Medical technology: Applying the “open source” model to the design of medical devices promises to increase safety and spur innovation

May 31, 2012 by  
Filed under Every thing you Need to Know

SMART pumps deliver drugs perfectly dosed for individual patients. Easy-to-use defibrillators can bring heart-attack victims back from the brink of death. Pacemakers and artificial hearts keep people alive by ensuring that blood is pumped smoothly around their bodies. Medical devices are a wonder of the modern age.

As these devices have become more capable, however, they have also become more complex. More than half the medical devices sold in America (the world’s largest health-care market) rely on software, and often lots of it. The software in a pacemaker may require over 80,000 lines of code, a drug-infusion pump 170,000 lines and an MRI (magnetic-resonance imaging) scanner more than 7m lines.

In this Technology Quarterly

This growing reliance on software causes problems that are familiar to anyone who has ever used a computer: bugs, crashes and vulnerability to digital attacks. Researchers at the University of Patras in Greece found that one in three of all software-based medical devices sold in America between 1999 and 2005 had been recalled for software failures. Kevin Fu, a computer science professor at the University of Massachusetts, calculates that such recalls have affected over 1.5m individual devices since 2002. In April researchers at McAfee, a computer-security firm, said they had found a way to get an implanted insulin pump to deliver 45 days’ worth of insulin in one go. and in 2008 Dr Fu and his colleagues published a paper detailing the remote, wireless reprogramming of an implantable defibrillator.

When software in a medical device malfunctions, the consequences can be far more serious than just having to reboot your PC. During the 1980s a bug in the software of Therac-25 radiotherapy machines caused massive overdoses of radiation to be delivered to several patients, killing at least five. America’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has linked problems with drug-infusion pumps to nearly 20,000 serious injuries and over 700 deaths between 2005 and 2009. Software errors were the most frequently cited problem. If buggy code causes a pump to interpret a single keystroke multiple times, for example, it could deliver an overdose.

In addition to accidental malfunctions, wireless and networked medical devices are also vulnerable to attacks by malicious hackers. In the 2008 paper Dr Fu and his colleagues showed how an implantable cardioverter defibrillator could be remotely reprogrammed either to withhold therapy when it is needed or to deliver unnecessary shocks. Dr Fu says that when it comes to testing their software, device manufacturers lack the safety culture found in other high-risk industries such as avionics, and are failing to keep up with the latest advances in software engineering. Insup Lee, professor of computer science at the University of Pennsylvania, agrees. “Many manufacturers do not have the expertise or the willingness to utilise new tools being developed in computer science,” he says.

Just how bad it is, though, no one knows for sure. The software used in the vast majority of medical devices is closed and proprietary. this prevents commercial rivals from copying each other’s code or checking for potential patent infringements. It also makes it harder for security researchers to expose flaws. The FDA, which could demand to see the source code for every device it approves, does not routinely do so, but instead leaves it to manufacturers to validate their own software. Two years ago it offered free “static analysis” software testing to infusion-pump manufacturers in the hope of reducing injuries and deaths. But no manufacturer has yet taken the FDA up on its offer.

Open to scrutiny

Frustrated by the lack of co-operation from manufacturers, some academics now want to reinvent the medical-device industry from the ground up, using open-source techniques. In open-source systems, the source code is freely shared and can be viewed and modified by anyone who wants to see how it works or build an improved version of it. Exposing a design to many hands and eyes, the theory goes, results in safer products. this seems to be the case for desktop software, where bugs and security flaws in open-source applications are typically fixed much more quickly than those in commercial programs.

The Generic Infusion Pump project, a joint effort between the University of Pennsylvania and the FDA, is taking these troublesome devices back to basics. The researchers began not by building a device or writing code but by imagining everything that could possibly go wrong with a drug-infusion pump. Manufacturers were asked to help, and several did so, including vTitan, a start-up based in America and India. “For a new manufacturer, it’s a great head start,” says Peri Kasthuri, vTitan’s co-founder. By working together on an open-source platform, manufacturers can build safer products for everyone, while still retaining the ability to add extra features to differentiate themselves from their rivals.

