Orondo’s Mike Utley was recently honored with a Medal of Honor by The National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations. NECO is the sponsor of the Ellis Island Medals of Honor that are presented each year on historic Ellis Island to a select group of individuals whose accomplishments in their field and inspired service to our nation are cause for celebration. Utley is a former Washington State University and NFL player who was left paralyzed during a game against the Los Angeles Rams. Utley was honored for his work helping those with spinal cord injuries.
by, Bruce Brittain, ChangingAging ContributorTweetShareShareEmail0 SharesFinancial elder abuse is the fastest growing form of elder abuse in the country. As the population of senior citizens continues to rise, the need to protect the elderly from such exploitation grows every day.Kathryn Bosse American University Washington College of LawBetween February and July of 2007, Patricia Candelaria, 83, sent nearly $200,000 to claim a sweepstakes check that she never got, according to Sid Kirchheimer’s column in a 2007 edition of the AARP Bulletin. A man calling himself David Sommers of the National Contest Association constantly called Ms. Candelaria with requests for wire transfers, requests with which she complied. He even sent her an “invoice” for $25,830 in past-due payments. Her adult children stepped in to curtail the fraud when they found out but she still believed that they were interfering in her personal business and stopping her from getting a windfall.It would be comforting to know that state and federal law enforcement would have this and other common types of elder fraud high on their agendas, but they don’t. One of the most vulnerable segments of our society, one that has accumulated assets over a lifetime of working and earning, is not routinely singled out for study when the FTC or the Justice Department develops data on fraud in America. This is troubling. I asked Mr. Frank Dorman, a spokesman for the FTC, if any effort had been made to account for the known bias among those 65+ not to report financial fraud losses to authorities. His response? “I’m not aware of any effort to do that.” Yet, according to Debbie Deem of the FBI, of the thousands of telemarketing scams that she has investigated over the years, “I can only think of two (victims) who weren’t elderly.” Perhaps the FBI should be talking with the FTC about what data to collect and what biases to measure when it comes to fraud information.Among the elderly, there are many types of fraud most often perpetrated by strangers: the “pigeon drop”, the fake check scam, bogus sweepstakes, phony product and service telemarketing, “pump and dump” or pyramid investment deals, unnecessary home or auto repair, the infamous Nigerian money transfer request, magazine subscription rip-offs, advanced fee loans against home equity or pensions, inappropriate annuity purchases with the proceeds of a reverse mortgage, identity theft through telephone or internet “phishing” contacts and the “sweetheart” or “sugar daddy” swindle. Whether these scams cost America’s elders $10 billion, $36 billion, $80 billion or even more each year is not actually known. The hard data are just not available. If and when we get around to developing an accurate national figure, it’s likely to shock.For instance, in 2005 the Attorney General of Maine, Steven Rowe, indicated that the average reported loss among senior victims of financial fraud in his state that year was $39,000. Multiply this figure by the National Center on Elder Abuse’s estimate that 5 million seniors are financially scammed each year (although only 20% of those are estimated to actually report the loss) and the total cost to America’s seniors would be at least a whopping $195 billion. Shouldn’t we have better information about this topic given that the number of America’s seniors will jump from today’s 35 million to 72 million in the next 19 years thanks to the relatively healthy and wealthy Baby Boom?“When two people meet to decide how to spend a third person’s money, fraud will result,” opined scientist Herman Gross. Financial abuse of the elderly by strangers likely pales in comparison to what vulnerable seniors lose to family members, professional advisors, caretakers and others whom they know and trust. The financial impact of abuse by family, friends and advisors will never be fully established because the elderly often don’t know that it has occurred and if they do know, they are frequently loathe to air the issue publicly. Experts suggest that the dollar value of financial fraud perpetrated by people who know their elderly victim is many times greater than fraud perpetrated by strangers.The theft of tens of thousands of dollars from elderly victims is particularly harrowing because these seniors do not have a lifetime left to make up the loss through work and investment. They are thrown into a situation wherein the very thing that they worked and saved for— financial independence in their declining years—has been taken away. Elderly victims of financial fraud often sink into depression, are more likely to suffer rapid physical decline, accelerated cognitive degeneration, forced institutionalization and an earlier death.“There is rarely aggressive prosecution of financial crimes against the elderly and the reasons are multiple,” says Jon Grow, Executive Director of the National Association of Bunco Investigators and former Baltimore detective. Jon Grow“First, it’s hard to get seniors to admit that they have been fooled. They are ashamed and afraid that if anyone finds out that they will lose their independence or that they will get some family member into trouble. Second, these crimes are not at the top of the local prosecutor’s agenda because they are not headline-grabbing violent crimes, in fact they aren’t even in the same category as the high-profile white collar crimes because in some states they are handled as Civil Law matters. Third, if the scam originates offshore, local law enforcement has to rely on the Secret Service, the FBI or one of the other federal agencies. They do what they can but their priorities and budgets are limited.”For telephone, mail and Internet scammers, Canada is the scammers’ residence of choice, based on sheer volume of activity. Why Canada? It is English speaking, has similar time zones, similar phone systems, they are trusted International neighbors, have relatively simple wire transfer procedures and most importantly, very lenient sentencing for those who eventually do get caught. Plus, according to Steve Baker, Director of the FTC’s Midwest office in Chicago, Canada is reluctant to extradite their cross-border fraud criminals to the U.S. because we might to toss them in jail and Canada doesn’t.However, even in the U.S., getting significant jail time for elder fraud is unusual. A 37-year-old Georgia man was convicted in 2007 of bilking an 83-year-old widow out of $97,000 in a driveway resurfacing scam. This man, Jack Harrison, Jr., had been arrested 40 times in the prior 17 years and convicted 21 times, primarily for targeting older adults. Finally he got a three-year jail sentence. This would seem to be about 20 convictions too late.The reluctance of seniors to come forward, the availability of substantial assets, the general lack of fully resourced investigations, the lukewarm enthusiasm for vigorous prosecution and the relatively modest sentencing guidelines for those found guilty are all to the benefit of those who have and will prey on the nation’s vulnerable elderly.The bad guys see the aging of the Baby Boom as their own retirement plan: lots of old folks with lots of money and plenty of creative ways to separate the former from the latter. You may think, “Not me, I’m too smart to fall for such foolishness.” However, the current crop of elders would have said the same thing 20 years ago; but then age came along, took away some of their cognitive agility, brought loneliness to many of them, robbed some of their feeling of self-worth and independence–which a lottery windfall would help restore–and their lifetime of “smarts” was of little benefit. In fact, it often worked against them. The Baby Boom will be no different, just way bigger. The scammers will tweak old scams and make them new again.Around the elder financial fraud issue the federal government is, at best, nibbling the edges. The Elder Justice Act, first introduced to the Congress in 2003 was finally signed into law as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). To date, however, the Congress has not appropriated any money to implement the program. And, if several of the Republican critics of the ACA have their way, the whole “Obama Care” legislative package will be reversed, including the Elder Justice Act.Some people recommend that, similar to the way we forbid minors from entering into binding contractual agreements, we should require those over a certain age, say 72, to enlist the oversight of a younger adult in financial transactions to protect the elder from financial abuse. This concept is fraught with problems, not the least of which is push back from the elder cohort itself. Clearly, there are seniors who would benefit from such a requirement but there are millions who would never need such oversight and would view it as demeaning and/or insulting. What to do?Here are some broad recommendations:Nationally criminalize the financial exploitation of elders with harsh penalties in the same manner that we do for the exploitation of children (the current situation