Super Bowl Snow SituationApple Blossom Festival Royalty Top Ten Candidate Alissa RikerShorts

first_imgFriday’s snow began before dawn and is forecast to bring several inches to the Wenatchee Valley with perhaps over a foot of new snow in the Leavenworth area … rain and snow showers will alternate through Saturday & Sunday right up to the Super Bowl kick-off at 3:30 PM.  Trooper Brian Moore of the Washington State Troopers warns motorists to drive carefully and slowly for the snowy, stormy conditions.  Here are the detailed forecasts for Super Bowl weekend.  Go Patriots!Today … Snow. High near 25. Northwest wind around 5 mph becoming calm in the morning. Chance of precipitation is 100%. Total daytime snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.TonightSnow likely, mainly before 10pm. Cloudy, with a temperature rising to around 27 by midnight. Calm wind. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.SaturdayA 40 percent chance of snow. Cloudy, with a high near 33. Calm wind. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.Saturday NightA 40 percent chance of rain. Cloudy, with a low around 29. Calm wind. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.SundayRain likely, mainly after 10am. Cloudy, with a high near 34. Calm wind. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.Sunday NightRain. Low around 31. Chance of precipitation is 80%.last_img read more

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Combining stem cell technology and artificial intelligence to diagnose genetic cardiac diseases

first_imgJun 20 2018A new study by Professors Martti Juhola and Katriina Aalto-Setälä of the University of Tampere in Finland demonstrates that with the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning, it is possible not only to accurately sort sick cardiac cell cultures from healthy ones, but also to differentiate between genetic cardiac diseases.iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes can be derived from a blood sample or a skin biopsy. These cells are currently used to understand the pathophysiology of different diseases and to identify new potential drugs for various diseases.Machine learning and artificial intelligence have greatly improved in recent years. Scientists at the University of Tampere have now combined stem cell technology and artificial intelligence to study beating cardiomyocytes in cell cultures. The beating behavior of the cells was analyzed using calcium signals. Calcium is essential for cardiomyocytes to beat, and the beating can be monitored by using fluorescent labels.Related StoriesLiving a healthy lifestyle may help offset genetic risk of dementiaAbcam Acquire Off-The-Shelf Diploid Library of Over 2,800 Knockout Cell LinesStudy: Causes of anorexia are likely metabolic and psychologicalIn the study, the cardiomyocytes were derived either from patients with a genetic arrhythmia (CPVT), long QT syndrome (LQTS), or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), or from healthy individuals. The beatings of single cardiomyocytes were recorded and the analysis software was taught what diseases they represented. The program then learned to separate the different groups and to identify specific features in the beating behavior of each cell.The software is now capable of identifying whether signals are from cells derived from an individual carrying a disease-causing mutation or from a healthy individual. This is very impressive, but the biggest surprise was that the program could also tell the difference between the diseases.This important observation reveals that iPSC-derived cells and artificial intelligence have the potential to be used in diagnostics. Currently, genetic diseases are mainly diagnosed by DNA analysis, but in many cases the results do not reveal whether the DNA alteration is the true cause of the disease or whether it is just an innocent variation. This new finding demonstrates that uniting artificial intelligence and machine learning can help in such situations. The combination of technologies could also be used in cases of unspecific but severe cardiac findings to identify the specific disease causing the symptoms. Source:http://www2.uta.fi/en/news/story/diagnostics-genetic-cardiac-diseases-using-stem-cell-derived-cardiomyocyteslast_img read more

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Older kidney disease patients on dialysis have higher dementia risk

first_imgAug 9 2018Older kidney disease patients who are sick enough to require the blood-filtering treatment known as dialysis are at high risk of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study led by scientists at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.The study, published Aug. 9 in the Clinical Journal of the American Society for Nephrology, found evidence that older kidney disease patients had a substantially higher risk of being diagnosed with dementia than community-dwelling older adults.”The dementia risk in this population seems to be much higher than what we see among healthy community-dwelling older adults,” says study lead author Mara McAdams-DeMarco, assistant professor of epidemiology at the Bloomberg School.To McAdams-DeMarco and her colleagues, the findings suggest that doctors should be doing more to monitor, and if possible to slow or prevent, cognitive decline among older dialysis patients. “The high incidence of dementia seems to be overlooked in this population,” she says.Cognitive decline and dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, are principally age-related and relatively common in the elderly. However, research suggests that kidney disease appears to worsen the problem. Studies over the past two decades have found evidence that as kidney function declines, cognitive functions are apt to decline as well. One recent study in dialysis patients found that this kidney-related cognitive decline was particularly noticeable for executive functions such as attention, impulse control and working memory.The precise biological mechanism linking kidney disease to brain problems isn’t yet clear, but kidney disease has itself been linked to poor blood flow in the brain, so researchers suspect that as a key factor.To get a better understanding of the dementia problem among elderly patients with advanced kidney disease, McAdams-DeMarco and colleagues examined a large national kidney disease registry, focusing on 356,668 Medicare patients older than 66 years who had initiated dialysis due to end-stage kidney disease during 2001–2013.Their analysis was aimed mainly at estimating the risk of a dementia diagnosis within a given period after initiating dialysis. For the female patients in this group, the estimated risk was 4.6 percent for a dementia diagnosis within a year, 16 percent within 5 years, and 22 percent-;a nearly one in four chance-;within 10 years. For males, the corresponding figures were slightly lower at 3.7, 13 and 19 percent.Related StoriesLiving a healthy lifestyle may help offset genetic risk of dementiaNew app created to help people reduce exposure to anticholinergic medicationsUsing Obamacare authority, Trump aims to shift dialysis care to patients’ homesAlzheimer’s disease represented a significant proportion of dementia diagnoses: The one-year risk of this form of dementia was 0.6 percent for women and 0.4 percent for men.The study was not designed to compare dialysis patients directly to healthy people of the same age; even so, the dementia risk among these patients was considerably higher than what would be expected in this age group. For example, a well-known prior study following residents of a Massachusetts town found that community-dwelling 65-year-olds had only a 1.0 to 1.5 percent incidence of dementia within 10 years, while for 75-year-olds the incidence was only about 7.5 percent. By contrast, in this study the researchers determined that the 10-year risk of dementia after starting dialysis was 19 percent for patients in the sample aged 66 to 70, and 28 percent among 76- to 80-year-olds.Even the Alzheimer’s disease risk among the dialysis patients seemed higher than normal-;for example, 4.3 percent of the 66–70-year-olds were diagnosed with the disease within 10 years of starting dialysis, compared to a 10-year incidence of less than 1 percent among 65-year-olds in the Massachusetts study. That suggests that older patients with end-stage kidney disease may even be vulnerable to Alzheimer’s disease.McAdams-DeMarco and colleagues also found that older dialysis patients with a dementia diagnosis were about twice as likely to die at any time in the study period, compared to older dialysis patients without a dementia diagnosis.As stark as these findings are, they may understate the problem. “We know from other studies that only about half of patients with dementia receive a diagnosis, so the figures in this study could be seen as a lower limit,” McAdams-DeMarco says.She and her colleagues suggest that more in-depth studies need to be done to gauge the true extent of the dementia problem among older end-stage kidney disease patients. “Patients starting dialysis generally meet with health care providers a few times per week, so in principle there is ample opportunity to do at least brief cognitive screening,” she says.She also recommends more studies of potential measures to prevent dementia among these vulnerable patients. “We’re currently setting up a large clinical trial to identify appropriate interventions to preserve cognitive function in these patients,” McAdams-DeMarco says. Source:https://www.jhsph.edu/news/news-releases/2018/elderly-patients-on-dialysis-have-a-high-risk-of-dementia.htmllast_img read more

