News Article | April 17, 2017
Permitium LLC has partnered with Lazarus Alliance to ensure compliance with the FBI CJIS Security Policy by implementing the controls in NIST Special Publication 800-53. Lazarus Alliance, a leading provider of cyber security, governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) services, announces its partnership with Permitium LLC, which offers cloud-based software solutions that allow sheriffs and vital records offices to automate permit and records requests. Lazarus Alliance is helping Permitium develop internal cyber security controls and ensure compliance with the FBI Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Security Policy. "Permitium handles millions of sensitive records for Sheriff's and other government agencies. As such we take data security extremely seriously. In an effort to ensure that we meet the standards, we have chosen Lazarus Alliance to handle our CJIS audit. We realize that this endeavor is not a one time effort, so we look forward to our ongoing relationship with Lazarus Alliance as we continue to strive to exceed the CJIS standards" said Paul Blake, Managing Partner, Permitium LLC. The CJIS, which was established in 1992, is the FBI’s largest division. Several departments fall under its umbrella, including the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS), and the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). CJIS’s databases are a centralized source of criminal justice information used by law enforcement agencies, other government organizations, corporate networks, and cloud vendors such as Permitium. Because Permitium’s cloud-based software accesses CJIS’s databases to perform background checks, it must comply with the FBI CJIS Security Policy. “The FBI CJIS Security Policy isn’t just a matter of data security; it's a matter of public safety,” explained Michael Peters, CEO of Lazarus Alliance. “If a business’ database gets breached, that business and its customers can suffer tremendous losses, which is bad enough. The CJIS databases contain confidential information on ongoing criminal investigations. If they’re breached, it could be a catastrophe for the entire country. The FBI CJIS Security Policy establishes a common set of user security standards to protect the integrity of these highly sensitive databases.” The FBI CJIS Security Policy is over 190 pages long and covers hundreds of different security policies, procedures, and controls, including access control, identification and authentication, physical protection, incident response, and security awareness training. Commonly, organizations document security control compliance with the FBI CJIS Security Policy by “mapping” the requirements with the NIST Special Publication 800-53 framework, which uses a risk management framework to outline and document security controls for federal information systems and organizations. The CJIS publishes a document that “maps” CJIS Security Policy requirements to the applicable NIST 800-53 controls. Even with this guide, mapping CJIS standards to NIST 800-53 is a complex, exacting process that is best performed by NIST compliance experts. “We've seen CJIS compliance reports publicly available that are totally wrong provided by other providers. We are highly experienced with NIST 800-53 and we are ISO 17020 accredited, so our work for Permitium is being done on familiar territory,” Peters said. “We utilize Continuum GRC’s IT Audit Machine (ITAM) software, which has pre-loaded NIST compliance modules that automate and greatly speed up the compliance process. By combining the ITAM software with our proven methodology, we have helped many organizations achieve NIST compliance on budget and on schedule.” Additionally, Lazarus Alliance is helping Permitium with the Service Organization Control 2 (SOC 2) attestation reporting process. SOC 2 reports, which utilize the AT-101 standards, are released by technology service companies to document data security controls and procedures. “Because Permitium’s software interfaces with some of the most sensitive databases in the nation, it’s especially important that they release a SOC 2 attestation,” Peters said. “It demonstrates to Permitium’s customers that the company is committed to maintaining the highest levels of information security.”
News Article | May 5, 2017
"Welltower has once again delivered a strong overall quarter," commented CEO Tom DeRosa. "Our premier seniors housing operators in high barrier to entry markets showed resiliency during a bad flu season and pockets of heightened supply nationwide, and were able to drive continued rate growth. We further executed on our strategy of deleveraging, while taking advantage of robust pricing to sell non-core assets in secondary markets at low cap rates. Our patience, discipline and the long-term nature of our decision making continues to drive shareholder value and best position Welltower for the compelling opportunities that lie ahead." On March 31, 2017, we had $380 million of cash and cash equivalents and $2.5 billion of available borrowing capacity under our primary unsecured credit facility. During the first quarter, we generated approximately $112 million in proceeds under our ATM and DRIP programs. In addition, we extinguished $806 million of secured debt at a blended average interest rate of 5.6%. In March, we redeemed all 11.5 million shares of our 6.5% Series J preferred stock. Net income attributable to common stockholders has been revised to a range of $2.39 to $2.49 per diluted share from the previous range of $2.65 to $2.75 per diluted share primarily due to the normalizing items in Exhibit 1. We are affirming our 2017 normalized FFO attributable to common stockholders guidance and expect to report in a range of $4.15 to $4.25 per diluted share. As previously disclosed, we will no longer report FAD, primarily because it could be considered a liquidity metric, but we will provide relevant data components. In preparing our guidance, we have updated the following assumptions: Our guidance does not include any additional investments, dispositions or capital transactions beyond what we have announced, nor any transaction costs, impairments, unanticipated additions to the loan loss reserve or other additional normalizing items. Please see the exhibits for a reconciliation of the outlook for net income available to common stockholders to FFO attributable to common stockholders. We will provide additional detail regarding our 2017 outlook and assumptions on the first quarter 2017 conference call. As previously announced, the Board of Directors declared a cash dividend for the quarter ended March 31, 2017 of $0.87 per share, as compared to $0.86 per share for the same period in 2016. On May 22, 2017, we will pay our 184th consecutive quarterly cash dividend. The declaration and payment of future quarterly dividends remains subject to review and approval by the Board of Directors. We completed $217 million of pro rata gross investments for the quarter including $104 million in acquisitions/JVs, $102 million in development funding and $11 million in loans. 