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Category : Human Longevity

How AI is uncovering the ‘dark matter of nutrition’ – World Economic Forum

The COVID-19 pandemic didnt just transform how we work and communicate. It also accelerated the need for more proactive health measures for chronic health problems tied to diet. Such problems have emerged as a top risk factor for coronavirus and people with poor metabolic health accounted for half of COVID-19 hospitalizations in some regions around the world. The resulting high numbers led the authors of a report in The Lancet to issue a call for more resources to tackle metabolic health to avoid needless deaths.

Thankfully, new tools have been developed to offer comprehensive understanding of nutrition. This expertise and technology wont just help us tackle metabolic health it could help us finally fully realize the power of plants to improve health and wellness outcomes.

The first global pandemic in more than 100 years, COVID-19 has spread throughout the world at an unprecedented speed. At the time of writing, 4.5 million cases have been confirmed and more than 300,000 people have died due to the virus.

As countries seek to recover, some of the more long-term economic, business, environmental, societal and technological challenges and opportunities are just beginning to become visible.

To help all stakeholders communities, governments, businesses and individuals understand the emerging risks and follow-on effects generated by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the World Economic Forum, in collaboration with Marsh and McLennan and Zurich Insurance Group, has launched its COVID-19 Risks Outlook: A Preliminary Mapping and its Implications - a companion for decision-makers, building on the Forums annual Global Risks Report.

The report reveals that the economic impact of COVID-19 is dominating companies risks perceptions.

Companies are invited to join the Forums work to help manage the identified emerging risks of COVID-19 across industries to shape a better future. Read the full COVID-19 Risks Outlook: A Preliminary Mapping and its Implications report here, and our impact story with further information.

We know that plants are critical for health, but do not fully understand why. Humans have not mapped the breadth of what plants offer, nor have we pinpointed the specific biological mechanisms of action triggered in our bodies when we eat them. This knowledge gap exists at the molecular level, with a need to understand how phytonutrients tiny plant molecules with anti-inflammatory, cardioprotective and neuroprotective properties work in our bodies. In fact, the scientific community refers to the vast world of phytonutrients as the dark matter of nutrition because less than 1% of these molecules have been catalogued to date. The opportunity to learn more about phytonutrients and further tangibly connect their impact to health is massive.

Technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence, are helping researchers learn more about the biological connections between plants and humans. For instance, Brightseed has created a powerful artificial intelligence called Forager, which coupled with advanced metabolomics instrumentation, systematically identifies unknown plant compounds and predicts their likely roles in human health. Thus far, the technology has predicted beneficial phytonutrients for many important health conditions.

Recently, in collaboration with leading biomedical researchers, Brightseed discovered a powerful phytonutrient with the potential to improve metabolic health. This phytonutrient helps restore proper function of a central metabolic regulator, including maintaining healthy lipid and sugar levels in the bloodstream and key organs such as the liver, whose function is impaired by a poor diet. Brightseed will start clinical studies on this phytonutrient before the end of this year.

The impact of this discovery could be wide reaching and have profound implications for more than two billion people worldwide at elevated risk of chronic metabolic diseases. Elevated levels of fat in the liver (which are directly caused by chronic overeating) afflict between 25% and 30% of the global population. These individuals with fatty liver disease are 57% more likely to die prematurely and much more like to develop other debilitating metabolic diseases, including diabetes. The discovery of this phytonutrient is a glimpse into the positive change deeper nutritional understanding could bring.

Just as 1918 pandemic led to creation of the modern medicine industry, we now are at a similar tipping point with nutrition, on the precipice of developing a much more complete understanding of how plants are connected to human health.

The first step is improving our foundational knowledge. In the U.S., there is a broad-based effort among leading academic, non-profit and industry stakeholders to create a National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) to accelerate nutrition science and uncover the role of human nutrition in improving public health and reducing disease. The NIN, similar to institutes that exist in other countries, can support and incentivize higher-quality, more rigorous nutrition research at the molecular level. This research will provide a stronger foundation for nutrition recommendations and guidelines, which is essential to developing consensus in both the scientific and consumer communities.

The second step is a mindset shift. Modern food and agricultural systems have largely focused on - and solved - the problem of food insufficiency. However, preventable diet-driven chronic diseases have emerged instead. We need to pivot from merely increasing the supply of food to leveraging technologies that can help improve the nutritional quality of what we consume.

"We need to pivot from merely increasing the supply of food to leveraging technologies that can help improve the nutritional quality of what we consume."

Healthier food options can be the center of a new proactive health industry and provide the food industry the opportunity to make important contributions to health and longevity, while benefiting economically from the capture of existing healthcare investment that currently is directed to treating chronic disease. Our current treatment-focused healthcare system is increasingly unaffordable and poorly suited to addressing the needs of individuals at heightened risk of developing chronic diseases that are largely preventable through lifestyle modifications, especially those related to diet.

No changes will be possible without forging new collaborations between public and private entities. Through cooperation we can develop more nutritious options and greatly influence policy change. Partnerships are also how well create a more nourished world and maximize our impact.

For the first time, we have the tools to explore the plant kingdom at the molecular level and answer questions such as How does what we eat really affect us? or How can food become medicine?

Technology is exponentially improving our understanding of how plants are connected to health. Together, we can goal shift the healthcare model from one squarely focused on treatment of disease to one that promotes health and natural resilience.

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How AI is uncovering the 'dark matter of nutrition' - World Economic Forum

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Living long and happy lives – Manila Bulletin


(Part 1)

Modesty aside, at age 81 I think I have stronger immunity against COVID-19 than many people I know in their fifties or sixties who have been smoking or drinking heavily, sleeping only six hours a day on the average, and indulging in unhealthy diets. I have good genes (my mother lived up to 102 years of age). I have tried to live a healthy life style at least for the last 20 years of my life. That is why I felt aggrieved when under the General Community Quarantine (GCQ), I could not move as freely as those below 60 years of age. I really think there has been no scientific foundation for the classification of people by age for purposes of the various stages of quarantine under the global pandemic. I was glad to learn that the World Health Organization (WHO) had declared that 65 years of age is still considered young. According to new research done, human age is now divided as follows: 0 to 17 years of age underage; 18 to 65 years of age youth/young individuals; 66 to 79 middle aged; 80 to 99 years old elderly/senior; and 100+ years of age long-lived senior.

