N.C. cancer patients’ lives are at stake if Senate doesn’t act this week

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Cancer patients increasingly take pills for their treatment rather than injections. But insurance rules make them far more expensive. Diedra Laird 2015 file photo

A cancer diagnosis is one of the most disrupting and frightening experiences a person can go through. I know because it happened to me just last year.

I live with two forms of blood cancer – myelodysplastic syndrome and myelofibrosis. I am also one of the fortunate ones. Ongoing treatment has so far been successful in keeping the cancer in check, but I live with the reality that my body will stop responding so positively and I will need a new treatment game plan.

And unless the North Carolina Senate acts this week on legislation bringing fairness to cancer health coverage, I will also continue living with the reality that I might not be able to afford the next treatment I need, even though I have health insurance.

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For many years, intravenous (IV) delivery was the primary method for administering the medicines used to treat cancer, but these days, many of the frontline cancer treatments are in pill form – used in conjunction with injectable or IV therapies, or even in place of them.

In fact, well over one-third of the anti-cancer medications approved by the Food & Drug Administration over the last two years are in pill form. For many cancers, the most effective and appropriate form of treatment comes in a pill, and for some cancers, such as chronic myeloid leukemia, an oral therapy is the only available treatment option.

Despite the need for oral anti-cancer medications, some health plans in North Carolina require patients to pay a large sum for them, often in the thousands of dollars, as opposed to the more reasonable fixed copay charge for IV treatments. The high costs make it difficult and often impossible for cancer patients to get the therapies their doctors prescribe. Without those prescribed therapies the prospects for continued life are extremely limited.

The sobering reality is that cancer is the leading cause of death in our state, with nearly 57,000 North Carolinians diagnosed each year. And yet, North Carolina is one of only seven states that hasn’t enacted legislation requiring health insurers to cover oral anti-cancer medications in the same way they cover injectable or IV chemotherapy.

The state House passed such legislation – known as the Cancer Treatment Fairness Act (HB 206) – this year and during the past two legislative sessions, yet it has never gotten a hearing in the Senate.

With the clock ticking down on this year’s session, time is of the essence for the Cancer Treatment Fairness Act and for the many North Carolinians that it would help. I hope senators will finally listen to our voices and allow the legislation to move forward.

Health insurance is a pool we all pay into so that we can afford care if or when we need it. No North Carolinian should have to forego the necessary treatment prescribed by their doctor because insurers do not cover oral anti-cancer medications in a fair way. It’s time to bring insurance policies in line with modern medicine – and in line with the rest of the country – and make cancer care fair in North Carolina.

[“Source-charlotteobserver”]

 

Researchers,create,wild,ReRAM,memory,chips,that,store,data,and,act,like,a,processor

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Computer scientists in Singapore and Germany have collaborated to create a resistive RAM chip that not only stores data but can act as a computer processor.

The breakthrough uses state-of-the-art memory chips known as Redox-based, resistive switching random access memory (ReRAM) and could lead to much faster and thinner mobile devices. Today’s computers must transfer data from the memory storage to the processor unit for computation, which along with slowing performance also requires more power.

“This is like having a long conversation with someone through a tiny translator, which is a time-consuming and effort-intensive process,” said Anupam Chattopadhyay, an assistant professor at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore. “We are now able to increase the capacity of the translator, so it can process data more efficiently.”

While the new circuit saves time and energy by eliminating data transfers between disparate storage and processors, it can also boost the speed of  processors found in laptops and mobile devices by at least two times or more, the researchers said.

By making the memory chip perform computing tasks, space can be saved by eliminating the processor, leading to thinner, smaller and lighter electronics. The discovery could also lead to new design possibilities for consumer electronics and wearable technology, the researcher said.

NTU researchers worked with others from Germany’s RWTH Aachen University and Forschungszentrum Juelich to create the new memory chips. Their research was published in the peer reviewed journal Scientific Reports.

Also known as memristor, the ReRAM came from global chipmakers such as SanDisk and Panasonic. ReRAM chips are one of the fastest memories on the market and are already commercially available for IoT applications. In 2015, Hewlett-Packard and SanDisk also announced an agreement to jointly develop “Storage Class Memory” (SCM) ReRAM that could replace DRAM and would be 1,000 times faster than NAND flash.

Until memristor, researchers knew of only three basic circuit elements—the resistor, the capacitor and the inductor. Memristor added a fourth, which consumed far less energy than previous technologies.

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An artist’s rendition of ReRAM memory. Tiny conductive filaments crisscross and connect silicon layers to represent a bit of data.

While ReRAM has been under development for many years as a storage technology, NTU’s Chattopadhyay, in collaboration with Professor Rainer Waser from RWTH Aachen University and Vikas Rana from Forschungszentrum Juelich, demonstrated for the first time how it could also process data.

