Better Living Through Well Being
Presented by TMIS


Fluoride Warnings Issued by International Group of Dentists
Championsgate, Florida
October is Dental Hygiene Month, but not all dentists will be touting the alleged benefits of fluoride. In fact, the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT) is using this month to raise awareness of the health risks associated with fluoride. This is especially timely because of recent news about a study linking fluoride exposure in utero with lower IQs.

The IAOMT is an organization of over 800 dentists, physicians, and research professionals in more than 14 countries, and the non-profit organization has been dedicated to its mission of protecting public health since it was founded in 1984. Since that time, the group has continually collected, examined, and reviewed studies and research articles about fluoride and other dental materials and practices.

"IAOMT and its members have been independently studying the toxicity of fluoride for decades," Matthew Young, DDS, President of the IAOMT, explains. "For dentistry, as an ethical profession, it is imperative to uphold the concepts of 'do no harm.' Fluoride has traditionally been seen as a panacea for dental disease without the knowledge of its inherent harm to the human body. We need to seek less toxic alternatives and work to improve human health with the safest approach."

This week, the IAOMT is officially releasing a variety of new fluoride awareness resources available for free on their website. The materials were developed based on the group's new Position Paper against Fluoride Use in Water, Dental Materials, and Other Products. Hundreds of scientific studies and research articles were analyzed to create this detailed document, which includes over 500 citations supporting the potential for fluoride to cause adverse health outcomes.
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Study Shows Topical Analgesics Reduce Chronic Pain, Lessen Need For Opioids
Austin, Texas
Clarity Science, a division of Safe Harbor Compliance and Clinical Services LLC, report results of the Institutional Review Board (IRB)- approved Optimizing Patient Experience and Response to Topical Analgesics (OPERA) Study which evaluated patients with chronic pain who were treated with topical analgesics. Overall results, published today in the Journal of Pain Research, suggest that topical treatments may provide an effective and safer treatment alternative to opioids and prescription NSAIDs for the management of chronic pain.

Chronic pain is a leading cause of disability in the United States. It affects over 100 million Americans and is one of the most frequent reasons people seek medical care. Despite a wealth of treatment options, as many as 40% of patients treated for chronic pain do not attain adequate relief.

Further compounding this problem, patients who report chronic pain often suffer from multiple conditions and take multiple medications such as opioids and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that are associated with adverse effects including abuse, addiction, and death.

The FDA and CDC have recognized that opioid misuse and overdose have reached epidemic proportions. The number of prescriptions for opioids and other controlled substances increased dramatically in recent years and deaths associated with opioids continue to grow. Recent data from the National Center for Health Statistics reports over 64,000 drug overdose deaths in 2016 -- a faster rate than the HIV epidemic, car crashes, and gun deaths at their respective peaks.
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Almost 9 out of 10 American Adults Lack Skills Needed to Manage Health and Prevent Disease
San Antonio, Texas
TAVHealth, an organization that connects healthcare providers, payers, community, and philanthropic organizations to help solve the Social Determinants of Health with its collaborative, cloud-based platform, has announced the importance of recognizing National Health Literacy Month in October. According to the National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy, nearly 9 out of 10 adults have difficulty using and understanding routine health information. In an age where we are trying to improve health outcomes and reduce unnecessary hospital visits, understanding the importance of health literacy is crucial.

"With the transition to value-based care it is imperative the post-discharge patient understands their care plan when they leave the hospital. Today, nearly one third of American adults struggle with basic or below basic health literacy. In order to improve health we need to meet individuals where they are and make sure they can understand and follow their plan," commented TAVHealth Founder and CEO, Jamo Rubin, M.D.

Increasingly, providers, payers, and community organizations are collaborating to make sure individuals and families understand complex instructions. Failing to adhere to post-acute care instructions is a key factor in hospital readmissions and increased healthcare costs. On average, adults with low health literacy experience 4 times higher healthcare costs, 6% more hospital visits, and 2-day longer hospital stays.
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Iconic wild animals in Amazon suffering for selfies
New York, New York
Demand for selfies has changed the lives of wild animals forever: the explosive trend on social media is driving the suffering and exploitation of some of the world's most iconic animals in the Amazon, says international charity World Animal Protection.

Focusing on two gateway cities of the Amazon --Manaus, Brazil and Puerto Alegria, Peru -- World Animal Protection's investigators reveal in a new report, "A close up on cruelty: The harmful impact of wildlife selfies in the Amazon" that animals are snatched from the wild, often illegally, and used by irresponsible tour operators who cruelly exploit and injure wildlife to entertain and provide harmful photo opportunities for tourists.

In public view and behind the scenes, investigators uncovered evidence of cruelty being inflicted on wild animals, including:
* Sloths captured from the wild, tied to trees with rope, not surviving longer than six months
* Birds such as toucans with severe abscesses on their feet
* Green anacondas wounded and dehydrated
* Caiman crocodiles restrained with rubber bands around their jaws
* An ocelot (a type of wild cat) kept in a small barren cage
* A manatee held in a tiny tank in the forecourt of a local hotel
* A giant anteater, manhandled and beaten by its owner

Steve McIvor, CEO at World Animal Protection, says: "The wildlife selfie craze is a worldwide phenomenon fueled by tourists, many of whom are unaware of the abhorrent conditions and terrible treatment wild animals may endure to provide that special souvenir photo. Behind the scenes, wild animals are being taken from their mothers as babies and secretly kept in filthy, cramped conditions or repeatedly baited with food, causing severe psychological trauma."
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Iterum Therapeutics reveals new US maps highlighting antibiotic resistance 'hotspots'
Dublin, Ireland
Research presented this week by Iterum Therapeutics provides, for the first time, detailed maps by zip code showing the prevalence of bacteria in the US that are resistant to many newer antibiotics. These heat-maps document the prevalence of common gram-negative bacteria that cause urinary tract infections in the community, as well as more serious hospital onset infections. These are increasingly resistant to quinolones, as well as to penicillins and cephalosporins, as a consequence of the production of extended spectrum beta-lactamases (ESBLs).

The findings were released at the Infectious Disease Week conference in San Diego, CA. Data collected from 571 hospitals and other health facilities across the United States show regional differences in resistance rates, with quinolone resistance exceeding 30 per cent and ESBL prevalence over nine per cent (Poster #400). Hotspots of resistance include southern California, Louisiana, Texas and New Jersey. The maps and more details are at www.iterumtx.com.

The Infectious Disease Week poster also compared prevalence within hospitals. Rates were highest for in-patients (more than three days after admission or soon after discharge), compared to new admissions (fewer than three days after admission) and out-patients. "Wherever possible, avoidance of hospitalization for infections caused by these organisms is much better for patients and the healthcare system," said Dr. Michael Dunne, one of the research authors. "Outpatient care is much less expensive and protects against the dissemination of resistant pathogens within the hospital. But such care requires new antibiotics that are safe and effective and can be taken orally, rather than intravenously."
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"Killer Summer Heat" Report: 14,000 Americans Could Die Annually by Mid-Century Without Paris Climate Pact Protections
Washington DC
President Trump's plan to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement could seriously harm public health for decades, worsening summer heatwaves that could kill 13,860 Americans each year by mid-century, and as many as 29,850 a year by the end of the century, a recent report released shows. That translates to about 150 Americans dying daily in the 2040s and about 325 dying each climate-fueled hot summer day in the 2090s in 45 of the nation's largest cities. This all could unfold if the United States doesn't move, and soon, to slash the key driver of climate change, carbon pollution from power plants and vehicles, according to the report "Killer Summer Heat, Paris Agreement Compliance Could Avert Hundreds of Thousands of Needless Deaths in America's Cities," released by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The top 15 cities in order of potential annual deaths by the 2090s are: New York City (7,370); Philadelphia (5,040); Chicago (2,440); Boston (1,340); Baltimore (1,010); Detroit (870); Providence, RI (670); St. Louis (640); Buffalo (620); Rochester, NY (600); Cincinnati (580); Cleveland (570); Washington, DC (560); Los Angeles (540); Louisville (530).

"This report carries a dire warning: Reneging on our climate commitments could cause tens of thousands of Americans to die," said Juanita Constible, special projects director in NRDC's Climate & Clean Air program. "If carbon pollution isn't reined in, climate change will continue superheating summer with terrible consequences for public health in some of our biggest cities.

"Congress and President Trump should act, and soon, to protect Americans from these needless summer deaths. That's starting with supporting, not gutting, the Environmental Protection Agency and re-instating our international commitments to fight climate change."
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Featured Book - "An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back"
New York, New York
In "An American Sickness How Healthcare Became Big Business & How You Can Take It Back" an award-winning New York Times reporter Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal reveals the dangerous, expensive, and dysfunctional American healthcare system, and tells us exactly what we can do to solve its myriad of problems. It is well documented that our healthcare system has grave problems, but how, in only a matter of decades, did things get this bad? Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal doesn't just explain the symptoms; she diagnoses and treats the disease itself. Rosenthal spells out in clear and practical terms exactly how to decode medical doublespeak, avoid the pitfalls of the pharmaceuticals racket, and get the care you and your family deserve. She takes you inside the doctor-patient relationship, explaining step by step the workings of a profession sorely lacking transparency. This is about what we can do, as individual patients, both to navigate a byzantine system and also to demand far-reaching reform.

Breaking down the monolithic business into its individual industries, the hospitals, doctors, insurance companies, drug manufacturers, that together constitute our healthcare system, Rosenthal tells the story of the history of American medicine as never before. The situation is far worse than we think, and it has become like that much more recently than we realize. Hospitals, which are managed by business executives, behave like predatory lenders, hounding patients and seizing their homes. Research charities are in bed with big pharmaceutical companies, which surreptitiously profit from the donations made by working people. Americans are dying from routine medical conditions when affordable and straightforward solutions exist. Dr. Rosenthal explains for the first time how various social and financial incentives have encouraged a disastrous and immoral system to spring up organically in a shockingly short span of time. The system is in tatters, but we can fight back. An American Sickness is the frontline defense against a healthcare system that no longer has our well-being at heart.
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Michael R. Bloomberg Announces $200 Million American Cities Initiative To Help U.S. Cities Innovate, Solve Problems, And Work Together In New Ways
Miami, Florida
In an address at the U.S. Conference of Mayors' Annual Meeting in Miami, Michael R. Bloomberg today announced the American Cities Initiative, a suite of new and expanded investments that will empower cities to generate innovation and advance policy that moves the nation forward. In an era of unprecedented challenges – from rapid technological change to Washington D.C.'s deepening disengagement on urban issues to the climate crisis – cities need new tools that will allow mayors to do what they do best: innovate, solve problems, and work together to move the needle on the issues that matter to citizens and America's future.

As the first investment as part of the American Cities Initiative, Michael R. Bloomberg invited mayors to participate in a new U.S. edition of the Mayors Challenge, which will help hundreds of mayors develop, test, and implement innovative solutions to the emerging challenges they face. Bloomberg also announced a new grant to the U.S. Conference of Mayors today that will help position mayors and local governments at the forefront of the country's most pressing debates.

The American Cities Initiative builds on Bloomberg Philanthropies' extensive existing efforts to strengthen cities through its arts and culture, education, environment, government innovation, and public health programs, as well as world-class consulting services through Bloomberg Associates.

The American Cities Initiative focuses on three core areas:

•Promoting bold leadership and effective problem-solving in city halls;

•Advancing critical policies and legislation in areas ranging from education to climate change to opioid abuse; and

•Empowering citizens - including artists, volunteers, and entrepreneurs - to solve problems and strengthen social cohesion.
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Vaccines, not Diet, are Causing Epidemic of Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes According to New Paper from Classen Immunotherapies
Manchester, Maryland
A newly published paper in June's Journal of Endocrinology, Diabetes & Obesity, 5(3): 1107, by immunologist J. Bart Classen, MD of Classen Immunotherapies provides further proof of the dangers of vaccines. The paper reviews the growing evidence that many cases of obesity, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome are inflammatory conditions and that vaccine induced inflammation is the cause of the epidemic of these diseases. Upon receiving a vaccine some individuals' immune system becomes hyper active leading to autoimmune destruction of insulin secreting cells and the development of type 1 diabetes. Many other individuals produce increased cortisol and other immune suppressing molecules, to suppress the vaccine induced inflammation. This increased production leads to type 2 diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome. The new paper reviews evidence supporting vaccines, not diet, as a cause of the epidemics of obesity, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. "

The new paper reviews proof that vaccines are much more dangerous than the public is lead to believe. Adequate testing has never been performed to indicate that there is an overall improvement in health from immunization. One major problem with vaccines is the one dose fits all approach. In order to induce protection to infection in the 1% of the population with the weakest immune system, vaccines are over stimulating the immune system of the remaining 99% of the population and this is leading to epidemics of inflammatory diseases," states Dr. J. Bart Classen.
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Kannalife Sciences Participates in 27th Annual International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS) Symposium
New York, New York
Kannalife Sciences, Inc. ("Kannalife"), a bio-pharmaceutical and phyto-medical company, presented its findings at the 27th Annual ICRS Symposium on the Cannabinoids held in Montreal, Canada from June 22-27, 2017. The Company presented one of its published bodies of science titled the "Effect of KLS-13019 and Cannabidiol On Neuroprotection from Oxidative Stress in Hippocampal Cultures: Mechanism of Action" and two posters at the Symposium.

The publication and two posters Kannalife presented at the Symposium, titled "Neuroprotective and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of KLS-13109 and Cannabidiol in IN VITRO and IN VIVO Models of Chemotherapy-Induced Neuropathic Pain" and "Discovery of Side-Chain Modified Cannabidiol-Derived Neuroprotective Agents with Improved "Drug Likeness," highlighted the Company's recent research of CBD and CBD-derived molecule target drug candidates to treat neurodegenerative diseases.

"When we set out to design a better molecule and keep much of the pharmacological properties of CBD such as neuroprotection and reducing oxidative stress, we hoped to come up with an answer to the limitations of CBD," said CEO of Kannalife, Dean Petkanas. "We believe we've answered that problem with KLS-13019. Accordingly, we were honored and grateful to be given the opportunity by the ICRS to present our Company's most recent research and progress in the field of cannabinoid-based therapeutics. The ICRS is dedicated to promoting the exchange of scientific information and perspectives about the use of cannabis, cannabinoid therapeutics, in the regulation of receptors, neurotransmitters and homeostasis of the endocannabinoid system. Their involvement in sponsoring an annual event that pushes forth the field of scientific discovery in cannabinoid therapeutics is unparalleled."
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National Survey Taps Over 1,700 Dietitians to Predict Top 2017 Food Trends
New York, New York
Pollock Communications and leading nutrition trade magazine, Today's Dietitian, has released the results of their fifth annual "What's Trending in Nutrition" national food trend survey, which polled over 1,700 registered dietitians (RDs) across the country on the new year's big trends in food and eating. Results reveal a decline in consumers' interest in dieting. Instead, many are choosing clean and mindful eating as their path to healthier living.

"Year-to-year, our unprecedented connection with Registered Dietitians - the authorities on all matters of food and nutrition - has enabled us to document the movement towards mindful eating," said Mara Honicker, publisher of Today's Dietitian. "This annual increase in attention to eating with purpose and care is also reflected in the top 10 superfood trends. There has been a consistent focus on foods that are nutrient-rich - like seeds, avocados and nuts - along with those that have health-promoting qualities, like fermented foods and green tea."

Dietitians are attributing the latest shift in consumer food perception to the growing trend of "mindful eating," a slower and more thoughtful approach to eating. Based on the survey, 49 percent of RDs say that consumers will choose mindful eating over dieting. In addition, 59 percent say consumers will choose to "eat clean," by looking to consume foods that are less processed and more whole foods such as veggies, fruits, ancient grains and green tea, as well as plant-based proteins like nuts and seeds.
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In 2017, Saving the Planet Starts in Your Kitchen
Boston, Massachussetts
It is easy to feel powerless in the face of environmental problems such as climate change and health problems such as obesity and chronic disease. We might wonder if there is anything we could do as individuals that would make a difference in solving these dire problems. Yet there are five powerful steps individuals can take in the new year (and years to come) to significantly impact their own health, the health of other people, and the health of our environment. So says Ellen Moyer, Ph.D., an environmental consultant and author of the book Our Earth, Our Species, Our Selves: How to Thrive While Creating a Sustainable World.

She says, "Whether we like it or not, or know it or not, our small actions repeated day after day add up to huge impacts. Consumers inescapably weigh in on a vast array of issues every day. We make a difference with each bite we take, and by reducing food waste because food is a basic way we fit into the web of life and interact with our world. By choosing whole, real, organically grown food, preferably favoring plant foods, we vote for everyone's health, including our own. We also help the economy by reducing expenditures on health and environmental damage control."
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Blue Light is Adversely Affecting Our Sight & Health, According to an Eye-Opening New Survey by the Vision Council
Alexandria, Virginia
Sleep disruption, increased risk of depression, long-term vision issues and retinal damage - these are all potential side effects of a hidden culprit: blue light. Also known as high energy visible (HEV) light, blue light -according to a new nationwide report released by The Vision Council - is emitted from digital devices, contributing to eye strain. These findings arrive as thousands flock to the annual Consumer Electronics Show, the modern mecca for the latest gadgetry designed to improve individuals' lifestyles, but not necessarily their vision.

Blue light is a type of light with short wavelengths that emits higher energy. Aside from sunlight, digital screens - on computers/laptops, smart phones, tablets and TVs - are the most common source of blue light exposure. Blue light penetrates deep into the eye, and exposure may result in: exposing the eye to hidden spikes in light intensity; age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts; and suppression of the body's natural release of melatonin. With an increase in digital technology, there has been an increase in blue light exposure. In turn, many individuals suffer from the physical eye discomfort felt after screen use for longer than two hours at a time, also known as digital eye strain.

As part of its ongoing efforts to educate the public about the effects of digital devices on the eyes, The Vision Council commissioned its new survey of 9,840 American adults nationwide, which found that more than 87% use digital devices more than two hours per day, and over 52% regularly use two digital devices simultaneously.

However, according to Dr. Justin Bazan, OD and medical adviser to The Vision Council, the eyes are not built to stare at digital screens all day, as the modern world demands. "Patients underestimate how their technology use may be contributing to eye strain and do not consider ways to reduce this stress," he says.
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Remarks for the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change to the Toronto Region Board of Trade
Toronto, Canada
Thank you, everyone, for the warm welcome. It's great to be back. The Board of Trade is a longtime pillar of the Canadian business community and a cornerstone to the success of this great city.

I would like to begin by acknowledging that the land we are on is the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee (HO-Dehn-Oh-show-knee), the Métis, and the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation.

Indigenous peoples are the first stewards of our water, air, and land, and we must work in partnership to protect our environment.

Our world has come a long way since the Board of Trade was created in the 1850s, on the dusty streets of Toronto. First of all, we live, on average, four decades longer than we did in 1850. We travel across our country in hours rather than weeks or months. And today, we carry all the libraries of the world in the palms of our hand.

If you ask me, I'd say we've done pretty well. Together, we've overcome countless challenges - from war, to recession, to disease.

Here in Canada, our curiosity, intelligence, and determination have led us to create thriving cities and to come up with innovations that our ancestors would not have believed. But today - after so much progress - we confront an urgent challenge. A challenge that will alter the course of our future if we don't act now - and will affect how and where we live, our quality of life, and our collective prosperity.
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Animal Health Community Collectively Redefines Antibiotic Use on the Farm
Washington, DC
The FDA  has announced the full implementation of new policies redefining how antibiotics are used to treat food-producing animals. Beginning January 1, antibiotics similar to those used in human medicine that are medically important are no longer to be used to promote growth in animals. All remaining uses of these antibiotics in farm animals will be for the purpose of fighting disease under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian.

Antibiotics are one of the key disease-fighting tools used by farmers to keep animals healthy. U.S. livestock producers utilize antibiotics in a responsible manner to manage diseases in their animals and to preserve their effectiveness. Because of the research-defined relationship between healthy animals and safe food products, it is important that farmers have a range of effective tools available to keep food animals healthy.

"The cooperative approach used by FDA to bring about this significant change has worked," said AHI President and CEO Alexander S. Mathews. "The fully implemented changes  that have been announced represent an enormous effort by the animal health industry, veterinarians and farmers to align with the FDA policy and enhance the responsible use of antibiotics."

With these changes, veterinarians will be more involved in the decision to use antibiotics on the farm. All uses of medically important antibiotics in feed and water now require the approval and supervision of a licensed veterinarian. A veterinarian must sign a Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) to allow the use of these antibiotics in feed and a prescription if used in water. While a veterinarian must approve the use of the antibiotic, the other directions on the label regarding dose and duration must be followed. Any other feed uses of antibiotics not listed on the label is illegal.
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Taking Action: Global Animal Protein Leaders, Public and Private Organizations Outline Future Path for Combatting Antimicrobial Resistance
Washington, DC
More than 250 global food and health leaders representing the public and private sector gathered in Washington, D.C. at the One Health Summit, and declared priorities to help combat antimicrobial resistance as part of efforts to produce a sustainable food supply. The One Health Summit explored the following three core areas and created outcomes to help animal agriculture deliver on their commitments to combat antimicrobial resistance:

1. Increasing veterinary oversight: Veterinarians play a critical role in maintaining animal health and making the appropriate treatment decisions. Further, veterinarians are a critical link in preventing disease and antimicrobial resistance spread. However, there is a significant gap in veterinary availability and training in some countries, and even in parts of the United States. Outcome: Summit participants formed a working group to establish a pilot project to develop and test a model for increasing veterinary capacity and training. The World Veterinary Association (WVA) has agreed to chair the working group. The American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) has offered to convene stakeholders to explore funding opportunities and build capacity. Finally, the Gates Foundation stated they will work with stakeholders to build connections and consider funding support in countries aligned with the Foundation's strategy.

2. Improving antimicrobial resistance monitoring and reporting: The lack of effective global measures and transparent reporting processes hinder the ability to track responsible antibiotic use, determine where progress against antimicrobial resistance is occurring, and where improvements are needed. Outcome: The Summit participants agreed to continue working together to develop a process to collect and harmonize data on global antibiotic use and resistance across all livestock sectors.

3. Accelerating innovation: Innovation is a critical pathway to address the challenge of antimicrobial resistance. Summit participants recognized there are significant barriers across regulatory, legislative and marketplace segments. Outcome: A cross-functional working group formed to advance innovation and build public confidence in innovative solutions.
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Millennials and Organic: A winning combination
Washington, DC
America's 75 million Millennials are devouring organic, and they're making sure their families are too. Parents in the 18- to 34-year-old age range are now the biggest group of organic buyers in America, finds a new survey on the organic buying habits of American households released today by the Organic Trade Association (OTA). Among U.S. parents, more than five in 10 (52 percent) organic buyers are Millennials. And this influential and progressive generation is stocking their shopping carts with organic on a regular basis.

"The Millennial consumer and head of household is changing the landscape of our food industry," said Laura Batcha, CEO and Executive Director of the Organic Trade Association. "Our survey shows that Millennial parents seek out organic because they are more aware of the benefits of organic, that they place a greater value on knowing how their food was grown and produced, and that they are deeply committed to supporting a food system that sustains and nurtures the environment."

OTA has partnered with KIWI Magazine to conduct surveys of the organic buying patterns of households since 2009. This year's survey marks the first time that generational buying habits have been studied. The survey looked at Millennials (born between 1981-1997, currently age 18-34 years), Generation-X (born between 1965-1980, currently 35-50 years old), and Baby Boomers (born between 1946-1964 and currently 51-69 years old).

Compared to Millennials who account for 52 percent of organic buyers, Generation X parents made up 35 percent of parents choosing organic, and Baby Boomers just 14 percent.

OTA's U.S. Families' Organic Attitudes and Beliefs 2016 Tracking Study, a survey of more than 1,800 households throughout the country with at least one child under 18, found that more than eight in ten (82 percent) U.S. families say they buy organic sometimes, one of the highest levels in the survey's seven-year lifetime. The number of families never buying organic has steadily decreased, going from almost 30 percent in 2009 to just 18 percent today.
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Eight in Ten Americans Say Appearance is At Least Somewhat Important When Shopping for Fresh Produce
New York, New York
No matter how many times we've been told not to judge a book by its cover, waiting to pass judgement on something until after we get past its outside has never been an easy task for people to accomplish. Whether it's what we're reading or who we're meeting, people have a tendency to set expectations based on surface assessment. But does the same hold true for what we eat? According to a recent Harris Poll, about eight in ten Americans (81%) confirm that appearance (i.e., not blemished or misshapen in any way) is at least somewhat important to them when shopping for fresh produce (i.e., fruits and vegetables), with 43% saying it is very or extremely important.

When listed alongside other fresh produce descriptors, appearance proved to be more important than provenance (i.e., locally grown or sourced), the retailer's food waste practices, and organic. However, the price and seasonality are more likely to be important to a purchaser than appearance.

"Whether 'ugly' or not, produce is on the rise, up 5% in U.S. dollar sales in the latest 52 weeks ending July 30, 2016," said Jen Campuzano, Director Fresh Perishables at Nielsen. "Choosing healthier and more natural products has become a priority for households across the country. For some, this means transparency in labeling, opting for foods with basic ingredient lists or embracing fruits and vegetables, blemishes and all."

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,025 U.S. adults aged 18+ and surveyed online between August 10 and 12, 2016. Complete results of this study can be found here.
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Just add water: Biomolecular manufacturing 'on-the-go'
Boston, Massachusetts
Even amidst all the celebrated advances of modern medicine, basic life-saving interventions are still not reaching massive numbers of people who live in our planet's most remote and non-industrialized locations. The World Health Organization states that one half of the global population lives in rural areas. And according to UNICEF, last year nearly 20 million infants globally did not receive what we would consider to be basic vaccinations required for a child's health.

These daunting statistics are largely due to the logistical challenge of transporting vaccines and other biomolecules used in diagnostics and therapy, which conventionally require a "cold chain" of refrigeration from the time of synthesis to the time of administration. In remote areas lacking power or established transport routes, modern medicine often cannot reach those who may need it urgently.

A team of researchers at Harvard's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering has been working toward a paradigm-shifting goal: a molecular manufacturing method that can produce a broad range of biomolecules, including vaccines, antimicrobial peptides and antibody conjugates, anywhere in the world, without power or refrigeration.

Now, in a new paper published September 22 in Cell journal, the team has unveiled what they set out to deliver, a "just add water" portable method that affordably, rapidly, and precisely generates compounds that could be administered as therapies or used in experiments and diagnostics.

"The ability to synthesize and administer biomolecular compounds, anywhere, could undoubtedly shift the reach of medicine and science across the world," said Wyss Core Faculty member James Collins, Ph.D., senior author on the study, who is also Professor of Medical Engineering & Science and Professor of Biological Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)'s Department of Biological Engineering. "Our goal is make biomolecular manufacturing accessible wherever it could improve lives."

The approach, called "portable biomolecular manufacturing" by Collins' team, which also included Neel Joshi, Ph.D., a Wyss Core Faculty member and Associate Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Harvard's John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), hinges on the idea that freeze-dried pellets containing "molecular machinery" can be mixed and matched to achieve a wide variety of end-products. By simply adding water, this molecular machinery can be set in motion.

Compounds manufactured using the method could be administered in several ways to a patient, including injection, oral doses or topical applications. As described in the study, a vaccine against diphtheria was synthesized using the method and shown to successfully induce an antibody response against the pathogen in mice.
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Data Confirms U.S. Voters Find Emotional Intelligence Deficit at Top of November's Election Ballot
Toronto, Canada
As the United States looks to conclude one of the most controversial general elections in history, new data from Multi-Health Systems Inc. (MHS), an international leading publisher of scientifically validated assessments, demonstrates that the two primary candidates simply do not measure up when it comes to critical leadership characteristics.

MHS set out to define which emotional intelligence characteristics voters looked for in presidential candidates, as well as where this year's candidates stand. The company polled 2,000 adults in the U.S., which were fairly evenly divided among Republican, Independent and Democratic voters. A group of 1,000 adults were asked to rate the emotional intelligence skills of their ideal presidential candidate. The second 1,000 adults were asked to rate their perception of the emotional intelligence skills of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. The ratings were done on a five-point scale.

Overall, voters identified the following as the top three key characteristics they look for in a presidential leader:
* Stress Tolerance (4.62): The ability to remain calm and focused and to constructively withstand adverse events and conflicting emotions without caving in.
* Problem Solving (4.59): The ability to find solutions to problems where emotions are involved, using the right emotion at the right time and level.
* Reality Testing (4.58): The ability to see things as they actually are, rather than the way they wish or fear they might be.
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Seed Matters Campaign Launches Provocative Animated Short Film that Challenges Big Ag's Chemical Addiction
Emeryville, California
Seed Matters, a five-year-long initiative of the Clif Bar Family Foundation, has launched "Mr. Seed," a provocative, animated short film with a clear message: our food production system has been hijacked by the big agrichemical companies and organic farming is a key to taking it back. The film makes the case for organic seed and challenges the myth of chemical companies that only they can feed the world without negative impacts. It was produced for Seed Matters by The Butler Bros, a brand design studio in Austin, Texas, and brought to life by renowned Los Angeles-based animation company, Buck.

Experience the interactive Multimedia News Release here: http://www.multivu.com/players/English/7836751-seed-matters-organic-farming-film/

The film opens on an animated commercial for a fictional company called Pharm Foods. The shot pans across idyllic farmland and a family at the dinner table, except ominous cues - including dead birds - hint that something isn't right in the Pharm Foods world. Enter the hero: Mr. Seed, a clean-living (but dirty-mouthed) organic seed with human characteristics voiced by celebrity and comedian Pete Holmes. While concocting manure-based smoothies, and emasculating "GMO seed bros" ingesting "performance-enhancing" chemicals at the gym, Mr. Seed emphasizes the benefits of organic seed compared with the chemical-dependent alternative.
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Guiding Stars Updates Nutrition Guidance to Reflect Evolution In Nutrition Science and Changes in US Dietary Guidelines
Portland, Maine
Guiding Stars, North America's leading nutrition guidance program, has announced that the organization has updated its approach to factoring dietary cholesterol into its ratings system in response to evolving scientific evidence and changes reflected in the latest 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Guiding Stars' patented nutrition rating algorithm no longer imposes debits on foods that contain dietary cholesterol. Under the new algorithm, only foods with the very highest amounts of dietary cholesterol, 300 mg or more per 100 calories, will not earn stars.

The new algorithm allows nutritious yet cholesterol-containing foods like eggs and shrimp to earn stars. The inclusion of eggs in particular is a positive development for consumers who are looking for affordable, nutrient-dense sources of high quality protein. Classified by many as a "nutritional powerhouse," eggs are rich in essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals, and antioxidants. In the past, the scientific consensus among many nutrition and medical experts was that people should limit their intake of eggs due to the food's high cholesterol levels, but current research finds no significant link between dietary cholesterol and heart disease or stroke.
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Acting Together, We Can Preserve Our Natural Heritage for Benefit of All, Secretary-General Says at Wildlife Conservation Society Event
New York, New York
Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's remarks to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Gala, in New York in June:

I thank the Wildlife Conservation Society for inviting me to speak tonight. Over its proud 120-year history, the WCS has significantly helped to advance wildlife conservation around the globe in partnership with Governments and local communities.

New York would not be New York without the Bronx Zoo, and the cause of wildlife conservation would not be what it is without your efforts. I might add that I have been trying to do my part personally.

During a visit to Mongolia, the Government gave me a horse. In Kenya, I adopted a lion, named Tumani. And in South Sudan, I was given a bull. They named it Ban Ki-moo.

As I have seen again and again in my travels around the world, people from all walks of life derive pleasure and meaning from our planet's natural treasures. Some are privileged to experience them first-hand. But, immeasurably more are exposed to wildlife through documentaries and films.

So, tonight, I am delighted to be with you to celebrate the lifetime achievement of Sir David Attenborough. He has brought the incomparable magic of wildlife into the homes of millions of people through his mesmerizing documentaries.

I am also honored to pay tribute to the outstanding contribution of the Walt Disney Company towards wildlife conservation through its stunning movies and its conservation fund. The work of Sir David and the Walt Disney Company highlights two fundamental truths. First, wildlife is a fascinating, immensely valuable and indispensable part of our natural and cultural heritage. Second, it is increasingly under threat.

Essential habitats are being degraded and lost. Many species, both charismatic and lesser known, are being driven towards extinction by poaching and illegal trafficking.
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Company Demonstrates Commitment to Climate Action by Participating in 2016 U.S.-China Climate Smart/Low Carbon Cities Summit in Beijing
Beijing, China
Johnson Controls, a global leader in building and energy management solutions today joined in the 2016 U.S.-China Climate Smart/Low Carbon Cities Summit highlighting solutions to reduce energy consumption in new and retrofit buildings. The Summit was established in November 2014 by President Xi Jinping and President Barack Obama to bring together public and private sector leaders to share best practices in building low carbon, climate-resilient communities. This year's Summit brought State Counselor Yang Jiechi and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry together with U.S. and Chinese state and local governments and private sector and civil society leaders to discuss optimized energy usage, air quality and accelerating the development of low- carbon cities in China and the U.S.  Multiple memorandums of understanding to address low-carbon solutions and best practice sharing were signed by U.S. and China leaders, including an MOU signed by Trent Nevill, president, Asia Pacific, Johnson Controls on behalf of the U.S.-China Energy Cooperation Program (ECP).

"Buildings are responsible for up to a third of greenhouse gas emissions globally, and Chinese cities are expected to contribute nearly 40 percent of global growth in residential and commercial floor space demand by 2025," said Trent Nevill. "If systems and products that reduce energy are integrated into a building's design, it can result in up to 50 percent energy savings. Energy efficiency remains the lowest cost and cleanest energy resource."

Johnson Controls is focused on efforts to improve energy efficiency and address China's climate problems. From a district level, Johnson Controls' expertise uses industrial energy, such as waste heat recovery, to increase capacity for low-carbon district energy systems. "Optimized district energy systems provide centralized heating and cooling to urban areas with efficiency gains of up to 40-60 percent over conventional solutions," said Wu Song, vice president and managing director of Johnson Controls China. "District heating solutions are one way to help China achieve its carbon emission reduction target of 40 to 45 percent during the 13th Five Year Plan period." Waste heat recovery was one of the solutions presented during the Summit's Expo, where Mayor of Beijing, Wang Anshun and NDRC Vice Chairman Zheng Young visited and commented on the solution's applicability in China.
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Global Green Cement Market Growth Forecast at 14.95% CAGR to 2020
Pune, India
Analysts forecast global green cement market to grow at a CAGR of 14.95% during the period 2016-2020 with increased use of waste as alternative fuels (AF) playing major role in this growth story. The use of wastes such as used tires, solid recovered fuels, used oils, animal meal, sewage sludge, foundry sands, fly ashes, and filter cakes as AF in cement kilns helps reduces CO2 emissions during the cement production process. Waste is burnt in an incinerator with energy recovery facilities. The power generated is passed to the national electricity grid system.

Complete report on green cement market spread across 76 pages, analyzing 5 major companies and providing 48 data exhibits is now available at http://www.rnrmarketresearch.com/global-green-cement-market-2016-2020-market-report.html.

Developing innovative methods for use in the cement business could minimize the cement market waste and pollution to a large extent. Many options such as energy efficiency, AF, and clinker substitution are anticipated to reduce air pollutants emanating from cement plants. By investing in R&D and involving modeling techniques such as designing of processes, the cement market will minimize air pollution and comply with existing regulations for protection of the environment in the future.