is a state-by-state hodge-podge of Civil and Criminal Law)More aggressively train law enforcement to recognize and fully prosecute elder financial abuseMandate training for those in the financial services arena to look for signs of elder financial fraud andLet your representatives in Washington know that the Elder Justice Act is essential, not a political bargaining chip. These steps will help reduce the incidence of and dollars lost from seniors’ accounts before it becomes a national scandal larger than it already is.Related PostsElder Abuse – What is It?You think you know the answer to that, right? Well, not so fast. I did too until I started looking into elder abuse for us. There are a zillion definitions, several kinds of abuse, no useful statistics and differing laws…ELDER ABUSE: Part 2 – Institutional Abuse OverviewAs we noted in Part 1 of this series, institutional abuse is one of the three general categories of elder abuse and it is frighteningly common. Elders are harmed all the time from institutional abuse, some die as a result…LGBT Elders Fear Discrimination In Long-Term CareA majority of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) older adults who answered a national online survey believe that staff of long-term care facilities would discriminate against an LGBT elder who was open about his or her sexual orientation, and more than half believe that staff or other residents would…TweetShareShareEmail0 SharesTags: elder abuse
May 18 2018The researchers report significant reduction in the severity and duration of freezing of gait, improved cognitive processing speed and reduced daytime sleepiness.Freezing of gait (FoG) is a disabling symptom of Parkinson’s Disease, characterized by patients becoming stuck while walking and unable to progress forward, often describing the feeling as being glued to the ground. It is well-known to lead to falls and lower quality of life, making it an important target for treatment.Research has linked FoG to aspects of attention and cognitive control, a link supported by neuroimaging evidence revealing impairments in the fronto-parietal and fronto-striatal areas of the brain.The interventionPatients with Parkinson’s Disease who self-reported FoG and who were free from dementia were randomly allocated to receive either a cognitive training intervention or an active control.Sixty-five patients were randomized into the study. The sample of interest included 20 patients randomly assigned to the cognitive training intervention and 18 randomized to the active control group.Both groups were clinician-led and conducted twice-weekly for seven weeks. The primary outcome was the percentage of time spent frozen during a ‘Timed Up and Go’ task, assessed while patients were both on and off dopaminergic medications.Secondary outcomes included multiple neuropsychological and psychosocial measures, including assessments of mood, well-being and length and quality of sleep.ResultsThe researchers report that patients in the cognitive training group showed a large and statistically significant reduction in FoG severity while on dopaminergic medication compared to participants in the active control group on dopaminergic medication.Patients who received cognitive training also showed improved cognitive processing speed and reduced daytime sleepiness compared to those in the active control while accounting for the effect of dopaminergic medication.Related StoriesWearing a hearing aid may mitigate dementia riskNew research links “broken heart syndrome” to cancerAn active brain and body associated with reduced risk of dementiaThere was no difference between groups when they were tested without their regular dopaminergic medication.”We believe there is reason to be hopeful for the use of these trials in the future,” said study leader, Dr Simon Lewis, a professor of cognitive neuroscience at the University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Centre and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Australia.”The feedback we’ve had from participants and family members involved in this study was overwhelmingly positive. The results of this pilot study highlight positive trends, and the importance of nonpharmacological trials involving cognitive training has become increasingly clear.”The research team, comprising scholars from the University of Sydney, Western Sydney University and Cambridge University say the finding that freezing of gait improved only while patients were on dopaminergic medication is noteworthy.”Taking dopaminergic medications as prescribed is the normal day-day state for patients with Parkinson’s Disease,” said study lead-author, Dr Courtney Walton, formerly at the University of Sydney and now at the University of Queensland.”While more research is needed to better understand and establish these findings, it’s likely that participants in the off- dopaminergic state were too impaired to benefit from any of the potential changes initiated through cognitive training.”The researchers say more studies using larger samples are needed to investigate this initial finding that cognitive training can reduce the severity of freezing of gait in Parkinson’s diseases patients. Source:https://sydney.edu.au/
Having received excellent feedback from our current customers, we are now working with Lonza to supply our innovative bioburden-testing technology to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology QC industries.” By expanding our QC testing portfolio with this rapid, easy-to-use bioburden testing method, we can help increase product safety, speed up processing time, and reduce costs of bioburden detection as end-users will no longer have to wait several days for their results.” Jun 5 2018Lonza Pharma & Biotech and Innosieve Diagnostics announced today an exclusive distribution agreement for rapid bioburden testing technology. This agreement expands Lonza’s extensive offering of endotoxin products, services and software and provides pharmaceutical testing professionals with a comprehensive set of quality control (QC) tools.Under the agreement, Lonza will sell and distribute Innosieve Diagnostics’ MuScan™ Instrument, Sieve-ID® Total Viable Count Kit and associated software to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device manufacturing industries.Related StoriesLonza launches new website to support bioresearch, drug discovery scientistsLonza to introduce MODA ES Software Platform at Paperless Lab Academy 2019Lonza expands portfolio with addition of new ‘Verified for Spheroids Human Hepatocytes’Control of bioburden during the manufacturing process is a regulatory requirement for the manufacture of drugs and medical devices. Bioburden testing is performed to assure that the bioburden remains low; however, a major challenge with conventional, growth-based bioburden testing is the lengthy time to results.Innosieve’s MuScan™ Instrument and Sieve-ID® Total Viable Count Kit offer a non-growth-based bioburden testing approach that enables a single sample to be analyzed within one hour from collection; and up to six samples can be analyzed within two hours. The technology employs solid-state cytometry to detect stained microorganisms that are captured on the patented Sieve-ID® filter. Innosieve’s new 21 CFR Part 11-compliant software then determines the number of viable cells present and records the results in an easy-to-read and auditable report.Dr. Claus-Dietmar Pein, Head of Business Development for Bioscience Solutions at Lonza Pharma & Biotech, said: Source:https://www.lonza.com/about-lonza/media-center/news/Tensid/2018-06-04-13-00-English.aspx Dr. Michel Klerks, President and CEO of Innosieve Diagnostics, said: Innosieve will continue to offer its full range of products, including the MuScan™ System, to all other markets.
Source:https://home.liebertpub.com/news/breastfeeding-mothers-stop-nursing-sooner-when-living-with-smokers/2396 Jun 27 2018Nursing mothers who live with two or more smokers are more likely to stop breastfeeding sooner than those who live in nonsmoking households. In a Hong Kong-based study, researchers discovered that these mothers are at 30 percent higher risk for ending breastfeeding before a year. This study can be found in Breastfeeding Medicine, a peer-reviewed publication from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on the Breastfeeding Medicine website.Related StoriesStudy paints clear picture of the staffing levels of nurses at nursing homesHow to find and use new federal ratings for rehab services at nursing homesStudy: Stress experienced by premature infants can carry on throughout their adult lifeThe study entitled, “The Effects of Secondary Cigarette Smoke from Household Members on Breastfeeding Duration: A Prospective Cohort Study,” examines a cohort of 1,277 mother and baby pairs from four major hospitals in Hong Kong. Coauthors Kris Lok, Man Ping Wang, and Vincci Chan of the University of Hong Kong School of Nursing and Marie Tarrant of the University of British Columbia School of Nursing use self-reported questionnaires to collect demographic data, parental smoking habits, and other variable data. Researchers followed up with participants with a phone interview at 12 months or when they had finished breastfeeding. The study comes during a city-wide push to decrease smoking rates and increase breastfeeding duration.”Once again we are reminded that cigarette smoking is not only dangerous to your health but also to the most vulnerable members of your household,” says Arthur I. Eidelman, MD, Editor-in-Chief of Breastfeeding Medicine.
