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First Edition March 11 2014

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first_img This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Today’s headlines include reports that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is stepping back from proposed changes to the Medicare drug program.  Kaiser Health News: Insuring Your Health: Window Is Closing To Sign Up Or Seek Changes To Obamacare PlansKaiser Health News consumer columnist Michelle Andrews writes: “People who got off to a rough start with Obamacare or have yet to pick a plan still have options— but only if they move quickly before the open enrollment period ends on March 31. Those who were unable to sign up for a marketplace plan because of the glitches with federal or state websites can receive retroactive coverage to the date they originally applied, as well as retroactive premium tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies, the federal government announced in late February” (Andrews, 3/11). Read the column.Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Medicare Officials Back Away From Changes To Rx Plan; Missouri Pulls Out Stops, But Lags Better-Funded Illinois Effort; Business Groups Split On Medicaid ExpansionNow on Kaiser Health News’ blog, Mary Agnes Carey reports on the latest news regarding proposed changes to the Medicare drug program: “Facing heavy bipartisan opposition on Capitol Hill as well as from patient groups, businesses, insurers and others, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said Monday it did not plan to move ahead ‘at this time’ with several proposed changes to the Medicare prescription drug program” (Carey, 3/10). In addition, Phil Galewitz reports on the different business community views on Medicaid expansion: “With several states weighing whether to expand Medicaid under the federal health law, supporters are looking to powerful business groups to help sway skeptical state legislators. But those groups are split on the issue — just like the public at large” (Galewitz, 3/10). Also on Capsules, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Tara Kulash reports on enrollment efforts in Missouri: “Cover Missouri — a coalition of 400 organizations led by the Missouri Foundation for Health — has 130 enrollment events statewide this month. The St. Louis Effort for Aids, for example, planned the Rock Enroll event last Saturday” (Kulash, 3/10). Check out what else is on the blog.The New York Times: White House Withdraws Plan Allowing Limits To Medicare Coverage For Some DrugsUnder pressure from patients, pharmaceutical companies and members of Congress from both parties, the Obama administration on Monday withdrew a proposal that would have allowed insurers to limit Medicare coverage for certain classes of drugs, including those used to treat depression and schizophrenia (Pear, 3/10).The Wall Street Journal: Proposed Medicare Part D Drug Changes Are ScrappedIn January, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposed broad changes to the Medicare Part D prescription-drug program that covers medicines for about 39 million beneficiaries. Among the most contentious proposals was one to end the practice of covering essentially any type of antidepressant, antipsychotic or immunosuppressant prescription drug for consumers in the program. Medicare had said the plan was meant to save taxpayers money and simplify the program for seniors (Corbett Dooren, 3/10).The Associated Press/Washington Post Administration Drops Proposed Medicare ChangesThe Obama administration says it’s pulling the plug on proposed changes to the Medicare prescription program that ran into strong opposition on Capitol Hill. Among other changes, the regulation proposed to remove three classes of drugs from a special protected list that guarantees seniors access to a wide selection of critical medications (3/10).Politico: Medicare Drug Changes Put On Hold After CriticismCMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner wrote in a letter to Congress Monday that she was shelving changes proposed in January that could have loosened the requirements that Medicare Part D insurance plans cover a broad range of drugs in six “protected classes” of medications. The changes also would have limited the number of drug plans that were available (Norman, 3/10).USA Today: Law, Healthier Beneficiaries Helping Trim Medicare CostsHealth care spending per Medicare recipient will slow in the future, because of lower payments to doctors, fewer services per beneficiary and a lower average age of beneficiary, according to a February monthly budget review by the Congressional Budget Office. “Under current law, spending per person in Medicare will increase much more slowly during the next decade than it has during the past few decades,” CBO states in the review (Kennedy, 3/10).NPR: As Health Law Takes Hold, Rate Of Uninsured FallsSince the Affordable Care Act kicked in fully, the percentage of Americans without health coverage has fallen to its lowest point in five years. In the last quarter of 2013, just before the federal health law took full effect, 17.1 percent of Americans reported they lacked health insurance, according to a Gallup survey (Rovner, 2/10).Los Angeles Times: Obamacare Meeting Goal Of Reducing Number Of Uninsured, Data IndicateEvidence has begun to resolve one of the odder controversies surrounding Obamacare: The new law appears to be achieving its top goal of reducing the number of Americans who lack health insurance. The dispute over that question is a strange one because the answer would seem to be fairly obvious: Under the Affordable Care Act, the government will spend hundreds of millions of dollars to subsidize families who decide to buy insurance, a product that the vast majority of Americans