News Article | March 2, 2017
Columbus, Ohio - A new study by researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC - James) has identified a mechanism by which cancer cells develop resistance to a class of drugs called fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) inhibitors. Published in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, the study also found that use of a second inhibitor might improve the effectiveness of these drugs by possibly preventing resistance, and it recommends that clinical trials should be designed to include a second inhibitor. FGFR inhibitors are a new family of targeted agents designed to inhibit the action of the fibroblast growth factor receptor, which is often overexpressed in lung, bladder, biliary and breast cancers. "Understanding how drug resistance develops can help in the design of new agents or strategies to overcome resistance," says principal investigator Sameek Roychowdhury, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine and of pharmacology in the Division of Medical Oncology at the OSUCCC - James. "Our paper demonstrates in a laboratory model how cancer can evade this class of therapy, and it provides insights into how clinical trials for these therapies could be further developed to overcome the problem of drug resistance," he adds. The laboratory study by Roychowdhury and his colleagues induced resistance to the FGFR inhibitor BGJ398 in lung- and bladder-cancer cells after long-term exposure to the agent. The researchers then found that, while the drug continued to inhibit FGFR activity in the resistant cells, its inhibition of FGFR signaling had no appreciable effect on the cells' survival. Examining other molecules in the FGFR pathway, the researchers found that a regulatory protein called Akt remained highly active, even during FGFR inhibition. Akt, a key regulator of cell biology, is directly involved in cell proliferation, cell survival and cell growth. Furthermore, they found that by inhibiting Akt they could significantly slow cell proliferation, cell migration and cell invasion in the lung cancer and bladder cancer cells. "Fibroblast growth factor receptor inhibitors are new therapies being developed in clinical trials for patients whose cancer cells have genetic alterations in this family of genes," says Roychowdhury, a member of the OSUCCC - James Translational Therapeutics Program. "We believe our findings will help improve this therapy for lung, bladder and other cancers." This work was supported by funding from the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Cancer Society, the Prostate Cancer Foundation, Fore Cancer Research, American Lung Association and Pelotonia. Other Ohio State researchers involved in this study were Jharna Datta, Senthilkumar Damodaran, Hannah Parks, Cristina Ocrainiciuc, Jharna Miya, Lianbo Yu, Elijah P. Gardner, Eric Samorodnitsky, Michele R. Wing, Darshna Bhatt, John Hays and Julie W. Reeser. The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute strives to create a cancer-free world by integrating scientific research with excellence in education and patient-centered care, a strategy that leads to better methods of prevention, detection and treatment. Ohio State is one of only 47 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers and one of only a few centers funded by the NCI to conduct both phase I and phase II clinical trials on novel anticancer drugs sponsored by the NCI. As the cancer program's 308-bed adult patient-care component, The James is one of the top cancer hospitals in the nation as ranked by U.S. News & World Report and has achieved Magnet designation, the highest honor an organization can receive for quality patient care and professional nursing practice. At 21 floors and with more than 1.1 million square feet, The James is a transformational facility that fosters collaboration and integration of cancer research and clinical cancer care. For more information, please visit cancer.osu.edu.
