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Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that begins its damaging course in the brain many years before the onset of symptoms such as tremors, muscle stiffness, and slow movements. By 2030 the number of individuals with Parkinson’s is estimated to double to 9.3 million as a result of aging populations, but medications to prevent or delay the disease are not available.In a new finding from Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), researchers identify a link between Parkinson’s disease onset and dysfunctional activity of energy genes in the brain and identify a potential therapeutic target — the PGC-1alpha gene — to reverse this energy gene failure. This research is published in the Oct. 6 issue of Science Translational Medicine.“We found a clear-cut deficit in expression of genes that control the energy production in cell in patients with Parkinson’s,” said Clemens Scherzer, assistant professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, principal investigator of the Laboratory for Neurogenomics at BWH, and author of the study. “One key set of genes dysfunctional in the brains of Parkinson’s patients is controlled by the master switch PGC-1alpha. PGC-1alpha activates mitochondrial genes, including many of those needed to maintain and repair the power plants in the mitochondria. Reduced expression of the genes that PGC-1alpha regulates likely occurs during the initial stages of Parkinson’s disease, perhaps even before the onset of symptoms.”The researchers then showed that PGC-1alpha can be used as a “power switch” to turn on the expression of the energy genes — which are deactivated in patients with Parkinson’s — in cell models of the disease.Targeting the PGC-1alpha gene may be a worthwhile endeavor. Pharmaceutical companies are already working on therapeutics that activate the PGC-1alpha pathway for more widespread diseases such as diabetes. This may jump-start the development of new Parkinson’s medicines.To identify the dysfunctional processes in brains and dopamine neurons of patients with Parkinson’s, the researchers used an innovative systems biology approach. Instead of looking at individual genes separately, systems biology looks at groups of genes — or gene sets — that together program vital cellular functions.Using this approach the international consortium of researchers scanned the activity of 522 gene sets in 410 tissue samples from deceased Parkinson’s patients. The research team was able to identify 10 gene sets that are associated with Parkinson’s disease. All 10 are responsible for cellular processes related to mitochondrial function and energy production.“The most exciting result from our study for me is the discovery of PGC-1alpha as a potential new therapeutic target for early intervention in Parkinson’s disease,” said Scherzer. “Much-needed drugs to slow or halt Parkinson’s disease will have the greatest benefit for patients if they are given early on, before too many dopamine neurons die. If these synergies convince big pharmacy companies to pay more attention to developing therapies for Parkinson’s disease, this could be a huge benefit for patients.”Some materials and information presented in this report were provided by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
A study by Harvard School of Public Health researchers that used for the first time a randomized, controlled study design to answer questions about how access to public insurance affects health, health care use, and other outcomes, has received a Health Services Research (HSR) Impact Award from Academy Health. The award recognizes outstanding research that has been successfully translated into health policy, management, or clinical practice.Researchers including Katherine Baicker, professor of health economics at HSPH and co-principal investigator of the study, looked at a 2008 plan by the state of Oregon to expand its Medicaid coverage by choosing recipients through a lottery.They mailed questionnaires to more than 70,000 applicants to the Oregon program, targeting 35,000 who were selected in the lottery for access to Medicaid and 35,000 who were not. Using these surveys, along with hospital admissions data and credit reports, they were able to demonstrate that those who gained access to Medicaid utilized more health care, reported better physical and mental well-being, and were in better financial circumstances than those who didn’t—with fewer bills sent to collection, and a decline in the average amount of medical collections of about $400.“This was an unprecedented opportunity to provide the policy community with vital information about Medicaid’s effects at a time of major program changes,” Baicker said in a February 4, 2013 statement.Read Academy Health press release Read Full Story
Read Full Story Harvard Kennedy School’s (HKS) Women and Public Policy Program (WAPPP) is launching a new research program that will focus on gender and technology. The program is funded by Melinda Gates, through a $2 million grant made by her executive office, Pivotal Ventures.The research portfolio, named “What Works: Designing Gender Equality for and by the Tech Sector,” will fund projects that use insights from behavioral science and technology to gain a greater understanding of how to remove gender bias in the tech sector and beyond. The aims of the research are 1) to develop interventions that address challenges women face over the length of their careers, from recruitment to promotion to leadership, and 2) to harness technological tools to bring these interventions to scale across sectors. Using an intersectional approach that considers race and ethnicity as well as gender, projects will also gather data to better understand specific challenges for women of color, who often are doubly disadvantaged in the workplace.The research portfolio will be guided by Iris Bohnet, professor of public policy at HKS and faculty director of WAPPP. Her work has combined lessons from economics and psychology to de-bias workplaces, including removing biased language from job postings and using structured hiring processes.To extend the impact of new insights and solutions, the research will be supported by a communications program aimed at reaching industry leaders, managers, and policymakers through talks at major tech conferences, a 2018 workshop hosted at Harvard, and content for WAPPP’s Gender Action Portal.