In fact, medical research also has shown that the most dangerous health-related threats to life occur during the age range of 70 to 80. If one survives this age range, the probability of his living much longer is quite high. We are seeing this in Japan where more and more people, especially women, are living beyond 100 years.

I recently read a review of a book by an economist and a management expert, respectively, Andrew J Scott and Lynda Gatton. The former is professor of economics at London Business School and a consulting scholar at Stanford universitys Centre on Longevity, and the latter is a professor of management practice at the London Business School. They wrote The New Long Life: A Framework for Flourishing in a Changing World. Their previous work, The 100-Year Life provided very valuable insights into the phenomenon of increased longevity. The authors have exploded the myth of the so-called three-stage life. Although speaking of three stages of life made sense before more and more people are able to live up to their eighties and beyond, today these three stages hardly make sense.

When fewer people lived beyond their sixties, the first stage was traditionally spent growing up and getting educated. The second involved working in an occupation or profession, earning money and starting a family. The third, usually at the start of their sixties, was devoted to what then was called retirement. Today, the average life expectancy of Filipinos is 71.16 years (2019). The Filipino female lives on the average to 75.39 years as compared to the male life expectancy of 67.12 years. Comparative figures in more developed countries such as Japan and most Western European countries are beyond 80 years of age.

As Scott and Gatton wrote in their books, the three-stage life generally worked in the old days when life expectancy was shorter. It allowed many to support a family, buy a house, and look forward to a pension. Today, relatively fewer young people can afford to purchase a house. Many of the elderly, even in advanced countries like the United States, do not have adequate pensions. It is clear that the three-stage life has broken down.

Governments, realizing this change, are raising retirement age from 65 to 70. Unfortunately, the majority of employers are acting as though the three-stage life is still applicable to the present generations. In the Philippines, either by choice or necessity, complete retirement from work is the exception rather than the rule among those who officially retire at age either at 60 or 65. I am no exception. As long as they are healthy enough, people of my generation continue to be employed, many of them still receiving remuneration for their work as consultants, members of the boards of directors of different corporations, part-time professors or instructors, and a good number in voluntary work in charitable foundations or associations.

We continue to work because we have been advised by medical experts that stopping to be engaged in some work or another is the surest way to have both our body and our mind deteriorate rapidly. Keeping ourselves active in some form of work or another is necessary for bodily and mental health. But more importantly, we believe what St. John Paul II wrote in his encyclical Laborem Exercens (On Human Work): Work is a good thing for man a good thing for his humanity because through work, man not only transforms nature, adapting it to his own needs, but he also achieves fulfilment as a human being. In a sense, he becomes more a human being. The knowledge that by means of work man shares in the work of creation constitutes the most profound motive for understanding it.

The Saint of Ordinary Life St. Josemaria Escriva as St. John Paul II called him, had preached and written most eloquently about the value of work to human fulfilment and happiness. It was from him that I learned that no one ever retires from work. The spirituality of the Catholic institution Opus Dei that he founded is very much identified with the sanctification of ordinary work: that the ordinary Christian attains sanctity in the middle of the world primarily through work by sanctifying the work itself, sanctifying himself as he works, and sanctifying others through his work.

In one of his widely read books, Christ Is Passing By, he wrote: Work is part and parcel of mans life on earth. It involves effort, weariness, exhaustion: signs of the suffering and struggle which accompany human existence and which point to the reality of sin and the need for redemption But in itself work is not a penalty or a curse or a punishment: those who speak of it that way have not understood sacred Scripture properly.

It is time for us Christians to shout from the rooftops that work is a gift from God and that it makes no sense to classify men differently, according to their occupation, as if some jobs were nobler than others. Work, all work, bears witness to the dignity of man, to his dominion over creation. It is an opportunity to develop ones personality. It is a bond of union with others, the way to support ones family, a means of aiding in the improvement of the society in which we live and in the progress of all humanityFor a Christian these horizons extend and grow wider. For work is a participation in the creative work of God. When He created man and blessed him, He said: Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and conquer it. Be masters of the fish of the sea, the birds of Heaven, and all living animals on the earth.

These are some of the most eloquent words ever written about work which should convince anyone never to stop working no matter how old he may be. Retirement should not be in the vocabulary of anyone who is convinced that work is the best way to carry out Gods will for him on earth so as to be eternally happy with Him in Heaven. To be continued.


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Living long and happy lives - Manila Bulletin

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Covid-19 Impact on Genomic Biomarker Market Share, Trends and Growth 2020 to 2025 – Owned


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Top Key players cited in the report: Bio-Rad, Beckman Coulter, Myriad Genetics, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Roche, QIAGEN, Epigenomics, Almac, Pfizer, Human Longevity, ValiRx, Personalis, Eagle Genomics, Empire Genomics, Agilent, Illumina

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Covid-19 Impact on Genomic Biomarker Market Share, Trends and Growth 2020 to 2025 - Owned

Recommendation and review posted by Alexandra Lee Anderson

Trees Live for Thousands of Years, but Can They Cheat Death? Not Quite – Smithsonian Magazine

A lifetime ago in January 2020, researchers studying long-lived ginkgo trees found that 600-year-old trees were biologically much the same as 20-year-old whipper snappers. Ginkgoes apparent ability to sidestep the usual age-related decline prompted some to wonder whether they might be capable of living forever. Now, a new paper titled, Long-Lived Trees Are Not Immortal, aims to set the record straight, reports Cara Giaimo for the New York Times.

