...89101112...203040...


Superintelligence – Wikipedia

A superintelligence is a hypothetical agent that possesses intelligence far surpassing that of the brightest and most gifted human minds. “Superintelligence” may also refer to a property of problem-solving systems (e.g., superintelligent language translators or engineering assistants) whether or not these high-level intellectual competencies are embodied in agents that act in the world. A superintelligence may or may not be created by an intelligence explosion and associated with a technological singularity.

University of Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom defines superintelligence as “any intellect that greatly exceeds the cognitive performance of humans in virtually all domains of interest”. The program Fritz falls short of superintelligence even though it is much better than humans at chess because Fritz cannot outperform humans in other tasks. Following Hutter and Legg, Bostrom treats superintelligence as general dominance at goal-oriented behavior, leaving open whether an artificial or human superintelligence would possess capacities such as intentionality (cf. the Chinese room argument) or first-person consciousness (cf. the hard problem of consciousness).

Technological researchers disagree about how likely present-day human intelligence is to be surpassed. Some argue that advances in artificial intelligence (AI) will probably result in general reasoning systems that lack human cognitive limitations. Others believe that humans will evolve or directly modify their biology so as to achieve radically greater intelligence. A number of futures studies scenarios combine elements from both of these possibilities, suggesting that humans are likely to interface with computers, or upload their minds to computers, in a way that enables substantial intelligence amplification.

Some researchers believe that superintelligence will likely follow shortly after the development of artificial general intelligence. The first generally intelligent machines are likely to immediately hold an enormous advantage in at least some forms of mental capability, including the capacity of perfect recall, a vastly superior knowledge base, and the ability to multitask in ways not possible to biological entities. This may give them the opportunity toeither as a single being or as a new speciesbecome much more powerful than humans, and to displace them.

A number of scientists and forecasters argue for prioritizing early research into the possible benefits and risks of human and machine cognitive enhancement, because of the potential social impact of such technologies.

Philosopher David Chalmers argues that artificial general intelligence is a very likely path to superhuman intelligence. Chalmers breaks this claim down into an argument that AI can achieve equivalence to human intelligence, that it can be extended to surpass human intelligence, and that it can be further amplified to completely dominate humans across arbitrary tasks.

Concerning human-level equivalence, Chalmers argues that the human brain is a mechanical system, and therefore ought to be emulatable by synthetic materials. He also notes that human intelligence was able to biologically evolve, making it more likely that human engineers will be able to recapitulate this invention. Evolutionary algorithms in particular should be able to produce human-level AI. Concerning intelligence extension and amplification, Chalmers argues that new AI technologies can generally be improved on, and that this is particularly likely when the invention can assist in designing new technologies.

If research into strong AI produced sufficiently intelligent software, it would be able to reprogram and improve itself a feature called “recursive self-improvement”. It would then be even better at improving itself, and could continue doing so in a rapidly increasing cycle, leading to a superintelligence. This scenario is known as an intelligence explosion. Such an intelligence would not have the limitations of human intellect, and may be able to invent or discover almost anything.

Computer components already greatly surpass human performance in speed. Bostrom writes, “Biological neurons operate at a peak speed of about 200 Hz, a full seven orders of magnitude slower than a modern microprocessor (~2 GHz).” Moreover, neurons transmit spike signals across axons at no greater than 120 m/s, “whereas existing electronic processing cores can communicate optically at the speed of light”. Thus, the simplest example of a superintelligence may be an emulated human mind that’s run on much faster hardware than the brain. A human-like reasoner that could think millions of times faster than current humans would have a dominant advantage in most reasoning tasks, particularly ones that require haste or long strings of actions.

Another advantage of computers is modularity, that is, their size or computational capacity can be increased. A non-human (or modified human) brain could become much larger than a present-day human brain, like many supercomputers. Bostrom also raises the possibility of collective superintelligence: a large enough number of separate reasoning systems, if they communicated and coordinated well enough, could act in aggregate with far greater capabilities than any sub-agent.

There may also be ways to qualitatively improve on human reasoning and decision-making. Humans appear to differ from chimpanzees in the ways we think more than we differ in brain size or speed.[9] Humans outperform non-human animals in large part because of new or enhanced reasoning capacities, such as long-term planning and language use. (See evolution of human intelligence and primate cognition.) If there are other possible improvements to reasoning that would have a similarly large impact, this makes it likelier that an agent can be built that outperforms humans in the same fashion humans outperform chimpanzees.

All of the above advantages hold for artificial superintelligence, but it is not clear how many hold for biological superintelligence. Physiological constraints limit the speed and size of biological brains in many ways that are inapplicable to machine intelligence. As such, writers on superintelligence have devoted much more attention to superintelligent AI scenarios.

Carl Sagan suggested that the advent of Caesarean sections and in vitro fertilization may permit humans to evolve larger heads, resulting in improvements via natural selection in the heritable component of human intelligence.[12] By contrast, Gerald Crabtree has argued that decreased selection pressure is resulting in a slow, centuries-long reduction in human intelligence, and that this process instead is likely to continue into the future. There is no scientific consensus concerning either possibility, and in both cases the biological change would be slow, especially relative to rates of cultural change.

Selective breeding, nootropics, NSI-189, MAO-I’s, epigenetic modulation, and genetic engineering could improve human intelligence more rapidly. Bostrom writes that if we come to understand the genetic component of intelligence, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis could be used to select for embryos with as much as 4 points of IQ gain (if one embryo is selected out of two), or with larger gains (e.g., up to 24.3 IQ points gained if one embryo is selected out of 1000). If this process is iterated over many generations, the gains could be an order of magnitude greater. Bostrom suggests that deriving new gametes from embryonic stem cells could be used to iterate the selection process very rapidly. A well-organized society of high-intelligence humans of this sort could potentially achieve collective superintelligence.

Alternatively, collective intelligence might be constructible by better organizing humans at present levels of individual intelligence. A number of writers have suggested that human civilization, or some aspect of it (e.g., the Internet, or the economy), is coming to function like a global brain with capacities far exceeding its component agents. If this systems-based superintelligence relies heavily on artificial components, however, it may qualify as an AI rather than as a biology-based superorganism.

A final method of intelligence amplification would be to directly enhance individual humans, as opposed to enhancing their social or reproductive dynamics. This could be achieved using nootropics, somatic gene therapy, or braincomputer interfaces. However, Bostrom expresses skepticism about the scalability of the first two approaches, and argues that designing a superintelligent cyborg interface is an AI-complete problem.

Most surveyed AI researchers expect machines to eventually be able to rival humans in intelligence, though there is little consensus on when this will likely happen. At the 2006 AI@50 conference, 18% of attendees reported expecting machines to be able “to simulate learning and every other aspect of human intelligence” by 2056; 41% of attendees expected this to happen sometime after 2056; and 41% expected machines to never reach that milestone.[17]

In a survey of the 100 most cited authors in AI (as of May 2013, according to Microsoft academic search), the median year by which respondents expected machines “that can carry out most human professions at least as well as a typical human” (assuming no global catastrophe occurs) with 10% confidence is 2024 (mean 2034, st. dev. 33 years), with 50% confidence is 2050 (mean 2072, st. dev. 110 years), and with 90% confidence is 2070 (mean 2168, st. dev. 342 years). These estimates exclude the 1.2% of respondents who said no year would ever reach 10% confidence, the 4.1% who said ‘never’ for 50% confidence, and the 16.5% who said ‘never’ for 90% confidence. Respondents assigned a median 50% probability to the possibility that machine superintelligence will be invented within 30 years of the invention of approximately human-level machine intelligence.

Bostrom expressed concern about what values a superintelligence should be designed to have. He compared several proposals:

Responding to Bostrom, Santos-Lang raised concern that developers may attempt to start with a single kind of superintelligence.

Learning computers that rapidly become superintelligent may take unforeseen actions or robots might out-compete humanity (one potential technological singularity scenario).[21] Researchers have argued that, by way of an “intelligence explosion” sometime over the next century, a self-improving AI could become so powerful as to be unstoppable by humans.[22]

Concerning human extinction scenarios, Bostrom (2002) identifies superintelligence as a possible cause:

When we create the first superintelligent entity, we might make a mistake and give it goals that lead it to annihilate humankind, assuming its enormous intellectual advantage gives it the power to do so. For example, we could mistakenly elevate a subgoal to the status of a supergoal. We tell it to solve a mathematical problem, and it complies by turning all the matter in the solar system into a giant calculating device, in the process killing the person who asked the question.

In theory, since a superintelligent AI would be able to bring about almost any possible outcome and to thwart any attempt to prevent the implementation of its goals, many uncontrolled, unintended consequences could arise. It could kill off all other agents, persuade them to change their behavior, or block their attempts at interference.[23]

Eliezer Yudkowsky explains: “The AI does not hate you, nor does it love you, but you are made out of atoms which it can use for something else.”[24]

This presents the AI control problem: how to build a superintelligent agent that will aid its creators, while avoiding inadvertently building a superintelligence that will harm its creators. The danger of not designing control right “the first time”, is that a misprogrammed superintelligence might rationally decide to “take over the world” and refuse to permit its programmers to modify it once it has been activated. Potential design strategies include “capability control” (preventing an AI from being able to pursue harmful plans), and “motivational control” (building an AI that wants to be helpful).

Bill Hibbard advocates for public education about superintelligence and public control over the development of superintelligence.

The rest is here:

Superintelligence – Wikipedia

Nick Bostrom on Superintelligence | EconTalk | Library of …

Nick Bostrom of the University of Oxford talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his book, Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies. Bostrom argues that when machines exist which dwarf human intelligence they will threaten human existence unless steps are taken now to reduce the risk. The conversation covers the likelihood of the worst scenarios, strategies that might be used to reduce the risk and the implications for labor markets, and human flourishing in a world of superintelligent machines.

Right-click or Option-click, and select “Save Link/Target As MP3.

Podcast Episode Highlights

Follow this link:

Nick Bostrom on Superintelligence | EconTalk | Library of …

What is an example of victimless crimes – Answers.com

Generally, yes. Drug addiction, however, is not. It tends to destroy families and the person who has the addiction. You listed marijuana as a category, which isn’t a comparable addiction to let’s say meth, cocaine, heroine or other opiates, pcp, ecstasy, mushrooms, etc in the sense of how destruction the addiction can be, so it is a victim-less crime unless you have a medical marijuana card, then it’s a victim-less medicine. With marijuana, there are only victims of the drug war, where the DEA and local law enforcement prey on the marijuana consumers as well as various drug cartel, who are generally just provoked to do more smuggling.

Read more:

What is an example of victimless crimes – Answers.com

Bitcoin Price Index – Real-time Bitcoin Price Charts

Binance, Bitfinex and More: NY Launches Inquiry Into Crypto Exchanges

Apr 17, 2018 at 17:09 | Nikhilesh De

New York’s attorney general is taking a closer look atsome of the most well-known cryptocurrency exchanges.

Apr 17, 2018 at 15:30 | Omkar Godbole

Verge’s XVG token is fast losing altitude after today’s Pornhub partnership announcement.

Apr 17, 2018 at 11:25 | Wolfie Zhao

U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange Kraken has announced it is shutting its doors for investors in Japan, citing operational costs.

Apr 17, 2018 at 10:30 | Omkar Godbole

The technical charts remain bullish for bitcoin and point to $7,900 as the key support zone.

Apr 17, 2018 at 06:00 | David Floyd

Two economists have developed a model for pricing bitcoin and other assets in decentralized financial networks.

Apr 16, 2018 at 19:30 | Annaliese Milano

Victims of the $3 million theft at bitcoin exchange Coinsecure will receive a refund on their stolen funds, but it may not be in BTC.

Apr 16, 2018 at 18:15 | Nikhilesh De

Decentralized protocol 0x has raised $775,000 through a SAFT sale last year.

Apr 16, 2018 at 14:40 | Omkar Godbole

Ripple’s XRP is now outperforming its peers and could continue scaling key levels against bitcoin, the technical charts suggest.

Apr 16, 2018 at 10:00 | Omkar Godbole

Bitcoin needs to take out resistance at $8,500 to confirm a long-term bearish-to-bullish trend change, the price charts indicate.

Apr 16, 2018 at 08:00 | Wolfie Zhao

Toughened bitcoin trading rules in mainland China may have led to a Taiwanese bitcoin miner being shot by gangland investors, a report suggests.

More:

Bitcoin Price Index – Real-time Bitcoin Price Charts

Mesothelioma – Wikipedia

Cancer associated with asbestos

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that develops from the thin layer of tissue that covers many of the internal organs (known as the mesothelium).[9] The most common area affected is the lining of the lungs and chest wall.[1][3] Less commonly the lining of the abdomen and rarely the sac surrounding the heart,[10] or the sac surrounding the testis may be affected.[1][11] Signs and symptoms of mesothelioma may include shortness of breath due to fluid around the lung, a swollen abdomen, chest wall pain, cough, feeling tired, and weight loss.[1] These symptoms typically come on slowly.[2]

More than 80% of mesothelioma cases are caused by exposure to asbestos.[3] The greater the exposure the greater the risk.[3] As of 2013 about 125 million people have been exposed to asbestos at work.[12] High rates of disease occur in people who mine asbestos, produce products from asbestos, work with asbestos products, live with asbestos workers, or work in buildings containing asbestos.[3] Asbestos exposure and the onset of cancer are generally separated by about 40 years.[3] Washing the clothing of someone who worked with asbestos also increases the risk.[12] Other risk factors include genetics and infection with the simian virus 40.[3] The diagnosis may be suspected based on chest X-ray and CT scan findings, and is confirmed by either examining fluid produced by the cancer or by a tissue biopsy of the cancer.[2]

Prevention centers around reducing exposure to asbestos.[4] Treatment often includes surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.[5] A procedure known as pleurodesis, which involves using substances such as talc to scar together the pleura, may be used to prevent more fluid from building up around the lungs.[5] Chemotherapy often includes the medications cisplatin and pemetrexed.[2] The percentage of people that survive five years following diagnosis is on average 8% in the United States.[6]

In 2015 about 60,800 people had mesothelioma and 32,000 died from the disease.[7][8] Rates of mesothelioma vary in different areas of the world.[3] Rates are higher in Australia, the United Kingdom, and lower in Japan.[3] It occurs in about 3,000 people per year in the United States.[13] It occurs more often in males than females.[3] Rates of disease have increased since the 1950s.[3] Diagnosis typically occurs after the age of 65 and most deaths occur around 70 years old.[3] The disease was rare before the commercial use of asbestos.[3]

Symptoms or signs of mesothelioma may not appear until 20 to 50 years (or more) after exposure to asbestos. Shortness of breath, cough, and pain in the chest due to an accumulation of fluid in the pleural space (pleural effusion) are often symptoms of pleural mesothelioma.[14]

Mesothelioma that affects the pleura can cause these signs and symptoms:[14]

In severe cases, the person may have many tumor masses. The individual may develop a pneumothorax, or collapse of the lung. The disease may metastasize, or spread to other parts of the body.

