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Patients' access to opioid treatment cumbersome

Patients' access to opioid treatment cumbersome

Women are having a difficult time getting into treatment for opioid addictions, according to a Vanderbilt University Medical Center study published today in JAMA Network Open.<br> <br><br><br><br><br> The "secret shopper" study used trained actors attempting to get into treatment with an addiction provider in 10 U.S. states. The results, with more than 10,000 unique patients, revealed numerous challenges in scheduling a first-time appointment to receive medications for opioid use disorder, including finding a provider who takes insurance rather than cash.<br>The situation only gets worse for women who are pregnant and addicted to opioids. Overall, pregnant women were about 20% less likely to be accepted for treatment than nonpregnant women.<br>"It wasn't just that pregnant women had a hard time getting into treatment; everyone did. It was pretty extraordinary," said Stephen Patrick, MD, director of the Center for Child Health Policy at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.<br>"We have been in the middle of an epidemic of opioid overdose for years now. There are just too many barriers into getting treatment. We are still setting records levels of overdose deaths in the U.S., likely made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. We know these medicines save lives; it shouldn't be this hard to get them," he said.<br>Providers in the study were randomly selected from government lists of persons providing either buprenorphine or methadone treatment for opioid addiction.<br>Medications for opioid use disorder such as buprenorphine, most commonly received from providers in an outpatient clinic, and methadone, received in an opioid treatment program, have been proven to reduce overdose risk and improve pregnancy outcomes for patients, Patrick said, including a reduction in the risk of preterm births.<br>A total of 10,871 unique patient profiles of pregnant vs. nonpregnant women and private vs. public insurance were randomly assigned to 6,324 clinicians or clinics.<br>About a quarter of the time, callers tried at least five times to reach a provider without success; another 20% of the time they reached a provider who didn't provide addiction treatment.<br><br><br><br><br><br><br>"For women trying to get into treatment, just getting someone on the phone proved to be a challenge," Patrick said. "Only about half of the time—if they actually reached a provider—were they able to make an appointment for treatment the first time. "<br>A large portion of the clinicians from 10 states did not accept insurance and required cash payment for an appointment.<br>"Only about half of women were given an appointment for treatment with their insurance, the rest were either told no or had to pay cash. In some states, only about 1-in-5 women were given appointments with their insurance," Patrick said. "That's really staggering. You are telling folks in the middle of an epidemic, folks who are disproportionately impoverished, that you need to get into treatment. But then most providers either say no or don't take any insurance."<br>Insurance was not accepted by 26% of buprenorphine prescribers and one-third of the opioid treatment programs in total. Median out-of-pocket costs for initial appointments were $250 for buprenorphine prescribers and $34 for methadone prescribers.<br>Overall, about two-thirds of callers were able to make an appointment (67.6%) with outpatient buprenorphine providers, but pregnant women received an appointment only 61.4% compared to non-pregnant women at 73.9%.<br>For opioid treatment programs about 9-in-10 callers were able to get an appointment and there was no difference between pregnant and non-pregnant women.<br>"We found that opioid treatment programs took pregnant women at the same rate that they took nonpregnant women. That is not true for buprenorphine providers," Patrick said. "It is also important to note that opioid treatment programs are far rarer than buprenorphine providers."<br>Patrick said the study results should serve as an immediate call for policymakers to intervene.<br>"Reducing barriers to medications for opioid use disorder has been identified as key public health goal by the U.S. Surgeon General, the President's Commission on Opioids, but our research suggests substantial barriers remain," said Patrick.<br>"We need to begin to put systems in place where people can get the treatment they need when they want it. For pregnant women, not only does it save their lives if they get this medicine, but it also makes it more likely that their infant is going to be delivered at term."<br> <br><br><b>Author:Vanderbilt University Medical Center</b><br><b>Source:https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-08-patients-access-opioid-treatment-cumbersome.html</b>

RAMDENI YADAV

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Fast food makes an unhealthy comeback among kids

Fast food makes an unhealthy comeback among kids

(HealthDay)—After a period of improvement, U.S. kids are eating as much fast food as they were in the early 2000s, new government figures show.<br> <br><br><br><br><br> Researchers found that between 2003 and 2010, there was a decline in U.S. kids' intake of fast-food calories—dipping from an average of 14% of daily calories, to just under 11%.<br>The positive trend was short-lived, however. By 2018, that figure was back up to 14%.<br>The study, by the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), did not go into the underlying reasons. But other research gives some clues as to what could be driving the reversal.<br>One possibility is that social media and "digital marketing" have a role, according to Frances Fleming-Milici, a researcher with the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut.<br>"Fast-food companies have been pioneers in using digital marketing," said Fleming-Milici, who was not involved in the NCHS report.<br>Admittedly, she said, it is hard to get a handle on how often kids encounter fast-food promotions on their smartphones.<br>But a recent Rudd study found that 70% of teens "engaged with" food and beverage brands on social media—meaning they followed the brands, or "liked" or shared their content. More than half of kids said they engaged with fast-food brands.<br>Another Rudd study found that the percentage of parents buying fast food for their kids rose between 2010 and 2016. By 2016, 91% of parents said they'd bought their children meals in the last week at one of the four largest fast-food chains in the United States.<br>In recent years, Fleming-Milici said, fast-food companies have been promoting "healthy" side-order and drink options for kids. And in the study, most parents intended to buy fast food more often because of those policies.<br>Yet there was no evidence parents were actually buying more of those healthy options in 2016, versus 2010.<br>The new findings, released in an Aug. 14 data brief, are based on responses to an ongoing federal health survey. Every couple of years it asks a nationally representative sample of Americans about their health and lifestyle habits.<br>It found that between 2015 and 2018, more than 36% of all 2- to 19-year-olds consumed fast food—with teens being bigger consumers than younger kids.<br>There were racial differences, too. Among teens, white kids downed an average of 15% of daily calories from fast food. That rose to 18.5% of Hispanic teens, and 21.5% of Black teens.<br>Food companies, including fast-food restaurants, have increased their marketing on Black-targeted TV, according to Fleming-Milici. And in 2017, Black teenagers saw twice as many food ads on TV as white teens did, she said.<br>If U.S. kids are eating more fast food, there's reason for concern—since the traditional burger-and-fries meal is typically loaded with fat, sodium and sugars.<br>"Foods that tend to be high in calories and fat, if consumed on a regular basis, can contribute to childhood obesity," said Kristi King, a pediatric dietitian at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston.<br>Beyond obesity, there's also the matter of kids getting the nutrients they need. If they are filling up on fat and sugar, that can displace nutrient-rich foods, said King, who is also a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.<br>Plus, she added, childhood is a time when people can develop lasting habits around food. If kids learn that grabbing fast food is the norm, they'll likely carry that into adulthood.<br>If parents are hard-pressed for time, homemade meals do not have to be laborious, according to King. She offered some tips for making things easier: Get some meal preparation done on the weekends—even just chopping up vegetables—so there is less to do on weeknights; do some "DIY" meals, where everyone makes their own individual salads, tacos or mini-pizzas, and get the kids involved in prepping and cooking.<br>"Making it a family affair can help save time and teach kids skills that will last them a lifetime," King said.<br> <br><br><b>Author:Amy Norton, Healthday Reporter</b><br><b>Source:https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-08-fast-food-unhealthy-comeback-kids.html</b>

Aditya Gokhale

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Google adding new coronavirus-related details to travel search results

