Collaboration generates most complete cancer genome map

first_imgWhile non-coding drivers may simply play a smaller role in cancer than previously assumed, they could also be relatively rare and more difficult to find, meaning that the search for these drivers is not over.“One issue these studies highlight is that we still don’t have enough cancer genome data,” said Rheinbay. “We need many more whole cancer genome sequences — which will be coming in the near future because of decreasing DNA sequencing costs.”Getz added that knowing where these non-coding drivers reside in the genome — mainly in the regulatory regions — could help focus future studies on these regions. “If we narrow the search enough, we might be able to generate cost-effective assays that would allow us to study a larger number of tumor samples at a lower cost,” he said.Tumors over time Another paper, in Nature, followed the development of specific tumors through time and tracked the progression of genetic changes. The scientists found that tumors of the same cancer type often shared the same cancer-initiating mutations. But as the tumors evolved, they acquired additional distinct driver mutations that were caused by different DNA-damaging processes, depending on the cancer type and the patient’s genetics and lifestyle.“Using computational reconstruction methods, we were able to estimate the order and timing of genetic events that lead to cancer,” said Ignaty Leshchiner, a co-first author of the study, who is a group leader at the Broad Institute and a member of Getz’s lab. “We found that these genetic events often occur many years before the tumor is detected.”This study suggests that since early-stage mutations are generally consistent within a cancer type, they could be targets for the prevention, early detection, and treatment of the disease. Getz and Beroukhim are co-authors of the paper, with Peter Van Loo of The Francis Crick Institute in the United Kingdom and Moritz Gerstung of European Bioinformatics Institute as corresponding authors.A mutation’s sourceIn another study in Nature, researchers studied the molecular processes that cause cancer mutations, including those that damage DNA and others that, when broken, fail to properly repair DNA. These processes are known to generate distinct patterns, or signatures, of cancer mutations across the genome. By looking at these “mutational signatures,”scientists can identify the molecular events that caused these mutations.The research team used mathematical models to analyze millions of mutations in thousands of cancer genomes in search of these signatures. The scientists discovered many more than were previously known, and found strong associations between the new signatures and specific DNA-damaging processes. “This catalog can be used to understand the mechanisms that generate mutations and drive cancer in each patient.” — Gad Getz, Broad Institute An international team has completed the most comprehensive study of whole cancer genomes, significantly improving the  fundamental understanding of cancer and indicating new directions for developing diagnostics and treatments.The discoveries, published today in 23 papers in Nature and its affiliated journals, are an important step toward a map of all major cancer-causing mutations in the genome.The ICGC/TCGA Pan-Cancer Analysis of Whole Genomes Project (PCAWG, or the Pan-Cancer Project), a collaboration involving more than 1,300 scientists and clinicians from 37 countries, analyzed more than 2,600 whole genomes of 38 different tumor types — the largest publicly available whole-genome dataset in the cancer genomics field. Fifty-two members of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard contributed to this research throughout the six-year long project.Using the collected data, 16 working groups examined multiple aspects of cancer development, causation, progression, and classification, confirming previous findings and generating new knowledge about cancer biology, including identifying a large diversity of molecular processes that generate cancer-causing mutations. The Pan-Cancer Project also improved and developed new methods for analyzing cancer genomes.Previous cancer genome studies focused on the 1 percent of the genome that codes for proteins, known as the exome. The Pan-Cancer Project explored the remaining 99 percent of the genome, which includes regions that regulate the activity of genes.“This large international effort shows the breadth of the types of research and new biological insight that are possible using whole cancer genome data,” said Gad Getz, an institute member and director of the Cancer Genome Computational Analysis Group at the Broad Institute who is also the director of bioinformatics at the Massachusetts General Hospital’s (MGH) Cancer Center and a professor of pathology at Harvard Medical School (HMS). Getz, a member of the PCAWG steering committee, is a co-senior author of three of the papers.Other institutions represented on the project’s steering committee include the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research in Canada, the Wellcome Sanger Institute in the United Kingdom, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Germany and the University of California, Santa Cruz.