The most common symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma are abdominal swelling and pain due to ascites (a buildup of fluid in the abdominal cavity). Other features may include weight loss, fever, night sweats, poor appetite, vomiting, constipation, and umbilical hernia.[15] If the cancer has spread beyond the mesothelium to other parts of the body, symptoms may include pain, trouble swallowing, or swelling of the neck or face.[citation needed] These symptoms may be caused by mesothelioma or by other, less serious conditions.

Tumors that affect the abdominal cavity often do not cause symptoms until they are at a late stage. Symptoms include:[citation needed]

Pericardial mesothelioma is not well characterized, but observed cases have included cardiac symptoms, specifically constrictive pericarditis, heart failure, pulmonary embolism, and cardiac tamponade. They have also included nonspecific symptoms, including substernal chest pain, orthopnea (shortness of breath when lying flat), and cough. These symptoms are caused by the tumor encasing or infiltrating the heart.[10]

In severe cases of the disease, the following signs and symptoms may be present:[citation needed]

If a mesothelioma forms metastases, these most commonly involve the liver, adrenal gland, kidney, or other lung.[16]

Working with asbestos is the most common risk factor for mesothelioma.[17] However, mesothelioma has been reported in some individuals without any known exposure to asbestos.

The incidence of mesothelioma has been found to be higher in populations living near naturally occurring asbestos. People can be exposed to naturally occurring asbestos in areas where mining or road construction is occurring, or when the asbestos-containing rock is naturally weathered. Another common route of exposure is through asbestos-containing soil, which is used to whitewash, plaster, and roof houses in Greece.[12] In central Cappadocia, Turkey, mesothelioma was causing 50% of all deaths in three small villagesTuzky, Karain, and Sarhdr. Initially, this was attributed to erionite. Environmental exposure to asbestos has caused mesothelioma in places other than Turkey, including Corsica, Greece, Cyprus, China, and California.[12][18][19] In the northern Greek mountain town of Metsovo, this exposure had resulted in mesothelioma incidence around 300 times more than expected in asbestos-free populations, and was associated with very frequent pleural calcification known as “Metsovo Lung”.[20][21]

The documented presence of asbestos fibers in water supplies and food products has fostered concerns about the possible impact of long-term and, as yet, unknown exposure of the general population to these fibers.[citation needed]

Exposure to talc is also a risk factor for mesothelioma; exposure can affect those who live near talc mines, work in talc mines, or work in talc mills.[22]

In the United States, asbestos is considered the major cause of malignant mesothelioma[23] and has been considered “indisputably”[24] associated with the development of mesothelioma. Indeed, the relationship between asbestos and mesothelioma is so strong that many consider mesothelioma a signal or sentinel tumor.[25][26][27][28] A history of asbestos exposure exists in most cases.

Pericardial mesothelioma may not be associated with asbestos exposure.[10]

Asbestos was known in antiquity, but it was not mined and widely used commercially until the late 19th century. Its use greatly increased during World War II. Since the early 1940s, millions of American workers have been exposed to asbestos dust. Initially, the risks associated with asbestos exposure were not publicly known. However, an increased risk of developing mesothelioma was later found among naval personnel (e.g., Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard), shipyard workers, people who work in asbestos mines and mills, producers of asbestos products, workers in the heating and construction industries, and other tradespeople. Today, the official position of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the U.S. EPA is that protections and “permissible exposure limits” required by U.S. regulations, while adequate to prevent most asbestos-related non-malignant disease, are not adequate to prevent or protect against asbestos-related cancers such as mesothelioma.[29] Likewise, the British Government’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) states formally that any threshold for exposure to asbestos must be at a very low level and it is widely agreed that if any such threshold does exist at all, then it cannot currently be quantified. For practical purposes, therefore, HSE assumes that no such “safe” threshold exists. Others have noted as well that there is no evidence of a threshold level below which there is no risk of mesothelioma.[30] There appears to be a linear, dose-response relationship, with increasing dose producing increasing risk of disease.[31] Nevertheless, mesothelioma may be related to brief, low level or indirect exposures to asbestos.[24] The dose necessary for effect appears to be lower for asbestos-induced mesothelioma than for pulmonary asbestosis or lung cancer.[24] Again, there is no known safe level of exposure to asbestos as it relates to increased risk of mesothelioma.

The time from first exposure to onset of the disease, is between 25 and 70 years.[32] It is virtually never less than fifteen years and peaks at 3040 years.[24][33] The duration of exposure to asbestos causing mesothelioma can be short. For example, cases of mesothelioma have been documented with only 13 months of exposure.[34][35]

Exposure to asbestos fibers has been recognized as an occupational health hazard since the early 20th century. Numerous epidemiological studies have associated occupational exposure to asbestos with the development of pleural plaques, diffuse pleural thickening, asbestosis, carcinoma of the lung and larynx, gastrointestinal tumors, and diffuse malignant mesothelioma of the pleura and peritoneum. Asbestos has been widely used in many industrial products, including cement, brake linings, gaskets, roof shingles, flooring products, textiles, and insulation.[36]

Commercial asbestos mining at Wittenoom, Western Australia, took place from 1937 to 1966. The first case of mesothelioma in the town occurred in 1960. The second case was in 1969, and new cases began to appear more frequently thereafter. The lag time between initial exposure to asbestos and the development of mesothelioma varied from 12 years 9 months up to 58 years.[37] A cohort study of miners employed at the mine reported that 85 deaths attributable to mesothelioma had occurred by 1985. By 1994, 539 reported deaths due to mesothelioma had been reported in Western Australia.[citation needed]

Occupational exposure to asbestos in the United States mainly occurs when people are maintaining buildings that already have asbestos. Approximately 1.3 million US workers are exposed to asbestos annually; in 2002, an estimated 44,000 miners were potentially exposed to asbestos.[22]

Family members and others living with asbestos workers have an increased risk of developing mesothelioma, and possibly other asbestos-related diseases.[11][38][39] This risk may be the result of exposure to asbestos dust brought home on the clothing and hair of asbestos workers via washing a worker’s clothes or coming into contact with asbestos-contaminated work clothing.[12][22] To reduce the chance of exposing family members to asbestos fibres, asbestos workers are usually required to shower and change their clothing before leaving the workplace.[citation needed]

Many building materials used in both public and domestic premises prior to the banning of asbestos may contain asbestos. Those performing renovation works or DIY activities may expose themselves to asbestos dust. In the UK, use of chrysotile asbestos was banned at the end of 1999. Brown and blue asbestos were banned in the UK around 1985. Buildings built or renovated prior to these dates may contain asbestos materials.[citation needed]

In a recent research carried on white American population in 2012, it was found that people with a germline mutation in their BAP1 gene are at higher risk of developing mesothelioma and uveal melanoma.[40]

Erionite is a zeolite mineral with similar properties to asbestos and is known to cause mesothelioma.[11] Detailed epidemiological investigation has shown that erionite causes mesothelioma mostly in families with a genetic predisposition.[12][18][19] Erionite is found in deposits in the Western United States, where it is used in gravel for road surfacing, and in Turkey, where it is used to construct homes. In Turkey, the United States, and Mexico, erionite has been associated with mesothelioma and has thus been designated a “known human carcinogen” by the US National Toxicology Program.[19]

In rare cases, mesothelioma has also been associated with irradiation of the chest or abdomen, intrapleural thorium dioxide (thorotrast) as a contrast medium, and inhalation of other fibrous silicates, such as erionite or talc.[11][22] Some studies suggest that simian virus 40 (SV40) may act as a cofactor in the development of mesothelioma.[22] This has been confirmed in animal studies,[41][42] but studies in humans are inconclusive.[41][43][44]

The mesothelium consists of a single layer of flattened to cuboidal cells forming the epithelial lining of the serous cavities of the body including the peritoneal, pericardial and pleural cavities. Deposition of asbestos fibers in the parenchyma of the lung may result in the penetration of the visceral pleura from where the fiber can then be carried to the pleural surface, thus leading to the development of malignant mesothelial plaques. The processes leading to the development of peritoneal mesothelioma remain unresolved, although it has been proposed that asbestos fibers from the lung are transported to the abdomen and associated organs via the lymphatic system. Additionally, asbestos fibers may be deposited in the gut after ingestion of sputum contaminated with asbestos fibers.[citation needed]

Pleural contamination with asbestos or other mineral fibers has been shown to cause cancer. Long thin asbestos fibers (blue asbestos, amphibole fibers) are more potent carcinogens than “feathery fibers” (chrysotile or white asbestos fibers).[24] However, there is now evidence that smaller particles may be more dangerous than the larger fibers. They remain suspended in the air where they can be inhaled, and may penetrate more easily and deeper into the lungs. “We probably will find out a lot more about the health aspects of asbestos from [the World Trade Center attack], unfortunately,” said Dr. Alan Fein, chief of pulmonary and critical-care medicine at North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System.[45]

Mesothelioma development in rats has been demonstrated following intra-pleural inoculation of phosphorylated chrysotile fibers. It has been suggested that in humans, transport of fibers to the pleura is critical to the pathogenesis of mesothelioma. This is supported by the observed recruitment of significant numbers of macrophages and other cells of the immune system to localized lesions of accumulated asbestos fibers in the pleural and peritoneal cavities of rats. These lesions continued to attract and accumulate macrophages as the disease progressed, and cellular changes within the lesion culminated in a morphologically malignant tumor.[citation needed]

Experimental evidence suggests that asbestos acts as a complete carcinogen with the development of mesothelioma occurring in sequential stages of initiation and promotion. The molecular mechanisms underlying the malignant transformation of normal mesothelial cells by asbestos fibers remain unclear despite the demonstration of its oncogenic capabilities (see next-but-one paragraph). However, complete in vitro transformation of normal human mesothelial cells to a malignant phenotype following exposure to asbestos fibers has not yet been achieved. In general, asbestos fibers are thought to act through direct physical interactions with the cells of the mesothelium in conjunction with indirect effects following interaction with inflammatory cells such as macrophages.[citation needed]

Analysis of the interactions between asbestos fibers and DNA has shown that phagocytosed fibers are able to make contact with chromosomes, often adhering to the chromatin fibers or becoming entangled within the chromosome. This contact between the asbestos fiber and the chromosomes or structural proteins of the spindle apparatus can induce complex abnormalities. The most common abnormality is monosomy of chromosome 22. Other frequent abnormalities include structural rearrangement of 1p, 3p, 9p and 6q chromosome arms.[citation needed]

Common gene abnormalities in mesothelioma cell lines include deletion of the tumor suppressor genes:[citation needed]

Asbestos has also been shown to mediate the entry of foreign DNA into target cells. Incorporation of this foreign DNA may lead to mutations and oncogenesis by several possible mechanisms:

Several genes are commonly mutated in mesothelioma, and may be prognostic factors. These include epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and C-Met, receptor tyrosine kinases which are overexpressed in many mesotheliomas. Some association has been found with EGFR and epithelioid histology but no clear association has been found between EGFR overexpression and overall survival. Expression of AXL receptor tyrosine kinase is a negative prognostic factor. Expression of PDGFRB is a positive prognostic factor.[47] In general, mesothelioma is characterized by loss of function in tumor suppressor genes, rather than by an overexpression or gain of function in oncogenes.[48]

As an environmentally triggered malignancy, mesothelioma tumors have been found to be polyclonal in origin, by performing a X-inactivation based assay on epitheloid and biphasic tumors obtained from female patients.[49] These results suggest that an environmental factor, most likely asbestos exposure, may damage and transform a group of cells in the tissue, resulting in a population of tumor cells that are, albeit only slightly, genetically different.[citation needed]

Asbestos fibers have been shown to alter the function and secretory properties of macrophages, ultimately creating conditions which favour the development of mesothelioma. Following asbestos phagocytosis, macrophages generate increased amounts of hydroxyl radicals, which are normal by-products of cellular anaerobic metabolism. However, these free radicals are also known clastogenic (chromosome-breaking) and membrane-active agents thought to promote asbestos carcinogenicity. These oxidants can participate in the oncogenic process by directly and indirectly interacting with DNA, modifying membrane-associated cellular events, including oncogene activation and perturbation of cellular antioxidant defences.[citation needed]

Asbestos also may possess immunosuppressive properties. For example, chrysotile fibres have been shown to depress the in vitro proliferation of phytohemagglutinin-stimulated peripheral blood lymphocytes, suppress natural killer cell lysis and significantly reduce lymphokine-activated killer cell viability and recovery. Furthermore, genetic alterations in asbestos-activated macrophages may result in the release of potent mesothelial cell mitogens such as platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) and transforming growth factor- (TGF-) which in turn, may induce the chronic stimulation and proliferation of mesothelial cells after injury by asbestos fibres.[citation needed]

Diagnosis of mesothelioma can be suspected with imaging but is confirmed with biopsy. It must be clinically and histologically differentiated from other pleural and pulmonary malignancies, including reactive pleural disease, primary lung carcinoma, pleural metastases of other cancers, and other primary pleural cancers.[11] Primary pericardial mesothelioma is often diagnosed after it has metastasized to lymph nodes or the lungs.[10]

Diagnosing mesothelioma is often difficult because the symptoms are similar to those of a number of other conditions. Diagnosis begins with a review of the patient’s medical history. A history of exposure to asbestos may increase clinical suspicion for mesothelioma. A physical examination is performed, followed by chest X-ray and often lung function tests. The X-ray may reveal pleural thickening commonly seen after asbestos exposure and increases suspicion of mesothelioma.[14] A CT (or CAT) scan or an MRI is usually performed. If a large amount of fluid is present, abnormal cells may be detected by cytopathology if this fluid is aspirated with a syringe.[10] For pleural fluid, this is done by thoracentesis or tube thoracostomy (chest tube); for ascites, with paracentesis or ascitic drain; and for pericardial effusion with pericardiocentesis. While absence of malignant cells on cytology does not completely exclude mesothelioma, it makes it much more unlikely, especially if an alternative diagnosis can be made (e.g. tuberculosis, heart failure).[citation needed] However, with primary pericardial mesothelioma, pericardial fluid may not contain malignant cells and a tissue biopsy is more useful in diagnosis.[10] Using conventional cytology diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma is difficult, but immunohistochemistry has greatly enhanced the accuracy of cytology.[citation needed]

Generally, a biopsy is needed to confirm a diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma. A doctor removes a sample of tissue for examination under a microscope by a pathologist. A biopsy may be done in different ways, depending on where the abnormal area is located. If the cancer is in the chest, the doctor may perform a thoracoscopy. In this procedure, the doctor makes a small cut through the chest wall and puts a thin, lighted tube called a thoracoscope into the chest between two ribs. Thoracoscopy allows the doctor to look inside the chest and obtain tissue samples. Alternatively, the chest surgeon might directly open the chest (thoracotomy). If the cancer is in the abdomen, the doctor may perform a laparoscopy. To obtain tissue for examination, the doctor makes a small incision in the abdomen and inserts a special instrument into the abdominal cavity. If these procedures do not yield enough tissue, an open surgical procedure may be necessary.[citation needed]

