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News Article | October 26, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

First results of NSTX-U research operations presented at the International Atomic Energy Agency Conference in Kyoto, Japan Researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratories (PPPL) and collaborating institutions presented results from research on the National Spherical Torus Experiment Upgrade (NSTX-U) during October at the 26th International Atomic Energy Agency Conference (IAEA) in Kyoto, Japan. The four-year upgrade doubled the magnetic field strength, plasma current and heating power capability of the predecessor facility and made the NSTX-U the most powerful fusion facility of its kind. Here are first results of the upgrade and related IAEA research presentations. Physics results of the first 10-weeks of NSTX-U operation The NSTX-U delivered important physics and operational results during its first research campaign under the run coordination leadership of Program Director Jon Menard and Head of Experimental Research Operations Stefan Gerhardt. Principal results and achievements included: Researchers now look forward to continuing their investigation of key issues needed to develop fusion energy when NSTX-U repairs are completed and the spherical tokamak resumes operation. The popular "predator-prey" model cannot explain the transition to H-mode on the NSTX tokamak A key challenge to the production of magnetic fusion energy is preventing heat from escaping the core of the superhot plasma held in doughnut-shaped devices called tokamaks. Researchers have long known that a slight increase in heating power can reduce turbulence near the edge of the tokamak, shifting the plasma to an H-mode (high confinement) regime that reduces energy leakage. But what causes this disappearing turbulence? Researchers at PPPL have found that a popular explanation known as the "predator-prey" model cannot account for the reduction. It posits that the turbulence dumps its energy into a benign spinning of the plasma called "mean poloidal flows" that does not transport heat. For this to happen, the reduction in turbulent energy must roughly equal the increased energy of the mean flows. To test this theory, the PPPL physicists used a gas puff imaging (GPI) diagnostic that let them directly see turbulent plasma fluctuations in the edge region of PPPL's National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX), the laboratory's flagship fusion facility, which has since been upgraded. By pumping small amounts of neutral gas into the plasma, they caused the neutrals to interact with the plasma and glow. A fast camera recorded the glow and revealed how the turbulence evolved in space and time. The researchers were also able to infer the velocity of the plasma, enabling evaluation of energy in both the turbulence and the mean flows. This showed that the energy in the mean flows was never more than a few percent of the energy in the turbulence before the shift to H-mode. With this result, the mystery of the H-mode deepens again. However, by ruling out the predator-prey model, the findings may refocus efforts on other contenders. This could increase the chances of identifying the physics behind the mysterious H-mode, and facilitate the ability to employ it for the success of future fusion reactors. PPPL and DIII-D Advance Understanding of Sheared Rotation that Helps Stabilize Fusion Plasmas New measurements and simulations of plasma rotation in the DIII-D National Fusion Facility are advancing our understanding and predictive capability for the self-organized "intrinsic rotation" in tokamaks. It is commonly understood that improved plasma confinement and stability in tokamaks comes through generation of sheared plasma flow, in which one part of the hot gas flows faster than the other. Such flows are typically generated by injection of neutral beam particles that spin the plasma. It has long been assumed that without these beams, there may not be much rotation or shear. However, the present work shows that simply heating the plasma can cause it to generate a sheared flow.. The model shows that heating the core can cause the outer region of the plasma to flow in one direction, while the core flows in the other. Causing this shear is intrinsic torque, a twisting force that produces the rotation. We have a first quantitative understanding, through simulations of plasma turbulence, of how these processes happen. In these simulations, performed by the GTS code, the turbulence generates a torque that causes the plasma to spin. The plasma flow is generated by the variation of the turbulence with radius, causing the plasma to accelerate from rest and drive differential flow, like the atmospheric jet stream or the bands of Jupiter. This flow represents the balance between the intrinsic torque driven by the turbulence, and the viscosity of the plasma that keeps the gas from spinning arbitrarily fast. Simulations with GTS are able to predict the plasma rotation, and it agrees very well with the observed rotation in both shape and magnitude. The key remaining challenge is how to project these processes to ITER, the international tokamak under construction in France, which requires very large simulations that push the limits of present high-performance computing. A unique model for finding the equilibria of magnetically perturbed plasmas Among the key challenges for producing magnetic fusion energy is controlling instabilities known as "edge localized modes" (ELMs). These disturbances at the edge of fusion plasmas can damage components that face the plasma in doughnut-shaped devices called tokamaks that house fusion reactions. A popular method for coping with this problem uses "resonant magnetic perturbations" (RMPs) to deal with the instabilities. These perturbations, produced by specialized magnetic coils, have mitigated ELMs in tokamaks today. However, researchers are unable to predict how the perturbations will affect ITER, the huge international tokamak under construction in France, for which ELMs could become a major problem. Now PPPL physicists, together with researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics in Germany, have produced a promising new model for comprehending the processes involved. It departs from conventional theory that has failed to find solutions that can be realized in physical terms. The older models employed mathematically ill-posed questions, said PPPL physicist Stuart Hudson. Such questions lacked solutions, he said. The new model takes a novel look at the relationship between the two major forces inside tokamaks -- the pressure of the plasma that fuels fusion reactions and the strength of the magnetic field that confines the plasma in place. The inclusion of RMPs transforms the problem into finding states in which the pressure force and the magnetic force are balanced within so-called three-dimensional boundaries. The model suggests that a mathematical "discontinuous boundary" should be imposed on the problem. This leads to a "discontinuous solution" that can be used to determine the balance between the two forces. With that solution in hand, the model finds that RMPs will penetrate into the core of the plasma, whereas conventional theory holds that they will be stopped short of the core. At the same time, pressure inside the core will amplify the perturbations, according to the model, and give them greater impact. These findings could serve as a tool for future operators of ITER. Knowing the depth of RMP penetration, and the fact of its amplification, could lead to much improved modeling of the response of ITER to perturbations used to mitigate the ELMs the giant tokamak will experience. PPPL, on Princeton University's Forrestal Campus in Plainsboro, N.J., is devoted to creating new knowledge about the physics of plasmas -- ultra-hot, charged gases -- and to developing practical solutions for the creation of fusion energy. The Laboratory is managed by the University for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science, which is the largest single supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov(link is external).