The century-spanning ginkgoes featured in the January study arent even the oldest known trees. In a stark, rocky landscape east of Californias Sierra Nevada Mountains lives Methuselah, a nearly 4,800-year-old bristlecone pine discovered in 1957 that holds the world title for oldest known living organism.

The paper on gingkoes, published in the journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that in terms of reproduction and photosynthesis the 600-year-old trees were hale and hearty. The super-old trees growth had slowed to a crawl, to be sure, but the cells showed no signs of senescence, which is not quite death but causes cells to stop dividing and eventually results in a loss of function.

But University of Barcelona plant biologist Sergi Munn-Bosch, author of the new commentary about the topic, argues the researchers simply may not have waited long enough to observe the trees eventual slide towards death, reports Brooks Hays for United Press International. At 600 years, the ginkgoes in the January study are only about halfway to their maximum lifespan, per Munn-Boschs article.

It is highly probable that physiological senescence occurs in all organisms, but that the limited human lifespan prevents us from properly gauging it in long-lived trees in nature, in real time, explains Munn-Bosch in the journal Trends in Plant Science.

The authors of the January paper didnt have multiple trees older than 1,000 years featured in the study, so they couldnt extrapolate their results to the known age limits of Ginkgo trees, explains Paleobotanist Richard Barclay, who leads the Fossil Atmospheres Project at Smithsonians National Museum of Natural History. It would be great to have been able to study individual Ginkgo plants that were over 1,000 years in age, but replicates at those ages are difficult to find, he says.

I think that [the authors of the original paper] might agree with Sergi in that they never suggested that Ginkgo trees were immortal, only that, by 667 years, individual Ginkgo trees still have no detectable levels of senescence, Barclay says. This is what good scientists do. They stay within the confines of what their data tells them.

Furthermore, while the cells inside ginkgo responsible for creating new growth were still happily dividing even in ancient trees, the layer in which those cells reside, called the cambium, gets thinner and thinner over time, Munn-Bosch tells the Times. The cambium is also responsible for producing tissues that aid in the transport of water from the trees roots to its shoots, Munn-Bosch writes in his paper. While this thinning wouldnt exactly be programmed senescence,the cambium could eventually become too thin to function and kill the tree.

Molecular biologist Richard Dixon of the University of North Texas, Denton, who co-authored the January paper documenting the mechanism behind the ginkgoes miraculous longevity, tells the Times, its probable that even ginkgo trees may die from natural causes.

Barclay hopes to see the methods of the original paper applied to trees that are past the millennial mark and to other species of long-living trees. He wonders, how universal is this approach to long life, and whether species such as Bristlecone Pine follow a similar approach, or a completely different one.

Striking a tone more akin to a philosopher than a plant researcher, Munn-Bosch suggests simply existing for such a long time represents a cumulative hardship.

"Time, in some respects, can be considered as a sort of stress," he says in a statement. Living is stressful, and this very slowly will bring you to death."

And while this idea is certainly true for individuals, Barclay notes that the genus Ginkgo appeared more than 250 million years ago, and shows up in the fossil record in a very recognizable form. Inferences about the way individual plants manage to deal with the stress of time may scale up to geological time, and paleontologists can lean on studies like these for guidelines to use when learning about how Ginkgo lasted through millenia without much visible change.

We often ponder why different species of plants have longer temporal spans, and plants like Ginkgo have survived through much tumult in the geological past, he says. Perhaps it was the strategies that allow Ginkgo to live for a long time as individuals that also allowed them to squeeze through the bottle necks that extinguished other species.

Rachael Lallensack contributed reporting to this article

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Trees Live for Thousands of Years, but Can They Cheat Death? Not Quite - Smithsonian Magazine

Recommendation and review posted by Alexandra Lee Anderson

LA Zoo Mourns the Loss of Beloved African Lion Pair – NBC Southern California

The Los Angeles Zoo announced Thursday the deaths of African lion pair Hubert and Kalisa.

The Zoo said in a press release that they made the difficult decision to euthanize the 21-year-old partners "due to their declining health and age-related illnesses that diminished their quality of life."

"Hubert and Kalisa lived far past the expected lifespan of African lions, and they inevitably began to suffer from age-related issues. Of course, we did not want them to suffer physically and wanted to do what was best for them," Beth Schaefer, the Zoo's Director of Animal Programs, said.

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"With very heavy hearts that also contain gratitude for having known them, animal care and veterinary health staff came to the consensus that humane euthanasia was in the best interest of their welfare as their quality of life had diminished."

Kalisa was born in 1998 and Hubert in 1999. They met at the Woodland Park Zoo and were moved to the LA Zoo 6 years ago. Hubert fathered 10 cubs throughout his life, and though he and Kalisa never had cubs together, the LA Zoo said in a news release the two were life partners and loyal companions.

"Kalisa and Hubert were often seen sleeping together and grooming one another," Schaefer explained, noting that visitors often commented on the obvious bond between the two lions.

"You cannot think of Hubert without thinking of his companion, Kalisa; theyve been an inseparable couple for years," Alisa Behar, the Zoo's Curator of Mammals added.

The average life expectancy for African lions that live in the wild is in the mid-teens, while it is about 17 years for those in Zoos. CEO & Zoo Director of the LA Zoo, Denise Verret noted that the longevity of Huberts and Kalisas lives is a testament to the expert care of the Zoos veterinary and animal care teams.

"Hubert and Kalisa are an iconic part of the LA Zoo experience, and our staff and guests have been touched by their loyal companionship," Verret said.

The African lion, which is native to the savannas, arid woodlands, and semi-desert regions from south of the Sahara Desert to South Africa, is categorized by the IUCN Red List as vulnerable due to human-wildlife conflict, prey depletion, the illegal trade of lion body parts for traditional medicine, trophy hunting, and disease.

