Tag Archives: Disrupt

Glyphosate shown to disrupt microbiome ‘at safe levels’, study claims

A chemical found in the world’s most widely used weedkiller can have disrupting effects on sexual development, genes and beneficial gut bacteria at doses considered safe, according to a wide-ranging pilot study in rats.

Glyphosate is the core ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide and levels found in the human bloodstream have spiked by more than a 1,000% in the last two decades.

The substance was recently relicensed for a shortened five-year lease by the EU. But scientists involved in the new glyphosate study say their results show that it poses “a significant public health concern”.

One of the report’s authors, Daniele Mandrioli, at the Ramazzini Institute in Bologna, Italy, said significant and potentially detrimental effects from glyphosate had been detected in the gut bacteria of rat pups born to mothers, who appeared to have been unaffected themselves.

“It shouldn’t be happening and it is quite remarkable that it is,” Mandrioli said. “Disruption of the microbiome has been associated with a number of negative health outcomes, such as obsesity, diabetes and immunological problems.”

Prof Philip J Landrigan, of New York’s Icahn School of Medicine, and also one of the research team, said: “These early warnings must be further investigated in a comprehensive long-term study.” He added that serious health effects from the chemical might manifest as long-term cancer risk: “That might affect a huge number of people, given the planet-wide use of the glyphosate-based herbicides.”

Controversy has raged around glyphosate since a World Health Organisation agency – the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) – judged it to be a “probable human carcinogen” in 2015.

However, US and European regulators subsequently deemed it acceptable for use, a move campaigners condemned because of regulators’ use of secret industry papers and experts with alleged ties to Monsanto.

The US firm, which recently merged with Bayer in a deal worth more than $ 60bn, argues that it is being unfairly targeted by activist scientists with ulterior motives.

Scott Partridge, Monsanto’s VP for global strategy told the Guardian: “The Ramazzini Institute is an activist organisation with an agenda that they have not disclosed as part of their crowdfunding efforts. They wish to support a ban on glyphosate and they have a long history of rendering opinions not supported by regulatory testing agencies.”

“This is not about genuine research,” he added. “All the research to date has demonstrated that there is no link between glyphosate and cancer.”

In 2017, the Ramazinni Institute was criticised by members of the US Congress, which has provided it with funding. US congress members have also probed funding for the IARC.

The new crowdfunded pilot study which the Ramazzini Institute compiled with Bologna University and the Italian National Health Institute observed the health effects of glyphosate on Sprague Dawley rats, which had been dosed with the US EPA-determined safe limit of 1.75 micrograms per kilo of body weight.

Two-thirds of known carcinogens had been discovered using the Sprague Dawley rat species, Mandrioli said, although further investigation would be needed to establish long-term risks to human health.

The pilot research did not focus on cancer but it did find evidence of glyphosate bioaccumulation in rats– and changes to reproductive health.

“We saw an increase in ano-genital distance in the formulation that is of specific importance for reproductive health,” Mandrioli said. “It might indicate a disruption of the normal level of sexual hormones.”

The study’s three peer-reviewed papers will be published in Environmental Health later in May, ahead of a €5m follow-up study that will compare the safe level against multiple other doses.

Glyphosate shown to disrupt microbiome ‘at safe levels’, study claims

A chemical found in the world’s most widely used weedkiller can have disrupting effects on sexual development, genes and beneficial gut bacteria at doses considered safe, according to a wide-ranging pilot study in rats.

Glyphosate is the core ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide and levels found in the human bloodstream have spiked by more than a 1,000% in the last two decades.

The substance was recently relicensed for a shortened five-year lease by the EU. But scientists involved in the new glyphosate study say their results show that it poses “a significant public health concern”.

One of the report’s authors, Daniele Mandrioli, at the Ramazzini Institute in Bologna, Italy, said significant and potentially detrimental effects from glyphosate had been detected in the gut bacteria of rat pups born to mothers, who appeared to have been unaffected themselves.

