New Hampshire City Challenges Arts Nonprofits Dissolution Plans

first_imgShare10TweetShare9Email19 SharesBy Jon Platek (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia CommonsMarch 31, 2017; New Hampshire Public RadioNew Hampshire’s second-largest city is taking legal action against a mysterious arts nonprofit in order to keep the organization’s assets local as it dissolves. What does the Nashua Center for the Arts owe its donors and its home?The nonprofit, founded in the ’60s, recently filed a petition to dissolve and distribute its nearly $1 million in assets to the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, according to a story in the Nashua Telegraph. Although state law requires a dissolving charitable organization to distribute assets in accordance with its articles of incorporation and bylaws, the Nashua Center for the Arts’ broad mission to promote arts in the region—and its five trustees’ silence—hasn’t helped clarify its purpose to local leaders.Many were apparently unaware that the organization was still in operation in recent years. According to the nonprofit’s IRS Form 990s filed over the past three years, it has awarded less than $20,000 to only five organizations: Symphony NH (based in Nashua), Rotary Club of Nashua, Nashua Sculpture Symposium, Boys and Girls Club of Greater Nashua, and Bishop Guertin High School.Nashua Telegraph reporter Damien Fisher explained the situation to NHPR as follows:Sometime in the 1990s, (Nashua Center for the Arts) dissolved after falling on financial hard times. It was dormant for a while, then in 2003, when the Nashua Charitable Trust merged with the New Hampshire Charitable Trust, there was this money left over from the will of a woman named Edith Carter. She had given about $200,000 to the Nashua Charitable Trust to promote arts in the city. So it was decided to revive the Nashua Center for the Arts so it could manage this money. Today, that money is over $900,000, and I’m not sure exactly what they’ve [been] doing with it.Fisher reported that Nashua’s attorney general wants the local probate court to direct the funding to arts nonprofits that focus on the city. Though the Currier Museum of Art primarily focuses on operation of its museum in Manchester, the organization also reports serving preschool-aged children at a HeadStart program in Nashua with arts enrichment.Still, Nashua has its own arts-focused nonprofits that could certainly use the funding, particularly at a time when the National Endowment for the Arts is endangered and in a state that consistently ranks among the least charitable in the nation.The city has long been planning for a $20 million performing arts center but has yet to move past feasibility studies.What’s next? State law dictates that “any transfer of remaining assets inconsistent with the organization’s stated purpose or with donor restrictions may be subject to legal action by the Attorney General.”So, while the Nashua Center for the Arts’ dissolution plans may technically pass muster in the courts, it’s clear that the organization didn’t follow Lee Bruder’s golden rules, including, “A successful dissolution preserves an organization’s legacy and contributes to a positive collective memory of the organization.”There are also lessons to be gleaned as nonprofit leaders in the U.S. carry out development plans in an aging country: bequests can be as complicated as they are exhilarating.—Anna BerryShare10TweetShare9Email19 Shareslast_img read more

French video site Dailymotion has launched a movie

first_imgFrench video site Dailymotion has launched a movie subscription service, Dailymotion Plus, in Turkey – one of the firm’s biggest markets. The service, Dailymotion’s first subscription film offering, will include thousands of titles tailored for a Turkish audience – spanning genres including adventure, thriller,  comedy as well as animation, art and adult genres.The service is a joint venture with local player MCD Group and launches after two years in development. It is based on a monthly membership system that has no contract requirement.“Dailymotion has one of the world’s most robust and reliable video players and a track record of securing excellent content deals around the globe. Turkish viewers make up one of our most dedicated audiences and have shown an appetite for streamed long form content. This, combined with Turkey’s strong investment in mobile internet, makes Turkey an ideal place for our first SVOD service,” said Dailymotion COO Martin Rogard.last_img read more