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LA Zoo Mourns the Loss of Beloved African Lion Pair - NBC Southern California

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NeoGenomics Reports Revenue of $87 Million in the Second Quarter amid COVID-19 Pandemic – Yahoo Finance

Second-Quarter 2020 Results and Highlights:

Consolidated revenue decreased 14% to $87 million

Clinical Services revenue decreased 17% to $74 million

Pharma Services revenue increased 3% to $13 million

Pharma Services backlog increased 63% to $173 million

Financial position strengthened with $322 million net convertible note and equity offerings

Test menu expanded with suite of solid tumor liquid biopsy tests

Strategic collaboration and minority investment in Inivata established

High-capacity COVID-19 testing lab operationalized

FORT MYERS, FL / ACCESSWIRE / July 28, 2020 / NeoGenomics, Inc. (NASDAQ:NEO) (the "Company"), a leading provider of cancer-focused genetics testing services, today announced its second-quarter results for the period ended June 30, 2020.

"As expected, second quarter financial results were challenging due to the global COVID-19 crisis, which reduced both revenue and earnings," said Douglas M. VanOort, Chairman and CEO of NeoGenomics.

"Even in the midst of this pandemic, we made several strategic moves and invested in our business. We fortified our balance sheet with a successful offering of both common stock and convertible securities, we strategically invested in Inivata for access to liquid biopsy and minimal residual disease testing capabilities, we launched a suite of liquid biopsy tests, we moved forward with investments to further globalize our Pharma Services business, and we built and operationalized a high-capacity COVID-19 testing laboratory. We believe these investments will deliver both near-term and long-term growth, and that we exited the second quarter in a stronger competitive position for the future."

Second-Quarter Results

Consolidated revenue for the second quarter of 2020 was $87 million, a decrease of 14% over the same period in 2019. Clinical Services revenue decreased year-over-year by 17% to $74 million driven by a clinical test volume(1) decrease of 18%. Average revenue per clinical test ("revenue per test") remained stable at $351. Pharma Services revenue grew by 3% to $13 million compared to the second quarter of 2019, primarily due to the January 10, 2020 acquisition of the Oncology Division assets of Human Longevity, Inc. ("HLI - Oncology"). While disruptions in volume stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic reduced growth in both Divisions, there was steady improvement throughout the quarter.

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Gross profit was $28.0 million, a decline of 42.8%, compared to the second quarter of 2019. This reduction was the result of the combined effect of lower test volume due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and our decision to retain employees.

Operating expenses increased by $2 million, or 5%, compared to the second quarter of 2019, reflecting investments in informatics, growth initiatives and costs associated with the integration of HLI - Oncology.

Net loss for the quarter was $7 million compared to net income of $2 million for the second quarter of 2019.

Adjusted EBITDA(2) was negative $7 million for the quarter compared to positive $15 million in the second quarter of 2019. Adjusted Net (Loss) Income(2) was a loss of $4 million compared to income of $7 million in the second quarter of 2019.

Cash and cash equivalents, including restricted cash, was $331 million and days sales outstanding ("DSO") was 92 days at the end of the second quarter of 2020 due to the impact of COVID-19 and the distribution of revenue.

(1) Clinical tests exclude requisitions, tests, revenue and costs for Pharma Services and COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction ("PCR") tests.

(2) The Company has provided adjusted financial information that has not been prepared in accordance with GAAP, including Adjusted EBITDA, Adjusted Net (Loss) Income, and Adjusted Diluted EPS. Each of these measures is defined in the section of this report entitled "Use of Non-GAAP Financial Measures." See also the tables reconciling such measures to their closest GAAP equivalent.

Conference Call

The Company has scheduled a webcast and conference call to discuss their first quarter results on Tuesday, July 28, 2020 at 8:30 AM EDT. Interested investors should dial (844) 602-0380 (domestic) and (862) 298-0970 (international) at least five minutes prior to the call. A replay of the conference call will be available until 8:30 AM EDT on August 11, 2020, and can be accessed by dialing (877) 481-4010 (domestic) and (919) 882-2331 (international). The playback conference ID Number is 35578. The webcast may be accessed under the Investor Relations section of our website at An archive of the webcast will be available until 08:30 AM EDT on October 28, 2020.

About NeoGenomics, Inc.

NeoGenomics, Inc. specializes in cancer genetics testing and information services. The Company provides one of the most comprehensive oncology-focused testing menus in the world for physicians to help them diagnose and treat cancer. The Company's Pharma Services Division serves pharmaceutical clients in clinical trials and drug development.

Headquartered in Fort Myers, FL, NeoGenomics operates CAP accredited and CLIA certified laboratories in Fort Myers and Tampa, Florida; Aliso Viejo, Carlsbad, Fresno and San Diego, California; Houston, Texas; Atlanta, Georgia; Nashville, Tennessee; and CAP accredited laboratories in Rolle, Switzerland, and Singapore. NeoGenomics serves the needs of pathologists, oncologists, academic centers, hospital systems, pharmaceutical firms, integrated service delivery networks, and managed care organizations throughout the United States, and pharmaceutical firms in Europe and Asia. For additional information about NeoGenomics, visit

Forward Looking Statements

Certain information contained in this press release constitutes forward-looking statements for purposes of the safe harbor provisions of The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual future results to differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements as the result of the Company's ability to continue gaining new customers, respond to the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, offer new types of tests, integrate its acquisitions and otherwise implement its business plan, as well as additional factors discussed under the heading "Risk Factors" and elsewhere in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the SEC on February 28, 2020. As a result, this press release should be read in conjunction with the Company's periodic filings with the SEC. In addition, it is the Company's practice to make information about the Company available by posting copies of its Company Overview Presentation from time to time on the Investor Relations section of its website at

Forward-looking statements represent the Company's estimates only as of the date such statements are made (unless another date is indicated) and should not be relied upon as representing the Company's estimates as of any subsequent date. While the Company may elect to update forward-looking statements at some point in the future, it specifically disclaims any obligation to do so, even if its estimates change.

