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John Birks • Author at Mirror Daily

Cancer patients in England are not getting the care they desperately need.

A new study has uncovered that England has the lowest cancer survival rates compared to other western countries that were reported in the study. These results are worrying and raise important questions over the efficiency of the NHS in combating and preventing cancer.

Recent studies show that one in two people is affected by a type of cancer in his or her life. To this extent the NHS has upped the efforts to battle the scariest disease of them all. But, it seems, effects will take some time to be seen.

The newest study conducted by Cancer Research UK shows that, out of a total of six countries, England is the worst off when it comes to the survival rates of cancer patients, and in some cases the difference in percentage with the highest rates is 12%.

The study looked at six different types of cancer – stomach cancer, colon cancer, rectum cancer, lung cancer, as well as ovarian cancer. For all but one of these types of cancer, England had by far the lowest rates of survival. The five other countries involved in the research were Australia, Canada, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.

The reason for these results, the experts say, is the poor care that the patients the UK receive. Still, there are signs of improvement over the last surveys of this kind.

This particular one looked at four million patients who had been diagnosed with cancer in the six countries, and monitored their conditions over fifteen years. This comes to rule out the possibility that the results only reflect the reality over a short period of time. They do not. It’s been so for 15 long years, between 1995 and 2009.

It is indeed possible that this is why the NHS has decided to take a more stalwart stance against this deadly disease.

The survival rate encompasses those who have been diagnosed with one form of the affection or the other, and manage to survive it for at least five years. In England, patients diagnosed between 2005 and 2009 had between 5 and 12 percent chance of survival over five years.

Another finding of the study is that not only is cancer treated poorly in the whole country, it’s treated better in London than in provincial areas. The research center warns that this should not be the case and raises the question of healthcare equality.

The best results overall were shown in Australia and Sweden, while Canada and Norway both fared well in Lung and Rectum cancer respectively. Surprisingly, Denmark was second last after England, and in the Stomach Cancer results it took the last place. Unfortunately, this study did not analyze any cases from the US.

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Car software is just as vulnerable to hackers’ attacks as PC software.

In an unusual experiment, two hackers take control over Tesla S model due to security flaws. The tests were meant to prove vehicle makers that car software can be hacked into just as easy as computer software. For that matter, they have urged auto makers to secure their cars by preventing any security breaches.

Def Con hackers’ conference is just one week away, which is why Kevin Mahaffey from Lookout and Marc Rogers, the main security researcher at Cloudflare have made an interesting experiment to show that cars’ computers must be improved. Getting their inspiration from previous experiments on Chrysler models, the two engineers have broken into the software of the vehicles and created special bugs, which enabled them to gain further control over the autos.

Once inside the car’s system the two hackers have sent signals to the Tesla headquarters and eventually convinced them that their laptop was the car asking permission to access their official data. Tesla headquarters have granted access to their database and, thus Mahaffey and Rogers were able to command the car to get involved in all sorts of activities.

Since these two engineers were not real hackers, they did not program the car to carry out dangerous tasks. They simply made it to drive slowly through the parking lot and commanded the stereo to play Carly Rae Jepsen’s Call Me Maybe. Tesla S was brought to a sudden halt with just the press of a button, when the two researchers have proved their point.

The news that the Tesla S Model could be broken into is definitely not good for car owners. However, Mahaffey and Rogers plan to share their most recent findings during the upcoming Def Con event; thus, enabling Tesla developers to improve their system.

The company, on the other hand, has vowed to remedy the situation as soon as they find the best solution for the system flaws. Based on their official declaration, the software of the car can be upgraded much like computer operating systems; therefore, it won’t be a problem to repair these system bugs.

According to the two researchers, car makers should separate driving related options from system features, so hacker won’t have access to the whole car if they manage to break into the system. In addition, every car component should be protected through rigorous security options to avoid system breaches, the two have concluded.

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Bonobos babies behave just like human babies, Dr. Clay has concluded.

A recent scientific observation has revealed that Bonobos apes babble like human toddlers to communicate, proving that this species of chimpanzees is much more evolved than researchers initially thought. The noises that these wild animals make prove apes have communication flexibility, a trait that was initially considered specific for humans.

Dr Zanna Clay, an expert at the University of Birmingham, has carried out the recent experiment by observing Bonobos apes within their natural habitat, that is, in the Republic of Congo. Although chimpanzees, a distant relative of the Bonobos apes, have been studied many times before, this Congo-based species has been somewhat ignored by the science community and little is now known about them.

Clay has teamed up with psychologists at the University of Neuchatel, Switzerland to make new discoveries in relation to this species. They have, thus, travelled to the Republic of Congo and kept a close eye on the animals as they performed various activities, such as, feeding, playing, fighting, etc.