Access network providers and content owners are in

first_imgAccess network providers and content owners are increasingly looking to build their own CDN infrastructure. Ahead of IBC, DTVE surveyed key CDN industry players about their views on the future direction of the market. What changes have occurred in the CDN market for video services in the past year?James Taylor, director of cloud services in EMEA, Level 3Over the past year, we have seen more customers move to a multi-platform approach for their video services. This trend is driving CDNs to adopt a range of consolidating technologies to reformat content so that it’s compatible with different devices, such as smartphones and tablets. Another major change has been the usage of 3D video content. When 3D video launched, hardware manufactures promoted the technology with considerable passion, however this has quickly dissipated with the advent of HEVC & UHD solutions for 4K and 8K video. Mass video compression of 3D content will not materialise in production for the next 12 – 18 months, but it is where a lot of the forward-looking effort is being spent.Paul Larbey, president, video business unit, Alcatel-LucentWhat we’ve seen, and where we specialise is in providing CDN technology to service providers who have their own pay TV offerings and are basically looking to optimise the delivery of that TV to connected devices, be it tablets, games consoles or connected TVs. I think one of the main changes we’ve seen is the move away from basically optimising delivery, which is historically the focus of all caching technologies, to using CDN technologies, not only to provide optimal delivery, but also to add some management back into the delivery of that video in a managed IP network. So although you use the internet protocols, there’s no reason that it shouldn’t be delivered in a very managed and controlled way. Basically [you are] enhancing the CDN to add more video awareness and allow you to put the operator in, effectively to regain control of the management of that IP traffic.Jacques Le Mancq, CEO, BroadpeakOver the past year, we have seen more video service providers building their own CDN infrastructures in order to control their overall quality of service, but also to cut some of their CDN costs. This is particularly the case for cable and telecom companies who own their network infrastructures. Building on their success, some cable and telecom operators have opened their CDN infrastructures by selling CDN services to over the top (OTT) players who are looking for a premium quality delivery service.Peter Coppola, VP, market development, Limelight NetworksConsumers are looking for rich content and online video encompasses that – yet consumers are constantly on the move requiring that video needs to play on multiple devices, quickly and in high-quality. CDN providers have needed to accelerate their delivery of content since slow-loading videos can be detrimental to a business. Consumers and businesses alike have high expectations on video delivery and performance. Over the past year, companies have recognised how critical video is in engaging audiences and even converting prospects to customers, as found from a recent survey conducted by TechValidate of Limelight Networks’ customers during the month of July. The majority of respondents find performance and reliability as extremely important when choosing a solution, which has been affecting the CDN market as CDN providers are constantly working to improve these factors. Consumers’ use of video-on-demand and live streaming of online video wherever they may be is growing and will continue to dominate the marketplace as performance is enhanced.Duncan Potter, chief marketing officer, SeaWell NetworksWe have seen a growing trend, led by organisations such as Comcast and Telefónica, to base their own CDNs on open source technology – typically Apache Traffic Server or Varnish – as they recognise that there is significantly more to do when delivering ABR video. This has opened up the opportunity for organisations, such as Seawell, to provide an intelligent delivery layer on top of the cache-based delivery infrastructure that provides additional services, such as dynamic repackaging, ad/alternate content insertion and QoE management.Jerry Miller, VP of service operations, QuickPlay MediaThe market for CDN services has seen increased commoditisation as new participants continue to enter the space, resulting in a number of changes. As CDN prices continue to drop, there is less emphasis on pricing and features such as HTTP streaming overshadow proprietary protocols, shifting the overall focus to quality of service and reliability.  Higher bit-rate video services now require high-throughput connections over diverse channels (including wired, mobile and WiFi) from users to CDN services as well as automated failover for high-availability origin and cache functions, making it imperative that the CDN consistently supports high bit-rates over the entire data flow.Jon Haley, vice-president, business development, EdgewareNetflix’s move to create their own CDN to improve quality and reduce cost – our observation is that their success with this has prompted many cable and telco service providers to seriously revise their ambitions for their own multiscreen TV and video services and to focus on delivery quality as a major potential differentiator. We have seen the launch of comprehensive pay TV offerings from some major operators looking to combat these OTT services by combining live, network DVR and VoD. We have also seen an increased interest from OTT service providers looking to build their own CDNs.James Segil, president, EdgeCastCore CDNs are adding more value-added services to increase the value beyond traditional caching/streaming. Streaming is moving toward video delivery over HTTP and away from FMS/WMS, with more content providers (Netflix, Google etc.) building their own CDNs. More traditional Cloud Service providers are also now adding CDN to their product portfolio to help video delivery, as CDNs and telcos continue to evolve the business models of working together.What bandwidth challenges face content providers in delivering web services?Jon Haley, EdgewareThe lack of determinism.  Delivering reasonable quality during average viewing numbers is possible, especially from a CDN designed to deliver a specific service such as pure live or pure VOD. However, when everyone presses pause or wants to re-start live programs, the majority of CDNs start relying on the fact they only promise ‘best efforts’. This is not only because of downstream congestion in the ISP’s core and aggregation networks, but also due to the fact that recording and delivering on-demand uses new storage and processor resources on the CDN that are unlikely to be dimensioned to the same level as those needed for live. Best efforts are good enough for free or very low-cost services, but not for true pay TV subscribers. We are seeing a strong trend from content providers looking to overcome this congestion by reaching agreement with ISPs to extend CDNs into their networks, and we also see a strong requirement for optimised CDN equipment to be able to guarantee delivery, regardless of the mix of services and the size of the audience.James Segil, EdgeCastSmartphone adoption rates are at all time highs, and the networks accessing those video files can be in very challenging, hard to reach markets. Take India as an example. Providing the consumer with the appropriate file, catered to the wireless device asking for that file, in a timely manner, in these distant markets is always going to be a challenge for content owners. CDNs are being asked to solve that problem for content owners and often times the issue is very complex and tied to issues such as lack of infrastructure, peering and network interconnectivity, government regulations, etc. All of these issues combined can provide a less than optimal user experience.James Taylor, Level 3Online video is experiencing an exponential growth curve that is driving larger and larger investments in internet infrastructure as a whole. Where this investment is split over multiple third parties, regional bottlenecks can quickly form. At the same time, online is becoming a staple requirement to many content owners’ businesses, if not the primary point of contact, and replicating a TV-like experience is becoming a mandatory expectation for many content owners. However, with so many variables across different stakeholders it can be challenging to meet. Ultimately, content owners need to pick the right partner by region that gives them the consistency in each market to span multiple networks. In many cases it’s prudent to adopt a multi-vendor strategy using quality as the means of selection.Paul Larbey, Alcatel-LucentI think one of the challenges you have is that the protocols you use were developed running over the internet, i.e. a sort of a best-effort channel, so as a result, a lot of the clients are very greedy. You can quite often get a situation where somebody watching a soap opera on an iPad could potentially get a higher bit-rate in the home than somebody watching sport on a 50-inch TV, and clearly that doesn’t make sense. I think that one of the key bandwidth challenges service providers start to face is making sure that they optimise their available network bandwidth on that managed IP network for the delivery of internet video, and use that in the most optimal way given what the different subscribers are watching and on what device they’re watching it.Jacques Le Mancq, BroadpeakWhile video is bandwidth-hungry by nature, the impact of video traffic differs based on the nature of the video service. Live TV viewing on tablets and smartphones is putting a lot of stress on carrier networks as it features significant traffic peaks when the audience watches popular live events or breaking news. At Broadpeak, we believe that live TV-made-available OTT is the big challenge for carriers when it comes to planning network capacity. It becomes the problem of content providers who need to pay for the related CDN services and who suffer from service outages when the network cannot handle the live traffic peaks.Peter Coppola, Limelight NetworksContent providers need the ability to deliver their content to users wherever they might be, on whichever device they are using.  Users are viewing online video and other content while on the move from their mobile devices – this mobility requires content providers to deliver rich, dynamic content that is personalised and tailored to their device, their location and even their browsing habits. Limelight Networks has a Dynamic Site Acceleration (DSA) service that addresses the need to accelerate the delivery of rich content, which can be accessed through our Web Content Management offering, Limelight Orchestrate Content Management.  Other challenges that are being examined by the industry relate to the issues with the HTTP protocol.  At more than a decade old, HTTP protocol was just not designed for use through a mobile network. Limited bandwidth on the mobile network and different display and processing capabilities of mobile devices limit the functionalities and overall experience an end-user will have when viewing rich content. With a limited bandwidth on mobile devices, this can affect a majority of content viewers as more customers are viewing rich media from their phones, laptops, and other mobile devices while on the move.Is there a business case for access providers building their own CDN infrastructure? Peter Coppola, Limelight NetworksOver 100 network providers have built CDNs for internal use cases like IPTV, but public-facing CDNs are complicated and network operators’ footprint make it difficult for them to be the sole service provider to enterprises. The challenge access network providers would find when building their own CDN infrastructure is having to serve content from multiple, geographical locations. CDNs have servers dispersed in numerous locations, allowing for users to have their content routed through a relatively nearby physical center, which offers less latency.  Additionally, the technology that CDNs have that enables the acceleration of delivery of content is critical to ensuring the CDN is beneficial to the company. CDNs usually incorporate an acceleration service into their content management platforms, as does Limelight, since the speed of the delivery is crucial to business performance. New models around CDNs partnering with network operators are likely to emerge, such as CDN federations and transparent caching interconnect.Jerry Miller, QuickPlay MediaYes. While the CDN market was traditionally dominated by a handful of service companies, the market has become increasingly commoditised with the emergence of new CDN service providers.  Operators are now willing to invest into the business with additional infrastructure and manage their own services, since CDN is a commodity for services like video and video eats up most of the peering into the operator and last-mile traffic – this becomes more a concern for constrained operators like mobile. CDN is still not easy to implement, which is why there have been so many failed attempts in the marketplace, but with the right partner/system integrator, it is definitely worth considering.  The challenge is a private CDN needs a global partner to convert from being a cost saver to a revenue generator, and I believe there are still few viable and reliable partners to do this, with a strong emphasis on “viable and reliable”.Duncan Potter, SeaWell NetworksThere is clearly a business case. However, at this stage, the business cases have mostly been based on the cache optimisation potential. However, to some extent that has been defeated by the proliferation of ABR protocols being delivered causing caches to become less efficient. Solutions such as repackaging at the edge of the network and targeted ad insertion being implemented as an overlay for the cache-based delivery infrastructure bring a far higher level of efficiency and backhaul cost reduction while opening the way for targeted add insertion. This re-asserts a far more positive business case and essentially does not compete with the traditional CDNs.  This different way of thinking, with key services at the edge of the network based on sophisticated session management and cloud based centralized services, is a key aspect of network architectures for telcos.  Organisations that think purely centrally with “dumb pipe” delivery infrastructures are incurring huge costs within their backhaul and access networks that will prevent scaling.James Segil, EdgeCastIt really depends on how you define CDN. If defining CDN means building a video delivery platform to optimise video delivery across the access network, or maybe building an OTT platform to bring video-on-demand services into that access providers product portfolio, than it might make sense. The challenge you have here is ensuring that the CDN you build is capable of providing the content owners – HBO, Disney, Hulu, etc. – a CDN that can meet all of their very strict and complex CDN delivery needs.  Without that, these telecom operators are never going to gain adoption of that CDN service they have built because companies like EdgeCast, Akamai, etc., are already providing these services to all the largest content owners with a highly complex, globally-distributed network that no cable/telecom operator is capable of building themselves.Paul Larbey, Alcatel-LucentThe answer is absolutely yes, and our focus is 100% on selling software equipment and services to service providers who want to do exactly that. If you’re talking about service providers who want to basically use it as a technology to offer their own pay TV, rather than outsource that to somebody in the internet, I think that’s absolutely where the business case is and that’s where the focus is, because the future of pay TV delivery is over an IP pipe. That IP pipe is within that access network and I don’t think service providers are willing to outsource such a fundamentally important part of their video delivery infrastructure.Jon Haley, EdgewareYes, but primarily for delivery of their own TV and video services. The business models for providing operator CDN services to OTT content providers are still being established, but most operators have come to the conclusion that it does not make much sense to use pure-play CDNs for their multiscreen services – i.e. to route content out of their network only to receive it back again when requested by their own broadband subs. The major push by players such as Akamai, Level3 and Netflix to establish caching in the operator networks indicates its importance to achieving broadcast quality, so we expect to see the balance of power shifting back to these middle and last mile network owners.Jacques Le Mancq, BroadpeakThere is a large opportunity for cable and telecom operators to capture an important part of the CDN market, but to do this they need to focus on what makes them different in the content delivery chain. At Broadpeak, we believe that networks have an edge related to the boxes they put in every home. Broadband gateways and set-top boxes represent a highly distributed delivery infrastructure. By leveraging this infrastructure and making it a part of the content delivery network, cable and telecom operators can offer a far superior service in terms of quality – at a fraction of the CDN market price.How far do network providers and global CDN providers complement each other?Duncan Potter, SeaWell NetworksThe rise of ‘operator CDNs’ that focus purely on bypassing the local content providers, pits access network providers directly against the global CDN providers. By rethinking their own ‘CDN’ strategy to focus on targeted ad/alternate content insertion and differentiated services at an individual household or subscriber level, access network providers can reduce the direct competition and focus on what they do best – serve subscribers with differentiated and valuable services.Jerry Miller, QuickPlay MediaA global CDN provider has what a network provider cannot get easily today: global reach and network agnosticism.  A network provider has the lines and can ensure Quality of Service (QoS). These two form the perfect complement, if they can work together.  The challenge is that with the CDN federation still a pipe dream, these two entities must determine a way to work that allows the network provider to share in the revenue while enabling the global CDN to benefit from the QoS, preferably without either of them becoming exclusive to the other.Peter Coppola, Limelight NetworksCDNs are in the business of the online world, ensuring that rich, valuable content is being delivered to the end user in high quality and at a high speed. Though many consumers still tend to turn to traditional access network providers to view their favourite content, such as TV shows or movies, when an access network provider can offer that content in multiple formats, such as online and mobile viewing, their business platform is strengthened. We see an opportunity for global pure play CDNs and network operators to partner around delivery, enabling better service and new business models.Jacques Le Mancq, BroadpeakGlobal CDN service providers are already competing with network service providers today in several markets. Global CDNs have an advantage when it comes to footprint and international traffic. Operators are stronger when it comes to carrying traffic over their infrastructure. The emergence of CDN selection products – such as Broadpeak’s umbrellaCDN – finally makes it possible for cable and telecom operators to beat CDN providers by joining a CDN confederation built around CDN selection rules managed by content providers.James Taylor, Level 3An individual access network on its own doesn’t create a compelling proposition for content owners, therefore collaboration is really the only viable way forward. This is particularly true because the cost barrier to enter the CDN marketplace is very high. Scalability is also important, therefore a network must work with a global CDN provider – or vice versa – in order to provide optimum global reach.  Global, scalable networks such as the one from Level 3 Communications will hence continue to grow in importance for the market, a fact that is reflected by customer take-up. CDN providers are orientating their platform development to integrate deeper into access networks to reduce the bit mile cost of rich media in an attempt to find mutually beneficial models. This enables them to scale with the exponential growth in video we expect to see in the coming years.Jon Haley, EdgewareGlobal CDNs own the commercial relationships with today’s content providers, but they need the cooperation of the access network owners to deliver the quality and availability needed for internet services to start to replace traditional broadcast. Today we see growing competition between them for delivery of local content as access network owners grow their CDN sales and marketing capabilities.James Segil, EdgeCastEdgeCast believes that network providers are all a very key part of the value chain for CDN services. To some extent, we have partneredwith many telecom operators to better optimise how CDN services are delivered into their respective networks, so in this case that is very complementary. Selling CDN services to content owners and competing with EdgeCast or Akamai is a challenge that we have seen only a few telecom operators succeed in.How do you expect the CDN market to evolve over the coming 12 months?Jacques Le Mancq, BroadpeakWe expect the CDN market to grow steadily over the next 12 months. We expect that the share of  network service providers in the video CDN market will grow slightly faster than the global CDN service provider share.James Taylor, Level 3The CDN market will continue to evolve much as it has done over the last 12 months. CDN providers will continue to simplify the delivery of video to new devices and formats. As they continue to dynamically re-wrap content and use format agnostic methods of content protection the CDN market will naturally evolve. CDN operators and access network providers will continue to find consistent models for collaboration, as each are equally important in the internet ecosystem. The one area we expect to see change is in vendor consolidation. As capital investment increases and margins reduce, only the very largest CDN operators will find enough scale for a viable business. As a result, many of the smaller providers will either become niche or re-focus on higher margin enterprise business.Jon Haley, EdgewareWe expect continued growth in the number of cable and telco TV services that are fully extended to multiscreen – i.e. all channels made available with the same catchup rights on all devices. These will require additional subscription or will only be available with premium subscriptions, and the quality of delivery and availability from the CDN will therefore need to be guaranteed. We expect this to continue to drive the majority of deployments of operators’ own CDNs. We also expect to see a continued move away from “home-grown” solutions based on standard hardware and open source towards specialist systems that provide predictable and scalable performance. Finally we expect to see some extension of these operator CDNs to OTT providers as a B2B service, but only on a case-by-case basis and primarily for local content broadcasters.Duncan Potter, SeaWell NetworksFirst, the inertia preventing a clear understanding of the business case for targeted ad insertion will fade, adding momentum to this movement. Secondly the access network providers will start insisting on far more sophisticated session management with an intelligent layer of additional services to provide individualised “experiences” to subscribers. Thirdly the commoditisation of underlying infrastructure will continue to drive down basic delivery costs. Finally, the cost of global CDN bandwidth will continue to erode at between 20-30% causing the global CDNs to continue to force the pace with content providers by looking for additional services.  This, in turn, will put even more pressure on access network providers to move faster in their own service deployments.James Segil, EdgeCastAll segments of the business are expected to continue growing, but we think the emerging economies of the world – Indonesia, Latin America, etc. – are really going to show the most amount of growth. Limited broadband and wireless access has kept some of these regions of the world sheltered from the kind of growth we’ve seen in the developed economies, but that dynamic is going away. We also expect the value added services on top of traditional CDN caching to become more complex and valued, adding to our ability to grow revenue through new product and services beyond core CDN.Jerry Miller, QuickPlay MediaThe market will continue to see operators build and/or partner to enter the CDN space. With a myriad of options available amongst existing pure play CDNs, operators, and CDN vendors, more will succeed than in the past.  This will influence existing CDN services to aggressively partner with operators and switch their models away from commodity type services.  With these newly formed partnerships, specialty services like security – WAF, anti-DDoS – dynamic content acceleration, video processing and higher order analytics will become the area of focus.  As the market continues to consolidate and grow, we can expect to see this trend become more predominant.Paul Larbey, Alcatel-LucentI think we see it growing rapidly. We see it becoming more important for operators who want to use an IP protocol to deliver their next generation video pay-TV offering to connected devices. So the importance is increasing. At the same time, as a result of that, the scale of the deployed on-net CDNs is also increasing and naturally the scale of the deployed on-net CDNs is increasing. Also the functionality they need to be more video-aware and do advanced features such as personalised ad-insertion and content blackout to comply with both regulatory restrictions, as well as to generate additional revenue streams, [is] where we will continue to increase.last_img read more

