Australia May Soon Eliminate Cervical Cancer

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Goodbye, Cervical Cancer

The International Papillomavirus Society has announced that Australia could become the first country to eliminate cervical cancer entirely.

According to a new study, Australia’s efforts to distribute a human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine for free in schools have been a resounding success. The sexually transmitted infection causes 99.9 percent of cases of cervical cancer.

In 2007, the Australian federal government began offering the vaccine to girls aged 12-13, and in 2013 it was made available to boys, too. Girls and boys outside of that age bracket but under nineteen are also entitled to two free doses of the vaccine.

Between 2005 and 2015, the percentage of Australian women aged between 18 and 24 who had HPV dropped from 22.7 percent to just 1.1 percent. Immunization rates have increased further since 2015, contributing to what’s being described as a “herd protection” effect.

Coupled with a more advanced screening test that was introduced by the Australian government in December 2017, there are hopes that no new cases of cervical cancer will be reported within ten or twenty years.

The World Isn’t Catching Up

In the U.S., the HPV vaccine is not free. It can cost as much as $ 450 for the full regimen, according to the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals, although financial assistance is often available. In 2016, 78.6 percent of 15-year-old Australian girls, and 72.9 percent of 15-year-old Australian boys were vaccinated – but only 50 percent of American girls between 13 and 17, and 38 percent of American boys between 13 and 17 had received the vaccination, as per data published by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

The situation is much worse in the developing world, where papillomavirus incidence rate remains high. “Two-thirds of the world’s population of women don’t get access to what Australian women do,” said Joe Tooma, the chief executive of the Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation. “Unless we do something, it will still be one of the major cancer killers in developing countries.”

Administering the HPV vaccine in schools has also proven to be effective in a trial that took place in Bhutan. Offering this kind of free access to the vaccine in other developing countries may seem like an expensive measure, but as the Australian example shows, it could ease the burden of cervical cancer down the line.

The post Australia May Soon Eliminate Cervical Cancer appeared first on Futurism.


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A New Discovery About Human Skin Could Help Us Eliminate Scarring

Eliminate Scarring

Scars are a normal part of life — for now, anyway. In the future, that might not be the case, as researchers have developed a method to eliminate scarring by prompting wounds to heal as normal skin rather than as scar tissue.

Scar tissue looks different than normal skin because it doesn’t feature any fat cells or hair follicles. Smaller cuts are filled in with skin that contains fat cells called adipocytes, which allows it to blend in with the surrounding area. However, this isn’t the case for scar tissue, which is largely comprised of myofibroblasts.

This research indicates that we might be able to convert myofibroblasts into adipocytes, converting scar tissue to look like normal skin. Previously, this conversion was thought to be possible only in fish and amphibians.

Image Credit: Maksim V. Plikus et. al. / Science

The study, published in Science, builds upon previous research that established a link between the way that fat cells and hair follicles developed in the regenerated skin. Both would form separately, but not independently, with the hair follicles always appearing first.

This prompted the team to try inducing the growth of hair follicles in scar tissue that was being formed in samples of skin taken from mice and humans. Hair follicles were seen to release a signaling protein known as Bone Morphogenetic Protein during their development, which converted myofibroblasts to adipocytes.

Improved Results

These results are an improvement over currently available cosmetic surgery, which can make scars less visible but cannot actually eliminate scarring.

“Previous approaches to scar-reducing therapies focused on minimizing the size of the scar, but not eliminating it all together,” Maksim Plikus of the University of California, Irvine, a co-author of the study, told Futurism. “We observe regeneration of completely new fat cells from myofibroblasts, the principal cell type that causes scarring. This means that instead of just being reduced, scar tissue can be eliminated, replaced by normal tissues via the regeneration mechanism.”

However, there are some limitations to the procedure, at least in its current form. In mouse wounds, there’s a window of opportunity for the scars to be addressed, which seems to fall between day 15 after the injury (when new hair follicles start to regenerate) and day 28 (when fat regeneration is completed).

