Rep. Kevin Yoder, who voted in favor of the Republicans’ American Health Care Act three weeks ago, called the news a “devastating blow for Kansas who won’t get to keep their plans or their doctors next year.”Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City announced on Wednesday that it was pulling out of the Obamacare exchange for 2018, a move that will affect around 67,000 customers in Wyandotte and Johnson Counties in Kansas as well as parts of western Missouri.The Star’s Andy Marso and Bryan Lowry have a comprehensive piece detailing the company’s rationale for the decision as well as how it will impact people who currently get their healthcare through the exchange.Losses of more than $100 million in the marketplace as well as the lack of certainty about where federal healthcare law is headed prompted the decision, company leaders said. As Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City CEO Danette Wilson told the Kansas City Business Journal, “the uncertain direction of this market is a barrier to our continued participation.”Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and Lieutenant Gov. Jeff Colyer, a plastic surgeon, have been outspoken opponents of the Affordable Care Act, and have vehemently opposed efforts to expand Medicaid in Kansas under the bill. Both issued statements in reaction to the news:Governor Sam Brownback: “Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City’s exit from the ObamaCare marketplace leaves two of Kansas’ three largest counties with only one vendor on the exchange. ObamaCare’s death spiral is growing worse, and there is a better way. We urge Congress and the President to continue their work to repeal and replace ObamaCare and make healthcare more affordable for Kansans.”Lieutenant Governor Dr. Jeff Colyer: “The decision by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City to exit the exchange is another nail in the coffin of ObamaCare. Congress must keep their promise to repeal this failing program and empower a competitive healthcare system that keeps costs low for Kansas families.”Brownback and Colyer weren’t the only politicians with constituents in northeast Johnson County to react to the news. Rep. Kevin Yoder, who voted in favor of the American Health Care Act promoted by Speaker Paul Ryan and President Donald Trump three weeks ago, chimed in as well:Rep. Kevin Yoder: “With today’s news, there will be no insurance option at all for tens of thousands of families unless a new provider enters the market. This news is a devastating blow for Kansans who won’t get to keep their plans or their doctors next year. Congress must continue its rescue mission to fix our broken health care system, and provide working families the relief they need – bringing insurers back to the marketplace, lowering costs, and increasing access to care.”The Congressional Budget Office released its scoring of the American Health Care Act yesterday, finding that it would leave 23 more Americans uninsured by 2026 while reducing federal budget deficits by $119 billion over the same period.
The New York Times:A wandering mind can lead to accidents and lost productivity. Now, a study finds that real-time brain monitoring can be used to help people regain focus.Neuroscientists at Princeton University monitored the brain activity of students who were asked to perform a repetitive task that required close attention. While lying inside an functional magnetic resonance imaging, or f.M.R.I., machine, the students were shown a series of pictures of human faces superimposed over scenery. They were told to press a button when they saw a particular kind of face (female or male) or when they saw a particular kind of scenery (inside or outside).The test was designed to mirror the kind of everyday task from which one could easily lose focus, said Nicholas B. Turk-Browne, the lead author of the study. “What makes this a study of attention is they needed to select the image that’s relevant and ignore the other part,” he said.Read the whole story: The New York Times More of our Members in the Media >
Pacific Standard:Everyone who has ever turned to their friends Ben and Jerry for solace following a break-up is aware that painful emotions often lead to overeating. Yet when discussing the obesity epidemic among low-income families, policymakers tend to focus on more tangible factors, such as the cost and availability of healthy food.Over the past few years, a number of researchers have begun pointing out this emotion blindness, suggesting the stress of poverty is an under appreciated underlying problem. Two new studies that confirm and refine this proposition have just been published.A study from Scotland, published in the journal Appetite, demonstrates a connection between overeating and the anxiety that stems from income inequality. American researchers, writing in Psychological Science, find a link between growing up poor and a propensity to consume calories in the absence of hunger.Read the whole story: Pacific Standard More of our Members in the Media >
