Archive for December 17th, 2011

iBGStar™ Blood Glucose Monitoring System

iBGStar™ Blood Glucose Monitoring System

iBGStar blood glucometer attachment for the iPhone, developed by AgaMatrix and commercialized by Sanofi, has received FDA approval.  The iBGStar uses the iPhone as a beautiful visualization tool to keep track of glucose readings, food and insulin intake, and exercise.

The device can be used independently of the iPhone to take readings and data will be transferred to the iPhone once the two are connected again.

The device has gone on sale in some EU countries earlier this year and American launch is expected shortly.

The iBGStar™ Diabetes Manager App has a range of features that allow users multiple ways to analyze their glucose patterns over time. Patients can record and track readings, carbohydrate intake and insulin doses if taking insulin. Scorecards show individual test results and are color coded so that high and low blood glucose results can be more easily identified. The ‘Share’ function enables users to select specific data to send as an e-mail to their healthcare professional. The application can be downloaded for free from the App Store.iBGStar Blood Glucose Meter

The iBGStar™ uses patented Dynamic Electrochemistry®1 technology that provides accurate results by helping to detect and correct for errors caused by differences in hematocrit 2 levels, manufacturing variations and certain environmental conditions

The compact iBGStar™ glucose meter, when plugged directly into the iPhone® or iPod® touch, quickly displays results immediately after testing on the full-color touch screen via the iBGStar™ Diabetes Manager App. iBGStar™ also can be used alone to measure blood glucose levels and results can be synchronized to an iPhone® or iPod® touch at a later time.

The iBGStar™ Diabetes Manager App has a range of features that allow users multiple ways to analyze their glucose patterns over time. Patients can record and track readings, carbohydrate intake and insulin doses if taking insulin. Scorecards show individual test results and are color coded so that high and low blood glucose results can be more easily identified. The ‘Share’ function enables users to select specific data to send as an e-mail to their healthcare professional. The application can be downloaded for free from the App Store.

The iBGStar™ uses patented Dynamic Electrochemistry®1 technology that provides accurate results by helping to detect and correct for errors caused by differences in hematocrit 2 levels, manufacturing variations and certain environmental conditions.

Further information is available at www.ibgstar.us.

In March 2010, Sanofi and AgaMatrix signed an agreement for the development, supply and commercialization of Blood Glucose Monitoring (BGM) solutions. iBGStar™ is among the first products of this agreement.

The iBGStar™ received the red dot design award 2011 for outstanding product design in the life science and medicine category. The red dot design award is one of the most renowned international design competitions (www.red-dot.de/presse), with almost 14,000 entries from 68 countries in the year 2010 alone. Winners are considered to be the best design in the industry worldwide.

Apple®, iPhone® and iPod touch® are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc.

Sanofi strives to help people manage the complex challenges of diabetes by delivering innovative, integrated and personalized solutions.  Driven by valuable insight that comes from listening to and engaging with people living with diabetes, the Company is forming partnerships to offer diagnostics, therapies, services, and devices.  Sanofi markets both injectable and oral medications for people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.  Investigational compounds in the pipeline include an injectable GLP-1 agonist being studied as a single agent, in combination with basal insulins, and/or in combination with oral antidiabetic agents.

About Sanofi

Sanofi, a global and diversified healthcare leader, discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions focused on patients’ needs. Sanofi has core strengths in the field of healthcare with seven growth platforms: diabetes solutions, human vaccines, innovative drugs, rare diseases, consumer healthcare, emerging markets and animal health. Sanofi is listed in Paris (EURONEXT: SAN) and in New York (NYSE: SNY).

Sanofi is the holding company of a consolidated group of subsidiaries and operates in the United States as Sanofi US, also referred to as Sanofi-aventis U.S. LLC.

Source:http://medgadget.com/2011/12/ibgstar-blood-glucose-meter-for-iphone-now-approved-in-u-s.html,http://sanofi.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=64&item=57

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MAKE YOUR OWN CANCER DIAGNOSTIC TEST

MAKE YOUR OWN CANCER DIAGNOSTIC TEST

Ever wanted to create your own cancer diagnostic test? Stanford Medicine magazine has profiled the work of Purvesh Khatri and Atul Butte who have developed a method to easily create cancer biomarker spotting tests. They use publicly available data from National Center for Biotechnology Information’s GEO database of gene expression of cancer tumors, a bit of statistics and data filtering, and outsourcing of an ELISA test to develop the diagnostic capabilities.