Experience the City of Light in the Big Apple this spring! An American in Paris officially bows at the Palace Theatre on March 13, and the Gershwin-flavored production, based on the beloved 1951 movie musical starring Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron, seems like a natural fit for Broadway. So what took so long for it to get here? Let’s embark on a s’wonderful musical journey. View Comments …But it got complicatedSong-and-dance star Gene Kelly joined Minnelli’s cause, but MGM executives didn’t understand the ambitious undertaking the duo had in mind, so the pair arranged screenings of The Red Shoes and a 1934 cartoon, La joie de vivre. Freed got the film rights to An American in Paris from George’s brother, Ira, during another friendly pool game; Ira also agreed to consult on new lyrics, according to George Lucas’s Blockbusting. Freed also convinced a super-busy Alan Jay Lerner (Royal Wedding, Brigadoon) to write the script. Lerner did so in three months, finishing the final draft the night before his wedding. Who’s ready for a challenge?Fast forward to the ’90s, when the success of another Gershwin Broadway musical, Crazy for You, prompted the estates of Ira and George Gershwin to approach producers Stuart Oken and Van Kaplan with a question: what about staging An American in Paris? The answer: grand skepticism. “We couldn’t get our heads around how to take this iconic film to the stage,” Oken told The New York Times. “The one thing we agreed on was that for this piece you needed a unified vision, not a choreographer doing one thing and a director another. The list of people who had those tools was very short.” Bonjour, Broadway!The new and nuanced musical opens at Broadway’s Palace Theatre, with Cope, Fairchild and more of the Paris production’s original stars reprising their roles. “It plays on two fronts,” Wheeldon told Broadway.com. “It’s the friendship and the bonding and the love story, and also the creation of art and the struggle to create art.” And of course, there’s the music and lyrics by George and Ira Gershwin. “You hear the music and you hear that orchestra swelling, and you can’t help but have chills,” Fairchild added. Sounds like it’s definitely worth the wait! The movie started simply…In 1949, MGM set their sights on a Gershwin musical. According to film critic Emanuel Levy, producer Arthur Freed, representing the studio, envisioned the movie revolving around “an expatriate Yank living in Paris” with a finale that featured a full-length ballet set to Gershwin’s An American in Paris. Musical director master/Liza’s dad Vincente Minnellii (Meet Me in St. Louis), a friend of the Gershwins and a Francophile, jumped on board. All they needed was a script, actors, and studio support for An American in Paris. No problem! The legend continued…Gershwin’s An American in Paris, performed by the New York Philharmonic, premiered December 13, 1928 at Carnegie Hall. The Brooklyn Eagle observed that the crowd responded “with a demonstration of enthusiasm impressively genuine in contrast to the conventional applause which new music, good and bad, ordinarily arouses.” Afterward, Gershwin was presented with a silver humidor inscribed by his friends. Among those who signed? Oh, some dudes named Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers and Irving Berlin. Despite MGM’s reluctance, it’s a hitAmazingly, most of An American in Paris was filmed on MGM soundstages. The studio actually prepared audiences that the movie—which includes the now-famous 17-minute, $450,000 ballet sequence—might not be the typical fare they adore. Caron’s performance, at least according to her, consists of “a shy girl trying to get off that silly smile that was sort of pinned on her face.” It worked! The movie was a box-office and critical smash. It won six Academy Awards, including Best Picture—Kelly also took home an honorary trophy for his choreography. Paris began as a travel guideBefore it hit the big screen and Broadway, An American in Paris was George Gershwin’s self-described “rhapsodic ballet.” The great composer wanted “to portray the impressions of an American visitor in Paris as he strolls about the city, listens to the various street noises, and absorbs the French atmosphere.” Gershwin worked on the piece in Paris (naturally), but also wrote portions of the new work in New York, Connecticut, and Vienna. Show Closed This production ended its run on Oct. 9, 2016 The dancing came laterGershwin always considered An American in Paris a ballet, and dancers eventually pirouetted into the picture. It began with a “considerably abridged setting” in Gershwin’s musical Show Girl. In 1936, Chicago choreographer and dancer Ruth Page created a two-person ballet, Americans in Paris. Fourteen years later, she revised it into Les Américains à Paris. Sadly, Gershwin did not live to see the show’s full impact. He died in 1937 at age 38. Kelly was a triple threatGene Kelly not only played the lead role of Jerry, the soldier-turned-painter who calls Paris home after World War II—he also choreographed the film and helped with casting. He had a French dancer in mind to play Lise, his elusive love interest: Leslie Caron of Les Ballets de Paris de