Worthington & Caron Proud to Again Sponsor the 4th Annual International Symposium on Lung-Sparing Therapies for Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma

On June 7 some of the leading physicians involved in the diagnosis and treatment of pleural mesothelioma will meet at the Sheraton Delfina in Santa Monica, California for the4th Annual International Symposium on Lung-Sparing Therapies for Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma. The symposium will be an all-day affair and begin at 8 am.Worthington & Caron is proud to sponsor this symposium for the fourth consecutive year.Once again, Dr. Robert B. Cameron will lead the symposium. In addition to being the Director of the UCLA Mesothelioma Comprehensive Research Program, Dr. Cameron also is the Chief of Thoracic Surgery at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center and Scientific Advisor at the Pacific Meso Center.Although the seminar is geared toward physicians, it also offers continuing medical education …

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People unwilling to swallow soda tax, size restrictions

Those hoping to dilute Americans’ taste for soda, energy drinks, sweetened tea, and other sugary beverages should take their quest to school lunchrooms rather than legislative chambers, according to a recent study by media and health policy experts.Soda taxes and beverage portion size restrictions were unpalatable to the 1,319 U.S. adults questioned in a fall 2012 survey as part of a study reported online this month in the journal Preventive Medicine.Adding front-of-package nutrition labels and removing sugary beverages from school environments garnered greater support: 65 percent and 62 percent, respectively — compared to 22 percent for taxes and 26 percent for portion size restrictions.”I think these findings reflect public enthusiasm for regulation that maintains a value on consumer choice in the marketplace rather than government intervention, while tolerating more paternalism in restricting the choices available to children,” said lead author Sarah Gollust, assistant professor in the Division of Health Policy and Management at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.The study is the first of its kind to assess the levels of public support for multiple policies to promote public health and prevent obesity through the reduced consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages. It was conducted in collaboration with Colleen Barry, associate professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Jeff Niederdeppe, assistant professor of communication at Cornell University.”Strategies to reduce consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages are a key component of public health promotion and obesity prevention, yet the introduction of many of these policies has been met with political controversy,” they wrote in the study. “The results provide policymakers and advocates with insights about the political feasibility of policy approaches to address the prevalent consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages.”Advocates of reduced sugar consumption might also want to borrow a page from the tobacco opponents’ playbook, according to Niederdeppe, who has done research into the effectiveness of large-scale anti-tobacco media campaigns.”Increasingly, health advocacy groups have focused attention on the behavior of the beverage industry, highlighting their marketing tactics aimed at young people and their heavily-funded efforts to oppose regulation. And similarly to the patterns we’ve seen over the years with big tobacco companies, people with negative views of soda companies are in favor of stricter regulations on their products,” Niederdeppe said.”Unlike many other health issues like alcohol and tobacco, parents have not yet been mobilized to advocate for policy strategies to change their children’s beverage consumption,” Niederdeppe said.The findings of a strong positive relationship between years of education and policy support may suggest rising recognition among higher socioeconomic status groups of the value of policy interventions to reduce consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, the study authors wrote.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by Cornell University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Preoperative PET cuts unnecessary lung surgeries in half

New quantitative data suggests that 30 percent of the surgeries performed for non-small cell lung cancer patients in a community-wide clinical study were deemed unnecessary. Additionally, positron emission tomography (PET) was found to reduce unnecessary surgeries by 50 percent, according to research published in the March issue of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine.PET imaging prior to surgery helps stage a patient’s disease by providing functional images of tumors throughout the body, especially areas where cancer has spread, otherwise known as metastasis. Few studies have been able to pin down exactly what impact preoperative PET has on clinical decision-making and resulting treatment. Preliminary review of the data from this long-term, observational study of an entire community of veterans was inconclusive about the utility of PET, but after a more thorough statistical analysis accounting for selection bias and other confounding factors, the researchers were able to conclude that PET imaging eliminated approximately half of unnecessary surgeries.”It has become standard of care for lung cancer patients to receive preoperative PET imaging,” said Steven Zeliadt, PhD, lead author of the study conducted at VA Puget Sound Health Care System and associate professor for the University of Washington in Seattle, Wash. “The prevailing evidence reinforces the general understanding within the medical community that PET is very useful for identifying occult metastasis and that it helps get the right people to surgery while avoiding unnecessary surgeries for those who would not benefit.”For this study, researchers reviewed newly diagnosed non-small lung cancer patients who received preoperative PET to assess the real-life effectiveness of PET as a preventative measure against unnecessarily invasive treatment across a community of patients. A total of 2,977 veterans who underwent PET during disease staging from 1997 to 2009 were included in the study. Of these, 976 patients underwent surgery to resect their lung cancer. During surgery or within 12 months of surgery, 30 percent of these patients were found to have advanced-stage metastatic disease, indicating an unnecessary surgery.Interestingly, the use of PET increased during the study period from 9% to 91%. Conventional multivariate analyses was followed by instrumental variable analyses to account for unobserved anomalies, such as when patients did not undergo PET when it would have been clinically recommended to do so. This new data has the potential to change policy and recommendations regarding the use of oncologic PET for more accurate tumor staging.”We will likely build more quality measures around this research so that preoperative PET is more strongly recommended to improve the management of care for these patients,” added Zeliadt.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by Society of Nuclear Medicine. …