News Article | January 26, 2017
Fecal transplant may sound gross but according to a new study from Ohio State University, fecal transplants may actually be beneficial to children with autism. Fecal transplant, otherwise known as bacteriotherapy, is the method of introducing microbes from healthy donors into the gastrointestinal (GI) tract of people suffering from severe stomach problems, such as recurrent C. difficile colitis. Fecal transplant efficiently replenishes the good bacteria or probiotics that have been killed or suppressed, usually through the excessive use of antibiotics. In the study, the researchers used microbiota transfer therapy or fecal microbiota transplant (FMT). In FMT, fecal sample is collected from the healthy donor, mixed with a saline or other solution, filtered, and transferred to the patient via colonoscopy, endoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, or enema. "Transplants are working for people with other gastrointestinal problems. And, with autism, gastrointestinal symptoms are often severe, so we thought this could be potentially valuable," said Ann Gregory, one of the study's lead authors and a microbiology graduate student at The Ohio State University. The study, which is set to be published in the journal Microbiome, looked into 18 kids diagnosed with autism and moderate to severe GI conditions. Both doctors and parents reported that they saw positive changes in all of the participants' stomach health and behavior autism symptoms that lasted eight weeks after the fecal transplant treatment was done. Nevertheless, parents with autistic children should never attempt to do fecal transplant at home. "More research is needed before this can be used for treatment," Gregory warned. "Microbiota should be very carefully screened, and the treatment should be done under medical supervision." Gastrointestinal disorders are consistently seen among children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Research shows 70 percent of the children with ASD had GI issues compared to 42 percent of the children with developmental disorder other than ASD. Autistic individuals, like everyone else, are also susceptible to gastritis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and severe food allergies. The exact reason behind why GI disorders are more pervasive in children with autism is yet unknown. However, there is a push for researchers to focus their work on addressing autism during the early life of children. "Even though GI symptoms are common in early childhood, physicians should be mindful that children with ASD may be experiencing more GI difficulties in the first three years of life," autism researchers from Columbia University, wrote in the March 25 issue of the journal JAMA Psychiatry. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
News Article | February 28, 2017
Kevin Stevenson to become CEO following Annual Meeting in June 2017; Steve Fredrickson will become executive chairman of the PRA Board of Directors NORFOLK, Va., Feb. 28, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- PRA Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:PRAA), a global leader in acquiring and collecting nonperforming loans, today announced that Kevin Stevenson will succeed Steve Fredrickson as the chief executive officer of the Company following the 2017 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, which will be held on June 1, 2017. Mr. Stevenson, who co-founded PRA Group and currently serves as president and chief administrative officer, is being appointed as a part of the Board of Directors’ long-term succession plan which was developed when Mr. Fredrickson informed the Board of his desire to eventually step down as CEO. The plan included Mr. Stevenson’s appointment as president and CAO as well as a director of the Board in August 2015. Mr. Fredrickson, who has served as CEO since founding PRA Group with Mr. Stevenson, will transition to a new role as executive chairman of the PRA Group Board of Directors, where he will continue to focus on helping PRA Group’s strategy, vision and business development efforts. This planned succession was designed to position the Company for continued success while building on the foundation and principles the Company has maintained for the past 21 years. “I am proud of what our team has been able to accomplish, building PRA Group into a global leader with a long track record of growth and success,” said Steve Fredrickson, chairman and chief executive officer. “I have worked closely with Kevin for more than two decades since before we founded PRA Group, and I am confident in handing the reins to such a qualified leader who shares my commitment to PRA Group’s vision and values. Together, we believe now is the right time to transition to the next generation of leadership. Kevin is the best person to lead the Company forward into its next phase of growth and has tremendous experience throughout the entire organization from his roles as CFO, CAO and President. I look forward to staying involved with the Company in my new role as executive chairman and continuing to work with Kevin and the rest of the Board to keep driving the business forward.” “On behalf of the entire board, I would like to thank Steve for his leadership, commitment and innumerable contributions to PRA Group,” said David Roberts, lead independent director. “Steve, together with Kevin, has built PRA Group into an industry leader from the ground up. We appreciate Steve’s continued dedication to the Company during this transition process and look forward to benefiting from his experience and knowledge as executive chairman.” Continued Roberts, “The Board began executing a thorough and deliberate succession planning process several years ago when Steve indicated his desire to eventually step down, and we believe that Kevin is the ideal candidate to serve as PRA Group’s next CEO. With the assistance of an outside search firm, we looked at potential candidates for this role, and Kevin’s experience and background stood out above all others. During his time at PRA Group, Kevin has overseen nearly every aspect of the Company, having served in both operational and financial roles. He successfully transitioned from the CFO role to President in 2015 and has been instrumental in driving the