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Security Measures — Five Essential Data Protection Tips

– Contributed content –

Cyber-security graphic


4 August 2017. Whether you use your computer for business or personal use, it is imperative you keep your data safe. We are under threat from hackers, malware, and other intruders, so we need to find ways to protect ourselves. Even the biggest companies have come under attack, so we are all vulnerable, no matter how safe and secure we think we are.

To help you,  here are five ways you can protect your personal information.


Many business owners are using data center facilities to rent space for their servers and computing hardware. There will probably be a facility near you, and services such as Bay Area Colocation can help you find something. A colocation provides extra physical security, with video surveillance and locked cages, and provides backup power to ensure data isn’t lost. An on-site technical team is also on hand to protect your servers if something goes wrong, so you can sleep safely knowing your data is in safe hands.

Make a backup

This is something we should all get into the practice of doing, as we never know when human error can cause us to lose our data. However, there is still the risk of our data being stolen or compromised, so creating a backup will save you a lot of worries when something goes wrong. The most common method has been the use an external hard drive. However, using the cloud is a viable method, as physical devices can become lost or damaged. These are some of the best cloud storage options currently available, ensuring your data can be made accessible even if your computer equipment shuts down.

Malware protection

Something that has plagued many computer users, malware includes viruses, spyware, and worms. The computer user is often at fault, either through entering dodgy file sharing websites, or clicking on a suspicious email link. While you do need common sense, scammers are always finding new ways to trick users, so we are all susceptible. The best way to protect yourself from malware is to use anti-virus software. These are some of the best anti-virus programs currently available, so despite the investment, you will save yourself a lot of personal and financial worry by protecting your computer system.

Use system updates

System updates can be annoying for computer users, and you may need to stop working or browsing the internet. However, these updates often contain security patches to deal with the latest threats, so they are a necessary evil. To save yourself a lot of hassle, begin to install the updates when you know you won’t be using your computer for a while, as some of them can be quite lengthy.

Use passwords

From website login details to your wi-fi network, password everything to secure yourself from physical and virtual intruders to your system. However, don’t use easily guessable passwords, such as your date of birth. You should also use something memorable, so you don’t have to write it down where somebody could find it. Passwords are the most practical lines of defense, but be creative to protect yourself from harm.

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Migraine Treatment Shown Effective in Late Trial

Person with migraine

(R. Nial Bradshaw, Flickr)

4 August 2017. Results of a clinical trial show a single dose of new drug relieved migraine pain among more people with the condition, compared to a placebo. Eli Lilly and Company in Indianapolis, the company making the drug, announced today the first results from the study.

The late-stage trial tested Lilly’s drug for migraine known as lasmiditan. Migraine is a neurological syndrome causing severe headaches along with nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. In some cases, migraines are preceded by warning episodes called aura including flashes of light, blind spots, or tingling in arms and legs. The web site estimates 37 million people in the U.S. suffer from migraines, and cites World Health Organization data indicating migraines affect 18 percent of American women and 7 percent of men.

Lasmiditan works by stimulating receptors for the protein 5-HT1F in the trigeminal nerve pathway system in the brain, where activating these receptors blocks migraine pain signals through the pathway. The drug does not constrict blood vessels, unlike some other migraine therapies, making it potentially more suitable for individuals with cardiovascular conditions.

The clinical trial recruited some 3,000 individuals at 95 sites to test the efficacy and safety of lasmiditan at dosages of 50, 100, and 200 milligrams. Participants in the trial — individuals with a history of migraine, including one or more disabling migraines in the previous year — were randomly assigned to take lasmiditan in one of the 3 dosages or a placebo, when experiencing a migraine attack. Trial participants could also take a second dose of the drug for rescue or recurrence if needed in the next 24 hours.

The study team looked primarily at the number of participants indicating they were pain free after 2 hours. Researchers also tracked the percentage of individuals reporting being free of their most bothersome secondary migraine symptom, such as nausea or noise sensitivity, after 2 hours. In addition, the team tracked several other indicators including use of rescue medications, recurrence of headaches, and adverse effects.

