Tag Archives: healthcare

Microsoft Takes Another Crack at Health Care, This Time With Cloud, AI and Chatbots – Bloomberg

Posted: February 17, 2017 at 1:22 am

Microsoft Corp. is trying again in health care, betting its prowess in cloud services and artificial-intelligence can helpit expand in a market that’s been notoriously hard for technology companies.

A new initiative called Healthcare NExT will combine work from existing industry players andMicrosoft’s Research and AIunits to help doctors reduce data entry tasks, triage sick patients more efficiently and ease outpatient care.

“I want to bring our research capabilities and our hyper-scale cloud to bear so our partners can have huge success in the health-care world,” said Peter Lee, a Microsoft Research vice president who heads Healthcare NExT.

Microsoft has tried to expand in health care before, with mixed results. It had a Health Solutions Group for many years, but combined that into a joint venture with General Electric Co. Last year, it sold its stake to GE.

Microsoft unveiled the new effort ahead of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society conference next week.

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Microsoft want to use things like speech and natural language recognition technology to replace manual data entry by doctors, Lee said.

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There’s also a new Microsoft project called HealthVault Insights that works with fitness bands, Bluetooth scales and other connected devices to make sure patients stick to their care plan when they leave the hospital or doctor’s office.

Many companies, like International Business Machines Corp. and AlphabetInc.’s Verily, are developing similar technology. However, the healthcare industry has been slow to adopt essential enabling technologylike electronic records. Entrenched, legacysystems and rigorous regulation are also obstacles, said Malay Gandhi, co-founder ofEnsemble Labs, which invests in health-care startups.

“The industry wasn’t built as a tech-enabled industry,” he said. Some large tech companies “aretrying to sprinkle AI or machine learning over the top of existing systems and I view that as misguided. We might need to rebuild these businesses with tech at the center.”

Lee found the space daunting when Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella asked him to take it on.

“At first it felt like he threw me into the middle of the Pacific Ocean and asked me to find land and you see others swimming around aimlessly and beneath you people are drowning,” Lee said. “Big technology firms have tried this and failed.”

This time, Microsoft aims to support existing health-care organizationswith cloud services and AI software, rather than launch company-branded products that may compete with existing industry players, he said.

“We know health care will become more patient-focused, more cloud-based and that AI will make health care more data-driven. We just dont know when and and how it will come together,” he said “But we can position Microsoft to be there when all these changes happen.”

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The National Debt Is The Greatest Threat Facing America – Being Libertarian

Posted: February 15, 2017 at 9:43 pm

How big of a problem is the current national debt? To answer this question, we must understand the terminology that is used when discussing the debt, and then utilize perspective to fully appreciate the numbers that we will be dealing with. A surplus occurs the government spends less money than was collected in taxes during a single year. A deficit is when the government spends more money than was collected in taxes during a single year. The national debt is the total amount of money that is borrowed through the years to pay for any deficit in the annual budget, minus any surpluses that are used to pay down the debt.

According to NationalPriorities.org, as of December 15, 2015, the national debt was $18.8 trillion and the annual budget for FY 2015 was $3.8 trillion. This means that the national debt is roughly five times the amount of the entire federal budget. Imagine a family that makes $40,000 a year, but carries $200,000 in credit card debt, and one starts to have a good understanding of the mess that America is in. The first step of getting out of this debt is to start running an annual surplus in the federal budget.

The highest surplus in modern history, according to InsideGov.com was $290 billion attained by President Bill Clinton in 2000. If politicians could compromise enough to attain that surplus again, it would take almost 65 years for the debt to be paid off. It would be a little short of that if we rolled the savings from the interest saved while paying the principle down into the surplus, but that would be paying more than $290 billion a year. This is the perspective being taken, to keep the numbers easier to understand.

This just leaves us the challenge of finding $290 billion in the Federal Budget, right? Wrong. In 2016 the federal budget ended with a deficit of $552 billion. So, in order to attain the surplus of $290 billion we need to find and eliminate $842 billion. While this is challenging, it is not impossible; after all the Federal Annual Budget is $3.8 trillion, so we just need to drop the $.8 trillion right? Where do we start?

What would it take to recover this amount and attain a surplus?

Let us put that in perspective. Here are programs that are listed as discretionary spending in the federal budget from 2015 numbers:

The ENTIRE U.S. Military Budget: $598 Billion

Education Spending: $70 Billion

Medicare & Health: $66 Billion

VA Benefits: $65 Billion

Energy & Environment: $41 Billion

Science: $30 Billion

Social Security, Unemployment, & Labor: $29 Billion

Transportation: $26 Billion

Food & Agriculture: $13 Billion

If we eliminated all of these services, that would free up $938 billion, but thats not realistic; America needs to defend itself. Cutting the defense budget by 75% would eliminate $788.5 billion and be short of our goal by only $53.5 billion, which would only be a surplus of $236.5 billion.

The debt is not an issue for the Left or the Right. We all need to come together and decide what we are willing to sacrifice to keep this nation fiscally healthy. Programs cost money and we dont have enough to go around. Quantitative easing (printing money to pay debt) will only work as long as the American dollar is the standard world currency. There are already calls from Russia and China to move away from the dollar because quite honestly it is not fair to other nations when the American government can simply print money to pay for whatever it wants.

We are spending well above our means and this, not any foreign power, is the greatest threat to the United States. Progressive America will have to face what will happen to all of the people who have come to rely on government programs, while conservative America will have to face what happens when there is no fiscally conservative party to be a watchdog in government spending. What will it take to turn Americans towards a compromise that can correct this before it is too late?

The growth of the Libertarian Party is the only hope for America now. A truly fiscally responsible party needs to take its place among the government now that the Republicans have turned their backs on any form of fiscal conservation. President George W. Bush had a surplus his first year (2001), even though he cut the surplus inherited from President Clinton in half. Before Bush the last Republican president with a surplus was President Richard Nixon in 1969, when he had a surplus of $15.3 billion. This should debunk any myth of the fiscally conservative Republicans.

The Libertarian Party stands to inherit voters looking for candidates that understand finances and how to control spending. As the Democrats continue their march to the left and as the Republicans retract to the right, a majority of Americans are going to be left in the middle looking for someone to represent them.

It is the opinion of this author that discussions about, and actions to eliminate, the national debt are the best opportunities to shine a spotlight on where the current two-party system is leading America, and to suggest that a party that represents true liberty be given a chance.

Image of dollar attained from http://www.publicdomainpictures.net


Jeffrey Smith served in the U.S. Army, where he first began to question the policies of the government and the effect of these policies on personal liberty. Upon leaving the service he found Libertarianism ideas appealing, due to his stances on several issues that did not fit the mold of either Republican or Democrat, and the emphasis given to individual liberty. He currently works as a Senior Operations Specialist/Analyst for a Not-For-Profit organization that promotes standards within the healthcare industry. Jeff has a Masters degree in Business Administration from Excelsior College and is looking for opportunities to bring the Libertarian Platform to everyday people.