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Researchers discover genetic mutation underlying debilitating childhood brain disorder

first_img Source:http://casemed.case.edu/cwrumed360/news-releases/release.cfm?news_id=1397&news_category=8 Aug 9 2018Ashleigh Schaffer, PhD, assistant professor of genetics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and a team of global genetics experts have discovered a genetic mutation and the faulty development process it triggers, causing a debilitating brain-based disorder in children.The findings, published in Nature Genetics, identify mutations in the alpha-N-catenin gene, (aka CTNNA2), which promotes cell adhesion and causes pachygyria, one of the most serious developmental brain defects in humans. Most patients are severely intellectually impaired, and are unable to walk or care for themselves. Children diagnosed with the rare disease have a life expectancy of about 10 years.Pachygyria is characterized by abnormal movement of brain nerve cells, known as neurons, during development of the brain and nervous system. Using genetic sequencing and studying three families affected by the disease, the research team discovered that children with pachygyria have a mutation in both copies of the CTNNA2 gene, each alteration coming from one parent. The mutation leads to loss of CTNNA2, which the researchers then showed affected how nerve cells travel from their source of origin in the developing brain to their concluding destination in what eventually becomes the neocortex, a process called neuronal migration. The neocortex controls language, consciousness, sensory perception, and other vital functions. Neuronal migration is a highly complex process mediated by numerous intracellular signaling pathways.”Our finding that alpha-N-catenin mutations cause pachygyria is an important step in understanding how neuronal development is regulated,” said Schaffer, the first author of the study and a Mount Sinai Scholar.Specifically, in healthy brains, CTNNA2 binds to actin, a protein that controls the shape of the cell and helps neurons move into correct position within the cortical layers of the brain. This binding prevents another protein, called ARP2/3, from itself binding to the actin. But the research team found that when CTNNA2 is absent due to genetic mutation, excessive amounts of ARP2/3 bind to actin, ultimately disrupting the mechanisms needed for appropriate migrating and branching out of nerve cells. Specifically, resultants ARP2/3 over-activity leads to excessive branching, which impairs neuron growth and stability. The finding raises the possibility of genetic engineering through techniques such as CRISPR-Cas9.Related StoriesGene modulation goes wireless hacking the “boss gene”Healthy lifestyle lowers dementia risk despite genetic predispositionStudy: Causes of anorexia are likely metabolic and psychologicalIt has been known for decades that coordinated regulation of the actin cytoskeleton was critical for proper neuronal positioning within the brain. (The cytoskeleton is the network of protein filaments and microtubules that support the cell, giving it shape. It also has key roles in molecule transport, cell division and cell signaling.) How the actin cytoskeleton is regulated at the molecular level in neurons was not fully clear. The new results from Schaffer and colleagues help address this shortfall.In addition to uncovering a key gene responsible for pachygyria and describing how its mechanisms operate, the researchers discovered a variation of the condition. Typically in cases of pachygyria, either the front or back of the brain displays smooth, non-wrinkled brain surface features. In cases of normal brain development, these areas are convoluted, resembling cauliflower in appearance. In the three families studied, the researchers discovered that both the front and back of the brain were smooth. “The fact that we found this unique feature led us to conclude that a new gene, not previously linked to pachygyria, is responsible. This turned out to be the case,” said Schaffer.Members of the team, which includes researchers from throughout the U.S., Middle East, India and Europe, will further explore the implications of its findings in people with single-copy mutations of the CTNNA2 gene who have epilepsy, autism and schizophrenia.last_img read more

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Researchers design nanotubes that can align water molecules into a square rod

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Aug 25 2018First, according to Rice University engineers, get a nanotube hole. Then insert water. If the nanotube is just the right width, the water molecules will align into a square rod.Rice materials scientist Rouzbeh Shahsavari and his team used molecular models to demonstrate their theory that weak van der Waals forces between the inner surface of the nanotube and the water molecules are strong enough to snap the oxygen and hydrogen atoms into place.Shahsavari referred to the contents as two-dimensional “ice,” because the molecules freeze regardless of the temperature. He said the research provides valuable insight on ways to leverage atomic interactions between nanotubes and water molecules to fabricate nanochannels and energy-storing nanocapacitors.Related StoriesNew study provides increasing evidence base substantiating vaping’s harm reduction potentialAXT enhances cellular research product portfolio with solutions from StemBioSysTrump administration cracks down on fetal tissue researchA paper on the research appears in the American Chemical Society journal Langmuir.Shahsavari and his colleagues built molecular models of carbon and boron nitride nanotubes with adjustable widths. They discovered boron nitride is best at constraining the shape of water when the nanotubes are 10.5 angstroms wide. (One angstrom is one hundred-millionth of a centimeter.)The researchers already knew that hydrogen atoms in tightly confined water take on interesting structural properties. Recent experiments by other labs showed strong evidence for the formation of nanotube ice and prompted the researchers to build density functional theory models to analyze the forces responsible.Shahsavari’s team modeled water molecules, which are about 3 angstroms wide, inside carbon and boron nitride nanotubes of various chiralities (the angles of their atomic lattices) and between 8 and 12 angstroms in diameter. They discovered that nanotubes in the middle diameters had the most impact on the balance between molecular interactions and van der Waals pressure that prompted the transition from a square water tube to ice.”If the nanotube is too small and you can only fit one water molecule, you can’t judge much,” Shahsavari said. “If it’s too large, the water keeps its amorphous shape. But at about 8 angstroms, the nanotubes’ van der Waals force starts to push water molecules into organized square shapes.”He said the strongest interactions were found in boron nitride nanotubes due to the particular polarization of their atoms.Shahsavari said nanotube ice could find use in molecular machines or as nanoscale capillaries, or foster ways to deliver a few molecules of water or sequestered drugs to targeted cells, like a nanoscale syringe. Source:http://news.rice.edu/2018/08/24/nanotubes-change-the-shape-of-water-2/last_img read more

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Medicaid expansion may fill gap in reproductive health care access study finds

first_imgReviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Aug 31 2018Medicaid expansion may fill a significant gap in reproductive health care access, especially among young and low-income women, a new Michigan Medicine study finds.Among 1,166 reproductive-aged women who enrolled in the Healthy Michigan Plan -; Michigan’s expansion of the Medicaid program for low-income adults -; 1 in 3 said that the expanded coverage improved access to birth control and family planning services.Groups most likely to report benefits of this access were younger women and those who did not previously have health insurance, according to the findings published in JAMA Network Open.”Our findings suggest that the expansion provided an important service for populations with a high unmet need for family planning care,” says lead author Michelle Moniz, M.D., M.Sc., an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Michigan Medicine. “Unmet reproductive health needs can lead to unintended pregnancy, which has a higher risk of adverse health outcomes and is expensive to the health care system.”Ideally, health providers will address a woman’s health issues ahead of pregnancy, Moniz says. Pre-existing chronic conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, hypertension and heart disease put pregnant women at a higher risk of negative health outcomes. Newborns of women with these pre-existing conditions also face increased health risks, including poor fetal growth, preterm delivery and stillbirth.”When a woman has an unintended pregnancy, we miss an opportunity to potentially optimize her health and her baby’s health,” says Moniz, also a member of U-M’s Institute of Healthcare Policy and Innovation. “Medicaid expansion means that more women may have an opportunity to work with a provider to manage those conditions before a pregnancy begins, in order to ensure the healthiest outcomes for moms and babies.”Insurance coverage also means that women have access to more options if they do not want to become pregnant at the current time.”There are financial payoffs to improved family planning access under Medicaid expansion as well, Moniz says.Each U.S. dollar spent on contraception is estimated to save the health care system more than $7 in return, according to a recent study from the Guttmacher Institute. Nearly 40 to 50 percent of the 4 million live births in the U.S. every year are paid for by Medicaid.Related StoriesYearlong birth control supply could be cost-effective, prevent undesired pregnanciesNew research examines whether effects of alcohol/pregnancy policies vary by raceCannabis use during pregnancy may cause premature birthUnintended pregnancies also come with other hidden costs, such as a woman’s reduced ability to meet educational goals and professional attainment after giving birth, as well as a higher likelihood of financial difficulties.In the current study of Medicaid expansion in Michigan, the youngest group of women surveyed, ages 19 to 24, were nearly three times more likely to report improved family planning access than other age groups. Women who didn’t have insurance up to a year before the expansion were also twice as likely to report improved access than those who were insured.”Women with the highest rates of unintended pregnancy and unmet contraceptive needs were most likely to benefit from the expanded coverage,” Moniz says.Still, she adds, “We saw no differences in improved access among demographic groups. This was reassuring because it suggests that the benefits of Medicaid expansion are shared equitably across diverse populations.”A more surprising finding was that women who had recently visited a primary clinician also reported improved access to family planning services.Moniz says this may be due to clinicians informing women of family planning service benefits covered under their plan and “playing an important role in turning the coverage into actual access to care.”Currently, 32 states and the District of Columbia have expanded Medicaid programs under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The new study was conducted as part of IHPI’s evaluation of the impact of Michigan’s expansion on many types of care.Moniz says additional research is needed to understand whether improved access translates into enhanced contraceptive use and improved reproductive health outcomes.”Our findings suggest that Medicaid expansion is associated with improved access to family planning services, which may enable low-oncome women to maintain optimal reproductive health,” Moniz says. “This is a big win for our state.” Source:https://labblog.uofmhealth.org/industry-dx/study-medicaid-expansion-improves-access-to-family-planninglast_img read more