Mathematical models of existing and new pump designs were tested against the possible risks, and the best-performing models were used to generate code, which was installed on a second-hand infusion pump bought online for $20. “My dream”, says Dave Arney, a researcher on the project, “is that a hospital will eventually be able to print out an infusion pump using a rapid prototyping machine, download open-source software to it and have a device running within hours.”

“By working together on an open-source platform, manufacturers can make safer products”

Equally ambitious is the Open Source Medical Device initiative at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Two medical physicists, Rock Mackie and Surendra Prajapati, are designing a machine to combine radiotherapy with high resolution computed tomography (CT) and positron-emission tomography (PET) scanning. their aim is to supply, at zero cost, everything necessary to build the device from scratch, including hardware specifications, source code, assembly instructions, suggested parts—and even recommendations on where to buy them and how much to pay. The machine should cost about a quarter as much as a commercial scanner, making it attractive in the developing world, says Dr Prajapati. “Existing devices are expensive both to buy and maintain,” he says, whereas the open-source model is more sustainable. “If you can build it yourself, you can fix it yourself when something breaks.”

Open-source devices are also to be found literally at the cutting edge of medical science. An open-source surgical robot called Raven, designed at the University of Washington in Seattle, provides an affordable platform for researchers around the world to experiment with new techniques and technologies for robotic surgery.

All these open-source systems address very different problems in medical science, but they have one thing in common: all are currently prohibited for use on live human patients. to be used in a clinical setting, open-source devices must first undergo the same expensive and lengthy FDA approval processes as any other medical device. FDA regulations do not yet require software to be analysed for bugs, but they do insist on a rigorous paper trail detailing its development. this is not always a good fit with the collaborative and often informal nature of open-source coding.

The high cost of navigating the regulatory regime has forced some not-for-profit, open-source projects to alter their business models. “In the 1990s we developed an excellent radiation-therapy treatment-planning system and tried to give it away to other clinics,” says Dr Mackie. “But when we were told by the FDA that we should get our software approved, the hospital wasn’t willing to fund it.” he formed a spin-off firm specifically to get FDA approval. It took four years and cost millions of dollars. The software was subsequently sold as a traditional, closed-source product.

Others are skirting America’s regulatory system altogether. The Raven surgical robot is intended for research use on animals and cadavers, while the Open Source Medical Device scanner will be large enough only to accommodate rats and rabbits. However, says Dr Mackie, there is nothing to stop anyone taking the design and putting it through a regulatory process in another country. “It may even happen that the device will be used on humans in parts of the world where strict regulation does not exist,” he says. “We would hope that if it is used in such a way, it will be well enough designed not to hurt anybody.”

Changing the rules

The FDA is gradually embracing openness. The Medical Device Plug-and-Play Interoperability Program, a $10m initiative funded by the National Institutes of Health with the support of the FDA, is working to set open standards for interconnecting devices from different manufacturers. this would mean that, say, a blood-pressure cuff could instruct a drug pump to stop delivering medication if it sensed that a patient was suffering an adverse reaction.

More intriguing still is the Medical Device Co-ordination Framework being developed by John Hatcliff at Kansas State University. its aim is to build an open-source hardware platform including elements common to many medical devices, such as displays, buttons, processors and network interfaces, and the software to run them. By connecting different sensors or actuators, this generic core could then be made into dozens of different medical devices, with the relevant functions programmed as downloadable “apps”.

Eventually, medical devices might evolve into collections of specialised (and possibly proprietary) accessories, with the primary computing and safety features managed by an open-source hub. The FDA is working with Dr Hatcliff to develop processes for creating and validating safety-critical medical apps.

In the meantime, there are moves afoot to improve the overall security and reliability of software in medical devices. America’s National Institute of Standards and Technology has just recommended that a single agency, probably the FDA, should be responsible for approving and tracking cybersecurity in medical devices, and the FDA is re-evaluating its ability to cope with the growing use of software.

Such changes cannot happen too soon. “When a plane falls out of the sky, people notice,” says Dr Fu. “But when one or two people are hurt by a medical device, or even if hundreds are hurt in different parts of the country, nobody notices.” with more complex devices, more active hackers and more inquisitive patients, opening up the hidden heart of medical technology makes a great deal of sense.