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Fast Forward: SAP’s Steve Singh on Automation, Business Without Borders – Fox Business

Posted: at 12:10 am

Fast Forward is a video interview series where we have conversations about living in the future. Today my guest is SAP’s Steve Singh, who talks AI, automation, and the future of travel technology. I wanted Steve on the show because he is one of the most successful technology executives out there. He was at the very birth of the Internet. He founded Concur in 1993 and sold it to SAP two years ago for $8.3 billion. Let’s jump in.

Dan Costa: I want to get to your job titles, and I say titles because you have more than one. President of Business Networks and Applications for SAP, Executive Board Member of SAP SE, and the CEO and Chairman of Concur Technologies.

Steve Singh: That was part of my signing onto SAP, is I wanted a lot of titles.

Dan Costa: Hopefully you get three salaries as well.

Steve Singh: That part didn’t work out.

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Dan Costa: There’s still time. I think you did okay. Let’s talk about Concur. This is a company you founded in 1993. I did some research. In 1993, that was when I was on AOL. AOL had just opened up the Internet for mainstream users through the birth of the modern Internet, and you were starting a technology travel company.

Steve Singh: It’s interesting, Dan. When we started Concur, the idea of the Internet, you’re right, was just coming into being. To be fair, our first version of Concur wasn’t even a client/server product. It was actually a shrink-wrapped piece of software that was really designed to solve a problem that I had. The previous company I was at … I started a little company and we ended up getting acquired by Symantec, and I was on the road for nine months, and so as a part of that acquisition, the CFO of Symantec said, “Hey look, you’ve got til the end of the week to file your expenses.”

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I was stressed because I had about $150,000 of expenses outstanding, and so I went to Egghead, looked for some software, and there was nothing. So I’m filling out these Avery forms, and after that I decided: “Okay, this is a great opportunity to go automate a business process.” But we did it with shrink-wrapped software, and then there was a transformation into client/server and then another transformation into cloud .

Dan Costa: So that simple process of encountering a problem and then creating a technical solution for it, sort of what you’ve been doing for the last 20 years.

Steve Singh: Yeah, I kind of feel like I’ve stumbled through parts of my life. Look, you think about most innovation, it happens because there’s a need to solve a problem, and then if you’re passionate about solving that problem and if you’re passionate about creating something that’s sustainable then a lot of good things happen.

Dan Costa: So, expense reports. People still hate doing their expense reports. It’s never a fun process but how has it changed? How has it changed from when you started to now?

Steve Singh: Maybe I’ll just give you my impression not only of that era but where I think it’s going. Back when we started Concur, expense reports were all paper-based and they were totally disconnected from the travel process, right? So for me, I’ve never taken a business trip for which there wasn’t an expense report, yet when you booked travel back in ’93, it was a, you pick up the phone and call your travel agent. Today obviously that world has changed, and so what we think is going to happen is over time, the very concept of an expense report will go away. It’ll all happen invisibly behind the scenes.

Think about payroll. We don’t interact with our payroll system. Really happy that we get a check every couple of weeks, but the reality is, the check’s automatically deposited in your bank, and I think the same process will happen to expense reporting. In fact, I would argue that two or three years from now, you’ll not only see integrated travel and expense, I think you’re going to see a digital version of credit. What will happen is that you’ll see credit cards, corporate cards that are actually integrated into your budget. You’ll be able to swipe on a card and say, “Hey, look, I want to file this transaction as related to my New York trip.” And as you swipe the card it automatically goes into the expense report, automatically gets paid and process, so you literally do nothing but take your trip.

Dan Costa: The problem with expense reports, at least in our company, is that everything needs to be approved by a manager, and those sign-offs become almost inconsequential because you’re doing so many of them all the time.

Steve Singh: Yeah, and so that’s why it’s just got to get integrated into how you work. In fact, I think that there’s a fundamental shift in the world around this concept that we call beyond boundaries, or business beyond boundaries, that basically says, “Look, the technology should shift and morph into how you work, not the other way around.” Too much of the technology being delivered today is a set of services that you have to go conform to, and the reality is that it’s a stepping stone to where I think the world will move.

Dan Costa: A lot of these services, some of the best services, work really without your input.

Steve Singh: Absolutely.

Dan Costa: You don’t need to see how the back end is working, you just have a need and then the service fills it.

Steve Singh: Maybe very broadly, you saw the shift from mainframe computing to client/server and then naturally to cloud. I think there’s a next wave coming, and that’s the shift to micro services. I realize that’s a kind of well, for your audience it’s perfect, but it’s a very technical way of looking at the world.

Dan Costa: We should explain what a micro service is. How is that different?

Steve Singh: I think that the applications themselves are going to start to decompose. You started off … SAP, it was the leader in enterprise software. They delivered this big, gigantic, monolithic application that ran every part of your company. The reality is, as you move to cloud, these applications start to decompose into their component parts, and the reason they decomposed is that the individual or the customer say, “Look, I want better experiences in every part of this … My business application,” and so the whole reason why Concur exists, is because as cloud computing started to decompose these apps, we had a chance to come in and say, “We can deliver such incredible value here that you’ll pay to automate expense reporting because it’s just 10 times better than what you could do before.” Now you’re starting to see those apps even decompose further.

For example, when you and I decided, hey, look, let’s get together, there was an email that was sent from your office to mine, and in responding back to that, all I did is, in Microsoft Office. I literally responded back saying, “Hey, you know, love to see you, look forward to seeing you on Friday.” Because of the work we’re doing with Microsoft, that email picks up the fact that I’m traveling to New York, it automatically says, “You know what? I’m going to go ahead and book your travel,” and it calls services within Concur to book that travel, so I don’t actually as a user I don’t go into Concur and use it, but the email itself understands that there’s a travel piece that is needed here. It’ll call the right service to book that travel, and that’s what I mean by micro services.

All the applications will be broken into their component parts and those parts will be used whenever it’s appropriate.

Dan Costa: And it relies on an open system.

Steve Singh: Yeah.

Dan Costa: So, there used to be a model where you were a SAP business. You were big enough to bring in SAP and they would run your accounting, your payroll, your expenses, all these different things, and now it’s, “You know what? We’re just going to use this for expense reporting, we’re going to use this for accounting, we’re going to use this for payroll and it’s all going to work together.”

Steve Singh: And the reality is that customers, whether you’re talking about individuals or companies, are demanding that, look, you want your systems to be open. You want to be able to innovate on top of those environments, and that demand is what will drive the shift to open systems. But part of this is also that, look, there’s no way one company can solve all of these programs. As much as I love SAP and I think it’s got a tremendous opportunity to dominate in the enterprise market, even with 84,000 people we can’t innovate at the level that our customers want, and so what do you do? Well, you open up the platform and allow everybody in the world to say, “I can add value on top of that platform.”

Dan Costa: So, 21 years after you founded Concur, you sold it to SAP for 8.3 billion. You stayed on with SAP. I’m sure you did pretty well in that transaction, but you stayed with SAP and it sounds like you’re enjoying yourself.