“It shouldn’t be happening and it is quite remarkable that it is,” Mandrioli said. “Disruption of the microbiome has been associated with a number of negative health outcomes, such as obsesity, diabetes and immunological problems.”

Prof Philip J Landrigan, of New York’s Icahn School of Medicine, and also one of the research team, said: “These early warnings must be further investigated in a comprehensive long-term study.” He added that serious health effects from the chemical might manifest as long-term cancer risk: “That might affect a huge number of people, given the planet-wide use of the glyphosate-based herbicides.”

Controversy has raged around glyphosate since a World Health Organisation agency – the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) – judged it to be a “probable human carcinogen” in 2015.

However, US and European regulators subsequently deemed it acceptable for use, a move campaigners condemned because of regulators’ use of secret industry papers and experts with alleged ties to Monsanto.

The US firm, which recently merged with Bayer in a deal worth more than $ 60bn, argues that it is being unfairly targeted by activist scientists with ulterior motives.

Scott Partridge, Monsanto’s VP for global strategy told the Guardian: “The Ramazzini Institute is an activist organisation with an agenda that they have not disclosed as part of their crowdfunding efforts. They wish to support a ban on glyphosate and they have a long history of rendering opinions not supported by regulatory testing agencies.”

“This is not about genuine research,” he added. “All the research to date has demonstrated that there is no link between glyphosate and cancer.”

In 2017, the Ramazinni Institute was criticised by members of the US Congress, which has provided it with funding. US congress members have also probed funding for the IARC.

The new crowdfunded pilot study which the Ramazzini Institute compiled with Bologna University and the Italian National Health Institute observed the health effects of glyphosate on Sprague Dawley rats, which had been dosed with the US EPA-determined safe limit of 1.75 micrograms per kilo of body weight.

Two-thirds of known carcinogens had been discovered using the Sprague Dawley rat species, Mandrioli said, although further investigation would be needed to establish long-term risks to human health.

The pilot research did not focus on cancer but it did find evidence of glyphosate bioaccumulation in rats– and changes to reproductive health.

“We saw an increase in ano-genital distance in the formulation that is of specific importance for reproductive health,” Mandrioli said. “It might indicate a disruption of the normal level of sexual hormones.”

The study’s three peer-reviewed papers will be published in Environmental Health later in May, ahead of a €5m follow-up study that will compare the safe level against multiple other doses.

How care apps for the elderly could disrupt tech’s obsession with youth

When Alan’s wife, Toby, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s four years ago, the retired geophysicist turned to a not-for-profit in Palo Alto, California – called Avenidas Village – for guidance. Through Avenidas, Alan learned about several online platforms that connect individuals who need home care with workers who provide it.

Now, once a week, Alan opens his Windows PC and logs onto the website of a company called Honor, which lets him summon a “CarePro” the way you would call an Uber. These “nice young women,” usually nursing students, look after Toby while Alan goes to attend a lecture or to rehearse with one of several chamber music groups, for which he plays violin.

For Eleanor, in the Bronx, it was her daughter Carol who made arrangements. “I don’t like computers … I don’t do Facebook,” Eleanor told me, smiling, when I asked how she kept up with her four grandchildren. But confined to a wheelchair after a stroke, Eleanor knew that if she was going to stay in the apartment where she had lived for 51 years with her late husband, she would need constant assistance. Now, two caregivers from Hometeam, a startup providing in-home care to seniors, take turns staying over. They communicate with each other, and with Carol, through an app loaded on a tablet that stands in the center of her coffee table, in a room lined with family portraits and travel souvenirs.

The market

Silicon Valley skews young and its companies are notoriously ageist. When Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg turned 30 in 2014, the internet gleefully reminded him that he once said that he would hesitate to hire anyone that old. Another popular witticism is that San Francisco’s tech culture is focused on solving one problem: “What is my mother no longer doing for me?” Hence the seemingly endless investment in startups that offer food, laundry and cleaning services.