The reason a dog has so many friends is he wags hi

first_img The reason a dog has so many friends is he wags his tail and not his tongue. (Unknown) Don’t accept your dog’s admiration as conclusive evidence that you are a wonderful person. (Ann Landers) If your dog is fat, you are not getting enough exercise. (Unknown) And my favorite: There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face. (Ben Williams) Until next week… Eight percent is not good news. Last week I shared some reader feedback from our inflation survey, and in case you missed it, the Money Forever Reader Poll Inflation Rate is 8%. But what does that number really mean for us – seniors and savers trying to protect our buying power? It’s time to read the tea leaves and find out.Up to Your Ass in Alligators You may remember the old poster that read, “When you are up to your ass in alligators, it’s tough to remember the goal was to drain the swamp.” You may have felt overwhelmed during the last few years, as the investment options for your retirement portfolio changed. You might read about the benefits of gold and silver one day, then CDs, dividend-paying stocks, and annuities the next. It’s pretty easy to feel overwhelmed, particularly when you cannot afford to put too much of your life savings at risk. One of our readers really drove home the challenges we all face: “Anyone who has been living on SS checks since 2000 will tell you the same thing. They cannot live on those checks alone, and [have] depended on the interest they receive from their savings accounts or CDs. They cannot do this any longer. They now need to withdraw principal or redeem some CDs just to make ends meet. … [We are] on fixed incomes with no hope of getting a raise. These people understand the effects of inflation more than any other group. These people live with fear every day, understanding they have little control over their financial future, while watching their life savings slowly vanish every year.” Of the readers who responded to our poll, 1.6% think the inflation rate is 2% or less. On the flip side, the remaining 98.4% must think the government is lying (or in need of a new statistician). My dear friend Toots, whom I often quote, wrote, “Did we prove once again the world is not flat?” Perhaps, but there’s more to it. Certainly, I’ve made that point before, but that doesn’t negate the need to highlight these phony government numbers. We shouldn’t accept falsehoods with a nod and a wink; that’s how they become immutable “facts” of life in many people’s minds. Some folks want to debate the methodology used by Shadow Government Statistics, but that misses the point. The bottom line is: 98.4% of us agree that the real inflation rate is higher than the rate reported by the BLS. That is the reality of our readers – at the grocery store, the gas pump, and today at the flower shop (gentlemen, don’t forget roses for your sweetheart). Anyone living on a fixed income already knows this. The real issue is that we are getting squeezed! At least, 98.4% of us think so. There’s no need to dwell on whether it’s 6%, 7% or 8%, etc. What really matters is how this affects your life. If the price of my favorite snack doubled, and the price of broccoli dropped 50%, my costs are rising. The price of broccoli could drop 99%, and I still wouldn’t buy it. While planning for retirement, most of us planned for a 2% inflation rate and anticipated earning 6% on our portfolio. That was a nice retirement plan while it lasted, but it won’t do much good for anyone now. Another old-line “rule” was: a retiree could safely use 4% of his portfolio every year to supplement Social Security, and still be fine for the rest of his life. Where did the math come from? If your portfolio grew 6% every year and you took out 4%, the remaining 2% covered any loss to inflation. It was really that simple, and it worked just fine for me in my early retirement years. We have all heard the old rule, “Live off the interest and never touch the principal.” That is exactly what we were doing, while also protecting that principal from inflation. Now comes the scary part. If the real rate of inflation is anywhere near the Money Forever Reader Poll Inflation Rate of 8%, how much can we take out of our portfolio every year without losing buying power? The math is still simple, but with a frightening answer: nothing, unless you earn more than 8%. The problem is easy to understand, but the solution is tough to implement. If we want that same 4% to supplement our Social Security checks, we need to earn 12% on our portfolio every year – 8% for inflation and 4% for income. And this does not even factor in taxes. Those of us with a traditional IRA who are over 70.5 years old are required to take a minimum distribution, which can come with a nice tax bill. Imagine that you have a $1 million portfolio, and your goal is to keep up with the Money Forever Reader Poll Inflation Rate and earn 4% income to supplement your Social Security checks. That’s $120,000. To maintain a somewhat conservative posture, we recommend 30-33% of your portfolio be in cash, which pays little if any interest; let’s assume cash pays 0% for the moment. That means you must earn 17.1% on the remaining $700,000 to reach your goal of $120,000. That return can come in the form of an income check, dividends, and stock appreciation. Whatever the source, that’s a pretty tall order. And it’s particularly daunting when you consider that anyone close to retirement age should make minimal high-risk investments. We can’t bet it all on a speculative stock, hoping to catch the next Internet startup success story.Finding the Strength to Strangle the Nemean Lion The Money Forever team is on the lookout for solid companies that not only pay dividends, but also have a history of regular dividend increases. In the last quarter, three of the stocks in the Money Forever portfolio increased their dividends. It is highly unlikely that most of us will live long enough to see our dividends equal 50% of our investment (which is what Warren Buffett receives from Coca-Cola, according to what I’ve read). However, if a company is currently paying 4%, it won’t take too long to see an 8% yield. Once our dividend yield is at or above the inflation rate, we can factor in appreciation and start gaining ground on the inflation monster once again. While dividend-paying stocks will get us on the right track, there’s still more work ahead. Dividends alone are not enough; we also need stock appreciation. If you subscribe to our premium publications, it may be a good time to review our special report, Money Every Month, where we discuss this in great detail. As of today, over half of the stocks in our portfolio have double-digit gains. While we are proud of what we have accomplished to date, we also understand that the current market could change any minute. We have to remain vigilant. Stocks with a long history of increasing their dividends plus a good history of appreciation are hot tickets. Perhaps this is part of the reason why the stock market is doing so well in a tough economy. Alternative sources of income can also help. Two of our recent Money Forever premium issues focused on annuities and reverse mortgages. Under the right circumstances, as we outline in our reports, these can be valuable alternatives for filling your cash-flow gap. Nevertheless, please consider all of the risks and cautionary tales included in our reports before purchasing an annuity or signing a reverse mortgage. One seemingly simple mistake – like neglecting to put your spouse on a reverse mortgage – can be devastating. So can it be done? Can we really build a portfolio that will stand up against the current rate of inflation? Sure; but we have to stay on top of our investments and continue to educate ourselves. “Set it and forget it” won’t work.From the Stadium to the Golf Course For many of us, cutting back on expenses is very difficult. It can feel like part of our retirement dream is going up in smoke. We have friends who planned to take summer and winter cruises every year after they retired. They thought they had the money to do it, but now they have to cut back. They do not enjoy their driving trip to the local state park nearly as much as they do a cruise. One of the respondents to our survey mentioned that he cut back on golf from three days to two days a week. Our good friend Phil addressed his golf situation in a unique manner. For several years he had volunteered during spring training for a major league baseball team. Then the local golf course advertised for part-time help. He inquired; the job sounded like fun, and he negotiated complimentary greens fees as part of his package. For him it is the best of both worlds. Now he has a little extra income, his golf expenses are radically reduced, and he still is able to golf regularly, something he really enjoys. And yes, the baseball team is going to have to recruit another free laborer. Somehow, I think they’ll manage! I’m realizing we all have to come to grips with the reality described by our reader at the beginning of today’s article. While it may be difficult for all of us, we are old enough to know that putting things off only makes problems get worse faster. It’s like our own personal fiscal cliff, but we can’t keep running the printing press and ignoring the real problem. My oldest daughter, also a baby boomer, went to a class on personal financial management about ten years ago. I asked her what she thought the biggest lesson was. Her response surprised me: “The first thing to deal with is your expectations. If you want a lot of stuff, and currently do not have the income to pay for it, you must find ways to increase your income. If that is not possible, then you must learn to adjust your lifestyle and be happy with what you have, living within your means. Dad, they stressed that part of being truly happy is the realization that your neighbor may have more or less than you do and it makes no difference. Personal financial management is as much an adjustment of your attitude as it is an adjustment of your spending habits.” In retrospect, that class had a major effect on her life. She is a grandmother now, and she and her husband have a truly happy family. I believe it was philosopher William James who said, “Human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes.” That sentiment certainly rings true. OK, you get the point, but you may not like it. Neither do I, and neither do the millions of our peers in the same predicament. So what should we do? To start with, everything I just mentioned, which is quite a task. Become an active investor, learn, and adjust to the new market. We must protect our nest eggs and look for solid income opportunities. We must look at our spending habits and see where we can cut back. Every dollar we save takes a little pressure off our portfolio and the need for it to produce income. Also, don’t discount finding other sources of income. Write the book you’ve been dreaming about – turn your hobbies into a profit. I have a buddy who worked in the auto industry. Dealers often sell a car they do not have in inventory if there is one at a nearby dealer they can trade for. He set up a business helping dealers move vehicles around. He loves it because he stays active, and he says he had to learn zero new skills. His comment was, “Where else can I get a part-time job where I get paid to drive around listening to a ball game?” You, dear readers, drove home the point for me with your feedback to our survey. If we need 12% or so to protect our nest eggs, then we all have to accept that challenge. If we have a really good year, we can grow our nest eggs and increase our buying power. If we fall short, we must keep erosion to a minimum. The last time I ran a retirement-planning computer program, it said I would be fine as long as I passed away before age 125. In a bad year that may slip to 115. We are all in this together, and I’m committed to making sure Miller’s Money Forever lives up to its name. One final thought… My overriding point is that we have to take control of our retirement finances. Like I said earlier, the days of “set it and forget it” are gone. The upside here is that we can actually secure our retirement. Together with thousands of subscribers to Money Forever premium issues and special reports, we’re doing just that. And with Money Forever, we’re not just talking about stocks and investments, although those are important. We’re exploring other financial topics as well. For example, in last month’s issue we took a close look at real-estate investing and REITs. With some help from Dr. Ron Christner, one of the country’s foremost real-estate experts, we explored how retirees can invest in real estate without taking on a second career. And for our subscribers who are still working, we outlined how to select the right mutual fund from your employer-sponsored plan. In this month’s issue – due out on February 19 – we’re showing our subscribers how to choose the right financial advisor. You won’t want to miss out. I invite you to give Money Forever a risk-free try with our 100% Money Back Guarantee. Try it for 90 days (that’s three new issues, all of the monthly issues in our archives, plus our library of special reports), and if you find you have to cancel, that’s fine. Just call or email and get 100% of your money back during your first 90 days. We earn our keep at Money Forever. Click here to find out more about our story and how you can get started today… and be on the list for this month’s issue on financial advisors.On the Lighter Side I have to thank my editor, Ann, who slipped in the earlier comment about remembering roses. Today is Valentine’s Day. In my previous life, I trained adults for over 35 years, so you can imagine the funny stories I heard throughout my career. One of my students shared a story about the absolute wrong thing to do on Valentine’s Day: It was Valentine’s Day morning and I was in a hurry. It was a typical workday – coffee, piece of toast, quick glance at the morning paper, and out the door. I went to kiss my wife goodbye and she asked, “Do you know what today is?” I had no clue, and the first thing that popped out of my mouth was, “Pitchers and catchers have to report to spring training.” That was not the right answer. I compounded my problem by grabbing the sports section and showing the article to my wife. So she grabbed the paper and showed me the front page with a big Valentine on it. Later that evening, I came home from work with a card, flowers, and a huge box of candy. It didn’t get me out of the doghouse. The pork and beans I got for dinner were as cold as the reception when I sheepishly forked over the gifts. This student did mention that he has never, ever forgotten a Valentine’s Day since. And finally… Last week I mentioned that many readers shared stories about how the price of pet food is increasing. Our friend Phil sent along some wonderful sayings about dogs, which of course many folks look to for unconditional love. My dog is worried about the economy, because Alpo is up 99 cents a can. That’s almost $7 in dog money. (Joe Weinstein) The most affectionate creature in the world is a wet dog. (Ambrose Bierce)last_img read more