“It was heartening that this very large group was able to bring together disparate resources and work to come up with some groundbreaking findings,” said Rameen Beroukhim, an associate member of the Broad Institute, an associate professor at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, an associate professor of medicine at HMS, and a co-senior author of two of the papers.,Who’s driving?Included in the suite of papers published today is an overview in Nature that describes how the collaborators collated and standardized existing genomic data from the consortium’s hundreds of research groups around the world. Moving these previously disparate datasets onto a common cloud computing platform was a major part of the project’s success. The paper also details some of the consortium’s most striking findings.For example, the tumor genomes in the study each carry an average of four or five “driver mutations” — mutations that play a large role in driving the growth of cancer.Prior to these studies, 30 percent of tumors had unexplained genetic causes, but by analyzing the entire tumor genome, the consortium scientists discovered more driver mutations, leaving only 5 percent of tumors with no known drivers.Getz and the other PCAWG steering committee members are the senior authors of the overview paper.Driving but not codingAnother paper, published in Nature, focused more closely on driver mutations in the regions of the genome that don’t code for proteins. The scientists were surprised to find so few of these non-coding drivers, given that 99 percent of the genome is non-coding. The team discovered that only 13 percent of drivers identified in this analysis were non-coding.“When people started sequencing whole genomes, there was an expectation that we would find non-coding drivers on the same order as the protein-coding drivers. It was a bit surprising that we didn’t find as many as we would have expected,” said Esther Rheinbay, an associate member of the Broad Institute and co-first author of the non-coding drivers paper, who is also an assistant professor of medicine at HMS and the MGH Cancer Center. Jeremiah Wala and Ofer Shapira, former Beroukhim lab members, are also co-first authors, and Getz and Beroukhim are senior co-authors of this study. “Using computational reconstruction methods, we were able to estimate the order and timing of genetic events that lead to cancer. We found that these genetic events often occur many years before the tumor is detected.” — Ignaty Leshchiner, Broad Institute “By analyzing the largest collection of whole cancer genomes studied thus far, we created the most comprehensive catalog of mutational signatures to date,” Getz said. “This catalog can be used to understand the mechanisms that generate mutations and drive cancer in each patient.”Getz is a senior co-author of the study along with Steven Rozen of Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore and Michael Stratton of the Wellcome Sanger Institute. Jaegil Kim and Nicholas Haradhvala from the Getz lab are co-first authors of the paper.“Since every person is exposed to multiple sources of mutations throughout their lives, we need to use mathematical techniques to identify which mutations come from a particular biological source,” Kim said. “Having such a large dataset enabled us to map out these signatures with much greater precision.”The authors also studied new types of mutation. “DNA can be mutated in a variety of ways, from changing single bases to removing entire sections of genetic code,” Haradhvala said. “This new dataset allowed us to analyze more types of mutation, expanding our understanding of the biological mechanisms of cancer.”The results of the study will allow other researchers to identify the sources of cancer mutations in newly sequenced patient samples.Looking aheadThe project has created and made available a comprehensive resource for cancer genomics researchers, including the raw genome sequencing data, software for cancer genome analysis, and multiple interactive websites exploring various aspects of the Pan-Cancer Project data.“This global pan-cancer project demonstrates that we can learn a lot from studying whole cancer genomes,” Getz said. “We will continue learning about cancer biology and clinical applications from much larger genome datasets as they are generated in the future.”He added that the data, findings, and methods reported in today’s 23 papers will help researchers and clinicians standardize cancer genome analysis, now that decreasing sequencing costs are making it possible to sequence more tumor genomes.“We expect that this collection of papers will become the standard for analyzing whole cancer genomes,” Getz said.The studies are also a major step toward personalized care for every cancer patient, by moving closer to a comprehensive list of cancer-causing mutations that oncologists could one day use to pinpoint the cause of a patient’s cancer.“I want to be at a stage where, for every patient who comes to the doctor with cancer, we will be able to figure out what’s actually driving the tumor and how we can treat it,” Getz said.PCAWG is a collaboration between the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC), an umbrella organization that launches and coordinates cancer genomic research projects, and The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), the cancer genomics program that was jointly managed by the National Cancer Institute and the National Human Genome Research Institute.last_img read more