This article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente. Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Aug 27 2018There are many lawmakers who made their names in health care, seeking to usher through historic changes to a broken system.John McCain was not one of them.And yet, the six-term senator from Arizona and decorated military veteran leaves behind his own health care legacy, seemingly driven less by his interest in health care policy than his disdain for bullies trampling the “little guy.”He was not always successful. While McCain was instrumental in the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, most of the health initiatives he undertook failed after running afoul of traditional Republican priorities. His prescriptions often involved more government regulation and increased taxes.In 2008, as the Republican nominee for president, he ran on a health care platform that dumbfounded many in his party who worried it would raise taxes on top of overhauling the U.S. tradition of workplace insurance.Many will remember McCain as the incidental savior of the Affordable Care Act, whose late-night thumbs-down vote halted his party’s most promising effort to overturn a major Democratic achievement — the signature achievement, in fact, of the Democrat who beat him to become president. It was a vote that earned him regular — and biting — admonishments from President Donald Trump.McCain died Saturday, following a battle with brain cancer. He was 81. Coincidentally, his Senate colleague and good friend Ted Kennedy died on the same date, Aug. 25, nine years ago, succumbing to the same type of rare brain tumor.Whether indulging in conspiracy theories or wishful thinking, some have attributed McCain’s vote on the ACA in July 2017 to a change of heart shortly after his terminal cancer diagnosis.But McCain spent much of his 35 years in Congress fighting a never-ending supply of goliaths, among them health insurance companies, the tobacco industry and, in his estimation, the Affordable Care Act, a law that extended insurance coverage to millions of Americans but did not solve the system’s ballooning costs.His prey were the sort of boogeymen that made for compelling campaign ads in a career stacked with campaigns. But McCain was “always for the little guy,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, the chief domestic policy adviser on McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign.”John’s idea of empathy is saying to you, ‘I’ll punch the bully for you,'” he said in an interview before McCain’s death.McCain’s distaste for President Barack Obama’s health care law was no secret. While he agreed that the health care system was broken, he did not think more government involvement would fix it. Like most Republicans, he campaigned in his last Senate race on a promise to repeal and replace the law with something better.After Republicans spent months bickering amongst themselves about what was better, McCain was disappointed in the option presented to senators hours before their vote: hobble the ACA and trust that a handful of lawmakers would be able to craft an alternative behind closed doors, despite failing to accomplish that very thing after years of trying.What bothered McCain more, though, was his party’s strategy to pass their so-called skinny repeal measure, skipping committee consideration and delivering it straight to the floor. They also rejected any input from the opposing party, a tactic for which he had slammed Democrats when the ACA passed in 2010 without a single GOP vote. He lamented that Republican leaders had cast aside compromise-nurturing Senate procedures in pursuit of political victory.In his 2018 memoirs, “The Restless Wave,” McCain said even Obama called to express gratitude for McCain’s vote against the Republican repeal bill.”I was thanked for my vote by Democratic friends more profusely than I should have been for helping save Obamacare,” McCain wrote. “That had not been my goal.”Better known for his work on campaign finance reform and the military, McCain did have a hand in one landmark health bill — the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the country’s first comprehensive civil rights law that addressed the needs of those with disabilities. An early co-sponsor of the legislation, he championed the rights of the disabled, speaking of the service members and civilians he met in his travels who had become disabled during military conflict.McCain himself had limited use of his arms due to injuries inflicted while he was a prisoner of war in Vietnam, though he was quicker to talk about the troubles of others than his own when advocating policy.Related StoriesGender biases are extremely common among health care professionalsGovernment policy and infrastructure have substantial impact on hospitalization of seniorsFainting during pregnancy could be more serious than earlier believed finds studyYet two of his biggest bills on health care ended in defeat.In 1998, McCain introduced a sweeping bill that would regulate the tobacco industry and increase taxes on cigarettes, hoping to discourage teenagers from smoking and raise money for research and related health care costs. It faltered under opposition from his fellow Republicans.McCain also joined an effort with two Democratic senators, Kennedy of Massachusetts and John Edwards of North Carolina, to pass a patients’ bill of rights in 2001. He resisted at first, concerned in particular about the right it gave patients to sue health care companies, said Sonya Elling, who served as a health care aide in McCain’s office for about a decade. But he came around.”It was the human, the personal aspect of it, basically,” said Elling, now senior director of federal affairs at Eli Lilly. “It was providing him some of the real stories about how people were being hurt and some of the barriers that existed for people in the current system.”The legislation would have granted patients with private insurance the right to emergency and specialist care in addition to the right to seek redress for being wrongly denied care. But President George W. Bush threatened to veto the measure, claiming it would fuel frivolous lawsuits. The bill failed.McCain’s health care efforts bolstered his reputation as a lawmaker willing to work across the aisle. Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, now the Senate’s Democratic leader, sought his help on legislation in 2001 to expand access to generic drugs. In 2015, McCain led a bipartisan coalition to pass a law that would strengthen mental health and suicide prevention programs for veterans, among other veterans’ care measures he undertook.It was McCain’s relationship with Kennedy that stood out, inspiring eerie comparisons when McCain was diagnosed last year with glioblastoma — a form of brain cancer — shortly before his vote saved the Affordable Care Act.That same aggressive brain cancer killed Kennedy in 2009, months before the passage of the law that helped realize his work to secure better access for Americans to health care.”I had strenuously opposed it, but I was very sorry that Ted had not lived to see his long crusade come to a successful end,” McCain wrote in his 2018 book.While some of his biggest health care measures failed, the experiences helped burnish McCain’s résumé for his 2000 and 2008 presidential campaigns.In 2007, trailing other favored Republicans, such as former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani in early polling and fundraising, McCain asked his advisers to craft a health care proposal, said Holtz-Eakin. It was an unusual move for a Republican presidential primary.The result was a remarkable plan that would eliminate the tax break employers get for providing health benefits to workers, known as the employer exclusion, and replace it with refundable tax credits to help people — not just those working in firms that supplied coverage — buy insurance individually. He argued employer-provided plans were driving up costs, as well as keeping salaries lower.The plan was controversial, triggering “a total freakout” when McCain gained more prominence and scrutiny, Holtz-Eakin said. But McCain stood by it.”He might not have been a health guy, but he knew how important that was,” he said. “And he was relentless about getting it done.”
When microbial ecology graduate student Magdalena Nagler’s adviser told her about artist-cyclist Wolfgang Burtscher’s proposed 8000 kilometer journey from Austria to Laos, she jumped at a chance to combine art with science and possibly promote public awareness of the upcoming International Year of Soils (2015). He was game to research the microbial communities he would encounter on his journey, and every day after he made what he called a “tripmark,” a tire tread imprint on a piece of paper with location information and notes (above), he filled three vials of dirt and sent them back to Nagler at the University of Innsbruck, providing her with a rare opportunity to examine many samples of microbes from a broad geographic range. She sequenced DNA in each sample to learn what fungi and soil bacteria—called actinobacteria—were present. She also looked up the climate, soil type, and other conditions at each site to see if there was any correlation between the microbes present and the local environment. She found—as some microbiologists have long thought—that many microbes are everywhere. But the amount of each type at each site varies enormously, and her data showed that communities with similar soils and climates are more likely to be similar than microbial communities that are geographically close together. Thus, environmental factors take precedence over spatial proximity, the team reports in the March issue of Applied Soil Ecology. In addition to showing that science and art can mix nicely together, the work confirms a hundred-year-old theory among microbiologists: While the environment determines which microbes thrive in a given place, “everything is everywhere.” The tripmark exhibit is still being finalized, but already this art-science project has been on display at two conferences as part of an effort to make the public more aware of soil microbial life. As for Nagler, she’s on the lookout for another opportunity to meld art and science.
