Friday, November 30, 2012

KRAS and BRAF mutation screening in metastatic colorectal cancer costly in relation to benefits

KRAS and BRAF mutation screening in metastatic colorectal cancer costly in relation to benefits

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Researchers report that screening for KRAS and BRAF mutations can reduce the cost of anti-EGFR treatment for metastatic colorectal cancer but with a very small reduction in overall survival according to a new study published on November 28 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Metastatic colorectal cancer patients whose tumors harbor mutations in KRAS (and to a lesser extent, in BRAF) are unlikely to respond to costly anti-EGFR therapies. Screening of patients who are candidates for these therapies for mutations in one of these genes (KRAS) has been recommended, with the goal of providing treatment to those who are likely to benefit from it while avoiding unnecessary costs and harm to those who are not likely to benefit. However, the real-world impact of mutation screening for both KRAS and BRAF is unclear.

To better understand the impact of mutation screening with regard to health outcomes, costs, and value, Ajay S. Behl, Ph.D., M.B.A., of the HealthPartners Research Foundation in Bloomington, Minnesota, and colleagues, performed a cost-effectiveness analysis that took into account the treatments, resection of metastases, and survival for the different types of metastases. They conducted patient-level decision analytic simulation modeling comparing four strategies involving KRAS and BRAF mutation testing to select treatments for metastatic colorectal cancer patients: no anti-EGFR therapy (best supportive care); anti-EGFR therapy without screening; screening for KRAS mutations only (before providing anti-EGFR therapy); and screening for KRAS and BRAF mutations (before providing anti-EGFR therapy).

The researchers found that compared with no anti-EGFR therapy, screening for both KRAS and BRAF mutations showed a very high (ie, unfavorable) incremental cost-effectiveness ratio, meaning it was very costly in relation to its benefits. Compared with anti-EGFR therapy without screening, screening for KRAS mutations saved approximately $7,500 per patient; adding BRAF mutation screening saved another $1023, with little reduction in expected survival.

The authors write, "In general, our results are less supportive of the use of anti-EGFR therapy than previous analyses, and they indicate lower cost savings from KRAS testing than previously reported. Although we cannot confirm that anti-EGFR therapy is a cost-effective use of health care resources, we can affirm that KRAS testing is cost-saving. BRAF testing may offer additional savings."

In an accompanying editorial, Josh J. Carlson, M.P.H., Ph.D., of the Department of Pharmacy, University of Washington, and Scott D. Ramsey, MD, PhD, of the Division of Public Health Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, both in Seattle, note two practical points highlighted by the study: that molecular testing is as much about generating cost savings by identifying nonresponders as it is about improving survival by identifying responders, and that good modeling must account for the fact that community practice (as opposed to clinical trials) "is messy." They write, "most importantly, this study of an unusually accurate test raises important issues that should be considered for other molecular tests in other settings."


Journal of the National Cancer Institute:

Thanks to Journal of the National Cancer Institute for this article.

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Gold & Silver Speculator


Now that Thanksgiving has passed and the Holiday Season is in full swing with thoughts turning toward Hanukkah, Christmas, and the New Year, I?m getting asked more and more questions from traders and investors who are very concerned - even anxious, about the Fiscal Cliff, the Debt Ceiling, tax implications/considerations regarding both and how all of this will play out in the precious metals markets. So, in this edition of the GSS, I?d really like to focus on the bigger picture.

But before we delve into that, I must take a moment to address yesterday?s violent intraday price move in Gold (and Silver to a lesser extent). We witnessed another one of those counter-intuitive, intense, vicious ?waterfall selloffs? or spikes lower that seem to ?randomly? occur from time to time over the past couple of years.

Massive and concentrated volume hit the market immediately on the NY Pit open: Over 35,000 lots or contracts reportedly traded - the equivalent of 3.5 Million ounces of Gold - with nearly 7800 contracts (that?s 24 TONS!) traded electronically in a single minute, slamming the price of Gold down -$36. The price drop was not enormous in percentage terms, but the volume size and velocity of the move still shocked many market participants as there was no corresponding ?news? to point to.

Initial reports of a ?fat finger? trader or broker error were summarily dismissed by a CME spokesman and their circuit breakers weren?t even tripped, so it was an orderly move. Although nobody can really pinpoint exactly who is responsible for such a move, the typically fruitless search for the culprit(s) began again, with the usual suspects like short-term algorithmic High Frequency Traders (HFT) and large, institutional and/or commercial firms (or bullion banks) dumping huge size orders getting the lion?s share of the blame.

I am of the opinion that yesterday?s move is consistent with coordinated weakness and artificial selling pressure associated with some large investor(s) or trader(s) desire to move the market lower for what could be any number of reasons. We?ve seen this before and will likely see it again. But was this a clear example of market manipulation?

As the year ends and portfolios get rebalanced, some investors take the opportunity to liquidate positions and take profits in Gold & Silver to help offset or cover losses in other markets. In our heightened environment of fiscal and monetary uncertainty (some would say insanity), this year should be especially volatile and I think we saw some of that coming through yesterday - and over the past couple weeks.

