Cyber-Attacks ‘Harming Trust in Artificial Intelligence-Driven Products’

Press Association Mediapoint

June 30, 2017

The threat of cyber-attacks is harming consumer trust in new technology and artificial intelligence (AI), research has found.


The recent cyber-attack on the NHS and the ransomware attack that struck businesses across Europe earlier this week have joined a growing list of incidents in recent years, including the high-profile breaches of Yahoo and Sony Pictures.


A survey of 2,000 people by software quality specialist SQS found that 48% of UK consumers would not buy new AI-driven products because of the fear of them being hacked.


AI is increasingly being placed at the center of modern technology, including the virtual assistants found in most smartphones and smart speakers such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home.


Concerns were also raised over autonomous and driverless cars, which are being trailed by Google in the United States as well as in government-backed schemes in the UK.


According to the survey, 59% of those asked said they feared autonomous vehicles could be vulnerable to hackers, and only 28% said they felt self-driving cars would be safer on the roads than humans.


SQS chief executive Dik Vos said more focus should be placed on technology security to help ease consumer concerns.


Emerging technologies should be embraced as early as possible if the UK is to gain an economic and technological advantage over countries who are willing to become early adopters, he said.


But for this to happen, the consumer trust issues that we have uncovered need to be addressed first.


Safety concerns and cyber vulnerabilities should be the top priority for companies developing innovative technology, rather than added as an afterthought or worse, once catastrophe has already struck.


The survey also highlighted concerns over the safety of smart home apps, with 40% believing home break-ins could increase because of flaws in the security of connected home products.


It is crucial that companies adopt a quality-first approach to gain the trust of the consumer, Mr. Vos said.


If advances such as AI, self-driving cars, home robots and connected houses are going to take off in the UK, stringent software testing and quality assurance must be carried out at every stage of product development to guarantee the safety of this technology.


After the recent cyber-attacks, security experts have called on businesses and the public to improve their understanding of online and data security.


Tristan Liverpool from cyber security firm F5 Networks said: Going into the new world of IoT (internet of things) and connected devices, with every element focusing on the application, the digital attack surface area will continue to grow.


This gives the attackers more opportunities to infiltrate data. More focus needs to be put on the application and data security.


In addition, more cyber security education should be integral in everybodys daily lives.


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More Than 50,000 People With ‘Metal-on-Metal’ Hip Replacements Urged to Have Tests Due to Toxic Fears

walesonline.co.uk

June 30, 2017

More than 50,000 people with metal-on-metal hip replacements are being told to have blood tests and x-rays after regulators discovered they are more toxic than previously thought.


A safety alert issued by a UK government body is asking everyone with the devices to have checks and tests.


The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) issued the warning, which means around 56,000 patients are being asked to have a number of tests to see if they are suffering blood poisoning or suffering from muscle or bone damage.


Dr. Neil McGuire, MHRAs Clinical Director of Medical Devices, said: We have updated the current advice to ensure patients with metal-on-metal hip implants continue to receive appropriate follow-up to detect emerging complications should they arise.


Hip implants have positively transformed the lives of many patients who in the past were subject to increasingly severe pain and progressive disability. These use a variety of metal, plastic and ceramic components.


Although the majority of patients with these metal-on-metal devices have well-functioning hips, it is known some may develop soft tissue reactions related to their implant.


The clinical advice we have received indicates patients will likely have the best outcomes if these problems are detected early, monitored and treated if necessary.


If people have any questions about their hip replacement they should speak with their general practitioner or implanting surgeon.


Concerns have already been raised about the risks of the devices, with guidance previously issued by the same body to monitor the the potential for the already well-known risks of soft-tissue reactions.


The latest advice replaces that guidance issued in 2012.


MHRAs experts said they have observed that soft tissue can die in both patients showing symptoms and those not, and believe that early detection is the best response.


Health is a devolved issue in Wales and is the responsibility of the Welsh government although a number of Welsh people are likely to be affected.


MHRA said that the majority of patients with metal-on-metal replacements have well-functioning hips, although some patients will develop progressive soft tissue reactions due to wear debris.