Immunohistochemical studies play an important role for the pathologist in differentiating malignant mesothelioma from neoplastic mimics, such as breast or lung cancer that has metastasized to the pleura. There are numerous tests and panels available, but no single test is perfect for distinguishing mesothelioma from carcinoma or even benign versus malignant. The positive markers indicate that mesothelioma is present; if other markers are positive it may indicate another type of cancer, such as breast or lung adenocarcinoma. Calretinin is a particularly important marker in distinguishing mesothelioma from metastatic breast or lung cancer.[11]

There are three main histological subtypes of malignant mesothelioma: epithelioid, sarcomatous, and biphasic. Epithelioid and biphasic mesothelioma make up approximately 75-95% of mesotheliomas and have been well characterized histologically, whereas sarcomatous mesothelioma has not been studied extensively. Most mesotheliomas express high levels of cytokeratin 5 regardless of subtype.[11]

Epithelioid mesothelioma is characterized by high levels of calretinin.[11]

Sarcomatous mesothelioma does not express high levels of calretinin.[11]

Other morphological subtypes have been described:

Staging of mesothelioma is based on the recommendation by the International Mesothelioma Interest Group.[50] TNM classification of the primary tumor, lymph node involvement, and distant metastasis is performed. Mesothelioma is staged IaIV (one-A to four) based on the TNM status.[50][51]

Mesothelioma can be prevented in most cases by preventing exposure to asbestos. The US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health maintains a recommended exposure limit of 0.1 asbestos fiber per cubic centimeter.[22]

There is no universally agreed protocol for screening people who have been exposed to asbestos. Screening tests might diagnose mesothelioma earlier than conventional methods thus improving the survival prospects for patients. The serum osteopontin level might be useful in screening asbestos-exposed people for mesothelioma. The level of soluble mesothelin-related protein is elevated in the serum of about 75% of patients at diagnosis and it has been suggested that it may be useful for screening.[52] Doctors have begun testing the Mesomark assay which measures levels of soluble mesothelin-related proteins (SMRPs) released by mesothelioma cells.[53]

Mesothelioma is generally resistant to radiation and chemotherapy treatment. Long-term survival and cures are exceedingly rare.[11] Treatment of malignant mesothelioma at earlier stages has a better prognosis. Clinical behavior of the malignancy is affected by several factors including the continuous mesothelial surface of the pleural cavity which favors local metastasis via exfoliated cells, invasion to underlying tissue and other organs within the pleural cavity, and the extremely long latency period between asbestos exposure and development of the disease. The histological subtype and the patient’s age and health status also help predict prognosis. The epithelioid histology responds better to treatment and has a survival advantage over sarcomatoid histology.[54]

Surgery, by itself, has proved disappointing. In one large series, the median survival with surgery (including extrapleural pneumonectomy) was only 11.7 months.[55] However, research indicates varied success when used in combination with radiation and chemotherapy (Duke, 2008), or with one of the latter. A pleurectomy/decortication is the most common surgery, in which the lining of the chest is removed. Less common is an extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP), in which the lung, lining of the inside of the chest, the hemi-diaphragm and the pericardium are removed.[citation needed] In localized pericardial mesothelioma, pericardectomy can be curative; when the tumor has metastasized, pericardectomy is a palliative care option. The entire tumor is not often able to be removed.[10]

For patients with localized disease, and who can tolerate a radical surgery, radiation can be given post-operatively as a consolidative treatment. The entire hemithorax is treated with radiation therapy, often given simultaneously with chemotherapy. Delivering radiation and chemotherapy after a radical surgery has led to extended life expectancy in selected patient populations. It can also induce severe side-effects, including fatal pneumonitis.[56] As part of a curative approach to mesothelioma, radiotherapy is commonly applied to the sites of chest drain insertion, in order to prevent growth of the tumor along the track in the chest wall.[citation needed]

Although mesothelioma is generally resistant to curative treatment with radiotherapy alone, palliative treatment regimens are sometimes used to relieve symptoms arising from tumor growth, such as obstruction of a major blood vessel. Radiation therapy, when given alone with curative intent, has never been shown to improve survival from mesothelioma. The necessary radiation dose to treat mesothelioma that has not been surgically removed would be beyond human tolerance.[citation needed] Radiotherapy is of some use in pericardial mesothelioma.[10]

Chemotherapy is the only treatment for mesothelioma that has been proven to improve survival in randomised and controlled trials. The landmark study published in 2003 by Vogelzang and colleagues compared cisplatin chemotherapy alone with a combination of cisplatin and pemetrexed (brand name Alimta) chemotherapy in patients who had not received chemotherapy for malignant pleural mesothelioma previously and were not candidates for more aggressive “curative” surgery.[57] This trial was the first to report a survival advantage from chemotherapy in malignant pleural mesothelioma, showing a statistically significant improvement in median survival from 10 months in the patients treated with cisplatin alone to 13.3 months in the group of patients treated with cisplatin in the combination with pemetrexed and who also received supplementation with folate and vitamin B12. Vitamin supplementation was given to most patients in the trial and pemetrexed related side effects were significantly less in patients receiving pemetrexed when they also received daily oral folate 500mcg and intramuscular vitamin B12 1000mcg every 9 weeks compared with patients receiving pemetrexed without vitamin supplementation. The objective response rate increased from 20% in the cisplatin group to 46% in the combination pemetrexed group. Some side effects such as nausea and vomiting, stomatitis, and diarrhoea were more common in the combination pemetrexed group but only affected a minority of patients and overall the combination of pemetrexed and cisplatin was well tolerated when patients received vitamin supplementation; both quality of life and lung function tests improved in the combination pemetrexed group. In February 2004, the United States Food and Drug Administration approved pemetrexed for treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma. However, there are still unanswered questions about the optimal use of chemotherapy, including when to start treatment, and the optimal number of cycles to give.[citation needed] Cisplatin and pemetrexed together give patients a median survival of 12.1 months.[11]

Cisplatin in combination with raltitrexed has shown an improvement in survival similar to that reported for pemetrexed in combination with cisplatin, but raltitrexed is no longer commercially available for this indication. For patients unable to tolerate pemetrexed, cisplatin in combination with gemcitabine or vinorelbine is an alternative, or vinorelbine on its own, although a survival benefit has not been shown for these drugs. For patients in whom cisplatin cannot be used, carboplatin can be substituted but non-randomised data have shown lower response rates and high rates of haematological toxicity for carboplatin-based combinations, albeit with similar survival figures to patients receiving cisplatin.[58]

In January 2009, the United States FDA approved using conventional therapies such as surgery in combination with radiation and or chemotherapy on stage I or II Mesothelioma after research conducted by a nationwide study by Duke University concluded an almost 50 point increase in remission rates.[citation needed]

In pericardial mesothelioma, chemotherapy – typically adriamycin and/or cisplatin – is primarily used to shrink the tumor and is not curative.[10]

Treatment regimens involving immunotherapy have yielded variable results. For example, intrapleural inoculation of Bacillus Calmette-Gurin (BCG) in an attempt to boost the immune response, was found to be of no benefit to the patient (while it may benefit patients with bladder cancer). Mesothelioma cells proved susceptible to in vitro lysis by LAK cells following activation by interleukin-2 (IL-2), but patients undergoing this particular therapy experienced major side effects. Indeed, this trial was suspended in view of the unacceptably high levels of IL-2 toxicity and the severity of side effects such as fever and cachexia. Nonetheless, other trials involving interferon alpha have proved more encouraging with 20% of patients experiencing a greater than 50% reduction in tumor mass combined with minimal side effects.[citation needed]

This technique is used in conjunction with surgery,[59] including in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma.[60] The surgeon removes as much of the tumor as possible followed by the direct administration of a chemotherapy agent, heated to between 40 and 48C, in the abdomen. The fluid is perfused for 60 to 120 minutes and then drained. High concentrations of selected drugs are then administered into the abdominal and pelvic surfaces. Heating the chemotherapy treatment increases the penetration of the drugs into tissues. Also, heating itself damages the malignant cells more than the normal cells.[citation needed]

All of the standard approaches to treating solid tumorsradiation, chemotherapy, and surgeryhave been investigated in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma. Although surgery, by itself, is not very effective, surgery combined with adjuvant chemotherapy and radiation (trimodality therapy) has produced significant survival extension (314 years) among patients with favorable prognostic factors.[61] However, other large series of examining multimodality treatment have only demonstrated modest improvement in survival (median survival 14.5 months and only 29.6% surviving 2 years).[55] Reducing the bulk of the tumor with cytoreductive surgery is key to extending survival. Two surgeries have been developed: extrapleural pneumonectomy and pleurectomy/decortication. The indications for performing these operations are unique. The choice of operation namely depends on the size of the patient’s tumor. This is an important consideration because tumor volume has been identified as a prognostic factor in mesothelioma.[62] Pleurectomy/decortication spares the underlying lung and is performed in patients with early stage disease when the intention is to remove all gross visible tumor (macroscopic complete resection), not simply palliation.[63] Extrapleural pneumonectomy is a more extensive operation that involves resection of the parietal and visceral pleurae, underlying lung, ipsilateral (same side) diaphragm, and ipsilateral pericardium. This operation is indicated for a subset of patients with more advanced tumors, who can tolerate a pneumonectomy.[64]

Mesothelioma often has a poor prognosis. Typical survival despite surgery is between 12 and 21 months depending on the stage of disease at diagnosis with about 7.5% of people surviving for 5 years.[65]

Women, young people, people with low-stage cancers, and people with epithelioid cancers have better prognoses.[11] Negative prognostic factors include sarcomatoid or biphasic histology, high platelet counts (above 400,000), age over 50 years, white blood cell counts above 15.5, low glucose levels in the pleural fluid, low albumin levels, and high fibrinogen levels. Several markers are under investigation as prognostic factors, including nuclear grade, and serum c-reactive protein. Long-term survival is rare.[47]

Pericardial mesothelioma has a 10-month median survival time.[10]

In peritoneal mesothelioma, high expression of WT-1 protein indicates a worse prognosis.[11]

Although reported incidence rates have increased in the past 20 years, mesothelioma is still a relatively rare cancer. The incidence rate varies from one country to another, from a low rate of less than 1 per 1,000,000 in Tunisia and Morocco, to the highest rate in Britain, Australia and Belgium: 30 per 1,000,000 per year.[66] For comparison, populations with high levels of smoking can have a lung cancer incidence of over 1,000 per 1,000,000. Incidence of malignant mesothelioma currently ranges from about 7 to 40 per 1,000,000 in industrialized Western nations, depending on the amount of asbestos exposure of the populations during the past several decades.[67] Worldwide incidence is estimated at 1-6 per 1,000,000.[11] Incidence of mesothelioma lags behind that of asbestosis due to the longer time it takes to develop; due to the cessation of asbestos use in developed countries, mesothelioma incidence is expected to decrease.[22] Incidence is expected to continue increasing in developing countries due to continuing use of asbestos.[11] Mesothelioma occurs more often in men than in women and risk increases with age, but this disease can appear in either men or women at any age. Approximately one fifth to one third of all mesotheliomas are peritoneal.[citation needed] Less than 5% of mesotheliomas are pericardial. The prevalence of pericardial mesothelioma is less than 0.002%; it is more common in men than women. It typically occurs in a person’s 50s-70s.[10][68]

Between 1940 and 1979, approximately 27.5 million people were occupationally exposed to asbestos in the United States.[69] Between 1973 and 1984, the incidence of pleural mesothelioma among Caucasian males increased 300%. From 1980 to the late 1990s, the death rate from mesothelioma in the USA increased from 2,000 per year to 3,000, with men four times more likely to acquire it than women.[citation needed] More than 80% of mesotheliomas are caused by asbestos exposure.[11]

The incidence of peritoneal mesothelioma is 0.53.0 per million per year in men, and 0.22.0 per million per year in women.[70]

Mesothelioma accounts for less than 1% of all cancers diagnosed in the UK, (around 2,600 people were diagnosed with the disease in 2011), and it is the seventeenth most common cause of cancer death (around 2,400 people died in 2012).[71]

The connection between asbestos exposure and mesothelioma was discovered in the 1970s. In the United States, asbestos manufacture stopped in 2002. Asbestos exposure thus shifted from workers in asbestos textile mills, friction product manufacturing, cement pipe fabrication, and insulation manufacture and installation to maintenance workers in asbestos-containing buildings.[22]

Mesothelioma, though rare, has had a number of notable patients:

Although life expectancy with this disease is typically limited, there are notable survivors. In July 1982, Stephen Jay Gould, a well-regarded paleontologist, was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma. After his diagnosis, Gould wrote “The Median Isn’t the Message”,[78] in which he argued that statistics such as median survival are useful abstractions, not destiny. Gould lived for another 20 years, eventually succumbing to cancer not linked to his mesothelioma.

Some people who were exposed to asbestos have collected damages for an asbestos-related disease, including mesothelioma. Compensation via asbestos funds or class action lawsuits is an important issue in law practices regarding mesothelioma.[citation needed]

The first lawsuits against asbestos manufacturers were in 1929. Since then, many lawsuits have been filed against asbestos manufacturers and employers, for neglecting to implement safety measures after the links between asbestos, asbestosis, and mesothelioma became known (some reports seem to place this as early as 1898). The liability resulting from the sheer number of lawsuits and people affected has reached billions of dollars.[79] The amounts and method of allocating compensation have been the source of many court cases, reaching up to the United States Supreme Court, and government attempts at resolution of existing and future cases. However, to date, the US Congress has not stepped in and there are no federal laws governing asbestos compensation.[80] In 2013, the “Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act of 2013” passed the US House of representatives and was sent to the US Senate, where it was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.[81] As the Senate did not vote on it before the end of the 113th Congress, it died in committee. It was revived in the 114th Congress, where it has not yet been brought before the House for a vote.[82]

The first lawsuit against asbestos manufacturers was brought in 1929. The parties settled that lawsuit, and as part of the agreement, the attorneys agreed not to pursue further cases. In 1960, an article published by Wagner et al. was seminal in establishing mesothelioma as a disease arising from exposure to asbestos.[83] The article referred to over 30 case studies of people who had suffered from mesothelioma in South Africa. Some exposures were transient and some were mine workers. Prior to the use of advanced microscopy techniques, malignant mesothelioma was often diagnosed as a variant form of lung cancer.[84] In 1962 McNulty reported the first diagnosed case of malignant mesothelioma in an Australian asbestos worker.[85] The worker had worked in the mill at the asbestos mine in Wittenoom from 1948 to 1950.[citation needed]

In the town of Wittenoom, asbestos-containing mine waste was used to cover schoolyards and playgrounds. In 1965 an article in the British Journal of Industrial Medicine established that people who lived in the neighbourhoods of asbestos factories and mines, but did not work in them, had contracted mesothelioma.[citation needed]

Despite proof that the dust associated with asbestos mining and milling causes asbestos-related disease, mining began at Wittenoom in 1943 and continued until 1966. In 1974 the first public warnings of the dangers of blue asbestos were published in a cover story called “Is this Killer in Your Home?” in Australia’s Bulletin magazine. In 1978 the Western Australian Government decided to phase out the town of Wittenoom, following the publication of a Health Dept. booklet, “The Health Hazard at Wittenoom”, containing the results of air sampling and an appraisal of worldwide medical information.[citation needed]

By 1979 the first writs for negligence related to Wittenoom were issued against CSR and its subsidiary ABA, and the Asbestos Diseases Society was formed to represent the Wittenoom victims.[citation needed]

In Leeds, England the Armley asbestos disaster involved several court cases against Turner & Newall where local residents who contracted mesothelioma claimed compensation because of the asbestos pollution from the company’s factory. One notable case was that of June Hancock, who contracted the disease in 1993 and died in 1997.[86]

The WT-1 protein is overexpressed in mesothelioma and is being researched as a potential target for drugs.[11]

There are two high-confidence miRNAs that can potentially serve as biomarkers of asbestos exposure and malignant mesothelioma. Validation studies are needed to assess their relevance.[87]

Mesothelioma at Curlie (based on DMOZ)

See the original post:

Mesothelioma – Wikipedia

Mesothelioma – What is Malignant Mesothelioma Cancer

Malignant mesothelioma is a rare, asbestos-related cancer that forms on the protective tissues covering the lungs, abdomen and heart. Symptoms include coughing, chest pain and shortness of breath. Treatments combining surgery, radiation and chemotherapy are improving survival and life expectancy.

