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In 2017, Kids Plus Pediatrics, an independent medical practice in Pittsburgh, posted a 90-second video on its Facebook page encouraging parents to have their children vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection that can cause cancer. For three weeks, the post garnered positive, higher-than-average interest and engagement from the page's followers. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, the anti-vaccination attacks began. Thousands of comments from vaccine skeptics and opponents poured in from around the world. Chad Hermann, KPP's communications director, says he spent 18 hours per day, over the next eight days, combing through the remarks, individually banning commenters, and trying to remove dozens of negative Yelp and Google reviews left by strangers who'd never set foot in the practice. "It's incredibly overwhelming," Hermann says, reflecting on the experience. Now that incident is the subject of a new study published in the journal Vaccine. Hermann and Todd Wolynn, a physician and CEO of KPP, partnered with researchers at the University of Pittsburgh to learn more about what drove the commenters to relentlessly harass the practice for days on end. The team randomly selected a group of 197 individuals who commented on the post, then used coding and computer analysis to assess every publicly available post on their personal profiles over a two-year period from 2015 and 2017. The researchers logged and coded posts, for example, that addressed water fluoridation, genetically modified crops, and "chemtrails," topics that suggest broader views on the role of government and science in people's lives. They also evaluated how the commenters were connected to each other or to the same Facebook groups. SEE ALSO: Facebook finally cracks down on anti-vaccination conspiracy theories Women who identified themselves as parents comprised the sample's majority. Of the 55 people who indicated a political affiliation, more than half supported Donald Trump and a handful backed Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. The authors worked to verify that each account belonged to an authentic user by looking at a profile's posting history, friend relationships, and pictures of real-life events. (The commenters surely didn't expect to become part of a study in which researchers pored over their profiles. They weren't notified of the study, but the researchers anonymized their information.) The study found that the individuals clustered into four thematic subgroups: those concerned about "trust" in the scientific community as well as infringements on personal liberty; those focused on "alternatives" to vaccination, including homeopathic treatments; those interested in vaccine "safety" who also felt vaccination might be immoral; and, those emphasizing "conspiracy" on the part of the government, scientific community, or others to hide information about diseases and vaccines. "By knowing and categorizing, we’re going to be able to tailor what we do much more specifically," says study co-author Brian A. Primack, director of the Center for Research on Media, Technology, and Health at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Portraying vaccines as triggering the body's natural immune system, for instance, could be an effective response to someone in the "alternatives" subgroup. Similarly, people worried about trust and liberty might be swayed by the argument that vaccines leave children free to pursue their lives. This is happening everywhere - #antivaxxers attacking parents, doctors, & anyone speaking up for vaccines. It’s effective tactic but it shouldn’t be. We should continue to be vocal #vaccine advocates Her son died. And then anti-vaxers attacked her - CNN https://t.co/2ZCi5yvYSt — Eve Switzer MD, FAAP (@kidoctr) March 19, 2019 The study arrives at a moment of reckoning for social media companies, particularly Facebook and YouTube, accused of letting misinformation about vaccines proliferate unchecked for years, potentially playing a role in measles outbreaks across the country and globe. Recent reporting also suggests that anti-vaxxers coordinate or participate in massive digital harassment campaigns designed to silence people who advocate for vaccinations, including physicians and parents. Facebook announced this month that pages and groups disseminating false information about vaccines will receive lower rankings and won't appear in recommendations and predictions driven by the company's algorithms. Misinformation itself will not be removed from the platform. "We have seen Facebook and other platforms making these adjustments, for lack of a better word, but our study provides an evidence base for the need for these policies," says study co-author Beth L. Hoffman, a research assistant at the Center for Research on Media, Technology, and Health at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. "We’re hoping to provide the science for regulators to make evidence-based policies." Walter Quattrociocchi, head of the Laboratory of Data and Complexity at the University of Venice in Italy, wrote in an email that while the Vaccine study bases its conclusions on a small sample and "simple" analytics, it captures the "echo chamber" effect of social media documented in previous studies. Quattrociocchi, who was not involved in the new research, has studied vaccine misinformation on Facebook as well as echo chambers. Naomi Smith, a digital sociologist at the Federation University Australia who has also studied the anti-vaccine movement on Facebook, agreed that the study confirms previous research but cautioned against generalizing its findings. "I think this may be useful understanding flurries of anti-vaccination sentiment such as the one detailed in this paper," she wrote in an email. "However, it is difficult to make a broader statement from a single incident about the overall landscape of anti-vaccination activity on Facebook." Wolynn, who is a co-author of the study and has worked on "vaccine confidence" programs for Merck and Sanofi, knows that some readers may learn about his involvement with pharmaceutical companies and dismiss the new research out of hand. But he's used to anti-vaxxers going after people who advocate for vaccinations and is more interested in is coming up with strategies to help the public make evidence-based decisions about vaccines. I wrote a #vaccine promoting op-ed on Sunday and #antivax #harrassment began immediately. I now have a safety plan and can’t park my car in the same place. #VaccinesWork https://t.co/JKpfypUexQ — Dr. Alyssa Burgart (@BurgartBioethix) March 19, 2019 The study co-authors collectively call for increased media literacy, using entertainment to convey pro-vaccine messages and storylines, developing interventions to target the subgroups with effective messaging, and looking at the role medical professionals can play online. Both Hermann and Wolynn say they've spoken to physicians who've either been attacked after sharing pro-vaccine content or remain silent out of fear they'll be targeted, which is why Hermann is developing a social media and communications toolkit for physicians. He also wishes that Facebook would make it possible for professional pages to restrict or pre-ban members of private Facebook groups, which would make it easier to prevent members of anti-vaccination groups from mobbing a medical provider's page. "One of the reasons we’re doing this is if [physicians] don’t post pro-science, pro-vaccine information, that leaves a gigantic void on social media," says Hermann. "And guess who’s going to fill it?" WATCH: In the fight against measles, UNICEF has found an unexpected ally – mobile phones
NEW DELHI/MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - India's Reliance Industries is selling fuels to Venezuela from India and Europe to sidestep sanctions that bar U.S.-based companies from dealing with state-run PDVSA, according to trading sources and Refinitiv Eikon data. Reliance had been supplying alkylate, diluent naphtha and other fuel to Venezuela through its U.S.-based subsidiary before Washington in late January imposed sanctions aimed at curbing the OPEC member's oil exports and ousting Socialist President Nicolas Maduro. At least three vessels chartered by the Indian conglomerate supplied refined products to Venezuela in recent weeks, and another vessel carrying gasoil is expected to set sail to the South American nation as well, according to the sources and data.