For further information, please contact:

NeoGenomics, Inc.

William BonelloDirector, Investor Relations(239) 690-4238 (w)(239) 284-4314 (m)


June 30, 2020 (Unaudited)

December 31, 2019


Cash and cash equivalents





Accounts receivable, net






Other current assets



Total current assets



Property and equipment (net of accumulated depreciation of $80,143 and $68,809 respectively)



Operating lease right-of-use assets



Intangible assets, net






Restricted cash, non-current



Prepaid lease asset



Investment in non-consolidated affiliate



Other assets









Accounts payable and other current liabilities





Short-term portion of financing obligations



Short-term portion of operating leases



Total current liabilities



Long-term portion of financing obligations


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NeoGenomics Reports Revenue of $87 Million in the Second Quarter amid COVID-19 Pandemic - Yahoo Finance

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Neurons are genetically programmed to have long lives – UC Riverside

When our neurons the principalcells of the brain die, so do we.

Most neurons are created during embryonic development and have no backup after birth.Researchers have generally believed that their survival is determined nearly extrinsically, or by outside forces, such as the tissues and cells that neurons supplywith nerve cells.

A research team led by Sika Zheng, a biomedical scientist at the University of California, Riverside, has challenged this notion and reports the continuous survival of neurons is also intrinsically programmed during development.

The study, published in the journal Neuron, identifies a mechanism the researchers say is triggered at neuron birth to intrinsically decrease a general form of cell death or apoptosis specifically in neurons. When this genetic regulation is stopped, continuous neuronal survival is disrupted and leads to the death of the animal.

An organisms survival, brain function, and fitness are dependent upon the survival of its neurons. In higher organisms, neurons control breathing, feeding, sensation, motion, memory, emotion, and cognition. They can die of many unnatural causes, such as neurodegenerative diseases, injury, infection, and trauma. Neurons are long-lived cells, but the genetic controls that enable their longevity are unknown.

Zhengs team now reports the central piece of the mechanism involved is a small piece of genetic sequence in Bak1, a pro-apoptotic gene whose activation leads to apoptosis. Bak1 expression is turned off when this small piece of genetic sequence, termed microexon, is spliced in the final Bak1 gene product. Exons are sequences that make up messenger RNA.

Apoptosis is a pathway that controls cell turnover and tissue homeostasis in all metazoans, explained Zheng, an associate professor of biomedical sciences. Most non-neural cells readily engage in apoptosis in response to intrinsic and extrinsic stress. But this cellular suicidal program needs to be reined in for neurons so that they live for many years. We now show how genetic attenuation of neuronal apoptosis takes place.

Zhengs team identified the Bak1 microexon through a large-scale analysis of expression data from human tissues, mouse tissues, human developing brains, mouse developing forebrains, and mouse developing midbrains. The team first compared neural tissues with non-neural tissues in both humans and mice to identify neural-specific exons. Then, they found cortical neurons reduce their sensitivity to apoptosis as early as neuron birth. They also found apoptosis is gradually reduced during neuronal development before neurons make connections or innervate other cells, suggesting factors other than extrinsic signals can play a role.

We show neurons transform how they regulate cell death during development, Zheng said. This is to ensure neuronal longevity, which is needed to maintain the integrity of neural circuits for brain functions.

Next, Zhengs team will study whether the identified mechanism is activated in neurodegenerative diseases and injury that cause neuronal cell death.

Zheng was joined in the research by Lin Lin and Min Zhang at UCR; Peter Stoilov at West Virginia University; and Liang Chen at the University of Southern California.

This work was supported by National Institutes of Health grants MH116220, NS104041, GM137428, and EY025536.

The research paper is titled Developmental attenuation of neuronal apoptosis by neural specific splicing of Bak1 microexon.

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Neurons are genetically programmed to have long lives - UC Riverside

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Impact of COVID-19 on Precision Medicine Software Market to Significant Growth, In-depth Analysis, Future Trends and Forecast 2026 – WOLE TV

Precision medicine is an emerging medical approach undertaken by medical practitioners for the treatment of a patient, followed with medical decisions, treatments, practices, or products being tailored to the individual patient. Appropriate or optimal therapies may be employed based on variability in the patients genetic profile, environment, and lifestyle for each person.

According to a new report published by Allied Market Research, titled, Precision Medicine Software Marketby Delivery Mode (On-premise and Cloud-based), Application (Oncology, Pharmacogenomics, Rare Diseases, and Others), and End User (Healthcare Providers, Research Centers & Government Institutes, and Pharmaceutical & Biotechnology Companies): Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2019-2026

The diagnostic testing can be based on the context of an individuals genetic profile or other molecular or cellular analysis. The emergence of precision medicine has addressed the dire need for better diagnostic and analytical tools. Precision medicine software combines the clinical and molecular data to provide with valuable insights to determine the ideal therapeutic course of treatment.

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The global market size of Precision Medicine Software Market is $XX million in 2018 with XX CAGR, and it is expected to reach $XX million by the end of 2026 with a CAGR of XX% from 2019 to 2026.

Global Precision Medicine Software Market Report provides an overview of the market based on key parameters such as market size, sales, sales analysis and key drivers. The market size of the market is expected to grow on a large scale during the forecast period (2019-2026). This report covers the impact of the latest COVID-19 on the market. The coronavirus epidemic (COVID-19) has affected all aspects of life around the world. This has changed some of the market situation. The main purpose of the research report is to provide users with a broad view of the market. Initial and future assessments of rapidly changing market scenarios and their impact are covered in the report.

The precision medicine software market is segmented on the basis of delivery mode, end user, application, and region.

Based on delivery mode, the precision medicine software market is classified into on-premise and cloud-based systems.

Depending on end-user, it is categorized into healthcare providers, research centers & government institutes, and pharmaceutical & biotechnology companies.