Company’s core strategy since the beginning. Kevin has made significant contributions to position the Company for long-term success, and we are confident he will be a strong leader for PRA Group.” “I am honored by the confidence that the PRA Group Board has placed in me through this appointment as the Company’s second CEO,” said Mr. Stevenson. “PRA Group has an enviable position as a global industry leader due to a relentless focus on operational excellence and disciplined growth, and I am committed to building on our successful 21-year track record to ensure we continue to deliver enhanced shareholder returns. On behalf of PRA Group’s 4,000 employees across the world, I would also like to thank Steve for his contributions to the Company. It has been an honor to serve alongside Steve, and I look forward to working closely with him over the next several months to execute a smooth and orderly transition.” About Kevin Stevenson Mr. Stevenson co-founded PRA with Steve Fredrickson in 1996. Over his two decades at PRA Group, Mr. Stevenson has served in numerous operational and financial roles, and has managed a broad range of functions, including Accounting and Finance, Collection Operations, Quality Control, Investor Relations, IT, HR and Property. Mr. Stevenson served as the Company’s first chief financial officer and successfully led the Company through its IPO in 2002, multiple secondary offerings, several syndicated loan transactions, a convertible debt issuance and numerous transactions, including the Company’s transformative acquisition of Aktiv Kapital in 2014. In August 2015, the Board appointed Mr. Stevenson as president and chief administrative officer and named him as a director of the board. Before co-founding PRA, he served as controller and department manager of financial control and operations support at Household Recovery Services (HRSC) from 1994 to 1996. Prior to joining HRSC, Mr. Stevenson held various positions at Household Bank from 1987-1994, culminating in his role as controller of Household Bank's regional processing center in Worthington, Ohio, where he also managed the collections, technology, research and ATM departments. Mr. Stevenson is a Certified Public Accountant and received his bachelor’s degree in Accounting from The Ohio State University. He currently serves on the boards of the Sandler Center Foundation, the Greater Norfolk Corporation, as well as the EQUI-KIDS Therapeutic Riding Program of Virginia Beach, Virginia. About Steve Fredrickson Mr. Fredrickson co-founded PRA with Mr. Stevenson in 1996. He has been CEO since that time, and has been Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO from PRA Group’s 2002 IPO. Under his leadership, PRA has grown from a start-up to a global leader in nonperforming loan purchasing and servicing with more than 4,000 employees in 14 countries. Mr. Fredrickson has 35 years of experience in financial services including leadership roles at Household Recovery Services’ Portfolio Services Group and Household Commercial Financial Services. Prior to joining Household, Mr. Fredrickson specialized in corporate and real estate workouts at Continental Bank of Chicago. Mr. Fredrickson has an MBA from the University of Illinois and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Denver. In addition, he is very active in the community, serving as a member of the board of directors for United Way of South Hampton Roads and the St. Mary’s Home Foundation. He is also on the executive advisory council of the College of Business and Public Administration at Old Dominion University and is a Trustee of the Eastern Virginia Medical School Foundation. About PRA Group As a global leader in acquiring and collecting nonperforming loans, PRA Group, Inc. returns capital to banks and other creditors to help expand financial services for consumers in the Americas and Europe. With over 4,000 employees worldwide, PRA Group companies collaborate with customers to help them resolve their debt and provide a broad range of additional revenue and recovery services to business clients. For more information, please visit www.pragroup.com. About Forward Looking Statements Statements made herein which are not historical in nature, including PRA Group’s or its management's intentions, beliefs, expectations, projections, plans or predictions of the future, are forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. The forward-looking statements in this press release are based upon management's current beliefs, estimates, assumptions and expectations of PRA Group’s future operations and financial and economic performance, taking into account currently available information. These statements are not statements of historical fact or guarantees of future performance, and there can be no assurance that anticipated events will transpire or that our expectations will prove to be correct. Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, some of which are not currently known to PRA Group. Actual events or results may differ materially from those expressed or implied in any such forward-looking statements as a result of various factors, including risk factors and other risks that are described from time to time in PRA Group’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission including but not limited to PRA Group’s annual reports on Form 10-K, its quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and its current reports on Form 8-K, which are available through PRA Group's website and contain a detailed discussion of PRA Group's business, including risks and uncertainties that may affect future results. Due to such uncertainties and risks, you are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements, which speak only as of today. Information in this press release may be superseded by recent information or statements, which may be disclosed in later press releases, subsequent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission or otherwise. Except as required by law, PRA Group assumes no obligation to publicly update or revise its forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect any change in PRA Group’s expectations with regard thereto or to reflect any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such forward-looking statements are based, in whole or in part.