Cyber-attack concerns raised over Boeing 787 chip’s ‘back door’

May 31, 2012 by  
Filed under Every thing you Need to Know

Two Cambridge experts have discovered a “back door” in a computer chip used in military systems and aircraft such as the Boeing 787 that could allow the chip to be taken over via the internet.

The discovery will heighten concerns about the risks of cyber-attacks on sensitive installations, coming on the heels of the discovery this week of the ‘Flamer’ virus which has been attacking computer systems in Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia.

In a paper that has been published in draft form online and seen by the Guardian, researchers Sergei Skorobogatov of Cambridge University and Chris Woods of Quo Vadis Labs say that they have discovered a method that a hacker can use to connect to the internals of a chip made by Actel, a US manufacturer.

“An attacker can disable all the security on the chip, reprogram cryptographic and access keys … or permanently damage the device,” they noted.

Woods told the Guardian that they have offered all the necessary information about how the hack can be done to government agencies – but that their response is classified.

“The real issue is the level of security that can be compromised through any back door, and how easy they are to find and exploit,” Woods said.

The back door may have been inserted by Actel itself, whose ProASIC3 chip is used in medical, automotive, communications and consumer products, as well as military use.

Woods said that “a back door is an additional undocumented featured deliberately inserted into a device for extra functionality” – in effect, a secret way to get into the chip and control it.

Crucially, in this case it exists as part of the design of the silicon chip – meaning that it cannot be removed because it is inherent in how the chip reacts to certain inputs. He suggested that it may have been put there by design by Actel, because there are some traces of the existence of such a back door in the system files of Actel development software.

But, he said, that creates serious risks: “The great danger comes from the fact that such a back door undermines the high level of security in the chip making it exposed to various attacks. although Actel makes a big claim that their devices are extremely secure because there is no physical path for the configuration data to be read to the outside world, a back door was added with a special key to circumnavigate all the security set by themselves or one of their users.”

Connecting to the chips would be comparatively easy over the internet if the chip is wired to an internet-enabled controller, he said. normally a special cryptographic key would be needed, but the back door does not need an encrypted channel.

Among applications where the ProASIC3 are used are remote surveillance systems, drones, and for flight-critical applications on the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Actel did not respond to requests for comment by the time of publication.

Rik Ferguson, director of security research at the online security company Trend Micro, said: “This kind of flaw that gives somebody access right into the device has inherent flaws. The fact that it’s in the hardware will certainly make it harder – if not impossible – to eradicate. We’re already seeing a steady flow of devices such as digital picture frames coming out of factories with malware already on them – but that’s software which can be fixed. if you have this sort of flaw, then you need to replace the hardware, which means the chips.”

But suggestions that it is part of a cyber-attack by China, where the chip is made, have been discounted.

“It was very likely done at the design stage,” said Woods. “However, the traces left in the Actel development software suggest that this feature was well thought through from the very beginning.” He doubts it is part of a Chinese state-sponsored sabotage attempt.

Skorobogatov and Woods will present a paper on their findings at a conference in Belgium in September.

Singing in the rain: Technology improves monitoring of bird sounds

May 31, 2012 by  
Filed under Every thing you Need to Know

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Researchers at Oregon State University have created a new computer technology that can listen to multiple bird sounds at one time to identify which species are present and how they may be changing as a result of habitat loss or climate change.

The system, one of the first of its type, should provide an automated approach to ecological monitoring of bird species that is much more practical than a human sitting in the field, hours on end.

“It’s difficult to hear and identify even one or two bird species at a time, and when you have many of them singing at once it’s even more difficult,” said Forrest Briggs, a doctoral student in computer science at OSU.

“Birds are important in themselves, but also an early warning system of larger changes taking place in the environment,” Briggs said. “Now we can tell down to the second when a bird arrives, leaves, when and where it’s choosing to nest, that type of information. It’s just not practical to do that with human monitoring.”

The “multi-instance multi-label” machine learning system developed at OSU, researchers said, could ultimately be used to identify not just bird sounds but many other forest noises – everything from wind to rain drops or a falling tree. it could also be used with other animal species, including grasshoppers, crickets, frogs, and marine mammals. the research was supported by the National Science Foundation and the OSU College of Engineering.

