News Article | May 9, 2017
City Floor Supply (CFS), the nation’s leading hardwood flooring distributor, will offer complimentary training on the Rubio Monocot Designer Oil System on May 25th at their North American Headquarters in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. Attendees will receive samples and a variety of other free products. Click here to register. Allan Nery from Rubio Monocoat will be onsite to educate contractors on a wide range of Rubio Monocoat products and how to apply them. Hardwood floor contractors will have an opportunity to work directly with a variety of Rubio Monocoat products including Pre-Color Easy, Oil Plus 2C, and Rubio Monocoat’s newest offering– LED Oil curing oils. Contractors will also learn how achieve unique and personalized effects with Rubio’s reactive stains. Care and maintenance techniques will also be covered. According to Mike Glavin, Founder, “I can’t begin to tell you the demand for this product line and the look that it provides. I encourage all hardwood floor contractors to familiarize themselves with this innovative product, as I‘m confident it will help them increase sales and satisfy more customers!” For more information, or to register for the Rubio Monocoat training at CFS on May 25th from 9:00 to 4:00pm, click here or call 800-737-1786. About City Floor Supply (CFS) City Floor Supply (CFS) is a leading provider of unfinished and prefinished hardwood flooring and accessories including stains, finishes, abrasives, flooring tools, and sanding equipment. Family owned and operated, CFS has been serving hardwood flooring contractors for more than 25 years and provides the expertise needed to install and maintain hardwood floors. The company offers all the top name manufactures including, Aacer, Century, Norton, Lagler, 3M, Clarke, Bona, Basic, Primatech, Bostick, and more. The company’s in-house resources include a top-ranked Machine Repair Center, Rental Center, In-house Chemist, and Gym Floor and Wood Floor Consultants. CFS educates customers via personalized service, online training materials, videos, and free events. Visit the CFS showroom in King of Prussia, PA or shop online at http://www.cityfloorsupply.com. To visit CFS on Facebook, click HERE, or you can follow the company on Twitter at @CityFloorSupply. For product information and training videos, visit the company’s YouTube channel or Blog. Visit the company’s recently launched subsidiary at http://www.wideplankfloorsupply.com. For media inquiries, contact Caran Baxter at caran.baxter(at)cityfloorsupply(dot)com or call 610-940-5757. About Rubio Monocoat Rubio Monocoat is a penetrating oil system that protects and colors wood in a single coat, and cures within 48 hours. Monocoat all-natural oil wood floor finishes are plant-based, VOC-free and completely non-toxic. Available in clear finish and more than 40 color finishes, all apply evenly in a single coating and offer extraordinary durability. All Monocoat finishes are easily maintained, and provide a subtle lustre that reveals and complements, rather than covers, the natural grain and patina of the wood.
News Article | May 9, 2017
"This is truly a historic moment for our company but especially for the entire aviation industry," says Nico Nijenhuis, CEO of Clear Flight Solutions. "We currently operate our Robirds in a variety of places, but taking the step towards full integration within daily operations at an airport is huge. For years, there has been a lot of interest from airports. To now officially start integrating our operations at a major Canadian airport is absolutely fantastic." As part of the integrated suite of services, CFS AERIUM will be providing UAS mapping and inspections services to support EIA's maintenance programs and future economic development efforts. These operations will continue from the flight missions that have been diligently conducted prior to this release. The missions were completed to satisfy Safety and Hazard Identification Risk Assessments requirements in addition to demonstrating competency. UAS missions have been conducted under tight supervision within 400m of active runways. CFS AERIUM will continue working towards full integration into airside operations in a professional, safe, and effective manner. "The Robird was the missing link in our integrated service model," says Jordan Cicoria of AERIUM. "Our relationship with Clear Flight Solutions has created an opportunity to have a positive ecologically-friendly impact on local industries at and surrounding the airport. In a world so focused on innovation Edmonton International Airport is an industry front runner and we are proud to have a partnership with Clear Flight Solutions that allows us to actually translate innovation into value," says Tim Bibby of AERIUM. Edmonton International Airport is Canada's fifth-busiest airport by passenger traffic and the largest major Canadian airport by land area. It is a self-funded, not-for-profit