The results show larger percentages of participants reported being pain free within 2 hours after a single dose of Lasmiditan for all 3 doses, from 29 percent for 50 milligrams to 39 percent for 200 milligrams, compared to the placebo at 21 percent, with the differences at all 3 levels large enough to be statistically reliable. In addition, between 41 and 49 percent of participants taking lasmiditan reported being free of their most bothersome secondary migraine symptom within 2 hours, compared to 34 percent for the placebo. Again, all differences compared to the placebo were large enough for statistical reliability.

Lilly reports participants taking lasmiditan also indicated experiencing less migraine pain and disability overall. The most common adverse side effects among participants taking the drug were skin tingling or numbness, dizziness, sleepiness, fatigue, nausea, and lethargy.

The trial is the second late-stage study of lasmiditan, with a long-term safety trial underway. That long-term study is now inviting participants from the individuals who enrolled in the two late-stage trials. Lilly expects to submit the drug to FDA for review in the second half of 2018.

The company acquired lasmiditan with its buy-out of biopharmaceutical developer CoLucid Pharma in January 2017. As reported in Science & Enterprise, Lilly first discovered lasmiditan, then in 2005 licensed it to CoLucid for development, but reacquired the drug with CoLucid in a deal valued at $960 million.

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Improving The Structure And Efficiency For Your Small Business Operations

– Contributed content –

4 August 2017. Starting up a small business doesn’t mean the tasks and the effort needed to be put in will also be small. In fact, it’s one of the most exciting business ventures you’re likely ever to make. Running a small business involved many creative and professional processes which need to be analyzed and deployed accurately. For the first time in your life, you have the responsibility of employing staff that will have the skills and the temperament to fulfill the tasks you set them. It’s much about people management, as much as it is, knowing your products and services inside and out. To be able to increase the chances of your survival of the first year, you’ll need to improve the efficiency of the day-to-day routines.

Writing at a desk

(StartupStockPhotos, Pixabay)

Outsource unachievable tasks

Your small business can’t do everything, and so you should be willing to outsource the tasks you can’t do. For example, if you need a blog written about your business but don’t have the staff or the time to do it, you could employ freelance writers to do this for you. By giving them certain notes to work off, they can write about your business as if they were sitting right at the heart of operations. If you’re unable to fulfill a part of your service because of backlogged orders, you could outsource that particular part of your business to make sure all parts of your service are delivered on time.

Dealing with employees who have holidays and filing the right paperwork to get it cleared and registered is a task that is time-consuming. By outsourcing to credible HR consultants, holidays and confidential files of employees can be managed and looked after by an experienced team. It cuts down on waiting time, physical effort to track holidays and time off, as well as organizing the system for the future.

Open office

(Phil Whitehouse, Flickr)

One of the advantages of having a small number of staff is that you lower the running costs of the business dramatically. However, it also means that each employee must be worth their weight in salt to make sure the business does not lag behind your competitors. Asking employees to work harder is a very broad statement. Instead, you should give them the proper parameters to function at a high level with little to distract or disrupt the day’s challenges.

You should write down the daily work routine such as the tasks you wish to carry out in the morning. Morning tasks could be just general administration maintenance, while the heavier and more intricate workload could start at lunch and carry into the afternoon. You’ll need to set realistic targets that you wish to achieve every day and assign each one a schedule of when to be completed. Having a structure gives employees direction and decreases confusion of what needs to be done, therefore, there’s less time figuring out what to do, and more time doing the necessary jobs.

By outsourcing the jobs that your business can’t do, you can keep the smooth-running of your business. You won’t fall behind and lose the trust of your clients who rely on you for a timely service. Having a structure that can be clearly understood and easily followed brings a calmness to the working day. Routines are scheduled and goals for each day can be set and met with a higher success rate.

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Gene-Edited Skin Grafts Shown to Control Glucose Levels

Lab mice in skin graft test

Mouse given skin graft expressing GLP-1 protein at top, compared to untreated mouse, after both were given high-fat diets. (Wu Laboratory, University of Chicago)

4 August 2017. Skin grafts derived from genetically edited stem cells were shown in tests with lab mice to reduce glucose levels and weight gain that result from a high-fat diet. Results of research by a team from University of Chicago medical center appear in yesterday’s issue of the journal Cell Stem Cell.