100% of these investments were completed with existing relationships. Acquisitions/JVs were comprised of five separate transactions at a blended yield of 6.4%. The development fundings are expected to yield 7.5% upon stabilization and the loans were made at a blended rate of 8.0%. We also placed into service nine development projects totaling $186 million at a blended stabilized yield of 7.0%. Also during the quarter, we completed total dispositions of $1.1 billion consisting of loan payoffs of $65 million at an average yield of 8.7% and property sales of $1 billion at a blended yield on proceeds of 6.5%. We expanded our relationship with Benchmark by acquiring a 91-unit private pay seniors housing property through our existing 95/5 joint venture. The property opened in 2014 and is located in the New Haven, CT MSA. The purchase price based upon 100% ownership interest was $36 million, which represents a cap rate of 6.1%. The property was acquired through a purchase option that was granted to us after we provided a mezzanine loan for construction financing. Since closing our initial $846 million acquisition in 2011, we have completed $543 million of follow-on pro rata investments with Benchmark. We expanded our relationship with New Perspective by acquiring a 100% ownership interest in a 77-unit private pay seniors housing property owned by a third party and located in the Minneapolis/St. Paul MSA for $22 million. The property opened in 2015 and was added to a master lease which has a corporate guarantee and expires in 2030. The initial lease yield is 6.0% with 3% annual increasers. Since closing our initial $17 million acquisition/leaseback in 2009, we have completed $296 million of follow-on pro rata investments with New Perspective. We expanded our relationship with Avery by acquiring a 100% interest in two seniors housing properties in the UK midlands for £14.3 million. The properties will be added to a master lease at an initial lease yield of 7.5% with 3% annual increasers. The master lease has a corporate guarantee and expires in 2037. Since closing our initial $204 million acquisition/leaseback in 2013, we have completed $620 million of follow-on pro rata investments with Avery. We acquired a 100% interest in an affiliated outpatient medical office building in Anderson, Indiana for $22 million, which represents a year one cap rate of 6.3%. The property is 68,624 rentable square feet, was built in 2017, and is 100% master leased to Community Health Network (Moody's A2), a not-for-profit health system with over 1,400 affiliated physicians and 200 patient care sites throughout Central Indiana. Community Health Network leases over 160,000 square feet of space in Welltower properties. We expanded our relationship with Kisco by completing the development of 165 independent living units as part of a private pay, rental continuing care retirement community campus located in the North Hills area of Raleigh, NC. The investment amount based on 100% ownership interest was $72 million and the property was added to a master lease at an initial lease yield of 8.0% in our existing 85/15 joint venture. There are no increasers for the first five years and 25 basis point annual increasers thereafter. The assisted living, memory care and post-acute units will be completed during the second quarter. Since closing our initial $19 million acquisition in 2012, we have completed $137 million of follow-on investments with Kisco. We expanded our relationship with Sagora by completing the development of two private pay seniors housing properties located in Tulsa and Edmond, OK. The investment amount was $55 million and the properties were added to a master lease at an initial lease yield of 6.0%. There are outsized annual escalators for the first five years of the lease followed by 3% annual escalators thereafter. Since closing our initial $8.5 million acquisition in 2010, we have completed $430 million of follow-on investments with Sagora. We expanded our relationship with Legend by completing the development of two private pay seniors housing properties located in the Lancaster, PA MSA. The investment amount was $31 million and the properties were added to a master lease at an initial lease yield of 6.0%. There are outsized annual escalators for the first five years of the lease followed by 3% annual escalators. Since starting our initial $6 million development in 2005, we have completed $493 million of follow-on investments with Legend. We completed a 43,136 square foot development of an outpatient medical building in Wausau, Wisconsin that is 100% leased by Ministry Health Care (Moody's A2), a subsidiary of Ascension Health. The investment amount was $14 million and the yield on the development is 8.0%. Ascension Health leases over 250,000 square feet of space in Welltower properties. We completed a 56,786 square foot development of an outpatient medical building on Centura's Castle Rock Adventist Health Campus in the Denver MSA that was 65% leased at opening. The investment amount was $12 million and the stabilized yield on the development is 9.1%. We completed the previously announced sale of a 75% interest in 11 Brookdale communities at a valuation of $268.5 million (based on a 100% ownership interest), which represents a 5.75% cap rate on in-place rent. The portfolio was added to an existing joint venture where Cindat/Union Life owns a 75% interest and Welltower retains a 25% stake. We realized a gain on sale of $42 million. We completed the disposition of 26 senior housing properties operated by and leased to Senior Lifestyle for $753 million. We realized a gain on sale of $169 million and an unlevered IRR of 11.1%. We completed the disposition of six long-term/post-acute facilities pursuant to a purchase option in our lease agreement for $72 million, which represents an 8.9% cap on in-place rent. We realized a gain on sale of $20 million and an unlevered IRR of 12.8%. We completed the disposition of a seniors housing operating property with 183 units located in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. The property was 100% owned by Welltower and third party managed by Chartwell. The property was sold for $27.5 million, which represents a 4.8% cap on in-place NOI. We realized a gain on sale of $13 million and an unlevered IRR of 16.2%. We have scheduled a conference call on Friday, May 5, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time to discuss our first quarter 2017 results, industry trends, portfolio performance and outlook for 2017. Telephone access will be available by dialing 888-346-2469 or 706-758-4923 (international). For those unable to listen to the call live, a taped rebroadcast will be available beginning two hours after completion of the call through May 19, 2017. To access the rebroadcast, dial 855-859-2056 or 404-537-3406 (international). The conference ID number is 3098658. To participate in the webcast, log on to www.welltower.com 15 minutes before the call to download the necessary software. Replays will be available for 90 days. We believe that revenues, net operating income from continuing operations (NOICO), net income and net income attributable to common stockholders (NICS), as defined by U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (U.S. GAAP), are the most appropriate earnings measurements. However, we consider funds from operations (FFO), same store net operating income (SSNOI), same store revenues per occupied room (SS REVPOR), and Adjusted EBITDA (A-EBITDA) to be useful supplemental measures of our operating performance. Excluding A-EBITDA, these supplemental measures