What you need to know about health risk calculators

first_img Could this widely used calculator be needlessly driving people to take statins? Ideally, instead of knowing the risk of having heart attack in the next 10 years, we would rather know the definitive answer — am I going to have one or not?advertisement About the Author Reprints APStock Related: Ever since researchers with the legendary Framingham Heart Study created the first calculator to gauge the chances of having a heart attack, such tools have become a routine part of medicine. But the results aren’t as straightforward to interpret as the answers you used to get from your old high-school graphing calculator. The problem has to do with the challenge of interpreting the concept of risk.Let’s use as an illustration the heart risk calculator designed by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association to accompany their latest guidelines for the use of cholesterol-lowering statins.It asks for 10 pieces of information, from age to cholesterol levels and smoking status, in order to estimate the chance of having a first “atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease event,” better known as heart attack or the most common type of stroke. Add your information and hit the “Calculate” button. The tool returns a number that represents your chance of having an event over the next 10 years. But what does this really mean? Experts disagree about the best interpretation.advertisement Related: Tags heart diseasewellness Which hospital you go to after a heart attack matters, study finds center_img Say the number you get is 10 percent. One way to interpret it is like this: In a group of 100 people with the same risk factors as you, 10 will have an event over the course of the next decade. Experts call this the epidemiologic risk. While it can be helpful in planning an treatment and prevention efforts across an entire population, it probably doesn’t fully answer your questions about yourself. Am I going to be one of the 10 with an event or the 90 without an event? What about my other risk factors not included in the calculator? For example, you may have had one or two parents who died young from a heart attack or stroke, which would increase your risk, or you may exercise every day and be at the highest level of cardiorespiratory fitness, which would lower it. First OpinionWhat you need to know about health risk calculators It is important to keep in mind that health risk calculators don’t assess the benefit that may come from treatment. One that inadequately addresses the root causes of a disease may do little to bring down the risk, while an effective therapy may offer an incremental or long-term benefit among individuals at moderate or even low risk.The quality of the data that go into building a risk calculator matters. Not every calculator can be trusted. Turning up high in a Google search doesn’t always mean that a calculator’s validity and performance are trustworthy. A few, like those produced by the Framingham Heart Study, have been thoroughly assessed and validated.Risk calculators will likely become more common in everyday clinical settings, partially because more data are available to build them and partially because the medical community and the public find them to be useful. Innovations such as machine learning applied to the “big data” available in electronic health records and other sources will only serve to improve the performance of these calculators and increase their value.But even with advances such as machine learning, we are unlikely to ever create a calculator that moves us from prognostication to certainty and delivers the correct answer for each individual. That shouldn’t dissuade us from using health risk estimates. But we cannot let the appeal of a number that appears easy to understand pass for real understanding of what that number means. If we settle for that, what will be at risk is the potential benefit of these calculators for patient health.Michael J. Pencina, PhD, is director of biostatistics at the Duke Clinical Research Institute and professor of biostatistics and bioinformatics. He has worked on a number of large studies, including the Framingham Heart Study. By Michael J. Pencina Dec. 19, 2016 Reprints Michael J. Pencina [email protected] Individual factors like smoking or high blood pressure or diet quality have been linked with disease risks for decades. Using statistical techniques, it is possible to capture the prognostic power of such factors into a risk estimate. If one indicator sketches an individual’s portrait, many of them working together (10 in the case of the heart risk calculator) carve a statue of the same subject, adding dimensions to the prediction.As my colleagues Ralph B. D’Agostino, Allan D. Sniderman, and I wrote earlier this year in JAMA, if all past, present, and future predictors of a particular disease were known — and it was possible to quantify them — one could build an algorithm that would give a definitive answer about that disease occurring for each individual.Until then, it’s important to make the best of the useful tools that Framingham and other reputable sources have created for us. To make that happen, physicians and other experts need to convey the result that emerges from a risk calculator in ways that people can easily grasp.The Framingham Heart Study, for example, includes in one of its calculators a “heart/vascular age” in addition to the 10-year risk of cardiovascular disease. A heart/vascular age younger than your chronological age is good, one older than your chronological age isn’t.An approach we are exploring at the Duke Clinical Research Institute capitalizes on human’s natural tendency to compare themselves with others. Telling an individual that she has a 15 percent chance of having a heart attack in the next 10 years may offer some motivation to adopt healthier habits, while telling her that 90 percent of women her age have a better risk profile than hers may be even more motivational.The risk estimates offered by today’s models and algorithms are limited by the data on which they were developed and the information they include. With more and more data becoming available, predictive analytics become more powerful and more useful to precision medicine, which aims to tailor treatment to individual patients. Electronic health records may help us build calculators that can provide estimates in a doctor’s office or at a patient’s bedside.last_img read more

