TMobile drops unlimited LTE perk for trips to Canada and Mexico

first_imgT-Mobile has done a lot over the years to back-up its claim of being an “Un-carrier,” offering perks and options that big rivals Verizon and AT&T don’t come close to. Unfortunately the company has announced it’s bringing an end to one of its more attractive perks: the free unlimited LTE service for customers traveling in Canada and Mexico. Story TimelineT-Mobile backtracks: Apple Watch Series 3 will now get LTE speedsT-Mobile data cap raised to 50GB as “unlimited” war rages [Update]The T-Mobile and Sprint merger terms are reportedly almost setT-Mobile will pay you half your Pixel 2 to go with themT-Mobile made it shockingly easy for hackers to steal your data Starting on November 12th, T-Mobile’s Mobile Without Borders plan will be getting a 5GB data cap on LTE speeds when users visit the US’s neighbors to the north and south. Once the 5GB limit is used, customers will still get unlimited data, but it will throttled to “Simple Global speeds,” which is about 128Kbps.“Mobile Without Borders is an incredible benefit and allows customers to stay connected when traveling in Canada and Mexico. In order to prevent usage beyond the intent of the product, we implemented a limit on the amount of monthly 4G LTE data,” T-Mobile says. The carrier adds that less that less than 1% of users with this plan use over 5GB of data when traveling to Canada and Mexico.More than likely this change won’t affect those users making short trips across the border, while at the same time encouraging those few who do go over 5GB to make more of an effort to use hotel WiFi. T-Mobile One customers that don’t want to take a chance with the data cap can get unlimited high-speed international LTE for an extra $25 per month.SOURCE T-Mobilelast_img read more

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Facebooks new eavesdropping tech is creepy but might not be as bad

first_imgIf you’re a Facebook user, you’ve likely heard stories of people becoming convinced that the company uses the microphones that are everywhere these days (such as ones on a smartphone or laptop) to spy on its users. While those fears might just be the result of an overactive imagination, a new patent filing is fueling concerns that Facebook might actually be equipped to do just that someday soon. Though Metro first covered the patent filing about a week ago, it’s getting widespread attention today thanks to a new Mashable report. In that report, we hear about technology that sounds like every privacy advocate’s worst nightmare.The patent filing itself is densely packed with information, but the technology at the center of it would use high-pitched audio signals that are inaudible to humans and hidden within advertisements or other “broadcast content.” That audio signal could be used to activate a “client device” to record the ambient audio in the room and log an impression – which makes this sound like a system for tracking how many individual impressions an advertising campaign receives.The abstract of the patent explains the system relies on client devices that are associated with each individual in a household, which has led many to believe that the patent is talking about activating the mic on your smartphone. The patent filing also features a number of images that depict the “client devices” as smartphones, which leaves little to the imagination. All of that, as you can imagine, has resulted in quite a few negative headlines accusing Facebook of once again overreaching when it comes to user privacy.Nilay Patel, Editor-in-Chief of The Verge, has a different take, saying on Twitter that Facebook is essentially developing “Shazam for ads,” while also noting that the claims in the patent make no mention of smartphones. “It’s creepy and weird, but it’s also what you’d expect Facebook to work on while it makes, you know, a smart speaker,” Patel adds. “Nothing in these claims covers triggering a phone mic at all, though.”Even if this isn’t as bad as it sounds at first blush, this patent filing is being made public at a time where Facebook under pretty intense scrutiny for failing to protect the privacy of its users. Perhaps that’s why the company immediately tried to distance itself from the idea that it would ever actually implement technology it’s looking to patent. When reached by Mashable for comment, Facebook VP and deputy general counsel Allen Lo made a rather interesting statement.“It is common practice to file patents to prevent aggression from other companies,” Lo said. “Because of this, patents tend to focus on future-looking technology that is often speculative in nature and could be commercialized by other companies.” Lo followed that up by saying, “The technology in this patent has not been included in any of our products, and never will be.”In the end, we’ll have to wait and see how this all shakes out. Patel could very well be right in claiming that the internet is overreacting, but on the other side of the coin, we won’t hold it against you if you decide to not trust Facebook when it says it will never implement this technology in any of its products.last_img read more

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VW concept SUV to debut at Beijing hints at next Touareg

first_imgAs any good teaser, ol’ Volkswagen is playing hard to get with the details, sprinkling a few hints here and there. For example, the concept will be boasting of a very sporty personality, something that doesn’t usually come when you put “luxury” in front of “SUV”. That sportiness is provided by a plug-in hybrid powertrain that delivers 376 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque. VW claims that the concept sporty luxury SUV can accelerate from zero to 62 mph, almost 100 km/h, in just 6 seconds. Top speed is marked at 139 mph, roughly 224 km/h.The eco-friendly nature of the concept car comes from its electric motor that can reach a range of 31 miles, around 50 km. This helps bring down the fuel consumption to 78 miles per gallon.A concept really wouldn’t be a concept these days without advanced automotive and infotainment technologies. Again, Volkswagen is being intentionally vague about these other than how the concept will offer a new level of interactivity with passengers as a core focus. The bit about combining both active information display as well as infotainment will at least be interesting to see in practice.As for the design, there is definitely a nod to the Touareg, which only strengthens the association. The teaser images hints at a heavy use of LED lighting, like the line that strikes through the center of the grille. Amusingly, the tail lamps seem to have gotten a rather playful character with a design that looks like pixel art from retro games.The Volkswagen luxury SUV concept will make its public appearance at the Beijing Auto Show, which starts on 25th of April, 24th in the US. Sure, it might still be deep in the dieselgate scandal, but you can’t fault Volkswagen for soldiering on, especially as far as its more eco-friendly plug-in hybrids are concerned. At the Beijing Auto Show next week, the beleaguered car maker will be showing off a new concept car. To be more exact, it is teasing what it bills to be the most advanced luxury SUV in the world. Given those hints, this concept could very well carry the foundations of Volkswagen’s next Touareg crossover.last_img read more