Steve Singh: I am. At Concur, it was never about anything but I loved what I did, and I loved the people I worked with. I felt like I was solving a problem that was worthwhile solving, and SAP is a little bit of the same. The reality is, I took 5,000 people with me from Concur into SAP. They’re my friends and in many ways like family to me, but I’m also learning a ton at SAP. Managing a 5,000 person company, while challenging and interesting, is very different than being a part of the management team of an 84,000 person company, and so I’m learning skills that are new, and as long as it’s fun I’m going to enjoy it.

Dan Costa: And your portfolio’s diversified a little bit too. You’re getting involved in the healthcare space now.

Steve Singh: Yeah. I happen to run a group called Business Networks and Applications. It includes Concur, Ariba, Fieldglass, SuccessFactors, our SAP health platform, and also our business data network, so a lot of very diverse and interesting parts of it.

Dan Costa: You used the phrase earlier, business without borders, I just want to … When people hear that they think, “Oh, he’s talking about globalization,” but it’s different. It’s more than that.

Steve Singh: Globalization is a part of it but the reality is that what we mean by business beyond boundaries is that just the nature of how we work changes the way technology has to actually be delivered, and so I think that that example of the emails is an interesting one. I don’t want to go into applications to do my work. I want the application to figure out what I want to do and go do that for me.

Dan Costa: It’s funny. If you count up how many applications we used just to set up this interview, it was Microsoft Office, it was Google Docs, it was Calendar, Concur wrapped into it, and none of that was intentional.

Steve Singh: No, and so as technologists, if we do our jobs right, the reality is these applications start to act on data and they start to take actions on your behalf, so think about what’s happening with IOT. Sensors are being built into everything in the world. Those sensors gather data and they ought to be able to take action, so really simple example. If you’re Rio Tinto and you’ve got big, heavy equipment sitting in remote parts of the world, just imagine just replacing a tire on one of these big tractors. These tires are gargantuan tires. The replacement cost is not the issue. It’s when you replace it, how do you get that replacement tire to that remote location?

So what’s happening is these sensors are being built into tires, and they’re sending information and saying, “Hey, you know what? I’ve got three months of life left in the tire,” and so it’s integrated into the Ariba supply chain. Ariba’s saying, “Hey, you know what, Rio Tinto, I’m going to ship a tire to you because three months from now you’re going to need it,” so the applications are starting to use information and take actions on your behalf, and that’s where the world has to go.

Dan Costa: Yeah, well, I think that’s a nice logical turn to automation. I’m going to read you something that you’ve written. Hopefully you still stand by it. “As we move forward in today’s digital economy, every single business process that can be automated will be automated. Every single process that can be connected will be connected, and when you connect those processes with intelligence, with an awareness of context, systems can start to work on your behalf in amazing ways.” Is there where we are right now, where we’ve got the automation and now we’re starting to add the intelligence?

Steve Singh: Yeah, I think that’s exactly where we’re going. Look, it’s going to have massive benefit for business, but it’s also going to have massive impact on our workforce. It’ll have a huge social impact in the world. When you think about what happens with AI being integrated into technology, there are huge chunks of … Let’s just take finance and accounting. There are huge chunks of the finance and accounting function that can be done without the human being involved. So the role of each individual in finance and accounting is going to change massively over the next, I’d say, five to 10 years.

So when you think about the shifts in jobs that’s happening in our economy, the jobs are not being lost to outsourcing to other parts of the world, they’re being lost to automation, and unfortunately there’s massive benefit to automation and business will always try to be more and more efficient, so the question is that as that shift continues, what do we do as a society to ensure that there’s an incredible opportunity for people.

Dan Costa: I heard the example today that Ford was going to keep a plant in the United States that was a seven hundred million dollar investment. There are going to be 700 jobs there, and 10 years ago there would have been 7,000 jobs, and 30 years ago there would have been even more than that, and it’s just something that’s not factored into our conversation.

Steve Singh: Naturally. You look at even self-driving cars, right? Even though we’re not there today, look, in 10 years will we be there? Probably. Think about, just in our country, the number of people who make a living in taxis or in town cars or whatever it might be. That’s going to change, so we have to as a society thinks about what’s that impact and how do we help train every member of our community to do more and more valuable parts of work.

Dan Costa: We know that … We’ve talked about drivers being replaced. We’ve talked about mid-level accounting people being replaced. When does this start to become real for the American people? When do they start to actually appreciate it and say, “Okay, we need to take action here.”

Steve Singh: Now we’re getting a little bit more into the philosophical part of life, but I think one of the things that we can do a lot better job at in our country is massive investment in education. The way to prosperity is through education. I say this because, look, I was born in literally a mud house in a tiny village in India. The reason why I’m sitting here is because my father knew that his only chance at life was to have a great education and go seek opportunities in parts of the world where they existed. As the core functions of society become automated, the only way for individuals to thrive is to drive an investment in education that gives them a chance to do more valuable things.

Dan Costa: So, are you bullish on the fact that if we did raise education levels and we went to school longer and we got more specific training … We’ve talked about even programming itself. Everybody said programming used to be this thing that, as long as you could program you’d always have a job. Programming has been automated now.

Steve Singh: Yeah, but there will be higher and higher value functions within programming, right? We’re not anywhere near done in that space. In fact, I think that we ought to be investing in STEM education all the way down to the kindergarten level. In fact, one of the things that came out of the SAP acquisition at Concur is that I had a chance to put together a small foundation. The foundation invests entirely in education, and for us, we’re focusing more on girls’ education but across the board in education, and so driving programming or coding classes into schools. In my view, is an excellent opportunity to give that next generation of our citizens an opportunity.

Dan Costa: Artificial intelligence also plays into it. We talked about automation, but AI and machine learning is also driving a lot of these forces. Have you seen anything that you’ve been particularly impressed by, like this is an amazing development and it’s here today?

Steve Singh: I still think we’re in the early stages of this, but you’re starting to see examples of where machine learning and artificial intelligence are improving the quality of the application. I think Google does an amazing job in this area. I think that SAP, while we do amazing work here, it hasn’t yet touched the customer, but in the next two or three years, you’re going to see that happen. So literally, our finance applications Concur, will have a set of AI built into it that will wipe out even some of the entry of expensive ports, so they’re starting to show up but I still think we’re two to five years away.

Dan Costa: That’s not that long, though.

Steve Singh: No.

Dan Costa: You should be planning for that. We should all be planning for that now.

Steve Singh: Yeah, and look at … You and I, as we’ve grown up through this industry, we’ve seen sea changes in the industry, but look at a company like Netflix, right? It’s gone through two transformations in its 20-year history. It started off really as a DVD rental company, but today it’s producing its own content, so twice in its history, it’s transformed itself, and I think that rate of change is just accelerating, and so two to five years, that’s nothing. You’re going to see massive, massive changes.

Dan Costa: Yeah. Netflix went from a disk company that would mail a product that relied on US mail to a streaming company, and then pivoted again to become a content company, and all the while charging seven to ten dollars a month.