Google adding new coronavirus-related details to travel search results

Google announced plans to add new content to its travel search results in the coming days.<br> <br><br><br><br><br>Officials revealed Google would soon display the percentage of open hotels with availability, as well as the percentage of flights operating at the city or county level. The changes will include trendlines for both categories.<br>The data necessary to facilitate the chances will be supplied by Google Flights and Hotels data from the previous week. Travelers will also be able to find advisories and the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in an area through links on the website.<br>Google also announced it would soon offer travelers the ability to filter their hotel and vacation rental search results to only see properties that offer free cancelations, a significant concern during the ongoing viral pandemic.<br>Last month, the company revealed added features such as information about destination restrictions and advisories, airline change fee and cancelation policies and driving alerts that flag COVID-19 checkpoints and restrictions along a user's route.<br>Earlier this year, Google began displaying the cheapest and most expensive times to visit a destination, in addition to the typical temperatures and weather conditions travelers can expect based on their trip dates.<br> <br><br><b>Author:Donald Wood</b><br><b>Source:https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-08-google-adding-coronavirus-related-results.html</b>

Amrit Ojeshkar

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A beginner&#8217;s guide to diversity, equity and inclusion

A beginner&#8217;s guide to diversity, equity and inclusion

After Minneapolis police killed George Floyd and the subsequent racial justice uprising, many people in tech shouted from the rooftops that “Black Lives Matter,” despite having subpar representation of Black and Latinx folks at their companies. In some cases, these companies’ proclamations of “Black Lives Matter” felt especially performative in contrast to their respective stances on Trump and selling their technology to law enforcement agencies. <br>Still, this has led to an increased focus on diversity, inclusion and equity in the tech industry. If you’re wondering things like, “Where do I find Black and brown talent?” or saying, “I’d invest in Black and Latinx people if I could find them!,” then this is for you. <br>Below, you’ll learn about some of the issues at play, some of the key organizations doing work in this space, and access a glossary of frequently used terms in the realm of diversity, equity and inclusion in tech.<br><br>The data<br><br><br>Major tech companies are predominantly white and male. Facebook, for example, is just 3.9% Black, 6.3% Latinx and 37% female.<br>In 2018, female founders brought in just 2.2% of U.S. venture capital dollars.<br>Less than 10 percent of decision-makers at VC firms in the U.S. are women.<br>Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams are 25% more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile, according to McKinsey’s 2020 report.<br>Companies in the top quartile for ethnic and cultural diversity outperform those in the fourth quartile by 36% in profitability, according to McKinsey.<br>Latinx women make up less than 2% of women-led startups, according to Digital Undivided.<br>Since 2009, Black women have only received .06% of all venture funding, according to Digital Undivided.<br>Black women make 79 cents for every dollar white men earn in the tech industry, according to Hired.<br><br><br>Glossary of terms<br><br>Below, you’ll find a list of commonly used terms when talking about diversity, equity and inclusion.<br><br>Ableism: Discrimination that favors able-bodied people.<br>Accomplice: Someone who uses their privilege to actively advocate for change as it pertains to BIPOC, women, disabled people and so forth. An example of this is a white person who calls out racism in the workplace.<br>Ally: A more passive version of an accomplice. An example of an ally is someone who supports the cause but may not put themselves on the line.<br>Anti-racist: “To be antiracist is to think nothing is behaviorally wrong or right — inferior or superior — with any of the racial groups. Whenever the antiracist sees individuals behaving positively or negatively, the antiracist sees exactly that: individuals behaving positively or negatively, not representatives of whole races. To be antiracist is to deracialize behavior, to remove the tattooed stereotype from every racialized body.” – Ibram X. Kendi<br>BIPOC: Black, Indigenous and people of color. This term is an alternative to simply saying “people of color,” which fails to recognize the unique experiences and hardships of Black (slavery) and Indigenous (genocide) folks in the U.S.<br>Cisgender: Person whose gender matches their sex assigned at birth.<br>Culture fit: Code for “looks like me, thinks like me,” which can lead to homogenous workplaces.<br>Diversity report: An oftentimes yearly report where tech companies show their employee demographic breakdown.<br>Equality: Treating everyone the same, regardless of any structural barriers of discrimination.<br>Equity: Treating people in fair and just ways that take into account systemic discrimination and other structural barriers.<br>Gender nonconforming: People who identify with no specific gender.<br>Imposter syndrome: When individuals doubt their worth and accomplishments and fear being exposed as a fraud.<br>Intersectionality: The concept that people face multi-faceted layers of discrimination as a result of their intersecting identities relating to race, gender, class, sexual orientation, etc. For women and trans people of color, the oppressive institutions of racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia all come into play and cannot be examined separately.<br>Microaggression: Casual comments, behaviors or actions that are driven by underlying biases about a particular race, gender, sexuality or other characteristic. A classic example of this is telling a Black person, “You’re so articulate!” or, “You’re the whitest Black person I know!” The former suggests its rare for Black people to be articulate while the latter implies that Black person’s behavior doesn’t fit in with society’s stereotypical ideas of Blackness.<br>Performative: Engaging in woke speak without engaging in woke action.<br>Pipeline problem: A misconception that the lack of diversity in tech is a result of too few Black and Latinx people interested in technology.<br>Transgender: Person whose gender identity does not match their sex assigned at birth.<br>Unconscious bias: Also known as implicit biases, these are underlying beliefs people have about certain groups of people that are powered by stereotypes. Over the years, however, some have argued that these types of biases are not all that unconscious.<br>White privilege: The benefits and advantages that people have simply for being white in society. More here.<br><br><br>DE&I Landscape<br><br>Diversity, inclusion and equity do not just mean hiring and recruiting Black and brown folks. It touches on all aspects of the tech industry, including venture capital and the gig economy, where many of its workers are Black, Indigenous or people of color.<br>Common wisdom is that it’s better to start focusing on your startup’s diversity and inclusion efforts sooner rather than later. And by “sooner” we mean now.<br>Below, you’ll find an overview of the organizations active in this space. Whether you’re looking to beef up your recruiting efforts, implement unconscious bias or allyship trainings, seek mentorship, get funding or connect with other gig workers, there’s something here for you.<br>Image Credits: TechCrunch (opens in a new window)<br>This guide is not comprehensive but is designed to serve as a starting point for those not quite knowing where to begin. As for next steps, we recommend getting in touch with any of those organizations featured above that piqued your interest.<br><br>Additional reading<br><br><br>The future of diversity and inclusion in tech<br><br><br>A diversity and inclusion playbook<br><br><b>Author:Megan Rose Dickey</b><br><b>Source:https://techcrunch.com/2020/08/14/diversity-equity-inclusion-overview/</b>

Ayush Kashyap

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Bank credit up 5.5% to Rs 102.65 trillion, deposits rise 11.1%: RBI data

Bank credit up 5.5% to Rs 102.65 trillion, deposits rise 11.1%: RBI data

Bank credit and deposits grew 5.51 per cent and 11.11 per cent to Rs 102.65 trillion and Rs 141.61 trillion, respectively, in the fortnight ended July 31, according to the latest data from the RBI.In the fortnight ended August 2, 2019, bank credit and deposits were at Rs 97.29 trillion and Rs 127.44 trillion, respectively.<br><br><br><br><br> <br><p>On a year-on-year (y-o-y) basis, non-food bank credit growth was at 6.7 per cent in June 2020, nearly the same as in May 2020 but lower than the growth of 11.1 per cent in June 2019.<br> <br><p>Credit growth to agriculture and allied activities rose 2.4 per cent in June, compared with a higher growth of 8.7 per cent in the corresponding month of 2019.<br> <br><p>Loan growth to industry grew 2.2 per cent in June 2020, compared with 6.4 per cent growth in June 2019. Credit to large industries increased 3.7 per cent, against 7.6 per cent a year ago.<br> <br><p>Credit to the services sector continued to grow at a robust, albeit decelerated rate at 10.7 per cent in June 2020 as against 13 per cent in June 2019.<br> <br><p>Personal loans continued to perform well registering a growth of 10.5 per cent in June, nearly the same as in May but lower than 16.6 per cent growth in June 2019.On a year-on-year (y-o-y) basis, non-food bank credit growth was at 6.7 per cent in June 2020, nearly the same as in May 2020 but lower than the growth of 11.1 per cent in June 2019.Credit growth to agriculture and allied activities rose 2.4 per cent in June, compared with a higher growth of 8.7 per cent in the corresponding month of 2019.Loan growth to industry grew 2.2 per cent in June 2020, compared with 6.4 per cent growth in June 2019. Credit to large industries increased 3.7 per cent, against 7.6 per cent a year ago.Credit to the services sector continued to grow at a robust, albeit decelerated rate at 10.7 per cent in June 2020 as against 13 per cent in June 2019.Personal loans continued to perform well registering a growth of 10.5 per cent in June, nearly the same as in May but lower than 16.6 per cent growth in June 2019.<br><br><b>Author:Press Trust of India</b><br><b>Source:https://www.business-standard.com/article/finance/bank-credit-up-5-5-to-rs-102-65-trillion-deposits-rise-11-1-rbi-data-120081401742_1.html</b>