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Voyages driverless cars want suggestions where to go next

first_imgNow, Voyage is looking for the next opportunity. The company says it’s open to suggestions as to other closed environments that it could expand to; these needn’t be retirement communities, but could be residential, industrial, or “something entirely different” it suggests. In many ways, Voyage’s roll-out is the most practical way to deploy a driverless car service. While in the future we might see fleets of self-driving cars sharing public roads and highways with human drivers – or, indeed, replacing them altogether – there are some significant hurdles to clear before that becomes practical. For a start, most autonomous vehicles require so-called high-definition mapping data, more precise and detailed than regular maps used by car navigation systems. That data usually includes information at the lane-level, along with greater resolution about turn lanes, junctions, and more. It’s time-consuming and costly to capture, which has led some autonomous car experts to predict that the most efficient way to commercialize the technology is to do so in relatively small, controlled environments. That’s just what Voyage did in its first community. With a limited amount of roadway to master, and a closed audience of users, the challenge of teaching its driverless vehicles was considerably reduced. Residents can book a ride in one of the three vehicles from a smartphone app. It’s already been met with positive feedback from users, some of whom have impaired eyesight or other issues that would prevent them from driving themselves. “Deploying in a small community is the fastest way to deliver truly driverless cars to the largest communities on the planet,” Voyage CEO Oliver Cameron explained earlier this month. “By starting small, we can iterate and deliver on a product with a speed and focus that we just couldn’t do on public streets.”Voyage hasn’t given any real indication of what it’s looking for in the next site, bar it being some sort of “community.” Interested parties can suggest their own ideas now. MORE Voyage Self-driving car startup Voyage already has one small fleet of cars giving community rides, and now it’s opening up for requests as to where its driverless vehicles should pull up next. The company, made up of former Apple, Google, and Udacity engineers among others, launched earlier this year at a retirement community in San Jose, CA. There, it offers the roughly 4,000 residents rides around the 15 miles of private roads.last_img read more

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Windows 10 1903 to let users decide when to download and install

first_imgMicrosoft’s first mistake was the aggressive push to update Windows 7 or 8 PCs to Windows 10, resulting in both headaches and ridicule over the Internet. And then it started pushing out updates that didn’t seem to have been thoroughly tested, resulting in deleted files or unbootable PCs. It has been making changes slowly and it seems that version 1903 will have the most significant ones.Over at Reddit, users have reported seeing a new “Download and Install Now” option in the usual page for Windows system updates. The idea behind this is that users will finally be able to postpone installing updates until the very last moment, letting braver souls test the waters first. No longer are updates forced immediately as soon as they are available.When users to click on that option, they will still have one other safety net. Microsoft has recently expanded the “pause” period for updates from 7 to 35 days. This could give users a chance to, again, wait for problems to pop up before diving into the deep end.AdChoices广告The one instance where this new update system won’t work is when the version of Windows 10 is nearing its end of life. When that happens, Microsoft will force the system to update whether you like it or not. By then, though, hopefully, most of the kinks have been ironed out for good. One of the most controversial aspects of Windows 10, aside from initial concerns about privacy settings. is the way Microsoft pushed updates down everyone’s throats. It went to the opposite extreme of previous Windows update strategies and forced its rolling updates on users that would later prove to be buggy and problematic. It has slowly been giving back control to users and the upcoming May 2019 update will let users decide when they want to download and install the updates.last_img read more

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FDA To Step Up Evaluation Of Metal Hip Implants Other Devices

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. FDA To Step Up Evaluation Of Metal Hip Implants, Other Devices The Wall Street Journal: Metal Hip Implants Face Tighter ControlsThe Food and Drug Administration is studying whether several medical devices already on the market, such as electroconvulsive therapy devices for depression and emergency defibrillators, require additional evidence to prove they’re safe. As part of that re-evaluation, the federal agency on Thursday proposed that companies making so-called metal-on-metal artificial hip joints produce medical evidence demonstrating their safety in order to stay on the market (Burton, 1/17).last_img read more

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State Roundup Minn Officials Want Money For Coverage Expansion

first_imgState Roundup: Minn. Officials Want Money For Coverage Expansion This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. A selection of health policy news from Virginia, Arkansas, Minnesota, California, Missouri and Colorado.MPR: Dayton, Jesson Press For U.S. Health MoneyGov. Mark Dayton and his Human Services commissioner will travel to Washington, D.C., this week to lobby for federal money for MinnesotaCare. MinnesotaCare is a state-subsidized health plan that insures about 130,000 people under age 65. Dayton and Commissioner Lucinda Jesson are scheduled to meet Tuesday in Washington with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. The governor and Jesson will press Sebelius to let the state use federal health care law money to fund MinnesotaCare. The state program serves people who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but still have difficulty affording commercial insurance (Stawicki, 2/3).The Associated Press/Washington Post: Arkansas Judge Orders Johnson & Johnson To Pay $181 Million In Legal Fees In Risperdal SuitAn Arkansas judge says Johnson & Johnson must pay $181 million in fees to attorneys who successfully argued that the pharmaceutical company committed Medicaid fraud in the marketing of its antipsychotic drug Risperdal (2/1).The Associated Press: Gov. Nixon Proposed $10M For Mo. Mental HealthMissouri Gov. Jay Nixon is proposing to spend $10 million to help get mental health care sooner for those who need it. The funding is included in the state budget released this past week by the governor’s office and is part of Nixon’s response to recent gun violence (2/3).The Associated Press: Analysis: Nixon’s Plan Could Boost Pay For DoctorsIn the American health care system, some patients are worth more money than others. As cold and clinical as that may sound, it has long been the reality under a government-run Medicaid system that pays doctors less money to treat the poor than those same physicians receive for treating the elderly covered by Medicare or middle- and upper-income individuals who have private insurance (Lieb, 2/3).Los Angeles Times: Medical Clinic Workers Struggle With BurnoutThe jobs are demanding — providers spend long hours treating patients who have multiple chronic illnesses and often have gone years without care. Administrators have trouble finding enough doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants to staff their clinics. That is expected to cause a major roadblock next year, when the bulk of the national health care reform law takes effect, aiming to help 30 million uninsured Americans gain coverage. In preparation, clinics — expected to get an influx of new patients — are stepping up recruitment and trying to hold on to the care providers they have. But burnout is common, and staff members often leave for less-stressful, higher-paying positions elsewhere (Gorman, 2/3).Los Angeles Times: L.A. County Removing Metal Detectors From Some Hospital FacilitiesNow, 20 years after the attack, officials want the metal detectors removed from parts of county hospitals to make them more welcoming to patients in the newly competitive marketplace being created by the Obama administration’s health care overhaul. The machines in the emergency rooms will remain, but the others are to be taken out by summer. The proposal comes at a time when high-profile shootings have put the nation on edge and prompted emotionally charged debates about the availability of assault weapons and the presence of armed officers in schools (Gorman, 2/3).Health Policy Solutions (a Colo. news service): Less Money For Health, More For PreschoolSpend less on health care and much more on preschool. That’s the prescription that an international expert on health disparities gave Thursday in Denver to help reverse inequities that leave low-income racial and ethnic minorities much sicker and facing shorter life expectancies than wealthier whites. … A new report from The Trust has found that racial and ethnic minorities make up more than 346,000 of Colorado’s 829,000 uninsured people. Not only are minorities less likely than the general public to have insurance and access to health care, but they also suffer worse health outcomes, the report found (Kerwin McCrimmon, 2/1).California Healthline: First Step In Reform: Primary CareThe heart of a successful reform effort under the Affordable Care Act will be the creation and implementation of the patient-centered medical home model of care, according to testimony at an Assembly Committee on Health hearing in the Capitol Tuesday. “We need to look at better management of chronic conditions,” said Assembly member Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), chair of the Committee on Health. “It’s one of the greatest cost factors in our health care system.” How much cost? The numbers are “astounding,” according to Sophia Chang, director of the Better Chronic Disease Care Program at the California HealthCare Foundation and one of the panelists at yesterday’s hearing (Gorn, 2/1).last_img read more