Don’t know/don’t answer 30% 56% 12% Percentages are rounded and may not add up to 100%. 36% (Graphic) A. Cuadra/Science; (data) Wellcome Global Monitor Nearly three-quarters of people worldwide solidly trust scientists: That’s one of the main findings of the Wellcome Global Monitor, a new survey that asked 140,000-plus people in more than 140 countries how they think and feel about health and science. Other polls have asked similar questions, but this one, conducted by Gallup World Poll on behalf of London-based biomedical charity the Wellcome Trust, claims to be the first to study on a global scale how attitudes vary by nationality, gender, income, and education. 6% United Statesand Canada 33% An index based on five questions found that 54% of people trust scientists at a medium level and 18% at a high level, whereas 14% have a low level of trust. But regional differences are striking: People in Uzbekistan say they trust scientists the most, residents of Gabon the least. On the benefits of science, more than one-third of people in southern Africa and Latin America say science helps “very few” people in their country.The survey also explored attitudes toward vaccines and found people in France are the most skeptical. The survey reveals a global gender gap in self-assessments of scientific knowledge: Globally, 49% of men say they know “some” or “a lot” about science—a full 11 percentage points more than women. 15% 50% (Graphic) A. Cuadra/Science; (data) Wellcome Global Monitor 57% 9% Central Asia 26% 13% By Tania RabesandratanaJun. 19, 2019 , 12:01 AM Geniuses everywhere Comparing how people rate their scientific knowledge with actual tests of their acquired knowledge reveals that people in some countries are overconfident in their self-assessments (the United States) whereas people in other countries (China) underestimate how much they know. Level of trust in scientists, by selected regions These are the countries that trust scientists the most—and the least 20% Central Africa 18% 8% Northern Europe 32% High 9% Eastern Europe Low France most skeptical about science and vaccines, global survey finds 14% Related 24% Western Europe 64% 52% 32% Medium 54% 11% 13% World 15% 12% 8% 62% 5% South America
For much of the last three years, photographer Alexander Khimushin covered the Siberian landscape — no easy feat. He traveled 25,000 miles photographing the indigenous people living in a region larger than all of Europe. He visited a variety of ethnic minorities in this cold and sparsely populated place, many of the communities with populations of several dozen people.Siberia covers 5.1 million square miles and accounts for 71 percent of Russia’s land mass, but it has less than 30 percent of its population.The Soviet Union in the 1930s created a gulag system in Siberia, sending hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of political prisoners and accused criminals to camps there.Buryat Girl. Buryatia Republic, Siberia. Photo Courtesy © Alexander Khimushin / The World In FacesBuryat Shaman. Photo Courtesy © Alexander Khimushin / The World In FacesDuring Khimushin ’s journey, he traveled all the way across Siberia to Sakhalin Island and visited many remote regions, including Sakha Republic, Buryatia Republic, Khabarovsky Krai, and Primorsky Krai.An important stop was one of the coldest place on Earth: Yakutia. It has the lowest recorded temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere. This is actually the place where he was born–knowing the language was essential to his work.Dolgan Girl. Photo Courtesy © Alexander Khimushin / The World In FacesSome of the ethnic groups he photographed in his quest are largely unknown to the outside world.For more than 10 years, Khimushin has traveled the world, visiting 86 different countries. He was inspired by the idea of documenting cultures that are disappearing due to globalization. The World in Faces Project creates portraits that both honor and immortalize the cultures.Even Young Man. Eveno-Bytantaysky District, Yakutia, Siberia. Photo Courtesy © Alexander Khimushin / The World In FacesEvenki Elder. South Yakutia. Photo Courtesy © Alexander Khimushin / The World In FacesEvenki Girl. Republic of Buryatia, Siberia. Photo Courtesy © Alexander Khimushin / The World In FacesHe particularly wanted to explore his homeland because of its vastness and the fact that very little is known about the people who live there.“From a little boy astride a reindeer to an older woman captured against a backdrop of yellow blooms, Khimshum has managed to tell the stories of ordinary Siberian people in just one image,” he has said.Evenki Little Girl. Sakha Republic, Siberia. Photo Courtesy © Alexander Khimushin / The World In FacesEvenki Mom with Baby. Photo Courtesy © Alexander Khimushin / The World In FacesEvenki Reindeer Herder Boy. Photo Courtesy © Alexander Khimushin / The World In FacesNanai Girl. Nanaysky District. Photo Courtesy © Alexander Khimushin / The World In Faces“I got interested in visiting off the beaten path places, where ethnic minorities managed to preserve their culture and traditional way of living,” he said on his website.“I realized that it was them, the people I met, who made my travel experience so precious and unforgettable. Meeting indigenous people living in remote places, listening to their stories and taking photos of them became the most inspiring part of my journey.”Nivkhi Man. Nilokaevsky District. Photo Courtesy © Alexander Khimushin / The World In FacesSee more of Alexander Khimushin’s work on his Facebook page and Instagram.Photographer Alexander Khimushin in Far East Siberia with the Nanai People. Photo Courtesy © Alexander Khimushin / The World In FacesSakha Girl. Sakha Republic, Siberia. Photo Courtesy © Alexander Khimushin / The World In FacesSakha Girl. Sakha Republic, Siberia. Photo Courtesy © Alexander Khimushin / The World In FacesSemeyskie Woman. Photo Courtesy © Alexander Khimushin / The World In FacesTazy Woman. Photo Courtesy © Alexander Khimushin / The World In FacesTofalar Man. Sayan Mountains, Irkutsk Oblast, Siberia. Photo Courtesy © Alexander Khimushin / The World In FacesTuvan Mongolian Man. Photo Courtesy © Alexander Khimushin / The World In FacesUdege Man. Photo Courtesy © Alexander Khimushin / The World In FacesThe photographer was approached to partner with United National Human Rights, which used his images to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.Currently, he is preparing an exhibition of his project at the UN headquarters in New York City, where a lot of his portraits will be shown. The exhibition will be open from April 15th to May 15th at the UN Visitor Center, with the photographer planning to attend the opening.Ulchi Woman. Ulchsky District, Khabarovsk Krai, Far East, Siberia. Photo Courtesy © Alexander Khimushin / The World In FacesUlchi Young Man. Photo Courtesy © Alexander Khimushin / The World In FacesThe exhibition will be held at a time when many indigenous people from all over the world will gather at the UN for their annual forum on indigenous issues.Read another story from us: 100-Year-Old Photos depict some of the most beautiful women from all over the worldKhumushin said in an interview with My Modern Met that the people in Siberia “are completely different. It may seem to many that they are laconic and unemotional, but behind this external roughness lies an open and kind heart and a generous soul. These people will never leave someone n danger, this is inherent in them at the genetic level.”He added, “In Russian, there is even an expression that describes these qualities: ‘a true Siberian character.’”Nancy Bilyeau, a former staff editor at Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, and InStyle, has written a trilogy of historical thrillers for Touchstone Books. Her new book, The Blue, is a spy story set in the 18th-century porcelain world. For more information, go to www.nancybilyeau.com
