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July 31 2015


Too Few U.S. Teens Getting HPV Vaccine: CDC

4 out of 10 girls, 6 out of 10 boys haven't started series that helps prevent some cancers, survey finds

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Dennis Thompson

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, July 30, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Most boys and a large portion of girls in the United States have not received even a single dose of the cancer-preventing human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, even though some slow progress has been made, federal researchers report.

Four out of 10 girls and six out of 10 boys, aged 13 to 17, have not started the recommended HPV vaccine series, leaving them vulnerable to developing a wide array of cancers, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Every year, about 27,000 women and men in the United States are diagnosed with a cancer caused by HPV infection, the CDC said.

HPV vaccination could prevent the majority of these cancers from ever developing, said Dr. Anne Schuchat, assistant surgeon general and director of CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

Nearly all cervical and anal cancers are caused by HPV, the CDC said. The virus, which is sexually transmitted, also causes about 70 percent of throat cancers, 75 percent of vaginal cancers and 63 percent of cancers of the penis, according to the CDC.

"HPV vaccine prevents cancer," Schuchat said. "I know many parents are starting to think about their back-to-school lists, and it's a great time to make sure your preteens have gotten all their recommended vaccines."

Data for the latest report came from the CDC's 2014 National Immunization Survey-Teen. The survey included almost 21,000 teens aged 13 to 17 in 2014.

The latest estimates show that 60 percent of adolescent girls and 42 percent of adolescent boys had received one or more doses of HPV vaccine by 2014, the survey noted. This was an increase of 3 percent for girls and 8 percent for boys from 2013.

But HPV vaccinations still lag far behind two other vaccines also recommended for kids 11 and 12: the meningitis and Tdap vaccinations.

About 87 percent of teenagers have received at least one dose of the Tdap vaccine, which protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough), and 79 percent have received the meningitis vaccine, the CDC reported.


July 19 2015


The 3 Elements The Internet Of Things Needs To Fulfil Real Value

'Everything Is Connected' as da Vinci said.'Everything Is Connected' as da Vinci said.

Consider the following example.

You are going to hospital for a hip operation. The chances are, very soon, your surgeon will be wearing a pair of Google Google Glasses Enterprise Edition (or something similar) and the replacement joint will have been 3D printed with embedded sensors in-situ following a 3D scan and X-ray. Everything conducted during surgery itself will be transmitted directly to your EHR (Electronic Health Records) in real-time via the wearable device(s) your surgeon has. The sensors in the 3D printed hip joint are already recording your vital signs, again in real-time.

You leave the hospital, and are given a recovery plan together with another wearable device, much like a JawboneUP wristband. The sensors in your hip are now connected to the wristband which also monitors your movements, and that data is transmitted to your patient records for your local GP who can observe how your recovery is going in line with the recovery plan. Your wristband also 'reminds' you when it's time to take your meds, and via RFID/ Near Field Comms will warn you if you're about to reach for the wrong bottle.

All that data is constantly fed to the GP who can alter your recovery plan in line with your progress, or even combine it with other patients who have been through a similar procedure and adjust automatically, in real-time, according to trends which may benefit you even more.

Your medical insurance and future premiums will also be adjusted according to how your recovery is going, whether you stick or deviate to your planned convalescence.

Now we get into deeper connected territory.

Your utilities company could be made aware of your situation, and via your patient wristband and interface to your smart home, adjust your electricity and gas plan in line with your limited mobility. No point having a smart home and a dumb utilities provider. Smart thermostats, smart lights, smart household appliances all can switch on and off and learn your patterns as you recover. Your wristband could switch off the TV for example if you take a snooze on the couch by monitoring your inactivity.

As you recover, you become more mobile. Your connected car transmits its location as you drive, anything 'smart' that is geofenced becomes activated as you draw near, again switching on the heating at the right temperature in advance before you reach home. In fact, your car may not even allow you to drive at all because the associated triggers in your recovery haven't been set to allow you to, so it drives you instead.

Your house and smart possessions will be collectively more intelligent than you by 2020, but the experience will become hyper-personalized.

In the above lifestyle example, consider the industries that were actually connected by it all:




Consumer Wearables and Homeware



The data itself is the key to unlocking a number of benefits, and how we act on that data.

Which leads to the three core elements to achieving success in the Internet Of Things.