College receives grant to make campus tobacco-free

first_imgThe Truth Initiative Campaign awarded Saint Mary’s College a grant to make campus tobacco-free. Junior Noel Keen and sophomore Addie Bobosky are the College’s student leaders to organize events to inspire a tobacco-free lifestyle.Vice president of student affairs Karen Johnson said in an email that the College was approached by the Truth Initiative to apply for the grant.“The organization has been focusing on minority-serving institutions and women’s colleges because these are the groups that are most targeted by the tobacco industry,” Johnson said.The Truth Initiative is funded by the settlement with big tobacco companies that hope to speak to youth and provide information about the effects of smoking, Keen said in an email.“Through research and community engagement, the campaign uses tactical events to encourage participation in tobacco-free lives,” she said. “The campaign primarily seeks out minority colleges, such as all women’s colleges, to help create tobacco-free campuses through their grant program.”Keen and Bobosky said in an email that their goals include eliminating tobacco and e-cigarettes from Saint Mary’s and to enlist 15 percent of the student population through a text-in system.“Through the grant, we will be hosting several events on campus that will promote a tobacco-free environment,” Keen said. “We will be hosting two events before the end of the semester that will introduce our exciting ‘Saint Mary’s Lives Tobacco Free’ campaign. We hope to strongly inform our peers about the true facts of tobacco, and encourage our campus to live healthier lives.”The pair traveled to Washington D.C. in early November to participate in the Truth Initiative’s New Grantee Conference, Bobosky said, where they learned how to lead the community toward their goal. “At this conference, we sat through several seminars and workshops focusing on leadership development, true facts about tobacco, community organizing and crucial messaging tactics,” she said. “We met with many different schools from across the country and were able to collaborate with a wide array of backgrounds. The Truth Initiative staff was incredibly welcoming and motivating in their efforts to teach us about the message and how to best implement it on our campus at Saint Mary’s.”The grant allows the leaders two years to engage the community with sponsored events to spread awareness of the dangers of smoking.“Our goal is to make Saint Mary’s College a tobacco-free campus by August 2019,” Bobosky said. “We will include everybody in the community and are looking to get more people involved. Noel and I want to encourage as much participation as possible from students of all backgrounds.”Keen said she hopes to provide the Saint Mary’s community with information to encourage an end to smoking.“By having a tobacco-free campus, the Saint Mary’s community will live healthier lives,” she said. “Forty-one-thousand non-smoking adults are killed by exposure to secondhand smoke every year. Tobacco products kill 1,300 smokers every day. We want to educate our community about the facts and encourage our campus to take the next step in decreasing these statistics.”Bobosky said the pair is working on creating a video and urges community members to reach out if possible.“We are currently seeking individuals who have been affected by smoking, whether it be personally or in general, to participate in a video project,” Bobosky said. “Please contact Noel or I … to get involved. In addition, cessation assistance will be provided for those who do smoke.”Tags: Tobacco, tobacco-free campus, Truth Initiativelast_img read more

Indoor plants

first_imgBy Allie ByrdUniversity of Georgia Indoor plants make an aesthetically pleasing addition to any home décor while cleaning the air and getting rid of pollutants. Many plants can survive indoors, but with the help of University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, you can make sure your indoor plants grow and stay healthy. Plants that grow well indoorsThe best kinds of plants to keep in a home are those that can thrive in small amounts of light. “Plants that are adapted to low-light conditions and only need a small amount of light work best indoors,” says Bodie Pennisi, a UGA Extension horticulturalist. Interiorscape plants like ficus, peace lily, aglaonema, philodendron and ivy all grow well indoors with low lighting. Although it is better for plants to live in warm conditions rather than cold, indoor plants like those above are fine at room temperature and do best when they are by windows. Plants undergo limited photosynthesis indoors and should be placed near eastern or western windows, which provide the most sunlight, says Pennisi. Containers and wateringSelecting the right container for indoor plants is also vital to their survival. Containers made of plastic, terracotta or clay are all good for indoor plants. More importantly, choosing the right size pot for the size of your plant will help it stay healthy. Adequate space allows plenty of room for roots to spread and grow. If a pot is too small it may restrict roots and limit top growth.It is also important for the pots to drain well and have some kind of vessel to catch excess water. Poorly draining pots can cause root problems and fungi due to excess moisture and poor aeration. This causes stress, hinders proper growth and may eventually cause a plant to die. Pots with draining holes help reduce the damage caused by too much water. The most common way people kill plants is from overwatering, Pennisi says. In fact, it’s better to underwater rather than overwater and flood the plant. If a plant is actively growing, water and fertilize it regularly, or one to two times per week. If the plant is not growing actively and staying close to the same size, it can be watered less. When a plant is growing successfully, it may eventually outgrow its planter and need to be repotted. “If the plant is too large for the pot, the root system will circle around the bottom of the pot and become root bound,” Pennisi says. “If the plant is too large for the pot, the plant may also tip over.” Healthy plants make healthy homesPlants not only provide an aesthetically pleasing addition to a home, research shows they purify the air and get rid of VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, too. “Plants absorb VOCs and pollutants and metabolize them in their leaves and soil, cleaning the air,” Pennisi says. (Allie Byrd is a writer with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)last_img read more