At the end of the study, researchers have concluded that the same acoustic string could take different meanings, depending on the context in which they are used. This means the Bonobos apes have a special ability called “functional flexibility”. This linguistic ability makes apes unique because only humans have the same capacity to utter different meanings using the same acoustic signals.

Humans acquire this ability when they are very young, particularly during their first months. It is how babies communicate with adults letting them know that they are afraid or hungry, even though they only make squeaks.

Psychologists, who have taken part in the new study have been very impressed with the new findings that Clay has made. In their opinion, the experiment has proven, once again, that animals could be much more evolved than humans believe. In addition, the experiment shows there are many more similarities between various species of apes and humans.

While the study has improved the status of the Bonobos apes, it has also weakened the good reputation of humans. In Clay’s opinion, humans could have inherited this “functional ability” from more evolved species in the past – a finding that undermines all our previous beliefs.

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The Newfoundland fossils looked like ferns, but they were not plants.

A series of Newfoundland fossils shed light on ancient reproduction organism, scientists announced on Monday afternoon. The discovery was made due to the complex underwater investigation that researchers at the University of Cambridge in England have recently made.

The team of researchers were puzzled by the traces they found on rock formations on the Newfoundland coastline. Deeper analyses have revealed that these unusual fern-like creatures existed 565 million years ago and they were very complex, in spite of their rather simple form.

Scientists have estimated that the fossils belonged to the category of Fractofusus rangeomorphs which lived on the bottom of the ocean, particularly in the area of the Newfoundland. These ancient species had two reproductive systems, according to researchers.

The cluster of cells that researchers found during their recent investigations have revealed that the fern-like creatures multiplied themselves through cell division. More specifically, the older cells gave birth to newer, smaller cells; thus, leading to the propagation of the species.

However, there was still a question that remained unanswered, namely how did the ‘grandparents’ of the species first appeared if younger generations relied only on asexual reproduction. According to Jack Matthews from the University of Oxford, the newly found rangeomorphs reproduced themselves through certain seed-like organisms called “propagules”.

Judging by their asexual reproduction system, we could assume that the ancient fossils were plants, but scientists are not completely convinced of this theory. In their opinion, the 565 million-year-old species could also be labeled as animals because they do not require sunlight to survive or to feed themselves.

Strawberries and other such modern plants usually rely on cell-division to reproduce themselves. Older parts of the plant give birth to new offspring, much like in the case of the Newfoundland fossils, marine experts have explained.

Scientists will focus on the identification of other particularities of the ancient species to better understand the evolution of the Fractofusus and hopefully, to determine whether they are plants or animals.

The findings of the current research may be accessed in the journal Nature, scientists have concluded.

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The next time 1999 JD6 will get close to Earth will be in 2054.

NASA has revealed the first pictures of a peanut-shaped asteroid that flew by the Earth on July 25. According to scientists the asteroid is a binary formation because images have shown that it is constituted of two lobes.

Researchers have associated the asteroid with a peanut because it has a long shape and a brownish color. In spite being compared to a harmless peanut, scientists believe the asteroid could have posed many threats to the population of the Earth, had it hit the surface of our planet.

The official name of the asteroid is now 1999 JD6 as researchers have labeled it in their catalogues. The images have been captured with the help of NASA’s DSS-14 Antenna which is located in Goldstone, California. However, many more details have been noticed through the lenses of the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia.

Thanks to these scientific means of investigation, scientists have been able to conclude that the asteroid passed at a distance of 7.2 million km from Earth on July 25. Additional data shows that the peanut-shaped asteroid has a width of 1.2 miles, a calculation that has been obtained by analyzing the size, the shape and the rotations of the star.

Researchers believe similar space formations could approach the Earth more often in the following period. As a consequence, more studies must be conducted in order to keep the Earth protected from a possible asteroid incident which could turn out lethal for the entire population.

Scientists, who have taken part in the recent research have further stated that they will continue to investigate the two-lobed asteroid because they want to learn more about its size and its rotations. They have not been able to determine its real measures because the data has been at times contradictory.

A similar space object is now being studied by space experts at the European Space Agency. They are using their probes on Rosetta to better study the surface of comet 67P, but no relevant data has been registered yet.

Researchers have concluded by saying that the current data will be used for further investigations related to the space rotation of asteroids. These new findings could help scientists avoid possible collisions with the Earth.

1999 JD6 will be 4.5 million close to the Earth in 2054, NASA has concluded.

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The waters in the Pacific are taking a turn for the worse.

Things are not going too well for Seattle it seems as the warm ocean blob moves to Puget Sound. You may remember that back in 2013, scientists had found a warm blob on the Pacific Ocean that heated the waters in an around it by up to seven degrees.