The Star Wars world reacted with sorrow to the death of one of its most beloved original cast members, Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca in the original Star Wars trilogy, episode three of the prequels, and the new trilogy up to Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Mayhew passed away at the age of 74 on April 30, 2019, with his family by his side. “He put his heart and soul into the role of Chewbacca,” his family said.Harrison Ford, who portrayed Han Solo, paid tribute to Mayhew, with whom he shared many scenes, saying, “I loved him.” Ford spoke of the “kind and gentle man” possessing “great dignity and noble character,” according to the BBC.Peter Mayhew at the 2015 Florida SuperCon. Photo by Florida Supercon CC BY 2.0Mark Hamill said on twitter, “He was the gentlest of giants — A big man with an even bigger heart who never failed to make me smile & a loyal friend who I loved dearly — I’m grateful for the memories we shared & I’m a better man for just having known him. Thanks Pete.”“Peter was a wonderful man,” producer and director George Lucas said in a statement. “He was the closest any human being could be to a Wookiee: big heart, gentle nature — and I learned to always let him win. He was a good friend, and I’m saddened by his passing.”George Lucas with Chewbacca. Photo by Getty ImagesMayhew, who was seven feet three inches tall, was working as a hospital orderly when Lucas cast him as the Wookiee named Chewbacca in 1977’s first film.As Variety wrote: “Though he spoke entirely in growls, snarls, and the occasional roar, Chewbacca’s unwavering loyalty to Han Solo made him one of the most beloved characters in the franchise. Much more than just the hairy co-pilot of the Millennium Falcon, Chewie’s dependability and trustworthiness helped the iconic Wookiee function as the series’ ultimate ‘wing man.’ ”Chewbacca at the Star Wars Identities Exhibition at the O2 in London. Photo by William Warby CC BY 2.0“We were partners in film and friends in life for over 30 years,” said Ford in an interview. “He invested his soul in the character and brought great pleasure to the Star Wars audience.”Mayhew consulted on The Last Jedi in order to help his successor. As his family wrote in the announcement of his passing, his commitment to Chewbacca “showed in every frame of the films from his knock-kneed running, firing his bowcaster from the hip, his bright blue eyes, down to each subtle movement of his head and mouth.”Mayhew was born in London and did a little acting before signing on with George Lucas.“After wrapping the first Star Wars, he went back to work as an orderly and did not leave the job for good until the release of Return of the Jedi, after which he made a living off of Chewbacca, becoming a favorite on the fan convention circuit,” reported the Hollywood Reporter.Characters from the Star Wars movie franchise welcoming cosplayers to the first Monster Comic Con event at Doncaster Racecourse in South Yorkshire, UK, October 7, 2017“While Mayhew did not provide the voice of the 200-year-old Wookiee (that was created by sound designer Ben Burtt), many credit the body language and expressiveness of the eyes the actor brought to the role in making Chewbacca a beloved character.It was a part that Mayhew would take on his whole life and well beyond the movies, reprising the role for appearances on Donny & Marie and The Muppet Show and, more recently, Glee.”Peter Mayhew sitting in front of an image of his famous role as Chewbacca. Photo by Luigi Novi CC BY 3.0Although his height was not due to gigantism, Mayhew wrote two books for children, Growing Up Giant, and the anti-bullying book My Favorite Giant. He set up various charities, primarily the Peter Mayhew Foundation, and devoted time to those efforts for decades.Read another story from us: Star Wars, James Bond and Thunderbirds Star Shane Rimmer Passes Away at 89Mayhew was asked by Australia’s BMag why Chewbacca didn’t get a medal at the end of the first Star Wars film, along with Han Solo and Luke Skywalker. “I think it was one of two reasons,” he said. “One, they didn’t have enough money to buy me a medal. Or two, Carrie couldn’t reach my neck, and it was probably too expensive to build a little step so that I could step down or she could step up and give me the medal.”Mayhew, who lived in Texas, is survived by his wife and three children.Nancy Bilyeau, a former staff editor at Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, and InStyle, has written a trilogy of historical thrillers for Touchstone Books. Her new book, The Blue, is a spy story set in the 18th-century porcelain world. For more information, go to www.nancybilyeau.com
Karnataka Speaker Ramesh Kumar. (PTI)Amid uncertainty over the future of the Congress-JDS government in Karnataka following resignations by rebel MLAs, one of the concerns of Congress leaders is that Assembly Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar will show no favouritism despite being a Congress leader for many years. Advertising Written by Johnson T A | Bengaluru | Updated: July 15, 2019 7:12:32 am Karnataka Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar: The man in the spotlight Advertising Related News The 69-year-old five-term MLA from Srinivasapura constituency of Kolar district holds a science degree and describes himself as an agriculturist. He has twice served as Speaker of the Assembly and has the reputation of being a knowledgeable, well-read man, who has occasional flashes of temper but is a smooth operator in general.Kumar rose from student politics in Bengaluru in the 1970s and associated with the Congress early in his political career. He later shifted to Janata Party and Janata Dal before returning to the Congress around two decades ago. His name was also linked to a murder probe in the Srinivasapura constituency he represents. Kumar was eventually acquitted in 2007 in the case.As a legislator, Kumar was known to be an orator who made thought-provoking speeches in the House and tried to guide young legislators about the history of the legislature, politics and the world in general — often diving into folklore and religious texts to drive home points. Often frustrated over not being made a minister despite winning many elections, Kumar was finally appointed a minister in the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government in 2016. He served as the health minister and is best remembered for his efforts to make private hospitals and clinics more accountable.With his sizeable experience as Speaker, Kumar is known to generally follow the rule book when it comes to making decisions. “I cannot stray from the rules even if it benefits some but not others,’’ Kumar said after deciding to examine in-depth the resignations of 10 MLAs who met him on Thursday on the directions of the Supreme Court.“I am not a follower of anybody or a leader of anybody. I am a follower of the Constitution of India,’’ the Speaker said this week when asked if any political bias would creep into his decision-making with regard to the MLAs who have submitted theirresignations.Sixteen MLAs of the ruling coalition have submitted their resignations to the Speaker. If the resignations are accepted, the coalition will have 101 MLAs in the 224-member House versus the BJP’s 105. One of the reasons that the Speaker is keen to be seen as going by the rules is the criticism attracted in 2011 from the Supreme Court by former Karnataka Assembly Speaker K G Bopaiah.Bopaiah, a BJP legislator in the current Assembly, had disqualified 11 members of the BJP after they withdrew support to the B S Yeddyurappa-led government in October 2010. In an order on May 13, 2011, the Supreme Court had said the Speaker’s action revealed a “partisan trait” and did not “meet the twin tests of natural justice and fair play’’. 11 Comment(s) Eeco cabbie held for ‘raping passenger’ “I’ll have to start my own small karobaar”, says projector operator as Regal Cinema brings its curtains down
I think is it important to point out that false news has consequences. In a United Nations report by Investigator Yanghee Lee, Facebook activity was cited as one of the causes of genocide in Myanmar. Increasingly, governments have been finding that Facebook can be a useful tool to further their agendas — and if that agenda is killing people, so be it.You might recall that Hillary Clinton recently called out Facebook as one of the key causes of her loss, charging that it basically had worked as an agent for Russia during the 2016 campaign.I am still amazed that the government can say both that Russia interfered with the presidential election and that it did not change the outcome, without a full audit. The irony is that an audit would have shown Clinton won, but the Republicans tried to do an audit and the Democrats blocked them.Granted, Facebook clearly says that Russia didn’t impact the election — and of course, Facebook, which would be culpable if this were not true, isn’t exactly the most trusted source for this conclusion.In short, the massive amount of fake news already has had a material impact on many people’s lives and, as the United Nations has pointed out, may be responsible for ending a substantial number of them. The scene in A Few Good Men with Jack Nicholson going off on handling the truth has been coming to mind way too often of late. Sadly, this is the world we are living in right now, and social media is at the heart of it.I recently noticed a headline that implied a lot of people had taken exception to something Gal Gadot, the