Tag Archives: Helps

SLE Neuropsych Event Etiology Helps Define Predictors, Outcomes

Different kinds of neuropsychiatric (NP) events in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) have substantial variability in their occurrence, resolution, and recurrence over time, as well as in their predictors, according to new research from a large, prospective, international, inception cohort study.

Because “multiple NP events due to different causes may present concurrently in individual patients, the findings emphasize the importance of recognizing attribution of NP events as a determinant of clinical outcome,” John G. Hanly, MD, of Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre and Dalhousie University, Halifax, N.S., and colleagues wrote in Arthritis & Rheumatology.

In a previous study of the same group of 1,827 patients with SLE, NP events occurred in about half and approximately one-third of these events were deemed disease related. They also “occurred most frequently around the diagnosis of SLE and had a significant negative impact on health-related quality of life,” the researchers wrote.

Researchers involved with the Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics recruited the 1,827 adults with SLE over an 11-year period during 1999-2011 from a total of 31 sites in Europe, Asia, and North America. The average age of the patients at study enrollment was 35 years, 89% were women, and 49% were White. The mean disease duration was 5.6 months, and 70% of patients were taking corticosteroids at enrollment.

Over an average follow-up period of 7.6 years, 955 patients (52.3%) experienced a single neuropsychiatric event, and 493 (27.0%) experienced two or more events; the total number of unique NP events was 1,910. Most of these unique events (92%) involved the central nervous system, and 8.4% involved the peripheral nervous system.

The researchers used multistate models to attribute NP events to SLE based on factors that included the temporal onset of NP events in relation to SLE diagnosis, concurrent non-SLE factors, and NP events that are common in healthy controls. The four states in the multistate models were no NP events, no current NP event but a history of at least one event, new or ongoing NP events, and death. The results included a multivariate analysis of a model involving 492 observed transitions into new or ongoing NP events.

In the multivariate analysis, factors positively associated with SLE-attributed NP events included male sex (hazard ratio, 1.35; P = .028), concurrent non-SLE NP events excluding headache (HR, 1.83; P < .001), active SLE based on the Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity Index 2000 (HR, 1.19; P = .012), and corticosteroid use (HR, 1.59; P = .008). The researchers also found that SLE-attributed NP events were negatively associated with Asian race/ethnicity, postsecondary education, and use of immunosuppressive drugs.

Another multivariate analysis found that non-SLE NP events were positively associated with only concurrent SLE-attributed NP events excluding headache (HR, 2.31; P < .001), but negative associations were seen with non-U.S. African race/ethnicity and Asian race/ethnicity.

The researchers found that SLE-attributed NP events had higher rates of resolution, compared with non-SLE NP events, with the exception of headache, which had similar resolution for both event groups.

“Resolution of SLE events was more likely in patients with Asian race/ethnicity and those with Central/Focal nervous system disease with no effect seen for age at diagnosis,” the researchers noted. “For non-SLE NP events, African race/ethnicity at non-U.S. sites and younger age at diagnosis was associated with a better outcome.”

The study findings were limited by several factors including the predominantly White patient population and the clustering of NP events into limited categories, which may have reduced the identification of more specific associations, the researchers noted. Also, the assessment of NP event outcomes did not include patient perceptions, and the relatively short follow-up period does not allow for assessment of later NP events such as cerebrovascular disease. However, “despite these limitations the current study provides valuable data on the presentation, outcome and predictors of NP disease in SLE patients enrolled in a long-term, international, disease inception cohort,” the researchers concluded.

The study received no outside funding. Hanly was supported by a grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research but had no financial conflicts to disclose. Several coauthors received grant support from various institutions, but not from industry, and had no financial conflicts to disclose.

This article originally appeared on MDedge.com, part of the Medscape Professional Network.

App Radonautica becomes new TikTok trend – and it helps users avoid UK’s saddest

Called Randonautica, the free app that launched in February 2020 where users are taken to ‘happy locations’ based on the persons’ mood. Several users known as randonauts have shared their outdoor adventures across social sharing sites including Reddit, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube. The app has attracted the attention of millions of people from across the globe where users have documented their random treks to places less visited.