SBA economic injury disaster loan deadline for Vermont May 2

first_imgThe US Small Business Administration reminds small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and most private non-profit organizations of all sizes in six Vermont counties of the May 2 deadline to apply for economic injury disaster loan assistance. The loans are available due to frost and freeze that occurred from May 9 through May 13, 2010.Under this declaration, SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans are available to eligible farm-related and nonfarm-related entities that suffered financial losses as a direct result of this disaster. These loans can be up to $2 million with terms not exceeding 30 years. Interest rates are 4 percent for businesses and 3 percent for non-profit organizations. Farmers, ranchers and agricultural producers are not eligible to apply to SBA.The disaster loans are available in Addison, Chittenden, Orange, Rutland, Washington and Windsor counties in Vermont.To obtain disaster loan information and application forms call the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for people with speech or hearing disabilities) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET or send an e-mail to [email protected](link sends e-mail). Loan applications can be downloaded from the SBA’s website at www.sba.gov(link is external). Mail completed applications to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.Those affected by the disaster may apply for disaster loans from SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/(link is external).Completed loan applications should be returned to SBA no later than May 2, 2011.For more information about the SBA’s Disaster Loan Programs, visit our website at www.sba.gov(link is external).last_img read more

Mexico Prepares Program to Organize Immigration on Southern Border

first_imgBy Dialogo July 19, 2013 Mexico is preparing a program aimed at organizing the migratory influx along its southern border, which will involve a joint effort with the governments of Guatemala and Belize, and the implementation of which the Mexican Secretary of the Navy will be responsible for, according to Secretary of Government (Interior) Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong on July 15. The project is a “comprehensive plan covering the southern border that will be under the Secretary of the Navy” to assist this southern area of the country, “which has been neglected in the last four years,” Osorio Chong told the press during a visit with members of the security cabinet to Chiapas (southeast), located on the border with Guatemala. “We don’t know how many (migrants) from Central and South America, as well as other continents, enter our country. We are not aware of their destination or their fate, so we cannot guarantee their human rights,” the secretary stated when explaining the project. Members of the security cabinet traveled to Chiapas for a tour to gain knowledge on the problems that exist in the 1,000 km border area shared with Belize. The program will be aimed at regulating the migratory influx as “part of our national security policy,” said Osorio Chong, and added that for this plan to be successful, joint work with the governments of the neighboring countries would be essential. Every year over 200,000 foreigners enter Mexico illegally, most of them through the southern border, according to government estimates. Once migrants cross the border illegally, they take a freight train known as “La Bestia” (The Beast), and are left not only out in the open, but also at the mercy of attacks by criminals and authorities. Recently, activists have reported cases of migrants that have been thrown from moving trains for not being able to pay the “fees” demanded by criminal groups. Many of them are killed or mutilated by the train’s wheels.last_img read more