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Drumming can benefit school children with autism

first_img A vast improvement in movement control while playing the drums, including dexterity, rhythm, timing. Movement control was also enhanced while performing daily tasks outside the school environment, including an improved ability to concentrate during homework. A range of positive changes in behaviour within school environment, which were observed and reported by teachers, such as improved concentration and enhanced communication with peers and adults. Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Sep 14 2018DRUMMING for 60 minutes a week can benefit children diagnosed with autism and supports learning at school, according to a new scientific study.The project, led by the University of Chichester and University Centre Hartpury, showed students’ ability to follow their teachers’ instructions improved significantly and enhanced their social interactions between peers and members of school staff.Research involved pupils from Milestone School in Gloucester who took part in a ten-week drumming programme comprising two 30-minute sessions each week. Observations of the weekly lessons also highlighted significant improvements in dexterity, rhythm and timing.The investigation is a continuation of research undertaken by the academics, known collectively as the Clem Burke Drumming Project that includes the iconic Blondie drummer, and is aimed at demonstrating the value of the musical instrument to school pupils requiring additional education support.Lead researcher Dr Marcus Smith, a Reader in Sport and Exercise Physiology at University of Chichester, said: “This is a unique and remarkable research project that has demonstrated the positive impact on a pupil’s health and wellbeing following rock drumming practice. Rock drumming as a potent intervention for individuals experiencing brain disorders, such as autism, is fascinating and I am delighted that it builds upon the pioneering work undertaken by colleagues from the Clem Burke Drumming Project.”Class teachers evaluated behavioural changes within the classroom across the ten-week drumming intervention, with preliminary evidence highlighting positive outcomes. Each lesson was delivered by drumming tutors using electronic drum kits provided by charities in Gloucestershire.Related StoriesScientists make breakthrough in understanding the genetics of common syndromic autismTransgender and non-binary individuals more likely to display autistic traits, study findsTransgenerational BPA exposure may contribute to autism, study findsPreliminary results showed: The focus of the sessions, held at an agriculture classroom at Hartpury, was on learning and having fun while playing to popular songs. An in-depth explanation of key findings related to changes in social, behavioural, and motor control will be reported following the completion of on-going data analysis.Dr Steve Draper, Dean Research and Knowledge Exchange, Hartpury, added: “Drumming has a unique blend of physical activity, coordination and musicality, all of which are known to be beneficial to well-being. It has been amazing to watch the children thrive and develop to this challenge. Drumming has the potential to positively impact a wide range of people.”Also involved in the study is Dr Ruth Lowry, a Reader in the Psychology of Active Living at the University of Chichester. She said: “The opportunity to see this group of children progress and develop through developing skills in music is powerful. We hope that this project will provide further evidence that not only does rock drumming have positive benefits in terms of changes in dexterity and concentration but that wider social and behavioural conduct benefits can also be observed.”center_img Source:https://www.chi.ac.uk/news/scientists-reveal-drumming-helps-schoolchildren-diagnosed-autismlast_img read more

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Top stories A very ancient hobbit four new element names and the

first_img Email Four new element names are on the tableTime to throw out that old copy of the periodic table: New names have just been penciled in for four elements officially recognized back in December. Nihonium, moscovium, tennessine, and oganesson will grace the blocks assigned to atomic numbers 113, 115, 117, and 118, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry said this week. Barring any serious challenges during a 5-month public comment period, the new names will be officially added to the table by the end of this year.U.S. Academies gives cautious go-ahead to gene drive Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrycenter_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Gene drives—genetic modifications that rapidly spread through a population of organisms—could be a powerful tool for combating disease-spreading animals like mosquitoes. But the technology worries many who believe the risks outweigh the possible benefits. Now, a new report issued by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine stresses that although gene drives offer great promise for agriculture, conservation, and public health, much more work needs to be done before they are deployed in the field.Humans didn’t wait on melting ice to settle the AmericasFor most of the last ice age, enormous glaciers covered western Canada. And yet people still managed to cross deep into the Americas from their settlements in western Alaska. How did they do it? Archaeologists once thought a narrow strip of land opened up between the glaciers, allowing them passage. But now, a new study of bison fossils suggests the corridor could not have been the first route people took into the New World.NIH gets $2 billion boost in Senate spending billThis week, a Senate spending panel approved a $2 billion boost in 2017 for the National Institutes of Health, or a 6.2% increase to $34.1 billion. It’s the second year in a row that the Senate has slated the agency for a large increase after 12 years of flat budgets.Tiny jaw reveals dawn of the hobbitFrom the moment that the announcement of a 1-meter-tall ancient human nicknamed “the hobbit” shocked the world in 2004, supporters and skeptics alike have longed for more fossils. After the first couple years of discoveries, the research team kept digging, hoping to shore up the creature’s status as a separate species and settle the mystery of its origins. Now, 74 kilometers away from the original site, they’ve finally found remains from a hobbit—even smaller than those at the original site, and hundreds of thousands of years older.Now that you’ve got the scoop on this week’s hottest Science news, come back Monday to test your smarts on our weekly quiz!last_img read more

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United States should prepare to build a prototype fusion power plant panel

first_imgA new National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report calls for a complete rejuvenation of the U.S. fusion program, which hasn’t built a tokamak like the National Spherical Torus Experiment at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory since the 1990s. Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Email Just in time for the holidays, a panel of leading scientists has presented a plan for nuclear fusion research in the United States that reads like a wish list. The United States should stick with the controversial ITER project, a hugely expensive fusion reactor now under construction near Cadarache in France, says a report released today by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. But even if the United States quits ITER, it should prepare to build its own fusion power plant as a follow-up, the report says. To do all that, the United States should boost spending on fusion research by $200 million per year, or 35%, it concludes.The report reflects the will of the broader fusion community, say the co-chairs of the 19-member report committee, Michael Mauel, a fusion physicist at Columbia University, and Melvyn Shochet, a particle physicist at the University of Chicago in Illinois. “We listened very carefully to the community, especially some of the younger scientists who are very active in the field, and what we heard from the scientists is a desire to get on with fusion energy,” Mauel says. “We’re not just studying this thing, we’re trying to see if it really does work.”In nuclear fusion, light nuclei fuse to form heavier nuclei and release energy. The process powers the sun, and for decades physicists have worked to turn fusion into a practical source of power on Earth. Their main approach has been to use magnetic fields to confine and squeeze ionized gases, or plasmas, of deuterium and tritium in doughnut-shaped devices called tokamaks, so that the deuterium and tritium fuse to make helium. ITER aims to be the first tokamak to obtain a “burning plasma” that produces more energy through fusion than is pumped into the device to maintain the plasma, a key milestone toward developing fusion power. United States should prepare to build a prototype fusion power plant, panel sayscenter_img By Adrian ChoDec. 13, 2018 , 4:30 PM Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Elle Starkman/PPPL Communications (CC BY-NC) ITER has a troubled history, however. The project was first proposed in 1986 as a joint endeavor between the Soviet Union and the United States, which opted out in 1998, only to rejoin in 2003. At the time, the project was supposed to cost $10 billion, with the United States covering 9% of the total. Since then, ITER’s cost has ballooned so that the U.S. share alone will cost between $4.7 billion and $6.5 billion, and the schedule has slipped; the first plasma isn’t expected until 2028. ITER has become a political football, with appropriators in the U.S. Senate repeatedly trying to pull the United States out of the project, and their counterparts in the House of Representatives striving to keep the United States in. For fiscal year 2019, the United States will contribute $132 million to ITER, well short of the $250 million contribution that would be optimal for the project.Give the uncertainties, in May 2016 the Department of Energy (DOE) asked the National Academies to study how best to advance fusion energy sciences in the United States in the case that the country remains in ITER and in the case that it withdraws. And the 252-page report, released today in Washington, D.C., makes only two recommendations: that the United States remains in the ITER project, and that it do the research and development for a so-called compact pilot plant (CPP). The CPP is essentially a prototype power plant that, unlike ITER, would be able to run continuously and generate electricity. In fact, the report argues, the case for building a CPP is so compelling that the United States should go forward with those plans even if it decides to pull out of ITER.Researchers in other countries also have plans to build prototype power plants after ITER. For example, scientists in Europe have plans for a Demonstration Power Station or DEMO. But the CPP would differ from those plans by leveraging the latest advances in high-temperature superconducting materials, computing, and plasma physics to make a fusion reactor that was significantly smaller and cheaper than current designs. For example, the DEMO is expected to be significantly bigger than ITER. In contrast, the CPP would be about one-eighth the size of ITER. To do that, it would have to employ magnets made of high-temperature superconductor that achieve fields twice as high as ITER’s field.The report presents an inspiring vision for the U.S. fusion community, says Steven Cowley, director of DOE’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory in New Jersey. “The fundamental message is that the U.S. fusion program has to have an ambition to drive through and generate some kilowatts of power,” he says. “What’s the point of having a fusion program if you don’t have a goal to develop the first fusion power plant?”However, Cowley quickly adds, researchers don’t yet know how to build the CPP and have years of R&D ahead of them. They will also need the knowledge they’ll gain from ITER, he says. Mauel notes that if the United States pulls out of ITER, it would have to build a similar experiment of its own before building the CPP. That would only make the process longer and more expensive, he says. “There is no shortcut” around ITER, he says.An obvious question is whether Congress is willing to increase the funding for DOE’s fusion energy sciences program, which stands at $564 million per year. “I think adding $200 million [per year] for 2 decades is an extremely unlikely scenario, given [DOE’s] priorities,” says William Madia, a vice president at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, and a longtime observer of DOE. However, one Democratic staffer in the House says the call shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand. “I wouldn’t say that these numbers are wildly out of step with what’s possible,” says the staffer, who is not authorized to speak on the record.The report falls short of a specific plan by which DOE would go about realizing the goal of a CPP. “I don’t see any viable budget scenario for this until the community comes together too and says what they’re going to do and what they’re not going to do,” Madia says. In fact, DOE has charged its fusion energy sciences advisory committee to come up with just such a long-range plan, which is due in December 2020. In the past, however, the fusion community has struggled to unite behind such long-range plans.Observers generally agree that the ITER project now has more credibility than it had a few years ago, decreasing the likelihood that the United States will pull out. The credit for that goes to Bernard Bigot, the nuclear physicist who took over as director-general of the troubled organization in 2015. “I like what I’ve been seeing the last couple of years, and it’s because of what Bernard has done,” Madia says. In fact, ITER has stabilized enough that the biggest problem it faces may now be the United States’s lagging contributions to the project, the House staffer notes. “It’s in much, much better shape,” says the House staffer, “but it’s gone from the international organization being the biggest problem to the U.S. being the biggest problem.”last_img read more