Steve Singh: And by the way, a lot of the stuff that Netflix delivers is based on technology that someone else built, so it’s sitting on top of AWS, but a lot of the micro-services that AWS delivers is driving Netflix. In fact, it’s interesting. As much as AWS supports the success of Netflix, it’s also using the same technology to deliver its own content, and so, in fact, Amazon Studios, right? It didn’t exist 10 years ago, but at the last Golden Globes, it had 11, 12 entries.

Dan Costa: And it’s amazing if you look at how much money they’re pumping into content production, it’s more than the studios are, and Netflix’s pipeline … They’ve got a billion dollars worth of content in the pipeline that hasn’t even shown yet.

Steve Singh: This is the kind of transformational opportunity that exists by taking technology, driving down to its component parts and making these services available to anybody in the world. What you’re going to see is how those services come together and the products are being delivered could be way beyond anything we imagined, and in my view, that’s the fun part of the opportunity in the next 10 years, but it’s also massive change. You look at just the music or movie industry, how much that’s changed. It’s just the beginning of change. The idea that talent can create its own content and distribute it and monetize it will forever change.

Dan Costa: You’ve said if you ever left Concur, and now part of SAP, you might take a stab at running an alternative energy company. What particular segment, and would you be doing that for profit or for altruistic reasons?

Steve Singh: As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized I don’t have enough experience to do that. I think that alternative energy is an area that we have to invest in for lots of reasons, not the least of which is it’s a requirement, given how much we consume, from an energy perspective, that we have to find ways to actually consume it in a … Not just in a better for our environment, but frankly in a renewable model. Look, I still would love to do something of that nature, but I’m also happy to invest in companies that do that. I think what Tesla’s doing with battery technology is amazing, and frankly that’s the first part of the problem to solve.

Even if we could have a solar based set of power services, you still have to be able to store that energy, and so that problem is an important problem to solve.

Dan Costa: That’s the thing that, when we talk about alternative energy sources, it’s one thing to talk about moving to solar from oil, but you need all the infrastructure to support. Moving this energy around, storing it, it’s the battery problem Tesla’s made great cars , but they’re also working on building the infrastructure so that you can recharge in various locations.

Steve Singh: Yeah. In fact, we run a small charity in India. It’s a girls school and it’s a remote village, and so power is not something you can always rely on, and so we actally bought the Tesla power wall. It’s being installed right now in that school. One of the great things about that village is it gets plenty of sunshine, so we’ve got solar panels that are charging that battery. Our hope is that once that’s done, you’ll be able to run the school with constant stream of power all day long, where today, it’s normal to see every five or six hours, the power just shut down for another five or six hours.

Dan Costa: I think that’s an interesting perspective too because, in the US, we tend to think of ourselves and look at what’s happened in the United States and the effect of technology on the economy. But when you step back and look at the standard living globally, a billion people have left poverty in the last ten years. That’s incredible.

Steve Singh: Yeah. There are so many areas we could go with that, right? Most of the human population doesn’t live at the levels that we live at. To be fair, there’s another part of this. Half the human population really doesn’t have the same opportunity that the other half does. If you think about the opportunity for women, it starts with an investment in education, and from there the chance to engage across the workforce. These are things that you and I have enjoyed for our entire lives.

Dan Costa: One of the things as we were talking, we talked a lot about Concur and how you founded that company. Before that, you were an employee at Apple Computer.

Steve Singh: Yeah.

Dan Costa: What was that like?

Steve Singh: First of all, it was random luck that I got to be a part of Apple. I happened to be sitting in a bar and chatting with a guy that worked there, and he was working on a complex problem-

Dan Costa: It’s a little harder to get a job at Apple now.

Steve Singh: Yeah, yeah, and I happened to be programming at the University of Michigan on a Visa, and he said, “Hey, look, why don’t you come on out and meet the team,” and it led to a job at Apple. This was back when Steve Jobs was running the company. Very different era.

Dan Costa: The first time.

Steve Singh: First time, yeah, but I was totally blown away by the innovation that they were driving and how forward thinking the company was even back then. So, look, a lot of life is happenstance and I happened to run into an incredible individual that gave me a chance at a great life.

Dan Costa: So, Concur has worked out pretty well for you, but have you ever thought about what would have happened if you stayed at Apple and you spent 23 years working at Apple?

Steve Singh: Yeah. I had an entrepreneurial bug that was there even in the Apple days, and for me, there’s never going to be a time where I don’t want to create new things, and so that’s part of what gets me charged up. That’s part of what I feel like I can add value to, so I love the path that I’ve been able to take, been fortunate enough to take.

Dan Costa: So, let’s get to my closing questions. What are you most concerned about regarding technological development in the future? What keeps you up at night? What do you think is a big problem we should be addressing, and we’re not?

Steve Singh: I think the bigger problem is the impact of technology on society. From a jobs perspective, certainly, and I think we as a society have to think about, as automation drives jobs out, what do we do to help our citizens continue to thrive? I believe that this is an area that public policy has been to focus on really. I think today perhaps we’re not as focused on it as we should be, and I do not concern myself with democrats or republicans. I believe that the reality is this is an area that we as a country have to go spend time on, and there are basic services that we need to deliver. It’s education, it’s healthcare, and frankly just core opportunity for every member of our society.

Dan Costa: On the flip side, what are you most optimistic about, and this could be a broader technological trend, or it could be a new gadget that you just brought home and you’re like, “This changed my life and I can’t live without it.”

Steve Singh: I’m an investor in a company called Center ID, and I love what they’re doing. They’re creating a digital credit card that has budgeting software that comes with it. It’s an opportunity to change the corporate credit card market, and so on a more microscopic basis I’m excited about that, but look, broadly I think technologically, as much as it has potential negative impact on society also has a massive positive impact, right?

Think about what technology can drive into the healthcare arena. If you think about cancer treatments today, the vast majority of cancer treatment, in fact, all of it, is based on an average that every demographic is an average white man, age 55, right?

Dan Costa: Because all the studies were done on that demographic group of patients.

Steve Singh: Yeah, so if I’m unfortunate enough to have that problem, I’ve got some issues I have to deal with outside of cancer. I think as we bring technology to bear on what are fundamentally disparate data sets, I believe that we can drive a level of personalization in medicine that will radically improve the quality of health, and so there’s tons and tons of benefit from technology that I’m actually very excited about.

Dan Costa: Now how can people find you online, follow what SAP’s doing, get in touch with you?

Steve Singh: My Twitter address is @stevessingh, and obviously LinkedIn as well, and look, any opportunity to engage with individuals around what we can do as partners or as a society, I’d love to.

For more Fast Forward with Dan Costa, subscribe to the podcast. On iOS, download Apple’s Podcasts app, search for “Fast Forward” and subscribe. On Android, download the Stitcher Radio for Podcasts app via Google Play. For those without a mobile device, listen via the audio file below.

This article originally appeared on PCMag.com.

