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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Huawei Interprets the Simplified Network Concept for 5G

[The Hague, Netherlands, October 17, 2018] At the SDN NFV World Congress 2018, Huawei explains what simplified 5G networks mean from four key aspects: simplified sites, simplified architecture, simplified protocols, and simplified operations & maintenance (O&M).

As the 5G era approaches, individuals are expecting an inspired service experience and industry customers are working to expedite their digital transformation. This requires telecom operators to continually innovate in their services while reducing OPEX. Complicated networks built in the 2G, 3G, and 4G eras can no longer meet the above requirements, but simplified networks can. Operators can build end-to-end simplified networks by simplifying sites, network architecture, protocols, and O&M, to ensure that networks are centrally managed, agile and effective, automated, and intelligent. Simplified networks can offer the high bandwidth and low latency needed by new services, shorten the TTM of new services, and reduce the construction and maintenance cost per bit.

Simplified sites: By integrating multi-band, multi-mode antennas and other equipment, simplified sites provide unified access to networks through multiple methods, and also modularize and standardize equipment. Simplified sites are designed specifically for 5G, helping customers reduce TCO and enable fast site deployment and service provisioning.

Simplified architecture: The flat and flexible end-to-end network architecture decouples services from physical networks, which means a single network can meet the requirements of different service scenarios by allocating network resources on demand. The simplified cloud-based architecture uses a unified cloud platform to support the cloudification of services systems, IT systems, and other relevant scenarios.

Simplified protocols: Standard network protocols are introduced in every aspect of networks. For example, the IPv6 Segment Routing (SRv6) technology was introduced in transmission networks, integrating the previous 10-plus protocols into two new ones. For core networks, the 15 old protocols were upgraded to scalable and standard HTTPS protocols.

Simplified O&M: As operators go digital, they need to change their existing service development and operational models. Cross-department functional teams can leverage an agile service design and orchestration platform to build new service models, and embed O&M policies and other service assets into intelligent network engine systems. The result is automated and intelligent network O&M.

Yuan Bo, Director of Huawei Network Architecture Transformation Marketing Dept, noted, "Evolution towards simplified 5G networks must be advanced by scenario and follow three key principles: First, we should focus on major issues related to OPEX. Second, we need to start from a single domain to multiple domains, and then form end-to-end simplified networks. Third, we must start from simplifying physical networks, and then simplify network architecture and network O&M. Simplified networks go far beyond the simplification of a single product, and are more about simplifying system architecture."

Huawei is now exploring simplified networks in all aspects, helping operators and enterprises move beyond the traditional discrete network architecture. The aim is to enable network digitization with a focus on service experience.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

IPCC Special Report on Global Warning of 1.5oC

By Kofi Adu Domfe
Limiting global warming to 1.5oC would require rapid, far- reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society, the IPCC said in a new assessment.

With clear benefits to people and natural ecosystems, limiting global warming to 1.5oC compared to 2oC could go hand in hand with ensuring a more sustainable and equitable society, said the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5oC was approved by the IPCC on Saturday in Incheon, Republic of Korea. It will be a key scientific input into the Katowice Climate Change Conference in Poland in December, when governments review the Paris Agreement to tackle climate change.

“With more than 6,000 scientific references cited and the dedicated contribution of thousands of expert and government reviewers worldwide, this important report testifies to the breadth and policyrelevance of the IPCC,” said Hoesung Lee, Chair of the IPCC.

Ninety-one authors and review editors from 40 countries prepared the IPCC report in response to an invitation from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) when it adopted the Paris Agreement in 2015.

The report’s full name is Global Warming of 1.5oC, an IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5oC above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty.

“One of the key messages that comes out very strongly from this report is that we are already seeing the consequences of 1°C of global warming through more extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice, among other changes,” said Panmao Zhai, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group I.

The report highlights a number of climate impacts that could be avoided by limiting global warming to 1.5oC compared to 2oC, or more. For instance, by 2100, global sea level rise would be 10 cm lower with global warming of 1.5°C compared with 2°C. The likelihood of an Arctic Ocean free of sea ice in summer would be once per century with global warming of 1.5°C, compared with at least once per decade with 2°C. Coral reefs would decline by 70-90 percent with global warming of 1.5°C, whereas virtually all (> 99 percent) would be lost with 2oC.

“Every extra bit of warming matters, especially since warming of 1.5oC or higher increases the risk associated with long-lasting or irreversible changes, such as the loss of some ecosystems,” said Hans-Otto Pörtner, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II.