Key StatsMesothelioma Cancer

Perceptions about malignant mesothelioma are changing.

Scientific research and increased awareness are leading to earlier diagnoses. Improved and developing mesothelioma treatments are allowing patients to live longer than ever.

As more thoracic surgeons and oncologists become familiar with malignant mesothelioma, patients will have more experienced doctors who can extend their life expectancy and increase their chances of surviving this disease.

Malignant mesothelioma is a cancer caused by asbestos exposure. It forms in the lining of the lungs, abdomen, heart or testicles. Around 2,500 new cases of malignant mesothelioma are diagnosed each year in the U.S.

A small portion of mesothelioma tumors are not cancerous. Known as benign mesothelioma, these tumors respond well to surgery and rarely recur.

To understand malignant mesothelioma, it is important to learn about its causes, symptoms, types, treatment and prognosis. Learning more about mesothelioma cancer will help you make wise decisions about treatment and help you choose the best path to extend your life expectancy.

Exposure to asbestos is still the overwhelming cause of mesothelioma. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral once highly regarded for its insulation and fire-retardant properties.

Approximately 75 percent of cases are men who were exposed to asbestos while serving in the military or working certain high-risk blue-collar jobs. Some of these jobs include construction, firefighting, shipbuilding and industrial work.

Secondary exposure also occurs when washing the clothes of someone in a high-risk occupation. Living near abandoned asbestos mines or areas where asbestos occurs naturally in the environment can lead to exposure.

LEARN ABOUT THE CAUSES OF MALIGNANT MESOTHELIOMA

Mesothelioma symptoms do not usually arise until tumors have grown and spread, and they begin to press against the chest wall or abdominal cavity.

If you have a history of asbestos exposure and experience these symptoms, you should consult a mesothelioma cancer specialist as soon as possible. Although symptoms appear during the late stage of the cancer, quick diagnosis may improve your prognosis and life expectancy.

Learn about Malignant Mesothelioma Symptoms

Select the diagnosis you or your loved one is facing and receive a free guide with the right information for you:

Veterans account for

30%

of all mesothelioma legal cases

Men over the age of 60 make up the majority of malignant mesothelioma cases. But, cases among women recently increased by 8 percent.

People who worked with asbestos products are at an increased risk of developing mesothelioma cancer. Those who served in the U.S. armed forces and worked at certain occupations, such as construction jobs, were more likely to use asbestos products.

The risk of developing mesothelioma increases with continued exposure to asbestos. Most people who get the cancer worked with asbestos products for years.

Asbestos use in the military was widespread from 1940 to 1980. Veterans from all branches of the U.S. armed forces were at risk of exposure. Navy veterans were especially at risk because this branch used more asbestos products than any other.

LEARN ABOUT VETERANS

More than 75 occupations have exposed workers to asbestos. Among the most at risk include auto mechanics, textile workers, steel mill workers, construction workers and firefighters.

LEARN ABOUT OCCUPATIONS

Before safety regulations were put in place, asbestos workers unknowingly brought asbestos fibers home on their hair, skin and clothing. This resulted in secondary asbestos exposure among residents of the home such as women and children.

LEARN ABOUT SECONDARY EXPOSURE

I remain optimistic that we can, in the next decade, put together the right combination of patients and treatments to effect a cure, which is our holy grail.

Dr. David SugarbakerDirector of Lung Institute at Baylor College of Medicine

Each type of malignant mesothelioma is classified by the location in the body where it develops. Prognosis, symptoms and treatment options vary by type.

The pleural and peritoneal types of mesothelioma are the most common. Pericardial accounts for just 1 percent of cases. Another rare type known as testicular mesothelioma represents less than 1 percent of all mesotheliomas.

A patients prognosis, or survival outlook, is individualized to the patient based on how the disease is expected to affect their body and life span. Prognosis varies greatly from person to person. But, younger patients, women and people diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma typically have a better prognosis than older men diagnosed with the pleural type.

The two biggest factors that affect prognosis are the stage and cell type of the cancer. Other factors affecting life expectancy include age, gender, overall health and history of the patients asbestos exposure.

There are three types of mesothelioma cancer cells: Epithelioid, sarcomatoid and biphasic. Epithelioid is the most common and easier to treat than the other types.

Patients with early stages typically have a better prognosis than those with stage 3 or stage 4 because more treatment options are available the earlier the cancer is detected. Electing treatment at any stage can improve survival rates.

Stage

2-Year Survival Rate

5-Year Survival Rate

Stage 1A

46%

16%

Stage 1B

41%

13%

Stage 2

38%

10%

Stage 3A

30%

8%

Stage 3B

26%

5%

Stage 4

17%

Less than 1%

The stage of mesothelioma describes how far the cancer has spread (metastasized) locally, regionally and distantly from its point of origin. Doctors label the extent of pleural mesothelioma as stage 1, 2, 3 or 4.

During the early mesothelioma stages, tumors are localized. By the late stages, the cancer has spread to nearby locations or throughout the body.

The cancer is localized, surgery is most effective at this stage, and the survival rate is higher. Median life expectancy at stage 1 is 22.2 months.

LEARN ABOUT STAGE 1

Tumors have started to spread from the original location into adjacent structures. Surgery is still an option. Median life expectancy at stage 2 is 20 months.

LEARN ABOUT STAGE 2

Cancer has progressed to a more advanced stage with spread into the regional lymph nodes. Surgery may still be an option. Median life expectancy at stage 3 is 17.9 months.

LEARN ABOUT STAGE 3

Cancer has spread extensively in the area where it developed. Chemotherapy and immunotherapy control symptoms and prolong survival. Median life expectancy at stage 4 is 14.9 months or less.

LEARN ABOUT STAGE 4

Mesothelioma is not just a death sentence anymore. There have been wonderful advancements in treating this disease in recent years.

Dr. Rodney LandreneauThoracic Surgeon

Finding a specialist is necessary to get an accurate diagnosis. Malignant mesothelioma experts know the right diagnostic tools to determine the exact stage you are in and will customize a treatment plan to extend your life expectancy.

Because this disease represents only 0.3 percent of all diagnosed cancers, most primary care doctors and many oncologists rarely treat or see mesothelioma cancer. Finding a mesothelioma specialty center with a staff that truly understands the intricacies of the cancer and the best ways to treat it is crucial to extending survival.

Mesothelioma specialists have diagnosed and treated this disease throughout their medical careers. They know the latest medical advancements specific to this unique disease and have the tools to improve prognosis.

More than 70 percent of mesothelioma patients undergo chemotherapy

The leading treatment options for mesothelioma cancer include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Many specialists prefer to combine two or more of these treatments, which is an approach known as multimodal therapy. Numerous studies show this approach improves survival rates.

Palliative treatments that ease symptoms are quite common for patients of all stages. Emerging therapies in clinical trials, such as immunotherapy, show promise.

Additionally, many survivors credit less traditional alternative treatments for helping them live longer. Care in pursuit of these alternative approaches is recommended, because evidence to support claims of benefit may be lacking, and some practitioners may only be preying on fear and desperation to take advantage of patients.

Aside from conventional treatments, many mesothelioma cancer patients turn to clinical trials to potentially extend survival.

53

mesothelioma clinical trials active or recruiting patients worldwide since 2016

Participation in such trials can advance the knowledge of those treating malignant mesothelioma and therefore can also help other patients with this disease now and in the future. These experimental studies are small and controlled opportunities for scientists to test new drugs, therapies and different combinations of treatments.

Clinical trials often become an option for patients whose traditional treatments were unsuccessful or for those not eligible for surgery. Emerging treatments under investigation in clinical trials include immunotherapy, photodynamic therapy and cryotherapy.

For example, clinical trials are currently exploring the immunotherapy drugs Keytruda and Opdivo in mesothelioma patients. Early results are promising that these drugs will play a key role in the future of mesothelioma treatment.

LEARN MORE ABOUT CLINICAL TRIALS

The therapy has given me a new window. Its like getting my life back.

Mesothelioma survivor Walter Merth on participating in Keytruda clinical trial

Personal injury lawsuits have gotten a bad rap thanks to poor portrayal in TV shows and movies. The media tends to focus on frivolous lawsuits. But mesothelioma lawsuits are not frivolous. Anyone diagnosed with mesothelioma knows they did nothing wrong to deserve it.

Treatment is expensive, and insurance companies may not cover the cost of diagnostic tests or experimental therapies. People without medical insurance will face an even harder battle. If you or a loved one is diagnosed, consider taking steps to protect your finances.

Malignant mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases are preventable, but the companies that mined, manufactured and sold asbestos products put profits before the health of their own employee and customers. Our legal system ensures these companies are held accountable for their negligence.

A good mesothelioma lawyer can guide you through the process. There is no hassle for the patient to endure. Most mesothelioma lawsuits settle out of court. This means you likely wont have to testify in front of a jury. Most patients can do their deposition from the comfort of their home.

Get help finding an attorney who knows the process and can get you and your family the compensation you deserve.

Working with an experienced mesothelioma lawyer will help you move smoothly through the legal process of filing a lawsuit or trust fund claim.

Mesothelioma lawsuits include personal injury claims and wrongful death claims. Most lawsuits are settled out of court before a trial takes place.

Asbestos trust funds are established by now defunct companies that filed for bankruptcy protection. To date, these funds contain more than $30 billion to compensate workers and their families.

The median value for mesothelioma claims, according to a 2010 report from the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit institution that conducts research and analysis on asbestos bankruptcy trusts.

Other types of financial assistance are available. They will help you cover immediate costs while you wait for compensation. Examples include travel, housing and treatment grants, VA claims, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security disability.

Veterans exposed to asbestos during military service can file for asbestos-related claims through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Government programs, such as Medicare or Medicaid, can help older patients or those with limited finances. Workers compensation may be available to people exposed to asbestos on the job.

Dont let the notion of high costs of mesothelioma cancer treatments deter you from pursuing the best treatment options possible.

It takes a village to support someone with mesothelioma. Building a strong system of support will help you navigate this journey. Youre not alone. Were here to help.

We have a team of Patient Advocates who are available seven days a week to answer your questions and provide free resources. Consider joining our support group to get guidance and understanding from other people facing mesothelioma.

Read the rest here:

Mesothelioma – What is Malignant Mesothelioma Cancer

Mesothelioma | 2018 Statistics, Symptoms, Treatment Options

Treatments

Most often, mesothelioma is treated with a multimodal plan, or combination, of conventional cancer treatment methods including surgery and chemotherapy. Treatment will either focus on extending life expectancy or, at later stages, focus on palliative care to relieve symptoms. Research and clinical trials have found new hope for a potential cure with emerging treatments, like immunotherapy, to more effectively combat the disease and improve life expectancy.

After receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis, the most important step is finding a mesothelioma doctor who specializes in asbestos-related diseases. They will be the best person to determine the most effective treatment options for your individual case, and will also be aware of the latest treatment advancements or clinical trials available. Creating a custom treatment plan with a mesothelioma doctor is the most effective way to improve prognosis.

Learn More About Treating Mesothelioma

More:

Mesothelioma | 2018 Statistics, Symptoms, Treatment Options

Welcome to TMS

The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS) is a professional association that connects minerals, metals, and materials scientists and engineers who work in industry, academia, and government positions around the world.

Many of the programs conducted by TMS are made possible by the generous financial support of the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers (AIME).

More:

Welcome to TMS

Posted in Tms

Donald Trump: Latest News, Top Stories & Analysis – POLITICO

President Donald Trump wanted access to documents from an FBI raid. Fox News personality Sean Hannity wanted to remain silent.

In the end, neither of attorney Michael Cohens clients got what he wanted.

With a plot twist that you could hardly script, Hannity was revealed as a mystery third client of Cohen, Trumps longtime personal attorney. The other two are Trump and former deputy RNC finance chairman Elliott Broidy, who resigned amid allegations he had an affair and paid more than $1 million to try and keep it quiet.

Its not clear what Cohen did for Hannity, though the Fox News host has been pretty dogged in backing Cohen of late. But as POLITICOs Josh Gerstein and Lauren Nahimas report, the revelation came amid an already incredible showdown between Trump and his own justice department over access to files seized in the raids on Cohen’s home and office last week.

Hannity’s connection to Cohen was revealed after the conservative commentator one of Trump’s staunchest defenders fiercely criticized federal officials for the raids, without disclosing his own connection It was not immediately clear what sort of legal work Cohen did for Hannity. The conservative media figure, who seemed taken aback by the disclosure as he addressed it on his syndicated radio program Monday afternoon, eventually said most of the advice related to real estate.

Meanwhile, Trump himself was left in limbo when Judge Kimba Wood delayed a decision on whether he could review the review documents from the Cohen raid before the FBI.

The judge rejected Cohen’s and Trump’s request for a temporary restraining order because prosecutors agreed to hold off reviewing the records seized in last week’s raids. Wood said she was weighing appointing a special master, a neutral individual who would oversee potential attorney-client privilege claims.

See the original post:

Donald Trump: Latest News, Top Stories & Analysis – POLITICO

Psoriasis – What is Psoriasis? Basic Symptoms and Types

Articles OnWhat Is Psoriasis? What Is Psoriasis? What Is Psoriasis? What Is Psoriasis?