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Viewpoints VAs Problems Begin With Congress Costly Hepatitis Drug May Be A

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. The Washington Post: The Real Problem With The VA? Congress. Politically, this critique of the VA is a no-brainer. After all, denying, delaying or incompetently delivering benefits to veterans who are entitled to them and have sacrificed so much for us is grotesque: the moral equivalent of kicking dogs and stealing food from children. But this political consensus and opportunity for reform will all be for naught unless it targets the main cause of the VA’s problems: Congress. Attacks on the VA’s derelictions are easy and justified, but here, as in so many areas of policy, the seeds of failure are planted on Capitol Hill (Peter H. Schuck, 5/29). The Wall Street Journal: How To Fix The Veterans Affairs Mess Veterans’ benefits have clearly multiplied far beyond President Lincoln’s post-Civil War promise to “care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan.” It’s time for a return to original principles. Those with disabilities incurred while in service—especially in combat or while training for combat—should never again have to wait in line for health care or benefits. It’s time to modernize the VA’s antiquated disability compensation system—to develop a new framework that promotes wellness and compensates those whose quality of life and economic well-being have been sacrificed for our sake. Today, the country actually compensates a significant number of veterans for the expected and ordinary effects of aging based on presumptions (Anthony J. Principi, 5/29). Bloomberg: How To Fix The VA The best way forward is to combine the two approaches: Strengthen the VA’s ability to do what it’s good at and widen veterans’ access to services that don’t demand its expertise. To start, that means differentiating between primary and specialty care. The inspector general’s report focused on wait times for primary care, suggesting that’s where the most pressing shortage is. If so, the VA could address much of the problem by paying for primary-care visits with private doctors when timely appointments aren’t available at its own facilities. Veterans would continue to rely mostly on VA doctors for specialty care. Congress should ensure those specialists are available by providing more funds where they’re needed (5/29). The Wall Street Journal: Big Labor’s VA Choke Hold We know with certainty that there is at least one person the Department of Veterans Affairs is serving well. That would be the president of local lodge 1798 of the National Federation of Federal Employees. The Federal Labor Relations Authority, the agency that mediates federal labor disputes, earlier this month ruled in favor of this union president, in a dispute over whether she need bother to show up at her workplace—the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Martinsburg, W.Va. According to FLRA documents, this particular VA employee is 100% “official time”—D.C. parlance for federal employees who work every hour of every work day for their union, at the taxpayer’s expense (Kimberley A. Strassel, 5/29). The Wall Street Journal: The VA Scandal Is A Crisis Of Leadership The Veterans Administration scandal involves charges of manipulation and falsification of medical waiting lists and systemwide rigging to hide delayed or inadequate treatment, which may have caused the deaths of some of those waiting for care. There are whistle-blowers, allegations of local coverups, and the possibility of criminal charges. Also becoming clearer are two motives for those involved in what appears to have been a racket: their compensation and their career trajectories (Peggy Noonan, 5/29). The Wall Street Journal: The VA’s Bonus Culture It must feel like Groundhog Day at the Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General. On Wednesday it issued an interim report—its 19th since 2005—documenting excessive wait times at VA hospitals. Cue the choir in Congress demanding the heave-ho for Secretary Eric Shinseki. Yet primarily responsible for the VA scandal are politicians who continue to prop up this failing government health system (5/29). Los Angeles Times: VA Chief Eric Shinseki Should Resign As calls for his ouster spread, it’s become clear that Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki has lost the confidence of congressional leaders, whose support he needs for the significant reforms required to improve the VA’s healthcare system. He should resign in the interests of those veterans, to whom he is undeniably devoted (5/29). The New York Times: A Lifeline For Veterans Waiting For Care In the wake of revelations that patients have waited for months to see a primary care doctor at a veterans’ medical center in Phoenix, the Obama administration announced in the past few days some reasonable steps to mitigate the problems. One important measure will move veterans who have been stuck too long up the waiting list. Another will offer those still facing waits of more than 30 days the option of using private hospitals and clinics (5/29). And on other health care issues -Bloomberg: McConnell’s Obamacare Gaffe Deserves Its Own Category I don’t think McConnell’s gaffe really creates problems that he can’t handle. The problem already existed. In part, it’s created by a Republican Party that demands absolute loyalty to an unpopular position of wanting a flat-out repeal of the ACA, without being able to come up with an acceptable replacement. The problem also is created by voters who, in Kentucky at least, love their new health plan but hate Obamacare. It’s no wonder that politicians from both parties find that situation difficult to handle (Jonathan Bernstein, 5/29). The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: What’s Driving The GOP Health PlanConservative House Republicans are pushing for a vote on a GOP health-care plan, presumably to appeal to their base, to give GOP candidates health reform ideas to talk about on the campaign trail and to show that they have a policy position beyond repealing the Affordable Care Act. Polling shows they have a ways to go. The Kaiser Family Foundation’s May tracking poll found that just 13% of the public thinks that Republicans have an alternative to the health-care law, the same share as in March 2011. Sixty-one percent said that Republicans did not have an alternative health-reform plan. And, only 20% of Republicans say that the GOP has an alternative plan, with 53% saying they do not (Drew Altman, 5/30). Los Angeles Times: Dog Care – Easier Than Obamacare It tells you everything you need to know about the U.S. healthcare system that you can get more comprehensive coverage for a dog than you can for a human being. I found this out when I delved recently into the nearly $600-million pet insurance market to see about covering our dog, Teddy, a 2-year-old golden retriever/Rottweiler mix that we brought home a few months ago from the West Los Angeles Animal Shelter (David Lazarus, 5/29). The Washington Post: The Virginia GOP’s Medicaid Plan: Just Say No With Virginia lacking an enacted budget and facing the growing risk of a government shutdown in just over a month, the top Republicans in the House of Delegates, Speaker William J. Howell (Stafford) and Majority Leader M. Kirkland Cox (Colonial Heights), requested an urgent meeting the other day with Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D). Eager to surmount the impasse that may imperil Richmond’s ability to provide public safety, health care and other basic services — to say nothing of the state’s bond rating and reputation for good governance — surely the GOP bigwigs had constructive ideas, possibly even one that might sow the seeds of compromise. They didn’t (5/29). The New York Times’ Room For Debate: Can Therapists Prevent Violence? Once again, senseless slaughter has raised questions not only about how mentally disturbed people can obtain guns, but why authorities can’t intervene to prevent violence. Do the laws regarding mental health professionals’ duty to warn the authorities of a threat need to be toughened to make them more effective? (5/29). The Washington Post: As Measles Cases Increase, A Sharp Call For Vaccinations Even when there are significant gains against infectious diseases, there can be reversals. In 2000, measles was considered all but eliminated in the United States. For a while, there were only about 60 cases a year, mostly brought in from overseas. Now, the number of cases and outbreaks in the United States is rising again. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday that there have already been more cases this year, 288, than in any full year this century (5/29). The Wall Street Journal: The First Ladies’ Calories One reason American politics is so polarized is the White House tendency to blindslide critics with personal attacks that misrepresent their views. This week’s school lunch drive-by is a classic of the genre, with first lady Michelle Obama and even the White House cook claiming Republicans are in favor of childhood obesity (5/29). Bloomberg: Would You Pay $84,000 For A New Liver? Yet when I look at it, Sovaldi seems like a bargain. Here’s a drug that likely cost hundreds of millions to develop and bring to market. It has a 10-year patent life to recoup its costs and make some money for the developers. It’s better than earlier treatments and, … it largely negates the need for liver transplants, which cost a few hundred thousand a pop. It also, of course, means longer and healthier lives for people infected with hepatitis C. Why does this make us so angry? (Megan McArdle, 5/29). Viewpoints: VA’s Problems Begin With Congress; Costly Hepatitis Drug May Be A Good Buylast_img read more