Limiting global warming would also give people and ecosystems more room to adapt and remain below relevant risk thresholds, added Pörtner. The report also examines pathways available to limit warming to 1.5oC, what it would take to achieve them and what the consequences could be.

“The good news is that some of the kinds of actions that would be needed to limit global warming to 1.5oC are already underway around the world, but they would need to accelerate,” said Valerie Masson-Delmotte, Co-Chair of Working Group I.

The report finds that limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050. This means that any remaining emissions would need to be balanced by removing CO2 from the air.

“Limiting warming to 1.5oC is possible within the laws of chemistry and physics but doing so would require unprecedented changes,” said Jim Skea, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III.

Allowing the global temperature to temporarily exceed or ‘overshoot’ 1.5oC would mean a greater reliance on techniques that remove CO2 from the air to return global temperature to below 1.5oC by 2100. The effectiveness of such techniques are unproven at large scale and some may carry significant risks for sustainable development, the report notes.

“Limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared with 2°C would reduce challenging impacts on ecosystems, human health and well-being, making it easier to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals,” said Priyardarshi Shukla, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III.

The decisions we make today are critical in ensuring a safe and sustainable world for everyone, both now and in the future, said Debra Roberts, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II.

“This report gives policymakers and practitioners the information they need to make decisions that tackle climate change while considering local context and people’s needs. The next few years are probably the most important in our history,” she said.

The IPCC is the leading world body for assessing the science related to climate change, its impacts and potential future risks, and possible response options.

The report was prepared under the scientific leadership of all three IPCC working groups. Working Group I assesses the physical science basis of climate change; Working Group II addresses impacts, adaptation and vulnerability; and Working Group III deals with the mitigation of climate change.

The Paris Agreement adopted by 195 nations at the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC in December 2015 included the aim of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change by “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre- industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.”

As part of the decision to adopt the Paris Agreement, the IPCC was invited to produce, in 2018, a Special Report on global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways. The IPCC accepted the invitation, adding that the Special Report would look at these issues in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty.

Global Warming of 1.5oC is the first in a series of Special Reports to be produced in the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Cycle. Next year the IPCC will release the Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate, and Climate Change and Land, which looks at how climate change affects land use.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

WHO: Harmful use of alcohol responsible for 1 in 20 death

More than 3 million people died as a result of harmful use of alcohol in 2016, according a report released by the World Health Organization (WHO) today. This represents 1 in 20 deaths. More than three quarters of these deaths were among men. Overall, the harmful use of alcohol causes more than 5% of the global disease burden.

WHO’s Global status report on alcohol and health 2018 presents a comprehensive picture of alcohol consumption and the disease burden attributable to alcohol worldwide. It also describes what countries are doing to reduce this burden. 

“Far too many people, their families and communities suffer the consequences of the harmful use of alcohol through violence, injuries, mental health problems and diseases like cancer and stroke,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO. “It’s time to step up action to prevent this serious threat to the development of healthy societies.”

Of all deaths attributable to alcohol, 28% were due to injuries, such as those from traffic crashes, self-harm and interpersonal violence; 21% due to digestive disorders; 19% due to cardiovascular diseases, and the remainder due to infectious diseases, cancers, mental disorders and other health conditions.

Despite some positive global trends in the prevalence of heavy episodic drinking and number of alcohol-related deaths since 2010, the overall burden of disease and injuries caused by the harmful use of alcohol is unacceptably high, particularly in the European Region and the Region of Americas.

Globally an estimated 237 million men and 46 million women suffer from alcohol-use disorders with the highest prevalence among men and women in the European region (14.8% and 3.5%) and the Region of Americas (11.5% and 5.1%). Alcohol-use disorders are more common in high-income countries.

Global consumption predicted to increase in the next 10 years

An estimated 2.3 billion people are current drinkers. Alcohol is consumed by more than half of the population in three WHO regions – the Americas, Europe and the Western Pacific. Europe has the highest per capita consumption in the world, even though its per capita consumption has decreased by more than 10% since 2010. Current trends and projections point to an expected increase in global alcohol per capita consumption in the next 10 years, particularly in the South-East Asia and Western Pacific Regions and the Region of the Americas. 

How much alcohol are people drinking?

The average daily consumption of people who drink alcohol is 33 grams of pure alcohol a day, roughly equivalent to 2 glasses (each of 150 ml) of wine, a large (750 ml) bottle of beer or two shots (each of 40 ml) of spirits. 

