(CNN)The wife of the former Tennessee teacher accused of running off with a 15-year-old student says she knew the answer but asked anyway.
(CNN)The wife of the former Tennessee teacher accused of running off with a 15-year-old student says she knew the answer but asked anyway.
Companies have been crippled by an attack dubbed Petya, the second major ransomware crime in two months. Olivia Solon answers the key questions
Many organizations in Europe and the US have been crippled by a ransomware attack dubbed Petya. The malicious software has spread through large firms including the advertiser WPP, food company Mondelez, legal firm DLA Piper and Danish shipping and transport firm Maersk, leading to PCs and data being locked up and held for ransom.
Its the second major global ransomware attack in the last two months. In early May, Britains National Health Service (NHS) was among the organizations infected by WannaCry, which used a vulnerability first revealed to the public as part of a leaked stash of NSA-related documents released online in April by a hacker group calling itself the Shadow Brokers.
The WannaCry or WannaCrypt ransomware attack affected more than 230,000 computers in over 150 countries, with the UKs national health service, Spanish phone company Telefnica and German state railways among those hardest hit.
Like WannaCry, Petya spreads rapidly through networks that use Microsoft Windows, but what is it, why is it happening and how can it be stopped?
Ransomware is a type of malware that blocks access to a computer or its data and demands money to release it.
When a computer is infected, the ransomware encrypts important documents and files and then demands a ransom, typically in Bitcoin, for a digital key needed to unlock the files. If victims dont have a recent back-up of the files they must either pay the ransom or face losing all of their files.
The Petya ransomware takes over computers and demands $300, paid in Bitcoin. The malicious software spreads rapidly across an organization once a computer is infected using the EternalBlue vulnerability in Microsoft Windows (Microsoft has released a patch, but not everyone will have installed it) or through two Windows administrative tools. The malware tries one option and if it doesnt work, it tries the next one. It has a better mechanism for spreading itself than WannaCry, said Ryan Kalember from cybersecurity company Proofpoint.
The attack appears to have been seeded through a software update mechanism built into an accounting program that companies working with the Ukrainian government need to use, according to the Ukrainian Cyber Police. This explains why so many Ukrainian organizations were affected, including government, banks, state power utilities and Kievs airport and metro system. The radiation monitoring system at Chernobyl was also taken offline, forcing employees to use hand-held counters to measure levels at the former nuclear plants exclusion zone.
The Petya ransomware has caused serious disruption at large firms in Europe and the US, including the advertising firm WPP, French construction materials company Saint-Gobain and Russian steel and oil firms Evraz and Rosneft. The food company Mondelez, legal firm DLA Piper, Danish shipping and transport firm AP Moller-Maersk and Heritage Valley Health System, which runs hospitals and care facilities in Pittsburgh, also said their systems had been hit by the malware.
The 2017 Australian of the Year award went to Professor Alan Mackay-Sim for his significant career in stem cell science.
Such claims in the media imply that there is now a scientifically proven stem cell treatment for spinal cord injury. This is not the case.
For now, any clinic or headline claiming miracle cures should be viewed with caution, as they are likely to be trading on peoples hope.
Why stem cells for spinal cord injury?
Put simply, injury to the spinal cord causes damage to the nerve cells that transmit information between the brain and the rest of the body.
Depending on which part of the spine is involved, the injury can affect the nerves that control the muscles in our legs and arms; those that control bowel and bladder function and how we regulate body temperature and blood pressure; and those that carry the sensation of being touched. This occurs in part because injury and subsequent scarring affect not just the nerves but also the insulation that surrounds and protects them. The insulation the myelin sheath is damaged and the body cannot usually completely replace or regenerate this covering.
Stem cells can self-reproduce and grow into hundreds of different cell types, including nerves and the cells that make myelin. So the blue-sky vision is that stem cells could restore some nerve function by replacing missing or faulty cells, or prevent further damage caused by scarring.
Studies in animals have applied stem cells derived from sources including brain tissue, the lining of the nasal cavity, tooth pulp, and embryos (known as embryonic stem cells).
Dramatic improvements have been shown on some occasions, such as rats and mice regaining bladder control or the ability to walk after injury. While striking, such improvement often represents only a partial recovery. It holds significant promise, but is not direct evidence that such an approach will work in people, particularly those with more complex injuries.
What is happening now in clinical trials?
The translation of findings from basic laboratory stem cell research to effective and safe treatments in the clinic involves many steps and challenges. It needs a firm scientific basis from animal studies and then careful evaluation in humans.
Many clinical studies examining stem cells for spinal repair are currently underway. The approaches fit broadly into two categories:
using stem cells as a source of cells to replace those damaged as a result of injury
applying cells to act on the bodys own cells to accelerate repair or prevent further damage.
One study that has attracted significant interest involves the injection of myelin-producing cells made from human embryonic stem cells. Researchers hoped that these cells, once injected into the spinal cord, would mature and form a new coating on the nerve cells, restoring the ability of signals to cross the spinal cord injury site. Preliminary results seem to show that the cells are safe; studies are ongoing.
Other clinical trials use cells from patients own bone marrow or adipose tissue (fat), or from donated cord blood or nerves from fetal tissue. The scientific rationale is based on the possibility that when transplanted into the injured spinal cord, these cells may provide surrounding tissue with protective factors which help to re-establish some of the connections important for the network of nerves that carry information around the body.
The field as it stands combines years of research, and tens of millions of dollars of investment. However, the development of stem cell therapies for spinal cord injury remains a long way from translating laboratory promise into proven and effective bedside treatments.