According to the 2016 report, a key growth driver for green cement market is the rise in urbanization. A number of countries are observing the large-scale migration of the population from rural areas to urban areas. The present growth rate of the population of India (1.55% YoY basis) is more than double the growth rate of China's population (0.66% YoY basis). It is likely that the population in rural areas will be moving to urban areas rapidly during the forecast period. So, with an increase in urban population, problems such as traffic congestion, shortage of housing, and increasing passenger traffic will arise. To meet the needs of such a large scale migration, countries around the world are focusing on developing infrastructure.
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From Disease Treatment to Health Creation, International Congress for Integrative Health & Medicine, to Meet in June 2016 in Stuttgart, Germany
Stuttgart, Germany
More than 1,000 healthcare practitioners, researchers and policy experts are expected June 9-11, 2016, in Stuttgart, Germany for the International Congress for Integrative Health & Medicine (ICIHM) to discuss the latest research, promising clinical approaches, and successful integrative care models from around the world. The World Health Organization (WHO)'s call to action on chronic diseases and antibiotic resistance will be a focus of the conference.

For most people in Europe, naturopathy, acupuncture and Far Eastern treatment methods, phytotherapy and homeopathy are seen as complementary to conventional medicine. As surveys in Europe show, patients are asking for a combination of complementary and conventional medicine. Integrative Medicine is one answer to that call. For advocates of the field, Integrative Medicine is more than an evidence-informed combination of conventional and complementary treatment methods - it is a complete system that focuses on the patient as a whole person and the self-healing properties of the body. Integrative Medicine focuses on quality of life and is based on an equal doctor-patient partnership. As expressed by conference planning committee member, David Riley, MD, "Simply put, integrative medicine offers best practices for optimal health and healing. It is holistic, considering the patient's bio-psycho-social dimensions as determinants of health."

Experts consider Integrative Medicine particularly useful for patients with non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancers, diabetes and mental health diseases. NCDs have garnered attention of policy makers in over 190 countries as a global health priority, as demonstrated by the WHO's 2013-2020 Global Action Plan on NCDs. The Congress will highlight how an Integrative Medicine approach with an emphasis on prevention, high-level collaboration between professionals and integration of complementary treatments and professions is part of the solution to the global NCD challenge. Speakers will also discuss how an Integrative Medicine approach could reduce antibiotic use, one of the key objectives in WHO's Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance.
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Drugging of Americans Resembles Brave New World, Suggests Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons
Tucson, Arizona
Recalling Aldous Huxley's 1932 novel Brave New World, where the totalitarian government kept citizens happy with a drug called "soma," Marilyn Singleton, M.D., warns about "The Soma-tizing of America" in the spring issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. "Nearly 70 percent of Americans take at least one prescription drug," Dr. Singleton notes. And "20 percent are on five or more prescription medications (polypharmacy)." The use of psychoactive drugs is extremely common. "About one in 10 Americans aged 12 and over and nearly one-quarter of women between ages 50 and 64 take antidepressants." And sales of opioid or narcotic painkillers have quadrupled since 1999.

Illicit drug use is an enormous problem, with 7,800 new users per day. And so is misuse of prescription drugs: "Fifty-two million people age 12 and over have used prescription drugs nonmedically at some point in their lives."

Medical use of drugs to control behavior is shockingly high. According to one government study, one-third of nursing home patients with dementia were prescribed an antipsychotic medication as an off-label use to treat behavioral symptoms - despite black-box warnings of an increased risk of death. Psychotropic drugs that affect brain function are given to children on Medicaid at a rate four times higher than other children, and to children in foster care at a rate three times higher than to other children. As many as 10,000 toddlers may be receiving psychostimulant drugs like methylphenidate (Ritalin).
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Earth Day Network launches petition to pressure world leaders to sign Paris Climate Agreement on Earth Day
Washington, DC
Earth Day Network has launched a petition imploring President Obama to sign the Paris Climate Agreement this upcoming Earth Day, April 22nd. The official signing ceremony is to be held April 22nd at the UN in New York. All world leaders have been invited to the ceremony, planned by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, a staunch supporter of the agreement. The Climate Agreement - created by representatives of more than 190 UN members - calls for nations to decrease their greenhouse-gas emissions and to keep the global average temperature from rising 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels - the point where humanity will begin to feel the most destructive and dangerous effects of climate change.

In order for the Agreement to become binding, 55 countries - representing 55 percent of global emissions – need to sign. With less than two months until the Paris Agreement opens for signing, several countries have already pledged they will sign. However, too many countries that greatly contribute to global CO2 emissions have not. Without them, the agreement may never officially go into effect.
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An estimated 12.6 million deaths each year are attributable to unhealthy environments
Geneva, Switzerland
An estimated 12.6 million people died as a result of living or working in an unhealthy environment in 2012 – nearly one in four of total global deaths, according to new estimates from the World Health Organization (WHO). Environmental risk factors, such as air, water and soil pollution, chemical exposures, climate change and ultraviolet radiation, contribute to more than 100 diseases and injuries. Noncommunicable diseases contribute to largest share of environment-related deaths.

The second edition of the report, Preventing disease through healthy environments: a global assessment of the burden of disease from environmental risks, reveals that since the report was first published a decade ago, deaths due to noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), attributable to air pollution (including exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke), are amounting to as much as 8.2 million of these deaths. NCDs, such as stroke, heart disease, cancers and chronic respiratory disease, now amount to nearly two-thirds of the total deaths caused by unhealthy environments.

At the same time, deaths from infectious diseases, such as diarrhea and malaria, often related to poor water, sanitation and waste management, have declined. Increases in access to safe water and sanitation have been key contributors to this decline, alongside better access to immunization, insecticide-treated mosquito nets and essential medicines.
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Gut Microbiota: A New Kind of Biomarker?
Miami, Florida
The composition of the gut microbiota provides a huge potential of new biomarkers for indicating intestinal conditions. Experts presented new findings at the Gut Microbiota for Health World Summit 2016. The gut microbiota composition is significantly altered in patients with metabolic conditions. Prof. Max Nieuwdorp (University of Amsterdam / The Netherlands) presented studies that showed that an enrichment of Lactobacillus gasseri and Streptococcus mutans in the gut serves as a good predictor for the development of insulin resistance. Equally important is the observation that the amount of bacteria that produce short chain fatty acids such as Roseburia and Faecallibacterium prausnitzii is reduced in patients with Type-2 diabetes. Prof. Nieuwdorp said that connecting different types of microbial composition with classical clinical biomarkers may provide diagnostic patterns that help to assess disease risks and select the measures that are best suited for the individual patient.

A study presented by Dr. Kishore Vipperla, focussed on connections between diet and colon cancer risk factors. The study compared two groups: 20 African Americans (a population with high risk of colon cancer) and 20 participants from rural South Africa, where the disease occurs very rarely. The two groups swapped diets for two weeks: Americans were given a 'traditional African' diet, while Africans were given a western diet. Within two weeks the food swap dramatically increased the colon cancer risk In the African participants, indicated by inflammation and the proliferation rate of mucosal epithelial cells that count as important biomarkers for this condition. This was associated with altered metabolic interactions between the intestinal bacteria leading to raised levels of beneficial bacterial metabolites in the guts of the American participants while the opposite was true for the Africans.
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Climatologist receives award for demonstrating the global warming impact of other gases and particles and showing that means are available besides limiting CO2 to achieve short-term progress against the clock
Madrid
The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Climate Change category goes in this eighth edition to Indian climatologist Veerabhadran Ramanathan for discovering that human-produced gases and pollutants other than CO2 have a huge power to alter the Earth's climate, and that by acting on them it is possible to make a short-term dent on the rate of global warming.

Ramanathan's work "has inspired him to propose and test practical actions to mitigate climate change in a way that also improves air quality and human health, especially in more impoverished regions of the world," in the words of the jury, which also highlighted the centrality of the scientist's contributions in "assessing the strategies being proposed to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement."

The citation also commends Ramanathan's "vision and dedication" in "communicating the risks posed by climate change and air pollution," which has commanded the attention of world leaders and helped "shape public awareness." Ramanathan is a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and in recent years has played a key role in advising Pope Francis and other religious leaders on climate-change-related matters.

Ramanathan (Madurai, India, 1944), a professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography (University of California, San Diego) since 1990, declared himself optimistic in conversation: "We have the huge task before us to slow down climate change, and this recognition just one month after the summit agreement energizes me to work even harder and to do my best to raise public awareness of the problem. I consider the award a great honor and also an opportunity."
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Call to Action for "Age of Food Efficiency" Delivered at World Cold Chain Summit to Reduce Food Waste
Singapore
Making a bold declaration at its World Cold Chain Summit to Reduce Food Waste in Singapore last month, Carrier, a world leader in high-technology heating, air-conditioning and refrigeration solutions, delivered a call to action to begin "The Age of Food Efficiency." The conference, which was held for the first time in Asia, convened 131 delegates from 33 nations, including global leaders in the supply chain private sector, academia and government to discuss and develop scalable, sustainable solutions to expand and improve the cold chain to reduce food loss and waste. Carrier is a part of UTC Climate, Controls & Security, a unit of United Technologies Corp.

Keynote speakers at the two-day conference included Dr. Joseph Mpagalile, Agro-food Industries officer, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO); Didier Coulomb, general director of the International Institute of Refrigeration; and Clementine O'Connor, sustainable food systems consultant, United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).

"One third or more of the food we produce each year is never eaten, yet more than 50 percent of the wasted food can have its shelf life extended by the cold chain," said David Appel, president, Carrier Transicold & Refrigeration Systems. "Only 10 percent of worldwide perishable foods are refrigerated today, so there is immense opportunity to cut food waste and the resulting greenhouse gas emissions by implementing or improving the cold chain. As a leader in high-technology refrigeration solutions, Carrier actively contributes to the development of the cold chain by providing a communication platform, like this Summit, where all stakeholders have the opportunity to share, learn and build sustainable cold chain solutions to reduce food waste."

"We know there are many reasons why food is lost or wasted -- but among them is the lack of or the underdevelopment of the cold chain," said John Mandyck, UTC Chief Sustainability Officer and co-author of Food Foolish: The Hidden Connection Between Food Waste, Hunger and Climate Change. "Refrigeration is the best technology to ensure food safety for perishable goods and prolong its shelf life. That's why this Summit is so important, as it helps connect a global dialogue on how we can sustainably grow the cold chain -- which in turn, can reduce food waste and feed a growing population with fresh foods containing necessary micronutrients for good health and development.
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Mayors' Hunger and Homelessness Report Cites Increased Demand in Emergency Services as Economic Recovery Lags
Washington, DC
The 33rd annual assessment of hunger and homelessness, conducted by The U.S. Conference of Mayors and released in Washington, D.C., shows low wages leads the list of causes of hunger citied by officials in the cities surveyed, and lack of affordable housing is seen as the chief cause of homelessness for both families with children and unaccompanied individuals. 

The report was released in a telephone press conference by the co-chair of the Task Force on Hunger and Homelessness, Santa Barbara (CA) Mayor Helene Schneider. The Mayor was joined on the call by the Conference's CEO and Executive Director, Tom Cochran, U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness Executive Director, Matthew Doherty and Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) Legal Director Ellen Vollinger.

"This report reflects what we already know to be true. Cities and their partnering agencies, along with local charities and volunteers, have worked extraordinarily well together to respond to the needs of those who are hungry and homeless. Yet, despite their efforts, these challenges persist in an economy that, while on the mend, is still lagging," said Mayor Schneider. "We want to underscore that even with exemplary local programs in place to help those in need, the effects of hunger and homelessness are still felt by many families across the nation. Our federal policies must respond to the growing pressure that the national economy has placed on many localities."

"Without question, the nation's economy is in recovery. However, the slow pace of the recovery has put additional stress on cities and made it much more difficult to respond to the growing needs of hungry and homeless Americans," said USCM CEO and Executive Director Cochran. "Every year, we report on these challenges and, every year, we reiterate the need for more services and greater capacity to help growing numbers of families in need. This year is no different."
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Low-income communities more likely to face childhood obesity
Ann Arbor, Michigan
For a long time researchers have tracked high rates of obesity among black and Hispanic kids, but a closer look at communities shows family income matters more than race in predicting which kids are overweight. Using a model created from data on 111,799 Massachusetts students, the University of Michigan Health System showed that as poverty rises, so does the rate of obesity among children in 68 of its public school districts.

Although obesity rates were higher among African-American and Hispanic kids, the relationship disappeared when factoring in family income, according to the study published in the journal Childhood Obesity.

Authors concluded that fewer resources like recreational programs and parks and access to full service grocery stores appear to have a greater impact on the nation's childhood obesity rate than race.

"The findings reveal differences in the inequalities in the physical and social environment in which children are raised," says senior author Kim A. Eagle, M.D., a cardiologist and director at the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center. "It illustrates that race and ethnicity in communities may not have a significant connection to obesity status once the community's income is considered."

In low-income communities where places to play and supermarkets may be scarce, it can promote consumption of low nutrition and fast food and little to no physical activity, authors say.
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Annual Survey of Nutrition Experts Predicts What's In and Out for 2016
New York, New York
New food and nutrition trends from food like kale or cauliflower, gluten-free or no additives, to diet plans like Paleo or vegan, there's only one way to know what to look for and eat in 2016: ask 450 nutrition pros. The fourth annual "What's Trending in Nutrition" Survey from Pollock Communications and Today's Dietitian does just that and tells us what consumers will seek and avoid in the coming year.

"When it comes to forecasting nutrition trends, there are no better experts than registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs). They are at the forefront of everyday eating habits and purchasing decisions of people from all regional and economic environments. With almost two decades of working on behalf of dietitians, we know they have their finger on the pulse," says Today's Dietitian publisher Mara Honicker.

For 2016, the survey, conducted by the nutrition trade magazine Today's Dietitian and a leading food, health, and wellness public relations agency, Pollock Communications, revealed that clean eating is where it's at, ancient grains stay strong, low fat moves out, and seeds steal the show. Not to mention that shoppers will seek more seafood, read more blogs, buy based on antibiotic-free claims, and continue to favor gluten-free. Whether they're in, out, or staying the course, the following are the top 10 findings for 2016:
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"Evidence-Based Medicine" Compared with Prussian "Enlightened Absolutism" in Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons
Tucson, Arizona
"Evidence-based medicine" has been elevated to the status of an obligatory "gold standard" of medical care. Physicians who deviate from the EBM "standard of care" are likely to be marginalized and face malpractice liability or even the ruin of their careers. In the fall issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Hermann W. Borg, M.D., draws some historic parallels to medicine in Prussia at the time of the Enlightenment.

"There are striking similarities between the culture of the early Enlightenment and today's post-modern digital revolution," he writes. There was rapid change, with empowerment of new groups, as knowledge became more widely available. This threatened the existing power structure. Outright suppression by force backfired. So the political aristocracy outwardly seemed to embrace the new ideas while covertly sabotaging and subverting them.

The Prussian model shows most clearly the effects of injecting political power into medical practice, Borg explains. The Prussian system conferred the title Geheim Rath (secret or confidential counsel) on persons of recognized professional achievement, who had great influence both inside and outside academia. "The main stated objectives were to improve the quality, effectiveness, and affordability of medical care throughout the kingdom," Borg writes, just like today. "This was supposed to be done by elimination of 'nonscientific' treatment methods through leveraging the expertise of accomplished physicians."

The guiding principle of EBM is also the old Prussian principle of "one elegant formula can solve all the problems," Borg states. Enlightenment theorists could not understand why medicine did not achieve spectacular advances like those in industry and agriculture. "Perhaps the idea that treating patients cannot be compared to making machines or farming did not occur to them," he suggests.

Instead of improving medical care, the Geheim Rath system caused chaos, fostered corruption and exploitation of young physicians, and promptly became fossilized and interfered with any innovations, especially those contradicting government dogma, he states.
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Organic Trade Association targets organic opportunities with state agricultural directors
Washington, DC
Organic Trade Association Executive Director and CEO Laura Batcha has told the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) that state agriculture directors are critical in the creation of much-needed policies that provide more choice and opportunity, including the organic option, in today's U.S. agricultural system. "This is a great time for farms of all sizes to look at how organic might fit into their operation," Batcha said. "The State Departments of Agriculture play a key role in developing and delivering sound public policy that supports diversity in agriculture, including the organic choice for farmers and ranchers of all sizes and backgrounds."

Batcha noted that organic farm-gate prices are in some cases two to three times higher than that for their conventional counterparts, and that combined with forecasted long-term growth for organic demand and the opportunity for stable contract and supply chain relationships, the organic option has never looked better. "The greatest challenge facing the $39.1 billion organic industry is how to meet the burgeoning demand for organic food with adequate supply of crops, ingredients, and feed. Imports of organic products outpaced exports, amounting to nearly $1.3 billion in 2014. This amounts to a 'Help Wanted' message for American farmers. Please support them when they answer this call," Batcha told the agricultural officials.
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Could a vaccine prevent cancer from spreading after surgery?
Toronto, Canada
A researcher in Ottawa has received a grant from the Canadian Cancer Society to investigate whether a vaccine could stop cancer from spreading after surgery. Dr Rebecca Auer, a scientist and surgical oncologist at The Ottawa Hospital, received a $450,000 grant to study this promising new therapy. Appreciating the potential impact of this study, a group of cancer organizations, the Canadian Cancer Society, the National Pancreatic Cancer Canada Foundation (NPCCF), Craig's Cause Pancreatic Cancer Society and the QEII Foundation, have teamed up to co-fund this work.

The main treatment for many types of cancer is surgery. In fact, more than half of all people with cancer will have some type of surgery to remove as much of the tumour as possible. But it can be challenging to find and remove all cancer cells. Unfortunately, sometimes cancer is more likely to spread after surgery, which is the problem that Dr Auer is addressing for pancreatic cancer. The trauma of surgery can weaken the immune system, rendering it less able to detect and destroy any leftover cancer cells. "The immune system is in a constant battle with the cancer," says Dr Auer, who is also an assistant professor at the University of Ottawa. "While surgery itself does not cause cancer to spread, it can lower immunity, giving any residual cancer cells a fighting chance to grow back and spread."

"I am delighted that the NPCCF is partnering with the Canadian Cancer Society, Craig's Cause and QEII Foundation in funding this innovative research for pancreatic cancer. Creating a vaccine that prevents cancer from spreading after surgery is very encouraging to those of us in the pancreatic cancer world," says Betty Aldridge, founder and past president, National Pancreatic Cancer Canada Foundation.

Currently there is nothing being done routinely to boost a patient's immune system to prevent cancer from spreading after surgery. To tackle this problem, Dr Auer has developed a vaccine containing oncolytic (or cancer-killing) viruses. This type of vaccine is intended to outsmart cancer cells, which often trick the immune system and escape detection. Oncolytic viruses are designed to safely travel through the body to seek out and destroy cancer cells while leaving normal cells intact. At the same time, the viruses can be engineered to strengthen the immune system to mount a powerful attack on cancer cells. It is this 2-pronged approach that makes the vaccine so promising.
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Female Doctors in Leadership Roles Report More Job Satisfaction Than Non-Leader Colleagues, According to New Medscape Survey
New York, New York
Female physicians, particularly those in leadership positions, report a higher degree of happiness in their professional and personal lives than non-leaders, according to results of Medscape's newly released "Women as Physician Leaders" report. The survey results, released during Women in Medicine Month and available to the public on Medscape.com, run counter to recent trends pointing to widespread professional dissatisfaction among physicians, and a presumption that work-life balance and gender bias concerns dissuade female physicians from valuing and aspiring to leadership roles. In fact, the results show that female physicians place high value on attaining a leadership role at work, and once there, report being "very happy" at work, even more often than non-leaders.

The results also suggest that female doctors pursue leadership roles more for altruistic reasons, such as effecting change and inspiring others, rather than strictly for career advancement.

The "Women as Physician Leaders" survey reflects responses from 3285 practicing female physicians about the challenges and opportunities they face in their careers. The poll was designed to measure similarities and distinctions between leaders (i.e., those who hold top positions in their practice or within a professional association or academic department) and non-leaders. More than half of respondents have held, or currently hold at least one leadership post.
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New Study Shows Only High-Powered Near-Infrared Light Regenerates Damage from Traumatic Brain Injury
Centennial, Colorado
Hailed as a "breakthrough" treatment for people suffering from the effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI), researchers have found a unique method of applying high-powered near-infrared light (NIR) that can penetrate the skin and skull to reach the damaged portions of the brain, and effectively accelerate regeneration of the brain cells' functionality with minimal skin irritation.

Published in the Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, the study "Near-infrared photonic energy penetration: can infrared phototherapy effectively reach the human brain?" was conducted and authored by Theodore Henderson, MD, PhD and Larry Morries, DC, both based in Denver, Colorado and co-founders of the Neuro-Laser Foundation. The study compared penetration levels of low-power NIR, such as that from light-emitting diodes (LED) with high-power NIR on skin, bone, tissue and brain.
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How Sustainable Water Use Can Boost Food Security Worldwide
Chicago, Illinois
Amid growing public awareness that water is not an unlimited resource, scientists and policy makers alike are working to reduce the water footprint of food production and ensure a safe ocean habitat for future supplies of fish and seafood.

Less than 3 percent of the Earth's water is fresh, and its distribution is far from even throughout the world. In fact, nine countries harbor 60 percent of the available fresh water, reports the World Business Council for Sustainable Development: Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Indonesia, Russia and the United States. As climate change and expanding populations put more stress on local water supplies, it will become even more crucial to maximize available water resources for agriculture, which accounts for 70 percent of all water use, according to the latest series of interviews from the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) FutureFood 2050 publishing initiative. FutureFood 2050 explores how increasingly sophisticated science and technology will help feed the world's projected 9 billion-plus people in 2050.

"I think we are in a very early stage of the water scarcity debate. We still really need to do something because the water footprint is increasing," says Water Footprint Network founder Arjen Hoekstra, who coined the term "water footprint" in 2002 as a way of describing and comparing how much water consumers use. "The fact that food and beverage companies are talking about it is positive,but in the end, you have to recognize that talking doesn't change the world," he adds.
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Organic is bee-friendly, shows new report
Washingtron, DC
An important and timely report just released by The Organic Center shows that organic farming practices are effective in maintaining the health and population of important crop pollinators, predominantly bees, which have been declining at an alarming rate in the past decade and threatening global food security.

Titled "The Role of Organic in Supporting Pollinator Health," the report reviewed 71 studies detailing current threats to our pollinators and the impact of organic practices. It found that organic methods not only reduce risks to bees, but actively support the growth and health of populations of bees and other pollinators. The paper outlines pollinator-friendly techniques used by organic farmers that can also be incorporated into conventional farming systems.

"Our paper takes an in-depth look at the challenges faced by honey bees and other pollinators, and we look at organic as a model for supporting pollinator populations," said Dr. Jessica Shade, Director of Science Programs for The Organic Center. "We hope this report acts as a tool to educate policymakers, growers and consumers. Bee-friendly practices being used by organic farmers can be adopted by all producers to foster healthy pollinators."

Seventy-five percent of all crops grown for food rely on pollinators, mostly honey bees, for a successful harvest. But over the past decade, the bee population has plummeted. Since 2006, beekeepers have lost over a third of their bee hives. More than $16 billion worth of crops in the United States alone benefit from pollination every year. Without pollination from honey bees, many favorite fruits and vegetables such as apples, berries, carrots and onions would not be on our grocery shelves.
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Risks and Opportunities for the World's Economy When 'Carbon Bubble' Bursts
Berlin, Germany
A week after the G7 Summit and in advance of COP21 (the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in late 2015), renowned experts met at the first-ever Berlin Investment Forum. Organized by Der Tagesspiegel newspaper and Wermuth Asset Management around the theme of "Climate Change and Global Asset Allocation ", 150 delegates discussed the impacts of climate change as well as financial opportunities and risks posed by the worldwide energy transition.

Speakers included leading scientists Prof. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber and Prof. Klaus Topfer as well as Rainer Baake, Undersecretary at the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. The global investor community was represented by impact investors from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Willows Investments and Wermuth Asset Management, among others. Partners include the European Climate Foundation, ResponsAbility and Germanwatch.

"When the carbon bubble bursts, it will negatively impact the global financial system and the world economy," said Jochen Wermuth, founder and CIO of Wermuth Asset Management, a family office. The term 'carbon bubble' means that only about 20 percent of the world's known fossil-fuel reserves such as coal, oil, and natural gas (and as reported in balance sheets) may be exploited in order to meet the climate-policy targets reaffirmed at the G7 Summit. The remaining 80 percent of fossil fuels cannot be used and are thus worthless in the balance sheets of oil, natural-gas, and coal companies. Even if no agreement is reached at COP21 in Paris, tremendous adjustments in value will be necessary.
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The Cancer List Keeps Growing Among Athletes on Synthetic Turf Environment and Human Health, Inc. Releases Its Study Conducted at Yale on Carcinogens in Synthetic Turf
North Haven, Connecticutt
Cancer cases among athletes who have played on synthetic turf fields are being gathered in a ever lengthening list, reports Environment and Human Health, Inc. (EHHI), an organization of physicians and public health professionals.

Because there is still no government agency collecting data on the cancer cases among athletes who have played for a number of years on synthetic turf fields, the collecting of the cancer data has been left to Amy Griffin, Associate Head Soccer Coach at the University of Washington.

There are now 153 cancer cases reported, and of those, 124 are soccer players with 85 being soccer goalies. Many of them are student athletes. One would expect the soccer goalies to be the first to be affected because they are the ones who are always diving into the fields and therefore are the most exposed to the carcinogens in the crumb rubber.

The crumb rubber infill is loose and flies up in the faces, eyes and ears of the goalies as they dive for balls. There are 40,000 ground-up rubber tires in each field. Although there is no conclusive proof that the crumb rubber infill is causing the athletes to get cancer, there is new circumstantial evidence that must be taken seriously.
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"Doc2Doc" Consultation Service to Combat Unwanted Medical Treatment Crisis Free
Washington, DC
Responding to reports that millions of older Americans receive unwanted medical treatment, Compassion & Choices today launched a new, free "Doc2Doc" consultation service to ensure patients receive the end-of-life care they want. According to a 2014 poll conducted by Purple Insights, nearly one out of four Americans (24%) aged 50 or older, the equivalent of about 25 million people, say that either they or a family member have experienced excessive or unwanted medical treatment.

Better and more frequent doctor-patient communication could help prevent this excessive and unwanted medical treatment, according to a 2014 report by the Institute of Medicine, Dying in America: Improving Quality and Honoring Individual Preferences Near the End of Life.

To improve doctor-patient communication, Doc2Doc is specifically tailored to offer practicing physicians a free, confidential and readily available telephone consultation from a seasoned medical director with decades of experience in end-of-life medical care.
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Feed a Bee Commits to Grow 50 Million Flowers and Acreage for Bee Forage in 2015; Initiative Will Provide Pollinators with Needed Food as They Work Harder to Help Feed a Growing World Population
Triangle Park, North Carolina
Bayer CropScience is launching Feed a Bee., a major initiative to increase forage for honey bees and other pollinators, including growing 50 million flowers and providing additional forage acreage in 2015. By collaborating with organizations and individuals throughout the United States, Feed a Bee will help to provide pollinators with the food they need not only to survive, but to thrive. This is particularly important as the world population is expected to grow to over 9 billion people requiring 70 percent more food by 2050. As the world's most heavily traveled livestock, bees are transported to pollinate crops where resources are challenged to sustain large bee populations. Bees are working harder and need more food and more food diversity. Lack of adequate food is a significant stressor on honey bee health.

"Reduced bee habitat has decreased food options for bees at a time when agriculture and apiculture must work together to feed more people than ever," said Jim Blome, president and CEO of Bayer CropScience LP North America. "The Feed a Bee initiative provides opportunities for everyone to be a part of creating more forage for these amazing creatures."

The Feed a Bee initiative will work with people across the country to grow 50 million flowers and to increase bee forage areas. People can join this initiative by visiting www.FeedABee.com and requesting a free packet of wildflower seeds to plant on their own or by asking the Feed a Bee initiative to plant on their behalf, or by committing to grow bee-attractant plants. Each campaign packet contains about 200 seeds. As a result, for either seed packet planting action, a supporter will help provide honey bees with 200 additional flowers for forage. Visitors to the site can also commit to growing their own bee-attractant plants. The site features a ticker so supporters can view campaign progress and a collection of shareable facts about bee health and gardening tips.
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Glyphosate Classified Carcinogenic by International Cancer Agency, Group Calls on U.S. to End Herbicide's Use and Advance Alternatives
Washington, DC
A national public health and environmental group, Beyond Pesticides, is calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to stop the use of the country's most popular herbicide, glyphosate, in the wake of an international ruling that it causes cancer in humans. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) released its finding, concluding that there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity based on laboratory studies.

Glyphosate is touted as a "low toxicity" chemical and "safer" than other chemicals by EPA and industry and is widely used in food production and on lawns, gardens, parks, and children's playing fields. However, IARC's new classification of glyphosate as a Group 2A "probable" carcinogen finds that glyphosate is anything but safe. According to IARC, Group 2A means that the substance is probably carcinogenic to human based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals. The agency considered the findings from an EPA Scientific Advisory Panel report, along with several recent studies in making its conclusion. The agency also notes that glyphosate caused DNA and chromosomal damage in human cells. Further, epidemiologic studies have found that exposure to glyphosate is significantly associated with an increased risk of non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma (NHL).

"With the cancer classification on top of the documented weed resistance to glyphosate and water contamination resulting from its use, continued reliance on glyphosate is irresponsible from a public health and environmental perspective," said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides. "We have effective sustainable organic management systems that do not utilize glyphosate and it's time that EPA and USDA recognized its responsibility to move away from hazardous and unnecessary pesticides," he continued.
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First Lady: Mental Health First Aid "Really Gives You The Skills You Need to Identify - And Ultimately Help - Someone In Need."
Washington, DC
As First Lady Michelle Obama said today, "The National Council for Behavioral Health will be training three million people in Mental Health First Aid. I went through some of this training a few weeks ago and I saw just how useful it is. It really gives you the skills you need to identify, and ultimately help, someone in need. Because you never know when these kinds of skills might be useful."

We have to change the conversation around mental health. Addressing an audience of government, business and nonprofit leaders, First Lady Michelle Obama spoke about how we must flip the script in how we support and care for people with mental health and substance use needs, and exemplified Mental Health First Aid as a strategy to do just that.

Mental Health First Aid introduces people to risk factors and warning signs of mental health and substance use problems, and teaches them a five-step action plan to help people get the care they need in their community. This pioneering program gives people a tangible way to help others. It recognizes the resilience and strength of all of us fosters understanding, compassion and engagement in the community.
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Consumer Reports Examines Pesticide Use On Produce To Help Consumers Reduce Exposure Risk Guide for 48 Fruits and Vegetables from 14 Countries: Choosing Organic Always the Safest Choice but in Many Cases Conventional Can Be As Low Risk
Yonkers, New York
Fresh produce is an important part of a healthy diet. A new study by Consumer Reports looks at the risks of pesticide residues for 48 fruits and vegetables from around the globe to come up with guidelines to help consumers reduce their exposure to these toxic chemicals.

The full article, "Eat the Peach, Not the Pesticide: A Shopper's Guide," is featured in the May 2015 issue of Consumer Reports and at ConsumerReports.org. An accompanying 40-page report, "Pesticide Use in Produce," from Consumer Reports' Food Safety and Sustainability Center provides a closer look at the consequences of pesticide use for those who produce food, wildlife, and the environment.

Related to the study are results from two recent surveys each of more than 1,000 people by Consumer Reports National Research Center. In the survey conducted in April 2014, 89 percent of Americans noted that protecting the environment from chemicals such as pesticides is critical when purchasing food. In a related survey from November 2014, 85 percent of Americans said they are concerned about pesticides exposure in food; and a third of respondents to this same survey believe there is a legal limit on the number of different pesticides in food. But there isn't a legal limit on the number of different pesticides allowed on food. Consumer Reports analyzed data from United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and found that a third of the produce the agency tested had residues from two or more pesticides. And while for the most part these levels fell within the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tolerance levels, these tolerance levels are calculated for individual pesticides. The effects of these pesticide combinations are untested and unknown notes Consumer Reports. The report by the Food Safety and Sustainability Center discusses the health effects from the use of pesticides that have been documented in farmworkers.
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As States Legalize Marijuana, Study Finds Uneven Pesticide Use Restrictions on Growing Practices, Safety Concerns, and Ecological Options
Washington, DC
Marijuana may be legal in your state for medicinal and recreational use, but are toxic pesticides used in its production? A study released today of the 23 states and the District of Columbia that have legalized marijuana finds a patchwork of state laws and evolving policy that define allowed pesticide use and management practices in cannabis production. This variety of state law is occurring in the absence of federal registration of pesticide use for cannabis production because of its classification as a narcotic under federal law. The investigation, Pesticide Use in Marijuana Production: Safety Issues and Sustainable Options, evaluates the state laws governing pesticide use in cannabis production where it is legalized.

"The use of pesticides in the cultivation of cannabis has health implications for those growing the crop, and for users who are exposed to toxic residues through inhalation, ingestion, and absorption through the skin," said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides. "The good news is that five states and DC have adopted rules that require marijuana to be grown with practices that prevent the use of pesticides. State officials have an opportunity to restrict all pesticide use at the front end of a growing market, require the adoption of an organic system plan, and set a course to protect health and the environment," Mr. Feldman continued. The USDA certified organic seal will not be found on marijuana products because of their federal status.
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Craftsmanship Magazine Re-examines Farming In An Age Of Climate Change
San Francisco, California
The drought that hit the American West in 2014, and its threat to our food supply, puts the future of agriculture in an entirely new light, Craftsmanship, a new online magazine, reports. For this reason, the magazine has chosen to devote its first issue (available for no charge at http://craftsmanship.net) to examining one of farming's most often touted principles, sustainability. "Sustainability means making a food system that's built to last," said Todd Oppenheimer, a noted author and magazine writer who is founding editor and publisher of the magazine. "Building things that are meant to last is what craftsmanship is all about, making the topic an ideal focus for our first issue."

Craftsmanship examines a range of issues that rarely get discussed in the world of farming and food. These include:

* A profile of Paul Kaiser, a controversial farmer in California who is exploring an entirely new way of dealing with the West's likely future of continued droughts. Kaiser and his wife, Elizabeth, run Singing Frogs Farm in Sebastopol. Kaiser today is generating amazing results, but skeptics warn he may be creating some real environmental dangers.
* The shortcomings of common organic agriculture practices as seen through the lens of sustainability - and some ideas of what Organic Farming 2.0 might look like.
* What the tiny island of Cuba might teach U.S. agribusiness (now that relations have resumed between the two countries) about how to become more productive, and more sustainable.
* How a master composter in Oregon is raising the art of compost tea brewing to a new level.
* An expert's guide to the confusing world of non-conventional farming "camps," from the ultra-organic to the ultra-high tech.
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Make 2015 an Organic Year: Ten New Year's Resolutions from The Organic Center
Washington, DC
It turns out that 2014 was the year of science supporting the benefits of organic food and farming: for human health, pollinator health, and the health of the environment.

To help you ring in the new year and truly turn over a new healthy leaf, The Organic Center has transformed the top ten studies of 2014 into New Year's resolutions that show how to improve the state of your diet and the state of our planet by choosing organic.