Worldwide, more than a quarter (27%) of all 15–19-year-olds are current drinkers. Rates of current drinking are highest among 15–19-year-olds in Europe (44%), followed by the Americas (38%) and the Western Pacific (38%). School surveys indicate that, in many countries, alcohol use starts before the age of 15 with very small differences between boys and girls.

Worldwide, 45% of total recorded alcohol is consumed in the form of spirits. Beer is the second alcoholic beverage in terms of pure alcohol consumed (34%) followed by wine (12%). Worldwide there have been only minor changes in preferences of alcoholic beverages since 2010. The largest changes took place in Europe, where consumption of spirits decreased by 3% whereas that of wine and beer increased.

In contrast, more than half (57%, or 3.1 billion people) of the global population aged 15 years and over had abstained from drinking alcohol in the previous 12 months.

More countries need to take action

“All countries can do much more to reduce the health and social costs of the harmful use of alcohol,” said Dr Vladimir Poznyak, Coordinator of WHO’s Management of Substance Abuse unit. “Proven, cost-effective actions include increasing taxes on alcoholic drinks, bans or restrictions on alcohol advertising, and restricting the physical availability of alcohol.”

Higher-income countries are more likely to have introduced these policies, raising issues of global health equity and underscoring the need for greater support to low- and middle-income countries.

Almost all (95%) countries have alcohol excise taxes, but fewer than half of them use other price strategies such as banning below-cost selling or volume discounts. The majority of countries have some type of restriction on beer advertising, with total bans most common for television and radio but less common for the internet and social media.

“We would like to see Member States implement creative solutions that will save lives, such as taxing alcohol and restricting advertising. We must do more to cut demand and reach the target set by governments of a 10% relative reduction in consumption of alcohol globally between 2010 and 2025,” added Dr Tedros.

Reducing the harmful use of alcohol will help achieve a number of health-related targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including those for maternal and child health, infectious diseases, noncommunicable diseases and mental health, injuries and poisonings.

Japan Space Robots Being Asteroid Survey

A pair of robot rovers have landed on an asteroid and begun a survey, on a mission that will shed more light on the origin of Solar system, Japan's space agency reports Saturday.
According to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency ( JAXA ). The rover mission marks
the world's first moving, robotic observation of an asteroid surface. according to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency ( JAXA ).

The round, cookie tin-shaped robots successfully reached
the Ryugu asteroid a day after they were released from
the Hayabusa2 probe, the agency said.

"Each of the rovers is operating normally and has started surveying Ryugu's surface," JAXA said in astatement.

Taking advantage of the asteroid's low gravity, the
rovers will jump around on the surface soaring as high
as 15 metres (49 feet) and staying in the air for as long
as 15 minutes -- to survey the asteroid's physical features.

"I am so proud that we have established a new method of
space exploration for small celestial bodies," said JAXA
project manager Yuichi Tsuda.

Hayabusa2 will next month deploy an "impactor" that will
explode above the asteroid, shooting a two-kilo (four-
pound) copper object to blast a small crater into the surface.

From this crater, the probe will collect "fresh" materials
unexposed to millennia of wind and radiation, hoping for
answers to some fundamental questions about life and
the universe, including whether elements from space
helped give rise to life on Earth.

The probe will also release a French-German landing
vehicle named the Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout
(MASCOT) for surface observation.

Hayabusa2, about the size of a large fridge and equipped
with solar panels, is the successor to JAXA's first
asteroid explorer, Hayabusa
Japanese for falcon.

That probe returned from a smaller, potato-shaped,
asteroid in 2010 with dust samples despite various setbacks during its epic seven-year odyssey and was
hailed as a scientific triumph.

The Hayabusa2 mission was launched in December 2014
and will return to Earth with its samples in 2020

Emissions from most diesel cars in Europe exceed laboratory testing levels

A new MIT study reports that in Europe 10 major auto manufacturers produced diesel cars, sold between 2000 and 2015, that generate up to 16 times more emissions on the road than in regulatory tests — a level that exceeds European limits but does not violate any EU laws.

In September 2015, the German automaker Volkswagen was found to have illegally cheated federal emissions tests in the United States, by intentionally programming emissions control devices to turn on only during laboratory testing. The devices enabled more than 11 million passenger vehicles to meet U.S. emissions standards in the laboratory despite producing emissions up to 40 times higher than the legal limit in real-world driving conditions.