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True value of cover crops to farmers, environment

Planting cover crops in rotation between cash crops — widely agreed to be ecologically beneficial — is even more valuable than previously thought, according to a team of agronomists, entomologists, agroecologists, horticulturists and biogeochemists from Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences.”As society places increasing demands on agricultural land beyond food production to include ecosystem services, we needed a new way to evaluate ‘success’ in agriculture,” said Jason Kaye, professor of biogeochemistry. “This research presents a framework for considering a suite of ecosystem services that could be derived from agricultural land, and how cover crops affect that suite of services.”Cover cropping is one of the most rapidly growing soil and water conservation strategies in the Chesapeake Bay region and one we are really counting on for future improvements in water quality in the bay. Our analysis shows how the effort to improve water quality with cover crops will affect other ecosystem services that we expect from agricultural land.”The research, published in the March issue of Agricultural Systems, quantified the benefits offered by cover crops across more than 10 ecosystem services. Benefits included increased carbon and nitrogen in soils, erosion prevention, more mycorrhizal colonization — beneficial soil fungus that helps plants absorb nutrients — and weed suppression.Lead researcher Meagan Schipanski explained that commonly used measurements of ecosystem services can be misleading due to the episodic nature of some services and the time sensitivity of management windows.”For example, nutrient-retention benefits occur primarily during cover crop growth, weed-suppression benefits occur during cash-crop growth through a cover crop legacy effect, and soil-carbon benefits accrue slowly over decades,” she said. “By integrating a suite of ecosystem services into a unified analytical framework, we highlighted the potential for cover crops to influence a wide array of ecosystem services. We estimated that cover crops increased eight of 11 ecosystem services. In addition, we demonstrated the importance of considering temporal dynamics when assessing management system effects on ecosystem services.”Trade-offs occurred between economic metrics and environmental benefits, said Schipanski, who was a postdoctoral scholar at Penn State when she led the cover crop study. Now an assistant professor in the department of soil and crop sciences at Colorado State University, she noted that the planting of cover crops will become more attractive if fertilizer prices rise or if modest cost-sharing programs like the one currently in place in Maryland are developed.Researchers simulated a three-year, soybean-wheat-corn rotation with and without cover crops in central Pennsylvania, which presented agroecological conditions broadly representative of the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions. The cover crop rotation included red clover, frost-seeded into winter wheat in March, and winter rye, planted after corn was harvested in the fall. The research, funded by the U.S. …

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Managing chronic bone, joint pain

Musculoskeletal pain of the bone, joint and muscles is one of the most common reasons for primary care visits in the United States. According to a literature review appearing in a recent issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (JAAOS), chronic pain, or pain that persists beyond an expected period of healing, is estimated to affect 100 million Americans.The majority of chronic pain complaints concern the musculoskeletal system, but they also include headaches and abdominal pain. “As orthopaedic surgeons, we are experts in the management of acute injuries to the extremities and spine. As a specialty, however, we are admittedly less adept in the management of chronic musculoskeletal pain,” says lead study author Richard L. Uhl, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon at Albany Medical Center in Albany, N.Y. “Given its prevalence, and the profound economic implications of chronic pain on both healthcare costs and lost productivity, we have a duty to be proficient in its diagnosis and care.”The Bare FactsLow back pain affects up to 80 percent of Americans at some point in life, and consistently ranks among the top five most common reasons for all healthcare visits in the U.S. Chronic knee, hip, and shoulder pain from degenerative processes also is common, as are chronic neuropathic pains from advanced diabetes. Orthopaedic surgeons and primary care physicians encounter patients who suffer from chronic pain almost daily.A Surprising Study Finding Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) — easily the most commonly recommended or prescribed medication by orthopaedic surgeons — are not especially effective in many chronic pain scenarios. “While far from the everyday ‘arsenal’ of orthopaedic surgeons, antidepressants and anticonvulsants (medications to prevent seizures) can have remarkable effects on many forms of chronic bone and joint pain. There are many readily-accessible, economic, safe and effective treatments for chronic pain,” says Dr. …