Now, if you’re really motivated, you can develop your own cancer diagnostic test and all the steps for doing that are readily explained to get you started.

So it takes years of hard work and serious cash to create one of these “simple” tests, right? Not anymore.

“All you really need is a computer browser and Excel,” says computer scientist Purvesh Khatri, PhD, who, working with Atul Butte, MD, PhD, associate professor of systems medicine in pediatrics, identified telltale chemicals (aka biomarkers) for three types of cancer all in the span of one year.cancer-test-at-home

How was this possible? By analyzing some of the vast amount of genetic information from tumor cell samples that has been amassed over the past decade in free, publicly accessible databases, and by outsourcing the lab work.

“We say ‘outsource everything except the genius,’” says Butte. “You come up with the question and the target, and let everyone else do the work.”

As Khatri walked me through the discovery process, I learned there’s a little more to it than that. Some work and cash is involved, not to mention high-school level biology. And basic statistics will be a big help. But with those tools, skills and about five days’ work, plus $4,000 to confirm through blood tests, you’re on your way.

Go to an online repository that offers gene expression data from cancer tumors. We’ll use the National Center for Biotechnology Information’s GEO database for our example.

At GEO, enter a type of cancer in the DataSets window, surround it with quotation marks — for instance, “pancreatic cancer” — and click “go.” That pulls up a list of experiments. You’ll want to download the data from five to 10 of these; the more data, the better. Here’s what to look for: experiments with mRNA results (not miRNA or SNPs) with lots of samples, including some from non-tumor cells. To download, click on the record number, and in the new window click on “Series Matrix Files.” You’ll get a file that you can open in Microsoft Excel or other spreadsheet program. Do this for each experiment.

Next you’ll look for mRNA sequences that are produced at high levels in tumor cells but not in ordinary ones. This is the part where some knowledge of statistics is helpful: You’ll need to run a T test for each experiment. Luckily, Stanford professor Rob Tibshirani, PhD, developed SAM, a free Excel plug-in that makes it easy. So download SAM, open Excel and click on the SAM ribbon. Choose “two class unpaired” as the response type, select “unlogged” (if any of the values are in hundreds or thousands) or “logged” (if they’re not) and click OK for a chart of the results. Set the delta value that corresponds to 5 percent false discovery rate, click “list significant genes” and then you’ll see them: Genes that are over-expressed in tumors compared with normal samples will be red. These are the ones to choose from. Pick those with the highest fold change (greater than 2 is best) and the lowest false discovery rate.

Now check whether each of the finalists is over-expressed in tumor tissue in the majority of the experiments. Rule out those that appear in just a few. Those that remain are your contenders for the diagnostic test.

The idea behind most diagnostic tests is simple: Identify a telltale chemical and look for it in a blood sample. The PSA test for prostate cancer is the best-known cancer diagnostic, but diagnostics exist for other cancers too — ovarian and colorectal to name a few. And while the tests are not infallible, they can help find hard-to-detect, early stage cancers and monitor treatment.

Source: http://medgadget.com/2011/12/step-by-step-guide-to-making-your-own-cancer-diagnostic-test.html,http://stanmed.stanford.edu/2011fall/article6.html

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Surfing the flow of brain waves to help employees pay attention

Surfing the flow of brain waves to help employees pay attention

Canada’s The Globe and Mail is reporting that workers at Ontario’s Pickering and Darlington nuclear power plants have been testing a new device that detects brain waves through skin contact on the arm.  The hope is to have the ability to detect when workers are losing concentration, a critical issue when dealing with nuclear fission.