If it really was an investor simply exiting profitable positions, it makes absolutely no sense to simply overwhelm the market with thousands of sell orders at the market. Giant institutional-sized orders would be placed and managed in such a way to obtain the best possible price without disturbing or violently disrupting the market, and that clearly was not the case the search for answers will continue. Just don?t expect any real answers anytime soon on that.

For leveraged short-term traders, this type of volatility and potential market occurrence must be something you are fully aware of and plan for accordingly by using protective stops. But more importantly, for a longer-term trader/investor, these intraday moves eventually become just another part of the big picture over time and can present great opportunities to take advantage of the short-term weakness to get long (or longer) by initiating new positions or add-on while Gold & Silver are ?marked down? or on sale. If you followed the recent filings, Mr. Paulson hasn?t sold out his enormous stake; Mr. Gross & Mr. Dalio still believe they should be in everyone?s portfolio; and Mr. Soros and Mr. Rogers have been adding on to their positions. (Mr. Buffett apparently still despises the Precious Metals and is too busy out campaigning for higher taxes, so take that for whatever its worth to you).

Many people still think of Gold & Silver as commodities - and they are, they?re heavy metals and there?s not a whole lot of the physical bullion to go around. But they?re also Hard Currencies and have been used as stores of value to protect purchasing power for thousands of years. Let?s examine what could help propel Gold & Silver far beyond their all-time highs as we approach 2013:

Negative Real Interest Rates
Negative Fiscal Outlooks
Ultra Loose Monetary Policies (open-ended Quantitative Easing programs from our FED, ECB, and BOJ)
Global Debasement of Fiat Currencies or Competitive Currency Devaluation (?Race To The Bottom?)
Central Bank Purchases and Hoarding (no longer making large official sales)

FISCAL CLIFF NEGOTIATIONS: Likely result = resolution that fails to solve anything/more kick-the-can.
DEBT CEILING NEGOTIATIONS: The current legal limit of $16.4 trillion on the federal government?s debt would need to be raised in the next few months by another $2.4 trillion, Senate Leader Harry Reid said they?ll raise it.That would set the debt limit at $18.794 trillion.

Central Banks (primarily developing or non-Western & Asian) continue to diversify out of USD holdings - converting to Gold. CHINESE IMPORTS ARE OFF THE CHARTS - The People?s Bank of China is highly secretive and has not updated their official Gold Holdings in over 3 years (since 2009) but they?ve been accumulating big time - in this year alone, China has imported more Gold from Hong Kong than the European Central Bank?s entire official 502.1 tons of holdings.

Increased Private Investor Demand - especially Silver in China - their Gov?t has recommended Gold and Silver as important investment assets to accumulate. Their banks now allow their customers to purchase gold and silver directly in their accounts.

We?re also seeing record demand and allocations in the form of ETPs or exchange-traded products as well - GLD holdings, the largest Gold ETF, has again set a new record high with SLV, the largest Silver ETF near record highs as well.

Not just for Central Banks but for individuals too.All of the other enormous economic problems have basically relegated this unique driver of demand to the backseat, but that could change in a flash. When dictators flee their palaces, they leave behind stacks of Greenbacks and Euros, but never forget to grab the gold.

Gold, and Silver to a lesser extent, has always been the ultimate Flight-To-Quality Asset. They are safe-haven assets that people turn to in times of extreme chaos to protect their wealth or purchasing power.

In the Middle East with Israel firing missiles, taking out Hamas leaders in Gaza in retaliation for their rocket attacks, the bloodbath in Syria, Iran?s Nuclear Program, there is a Geopolitical Risk Premium that I don?t believe has been priced in or been much of a recent factor in price. If conditions change for the worse and tensions increase drawing other countries into it, I think we?ll start to see more of a Geopolitical Risk premium added and accounted for in price.

THE REMONETIZATION OF GOLD & LEGITIMATE USE AS GOOD COLLATERAL is well underway too but really not discussed much outside of the Precious Metals community. Major exchanges around the globe (LCH.Clearnet, CME, ICE) as well as large investment institutions have recently begun allowing Gold to be used as collateral.

The world is drowning in bad sovereign debt and bad collateral. The antidote to that is Gold. Although its implementation has been delayed from January 2013, the fact that the new Basel III framework includes a positive reclassification of Gold from its current Tier 3 status up to a Tier 1 asset, essentially making Gold a ?risk-free asset? on par with US Treasuries, is extremely significant.

If implemented as written, I believe it could be an enormous new driver of demand where private banking institutions would seek to accumulate and hoard massive amounts of the precious yellow metal. Since there is a very finite, limited amount of known supply & annual production, they would have to compete with each other and against Central Banks to acquire it in the open market. This has the potential to be a ?game-changer? in the Gold market, similar to late 2008 when Central Banks flipped from being Net Sellers of Gold to Net Buyers.

Gold and Silver were clearly the best performing assets over Obama?s first term. Gold always gets the front page headlines, but Silver totally obliterated all other contenders.

Back when Mr. Obama won his first presidential election in November 2008, Gold was trading just under $700 an ounce. Just before Election Day last week, Gold traded at $1686. That?s an increase of nearly $1000 per ounce for a 141% gain.

Not to be outdone, ?Poor Man?s Gold,? - Silver was priced under $9.00 an ounce in November 2008. Just before Election Day last week, Silver traded at $31.25. That?s an increase of $22.48 per ounce for a 256% gain.