Now a new MIT study reports that Volkswagen is not the only auto manufacturer to make diesel cars that produce vastly more emissions on the road than in laboratory tests. The study, published this month inAtmospheric Environment, finds that in Europe, 10 major auto manufacturers produced diesel cars, sold between 2000 and 2015, that generate up to 16 times more emissions on the road than in regulatory tests a level that exceeds European limits but does not violate any EU laws.

What's more, the researchers predict these excess emissions will have a significant health impact, causing approximately 2,700 premature deaths per year across Europe. These health effects, they found, are "transboundary," meaning that diesel emissions produced in one country can adversely affect populations in other countries, thousands of kilometers away.

"You might imagine that where the excess emissions occur is where people might die early," says study author Steven Barrett, the Raymond L. Bisplinghoff Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT. "But instead we find that 70 percent of the total [health] impacts are transboundary. It suggests coordination is needed not at the country, but at the continental scale, to try to solve this problem of excess emissions."

The 10 manufacturers' excess emissions may not be a result of unlawful violations, as was the case with Volkswagen. Instead, the team writes that "permissive testing procedures at the EU level and defective emissions control strategies" may be to blame.

The researchers report a silver lining: If all 10 auto manufacturers were to improve their emissions control technologies to perform at the same level as the best manufacturer in the group, this would prevent up to 1,900 premature deaths per year.

"That's pretty significant in terms of the number of premature mortalities that would be avoided," Barrett says.

Barrett's co-authors at MIT are Guillaume Chossière, Robert Malina (now at Hasselt University), Florian Allroggen, Sebastian Eastham, and Raymond Speth.

The study focuses on emissions of nitrogen oxides, or NOx, a type of gas that is produced in diesel exhaust. When the gas gets oxidized and reacts with ammonia in the atmosphere, it forms fine particles and can travel for long distances before settling. When these particles are inhaled, they can lodge deep in the lungs, causing respiratory disease, asthma, and other pulmonary and cardiac conditions. Additionally NOx emissions cause the formation of ozone, a pollutant long associated with adverse health outcomes.

"There are many times the number of diesel cars in Europe compared to the U.S., partly because the EU started pushing diesel for environmental reasons, as it produces less carbon dioxide emissions compared with [gasoline]," Barrett says. "It's a case where diesel has probably been beneficial in terms of climate impacts, but it's come at the cost of human health."

Recently, the EU started tightening its standards for diesel exhaust to reduce NOx emissions and their associated health effects. However, independent investigations have found that most diesel cars on the road do not meet the new emissions standards in real driving conditions.

"Initially manufacturers were able to genuinely meet regulations, but more recently it seems they've almost tweaked knobs to meet the regulations on paper, even if in reality that's not reproduced on the road," Barrett says. "And that's not been illegal in Europe."

In this study, Barrett and his colleagues quantified the health impacts in Europe of excess NOx emissions
emissions that were not accounted for in standard vehicle testing but are produced in actual driving conditions. They also estimated specific manufacturers' contributions to the total health impacts related to the excess emissions.

The researchers considered 10 major auto manufacturers of diesel cars sold in Europe, for which lab and on-road emissions data were available: Volkswagen, Renault, Peugeot-Citroën, Fiat, Ford, General Motors, BMW, Daimler, Toyota, and Hyundai. Together, these groups represent more than 90 percent of the total number of diesel cars sold between 2000 and 2015, in 28 member states of the EU, along with Norway and Switzerland.

For each manufacturer, the team calculated the total amount of excess emissions produced by that manufacturer's diesel car models, based on available emissions data from laboratory testing and independent on-road tests. They found that overall, diesel cars produce up to 16 times more NOx emissions on the road than in lab tests.

They then calculated the excess emissions associated with each manufacturer's diesel car, by accounting for the number of those cars that were sold between 2000 and 2015, for each country in which those cars were sold.

The team used GEOS-Chem, a chemistry transport model that simulates the circulation of chemicals and particles through the atmosphere, to track where each manufacturer's excess NOx emissions traveled over time. They then overlaid a population map of the EU onto the atmospheric model to identify specific populations that were most at risk of exposure to the excess NOx emissions.

Finally, the team consulted epidemiological work to relate various populations' NOx exposure to their estimated health risk. The researchers considered four main populations in these calculations: adults with ischemic heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and lung cancer.