“The quest for faster processing is one of the most pressing needs for industries worldwide, as computer software is getting increasingly complex while data centers have to deal with more information than ever,” the researchers stated in a news release.

How the ReRAM works

Computer processors today use the binary system where bits of data are represented as either a 0 or a 1. For example, the letter A will be processed and stored as 01000001, an 8-bit character.

However, the prototype ReRAM circuit built by Chattopadhyay and the other researchers processes data in three states instead of two. For example, it can store and process data as 0, 1 or 2, known as the Ternary number system.

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A microscopic sideview photo of a Resistive RAM circuit where tiny conductive filaments crisscross and connect silicon layers to represent a bit of data.

“Because ReRAM uses different electrical resistance to store information, it could be possible to store the data in an even higher number of states, hence speeding up computing tasks beyond current limitations,” the researchers stated.

The researchers plan to develop the ReRAM to process more than its current three states, which will lead to even greater improvements of computing speeds.

Using ReRAM for computing will be more cost-effective than other bleeding-edge computing technologies on the horizon, since ReRAMs will be available in the market soon.

“Using them not only for data storage but also for computation could open a completely new route towards an effective use of energy in the information technology,” Waser stated.

This story, “Researchers create wild ReRAM memory chips that store data and act like a processor” was originally published by Computerworld.

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source”cnbc”

Intel wants to make its Internet of Things chips see, think, and act

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Rolling out the internet of things means using devices as our eyes and ears and even asking them to make decisions for us. The chips at the heart of those devices play critical roles, and on Tuesday some of them got better at their jobs.

While ARM introduced two minuscule processor architectures with security features borrowed from larger chips, Intel unveiled its Atom E3900 chips with improved computer vision and industrial-grade timing.

The E3900s are designed for a wide range of applications, including manufacturing and surveillance, and they’ll soon be joined by a version specifically for vehicles, called the A3900.

Intel is working to help machines evolve from accurately sensing what’s going on around them to acting on those senses. For example, if a device can see defective parts going through an assembly line, it can alert someone or even stop the line. Cameras in cars could see that the driver is drowsy and set off an alarm in the car, and ones pointed in front of the vehicle could tell a pedestrian from a shadow and stop the car – if its vision was accurate enough.

Rival Qualcomm also improved its chips for IoT vision recently.

The E3900s have more computing power than their predecessors (by 1.7 times), along with faster memory speeds and memory bandwidth. But they also have better graphics and vision: 3D graphics performance is 2.9 times higher than in the previous generation, and the new chips can render 4K Ultra HD video on as many as three independent displays, Intel says.

Those three screens could be the virtual dashboard of a car and two seat-back displays for passengers to watch videos. By controlling each separately, the chip could make sure the dash display isn’t affected by the rendering activity happening on the entertainment screens, said Ken Caviasca, vice president of Intel’s IoT group.

The new chips are also better at capturing and processing images. They have four vector image processing units to perform video noise reduction, improve low-light image quality, and preserve more color and detail.

In a networked video recorder, an E3900 could take 1080p video streams from 15 cameras and display their feeds simultaneously at 30 frames per second on a video wall, Caviasca said.

Visual processing needs to keep getting better as technology evolves from rendering images to decoding content and on to image processing. The last step is computer vision, where machines understand what they see well enough to make decisions.

“What people are wanting is a processor that can sense like we do in an environment,” Caviasca said. And rather than just report back to humans, it can take action.

For industrial uses, the E3900 series gets Intel’s TCC (Time Coordinated Computing) technology. This feature lets the chip tightly control the timing of a device’s actions.

Some industrial systems rely on precise timing to be productive. For example, a robotic arm that takes parts off a conveyor belt needs to act when each object comes along. The more tightly the arm is synchronized with the rest of the system, the faster the assembly line can run.

Adding TCC, which wasn’t in the e3800 series, cuts the maximum delay to about one-tenth what it would have been. There are also uses for this technology in the automotive world, Caviasca said.

source”cnbc”

Calcium pump caught in the act

The outline of this region of the protein (which is a long chain of 994 amino acid residues and approximately 15,000 atoms in total) is shown as white and yellow features and includes detailed representations of two catalytically important amino acid residues as red and white sticks (oxygen and carbon atoms). The red spheres represent bound water molecules, and the magenta sphere a magnesium ion that coordinates the phosphorylated amino acid side chain (an aspartic acid, lower) and the vanadate mimic of the phosphate “caught in the act” of cleavage (middle) by a water molecule positioned on top. The water is activated for the reaction by another catalytically active amino acid side chain (a glutamatic acid). This active site architecture is nearly identical in all ion pumps and responsible for approximately 1/3 of the ATP energy consumption in the human body.
Credit: Dr. Johannes Clausen

The enzyme is the calcium-pumping Ca2+-ATPase — an ion pump protein that maintains a concentration of calcium inside the cell, which is about 20,000 times lower than outside. Only, it does not pump the calcium ions out of the cell, but instead into a compartment in the cell called the sarco-endoplasmic reticulum.