Looking out into the future, will ?For More Years? yield a similar outcome for Gold and Silver? If the precious metals were able to replicate the past 4 years in percentage terms from current price levels, that would put Gold over $4100 and Silver over $116. If they were only able to achieve half as much, you?d still have some extremely elevated pricing as Gold would come in just under $3000 with Silver around $75.

In the short-term, market volatility will continue to rule. No market goes straight up or down and there is quite a bit of year-end money-flow type cross-currents to contend with. Only time will tell, but in my opinion, if your long-term investment view on Gold & Silver is bullish, you couldn?t have asked for a better outcome.

As far as long-term technicals go, a few weeks ago we witnessed Golden Crosses in both Gold and Silver, which are important to recognize as they?re typically very bullish indicators. A Golden Cross is a positive technical indicator that reflects a confluence of short-term and long-term market strength and occurs when a market?s 50 Day Moving Average crosses above its long-term 200 Day Moving Average. It?s understood to be one of the strongest buy signals that can be interpreted by technical traders. This should serve as a major confidence booster for Bulls going forward.

Since 2006, Gold has had 2 Golden Crosses with gains of 66% and 102%. Likewise, Silver has experienced rallies of over 50% and 280% following its Golden Crosses.

So, if history repeats itself, we could potentially see Gold trading around $2900 to $3600 and Silver trading north of $125 over the next 2.5 years into 2014 and 2015. These projections are in line with the INFLATION-ADJUSTED PRICES ARE FOR THEIR ALL-TIME HIGHS HIT BACK IN 1980.

So where are the precious metals markets right now? It appears that potential bottoms for the recent October/Early November consolidation were put in on Monday 11/05/12?s printed lows going into Election Day. Since then, while there has certainly been some volatility, both Gold and Silver have rallied, working themselves higher as they attempt to gain positive momentum by putting more distance between their current prices and their 200 Day Moving Averages.

As noted in a recent GSS, another classic technical candlestick pattern formed in both Gold & Silver: The Morning Star formation - which typically portends that a bullish reversal is about to occur. Especially interesting was how they both formed nearly right on their 200 Day Moving Averages, which may be highly supportive if tested again.

Next week we?ll take a fresh look at the technicals and have plenty of chart analysis.

Subscribe to The Gold & Silver Speculator Absolutely Free!

This is a sample of the analysis from my weekly precious metals market commentary newsletter, The Gold & Silver Speculator. Register now to receive the most relevant investment information and trading tools to participate in the gold and silver markets!

By: Kurt Pfafflin


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Kenya village of AIDS orphans hangs hopes on trees

NYUMBANI, Kenya (AP) ? There are no middle-aged adults in the Kenyan village of Nyumbani. They all died years ago. Only the young and old live here.

The 938 children here all saw their parents die. The 97 grandparents saw their middle-aged children die. But put together, the bookend generations take care of one another.

UNAIDS says that as of 2011 an estimated 23.5 million people living with HIV resided in sub-Saharan Africa, representing 69 percent of the global HIV burden. Eastern and southern Africa are the hardest-hit regions.

Saturday is World AIDS Day.

Nyumbani is currently planting tens of thousands of trees for the fourth straight year in the hopes that the village will soon harvest the hardwood and become self-sustaining.


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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Let's Talk About How 'Looper' Should Have Ended

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Michael Jackson's father, Joe Jackson, has suffered a stroke but is OK and resting in a Las Vegas hospital, a family friend said on Thursday. "He was doing well and says he's feeling OK," close family friend Brian Oxman told Reuters. Oxman, Michael Jackson's one-time attorney, said the 83-year-old patriarch of the pop music family started experiencing weakness on Wednesday while walking in a park near his home and was later admitted to a hospital. Jackson has a history of strokes, Oxman said. "He was talking fine," Oxman added. "He sounded excellent to me." A former ...


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The Five Best Books On Menopause

Since there?s a good chance that you?re wondering the same thing, I thought I?d share my recommendations for five books, that in my opinion, do an excellent job of explaining, in a thorough and unbiased way, the many medical and emotional issues that occur during the menopause years.

Do what I do and check these books out of your local library to first see which one you like the best, then purchase it for your own personal library. That way, you?ll always have good, reliable information at your fingertips for years to come.

Our Bodies, OurselvesThe first?Our Bodies, Ourselves?was?written for us in the early 70s. It was a landmark book that helped fuel the women?s liberation movement with its frank discussion of a woman?s body. The publishers, the?Boston Women?s Health Book Collective, caught up to us again six years ago with this edition on Menopause, which I find equally progressive. They cover the basics of Menopause (?What?s Happening in Our Bodies?), which I think women just entering the perimenopausal phase will find particularly helpful.

What makes this book stand out??I like the way the authors have included a discussion of non-medical, emotional issues that have to do with our ?changing selves,? in chapters on body image, sexuality, and family life and the workplace.

You can read excerpts from this book and view additional content on the?publisher?s website.

The Smart Woman’s Guide to Midlife and BeyondThe Smart Woman?s Guide to Midlife and Beyond: The No-nonsense Approach to Staying Healthy After 50,? is authored by Drs. Janet Horn, a gynecologist and Robin Miller, an internist who specializes in integrative medicine.? They?re both in their 50s and have been friends since their med school days, so their close rapport is reflected in the way they provide information and advice. They talk about their own experiences, share patient stories and conclude each chapter with a ?chat? that makes you feel that you?re among friends who are dealing with the same mid-life changes as you.

