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App Automates, Simplifies Test for Preeclampsia

Pregnant woman

(Sergio Santos, nursingschoolsnearme.com, Flickr)

21 Oct. 2019. Results of a pilot test show a smartphone app makes a common test for the pregnancy complication preeclampsia simple and more reliable than before. A description of the app and pilot test findings appear earlier this month in the Journal of Engineering and Science in Medical Diagnostics and Therapy (paid subscription required).

A team from the Cardiovascular Imaging Research lab of biomedical engineering professor Craig Goergen at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana aims to improve a common test for preeclampsia, a life-threatening condition resulting from a sudden rise in blood pressure in a pregnant woman. The condition affects blood flow to the placenta, and can result in excess protein in the urine.

Severe cases of preeclampsia can result in breakdowns in red blood cells, impaired liver and kidney function, and fluid in the lungs. The earlier in the pregnancy preeclampsia occurs, the riskier to outcomes for both mother and baby. The Preeclampsia Foundation says the condition occurs in 5 to 8 percent of all pregnancies.

A common test for preeclampsia, called the supine pressor test, measures a pregnant woman’s blood pressure with the woman’s body in two different positions: lying on her left side, then lying on her back. Changes in blood pressure readings from one position to another are an indicator of the disorder.

While the supine pressor test is easy to perform, its procedures were not standardized and results were unreliable, and has since been largely abandoned. Since its use began in the 1970s, reviews of the test found false positive rates as high as 46 percent. “When this test was used in clinics,” says Goergen in a university statement, “everybody was doing it slightly differently. What does ‘left side’ mean? How long does it take? It was not working well and was basically neglected.”

Researchers led by Indiana University medical student and first author Hamna Qureshi, a former biomedical engineering student in Goergen’s lab, prepared a smartphone app that provides common instructions for taking the supine pressor test. In addition, the app connects to a blood pressure cuff, to automatically record the woman’s blood pressure. The app then calculates the changes in blood pressure from lying on the left side to back, and calculates the user’s preeclampsia risk.

The researchers designed the app for use at home, without professional monitoring. Tests by the team with 25 women 20 weeks pregnant and non-pregnant women, show the app is easy to use, with results indicating the app’s feasibility. The findings also calculated common baseline measures showing an increase in diastolic blood pressure — the “top number” in blood pressure readings — as non-pregnant women shifted from left-side to back reclining positions. The baseline readings help interpret results when used by pregnant women.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded the Purdue project in one of its global grand challenges programs, for use in remote and low-resource regions. “This device has a lot of potential to help pregnant women in many different settings,” notes Qureshi, “particularly rural and underdeveloped ones.”

The university filed a provisional patent — essentially an intent to file a full patent — for the technology.

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Touch Senses Added to Synthetic Skin, Robot Arm

Skin-On Interface

Skin-On Interface added to laptop touchpad and mobile devices (Marc Teyssier)

21 Oct. 2019. Computer scientists in the U.K. and France created techniques for adding a refined sense of touch to highly sensitive artificial skin and an inexpensive robotic arm. Researchers from the lab of computer science professor Anne Roudaut at University of Bristol reported these developments in two papers at the ACM User Interface Software and Technology Symposium, now underway in New Orleans.

Roudaut is part of the Bristol Interaction Group that studies interactions between humans and computers. The lab’s research includes materials and soft robotics to move the study of robotics further into systems that can change shape and respond better to environmental cues. The Bristol team, with colleagues from Telecomm ParisTech and Sorbonne University in Paris, are seeking to increase the sensitivity of artificial skin used in robotic and mobile devices. Adding more tactile sensitivity makes it possible for these devices to discriminate between different levels of pressure and interpret the purpose of the interaction.

The artificial skin, called Skin-On Interface, is made of different layers, much like human skin. Skin-On Interface has a lower-level of electrode circuits sewn together with conductive threads, covered by a textured outer surface, encased in soft silicone. The team designed the artificial skin for more sensitive interactions with robots, but also as a new form of interaction with mobile phones and wearables. Tests show Skin-On Interface can detect rubbing, twisting, pinching, and even tickling.