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Optimizing donor kidney distribution in the United States

Northwestern University’s Sanjay Mehrotra has developed an innovative model that could help ease kidney distribution inequities among regions in the U.S. and ultimately help save hundreds of lives. His mathematical model, which takes into account a number of different factors, simulates and optimizes donor kidney distribution.Mehrotra will discuss his research in a presentation titled “Addressing Allocation Inefficiencies and Geographic Disparities” at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in Chicago. His presentation is part of a symposium titled “Transplant Organ Shortage: Informing National Policies Using Management Sciences” to be held from 10 to 11:30 a.m. CST Friday, Feb. 14, in Columbus IJ of the Hyatt Regency Chicago.Mehrotra also will participate in a press briefing to be held at 1 p.m. CST the same day in Vevey Room 3 of the Swisstel Chicago.In addition to Mehrotra, two other Northwestern professors will discuss issues related to organ shortage during both the symposium and press briefing.Michael Abecassis, M.D., chief of the division of organ transplantation and founding director of the Comprehensive Transplant Center at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, will offer a brief overview of the current issues facing organ allocation.John Friedewald, M.D., associate professor in medicine and surgery at Feinberg and director of clinical research at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Comprehensive Transplant Center and transplant nephrologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, will speak about policy changes in kidney allocation that were developed during his recent term as chair of the United Network for Organ Sharing Kidney Transplantation Committee.Nearly 100,000 people in the United States are waiting for kidney transplants, but only 17,000 kidneys are available annually from both living and deceased donors. There are major regional inequalities in access to organs because of supply and demand disparities among different areas of the country. A person in one state might get a kidney within a year, while someone in another state might wait up to four years. As a consequence, nearly 5,000 people die each year waiting for a kidney transplant.Logistically, organ allocation is a difficult problem. …

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Rice seed treatments effective, worth investment: Study

When every extra expense makes a difference in profitability, farmers often wonder which management decisions are worth the extra cost.One recent example is the development of seeds treated with insecticides to discourage early damage by crop pests. Researchers at Mississippi State University have been evaluating the effectiveness of rice seed treatments to find out what producers can expect from the extra investment. Their research saves farmers time and money while helping them make informed decisions about managing their fields.After testing scores of samples taken from rice fields across the state, MSU scientists found that seed treatments are effective in managing the crop’s most troublesome insect pests.”In Mississippi, we’ve been evaluating seed treatments for about five years,” said Jeff Gore, entomologist with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station and MSU Extension Service. “Our research has shown that rice grown with a seed treatment typically yields from 8 to 12 bushels more per acre than untreated rice. The main reason for that yield increase is rice water weevil control.” Gore said seed treatments are effective in both conventional rice varieties and hybrids.”Although they do not provide 100 percent control of rice water weevil, seed treatments do provide significant benefits in rice,” he said. “Because control is not absolute, a foliar insecticide application may be necessary to maximize control in some situations.”Insect managementGore works at the Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville. He said researchers take core samples about 4 inches in diameter and 8 inches deep from farms across the Delta, wash them and count the rice water weevil larvae.”An infestation of one larva per core will result in about a 1 percent yield loss,” Gore said. “Typical infestations in the Delta range from 10 to 25 weevils per core in untreated fields, resulting in a 10 to 25 percent yield loss.”Gore said that seed treatments provide other benefits to rice producers, too.”Seed treatments provide good control against a whole complex of other rice pests,” he said. “Seed treatments help manage chinch bugs, grape colapsis, thrips and soil insects, such as wire worms and white grubs, and get the plants off to a good, healthy start.”Performance under floodSeed treatments for row crops, such as corn, cotton or soybean, target early-season pests that are in the soil when the seed is planted. But rice seed treatments are different.”We’re targeting primarily rice water weevils, and they only move into the field when producers establish the permanent flood about three to six weeks after planting,” Gore said. …

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Marriage’s ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’: Changing expectations and rising inequality improve best marriages, but undermine average marriages