Researchers led by cell biologist Xiaoyang Wu are seeking techniques using the skin to deliver treatments for diseases. As the authors note, the skin is the largest and most accessible human organ, with a long record of applications in health care including skin grafts for wound healing and rejuvenation of new skin from stem cells. In this case, the team is expanding on these methods to develop new techniques for treating type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes is a chronic disorder where the pancreas does not create enough insulin to process the sugar glucose to flow into the blood stream and cells for energy in the body. In type 2 diabetes, which accounts for at least 90 percent of all diabetes cases, the pancreas produces some but not enough insulin, or the body cannot process insulin. According to the International Diabetes Federation, diabetes affects an estimated 415 million people worldwide, of which 44 million are in North America.

Wu and colleagues designed a solution using skin stem cells from new-born mice. The researchers used the genome-editing technique Crispr — short for clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats — with the editing enzyme Cas9 to alter the mouse gene producing the glucagon-like peptide 1 protein, or GLP-1, that promotes production of insulin in the pancreas. The gene was further edited to respond to the common antibiotic doxycycline, making it possible to trigger release of GLP-1 when in its presence, even in very small amounts. The team also edited the mouse genes to reduce immune system rejection, and extend its stability and potency.

In the lab, the researchers grew three-dimensional cell clusters called organoids from the engineered stem cells with layers similar to normal mouse skin. The organoids were transplanted to the test mice, with little immune-system rejection reported. The organoid transplants were largely successful and stable after 3 months, continuing to produce GLP-1 protein and responding to doxycycline triggers.

The team tested the ability of the engineered skin grafts to control glucose levels on lab mice fed a high-fat diet to induce obesity and insulin resistance similar to type 2 diabetes. The mice were randomly assigned to received skin grafts from the edited stem cells or remain untreated. When given drinking water with small amounts of doxycycline, mice with the skin grafts produced more GLP-1 proteins, enabling the mice to produce more insulin compared to the untreated mice, as well as lower their glucose levels and resistance to insulin.

The researchers tested the technique as well with human skin stem cells, developed into organoids and transplanted in genetically-altered test mice with reduced T-cells to minimize immune reactions, often called “nude” mice because their lack of body fur. Like the earlier tests with wild mice, the mice with human skin grafts produced more GLP-1 proteins in the presence of doxycycline to produce more insulin.

The authors consider the study a proof-of-concept not only for type 2 diabetes, but for engineered skin grafts to treat other diseases, where somatic or non-inherited genes can be altered and transferred.

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Gene Editing Could Lead to an HIV Cure

– Contributed content –

3 August 2017. HIV has been one of the most difficult medical conditions to address in the last 30 years or so. It first baffled doctors and was much misunderstood, but there is now a much better understanding of it and how we can treat it. New methods for treating and preventing HIV are emerging all the time, and doctors continue to work toward a cure. Recent developments have shown promising results from lab tests, using both studies with mice and with human embryos. In April 2017, researchers at Temple University and the University of Pittsburgh published a study in Molecular Therapy, which involved gene editing to remove HIV DNA from rat and mouse models. More recently, gene editing was carried out at Oregon Health and Science University on a human embryo.

The study published in the Molecular Therapy journal used three different animal models to delete HIV-1 (one of two main strains of HIV) from the bodies of infected animals. One of these was a “humanized” mouse model, which is created by injecting human cells into the animal. Humanized models of both rats and mice are used by research facilities such as Hera Bio Labs, who provide information about fertilization if you want to learn more about it. These models can be used to more closely replicate the human body for drug and genetic testing. The testing with the three different animal models in this particular study confirmed data from a previous study from the same team and improved their gene editing strategy.

DNA illustration

(, Pixabay)

Using their gene editing technique, the researchers inactivated HIV-1 in transgenic mice. In the humanized mice, the animals carried latent HIV in human T cells, where the virus can remain undetected. The team was able to remove viral fragments from the human cells using their gene editing technology. The next step is to repeat the study using primates, which have a closer genetic makeup to humans, then eventually carry out a clinical trial with humans.

