How does a high-fat diet raise colorectal cancer risk?

Image result for How does a high-fat diet raise colorectal cancer risk?A new study suggests a molecular explanation for the link between a high-fat diet and colorectal cancer.
While the evidence of a link between an unhealthful diet and colorectal cancer is robust, the underlying mechanisms for this association have been unclear. A new study, however, may have uncovered an explanation.

Researchers from the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio have identified a cellular signaling pathway, called JAK2-STAT3, that drives the growth of cancer stem cells in the colon in response to a high-fat diet.

What is more, the researchers found that blocking the JAK2-STAT3 pathway in mice fed a high-fat diet halted the growth of these stem cells, a finding that might fuel the development of new drugs to treat colorectal cancer.

Study co-author Dr. Matthew Kalady, co-director of the Comprehensive Colorectal Cancer Program at the Cleveland Clinic, and colleagues recently reported their findings in the journal Stem Cell Reports.

After skin cancer, colorectal cancer – a cancer that begins in the colon or rectum – is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States.

The American Cancer Society estimate that there will be 95,520 new cases of colon cancerdiagnosed in the U.S. this year, as well as 39,910 new cases of rectal cancer.

In recent years, a wealth of studies have suggested that a high-fat diet is a risk factor for colorectal cancer. However, the precise mechanisms behind this association have been ambiguous.

With the hope of shedding light on such mechanisms, Dr. Kalady and colleagues investigated how a high-fat diet influences JAK2-STAT3, a cellular signaling pathway known to promote tumorgrowth.

Findings may fuel new treatments

To reach their findings, the researchers used microrarray analysis to assess primary and metastasized tumors in mouse models of colorectal cancer.

When the mice were fed a high-fat diet, the growth of cancer stem cells in the colon increased. Studies have indicated that cancer stem cells are a key driver in the growth and metastasis of tumors.

On further investigation, the team found that blocking the JAK2-STAT3 cellular signaling pathway in the rodents reversed the increase in cancer stem cell growth triggered by a high-fat diet.

When analyzing the effects of a high-fat diet in colorectal cancer mouse models that were obesity-resistant, the researchers were able to replicate their findings.

Dr. Kalady says that this study is the first to demonstrate how a specific molecular pathway might mediate the link between a high-fat diet and colorectal cancer, a discovery that could yield new treatments for the disease.

We can now build upon this knowledge to develop new treatments aimed at blocking this pathway and reducing the negative impact of a high-fat diet on colon cancer risk.”

Dr. Matthew Kalady

“These findings also provide a new way in which cancer stem cells are regulated and provide insight into how environmental influences, such as diet, can alter cancer stem cell populations in advanced cancers,” adds study co-author Justin D. Lathia, Ph.D., of the Lerner Research Institute at Cleveland Clinic.

[“Source-medicalnewstoday”]

DEA does not need warrant to subpoena Oregon prescription drug information

A three-member panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that the Drug Enforcement Administration does not need a court-ordered warrant to subpoena information from Oregon's Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. It also found the ACLU should not have been allowed to intervene in the case.  (Associated Press photo)

A three-member panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that the Drug Enforcement Administration does not need a court-ordered warrant to subpoena information from Oregon’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. It also found the ACLU should not have been allowed to intervene in the case. (Associated Press photo) (AP Photo)

A federal appeals panel ruled Monday that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration can issue a subpoena for information in an Oregon database that tracks doctors and the narcotics they prescribe without getting a court order, reversing a lower court ruling.

The three-member panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found the federal law that grants subpoena power to the agency preempts Oregon law, which requires a court order.

Congress enacted the Controlled Substances Act, in part, “to strengthen law enforcement tools against the traffic in illicit drugs” and allows federal authorities to obtain such information through a subpoena, the appeals panel noted.

State law directly conflicts with the federal statute, providing that the Oregon Health Authority disclose information from its prescription monitoring program in response to a court order based on probable cause.