Sneak peek: Behind the hype of Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong’s cancer moonshot

first_img By Rebecca Robbins Feb. 13, 2017 Reprints Darren McCollester/Getty Images Daily reporting and analysis The most comprehensive industry coverage from a powerhouse team of reporters Subscriber-only newsletters Daily newsletters to brief you on the most important industry news of the day STAT+ Conversations Weekly opportunities to engage with our reporters and leading industry experts in live video conversations Exclusive industry events Premium access to subscriber-only networking events around the country The best reporters in the industry The most trusted and well-connected newsroom in the health care industry And much more Exclusive interviews with industry leaders, profiles, and premium tools, like our CRISPR Trackr. Tags biotechnologycancerdiagnosticspharmaceuticalsresearchSTAT+White House STAT+ is STAT’s premium subscription service for in-depth biotech, pharma, policy, and life science coverage and analysis. Our award-winning team covers news on Wall Street, policy developments in Washington, early science breakthroughs and clinical trial results, and health care disruption in Silicon Valley and beyond. What’s included? Log In | Learn More Business Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong is at once a showman and an enigma.And that contradiction is a big part of why I’ve been watching the biotech billionaire with such curiosity in recent months. My interest was piqued a year ago at J.P. Morgan when Soon-Shiong announced his “Cancer MoonShot 2020,” an audacious bid to vanquish cancer that was memorable also for its messy rollout. Sneak peek: Behind the hype of Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong’s cancer moonshot Unlock this article by subscribing to STAT+ and enjoy your first 30 days free! GET STARTED GET STARTED What is it?last_img read more

Pharmalittle: Democrats tear into MS pricing; pharma sits on its deal-making hands

first_imgPharmalot By Damian Garde Aug. 18, 2017 Reprints Pharmalittle: Democrats tear into MS pricing; pharma sits on its deal-making hands STAT+ is STAT’s premium subscription service for in-depth biotech, pharma, policy, and life science coverage and analysis. Our award-winning team covers news on Wall Street, policy developments in Washington, early science breakthroughs and clinical trial results, and health care disruption in Silicon Valley and beyond. What’s included? Unlock this article by subscribing to STAT+ and enjoy your first 30 days free! GET STARTED Log In | Learn More Good morning, one and all. Damian Garde here, filling in for Ed Silverman in the winnowing work hours of yet another week. Any expectation of a requisite news-light August has long since been turned on its head, requiring ever more cups of stimulation and perhaps the occasionally pinch to ensure one hasn’t slipped into a dream. Here’s your regular serving of headlines to get the day going, and please do send us a note if you hear anything interesting.Two Democratic lawmakers are demanding answers on the escalating prices of multiple sclerosis drugs, STAT tells us. Reps. Elijah Cummings of Maryland and Peter Welch of Vermont sent a letter to the seven largest makers of such treatments — including Biogen (BIIB), Roche (ROG), and Bayer (BAYN) — to request documents on how they set their prices, seeking answers as to how the average cost of MS therapy has nearly quadrupled since 2004. Daily reporting and analysis The most comprehensive industry coverage from a powerhouse team of reporters Subscriber-only newsletters Daily newsletters to brief you on the most important industry news of the day STAT+ Conversations Weekly opportunities to engage with our reporters and leading industry experts in live video conversations Exclusive industry events Premium access to subscriber-only networking events around the country The best reporters in the industry The most trusted and well-connected newsroom in the health care industry And much more Exclusive interviews with industry leaders, profiles, and premium tools, like our CRISPR Trackr. Alex Hogan/STATcenter_img [email protected] Damian Garde What is it? @damiangarde National Biotech Reporter Damian covers biotech, is a co-writer of The Readout newsletter, and a co-host of “The Readout LOUD” podcast. GET STARTED About the Author Reprints Tags pharmaceuticalspharmalittleSTAT+last_img read more