are disclosed on our pro rata ownership basis. Pro rata amounts are derived by reducing consolidated amounts for minority partners' noncontrolling ownership interests and adding our minority ownership share of unconsolidated amounts. We do not control unconsolidated investments. While we consider pro rata disclosures useful, they may not accurately depict the legal and economic implications of our joint venture arrangements and should be used with caution. Historical cost accounting for real estate assets in accordance with U.S. GAAP implicitly assumes that the value of real estate assets diminishes predictably over time as evidenced by the provision for depreciation. However, since real estate values have historically risen or fallen with market conditions, many industry investors and analysts have considered presentations of operating results for real estate companies that use historical cost accounting to be insufficient. In response, the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (NAREIT) created FFO as a supplemental measure of operating performance for REITs that excludes historical cost depreciation from net income. FFO attributable to common stockholders, as defined by NAREIT, means net income attributable to common stockholders, computed in accordance with U.S. GAAP, excluding gains (or losses) from sales of real estate and impairments of depreciable assets, plus real estate depreciation and amortization, and after adjustments for unconsolidated entities and noncontrolling interests. Normalized FFO attributable to common stockholders represents FFO attributable to common stockholders adjusted for certain items detailed in Exhibit 1. We believe that normalized FFO attributable to common stockholders is a useful supplemental measure of operating performance because investors and equity analysts may use this measure to compare the operating performance of the company between periods or as compared to other REITs or other companies on a consistent basis without having to account for differences caused by unanticipated and/or incalculable items. As discussed in Note 17 to our consolidated financial statements, NOICO is used to evaluate the operating performance of our properties. We define NOI as the pro rata version of NOICO which is total revenues, including tenant reimbursements, less property operating expenses. Property operating expenses represent costs associated with managing, maintaining and servicing tenants for our seniors housing operating and outpatient medical properties. These expenses include, but are not limited to, property-related payroll and benefits, property management fees, marketing, housekeeping, food service, maintenance, utilities, property taxes and insurance. General and administrative expenses represent costs unrelated to property operations or transaction costs. These expenses include, but are not limited to, payroll and benefits, professional services, office expenses and depreciation of corporate fixed assets. SSNOI is used to evaluate the operating performance of our properties under a consistent population which eliminates changes in the composition of our portfolio. As used herein, same store is generally defined as those revenue-generating properties in the portfolio for the relevant year-over-year reporting periods. Land parcels, loans and sub-leases as well as any properties acquired, developed/redeveloped, transitioned, sold or classified as held for sale during that period are excluded from the same store amounts. Normalizers include adjustments that in management's opinion are appropriate in considering SSNOI, a supplemental, non-GAAP performance measure. None of these adjustments, which may increase or decrease SSNOI, are reflected in our financial statements prepared in accordance with U.S. GAAP. Significant normalizers (defined as any that individually exceed 0.50% of SSNOI growth per property type) are separately disclosed and explained in the relevant supplemental information package. We believe SSNOI provides investors relevant and useful information because it measures the operating performance of our properties at the property level on an unleveraged basis. No reconciliation of the forecasted range for SSNOI on a combined or segment basis for fiscal year 2017 is included in this release because we are unable to quantify certain amounts that would be required to be included in the comparable GAAP financial measure without unreasonable efforts, and we believe such reconciliation would imply a degree of precision that could be confusing or misleading to investors. REVPOR represents the average revenues generated per occupied room per month at our seniors housing operating properties. It is calculated as the pro rata version of resident fees and services revenues per the income statement divided by average monthly occupied room days. SS REVPOR is used to evaluate the REVPOR performance of our properties under a consistent population which eliminates changes in the composition of our portfolio. It based on the same pool of properties used for SSNOI and includes any revenue normalizations used for SSNOI. We use REVPOR and SS REVPOR to evaluate the revenue-generating capacity and profit potential of our seniors housing operating portfolio independent of fluctuating occupancy rates. They are also used in comparison against industry and competitor statistics, if known, to evaluate the quality of our seniors housing operating portfolio. We measure our credit strength both in terms of leverage ratios and coverage ratios. The leverage ratios indicate how much of our balance sheet capitalization is related to long-term debt, net of cash and IRC section 1031 deposits. We expect to maintain capitalization ratios and coverage ratios sufficient to maintain a capital structure consistent with our current profile. The coverage ratios are based on EBITDA which stands for earnings (net income per income statement) before interest expense, income taxes, depreciation and amortization. Covenants in our senior unsecured notes contain financial ratios based on a definition of EBITDA that is specific to those agreements. Failure to satisfy these covenants could result in an event of default that could have a material adverse impact on our cost and availability of capital, which could in turn have a material adverse impact on our consolidated results of operations, liquidity and/or financial condition. Due to the materiality of these debt agreements and the financial covenants, we have defined A-EBITDA to exclude unconsolidated entities and to include adjustments for stock-based compensation expense, provision for loan losses, gains/losses on extinguishment of debt, transactions costs, gains/losses/impairments on properties, gains/losses on derivatives and other non-recurring and/or non-cash income/charges. We believe that A-EBITDA, along with net income and cash flow provided from operating activities, is an important supplemental measure because it provides additional information to assess and evaluate the performance of our operations. Our leverage ratios include undepreciated book capitalization and net debt to A-EBITDA. Undepreciated book capitalization represents book capitalization adjusted for accumulated depreciation and amortization. Book capitalization represents the sum of net debt (defined as total long-term debt less