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Can Technology Really Solve China’s Healthcare Crisis? – Forbes

Posted: at 12:06 am

Can Technology Really Solve China's Healthcare Crisis?
Technology isn't the solution to every problem; in fact, in many situations it can actually make things worse. Nowhere is this tension between technology's promise and its unfulfilled potential more obvious than in China's healthcare economy. This is

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New Genetic Markers for COPD Discovered – HealthCanal.com (press release) (blog)

Posted: February 14, 2017 at 10:47 am

Research consortium led by Brigham and Womens Hospital identifies 13 new genetic regions associated with COPD and shared risk factors for pulmonary fibrosis

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the third leading cause of death in the United States, yet there are no effective medicines that improve mortality from the disease. While smoking remains the single most important risk factor for COPD, genetics also play an important role. In a new Research Letter published in Nature Geneticson Feb. 6, 2017, investigators describe 13 new genetic regions associated with COPD, including four that have not previously been associated with any type of lung function. The researchers also found overlap of the genetic risk of COPD with two other lung diseases, asthma and pulmonary fibrosis. These findings create an improved understanding of the genetic basis for this deadly disease.

We are excited about these findings because we have not only uncovered new genetic risk factors for COPD, but also shown overlap of COPD genetic risk with the risk to asthma and pulmonary fibrosis, said lead author Brian Hobbs, MD, MMSc a physician-researcher in the Channing Division of Network Medicineand Pulmonary and Critical Care Divisionof BWH. This is the first step in a longer process in which we hope to better understand the genetic basis for COPD, or what may be several different diseases that present as COPD. Now that we know there are new regions of the genome associated with COPD, we can build on this research by probing new biological pathways with the ultimate goal of improving therapies for our patients with this disease.

Researchers conducted a genome-wide association study of risk for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in a large, multi-ancestry cohort (15,256 cases and 47,936 controls). This type of study allows investigators to look across a comprehensive set of genetic variants in different individuals to see if any variant is associated with disease. Top findings from this study were replicated in a second cohort. The authors also sought to understand more about their findings by examining overlap with other diseases and examining what was known about gene function in these regions. In addition to identifying 13 new genetic regions associated with COPD, they also discovered four genetic regions that were not previously associated with any lung function trait. Nine of the genetic regions have been identified as playing an important role in lung function. Two have previously shown an association with pulmonary fibrosis; however, the specific forms of these genetic variants that increase risk for COPD decrease risk for pulmonary fibrosis. All analyses accounted for the effects of age, gender, and cigarette smoking on disease risk.

While it is extremely important that patients not smoke for many health reasons including the prevention of COPD we know that smoking cessation may not be enough to stave off the disease, said Michael Cho, MD, MPH, one of the senior authors of this manuscript and a physician-researcher in the Channing Division of Network Medicine and Pulmonary and Critical Care Division. Many patients with COPD experience self-blame, but they may be comforted to know that genetics does play a role in who ultimately develops the disease.

The BWH group also co-authored a companion paper in the same issue of Nature Genetics, led by researchers from the University of Leicester and University of Nottingham. In this large study of lung function in the UK population, they almost doubled the number of genetic variants associated with lung function levels, and found a strong association between this combined genetic risk score and COPD.

This research was conducted by the International COPD Genetics Consortium, a collaborative research effort established in 2010 at a conference at BWH. Marike Boezen, PhD, of the University of Groningen, co-led the study with Cho. The consortium now involves more than 20 studies around the world.

This work is representative of the importance of global collaboration and the shared goal of improving care for patients everywhere, said Cho. Were grateful for the efforts of all of the authors, each of whom played a valuable role in this discovery.

These findings would only be possible with the kind of large collaborative efforts that supports this study. Not only do the results build on our knowledge of COPD, but also reveal potential links with other lung diseases, like pulmonary fibrosis and asthma and can form the underpinnings of a precision medicine strategy for the treatment of more than one lung disease, said Dr. James Kiley, Director of the Division of Lung Diseases of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

This research was funded by:

NHLBI R01 HL084323, R01 HL113264, R01 HL089856, and P01 HL105339; K08 HL097029 and R01 HL113264, R01 HL089897 and P01 HL114501; the Alpha-1 Foundation and a VA Research Career Scientist award.

The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study is carried out as a collaborative study supported by National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute contracts (HHSN268201100005C, HHSN268201100006C, HHSN268201100007C, HHSN268201100008C, HHSN268201100009C, HHSN268201100010C, HHSN268201100011C, and HHSN268201100012C), R01HL087641, R01HL59367 and R01HL086694; National Human Genome Research Institute contract U01HG004402; and National Institutes of Health contract HHSN268200625226C. Infrastructure was partly supported by Grant Number UL1RR025005, a component of the National Institutes of Health and NIH Roadmap for Medical Research. Nora Franceschini is supported by R21HL123677-01. This work was also supported in part by the Intramural Research Program of the NIH, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

We acknowledge use of phenotype and genotype data from the British 1958 Birth Cohort DNA collection, funded by the Medical Research Council grant G0000934 and the Wellcome Trust grant 068545/Z/02. Genotyping for the B58C-WTCCC subset was funded by the Wellcome Trust grant 076113/B/04/Z. The B58C-T1DGC genotyping utilized resources provided by the Type 1 Diabetes Genetics Consortium, a collaborative clinical study sponsored by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International (JDRF) and supported by U01 DK062418. B58C-T1DGC GWAS data were deposited by the Diabetes and Inflammation Laboratory, Cambridge Institute for Medical Research (CIMR), University of Cambridge, which is funded by Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International, the Wellcome Trust and the National Institute for Health Research Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre; the CIMR is in receipt of a Wellcome Trust Strategic Award (079895). The B58C-GABRIEL genotyping was supported by a contract from the European Commission Framework Programme 6 (018996) and grants from the French Ministry of Research.

This CHS research was supported by NHLBI contracts HHSN268201200036C, HHSN268200800007C, HHSN268200960009C, N01HC55222, N01HC85079, N01HC85080, N01HC85081, N01HC85082, N01HC85083, N01HC85086; and NHLBI grants U01HL080295, R01HL087652, R01HL105756, R01HL103612, R01HL085251, and R01HL120393 with additional contribution from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Additional support was provided through R01AG023629 from the National Institute on Aging (NIA). A full list of principal CHS investigators and institutions can be found at CHS-NHLBI.org.

The provision of genotyping data was supported in part by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, CTSI grant UL1TR000124, and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease Diabetes Research Center (DRC) grant DK063491 to the Southern California Diabetes Endocrinology Research Center.

The COPACETIC study was supported by a European Union FP7 grant (201379, COPACETIC). NELSON was funded by Zorg Onderzoek Nederland-Medische Wetenschappen, KWF Kankerbestrijding, Stichting Centraal Fonds Reserves van Voormalig Vrijwillige Ziekenfondsverzekeringen, Siemens Germany, G. Ph. Verhagen Stichting, Rotterdam Oncologic Thoracic Steering Committee, Erasmus Trust Fund, Stichting tegen Kanker. Kim de Jong is supported by grant number 4.113.007 the Lung Foundation Netherlands.

The COPDGene project (NCT00608764) was supported by Award Number R01HL089897 and Award Number R01HL089856 from the National Heart, Lung, And Blood Institute. The COPDGene project is also supported by the COPD Foundation through contributions made to an Industry Advisory Board comprised of AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, Novartis, Pfizer, Siemens, Sunovion, and GlaxoSmithKline.