Chiranjeet K

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Current Affairs in Short 14 August 2020

Current Affairs in Short 14 August 2020

A joint team of senior officials of Air India, security officers, and senior government officials has left for the United States to accept the delivery of VVIP aircraft Air India One.• A joint team of senior officials of Air India, security officers, and senior government officials has left for the United States to accept the delivery of the Special Extra Section Flight (SESF) or VVIP aircraft Air India One.• One out of the total two Boeing-777 ER aircraft is ready for delivery in August to India. The Air India One has been specially designed for the Prime Minister, President and Vice President of India. • Air India One is equipped with an advance and secure communication system which allows availing audio and video communication function at mid-air without hacked or taped. Air India will receive the aircraft and later hand it over to the Indian Air Force (IAF).• India in its effort to demonstrate solidarity with the people of Lebanon in the aftermath of the tragic explosions in Beirut has sent 58 MT of emergency humanitarian aid.• Humanitarian aid includes crucial medical and food supplies. The emergency supplies are being sent to Beirut in IAF C17 aircraft. The information was shared by External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar.• The Ashok Gehlot-led government in Rajasthan won the vote of confidence in the state assembly on August 14, 2020 by voice vote.• The vote of confidence was passed with a very good majority in the Rajasthan assembly, informed Congress leader Sachin Pilot. The confidence motion was brought in the assembly after the reunification of the Gehlot and Sachin Pilot factions of the Rajasthan Congress party. • While speaking to the media after the assembly session, Pilot said that this has put a full stop on all suspicions that were rising and a roadmap has been prepared for all the issues that were being raised. He said that he has complete faith that the roadmap will be announced timely.• Union Home Minister Amit Shah on August 14, 2020 informed that he has tested negative for COVID-19 and he will stay in home isolation for a few more days on the advice of doctors.• The Home Minister had tested positive for coronavirus on August 2 and was undergoing treatment in Medanta Hospital, Gurugram.• The minister further expressed his heartfelt gratitude to all those who have blessed him and his family and all the doctors and paramedical staff of Medanta Hospital who helped him in fighting the corona infection.• India on August 14, 2020 welcomed the full normalisation in relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), saying that the two countries are India’s key strategic partners.• The External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar received a call from UAE Foreign Minister on the announcement of full normalisation of relations between the UAE and Israel. • India has been a consistent supporter of the peace, development and stability in West Asia, which is its extended neighbourhood.• India continues its traditional support for the Palestinian cause and hopes to see the beginning of direct negotiations between Israel and Palestine for an acceptable two-state solution.Download our Current Affairs & GK app For exam preparationडाउनलोड करें करेंट अफेयर्स ऐप एग्जाम की तैयारी के लिए<br><br><b>Author:Sangeeta Nair</b><br><b>Source:https://www.jagranjosh.com/current-affairs/current-affairs-in-short-14-august-2020-1597417315-1?ref=list_ca</b>

Sourav Kumar

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Gold May Have Topped Out After Historic Uptrend

Gold May Have Topped Out After Historic Uptrend

The gold futures contract and gold mining stocks may have topped out after a historic uptrend that lifted the yellow metal to an all-time high above $2,000. Stabilization in the world economy and its beneficial effect on the bond market predict growing headwinds for gold bugs in coming weeks, perhaps offering a buying opportunity when the dreaded second wave of the pandemic makes an unwelcome appearance this fall and winter.Big cyclical highs posted in prior years represent major resistance levels that can take a long time to overcome, if at all. Just look at price action in big tech names that topped out when the internet bubble burst in 2000. It took more than a decade for many of these issues to complete round trips and then another few years to break out. There are exceptions, but there are also well-known tech stocks, like Intel Corporation (INTC), that have never mounted their peaks.Psychologically speaking, gold futures and gold miners are now overloaded with weak hands who need to be shaken out to support current and higher price levels. Predatory algorithms could target this massive supply at any time but might wait until a bearish catalyst comes along or until the fourth quarter, when traders return to their desks and volume hits higher levels. However it unfolds, now is a perfect time to place stops and avoid new long entries."Gold bug" is a colloquial expression used to refer to people that are particularly bullish on gold. Although people differ in their reasons for being a gold bug, they commonly share a perception that the purchasing power of fiat currencies will decline due to factors such as inflation, expansionary monetary policy, and the rising national debt.The SPDR Gold Fund (GLD) came public in 2004 and entered a strong uptrend less than one year later, lifting in multiple rally waves into the September 2011 high at $185.85. The fund then eased into a corrective pattern that carved a bearish descending triangle, finally breaking down in the second quarter of 2013. Aggressive sellers maintained control into December 2015, when the downtrend found support near $100 ($1,000 on the futures contract).The subsequent recovery wave posted lower highs in 2016 and 2018, carving a nearly perfect descending trendline that was mounted on heavy volume in June 2019, confirming the first new uptrend since 2011. Price action completed the round trip into the prior high on July 29, yielding an immediate breakout and an Aug. 6 all-time high at $194.45. The fund has now sold off into the prior high after posting heavy downside volume that raises the odds for a long-term top.A top refers to the price peak of an asset during a trading period, prior to a period of decline in price.The VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX) came public in the mid-$30s in 2006 and entered a modest uptrend that topped out near $57 in March 2008. It sold off to $15.83 during the economic collapse and turned sharply higher, reaching the prior peak in December 2009. A November 2010 breakout posted an all-time high at $66.98 in the third quarter of 2011, giving way to a decline that failed the breakout in April 2012.The downtrend reached the 2008 low in 2014, ahead of a 2015 breakdown that hit an all-time low at $12.40 in January 2016. The subsequent bounce stalled just above $30 in August, while downdrafts into the first quarter of 2020 found support in the mid-to-upper teens. The fund broke out above 2016 resistance in April and rolled over at the .618 Fibonacci selloff retracement after the gold reversal. This harmonic barrier should limit the upside until gold rallies to a new high.Gold futures and the gold miners fund may have topped out after powerful trend advances, warning investors and traders with exposure to protect profits.Disclosure: The author held no positions in the aforementioned securities or contracts at the time of publication.<br><br><b>Author:Alan Farley</b><br><b>Source:https://www.investopedia.com/gold-may-have-topped-out-after-historic-uptrend-5074875</b>

Sourav Singh

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Ecommerce Companies Want Six Month Extension To Comply With 'Country Of Origin' Rule

Ecommerce Companies Want Six Month Extension To Comply With 'Country Of Origin' Rule