cash and cash equivalents and any IRC section 1031 deposits), total equity and redeemable noncontrolling interests. Our leverage ratios are defined as the proportion of net debt to total capitalization. Our supplemental reporting measures and similarly entitled financial measures are widely used by investors, equity and debt analysts and ratings agencies in the valuation, comparison, rating and investment recommendations of companies. Our management uses these financial measures to facilitate internal and external comparisons to historical operating results and in making operating decisions. Additionally, they are utilized by the Board of Directors to evaluate management. The supplemental reporting measures do not represent net income or cash flow provided from operating activities as determined in accordance with U.S. GAAP and should not be considered as alternative measures of profitability or liquidity. Finally, the supplemental reporting measures, as defined by us, may not be comparable to similarly entitled items reported by other real estate investment trusts or other companies. Please see the exhibits for reconciliations of supplemental reporting measures and the supplemental information package for the quarter ended March 31, 2017, which is available on the company's website (www.welltower.com), for information and reconciliations of additional supplemental reporting measures. Welltower Inc. (NYSE: HCN), an S&P 500 company headquartered in Toledo, Ohio, is driving the transformation of health care infrastructure. The company invests with leading seniors housing operators, post-acute providers and health systems to fund the real estate infrastructure needed to scale innovative care delivery models and improve people's wellness and overall health care experience. Welltower™, a real estate investment trust ("REIT"), owns interests in properties concentrated in major, high-growth markets in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, consisting of seniors housing and post-acute communities and outpatient medical properties. More information is available at www.welltower.com. We routinely post important information on our website at www.welltower.com in the "Investors" section, including corporate and investor presentations and financial information. We intend to use our website as a means of disclosing material, non-public information and for complying with our disclosure obligations under Regulation FD. Such disclosures will be included on our website under the heading "Investors". Accordingly, investors should monitor such portion of the company's website in addition to following our press releases, public conference calls and filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The information on our website is not incorporated by reference in this press release, and our web address is included as an inactive textual reference only. This press release contains "forward-looking statements" as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. When we use words such as "may," "will," "intend," "should," "believe," "expect," "anticipate," "project," "pro forma," "estimate" or similar expressions that do not relate solely to historical matters, we are making forward-looking statements. In particular, these forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, those relating to our opportunities to acquire, develop or sell properties; our ability to close anticipated acquisitions, investments or dispositions on currently anticipated terms, or within currently anticipated timeframes; the expected performance of our operators/tenants and properties; our expected occupancy rates; our ability to declare and to make distributions to shareholders; our investment and financing opportunities and plans; our continued qualification as a REIT; our ability to access capital markets or other sources of funds; and our ability to meet our earnings guidance. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks and uncertainties that may cause our actual results to differ materially from our expectations discussed in the forward-looking statements. This may be a result of various factors, including, but not limited to: the status of the economy; the status of capital markets, including availability and cost of capital; issues facing the health care industry, including compliance with, and changes to, regulations and payment policies, responding to government investigations and punitive settlements and operators'/tenants' difficulty in cost-effectively obtaining and maintaining adequate liability and other insurance; changes in financing terms; competition within the health care and seniors housing industries; negative developments in the operating results or financial condition of operators/tenants, including, but not limited to, their ability to pay rent and repay loans; our ability to transition or sell properties with profitable results; the failure to make new investments or acquisitions as and when anticipated; natural disasters and other acts of God affecting our properties; our ability to re-lease space at similar rates as vacancies occur; our ability to timely reinvest sale proceeds at similar rates to assets sold; operator/tenant or joint venture partner bankruptcies or insolvencies; the cooperation of joint venture partners; government regulations affecting Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates and operational requirements; liability or contract claims by or against operators/tenants; unanticipated difficulties and/or expenditures relating to future investments or acquisitions; environmental laws affecting our properties; changes in rules or practices governing our financial reporting; the movement of U.S. and foreign currency exchange rates; our ability to maintain our qualification as a REIT; key management personnel recruitment and retention; and other risks described in our reports filed from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Finally, we undertake no obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements, whether because of new information, future events or otherwise, or to update the reasons why actual results could differ from those projected in any forward-looking statements. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/welltower-reports-first-quarter-2017-results-300452245.html
News Article | May 1, 2017