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China tightens its regulation of some human gene editing labeling it highrisk

first_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country By Dennis NormileFeb. 28, 2019 , 11:50 AM Imaginechina/AP Images In January, a preliminary investigation found that He deliberately sidestepped regulations, dodged oversight, and used fake ethical review documents, according to Chinese media. (No official report was ever publicly released.) But as the scandal unfolded over the past 3 months, many Chinese ethicists and researchers noted that the most relevant regulations date back to 2003 and need updating in light of CRISPR’s emergence and other research advances.The new rules cover experiments that involve gene editing, the transfer of genes or attempts to regulate gene expression, the use of stem cells, and other “high-risk” technologies in humans or in human organs or embryos that would be implanted in a person. All would require approval by a yet-to-be-specified agency under the State Council, the country’s highest administrative authority. Research involving human subjects using low- or medium-risk technologies—which will be defined later—will need institutional and provincial approval. The 16-page document also gives requirements for informed consent by trial participants and the information needed on applications. It also states that conflicts of interest or lack of clarity on funding sources will be grounds for rejecting a proposed trial.The regulations specify a range of legal penalties, including warnings, fines, a lifetime ban on participating in clinical research, and criminal charges, depending on the seriousness of the infraction. The National Health Commission posted the draft regulations on its website on Tuesday and will accept comments from the public until 27 March. There is no date given for when the new rules might take effect.      Wei Wensheng, a molecular biologist at Peking University in Beijing, says regulation of what is now “a chaotic situation” in China gene editing has been needed. In particular, he adds, it is “very reasonable to set tight regulations on germline editing.” But Wei notes that the same national approval will now be required for clinical research relying on editing somatic cells, such as those in the blood, that are not passed on to future generations. “On paper, there is basically nothing wrong” with this requirement. “But in a practical sense, if it takes too long to get permissions, it could be a bottleneck that will slow down research,” he says. “It depends on execution, on how they handle each case.” In the wake of the shocking news that one of its scientists had produced genetically altered babies, the Chinese government this week issued draft regulations that would require national approval for clinical research involving gene editing and other “high-risk biomedical technologies.” Although some Chinese researchers welcome the move to tighten oversight, there are worries that the rules could impose a burden on areas of genetic research that are not so controversial.“I am happy to see the national regulations regarding new biomedical technologies; I think this makes relevant policy more clear,” says Wei Jia, a medical oncologist who is involved with an ongoing trial using gene editing to modify cancer patient T-cells at the Affiliated Nanjing Drum Tower Hospital of Nanjing University Medical School in China.The regulations are in response to the late November 2018 claim by He Jiankui, then of Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, China, that he had altered the DNA embryos in a way that would give the babies and their descendants resistance to HIV. This approach is called germline engineering—it can involve changing DNA in embryos or sperm or eggs—and is banned in many countries, by law or regulation. He’s effort, using a technique called CRISPR, resulted in twin girls born last fall; one more baby, he said, is on the way. The experiment earned He worldwide condemnation for prematurely using a still glitchy technique that might negatively affect the babies’ development and health in a medically unnecessary and unjustified intervention.center_img He Jiankui (left), discussing his creation of genetically altered babies, prompted China to issue tighter regulations on gene-editing experiments. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) China tightens its regulation of some human gene editing, labeling it ‘high-risk’ Emaillast_img read more

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Cory Bookers MustDos For Democrats First Debate

first_img.⁦@CoryBooker⁩’s debate prep includes push ups and bicep curls “to keep him motivated” a campaign aide said. pic.twitter.com/OMRryFxypS— Leigh Ann Caldwell (@LACaldwellDC) June 25, 2019In all actuality, the 50-year-old is riding a wave of momentum that was steadily building up well before last week’s House testimony about reparations. And his war of words with Joe Biden, the frontrunner candidate, over the former vice president’s glowing words for pro-segregation senators certainly didn’t hurt either. Booker also gave an emotional and fiery speech at the South Carolina Democratic Convention this past weekend. It’s Debate Eve! I’m excited to hit the stage tomorrow, June 26 at 9 p.m. ET. I can’t wait to share with you my vision for a more just and fair nation. pic.twitter.com/ZA7IK8bkNt Entertainment, News and Lifestyle for Black America. News told by us for us. Black America’s #1 News Source: Our News. Our Voice. Biden hits back at Booker over segregationist senator. “Apologize for what? Cory [Booker] should apologize. He knows better” pic.twitter.com/xq8lLk4tTj— Alex Thompson (@AlxThomp) June 20, 2019 More By Bruce C.T. Wright The New Jersey senator’s campaign has seemingly stalled. That is if you let polling tell the whole story. The latest poll placed Booker in sixth place out of 24 candidates, and he was trailing Kamala Harris, the only other Democratic White House hopeful who is Black. However, if you’ve been paying attention, Booker’s profile has arguably never been higher, or stronger. 2020 Democratic Candidates For President , 2020 Election , Cory Booker , Democrats Cory Booker’s name rings bells. This much is undeniable. But one major looming question is how loudly those same bells will toll for him during the first debate for Democratic presidential candidates Wednesday night in Miami? Senator Cory Booker addresses the 2020 South Carolina Democratic Convention. #PoliticsNation pic.twitter.com/Vi5NzGQwSj— Reverend Al Sharpton (@TheRevAl) June 22, 2019 Thanks for signing up! Get ready for Exclusive content, Interviews,and Breaking news delivered direct to your inbox. Get ready for Exclusive content, Interviews,and Breaking news delivered direct to your inbox. 1. Make sure America knows who Cory Booker is. Despite his heavy name recognition, chances are that not all voters, even Democrats, really know who he is or what he’s about. Wednesday night is Booker’s chance to rectify that situation with a proper introduction on national TV, and he knows it. Everything We Know About Sadie Roberts-Joseph’s Murder Investigation Reparations presidential candidates Unpacking Mayor Pete’s ‘Douglass Plan’ For Black America Where All The Presidential Candidates Stand On Reparations, In Their Own Words But to be completely honest, it still seems like something is missing.Booker has a chance to fill in those apparent blanks Wednesday night, but will he?“Few other contenders are under as much pressure to distinguish themselves at this debate, and the one next month, as he is,” the New York Times’ Jonathan Martin wrote about Booker on Tuesday.With arguably the weakest field among both debates Wednesday and Thursday night — he faces off against former U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro; New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio; former Maryland Rep. John Delaney; Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard; Washington Gov. Jay Inslee; Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar; former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke; Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan; and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren — this could be Booker’s biggest chance to distinguish himself from his rivals before what is all but guaranteed to be a punishing primary season.(The rest of the Democratic field — Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, Pete Buttigieg, Biden, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, California Sen. Kamala Harris, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Andrew Yang, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, California Rep. Eric Swalwell and Marianne Williamson — takes the debate stage Thursday night.While Warren is the strongest debate opponent (again, according to polling) Wednesday night, Castro is no slouch, either, which means this will be far from a cakewalk for Booker.As such, here is one possible roadmap the esteemed senator could follow in what is as close to a make-or-break moment as there has been for a candidate in these early stages of the 2020 campaign season. Here are five things Booker should at least consider doing Wednesday night during the first Democratic presidential debate. 4. Galvanize Democrats. Yes, Booker should go all out to show America he’s a candidate whose White House ambitions should be taken seriously. But he should also keep his eyes on the Democrats’ prize, which is to keep Trump from being re-elected. Booker and his fellow Party members running for president must keep in mind that any attack they launch on each other is more than fair game for Trump to use when he debates whichever Democratic becomes the Party’s nominee.5. Go for Trump’s head. The New York Times speculated that Booker may be guilty of being “too nice.” What better place to disprove that rumor than on the national debate stage where he can take aggressive aim at his Democratic rivals as well as the president, whose recent comments about reparations could serve as the perfect ammunition for Booker?The debate starts at 9 p.m. EDT and will be televised live on NBC, MSNBC, and Telemundo.SEE ALSO:Standing By Massa! Ben Carson And Tim Scott Are All Teeth As Trump Lies On ObamaTamir Rice’s Mom Celebrates His Birthday As She Continues Fight Against His Killer SUBSCRIBE The Evolving Relevance Of ‘The Talk’ Memo from @CoryBooker campaign manager @ASDem explains their goals for debate night: Introduce Booker to voters who don’t know him, or only have a vague sense of who he is. pic.twitter.com/jpJtNuS3st— Kevin Robillard (@Robillard) June 25, 20192. Don’t waver. Chances are that Booker’s fellow candidates will try to call him out for recently not ruling out ever meeting with Nation Of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan, who many people have called anti-Semitic. Booker’s comments, which seem to have been taken out of context — “I don’t feel the need to [meet with Farrakhan], but I’m not one of these people that says I wouldn’t sit down with anybody to hear what they have to say” — came in the days after he had some choice words for Biden’s apparent embrace of racist former senators.3. Keep the pressure on Biden. With the former vice president leading the polling pack by double digits, it would probably behoove all candidates to aim for the top. In this case, that could mean Booker keeping Biden’s recent spate of racial missteps as a primary talking point for why voters should consider other candidates. Doing so could spur other candidates on the stage Wednesday night to do the same, a risky move that might hurt Biden but could also further damage the Party as a whole. — Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) June 25, 2019last_img read more

