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App to assist medical research

first_imgSaint Mary’s communicative sciences and disorders department and Notre Dame’s engineering and computer science departments have teamed up with Contect, Inc. to create an app to help detect concussions on the sidelines of sports games.Contect Inc. came into existence through the ESTEEM program (Engineering, Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Excellence Masters Program), president of Contect Inc. Shane McQuillan said.“Contect came into existence through my ESTEEM thesis, which was a required component of the program,” McQuillan said. “That being said, a lot of companies that were established did not continue after the program, so Contect is fairly unique in that sense. We won the McCloskey business competition last year, which provided the ground work to keep things going.”The app is in its early stages but hopes to go to market in early 2015, McQuillan said. The app will first be used in high schools and will then expand to other markets fairly quickly.“At a very high level, here’s how it works: we take a baseline speech recording from an athlete at the start of a season,” McQuillan said. “During this they read a serious of words and sentences that are presented to them by our application, we then analyze these recordings and extract a number of acoustic metrics.“After a suspected concussion the athlete repeats the same test, and again we extract the acoustic features. We can compare the sets of features to establish if there is a likelihood of concussion.”The team of creators for Contect Inc. is composed of software developers and entrepreneurs who are capable of building a robust application, McQuillan said.Saint Mary’s communicative sciences and disorders professor Sandra Schneider designs tests and trials and examines recordings to see what changes she can detect in athlete’s voices.“We are at a point in time in society, in our world, where we can’t do research just in our own field alone and understand it,” Schneider said. “I think we really have to cross boundaries. … Between computer science and engineering, those people have different skillset than we have, and it’s kind of nice to be working in conjunction of all of us together because I think we all learn something from each other as we go through this.”The earlier a concussion is detected, the sooner it can be treated, McQuillan said.“Contect is trying to fill a gap where there is no good solution — sideline concussion detection,” McQuillan said. “If you want to detect them straight away, you’re going to need to do it on the sidelines, and Contect wants to offer a product that can do so.”The brain is such a finely-tuned instrument that it does not like any kind of change, Schneider said. Over 1,000 athletes have been baseline tested as part of the Spring season trial. Schneider predicts close to 40 will receive a concussion at some point during the season.“With sports injury related concussions, it’s a fact that usually one concussion isn’t the problem, its multiple concussions,” Schneider said. “Every time they get hit, in practice on the field, the more hits that you have the more in danger you are. This brain can only take so much. And then it begins to show cumulative effects.”Speech is a sensitive tool that is a good indicator for anything that happens to the brain, Schneider said.“It’s an emotional indicator and it’s a neurological indicator,” Schneider said. “That’s why they thought that speech would be a good indicator on the sidelines. You can have a baseline of somebody and then you have them read these words and we have the words and what they need to do and if there is any change it would be an indicator.”Schneider said the app is groundbreaking because currently, there is no literature that says there can be changes in speech due to a mild concussion.“The app right away was developed to look at speech and see if there were any changes in speech due to a mild concussion, which, believe it or not, there is nothing in literature about that at all so this is like breaking ground,” Schneider said. “We know there’s changes in speech and people with moderate and severe traumatic brain injury but do we know that speech is a detector for mild concussions.”Schneider said coaches have been accommodating at the high school level so far but believes that this app will become a political issue as well.“You also have to realize that it’s a very political issue because you start into Division One, which is like the Notre Dame football team, and as you know there’s a lot riding on the line when you pull one of your star quarterbacks out because of concussion,” Schneider said. “And some of them I don’t think want to know that information. So it’s a political decision in a lot of ways. And they know they’re going to run into that.”The app is meant to be used in conjunction with other concussion screeners, Schneider said. The app alone cannot be used to make a decision.“Right now we seem to be primarily in the high schools but later it will be in the college level and then when we have something that is really strong and seems to be pretty accurate at detecting something, then I think they’ll push it to the next level,” Schneider said. “So we’re talking a few years.”Tags: app to detect concussions on sidelines, contect inc., ESTEEM, ESTEEM thesis, notre dame computer science, notre dame engineering, saint mary’s communicative sciences and disorders department, shane mcquillanlast_img read more

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National Energy Board investigating butane leak at McMahon Plant

first_imgThe incident is now under control, but at one point part of the community was evacuated and the Alaska Highway was closed while officials worked to stop the leak.While the incident is under the jurisdiction of the National Energy Board, staff from the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission are on site on behalf of the NEB, as part of an agreement that the NEB has with the BCOGC.The NEB says all appropriate agencies have been notified and an NEB investigation into the cause of the incident is underway.  The NEB’s job is to hold regulated companies fully responsible and accountable for responding in a manner that protects the public, property and the environment.- Advertisement –last_img

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Papaflessas Social Club commemorates OXI Day