Guatemala Joins Common Effort against Narcotrafficking

first_imgBy Geraldine Cook/Diálogo November 26, 2018 Combined work and real-time information sharing with regional partners are institutional priorities for the Guatemalan Navy. Its commander, Vice Admiral Juan Randolfo Pardo Aguilar, is “all in” with navies of the region to counter narcotrafficking threats and transnational criminal organizations. Vice Adm. Pardo participated in the XXVIII Inter-American Naval Conference (IANC) in Cartagena, Colombia, July 23-26, 2018. The commander spoke with Diálogo about his participation at IANC, regional combined operations, and Guatemala’s achievements in the fight against narcotrafficking, among other topics. Diálogo: How important is Guatemala’s participation at IANC? Vice Admiral Juan Randolfo Pardo Aguilar, commander of the Guatemalan Navy: It’s important for Guatemala because we work together with the naval forces of the region and confront transnational threats. As long as our navies operate together and our units are connected, we can interact and confront threats in a combined fashion for better outcomes. Diálogo: IANC centers on regional navies’ responsibility to combat narcotrafficking and related crimes. Why is it important for countries’ naval forces to combine operations? What are you doing to counter these challenges? Vice Adm. Pardo: Our efforts are better if we combine operations. We conduct very important operations in the region. We share successes with Mexico in terms of information exchanges and converging operations. We have an excellent relationship with the United States through JIATF South [Joint Interagency Task Force South], where we have a liaison officer. Indeed, we do operate and interact with other navies. Diálogo: What is the Guatemalan Navy’s contribution to the regional effort against narcotrafficking? Vice Adm. Pardo: We contribute our capabilities and efforts when we take part in operations. In other words, being “all in” and operating with everyone to achieve positive results as we showed in the most recent operations. Diálogo: How do the Guatemalan Armed Forces interoperate with one another and with other Guatemalan agencies to counter these scourges? Vice Adm. Pardo: In Guatemala, our constitutional Army is a single, indivisible body, composed of air, naval, and land forces. The three forces operate hand in hand. No force operates individually; we work together, and that enables us to have positive outcomes in our national territory. Our special units in the Guatemalan Navy also operate in other environments and cooperate with the Marine Brigade and its naval commands. We also operate with ground forces when required. All this gave us significant results. For example, we work directly with the Guatemalan Air Force, which provides air platforms to carry out reconnaissance, hence optimizing the use of resources. Diálogo: What’s the most important project the Navy is working on? Vice Adm. Pardo: We are doing our best to get financial support, either nationally or internationally, to improve our capabilities by modernizing our ships. We have an acquisition arriving in the third quarter of 2020, an 87 foot-long Metal Shark Defiant 85 ship. After 50 years working with used ships, we will finally have a new one. We are also seeking funding to buy an amphibious landing ship from Colombia, so we can keep our units at sea longer and farther away, to patrol for 15 to 20 days with intercepting vessels onboard to respond to different warnings. We are working on creating the Second Marine Brigade on the Pacific coast. This Brigade is currently based in Izabal with a battalion deployed in the Pacific and the Caribbean. Diálogo: Combined operations of Guatemalan and Mexican naval forces dealt harsh blows to narcotrafficking. To what do you attribute this combined success? Vice Adm. Pardo: The trust among naval forces is what strengthened these achievements. If I trust the armed forces, I will share relevant information no matter who gains from it, because what matters is the result. The trust we built between the two navies, the camaraderie, and the concrete results strengthen operations. Diálogo: What’s the importance of real-time communications for successful navy operations in the fight against these crimes? Vice Adm. Pardo: Transnational threats do not “sail,” but “run.” So real time is vital. Outdated information is useless, because what this information could have been worth two hours ago is gone. Therefore, communicating information in real time is essential for success. Diálogo: Guatemala is one of the Northern Triangle countries. How do naval forces of the area combine to combat threats? Vice Adm. Pardo: We coordinate actions with the Salvadoran Navy, such as converging operations, which we also carry out with Honduras and Mexico, even though they are not part of the Northern Triangle. Diálogo: What kind of combined work does the Guatemalan Navy carry out with the United States? Vice Adm. Pardo: We carry out combined operations with the United States. For example, our liaison officer at JIATF South provides us with useful information to strengthen operations. We also have U.S. support to train personnel of the Naval Special Forces Command and the Marine Corps. Diálogo: What is your message to commanders of regional naval forces? Vice Adm. Pardo: IANC helps us see that we have common transnational threats, and as long as we can achieve unity, communication, and trust, we will get better results. We need to integrate the armed forces at a regional level in Central America, South America, and North America, as results would multiply. IANC encourages the growth of our navies.last_img read more