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Ed Buck Accused Of Human Trafficking After Deaths

first_img Also On News One: The lawsuit says Buck “knowingly utilized interstate commerce,” for the purpose of moving the man to Southern California, “for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts.”The lawsuit refers to Gemmel Moore, the 26-year-old found dead in Buck’s home on July 27, 2017. It is alleged by Moore’s mother Latisha Nixon that Buck “injected her son with a lethal dose of crystal methamphetamine,” CNN.com reported. “The complaint describes Buck as a wealthy white man who ‘had a predatory and injurious system of soliciting Black men and watching them cling to life.’ It accuses him of wrongful death, sexual battery and assault and says he was not prosecuted ‘because he is white, and because Mr. Moore was Black.’” Gemmel Moore’s family files suit against Ed Buck and DA. https://t.co/JXyhZFDAdN pic.twitter.com/Rg1JsfzieS— AFROPUNK (@afropunk) February 27, 2019Moore’s death was initially called an accidental methamphetamine overdose. However, the Los Angeles Times reported that Moore wrote in a journal a few months before he died that he was using drugs and “Ed Buck is the one to thank. He gave me my first injection of chrystal [sic] meth.”On July 4 of 2017, 23 days before Moore died, an escort reported Buck to authorities for drugging Black men, but nothing was done. After Moore died, Buck’s apartment was searched. Law enforcement allegedly “found the following items in Buck’s two-bedroom apartment: 24 syringes with brown residue, five glass pipes with white residue and burn marks, a plastic straw with possible white residue, clear plastic bags with white powdery residue and a clear plastic bag with a ‘piece of crystal-like substance.’” Ed Buck , Gemmel Moore , LGBTQ , Timothy Dean A$AP Rocky Being In A Swedish Prison Will Not Stop Her From Going To The Country That Showed Her ‘So Much Love’ 20 Tweets Dragging Roseanne Barr To A White Privilege Hell More By NewsOne Staff In January 2019, Timothy Dean, 55, was found dead in Buck’s home.According to the Daily Beast, a coroner’s report claims Buck told the sheriff’s department that Dean had “bizarre behavior.” In addition, “The witness [Buck] observed him using a piece of clothing to make a noose and tied it around his neck. The witness relays that he removed the ‘noose’ and the decedent then stood up and began throwing clothes up in the air.”Buck claims he went to take a shower and when he returned to Dean he was found unresponsive. “The witness reported that he did not see the decedent taking any drugs and they did not have sex,” according to the report. However, the the coroner’s report also says Dean died on a living room floor on a mattress “littered with drug paraphernalia and sex toys.” Even more disturbing, 64-year-old Buck waited 15 minutes before calling 911.It was reported that Dean died of a methamphetamine overdose.Dean reportedly warned other people to say away from Buck. He claimed Buck had a fetish for men wearing white long johns and once said, “Don’t go in that house because you might never come back.” When the first Black man was found dead in Buck’s home, he allegedly said Buck was the “devil” and that “This might be it for Ed Buck.” Meghan McCain Whines That She Can’t Attack llhan Omar Because Trump Is Too Racist Gov. Cuomo Slams Mayor Bill De Blasio For The Eric Garner Case But He Also Failed The Family Ed Buck is still on the streets after two Black men died in his West Hollywood, California, home within 18 months. Now a wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against him, which accusing the 64-year-old of human trafficking.See Also: Second Black Man Dies In Democratic Donor’s HomeNBC reports a wrongful death lawsuit filed accuses Buck of “violating federal human trafficking laws when he allegedly supplied an airline ticket to a man who flew to Los Angeles from Texas and died inside Buck’s West Hollywood apartment.” #BREAKING 55 y/o Timothy Dean of West Hollywood and a Saks Fifth Avenue employee, has been identified as the man who died in Ed Buck’s apartment on Monday. #RIPTimothyDean pic.twitter.com/028L3OVj6g— Jasmyne Cannick (@Jasmyne) January 10, 2019 Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, who is a Black woman, has declined to charge Buck. The DA’s office also declined to comment on the human trafficking accusation against Buck.SEE ALSO:All The Ways Cops Are Still Trying To Cover Up LaQuan McDonald’s ExecutionOutrageous! Figurines Of White Cherub Crushing Head Of Black Angel Removed From Dollar StoreMeet Jogger Joe, The Man Who Took Racist Cue From BBQ Becky In Tossing Homeless Man’s Clotheslast_img read more

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The Nobel Economist who Predicted the Soviet Economy would Overtake the US

first_imgPaul Samuelson was a renowned economist and author of economic textbooks. He was considered to be one of the foremost minds in the field, and was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1970, and in 1996, the National Medal of Science for his contribution to the field. He wrote Economics: an Introductory Analysis in 1948, a text which was regularly revised and continued to stay in common use, going through 17 editions.In the 1961, seventh edition of his text, Samuelson noted that, at that time, the U.S.S.R. had a gross national product (GNP) which was approximately half that of the U.S. According to Alex Tabarrok, Samuelson projected that, because of higher levels of investment driving faster economic growth, Soviet GNP would outpace that of the United States, perhaps as soon as 1984, but no later than 1997.Paul A. Samuelson, an American economist. He was awarded The Nobel Prize in Economics, in 1970. Photo by Paul_Samuelson CC BY 1.0This didn’t happen, and in later editions of the book Samuelson made the same prediction, but pushed back the projected time frames. By the book’s 1980 edition, Samuelson had pushed the date the Soviet economy would overtake the U.S. back to sometime between 2002 and 2012.During those same decades, Soviet GNP stayed consistently at about half that of America. Samuelson never satisfactorily addressed this issue, attributing the actual data to issues like “bad weather” and not to how he was making his evaluations.Soviet national income 1928–1987 growth in percent based on estimates of the official statistical agency of the Soviet Union, the CIA and revised estimates by Grigorii Khanin. Photo by Volunteer Marek -CC BY-SA 3.0Authors of other economics texts from the same time projected similar findings through multiple revisions as well. This brings us to the question of how is that multiple experts in the field could be so very wrong?In Samuelson’s case, some of his pro-Soviet bias may be, in part, a result of his personal beliefs. He was a fan of socialism, and as he said in the 1989 edition of his hallmark text, “The Soviet economy is proof that, contrary to what many skeptics had earlier believed, a socialist command economy can function and even thrive.”The DniproHES hydro-electric power plant is considered as one of the symbols of Soviet economic power. It was completed in 1932.That can’t be a complete answer to the question, however, as there were other economists and authors whose views were even more leftist, but who made more accurate projections, including Lorie Tarshis and Robert Heilbroner.  Other factors were clearly in play.Michael Hudson says in his article that the field of economics underwent a shift about a century ago, in which it moved away from analysis rooted in the real world, with its many and constantly changing variables, to more “introverted” or theoretical models.Refreshment In The Workplace (1951)Current economic thinkers have been ignoring social conditions and the consequences of how people and systems actually behave. According to Levy and Peart in their article Soviet Growth & American Textbooks, this idea is reinforced by noting that among those economic theorists who made more accurate projections, such as Tarshis, they made use of models which relied on data that was based in the real world (“thick models”), as opposed to relying on more purely theoretical models, as Samuelson did (Levy and Peart).US GNP per capita 1869-1918.Ignoring the empirical in favor of the theoretical can give wildly inaccurate results, such as Samuelson’s assessment of the Soviet economy. Using a flawed model gives a much better explanation for his miscalculations in his comparison of Soviet-U.S. growth rates than “bad weather.”FRED data showing United States real GDP.One of the biggest problems with using flawed models is that it doesn’t just exist in the classroom. Students leave the classroom and go out into the world to teach, or to shape policy, which is often heavily influenced by those theories and methods taught in school. If those theories don’t reflect the real world, neither will policies and practices which come from them.There is a branch of the field called social economics, however, which has been gaining ground. Its primary focus is on the relationship between economics and social behavior, and examines how ethics and behavioral norms affect consumer behavior.Read another story from us: When Forgeries Become Famous: The Shadwell Dock MedallionsAlthough this is still an offshoot branch of the economics discipline, perhaps it will start moving the field back toward a wider and less academic view, to the positive benefit of our economic practices in the future.last_img read more

