By Dr. Ananya Mandal, MDMar 13 2019Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Wireless earphones could be releasing potentially carcinogenic radiation into the heads of the users, finds a new study. Mohd Syis Zulkipl | ShutterstockA group of 250 experts and researchers have signed a petition to the United Nations and World Health Organisation to stop the use of these and other wireless devices.The researchers explain that these wireless ear pieces use a type of electromagnetic frequency (EMF) radiowave via Bluetooth technology to transmit data. The closeness of this radiation to the brains of the users is cause for concern, say the researchers.Related StoriesTrends in colonoscopy rates not aligned with increase in early onset colorectal cancerSugary drinks linked to cancer finds studyCancer killing capability of lesser-known immune cells identifiedJerry Phillips, a professor of biochemistry at the University of Colorado said, “My concern for AirPods is that their placement in the ear canal exposes tissues in the head to relatively high levels of radio-frequency radiation.” Phillips is one of the many scientists who have called for a restriction on use of such devices.The petition reads, “Based upon peer-reviewed, published research, we have serious concerns regarding the ubiquitous and increasing exposure to EMF generated by electric and wireless devices.” It goes on to say that the risk of cancer, neurological disorders, and DNA damage that have been associated with EMF exposure cannot be ignored.The International Agency for Research on Cancer too recently agreed that these EMF waves could be “possibly carcinogenic” to humans. These waves are similar to UV rays or X raysbut are not as powerful. They can cause burns at high concentration but are generally of less impact. The debate about whether they are carcinogenic is still ongoing.The World Health Organisation developed guidelines that regulate the amount of EMF the devices are allowed to emit. The petition adds, “The various agencies setting safety standards have failed to impose sufficient guidelines to protect the general public, particularly children who are more vulnerable to the effects of EMF. By not taking action, the WHO is failing to fulfil its role as the preeminent international public health agency.”The guidelines insist that phones should be kept away from the body when not in use. Sleeping with the phone is not a good practice and usage of headsets or headphones to conduct phone calls is suggested as a good option. Sources:Original editorial article: “Are AirPods and Other Bluetooth Headphones Safe?”.IARC classifies radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans. WHO.
Source:ISPOR Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jul 16 2019Value in Health, the official journal of ISPOR- the professional society for health economics and outcomes research, announced today the publication of a high-level overview of machine learning for healthcare outcomes researchers and decision makers. The report, “Machine Learning for Health Services Researchers,” was published in the July 2019 issue of Value in Health.Machine learning is a rapidly growing field that attempts to extract general concepts from large datasets, commonly in the form of an algorithm that predicts an outcome-;a task that has become increasingly difficult to accomplish by humans because data volume and complexity has increased beyond what was capable with traditional statistics and desktop computers.Related StoriesOlympus Europe and Cytosurge join hands to accelerate drug development, single cell researchAXT enhances cellular research product portfolio with solutions from StemBioSysAMSBIO offers new, best-in-class CAR-T cell range for research and immunotherapyMachine learning methods may be useful to health service researchers seeking to improve prediction of a healthcare outcome with large datasets available to train and refine an estimator algorithm. Machine learning methods can help generalizable data-driven estimators when many covariates are being selected among and when the outcome of interest may be produced by complex nonlinear relationships and interaction terms.In this report, the authors introduce key concepts for understanding the application of machine learning methods to healthcare outcomes research. They first provide an overview of machine learning, then identify 5 steps to developing and applying a machine learning algorithm (commonly referred to as a predictive model or estimator): (1) data preparation, (2) estimator family selection, (3) estimator parameter learning, (4) estimator regularization, and (5) estimator evaluation.The report goes on to compare 3 of the most common machine learning methods: (1) decision tree methods that can be useful for identifying how different subpopulations experience different risks for an outcome, (2) deep learning methods that can identify complex nonlinear patterns or interactions between variables predictive of an outcome, and (3) ensemble methods that can improve predictive performance by combining multiple machine learning methods. Finally, the authors demonstrate the application of common machine methods to a simulated insurance claims dataset. While machine learning methods may be useful to health service researchers, they offer considerable challenges that are worth considering before engaging in a machine learning activity. Specifically, they may be difficult to interpret (particularly for deep learning), difficult to glean mechanistic understandings from, and may require substantial investment of time and resources for computation. Nevertheless, improvements in hardware and cloud computing technologies have made machine learning methods increasingly accessible to healthcare outcomes researchers and healthcare organizations. With this article, we aim to lower the barriers to implementing machine learning methods.”Patrick Doupe, PhD, Zalando SE, Berlin, Germany read more
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Swiss food giant Nestle announced Monday it will pay $7.15 billion in cash for the rights to market Starbucks products around the world, outside of the company’s coffee shops. Starbucks commits $10M for greener coffee cup Brewing up a ‘global coffee alliance’ The agreement gives Nestle, which owns the Nescafe and Nespresso brands, a strong platform for continued growth in North America, the company said in a statement.Nestle is focusing on coffee as a main growth area and has already made some acquisitions in the sector.The Starbucks business covered by the deal currently generates around $2 billion sales annually and includes coffee beans and ground coffee that Nestle will be selling in supermarkets around the world.”This transaction is a significant step for our coffee business, Nestle’s largest high-growth category,” said Nestle CEO Mark Schneider in a statement.”Both companies have true passion for outstanding coffee and are proud to be recognised as global leaders for their responsible and sustainable coffee sourcing,” he said.The deal does not include any of Starbucks’ coffee shops and cafes.Around 500 Starbucks staff will join Nestle, the company said, but the operations would continue to be located in Seattle.Both companies would collaborate on “innovation and go-to-market strategies”, it said.Starbucks president and CEO Kevin Johnson hailed the deal as “historic” and said it would create a “global coffee alliance”. Nestle, which has been under intense shareholder pressure to improve its profitability, has begun to reposition itself since Schneider took over at the start of last year.The former head of German healthcare group Fresenius has pushed for the food giant to focus in on a few areas, like bottled water, infant nutrition and pet care, with coffee a top priority.’Unexpected transaction’While Nestle’s Nespresso and other coffee products are omnipresent in Europe, they have had a harder time catching on in the United States.Over the past 15 months, the company has clearly set its sights on high-end coffee brands in North America. It snapped up a majority share in California-based Blue Bottle Coffee last September, and two months later bought Texas company Chameleon Cold Brew.At the same time, Nestle has been selling off parts of its confectionary business, handing over its US candy business earlier this year to Italy’s Ferrero for nearly $3.0 billion.Analysts hailed Monday’s deal.”Nestle has once again surprised the market with an unexpected transaction,” Jean-Philippe Bertschy of Vontobel said in a research note.He said that “coffee is one of the key growth pillars in the CEO’s strategy, (and) allows Nestle to gain scale in the US, a weak spot so far.”He acknowledged that “the price might appear expensive, but given the returns, the deal could exceed the cost of capital within three to four years”. The transaction, which needs approval from regulators, should be finalised by the end of 2018, Nestle said, adding that the deal should start making a positive contribution to its earnings per share and its growth targets starting next year.The company saw its shares swell 0.6 percent in mid-morning trading at 76.84 Swiss francs a piece, as the Swiss stock exchange’s main SMI index was up just 0.15 percent.Starbucks, meanwhile, said it will use the cash to accelerate share buybacks. The Seattle-based company said it now expected to return some $20 billion to shareholders through buybacks and dividends by 2020. © 2018 AFP Explore further Citation: Nestle pays $7.15 billion to sell Starbucks products (2018, May 7) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-05-nestle-billion-starbucks-products.html read more