Unpredictable and irritating, psoriasis is one of the most baffling and persistent of skin disorders. It’s characterized by skin cells that multiply up to 10 times faster than normal. As underlying cells reach the skin’s surface and die, their sheer volume causes raised, red plaques covered with white scales. Psoriasis typically occurs on the knees, elbows, and scalp, and it can also affect the torso, palms, and soles of the feet.

The symptoms of psoriasis vary depending on the type you have. Some common symptoms for plaque psoriasis — the most common variety of the condition — include:

Psoriasis can also be associated with psoriatic arthritis, which leads to pain and swelling in the joints. The National Psoriasis Foundation estimates that between 10% to 30% of people with psoriasis also have psoriatic arthritis.

Other forms of psoriasis include:

Pustular psoriasis , characterized by red and scaly skin on the palms of the hands and/or feet with tiny pustules

Guttate psoriasis, which often starts in childhood or young adulthood, is characterized by small, red spots, mainly on the torso and limbs. Triggers may be respiratory infections, strep throat, tonsillitis, stress, injury to the skin, and use of anti-malarial and beta-blocker medications.

Inverse psoriasis, characterized by bright red, shiny lesions that appear in skin folds, such as the armpits, groin area, and under the breasts

Erythrodermic psoriasis, characterized by periodic, fiery redness of the skin and shedding of scales in sheets; this form of psoriasis, triggered by withdrawal from a systemic psoriasis treatment, severe sunburn, infection, and certain medications, requires immediate medical treatment, because it can lead to severe illness.

People who suffer from psoriasis know that this uncomfortable and at times disfiguring skin disease can be difficult and frustrating to treat. The condition comes and goes in cycles of remissions and flare-ups over a lifetime. While there are medications and other therapies that can help to clear up the patches of red, scaly, thickened skin that are the hallmark of psoriasis, there is no cure.

A variety of factors — ranging from emotional stress and trauma to streptococcal infection — can cause an episode of psoriasis. Recent research indicates that some abnormality in the immune system is the key cause of psoriasis. As many as 80% of people having flare-ups report a recent emotional trauma, such as a new job or the death of a loved one. Most doctors believe such external stressors serve as triggers for an inherited defect in immune function.

Injured skin and certain drugs can aggravate psoriasis, including certain types of blood pressure medications (like beta-blockers), the anti-malarial medication hydroxychloroquine, and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc.).

Psoriasis tends to run in families, but it may be skip generations; a grandfather and his grandson may be affected, but the child’s mother never develops the disease. Although psoriasis may be stressful and embarrassing, most outbreaks are relatively harmless. With appropriate treatment, symptoms generally subside within a few months.

SOURCES:National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease.National Psoriasis Foundation.The Psoriasis Foundation.American Academy of Dermatology.

Pagination

Excerpt from:

Psoriasis – What is Psoriasis? Basic Symptoms and Types

Psoriasis Treatment, Causes, Symptoms, Pictures & Diet

Psoriasis facts

What is psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a noncontagious, chronic skin condition that produces plaques of thickened, scaling skin. The dry flakes of skin scales result from the excessively rapid proliferation of skin cells. The proliferation of skin cells is triggered by inflammatory chemicals produced by specialized white blood cells called T-lymphocytes. Psoriasis commonly affects the skin of the elbows, knees, and scalp.

The spectrum of disease ranges from mild with limited involvement of small areas of skin to large, thick plaques to red inflamed skin affecting the entire body surface.

Psoriasis is considered an incurable, long-term (chronic) inflammatory skin condition. It has a variable course, periodically improving and worsening. It is not unusual for psoriasis to spontaneously clear for years and stay in remission. Many people note a worsening of their symptoms in the colder winter months.

Psoriasis affects all races and both sexes. Although psoriasis can be seen in people of any age, from babies to seniors, most commonly patients are first diagnosed in their early adult years. The quality of life of patients with psoriasis is often diminished because of the appearance of their skin. Recently, it has become clear that people with psoriasis are more likely to have diabetes, high blood lipids, cardiovascular disease, and a variety of other inflammatory diseases. This may reflect an inability to control inflammation. Caring for psoriasis takes medical teamwork.

No. Psoriasis is not contagious. Psoriasis is not transmitted sexually or by physical contact. Psoriasis is not caused by lifestyle, diet, or bad hygiene.

While the exact cause of psoriasis is unknown, researchers consider environmental, genetic, and immune system factors as playing roles in the establishment of the disease.

What are psoriasis causes and risk factors?

The exact cause remains unknown. A combination of elements, including genetic predisposition and environmental factors, are involved. It is common for psoriasis to be found in members of the same family. Defects in immune regulation and the control of inflammation are thought to play major roles. Certain medications like beta-blockers have been linked to psoriasis. Despite research over the past 30 years, the “master switch” that turns on psoriasis is still a mystery.

What are the different types of psoriasis?

There are several different forms of psoriasis, including plaque psoriasis or psoriasis vulgaris (common plaque type), guttate psoriasis (small, drop-like spots), inverse psoriasis (in the folds like of the underarms, navel, groin, and buttocks), and pustular psoriasis (small pus-filled yellowish blisters). When the palms and the soles are involved, this is known as palmoplantar psoriasis. In erythrodermic psoriasis, the entire skin surface is involved with the disease. Patients with this form of psoriasis often feel cold and may develop congestive heart failure if they have a preexisting heart problem. Nail psoriasis produces yellow pitted nails that can be confused with nail fungus. Scalp psoriasis can be severe enough to produce localized hair loss, plenty of dandruff, and severe itching.

Can psoriasis affect my joints?

Yes, psoriasis is associated with inflamed joints in about one-third of those affected. In fact, sometimes joint pains may be the only sign of the disorder, with completely clear skin. The joint disease associated with psoriasis is referred to as psoriatic arthritis. Patients may have inflammation of any joints (arthritis), although the joints of the hands, knees, and ankles tend to be most commonly affected. Psoriatic arthritis is an inflammatory, destructive form of arthritis and needs to be treated with medications in order to stop the disease progression.

The average age for onset of psoriatic arthritis is 30-40 years of age. Usually, the skin symptoms and signs precede the onset of the arthritis.

Can psoriasis affect only my nails?

Yes, psoriasis may involve solely the nails in a limited number of patients. Usually, the nail signs accompany the skin and arthritis symptoms and signs. Nail psoriasis is typically very difficult to treat. Treatment options are somewhat limited and include potent topical steroids applied at the nail-base cuticle, injection of steroids at the nail-base cuticle, and oral or systemic medications as described below for the treatment of psoriasis.

What are psoriasis symptoms and signs? What does psoriasis look like?

Plaque psoriasis signs and symptoms appear as red or pink small scaly bumps that merge into plaques of raised skin. Plaque psoriasis classically affects skin over the elbows, knees, and scalp and is often itchy. Although any area may be involved, plaque psoriasis tends to be more common at sites of friction, scratching, or abrasion. Sometimes pulling off one of these small dry white flakes of skin causes a tiny blood spot on the skin. This is a special diagnostic sign in psoriasis called the Auspitz sign.

Fingernails and toenails often exhibit small pits (pinpoint depressions) and/or larger yellowish-brown separations of the nail from the nail bed at the fingertip called distal onycholysis. Nail psoriasis may be confused with and incorrectly diagnosed as a fungal nail infection.

Guttate psoriasis symptoms and signs include bumps or small plaques ( inch or less) of red itchy, scaling skin that may appear explosively, affecting large parts of the skin surface simultaneously, after a sore throat.

In inverse psoriasis, genital lesions, especially in the groin and on the head of the penis, are common. Psoriasis in moist areas like the navel or the area between the buttocks (intergluteal folds) may look like flat red plaques without much scaling. This may be confused with other skin conditions like fungal infections, yeast infections, allergic rashes, or bacterial infections.

Symptoms and signs of pustular psoriasis include at rapid onset of groups of small bumps filled with pus on the torso. Patients are often systemically ill and may have a fever.

Erythrodermic psoriasis appears as extensive areas of red skin often involving the entire skin surface. Patients may often feel chilled.

Scalp psoriasis may look like severe dandruff with dry flakes and red areas of skin. It can be difficult to differentiate between scalp psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis when only the scalp is involved. However, the treatment is often very similar for both conditions.

How do health care professionals diagnose psoriasis?

The diagnosis of psoriasis is typically made by obtaining information from the physical examination of the skin, medical history, and relevant family health history.

Sometimes lab tests, including a microscopic examination of tissue obtained from a skin biopsy, may be necessary.

Eczema vs. psoriasis

Occasionally, it can be difficult to differentiate eczematous dermatitis from psoriasis. This is when a biopsy can be quite valuable to distinguish between the two conditions. Of note, both eczematous dermatitis and psoriasis often respond to similar treatments. Certain types of eczematous dermatitis can be cured where this is not the case for psoriasis.

How many people have psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a fairly common skin condition and is estimated to affect approximately 1%-3% of the U.S. population. It currently affects roughly 7.5 million to 8.5 million people in the U.S. It is seen worldwide in about 125 million people. Interestingly, African Americans have about half the rate of psoriasis as Caucasians.

Is psoriasis contagious?

No. A person cannot catch it from someone else, and one cannot pass it to anyone else by skin-to-skin contact. Directly touching someone with psoriasis every day will never transmit the condition.

Is there a cure for psoriasis?

No, psoriasis is not currently curable. However, it can go into remission, producing an entirely normal skin surface. Ongoing research is actively making progress on finding better treatments and a possible cure in the future.

Is psoriasis hereditary?

Although psoriasis is not contagious from person to person, there is a known hereditary tendency. Therefore, family history is very helpful in making the diagnosis.

What health care specialists treat psoriasis?

Dermatologists are doctors who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of psoriasis, and rheumatologists specialize in the treatment of joint disorders and psoriatic arthritis. Many kinds of doctors may treat psoriasis, including dermatologists, family physicians, internal medicine physicians, rheumatologists, and other medical doctors. Some patients have also seen other allied health professionals such as acupuncturists, holistic practitioners, chiropractors, and nutritionists.

The American Academy of Dermatology and the National Psoriasis Foundation are excellent sources to help find doctors who specialize in this disease. Not all dermatologists and rheumatologists treat psoriasis. The National Psoriasis Foundation has one of the most up-to-date databases of current psoriasis specialists.

It is now apparent that patients with psoriasis are prone to a variety of other disease conditions, so-called comorbidities. Cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, inflammatory bowel disease, hyperlipidemia, liver problems, and arthritis are more common in patients with psoriasis. It is very important for all patients with psoriasis to be carefully monitored by their primary care providers for these associated illnesses. The joint inflammation of psoriatic arthritis and its complications are frequently managed by rheumatologists.

What are psoriasis treatment options?

There are many effective psoriasis treatment choices. The best treatment is individually determined by the treating doctor and depends, in part, on the type of disease, the severity, and amount of skin involved and the type of insurance coverage.

For mild disease that involves only small areas of the body (less than 10% of the total skin surface), topical treatments (skin applied), such as creams, lotions, and sprays, may be very effective and safe to use. Occasionally, a small local injection of steroids directly into a tough or resistant isolated psoriatic plaque may be helpful.

For moderate to severe disease that involves much larger areas of the body (>10% or more of the total skin surface), topical products may not be effective or practical to apply. This may require ultraviolet light treatments or systemic (total body treatments such as pills or injections) medicines. Internal medications usually have greater risks. Because topical therapy has no effect on psoriatic arthritis, systemic medications are generally required to stop the progression to permanent joint destruction.

It is important to keep in mind that as with any medical condition, all medicines carry possible side effects. No medication is 100% effective for everyone, and no medication is 100% safe. The decision to use any medication requires thorough consideration and discussion with your health care provider. The risks and potential benefit of medications have to be considered for each type of psoriasis and the individual. Of two patients with precisely the same amount of disease, one may tolerate it with very little treatment, while the other may become incapacitated and require treatment internally.

A proposal to minimize the toxicity of some of these medicines has been commonly called “rotational” therapy. The idea is to change the anti-psoriasis drugs every six to 24 months in order to minimize the toxicity of one medication. Depending on the medications selected, this proposal can be an option. An exception to this proposal is the use of the newer biologic medications as described below. An individual who has been using strong topical steroids over large areas of their body for prolonged periods may benefit from stopping the steroids for a while and rotating onto a different therapy.

What creams, lotions, and home remedies are available for psoriasis?

Topical (skin applied) treatments include topical corticosteroids, vitamin D analogue creams like calcipotriene (Calcitrene, Dovonex, Sorilux), topical retinoids (tazarotene [Tazorac]), moisturizers, topical immunomodulators (tacrolimus and pimecrolimus), coal tar, anthralin, and others.

Are psoriasis shampoos available?

Coal tar shampoos are very useful in controlling psoriasis of the scalp. Using the shampoo daily can be very beneficial adjunctive therapy. There are a variety of shampoos available without a prescription. There is no evidence that one shampoo is superior to another. Generally, the selection of a tar shampoo is simply a matter of personal preference.

What oral medications are available for psoriasis?

Oral medications include methotrexate (Trexall), acitretin (Soriatane), cyclosporine (Neoral), apremilast (Otezla), and others. Oral prednisone (corticosteroid) is generally not used in psoriasis and may cause a disease flare-up if administered.

What injections or infusions are available for psoriasis?

Recently, a new group of drugs called biologics have become available to treat psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. They are produced by living cells cultures in an industrial setting. They are all proteins and therefore must be administered through the skin because they would otherwise be degraded during digestion. All biologics work by suppressing certain specific portions of the immune inflammatory response that are overactive in psoriasis. A convenient method of categorizing these drugs is on the basis of their site of action:

Drug choice can be complicated, and your physician will help in selecting the best option. In some patients. it may be possible to predict drug efficacy on the basis of a prospective patient’s genetics. It appears that the presence of the HLA-Cw6 gene is correlated with a beneficial response to ustekinumab.

Newer drugs are in development and no doubt will be available in the near future. As this class of drugs is fairly new, ongoing monitoring and adverse effect reporting continues and long-term safety continues to be monitored. Biologics are all comparatively expensive especially in view of the fact they none of them are curative. Recently, the FDA has attempted to address this problem by permitting the use of “biosimilar” drugs. These drugs are structurally identical to a specific biologic drug and are presumed to produce identical therapeutic responses in human beings to the original, but are produced using different methodology. Biosimilars ought to be available at some fraction of the cost of the original. If this will be an effective approach remains to be seen. The only biosimilar available currently is infliximab (Inflectra). Two other biosimilar drugs have been accepted by the FDA, an etanercept equivalent (Erelzi) and an adalimumab equivalent (Amjevita) — but currently, neither are available.

Some biologics are to be administered by self-injections for home use while others are given by intravenous infusions in the doctor’s office. Biologics have some screening requirements such as a tuberculosis screening test (TB skin test or PPD test) and other labs prior to starting therapy. As with any drug, side effects are possible with all biologic drugs. Common potential side effects include mild local injection-site reactions (redness and tenderness). There is concern of serious infections and potential malignancy with nearly all biologic drugs. Precautions include patients with known or suspected hepatitis B infection, active tuberculosis, and possibly HIV/AIDS. As a general consideration, these drugs may not be an ideal choice for patients with a history of cancer and patients actively undergoing cancer therapy. In particular, there may be an increased association of lymphoma in patients taking a biologic.