Yes I know that there are some churches and indiv

first_imgYes, I know that there are some churches and individual Christians who don’t approve of war, but a huge wing of Christianity in the US has put itself in service to a warfare state. Listening to them, you’d think that Christianity and war were natural bedfellows. If you’ve spent time in Red State America, you know what I mean. Please understand that I am not endorsing the Blue State line of crap either (I reject both wings of the Party), but that’s not my subject today. Red State Protestants have given themselves over to “the virtues of defense,” seemingly without limit. They endlessly laud cops, firemen, and especially soldiers: anyone authorized by the state to use force. State force has become unquestionably righteous – especially if it is overseas. To these people, the US military can do no wrong. This involves killing strangers, you understand… by Christians… people whose Holy Book say that they should love the outsider, turn the other cheek, and that every government belongs to the Devil. Red State Religion as a Mix of Christianity and War Philosophy Red State Christianity has become a State Religion, a Warfare Religion. So, since “judgment begins at the house of God,” let’s be harsh: These churches are sucking up to the state for tax breaks, to follow a popular course, and to get lots and lots of members. It’s the new successful pattern, and they are following it without hesitation… to the point where they invent reasons to justify the killing of children. (“Collateral damage,” that is, not “killing.”) A huge number of Red State churches have become whores to the US military culture, paying endless obeisance to uniformed state agents. According to them, all agents of the state are noble, are to be respected, and are most definitely to be obeyed without question. (Tell that to Sam Adams or Tom Jefferson!) All opinions to the contrary are discarded, condemned or ridiculed, without serious consideration. This War Christianity is definitely at odds with the New Testament, which treats both war and state as barbaric relics. I am not, by the way, opposed to stopping actual killers. What I am opposed to is telling someone to kill another person that he knows nothing about, guided by a superstition that “we’re automatically the good guys.” And yes, I know that no one, in the midst of fire and confusion, has enough skill to avoid accidentally shooting an innocent. My complaint is with worshiping a government that places 18 year old boys in that position. These kids are being told to kill strangers, without any real evidence that the people they kill deserve it. Is “because a politician said so” really sufficient? These boys are coming home in pieces, or with pieces missing – and committing suicide in droves – for what? To magically turn Afghanistan into a western state? Does anyone seriously think that will happen? And as someone who cares about history and theology, I am especially opposed to Jesus’ name being abused – yet again – by credentialed shepherds who are devoted – first and foremost – to gathering the largest flock possible, while not giving a damn that distant brown people die. At this point in American history we are being treated to a continuing and twisted spectacle: Defenders of indiscriminate death pretending that they care about “love.” They lie. So says me and so says John the Apostle. Let me be clear about this: Christianity is an anti-state religion. It always was. So was the Judaism that came before it. All arguments to the contrary are fallacious, at least if we are to take the Bible as a serious reference. But it will change… Sooner or later, some American Christians will remember that theirs is an anti-state religion. It will doubtless begin with meetings in living rooms, barns and job sites, and will include a lot of good and talented young people. But they will make themselves despised outsiders, opposed by the current generation of Christian leaders, who have dedicated themselves to the state and haven’t any inclination to admit their errors. In other words, the new, honest Christians will become the next link in a long and proud chain of heretics. They will be brave and committed people who are right, while all the institutions are wrong. Are we really to believe that there is virtue in sending machines to rain indiscriminate death upon foreign people… at funerals? (Look it up!) Must we really defend repetitive torture as being righteous? Now, to be honest, the Red State Christians don’t say these things. Actually, they avoid facing them altogether. And that is the problem. Many of them have become, as Jesus’ friend Simon Peter said, “willingly ignorant.” The US war machine is killing and torturing, and American preachers are straining their every muscle to thank them for it, in the name of Christ. I’ve read Jesus’ words too many times to be suckered by this game, and I don’t think Jesus is pleased with it either. Let’s hope that some young Christians can pull their act together and do better than the generation that preceded them. War and Christianity don’t belong together. They never have and they never will. Paul Rosenberg Christianity and War: Do they go together?last_img read more

Richard Klein switched doctors last year The new

first_imgRichard Klein switched doctors last year. The new doctor put him on a new blood pressure drug. But it didn’t help. The failure was entirely predictable.Klein, an associate professor at Florida International University in Miami, realized later that he had tried the same medicine unsuccessfully a few years before, but he hadn’t remembered that fact during the appointment.It was an understandable mistake for Klein and his doctor.Klein’s prescription history was hidden somewhere in the hundreds of pages of medical records his new doctor had to go through.”If I had been able to go into an app sitting in his office and look through my prescription history, I would have known that, yeah, we tried that a couple years back and it didn’t work well,” he says.A feature like that will soon be available for some patients with iPhones.In the upcoming release of Apple’s iOS operating system for iPhones this spring, the Health app will include health records, so patients can take information about their immunizations, medications, lab results and more with them.The feature will first be available to patients of medical providers who partnered with Apple, including Johns Hopkins Medicine; OhioHealth; Ochsner Health System in Jefferson Parish, La.; and Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles. It won’t cost those patients anything to use this feature, assuming they’re already iPhone users.Apple’s announcement says more medical facilities will offer this feature in the coming months.Some doctors hail it as a big shift away from patients having to handle a big pile of paper records every time they see a new doctor. But Google offered a similar service before and it failed. The search giant shut it down in 2012.Can Apple succeed where Google didn’t?Dr. Jonathan Slotkin says yes; he is a medical director handling digital patient engagement at Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania, one of Apple’s partners. Unlike even a few years ago, a lot more people now use smartphones and the phones are more secure. There’s now also a technical standard for transferring electronic medical records.”Even if I get care at three different places and maybe they use three different electronic systems, now in one place that I possess in an encrypted way, I have all of that information at my fingertips,” he says.He adds this will make transferring information easier for patients who have to move, or go to a specialist.The health records feature could also change doctors’ habits in some ways, says Dr. Isaac Kohane, chair of the department of biomedical informatics at Harvard Medical School and a professor of pediatrics.”For some reason, and I say this as a physician, most physicians, if they don’t actually know how a test was done, somehow imagine it was done wrongly, and therefore repeat a test, not only at a cost but at some pain to the patient,” Kohane says. “If you have a reliable authoritative description of the test and its results, that uncertainty goes away and that excuse to repeat tests goes away as well.”Kohane called Apple’s new feature a “tectonic shift” in a commentary for member station WBUR’s CommonHealth.But Apple will have to address one big problem that Google had with Google Health, a similar health records service: It was popular with only a niche audience — tech-savvy patients and their caregivers, and fitness enthusiasts. The product didn’t attract a wide base of users.This time will be different, says Dr. Ida Sim, a co-director of biomedical informatics at the University of California, San Francisco Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute. Why? Because unlike with Google Health, patients no longer have to do the heavy lifting of entering or scanning their own data. Also, the 21st Century Cures Act of 2016 pushed federal agencies and providers to use electronic health records, and now there is a data standard for personal health records, which wasn’t the case in 2011.However, she writes in an email that wider adoption will still be an issue.”We’ll probably see huge numbers of people getting their initial Health Records populated. The issue is, then what?… The value will come from third party apps that use Health Records to provide meaningful value to patients, and until this value is demonstrated, I think Health Records uptake will be large but retention and continued engagement of patients will be challenging.”Alan Yu reports for The Pulse, WHYY’s health and science show. Copyright 2018 WHYY. To see more, visit WHYY.last_img read more