Gene editing in a human embryo, meanwhile, has caused a stir in the media, with many people expressing concerns about “designer babies.” However, the aim of this technique is to work toward eradicating genetic diseases, and researchers say that the idea of using it to create so-called designer babies isn’t particularly realistic. The recent study published in Nature by a team lead by Shoukhrat Mitalipov focused on correcting a genetic mutation that causes heart disease, rather than HIV. However, it used the same gene editing method, called Crispr. Previous attempts to perform gene editing on human embryos haven’t been so successful, so the study is an important one.

If gene editing can successfully be carried out on humans, it could help to address a wide range of health problems. In addition to helping to cure diseases of the immune system such as HIV, it could enable the removal of gene mutations to address inherited health conditions. While the technology is still being worked out, it might not be too long before the world starts seeing incredible results.

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Genomics Company Acquires Open-Source Biomedical Platform

Genomics graphic

(National Human Genome Research Institute, NIH)

3 August 2017. A company providing whole genome analysis is acquiring an enterprise developing open-source computational software for biomedical uses, such as precision medicine. The acquisition of Curoverse in Somerville, Massachusetts is expected to give Veritas Genetics in Boston the capability to conduct analyses with artificial intelligence using Arvados, Curoverse’s data management system. Financial aspects of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Veritas Genetics is a three year-old company founded by Harvard Medical School geneticist and serial entrepreneur George Church. The company offers whole genome sequencing direct to the consumer for medical analysis costing about $1,000. Genomic sequencing reveals the order of nucleic acids, the chemical building blocks in a person’s DNA that contains the individual’s genetic code, providing critical information about one’s present and future health. Most other personal genomic analysis services that charge lower fees look at parts of the genome to determine ancestry or predisposition to certain diseases.

Curoverse creates computational software for biomedical applications, many of which are released as open-source to encourage collaboration and standardization in the industry. The company’s software is built round the Arvados platform for distributed computing in bioinformatics and data science. Arvados is designed particularly for large data sets, like those created with genomic sequencing, and is an outgrowth of the Personal Genome Project, hosted at Harvard Medical School, that encourages sharing of whole genome sequencing data from individuals.

Veritas Genetics expects to use Curoverse’s capabilities to mine genomic databases accessible through Arvados for analysis by artificial intelligence, or AI, techniques such as machine learning. “At Veritas,” says CEO Mirza Cifric in a company statement, “we are building a platform to sequence, and more importantly, interpret hundreds of thousands, and eventually millions, of human genomes per year. This will only be possible by deploying AI and machine learning at scale, which requires data that is produced, stored and managed in a standardized way.”

Curoverse is also instrumental in development of a Common Workflow Language for genomic analysis that enables processing and integrating of data stored in remote databases or in the cloud. The Common Workflow Language is less of a language, and more of a specification for describing analysis workflows and tools to make them portable and scalable across a variety of software and hardware environments, not only for genomics, but also for other data-intensive disciplines, such as medical imaging and astronomy. Version 1.0 of the specification was released in July 2016.

Church, who also started the Personal Genome Project, says of Curoverse, “There are very few companies in the world that have the expertise and experience of more than a decade in aggregating genomic data and enabling machine learning.” Curoverse is expected to operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Veritas Genetics.

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The Scientific Research Behind E-Commerce

– Contributed content –

3 August 2017. We don’t usually think about the way that scientific research affects our lives day to day. We take all of the technology we have for granted, without realizing the amount of work that goes into it behind the scenes. Scientific research is driving the world forward, and it’s responsible for every new feature or upgrade that you get on your computers and phones. One area that would not be at all possible without advancements in research is e-commerce. People think that the advent of the internet is the only piece of research that has affected online retail but, while it’s obviously important, there are all sorts of research areas that have a direct impact on it. If you’ve never stopped to think about the way that science has affected your favorite shopping sites, here are the new technologies that are pushing things forward.

Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence graphic

(Seanbatty, Pixabay)

You’ve probably heard about some of the new artificial intelligence research that’s happening at the moment. Facebook recently made a splash when they shut down two pieces of AI software because they were speaking to one another in a language that they had invented. The internet was full of scaremongering headlines that said they had shut it down because of fears it would get out of control and mark the beginning of a sci-fi nightmare. However, this was later debunked, and it was revealed that they stopped the experiment because it wasn’t doing what they intended it to do. What they were trying to do was create a chatbot that could learn from a conversation and adapt its speech to mimic a real human as closely as possible. The experiment didn’t work this time but the technology that they’re trying to develop will have a huge impact on e-commerce.