“It would not be reasonable for a person to count birds once per minute, 24 hours a day, for three months, but we aim to obtain similar results with acoustic surveys,” the researchers wrote in a recent study published in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America.

The error rate of this technology is already similar to that achieved by human experts, Briggs said. In one day of testing, for instance, it produced 548 10-second recordings of sounds from 13 different bird species. it is also omni-directional, meaning the microphones do not have to be pointed right at the sound in question to function accurately, one of the limitations of some previous technology.

Researchers are still working out some issues, including interference caused by rain, not to mention people heard partying in the woods, and what appeared to be the bite mark of a bear on the microphone.

The Best Portable Hard Drives

May 31, 2012 by  
Filed under Every thing you Need to Know

A hard drive is a computer device that stores information. Besides hard drives attached to the inside of a computer tower or in a laptop, there are drives that are portable. on these drives, you can store virtually anything and carry it around with you, hooking it up to a computer when you need something off of it. the best part about these is that they don’t take up space in your computer and they’re very functional if you’re always on different computers. in case you’re wondering what to look for in a portable drive, below is a list of some of the best portable hard drives available for computer users today.

1. Transcend StoreJet 25f (500GB)

The Transcend StoreJet 25f (500GB) is a simple 2.5 portable drive that offers a lot of storage space and backup software. not only is the StoreJet 25f stylish, it is lightweight and user-friendly. Transferring and storing files is quick and easy, which is especially great for the StoreJet’s price.

2. Transcend StoreJet 25 Mobile (500GB, red)

Not everyone can baby their gadgets. That’s where the Transcend StoreJet 25 Mobile (500GB, red) comes in. the StoreJet 25 Mobile has a military-grade exterior for those who don’t have time to put their portable drive in a protective case all of the time. there are three layers of anti-shock protection on the StoreJet 25 mobile so that in case you drop it, you won’t have to worry about retrieving lost information and files. It’s a solid, fast, and inexpensive portable drive. the only downfall is that the Transcend StoreJet 25 Mobile doesn’t have a FireWire.

3. Intel X-25M solid-state drive (80GB)

Intel X-25M solid-state drive (80GB) is a fast and improved portable drive available on the market today. With much higher expectations and far better performance than previous models, this Intel X-25M will cost you a little more than the average portable drive. if money isn’t an issue and you’re willing to spend around $500 for this 80GB model, you’ll definitely get your money’s worth out of it.

4. Toshiba Portable External Hard Drive (320GB)

The Toshiba Portable External Hard Drive (320GB) is both stylish and sleek. This device is a must have accessory for any computer user because it takes digital work where you want to go. Users can carry tons of music, videos, files, and pictures wherever they go, quickly and securely. Toshibas are known to be hassle free and are a simple to storing any backup needs a consumer could have. the Toshiba Portable External Hard Drive (320GB) is USB powered and is comprised of a shock sensor to keep your files safe.

5. LaCie 301371 Rugged All-Terrain FireWire (500GB)

The LaCie 301371 Rugged All-Terrain FireWire (500GB) is a portable device built to withstand any hard element. It’s extremely durable and built with rubber bumpers and shock resistant aluminum alloy. the LaCie 301371 Rugged All-Terrain FireWire will not only store all of your videos, pictures, and files, it will keep them safe as well.

6. Western Digital my Passport Essential Portable Hard Drive (Midnight Black) (500BG)

The Western Digital my Passport Essential Portable Hard Drive (Midnight Black) (500BG) is one of the most aesthetically pleasing portable hard drives. It’s easy to use, easy to carry, and is powered through the USB cable. the Western Digital my Passport Essential Portable Drive is great for business travelers and transfers information quickly.

7. Verbatim 320 Portable External Hard Drive 96531 (Silver) (320GB)

The Verbatim 320 Portable External Hard Drive 96531 (Silver) (320GB) is a palm sized portable hard drive that is convenient, fast, and durable. since it’s rather inexpensive, consumers are definitely getting their money’s worth without having to compromise the quality.