Conventional wisdom says that you cannot sell tech to the elderly. Yet over the past several years, the sheer size of the market has begun to attract investors. For them, the time has come to ask not what another mommy app can do for you, but what an app could do for your mommy. And big tech investors, like Facebook board member Marc Andreessen, are sensing a major opportunity.


As more ‘digital natives’ become responsible for their parents, they will look for solutions that offer ​​convenience

There are currently around 50 million Americans over the age of 65 , and 10,000 more turn 65 every day. A trillion dollars are spent on healthcare for American seniors every year. And more and more “digital natives” are entering the “sandwich generation”, the age when they are responsible for caring for both their children and their parents, while also meeting the demands of careers. It stands to reason that they will look for solutions that offer convenience, having spent their adult lives with Uber and TaskRabbit and Handy.

Since 2013, several startups have launched with the mission of bringing the on-demand model to elder care. HomeHero, based in Los Angeles, recently announced a program which facilitates transferring patients from the hospital to home with the help of a HomeHero caregiver. Hometeam, headquartered in New York, currently has several hundred caregivers providing services in four east coast states. Honor, in San Francisco, raised $ 20m – led by Andreessen Horowitz – in its first round of funding, and has established partnerships with the American Cancer Association and the American Parkinson’s Association.

Why the rush of investment?

The founders behind these companies are not the first to try to bring tech industry tools to the disorganized field of home care. Care.com was founded in 2006 on the model of an eBay or a Craigslist: it is a website that connects people looking to provide services, from babysitting to standardized test tutoring to elder care, with those who need it. Care.com left it up to users to negotiate their own financial arrangements. (Alan, an Honor user, reported having a terrible experience: “It was only $ 18 an hour, but $ 18 an hour of agony,” he said of a string of workers who proved unreliable.) Carelinx a “professional caregiver marketplace” focused on elders launched at the end of 2011. It was endorsed by the American Association of Retired People. However, it also remained at the level of a platform or marketplace.

Venture capitalist and Andreessen Horowitz co-founder Marc Andreessen, who led investment in home care startup Honor.


Venture capitalist and Andreessen Horowitz co-founder Marc Andreessen, who led investment in home care startup Honor. Photograph: Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Vanity Fair

The new companies are different in that they provide the service themselves. Honor and Hometeam have both developed software designed to match user and care provider and to facilitate communications. Most often, that is with the children of the clients actually receiving the care. The apps also provide protocols for treating patients with particular conditions. Hence, the partnerships that Honor has created with the American Cancer Association and American Parkinson’s Association. Finally, these companies are creating new models to provide training and career development to care providers – a population that is growing along with the population of seniors.

Honor founder Seth Sternberg explains: “When we started looking at the nonmedical home care space, we realized that the problem was that home care professionals are treated really poorly. 56% of them are on some kind of government assistance. If you can’t take care of yourself how should we expect you to take care of someone else?” The average hourly wage of a home healthcare provider in California is $ 9.50. A San Francisco dog-walker, by contrast, earns $ 20.

Honor announced that they were making all of their CarePros employees, rather than independent contractors, in January 2016. Salaries start at $ 17.50 per hour, with healthcare benefits, equity, and opportunities for advancement. They have a huge and growing population of workers to draw on: there are currently between 2 and 3 million non-medical care professionals in the US. HomeHero followed by announcing that they were giving all of their workers W-2 status, with healthcare and benefits, on 1 March. Josh Bruno, the 29-year-old who started Hometeam, told me that they have used employees – not contractors – since the beginning, in July 2015. They currently have over a thousand actively working in four states on the East Coast.

Personal drive

The founders of these companies tell touching personal stories about revelations they had while struggling to care for their own families. For Sternberg, the lightbulb moment came when he was around 35: visiting his mother in Connecticut, he discovered that her driving had slowed to a crawl. For Bruno, it was the experience of watching his family trying to coordinate care for his nonagenarian grandfather. Bruno left his job and started volunteering at home healthcare agencies, convinced that he could learn how to create a company that would do it better.