Such a pumping activity requires energy — a lot of energy — which comes from a two-step cleavage of the energy-rich molecule called ATP. In fact Ca2+-ATPases and related ion pumps such as the sodium-potassium pump (Na+,K+-ATPase) spend about one-third of the ATP consumed in the body and up to 75% in the brain, since these large ion concentration gradients drive so many other processes in the cell, in fact quite similar to the electric power of a battery.

As a consequence of their vital importance, impaired activity of the ion pumps — such as by mutations or toxic compounds inhibiting them — is associated with diseases. Oppositely, the ion pumps can be targeted by medical drugs to alleviate ionic imbalances associated with disease, or they can be targeted in cancer cells or pathogenic organisms that then die. It is therefore very important to know how they work at an atomic level.

To gain such insight, the research team used X-ray crystallography after having crystallized the calcium pump in a state that mimics the last step of the ATP cleaving reaction. In this state, a phosphoenzyme middle-product is cleaved to liberate free phosphate as the final product of the ATPase reaction, and after calcium has been released into the sarco-endoplasmic reticulum store.

This step is closely mimicked by vanadate, where the phosphorus atom is replaced by vanadium and therefore produces a stable complex instead of a short-lived transition state. Like this a very accurate view of how the enzyme stabilizes the transition state and catalyzes the final step of the ATP cleavage reaction becomes available for detailed analysis.

This kind of insight is of key importance to our understanding of cellular processes of health and disease at a molecular level. Calcium pumps are intimately involved in the activity of muscle, such as the heart, and therefore they are considered important targets for development of new drugs for cardiovascular diseases. The calcium pumps are also associated with metabolism and energy consumption overall and therefore generally connected to health.

The two first authors on the paper have now moved on to new drug discovery research in the Danish biotech company Pcovery (Johannes Clausen), and as an associate professor at the University of Oxford (Maike Bublitz), respectively.

[“source-gsmarena”]

Why Brexit-Trump blend may act to deter growing countries from Western-fashion governance

Men dressed as Donald Trump and Boris Johnson prepare to take part in a tomato fight at the Glastonbury Festival 2016 in England.

The U.okay.’s Brexit vote and the capability election of Donald Trump as U.S. president may additionallyboost up a circulate in emerging markets (EM) towards Singaporean instead of Anglo-Saxon-fashiongovernance, renowned investor Mark Mobius advised CNBC.

men dressed as Donald Trump and Boris Johnson prepare to take part in a tomato combat on theGlastonbury festival 2016 in England.
Getty photographs
guys dressed as Donald Trump and Boris Johnson put together to participate in a tomato fight at theGlastonbury competition 2016 in England.
Mobius, who’s government chairman of Templeton rising Markets institution, stated predominant EMs like China were seeking to Singapore instead of the West for notion — and said the plain upward thrust in protectionism and rejection of free exchange and globalization in developed economies might encourage thatfashion.
there’s ongoing debate over what model makes sense — the U.S. model or the Singapore version ofeconomic marketplace liberalization with solid one-birthday party authorities,” the Singapore-based totallyinvestor informed CNBC on Wednesday.
Mobius stated the financial and political tumult that observed the U.k.’s vote to depart the european Union highlighted the capability for instability in even the maximum tremendously evolved of Western democracies.

“China is leaning in the direction of Singapore … Russia and Turkey are leaning in the direction ofSingapore,” he informed CNBC.

under the 31-12 months management of prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew from 1959 to 1990, Singapore grew from an impoverished backwater to one of the international‘s most advanced economies. nowadays, Yew’shumans‘s movement birthday celebration still guidelines Singapore and U.S. non-governmental companyFreedom house categorizes the citynation as a “partially free” democracy.

Brexit will gain jap Europe: Mark Mobius Mobius sees Brexit as a boon to China
Wednesday, 29 Jun 2016 | 6:39 AM ET|00:43
due to the fact that 2014, EMs along with China, Vietnam, Russia and Kazakhstan have began shiftingtowards floating exchange charge regimes. a few, which includes China, are also gradually opening up their inventory markets. There are some signs, but, of a groundswell move closer to the political rights and civil liberties espoused by the West, with a few EMs, like Turkey, increasingly cracking down at the media and political opponents.
The prospects for the global financial system will be gloomy ought to closing week’s Brexit vote beaccompanied with the aid of the election of presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump, as U.S. president, Mobius stated on Wednesday.
“A victory for Trump should accelerate the worry element — of protectionism and so on,” he told CNBC,including that Trump had a “exact risk” of prevailing.

“There may be a trendy remaining up and rejection of free change and globalization … that is something wemust watch very carefully,” Mobius later added.

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