1. Large spikes in handgun acquisitions seen in aftermath of mass shootings Abstract: http://annals. Editorial: http://annals. URL goes live when the embargo lifts Large increases in handgun acquisitions occurred in California immediately following the mass shootings in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012 and San Bernardino, California in 2015. The spikes were short-lived and accounted for less than 10 percent of annual handgun acquisitions statewide, but researchers express concern about whether repeated shocks of this kind could lead to substantial increases in the prevalence of firearm ownership. The findings are published in Annals of Internal Medicine. Each year in the United States, more than 32,000 people die of gunshot wounds. While mass shootings account for less than 1 percent of those deaths, they are the most visible form of firearm violence. Mass shootings may boost firearm sales among people who are concerned about personal protection or among those who fear that the government will react to the mass shooting with increased gun control measures. News stories and two studies have reported sharp increases in handgun acquisition after several mass shootings, but the size and nature of these increases have not been well-described. Moreover, those reports rely on statistics from the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which does not retain purchase-level information. Using detailed individual-level information on firearm transactions in California between 2007 and 2016, researchers at Stanford University analyzed acquisition patterns after two of the highest-profile mass shootings in U.S. history. Overall, the number of handguns acquired in California increased sharply in the first 12 weeks following Newtown and San Bernardino mass shootings. Large and significant spikes occurred among white and Hispanic persons, but not among black persons. Increases in acquisitions were also larger among those who had no record of having previously acquired a handgun. After San Bernardino, a much larger increase in acquisitions occurred in neighborhoods in and around that city than in other parts of the state. The researchers suggest that these findings may have implications for public health, as firearm ownership is a risk factor for firearm-related suicide and homicide. Further research is needed to explore both cumulative effects and lasting shifts in acquisition patterns; their causes; and their implications for public health, crime, and social cohesion. Media contacts: For an embargoed PDF, please contact Cara Graeff. To reach the lead author David Studdert, LLB, ScD, please contact Beth Duff-Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org or 650-736-6064. 2. A routine invasive strategy may significantly reduce death risk in unstable angina Abstract: http://annals. Editorial: http://annals. URL goes live when the embargo lifts The absolute cumulative probability of death at 12 months was 5 percent lower for patients who received routine invasive coronary angiography and revascularization as indicated during an unstable angina admission compared to those who did not. The survival benefit persisted when angiography was delayed up to 2 months after the first unstable angina episode. Results of a comparative effectiveness analysis are published in Annals of Internal Medicine. Non-ST-segment elevation acute coronary syndromes consist of non-ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (MI) and unstable angina. Reported rates of unstable angina have declined with the introduction of high-sensitivity troponin testing, which identifies patients with non-ST-segment elevation MI, yet patients with unstable angina still account for one-quarter to one-half of all those with acute coronary syndromes who present to the hospital. In general, current guidelines recommend routine invasive coronary angiography for patients with non-ST-segment elevation MI, but not for those with unstable angina. Meta-analyses of previous trials have shown conflicting results with regard to routine invasive management of unstable angina, potentially due to the high crossover from control to intervention groups in the randomized controlled trials. Researchers at St. Vincent's Hospital, University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia used hospital discharge data to assess the effect of angiography on mortality in 33,901 patients admitted to the hospital with an initial episode of unstable angina. The investigators compared outcomes of patients who had angiography during their first hospitalization with those of other patients by using advanced statistical methods to adjust for differences in individual patient characteristics and to account for crossovers from control to intervention groups. The data showed that routine angiography, with or without subsequent revascularization, was associated with a 52 percent relative decrease in 12-month mortality. Revascularization offered no additional statistical mortality benefit compared with diagnostic angiography alone. The authors conclude that routine invasive diagnostic angiography up to 2 months after an emergent admission for unstable angina in association with optimum medical therapy might prevent up to 5 deaths per 100 hospital admissions for unstable angina during the 12 months after hospitalization for the initial episode. Media contacts: For an embargoed PDF, please contact Cara Graeff. To speak with the lead author, Dr. Vijaya Sundararajan, please contact Elizabeth Lopez at email@example.com or +61 3 8344 2704. Also new in this issue: Realizing the Value (and Profitability) of Digital Health Data Limitations of Administrative Data for Studying Patients Hospitalized With Heart Failure
News Article | January 5, 2016
The Obama administration made it abundantly clear on Tuesday that those with serious mental illness should be reported to the FBI's database for background checks and prohibited from buying a gun. In the past, some providers feared that it would be a violation of an individual's privacy to report their mental illness to the FBI for inclusion on the bureau's NICS database for background checks. In many cases, such records fell through the cracks. Infamously, in 2012, Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho was able to buy a gun despite being declared by Virginia Courts to be a danger to himself in 2005. The new amendment to HIPAA, the national standards intended to protect Americans' health information, clearly states that certain providers—such as local courts, criminal justice agencies, and some hospital directors—can and should report individuals to NICS who fall into one of the following categories: involuntarily committed to a mental institution; found incompetent to stand trial or not guilty by reason of insanity; or determined to be a danger to themselves or others. "This rule makes it as clear as day that there is no barrier or obstacle for providers to submit these records," said Jonas Oransky, legal counsel to Everytown, an organization that advocates for gun safety. This amendment is just one part of the White House's broader push to curb gun violence. On Tuesday, the president issued plans to spend $500 million to increase access to mental health care and mental health information for conducting background checks. He urged various government agencies to get involved, including the Social Security Administration. But some experts are concerned about the ongoing association between gun violence and mental health. "The great majority of people with mental illness are not violent," said Ron Honberg, legal director for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, or NAMI. "Far more often, they are the victims of violence." Studies have found that mental health problems only slightly increase the likelihood of violence (the exception is violence towards oneself). For this reason, Honberg said his organization is pushing for new legislation to be based on scientific research. Overall, however, Honberg is optimistic about the focus on mental health. Honberg said resources are in short supply to provide mental health treatment to those who need it, and to combat the stigma of mental illness. "We're seeing a heightened interest in mental health in Congress from both sides of the aisle," he said. "The infusion of new resources is very helpful."
