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There Is No Such Thing as Alternative Medicine – Big Think

Posted: February 28, 2017 at 1:46 am

If you want to sell an idea an opponent is helpful, especially if what youre selling cannot stand on its own merit. For example, homeopathy creator Samuel Hahnemann had trouble proving his provings offered anything beyond a placebo response. Given his reservations against the medical industrymany complaints were crediblehe dubbed any treatment offered by the conventional system allopathic.

Unfortunately for Hahnemann his philosophythe less of an active ingredient remains the more powerful a remedy is (once you reach 13c on the homeopathic scale there is no longer any active ingredient left)is nonsense. While today homeopaths still use allopathic as a derogatory sleight against mainstream medicine, theyre only shadowboxing an invisible enemy.

Alternative medicine, which includes homeopathy as well as vitamin and supplement companies and a number of other therapeutic modalities, is a $34 billion a year industry. While these companies enjoy the fruits of loose, and in many cases non-existent, regulations, their argument against allopaths is not the cry of the oppressed, but the desperate pleas of businesses concerned with their bottom lines.

Medicine is medicine. As pediatrician Paul Offit writes,

Theres no such thing as conventional or alternative or complementary or integrative or holistic medicine. Theres only medicine that works and medicine that does not.

This does not stop the irrational stream of unproven (or disproven) therapies arising from the holistic and wellness sphere. While pharmaceuticals and the companies producing them have their own problems, the rigorous standards of multiple trials, years of development and research, and millions of dollars spent are absent in the vitamin aisle of Whole Foods.

Yet many pharmaceuticals are based on similar or even the same botanical substances. At a public hearing on homeopathic product regulation on April 20, 2015, Adriane Fugh-Berman, an associate professor in Georgetowns Department of Pharmacology and Physiology, points out that homeopathic remedies can contain snake venom, heavy metals, controlled substances, [and] glandular extracts that would be considered dangerous if subject to federal regulation.

She points out that Guna Interleukin 12 is labeled for usage as a pain reliever and anti-inflammatory agent for autoimmune disorders. The remedy contains ingredients usually placed under intense scrutiny when used by pharmaceutical companies, but since the producer, Guna Interleukin Remedies, sidesteps regulation by utilizing the homeopathic loophole, consumers are ingesting potentially dangerous dosages.

When I asked the FDA why this oversight exists, press officer Lyndsay Meyer referred me to her agencys regulations, which refer to the unique nature of these drug products. Thanks to an amendment in 1983, homeopathic drugs are exempt from the requirement for laboratory determination of identity and strength of each active ingredient prior to release for distribution.

Hahnemann believed the less of a substance in the remedy, the stronger it is. Thus a partially diluted proving is not that strong while one containing no active ingredients is very powerful. Problem is, active ingredients matter. A recent report notes that one homeopathic teething pill resulted in more than 370 adverse reactions in children over a ten-year period.

This supposedly weak remedy is labeled 6X, meaning some of the active ingredients remains. One ingredient, Belladonna, is diluted at 12X (still active in mixture), which has a series of side effects, including GI infections and blockage, increased high blood pressure, and increased fever.

As Offit reports, 50 percent of Americans use alternative medicines while 10 percent give it to their children. While the FTC stepped in last year to plug a regulatory hole in homeopathic labeling, the legalese used by vitamin and supplement makers is confusing to consumers who read the large type on bottles and think their flu symptoms will be alleviated or, worse, that chelation cures cancer.

As health and wellness are wrapped into the fitness industry the science is only getting more confused. Just yesterday I walked by a center in Santa Monica that offers aerial silk and yoga classes, massage therapy, and IV vitamin drips. For $175 an hour you can have high doses of vitamin C, zinc, and lysine pumped into your bloodstream after Pilates, even though elevated levels of all three of those substances can cause numerous gastro-intestinal problems. Distrust in one doctor should not imply blind faith in another.

While supplements, vitamins, and superfoods are touted as cancer-fighting, antioxidant-boosting wonder drugs, the science is less enthusiastic. Offit writes,

Studies have now shown that people who take large quantities of vitamins and dietary supplements with antioxidant activity are more likely to have cancer and heart disease and die sooner.

Hahnemann helped inspire a holism movement championing Hippocratic philosophy during an important transition in medical history. The emergence of biochemistry, neuroscience, germ theory, disease specification, and molecular genetics made the invisible world visible. Widespread usage of antibiotics and vaccines offered humans an evolutionary thrust forward in biological knowledge. Suddenly a hostile planet became that much less daunting.

Yet a growing suspicion of corporate and political interests in the sixties inspired a new wave of holism thats gaining strength a half-century later. Were right to be wary of corporate agendas and political mismanagement when it comes to healthcare. Still, this does not excuse an entire industry pimping products with little to no scientific backing thats taking advantage of regulatory loopholes.

The reality is the most basic advicemove often and diversely; eat a balanced, whole foods dietis boring in an age of immediate gratification. People would rather sprint with a wonder-pill than put their head down for a marathon, and too many charlatans are stepping in to pretend theyve developed that pill.

As Offit concludes, theres a problem when we celebrate Suzanne Somersa saleswoman and industry unto herselfwhile only occasionally acknowledging the groundbreaking work of Siddhartha Mukherjee, a biological scientist, physician, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author. There are many incredible men and woman devoted to finding medicine that works. The alternative is suffering, something many companies and hucksters willfully champion at a time when we can all use less of it.


Derek's next book,Whole Motion: Training Your Brain and Body For Optimal Health, will be published on 7/4/17 by Carrel/Skyhorse Publishing. He is based in Los Angeles. Stay in touch onFacebookandTwitter.

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There Is No Such Thing as Alternative Medicine - Big Think

Dustin Pedroia Praises Tom Brady For Career Longevity, Continued Success – NESN.com

Posted: at 1:46 am

Following David Ortizs retirement, Dustin Pedroia seemingly has become the elder statesman of the Boston Red Sox.

The four-time MLB All-Staris heading into his 12thseason with the Red Soxand will be leading a team made up of mostly younger players.

Pedroia enters the 2017 campaign at 33 years of age, long removed from his days as a big league up-and-comer. However, he hopes to keep playing at a high level for a number of years, and apparently has taken tips from a fellow New England athlete on how to do so.

Speaking on WEEIs BradfoShow, Pedroia praised New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for his unprecedented longevity and approach to improving at his craft.