The ECLIPSE study (NCT00292552; GSK code SCO104960) was funded by GSK.

This work was partially supported by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institutes Framingham Heart Study (contract number N01-HC-25195) and its contract with Affymetrix, Inc for genotyping services (contract number N02-HL-6-4278). Also supported by NIH P01 AI050516.

KARE was funded by the Consortium for Large Scale Genome Wide Association Study III (2011E7300400), which was supported by the genotyping data (the Korean Genome Analysis Project, 4845-301) and the phenotype data (the Korean Genome Epidemiology Study, 4851-302). This was also supported by the National Project for Personalized Genomic Medicine (A111218-11-GM02), Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning (2013R1A1A1057961) and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (NRF-355-2011-1-E00060, NRF-2012R1A6A3A01039450).

The Lung eQTL study at Laval University was supported by the Chaire de pneumologie de la Fondation JD Bgin de lUniversit Laval, the Fondation de lInstitut universitaire de cardiologie et de pneumologie de Qubec, the Respiratory Health Network of the FRQS, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (MOP 123369), and the Cancer Research Society and Read for the Cure. Y.B. holds a Canada Research Chair in Genomics of Heart and Lung Diseases.

The Norway GenKOLS study (Genetics of Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease, GSK code RES11080) was funded by GSK.

The ICGN study was funded by GSK.

The LifeLines cohort study was supported by the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation, the province of Groningen, the European Union (regional development fund), the Northern Netherlands Provinces (SNN), the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG), University of Groningen, de Nierstichting (the Dutch Kidney Foundation), and the Diabetes Fonds (the Diabetic Foundation).

The Lovelace cohort and analysis was primarily supported by National Cancer Institute grant R01 CA097356 (SAB). The State of New Mexico as a direct appropriation from the Tobacco Settlement Fund to SAB. through collaboration with University of New Mexico provided initial support to establish the LSC. Additional support was provided by NIH/NCI P30 CA118100 (SAB), HL68111 (Y.T.), and HL107873-01 (YT and SB).

MESA and the MESA SHARe project are conducted and supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) in collaboration with MESA investigators. Support for MESA is provided by contracts N01-HC-95159, N01-HC-95160, N01-HC-95161, N01-HC-95162, N01-HC-95163, N01-HC-95164, N01-HC-95165, N01-HC-95166, N01-HC-95167, N01-HC-95168, N01-HC-95169, UL1-TR-001079, UL1-TR-000040, and DK063491. MESA Family is conducted and supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) in collaboration with MESA investigators. Support is provided by grants and contracts R01HL071051, R01HL071205, R01HL071250, R01HL071251, R01HL071258, and R01HL071259 by the National Center for Research Resources, Grant UL1RR033176, and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, Grant UL1TR000124. The MESA Lung study was supported by grants R01 HL077612, R01 HL093081 and RC1 HL100543 from the NHLBI. This publication was developed under a STAR research assistance agreement, No. RD831697 (MESA Air), awarded by the U.S Environmental protection Agency. It has not been formally reviewed by the EPA. The views expressed in this document are solely those of the authors and the EPA does not endorse any products or commercial services mentioned in this publication. Funding for SHARe genotyping was provided by NHLBI Contract N02-HL-64278. Genotyping was performed at Affymetrix (Santa Clara, California, USA) and the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT (Boston, Massachusetts, USA) using the Affymetrix Genome-Wide Human SNP Array 6.0.

The National Emphysema Treatment Trial was supported by the NHLBI N01HR76101, N01HR76102, N01HR76103, N01HR76104, N01HR76105, N01HR76106, N01HR76107, N01HR76108, N01HR76109, N01HR76110, N01HR76111, N01HR76112, N01HR76113, N01HR76114, N01HR76115, N01HR76116, N01HR76118 and N01HR76119, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The Normative Aging Study is supported by the Cooperative Studies Program/ERIC of the US Department of Veterans Affairs and is a component of the Massachusetts Veterans Epidemiology Research and Information Center (MAVERIC). D.S. is supported by a VA Research Career Scientist award.

The Rotterdam Study is funded by Erasmus Medical Center and Erasmus University, Rotterdam, Netherlands Organization for the Health Research and Development (ZonMw), the Research Institute for Diseases in the Elderly (RIDE), the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Ministry for Health, Welfare and Sports, the European Commission (DG XII), and the Municipality of Rotterdam.

The generation and management of GWAS genotype data for the Rotterdam Study (RS I, RS II, RS III) was executed by the Human Genotyping Facility of the Genetic Laboratory of the Department of Internal Medicine, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. The GWAS datasets are supported by the Netherlands Organisation of Scientific Research NWO Investments (nr. 175.010.2005.011, 911-03-012), the Genetic Laboratory of the Department of Internal Medicine, Erasmus MC, the Research Institute for Diseases in the Elderly (014-93-015; RIDE2), the Netherlands Genomics Initiative (NGI)/Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) Netherlands Consortium for Healthy Aging (NCHA), project nr. 050-060-810. The generation and management of spirometric data was supported by FWO project G035014N. Lies Lahousse is a Postdoctoral Fellow of the Fund for Scientific Research Foundation Flanders (FWO).

SPIROMICS was supported by contracts from the NIH/NHLBI (HHSN268200900013C, HHSN268200900014C, HHSN268200900015C, HHSN268200900016C, HHSN268200900017C, HHSN268200900018C HHSN268200900019C, HHSN268200900020C), which were supplemented by contributions made through the Foundation for the NIH from AstraZeneca; Bellerophon Therapeutics; Boehringer-Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc; Chiesi Farmaceutici SpA; Forest Research Institute, Inc; GSK; Grifols Therapeutics, Inc; Ikaria, Inc; Nycomed GmbH; Takeda Pharmaceutical Company; Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation; Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc; and Sanofi.

The UK BiLEVE study was funded by a Medical Research Council (MRC) strategic award to M.D.T., I.P.H., D.P.S. and L.V.W. (MC_PC_12010). The research undertaken by M.D.T., M.S.A., L.V.W. and N.S. was partly funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health. M.D.T. holds a Medical Research Council Senior Clinical Fellowship (G0902313). This research used the ALICE High Performance Computing Facility at the University of Leicester. The Universities of Leicester and Nottingham acknowledge receipt of a Collaborative Research and Development grant from the Healthcare and Bioscience iNet, a project funded by the East Midlands Development Agency, part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and delivered by Medilink East Midlands. I.P.H. holds a Medical Research Council programme grant (G1000861).

This research has been conducted using the UK Biobank Resource under Application Number 648. The research undertaken by M.D.T., M.S.A., L.V.W. and N.S. was partly funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health.

Brigham And Womens Hospital

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Consumers at risk from drug ingredients in herbal food supplements – The Pharmaceutical Journal

Posted: February 12, 2017 at 7:14 am

Source: Shutterstock.com

Consumers are unknowingly at risk from herbal supplements that can contain unlisted pharmacological ingredients.