News Article | November 29, 2016
Site: www.prweb.com

Nearly half of small businesses use business debit, creating both a strong user base and an opportunity to grow for debit issuers. However, use of personal demand deposit accounts (DDAs) and debit products persists, even among larger small businesses. Converting additional businesses to debit may be harder than it should be. Mercator Advisory Group’s latest research note, Small Business Debit: Hiding in Plain Sight, examines the penetration of business debit cards among small businesses in the United States and explores the continued use of personal demand deposit accounts and debit cards among many firms. In addition, the roles of online checking account access and bill-payment services are explored as key small business payment services. “Small business debit, credit, and charge cards are widely used payment products that help small businesses manage their spending and separate it from the business owner’s household accounts. This is a critical best practice for financial management. The leap to business cards, separate from the owner’s personal cards, is one which business owners may overlook and which debit issuers should address,” comments Ken Paterson, Director, Vice President of Research Operations at Mercator Advisory Group and author of the research note. This report has 8 pages and 3 exhibits. Members of Mercator Advisory Group’s Debit Advisory Service have access to these reports as well as the upcoming research for the year ahead, presentations, analyst access, and other membership benefits. For more information and media inquiries, please call Mercator Advisory Group's main line: (781) 419-1700, send email to media(at)mercatoradvisorygroup(dot)com. For free industry news, opinions, research, company information and more visit us at http://www.PaymentsJournal.com. About Mercator Advisory Group Mercator Advisory Group is the leading independent research and advisory services firm exclusively focused on the payments and banking industries. We deliver pragmatic and timely research and advice designed to help our clients uncover the most lucrative opportunities to maximize revenue growth and contain costs. Our clients range from the world's largest payment issuers, acquirers, processors, merchants and associations to leading technology providers and investors. Mercator Advisory Group is also the publisher of the online payments and banking news and information portal PaymentsJournal.com