I understand what he does and know what he does. I think its awesome, Pedroia told Bradford, as transcribed by WEEI.com. Theres a reason why hes successful at his age, and he looks better now than he did when he first came to the league. You have to be smarter as you get older and learn different styles the way to train and the way you take care of your body to be able to perform and stay on the field. It doesnt matter what sport youre playing. Hes definitely got that figured out.

Pedroia divulged into how training changes as an athlete gets older, and how attention to detail is critical.

There aretons of ways to take care of your body, he said. Its not just get in the weight room and throw weights around. As you get older, the human body cant take the pounding if youre going in there and power lifting. When youre younger, you can handle some of that. But as you get older, you got to be smarter. Sometimes less is more whether thats weight or reps or whatever. Youve just got to be smart. And eating wise, thats a big part of recovery. If you put the right foods in your body, youll heal faster if youre injured or recover faster.

Boston fans surely are hoping that the Red Sox can cap off their 2017 season the same way the Patriots did in Super Bowl LI.

Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images

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U.S. longevity is expected to increase by 2030 but still lag most other … – Miami Herald

Posted: at 1:46 am

Miami Herald
U.S. longevity is expected to increase by 2030 but still lag most other ...
Miami Herald
The absence of universal health care, growing obesity rates, rising income inequality, high homicide rates, and high maternal and child mortality rates explain, ...

and more »

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U.S. longevity is expected to increase by 2030 but still lag most other ... - Miami Herald

Federer: Why Serena Is On Her Way To Becoming The Greatest – WTA Tennis

Posted: at 1:46 am

Serena Williams' fierce competitive streak is what sets up apart and puts her on track to become the greatest female tennis player of all time, according to Roger Federer.

Speaking to Sport360earlier in the week, the 18-time Grand Slam champion spoke of his admiration for his fellow Australian Open champion's longevity.

"I admire everything she's doing and has done," he said. "I thought she was ready to check out there for a while. But she's hung on and she's found new ways of doing things. She's gotten healthy again as well, she was very unfortunate on a few occasions."

Serena's success at the Rod Laver Arena was her 23rd Grand Slam success, which took her past the Open Era record of 22 she had previously held with Stefanie Graf and to within one of Margaret Court's all-time record. Federer's victory in the men's tournament meant that both trophies were won by 35-year-olds.

"People who have done it for a long time and who are older now but are still super eager and super willing and Serena is exactly like that," said the Swiss. "She's a fierce competitor and on the way to becoming the greatest of all time. It's wonderful to see her do it for sure."

Federer's comments come little more than two weeks after Andy Roddick called Serena one of the greatest athletes of all time. The American, who grew up training alongside Williams in Florida, described her as "not just one of the greatest women athletes of all time but one of the greatest athletes of all time."

He added: "We need to enter her into the conversation with [Michael] Jordan and [Muhammad] Ali. I think that's where the respect lies and where the conversation needs to go after the acknowledgement of what she's done for women in sports."

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Federer: Why Serena Is On Her Way To Becoming The Greatest - WTA Tennis

Cassidy vows to continue fighting to address Alzheimer’s disease – Houma Courier

Posted: February 27, 2017 at 11:47 am

By Dan Boudreaux Staff Writer

Residents attending a town hall meeting on Alzheimer's disease Thursday urged U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy to fight for federal assistance to address the disease.

Cassidy, a physician, said in Congress he has and will continue to support Alzheimer'sconcerns.

This is an issue that affects us all. This is an issue that will ultimately only be solved if were all engaged,he said.

The town hall atThibodaux Regional Medical Center's Wellness Center, which was organized by the Alzhemiers Association, had a unique format. Instead of Cassidy calling on people to ask questions, he sat at the front while family members of peopleaffected by the disease and approved by the association told him their stories and asked questions.

Some asked if Cassidy will add assistance for Alzheimers families into reforms to the Affordable Care Act while others asked if he would fight for assistance for Alzhemiers caregivers.

According to the Alzheimers Association, more than 15 million caregivers provided 18.1 billion hours of unpaid care in 2015, one-third of all caregivers die of stress-related diseases before their patient and families spend an average of just over $5,000 a year caring for their loved ones.

Stephanie Gomez told about how her husbands battle with the disease and said she was almost one of those statistics as she had a heart attack while caring for him.

The cracks in the system are huge, senator. We fell into every crack, Gomez said. If I had put my husband in a nursing home, I would have lost my home.

Gomez asked Cassidy to make sure there is money for Alzheimers research in the budget because development of a drug to help with the symptoms would benefit those afflicted and their families.

Cassidayspoke about how his mother's fight against the disease and what he had experienced in his practice as a doctor before sayinghe has fought for more money for Alzheimers research in Congress.

I made a fuss, Cassidy said. I said, Were spending all this money on certain diseases, which at this point in time few people are dying from, and were spending almost nothing on Alzheimers, dementia and mental health. We need to recalibrate the money for research.

Cassidy proposed channeling money in the National Institute of Health from diseases that have cures or are near cures to diseases like Alzheimers that are still so far away from finding a cure.

He also repeated statements from previous town halls about Medicare and pharmaceutical reforms, health savings accounts and health care tax credits.

Before the meeting ended,Alzheimers Association members led everyone in ringing bells for 66 seconds to symbolize the fact that someone in the United States is diagnosed with Alzheimers disease every 66 seconds. It is also the sixth-leading cause of death.

"We are so appreciative of Senator Cassidy speaking so candidly to everyone about his experiences with his mother and his experiences as a physician," said Stacey Denham with the Alzheimer's Association. "This is a huge step for us to promote awareness and reduce the stigma of this horrible disease."

Cassidy vows to continue fighting to address Alzheimer's disease - Houma Courier

Human neurons in mouse brains are more susceptible to Alzheimer’s pathology – Science Daily

Posted: at 11:47 am

Cells behave differently when removed from their environments, just as cells that develop in cultures do not behave like cells in living creatures. To study the effects of Alzheimer's disease in a more natural environment, scientists from the lab of professor Bart De Strooper (VIB-KU Leuven, Dementia Research Institute-UK) in collaboration with scientists from ULB (profs Pierre Vanderhaeghen and Jean-Pierre Brion) successfully circumscribed this challenge by transplanting human neural cells into mouse brains containing amyloid plaques, one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease. The results of their research showed that, unlike mouse neurons, human neurons that developed in this environment were extremely susceptible to Alzheimer's disease. Their high-impact results are published in leading academic journal Neuron.

