BGU develops new AI platform for monitoring and predicting ALS progression

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Feb 20 2019Technology will also improve drug development and clinical trials for neurodegenerative diseasesBen-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) has developed a new artificial intelligence (AI) platform for monitoring and predicting progression of neurodegenerative diseases to help identify markers for personalized patient care and improve drug development.The platform, developed by Prof. Boaz Lerner of the BGU Department of Industrial Engineering and Management will initially be used for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and ultimately for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.”One of the big challenges of designing and managing clinical trials for ALS is that it is a rare disease, and clinical variability makes it hard to identify markers for severity,” says Prof. Lerner. “As a result, after decades of research, there is still no real cure for ALS and several other challenging neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s.”Our new technology will more accurately predict disease progression, a crucial ingredient for clinical trials, and better identify the interrelationships between demographics and other measurable factors identified through physical examinations and patient functionality.”ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a fatal neurodegenerative disease that causes death of motor neurons which control voluntary muscles. This muscle atrophy leads to progressive weakness and paralysis, difficulty speaking, swallowing and breathing. The average survival time for people who are typically diagnosed between ages 40 to 60 is two to five years from onset of symptoms.Related StoriesUsing artificial intelligence to personalize the dose of radiation therapy for cancer patientsNovel imaging molecule reveals brain changes linked to progressive MSEndogenous retrovirus type W found to be a major contributor to nerve damage in MSALS population heterogeneity complicates research and drug development because of symptom variability at onset, disease progression rates and patterns, and survival statistics. This variability makes it difficult to predict disease progression rate and pattern for individuals.Having a reliable personalized prediction platform could improve patient care and quality of life for many patients and their caregivers. The new AI platform could also improve clinical trial design by identifying markers for various patient sub-populations’ treatment.The BGU platform integrates demographic and clinical data with machine learning and data mining algorithms to produce models that can predict the rate and pattern of ALS progression, identify specific lab tests or vital signs, and stratify similar sub-groups from the diverse ALS population. The algorithms, and their ability to predict disease progression, will improve as clinical data is added for each patient.”Now that the algorithms required to produce effective models have been established and evaluated, the funding we received from the Israel Innovation Authority will enable researchers to create a system that patients, physicians, caregivers, pharmaceutical companies, HMOs, and insurers can use on desktop and mobile applications to monitor and predict ALS progression,” says Itzik Mashiach at BGN Technologies, BGU’s technology-transfer company.”We are now seeking an industry partner to further develop and commercialize this innovative patent-pending technology.”​ Source:https://aabgu.org/nlast_img read more

UMN study shows impact of opioids on pain and survival in sickle

first_img Source:https://www.med.umn.edu/news-events/university-minnesota-researchers-study-effect-chronic-opioid-therapy-pain-and-survival-sickle-cell-disease Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Apr 3 2019New UMN research recently published Blood Advances, Kalpna Gupta, PhD, Professor of Medicine, University of Minnesota Medical School, demonstrates the impact of opioids on the survival of humanized mouse models with sickle cell disease, compared to normal mice.Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) affects millions of people throughout the world. The genetic disease worsens over time and can cause lifelong pain. Given the often severe nature of the pain associated with SCD opioid use is a rule not an exception for treatment. The mice in this study showed characteristics of pain observed in patients with Sickle Cell Disease (SCD).Related StoriesAlternate cell growth pathway could open door to new treatments for metastatic cancersNanoparticles used to deliver CRISPR gene editing tools into the cellSleep quality and fatigue among women with premature ovarian insufficiency”We wanted to know if opioids reduce survival,” said Gupta. “There was a distinct difference in survival with morphine treatment between control mice expressing normal human hemoglobin and sickle mice expressing human sickle hemoglobin.” Gupta and her colleagues found that chronic morphine treatment decreased survival in control mice, but not in sickle mice.Adverse effects of opioids from clinical studies in cancer show the association of opioid requirement with reduced survival. Patients with SCD have reduced survival. Since many use opioids long-term, it is critical to know if opioids reduce survival in SCD and if they are really required. Researchers also looked into whether opioids caused hyperalgesia, a condition where a person develops an increased sensitivity to pain. They found that chronic morphine treatment leads to hyperalgesia in sickle mice, but does not lead to analgesic tolerance.”Our findings show that opioids cause hyperalgesia, which means they do cause pain, and that is why there is an increased requirement of morphine as the time goes by, it may not due to the reward function.” This study provides evidence for the first time that opioid requirement in SCD may be genuine and is not causing an adverse effect on survival and that even after long-term use opioids continue to remain effective in treating pain.According to Gupta, it would be critical to perform observational analysis on SCD patients receiving opioids to validate these findings, so that their pain can be managed effectively without opioid phobia amongst the providers. Until alternatives to opioids are found, pain needs to be treated with opioids. However, this study in humanized sickle mice also highlights the unmet need to develop effective analgesics to treat pain in SCD and in many other conditions.last_img read more