Roland Peti. In Paris, Kelly asked 17-year-old Caron to do a screen test with him. She got the part, and three days later, she moved to America with her mom…into a Culver City motel located behind an electrical plant. Back to the Eiffel TowerMore than eight decades after Gershwin traveled to France for inspiration, the new musical adaptation of An American in Paris premiered at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris on November 22, 2014, starring Royal Ballet veteran Leanne Cope, New York City Ballet principal dancer Robert Fairchild, and Broadway mainstays Max Von Essen, Veanne Cox and Jill Paice. “Parisians are going gaga over An American in Paris,” reported NPR. “It’s not hard to see why…It’s filled with fabulous dancing and all those great Gershwin tunes.” Hey, you know where else they love great dancing and tunes? New York City! A Brit in New YorkOne guy definitely had the tools: Choreographer Christopher Wheeldon. In 2002, he participated in a reading for a potential musical version with playwright Wendy Wasserstein. Three years later, he choreographed an An American in Paris ballet to Gershwin’s score for the New York City Ballet. In fall 2010, Oken asked Wheedon to direct the musical. Wheeldon declined, citing his lack of directing experience. Months later, he reconsidered. Wheeldon officially committed after passing muster with the Gershwin estate—he presented a 60-page treatment of the show developed with author Craig Lucas. Gershwin took l’ambiance seriouslyParis stoked Gershwin’s creativity. Composer and pianist Mario Braggiotti was studying there when he visited Gershwin at the Hotel Majestic. “Beside his Steinway was a group of bridge tables covered with all sizes and makes of French taxi horns,” Braggiotti recalled. Gershwin explained the scene: “I’m looking for the right horn pitch for the street scene of a ballet I’m writing. Calling it An American in Paris. Lots of fun.” Would audiences agree? Related Shows An American in Paris
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Update: Sean Bergin is apparently out at News 12. Original story:News 12 reporter Sean Bergin has been suspended for remarks he made on air regarding the recent ambush slaying of a rookie Jersey City police officer in which he surmised that the “underlying cause” of anti-cop sentiments is “young black men growing up without fathers.”Bergin’s suspension was reported by The Blaze, citing an unidentified source. The site also noted that Bergin could lose his job over the incident.In a statement to the Press, a News 12 spokesperson refused to confirm or deny the report.“It is News 12’s policy that reporters must be objective and not state personal opinions on-air,” the spokesperson said. “In regards to the particular incident with Sean Bergin, the matter is being addressed internally and we don’t comment on personnel matters.”When pressed for further details, the spokesperson responded: “We won’t comment beyond our statement.”Bergin is a veteran reporter for News 12 Long Island, which is owned by Cablevision, but was reporting on the officer’s shooting in Jersey City.The rookie officer, 23-year-old Melvin Santiago, was allegedly gunned down Sunday by Lawrence Campbell, who minutes earlier had told a Walgreen’s customer to watch the news because “he was going to be famous,” according to reports. Lawrence was fatally shot by police.News 12 New Jersey on Monday aired an interview with the alleged cop killer’s wife who appeared unsympathetic and told the network: “He should’ve taken more [officers] with him.”“Sorry for the officer’s family,” she added. “That’s you know, whatever. But at the end of the day he got family, too. All they care about is the officer.”Bergin’s comments came during an in-studio segment responding to a deluge of phone calls “from police officers furious that he would give media coverage to the wife of a cop killer,” he said.“It’s understandable. We decided to air it because it’s important to shine a light on this anti-cop mentality that has so contaminated America’s inner cities. This same, sick, perverse line of thinking is evidence from Jersey City to Newark and Paterson and to Trenton. It has made the police officers job impossible and it has got to stop. The underlying cause of all this, of course: young black men growing up without fathers. Unfortunately, no one in the news media has the courage to touch that subject.”A search for the video clip on both News 12 Long Island and News 12 New Jersey’s websites turned up no results. A video of the segment, however, is on YouTube.A Facebook group calling for Bergin’s reinstatement has already amassed more than 1,600 likes.Some commenters on the group, dubbed “Bring back SEAN Bergin of News 12 LI,” expressed shock that he was reportedly suspended. One commenter vowed to boycott the network. Other fans voiced their support for the journalist.“I enjoyed Sean Bergin on Channel 12 and would like to see him back there again,” read one post.Bergin still identifies himself as a reporter for News 12 on his Twitter account.He has not tweeted since July 10, when, ironically, he linked to a story about three-dozen news agencies critical of President Obama’s “suppression of news.”
1SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr A review of the new Michael Lewis movie The Big Short describes a scene during the 2008 financial crisis in which renters were “kicked out of their homes because their landlord didn’t pay the mortgage, even though they were making their rent payments in full.”It serves as one of many examples of how our malfunctioning financial system produces fundamentally unfair outcomes.Why do we need that system? Americans feel about bankers the way they do about lawyers: they’re all bastards — until you need one.In his book Other People’s Money, financial writer John Kay states that finance contributes to society in four principal ways: it matches lenders with borrowers, helping to direct savings to their most effective use; it enables individuals to manage personal finances over a lifetime; it helps manage the inevitable risks in life; and the payments system facilitates buying and selling, as well as the paying of wages and salaries.These are the sorts of things provided by the financial industry that are used by ordinary people and businesses, and their benefits make obvious sense. continue reading »
Accor’s digital strategy over the past five years has mainly focused on increasing direct bookings through a halo of luxury and exclusivity. So far, their personalization strategy has focused on customizing the experience during the experience, but also on revenue management. Magnuson Hotels Accor Marriott Marriott directs most of its artificial intelligence through the Bonvoy mobile app. Based on user data, intentions, and attribution data, the application makes complex recommendations regarding the destination offer. Another major initiative is Marriott’s partnership with Salesforce to launch a customer recognition platform, which provides a view of each guest’s profile. The goal is to gather all customer interactions so that Marriott staff can act on the information received. Storing this data also allows Marriott to serve digital content based on behavioral and demographic data. Best Western Consumers require a personalized experience. Airbnb has invested heavily in artificial intelligence to learn from the bookings of their “Experiences” program upon completion of the accommodation reservation. “Historical data show that Japanese travelers, when visiting Paris, prefer lectures and workshops (such as perfume making), while American tourists prefer experiences with food and drink,” explains one of the scientists on the machine learning project. But interestingly, the Airbnb homepage is not personalized for unsubscribed users who have recently searched, but is static. Caesar’s IHG Companies today have more data than ever before to launch personalization. And the good news is that personalization and artificial intelligence are still in the infancy of most hotels and catering companies. So the field is wide. Hilton recently hired more than 150 scientists to help collect more than a billion data a day. One of the main areas of activity is their communication via e-mail, which now functions as an automatic one-on-one communication. “Today we send fewer e-mails than before, but engagement and key business indicators are better. More e-mail does not result in higher revenue – personalized mail and communication result in higher revenue, ”said Wesley Albaugh, Hilton’s personalization manager. Approximately 80 percent of digital personalization is done via email communication, so it’s no surprise that Hilton has invested in optimizing this channel. All IHG marketing communications, whether via email, SMS or Facebook Messenger, come from a single platform so that personalization and contextualization can include centralized analytics. They are also integrated with language processing tools to improve the “virtual assistant” and shorten customer service query processing time. Radisson Caesar’s, like many other Las Vegas brands, had to rely on innovation to attract younger consumers who are not interested in gambling. Their technologies use a deep learning algorithm that creates an “emotional profile” of customers and communicates to each individual, via e-mail, in an appropriate manner. These personalized messages led to a 12 percent increase in email openings. And Choice “threw himself” into the waters of artificial intelligence to optimize revenue. “Even the results of the small investment in artificial intelligence have been outstanding,” explains Terrilin Tourangeau, director of loyalty marketing. Best Western was the first large hotel chain to launch artificial intelligence ads aided by IBM’s Watson program. Also, since 2014, they have been using personalized email communication as well as geolocation. Personalization has become one of the primary digital strategies in the tourism sector. So at least many travel companies claim. But whether personalization is really implemented in the digital structure of online platforms, we will check in the analysis of emails, landing pages and ads conducted by the Hospitality Net website. Magnuson plans to simplify basic personalization with the ability to select a location at the top of their website. However, it is unclear which new content will be delivered after the search. Hilton Airbnb Their interactions with brands like Amazon have become standard – they want a customized experience that anticipates their wants and needs. Amazon makes about 35 percent of its sales through a referral mechanism. Choice Hotels In 2018, Radisson appointed Accenture as a global experience agency to use the data obtained for targeted campaigns. The agency said it plans to increase traffic with selected content and implement a “chatbot” specifically designed for event planning and meetings. Source: Hospitality Net Cover photo: Pixabay.com