News Article | February 24, 2017
COLUMBUS, OH, February 24, 2017-- Robert J. Holland has been included in Marquis Who's Who. As in all Marquis Who's Who biographical volumes, individuals profiled are selected on the basis of current reference value. Factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility, and prominence in a field are all taken into account during the selection process.Now retired from an illustrious legal career during which he practiced banking, finance and estate planning law, Mr. Holland has more than 50 years of experience. After receiving a bachelor's degree from Yale University and a JD from The Ohio State University, he worked for Chester & Rose as an associate from 1963 until 1967. He then served as general counsel for BancOhio Financial and later became partner in Bodiker & Holland. From 1971 to 1985, Mr. Holland acted as general counsel for the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, which aims to encourage progression in the areas of transportation, housing, infrastructure and economic development. For 10 years, as an attorney for the city of Upper Arlington, he adhered to the highest standards of ethics and accountability in public service. He served as general counsel to Payments Central from its inception until he retired in May, 2003; Payments Central is an Ohio member of the National Automated Clearinghouse Association.Mr. Holland is a founder and former member of the board of directors of the Wellington School in Columbus. He was also president of the Central Ohio Transit Authority board of directors from 1971 to 1974. An active member of the legal community, he has been a member of the American Bar Association, the Ohio State Bar Association, and the Ethics Committee of the Columbus Bar Association, and chaired the latter organization's Law Institutes Committee. He is also affiliated with the International Food and Wine Society, Union League Club of Chicago, the Scioto Country Club and Trout Unlimited, as he enjoys fly fishing.In recognition of his commitment to professional and personal excellence, Mr. Holland was honored as one of Ten Outstanding Men by the Columbus Jaycees. He has been included in several editions of Who's Who in America, Who's Who in American Law, as well as the 37th edition of Who's Who in Finance and Business.About Marquis Who's Who :Since 1899, when A. N. Marquis printed the First Edition of Who's Who in America , Marquis Who's Who has chronicled the lives of the most accomplished individuals and innovators from every significant field of endeavor, including politics, business, medicine, law, education, art, religion and entertainment. Today, Who's Who in America remains an essential biographical source for thousands of researchers, journalists, librarians and executive search firms around the world. Marquis publications may be visited at the official Marquis Who's Who website at www.marquiswhoswho.com
News Article | February 15, 2017
Modality Solutions, LLC, a privately-held company that delivers integrated cold chain management solutions for highly regulated life sciences and food industries, has hired Gabrielle Mosiniak as one of the firm’s consulting engineers. Mosiniak attended The Ohio State University where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in biomedical engineering with a minor in biology. She was awarded the Provost Scholarship and graduated cum laude. Mosiniak assists with laboratory testing and completes protocols and reports for distribution and thermal testing at Modality's’ Advantage Transport Simulation Laboratory™. She also writes and updates standard operating procedures, and she assembles data packages for reporting. Through these responsibilities, Mosiniak consistently works with clients to listen to their needs so that she can design and develop cold chain packaging based on their parameters and objectives. Prior to joining the cold chain management team, Mosiniak worked for The Ohio State University Biomedical Engineering Department’s Summer Design Experience, where she implemented the Engineering Design Process to improve prototypes of past senior design projects. Working in a team-based environment, she focused on sensory prosthesis and red blood cell filter projects as well as gained experience with machining parts, simple circuit design, and Arduino programming. Mosiniak’s academic engineering projects expanded to Nanjing, China where she was selected to participate in international design research focused on heparin nanoparticles for cancer treatment at Nanjing University. Locally, as part of her senior year design project, the Lower Extremity Postural Support, she has been part of the interdisciplinary team collaborating with clinical and community mentors to reach the goal of designing and building a wheelchair to support residual limbs of patients with amputations. “Gabrielle joining our team of cold chain management experts supports our goals for continued growth,” said Modality Solutions President, Gary Hutchinson. “We are excited to have Gabrielle bring her experience to our proprietary transport simulation lab. She works independently and in collaboration with others to provide program management assistance as it relates to thermal packaging engineering solutions for our clients from highly-regulated industries such as life sciences, food, and biotechnology.” | To learn more about Modality Solutions visit http://www.modality-solutions.com. About Modality Solutions, LLC Founded in 2011 Modality Solutions delivers integrated cold chain management solutions for highly regulated industries. Its Advantage Transportation Simulation Laboratory™ tests the effects of transportation environmental hazards on formulations. Key areas of service are: ensure regulatory compliance; deliver cold chain thermal packaging design / qualification and controlled-environment logistics solutions; conduct transport simulation testing; decrease development cycle times for a faster route-to-market; develop transport validation strategies to support global regulatory applications; and clinical trial operations. The company's subject matter experts are frequent presenters at global cold chain industry conferences. For more information visit http://www.modality-solutions.com.