Today Americans are looking to their marriages to fulfill different goals than in the past — and although the fulfillment of these goals requires especially large investments of time and energy in the marital relationship, on average Americans are actually making smaller investments in their marital relationship than in the past, according to new research from Northwestern University.Those conflicting realities don’t bode well for the majority of marriages, according to Eli Finkel, professor of psychology in the Weinberg College of Arts and sciences and professor of management and organizations at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern and the lead author of the study. But today’s best marriages — those in which the spouses invest enough time and energy in bolstering the marital relationship to help each other achieve what they seek from the marriage — are flourishing even more than the best marriages of yesteryear.What accounts for these divergent trends?Many scholars and social commentators have argued that contemporary Americans are, to their peril, expecting more of their marriage than in the past. But Finkel, who wrote the article in collaboration with Northwestern graduate students Ming Hui, Kathleen Carswell and Grace Larson, disagrees.”The issue isn’t that Americans are expecting more versus less from their marriage, but rather that the nature of what they are expecting has changed,” Finkel said. “They’re asking less of their marriage regarding basic physiological and safety needs, but they’re asking more of their marriage regarding higher psychological needs like the need for personal growth.”According to Finkel, these changes over time in what Americans are seeking from their marriage are linked to broader changes in the nation’s economic and cultural circumstances.In the decades after America’s Declaration of Independence in 1776, the nation primarily consisted of small farming villages in which the household was the unit of economic production and wage labor outside the home was rare. During that era, the primary functions of marriage revolved around meeting basic needs like food production, shelter and physical safety.”In 1800, the idea of marrying for love was ludicrous,” Finkel said. “That isn’t to say that people didn’t want love from their marriage; it just wasn’t the point of marriage.”Starting around 1850, the nation began a sharp and sustained transition toward urbanization, and the husband-breadwinner/wife-homemaker model of marriage became increasingly entrenched. With these changes, and as the nation became wealthier, the primary functions of marriage revolved less around basic needs and more around needs pertaining to love and companionship.”To be sure,” Finkel observed, “marriage remained an economic institution, but the fundamental reason for getting married and for achieving happiness within the marriage increasingly revolved around love and companionship.”Starting with the various countercultural revolutions of the 1960s, a third model of marriage emerged. This third model continued to value love and companionship, but many of the primary functions of marriage now involved helping the spouses engage in a voyage of self-discovery and personal growth.”In contemporary marriages, “Finkel notes, “Americans look to their marriage to help them ‘find themselves’ and to pursue careers and other activities that facilitate the expression of their core self.”Finkel is generally enthusiastic about these historical changes, as having a marriage meet one’s needs for self-discovery and personal growth can yield extremely high-quality marriages. Yet, he has doubts about whether the majority of American marriages can, at present, meet spouses’ new psychological expectations of their marriage.According to Finkel, when the primary functions of marriage revolved around shelter and food production, there wasn’t much need for spouses to achieve deep insight into each other’s core psychological essence. As the primary functions shifted to love and then to self-expression, however, it became increasingly essential for spouses to develop such insight.”However, developing such insight requires a heavy investment of time and psychological resources in the marriage, not to mention strong relationship skills and interpersonal compatibility,” Finkel said.Those marriages that are successful in meeting the two spouses’ love and self-expression goals are extremely happy — happier than the best marriages in earlier eras. …

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A plant catalogued as extinct in Catalonia is rediscovered, Spanish researchers show

Spirodela polyrrhiza is the name of a small floating plant that was not found in the Mediterranean basin during more than 80 years. The plant, catalogued as extinct in Catalonia, has been found in the lower course of the Ebro River and the Vallvidrera reservoir (Catalonia, Spain). The finding in the Ebro River is described on an article published in the journal Flora Montiberica, authored by Nria Bonada, from the Department of Ecology of the UB, and scar Gavira and Tony Herrera Grao, from the company Mediodes Consultora Ambiental y Paisajismo.This scientific finding is also described on an article published in the journal Orsis 27 written by experts of the Scientific Research Group Terres de l’Ebre.A giant in the family of duckweedsThe species Spirodela polyrrhiza, which belongs to the family of duckweeds, has a miniature body reduced to a floating disc from which several roots hang, without stems or leaves. With a diameter of about 10 millimetres, S. polyrrhiza is considered a giant in the family of duckweeds (for instance, Wolffia arrhiza’s diameter is not longer than 1.5 millimetres).It has a world-wide distribution; it also lives in the Iberian Atlantic basin. In Catalonia, it was only thought to be in the area of L’Empord (Girona), and it was never identified before in the Ebro basin or the vicinity of Barcelona. In Catalonia, it was last referred in the 1980s in Rossell, and in the 19th century it was documented in Empries. When the plant disappeared in Catalonia, it also did it in the Iberian Mediterranean basin, as it was not identified any other hydrological point of this network.”The plant lives in swampy and shady areas, backwaters of rivers and marshes; it shares its habitat with other species of duckweeds and macrophytes,” explains Professor Nria Bonada, member of the Research Group Freshwater Ecology and Management (FEM) of UB.No idea of its presence for 80 yearsMore than 80 years later, S. polyrrhiza has been re-discovered in the lower course of the Ebro River, in Tarragona, and the Vallvidrera reservoir, near Barcelona. These findings are described in a study published recently on the Butllet of the Catalan Institute of Natural History (ICHN), coordinated by the expert Pere Aymerich.”The species was never identified again at its original location or in studies carried out in the Ebro River, so we think that it is an uncommon species that inhabits some particular habitats,” affirms Nria Bonada. …