corporation whose mandate is to drive economic prosperity for the Edmonton Metro Region. Historically, EIA has been an early-adopter of promising technologies that can add economic value. It has always taken great care to ensure that technology is implemented strategically and safely. "EIA is excited to trial this new technology. We will ensure that all of the airports regulatory requirements are met as part of our Safety Management System, including risk assessments etc. to ensure that the testing is completed in a safe manner," says Steve Rumley, VP of Infrastructure at EIA. EIA also houses the Alberta Aerospace and Technology Center ("AATC"). Since 2015, the AATC has been focused on the development and attraction of Aerospace and Technology companies to Alberta. In 2016, the AATC joined up with AERIUM to focus on the growth and development of UAV technologies in Alberta. "The partnership between AERIUM Analytics and Clear Flight Solutions is exactly the types of companies and solutions we look to foster under the Alberta Aerospace and Technology Center. We look forward to supporting and promoting this incredible integration of UAS services into airport operations around North America." said Myron Keehn, VP of Commercial Development at EIA. Clear Flight Solutions is a Dutch company combining expert knowledge of unmanned aerial vehicles with extensive expertise in the ecological domain. Whether the situation requires a robotic bird of prey or a stable multicopter, the Company provides a working solution. With the Robirds, flying on unique patented flapping wing technology, the Company offers unmatched effectiveness in the field of bird control. Clear Flight Solutions also offers unique platforms for wildlife observation and protection, safety and surveillance, and surveying and mapping. After winning the UVS International Innovation Award in 2011, the Company was founded in 2012 as a spin-off of the University of Twente. Clear Flight Solutions has obtained a $1.7 million investment from the Cottonwood Euro Technology Fund early 2015. The Company was elected Startup of the Year in the Twente region in 2015 and has recently been awarded with the euRobotics Technology Transfer Award, the ASME Young Technology Award, as well as the first ever EU Drone Award for best drone-based solution. For further information about our services please visit http://www.clearflightsolutions.com AERIUM Analytics (AERIUM) is a Canadian 'UAV-As-A-Service' provider with a strong focus on data. AERIUM's value lies in its ability to build an integrated service model offering UAV flight services, data processing, and enhanced data visualization. This model creates an alignment with clients and builds value from exploring UAV technology. As the world embraces UAV technology, AERIUM will be at the forefront of this next technological wave. Our mission is to inspire innovation, transform data, and realize opportunity in the world around us. For further information about our services please visit http://www.aeriumanalytics.com EIA offers non-stop connections to 60 destinations across Canada, the US, Mexico, the Caribbean and Europe. EIA is a major economic driver, with an economic output of over $2.2 billion, supporting over 12,600 jobs. For further information about Edminton International Airport please visit http://www.flyeia.com The AATC is a joint venture founded by Canadian Helicopters (an HNZ company), Canadian North, Edmonton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC), the Government of Alberta and EIA. As part of AATC, Canadian North operates a 737 training simulator in the airport's Cargo Village, HNZ Topflight operates a helicopter training simulator in the main terminal building and the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) will begin construction of a new educational facility in the north part of EIA. The official contract signing will take place during AUVSI Xponential in Dallas, Texas. There will be an opportunity for the press to ask questions during the accompanying press conference. This will take place Tuesday May 9th in the Drone Stars Club in Dallas, Texas. The press conference will start at 12.00, noon, local Dallas time (UTC -5). Access to the Drone Stars Club is limited to people registered as press to AUVSI Xponential and persons individually invited to the Drone Stars Club. An invitation can be obtained by registering through sending an e-mail to email@example.com. More details can be found here: http://xponential.vporoom.com/AERIUMAnalytics-ClearFlightSolutions The address of the Drone Stars Club is: To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/robird-and-integrated-drone-solutions-deployed-at-major-international-airport-300453338.html
News Article | May 11, 2017
Friday 12th May 2017 is ME / CFS awareness day. My name is Andrew Smith. As a specialist in ME. CFS. Fibromyalgia Recovery, I take the guess work out of your return to health.