Biologics are expensive medications ranging in price from several to tens of thousands of dollars per year per person. Their use may be limited by availability, cost, and insurance approval. Not all insurance drug plans fully cover these drugs for all conditions. Patients need to check with their insurance and may require a prior authorization request for coverage approval. Some of the biologic manufacturers have patient-assistance programs to help with financial issues. Therefore, choice of the right medication for your condition depends on many factors, not all of them medical. Additionally, convenience of receiving the medication and lifestyle affect the choice of the right biologic medication.

Is there an anti-psoriasis diet?

Most patients with psoriasis seem to be overweight. Since there is a predisposition for those patients to develop cardiovascular disease and diabetes, it is suggested strongly that they try to maintain a normal body weight. Although evidence is sparse, it has been suggested that slender patients are more likely to respond to treatment.

Although dietary studies are notoriously difficult to perform and interpret, it seems likely that a diet whose fat content is composed of polyunsaturated oils like olive oil and fish oil is beneficial for psoriasis. The so-called Mediterranean diet is an example.

What about light therapy for psoriasis?

Light therapy is also called phototherapy. There are several types of medical light therapies that include PUVA (an acronym for psoralen + UVA), UVB, and narrow-band UVB. These artificial light sources have been used for decades and generally are available in only certain physician’s offices. There are a few companies who may sell light boxes or light bulbs for prescribed home light therapy.

Natural sunlight is also used to treat psoriasis. Daily short, controlled exposures to natural sunlight may help or clear psoriasis in some patients. Skin unaffected by psoriasis and sensitive areas such as the face and hands may need to be protected during sun exposure.

There are also multiple newer light sources like lasers and photodynamic therapy (use of a light activating medication and a special light source) that have been used to treat psoriasis.

PUVA is a special treatment using a photosensitizing drug and timed artificial-light exposure composed of wavelengths of ultraviolet light in the UVA spectrum. The photosensitizing drug in PUVA is called psoralen. Both the psoralen and the UVA light must be administered within one hour of each other for a response to occur. These treatments are usually given in a physician’s office two to three times per week. Several weeks of PUVA is usually required before seeing significant results. The light exposure time is gradually increased during each subsequent treatment. Psoralens may be given orally as a pill or topically as a bath or lotion. After a short incubation period, the skin is exposed to a special wavelength of ultraviolet light called UVA. Patients using PUVA are generally sun sensitive and must avoid sun exposure for a period of time after PUVA. Common side effects with PUVA include burning, aging of the skin, increased brown spots called lentigines, and an increased risk of skin cancer, including melanoma. The relative increase in skin cancer risk with PUVA treatment is controversial. PUVA treatments need to be closely monitored by a physician and discontinued when a maximum number of treatments have been reached.

Narrow-band UVB phototherapy is an artificial light treatment using very limited wavelengths of light. It is frequently given daily or two to three times per week. UVB is also a component of natural sunlight. UVB dosage is based on time and exposure is gradually increased as tolerated. Potential side effects with UVB include skin burning, premature aging, and possible increased risk of skin cancer. The relative increase in skin cancer risk with UVB treatment needs further study but is probably less than PUVA or traditional UVB.

Sometimes UVB is combined with other treatments such as tar application. Goeckerman is a special psoriasis therapy using this combination. Some centers have used this therapy in a “day care” type of setting where patients are in the psoriasis treatment clinic all day for several weeks and go home each night.

Recently, a laser (excimer laser XTRAC) has been developed that generates ultraviolet light in the same range as narrow-band ultraviolet light. This light can be beneficial for psoriasis localized to small areas of skin like the palms, soles, and scalp. It is impractical to use in in extensive disease.

What is the long-term prognosis with psoriasis? What are complications of psoriasis?

Overall, the prognosis for most patients with psoriasis is good. While it is not curable, it is controllable. As described above, recent studies show an association of psoriasis and other medical conditions, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

Is it possible to prevent psoriasis?

Since psoriasis is inherited, it is impossible at this time to suggest anything that is likely to prevent its development aside from indulging in a healthy lifestyle.

What does the future hold for psoriasis?

Psoriasis research is heavily funded and holds great promise for the future. Just the last five to 10 years have produced great improvements in treatment of the disease with medications aimed at controlling precise sites of the process of inflammation. Ongoing research is needed to decipher the ultimate underlying cause of this disease.

Is there a national psoriasis support group?

Yes, the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) is an organization dedicated to helping patients with psoriasis and furthering research in this field. They hold national and local chapter meetings. The NPF web site (http://www.psoriasis.org/home/) shares up-to-date reliable medical information and statistics on the condition.

Where can people get more information on psoriasis?

A dermatologist, the American Academy of Dermatology at http://www.AAD.org, and the National Psoriasis Foundation at http://www.psoriasis.org/home/ may be excellent sources of more information.

There are many ongoing clinical trials for psoriasis all over the United States and in the world. Many of these clinical trials are ongoing at academic or university medical centers and are frequently open to patients without cost.

Clinical trials frequently have specific requirements for types and severity of psoriasis that may be enrolled into a specific trial. Patients need to contact these centers and inquire regarding the specific study requirements. Some studies have restrictions on what recent medications have been used for psoriasis, current medication, and overall health.

Some of the many medical centers in the U.S. offering clinical trials for psoriasis include the University of California, San Francisco Department of Dermatology, the University of California, Irvine Department of Dermatology, and the St. Louis University Medical School.

Medically Reviewed on 2/1/2018

References

Alwan, W., and F.O. Nestle. “Pathogenesis and Treatment of Psoriasis: Exploiting Pathophysiological Pathways for Precision Medicine.” Clin Exp Rheumatol 33 (Suppl. 93): S2-S6.

Arndt, Kenneth A., eds., et al. “Topical Therapies for Psoriasis.” Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery 35.2S Mar. 2016: S35-S46.

Conrad, Curdin, Michel Gilliet. “Psoriasis: From Pathogenesis to Targeted Therapies.” Clinical Reviews in Allergy & Immunology Jan. 18, 2015.

Dowlatshahi, E.A., E.A.M van der Voort, L.R. Arends, and T. Nijsten. “Markers of Systemic Inflammation in Psoriasis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” British Journal of Dermatology 169.2 Aug. 2013: 266282.

Greb, Jacqueline E., et al. “Psoriasis.” Nature Reviews Disease Primers 2 (2016): 1-17.

National Psoriasis Foundation. “Systemic Treatments: Biologics and Oral Treatments.” 1-25.

Ogawa, Eisaku, Yuki Sato, Akane Minagawa, and Ryuhei Okuyama. “Pathogenesis of Psoriasis and Development of Treatment.” The Journal of Dermatology 2017: 1-9.

Villaseor-Park, Jennifer, David Wheeler, and Lisa Grandinetti. “Psoriasis: Evolving Treatment for a Complex Disease.” Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine 79.6 June 2012: 413-423.

Woo, Yu Ri, Dae Ho Cho, and Hyun Jeong Park. “Molecular Mechanisms and Management of a Cutaneous Inflammatory Disorder: Psoriasis.” International Journal of Molecular Sciences 18 Dec. 11, 2017: 1-26.

Continued here:

Psoriasis Treatment, Causes, Symptoms, Pictures & Diet

Psoriasis – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic

Overview

Psoriasis is a common skin condition that speeds up the life cycle of skin cells. It causes cells to build up rapidly on the surface of the skin. The extra skin cells form scales and red patches that are itchy and sometimes painful.

Psoriasis is a chronic disease that often comes and goes. The main goal of treatment is to stop the skin cells from growing so quickly.

There is no cure for psoriasis, but you can manage symptoms. Lifestyle measures, such as moisturizing, quitting smoking and managing stress, may help.

Psoriasis care at Mayo Clinic

Psoriasis signs and symptoms are different for everyone. Common signs and symptoms include:

Psoriasis patches can range from a few spots of dandruff-like scaling to major eruptions that cover large areas.

Most types of psoriasis go through cycles, flaring for a few weeks or months, then subsiding for a time or even going into complete remission.

There are several types of psoriasis. These include:

Guttate psoriasis. This type primarily affects young adults and children. It’s usually triggered by a bacterial infection such as strep throat. It’s marked by small, water-drop-shaped, scaling lesions on your trunk, arms, legs and scalp.

The lesions are covered by a fine scale and aren’t as thick as typical plaques are. You may have a single outbreak that goes away on its own, or you may have repeated episodes.

Pustular psoriasis. This uncommon form of psoriasis can occur in widespread patches (generalized pustular psoriasis) or in smaller areas on your hands, feet or fingertips.

It generally develops quickly, with pus-filled blisters appearing just hours after your skin becomes red and tender. The blisters may come and go frequently. Generalized pustular psoriasis can also cause fever, chills, severe itching and diarrhea.

If you suspect that you may have psoriasis, see your doctor for an examination. Also, talk to your doctor if your psoriasis:

Seek medical advice if your signs and symptoms worsen or don’t improve with treatment. You may need a different medication or a combination of treatments to manage the psoriasis.

The cause of psoriasis isn’t fully understood, but it’s thought to be related to an immune system problem with T cells and other white blood cells, called neutrophils, in your body.

T cells normally travel through the body to defend against foreign substances, such as viruses or bacteria.

But if you have psoriasis, the T cells attack healthy skin cells by mistake, as if to heal a wound or to fight an infection.

Overactive T cells also trigger increased production of healthy skin cells, more T cells and other white blood cells, especially neutrophils. These travel into the skin causing redness and sometimes pus in pustular lesions. Dilated blood vessels in psoriasis-affected areas create warmth and redness in the skin lesions.

The process becomes an ongoing cycle in which new skin cells move to the outermost layer of skin too quickly in days rather than weeks. Skin cells build up in thick, scaly patches on the skin’s surface, continuing until treatment stops the cycle.

Just what causes T cells to malfunction in people with psoriasis isn’t entirely clear. Researchers believe both genetics and environmental factors play a role.

Psoriasis typically starts or worsens because of a trigger that you may be able to identify and avoid. Factors that may trigger psoriasis include:

Anyone can develop psoriasis, but these factors can increase your risk of developing the disease:

If you have psoriasis, you’re at greater risk of developing certain diseases. These include:

View original post here:

Psoriasis – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic

Psoriasis – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment – Health.com …

Jump to: Types | Causes | Symptoms | Diagnosis | Treatment | Living with Psoriasis | Celebrities with Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a disease in which red, scaly patches form on the skin, typically on the elbows, knees, or scalp. An estimated 7.5 million people in the United States will develop the disease, most of them between the ages of 15 and 30. Many people with psoriasis experience pain, discomfort, and self-esteem problems that can interfere with their work and social life.

Although the exact cause of psoriasis is unknown, researchers say the disease is largely geneticits caused by a combination of genes that send the immune system into overdrive, triggering the rapid growth of skin cells that form patches and lesions.

A dermatologist can likely tell the difference between psoriasis and eczema, but to the untrained eye, these skin conditions can appear similar. Generally speaking, psoriasis appears as thick, red patches that have a scaly buildup on top, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). These lesions are usually well defined, whereas eczema tends to cause a rash and be accompanied by an intense itch.

In addition, psoriasis tends to occur on the outside of the knees and elbows, and on the lower back and scalp; eczema usually covers the elbow and knee creases and the neck or face.

Research published in 2015 in the Journal of Clinical Medicine suggested that infants and children with psoriasis may be particularly likely to be misdiagnosed with eczema because they may have less scaling than adults.

RELATED: Whats That Rash?

Back to top

Psoriasis can range in severity, from mild patches to severe lesions that can affect more than 5% of the skin. There are five types of the disease: plaque psoriasis, pustular psoriasis, guttate psoriasis, inverse psoriasis, and erythrodermic psoriasis. Some people will have one form, whereas others will have two or more.

Plaque psoriasis appears as red patches with silvery white scales, or buildup of dead skin cells, called plaques. Its the most common type of psoriasis, affecting up to 90% of all people with the disease, according to the AAD. Most often found on the scalp, elbows, lower back, and knees, the plaques themselves will be raised and have clear edges; they may also itch, crack, or bleed.

Pustular psoriasis is a form of psoriasis in which white pustules (or bumps filled with white pus) appear on the skin. In a typical cycle, the skin will turn red, break out in pustules, and then develop scales. There are three types of pustular psoriasis: von Zumbusch pustular psoriasis (which appears abruptly and can be accompanied with fever, chills, and dehydration), palmoplantar pustulosis (which appears on the soles of the feet and the hands), and acropustulosis (a rare form of psoriasis that forms on the ends of the fingers or toes).

Guttate psoriasis is a type of psoriasis that appears as red, scaly teardrop-shaped spots. (The word guttate is Latin for drop.) During a flare-up, hundreds of lesions can form on the arms, legs, and torso, although they can also appear on the face, ears, and scalp. Guttate is the second most common type of psoriasis, occurring in about 10% of all people with the disease. Its most likely to appear in people who are younger than 30, oftentimes after they develop an infection like strep throat.

Inverse psoriasis is a type of psoriasis that appears as smooth, bright red lesions in the armpit, groin, and other areas with folds of skin. Because these regions of the body are prone to sweating and rubbing, inverse psoriasis can be particularly irritating and hard to treat.

Erythrodermic psoriasis is rare but can require immediate treatment or even hospitalization. The lesions look like large sheets rather than small spots, as if the area has been burned, and tend to be severely itchy and painful. A flare-up can trigger swelling, infection, and increased heart rate.

Psoriasis is not contagiousits a genetic, autoimmune disease. Psoriasis lesions cannot infect other people; likewise, people cant catch psoriasis from someone else, whether through touching, sexual contact, or swimming in the same pool. Its unclear, however, whether a majority of the general public is aware of this fact. In a small 2015 survey in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, about 60% of people said they thought that psoriasis was infectious, while 41% said they thought the lesions looked contagious.

RELATED: 14 Ways to Manage Your Psoriasis

Back to top

The simplest answer to the question of what causes psoriasis: your genetics. An estimated 10% of people inherit at least one of the genes that can cause psoriasis. (There are as many as 25 genetic mutations that make someone more likely to develop psoriasis.) But only 2% to 3% of people will develop the disease, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation (NSF). Therefore, researchers believe that psoriasis is caused by a certain combination of genes that spring into action after being exposed to a trigger. Common triggers include stress, an infection (like strep throat), and certain medications (like lithium). Cold, dry weather and sunburns may also trigger psoriasis flares.

When someone with psoriasis is exposed to a trigger, their immune system scrambles to defend itself by producing T cells, a type of white blood cell that helps ward off infections and other diseases. With psoriasis, however, T cell-production goes into overdrive, eventually causing inflammation and faster-than-usual growth of skin cells, leading to psoriasis symptoms.