Fort Myers welcomes new City Manager Marty Lawing

first_imgAdvertisement Thief scoops up tip jar at Fort Myers ice cream shop June 16, 2021 Man killed during shooting at Central Avenue WATCH: Fort Myers lotto looter on the run with stacks of scratchers June 16, 2021 FORT MYERS, Fla. – The City of Fort Myers welcomed a new city manager Monday in a ceremony swearing in Marty Lawing to the position. Lawing made a few remarks before officially being sworn in by city staff and council members and signing on the dotted line. June 12, 2021 FMPD surrounds home after shooting June 12, 2021 Attendees wore sunglasses as a nod to the City’s bright future.Lawing previously faced accusations of racism, and discrimination, but was ultimately brought on and sworn in as the new City Manager of Fort Myers Monday. center_img Advertisement AdvertisementTags: City managerFort Myers RELATEDTOPICS AdvertisementDC Young Fly knocks out heckler (video) – Rolling OutRead more6 comments’Mortal Kombat’ Exceeded Expectations Says WarnerMedia ExecutiveRead more2 commentsDo You Remember Bob’s Big Boy?Read more1 commentsKISS Front Man Paul Stanley Reveals This Is The End Of KISS As A Touring Band, For RealRead more1 comments AdvertisementRecommended ArticlesBrie Larson Reportedly Replacing Robert Downey Jr. As The Face Of The MCURead more81 commentsGal Gadot Reportedly Being Recast As Wonder Woman For The FlashRead more29 comments Advertisementlast_img read more

Sickle Cell Outreach in St. Elizabeth A Success

first_imgAdvertisements RelatedSickle Cell Outreach in St. Elizabeth A Success RelatedSickle Cell Outreach in St. Elizabeth A Success RelatedSickle Cell Outreach in St. Elizabeth A Successcenter_img FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail The Sickle Cell Trust’s outreach meetings, being held in St. Elizabeth from October 1 to 7, have been a success so far, said Educational Coordinator of the Trust, Karlene Mason.So far, educational talks have been held at seven institutions and these will continue for the rest of this week at Leeds Primary, Ballards Valley Primary, Rose Hall All-age, and Burnt Savannah Primary School.The outreach, which began on October 1 with a church service at the Santa Cruz Baptist Church, is aimed at raising public awareness of sickle cell disease.According to Miss Mason, “the aim is . to generally lift the levels of awareness that people have, to try and dispel some of the myths, because . we have had situations where students with sickle cell would come to school with yellow eyes or sores on their legs and they would get sent home by teachers or scorned by children”.Targeted are primary and all-age school students, she said “because I find that when the little ones learn, they will take it with them and in fact, some of them can take home information and tell their parents about sickle cell.”Miss Mason said, “we hope through these meetings, to make a difference to the way people think about persons with sickle cell, about the things that people believe about sickle cell, and hopefully after a time, sickle cell patients will have less problems with other persons relating to them.”She noted further that “sickle cell is usually used as an example of a genetically inherited disease in the (CXC) Caribbean Examination Council Biology syllabus, so if the kids in the science group learn about sickle cell from now, it will help them in their exams”.One in every 10 Jamaicans or approximately 270,000 persons have the sickle cell trait, while one in every 300 births has a form of the sickle cell disease.Sickle cell disease is an inherited change in the red blood cells, whereby the normal round shape of the cell is changed to an abnormal sickle shape, which results in blockage of the flow in the blood vessels. Sickle Cell Outreach in St. Elizabeth A Success UncategorizedOctober 4, 2006last_img read more