The study of the development of Alzheimer's disease on a molecular level presents unique challenges, as neurons behave differently in vivo vs. in vitro. Using mice as models presents useful insights, but mouse models never fully develop the disease, despite the fact that their brains and neurons share many similarities with those of humans.

A new, humanized model

A team of researchers has now transplanted human neurons into mouse brains which mimick some of the hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease, including the presence of amyloid plaques. They found that, compared to mouse neurons, human neurons were much more sensitive to amyloid plaque pathology. This novel model allows for a better characterization of the disease processes that actually take place in the brain of human patients.

Much of the work was performed in close cooperation with prof. Pierre Vanderhaeghen (ULB-WELBIO, VIB-KULeuven), whose lab previously pioneered the technology to differentiate human pluripotent stem cells into neural cells in vitro, and then transplant them in the mouse brain, generating a human/mouse chimera.

Prof. Bart De Strooper (VIB-KU Leuven, Dementia Research Institute-UK): "We relied heavily on the insights and expertise of Pierre Vanderhaeghen and his lab to set up this new AD model. With this novel experimental technique, we can study how different cell types in the human brain respond to the Alzheimer pathology, hopefully unraveling the link between amyloid and tau protein pathology -- which leads to neuron death and is the holy grail of current Alzheimer's research."

Prof. Pierre Vanderhaeghen (ULB-WELBIO and VIB): "While many features of the brain are conserved between different species such as humans and mice, the human brain displays a number of characteristics, which make us what we are, as a species and as individuals. However, studying this human-specific part remains a big challenge in neuroscience. This study is exciting because it constitutes a first proof of principle that stem cell-based models of transplanted human neurons can be applied to study an important neurological disease."

Identifying genetic components

Moving forward, Prof. De Strooper and his team are already planning a screen to identify human genes that protect against cell death associated with Alzheimer's disease.

Prof. Bart De Strooper (VIB-KU Leuven, Dementia Research Institute-UK): "Now that we are able to investigate the disease by observing human cells directly, we can make progress in this field of research at a considerably faster pace. The eventual end goal of the screening is to identify new drug targets within human cells themselves, something that was never possible before."

Questions from patients

A breakthrough in research is not the same as a breakthrough in medicine. The realizations of VIB researchers can form the basis of new therapies, but the development path still takes years. This can raise a lot of questions. That is why we ask you to please refer questions in your report or article to the email address that VIB makes available for this purpose: patienteninfo@vib.be. Everyone can submit questions concerning this and other medically-oriented research directly to VIB via this address.

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What Trump Means for Hunger and Nutrition in New York City | City … – City Limits

Posted: at 11:47 am

U.S. Navy

Former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, seen in a 2006 Navy publicity photo, has been designated to head the Agriculture Department under the new president.

With the unpredictable President Trump in the White House, theres uncertainty at every level regarding his administrations approach to many issues, including food policy.

Even assuming Sonny Perdue, Trumps choice to head the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), is confirmed, questions will remain, since Trump has yet to name 17 more candidates for food policy-related positions. And then theres the question of whether Perdue or someone else in the Trump orbit will call the shots on nutrition policy.

Food insecurity affects an estimated 1.37 million New Yorkers, and about 20 percent of people who rely on soup kitchens and food pantries here are working adults. The high cost of living and food in New York City exacerbates the conditions around the country, says Triada Stampas, vice president for research and public affairs at the non-profit Food Bank for New York City. A lot of job growth since the recession has been in [lower paying] service sector jobs. And the money doesnt go as far as it would somewhere else.

Perdues record unclear

The Secretary of Agriculture is responsible for the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, (SNAP, a.k.a. Food Stamps), and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). These and other USDA programs help the food insecure, which the USDA defines as limited or uncertain access to adequate food.

What does Perdues recordhe was governor of Georgia from 2003-2011suggest about his approach? From 2000-2002, an average of nearly 13 percent of Georgia households were food insecure, compared to just over 11 percent of all American households in 2002. Perdues governorship overlapped with the great recession, but by 2011, food insecurity in Georgia had reached 18.9 percent,a full three points higher than in America overall.

During Perdues tenure, I think you will find generally the state was very restrictive with respect to safety net programs[there was an effort to] limit dependency, and limit access, notes Carolyn Bourdeaux, Director, Center for State and Local Finance and Associate Professor, Public Management and Policy at Georgia State Universitys Andrew Young School of Policy Studies. From 2007-2010 she served as Director of the Senate Budget and Evaluation Office.

But Perdues tight-fisted approach seems to have affected cash benefits (or welfare) more than food support: The number of adult households in Georgia receiving TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) declined by 86 percent between 2003 and 2011. But SNAP participation in Georgia more than doubled between fiscal years 2004 and 2011. (New York Citys welfare and SNAP participation moved in similar directions.)

Perdue did create an anti-obesity program in his state. Aside from that, its hard to discern what his record as governor augers for federal food policy in the Trump administration.

The situation in New York

The New York State Department of Healths Division of Nutrition oversees $1 billion in spending, comprising federal food programs as well as state initiatives such as the Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program (HPNAP), which provided $15.8 million in funding to NYC emergency food providers in 2015-16.

Ninety to 95 percent of the money spent on fighting hunger in New York City comes from the federal government, especially SNAP, says Joel Berg, Executive Director of New York City-based non-profit Hunger Free America. SNAP provides about $3.2 billion in nutritional assistance to 1.7 million people in the cityapproximately 20 percent of the population. Then theres another estimated $75 million for emergency food programs, TANF, and food for seniors and children.

NYCs budget for anti-hunger programs simply cant compare: For instance, in financial year 2017, the city budgeted a total of $128 million for food security programs, which include SNAP administration, meal delivery to seniors, and the Emergency Food Assistance Program (EFAP). The latter is a major source of food for soup kitchens and food pantries; the financial year 2018 preliminary budget allocates it just over $8.2 million. (This constitutes a cut of almost $5 million since financial year 2017, and it comes at a time when 76 percent of local food pantries and soup kitchens need more food, according to the Food Bank for New York City.)

So changes at the federal level will likely have a serious effect here. Past budgets proposed by Congressional Republicans have included cuts to SNAP and its eventual restructuring from a program that provides benefits to all eligible applicants to one that awards block grantsmeaning a set amount of moneyto states. They claim this is giving power to states, but this is a backdoor way of slashing budgets, Berg explains. The block grant money is overall much less than the amount currently distributed. These changes would cost New York City an estimated $4.8 billion in SNAP benefits by 2026, according to Stampas.