woman who impressively portrayed Wonder Woman in the movie of the same name, tweeted about Stephen Hawking. I fell for it — only to discover that the clear majority of folks actually supported what Gadot had tweeted.I can’t speak for you, but I am so tired of being lied to. So, this week, I’m going to cherry pick some of the things that just annoyed the hell out of me last week and debunk them. You see, I think you can handle the truth. I also think that if just a few of us constantly work to debunk fake news, then maybe — just maybe — the truth really will set us free.I’ll close with my product of the week: Snopes, one of the few websites you can visit to find out if that email or social media post is real before you assist the liars by spreading it to your friends. Facebook’s Fake News Caused Genocide The media reported that CTS Labs had found a series of serious security problems with AMD’s processors. This report was dumped on the market and on AMD at the same time, before being vetted. It moved AMD’s stock down — and yet just taking a few minutes to look into CTS Labs should have raised red flags.CTS Labs is staffed with ex-spies and one ex-spy hedge fund manager. The firm doesn’t even appear to have the skills needed (microprocessor engineering) to locate the questionable security exposures that were reported. Apparently, while the security problems were real, their significance was not. The problems paled against the issues reported by more credible firms on Intel’s parts back in January. (Intel even faces a class action lawsuit tied to this mess.)While I think it is likely Intel is behind the misinformation (AMD is believed to be taking significant share at the moment), equally credible is Linus Torvalds’ opinion that the CTS Labs report was an illegal attempt to manipulate AMD’s stock price. Nothing says we can’t both be right.In the end, while the security problems are real, they are obvious and easily preventable. An analogy would be saying your car has a security flaw because if you leave it unlocked with the keys in it in a bad part of town, it will be stolen. In the case of the CTS Labs claims, according to Torvalds, a systems administrator would have to be criminally negligent to allow these flaws to become a threat.Whether Intel is behind the questionable report or it was an attempt to manipulate AMD’s stock price, the problem is that it was taken at face value by a bunch of news services that spread it without vetting it — doing significant damage to AMD investors and AMD itself just for clicks. That’s crap.The right headline, “Unknown Security Firm Tries to Smear AMD,” would have been even more interesting and likely not caused harm to the market. Granted, this is on the political side, but the amount of fake news coming out of the current administration is so overwhelming that some, like Bill O’Reilly, have coined the term “Trump fatigue.”The latest rumor driving a lot of folks nuts is that President Trump is going to replace embattled Attorney General Jeff Sessions with embattled Scott Pruitt. The only problem with this “rumor” was that its origin apparently is none other than Scott Pruitt.That alone should ensure that Scott Pruitt isn’t going to become attorney general. Before media sources gleefully spread this crap around, they at least should seek out the source. I recall a few years back when there was a rumor surrounding the guy who was to be the next HP CEO, which was being spread by the rumored HP exec. He was not made CEO, and he eventually was fired — perhaps at least in part for spreading the false rumor (he never was a contender).Perhaps the right headline here is “Scott Pruitt Commits Career Suicide.” Fishy Findings on AMD Security Problems Snopes is our greatest defense against a lot of the fake news that is out there, and it is neither staffed nor funded to take this kind of critical load. Still, I’ve made it a habit to always check Snopes before passing on a juicy tidbit. Scott Pruitt Unlikely to Be Named Attorney General The latest was a friend sending me an email that showed one of the Columbine parents stunned Congress with a plea against gun control. Interestingly, what was false wasn’t the content but the context. Some of this stuff is getting really hard to fact check. However, Snopes called out the false conclusion very nicely, and I wasn’t fooled (and didn’t pass on the largely false story).Currently some of the “stories” that Snopes is refuting include: validating the “Empty Shoes” memorial in Washington D.C.; invalidating Julia Stiles being transgender;invalidating Harley-Davidson plant closure tied to steel tariffs; invalidating Roanoke City employee firing for gun permit;invalidating President Obama being ordered to pay back US$400M; and invalidating Cadbury products being contaminated with HIV.You know it is actually almost starting off the day going over the top 50 Urban legends on the site just, so you are ahead of the fake news.By the way, one of the most interesting this week was that a GOP candidate did call one of the Florida massacre survivors a skinhead and a lesbian (and apologized). Sadly, still, the truth can be even more surprising than the fiction.Because it helps me avoid becoming part of the fake news problem, Snopes is my product of the week. No Bigotry in Gal Gadot’s Tweet It isn’t just Trump fatigue but fake news fatigue that concerns me. There is so much false information floating around that it is having a material impact on the quality of our lives — and for some of us, how long those lives will be (I did warn you). Our inability to separate what is real from what is false quickly has become an existential risk. Faked news promotes anger, pointless fights and stock market swings. If we don’t get our arms around this soon, both individually and collectively, I’m worried about our survival.I’ll leave you with another powerful movie clip, this one from A Time to Kill, which focuses on the value of truth. We have lost that value and desperately need to recapture it, because the lies have become an existential threat.Interestingly, or ironically, they actually may kill Facebook first. I’m slowly coming around to the view that the only way to save ourselves is if social media networks die first. I am hardly alone, which doesn’t speak well to Facebook’s long-term survival.Now excuse me as I review the latest UFO sightings. Oh crap… Gal Gadot is the woman who played Wonder Woman in one of the most powerful movies ever created with a female lead, and one of the most successful movies ever released. Stephen Hawking was a real-life superhero who did not let his extreme disabilities stop him and accomplished more in his lifetime than 99.9 percent of able-bodied humans manage to do.Upon Stephen’s death, Gadot posted what appeared to be a respectful, heartfelt tweet:Rest in peace Dr. Hawking. Now you’re free of any physical constraints.. Your brilliance and wisdom will be cherished forever ✨ pic.twitter.com/EQzSxqNTuN— Gal Gadot (@GalGadot) March 14, 2018So far, around 53K people have liked the tweet — yet the media reports have focused on the small fraction of people, counted in the hundreds, who took exception to it. Some claimed it was bigoted against disabled people, while others attacked Hawking’s views on religion or his positions on Israel.The problem for me is that the headline that drew me to the tweetstorm was “People aren’t thrilled with Gal Gadot’s tribute to Stephen Hawking.” Yet the statistics indicate that around tens of thousands were thrilled with the tribute and a very vocal few hundred weren’t — some who drifted substantially afield of the tweet to take exception to it.So, while the headline is accurate in a sense — because some people weren’t thrilled — the fact is that a massively larger number of people supported it than took exception to it. Further, it obfuscated the fact that a significant number of those who took exception to it had invented reasons that had nothing to do with the tweet.Saying “Most Everyone Liked Gadot’s Tribute Of Hawking” just wouldn’t pull enough clicks, I guess. Perhaps the more accurate “A Handful of Assholes Accuse Gadot of Being a Bigot” was too long? Wrapping Up Rob Enderle has been an ECT News Network columnist since 2003. His areas of interest include AI, autonomous driving, drones, personal technology, emerging technology, regulation, litigation, M&E, and technology in politics. He has an MBA in human resources, marketing and computer science. He is also a certified management accountant. Enderle currently is president and principal analyst of the Enderle Group, a consultancy that serves the technology industry. He formerly served as a senior research fellow at Giga Information Group and Forrester. Email Rob.
Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Oct 11 2018Ensuring that people with preexisting health conditions can get and keep health insurance is the most popular part of the Affordable Care Act. It has also become a flashpoint in this fall’s campaigns across the country.And not only is the ACA, which mostly protects people who buy their own coverage, at risk. Also potentially in the crosshairs are preexisting conditions protections that predate the federal health law.Democrats charge that Republicans’ opposition to the ACA puts those protections in peril, both by their (unsuccessful) votes in Congress in 2017 to “repeal and replace” the law, and via a federal lawsuit underway in Texas.”800,000 West Virginians with preexisting conditions in jeopardy of losing their health care,” claimed Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).Republicans disagree. “Preexisting conditions are safe,” President Donald Trump declared at a rally in West Virginia for Manchin’s GOP opponent, Patrick Morrisey. Morrisey, West Virginia’s attorney general, is one of a group of state officials suing to overturn the ACA.Who is right? Like everything else in health care, it’s complicated.What is clear, however, is that voters want protections. Even majorities of Republicans told pollsters this summer that it is “very important” that guarantees of coverage for preexisting conditions remain law.Here are some key details that can help put the current political arguments in perspective.Preexisting conditions are common.Preexisting conditions are previous or ongoing medical issues that predate health insurance enrollment. The problem is that the term is a grab bag whose limits have never been defined. It certainly applies to serious ongoing conditions such as cancer, heart disease and asthma. But insurers also have used it to apply to conditions like pregnancy or far more trivial medical issues such as acne or a distant history of depression.The Kaiser Family Foundation estimated in 2016 that more than a quarter of adults younger than 65 — about 52 million people — have a preexisting health condition that likely would have prevented them from purchasing individual health insurance under the pre-ACA rules. (Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the foundation.)Protections vary by what kind of insurance you have.But what protections people with preexisting conditions have depends on how they get their coverage. For that reason, it’s not right to say everyone with health problems is potentially at risk, as Democrats frequently suggest.For example, Medicare, the federal health program for seniors, and Medicaid, the federal-state health plan for low-income people, do not discriminate in either coverage or price on the basis of preexisting conditions. The two programs together cover roughly 130 million Americans — nearly a third of the population.The majority of Americans get their coverage through work. In 1996, Congress protected people with preexisting conditions in employer-based coverage with the passage of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, known as HIPAA.HIPAA was intended to eliminate “job lock,” or the inability of a person with a preexisting condition (or a family member with a preexisting condition) to change jobs because coverage at the new job would likely come with a waiting period during which the condition would not be covered.HIPAA banned those waiting periods for people who had maintained “continuous” coverage, meaning a break of no more than 63 days, and the law limited waiting periods to one year for those who were previously uninsured. In addition, it prohibited insurers from denying coverage to or raising premiums for workers based on their own or a family member’s health status or medical history.HIPAA was less successful in protecting people without job-based insurance. It sought to guarantee that people with preexisting conditions leaving the group market could buy individual coverage if they had remained continuously covered. But the law did not put limits on what individual insurers could charge for those policies. In many cases, insurers charged so much for these “HIPAA conversion” policies that almost no one could afford them.The Affordable Care Act, passed in 2010, built on those 1996 protections, and specifically sought to help people buying their own coverage. It barred all health insurers from excluding people due to preexisting conditions, from charging them higher premiums and from imposing waiting periods for coverage of that condition.Related StoriesSocial Security error jeopardizes Medicare coverage for 250,000 seniorsMedicare Advantage overbills taxpayers by billions a year as feds struggle to stop itMedicare recipients may pay more for generics than their brand-name counterparts, study findsWhile the protections were mostly aimed at the individual insurance market, where only a small portion of Americans get coverage, the ACA also made some changes to the employer market for people with preexisting conditions, by banning annual and lifetime coverage limits.Will protections on preexisting conditions become collateral damage?In 2017, the GOP-controlled House and Senate voted on several versions of a bill that would have dramatically overhauled the ACA, including its protections on preexisting conditions. Under the last bill that narrowly failed in the Senate, states would have been given authority to allow insurers to waive some of those protections, including the one requiring the same premiums be charged regardless of health status.In February, 18 GOP attorneys general and two GOP governors filed suit in federal court in Texas. They charge that because Congress in its 2017 tax bill eliminated the ACA’s penalty for not having insurance, the entire federal health law is unconstitutional. Their argument is that the Supreme Court upheld the ACA in 2012 based only on Congress’ taxing power, and that without the tax, the rest of the law should fall.The Trump administration, technically the defendant in that case, said in June that it disagreed that the entire law should fall. But it is arguing that the parts of the law addressing preexisting conditions are so tightly connected to the tax penalty that they should be struck down.Clearly, if the lawsuit prevails in either its original form or the form preferred by the Trump administration, preexisting protections are not “safe,” as the president claimed.Even more complicated, the protections written into HIPAA were rewritten and incorporated into the ACA, so if the ACA in whole or part were to be struck down, HIPAA’s preexisting conditions protections might go away, too.Republicans in Congress have introduced a series of proposals they say would replicate the existing protections. But critics contend none of them covers as many situations as the ACA does. For example, a bill unveiled by several Republican senators in August would require insurers to offer coverage to people with preexisting health conditions, but not require coverage of the conditions themselves.That hasn’t stopped Republicans from claiming that they support protections for preexisting conditions.”Make no mistake about it: Patients with preexisting conditions should be covered,” said Wisconsin GOP Senate candidate Leah Vukmir, who is running to unseat Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin. Health care has been a major issue in that race, as well as many others. Yet Vukmir was recently hailed by Vice President Mike Pence as someone who will vote to “fully repeal and replace Obamacare.”Meanwhile, Democrats who are chastising their Republican opponents over the issue are sometimes going a bit over the top, too.An example is Manchin’s claim about the threat to coverage for 800,000 people in West Virginia. West Virginia’s population is only 1.8 million and more than a million of those people are on Medicare or Medicaid. That would mean every other person in the state has a preexisting condition. A recent study found West Virginia has a relatively high level of preexisting conditions among adults, but it is still less than 40 percent. This article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.