One: Be health-minded. Eat organic. A review of the latest research on the effects of organic agriculture and crops on public health found a clear health advantage in consuming organically produced food instead of conventionally produced. Published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, the findings concluded the lower pesticide residue levels in organic produce were a significant factor in helping account for these benefits.

Two: Get pesticides out of your life. Pesticides, linked to numerous health problems, are still found on conventional produce in the grocery store. A study showed that eating an organic diet for just seven days can significantly reduce your exposure to pesticides. The research found pesticide metabolite levels in a group of individuals who ate a diet of at least 80 percent organic for a week were cut by up to 96 percent.

Three: Load up on antioxidant-rich foods. A key study of 2014 showed organic fruits and vegetables have higher levels of antioxidants. Researchers found that if you choose organic rather than conventional fruits and vegetables, you can get an average of 20-40 percent increase in antioxidants! Antioxidants protect our cells against the effects of free radicals, which can damage cells in the body and trigger disease.
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E2 Report: North America's Advanced Biofuel Industry Produced 800 Million Gallons In 2014
Washington, DC
North America's advanced biofuel industry reached a production capacity of more than 800 million gallons in 2014, up from the previous year and almost double the capacity in 2011, according to a new market report unveiled today by the national nonpartisan business group Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2).

This is the highest capacity since E2 released its first advanced biofuels market report in 2011, and it's more than the 787 million gallons produced in 2013. It's roughly enough to fill an entire lane of Interstate 5 from Seattle to San Diego with nothing but large tanker trucks filled with advanced biofuel.

The report, "E2 Advanced Biofuel Market Report 2014," projects that by 2017, as many as 180 companies are expected to produce 1.7 billion gallons of advanced biofuel, doubling current capacity. The report shows how advanced biofuels are on track to meet targeted emission reductions for clean fuels standards in both California and Oregon, according to E2. It also offers the latest evidence that Washington state should quickly move forward with a clean fuels standard of its own, something Gov. Jay Inslee indicated he was prepared to do in his recently announced carbon plan, according to E2.

The complete report is available at www.cleanenergyworksforus.org or directly through this link. E2 members on the West Coast, biofuel industry executives, and E2 Western states advocate/report co-author Mary Solecki said, "The advanced biofuel industry is meeting the growing demand for cleaner-burning transportation fuels.  Americans who want more local jobs, cleaner air, and more homegrown energy should demand elected officials enact policies, right now, that will promote the growth of advanced biofuel."
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New Scientific Report: Unnecessary Medical Interventions in Labor and Delivery May be Putting Mothers, Babies at Risk
Washington, DC
The country's maternity care system is missing opportunities to provide better care and use resources more wisely by routinely intervening in labor and delivery in ways that interfere with, instead of promoting, supporting and protecting, innate biological processes that result in healthier outcomes for women and newborns. That is the conclusion of a major new report, Hormonal Physiology of Childbearing: Evidence and Implications for Women, Babies, and Maternity Care. The unprecedented synthesis of scientific research on how hormone systems function from late pregnancy through the early postpartum period concludes that commonly used maternity interventions, such as labor induction, epidural analgesia, and cesarean section, can disturb hormonal processes and interfere with the benefits they offer.

The new report was authored by Dr. Sarah J. Buckley and released by Childbirth Connection, a program of the National Partnership for Women & Families. It synthesizes evidence about the impacts of common maternity care practices and interventions on four hormonal systems that are consequential for childbearing. It finds that a large body of evidence demonstrates that the hormonal physiology of childbearing has significant benefits for the health of mothers and babies and can optimize breastfeeding and maternal-infant attachment. But it concludes that common maternity care interventions may disturb hormonal processes, reduce their benefits, and create new challenges. The report's recommendations have implications for policy, practice, education, consumer engagement, and research.
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Novogen Announces Important Discovery in Regenerative Medicine Program
Sydney, Australia
Novogen Limited, an Australian/US biotechnology company, has announced an important discovery in its regenerative medicine program that has delivered a key proof-of-concept step forward in the quest to develop drugs capable of stimulating the function of brain tissue stem cells.

Regenerative medicine is concerned with repairing or replacing tissue lost due to age, disease, damage or congenital defects. In the case of the brain, damage associated with stroke, head trauma or neurodegenerative disease represents a very significant unmet clinical need for such therapies.

Novogen scientists now in an important scientific breakthrough have identified a family of compounds with an ability to promote the growth and activity of normal brain stem cells.

The dominant approach being taken to brain regeneration is the introduction of tissue stem cells that have been cultured outside of the body. However, delivery of these cells through the skull is very invasive and, so far, these cells seem to be susceptible to the same constraints that limit the resident stem cell population.

Work in the 1990's showed that the old adage, 'We continue to grow brain cells until age 21, and from then on it's all downhill', was, in fact, untrue. Close examination revealed that part of the hippocampus, the main site of learning and memory within the brain, is constantly renewed throughout life by a pool of dividing stem cells. A second discrete pool of stem cells generates daughter cells that can migrate to sites of brain damage to facilitate repair. Unfortunately, for reasons that are not currently understood, these migrating stem cells fail to produce enough new neurons in the damage site to provide substantial recovery.
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Study finds that diet affects mix of intestinal bacteria and the risk of inflammatory bone disease
Memphis, Tennessee
Diet-induced changes in the gut's bacterial ecosystem can alter susceptibility to an autoinflammatory bone disease by modifying the immune response, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital scientists reported. The findings appeared September 28 as an advanced online publication of the scientific journal Nature.

The research provides insight into how the thousands of bacteria and other microorganisms that live in the intestines affect health. Microbes make up the intestinal microbiome, a diverse evolving ecosystem that aids digestion and helps to educate the immune cells that guard against infection. Growing evidence suggests that changes in the microbiome composition may contribute to development of diseases ranging from cancer to chronic inflammatory disorders such as multiple sclerosis. The mechanisms involved, however, have been poorly understood.

"These results are exciting because they help to explain how environmental factors like diet can influence susceptibility to autoinflammatory diseases," said the study's corresponding author Thirumala-Devi Kanneganti, Ph.D., a member of the St. Jude Department of Immunology. "While multiple lines of evidence have suggested that diet can impact human disease, the scientific mechanism involved was a mystery. Our results demonstrate that diet can influence immune-mediated disorders by shaping the composition of the gut microbiome, which our findings suggest play a role in immune regulation."
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Early findings of Harvard's Organic Center and Northeastern's research show organic's benefits
Washington, DC
Members of The Organic Center's Board of Trustees gathered at Harvard University for their annual retreat and for scientific briefings on collaborative research on organic's impact on the health of humans and the environment. After hearing the updates, they reported that preliminary findings of the research support the benefits of organic food and farming and show organic's potential to solve a host of real-world concerns.

Meeting with Harvard professor Dr. Chensheng (Alex) Lu who is collaborating with The Organic Center to examine the health effects of pesticide exposure and the benefits of sticking to an organic diet, and Drs. Geoff Davies and Elham Ghabbour at Northeastern University who, with The Organic Center, are studying the impacts of organic management on soil, Board members expressed their commitment to problem-solving for the entire organic value chain, from the farmer to the consumer.

"We wholeheartedly encourage research filling the gaps in our knowledge about organic, such as that being conducted by these high-caliber researchers on these complex topics," said Dr. Jessica Shade, Director of Science Programs for The Center. "The preliminary findings of this important research support the benefits of organic food and farming for the health of humans and the environment."

Dr. Lu spoke about his work to study the adverse health effects associated with pesticide exposure in a meta-analysis, and the health benefits of consuming organic foods in a pilot study. "Exposure to pesticides can affect human health in ways that we don't fully understand yet," said Dr. Lu. "Eating organic is one way to help reduce risks associated with environmentally induced diseases."
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CO2 Emissions Bury the UN Climate Summit: Why Carbon Capture and Storage is a Critical Part of the Solution to Climate Change
Geneva, Switzerland
A coal pile buries the UN Headquarters and New York is lost under a mountain of CO2 . These scenes, illustrating actual quantities, bring home the sheer scale of global carbon emissions and the urgency for action. This four-minute film allows us to visualize the critical part carbon capture and storage (CCS) can play in limiting global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The animation is a call to help catalyze action to reduce carbon emissions.

Led by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), Action2020 is a science-based platform for business action on sustainable development to 2020 and beyond, covering a range of solutions addressing the key mitigation levers for climate change. This animation, supported by companies working on the CCS business solution, focuses on this technology, one of the essential solutions at risk of being overlooked.

Today we get over 80% of our energy from fossil fuels. To stay below 2 degrees Celsius warming, we cannot emit more than 1 trillion tonnes of carbon. World population is expected to rise to 9 billion by 2050, doubling energy demand. The most ambitious plans to replace fossil fuels see only about half of our energy needs being met by zero-carbon renewables by 2050. With the rise in energy demand, the concentration of CO2 will exceed the agreed limit of dangerous climate change.

To stay within emissions targets, we must have CCS in our portfolio. CCS keeps CO2 out of the atmosphere by returning emissions below several layers of rock into the geosphere. A price on CO2 coupled with ambitious reduction targets would help CCS to be deployed extensively. We need a robust technology, policy, legal and infrastructure pathway to be implemented now.
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Increased Fears About Environment, but Little Change in Consumer Behavior, According to New National Geographic/GlobeScan Study
Washington DC
A new global analysis released today by the National Geographic Society and GlobeScan finds that concern about environmental problems has increased in most countries surveyed, and that more people now expect global warming will negatively affect them during their lifetime than in 2012. Despite this, National Geographic's Greendex, a comprehensive measure of consumer behavior in 65 areas related to housing, transportation, food and consumer goods, shows that sustainable consumer behavior has only grown slowly.

Results of the 2014 Greendex, a collaboration between National Geographic and global research consultancy GlobeScan, were released in Boston at the Sustainable Brands New Metrics '14. Greendex 2014 surveyed 18,000 consumers in 18 countries and is the fifth iteration of the survey, which was first fielded in 2008.

Among the top findings in 2014: Environmental concern has increased since 2012:

*  Sixty-one percent of consumers globally now say they are very concerned about environmental problems compared with 56 percent in 2012.

*  Compared to the study's 2008 baseline, sustainable consumer behavior has increased in nearly every country tracked since the first survey, suggesting consumer behavior across the world is improving, albeit slowly.

*  Environmentally friendly behavior has increased in nine of the 17 countries that were surveyed in 2012: Argentina, Australia, Hungary, India, Mexico, Russia, Sweden, South Korea and Great Britain. However, sustainable behavior decreased since 2012 among consumers in five countries: Canada, China, Germany, Japan and the United States.
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Integral Molten Salt Reactor touted as promising source of carbon-free, highly reliable, low-lifetime cost power
Mississauga, Toronto
If we are to keep up with growth in global energy demand, especially from developing nations, the world will need to change the way it thinks about nuclear energy, says one of Canada's long-time business leaders, and the Integral Molten Salt Reactor (IMSR), one of a new generation of nuclear reactors, is poised to help fill that supply gap and "grab a significant foothold in the markets of the future."

In a recent speech to the Economic Club of Canada, Hugh MacDiarmid, a former chief executive of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), Laidlaw Transit, and Lumonics, and a former top executive with Canadian Pacific Railway, said Molten Salt Reactor technology "offers answers to the most challenging questions surrounding nuclear energy today and, with those questions addressed, we can begin to realize the inherent potential of nuclear as carbon-free, highly reliable, low-lifetime-cost power."

Mr. MacDiarmid was recently named non-executive Chairman of the Board of Terrestrial Energy Inc., a Mississauga-based company that will be seeking license approval for its IMSR design from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. "The size of the upcoming gap between energy supply and demand is staggering," said Mr. MacDiarmid. "And there aren't enough good answers in the existing range of supply alternatives."

Mr. MacDiarmid noted that, in our search for ways to meet Canada's and the world's energy demands, "We have more issues and obstacles than we have solutions." Coal is "not acceptable to today's social norms" for environmental protection; "making a bet on natural gas is highly risky" in terms of long-term fuel cost; "we are approaching the limits" of exploiting our massive hydroelectric resources, and "there is no evidence that renewables such as wind and solar can make the BIG difference to the BIG energy problem we have." Even conventional nuclear "continues to operate in a parallel universe, with those of us who are insiders firmly believing in the rightness of our cause, while the rest of the world sees only issues of safety, management of long-term wastes, and the costs and financial risks associated with construction of new capacity or life extension of existing capacity."
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The "World Alliance Against Antibiotic Resistance" (WAAAR) Launches Its Declaration
Paris, France
Antibiotics, which have saved so many human lives, are now in grave danger. Bacterial resistance to antibiotics is ever-increasing. It is estimated that this resistance, largely due to the amount of antibiotics used, is now responsible for more than 25,000 deaths in Europe, and 23,000 in the USA every year. Yet the consumption rate of antibiotics is ever-increasing in most countries.

Furthermore, very few new antibiotics have come onto the market in the past few years, and very few are expected to in the near future. This dire shortage of effective antibiotics is therefore a major public health issue.

Urgent action is needed to try to safeguard antibiotics which are currently effective, as well as to try to find new ones. Without immediate and collaborative action, some infections are quickly going to become impossible to treat, and some procedures (transplants, treatment which lowers immunity, major surgery, etc.) will become too risky to undertake. Some nosocomial and urban infections are already linked to multi-resistant bacteria, and thus treatment being unsuccessful.

Headed by Dr Jean Carlet (a former therapist specialising in nosocomial infections and antibiotic resistance), the "World Alliance Against Antibiotic Resistance" (WAAAR) was founded two-and-a-half years ago to raise as much awareness as possible about the urgency and serious risk posed, as well as to co-ordinate European and international dialogue about implementing effective solutions.
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The National Necrotizing Fasciitis Foundation Says Current Standard of Care for Flesh-eating Bacteria is "Tragically Inadequate"
Medina, Ohio
The National Necrotizing Fasciitis Foundation (NNFF) today announced a campaign to raise awareness of the tragic inadequacy of the current standard of care for necrotizing fasciitis, or 'flesh-eating' infection -- and to push for the adoption of new treatments for this deadly condition. "Too many people are losing their lives or their limbs because the current standard of care simply doesn't work," said Jacqueline Roemmele, executive director of the NNFF. "But there is a promising new treatment that doctors can adopt."

NNFF calls on medical associations like the Association for the Advancement of Wound Care and the American Professional Wound Care Association, to review the evidence supporting the use of new approaches to treatment, and then work with the NNFF on guidelines for their members to improve the standard of care. It also asks the federal government's Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to evaluate new treatments for necrotizing fasciitis and to approve their reimbursement under Medicare and Medicaid. "These steps will help reduce the tremendous toll that necrotizing fasciitis is taking on patients and their families," said Roemmele.

Necrotizing fasciitis can start with just a minor cut or a scrape. What happens is that bacteria, typically Streptococcus, get under the skin and begin to spread. Then, toxins produced by the bacteria and the body's own immune response eat away tissue. Even with aggressive treatment with antibiotics, the mortality rate is as high as 20 percent. Surviving victims usually lose feet, legs, hands, arms or other body parts. The Centers for Disease Control estimates there are hundreds of cases a year in the U.S. But based on reports to the NNFF and on other evidence, many experts believe the incidence is far higher.

In the current standard of care, doctors flood the body with heavy doses of intravenous antibiotics, while cutting away the dead tissue. The problem is that the toxins typically keep eating away tissue, requiring more and more surgery. That's why so many limbs end up being amputated. "We founded the NNFF in 1997 to provide information and support to patients and their families," said Roemmele, herself a victim of the disease. "But it's been heartbreaking and frustrating that the long-time standard of care has been so tragically inadequate. Every single day I get calls and emails from yet another missed or misdiagnosis. A metaphor used often by medical professionals in regard to making a diagnosis is: 'If you hear hoofbeats outside your window; chances are it is a horse and not a zebra.' A deadly case of NF is often dismissed as the zebra, which should not be the case when faced with patients presenting with classic symptoms -- pain out of proportion to the injury, fever, or severe flulike symptoms."
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New Research Uncovers Genetic Identifier, Common Physical Traits for Autism; May Allow Clinicians to Determine Risk for Babies Still in Utero
Seattle, Washington
A researcher at Seattle Children's Hospital and Research Institute has found a genetic identifier for autism that includes physical features that may eventually allow clinicians to identify babies who are at risk for autism before they are born. This is the first time a genetic mutation has been linked to autism.

Dr. Raphael Bernier, clinical director of Seattle Children's Autism Center and Associate Professor at the University of Washington, who led the research in collaboration with 13 institutions worldwide, has discovered a mutation of the CHD8 gene that, in addition to significantly increasing a child's risk of developing a specific subtype of autism, also causes several physical traits and symptoms that are unique to children with the same subtype of autism.

The physical traits -- subtle facial features, such as larger heads and prominent foreheads -- are features that, combined with confirmation of a CHD8 gene mutation, could allow clinicians to screen babies still in utero for a higher risk of developing autism, much like clinicians now screen for physical and genetic indicators of disorders like Down's Syndrome.

"This is a big leap forward in our insight into the causes of autism," said Bernier, who led the study published today in the scientific journal Cell. "It's possible we may be able to look at features in utero and determine a higher risk of autism, possibly even early detection."

Early detection is critical in the treatment of autism symptoms, Bernier said. Research studies of behavioral therapies used with younger siblings of kids with autism, who are at higher risk for developing autism themselves, suggest that intervention between three to six months of age can lessen or even prevent symptoms from developing. The goal, Bernier said, is to be able to use these same exercises on babies with a higher risk of autism who have been identified before birth.
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Summertime Safety Tips For The Home And On The Road
Los Angeles, California
With the official start of summer many will plan fun activities like outdoor barbeques and road trips with family and friends. Farmers Insurance wants to help keep summer a joyful time of year for America's families by providing a few helpful tips to keep safe.

"Families across the nation will enjoy lots of opportunities to have outdoor fun and occasions to visit family and exciting destinations this summer," said Paul Quinn, assistant vice president for Farmers Insurance. "Whatever their plans, staying safe, whether at home or on the road, will help keep the experiences and memories happy ones."

Here are some tips for keeping safe on the road and for keeping safe at home.
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Peer approach outlined in Affordable Care Act Highlights How To Harness Community Support For Better Health
Leawood, Kansas
Just as seven million Americans obtain health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Peers for Progress and NCLR (National Council of La Raza) have released a report that examines how peer support programs improve health outcomes by boosting outreach and education for disease prevention and management. The report, "Peer Support in Health, Evidence to Action," is a guide for health care organizations developing peer support programs that will help people with health problems live healthier lives. Peer support programs are located throughout the U.S. and are included in the ACA as a way to improve health care quality and reduce costs.

The report summarizes findings from the first annual conference of the National Peer Support Collaborative Learning Network. The conference, under the leadership of Peers for Progress, a program of the American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation, and NCLR, convened leaders in health care and peer support to discuss current strengths and future needs in the field.

"We are proud of this report and our work with NCLR to advance an important model of care that makes a difference in the lives of patients," said Edwin Fisher, Ph.D., Global Director for Peers for Progress. "As state and local communities implement the ACA's provisions and face a marked increase in the number of patients, peer support programs will be fundamental to success. We must ensure that peer support programs are reimbursed and available to all."

Peer support programs hold great promise to help people lead healthier, more satisfying lives and achieve the goals of health reform. As the report documents, these programs have quantifiable success in improving the quality of care, lowering costs and reducing health disparities. They help individuals prevent and improve the management of disease through engagement and particularly benefit populations, such as low income groups, that other programs fail to reach. Included in the report is a review of 14 programs for adults with diabetes that demonstrated an average reduction in a key measure of blood sugar control, HbA1c, of 0.86 points, a marked improvement over the 0.50 point reduction that is considered clinically significant.
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CMS Finalizes One-Year Delay of ICD-10 to October 2015
Wayne, Pennsylvainia
In early April, Congress passed the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) Bill that extends the proposed physician rate reduction for one year, but which also includes language that delays the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) compliance deadline for converting to the ICD-10 system of diagnostic and procedural coding from October 1, 2014, to not before October 1, 2015. President Obama has signed the bill.

"Like everyone in the industry, Precyse has been closely watching the developments related to the SGR Bill and its effect on the transition to ICD-10. We are disappointed with the vote as our clients have spent considerable time and resources ensuring preparedness for October 1, 2014," said Chris Powell, president of healthcare information vendor Precyse. "However, this change to the legislation cannot deter us from our goals to improve the overall level of clinical documentation that will in turn improve the quality of the data that will drive the delivery of the best health care in the world. Consistent with our advice the last time we experienced a delay in ICD-10 implementation, we believe there is still no time to procrastinate. Providers should use this delay to continue staff education efforts, improve their clinical documentation processes and build a strong foundation for process improvement and downstream strategic initiatives embarked upon under the Affordable Care Act, said Powell.

ICD-10 will provide clinical and financial benefits to help drive better clarity about the care that is being delivered. It is critical to stay vigilant and continue to focus on training and developing coders, CDI specialists and others who will use the data and convert it into meaningful information. ICD-10 is a measure of quality. Hospitals and physicians aspire to offer world-class care, and ICD-10 coding will enable that by accurate capturing, organizing and tagging of the clinical data that leads to that outcome.
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Providers Urged to Continue Plans for ICD-10-CM/PCS Conversion: Deadline Extension Gives Breathing Room, not a Reprieve
Northbrook, Illinois
With Congressional passage of the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 (H.R. 4302), which includes a delay until October 2015 for required use of ICD-10-CM/PCS as the coding standard for Medicare reimbursement to healthcare providers, Intelligent Medical Objects, Inc. (IMO) urges its customers, vendor-partners and provider organizations to maintain their commitment to the transition from ICD-9-CM to ICD-10-CM/PCS.

"ICD-9-CM is over forty years old and does not have the level of specificity necessary for adequate monitoring and evaluating healthcare services in this century. Clinically specific data is required to support current and future healthcare services. Our customers and partners have invested heavily with human and capital resources to make the conversion to ICD-10-CM/PCS, as well as prepare for attestations for Meaningful Use 2 and 3," said Frank Naeymi-Rad, PhD, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

He continued, "Many organizations that were behind in their transitions can breathe a sigh of relief, but now is not the time to lose momentum but to continue on course. Transitioning as planned allows organizations to leverage IMO ICD-10 specificity, collaborate with vendor-partners on innovative solutions needed to meet current and future healthcare challenges."
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Disconnect to Reconnect - Tips for Digitally Distracted Parents
London, England
CEO of MyFamilyClub.co.uk and digital entrepreneur Gemma Johnson was at the recent Work and Family Show talking about digital burnout as part of a panel debate hosted by Sky, discussing how parents need to lead by example with their device usage, how boundaries are set by the parents first and how to spot the signs if you are heading for burnout.

"All too often it's so easy to blame young children, tweens and teens for their unwillingness to maintain eye contact during a conversation as they hammer away at the XBox, their inability to communicate in a meaningful way, or sit at the dinner table without messaging their mates via WhatsApp! But we tend to forget that it starts with us first. We have to take the time out to make our children feel heard, loved and important," Gemma Johnson said. 

She added: "I know how hard it can be to wean yourself off using your devices, as checking habits are pretty quick to take hold. My children both scramble for the iPad, usually to watch funny videos on YouTube. My eldest son loves to play Lego Star wars and my daughter is crazy about Barbie on Netflix, even my one year old son tries to grab at my phone at any opportunity but I recognise and understand that this can slowly erode our values as a family and so I ensure I set rules and lead by example to ensure it doesn't escalate".

By the age of seven, the average British child born today will have spent an entire year of his or her life made up of 24-hour days in front of a screen, a statistic that's causing many parents to approach digital devices with horror.

Since launch in April 2012, Gemma has grown MyFamilyClub to reach an audience of over a quarter of a million "highly engaged" parents and the topic of social media overload, news fatigue and genuine concern over adult and their children's usage of technology is a burning topic.
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Bay Area Nonprofit Mindful Schools Recognized as a Leader in the Worldwide Movement
Emeryville, California
"The Mindful Revolution" cover story in TIME magazine's February 3, 2014 issue introduced the rapidly growing mindfulness movement to a wide audience. By purposefully bringing awareness to one's sensory experience, thoughts, and emotions, mindfulness enables us to objectively notice our experience, allowing us to change habitual reactions to wiser, more skillful responses. Backed by a rapidly growing volume of neuroscience and research, secular mindfulness practice has found its way into many parts of society, including mental health, education, medicine, and business.

Mindful Schools is honored to have been included in the article as the representative of mindfulness & education.  As stated in "The Mindful Revolution" TIME Magazine February 3, 2014 Issue, Educators are turning to mindfulness with increasing frequency perhaps a good thing, considering how digital technology is splitting kids' attention spans too. (The average American teen sends and receives more than 3,000 text messages a month.) A Bay Area-based program called Mindful Schools offers online mindfulness training to teachers, instructing them in how to equip children to concentrate in classrooms and deal with stress. Launched in 2010, the group has reached more than 300,000 pupils, and educators in 43 countries and 48 states have taken its courses online.  "All of us at Mindful Schools are grateful to our course graduates worldwide, who are working tirelessly to bring mindfulness to youth of all ages, genders, ethnicities, and economic backgrounds around the world," said Randima Fernando, Executive Director of Mindful Schools. "This heartfelt, widespread impact underscores the deep commitment Mindful Schools has to making secular mindfulness increasingly accessible to the world's diverse population of educators, children, and adolescents."
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Whole Foods Naturally Retain Toxic Metals During Digestion, Discovers Consumer Wellness Center Lab Director Mike Adams
Tucson, Arizona
Research conducted at the Consumer Wellness Center labs (www.ConsumerWellness.org) and published at Labs.NaturalNews.com reveals that whole, unprocessed foods have a natural ability to retain toxic heavy metals during digestion, preventing the metals from being absorbed into the body. The discovery, made by Mike Adams, the lab director at the Consumer Wellness Center, has been named the "Metals Retention Factor" or MRF.

A mini-documentary video explaining the Metals Retention Factor in more detail is available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlzJwUGmP98 .

The existence of MRF means that many previous assumptions about foods and food toxicity are false. Previously, the assumption was the foods are fully broken down during digestion to release 100% of their elemental composition, but Adams' research shows that foods, herbs and even dietary supplements actually retain a percentage of each toxic element found in their composition.

For example, one Traditional Chinese Medicine product tested by Adams retains around 70% of the lead it contains. Kelp granules tested by Adams retain 7% of the arsenic and 79% of the uranium they contain (http://labs.naturalnews.com/Kelp_Granules_Maine_Coast_34_heavy_metals_lab_tests_at_Natural_News_Labs.html). Wheat flour retains nearly 12% of the aluminum it contains (http://labs.naturalnews.com/Wheat_Flour_Hodgson_Mill_23_heavy_metals_lab_tests_at_Natural_News_Labs.html), and dried squid retains almost one-third of the toxic cadmium it contains (http://labs.naturalnews.com/Saki_Ika_Squid_Wel-Pac_47_heavy_metals_lab_tests_at_Natural_News_Labs.html).

In general, whole, raw, unprocessed foods have been found by Adams to retain much higher quantities of toxic elements, while cooked, processed or refined foods have been found to retain very low quantities of toxic elements and heavy metals. The retention of toxic elements is aided by insoluble fibers as well as natural "ionic affinities" for certain elements. For example, most seafood products (fish, shrimp, scallops, etc.) have a natural affinity for binding with cesium. This actually creates an increased risk for seafood in the Pacific Ocean to absorb radioactive cesium-137 being washed into the ocean from the Fukushima catastrophe.
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Natural Foods Possess Remarkable Ability to Selectively Bind with Toxic Heavy Metals, Says New Research from Natural News Forensic Food Lab
Tucson, Arizona
The Natural News Forensic Food Lab has announced a breakthrough food science discovery that measures the ability of natural foods to bind with and "capture" toxic heavy metals such as cadmium, arsenic, mercury, lead, copper and aluminum.

The discovery was dubbed the Metals Capturing Capacity by its discoverer Mike Adams, and it measures the number of micrograms of each toxic element (heavy metal) which can be bound or "captured" by one gram of the food substance being tested. A video explaining the discovery is available now at YouTube: http://youtube/fvC4Mxoa0Sc .

A more technical, scientific explanation of the MCC process is found at: http://labs.naturalnews.com/What-is-the-Metals-Capturing-Capacity.html

MCC laboratory test results for many foods and superfoods are published now at: http://labs.naturalnews.com

Until scientifically documented by Mike Adams (aka the "Health Ranger"), the binding ability of foods has only been understood and described in vague terms with statements like, "Cilantro absorbs heavy metals" or "Zeolites can help detox heavy metals." Adams' research is now able to fully test these claims and document the actual micrograms per gram of toxic elements which are bound or "captured" by foods, superfoods, herbs and dietary substances. Adams has already documented that cilantro's reputation is vastly overstated: it actually performs very poorly in terms of metals affinity and binding.
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ICD-10 Storm - The Challenges and Its Solutions
Durham, North Carolina
October 1, 2014 is the deadline for implementing the ICD-10 coding, according to the U.S Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services (CMS). The transition from ICD 9 to ICD-10 is likely to impact almost every part of healthcare industry, right from the providers to payers. According to ICD-10 readiness survey conducted by the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI), a large part of the professional community has little or no awareness of the federal mandate. Merely half of the providers and about 60 percent of health plans have completed an impact assessment, and just one of three payers is currently conducting external testing. The dismal findings show the lack of preparedness in the healthcare industry as it continues to struggle with the requirements of the switch.

WEDI Chairman Jim Daley in a letter addressed to CMS, wrote, "Based on the survey results, it is clear the industry continues to make slow progress, but not the amount of progress that is needed for a smooth transition. People are finding this is bigger than they expect. They're finding that more time is needed" 

Here are what is seen as the top 3 ICD-10 Challenges:

The Cost of Lost Productivity

Decrease in productivity (at least for a short span of time) is inevitable in any profession when workers are in training or learning a new skill. Same goes for coders, especially for inpatient coders, as they have to learn two new code sets: ICD-10-CM for diagnosis coding and ICD-10-PCS for procedure reporting. As a result, accurately documenting and coding each patient encounter will take longer by the coders, resulting in cost of lost productivity.

Increase in Documentation

With ICD-10 approaching, the industry focus is turning more towards Clinical Documentation Improvement (CDI). The ICD-10 code set requires a higher level of specificity as compared to the current ICD-9 standard. ICD-10 will restructure the clinical documentation practices that have been widely accepted for more than three decades. Clinical documentation is needed to select the appropriate ICD-10 code, and new terminology must be used to document patient care information and support both the diagnosis reporting and the medical necessity for the service provided. Taking steps to improve documentation will be foundational in helping the practice get paid faster, experience fewer delays and denials during the changeover.

Training is a Challenge

For a practice to understand how ICD-10 is structured and applied, a lot depends on the size and the experience of the staff in medical coding, which in return will decide the hours of training required. Canada embraced ICD-10 between 2001 and 2006. The data indicates, post ICD-10 implementation, there was a decline in productivity by 10 percent in the year before and the year after the implementation. It took an average of 6 months for most healthcare practices to return to an acceptable productivity level. Training, slower processing time, increased inquiries from coders, and billing inquiries from payers, all contributed to hours of lost productivity. To ensure that the same does not happen to the folks here AudioEducator has come up with specialty specific ICD-10 training to cover most of the grey areas.
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Newly Published Survey Shows Drug Shortages Still Have Major Impact on Patient Care
Chicago, Illinois
According to newly published results from a survey of pharmacy directors, drug shortages remain a serious problem for patient safety. Nearly half of the responding directors reported adverse events at their facilities due to drug shortages, including patient deaths.

The survey was conducted by Northwestern Medicine researchers in partnership with MedAssets, as part of the MedAssets Pharmacy Coalition to better understand how drug shortages affect patient outcomes. The survey asked pharmacy directors from a variety of health care settings to supply information on drug shortage related patient complaints, adverse events, medication errors, patient outcomes, demographics and institutional costs. The survey's findings were detailed in, "Effects on Patient Care Caused by Drug Shortages: A Survey," a research article published in the November/December issue of the Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy (JMCP).

"Drug shortages are the first thing I think about when I get up in the morning and it is the last thing on my mind when I go to bed at night," said Gary Fennessy, MBA, vice president of Operations for Northwestern Memorial HealthCare and co-author of the JMCP article. "This is not a problem that is going to go away on its own. Healthcare leaders must not lose sight of it as a major contributor to patient harm or consider its adverse effects inevitable."

In 2009, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists put drug shortage management guidelines in place for health care providers to try and minimize negative impacts patient care, and in 2011, following an Executive Order from President Barack Obama on reducing drug shortages, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) increased its efforts to prevent and resolve drugs shortages. While the FDA recently reported that the number of new shortages in 2012 was down to 117, from 251 in 2011, drug shortages are still having a major impact on patient care.

A common practice to help mitigate the problems caused by a drug shortage is to use an alternative medication when possible. Even when alternate medication can be used, there can be many unintended consequences and additional side effects. In general, drug shortages have been known to cause, or contribute to a variety of issues, which were also represented in the newly published survey responses including: Medication errors (such as wrong dose, wrong drug, wrong frequency), Increased institutional costs, Cancelled care, and Delayed treatment.
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Personal Health Record Associated with Improved Medication Adherence and Improved Cholesterol Levels
Oakland, California
Patients with diabetes who used an online patient portal to refill medications increased their medication adherence and improved their cholesterol levels, according to a new study in the journal Medical Care.

Online patient portals allow users to perform tasks such as scheduling appointments, accessing their health records, viewing their lab test results and emailing their care providers in addition to ordering prescription refills.

The National Institutes of Health funded researchers from Kaiser Permanente and the University of California, San Francisco Medical School to follow 17,760 patients with diabetes who received care from Kaiser Permanente in Northern California between January 2006 and December 2010.

Medication non-adherence and poorly controlled cholesterol declined by 6 percent among exclusive users of the online refill function, compared to occasional users or non-users.

In this large sample of diabetes patients, the average age was 62, and 40 percent were non-white minorities. The diabetes patients studied had an average of more than six chronically used medications and 11 outpatient visits per year.
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Report calls out health threat from antibiotic overuse in livestock
Washington, DC
Pointing out that every year more than two million people in the United States get infections resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die as a result, a new report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calls for phasing out the routine use of antibiotics in industrial livestock production that has been linked to antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

The use of antibiotics in animal rearing is strictly prohibited in organic production. Instead, organic producers provide living conditions and health care practices that help prevent illness and to promote health of the animals.

"Up to half of antibiotic use in humans and much of antibiotic use in animals is unnecessary," CDC declared, citing that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently proposed guidance for using these drugs in food-producing animals only when medically necessary and targeting their use to only address diseases and health problems.

"This report is confirmation of warnings issued years ago by scientists about the use of antibiotics in livestock and the development of resistant strains as a consequence of their use," said Warren Porter, professor of zoology at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and member of The Organic Center's Science Advisory Board. He added, "The problem is all the more serious now because of emerging evidence of subtle immune suppression in the human population as evidenced by the rise of diseases related to reduced immune competence."

"By choosing meat and dairy products bearing the organic label, consumers can avoid contributing to antibiotic-resistant bacteria," said Jessica Shade, Ph.D., Director of Science Programs for The Organic Center. "Several studies have also found fewer antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria on organic foods. If you're worried about dietary exposure to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, choosing organic is a good idea."
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New Poll: Parents Remain Gloomy About America's Future While Teens Feel Confident
Washington, DC
New data from the quarterly Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll shows an American public that overwhelmingly believes childhood and parenthood were better for earlier generations, with 79 percent of poll respondents saying it was better to have been a child when they were young.

