Paul Ehrlich to lead discussion at Baker Center

   
 Baker Center Interdisciplinary Group on Energy and Environmental Policy will present Dr. Paul Ehrlich on Aug. 25 at 3:30 p.m in the Toyota Auditorium in the Baker Center.
    
Paul Ehrlich will give a 45 minute presentation and then lead a discussion with participants. Paul’s talk is The Population — Environment Crisis and the MAHB (Millennium Alliance for Humanity and the Biosphere). Paul will be appearing in the Forum over a weblink.
    
Paul is the Bing Professor of Population Studies and President of the Center for Conservation Biology at Stanford University. He has won numerous awards for his service to science and the environment; is the best-selling author of environmental science books including: The Dominant Animal: Human Evolution and the Environment (2009) and Humanity on a Tightrope Thoughts on Empathy, Family, and Big Changes for a Viable Future (2010); and has published pioneering papers on coevolution, population biology, community ecology, conservation biology among many topic areas.
    
The Millennium Alliance for Humanity and the Biosphere (http://mahb.stanford.edu) is an international initiative to address the human response to global environmental destruction. It was originally proposed as a mobilization of the social sciences and humanities, in cooperation with the natural sciences, to encourage public discourse and to inform policy making about relevant human behavior and possibilities of significant changes in that behavior.
    
This is an opportunity for academics to share their research findings to a broad set of academics, researchers and students from outside their own discpline but who have a common interest in environmental and energy issues. For more information about the Baker Center Interdisciplinary Group on Energy and Environmental Policy visit the forum’s website: http://web.utk.edu/~jlarivi1/bcinter.html.
    
The event is free and open to the public.


Law Prof. to host lecture

    
This fall the UT Department of Anthropology is holding its 38th Annual Visiting Lecture Series. This year’s theme, organized by Associate Professor Tricia R. Hepner, is “Anthropology in the Public Sphere: (Re)Defining Research and Practice in the 21st Century.” The series features nine invited faculty from institutions around the U.S. and more than fifteen faculty from within the university. Lectures are held Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:40-4:55 p.m. in the McClung Museum Auditorium (MM 63) and are free and open to the public. A full schedule of lectures is available on the website of the Department of Anthropology.
    
On Thursday, Aug. 25 UT Professor of Law Karla McKanders will speak on “Representing Immigrants and Refugees in Tennessee.”


UT researchers develop algorithm

    
Today someone in a remote village in India is able to run an electrocardiogram (ECG) on a loved one having a potential heart attack via their smart phone and send to a doctor in New Delhi for analysis.
    
Mobile technology is already bringing health care to places it has never been able to reach. However, there is still room for error that can lead to misdiagnosis.
    
Xiaopeng Zhao, assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is working to eliminate these errors. Zhao and his team of graduate and undergraduate students and physicians have developed an award-winning algorithm that improves the effectiveness of ECGs.
    
The ECG is the most commonly performed screening tool for a variety of cardiac abnormalities. However, it is estimated that about 4 percent of all ECGs are taken with misplaced electrodes, leading to faulty diagnoses and mistreatments.
    
Zhao’s algorithm examines interferences that result from electrode misplacement and disturbances, including patient motion and electromagnetic noise. Unlike conventional algorithms used to evaluate ECGs, Zhao’s algorithm is more reliable because it is based on a matrix which simultaneously tests for irregular patterns caused by such interferences. Therefore, instead of a typical “yes–no” type of classification result, Zhao’s produces a more accurate A–F letter grade of the ECG — indicating specific weaknesses in the test. The algorithm also makes recommendations as to where to accurately place the electrodes.
    
Zhao’s team has implemented the algorithm in a java program, which can be installed and operated on a smart phone. The program takes only a split second to execute on a smartphone and assess a 10-second ECG. The speed is key in situations where a second can mean the difference between life and death.
    
The goal is for users in remote areas to be able to know which ECGs are accurate to decrease misdiagnoses and ultimately save lives. The algorithm is also helpful in intensive care units where medical staff may be overworked, as well as for novice health professionals.
   
 The algorithm recently won top honors in Physionet Challenge 2011 — two first-place finishes and one third-place finish.
    
Sponsored by the National Institutes for Health, Physionet and the annual Computing in Cardiology conference jointly host a series of challenge problems that are either unsolved or not well-solved. Starting in 2000, a new challenge topic is announced each year, aiming to stimulate work on important clinical problems and to foster rapid progress towards their solution.
    
Zhao and his team will receive an award of $2,000 and present their work at the Computing in Cardiology 2011 conference on Sept. 18-21, at Hangzhou, China. For more information, visit http://physionet.org/challenge/.
    
This work was in part supported by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS). Zhao worked with graduate students Henian Xia, Joseph McBride, Adam Sullivan and Thibaut De Bock, undergraduate student Gabriel Garcia, and physicians Dr. Jujhar Bains and Dr. Dale Wortham.