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Children who undergo cataract surgery as infants have a 22% risk of glaucoma 10 years later, whether or not they receive an intraocular lens implant. The findings come from the National Eye Institute (NEI)-funded Infant Aphakic Treatment Study, which today published 10-year follow-up results in JAMA Ophthalmology. NEI is part of the National Institutes of Health.

“These findings underscore the need for long-term glaucoma surveillance among infant cataract surgery patients. They also provide some measure of assurance that it is not necessary to place an intraocular lens at the time of cataract surgery,” said Michael F. Chiang, M.D., director of NEI.

Cataract surgery in infancy increases glaucoma risk

The meshwork and angle are structures that allow fluid to exit the eye, as shown. Scientists speculate that surgery to remove the cataract interferes with the maturation of this “drainage” system that removes fluid from the infant’s eye, leading to increased eye pressure and damage to the child’s eye. Image credit: NEI

“The results challenge the notion that replacing the child’s lens with an implanted one protects the child from developing glaucoma, a belief among some pediatric ophthalmology surgeons,” said the trial’s principal investigator, Scott R. Lambert, M.D., professor of ophthalmology at Stanford University, Palo Alto, California.

At the time of cataract removal, the 114 study participants (ages 1-6 months) had been born with cataract in one eye. In the operating room, the infants were randomly assigned to receive an artificial lens implant or go without a lens, a condition called aphakia.

Annually, fewer than 2,500 children in the U.S. are born with cataract, a clouding of the eye’s lens.  Surgery is used to remove and replace the cloudy lens. To allow the child’s eye to focus light properly following removal of the cataract, an intraocular lens implant may be placed at surgery, or the eye may be left aphakic, and a contact lens (or glasses, if both eyes have had a cataract removed) may be used to provide the needed correction.

“I tell patients’ parents that implanting a lens in the infant’s eye is like buying your child’s wedding shoes when they’re an infant. It is hard to predict what final power the intraocular lens should have, without knowing how that eye will grow over the years, so placing a lens at the time of cataract removal in an infant involves estimation, and may not turn out to be correct. Hence the eye may end up needing strong glasses or even replacement of the original lens implant.,” said the lead author on the paper, Sharon F. Freedman, M.D., a pediatric glaucoma specialist at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina.

Children who undergo cataract removal have an increased risk of glaucoma, a sight-threatening condition that damages the optic nerve—the connection between the eye and brain. Scientists speculate that surgery to remove the cataract interferes with the maturation of how fluid flows out of the infant’s eye leading to increased eye pressure and optic nerve damage in some of these eyes.

Among the 110 children who were available for re-examination at 10 years, 25 eyes (24%) had developed glaucoma, and 21 eyes (20%) were glaucoma suspects due to elevated eye pressure. However, visual acuity was similar among those eyes that developed glaucoma compared to those eyes that had not.  The researchers found no evidence of glaucoma-related eye damage, assessed by imaging of the optic nerve head to measure the retinal nerve fiber layer thickness.

The investigators attribute the absence of glaucoma-related eye damage to close patient monitoring, as any sign of glaucoma was aggressively treated.

While the lifetime glaucoma risk trajectory for patients who have cataract removal as infants remains unknown, this study found that the risk of glaucoma after cataract removal rose from 9% at 1 year, to 17% at 5 years, and to 22% at 10 years.

“Any child who has had a cataract removed needs to be seen by an eye care provider once a year at a minimum,” said Freedman. “Any child diagnosed with glaucoma or above-normal intraocular pressure without signs of ocular damage — what we called glaucoma suspect — should be monitored every four to six months depending upon the stability of the condition and the health of the eye.”

At 10 years, 40% of the followed children had developed the diagnosis of glaucoma or glaucoma suspect. A glaucoma suspect is an eye that has above normal eye pressure or another feature suspicious but not diagnostic of glaucoma.

The findings also confirm that the timing of cataract surgery is a balancing act:  Whereas surgery at younger ages increases glaucoma risk, delaying surgery increases risk of amblyopia, a leading cause of visual impairment in children that results when cataract in one eye causes the brain to ignore signals from that eye and favor the other eye.

Future studies of glaucoma following cataract surgery in children will benefit from groundwork by the Infant Aphakic Treatment Study. Freedman said collaboration among the 12 study centers defined diagnostic standards for pediatric glaucoma and glaucoma suspect and criteria for glaucoma-related adverse events. “This cohort began the process leading to an international classification of childhood glaucoma in 2013 that is used around the world today,” she said.