Investment company Sirius Petroleum has entered into a $10 million revolving pre-payment facility and commercial offtake agreement for the sales of crude oil produced from Nigeria’s Ororo offshore field with BP.Sirius entered discussions with BP regarding an offtake and pre-payment facility to support the financing of the company’s proposed drilling program on the Ororo field in mid-June.The investment company said on Monday that the deal has now been signed with BP Oil International, a subsidiary of oil major BP.The agreement enables Sirius to draw down up to $10 million, in pre-payment finance following the beginning of production from the Ororo field. The company said that the interest rate on any pre-payment amount drawn down would be charged at Libor +9 percent per annum and will be repaid from crude oil sales.Sirius added in Monday’s statement that it could request that BP provides pre-payment finance for either or both of the first two cargoes of crude oil, each for up to $10 million, scheduled to be lifted in 500,000 barrel parcels or more.The pre-payment facility will be conditional upon the Ororo field achieving certain daily production levels, which are lower than the flow rates previously achieved by Chevron on Ororo 1, which have been underpinned by the recent competent persons report.Bobo Kuti, CEO of Sirius, said: “The revolving prepayment facility and offtake agreement with BP supports the multi-well campaign on the Ororo field. It underpins our strategy to develop Ororo along with our world class oil field service partners COSL, Schlumberger, and Add Energy. In addition, the relationship with BP will enhance our development programs in Nigeria going forward.”The Ororo field, discovered in 1986, is located within OML 95 in shallow waters offshore Ondo State. The field lies in water depths ranging between 23ft and 27 ft.Guarantee Petroleum has a 55% participating equity interest in the Ororo field with Owena Oil & Gas as its partner holding the remaining 45% interest. Sirius Petroleum acts as the technical and financing partner in the development of the field.
As of yesterday morning, 61,204 SAP beneficiaries or 77 percent of the identified 79,215 beneficiaries were able to receive their cash assistance of P6,000 each, data from the City Social Welfare Development Office (CSWDO) showed. * senior citizens The city government here, however, plans to ask for another extension. ILOILO City – Today is the last day of the one-week extension given to local government units (LGUs) to finish distributing the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) cash assistance. Treñas admitted it would be difficult to complete the SAP cash assistance distribution today. * pregnant women According to Treñas, social distancing being implemented to stop the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the coronavirus disease 2019, is a factor. What’s slowing down the distribution? Another, he said, was the additional beneficiaries just recently included in the list of SAP targets. * persons with disability “Nagabira-bira kita, aga kag hapon ang pagpanagtag…ko pwede asta sa gab-I para malagas ang target nga maubos tanan nga barangay,” said Mayor Jerry Treñas yesterday. Iloilo City has 180 barangays. In the whole Western Visayas as of yesterday only 40 LGUs were able to complete their SAP cash distribution, DSWD Region 6 data showed. “I already signed the letter requesting the DILG and DSWD for another extension,” he said. The region has 133 LGUs. The 40 LGUs were in the provinces of Guimaras (five), Antique (14,) Capiz (12), Negros Occidental (six), and Aklan (three). * workers in the private sector observing “no work, no pay” (provided they have not availed themselves of the COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program of the Department of Labor and Employment)./PN Beneficiaries of the national government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP) cash assistance gather at the covered gym of La Paz district in Iloilo City to get their money. Observing social distancing in this setting is very difficult. Today, May 7, 2020, is the last day of the one-week extension given to local government units to finish distributing the cash assistance. IAN PAUL CORDERO/PN * sub-minimum wage earners * lactating mothers * informal workers * overseas Filipino workers in distress In DSWD’s SAP guidelines, eligible for cash assistance are low-income families with members belonging to vulnerable sectors such as the following: * solo parents * farmers, fishermen (provided they are not recipients of assistance from the Department of Agriculture) * drivers of pedicabs, tricycles, taxis, public utility buses, and public utility jeepneys * occasional workers like househelpers * homeless The deadline was originally on April 30 but due to the slow distribution by the LGUs, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) agreed to give a one-week extension. * micro-entrepreneurs