$19 million boost for sports, events in Albury

first_img$19 million boost for sports, events in Albury A new sporting era in Albury began today with the official opening of the redeveloped Lavington Sports Ground as one of the premier sporting venues in regional Australia.The development of a second playing arena, new amenities, a function room and a grandstand extension has put Albury in a strong position to attract nationally significant sporting events, with major benefits for Albury-Wodonga’s visitor economy.AlburyCity has thanked the Federal and State Governments for helping to make the $19.6M project a success, with the Commonwealth contributing $4.026M and the NSW Government providing $3.153M.AFL NSW/ACT also provided valuable support, contributing $250,000, while local user groups provided $50,000. AlburyCity funded the balance of more than $12M.AlburyCity Mayor Kevin Mack said the redeveloped venue would be the jewel in the city’s sporting crown.“The vision to create a hub for sports in Albury began in the 1970s when a group of volunteers worked together to transform the former seminary and turkey farm on the site into a place for local people to play sport and fifty years later, that vision has evolved into a sporting and events centre that will place our city at the forefront of regional sport for generations to come,” he said.Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Regional Development, Michael McCormack, said as the major sports facility between Canberra and Melbourne, the Lavington redevelopment will help the border host more carnivals and events, attracting more players and sports tourism opportunities to the region.“The construction of a new multi-purpose field will host Aussie Rules, cricket, soccer and rugby league; an investment which also saw upgrades and a fit out of the existing grandstand, including change rooms, coaches’ boxes, a commercial kitchen, medical rooms and media area,” he said.Federal Member for Farrer Sussan Ley said the Australian Government’s contribution to the development recognises Albury-Wodonga’s desire to remain regional Australia’s sporting capital.“Great sporting facilities are central to building and maintaining community engagement in physical activity, and with such a rich sporting history here already, this is a real investment into our future,” she said.Acting Minister for Sport Geoff Lee said investing in high quality sports facilities in regional NSW provided numerous benefits.“Improving the quality and quantity of sports infrastructure in regional areas is a NSW Government priority,” Mr Lee said.“This is evidenced by our new $100 million Greater Cities and Regional Sports Facility Fund announced in the 2020-21 NSW Budget.“By investing in new and existing sporting infrastructure we stimulate local economies, boost employment and promote healthy lifestyles.”Member for Albury Justin Clancy said the opening of the Lavington Sports Ground was a major signpost for border communities whose sporting activities had been severely impacted by COVID-19.“This expanded and improved facility promises great things for the border in terms of sport and potentially other business events,” Mr Clancy said.“I encourage everyone to come to Lavington Sports Ground and enjoy the great lifestyle and facilities we share here.”Full details on the redevelopment are available here. /Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here. Why?Well, unlike many news organisations, we have no sponsors, no corporate or ideological interests. We don’t put up a paywall – we believe in free access to information of public interest. Media ownership in Australia is one of the most concentrated in the world (Learn more). Since the trend of consolidation is and has historically been upward, fewer and fewer individuals or organizations control increasing shares of the mass media in our country. According to independent assessment, about 98% of the media sector is held by three conglomerates. This tendency is not only totally unacceptable, but also to a degree frightening). Learn more hereWe endeavour to provide the community with real-time access to true unfiltered news firsthand from primary sources. It is a bumpy road with all sorties of difficulties. We can only achieve this goal together. Our website is open to any citizen journalists and organizations who want to contribute, publish high-quality insights or send media releases to improve public access to impartial information. You and we have the right to know, learn, read, hear what and how we deem appropriate.Your support is greatly appreciated. All donations are kept completely private and confidential.Thank you in advance!Tags:Albury, AusPol, Australia, Australian, Australian Government, commonwealth, community, community engagement, Deputy Prime Minister, employment, Federal, Government, infrastructure, Investment, Melbourne, NSW, Prime Minister, regional developmentlast_img read more