value highly. Basic economics would seem to say that those subsidies would have to increase the number of people buying insurance (Lauter, 3/10).The Associated Press/Washington Post: Health Law Cited As US Uninsured Rate DropsThe share of Americans without health insurance is dropping to the lowest levels since President Barack Obama took office, but sign-ups under his health care law lag among Hispanics — a big pool of potential beneficiaries. With just three weeks left to enroll on the new insurance exchanges, the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, finds that 15.9 percent of U.S. adults are uninsured thus far in 2014, down from 17.1 percent for the last three months — or calendar quarter— of 2013 (3/10).The Wall Street Journal’s Health Bog: Healthcare.gov Explorer: Decode The Health Law’s SubsidiesWith just over three weeks left to choose new coverage in the health law marketplaces, deciphering the complex system of subsidies remains a key challenge for many would-be insurance customers (Weaver, 3/10).The Washington Post: HHS Inspector General To Review Md. Health Exchange After Congressman Requests ProbeThe inspector general for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services plans to review Maryland’s troubled online health insurance marketplace, according to a Republican congressman who called for an investigation into the tens of millions of dollars the state spent on the system, which has been marred with technical glitches and might soon be replaced or abandoned (Johnson, 3/10).The Associated Press/Washington Post: Lawmaker: Feds To Review Maryland Health ExchangeThe inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has agreed to review Maryland’s troubled health care exchange, a congressman said Monday. Rep. Andy Harris, the state’s only Republican congressman, said he has confidence that the nonpartisan and independent inspector general, who has subpoena power, will thoroughly investigate problems that have plagued the exchange since it opened in October (3/10).Politico: Feds To Investigate Flawed Maryland Obamacare ExchangeThe HHS Office of the Inspector General is launching an investigation into Maryland’s troubled health insurance exchange, the latest target of expanding federal oversight of poorly performing Obamacare exchanges. As requested by Rep. Andy Harris, a Maryland Republican and foe of the Affordable Care Act, investigators will look at the procedures state officials followed in contracting with the tech companies behind the site’s botched development and at troubles with Medicaid enrollment that are expected to significantly drive up costs (Norman, 3/10).The Associated Press/Wall Street Journal: NY Health Exchange Reports 591,000 EnrolleesThe state’s new health exchange reports more than 908,000 New Yorkers have completed applications for insurance while more than 591,000 of them have now enrolled for specific coverage (3/11).Los Angeles Times: Survey: Kaiser Leads In Customer Satisfaction, Blue Shield Ranks LastFor the seventh consecutive year, Kaiser Permanente ranked highest in customer satisfaction for health insurance among California policyholders, according to ratings firm J.D. Power & Associates. But two other major rivals — Blue Shield of California and Anthem Blue Cross — scored the lowest on member satisfaction among seven California health plans (Terhune, 3/10).The New York Times: Obama’s New Approach Takes A Humorous TurnAides said Mr. Obama’s immediate reason for subjecting himself to Mr. Galifianakis is to urge young people to sign up for health insurance on the government’s website, healthcare.gov. As a March 31 deadline for enrolling for 2014 approaches, the White House is making one final push to try to increase the numbers (Shear, 3/10).The Associated Press/Washington Post: Senate Democrats Aim Ire At Rich, Obscure BrothersDemocratic Senate candidates, facing withering criticism on the national health care law, are gambling they can turn voters against two billionaire brothers funding the attacks — even if few Americans would recognize the pair on the street. In an accelerating counteroffensive stretching from the Senate chamber to Alaska, Democrats are denouncing Charles and David Koch, the key figures behind millions of dollars in conservative TV ads hammering Democratic candidates and their ties to President Barack Obama (3/10).The Washington Post’s The Fact Checker: Update: Julie Boonstra’s Claim Her Obamacare Plan Is ‘Unaffordable’ Gets Downgraded To Three PinocchiosThe problem with the original ad was two-fold. First, Boonstra, a cancer patient, suggested she had lost her “wonderful doctor” when in fact she could keep that doctor in the new plan. Second, her premiums were cut in half, from $1,100 a month to $571, and the savings were slightly more than the out-of-pocket costs permitted under the health care law. So it seemed highly suspicious that the costs were “unaffordable” (Kessler, 3/11).The New York Times: Patentholder On Breast Cancer Tests Denied Injunction In LawsuitMyriad Genetics, which lost a closely watched Supreme Court case last year involving the patenting of genes, has suffered another setback in its efforts to protect its main genetic test from competition (Pollack, 3/10).Politico: Joe Manchin Backs West Virginia Abortion Bill West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin is “supportive” of a West Virginia bill banning abortions after 20 weeks and is considering backing a similar federal ban in the Senate. “I am pro-life and supportive of the principles in the bill that was just passed in the West Virginia Legislature,” Manchin said in a statement (Everett, 3/10).Check out all of Kaiser Health News’ e-mail options including First Edition and Breaking News alerts on our Subscriptions page. First Edition: March 11, 2014last_img read more