Marc Teyssier of Telecomm ParisTech, lead author of the conference paper, says in a Bristol statement, “Artificial skin has been widely studied in the field of robotics but with a focus on safety, sensing, or cosmetic aims. This is the first research we are aware of that looks at exploiting realistic artificial skin as a new input method for augmenting devices.” This video by Teyssier, hosted on EurekAlert, demonstrates Skin-On Interface and shows how it’s made.

Roudaut and colleagues also designed a lightweight and inexpensive robotic arm for everyday use. The device, called Mantis, is not only easy to assemble, but can sense touch through haptic or force feedback, similar to touch screens on phones and computer screens. But on Mantis, the haptic feedback is interactive, so it can return changes in surface pressure enabling users to feel the shape of an object.

“Imagine a user playing a game in virtual reality with Mantis attached to their fingers,” says Roudaut in a university statement. “They could then touch and feel virtual objects, thus immersing themselves both visually and physically in an alternative dimension.” Roudat adds, “Humans already have a great sense of touch. Mantis expands on this innate ability by enabling people to touch and feel 3-D objects, adding more depth to the VR experience.”

Bristol doctoral candidate and Mantis developer Gareth Barnaby started Senmag Robotics, a spin-off company planning to take the device to market. “We will be giving out the plans to allow anyone to build a Mantis,” says Barnaby. “Because we are keen to make force feedback devices more widespread and not confined to research labs, we are also looking to produce some easy to build kits as well as pre-built versions that we will make available on the web site.”

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What to Look For in a Business Location

– Contributed content –

Sidewalk cafe

(Pexels, Pixabay)

20 Oct. 2019. Whether you’re setting up a new business or looking to expand your existing business into new areas, it is absolutely crucial to find the right location.

Where you set-up will significantly affect your ability to find and connect with customers, the availability of potential staff, the cost of utilities and overheads, conflict with competitors and ultimately, the long-term success of your enterprise.

This isn’t a decision to be taken lightly. So take a look at the list below for some key pointers on what you should consider and why.

A healthy customer base 

No matter what your business is, you will sink or float depending on your access to, and connection with, your specific customer base.

So before considering any other variables, you first need to ask yourself: is there a demand for my product or services in this location? Am I going to have an audience here? In other words: don’t start an ice business at the North Pole…

Big cities with growing populations can be great because your potential audience is larger. But competition from other businesses tends to be greater too and your relationship with customers a little less personal.

On the other hand, if your business is niche and the population of your location is small, you might struggle to make the numbers you need to keep yourself afloat. But if you’re selling an innovative solution to a universal problem, you might do better in a small town away from metropolitan competition.

It’s easier to define your business in a small area, connect with locals and form long-lasting relationships. And as more and more corporations take over towns and cities, it can be hard to compete financially.

The only major exception here is if your business operates online, catering to a national or even global audience. Even so, support from the local community is a big boost.

A welcoming community 

Some areas are much more welcoming to new businesses than others. In fact, a few cities like Cedar Hill TX have a special focus on economic development and actively encourage and support new businesses in the region.

Before setting-up your business in a new town or city, you should always research the area’s historical and current business climate. How many new businesses have set up in the area over the last few years? How many have succeeded or failed and why? Are rent and utility prices stable and affordable? How are businesses in the area taxed?

If very few new businesses have been able to thrive in the location you are researching, chances are the community is not so welcoming and succeeding might be an uphill struggle.

Also be wary if the product or service you provide is going to challenge a major existing industry in the area. In some cases this could be beneficial, as the customer base is already waiting for you. But if a town or city has a long-established business that employees large numbers of people, the community might be hostile to an unfamiliar start-up moving in on their territory.