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Melbourne’s Papaflessas Social Club held their annual commemoration of OXI Day last Sunday afternoon at their club rooms in Thornbury. This year’s gathering honoured the personal bond created between the peoples of Greece and Australia in WW2. And it was an opportunity for Papaflessas to be congratulated on its support for the erection of the new Anzac Memorials at Pylos and Methone in May this year. It was my honour to make the presentation at the gathering.I began with the story of Greek Day in Melbourne. Before Australian troops had even set foot in Greece to help in its defence, over 100,000 people had come into Melbourne’s Swanston Street on 14 February, 1941 to take part in Greek Day – a day to celebrate the alliance between Australia and Greece and a day to raise funds to help the civilian victims of the war that had begun with the Italian invasion in October 1940. Melbourne’s fledgling Greek community joined with over 700 volunteers who made the day a great success.These efforts would be reciprocated by the hundreds – if not thousands – of ordinary Greek civilians who gave welcome and support to the Australia troops who came ashore at Piraeus in March and April 1941.One of those who came to Kalamata was Captain Albert Gray from Red Cliffs near Mildura in Victoria, who would take part on the last battle of the Greek campaign on the mainland – the battle of Kalamata waterfront on 29 April, 1941. Leading one of the two groups in the attack on German positions on Navarino Street, Albert was awarded the Military Cross for his bravery that day, New Zealand Sergeant Jack Hinton being awarded the Victoria Cross and Australian Private Max Wood the Military Medal. It was a great pleasure of mine to be able to tell this story to an audience that included three members of Melbourne’s Greek community with strong connections to Albert’s home region – Nola Radiotis, Trevor and Soula Vrettos. I look forward to working with Trevor, Soula and Nola to create greater awareness of Red Cliff’s link to the Battle of Kalamata waterfront.Jim Claven presents Papaflessas Secretary Betty Kosmas with the commemorative posters on the unveiling of the Pylos and Methone Memorials in May 2018.I then spoke of Horsham’s Private Syd Grant who never forgot the support of the local Greek community as he escaped German captivity at Kalamata, finding safety in the village of Trachila in the Mani. It was while there that Syd took a number of memorable photographs, capturing on film the help of the local villagers for the escaped Allied soldiers. Along with other Allied soldiers, Syd was evacuated from Trachila by the British warship HMS Hero and returned to Allied lines. He survived the war and would later name his farm in Victoria – Kalamata – in honour of the Greek people who had helped him. Last month Papaflessas’ own Paul Sougleris was able to identify the hideouts and some of the villagers who helped Syd in 1941 during his research trip to Trachila.The connections between the Messinian region continued after the end of the Greek campaign. Most memorably it was the people of Pylos and Methone who sought to help the over 3,000 Allied soldiers who came ashore after the torpedoing of their Italian POW transport ships, the Sebastiano Veniero At Methone in December 1941 and the Ninio Bixio at Pylos in August 1942. Amongst the hundreds of Australian soldiers aboard was one young Essendon-born engineer, Sapper Bill Rudd who had long sought to have erected memorials to both these tragedies. And so it was that late last year Papaflessas joined with Melbourne’s Panpyliaki Brotherhood Navarino and helped make Bill’s dream a reality. In record time the Pylos and Methone Memorial plaques were created, transported to Greece and installed by the Municipality of Pylos-Nestor in prominent locations. It is only with the support of Papaflessas and its membership – along with that of Navarino – that these important new additions to Greece’s emerging Anzac trail could be created and erected.On behalf of Anzac veteran Bill Rudd, I thanked the community for their support.Melbournians line Swanston Street during Greek Day celebration on 14th February 1941. Photo: The Argus (Melbourne), 1941, with colour added. State Library of Victoria Collection, Ref H98.100/3448.I also outlined that work that is being undertaken by other representatives of Melbourne’s Greek community organisations to expand Greece’s Anzac Trail. Along with the Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee’s erection of the Australian Pier Memorial at Mudros on Lemnos, I am working with Melbourne’s PanKorinthian and PanArgoliki communities to commemorate a number of important Anzac sites across the region that have no memorial. These include the site of the Battle of Corinth, where Australian and New Zealand troops played an important role in the valiant defence of the Corinth Canal in April 1941 and the Church in Argos where Australian and other army nurses sought sanctuary and safety from German air attack during their retreat to the evacuation port of Nafplio in April 1941. These are only two of a number of important Anzac related sites across the Peloponnese being researched for new memorials – watch this space.Litsa Athanasiadis gave a brief address on the success of the George Treloar Memorial Committee, whose successful community fundraising will see a major new memorial erected to Ballarat-born Major George Devine Treloar who assisted over 100,000 Christian refugees to settle in Greece following the Asia Minor catastrophe. Litsa invited all present to attend the unveiling of this commemoration of an Australian who played such an important humanitarian role in the history of modern Greece.The event concluded with an address by Ms Kosmas who spoke of how she was moved by the presentation on the personal aspect of the Hellenic link to Anzac. She thanked all for attending this important and emotional event.* Jim Claven is a trained historian, freelance writer and Secretary of the Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee. He can be contacted by email at jimclaven@yahoo.com.aulast_img read more

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