It’s not clear how the device manages to gather enough signal so far away from the brain, butFreer Logic, the Skyland, North Carolina company that developed the Body Wave device does not plan on introducing the technology for clinical use.  Nevertheless, the promise of EEG monitoring away from the scalp is intriguing and we hope to see this technology develop further.Mental Acuity of Nuclear Plant Workers

Five years ago, Mr. Templeton was in charge of OPG’s [Ontario Power Generation] operator training program when he heard that a kind of neurofeedback technology being used for children with attention-deficit disorder was also being used by NASA to measure astronauts’ level of concentration.

“If its original intent was to help astronauts and test pilots,” he says, “why not nuclear operators?”

The technology is the brainchild of Peter Freer, a North Carolina elementary-school teacher frustrated by stymied efforts to help students with ADD. It took 11 years and three jobs for him to scrape together enough cash to create a prototype for an educational program called PlayAttention. Mr. Freer was testing the technology on the U.S. bobsled team, with the same focus-boosting aim, when Mr. Templeton cold-called him. Could Mr. Freer whip up something like that for nuclear-plant operators?

Mr. Freer called back the next day. What ensued was years of back-and-forth on how, exactly, the device could be adapted to suit OPG.

Mr. Templeton wanted something as unintrusive as possible – normally, electroencephalograms are gathered through wires suctioned to the scalp, which can get in the way in a simulated nuclear control room. The result is a device called BodyWave. It weighs about 170 grams, can be strapped anywhere on the body and is eminently portable.

Nine months after meltdowns at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi facility, there’s still heightened global wariness of nuclear power.

And in an age of splintered attention spans, says Rob Templeton, Ontario Power Generation’s lead auditor for operations, the imperative of teaching concentration is greater than ever.

“There’s talk of a cultural attention deficit, where we’ve got so many sensory inputs, we’ve got so much bombardment that takes place, it affects people’s ability to pay attention,” he says. “How do you pay attention? It’s never been a tangible, achievable thing – it’s just been something that we’ve said. And now we’ve come to a new point.”

Five years ago, Mr. Templeton was in charge of OPG’s operator training program when he heard that a kind of neurofeedback technology being used for children with attention-deficit disorder was also being used by NASA to measure astronauts’ level of concentration.

“If its original intent was to help astronauts and test pilots,” he says, “why not nuclear operators?”

The technology is the brainchild of Peter Freer, a North Carolina elementary-school teacher frustrated by stymied efforts to help students with ADD. It took 11 years and three jobs for him to scrape together enough cash to create a prototype for an educational program called PlayAttention. Mr. Freer was testing the technology on the U.S. bobsled team, with the same focus-boosting aim, when Mr. Templeton cold-called him. Could Mr. Freer whip up something like that for nuclear-plant operators?

Mr. Freer called back the next day. What ensued was years of back-and-forth on how, exactly, the device could be adapted to suit OPG.

Mr. Templeton wanted something as unintrusive as possible – normally, electroencephalograms are gathered through wires suctioned to the scalp, which can get in the way in a simulated nuclear control room. The result is a device called BodyWave. It weighs about 170 grams, can be strapped anywhere on the body and is eminently portable.

About 100 employees at the Pickering and Darlington nuclear plants, east of Toronto, have tested the device over the past year. People were skeptical at first, Mr. Templeton says, but “then they try it, and … it’s like, ‘Wow. This is really neat.’ ”

But it’s early days yet. OPG is rolling it out with the next class of trainee field operators in February.

In a large control room replete with buttons and flashing lights, the potential for attention problems doesn’t stem from boredom, Mr. Templeton says, but hyperarousal.

“There’s too much going on for their brain to deal with, cognitively. It divides their attention and it can impact their performance,” Mr. Templeton says. “We don’t pass people if they can’t perform in that type of environment. The downside for us is, we really need to be able to train and qualify enough people to do the job.”

Whether BodyWave works – that is, whether it actually improves employee focus and performance and, in turn, lowers a plant’s rate of human error – remains to be seen.

“We’re kind of marching ahead of the band here. We have to convince people this is viable … and to show that in the context of its cost, it’s effective.”

The program has cost OPG $50,000 to roll out, out of what the utility reports is a total $50-million training budget.

Some neurologists, however, think Mr. Freer’s claims are too good to be true.