A statement on the company’s website reads: “Randonauting is the act of using the Randonautica app to generate truly random locations sourced with quantum entropy.

“The user can then choose to venture to these locations to see what they find. They often discover that what they see lines up with their intention, which is what they were thinking about when they generated the point.

“But even if this doesn’t happen, it’s a way to mindfully explore the world around them.”

Setting up Radonautica is straightforward – you will be first asked your current location, then choose an intention (eg. forest) and finally follow the directions to a random point that the app selects.

Radonautica was created by Joshua Lengfelder from Texas, a former circus performer whose app has been downloaded over 11 million times.

Three different types of locations can be chosen from, each randomly generated – the first is called an “attractor” location which finds a dense area.

A “void” location does the opposite to the first option by finding sparse areas while an “anomaly” will search for places if you have a strong intention to discover more about a particular subject.

Coordinates are then randomly given for the user to follow which then decide whether to say yes or no to.

Up to 10 sets of coordinates can be generated for free each day users wanting to have more mystery walkabouts must then pay for more.

However, not all of the final locations have ended on a memorable note, in June 2020 a group of teenagers in Seattle, Washington found a bag with two dead bodies.

But as the past 18 months has proven for many that the worldwide lockdown has led to many people finding new ways to help cope with boredom and loneliness.

READ MORE: WhatsApp a step closer to launching Snapchat-like view once messages

Author: Hannah Hastings
Read more here >>> Daily Express

This AI Helps Police Track Social Media. Does It Go Too Far?

Law enforcement officials say the tool can help them combat misinformation. Civil liberties advocates say it can be used for mass surveillance.

Since 2016, civil liberties groups have raised alarms about online surveillance of social media chatter by city officials and police departments. Services like Media Sonar, Social Sentinel, and Geofeedia analyze online conversations, clueing in police and city leaders to what hundreds of thousands of users are saying online.

Zencity, an Israeli data-analysis firm that serves 200 agencies across the US, markets itself as a less invasive alternative, because it offers only aggregate data and forbids targeted surveillance of protests. Cities like Phoenix, New Orleans, and Pittsburgh say they use the service to combat misinformation and gauge public reaction to topics like social distancing enforcement or traffic laws.

Speaking to WIRED, CEO Eyal Feder-Levy describes the service’s built-in privacy safeguards, like redacting personal information, as a new approach to community engagement. Still, local officials who use Zencity describe a variety of new and potentially alarming uses for the tool, which some cities use without a public approval process, often through free trials.

Brandon Talsma, a county supervisor in Jasper County, Iowa, describes 72 intense hours last September that began with a warning from Zencity. His office had been using the tool for only a few months when Zencity’s analysts noticed a sudden increase in social media chatter about Jasper County following news reports of a gruesome killing.

A 44-year-old Black man living in the city of Grinnell, which is 92 percent white, had been found dead in a ditch, his body wrapped in blankets and set alight. Early news reports fixated on the grim details, and rumors spread that the man had been lynched by Grinnell residents.

“We’re a small county; we’ve got very limited assets and resources,” Talsma said. “It had the recipe to turn very ugly.”

Zencity noted that almost none of the online chatter originated in Iowa. Talsma’s team was afraid the rumors could snowball into the type of misinformation that causes violence. Talsma said the team hadn’t considered the racial optics until Zencity alerted them to the discussion online.

Police say the killing wasn’t racially motivated, and they called a press conference at which Iowa-Nebraska NAACP president Betty Andrews supported that finding. Police have since identified and charged four suspects, three white men and one white woman, in connection with the case.

Zencity creates custom reports for city officials and law enforcement, using machine learning to scan public conversations from social media, messaging boards, local news reports, and 311 calls, promising insights on how residents are responding to a particular topic. Firms like Meltwater and Brandwatch similarly track keyword phrases for corporate clients, but don’t bar users from seeing individual profiles.