News Article | May 9, 2017
CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Wind Point Partners announced today that St. George Logistics (“STG”) has acquired the Extra Express (“Extra”) division of Dicom Transportation Group (“Dicom”). The acquisition allows STG to complement its full array of drayage, warehousing, container freight station (“CFS”), and intermodal transportation capabilities with comprehensive solutions for last mile delivery. STG is North America’s largest provider of outsourced CFS services and a leading provider of value-added warehousing and distribution services. Dicom is one of the largest providers of regional, expedited ground transportation services in North America. Both companies are majority-owned by Wind Point. Founded in 1982, the Extra Express division of Dicom provides comprehensive warehousing and related delivery services to blue-chip accounts throughout California. Extra operates four warehouse facilities and maintains access to a network of more than 300 delivery vehicles. STG plans to leverage Extra’s capabilities to introduce local last mile delivery services across its network, which includes 32 facilities totaling over five million square feet of space. STG will launch last mile delivery services in California in May 2017 and plans to establish last mile services at other port and inland facilities later this year. Wind Point acquired STG in July 2016 in partnership with logistics executives Chris Jamroz and Hessel Verhage. Extra is STG’s fourth add-on acquisition since Wind Point established the platform ten months ago. “The last mile delivery segment is a critical component of the import supply chain and our customers spend over $100 million annually on third party transportation providers who visit our facilities, pick up products, and make individual deliveries to the final recipient,” said Jamroz. “The acquisition of Extra will allow us to relieve our customers of a substantial operational burden by offering a closed-loop solution that is faster, cheaper, and more technologically integrated with our other services.” Konrad Salaber, Principal with Wind Point, commented, “This is an exciting transaction for both STG and Dicom. STG will add last mile as a critical component to its full line of import/export services, which was identified as a core strategic priority at the time of our acquisition of STG. Dicom, meanwhile, has the opportunity to focus its resources on its core footprint, which has emerged as one of the largest regional ground transportation networks in North America.” Wind Point acquired Dicom in February 2014 when the company operated exclusively in the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario. Through a series of seven acquisitions and a robust organic growth strategy, Dicom expanded its footprint in Eastern Canada and extended its network into the Eastern and Midwestern United States. Dicom now operates one of North America’s largest regional ground transportation networks and generates ~50% of its sales in the eastern half of Canada, ~45% of its sales in the eastern half of the U.S., and ~5% of its sales in California. Scott Dobak, CEO of Dicom, stated, “Extra is an exceptional business with an impressive track record of growth. However, given Dicom’s success in establishing one of the continent’s leading regional ground networks in the eastern half of North America, Extra’s operations in California have become non-core to our strategy. We are thrilled that the Extra management team will have the opportunity to fulfill its growth ambitions as part of the STG platform.” Raymond James served as the exclusive financial advisor to STG. Barclays served as the exclusive financial advisor to Dicom. Antares Capital, LStar Capital, and NewStar Financial provided financing for the transaction. Wind Point Partners is a private equity investment firm that has raised over $3 billion in commitments since 1984. Wind Point focuses on partnering with top caliber management teams to acquire middle market businesses where it can establish a clear path to value creation. Additional information about Wind Point is available at www.windpointpartners.com. St. George Logistics offers a wide range of value-added logistics services including ocean and air CFS, contract warehousing, distribution, e-commerce fulfillment and transportation services. St. George operates the largest network of independent CFS facilities in North America with very close proximity to all major ports and metropolitan areas for ocean or air cargo. St. George is also a leading provider of a wide range of additional logistics services including distribution, warehousing and reliable transportation within the U.S. Additional information about St. George is available at www.stgusa.com. Dicom is an expedited transportation and logistics company headquartered in Montreal with facilities throughout the United States and Canada. Dicom provides overnight transportation, same-day delivery, final mile distribution, and transportation management services for parcel, less-than-truckload and full truckload shipments. Dicom operates one of the largest regional ground transportation systems in North America, managing a network of approximately 2,000 delivery vehicles and 55 facilities. Additional information about Dicom is available at www.dicom.com.