Original headline: More than 50,000 people with metal on metal hip replacements told to have tests due to toxic fears; People are being told to have blood tests and x-rays after regulators discovered the hip replacements are more toxic than previously thought


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Ford Recalls More Than 400,000 Transit Vans, Issues Two Safety Compliance Recalls

RTT News

June 29, 2017

Ford Motor Co. issued one safety recall and two safety compliance recalls in North America.


Ford is issuing a safety recall for about 400,000 2015-17 Ford Transit van/bus vehicles with medium, long and extended wheelbases and chassis cab/cutaways with medium wheelbases to replace the driveshaft flexible coupling.


In the affected vehicles, continuing to operate a vehicle with a cracked flexible coupling may cause separation of the driveshaft, resulting in a loss of motive power while driving or unintended vehicle movement in park without the parking brake applied.


In addition, separation of the driveshaft from the transmission can result in secondary damage to surrounding components, including brake and fuel lines. A driveshaft separation may increase the risk of injury or crash.


Ford noted that it is not aware of any accidents or injuries associated with this issue.


Affected vehicles include 2015-17 Ford Transit vehicles built at Kansas City Assembly Plant, January 17, 2014 to June 15, 2017.


The recall involves approximately 402,462 vehicles in North America (370,630 in the United States, 2,361 in federalized territories, 3,217 in Mexico and 26,254 in Canada). The Ford reference number for this recall is 17S15.


In addition, Ford is issuing a safety compliance recall for four Ford Police Interceptor Utility vehicles in the United States to repair second row seat attachment studs.


In the affected vehicles, seats with missing inboard attachments may not adequately restrain an occupant in a crash, increasing the risk of injury.


Ford said it is not aware of any accidents or injuries associated with this issue.


Affected vehicles include 2017 Ford Police Interceptor Utility vehicles built at Chicago Assembly Plant, January 20, 2017.


The recall involves approximately four vehicles in the United States. The Ford reference number for this recall is 17C10.


Additionally, Ford is issuing a safety compliance recall for three Ford Escape vehicles in the U.S. to replace driver knee airbag modules.


In the affected vehicles, in the event of a driver knee airbag deployment, the airbag cushion may not inflate as intended due to the lack of inflator gas generant material. Incomplete airbag fill during a commanded deployment may increase the risk of injury to the driver in a crash.


Ford is not aware of any accidents or injuries associated with this issue.


Affected vehicles include 2016 Ford Escape vehicles built at Louisville Assembly Plant, December 18, 2015. The Ford reference number for this recall is 17C11.


Original headline: Ford Issues One Safety Recall, Two Safety Compliance Recalls In North America


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Microneedle Patches for Flu Vaccination Prove Successful in First Human Clinical Trial

Targeted News Service

June 29, 2017

Emory Universitys Woodruff Health Sciences Center issued the following news release:


Despite the potentially severe consequences of illness and even death, only about 40% of adults in the United States receive flu shots each year; however, researchers believe a new self-administered, painless vaccine skin patch containing microscopic needles could significantly increase the number of people who get vaccinated.


A phase I clinical trial conducted by Emory University in collaboration with researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology has found that influenza vaccination using Band-Aid-like patches with dissolvable microneedles was safe and well-tolerated by study participants, was just as effective in generating immunity against influenza, and was strongly preferred by study participants over vaccination with a hypodermic needle and syringe. The microneedle patch vaccine could also save money because it is easily self-administered, could be transported and stored without refrigeration, and is easily disposed of after use without sharps waste.


Results of the study are published June 27, 2017 in the medical journal The Lancet. The research was supported by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering of the National Institutes of Health.


Despite the recommendation of universal flu vaccination, influenza continues to be a major cause of illness leading to significant morbidity and mortality, says first author Nadine Rouphael, M.D., associate professor of medicine (infectious diseases) at Emory University School of Medicine and principal investigator of the clinical trial. Having the option of a flu vaccine that can be easily and painlessly self-administered could increase coverage and protection by this important vaccine.


The first-in-human clinical trial of the flu vaccine patches began in June 2015 with 100 participants aged 18-49 who were healthy and who had not received the influenza vaccine during the 2014-2015 flu season. The study was conducted at the Hope Clinic of the Emory Vaccine Center in Atlanta. The study was carried out under an Investigational New Drug Application authorized by the FDA.