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Are invasive plants a problem in Europe? Controversial views among invasion biologists

Some introduced (i.e. non-native) plants become abundant, threaten species richness and the well-functioning of ecosystems, the economy, or health (plant invasion). Environmental policies that attempt to restrict the expansion of non-native species are based on a consensus among scientific experts that invasions are a serious environmental problem. An example of a problematic non-native species in many parts of the world is Fallopia japonica, the Japanese knotweed that negatively affects river ecosystems.A consensus among experts on the severity of plant invasions seems evident in many scientific and outreach publications. However, instead of consensus, a new study by an interdisciplinary research team at ETH Zurich (Switzerland) of psychologists and plant biologists found a wide range of different opinions among scientific experts about how to describe invasive plant species, and how severe their effects on the environment are. The study is published in the latest issue of the open access journal NeoBiota.The researchers conducted 26 face-to-face interviews with a representative sample of German-speaking scientists working on plant invasions, or more generally on environmental change, in Europe. The interviews revealed that individual understandings of scientific concepts, uncertainties, and value-based attitudes towards invasive plants and their management diverged widely among these experts.”Particularly, ambiguous definitions of the terms non-native and invasive (two key notions in invasion science) are a strong source of misunderstandings among scientists,” said lead author Franziska Humair, a doctoral student at ETH Zurich. Some of the study participants used a biological definition to discriminate native from non-native species (“species from a different biogeographic region”), while others referred to culture (“species not familiar to local people”). “Based on each definition, a different set of species is considered non-native in a particular country,” Ms Humair said. Equally, different experts considered different impacts by invasive species on ecosystems and their functioning for humans (ecosystem services) to be relevant. …

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Dramatic thinning of Arctic lake ice cuts winter ice season by 24 days compared to 1950

The research, sponsored by the European Space Agency (ESA) and published in The Cryosphere, also reveals that climate change has dramatically affected the thickness of lake ice at the coldest point in the season: In 2011, Arctic lake ice was up to 38 centimetres thinner than it was in 1950.”We’ve found that the thickness of the ice has decreased tremendously in response to climate warming in the region,” said lead author Cristina Surdu, a PhD student of Professor Claude Duguay in Waterloo’s Department of Geography and Environmental Management. “When we saw the actual numbers we were shocked at how dramatic the change has been. It’s basically more than a foot of ice by the end of winter.”The study of more than 400 lakes of the North Slope of Alaska, is the first time researchers have been able to document the magnitude of lake-ice changes in the region over such a long period of time.”Prior to starting our analysis, we were expecting to find a decline in ice thickness and grounded ice based on our examination of temperature and precipitation records of the past five decades from the Barrow meteorological station,” said Surdu “At the end of the analysis, when looking at trend analysis results, we were stunned to observe such a dramatic ice decline during a period of only 20 years.”The research team used satellite radar imagery from ESA to determine that 62 per cent of the lakes in the region froze to the bottom in 1992. By 2011, only 26 per cent of lakes froze down to the bed, or bottom of the lake. Overall, there was a 22 per cent reduction in what the researchers call “grounded ice” from 1992 to 2011.Researchers were able to tell the difference between a fully frozen lake and one that had not completely frozen to the bottom, because satellite radar signals behave very differently, depending on presence or absence of water underneath the ice.Radar signals are absorbed into the sediment under the lake when it is frozen to the bottom. However, when there is water under the ice with bubbles, the beam bounces back strongly towards the radar system. Therefore, lakes that are completely frozen show up on satellite images as very dark while those that are not frozen to the lake bed are bright.Researchers used the Canadian Lake Ice Model (CLIMo) to determine ice cover and lake ice thickness for those years before 1991, when satellite images are not available.The model simulations show that lakes in the region froze almost six days later and broke up about 18 days earlier in the winter of 2011 compared to the winter of 1950. Shorter ice-cover seasons may lead to shifts in lake algal productivity as well as thawing of permafrost under lake beds.”The changes in ice and the shortened winter affect Northern communities that depend on ice roads to transport goods,” said Surdu. “The dramatic changes in lake ice may also contribute to further warming of the entire region because open water on lakes contribute to warmer air temperatures, albeit to a lesser extent than open sea water.”The ice regimes of shallow lakes were documented using radar images from ESA’s ERS-1 and -2 satellites. More information on the ESA is available online.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by University of Waterloo. …

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Two stressed people equals less stress: Sharing nervous feelings helps reduce stress