The Value Is In The Data, Not The Thing

IDC claims that we only analyze 0.5% of the data being generated globally right now. The typical human obsession over the size and scale of the Internet of Things (Gartner says 26 billion connected devices by 2020, Cisco says 50 billion, Morgan Stanley says 75 billion) has become the illogical focus by analysts, attention shouldn't be on the Things or the Internet, but on the Data that's going to be generated.

In fact, data is going to change a lot more than just the internet. Data will affect business models as technology platform providers struggle to sell their solutions based on value propositions decades old. Larry Ellison just announced that "the Oracle Cloud is complete." Cloud is already looking outdated now. Selling on the value, transport and analytics of the data rather than the infrastructure to hold it is king.

But unlocking that value and the relevance may be the tricky part. You may not be aware of the relevance of the data you possess in because finding the information to put it all in context isn't clear or immediately apparent, so how can you look for it ?

And how does someone else who may need it for their own decision making ?

And so the Relevance Paradox exists:

"This occurs when an individual or a group of professionals are unaware of certain essential information which would guide them to make better decisions, and help them avoid inevitable and undesirable consequences. These professionals will seek only the information and advice they believe is the bare minimum amount required as opposed to what they actually need to fully meet their own or the organization's goals."

As the full potential of the Internet of Things grows so does the need to unlock the relevance of the data being generated. It was never about the size of the information (again, that human desire to compare stats...)

This is where the next two elements of IoT are critical in realizing value.

Distributed/ Edge Computing Are Key For In-Situ Analytics

Who remembers SETI@home, the project run by SETI to harness internet connected PC's across the globe to help analyse signals from space ?  3 million users assigned their PCs and PlayStations to solve computational data from radio telescopes, it was an early and successful attempt at mass distributed (or grid) computing using software to utilise latent CPU cycles on client machines when the screensaver was engaged. 

Jump forward to 2015 and there are reportedly more mobile devices on the planet than there are human beings. 7bn devices, with more computational power than the rocket that took man to the moon this very day in 1969. Even the wearables market is growing exponentially, in just a few years, there could be more people using wearable tech devices than there are in the US and Canada. For the IoT landscape, and in order for it to realize its full potential, the value of the data must be unlocked in real-time and in-situ, not captured first in huge Hadoop vats and churned by platforms. The only way to do this is to through Edge and Distributed Computing.

Edge Computing is pushing the frontier of computing applications, data, and services away from centralized nodes to the logical extremes of a network. It enables analytics and knowledge generation to occur at the source of the data. This approach requires leveraging resources that may not be continuously connected to a network such as laptops, smartphones, tablets and sensors.

Put simply; every sensor, every device with a CPU connected to the Internet could become part of a distributed analytical engine. Which puts proprietary platform vendors in a tricky situation.

Open Data And Blockchain Unlock The Value, Individuals Are In Control

As I mentioned in a previous article about Data Privacy, I believe that the Open Data movement combined with the security of Blockchain may be vital to the longer term success and vision for the Internet of Things.

"Open data is the idea that certain data should be freely available to everyone to use and republish as they wish, without restrictions from copyright, patents, or other mechanisms of control."

For example, OpenSensors.io is a startup dedicated to IoT and the value of open data. You decide whether to publish your data for all to access with an open data license or keep it for your private use. You can share communal data with the world or privately to build your own services, and services built in this way become agnostic to the device.

Open Data threatens those with proprietary platforms yet again, and rightly so in a way. Remember DNLA ? 

The Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) was founded in 2003 by a collection of global companies with a vision to easily connect and enjoy photos, music and video among networked consumer electronics, PC and mobile devices.

In order to achieve the vision of a digitally connected home, DLNA published industry design guidelines that allows OEMs to be involved in a networked device market, leading to "more innovation, simplicity and value for consumers." According to the Alliance, this ultimately meant that industry collaboration and standards-based interoperability produced compelling products. And it worked.

What we have at the moment is a collection of consortiums all trying to be the defining standard for IoT; AllSeen (Alljoyn),  Open Interconnect Consortium, Thread Group, Apple Apple, Samsung...It's a Betamax vs. VHS war all over again, no lessons have been learnt here.

Interoperability needs Open Data, not closed systems. APIs are only part of the solution.

And where does Blockchain fit in this open equation ? For one, Blockchain is a decentralised and distributed digital record, it can only be updated by consensus of a majority of the participants in the system. Right now everything is centralized, and therefore can be manipulated and hacked. Not so with Blockchain. And users remain anonymous, privacy is maintained.