News Article | May 4, 2017
The Committee on World Food Security, the world's foremost inclusive intergovernmental and multi-stakeholder platform for food security and nutrition, opened its 41st session (CFS 41). CFS participants highlighted the importance of the Voluntary Guidelines on Small-Scale Fisheries adopted earlier this year by the FAO Committee on Fisheries and will look at the findings of a scientific report by the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition. This report stresses, among others, the importance of international partnerships and initiatives on oceans and fish to better link fish production growth, sustainability and food security and nutrition.
News Article | April 26, 2017
Abnormal levels of specific gut bacteria are related to chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis, or ME/CFS, in patients with and without concurrent irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, scientists have discovered.
News Article | May 4, 2017
*Adjusted for FX and the Community Financial Services (CFS) divestiture NAPLES, Fla., May 04, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- ACI Worldwide (NASDAQ:ACIW), a leading global provider of real-time electronic payment and banking solutions, today announced financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2017. Results and comparisons discussed in the Q1 Financial Summary section of this Press Release exclude the impact of the Community Financial Services (CFS) divestiture in Q1 2016, as well as foreign currency fluctuations. “We had a solid start to 2017. We signed several important contracts in the quarter, including an Immediate Payments deal with Jack Henry. Q1 revenue grew 10% and Adjusted EBITDA increased 68% year over year. Our cash flow also increased significantly in the quarter,” commented Phil Heasley, President and CEO, ACI Worldwide. “Following a successful investor day in March as well as several customer-focused events, we remain excited about the growth opportunities for Universal Payments in the electronic payments landscape.” New bookings were $89 million, which was down compared to Q1 2016 due to timing. Term extension bookings were $96 million, up 34% from last year’s quarter. Our 12-month backlog declined $6 million to $814 million and our 60-month backlog declined $23 million to $4.0 billion during the quarter. Both numbers were impacted by the timing of new bookings compared to the prior year quarter. Revenue in Q1 was $231 million, up 10% from the same quarter last year. Monthly recurring revenue was $173 million, or 75% of total revenue. Adjusted EBITDA in Q1 grew $17 million to $42 million, an increase of 68%, from $25 million in Q1 2016. After adjusting for pass through interchange revenues of $39 million and $34 million in Q1 2017 and Q1 2016, respectively, net adjusted EBITDA margin in Q1 was 22% in 2017 versus 14% in Q1 of 2016. ACI ended Q1 2017 with $100 million in cash on hand, up from $76 million at year end, and a debt balance of $710 million, which represents a decrease of $43 million from year end 2016. Operating free cash flow (OFCF) for the quarter was $76 million, up 157% from Q1 2016. In 2017, we expect to generate revenue in a range of $1.0 billion to $1.025 billion, which represents 2-5% organic growth. Adjusted EBITDA is expected to be in a range of $250 million to $255 million, which excludes approximately $14 million in one-time integration related expenses for PAY.ON, the CFS divestiture, and data center and facilities consolidation. We expect to generate between $225 million and $230 million of revenue in the second quarter. We expect full year 2017 new bookings to grow in the upper single digit range. CONFERENCE CALL TO DISCUSS FINANCIAL RESULTS AND OUTLOOK Management will host a conference call at 8:30 am ET to discuss these results as well as 2017 guidance. Interested persons may access a real-time audio broadcast of the teleconference at http://investor.aciworldwide.com/ or use the following numbers for dial-in participation: US/Canada: (866) 914-7436, international: +1 (817) 385-9117. Please provide your name, the conference name ACI Worldwide, Inc. and conference code 7764496. There will be a replay of the call available for two weeks on (855) 859-2056 for US/Canada callers and +1 (404) 537-3406 for international participants. About ACI Worldwide ACI Worldwide, the Universal Payments (UP) company, powers electronic payments for more than 5,100 organizations around the world. More than 1,000 of the largest financial institutions and intermediaries, as well as thousands of global merchants, rely on ACI to execute $14 trillion each day in payments and securities. In addition, myriad organizations utilize our electronic bill presentment and payment services. Through our comprehensive suite of software solutions delivered on customers’ premises or through ACI’s private cloud, we provide real-time, immediate payments capabilities and enable the industry’s most complete omni-channel payments experience. To learn more about ACI, please visit www.aciworldwide.com. You can also find us on Twitter @ACI_Worldwide. To supplement our financial results presented on a GAAP basis, we use the non-GAAP measures indicated in the tables, which exclude certain business combination accounting entries, significant transaction-related