The promise and uncertainty of breakthroughs
Each case is unique in people with spinal cord injury: the level of paralysis, and loss of sensation and function relate to the type of injury and its location. Injuries as a result of stab wounds or infection may result in different outcomes from those incurred as a result of trauma from a car accident or serious fall. The previous health of those injured, the care received at the time of injury, and the type of rehabilitation they access can all impact on subsequent health and mobility.
Such variability means caution needs to accompany claims of man walking again particularly when reports relate to a single individual.
In the case that was linked to the Australian of the Year award, the actual 2013 study focused on whether it was safe to take the patients own nerves and other cells from the nose and place these into the damaged region of the spine. While the researchers themselves recommended caution in interpreting the results, accompanying media reports focused on the outcome from just one of the six participants.
While the outcome was significant for the gentleman involved, we simply do not know whether recovery may have occurred for this individual even without stem cells, given the type of injury (stab wounds), the level of injury, the accompanying rehabilitation that he received or a combination of these factors. It cannot be assumed a similar outcome would be the case for all people with spinal injury.
We are not there yet but there is hope
Finding a way to alleviate the suffering of those with spinal cord injury, and many other conditions, drives the work of thousands of researchers and doctors around the globe. But stem cells are not a silver bullet and should not be immune from careful evaluation in clinical trials.
Failure to proceed with caution could actually cause harm. For example, a paraplegic woman who was also treated with nasal stem cells showed no clinical improvement, and developed a large mucus-secreting tumour in her spine. This case highlights the need for further refinement and assessment in properly conducted clinical trials before nasal stem cells can become part of mainstream medicine.
Its also worth noting that for spinal cord injury, trials for recovery of function are not limited to the use of stem cells but include approaches focused on promoting health of surviving nerves (neuroprotection), surgery following injury, nerve transfers, electrical stimulation, external physical supports known as exoskeletons, nanotechnology and brain-machine interfaces.
Ultimately, determining which of these approaches will improve the lives of people with spinal injury can only be done through rigorous, ethical research.
Megan Munsie, Head of Education, Ethics, Law & Community Awareness Unit, Stem Cells Australia, University of Melbourne; Andrew Nunn, Adjunct Research Associate , Monash University, and Claire Tanner, Postdoctoral research fellow, University of Melbourne
(CNN)Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is facing a major test this week. Since revealing the details of the Republican health care plan, McConnell has watched as a number of important senators in his own party announced their concerns or opposition. Some, such as Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, have urged him to postpone the vote based on the assumption that, at this moment, it would not pass the upper chamber where the majority only has a slim 52 seats.
Newsrooms across the country came to a grinding halt on Thursday when photos ofJustin Biebersporting a curious stain surfaced online. Naturally, the image of the worlds biggest pop star strolling around Los Angeles in soaked sweatpants raised some of the most pressing questions of our time.
Is bladder control like so 2016? Was there a shortage on $400 sweatpants in the San Fernando Valley? Is this some sort of subversive political statement?
Alas, all good rumors must be put to rest. The Purpose singer later set the record straight with a poetic tweet explaining that the stain on his dick area was actually water from some flowers he had in the car.
But the ever so self-aware Bieber has apparently developed a sense of humor about himself and didnt pass up the opportunity to poke fun at the situation. He followed up the tweet with a side-by-side comparison of himself and Billy Madison, perhaps the most famous pee-in-pants-er (the official term) in the world.
You aint cool … unless you pee your pants, he wrote alongside the photo.
A post shared by Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) on
Finally, this long national nightmare is over.
A heavy thunderstorm sparked an unlikely series of events in Australia earlier this week, resulting in widespread reports of asthma attacks, overflowing hospitals, and the death of at least four people.
The thunderstorm took place on Monday November 21 over Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city. The heavy rainfall is believed to have soaked rye grass pollen, causing them to burst, spreading tiny specks of pollen across the city. The small pieces of pollen then made their way into the respiratory tracts of the local people and provoked asthma attacks, along with other breathing difficulties.
“When rye grass pollen becomes wet through humidity or water, it breaks up into a lot of small pieces and those small pieces can get past the nasal passage into the lungs. Normally rye grass would be trapped in the nasal passage,” Robin Ould, from the Asthma Foundation of Victoria in Australia told AFP.
“When it gets into the lungs, the allergens that are there cause an asthma attack… the small bronchial tubes become inflamed, they fill with mucus and the muscles around them become tight and people can’t exchange their air,” he explained.
As crazy as it seems, thunderstorm asthma is a phenomenon documented in a handful of scientific studies. Although it is rare, Melbourne has had at least three other instances of them in the past few decades due to the high amounts of rye grass found in the farmlands surrounding the city. The phenomenon has also been seen before in the UK, in bothLondon and Birminghamin 1994 and 1983, respectively.
The emergency services received 1,900 emergency phone calls within five hours on Monday evening, with some 8,500 patients heading to hospitals over the following two days. Four people died and, as of today, three patients remain in a critical condition, with nine more in intensive care. The majority of those affected had a history of asthma or hayfever.
This was a health emergency of an unprecedented scale It was like having 150 bombs going off right across a particular part of metropolitan Melbourne,” Victorian state Health Minister Jill Hennessy said.
(CNN)Here’s what you might have missed on CNN on Friday:
Cecilville, California (CNN)Tad Cummins was an intensely sought fugitive, trumpeted from coast to coast as the Tennessee teacher accused of running off with his 15-year-old student.
(CNN)When Brooke Guinan joined the New York City Fire Department in 2008 she publicly presented herself as a man. She had no idea that on Sunday she’d be one of the NYC Pride Parade’s grand marshals while identifying as a transgender woman.