Alzheimer’s disease could be detected from a routine eye test

United States – University of Minnesota Center for Drug Design’s latest study suggests that it could be possible to detect Alzheimer’s disease by conducting a routine eye examination.

For those who are not familiar, Alzheimer’s disease is a neurological disorder causing sudden memory loss which gradually deteriorates to severe levels, rendering patients unable to even recall essential information, such as their names or which year we are in.

The study, which was published in the journal Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, in June, suggests that by conducting an ordinary eye test, it is possible for doctors to detect early stages of the notorious disease.

More specifically, the said test is fundamentally based on examining the retinas, which is the light-sensitive tissue that coats the back of our eyes, through a high-tech camera.

Since the retina bears a striking resemblance with the brain’s reaction to Alzheimer, doctors believe they can make use of it thus determining whether an individual has been affected by the disease or not.

Furthermore, accessing the brain to determine the existence of the disease is a very delicate and risky procedure, whereas examining one’s eyes from the distance appears to be a less complicated solution.

As of now, a definitive diagnosis for Alzheimer does not exist, and it can only be detected through symptoms that the patient displays.

Furthermore, Alzheimer is detectable after it has been formed within the patient’s organism, therefore being able to identify the disease in its early stages will certainly help doctors to terminate it before becoming too severe to be addressed.

The aforementioned test had been conducted in mice’s retinas, though, thanks to the promising results, doctors will test the new method in patients with and without Alzheimer, hoping it is equally effective for our own species as well.

Doctors concluded the study by mentioning that,

Timely diagnosis of AD is paramount for proper treatment and evaluation of the latter’s efficacy. We expect this technology to prove suitable for translation into a human diagnostic tool. Such developmental efforts are underway.

On a less relevant note, Alzheimer’s Foundation of America latest data reports that approximately 5.1 million U.S. citizens could be suffering from the disease in 2016.

Via: The New York Observer

Halliburton and Baker Hughes end up failing merger talks

Following the breakdown of merger talks between the two Houston-based oil-services companies – Halliburton and Baker Hughes, Halliburton is said to have made direct moves to overthrow the board of Baker Hughes by nominating its own directors to take over its rival.

According to Martin Craighead, the CEO of Baker Hughes, “Baker Hughes is disappointed that Halliburton has chosen to seek to replace the entire Baker Hughes board rather than continue the private discussions between the parties,” and this came on the heels of the move made by Halliburton to nominate its own directors to take over the board of Baker Hughes, instead of agreeing for the latter’s directors to hold elections ahead of the annual meeting that comes up in April.

Halliburton and Baker Hughes share a combined market value of $70 billion, and they come second and third to the world’s largest oil-field servicers, Schlumberger. They all produce equipment and tools as well as related services that enable oil and energy gas companies locate and drill oil from the fields. According to Baker Hughes, Halliburton has nominated candidates to take over its full board of directors, even in the light of the “substantial antitrust issues” that would arise with the merger.

Halliburton is also alleged to attempt poaching Baker Hughes employees and staffs before the merger deal is closed, even despite the fact that Halliburton has “refused to increase its first and only value proposal.” Officials and spokespersons at Halliburton have refused to react to these issues.

In a letter dated November 12, the CEO of Baker Hughes had registered his displeasure to David Lesar, the CEO of Halliburton in a message that said, “My counter proposal to you yesterday was a very reasonable basis on which to reach agreement. Your intransigence is not a reasonable response and your demand that we accept your offer in the next four hours, and threat to conduct a proxy contest…are entirely inappropriate.”

Although the successful takeover of Baker Hughes by Halliburton would place the latter in a global position to compete with Schlumberger for vast overseas projects, Halliburton’s intense eagerness to absorb Baker Hughes would spark off a round of bids from other oil-field giants and industrial conglomerates eager to cut a size of the US oil market.

Uber yet to learn about privacy to grow up in Silicon Valley

Many media reporters have complained bitterly about Uber’s maturity at handling things that relate to business, most especially as it has to do with reporters covering their events and other things of interest to the general reading public. And to this end, Uber continues to make more enemies among reporters than it is good for business – not where the ride service threatens to dig up dirt on reporters that publish unsavory content about its activities and business.

It is true that that Uber appears to have slacked down on criticizing targeted critics in a thuggish campaign that is actually laughable, but then it has replaced this with an aggressive attitude against media outlets that cover its activities. Moreover, what’s more, the rider service is deficient at protecting customers’ travel information, then whatever they do with the information should come as no surprise.