The explosion of deaths related to opioid misuse h

first_imgThe explosion of deaths related to opioid misuse has underscored a pressing need for better ways of treating pain, especially chronic pain.Duquesne University pharmacology associate professor Jelena Janjic thinks she’s on to one. It involves using a patient’s own immune system to deliver non-opioid pain medication to places in the body where there’s pain.Janjic’s idea, which draws from the field of cancer research, is to insert tiny amounts of over-the-counter pain medications into minute carriers called nanoparticles, and then inject these into pain patients. The medicines would then travel through the body to places where there is inflammation, and relieve the pain.Janjic has a special reason for wanting to develop new medicines for chronic pain: She suffers from it herself.”As a patient, I want an answer,” she says. “I want to figure out this.”There’s no question that the need for better, non-addictive medications is real and urgent. Researchers have come up with some ideas, but so far none has made it to market. Finding new treatments is difficult for any disease and it’s proving especially difficult for chronic pain because the underlying causes are poorly understood.Attempting to modulate inflammation as way to treat pain “is an active area of research,” says Michael L. Oshinsky, Program Director, Pain and Migraine, at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.Oshinsky says Janjic’s idea of targeting the immune system with nanoparticles carrying pain relievers makes sense, although he cautions that the relationship between inflammation and pain is not well understood.Janjic’s path to this research began in 2010. She has a doctorate in medicinal chemistry, and she had recently moved to Duquesne University where she had set up a lab focused on using nanomedicine techniques to treat cancer.What seemed like out of nowhere, of the blue, she started to suffer bouts of severe pain.”The one that hit me real hard was the whole body, from head to toe,” she says. “I’ve had on and off chronic pain since I was a teenager, but this was different.”In August that year, just before her students arrived back to school, she ended up in the emergency room with pain that was almost intolerable.The doctors’ diagnosis was discouraging. They told her she had a chronic pain syndrome. They said there wasn’t much they could do about it, and they said it was for life.The medicines they gave her helped with the pain somewhat, but left her feeling like she was living in a fog. She was having trouble remembering things, trouble taking notes.”Things were weird. So I decided I am going to do research on myself,” Janjic says.To control her own pain, she turned to mindfulness meditation and other non-medical interventions, including composing music and playing the piano. It’s not as if the pain magically went away, she says, but she was able to carry on with her life. Some days were worse than others.But she also wanted to find a medical solution.She made one important treatment decision early on: She didn’t want to take opioids for her pain.”At the time I could have got them very easily,” Janjic says. “I said, ‘What are you going to give me when I’m 67, or 87, if I take them now?’ I knew they don’t work long-term very well. So almost the refusal of opioids precipitated everything else that happened.”Looking for alternatives to opioids, she dove into the scientific literature, to learn all she could about chronic pain.Chronic pain syndromes are not well understood. With acute pain, it’s usually possible to identify the cause—an injury of some sort, or inflammation caused by an infection. Chronic pain may be linked to an initial mishap, but may persist long after the initial cause of the pain has disappeared. Sometimes there’s no good explanation of the pain at all, a frustrating circumstance for both doctor and patients.In addition to her research, Janjic started paying close attention to her own condition.”I started to understand that my body was actually inflamed,” she says.Inflammation occurs when our bodies’ immune system tries to deal with some damage, maybe from an invading virus or bacteria, and sends a barrage of immune cells to the affected area. On the one hand this is a good thing, since the cells fight the infection. But on the other, it can stimulate nerve cells in a particular part of the body, causing pain.Janjic also noticed something important about her pain: it varied both in intensity and in location. Sometimes it was in her knees, sometimes in her shoulders.She says none of the medicines available today responded to pain’s “diversity within the body.””I [started] to understand the fluctuation,” she says.She realized that the fluctuation meant more immune cells were going to the part of the body where the pain was. She figured if she could get pain medicine into immune cells, that medicine would ride with those cells to where it was needed.Before she got into pain research, Janjic was working on something called cancer nanomedicine. Cancer nanomedicines work by putting anti-cancer drugs into tiny containers called nanoparticles, and then injecting them into cancer patients, where they enter the patients’ immune cells.”So what did I already know how to do? Mess with the immune system with nanomedicines,” Janjic says. “And that’s how the idea of pain nanomedicine was born.”After many years of tinkering, she’s started to get positive results. In a recently published study, she showed that when researchers put a nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory drug into a nanoparticle, and then injected that into a rat, it reduced the rat’s pain.Janjic says her approach doesn’t try to disable the immune cells.”You still want them to fight infection, you still want them to do what they’re supposed to do,” she says. “But we almost try to stop them from going into override and causing chronic pain.”Janjic, who is also the founder and co-director of the Chronic Pain Research Consortium at Duquesne University, is collaborating with several labs to try pairing different pain medications with different kinds of nano-particles to see what works best. So far progress is slow. And if one of the candidates shows real promise it will be years before anything can be tested in human patients and ultimately approved by the FDA.Janjic credits her own experience with pain for helping her gain a better understanding of pain and how to treat it. She thinks researchers would learn a lot from routinely talking to the people they’re trying to help.”My take home message is, ‘Ask the patient first,’ ” Janjic says. “Ask the kid who’s ten. Ask the grandpa with rheumatoid arthritis what that feels like. This is what I really want to see flourish. Maybe this already happening somewhere. If it is, I want to know. If you are inspiring your research this way, then I want to talk to you.” Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit read more

The new coleader of the Green party has told Disa

first_imgThe new co-leader of the Green party has told Disability News Service (DNS) that he will make support for inclusive education a key focus of his new role.Jonathan Bartley was elected alongside Caroline Lucas (pictured with Bartley) last week to lead the party in a job-share arrangement.And he revealed that he first spoke to Lucas at a parliamentary lobby in January last year against the closure of the Independent Living Fund (ILF), when he talked to her about his passion for disability issues.Bartley is a long-standing campaigner for inclusive education, and a former chair of the Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education.He first secured significant public attention shortly before the 2010 general election when he challenged Conservative leader David Cameron in front of television cameras on the Tory manifesto pledge to “end the bias towards the inclusion of children with special needs in mainstream schools”.He joined the Green party soon after that meeting.Bartley was only able to stand for leader on a job share basis because of his caring responsibilities for his 14-year-old disabled son, Samuel, who was pictured next to his father in the 2010 footage.He told DNS that the Greens’ commitment to inclusive education was the reason he had joined the party, and he pointed to the huge number of disabled pupils now being excluded from schools, both those that showed up in official statistics and those in which young disabled people were excluded from mainstream schools “by the back door”.And he said he welcomed the “emphatic” and “absolutely wonderful” guidance published late last month by the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities, which stresses that all segregated education should end, and should be replaced by “inclusive classroom teaching in accessible learning environments with appropriate supports”.He said the government’s policies to create more special school places were being carried out “under the guise of choice, but more and more parents are not experiencing that choice but are being pushed into segregated education”.Bartley said he hoped that his party’s election of co-leaders would increase the momentum towards allowing job-share MPs, something many disabled people are campaigning for.He said: “This is why we have done it. [We want to see] a more inclusive form of politics.“Civil service actively practices [job-sharing]. It is happening in the charity sector. Political parties in Germany have done it for decades.“I have responsibilities at home that I want to fulfil and I am passionate about the issues. The only way I can bring that experience to politics is through a job share.”But he said it would be “a battle” to secure the change in the law necessary to allow job-share MPs because “people are waiting to see what happens” with the Greens’ experiment.Bartley also defended his party’s position on assisted suicide, which although it is supported by some disabled people, is fiercely opposed by the disabled people’s movement.He acknowledged that his party’s support for legalisation of assisted suicide had been raised as a concern by disabled campaigners.He said: “I think we need to listen to it. I have heard people say they don’t support the Green Party because of it.”He said he supported the party’s position “provided all the appropriate safeguards are in place”, but he suggested that legalisation was difficult to justify in a climate of austerity in which disabled people’s support was being cut.He said: “In the context of cuts and misery when we seem to be going backwards in disability rights I can entirely understand why people have concerns.“It’s about showing that it can’t work and that there will be pressure [on people to ask to take their own lives].”Speaking before the launch of Inclusion London’s report on the impact of the ILF closure, he said that the decision to abolish the fund was inevitably going to lead to cuts in support, which was what the report showed.Although his son – who has been ill in hospital for four weeks – was never an ILF recipient, the family do receive direct payments to fund his support, and he said: “I know what it’s like to battle against a social worker who should be your ally and your champion… they are under huge pressure to cut budgets.”One of the themes of the speech he and Lucas delivered after they were elected as co-leaders was the need to “take back control”, which he said was a key concern for disabled people, who are often too scared to speak out against their local authority about their social care.He said: “They are fearful and they are scared, they feel they have no control.”He said the Greens were the only party to oppose the closure of the ILF at the last election and pledge to reopen it, and he backed all of the report’s recommendations, including a new national, needs-led system, independent of local authorities, to administer independent living support, which would be free at the point of delivery and funded by taxation.He also backed the call for the government’s ILF grant – it has pledged to provide non-ring-fenced funding to local authorities in England until 2019-20 – to be ring-fenced for former ILF recipients and for that to continue until a national, independent social care system could be set up.Speaking at the Inclusion London meeting, which was held as part of the Rights Not Games week of action organised by Disabled People Against Cuts, he said he was scared by watching his son’s fight for the support he needs, and added: “You’re going to be a prisoner in your own home [and] I fear that’s what’s going to happen to my son.”He also secured a pledge from Labour’s shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, to write to Labour-run local authorities to ask them to ring-fence the government grants for former ILF recipients.last_img read more

Insights About Leadership Happiness and the Future From Arianna Huffington William and

first_img Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Insights About Leadership, Happiness and the Future From Arianna Huffington, and Other Global Thought Leaders –shares Cynthia Johnson Project Grow Co-founder and CEO of Bell + Ivy, marketer, speaker and author 6 min read Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Guest Writer Next Article Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Visionaries gathered at the World Government Summit in Dubai grappled with how to harness the power of technology without letting it overpower our humanity. Image credit: Paul Morigi | Getty Images The way we work has changed and as a result, the way we lead must, too. People have more communication tools but less time free from distraction. We are all constantly consumed by work and tasks, which results in many employees working themselves into depression and exhaustion. This has to change. It’s not healthy, it doesn’t contribute to a more effective workday and data shows that it’s bad for business.Early this month I attended the World Government Summit in Dubai. The summit had some amazing leaders in various industries speaking and hosting workshops about happiness, mindfulness, leadership and creating the workplaces of the future. Here are 10 insights from summit speakers:Arianna Huffington, founder and CEO of Thrive Global “We are working in a world where to be constantly “switched on” is rewarded, where burnout equals success, where we forget to recharge ourselves but not our phones, where we take better care of our devices than ourselves, a world where we are losing sleep and our humanity — and this is clearly not working. The idea is to fundamentally change the culture we have created that glamorizes people who are all the time switched on and connected rather than those that have their priorities right and prefer to spend time with their children or themselves; and let’s face it, who knows how best to create such a world better than women.”Related: Arianna Huffington: Talk to Your Children About Your, founder of the band Black Eyed Peas and STEM education advocate“Creating lifelong learners is critical in this century when it is predicted that 65 percent of current students will go into jobs that do not currently exist. We can overcome the issue of access through the use of smartphones. In India, almost 70 percent of students have access to a smartphone. When it comes to addressing personalization, we need to look at how each student learns. This is not possible in the classroom but can be captured on a platform, on which a student profile can be built. Finally, we need to gift students a love of learning, rather than learning through fear of exams, by developing high-quality, engaging and accessible education.”Related:, ‘Dumb-thumbing,’ and the Perils of Tech AddictionNisha Jagtiani, Group Director and board member of Landmark Group, exclusive partner of the Global Dialogue for Happiness“Whether you’re a small or large organization, you have an obligation to make a difference in the community — it all starts with a purpose. This is how companies can really succeed in making a difference. The happiness movement lies in its ability to connect with every employee. That is the biggest challenge for us at Landmark Group since we’re spread across so many regions. But it is also a beautiful reason for us to come together since the pursuit of happiness is for everyone. This is why we call it a movement because we truly believe in its multiplier effect.”Related: How to Redesign Your Life for Success and HappinessAndy Schwartz, Principal Investigator in the World Well-Being Project (WWBP)“Social media tools not only have predictive value but increase our understanding of well-being. The World Well-Being Project analyzes millions of Facebook and Twitter posts to predict geographic variations in personality, life satisfaction and mortality rates. By measuring the quality of life through social media, we have been able to create the Well-Being Map, an interactive demographic map of the United States that was generated by analyzing more than 37 billion publicly available tweets.”Related: Researchers Find That Social Media Can Make You Happier or MiserableKazuo Yano, Corporate Chief Scientist at Hitachi Ltd.“A happy organization is a more productive organization. Small interventions that improve happiness in the workplace have been proved to increase productivity by up to 30 percent. AI allows us to move from rule-oriented processes to outcome-oriented processes.”Related: 18 Ways to Become a Happier PersonProfessor Jeffrey Sachs, renowned economist and Chair of the World Happiness Council“Work provides a purpose, establishes social relationships, structure and routine in our daily lives. There are four ways in which you can increase your job satisfaction and engagement: by improving work-life balance, by getting essential skills training, by gaining autonomy and, most importantly, by improving the relationship with your superiors.”Related: The Secret to Happiness at Work Is the Right Job for Enough MoneyGoldie Hawn, actress and founder of The Hawn Foundation”You have a choice to look at the glass half full or the glass half empty…If you look at the potential of that glass half full and think about it for a minute, it would change the way your brain fires — and change how your neurons wire together. So, the more you look at the glass half full, the happier you’ll be.”Related: Entrepreneurs: Your Irrational Optimism Is NecessaryDr. Saki Santorelli, Director of Stress Reduction Clinic, University of Massachusetts“To do our jobs well, to take care of our children, to meet our colleagues, to develop teams at work and get the job done — all of this requires us to be present [in the now]. One of the characteristics of the digital age is the sense of virtual instantaneous connectivity that we have. There is a lot of data that suggests that being ‘out there’ is so appealing, that you are losing some capacity to really touch base with what is ‘here’.”Related: 5 Ways You Can Use Mindfulness to Fix Your Brain, Decrease Stress and Improve PerformanceFred Kofman, Vice President of LinkedIn“True leaders have no followers. A true leader is simply the first one heading towards his/her purpose. People don’t follow leaders, they follow the purpose. It is not about what happens to individuals, but the way they choose to respond in a difficult situation and the conscious choices they make for a greater purpose rather than simply reacting — this is what makes the difference. Being mindful is about always asking what am I going to do, and why.”Related: How Emotional Intelligence Can Boost Your Career — And Save Your LifeSultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy “Leaders should not be going against open free trade for their own political gain — and hence trade should not be politicized. In the United Arab Emirates, there are a lot of challenges arising. Going forward, to ensure the best possible movement of trade, we need to focus on building superior infrastructure and framework. We also have the responsibility as a nation to help less developed countries.” Add to Queue March 19, 2018 Register Now »last_img read more