“Quality of life after chemotherapy is critically important, and chemobrain is significant in these survivors,” Helferich said.Patient complaints and clinical observations after chemotherapy spurred an interest in chemobrain. While many researchers have examined these effects in humans as well as animals, most such studies do not assess long-term effects. The physical toll of chemotherapy is great and accounts for the short-term cognitive impairments, Rhodes said.“The question is, after they completely recover from the acute assault of chemotherapy, many months or years later, do they still have cognitive impairments?” he said.Drugs can be developed to address these cognitive impairments, but side effects and negative interactions of these drugs with the chemotherapy medications could cause patients to suffer even more, Rhodes said. The researchers hope to find nonpharmaceutical interventions that are widely available and have fewer complications.“A dietary intervention that could improve cognitive function after chemotherapy could benefit a lot of cancer patients,” Rendeiro said.The researchers used female mice bred to mimic post-menopausal women, the group most affected by breast cancer.“We wanted a model that represents the human population so we have the best chance of having results that translate to humans,” Rhodes said.The team’s first goal was to confirm that chemobrain was a long-lasting phenomenon. They assessed the long-term effects of chemotherapy on learning and memory, as well as the formation of new neurons in the hippocampus, a brain region known to contribute to those abilities.“We need to have good animal models of these long-term cognitive problems following chemotherapy to understand what is going on and how to treat it,” Rendeiro said.The researchers tested learning and memory using the Morris Water Maze, which trains mice to find a hidden platform in a maze. The mice that had received the chemotherapy regimen took longer to find the platform and were slower to learn the task compared with the control group. The chemotherapy group also had 26 percent fewer surviving hippocampal neurons born during the chemotherapy treatment and generated 14 percent fewer hippocampal neurons in the three months following chemotherapy. Three months for a mouse corresponds to about ten human years, Rhodes said. Together, these results show long-term detriments to both the brain and behavior of the chemotherapy-treated mice.The researchers also were interested in the efficacy of a diet enhanced with omega-3 fatty acids in reversing these cognitive impairments. However, they found no beneficial effect of the supplemented diet on mitigating chemotherapy-induced cognitive impairments.This study provides one of the first animal models to demonstrate the long-term cognitive deficits resulting from a chemotherapeutic treatment used in treating humans for breast cancer. Although the omega-3 diet did not improve cognitive outcomes in the mice, the researchers expect their model will be useful for studying alternative lifestyle interventions to ameliorate the chemobrain phenomenon. LinkedIn Pinterest Share on Twitter Share Email Women undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer have long complained of lingering cognitive impairments after treatment. These effects are referred to as “chemobrain,” a feeling of mental fogginess. A new study from the University of Illinois reports long-lasting cognitive impairments in mice when they are administered a chemotherapy regimen used to treat breast cancer in humans.The results are published in the journal Behavioural Brain Research.“Cancer survival rates have increased substantially and continue to improve due to both earlier detection and better medical treatments,” said Catarina Rendeiro, a postdoctoral scholar at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. The study’s lead author, Rendeiro collaborated with an interdisciplinary group at Illinois, including Justin Rhodes, a professor of psychology and a Beckman Institute affiliate; and William Helferich, a professor of nutrition in the department of food science and human nutrition. Share on Facebook
Share on Facebook LinkedIn Mathematical modeling of the brain scans of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and others at risk for the devastating neurodegenerative disorder has identified specific patterns of brain atrophy that appear to be related to the loss of particular cognitive abilities. In their report that has been published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team of researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and the National University of Singapore describe how different atrophy patterns may explain the different ways that Alzheimer’s disease can be manifested in individual patients.“The symptom severity and neurodegeneration can vary widely across patients in Alzheimer’s disease,” says Thomas Yeo, PhD, of the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at MGH. “Our work shows that participants in this study exhibit at least three atrophy patterns – cortical, temporal or subcortical – that are associated with variability in cognitive decline not only in patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s but also in individuals with mild cognitive impairment or those who are cognitively normal but are at risk for Alzheimer’s.” In addition to his affiliation with the Martinos Center, Yeo is an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Clinical Imaging Research Centre and Singapore Institute for Neurotechnology at the National University of Singapore.The study analyzed data collected as part of the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI), a multi-institutional project to develop biomarkers – including blood tests, cerebrospinal fluid tests, and imaging studies – that can be used for diagnosis or in clinical trials. Yeo and his team – including investigators at the MGH and in Singapore – analyzed MR images taken of the brains of 378 ADNI participants when they enrolled in the study. Of these participants, 188 had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease; the others – 147 with mild cognitive impairment and 43 who were cognitively normal – were at increased risk based on levels in their brains of the beta-amyloid plaques that are characteristic of the disease. Share Pinterest Share on Twitter Email As a first step, the research team analyzed data from the baseline structural MRIs using a mathematical model that estimated the probability that particular details of each image were associated with atrophy of a specific location within the brain. Based on the location of atrophy factors, they determined three atrophy factor patterns: cortical – representing atrophy in most of the cerebral cortex; temporal – indicating atrophy in the temporal cortex (the cortical lobe behind the ears), hippocampus and amygdala; and subcortical, indicating atrophy in the cerebellum, striatum and thalamus, structures at the base of the brain.Analysis of study participant scans taken two years later indicated that atrophy factor patterns were persistent in individuals and did not reflect different stages of disease. Most participants – including those in the mild cognitive impairment and cognitively normal groups – showed levels of more than one atrophy factor.Behavioral and cognitive tests of study participants taken at six-month intervals indicated associations between particular atrophy factor patterns and specific cognitive deficits. Individuals in whom temporal atrophy predominated had greater problems with memory, while cortical atrophy was associated with difficulties with executive function – the ability to plan and to accomplish goals. Individual differences in how atrophy factors are distributed within the brain may allow prediction of the rate at which cognitive abilities would be expected to decline.“Most previous studies focused on patients already diagnosed, but we were able to establish distinct atrophy patterns not only in diagnosed patients but also in at-risk participants who had mild impairment or were cognitively normal at the outset of the study,” Yeo says. “That is important because the neurodegenerative cascade that leads to Alzheimer’s starts years, possibly decades, before diagnosis. So understanding different atrophy patterns among at-risk individuals is quite valuable.He adds, “Previous studies assumed that an individual can only express a single neurodegenerative pattern, which is highly restrictive since in any aged person there could be multiple pathological factors going on at the same time – such as vascular impairment along with the amyloid plaques and tau tangles that are directly associated with Alzheimer’s. So individuals who are affected by multiple, co-existing pathologies might be expected to exhibit multiple atrophy patterns.”Future research could further determine whether and how these atrophy patterns relate to the distribution of amyloid and tau and the mechanisms by which they affect specific cognitive abilities, Yeo explains. The same analytic approach also could be applied to other types of patient data and extended to other neurodegenerative disorder that produce varying symptom patterns, such as Parkinson’s disease and autism.
LANL FOUNDATION News:The Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) Foundation introduces its new 2020 Education Enrichment Grant Cycle, requesting proposals from educators ready to pioneer New Mexico’s evolving learning frontier.The LANL Foundation is presenting a new grant cycle with the largest competitive round of funding the foundation has distributed to date: its 2020 Education Enrichment Grant cycle. Proposals are due at 5 p.m. MST, July 26, 2020. Through a two-stage application process, LANL Foundation will select 12 recipients to receive $20,000 awards, totaling $240,000 of investment in education across Northern New Mexico. The grant cycle was designed with a focus on equity and access, stemming from the LANL Foundation’s mission, vision and commitment to listening to the communities it serves, promoting racial and social equity in all its programs and grantmaking. This new grant cycle continues to build on improvements grounded in feedback LANL Foundation received from its grantees through a Grantee Perception Survey conducted by the Center for Effective Philanthropy in 2019.Open to schools/school districts, 501(c)3 organizations, and Pueblo/Tribal communities in LANL Foundation’s seven-county service area, this RFP is a call to action to leaders in local school and community-based education to envision and implement change-making ideas. During this time of unprecedented challenges, educators, schools and districts are anticipating multiple scenarios for a return to school; and nonprofits are adapting programming to embrace delivering support virtually. Thus this is the time when education grants can truly elevate academic strategies for success.“We are evolving our grantmaking to better serve our communities,” LANL Foundation Grants Manager Sylvan Argo explained, adding that with grants of this size, the Foundation previously had a closed, invite-only process. “By activating a larger call for proposals, the LANL Foundation hopes to learn more about the inspiring work taking place regionally.”“This is a unique time for education in New Mexico. We all need to pull together as educators, to learn from one another, think critically about how we are meeting the needs of our students and teachers, and celebrate the amazing work being done in our communities,” said LANL Foundation Education Enrichment Director Mike Dabrieo. “The Education Enrichment grants are an opportunity for organizations to move forward with their missions to support students and educators in Northern New Mexico. We look forward to collaborating with our grantees to do this very important work.”The first round of proposals will ask for bigger picture ideas, demonstrating specific impact in one or more of LANL Foundation’s Education Enrichment Grant Focus Areas:Advocacy;College, Career & Pathways;Growing and Supporting Teachers & Educational Leaders;Social-Emotional & Neurosequential Learning; andSTEAM.The second round of proposals will begin in late August when a select group of applicants from the first round are invited to submit longer narrative proposals, which will be due early September. The grant award recipients will be selected and announced in October 2020. Through this new grant cycle, the LANL team will develop a Grantee Cohort with a goal to support grantees’ work beyond the grant funding – in other areas such as capacity building, networking, collaboration and developing partnerships.Learn more and apply now.