The most recent Heartland Monitor shows that Americans are deeply uncertain about the prospects for today's children. A majority (68 percent) of respondents believe that when today's children are adults, they'll have less financial security, with a poorer chance of holding a steady job and owning a home without too much debt. Almost the same percentage (62 percent) believes their children will have less opportunity to achieve a comfortable retirement. Overall, Heartland XVIII delivers a downbeat vision from parents and non-parents alike, who believe that today's children will display less patriotism, work ethic, and civic responsibility than today's adults.

Yet, in the face of this intense pessimism on the part of adults, teenagers are much more optimistic and clearly feel the older generations have it wrong. For the first time, the Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll also surveyed high school teenagers ages 13-18, and found an optimistic view of the economy: More than half of the teens surveyed (54 percent) say they believe it's better to be a teenager today than it was when their parents were growing up. A plurality (45 percent) believe that when they are their parents' age, they will have more opportunity to get ahead than the previous generation. Just 24 percent of teens say they will have less opportunity.

"The world looks to America as a beacon of hope to realize one's dreams. While we see pessimism in this poll, the younger generation feels a sense of optimism about the future," said Sanjay Gupta, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Allstate. "These findings reinforce a challenging backdrop, but the optimism of the younger generation gives us hope in the enduring American dream."
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Farm Aid: CDC Antibiotic Resistance Report Confirms Health Threat From Factory Farms
Saratoga Springs, New York
In response to the first-ever Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report on antibiotic resistance, Farm Aid issued a statement from the site of its annual benefit concert on Sept. 21, calling for further investigation of factory farm-related health issues and an immediate curtailing by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of non-therapeutic antibiotic use in food-producing animals, as recommended by the CDC.

The new CDC report, "Antibiotic resistance threats in the United States, 2013," affirms that the factory farm approach to food production puts our health in danger. For years, Farm Aid has worked alongside family farmers to bring attention to the risks associated with taking animals off the land and confining them together in massive production facilities. We have already seen some of the consequences of factory farming, including diminished air and water quality and the loss of family farms and communities across the country. Now we have confirmation that this unsafe system is seriously threatening the health of all Americans. The overuse and misuse of antibiotics in industrial animal production is causing the spread of deadly drug-resistant pathogens in humans, including Campylobacter and Salmonella, collectively, the source of more than 400,000 infections per year.

The costs of factory farming are too dire to ignore. We can't afford an industrial food system that produces cheap food, propped up by dangerous practices that make people sick. Farm Aid urges the FDA to immediately act in the interest of the public by using its authority to enforce the CDC recommendations to limit antibiotic use in industrial farms. This should be the first step in a stronger move to research and report the health threats from factory farms, both to animals and humans. Farm Aid encourages everyone who eats to stand with family farmers by holding the government accountable for creating policies and enforcing regulations that ensure a safe and healthy food system for all.
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2013 World Alzheimer Report Reveals Global Alzheimer's Epidemic Creating Shortage of Caregivers, Lack of Support for Family Members
Washington, DC
As the world population ages, the traditional system of informal care by family, friends and community will come under increasing strain. Data from the World Alzheimer Report 2013 predicts the number of dependent older people will rise from 101 million in 2010 to 277 million in 2050, an almost threefold increase. Conservative estimates show that at least 36 million people currently live with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, and that number is expected to grow significantly in the coming years.

In response to the global Alzheimer's epidemic, Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI) and Home Instead Senior Care have joined together to host the Living with Alzheimer's: A Journey of Caring roundtable to discuss the World Alzheimer Report 2013 and the state of caregiving in North America. ADI and Bupa commissioned a team of researchers, led by Professor Martin Prince from King's College London, to produce the report. The development of the report was supported by a grant from Bupa. The events, held in three international capitals, address the global impact of the disease during World Alzheimer's Month. The first event occurred on Sept. 19 in Washington, D.C. The other events are in London on Sept. 20 and Beijing on Sept. 26.

The authoritative report on the global Alzheimer's epidemic, World Alzheimer Report 2013 focuses on the changing nature of long-term care due to changing family and societal dynamics, smaller families, increased urbanization, workforce mobility and the changing role of women. It also addresses the impact on caregivers for people with dementia, which often includes decreased earnings and deteriorating physical and mental health. "Ability to care for those with Alzheimer's is an emerging threat," said Marc Wortmann, executive director, ADI. "That's why we've joined with Home Instead Senior Care to address the challenges of care until there's a cure. Every day our organizations see the impact of Alzheimer's on families and their struggles to provide support while juggling children, jobs and other responsibilities. Focus on care for those with Alzheimer's and dementia is critical."

The report examines the global impact of the disease and provides a comprehensive view of the impact the disease has on society. A particular focus this year was the impact of Alzheimer's and dementias on those who provide care. The report concludes that there is need for additional support in order to lessen the burden on the individual as well as the global infrastructure.
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Film Reveals How To Defeat Cancer Without Conventional Medical Therapies
Orlando, Florida
A trailer for the new short film, "The Cause is the Cure," has been released by Maximized Living, a multinational network of wellness doctors. The short film, which tells the true stories of people who have successfully overcome cancer diagnoses without chemotherapy or radiation, will premiere October 5 at more than 450 Maximized Living locations throughout the United States and Canada.

In the film, real patients who had been blindsided by their cancer diagnoses explain their fears, decisions and other experiences while fighting the notorious disease, including why they chose to refuse conventional medical therapies. "I was given one year to live if I didn't choose to do chemotherapy or radiation," said Andrea Thompson, founder of Moving Beyond Ministries and cervical cancer survivor. "After learning the principles of Maximized Living, I knew I was in the right place."

The principles of Maximized Living are its 5 Essentials, which specifically address stress, nutrition, fitness, nerve supply and toxicity. Instead of demanding a drastic lifestyle overhaul, the 5 Essentials empower people to make subtle and sustainable lifestyle changes that have an immense positive impact on their health, both short- and long-term.

"Research has shown that you can reduce your chances of getting cancer as well as dramatically increase your chance of overcoming it if you're dealing with this disease already," said Dr. Ben Lerner, New York Times best-selling author and co-founder of Maximized Living. "By making proactive, intelligent lifestyle changes, the average person can significantly reduce their risk of contracting this notorious disease."
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Partners Develop Study of Prevention of Falls Injuries in Older Adults
Washington, DC
The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) has announced an agreement with the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to form a partnership to fund a major intervention study aimed at preventing injuries from falls in older adults.

The memorandum of understanding supports the formation of the "Falls Injuries Prevention Partnership," which establishes the basis for an NIA-PCORI funding announcement for a large-scale, multi-year clinical trial on preventing injuries due to falls in non-institutionalized older individuals. PCORI plans to commit up to $30 million to this effort; the final amount is yet to be determined.

The intent of this collaborative project is to evaluate a comprehensive, multi-factorial approach to preventing a frequent and often debilitating type of injury among the fast-growing population of older adults. There is extensive evidence that older people who have previously fallen have a significant risk of falling again. Patients, caregivers, and clinicians all want to know the best way to address this problem, but there is uncertainty about the best prevention strategy.

The planned study will actively involve older patients, healthcare professionals who care for these individuals, family caregivers, and other stakeholders in designing and conducting the study and disseminating the results. Such an approach is central to PCORI's mission to advance comparative effectiveness research (CER). The collaboration will take advantage of NIA's expertise in conditions affecting older individuals as well as its established infrastructure and capabilities in managing large, multi-year clinical trials.
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Local Students Team Up with Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and Whole Foods Market to Challenge the Public to "Do One Thing" for a Healthier Life
Seattle, Washington
In an effort to encourage people of all ages to add one thing to their daily routine to improve their health, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) and Whole Foods Market launched a new partnership with C89.5, Nathan Hale High School's student-run radio station. The "Do One Thing" campaign spotlights student-generated messages about the importance of little steps towards a healthier lifestyle and extends across radio, social media, and events. Through promoting healthy lifestyle choices for people in an easy and accessible way, SCCA hopes to empower people to take charge of their health choices and highlight how everyday habits translate into cancer and other disease prevention.

Initially started as a grassroots movement by Nathan Hale High School students in a journalism class, Do One Thing has developed into a multimedia campaign that faculty predict will inspire regional participation by students as well as adults. As part of the campaign, students have worked with SCCA to produce videos showcasing the "one thing" they do every day to lead a healthier life, in hopes of inspiring others to add one healthy action to their daily routine. Lev Marcus, a high school senior, used his video to encourage other students to add exercising to their daily schedule. Previously overweight and inactive, Lev decided to make a positive change and picked up weight lifting and pole vaulting. He developed a passion for exercise, proving to be a talented athlete and recently won the State competition. As a result he has become an active, athletic, and healthy teenager.
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New Research Suggests Massage Therapy Is a Powerful Tool for Pain Relief
Evanston, Illinois
Pain can negatively affect a person's quality of life and impede recovery from illness or injury. Recent research compiled by the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) suggests that massage can be a helpful pain management strategy for manually controlling symptoms in people suffering metastatic cancer and rheumatoid arthritis, among other illnesses, as well as post-cardiac surgery pain.

Massage Therapy for Improved Pain and Sleep in Metastatic Cancer Patients

Research published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that therapeutic massage at home for metastatic cancer patients can improve their overall quality of life by reducing pain and improving sleep quality. American Massage Therapy Association President Winona Bontrager, says of the study, “These findings suggest that cancer patients can also benefit from professional massage, both physically and mentally, providing the necessary comfort during advanced stages of the disease.

Massage Therapy for Decreased Pain in Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients

Research published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice showed that adults with rheumatoid arthritis may feel a decrease in pain, as well as greater grip strength and range of motion in writs and large upper joins, after receiving regular moderate-pressure massages during a 4-week period. This research demonstrates the potential value of massage therapy for the estimated 1.3 million Americans living with this chronic condition, with women outnumbering men 2.5-14. Rheumatoid arthritis sufferers are encouraged to speak with their health care provider about the possibility of incorporating routine massage therapy into their current treatment plan to help manage painful symptoms, says American Massage Therapy Association President, Winona Bontrager.

Massage Therapy for Reduced Pain, Anxiety and Muscular Tension in Cardiac Surgery Patients

Research published in The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery indicates that massage therapy can significantly reduce pain, anxiety and muscular tension, as well as enhance relaxation and satisfaction after cardiac surgery. The American Massage Therapy Association acknowledges that cardiac surgery recovery is a very crucial time a patient must endure and this study further suggests that massage therapy can be a useful aid in making the road to recovery an easier journey.
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Micropharma announces timeline to commercial launch of world's first ingestible gastrointestinal sampling device
Montreal, Canada
Micropharma Limited, a pioneer in the development of innovative and effective products based on the human microbiome has announced that after three years of development it has a timeline for launch of its ingestible gastrointestinal sampling technology. The company released its plans to launch the device in late 2014 commercially for research and development use and later for specific clinical applications. Micropharma has been developing the device for three years and in the last year has expedited the project by partnering with StarFish Medical a medical device development company that offers a full complement of design and manufacturing solutions. The partnership will see StarFish Medical improve and finalize the design of the autonomous multiple sample acquisition and localization technologies, design for manufacture, produce initial devices, as well as to engineer for cost effectiveness. 

Micropharma's chief scientific officer Dr. Mitchell Jones commented on the advantages of sampling the GI mucosa over the evaluation of fecal samples by saying "our ingestible pill can sample the mucosa at pre-determined locations throughout the GI tract, including the small intestine. The device is programmable, acts autonomously and can take multiple, large, discrete samples that can be evaluated for human genomic, metabolomic and human gut microbiome data; of immediate and specific interest is to improve samples for microbiome research" he commented further that "protecting the intellectual property was an important part of the commercial development process and we are pleased to have recently filed an international PCT patent application" and that "sampling the gastrointestinal tract allows for site-specific analysis of the bacterial populations and metabolites present at the mucosal surface is a distinct advantage over the evaluation of fecal samples for many applications."
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Patient Safety, Science and Technology Summit Inspires Healthcare Industry Stakeholders to Action in Pursuit of 0 Preventable Patient Deaths by 2020
Irvine, California
Each year there are over 200,000 preventable patient deaths in U.S. hospitals alone, more than 3,800 every week. That is equivalent to two jumbo jet passenger airplanes crashing and killing all passengers, on a daily basis.

Hundreds of prominent doctors, nurses, hospital administrators, medical technology executives and engineers, as well as patient advocates from across the world attended the recent inaugural Patient Safety, Science & Technology Summit. The goal was to create actionable solutions to today's most pressing patient safety problems. By the end of the second day, the Patient Safety Summit had inspired a groundswell of hospital commitments to establish recipes to eliminate preventable deaths and medical technology company commitments of patient data accessibility in hopes to eliminate preventable patient deaths by the year 2020.

"When we lost 3,000 people in the 9/11 tragedy, we created Homeland Security, the TSA, spent four trillion dollars on two wars and put our soldiers and innocent civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan in harm's way. Yet we lose more than 3,000 people a week in U.S. hospitals alone, and no Patient Safety Security department has been created and the government has not declared war on these preventable deaths," stated Joe Kiani , founder and Chairman of the Masimo Foundation for Ethics, Innovation & Competition in Healthcare, founder of the Patient Safety, Science & Technology Summit, and CEO of medical technology company, Masimo.

"With the Patient Safety Summit, we felt it was time to try something unique. We tore down the walls between the hospital, medtech companies, executives, doctors and engineers. We brought in the voice of the patient with powerful stories from patient advocates. We identified challenges that are causing preventable deaths and provided recipes to address the challenges. The recipes were clear, concise and left nothing out, for the sake of patient safety. We asked medtech companies to sign a pledge to make the data their products are purchased for, the patient's data. We also announced that to return to the next Summit, each attendee had to make a commitment toward achieving the goal of zero preventable deaths. Former President Clinton also joined the challenge and from the reaction of the participants, the formula worked. We got nine medtech companies to make the pledge. We got more than 20 hospitals and hospital groups to make commitments to implement one to all of the recipes to get to zero preventable deaths," Kiani continued.
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Former Military Medics' Services Engaged in Caring for Our Frail Elderly
Southfield, Michigan
Military medics have been saving lives on the front lines all over the world where the United States military is engaged. Medics have performed emergency services that often meant the difference between life and death for our soldiers. Their medical skills have been honed under stressful, wartime conditions.

These men and women are among the army of heroes who walk among us every day. However, when they return to the U.S., their certifications and credentials often don't match civilian workforce requirements. Sadly, our nation's health care system is not equipped to assist in transforming their skills, experience, and work ethic into appropriate non-military jobs.

Nathan Anspach , CEO of Phoenix-based John C. Lincoln Health Network's Accountable Care Organization (ACO), saw these heroes as a new force, a Medicare health care corps. While gaining their medical credentials in the U.S., Anspach recognized that former military medics can be instrumental in helping design and implement strategies to aid the legions of frail Medicare recipients to manage their health care lives. Anspach's vision is to employ this health care corps to stop the revolving door of hospital readmission for Medicare patients. To accomplish this, he created a three-pronged strategy:
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Americans Rate Themselves and Their Communities as Healthy, Despite Research Showing the Opposite
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
A new survey from The Atlantic shows those who most want community health resources have the least access to them, and for those Americans who use online resources, 40 percent self-diagnose.  One-third of young Americans who use online resources act without consulting a medical professional.  Despite an optimistic view of health in their communities, significant portions of the U.S. population are not convinced that communities provide sufficient access to key resources for good health, and 60 percent of Americans say online information is important to their health.

The national survey, conducted by Penn, Schoen & Berland, found a strong majority of Americans place a premium on health care providers and environment as being primary drivers of their community's health. The phone survey of 1,004 individuals found that American lower-income individuals, defined as those making less than $50,000 in household income in particular (55 percent), view doctors and hospitals as primarily responsible for ensuring good health in a community.

The Atlantic has partnered on a national initiative to examine the barriers and identify opportunities to build healthier communities in the U.S. The program, "A Conversation on Community Health" consisted of a series of events in U.S. cities to explore what it means, and what it takes, to be a healthy community. This poll builds on the learnings from those events by focusing on citizens' perspectives.
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Newly Released Survey Reveals the Majority of Cancer Patients and Survivors Want To Continue Working
New York, New York
Nearly 80 percent of cancer patients and survivors say continuing work after diagnosis aids recovery, according to a new survey from Cancer and Careers and Harris Interactive. Still, just as many respondents struggle to find support navigating the work/life balance of employment with cancer, which is where Cancer and Careers offers assistance.

As the only organization in the U.S. dedicated solely to serving people who work during and after cancer treatment, Cancer and Careers designed the survey with Harris Interactive to better understand and empower employed persons with cancer. Results indicate that several factors motivate cancer survivors to continue working, including feeling well, wanting to maintain a routine and wanting to be productive. At the same time, 67 percent of surveyed cancer patients and survivors said work/life balance was critical to having a career.

"As a breast cancer survivor, I know there are so many unknowns and questions you have when you receive a cancer diagnosis. That's why it's so important for people going through the cancer journey to feel supported in every aspect of their lives, particularly when it comes to work," said Sonia Kashuk , creator, Sonia Kashuk Beauty, and Cancer and Careers board member. "Cancer and Careers is incredibly instrumental as a resource to help people navigate the practical challenges of balancing work and cancer."
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White Blood Cells Found to Play Key Role in Controlling Red Blood Cell Levels
Bronx, New York
Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have found that macrophages, white blood cells that play a key role in the immune response, also help to both produce and eliminate the body's red blood cells (RBCs). The findings could lead to novel therapies for diseases or conditions in which the red blood cell production is thrown out of balance. The study, conducted in mice, is published in the online edition of the journal Nature Medicine.

"Our findings offer intriguing new insights into how the body maintains a healthy balance of red blood cells," said study leader Paul Frenette, M.D., professor of medicine and of cell biology and director of the Ruth L. and David S. Gottesman Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Research at Einstein. "We've shown that macrophages in the bone marrow and the spleen nurture the production of new red blood cells at the same time that they clear aging red blood cells from the circulation. This understanding may ultimately help us to devise new therapies for conditions that lead to abnormal RBC counts, such as hemolytic anemia, polycythemia vera, and acute blood loss, plus aid recovery from chemotherapy and bone marrow transplantation." Einstein has filed a joint patent application with Mount Sinai related to this research, which is currently available for licensing and further commercialization.

Previous studies, all done in the laboratory, had suggested that macrophages in the bone marrow act as nurse cells for erythroblasts, which are RBC precursors. But just how these "erythroblastic islands" (macrophages surrounded by erythroblasts) function in living animals was unclear.
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ERs Have Become Central Staging Area for Acutely Ill Patients: More Complex Care Provided in a Challenging Health Care Environment
Washington, District of Columbia
Lack of stable medical homes and reduced inpatient capacity are key factors that could be responsible for a shift toward higher billing levels over the past decade in U.S. emergency departments, according to a new report from the New England Journal of Medicine . Changing standards of care and the implementation of electronic medical records are additional potential factors in this shift that is accompanied by increases in higher-complexity, higher paid visits for Medicare emergency patients.

Study authors were responding to a recent report by the Office of Inspector General, a watchdog organization of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which suggested a widespread phenomenon of "upcoding" in all specialties, but especially emergency medicine. Subsequent reports in news organizations, including The New York Times and Washington Post, embellished this assertion with separate analyses and specific examples. The authors of this perspective piece, however, examined a nationally representative sample in order to refine these assertions, and concluded that blaming upcoding alone oversimplifies what is happening.

"Care that used to be provided on in-patient floors is now being done in emergency departments," said Dr. Andy Sama , president of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP).  "Also, in the past decade, primary care physicians increasingly have sent their patients to the emergency department for more prompt and definitive work-ups. They may simply be seriously concerned, overburdened, or the patient may have complex issues that can't be diagnosed easily in a primary care setting. But this puts the burden of accurate and efficient diagnosing on emergency physicians, which leads to higher complexity, and higher billed visits."
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New Poll Finds Millions Of Smokers Nationwide Resolving To Quit In The New Year
Washington, District of Columbia
New results from a national online public opinion poll of Americans 18 and older show that 34 percent of smokers plan to quit smoking as a New Year's resolution in 2013. Among survey respondents, only 18 percent reported that quitting smoking was a New Year's resolution in 2012, yet twice as many of these respondents will resolve to quit in 2013. The poll showed that increasing costs of cigarettes (67 percent) and concerns about the health risks associated with smoking (58 percent) are two of the key factors motivating smokers to contemplate quitting as a resolution for 2013.

The poll, conducted on behalf of Legacy, a national tobacco education foundation; found that on average, those who committed to quit in 2012 stayed quit for just about a month (30 days), and for more than half (59 percent) of those quitters, it was the longest they had ever stayed quit.

"Research has shown that most smokers who quit on January 1 struggle to stay quit as the days and weeks go on," said Cheryl G. Healton , DrPH, President and CEO of Legacy. "Many smokers may have begun their New Year's quit attempt and have already relapsed and that's okay. We need to encourage them to build a quit plan and then try to quit again. On average, research has shown that smokers make up to 6-9 attempts before they finally quit for good, which is why it is so important to remind smokers to quit with support and methods that have proven success."

While it is positive news that more of the surveyed smokers are planning to quit in 2013 than in 2012, data reveals that many of them are still overlooking resources and practices that can lead to successful quitting.


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Health Survey Shows Consumers Feel They Must Take a More Proactive Role in Their Healthcare to Ensure Quality of Care
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
According to a new Wolters Kluwer Health survey, 80 percent of consumers believe the greater "consumerization" of healthcare, the trend of individuals taking a greater and more active role in their own healthcare, is positive for Americans. Survey data suggests many Americans feel that a greater role in their care is not only good, but necessary, with 86 percent of consumers reporting that they feel they have to take a more proactive role in managing their own healthcare in order to ensure better quality of care.

Most consumers also say they feel prepared to take on a greater role in managing their own healthcare, with 76 percent reporting that they have the information and tools to take a more proactive role in healthcare decisions ranging from choosing healthcare providers to researching treatment options. Despite feeling prepared, only 19 percent report that they have their own electronic Personal Health Record (PHR).

The Wolters Kluwer Health survey was conducted  among 1,000 U.S. consumers ages 18 and older. Survey questions focused on exploring whether consumers want more control over their own healthcare and whether they feel prepared to take on more responsibility.

"With greater responsibility placed on patients to take a role in their own care, it's essential that consumers have access to evidence-based tools and resources to make informed decisions about their care in partnership with their healthcare providers," said Dr. Linda Peitzman , Chief Medical Officer, Wolters Kluwer Health. "Access to research-based medical information not only can positively impact quality of care, but it also can lead to improved doctor-patient communication and relationships."


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Nurses Fired; Flu Vaccine Exemptions Denied on Dubious Pretext, Doctors' Group Says
Tucson, Arizona
Eight employees, including at least three veteran nurses, have been fired by Goshen Hospital, in Goshen, Indiana, for refusing the flu vaccine. A religious exemption is available, but was denied because these employees did not meet the criteria for religious protection established by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

"What gives the EEOC the authority to define what constitutes an acceptable religious belief?" asks Jane M. Orient, M.D., executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS).

AAPS opposes vaccine mandates, believing that patients and healthcare workers have the right to refuse medical treatment.

Hospitals may agree with the right to refuse treatment, but assert the right to determine conditions for employment. They cite concerns about protecting patients from transmission of influenza by unvaccinated staff.

"The scientific and religious concerns are in a sense backward," Dr. Orient stated. "Advocates of the mandate are full of evangelical zeal and are quick to portray skeptics as wicked and selfish. It's like a secular religion, based on faith in vaccine efficacy and safety."

In fact, the scientific case for flu vaccine mandates is very weak, Dr. Orient points out in an article in the winter issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. A handful of studies show slight benefit in long-term care facilities. Hospitals have not been studied. Safety data are limited, and there are no long-term studies of the effects of annual vaccination. Serious, lifelong disability occasionally occurs. There is no evidence showing that vaccinated workers are less likely to transmit virus.
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Scientists at The New York Stem Cell Foundation and Columbia University Medical Center Develop Scientific Technique To Help Prevent Inherited Disorders in Humans
New York, New York
A new study published online in Nature shows how mitochondrial disease may be prevented. A joint team of scientists from The New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) Laboratory and Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) has developed a technique that may prevent the inheritance of mitochondrial diseases in children. 

Dieter Egli , PhD, and Daniel Paull , PhD, of the NYSCF Laboratory with Mark Sauer , MD, and Michio Hirano , MD, of CUMC demonstrated how the nucleus of a cell can be successfully transferred between human egg cells. This landmark achievement carries significant implications for those children who have the potential to inherit mitochondrial diseases.

Mitochondria are cellular organelles responsible for the maintenance and growth of a cell. They contain their own set of genes, passed from mother to child, and are inherited independently from the cell's nucleus. Although mitochondrial DNA accounts for only 37 out of more than 20,000 genes in an individual, mutations to mitochondrial genes carry harmful effects.

Mitochondrial disorders, due to mutations in mitochondrial DNA, affect approximately 1 in 10,000 people, while nearly 1 in 200 individuals carries mutant mitochondrial DNA. Symptoms, manifesting most often in childhood, may lead to stunted growth, kidney disease, muscle weakness, neurological disorders, loss of vision and hearing, and respiratory problems, among others. Worldwide, a child is born with a mitochondrial disease approximately every 30 minutes, and there are currently no cures for these devastating diseases.
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Rhythm Central: Mickey Hart and Dr. Adam Gazzaley Make History Through Visualizing and Sonifying Brain Activity in Real Time for Live Audience
San Francisco, California
Mickey Hart, Grateful Dead percussionist, and neurologist Adam Gazzaley, M.D., Ph.D., professor at the University of California San Francisco made history by becoming the first to sonify and visualize brain activity in real time in front of a live audience. The two did so at the closing session of Life @50+, the AARP National Event & Expo in New Orleans on September 22nd.

Dr. Gazzaley has extensively studied how the brain handles memory, attention and aging. Gazzaley awed the crowd midway through the session by strapping an EEG on Hart as he paced, clutching a drum, while images of the rhythms coursing through his brain were displayed on the giant screens throughout the hall. As the audience looked on, Gazzaley explained what was happening, adjusting to show more or fewer rhythms coursing through Mickey's brain. "This is scary," Mickey joked.

"It all comes down to vibration and the rhythm of things," Hart says of his collaboration with Dr. Gazzaley. "Can you imagine being able to entrain with these rhythms and focus on a certain part of the brain? To be able to see what part of the brain lights up while you play a certain instrument, a certain rhythm at a certain amplitude. What does the brain look like before, during, and after an auditory driving experience?" Hart continues, "This is about breaking the rhythm code, our genome project. Once we know what rhythm truly does, then we'll be able to control it, and use it medicinally for diagnostics, for health reasons. To be able to reconnect the synapses, the connections that are broken in Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, that's where we are heading." It's just the beginning, as far as Hart is concerned. "I've been working in my field for many years and so has Adam, it's a handshake between science and art. Life is all about rhythm, and the brain is Rhythm Central."
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New Study Shows PTSD Symptoms in Combat-Exposed Military Can Be Reduced with Healing Touch and Guided Imagery
San Diego, California
Healing touch combined with guided imagery provides significant clinical reductions in post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms for combat-exposed active duty military, according to a study released in the September issue of Military Medicine.

The report finds that patients receiving these complementary medicine interventions showed significant improvement in quality of life, as well as reduced depression and cynicism, compared to soldiers receiving treatment as usual alone.

The study, led by the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine in San Diego, Calif., conducted a randomized controlled trial of returning active-duty Marines at Camp Pendleton, Calif. from July 2008 to August 2010. Participants were separated at random into two groups, one that received treatment as usual (TAU) for PTSD and another that received TAU as well as healing touch (HT), a practitioner-based treatment aimed at eliciting the participant's own healing response, with guided imagery (GI), a self-care therapy aimed at eliciting relaxation as well as enhancing trust and self-esteem. 

After six sessions within a three-week period with a Scripps practitioner, the HT+GI group reported a significant improvement in PTSD symptoms as a result of these combined complementary therapies.
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Options and Evidence: It's What Patients Want
Washington, DC
Patients want more meaningful discussions with their care providers when making health care decisions, according to a new discussion paper released today by the Institute of Medicine. The survey found that 8 in 10 people want their health care provider to listen to them, but just 6 in 10 reported that it actually happens, and fewer than 4 in 10 say their provider clearly explains the latest medical evidence. Additionally, less than half of people surveyed reported that their provider asks about their goals and concerns for their health and health care.

"Simply stated, engaging patients in their own medical decisions leads to better health outcomes," concluded the authors, participants in the IOM's Evidence Communication Innovation Collaborative on behalf of its Roundtable on Value & Science-Driven Health Care. The paper is based on fresh qualitative and quantitative research, as well as an extensive review of relevant research on evidence- and medical-decision making, all commissioned by the collaborative.

Several authors discuss the research further in a just-released "Viewpoint" in the Journal of the American Medical Association, "Recognizing an Opinion: Findings from the IOM Evidence Communication Innovation Collaborative."

The authors say there are three essential elements to an informed decision based on shared decision-making. First, people must have timely access to the best available medical evidence. Second, providers must provide sound, unbiased counsel based on their clinical expertise. Third, patients' and families' goals and concerns must be actively elicited and fully honored.
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Mind as Medicine: Retreat Brings Healing, Growth
Tel Aviv, Israel
More than 100 people attended a recent meditation retreat in Tel Aviv, Israel: Physicians, journalists, holistic practitioners, cancer patients and meditation enthusiasts. They came to learn holistic, mind-body approaches to healing and find avenues to spiritual growth. The retreat was led by integrative medicine pioneer and meditation expert Isaac Eliaz, M.D., L.Ac. and was coordinated by Taatsumot, a non-profit organization. The in-depth, two-day retreat program focused on the mind's innate healing power.

"The theme of my retreat is connectivity and having an open heart," says Dr. Eliaz. "The heart has no concepts. It's our mind, our negative emotions, our thought patterns that put up barriers and don't allow our heart to just open. Real healing begins, continues and ends with an open heart." One of the exercises that the group practiced was a form of meditation called Tonglin, during which participants "take in" suffering and generate love and compassion in return. The process allowed people to step outside their natural barriers, such as reluctance to interact with "negative" energy. However, as people overcame their fears, they embraced the practice and found it transformative.

During the retreat, Dr. Eliaz offered hands-on healing to participants while they were meditating, and taught them how to use meditation to heal themselves and others. Throughout the retreat, he answered questions and discussed related topics such as nutrition, natural cancer treatments, mind-body exercises, lifestyle approaches and other subjects.
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Hitting Cancer from All Sides: Outsmarting the Harry Houdini of Disease
Santa Rosa, California
Cancer may be the Harry Houdini of diseases. It often finds devious ways to escape treatment. Because cancer disables our cellular quality control mechanisms, rampant mutations that cause tumor cells to grow uncontrollably can also generate resistance to anticancer drugs. Even if 99 percent of the tumor is destroyed, that 1 percent can come roaring back. How do we knock out that 1 percent? By attacking the cancer from multiple angles, using multiple treatments and strategies.

"We need to outsmart the cancer before it outsmarts us. To do this, we have to find ways to attack cancer from many angles, so it doesn't have the opportunity to develop protective mutations," says integrative medicine pioneer, Isaac Eliaz, M.D.

Recent research has demonstrated a variety of multipronged approaches to defeat cancer resistance. One study found that a sophisticated botanical formula restricts the aggression of metastatic breast cancer. The in vivo study, conducted by researchers at Indiana University and published in Oncology Reports, showed that a combination of medicinal mushrooms, botanical extracts, the flavonoid quercetin and 3, 3'-Diindolylmethane (DIM) slowed highly aggressive triple negative breast cancer.

The formula significantly decreased tumor growth and breast-to-lung metastasis. The cancer metastasized to the lungs in only 20 percent of the treated group, compared to 70 percent of the untreated group. Also, in the treatment group that did metastasize, the number and size of the lesions was dramatically reduced. Significantly, these results were achieved with no toxic side-effects.

The formula's success against cancer may, in part, be due to the independent, anti-cancer properties of each ingredient working together to create a synergistic effect. On their own, medicinal mushrooms Trametes versicolor, Ganoderma lucidum, Phellinus linteus have been shown to reduce cancer growth and invasiveness. Extracts from the botanicals Scutellaria barbata, Astragalus membranaceus and Curcuma longa induce programmed cell death (apoptosis) and reduce cancer metastasis. Quercetin reduces cancer cell proliferation and helps suppress tumor growth. DIM, an active component of cruciferous vegetables, reduces cancer growth, migration and invasiveness.
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New Comprehensive Pain Management Program Combines Clinical, Physical, and Integrative Medicine Treatment Options to Address Chronic Pain
Danvers, Massachusetts
Pain affects nearly everyone at some point in their lives, and, in the worst cases, diminishes quality of life and livelihood. In fact, pain is a significant health problem affecting more than 100 million people and costing society at least $560-$635 billion annually in both health care and lost productivity costs.* Now research shows that pain patients do better with a comprehensive approach to care that addresses the needs of the whole person, body and mind -- combining clinical and integrative therapies. That is why Beverly Hospital at Danvers Pain Management Center is launching a new integrated model of care offering not only traditional state-of-the-art pain medication and injection services, but a range of behavioral health, physical and integrative medicine treatments to help patients with acute and chronic pain.

The new care model offers a full complement of pain medicine services, including the latest pain injection therapies, medications and medication management, physical therapy, psychotherapy, and addiction counseling as well as integrative therapies, such as acupuncture, Reiki and massage therapy in a custom-designed care plan for patients.

"We have created this multi-specialty center so that our patients have the very best treatment options, since we now know that pain patients do best when treated in this kind of comprehensive treatment environment," says Dr. Kenneth Branton, medical director of the Pain Management Center. "I'm very excited about our ability to offer this level of care and services," he says.
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Researchers of NIH Human Microbiome Project Consortium Publish Papers Detailing the Variety and Abundance of Microbes Living on and in the Human Body
Rockville, Maryland and La Jolla, California
Researchers from the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) along with members of the National Institutes of Health-funded Human Microbiome Project Consortium (HMP), have published a scientific paper in the journal, Nature characterizing the human microbiome, the community of microbes that live in and on the human body. This research, the largest and most comprehensive study done to date on the human microbiome, has revealed an astonishing level of diversity and variety of microbes among the group of 242 healthy individuals. The researchers outlined a set of standardized methods and protocols by which these new human microbiome data and other metagenomic data sets can be readily accessed and analyzed by the scientific community.

This study is part of a large group of coordinated scientific reports published on June 14, 2012, in Nature and several journals in the Public Library of Science (PLoS), by approximately 200 members of the HMP Consortium from nearly 80 multidisciplinary research institutions who are reporting on five years of research. HMP, launched in 2007, received $153 million from the NIH Common Fund, a source of funding for high-impact, innovative, trans-NIH research.

Barbara Methe, Ph.D., JCVI professor, was one of the researchers in the Consortium who was actively involved in the Nature paper described here and is also corresponding author on this publication. JCVI researchers were also important contributors to a second HMP Consortium Nature publication describing additional analysis of human microbiome data.