News Article | December 11, 2015
Lincoln Laboratory’s Next Generation First Responder team has been testing the capabilities integrated on small remotely piloted aircraft to provide first responders with situational awareness during responses that take them into communications-constrained locations. Credit: MIT Lincoln Laboratory "Right now when a firefighter in New York goes into a subway tunnel, he can go 15 feet in and is out of communication range. Nobody knows whether he's alive, whether he's safe, or whether he has oxygen," says Amna Greaves, a technical staff member in the MIT Lincoln Laboratory Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) Systems Group. This description highlights the need for tools that improve the communications, and consequently the safety, of first responders. Since last year, Greaves and her team have been working with the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) First Responder Group's cutting-edge Next Generation First Responder (NGFR) Apex Program to actively address this need with innovative technology that will provide response teams with situational awareness when traditional communications are restricted or disabled. The goal is to research and develop various solutions to problems faced by first responders in emergency operations. Using both commercial and custom components, Lincoln Laboratory's prototype NGFR sensor system integrates new capabilities, such as drone operations and indoor position tracking, and new devices, such as body sensors and heads-up displays, with the Next-Generation Incident Command System (NICS), a command-and-control architecture developed by the Laboratory in collaboration with S&T to provide decision support to first responders. "NGFR will enable lighter, more capable equipment that will provide greater situational awareness than what responders have today," Greaves says. With smartphones, responders have access to a powerful computer that has potential far beyond smartphones' conventional uses. Michael Flood, a developer who worked on the initial NICS mobile application, explained that this application could be leveraged to provide new capabilities for first responders in the field. For example, Lincoln Laboratory's NGFR-enhanced version of the mobile app utilizes the Sony Smart Eyeglass to take data from wearable sensors that read a responder's breathing rate, heart rate, and skin temperature and then display it via the laboratory's sensor system to the incident commander who can then determine if an individual needs assistance. This capability could help alleviate the risk for heart attack and physical injury posed by the more than 80 pounds of gear that firefighters carry when responding to events. The Sensing Location via Exterior Drone (SLED) technology, which quickly assesses a room or area for dangerous obstacles, also links to the responder's smartphone. This small remotely-piloted aircraft system provides both exterior and interior imagery. The drone takes pictures of an entire floor to allow commanders to use their phones to access a visualization of a building's state before they send in a responder. Greaves pointed to the cross-functional expertise needed to develop SLED: "Packaging sensors for flight on an indoor-capable drone required a collaboration of aero, electrical, controls, and mechanical engineers and physicists." Complementing SLED is the Bluetooth Indoor Proximity System (BLIPS) that uses beacons to track first responders' progress through indoor spaces. As first responders move through a building, they can throw down beacons that then provide a visual depiction of beacon locations on a Web-based interface, a mobile phone, and the SmartGlass display. BLIPS allows the response team to estimate responders' locations through their proximity to the beacons. Outfitting BLIPS with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capability became a learning experience for James Hanford and Sage Trudeau, two co-operative education students from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute who were working with Lincoln Laboratory's NGFR team. "Every step required a completely new skill set, so I had to pick up a number of new programming languages and learn new platforms," Hanford says. The team is consistently enhancing the capabilities of the technologies Lincoln Laboratory is developing for S&T's NGFR Apex Program. A new addition to the NGFR suite of tools is Myo's hands-free controller that reads the electrical activity of forearm muscle movements and hand gestures to direct drones. This commercial armband was added to the system to lighten first responders' equipment and streamline operations. Greaves has high hopes for the NGFR program and believes that the project will help save lives, lower operating costs, and prevent injuries: "Lincoln Laboratory's involvement with S&T's NGFR Apex program is a prime example of the laboratory's homeland protection mission in action: creating prototypes with the ultimate goal of improving the capabilities of our first responders through the transfer of technology." Explore further: First responders get mobile app for biodetection
News Article | October 6, 2016
Amy McGovern, a computer scientist at the University of Oklahoma, has been studying tornadoes, nature's most violent storms for eight years. She uses computational thinking to help understand and solve these scientific problems. Computational thinking is a way of solving problems, designing systems, and understanding human behavior that draws on concepts fundamental to computer science. In science and engineering, computational thinking is an essential part of the way people think about and understand the world. "Since 2008, we've been trying to understand the formation of tornadoes, what causes tornadoes, and why some storms generate tornadoes and other storms don't," McGovern said. "Weather is a real world application where we can really make a difference to people." She wants to find solutions that are useful. Specifically, she is trying to identify precursors of tornadoes in supercell simulations by generating high resolution simulations of these thunderstorms. Supercell storms, sometimes referred to as rotating thunderstorms, are a special kind of single cell thunderstorm that can persist for many hours. They are responsible for nearly all of the significant tornadoes produced in the U.S. and for most of the hailstorms larger than golf ball size. McGovern would like to generate as many as 100 different supercell simulations during this project. In addition to high resolution simulations, McGovern is also using a combination of data mining and visualization techniques as she explores the factors that separate tornado formation from tornado failure. Studying tornadoes and violent weather comes with a high learning curve, as it requires the application of science and technology to predict the state of the atmosphere for a given location. When McGovern first started the research with a National Science Foundation (NSF) Career Grant, she had to attend several classes so that she would understand more about meteorology, the interdisciplinary scientific study of the atmosphere. She worked closely with meteorology students who taught her about the atmosphere, and she, in turn, taught them about computer science. They went back and forth until they understood each other. The early research generated by the NSF Career Grant resulted in developing data mining software and developing initial techniques on lower resolution simulations. "Now, we're trying to make high resolution simulations of super cell storms, or tornadoes," McGovern said. "What we get with the simulations are the fundamental variables of whatever our resolution is—we've been doing 100 meter x 100 meter cubes—there's no way you can get that kind of data without doing simulations. We're getting the fundamental variables like pressure, temperature and wind, and we're doing that for a lot of storms, some of which will generate tornadoes and some that won't. The idea is to do data mining and visualization to figure out what the difference is between the two." Corey Potvin, a research scientist with the OU Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies and the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory, said: "I knew nothing about data mining until I started working with Amy on this project. I've enjoyed learning about the data mining techniques from Amy, and in turn teaching her about current understanding of tornadogenesis. It's a very fun and rewarding process. Both topics are so deep that you really need experts in both fields to tackle this problem successfully." The process to do this research requires five steps: 1) Running the simulations; 2) Post-processing the simulation to merge the data; 3) Visualizing the data (to ensure the simulation was valid); 4) Extracting the meta-data; and 5) Data mining (discovering patterns or new knowledge in very large data sets). McGovern's research is related to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Warn-on-Forecast program, tasked to increase tornado, severe thunderstorm, and flash flood warning lead times to reduce loss of life, injury, and damage to the economy. NOAA believes the current yearly-averaged tornado lead times are reaching a plateau, and a new approach is needed. "My ideal goal would be to find something that no one has thought of...discovering new science," McGovern said. According to the National Weather Service, on average, nearly three out of every four tornado warning issues are