Source: NIH




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Open source magic solves a months-long problem in 20 minutes

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Commentary: Capventis and other system integrators increasingly depend on open source to help them solve critical enterprise IT issues.

Image: iStock/undefined

As more enterprises lurch towards digital transformation and cloud-native architectures, accelerated by the urgency of business changes during the COVID pandemic, many depend on systems integrators (SIs) for help. If you look under the hood of most successful digital initiatives created by SIs (or any company), you’ll find the engine involves a great deal of open source software (up to 90%, according to Sonatype data).

This rush towards digital transformation preceded the pandemic, of course, as enterprises also saw the need to move faster in their markets and accelerate the introduction of new technologies. But SIs have become key partners in driving open source deeper into enterprise IT, with projects like GraphDB increasingly important to solve data integration issues. Capventis offers a good example of how this works. 

SEE: Research: Digital transformation plans shift due to COVID-19 (TechRepublic)

Data problems

Every industry is trying to get to the future as fast as possible, and telecommunications is no different. As Iain Morris called out in a Light Reading article, in 2018 France’s Orange estimated that a third of its global workforce–more than 50,000 employees–needed reskilling if the company hoped to keep up with cloud vendors. In that same article, Morris pointed out that Spain’s Telefonica figured it would need nearly $2 billion in staff training and early retirement buyouts to bring in new talent with new skills to be competitive.

Such telcos often turn to SIs, like UK-based Capventis, who in turn bring domain expertise and work primarily with clients in the Business Intelligence (BI), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and Customer Experience (CX) fields. These areas haven’t traditionally been ripe for open source, but even SIs with these focus areas rely on open source software to help their clients. It’s hard for even the best proprietary software vendors to keep pace with the innovation cycles of successful open source projects; so, these SIs will partner with companies like Alteryx, Qlik, Qualtrics, and Zendesk, augmenting their proprietary software with open source expertise.

In the case of Capventis, a big part of its projects involves pulling vast quantities of legacy and real-time data for its clients. It reminds me of a conversation from a decade ago with MuleSoft creator Ross Mason, who had started his career with an SI. He created MuleSoft (then called MuleSource) as something like an enterprise service bus to move lots of data around and connect it to an application or service. He kept having to do the same thing–moving lots of data–over and over for his clients, and he described it as “donkey work.” So he wrote MuleSource, which eventually ended up being acquired by Salesforce for more than $6 billion.

Today, Capventis faces the same challenges but at a larger scale, as data volume, variety, and velocity grow exponentially. “A client might have Zendesk for tickets and rely on Qualtrics for surveys,” said Mike Hawkes, CTO of Capventis. “But they all rest on a giant old Oracle database. There are typically many legacy systems that need to interact but none have a connector. And those that do have connectors don’t handle maintaining integrity between various systems.”

Capventis wrote its own data stack to manage this variety of data and integrations, giving it the appropriate name of Glü. But the company also needed some open source magic.

Integrating data the open source way

Across its client base, Capventis increasingly faced challenges with the limitations of SQL in scale-out, integration projects using legacy SQL databases with tabular structures that required large numbers of joins to integrate disparate data sources. After Capventis won a major UK government project, it struggled with how to integrate several older, proprietary databases that were still in production and being regularly updated with new information. The database project involved multiple departments that over time had merged and separated and merged again. What should have been a dozen tables had exploded into more than 300. The legacy database providers refused to collaborate on the project.

SEE: How to build a successful developer career (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Stymied, Capventis reached into its open source software bag of tricks. Based on the scale and scope of the project, the team wanted a GraphQL-based interface with a flexible, reliable, and high-performance graph database on the backend.

For this project, Capventis selected GraphDB from Dgraph Labs after an internal technology bake-off. Dgraph outperformed the others and had the added advantage of a global developer community that the company found to be responsive and friendly. (I’ve written about Dgraph before.) The Capventis team used Dgraph to convert all the legacy data from multiple sources and cleansed it on the fly with no data loss, while simultaneously generating a schema read for immediate queries.

“We linked Glü to their database servers, fetched all the data, and threw it into Dgraph,” Hawkes said. “Within 20 minutes we had the entire structure of the data set with all the proper interactions captured in Dgraph. We solved this problem in one hit. It was months in the planning and minutes in the execution.”

That’s the power of open source.

Disclosure: I work for AWS, but the views expressed herein are mine.