What makes this book stand out?? What?s especially interesting, and valuable to the reader, is the fact that one of the authors takes hormones and the other doesn?t and ?never will!? so their ?conversations reveal the issues of the HRT debate in a way that?s not didactic. It?s a brilliant way to show that there?s more than one way to get through menopause and every woman has to decide what works best for her.

The Everything Health Guide to Menopause?is chock full of information about the mid-life transition beginningInformative book on menopause with a thorough explanation of the initial, peri-menopausal phase. It?s written by? Kate Bracy Kalb RN, a women?s health care practitioner, with a technical review by a gynecologist,?Kathryn Arendt, MD.? It?s quite extensive, but well organized and easy to read. I?d bet that whatever question you have about the changes you?re experiencing will be answered in these pages.

What makes this book stand out?? I applaud the author for bringing up the need to find a doctor whose qualifications match your?new?needs.? This one thing can make a big difference in how well you navigate the menopause years. In her chapter titled, ?A Partner on the Path ? Choosing a Health Care Provider,? Ms. Kalb encourages readers to explore your options early in the menopausal process and then, once you?ve found the right practitioner, take charge.

Menopause, Ellen Dolgen

Since it?s publication date two years ago, I?ve been recommending Ellen Dolgen?s book,?Shmirshky: the pursuit of hormone happiness?to my younger friends in the sputtering stage of menopause (aka perimenopause), who don?t have a clue about what?s happening to their bodies or what to expect in the years ahead. The author covers a lot of ground ? from HRT and hot flashes to memory lapses and vaginal dryness ? in an intimate, girlfriend-to-girlfriend voice that makes this book instructive and engaging.

What makes this book stand out? ?Like Kate Bracy Kalb in her book (above), Ellen Dolgen writes about the need to find a great gynecologist who specializes in women?s midlife health, who can be your partner in this decade-long journey. She offers suggestions for how to research and then interview prospective candidates for this important job. (She also offers a directory on her website.)

Finally, I highly recommend Dr. Susan Love?s Menopause and Hormone Book.?It?s an important book that, besides the basics, covers weighty issues such as the medicalization of menopause, understanding research when it comes to prevention and risk of disease and women?s cancers.menopause, hormone therapy, HRT

What makes this book stand out??Dr. Love is one of the most respected women?s health specialists in this country. ?With this book, she can be a trusted resource for evidenced-based, unbiased information.

I?d love to know about books that you have found particularly helpful in your menopause journey and welcome your suggestions in the comment box below.


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Home resembles manor straight out of Disneyland

11 min.

2270 Cross St, La Canada Flintridge CA
Sale pending: $1.449 million

Mickey Mouse doesn't live here, and there's no storybook ride within the gables, but for all intents and purposes this La Canada Flintridge home looks straight out of the Disneyland park.

There's a reason the California home resembles the happiest place on earth. Robert F. McDonnell, one of the chief designers for Disney and the designer of Disneyland, Disney World and Tokyo Disney, redesigned the home himself to resemble the theme parks.

The original home, a Spanish-style estate built in 1937, provided the canvas for McDonnell, says real estate agent Sean Santarsiero of Podley Properties.

"In the late 1980s and 1990s he ended up building the home into the Disney castle it is now," Santarsiero said. "If you go to Disneyland right after [seeing the home], you'll see remnants of the house in Disneyland?? the doors, the spires, the windows."

McDonnell also put a little of himself into the home, such as detailed carvings and a family crest captured in stained glass. According to public records, he sold the home in 2001 for $930,000, and the current owners kept many of McDonnell's details.

"Every time I show the home to a new client, I see something," Santarsiero?said.

Sitting on a quarter-acre lot, the 3,730-square-foot home has 4 bedrooms and 3.5 baths.



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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

50 Cent Pinches Pennies For 'My Life' Video With Eminem

'This video is unlike a lot of the videos I've shot because this one has a budget,' Fif tells MTV News of clip featuring Eminem and Adam Levine.
By Nadeska Alexis, with reporting by Rahman Dukes

50 cent and Eminem on the set of "My Life"
Photo: MTV News


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ComEd's Grid Modernization Work Created More Than 700 Jobs Through Third Quarter 2012

ComEd reports that work directly related to the Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act (EIMA) enacted last year created more than 700 jobs from January through September 2012, with more than 100 jobs created in the third quarter alone. These include jobs at ComEd as well as contractor and supplier positions involving a broad range of functions required to build a 21st century electric grid, from construction and engineering to consulting and administration.

"Creating the energy infrastructure of tomorrow is putting hundreds of people to work today in good-paying jobs," said Anne Pramaggiore, president and CEO, ComEd. "It gives us great pride to be able to contribute to the Illinois economy and improve the reliability of our electric grid, which helps promote business growth and development in our state."

With passage of EIMA, ComEd embarked on a 10-year, $2.6 billion program to modernize the power system in northern Illinois. The EIMA investments also have provided an important boost to local manufacturers, suppliers and service providers with the expertise needed to support the electrical system upgrade. Through October 2012, ComEd has awarded $80 million in contracts to companies providing services and products ranging from engineering to cable to smart switches.