Does giving a speech in public stress you out? Or writing a big presentation for your boss? What about skydiving?One way to cope, according to a new study from Sarah Townsend, assistant professor of management and organization at the USC Marshall School of Business, is to share your feelings with someone who is having a similar emotional reaction to the same scenario.Townsend said that one of her study’s main discoveries is the benefit gained by spending time and conversing with someone whose emotional response is in line with yours. Such an alignment may be helpful in the workplace.”For instance, when you’re putting together an important presentation or working on a high-stakes project, these are situations that can be threatening and you may experience heightened stress,” said Townsend. “But talking with a colleague who shares your emotional state can help decrease this stress.”For “Are You Feeling What I’m Feeling? Emotional Similarity Buffers Stress,” in Social Psychological and Personality Science, Townsend and co-authors Heejung S. Kim of UC Santa Barbara and Batja Mesquita of University of Leuven, Belgium, had 52 female undergraduate students participate in a study on public speaking.Participants were paired up and asked to give a speech while being video-recorded. However, prior to this, the pairs of participants were encouraged to discuss with each other how they were feeling about making their speeches. Each participant’s levels of the stress-related hormone cortisol were measured before, during and after their speeches.The results “show that sharing a threatening situation with a person who is in a similar emotional state, in terms of her overall emotional profile, buffers individuals from experiencing the heightened levels of stress that typically accompany threat,” according to the study. In other words, when you’re facing a threatening situation, interacting with someone who is feeling similarly to you decreases the stress you feel, said Townsend.”Imagine you are one of two people working on an important project: if you have a lot riding on this project, it is a potentially stressful situation,” Townsend said. …

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When the job search becomes a blame game

MIT professor’s book explores how white-collar job hunters in the U.S. blame themselves unnecessarily — and suffer as a result — when they cannot find work.Searching for a job is tough — and the nature of the hiring process in the United States makes matters far tougher, and more emotionally fraught for workers, than it needs to be.That is the central assertion of MIT’s Ofer Sharone in a new book based on his in-depth study of the American and Israeli white-collar labor markets, which operate very differently.In the U.S., Sharone says, job hunts emphasize the presentation of personal characteristics; job seekers play, in his terms, a “chemistry game” with prospective employers. In Israel, by contrast, the job-placement process is more formally structured and places greater emphasis on objective skills.As a result, white-collar workers in the U.S. are more likely to take their job-market struggles personally, and find it harder to sustain searches.”It’s very painful to keep getting rejected,” says Sharone, an assistant professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Moreover, widespread self-help advice for job seekers, he believes, “unintentionally exacerbates this problem” by encouraging unemployed workers to believe they entirely control their job-search outcomes.Examples of American workers taking their job-search struggles personally abound from the interviews Sharone conducted during his research. Consider Nancy, a former venture capitalist, who told Sharone that when she struggled to find a new position, “I started to feel there was something wrong with how I interviewed. And then, something wrong with me.” Chris, a marketer, confided to Sharone that “the hardest thing is esteem, confidence. It’s killed.” And sometimes job-search struggles turn into disastrous, all-consuming personal problems: Richard, an accountant unemployed for a year, attempted suicide, saw his marriage dissolve, and told Sharone that his job search was a “terrible emotional experience.”All of this constitutes a significant social issue at a time when, according to estimates, 4.1 million Americans in the labor market have been unemployed for more than six months. Moreover, some studies have shown that these workers have a harder time attracting interest from employers as a result of their time out of work.”These are people who never thought this could happen to them,” Sharone adds. “They are educated, they have experience, they are exactly the people our society makes out to be the winners.”Hiring practices and job-seeking experiencesSharone’s book, “Flawed System/Flawed Self: Job Searching and Unemployment Experiences,” has just been published by the University of Chicago Press.A sociologist by training, Sharone decided to conduct a comparative study of hiring practices in the two countries in part because they both have thriving information-economy sectors: The San Francisco area and Tel Aviv have the world’s densest concentrations of high-tech firms, for instance. …

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World Nations Deny Dangers of Chrysotile Asbestos

Seven nations won out against 143 others in the debate over whether chrysotile asbestos should be added to the United Nation’s Prior Informed Consent (PIC) list of hazardous substances in the Rotterdam Convention. India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Ukraine, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe all objected to the addition at the sixth meeting of the Rotterdam Convention which took place April 28 – May 10,2013, in Geneva Switzerland. It comes as no surprise that the countries which objected to the listing are home to a booming asbestos industry. Russia alone mines an estimated 1,000,000 tons of asbestos annually and is the supplier for half of the world’s chrysotile production.In September of 2012, Canada, which was the sole objector to the addition at the 2011 conference, announced it would no longer object to the listing. Russia, …