News Article | March 1, 2017
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Even nations can have friends of friends, a new study has found. Results suggest these indirect relationships have a surprisingly strong ability to prevent major conflicts, and that international military alliances may matter more than we typically expect. Many studies have shown that nations with military alliances are less likely to go to war. But this new study is the first to show that neighboring countries without direct alliances are still unlikely to have serious conflicts, as long as they are indirectly connected through an ally in common. In fact, this peace dividend extends up to three degrees of separation without getting weaker: Nations are much less likely to have wars with their allies, the allies of their allies, and the allies of their allies' allies. "The peacemaking impact of an alliance between two countries goes beyond the two that signed the agreement," said Skyler Cranmer, lead author of the study and the Phillips & Henry associate professor of political science at The Ohio State University. "It permeates the network of alliances, like ripples in a pond, to prevent conflicts beyond the two countries that have the alliance." The researchers were surprised that the strength of these indirect relationships didn't decline until they went beyond three degrees, said co-author Aisha Bradshaw, a Ph.D. candidate in political science at Ohio State. "We didn't expect that. We thought the effect would decline with each degree of separation," Bradshaw said The study was published today in the journal Science Advances. The researchers examined all serious military conflicts worldwide from 1965 to 2000. This included all conflicts in which one country made a deliberate choice to deploy military force against another. They focused on conflicts between neighboring states, since very few nations have the ability to wage war beyond their borders. Results showed that the probability of a new conflict between two neighboring countries in a given year was between 3 and 4 percent for nations within three degrees of separation. But the probability of conflict nearly doubled for countries at four degrees of separation from each other. "The probability of conflict jumps dramatically once you get to four degrees," Cranmer said. "At that point, it appears that countries have much less in common that will keep the peace." There are many examples of these indirect alliances helping keep the peace. One is the lack of conflict between Turkey and Iran from 1965 to 1979, a period during which they were indirectly connected at two degrees of separation. After losing this connection in 1980, disputes arose between the neighbors, reaching a peak in 1987 when they had a militarized dispute with fatalities. What's the difference between three degrees and four degrees of separation between nations that dramatically changes the probability of conflict? In order to figure that out, the researchers divided the world into different communities of nations. A community of nations was defined as a group of countries that were more closely connected to each other - through their alliances - than they were to those outside of the community. "Not every member of a community is necessarily tied to every other member, but there is usually a short and clear path between them all," Cranmer said. The researchers found that nearly all members of each of these communities of nations were within three degrees of each other, which helped explain why the probability of conflict was so much lower for these countries. But any two countries that had four or more degrees of separation were almost always in different communities of nations. "At four degrees, the countries no longer share membership in common communities that represent shared interests," he said. But these communities, by themselves, couldn't explain the probability of war between any two countries. Results suggested that these overall community structures helped explain how the indirect ties worked to prevent conflict. Still, both factors played independent roles in keeping the peace. These results fit in with a growing body of evidence in science. "There's emerging evidence that this three-degree horizon of influence seems to be relatively common in human networks and can be found in political attitudes, health behaviors and the likelihood of smoking," Cranmer said. "But this is the first evidence of anything like this in a political network." The study shows the importance of ties between two countries, which can sometimes be forgotten in the conversation about the future of alliances like NATO, Bradshaw said. "An alliance between two countries can make peace more likely among a larger group of countries than just those two countries," she said. Other co-authors were Caitlin Clary, a Ph.D. candidate at Ohio State, and Weihua Li of Beihang University in China. Funding for the study came from the National Science Foundation and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation's Fellowship for Experienced Researchers.