“It sounds like science fiction. It doesn’t make any sense,” says Claude Alain, a scientist at Baycrest Rotman Research Institute. “The farther away you are [from the head], you will pick up a lot of interference. … I have a hard time imagining how it would work.”

Mr. Freer is not surprised by the skepticism. He insists his method works. “The method has to allow one to gather enough signal to make sense of it. … It’s like looking for a needle in the haystack. When you have a bunch of needles, you can filter out the hay.”

While he may do a peer-reviewed study, he says a clinical trial wouldn’t work: “It’s not a clinical device.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Freer has big plans. He says he’s already in talks with other nuclear plants, although he won’t say who. NASCAR started checking it out last year. Mr. Freer just returned from a trip to a West Coast conference selling the technology to lawyers.

It can be a weird pitch to make – teaching an essential skill about which few people think twice.

“We think attention is innate, that we’re born with it,” Mr. Freer says. “And the fact is, we’re all born with the capacity to attend. … But attention is also taught. And, unfortunately, we don’t do that.”

Source:http://medgadget.com/2011/12/arm-worn-device-monitors-mental-acuity-of-nuclear-plant-workers.html,http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/technology/science/surfing-the-flow-of-brain-waves-to-help-employees-pay-attention/article2242244/?from=sec431

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Varian Medical Systems Adds High Dose Delivery and Prone Breast Treatment

Varian Medical Systems Adds High Dose Delivery and Prone Breast Treatment

Varian Medical Systems, Inc., a Palo Alto, California firm, received FDA clearance to update the control software of the Clinac and Trilogy targeted radiotherapy devices and for the new Pivotal Care Solution for prone breast treatment. This enables a higher intensity dose delivery, up to 2400 monitor units per minute, and better support for treating breast cancer in the prone position.

The technology can now facilitate treating breast cancer patients on their stomachs rather than their backs—an approach that can reduce the volume of lung and heart tissue exposed to radiation during treatment.

“Our High Intensity Mode makes it possible to deliver some treatments up to 50 percent faster than is possible without it. We’re seeing trends toward the use of hypo-fractionation and radiosurgical approaches for many types of cancer, which means that higher doses are delivered in just one or a few treatment sessions for quick ablation of a tumor.  There has been encouraging research supporting this approach for the treatment of cancers of the brain, spine, and lung, as well as for prostate cancer. With High Intensity Mode, our Clinac and Trilogy machines can deliver these high dose treatments within a clinically-feasible timeframe.Varian Medical Systems

When a woman is in the prone position for treatment, the targeted breast falls away from the rest of her body, creating a greater separation between the breast and the critical organs that lie behind her chest wall. The Pivotal Solution makes it possible to treat an anatomical area that lies below the couch top, such as a breast that is hanging away from the rest of the body, enabling physicians to choose this approach if it is best for a particular patient.  Varian is committed to providing clinicians with tools that make it faster and easier to offer cancer patients advanced treatments that have the best likelihood of a positive outcome.”

Updated control software, which received 510(k) clearance in November from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), adds a High Intensity Mode to the Clinac and Trilogy machines, enabling dose delivery rates of up to 2400 monitor units per minute—double their former highest output.

“Our High Intensity Mode makes it possible to deliver some treatments up to 50 percent faster than is possible without it,” said Chris Toth, senior director of marketing for Varian’s Oncology Systems business.  “We’re seeing trends toward the use of hypo-fractionation and radiosurgical approaches for many types of cancer, which means that higher doses are delivered in just one or a few treatment sessions for quick ablation of a tumor.  There has been encouraging research supporting this approach for the treatment of cancers of the brain[1], spine[2], and lung[3], as well as for prostate cancer.[4]  With High Intensity Mode, our Clinac and Trilogy machines can deliver these high dose treatments within a clinically-feasible timeframe.”