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Winslow Council allows subdivision development

first_imgWinslow Council allows subdivision development By L. Parsons Based on a recommendation from the Planning and Zoning Commission, the Winslow City Council approved an ordinance allowing a minor residential subdivision west of Hipkoe Drive and North of Interstate 40. TheSubscribe or log in to read the rest of this content. Bottom Ad January 20, 2018last_img

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Russia Fake News and Facebook 247 Manipulation

first_imgHillary Clinton last week foolishly connected Verrit to Snopes. I’m getting a tad tired of both extremes in politics ignoring the truth and pretending only the other side is made up of idiots.Yes, there is a serious problem with our president, who doesn’t seem to be able to read anything. On the other hand, referring to Verrit as kind of the liberal Snopes is stupid. Most fact-checking sites are perceived to be liberal because, let’s face it, conservatives often have issues with facts.However, we tend to forget that this behavior isn’t just tied to conservatives. People generally don’t like to hear opinions — or facts — that contradict their beliefs. Currently the right seems to be having most of the free speech rallies, and the left is trying to shut them down. Apparently neither side sees the deep irony in this.Since Clinton’s announcement, Verrit, which apparently wasn’t able to handle the massive load resulting from the endorsement (it crashed), has been found wanting by real news organizations like The Washington Post.The folks mocking the site most aggressively are the extremely conservative (joking) Bernie Sanders supporters whom Verrit accused of putting Trump in the White House. (By the way, my view on what put Trump in the White house is that it was a bunch of political game players who cheated badly on both sides.) Back when the Internet first came to be, there was the typical set of blue sky and lollipop predictions that the result would be more facts, less censorship, more intelligent discourse and less successful manipulation.Being able to converse with each other would lead people to be more honest, and our world increasingly would resemble a utopian ideal of peace and prosperity. Now, decades later, “fake news” has proliferated, censorship is growing stronger, and rather than having politicians who can’t handle the truth, we seem to have politicians who have no idea what the truth is.In fact, instead of becoming more literate, we seem to be regressing. Last week, we discovered that Russia allegedly paid US$100K for ads to piss us off; we saw the emergence of Verrit, a biased news service that Hillary Clinton thinks is a better Snopes; and the rumor spread that Hurricane Irma was a category 6, even though the highest classification for a Hurricane is 5.Oh, and as bad as Trump has been with responding to Harvey and Irma, some folks think Obama was worse with Katrina — even though he wasn’t yet president. Katrina hit on George W. Bush’s watch.I’ll focus on the problems associated with citizens being manipulated by fake news and then close with my product of the week: Varonis which, given the Uber Consent Decree, most firms should have on their short list now. Last week, in connection with investigating the source of Fake News on its network, Facebook discovered a Russian connection. About $100K was spent, not to elect either candidate, but to ferment internal conflict.Now we seem to be acting like this is the limit of Russia’s expenditure, even though the level of infighting in the U.S. is unprecedented, suggesting this expense and effort might just be the tip of the iceberg.Even a relatively minor marketing campaign by a U.S. company typically runs in the millions, and though they are rare, there are even $100M campaigns. So why would we assume that a state player like Russia would spend just $100K? It is likely only the tip of the iceberg on Facebook, and why wouldn’t we be looking for where else Russia spent its money? I’d bet on lobbyists.In any case, whoever put the program together should get a raise, because we sure are pissed off at each other. You’d think the government at least would point out that much of our anger might have resulted from the full extent of Russia’s efforst at manipulation. Maybe it is spending too much time on Verrit… Verrit: The Left Is as Delusional as the Right Facebook and Russia Our key difficulty is that we seem so locked into having our argument dominate that we lose track of what is right and wrong, or what is important and what isn’t. Whether people have flood insurance during a hurricane is important; what the first lady has on her feet isn’t, for instance.We care more about blame than we care about fixing problems. We’ll support a politician we like, even one who does something stupid (like blocking the U.S. missile defense program), and we’ll criticize a politician we don’t like, even one who does something that helps us out, like responding quickly to a disaster.All of this generally falls into a bucket called “confirmation bias,” but we also could call it “programmatic stupidity,” because we intentionally are leaving out information that could help us make better decisions.We likely were always way too easily manipulated — but with technology, manipulation has gotten much easier. Perhaps we should resist more, because if the world ends, there really won’t be anyone left to blame.We must start realizing that we are being manipulated aggressively by both foreign and domestic actors who are betting we are too stupid to look things up. We must get smarter before we find we lose what we value, and our freedom becomes a distant memory. Put differently, the Internet is the new boob tube. The sooner we realize that, the smarter we’ll likely become. center_img Wrapping Up: There Is No Monopoly on Stupid One of the interesting things that happened last month was the FTC’s decision to impose a $20M fine on Uber for creating what was effectively a BS level of protection on customer data.You see, after Uber was called out in 2014 for bad practices, it wrote a new policy but basically did little else. The result was not only that the FTC got pissed, but also that it hit Uber with that huge fine and mandated that it get its act together. Your kids likely protect their homework better than Uber was protecting customer information.A big part of the problem was that virtually everyone had access to everything, and that isn’t an uncommon problem in many companies. However, with this FTC ruling we now have a precedent that means other firms will be held to the same standard.Varonis is a product designed to manage and monitor data access. It is designed to prevent the exact thing that seemed to enrage the FTC and result in this huge fine. Customers trust us with their data; if we lose that data, we are likely to lose them as customers — and customer data breaches tend to be career enders.Varonis makes sure that only authorized folks have access to data. It reports variances so that breaches can be detected and stopped in a timely way, and when there is a breach, it helps identify the related causes.We need to ensure the accuracy of our data, but we also need to focus more on protecting that data. That is exactly what Varonis does, so it is my product of the week. 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 undergrad degrees in merchandising and manpower management, and 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. He formerly served as a senior research fellow at Giga Information Group and Forrester. Email Rob.last_img read more

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Battle royale of oral pathogen helps explain how dangerous bacteria persist in