"The grid modernization program has allowed us to create new jobs that otherwise wouldn't have existed," said Loretta Rosenmayer, founder and CEO of INTREN, a firm that is assisting ComEd with cable replacement work, storm hardening and pole replacement.

INTREN is one of several Illinois firms partnering with ComEd to bring grid modernization benefits to ComEd customers. Other firms include Meade Electric, S&C Electric, G&W Electric, Aldridge Electric and General Cable. Growing Chicago-based firms, such as PMI Energy Solutions, Primera, and MZI Group, also are realizing new opportunities through the grid modernization effort. Choctaw-Kaul, a Native American-owned distributor of safety products, recently opened a new distribution center near Midway airport as a result of the EIMA program.

ComEd's grid modernization program hit the ground running in January, with ComEd working at an accelerated pace that is already bringing benefits to customers throughout northern Illinois. Major EIMA accomplishments in 2012 to date that are improving reliability for customers include:

  • Installing approximately 380 distribution automation devices, or "smart switches," which have prevented 70,000 power outages this year.
  • Replacing or refurbishing more than 360 miles of underground residential cable ? double the pace of any previous year.
  • Replacing approximately 32 miles of mainline cable this year ? nearly three times the annual average ? for a total of 44 miles by year-end.
  • Repairing or replacing more than 2,300 utility poles ? more than 75 percent above average ? for a total of 2,500 by year-end.
  • Assessing 6,850 manholes and refurbishing 3,800.

While grid modernization work continues, the pace is slowing from earlier this year as a result of a ruling by the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) that reduced the funding available for the program. Following this ruling in May, the company sought rehearing on 13 issues, and the three largest were reconsidered in rehearing. Only one of these decisions was reversed by the ICC when it ruled on the rehearing Oct. 3. As a result, ComEd will face a reduction in funding of nearly $100 million per year in 2014 and beyond. These dollars cannot be recovered and subsequently reinvested into the system. ComEd has appealed the decision in court. In the meantime, ComEd is proceeding with about 75 percent of the core grid modernization programs as planned, while postponing the deployment of additional smart meters until 2015.

"We were able to make significant progress on our grid modernization so far this year because, under the EIMA legislation, we were assured that our investments in the system would be fully recovered," said Pramaggiore, who became CEO in February of this year. "We hope to reach a positive outcome soon so that we can deliver the promised reliability improvements, cost-savings and customer service benefits to our customers and create 2,000 jobs as required by the legislation and further boost the Illinois economy."


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Gaming going through ?single biggest inflection since its birth?, says ...

Tue, Nov 27, 2012 | 22:02 GMT

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Watch the Empire State Building Give Its First-Ever Light Show

Were you in NYC last night? Notice anything different about its iconic skyline around 9PM? More »


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Home Improvement Professionals | Bantry Pylon Protest

Handyman STL Do you have visions giving your home a makeover? There are more options now than ever to improve your home with the newest and most effective procedures and materials. You might want to start outside by repairing shutters, roofing, gutters, fences, or decks. You might also want to repair a deck, dog house, playground, or a basketball hoop. You could also start a project inside by updating your kitchen, bathroom, or living room. If you have chosen to work on any of these improvement projects or others, you need to find a trusted professional that can help you make the correct choices and have your home in great shape. Find Specialized Repair Men

This entry was posted in Repair. Bookmark the permalink.


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Super-Tough Antarctic Bacteria Provide Hope For Alien Life

Lake Vida in East Antarctica is seven times saltier than the sea, 13 degrees celsius below freezing and pitch black. It was a place researchers thought life would never exist—but they were wrong. More »


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Monday, November 26, 2012

Alzheimer's disease in mice alleviated: Promising therapeutic approach for humans

ScienceDaily (Nov. 25, 2012) ? Pathological changes typical of Alzheimer's disease were significantly reduced in mice by blockade of an immune system transmitter. A research team from Charit? -- Universit?tsmedizin Berlin and the University of Zurich has just published a new therapeutic approach in fighting Alzheimer's disease in the current issue of Nature Medicine. This approach promises potential in prevention, as well as in cases where the disease has already set in.

Alzheimer's disease is one of the most common causes of dementia. In Germany and Switzerland alone, around 1.5 million people are affected, and forecasts predict a doubling of the number of patients worldwide within the next 20 years. The accumulation of particular abnormal proteins, including amyloid-? (A?) among others, in patients' brains plays a central role in this disease. Prof. Frank Heppner from the Department of Neuropathology at Charit? and his colleague Prof. Burkhard Becher from the Institute for Experimental Immunology at the University of Zurich were able to show that turning off particular cytokines (immune system signal transmitters) reduced the Alzheimer's typical amyloid-? deposits in mice with the disease. As a result, the strongest effects were demonstrated after reducing amyloid-? by approximately 65 percent, when the immune molecule p40 was affected, which is a component of the cytokines interleukin (IL)-12 and -23.