In a letter to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, FICCI has asked for six to seven months time for complying with new Consumer Protection RulesThe new consumer protection rules for ecommerce companies mandate displaying 'country of origin' for products, among other thingsFailure to comply with the rules would attract penalties as per the Consumer Protection Act (CPA), 2019Ecommerce industry associations have sought another 6-7 months extension from the government to comply with the new consumer protection rules. The mandatory listing of 'country of origin' for products listed on ecommerce websites is one of the main rules to be followed. <br> Other key provisions include the appointment of grievance offers and resolution of consumer complaints within one month of receiving the complaint, among other such provisions.The Consumer Protection (Ecommerce) Rules, 2020, were notified on July 23 and came into effect immediately. The Rules are applicable to all goods and services, bought or sold over digital or electronic networks, including digital products. As such, even companies providing internet services such as online ticketing and hotel booking, are defined as ecommerce entities and subject to the new rules.Reportedly , the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICC) wrote to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs earlier this month, asking for six to seven months time for complying with the new rules."Some of these requirements will put undue stress on MSME sellers who already have their backs up against the wall due to excessive compliances that come with selling online," a senior executive at an e-commerce firm told Economic Times.The new rules also apply to overseas-based ecommerce entities supplying goods and services to Indian customers.Last month, the DPIIT had proposed August 1 as the deadline for etailers to display 'country of origin' information for all products being retailed on their website. In response, ecommerce companies Amazon and Flipkart sought more time, saying that a hastened deadline would harm small sellers, who may be unsure about ways of complying with the new rules. Later in the same month, Amazon, in a letter to its sellers, asked them to provide 'country of origin' information for products by August 10.According to the new consumer protection rules for etailers, failure to abide by them would attract penalties as per the recently ratified Consumer Protection Act (CPA), 2019.The CPA mandates every ecommerce entity to provide information relating to return, refund, exchange, warranty and guarantee, delivery and shipment, modes of payment and grievance redressal mechanism, among other things to enable the consumer to make an informed decision. Further, the Act also calls upon ecommerce entities to provide 'country of origin' information for all products. The 'country of origin' clause has attracted a lot of attention in the wake of anti-China sentiment in the country and the resultant call to reduce dependency on imports.There is some confusion regarding the timeline for the implementation of the 'country of origin' provision in the new rules. "DPIIT conducted stakeholder participation in early July 2020 and the proposed timeline indicated by DPIIT to the participant brands/platforms for displaying 'country of origin' was August 1, 2020 (for any new products/items) and October 1, 2020 (for any legacy products/items) however, the Ecommerce Rules do not clarify this," Kaushalya Venkataraman, partner, Chandhiok & Mahajan Advocates and Solicitors told Inc42 .<br><br><b>Author:Inc42</b><br><b>Source:https://m.dailyhunt.in/news/india/english/inc42-epaper-inc/ecommerce+companies+want+six+month+extension+to+comply+with+country+of+origin+rule-newsid-n206493842</b>

Pintu Kumar

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Researchers explore sound to help improve robotic perception

Researchers explore sound to help improve robotic perception

Robots primarily rely on two basic senses: vision and touch. But even the latter still has a long ways to go to get up to the speed with the former. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University are looking to hearing as a potential additional sense to help machines increase their perception of the world around them.<br>A new experiment from CMU features Rethink Robotics’ Sawyer moving objects inside a metal tray to get a sense of the sounds they make as a roll around, slide and crash into the sides. There are 60 objects in all — including tools, wooden blocks, tennis balls and an apple — with 15,000 “interactions” recorded and cataloged.<br>The robot, named “Tilt-Bot” by the team, was capable of identifying objects with a 76% success rate, even determining the relatively small material differences between a metal screwdriver and wrench. Using the sound data, the robot was often able to correctly determine the material make up of the objects.<br><br>“I think what was really exciting was that when it failed, it would fail on things you expect it to fail on,” CMU assistant professor Oliver Kroemer said in a release tied to the research. “But if it was a different object, such as a block versus a cup, it could figure that out.”<br>This is still early stages stuff, with the initial results only just having been published, but the researches foresee the potential to harness sound detection as yet another tool in a robot’s sensing arsenal. Among the possibilities is the inclusion of a “cane,” the machines could us to tap an object in order to better determine its material properties.<br><br><b>Author:Brian Heater</b><br><b>Source:https://techcrunch.com/2020/08/14/researchers-explore-sound-to-help-improve-robotic-perception/</b>

Md Imran

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OnePlus Nord Next Sale Date Announced; To Be Available Via Amazon Next Week

OnePlus Nord Next Sale Date Announced; To Be Available Via Amazon Next Week

OnePlus Nord debuted as the company's affordable 5G smartphone recently in India. It has gone up for sale via Amazon earlier. The company is also said to bring a new colour variant of the device sometime in October. It is now slated to go on sale again next week in India and will be available for purchase via e-commerce platforms.OnePlus Nord Next Sale Date IndiaThe OnePlus Nord is now going on sale again on August 20 in the Indian market. <br> It will be available for purchase via Amazon. As for the pricing, the 8GB RAM+ 128GB storage model is priced at Rs. 27,999. On the other hand, you will be able to buy the 12GB RAM and 256GB storage model will sell for Rs. 27,999. Notably, only these two models will be available for sale on the aforementioned date.Currently, there is no word on the availability of the base model which comes with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage. It is priced at Rs. 24,999. You can select the device from two different shades which include Blue Marble and Gray Onyx.Why Should You Buy OnePlus Nord?The OnePlus Nord is one of the most feature-packed smartphones which runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processor paired with Adreno 640 GPU. The device features a pill-shaped punch-hole for dual selfie cameras. Also, the display features an FHD+ resolution, 20:9 aspect ratio, and 90Hz refresh rate.The camera hardware includes a quad-lens setup at the rear with a 48MP primary sensor that has an f/1.8 aperture. The handset also features an 8MP ultra-wide-angle sensor with an f/2.3 aperture, a 5MP sensor with an f/2.4 aperture, and a 2MP sensor with an f/2.4 aperture.The dual-selfie camera setup comprises a 32MP primary sensor with an f/2.5 aperture and an 8MP ultra-wide-angle sensor with an f/2.5 aperture. It runs on Android 10 OS and has Oxygen OS UI. Powering it is a 4,115 mAh battery unit and is backed by 30T Quick Charging technology.source: gizbot.com<br><br><b>Author:Gizbot</b><br><b>Source:https://m.dailyhunt.in/news/india/english/gizbot-epaper-enggiz/oneplus+nord+next+sale+date+announced+to+be+available+via+amazon+next+week-newsid-n206502760</b>

Shivani Bhatt

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NSE, IIM-Bangalore join hands, unveil platform for investor education