first_img Source:https://www.forsyth.org/news/battle-royale-oral-bacteria-hospital-infections Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Apr 9 2019Hundreds of different bacterial species are living inside your mouth. Some are highly abundant, while others are scarce. A few of these oral bacteria are known pathogens. Others are benign, or even beneficial.Scientists know the genetic makeup of about 70 percent of oral bacteria. What they don’t know is which species would live the longest without nutrients in a “battle royale”–so they decided to find out. The results help explain how certain dangerous bacteria are able to persist in a sterile hospital environment and infect patients.In a paper publishing later this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, researchers from the Forsyth Institute, the J. Craig Venter Institute, the University of Washington, and the University of California, Los Angeles, describe their discovery that three closely related species of bacteria belonging to the family Enterobacteriaceae outlived all other oral bacteria in long-term starvation or “doomsday” experiment.”A number of species from that family are known to cause infections in hospitals,” said Dr. Xuesong He, an Associate Member of Staff at the Forsyth Institute and co-author of the study.To create a battle of bacteria, researchers placed hundreds of samples of oral bacteria from human saliva into test tubes. The bacteria, which are accustomed to living in the nutrient-rich mouth, were starved in their new environment. Each day, scientists checked the samples to see which bacteria were still alive.Nearly every bacterial species died within the first couple of days. But three species–Klebsiella pneumoniae, Klebsiella oxytoca, and Providencia alcalifaciens–survived the longest, with Klebsiella pneumoniae and Klebsiella oxytoca surviving for more than 100 days.Researchers were surprised to find that Klebsiella were among the champions of this bacterial combat. In their natural environment of the oral cavity, Klebsiella are considered an underdog. They account for only about .1 percent of all microbes in the mouth. But in an extreme environment deprived of all nutrients, Klebsiella reigned supreme while the bugs normally found in high abundance rapidly died off.How did Klebsiella pull off such a feat? To answer this question, scientists analyzed the genome of the bacteria on the first day of “battle” and then again on day 100.”When we look at the genome content, it turns out that these Enterobacteriaceae species have larger genomes than other oral bacteria, giving them the capacity to tap into more diverse energy sources,” said Dr. He. The researchers found that the Klebsiella had undergone genetic mutations that may have allowed them to survive and continue to function, even without a food source.Related StoriesHome-based support network helps stroke patients adjust after hospital dischargeStructure of bacteria responsible for traveler’s diarrhea decipheredBacteria in the birth canal linked to lower risk of ovarian cancerScientists describe Klebsiella species as opportunistic pathogens. In healthy people, they live in the mouth peacefully, crowded by other microbes and unable to grow or cause trouble. But outside the mouth, where few other bacteria survive, Klebsiella is king. They persist on hospital surfaces, like sinks or tables. If a patient with a compromised immune system makes contact with Klebsiella, that patient could develop an infection.”Oral fluids like saliva are a rich source of bacteria and viruses. We want to understand how pathogens, that are typically rare, can become dominant and then also persist for long periods outside the body to be later transmitted,” explains co-author Dr. Jeff McLean, a Professor at the University of Washington.Infections by Klebsiella can result in a number of dangerous conditions including pneumonia and meningitis. One of the reasons Klebsiella infections are so dangerous is that Klebsiella are particularly adept at developing resistance to antibiotics, as well as transferring this drug resistance to neighboring bacteria.”The finding that these Klebsiella species survive longer than their more benign neighbors in mixtures of saliva is likely to have a great deal of clinical significance, as multiple virulent outbreaks of antibiotic-resistant Klebsiella have been traced back to hospital sinks and drains,” said Dr. Jonathon L. Baker, Ph.D. Baker is the Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Fellow in the Department of Genomic Medicine at the J. Craig Venter Institute and lead author of the study.This research also helps illuminate a key ecological dynamic of bacterial communities.”From a big picture point of view, this is a huge step forward towards understanding microbial social structure and ecology,” said Dr. Wenyuan Shi, CEO and Chief Scientific Officer at the Forsyth Institute. “This study begins to address a fundamental question in biology–how, evolutionarily, was a microbial community built, and what takes place as the community dies?”last_img read more

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IMI launches new project that focuses on development of new biomarkers

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Apr 15 2019The University of Zurich coordinates a worldwide research project that focuses on the development of new biomarkers. The biomarkers are expected to improve safety of new drugs and to contribute to better diagnosis and management of acute and chronic diseases. The project is funded by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI). The Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) today announced the launch of the Translational Safety Biomarker Pipeline (TransBioLine) Project, a five-year program to generate exploratory and confirmatory data supporting regulatory qualification and acceptance of novel safety biomarkers for five target organ systems (kidney, liver, pancreas, vascular, and central nervous system) for application in drug development.Related StoriesNew prostate cancer test could bring an end to unnecessary biopsiesAMSBIO offers new, best-in-class CAR-T cell range for research and immunotherapyArtificial DNA can help release active ingredients from drugs in sequenceThe TransBioLine Project is a consortium of 27 partners across pharmaceutical companies, small and medium-sized enterprises, and academic institutions from 10 European countries, and is coordinated by the University of Zurich with Pfizer Inc. as the industry lead. It is funded by the IMI Joint Undertaking as a public-private partnership, with a budget of 28M€ and will be active through 2024.”One of the major gaps in drug development is the lack of qualified safety biomarkers with acceptable precision and accuracy for safety monitoring during clinical development,” said Shashi Ramaiah, Executive Director, Pfizer Drug Safety Research & Development and TransBioLine Lead Scientist. “The TransBioLine Project provides a unique opportunity to access a large expert and knowledge network, including data and samples from clinical trials, to enable the global safety qualification of identified novel biomarkers. Implementing qualified safety biomarkers in early clinical trials will mitigate safety attrition of promising drug candidates and advance projects to clinics through higher-quality and better-informed decision making.”Michael Merz, Consortium Coordinator, University of Zurich, said, “This is one of the largest public-private partnerships of European and American scientists that focuses on the development and regulatory qualification of new safety biomarkers. These include indicators of tissue damage like liquid biopsy, biomarkers that could facilitate patient stratification, and standardized tests for detection of these biomarkers. These new markers are ultimately expected to not only improve safety of new and approved drugs, but also to contribute to better diagnosis and management of acute and chronic diseases. It is really exciting to see years of enthusiastic preparation translating into this project going forward now.”When the project ends in 2024, the consortium will have established an infrastructure and processes to continue biomarker research across a comprehensive network of industry, academic institutions, and small and medium-sized enterprises, and it will be able to provide the scientific community, industry and patients with detailed data and information across a large spectrum of advanced safety biomarkers. Source:https://www.media.uzh.ch/en/Press-Releases/2019/Biomarker.htmllast_img read more

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Naturally occurring human antibody reveals hidden weakness in influenza virus

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)May 17 2019The ever-changing “head” of an influenza virus protein has an unexpected Achilles heel, report scientists funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), one of the National Institutes of Health. The team discovered and characterized the structure of a naturally occurring human antibody that recognizes and disrupts a portion of the hemagglutinin (HA) protein that the virus uses to enter and infect cells. The investigators determined that the antibody, FluA-20, binds tightly to an area on the globular head of the HA protein that is only very briefly accessible to antibody attack. The site was not expected to be vulnerable to such a strike.James E. Crowe, Jr., M.D., of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, and Ian A. Wilson, D. Phil., of The Scripps Research Institute, San Diego, California, led the team. They isolated FluA-20 antibody from a person who had received many influenza immunizations. In a series of experiments, they showed that FluA-20 can “reach into” an otherwise inaccessible part of the three-part HA trimer molecule and cause it to fall apart, thus preventing the spread of virus from cell to cell. This discovery came as a surprise because this region of trimeric HA was thought to be stable and inaccessible to antibodies. Moreover, this region–unlike the rest of HA’s head–varies little from strain to strain. In theory, antibody-based therapeutics directed at that precise region would be effective against many strains of influenza A virus. Similarly, vaccines designed to elicit antibodies against this target might provide long-lasting protection against any influenza strain, potentially eliminating the need for annual seasonal influenza vaccination.Related StoriesNewly discovered antibody broadly inhibits multiple strains of pandemic norovirusResearchers succeed in conquering chronic infection with hepatitis B virusVirus employs powerful strategy to inhibit natural killer cell functionIn mouse studies, FluA-20 prevented infection or illness when the animals were exposed to four different influenza A viral subtypes that cause disease in humans. Two viruses used in the experiments, H1N1 and H5N1, are Group 1 influenza subtypes, while the two others, H3N2 and H7N9, are members of Group 2. Current influenza vaccines must contain viral components from both subtypes to elicit matching antibodies. A single vaccine able to generate potent antibodies against members of both groups could provide broad multi-year protection against influenza.Source:NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious DiseasesJournal reference:Wilson, I.A. et al. (2019) A Site of Vulnerability on the Influenza Virus Hemagglutinin Head Domain Trimer Interface. Cell. doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2019.04.011.last_img read more

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Sham sharing ministries test faith of patients and insurance regulators