Freeport Police Department to Require Body Cameras on Officers

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York The Freeport Police Department will become the first law enforcement agency in the state to require all uniform police to wear body cameras. (Photo credit: Freeport Police Department)The Freeport Police Department will become the first law enforcement agency on Long Island to require all uniformed patrol officers to wear body cameras.The program, which the Nassau District Attorney’s office characterized as “groundbreaking,” was made official at a press conference Thursday. Funding for the program—which can be expensive after taking into account the cost of storing recorded data—will be provided entirely by asset forfeiture funds the DA’s office obtained from criminal cases. Officials said purchasing 30 body cameras and eight patrol car dashboard cameras will cost $108,000. The money will also pay for multiple years of data storage and repairs.“When I first saw the product I saw the value of it right away,” Freeport Police Department Chief Miguel Bermudez said in a phone interview. Bermudez ended up purchasing four cameras to use as part of a pilot program and “it started paying dividends” right away, he said.The police department, which employs 92 officers—soon to be 95—began experimenting with the cameras last summer.“This groundbreaking crime-fighting program will have a positive impact for the hardworking police officers who patrol our streets every day, and for the people they are sworn to protect,” acting Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a statement.It is believed that the Freeport Police Department will become the first agency in New York State to require all uniformed officers to wear body cameras, officials said. The NYPD, the largest police department in the country, unveiled a pilot program last December. The Nassau County Police Department announced last year that it would experiment with both body and dashboard cameras, but hasn’t done so yet.“We are finalizing details for the pilot program,” said Inspector Kenneth Lack, the top Nassau police spokesman.Bermudez said footage will be used in multiple ways: providing accurate documentation of police and public interaction, evaluating officer performance and immediately recording statements from suspects and victims, which can be used to bolster the prosecutions’ case.“We’re able to, at the moment it happens, be able to…record a statement from the victim exactly what happens,” Bermudez said. “Because as time goes on some victims change their minds and are reluctant to go to court.”To bolster that point, Bermudez described a domestic dispute between a mother and son that culminated in the woman being chased and beaten with a hammer. The body camera recorded an officer interviewing the woman, who had bruises on her face. At trial, the woman backtracked, but prosecutors viewed the footage and were able to use it to their advantage in court.The cameras, which are worn on an officer’s epaulet above their shoulder, are activated once the officer twice presses a button—either kept in their pocket or duty belt. It is deactivated when the officer holds the button for three seconds. The camera runs on a 30-second loop, which means it records a half-minute of activity prior to being activated.A Freeport police officer, now a detective, pictured several months ago wearing a body camera on his right shoulder. (Credit; Freeport Police Department)Department policy requires officers to acknowledge the camera is running when interacting with the public.“Once the situation deescalates the officer will make them aware [of the camera],” Bermudez said. “But when it’s hot and heavy at the time, we’re about officer safety.”When an officer completes their shift, they’ll attach the device to a docking station, which will charge the camera and download its information. Only five people—three commanding officers and two information technology personnel—can access the footage, which is stored in the cloud for up to 120 days.Requiring police officers to wear body cameras on their person has been subject to intense debate in recent years, especially after controversial police slayings in Ferguson, Mo. and Staten Island. The officers involved in both cases were not charged—leading to massive protests nationwide.The DA’s office cited a study by the Rialto Police Department in California in 2012, which found a 50-percent reduction in use of force incidents by officers using the camera, compared to officers who weren’t required to wear the technology. The department’s study also found 10 times more citizen complains in the 12 months prior to the trial.Civil liberty groups insist there are exceptions.The Albuquerque Police Department in New Mexico, which has come under fire by the Department of Justice for police-involved shootings, requires officers to wear body cameras, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. But, in some cases, the cameras weren’t turned on. The organization cited two separate occasions in which an officer allegedly shot an individual, but didn’t activate the camera. “And there are many many cases like this, where the cameras simply weren’t turned on, or the officers said they weren’t turned on, or the footage wasn’t turned in. But of course in criminal cases, when the footage is good for them, they’ll use that footage,” the ACLU said on its website.Jason Starr, director of the New York Civil Liberties Union’s Nassau County chapter, said the devices could be an effective tool, if used properly. “We’re hopeful that police body worn camera are the next step in law enforcement,” he said. “They have the potential to further transparency and accountability and ultimately protect both police officers and members of the public.”“I think they’re important issues to consider, that the use of the cameras and collection and retention of data occurs in a way that is fair and equitable and certainly protects the privacy interest of general members of the public,” he added. Bermudez, who also served as a police instructor for 25 years, believes the body cameras will benefit both the department and the community.“It is just a reminder to the officer to always be professional,” he said.last_img read more

Why executive coaching is a worthwhile investment (not a costly distraction)