NSE, IIM-Bangalore join hands, unveil platform for investor education

The National Stock Exchange (NSE) on Friday announced the launch of a digital learning platform for investor education.The platform, an online investor education resource centre, has been developed jointly by NSE Investor Protection Fund Trust and IIM Bangalore.<br><br><br><br><br> <br><p>The platform was launched by Sebi's executive director Nagendraa Parakh, in a virtual function held on Friday.<br> <br><p>NSE said the Platform for investor education (PIE) imparts investor education in simple easy-to-understand video, audio, and other digital media formats.<br> <br><p>The platform has four learning modules each comprising number of videos, audios, podcasts, deep-dives and blog posts presenting the content using the latest animation and data visualization technology to actively engage different cohorts of potential investors, it added.<br> <br><p>One of the unique aspects of the platform is involvement of top notch experts in the field and experienced faculty making the offering relevant to the entire spectrum of investors from first-time investors to experienced investors.<br> <br><p>An option is made available to the user to access the audio content in multiple languages to cater to a larger set of audience, it added.<br> <br><p>"In the last few months more than three lakh people joined as new investors by leveraging on technology, thus getting connected to capital market investments. I appreciate the efforts of NSE and IIM Bangalore in developing the digital learning platform of Investor education," Parakh said.<br> <br><p>Vikram Limaye, MD and CEO of NSE, said the wave of change in today's Indian markets can mainly be attributed to the higher education levels, availability of information and investment tools at everyone's fingertips and investible surplus.<br> <br><p>According to him, one of the major reasons behind this change can be attributed to the improving investor awareness via enhanced availability of information through digital media and growing awareness amongst general public about newer financial asset classes apart from conventional fixed deposits and other such avenues.(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)The platform was launched by Sebi's executive director Nagendraa Parakh, in a virtual function held on Friday.NSE said the Platform for investor education (PIE) imparts investor education in simple easy-to-understand video, audio, and other digital media formats.The platform has four learning modules each comprising number of videos, audios, podcasts, deep-dives and blog posts presenting the content using the latest animation and data visualization technology to actively engage different cohorts of potential investors, it added.One of the unique aspects of the platform is involvement of top notch experts in the field and experienced faculty making the offering relevant to the entire spectrum of investors from first-time investors to experienced investors.An option is made available to the user to access the audio content in multiple languages to cater to a larger set of audience, it added."In the last few months more than three lakh people joined as new investors by leveraging on technology, thus getting connected to capital market investments. I appreciate the efforts of NSE and IIM Bangalore in developing the digital learning platform of Investor education," Parakh said.Vikram Limaye, MD and CEO of NSE, said the wave of change in today's Indian markets can mainly be attributed to the higher education levels, availability of information and investment tools at everyone's fingertips and investible surplus.According to him, one of the major reasons behind this change can be attributed to the improving investor awareness via enhanced availability of information through digital media and growing awareness amongst general public about newer financial asset classes apart from conventional fixed deposits and other such avenues.(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)<br><br><b>Author:Press Trust of India <p><p><p><p><p><p><p><p> <p><p><p><p><p><p><p><p> |  <br><p><p><p><p><p><p><p><p> <p><p><p><p><p><p><p><p> <p><p><p><p><p><p><p><p> New Delhi</b><br><b>Source:https://www.business-standard.com/article/markets/nse-iim-bangalore-join-hands-unveil-platform-for-investor-education-120081401654_1.html</b>

PAWAN KUMAR VERMA

OjR07XMB8MTbICo7u9JC

This online calculator can predict your stroke risk

This online calculator can predict your stroke risk

The study found that stroke risk increased consistently with metabolic syndrome severity even in patients without diabetes. Doctors can use this information -- and a scoring tool developed by a UVA Children's pediatrician and his collaborator at the University of Florida -- to identify patients at risk and help them reduce that risk."We had previously shown that the severity of metabolic syndrome was linked to future coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes," said UVA's Mark DeBoer, MD. "This study showed further links to future ischemic strokes."Ischemic Stroke RiskDeBoer developed the scoring tool, an online calculator to assess the severity of metabolic syndrome, with Matthew J. Gurka, PhD, of the Department of Health Outcomes and Biomedical Informatics at the University of Florida, Gainesville. The tool is available for free at https://metscalc.org/.To evaluate the association between ischemic stroke and metabolic syndrome, DeBoer and Gurka reviewed more than 13,000 participants in prior studies and their stroke outcomes. Among that group, there were 709 ischemic strokes over a mean period of 18.6 years assessed in the studies. (Ischemic strokes are caused when blood flow to the brain is obstructed by blood clots or clogged arteries. Hemorrhagic strokes, on the other hand, are caused when blood vessels rupture.)The researchers used their tool to calculate "Z scores" measuring the severity of metabolic syndrome among the study participants. They could then analyze the association between metabolic syndrome and ischemic stroke risk.The subgroup with the highest association between metabolic syndrome and risk for ischemic stroke was white women, the researchers found. In this group, the research team was able to identify relationships between the individual contributors to metabolic syndrome, such as high blood pressure, and stroke risk.The researchers note that race and sex did not seem to make a major difference in stroke risk overall, and they caution that the increased risk seen in white women could be the results of chance alone. "Nevertheless," they write in a new scientific article outlining their findings, "these results are notable enough that they may warrant further study into race and sex differences."The overall relationship between metabolic syndrome severity and stroke risk was clear, however. And this suggests people with metabolic syndrome can make lifestyle changes to reduce that risk. Losing weight, exercising more, choosing healthy foods -- all can help address metabolic syndrome and its harmful effects.DeBoer hopes that the tool he and Gurka developed will help doctors guide patients as they seek to reduce their stroke risk and improve their health and well-being."In case there are still individuals out there debating whether to start exercising or eating a healthier diet," DeBoer said, "this study provides another wake-up call to motivate us all toward lifestyle changes."<br><br><b>Author:University of Virginia Health System</b><br><b>Source:https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/08/200814101659.htm</b>

Ankit Tiwari

CsOo7XMBrfMs8BydOSB0

Oil slips below $45 on rising supply, demand doubts due to Covid-19

Oil slips below $45 on rising supply, demand doubts due to Covid-19

Oil slipped further below $45 a barrel on Friday, giving up this week's gains, under pressure from doubts about demand recovery due to the novel coronavirus pandemic and rising supply.Two prominent forecasters, the International Energy Agency and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, trimmed their 2020 oil demand forecasts this week. OPEC and its allies are increasing output this month.<br><br><br><br><br> <br><p>"Pessimism about this year's oil demand growth prospects is due to the weakening outlook in the coming months," said Stephen Brennock of oil broker PVM.<br> <br><p>"To make matters worse, global oil supply is on the upswing."<br> <br><p>Brent crude was 37 cents, or 0.8%, lower at $44.59 by 0940 GMT, heading for a flat week. U.S. West Texas Intermediate slipped 41 cents, or 1%, to $41.83.<br> <br><p>"Although both contracts continue to consolidate at the upper end of their two-month trading ranges, they lack the momentum to stage meaningful rallies at this stage," said Jeffrey Halley of brokerage OANDA.<br> <br><p>Prices had been bolstered this week by U.S. government data showing crude oil, gasoline and distillate inventories all fell last week as refiners ramped up production and demand for oil products rose.<br> <br><p>Oil has recovered from lows touched in April, when WTI briefly turned negative. Still, a rise in the number of coronavirus infections has limited gains. India reported another record daily rise in cases on Thursday.<br><br>OPEC and allies including Russia, a group known as OPEC+, have cut output since May by around 10% of pre-pandemic global demand to support the market. The deal calls for an increase in output this month as demand recovers.<br> <br><p>An OPEC+ panel meets next week to review the market and is not expected to tweak the agreement."Pessimism about this year's oil demand growth prospects is due to the weakening outlook in the coming months," said Stephen Brennock of oil broker PVM."To make matters worse, global oil supply is on the upswing."Brent crude was 37 cents, or 0.8%, lower at $44.59 by 0940 GMT, heading for a flat week. U.S. West Texas Intermediate slipped 41 cents, or 1%, to $41.83."Although both contracts continue to consolidate at the upper end of their two-month trading ranges, they lack the momentum to stage meaningful rallies at this stage," said Jeffrey Halley of brokerage OANDA.Prices had been bolstered this week by U.S. government data showing crude oil, gasoline and distillate inventories all fell last week as refiners ramped up production and demand for oil products rose.Oil has recovered from lows touched in April, when WTI briefly turned negative. Still, a rise in the number of coronavirus infections has limited gains. India reported another record daily rise in cases on Thursday.OPEC and allies including Russia, a group known as OPEC+, have cut output since May by around 10% of pre-pandemic global demand to support the market. The deal calls for an increase in output this month as demand recovers.An OPEC+ panel meets next week to review the market and is not expected to tweak the agreement.<br><br><b>Author:Alex Lawler | Reuters <p><p><p><p><p><p><p><p> <p><p><p><p><p><p><p><p> |  <br><p><p><p><p><p><p><p><p> <p><p><p><p><p><p><p><p> <p><p><p><p><p><p><p><p> London</b><br><b>Source:https://www.business-standard.com/article/markets/oil-slips-below-45-on-rising-supply-demand-doubts-due-to-covid-19-120081401695_1.html</b>