The HMP Consortium also published papers in PloS journals and JCVI researchers are key contributors to these papers. JCVI's Johannes Goll is the first author on a paper in PLoS ONE describing JCVI's large-scale human microbiome analysis tool, METAREP. The key features of and improvements to METAREP are enabling larger and larger datasets to be rapidly and easily analyzed, searched and compared. METAREP was successfully used with the HMP Consortium data analysis enabling more than 400 million genes from 14 billion segments of DNA to be analyzed. METAREP is an example of standardized tools available to the scientific community for their metagenomic research that have been developed by researchers at JCVI.

JCVI's Kelvin Li is first author on another paper in PLoS ONE describing diversity patterns, especially those of low abundant taxa, which represent the majority of genetic diversity in the human microbiome using sequences from the 16S rRNA gene as a biomarker. Li and colleagues determined that the low abundant taxa are not sufficiently quantified with standard ecological measures, which motivated the introduction of a novel statistic ("Ï„") which couples the ordering of taxonomic abundance with well-known statistical properties of standard deviation to better characterize this low abundant fraction.

JCVI scientists also participated in two additional papers that are part of the HMP Consortium PLoS virtual collection. A PLoS ONE paper (Ward et al.) describes the development of the protocol used by the HMP Consortium to sequence 16S rRNA gene sequences, and a PLoS Computational Biology paper (Abubucker et al.) describes methodology used in HMP data analysis to accurately and efficiently characterize microbial metabolic pathways and functional modules from the human microbiome directly from high-throughput sequencing reads.
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The Expanding Role Of Integrative Medicine In Cancer Treatment
Munich, Germany
Cancer is an insidious disease that often finds ways to defeat the most advanced treatments. As a result, the scientific and medical communities have become increasingly aware that a multi-pronged approach is the best way to beat cancer. On June 16-17, at the Second International Congress on Complementary Oncology in Munich, Germany, integrative medicine pioneer Isaac Eliaz, M.D. joined leading experts in the field of complementary oncology. During his visit, he shared research advancements demonstrating how integrative therapies can boost our abilities against cancer.

"It was a privilege to speak to such a receptive audience at the Germany International Congress on Complementary Oncology. This conference provides a wonderful opportunity to share important information on integrative treatments and learn about new strategies to defeat cancer," says Dr. Eliaz. "Having the opportunity to give two separate presentations on each day of the congress allowed me to cover a wider array of important topics."

In his first presentation, delivered on June 16, Dr. Eliaz outlined the case against Galectin-3, a protein that has been widely implicated in cancer, heart disease and other conditions. The presentation, Galectin-3 and the Role of Modified Citrus Pectin in Cancer and Beyond, unraveled the biology of Galectin-3 and why its overabundance can so dramatically contribute to disease. Galectin-3 is a "culprit" biomarker that promotes metastasis and has additional value in predicting the outcome of disease--the more Galectin-3 in the body, the lower the overall survival rates. A new FDA approved blood test can easily measure Galectin-3 levels in the blood, serving as an important tool in determining risk and prognosis of numerous diseases related to elevated Galectin-3. In cancer, Galectin-3 plays a role in cell to cell adhesion, cancer cell aggregation, tumor growth, metastasis, angiogenesis and the inhibition of programmed cell death (apoptosis) -- a veritable perfect storm of conditions for the advancement of cancer.

Derived from citrus peels, Modified Citrus Pectin (MCP) is a powerful Galectin-3 antagonist. Dr. Eliaz presented research on how MCP binds to Galectin-3 and blocks cancer cell aggregation, as well as interactions that cause angiogenesis (growth of new blood vessels to the tumor) and metastasis. In addition, MCP complements chemotherapy, protects against radiation damage, and enhances the immune system. "Study after study has demonstrated that elevated Galectin-3 levels in the body fuel the formation and progression of cancer and other chronic diseases," says Dr. Eliaz. "Modified Citrus Pectin is thus earning an important reputation among doctors and researchers as a powerful natural Galectin-3 inhibitor."

The next day, Dr. Eliaz presented Integrative Approaches to Prostate Cancer, during which he outlined a wide array of diagnostic tests to detect prostate cancer early, before it can spread. He went on to discuss how MCP, medicinal mushrooms, honokiol (derived from magnolia bark), specific botanicals and other natural agents can bolster the immune system against prostate cancer, support hormone balance and, in some cases, act directly against the disease. Dr. Eliaz presented studies which showed how MCP and other natural compounds suppressed invasive prostate cancers. In this lecture, Dr. Eliaz also presented a comprehensive model of the ongoing dialogue between health and disease. He demonstrated how mind-body medicine can be integrated into such a model, resulting in profound health benefits for the patient on all levels.
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American Botanical Council Announces Major Milestone: Publication of 5,000th HerbClip Research Summary
Austin, Texas
The nonprofit American Botanical Council (ABC) proudly announced the publication of its 5,000th HerbClip on June 29, 2012. HerbClips are two-to-three-page summaries and critical reviews of seminal articles covering medicinal plant-related clinical research, regulation, market information, and conservation and sustainability.

HerbClip summaries and critical reviews are typically based upon human clinical trials, systematic reviews and meta-analyses of such clinical trials, and other articles dealing with ethnobotany, conservation and sustainability, and regulation of herbs and medicinal botanical products. These articles are drawn from a wide variety of peer-reviewed scientific and medical journals, monographs, government documents, special reports, trade journals, and the mainstream media. In addition to summarizing the original article, an HerbClip may include insights, perspectives, criticism, and/or links to other articles and issues. HerbClip summaries and reviews are examined by consulting editors and peer reviewers before they are published to help ensure their accuracy.

HerbClip's roots stretch back to 1993, just five years after ABC was created. At the time, Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal would often copy and then share relevant news articles with numerous friends and professional colleagues. When the cost of toner for ABC's copier reached what at that time was a prohibitive $200 per month, inspiration struck. Blumenthal called two close friends in the herb industry and asked if they would be willing to pay for a service to send them articles related to herb research, regulation, etc. The friends agreed and HerbClip was born.
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Wireless Electric Acupuncture Patch Will Increase Muscle Performance in Addition to Alleviating Pain Formerly Resolved by Acupuncture Needles
New York, New York
Lisa Pamintuan, President of New York College of Health Professions, announced that the College's Chairman, Donald Spector, a well-known serial entrepreneur inventor, has filed a groundbreaking patent on wireless acupuncture patches under the Intellectual Properties Policy of the College. The patches will cause electrical stimulation, either directly or by remote control, to specific acupuncture points and muscles. This stimulation will increase the muscle performance, as well as reducing lactic acid buildup and consequently reducing fatigue.  Spector stated, "While the patch provides benefits to athletes, it can also be used by patients suffering from pain and other ailments, for which acupuncture has been effective."

Dr. Mohammad Hashemipour, MD, PhD, Dean of Academic Affairs and former Olympic Team doctor, believes the new wireless electric acupuncture patch technology can reduce muscle fatigue and subsequently enhance muscle performance. "Patients often forget or do not use acupuncture in a consistent way," stated Hashemipour. "While duplicating the advantages of leads that are temporarily connected to a patient, these patches can be left on for a prolonged period of time, including between visitations to an acupuncture specialist, during which time the chips can be programmed to stimulate at predetermined times or when needed."

There has yet to be a formal ruling on whether these patches, which may enhance sports performance, will be regulated by boxing commissions, team sports, individual sports or doping commissions. Based on current Olympic regulations, Hashemipour feels it will not be banned. "Even though these patches will provide a significant advantage in muscle strength and endurance, I do not believe they should be outlawed under doping regulations. There are no drugs involved, except by the release of the wearer's own natural chemicals and neurotransmitters. While acupuncture has been used in the Far East for thousands of years, this patent simply makes it possible for an athlete to use electrical stimulation - often cumbersome - as a self-contained patch that can be made as a disposable product," added Hashemipour.


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What Will Health Care Look Like in 2025? Futurists Predict Everything from Health Avatars and Shortages of Primary Care Physicians to Growing Disparities in Access and Quality Based on Income and Where People Live
Alexandria, Virginia
By 2025, patient-doctor relationships and health care delivery will look radically different than they do today, according to the Institute for Alternative Futures. In the Institute's new report Primary Care 2025: A Scenario Exploration, the nationally recognized futurists give readers a preview of how Americans could select, pay for and receive primary care.

Working with more than 50 national health care leaders, the Institute for Alternative Futures, a nonprofit think tank based in Alexandria, Virginia, has created four scenarios, coherent stories describing alternative futures to show what primary care might look like in 2025. The scenarios (summarized below) take into consideration the nation's economic challenges, political polarization, and opportunities afforded by technological advances and new delivery systems.

Clem Bezold, Institute for Alternative Futures chair and senior futurist, said the organization's projections reflect how primary care may be shaped by factors such as a slow economic recovery or another recession, federal debt, an aging population, unsustainable health care costs, pressure for cuts in Medicare and Medicaid payments, an explosion of information available through the Internet and social media, and empowered, motivated consumers.

Nationally, health care cost $2.57 trillion in 2011, 17 percent of the gross domestic product, and is expected to grow to 20 percent of the gross domestic product by 2020. Bezold said while other sectors, including retail, manufacturing, finance, insurance and real estate learned to do more with less, the number of health care employees grew between 1990 and 2010, resulting in lower per capita productivity. Health care premiums have increased 131 percent since 1999, compared to a 38 percent increase in workers' earnings and an overall inflation rate of 28 percent during the same period.
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IBM Forms Watson Healthcare Advisory Board
Armonk, New York
IBM has announced the formation of a new Watson Healthcare Advisory Board. The board members include medical leaders with expertise in areas such as primary care, oncology, biomedical informatics and medical innovation. They will provide IBM with insights on healthcare issues that could be positively impacted by Watson technology adoption. The advisory board will specifically focus on medical industry trends, clinical imperatives, regulatory considerations, privacy concerns, and patient and clinician expectations around the Watson technology and how it can be incorporated into clinician workflows.

Watson represents a new class of industry-specific analytical solutions and decision support systems that use deep content analysis and evidence-based reasoning and natural language processing. By accurately extracting medical facts and quickly understanding relationships buried in large volumes of data, such as electronic medical records, family medical history, and the latest clinical research, the technology can help accelerate and improve clinical decisions, reduce operational waste, and enhance patient outcomes.

"Watson represents a technology breakthrough that can help physicians improve patient outcomes," said Dr. Herbert Chase, a professor of clinical medicine at Columbia University. "As IBM focuses its efforts on key areas including oncology, cardiology and other chronic diseases, the advisory board will be integral to helping align the business strategy to the specific needs of the industry."
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"Being Human 2012" Reveals Revolutionary Insights into Human Nature
San Francisco, California
The Baumann Foundation (TBF) launched a new public event, "Being Human 2012: Science, Philosophy and Your Life," where pioneers in the exploration of human nature, from behavioral economics, cognitive neuroscience, evolutionary psychology, social anthropology and philosophy,came together for the first-ever multidisciplinary event of its kind. Its purpose was to engage the public in a conversation about how recent revolutionary insights from science and philosophy challenge basic assumptions about human nature and how these insights can fundamentally shift one's experience of daily life. The first-annual Being Human event was hosted at the Palace of Fine Arts, in San Francisco, on March 24, 2012.

"We live at the dawn of a scientific revolution. Recent findings from science and philosophy promise to overthrow long-held biases and stories about what it means to be human," said TBF founder Peter Baumann. "Many of these fresh insights can have a profound impact on our experience of daily life. We are delighted to bring these new understandings into the public arena, so that they are accessible to anyone who is curious about their own experience. Ultimately, our goal is to serve as a bridge between the theoretical and the practical, and to foster increased well-being."

"We are thrilled that so many esteemed pioneers joined us for Being Human 2012," said TBF Advisory Board member Richard Davidson, who moderated Being Human 2012. Davidson, a leader in the field of mind-body medicine and one of Time Magazine's 100 most influential people (2006), is best-known for his research on brain plasticity, his collaboration with the Dalai Lama and studying the brain activity of meditating Tibetan Buddhist monks. "This was a unique event, where we explored together the frontiers of understanding human nature, asking questions such as: How does the nonconscious mind influence the decisions we make? What is the relationship between self and culture? Are you who you think you are, or is that just an illusion? What does science tell us about our relationship with fellow humans? What are the evolutionary origins of the human mind?"
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Seminar Teaches Narrative Medicine Techniques to Health Care Professionals to Improve Care and Support for Wounded and Traumatized Veterans
New York, New York
Health care professionals require specific training if they are to successfully treat veterans who have experienced the unique physical and psychological traumas of war. In an effort to increase the satisfaction of veterans and their families with the care they receive at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals and clinics, Columbia University Medical Center's (CUMC) Program in Narrative Medicine hosted a first-of-its-kind three-day workshop, "Challenges in VA Health Care: A Narrative Response," from March 9-11, 2012.

The workshop aimed to equip VA doctors, nurses, social workers and therapists with the narrative techniques to form therapeutic alliances with veterans and their families and improve communication and respect among members of the VA health care team. Participants learned narrative approaches to clinical interviewing, ways to develop enriched therapeutic relationships, and reading and writing interventions that will enable them to better hear and understand patient experiences.

"Our partnership with VA will instill in participants the clinical tools to listen, encourage patient stories, honor the meaning of their patients' stories and grant permission to share thoughts and concerns," said Rita Charon, MD, Executive Director of CUMC's Program in Narrative Medicine. "Using cost-effective and evidence-based methods to train VA clinical professionals, we look to improve the patient care of veterans across the country through this workshop and future work with VA."
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WorldatWork Report Shows Employee Wellness Programs Now Expand to Well-Being
Scottsdale, Arizona
The WorldatWork 2012 survey report on Total Rewards and Employee Well-Being found that organizations' health & wellness offerings have expanded beyond traditional programs (that primarily focus on physical health) to integrated well-being programs that now include mental and emotional health, financial health, work-life effectiveness, and workplace environment and stress.

"Organizations ought to consider a more rounded and integrated approach to their well-being programs," said Rose Stanley, a WorldatWork Certified Benefits Professional and work-life practice leader. "One idea is to open up some of these programs, such as financial counseling or diet and nutrition, to extended family. This could potentially provide the support needed to change behavior."
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Man Brings Asperger's Syndrome to Light Through Stand-Up Comedy and Non-Profit Organization
South Orange, New Jersey
Peter Eichler has lived with Asperger's Syndrome, a mild form of autism, for years - even before he had a name for his condition. His experiences and subsequent triumphs led him to found Adam 2 Adam, a non-profit organization intended to promote awareness of autism spectrum disorders and provide mentoring to young adults with Asperger's and other autism-related conditions.

The 43-year-old non-profit founder recently faced a new challenge - developing a stand-up comedy routine. Eichler has been given the opportunity to perform at New York City's Gotham Comedy Club. While people with Asperger's Syndrome are often very serious, Adam 2 Adam encourages creativity, relaxation, and humor as a form of therapy - so Eichler felt that his stand-up debut would be leading by example.

"My goal is to inspire others with Asperger's to break through their isolation and find ways to connect with people. I'm also hoping to give a public face to the condition, since many people seem to know little about it," he explained. "If you had told me a few years ago that I would be performing comedy in public, I would have found it implausible. But as long as I'm attempting the impossible, I'm aiming for another unlikely feat - a stand-up act with no cursing, sex, or put-downs; a routine that can make inebriated adults and sober 6-year-olds laugh out loud."
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Ten Technology Issues on its 2012 Watch List for Hospital Executives
Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania
ECRI Institute, an independent nonprofit that researches the best approaches to improving patient care, listed 10 health technology issues that hospital leaders should have on their watch lists for 2012. The just-released list takes into account the convergence of critical patient safety, economic, and regulatory pressures currently facing healthcare executives.

Technology issues on this year's list span a variety of clinical and operational areas, including health IT, cardiovascular implants, minimally invasive surgical advancements, cancer therapies, and imaging and radiology services. According to the report, careful consideration of all the factors affecting whether and how to adopt these interventions will be crucial for short- and long-term strategic planning, cost-effective implementation, and optimal safety and effectiveness for patients.

"Technology is increasingly a top management concern, and is no longer confined to clinical and technical decision making. Themes emerging on our 2012 list reflect ongoing impacts of healthcare reform initiatives and new technology developments that emphasize patient-centered care," says ECRI Institute President and CEO Jeffrey C. Lerner, PhD.

"This list addresses safety improvements, interconnectedness of technology, personalized medicine tailored to individual care characteristics and preferences, and increasing cost pressures," adds Lerner.
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Statewide Survey Examines Views of Seniors, Baby Boomers on Aging
Richmond, Virginia
A statewide survey of 5,000 Virginians shows that many Baby Boomers think their communities are unprepared for the coming "age wave" and are concerned about how their quality of life might change as they grow older. While today's Seniors are positive, Boomers say communities are unprepared.

The Older Dominion Partnership (ODP), an enterprising non-profit organization working to better prepare Virginia for the major impact caused by the aging population boom, today released results of a statewide survey of Virginians ages 50 to 105.

"To help our Commonwealth and its communities plan for the doubling of our senior population, it's critical to first identify those issues that matter most and have the greatest positive impact," said Joel Mier, Chairman of the Board for the Older Dominion Partnership. "With the release of today's survey results, the ODP has encouraged the Commonwealth's leaders of Business, Education, Nonprofits, Philanthropy and Government as well as the 25 Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) to better understand the key issues facing our seniors of today and tomorrow."

"The information we have made available to the Commonwealth represents a huge step forward and covers finances, housing, transportation & mobility, workforce, caregiving, civic and community engagement, and health and wellbeing," said Dr. Richard Lindsay, Professor Emeritus of Internal Medicine and Family Medicine at UVA, and chairman of the Work Group that developed the survey instrument. "This represents an unprecedented opportunity for all Virginians to be able to plan, adjust and implement decisions based upon accurate current data."

The 2011 Virginia Age Ready Indicators Benchmark Survey found that both Older Virginians (aged 65+) and Boomers (aged 50-64) report a high quality of life and feel their personal quality of life is significantly higher than others in the community, but Boomers say the quality of life of today's seniors is lower than their own.
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Dr. Isaac Eliaz Discusses Role of Modified Citrus Pectin in Cancer Treatment at International Oncology Conference
Rhodes, Greece
Dr. Isaac Eliaz, a world-renowned integrative medical doctor, discussed the principles of integrative medicine in oncology and shared the latest research on the role of Modified Citrus Pectin (MCP) in the treatment of cancer at an international oncology conference in Rhodes, Greece. This conference, titled "The 16th World Congress on Advances in Oncology and 14th International Symposium on Molecular Medicine", brought together hundreds of cancer researchers, oncologists, and medical professionals from around the world to share the latest information and advancements in the treatment and prevention of cancer. The international event was organized by the International Journal of Oncology, Oncology Reports, International Journal of Molecular Medicine, and Molecular Medicine Reports, and was held this year in the five-star Rodos Palace Resort on the island of Rhodes, Greece.  The scientific program included presentations by scientists and medical doctors on topics in genetics, immunology, experimental oncology and brain tumors, among others.

For this presentation, Dr. Eliaz drew upon his 25+ years of experience as an integrative physician and researcher to discuss the energetic and philosophical principles of integrative medicine in oncology and how to apply these principles to cancer prevention and treatment. This includes the latest body of research on modified citrus pectin and novel polybotanical formulas in suppressing the growth and proliferation of cancer.
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One-of-a-Kind Clothing, Based on Ayurveda, Launches Online
Washington, DC
Vastra, a global wellness clothing company based out of Washington, DC, has launched an online store with a line of apparel and bedding based on the 5000 year old medicine system of Ayurveda. Vastra is an ancient word from Sanskrit that translates to 'clothing' or fabric'. Through its line of men's and women's apparel and bedsheets, Vastra plans to promote the concept of achieving wellness through organic clothing that is dyed with only medicinal plants and herbs based on the ancient science of Ayurveda. Vastra also aims to promote awareness among the green-curious and green-conscious public about this breakthrough in the world of natural clothing.

The Vastra team in India at the handloom weavers community near Trivandrum, Kerala, revived and refined this ancient technique of dyeing clothing to deliver the benefits of medicinal herbs through the skin (known as Ayurvastra), which has been proven by tradition and clinical research. News organizations, including Time magazine and the BBC have covered the revival of this age-old/traditional concept and the growing interest in exploring its benefits.
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Demographic Earthquake to Shake Healthcare Industry: Courses Address Future Jobs for Treating Aging Baby Boomers and Beyond
San Diego, California
Ashford University has recently introduced several new online healthcare degrees to position its students to compete for high-demand healthcare jobs created by the aging population. The degrees are Bachelor of Arts in Complementary and Alternative Health, Bachelor of Arts in Health Informatics, Bachelor of Arts in Health and Wellness, and Bachelor of Arts in Gerontology.

"Aging Baby Boomers are going to cause a demographic earthquake that shakes the foundation of our health care system to its core and the workforce needs to be prepared," said Alice Vestergaard, Ed.D., executive dean of the College of Health, Human Services, and Science at Ashford University. "There are nearly 78 million Baby Boomers between the ages of 47 and 65 years old in America and they comprise 29 percent of the total population. They are entering a time of critical healthcare needs including age-related disease such as osteoarthritis accompanied by societal trends like obesity, of which 39 percent are afflicted."

Ashford introduced the degrees after years of analysis and careful planning. The goal: to provide students with degrees that may be unmatched among educational institutions, either traditional or online, in their depth, breadth and relevance to future healthcare needs. The curriculum includes programs addressing the technological revolution toward electronic health records and wireless healthcare.

"Americans are living longer and rather than thinking about putting them into the equivalent of assisted living warehouses, we need to create a workforce that is attuned to the new positive aging movement," said Vestergaard. "Envision skilled caregivers who can meet future human needs for aging in place, such as an existing residence, rather than in an institution. This is essential if the system is to deal with the millions of Baby Boomers who will soon suffer from Alzheimer's disease."
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Study Highlights Role for Personalized Medicine
Chicago, Illinois
Ten years after the mapping of the human genome, the biologic blueprint that makes each of us who we are, US physicians admit being ill-prepared to address the day-to-day challenges of this rapidly emerging area of personalized medicine. That is one of the surprising conclusions of a landmark study of 800 US physicians conducted by CAHG, a leading professional healthcare communications agency. While 8 in 10 physicians agree that personalized medicine will ultimately influence the medical profession in general and their practice specifically, most also admit that their current knowledge is extremely limited. Only approximately 10% of primary care physicians and cardiologists and 30% of oncologists say that they are very familiar with current issues and advances in personalized medicine.

In addition, physicians express low confidence in their ability to use and apply molecular diagnostics testing within their practice, a particularly concerning issue given the critical role of these tests in personalized medicine. Only about half of primary care physicians and cardiologists are confident in their ability to identify appropriate patients for testing, choose the right test, and understand, interpret, and explain results to their patients. Moreover, all three physician specialties express low confidence in choosing which labs to send tests to, determining if the test is covered by insurance, and knowing which insurance code to use. Despite these concerns, 9 in 10 physicians are interested in learning more about personalized medicine, and 7 in 10 find it inherently interesting, whether or not they will ever be able to apply it in practice.
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Dr. Isaac Eliaz Gives Keynote Address at Annual Congressional Cancer Reception
Washington, DC
Isaac Eliaz, M.D. L.A.c, M.S., a world-renowned integrative medical doctor, shares the latest findings in prevention and treatment of breast cancer at The Tigerlily Foundation's Young Women's Breast Health Day on Capitol Hill and Congressional Reception. The annual event is hosted by Tigerlily Foundation, a breast cancer non-profit organization whose mission is to "educate, advocate for, empower and provide hands on support to young women under 40, before, during and after breast cancer." The rates of breast cancer among younger women have increased significantly over the last two decades. Younger women typically face greater challenges with this disease than women over 40, partly because historically, breast cancer was mainly a disease that occurred in older women. Although there are more cases of younger women being diagnosed, cases among this population are generally not detected as early as they could be because physicians and the young women themselves are often unaware of the risks.

"Dr. Isaac Eliaz is the first integrative medicine doctor to give a keynote address during our event. He really made an impact on our audience with a clear message of why integrative medicine is incredibly important to women, especially breast cancer survivors," says Donna Kaufman, Vice President of Tigerlily Foundation.

What is Integrative Medicine?

Integrative medicine combines both traditional and holistic approaches when treating people. It is patient driven, unbiased and individualized. The practice of integrative medicine is becoming more widely known in the medical field and on Capitol Hill. "I had the remarkable opportunity to share the podium with speakers such as Dr. Otis Brawley, Chief Medical Officer of The American Cancer Society, physicians from Johns Hopkins, Georgetown University and more. There were a lot of mutually-supported points amongst the speakers. I think it's symbolic that many health centers of excellence are recognizing the importance of integrative care and engaging Members of Congress to discuss the underlying issues of cancer care," says Dr. Eliaz.
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Fertility & Yoga: How Ancient Healing Methods Can Help You Get Pregnant
San Diego, California
More and more women are combining medical fertility treatments with holistic therapies, but do they help? As they have gained acceptance both in the popular culture and in the medical community, natural healing remedies such as acupuncture and yoga have become supplemental fertility treatments. This makes sense because some infertility issues are lifestyle-related while others are biological. You too can take advantage of these natural fertility boosters.

Why Yoga? Tending to your sense of well-being is an important consideration as you set out to conceive, and any stretching or meditation practice that relaxes your body and lowers your stress level will help your body to be healthy. Yoga is one way to reduce stress, according to the Mayo Clinic. Other natural therapies, such as fertility acupuncture, also boost your chances of conception considerably. Yoga, when compared with other treatments like acupuncture, is both inexpensive and practical - a healthy yoga routine can be done almost anywhere.

How Yoga Helps

Yoga devotees rave about the rewards of a regular yoga practice, and the evidence to support their enthusiasm is mounting. While the strength and flexibility gained from fertility yoga present obvious advantages in giving birth and recovering from pregnancy, yoga's positive effects begin long before conception. The relaxation and improved circulation that result from a few sessions each week serve to regulate the menstrual cycle. More than that, yoga poses designed to open up the hips may align the uterus properly as well, making conception much more viable.
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Dr. Catherine Ulbricht Discusses Alternative Medicine on the Dr. Oz Show
New York, New York
Elsevier is the leading global publisher of scientific, technical, and medical information products and services, and Natural Standard, the Authority on Integrative medicine, providing high-quality, evidence-based information about complementary and alternative therapies. Dr. Catherine Ulbricht, Chief Editor of Natural Standard appeared on the Dr. Oz Show. On the episode "The Dr. Oz Show. Why your doctor is afraid of alternative health. Should you be?" experts investigated why some healthcare providers may be cautious of alternative medicine and discussed whether common therapies may be safe and effective.

"There is a lot written about alternative medicine, including herbs and supplements, and much of it is not evidence-based, which is one of the reasons some healthcare providers may be skeptical," said Dr. Ulbricht. "Often anecdotal tales of effectiveness are not supported by science. Our mission is to consolidate available data and apply a validated, reproducible research methodology to establish consensus on which therapies may be safe and effective." "The Dr. Oz Show" is a multi-topic, multi-segment health and wellness talk show that offers topical, newsworthy information and inspiring stories in an upbeat and entertaining format featuring Dr. Oz's unique point of view.
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Global Economic Uncertainty Makes Affordable Health Care a Universal Challenge for Consumers

Rising health care costs, coupled with the current state of the economy, have prompted many consumers across the globe to delay care, alter household spending and worry about their ability to pay for future health care costs according to the 4th annual Deloitte Center for Health Solutions "2011 Survey of Health Care Consumers."

"We have been examining consumers' interactions with the health care system since 2008. A new trend has emerged this year suggesting that economic uncertainty has clearly altered spending habits with many consumers reporting an impact on their out-of-pocket health care expenses," said Paul Keckley, Ph.D., executive director, Deloitte Center for Health Solutions. "Regardless of the type of health care system, government-run or private, consumers around the world are feeling the pinch."

Deloitte surveyed more than 15,000 health care consumers in 12 different countries including Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Mexico, Portugal, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States during April and May.

In the United States, three in four (75 percent) consumers say the recent economic slowdown has impacted their health care spending. Four in 10 (41 percent) are being more cautious about it, 20 percent cut back on spending, and 13 percent have reduced it considerably. In addition, 63 percent say their monthly health care spending limits their household's ability to purchase other essentials such as housing, groceries, fuel and education. To save money, 36 percent of prescription medication users have asked their doctor to prescribe a generic drug instead of a brand name drug. These findings follow Deloitte's, "The Hidden Costs of U.S. Health Care for Consumers: A Comprehensive Analysis," published in March 2011, which revealed consumers spend $363 billion more on health care than traditionally reported, outpacing housing and utility costs as a discretionary household expense.

Additionally, one in four (25 percent) U.S. consumers skipped seeing a doctor when sick or injured. Of those consumers who decided not to see a doctor in the past year, those that did so due to costs ranged from a high of 49 percent in the United States, followed by Belgium (39 percent), China (35 percent) and Mexico (34 percent), to a low of 5 percent in Canada and 7 percent in the United Kingdom and Luxembourg.
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Missing Patients May Slow Hospital's Progress Toward Meaningful Use of Electronic Health Records
New York, New York
Hospitals are spending billions of dollars on health information technology tools required for "meaningful use" of electronic medical records (EMR), but unless patients use them, hospitals may not reap the federal stimulus payments they're hoping for. That's the conclusion of a new report, "Putting Patients into Meaningful Use," by the Health Research Institute at PwC US. PwC's research found that only 14 percent of consumers said they get their medical records electronically from their physician's office, and 30 percent don't know why they would need to. PwC suggests that hospitals need to incorporate patient input earlier to comply with Stage 2 of the government's "meaningful use" requirements. 

"Successful use of electronic health information will ultimately be measured in better patient outcomes, higher quality and reduced costs," said Bruce Henderson, director and national leader of the Electronic Health Record -Health Information Exchange (EHR-HIE) practice, PwC. "Health systems need to have both patients and physicians actively using the health information to make care decisions, and they aren't there yet. To 'engage consumers in these benefits, they first need to understand what consumers want. Then, they need to build new, technology-enabled healthcare delivery processes around patient preferences and convenience, which means changing how clinicians work."
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Mobile Devices Pose New Security Risks for Patients; Five Experts Share Insights
Portland, Oregon
Mobile devices have become as common as the stethoscope in patient's rooms. Physicians routinely review patients' electronic health records (EHR), read test results, access diagnostic tools and take patient notes, all with a few touches on their iPad or tablet, smartphone or using a flash drive. These mobile devices are ideal for information sharing and time savings, but they pose huge security risks to patient information.

In less than two years, from September 22, 2009 through May 8, 2011, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) indicates that 116 data breaches of 500 records or more were the direct result of the loss or theft of a mobile device, exposing more than 1.9 million patients' PHI. A panel of five experts in the fields of healthcare IT, security and privacy, data breach and identity theft:  Jill Arena, Chad Boeckmann, Rebecca Herold, Rick Kam, and Robert Siciliano share their insights on how healthcare organizations and providers can optimize mobile health (mHealth) while protecting patients' data.

Electronic Health Records Increase Mobile Device Usage

Sixty-four percent of physicians own smartphones and 30 percent of physicians have an iPad, with another 28 percent planning to buy one within six months, according to a recent Manhattan Research study. 10,000 mobile healthcare applications are available today on the iPad, with a larger number of them created to provide access to electronic health records. Additionally, one-third of physicians use their mobile devices to input to EHR while seeing patients, while the information is fresh.
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PixelOptics Officially Launches emPower! Electronic Eyeglasses
New York, New York
Following an award-winning preview at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, PixelOptics announced the formal introduction of emPower!, the world's first electronically-focusing prescription eyewear, at Vision Expo East in New York. "The introduction of emPower! marks a turning point in the evolution of vision technology," said Ron Blum, President and CEO of PixelOptics. "With the ability to substantially reduce or eliminate the perceived distortion and other limitations associated with traditional progressive lenses, emPower! places control of your vision back in the hands of the consumer, providing a level of vision clarity and comfort never experienced before in the correction of presbyopia."

Beginning in May 2011, in a partnership with Aspex Eyewear and Panasonic Healthcare Co., LTD, the emPower! eyeglasses will be available in the Southeastern U.S., and then will be rolled out across the country by the end of 2011. Panasonic will manufacture the electronic lens blanks, leveraging the company's expertise and heritage in LCD technology. The electronic frames, produced by Aspex Eyewear, will be available in a fashion collection of 12 styles, including multiple color options. The consumer will have 36 different electronic frames to choose from.

emPower! represents the most significant technological advance in prescription eyewear in the last 50 years. The world's first electronic corrective eyeglasses, emPower! features the most advanced consumer electronics innovations available today, including composite lenses with a thin transparent liquid crystal layer, microchips, micro-machine accelerometers and miniature rechargeable batteries.
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Most Americans Think Devastating Natural Disasters Are Increasing, Less than Half Believe in Global Warming
New York, New York
Reading or watching the news, one might be struck by the seemingly constant barrage of reports of disasters, both natural in origin and not. In fact, some colleges and universities have begun offering coursework in emergency and disaster management, as these impactful and unplanned events continue to shape our world. When Americans were asked if they think that there have been more devastating natural disasters, including hurricanes, tornados and earthquakes recently, three quarters of U.S. adults say there have been more (76%) with three in ten saying there have been much more (31%); only 2% say there have been less and 23% say there have been neither more nor less.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,163 adults surveyed online between June 13 and 20, 2011 by Harris Interactive. Despite a large majority reporting an increase in devastating disasters, only 56% say they are prepared for one of these disasters or a long-term power outage by having the necessary supplies, food and water for three days. Conversely two in five Americans say they are not prepared in this way (41%), although older Americans overall are better prepared than those younger: two thirds of Matures, aged 66 years and older, say they are prepared for a disaster or long-term power outage (67%), compared to 59% of Baby Boomers, aged 47-65, 54% of Gen X, aged 35-46 and fewer than half of Echo Boomers, aged 18-34 (45%).

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Human Health Project Launches Social Network for Physicians, Medical Practitioners to Exchange Case Information on the Internet for Diagnosis of Difficult Medical Cases
Los Angeles, California
The Human Health Project (HHP), a non-profit organization based in Los Angeles, London and Dublin, today announced the launch of its web-based social network platform for medical professionals anywhere in the world to exchange information and remotely discuss rare and unusual health problems, free of charge.

The new website is www.humanhealthproject.org. It is designed exclusively for medical professionals of all types -- in both conventional and alternative medicine -- to help each other diagnose and resolve difficult cases, according to Phil Harrington, M.D., Founder and Chief Executive Officer.

"This new site combines the latest technology in social networking via the Internet with the old-fashioned idea of practitioners sharing and discussing unusual medical cases in order to arrive at a real solution -- even when patients and doctors are located in the most remote of locations," Harrington said.

"The platform is organized so that medical professionals of different types and medical traditions can simply come to the website and enroll as members," he added. "Once their membership information is validated, they then can submit online cases for review and discussion among all the network participants. This provides members with access to the collective expertise of health professionals throughout the Human Health Project network whose comments may help lead to a resolution for the patient.

"We expect that this project will be of great benefit to the medical communities in the United States and around the globe, since there are about four million medical professionals just in the U.S. and more than 40 million elsewhere in the world," he noted.


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Leading-Edge Collaboration Aims to Improve Communication Among Providers, Enhance Continuity of Care, Support Achievement of EHR Meaningful Use and Advance the Patient-Centered Medical Home Model of Care
Washington, DC
The American Academy of Family Physicians has announced AAFP Physicians Direct, a new service that supports secure, electronic communication between physicians. Built on the Surescripts Network for Clinical Interoperability, this new AAFP service is part of a larger program to help physicians more easily and securely share information such as referrals, patient summaries, discharge summaries and lab results when providing their patients' care. The innovative collaboration will make the nation's leading health information network available to nearly 75,000 family physicians across the United States.

