Category Archives: Healthcare

Updates from Georgia Tech

Daydreaming is Good. It Means You’re Smart
By Jason Maderer – A new study from the Georgia Institute of Technology suggests that daydreaming during meetings isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It might be a sign that you’re really smart and creative.

“People with efficient brains may have too much brain capacity to stop their minds from wandering,” said Eric Schumacher, the Georgia Tech associate psychology professor who co-authored the study.

Schumacher says higher efficiency means more capacity to think, and the brain may mind wander when performing easy tasks.

How can you tell if your brain is efficient? One clue is that you can zone in and out of conversations or tasks when appropriate, then naturally tune back in without missing important points or steps.

“Our findings remind me of the absent-minded professor — someone who’s brilliant, but off in his or her own world, sometimes oblivious to their own surroundings,” said Schumacher. “Or school children who are too intellectually advanced for their classes. While it may take five minutes for their friends to learn something new, they figure it out in a minute, then check out and start daydreaming.” more>

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The Dos And Don’ts Of Building A Smart City

By Steve Olenski – It’s important to put context around the purpose and benefit of building a smart city. The bigger picture is the creation of the digital economy in which smart cities will operate and contribute. A digital economy essentially needs smart cities to truly thrive and fulfill its potential.

The Smart Cities Council says that a smart city “uses information and communications technology (ICT) to enhance its livability, workability, and sustainability” by “collecting, communicating, and crunching” data from all sources. Because the digital economy operates on data, it could benefit from having city functions move to that platform. more>

When Even the Simple Stuff Is a Crisis

By Robert Schlesinger – What’s going on? If everyone agrees on these successful programs, why are they stuck in legislative purgatory?

The proximate cause is that the Republican majority got too distracted with its endless, fruitless attempts to roll back the Affordable Care Act. That consumed their attention through the year and very specifically in the crunch time during which the final deals should have been cut on basically noncontroversial legislation like renewing funding for CHIP and community health centers. But that went by the boards when the GOP dropped everything to push the late, unlamented, half-baked Graham-Cassidy bill.

Uncertainty abounds. And again, we’re talking about noncontroversial stuff here, which speaks to a larger problem with the political system. The failure of this Congress to understand “the need to act responsibly, to reauthorize needed programs without catastrophic disruption … is simply striking,” says the American Enterprise Institute’s Norm Ornstein, who has written extensively on GOP dysfunction (most recently “One Nation After Trump,” with Thomas Mann and E.J. Dionne). more> https://goo.gl/1xQG84

Fanning the Flames of Chaos

President Trump’s cycle is clear: announce a goal, then back off to let others do the work.
By Kenneth T. Walsh – Trump isn’t a detail man. Throughout his careers in business and politics and during his presidency, he has floated above the landscape of specifics and set general directions. He attempts to sell his ideas to the country as a showman with a proclivity for hyperbole that borders on deception and sometimes crosses into falsehood. His goal, above all, is to score a personal victory and crush his opponents.

Now Trump’s it’s-all-about-me approach is being tested as never before as he copes with a new wave of crises, political battles and tragedies.

Trump’s pattern is clear. He dramatically announces a goal, dominating the news and becoming the center of attention, then backs off and leaves working out the details to others. He declares any success as his own achievement and portrays any failure or setback as someone else’s fault. In short, Trump fans the flames and then lets others fight the fire. He may be creating more chaos than he bargained for and fostering an out-of-control atmosphere which makes most Americans very nervous. more> https://goo.gl/y9XmRA

Updates from GE

New Center Helps Scientists Reprogram The Immune System to Kill Cancer


By Tomas Kellner – Cell therapy is a complex process that involves more than manufacturing a pill. It requires a setup that resembles a biotech factory. “Cell therapy has the potential to cure everything from cancer to diabetes,” says Phil Vanek, general manager for cell therapy growth strategy at GE Healthcare. “But we need to make it affordable and scalable.”

Vanek’s business and others are racing to make that happen and deliver on cell therapy’s promise. He says that says that hundreds of patients have already benefited from CAR-T in clinical trials that have reported 80 percent success rates. Some 300,000 people could be receiving the treatment by 2024. A report by Roots Analysis estimates the T-cell therapy market, which includes CAR-T therapy, could read $30 billion by 2030.

Crucial to that race is a new cell therapy research and process-development facility called the Center for Advanced Therapeutic Cell Technologies (CATCT), which officially opened in Toronto on Thursday. It’s designed to help pharma companies, university researchers and technology companies like GE to scale faster. more> https://goo.gl/CRxNv4

Who Needs Washington?

