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Archive for the ‘finance’ category

May 20, 2020

Stem cells to replace or regenerate the diabetic pancreas: Huge potential & existing hurdles

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, finance, life extension

Various stem cell sources are being explored to treat diabetes since the proof-of-concept for cell therapy was laid down by transplanting cadaveric islets as a part of Edmonton protocol in 2000. Human embryonic stem (hES) cells derived pancreatic progenitors have got US-FDA approval to be used in clinical trials to treat type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM). However, these progenitors more closely resemble their foetal counterparts and thus whether they will provide long-term regeneration of adult human pancreas remains to be demonstrated. In addition to lifestyle changes and administration of insulin sensitizers, regeneration of islets from endogenous pancreatic stem cells may benefit T2DM patients. The true identity of pancreatic stem cells, whether these exist or not, whether regeneration involves reduplication of existing islets or ductal epithelial cells transdifferentiate, remains a highly controversial area. We have recently demonstrated that a novel population of very small embryonic-like stem cells (VSELs) is involved during regeneration of adult mouse pancreas after partial-pancreatectomy. VSELs (pluripotent stem cells in adult organs) should be appreciated as an alternative for regenerative medicine as these are autologous (thus immune rejection issues do not exist) with no associated risk of teratoma formation. T2DM is a result of VSELs dysfunction with age and uncontrolled proliferation of VSELs possibly results in pancreatic cancer. Extensive brainstorming and financial support are required to exploit the potential of endogenous VSELs to regenerate the pancreas in a patient with diabetes.

Diabetes is one of the major non-communicable diseases in the world with majority of patients belonging to India, China and USA. Along with associated complications like heart disease and stroke, diabetes results in increased morbidity and mortality and it is expected that by the year 2025, India alone will have more than 70 million diabetics1,2. Diabetes is a metabolic disorder associated with progressive loss or dysfunction of β-cells of pancreas. Onset of type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) occurs when the β-cell mass is reduced to less than 20 per cent due to autoimmune effect, whereas the declining β-cell mass is unable to meet the age-related increased insulin demands of the body in type 2 (T2DM) as a result of insulin resistance and in due course the β-cells are lost by apoptosis. Thus, in both T1 and T2DM, restoration of a functional β-cell mass constitutes the central goal of diabetes therapy.

May 18, 2020

Researchers on DARPA’s Brandeis Program Enhance Privacy Protections for Android Applications

Posted by in categories: finance, mobile phones

From navigation to remote banking, mobile device users rely on a variety of applications to streamline daily tasks, communicate, and dramatically increase productivity. While exceedingly useful, the ecosystem of third-party applications utilizes a number of sensors – microphones, GPS, pedometers, cameras – and user interactions to collect data used to enable functionality. Troves of sensitive personal data about users are accessible to these applications and as defense and commercial mobile device users become increasingly reliant on the technology, there are growing concerns around the challenge this creates for preserving user privacy.

Under DARPA’s Brandeis program, a team of researchers led by Two Six Labs and Raytheon BBN Technologies have developed a platform called Privacy Enhancements for Android (PE for Android) to explore more expressive concepts in regulating access to private information on mobile devices. PE for Android seeks to create an extensible privacy system that abstracts away the details of various privacy-preserving technologies, allowing application developers to utilize state-of-the-art privacy techniques, such as secure multi-party computation and differential privacy, without knowledge of their underlying esoteric technologies. Importantly, PE for Android allows mobile device users to take ownership of their private information by presenting them with more intuitive controls and permission enforcement options.

The researchers behind PE for Android today released a white paper detailing the platform’s capabilities and functionality, and published an open source release of its code to GitHub. In open sourcing PE for Android, the researchers aim to make it easier for the open-source Android community and researchers to employ enhanced privacy-preserving technologies within Android apps while also encouraging them to help address the platform’s current limitations and build upon its initial efforts.

May 15, 2020

Visa Files Patent for Cryptocurrency System to Replace Cash

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, computing, cryptocurrencies, finance

Bitcoin News.


Visa International has filed for a cryptocurrency system patent that is meant to replace physical currency. The system, which utilizes both central banks and commercial banks, leverages a private blockchain to improve the payment ecosystem.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published on Thursday a patent application entitled “digital fiat currency,” filed by Visa International Service Association on Nov. 8, 2019.

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May 13, 2020

Dynamics of gut bacteria follow ecological laws

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, economics, finance, mathematics

As expected, they discovered large fluctuations in the composition and daily changes of the human and mouse gut microbiomes. But strikingly, these apparently chaotic fluctuations followed several elegant ecological laws.