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Naming Names FDA Calls Out Drugmakers For Blocking Generics To Shame Them

first_img Stat: FDA Calls Out 39 Drug Companies For Allegedly Blocking Access To Generics Naming Names: FDA Calls Out Drugmakers For Blocking Generics To Shame Them Into Better Behavior FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said the behavior of hindering other companies from making generic versions of blockbuster drugs is “gaming the system.” U.S. drug regulators are publicizing information on brand-name drugmakers that use what government officials call “gaming tactics” to block cheaper copycat versions. The Food and Drug Administration’s new webpage names the makers of more than 50 brand-name drugs, many carrying five- or six-figure annual price tags, who are under scrutiny. The agency also lists inquiries it has received from generic drugmakers requesting FDA’s help in getting access to the brand-name drugs though not all the complaints have been verified. (Johnson, 5/17) The Associated Press: FDA Names Drugmakers Accused Of Blocking Cheaper Generics “We hope that this increased transparency will help reduce unnecessary hurdles to generic drug development and approval,” Dr. Gottlieb said in a statement. The FDA plans to update the list twice a year. Companies on the FDA’s list include midsize and larger drugmakers like AstraZeneca PLC and its heart drug Brilinta, Biogen Inc. and its multiple sclerosis drug Tecfidera, and Bayer AG’s cancer drug Nexavar. Biogen said it is the company’s practice to comply with requests from generic companies for drug samples. Bayer also said its practice is to “provide samples upon request, in full accordance with applicable laws and regulations.” AstraZeneca said it wasn’t aware of any outstanding requests for samples of Brilinta by any generic manufacturers. (Burton, 5/17) The Wall Street Journal: FDA Calls Out Drug Makers That Improperly Block Generic Competition Bloomberg: U.S. Names Drugmakers ‘Gaming’ Safety System To Shield Profits center_img The New York Times: F.D.A. Names And Shames Drug Makers To Encourage Generic Competition Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, calls this “gaming the system,” and has vowed to stop it as part of the government’s campaign to lower drug prices. On Thursday, the F.D.A. took a new tack and began posting a list of makers of brand-name drugs that have been the target of complaints, to persuade them to “end the shenanigans,” in the commissioner’s words. Dr. Gottlieb calls it transparency, but this approach is better known among ethicists as naming and shaming. (Kaplan, 5/17) Thursday’s announcement from the FDA focuses on branded companies that may be trying to delay competition from a generic competitor by blocking access to product samples the other company needs to test its own version of the drug — “gaming tactics,” as FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said Thursday. Generic companies need somewhere between 1,000 and 5,000 doses of a drug to complete the studies that prove their product is equivalent with the branded one. (Mershon, 5/17) Celgene, maker of one of the world’s biggest brand-name cancer treatments, Revlimid, has been frequently accused of using safety programs to forestall cheaper versions of its drugs. Revlimid, which costs more than $100,000 a year, had sales of $8.19 billion in 2017. According to the database, generic drugmakers contacted the FDA 31 times to say they were unable to obtain samples of a Celgene drug. The complaints were divided among three drugs, with 13 instances pertaining to Revlimid, which is also the subject of a legal battle over its intellectual property. (Koons and Edney, 5/17) 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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State Highlights Rural North Carolina Hospital Tries To Curb Patients Overuse Of