Overall, they estimated that, each year, 2,700 people within these populations will lose at least a decade of their life due to exposure to excess NOx emissions from passenger cars. They broke this number down by manufacturer and found a wide spread of health impact contributions: Volkswagen, Renault, and General Motors produced diesel cars associated with the most yearly premature deaths, each numbering in the hundreds, while Toyota, Hyundai, and BMW were associated with fewer early deaths.

"The variation across manufacturers was more than a factor of five, which was much bigger than we expected," Barrett says.

For each country, the team also compared the excess emissions that it produced itself, versus the number of premature deaths that its population incurred, and found virtually no relationship. That is, some countries, such as Poland and Switzerland, produced very little NOx emissions and yet experienced a disproportionate number of premature deaths from excess emissions originating in other countries.

Barrett says this transboundary effect may be due to the nature of NOx emissions. Unlike particulate matter spewed from smokestacks, such as soot, which mostly settles out in the local area, NOx is first emitted as a gas, which can be carried easily by the wind across thousands of kilometers, before reacting with ammonia to form particulates, a form of the chemical that can ultimately cause respiratory and cardiac problems.

"There's almost no correlation between who drives [diesel cars] and who incurs the health disbenefits, because the impacts are so diffuse through all of Europe," Barrett says.

The study ends with a final result: If all 10 manufacturers were to meet the on-road emissions performance of the best manufacturer in the group, this would avoid 1,900 premature deaths due to NOx exposure. But Barrett says ultimately, regulators and manufacturers will have to go even further to prevent emissions-associated mortalities.

"The solution is to eliminate NOx altogether," Barrett says. "We know there are human health impacts right down to pre-industrial levels, so there's no safe level. At this point in time, it's not that we have to go back to [gasoline]. It's more that electricification is the answer, and ultimately we do have to have zero emissions in cities."

Science Daily.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Real Madrid’s new jersey is garbage

Real Madrid regularly hits the headlines for stellar performances on the pitch. But this time the club is in the news for helping to bring attention to one of the biggest environmental challenges of our time.

The club, one of the biggest and most successful football teams in the world, has unveiled a new third strip which features a jersey made from waste plastic recovered from the sea. The shirt has been developed by Adidas and Parley, a campaign group working to stop waste plastic getting into the oceans.

The partnership has created ocean plastic kits for Bayern Munich, Juventus and Manchester United, as well as Real Madrid. Plus, to mark Earth Day 2018, every team in the US Major Soccer League wore one of the Adidas Parley for the Oceans shirts. The two organizations have also collaborated on a range of sports shoes, swimwear and other items.

Environment 1-0 Plastic

While Juventus and Manchester United have opted for serious-looking dark grey and royal blue respectively, the German and Spanish clubs have chosen more eye-catching colours. For Bayern Munich, there is a bright red shirt, while Real Madrid play in coral pink, which was selected, according to the club, to highlight the damage being done to coral reefs.

It may even turn out to be a good omen for the club, and hopefully for the oceans too, as Real Madrid beat Roma 2-1, playing in an International Champions Cup match at the Metlife Stadium in New Jersey, USA on 7 August while wearing the new strip.

Sportswear giant Nike is involved in a similar project. The company has made shirts from waste plastic for FC Barcelona and the national soccer teams of Australia, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia. Nike says a minimum of 12 recycled plastic bottles are used in the manufacture of its football shirts.

By Sean Fleming.

posted from Bloggeroid

How to fall asleep within two minutes - US Military Method

A military secret for combatting sleepless nights has been revealed.

The US military developed a secret method for its pilots to get sleep in two minutes flat over fears they could nod off at the controls.

The method was revealed in a 1981 book called Relax and Win: Championship Performance, which gave readers advice on how to “improve sports performance and reduce injuries by learning to relax and release tensions prior to competition”.

One of the methods detailed was claimed to be developed by the US military with a 96 per cent rate after six weeks of practice – involving abut two minutes of mind and body preparation, which should people reach the land of nod in under 120 seconds.

Men’s lifestyle website rediscovered the old method – sending it viral.

Many people suffer from disrupted sleep, and as many as a third claim to have insomnia – so the relaxation technique has been hailed as a blessing.

The US army put a disclaiming on the method – saying: “The bottom line when it comes to getting restful sleep is doing what works for you.

“There is no magical formula other than listening to your body,” – however they found in testing that it was 96 per cent successful.