AAFP physicians will be able to connect to the Surescripts network and share information securely through the new AAFP Physicians Direct web portal or a choice of electronic health record systems. Amazing Charts, e-MDs and SOAPware has also announced that they will connect their EHR systems to the Surescripts network and collaborate in the Physicians Direct program.

With this new service, AAFP will leverage the Surescripts network to provide electronic clinical interoperability among providers, allowing them to break down communication barriers due to incompatible technology and a lack of interoperability standards. Clinical interoperability between health care providers is viewed by experts as the next critical step to accelerate the digital transformation of the nation's health care system. The advance of clinical interoperability plays a central role in a number of important national health care initiatives: improving continuity of care; supporting the "meaningful use" of electronic health records; and advancing the patient-centered medical home model of care.

"We are proud to empower physicians with a digital tool that will make their practice run more efficiently while improving the overall quality of care they provide," said Glen Stream, MD, MBI, president-elect of the AAFP. "AAFP Physicians Direct will enhance communication among health care providers, and patients likely will experience more seamless coordination and continuity of care. Patients will benefit, and that's always a 'win.'"


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Intermedia Adds HIPAA Compliance Templates to Its Hosted Exchange Email Service Helps Healthcare Firms Meet Regulations Without Taking on High Costs and Complexity
New York, New York
Intermedia, the world's largest Microsoft Exchange hosting provider, has announced that compliance templates for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) are now available as part of its email encryption service. Healthcare firms can not only outsource their Exchange email to Intermedia, but can also use the company's email encryption capabilities and HIPAA templates to set and enforce policies for regulatory compliant email communication.

HIPAA requires healthcare firms to safeguard patient information, including the transmission of that information over email. Using Intermedia's HIPAA templates, healthcare firms are able to select from a pre-built list of rules to determine whether emails contain protected health information (PHI) and need to be encrypted. PHI is defined as any personal health information that can be linked to a specific individual and includes any part of the patient's medical record or payment history. Encryption is added automatically in appropriate cases to assure emails are secure and read only by the sender and recipient.

"Healthcare firms deal with sensitive information and have strict regulatory requirements to safeguard that information," says Jonathan McCormick, Intermedia's chief operating officer. "The challenge is that managing email and HIPAA compliance in-house creates serious cost and complexity implications. With Intermedia's integrated offerings, healthcare firms can outsource their email and configure it to help assure HIPAA compliance. This saves on costs and better protects patient data."

The templates include a set of pre-determined compliancy code sets, keywords, and policies built from the most current industry information.


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OrganizedWisdom Partners With Xtify to Offer Mobile Health Notifications and Close the Online Health Gap
New York, New York
OrganizedWisdom, an expert-driven platform for health and wellness, has announced a partnership with Xtify, Inc., a leading provider of smart notification technology for mobile applications, to build a series of mobile health applications. The ongoing initiative aims to close the 'Online Health Gap' by connecting the mobile phones of people interested in specific health and wellness information with the wisdom of vetted health practitioners and patient advocates.

The first application, titled "Healthy Bites," will deliver nutritious eating notifications from health experts directly to consumers' smartphones. Currently available on Android phones nationwide, the application will soon launch on other smartphone platforms. Similar applications relating to common health conditions such as exercise, diabetes, weight loss, heart health, healthy diets, and more will launch in the coming months. The applications are enhanced with exclusive push notification technology provided by Xtify, Inc., which delivers vetted content selected by health experts to consumers' smartphones at the time and place it is most useful, even when the application is closed.

"OrganizedWisdom is on a mission to close the 'Online Health Gap' -- the scary space that exists between a doctor visit and the Internet, where people are left alone with an empty search box and millions of computer-generated results," said Unity Stoakes, president and co-founder of OrganizedWisdom. "This mobile initiative represents an important step in advancing our mission of connecting patients, wherever they are, with the most credible health and wellness experts."

The number of medical professionals actively engaging online has been rapidly increasing, but until now there has not been a reliable method for organizing these contributions. OrganizedWisdom is building a comprehensive Expert Health Graph to collect, organize, and promote these online contributions of thousands of vetted health experts and advocates now actively sharing wisdom across the Web.


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Enrolling in Medicare: PlanPrescriber Offers Recommendations for Baby Boomers Turning 65
Maynard, Massachussetts
PlanPrescriber, a wholly-owned subsidiary of eHealth, Inc., published advice for baby boomers enrolling in Medicare benefits for the first time. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, for the next 19 years, an average of 11,000 people will turn 65 years old every day, making them eligible for Medicare benefits. This means that starting this year, the first of 78 million baby boomers will begin educating themselves about their Medicare coverage options for the first time.

To help baby boomers make the right decisions about their coverage during their initial Medicare open enrollment period, newcomers to Medicare should consider the following recommendations.

1. Take it easy. You are not locked into the same Medicare plan forever. Each year you're able to change your Medicare Advantage coverage and/or your Medicare part D prescription drug coverage. Some Medicare Supplement (also called MediGap) plans only allow you to enroll without medical underwriting during your initial enrollment period (the first six months that you become eligible for Medicare), but others allow you to enroll at any time. If you begin researching Medicare before your 65th birthday, the decision-making process should be easier.

2. Do some basic training. Medicare can be confusing. It's a different type of health insurance coverage than most people are used to, so before you get inundated with sales pitches and unsolicited advice, try to understand your basic coverage options.

There are three basic Medicare coverage configurations you can choose from: The first is to go with Original Medicare (Part A and Part B), plus a Part D prescription drug plan; the second is Medicare Advantage, which can include vision, dental and prescription drug coverage; and the third is a Medicare Supplement, or MediGap, plan coupled with Original Medicare (A and B) and Medicare Part D.

Each year during the annual enrollment period, it's a good idea to review and update your Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. Or, if you have Medicare Advantage coverage, you should review the prescription drug coverage on your Medicare Advantage plan at that time.


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Fortify HIT Contracts With Education and Ethics to Protect Patient Safety, Say Informatics Experts
Washington, DC
An original and progressive report on health information technology (HIT) vendors, their customers and patients, published online, makes ground-breaking recommendations for new practices that target the reduction or elimination of tensions that currently mar relationships between many HIT vendors and their customers, specifically with regard to indemnity and error management of HIT systems. In light of the Obama Administration's $19 billion investment in HIT, paid out in ARRA stimulus funds, these recommendations are particularly significant in helping to foster greater use of electronic health records and other tools in the transition from paper records, largely understood to be a hindrance to quality patient care.

The recommendations, adopted by AMIA -- the association of informatics professionals and a trusted authority in the HIT community -- strive to imbue the HIT vendor-customer relationship with transparency, veracity, and accountability through collaborative education focused on the installation, configuration and use of HIT systems, in combination with enterprise-wide ethics education to support patient safety. The recommendations are the result of deliberations by an AMIA Board-appointed Task Force. The position statement will appear in the January/February 2011 print edition of JAMIA, the scholarly peer-reviewed journal of informatics in health and biomedicine, co-published by AMIA and the BMJ Group.

"There was a need to consider, study and analyze questions of appropriate oversight," said AMIA Board Chairwoman Nancy M. Lorenzi, PhD, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and Professor of Biomedical Informatics, Vanderbilt University. "With as much interest and investment in HIT as there is today, AMIA -- an unbiased third party -- wanted to take a fresh look at gray areas that currently exist between vendors and their customers to see where new practices could be implemented to better support patient outcomes and protect patients, who these systems ultimately serve. We think these recommendations do an excellent job of addressing fairness and balancing accountability in the HIT marketplace and in the health sector."

The report, titled "HIT Vendors, their customers and patients: New challenges in ethics, safety, best practices and oversight," makes specific recommendations on Contract Language, Education and Ethics, Ethical Standards, User Groups, Best Practices, and Marketing. An additional section addresses Regulation and Oversight of the HIT Industry and next steps.
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Healthcare IT Is Tuned In to the Need for Uptime Assurance as Industry Adopts Electronic Records, Survey Finds
Maynard, Massachusetts
Healthcare organizations are moving steadily toward electronic health record (EHR) adoption to improve patient care but, at the same time, are aware of downtime's potential to erode EHR's benefits, according to a Stratus Technologies-ITIC survey. More than 70 percent of healthcare organizations surveyed have either implemented on-premise EHR systems or plan to. The number rises to 81 percent when outsource EHR providers are factored in. While only 6 percent of respondents are in the process of deploying an EHR system now, 35 percent plan to launch an on-premise system within the next year and 37 percent within the next 20 months.

"The survey results show that the majority of healthcare organizations clearly recognize how electronic health records can reduce overhead expenses and improve patient care," said Laura DiDio, principal at ITIC. "They also understand that those benefits are contingent on maximum uptime, and where downtime would have the most serious effect."

Uptime's importance is clear in responses to questions about disruptions to patient care and important administrative processes. Only 11 percent said that inability to access EHR files would cause minor disruptions; 64 percent said there would be notable disruptions, mainly administrative; processing insurance claims and scheduling patient appointments were the most frequently cited at 67 and 53 percent. However, nearly half the respondents -- 49 percent -- said EHR system disruptions can increase the potential for patient data recording errors and 32 percent said it could cause errors in prescribing medications.

Despite the broad awareness of uptime's importance, almost 20 percent of respondents were still unsure how inaccessible health records would affect administration and patient care. "It's heartening to see that most healthcare IT professionals understand their uptime needs, though we still need to be concerned about the 20 percent that doesn't seem to grasp the issue, or have yet to begin an EHR evaluation or implementation," said Nelson Hsu, senior director, Avance product line. "Uptime isn't a 'nice to have' in medical applications. If a healthcare organization can't see where interrupted access to patient medical records affects care, then they don't understand why they need reliable hardware and software infrastructures that provide continuous uptime. Without that, their EHR projects -- on premise or outsourced -- lead to business disruption and the potential for compromised patient care."
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On The Eve of a Technology Breakthrough-OLED Production Set to Increase Tenfold in 2011
Hofstetten, Australia
"In 2011 we will all experience the decisive breakthrough of OLED technology in displays and lighting," says Erich Strasser, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of the online portal OLED-display.net. The OLED expert has thoroughly analysed market and insider information: by mid-2011 Strasser expects global OLED production to have multiplied tenfold and promises numerous new, exciting products in the future.

According to Strasser, windows with transparent OLEDs (Organic Light Emitting Diodes) will be commonplace in a few years time: during daylight hours they are transparent – in the evenings the OLEDs become a source of light. Windscreens in cars will function similarly, allowing navigation information to be transmitted through transparent OLEDs. Over the coming months, the publisher of OLED-display.net expects huge advances in OLED technology: "The lifespan of the OLEDs will double, and contrast and colours will improve significantly."

OLED have already reached the mass markets in smartphones: companies like Nokia and Samsung have a few models with OLED displays on the market. "In the future, almost all smartphones will include OLED," Erich Strasser says. Strasser has been focusing on OLED technology since 2004 and opened the first online portal on the topic in the same year.

The advance in technology will continue at a record pace in 2011. Strasser: "The manufacturers have recognised the future of OLEDs. LG Display and Samsung Mobile Display alone will be investing EUR13b in new OLED production sites over the coming five years. A similar sum was invested in LCD technology at the time. It's clear: in the coming years, OLED will also conquer the Flat-TV market and will gradually replace LCD and plasma technology."

Erich Strasser: "As soon as 2011, LG plans to offer a 31" OLED 3D TV. And Samsung is even planning rollable OLED TVs within the next 24 months."
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Health, Budget Concerns Will Drive Food Flavor and Ingredient Market in 2011
New York, New York
Consumer thriftiness and health-consciousness will continue to exert a notable influence over the food and beverage ingredient and flavor trends to emerge in 2011, according to Food Flavors and Ingredients Outlook 2011, the eighth edition of the annual series by market research publisher Packaged Facts.

"Heading into 2011, consumers are growing evermore weary of economic and nutritional health gloom and doom. Many have spent the last few years reinventing their financial and employment lives, and are now starting to focus more emphasis on their overall wellbeing and happiness in a way that is reflective of their values, being more pragmatic and deliberate in making decisions about how to spend both their time and their resources," says Don Montuori, publisher of Packaged Facts.

Packaged Facts believes food marketers, from the retail and foodservice sectors, will take that consumer mindset to heart in 2011. Some of the key trends Packaged Facts forecasts to hit it big in 2011 are:

Flavors From Around the Globe -- Ethnic food will remain a bright spot for foodservice and retailers, providing variety and interest without taxing smaller food budgets. The growing presence of food trucks, with their varied ethnic fare at reasonable prices, will bring this national trend home to the local level.

Sustainability Trumps Local, Organic and Natural -- Local, organic and natural foods will more often be connected with eco-friendliness and a more holistic lifestyle approach to eating that promotes sustainability. As a result, Packaged Facts predicts that there will be greater use of natural, organic, local and antibiotic and hormone-free ingredients at quick serve restaurants and fast casual restaurants in 2011. At retail, the popularity of private label organic products is anticipated to continue while growth in directly marketed local and organic produce, meats and locally processed foods sold via farmers' markets and community-supported agriculture is anticipated.
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The Top 5 Mobile Resolutions Marketers Need to Make for 2011
San Mateo, California
The mobile marketplace is a moving target and for Fortune 500 organizations, getting a mobile offering right couldn't be more essential to building a successful brand. These companies have been in a frenzy to launch mobile offerings that capture the attention of consumers and keep them one step ahead of competitors. From identifying consumer's mobile needs to dealing with the onslaught of new mobile device introductions, CMOs and CIOs are pulled in too many directions and are often overwhelmed by the task of developing a successful mobile offering that reaches all consumers across all devices.

"The additional revenue potential in mobile applications for consumer brands is astronomical. With the variety of devices, operating systems, features and capabilities that brands face today, it's near impossible for a company to parse out what's going to make them successful in the space and give them the greatest bang for their mobile dollar," said Raj Koneru, CEO of Kony Solutions, Inc., the mobile application platform provider with Write Once, Run Everywhere technology, enabling applications to be designed and developed just once, in a device independent manner, and deployed across multiple channels, including on-device applications, mobile web, SMS, web gadgets, desktop applications, and tablets.

Koneru continued, "2011 provides brands with an opportunity to slow down and really strategize about their mobile portfolio, make the right investments and find the right partner that will help them to protect their investment and see solid return. With so many new innovations hitting the mobile market every day, it's essential for companies to understand which new features and trends will be most important to leverage in the New Year."

Drawing on extensive experience designing, developing, and maintaining mobile portfolios for Fortune 500 brands across a variety of industries and the entire breadth of mobile devices, operating systems and channels on the market today, Kony Solutions predicts the five key trends these companies need to leverage as part of their mobile offering in 2011.

1. Augmented Reality Meets Shopping

To-date augmented reality applications have been focused on navigation programs, being used primarily to direct users to a location. In 2011, the mobile space will see more experimentation with augmented reality. Applications will begin to harness its power to engage consumers, offering incentivizing information on products in-store. Consumers will be able to hold their phone's camera up to a product and see discounts or coupons on the product layered over the real-life image.

2. Voice Is Key In Security

A significant roadblock to consumer adoption of mobile wallet technologies has been consumers' concerns over the security of storing sensitive information on their mobile handsets. Developers have attempted to quiet these concerns by implementing protection features such as multi-factor authentication to their apps. In 2011, voice biometrics will emerge as the new standard for security. According to Citibank Australia CEO Roy Gori, using an individual's voiceprint for security purposes can be more accurate than any other means of identification, while also making obsolete the typical series of log-in passwords and questions for users resulting in increased ease-of-use and consequently, adoption.
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Call to Arms and Action Plan for New Age of Health Care
Washington, DC
Despite the promise of a new era of health care in which medicine has shifted from treating conditions to emphasizing prevention fueled by individualized care, a significant gap remains in realizing its benefits because of outmoded attitudes, protocols and procedures targeted for treating mass populations. Such is the core argument and motivation behind the "Personalized Health Manifesto," released to kick off the 2010 Translational Medicine Alliance Forum  at the Mandarin Oriental.

Written by journalist and best-selling author David Ewing Duncan and funded by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the manifesto is "an old-fashioned call to arms and action plan for a new age of health care" that takes direct aim at the challenges of integrating and implementing personalized health care in the United States and seeks to accelerate the incorporation of personalized health into the current health care system.

"Making this shift to personalized health is a formidable task that will take many years to accomplish, but having scientists and health care leaders sign on to a comprehensive plan is a powerful place to start," Duncan said. "Launching a new era of personalized health will not require the creation of a radical new blueprint for change. We can use existing plans and reforms that individuals inside and outside of government have already proposed."

"The manifesto is a fitting catalyst for conversation about how we can better and more quickly get cures to patients amid the billions being spent on research and drug development," said Lesa Mitchell, vice president of advancing innovation at the Kauffman Foundation. "It directs us to focus on what we need to treat a patient, what we need to change in policy, what do we need to change in process, and how we need to more broadly share data to get the patient what he or she needs."

The manifesto's "action plan" aims to set a new direction for health care, emphasizing prediction, prevention, individualized care and healthy wellness to ensure that the best medicines make it to the marketplace and optimize patient care. By focusing on the whole human organism, the manifesto challenges the prevailing use of drugs and protocols to target populations and averages rather than individuals. It further outlines the necessary groundwork for speeding up the process of moving from research to new drugs and other products and treatments by introducing more effective models that will ultimately improve health and reduce health care costs.
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"Revolution" Is Coming: Computer History Museum Will Launch Signature Exhibit Spanning "The First 2000 Years of Computing" in Early 2011
Mountain View, California
The Computer History Museum, the world's leading institution exploring the history of computing and its ongoing impact on society, is going to start a "Revolution" in January 2011. The Museum formally announced the plans for its new signature exhibition, "Revolution: The First 2000 Years of Computing." The exhibition will be the world's most comprehensive physical and online exploration of computing history, spanning everything from the abacus and slide rules to robots, Pong, the Internet, and beyond. Presented in a fresh, fascinating way, the $19 million expansion will appeal to a wide range of visitors including families, tech enthusiasts, gamers, and anyone else interested in learning how computing came to be and has shaped the way we live today.

In addition to expanding CHM's physical exhibit space by 50 percent, "Revolution" will be an on-site and online experience. The web exhibit will showcase an expansive collection of one-of-a-kind artifacts, engaging stories, never seen before interviews with pioneers and dozens of videos produced exclusively for this exhibition.

Currently under construction, "Revolution" is a 25,000-square foot wonderland of more than 1,000 artifacts alongside the people and stories that illustrate the social impact of computing. It includes 18 originally produced mini-movies and more than 40 oral histories on interactive personal viewing stations. Visitors will engage in a variety of sensory experiences, from picking up a 24-lb Osborne computer and playing vintage computer games like Pong, Spacewar!, Adventure and Pac-man to surfing the Web in the 1990s.

"We are delighted to bring to life the world's premier historical exhibition on the Information Age," said John Hollar, President and Chief Executive Officer of CHM. "Revolution represents nearly a decade of work by hundreds of people in consultation with our professional staff. The result is an accessible, multi-layered approach to storytelling that suits a variety of learning styles, both on site and online. People of all computing generations will be engaged in unexpected ways when they see how the devices and software they used over the years, and use today, originally came to be."
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Joint Commission Publishes New Guide for Advancing Patient-Centered Care
Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois
A free monograph released by The Joint Commission, entitled "Advancing Effective Communication, Cultural Competence, and Patient-and Family-Centered Care: A Roadmap for Hospitals," provides recommendations to inspire hospitals to address unique patient needs and comply with new standards for patient-centered communication.

In August 2008, The Joint Commission, with funding from The Commonwealth Fund, began an initiative to advance the issues of effective communication, cultural competence, and patient-and family-centered care in hospitals. The project was directed by Paul Schyve, M.D., senior vice president, The Joint Commission, and Amy Wilson-Stronks, M.P.P., project director, Division of Quality Measurement and Research, and principal investigator for The Joint Commission study Hospitals, Language, and Culture. The focus of the project was to develop accreditation standards for the hospital program and a monograph to help hospitals better meet patient needs. The Joint Commission collaborated with the National Health Law Program to develop the Roadmap for Hospitals.

"We want to inspire hospitals to integrate effective communication, cultural competence, and patient- and family-centered care into their organizations," says Dr. Schyve. "By giving hospitals this Roadmap, we are providing them with the methods to begin or improve upon their efforts to ensure that all patients receive the same high quality care."

Effective communication, cultural competence, and patient-and family-centered care are not stand-alone initiatives. A hospital must embed these practices in the core activities of its system of care delivery to truly meet the needs of the patients, families, and communities served. The recommendations in the Roadmap for Hospitals do not encompass every aspect of these three areas, but represent key issues that hospitals should consider to meet the unique needs of each patient. Practice examples and recommendations address various issues including race, ethnicity, language, culture, health literacy, other communication barriers, mobility needs, and the concerns of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender patients. The Joint Commission encourages hospitals to adopt a combination of the practices discussed and to use these examples as a foundation for creating processes, policies, and programs that are best suited for their organizations.
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"The Doctor is (Logged) In"
Garrison, New York
Aurora Information Technology, a medical website design company, speaks about what it knows best in Florida Medical Magazine's Winter 2010 quarterly edition: the power of Internet medical marketing for the healthcare industry. The issue, which focused on the "e-Patient," challenged doctors to become "less paper-dependent and more computer and web-reliant." Aurora IT has long acknowledged that the Internet is destined to become a larger part of doctors' practices. They share their wisdom in an article entitled "The Doctor is (Logged) In: Physician websites have evolved from virtual placeholders to dynamic patient service tools."

With a quarterly circulation of more than 15,500 readers, Florida Medical Magazine, reports on contemporary topics so that their readers can remain up-to-date on the changing trends of practicing medicine. In the article, CEO Daniel Gilbert noted that the general attitude of medical website marketing has moved from "reluctance to enthusiasm" as physicians embrace the power of the web in promoting their business. Patients want to walk into an office and know as much as they can about the doctor they have selected and their background. As Gilbert noted, "A website should reflect a physician's depth of knowledge in his or her specialty."

The search for medical information ranks third among the most popular searches on the Internet behind checking email and shopping online. This is why Florida Medical Magazine claims, "For many Americans who are feeling ill, the laptop is the first stop, not the waiting room." An abundance of conflicting information is dangerous to the average web surfer, which leads to a panic called "cyberchondria," as noted in the article. This panic will lead a patient to believe that they actually suffer from the affliction they have just researched.
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Digital Pen plus MD Form Manager Provides Traditional Documentation Approach of Pen and Paper to EHR
New York, New York
MedLink, a leading provider of Electronic Health Records and practice management solutions, is pleased to announce the acquisition of Health Informatics, Inc. a provider of cutting edge clinical data digitization technology that simplifies and streamlines the adoption of Electronic Health Records.

The Health Informatics Digital Pen, in conjunction with MD Form Manager, is the flagship offering of the Company. The Digital Pen looks and feels like a normal ball point pen, however, the Digital Pen contains an integrated infrared digital camera, an advanced image microprocessor and a mobile communications device for wireless connection. The camera records the precise location of ink strokes as it moves over a uniquely constructed grid of microscopic dot patterns. These dots provide the pen with exact co-ordinates of its position, which, through MD Form Manager, are designed to interface directly with the MedLink EHR to collect discrete data elements that electronically populate the patient chart. The solution provides doctors and their staff with the traditional documentation approach of pen and paper, but the advanced ability of digitally documenting and capturing the data required to provide 'meaningful use' and other quality data reports.
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BUGS and Pacific Sands, Inc. Ready Products to Aid Oil Spill Cleanup Efforts
Carlsbad, California
U.S. Microbics (aka BUGS), an environmental technology company, and Pacific Sands, Inc., a manufacturer of a broad range of environmentally friendly cleaning products, are jointly formulating products that could directly benefit victims of the recent Gulf Oil Spill, one of the worst environmental disasters of our time. The products could soon be available for consumer and commercial use and could be used on marine structures and wildlife contaminated with gooey oil.

Using components of the Pacific Sands Natural Choices product line and the oil spill cleanup experience of BUGS management coupled with direct input from industry experts and technologists, the companies hope to introduce one or more products that can help clean up oil spill residue without using additional solvents, dyes, and chemicals that irritate the skin, require special equipment and training to apply or may harm the environment. The developed products would be available to consumers on the www.EcoGeeks.com website and to industrial and commercial clean up users on a BUGS website to be announced.

Robert Brehm, CEO of BUGS, commented, "The BUGS technology was successfully used on the Santa Barbara oil spill in the late 1960's and I believe there are cleanup lessons we have learned that are applicable to the Gulf Oil Spill particularly with respect to the use of oil-eating microbes for post capture oil treatment in soil and water. In the past we used surfactants and degreasers with oil spill cleanup operations and the availability of the natural products from Pacific Sands and commercially available microbe products could significantly aid the cleanup process without harmful environmental effects of conventional processes now being used. Our goal is to have simple and effective natural products that can be easily used by the consumer and by commercial cleanup crews."
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Expert Panel Speaks Out on Need for Privacy, Access and Identity for Healthcare Information
Princeton Junction, New Jersey
Privacy, access and identity are vital to the Obama administration's effort to modernize the nation's healthcare information infrastructure, a panel of policy and technology experts told healthcare industry leaders, public policy makers and policy-influencing organizations at a National Press Club briefing in Washington, DC. The event was co-hosted by the Smart Card Alliance Healthcare and Identity Councils and the Secure ID Coalition. A video of all of the presentations from the healthcare identity and privacy briefing is available online. The topic is timely because healthcare IT is getting nearly a $19 billion boost from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The speakers agreed the sense of urgency and massive investment are good news, but that time pressure might also cause problems.

"There is a risk we will focus too much on standards for electronic health records (EHRs) and ways to exchange them at the expense of sound privacy and identity models," said Randy Vanderhoof, executive director of the Smart Card Alliance. "The critical issues are getting control over who has access to healthcare information, and correctly tying the right individual to his or her health records. That means identity management and access authentication security have to be baked-in from the start, not tacked on at the end."

Correctly identifying patients and their records is difficult just within a single hospital, but gets far worse between multiple institutions, according to a leading practitioner and specialist on the subject, Paul Contino, vice president, Information Technology, at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. He cautioned that identity management must be addressed correctly up front or "we're going to have problems with the linkages of electronic medical records" on a regional or even national basis. Mount Sinai revamped patient registration processes and implemented a smart card-based patient card to more accurately link individuals to their medical and administrative records.
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Who Are You? Establishing Trust in Digital Identities
Princeton Junction, New Jersey
The need for trust in identity is at the foundation of our society and economy. How to establish that trust, protect it, and tie it uniquely to an individual, particularly in online transactions, were the topics that dominated the many identity sessions at the Smart Card Alliance Annual Conference, held recently in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The first problem is how to prove an identity. "We have a big hole in the middle of this information identity highway; it is called foundational credentials," said Mike O'Neil, executive director of the North American Security Products Organization (NASPO). O'Neil points out that the commonly used base breeder documents -- birth certificates, driver's licenses, and Social Security cards -- were never designed to be identity documents and are easily falsified. Under the recommendations of ANSI, NASPO is developing a new identity verification standard and process that could be used to establish more trusted identities for individuals.

The next set of problems, using that identity, tying it uniquely to its owner and protecting it from theft or abuse, has become a critical issue in many sectors. The need for cybersecurity makes this more acute as more transactions move online, driven by the underlying economics of the Web. "The Web is unparalleled at driving down costs, which is why everything is going to the Web and everything on the Web is going to the cloud. The problem is as you go to the cloud you increase risk," said Mike Ozburn, principal, Booz Allen Hamilton, and keynote speaker at the Alliance event. "Security has to be as implicit, as built-in, and as architectural" as the cost dynamics that are driving everything to the Web and the cloud, Ozburn argues.

The Obama administration is taking the lead in this area with the National Strategy for Secure Online Transactions initiative, which is expected to facilitate the establishment of a broad identity ecosystem that can provide an online trust framework. "Last November we published the ICAM Segment Architecture, which was the first attempt at a governmentwide process for identity management," said Judy Spencer of the GSA Office of Governmentwide Policy. That document primarily focuses on the federal government as both a provider of identity and a consumer of identity. According to Spencer, the new initiative takes the principles of identity authentication and management in that work and moves it to the next level, where the federal government may not even be a party to the transaction at all.
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Artificial Intelligence Added to Medloom Clinical Decision Support System
Junction City, Kansas
Lead Horse Technologies has announced the addition of artificial intelligence (AI) technology to its Medloom clinical decision support system. Medloom runs on the InterSystems CACHE high-performance object database platform. CACHE provides the high performance, rapid development environment and advanced features needed for the real-time decision support that characterizes the Medloom system, according to John M. Armstrong, Ph.D., Lead Horse Technologies Chairman and CEO.

Dubbed Ardvarc, the new patent-pending AI software is already viewed by some industry experts as a potential leap forward in drug safety. "Lead Horse Technologies is unique. They've developed terrifically novel software that, in my opinion, would give valuable early signals about drug safety issues... signals that just haven't been available until now," said Charles L. Bennett, MD, Ph.D. and the Center of Economic Excellence Endowed Chair in Medication Safety and Efficacy at the South Carolina College of Pharmacy.

"There is no more important issue than pharmaceutical safety, but many people don't really pay attention to it," Bennett continued. "Most clinicians assume that drugs are vetted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the pharmaceutical manufacturer. Simply stated, the manufacturer has a difficult time and, while the FDA tries its hardest, there just aren't enough people to do the work completely."
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Washington State's New Hands-Free Cell Phone Law: Businesses Face Unique Challenges and Issues Regarding Compliance
Seattle, Washington
Following Washington State's new law that makes hand-held cell phones and text messaging while driving a primary offense, many businesses in the state face their own unique set of challenges in complying with the law: how to handle employees who spend a significant part of their workday on the road.

Two Washington companies, DialPro Northwest and Personnel Management Systems, are teaming up to help businesses keep their employees safe and connected to the office with expert tips in a new guide that helps businesses navigate the unique challenges and issues many face in keeping their employees safe, productive and in compliance with the law.

"Most company HR policies are out of date and need to be updated," says Jack Goldberg, president, Personnel Managements Systems, a leading provider of outsourced human resource management services. "We encourage businesses to review their policies in light of current employee cell phone usage and the law. Employees should minimize the amount of time they use the cell phone while driving on the job, and to always stay safe by using headsets or hands-free devices when they absolutely need to use the phone."

"Unlike individuals, many businesses have employees who have to stay connected to the office by phone and email while on the road," says Dennis Tyler, president of DialPro Northwest, a leading provider of voice messaging and unified communications solutions. "It is not always feasible for employees to pull to the side of the road. Sometimes a quick response is required to respond to an email message or make a phone call. There are a whole group of business-oriented speech recognition tools that keep employees both safe and connected to the office while offering full compliance with the law."
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New Online Tool Helps Hospitals Calculate Health IT Stimulus Dollars Available to Fund EHR
San Diego, California
Medsphere Systems Corporation, the leading provider of open-source healthcare IT solutions, today unveiled a new Stimulus ROI Calculator designed to help hospitals make more informed, financially sound health IT decisions.

"This online Calculator," explained Medsphere President and CEO Mike Doyle, "demonstrates the ability of most hospitals to leverage federal stimulus dollars and totally fund a proven and comprehensive electronic health record solution, specifically, Medsphere's OpenVista® EHR. Moreover, our rapid six-to-nine-month implementation process assures OpenVista hospitals that they will be enabled to achieve meaningful use in time to qualify for maximum stimulus dollars. And to let hospitals know how committed we are to helping them achieve meaningful health IT use and thereby meet federal stimulus requirements, we put one-third of our subscription fees at risk."

This automated ROI Calculator uses Medicare and Medicaid discharge information to calculate the estimated federal stimulus dollars a hospital can qualify for by achieving meaningful use as defined by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The federal government is using ARRA, in part, to impel healthcare organizations to deploy and meaningfully use the health IT necessary to manage costs and improve patient care. The tool helps hospitals estimate five-year subscription fees for Medsphere's OpenVista EHR solution based on the data they enter (exact figures available upon request). The Calculator then automatically correlates the two estimates -- EHR fees and ARRA stimulus -- to show hospital executives approximately how long it will take to recoup their EHR investment via ARRA.

"As hospitals ponder meaningful use of EHRs and meeting federal ARRA guidelines, they need straight answers from vendors on pricing, time to implementation, achievement of meaningful use and other key issues," said Doyle. "A general lack of vendor openness has made many hospitals reluctant to proceed though they may be leaving millions of sorely needed stimulus dollars on the table.
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Doctors Should Be Wary of EHR Vendors' Stimulus Fund 'Guarantees'
Lincoln, Nebraska
Amid widespread speculation over proposed incentives for the adoption of electronic medical records (EMR/EHR) systems, physicians and medical practice managers should be wary of vendors promising guaranteed receipt of stimulus funds by their customers.

According to practice management expert Mark Hollis, EMR/EHR vendors that promise physicians automatic qualification and receipt of any financial windfall can, in reality, offer no more guarantee of actually receiving cash than simply purchasing a lottery ticket guarantees one to be a winner. And, he says, physicians should instead focus on the overall benefits of improved practice efficiency, ease of use, and a higher quality of care when selecting an EMR/EHR system for their office.

Financial Incentives Spur Interest in EMR

In late December, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released preliminary documents aimed at outlining the steps physicians, clinics and hospitals must take to qualify for their share of the more than $17 billion available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).

With individual providers eligible for up to $44,000 each under certain Medicare participation requirements and $65,000 under Medicaid, as well as the threat of penalties in future years in the form of reduced Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement for not adopting some EHR technology, the stakes seem high for physicians in a time when skyrocketing malpractice insurance premiums and the cost of collecting from uninsured patients cut deeply into revenue.

"Many physicians have been led to believe that merely purchasing a certified EMR solution will guarantee them a much-needed financial shot in the arm in the form of a stimulus payout," said Hollis, president and co-founder of MacPractice, the leading provider of practice management and clinical software for Macs. "I wish that were true, but it's simply not the case. There will be specific criteria to meet, and unfortunately, many physicians, especially non-primary care providers, will not qualify even if they do purchase an EMR system, regardless of the vendor they choose."
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Dr. Deepak Chopra Releases "Stress Free" for the iPhone: a Coaching Program That Helps People Lead Stress Free, Happier, and Healthier Lives
Pleasantville, New York
Ready to live a life without stress? Dr. Deepak Chopra is putting the keys to a stress-free life right in our pockets. The bestselling author and world-renowned authority in the field of mind-body medicine has created the first mobile step by step program to becoming stress free. The new stress reduction program has been developed specifically for the iPhone/iPod Touch. It features videos of Dr. Chopra as a personal stress relief coach guiding users through a series of daily journaling exercises, guided meditations, music therapy and yoga exercises.

Stress Free is the first in a series of iPhone applications and mobile programs from Deepak Chopra. It also represents the first time such a program is being released directly in an interactive mobile format, without first being released in a book. With his new series of personalized mobile applications, Dr. Chopra intends to provide people with the opportunity of making significant life changes by following daily habit-changing exercises on the go and throughout the day.

The new application combines evidence-based psychology research with traditional Vedic principles. The self-guided program walks users through a set of stress-reduction activities and skills. Throughout each step in the program, users are personally coached by Dr. Chopra in a series of activity-specific videos. Activities include self-reflective interactive exercises relating to one's body, self/ego, relationships and emotions, as well as journaling, questionnaires, music therapy, meditations, yoga exercises and personal nutrition tips based on the concepts of Ayurveda.