first_img San Francisco Chronicle: San Quentin Prison Exec ‘No Longer Employed’ Amid Inmate Construction Probe Arizona Republic: ACLU Study Criticizes Arizona’s Prison System Historically, the residents of rural Robeson County have relied heavily on the Southeastern Health Emergency Department for much of their medical care, even for non-emergent issues such as sore throats and sprains. The hospital, located in the county seat of Lumberton, has about 90,000 ED visits per year, according to Southeastern Health CEO Joann Anderson. (Knopf, 9/7) Columbus Dispatch: Ohio State Offers Incentive To Dental Students To Work In Underserved Areas State Highlights: Rural North Carolina Hospital Tries To Curb Patients’ Overuse Of Emergency Department; Kansas Nurses Threaten To Strike Media outlets report on news from North Carolina, Kansas, California, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Arizona, Maryland, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Oregon and Ohio. San Francisco Chronicle: Taking Stock Of California’s $3 Billion Bet On Stem Cell Science In November 2004, Prop. 71 passed with nearly 60 percent approval. It created the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, or CIRM, an agency tasked with administering the $3 billion and making the campaign’s lofty visions a reality. …Over the past several months, The Chronicle conducted an extensive analysis of CIRM’s spending, reviewing the nearly 1,000 grants the agency has made, tracking how the money has been spent, and gauging whether the promises have been realized. (Allday and Palomino, 9/8) At PCOM’s campus on City Avenue, the college’s scientists and educators will design studies and analyze observational data collected from patients at Cansortium medical marijuana dispensaries. PCOM researchers plan to investigate the drug’s ability to treat anxiety, depression, and chronic pain, said Mindy George-Weinstein, a professor who serves as the school’s chief research and science officer. (Wood, 9/7) Philadelphia Inquirer: A Historic Adult-To-Child Lung Transplant Saved Their Daughter, Who’s Now A Thriving Teen North Carolina Health News: Rural Hospital Has Patients Headed To Walmart For Their Care Gov. Scott Walker’s administration waited more than two years to tell the state Board of Nursing about a 14-year-old inmate who nearly died when nurses didn’t get him to a doctor for three days, according to state agencies. Once the complaint was filed in July, the Board of Nursing — which itself is overseen by the Walker administration — waited seven weeks to process it, according to the board. (Marley, 9/7) Arizona Republic: Banner Health Looking To Fill 1,500 Positions Across Arizona Kansas City Star: Nurses Threaten To Strike At Research And Menorah Hospitals Lawsuits over the problems at Wisconsin’s juvenile prison complex have cost the state $20.6 million so far and those costs will continue to rise — possibly by large sums if some cases aren’t resolved in the state’s favor. The facility for more than three years has been under criminal investigation for prisoner abuse and child neglect. (Marley, 9/7) This week has been especially tough on Becky Van Dyke. Seeing kids return to school brings her back to a tragic time. Two years ago, her 14-year-old son, Dylan Engen, ended his life on what would have been his first day of ninth grade at South St. Paul High School. The wound remains fresh for Van Dyke, who struggles daily with grief, guilt and questions that will never be answered. But a new school year hits her the hardest. (Ferraro, 9/7) The Associated Press: Hot, Dry Summer Bringing Fewer Cases Of Lyme Disease The CARE program is designed to recruit dental students from those areas and to help them improve access to dental care by getting them to practice in the areas after they graduate. …The Ohio State program emerged as part of a $95 million dental school expansion, including $26 million in state capital budget funding. (Lane, 9/9) Pioneer Press: Grieving Mom And South St. Paul Football Players Bring Forward Suicide Awareness New England’s hot summer might be helping keep the ticks that carry Lyme disease at bay. The Northeastern states — which are some of the worst for Lyme in the U.S., posing a hazard to residents and vacationers alike — are still totaling the number of Lyme cases from the summer months, and there will likely be more in the fall. But preliminary indicators show the disease abating, and public health authorities are finding fewer deer ticks, state officials and researchers said. (9/9) The March of Dimes’ 2017 Premature Birth Report Card for Connecticut revealed that between 2013 and 2015, 8.4 percent of all (live birth) infants born to white women were premature, compared with 12.4 percent of infants born to black women. Statewide, after a complication-free delivery, black women are twice as likely as white women to be readmitted to a hospital within 30 days, according to a 2015 study published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, which drew from statistics maintained by the Connecticut Department of Public Health. (Heubeck, 9/9) It has been a little more than five years since Sarah Murnaghan left Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia with a new set of lungs, harvested from an adult donor and trimmed down to fit a 10-year-old with cystic fibrosis. Five years since her parents helped save her life by challenging a national organ allocation system that effectively denied such adult-to-child donations. (McCullough, 9/10) The Oregonian: Wilsonville Breast Cancer Patient Has Seen Both Sides Of Treatment center_img Nurses at two HCA Midwest Health hospitals in the Kansas City area are threatening to strike, a move that could force the facilities to transfer patients and delay elective procedures. Members of National Nurses United voted to authorize strikes at Menorah Medical Center in Overland Park and Research Medical Center in Kansas City — as well as 13 other HCA affiliated hospitals in Florida, Nevada and Texas — after months of fruitless contract negotiations with the for-profit chain. (Marso, 9/7) Philadelphia Inquirer: Marijuana Partners: Philly Med School Announces Research Pact With Cansortium Denver Post: CU Boulder Research Could Block E.Coli, Other Superbugs This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Banner Health, Arizona’s largest private employer, is looking to fill 1,500 job openings. The openings are at Banner facilities across Arizona and include positions in housekeeping, food services, information technology, financial services, case management, and nursing, among others. (Innes, 9/8) Angela Rose knew the cancer had returned when she started feeling the abdominal pain. Then came the nausea. And the weight loss. And the relentless fatigue. Doctors thought it unlikely, but experience told her differently. The retired nurse had been diagnosed with breast cancer before. Now, at 41, she was sure it was back. (Campuzano, 9/9) Columbus Dispatch: Franklin County To Start Work Helping Families Out Of Poverty Philadelphia City Councilwoman Helen Gym said at a news conference Friday that children in districts across the state that are unable to pay to properly cool their buildings have been “held hostage” by the heat but also by “the failure of our state and federal government to invest in our school facilities.” She and others called on Pennsylvania to restart and fund a dormant reimbursement program for school construction projects, with money set aside not just for new buildings but also for repairs to aging schools. (Graham and Hanna, 9/8) At least one Maryland-based coal tar sealant manufacturer is girding to battle Howard County’s efforts to ban the sale and use of certain coal tar and similar pavement sealants. Tom Decker, who has been president of SealMaster-Baltimore, a coal tar manufacturer for the past 21 years, said he needs “somebody to tell me what the benefit is,” in banning the sealants. (Nocera, 9/7) Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Legal Woes At Teen Prison Have Cost Wisconsin $20.6 Million So Far The CT Mirror: Outreach Bridging Racial Gap In Pregnancy-Related Health Outcomes The Baltimore Sun: Battle Brewing Over Howard’s Plans To Ban Pavement Coating Linked To Cancer Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: State Waits 2 Years To Tell Nursing Board Of Teen Who Nearly Died Philadelphia Inquirer: Old Schools, Hot Buildings: A ‘Public Health Concern’? The American Civil Liberties Union this week released individualized “blueprints” that each state could follow to help reduce burgeoning prison populations and the massive budgets needed to fund them. …The report, which cites government data and numerous studies, outlines the issues facing Arizona’s prisons and prisoners and what can be done about it. (Vandell, 9/7) The Star Tribune: Program Monitoring Blood Pressure Made A Noteworthy Discovery Before Its End Kryptonite for superbugs could be on the horizon, as a result of research led by University of Colorado researchers that hinders the progress of antibiotic-resistant superbugs such as E.coli. CU researchers have created what they term the Controlled Hindrance of Adaptation of OrganismS (CHAOS) approach. It utilizes highly sophisticated DNA editing techniques to modify multiple gene expressions within the bacteria cells, for the purpose of inhibiting a pathogen’s central processes and blocking its ability to create defenses. (Brennan, 9/9) A new panel will begin work Tuesday on a strategic plan to help lift needy Franklin County residents out of poverty. Among the steering committee’s initial points of order will be a review of other studies, statistics and trends — information designed to form a foundation for creating a community-wide plan for addressing poverty. (Kovac, 9/8) A San Quentin State Prison executive who was under investigation for letting inmates build a Victorian-style playhouse for his grandchildren on prison grounds is “no longer employed” at the prison, officials said Friday. The departure of Steve Harris, the chief of the prison’s health system, comes one week after The Chronicle reported that the state was looking into the circumstances surrounding the construction project that used inmate labor. (Cassidy, 9/7) A telemonitoring program involving pharmacists and people with hypertension proved successful in helping patients of Bloomington-based HealthPartners reduce their blood pressure levels. Until it didn’t. (Olson, 9/9) last_img read more