If you are likely to be working with a range of suppliers, it is crucial to check that these businesses will supply to your area, and that they will be able to keep up with demand.

Similarly, if you plan to employ staff, make sure that great staff will be available, trained or qualified to help run your business.

Competition 

This brings us to the topic of competition. A bit of healthy competition can be great for your business. Even better if you can connect with others in your industry, share tips, and push each other to achieve your best.

Competing businesses also suggest a healthy audience for your product or service, and an existing infrastructure. If you provide a product for which customers typically like to comparison-buy, being near a competing business could be useful.

However, you don’t want to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. If you’re up against bigger, long-established, popular businesses with great connections in the area, or if there are simply too many companies competing for the same, small customer base, you are going to struggle.

You need to be really confident that your business is unique enough, and providing a high enough quality, that you can stand out from the crowd. So again, do your research here. If there are competing businesses, visit them, take note of the service they are providing and ask yourself – do we have something new to offer?

The building 

Once you’ve decided on the town or city you want to set up in, you will need to think about the property you want to operate from. There are a few crucial things to consider here.

Is the building newly built or slightly older? Are the plumbing, lighting, electrics and insulation up-to-date and in good working order, or will they need to be replaced? Are the lease-terms and rent favorable?

Aside from the size, condition and modernity of the space, it is important to consider the accessibility of the property.

This is especially true if you want to engage with foot-traffic. If the building is a little off the beaten track, difficult to find, doesn’t have any parking, or is in the wrong part of town, it might not be particularly alluring to new customers, and it could be tough to attract people your way.

If you’re moving to a city which has distinct areas for certain industries – retail, culture, fashion, restaurants, commercial etc. think twice before going against the grain. It’s worth taking note of the general condition of the neighborhood, and be wary of crime rates and vandalism.

It’s also worth researching the history of the building you’re moving into. What is its commercial history within the community? Is there a way to link this to your contemporary business? Is there an associated community you can connect to?

And there we have it. Use these pointers to get the ideas flowing and help you find the perfect place to set up your business.

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Infographic – Biotech Index Decline Continues

NBI chart

Nasdaq Biotechnology Index, 1 Jan. to 18 Oct. 2019. Click on image for full-size view. (Nasdaq)

19 Oct. 2019. We check in from time to time on the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index, or NBI, to assess the overall health of a key industry we follow on Science & Enterprise. Overall, the NBI is in decline since reaching its peak for the year in the spring, erasing all of the gains for the year at the beginning of October, as seen in this weekend’s infographic.

The index of 223 biotech companies trading on the Nasdaq started 2019 recovering from a slump, opening at 3,044 on 2 January. The NBI continued a strong recovery, however, rising some 19 percent to 3,619 on 1 March and almost matching that number on 5 April. The index then began its decline to 3,139 at the end of May. A rally over the month of June took NBI to 3,485 on 2 July, but since then declined to 3,053 on 2 October, almost the same level as when the year began.

The index rallied somewhat over the past two weeks, closing on Friday 18 October at 3,214. While that’s still a 5.6 percent gain for the year, it represents an 11.2 loss since the 1 March peak for 2019. For comparison, the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 21.4 percent for the year-to-date, while declining 2.9 percent from the year’s peak on 26 July.

As we reported on Monday, biotechnology remained a hot investment target for venture capital through the third quarter of 2019. But the number of venture deals and investment volumes overall are down for the year. In addition, the pharmaceutical and agribusiness industries — funders of biotech companies with licensing and investments — face costly legal challenges, compounded by the global economic concerns of Brexit and an economic slowdown in China.

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Small Biz Grant Supports Newborn Opioid Device

Newborn baby

(Christian Bowen, Unsplash)

18 Oct. 2019. A start-up enterprise is developing a nerve stimulation device worn by infants born to mothers with opioid addiction to treat the babies’ withdrawal symptoms. Spark Biomedical Inc. in Houston is receiving a one-year $217,700 grant from National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of National Institutes of Health, to support development and validation of the device.