Related: Big tech asked to pay their ‘fair share’ in taxes to help San Francisco’s homeless

It makes sense that young entrepreneurs would want to disrupt the home healthcare industry, which is valued at $ 80-100bn per year in the US and employs tens of thousands of contract workers across different local agencies. But there are other, more systemic reasons why these startups are well positioned to raise funds and to continue to expand.

New provisions of the Affordable Care Act, which became effective only in April, mean that hospitals will have incentives to coordinate post-release care for their patients. Whereas previously hospitals were reimbursed for such procedures on a case-by-case or a fee-for-service basis – reimbursed by Medicare for each treatment that a patient received – under the new arrangement, a hospital will only be allotted a certain amount of money to pay for treatment of a health issue such as a joint replacement or heart surgery.

This means that hospitals will be penalized if their patients are readmitted, meaning hospitals and insurance companies now have a real incentive to improve care after procedures.

The kinds of services that Honor and Hometeam provide have always been regarded as “non-medical”: the workers who deliver it do not need to have medical training, and are actually prohibited from administering any actual medical care. In the case of Eleanor, whom I visited in the Bronx, her daughter Carol comes once a week to lay out her pills. Her caregivers can only ask “Did you remember to take your pills?” but cannot legally instruct her to take them.

Until now, this kind of care has been performed by very low waged contract workers hired through agencies, and has not been seen as part of medicine or as eligible to be covered by medical insurance.

Ronald Greeno is an in-patient doctor who has worked in Los Angeles for 30 years. He sees this changing, and thinks this is part of what the investors backing the new startups are betting on. “There’s an emerging realization that homecare is healthcare at its most basic. The most basic elements are getting individuals to care for themselves. Are you eating right, exercising, seeing a doctor when we need to, getting the right preventative care done, and so on? That is the essential element of healthcare, and by the way the most cost effective.”

For now, individuals like Alan and Toby, or like Eleanor and her daughter Carol, seem happy to bear the expense – and even to adopt the rhetoric of friendliness that characterizes the relations of employers and employees in so many “disruptive” industries from ride sharing to co-living spaces.

On the day when I visited Eleanor, she was giving her Ghanaian home health aid, Serwa, instructions on how to prepare sweet potatoes with marshmallow for the Jewish Passover holiday the following week. As Serwa moved around the kitchen, Eleanor beamed: “It will be her first Seder.”

Why Practice Fusion And Theranos Will Disrupt Lab Testing On Electronic Health Record Platforms

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Connectivity and integration are essential attributes which include value and increase the consumer knowledge when taking into consideration whether or not to adopt a specific electronic well being record (EHR) platform. While numerous sorts of EHRs can get the work completed, the path of least resistance to record, translate and integrate critical information defines a superior [...]

Will Digital Technologies Disrupt The Psychotherapy Market?

@giorodriguez  Most likely.  And a discipline named constructive psychology may be helping to form the disruption

Not lengthy in the past, I wrote a quick article about the curious rise of a new technology group, which for lack of a greater term can be called pleased-tech.  I asked the question, in my headline:  “Can Social Technologies Help Make You Satisfied?”  The short answer:   “yes, but it depends on what you mean by pleased.” The inspiration for the post was an application known as Happify, which, according to its founders, took its own inspiration from the positive psychology movement.  The motion — an increasingly influential discipline of practice that is tough the psychotherapy status quo – asks society to target not just on what can make individuals miserable but also on what can make them flourish.

The core insight from that report was that apps like Happify were scratching an itch that engineering was prepared to scratch.  But my view, at the time, was that technological innovation was only scratching the surface.  Lately, nevertheless, I started to enjoy that the provenance of some of these apps – the constructive psychology movement – may possibly be driving a more substantial tech disruption.  But, as we shall see, not all disruption is destructive.  The influence of good psychology on tech-based mostly disruption has as a result far loved a mostly good storyline.

Expansion of providers

1st, by shifting the concentrate from psychological sickness to psychological wellness, the positive psych motion is not just introducing a paradigm shift but provoking an expansion of providers.  In addition to talking treatment (on the wane) and psychopharmacology (holding powerful), practitioners of good psych bring a combine of new interventions to the counseling expertise.  And the practitioners consist of specialists qualified in the oldest of traditions:  MDs.