Cuts in discretionary spending (funds allocated annually by Congress) and budget sequestration (the withholding of funds) are also possible, Berg says. These could slash the budget for WIC, which helps close to 440,000 New York state residents. In fiscal year 2013, sequestration led to $333 million in WIC cuts. One researcher estimated that sequestration denied WIC support to about 600,000 women and children nationwide.

The fight for food justice

Stampaswhose organization provides 62.5 million pounds of food a year as well as services to more than 1,000 local food pantries, soup kitchens, and other organizationssays preserving SNAP is the top priority for local advocates.

Should a proposal [to cut SNAP and turn it into block grants] get some traction in a federal government with alignment in the White House and both houses of Congress, it would be past the abilities of our state and local governments to replace support, Stampas adds. So priority number one at the federal level is [to ensure] that some of those proposals dont find a comfortable path to adoption in this legislative session.

Fortunately, New Yorks congressional delegation has been very supportive of efforts to strengthen the program. In addition, New York Senator [Kirsten] Gillibrand is a member of the Senate Agricultural Committee; she is a strong champion of anti-hunger policy and programming.

In the meantime, Food Bank for New York City urges New Yorkers to donate to anti-hunger organizations, advocate for those who need nutritional assistanceespecially to congressional representatives and officials at City Halland volunteer.

But there are some possible local-level solutions. Food insecurity is a particular issue for New York City children, 19 percent of whom rely on soup kitchens and food pantries. New York City-based non-profit Community Food Advocates (and a group of more than 250 organizations and elected officials) think free school lunches for all public school studentswhich is currently available in multiple cities, including Chicago and Philadelphiawould be a very effective response to childhood hunger.

NYC has the biggest public school system in the nation, with 1.1 million students, and 75 percent are eligible for free or reduced price lunch, observes Liz Accles, Community Food Advocates executive director. In practice, reduced-price lunch means free lunch, since the city does not collect the fee. But about one third, or 250,000, of those eligible children dont participate; the poverty stigma associated with the program is too great. What this means is that children just sit out, and dont eat.

In addition, there are likely more students going hungry; Many families above the cut-off [for eligibility, which is $37,000 a year for a family of three] are struggling significantly, Accles points out.

Currently, free lunch for all students is available in stand-alone 6th-to-8th grade public middle schools, and while the mayors 2018 preliminary budget doesnt provide for expansion, Accles remains hopeful. Since over 90 percent of the costs of the school food programs are covered by the federal government, Community Food Advocates estimates that universal free school lunch would cost the city a relatively inexpensive $20 million annually. Moreover, some of this money is already in the budget for the middle-school lunch program.

Properly publicized, We think participation in the program would ultimately go up by an estimated 120,000 children every day, a 20 percent increase from where we are now, she says. Accles also notes that unlike some nutrition support programs, students are eligible for school lunch regardless of their immigration status.

Unfortunately, the National School Lunch Program may also be vulnerable. Unlike some other mandatory spending programs, it is funded on an annual basis. Last year, the House Education and the Workforce Committee approved a bill that would turn the school meal programs into block grants in several states, while the Congressional Budget Office has proposed eliminating subsidies for meals served to children in households that are not eligible for free or reduced price meals, so the programs future may be uncertain.

Expanding the universal free school lunch program to all public elementary schools would cost the city an extra $5 to $23 million, depending on the increase in the participation rate, according to the New York City Independent Budget Office. (The Department of Education is expected to spend close to $264 million on food for SchoolFood programs in financial year 2018.)

De Blasio administration officials said last fall that they were still considering whether to expand the lunch program.

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Complete Nutrition picture available from Rock River Laboratory – Wisconsin State Farmer

Posted: at 11:47 am

Wisconsin State Farmer 10:51 p.m. CT Feb. 26, 2017

WATERTOWN - Rock River Laboratory announces the release of its new Comprehensive Nutrition Analysis package. Now available for nutritionists seeking a full spectrum nutritive viewof TMR,forage, and corn grain ration components,this new package uses Near-Infrared (NIR) analysis to offer a new vision toward optimizing herd performance.

The Comprehensive Nutrition package is the most inclusive analysis on the market today, explains Zac Meyer, Rock River Laboratory director of operations. Our customers were looking to fill in the gaps of feedstuff analysis value in order to garner greater insight on ration performance and improve diet formulation. This new package offers just that by combining advanced dietary analyses with accurate new analyses.

Featuring Total Fatty Acids (TFA) and individual fatty acids analysis, Total Amino Acids (TAA) and individual amino acid (calculated from TAA) measurements, and multi-time point starch digestion analysis, including an improved starch kdusing multiple time points, the Comprehensive Nutrition package paints a complete picture of what potential a feedstuff contributes within a dairy diet.

Multiple starch digestion time points at 0, 3, 7 and 16 hours allow Comprehensive Nutrition package users a better view of rumen starch metabolism, explains Rock River Laboratorys animal nutrition, research and innovation director, John Goeser. These measures are the result of our accurate, research-backed in situ starch digestion analysis that agrees with what the cows have to say.

The new measurements warranted a fresh, easy-read results report to maximize data output. The report still features the 60-day and 4-year averages that Rock River Laboratoryincludes on all analysis results reports along with Neutral Detergent Fiber (NDF) and starch rumen digestion graphs, which allow nutritionists to better visualize rumen carbohydrate digestion, while also ranking client feedstuffs against solid benchmarks.

Nutritionists interested in utilizing the new Comprehensive Nutrition package can choose Comprehensive Nutrition Analysis on a Rock River Laboratory Feed Request Form (downloaded atrockriverlab.com), or within the FeedScan sample submission app.

Founded in 1976, Rock River Laboratory is a family-owned laboratory network that provides production assistance to the agricultural industry through the use of advanced diagnostic systems, progressive techniques and research-supported analyses.

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Complete Nutrition picture available from Rock River Laboratory - Wisconsin State Farmer

Pig nutrition and pig health go hand in hand – Pig Progress (registration) (blog)

Posted: at 11:47 am

Pig nutrition and pig health are actually 2 sides of the same coin. Yet the world is full of nutritionists and vets. Edgar Garcia Manzanilla, our new expert at http://www.pigprogress.net has found his balance right in the middle between both disciplines. He introduces himself and explains why.

I wrote this, my first opinion for Pig Progress, on the day I turned 40 years old. That is roughly 15 years dedicated to research on pig and poultry. So far, it has been an interesting journey for this city dweller.