8. Seagate FreeAgent Go 250 GB USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive-Black

The Seagate FreeAgent Go 250 GB USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive-Black is sleek and makes carrying and transferring files very easy. It comes with software to help you back up files. No cables here – the Seagate FreeAgent allows users to simply just pop in the drive to access stored files.

9. External USB Powered 2.5 Mini Portable Hard Drive by Oyen Digital (500GB)

The External USB Powered 2.5 Mini Portable Drive by Oyen Digital (500GB) is compatible with both PCs and MACs, all powered by a USB cable. This potable hard drive can automatically save files when you work so you don’t have to re-load them every time you save them.

10. Western Digital Elements 1 TB USB 2.0 External Hard Drive (Black)

The Western Digital Elements 1 TB USB 2.0 External Hard Drive (Black) is fast, reliable, durable, and compact. With 1 TB of storage space, you could store multiple computers worth of files on just one drive. just plug in the USB cable to your PC or MAC and start saving files

College majors with the highest starting salaries

May 31, 2012 by  
Filed under Every thing you Need to Know

College students pick their major for any number of reasons — interest in a particular field of study, ability to get a job post-graduation, amount of education or training needed and more. another factor students often consider is how much they might earn once they enter the workforce. while it’s hard to imagine that any student would actively seek a low-paying major, some students may weigh salary more heavily than others when deciding on a degree.

According to the most recent salary survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the average starting salary for a Class of 2012 graduate is $44,442. to break it down further, here’s a list of the highest-paying bachelor’s degrees within common academic disciplines. also included is the percent change in starting salaries from the Class of 2011 to the Class of 2012, along with examples of occupations that graduates within each major might pursue.

BUSINESS

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Highest-paying academic major: Economics (business/managerial)Median starting salary: $54,800Percent increase from 2011: 5.6Example occupations: Financial manager, accountant/auditor, management analyst

COMMUNICATIONS

Highest-paying academic major: AdvertisingMedian starting salary: $44,700Percent increase from 2011: 2.5Example occupations: Author, public-relations specialist, advertising or promotions manager

COMPUTER SCIENCES

Highest-paying academic major: Computer scienceMedian starting salary: $58,300Percent increase from 2011: 4.3Example occupations: Postsecondary teacher, computer programmer, computer support specialist

EDUCATION

Highest-paying academic major: Special educationMedian starting salary: $42,200Percent increase from 2011: 2.2Example occupations: Special education teacher, elementary or middle-school teacher

ENGINEERING

Highest-paying academic major: Computer engineeringMedian starting salary: $67,800Percent increase from 2011: 0.6Example occupation: Computer software engineer

HEALTH SCIENCES

Highest-paying academic major: NursingMedian starting salary: $48,400Percent increase from 2011: 0.6Example occupation: Registered nurse

HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCES

Highest-paying academic major: Political science/governmentMedian starting salary: $38,400Percent increase from 2011: 1.3Example occupations: Social worker, paralegal or legal assistant, labor-relations specialist

SCIENCESHighest-paying academic major: Construction science/managementMedian starting salary: $54,700Percent increase from 2011: 1.9Example occupations: Construction manager, civil engineer

All data/information from the NACE April 2012 Salary Survey. only certain starting salaries were available at the time the survey was conducted, so not all majors were factored into the starting salary comparisons.

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Following Its Record 73% Jump FY 2011 Revenue, Privately-Held Milton Security Group Reports Repeat Double-Digit Sales Growth for First Quarter 2012

May 31, 2012 by  
Filed under Every thing you Need to Know

Fullerton, May 24, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Milton security group, LLC aprivately-held network security and managed security servicesprovider, today announced its revenue increase of 43% for the firstquarter of 2012. the results mark Milton’s sixth straight quarterof double-digit growth, and come on the heels of its impressive 73%revenue gains posted for FY 2011. the company cites Bring your OwnDevice (BYOD) as a major factor for the growing demand of itsspecialized Edge7200i adaptive Network Access Control (NAC)management appliance.

“The fiscal year of 2011 was anothergrowth year for Milton Security Group,” said company CEO, JamesMcMurry. “We have seen a large amount of traction due in part toBYOD as new and existing customers increasingly open their networksto employee-owned devices. the first quarter of 2012 trended evenhigher with our USBInformer and EdgeSMB product line being our #1and #2 products.”