Spark Biomedical’s device aims to help babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome, a disorder where the baby suffers withdrawal symptoms from drugs taken by the mother and absorbed in the womb. The company cites data showing as of 2012, a baby with neonatal abstinence syndrome is born every 25 minutes, accounting for 5.8 of every 1,000 births, a sharp increase from 1.2 per 1,000 births in 2000. Currently, says Spark Biomedical, no standard of care exists for the disorder, with treatments ranging from more swaddling, rocking, and breastfeeding of the baby to drug therapy combining oral morphine with a sedative.

The Spark Biomedical device is worn over the baby’s ear, and provides stimulation of brain cells through the skull. The device is based on studies of non-insertive acupuncture, where laser or massage stimulates the targeted acupuncture points instead of needles. The company says early results show these techniques can stimulate neural pathways in the brain in babies with neonatal abstinence syndrome, and research of the technique as a supplement to medication therapy is continuing.

Spark Biomedical, founded in 2018, proposes its device as a more reliable and controllable method for stimulating nerve cells in the brain than acupuncture, since the administration of acupuncture can depend on the skills of the individual practitioner. The battery-powered Spark device delivers mild electrical stimulation through the skin around the ear, aiming for cranial nerve pathways. Treatments last for 10 days.

The project is led by Navid Khodaparast, chief scientist at Spark Biomedical. The company is partnering with Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, with that team led by pediatrics professor Dorothea Jenkins.

“The incidence of neonatal abstinence syndrome continues to reach new highs and is too debilitating for us to accept current treatment,” says Khodaparast in a company statement. “We have designed a study that will test a safe, therapeutic option to restore quality of life for infants and ultimately, families.”

“If our technology,” adds Spark Biomedical CEO Daniel Powell, “can reduce or prevent the pain as well as the need to use opioids on a newborn, we believe it could give these infants a significantly better start in life and set them on a better path from the beginning.”

The award is part of NIH’s Helping to End Addiction Long-term, or HEAL, initiative, but also made as part of NIH’s Small Business Innovation Research, or SBIR, program that sets aside a portion of its overall research funding for small U.S.-based companies with science-based products. NIH says it invests more than $1 billion in SBIR and related Small Business Technology Transfer awards.

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High-Speed Industrial 3-D Printing Demonstrated

HARP system

High-area rapid printing, or HARP, system (Northwestern University)

18 Oct. 2019. An engineering team developed a high-speed three-dimensional printing process that can produce large, detailed items of various materials on demand. Researchers from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois describe their process in today’s issue of the journal Science.

A team from the engineering and materials science lab led by Chad Mirkin aims to solve a continuing challenge facing additive manufacturing, the industrial application of 3-D printing. A promising technique known as stereolithography uses light-sensitive resins that react to ultraviolet light, and are stacked in layers on a vertically moving plate, resulting in a 3-D object made of stacked 2-D layers. Additive manufacturing today can quickly produce small items with stereolithography on demand, or larger items if given plenty of time. But there’s a trade-off between size and speed.

One reason for the trade-off is items produced with stereolithography use resins that stick to the printing surface and need to be repeatedly separated from the surface. More advanced systems inject a layer of oxygen between the print surface and printed item, called a dead layer, that prevents the item from sticking. Another issue with stereolithography is the high heat produced when ultraviolet light reacts to resins, a hazard to both operators and the printed item, which requires added components to dissipate the built-up heat. While these challenges can be overcome, they add more cost and complexity to printing systems.

To address both of these problems, Mirkin and colleagues devised a process they call high-area rapid printing, or HARP, using fluorinated oil spread on the printing bed where the ultraviolet light activates the resin. The commercially-available fluorinated oil does not mix with the resins, thus separates the printed material from the print bed. As a result, HARP system do not need injections of oxygen to prevent the item from sticking.