The signs and symptoms of psoriasis vary depending on the type and severity of the skin disease. Some people may have one form of psoriasis, while others can have two or more.

Raised reddish patches. People with plaque psoriasis can experience a flare-up of red, raised patches. These patches can be itchy or painful or crack and bleed.

Scaly patches. Often seen in plaque psoriasis, scales are patches of built-up dead skin cells that have a silvery-white sheen. They often appear on top of raised, red patches that can be itchy or painful or crack and bleed. People with plaque psoriasis can experience a flare-up of symptoms on their scalp, knees, elbows, and lower back.

White pustules. A characteristic of pustular psoriasis, these white pus-filled blisters can cluster on the hands and feet or spread to most of the body. After the pustules appear, scaling usually follows. In people with von Zumbusch psoriasis, the pustules will dry after 24 to 48 hours, leaving the skin with a glazed appearance. In people with palmoplantar pustulosis, the pustules will turn brown, then peel, then start to crust.

Red, smooth lesions.Seen in inverse psoriasis, these very red lesions are smooth and shiny and are found in parts of the body with folds of skin, like the armpits, groin, and under the breasts. Because these lesions tend to be located in sensitive areas, they are prone to irritation from rubbing or sweating.

Red spots. A telltale sign of guttate psoriasis, these small, red spots are shaped like drops and usually appear on the torso, arms, and legs. In most cases, they arent as thick as plaque psoriasis lesions, but they can be widespread, numbering into the hundreds.

Nail changes.About 50% of people with psoriasis experience changes to their finger or toenails, including pitting (the appearance of holes in the nail), thickening, and discoloration, according to the NPF.

RELATED: 10 Things Your Nails Can Tell You About Your Health

Areas of the body normally affected by psoriasis

Back to top

There are no special diagnostic tests for psoriasis. Instead, a psoriasis diagnosis is made by a dermatologist, who will examine the skin lesions visually. In some cases, psoriasis can resemble other types of skin conditions, like eczema, so doctors may want to confirm the results with a biopsy. That involves removing some of the skin and looking at the sample under a microscope, where psoriasis tends to appear thicker than eczema.

Doctors may also take a detailed record of your familys medical history: About one-third of people with psoriasis have a first-degree relative who also has the condition. Health care providers may also try to pinpoint psoriasis triggers by asking whether their patients have been under stress lately or are taking a new medication.

Theres no one-size-fits-all psoriasis treatment, and the medications that work for some people may not work for others. The goal, however, is the same for everyone: to find psoriasis medications that can reduce or eliminate psoriasis symptoms. Here are some of the most commonly prescribed therapies.

Topical medications. A first-line form of therapy for mild to moderate conditions, topicals (in psoriasis cream, gel, and ointment forms) are applied directly to the skin in the hopes of reducing inflammation and slowing down skin cell growth. Some are available over-the-counter, like products with salicylic acid and coal tar as active ingredients, while others, like calcipotriene (a form of vitamin D3) and tazarotene (a vitamin A derivative known as a retinoid) are available by prescription. There are also special psoriasis shampoos that can help clear up scalp psoriasis; many contain coal tar and salicylic acid.

Phototherapy. Also called light therapy, phototherapy exposes a persons skin to ultraviolet light, which is thought to kill the immune cells contributing to psoriasis. Phototherapy can be administered in the form of UVB rays, a combination of UVA and UVB, or UVA rays alongside an oral or topical medication called psoralen (a treatment called PUVA). The catch: These treatments have to be done in a doctors office, a psoriasis clinic, or with a specialized phototherapy unit and usually require several visits, which can become expensive. Because indoor tanning increases the risk of skin cancer (especially melanoma), its not considered a safe substitute for phototherapy under medical supervision.

Systemic medications. If topical medications and phototherapy dont work, doctors may recommend taking systemics, or prescription drugs that affect the entire body. These meds can be taken orally or via an injection, and include cyclosporine (which suppresses immune system activity and slows skin cell growth), acitretin (an oral retinoid, or form of vitamin A, that slows down the speed at which skin cells grow and shed), and methotrexate (a medication that was originally used as a cancer treatment, but can also slow down the growth of skin cells).

Biologic drugs. Biologics contain human or animal proteins and can block certain immune cells that are involved in psoriasis. Theyre usually recommended for people with moderate to severe psoriasis and are administered via an injection or IV infusion. There are currently three types of biologics that can help treat psoriasis, all of which block immune system chemical messengers that promote inflammation called cytokines. The three types of biologics block the cytokines tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha), interleukin 12, interleukin 23, and interleukin 17-A (IL-12, IL-23, and IL-17A, respectively).

RELATED: 21 Tips and Tricks for Treating Psoriasis

Alternative and complementary therapies. Some alternative therapiesincluding acupuncture, massage, and Reikimight help relieve certain psoriasis symptoms, like pain. They may also help control stress, a common psoriasis trigger. Other stress-relievers include meditation, mindfulness, exercise, yoga, and Tai Chi. Always talk to your doctor before beginning any alternative psoriasis treatments.

There is currently no cure for psoriasis. As a chronic autoimmune disease, most people with psoriasis will always have it. But it is possible to treat the condition. In fact, the right medications and therapies can reduce symptoms and even clear up the skin entirely in some people.

More psoriasis treatments may be available in the future. Researchers are currently trying to uncover what causes the lesions on a cellular level and how to prevent flare-ups caused by the immune system.

Back to top

For the millions of Americans who have psoriasis, the skin condition can pose many challenges. Not only can the pain and itching interfere with their ability to sleep or work, but research shows that many people with psoriasis feel unattractive; worse, if they feel self-conscious, they may withdraw from their friends and family and become isolated.

People with psoriasis are also twice as likely to be depressed as those who dont have the skin condition, according to the NPF, and they can also be more likely to have suicidal thoughts. If youre feeling a loss of energy, lack of interest in once-enjoyable activities, or an inability to focus, talk to your doctor about whether you may have depression or should see a mental health specialist.

An estimated 30% of people with psoriasis will also develop psoriatic arthritis, a disease which causes joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. Having psoriasis may also make people more likely to develop cardiovascular disease, obesity, and diabetes, according to the NPF.

RELATED: 12 Best and Worst Foods for Psoriasis

There are many ways that people living with psoriasis can manage the condition. This includes avoiding tobacco, alcohol, and unhealthy foods. Although there is no psoriasis diet, per se, eating healthy meals may help you feel better. You should also keep tabs on whether your joints feel stiff or sore or whether your nails are pitting or turning yellowtwo possible signs of psoriatic arthritis. Recognizing these symptomsand getting treatmentcan help prevent further damage to the joints.

Back to top

Anyone can develop psoriasiseven the most beautiful people on the planet. And as people who are paid to look flawless, many celebrities with psoriasis say that the skin condition delivers a serious blow to their self-esteem and fear that it can interfere with their careers.

In 2011, Kim Kardashian revealed her psoriasis diagnosis on an episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Although her mother, Kris Jenner, was diagnosed with psoriasis at the age of 30, Kim was surprised to learn that she had the skin condition too. My career is doing ad campaigns and swimsuit photo shoots, she said in the episode. People dont understand the pressure on me to look perfect. Imagine what the tabloids would do to me if they saw all these spots.

Model and actress Cara Delevingne also has psoriasis, which she struggled to manage while runway modeling. She told Londons The Times in an interview that people would paint her body with foundation to cover up the patches. It was every single show, she said. People would put on gloves and not want to touch me.

Other models also struggle with psoriasis, like CariDee English, who won Americas Next Top Model in 2006. Partly in response to the hurtful tabloid headlines that called out the lesions on her legs, she posted before-and-after photos of one of her flare-ups, saying, I knew I didnt want anyone capturing my psoriasis in a way that wasnt empowering.

Other celebs who have psoriasis include golfer Phil Michelson, country singer LeAnn Rimes, and pop star Cyndi Lauper.

Back to top

Go here to see the original:

Psoriasis – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment – Health.com …

What is Transhumanism?

The human desire to acquire posthuman attributes is as ancient as the human species itself. Humans have always sought to expand the boundaries of their existence, be it ecologically, geographically, or mentally. There is a tendency in at least some individuals always to try to find a way around every limitation and obstacle.

Ceremonial burial and preserved fragments of religious writings show that prehistoric humans were deeply disturbed by the death of their loved ones and sought to reduce the cognitive dissonance by postulating an afterlife. Yet, despite the idea of an afterlife, people still endeavored to extend life. In the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh (approx. 2000 B.C.), a king embarks on a quest to find an herb that can make him immortal. Its worth noting that it was assumed both that mortality was not inescapable in principle, and that there existed (at least mythological) means of overcoming it. That people really strove to live longer and richer lives can also be seen in the development of systems of magic and alchemy; lacking scientific means of producing an elixir of life, one resorted to magical means. This strategy was adopted, for example, by the various schools of esoteric Taoism in China, which sought physical immortality and control over or harmony with the forces of nature.

The Greeks were ambivalent about humans transgressing our natural confines. On the one hand, they were fascinated by the idea. We see it in the myth of Prometheus, who stole the fire from Zeus and gave it to the humans, thereby permanently improving the human condition. And in the myth of Daedalus, the gods are repeatedly challenged, quite successfully, by a clever engineer and artist, who uses non-magical means to extend human capabilities. On the other hand, there is also the concept of hubris: that some ambitions are off-limit and would backfire if pursued. In the end, Daedalus enterprise ends in disaster (not, however, because it was punished by the gods but owing entirely to natural causes).

Greek philosophers made the first, stumbling attempts to create systems of thought that were based not purely on faith but on logical reasoning. Socrates and the sophists extended the application of critical thinking from metaphysics and cosmology to include the study of ethics and questions about human society and human psychology. Out of this inquiry arose cultural humanism, a very important current throughout the history of Western science, political theory, ethics, and law.

In the Renaissance, human thinking was awoken from medieval otherworldliness and the scholastic modes of reasoning that had predominated for a millennium, and the human being and the natural world again became legitimate objects of study. Renaissance humanism encouraged people to rely on their own observations and their own judgment rather than to defer in every matter to religious authorities. Renaissance humanism also created the ideal of the well-rounded personality, one that is highly developed scientifically, morally, culturally, and spiritually. A milestone is Giovanni Pico della Mirandolas Oration on the Dignity of Man (1486), which states that man does not have a ready form but that it is mans task to form himself. And crucially, modern science began to take form then, through the works of Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo.

The Age of Enlightenment can be said to have started with the publication of Francis Bacons Novum Organum, the new tool (1620), in which he proposes a scientific methodology based on empirical investigation rather than a priori reasoning. Bacon advocates the project of effecting all things possible, by which he meant the achievement of mastery over nature in order to improve the condition of human beings. The heritage from the Renaissance combines with the influences of Isaac Newton, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Immanuel Kant, Marquis de Condorcet, and others to form the basis for rational humanism, which emphasizes science and critical reasoning rather than revelation and religious authority as ways of learning about the natural world and the destiny and nature of man and of providing a grounding for morality. Transhumanism traces its roots to this rational humanism.

In the 18th and 19th centuries we begin to see glimpses of the idea that even humans themselves can be developed through the appliance of science. Benjamin Franklin and Voltaire speculated about extending human life span through medical science. Especially after Darwins theory of evolution, atheism or agnosticism came to be seen as increasingly attractive alternatives. However, the optimism of the late 19th century often degenerated into narrow-minded positivism and the belief that progress was automatic. When this view collided with reality, some people reacted by turning to irrationalism, concluding that since reason was not sufficient, it was worthless. This resulted in the anti-technological, anti-intellectual sentiments whose sequelae we can still witness today in some postmodernist writers, in the New Age movement, and among the neo-Luddite wing of the anti-globalization agitators.

A significant stimulus in the formation of transhumanism was the essay Daedalus: Science and the Future (1923) by the British biochemist J. B. S. Haldane, in which he discusses how scientific and technological findings may come to affect society and improve the human condition. This essay set off a chain reaction of future-oriented discussions, including The World, the Flesh and the Devil by J. D. Bernal (1929), which speculates about space colonization and bionic implants as well as mental improvements through advanced social science and psychology; the works of Olaf Stapledon; and the essay Icarus: the Future of Science (1924) by Bertrand Russell, who took a more pessimistic view, arguing that without more kindliness in the world, technological power will mainly serve to increase mens ability to inflict harm on one another. Science fiction authors such as H. G. Wells and Olaf Stapledon also got many people thinking about the future evolution of the human race. One frequently cited work is Aldous Huxleys Brave New World (1932), a dystopia where psychological conditioning, promiscuous sexuality, biotechnology, and opiate drugs are used to keep the population placid and contented in a static, totalitarian society ruled by an elite consisting of ten world controllers. Huxleys novel warns of the dehumanizing potential of technology being used to arrest growth and to diminish the scope of human nature rather than enhance it.

The Second World War changed the direction of some of those currents that result in todays transhumanism. The eugenics movement, which had previously found advocates not only among racists on the extreme right but also among socialists and progressivist social democrats, was thoroughly discredited. The goal of creating a new and better world through a centrally imposed vision became taboo and pass; and the horrors of the Stalinist Soviet Union again underscored the dangers of such an approach. Mindful of these historical lessons, transhumanists are often deeply suspicious of collectively orchestrated change, arguing instead for the right of individuals to redesign themselves and their own descendants.

In the postwar era, optimistic futurists tended to direct their attention more toward technological progress, such as space travel, medicine, and computers. Science began to catch up with speculation. Transhumanist ideas during this period were discussed and analyzed chiefly in the literary genre of science fiction. Authors such as Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Stanislaw Lem, and later Bruce Sterling, Greg Egan, and Vernor Vinge have explored various aspects of transhumanism in their writings and contributed to its proliferation.

Robert Ettinger played an important role in giving transhumanism its modern form. The publication of his book The Prospect of Immortality in 1964 led to the creation of the cryonics movement. Ettinger argued that since medical technology seems to be constantly progressing, and since chemical activity comes to a complete halt at low temperatures, it should be possible to freeze a person today and preserve the body until such a time when technology is advanced enough to repair the freezing damage and reverse the original cause of deanimation. In a later work, Man into Superman (1972), he discussed a number of conceivable improvements to the human being, continuing the tradition started by Haldane and Bernal.

Another influential early transhumanist was F. M. Esfandiary, who later changed his name to FM-2030. One of the first professors of future studies, FM taught at the New School for Social Research in New York in the 1960s and formed a school of optimistic futurists known as the UpWingers. In his book Are you a transhuman? (1989), he described what he saw as the signs of the emergence of the transhuman person, in his terminology indicating an evolutionary link towards posthumanity. (A terminological aside: an early use of the word transhuman was in the 1972-book of Ettinger, who doesnt now remember where he first encountered the term. The word transhumanism may have been coined by Julian Huxley in New Bottles for New Wine (1957); the sense in which he used it, however, was not quite the contemporary one.) Further, its use is evidenced in T.S. Elliots writing around the same time. And it is known that Dante Alighieri referred to the notion of the transhuman in historical writings.