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Nissan Disappointed By Lack Of Junior Driver Formula E Talent

The squad will run Formula 2 frontrunner Albon for his debut FE campaign in 2018/19, alongside season two champion Sebastien Buemi.Albon, who ran Ferrari-bound Charles Leclerc close for the GP3 title in 2016, currently sits second in the F2 standings behind championship leader George Russell and drives for e.dams’ sister squad DAMS.Driot explained how his dismay at talented drivers not getting chances in higher categories due to financial considerations boosted his desire to recruit 22-year-old Albon.“I really wanted to have him because sometimes I am so disappointed to see talents not going anywhere because of [financial issues],” Driot told Motorsport.com.“It’s a very good opportunity for us. We know he’s very quick, there is no doubt about it.“We all know the problems that these young drivers have with Formula 2 budgets – even when they are succeeding [as] you will see the result at the end of this season with a guy like [Mercedes Formula 1 junior George] Russell.“So if a guy like Russell was a problem, you think that for Alex, who is demonstrating that he’s very quick [it is also an issue].”The e.dams boss added that Albon, who took part in FE’s inaugural FE rookie test with the team when it was running as Renault’s works operation in Marrakech in January – although Motorsport.com understands this played no part in the team’s decision to hire him for season five – has a strong recent record in the junior categories.“When you are runner-up until the last race in GP3 with Leclerc that means that you are not very slow,” said Driot.“Also, he has done many pole positions with us this year, he has done beautiful races. This man is very well educated, very calm, very quick, and very easy to work with.” Source: Motorsport.com Nissan e.dams Formula E team boss Jean-Paul Driot says his “disappointment” at the lack of progression opportunities for young drivers motivated him to sign Alexander Albon for season five. Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on October 14, 2018Categories Electric Vehicle News Source: Electric Vehicle News read more

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Lessons Learned From 6 Months With The Tesla Powerwall

For those of you who have read my other articles, you know we had a Powerwall 2 installed with our solar generation system back in April this year. I was asked to provide my take on how things are going. What was expected, what was unexpected, how it’s been operating overallSource: CleanTechnica Car Reviews RSS Feed

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Electrek Podcast twowheel EVs are taking over Harley Livewire Tesla Energy Model

first_imgSource: Charge Forward This week on the Electrek Podcast, we discuss the most popular news in the world of sustainable transport and energy, including all the new two-wheel EVs that we saw at the Milan Motorcycle show, like the Harley-Davidson Livewire, Tesla’s Energy’s big week, the Tesla Model 3 gets a key fob, and more. more…The post Electrek Podcast: two-wheel EVs are taking over, Harley Livewire, Tesla Energy, Model 3 key fob, and more appeared first on Electrek.last_img

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40000 Miles With The 2018 Nissan LEAF

first_imgSince its release, many wondered how the new 40 kWh Nissan LEAF would hold up as the miles racked up. After over 40,000 miles driving mine, I’m starting to get a pretty good idea of how it fares. It’s a great vehicle, with only one serious drawbackSource: CleanTechnica Car Reviews RSS Feedlast_img

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FCPA Flash – A Conversation With Anthony Mirenda

first_imgThe FCPA Flash podcast provides in an audio format the same fresh, candid, and informed commentary about the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and related topics as readers have come to expect from the written posts on FCPA Professor.This FCPA Flash episode is a conversation with Anthony Mirenda (a partner in the Boston office of Foley Hoag). Mirenda recently co-authored an article “Bridging the Cultural Gap in International Arbitrations Arising from FCPA Investigations” that caught my eye because it discusses a seldom explored corner of the general FCPA space.The article nicely frames the issue of what can happen when a business organization, acting consistent with best practices upon learning of red flags, suspends payments to a foreign third party. Such action may prompt the foreign party to initiate legal proceedings (often an arbitration proceeding) to get paid and as noted in the article: “The company is then placed in a difficult position: if it meets the expectations of U.S. regulators and halts all payments to its corrupt contractor agent, the company exposes itself to an arbitration brought by the consultant or agent. On the other hand, if the company keeps paying its corrupt agent, it exposes itself to further criminal liability in the United States.”In the episode Mirenda specifically discusses this dilemma and other issues present in such arbitrations as well as other general issues regarding foreign third parties.FCPA Flash is sponsored by the Red Flag Group. The Red Flag Group assists companies in developing and maintaining efficient and effective corporate governance and compliance programs, and has a proven track record in providing integrity due diligence investigations in 194 countries.last_img read more