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Luton Airport fined over pensioner death

Home » No Win No Fee » Latest Personal Injury News » 2013 » 10 » Luton Airport fined over pensioner deathLuton Airport fined over pensioner deathLuton Airport and a design subcontracting firm have been fined after a pensioner was killed on a badly sited pedestrian crossing.Mary Whiting, 78, from Taverham in Norfolk, was crushed under a 26-tonne lorry as she used a zebra crossing between Luton Airport’s terminal building and a drop-off zone on May 19th 2009.Luton Crown Court heard the returning traveller thought the truck was stationary but in actual fact the vehicle had set off before she started to cross the road and it struck her – dragging Ms Whiting under its wheels.A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found the crossing, which had been designed by C-T Aviation Solutions and was on land owned by Luton Airport, did not conform to public road regulations and was badly positioned.Jurors were told the pedestrian safety utility had been opened in March 2009 as part of a wider revamp of roads, parking enforcement and signage.But after Ms Whiting’s death, Luton Airport was served with an Improvement Notice and it subsequently changed the crossing’s position.However, this wasn’t enough for the transport hub to escape prosecution and London Luton Airport Operations was fined £75,000 and told to pay £197,595 in costs after it was found guilty of breaching Sections 3(1) and 21 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and Regulation 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.Design subcontractor C-T Aviation Solutions was also brought to court and had to pay £100,000 in fines and costs. The driver of the lorry was acquitted of dangerous driving.After sentencing was completed, HSE inspector Graham Tompkins said: “This tragic incident could easily have been avoided had London Luton Airport Operations taken the proper steps to ensure the safety of vehicles and their passengers at the airport.”Had they provided a crossing that was safe to use, then Mary Whiting would still be with her family today. The C-T Aviation Solutions design simply did not meet the required standards.”By Francesca WitneyOr call us on 0800 884 0321SHARE THIS

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Study provides insights on protecting world’s poor from climate change

Sep. 11, 2013 — The worst impacts of climate change on the world’s poorest fishing communities can likely be avoided by careful management of the local environment and investing in the diversification of options for local people, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society and James Cook University.Climate change is already putting pressure on fishers who depend on nature for their livelihoods. In a new study, scientists found large differences in the potential to adapt based on the local mixture of social and environmental characteristics, requiring a variety of management approaches for each situation.The paper appears today in the online journal PLOS ONE. The authors include: Joshua E. Cinner, Cindy Huchery, Nicholas Graham, and Christina Hicks of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University; Emily Darling of Simon Fraser University and Austin Humphries of Rhodes University; Nadine Marshall of CSIRO; and Tim McClanahan of the Wildlife Conservation Society.The study undertaken by an international team of scientists, focused on 12 poor fishing communities along the coast of Kenya — a poor country that has been identified as one of the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. The scientists found that, even among the poor, there were considerable differences in how climate change was likely to affect the communities based on the existing social conditions and how each community cared for its marine resources.”Despite the fact that all of the communities we studied were geographically close, they were vulnerable in very different ways,” said lead author Dr. Joshua Cinner. “Some communities really lacked the assets to invest in new opportunities; others lacked the diversity of livelihood opportunities and skills to make a change, while some lacked the social networks and connections that people can rely on in times of need.”The team also looked at how the local coral reefs were holding up to a changing climate. “There are a number of studies that look at how climate change will affect either ecosystems or society, but in this study we really brought both of these together to get a more complete picture” says co-author Dr. Tim McClanahan, a Senior Conservation Zoologist from the Wildlife Conservation Society. …

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Why are consumers more likely to participate in online gaming than gambling?

Sep. 10, 2013 — Consumers are more likely to participate in online betting if it’s called “gaming” rather than “gambling,” according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.”Changing an industry label from gambling to gaming affects what consumers, especially non-users, think of betting online,” write authors Ashlee Humphreys (Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University) and Kathryn A. LaTour (Cornell University). “A label like gaming prompts all sorts of implicit associations like entertainment and fun, while a label like gambling can prompt seedier implicit associations like crime.”These largely unconscious associations affect what people think of the industry and even their intention to participate, the authors explain. The process of changing perceptions, called framing, has an impact on whether or not people think the industry is socially acceptable. And framing can occur merely by changing a word.The authors analyzed newspapers like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal for the language used to describe online betting. They analyzed coverage of “Black Friday,” April 15, 2011, when the US government shut down the three largest online betting sites. Newspapers shifted the way they described the online activity, framing it more as a crime, which led to a shift in consumer judgments about the legitimacy of online casinos, especially among non-users.The authors conducted two experiments to explore what causes consumers to make different judgments about gambling. They found that “rags-to-riches” or “get-rich-quick” narratives prompted a set of favorable or unfavorable implicit associations among participants. In a stronger test of their hypothesis, the authors changed only one word in the narratives — gambling or gaming — and found that the “gaming” label caused non-users to judge online betting as more legitimate. …