On a recent enterprise journey to New York, I met up with Samantha Boardman, who numerous many years ago supplemented her health care training with a credential in positive psychology awarded by the University of Pennsylvania.  The plan, the first of its kind, is led by the founder of good psychology, Martin Seligman.  These days Boardman is assisting the school create the program, even though incorporating its teachings into her psychiatric work. “Positive psychology has altered my practice on many amounts,” she wrote in a current electronic mail exchange. “It has changed the way I technique patients. Rather than focusing solely on what is wrong with them I also search for what is ‘right’ with them and check out their strengths.”

Boardman had previously in reality shared this information level with me, and it was effortless to see how the small tweaks in habits advocated by the motion – i.e., expressing gratitude, savoring constructive experiences, recording your blessings on a daily basis – deserve at least a number of minutes in the hour one will get in standard treatment.  But it was not what Boardman is doing in the offline globe that got me pondering.  It’s what she is doing in the on the web world.  Like numerous other graduates of the Penn program, Boardman is utilizing the World wide web not just to publish her observations but to prescribe the tiny conduct tweaks in little digital doses.  And Boardman does this especially well.  She dispenses these small bits of virtual psychopharma in a superbly designed weblog known as Constructive Prescription, which characteristics branded beats and columns like “Mind Tonic,” “Positive Rx,” and “Visual Prozac.”  It is not silly things – she backs up her prescriptions with tough science, and, like all great medical doctors, with care and empathy. What’s outstanding, of program, is that Boardman is using digital artifacts as the units of therapeutic currency itself.  And when you contemplate the artistry of the artifacts – the high quality of the style and the top quality of the text – you will see that it is in a various category from the tips column, a mainstay even today in mainstream media.  In other words, the addition of optimistic psychology to the psychotherapeutic toolkit – which favors bite-sized experiential exercise routines – very easily lends itself to digital experiments.

Growth of practitioners

And you really don’t have to be an MD like Boardman or any variety of licensed psychotherapist or counselor to engage in these experiments.  You might be a physical therapist (Larry Bentz). You may possibly be a coach (Emilia Lahti). You might be a could, in fact, be a tech entrepreneur — like the individuals who began Happify and other pleased-tech apps – and get an even much more significant interest in the possible of tech for probably disruptive experiments.  The growth of market place entrants, especially from tech, is accelerating disruption in the psychotherapy.  Which is not to say that conventional psychotherapy is doomed the need persists, and there is no substitute for dwell expertise.  But the disruption that digital has wrought in other markets – say media, education, and old-time retail – may well force psychotherapists to rethink what enterprise they are genuinely in, or at least reimagine their company models.

One factor that is confident to get attention:  the business model for distribution.  This yr at SxSW Interactive – an annual convocation for innovation in tech – a new startup referred to as ThriveOn won a prize in the overall health-care group with a platform that promises to provide “personalized on the internet plans coached by skilled pros to strengthen your psychological overall health.”  The platform is not yet available, though you can consider a extremely extraordinary evaluation (which I assume leverages some of the core IP).  But the stage actually worth making here is that the most disruptive idea in ThriveOn is the redistribution of articles and talent, the same forces that are reshaping other markets.

Towards a a lot more purposeful disruption

Even though not technically a good psychology app – related philosophical bent, but from a more various background of founders – ThriveOn may win huge because it is scratching a bigger itch.  But I’m betting there are even higher disruptions to come.  One particular purpose is that the psychotherapy market place is basically also big to ignore. Though antidepressants peaked in 2008 at $ 12 billion, they are nevertheless, in accordance to a current research, “the most consumed class of therapeutics in the US.”  The place there’s a market place to disrupt, there will be disruption.  One more purpose is the seemingly unstoppable demand for self-improvement and self-monitoring apps and devices the future of that trend factors to innovation in artificial intelligence, the perceived threat to so many professions. But I’m betting on nevertheless yet another driver of innovation, and it goes in the opposite course of artificial intelligence:  the need for a optimistic storyline for a profession that’s frankly in need to have of a improve in morale.  In an insightful cover story for the New York Instances Magazine in 2010, Daphne Merkin chronicled her struggles in turning into clinical psychologist at a time when speaking treatment was beginning its decline.  What she realized:  she wasn’t extremely great at branding herself.