We can think even bigger -- let's put health records, voting, ownership documents, marriage licenses and lawsuits in the blockchain. Eventually, every dataset and every digital transaction could leave a "fingerprint" there, creating an audit trail for any digital event throughout history, without compromising anyone's personal privacy. - Mike Gault

Open Data and Blockchain will be combined to create a means for data to be transmitted, accessed and analysed securely for the Internet of Things to be successful.

So there we have it. 3 absolutely core fundamentals for the Internet Of Things to succeed.

Without these in place, and without the push to make data the lynchpin in any IOT strategy, we'll always be obsessing over the size of our things.


July 13 2015


Caregiver chronicles the twists and turns of an altered life: Part 3

Caregiver chronicles the twists and turns of an altered life: Part 3

By Angela Lunde July 2, 2015

The following is part 3 of a 4 part series, Altered Course. The series features an essay and excerpts from a caregiver's journal. This is Rosalie's story.

Year 7: Decline.

The Lewy Body Dementia Association provided a checklist of symptoms and John had all of them.

Luckily, at a conference, I saw a brochure for a two week program at Mayo Clinic for people with mild cognitive impairment and their care partners. I needed more tools to stay healthy and to adapt to the changes ahead.

The HABIT program was a catalyst for both of us. It gave John tools to remain independent and it gave me validation and tools to meet the challenges ahead. It also gave us a community and an ongoing connection to resources.

"The fog is thickening. What remains intact is John's warm personality. How I cherish that. What are the life lessons for me to learn in all of this? Do I have the courage to be open and take in these lessons?"

My self-care included reading books written by caregivers. I learned so much from them and was sustained by their courage, compassion, and sense of humor. Books include: "No Saints Around Here", by Susan Allen Toth; "Through the Wilderness", by Robert and Anne Simpson; "Under the Bridge Backwards", by Barbara Roy: "Ten Thousand Joys and Ten thousand Sorrows", by Olivia Hoblitzelle, and others.

In addition, 3 women caregivers have become my fellow sojourners. Together we provide for each other a safe place and time to be real and authentic. We can say anything and not be judged. We learn from each other, celebrate our successes, share our joy and laugh at our missteps. We talk about our need for sleep, our living with ambiguity and loss of companionship.

We are witnesses to the decline of our husbands. We relish the times when our husbands seem to be on a plateau. It is a respite for us. We understand the emotional price of psychic surprises when we think things are settled or stable only to find that we must meet another challenge. These women reduce my isolation and loneliness.

To Be Continued.

July 02, 2015



July 06 2015


Children with Autism Respond Differently to Smells: Study

Kids with ASDs didn't change their sniff response when odors were unpleasant

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Tara Haelle

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, July 2, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Children with autism spectrum disorders appear to respond to stinky smells differently from children without autism, a new study found.

The difference was pronounced enough that researchers could tell who had autism and who didn't about 80 percent of the time based only on "sniff responses."

"The authors have hit upon a novel way of testing differences between children with autism and those without that indeed seems to suggest marked differences in how autistic children process odors," said Dr. Glen Elliott, chief psychiatrist and medical director of Children's Health Council in Palo Alto, Calif.

"Since we know that many children with autism are hypersensitive to touch, sound, taste and visual stimuli, it is especially interesting that they seem not to be responsive to odor in the same fashion," said Elliott, who was not part of the research.

The study may hold clues to the social difficulties children with autism have, the authors suggest.

"The sense of smell is in fact a major component of human social interaction," said lead author Liron Rozenkrantz, a Ph.D. student at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. "Given that olfaction is probably altered in autism, could it be that this is a part of the social challenge in autism?"

Results of the study appear in the July 2 issue of the journal Current Biology.

The researchers compared 18 children with autism spectrum disorders to 18 typically developing children. All of the children sniffed pleasant and unpleasant odors while watching cartoons. They were exposed 10 times to pleasant smells, such as rose or shampoo scents. They were also exposed 10 times to unpleasant odors, such as sour milk or rotten fish.

The researchers measured each child's "sniff response." This included how much they sniffed, their highest rate of breathing in, their average rate of breathing in and how long they sniffed.

The children without autism changed the way they sniffed the bad odors within 0.3 of a second, the researchers found. They very quickly took smaller sniffs of the bad smells and larger sniffs of the sweet smells. The children with autism, however, continued sniffing without any changes, the study revealed.


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