This has been a powerful tool for local law enforcement agencies across the country, who are still responding to the nationwide debate on police reform as well as a recent spike in crime in major cities.

As long as critics are having these discussions on a public channel, Zencity can pick up and produce reports on what they’re saying. It does not have full access to the “fire hose” of everything discussed on Facebook and Twitter, but it continuously runs customized searches of the social media platforms to examine and weigh sentiment.

“If they’re going to meet at this location or that location, that’s all publicly available information, and it’s free for anyone to review,” explains Sheriff Tony Spurlock in Douglas County, Colorado, south of Denver. He says the sheriff’s office has used the tool for roughly a year, signing a $ 72,000 contract in early 2021. The tool delivers aggregate information and doesn’t identify individual users.

Agencies are warned about prohibited uses, says Feder-Levy. He says the software alerts the company if clients are using the service to target individuals or groups, as has happened elsewhere. In 2016, for example, Baltimore police tracked phrases like #MuslimLivesMatter, #DontShoot, and #PoliceBrutality.

Spurlock says the software proved useful after prosecutors in April concluded two officers were justified in shooting a man last December. Details of the shooting are complex: The man was armed with a knife, but he had struggled for years with bipolar depression and called 911 himself. Dispatch told the officers they were responding to an urgent domestic violence call, but the man’s wife describes the call as a wellness check and claims police fired almost immediately after arriving.

Spurlock’s office released a series of materials to the public: agency statements on the shooting and body camera footage after the shooting was deemed justified. Spurlock’s office used Zencity to measure resident sentiment on the topic, then followed up with neighborhood-based services such as Nextdoor for outreach.

In Feder-Levy’s vision, the service opens opportunities for officials to engage on topics they might have otherwise dismissed, like social service alternatives to police showing up to mental health checks. “When we show them the data and we say, ‘This is the topic that’s driving negative sentiment about police,’ that gives the sheriff’s office the ability to take action,” he says.

But police departments have their own resources for tracking and surveilling residents, regardless of what Zencity does or doesn’t permit on its own platform. Giving police the ability to monitor public discussions critical of policing is alarming to many privacy groups. Police across the US have used a variety of software over the years to scan social media, often scrutinizing groups tied to police reform and opposing surveillance.

Last summer, Minneapolis police requested user information from Google for anyone in the area around an AutoZone store looted in the days following George Floyd’s murder.

But while police have found Zencity useful (its official site lists nearly a dozen police departments as users), its introduction to the public has been rocky. In Pittsburgh, the city council first heard of the product at a late May meeting authorizing its renewal.

The city had used the tool for a year, but it hadn’t disclosed its purchase to the city council. Renewing the tool under a $ 30,000 contract, however, required council approval.

“Surveilling the public isn’t engaging the public,” said Pittsburgh city councillor Deb Gross. “It’s the opposite.”

Feder-Levy says Zencity will also begin offering surveys in addition to its usual service, to better gauge public opinion.

Dan Wilson, a spokesperson for the city of Phoenix, explains that the tool’s ability to provide even a rough sense of community sentiment about police can be useful. Phoenix has used Zencity for roughly two years. Recently, city officials used the tool to gauge how the public felt about traffic-light-mounted cameras, after a spike in deaths caused by drivers running red lights.

“In the end it comes down to the fact that most police departments just don’t have the time or the knowledge to do what Zencity can do,” Wilson says. “These reports were really valuable, to give me a snapshot of what was happening in my community, so I could then go and advise and get better information to decisionmakers.”

More Great WIRED Stories

Author: Sidney Fussell
Read more here >>> Business Latest

Program helps formerly incarcerated people graduate college

FRESNO, Calif. — A program in California is helping formerly incarcerated people change their lives and graduate from college.

“I’ve changed who I am and where I’m going. I don’t want to be the person that I was before, I don’t want to commit crimes… I want to be a contributing member to my society,” said Aaron Greene.

Greene went to jail for possession of meth, later going to prison for theft after he got out of jail. After a three-year stint, he decided he wanted to change his life. He eventually found Project Rebound.