Once the customer picks out items from a store or restaurant, couriers bid to run the errand, offering a delivery price within a certain range, which shoppers can reject if they find the quotes too expensive. “People like to conduct business by conversing with others,” said Abdulrahman Tarabzouni, chief executive officer of STV, a $500 million venture capital fund anchored by Saudi Telecom that recently took part in Mrsool’s first funding round. Created in 2015, Mrsool tapped into the quirks of the Saudi market while the economy went through a major transformation.
That mixture emitted vapors, which then spread throughout the carrier after the damage control team opened all of Taiho‘s hatches and flipped on the ventilation systems. It was a terrible mistake. Once there was a spark, Taiho — like a bomb — exploded.
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin says he intentionally exposed kids to chicken pox instead of giving them vaccine
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin admitted in a radio interview on Tuesday that he intentionally exposed his nine children to chicken pox instead of giving them a vaccination. Once children get chicken pox, they are generally immune for the rest of their lives.
Ghana’s Africa World Airlines Ltd. may agree to buy two of Comac’s ARJ21 regional jets this month, the carrier’s Chief Executive Officer John Quan told Moses Mozart Dzawu and Bruce Einhorn of Bloomberg News in an interview.
The company counts education, self-driving vehicles as well as surgery and diagnostics among areas ripe for commercializing AI, Managing Director Esther Wong said. It’s now actively seeking out investments in fellow startups that can benefit from its own technology, she told the Bloomberg Invest Asia forum in Hong Kong.
Racing to build what he calls the Uber of financial services, Nikolay Storonsky believes in keeping his foot on the accelerator. Storonsky is getting a taste of the scrutiny that lies ahead as he tries to upend the world of banking with Revolut, his 3-1/2 year-old startup. The U.K.’s financial regulator is examining why the digital bank last summer temporarily turned off a system designed to automatically block suspicious transactions.
Uber Technologies Inc. rival Bolt, formerly known as Taxify, is preparing to expand into the food-delivery market and utilize its existing network of drivers to do so quickly. This provides “a good avenue” for the company to pursue, Bolt Chief Executive Officer Markus Villig said. Estonia, Finland and South Africa have been picked as the first markets where Bolt will roll out the new service in the next few months, the company said Thursday in a statement.