Insomnia affects more people than previously thought and comes in two categories. Type 1 insomnia is when you can’t get to sleep at all, and Type 2 means you may get to sleep, but will wake up at least once during the night.

There are numerous health concerns related to a lack of sleep – from diabetes to heart disease and depression.

A recent study by the Uppsala University in Sweden revealed that disrupted sleep patterns alter metabolism and boost the body’s ability to store fat, making a strong link between obesity and shift work.

Meanwhile, research by the European Study of Cardiology found that getting less than five hours sleep a night could be as bad for you as smoking.

The US Military Method
1: Relax your face – including your tongue, jaw, and the muscles around your eyes.

2: Drop your shoulders as low as they can go. Then relax your upper and lower arm on one side, and then the other.

3: Breathe out, and relax your chest.

4: Finally, relax your legs, from the thighs to the calves.

5: When your mind is clear, try to picture one of the following images: Lying in a canoe on a calm lake, nothing but blue sky above you; Snuggled in a black velvet hammock in a pitch-black room; Saying “don’t think, don’t think, don’t think” over and over for ten seconds.

posted from Bloggeroid

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Revolutionary blood test to detect early stage cancer

A revolutionary new blood test could significantly advance our ability for detecting cancer in its early stages. CancerSEEK, developed in John Hopkins University, could improve detection methods and consequently reduce mortality rates.

Cancer is often a treatable condition. However, in
many cases, it does not display symptoms for many years. As a result, a number of cancer cases are not detected until the later stages of the disease when it is not easy to treat, if it can be treated at all.

A large amount of cancer research is dedicated to treatments that do not seek to cure the condition but
to prolong the lives of those with terminal cancer.

These treatments are often only marginally beneficial,
sometimes prolonging the life of the individual only a few weeks. At most the effect of these medications is commonly gauged in months, rather than years.

Newer treatments can enter a six figure price range whilst only showing slight increases in survival time compared to older, cheaper medicines. An editorial in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) criticises this
practise as ethically questionable. Many individuals with terminal cancer will pay whatever it takes for those
few extra weeks.

The number of deaths due to cancer is declining. In the United States figures indicate a 25 percent fall between 1991 and 2014. This reduction in mortality rate was primarily attributed to advancements in early detection methods. In many cases tumours may be
removed entirely by surgery if detected early enough.

If the cancer has not spread the chance of remission is
relatively low, and can be reduced further through
therapies such as radiotherapy, chemotherapy and immunotherapy.

Cance rSEEK, a revolutionary
blood test CancerSEEK is, conceptually, a standard blood test capable of detecting sixteen genes and eight proteins
associated with tumour cells. Cancerous cells secrete
traces of these proteins into the bloodstream, allowing
for detection and therefore diagnosis. If a person
tests positive for one of these genes or proteins, follow up tests can then establish if the person has cancer.

The CancerSEEK test has been trialled in the detection
of eight different cancer types. Early results suggest
it can detect cancers originating in the ovary, liver,
stomach, pancreas, oesophagus, colon, lung and breast. This is a broad range of cancers with which to begin trials, covering many of the most common forms of

Initial trials were performed on 1,005 patients with non-metastatic, clinically detected and confirmed cancers. Results were promising, showing an average detection rate of seventy percent for the eight cancer types. The detection sensitivity ranged from 69
percent to 98 percent for the five cancer types (ovary, liver, stomach, pancreas, and esophagus) for which there are no screening tests available for
average-risk individuals.
The absent 30 percent of subjects who were not detected could likely be explained by the presence of other cancer causing genes. While the blood test currently encapsulates sixteen genes, there are
numerous others that can cause cancer that will not be
detected by the blood test. However, for an initial
trial, a seventy percent detection rate is fairly successful.

Success rates varied considerably, however, between
cancer types. Only 33% of breast cancer cases were
detected but the test had an accuracy rate of 98%
when detecting ovarian cancer. Some experts have stated that the test must first be improved in order to be successful as a broad spectrum cancer detection method. This would likely involve the inclusion of more genes commonly linked to tumour growth.

Currently the test is undergoing trials in a general
population group of 10,000 individuals in order to
assess its capacity to detect undiagnosed cancers. The
test will also allow the establishment of the rate at
which the test generates false positive results. Some
inflammatory conditions can cause elevated levels of
the same proteins picked up by the blood tests. This
could lead to cancer free individuals to be diagnosed.
The test will also need to increase its level of
sensitivity to the genes and proteins detected. Early
stage tumours release less of the detected proteins
than later stage tumours. Without an adequate level of
sensitivity this could allow early stage tumours to slip
under the radar.