"We know that stress is a major contributor to the serious epidemics of our time such as heart disease and cancer; finding ways to combat stress is critical to our health and well being," said Deepak Chopra. "What's so exciting about 'Stress Free' is for the first time, people can access the guidance and tools they need right when they need them most. By following simple daily activities on their phone, individuals can positively change their life perspective and psychological well being."
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Human/Animal Bond and "Pet Parent" Spending Insulate U.S. Pet Market Against Downturn, Forecast to Drive Post-Recession Growth
New York, New York
Buoyed by the ongoing pets-as-family phenomenon and the "pet parent" sentiment that accompanies it, the pet industry managed to resist the recession and in fact demonstrate growth in 2009, according to U.S. Pet Market Outlook 2010-2011: Tapping into Post-Recession Pet Parent Spending, by market research publisher Packaged Facts.

"The pet market has fared well overall despite the recession, and Packaged Facts attributes this performance to a number of factors that will also be integral to its even better performance in 2010 and 2011," says Don Montuori, publisher of Packaged Facts. "Chief among these factors is the human/animal bond, which is an excellent insulator against recessionary cutbacks, and the 'pet parent' sentiment has never been higher."

Packaged Facts pegs the pet market at $53 billion market (which includes veterinary services, pet food, non-food pet supplies, and non-medical pet services), and expects growth in the industry as the economy moves from recession to recovery. Pent-up pet parent demand for products and services that both enhance pet health and pamper animal companions will begin to kick in during 2010. And Packaged Facts projects sales will reach $72 billion by 2014.

Simply put, many pet owners are as unlikely to seriously cut back on spending for the "pet" family as they are for their "human" family, and in many cases would do so only after reducing spending on their own less essential needs. Such tendencies have typified the behavior of pet owners across the economic spectrum, be they affluent or middle class consumers. What's more, even those pet owners who may have cut back in other areas continued to spend on small indulgences for their pets, which partially explains the increase in sales of items such as dog treats and cat snacks during 2009.
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Independent Study Indicates That Enterprises View Collaboration, Ease of Use as More Important Than Security When Choosing a Cloud Vendor
Palo Alto, California
CloudShare today announced the results of an independent survey that examines the perception and adoption of cloud computing solutions. The survey sheds light on "What Matters Most in the Cloud" and indicates that ease of use, an all-inclusive business model, and support for existing IT architecture outweighs security as the most important factors for enterprises moving, or considering a move, to the cloud.

The evaluation, conducted by an independent market research firm, issued surveys to representatives from 2,500 enterprises, asking respondents to cite factors driving their particular organization's move towards cloud-based services. The study reveals that while security continues to be an area of consideration for cloud adoption, it is no longer regarded as the number one concern for selecting a cloud provider.
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Health Care Reform: New Consumer Poll Suggests Some Could Be Delaying Coverage
Mountain View, California
When given a choice between waiting for health reform legislation to pass or researching and seeking health insurance coverage immediately, 24% of adults surveyed would choose to wait before seeking coverage if they lost their coverage today, according to a new poll. Of those that were uninsured, more than two-in-five (44%) would choose to wait for reform legislation to pass before seeking coverage. Among the insured, one in five (21%) would wait, if they lost their coverage today.

The poll, conducted in December 2009 by Opinion Research Corporation and sponsored by eHealth, Inc., reveals public perceptions about health care reform as Americans wait for reform legislation to make its way through Congress. "This study reflects what we are hearing from people every day," said Gary Lauer, president and CEO of eHealth, Inc. "While waiting for health insurance reform, some Americans are unsure what to do about their health coverage needs today. We believe health reform will happen and that it may hold promise for a better system, but consumers shouldn't risk going without coverage. Until reform is written into law and becomes effective, Americans need to know that there are already a number of viable health insurance options in the non-group market for individuals and families today."
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Pet Health Insurance Market Expected to Reach Over $650 Million by 2010
Jericho, New York
Social Media Ventures, Inc. has announced that its social networking site for pet enthusiasts, PetsPlaces.com  will now offer pet health insurance, one of the fastest growing services in the booming pet industry. Americans currently spend $51 billion annually on their pets as reported in a BusinessWeek story. Veterinary Care ranks as one of the largest expenses, which the American Veterinary Association reports costs pet owners more than $18 billion annually. In addition, The American Animal Hospital Association reported that 73 percent of pet owners are willing to go into debt to pay for their pet's medical expenses.

Pet insurance is an increasingly popular way for pet owners to mitigate these medical expenses. According to a CNBC report, Pet health insurance is the third most requested employee benefit. To meet this growing demand, major corporations like Home Depot and Blockbuster Video now offer employees pet health insurance. "Pet health insurance is one of the fastest growing subsets of the booming pet market," said Robert W. Thayer, CEO of Social Media Ventures, Inc. "We are very excited to now offer pet health insurance to our social networking site for pet enthusiasts, PetsPlaces.com." The pet health insurance is made available through an affiliate program provided to Social Media Ventures for PetPlaces.com.
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Information Age Forces Strategic Shifts in Medical Information Call Centers, According to New Cutting Edge Information Report
Triangle Park, North Carolina
Pharmaceutical medical information call centers face challenging times ahead. Most call center leaders find their call loads decreasing as the information age makes it easier for doctors and patients to find product information on websites or via weblogs. Furthermore, the increasing prevalence of medical science liaisons imparting medically based information on physicians is starting to encroach upon the tasks once handled only by medical information call centers.

The newest report from pharmaceutical business intelligence leader Cutting Edge Information, "Evolving Medical Information Call Centers through Performance Measurement and Process Improvement," available at www.MedicalInformationCallCenters.com, aims to help medical information leaders deal with the changing environment.
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Medline Launches New 'Generation Pink Exam Glove Featuring Patented 3G Technology With Greater Flexibility and Protection
Mundelein, Ilinois
As part of its ongoing campaign to raise breast cancer awareness, Medline Industries, Inc., the nation's largest privately held manufacturer and distributor of medical supplies, today announced the launch of its "Generation Pink" powder-free synthetic exam glove. To aide the awareness effort, Medline will donate $1.00 to the National Breast Cancer Foundation for each case of the new pink glove purchased during the month of October, national Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The new Generation Pink exam glove features Medline's patented third generation technology, an advanced polymer formulation that offers outstanding sensitivity with a unique softness and flexibility. "The new Generation Pink glove is not only a tangible symbol of our ongoing commitment to breast cancer awareness and research, but our customers will also be showing their support every time they wear them," said Tripp Amdur, president of Medline's Glove Division. "At the same time, Generation Pink's patented third generation synthetic technology provides healthcare workers with the tactile sensitivity, fit and barrier protection that enables facilities to go latex-free."
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Top Security Predictions for 2010: Threats to Social Networking Sites, Operating Systems, and Cloud Computing Technologies Are Predicted to Increase; Botnets Will Remain Popular in 2010
Bucharest, Romania
Botnets, malicious applications and social networking malware are all threats to look out for in 2010, according to BitDefender. BitDefender, an award-winning provider of innovative anti-malware security solutions, also predicts that in 2010 cybercriminals will target operating systems, mobile devices and enterprise technologies such as cloud computing.

"2009 saw a wide range of security threats aiming at both end-users and at corporate networks," said Catalin Cosoi, BitDefender's senior anti-spam researcher. "The Conficker worm took a dramatic surge and managed to stay one of the top three global threats during 2009. Although not entirely dangerous, its spreading mechanisms and its resistance to detection may be regarded as the cornerstone of the upcoming breeds of highly destructive malware."

BitDefender's 2010 security predictions include:

Botnet activity

Spam sent by botnets will be at the core of malware threats in 2010. We will also see some distributed denial of service attacks, as proof of concepts for the future or possible customers of the botnets. If a client wants to rent a botnet, but he is not sure of the capabilities of the network, he might want to see a demonstration of power.

Malicious applications

The majority of malicious applications are oriented towards illicit financial gain. BitDefender estimates that 2010 will bring an increased amount of malware, especially adware applications and rogue antivirus software. More complex malware, such as rootkit-based file infectors and worms relying on multiple vectors of infection (e-mail, instant messaging and peer-to-peer protocols) are also expected to increase.
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New Study Shows Coaching to Patient Activation Levels Improves Disease Management Outcomes
Irvine, California
People with chronic health conditions who receive coaching tailored to their level of health activation showed significant improvements in clinical outcomes, and experienced fewer hospitalizations and visits to the emergency room than those coached using traditional methods, according to a study published in the June issue of The American Journal of Managed Care. The study, led by Judith Hibbard, Ph.D. and colleagues at the University of Oregon, compared the behaviors of patients receiving standard telephone disease management (DM) coaching with those who received more tailored coaching based on their "activation level" as part of a DM program offered by the health improvement company LifeMasters Supported SelfCare, Inc. Activation levels are determined by the Patient Activation Measure, a survey tool developed by Hibbard and colleagues to assess an individual's knowledge, skills and confidence in playing a role in one's own health and healthcare.

"LifeMasters is continually implementing new methodologies and tools to improve outcomes," said Mary Jane Osmick, M.D., Vice President and Medical Director. "We have learned that deploying targeted interventions rather than using a 'one size fits all' approach is a critical success factor. Our nurses and coaches are the first in the DM industry to provide individual patient support by applying a fully integrated coaching model that includes the PAM. The findings reinforce our understanding that improved activation is an overarching measure of success that leads to significant clinical improvement and financial savings. "

The quasi-experimental research, which was conducted in a real-life DM setting, included an intervention group and a control group of nurse coaches and their patients in geographically separate call centers, which were selected based on the similarity of their nurse coaches' tenure and years of experience. The findings show those who received coaching with the PAM experienced a 33% decline in hospital admissions compared to the control group, which remained flat, and a 22% decline in emergency room visits compared with an increase of 20% in the control group. The PAM group also experienced statistically significant improvements in diastolic blood pressure and in LDL cholesterol levels relative to the control group, and increased their adherence to recommended immunization and drug regimens, including the influenza vaccine. The PAM score intervention group showed fewer hospital stays, which translated into a savings of $145 per person per month for the intervention population. A similar decline was seen in visits to the emergency room among this group, which equates to an $11 per person per month savings. "The PAM is unique among social science-based assessments in that it measures an individual's underlying health belief structure. This structure reflects the degree to which the person feels in charge of his or her own health and healthcare, and is the basis for a whole spectrum of health behaviors. This creates a more holistic view of the individual, one which is essential to providing effective support," said Dr. Hibbard.
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Brain Injury Association of America Urges President Obama to Include Cognitive Rehabilitation for Returning Service Members as a Part of TRICARE Coverage
Washington, DC
With an estimated 20% of injured American soldiers who have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan experiencing a possible traumatic brain injury (TBI), the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) has called on President Obama to extend military health care coverage to include cognitive rehabilitation, a proven treatment for this signature injury of modern combat. Senator Evan Bayh and then-Senator Barack Obama led a group of 10 United States Senators in issuing a letter on Aug. 4, 2008, to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates urging coverage of cognitive rehabilitation within the military's TRICARE health insurance program. In a press release announcing this letter, then-Senator Obama described cognitive rehabilitation therapy as "one of the most accepted treatments for TBI." Congressional Task Force Co-chairs Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. and Congressman Todd Platts spearheaded a similar letter to the Department of Defense on Sept. 19, 2008, which was signed by 67 members of the House.

More recently, the Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. (also known as Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield and Anthem Health Plans) determined that cognitive rehabilitation is a medically necessary treatment for patients with TBI. Anthem cited BIAA's position paper, "Cognitive Rehabilitation: The Evidence, Funding and Case for Advocacy" among the authoritative publications consulted. United Health Care followed suit in May 2009 with a similar decision covering cognitive rehabilitation for individuals with brain injury.
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The US is Poised to Overtake Japan in Manufacture of Robotics Used for In-Home Medical Monitoring
Conyers, Georgia
GeckoSystems is a dynamic leader in the emerging mobile robotics industry revolutionizing their development and usage with "Mobile Robot Solutions for Safety, Security and Service." Many in the U.S. may mistakenly believe that the Japanese are world leaders in personal robot development. However, this is not the case. In the last ten years, the Japanese government has granted over $100M in R&D funding amongst their leading international manufacturers for the development of eldercare personal companion robots, but still have no viable products developed. An excellent illustration of this is Matsushita's recent failure when they attempted to sell their "Wakamaru" personal companion robot. Many observers believe it lacked sufficient cost effective utility that prevented it from being perceived as a "value" by the Japanese consumer. It has been taken off the market.

Due to the sufficiency and cost effective robustness of GeckoSystems' first product, the CareBot™, near term in home evaluation trials have been recently announced. "In the U.S. we project the available market size in dollars for cost effective, utilitarian, multitasking eldercare personal companion robots in 2010 to be $74.0B, in 2011 to be $77B, in 2012 to be $80B, in 2013 to be $83.3B, and in 2014 to be $86.6B. With market penetrations of 0.03% in 2010, 0.06% in 2011, 0.22% in 2012, 0.53% in 2013, and 0.81% in 2014, we will anticipate sales, from this consumer market segment only, of $22.0M, $44.0M, $176M, $440.2M, and $704.3M, respectively. We expect these sales despite and perhaps because of the present recession due to pent up demand for significant cost reduction in eldercare expenses," concluded Spencer.
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A Site Dedicated to Helping People Share Relevant Experiences to Inform Important Health and Life Decisions
Seattle, Washington
Trusera, an angel-funded, Seattle-based startup founded in 2007 has announced the launch of its online health network www.trusera.com, which allows consumers to find and share real-world health experiences with others who've been there. Led by former Amazon executive, Keith Schorsch, the company vision was based on Keith's own struggle with Lyme disease and the difficulty in finding credible health insights from others. After meeting with 11 doctors, it was one phone call from a friend that finally led to his diagnosis and saved his life. During his diagnosis and recovery, Keith realized that there's actually too much health information on the Internet today. Many people find it overwhelming to navigate and hard to trust. He found the most useful information came from people with similar health experiences and their own personal health stories. He founded Trusera to inspire people to learn from each other to inform important health decisions.

There's power in sharing personal experience and knowledge to help others in their health journey. Trusera believes that people are more than just the sum of their conditions. They are multi-dimensional and need personalized solutions for a variety of life challenges when dealing with a health issue.
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PDX-Rx.com Works With Microsoft HealthVault to Make Prescription Data Available to Patients
Fort Worth, Texas
PDX and Rx.com have entered into a strategic agreement with Microsoft to make prescription data, which Rx.com manages for multiple chain and independent pharmacy clients, available to Microsoft HealthVault users by accessing a single site with aggregated prescription data. The agreement enables any pharmacy using the Rx.com Electronic Pharmacy Record (EPR) to export their patients' prescription history into HealthVault. Each PDX pharmacy client will have their own independent relationship with Microsoft, while PDX serves to technically integrate the pharmacy's data with the HealthVault platform. Meijer, Inc. is the first PDX client to start integration with HealthVault.

HealthVault helps people collect and store health information from many sources in one location, so that it is always organized and available to them online. HealthVault is working with doctors, hospitals, employers, pharmacies, insurance providers and manufacturers of health devices--blood pressure monitors, heart rate monitors, and more--to make it easy for people to add information electronically to their HealthVault records. Users can then share information electronically with family members and providers as they choose.

"PDX and Rx.com connecting with HealthVault helps put consumers in control of managing their own care and the care of extended family members - children, a spouse or an aging parent," said David Cerino, general manager of the Consumer Health Solutions Group at Microsoft. "Customers from thousands of pharmacies across the country will be able to integrate their prescription history into HealthVault, which will provide them with a more complete picture of their health, and allow them to make better healthcare decisions."
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PHRs Protect Families From the Harshest Realities of Natural Disasters
Chicago, Illinois
"Hurricane Season" is an ideal time to guard personal health information against nature's devastation. Major catastrophic events can lead to chaos, destruction and death. Now is the time of year when public awareness and preparedness are the best defenses against the high-impact storm systems that will sweep across many parts of the country. The need to prepare for the possibility of a dangerous tropical storm striking near you is essential. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season runs from June through November. Forecasters predict there is a 70 percent chance of nine to 14 named storms of which four to seven could become hurricanes, including one to three major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5) with 111 mph+ winds.

This is a big reason why electronically stored personal health records (PHRs) let even those who have lost almost everything receive the best possible medical treatment in the wake of natural disasters. Comprehensive PHRs that include a complete medical history and an accurate and updated patient profile including current prescriptions, allergies, blood-type and physicians' names and contact information can be imperative to surviving a recent injury or keeping a previously diagnosed illness properly treated and under control.

"Regardless of what product is used to create a PHR, paper or electronic files, the ultimate goal is for emergency responders, healthcare providers and, of course, healthcare consumers, to have immediate access to the health information that's required for sound medical decisions to be made," said Julie Wolter, assistant professor of health information management at St. Louis University and co-chair of the AHIMA PHR Practice Council. Even without a full set of records, it is important for each person to have, at least, a document with their health profile simply stored on a card inside a wallet or electronically on a key chain flash drive.
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"Where the Other You Lives," U.S. Forest Service and Ad Council Launch National Campaign to Re-connect Children with Nature
New York, New York
Children in the U.S. spend fifty percent less time outdoors than they did twenty years ago, according to the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. In an effort to encourage children and their parents to re-connect with nature, the U.S. Forest Service has joined the Ad Council to launch a national multimedia public service advertising campaign. U.S. Forest Service. 

The campaign primarily aims to reach "tweens" (children aged 8-12) and their parents. The goal is to encourage children to get outside and experience nature first-hand, instilling a life-long love for nature by fostering a connection with urban and national forests. Children spend less time outdoors due to safety concerns, an increase in the number of working parents and the development of new technologies that capture free time indoors. As a result of this limited interaction with the outdoors, many children are unaware of the benefits that nature provides, including improving their physical and mental health and emotional well-being. Research shows that children who play outside have lower stress levels and more active imaginations, become fitter and leaner, develop stronger immune systems and have greater respect for themselves and for others.

Furthermore, those who spend their childhood in nature are more likely to become environmentally conscious in the future. "People, especially kids, need a direct connection to both forests and nature for their health and personal growth--and for the future of conservation," said Chief Kimbell. "It's wonderful to expand our efforts to reach kids through this partnership. The Ad Council has been helping us accomplish the Forest Service mission for over 60 years."
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Connectyx and Strategic Medical Communications, Inc. Team Up to Launch MedFlash in the Pharmaceutical Industry
Palm City, Florida
Connectyx Technologies Holdings Group, Inc. has announced that they have signed an exclusive agreement with Strategic Medical Communications, Inc. (SMC), a full service agency addressing the healthcare industry, to represent MedFlash to the Pharmaceutical Industry. Through this agreement, SMC will introduce its clients, including physicians, patients and pharmaceutical companies, to the MedFlash Personal Health Record (PHR) storage device, a simple, affordable and portable flash drive that enables consumers to carry selected medical information ranging from prescriptions, allergies, and drug interactions to historical records including X-rays, MRIs and CAT scans.

The MedFlash Program is designed to store personal health and lifestyle information on a one-gigabyte, two-inch portable flash drive and through the Internet. With the MedFlash device, users can keep at hand the most up-to-date and accurate information about the medicines they are taking and can communicate the data to medical personnel including physicians, pharmacists and emergency responders. Myron Holubiak, CEO of SMC and the former President of Roche Laboratories, USA, stated, "We are pleased to represent the MedFlash PHR system to the pharmaceutical industry. We believe the industry can make a very important contribution to the adoption of PHRs and, more specifically, in helping patients become more involved in the management of their medical conditions. The MedFlash PHR system is well suited to support the disease management of conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and GI disease, among many others. From our perspective, the provision of a PHR that aids in chronic disease management through patient education and maintaining a history of medical interactions fits well within the PhRMA Code on Interactions with Healthcare Professionals, and is a step forward in developing an electronic record that is useful and motivational to the consumer."
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Data Loss Prevention Solution Simplifies Identification and Remediation of Privacy and Security Issues Affecting Electronic Health Records
Sunnyvale, California
Code Green Networks, the leader in comprehensive data loss prevention solutions that can be deployed quickly and cost-effectively, has announced its new TrueDL for Healthcare solution, an industry-specific security system that ensures the privacy and protection of sensitive healthcare data.

"Given the nationwide push to digitize healthcare records, healthcare IT professionals should adopt appropriate tools to identify and secure sensitive data moving over their networks, especially via non-secure channels such as web mail and public health networks," said Eric Ogren, principal analyst at the Ogren Group. "Content inspection solutions like Code Green's are an essential tool for identifying and securing data vulnerabilities."

Combining patent-pending detection and protection against loss of Electronic Health Record (EHR) data, Health Insurance Portability & Accountability (HIPAA) code set information, and prevention of unauthorized healthcare Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) transmissions, the Code Green solution enables healthcare organizations to strongly defend themselves against the inadvertent loss or intentional theft of sensitive patient information over any outbound network communications.
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Electronic Data Interchange Implementation Guide: "Personal Health Record Transfer Between Health Plans"
Falls Church, Virginia
Standardized requirements for one health insurance plan to electronically send Personal Health Record (PHR) data to another health insurance plan, called the "Personal Health Record (PHR) Transfer Between Health Plans Technical Report, 005050X274," was released by the Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) X12, providing monumental interoperability among insurance companies assisting consumers.

"This Implementation Guide provides a standards-based mechanism to electronically send PHR data from a predecessor to a successor health plan," said Dan Kazzaz, Chair, ASC X12. "It provides needed support to health plans in the role of maintaining longitudinal PHRs for individuals and moving PHRs from health plan to health plan whenever individuals' or companies' health plan coverages shift."

This implementation guide builds on the pioneering work of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) in their 005010 implementation guide of the same name. The document brings together work of several standards-setting organizations to describe the business process, message structure, data elements and examples and includes a glossary.

"This announcement by ASC X12 is good news for consumers who, when they change coverage, want to transfer their PHRs to their new health plans and continue with all of the advantages that PHRs bring with them," said AHIP President and CEO Karen Ignagni. "We are pleased that the new standard builds on the work of AHIP and BCBSA, which was designed to be consistent with that of the standards organizations, and to be a building block for their future efforts," Ignagni said.
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Healthcare Identity Management Is Necessary First Step to Electronic Health Record Interchange, Says Smart Card Alliance Healthcare Council
Princeton Junction, New Jersey
Government policy makers are looking carefully at the best ways to improve the efficiency of information systems in the healthcare industry. But current plans that emphasize electronic health record exchange are putting the cart before the horse, according to a new brief for government policy makers and other healthcare stakeholders from Healthcare Council industry experts at the Smart Card Alliance.

"Dependably accurate identification and authentication of patients seems like something that should already exist in healthcare, but studies show it is a major problem," said Randy Vanderhoof, executive director of the Smart Card Alliance. "And if we are aiming for wider interchange of information, there must be a way to uniquely and securely authenticate that person across the healthcare system, including over the Internet, in a secure and privacy sensitive way."

Efforts to reduce medical errors caused by mistaken identities, modernize data exchange, reduce redundant testing and lower administrative costs must start with accurately linking patients with their personal medical information, while at the same time protecting their privacy according to a new brief from the Smart Card Alliance. "Effective Healthcare Identity Management: A Necessary First Step for Improving U.S. Healthcare Information Systems" is a one-page, plain-speak brief that explains the current problems with identity management in healthcare and its costs. It also proposes solutions without reinventing the wheel by leveraging existing standards developed for other federal identity programs, including the FIPS 201 Personal Identity Verification of Federal Employees and Contractors standard now being used for federal employee identity programs.
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IBM and Partners Help Healthcare Clients Adopt Electronic Health Records and Improve Operations With Cloud Software
Armonk, New York
IBM has announced that American Occupational Network (AON) and HyGen Pharmaceuticals are improving patient care by digitizing health records and streamlining their business operations using cloud-based software from IBM Business Partners MedTrak Systems and The System House. By accessing technology that handles various tasks from electronic health records (EHRs) to on-line appointment scheduling as a service through the Internet instead of developing, purchasing and maintaining technology on-site, San Diego-based AON has been able to update its clinical processes and increase key efficiencies to improve patient care. For example, by digitizing health records and other processes, the company has reduced medical transcription costs by 80 percent and now can provide faster and more accurate billing to individuals and insurance companies, reducing the average time to create a bill from 7 days to less than 24 hours.

In the United States, the new American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will infuse $19 billion into healthcare IT and calls for the utilization of an EHR for each person by 2014. While EHRs help deliver smarter healthcare systems with real-time access to critical patient health information, only an estimated 38 percent of U.S. physicians used partial or full EHRs in 2008. As many healthcare providers struggle to manage the high costs of providing quality patient care, this low EHR utilization rate can be attributed to providers also being challenged with investing time and resources into information technology to improve their operations. This challenge makes acquiring technology as a cloud-based service compelling in the healthcare industry.
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New Criteria to Help Facilitate EHR Adoption in Small, Ambulatory Physician Practices
Schaumburg, Illinois
The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT), the federally recognized body for testing and certifying electronic health records (EHRs), has announced it will develop dermatology-specific functionality criteria beginning in 2009. The CCHIT's decision was in part a response to an application from the American Academy of Dermatology with support from the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, the American Telemedicine Association, the Medical Dermatology Society, and the Society for Investigative Dermatology as well as overwhelming support from the dermatology community and other key stakeholders.

"Beginning in 2006, CCHIT has placed a 'seal of approval' on physician office-based EHR products to indicate that the system has met rigorous functionality, interoperability and security criteria for primary care, child health, and cardiology. The American Academy of Dermatology is pleased that the unique needs of dermatologists who use digital images and body mapping to track patient health will be recognized," said dermatologist C. William Hanke, MD, MPH, FAAD, president of the American Academy of Dermatology. "This will be a service to the health care community as it continues to transition to a system that relies on electronic health records and the smooth and secure interchange of data. Dermatologists are committed to helping create functional criteria and technical elements that also will help many different physician specialties."
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Web Sites Consider the Value and Usability of Focus on Search
Cupertino, California
SLI Systems, Inc. announced that its recent mini poll (conducted on LinkedIn) reveals that slightly more than half of respondents believe the "focus" should be on search on a corporate or e-commerce web site. According to the provider of on-demand search services for Internet and e-commerce sites, 53% of respondents said they liked the idea of focusing a web page's cursor on the site search box, whereas the remaining 47% said they prefer to click and scroll on their own.

The advantage of automatically placing the cursor in a site's search box is that it's easier for visitors to start their searches without looking for the box, or making extra clicks on the page. However, some of the respondents to the SLI poll said such a feature might confuse site visitors. In a recent blog post, SLI Systems CEO Shaun Ryan discusses the benefits of putting the focus on search on a web site, such as a shorter, easier navigation path.
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Use of Technology from BitGravity, Facebook and Twitter Enabled an Exclusive Executive Conference to Reach and Engage a Global Community
Framingham, Massachusetts
After concluding the DEMO 09 conference with a bang on March 3, 2009, the final numbers are in on the global reach and virtual participation generated through the event's live broadcast. Utilizing technology from BitGravity and Facebook, the conference logged close to a quarter million player streams from viewers in 80 countries through the DEMO 09 Live video broadcast and witnessed 4,000 Facebook status updates via the new Facebook Live Feed widget.

DEMO 09 marks the first multidimensional conference experience to leverage Facebook's Live Feed to provide content, community and conversations to a worldwide audience "In today's challenging economic climate, conferences like DEMO have to be creative and rethink the ways in which they operate to reach the broadest audience in order to have the greatest impact," said Neal Silverman, Executive Vice President of Network World and DEMO. "By leveraging leading edge technology like BitGravity and social community-building services like Facebook and Twitter, we were able to offer our demonstrators, our live attendees and our virtual audience a world class experience like never before."

Whether watching the stream online or as one of the 500 people attending the conference in Palm Desert, users updated their Facebook status directly from the DEMO 09 Live player and could also see and comment on status updates posted by friends and other Facebook users tuning in to the broadcast. Status updates posted on the Live Feed were published in the user's Facebook News Feed with a link tagged back to the DEMO 09 Live stream, so friends could click the tag and watch the stream while participating in the conversation. This activity led to a viral explosion in viewership around the world as interested friends clicked back into the DEMO broadcast after seeing comments left by friends who were already watching.
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Economic Stress Taking Toll on Peoples' Health
Chicago, Illinois
AARP survey finds financial stress is causing health problems for nearly 20% of 45 plus population. The latest victim of the economic recession could be your health. According to a recent AARP survey, one in five adults ages 45 and older are suffering health problems due to financial stress. The survey details the health care problems and challenges many Americans are facing because of the current economic situation.

"Right now people are increasingly concerned about their jobs, retirement savings and simply being able to provide for their families and it's taking a major toll on their health," said Bob Gallo, AARP Illinois Senior State Director. "It's a harsh irony that worrying about being able to afford health care is actually causing health problems."

Key findings from the AARP survey, Impact of Economy on Health Behaviors, include:

-- 20% of people 45 and older reported health problems due to financial stress
-- About one fifth, 22%, have delayed seeing a doctor due to cost
-- 16% had to use retirement savings or other savings to pay for medical care
-- 21% have cut back on other expenses in order to afford their medical care
-- One in six, 16%, are not confident they will be able to afford health care in the coming year.
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Healthcare Costs Prevented Nearly 40 Million Americans From Filling Their Prescriptions in 2008
New York, New York
The Internet becomes an increasingly important health resource for consumers curbing their spending on doctor's visits and medications.  Nearly 40 million U.S. adults decided not to fill a prescription medication from a doctor in the past year because of the cost, according to pharmaceutical and healthcare market research company Manhattan Research's Cybercitizen Health consumer study and strategic advisory service. The study found that women and patients with neurological and mental health conditions were the most likely to give up their medication due to cost.

For those struggling to afford healthcare, online channels have become increasingly important resources. Over 145 million consumers are online for health, and this year's Cybercitizen Health study saw the Internet surpass doctors as the top source for obtaining health and medical information.

Top Condition Groups Who Report Not Filling a Prescription Because of the Cost:  1. Fibromyalgia, 2. Inflammatory Bowel Disease, 3. Generalized Anxiety Disorder, 4. Chronic Bronchitis, 5. Chronic Pain, 6. Acute Pain, 7. Adult ADHD, 8. Anxiety Disorder/Social Phobia, 9. Bipolar Disorder, 10. Depression.
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Ten Ways to Trim Your Health Care Costs
Dallas, Texas
The one expenditure that a lot of people assume they have little or no control over is health care costs. Yet, a little common sense and a healthy dose of consumerism can reward savvy shoppers with significant savings without sacrificing care, says Devon Herrick, Ph.D., a Senior Fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis.

Insurance options: Check your insurance plan; the end of December marks the end of open enrollment at many companies. For those insured through an employer, review your health plan choices. A Health Savings Account (HSA) might save you money over a PPO or HMO, especially with employer contributions. I have saved more than $9,000 during the past four years by taking advantage of my HSA. If on a non-group plan, shop around and consider increasing your deductible to reduce your premium and still maintain major medical coverage.

Ask about cash rates and discounts: If uninsured, negotiate in advance of receiving care; check the Internet for discount card programs that lower costs at hospitals, pharmacies, labs and retail clinics.

Shop for better prescription deals: There are many ways to reduce prescription drug costs. For example, consider therapeutic alternatives and/or generics. Compare prices among local pharmacies and reputable online sites. Rxaminer.com has free pharmacy cost comparisons. Numerous pharmacies now have generics for as little as $4 per monthly supply, and $10 for three months. Even if you have insurance, these low prices can sometimes beat the negotiated insurance rates.
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First Authoritative, Comprehensive, Free, and Ad-Free Resource for the World's Health Care Providers
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Health Sciences Online (http://www.hso.info) is the only site where anyone can search for and find more than 50,000 courses, references, guidelines, and other expert-reviewed, high-quality, current, cost-free, and ad-free health sciences resources. Free and accessible to anyone, the up-to-date, authoritative information is aimed primarily at health care practitioners and public health providers, enabling their training, continuing education, and delivery of effective treatments to patients. The information is delivered by powerful search technology from Vivisimo, Inc., which allows users to easily see comprehensive search results and quickly find the answers they need with an intuitively navigated graphic interface. Through integration with Google Translator, users can search and read materials in 22 languages.

Former CDC Director Dr. Jeff Koplan calls Health Sciences Online (HSO) "a visionary undertaking" and the World Bank heralds it as "globally democratizing health science knowledge." HSO is expected by the World Health Organization (WHO) "to make a considerable contribution to the advancement of e-learning worldwide." HSO is a portal that includes more than 50,000 world-class health-sciences resources, selected by knowledgeable staff from already-existing, reliable, professional sources and resource collections. These include medical specialty societies, accredited continuing education organizations, governments, and universities such as Cambridge, Columbia, Harvard, Hopkins, McGill, MIT, Penn, Stanford, and Yale. Founding collaborators for this site include CDC, World Bank, the American College of Preventive Medicine, and the University of British Columbia, and financial support has come from WHO, the NATO Science for Peace Program, the Canadian government, the Annenberg Physician Training Program, and many volunteers.
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Moms Get Techie in 2009 With New Media and Technology
Pompano Beach, Florida
Today's time-starved, multi-tasking mothers are using more than band-aids and paper-based calendars to manage their hectic lifestyles and growing families. Mothers, now more than ever, are using technology such as video, blogs and wireless devices to multi-task through their busy days, using more than 5 separate technologies daily. 2009 stands to produce a record number of tech-savvy mothers bridging devices together to create everyday solutions.

According to research released by industry expert Maria Bailey in her new book, Mom 3.0: Marketing with Today's Mothers by Leveraging New Media & Technology, a mom's primary objective in using technology is to stay in touch with her busy family and manage their schedules effectively. In 2009, Moms will delve even deeper into the world of technology as they discover new functionalities of the tools they are already using. Five technology trends to watch for in 2009 in the mom market are cited by Bailey.
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One Small Step for Man, One Giant Leap for Medical Research: Cognition Launches Semantic Medline
Los Angeles, California
Cognition Technologies, a next-generation Semantic Natural Language Processing company, announces a quantum improvement in the application of NLP technology with the introduction of Semantic MEDLINE -- the 18 million article abstract database of complex health information published by the National Library of Medicine. This new free service at www.SemanticMEDLINE.com enables complex health and life science material to be rapidly and efficiently discovered with greater precision and completeness. This marks the first time that users can employ a natural, conversational sentence structure to find the most complex studies within the MEDLINE dataset.

SemanticMEDLINE is powered by Cognition's Semantic NLP technology, which incorporates word and phrase knowledge to comprehend the meaning and nuances of the English language. Cognition's Semantic Map, the most complete and comprehensive available today, enables the Search process to be based on meaning, rather than statistical word pattern matching, and therefore returns more complete and relevant results.

"Cognition's Semantic NLP is the first and only technology to combine all of the key linguistic elements to unravel the complexity of language and optimize semantic understanding of ambiguous content. The foundation behind this capability is our comprehensive Semantic Map of the English language," said Scott Jarus, CEO of Cognition Technologies. "SemanticMEDLINE's results are far more comprehensive and thorough when compared with Pubmed's native Search results because of two unique capabilities: an understanding of synonymy and the ability to understand meaning and context reasoning."