“Project Rebound is a student-support services program at 14 of the 23 California State University campuses that helps formerly incarcerated individuals use higher education as tools to successfully matriculate back into the community,” said Jennifer Leahy, program director of the program at Fresno State.

“Every student has challenges on campus… but what is a speed bump for another student becomes a brick wall for someone who’s formerly incarcerated,” she said.

“Having this program behind me with them knowing my background and pushing me to succeed was definitely a positive,” said Daniel Gamez, who graduated with his bachelor’s degree.

There were four students in Project Rebound at Fresno State in 2016. This year, there were 40 registered students, and the group held a graduation party to celebrate those who earned their degrees, including Greene, who earned his master’s degree.

“There’s a change that comes along with education,” he said. “This program has shown me that I can be something different. That I’m not Aaron the thief, I’m Aaron the educated, I’m Aaron the academic, I’m Aaron the professor at Fresno State.”

“I’m a different person,” Greene said. “Please let me show you.”

To learn more about Project Rebound, click here.

Author: CCG

This post originally appeared on ABC13 RSS Feed

DeFi growth helps push crypto’s share of the global money supply above 2%

This year decentralized finance (DeFi) has proven to be a transformative sector for the cryptocurrency ecosystem and it is also making waves in among global financial markets as institutional investors become entranced with the potential to earn high yields on stablecoins, altcoins and Bitcoin. 

While the price action from Dogecoin (DOGE) has dominated the headlines in recent weeks, Delphi Digital has been chronicling the growth of the DeFi ecosystem on the Ethereum (ETH) network which has steadily been gaining strength over the past month.

Ethereum DeFi performance year-to-date. Source: Delphi Digital

According to Delphi Digital researchers, while the majority of growth occurred on Ethereum-based DeFi platforms, protocols across the top ecosystems including Ethereum, BSC, Solana (SOL), Avalanche (AVAX), Polygon (MATIC) and Terra (LUNA) have begun to gain traction and now account for 34% of the total value locked in DeFi.

Multi-chain DeFi total value locked. Source: Delphi Digital

The BSC ecosystem is the second-fastest-growing DeFi ecosystem behind Ethereum, thanks in part to its connection with the Binance ecosystem which has immense resources to help get its native protocols off to a strong start.

Venus (XVS), PancakeSwap (CAKE) and PancakeBunny (BUNNY) are the three top DeFi protocols on the BSC and the total value locked on the network totals $ 49.1 billion.

Total value locked in DeFi on the BSC. Source: Defistation

Collectively, all layer-1 ecosystems have now surpassed $ 130 billion in cumulative total value locked (TVL).

Stablecoins form the foundation

According to Delphi Digital, DeFi native stablecoins have played a major role in the growth of the ecosystem and now account for nearly $ 10 billion of the total market cap.

Dai’s (DAI) circulating supply recently surpassed the $ 4 billion mark to establish itself as the largest DeFi stablecoin, while UST is a rapidly rising challenger fr the Terra ecosystem.

DeFi stablecoin market caps. Source: Delphi Digital

From a wider market perspective, the growing circulating supply of the top stablecoins projects (USDT and USDC) has further helped to boost the value of the crypto sector as a whole by providing a simple way for new funds to enter the market.

To highlight the significance of the growth in the cryptocurrency ecosystem, Delphi Digital points to the global M2 money supply, the broadest definition of the money supply.

Cryptocurrency percentage of total global money supply. Source: Delphi Digital

Due to gains made across the cryptocurrency ecosystem since mid-2020, the cumulative market cap of the crypto market is now more than 2% of the global M2 money supply with Bitcoin (BTC) alone accounting for 1%. Collectively, the rest of the crypto market accounts for about 1.2% of the global money supply.

As signs of increased cryptocurrency adoption arise on a near-daily basis, like the May 6 revelation that Goldman Sachs had launched a crypto trading desk, it’s likely that the amount of funds locked in DeFi will continue to rise alongside crypto’s share of the global money supply.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.