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Expected Rule Would Make It Easier For Doctors Insurers To Deny Care

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first_imgExpected Rule Would Make It Easier For Doctors, Insurers To Deny Care Or Coverage For Transgender Patients The Trump administration rule, which may come as soon as next week, could weaken or eliminate an anti-discrimination provision enshrined in the health law. The provision says patients cannot be turned away because they are transgender, nor can they be denied coverage if they need a service that’s related to their transgender status. Meanwhile, a new study suggests that transgender adults have a higher risk of poor health than those who are cisgender. The Trump administration appears ready to roll back health care protections for transgender people, and advocates are gearing up for a fight. A proposed rule from the Department of Health and Human Services that’s expected in the coming days would make it easier for doctors, hospitals and insurance companies to deny care or coverage to transgender patients, as well as women who have had abortions. (Weixel, 4/23) The Hill: Trump Poised To Roll Back Transgender Health Protections  Reuters: Transgender U.S. Adults Have Higher Risk Of Poor Health center_img Transgender adults may be more likely to have unhealthy habits and medical issues that negatively impact their quality of life than people whose gender identity matches what it says on their birth certificates, a U.S. study suggests. Researchers examined survey data from 3,075 transgender adults as well as 719,567 adults who are cisgender, meaning their gender identity matches the sex they were assigned at birth. (4/22) This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.last_img read more

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A huge Disney Frozen star is making storytime exciting again with the

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first_imgFrozen star Kristen Bell is giving tips on how to make story time a performance with the help of Google Home Mini’s fun storytelling features. The actress has teamed up with Google to show off storytelling features for Google Home Mini. The feature was introduced in the US last October but Google are now offering a deal that includes a Google Home Mini and three Little Golden Books to read along with.Related: Best smart home devices – how to build a smart homeTo perform alongside your Google Home Mini all you need to do is pick up The Lion King, Aladdin or Frozen and say “Hey Google, let’s read along with Disney”.Your Google home will listen as you read aloud and chime in with music and sound effects to bring the magic of the story to life. It even knows when you skip ahead or reread a passage from the book so it always plays the right sound effect at the right time.Google will disable commands, searches and answers while you read so you can be sure that your Google Home is listening even when your kids might not be.Related: Google Home vs Amazon Echo: Which is the best smart speaker?If you pause the story for any reason, your Google Home will play ambient music to keep that magical Disney vibe going until you’re ready to continue. If Google detects the end of the book or you say the words “Hey Google, stop”, the mic will turn off and your Google Home will exit story mode. The same thing will happen if you take a break for more than a minute but you can always get right back into the story by saying “Hey Google, resume read along” within five minutes of pausing.If your kids would rather do story time without you, you can also give them access to the Assistant through Family Link. This allows you to create a Google account for someone under 13 and link it to your Google Home. There’s plenty to do once they have their own account including a bunch of other Disney games sure to keep the little ones entertained for hours.Read our review of the Google Home MiniIf you’re in the US, you can pick up the Google Home mini and three Little Golden Books for only $49 at Walmart. Sign up for the Mobile NewsletterSign Up Please keep me up to date with special offers and news from Goodtoknow and other brands operated by TI Media Limited via email. You can unsubscribe at any time. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. We’d also like to send you special offers and news just by email from other carefully selected companies we think you might like. Your personal details will not be shared with those companies – we send the emails and you can unsubscribe at any time. Please tick here if you are happy to receive these messages.By submitting your information, you agree to the Terms & Conditions and Privacy & Cookies Policy. Show More Unlike other sites, we thoroughly review everything we recommend, using industry standard tests to evaluate products. We’ll always tell you what we find. We may get a commission if you buy via our price links.Tell us what you think – email the Editorlast_img read more