Source:https://investor.incyte.com/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Oct 22 2018Incyte Corporation announces updated data from its ongoing Phase 2 FIGHT-202 trial evaluating pemigatinib (INCB54828), its selective fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) inhibitor, in patients with advanced/metastatic or surgically unresectable cholangiocarcinoma (bile duct cancer) who failed at least one previous treatment. In patients with FGFR2 translocations who were followed for at least eight months, interim study results demonstrated an overall response rate (ORR) of 40 percent, the primary endpoint, and a median progression free survival (PFS) of 9.2 months, a key secondary endpoint.These results are being presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) 2018 Congress in Munich, Germany in a poster presentation on Sunday, October 21 from 12:45 p.m. CEST to 1:45 p.m. CEST (6:45 a.m. ET to 7:45 a.m. ET). (Location: Hall A3 – Poster Area Networking Hub; Abstract #756P)”We are pleased to share updated interim results from our ongoing FIGHT-202 trial at ESMO, which underscore the potential of pemigatinib as an effective new treatment option for patients with advanced cholangiocarcinoma who have FGFR2 translocations,” said Steven Stein, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Incyte. “If the full data set warrant it, we look forward to submitting our new drug application to the FDA in 2019, seeking approval of pemigatinib as a first-in-class selective FGFR inhibitor to treat patients with advanced cholangiocarcinoma, a devastating disease.”Cholangiocarcinoma is a cancer that arises from the cells within the bile ducts. It is often diagnosed late (stages III and IV) and the prognosis is poor. It is most common in those over 70 years old and is more common in men than women. FGFR2 fusion genes are drivers of the disease – occurring almost exclusively in patients with intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (iCCA), a subset of the disease – and are found in up to 20 percent of iCCA patients. The incidence of cholangiocarcinoma with FGFR2 translocation is increasing and is currently estimated at 2,500-3,000 patients in the U.S., Europe and Japan.Related StoriesSugary drinks linked to cancer finds studyTrends in colonoscopy rates not aligned with increase in early onset colorectal cancerResearchers identify potential drug target for multiple cancer typesKey Findings from FIGHT-202Updated, longer-term follow-up data from the interim analysis presented today at ESMO (data cut as of July 24, 2018) show that in patients with advanced/metastatic or surgically unresectable iCCA with FGFR2 translocations treated with pemigatinib who had at least eight months of follow up (Cohort A, n=47), the combined overall response rate (ORR) was 40 percent, including 19 (40 percent) patients with confirmed partial responses and 21 (45 percent) patients with stable disease (SD). The combined disease control rate (DCR) was 85 percent (40/47). Additionally, median progression free survival (PFS) was 9.2 months and median overall survival (OS) was 15.8 months.Pemigatinib was well-tolerated. The most common treatment-emergent adverse events (TEAEs) were hyperphosphatemia (61 percent), alopecia (42 percent), diarrhea (39 percent), decreased appetite (37 percent) and fatigue (36 percent). Grade ≥3 TEAEs (observed >5 percent of patients) were hypophosphatemia (14 percent), hyponatremia (8 percent), abdominal pain (7 percent) and arthralgia (7 percent). Five patients had TEAEs with a fatal outcome, none of which were related to study treatment.”I am extremely encouraged by the interim results of the FIGHT-202 study, which demonstrated meaningful clinical activity and promising preliminary progression-free survival estimates, and, as a practicing clinician, I am excited about the potential of pemigatinib to provide a new treatment option for my patients suffering from the life-threatening nature of advanced cholangiocarcinoma,” said Antoine Hollebecque, M.D., Institut de Cancérologie Gustave Roussy, Villejuif, France.
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jan 24 2019In a survey-based study published in the International Journal of Dermatology, having tattoos was not significantly related to overall health status, but individuals with tattoos were more likely to be diagnosed with a mental health issue and to report sleep problems.People who had tattoos were also more likely to be smokers, to have spent time in jail, and to have a higher number of sex partners in the past year.The survey was conducted in July of 2016 and resulted in a sample of 2,008 adults residing in the United States.”Previous research has established an association between having a tattoo and engaging in risky behaviors. In an era of increasing popularity of tattoos, even among women and working professionals, we find these relationships persist but are not associated with lower health status,” said lead author Prof. Karoline Mortensen, of the University of Miami.Source: https://newsroom.wiley.com/press-release/international-journal-dermatology/are-tattoos-linked-individuals-health-and-risky-beha
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Mar 21 2019One to five percent of college students develop infectious mononucleosis each year, and about 10 percent are diagnosed six months later with chronic fatigue syndrome – a complex condition involving severe fatigue coupled with disabling cognitive and musculoskeletal symptoms. To assess risk factors for chronic fatigue syndrome after mononucleosis, researchers developed and validated a scale for rating the severity of mononucleosis. In a study with 126 college students, they found that participants with a higher mononucleosis severity score had over three times the risk of meeting two or more sets of diagnostic criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome after six months, as well as almost twice the chance of being prescribed steroids and an increased risk of being hospitalized during the acute illness. Their findings were published in the Journal of Pediatrics.Related StoriesNew research offers hints to origins of systemic lupus erythematosusResearchers find link between chronic pain and alterations in the gut microbiomeSleep quality and fatigue among women with premature ovarian insufficiency”Our simple and objective assessment tool allows clinicians to identify patients at risk for more serious infectious mononucleosis, including those who might develop chronic fatigue syndrome following infectious mononucleosis,” says lead author Ben Katz, MD, specialist in pediatric infectious diseases at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and Professor of Pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “This allows an opportunity to potentially intervene early in efforts to prevent chronic fatigue syndrome that develops in this setting.”Chronic fatigue syndrome has a profound impact on an individual’s ability to function, and it may take a long time recover. Previous research by Dr. Katz and colleagues, published in Pediatrics, showed that adolescents who developed chronic fatigue syndrome after mononucleosis gradually got better, although 4 percent were still suffering from the condition two years later.Although chronic fatigue syndrome tends to follow infectious mononucleosis in some people, no evidence of a lingering virus is detected. “It appears that chronic fatigue syndrome might involve a combination of immunologic and psychologic factors, but we still don’t know the exact cause or causes,” says Dr. Katz.Multiple studies have identified two treatments that may be effective for chronic fatigue syndrome – graded exercise therapy (physical activity that starts out slowly and is gradually increased over time) and cognitive behavioral therapy.”Potential follow-up research will evaluate if treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome begun at the time severe mononucleosis is diagnosed can reduce the chances of developing this challenging condition six months later,” says Dr. Katz. Source:https://www.luriechildrens.org/en/news-stories/assessment-tool-predicts-chronic-fatigue-syndrome-six-months-after-mono/
Source:https://news.ok.ubc.ca/2019/04/10/new-guideline-decreases-breast-cancer-re-operation-rates/ Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Apr 10 2019A UBC medical student has determined that a new surgical guideline is making a difference for breast cancer patients.Alex Monaghan, a second-year Southern Medical Program (SMP) student at UBC Okanagan, recently completed a study using patient data from BC Cancer-Kelowna. His research compared re-operation rates for breast cancer patients before and after a new surgical guideline was introduced five years ago.Breast-conserving surgery (BCS) and radiation therapy is a common first step in treating early-stage breast cancer. Following BCS, the removed portion of a woman’s breast is inked with permanent dye to allow doctors to measure the amount of healthy tissue surrounding a tumor and to determine whether the surgery was adequate.Related StoriesUsing machine learning algorithm to accurately diagnose breast cancerNew study to ease plight of patients with advanced cancerSpecial blood test may predict relapse risk for breast cancer patientsHistorically, debate has centered on the desired amount or margin of space between the tumor and inked edges to optimize patient outcome. With a lack of consensus, re-operation rates as reported by North America public-health institutions have varied considerably between 17 to 35 per cent.In 2014, the Society of Surgical Oncology and American Society for Radiation Oncology released the new guideline of ‘no tumor on ink’ for cancer patients undergoing BCS.”The guideline states that if a tumor does not touch the inked portion of tissue, re-operation may not be warranted,” says Monaghan lead author of the study. “Further surgery can lead to increased risk of medical complications and worsened cosmetic effects, without any evidence of prolonged survival or decreased cancer recurrence.”Monaghan compared data of more than 1,100 patients from 2011 to 2017 to measure re-operation rates before and after the guidelines came into practice. As the primary referral center for Interior Health, BC Cancer-Kelowna services 10 regional hospitals across the BC Interior. He conducted his research under the guidance of Dr. Christopher Baliski, a surgical oncologist at Kelowna General Hospital and BC Cancer, as well as an SMP clinical assistant professor.Based on his findings, Monaghan found that a woman with early-stage breast cancer is 72 per cent less likely to have a re-operation after a lumpectomy today compared to 2014 and earlier.”The research shows how the guideline has been adopted by community surgeons across the BC Interior,” says Monaghan. “Patients can avoid potential surgical complications, added stress, and the cosmetic effects are minimized. In addition, healthcare costs are reduced as a whole.”