Oregon’s law undermines the intent of Congress to empower the Drug Enforcement Administration, the panel ruled.

The appeals court also found that the U.S. District Court shouldn’t have allowed the American Civil Liberties Union to intervene in Oregon’s case against the DEA because it failed to establish independent standing.

U.S. District Judge Ancer L. Haggerty ruled in 2014 that patients have a reasonable expectation of privacy for their prescription records and that law enforcement officials must seek a warrant for information from Oregon’s database.

The Drug Enforcement Administration appealed.

The Oregon Legislature created the monitoring database in 2009 to log prescriptions filled by pharmacies in the state, the physicians who prescribed the narcotics and the patients who use them. The state included privacy protections, including the court order. The database went live two years later.

The Drug Enforcement Administration argued it could use administrative subpoenas under the Controlled Substances Act.

The state sued the agency after it issued three subpoenas for database information. The American Civil Liberties Union joined the case on behalf of four patients and a doctor, taking the state’s argument one step further in contending that federal agents must have probable cause and a signed search warrant for the information.

The subpoenas could violate a person’s Fourth Amendment right to privacy and unreasonable search and seizure, the ACLU argued. The ACLU sought a court injunction.

Haggerty didn’t analyze whether the ACLU had the right to intervene, and instead found that the DEA violated privacy rights asserted by the ACLU, the appeals panel’s opinion said.

“We reverse without reaching the merits of the Fourth Amendment claim,” the appeals panel said. Because the ACLU is seeking a different outcome than the state, it needed to show independent standing to intervene in the case and it did not, the panel ruled.

The DEA’s two administrative subpoenas sought records of a single patient and two prescribing physicians, not records related to the ACLU, the appeals court said.

The appeals panel said it recognized the “particularly private nature of the medical information” at issue and said the ACLU’s concern about disclosure wasn’t unreasonable. Yet even so, the ACLU lacked standing because it and those it represented weren’t “under an impending threat of disclosure.”

The appeals court did point out that the state still has the power to resist a DEA administrative subpoena, which would require the DEA to then get a court order for the information.

The appeals panel described this step as “a critical safeguard in light of the particularly important privacy interest implicated here.”

Attorney Nathan Freed Wessler, a New York-based lawyer who argued the appeal for the American Civil Liberties Union, said he was disappointed.

Next month, the ACLU will appear in federal court in Utah in a separate lawsuit and make the same argument that the DEA violates privacy rights by using “mere administrative subpoenas.”

“The court recognizes that medical records are private and sensitive and therefore require strong legal safeguards,” Wessler said. “Regrettably, it held that our clients lacked ‘standing’ to press for those safeguards in this litigation.”

[“Source-oregonlive”]

How does China respond to US chip threats? With a $30 billion factory

SW26010 chip

For China, actions speak louder than words, especially in the escalating chip battle with the U.S., which has been hurling out verbal threats in recent months.

The Chinese chip infrastructure is getting a serious boost from Tsinghua Unigroup, which is investing US$30 billion in a new foundry to make chips. The state-owned Tsinghua Holdings is a majority shareholder in Tsinghua Unigroup.

This news comes just two weeks after U.S. accused China of rigging the chip market and artificially reducing the prices of semiconductors. The tough talk came from the administration of former President Barack Obama but will continue under Donald Trump, who was sworn in as president Friday.

The factory in Nanjing will primarily make 3D NAND flash and DRAM chips to bulk up the country’s semiconductor and storage markets. The first stage of investment will be $10 billion and produce 100,000 chips per month. The manufacturing facilities will stretch over 1,500 acres, or 2.34 square miles.

Beyond the investment in the chip factory, Tsinghua Unigroup will also invest about $4.3 billion to build a complimentary IC (integrated circuit) international city that will include a science technology park, a school, commercial facilities, and apartments.

China has a poor chip-manufacturing infrastructure, and this investment should fill a hole in the country’s long-term effort to be self-reliant with technology products.