“The time window for inducing regeneration in wounds is fairly long, which is a great news for potential future regeneration-inducing therapy,” Plikus noted, acknowledging that further testing will be required to assess whether the window can be extended beyond 28 days after the injury was sustained. It’s not yet clear whether it will be possible to modify the therapy for use on older scars.

Furthermore, there are important differences between the skin of humans and mice that warrant further testing. Plikus wrote that the regeneration inducing signaling molecules observed in mice still have to be validated in human skin wounds, for instance.

The therapy has been demonstrated in human skin samples, but there’s a way to go before it can be performed on a living person’s wound. Still, it’s an exciting development that shows just how much we have to learn about our own skin. “Our research shows that adult skin in mammals has much broader regenerative potential than previously assumed,” Plikus said.

The post A New Discovery About Human Skin Could Help Us Eliminate Scarring appeared first on Futurism.


Samsung Steals Apple’s ‘Perforated Holes’ Idea to Eliminate the Notch

By now, most of us who’ve seen the iPhone X can say with confidence whether we love or hate the notch. Regardless of your personal preference, it should be known to all that the notch is here to stay for the next few generations of iPhone..

While there’s plenty of evidence suggesting the notch will ultimately be slimmed down (or eliminated entirely), Apple’s fiercest rival in the phone space recently come out swinging with its own concept of a thinner, discreet, and inherently “more advanced” solution of its own.

Samsung’s Perforated Hole Patent

Published by the World Intellectual Property Organization last week, Samsungs patent No. WO 2018/012719 A1 describes and illustrates a truly “edge-to-edge” OLED display design, featuring small perforated “holes” within the glass, which would house components like the front-facing camera, earpiece, speakers, and more.

As noted by the Dutch-language tech blog, LetsGoDigital an all-screen design like this would allow Samsung to conceal its front-facing components under the glass — effectively side-stepping the need to incorporate a sensor bar like we see on the iPhone X (and to a lesser extent, on the Android-powered Essential Phone).

The patent goes on to detail other key aspects about the concept, such as how digital content like photos and videos stand to benefit from the screen’s substantially decreased “dead area” meaning the unusable screen space currently occupied by the notch.

Too Little, Too Late?

Conceptually, Samsung’s vision of a discreet next-generation ‘notch’ solution is certainly novel and forward-thinking, albeit consistent with the South Korean company’s (generally half-assed attempts) at mimicking Apple’s prized technologies.

More importantly, while Samsung’s design might seem like a promising evolution in the style and functionality of its Galaxy devices, what’s described in the company’s inherent patent is — technologically speaking — just a watered-down version of what Apple is already rumored to be working on.

Apple’s Perforated Hole Patent

In January of last year, it was revealed by an Apple patent that the company may be working on a similar “perforated hole” design, describing a method by which iPhone would be able to hide these crucial components under its display glass.

Unfortunately, while Samsung’s plans are not clear from the patent, it’s still interesting to see the Galaxy maker come up with a solution which eliminates most traces of the notch.

Apple, however, is already at least 2.5 years ahead of the competition both in terms of technology and design. So while iPhone X might not be your ‘cup of tea’ for the time being, we have plenty of reason to believe the notch as we know it will see a major transformation in the years to come.

iDrop News

Credit Card Companies Will Eliminate Signatures By 2018

American Express announced on Monday that it plans to stop requiring signatures when customers make debit or credit card purchases.

The company is now joining the ranks of MasterCard and Discover, and all three credit card providers will eliminate signature requirements in the U.S. and Canada in April 2018. The change, of course, will allow for a faster, simpler and more consistent checkout system for cardholders and merchants, American Express said.

“The payments landscape has evolved to the point where we can now eliminate this pain point for our merchants,” said Jaromir Civilek, executive vice president of Global Network Business at American Express.

Signatures have long been required as an additional security measure for card purchases. But modern security technology improvement — including contactless payments and chip-based cards — have made signatures less of a necessity.

“Our fraud capabilities have advanced so that signatures are no longer necessary to fight fraud. In addition, the majority of American Express transactions today already do not require a signature at the point of sale as a result of previous policy changes we made to help our merchants,” Divilek said.

