flu season in June.

“The decision not to renew … was made based on new data from more recent seasons which have not confirmed superior effectiveness of (the nasal spray) observed in earlier studies,” the statement said.

The advisory panel of CDC continued its support for a flu vaccine for healthy individuals six months and older.

The CDC explained that the flu vaccine has a  effectivity rate for different age group. These are, for those ages between 18 and 49, its 18 percent effective. Individuals 50 years old and above it’s only 14 percent. How they came up with these data is not clear however.

Flu vaccine effectiveness has ranged from as low as 10 percent to 60 percent or better, CDC said. It did not say when the effectiveness rate was this close to the low end, although it has been measuring effectiveness since the 2004-2005 flu season.

Flu vaccines have been performing from as low as 10 percent to as high as 60 percent according to the CDC. It didn’t mention when these figures were taken. The CDC has been monitoring the effectivity rate of the flu vaccine since the 2004 and 2005 flu season.

The excuse given for the poor performance of the vaccine is that it did not match the virulence of the virus strain creating havoc this year. Over 66 percent of the H3N2 virus in circulation are much stronger than the available vaccines, CDC said

“We knew it wasn’t the best vaccine in history, and now we have data,” said George DiFerdinando, adjunct professor in the department of epidemiology at the Rutgers School of Public Health.

For the longer version of this report please visit: http://www.nj.com/healthfit/index.ssf/2015/02/flu_vaccine_is_only_18-percent_effective_cdc_says.html

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Suicide has become a popular recourse among middle-aged Americans who are struggling to meet ends met. The rates increased by almost 40% beginning in 1990. A was study published Friday in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine links that upswing to the economic debacle of 2007 to 2009.

“Relative to other age groups, a larger and increasing proportion of middle-aged suicides have circumstances associated with job, financial, or legal distress and are completed using suffocation,” study authors Katherine A. Hempstead, PhD, director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, in Princeton, N.J., and the Center for State Health Policy at Rutgers University, and Julie A. Phillips, of the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research, in New Brunswick, N.J., explained in a news release.

Researchers were able to determine that financial troubles were the reason for almost 38 percent for all successful suicides in 2010 as opposed to 32.9 percent in 2005, according to the released information. The most common form of suicide involves suffocation. This is used by individuals who suffer from money problems, which increased by approximately 60 percent among those whose aged 40 to 64 years between 2005 and 2010. For those aged 15 to 39, the increase rate of suicide was 27.2. Loss of retirement money may have been the main reason for the increase in suicide rates among older adults, explained the researchers.

“The sharpest increase in external circumstances appears to be temporally related to the worst years of the Great Recession, consistent with other work showing a link between deteriorating economic conditions and suicide,” researchers wrote.

Study authors culled their data from the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS), which contains information on violent deaths from medical examiner and coroner reports, toxicology reports, law enforcement records, death certificates and the like. They utilized these records to identify 17 different suicide conditions and four criteria which has something to do with planning and purpose.

Researchers called for greater understanding with regards to various financial setbacks which can lead to suicides, and recommended employee assistance programs, as well as human resource departments and credit counselors to be on the lookout for people who might be candidates for suicides and make proper recommendations immediately, according to the news release.

“Increasing access to crisis counseling and other mental health services on an emergency basis— as is often provided at times of natural disaster— should also be considered in the context of economic crises,” the study authors said.