On healthcare and climate change, governors step in where Congress can’t – or won’t.

By Susan Milligan – Congress may be unable or unwilling to pass major legislation.

Governors and states, lauded as laboratories of democracy at best and recalcitrant junior players at worst, are stepping up to fill the power void.

And while governors are more empowered to stop federal policies or legislation than to force their enactment, the state players can have a great deal of influence over how the whole nation – and not just their constituencies – live, experts say.

On climate change, too, governors in both parties are implementing environmental policies Trump has rejected as too onerous on business.

The sheer size and economic influence of states can push national policy and trends as well. Texas, with its big buying power in school textbooks, has an outsized influence on details such as questioning evolution in science textbooks.

And while California’s greenhouse emissions standard might not be much liked by industry, which one would refuse to do business with the Golden State, which has the sixth-biggest economy in the world? And when states can’t stop Washington from passing policies, they can slow-walk their implementation or scream so loudly Washington is forced to regroup. more> https://goo.gl/zU7ruc

David Brooks Is Mistaken: The Economy Is Broken

By Steve Denning – Brooks concludes blithely that “the market is working more or less as it’s supposed to.” It is therefore wrong to conclude that the U.S. economy has “structural flaws.” That is “a story that is fundamentally untrue.”

The difficulty with the argument, as Brooks well knows, is that one or two good years don’t make an era. Two years of income growth don’t undo the trauma flowing from 50 years of wage stagnation, much less lead to the conclusion that there are “no structural flaws” in the economy.

The brute fact remains that median salaries have stagnated for some 50 years. That’s the real problem of the U.S. economy that economists ought to be talking about.

When moderates deny the obvious, the disaffected inevitably turn elsewhere.

If moderates want to be listened to, they will need to take a harder look at what is going on, come up with coherent explanations for what has gone wrong, and offer plausible remedial action. more> https://goo.gl/zuoJbQ

Updates from Georgia Tech

You and Some ‘Cavemen’ Get a Genetic Health Check
By Ben Brumfield – Heart problems were much more common in the genes of our ancient ancestors than in ours today, according to a new study by geneticists at the Georgia Institute of Technology, who computationally compared genetic disease factors in modern humans with those of people through the millennia.

Overall, the news from the study is good. Evolution appears, through the ages, to have weeded out genetic influences that promote disease, while promulgating influences that protect from disease.

But for us modern folks, there’s also a hint of bad news. That generally healthy trend might have reversed in the last 500 to 1,000 years, meaning that, with the exception of cardiovascular ailments, disease risks found in our genes may be on the rise. For mental health, our genetic underpinnings look especially worse than those of our ancient forebears. more> https://goo.gl/txQhqU

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The Political Fabric Unravels: Diagnosing The Current Crisis

By Steve Denning – Perhaps not many expected to see the day when an American president would from the Oval Office be issuing a threat of nuclear war, advocating the commission of a war crime, thanking a chief adversary for expelling our diplomats, despising the international fight again climate change, delivering multiple false or misleading statements on a daily basis, systematically vilifying the media and demeaning the freedom of the press, fomenting gender discrimination, picking fights with the leadership of his own party, and defending as ‘fine people’ those who march with neo-Nazis, white supremacists and anti-Semites.

What is striking to the mainstream media is that more than 70% of Republicans still support the president—despite everything he has said and done.

The continuing Republican support of the current president—despite everything—reflects a deeper and more pervasive level of personal desperation than the mainstream media generally recognizes. There is a lack of hope that things will ever get any better. Those negatively affected by economic setbacks become willing to go along with almost anything in order to get change.

As previously accepted norms and values are disregarded and undermined, the political fabric of the nation is at risk of unraveling. more> https://goo.gl/hcTZ3H

Is America Headed for a New Kind of Civil War?

By Robin Wright – The more relevant question after Charlottesville—and other deadly episodes in Ferguson, Charleston, Dallas, St. Paul, Baltimore, Baton Rouge, and Alexandria—is where the United States is headed. How fragile is the Union, our republic, and a country that has long been considered the world’s most stable democracy?

The dangers are now bigger than the collective episodes of violence. America’s stability is increasingly an undercurrent in political discourse.

Based on his experience in civil wars on three continents, Keith Mines cited five conditions that support his prediction: entrenched national polarization, with no obvious meeting place for resolution; increasingly divisive press coverage and information flows; weakened institutions, notably Congress and the judiciary; a sellout or abandonment of responsibility by political leadership; and the legitimization of violence as the “in” way to either conduct discourse or solve disputes. more> https://goo.gl/W6awUm

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