American Express and other companies have already eliminated signature requirements for purchases under $ 50 in the U.S., but the complete phaseout of required signatures is likely to be a welcome shift for consumers in the next few years. On the merchant side, it’ll likely reduce operating costs associated with retaining customer signatures.

While the changes apply to the U.S. and Canada, American Express said it’s working to phase out signature requirements globally. On the other hand, merchants will still have to collect signatures if required by local law.

The Effect of Apple Pay

Part of the reason credit card companies are simplifying the checkout process is the advent of mobile and contactless payment systems like Apple Pay and others. Mike Cook, senior vice president of Wal-Mart, said that consumers are increasingly expecting a streamlined checkout process.

But while the elimination of signature requirements will obviously streamline the point of sale process for physical cardholders, it’s also likely to speed up transactions for Apple Pay users in the U.S.

Occasionally, Apple Pay requires a signature for certain purchases over $ 50 in the U.S. With major credit card firms doing away with this requirement, it’s likely that the step will be eliminated for Apple Pay and other payment method systems when it’s introduced. While Apple Pay is already faster than chip-based credit card transactions, eliminating the signature requirement will make it quicker still.

On the other hand, there are still certain jurisdictions — such as some areas in Canada — where contactless payment systems can’t be used for large purchases. The phaseout of the signature requirement, unfortunately, won’t do anything to improve that process.

iDrop News

Tech Disruptor Aims to Eliminate Fraud from Ad Attributions

This week in Los Angels, word came from KR8OS that the group is rolling along with the development of their Ethereum blockchain powered ad attribution platform expected to fully launch next year.

The goal? To provide unparalleled transparency in digital advertising, particularly for attributions of app installs, direct response, affiliate deals, signups, and other conversion events.

And the timing couldn’t be more opportune.

A March 2017 study commissioned by WPP ad agency The&Partnership and conducted by ad verification company Adloox illustrates the magnitude of the problem KR8OS aims to address: the report found that an estimated 20% of all 2016 ad spend was wasted on invalid traffic and projects that similar wasted ad spend could reach $ 16.4 billion in 2017.

When the large players in the ad network industry like Facebook and Google make and enforce the rules for determining attributions and determining payments, advertisers are finding that those rules don’t favor their interests. KR8OS will be positioning itself to disrupt the digital advertising ecosystem by eliminating the role of third parties in determining attributions for networks. KR8OS will allow advertisers and performance marketers to track attributions with unprecedented reliability and precision – on a massive scale. Since the register is accessible to all users, they can also audit attributions to make sure they are being fairly administered. An open attribution system allows for full transparency and eliminates fraud.

“The blockchain does not and will not solve all the world’s problems. It certainly won’t solve all the problems in adtech either,” stated co-founder Sam Goldberg. “However, when it comes to transparency and record keeping, blockchain has tremendous promise, and that is exactly where KR8OS lives – we bring transparency to attribution and tracking. Attribution answers the most important question for marketing departments in every industry, which is: where did my customer come from?”

The post Tech Disruptor Aims to Eliminate Fraud from Ad Attributions appeared first on Mobile Marketing Watch.

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Linksys has a new tri-band range extender to eliminate WiFi dead spots

If you're not shopping for a new router but still need something to cover far-flung areas of your home (have you tried aluminum foil yet? Seriously.) check out the latest hardware from Linksys. This "Max-Stream Tri-Band AC3000 Wi-Fi Range Extender (R…
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Microsoft’s Satya Nadella says artificial intelligence could create more jobs, not just eliminate them

It’s not all bad, Nadella says.

Artificial intelligence software is automating a lot of jobs that used to require human beings.

The technology is getting so smart, that Tesla’s Elon Musk is legitimately scared it could eventually take over. Other tech leaders, like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, disagree.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella? He thinks AI could actually add more jobs for humans — at least among certain demographics.

“We should have a very clear view of what automation does to displacement and we should get to it, but one of the things I also hope is we can take advantage of AI to get more people into the workforce,” Nadella said Tuesday at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit in Los Angeles.