first_img 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 Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)May 17 2019Sheri Lewis, 59, of Seattle, needed a hip transplant. Bradley Fuller, 63, of nearby Kirkland, needed chemotherapy and radiation when the pain in his jaw turned out to be throat cancer. And Kim Bruzas, 55, of Waitsburg, hundreds of miles away, needed emergency care to stop sudden —and severe — rectal bleeding.Each of these Washington state residents required medical treatment during the past few years, and each thought they had purchased health insurance through an online site.But when it was time to pay the bills, they learned that the products they bought through Aliera Healthcare Inc. weren’t insurance at all — and that the cost of their care wasn’t covered.Lewis and the others had enrolled in what Aliera officials claimed was a health care sharing ministry (HCSM) — faith-based co-ops in which members agree to pay one another’s medical bills.But Washington insurance officials this week said the firm doesn’t meet the definition of a sharing ministry and described Aliera’s products as a “sham” aimed at misleading consumers. Other states, including Texas and New Hampshire, are poised to take similar action.Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler on Monday ordered Aliera, which operates Trinity Healthshare Inc., both of Delaware, to halt operations in Washington, alleging the firm was selling health insurance illegally and engaging in deceptive business practices.Aliera falsely represented itself as a sharing ministry, which would be exempt from insurance regulations, an investigation found. Though he wouldn’t name them, Kreidler said he’s investigating two additional firms over similar concerns.”They don’t have the direct affiliation with a particular religious group, a church, a pastor,” Kreidler said. “These appear to be ones that come in with an opportunity here to make money.”In a statement, Aliera officials disputed Kreidler’s conclusions. The company has 90 days to request a hearing.”Aliera has never misled consumer and sales agents about its health plans,” the statement said. “For example, our website, marketing materials and other communications clearly state that Trinity’s health sharing products are not insurance. Most importantly, they have never been represented as insurance.”The Washington order followed complaints from nearly two dozen people, including Lewis, a dance teacher who was told her planned hip surgery wouldn’t be covered.Across the U.S., several state insurance regulators report similar concerns.Texas insurance officials have scheduled a hearing to consider a similar order against Aliera, which has 100,000 members nationwide and reported revenue of $180 million in 2018, documents showed.New Hampshire insurance officials on Tuesday warned consumers about Aliera, saying they were concerned about “potential fraudulent or criminal activity.” Officials in at least five other states told Kaiser Health News they are reviewing firms operating as “illegitimate” health care sharing ministries.Aliera is operated by Shelley Steele of Marietta, Ga., and her husband, Timothy Moses, who was convicted in 2006 of federal securities fraud and perjury. He was sentenced to 6½ years in prison and ordered to repay more than $1 million to victims.Nationwide, nearly 1 million people are enrolled in more than 100 sharing ministries in at least 29 states, according to the Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries. But that’s just an estimate, said James Lansberry, executive vice president of Samaritan Ministries International of Peoria, Ill. No comprehensive data is available.”We try to track what’s going on out there,” Lansberry said. “Anyone claiming to be a health care sharing ministry could spill over onto our reputation.”Samaritan is among what have been the three top players in the sharing ministries field. The oldest, founded in 1993, is the Medi-Share program of Melbourne, Fla., operated by Christian Care Ministry. The third is Christian Healthcare Ministries of Barberton, Ohio. All are explicitly religious and emphasize faith as the basis for members to share medical burdens.Those groups originally were certified by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and required to meet specific criteria. Consumers who enrolled were shielded from the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate that required they show proof of insurance or pay a fine.But CMS no longer certifies HCSMs and, since Congress zeroed out the mandate’s penalty in 2017, a new crop of companies, including Aliera, has sprung up. That worries some of the traditional ministries.”HCSMs must operate with integrity, transparency, full compliance with the law, and enforcement of the law,” officials with Medi-Share, which has 415,000 members nationwide, said in a statement. “Anything outside of that violates the true spirit of the HCSM community.”Related StoriesBariatric surgery should be offered to all patients who would benefitStudy reveals link between inflammatory diet and colorectal cancer riskNew protein target for deadly ovarian cancerWashington investigators found that Aliera’s marketing materials rarely mention religious or ethical motivations, and they don’t meet government requirements.Many of these entities mimic the marketing, structure and language of ACA-compliant health insurance plans — but offer none of the protections, said JoAnn Volk and Justin Giovannelli, researchers at the Georgetown University Center on Health Insurance Reforms, who wrote about the issue last summer.”The way they advertise and the services they are providing, it sounds a heck of a lot like health insurance,” Giovannelli said. “They’re letting folks believe they have a product that has a promise to pay.”That’s exactly what Lewis thought.”It looked like Aliera was health insurance to me,” she said.When Aliera denied her surgery, she had to resort to a GoFundMe site organized by friends to raise nearly $13,000 and then travel to Tijuana, Mexico, to get a hip transplant she could afford.Fuller, who was diagnosed with throat cancer, said he was stuck with $81,000 in bills for his first month of treatment.”They started checking my insurance and it didn’t cover nothing,” said the retired commercial electrician.Fuller, his voice still raspy after radiation, said he had insurance through his union for years, but when the premiums spiked, he went online to find something else.The person he talked to from Aliera said he could get insurance, no problem, Fuller said. The premium would be $350 a month, rather than the $1,300 fee for a gold plan on the state insurance exchange. “And that was with dental, too,” he added.Low premiums also attracted Bruzas, who left her well-paid government job in Tacoma, and the insurance it provided, after her husband died in 2015. She moved to a small town in southeastern Washington to care for her parents and went online to find health insurance.”I just sat down and Googled ‘Obamacare,'” she said. “I got a call back from a lady who said she could help me find coverage.” Bruzas was charged $219 for the first month.Four days later, she was in the local emergency room with massive rectal bleeding. As she was discharged, hospital officials said they had “never heard of Aliera Healthcare,” she said.The $10,000 bill was not covered. Bruzas, who works part time at a hardware store, filed for charity care and the debt was reduced to $6,500. She is paying it off slowly, $50 each month.The Washington patients recalled mentions of “sharing” and vague references to spirituality. But none realized they were signing up for a religious cost-sharing ministry, they said.”I would have hung up the phone if she would have said, ‘We’re a group, and we’ll review your records and pray for you,'” Bruzas said.Aliera officials said they make the nature of their products clear.”Aliera disagrees that Trinity’s inclusive and specific statement of beliefs misleads consumers or violates the applicable regulations governing healthcare sharing ministries,” the statement said.It’s not clear how states can curb the new sharing ministries. If Aliera ignores his order, Kreidler said, he’ll seek a court injunction to force the groups to cease operations. But several states contacted by KHN said that because the ministries are not health insurance, state insurance officials don’t review or regulate them.Some users of sharing ministries say the lower-priced products should be available for consumers who understand and accept the risks involved.But consumers need to pay close attention to details when they sign up for any health plans, said Colorado Insurance Commissioner Michael Conway, who is investigating sharing ministries operating in his state.”Ask if it’s actually insurance,” he advised. “Ask if there’s a guarantee of coverage. Get into the policy documents. Read the contract they’re agreeing to.”last_img read more

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Study EHRs may not capture the most accurate information about ophthalmic medications

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jun 20 2019When it comes to keeping track of prescribed medications between clinic visits, many patients rely on printed medication lists automatically generated from electronic health records (EHRs).An examination of the EHRs of a cohort of ophthalmology patients revealed that one-third had at least one discrepancy between the medications discussed in the clinician’s notes and those on the medication list.These findings raise concerns about patient safety and continuity of care.The study, published in JAMA Ophthalmology, was conducted by investigators at the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center. The team examined medication-related information contained in the EHRs of patients treated for microbial keratitis between July 2015 and August. Corneal infection is an important disease condition to study ophthalmic medication lists because the medications change rapidly.”Cornea specialist Maria Woodward, M.S., M.D., assistant professor of ophthalmology and the study’s lead author Often, many medications are used, some requiring compounding, making telephone orders to specialty pharmacies common.”Because of the multiple clinic visits and frequent medication changes,” Woodward says, “it is imperative to have strong verbal and written communication between providers and patients who are battling corneal infections.”In a typical appointment, a provider verbally communicates medication instructions to the patient. At the same time, notes from that discussion are typed into an unstructured or “free text” section of the patient’s EHR by either the doctor, a technician or a medical scribe.The patient then receives a medication list generated from the EHR as part of a printed after-visit summary.”That summary should confirm how the provider intends medications to be used,” says Woodward, also a health services researcher at the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation.The team found that one-third of patients had at least one medication mismatch in their records.Related Stories’Eye-in-a-dish’ model helps scientists to uncover ‘surprising’ AMD gene variantAmerican Academy of Ophthalmology shares tips for staying safe around fireworksStudy reveals a revolutionary way to treat eye injuries, prevent blindnessWhile this is the first study focused on ophthalmic medications, the results are consistent with studies of medications used in other medical specialties.”This level of inconsistency is a red flag,” Woodward says. “Patients who rely on the after-visit summary may be at risk for avoidable medication errors that may affect their healing or experience medication toxicity.”Identifying the root causeThe switch to the EHR has led to many improvements in patient care. But as this study shows, it’s not a perfect tool for the provider or the patient.In a typical clinic visit, a prescription entered into the EHR triggers both an order to the patient’s pharmacy and an update to the medication list.But several scenarios can result in mismatches between the clinical notes and the medication list.”Issues arise when a medication is started by an outside provider and continued at the new hospital and when patients require compounded medications that must be telephoned in to a pharmacist in the evening,” Woodward says.These scenarios expose a shortcoming of the EHR: Data about medications (and other information) is captured in multiple formats in multiple locations.”The only way to ensure that the medication list is completely accurate is to double-document. The same information must be entered into the clinician’s note and the formal medication list — two separate places,” Woodward says.”In a busy clinical setting, our top priority is communicating directly with the patient and answering their questions,” she says. “We’re focused on clarifying the treatment plan and addressing concerns, so duplicating note taking does not rise to our primary mission.”To improve both the reliability of medication information patients depend on and the accuracy of data used for research, Woodward’s study team recommends that EHR developers create software solutions to ease the burden of clinical documentation and make it easier to reconcile medication names and dosages. Source:Michigan Medicine – University of MichiganJournal reference:Woodward, M.A. et al. (2019) Medication Accuracy in Electronic Health Records for Microbial Keratitis. JAMA Ophthalmology. doi.org/10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2019.1444.last_img read more

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