A lot of e-commerce web design these days usually incorporates a virtual assistant. They’ll pop up on the side and ask if you’ve got any questions. If you do, you type it in and wait for an answer. At the moment, you’ll probably get a reply which is just a generic link to the help section of the website. It never really answers your question. In future, though, the kinds of artificial intelligence like the one that Facebook is trying to develop could see the introduction of a virtual assistant that might actually be able to help you. For the owners of e-commerce sites, this can be a huge help because it would massively reduce workload and ensure that their customers always got a swift answer even if they aren’t available to reply to queries.


Amazon drone

Amazon drone (

Amazon has been pioneers of the e-commerce industry since they started. Their constant innovations have been adopted by everybody else and become the norm. Even today, they still remain at the forefront of the new technology that is changing the way that e-commerce works. Most recently are their advancements in delivery technology. Their warehouses are full of intelligent robots that can quickly and efficiently pick products. This has allowed them to offer their incredibly popular Prime service. Their quick deliveries have set the bar of expectation and now we all want things delivered within hours of ordering. In 2013, Amazon announced that they were going to make this a possibility through the use of drones. At the time, people weren’t so sure. Drone technology was just starting to take off and it was expensive and not very well polished.

But now, Amazon is having the last laugh because new research has improved drone technology no end. The ability to automatically avoid obstacles was a huge step forward that allowed Amazon to make their dream a reality. In 2016, they finally managed to make their first delivery by drone. This was only the first step but once the technology is adopted across the board, it will completely revolutionize the way that we buy and receive products forever.

Online shopping platforms

Stay handmade


In the early days of e-commerce, setting up a shop online was something that only bigger companies could do. It was very expensive and so it was something that companies tended to branch out into the online sphere once they were already successful. Now, those days are gone and anybody can set up their own shop. Sites like eBay, Etsy, and Amazon now offer a platform where anybody can sell their products online without having to build their own e-commerce site from scratch. However, they’re not ideal for people that are serious about setting up a business so you do need to create your own specific site. But even that is accessible to anybody these days. There are so many free website builders online that you can use to create a brilliant online shop, completely free.

Services like PayPal have also made it far easier to set up avenues for payment. Before this, you would have to send checks through the mail when paying for products online. That means as a business owner, you’d have to spend countless hours organizing and banking all of your payments, rather than getting them wired to you instantaneously.

Before this innovation, there were countless brilliant products that never saw the light of day because their creators didn’t have the funds to launch a store and they couldn’t find anybody to back them. That problem is all but gone now. You can launch your product on a free platform until you’ve got a bit of momentum and then advance to your own site.

Targeted advertising

The algorithms that target ads are incredibly complex programs which collect huge amounts of data about a person and send them adverts that they are most likely to respond to. Prior to these advancements, you would simply be blanket advertising and hoping to get a return. The amount of money you spent compared to the increase in sales would be larger than it is these days. These algorithms are only going to get better, meaning that your marketing campaigns will continue to become more effective.

These innovations have changed the face of e-commerce, and in some respects, the world. But this is only the beginning, who knows what the future holds.

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Many Surgical Opioid Drugs Go Unused, Not Disposed

Pills in blister packs

(PublicDomainPictures, Pixabay)

3 August 2017. A review of studies that track the use and disposition of opioid pain drugs following surgery shows a large percentage of the pills go unused and few are stored properly. The findings appear in a report by researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore published in yesterday’s issue of the journal JAMA Surgery (paid subscription required).

The team led by Mark Bicket, professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine, sought to better track the disposition of opioid pain medications prescribed to patients following surgery. The ongoing problem of opioid addiction is intertwined with relief and management of pain, for which opioid drugs are usually prescribed. Opioids work by reducing the intensity of pain signals to the brain, particularly regions of the brain controlling emotion, which reduces effects of the pain stimulus.

The scale of the opioid abuse problem is huge. As of 2015, some 2 million Americans age 12 and older are addicted prescription opioid drugs, while 600,000 are addicted to heroin. Drug overdose, mainly by opioids, is now the leading cause of death from unintentional injury in the U.S. Today, about 90 Americans die each day from opioid overdoses.

