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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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Your Southern Garden

first_imgLearn about native azaleas, pest-resistant roses and lawn irrigation on “Your Southern Garden” with Walter Reeves May 29 at 12:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Georgia Public Broadcasting.Lawns grow better if they are watered correctly. Reeves and Michael Dukes, a University of Florida Extension irrigation specialist, will demonstrate how to adjust irrigation spray heads to deliver water uniformly. Horticulturist Hank Bruno will give a list of his favorite native azaleas. Reeves will show how to divide and plant aspidistra (cast iron plant). Then UF horticulturist David Clark will reveal genetic research results on putting the fragrance back into pest-resistant roses. “Your Southern Garden,” produced by the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and UF IFAS Extension, is a one-of-a-kind program specifically for the Southeast. The program is made possible by underwriter support from Scotts Miracle-Gro and sponsorship from McCorkle Nurseries.last_img read more

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Japanese companies hold firm on investment plans in Indonesia despite drop in sales, production

first_imgHowever, despite plunging sales and production rates, 69 percent of respondents remained confident about their future investment strategies in Indonesia. Only 15 percent intended to slash their future investments amid the current economic woes.“Many Japanese companies still see Indonesia as a potential market. While it’s true that demand is decreasing in the short term, consumption will return in the long run,” JETRO senior director Wataru Ueno told reporters during an online briefing on Tuesday.The coronavirus outbreak, which was first detected in China, has put a strain on Indonesia’s foreign direct investment, partially due to the social restrictions implemented to contain the spread of the virus. Indonesia booked a 9.2 percent year-on-year (yoy) decline in foreign direct investment (FDI) to Rp 98 trillion (US$6.8 billion) in the first quarter of 2020.Japan was the fourth largest contributor of foreign investment to Indonesia in the first quarter of the year, investing $604.2 million. Last year, it invested a total of $4.3 billion, making it the third-largest foreign investor overall, trailing China and Singapore, Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) data show. Of all sectors, the transportation and machinery industries have felt the biggest impact, with 82 percent of companies in the sectors seeing a drop of more than 50 percent in sales compared to before the pandemic. In total, 97 percent of manufacturers in the sector have reduced their production rates, in compliance with the social restrictions imposed in several regions.Indonesia’s Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), a gauge of the nation’s manufacturing activities, hit 39.1 points in June, rebounding from 28.6 the previous month, but still far below the 50-point benchmark that indicates growth, according to market consultancy firm IHS Markit.To survive the current crisis, Japanese companies are utilizing the government’s tax incentive programs, such as the individual income tax exemption, as well as corporate income tax and import income tax incentives.Previously, the Taxation Directorate General announced it had agreed to grant tax incentives to 360,818 individual and corporate tax payers.Ueno said the majority of Japanese companies expected further tax relaxation measures to be taken if pressures on domestic consumption continued, as well as government-backed compensation to be provided for their employees.“We understand the government is currently in a tough situation. However, support from the Indonesian government is extremely important for Japanese companies,” he said.The government has allocated Rp 695.2 trillion in COVID-19 relief spending to boost the economy and strengthen the healthcare system. This includes Rp 120.61 trillion to provide tax refunds for individuals and businesses affected by the pandemic.As companies are betting on long-term growth, Ueno said swift government action was needed to ensure consumption rebounded in 2020.“If demand fails to recover this year, it’s going to be a tough situation for all companies including Japanese companies in Indonesia,” he said.Previously, Singapore’s largest bank, DBS, stated that Indonesia was still among the preferred Southeast Asian markets for investment, backed by strong household spending and a young working population.In a report titled CIO Insights 3Q20 released on June 29, DBS noted that the country would quickly return to normalcy after the relaxation of pandemic-related restrictions, while household spending – which accounts for more than half of gross domestic product (GDP) – would continue to drive the recovery.“The investment strength in Indonesia lies in its favorable demographics. Indonesia is the third-most populous country in Asia, the fourth globally, and has a high proportion of young working adults,” the report reads.Topics : Japanese companies operating in Indonesia will stick to their future investment plans, despite declines in sales and production due to the ongoing health crisis, a survey conducted by the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) has shown.The JETRO survey, which illustrates the impact the pandemic has had on more than 350 Japan-based companies operating in Indonesia, shows that due to the pandemic, 80 percent of the companies have seen a decrease in sales, with 37 percent stating their sales had fallen to half their normal levels in this year’s second quarter.Facing such significant declines, 80 percent of the companies surveyed have reduced their production in Indonesia.last_img read more

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Toriola misses eighth Olympics

first_imgRelatedPosts Tokyo 2020 organisers want ‘Super Mario’ Abe to remain involved Tokyo confirms venues, schedule for Olympic Games in 2021 COVID-19: IOC to bear $800m cost of Tokyo 2020 postponement A record eighth Olympics Games appearance for Nigeria’s Segun Toriola was halted by Egypt’s duo of Omar Assar and Dina Meshref after Toriola and Olufunke Oshonaike lost in the mixed doubles finals of the Africa Olympic Qualifying Tournament at the weekend in Tunis. Toriola was aiming to become the first African and indeed table tennis world’s first player to attend eight Olympic Games, an ambition the Egyptians halted in a thrilling encounter in the Tunisian capital. Oshonaike had earlier on Friday booked her historic place in Tokyo 2020 as the first African female athlete to attend seven Olympic Games. There was a hint from the start of the match that it might not go the way of the record-chasing Nigerians as the Egyptians raced to an 11-6 win in the first set. They cemented their hold on the match with same score win in the second set and eventually triumphed 11-7 and 11-2 in the last two sets to claim Africa’s sole slot in the mixed doubles. Toriola described the result as “disappointing.” However, he was grateful to God for the opportunity to feature in seven Olympic Games. “I wanted to try to make it to my eight Olympic Games. Unfortunately, I could not but in all I am very happy with my career to become the first African to attend seven Olympic Games. I hope upcoming players will take it from here. Olympic Games for me has been a great experience,” Toriola said. Meshref lauded the records set by Toriola and Oshonaike, describing them as “legends of the sport.”Tags: Dina MeshrefOlufunke OshonaikeOlympic GamesOmar AssarSegun Toriolalast_img read more

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