Here, I tried to answer a very relevant question asked by the editor: What in particular has your interest in agriculture and why? I would say what has driven me during these 15 years were 2 relationships: those between nutrition and health, and science and practice.

Curiosity brought me into pig nutrition, an unknown but fascinating subject for a person from a city. I started as a researcher in a group that was expanding into gut health and allowed me to play in different areas; nutrition, digestive physiology, microbiology and immunology.

Diets that are formulated for the same composition behave very differently once they are mixed with water whether it is in liquid feed or in the stomach of the pig. Photo: Edgar Garcia Manzanilla

This multidisciplinarity is key in pig nutrition. When discussing the effects of an additive, understanding how microbiota develops or the basics of immunity will give you a great advantage to optimise the results at farm level. You may not know all about everything but having a foot here and there allows you to get better solutions in collaboration with experts in different areas.

In 2006, I left my home town, in Barcelona, Spain, to spend some fantastic years in California, United States. There I discovered the epidemiological approach to animal science. Nutrition and gut health are very interesting, however, the approach taken until now to this areas is quite restricted.

Find out all there is to know about pig health using Pig Progress unique Pig Health Tool

We study nutrient requirements or additives in reduced homogeneous groups of animals in highly controlled environments (called randomised controlled trials). That is a key part of research, however the results are often not reproducible in real farms. Other subjects like pathology use complementary approaches that nutrition has ignored for too long.

Nutrition needs to observe the real environment we are working in. The feed we formulate in the computer is by no means what the animal gets, and the environment, including health and welfare status of the pigs, has huge influence on how the animal uses feed. Just think of the number of years we have been trying to get nutrient requirements for pigs with chronic health problems.

That knowledge area is still pretty much a desert because it is difficult to replicate in an experimental situation. It is time to study those relationships in high numbers of farms with technologies like near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy and more empirical approaches.

Understanding the effects of pathology in production and adapting nutrition to chronic disease is key for profitability. The image shows pigs from a farm with endemic flu, that were euthanised for necropsy. Photo Edgar Garcia Manzanilla

Finally, I moved to Ireland. You may ask, pigs in Ireland? Well, despite the overwhelming importance of dairy, Ireland has as many pigs per person as China and everybody loves their rashers, sausages and puddings.

What I found in Ireland was Teagasc, an organisation including research, knowledge transfer and education in one. This system is one of the strongest and most integrated systems in the EU. In such a system, the contact with advisors and farmers is constant and both are a gold mine of ideas for research.

The EU and the different countries should remove the bureaucratic pressure on researchers so they can interact more with the real world and bring solutions to farmers. I am lucky to work in a system that promotes this. However, it is not that easy in other countries like Spain.

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Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition: Africa – The Challenges of Building Resilience to Shocks and Stresses – Reliefweb

Posted: at 11:47 am

Food insecurity and poverty pose major challenge to goal of ending hunger by 2030 in sub-Saharan Africa

FAO report stresses need to increase agricultural productivity

24 February 2017, Freetown - Some 153 million people, representing about 26 percent of the population above 15 years of age in sub-Saharan Africa, suffered from severe food insecurity in 2014-15, according to a new FAO report.

The second edition of the Regional Overview of Food Insecurity in sub-Saharan Africa (2016) underscores how severe food insecurity and poverty pose a major challenge to the region's ability to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal of ending hunger by 2030.

"What it means is that, around one out of four individuals above 15 years of age in sub-Saharan Africa was hungry, meaning they did not eat or went without eating for a whole day for lack of money or other resources for food," Bukar Tijani, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa, said commenting on the findings of the report.

"This assessment underlines the significance of the challenge facing the region in meeting SDGs' target 2.1 and the relevance of sustainable and substantial support to food security and nutrition policies and programmes in the region," he added.

At the aggregate level, sub-Saharan Africa achieved adequate food availability, in terms od dietary energy supply, over the 2014-2016 period. However, several countries in the region remain highly dependent on food imports to ensure adequate food supplies, with some sub-regions depending on imports for up to a third of their cereal needs.

This indicates that substantial demand for food exists for these countries, and there is a need to increase agricultural productivity, food production and value addition, among other things.

Speaking at the launch of the report, Sierra Leone's Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Patrick Monty Jones, noted that the agriculture sector in sub-Saharan Africa is strongly based on household, small-scale farming, and that the majority of African farmers cultivate less than 10 per cent of their land, which could be attributed to many factors including poor governance of land tenure and shocks and stresses due to climate change resulting in food insecurity.

"To overcome these challenges, the agricultural sector's strategic objectives and priority activities should include increased production and productivity of staple food crops through a value chain approach for food security, promote commercial agriculture; promote and increase value-adding activities for agricultural products, increase the production and export of cash crops, and improve access to finance for farmers", he recommended.

The report recognizes the need to spur a broad-based economic transformation, particularly in the agricultural sector, which is the major source of income in sub-Saharan Africa, to generate a substantial reduction in poverty and improve food accessibility.

It cites unstable food markets and commodity prices and natural disasters - including severe droughts and floods leading to failed crops, insufficient pasture feed and water for livestock - as well as persistent political instability, conflicts and other forms of violence, as the main triggers of food insecurity and malnutrition in the region.

The report noted that on average per capita income, is three times lower in sub-Saharan Africa than in other regions of the world in 2014, although the region witnessed a 30 percent increase between 1990 and 2014.

Also, poverty levels declined in the region but remained the highest in the world, with the region being far from halving the proportion of people living in poverty.

Moreover, even though some progress is being made in reducing malnutrition, evidence shows that many countries in the region suffer from a triple burden of malnutrition, that is, undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies, and overweight and obesity, the latter being responsible for rising levels of non-communicable diseases.

Key social intervention strategies

According to the report, a varied number of comprehensive social protection policy frameworks and institutional arrangements have been introduced in the region to integrate nutrition and agriculture.

In this regard, Bukar Tijani observed that " it is imperative for countries to adopt multisectoral and multidisciplinary approaches in integrating agriculture, nutrition, social protection and related measures by realigning, integrating and coordinating activities and accountability mechanisms to deliver evidence-based sustainable nutrition solutions and outcomes."

The report also calls on countries to review and exert efforts in order to improve the translation of political commitments and declarations into effective programmes on the ground, particularly in the context of the ambitious targets set in the Malabo Declaration for 2025 and the Sustainable Development Agenda for 2030.