Relevant for human therapy

Follow-up experiments also relevant for humans showed that substantial improvements in behavioral testing resulted when mice were given the antibody blocking the immune molecule p40. This effect was also achieved when the mice were already showing symptoms of the disease. Based on the current study by Prof. Heppner's and Prof. Becher's team, the level of p40 molecules is higher in Alzheimer's patients' brain fluid, which is in agreement with a recently published study by American colleagues demonstrating increased p40 levels in blood plasma of subjects with Alzheimer's disease, thus showing obvious relevance for human therapy.

The significance of the immune system in Alzheimer's research is the focus of current efforts. Prof. Heppner and Prof. Becher suspect that cytokines IL-12 and IL-23 themselves are not causative in the pathology, and that the mechanism of the immune molecule p40 in Alzheimer's requires additional clarification. However, they are convinced that the results of their six-years of research work justify the step toward clinical studies in humans, for which they plan to collaborate with a suitable industrial partner.

IIn the context of other illnesses, such as psoriasis, a medication that suppresses p40 in humans has already been applied. "Based on the safety data in patients," comment Profs. Heppner and Becher, "clinical studies could now be implemented without delay. Now, the goal is to bring the new therapeutic approach to Alzheimer patients quickly."

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Story Source:

The above story is reprinted from materials provided by University of Zurich.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.

Journal Reference:

  1. Johannes vom Berg, Stefan Prokop, Kelly R Miller, Juliane Obst, Roland E K?lin, Ileana Lopategui-Cabezas, Anja Wegner, Florian Mair, Carola G Schipke, Oliver Peters, York Winter, Burkhard Becher, Frank L Heppner. Inhibition of IL-12/IL-23 signaling reduces Alzheimer's disease?like pathology and cognitive decline. Nature Medicine, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/nm.2965

Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.


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Zombi U Review | Video Game Blog, Video Games Reviews & News

Genre: First Person Survival Horror

Platform: Wii U

Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier

Publisher: Ubisoft

Released: November 18th 2012

Releasing a third party game together with a Nintendo console is always something very bold to do since Nintendo games are always going to steal the spotlight during the first days after release: this is even more true in Wii U?s case, with a Super Mario game available with the console at launch. Ubisoft however decided to put themselves to the test, developing a title that?s? far from the typical colorful and family-oriented style of Nintendo?s games; by having such a game out Nintendo and Ubisoft are trying to show everyone how things will be different with this new console and how hardcore gamers won?t have to worry about not having games suited to their own tastes on the Wii U.

Zombies, Zombies and even more Zombies

ZombiU is a survival horror game played through a first person view mode. The game, just like the name suggests, throws the player in the middle of a typical survival horror scenario: London has been overrun by humans turned into? zombies by an epidemic. The plot is really nothing special, actually there?s very little of it: its only function is to tie all the missions together. There are no epic characters or cutscenes: just your generic character, one of the few survivors, and his desire to survive the zombie apocalypse. I personally loved the classic horror atmosphere but the plot could have definitely been more detailed, even just to make players feel more involved in what?s happening during the game. The only constant presence during the game is the character named Prepper who guides the survivors through the zombie infested city and even in this case it doesn?t go much farther than ?go from point A to point B?.

Demon?s? Zombie?

The overall game?s structure may not be the most original in the genre, but the execution is not too bad: taking inspiration from Demon?s Souls and Dark Souls s, the game is really hard and you?ll die. A lot. Death actually plays more than a simple ?try again mechanic? role: once a character dies, he?s gone for good or rather, he?ll simply become another zombie and the player will take on the role of another generic survivor. Starting back in the shelter at the beginning of each mission, players will be able to recover their items by killing the now zombified character they were controlling: doing this is fundamental to keep going since there aren?t many items available during each mission. The lack of items made me remember the days of the first survival horror games, especially the first Resident Evil and the first Silent Hill, and it really felt good.

Zombies ate my GamePad

As it was expected, Ubisoft tried its best to use the GamePad in a number of different ways and I have to say I was impressed how everything was implemented: no function feels distracting and some thing even make the survival horror atmosphere even better. The GamePad?s screen is mostly used to check the surroundings? map and a radar which actually serves better as a way to increase tension rather than having a good use during gameplay; all the other uses of the GamePad are related to ingame actions like searching drawers for items and moving them to your backpack or using a scanner to search around the area for items, doors and switches; the best thing about all this is that the game won?t pause while performing actions with the GamePad so you?ll have to be careful when to do all this: searching a drawer at a bad time could cost you your life (and all your precious items). All other GamePad?s uses are related to other actions like forcing a door open, picking up special items, search zombies? bodies and so on, and they?re performed through some specific actions that have to be completed on the touch screen.

Guns out, Cricket Bat in

You probably expect this, but let me tell you clearly that there are going to be a lot of zombies coming after you and even opening a door could lead to a close encounter with death: just a few hits are enough to kill your character and bring you back to the starting point. With so much emphasis on survival you?d think the battle system would actually give you many ways to escape an untimely death: unfortunately, that?s not the case and to be brutally honest the battle system is a bore fest. Since there?s not much ammo available and the zombies are always plenty, you?ll have to use the standard melee weapon available, the Cricket Bat: with just one single attack available, you can see how things may be getting boring very fast. There?s a real lack of variety, not only in offensive and defensive maneuvers but also in enemies: zombies are not smart at all and they all behave in the same exact way. Stealth may be an option to add some variety but most times you?ll be forced to engage the zombies due to level design choices. It?s almost as if Ubisoft wanted to have a realistic approach to the whole thing but forgot that everything needs to be fun: sadly, the game itself can?t ride only on the great atmosphere.