expenses, as well as other significant non-cash expenses such as depreciation, amortization and stock-based compensation, that we believe are helpful in understanding our past financial performance and our future results. The presentation of these non-GAAP financial measures should be considered in addition to our GAAP results and are not intended to be considered in isolation or as a substitute for the financial information prepared and presented in accordance with GAAP. Management generally compensates for limitations in the use of non-GAAP financial measures by relying on comparable GAAP financial measures and providing investors with a reconciliation of non-GAAP financial measures only in addition to and in conjunction with results presented in accordance with GAAP. We believe that these non-GAAP financial measures reflect an additional way to view aspects of our operations that, when viewed with our GAAP results, provide a more complete understanding of factors and trends affecting our business. Certain non-GAAP measures include: ACI is also presenting operating free cash flow, which is defined as net cash provided by operating activities, net after-tax payments associated with employee-related actions and facility closures, net after-tax payments associated with significant transaction-related expenses, and less capital expenditures plus European data center and cybersecurity capital expenditures. Operating free cash flow is considered a non-GAAP financial measure as defined by SEC Regulation G. We utilize this non-GAAP financial measure, and believe it is useful to investors, as an indicator of cash flow available for debt repayment and other investing activities, such as capital investments and acquisitions. We utilize operating free cash flow as a further indicator of operating performance and for planning investing activities. Operating free cash flow should be considered in addition to, rather than as a substitute for, net cash provided by operating activities. A limitation of operating free cash flow is that it does not represent the total increase or decrease in the cash balance for the period. This measure also does not exclude mandatory debt service obligations and, therefore, does not represent the residual cash flow available for discretionary expenditures. We believe that operating free cash flow is useful to investors to provide disclosures of our operating results on the same basis as that used by our management. ACI also includes backlog estimates, which include all license, maintenance, and services (including SaaS and Platform) specified in executed contracts, as well as revenues from assumed contract renewals to the extent that we believe recognition of the related revenue will occur within the corresponding backlog period. We have historically included assumed renewals in backlog estimates based upon automatic renewal provisions in the executed contract and our historic experience with customer renewal rates. Backlog is considered a non-GAAP financial measure as defined by SEC Regulation G. Our 60-month backlog estimate represents expected revenues from existing customers using the following key assumptions: Estimates of future financial results are inherently unreliable. Our backlog estimates require substantial judgment and are based on a number of assumptions as described above. These assumptions may turn out to be inaccurate or wrong, including, but not limited to, reasons outside of management’s control. For example, our customers may attempt to renegotiate or terminate their contracts for a number of reasons, including mergers, changes in their financial condition, or general changes in economic conditions in the customer’s industry or geographic location, or we may experience delays in the development or delivery of products or services specified in customer contracts which may cause the actual renewal rates and amounts to differ from historical experiences. Changes in foreign currency exchange rates may also impact the amount of revenue actually recognized in future periods. Accordingly, there can be no assurance that contracts included in backlog estimates will actually generate the specified revenues or that the actual revenues will be generated within the corresponding 60-month period. Backlog should be considered in addition to, rather than as a substitute for, reported revenue and deferred revenue. This press release contains forward-looking statements based on current expectations that involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Generally, forward-looking statements do not relate strictly to historical or current facts and may include words or phrases such as “believes,” “will,” “expects,” “anticipates,” “intends,” and words and phrases of similar impact. The forward-looking statements are made pursuant to safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements in this press release include, but are not limited to, statements regarding: (i) our excitement about the growth opportunities for Universal Payments in the electronic payments landscape; (ii) expectations regarding revenue, adjusted EBITDA, and new bookings growth in 2017; and (iii) expectations regarding revenue in the second quarter of 2017. All of the foregoing forward-looking statements are expressly qualified by the risk factors