It laments that several documented policy commitments and strategies are yet to generate the expected results, but says that many country experiences illustrate the feasibility of eliminating hunger and malnutrition through the right combination of cross-sectoral policies and programmes.

Policy reforms

The report advocates for continued policy reforms to sharpen their focus, and the creation of an enabling environment for investment and participation by all relevant stakeholders, saying that this is critical to ending hunger, and achieving food security and improved nutrition.

It specifically calls for the development of innovative resource mobilization from a broad set of stakeholders from the public and private sector and financial instruments that would enable the implementation of actions in a sustained and widespread manner to scale up food security and nutrition programmes in sub-Saharan Africa.

"As the magnitude and impact of crises and disasters increase - aggravated by the overexploitation of natural resources and climate change - more and more households, communities and governments in the region are less able to absorb, recover and adapt, making them increasingly vulnerable to future shocks," the report said.

The report urges governments to intensify their efforts to ensure that years of gradual agricultural development gains are not wiped out by recurrent shocks, adding that increasing the resilience of agricultural livelihoods and promoting and financing climate-smart agricultural practices would be a powerful lever to reach the pledge of the Sustainable Development Goals "to leave no one behind".

Furthermore, immediate short, medium and long-term measures are needed to promote and scale up appropriate technologies to adapt and mitigate climate variability and change, to develop resilience monitoring and evaluation frameworks, and to minimize the impacts of El Nio on affected communities.

"Building resilience through peace-building efforts is critical to food security and nutrition. In armed conflict and protracted crises, protecting, saving and rebuilding agricultural livelihoods to save lives and create the conditions for longer-term resilience is a key step towards ensuring peace and stability. The critical role of the agriculture sector in crisis situations must not be overlooked and necessary investments need to be made," the report recommends.

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Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition: Africa - The Challenges of Building Resilience to Shocks and Stresses - Reliefweb

This Cambridge fitness studio is for runners, by runners – Boston.com

Posted: at 11:46 am

From bare bones CrossFit boxes to luxury boxing gyms, theres no shortage of fitness options in the Boston area. In this series, well introduce you to exciting new openings and revisit old favorites to showcase the best of the citys fitness scene. Think your favorite sweat spot deserves the spotlight? Email tips@boston.com and tell us why.

Heartbreak Studio is a boutique fitness spot nestled within Heartbreak Hill Running Companys Cambridge location. The classes focus on group treadmill running utilizing hills, sprints, and intervals to increase distance, stamina, speed, and cardiovascular health.

Opening date: September 2016

Price: $15 for your first class, 5-class pack for $125, 4-classes-per-month membership for $65Vibe: You wont see any inspirational slogans on the walls, but you will find lights that change colors when class is in session. The gray interiorco-owner Dan Fitzgerald calls the studio the cavelend a certain kind of focus to your workout and provides a nice backdrop for the lights. Youll feel like the star in your own movie. When the shades go down at the end of the warm-up, the room goes from bright, natural light to all gray, and its time to work, Fitzgerald said.

Wow factor: Fitzgerald has trained more than 2,000 marathoners over the last 15 or so years, and his running team was named the USA Track & Field New England Club of the Year in 2016.This studio is for runners, by runners. Classes are designed by Fitzgerald and tailored to all athletic abilities and running experiences. The specific aim is to make every runner better at every speed, Fitzgerald said. Know before you go: Bring warm-weather running gear, your running shoes, and a water bottle. Theres a water bottle filling station and full-service locker rooms with Skoah products.

(Heartbreak Studio in Heartbreak Hill Running Company; 294 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge)

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This Cambridge fitness studio is for runners, by runners - Boston.com

HEALTH AND FITNESS: Exercise: Beyond the numbers – Aiken Standard

Posted: at 11:46 am

Everyone knows that exercise is good for you, both for fitness and health. Exercise can improve your strength, endurance and flexibility. These results can be realized relatively quickly, depending the type and intensity of exercise you do. As a general rule, if you start an exercise program today, you should expect to experience some improvements within a few weeks.

That may mean running or walking at a faster speed, lifting heavier weights or coming closer to touching your toes. Aside from these improvements, participating in exercise should help you feel better doing everyday activities with fewer aches and pains.

Being active can also help you lead a longer, healthier life with a lower risk of developing chronic conditions including high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes and obesity. Regular physical activity can also reduce your risk of having a heart attack, stroke or developing many types of cancer. And even if these conditions do occur, they are likely to happen later in life and be less severe. While it is relatively easy to see results in strength, flexibility and endurance, it is difficult to see the improvements in health that come from regular exercise.

Take blood cholesterol, for example. A cholesterol test really includes several different measures of blood lipids including LDL and HDL cholesterol. LDL is called bad cholesterol because it tends to contribute to atherosclerosis, the process in your arteries that leads to many heart attacks and strokes. HDL has an opposite effect, reversing cholesterol deposits in arteries, so it is called good cholesterol. Changes in diet and certain medications, including statins (Lipitor is an example), have been widely used to lower LDL cholesterol and, to a lesser extent, raise HDL.

Exercise is also recommended to improve blood lipids, too. However, the effect of exercise is far less impressive than even a single medication. For example, some statin drugs can lower LDL by as much as 50 percent, which can have a huge impact on heart attack risk. By contrast, daily exercise might only lower LDL by 10 percent.

There arent as many ways to raise HDL, but regular exercise can increase HDL by about 10 percent. This is dose-related, so higher doses of both drugs and exercise can have a bigger effect. But the amount of exercise most people are likely to do will have a modest effect on blood lipids.

Some people, including many physicians, see this less potent effect as evidence that exercise simply doesnt work as well as drugs for improving blood lipids. Thats true, if you just look at the numbers. But the health benefits of exercise on these blood lipids goes beyond the total LDL and HDL.

It turns out that HDL and LDL exist in different forms. Some subtypes of LDL are more atherogenic, meaning they increase heart attack risk to a greater extent than others. Similarly, HDL comes in different subtypes, too, some of which can reduce the risk of heart attack more.

It is becoming clear that exercise can shift the prominent subtypes of HDL and LDL to the more beneficial types. This means that even though exercise may not result in significant changes in the total LDL or HDL on your blood lipid test, it can make LDL less bad and HDL better, reducing your risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Similarly, exercise also seems to have beneficial effects on blood vessels and blood glucose beyond the numbers your doctor monitors for hypertension or diabetes. So, even if your test results dont change much, know that the benefits of exercise go beyond the numbers!