Milton’s revenue performance last yearstemmed from increased Edge device purchases across key industryverticals including universities, health organizations, financialservices, Automotive, and small businesses. the company alsoreported a surge in professional services provided to governmentcustomers. Sales of the Informer series have remained high thanksto expanded use of mobile devices, including removable storagemedia, and a growing awareness of risks they pose for networksecurity.

Currently, the Edge7200 forms the coreof Milton Security Group’s endpoint security system solution. Thenext quarter will see the release of a new version of VirtualOperations Center (VOC), Edge10G, and LogInformer. With the releaseof these and other products now in development, the company statedit was confident that the upward trend in growth wouldcontinue. 

Milton’s expansion is occurring amidan industry that has had positive growth despite the globaleconomic downturn.  according to the RNCOS report “Global ITSecurity Market Forecast to 2013″, the IT security market iscurrently estimated to be around US$68 billion and projected togrow at a CAGR of about 12% between 2012 and 2015.

To support Milton’s rapid progress andleadership in the NAC market, the company made significantadditions to its team, including the recent appointment of EthanCoulter to Vice President. 

About Milton Security Group,LLC:

Headquartered in Fullerton California,Milton Security Group, LLC is a Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB)Network Security company focusing on Adaptive Network AccessControl and Bring your own Device (BYOD) Technologies. Itswide-ranging product line and services enable granular control overall network devices. Milton Edge, the company’s flagship productline, is the first low-cost adaptive network access control suiteof products enabling BYOD in any size firm. the most recentaddition to the Edge family of products is the industry’s first10Gig adaptive network security solution with its Edge10G AdaptiveNetwork Security NAC appliance. Visit http://www.MiltonSecurity.comfor information or call 1.888.674.9001.

CONTACT: Media inquiries: Rob Hallstrom / 714 Media 714.473.7033 rob@714media.com www.714media.com

21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio – Tips to pick the best nursing home for a loved one

May 31, 2012 by  
Filed under Every thing you Need to Know

By LINDA a. JOHNSONAP Business Writer

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) – Finding the right nursing home for an elderly loved one is a daunting task. And it's one most of us will face, as two-thirds of people over 65 will need nursing home care, at least temporarily, according to AARP.

It's best if you can research facilities in advance, but that's not always possible. a sudden illness or injury may force you to confront these concerns sooner than you expect.

Either way, here are several key considerations:

The biggest influence on the quality of care nursing home patients receive is often the frequency of visits by friends and family. make sure you'll be allowed to visit when you want – from early morning to late evening – to fit your schedule and enable you to monitor care at different times.

Once your loved one is in a nursing home, drop by frequently, sometimes without notice. In the afternoon, see whether residents are enjoying interesting activities together or watching TV alone. At meal times, note how much your mom or dad eats. Stay late sometimes. after your loved one has fallen asleep, remain until he or she wakes up to go to the bathroom. If no one responds quickly to a ring for assistance, that's a serious problem, says Amy Goyer, AARP's caregiving expert and blogger. Residents forced to get up and go by themselves risk serious injury.

There are several sources for referrals. Your local Area Agency on Aging or hospital discharge planners can provide listings of nearby nursing homes. Medicare caseworkers, at 1-800-MEDICARE, also can help.

Stick to facilities certified by Medicare. They're inspected every year, and any complaints are investigated. Read recent inspection reports, usually available through the state health department. One patient accident isn't a big deal, but frequent reports of patient falls, bed sores and the like are a red flag, says Edward Mortimore, director of nursing home evaluations at CMS, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The CMS website provides a tool to help users compare nursing homes. the site includes links to its five-star ratings system, complaints against nursing homes, links to local ombudsmen and other health advocates, a detailed guide to choosing a nursing home and much more; visit www.medicare.gov/quality-care-finder .

No matter how dedicated individual employees are, if there aren't enough, care suffers. Check the ratio of aides to patients. CMS requires each patient have a daily minimum of 2.8 hours of nursing aide time and 1.3 hours with an RN or licensed practical nurse.