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Diamonds may help measuring thermal conductivity in living cells

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Scientists have very precise instruments, but measuring properties of tiny little cells is still very difficult. Now researchers at the University of Queensland have developed a new tool to measure heat transfer inside living cells. It includes actual diamonds and it can work as both a heater and a thermometre. Someday it can improve cancer diagnosis.

Diamonds may help measuring thermal conductivity in living cells

Diamonds are essentially very hard pieces of carbon, which makes them great for some scientific applications. Image credit: En-cas-de-soleil via (Wikimedia(CC BY-SA 4.0)

Cancer cells are different – they behave differently and exhibit different properties. Scientists have long speculated that in some cases precisely targeted thermal therapies could be very effective against cancer. However, in order for this to become reality scientists needed to know thermal conductivity of living cells. With current technology it is literally impossible to measure thermal conductivity – the rate that heat can flow through an object if one side is hot and another is cold – inside of such tiny living things as cells.

Scientists from Australia, Japan and Singapore now employed nanodiamonds (just tiny little diamonds) to act as minute sensors in a new system. Diamonds are great, because they are very hard and because they are just a different form of carbon, which is very well-known to us. Scientists coated their nanodiamonds with a special heat-releasing polymer. This resulted in a sensor, which can act as a heater or a thermometre, depending on what kind of laser light is applied. This sensor allows measuring thermal conductivity in living cells with a resolution of 200 nanometres.

Associate Professor Taras Plakhotnik, lead author of the study, said that this new method already revealed some new interesting information about cells. He said: “We found that the rate of heat diffusion in cells, as measured in our experiments, was several times slower than in pure water, for example.”

If cancer cells and healthy cells exhibit different thermal conductivity, this kind of measurement could become a very precise diagnostic technique. Also, because these particles are not toxic and can be used in living cells, scientists think they could open the door for  improving heat-based treatments for cancer. Measuring head conductivity could help monitor biochemical reactions in real time in the cell. But that’s not all. Scientists think that this method could lead to a better understanding of metabolic disorders, such as obesity.

Diamonds are commonly used in science and industry. People oftentimes see them as something from the jewelry world, but they are much more common elsewhere. And they are not even that expensive. Hopefully, this study will result in a new method to research living cells and maybe some novel therapies as well.

 

Source: University of Queensland




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Redmi Note 10 Launch Teased Officially After Rumours Tipping February Debut in India

Redmi Note 10 launch has been officially teased on Weibo. The new development comes just weeks after the rumour mill suggested the existence of the Redmi Note 10 series that could include the Redmi Note 10, the Redmi Note 10 Pro, and the Redmi Note 10 Pro 5G. The new series is expected to succeed the Redmi Note 9 family that debuted with the launch of the Redmi Note 9 Pro and the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max in India in March last year.

Redmi General Manager Lu Weibing has teased the launch of the Redmi Note 10 on Weibo. Instead of giving away details of the phone directly, Weibing has posted an image of the Redmi Note 9 4G asking users about their expectations with the Redmi Note 10.

The Redmi Note 10 is speculated to launch in India alongside the Redmi Note 10 Pro in February. Both phones will be priced aggressively, according to tipster Ishan Agarwal. The Redmi Note 10 in the series is tipped to come in Gray, Green, and White colour options.

Although Xiaomi hasn’t provided any specifics about the phone yet, the Redmi Note 10 Pro 5G purportedly received a certification from the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) earlier this month. The phone is also said to have surfaced on the US

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) website with the model number M2101K6G. It has also reportedly appeared on the websites of other regulatory bodies including the European Economic Commission (EEC), Singapore’s IMDA, and Malaysia’s MCMC.

Redmi Note 10 series specifications (expected)

The Redmi Note 10 Pro is rumoured to come with a 120Hz display and include the Qualcomm Snapdragon 732G SoC. However, the 5G variant of the Redmi Note 10 Pro is said to come with the Snapdragon 750G SoC. It is speculated to have 6GB and 8GB RAM options as well as 64GB and 128GB storage versions. The Redmi Note 10 Pro models will come with a 64-megapixel primary camera sensor and include a 5,050mAh battery, according to a recent report.

Similar to the Redmi Note 10 Pro models, the Redmi Note 10 is also rumoured to have both 4G and 5G versions. The smartphone is tipped to have a 48-megapixel primary camera sensor and include a 6,000mAh battery.

The Redmi Note 10 Pro and the Redmi Note 10 are both expected to run on Android 11 with MIUI 12 out-of-the-box.


What will be the most exciting tech launch of 2021? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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