Peanut allergy tolerance treatment may increase the risk of anaphylaxis

first_imgBy Sally Robertson, B.Sc.Apr 26 2019Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Treating children who have a peanut allergy by gradually exposing them to increasing levels of peanut extract may actually increase their risk of allergic attacks, instead of inducing tolerance, warn researchers from McMaster University.The team found that efforts to desensitize children with peanut oral immunotherapy resulted in three times as many allergic reactions in the “real- world,” compared with peanut avoidance.Children who tried the desensitization method also had more severe reactions, including potentially fatal anaphylactic reactions that required administration of life-saving adrenaline.More than six million people are affected by food allergies across Europe and North America, most of whom are children. While children often grow out of the more common egg or milk allergies by the age of ten, a peanut allergy can persist into adulthood and be a lifelong problem.What is oral immunotherapy?Previous research has suggested that oral immunotherapy, where allergic children are gradually exposed to increasing levels of peanut extract, can desensitize a child to peanuts, reducing their risk of anaphylaxis.Researchers say that despite an increased risk of reactions during the initial exposure phase, the ultimate benefits could last a lifetime. Findings from a study last year provided the most convincing evidence to date that the exposure method can stop peanut ingestion triggering a fatal reaction.However, studies assessing the effectiveness of oral immunotherapy measure the treatment’s success by whether a person can pass a supervised food challenge. Dr. Derek Chu (McMaster University) and colleagues point out that this cannot serve as a predictive measure of a person’s future risk in the real world.The treatment may not work in the ‘real-world’Through the analysis of findings from 12 trials, Chu and team questioned whether the results of desensitization studies can be replicated in the real world and have raised concerns about the safety of such approaches. The research was published in The Lancet. Oral immunotherapy is an emerging experimental treatment for peanut allergy, but its benefits and harms are unclear. We systematically reviewed the efficacy and safety of oral immunotherapy versus allergen avoidance or placebo (no oral immunotherapy) for peanut allergy.”Dr. Derek Chu Safer peanut allergy treatment approaches and rigorous randomised controlled trials that evaluate patient-important outcomes are needed.”center_img The team pooled data available for more than 1,000 children (aged an average of nine years) who had participated in oral immunotherapy trials and whose progress had been followed for one year.“Our study synthesizes all randomized clinical trials comparing peanut oral immunotherapy to no immunotherapy in order to generate the highest quality evidence to inform decision-making,” says Chu.The analysis found that 22.2% of children who underwent oral immunotherapy therapy experienced anaphylactic reactions, compared with 7% who avoided exposure to peanuts.Serious allergic reactions that led to vomiting, hives, abdominal pain, wheezing and asthma were all increased, including potentially fatal attacks where life-saving adrenaline needed to be given.The findings favor avoidance of overall current forms of oral immunotherapy and suggest that children who avoid peanuts altogether have fewer attacks overall.‘More allergic and adverse reactions’Chu adds that although the exposure method can achieve the aim of desensitization, “this outcome does not translate into achieving the clinical and patient-desired aim of less allergic reactions and anaphylaxis over time.”Instead, the outcome is the opposite, he says, with “more allergic and adverse reactions with oral immunotherapy compared with avoidance or placebo.”Chu emphasizes that the study does not denounce current research into oral immunotherapy, but that the method should be more carefully considered, with improvements in safety made and measures of success being aligned with patients’ wishes.last_img read more

Amazon primed to hire 2000 new employees in France

Explore further US online shopping giant Amazon said Thursday it plans to create 2,000 permanent full-time jobs in France this year as consumers are making more and more of their purchases via the internet. © 2018 AFP “The jobs are at all levels of skills” even if “the overwhelming majority of the positions are for fulfilling orders,” Amazon’s director in France Frederic Duval told AFP.The new jobs will be across Amazon’s distribution centres in France, as well as its offices in the Paris region, and take overall staff to 7,500.Amazon said it has invested more than two billion euros ($2.5 billion) in France since 2010 and created more than 1,500 jobs in France last year.However Amazon, along with other US tech companies, has also been at loggerheads with French authorities over taxes as they structure sales to pass through other European countries where tax rates are lower.Amazon announced earlier this month it had reached an agreement with French tax authorities under which it will now register French sales in France. The 2,000 new jobs will take Amazon’s overall workforce in France to 7,500 Amazon hammers out tax deal with France Citation: Amazon primed to hire 2,000 new employees in France (2018, February 15) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-02-amazon-primed-hire-employees-france.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. read more