Bicket and colleagues reviewed 3 medical databases for research on opioid prescriptions following surgery, which also describe the extent to which patients took their pain drugs and the disposition of those drugs. The database review turned up 6 published studies meeting those criteria with a total of 810 patients who had seven types of surgical procedures. Some 30 patients were women giving birth through Cesarean section and about two-thirds (65%) of the surgeries were outpatient procedures.

The researchers found patients in the vast majority of cases did not use all of their pain pills. From two-thirds (67%) to 92 percent of patients in the studies reported leftover pills from their opioid prescriptions. Of the pills prescribed to patients, between 4 and 7 in 10 (42% to 72%) remained unused. The patients largely attribute the unused pills to achieving satisfactory pain relief, but up to 3 in 10 (29%) patients also reported adverse side effects as the reason for not taking the drugs.

The results also show few patients took adequate steps to store or dispose of the drugs in ways that prevent diversion into non-medical uses. Two of the studies reported on storage methods for drugs, showing about three-quarters of patients (73% to 77%) did not store their pills in locked containers.

Five of the papers discussed disposal practices, and in those studies no more than 30 percent of patients disposed of their drugs, or planned to do so. In addition, no more than 9 percent used procedures recommended by FDA to dispose of their drugs, such as taking them back to a pharmacy.

Bicket notes that despite the lack of iron-clad ways to verify pain levels or determine them in advance, the results suggest doctors can probably prescribe fewer pain drugs in many cases. “Perhaps there are some characteristics in a patient,” says Bicket, “such as whether he or she is on opioids before the surgery or has certain genetic markers, that can let me determine that one needs more pain medication than another.” His team is conducting further research into patients’ pain experiences to find better ways of calibrating prescriptions to their precise needs.

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Study Underway of Depression, Bipolar Disorder Genetics

Man with depression

(TypographyImages, Pixabay)

2 August 2017. A large-scale study by two companies and a think tank started enrolling participants to learn more about the role of genetics in major depressive and bipolar disorders. The research project is recruiting some 25,000 participants, carried out by the personal genetics enterprise 23andMe, working with pharmaceutical company H. Lundbeck A/S, and the Milken Institute.

The partners are seeking to uncover genetic components to two complex neurological diseases. Depression is a widespread condition, which when it becomes persistent or severe, is called major depression, and can interfere with normal family and work life, and lead to disability. National Institute of Mental Health estimates in 2015, 16.1 million adults in the U.S., or 6.7 percent of the adult population, suffered a major depressive episode in the previous 12 months.

Bipolar disorder is characterized by sharp mood swings from high-energy euphoria to deep feelings of sadness, sometimes so severe they require hospitalization, if moods generate dangerous or suicidal behavior. Periods of bipolar disorder, which used to be called manic-depression, can last from days or weeks at a time, over periods of years. Treatments can include drugs and counseling, combined with substance abuse treatments, if needed. About 2.6 percent of adults in the U.S. report experiencing a bipolar episode in the previous 12 months, with the vast majority (83%) of cases considered severe.

The study is recruiting 15,000 people with major depressive disorder and another 10,000 individuals with bipolar disorder. Participation is open to persons age 18 to 50 living in the U.S., diagnosed with either condition by a physician, and can access the Internet with either a laptop or desktop computer. People taking part in the study will be enrolled in 23andMe’s personal genome service at no cost and sent a saliva sampling kit, with the specimen returned to the company for analysis.

Participants will then be asked to complete online cognitive assessment sessions each month for 9 months, with each session expected to take 10 to 30 minutes. Data from the saliva samples and cognitive assessment sessions will have identifying information removed before the research team conducts its analysis. The results are expected to provide new insights into the role and interaction of genetics and environmental factors on brain functions and behavior.

The researchers believe the findings will expand on research reported a year ago, also done by 23andMe, based in Mountain View, California, working with Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. As reported in Science & Enterprise, the analysis identified 15 regions in the genome and 17 specific variations associated with depression among people of European descent. The study analyzed common genetic variations in some 75,600 individuals of European origin, who reported a diagnosis or treatment for depression, and nearly 232,000 persons also of European heritage, with no reports of depression. The results were published in the journal Nature Genetics (paid subscription required).