The fluorinated oil also serves as a heat exchange medium. In tests of the process, the researchers report using cooled fluorinated oil to absorb the heat and reduce temperatures on the print surface from as high as 180 degrees C to a more manageable 100 to 120 degrees.

Without the limits of oxygen injection and high heat build-up, the team designed a HARP system to 3-D print large items at faster speeds. The lab’s prototype HARP system is 13 feet high, with a 2.5 square foot print bed. Depending on the type of materials used, the HARP system can vertically print items as fast at 430 millimeters or 17 inches per hour. The researchers used HARP to produce items in a hard polyurethane acrylate plastic, a soft and stretchable butadiene rubber, and a silicon carbide ceramic. Because of the rubber’s viscosity and lower reactivity, print speeds with that material were slower.

“If we could print fast without limitations on materials and size,” says Mirkin on a university statement, “we could revolutionize manufacturing. HARP is poised to do that.” He adds that HARP systems can be on the market in the next 18 months. This brief video hosted by EurekAlert shows the HARP system in action.

Mirkin, with co-authors James Hedrick and David Walker, founded the company Azul 3D Inc. in Skokie, Illinois that licenses the technology from Northwestern and is developing HARP systems for the marketplace. Hedrick is the CEO of the three year-old company, with Walker serving as chief technology officer, and Mirkin as board chair.

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Three Tech Trends to Watch

– Contributed content –

Artificial intelligence graphic

(Gerd Altmann, Pixabay)

17 Oct. 2019. The world of business and technology moves fast and keeping up with the latest innovations is almost a full-time job in itself, but if you’re committed to keeping your business on point with the latest technology then you’ve come to the right place.

In this blog we take a look at the business and science-technology trends that we’re likely to witness in the next 12 months. Whether you work in IT services or provide custom-made parts, such as fluid level sensors, you’re going to be glad that you kept your finger on the pulse of tech’s future.

5G

This is so much more than just a rumor but the roll out of 5G technology has been frustratingly slow for everyone.

Not only will you be looking at extremely fast download speeds to rival a good wifi network but there will be a significant increase in bandwidth. This bandwidth will allow for greater possibility for things like drone delivery, driverless cars and so on. A significant step forward for many businesses.

AI

Artificial Intelligence is always on our watch-list and the technological advances of the last ten years in AI have been staggering. There is only room for this tech to go forward and serve businesses in even greater depth.

Smartbots already have the lead in providing online customer service support and its this sector where we’ll probably see significant movement. Predicting customer needs and supplying information and services without the need for direct human involvement frees up your team to get on with the job of driving up sales, leaving AI to focus on dealing with your existing customers.

In medicine too we’re sure to see AI better coping with storing and accessing medical databases and being used in surgical procedures. An exciting time for this technology.

The IoT

IoT or the Internet of Things has been around for some years already and is not without its flaws. One of the greatest flaws is connected to its security issues. While it is beneficial to link up your smart tech to other devices around your home or business it can leave the not-so-smart tech open to cyber attack, exposing the rest of your network.

As even the most basic functions, such as doorbells and light bulbs become smarter and better protected, able to download security software, the whole IoT system will become better protected. This will be true whether you’re looking at a domestic or industrial setting.

Better connectivity and the safe integration of your devices can only lead to a more productive workforce and a faster turnover of work. Keep an eye for smarter smart tech, for AI services that free up your time and for a 5G network that might finally be rolled out across the globe.

IT and tech advances don’t stop for anyone so get on board with the latest breakthroughs and see how they might start benefiting your business. Get prepared because the future is just around the corner.

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Data Trial to Build Precision Epilepsy Model

Brain activity graphic

(Gordon Johnson, Pixabay)

17 Oct. 2019. A medical data science company is analyzing health data from participants’ smartphones with artificial intelligence to better determine epilepsy treatments. The company doc.ai — the name is spelled in all lower-case — is partnering with Stanford University medical school in what the company calls a “data trial” to find the optimum treatment for people with epilepsy.