Ask specific questions about care. can your mom keep her current doctor? who decides whether to change your dad's medicine and will you be notified first? What's the policy on handling patients who get agitated or aggressive, as can happen with Alzheimer's patients?

Also be sure to ask about how the staff will deal with the unexpected: a power loss, natural disaster or other situation that would require an evacuation. some nursing homes aren't fully prepared.

Visit each nursing home you're considering and take notes. Snoop around – and beware anyplace that objects. Check resident rooms for cheerfulness and safety. Use the bathroom to see if there's enough hot water. Inspect the kitchen for cleanliness.

Note the atmosphere. Are patients smiling? Is it peaceful? Does it smell pleasant and homey?

Stay for a meal with residents, usually for a nominal cost. Is the food appetizing? Are residents enjoying the meal? Ask how kitchen staff handles dietary restrictions and whether they will cut up food for those with difficulty swallowing.

Once you've narrowed your choice down to two or three facilities, bring along your loved one if he or she is physically and mentally up to it. If not, show pictures and discuss why you favor a particular home. Allow the person to feel they have some control so they'll “buy in.”

For most families, cost is a key factor. last year, a semi-private room ranged from an average $46,355 in Texas up to $222,285 in Alaska. For average costs by state, go to: www.aarp.org/relationships/caregiving/info-07-2011/nursing-home-care-cost.html .

To control costs, determine if it's possible to keep your loved one at home longer through a combination of family help, health aides and adult day care. If a move is years away, consider getting long-term care insurance.

Medicare will pay for a stay of up to 90 days; Medicaid covers costs for the poor. many people must use up most of their assets to reach the point where Medicaid takes over ongoing costs. Check with your state's Medicaid program and this site about paying for care:

www.aarp.org/relationships/caregiving/info-10-2009/women_planning_retirement.html .

Visit AARP's new site for caregivers, with a cost calculator for different types of care, checklist of questions and tips:

www.aarp.org/home-family/caregiving/info-05-2012/caregiving-resource-center-asking-right-questions.2.html

Ask about anything that could affect whether your loved one will be happy and well treated. Will special needs be accommodated? Are there organized outings or visits by young people and pets? What activities are listed on the bulletin board, and is there a full-time coordinator? Do they have a library, Internet access, exercise classes or other stimulating offerings?

“There's almost nothing in the care of your loved one that shouldn't be checked on,” Goyer says. “And don't hesitate to move your loved one if they are not receiving the care they need and deserve.”

Copyright 2012 the Associated Press. all rights reserved. this material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

How to Enlarge My Penis – Tips on Getting a 9 Inch Penis

May 31, 2012 by  
Filed under Every thing you Need to Know

Enlarging your penis may seem like a difficult thing to do. It may actually feel like it’s impossible. Especially when you’re not sure how you can do it. It’ll have you asking, How to enlarge my penis. so, what I’m going to do is share with you some tips on enlarging your penis.

That way, you will be able to get up to an nine inch penis.

The tips on enlarging your size are:

1. The first tip on making you bigger is to have surgery. this one is scary. although going through surgery will work, it is something you should approach with caution. there have been guys complaining that they have lost sensation in their penis because of going through the process of having surgery.

2. Another tip on increasing your size is to use pills. there are only a few enlargement pills that will work. The rest of them won’t help you increase your size. They’re only good for giving you erections. Which isn’t the same as enlarging your penis size. so be sure you read the directions. Especially if you’re asking yourself, how to enlarge my penis.

3. The best way to enlarge your penis size is to use exercises. It’s effective. And will help you get up to an 9 inch penis. The exercises you should use includes the length extender, jelqing technique, and the hanging towel method.

These are some tips on enlarging your penis. if you really want to make your penis bigger, be sure to use the exercises. Now that you know the answer to your question, how to enlarge my penis, use each exercise and make sure you are consistent. It’s a guaranteed way to add up to 4 or more inches to your size.

Center for Internet Security Announces Winners of 2012 MS-ISAC Cyber Security Poster Contest

May 31, 2012 by  
Filed under Every thing you Need to Know

Congratulations to the students, schools and MS-ISAC members for helping raise awareness about online safety.