false alarms. How do we reduce the false alarm rate for tornado prediction and increase warning lead time? This is a question that McGovern asks on a continual basis. Right now the lead time is about 15 minutes on average for every tornado, but McGovern and team want to be able to better predict it. They're trying to do this by issuing warnings based on probabilities from the weather forecast rather than issuing warnings based on weather that is already about to form. "Once the weather is already starting to form, you won't get a two hour lead time," McGovern said. How Is the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) Helping? When asked about XSEDE, McGovern replied: "XSEDE is fabulous. We've been using XSEDE resources for years. I started out with the resources at my university and then quickly outgrew what they had. They pointed me to XSEDE. I started out at NICS using Darter, and when that went away, I started using Stampede at TACC. These resources are fundamental...you can't do this kind of data mining on your PC." Stampede is one of the largest, most capable high-performance computing (HPC) systems in the world. McGovern says she is one of the few people that's using HPC and data mining for severe weather. In addition to using XSEDE's Stampede for high resolution simulations, McGovern is taking advantage of XSEDE's Extended Collaborative Service and Support (ECSS) program. McGovern has been working with Greg Foss at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) for visualization expertise. ECSS experts like Foss are available for collaborations lasting months to a year to help researchers fundamentally advance their use of XSEDE resources. Foss is an expert in scientific visualization, a field devoted to graphically illustrating scientific data to enable scientists and non-scientists to understand, illustrate, and glean insight from their data. "Greg comes at the problem from a completely different perspective, and provides new ways of looking at the data that you wouldn't have thought of in the beginning," McGovern noted. "Once you get into a domain, it's easy to think, 'This is the only way to look at it,' but then someone else comes along and asks, 'Why are you doing it like that?" Serving as a bridge between science research and the lay person, Foss says he enjoys working through XSEDE and highlighting the value and validity of the program. "I believe in our mission and I believe in the visualization field. It's quite a sense of accomplishment to help our users and even be a part of the science." For this project, Foss says that he's learned more about all of the aspects of weather than any of his six past weather projects. "Ultimately, we're trying to discover if a 3-D visualization approach will be a useful data mining tool for violent weather testbeds," Foss said. Foss, McGovern and Potvin are working together to find storm features (objects) in the tornado simulations. Weather simulations must capture as much of the state of the atmosphere at each time step as possible, and this results in a tremendous amount of data. For example, in one of their first simulated data sets, McGovern had to sort through 352 million data points per time step. "Since you can't save all of this data or mine it, you try to find the high level features because you don't want to do that for 100 simulations by hand, which is the traditional method of studying storms in meteorology. There's no way you can take traditional analysis techniques to that set and find an answer. Data mining is designed to help us sift through that data set and find statistical patterns that are causing tornadoes. The simulations are run in Fortran, the post-processing is in Python, and the data mining is in Java or Python," she said. For Foss, this project is unique. "Instead of designing an interesting way to present the storm event, we're applying visualization techniques, ideas, and training to data mining. We're using the process to explore ways to identify individual storm features, and characteristics that wouldn't be found with other data mining methods," Foss said. McGovern built the first dataset using Darter (decommissioned as of June 2016) at the National Institute for Computation Sciences. The beginning of the process was writing out different variables and transferring this huge dataset (approx. 5.7 TB from one simulation) to TACC. Then, Foss recruited another TACC visualization specialist, Greg Abram, to program a custom data reader for ParaView, and the visualization work could commence. "ParaView is the software I've been using the most at TACC," he said. "Once I get the data and can read it correctly, my goal is to build scenes from different variables, looking for critical values and viewpoints that the researchers confirm are accurate and useful, and hopefully end up with something visually interesting," Foss said. There are variables expected in a storm simulation, such as velocity (direction, distance). "This is the first project where I used velocity's vertical component to model strong updrafts, key indicators of violent weather. The visualization process isn't just building models- it's allowing a viewer to see the data, so it's important a scene communicates accurately, and doesn't mislead or confuse," Foss said. "Visualizing these datasets is important because they are extremely complex, making it difficult to pull out the most physically important information, in this case, processes contributing to tornadogenesis," Potvin said. "The graphics will be used to help develop the storm feature (objects) definitions for the data mining, to ensure automatically extracted objects match visually and subjectively, and to develop definitions for new objects." Potvin continued, "Using the visualizations to guide our object definitions is critical, he said. "We need the data mining to "know" about the storm features that most matter to whether a tornado forms so that it can tell us about the relationships between those features and tornadogenesis. My primary role in the project is to use my familiarity with current conceptual models of these storms to help isolate features known to be important to tornadoes, and to guide identification of features that aren't typically examined in simulations but that may actually play an important role in tornadogenesis." So far, Foss's visualization work has identified six weather features, data mining 'objects' that can potentially be used to learn about tornados and violent weather: hook echoes, bounded weak echo regions, updrafts, cold pools, helicity with regions of strong vorticity, and vertical pressure perturbation gradients. The results came from Foss exploring variables by experimenting with different values and various models, and looking for consistent patterns and interesting structures over the life of the simulated storm. The goal is to compare these simulated storms with real storms. In real weather, you can't actually see these objects. The simulated data sets turn the tornado or storm into what would be actual objects. In real weather, you can't see an updraft, for example. "Greg's visualizations are of much higher quality than what meteorologists typically use, since most of us lack the skills and computational resources," Potvin said. "The four-dimensionality and high resolution provide a much fuller perspective on how storms and tornadoes evolve. I've been studying these storms for over a decade, and these visualizations have changed the way I think about them." In summary, the XSEDE ECSS team investigated computationally intensive datasets using 3D visualization techniques and an interactive user interface with datamining for identifying 'tornadogenesis' precursors in supercell thunderstorm simulations. They found that the results will assist in defining storm features extracted and input to the data mining: ensuring automatically extracted objects match visually identified ones. "We strongly believe that using data science methods will enable us to discover new knowledge about the formation of tornados," McGovern concluded. Explore further: Supercomputer simulations to help predict tornadoes
Lee S.H.,KIMM |
Kwak J.H.,NICS |
Lee S.Y.,KIMM |
International Journal of Automotive Technology | Year: 2015
A mobile emission laboratory was applied to measure particle number size distributions of exhaust emissions for base diesel, plasma-assisted burner type-DPF, and urea-SCR equipped vehicles during on-road driving and laboratory measurements using chassis dynamometer. The measurement of total particle number concentrations revealed that the base diesel had the highest concentrations, while the DPF system effectively reduced particle numbers during all operation conditions. The particle reduction rate during idling and constant speed conditions was 60-99.9% for the DPF and 10-25% for the urea-SCR. The size distributions of particles showed that the dilution ratio significantly affected the nanoparticle formation and growth, and that laboratory measurement, in general, tended to underestimate the nucleation mode (NM) (< 50 nm) particles compared to on-road results. The NM fraction during on-road measurements was the highest at low vehicle speed (20 km/h) with values of 94% for the base diesel, 96% for the DPF, and 94% for the urea-SCR equipped vehicles, and it was the lowest at increased vehicle speed (80 km/h) with values of 59% for the base diesel, 61% for the DPF, and 65% for the urea-SCR. © 2015, The Korean Society of Automotive Engineers and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.