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How I Give A Tesla Model 3 Test Ride As Often As

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first_imgFor this week’s article, I’m going to update an article I published about 3 months ago on giving rides in your Tesla. I’ve been an EV owner for over 7 years (6½ years as a Leaf owner and 6 months as a Tesla Model 3 owner) and have been offering rides in my EV the whole 7 yearsSource: CleanTechnica Car Reviews RSS Feedlast_img

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CATL and Honda signed cooperation agreement to supply 56GWh of batteries for

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first_imgContemporary Amperex Technology Co., Ltd. (CATL) is one of the top suppliers of EV batteries in China and has been making inroads into supplying companies outside of China, such as…The post CATL and Honda signed cooperation agreement to supply 56GWh of batteries for EVs and Hybrids appeared first on EV Obsession. Source: EV Obsession RSS Feedlast_img

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Nissans 3500 LEAF rebate gets local utilities involved in increasing EV awareness

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first_imgIf you pay an electric bill (and who doesn’t?), keep your eyes open for a message from your local utility announcing that you can take advantage of a $3,500 rebate on a Nissan LEAF.Nissan has been partnering with various utilities around the US to offer customers a special rebate. The rebate comes from Nissan, not ratepayers. The utilities are just providing the outreach to customers.Importantly, this rebate can be combined with the federal EV tax credit. The numbers make you start thinking: $3,500 plus $7,500 in federal tax credits equals $11,000 off the price of a new LEAF, which starts at about $29,900. And don’t forget to check out whether your state offers an EV incentive. Colorado, for example, offers a $5,000 EV tax credit, and several New England states are also generous.Nissan has been running a utility rebate program for some time – in 2018 the company was offering a $3,000 rebate. Nissan reevaluates the program every quarter, and recently decided not only to continue it, but to raise the rebate amount.Consider this possible deal for a buyer in Colorado: $29,900 minus the $3,500 Nissan rebate, minus the $7,500 federal tax credit, minus the $5,000 state tax credit. If your tax situation allows you to take advantage of the tax credits, you could be driving a new EV for less than $14,000 (plus tax, tag, title and all the other customary add-ons, of course).To take advantage of Nissan’s offer, customers need to contact their local utility, which will provide a code that advises the local Nissan dealer that someone is in fact a customer of a participating utility (the rebate is also offered to utility employees). The offer does include some fine-print conditions, but they are not restrictive – for example, your selection may be limited to cars on the lot. The subsequent purchase is similar to any other transaction with an auto dealer. Source: Electric Vehicles Magazine For the EV market, this utility/automaker partnership is significant. Obviously, Nissan’s interest and that of a local utility are aligned – higher sales of cars and electricity. However, there is a bigger picture that deserves a closer look. The partnership is an evolving example of how to scale up EV sales, and how to move EVs from the perimeter to the center of a customer’s awareness.The pace at which EVs are mainstreamed has three important implications. First, EV sales justify manufacturers’ huge production investments. Second, the pace at which EVs replace ICE vehicles is critical for reducing related energy and climate impacts. Third, because of their potential for dynamic charging and energy storage, EVs are an important tool for maximizing the efficiency of an electrical grid that’s increasingly dependent on renewable energy generation.Cynthia Maves is Nissan’s Electric Vehicle Fleet Business Development Manager for the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest Regions. She has been working on the incentive program with utilities from Nebraska to Virginia, within East Coast states, in upstate New York and in Maine. Although she would not disclose sales figures linked to the utility partnership, she did say that sales are meeting company expectations. Remember, the current LEAF model was only introduced in the US in February 2018. For context, Maves said that total US LEAF sales are around 130,000. Worldwide sales are around 380,000. The LEAF rebate promotion has greater impact when it exists within a larger mix of events – when a potential customer sees an EV purchase aligned with progressive energy and environmental changes, and sees that