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Biometric in Education- A Growing Demand

Biometric technology is becoming increasingly more powerful and cost-effective, and it has been making inroads into education sector. Educational institutions recognize the threat of insecurity to their children and are starting to adopt biometric identification systems to protect the students under their care. A growing trend is that biometric access control devices are being used to grant access to classrooms, colleges, universities and other service areas like canteens, dormitories and recreational facilities.

Biometric technology can provide many benefits in terms of convenience, safety and security. One of the most popular applications of biometrics in school is “cashless catering system” for school meals. In particular, individual pupils can be identified at the till by an automated biometric recognition mechanism and pay for the meal with the cost of their lunch being automatically deducted from the credit paid in advance by the parents. Besides, another well-known application is using biometrics for tracking the attendance of students and teachers. In details, an automated biometric system for recording attendance will be installed at the school gate or in class to identify the students and teachers for every roll-call. Once biometrics is being used successfully in one part of a school, the technology is usually embraced in other areas as well .Schools can then use the same biometric database to identify students for other applications such as online learning, library, media service, school trip and tours . Schools even can use biometrics for student identification at athletic events and dances to keep out other students who don’t belong.

In reality, the first reported use of biometric systems in school was at Minnesota’s Eagan High School in US in March 1997. Eagan High School, a testing ground for education technology since it opened, allowed willing students to use fingerprint readers to speed up the borrowing of library books. The use of biometric technology continued widening to the UK and first introduced in 2002. Fast-forward to 2014, reports indicated that 1.28 million British students attended biometric secondary schools & academies. Nowadays, the use of this technology in schools has become wider spread in other countries in Europe (Belgium, Sweden, France, Italy, etc.), Asia (China, Hong Kong, etc.), and Australia and recently in Middle East (United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, etc.) and Africa (South Africa, Kenya, etc.). In 2012, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has poured more than $4 billion into efforts to transform public education in the US, is pushing to develop an “engagement pedometer” which is a biometric bracelet enabling teachers to see, in real time, which kids are tuned in and zoned out. The foundation has given $1.4 million in grants to several university researchers to begin testing the devices in middle-school classrooms. In 2013, Sunderland brought in fingerprint-scanning devices for lectures on its London campus, replacing traditional paper registers. Ruth Davison, student relations and compliance manager at Sunderland, said the system had been installed because the site was “entirely international” and the Home Office required that all attendance be monitored. In 2015, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Education is launching a tender process for a fingerprint attendance and leave system for 45 education departments. Besides, within the year, Henan University of Technology in Henan Province and Minjiang University in Fujian Province of China have deployed facial recognition systems to track student attendance.

Education market is having a growing demand in many biometric applications. With the use of biometrics, it can address many problems occurring from elementary to university such as class attendance, library books borrowing, cashless canteen systems, vending machines, school trips and tours, and bus journeys. Schools will be capable of monitoring teacher performance on class, in school and allow them to have limited authorization to access different resources and report accurately the teaching status. The increase in demand of biometrics for education forces many biometric companies to adopt and develop the technologies to meet the market demand and provide children the best secure and convenient education environment.

Companies should make safety training sessions Compulsory. Want to know Why?

Rapid globalization has brought along with it a lot of industry changes which are actually giving a visible boost to the global economy, helping it grow ‘fitter and fatter’ daily. There has been a considerable increase in the number of warehouses, factories, and high-end construction businesses, with umpteen, workers, contractors, and developers working in them. Hence the safety of all these employees should be the prime responsibility of the companies and businesses out there. This can be done by providing them with on-time safety training sessions. Companies and business can make tie-ups with safety training course providers, and start providing workplace safety training courses like fire fighting courses, to help the employees get a clear idea about workplace safety measures to be adopted. They will also be trained to handle unexpected accidents at workplace. Such courses will also educate them to avoid fatal and non-fatal injuries at workplace.

Workplace accidents may often result in a huge money loss. As you all know, insurance premiums are skyrocketing, and hence it’s always better to try our best and avoid workplace mishaps. Having proper safety training will give clear idea about workplace safety, to help workers decrease the possibility of potential incidents. Workplace health and safety training can be made cost-effective too. Companies and businesses can send a group of employees to receive safety training from an accredited safety training provider, get them certified, and have them provide safety training programs for other employees.

It is a duty and a fair responsibility of any employer to ensure their employees that their workplace is free from any kind of risks and accidents. Safety training courses have become necessary to all the workers operating at dangerous locations to inform them and let them make aware about the danger substances and large resources and machinery being commonly used in industries. These safety training consist of the topics valuable for workers to take care of themselves while operating like safety methods to be used while operating, how to deal with dangerous chemicals, regarding personal safety accessories, and many more.

High Fat diet can damage your sense of smell

A high-fat diet can impact on the sense of smell, which during obesity could perpetuate poor dietary decision making. This is suggested by a recent study on a mouse model in the Journal of Neuroscience led by researchers in Florida State University.

Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in western nations, with for example 65% of Americans considered to be overweight or obese and perhaps even more disturbingly, about one third of children and adolescents. Obesity has serious health implications, for example in terms of increased risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cognitive decline. However, there is little understanding of how obesity impacts on sensory systems such as the olfactory system or sense of smell. Olfaction is important in that it has an input into food choice, which directly links to development of obesity if poor choices are consistently made.

In the current study, the researchers used a mouse model in order to induce long-term, diet-induced obesity by feeding both obesity-prone (C57BL/6J) and obesity-resistant (Kv1.3?/?) mice with high-fat diets. They compared these mice models to another type of mouse, MC4R?/?, which features late-onset, genetic-induced obesity. Over a six-month study period, the mice were taught to associate between a particular odour and a reward (water).

The results indicated that the mice fed on a fatty diet were comparatively slower to learn reward-reinforced behaviours and also could not rapidly adapt when a new odour was introduced to monitor their adjustment. Furthermore, the changes were long-lasting as when the obese mice were taken off the high-fat diet and changed to a chow diet on which they regained normal weight and resting glucose, the olfactory dysfunction remained. The changes in olfactory perception and reduced reward association responses corresponded to loss of olfactory sensory neurons and their axonal projections with a high fat diet.

First author Dr Nicolas Thiebaud says: "This opens up a lot of possibilities for obesity research." Current plans include examining whether exercise can impact on the effects of the high-fat diet on smell and whether a high-sugar diet has similar effects to a high-fat diet. For now, the research contributes another layer of understanding on the negative effects of poor dietary choices over time.

Thiebaud N. et al. (2014) Hyperlipidemic Diet Causes Loss of Olfactory Sensory Neurons, Reduces Olfactory Discrimination, and Disrupts Odor-Reversal Learning. Journal of Neuroscience 34(20): 6970-6984; doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3366-13.2014.

Press release : Florida State University; available at http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2...072114.php [Accessed 22 July 2014]

Resveratrol in sufficient to explain ‘French Paradox’

There have been many studies attempting to explain the ‘French Paradox’, that is the relatively low incidence of heart disease in France, despite the high-fat diet consumed by many of its inhabitants. Some researchers had hypothesised that the effect may be explained by moderate consumption of red wine, which along with dark chocolate and berries contains a polyphenol called resveratrol. Resveratrol has been considered to confer antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer effects in humans and in some animal studies it contributed to longevity. However, a new study in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine suggests that if there is a health benefit from wine and dark chocolate, it is not due to the levels of resveratrol achievable in the diet.

The study was carried out in two villages in the Chianti region of Italy between 1998 to 2009 on 783 men and women aged 65 or older. Levels of resveratrol metabolites were measured in the urine of the participants as an indicator of levels of resveratrol consumed in the diet. The primary outcome measure for the study was all-cause mortality, that is death from any cause, and the secondary measures were levels of inflammatory cytokines, cancer and cardiovascular disease. During the course of the study, 268 of the participants died, 174 developed heart disease and 34 got cancer.

The results of the study indicated that there was no discernable association between levels of resveratrol metabolites and all-cause mortality, incidence of heart disease or cancer or of levels of inflammatory cytokines. Studies in lower organisms had indicated that resveratrol could contribute to longevity, however the doses needed to achieve these effects or the beneficial effects shown in human studies would be impossible to achieve in the diet. Lead author Prof Richard Semba of The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine says: “The story of resveratrol turns out to be another case where you get a lot of hype about health benefits that doesn't stand the test of time... The thinking was that certain foods are good for you because they contain resveratrol. We didn’t find that at all.”

However, the results of this relatively small study do not necessarily mean that there is no health benefit to be derived from red wine or dark chocolate. Prof Semba points out that there are many possible ingredients in these substances that could be important and that any benefit, if there is one, must come from another shared ingredient. It is unclear how much wine or chocolate would have to be consumed in order to derive any benefit. Prof. Semba explains: "These are complex foods, and all we really know from our study is that the benefits are probably not due to resveratrol."

The fact that the levels of resveratrol derived from the diet may be too small to exert any effect also doesn’t mean that in higher doses, resveratrol would not have any beneficial effect. Responding to a BBC News report on the study, Maureen Talbot, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: "We recognise the need to learn more about the action of resveratrol though, so are funding research into its reported disease-combating properties and how it affects the heart and circulatory system…This research is vital as it could form the basis of future medicines.”

Semba, R.D., Luigi Ferrucci, L., Bartali, B., Urpí-Sarda, M., Zamora-Ros, R., Sun, K., Cherubini, A., Bandinelli, S. and Andres-Lacueva, C. (2014). Resveratrol Levels and All-Cause Mortality in Older Community-Dwelling Adults. JAMA Intern Med. Published online May 12, 2014. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.1582

http://www.bbc.com/news/health-27371546 [Accessed 15 May 2014]