Preeti Kumari

7zRw7XMB8MTbICo7TdH9

July WPI at -0.58 per cent, food prices spike

July WPI at -0.58 per cent, food prices spike

New Delhi: The wholesale price-based inflation stood at (-) 0.58 per cent in July, remaining in the negative zone for the fourth straight month even as vegetables and other food items turned costlier.WPI inflation in June was (-) 1.81 per cent, while for the month of May and April it was (-) 3.37 per cent and (-) 1.57 per cent respectively.The steep fall in deflation from June to July slightly reduced the gap between WPI and Consumer Price Index-based inflation. On Thursday, official data had shown a spike of 6.93 per cent in July, mainly on account of higher prices of food items. It was for the second consecutive month that the retail inflation has been above the RBI's comfort level.Inflation in food articles was at a four-month high level of 4.08 per cent in July, mainly due to sharp rise in vegetable prices. Inflation in vegetables stood at 8.20 per cent, against (-) 9.21 per cent in June.Pulses saw inflation of 10.24 per cent, while for potato it was 69.07 per cent in July. Protein rich items like egg, meat and fish saw hardening of prices with inflation at 5.27 per cent."The wholesale primary food inflation recorded a sharper climb in July 2020 relative to the previous month, as compared to the modest uptick in the retail food inflation, highlighting the varied trends at the mandi and retail level. Nevertheless, the CPI food inflation remained much higher than the wholesale food inflation in July 2020," said Aditi Nayar, Principal Economist with ICRA Ltd."With a sharp base effect. we expect the core items to record a turnaround to a mild inflation in August 2020, even as the headline WPI may remain in disinflation, the pace of which is likely to narrow further," Nayar said.<br><br><b>Author:ETNow</b><br><b>Source:https://m.dailyhunt.in/news/india/english/etnow-epaper-etnoweng/july+wpi+at+0+58+per+cent+food+prices+spike-newsid-n206501452</b>

Swati Ojha

17pr7XMByKmKpcDTSx36

OSSC Recruitment 2020 for 239 SI, Soil Conservation Extension Worker, Weaving Supervisor and Superintendent Posts, Apply @ossc.gov.in

OSSC Recruitment 2020 for 239 SI, Soil Conservation Extension Worker, Weaving Supervisor and Superintendent Posts, Apply @ossc.gov.in

OSSC Recruitment 2020: Odisha Staff Selection Commission (OSSC) has re-released the recruitment notification for the post of Weaving Supervisor, Sub-Inspector of Excise, Superintendent and Soil Conservation Extension Worker. Eligible candidates who are interested for the posts can apply for the post from 16 August to 15 September 2020 on official website of OSSC i.e. ossc.gov.in.Important DatesOSSC Vacancy DetailsTotal Posts - 239Eligibility Criteria for Weaving Supervisor, Sub-Inspector of Excise, Superintendent and Soil Conservation Extension WorkerEducational Qualification:Age Limit:How to Apply for the OSSC Recruitment 2020 ?Eligible candidates can apply Online for the posts through the OSSC’s Website www.ossc.gov.in from from 16 August to 15 September 2020.Download OSSC Recruitment NotificationNOTICE REGARDING ACTIVATION OF ONLINE APPLICATION FOR WEAVING SUPERVISOR & SUPERINTENDENT (PMF) ARTIST-2019DETAIL ADVERTISEMENT FOR THE POST OF WEAVING SUPERVISOR & SUPERINTENDENT (PMF) ARTIST-2019NOTICE REGARDING ACTIVATION OF ONLINE APPLICATION FOR SUB INSPECTOR OF EXCISE-2019DETAIL ADVERTISEMENT FOR THE POST OF SUB INSPECTOR OF EXCISE-2019NOTICE REGARDING ACTIVATION OF ONLINE APPLICATION FOR SOIL CONSERVATION EXTENSION WORKER-2019DETAIL ADVERTISEMENT FOR THE POST OF SOIL CONSERVATION EXTENSION WORKER-2019Online Application Link<br><br><b>Author:Jagran josh</b><br><b>Source:https://m.dailyhunt.in/news/india/english/jagran+josh-epaper-jajoshen/ossc+recruitment+2020+for+239+si+soil+conservation+extension+worker+weaving+supervisor+and+superintendent+posts+apply+ossc+gov+in-newsid-n206502216</b>

Shubham kumar Pandey

_Lpw7XMByKmKpcDTJh3_

Unlock BFSI 2.0: Covid-19 a bigger boost for fintech than demonetisation

Unlock BFSI 2.0: Covid-19 a bigger boost for fintech than demonetisation

While demonetisation was a trigger for the adoption of digitisation in India, the Covid-19 pandemic had made the sector achieve in 5 months what it would have otherwise taken 5 years to achieve, said top financial technology (fintech) and technology-finance (techfin) experts at the Business Standard Unlock BFSI 2.0 webinar on Friday. While they all agreed that there were more opportunities than challenges for the sector going ahead, they underlined the importance of digital literacy and customer awareness to enable rural India to become part of the fintech revolution.They were speaking at the second session of Business Standard’s six-part Unlock BFSI 2.0 webinar series. The discussion was moderated by Tamal Bandopadhyay, consulting editor, Business Standard.The panelists in today’s session, titled ‘All roads lead to the digital world’, were Google Pay Managing Director and business head Sajith Sivanandan, PhonePe Chief Executive Sameer Nigam; Mswipe founder & CEO Manish Patel, Zerodha Chief Investment Officer Nikhil Kamath, VISA group country manager (India & South Asia) T R Ramachandran, and Infrasoft Technologies MD & CEO Rajesh Mirjankar.Ramachandran observed that several interesting trends had emerged for the fintech sector from the Covid-19 pandemic. Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) digitisation had gone up, along with the number of innovative payment solutions, there was a heterogenity of payments and the government had decided to play an active role in the space. "Any sector in which the government is interested is always an interesting sector."<br> <br>Mswipe's Patel said while he saw more opportunities than challenges in the future, the challenges were real and needed to be addressed. He further said that in contrast with offline payments earlier, more and more SMEs were shifting to online. "Largely, payments for SMEs meant offline. For the first time these SMEs are thinking of going online," he said.Zerodha's Kamath said: "More and more people are now moving to web platforms for stock trading."<br><br><br><br><br> <br>Crises tend to be a fertile breeding ground for innovation and an acceleration of a lot of trends in the fintech space has happened due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Google Pay’s Sivanandan said. "In 5 months, we have seen 5-10 years of progress."<br> <br>On his part, PhonePe's Nigam said Covid-19 had been very helpful in customer acquisition, with customers themselves turning into spokespersons for digital payment.Speaking on “sachetisation” of products like insurance and mutual funds, Nigam said: "The moment you talk about ‘Bharat’ consumers, you really need a 'sachet' for everything. Commenting on WhatsApp’s possible entry into the space, Nigam said: "I would like them to enter sooner than later. In payments, the first-mover advantage is really not that important."<br> <br>Zerodha's Kamath spoke about under-penetration of the broking market in the country and said that in the US equity markets there were a lot more participants. "It is not one broker cannibalising the other; we have to grow as a market as it is still underpenetrated in India," he said. He also said that more capital needed to come into the financial ecosystem.<br><br><b>Author:BS Web Team <p><p><p><p><p><p><p><p> <p><p><p><p><p><p><p><p> |  <br><p><p><p><p><p><p><p><p> <p><p><p><p><p><p><p><p> <p><p><p><p><p><p><p><p> New Delhi</b><br><b>Source:https://www.business-standard.com/article/finance/unlock-bfsi-2-0-covid-19-a-bigger-boost-for-fintech-than-demonetisation-120081401675_1.html</b>