By application, it is segregated into oncology, pharmacogenomics, rare diseases, and others.

Region wise, it is analyzed across North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and LAMEA.

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The Major Key Players Are:

Synapse, Inc., Allscripts Healthcare Solutions, Inc. (2bPrecise LLC), Roche Holdings, Inc. (Foundation Medicine, Inc.), Fabric Genomics, Inc., Sophia Genetics SA, PierianDx, Inc., Qiagen N.V. (N-of-One, Inc.), Human Longevity, Inc., Roper Technologies, Inc. (Sunquest Information Systems, Inc.), Gene42, Inc. Other players in the value chain include Translational Software, Inc., LifeOmic Health, LLC, NantHealth, Inc., Tempus Labs, Inc., Flatiron Health, Inc., IBM Watson Group, and Koninklijke Philips N.V.


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Impact of COVID-19 on Precision Medicine Software Market to Significant Growth, In-depth Analysis, Future Trends and Forecast 2026 - WOLE TV

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Study Links Diets High In Plant Protein To Lower Risk Of Death From All Causes Incl. Heart Disease – Green Queen Media

Researchers have found that diets high in protein, particularly plant protein, is associated with a lower risk of death from all causes. The study authors say that these findings should support recommendations to increase intake of plant proteins in the general population to improve public health.

Published in the peer-reviewed British Medical Journal on July 22, the new study finds that high intake of protein from plants such as legumes, whole grains and nuts is linked to lower risk of developing a number of diseases, including diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Meanwhile, regularly consuming red meat and other animal proteins is associated with several health problems and higher mortality rate from all causes.

Researchers from the Tehran University of Medical Sciences measured the potential dose-response relationship between consumption of total, animal and plant protein and the risk of death from all causes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. They analysed the results of 32 studies with data on risk predictions for mortality rates in adults aged 19 and older.

These findings have important public health implications as intake of plant protein can be increased relatively easily by replacing animal protein and could have a large effect on longevity.

Mathematical models were then applied to the data to compare the effects of high and low intake of the categories of protein on mortality. In a follow-up period of over 30 years, over 113,000 deaths were recorded among the more than 715,000 participants involved.

Intake of plant proteins were associated with 8% lower risk of mortality from all causes, and a 12% lower risk of death from heart disease. The results also indicated that an additional 3% of energy derived from plant proteins daily can lower the risk of death from all causes by 5%.

The scientists say that some of the main reasons behind the trend is because plant proteins can positively affect blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels, which can in turn lower the risk of developing life-threatening diseases such as stroke.

These findings have important public health implications as intake of plant protein can be increased relatively easily by replacing animal protein and could have a large effect on longevity, said the authors of the study, adding that dietary guidelines should promote greater consumption of plant proteins.

Another study, recently published in JAMA Internal Medicine, supports the findings of this new research. Researchers from the National Cancer Institute in the U.S. found an inverse association between higher consumption of plant-based foods and heart disease mortality rates. The most prominent inverse associations were recorded in the replacement of eggs and red meat with plant proteins.

In addition to supporting human health, plant-based proteins are also more environmentally-friendly. Last year, an Oxford University study found that healthy plant-based foods were almost always associated with a smaller carbon footprint.

Lead image courtesy of iStock.

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Study Links Diets High In Plant Protein To Lower Risk Of Death From All Causes Incl. Heart Disease - Green Queen Media

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How To Reinvest in Communities When Reducing the Scope of Policing – Center For American Progress

In June 2020, amid widespread protests against systemic police brutality and misconduct against Black Americans, elected officials and the public began to seriously reconsider the role of law enforcement in U.S. society. For years, grassroots campaigns and local advocates have called for an approach to public safety that does not rely solelyor even primarilyon the police. Now, the push from activists to shrink the role of policing and invest in social services and community-based strategies is gaining national attention.

Reducing the role of policing and the criminal justice system as a whole is not a radical concept and is based on the widely acknowledged idea that the justice system has taken on an outsize role in society. For too long, American communities have allowedand in many ways mandatedthat the criminal justice system serve as the de facto response to a broad swath of social issues, from behavioral health crises to substance misuse to school discipline. Police officers are expected to address situations that they are neither trained nor equipped to handle, which can significantly exacerbate harm for civilians. In establishing a commission on law enforcement in January 2020, even Attorney General William Barr acknowledged this point, saying, [O]ur officers must confront a wave of social problems, such as homelessness, drug addiction, and mental illness problems that demand solutions beyond their authority and expertise.

The movement to shrink the role of policing and shift public safety responsibilities to other government and community institutions has similarities to a multistate initiative to divest from prisons that has attracted significant bipartisan support. Over the past decade, 35 states have participated in the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) and signed up to reduce correctional populations and budgets and reinvest in other public safety solutions. JRI has earned praise from leaders across the ideological spectrum. Among JRIs champions are Democratic Govs. Jay Inslee of Washington and Kate Brown of Oregon, Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, and former Republican Govs. Nathan Deal of Georgia and Rick Perry of Texas.

The concept behind justice reinvestment could well be characterized as a defund prisons effort, as the model was originally rooted in the idea that the criminal justice system is too big and too costly and that communities can achieve safety by shifting resources toward other less punitive efforts. The JRI experience provides important lessons for communities seeking to redirect public safety dollars to public health and community-based models. Specifically, while JRI enabled some states to shift funding into community-building resources, a large percentage of savings were ultimately reinvested back into the criminal justice system. City policymakers must establish a sustainable infrastructure in order to implement and be held accountable for their commitments to invest in communities; otherwise, amorphous promises to fund community-based solutions can turn into funding for a different part of the criminal justice system or can easily be discarded altogether. This issue brief outlines three core components of the infrastructure that cities should establish for reinvesting in communities: a dedicated civilian office of public safety within the jurisdictions government structure; a regularized and in-depth process through which community leaders and representatives can participate in developing the jurisdictions public safety agenda and priorities; and a budgetary mechanism that gives the community direct control over the redirected investments.

