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Science organization elects Army researcher as fellow

Credit: U.S. Army RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — The American Association for the Advancement of Science elected an Army scientist

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Credit: U.S. Army

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — The American Association for the Advancement of Science elected an Army scientist as a 2020 fellow for his important contributions to science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Dr. Cliff Wang, network sciences branch chief for the Army Research Office, an element of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, now known as DEVCOM, Army Research Laboratory, contributed to the field of science of security, outstanding leadership in national research and transforming results into high impact cyber defense capabilities.

“We’re excited to see Dr. Wang’s research contributions recognized at a global level,” said Dr. Randy Zachery, chief, Information Science Division, ARO. “His efforts to lead scientific discovery in the fifth warfighting domain, cyber, are essential for the Army to protect our long-term national security.”

The group is an American international non-profit organization with the stated goals of promoting cooperation among scientists, defending scientific freedom. Its council elected 489 members as new lifelong fellows. These individuals will be recognized for their contributions to science and technology during the February 2021 AAAS Annual Meeting.

Wang leads the Army’s extramural basic science research program to help establish scientific foundations of information assurance and to create new knowledge in the field. Through partnership with other federal funding agencies, research labs, academic institutions, and industry, his branch seeks to build revolutionary capabilities in communication networks, multi-agent network control, and social and information networks, to maintain U.S. superiority in network science and its dominance in innovation.

A graduate of North Carolina State University, Wang earned his doctorate in computer engineering in 1996. He has been conducting research in the area of computer vision, medical imaging, high speed networks and most recently information security. He has authored more than 60 technical papers and three Internet standards RFCs. He also authored/edited 20 books in the area of information security and holds four U.S. patents on information security system development.

Since 2003, Wang has been managing ARO’s extramural research portfolio in information assurance. In 2007, the Army promoted him to branch chief of Computing Sciences, while at the same time he managed his program in cybersecurity. He now serves as branch chief of Network Sciences.

Wang also holds adjunct professor appointments at both Department of Computer Science and Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at NC State University.

Additionally, Wang is an IEEE fellow and received the 2020 IEEE Big Data Security Pioneer Award.

AAAS fellows are elected each year by their peers serving on the Council of AAAS, the organization’s member-run governing body. The title recognizes important contributions to STEM disciplines, including pioneering research, leadership within a given field, teaching and mentoring, fostering collaborations, and advancing public understanding of science.

Previous AAAS Fellows include inventor Thomas Edison, sociologist W. E. B. Du Bois, anthropologist Margaret Mead, computer scientist Grace Hopper, physicist Steven Chu, and astronaut Ellen Ochoa.

In order to be considered for the rank of fellow, an AAAS member must be nominated by three previously elected fellows, the steering group of a AAAS section, or the organization’s CEO. Nominations go through a two-step review process, with steering groups reviewing nominations in their section and the AAAS Council voting on the final list.

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DEVCOM Army Research Laboratory is an element of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command. As the Army’s corporate research laboratory, ARL is operationalizing science to achieve transformational overmatch. Through collaboration across the command’s core technical competencies, DEVCOM leads in the discovery, development and delivery of the technology-based capabilities required to make Soldiers more successful at winning the nation’s wars and come home safely. DEVCOM is a major subordinate command of the Army Futures Command.

Wang leads the Army’s extramural basic science research program to help establish scientific foundations of information assurance and to create new knowledge in the field. Through partnership with other federal funding agencies, research labs, academic institutions, and industry, his branch seeks to build revolutionary capabilities in communication networks, multi-agent network control, and social and information networks, to maintain U.S. superiority in network science and its dominance in innovation.

Source: https://bioengineer.org/science-organization-elects-army-researcher-as-fellow/

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Bioengineer

Study: Telemedicine use disparity during COVID-19 among head and neck cancer patients

Patients more likely to complete a virtual visit by telephone, not videoCredit: Henry Ford Health System DETROIT (December 2, 2020)

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DETROIT (December 2, 2020) – The use of telemedicine services has shown to be exceptionally effective in meeting the health care needs of patients throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. But an analysis by Henry Ford Health System found that socioeconomic factors may affect certain patient populations on how they use the technology for accessing care.