Consumers are being put at risk from herbal supplements available over the counter that contain pharmacological ingredients not listed on the product label, according to research published in the Journal of the Association of Public Analysts[1] (2016;44:051-066). Unlisted ingredients included medications used to treat erectile dysfunction, stimulants and banned substances used in diet pills as well as unauthorised food ingredients.

A group of British food and biomolecular scientists with a special interest in food safety sought out evidence of illegal ingredients discovered in supplements by reviewing cases reported to the European Unions Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF), along with enforcement reports and recalls issued by the US Food and Drug Administration between 2009 and 2016.

When they considered the EU database, the researchers found that the most reported pharmacological ingredients in food supplements were: sildenafil (including analogues) (68 cases); sibutramine and derivatives (63); 1,3-dimethylamylamine (DMAA; 58) synephrine, phenethylamine and derivatives (37); yohimbine (30) and tadalafil (29).

When they examined the FDA database the findings were similar: sibutramine (16 cases); sulfoaildenafil (13); sildenafil (10); tadalafil (9); hydroxythiohomosildenafil (5) and dimethylsildenafil (3).

The researchers also found evidence of food supplements containing permitted food additives in excess of their limits, unauthorised food ingredients, unauthorised nutritionally-related compounds, excess vitamins and one case of the poison strychnine.

The researchers warn that their findings mean that consumers were unknowingly being put at risk.

Many people consume large quantities of food supplements without knowing the potential interactions with other supplements or drugs that they may be taking in parallel, the researchers say in their paper. Food supplements are regulated as foodstuffs and not with the same pre-sales rigour as medicines. Hence, the safety of food supplement consumption is often questionable.

Tadalafil and sildenafil are usually prescribed for the treatment of erectile dysfunction and if taken with other drugs that contain nitrates can lower blood pressure drastically. Yohimbine, used as an aphrodisiac, can cause bronchospasm and a lupus-like syndrome; the product can also increase blood pressure and induce anxiety, the researchers warn. And studies that have examined the effects of sibutramine have indicated that the drug could be associated with adverse effects such as panic attacks, memory impairments and psychotic episodes, they add.

The researchers go on to say that in order to protect consumer health, adequate methods to be able to analyse these illegal and potentially toxic products in food supplements need to be put in place.

They suggest that the first choice for screening food supplements for the top six pharmacological compounds discovered by their review, should be high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and mass spectrometry (MS). They suggest that if nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometry is available this could be an excellent first-line method of control for herbal food supplements.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the government body that regulates medicines, medical devices and blood components for transfusion in the UK, says that it is aware of the study. While food supplements are the responsibility of the Food Standards Agency, the MHRA investigates the sale and supply of undeclared pharmaceutical ingredients that may be added to food supplements.

An MHRA spokesperson comments; The Internet offers access to a vast number of websites offering a wide range of products marketed as slimming pills or male enhancement. Many make attractive claims and offer quick-fix solutions; others offer natural products. But natural doesnt always mean safe.

The reality is many of these pills will be untested. That means theres no way of knowing whats in them or what they might do to your health in the short term or long term. Chances are they simply will not work but they may contain potentially harmful ingredients. The consequences can be very serious.

The MHRA is running a #FakeMeds campaign that highlights some of the dangers around food supplements. Consumers can identify a legitimate supplier by looking for the distance selling logo, adds the spokesperson.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ February 2017 online, online | DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2017.20202308

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Patricia Maryland, Dr.PH, to Become President and CEO of Ascension Healthcare – Michronicleonline

Posted: February 11, 2017 at 8:38 am

Patricia Maryland, Dr.PH, to Become President and CEO of Ascension Healthcare
Ascension announced that Patricia Maryland, Dr.PH, will become Executive Vice President and President and CEO of Ascension Healthcare, effective July 1, 2017. The change will take effect following the retirement of Robert J. Henkel, FACHE on June 30, …

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DACC & Virgin Galactic team up to explore virtual reality – Las Cruces Sun-News

Posted: at 8:29 am

Sun-News Reports , . 10:29 p.m. MT Feb. 10, 2017

Dona Ana Community College virtual reality faculty and students unpack virtual reality equipment from VR First(Photo: Stephen Osborne)

LAS CRUCES This spring DACC students will take a space flight and learn aerospace fundamentals in a Virtual Reality environment.

Doa Ana Community College and Aerospace innovators Virgin Galactic have announced an exciting collaborative education and outreach research project. The core idea will be to work and learn together, exploring the newest technologies and possible uses of VR in research, education, business, and career technical education.

Our students and instructors are pleased and honored to work with Virgin Galactic on this exciting initiative, said Matt Byrnes, DACC Creative Media Technology Director. Thanks to Dr. Kevin Boberg, Vice President of Economic Development for the New Mexico State University Arrowhead Business and Research Park and Wayne Savage of Arrowhead Center for helping this collaboration take place.

The program will start with a VR simulation that explains core concepts of aerospace fundamentals and gives students, particularly at the Las Cruces Public Schools Challenger Center, an immersive virtual spaceflight experience.

Many people are familiar with the term virtual reality but are unsure about the uses of this technology, Byrnes said. Gaming is an obvious virtual reality application, but there are many different uses, some you might expect and others not so much.

Irrespective of the use, virtual reality produces a set of data which could then be used to develop new models, training methods, communication and interaction, said Mark Butler of Virgin Galactic. In many ways the possibilities are endless.

In September, 2016 DACC became one of only 24 VR First partner institutions worldwide, sponsored by the German game engine development firm Crytek and was awarded several thousand dollars of the newest hardware and software giving DACC students access to the latest VR development tools.

According to Byrnes, This kind of collaboration between the private and public sectors and between technology companies and the creative media arts is central to efforts to develop the larger Creative Campus efforts at Arrowhead Park and build a larger toolset to positively impact not only Aerospace but Healthcare, Agricultural Technology and other industries growing in our community.

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Pompholyx : National Eczema Society

Posted: at 7:48 am

Also known as dyshidrotic eczema, the key characteristic of this form of eczema is blistering that is restricted to the hands and feet. What is it?

Pompholyx eczema is a type of eczema that is usually restricted to the hands and feet. In most cases, pompholyx eczema involves the development of intensely itchy watery blisters, mostly affecting the sides of the fingers, the palms of the hands and the soles of feet. This condition can occur at any age but is most common before the age of 40 years.

The skin is initially very itchy with a burning sensation of heat and prickling in the palms and/or soles. This is followed by a sudden crop of small blisters (vesicles), which turn into bigger weepy blisters and can become infected, causing redness, pain, swelling and pustules. There is often subsequent peeling as the skin dries out, and then the skin can become red and dry with painful cracks (skin fissures). Pompholyx eczema can also affect the nail folds and skin around the nails causing swelling (paronychia).

The exact causes of pompholyx eczema are not known, although it is thought that factors such as emotional tension, sensitivity to metal compounds (such as nickel, cobalt or chromate), heat and sweating can aggravate this condition. Fifty percent of people with pompholyx have atopic eczema as well, or a family history of atopic eczema. Pompholyx eczema can coexist with fungal infections, so assessment should include checking for the presence of any fungal infection on the hands and feet.