Journal of the Korean Society of Food Science and Nutrition | Year: 2010
Rice cultivars of Goami2 (G2), Baegjinju (BJJ), and Sulgaeng (SG) with different amylose contents were developed by mutation breeding via N-methyl-N-nitrosourea (MNU) treatment to Ilpumbyeo (IP), high japonica rice. They were identified by different appearances such as grain size, color, and shape. In this experiment, the compositional and physical qualities of those cultivars were examined. The G2 rice classified as a high-amylose rice cultivar was significantly higher in its non-digestable carbohydrates contents. Linoleic and oleic acid were composed of 70∼75% of all fatty acids composition regardless of milled and brown rice, except G2 rice in which palmitic acid was the major fatty acid followed by linoleic acid and oleic acid in order. Major amino acids were aspartic acid, glutamic acid, and hydroxy lysine. It was found that cysteine contents were higher in the cultivars of endosperm mutant rice. The DSC analysis revealed that enthalpy was the highest in BJJ followed by SG, IP, and G2 rice. The lowest enthalpy of G2 might be attributable to the higher amylose content. Ilpumbyeo in its cooked rice form showed the highest in Toyo value and less in hardness, but G2 was vise versa. Results of gelatinization and cooked rice properties suggest that G2 was less suitable for cooked rice, but has a potential for functional ingredients from nutritional point of view. The BJJ and SG could be used for traditional cooking as well as for processed foods.
Lim U.T.,Andong National University |
Kim E.,Andong National University |
Journal of Asia-Pacific Entomology | Year: 2013
A flower model trap developed by modifying an artificial yellow chrysanthemum flower was more attractive to flower thrips than commercial yellow sticky traps. Installation of these flower model traps (20 traps per 50m2 plot) was reported to reduce seasonal populations of Frankliniella intonsa (Trybom) (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) on strawberry flowers in greenhouses. In this study, we sought to determine if the installation of such flower model traps would reduce thrips populations in a pepper field. The traps were installed at the bottom of the plant canopy at varying densities (0, 5, 10, and 20 traps) in 20 plots (each 3×5m2) using a completely randomized design. Thrips populations on pepper flowers were sampled from 1 to 29 July in 2009. All thrips sampled on the flowers were identified as F. intonsa. A significant effect of treatment and sampling date was found from repeated-measure analysis of variance. The highest density (20 traps per 15m2) of traps significantly reduced the female and male F. intonsa population compared to the control by 61 and 49%, respectively. However, no difference in immature thrips numbers was found among the treatments. These results indicate that this flower model trap can be a useful tool for the management of flower thrips on field-grown peppers. © 2013 Korean Society of Applied Entomology, Taiwan Entomological Society and Malaysian Plant Protection Society.
News Article | March 29, 2016
Scientists in Brazil are using a genetic algorithm to create a realistic soundscape of birdsong that can be triggered by updates from the micro-blogging service, Twitter, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year. Details of the computer model which mimics the behavior of a bird's songbox, its "syrinx", to create realistic sounds are published this month in the International Journal of Arts and Technology. José Fornari of the Interdisciplinary Nucleus for Sound Communication (NICS), at the University of Campinas (UNICAMP), in São Paulo, explains how birdsong is an integral part of many landscapes, in the urban environment and countryside. He has developed an evolutionary, or genetic, algorithm that synthesizes authentic sounding birdsong in the computer. The system could be used to manipulate the acoustic space of a shopping mall to create a realistic soundscape fed by actual twitter updates so would not have the looped repetitiveness of a recording of actual birdsong that would be played interminably on a loop. "This evolutionary algorithm creates an artificial soundscape (of birdsongs) that is always acoustically original, Fornari says. He adds that the birdsong is like an individual in a population that will never be repeated again. Such soundscapes, of course, might also be said to represent a unique, crowd-generated audio-artwork. Given the nature of Twitter activity, which inevitably follows the highs and lows of daily life and the trends of news and popular culture, the soundscapes generated might offer a fascinating acoustic reflection of our world and at times a chaotic cacophony. One could also imagine linking the system to a single user's account and giving them a personal experience in birdsong of the tweets from their friends and contacts. Explore further: Birdsong not just for the birds More information: José Fornari. An evolutionary algorithm to create artificial soundscapes of birdsongs, International Journal of Arts and Technology (2016). DOI: 10.1504/IJART.2016.075409