The company has not been too professional with keeping customers’ data, and this is evident in the display of personal travel information of some unlucky users that were displayed at a wall during the last launch party. However, a few magazine writers have been warned that their rides are being monitored, and this has actually turned out to be the case. Most people believe the company should hold the privacy of journalists and everybody in high consciousness, and not just do things to smite others.

According to a writer for New York Times, “what all these incidents have in common is that they offer a portrait of a company without adults in charge. From the top executive ranks to individual operational units around the world, the mentality seems to be one in which sheer belief in the rightness of their cause overwhelms what to an outsider seems at best questionable and at worst immoral practices.”

Everybody out there believes that Uber as a foremost company can do better than it is doing, and while it is trying to woo investors and satisfy consumers and clients within and outside the country, it might as well try to befriend media reporters to gain some media leverage – not by influencing their coverage of events, but just by being civil as a matured Silicon Valley company should be.

Energy drink purchase makes two owners billionaires

Following a 17% stake purchase by Coca-Cola in Monster Beverage, the two men behind the energy drink are now billionaires. Rodney Sacks and Hilton Schlosberg sold a 17% share of their energy drink, Monster, to Coca-Cola for $2.15 billion, and the deal has increased the shares sales of Monster energy drink in New York trading to a high $97.48. And the result? The two owners are now billionaires, and other shareholders in the energy drink are now wealthy investors.

Although Coca-Cola owns the Full Throttle and Burn and Mother energy drinks, it has never really broken into the energy markets with these beverages.

But with the acquisition of significant shares in Monster Beverage, Coca-Cola now owns it own major energy drink even though it has also participated in its distribution across the US and Canada since 2008. Coca-Cola is now set to establish its own footing in major energy drinks markets with Monster Beverage.

Rodney Sacks and Hilton Schlosberg bought a soda drink in 1992 for $13.7 million after leaving their banking jobs, and grew it into the Monster Beverage that people know today.

According to the editor of BevNet, Jeffrey Klineman, “if you look across mature beverage categories, it’s impossible to find someone with a growth rate that does not let up like Monster Beverage.” Not only Klineman had this to say, many other industry watchers believe the tenacity of the founders of the Monster energy drink has worked out right for them.

Gold rates fall over 200,000 jobs additions

Gold falls 0.2% according to the Bloomberg generic pricing index despite the fact that many employers are reportedly creating more than 200,000 job openings for six months on end. Gold prices actually rose following the reports of the new job additions, but its rise could not be sustained because the dollar fell against 10 major currencies, and equities dropped to help its fall.

The Federal Reserve has reported recently that although the economy was gaining momentum, the drop in job levels was still everywhere, and this has necessitated the need to keep interest rates minimal till well after asset purchases. The current crises in Ukraine and the Middle East have also had negative effects on gold rates, and this has caused a significant 28% loss in recent times.

According to David Govett, a precious metals executive at Marex Spectron Group, “the US employment situation is perhaps not as rosy as hoped for and that the Fed may well be right with their statement the other day stating that they still had concerns about the job market. However, one slightly negative figure does not a bull market make for gold, and I doubt we will see this as the start of another rally for the yellow metal.”

Bank of America gets slammed $1.3 billion for bad housing loans

The Bank of America has been slammed with a litigation where it will be doling out $1.3 billion fine as compensation to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over a mortgage fraud case. The Bank of America has been found guilty of selling bad housing loans to investors over a period of years after an informant blew open the can of worms that attracted the said penalty.

The whistleblower has confessed to the law courts that the bank had ordered its staff to wipe off bad loans from its books by transferring them to government-backed investors, and Fannie Mae and Freddie had borne the brunt of this fraud. They had been tricked into buy faulty mortgage loans that had bounced back on their business and customers, and they have lashed out at Bank of America through a celebrated court case.

Bank of America has threatened to appeal the decision, and according to its spokesman, Lawrence Grayson, “we are reviewing the ruling and will assess our appellate options…we believe that this figure simply bears no relation to a limited Countryside program that lasted several months and ended before Bank of America’s acquisition of the company.” But in addition to this case, a previous Countryside administrator, Rebecca Mairone, was penalized $1 million for her complicity in the crime.

Bank of America is shifting the blame on Countryside and trying to negotiate the mortgage fines with the US Department of Justice, but the given fine is said to be a reflection of drop in profits that the bank has been experiencing in recent times. Several finance analysts are still debating where this fine leaves the bank and its investors, and they see a way out if the bank could successfully appeal the fine and reach an agreement with Fannie or Freddie with some settlement.