discussed in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Such factors include, but are not limited to, increased competition, the success of our Universal Payments strategy, demand for our products, restrictions and other financial covenants in our credit facility, consolidations and failures in the financial services industry, customer reluctance to switch to a new vendor, the accuracy of management’s backlog estimates, the maturity of certain products, our strategy to migrate customers to our next generation products, ratable or deferred recognition of certain revenue associated with customer migrations and the maturity of certain of our products, failure to obtain renewals of customer contracts or to obtain such renewals on favorable terms, delay or cancellation of customer projects or inaccurate project completion estimates, volatility and disruption of the capital and credit markets and adverse changes in the global economy, our existing levels of debt, impairment of our goodwill or intangible assets, litigation, future acquisitions, strategic partnerships and investments, the complexity of our products and services and the risk that they may contain hidden defects or be subjected to security breaches or viruses, compliance of our products with applicable legislation, governmental regulations and industry standards, our ability to protect customer information from security breaches or attacks, our compliance with privacy regulations, the protection of our intellectual property in intellectual property litigation, exposure to credit or operating risks arising from certain payment funding methods, the cyclical nature of our revenue and earnings and the accuracy of forecasts due to the concentration of revenue-generating activity during the final weeks of each quarter, business interruptions or failure of our information technology and communication systems, our offshore software development activities, risks from operating internationally, including fluctuations in currency exchange rates, exposure to unknown tax liabilities, volatility in our stock price, our pending appeal of the $43 million judgement, plus $2.7 million of attorney fees and costs awarded against us in the BHMI litigation, and potential claims associated with our sale and transition of our CFS assets and liabilities. For a detailed discussion of these risk factors, parties that are relying on the forward-looking statements should review our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including our most recently filed Annual Report on Form 10-K and our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q.
News Article | April 4, 2017
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also sometimes referred to as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), affects more than 1 million people in the United States. The disease is usually most prevalent in women in their 40s and 50s, with CFS being four times more frequent in women than in men. Symptoms include joint pain, painful lymph nodes, having trouble sleeping, and headaches, as well as difficulty concentrating and remembering things. Medical professionals do not yet know what causes the disease. CFS is difficult to identify as there is no test for it, and because it shares some of its symptoms with other illnesses. However, new research investigates the biological basis for the illness and identifies two subgroups of CFS that go on to develop differently: the so-called classical CFS and an "atypical" variant. The study was carried out by researchers at the Center for Infection and Immunity (CII) at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health in New York, and it was led by Dr. Mady Hornig, director of translational research at CII and associate professor of epidemiology at the university. The results were published in the journal Translational Psychiatry. Hornig and team performed immunoassays to measure 51 immune biomarkers in the cerebrospinal fluid of 32 people with classical CFS, and another 27 with atypical CFS. The tests showed lower levels of immune molecules in those with atypical CFS than in those with the classical variant. The analyses revealed drastically lower levels of interleukin 7 (a protein that plays a key role in the adaptive immune response to infections), interleukin 17A, and chemokine ligand 9 (molecules with a key role in the adaptive immunity to neurological illnesses). Additionally, these biological features were accompanied by different trajectories of disease history and comorbidities. Those with atypical CFS tended to have a history of viral encephalitis and tended to fall ill after traveling abroad or receiving a blood transfusion. Furthermore, people with atypical CFS went on to develop simultaneous conditions such as seizure disorders, several types of cancers, or demyelinating disorders - that is, multiple sclerosis-like diseases that damage myelin, the protective sheath around the nerve cells in our brains and spinal cords. The senior author of the study and director of CII, Dr. Ian Lipkin, also explains the contribution of the findings: "Multiple biological pathways are likely involved in the pathogenesis of ME/CFS, with a range of clinical subtypes relating to variability in the types of environmental triggers, genetic and epigenetic vulnerability, as well as