When the perfectly calm day sneaks up on you while you are day-dreaming and turns into a snarly, life-stealing beast, all your training rushes to the front of the “screen.” But sometimes, all your skill isn’t going to get you home. And sometimes the boat itself is what betrays you as she threatens to slip away beneath you. You are going to be hard to find — unless you are sending a personal signal to the satellite who will call the USCG for you. This column is about that.Trained In Saving YourselfIn the past, we’ve written about the various locator devices and how they were evolving. One of those devices, the “PPIRB” (pea-purr-b) is a Personal EPIRB. This is what we now call a “PLB” or Personal Locator Beacon. You wear it on your person. It also has the built-in GPS. When you attain a coxswain rating in the USCG Auxiliary (the person responsible for the boat, the crew, and the mission), the USCG gives you a PLB. Even if you go hiking, take this with you. If you get lost, we’ve got too much invested in you not to come get you!Be aware that there are private companies now that offer devices that can locate you while you are underway and offer rescue notification services. I have no fully formed opinion of them, pro or con, but if I am not registering myself and my device with NOAA, then I have to figure that my call for help has to pass through at least one additional set of hands.Back In The Day . . .The old model EPIRBs transmitted on dual frequencies of 121.5 and 243 megahertz. This was hopefully picked up by passing planes and satellites. It could take four to six hours for someone or something to pass overhead before it reached the USCG. Also, the footprint that you were within could be as much as 12 square nautical miles. That is a lot of real estate and a lot of water to cover. On the USCG website, it says that the 121.5/243MHZ devices are “no longer recommended.”State Of The ArtInterestingly, the 121.5MHZ frequency is favored for radio direction finding. So, the newest EPIRBs now transmit simultaneously on 406MHZ and 121.5MHZ. The 406 reduces the footprint to one square nautical mile. And the 406 MHZ is heard by satellites all over the world and, within an hour, the USCG RCC will have commenced coming to your aid. And the rescuers will also be looking for your EPIRB’s 121.5MHZ signal with their RDF gear. In heavy seas, that may very well be the difference between passing right by you while you are in the trough — or knowing that you are just over the next wave.But My Boat Has An EPIRBGood! I just hope you don’t fall off the boat. Or, as the tale below details, your EPIRB battery, which you dutifully replaced (as I just did!) by shipping it to the lowest-cost provider of battery replacement services that could be found on the internet, doesn’t fail at the time that it is most needed — as you grab it in an “abandon ship” scenario.From Ocean Navigator, 3/16/2010I read everything about the sea that I can get my hands on — hard copy, electronic, notes in bottles. Back in 2010, Ocean Navigator magazine published a story by Fredrick Gary Hareland about this same subject and I saved it as an object lesson. Hareland recounted in his story the following about the crew of a 57-foot vessel making way from Hong Kong to Phuket when disaster struck:“In closing, I must inform you that our crew and passengers on board that 57-footer were all rescued thanks to the master’s back-up PLB. Turns out the EPIRB failed to deploy, but that little handheld PLB got the alert through and the victims are toasting it and each other while retelling their recent adventure.”Redundancy will look very cheap and very smart, if/when — and they fit in your pocket.By the way, if you are interested in being part of USCG Forces, email me at JoinUSCGAux@aol.com or go direct to the D1SR Human Resources department, who are in charge of new members matters, at DSO-HR and we will help you “get in this thing.” Share
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“The number of enquiries for custom designed products has continued to grow, flouting the current economic slowdown,” says Sarah Spivey, managing director of Modulift.”In order to keep up with customer demand, we are expanding our engineering division in order to concentrate on research and product development. This is a very exciting development, as we are planning on expanding our product range to include high capacity lifting beams, link bar systems, trunnion shackles and sling release systems. For our customers, this means greater convenience, reduced expense and quicker rigging times.”With over 20 years experience in both onshore and offshore lifting, Modulift believe that its team are extremely well placed to provide the technical knowledge to advise customers what their best options are. Whether there is an offset centre of gravity or they require multiple-point lifts, more customers are discovering that they have complex requirements that standard lifting solutions can’t accommodate.”When bespoke products are required, we work very closely with the customer to develop a mutually agreeable solution that meets both their budget and technical needs,” continues Sue Caples, Modulift’s operations director. “We are also planning on doubling the size of our current team, enabling us to answer customer enquiries even more quickly than before.”