Brian Parr, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Department of Exercise and Sports Science at USC Aiken where he teaches courses in exercise physiology, nutrition and health behavior. You can learn more about this and other health and fitness topics at http://drparrsays.com or on Twitter @drparrsays.

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HEALTH AND FITNESS: Exercise: Beyond the numbers - Aiken Standard

Mamadou Sakho hails fitness regime after win on Crystal Palace debut – ESPN FC

Posted: at 11:46 am

Sam Allardyce has only compliments to shower on his team for their showing against Middlesbrough.

Mamadou Sakho has said his impressive Crystal Palace debut against Middlesbrough on Saturday was down to an intense fitness programme.

Sakho made his first competitive appearance since April in Palace's 1-0 win at Selhurst Park.

The Liverpool centre-half made a loan switch to Palace at the end of January after being frozen out at Liverpool under manager Jurgen Klopp.

"My last game was 10 months ago but during this time I have been working hard on my fitness and, after my performance, it has all been worthwhile," Sakho said.

"I am really proud to be involved in this victory, and from my point of view it is always about me giving my best when I am out on the pitch for the club, the team and the supporters.

"We played 12 against 11 in this game because the fans were really good for us and they gave us a lot of courage and confidence. It was nice to get the result for them.

"We played very well as a team, gave a strong performance and deserved the three points in a really difficult game."

Liverpool had been looking to offload Sakho on a permanent deal in the January window, demanding 20 million for the France international.

However, they eventually settled on a 2m loan fee with Palace, who will cover the player's full wages.

Palace boss Sam Allardyce praised Sakho and said: "It was a nice performance.

"It was his first Premier League game this season, so we spent a good bit of time on his fitness and he's accepted that he had to put that extra work in."

Glenn is ESPN FC's Liverpool correspondent. You can follow him on Twitter: @GlennPrice94.

Mamadou Sakho hails fitness regime after win on Crystal Palace debut - ESPN FC

Planet Fitness in Fayetteville Sold – Arkansas Business Online

Posted: at 11:46 am

by Arkansas Business Staff on Monday, Feb. 27, 2017 12:00 am

Planet Fitness at 3300 Grove Dr. in Fayetteville

The Planet Fitness just off Wedington Drive in Fayetteville was sold for $3.45 million this past week.

BNC Rental LLC, led by Rick Carpenter of Fayetteville, bought the property from Forest Hills Village LLC, led by Charles Palmer of Fort Smith. Palmer and Carpenter have co-owned, through a condominium regime agreement, the 10-acre lot just east of the Walmart Neighborhood Market since 2012.

Jordan Jeter and Philip Schmidt of Flake & Kelley Commercial Northwest represented Palmer in the sale. Carpenter was represented by Matthew Hairston of Flake & Kelley.

The Planet Fitness is one of the main businesses on a lot that also has an eye clinic and a Dickeys BBQ Pit restaurant. Carpenter acquired the Dickeys portion of the lot after the condominium regime was created in July 2012.

Palmer and Carpenter ended the condominium regime Feb. 8.

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Planet Fitness in Fayetteville Sold - Arkansas Business Online

Dogs who work: Honey at Gauntlet Fitness – Daily Ardmoreite

Posted: at 11:46 am

Marsha Millermarsha.miller@ardmoreite.com

Editors note: Its no secret there are hard working dogs and cats. But while some are tending to traditional animal jobs, like herding cattle or mousing in barns, others are going to work with their owners and are performing people jobs at local stores, offices or job sites, like Honey, who has become an irreplaceable member of the staff at Gauntlet Fitness.

Names and occupation: Sometimes business owners dont realize the benefits of having a pet employee. Shawn and Ashley Mason, owners of Gauntlet Fitness, were prime examples of those who didnt didnt have a clue about the talented assets a pet employee could offer. In fact, they didnt think they needed a pet, much less a Pit Bull and especially not a Pit Bull that would be part of the staff in the gym. But, then fate, or maybe a doggie angel, stepped in and knocked on the Masons hearts. Honey, did her part too. She gave it her best shot during two interviews at Ardmore Animal Shelter one that convinced Ashley and and second one that clinched the deal with Shawn. Now Honey is much more than just part of the Mason family, she is a symbol to everyone who works out at the gym of what quiet, unassuming but courageous determination can accomplish.

Special talents: Honey is everything a Pit Bull is not suppose to be. Shes friendly, but she doesnt demand attention. Instead, she waits for permission before she meets and greets. Shes patient. Shes kind. Shes smart. She has a sweet and tender temperament. Most of all she radiates a quiet inner strength and a strong will. We dont know her story, Mason said. All we know is a Lone Grove firefighter found her, with a ripped ear and took her to the shelter. Whatever unfortunate experiences and hurts haunt her past, Honey has overcome her history. She moved on when she moved in with Shawn and Ashley and their three children and shes an example to every person training at the gym that where theres a will theres a way. She knows everybody and she works out with everybody, Mason said. She loves all our clients, especially Danny Wollaston (a well known dog rescuer). Honeys the encourager while shes on the job at the gym. Those working out cant help but try a little harder and work a little longer with Honey by their side. And just when someones about to get discouraged, Honey turns into a clown and rights whats wrong. Just a little doggie magic when its needed. When she does has a moment to herself, she mounts the front stairs and goes to the windows overlooking West Main Street where she can watch those passing by.

What makes Honey perfect for her people job? Although Honey is a bit reserved with those she doesnt know, she has a playful and energetic run and play battle rope side too. Shes always ready for those who would like to add a bit of cardio to their workout and shes always ready for playtime when her human kids, Liam, Addison and Ava come home from school. True to her breed she is by nature, an athlete with an impressive rock solid muscular build. Mason says the only time Honey isnt at the gym throughout the day in during kids classes. Why? Because some parents are apprehensive because shes a Pit Bull. We dont want anyone to worry. So Honey doesnt work out with the kids classes, he said, adding he hopes some day that will change. What we want people to know is that Pit Bulls are not bad or mean dogs. Honey is an excellent example of what her breed is really all about.

If you have or know of a dog or cat that works a people job let us know. Send an email to yournews@ardmoreite.com with the animals name, the name of the owner and where the special dog or cat works and contact information.

Originally posted here:
Dogs who work: Honey at Gauntlet Fitness - Daily Ardmoreite

Trump toasts nation’s governors ahead of health care talks – Chicago Tribune

Posted: at 11:46 am

President Donald Trump toasted the nation's governors Sunday night, welcoming state leaders to a black-tie ball at the White House ahead of discussions about his plans to repeal and replace the so-called Obamacare law.