News Article | October 25, 2016
Site: phys.org

Researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratories (PPPL) and collaborating institutions presented results from research on the National Spherical Torus Experiment Upgrade (NSTX-U) during October at the 26th International Atomic Energy Agency Conference (IAEA) in Kyoto, Japan. The four-year upgrade doubled the magnetic field strength, plasma current and heating power capability of the predecessor facility and made the NSTX-U the most powerful fusion facility of its kind. Here are first results of the upgrade and related IAEA research presentations. Physics results of the first 10-weeks of NSTX-U operation The NSTX-U delivered important physics and operational results during its first research campaign under the run coordination leadership of Program Director Jon Menard and Head of Experimental Research Operations Stefan Gerhardt. Principal results and achievements included: Researchers now look forward to continuing their investigation of key issues needed to develop fusion energy when NSTX-U repairs are completed and the spherical tokamak resumes operation. The popular "predator-prey" model cannot explain the transition to H-mode on the NSTX tokamak A key challenge to the production of magnetic fusion energy is preventing heat from escaping the core of the superhot plasma held in doughnut-shaped devices called tokamaks. Researchers have long known that a slight increase in heating power can reduce turbulence near the edge of the tokamak, shifting the plasma to an H-mode (high confinement) regime that reduces energy leakage. But what causes this disappearing turbulence? Researchers at PPPL have found that a popular explanation known as the "predator-prey" model cannot account for the reduction. It posits that the turbulence dumps its energy into a benign spinning of the plasma called "mean poloidal flows" that does not transport heat. For this to happen, the reduction in turbulent energy must roughly equal the increased energy of the mean flows. To test this theory, the PPPL physicists used a gas puff imaging (GPI) diagnostic that let them directly see turbulent plasma fluctuations in the edge region of PPPL's National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX), the laboratory's flagship fusion facility, which has since been upgraded. By pumping small amounts of neutral gas into the plasma, they caused the neutrals to interact with the plasma and glow. A fast camera recorded the glow and revealed how the turbulence evolved in space and time. The researchers were also able to infer the velocity of the plasma, enabling evaluation of energy in both the turbulence and the mean flows. This showed that the energy in the mean flows was never more than a few percent of the energy in the turbulence before the shift to H-mode. With this result, the mystery of the H-mode deepens again. However, by ruling out the predator-prey model, the findings may refocus efforts on other contenders. This could increase the chances of identifying the physics behind the mysterious H-mode, and facilitate the ability to employ it for the success of future fusion reactors. PPPL and DIII-D Advance Understanding of Sheared Rotation that Helps Stabilize Fusion Plasmas New measurements and simulations of plasma rotation in the DIII-D National Fusion Facility are advancing our understanding and predictive capability for the self-organized "intrinsic rotation" in tokamaks. It is commonly understood that improved plasma confinement and stability in tokamaks comes through generation of sheared plasma flow, in which one part of the hot gas flows faster than the other. Such flows are typically generated by injection of neutral beam particles that spin the plasma. It has long been assumed that without these beams, there may not be much rotation or shear. However, the present work shows that simply heating the plasma can cause it to generate a sheared flow.. The model shows that heating the core can cause the outer region of the plasma to flow in one direction, while the core flows in the other. Causing this shear is intrinsic torque, a twisting force that produces the rotation. We have a first quantitative understanding, through simulations of plasma turbulence, of how these processes happen. In these simulations, performed by the GTS code, the turbulence generates a torque that causes the plasma to spin. The plasma flow is generated by the variation of the turbulence with radius, causing the plasma to accelerate from rest and drive differential flow, like the atmospheric jet stream or the bands of Jupiter. This flow represents the balance between the intrinsic torque driven by the turbulence, and the viscosity of the plasma that keeps the gas from spinning arbitrarily fast. Simulations with GTS are able to predict the plasma rotation, and it agrees very well with the observed rotation in both shape and magnitude. The key remaining challenge is how to project these processes to ITER, the international tokamak under construction in France, which requires very large simulations that push the limits of present high-performance computing. A unique model for finding the equilibria of magnetically perturbed plasmas Among the key challenges for producing magnetic fusion energy is controlling instabilities known as "edge localized modes" (ELMs). These disturbances at the edge of fusion plasmas can damage components that face the plasma in doughnut-shaped devices called tokamaks that house fusion reactions. A popular method for coping with this problem uses "resonant magnetic perturbations" (RMPs) to deal with the instabilities. These perturbations, produced by specialized magnetic coils, have mitigated ELMs in tokamaks today. However, researchers are unable to predict how the perturbations will affect ITER, the huge international tokamak under construction in France, for which ELMs could become a major problem. Now PPPL physicists, together with researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics in Germany, have produced a promising new model for comprehending the processes involved. It departs from conventional theory that has failed to find solutions that can be realized in physical terms. The older models employed mathematically ill-posed questions, said PPPL physicist Stuart Hudson. Such questions lacked solutions, he said. The new model takes a novel look at the relationship between the two major forces inside tokamaks—the pressure of the plasma that fuels fusion reactions and the strength of the magnetic field that confines the plasma in place. The inclusion of RMPs transforms the problem into finding states in which the pressure force and the magnetic force are balanced within so-called three-dimensional boundaries. The model suggests that a mathematical "discontinuous boundary" should be imposed on the problem. This leads to a "discontinuous solution" that can be used to determine the balance between the two forces. With that solution in hand, the model finds that RMPs will penetrate into the core of the plasma, whereas conventional theory holds that they will be stopped short of the core. At the same time, pressure inside the core will amplify the perturbations, according to the model, and give them greater impact. These findings could serve as a tool for future operators of ITER. Knowing the depth of RMP penetration, and the fact of its amplification, could lead to much improved modeling of the response of ITER to perturbations used to mitigate the ELMs the giant tokamak will experience. Explore further: Simulations suggest that magnetic fields can calm plasma instabilities