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Pest-eating birds mean money for coffee growers

Sep. 5, 2013 — This is the first time scientists have assigned a monetary value to the pest-control benefits rainforest birds can provide to agriculture. Their study could provide the framework for pest management that helps both farmers and biodiversity.In recent years, Stanford biologists have found that coffee growers in Costa Rica bolster bird biodiversity by leaving patches of their plantations as untouched rainforest.The latest finding from these researchers suggests that the birds are returning the favor to farmers by eating an aggressive coffee bean pest, the borer beetle, thereby improving coffee bean yields by hundreds of dollars per hectare.The study is the first to put a monetary value on the pest-control benefits rainforest can provide to agriculture, which the researchers hope can inform both farmers and conservationists.”The benefits that we might get are huge,” said Daniel Karp, a graduate student in biology and lead author of the study. “There’s lots of unrealized value in these small patches of rainforest. This looks like a sustainable, win-win opportunity for pest management.”The researchers hope that the work will improve conservation efforts in heavily farmed areas by illustrating to farmers the financial benefits of leaving some land in its natural state, while also guiding governments toward the best conservation methods.Worldwide scourgeBy some accounts, coffee is the world’s most economically profitable crop, and its harvest supports the livelihoods of some 100 million people globally. Coffee beans around the world, however, are threatened by the pervasive beetle.The insect burrows into the beans and eats its way out, ruining the beans. It originated in Africa and has made its way into nearly every major coffee-producing country. It arrived in Hawaii two years ago, and coffee plantations there are already experiencing 50 to 75 percent less yield.”It’s the only insect that competes with us for coffee beans,” Karp said. “It’s the most damaging insect pest by far, causing some $500 million in damage per year.”Stanford biologists have been studying the intersection of nature and agriculture in Costa Rica since the 1990s, in part because of the vast amounts of land in that country dedicated to coffee production. The borer beetle arrived in the past few years, and Karp’s group began to investigate whether farms with protected forests, and thus a greater biodiversity of insect-eating birds, fared better under attack from the insects.A ‘not-so-glamorous’ experimentTo quantify the benefit birds provide to plantations, the researchers first calculated coffee bean yield — the amount of healthy, beetle-free beans that could be harvested — of infected plants that were housed in bird-proof cages versus yield from infected plants in the open, where birds were eating the beetles.Next, they needed to confirm which species of birds were eating the beetles, and whether the birds required forest to survive. …

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Study suggests pattern in lung cancer pathology may predict cancer recurrence after surgery

Aug. 7, 2013 — A new study by thoracic surgeons and pathologists at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center shows that a specific pattern found in the tumor pathology of some lung cancer patients is a strong predictor of recurrence. Knowing that this feature exists in a tumor’s pathology could be an important factor doctors use to guide cancer treatment decisions.According to the study’s authors, the findings offer the first scientific evidence that may not only help surgeons identify which patients are more likely to benefit from less radical lung-sparing surgery, but which patients will benefit from more extensive surgery, potentially reducing the risk of lung cancer recurrence by 75 percent. The study will be published in the August 20 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.Researchers retrospectively evaluated the clinical characteristics and pathology information of 734 patients who had surgery for early-stage adenocarcinoma — the most common subtype of non-small cell lung cancer — and found that tumors in 40 percent of those patients exhibited an abnormal cell pattern strongly associated with cancer recurrence after surgery. No study to date has investigated the prognostic utility of this classification, called micropapillary (MIP) morphology, for patients with small, early-stage lung adenocarcinomas. Currently there are no evidence-based criteria for choosing the most effective surgical approach for this group.The findings suggest that limited resection may not be appropriate for patients with the MIP pattern, as they were found to have a 34 percent risk of the cancer returning within five years after lung-sparing surgery, or limited resection, in which the tumor is removed by minimally invasive means and lung function is preserved. In contrast, patients with the MIP pattern who underwent lobectomy — the standard approach in which up to a third of the lung is removed along with the tumor — had only a 12 percent incidence of recurrence over a five-year period.The study observations may play a key role in deciding whether to perform lung-sparing surgery or lobectomy for patients with small lung adenocarcinomas. It currently takes an expert lung pathologist to identify the MIP pattern during an operation. If the surgeon performs lung-sparing surgery in the presence of the MIP pattern, the chance of recurrence is high within the spared lobe of the lung. A lobectomy can reduce this chance of recurrence by 75 percent. …

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