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Looking Old

first_imgby, Ronni Bennett, ChangingAging ContributorTweetShareShareEmail0 ShareshOver the weekend, I came across a perfectly dreadful essay about how awful it is to look old. The writer starts out reacting to a new film titled The Company You Keep she had recently seen:”…you could literally feel the collective, though silent, gasps emanating from the audience as soon as Robert Redford fills the screen. HLO! Hopefully, our next emotion is deep respect for this icon’s courage in letting every one of those well-earned lines show…“To Julie Christie! And Susan Sarandon! This is a TLO fest. Let’s be brutally honest: one can’t quite concentrate on what these still-glorious actresses are saying for awhile. We are too busy calculating their ages, considering work-or-no-work. And asking ourselves, if TLO, how must we look? Now, we are too depressed to watch the rest of the movie…”[NOTE: As the writer explains, HLO and TLO stand for “he looks old” and “they look old” but leaves me wondering, since they are not standard acronyms, why she could not write out those words.]I could only think how deeply our cultural worship of youth has warped this writer if the appearance of these long-gorgeous actors is so shocking she loses interest in the movie’s story and can’t see their new kind of beauty.All three have been blessed from youth with the kind of good looks our era most admires and they have carried it nicely into old age. Growing old is the definition of life and they are as handsome now – with their decades of living on display – as they were in their twenties.The article put me in mind Daniel Klein, a philosopher whose wise, little book about searching for a meaningful old age has become my regular companion.In the first chapter, Klein discusses our culture’s growing trend to extend the prime years of life into old, old age during which we are encouraged to opt for whatever it is that will keep us “forever young” such as setting new goals, taking up jogging, enrolling in language classes, signing up for cosmetic surgery and hormone treatments.“I suspect if I were to take this popularly accepted route,” he writes, “I would miss out on an invaluable state of life…I would miss for eternity ever simply being authentically and contentedly old.”After taking us through his meandering journey toward finding what that would be, Klein arrives at this:“All of which is to say that perhaps authentic old age can consist neither of the breathless ambition of the forever youngster nor the unremitting despair of my friend Patrick but something meaningful in itself…focusing on the horrors of old old age before I get there would be a waste of the time I have left.”On certain days when I catch myself in the mirror, I don’t much like what I see but I never wish to be my younger self. Actually, I don’t really wish to be anything but what I am and I continue to be curious to see how my face will change as the years continue to go by.Although the essay writer, in the last sentence, gets around to saying, “we just LO – er and that’s okay,” it is certainly not good enough after insisting for 10 paragraphs that looking old is shocking and abhorrent.”…it’s never easy to be the oldest person in a room,” she writes. “You know they may be thinking SLO, and they know that you know that they know. I have put myself in the ultimate such scenario, in that I am back in college after 35 gap years. ”Perhaps this is something – among others – everyone must get through to eventually find a path to a fulfilling old age.Related PostsWhy I Write About Growing OldOn Saturday, I posted one photograph with a link to more of elders who are at least 100 years old. The goal of the photographer is to show the beauty in age, and the reason it is necessary for some…Elder Time, Energy and SchedulingBeing old eats up a lot of time and energy and takes some careful scheduling. This came up yesterday on a telephone call with my old friend, Rick Gillis. Compared to many of us here, he’s a young thing still,…Virtual Book Tour: Getting Old is a Full Time JobWe are so pleased to be hosting Dr. Susan Lieberman today to talk about her new book, Getting Old is a Full Time Job: Moving on From a Life of Working Hard. Susan writes about her insight into the 12 “jobs” of retirement – ranging from Strategist to Sc…TweetShareShareEmail0 SharesTags: Ageism Aging beauty wrinkleslast_img read more

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Five Things To Do For Fall Maintenance For Your Home

first_imgFive Things To Do For Fall Maintenance For Your HomeOctober 8, 2018 By Administrator With winter season approaching, now is the time to do a few simple tasks around your home. Not only can this prevent damage from occurring, but it can help keep your home exterior clean. Instead of giving you a long laundry list of things to check off, we go over the five most important.Is My Home Safe?This is simple question to ask yourself every spring and fall.Do you have one smoke detector on each floor of your home? Do I need to change the batteries?Do I own a fire extinguisher? If so, is it up to date?Where is my first aid/at home emergency kit? Do I need to make any changes?Can our family be okay if there is a major event like an earthquake, flood, tornado or other natural disaster?Am I Protecting My Home From Water Damage?Water damage can be a root cause of home problems. Sometimes they can be covered by your home insurance, but other times they are not. Regardless if they are covered, they are a terrible to deal with. Here are a few areas to check to lower your risk of water damage in your home.Check your gutters & downspoutsOnce most of your leaves have fallen from your trees, simply look for debris that could be collecting in your gutters. If you see leaves collecting, remove them in order to prevent clogged gutters. If your gutters are clogged during a rainstorm, it could cause damage to your roof or siding. Also, check if your gutters are damaged & are still attached to your home. Lastly, check your downspouts. Ensure they are draining properly instead of being clogged and pooling water near your home.Check your roofLoose or missing shingles on your roof can increase your risk for water damage. Make sure your shingles are in good condition before that winter storm hits. If you have a home with a flat roof, ensure it doesn’t have any buildup of leaves. When in doubt, refer out. If you aren’t sure what to look for, ask a professional.Are exposed pipes still insulated?Check the exposed pipes around your home to ensure the insulation isn’t ripped or torn. Uninsulated garages are very important to check. Many people assume it is “inside” but uninsulated garages can get as cold as the outdoor temperatures. Check there for pipes that need to be insulated.Is Air Escaping My Home? Check door and window seals for signs of deterioration. Use weather stripping or caulking around windows and doors to help keep warm air in and cold air out. You’ll also lower your energy bill. On another note, if air can get into your home, water can too.Did I Replace My Furnace Filter? To keep your furnace running efficiently, you need to replace the filter often. Some filters may need to be changed every month.Are Rodents Nesting In My Home? Rodents tend to nest in your crawlspace, attic and even in your walls. Walk the perimeter of your home & any access points in your garage to make sure you do not have any cracks or holes for rodents to enter. Also, check your vents along your foundation for holes or deterioration. As the weather gets colder, rodents are always looking for a warmer place to live.Also, remember rodents love a food source. If you are storing food or bird seed in your garage, make sure it’s properly stored in a sealed container.While preventative maintenance can get easily get pushed on the back burner when life gets busy, it’s still important to make the time to do it.If you have questions about your home or condo insurance, contact City Insurance Center. Because we are a local insurance agency, we live where you do and understand the unique options you have in the Lynnwood, Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace and Edmonds area for insurance. With years of insurance experience we can easily help you insure everything from your Home to your Auto or Business Insurance. Because we are an independent insurance agent, we can help you find the right company to fit your needs. You can also check out our website, 24/7.Filed Under: Bloglast_img read more