Shashi Hansdah

mzRg7XMB8MTbICo7VtER

Nanoparticles to immunize plants against heat stress

Nanoparticles to immunize plants against heat stress

Civil and Environmental Engineering's Greg Lowry and his team are creating nanoparticles (NP) and NP coatings that will revolutionize the agricultural industry. Already, his research has demonstrated that NPs that are coated with the right polymers can be applied to plant leaves with 99 percent uptake—orders of magnitude more efficient than current agrochemical delivery methods. Their NP's are also able to target specific plant structures with pinpoint accuracy.<br><br> <br> <br><br><br><br><br><br>Now, as the next step in the emerging field he's coined "plant therapeutics," Lowry and Chemical Engineering's Bob Tilton are working to "immunize" plants against some of the greatest stress factors in agriculture: drought and extreme heat. In their recent paper in ACS Nano, they've detailed the first ever demonstration of a temperature-programmed release of a model antimicrobial agent within a plant. <br>"Prolonged high temperatures can induce stress in crop plants," says Tilton. "Our materials are designed so they can bind heat stress relief agents and release them inside the plant on demand when it becomes very hot." <br>The NPs are a new type of star polymer. Each NP contains a model antimicrobial agent known as crystal violet (CV). The team sprayed the NP's onto tomato leaves, observing similarly high absorption rates to those in Lowry's prior research, which then circulated throughout the entire plant over the next three days. The programmed release properties then became active once temperatures within the plant reached 35-40 degrees Celsius, causing the NPs to release their cargo of CV throughout the plant's interior. <br><br><br><br><br><br> (Top) Control images of the leaf surface (a), stomata and epidermis cells (b) , and stomatal cavity and the mesophyll cells (c). (Bottom) Spectral angle mapping test indicating remaining NPs in red: lack of color indicates complete absorption. Credit: Carnegie Mellon University<br> <br><br><br>Drought and extreme heat can kill plants, as well as making them highly susceptible to both biotic and abiotic threats. As global warming continues to increase the length and severity of heat waves, the difficulties for the agricultural industry will only grow. Tilton and Lowry's star polymers will lie dormant in plants until heat waves hit, at which point they will activate to release antimicrobial agents like CV to give the plant the added boost they need to survive these high-stress periods. They're now looking at inserting other therapeutics into plants that could not only help them fight off dangerous pathogens during periods of heat stress, but could actually mitigate the heat stress itself by stimulating photosynthesis within. <br><br><br><br><br><br><br>"Polymers with qualitatively similar characteristics have been investigated for use as drug delivery vehicles for medical therapies," says Tilton. "Of course, the conditions under which drug delivery vehicles and agrochemical vehicles must work, and the types of physical and chemical signals that can be exploited for stimulus-responsive release of the active agents, are quite different. The key was to design the right chemical properties into our vehicles to suit the crop protection applications."<br>As the climate changes, arable land shrinks, and populations continue to grow, maximizing the efficacy of agriculture has never been more crucial. The high absorption rates and array of applications for plant protection and nourishment offered by plant therapeutics may well be the key to offsetting these monumental forces. As Lowry and peers outlined in a recent article in Nature Food, agricultural nanotechnology is on the cusp of moving from the engineer's lab into the farmer's plot. However, the field still requires greater investment and effort to push testing into the field scale to demonstrate the efficacy and economic viability of revolutionary technology like the team's NPs.<br> <br> <br><br><b>Author:Carnegie Mellon University, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering</b><br><b>Source:https://phys.org/news/2020-08-nanoparticles-immunize-stress.html</b>

Prithviraj Mahto

t7pg7XMByKmKpcDTVR1O

The search for molecular glue in targeted disease control

The search for molecular glue in targeted disease control

In cells, there are proteins that do the work and proteins that regulate them. The latter inhibit or enhance activity, depending on the need. However, in many diseases—for example cancer—there is so much overactivity in the cell that the regulator proteins can no longer keep up with it. Researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology therefore developed a kind of molecular "glue" in 2019 that helps the regulator to inhibit faster. Now this technique has been further developed, and the researchers have found a completely unexpected way to look for new protein-gluing molecules. This offers prospects for the development of drugs for cancer, diabetes or cystic fibrosis, for example. They published their results last week in Nature Communications.<br><br> <br> <br><br><br><br><br><br>Overactive proteins are the cause of many diseases in our body. Doctors usually combat these directly by sending an inhibitory drug directed at the overactive protein. But that does not work for all diseases: the medicine sometimes inhibits not only the diseased proteins, but also the healthy ones. Researchers have therefore continued to look for other ways to inhibit overactive proteins, while the healthy proteins remain undisturbed.<br>Regulator proteins provide a logical route, because their natural function is to inhibit overactivity in the cell. If you can support those regulator proteins in their inhibitory power, like a volume knob that you turn up, then you have found a much more natural and effective way to suppress overactive proteins. TU/e-researchers Eline Sijbesma and Emira Visser of the Institute for Complex Molecular Systems have started working on this question.<br>Key and lock<br>The inhibition or amplification of activities in our cells takes place because a regulator protein binds to the process protein in the cell that needs regulation, together forming a complex. Sijbesma: "The shape of the two proteins and the place where they bind to each other creates a kind of cavity between the two proteins. It is precisely these cavities that are interesting for the targeted drug delivery. Such cavities are very specific; the binding sites available in a cavity are unique for each complex of two proteins. For us, these are the chemical handles we target with a new drug."<br>This is a familiar mechanism in the cell; cavities in protein complexes are bound by small signal molecules in the cell. They act as inhibitors, which ensure that no other protein can bind, or as stabilizers, which make the complex much more stable—this is what the researchers also want to do. Such a stabilizer acts as a kind of molecular glue that glues the two proteins together so that they can communicate better with each other, and as a result of which the regulator protein gets much more grip on inhibiting the process protein. An wayward disease protein can thus be powerfully corrected in a natural way.<br><br><br><br><br><br><br>Visser explains: "We want to make new stabilizers, but make them so unique that they only fit on one complex. So the crux is to find a particle that fits exactly in that specific cavity, like a key in a lock. Once you know how to do that, you can search for a suitable cavity per disease, and develop a very specific molecule for it."<br>Stabilizer versus inhibitor<br>In 2019 the researchers published a kind of glue molecule, which indeed fits exactly in the cavity of such a protein complex. As a result, the bond to the regulator protein actually became 40 times stronger than without the glue. Sijbesma: "Now that we had demonstrated that our hypothesis worked, we could look for new ways to find chemical starting points for glue molecules. We started that search with a set of virtual molecules, and then began tinkering to make one the exact fit for the complex we had in mind."<br>By coincidence, however, the researchers then discovered that one of the most promising molecules is a familiar inhibitor, which prevents the normal binding of proteins to the regulator protein. And that would mean that you can choose from a much larger pool of possible molecules. Visser: "We hadn't thought of that before, because you don't want the properties of the inhibitors, namely that no other protein is able to bind anymore."<br>However, after many modifications to the inhibitor molecule, the researchers turned out to be able to convert those undesirable properties to desired ones. "We convert an inhibitor into a stabilizer, as it were," explains Sijbesma. Sijbesma and Visser feared for a while that this new molecule would not be specific enough, and would therefore have an effect on several protein complexes, but this turned out not to be the case after extensive experimental work. The researchers discovered thus an entirely new pool of molecules that can be used as a starting point for their molecular glue.<br>Diabetes, cystic fibrosis and cancer<br>The next step is to test the new molecules in the cell. Eventually, the researchers hope to be able to set up a platform on which they can apply the same trick they will soon have at their fingertips to many different diseases in the future. They are thinking, for example, of metabolic diseases such as diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, cystic fibrosis and various types of cancer. Sijbesma concludes: "These are all diseases that are caused by wayward proteins, and which are also so complex that direct inhibition is often not selective enough."<br>These results were published on 7 August in the journal Nature Communications, titled "Structure-based evolution of a promiscuous inhibitor to a selective stabilizer of protein-protein interactions."<br> <br> <br><br><b>Author:Eindhoven University of Technology</b><br><b>Source:https://phys.org/news/2020-08-molecular-disease.html</b>