Companies like Intel, Samsung, TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.) and GlobalFoundries, which invest billions in fabs, will feel the pinch. Intel and GlobalFoundries operate factories in the U.S., and those companies also spend billions to upgrade manufacturing facilities.

But the U.S. will certainly take notice. Earlier this month, a White House working group said China was not playing fair in the semiconductor market, by artificially reducing the prices of chips through government assistance. The working group, called the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology or PCAST, recommended the U.S. respond to the Chinese chip threat by investing more in innovation and education and creating new types of quantum and neuromorphic computers.

The U.S. and China have conflicting technology agendas. China has made it difficult for U.S. technology companies to do business in the country. Most hardware companies have turned to partnerships or joint ventures to operate, with the Chinese government having some level of ownership.

Security and intellectual property theft have also been major U.S. concerns. The U.S. has been placing more emphasis on China’s semiconductor market in recent months.

China today hosts the world’s fastest supercomputer called TaihuLight. Fast supercomputers are used in weapons development, economic forecasts, and scientific research, making them central to a country’s security and economic strategies. The U.S. in the past has banned the export of supercomputing chips to China, citing concerns that it could be against U.S. national interests.

In 2014, China said it would invest $150 billion to subsidize chip development over a 10-year period. That’s partly because China wants 70 percent of devices in the country to use homegrown chips by 2025. That investment helped spur the development of low-cost semiconductors, which are also shipping outside China.

But the U.S. charges that Chinese semiconductors are inferior and have affected the quality of devices. The flood of Chinese chips has slowed down demand for chips and hurt the bottom line of U.S. companies, giving them less money to spend on the research and development of new chip technologies.

Products like the iPhone and iPad are assembled in Chinese factories, helping to keep down the price of those devices. The cheap Chinese chips have also reduced the cost related to building electronics, appliances, and cars.

U.S. companies are also moving factories to China, which offers a cheaper way to make chips. Intel is making its memory chips at a factory in Dalian, China.

source”cnbc”

Five things AI does better than humans, from the mundane to the magnificent

AIs are giving us a kicking in board games and video games, but what else are they good for?

facebook ai research building blocks
An AI developed by Facebook researchers can rival humans when it comes to predicting whether wooden blocks will stay stacked — and where they will fall if they don’t.

Credit: Facebook AI Research

COMMENTS
For millennia, we surpassed the other intelligent species with which we share our planetdolphins, porpoises, orangutans, and the likein almost all skills, bar swimming and tree-climbing.

In recent years, though, our species has created new forms of intelligence, able to outperform us in other ways. One of the most famous of these artificial intelligences (AIs) is AlphaGo, developed by Deepmind. In just a few years, it has learned to play the 4,000-year-old strategy game, Go, beating two of the worlds strongest players.

Other software developed by Deepmind has learned to play classic eight-bit video games, notably Breakout, in which players must use a bat to hit a ball at a wall, knocking bricks out of it. CEO Demis Hassabis is fond of saying that the software figured out how to beat the game purely from the pixels on the screen, often glossing over the fact that the company first taught it how to count and how to read the on-screen score, and gave it the explicit goal of maximizing that score. Even the smartest AIs need a few hints about our social mores.

But what else are AIs good for? Here are five tasks in which they can equal, or surpass, humans.

Building wooden block towers

AIs dont just play video games, they play with traditional toys, too. Like us, they get some of their earliest physics lessons from playing with wooden blocks, piling them up then watching them fall. Researchers at Facebook have built an AI using convolutional neural networks that can attain human-level performance at predicting how towers of blocks will fall, simply by watching films and animations of block towers standing or falling.