Travel vouchers for Qlders holidaying in Cairns and Great Barrier Reef

first_imgTravel vouchers for Qlders holidaying in Cairns and Great Barrier Reef The Palaszczuk Government is offering 15,000 Queenslanders a free $200 travel voucher to spend on tourism experiences when they holiday in the Cairns and Great Barrier Reef region over the next four months.The special deal launched today gives people three days from 8 – 11 March to enter the draw to secure one of the vouchers which they can use anytime between the 15 March – 25 of June this year.The big give away aims to boost visitor numbers in the Far Northern Region hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and the loss of international travellers.Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Tropical North is an ideal place for an Easter break or people could take a weeklong break around some of the other upcoming public and April school holidays.“Our Cairns Holiday Dollars offer will be rushed as similar schemes in other states have been heavily oversubscribed,” the Premier said.“The vouchers give people the chance to go on tours and experience some of the attractions in the Far North and we’ll cover 50 per cent of the cost, up to $200.“The vouchers can be used for trips to the Great Barrier Reef, guided tours around the region, bungy jumping, day spas, and entry to wildlife parks, zoos and aquariums.“It’s the first time in Queensland that a government has offered vouchers to bolster and support the tourism industry.“But these are extraordinary times and Tropical North Queensland tourism operators have done it very tough over the last twelve months.“It’s expected the initiative could generate an extra visitor spend of up to $14 million for the Cairns and Great Barrier Reef economy.“If the $3 million plus promotion, in partnership with Tourism Tropical North Queensland proves a success it could well be rolled-out for the Gold Coast, the Whitsundays and Brisbane.“This is just another way to help keep local businesses afloat and safeguard jobs in the tourism industry.“We want to motivate as many Queenslanders as possible to head to the Far North. To get out and about and explore what the region offers.“With Easter and the cooler months approaching, there’s never been a better time to plan a holiday to Cairns or Port Douglas.“From the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef, to the beauty of the ancient rainforest and world-renowned Indigenous experiences, there’s so much to see and do in Tropical North Queensland.“Some of the best deals in the state are available on TEQ’s website at Queensland.com. So, jump online and start planning your holiday.”Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said Cairns and Port Douglas were world-famous for their warm Far North Queensland hospitality.“The Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef region has always been a popular gateway destination for international visitors,” Mr Hinchliffe said.“Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 800,000 overseas visitors had landed in Cairns every year and contributed more than $1 billion to the region’s economy.“To have almost a third of your visitor economy wiped out by COVID’s closure of the international border is a big hit in anybody’s language.“The Palaszczuk Government’s travel vouchers are the perfect excuse for Queenslanders to pack a bag this Easter and discover why the Far North has an impeccable international visitor reputation. “By spoiling yourself with an unforgettable Cairns tropical holiday, you’ll be supporting jobs and helping Queensland tourism rebuild better.“Supporting Queenslanders is what Queenslanders do.” Member for Cairns Michael Healy said rebuilding the tourism industry was an important part of the government’s economic recovery plan for Tropical North Queensland.“This strategy will pump millions of dollars into local businesses which is exactly what we need right now,” he said.“We know that once people get a taste of Tropical North Queensland, they can’t get enough.“Incentivising tourists to travel to the Tropical North won’t only deliver a great return for operators in the short-term, it will help us to grow our domestic visitor base long into the future.”Tourism Tropical North Queensland Chief Executive Officer Mark Olsen welcomed the Cairns Holiday Dollars as an incentive for visitors to add an additional experience to their Cairns and Great Barrier Reef holiday.“Our region’s diverse tourism experiences showcasing two World Heritage areas have helped turn the Cairns and Great Barrier Reef region into an international destination,” he said.“This is an exciting opportunity for Queenslanders to discover that you can experience the Great Barrier Reef with an Indigenous sea ranger, see the world’s oldest rainforest while floating on a raft or go jet boating alongside the city.”Vouchers will be available for use from March to June 2021. Registrations of interest are open from tomorrow (Monday 8 March) at Queensland.comEligible tourism experiences could include boat or bus tours, other on-land or marine tourism experiences, reef experiences, scenic flights, short day trips, multi-day tours, spa experiences, galleries and exhibitions.Consumer website: Queensland.com/cairnsholidaydollarsTourism operator information and registration: https://tourism.tropicalnorthqueensland.org.au/cairnsholidaydollars/ /Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here. Why?Well, unlike many news organisations, we have no sponsors, no corporate or ideological interests. We don’t put up a paywall – we believe in free access to information of public interest. Media ownership in Australia is one of the most concentrated in the world (Learn more). Since the trend of consolidation is and has historically been upward, fewer and fewer individuals or organizations control increasing shares of the mass media in our country. According to independent assessment, about 98% of the media sector is held by three conglomerates. This tendency is not only totally unacceptable, but also to a degree frightening). Learn more hereWe endeavour to provide the community with real-time access to true unfiltered news firsthand from primary sources. It is a bumpy road with all sorties of difficulties. We can only achieve this goal together. Our website is open to any citizen journalists and organizations who want to contribute, publish high-quality insights or send media releases to improve public access to impartial information. You and we have the right to know, learn, read, hear what and how we deem appropriate.Your support is greatly appreciated. All donations are kept completely private and confidential.Thank you in advance!Tags:Brisbane, Cairns, Easter, Far North Queensland, Gold Coast, Government, Great Barrier Reef, Indigenous, industry, Minister, Palaszczuk, Port Douglas, Queensland, rainforest, Stirling, tourism, Tourism & Events Queensland, wildlifelast_img read more