TechSavvy and FashionForward A Look at Todays Stylish Startups

first_img Guest Writer Add to Queue Small Business Heroes Tech-Savvy and Fashion-Forward: A Look at Today’s Stylish Startups 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Hukkster co-founders Erica Bell (left) and Katie Finnegan. The fashion business is notoriously tough to break into.Even Gianni Versace spent years working as a dress-maker’s apprentice before starting up his own eponymous and uber-famous fashion house Gianni Versace.But the newest crowd of fashionista entrepreneurs aren’t sweating it out over sketchbooks and dress samples. Between rewarding users for style advice and supplying them with their own virtual closets, today’s fashionable young founders are using technology to tap into customers’ penchant for new looks. And they’re not heading for the runway either; they’re launching where their customers are: online.We checked in with some of the most innovative — and stylish — startups around. Here’s how three of them are standing out in the ever fickle-fashion world:Pramod Dabir and the inspiration for Boutine, his wife.image credit: FashinvestBoutineHQ: San FranciscoFounded: Aug., 2012Like most businesses, social-shopping site Boutine started with a personal experience. Founder Pramod Dabir, 28, lived with his fiancé — along with six other women — while she was studying at Stanford. These women would run into each other’s rooms and ask each other ‘How does this look?’ ‘Does it match,’ he recalls. One girl was more fashionable and would be doling out a lot of advice. When Dabir noticed that the women were making purchasing decisions based on what the fashionista friend advised, he began building a platform that would enable users to be financially rewarded for sharing their style and sartorial savvy.Related: Website Makes Boutique Fashions Available AnywhereToday, users receive a 10 percent commission on the sale of whatever products they recommend. We have a robust back end system that allows us to handle all of the splitting of commissions and processing of sales, he says. I wanted to create a place for women to share their voice about fashion and be compensated for it, says Dabir.But the other element that sets Boutine apart from traditional fashion companies? Engagement. The site allows users to become stylists — creating their own virtual boutiques and recommending designers and apparel pulled from the site’s inventory. It also offers users the ability to style outfits, dragging and dropping different items into their boutique, rotating them and adding embellishments. Users don’t have to necessarily buy the products, but they can engage with them, he says.Rohan Deuskar, co-founder of StyliticsStyliticsHQ: New York CityFounded: Nov., 2011How well brands and retailers know their customers is top of mind for Rohan Deuskar, 30, the co-founder of Stylitics, a tracking and organization service for consumers’ closets. As we talked to merchants and designers in the fashion space, we found that the tools they were using to know what’s in their customer’s closet or shopping bag was very old-fashioned, says Deuskar. It was all focus groups and surveys.Deuskar immediately recognized an opportunity: to allow users to create a virtual closet — through which they could list clothes they’d like to buy, as well as plan their outfits for the week. They could also analyze how much they’re paying per wear (a.k.a., the justification for paying top dollar for jeans) and make sure they don’t wear anything twice.Related: David Segal on DAVIDsTEA: North America’s Next Starbucks?But brands can also bank on the service. Users’ data are gathered and delivered, anonymously, to brands and retailers who pay for the information. We can get a clear picture of everyday clothing choices and the patterns that are emerging, says Deuskar. My vision is that in a couple of years, when you walk into your favorite store, you’ll get a personal experience around patterns, style and price points that you care about.Hukkster co-founders Erica Bell (left) and Katie Finnegan.image credit: WSJHukksterHQ: New York CityFounded: Dec., 2011It’s well known that online shoppers break for bargains. So, it would seem upstart fashion-deals site Hukkster is bound to strike a chord.When consumers find a product online that they want to buy, they simply ‘hukk it’ and then they’ll get a notification by email or text when the price of that item drops by at least 25 percent. The concept for the company came from the co-founders’ collective love of fashion — the duo met in 2007 while working as merchandisers at J. Crew — and the fact that they felt bombarded by special offers and deals piling up in their in-boxes, says co-founder Erica Bell, 27. Bell and her co-founder, Katie Finnegan, 29, wanted to offer users the ability to be alerted to deals at their favorite stores, like the Gap and Bloomingdale’s, in one email. In turn, the startup receives a fee whenever a sale is made via Hukkster.Related: Silicon Valley’s Best Dressed (Photos)Like their fashionable counterparts, Hukkster’s founders say the site also relies heavily on engaging with users. Right now, we’re focusing on apparel and accessories, but we’re just at the tip of the iceberg, says Bell. Our end goal would be for people to be able to ‘Hukk everything on the web.Why do you think fashion startups are becoming so tech savvy? Let us know in the comments section below.center_img Lambeth Hochwald –shares Next Article October 25, 2012 Image credit: WSJ Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Register Now »last_img read more

Basket Manufacturer Longabergers Is Leaving Its BasketShaped Headquarters Behind

first_img Staff writer. Frequently covers franchise news and food trends. Basket Manufacturer Longaberger’s Is Leaving Its Basket-Shaped Headquarters Behind Next Article 2 min read Add to Queue Moving is stressful. Stressful enough, in some instances, it can turn relocating employees into a bunch of basket cases.  But imagine if you literally had to leave the Big Basket?In the coming weeks, that’s exactly what employees at Longaberger Co. will have to do, according to The Columbus Dispatch.Related: Market Basket’s Family Feud Risks a Loss of Its Loyal FollowingFittingly for a company that has manufactured and distributed baskets for decades, Longaberger’s seven-story, 180,000-square-foot Newark-based headquarters is built in the shape of a giant basket. CEO John Rochon Jr. told the outlet the decision to move on wasn’t an easy one, but consolidating all employees at the company’s manufacturing plant in Frazeysburg is the right decision.The move may also have something to do with taxes, as the company has gotten behind on payments. If the delinquent taxes aren’t paid off soon, it could lead to foreclosure.Despite the $570,000 backlog, a potential deal is underway to donate the building to its city, Newark, Ohio.Related: Business Idea Center, Basket WeavingIn the meantime, if anyone wants a really big basket building, it’s possible you could have your very own with a bid worth less than $600,000. Apply Now » The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. February 29, 2016center_img Lindsay Friedman Family Businesses Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. –shares 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List Image credit: Longaberger | Twitter Longaberger Headquarterslast_img read more

Industry First Dstillery and Fuel Cycle Partner to Give Brands Powerful Combination

first_imgIndustry First: Dstillery and Fuel Cycle Partner to Give Brands Powerful Combination of Primary and Behavioral Research PRNewswireApril 25, 2019, 4:04 pmApril 25, 2019 Enriched Insights Open the Door to Wider Online Audience TargetingMarket researchers now have access to the richest view of consumers to drive the most effective digital marketing strategies. Dstillery, the leading custom AI audience partner for agencies and brands, and Fuel Cycle, the leading market research cloud, have announced a partnership that gives businesses a much deeper understanding of their consumers by pairing stated and observed consumer preferences.Fuel Cycle helps brands connect with their customers through a combination of online communities, product exchanges and panels. Through the partnership, Fuel Cycle customers will now have the ability to enrich their community-based research with Dstillery’s observed behavioral insights, painting a much more detailed picture of consumer interests, preferences, and intent. Armed with this 360-degree view of current and potential customers, companies become better positioned to compete for consumer attention in highly competitive markets such as retail, healthcare, financial services and others.Marketing Technology News: New Research from Fresh Relevance Highlights Impact and Adoption of Influencer Marketing Is Overestimated“The availability of passively collected observed and behavioral data sources to researchers presents significant opportunity for early-adopting brands to gain competitive advantage,” said Kristin Luck, research industry Growth Strategist and Advisor to Dstillery. “The combination of behavioral and primary research data enables brands to act on insights with greater accuracy and granularity than if they rely on traditional survey data alone.”Fuel Cycle clients can also start using Dstillery custom AI audience data to build branded segments models off of primary market research data. These segments may include consumers who can be classified as brand enthusiasts, or share common interests, such as a sports team or other affinity categories. Brands can then use these enhanced models to find, target and activate a larger population of new potential prospects across various ad buying platforms such as The Trade Desk, AppNexus, Tremor Video DSP and Google Display and Video 360.Marketing Technology News: Glocally and Storied Partner to Develop Digital Ad Units Distributing Local Social Content“The insights community is turning a corner, understanding that the combination of stated and revealed preferences is the best way to gain true, actionable insight into an audience or prospect base,” said Rick Kelly, Senior Vice President of Products and Research at Fuel Cycle. “Giving our customers access to Dstillery’s trove of behavioral data provides us with a unique blend of primary research and observed behaviors, and sets our clients up for the future.”Marketing Technology News: Queen’s Award in International Trade for Rapidly Growing Semantic Analytics Technology Company SciBite AI audiencedigital marketingDstilleryFUEL CYCLEMarket researchersMarketing TechnologyNews Previous ArticleLogMeIn Successfully Achieves Multiple Top Tier Security Compliance StandardsNext ArticleNimble Signs Reseller Agreement with Gold Microsoft Partner SherWeb to Deliver Simple CRM for Office 365last_img read more