News Article | February 15, 2017
Vandalia, OH: Triad Technologies, LLC (Triad) is proud to announce and welcome Jeff Knaus as the company’s Regional Sales Manager for the Southern Ohio region. Knaus will be responsible for sales and market share growth, as well as providing field support and developing sales talent within that geography. He will play a key role in driving sales strategies that align with corporate growth goals. “Jeff is a great addition to the Triad organization, as he brings with him years of experience in the fluid power industry,” stated Scott Schoepf, Vice President of Sales & Marketing. “His background in sales management combined with his knowledge of the Parker Hannifin product line makes him the ideal person to lead our Southern Ohio sales team.” Knaus comes to Triad from Parker Hannifin, where he has worked since 2001, most recently as Regional Sales Manager in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He received his undergraduate degree from The Ohio State University and his Masters of Business Administration from Augsburg College in Minneapolis. About Triad Technologies: Triad Technologies, LLC is a leading Ohio-based distributor of hydraulic, pneumatic, electromechanical, filtration and lubrication technologies. Triad is a premier full-service stocking distributor, Hydraulic Technology Center (HTC), Pneumatic Technology Center (PTC), Automation Technology Center (ATC) and Connector Technology Center (CTC) of Parker Hannifin. With 16 locations throughout Ohio, Triad provides product expertise, critical application knowledge and custom solutions to its customers with an emphasis on value-added services, including: technical support, 24/7 field service, and system design, hose assembly and repair service (http://www.triadtechnologies.com).
News Article | February 21, 2017
Eating a Mediterranean diet could decrease the chances an overweight person will experience regular pain, new research suggests. A well-established connection between body weight and chronic pain might be explained by inflammation in the body, and the study points to anti-inflammatory foods including fish, nuts and beans as a key to preventing or reducing that pain, said lead researcher Charles Emery, a professor of psychology at The Ohio State University. “We found that a healthy diet explained the link between weight and pain and specifically that seafood and plant proteins such as peas and nuts and beans were key,” said Emery, who is a member of Ohio State’s Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research. “It appears to be telling us that it’s not just the quantity of the food you eat that plays a role in pain for heavier individuals, but the quality of food as well.” The researchers developed a model to help them determine whether components of an anti-inflammatory diet high in fruits and vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats, played a role in the likelihood a person’s weight would contribute to pain. And they found a clear pattern. Eating more fish and plant-based proteins such as nuts and beans was linked with less pain, regardless of body weight. The study also upheld previous research showing that people who are overweight or obese are more likely to experience pain. It included 98 men and women 20 to 78 years old and appears this month in the journal Pain. “Obesity and pain are significant public health problems. This was an attempt to take a very detailed snapshot of how they might be related,” Emery said. “We were interested in the possibility of an inflammatory mechanism explaining the connection because we know there’s a high degree of inflammation associated with obesity and with pain.” The mediation model he and his team developed took into account weight, an analysis of self-reported dietary patterns (the Health Eating Index, a measure of diet quality based on U.S. dietary guidelines) and results of a two-question pain survey. Researchers spent three hours with each participant in his or her home. The researchers accounted for other factors that could influence their results, including age, depression, analgesic medication use and joint pain. And they tested the model using three different measures of weight – body mass index, waist circumference and body fat percentage. In all three cases, they found evidence that anti-inflammatory proteins may explain the link between increased weight and pain. “For people with obesity, it’s kind of like a cloud hanging over them because they experience high levels of pain and inflammation,” Emery said. The data came from a larger initial study that examined the home environment’s role on psychological and social functioning of obese people and people at a healthy weight. Potential weaknesses of the study include the lack of blood samples that would allow the researchers to look at inflammatory markers and the brevity of the pain measurement. The pain evaluation provides an indicator of pain experienced during the previous month, but does not account for chronic pain of a longer duration. Emery said his next step is to examine body fat and pain using biomarkers associated with inflammation. “I’m interested in how our work can contribute to effective treatments for overweight and obese individuals,” he said. Emery’s collaborators, all from Ohio State, were KayLoni Olson, Andrew Bodine, Victoria Lee and Diane Habash. The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences and Ohio State’s Food Innovation Center supported the study.