Varian also received FDA clearance for the Pivotal™ Care Solution for Prone Breast Treatment, an innovation that allows patients to be treated on their stomachs rather than their backs.  Recent studies have shown that, for many women without axillary lymph node disease, treatment in the prone position can be used to significantly reduce the volume of lung and heart tissue exposed to the treatment beam.[5],[6]

“When a woman is in the prone position for treatment, the targeted breast falls away from the rest of her body, creating a greater separation between the breast and the critical organs that lie behind her chest wall,” Toth says.  “The Pivotal Solution makes it possible to treat an anatomical area that lies below the couch top, such as a breast that is hanging away from the rest of the body, enabling physicians to choose this approach if it is best for a particular patient.  Varian is committed to providing clinicians with tools that make it faster and easier to offer cancer patients advanced treatments that have the best likelihood of a positive outcome.

Varian Medical Systems, Inc., of Palo Alto, California, is the world’s leading manufacturer of medical devices and software for treating cancer and other medical conditions with radiotherapy, radiosurgery, and brachytherapy. The company supplies informatics software for managing comprehensive cancer clinics, radiotherapy centers and medical oncology practices. Varian is a premier supplier of tubes and digital detectors for X-ray imaging in medical, scientific, and industrial applications and also supplies X-ray imaging products for cargo screening and industrial inspection. Varian Medical Systems employs approximately 5,700 people who are located at manufacturing sites in North America, Europe, and China and approximately 70 sales and support offices around the world.

Source:http://medgadget.com/2011/12/varian-medical-systems-updates-radiotherapy-devices-to-deliver-higher-doses.html,http://varian.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=43&item=923

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Body suit puts Sunderland research into new dimension

Body suit puts Sunderland research into new dimension

We all know the 3-D body suits from behind-the-scenes footage of Hollywood movies. Now body suits are going to be put to use for healthcare research and improvements of sporting activities as well. Researchers from the University of Sunderland in the UK are using a body suit because it allows them to take 3-D motion capture out of the lab.

The suit, called MVN BIOMECH from Xsens out of Enschede, The Netherlands, is a 3-D human kinematic, camera-less measurement system with integrated small tracking sensors placed on the joints. Each sensor on the suit consists of three components: an accelerometer, magnetometers and a gyroscope. All together it gives information on each of the joints, the body segments between the joints and the 3-D movements. The technology sends the information a computer using a wireless signal which is then reconstructed into movements on the screen.

The suit is certainly not cheap and it’s probably the main reason why up until now it has only been used in the movie industry and the military. However, the research team and the university consider this new piece of equipment as an investment for future research projects. An example of ongoing research is a project to help figure out how nurses can lift patients safely into a hospital bed without straining themselves. Future research will also be sport related, such as improving the efficiency of wheelchair-bound athletes.

AN innovative body suit which is proving to be an invaluable tool for movie makers and the military is now helping North East researchers develop improvements in a wide range of sporting activities and healthcare.

 Healthcare Research

The MNV Biomech is a 3D human kinematic, camera-less measurement system, with integrated small tracking sensors placed on the joints, which can communicate wirelessly with a computer to capture every twist and turn οf the body and is displayed as an avatar and a 3D set of data on screen.

From riding a horse with the correct saddle to helping nurses lift their patients safely into a hospital bed without straining themselves; these are just two of the areas the University of Sunderland’s researchers and students are now exploring since investing in the hi-tech suit, developed by Dutch company Xsens.

Previously used to create the animated alien in the science fiction movie ‘Paul’, the suit works with sensors and can be used in most environments, both internal and external. Previous technology at the university meant any 3D motion capture data had to be recorded via fixed cameras in a lab.

But now researchers are making use of the suit, one of the first universities in the UK to do so, in areas such as biomechanics, sports science, nurse training, rehabilitation and ergonomics.

Dr Bob Hogg, Senior Lecturer in Sports Technology, said: “The suit allows us to take 3D motion capture out of the lab and into the real world.

“Due to the cost, the technology has predominantly been used in the military and entertainment industries, but the university believes the investment in this new piece of equipment will prove invaluable to our research projects as it has endless possibilities, which really could make a life-changing difference to people’s lives, professionally and personally.”

He added: “Already the suit is being used to help improve the efficiency of dressage riders, investigate lumbar spine issues and we have just put the suit on a trampolinist!

“One of our Professional Doctorate students, Anne Bondi is involved in a major project researching saddle design and its link to the welfare, safety and performance of professional horse riders, which includes disabled riders.