New CU-led study may answer long-standing questions about enigmatic Little Ice Age

first_imgUniversity of Colorado Boulder Professor Gifford Miller is shown here collecting dead plant samples from beneath a Baffin Island ice cap. A new study led by Miller indicates the Little Ice Age began roughly A.D. 1275 and was triggered repeated, explosive volcanism that cooled the atmosphere. Photo courtesy Gifford Miller, University of Colorado. “This is the first time anyone has clearly identified the specific onset of the cold times marking the start of the Little Ice Age,” according to CU-Boulder Professor Gifford Miller, who led the study. “We also have provided an understandable climate feedback system that explains how this cold period could be sustained for a long period of time. If the climate system is hit again and again by cold conditions over a relatively short period — in this case, from volcanic eruptions — there appears to be a cumulative cooling effect.” A new University of Colorado Boulder-led study appears to answer contentious questions about the onset and cause of Earth’s Little Ice Age, a period of cooling temperatures that began after the Middle Ages and lasted into the late 19th century.According to the new study, the Little Ice Age began abruptly between A.D. 1275 and 1300, triggered by repeated, explosive volcanism and sustained by a self- perpetuating sea ice-ocean feedback system in the North Atlantic Ocean, according to CU-Boulder Professor Gifford Miller, who led the study. The primary evidence comes from radiocarbon dates from dead vegetation emerging from rapidly melting icecaps on Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic, combined with ice and sediment core data from the poles and Iceland and from sea ice climate model simulations, said Miller.While scientific estimates regarding the onset of the Little Ice Age range from the 13th century to the 16th century, there is little consensus, said Miller.  There is evidence the Little Ice Age affected places as far away as South America and China, although it was particularly evident in northern Europe. Advancing glaciers in mountain valleys destroyed towns, and famous paintings from the period depict people ice skating on the Thames River in London and canals in the Netherlands, waterways that were ice-free in winter before and after the Little Ice Age.“The dominant way scientists have defined the Little Ice Age is by the expansion of big valley glaciers in the Alps and in Norway,” said Miller. “But the time it took for European glaciers to advance far enough to demolish villages would have been long after the onset of the cold period,” said Miller, a fellow at CU’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research.Most scientists think the Little Ice Age was caused either by decreased summer solar radiation, erupting volcanoes that cooled the planet by ejecting shiny aerosol particles that reflected sunlight back into space, or a combination of both, said Miller.The new study suggests that the onset of the Little Ice Age was caused by an unusual, 50-year-long episode of four massive tropical volcanic eruptions. Climate models used in the new study showed that the persistence of cold summers following the eruptions is best explained by a sea ice-ocean feedback system originating in the North Atlantic Ocean.“This is the first time anyone has clearly identified the specific onset of the cold times marking the start of the Little Ice Age,” said Miller.  “We also have provided an understandable climate feedback system that explains how this cold period could be sustained for a long period of time.  If the climate system is hit again and again by cold conditions over a relatively short period — in this case, from volcanic eruptions — there appears to be a cumulative cooling effect.”  A paper on the subject is being published Jan. 31 in Geophysical Research Letters, a publication of the American Geophysical Union. The paper was authored by scientists and students from CU-Boulder, the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, the University of Iceland, the University of California, Irvine, and the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. The study was funded in part by the National Science Foundation and the Icelandic Science Foundation.As part of the study, Miller and his colleagues radiocarbon-dated roughly 150 samples of dead plant material with roots intact collected from beneath receding ice margins of ice caps on Baffin Island.  