Lip-reading

Lip-readingfiguring out what someone is saying from the movement of their lips alonecan be a useful skill if youre hard of hearing or working in a noisy environment, but its notoriously difficult. Much of the information contained in human speechthe position of the teeth and tongue, and whether sounds are voiced or notis invisible to a lip reader, whether human or AI. Nevertheless, researchers at the University of Oxford, England, have developed a system called LipNet that can lip-read short sentences with a word error rate of 6.6 percent. Three human lip-readers participating in the research had error rates between 35.5 percent and 57.3 percent.

Among the applications the researchers see for their work are silent dictation and speech recognition in noisy environments, where the visual component will add to accuracy. Since the AIs output is text, it could find work close-captioning TV shows for broadcast networksor transcribing surveillance video for security services.

Transcribing

AIs can be even more helpful when the audio quality is better, according to Microsoft, where researchers have been tweaking an AI-based automated speech recognition system so it performs as well as, or better than, people. Microsofts system now has an error rate of 5.9 percent on one test set from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the same as a service employing human transcribers that Microsoft hired, and 11.1 percent on another test, narrowly beating the humans, who scored 11.3 percent.

Thats one situation where being better than a human might not be sufficient: If you were thinking you could dictate your next memo, you might find it quicker to type and correct it yourself, even with just two fingers.

News reporting

This story was written by a human, but the next one you read might be written by an AI.

And that might not be a bad thing: MogIA, developed by the Indian company Genic, doesnt write stories, but when MogIA predicted Donald Trump would win the U.S. presidential election it did better than most political journalists.

When it comes to writing, AIs are particularly quick at turning structured data into words, as a Financial Times journalist found when pitted against an AI called Emma from Californian startup Stealth.

Emma filed a story on unemployment statistics just 12 minutes after the figures were released, three times faster than the FTs journalist. While the AIs copy was clear and accurate, it missed the news angle: the number of jobseekers had risen for the first time in a year. While readers want news fast, its not for nothing that journalists are exhorted to get it first, but first, get it right.

Putting those employment statistics in context would have required knowledge that Emma apparently didnt have, but thats not an insurmountable problem. By reading dictionaries, encyclopedias, novels, plays, and assorted reference materials, another AI, IBMs Watson, famously learned enough context to win the general knowledge quiz show Jeopardy.

Disease diagnosis

After that victory, Watson went to medical school, absorbing 15 million pages of medical textbooks and academic papers about oncology. According to some reports, that has allowed Watson to diagnose cancer cases that stumped human doctors, although IBM pitches the AI as an aid to human diagnosis, not a replacement for it.

More recently, IBM has put Watsons ability to absorb huge volumes of information to work helping diagnose rare illnesses, some of which most doctors might see only a few cases of in a lifetime.

Doctors in the Centre for Undiagnosed and Rare Diseases at University Hospital Marburg, in Germany, will use this instance of Watson to help them deal with the thousands of patients referred to them each year, some of them bringing thousands of pages of medical records to be analyzed.

Authors including Vernor Vinge and Ray Kurzweil have postulated that AI technology will develop to a point, still many years off, that they call the singularity, when the combined problem-solving capacity of the human race will be overtaken by that of artificial intelligences.

If the singularity arrives in our lifetimes, some of us might be able to thank AIs like Watson for helping keep us alive long enough to see it.

source”cnbc”

Samsung says overheating issue in replacement Galaxy Note7 units “does not pose a safety concern”

While there have already been reports about replacement Samsung Galaxy Note7 units overheating in South Korea, a new Wall Street Journal report now says that similar complaints have been received by the company in the US as well.

In many cases, users have complained that the phablet gets very hot during calls. For its part, Samsung has acknowledged the complaints and has said that it’s investigating the matter. The company is, however, assuring users that the issue “does not pose a safety concern.”

“There have been a few reports about the battery charging levels and we would like to reassure everyone that the issue does not pose a safety concern,” the tech giant said. “In normal conditions, all smartphones may experience temperature fluctuations.”

The South Korean firm also said that it’s focusing on each case separately and trying to get it resolved through its customer service and warranty process.

source”cnbc”