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder where nerve cell activity in the brain is disturbed, causing seizures with symptoms ranging from blank stares to tingling sensations to loss of consciousness. World Health Organization estimates some 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy, where in many cultures people with the condition face stigma and discrimination. Epilepsy Foundation says 3.4 million people in the U.S. have epilepsy. While epilepsy can be treated in many cases, WHO says as many as 70 percent of people with epilepsy could become seizure-free with the appropriate treatments.

The company says while no cure for epilepsy is yet found, some 25 treatments are already developed for patients to manage their symptoms. Finding the right drug for individual patients now, says doc.ai, is in most cases done by trial and error, with many patients suffering harmful side effects.

doc.ai is a three year-old company that offers analytical services in health care, with health data collected by individuals on their smartphones, and analyzed with artificial intelligence. The company enrolls individuals who collect their personal medical information, such as genomic sequencing data, physical traits, exercise and activity information, and environmental exposure with an iPhone app; no Android app at this time. People enrolling in doc.ai then can take part in studies where their data are anonymously shared and analyzed. The company says the shared data are encrypted and protected with blockchain, and participants receive loyalty rewards redeemable for prizes.

The epilepsy data trial is led by Robert Fisher, Stanford University professor of neurology and neurological sciences. The study aims to enroll 1,000 participants with epilepsy through September 2020, who will track their seizures, medications, and side effects for three months. Participants will use their phone cameras, for example, to snap photos of their medications rather than entering text. Individuals in the study will receive a personalized report compiling and summarizing the data collected over the three months to share with their physicians.

“We’re testing our A.I. capabilities to help clinicians and their patients to find the optimal anti-seizure drug for an individual,” says Walter De Brouwer, CEO of doc.ai in a company statement released through PRNewsire. “Utilizing A.I. and real-world data from multiple sources for medical research is a step forward in medicine. It has the potential to reduce costs and increase participation by reaching users on the devices they use every day.”

“The digital health trial has the potential to provide physicians and people with epilepsy with new options to optimize and personalize treatment,” adds Sonya Dumanis, director of innovation at the Epilepsy Foundation, a partner in the project. “Our hope is that the use of A.I. to develop a predictive model to help identify the right approach for each person will help those struggling to gain better seizure control.”

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Artificial Pancreas Improves Blood Glucose Control

Artificial pancreas system

Artificial pancreas system (Tandem Diabetes Care)

17 Oct. 2019. Results of a clinical trial show an automated glucose monitor and insulin pump system provides better blood glucose control for people with type 1 diabetes. Findings from the six-month trial, testing the closed-loop artificial pancreas system against an insulin pump with sensor providing blood glucose levels to the user, appear in yesterday’s issue of the New England Journal of Medicine (paid subscription required).

People with type 1 diabetes have an inherited autoimmune disorder where islet cells in the pancreas do not produce insulin. Type 1 diabetes is diagnosed primarily in children or young adults, where the immune system is tricked into attacking healthy cells and tissue as if they were foreign invaders, in this case, insulin-producing islet cells. From 5 to 10 percent of people diabetes have the type 1 form, estimated at 1.25 million in the U.S.

The technology available today for people with type 1 diabetes to control blood glucose levels is an insulin pump with a sensor-driven glucose monitor that alerts the wearer to release insulin from the pump into the blood stream. A more advanced technology combines the glucose monitor and insulin pump in a single closed-loop system. In the closed-loop system, sometimes called an artificial pancreas because it works automatically, signals from the glucose monitor drive the timing and quantity of insulin released from the pump, without any action from the wearer.

The closed-loop system is made by Tandem Diabetes Care Inc. in San Diego that combines the company’s t:slim X2 insulin pump with a Dexcom G6 continuous glucose monitoring sensor. The system is controlled by software called Control-IQ from the company TypeZero in Charlottesville, Virginia.