Not all zombies are made equal

ZombiU?s problems don?t end here unfortunately: graphics aren?t too good, especially polygonal models, textures and lightining effects. Given the hardware, we could have expected some Ps3/Xbox 360 level production but this is almost like going back a few years in the past: it?s really strange to wreak havoc inside a room and see that nothing gets damaged. The incredibly low interactivity level really brings down the overall atmosphere, even though the stages are not badly designed. Aside from the main game, there?s a local multiplayer option where the player with the Gamepad will be the King of The Zombies, placing those hellish creatures all over a map and the other players, armed with the WiiMote will have to dispose of them. It?s a nice diversion but the fun won?t probably last for too long due to the pretty basic battle system.

Final Thoughts

Zombie U kinda misses the mark, and it?s a real shame since it showed some real promise: the non-existant plot, the basic battle system and the mediocre graphics real bring down the game. Despite all this the game isn?t really that bad: if you?re a survival horror? fan you?ll be able to enjoy the great atmosphere, reminiscent of the first games of the genre, some of the gameplay ideas and the GamePad use. Everyone else better try the game first: the shortcomings may bite you just like a zombie wandering in London.


  • Great atmosphere
  • Good use of the GamePad
  • Good challenge level


  • Paper-thin plot
  • Standard and repetitive combat system
  • Enemies? AI
  • Mediocre graphics


6.5 out of 10



Article from

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Watch Samsung Stress Test Its Phones With a Jorts-Wearing Robot Ass

Hardware manufacturers putting their devices through hell to test their durability is nothing new. But this never-nude jorts-covered (jeans + shorts) robot butt created by Samsung to test how well its phones can survive accidentally being sat on shows just how far the company is willing to go. More »


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Diabetes Diet for Indians - Health Me Up

Diabetes Diet: Diabetes Diet for Indians

For diabetics, a healthy diabetes diet is the essence to healthy living along with exercise, of course. But what makes up a diabetes diet for Indians? There are several diabetes diets published online, which include exotic ingredients and food items. But what about ingredients that are locally available to Indians with diabetes? Let?s get a diabetes diet for Indians from the experts in nutrition and diabetology.

Diabetologist, Dr. Sanjiv Bhambani with Moolchand Medcity suggests ?A diabetes diet should be high on fiber, must contain milk without cream, buttermilk, fresh seasonal fruits, green vegetables, etc.? But remember to consume these components in moderation.

Diabetes diet for Indians should have the ratio of 60:20:20 for carbs, fats and proteins, the doctor explains, ?Per day calorie intake should be between 1,500-1,800 calories with a proportion of 60:20:20 between carbohydrates, fats and proteins, respectively.? He adds that a diabetes diet should ?have at least two seasonal fruits and three vegetables in a diet plan.? As for dry fruits, the fructose can spike up your sugar level.

The doctor shares his recipe for diabetes diet for Indians:
- One teaspoon of methi seeds soaked overnight in 100 ml of water is very effective in controlling diabetes.
- Drink tomato juice with salt and pepper ever morning on an empty stomach.
- Intake of 6 almonds (soaked overnight) is also helpful in keeping a check on diabetes.

We move now to nutritionist Rekha Sharma to look for elaborate answers to diabetes diet for Indians.? Rekha Sharma, President and Director of Indian Dietetic Association shares some major diabetes diet pointers that one should follow at home or at a restaurant.

Expert Speak: Diabetes diet for Indians

Whole grains, oats, channa atta, millets and other high fiber foods should be included in the meals. If one feels like consuming pasta or noodles, it should always be accompanied with vegetable /sprouts.

Milk is the right combination of carbohydrates and proteins and helps control blood sugar levels. Two servings of milk in a daily diet is a good option.

High fiber vegetables such as peas, beans, broccoli and spinach /leafy vegetables should be included in one?s diet. Also, pulses with husk and sprouts are a healthy option and should form a part of the diet.

Pulses are important in the diet as their effect on blood glucose is less than that of most other carbohydrate containing foods. Vegetables rich in fiber help lowering down the blood sugar levels and thus are healthy.

Good fats such as Omega 3 and MUFA should be consumed as they are good for the body. Natural sources for these are canola oil, flax seed oil, fatty fish and nuts. These are also low in cholesterol and are trans fat free.

Fruits high in fiber such as papaya, apple, orange, pear and guava should be consumed. Mangoes, bananas, and grapes contain high sugar; therefore these fruits should be consumed lesser than the others.

The diabetes diet for Indians includes carbohydrates, proteins and fats. As always, a balanced and planned diet can build and improve personal health. A controlled diabetes diet may seem like a drag and bore, but a good cook can add life to a diet. Time to call up mom and experiment with diabetes diets!?