In a Research Letter published in the Journal of the American Medical Association’s Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Henry Ford researchers report that head and neck cancer patients who were low-income, on Medicaid or uninsured were more likely to complete a virtual visit by telephone rather than by video. They also said women with a lower median household income were less likely to complete a telemedicine visit than men in the same income bracket.

Researchers said further study was needed to explain patients’ reticence with completing a video visit, which provides a more comprehensive health care assessment than a phone call with their doctor. “While virtual care may provide a promising platform for expanded access to care in some patients, it must be implemented in a way that it doesn’t create barriers to already disadvantaged patient populations,” said Samantha Tam, M.D., a study co-author and otolaryngologist in Henry Ford’s Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery.

The pandemic-driven need for accessing care using telemedicine services prompted researchers to evaluate whether socioeconomic factors impacted a patient’s ability to receive virtual care. In their retrospective study, they analyzed census-based socioeconomic data of head and neck cancer patients who had a telemedicine visit between March 17 and April 24, 2020 and compared the results to a similar cohort from the same time frame in 2019.

Data included patients’ age, sex, race, insurance status, household income, education, marital and employment status, and English-speaking households. Patient visits were categorized by virtual visits using live audio and video, visits completed by telephone only, in-person visits and no-show or canceled visits.

Data from 401 patient encounters during the 2020 study period was collected. From those numbers, 346 encounters (86.3%) were completed by 234 patients. In-person visits consisted of 87 patients (25.1%), 170 (49.1%) were virtual visits and 89 (23.6%) were telephone visits. In comparison, the 2019 study found 551 of 582 visits (94.7%) were completed by 394 patients, with no telemedicine visits completed that year.

“We know that access to smartphones and video technology is not universal but almost everyone has access to a telephone,” said Vivian Wu, M.D., a study co-author and otolaryngologist. “As virtual care expands during and after this pandemic, we must keep in mind that a phone call remains an important communication method for patients to talk to their doctor.”

Since the retrospective study was observation-based, the research team did not evaluate whether patients had access to mobile “smart” phones and internet connectivity.

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MEDIA CONTACT: Sal Giacona / [email protected] / 313-421-9108

About Henry Ford Health System

Founded in 1915 by Henry Ford himself, Henry Ford Health System is a non-profit, integrated health system committed to improving people’s lives through excellence in the science and art of healthcare and healing. Henry Ford Health System includes six hospitals including Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit; Henry Ford Macomb Hospitals; Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital; Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital; Henry Ford Allegiance in Jackson, MI; and Henry Ford Kingswood Hospital – an inpatient psychiatric hospital.

Henry Ford Health System also includes Henry Ford Medical Group: Henry Ford Physician Network; more than 250 outpatient facilities; Henry Ford Pharmacy; Henry Ford OptimEyes; and other healthcare services. Our not-for-profit health plan, Health Alliance Plan – HAP – provides health coverage for more than 540,000 people.

As one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers, Henry Ford Health System trains more than 3,000 medical students, residents, and fellows annually in more than 50 accredited programs, and has trained nearly 40% of the state’s physicians. Our dedication to education and research is supported by nearly $100 million in annual grants from the National Institutes of Health and other public and private foundations.

Henry Ford Health System employs more than 33,000 people, including more than 1,600 physicians, more than 6,600 nurses and 5,000 allied health professionals. For more information, go to henryford.com.

The pandemic-driven need for accessing care using telemedicine services prompted researchers to evaluate whether socioeconomic factors impacted a patient’s ability to receive virtual care. In their retrospective study, they analyzed census-based socioeconomic data of head and neck cancer patients who had a telemedicine visit between March 17 and April 24, 2020 and compared the results to a similar cohort from the same time frame in 2019.