required services and infrastructure are in place and available. Maves says customers don’t want a vehicle that turns into a difficult and singular ownership experience. One of the goals of the Nissan promotion is to demonstrate that there is a working network for EVs, that a customer doesn’t risk being stranded in a strange automotive universe.The Omaha Public Power District (OPPD), which serves 375,000 electric customers, teamed up with Nissan starting in June 2018. Judy Sunde, a Senior Product Specialist at OPPD, said the utility added a sweetener to Nissan’s deal, offering an additional $4,500 if a customer agreed to buy an EV and a ChargePoint Home charger.Sunde said OPPD received funding for the charger rebates from a grant program supported by money from the state lottery. The Level 2 charger program is scheduled to end in March 2019, but officials are hopeful that funding will be renewed, allowing it to continue along with the LEAF rebate. OPPD officials report that, as of December 31, 40 LEAFs had been sold via the rebate program, and that OPPD had paid for 52 ChargePoint chargers (not all the EVs sold were LEAFs).Virginia Clean Cities, a non-profit organization that manages the DOE’s Clean Cities program in the state, has teamed up with Nissan and local utility Dominion Energy. Nissan is a Clean Cities stakeholder, and Virginia Clean Cities has worked to involve Nissan dealers in the Dominion Energy partnership. For car buyers, test drives are always important and at a recent statewide meeting of Virginia’s electric cooperatives, the organization arranged to have 25 EVs available for test drives, a first-time experience for most attendees.Clean Cities also sponsors workshops on charging stations and on how EVs can benefit businesses and fleet operators. These activities reinforce and enhance the Nissan-utility promotion.center_img Most people know that EV sales are low compared to ICE sales. However, when viewed alone, EV sales are hot. Consider the sales numbers from automotive research firm Wards Intelligence. Note the increase – a doubling – in EV sales from 2017 to 2018. The big question: how do you keep that pace going, and growing?EVs generally cost considerably more than ICE vehicles, but rebates and tax credits can bring down the price somewhat. The harder part – changing buyers’ behaviors – is, of course, a job for the marketing gurus. Robots may make cars, but robots don’t buy them – people do, and that decision-making process comprises perhaps 50% logic and 50% emotional factors such as color, coolness and convertible options.Maves said sales increase the most when the utility partnership is part of a mix of EV-related efforts and activities. A utility’s promotional flyer is really the tip of a marketing iceberg. Concurrent events, perhaps on social media, increase awareness, strengthening the link between the rebate and a LEAF. Not surprisingly, considering the state’s EV tax credit, Maves said that sales in Colorado “have exploded.”Nissan has teamed up with American Electric Power (AEP) in Columbus, Ohio. In 2016, Columbus won the DOT’s Smart City Challenge. AEP has used federal grant money provided under the program to offer rebates for the installation of public charging stations. Lang Reynolds is Duke Energy’s Manager, Electric Transportation. His team’s primary goal is to increase EV adoption across Duke’s service territory, which includes 6 midwestern and southeastern states. Most of these areas don’t have state-level renewable energy mandates or EV tax incentives, so Nissan’s rebate is particularly valuable.Reynolds said that, because of the existing price differential between EVs and ICE vehicles, EV sales in Duke territories have been low. In 2017, Duke tracked 200 LEAF sales linked to the company’s rebate program (2018 numbers are still being calculated). Duke is working to help potential customers with EV-related questions – for example, it’s revamping its website to assist customers who might want to purchase a Level 2 charger and need help with equipment and contractors. “New tech can be intimidating,” Reynolds commented, “so we really want to make it as simple and straightforward as possible to speed up the process and knock down barriers.”Reynolds said that Duke has contacted other car companies about offering a similar rebate program, but that none has shown interest. Matthew Wade, with Virginia Clean Cities, also said that his team has been unable to draw in other companies. When the Omaha utility OPPD announced its plan to team up with Nissan, it invited participation from other manufacturers, but none signed on. However, one local Audi dealer did, offering customers a $1,000 rebate on the upcoming Audi e-tron. This article appeared in Charged Issue 42 – March/April 2019 – Subscribe now.last_img read more