Ashish Acharya

wLph7XMByKmKpcDTKR1g

Obesity may increase risk of dying from COVID-19, especially in younger men

Obesity may increase risk of dying from COVID-19, especially in younger men

Researchers found a striking association between BMI and risk for death among patients with a diagnosis of COVID-19. The association was independent of obesity-related comorbities and other potential confounders. Their findings also suggest that high BMI was more strongly associated with COVID-19 mortality in younger adults and male patients, but not in female patients and older adults. A retrospective cohort study is published in Annals of Internal Medicine.<br> <br><br><br><br><br> Researchers studied health records for more than 6,900 patients treated for COVID-19 in the Kaiser Permanete Southern California health care system from February to May 2020 to determine the association between obesity and death from COVID-19. The obesity risk was adjusted for common comorbidities, including diabetes, hypertension, heart failure, myocardial infarction, and chronic lung or renal disease, which themselves are risk factors for poor outcomes in COVID-19. The study also took into account when SARS-CoV-2 was detected. They found that patients in the highest weight group were four times as likely to die within 21 days of being diagnosed with COVID-19 as those in the normal weight group. Men and those younger than 60 years who had a high body weight were at particularly high risk for death. According to the researchers, identifying obesity as an independent risk factor is important so that patients with obesity can take extra precautions and health care providers and public health officials can consider this when providing care and making public health decisions.<br>The author of an accompanying editorial from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine suggests that these findings in addition to prior research should put to rest any notion that obesity is common in severe COVID-19 because it is common in the population. The research proves that obesity is an important independent risk factor for serious COVID-19 disease and that the risks are higher in younger patients. According to the author, this is probably not because obesity is particularly damaging in this age group; it is more likely that other serious comorbidities that evolve later in life take over as dominant risk factors. That males are particularly affected may reflect their greater visceral adiposity over females.<br> <br><br><b>Author:American College of Physicians</b><br><b>Source:https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-08-obesity-dying-covid-younger-men.html</b>

Rohit Kumar Choudhary

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Severe COVID-19 associated with heart issues

Severe COVID-19 associated with heart issues

The number of people coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is rising with more cases in the U.S. (5M according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC) than any other country (20M confirmed cases worldwide, according to the World Health Organization, WHO).<br> <br><br><br><br><br> Initially thought to be an infection causing disease of the lungs, inflammation of the vascular system and injury to the heart appear to be common features of this novel coronavirus, occurring in 20% to 30% of hospitalized patients and contributing to 40% of deaths. The risk of death from COVID-19-related heart damage appears to be as or more important than other well-described risk factors for COVID-related mortality, such as age, diabetes mellitus, chronic pulmonary disease or prior history of cardiovascular disease.<br>"Much remains to be learned about COVID-19 infection and the heart. Although we think of the lungs being the primary target, there are frequent biomarker elevations noted in infected patients that are usually associated with acute heart injury. Moreover, several devastating complications of COVID-19 are cardiac in nature and may result in lingering cardiac dysfunction beyond the course of the viral illness itself," said Mitchell S. V. Elkind, M.D., MS, FAHA, FAAN, president of the American Heart Association, the world's leading voluntary organization focused on heart and brain health and research, and attending neurologist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center. "The need for additional research remains critical. We simply don't have enough information to provide the definitive answers people want and need."<br>Compared with other major viral outbreaks in recent memory, including severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS-CoV-1) in 2002-2003, the pandemic of COVID-19, which is caused by a novel coronavirus termed severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), appears to be less fatal, but it spreads more easily. Adults over age 60 are likely more susceptible to contracting the infection and more likely to die when they do. However, researchers do not yet know why older people are more likely to get sick.<br>While the majority of COVID-19 patients appear to recover well, a smaller number experience severe, exaggerated inflammation throughout the body, known as a cytokine storm. This systematic inflammation, which is carried through and affects the entire vascular system, is seen in the most severe cases and at the advanced stage of the illness. It can lead to widespread blood clotting, organ failure and/or damage to the heart or other organs. Similarly generalized inflammation likely contributes to a condition known as Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, seen in a small number of children with COVID-19 who displayed Kawasaki disease-like symptoms. Symptoms of this syndrome are fever, abdominal pain, gastrointestinal complaints and rash. Myocarditis and meningitis can occur, and patients may have circulatory collapse and respiratory failure.<br><br><br><br><br><br><br>COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) enters cells by binding to the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, or ACE2, a component in the body's vascular system that controls blood pressure and may contribute to the development of cardiovascular issues. The relationship between viral entry and ACE2 had led to controversy surrounding the use of drugs which interfere with the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, thereby increasing the level of ACE2 and theoretically increasing susceptibility to infection. However, credible animal models of viral infection have shown that higher ACE2 levels may be protective by providing a backlog of receptors to offset those lost during the infection. And human studies have not shown greater susceptibility to or severity of infection among those taking drugs that affects ACE2.<br>In March, the American Heart Association, the Heart Failure Society of America and the American College of Cardiology jointly recommended continuation of angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE-i) or angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB) medications for all patients already prescribed those medications for indications such as heart failure, hypertension or ischemic heart disease. The statement— which remains valid today—indicates that patients with cardiovascular disease who are diagnosed with COVID-19 should be fully evaluated before adding or removing any treatments, and any changes to their treatment should be based on the latest scientific evidence and shared-decision making with their physician and health care team.<br>Nearly a quarter (23%) of people hospitalized for COVID-19 have experienced serious cardiovascular complications. Studies have shown 8% to 12% of all COVID-19 patients have acute cardiac injury. There are also case studies that indicate COVID-19 may lead to heart attacks, acute coronary syndromes, stroke, blood pressure abnormalities, clotting issues, diffuse myocarditis (heart muscle inflammation) and fatal arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats). Based on studies of similar viruses, researchers speculate that heart complications are possible even after recovery from COVID-19. Two recent small German studies found heart muscle abnormalities months after patients had recovered.[6] While the incidence of these complications is not fully known, and it remains unclear how much cardiac injury is due to direct COVID-19 infection of the heart muscle or a result of immune mediated cardiac dysfunction following a profound viral illness, the virus does have a critical influence on the cardiovascular system.[7] There is concern that SARS-CoV-2 may have lasting or even delayed effects on the cardiovascular and nervous systems, a possibility that requires further investigation.<br>Previously, the American Heart Association warned of the potential harm to the heart from use of the antiviral and antimalarial agent hydroxychloroquine as a COVID-19 treatment. At that time, the Association indicated further evaluation is necessary to justify routine use of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment—that remains the case today. More research is needed before hydroxychloroquine can be recommended for COVID-19. People should not take any forms of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine, or azithromycin, without a full evaluation by their doctor and a careful assessment of the potential harms. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has recommended against further study of these treatments given concerns about harms from the medications.<br> <br><br><b>Author:Julie Del Barto, American Heart Association</b><br><b>Source:https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-08-severe-covid-heart-issues.html</b>

Riya Joshi

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