There was a large cluster of “kill dates” between A.D. 1275 and 1300, indicating the plants had been frozen and engulfed by ice during a relatively sudden event.Both low-lying and higher altitude plants all died at roughly the same time, indicating the onset of the Little Ice Age on Baffin Island — the fifth largest island in the world — was abrupt. The team saw a second spike in plant kill dates at about A.D. 1450, indicating the quick onset of a second major cooling event.To broaden the study, the team analyzed sediment cores from a glacial lake linked to the 367-square-mile Langjökull ice cap in the central highlands of Iceland that reaches nearly a mile high. The annual layers in the cores — which can be reliably dated by using tephra deposits from known historic volcanic eruptions on Iceland going back more than 1,000 years — suddenly became thicker in the late 13th century and again in the 15th century due to increased erosion caused by the expansion of the ice cap as the climate cooled, he said.“That showed us the signal we got from Baffin Island was not just a local signal, it was a North Atlantic signal,” said Miller.  “This gave us a great deal more confidence that there was a major perturbation to the Northern Hemisphere climate near the end of the 13th century.” Average summer temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere did not return to those of the Middle Ages until the 20th century, and the temperatures of the Middle Ages are now exceeded in many areas, he said.The team used the NCAR-based Community Climate System Model to test the effects of volcanic cooling on Arctic sea ice extent and mass. The model, which simulated various sea ice conditions from about A.D. 1150-1700, showed several large, closely spaced eruptions could have cooled the Northern Hemisphere enough to trigger Arctic sea ice growth.The models showed sustained cooling from volcanoes would have sent some of the expanding Arctic sea ice down along the eastern coast of Greenland until it eventually melted in the North Atlantic.  Since sea ice contains almost no salt, when it melted the surface water became less dense, preventing it from mixing with deeper North Atlantic water.  This weakened heat transport back to the Arctic and creating a self-sustaining feedback system on the sea ice long after the effects of the volcanic aerosols subsided, he said.”Our simulations showed that the volcanic eruptions may have had a profound cooling effect,” says NCAR scientist Bette Otto-Bliesner, a co-author of the study. “The eruptions could have triggered a chain reaction, affecting sea ice and ocean currents in a way that lowered temperatures for centuries.”The researchers set the solar radiation at a constant level in the climate models, and Miller said the Little Ice Age likely would have occurred without decreased summer solar radiation at the time. “Estimates of the sun’s variability over time are getting smaller, it’s now thought by some scientists to have varied little more in the last millennia than during a standard 11-year solar cycle,” he said.One of the primary questions pertaining to the Little Ice Age is how unusual the warming of Earth is today, he said.  A previous study led by Miller in 2008 on Baffin Island indicated temperatures today are the warmest in at least 2,000 years.Other co-authors on the paper include CU-Boulder’s Yafang Zhong, Darren Larsen, Kurt Refsnider, Scott Lehman and Chance Anderson, NCAR’s Marika Holland and David Bailey, the University of Iceland’s Áslaug Geirsdóttir, Helgi Bjornsson and Darren Larsen, UC-Irvine’s John Southon and the University of Edinburgh’s Thorvaldur Thordarson. Larsen is doctoral student jointly at CU-Boulder and the University of Iceland. Contact: Gifford Miller, [email protected] Bette Otto-Bliesner, NCAR, 303-497-1723 Jim Scott, CU-Boulder media relations, 303-492-3114 Kate Ramsayer, AGU media relations, 202-777-7524 David Hosansky, NCAR/UCAR media relations, 303-497-8611 Cheryl Dybas, NSF communications, 703-292-7734 Categories:AcademicsScience & TechnologyEnvironmentCampus CommunityNews Headlines Published: Jan. 30, 2012 Share Share via TwitterShare via FacebookShare via LinkedInShare via E-maillast_img read more