This is certainly one very fishy encounter.Two fishers stumbled across quite the surprise when they found a sunfish which had washed onto the beach at Coorong National Park in South Australia.SEE ALSO: 'Captain Marvel' is proof EVERY superhero should have a petThe photos, taken by Linette Grzelak, were posted on Facebook by National Parks South Australia on Tuesday, and boy, it's a weird looking fish.Grzelak told CNN they thought the fish was a piece of driftwood when they drove past it.The strange-looking sea creature has since been identified by the South Australian Museum's ichthyology manager Ralph Foster as an ocean sunfish (Mola mola), due to markings on its tail and the shape of its head.It's known for its large size, odd flattened body shape and fins, although in this case, Foster estimates the fish to be 1.8 metres (70 inches) long, which is about average for the species. The species was only discovered and named in 2017, and it's known as the sunfish because it enjoys basking in the sun on the ocean's surface."Researchers have been putting satellite tags and data loggers on these fish and found they will come to the surface and lay on their side on the surface, hence the name the sunfish," Foster explained to the news outlet."Once they are warm enough they dive down several hundreds of metres and feed on jellyfish and stay down there for lengthy periods of time."Foster said very little was known about sunfish, and it's only in the last few years researchers have known more with the help of technology."Because it had evaded recognition and was misidentified for so long it was named the 'Hoodwinker Sunfish' by its discoverer," he added."It was thought to be a purely southern hemisphere species but just a couple of weeks ago one made the news when it turned up on a Californian beach, highlighting how little we know about sunfish in general."By the way, their size and tendency to sunbake means that boats can hit them, or in much bigger cases, actually sink yachts. WATCH: Chemists have created a nontoxic pufferfish extract
It's been decades since NASA and its government contractors handled everything in-house, but the recent push by the agency to bring private companies into the fold is truly unprecedented. NASA's agreements with companies like SpaceX make it clear that the group is ready and willing to pay others to develop its hardware, and a new announcement from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory helps to hammer that point home.NASA and JPL revealed today that they'll be accepting applications to be part of a group of 10 startups that will work with NASA to develop new space technologies. This "aerospace accelerator program," as NASA calls it, covers a wide range of potential applications, and NASA is very clearly open to partnering with companies that can prove they can aid future missions."We want to assist these companies in developing their own technologies and becoming commercial successes," Tom Cwik of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory said in a statement. "NASA will also benefit by collaborating with these companies."The announcement from JPL and NASA includes a brief mention of the kind of thing they're looking for. "Geospatial analytics, digital design coupled to advanced manufacturing, autonomous systems, applied AI and machine learning," are all mentioned.NASA will be accepting applications for the program from now through April 7th. At that point NASA and JPL will review applications and select 10 startups to participate in the program which will last approximately three months.There's obviously no guarantees that all of the startups will pan out, but the idea here is clearly for NASA to find promising concepts and projects that are still in development. If it sees something it likes, and if the companies demonstrate the ability to rapidly iterate and follow guidance from NASA it would go a long way towards an eventual partnership."Industry is developing new technologies rapidly, using new tools and methods in software development and other areas," Cwik noted. "It's incumbent upon us to learn from developments in industry and contribute our vast expertise in technology as we prepare to use them in our future missions."
This black 2006 Chevrolet Corvette C6 Z06 is powered by a 610-horsepower, 427 cubic inches, 7.0-liter LS7 V8 built in the shop by Lingenfelter Performance Engineering and is fitted with multiple carbon fiber components on the outside.
Bayer AG had hoped a new trial strategy focusing jurors on scientific evidence could stem a burgeoning tide of U.S. lawsuits over its glyphosate-based weed killer Roundup, but a second jury finding on Tuesday that the product caused cancer has narrowed the company's options, some legal experts said. Bayer shares tumbled more than 12 percent on Wednesday after a unanimous jury in San Francisco federal court found Roundup to be a "substantial factor" in causing California resident Edwin Hardeman's non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The jury decision was a blow to Bayer after the judge in the Hardeman case, at the company's request, had split the trial, severely limiting evidence plaintiffs could present in the first phase.
Honduran conservationists are worried. A deadly insect that wiped out more than a quarter of the Central American country's conifers between 2013 and 2017 is back. The southern pine beetle -- or gorgojo, as it is known locally -- appears in large numbers during droughts brought on by El Nino, a climatic phenomenon that occurs every few years and can be a threat to agriculture and even drinking water sources.
A federal jury in California found that a Monsanto's Roundup weed killer caused a 70-year old man's cancer, the second major blow for the company in a year. The six-member jury in San Francisco federal civil court unanimously concluded on Tuesday that glyphosate — Roundup's key ingredient — was a "substantial factor" in Sonoma resident Edwin Hardeman’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Approximately 11,200 plaintiffs, who claim they were exposed to glyphosate, are suing the company as of Jan. 28, according to the company's annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
After finding that exposure to the weedkiller Roundup was a "substantial factor" in one man's cancer, jurors in California must now grapple with the question of just how culpable the product's manufacturer, agriculture giant Monsanto, was in his illness. Hardeman is the 70-year-old man at the center of the case who says his 25-year use of Roundup, whose principal ingredient is controversial chemical glyphosate, contributed to his non-Hodgkins lymphoma diagnosis.
The drug, solriamfetol, will treat excessive sleepiness in adult patients with narcolepsy or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Solriamfetol is expected to be commercially available in the United States following the final scheduling decision by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Jazz said in a statement. The approval comes as Jazz is trying to reduce its reliance on its blockbuster narcolepsy drug, Xyrem, whose patents were declared invalid by a U.S. appeals court in July.
NIH Funding Opportunities
- Notice of Correction to Application and Submission Information for PAR-18-543 "CREATE Bio Development Track: Nonclinical and Early-Phase Clinical Development for Biologics (U44 Clinical Trial Optional)"
- National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) Bridges to the Doctorate (T32)
- Notice of Clarification to the Award Budget for PAR-18-894, "Mental Health Research Dissertation Grant to Enhance Workforce Diversity (R36 Independent Clinical Trial Not Allowed)"
- Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for the NIH Common Fund Acute to Chronic Pain Signatures Program: Multisite Clinical Center Acute Pain from Musculoskeletal Trauma or Acute Peri-operative Pain (UM1 Clinical Trial Optional)
- Notice of Change to the Award Budget for PAR-18-802 "Cancer Prevention, Diagnosis, and Treatment Technologies for Low-Resource Settings (R41/R42 - Clinical Trial Optional)".