East Greenbush, N.Y. (PRWEB) May 23, 2012

the Center for Internet Security (CIS), a national non-profit dedicated to improving cyber security in the public and private sectors, today announced the winners of its 2012 Kids Safe Online Poster Contest. the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) division of CIS conducts the annual contest, which encourages young people to use the Internet safely and securely and engages them in creating messages and images to communicate to their peers the importance of staying safe online. Thirteen entries were selected and will appear in a 2013 calendar distributed nationally this fall by the MS-ISAC as part of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, recognized each October.

Approximately 850 students from 12 states and one U.S. territory participated in the contest, which was open to public, private and home-schooled students in grades K-12. the artwork and messages focused on themes such as preventing cyber bullying, practicing good cyber ethics, staying safe on social networking sites, and protecting against worms and viruses.

The participating schools selected the top three winners for each grade level (K-5, 6-8, 9-12). those selections were then submitted to the MS-ISAC for entry into the national contest. from these entries, 13 winners were selected to appear in the 2013 MS-ISAC Kids Safe Online calendar, which is distributed to all states and U.S. territories as part of the MS-ISAC Toolkit to raise awareness about online safety. the posters are included on the MS-ISAC website and also distributed at various awareness events throughout the year.

The winners of the 2012 Kids Safe Online Poster Contest include the following:

Delaware: All Saints Catholic School–Sara P Kentucky: Southside Elementary–George W Minnesota: Transfiguration Catholic School–Alex M Mississippi: Itawamba Attendance Center–Salena G New York: Edward J. Bosti Elementary School–Karrisa W New York: Edward J. Bosti Elementary School–Maggie O Ohio: Heath High School–Megan R Texas: North Shore Middle School–Angeles E Texas: North Shore Middle School–Yomara D West Virginia: Mason County Career–Jacob B West Virginia: Mason County Career–Tabitha G

“CIS is committed to improving cyber security at all levels, and it’s important that we do so starting with our youngest citizens, as they are this country’s future cyber champions,” said William Pelgrin, CIS President and CEO. “Children of all ages should be having conversations with their parents, teachers and peers about how to stay safe online. We believe this contest is a wonderful way to get those conversations started. Congratulations to all of the students who participated, and to the teachers, schools and MS-ISAC members who helped make this possible.”

“The poster contest is a fun and creative way to highlight the importance of cyber security awareness for all age groups, said Thomas Duffy, Executive Director of the MS-ISAC. “Each year, participation in this contest increases, and we were thrilled to have so many students and schools involved this year. the creativity and imagination displayed in all of the entries speak volumes about how talented and cyber-aware our children are.”

The 2013 poster contest will be launched in October as part of National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Details and entries forms will be posted on the MS-ISAC website.

About the Center for Internet Security

The Center for Internet Security (CIS) is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to enhance the cyber security readiness and response of public and private sector entities, with a commitment to excellence through collaboration. CIS comprises three divisions: the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center, which serves as a key cyber security resource for the nation’s state, local, territorial, and tribal (SLTT) governments; the Security Benchmarks Division, which provides consensus best practice standards for security configurations; and the Trusted Purchasing Alliance, which serves SLTT governments and not-for-profits in achieving a greater cyber security posture through trusted expert guidance and cost-effective procurement.

Computer and Information Research Scientists

May 31, 2012 by  
Filed under Every thing you Need to Know

Among the IT jobs classifications used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is the computer and information research scientist. these career professions generally require a doctoral or professional degree as entry-level education. Typically, employers do not require work experience or on-the-job training for entry-level employees in this position. The prospects for computer and information scientists are quite bright. in 2010, there were 28,200 of these employees according to BLS numbers. Projections show that between 2010 and 2020, the market for computer and information research scientists will expand by about 19 percent resulting in 5,300 new jobs created. The median pay for a computer and information scientist was $100,660 per year or $48.39 per hour in 2010. The job involves invention and design of new technology and improvement of existing technology to include uncovering new applications for inventions. although the education requirements are stringent, the extra time in school translates to a high median salary well above the national average. however, acceptance into relevant doctoral and professional graduate studies programs is highly competitive. Generally, only the best students can hope to gain acceptance at this level. 

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