Source: https://bioengineer.org/study-telemedicine-use-disparity-during-covid-19-among-head-and-neck-cancer-patients/

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AI abdominal fat measure predicts heart attack and stroke

Credit: Radiological Society of North America OAK BROOK, Ill. – Automated deep learning analysis of abdominal CT images produces a

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OAK BROOK, Ill. – Automated deep learning analysis of abdominal CT images produces a more precise measurement of body composition and predicts major cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and stroke, better than overall weight or body mass index (BMI), according to a study presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

“Established cardiovascular risk models rely on factors like weight and BMI that are crude surrogates of body composition,” said Kirti Magudia, M.D., Ph.D., an abdominal imaging and ultrasound fellow at the University of California San Francisco. “It’s well established that people with the same BMI can have markedly different proportions of muscle and fat. These differences are important for a variety of health outcomes.”

Unlike BMI, which is based on height and weight, a single axial CT slice of the abdomen visualizes the volume of subcutaneous fat area, visceral fat area and skeletal muscle area. However, manually measuring these individual areas is time intensive and costly.

As a radiology resident at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Dr. Magudia was part of a multidisciplinary team of researchers, including radiologists, a data scientist and biostatistician, who developed a fully automated method using deep learning–a type of artificial intelligence (AI)–to determine body composition metrics from abdominal CT images.

“Abdominal CT scans that are routinely performed provide a more granular way of looking at body composition, but we’re not currently taking advantage of it,” Dr. Magudia said.

The study cohort was derived from the 33,182 abdominal CT outpatient exams performed on 23,136 patients at Partners Healthcare in Boston in 2012. The researchers identified 12,128 patients who were free of major cardiovascular and cancer diagnoses at the time of imaging. Mean age of the patients was 52 years, and 57% of patients were women.

The researchers selected the L3 CT slice (from the third lumbar spine vertebra) and calculated body composition areas for each patient. Patients were then divided into four quartiles based on the normalized values of subcutaneous fat area, visceral fat area and skeletal muscle area.

In this retrospective study, it was determined which of these 12,128 patients had a myocardial infarction (heart attack) or stroke within 5 years after their index abdominal CT scan. The researchers found 1,560 myocardial infarctions and 938 strokes occurred in this study group.

Statistical analysis demonstrated that visceral fat area was independently associated with future heart attack and stroke. BMI was not associated with heart attack or stroke.

“The group of patients with the highest proportion of visceral fat area were more likely to have a heart attack, even when adjusted for known cardiovascular risk factors,” said Dr. Magudia. “The group of patients with the lowest amount of visceral fat area were protected against stroke in the years following the abdominal CT exam.”

“These results demonstrate that precise measures of body muscle and fat compartments achieved through CT outperform traditional biomarkers for predicting risk for cardiovascular outcomes,” she added.

According to Dr. Magudia, this work demonstrates that fully automated and normalized body composition analysis could now be applied to large-scale research projects.

“This work shows the promise of AI systems to add value to clinical care by extracting new information from existing imaging data,” Dr. Magudia said. “The deployment of AI systems would allow radiologists, cardiologists and primary care doctors to provide better care to patients at minimal incremental cost to the health care system.”

This paper is the recipient of an RSNA 2020 Trainee Research Prize.

Co-authors are Christopher P. Bridge, D.Phil., Camden P. Bay, Ph.D., Florian J. Fintelmann, M.D., Ana Babic, Ph.D., Katherine P. Andriole, Ph.D., Brian M. Wolpin, M.D., and Michael H. Rosenthal, M.D., Ph.D.

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For more information and images, visit RSNA.org/press20. Press account required to view embargoed materials.

RSNA is an association of radiologists, radiation oncologists, medical physicists and related scientists promoting excellence in patient care and health care delivery through education, research and technologic innovation. The Society is based in Oak Brook, Illinois. (RSNA.org)

Editor’s note: The data in these releases may differ from those in the published abstract and those actually presented at the meeting, as researchers continue to update their data right up until the meeting. To ensure you are using the most up-to-date information, please call the RSNA media relations team at Newsroom at 1-630-590-7762.

For patient-friendly information on abdominal CT, visit RadiologyInfo.org.