comorbidity patterns," he says. "Shedding light on these pathways may help us to identify the various agents that precipitate disease as well as to design more precise, targeted treatments." Overall, both atypical and classical CFS patients were revealed to have an abnormal immune system when compared with the general population. However, only people with classical CFS displayed the previously discovered 3-year mark of CFS - namely, after 3 years of having an "overzealous" immune system, CFS patients show signs of immune "exhaustion," with dramatic drops in their levels of immune molecules. In this new study, only those with classical CFS had this drop in immune molecules after 3 years, whereas those with atypical CFS displayed steady or increased levels of cytokines and chemokines - proteins that control the development and activation of immune cells. Study co-author Dr. Daniel L. Peterson, principal clinician at Sierra Internal Medicine in Incline Village, NV, comments on the significance of these findings: "Early identification of patients who meet the usual clinical criteria when first diagnosed but then go on to develop atypical features would help clinicians like myself identify and treat these complex cases and even prevent fatal outcomes." Hornig speculates on the mechanism that might be responsible for the differences between the two subgroups. She suggests that atypical patients may go through a "smoldering inflammatory process," in which their body's immune system is trying to recover, but she notes that further research is needed in order to test this hypothesis. She also suggests that genetic predispositions may cause the immune system to respond differently in atypical individuals. Researchers at CII continue to investigate other subgroups of CFS patients, such as patients with allergies, cognitive impairment, and gastrointestinal problems. Learn how altered gut bacteria could cause CFS.
News Article | May 4, 2017
In the first decade of this century, the developing world dealt with an unprecedented level of large-scale land acquisition by international speculators and global agribusinesses, mainly in Africa. Other, related issues included corruption in natural resource administration, conflicting claims over natural resources, and lack of recognition of customary tenure systems. This focused global attention on the need for more responsible governance of tenure. It was against this backdrop that more than a thousand experts from governments, academia, civil society organizations (CSOs) and the private sector, representing 133 countries, participated in a series of consultations, workshops, drafting committees and intergovernmental negotiations led by FAO and the Committee on World Food Security (CFS). These resulted in a document considered a landmark achievement – the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security. Its approval, in May 2012, marked a huge step in setting global standards for tenure policy to protect smallholders in developing countries. Now FAO has begun taking steps to transform the words on paper into concrete actions on the ground. As the Central African Republic undergoes a process to harmonize its multiple and often overlapping legal frameworks on tenure, it uses the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security as a standard on which to base decisions. Other sub-Saharan countries, reforming their forest tenure and management policies and legislation, report that they now refer to the Guidelines to set a standard that ensures communities do not lose access to forests for livelihood purposes. Representatives from academia will begin integrating the Guidelines into their courses, to imbue their students with awareness of their value in establishing a baseline for setting tenure policies, laws and programmes. All of this emerged at a December 2012 workshop hosted by FAO in Cameroon, which gathered 70 experts from 14 francophone Africa countries. This was the first of a series of regional workshops set up by FAO to raise awareness of the Guidelines. Participants learn about the content, discuss how they might implement them in their own countries, and establish regional networks so they can continue discussing ideas broached at the meeting. They also share information about national initiatives. Whenever possible, the regional workshops are complemented by national events to discuss the use and implementation of the Guidelines. FAO also works with individual governments and civil society to develop capacity and strengthen partnerships, in order to facilitate the implementation process. Guidelines represent global consensus The fact that the worldwide consultations and negotiations that led to the Guidelines were completed in just three years is testament that countries recognize the importance of securing people’s tenure rights and their equitable access to resources. In fact the Guidelines were endorsed by the UN General Assembly in December 2012. While they are voluntary, their existence in the global arena represents an enormous step forward in protecting the rights of the world’s rural communities. They provide a well-thought-out, shared vision of principles and practices that can serve as an equal starting point for governments in making laws and administering tenure rights to land, fisheries and