The importance of early detection

In the UK around one in four cancers are diagnosed
through emergency admission to hospital. At the point
that symptoms are apparent the cancer is usually in its
later stages. Survival rates of late stage cancer are
significantly lower. This is due to the initial tumour
fragmenting and spreading throughout the body,
referred to as metastasis.
Metastatic cancer is described as being the stage of
cancer in which the initial tumour is no longer a solid
mass. Cancerous cells from the initial tumour site
break away, travelling through either the bloodstream
or the lymph vessels to other locations in the body. In
the bloodstream, these tumour cells have access to the
entire body. Some may settle in other areas or organs
of the body, forming new tumours.

This presents further complications to treatment.
Surgery may be an option to remove the initial tumour,
but the location of new tumours is highly variable. The
location of potential new tumours is dependent on the
location of the original tumour, though can be present
almost anywhere in the body. Due to the process by
which they move from the bloodstream, avoid immune
detection and begin replicating again, the tumour cells
may not be identical to those in the original tumour,
further complicating treatment.

In metastatic cancer chemotherapy is the standard
treatment. The survival rate for those with metastatic
cancer is often very low, though varies depending on
the initial cancer type. In metastatic breast cancer for
example, the five year survival rate for stage four
(metastatic) breast cancer is as low as 22 percent. By
comparison, stage three (pre-metastatic) breast
cancer has a survival rate of 72 percent. During the
initial stages of cancer, stage two survival rate is 90
percent. This is a clear indicator of the importance of
early stage detection.

On the other end of the spectrum for survival, stage 4
testicular cancer can show a survival rate as high as 80
percent. Breast cancer typically has a higher mortality
rate upon reaching the metastatic phase due to the
close proximity of a number of lymph nodes. This gives
cancerous cells access to the lymph system, and so a
greater capacity to spread throughout the body.
Implementation, and its
The impact this new test could have on cancer
mortality rates is dependent upon improvements to its
early stage detection, then its implementation.
The vision of one of the test’s creators, Dr Cristian
Tomasetti, is “a blood test we could use once a year” .
The blood test could potentially be used as a yearly
test for those above an age limit, so as to restrict its
use to those more at risk of developing cancer.

This is not an extreme vision. Being a simple blood test
the detection method is non-intrusive, and is not time
consuming for doctors to perform. This would provide a
simple means to assess a large portion of the

The creators are also intent on developing the test to
be as economical as possible. Current projections from
the creators place the cost of the test at around $500
USD per patient.

Currently, only at-risk groups of people receive
regular cancer check ups. This includes those with a
family history of cancer, or underlying genetic
conditions predisposing an individual to cancer.

Should the CancerSEEK test prove effective, it could
provide a cost efficient means to assess far larger
groups of people. This would, in theory, greatly improve
diagnosis rates at far earlier stages. This could see
the mortality rate of cancer fall further, as
significantly more people would be treated during the
early stages of the disease.


Sunday, August 26, 2018

Pope Francis asks for forgiveness in prayers at closing Mass in Dublin

Pope Francis wrapped up his two days visit to Ireland by leading the closing mass of the world meeting of families in Dublin, by asking for forgiveness several times in his native language, Spanish before the mass.

Facebook user calls for the releaseof lady jailed by Rwanda president Paul Kagame for Declaring to contest for presidency

A Facebook user is calling for the release of young lady jailed by Rwanda president Paul Kagame for Declaring to contest for presidency. 

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Waymo adds 62,000 cars for autonomous taxi service

Google-owned Waymo is adding as many as 62,000 Fiat Chrysler minivans to its autonomous fleet in an expanded collaboration announced by the companies on Thursday. 

Monday, August 20, 2018

DOE report blames natural gas for coal plant closures

Energy Department staff report on electricity markets and reliability has singled out natural gas as the leading cause of coal plant closures in this decade, challenging the Trump administration's case for saving coal.

Scientist Confirms Quantum Entanglement using Light from ancient quasars

Oldest brightest quasar  ever seen hidden behind dust
In 2017, physicists at MIT, the University of Vienna, together with other institutions around the world, provided strong evidences in support of quantum entanglement, the seemingly far-out idea that two particles, no matter how distant from each other in space and time, can be inextricably linked, in a way that defies the rules of classical physics.
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