In the 1970s and 1980s, several organizations sprung up for life extension, cryonics, space colonization, science fiction, media arts, and futurism. They were often isolated from one another, and while they shared similar views and values, they did not yet amount to any unified coherent worldview. One prominent voice from a standpoint with strong transhumanist elements during this era came from Marvin Minsky, an eminent artificial intelligence researcher.

In 1986, Eric Drexler published Engines of Creation, the first book-length exposition of molecular manufacturing. (The possibility of nanotechnology had been anticipated by Nobel Laureate physicist Richard Feynman in a now-famous after-dinner address in 1959 entitled There is Plenty of Room at the Bottom.) In this groundbreaking work, Drexler not only argued for the feasibility of assembler-based nanotechnology but also explored its consequences and began charting the strategic challenges posed by its development. Drexlers later writings supplied more technical analyses that confirmed his initial conclusions. To prepare the world for nanotechnology and work towards it safe implementation, he founded the Foresight Institute together with his then wife Christine Peterson in 1986.

Ed Regiss Great Mambo Chicken and the Transhuman Condition (1990) took a humorous look at transhumanisms hubristic scientists and philosophers. Another couple of influential books were roboticist Hans Moravecs seminal Mind Children (1988) about the future development of machine intelligence, and more recently Ray Kurzweils bestselling Age of Spiritual Machines (1999), which presented ideas similar to Moravecs. Frank Tiplers Physics of Immortality (1994), inspired by the writings of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (a paleontologist and Jesuit theologian who saw an evolutionary telos in the development of an encompassing noosphere, a global consciousness) argued that advanced civilizations might come to have a shaping influence on the future evolution of the cosmos, although some were put off by Tiplers attempt to blend science with religion. Many science advocates, such as Carl Sagan, Richard Dawkins, Steven Pinker, and Douglas Hofstadter, have also helped pave the way for public understanding of transhumanist ideas.

In 1988, the first issue of the Extropy Magazine was published by Max More and Tom Morrow, and in 1992 they founded the Extropy Institute (the term extropy being coined as an informal opposite of entropy). The magazine and the institute served as catalysts, bringing together disparate groups of people with futuristic ideas. More wrote the first definition of transhumanism in its modern sense, and created his own distinctive brand of transhumanism, which emphasized individualism, dynamic optimism, and the market mechanism in addition to technology. The transhumanist arts genre became more self-aware through the works of the artist Natasha Vita-More. During this time, an intense exploration of ideas also took place on various Internet mailing lists. Influential early contributors included Anders Sandberg (then a neuroscience doctoral student) and Robin Hanson (an economist and polymath) among many others.

The World Transhumanist Association was founded in 1998 by Nick Bostrom and David Pearce to act as a coordinating international nonprofit organization for all transhumanist-related groups and interests, across the political spectrum. The WTA focused on supporting transhumanism as a serious academic discipline and on promoting public awareness of transhumanist thinking. The WTA began publishing the Journal of Evolution and Technology, the first scholarly peer-reviewed journal for transhumanist studies in 1999 (which is also the year when the first version of this FAQ was published). In 2001, the WTA adopted its current constitution and is now governed by an executive board that is democratically elected by its full membership. James Hughes especially (a former WTA Secretary) among others helped lift the WTA to its current more mature stage, and a strong team of volunteers has been building up the organization to what it is today.

Humanity+ developed after to rebrand transhumanism informing Humanity+ as a cooperative organization, seeking to pull together the leaders of transhumanism: from the early 1990s: Max More, Natasha Vita-More, Anders Sandberg; the late 1990s: Nick Bostrom, David Pearce, James Hughes; the 2000s: James Clement, Ben Goertzel, Giulio Prisco and many others. In short, it is based on the early work of Extropy Institute and WTA.

In the past couple of years, the transhumanist movement has been growing fast and furiously. Local groups are mushrooming in all parts of the world. Awareness of transhumanist ideas is spreading. Transhumanism is undergoing the transition from being the preoccupation of a fringe group of intellectual pioneers to becoming a mainstream approach to understanding the prospects for technological transformation of the human condition. That technological advances will help us overcome many of our current human limitations is no longer an insight confined to a few handfuls of techno-savvy visionaries. Yet understanding the consequences of these anticipated possibilities and the ethical choices we will face is a momentous challenge that humanity will be grappling with over the coming decades. The transhumanist tradition has produced a (still evolving) body of thinking to illuminate these complex issues that is unparalleled in its scope and depth of foresight.

Read the original:

What is Transhumanism?

Transhumanism Foreign Policy

For the last several decades, a strange liberation movement has grown within the developed world. Its crusaders aim much higher than civil rights campaigners, feminists, or gay-rights advocates. They want nothing less than to liberate the human race from its biological constraints. As “transhumanists” see it, humans must wrest their biological destiny from evolutions blind process of random variation and adaptation and move to the next stage as a species.

It is tempting to dismiss transhumanists as some sort of odd cult, nothing more than science fiction taken too seriously: Witness their over-the-top Web sites and recent press releases (“Cyborg Thinkers to Address Humanitys Future,” proclaims one). The plans of some transhumanists to freeze themselves cryogenically in hopes of being revived in a future age seem only to confirm the movements place on the intellectual fringe.

But is the fundamental tenet of transhumanism that we will someday use biotechnology to make ourselves stronger, smarter, less prone to violence, and longer-lived really so outlandish? Transhumanism of a sort is implicit in much of the research agenda of contemporary biomedicine. The new procedures and technologies emerging from research laboratories and hospitals whether mood-altering drugs, substances to boost muscle mass or selectively erase memory, prenatal genetic screening, or gene therapy can as easily be used to “enhance” the species as to ease or ameliorate illness.

Although the rapid advances in biotechnology often leave us vaguely uncomfortable, the intellectual or moral threat they represent is not always easy to identify. The human race, after all, is a pretty sorry mess, with our stubborn diseases, physical limitations, and short lives. Throw in humanitys jealousies, violence, and constant anxieties, and the transhumanist project begins to look downright reasonable. If it were technologically possible, why wouldnt we want to transcend our current species? The seeming reasonableness of the project, particularly when considered in small increments, is part of its danger. Society is unlikely to fall suddenly under the spell of the transhumanist worldview. But it is very possible that we will nibble at biotechnologys tempting offerings without realizing that they come at a frightful moral cost.

The first victim of transhumanism might be equality. The U.S. Declaration of Independence says that “all men are created equal,” and the most serious political fights in the history of the United States have been over who qualifies as fully human. Women and blacks did not make the cut in 1776 when Thomas Jefferson penned the declaration. Slowly and painfully, advanced societies have realized that simply being human entitles a person to political and legal equality. In effect, we have drawn a red line around the human being and said that it is sacrosanct.

Underlying this idea of the equality of rights is the belief that we all possess a human essence that dwarfs manifest differences in skin color, beauty, and even intelligence. This essence, and the view that individuals therefore have inherent value, is at the heart of political liberalism. But modifying that essence is the core of the transhumanist project. If we start transforming ourselves into something superior, what rights will these enhanced creatures claim, and what rights will they possess when compared to those left behind? If some move ahead, can anyone afford not to follow? These questions are troubling enough within rich, developed societies. Add in the implications for citizens of the worlds poorest countries for whom biotechnologys marvels likely will be out of reach and the threat to the idea of equality becomes even more menacing.

Transhumanisms advocates think they understand what constitutes a good human being, and they are happy to leave behind the limited, mortal, natural beings they see around them in favor of something better. But do they really comprehend ultimate human goods? For all our obvious faults, we humans are miraculously complex products of a long evolutionary process products whose whole is much more than the sum of our parts. Our good characteristics are intimately connected to our bad ones: If we werent violent and aggressive, we wouldnt be able to defend ourselves; if we didnt have feelings of exclusivity, we wouldnt be loyal to those close to us; if we never felt jealousy, we would also never feel love. Even our mortality plays a critical function in allowing our species as a whole to survive and adapt (and transhumanists are just about the last group Id like to see live forever). Modifying any one of our key characteristics inevitably entails modifying a complex, interlinked package of traits, and we will never be able to anticipate the ultimate outcome.

Nobody knows what technological possibilities will emerge for human self-modification. But we can already see the stirrings of Promethean desires in how we prescribe drugs to alter the behavior and personalities of our children. The environmental movement has taught us humility and respect for the integrity of nonhuman nature. We need a similar humility concerning our human nature. If we do not develop it soon, we may unwittingly invite the transhumanists to deface humanity with their genetic bulldozers and psychotropic shopping malls.

See the rest here:

Transhumanism Foreign Policy

Transhuman – Wikipedia

Transhuman or trans-human is the concept of an intermediary form between human and posthuman.[1] In other words, a transhuman is a being that resembles a human in most respects but who has powers and abilities beyond those of standard humans.[2] These abilities might include improved intelligence, awareness, strength, or durability. Transhumans sometimes appear in science-fiction as cyborgs or genetically-enhanced humans.

The use of the term “transhuman” goes back to French philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, who wrote in his 1949 book The Future of Mankind:

Liberty: that is to say, the chance offered to every man (by removing obstacles and placing the appropriate means at his disposal) of ‘trans-humanizing’ himself by developing his potentialities to the fullest extent.[3]

And in a 1951 unpublished revision of the same book:

In consequence one is the less disposed to reject as unscientific the idea that the critical point of planetary Reflection, the fruit of socialization, far from being a mere spark in the darkness, represents our passage, by Translation or dematerialization, to another sphere of the Universe: not an ending of the ultra-human but its accession to some sort of trans-humanity at the ultimate heart of things.[4]

In 1957 book New Bottles for New Wine, English evolutionary biologist Julian Huxley wrote:

The human species can, if it wishes, transcend itself not just sporadically, an individual here in one way, an individual there in another way, but in its entirety, as humanity. We need a name for this new belief. Perhaps transhumanism will serve: man remaining man, but transcending himself, by realizing new possibilities of and for his human nature. “I believe in transhumanism”: once there are enough people who can truly say that, the human species will be on the threshold of a new kind of existence, as different from ours as ours is from that of Peking man. It will at last be consciously fulfilling its real destiny.[5]

One of the first professors of futurology, FM-2030, who taught “new concepts of the Human” at The New School of New York City in the 1960s, used “transhuman” as shorthand for “transitional human”. Calling transhumans the “earliest manifestation of new evolutionary beings”, FM argued that signs of transhumans included physical and mental augmentations including prostheses, reconstructive surgery, intensive use of telecommunications, a cosmopolitan outlook and a globetrotting lifestyle, androgyny, mediated reproduction (such as in vitro fertilisation), absence of religious beliefs, and a rejection of traditional family values.[6]

FM-2030 used the concept of transhuman as an evolutionary transition, outside the confines of academia, in his contributing final chapter to the 1972 anthology Woman, Year 2000.[7] In the same year, American cryonics pioneer Robert Ettinger contributed to conceptualization of “transhumanity” in his book Man into Superman.[8] In 1982, American Natasha Vita-More authored a statement titled Transhumanist Arts Statement and outlined what she perceived as an emerging transhuman culture.[9]

Jacques Attali, writing in 2006, envisaged transhumans as an altruistic vanguard of the later 21st century:

Vanguard players (I shall call them transhumans) will run (they are already running) relational enterprises in which profit will be no more than a hindrance, not a final goal. Each of these transhumans will be altruistic, a citizen of the planet, at once nomadic and sedentary, his neighbor’s equal in rights and obligations, hospitable and respectful of the world. Together, transhumans will give birth to planetary institutions and change the course of industrial enterprises.[10]

In March 2007, American physicist Gregory Cochran and paleoanthropologist John Hawks published a study, alongside other recent research on which it builds, which amounts to a radical reappraisal of traditional views, which tended to assume that humans have reached an evolutionary endpoint. Physical anthropologist Jeffrey McKee argued the new findings of accelerated evolution bear out predictions he made in a 2000 book The Riddled Chain. Based on computer models, he argued that evolution should speed up as a population grows because population growth creates more opportunities for new mutations; and the expanded population occupies new environmental niches, which would drive evolution in new directions. Whatever the implications of the recent findings, McKee concludes that they highlight a ubiquitous point about evolution: “every species is a transitional species”.[11]

Continue reading here:

Transhuman – Wikipedia

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007) – IMDb

Edit Storyline

After Elizabeth, Will, and Captain Barbossa rescue Captain Jack Sparrow from the the land of the dead, they must face their foes, Davy Jones and Lord Cutler Beckett. Beckett, now with control of Jones’ heart, forms a dark alliance with him in order to rule the seas and wipe out the last of the Pirates. Now, Jack, Barbossa, Will, Elizabeth, Tia Dalma, and crew must call the Pirate Lords from the four corners of the globe, including the infamous Sao Feng, to gathering. The Pirate Lords want to release the goddess Calypso, Davy Jones’s damned lover, from the trap they sent her to out of fear, in which the Pirate Lords must combine the 9 pieces that bound her by ritual to undo it and release her in hopes that she will help them fight. With this, all pirates will stand together and will make their final stand for freedom against Beckett, Jones, Norrington, the Flying Dutchman, and the entire East India Trading Company. Written byJ. Curcio

Taglines:At the End of the World, the Adventure Begins

Budget:$300,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA: $139,802,190,27 May 2007, Wide Release

Gross USA: $309,420,425, 4 October 2007

Cumulative Worldwide Gross: $963,420,425, 25 November 2011

Runtime: 169 min | 128 min (Mainland China Censored Version)

Aspect Ratio: 2.39 : 1

Original post:

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007) – IMDb

NASA (@NASA) | Twitter

Launching Monday, our planet-hunting @NASA_TESS spacecraft will fly in a unique orbit that’ll allow it to study nearly the entire sky over 2 years. This special orbit is key in potentially finding thousands of new planets outside our solar system. Watch: pic.twitter.com/2ONGXewAji

Read more from the original source:

NASA (@NASA) | Twitter

Solar System Exploration: NASA Science

” } if (diff.months != 0){ year_day += “

” + diff.months + “mos

” + diff.days + “days

” + pad2(diff.hours) + “hrs

” + pad2(diff.minutes) + “mins

” + pad2(diff.seconds) + “secs

COMPLETED

Planets in Our Solar System

8

This composite infrared image, derived from data collected by NASAs Juno mission to Jupiter during a Feb. 2, 2017, pass over the planet, shows the central cyclone at Jupiter’s north pole and the eight cyclones that encircle it.

Space Weather to the Edge of the Solar System

More:

Solar System Exploration: NASA Science

Spot The Station | NASA

Watch the International Space Station pass overhead from several thousand worldwide locations. It is the third brightest object in the sky and easy to spot if you know when to look up. Read More

Visible to the naked eye, it looks like a fast-moving plane only much higher and traveling thousands of miles an hour faster!

Read more:

Spot The Station | NASA


...89101112...203040...