OpenText Streamlines the Way Enterprises Digitally Communicate with Customers

first_imgOpenText, a global leader in Enterprise Information Management (EIM), announced version 16.6 is generally available now and will be launched in July 2019 at its annual user conference, OpenText Enterprise World. Innovations in its market-leading customer communications management solution, OpenText Exstream, are being previewed at Document Strategy Forum 2019 (DSF ’19). The conference is held May 7-9 in Anaheim, Calif.OpenText Exstream 16.6 introduces self-service, browser-based design, authoring and interactive editing, which helps free marketing, business and other non-technical users to compose and edit their own HTML5 templates without technical assistance or additional coding. Marketers will be able to eliminate process bottlenecks and save time in creating and deploying high-quality, responsive and compliant digital communications to customers, while reducing the burden on enterprise IT departments.Organizations that rely on Exstream will also benefit from new customer journey modeling. Users who own the customer journey may graphically model the creation and delivery steps for all communications using an intuitive, web-based drag-and-drop visual interface. Line of business process owners, who have the greatest understanding of their customers, may now define what type of outputs to produce, how to deliver those outputs across all channels and what to do if delivery fails.Marketing Technology News: Amazon or Alibaba: Freedonia Compares These Global E-Commerce Leaders“The ability to quickly and effectively communicate with customers via their preferred digital channels is critical to marketers responsible for customer experience,” said Guy Hellier, Vice President of Product Management for Customer Experience Management (CEM) at OpenText. “Demand for technical assistance with digital communication often outpaces IT resources. With Exstream, business users are able to design HTML5 responsive communication flows that help them meet regulatory requirements and accommodate all devices. This enables faster time to market for new offers, reduces operational costs and optimizes customer engagement.”Exstream 16.6 innovations will be launched at Enterprise World in Toronto July 9 – 11. The conference helps businesses address the power of enterprise information management (EIM) to gain the information advantage.Marketing Technology News: China’s Most Valuable Brands Grow a Record 30% to $889.7 Billion in 2019 BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Chinese Brands Ranking – With Alibaba the New Number OneOpenText CCM solutions help businesses build better customer experiences across all touchpoints. Exstream is used by more than 5,000 enterprises worldwide to drive profitable lifetime customer relationships. Exstream was recognized as a leading CCM solution in the 2018 Aspire Leaderboard for Customer Communications.OpenText will also be showcasing innovations in its Intelligent Forms Automation solution, OpenText LiquidOffice, and latest advances in Content Services at DSF ’19. These solutions reflect the company’s ongoing commitment to helping enterprises deliver rich and streamlined digital experiences for customers.Marketing Technology News: Persistent Systems Joins Siemens’ MindSphere Partner Program to Bring Industrial IoT Solutions to Market OpenText Streamlines the Way Enterprises Digitally Communicate with Customers PRNewswireMay 8, 2019, 1:11 pmMay 8, 2019 customer experience managementDocument Strategy ForumEnterprise information managementIntelligent Forms AutomationMarketing TechnologyNewsOpenText Previous ArticlePipeliner Partners With Daniel Strunk of DePaul University to Release Sales Strategy & Technology Online CourseNext ArticleSAP Offers Partners Free Access to Test and Demo Systems on SAP S/4HANA Cloud and the SAP C/4HANA Suitelast_img read more

ICF Next Named a Strong Performer Among Loyalty Service Providers

first_imgAgency Among Top Scorers in Loyalty Strategy, Insights, Privacy and Security, Change Management and Account ManagementICF Next, the integrated marketing and communications services group of ICF, announced that it was named a “Strong Performer” among loyalty service providers by leading global research and advisory firm Forrester Research in The Forrester Wave™: Loyalty Service Providers, Q3 2019.“Clients are very satisfied with ICF Next’s insights services and account teams, offering high praise for its intelligence, consistency and investment in client success,” the report stated. One reference shared that [ICF Next] “exceeded our expectations on every count.”Marketing Technology News: Mono Solutions Joins Bauer Media Group to Strengthen SME Marketing Services Across the GlobeThe agency was evaluated across multiple criteria and received the highest possible rating in five: loyalty strategy services, customer insights services, privacy and security, account management and change management tools and services.Earlier in 2019, ICF Next was recognized as a “Leader” in another loyalty report focused on technology platforms, The Forrester Wave™: Loyalty Technology Platforms, Q2 2019. The agency believes that placement in both reports underscores its ability to provide both an industry-leading loyalty technology platform as well as strategic guidance and services to clients that establish and enhance the customer experience. ICF Next’s loyalty technology, Tally, drives emotional and behavioral brand loyalty through personalized interactions and powers programs for some of the world’s leading hospitality, travel, retail and restaurant brands.“We are proud of these recent Forrester designations and believe they validate our loyalty technology, services and strategy, and the value we bring to brands,” said John Armstrong, president of ICF Next. “We are in the position to work with brands based on their needs as both a comprehensive partner and a partner in key areas such as strategy or technology.”Marketing Technology News: Paysafe Announces YouTube PartnershipThis recognition by Forrester is the latest in a series of awards, recognitions and accolades secured by ICF Next in the last eight months alone. The agency was recently named a Top 10 Agency by customer loyalty association Loyalty360, and was awarded Digital PR Agency of the Year by the Holmes Report. ICF Next was also credited with 12 Cannes Lions, and was named a “Strong Performer” in The Forrester Wave™: Midsize Digital Experience Agencies, Q4 2018.ICF Next brings together ICF’s global award-winning marketing, communications and associated technology expertise, offering clients a full set of capabilities in strategy and transformation, insight and analytics, creative engagement, technology and channels, and loyalty and customer marketing.Marketing Technology News: Gartner Survey Shows Inside Sales Organizations Risk Losing 24% of Employees This Year Customer MarketingICFLoyalty Service ProvidersMarketing Technology NewsNews Previous ArticleGlassbox Announces Strategic Partnership with MicrosoftNext ArticleTapcart Fuels the Future of Mobile Commerce with $4 Million in Funding from Greycroft ICF Next Named a Strong Performer Among Loyalty Service Providers PRNewswire3 hours agoJuly 23, 2019 last_img read more

LYNPARZA Phase III SOLO1 results show improved outcome for patients with advanced

first_img Source: Oct 22 2018AstraZeneca and Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., (Merck: known as MSD outside the US and Canada) today announced detailed results from the Phase III SOLO-1 trial testing LYNPARZA® (olaparib) 300 mg tablets twice-daily as a maintenance treatment for patients with newly diagnosed advanced BRCA-mutated (BRCAm) ovarian cancer who were in complete or partial response following 1st-line standard platinum-based chemotherapy.Results of the trial confirm the statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement in progression-free survival (PFS) for LYNPARZA compared to placebo, reducing the risk of disease progression or death by 70% (HR 0.30 [95% CI 0.23-0.41], P<0.001). With median 41 months of follow-up, the median PFS for patients treated with LYNPARZA was not reached compared to 13.8 months for patients treated with placebo. Of those receiving LYNPARZA, 60% remained progression-free at 36 months, compared to 27% of women in the placebo arm. The data were presented at the Presidential Symposium of the ESMO 2018 Congress (European Society for Medical Oncology) in Munich, Germany, and published simultaneously online in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).Sean Bohen, Executive Vice President, Global Medicines Development and Chief Medical Officer, AstraZeneca said: "There is currently a significant unmet need in the treatment of advanced ovarian cancer because 70% of women relapse within the first three years after their initial treatment. The remarkable results of the SOLO-1 trial, which showed that 60% of women with newly diagnosed, advanced BRCA-mutated ovarian cancer remained progression-free at three years, highlight the potential of LYNPARZA as a maintenance therapy in the 1st-line setting."Roy Baynes, Senior Vice President and Head of Global Clinical Development, Chief Medical Officer, Merck Research Laboratories, said: "Our collective goal in oncology research is to improve long-term outcomes for people living with cancer. Based on the SOLO-1 trial results, LYNPARZA is the only PARP inhibitor to have demonstrated a significant and clinically meaningful improvement in reducing the risk of progression for newly diagnosed patients with advanced BRCA-mutated ovarian cancer following platinum-based chemotherapy. We are working with regulatory authorities as quickly as possible to seek approval of LYNPARZA for these patients."Kathleen Moore, Co-Principal Investigator of the SOLO-1 trial and Associate Director for Clinical Research, Stephenson Cancer Center at The University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, said: "Women with ovarian cancer are often diagnosed with advanced disease, which unfortunately is associated with poor long-term survival rates. The newly diagnosed setting is our best opportunity to achieve a sustained remission, since once a patient's ovarian cancer recurs, it is typically incurable. The SOLO-1 results demonstrate the potential of LYNPARZA maintenance therapy earlier in the treatment pathway and reinforce the importance of identifying a patient's BRCA mutation status at the time of diagnosis—these results could change the way we treat women with advanced BRCA-mutated ovarian cancer."Related StoriesStudy: Nearly a quarter of low-risk thyroid cancer patients receive more treatment than necessaryNew protein target for deadly ovarian cancerSugary drinks linked to cancer finds studyThe SOLO-1 safety profile was in line with that observed in prior clinical trials. The most common adverse events (AEs) ≥20% in patients taking LYNPARZA in the trial were nausea (77%), fatigue/asthenia (63%), vomiting (40%), anemia (39%), diarrhea (34%), constipation (28%), dysgeusia (26%), arthralgia (25%), abdominal pain (25%), neutropenia (23%), headache (23%), dizziness (20%) and decreased appetite (20%). The most common Grade ≥3 adverse reactions were anemia (22%) and neutropenia (9%). Seventy-two percent of patients on LYNPARZA remained on the recommended starting dose. Additionally, 88% of patients on LYNPARZA continued treatment without an AE-related discontinuation. Further, 48% of patients on LYNPARZA did not have a dose interruption as a result of an AE.Per SOLO-1 protocol guidelines, patients who demonstrated a complete response (no radiological evidence of disease) at 2 years stopped treatment with LYNPARZA; patients who demonstrated a partial response and who in the opinion of the treating physician can derive further benefit from continuous treatment, were treated beyond 2 years.AstraZeneca and Merck are exploring additional trials in ovarian cancer, including the ongoing GINECO/ENGOTov25 Phase III trial, PAOLA-1. This trial is testing the effect of LYNPARZA in combination with bevacizumab as a maintenance treatment for patients with newly diagnosed advanced ovarian cancer, regardless of their BRCA status. Results are expected during the second half of 2019.LYNPARZA is a first-in-class poly ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitor approved in the US since 2014. LYNPARZA has a broad clinical-development program and AstraZeneca and Merck are working together to deliver LYNPARZA as quickly as possible to more patients across multiple cancer types, including prostate and pancreatic cancers.LYNPARZA is not currently FDA-approved for advanced BRCA-mutated ovarian cancer treatment in the first-line maintenance setting. LYNPARZA is indicated for the maintenance treatment of recurrent ovarian cancer in response to platinum-based chemotherapy regardless of BRCA mutation status, and for the treatment of advanced ovarian cancer patients with a germline BRCA-mutation previously treated with three or more lines of chemotherapy. Physicians should select advanced ovarian cancer patients for therapy based on an FDA-approved companion diagnostic. Please see complete indications below.last_img read more