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The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Turns 39

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first_imgToday our favorite statute, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, turn 39.President Jimmy Carter’s December 20, 1977 signing statement stated in full as follows.“I am pleased to sign into law S. 305, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 and the Domestic and Foreign Investment Improved Disclosure Act of 1977. During my campaign for the Presidency, I repeatedly stressed the need for tough legislation to prohibit corporate bribery. S. 305 provides that necessary sanction. I share Congress’s belief that bribery is ethically repugnant and competitively unnecessary. Corrupt practices between corporations and public officials overseas undermine the integrity and stability of governments and harm our relations with other countries. Recent revelations of widespread overseas bribery have eroded public confidence in our basic institutions.This law makes corrupt payments to foreign officials illegal under United States law. It requires publicly held corporations to keep accurate books and records and establish accounting controls to prevent the use of ‘off-the-books’ devices, which have been used to disguise corporate bribes in the past. The law also requires more extensive disclosure of ownership of stocks registered with the [SEC]. These efforts, however, can only be fully successful in combating bribery and extortion if other countries and business itself take comparable action. Therefore, I hope progress will continue in the United Nations toward the negotiation of a treaty on illicit payments. I am also encouraged by the International Chamber of Commerce’s new Code of Ethical Business Practices.”S. 305, of course, did not fall out of the sky onto President Carter’s desk thirty-nine years ago.  Rather, S. 305 was the result of more than two years of Congressional investigation, deliberation, and consideration.If the FCPA is your area of practice or interest, you owe it to yourself to read the most extensive piece ever written about the FCPA’s history – “The Story of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.”The article weaves together information and events scattered in the FCPA’s voluminous legislative record to tell the FCPA’s story through original voices of actual participants who shaped the law.Among other things, you will learn: (i) how the foreign corporate payments problem was discovered, specific events that prompted congressional concern, and the policy ramifications of those events which motivated Congress to act; (ii) how seeking new legislative remedies to the foreign corporate payments problem was far from a consensus view of the U.S. government and the divergent views as to a solution; (iii) the many difficult and complex issues Congress encountered in seeking a new legislative remedy; (iv) the two main competing legislative responses to the problem—a disclosure approach as to a broad category of payments and a criminalization approach as to a narrow category of payments, and why Congress opted for the later; and (v) how Congress learned of a variety of foreign corporate payments to a variety of recipients and for a variety of reasons, but how and why Congress  intended and accepted in passing the FCPA to capture only a narrow category of such payments. FCPA Institute – Boston (Oct. 3-4) A unique two-day learning experience ideal for a diverse group of professionals seeking to elevate their FCPA knowledge and practical skills through active learning. Learn more, spend less. CLE credit is available. Learn More & Registerlast_img read more

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New study aims to mitigate risks associated with treatment of multiple myeloma