Participants were randomized into four groups:

  1. Vaccination with microneedle patch given by a healthcare provider.
  2. Vaccination with microneedle patch self-administered by study participants.
  3. Vaccination with intramuscular injection given by a healthcare provider.
  4. Placebo microneedle patch given by a healthcare provider.


People have a lot of reasons for not getting flu vaccinations, says senior co-author Mark Prausnitz, Ph.D., Georgia Tech Regents professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering. One of the main goals of developing the microneedle patch technology was to make vaccines accessible to more people. Traditionally, if you get an influenza vaccine you need to visit a healthcare professional who will administer the vaccine using a hypodermic needle. The vaccine is stored in the refrigerator, and the used needle must be disposed of in a safe manner. With the microneedle patch, you could pick it up at the store and take it home, put it on your skin for a few minutes, peel it off and dispose of it safely, because the microneedles have dissolved away. The patches can also be stored outside the refrigerator, so you could even mail them to people.


Study results showed that vaccination with the microneedle patches was safe, with no adverse events reported. Local skin reactions to the patches were mostly faint redness and mild itching that lasted two to three days. No new chronic medical illnesses or influenza-like illnesses were reported with either the patch or the injection groups. Antibody responses generated by the vaccine, as measured through analysis of blood samples, were similar in the groups vaccinated using patches and those receiving intramuscular injection, and these immune responses were still present after six months. More than 70% of patch recipients reported they would prefer patch vaccination over injection or intranasal vaccination for future vaccinations.


No significant difference was seen between the doses of vaccine delivered by the healthcare workers and the volunteers who self-administered the patches, showing that participants were able to correctly self-administer the patch. After vaccination, imaging of the used patches found that the microneedles had dissolved in the skin, suggesting that the used patches could be safely discarded as non-sharps waste. The vaccines remained potent in the patches without refrigeration for at least one year.


The microneedle patches used in the study were designed at Georgia Tech and manufactured by the Global Center for Medical Innovation in Atlanta.


Prausnitz has been working for many years to develop the microneedle patch technology. Its very gratifying and exciting to have these patches tested in a clinical trial, and with a result that turned out so well. We now need to follow this study with a phase II clinical trial involving more people, and we hope that will happen soon.


The researchers also are working to develop microneedle patches for use with other vaccines, including measles, rubella and polio.


From the very start of this project, says Prausnitz, our team at Georgia Tech has been working with the Emory team to develop the microneedle patches, and the success of the project has been due to the strong collaboration between Georgia Tech engineers and the bioscience and medical experts at Emory. Prausnitz holds the J. Erskine Love Jr. Chair in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.


The authors summarize: Influenza vaccination using microneedle patches is well-tolerated, well-accepted, and results in robust immunologic responses, whether administered by healthcare workers or by the participants themselves. These results provide evidence that microneedle patch vaccination is an innovative new approach with the potential to improve current vaccination coverage and reduce immunization costs.


In addition to Rouphael and Prausnitz, other study authors include co-senior author Mark J. Mulligan, M.D., executive director of the Hope Clinic of the Emory Vaccine Center; Emory researchers Michele Paine, Regina Mosley, Paula M. Frew, Tianwei Yu, Natalie J. Thornburg, Sarah Kabbani, Lilin Lai, Elena V. Vassilieva, Ioanna Skountzou, and Richard W. Compans; and Georgia Tech researchers Sebastien Henry, Devin V. McAllister, Haripriya Kalluri, and Winston Pewin.


This study was funded by a grant from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering of the National Institutes of Health. One of the researchers received support through a training grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The Georgia Research Alliance provided instrumentation support. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the sponsoring agencies.


Prausnitz has co-founded a company called Micron Biomedical that is licensing patents related to this study. Micron Biomedical is poised to move the microneedle patch technology forward, bring it further into clinical trials, commercialize it and ultimately make it available to patients.


Prausnitz and several other Georgia Tech researchers are inventors of the microneedle patch technology used in this study and have ownership interest in Micron Biomedical. They are entitled to royalties derived from Micron Biomedicals future sales of products related to the research. These potential conflicts of interest have been disclosed and are overseen by Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University.


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