“Similar to many animal ecologies and complex financial markets, a healthy gut microbiome is never truly at equilibrium,” Vitkup says. “For example, the number of a particular bacterial species on day one is never the same on day two, and so on. It constantly fluctuates, like stocks in a financial market or number of animals in a valley, but these fluctuations are not arbitrary. In fact, they follow predictable patterns described by Taylor’s power law, a well-established principle in animal ecology that describe how fluctuations are related to the relative number of bacteria for different species.”

Other discovered laws of the gut microbiome also followed principles frequently observed in animal ecologies and economic systems, including the tendency of gut bacteria abundances to slowly but predictably drift over time and the tendency of species to appear and disappear from the gut microbiome at predictable times.

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May 13, 2020

Op-Ed: We’re in the middle of a mental-health crisis. Many were struggling before the pandemic

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, finance, health, neuroscience

Others are being hit hard by the impact of quarantine — feeling overwhelmed while trying to balance work with childcare, being stuck at home with an abusive partner or parent, or being alone for extended periods of time.

Since it’s Mental Health Awareness Month, here are some tips to help you cope with the crisis:


More from Invest in You: Young adults confront fears, stress as they navigate pandemic Over-eating, self-medicating lead to skyrocketing grocery bills How to help out others without breaking your own bank

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May 12, 2020

How covid-19 could change the financial world order | The Economist

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, economics, finance

Overview global economy.


America has dominated global finance for decades. But could covid-19 tip the balance of financial power in China’s favour?

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May 10, 2020

Reversing age: dual species measurement of epigenetic age with a single clock

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, finance, genetics, life extension, neuroscience

Young blood plasma is known to confer beneficial effects on various organs in mice. However, it was not known whether young plasma rejuvenates cells and tissues at the epigenetic level; whether it alters the epigenetic clock, which is a highly-accurate molecular biomarker of aging. To address this question, we developed and validated six different epigenetic clocks for rat tissues that are based on DNA methylation values derived from n=593 tissue samples. As indicated by their respective names, the rat pan-tissue clock can be applied to DNA methylation profiles from all rat tissues, while the rat brain-, liver-, and blood clocks apply to the corresponding tissue types. We also developed two epigenetic clocks that apply to both human and rat tissues by adding n=850 human tissue samples to the training data. We employed these six clocks to investigate the rejuvenation effects of a plasma fraction treatment in different rat tissues. The treatment more than halved the epigenetic ages of blood, heart, and liver tissue. A less pronounced, but statistically significant, rejuvenation effect could be observed in the hypothalamus. The treatment was accompanied by progressive improvement in the function of these organs as ascertained through numerous biochemical/physiological biomarkers and behavioral responses to assess cognitive functions. Cellular senescence, which is not associated with epigenetic aging, was also considerably reduced in vital organs. Overall, this study demonstrates that a plasma-derived treatment markedly reverses aging according to epigenetic clocks and benchmark biomarkers of aging.

Several authors are founders, owners, employees (Harold Katcher and Akshay Sanghavi) or consultants of Nugenics Research (Steve Horvath and Agnivesh Shrivastava) which plans to commercialize the “Elixir” treatment. Other authors (Kavita Singh, Shraddha Khairnar) received financial support from Nugenics Research. The other authors do not have conflict of interest.

May 8, 2020

Podcast #45: The Post Covid-19 Future, Part 2, Economics and Investing with Jim Lee

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, economics, finance

“The main purpose of the stock market is to make fools of as many men as possible.”–Bernard Baruch.

May 8, 2020

Universal basic income seems to improve employment and well-being

Posted by in categories: employment, finance, government, neuroscience

Finland’s test of a Universal Basic Income (UBI) was flawed in some respects, especially as it was only given to those who were unemployed when it began, but it appears to have had moderately positive results — with higher employment and improved well-being among the recipients. Also notable was that this effect was greater among people who were not native speakers of either of the two major languages in use in Finland.


By Donna Lu

The world’s most robust study of universal basic income has concluded that it boosts recipients’ mental and financial well-being, as well as modestly improving employment.

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May 7, 2020

Patterns, Choices & Consequences

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, bitcoin, economics, finance

The choices we make today, and it’s consequences will shape up this decade. Can we break the current pattern, engage with this new financial system and adapt to new realities? #blockchain


As human beings, we are defined by patterns. Our collective pattern defines society. We are empowered with choices – furthering the patterns, or breaking them or creating new ones. In the physical world, these choices could be social, economic, technological, or ecological. Based on the choices we make – good, bad, or ugly, we enjoy or suffer consequences. COVID-19 escalated the macroeconomic situation leading to liquidity, demand, and supply shocks. Can we break the current pattern and embrace digitization, decentralization and sound money? In turn, making choices that will create affirmative consequences for humanity.

Patterns, Choices & Consequences

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