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first_imgMay 11 2018In a 10-patient cohort study led by Dr. Jean Roy (hematologist and professor at the Faculty of Medicine of Université de Montréal) that aims to understand how to mitigate the risks associated with the treatment of multiple myeloma, a malignant cancer, researchers have adopted an innovative approach based on the unique immunological properties of umbilical cord blood in an effort to improve the safety and efficiency of allografting, the preferred treatment for this disease.”This step forward has given new hope to those struck by this terrible disease,” said Dr. Denis-Claude Roy, Director of Research at the CIUSSS de l’Est-de-l’Île-de-Montréal (CIUSSS-EMTL).This work, conducted at Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont, is funded by the Canadian Stem Cell Network, the Maryse and William Brock Chair for applied research in stem cell transplantation of Université de Montréal, and the biotechnology company ExCellThera.The challenge of allograftingMultiple myeloma, one of the most common bone marrow cancers, is still incurable, and those afflicted have a life expectancy of approximately five to six years. Patients who are at an advanced stage of the disease who have chromosomal anomalies, show myeloma cells in their blood, or do not respond to their initial treatment have a reduced life expectancy of approximately three years. Until now, the only possible treatment for patients with multiple myeloma has been stem cell grafting from related or unrelated donors. However, allografting is associated with several side effects, the most significant being graft-versus-host-disease, a condition that arises when the donor cells attack the receiver’s organs. This complication has a 10-to-20 per cent mortality rate. In long-term survivors, immune system complications (up to 80 per cent of patients) and relapses (up to 50 per cent of patients) are still much too frequent. Allografting must therefore be refined to successfully treat a greater number of multiple myeloma patients.Related StoriesTrends in colonoscopy rates not aligned with increase in early onset colorectal cancerNew study reveals ‘clutch’ proteins responsible for putting T cell activation ‘into gear’New research links “broken heart syndrome” to cancerUmbilical cord blood is associated with a significantly lower incidence of immune system complications and has a powerful anti-cancer effect. For decades, it has been used to treat the disease in children, but rarely in adults due to its small number of stem cells.A molecule of hopeRecently, a new molecule called UM171, discovered by Dr. Guy Sauvageau and his colleagues at Université de Montréal, made it possible to increase up to 30 times the number of stem cells in umbilical cord blood in the laboratory, and showed promising results in 22 patients primarily suffering from leukemia. In the study, which will be conducted on a cohort of 10 multiple myeloma patients at high risk of relapse, umbilical cord blood will be grown in a laboratory using the UM171 molecule, then injected in patients in the hope of treating the disease with fewer immune system complications. If the predicted results are confirmed, allografting umbilical cord blood, made possible thanks to the UM171 molecule, could become the preferred treatment for patients with multiple myeloma.Source: http://nouvelles.umontreal.ca/en/article/2018/05/11/multiple-myeloma-a-bold-study-to-make-allografting-safer-and-more-efficient/last_img read more

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Younger rectal cancer patients do not experience survival benefit from currently recommended

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first_imgJul 9 2018A new study reveals that individuals younger than 50 years of age who are diagnosed with rectal cancer do not experience an overall survival benefit from currently recommended treatments. Specifically, the addition of chemotherapy and radiation to surgery does not prolong life for these patients. Published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the findings suggest that early onset disease may differ from later onset disease in terms of biology and response to therapy.The overall incidence of rectal cancer is decreasing in patients older than 50 years of age, likely due to improved screening adherence; however, there is a disproportionate increase in rectal cancer incidence in patients under the age of 50 years. In addition, the mortality rate from rectal cancer among younger patients has increased in the past several decades.Related StoriesHow cell-free DNA can be targeted to prevent spread of tumorsSugary drinks linked to cancer finds studyNew protein target for deadly ovarian cancerCurrent national guidelines–which recommend a combination of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery for stages II and III rectal cancer–are predominantly based on data from patients older than 50 years of age. To examine how younger patients fare, a team led by Atif Iqbal, MD, of the University of Florida College of Medicine, in Gainesville, examined 2004-2014 information from the National Cancer Database. A total of 52,519 patients were analyzed.The team found that patients younger than 50 years old who have been diagnosed with rectal cancer represent a unique group. These younger patients do not see a survival benefit from receiving the currently recommended treatment for stages II and III rectal cancer.”Our findings support the notion that rectal cancer in young patients may be biologically different from older patients, with differing response to treatment, as has been previously shown in colon cancer,” said Dr. Iqbal. “These findings may help stimulate future research trial proposals focused on the younger patient population.”The study also reveals age-specific survival data for younger patients. “These data provide practicing physicians the ability to offer a prognosis personalized to the younger population, which can greatly improve discussions with younger patients.”In an accompanying editorial, Matthew Kalady, MD, of the Cleveland Clinic notes that the findings highlight the need to continually evaluate approaches to colorectal cancer prevention, screening, and treatment. “This manuscript should open the eyes of physicians treating rectal cancer patients and of those making treatment guideline recommendations and screening policies,” he wrote. He noted that the study did not address other clinically important endpoints for rectal cancer patients such as local recurrence and disease-free survival. He added that studies are needed to evaluate how factors such as diet, physical activity and obesity, underlying genetics, and gut microbes may interact with rectal cancer biology. Source:https://www.wiley.com/last_img read more

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Dust lead levels in homes of pregnant women can be lowered than