This giant blob (dubbed so due to its red color that can be easily observed on weather maps) has been moving for two straight years between Alaska and Mexico, unnaturally warming the waters and causing huge amounts of environmental damage.

Prior to the announcing that the blob would enter Puget Sound waters, the authorities in the area had expected that this summer would reach unusually high temperatures and an unprecedented level of dryness which they attributed to the worsening effects of global warming. However, with the coming of the blob, water temperatures in the area raised by a whole four degrees in some areas.

But hold on, it might get even worse.

There’s something that will soon heat the waters in the sound of Washington even worse. The developing El Niño which will soon hit the area is said to be unusually strong. So, this is really dire situation for the canal complex as well as for the whole ecosystem of Washington, and could develop strange weather systems over its capital, Seattle.

Measurements show that not only the surface of the water is affected by this continuous warming, but the deep sea temperatures are increasing. This automatically drains the waters of oxygen and causes unfathomable die-offs in sea-dwelling creatures. There are already shellfish closures confirmed which automatically increase the toxicity of the water, since shellfish are responsible for much of the natural filtering of the water. This has spurred the appearance of multiple types of toxic algae. There are also unconfirmed reports of huge amounts of fish dying probably due to intoxication.

The recent reports of salmon washing up on the shores in increasingly big numbers are worrying if not downright scary. The temperatures in the area where the El Niño is currently forming (East Pacific in the equatorial area) are at the highest point they’ve been for close to 17 years, when the devastating El Niño of `97-98 broke most of the records when it comes to this specific phenomenon.

Still, the clearest effects of the rise in temperatures are not the ones that are seen now in the northwestern state, but those that will come along in winter, when there will probably much less snow than people are used to.

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The comet 67P on which the ESA’s Philae is now sitting nicely.

The lander Philae found a surprise in the comet’s dust: the building blocks for life. There had been quite a scare recently for our little probe, which landed on the comet 67P just half a year ago, in November 2014. After it had bounced off the surface during landing, scientists really feared for the worst.

Were it not for the strange luck that often accompanies science, especially in space, we would not have any Philae left to gather data from. In an image released by the European Space Agency, we can see the exact places which Philae touched in its landing. The photo was taken by the Rosetta spacecraft which orbits the comet and which launched Philae to the surface of the celestial body. Upon the pic, the ESA scribbled some text showing the exact points of collision as well as the times for each collision.

Back on the 12th of November, scientists got quite a scare, as they feared that after the first bounce, Philae would be lost to space, left to drift endlessly as it was pulled by whatever gravitational force acted upon it. But to its luck, it didn’t jump off.

The first bounce was clocked by the orbiter at 15:34. This was due to a malfunction which prevented both the retro rockets as well as the harpoons from working. Then, at 16:20, the lander hit the rim of the crater outside of which it was supposed to land. This probably was the collision which saved the little probe. About an hour later, at 17:24, it landed at the opposite side of the crater from the planned landing zone. After another short seven minute bounce, Philae finally anchored itself in the comet at 17:31.

Still, this may have been just its luck. Scientists are now studying two separate amounts of data relating to the composition of the soil. Apparently, at the first spot where it touched down, named Agilkia, the surface was soft, filled with dust and ice particles. At the second spot, the soil was much harder, and scientists say it resembles pumice rocks on Earth. It was almost too hard for the little drilling legs to sink in, but they eventually did.

Now, scientists are studying the data collected and are finding that there are many particles which have been proven to be the building block molecules of life. One of these is formaldehyde polymer, which has never before been observed on a comet before.

Due to its bouncing, the Rosetta remained dormant until June 2015, when it called back. If it were to have remained where it was initially set to land, it probably would have been fried by the sun by now, scientists say. But now it’s working well, and is expected to contact Earth again soon.

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Google Glass is not dead yet. Yes, it’s true that Google has stopped selling it directly to consumers, but a recent report reveals that a new version of Google Glass will be released to some business users.

A wearable computer that brings information directly above the user’s eye, Google Glass makes a comeback, and the new device is specifically designed to provide a hands-free tool for industries that could use it the most, such as workers in manufacturing, healthcare and other branches.

Even though rumors of a new version of Glass being released by Google, inside sources confirm that we won’t lay eyes on any hardware for at least another year.

Reports from The Wall Street Journal say that Google is currently working on the down low with developers and businesses in order to come up with creative and useful applications that would turn the new Glass in an advance technology in the workplace.

Google Glass is best-known for allowing the user to watch digital content on top of various real-world environments. Some of the basic features include pairing it up with a smartphone so you can run apps, surf the web, ask questions and hear the answer spoken in the ear-piece; and that’s just the beginning.

Glass has been undergoing development for several years, and Google has been sending invites left and right for developers and early adopters to enter the Glass Explorer program. By joining it, any business was allowed to buy a kit for $1500.