Kamat S.A.,HealthCore Inc. | Kamat S.A.,Research Operations | Bullano M.F.,Astrazeneca | Chang C.-L.,HealthCore Inc. | And 2 more authors.
Current Medical Research and Opinion | Year: 2011

Background: Suboptimal adherence to lipid-lowering therapies is associated with and potentially contributes to increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Single-pill combination (SPC) lipid-modifying therapies may improve patient adherence due to decreased pill burden and increased convenience for the patient. Objective: To compare adherence to SPC versus multi-pill combination (MPC) lipid-modifying medications. Methods: This retrospective study used pharmacy and medical claims and laboratory result data from a national managed care dataset to evaluate patients who were newly prescribed simvastatin plus ezetimibe, simvastatin plus niacin, and lovastatin plus niacin either as SPC or MPC. Patients were considered adherent to therapy if they had a proportion of days covered (PDC) â‰1 0.80. Results: The mean PDC was 0.76 and 0.70 in the first 3 months of therapy, 0.54 and 0.45 in the second 3 months, and 0.50 and 0.41 for the remaining 30 months of follow-up for the SPC and MPC groups, respectively. SPC patients were 32% (OR = 1.32; 95% CI: 1.27-1.36; P<0.01) more likely to be adherent to treatment than MPC patients. Conclusion: Adherence was significantly higher among patients receiving SPC than MPC. Although only associations and not temporality were assessed due to the observational design of this study, the use of SPC may be a successful method for improving adherence in a real-world setting. © 2011 Informa UK Ltd.


Kuter D.J.,Massachusetts General Hospital | Macahilig C.,Research Operations | Grotzinger K.M.,Glaxosmithkline | Poston S.A.,Glaxosmithkline | And 3 more authors.
International Journal of Hematology | Year: 2015

This observational study aimed to assess real-world treatment patterns and clinical outcomes for patients with chronic immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) currently being treated with eltrombopag or romiplostim after switching from corticosteroids, rituximab, or the alternate thrombopoietin receptor agonist (TPO-RA). The study examined the rationale for switching to TPO-RA therapy using aided responses. Dosing patterns were also analyzed before and after switching. Treatment outcomes were assessed through platelet counts at multiple time points including treatment initiation and after switching at the last office visit. A total of 280 patients were enrolled whose active therapy for ITP was replaced with either eltrombopag (n = 130) or romiplostim (n = 150). Efficacy-related issues (desired platelet count not achieved and/or lack of response to prior therapy) were the main drivers for therapy switching among all patients (54 % for eltrombopag vs. 57 % for romiplostim). Platelet counts at the last office visit showed improvement compared with counts at the initiation of either eltrombopag or romiplostim treatment. No significant differences were noted when comparing clinical outcomes between the eltrombopag and romiplostim treatment cohorts. Our results suggest that switching to the other TPO-RA may be beneficial if there is inadequate response to treatment with the initial TPO-RA. © 2015, The Japanese Society of Hematology.