With traditional keyword search engines, such as those used by Google, Yahoo! and others, finding the best medical research document within complex datasets, such as MEDLINE, is very difficult to obtain without the use of complex Boolean equations and a deep understanding of the many permutations of technical synonymy. Cognition's Semantic MEDLINE has the ability to target and locate these types of data that are otherwise hidden in masses of information because of its comprehensive Semantic Map (particularly deep within the health sciences discipline) and its unique ability to "understand" the meaning behind words, phrases and idioms.
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Pearson Survey Reveals Majority of Parents Believe Better School-To-Home Communication Will Increase Academic Achievement in Students
Rancho Cordova, California
Pearson has announced the results of an independent, nationwide survey that underscores the importance of regular school-to-home communication and its impact on overall student achievement. Ninety-six percent of all parents surveyed agreed that parent involvement was a key factor in student achievement, and ninety-five percent of parents felt achievement would improve with better communication between school and home.

In July 2008, Pearson commissioned an online survey of 548 U.S. parents, age 30 and older, with one or more children in grades K-12. The survey was conducted to determine the frequency and manner of communication that parents currently have with their child's school. The survey also gauged parents' attitudes on the impact of regular communication on overall student achievement. The complete survey results are available at http://www.pearsonschoolsystem.com/survey.

The survey revealed that parents are seeking ways to become more involved in their child's progress at school through the use of technology. Additionally, parents widely viewed their involvement as a key factor in a child's overall achievement and indicated a strong desire to be more informed about overall progress, especially grades, in order to positively impact their child's school performance.

The survey also showed that parents view middle school as the most critical time for schools to provide parents the opportunity to get more involved, and that this involvement would result in increased academic performance later on in high school. Parents also acknowledged the benefits of better communication, specifically online communication, between school and home -- namely, the ability to afford a student earlier intervention opportunities to solve problems and as a motivating factor for their child to take on more responsibility with respect to the outcome of his or her academic performance.
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Bloggers Can Now Upload, Import and Edit Videos in Any Blog Post, and Allow Their Readers to Post Video Comments and Participate in Collaborative Videos
New York, New York
Kaltura, Inc., developer of the first open source video platform for video management, creation, interaction, and collaboration, announced today that it has released version 1.0 of its Interactive Video Plugin for WordPress. The open source plugin, which can be downloaded at http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/kaltura-interactive-video/, is designed to enable both basic and advanced video capabilities on any WordPress blog (using version 2.5 and higher) -- from simple video posting and playing to video commenting and collaborative video editing.

"Kaltura's open source strategy is already proving itself -- the community has warmly embraced our MediaWiki extension, and the beta version of the new WordPress plugin is already being used by many bloggers and has received enthusiastic reviews so far. We're looking forward to seeing more and more blogs using interactive videos with the release of this first official version," said Ron Yekutiel, Kaltura Chairman and CEO. "Video is becoming an inseparable part of the blogging world. Our plugin enables bloggers not only to easily upload and display videos, but they can also create mixes and slideshows, and engage their users in a real and compelling conversation."

Kaltura's Interactive Video plugin allows bloggers to enhance their WordPress blog with a full video experience. Following the short and simple plugin installation, bloggers can: -- Upload, and import videos directly to their blog post; -- Edit and remix videos using Kaltura's online full-featured video editor; -- Easily import video and other forms of rich-media from other sites and social networks, and; -- Allow readers and subscribers to add video and audio comments, and to participate in collaborative videos.
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IBM Reveals Five Transportation Innovations
Armonk, New York
IBM has announced five innovations that have the potential to change the way people travel. The list is based on market and societal trends expected to transform our lives, as well as emerging technologies from IBM's labs around the world that could make these innovations possible. Every year, nine billion gallons of fuel are wasted in traffic congestion, auto accidents cost hundreds of billions of dollars and by 2020 the number of airline passengers is expected to double, soaring to an annual rate of more than seven billion worldwide.

In the next two years, these statistics will change through technology innovations in the following ways: Our cars will be able to sense other cars and avoid hazardous road conditions. The future is collaborative driving. Cars in the near future will have driver-assist technologies that will make it possible for automobiles to behave as if they have 'reflexes.' Vehicles will exchange information with each other and with the road infrastructure, take corrective action where appropriate, and provide essential feedback to the drivers. Highway and city merging and traffic flow will be smoother and safer and harmful emissions will be reduced.
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Real Life and Digital Simulation Will Merge by 2011
Irvine, California
Real life and digital simulation will merge by 2011, producing a mixed-reality environment that will change the way consumers communicate, interact and conduct commerce, according to futurist Dan Lejerskar, chairman of EON Reality Inc., the world's leading interactive 3D software provider. "What once was imagined soon will be experienced," Lejerskar explained. "The technology convergence of virtual reality, artificial intelligence, Web and search, and digital content means that people can experience more in their daily lives by blurring the distinction between their physical existence and digital reality."

As evidence of this trend, he points to the realization of commercially viable applications for 3D interactive virtual reality technology -- as well as the position of industry thought leaders championing the advancement of such experiences. Heavyweights Google and Microsoft are pushing this trend toward the manifestation of the 3D Internet, while computer and video game developers are whetting consumers' appetites for 3D experiences with new technologies, such as Nintendo's Wii. Hollywood studios and amusement parks also are incorporating 3D interactive virtual reality elements into their offerings.

"We're witnessing the creation of an environment in which visualization companies, industry, academia and the public sector can meet and exchange knowledge, experiences and ideas," Lejerskar said. "Within three to four years, we'll see radical changes in how we shop, learn and communicate with business associates, friends and family. Consumers crave user-generated experiences that combine virtual reality technology with physical location-based events to produce totally immersive 3D interactive experiences."

This convergence of technology already is enabling exponential growth in e-commerce, thanks in part to improved search engines that allow Web surfers to find products quickly. What's next, Lejerskar points out, is the ultimate in customization. The next generation of the Internet, Web 3.0, will allow customers to become the driving force behind e-commerce. Rather than walking into a retail store to try on a pair of jeans, for example, shoppers will be able to select clothes with the correct fit using an online 3D body scan image. This virtual see, try and buy approach will become the dominate way to shop.
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'Case' in Point: Patient Control of Data Critical Catalyst for Online Health Care Revolution
Orlando, Florida
Internet visionary turned e-health entrepreneur Steve Case predicts that converging trends in public policy, technology and consumerism in health care will combine to effectively "shake the snow globe," simultaneously creating disruption and opportunity, and leading to a revolution in American health care. The America Online co-founder, who now serves as chairman and CEO of Revolution Health, says in-part that consumers need to overcome security paranoia -- as they did in online financial transactions.

"Consumers must be in control of the electronic health record, as there is far too much focus on 'who possesses the electronic storage cabinet,'" Case said, adding that in addition to trusting the technology, consumers must also preserve trusted relationships. "One of the most sacred relationships is between physicians and patients. We need to get 'the system' out of the way."

Case delivered his comments in a keynote address to hundreds of attendees at Medco Health Solutions, Inc. 2008 Drug Trend "Predictions" Symposium. Drawing comparisons between the skeptics of wired health care today and those who downplayed the development of the Internet in the mid 1980s, Case argued that once a secure, ubiquitous system is in place, patients and payors alike will be drawn to the financial efficiencies and clinical benefits of connected care.
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Healthcare Tech and the World: A New Perspective on Innovation in Healthcare
Plano, Texas
Perot Systems continues its series of podcasts with a forward-looking discussion about the increasing role Information Technology will play in the transformation of healthcare. In this episode, Dr. Kevin Fickenscher discusses with Dr. Jack Lord the innovations taking place across the healthcare industry, as well as what the future holds for healthcare providers.

The following quotes from Dr. Lord are highlights of the podcast that is now available for download:

Regarding the purpose of Humana's, 'Innovation Center': " ... We decided very clearly to break out of what was a traditional casting of the HMO and move both the clinical and product activities into a spot that would be forward looking ... every year has been a little bit different, we've added new features, we've grown because of talent and I think by virtue of having an innovation center, it's really created an opportunity for us to bring talent in from all over the world."

Regarding enhancing the quality of healthcare for individuals: " ... Health is something that is co-created ... by the person ... and with the healthcare system. So that ... says that the expert around health becomes (the patient) as opposed to the doctor or with the legacy expert system. I think a second piece is moving out of a world that we refer to as the world of sickness and death to a world of life and happiness. The traditional healthcare delivery system has constantly focused on things that fall into the repair shop type of mode and it's taken us down a path of insatiable economic utilization of services."
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Trust for America's Health Releases Report on Connection between Women's Health and Stalled Infant Mortality Rates
Washington, DC
Trust for America's Health (TFAH) has released a report, Healthy Women, Healthy Babies, in conjunction with the release of the Annie E. Casey Foundation's KIDS COUNT DATABOOK 2008. The report explains why after 40 years of progress, infant mortality rates in the U.S. have stalled since 2000. TFAH finds that the deteriorating health of American women, due in part to wide-spread chronic disease epidemics like obesity and diabetes, is taking a toll on American infants, resulting in stagnated improvement when it comes to infant health. TFAH's report offers recommendations for Congress and the American health system to aggressively improve the health of new-born infants.

"In the wake of all the great medical breakthroughs over the last 40 years, one would assume that infant mortality rates would plummet. Instead, medical progress has been cancelled out in the delivery room by the deteriorating health of childbearing-aged women and their lack of health care access; and infant mortality rates have stalled as a result," said Jeff Levi, Executive Director of Trust for America's Health. "American women, children and families simply deserve better."

Levi added, "We know now that an infant's chances of sickness, disability and survival often hinge on the health of the mother, before she even becomes pregnant. Therefore, the way to reduce risks to newborn babies is to invest in a woman's health throughout her childbearing years. If we concentrate our efforts most on those hit hardest by the biggest health problems -- low-income and minority women -- we will once again see healthier babies and dropping infant mortality rates."
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Survey Reveals Most Drivers See Hands-Free Law Having Little Effect on Cell Phone Usage
Southfield, Michigan
A survey of licensed drivers in California and Washington shows overwhelming support for the coming hands-free law which took effect July 1, but that it will have little effect on the cell phone usage of drivers. The survey also documents a great deal of confusion as to when the law actually takes effect, what the cost of the traffic fines are in their respective states, whether it's a primary or secondary law, and what kinds of devices can be used to comply with the new law.

The survey shows that 75 percent of drivers (California, 76 percent; Washington, 71 percent) support the law, while only 10% oppose it. It also shows that 75% of drivers consider cell phone use while driving to be dangerous -- yet 63 percent of respondents use their cell phone while driving on average about an hour a day, one quarter of their daily drive time, and primarily for non-urgent matters. Interestingly, key factors driving the purchase of a hands-free device by respondents were "obeying the law" and "safety" at 51 and 50 percent, respectively. The study also revealed that 47 percent of drivers already use some type of hands-free device, whether it's a headset, the speaker of their cell phone, or a portable or installed hands-free car kit.
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Bill Gates Explores Past, Present and Future of Application Development at Tech*Ed North America 2008 Developers
Redmond, Washington
Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates reflected on the company's 33-year history with developers and shared his predictions for the future in front of more than 5,000 developers at Microsoft's Tech*Ed North America 2008 Developers conference. Joined onstage by other Microsoft executives and technology luminaries including S. Somasegar, David Campbell and Brian Harry, Gates demonstrated how Microsoft is making it easier for developers to tackle complex tasks such as creating compelling user experiences, building data-driven applications, managing large enterprise projects and capitalizing on emerging trends including cloud computing, modeling and natural language programming. Microsoft made several announcements at the event, including release timing for Internet Explorer 8 beta 2, a technical collaboration with IBM, availability of Silverlight 2 beta 2, and the launch of the Microsoft project code-named "Velocity," a distributed in-memory application cache platform.

"When I think back on the early days of development when we were all programming in DOS, and then take a look at what we can do now with technologies like the .NET Framework, it simply amazes me how far we've come," Gates said. "I started out as a developer and that's what I remain at heart, so I have a personal interest in the future of the field. I am confident that the path we are laying out today will serve you well into the future."
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Next 10 Years Will Be the 'Second Digital Decade' with Pragmatic Advances in Technology Innovation
Herndon, Virginia
At the Titans Breakfast, hosted by the Northern Virginia Technology Council, the largest technology council in the nation, Bill Gates, Chairman, Microsoft Corporation, said the next 10 years will mark a "second digital decade" involving pragmatic advances in technology innovation. The incredible advances of the past decade, in terms of software development and the growth of the Internet laid the foundation for these profound changes that will dramatically impact the way individuals work, live and learn and will empower the end user like never before, Gates said.

Before the audience of 1,100 technology executives, Gates also addressed a range of topics, including the future of technology in the workplace and issues facing U.S. education, immigration and workforce challenges. Businesses will operate in a "hybrid" technology environment- some operations will remain local while others will transition to the Internet or "be in the cloud," through a combination of software plus services, according to Gates. Moving data operations to an Internet-based architecture will decrease IT costs as less onsite expertise will be required. The way businesses will view data will change as "software will do 90 percent of what we do manually today," he said. Important to this evolution, Gates noted, is that organizations will likely require a mixed environment that offers the best blend of local computing power while also taking advantage of the flexibility offered by Internet-based architectures.

Some of the revolutionary workforce technologies-for instance intelligent surfaces-also will have applicability in home and business environments, Gates said. Microsoft is currently testing a new product, Microsoft Surface, that once launched will not require expensive new hardware-only "software and a camera," and, one day, "will be a standard in the home and in businesses." Gates said Microsoft looks forward to its business partners taking this idea and "running with it" to create new and bigger applications than currently envisioned, including, to just begin with, those in the retail and hospitality industries.
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Open Text Centre for Digital Media Will Bridge the Worlds of Business, Art and the Internet
Waterloo, Ontario
Open Text Corporation, a global leader in enterprise content management has announced a partnership with the University of Waterloo to create one of the world's largest centres dedicated to research and innovation in digital media and Web 2.0 for business, government and cultural applications. Under the plan, Open Text will contribute funding, technology and services for the development of the Open Text Centre for Digital Media Research. As part of its commitment, Open Text will provide its executives and thought leaders as contributing faculty, sharing their experience in the classroom. The Centre will be dedicated to research projects and commercialization of ground-breaking software applications, giving students an opportunity to apply their ideas to real-world business opportunities. Programs at the Centre will focus on creating graduates that combine business knowledge, with computer science and artistic content creation.

The Centre will be part of graduate and undergraduate programs offered at the University's Stratford Institute, a proposed new centre for education and research to be located in Stratford, Ontario, a well-known art, music and theatre community. The location provides a unique setting that will bring the worlds of business, art and the Internet together in an environment focused on creating innovative new software applications.

"From Facebook to YouTube to Wikipedia, we are witnessing a revolution in the way consumers socialize, share knowledge and harness collective intelligence," said Tom Jenkins, Executive Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer for Open Text. "But we've only just begun. There's enormous potential to build on what's been created so far, and apply these new technologies to business, government and culture in new and exciting ways. Through our partnership with the University of Waterloo, we're planting the seeds of that innovation right here in the Waterloo Region."
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Hawaii's Premier Physician Management Company Selects Electronic Health Record for Statewide Deployment
Honolulu, Hawaii
Allscripts, the leading provider of clinical software, connectivity and information solutions that physicians use to improve healthcare has announced that TeamPraxis, a physician management services organization that provides technology and support services to more than 1,000 physicians in Hawaii, has purchased a statewide license for the Allscripts Electronic Health Record (EHR). The agreement enables TeamPraxis to provide the Allscripts solution to physicians across Hawaii. 

"Most of us can't imagine going to the bank or having our financial records kept on paper, so why should we accept having our medical records on paper?" asked Creighton Arita, President and Chief Executive Officer of TeamPraxis. "Our partnership with Allscripts helps us fulfill our vision of serving and empowering Hawaii's physicians with real-time information at the point of care, helping to curb rising costs and to improve the quality of patient care."

Over the last few years, Allscripts and TeamPraxis have worked together with the Hawaii Medical Service Association (HMSA), the state's largest health insurer, to provide electronic prescribing to more than 700 Hawaii physicians who are now well positioned to migrate to the full electronic health record. HMSA recently announced that it would provide $20 million in grants for physicians to acquire electronic health records. Under the initiative, 1,000 Hawaii physicians will each be eligible to receive up to $20,000 towards a new EHR.
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HHS Deputy Secretary Invites Toledo Community to Apply for an Innovative Electronic Health Record Demonstration Project
Tolendo, Ohio
At a meeting today, HHS Deputy Secretary Tevi Troy encouraged community leaders to join together and apply for a new Medicare demonstration project that provides incentive payments for physicians' use of certified electronic health records to improve patient care. The project, which will be open to small- and medium-sized primary care physician practices, is expected to reduce medical errors and improve the quality of care for an estimated 3.6 million Americans.

"Communities like Toledo have a tremendous opportunity to help transform health care delivery starting at the local level," HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said. "Broad adoption of interoperable electronic health records has the potential not only to improve the quality of care provided, but also to change the way medicine is practiced and delivered. By implementing this demonstration project in a dozen health markets across the country, we'll help move this nation toward a system that delivers better quality health care at lower cost for more Americans."

Over a five-year period, financial incentives will be provided to as many as 1,200 primary care physician practices that use certified electronic health records (EHR) to improve quality as measured by their performance on specific clinical quality measures. In addition to the incentive payments, bonus payments may be awarded based on a standardized survey measuring the number of EHR functionalities a physician practice has incorporated. Total payments under the demonstration may be up to $58,000 per physician or $290,000 per practice.
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Radiologists Self-Edit Reports, Reduce Turnaround Time
Mount Laurel, New Jersey
Provena Mercy Medical Center, a 356-bed community-based hospital in Aurora, Illinois, has achieved new levels of efficiency and physician satisfaction using SpeechQ for Radiology, the award-winning front-end interactive speech recognition solution from MedQuist. Radiologists in Provena Mercy's Imaging department are self-editing 90 percent of their reports, and report turnaround time (TAT) has been reduced by more than half since the implementation of SpeechQ.

The Imaging department at Provena Mercy performed more than 80,000 exams in 2007. In the past, all reports were dictated and then outsourced to a transcription company. Once transcribed, these reports were then returned to the appropriate radiologist for review and signature. With SpeechQ, average report turnaround time has been reduced from 61/2 hours to 3 hours, and TAT for STAT and ED reports is now five minutes.

Dr. James Studlo, medical director of Imaging Services and chief of the medical staff at Provena Mercy, comments, "When using a traditional dictation system, I often had to rewind and listen to what I had said to confirm that my conclusion was complete. With SpeechQ, it is much easier and faster for me to read what I have dictated and to sign off on a report while the images are displayed." The ED physicians and medical staff at Provena Mercy also appreciate receiving a typed, legible final report within minutes after their patients have had an imaging procedure.

David Angel, administrative director of Medical Imaging and Laboratory Services, adds, "Our success is measured by providing high-quality diagnostic reports to our referring physicians and their patients in a cost-effective and timely manner. Many of the hospital's medical staff have commented on the improved reporting from the Radiology department, and both the imaging staff and the radiologists have noticed a decrease in the amount of phone calls from physicians' offices requesting reports."
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Improved Patient Healthcare Delivery as Working Example of Powerful New Device-Driven Business Architecture
Gainesville, Florida
In today's world, we expect most devices to provide a single function at a given time, and that's the end of it. In a healthcare clinic, for example, a blood-pressure monitor displays one reading and stops. But what if, at a consumer's direction, devices that are important to our daily lives could function continuously, automatically sending vital information to those who could use it to deliver new and valuable services? In such a world, a new panorama of consumer-centric enterprises could emerge.

The fact is, for a wide range of devices and functions, this world is now within our grasp. That's because the University of Florida  and IBM  have introduced new, groundbreaking technology that provides a "roadmap" for extending the functionality of all kinds of devices -- wireless or wired, near or far. Using the power of open standards in the embedded-device and IT domains, open communities and alliances, this technology will enable automatically recognized devices to send the information they register to authorized third parties, such as specialized healthcare providers. This information, in turn, can help enterprises in many industries understand their customers' needs in real-time -- once or on an ongoing basis -- and help them in specially tailored, continually evolving ways. In the Healthcare Industry, the positive implications for the infirmed and elderly are substantial.

As a means of demonstrating the power of this new device-driven model, UF and IBM have prototyped cutting edge, device-driven patient-monitoring services at the University's highly publicized "Gator Tech Smart House" laboratory in Gainesville, FL. Smart House was originally designed as a stand-alone research facility for the development of wireless sensor technologies to assist the elderly in maximizing their independence and maintaining a high quality of life.
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Personalized Health Care Tracking to the Next Level with Innovative Free Online Tools
New York, New York
By merging ordinary technology such as cell phones and personal computers with sophisticated web-based applications, Mosaic Health Solutions has created a breakthrough online health tracking system that allows users to more effectively and efficiently manage their personal health. Called Healthy Footsteps, the interactive program requires just minutes a day, but generates a lifetime of benefits including better medication compliance, accurate tracking of symptoms, ongoing reminders of physician treatment recommendations, weekly printouts for physicians that help improve communication and increase effectiveness of office visits, big picture reports that allow participants to view progress over time, and much more.

Currently, Healthy Footsteps is available for people coping with diagnoses that particularly benefit from daily tracking: depression, anxiety, panic attacks and diabetes. In addition, the Healthy Footsteps-MedNotices program provides daily medications reminders. Other conditions that will soon become part of the www.healthyfootsteps.com family include stress, insomnia, heart health, nutrition and wellness, fertility, chronic fatigue syndrome, allergies, osteoporosis, HIV and weight loss. Under development are specialty Healthy Footsteps programs for kids, teens and seniors that address conditions and issues reflecting their individual life stages. All programs are free, easily accessible on the Web, and privacy protected.
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HDTV Intenders to Significantly Impact High-Def DVD Battle
Dallas, Texas
According to research from The Diffusion Group, close to one-third of non-HDTV households are interested in purchasing a new HDTV in the next six months -- a very encouraging sign for HDTV manufacturers and, by relation, high-def DVD manufacturers. More interesting, perhaps, is that the same research found that the characteristics of these "HDTV Intenders" vary widely from those of current HDTV owners. HDTV Intenders tend to be younger, single, more ethnically diverse, and have lower annual household incomes than current HDTV owners -- in many respects more characteristic of mainstream consumers than the early adopters who today own an HDTV.

While this trend could in theory benefit either Blu-ray or HD DVD, the data suggests otherwise. Among HDTV Intenders who are likely to purchase a new high-def DVD player in the next six months, 43% prefer HD DVD, 27% prefer Blu-ray, and 30% are undecided.

"The strength of this preference and its correlation to mainstream attributes are notable," states Michael Greeson, president and principal analyst with The Diffusion Group. "Today's high-def DVD owner is likely an early adopter with a knack for power gaming; most certainly tech-sophisticates not at all mainstream in temperament. The next wave of buyers is comprised of early mass-market consumers, a much larger segment with a focus on practical considerations such as price. It is TDG's opinion that the format which can best address the needs of mainstream consumers will emerge as the winner of this format war."
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New Web 2.0 Site Brings World's Artists to Your HDTV
Laguna Beach, California
A revolutionary new website is poised to forever change the way people find and enjoy artwork. The site, www.AmbianceVisuals.com, utilizes artist submissions and professional curation to bring talented photographers, painters and video artists from around the world direct to your flat screen television in stunning High-Definition clarity.

As the world increasingly moves away from traditional canvas-and-frame art display and embraces the infinite flexibility of digital display, AmbianceVisuals.com has become a leading provider of "Art for Your Television" content. "Our new Web 2.0 site brings artists from across the globe straight to your fingertips," says Director of Production, Justin Thomas Ostensen. "Finding quality artwork for your home or office used to entail hours of searching galleries and significant expense. AmbianceVisuals.com allows you to explore a wide range of great artwork from the comfort of your home, then easily display it on your HDTV while you're relaxing or entertaining guests."

AmbianceVisuals.com offers a broad selection of "Art for Your Television" content, including DVDs, downloads and even a "Create Your Own Custom DVD" feature where you can curate your own art DVD. It's all part of the company's goal to make enjoying art easier and more flexible. "It's virtually impossible to fit all the art you love into one house or apartment," Ostensen says, "but with AmbianceVisuals.com, you can create DVDs with dozens of great artwork. Or you can download art and create Art Playlists on your favorite media player, which are just like Music Playlists, and allow you to enjoy ever-changing artwork for hours."
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Getting the Real Scoop on Health Care Through New Online Community
Eagan, Minnesota
Eighty percent of all U.S. adults -- more than 113 million people -- have gone online to seek out health care information. According to research commissioned by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, two-thirds of those surveyed said one of their most valued sources of health care information comes from friends, family or other people they trust. But surprisingly, these two important elements -- health care word-of-mouth and the Internet -- haven't been combined to the benefit of consumers. Until now.

There's a new online community devoted to letting consumers share their health care experiences. TheHealthcareScoop.com, a new website, is a forum for real health care stories from real people, covering everything from the waiting room to the emergency room. Consumers also can learn about strategies to deal with a new diagnosis and information about procedures or treatments.

Developed by Consumer Aware, TheHealthcareScoop.com is a free online resource available to all consumers. The site combines the power of the Internet and the trust of a shared community to allow health care consumers and health care providers to learn from one another's experiences, creating more transparency and bringing a greater consumer focus to the health care business.
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Free Report Guides Businesses on World of "Web 2.0"
Culver City, California
Venice Consulting Group, a leading software development and consulting firm based in Culver City California, today announced a new how-to guide for businesses on "Web 2.0" technology, describing terms in easy-to-understand language and including practical steps for implementing Web 2.0. The free report, titled "Everything Businesses Want to Know About Web 2.0 (but are afraid to ask)," tackles one of the most discussed topic that businesses face.

Web 2.0 has received much press in the last few years as the Internet continues to develop and mature. While the concept of Web 2.0 came out of the technology industry, it has assumed an important place in the business world. All businesses, from the home office to the large enterprise, will eventually be touched by the Web 2.0 phenomenon and understanding its basic tenets is an important first step before adopting the technology that underpins it.
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Women's Careers Finding Web 2.0 Options at HR OptIn
Atlanta, Georgia
You've heard about the new era that is sweeping the World Wide Web? Dubbed Web 2.0, this online revolution is all about sharing: be it a personal page at MySpace, a video on YouTube, a podcast or a blog. Now, a Website called HR OptIn has brought the power of Web 2.0 to working women, or more specifically, to women who used to be working for some of the top organizations in America but who took time off to care for a child, a parent, or to raise a family.

HR OptIn was created to help talented women opt back in to their chosen profession by sharing ideas and knowledge at a virtual online HQ. In this case, the chosen profession is Human Resources or HR for short, a department you'll find at most mid-to-large size companies. HR OptIn, and its parent company, Atlanta-based Incite Strategies, Inc., already has relationships with some of the nation's premier HR departments at Fortune 1000 companies across America.
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IBM Initiative to Move Web 2.0 to Center Stage
Boston, Massachusetts
IBM has announced "Web 2.0 Goes to Work," an IBM initiative to help organizations bring the value of Web 2.0 -- such as easy access to information, rich, browser-based applications, and social networking and collaboration software -- into the enterprise in a security-rich, reliable way. Web 2.0 is about combining content, collaboration and rich user experiences that are transforming the Internet from static Web pages into a dynamic platform for social interaction, while enabling the creation of powerful, Web-based applications.

"IBM is uniquely positioned to develop an information ecosystem to meet the needs of organizations as they adopt Web 2.0 principles and technologies," said Steve Mills, senior vice president and group executive, IBM Software Group. "We're combining the collective experience, resources and expertise from across the company to help our customers realize the value of Web 2.0 in the enterprise." As companies embrace this more dynamic, social Internet, they realize the benefits of having a service oriented architecture (SOA). While SOA helps build a flexible computing infrastructure, Web 2.0 arms users and communities with software assets needed to create a new class of rich, lightweight and easily deployed software solutions. "Our goal is to make today's consumer-based technologies relevant to businesses by building offerings that deliver a highly-productive and integrated entry into Web 2.0-based solutions," said Jim Deters, president of Ascendant Technology, an IBM Business Partner. "Businesses who do not take advantage of these technologies will be ultimately forced by users into this new computing era or will face significant growth hurdles."
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Ericsson Pioneers WCDMA/HSPA Ecosystem Pilot in Rural India
Stockholm, Sweden
Ericsson has launched the Gramjyoti Rural Broadband Project, an initiative to introduce benefits of WCDMA/HSPA technology in rural India and connect communities to high-speed internet services for the first time. The trial project was launched in early September and will showcase the benefits of mobile broadband applications across 18 villages and 15 towns close to Chennai, in the state of Tamil Nadu.

By creating a stable ecosystem based on leading WCDMA/HSPA technology, Ericsson will provide these communities with high- speed internet so they can access a range of new services including: telemedicine; e-education; e-governance; online local information; voice and video call services; and live TV and entertainment.

The initiative seeks to demonstrate how WCDMA/HSPA technology can be a major catalyst for social and economic empowerment in this developing region, helping to bridge the digital divide and increase productivity and quality of life. Communities and schools will be among the beneficiaries of the initiative. More than 3,000 high school students within these communities will now have high-speed internet and can take e- learning courses, gaining access to new information and educational resources for the first time. These communities will also benefit from health services such as live interactive check-ups via telemedicine.

Mats Granryd, Managing Director of Ericsson India, says: "Ericsson aims to help India's rural population get first-hand experience of broadband applications. This pioneering project will provide communities with access to meaningful broadband services for the first time. Building an efficient and affordable WCDMA/HSPA rural broadband can help serve as a blueprint for the widespread introduction of internet and broadband connectivity in the future." The location for the project was chosen for the Rural Broadband Project because it reflects the typical telecom profile of rural India, where many families have limited or no access to fixed telephones, but do have access to a mobile phone.
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Integrated IBM Storage, Server and Services Solution Provides Enterprise Archiving, Storage Virtualization and Data Protection to Hospital and Research Networks
Nashville, Tennessee
IBM has announced its new Grid Medical Archive Solution, a cross-IBM offering comprised of storage, software, servers and services. The GMAS solution provides hospitals, clinics, research institutions and pharmaceutical companies with a multi-tier, multi-application and multi-site enterprise storage archive for delivering medical images, patient records and other critical healthcare reference information on demand.

The need to retain massive volumes of business-critical fixed-content data for long periods of time is presenting new data and storage management challenges for health care organizations. Users continue to demand fast performance as well as higher and broader availability of patient records and medical images. Massive data volumes combined with long retention periods require storage administrators to deliver a cost-effective storage strategy that meets the users' needs, protects valuable data, scales on demand, simplifies data migration and automates recovery for both planned and unplanned downtime.

"With mounting advances in medicine coupled with a longer-living population, healthcare organizations are increasingly embracing new technology that puts the patient in the center of the delivery model and drives innovation to increase the quality of patient care," said Hernan Vega, Vice President, Healthcare and Life Sciences, IBM Systems and Technology Group. "IBM GMAS is a great example of how advanced storage technologies, virtualization and grid computing can improve the way hospitals access, store and manage their critical patient data over time."
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120 Reasons Giganews Just Changed Usenet
Austin, Texas
Giganews has completed a major storage upgrade on their global Usenet server cluster which will grow binary retention to 120 days. This upgrade changes the face of Usenet by allowing thriving newsgroup communities to engage for longer periods of time through fast and reliable Usenet servers. With 120 days of retention, Giganews will offer nearly 1 billion Usenet articles in over 100,000 newsgroups. Less than two months ago, Giganews was the first Usenet provider to hit the century mark for binary retention, but in keeping with a commitment to meet and exceed the expectations of its customers, Giganews has again increased storage capacity which allows Giganews' Usenet binary retention to grow to 120 days.

"When we completed our last retention upgrade to 100 days we were pleased, but we wanted to push ourselves to the next level. Giganews is in a perpetual upgrade cycle and this current upgrade is just part of our larger goal of re-investing in our server infrastructure for the benefit of our customers. At Giganews we feel we have a responsibility to push the envelope when it comes to services and features and we hope these efforts will help expand and support the greater Usenet community as a result," said David Vogelpohl, VP of Marketing and Sales at Giganews.
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Social Networking and Social Commerce Offers a New Way for People and Businesses to Connect
Delray Beach, Florida
The question had become where do adults go to socialize online when they feel too old for MySpace or Facebook but are too young for Eons? Despite marketing targeted at teens and twenty- something's, over half of the visitors to social networking websites like MySpace, Facebook, Flickr and Live Journal are now 35 and older, according to recent industry reports. With the popularity of these online communities growing with no end in site, the time is ripe for a social networking service -- which is what Vois.com (pronounced "Voice") a community for users age 30-to-50, is positioned to provide. 

Today more than 56 percent of visitors to MySpace now are over 35, according to industry expert comScore and about 41 percent of visitors to the college-targeted Facebook are now over the age of 35. There's a similar demographic at youth-oriented networking sites Friendster and Xanga -- yet the common misconception that exists is that these services are predominantly used by just teenagers. In reality, these services are now immensely popular with Baby Boomers and so-called Gen X'ers, many of whom have been members of online communities since the bulletin board system (BBS) Internet forums that debuted in the 1980's, through the early years of AOL's instant messaging and Usenet discussion groups.
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First Music Company to Launch Video Content Over Pioneering Internet TV Platform; Platform Offers Innovative Opportunities for Advertisers and Content Owners
New York, New York
Warner Music Group Corp., one of the world's leading global music companies, and Joost, a global video distribution service that combines the best of television and the Internet, has announced an agreement to provide video content featuring WMG's world-renowned roster of artists on the Joost platform. As part of the agreement, WMG and Joost will share revenue from advertising on WMG's Joost channels. Joost will offer a number of channels featuring WMG's artist and music-based content, each specific either to genre, record label or artist as well as content outside of WMG's roster. Currently available in limited beta, the Joost platform is the first to provide a completely new television experience online. It combines the long-form video channels of traditional television with the interactivity and on-demand components made possible by the Internet. Joost is the first online, global TV distribution platform, bringing together advertisers, content owners and viewers in an interactive, community-driven environment. Joost can be accessed with a broadband Internet connection and offers broadcast-quality content to viewers for free.
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Internet Television Pioneers Partner to Provide Video-on-Demand Programming From Around the World on Joost
Toronto, Ontario
JumpTV Inc., the world's leading broadcaster of ethnic television over the Internet, has partnered with Joost, the world's first broadcast-quality, free-to-air Internet television service, to make a significant portion of JumpTV's library of video-on-demand television content available on a series of exclusive JumpTV-branded ethnic television vertical "channels" on the Joost platform. JumpTV currently broadcasts live over the Internet thousands of popular television programs, news, music and sporting events from 270 channels from over 70 countries around the world on a subscription and advertising supported basis. The initial JumpTV offering on Joost will feature programming regularly gathered from JumpTV's digitally rights compliant international television roster. The first JumpTV "channels" on Joost will feature popular Spanish-language series from Colombia, Chile and Peru, in addition to Arabic-language comedy, drama and news programs from some of the leading broadcasters in the Middle East. JumpTV will be adding new programming on a daily or weekly basis, and intends to launch several more channels on Joost in other languages, including but not limited to Romanian, Turkish, Russian and Bengali. Commenting on the partnership, Kaleil Isaza Tuzman, president and chief executive officer of JumpTV International stated, "We see Joost as a unique and important distribution/programming partner. Like us, the Joost team innately understands the power of viral, high-affinity long-tail content -- for example, JumpTV's ethnic TV programming. Given the track record of the Joost founders, we believe that the Joost platform could be as transformational for online television as their previous ventures have been."
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