The hands and feet, where pompholyx commonly occurs, are areas of the body that are also prone to contact dermatitis (also called contact eczema). This can take one of two forms irritant contact dermatitis or allergic contact dermatitis.A reaction could be the result of contact with potential irritants such as soap, detergents, solvents, acids/alkalis, chemicals and soil, causing irritant contact dermatitis. Or there could be an allergic reaction to a substance that is not commonly regarded as an irritant, such as rubber or nickel, causing allergic contact dermatitis.If you identify a pattern, which suggests that your hand/foot eczema may be a contact eczema, tell your healthcare professional as allergy patch testing may be appropriate. You can find out more about contact dermatitishere.

You can find out about the range of treatments options for different types of eczema in our comprehensive Treatment area of the website. You can also find out more about pompholyx eczema by downloading our fact sheet which you will find under related documents to the right of this page

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Haupt’s Take: It took eight years to destroy 50 years of progress – Watchdog.org

Posted: February 7, 2017 at 10:11 pm

By William Haupt III | Haupts Take

If we love our country, we should also love our countrymen. (Ronald Reagan)

In the dog days of summer during the 60s, many northern Americans crossed the Mason-Dixon Line to help put an end to inequality for Americans of all races, cultures, and religions. Many did not know why they went. Maybe it was to listen to Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger and others or just for the camaraderie. But reflecting back 50 years we know it was right.

For over 40 years, America was the benefactor of the Civil Rights Movement. We witnessed the battle of James Meredith entering the University of Mississippi. Our black and white brothers and sisters were killed and beaten as the chaos spread throughout the South. But we put an end to segregation and maltreatment for all minorities and all underclasses. This was not a black thing, a white thing, it was the right thing to do.

Itll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls. For the times they are a-changin. (Bob Dylan)

The history of civil rights in the twentieth-century in the US is inseparable from the history of the Great Migration from the end of World War I through the 1970s. Ethnic groups such as African Americans, religious minorities and others chose to relocate to the North and West to escape the pervasive system of legalized racism and social indignation.

While we often associate the Great Migration with the decades around the two World Wars, many more relocated to other regions of the US after 1940 than before. Between 1940 and 1980, five million Americans moved to the urban North and West, double the number with the first wave of migration from 1915 to 1940. By 1980, trans-migratory residents made up 35 percent of their populace.

Each generation goes further than the generation preceding it because it stands on the shoulders of that generation. (Ronald Reagan)

The relocation of Americans from all classes of society with unique cultures helped blend the America we once knew in the last decade. Drawn by employment opportunities and the desire to escape de jure stereo-typed segregation in their under-cultured cities, towns and counties, they moved for social and economic improvement to escape local brands of inequities and other types of social exclusion.

United we stand, divided we fall.

Neighborhoods, schools and workplaces changed to accommodate this new melting pot of cultural trans-migration. Equal treatment and full participation in civic life, better wages and social integration dismantled many of the old stereo-type mores their ancestors had to endure for decades. People of all ethnic cultures benefited as America grew closer together as a nation rather than a country of isolated sub-cultures.

United we stand, divided we fall. (Aesop)

America took great strides to overcome the rituals of ethnic, cultural and social segregation. We had accomplished what our founders had hoped for when they created a more perfect union of free men. But of course like all good things, something happens and they come to an end. And that end was the beginning of a fast track trend to moving backwards by an up young man who promised to bring complete and total homogeneity to our nation.

Yet he excelled in leading out nation into its past transgressions, culturally, socially, and ethically, to former days before America had learned to dismiss this demeanor. He destroyed the learning experience and societal development that it took 40 years to accomplish.

The Obama years have devastated our American culture. (Joel Page)

Under the current president, we have seen Americans of every social ethnic class pitted against each other: Young against old; black against white; straight against gay; and urbanites against the police. President Obama has presided over a fictional War on Women. He made more Americans despise each other than ever.

This brings back memories of the days of community organizers like Sal Alinsky. This is the game plan he put forth in his book Rules for Radicals. Obama rushed to the microphone to disparage the Cambridge police, whom he said acted stupidly when they were only trying to protect their community. When an incident in Florida took place and a young man was killed he took the opportunity to tell all of America If I had a son he would look like Treyvon Martin.

He exploited every incident that happened on his watch to cleverly remind America there was a great cleavage between minorities and whites. He has used every opportunity to disparage all of the good that we have done in the last five decades to promote similitude in our nation.

The legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, and discrimination, is still part of our DNA. (Barack Obama)

The Obama years embraced eight years of decadence and perversion that brought cultural and ethnic doom to this country. This has proven that the promises of progressive politicians mean nothing. This makes one wonder how we ever survived the Obama years without more strife and trouble than we experienced in our communities and townships.

This has been liberal, social, and cultural micromanagement at its best, or perhaps worst. Ripping a nation apart by racial, ethnic, and gender strife is a key ingredient in the progressive equation to control society and stuff the progressive agenda down the esophagus of every American. This enables them to control free markets, free enterprise and all public and private institutions in our nation and gives them total control over our lives.

To say weve actually made significant progress over the last 50 years isnt as true as it sounds. (Obama)

Welfare is way up under Obama. Jobs with decent salaries are way down. The only thing that prospered under Obama is the largest growth in government since FDR. He nationalized college tuition, our banks, and our healthcare. He has created an unrelenting and ever-growing under-class of cultural dependents on government support.

America, the beautiful.

There is no telling how much worse this would have gotten if Hillary Clinton had been elected. She had promised to double down on every failed program that Obama had set forth. And she too had done her very best to keep the ethnic, cultural, and societal divisions between Americans alive and well to improve her chances of being elected.

America is lucky Donald Trump had a message they wanted to hear. (Raymond Castro)

Ronald Reagan said, We cant help everyone, but everyone can help someone. To reverse this trend, we must support the policies of our new president and bring back opportunities for everyone who wants them. We must take the social abnormalities and traditions that Obama and his regime created and toss them into the junk heap of history.

We must reform liberal schooling and prevent liberal media from promoting the decay of the young and nuclear family. We must stop this cultural atrophy and putridity of our great nation and this adulteration of our social and cultural traditions.

We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools. (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.)

It will not be an easy task to wean people off of the government udder that they have been nursing on for so many years, but it has run out of milk to feed them. To promote and rebuild racial, ethnic and social congruity we must encourage everyone to reap the harvest and the rewards of our free market capitalism.

There are no easy answers, but there are simple answers. (Ronald Reagan)

We have a president who owes nobody any favors except to return the ones America gave him. Donald Trump said his top 6 issues are: Smaller government, lower taxes, less regulation, stop illegal immigration, rebuild our military, and bring back traditional values.

The road to social and cultural equality is not paved with the good intentions of spreading the wealth and misery, but by offering everyone a chance to capture their share of the American dream. (James Moore)

This article was written by a contributor from Franklin Centers independent network of writers, bloggers, and citizen journalists.

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Haupt’s Take: It took eight years to destroy 50 years of progress – Watchdog.org

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