The concept of justice reinvestment was first introduced in 2003 by Susan Tucker and Eric Cardora, justice system experts who were at the time affiliated with the Open Society Foundation. Although justice reinvestment was initially considered a radical proposal, the idea quickly took off. Several states piloted the justice reinvestment model into the mid-2000s, yielding significant reductions in correctional costs. Among the most notable early pilots was the Texas reinvestment initiative, which has been credited with saving more than $1.5 billion in prison construction costs and $340 million in annual operating expenditures since its enactment in 2007. Justice reinvestment in Texas earned support from leaders on both sides of the aisle, including then-Gov. Perry. [I]n 2007, with broad support from Republicans and Democrats alike, Texas fundamentally changed its course on criminal justice, he later said of the reforms, which are sometimes referred to simply as the Texas model. Taxpayers have saved billions because of our new approach to criminal justice, and theyre safer in their homes and on the streets.

By 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) had taken note of the models impact. That year, the DOJ teamed up with the Pew Charitable Trusts to launch JRI, a public-private partnership aimed at helping state governments implement reinvestment models. With support from the DOJ, Pew Charitable Trusts, and other JRI partners, state leaders assemble a bipartisan intergovernmental working group to analyze the drivers of incarceration and correctional spending within their jurisdictions. Based on these findings, state working groups identify and implement reform strategies aimed at reducing justice system populations and costs, with the goal of reinvesting savings into evidence-informed approaches to public safety. Through JRI, states have worked to revise mandatory minimums and other sentencing guidelines, increase parole eligibility and streamline parole processes, expand good-time and earned credits, invest in substance use treatment and problem-solving courts, and undertake other reforms aimed at reducing correctional costs and populations.

In its earliest iterations, the justice reinvestment model was envisioned as a way to shift dollars away from incarceration and into low-income communities and communities of color, the latter of which have long been unfairly targeted by the criminal justice system. Racial disparities exist at every stage in the justice system. Black Americans in particular have experienced disproportionately high rates of arrest and pretrial detention, lengthier prison sentences, and significant barriers to housing and employment upon release from incarceration. In many communities of color, overcriminalization has been paired with government disinvestment in other public institutions and community-building resources. Thus, the goal of justice reinvestment according to Tucker and Cardora was to redirect a portion of correctional spending toward rebuilding the human resources and physical infrastructurethe schools, healthcare facilities, parks, and public spacesof neighborhoods devastated by high levels of incarceration. As the model evolved, however, its emphasis on community-building dissipated. In practice, states have reinvested a large percentage of the savings realized through JRI back into their criminal justice systems. JRI states reinvested $557 million between 2010 to 2017, more than one-quarter of which went toward community supervision agencies for purposes such as hiring new probation and parole officers and expanding electronic monitoring. Correctional institutions and law enforcement agencies received a combined $123 million during this time period, most of which was used to support in-prison programming. In some jurisdictions, the savings intended for reinvestment were simply absorbed into the states general fund.

Still, some jurisdictions continue to reinvest a portion of JRI funds into community-building resources. The state of Oregon, for instance, uses JRI to fund a grant program for county-level safety initiatives, including efforts to address social service needs. Between 2017 and 2019, Oregon awarded more than $6 million to support services related to housing, education, and employment; mentoring; parental skills building; and reentry. Arkansas has used JRI to divert people with behavioral health needs away from jails and into treatment. In a 2018 op-ed for Fox News, Gov. Hutchinson wrote, The Justice Reinvestment approach allowed Arkansas to become the first state in the country to create a network of crisis stabilization units. These units provide an alternative to incarceration for individuals in crisis, for whom arrest isnt always the best option, according to Gov. Hutchinson. Now officers have a place to take someone where people are trained to recognize and treat behavioral-health issues.

Communities considering how to reimagine their public safety resources should take note of JRIs successes and shortcomings. In part, JRIs failure to reinvest in impacted communities is a symptom of its failure to meaningfully engage these communities in the first place. Although JRI has built strong coalitions of state government officials, the initiative has largely neglected to carve out a role for local leaders and members of communities most affected by the justice system. Absent community engagement, JRIs reinvestment strategy has come to reflect the priorities of state-level policymakers rather than the needs of residents. What started as an initiative to move resources into low-income communities of color has resulted instead in the reinvestment of resources into police departments, wrote Zachary Norris, executive director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, in an article on JRIs shortcomings.

Sustainability is also a concern for JRI. Because policy reforms will not realize their full potential overnight, JRI requires a long-term commitment from stakeholders. According to an evaluation conducted by the Urban Institute, impatience over lack of immediate results could seriously jeopardize a states JRI effort. In other cases, state-level political turnover has threatened to derail JRI, particularly in states with term-limited legislatures. When JRIs legislative champions leave office, the future of the initiative may be put at risk. Beyond political factors, the sustainability of JRI also depends on funding. States must provide dedicated resources to implement justice system reforms, without which they will not successfully shrink correctional populations and costs.

To avoid these pitfalls, local governments should establish an infrastructure to partner with impacted communities and sustainably reshape cities public safety agendas. Such an infrastructure should include the following three components: a dedicated civilian office within the jurisdictions government; a regularized and in-depth process through which community leaders and representatives can participate in developing the jurisdictions public safety agenda and priorities; and a budgetary mechanism that gives the community direct control over the redirected investments.

City governments can help ensure that community-driven safety agendas receive the long-term political and financial support necessary to succeed by embedding nonpunitive safety solutions into the fabric of local government. Importantly, local leaders should avoid housing community-driven interventions within city agencies that have engendered distrust among residents or within public institutions that are not equipped to take on these roles. Instead, they should consider creating a new civilian-led office within the city government that is specifically designed to administer community-driven public safety priorities.