News Article | February 16, 2017
Headaches and backaches also come with the job, which lacks ergonomic guidelines COLUMBUS, Ohio--Getting a tattoo may hurt, but giving one is no picnic, either. That's the finding of the first study ever to directly measure the physical stresses that lead to aches and pains in tattoo artists--workers who support a multibillion-dollar American industry, but who often don't have access to workers' compensation if they get injured. Researchers at The Ohio State University measured the muscle exertions of 10 central Ohio tattoo artists while they were working, and found that all of them exceeded maximums recommended to avoid injury, especially in the muscles of their upper back and neck. In the journal Applied Ergonomics, the researchers presented their findings and offered some suggestions on how tattoo artists can avoid injury. The study was unique, explained Carolyn Sommerich, director of the Engineering Laboratory for Human Factors/Ergonomics/Safety at Ohio State. She and former master's student Dana Keester spent a summer "hanging out in tattoo parlors with our EMG equipment, cameras and a tripod," observing artists who agreed to work while wearing electrodes that precisely measured their muscle activity. The electrodes gathered data for 15 seconds every 3 minutes for the entirety of each tattoo session. Though a single tattoo session can last as long as 8 hours depending on the size and complexity of the tattoo, the sessions used in the study lasted anywhere from 1 to 3 hours. In addition, the researchers used a standardized observational assessment tool to assess each artist's posture every five minutes and took a picture to document each observation. To the researchers' knowledge, this is the first time that anyone has gathered such data from tattoo artists at work. To Keester, some reasons for the artists' discomfort were immediately obvious. She noted that they sit for prolonged periods of time, often taking a posture just like the one immortalized in Norman Rockwell's painting "Tattoo Artist"--they perch on low stools, lean forward, and crane their neck to keep their eyes close to the tattoo they're creating. All 10 tattoo artists exceeded recommended exertion limits in at least one muscle group. Most notable was the strain on their trapezius muscles--upper back muscles that connect the shoulder blades to either side of the neck, a common site for neck/shoulder pain. Some exceeded limits by as much as 25 percent, putting them at high risk for injury. Those findings mesh well with a prior survey of tattoo artists that Keester carried out at the Hell City Tattoo Festival in Columbus, Ohio, in 2014. Among the 34 artists surveyed, the most common complaints were back pain (94 percent), headache (88 percent), neck pain (85 percent) and eye pain (74 percent). Tattoo artists suffer ailments similar to those experienced by dentists and dental hygienists, the researchers concluded. Like dental workers, tattoo artists perform detailed work with their hands while leaning over clients. But, unlike dental workers, tattoo artists in the United States lack a national organization that sets ergonomic guidelines for avoiding injury. One of the main problems is that the industry doesn't have specialized seating to support both the artist and the client, said Sommerich. "There's no such thing as an official 'tattoo chair,' so artists adapt dental chairs or massage tables to make a client comfortable, and then they hunch over the client to create the tattoo," Sommerich said. Adding to the problem is the fact that many tattoo artists are independent contractors who rent studio space from shop owners, so they're not covered by workers' compensation if they get hurt on the job, Keester said. Despite these challenges, the Ohio State researchers came up with some suggestions that may help artists avoid injury. Artists could experiment with different kinds of chairs for themselves, and try to support their back and arms. They could change positions while they work, take more frequent breaks and use a mounted magnifying glass to see their work instead of leaning in. They can also consider asking the client to move into a position that is comfortable for both the client and the tattoo artist, Sommerich added. "If the client can stand or maybe lean on something while the artist sits comfortably, that may be a good option," she said. "Switch it up once in a while." In the United States, tattooing is a $2.3 billion industry. A 2016 Harris Poll found that a third of Americans have at least one tattoo, and an IBISWorld report estimated that the industry is growing at around 13 percent per year. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health provided funding for Keester's graduate studies.