first_img 134SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Michael Hudson Dr. Michael Hudson started his first business when he was just 7 years old…riding his bicycle from house to house selling greeting cards and holiday gifts. Since then he … Web: michaelhudson.com Details “I absolutely believe that people, unless coached, never reach their maximum capabilities.”-Bob Nardelli, former CEO, Home DepotIn one way or another I’ve been coaching people for more than 30 years. I started with college students, transitioned to small business owners and entrepreneurs, and then added senior executives in various industries, including the credit union industry.Across that time period the idea of coaching business leaders has grown from a remedial approach to improve poor performance in specific areas to a booming business focused on helping leaders at all levels achieve better results.From my perspective this is a very positive development, and a clear recognition that going it alone is not always (perhaps never) the best approach (even if you are in a top-level position).However, not everyone sees it that way.Some argue that executives don’t need coaching because they already have the knowledge, skills, and experience for the position they hold and therefore don’t need any help doing their job.Others believe it is impossible for someone who has not worked at the same level within the specific industry to provide useful insight regarding the kinds of business decisions executives face on a day-to-day basis.Then there are those who don’t understand the how the executive coaching process works and therefore question the wisdom of sharing critical inside information with an outsider. They also worry that the coaching process might distract the executive from the important issues they need to be handling.And, of course, there are those who express concern about the level of investment required and how to accurately measure the return on it.These are all legitimate areas to question, and they mirror the common questions people ask about products or services they haven’t yet experienced or don’t fully understand.But in the final analysis the decision of whether your credit union should invest in coaching for your key executives boils down to one question: Why would an executive want to invest the time, energy, and money in a coach and how would that investment benefit them (and the credit union)?That’s exactly the question I ask prospective clients, and here are the types of responses I hear:“I need a place where I can share my frustrations and concerns with the confidence that there will be no judgments or reprisals, no grapevine sharing of my concerns, and no unintended misunderstandings.”“My family members are getting burned out listening to me vent about the things and it’s not fair to keep forcing them to put up with it (and I am pretty sure they are tired of hearing it).”I want an independent place where I can kick ideas around about possible changes without freaking out the staff and fueling unnecessary fear about what might or might not happen.I need someone who will ask me the difficult questions that my team feels uncomfortable asking me, as well as the ones that we don’t think about because we are too close to the situation.It would really help me to be able to get an independent perspective on some of the decisions that I need to make—the kinds of things that I simply can’t share with anyone else.“I really need someone to listen without judgment to help me identify the real problem and borrow from experience working with others to guide me toward the right next step.”“I need a place where I can admit what I’m not sure of and share my concerns, openly and honestly without creating undue concern as I evaluate all available options to make the best decision.”“I need someone who can push me to become the best leader I can be and help me increase my impact every day.”“I need a fresh and different perspective on the things I deal with—the kind of insight someone from outside our industry can provide.”“As much as I hate to admit it, sometimes I just need someone to kick me in the butt and remind me that there are actions I need to take, even though they are going to be difficult (and sometimes downright unpleasant).”The overwhelming theme of tone of my conversations with these leaders who are interested in working with a coach is their desire to improve their personal performance—to be pushed beyond their comfort zone to go further than they believe they will go on their own. From my perspective that is not only a worthy goal, but one that cannot help but make the credit union more successful.The bottom line: Based on the ability of a coach to provide support in the above areas of stated needs, and on the positive impacts that I’ve seen people experience when working with a coach, including (but not limited to)…lower stress, more focus, increased productivity, better relationships, increased clarity, less rework, and better company-wide results…I give an unqualified yes to the question of whether executive coaching is a worthwhile investment.As they would say on the TV-show The Voice—“So who are you going to choose as your coach?”last_img read more

Study hints at pneumonia risk with resistant flu viruses

first_imgDec 31, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – A newly published analysis of oseltamivir-resistant influenza viruses collected last winter in Norway hints that they may increase an infected person’s risk of pneumonia and sinus infections, but the small number of patients in the study means the finding is no more than a hint at this point.Increased resistance to oseltamivir (Tamiflu) in influenza A/H1N1 viruses emerged last winter in Europe, the United States, and elsewhere, and was first observed in Norway. Because nearly all H1N1 viruses tested in the United States so far this winter have shown resistance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier this month changed its recommendations for use of antiviral drugs in flu patients. H1N1 is one of the three influenza subtypes that typically circulate each winter.Writing in Emerging Infectious Diseases, Norwegian researchers report that they collected and analyzed H1N1 viruses from 272 patients and determined that two thirds of the viruses were resistant to oseltamivir. Patients infected with the resistant variety had higher rates of pneumonia and sinusitis than those who had the susceptible viruses. But because of the small sample size, the differences were not statistically significant.”Because of our limited sample size, the precision of our estimates is low, but they do indicate findings that warrant further investigation,” write the researchers, led by Siri H. Hauge of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health in Oslo. Their study was published online ahead of print.The researchers tested the oseltamivir susceptibility of all H1N1 viruses collected during Norway’s 2007-08 flu season and also gathered data on the patients by sending questionnaires to their physicians. The viruses were obtained from primary care clinics and hospitals during routine flu surveillance. Norway’s national influenza center tested the viruses for the mutation (called H274Y) that confers oseltamivir resistance, and many of the isolates were sent to the Health Protection Agency in London for further genetic analysis.H1N1 infections were confirmed in a total of 297 patients during the flu season, and resistance profiles were obtained for 272 of these, according to the report. Of the 272 isolates, 183 (67.3%) showed oseltamivir resistance.Questionnaires provided information for 265 of the patients, but response rates for specific questions varied, the report says. The median age for patients with resistant viruses was 31, versus 21 for those with susceptible viruses. From the available responses, none of the patients had received antiviral treatment in the 2 weeks before they fell ill. There was no clear link between having a predisposing disease (diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, or immune deficiency) and infection with a resistant virus, and resistance was not associated with any particular symptom.Of 241 patents for whom information was available, 58 (24.1%) had at least one complication, but there was no significant difference in overall complication rates (24.4% versus 22.1%) or in hospitalization rates (15.8% versus 19.5%) between those with resistant and susceptible viruses.However, the differences for pneumonia and sinusitis in particular were greater, though not significant. Patients with resistant viruses were more likely to have pneumonia (9.2% of 153 patients versus 2.9% of 69; relative risk, 3.2; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.7 to 13.7) and sinusitis (6.2% of 145 versus 3.0% of 67; relative risk, 1.7; 95% CI, 0.4 to 7.5).The authors comment that sicker patients are more likely to be tested for flu, but because physicians didn’t know the resistance pattern of the virus at the time of sampling and reporting, their findings regarding pneumonia and sinusitis are not likely to be due to selection bias.The researchers also observe, “The prevalence of oseltamivir-resistant viruses reported in Europe throughout the 2007-08 influenza season clearly shows that this resistant mutation is stable and that these viruses sustain their fitness and ability to spread among persons.”Disease expert Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH, called the findings interesting but cautioned against drawing any conclusions about a link between oseltamivir resistance and pneumonia risk. He is director of the University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, publisher of CIDRAP News.The patients with the resistant viruses were somewhat older than the others, which would typically signal a higher risk for pneumonia, he observed, adding, “With such small numbers it’s difficult to make any concrete statements about a relationship between clinical presentation and resistance status. It serves as an important piece of information for evaluating the current situation in the US to see if there might be some mechanism that accounts for clinical presentation and resistance.”Hauge SH, Dudman S, Borgen K, et al. Oseltamivir-resistant influenza viruses A(H1N1), Norway, 2007-08. Emerg Infect Dis 2009 Feb (early online publication) [Full text]See also: Dec 19 CIDRAP News story “With H1N1 resistance, CDC changes advice on flu drugs”last_img read more

