Monday, June 27, 2016

Clearly Vision Prize: Improving The World’s Vision?

Can the Clearly Vision Prize manage to provide solution to the world’s “hidden disability” - i.e. poor eyesight?

By: Ringo Bones 

Unknown to most of us, 2.6-billion people around the world have poor eyesight and lack the means to treat and / or improve their current disorder. According to a recent global economic competitiveness study, poor vision costs the global economy up to 3-trillion US dollars a year. Fortunately, there are already ways recently started to alleviate this “largely unseen” global problem. 

The Clearly Vision Prize is an ideas competition for supply chain experts, data wizards and techies who have knowledge and technologies that can be applied to vision in innovative new ways. The very best ideas – those that have the potential to transform the way we deliver vision to all – will compete for US$250,000 in prizes and one-on-one mentoring opportunities to make them a reality. Clearly Vision Prize is now open to entrepreneurs around the world. You don’t need to be working in the eye care industry to enter, but your idea should aim to drive progress in one or more of these solution categories: 

1.        Diagnosis – People need reliable diagnoses, no matter where they live, their access to healthcare, or their age or gender. 

2.       Training – We need technology to accelerate the process of training people to identify the conditions that lead to poor vision.

3.       Supply – People need access to basic solutions like glasses through sustainable supply chain and distribution models. 

4.       Insights – We need solutions that harness the power of “big data”, helping eye care provides gain insights to work more efficiently. 

One idea to improve access to clear vision to the world’s poorest citizens that got noticed by the mainstream press was from a Hong Kong businessman and Clearly Vision Prize founder James Chen. Given that billions still have no access to vision correcting spectacles, Chen’s suggested a method of distributing spectacles to those living in the world’s remotest places via delivery drones like the types already trialed by the online shopping site Amazon to deliver their orders. The closing date for entries to the Clearly Vision Prize is on July 18, 2016.   

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Coffee No Longer A Carcinogen?

Even though this W.H.O. based agency has classified coffee as a possible carcinogen since 1991, does its recent “change of mind” spell good news for coffee drinkers around the world?

By: Ringo Bones

Since 1991, the International Agency for Research on Cancer or IARC has classified coffee as a Group 2B carcinogen citing that it could significantly increase one’s risk of getting bladder cancer. But during a recent press release back in Wednesday, June 15, 2016, the IARC announced after a result of their ongoing research that there is no conclusive evidence that drinking coffee causes cancer. Sadly, the IARC also announced the recent results of their ongoing research that very hot drinks – anything above 85 degrees Celsius – are probably carcinogenic and these include coffee, tea, hot cocoa, etc.   

The International Agency for Research on Cancer or IARC is an intergovernmental agency forming part of the World Health Organization of the United Nations. It was formed back in May 1965 and is headquartered in Lyon, France. The IARC categorizes agents, mixtures and exposures into five categories. Note that the classification is based only on the strength of evidence for carcinogenicity, not on the relative increase of cancer risk due to exposure, or on the amount of exposure necessary to cause cancer. For example, a substance that only very slightly increases the likelihood of cancer and only after long-term exposure to large doses, but the evidence for that slight increase is strong, would be placed in Group 1 even though it does not pose a significant risk in normal use. 

Group 1: carcinogenic to humans: There is enough evidence to conclude that it can cause cancer in humans.
Group 2A: probably carcinogenic to humans: There is strong evidence that it can cause cancer in humans but at present it is not conclusive.
Group 2B: possibly carcinogenic to humans: There is some evidence that it can cause cancer in humans, but at present it is far from conclusive.
Group 3: not classifiable as to carcinogenicity in humans: There is no evidence at present that it causes cancer in humans.
Group 4: probably not carcinogenic to humans: There is strong evidence that it does not cause cancer in humans. Only one substance – caprolactam – has been both assessed for carcinogenicity by the IARC and placed in this category.