As reported by Science & Enterprise in January 2016, the control algorithms and software were first developed by researchers at University of Virginia in Charlottesville and Harvard University, led by Boris Kotchalev and Francis Doyle, respectively, funded by National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, part of National Institutes of Health. Kovatchev is a senior author and Doyle a co-author of the new journal paper.

The clinical trial enrolled 168 individuals with type 1 diabetes, age 14 to 71, at seven sites in the U.S. Participants were randomly assigned to wear the closed-loop system or the sensor-augmented insulin pump, with twice the number of closed loop system wearers (112) as sensor-augmented pump wearers (56). A key goal of the trial was to test the systems under as close to real-world conditions as possible. Thus, participants checked in with the study team every two to four weeks for device inspections and data downloads, but were otherwise not tracked for the six months of the trial.

The study’s main efficacy measure was the amount of time in the safe-target range of blood glucose levels, from 70 to 180 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). Results show participants wearing the closed loop system spend on average 2.6 more hours per day in the safe-target range than sensor-augmented pump wearers. The percentage of time spent in the safe-target range increased from 61 to 71 percent for closed-loop system wearers, while sensor-augmented pump wearers remained at 59 percent. The percentage of safe-target time at night — midnight to 6:00 am — was also higher for closed-loop system participants (76%) than sensor-augmented pump wearers (59%).

All 168 participants finished the trial. No serious hypoglycemic events occurred among any of the participants.

“This artificial pancreas system has several unique features that improve glucose control beyond what is achievable using traditional methods,” says Kovatchev in an NIH statement. “In particular, there is a special safety module dedicated to prevention of hypoglycemia, and there is gradually intensified control overnight to achieve near-normal blood sugar levels every morning.”

John Sheridan, president and CEO of Tandem Diabetes Care, notes in a company statement, “These outcomes, combined with the overwhelmingly positive experiences reported by trial participants, give us confidence that availability of Control-IQ technology will further our mission to improve the lives of people with diabetes, and we continue to prepare for its commercial launch this year, pending FDA approval.”

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How to Limit Product Losses

– Contributed content –

Shipping containers

(Chanaka, Pexels.com)

16 Oct. 2019. It’s very important that you make every effort to protect your products at every stage. This includes when they go from the warehouse to the destination. If you are not sure if you are, then there are a few things that you can do to try and help yourself.

In the warehouse

You have to make sure that you assess warehouse personnel. You also need to check the qualifications of those who are responsible for handling your products and managing your stock too. If you don’t then you may end up putting your company at risk. Another thing that you can do is check your process. How often do you handle your products? Are they labelled? What do you do about products that are damaged through poor storage? By analyzing all of this information, you can then begin to document your process while also making it much more efficient.

Product packaging

Another thing that you can do is check the product packaging you have and even the dimensions too. You need to look out for breakages and you also need to make sure that you are choosing the right type of packaging too. If you don’t then this will lead to even more problems and you may even find that you need to change this. If you don’t then you could be losing out on even more money later on.

During shipment

Single-walled corrugated boxes are great for small and medium products, but at the end of the day they are not good for large products. You also have to make sure that you stick with the right fasteners too. Tape comes in all shapes, sizes and strengths. Some shipments will require you to use box staples as this will help them to stay intact during transport. If you have your brand on your shipment package then this may be a good way for you to advertise your company but on the flip side, it can also attract thieves. This is the last thing that you need, so consider plain packaging and also make sure that you keep it discreet.

Weigh everything

If you ship products by the weight or if you need to weigh products out, then it would be beneficial for you to use some scales to weigh out your materials instead. If you don’t then you may end up really missing out because you’ll be sending your customers more products than they need. One way for you to avoid this would be for you to invest in some industrial load cells. Of course, it also helps to look at your profit margin and to also find out if you can use smaller packages to ship your products instead. This will free up more of your budget and it will also help you to run your business much more efficiently which is always a bonus.

Of course, there are many things that you can do to try and limit product loss, and by following the above tips, you can be sure to make the biggest difference.

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