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first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Aug 27 2018New data from a long-term study of 355 mothers and their children found that fixing peeling paint and removing other household sources of lead during the mother’s pregnancy can reduce levels of dust lead in homes to levels significantly lower than previously deemed achievable.”There is no safe level of lead,” said Joseph Braun, associate professor of epidemiology at Brown University’s School of Public Health and lead author on the study. “We were able to achieve dust lead levels considerably lower than the current EPA standards for lead remediation and at levels where far fewer children are at risk of being lead-poisoned in their homes.”The JAMA Pediatrics paper, published today, was part of the Health Outcomes and Measures of the Environment (HOME) study in Cincinnati, Ohio, which followed a group of mothers and their children from the city since pregnancy, beginning in 2003.To conduct the randomized study, the research team visited the homes of 174 pregnant women to specifically address the lead hazards present in each residence. Measures included repairing and repainting peeling lead-based paint, replacing windows with lead-based paint, installing window trough liners, installing tap-water filters for drinking water, and covering bare lead-contaminated soil with groundcover.The other 181 pregnant women randomly assigned to the control group received injury prevention devices, such as baby gates, instead of lead remediation measures.Residential dust lead levels were measured before the intervention and when children were 1 and 2 years old. These targeted lead-reduction interventions reduced the lead dust levels compared to the untreated group on windowsills by 40 percent and in window troughs 47 percent. These significant improvements persisted when the household lead dust levels were measured when the children were two years old.Bruce Lanphear, of Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia, who initiated the study, said. “We showed you could achieve dust lead levels considerably lower levels than the current EPA standards. The EPA has delayed promulgating science-based standards because they lacked this evidence.”The intervention’s effects on healthEven so, lower dust lead levels did not cause significantly lower blood lead levels across the full study population.In analyzing eight years of data from the study, the researchers found that children who lived in the remediated houses had blood lead levels 6 percent lower than the control group — a finding that was not statistically significant. However, among black children, who are more than twice as likely to have high levels of lead in their blood than white children, the team found that blood lead levels for those who grew up in the houses where paint and other lead sources had been addressed were reduced by 31 percent.Related StoriesNew therapeutic food boosts key growth-promoting gut microbes in malnourished childrenNew research links “broken heart syndrome” to cancerResearchers identify gene mutations linked to leukemia in children with Down’s syndrome”We don’t know exactly why the study was only statistically significant for the black children,” Braun said. “One possible explanation is that because black children have higher residential lead exposure, they have higher blood lead concentrations, so it could be that there’s just more room for the intervention to have an effect. The needle can move further when you’re further away from the zero mark. But there could be other explanations, and we’re doing more work right now to try to figure that out.”In addition, the intervention no significant positive impact on the behavior or intelligence of children in these homes — suggesting that eliminating residential lead exposure altogether may be the only viable option to fully prevent adverse neurobehavioral reductions related to lead.The researchers selected six different behavioral and intelligence tests to capture many different neurobehavioral dimensions, Braun said. They administered these tests and parents completed surveys rating their children’s behavior, such as anxiety levels and hyperactivity, at visits conducted when the children were 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 8 years old — the same visits in which they collected blood samples for lead testing.In general, children in the intervention group had slightly lower behavioral problem scores, higher IQ scores, and better executive functions (such as self-control) than children in the control group — but these differences were not statistically significant. The only exception was that children in the intervention group had significantly less parent-reported anxiety than children in the control group.”The behavioral tests were consistent with the slight reductions in blood lead levels,” Braun said. “We just weren’t able to change their blood lead levels enough for any neurobehavioral changes to be statistically significant.”Braun and the research team will continue to analyze the data from this long-term study to see if subgroups of children did experience any significant improvements to behavior or IQ, he said. Perhaps children whose homes were renovated more benefitted to a greater degree, for example.”This is a single intervention aimed at lead in an effort to try to reduce exposure and possibly improve children’s IQ, behavior and learning,” he said. “It didn’t have an effect on those health outcomes, but it shows that there is real power in using intervention studies to reduce exposures and improve people’s health. What’s really been missing from some intervention studies is that next step: Does the intervention actually improve health?” Source:https://www.brown.edu/last_img read more

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