As a business guy who as soon as regarded as — and still considers — the existence of a counselor, I identified her conclusion depressing.  But if good psychology can aid specialists plot a a lot more productive path into the marketplace, and if technological innovation innovation can assist facilitate people transitions – say via even a lot more clever techniques to match counselees with counselors, both online and offline, the place some of the much more critical things still requirements to happen – that would be a blessing worth recording.

Jet Lag, Late Nights, And Naps Disrupt Your Genes, New Study Exhibits

Business travelers, shift staff, university students, and overworked tech staff, beware. Unusual sleep patterns, notably sleeping for the duration of the day and staying up late at evening, wreak havoc with the action of your genes, new investigation demonstrates.

Researchers at the Sleep Study Centre at the University of Surrey in the United kingdom interrupted review participants’ rest at normal intervals above three days, taking blood samples to keep track of gene function. The findings: Daytime sleeping disrupted the rhythms of up to one third of the participants’ genes.

The review, published on the web yesterday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), helps to shed light on the mechanism for previously established connections amongst interrupted rest and significant well being difficulties such as heart disease, weight problems, diabetes, and cancer.

“This analysis may assist us to understand the damaging wellness outcomes linked with shift perform, jet lag, and other conditions in which the rhythms of our genes are disrupted.”said lead researcher Derk-Jan Dijk, professor of Sleep and Physiology and director of the Sleep Investigation Centre.

Using a light-managed sleep lab, Dijk and staff manipulated the examine participants’ sleep patterns, postponing their bedtime by four hrs a day until finally the topics were 12 hours out of sync with their standard day/evening biological clock. The purpose was to mimic the results of jet lag or working the night shift, the researchers explained. Blood exams unveiled decreased gene expression, which can impact the body’s circadian rhythms, as effectively as bodily functions this kind of as metabolic process, irritation, pressure and immune response.

The study has worrisome implications not only for shift staff, but for enterprise vacationers, university students, and sleep-deprived employees of all stripes, who typically nap or sleep for the duration of the day to make up for operating late into the night. (Much more and more businesses are setting up nap rooms to offset employees’ late work hours.)

The prolonged function days are taking their toll – in accordance to the most recent poll by the National Rest Basis, 43 % of Americans among the ages of 13 and 64 rarely or never get a  total night’s sleep for the duration of the perform and college week.

In the past couple of years, scientists have been honing in on the connection between rest patterns, light publicity at night, and significant wellness issues. Last 12 months the American Health-related Association (AMA) house of delegates went so far as to concern a policy statement warning that “nighttime electrical light can disrupt circadian rhythms in humans” and that this disruption “affects aspects of physiology with direct hyperlinks to human health, such as cell cycle regulation, DNA damage response, and metabolism.”

Analysis has linked late nights, shift function, and ambient light to well being situations ranging from depression to early death. The AMA’s concern was primarily based, in portion, on a expanding physique of new analysis linking doing work at evening beneath vibrant lights with enhanced risk of breast cancer.

In a research published  final year in Chronobiology International, researchers from Yale University and the Danish Cancer Society demonstrated that girls who worked at evening had the exact same epigenetic alterations – biological modifications that impact gene expression – previously observed in ladies with breast cancer. In 2007, the International Company for Investigation on Cancer declared shift perform a “probable human carcinogen.”

Although the recent United kingdom review was a little 1, involving just 22 participants, preceding study by Dijk and colleagues published final yr also in PNAS  documented equivalent findings.

For much more well being information, follow me here on Forbes.com, on Twitter, @MelanieHaiken, and subscribe to my posts on Facebook.