Launched portal with the most comprehensive information for tourists in Croatia

first_img“There is a lot of information about Croatia on the Internet, but finding updated content about travel and arrivals is difficult, which is why tourists are struggling“, rekao je Paul Bradbury iz TCN-a te dodao kako će koristeći resurse njihove uredničke redakcije redovito ažurirati sadržaj kako bi osigurali da se na portalu nalaze samo najnovije informacije. “Nadamo se da će posjetitelji pronaći sve što im je potrebno na jednom mjestu – olakšan početak njihovog nezaboravnog hrvatskog odmora” ističe Bradbury. The potential of the project has been recognized in neighboring countries, so in 2018 Total Slovenia News and Total Montenegro News were established. The media group Total Croatia News launched Total Croatia ( www.total-croatia.com), the latest page in its web portfolio. The portal Total Croatia in 100 articles in English brings key information about Croatia and provides answers to all key questions of interest to tourists visiting Croatia, as well as foreigners living in it.  Total Croatia was written based on the experience of owner and editor Paul Bradbury, a Briton who has lived in Croatia since 2003. In 2014, Bradbury won the FIJET Marco Polo Award for the best international promotion in Croatia and is the author of numerous tourist guides, books and websites about Croatia. In addition to the fact that the TCN group is responsible for bringing journalists from the New York Times and Sunday Times to Croatia, the news portal is the only Croatian portal accredited for Google News.  Projekt Total Croatia započeo je 2011. godine u Jelsi na otoku Hvaru s prvim specijaliziranim destinacijskim portalom Total Hvar. Ubrzo su dodane i stranice za druga odredišta – Split, Dubrovnik, Zagreb, Korčulu, Središnju Dalmaciju i Međugorje – kao i specijalizirane stranice Total Croatia Wine, Total Croatia Cycling, Total Croatia Dental i Total Croatia Sailing. U 2015. godini pokrenut je Total Croatia News, prva web stranica akreditirana za Google News na engleskom jeziku, koji je danas najčitaniji portal za vijesti i turizam na engleskom jeziku za Hrvatsku. “The site was also built to help tourist boards, business and private accommodations. Individual sections may link to other websites so that travel service providers can update guest information on their own pages without worrying about updating all the latest information. We plan to offer the portal in other languages ​​later in the year, ”concludes Bradbury. Those interested can find guides to the most popular destinations such as Hvar, Dubrovnik and Split, the most comprehensive guide for airports in Croatia, to tips such as information on tips, food and drink, buying real estate, health and importing cars. last_img read more