Trump welcomed 46 governors and their spouses to the annual Governors' Ball at the White House, the first major social event of his administration. The president congratulated first lady Melania Trump on the elegant candle-lit event in the State Dining Room, telling the audience, "The room, they say, has never looked better, but who knows."

During his toast, the president noted his Monday meeting with the governors at the White House, saying, "Perhaps health care will come up," a nod to the effort in Congress to repeal and replace the sweeping health care law installed under President Barack Obama.

Trump saluted the nation's governors, joking that "it's such an easy job you have." Despite some of the turmoil at the start of his administration and legal challenges to his executive order temporarily banning travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries, Trump told the governors he had already made strides.

"I can say that after four weeks it's been a lot of fun but we've accomplished almost everything we've started out to accomplish. The borders are stricter, tighter," Trump said, praising the work of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly. He added: "We're very happy with the way things are working but, again, we've made a lot of promises over the last two years and many of those promises already are kept so we're very honored by that."

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat and longtime ally of Trump's campaign rival, Hillary Clinton, led the governors in a toast of Trump. McAuliffe, the chairman of the National Governors Association, said they all shared the common goals of jobs, education, quality health care and infrastructure across the nation.

"We want to work with you to build on those ideals," McAuliffe said.

The governors, their guests and members of Trump's Cabinet sat at long tables topped with white floral centerpieces and candles in the State Dining Room, where Trump addressed the guests from a lectern near a portrait of Abraham Lincoln. The president wore a black tuxedo while the first lady was dressed in a long black evening gown.

At the tables, Vice President Mike Pence was seated next to his successor, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, while chief of staff Reince Priebus sat next to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, his friend from his home state. The president's daughter Ivanka Trump was seated between Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin and Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker.

Original post:
Trump toasts nation's governors ahead of health care talks - Chicago Tribune

Republican health care plan leaks, becomes subject of controversy – MSNBC

Posted: at 11:46 am

Republican health care plan leaks, becomes subject of controversy
An analysis presented by the National Governors Association, conducted by the health research firm Avalere Health and the consulting firm McKinsey and Company, told state chief executives that the Republican plan, in its current form, would likely do ...
Report warns of state money fallout from health law repealABC News
Kasich: GOP may need Democrats to ensure health coverage for millionsMarketWatch
Trump: 'Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated'Washington Times
The Fiscal Times -Vox -NPR -Politico
all 904 news articles »

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Republican health care plan leaks, becomes subject of controversy - MSNBC

Stanford’s dean of medicine says restricting immigration to the US is bad for our health – Quartz

Posted: at 11:46 am

Stanford's dean of medicine says restricting immigration to the US is bad for our health
A few weeks ago, I was moderating a panel discussion with some of my Stanford Medicine colleagues. I asked what we needed to do to make sure that 30 years from now, people would look back on this time as one of remarkable medical breakthroughs.

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Stanford's dean of medicine says restricting immigration to the US is bad for our health - Quartz

Trump to meet with health insurers at the White House Monday – CNNMoney

Posted: at 11:46 am

Now, he'll have the chance to talk to some of the nation's leading health insurers about how to do that.

Health insurers are meeting with the president on Monday, and Obamacare is expected to be at the top of the agenda. Among the attendees will be Humana (HUM) CEO Bruce Broussard, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina's CEO Brad Wilson and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, an industry group that represents 36 independent insurers.

The president and insurers will have a lot to discuss. Trump's first executive order directed federal agencies to start rolling back Obamacare. And he has promised to unveil a plan to repeal and replace Obamacare with more affordable coverage, though he has left many in the dark about the details -- including Congressional Republicans.

Trump has also vowed that the transition to the new Republican plan will be a smooth one that will not yank coverage from those who currently have it through Obamacare. He can only fulfill that pledge if the insurers play along.

Related: Governors mull Medicaid expansion ahead of Trump meeting

Insurers, however, have grown increasingly jittery amid Trump's sweeping pronouncements and the infighting on Capitol Hill that has slowed the drive to repeal the law. Most recently, the nation's governors have entered the fray, with some Republican state leaders lobbying hard to keep Medicaid expansion. They will meet with the president early Monday morning to press their case.

Related: Humana pulls out of Obamacare for 2018

Humana has already said it is dropping out of the individual market completely in 2018. At least three other carriers -- Aetna (AET), Anthem (ANTX) and Molina Healthcare (MOH)-- have said they are weighing whether to participate in the Obamacare exchanges next year. This could prompt even more insurers to withdraw and those that remain to hike premiums.

They will likely look to Trump to ease their concerns.

His administration so far has sent them mixed signals. His Health & Human Services Department has answered some of the industry's concerns in a proposed rule it issued earlier this month. The rule would provide insurers with greater flexibility in how much their policies would pay in each tier of coverage on the Obamacare exchanges, make it harder for people to sign up outside of open enrollment periods and give carriers more time to have their 2018 plans approved by state and federal regulators.

However, at the same time, the Internal Revenue Service quietly reversed a decision to start rejecting tax returns that fail to indicate whether filers had health insurance, received an exemption or paid the penalty for not having coverage. While this has always been key to enforcing Obamacare's individual mandate, the IRS had been processing returns without this information.

Related: Trump starts making changes to Obamacare that could cost consumers

The IRS attributed the reversal to Trump's executive order that directed agencies to reduce the potential financial burden on Americans. However, it noted in a statement that the individual mandate is still in effect.

Any weakening of the individual mandate is sure to strike fear into the hearts of insurers. They depend on the mandate to bring in young and healthy participants to balance out older and sicker enrollees, which Obamacare requires them to cover.

Insurers have a long list of suggestions for the Trump administration and lawmakers on how to first stabilize Obamacare and then revamp the individual market. They will have the opportunity to present them to the president firsthand on Monday.

CNNMoney (New York) First published February 26, 2017: 11:36 PM ET

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Trump to meet with health insurers at the White House Monday - CNNMoney

Warning: Bicycle Helmets Could Be Hazardous For Your Health – Forbes

Posted: at 11:46 am

Warning: Bicycle Helmets Could Be Hazardous For Your Health
A bicycle helmet prevented me from experiencing a major head injury. But did it promote the very behavior that caused me to crash my bike? It was autumn in Michigan, and I was riding my mountain bike along a lakeside pathway. I was heading towards a ...

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Warning: Bicycle Helmets Could Be Hazardous For Your Health - Forbes

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