forests. The Guidelines, which apply equally to both developed and developing countries, are useful in guiding politics and legislation, setting out principles and providing benchmarks for activities. They can guide the establishment of strategies to address a myriad of problems such as overlapping tenure rights and disputes over natural resources. They promote a rights-based approach, encouraging governments to recognize, respect, safeguard and promote legitimate tenure rights, and they also present best practices for recognizing and protecting legitimate tenure rights, even those from informal systems. They also include best practices for registration and transfer of those rights. Tenure security encourages owners to invest in improvement As shown over the years, those who have tenure security are much more likely to invest in improving their land, fisheries or forests, protect it or plan its use on a long-term basis. The Guidelines present directives for a host of practical tenure issues, such as keeping tenure administrative services accessible, affordable and transparent, managing expropriations and restitution of land to people forcibly evicted in the past, recognizing the rights of indigenous communities, and dealing with urban expansion into rural areas. The answers are all there, in the Guidelines. The approval of the Guidelines is universally recognized as an enormous step forward in setting fair standards for tenure in all countries of the world. The FAO regional meetings and support programme now take it to a next level – raising national capacity to turn words on paper into on-the-ground action by using the Guidelines as a reference in national policies, legislation and programmes. Those who attended the Cameroon workshop have now taken ideas back to their countries, as will the representatives of dozens of other countries who attend the other regional workshops FAO will host. These workshops are the first step in facilitating the implementation of the Guidelines in countries. As has been shown, when tenure rights are secure, and when they provide poor and vulnerable people with equitable rights to land, fisheries and forests, it is a key step in the fight against hunger and poverty and a starting point towards sustainable rural development. Approval of the Guidelines is recognized as an enormous step forward in setting fair standards for tenure in all countries.
News Article | April 26, 2017
Scientists identify abnormal levels of specific gut bacteria in individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome, including those with and without co-morbid IBS Scientists at the Center for Infection and Immunity (CII) at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health have discovered abnormal levels of specific gut bacteria related to chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis, or ME/CFS, in patients with and without concurrent irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS. Findings are published in the journal Microbiome. The study is among the first to disentangle imbalances in the gut bacteria in individuals with ME/CFS and IBS. ME/CFS is a complex, debilitating disorder characterized by extreme fatigue after exertion and other symptoms including muscle and joint pain, cognitive dysfunction, sleep disturbance, and orthostatic intolerance. Up to 90 percent of ME/CFS patients also have IBS. The researchers followed 50 patients and 50 matched healthy controls recruited at four ME/CFS clinical sites. They tested for bacterial species in fecal samples, and for immune molecules in blood samples. "Individuals with ME/CFS have a distinct mix of gut bacteria and related metabolic disturbances that may influence the severity of their disease," says co-lead investigator Dorottya Nagy-Szakal, postdoctoral research scientist at CII. "Our analysis suggests that we may be able to subtype patients with ME/CFS by analyzing their fecal microbiome," says co-lead investigator Brent L. Williams, assistant professor of Pathology and Cell Biology at CII. "Subtyping may provide clues to understanding differences in manifestations of disease." "Much like IBS, ME/CFS may involve a breakdown in the bidirectional communication between the brain and the gut mediated by bacteria, their metabolites, and the molecules they influence," says senior author W. Ian Lipkin, director of CII and John Snow Professor of Epidemiology at Columbia's Mailman School. "By identifying the specific bacteria involved, we are one step closer to more accurate diagnosis and targeted therapies." The study was supported by the Chronic Fatigue Initiative of the Hutchins Family Foundation; the National Institutes of Health Center for Research in Diagnostics and Discovery (AI109761); John, Cynthia, and Lisa Gunn; and anonymous donors through the Crowdfunding Microbe Discovery Project. Additional co-authors include Nischay Mishra, Xiaoyu Che, Bohyun Lee, Komal Jain, Meredith L. Eddy, and Mady Hornig at CII; Lucinda Bateman at the Fatigue Consultation Clinic, Salt Lake City; Nancy G. Klimas at Nova Southeastern University; Anthony L. Komaroff at Harvard Medical School; Susan Levine at Levine Clinic, New York City; Jose G. Montoya at Stanford University; Daniel L. Peterson at Sierra Internal Medicine, Incline Village, NV; and Devi Ramanan at Ayasdi, Inc., Menlo Park, CA.