Lundbeck and the Milken Institute are joining with 23andMe on the project. Lundbeck is a pharmaceutical company in Valby, Denmark that specializes in psychiatric and neurological disorders. The company develops drugs for depression, schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. The Milken Institute is a public policy research organization advancing collaborative solutions that widen access to capital, create jobs and improve health. The institute plans to take advantage of its patient advocacy and social networks to recruit participants in the study.

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Technological Advancements In Construction That Everyone’s Talking About

– Contributed content –

2 August 2017. The construction industry conjures up images of numerous checkered shirt builders wearing hard hats and venturing up scaffolding day in, day out in an effort to build housing complexes and architectural delights. We rarely consider the technological advancements that have enabled the industry to become one of the fastest growing sectors, with the demand for new housing growing in line with our increasing populations. Technology has allowed construction to evolve and attract some of the best graduates into managerial positions. Take a look at the advancements making their mark in the construction sector in 2017.


(Powie, Pixabay)


Many industries have been enhanced by the rise of drones, and the construction sector is no different. With cameras attached to their frames, drones can now map out potential sites that are ripe for development as well as carrying out routine surveying work. Unlike a human that cannot venture into areas that are too cramped or deemed to be unsafe, the drone can access these areas with ease making construction plans and blueprints more accurate and detailed.

Cracked concrete

(Bored, Pixabay)

Scientifically advanced concrete

Concrete can be the bane of many a construction worker’s life with its tendency to crack, dry unevenly and absorb too much water. Researchers have come up with an ingenious way of inserting a special type of bacteria within concrete that will produce limestone if it takes on too much water, therefore, sealing a crack before it fully takes hold. This will make for stronger foundations and a more solid support to steel joists and other materials that may be inserted into the concrete.

Drill bits

(Billpixel, Pixabay)

Technologically advanced tools

We have all seen the robotic arms speedily constructing a car within manufacturing plants across the globe, and while the construction industry hasn’t witnessed an advancement on quite such a grand scale, it has seen many new tools come onto the market to make certain construction jobs easier and less time consuming. A CNC plasma cutter enables the user to cut through piping, steel, and metals with less effort and greater accuracy than any other cutting device. Controlled via a computer, the machine follows the instructions that are programmed into it which leads to no instances of human error.

Window and shutters

(Psaudio, Pixabay)

New house building ideas

If you have a friend of a friend who has embarked upon a self-build, the chances are that they will have considered the new way of building a home: modular construction. This entails submitting your architectural plans to a specialist company to fully construct your home in sections off-site. These section are then transported to your site to be pieced together like a jigsaw.

The building itself, when completed, looks no different to a traditionally built property, yet it’s built with less wastage, transport costs and in a faster time, leading to huge efficiency savings. The minimized transportation requirements also lead to a reduced carbon footprint, boosting your project’s eco-credentials.

Phone on desk

(HelloOlly, Pixabay)

Internet of things

With the emergence of smartphones and connectivity, it was only a matter of time before the construction sector spotted an opportunity to get in on the act. The potential occupier is now at the forefront of the architect, interior designer, and construction workers minds. Technology that can make lives easier is hugely appealing to any potential house buyer. By linking technologies within the home to a smartphone, control is placed firmly in the homeowner’s hands. They can control their heating, change channels on the TV, grab a recipe from an intuitive kitchen counter top and set the air con all from their handset. The emergence of intelligent homes is developing rapidly and looks set to be a key technology trend in the years to come.

3D printing

Once the realm of designers and creative folk, 3D printers are now becoming a more prominent feature in the realm of construction. Still in the embryonic stage of research, they are being utilized to construct buildings from the ground up. Specialist firms experimenting with 3D printers are using carbon-fibre based polymers to print full sized habitable buildings. While rare at the moment, 3D printers could become a permanent fixture on construction sites in the future. One day every home may be printed rather than built.

The world of construction is more dynamic than ever with technological advancements to drive industry growth becoming more enhanced year on year. The construction sector is developing rapidly, and by utilizing these innovations, costs can be kept down while, at the same time, effort and time wastage can be reduced. The future of the construction industry is bright.

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