Experts in Parkinsons research propose roadmap for drug trials targeting alphasynuclein

first_img Source: Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Dec 20 2018Issued in conjunction with The Michael J. Fox Foundation, important consensus guidelines for running proof of concept preclinical and clinical trials of drugs targeting alpha-synuclein to slow or arrest the progression of the disease published in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease A recently discovered protein, alpha-synuclein, has become one of the most attractive targets for developing new drugs with the potential to slow down or arrest the progression of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Experts in the field of Parkinson’s research have now proposed a roadmap for preclinical and clinical trials investigating compounds targeting alpha-synuclein. Their consensus white paper is published in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease.Alpha-synuclein is of key interest to PD researchers because it is a major constituent of Lewy bodies, protein clumps that are the pathological hallmark of PD, and mutations in the gene that encodes alpha-synuclein cause PD. Not surprisingly, intensive efforts have been underway to study the normal and pathological role of alpha-synuclein as well as its potential as a target for neuroprotective therapies. There are at least five alpha-synuclein–targeted therapeutics currently under investigation. These have the potential to slow or arrest the progression of PD and other synucleinopathies, such as Dementia with Lewy Bodies, Multiple System Atrophy and Pure Autonomic Failure.”With alpha-synuclein undoubtedly playing some role in PD pathogenesis, and there being such a diverse portfolio of experimental therapies that target the protein, one can be optimistic and hope that one of the approaches will eventually be successful in slowing disease progression,” says Patrik Brundin, MD, PhD, Associate Director of Research, Professor and Director of the Center for Neurodegenerative Science, Van Andel Research Institute, Grand Rapids, MI, and Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease.In 2017, The Michael J. Fox Foundation convened the Alpha Synuclein Clinical Path Working Group comprised of PD research leaders from across academia and industry. This group was tasked to develop a strategic consensus and make recommendations in preclinical and clinical research directed at alpha-synuclein–targeted therapies for PD.Related StoriesMice cured of HIV in an experiment sparks new hopeScientists discover how resistance to the chemotherapy drug 5-fluorouracil arisesAntibiotic combination effective against drug-resistant PseudomonasIn this consensus white paper, experts provide a translational framework of de-risking the development of alpha-synuclein–targeted therapies. Specifically, the paper discusses the use of fit-for purpose animal models, biomarkers that inform clinical trial design, such as doses and dosing regimen, as well as patient enrichment strategies. Finally, the authors discuss considerations for the design of clinical proof of concept trials that integrate not only pathophysiologic endpoints, but also the emerging technology of wearable devices to monitor clinical outcomes.”Multiple therapeutics have recently entered clinical trials, and critical human data that will inform all alpha-synuclein–based therapeutic development programs are on the horizon,” says lead author Kalpana M. Merchant, PhD, of Vincere Biosciences, Inc. and the Department of Neurology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL. “Although these efforts face many profound challenges, including the lack of key tools such as an alpha-synuclein–based imaging agent and the inherent difficulty of demonstrating clinical efficacy in slowly progressive neurodegenerative diseases, we remain optimistic that meaningful strides toward the ultimate identification and approval of alpha-synuclein–based disease-modifying therapeutics will be made in the near future.”PD is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder, affecting approximately 1.2 percent of the world population over the age of 70. Although several new therapies that address motor or non-motor symptoms of PD have been approved, none of these are able to slow disease progression. In the US alone, an estimated 630,000 people had PD in 2010. With anticipated demographic changes due to an aging population, and if no disease-modifying treatment is found, the prevalence is expected to reach 930,000 by 2020 and 1.24 million 40 by 2030.last_img read more

Tactile and proprioceptive stimulation improves effects of perinatal brain injuries in mice

first_img Source: Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Mar 5 2019A research conducted by the INc-UAB shows that the same perinatal brain injury caused by hypoxia and ischemia have differentiated effects on each gender, but can be improved through tactile and proprioceptive stimuli. Petting and massaging the mice in the first stages of their life provided neurological protection in their adult life, especially in male mice in which the injury was reduced by half.Perinatal brain injuries hinder neurological capabilities throughout life, causing anything from fine motor problems to severe cognitive limitations. At the same time, therapy treatments currently available are very limited. That is why other types of interventions to help counter these effects are being explored.Now, a new study by researchers from the Institute of Neuroscience of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (INc-UAB), led by Dr Lydia Giménez-Llort, demonstrates that tactile and proprioceptive stimulation -related to the tactile perception and that of the body’s own position, muscle bone, balance and coordination of movements- improves the effects of perinatal hypoxic and ischemic brain injuries throughout the life of the mice. This improvement mainly benefits male mice, in which the neurological damage is reduced by half.The study, published in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, was conducted with mouse models of preterm birth. “We currently know that the immature brain of preterm infants, equivalent to that of mice when born, is at a larger risk for hypoxic-ischemic damage, and male newborns are more susceptible and respond worse to protective and therapeutic interventions”, co-author of the study Mireia Recasens points out. “Our work provides important information on this serious health problem with a damage of 1-3.5 and 6 of every thousand births in developed and developing countries, respectively”.Sensory stimulation was applied from before the injury occurred until the final stages of infancy, a period in preterm infants equivalent to being born at seven months until two years. The manipulation consisted in tactile and propioceptive stroking and massaging of the mice three times within an eight-minute period, twice a day.The results revealed that this intervention had a notable neurological protection on both genders throughout their lives, but researchers highlight that the effects were especially positive among males. The histopathological analysis in males demonstrated 50% less brain damage compared to the non-stimulated mice. There was a 30% decrease among female mice. The neurological protection in both genders was correlated to the improvement of functional capacities, reflexes, and an improvement in memory results.In relation to brain areas, the region involved with motor control and learning and memory (caudate/putamen) was the one to register the largest difference in males, with 80% less damage. In females, the main improvement was a 66% reduction in atrophy to the corpus callosum, a nerve tract connecting the left and right brain hemispheres.Related StoriesStudy provides new insight into longitudinal decline in brain network integrity associated with agingRepurposing a heart drug could increase survival rate of children with ependymomaNeural pathways explain the relationship between imagination and willingness to help”The study illustrates the preventive and therapeutic potential of these types of stimulations in newborns with brain injuries, in a short yet very intense period at levels of brain development and plasticity. It also gives support to the different scientific approaches advocating for the transcendence of perinatal conditions – from sensory stimulation to maternal contact and a warm and protective environment – and its role as an adjuvant to current therapies”, highlights Dr Giménez-Llort, who is also a member of the International Gender Medicine (IGM) and the ISNA, an international association of sensory stimulation and snoezelen, which studies its effects.One same injury with different effects according to genderThe research also analyzed for the first time the impact of perinatal hypoxic and ischemic brain injuries, demonstrating that although the same degree of neuropathological severity exists, the damage affects each gender’s functional, neurological, cognitive and emotional capacities differently depending on the stage of life and task undertaken.”During the infant stage, the damage affects balance, particularly among females, and prehension in males, but both aspects improve as they grow and only reflexes remain damaged. Male mice showed to have infantile hyperactivity, which normalizes as they became adults. In contrast, the anxiety and emotional traits of these injuries lasted throughout their lives. Both genders showed poorer learning processes at short and long terms, but there was more damage to memory among the males”, explains Aida Muntsant, PhD student at the INc-UAB and first author of the paper. The functional evaluations were correlated with the degree of severity of the affected brain areas: hippocampus, caudate/putamen, thalamus, neocortex and corpus callosum.Rehabilitation targets”As a whole, the study shows the different neuronal substrates needed to satisfy functional demands and points to the most resilient neuroanatomical targets to repair these functions through postnatal stimulation”, points out Dr Kalpana Shrisvastava, specialist in neuroimmunology and co-first author of the paper.”Despite the obvious differences between rodents and humans, the study shows the complex relationship between different regions of the brain, risk factors, vulnerability and resilience, and all dependant on gender and age. It also provides new data on behavioral neuroscience within the field of neonatology and the area of pediatric functional rehabilitation, defining a translational scenario in which to study the underlying mechanisms of the functional and neuropathological correlates found”, concludes Dr Lydia Giménez-Llort.last_img read more

Daily consumption of nutritional supplements does not prevent depression

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Mar 5 2019MooDFOOD, the largest randomized clinical trial to study the effects of nutritional strategies on the prevention of major depressive disorder concludes that daily intake of nutritional supplements cannot prevent depression.Over 1000 participants who were overweight or had obesity and were identified as being at elevated risk for depression but who were not currently depressed, from four European countries -the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Germany and Spain, took part in the study. Participants were randomized to either take nutritional supplements containing folic acid, vitamin D, zinc, selenium or to a pill placebo, and half of participants also received a behavioral lifestyle intervention intended to change dietary behaviors and patterns.Researcher Mariska Bot from Amsterdam UMC reported: “Daily intake of nutritional supplements over a year does not effectively prevent the onset of a major depressive episode in this sample. Nutritional supplements were not better than placebo. Therapeutic sessions aimed at making changes towards a healthy dietary behavior did also not convincingly prevent depression”. Dr. Bot is first author of a paper showing these results in today’s issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).Depression is a common disorderMore than 40 million Europeans experience a major depressive disorder. One in ten men and one in five women suffer from clinical depression at least once during their lifetime. Depression is one of the most prevalent and disabling disorders in the EU.Given the increasing prevalence of depression, more people are actively searching for ways to decrease their risk through lifestyle modification, but are often overwhelmed by confusing and contradictory information. To help European citizens the MooDFOOD project has developed evidence-based nutritional strategies to help prevent depression.Prevention of depression through a healthy dietThe MooDFOOD prevention trial formed a crucial part of the five year MooDFOOD project, which investigated the relationship between nutrition and depression. MooDFOOD was funded by the European Commission and led by the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.Related StoriesPesticide exposure may increase risk of depression in adolescentsNutritional supplements offer no protection against cardiovascular diseases, say researchersCaregiver depression linked to increased emergency department visits for patients with dementiaAlthough the behavioral therapy to encourage a healthy dietary behavior and improve diet was not effective at preventing depression overall, there was some evidence that it prevented depressive episodes in those participants who attended a recommended number of sessions. This may suggest the food behavioral therapy only works if the participants get sufficient exposure and are able to sufficiently improve their diet and dietary behavior.MooDFOOD project coordinators professor Marjolein Visser and professor Ingeborg Brouwer of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam said:”Several studies within, and outside the five year MooDFOOD project show that consuming a healthy dietary pattern is important for European citizens, not only for physical health, but it may also help to prevent depressive symptoms. ” Based on a large number of studies and careful analysis, MooDFOOD researchers have come to three important conclusions at the end of their project. First, a healthy dietary pattern, typified by a Mediterranean style diet high in fruit, vegetables, whole grains, fish, pulses and olive oil, and low in red meat and full-fat dairy products, may reduce the risk of developing depression. Second, in people with obesity, weight loss can lead to a reduction in depressive symptoms. Third, current evidence does not support the use of nutritional supplements in order to prevent depression.Practical toolsThese recent results have important implications for all Europeans. The MooDFOOD team has translated these findings into tools for the general population, health professionals (GPs, dieticians and psychologists), researchers and policy makers. Citizens and health professionals can find these tools, together with the MooDFOOD project results and conclusions on the prevention of depression through nutrition on the MooDFOOD project website: Source: read more