Election Day math: New study probes how people make decisions

first_imgShare Share via TwitterShare via FacebookShare via LinkedInShare via E-mail Published: Oct. 29, 2020 • By Daniel Strain UPDATE Nov. 16, 2020: This research has been published in the journal Physical Review Letters.Just in time for Election Day, a new study by a team of mathematicians has examined how large social networks, such as blocs of U.S. voters, navigate making tough decisions—especially when time is of the essence. The team, which includes Zachary Kilpatrick from the University of Colorado Boulder, has discovered that a mix of decision-making strategies might be the secret to success: Groups that are made up of both hasty and more deliberative choosers, he said, seem to have the best odds of coming to the right conclusions. “We wanted to look at how you can tune a group to have a good amount of these hasty decision-makers so that they’re providing a bump of information to the group, but not so much that they’re ruling the decisions of everyone else,” said Kilpatrick, an associate professor in the Department of Applied Mathematics at CU Boulder.Not everyone, in other words, makes decisions at the same speed—and that might be a good thing. People who make decisions quickly could give their more sluggish peers the nudge they need to pick an option. Too many hasty decision makers, however, might drive communities to make the wrong choices.Kilpatrick noted that the research, which will be published shortly in the journal Physical Review Letters, doesn’t delve into the behavior of actual voters. Instead, it tackles a mathematical concept called “rational agents”—hypothetical figures that always make the right selection based on the evidence they have on hand.  But, he said, scientists can still learn a lot by examining how these more idealized predictions line up—or don’t—with the decisions of flesh-and-blood humans. “If people are grossly deviating from this optimal behavior, which they can, then we can learn something about what biases they have,” Kilpatrick said. Gathering evidenceIn his latest study, Kilpatrick and his colleagues explored those kinds of decision-making processes by creating what was, essentially, an election-year environment—except this one was entirely captured in mathematical equations.Using numerical simulations, the team set up scenarios under which groups of rational agents, which ranged in size from 100 agents to nearly 100,000, had to pick between two options. As the simulations progressed, the agents received data that pushed them toward one choice or another—think of it like getting information by watching a presidential debate or reading the day’s news. “We have a continuous update, almost like a stock ticker, of their bias in favor of one choice or another,” Kilpatrick said. “They only make a decision when that stock ticker hits an upper bound or a lower bound.”There was just one twist: Like voters, Kilpatrick’s agents did not all have the same threshold for making a choice. Some of them didn’t require a lot of information before landing on the option they preferred. Others needed to take their time and weigh a lot more evidence before deciding. The right balanceThe balance between those two kinds of decision-making strategies seemed to make a big difference, Kilpatrick said.Pretend your own social network contains a lot of hasty deciders. These seat-of-their-pants people are decisive, but that decisiveness can lead them, and the people who listen to them, into jumping into wrong choices. With too few hasty decision makers, however, the members of a group can get mired in indecision—failing to make any kind of choice at all. “The hasty decision-makers are sniffing out the environment, and they pass that information on to the more deliberate decision makers,” Kilpatrick said.Still, he added, a few rash people can go a long way. The team calculated that networks that contain roughly 2 to 3% hasty decision makers were the most effective: These groups consistently made the best majority decisions in the least amount of time. “We were surprised that you only needed a small group of hasty decision makers to maximize this process of making decisions as a group,” Kilpatrick said. He sees a lesson in his study for U.S. voters agonizing over their own upcoming choices. In other words, you always want to be wary of how or where the people in your social group are getting their information.“There’s a lot of novices out there posting things on social media and they have not used a lot of evidence to come to their conclusions,” Kilpatrick said. “People who listen to them value them as experts, and it can really cloud the decision making of a group.”Bhargav Karamched of Florida State University is the lead author of the new study. Coauthors include Krešimir Josić, William Ott and Megan Stickler of the University of Houston and Benjamin Lindner of Humboldt University in Germany.Categories:Law & PoliticsNews Headlineslast_img read more

TA Consults With Transport Stakeholders

first_imgRelatedTA Consults With Transport Stakeholders RelatedTA Consults With Transport Stakeholders FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail The fifth in a series of Transport Authority’s (TA) Parish Consultation Meetings was held at Rooms on the Beach, Ocho Rios, St. Ann on Tuesday (August 31).The meetings, which are geared to sensitising operators, commuters and residents about the public transportation sector, also seek to garner information from participants on how best they can be served by the Authority.“The Transport Authority wants to be a first world regulator of public transportation and commercial land transport, and so this is a unique and useful opportunity for us to get the feedback that we need to create that master plan for transportation in Jamaica,” Communications and Customer Services Manager at the TA, Petra-Keene Williams, told JIS News.The Transport Authority is in the process of redefining, reshaping and developing new strategies to address public transportation concerns, she stated. She also noted that the sessions have been successful, and that meetings were already held in St James, St. Mary, Kingston and Manchester.“We believe that the transportation system should be safe and reliable for one and all and, therefore, these consultations are timely, because they provide a look into the mindset of operators, into the needs of commuters and also into the critical issues that are affecting the operations of various township and parishes, in respect of public transportation,” Miss Williams explained.She said that the consultation session in St. Ann was the final in the series for the year, but that next year the remaining parishes should look forward to meetings being held in their towns.JIS sought feedback from participants at the Ocho Rios session, including from President of the Milex Taxi Association, Daniel Scott, who described it as very effective. He praised the meeting for catering to a “broad spectrum of persons”, from the operational side as well as commuters.“What it did is that it opened my eyes to a lot of problems that we are experiencing, and I hope that, as the problems are put on the table, the Transport Authority will put the necessary measures in place to work with us to alleviate them,” Mr. Scott said.President of the St. Ann Central Taxi Association, Doris Murphy, said that she benefited a lot from the meeting.“I am glad that the taxi operators and the commuters could come together, in a forum like this where the commuters could say what they would like and what they do not like, and the taxi operators could state their problems, as well” she said.She singled out the question and answer session, as the most beneficial.“It was really interesting, and I am appealing to the taxi operators and the commuters to try to cooperate with each other, because I am sure that if they seek to cooperate with each other, then we can have a better taxi service,” Miss Murphy told JIS News. TA Consults With Transport Stakeholders TransportSeptember 2, 2010center_img Advertisements RelatedTA Consults With Transport Stakeholderslast_img read more