Germany wants automakers to pay up as more diesel bans loom

first_imgIn this Oct. 9, 2018 file photo exhaust pipes of a car are pictured in Berlin, Germany. The German government is putting pressure on the country’s automakers to fix diesel cars with excessive emissions, in a bid to placate drivers angered by the prospect of driving bans in major cities. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn, file) The German government is putting pressure on the country’s automakers to fix their diesel cars that have excessive emissions, in a bid to placate drivers angered by the prospect of diesel driving bans in major cities. The newly announced measures by Merkel’s Cabinet will apply to 15 German cities that significantly exceed the European Union’s limit of 40 micrograms of NOx per cubic meter. Another 50 cities in the country are just above the EU threshold.Merkel’s party and her coalition allies, the Social Democrats, are projected to face steep losses in the Hesse state election on Sunday, while the environmentalist Green party has seen a surge in opinion polls in recent weeks.Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, one of Germany’s best-known auto industry analysts, called the government’s new measures “a transparent election campaign maneuver for the Hesse vote.”He told the daily Rheinische Post that Merkel had known about the problem of excessively high NOx emissions since 2010, but refrained from doing anything about it.The government announced its measures on the same day a court in Stuttgart, Germany, ruled Volkswagen’s parent company, Porsche SE, must pay investors 47 million euros for not making timely disclosure of its 2015 diesel emissions scandal, in which Volkswagen rigged cars to cheat on diesel emissions tests.Porsche SE said it would appeal and that the claims were “without merit.”The Volkswagen scandal led to closer scrutiny of diesels in general, which were found to often emit more pollutants in regular driving than in testing because automakers exploited loopholes allowing them to turn off emissions controls to avoid engine damage in certain circumstances. Testing procedures were tightened as of Sept. 1 to more closely reflect real-life emissions. German Chancellor Angela Merkel sits between Vice-chancellor and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, left, Head of Chancellery and Minister for Special Tasks Helge Braun, right, as she leads the weekly cabinet meeting of the German government at the chancellery in Berlin, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber) © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Porsche first German carmaker to abandon diesel enginescenter_img Citation: Germany wants automakers to pay up as more diesel bans loom (2018, October 24) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-10-germany-automakers-diesel-loom.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Explore further Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Cabinet agreed upon a series of measures Wednesday that includes upgrades for older vehicles affected by the diesel scandal , preventing them from being subjected to diesel driving bans in cities such as Hamburg, Berlin, Stuttgart and Frankfurt.”It’s not acceptable that that the auto industry is paying a lot of money in America , but makes a huge fuss over a few hundred euros (dollars) here,” Merkel said at an election rally in the state of Hesse late Tuesday, calling on car makers to stop penny-pinching when it comes to fixing the cars they sold to consumers with misleading emissions claims.The German transport ministry has said it believes about 2.2 million vehicles need upgrades.Merkel’s unusually harsh words toward Germany’s powerful auto industry came the day before a court in nearby Mainz considered whether a ban on diesel-powered cars is permissible to prevent air pollution in the city.Diesel vehicles are a significant source of nitrogen oxides, or NOx, which can be harmful to human health. The Mainz administrative court decided Wednesday that the city would have to prepare to implement a ban on older diesel vehicles by Sept. 1, 2019, if NOx levels cannot be reduced by then.last_img read more

As campaign concludes in AP Jagan Reddys remarks on Amaravati leave voters

first_imgpoll campaign SHARE SHARE EMAIL Andhra Pradesh April 09, 2019 As the campaigning concluded in Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday, for the poll to be held on Thursday, a doubt is lingering in the minds of voters, especially in Krishna and Guntur districts. It relates to Amaravati, the new capital.In interviews given to English and Telugu channels, the YSR Congress leader, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, described Amaravati as a huge scam perpetrated by Chief Minister.‘Huge scam’On Tuesday, the last day when Jagan campaigned in Mangalagiri constituency in Guntur district in the new capital region, he explained to the voters the huge scam allegedly perpetrated by N Lokesh, Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu’s son and State IT Minister, is contesting from Mangalagiri as the TDP candidate.Jagan said, “We also welcomed the decision initially, though we did not approve the method of arriving at the decision, and we had our reservations. But then the Chief Minister cleverly encouraged speculation on where exactly the capital will come up, knowing well the exact location and keeping it to himself and his friends and cronies, and giving an impression to the people that it might come up elsewhere.“His friends, cronies and benamis bought huge parcels of lands near the present location, Amaravati, at throwaway prices. Then, he announced the location. Others who bought land at other locations lost heavily… And the scam did not stop there.”He alleged that the Chief Minister acquired 33,000 acres from farmers through the land-pooling method, ensuring that the land-parcels of his cronies, friends and benamis were excluded from the core capital area.“The prices of these lands abutting the capital area shot up. The farmers who have lost the lands are very unhappy. Then, the CM started allotting the lands in the core capital area to companies in the name of capital development. It is a huge scam, the biggest in the history of the State,” Jagan Reddy alleged.On Tuesday, while campaigning in Guntur district, Chandrababu Naidu said, “If Jagan comes to power, all development in the State will come to a halt. In particular, Amaravati and the Polavaram project will suffer. He is not interested in Amaravati.”This issue will have a bearing on the minds of the voters in two very important coastal districts — Krishna and Guntur — though the rest of the State will also be affected to some extent.If he comes to power, what Jagan intends to do with Amaravati, which he describes as a huge scam, is anybody’s guess. Published on SHARE YS Jagan Mohan Reddy   –  CH VIJAYA BHASKAR political campaigns state politics Chandrababu Naidu COMMENT COMMENTSlast_img read more