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Hand washing practices need to step up after bugs resistant to hand

first_img Source:http://stm.sciencemag.org/content/10/452/eaar6115 Image Credit: CC7 / Shutterstock Microbiologists explain that most hand sanitizers contain alcohols such as isopropanol as their key component. Use of hand sanitizers routinely in the hospital set ups has prevented the rising rates of hospital infections of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) to an extent. However while these sanitizers have to an extent prevented MRSA infections, there is a parallel growth of vancomycin-resistant enterococci, or VRE that is becoming tolerant to alcohol.The results of the research are published in the latest issue of the journal Science Translational Medicine.According to Prof Timothy Stinear, co-author of the research from the University of Melbourne that pointed out this new development, this should be a “wake up call” to the infection control teams at the hospitals worldwide. He said that if VRE is to be controlled then there should be alternative techniques of cleansing the hands than using alcohol based hand sanitizers. He said that chlorine based disinfectants and screening and isolation of patients can be good alternatives.According to Stinear, VRE is most commonly caused by the Enterococcus faecium and cases are on the rise in Australia and England. Many of these cases can become life threatening and difficult to treat. The VRE, he explained gets colonized within the patient’s gut and spreads to the blood vessels leading to sepsis.This is resistant to almost all antibiotics and is thus very difficult to get rid of he said. These bacteria can also migrate within the blood stream to get lodged over the heart valves and prosthetic devices. He explained that healthy individuals do not get infected with VRE and it is only those with a supressed or compromised immunity that are at risk.Related StoriesUTHealth researchers investigate how to reduce stress-driven alcohol useMathematical model helps quantify metastatic cell behaviorDon’t ignore diastolic blood pressure values, say researchersIn the study the team of researchers found Enterococcus faecium bacteria from patients. They exposed a total of 139 samples of these bacteria in the labs to an isopropanol-based solution for five minutes.The samples came from different patients in two different hospitals in Melbourne between 1997 and 2015. Alcohol based hand sanitizers came into use from the early 2000s and by 2015 there was a ten-fold rise in its uptake.The team noted that with passage of time the bacterial samples seemed to have become more and more tolerant to alcohol. Stinear said that after 2010, there was a ten times rise in tolerance to alcohol when compared to earlier strains.The team then noted that the alcohol concentration they had used in the lab was more dilute than the actual solutions used in hospitals.Then they set up another round of experiments to see if the bacteria could resist the commonly used concentrations of alcohol. Four isolates of the bacteria were taken and two of these were tolerant to alcohol in the earlier experiment.These were spread in different cages and then they were wiped using the isopropanol wipes of the concentration used in hospitals. Mice were allowed to stay in the cages for an hour before they were taken out. The guts of the mice were tested for the bacteria after a week.The results showed that the alcohol tolerant strains were not eliminated with the isopropanol wipes and the mice that were exposed to these strains got infected. Stinear said that this proves that these bacteria can escape the “standard infection control procedures” followed in the hospitals.The team is now working on studying the genetic mutations in these alcohol resistant strains of the Enterococcus faecium isolates to understand how they are evolving to resist disinfection efforts.center_img By Dr. Ananya Mandal, MDAug 2 2018All healthcare facilities and hospitals need to step up their hand washing techniques as well as use of alcohol based hand sanitizers after reports of emergence of hospital super bacteria that are becoming more tolerant to alcohol.last_img read more

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EU moves closer to enabling national bans on GM crops

first_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) GM opponents have praised the Parliament’s latest version of the bill, approved here yesterday by the committee in charge of environmental, public health, and food safety (ENVI) issues, for going further than the text agreed to by member states in June. The bill as it stands “would give European countries a legally solid right to ban GM cultivation in their territory, making it difficult for the biotech industry to challenge such bans in court,” said Marco Contiero, agriculture policy director at Greenpeace EU here in Brussels, in a statement after the vote.But the plan has dismayed biotech companies, which say the proposal “sets a negative precedent” for other science-based industries. “We are now moving from a system that lacks proper enforcement to a system that is designed not to work,” says Beat Späth, director for agricultural biotechnology at the industry association EuropaBio here, in a statement sent to ScienceInsider by e-mail today.Many scientists have echoed industry’s concerns. On 30 October, 21 plant scientists issued an open letter to ” decision makers in Europe,” complaining that politics has stalled plant science and calling for the “prompt authorization” of GM plant varieties that EFSA has deemed safe.”We make a science-based risk assessment [of a product], and if it’s safe we use it and if it’s unsafe, we don’t,” says Stefan Jansson, a professor of plant cell and molecular biology at Umeå University’s Plant Science Centre in Sweden, who was one of the signatories to the letter. “If we start to say there could be other grounds [for banning a product], we undermine the scientific basis of the whole system.”In crucial amendments, parliamentarians proposed letting member states ban a given crop for a broader range of reasons, including environmental grounds, without putting in question EFSA’s science-based risk assessment. “It’s not about [member states] proving EFSA wrong” with fresh scientific evidence, Contiero says, but about letting governments, as risk managers, restrict the use of given crops, for example to avoid the development of pesticide-resistant weeds, or interbreeding between GM and conventional or wild plants.In other significant changes, the ENVI committee scrapped the member states’ proposal to involve seed companies directly in the banning process—an idea that had outraged environmental groups—and suggested letting member states ban groups of crops at once, instead of one by one. The Parliament’s text also requires member states to take “appropriate measures to avoid the unintended presence of GMOs in other products on their territory and in border areas of neighbouring Member States,” for example by creating buffer zones between GM and non-GM fields.The Parliament, the European Commission, and the Council of Ministers have now entered negotiations to settle on a joint version of the text, which they aim to agree on before the end of the year. BRUSSELS—Members of the European Parliament agreed yesterday on draft rules allowing individual governments to refuse growing genetically modified (GM) crops on their territory, even if the products have been authorized on the European level. The plan could help reconcile anti- and pro-GM countries, unlock stalled approval processes, and lead to more GM crops in European fields—although many countries are likely to take the opportunity to restrict them.Although the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has sanctioned several GM crops, many European consumers spurn these foods, and some national governments have tried outlawing them. In the past decade, disagreement among states has crippled regulatory decisions, and some countries have seen their bans challenged in court by seed producers.To avoid such impasses in the future, the plan gives more power to national governments—at the expense of pan-European market congruence. “In exchange for forgoing a common European rule, we give more flexibility to member states to be more in tune with their public opinion, and this is no small feat,” said Frédérique Ries, the Parliament’s lead negotiator on this matter, in a statement after the vote. 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