“Abdominal CT scans that are routinely performed provide a more granular way of looking at body composition, but we’re not currently taking advantage of it,” Dr. Magudia said.

Source: https://bioengineer.org/ai-abdominal-fat-measure-predicts-heart-attack-and-stroke/

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Visualisation reveals how a protein ‘hunkers down’ to conserve energy

Credit: University of Leeds A visualisation made from nearly 100,000 electron microscope images has revealed the ingenious way a protein

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A visualisation made from nearly 100,000 electron microscope images has revealed the ingenious way a protein involved in muscle activity shuts itself down to conserve energy.

The protein is called myosin and it is known as a molecular motor because of the way it interacts with other proteins and energy molecules to generate force and movement. It is found inside muscle fibres where it forms long myosin filaments made up of hundreds of individual myosin molecules.

When muscle activity ceases, the process of forming the myosin filaments goes into reverse: the filaments decouple and return to the individual myosin molecule state.

The visualisation – developed by scientists from the University of Leeds in the UK and East Carolina University in the US – has revealed how the structure of the molecule changes. It folds up and becomes more compact, meaning it can be moved more easily to where it is next needed in the cell.

Their findings – Structure of the shutdown state of myosin-2 – are published today (Wednesday, 2 December) in the journal Nature.

When the embargo lifts, the paper can be accessed at: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2990-5

Structure of myosin

An individual molecule of myosin is large – and is made up of a ‘head’ and a ‘tail’. When in an active state, the tails of the molecules come together to form fibrous myosin filaments. The heads within the filament bind with another protein called actin to produce muscle contraction.

By combing 96,000 electron microscope images, the scientists were able to see how the molecule adopts an inactive form in unprecedented detail. The tail of each molecule wraps itself around the head and is locked in place by key molecular interactions. That process shuts down its activity and makes it easier for the molecule to be recruited to where it is next needed.

Professor Michelle Peckham, from the Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology at Leeds who supervised the research, said: “The analogy here is that the folded myosin is like a Brompton bicycle, kept in a folded state when not needed, and able to be quickly unfolded when it is, by releasing a simple catch.

“The compact folded myosin is also more easily transported through a crowd to where it’s needed.”

Scientists have been aware of the role of myosin in muscle activity for decades. But until now, they were unclear about how this inactive state was formed or how its formation was so highly controlled.

What does the research mean for understanding disease?

There are genetic mutations of myosin linked with certain diseases.

Professor Peckham explained: “Mutations in muscle myosin cause a wide range of muscle diseases. Our research into the structure of myosin and the way it functions help explain how mutations or defects in the protein may be causing disease. That opens the door to the possibility that scientists can develop therapeutic approaches to ensure myosin functions normally.”

The Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology at the University of Leeds is an interdisciplinary research group involving biologists, physicists and chemists to investigate the molecular basis of life. One of the major research themes is to understand the process of protein folding.

The research was funded by the Medical Research Council and Wellcome Trust.

Note to Editors

The image shows, top, a 3D visualisation of the shutdown state of the myosin molecule, where the tail has wrapped around the head; below that is a myosin molecule in its active state and at the bottom, a myosin filament. Picture credit: University of Leeds.

University of Leeds

The University of Leeds is one of the largest higher education institutions in the UK, with more than 38,000 students from more than 150 different countries, and a member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities. The University plays a significant role in the Turing, Rosalind Franklin and Royce Institutes.??

We are a top ten university for research and impact power in the UK, according to the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, and are in the top 100 of the QS World University Rankings 2020.??

The University was awarded a Gold rating by the Government’s Teaching Excellence Framework in 2017 recognising its ‘consistently outstanding’ teaching and learning provision. Twenty-six of our academics have been awarded National Teaching Fellowships – more than any other institution in England, Northern Ireland and Wales – reflecting the excellence of our teaching. http://www.leeds.ac.uk

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When the embargo lifts, the paper can be accessed at: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2990-5

Source: https://bioengineer.org/visualisation-reveals-how-a-protein-hunkers-down-to-conserve-energy/

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