Richmond, California, provides a powerful example of the city governments role in advancing sustainable and effective community safety strategies. In 2007, Richmond launched the nations first Office of Neighborhood Safety (ONS), a civilian office focused on preventing violence and strengthening community well-being and safety. When the office was established, the city of Richmonds homicide rate was eight times higher than the national average. Ten years later, in 2017, the homicide rate had dropped by 80 percent. Unlike a police department or other traditional public safety agencies, an ONS is not part of the criminal justice system. Instead, it is intentionally housed within city government and staffed by civilians, many of whom are members of the communities most affected by the criminal justice system. This structure allows the ONS and its staff to build and maintain trust with residents who may distrust law enforcement or other justice system practitioners. Establishing a permanent office devoted to community-safety strategies can also protect against political turnover or lapses in funding, which can undermine the longevity of interventions.

As localities begin to rethink the role of policing, elected officials should empower residents to reshape the citys approach to public safety. Local elected leaders should look beyond traditional community engagement approaches, which often consist of a one-off community meeting or a survey rather than a long-term strategy for partnering with residents. These approaches often fail to capture the perspectives of residents most affected by the justice system, including low-income communities and communities of color. Survey data show that Americans who have been impacted by the justice system are significantly less likely to trust government, which in turn can deter civic participation and engagement with government officials. I feel like theyre not interested in what I have to say, explained one survey respondent from Charlotte, North Carolina. Others echoed this sentiment, expressing the belief that public officials were not answerable to their concerns.

Instead, cities seeking to create a community-driven safety agenda should create a permanent pathway for residents to both participate in policymaking and hold elected officials accountable for outcomes. One model for strengthening and systematizing the communitys role in public safety policymaking is NeighborhoodStat, an initiative operated by the New York City Mayors Office of Neighborhood Safety. NeighborhoodStat is a joint problem-solving process that empowers residents of high-crime public housing developments to partner with city agencies to craft a public safety agenda that is grounded in the communitys needs. The model was first implemented in 2016 as part of the Mayors Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety (MAP), a multiagency initiative to channel community-building resources into the 15 housing developments that accounted for a disproportionate amount of violent crime. As part of the NeighborhoodStat process, teams of resident leaders work with their neighbors to develop a set of key priorities for strengthening safety in their housing development; these priorities can range from expanding youth employment opportunities to cleaning up a local playground to installing outdoor lighting on sidewalks. Residents then meet directly with leadership from dozens of city agencies and community-based service providers to share their communitys safety priorities and delve into solutions that are responsive to their needs. During NeighborhoodStat meetings, city agencies make concrete commitments to support community-driven solutions and are held accountable for delivering on these promises in a timely fashion. Today, NeighborhoodStat is known as the operational centerpiece of MAP, which has contributed to meaningful crime reductions in public housing developments. According to recent evaluation data, serious felonies have dropped by 7.5 percent in participating housing developments, compared with only 3.8 percent in other developments.

Another key element for creating a community-driven safety agenda is ensuring that residents have an active role in guiding the citys budget priorities. Budgets are often referred to as moral documents that offer a window into a jurisdictions values and priorities. Unfortunately, city budgets tend to reflect the values and priorities of elected officials and well-organized interest groups rather than those of residents and community-based organizations. The mismatch between a citys budget and the needs of its residents can stem from a lack of community engagement in the budgeting process. Such was the case in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where a coalition of local advocates known as the African-American Roundtable organized the LiberateMKE campaign for budget justice in 2019. When it came to Milwaukees budgeting process, There was no one in our city government that was really working to engage anyone, let alone grassroots organizations, explained MarkasaTucker, director of the African-American Roundtable and a driving force behind the launch of LiberateMKE. The campaign began with the realization that Milwaukees budget was unjust and inequitable in regards to residents needs, Tucker explained. The residents in the heart of Milwaukee were not a part of the budget.

LiberateMKEs fight for budget justice began during the summer of 2019, when the campaign askedpeopleacross Milwaukee what they wanted to see within their citys budget. The 1,100 survey responses revealed that residents favoredinvestmentsin community-based violence prevention efforts, sustainable jobs for young people, and affordable quality housing, rather than increased investments in policing. Campaign organizers hosted workshopsforresidentsto learn how to navigatethecitybudget process, equipping them with the tools to advocatefor investments that better reflected their needs.When it came time for the citys public budget hearings in October 2019, a record number of residents turned out to voice their opinions. Whereas resident attendance at budget hearings had traditionally been sparse, residents showed up in droves and gave more than 3 1/2 hours of testimony. This has probably been the most people that we have had show up to a community hearing on the budget, Milwaukee Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton commented during the hearing. According to Tucker, residents felt empowered enough to come and face the Common Council and the mayor to talk about what they wanted. The campaign ultimately convinced the Common Council to divert $900,000 from the police budget into community-driven priorities, including funding for emergency housing and summer youth employment programming. The savings were realized in part through the elimination of 60 full-time positions upon officers retirement, as well as a $300,000 reduction in the Milwaukee Police Departments vehicle replacement budget.

As the movement to rethink policing gains momentum, more and more cities are exploring ways to redirect resources away from traditional public safety approaches and reinvest in community-based safety. Shrinking the footprint of policing is a promising first step, but it must be paired with a concerted effort to build a city government that is responsive to community safety needs. Cities now have the opportunity to learn lessons from the shortcomings of the bipartisan Justice Reinvestment Initiative that has not realized its potential for reinvestment in impacted communities. To avoid the pitfalls of JRI, cities should reshape government infrastructure to foster meaningful partnerships with residents, make long-term investments in their priorities, and sustain their visions for community safety.

Ed Chung is the vice president for Criminal Justice Reform at the Center for American Progress. Betsy Pearl is an associate director for Criminal Justice Reform at the Center.

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How To Reinvest in Communities When Reducing the Scope of Policing - Center For American Progress

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