*Image courtesy: ? Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Video: FTN Page 2: November 25 (cbsnews)

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Reading, writing and playing games may help aging brains stay healthy

ScienceDaily (Nov. 25, 2012) ? Mental activities like reading and writing can preserve structural integrity in the brains of older people, according to a new study presented November 25 at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

While previous research has shown an association between late-life cognitive activity and better mental acuity, the new study from Konstantinos Arfanakis, Ph.D., and colleagues from Rush University Medical Center and Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago studied what effect late-life cognitive activity might have on the brain's white matter, which is composed of nerve fibers, or axons, that transmit information throughout the brain.

"Reading the newspaper, writing letters, visiting a library, attending a play or playing games, such as chess or checkers, are all simple activities that can contribute to a healthier brain," Dr. Arfanakis said.

The researchers used a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) method known as diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to generate data on diffusion anisotropy, a measure of how water molecules move through the brain. In white matter, diffusion anisotropy exploits the fact that water moves more easily in a direction parallel to the brain's axons, and less easily perpendicular to the axons, because it is impeded by structures such as axonal membranes and myelin. "This difference in the diffusion rates along different directions increases diffusion anisotropy values," Dr. Arfanakis said. "Diffusion anisotropy is higher when more diffusion is happening in one direction compared to others."

The anisotropy values in white matter drop, however, with aging, injury and disease.

"In healthy white matter tissue, water can't move as much in directions perpendicular to the nerve fibers," Dr. Arfanakis said. "But if, for example, you have lower neuronal density or less myelin, then the water has more freedom to move perpendicular to the fibers, so you would have reduced diffusion anisotropy. Lower diffusion anisotropy values are consistent with aging."

The study included 152 elderly participants, mean age 81 years, from the Rush Memory and Aging Project, a large-scale study looking at risk factors for Alzheimer's disease. Participants were without dementia or mild cognitive impairment, based on a detailed clinical evaluation. Researchers asked the participants to rate on a scale of 1 to 5 the frequency with which they participated in a list of mentally engaging activities during the last year. Among the activities were reading newspapers and magazines, writing letters and playing cards and board games.

Participants underwent brain MRI using a 1.5-T scanner within one year of clinical evaluation. The researchers collected anatomical and DTI data and used it to generate diffusion anisotropy maps.

Data analysis revealed significant associations between the frequency of cognitive activity in later life and higher diffusion anisotropy values in the brain.

"Several areas throughout the brain, including regions quite important to cognition, showed higher microstructural integrity with more frequent cognitive activity in late life," said Dr. Arfanakis. "Keeping the brain occupied late in life has positive outcomes."

According to Dr. Arfanakis, diffusion anisotropy drops gradually beginning at around age 30. "Higher diffusion anisotropy in elderly patients who engage in frequent cognitive activity suggests that these people have brain properties similar to those of younger individuals," he said.

The researchers will continue to follow the study participants with an eye toward comparing the diffusion anisotropy results over time.

"In these participants, we've shown an association between late-life cognitive activity and structural integrity, but we haven't shown that one causes the other," Dr. Arfanakis said. "We want to follow the same patients over time to demonstrate a causal link."

Coauthors are Anil K. Vasireddi, B.S., Shengwei Zhang, B.Eng., David A. Bennett, M.D., and Debra A. Fleischman, Ph.D.

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Saturday, November 24, 2012

1 killed, 9 wounded in Israeli gunfire near Gaza

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) ? Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian man and wounded nine along Gaza's border fence with Israel on Friday, a Gaza health official said, reporting the first violence since a truce between Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers took hold a day before.

The shooting appeared to be an isolated incident and was unlikely to jeopardize the Egyptian-brokered cease-fire, which called for an end to Gaza rocket fire on Israel and Israeli airstrikes on Gaza. The truce came after eight days of cross-border fighting, the bloodiest battle between Israel and Hamas in four years.

The Gaza prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas, has urged militant factions to respect the cease-fire.

The man killed Friday was part of a group of people who approached Israel's border fence with Gaza to pick up parts of an Israeli army jeep damaged in the fighting, said Gaza health official Adnan Abu Salmia. He said soldiers opened fire, killing one man and wounding nine.

Israel's military, citing a preliminary investigation, said there have been isolated attempts to infiltrate Israel from Gaza, and that warning shots were fired in the air when the group approached Friday. The military said there was unrest along the border but did not elaborate.

In the past, Israeli troops enforced a no-go zone on the Gaza side of the frontier, firing on anyone approaching in an attempt to prevent infiltration attempts. Since the cease-fire, growing numbers of Gazans have entered the zone.

In Cairo, Egypt was set to hold separate talks Friday with Israeli and Hamas envoys on the next phase of the cease-fire ? a new border deal for blockaded Gaza. Hamas demands a lifting of all border restrictions, while Israel insists that Hamas must halt weapons smuggling to the territory.

In Israel, a poll showed that about half of Israelis think their government should have continued its military offensive against Hamas.

The independent Maagar Mohot poll released on Friday shows 49 percent of respondents feel Israel should have kept going after squads that fire rockets into Israel. Thirty-one percent supported the government's decision to stop. Twenty percent had no opinion.

Twenty-nine percent thought Israel should have sent ground troops to invade Gaza.

The poll of 503 respondents had an error margin of 4.5 percentage points.

The same survey showed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party and electoral partner Israel Beiteinu losing some support, but his hard-line bloc still able to form the next government. Elections are Jan. 22.


Associated Press writer Amy Teibel in Jerusalem contributed reporting.


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