News Article | February 22, 2017
Nitrogen fertilizers—used to grow crops around the globe—have a problem. After they’re applied to soil, more than three-quarters of their nutrients get washed away before plants can absorb them. That wastes money and creates environmental messes downstream. Now, researchers have used nanoparticles to create a potential solution: a fertilizer that releases nutrients over a week, giving crops more time to absorb them (ACS Nano 2017, DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.6b07781). Urea is a common nitrogen source in fertilizer, but it quickly breaks down into ammonia, which rainfall quickly flushes away. To account for that loss, farmers need to apply extra fertilizer to crops, which is expensive—especially for developing regions of the world where food supplies are unstable and populations are growing. Ammonia also can lead to harmful algal blooms in waterways and can enter the atmosphere as nitrogen dioxide, a potent greenhouse gas, says Gehan Amaratunga, an engineer at the University of Cambridge. Fertilizers that slow down the release of urea have multiple benefits. Slow-release fertilizers are available and consist of urea coated in water-insoluble sulfur or polymers. Such fertilizers reduce runoff, but they are expensive for general agricultural use and haven’t been shown to actually increase crop yield. Amaratunga and his colleagues decided to try a new strategy: They attached urea molecules to nanoparticles of hydroxyapatite, a naturally occurring form of calcium phosphate found in bone meal. Hydroxyapatite is nontoxic and a good source of phosphorus, which plants also need. Similar techniques have been used to create slow-release nanomedicines, Amaratunga says. In water, the urea-hydroxyapatite combination released nitrogen for about a week, compared with a few minutes for urea by itself. In field trials on rice in Sri Lanka, crop yields increased by 10%, even though the nanofertilizer delivered only half the amount of urea compared with traditional fertilizer. The scientists have also tested the fertilizer with maize, wheat, and tea plants. Amaratunga says the application regime—an initial application, followed by monthly reapplications—mirrors traditional methods of fertilization but requires far less substance. The cost of making the nanofertilizer is slightly higher than for conventional fertilizer, but that is offset by the reduction in the amount of fertilizer needed—and the environmental benefits of less runoff, Amaratunga says. The researchers say they expect the cost to come down as they scale up the manufacturing processes. This study’s results are impressive, says Richard Liu, a postdoctoral researcher at The Ohio State University who was not involved with the work. He says most of the studies published in past years haven’t shown whether conventional slow-release fertilizers actually produce more crops. The nanocomposite fertilizer looks more promising than other slow-release options for increasing crop yields and in reducing costs and environmental risks. He expects that this type of fertilizer could be used in most agricultural areas around the globe and on a variety of crops, such as wheat, corn, and soybeans. With a worldwide population growing to 9.6 billion, people will need creative strategies to grow more food with fewer resources, says Amaratunga. “This is globally relevant, and it’s not really very complicated. It’s one of these innovations where when someone sees it, they say, ‘That’s sort of obvious, but I never thought of it before.’”