Deepa M.,Madras Diabetes Research Foundation And Dr Mohans Diabetes Specialities Center | Pradeepa R.,Research Operations | Anjana R.M.,Madras Diabetes Research Foundation And Dr Mohans Diabetes Specialities Center | Mohan V.,Madras Diabetes Research Foundation And Dr Mohans Diabetes Specialities Center
Indian Journal of Community Medicine | Year: 2011

Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are reaching epidemic proportions worldwide and in India. Surveillance of NCD risk factors are therefore needed as they could help in policy planning and implementation of preventive measures. This article will focus on the experiences gained, and challenges faced, in conducting NCD risk factor surveillance studies in India. Two major surveillance studies on NCDs were conducted in India - the World Health Organization (WHO) - Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) NCD risk factor surveillance study and the Integrated Disease Surveillance Project (IDSP). The WHO-ICMR study was a six-site pilot study representing six different geographical locations in India with a sample size of 44,537 including rural, peri-urban/slum and urban. Phase 1 of the IDSP was completed and included seven states in India with a sample size of 5000 per state. The NCD risk factor surveillance showed that high prevalence of diabetes, hypertension and obesity in urban areas with slightly lower prevalence rates in semi-urban and rural areas. There are several challenges in obtaining data on NCD risk factors, which include challenges in obtaining anthropometric and blood pressure measures and in assessing tobacco consumption, diet and physical activity. The challenges in field operations include contacting and convincing subjects, creating rapport, tracking subjects, climatic conditions, recall ability and interviewer skills. Success in surveillance studies depends on anticipating and managing these challenges. Conclusion: Improving country-level surveillance and monitoring is a valuable step in prevention and control of NCDs in India.


News Article | December 2, 2016
Site: www.prweb.com

In March 2016, Mercator Advisory Group fielded a web-based survey of U.S. small businesses (between $500 thousand and $5 million annual sales) regarding their use of banking and payments service. Payment Acceptance in a Complex Environment is the first of three reports summarizing the results of the 2016 Small Business Payments and Banking Survey. The survey contained questions on today’s business sentiment, payment acceptance services, business-to-business (B2B) payments, and banking depository and loan services. Forthcoming companion reports summarize the survey’s findings on business-to-business payments and business banking services. A copy of the survey questionnaire, developed by Mercator Advisory group in consultation with our clients, can be found in the report’s appendix. “What emerges from our survey data is a picture that is both reassuring and threatening to providers of payment services,” notes Ken Paterson, Mercator Advisory Group’s Vice President of Research Operations, the author of this report. “On one hand, small businesses deal primarily with one payments provider On the other hand, ancillary payment service providers are joining the mix, offering businesses an alternative source of expertise and service that address their increasingly complex and specialized payments needs.” In total, over 1,600 qualified responses were obtained from decision makers at revenue-qualified small businesses that accept credit and/or debit cards for payment. The sample included a geographically dispersed quota of 500 responses from businesses with annual sales of $2–5 million and the remainder from businesses with annual sales of $500,000–$1.99 million. This report contains 60 pages and 57 exhibits. Subscribers to Mercator Advisory Group’s 2016 Small Business Payments and Banking Survey have access to these reports as well as survey crosstabs, PowerPoint slides of the report exhibits, and the option of requesting custom queries from the survey data. For more information and media inquiries, please call Mercator Advisory Group's main line: (781) 419-1700, or send email to media(at)mercatoradvisorygroup(dot)com. For free industry news, opinions, research, company information and more, visit us at http://www.PaymentsJournal.com. About Mercator Advisory Group Mercator Advisory Group is the leading independent research and advisory services firm exclusively focused on the payments and banking industries. We deliver pragmatic and timely research and advice designed to help our clients uncover the most lucrative opportunities to maximize revenue growth and contain costs. Our clients range from the world's largest payment issuers, acquirers, processors, merchants and associations to leading technology providers and investors. Mercator Advisory Group is also the publisher of the online payments and banking news and information portal PaymentsJournal.com.

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