Nadella talked about how AI could be used to help people who have disabilities, like hearing or visual impairments. He specifically mentioned a camera app from Microsoft, called Seeing, which narrates the things seen through a person’s smartphone camera, essentially providing visuals for those who have visual impairments.

“This is enabling someone who works at Microsoft today to more fully participate,” he added. “There are a lot of things we can do like that that are empowering people.”

AI is one of the three future-thinking technology areas that Microsoft is focusing on. The other two: mixed reality, similar to augmented reality in that it projects virtual objects onto the real world, and quantum computing.

Recode – All

A New Roadmap to Renewable Dependence Could Eliminate 99% of CO2 Emissions by 2050

Far-Reaching and Inclusive

Setting goals to reduce carbon emissions and then figuring out a way to achieve those goals is difficult for any country. Now, imagine doing that for not just one nation but 139 of them.

That’s the enormous task a team of researchers led by Stanford University environmental engineer Mark Jacobson decided to take on. He and his colleagues built a roadmap for 139 countries across the globe that would lead to them relying solely on renewable energy by 2050, and they’ve published that plan today in Joule.

renewable energy solar energy wind energy water energy
Image Credit: The Solutions Project

The 139 countries weren’t picked arbitrarily. The researchers chose them because data on each was publicly available through the International Energy Agency. Combined, the chosen nations also produce more than 99 percent of worldwide carbon dioxide emissions.

To develop their roadmap, the researchers first analyzed each country. They looked at how much raw renewable energy resources each one has, and then they determined the number of wind, water, and solar energy generators needed for that country to reach 80 percent renewable energy dependence by 2030 and 100 percent by 2050.

The researchers also calculated the amount of land and rooftop area such power sources would require, as well as how a transition to renewables could reduce each nation’s energy demand and costs. Aside from the energy sector, the team also took into account the transportation, heating/cooling, industrial, and agriculture/fishing/forestry industries of each of the 139 countries while creating their roadmap.

“Aside from eliminating emissions and avoiding 1.5 degrees Celsius [2.7 degrees Fahrenheit] global warming and beginning the process of letting carbon dioxide drain from the Earth’s atmosphere, transitioning eliminates 4-7 million air pollution deaths each year and creates over 24 million long-term, full-time jobs by these plans,” Jacobson said in a press release.

“What is different between this study and other studies that have proposed solutions is that we are trying to examine not only the climate benefits of reducing carbon but also the air pollution benefits, job benefits, and cost benefits,” he added.

Benefits Beyond the Climate

As each of these 139 countries is unique, their paths to 100 percent renewable energy are necessarily unique as well. For instance, nations with greater land-to-population ratios, such as the U.S., the E.U., and China, have an easier path to renewable dependence and could achieve it at a faster rate than small but highly populated countries surrounded by oceans, such as Singapore.

For all countries, however, the goal is the same: 100 percent dependence on renewables.

Renewable Energy Sources Of The Future [Infographic]
Click to View Full Infographic

According to the study, this transition would lessen worldwide energy consumption as renewables are more efficient than their fossil fuel-powered counterparts.

It would also result in the creation of 24 million long-term jobs, reduce the number of air pollution deaths by 4 to 7 million annually, and stabilize energy prices. The world could potentially save more than $ 20 trillion in health and climate costs each year.

And these 139 nations now know exactly what they need to do to reach this goal and all the benefits that come with it.

“Both individuals and governments can lead this change. Policymakers don’t usually want to commit to doing something unless there is some reasonable science that can show it is possible, and that is what we are trying to do,” Jacobson explained. “There are other scenarios. We are not saying that there is only one way we can do this, but having a scenario gives people direction.”

For co-author Mark Delucchi from the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, the study sends a very clear message: “Our findings suggest that the benefits are so great that we should accelerate the transition to wind, water, and solar, as fast as possible, by retiring fossil-fuel systems early wherever we can.”

The post A New Roadmap to Renewable Dependence Could Eliminate 99% of CO2 Emissions by 2050 appeared first on Futurism.