However, earlier in 2014, the program was canceled with promises that a retooling was in the making. But concerns were already rising, as the Google Glass seemed to be addressing a very narrow niche to begin with.

Its high price, limited features and the privacy problems with the Explorer Edition hardware, they all made analysts skeptical about its success as a consumer device.

But an updated Glass that would allow doctors to keep looking at their patients rather than having to turn down to their clipboards, or one that would make it easier for a field technician to read instructions while looking at the item they’re fixing, that’s not such a bad idea.

The WSJ report has revealed that an Intel processor was included in the new device, and its battery life is much better than the original. Most visible of all, the new design has removed the wire-frame present in the old Glass. Instead the new Glass can be attached to whatever glasses you might be wearing, enabling you to move the display up, down, or left and right.
Image Source: New York Post

Two new studies conducted by researchers at Prostate Cancer UK and Cancer Research UK indicate that prostate cancer is more frequent among black men than prostate incidences among Caucasian and Asian patients.

Although these facts have been long known, medical experts have only recently managed to scientifically prove that prostate cancer is more frequent among black men, based on the information they have gathered during their recent researches. Prostate Cancer UK has made up a list of prostate cancer patients divided according to their ethnicity, whereas researchers at Cancer Research UK have created the first genetically-structured classification of prostate cancer.

The medical evolution of more than 25 million cancer patients has been analyzed during the recent researches, scientists have explained. The database included information from the Public Health Department of England, the Office for National Statistics, as well as other medical authorities.

More than 102,252 prostate cancer diagnoses and 26,521 deaths occurring as a result of the said diagnosis were analyzed during the research allowing scientists to observe important connections between this disease and the genetic heredity of the patients. The experiment has been conducted from 2008 until 2010.

Based on the collected information, medical experts have noticed that African American males have one in four chances of receiving a prostate diagnosis (29,3%) whereas only one in eight medical prognoses (13.3%) is related to prostate among Caucasian patients.

Asian men are less likely to suffer from prostate cancer, as the study has pointed out. It appears that during the analyzed time interval only one in 13 cases turned out to be related to this affection.

Interesting facts have also been observed as scientists have looked at the death rates of prostate cancer patients. Based on their declarations, black men are still the ones who are more likely to die from this disease (8.7%). The percentage among white patients is significantly smaller, approximately 4.2%, whereas Asians rarely die from this disease (2.3%), according to scientists.

The results of the Prostate Cancer UK research have been centralized by the Cancer Research UK Institution and a genetically-based classification of prostate has been made. No similar classification has been achieved before and doctors believe these new categories could help physicians better adapt their treatments to the needs of their patients.

Further researches could be made on this topic, particularly in relation to the factors that lead to an increased prostate rate among black patients. Scientists have also warned doctors to keep their African American patients informed in relation to the health risks they are exposed when it comes to this particular disease.

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The procedure is harmless and will take less than half an hour.

One third of the American population is suffering from obesity, so now a stomach filling balloon is FDA approved for weight loss that might open new ways to trim down the numbers. The Food and Drug Administration released as statement on Tuesday that the “belly balloon” is an approved method for weight loss.

Developed by ReShape Medical, the ReShape Integrated Dual Balloon System (or more simply known as the ReShape Dual Balloon) is a device planted in the patient’s stomach that will give off the impression of “fullness” and help with the unhealthy reflex of overeating, one of the main causes of obesity.

The ReShape Dual Balloon is placed in the stomach through a relatively harmless outpatient procedure, an endoscopy, that is much less invasive than other surgical solutions currently available for weight loss. It will generally last less than 30 minutes while the patient is under mild sedation. After the device is implanted, it’s then filled with nontoxic saline solution.

The study was conducted on 326 people suffering from obesity aged between 22 and 60 years old, all of which had at least one obesity-related condition, such as heart issues or diabetes. The 187 participants who opted for the “balloon belly implant” recorded a 6.8% loss of their body weight after the typical six months of recommended time, while the rest 139 lost only 3.3%.

It has shown promise as a minimally invasive procedure and vast improvement over a similar design created in 1992, which ruptured and caused artery blockage in patients. The company aimed to take that concept and improved on it.

However, while the device has shown decent results in patients, over the next six months after its removal, most of them gained up to two thirds of their weight back. It forces the issue that a matter of nutrition change should also be accompanied with the implant and a permanent modification in the food pallet. Or else it was all for nothing.

The Food and Drug Administration spokesman, Deborah Kotz, has stated that the ReShape Dual Balloon device is meant for obese people who have already tried the traditional diet and exercise regime, but with little results. As well, it will also be meant as a solution to people suffering from obesity who do not qualify for other procedures.

The stomach filling balloon will be soon an available treatment, though the company has not yet disclosed an official price or the medical centers where it will be available.

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