Samajwadi Partys Azam Khan faces arrest in land grabbing torture case

first_img Next Samajwadi Party’s Azam Khan faces arrest in land grabbing, torture caseTwenty-six farmers have stated that Azam Khan and Aalehasan illegally detained and pressured them to sign on a forged sale deed in a bid to acquire their land running into several thousand hectares.advertisement Indo-Asian News Service New DelhiJuly 13, 2019UPDATED: July 13, 2019 19:07 IST Azam Khan allegedly forged documents and grabbed land worth over several hundred crores for Mohammed Ali Jauhar University. (Photo: PTI)More than two dozen poor farmers were illegally detained and tortured for several days before their lands were “forcibly grabbed” by senior Samajwadi Party (SP) leader and MP Azam Khan in Uttar Pradesh’s Rampur district, the police said on Saturday.According to a criminal case registered at Rampur’s Azim Nagar Police Station, Azam Khan and his close aide, former Deputy Superintendent of UP Police Aalehasan Khan, allegedly forged documents and grabbed land worth over several hundred crores for Mohammed Ali Jauhar University, a multi-crore private project of the SP leader.”Twenty-six farmers have stated that Azam Khan and Aalehasan illegally detained and pressured them to sign on a forged sale deed in a bid to acquire their land running into several thousand hectares,” Ajay Pal Sharma, Superintendent of Police, Rampur said.”When the farmers refused to sign on the papers, their land was forcibly occupied. Aalehasan, then circle officer of Rampur, misused his official position in grabbing the land belonging to the poor. After verifying facts we have registered a criminal case against Azam Khan and Aalehasan,” said Sharma.The case against the SP leader was registered on the basis of an enquiry by the UP Revenue Department, which checked all relevant documents and recorded statements of farmers who mainly belong to the minority community.”On the basis of the main complaint of the Revenue Department, now 26 separate cases will be filed (against Azam Khan) as it involves different patches of land and different owners,” said the Rampur district police chief.Asked whether Azam Khan could be arrested, Sharma said, “It may happen any time. The investigation is on.”The FIR (relating to case) says besides grabbing farmers’ lands, Azam Khan, also misused his position (as Cabinet Minister of UP during 2012-2017) to illegally occupy over 5,000 hectares of land adjoining the banks of Kosi river, which flows along the University campus.The land falls by the Kosi riverside and cannot be acquired. “But revenue records were allegedly forged and the land, worth over several hundred crores, was illegally occupied by Mohammed Jauhar Ali University,” said a Revenue Officer.According to the Revenue Officer, the forged documents to fraudulently occupy the riverbed, are now strong evidence against Azam Khan.Azam Khan’s dream project, Mohammed Ali Jauhar University, was conceived as a private Urdu university in 2004. Acquisition of land and construction of the university campus started rapidly after the Samajwadi Party (SP) came to power in UP and Azam Khan became one of its most powerful ministers.In 2012, the Akhilesh Yadav government granted the university’s lifelong chancellorship to Azam Khan, a move which was opposed by then UP Governor.Last month, BJP leader Jayaprada, who contested the 2019 Lok Sabha polls against Azam Khan, filed a complaint with the Election Commission seeking the newly elected MP’s disqualification for also holding an office of profit as the chancellor of Mohammed Ali Jauhar University.Jaya Prada cited two examples — one of Sonia Gandhi and another of Jaya Bachchan — both of whom had to resign as MPs and re-contest polls on grounds of holding the office of profit.IANS tried to contact Azam Khan for his comments on being booked in cases of land grabbing, but could not reach him. A Samajwadi Party office-bearer said the BJP was trying to malign the SP stalwart’s image, who had established a world-class university for the people of UP in Rampur.Also Read | FIR against Azam Khan for sexist khaki underwear remark against Jaya PradaAlso Read | Jaya Prada challenges election of Azam Khan from Uttar Pradesh, RampurAlso Watch | He always lies, is taking U-turn: Jaya Prada on Azam Khan’s sexist remarksFor the latest World Cup news, live scores and fixtures for World Cup 2019, log on to indiatoday.in/sports. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for World Cup news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byChanchal Chauhanlast_img read more