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Saturday June 3rd, 2023

Parkinson’s detected earlier using Artificial Intelligence: report

ECONOMYNEXT – Researchers in the US have developed a technique that can detect Parkinson’s, which currently cannot be cured, early.

Scientists from America’s MIT created a tool called a neural network — algorithms that mimic the human brain — that could predict the onset and severity of the disease by analysing breathing patterns of sleeping individuals, a study published in Nature Medicine said.

The tool was tested on 7,600 people, around 750 of whom had Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s, a degenerative brain disorder, is difficult for doctors to spot, so many people get diagnosed at a late stage due to the lack of definitive testing. Early diagnoses could give patients valuable time to take necessary steps.

The study claims the tool was 90% accurate when analysing one night’s sleep, and 95% accurate when analysing 12 nights of sleep.

Medical ethicists urge that more research should be done when entrusting healthcare to AI.

Meanwhile the University of Manchester is testing a simple skin swab that can detect Parkinson’s disease in three minutes, thanks to a Scotswoman who can smell the condition.

The catalyst to the research, Joy Milne (72) has a rare condition which gives her a heightened sense of smell.

She realised that people with Parkinson’s give off the same “musty odour,” after meeting her late husband’s Parkinson’s support group. She had detected a change in her husband’s scent 12 years before he was officially diagnosed with the disease, and meeting other patients had helped her draw the link between the smell and the condition.

The Guardian reported that Milne, a retired nurse and her husband, a doctor, had contacted Dr Tilo Kunath at the University of Edinburgh in 2012. Kunath, along with Prof Perdita Barran, asked Milne to smell the T-shirts worn by people with and without Parkinson’s. She had correctly identified the patients, and also said that one from the “healthy” group “smelled like” they had the disease.

Eight months later, the “healthy” test subject was diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

In 2019, researchers at the Manchester University led by Barran found that 500 of 4000 unique chemical compounds contained in sebum (substance secreted by the skin), were different in Parkinson’s patients than healthy test subjects.

The research helped identify Parkinson’s patients with 85% accuracy, the University’s official website said.

Further tests are being conducted. If implemented, the skin swab would be faster, cheaper, and far less invasive than the AI.

The research also opens up the possibility of diagnosing other illnesses using non-invasive sebum analysis. (Colombo/Sep09/2022)

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Sri Lanka to ramp up weekend fuel deliveries after petrol price cut

More deaths reported at Sri Lanka fuel queues

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation will be operating on the weekend to complete all fuel deliveries to end vehicle queues forming outside fuel stations after the price revision earlier in the week, Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said.

“Instructions have been given to CPC and Ceylon Petroleum Storage Terminals to continue fuel deliveries on Saturday and Sunday this week to supply sufficient stocks to all fuel stations,” Minister Wijesekera said in a TWITTER.COM MESSAGE

“To reduce expenses on overtime, CPC and CPSTL have not been operating on Sundays and public holidays in the last 4 months,” Wijesekera said.

“Non-placement of orders by fuel stations from last Saturday, anticipating a price reduction, not maintaining minimum stocks, immediate increase in demand by consumers after the price revision, and quota increase have created shortages in the fuel stations.”

The Minister in April 2023 said all fuel stations would be required to maintain a minimum of 50 percent of stock tank capacity.

“I have asked CPC to review and suspend the license of fuel stations that had not maintained minimum stocks.” (Colombo/ June 02/ 2023)

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Sri Lanka bonds yield up at close, rupee at 291.75/292.50 against the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s bonds closed steady on Friday, dealers said, following the central bank’s decision to cut its main policy rate by 250 basis points.

The Spot US dollar closed at 291.75/292.50 rupees, dealers said.

The rupee opened at 290.25/75 to the US dollar Thursday and closed at 292.50/295.50 to the US dollar.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2027 closed at 24.70/90 percent up from 24.50/90 percent a day earlier, dealers said.

A bond maturing on 15.05.2026 closed at 25.75/26.25 percent up from 25.00/26.00 percent a day earlier.

A bond maturing on 01.05.2025 closed at 27.00/30 percent, up from 26.30/27.00 per cent at last close.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2032 closed at 20.25/21.00 percent, up from 20.00/40 per cent at last close.
(Colombo/ June 02/2023)

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Sri Lanka’s shares edge up on positive macroeconomic sentiments

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s shares closed higher in trade on Friday, over positive macro-sentiments encouraging investors to redeem their interest towards buying, an analyst said.

The main All Share Price Index was up 0.72 percent or 62.19 points to 8,753.80,  while the most liquid index S&P SL20 was up 0.68 percent or 16.87 points to 2,487.29.

Sri Lanka’s inflation in the 12-months to May 2023 has eased to 25.2 percent from 35.3 percent a month earlier according to a revised Colombo Consumer Price Index calculated by the state statistics office.

Prior to the Monetary Policy investors were quite optimistic that inflation is to lower and interest rates will decrease and since exp, an analyst said.

Sri Lanka Central Bank is waiting for the government proposal on the domestic debt restructuring (DDR), the central bank governor Nandalal Weerasinghe said amid uncertainty over DDR and speculations over instability in the banking sector.

“On debt restructuring, the borrower is the ministry of finance’s treasury. Certainly we will announce what the strategy will be. We are waiting for a government proposal,” Weerasinghe said.

Sri Lanka’s investors are waiting on assurances to be made on debt restructuring and optimization, Central Bank Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe said, “It is up to the government to clear the uncertainty, because from our side we have done that part.”

The central bank cut the key policy rates by 250 basis points to spur a faltering economic growth as inflation was decelerating faster than it projected.

The speculation of DDR has hit the market and the risk premium has kept the market lending rates well above the central bank’s policy rates. The government has yet to present its plans on DDR.

Weerasinghe said the central bank has done its best to reduce the risk premium through bringing down the market lending rates while keeping the policy rates unchanged.

Sri Lanka’s President Ranil Wickremesinghe has discussed progress of International Monetary Fund program and debt restructuring during a visit of Deputy Managing Director Kenji Okamura, statement said.

“The discussion primarily focused on the progress of the IMF program between Sri Lanka and the IMF,” a statement from President’s office said.

“Attention was also paid to the on-going debt restructuring negotiations.”

However Officials from IMF have said Sri Lanka has to focus on expanding taxes.

“We discussed the importance of fiscal measures, in particular revenue measures, for a return to macroeconomic stability,” Deputy Managing Director Kenji Okamura said in a statement.

The finance ministry this week issued rules requiring everyone above 18 year of age to register to pay income tax.

“I was encouraged by the authorities’ commitment to negotiate a debt strategy in a timely and transparent manner.

The market generated a revenue of 738 million rupees, while the daily average was 1 billion rupees.

Top gainers in trade were Vallibel One, LOLC Finance and Browns Investment. (Colombo/June02/2023)

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