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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 12 September 2015
4 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 12 SEPTEMBER 2015 NEWS Dementia test offers new hope Profiling at what speed we’re ageing may be the key to understanding and treating Alzheimer’s A new test determining our biological age could be key in the early detection of neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia. James Timmons, leader of the study at King's College, London, says "as a profiling technique, [the test] is turning out to be really powerful". The UK-based study was undertaken with a group of healthy 65-year-olds and young people who each spent less than 2.5 hours a week doing exercise. By comparing participants' biopsies and genetic activity, researchers found a reliable distinction between the genetic 'signatures' of 150 genes, demonstrating that one's biological age is a better measure of health than chronological age. Though it couldn't be confirmed whether the test could predict if an individual would develop dementia or not, the findings show an opportunity to better under the disease for earlier intervention. The results, published in Genome Biology, show that those with early signs of dementia presented remarkably different results to healthy people of the same age, indicating the test can give an insight into the genetic differences of those with dementia and those without. Doug Brown, director of research at the Alzheimer's Society, says this is a step in the right direction. "With further development, this research could help in our quest to find new treatments for the condition, by identifying people who are more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease so they can participate in clinical trials," he said. Those looking for an organ donor may also benefit from the test. With the study showing the genetic signature of other bodily tissue, doctors will be able to assess the biological age of organs, allowing those with healthy organs to donate, regardless of their age. "At the moment we have a cut-off age for donors of about 70 years old, but with this, we can see whether an organ has a good biological age, and make a decision on whether to implant it into a patient or not." Dan Belsky of North Carolina's Duke University School of Medicine says the findings demonstrate that biological changes that come with age are the actual cause of disease. "If we can eventually design interventions to slow or reverse these changes, those interventions will work to prevent many different diseases," he said. Source: The Guardian ‘Europe is the baker in Kos’ CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 Without any second thoughts or hesitation, the businessman decided to get up every morning and bake extra amounts of bread, which he distributes himself to the famished refugees fleeing war and persecution. Even though he hasn't seen the face of war, he can relate to the people leaving their homeland and families behind. He knows what loss means. "Someone who has not starved cannot put themselves in these people's shoes," stressed Arvanitakis. "'It's 'us' and 'them' on the same island; two parallel lines, that somehow converge to the very meaning of the word 'human'." How often do we pause to consider what this little word entails? Is there any definition implying that some humans are lesser than others? Throughout humanity's long history, there have always been people who are forced from their home countries by conflict, famine, oppression, religious or political persecution. "I do not want to create any illusions that the refugee crisis will be over any time soon. It will not," Juncker emphasised. "Pushing back boats from piers, setting fire to refugee camps, or turning a blind eye to poor and helpless people: That is not Europe." Sadly, while refugees flee their countries driven by one or more of the above reasons, they often find themselves against all four when they arrive at a foreign nation. "We are fighting against Islamic State, why are we not ready to accept those who are fleeing Islamic state? When considering their response to the refugee crisis, Europeans would do well to remember their shared history," Juncker said. "We can build walls, we can build fences. But imagine for a second it were you, your child in your arms, the world you knew torn apart around you. There is no price you would not pay, there is no wall you would not climb, no sea you would not sail, no border you would not cross ..." Taxi industry rallies against Uber Victorian government under pressure as operators ramp up calls for a level playing field JOHN PYRROS PHOTO: COMPLETE DEMENTIA CARE. Taxi and hire car owners rallied outside Victoria's Parliament House - as well as Sydney, Brisbane and Perth - on Thursday, in a show of force against controversial rideshare service UberX. The rally was undertaken by an estimated 10 per cent of the taxi workforce over the state government's reluctance to outlaw UberX, which the industry says continues to operate outside a regulatory framework - primarily a failure to pay a $40,000 hire car operating fee. Sandy Spanos from Victorian Taxi Families told Neos Kosmos the industry was not unfavourable to UberX, rather, it wants to ensure all operators are contributing equally. "The only thing we want is a level playing field. We want the government to uphold the laws of the land. This is not against Uber or UberX or anyone else, what we're saying is 'uphold the laws’; if we have to work within a regulation framework, so should they. "You can't be asking the taxpayer to pay to keep a taxi on the road and some obscure person in the street pays nothing, that's not right," she said. According to Spanos, the DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Taxis gather in Spring Street, Melbourne, as part of Thursday’s demonstration. PHOTO: AAP/MELISSA MEEHAN. taxi industry pumps "$1.4 billion into state and federal coffers each and every year", and employs over 50,000 people, but continued government inaction may lead to an industry collapse. "The taxi industry has maybe another six months of survival and then we'll go under, because we have no ability to compete when somebody pays nothing and we pay through the nose."
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