“It’s one of the first projects of its kind and is being run in conjunction with The Saddle Research Trust and is using the suit to measure areas such as rider stability, the horse’s welfare and creating custom-made saddles.

“As part of our new MSc. Programme we will be looking into improving the efficiency for wheelchair athletes, using the suit to measure biomechanical efficiency and power output, which could have benefits for their health and professional performance. The research could also be extended to create better designs for NHS wheelchair users with specific health needs.

“Another area where we are sharing our equipment and knowledge is with our post-registration nurses; where we hope to improve their postural positions when lifting patients, which adds a health and safety element to the research.”

Each sensor on the suit consists of three components: accelerometers – which measure acceleration, magnetometers to give a postural position relative to the magnetic field of the earth, and a gyroscope for measuring orientation. They give information on each of the joints and the body segments connecting them, and how they’re moving relative to each other and in 3D space. This then appears as an avatar on screen.

Dr Hogg said: “The data is available for every single joint and segment, so there are literally tens of thousands of data points, the main problem is analysing it all!”

Dr Hogg added that the university is keen to work with both the public sector and private companies who may wish to utilise the suit for their own research projects.

The suit has also attracted the attention of Dr Ian Thompson, a research chemist and husband of Paralympic athlete Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, who is interested in linking up with the university.

He said: “We have used video analysis systems in the past for investigation of motion analysis in wheelchair racing, but the MVN Xsens system offers significant benefits in real time data presentation and in the detail of parameters that can be analysed. I am really looking forward to investigating wheelchair racing technique with this tool.”

Source:http://medgadget.com/2011/12/3-d-body-suit-put-to-use-in-healthcare-research.html,http://www.sunderland.ac.uk/newsevents/news/news/index.php?nid=1481

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Zeo Launches Mobile Sleep System

Zeo Launches Mobile Sleep System

Sleep tracking company Zeo has announced today that they’ll soon be selling a mobile version of their product, compatible with both iOS and Android.  The company previously only offered what amounted to a base-station clock with a sleep monitoring  headband. Together they tracked your sleep patterns, including Light, Deep, and REM, but in the process the data got a bit trapped in their clock. To upload sleep data to the web for easier analysis, users had to pull an SD card out of the clock, plug it to a computer, and complete the upload. This step presented a pretty high barrier to learning about your personal sleep.Sleep Tracking

The mobile version solves this by eliminating the intermediary to your sleep metrics. By porting the data directly to your phone, users will be able to see richer charts and easier to understand summary metrics on how well they are sleeping, as well as have access to the full suite of Zeo’s “Sleep Management” tools.

 With 64 million Americans facing sleep issues every night and an
additional 49 million Americans experiencing problems at least a few
nights a week,(1) the need for a good night's sleep as part of optimum
health and wellness has become almost epidemic. The new Zeo Sleep Manager
is the only consumer system that tracks all sleep phases and offers
science-based solutions to everyday sleep issues that affect health,
aging, mental acuity, energy level, stress level and physical performance.

    Zeo CTO and Co-Founder Ben Rubin speaks to the complete health triad of
exercise, diet and sleep as keys to overall wellness. "For too long, a
good night's sleep has been the missing link to optimum health for
millions of people. Zeo's new mobile sleep management system uses
smartphones to show consumers how they really sleep, wherever they go,
and then illustrates how to take control of and harness sleep's awesome
and restorative power."

    Zeo Sleep Manager is the only consumer sleep tracking system with
scientifically-proven accuracy that measures actual sleep phases,
including Light, Deep and REM sleep, providing a complete and accurate
picture of users' sleep. Zeo uses a comfortable and highly accurate
wireless headband equipped with SoftWave(TM) sensor technology to track
these sleep phases and provide a nightly ZQ score, a customized sleep
quality score. The new Zeo Sleep Manager Mobile system sends sleep data
directly to users' smartphones, which then sync automatically to their
online Zeo accounts, so they can easily access online analytical tools
and customized expert guidance to help them improve their sleep.
Source:http://medgadget.com/2011/09/zeo-brings-sleep-tracking-to-your-phone.htmlhttp://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/26/idUS124933+26-Sep-2011+MW20110926,

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