Almost exactly a year ago, ARM Holdings announced the Cortex-A73 CPU and Mali-G71 GPU that had their sights on empowering mobile and embedded devices to take on the computing trend of that time. Namely, virtual, augmented, and mixed reality. This year, the trends have shifted a bit and ARM is shifting appropriately as well. Launching the Cortex-A75, as well as the Cortex-A55 and Mali-G72 GPU, ARM aims to equip small-form computers with all the processing power they need to bring artificial intelligence and machine learning to everything from smartphones to your car dashboard. ARM actually already announced the foundations of this new generation of CPUs last March in its new DynamIQ technology. Designed specifically with AI and ML applications in mind, DynamIQ allows for a more varied heterogeneous mix of cores, like a combination of 1 high-performance core and 7 energy-efficient cores.That high-performance core comes in the form of the new Cortex-A75, the first of its line to implement ARM’s new DynamIQ tech. By itself, the Cortex-A75 already represents a significant jump in performance over the A73, despite the small bump in number. ARM boasts of a 20% increase in performance while retaining the same power efficiency as its predecessor.Not all devices, however, will need such high power cores running all the time. That’s where the Cortex-A55 comes in. Using the new combination of DynamIQ big.LITTLE architecture, manufacturers can mix just one Cortex-A75 and seven Cortex-A55 and still better performance than any 8 or 4+4 combinations from last year’s generation.These two CPUs, together with the new Mali-G72 GPU, comprise ARM’s vision of AI/ML-enabled devices that don’t need to connect with the cloud for off-site processing. This could definitely sit well with the likes of Google, who has started offloading some of the computational workload on devices themselves, via platforms like TensorFlow Lite. That said, it’s still a long time coming, as devices running on Cortex-A75 and Cortex-A55 cores aren’t expected until early 2018.SOURCE: ARM
The information comes from sources speaking to Bloomberg, which again tips the existence of an Apple TV model that can stream 4K-resolution content. That information isn’t new — we’ve been hearing it from various sources for awhile. Joining the tip, though, is word that Apple has supposedly been in talks with movie studios about getting 4K versions of existing movies to put on iTunes.This will ensure that Apple TV buyers have at least a decent library of 4K and HDR content when the new model launches. Where Apple is at in these talks, though, isn’t revealed, nor do we know how many 4K movies iTunes may offer when the device launches. Assuming, of course, that all the rumors prove true.The sources go on to claim that Apple has also been talking with companies that offer video apps for Apple TV, and that these talks revolve around its plan to offer a 4K version of the streaming device. As well, Apple has reportedly been talking with content creators about bringing 4K content to iTunes, the sources indicating that these talks may be for original rather than existing content, though the isn’t clear.A recent report claimed that Apple is readying a $1 billion budget for original content next year. The move will greatly expand upon the company’s current limited number of original shows, though details about what kind of content we can expect are slight. Despite the large figure, Apple will still have an upwards battle in taking on Amazon and Netflix, the latter of which is ready to spend as much as $7 billion on content in 2018.SOURCE: Bloomberg Apple it planning to unveil an updated Apple TV model with 4K UHD and HDR support next month, according to sources, and ahead of that launch reportedly comes talks with studios about launching 4K HDR movies on iTunes. The company was recently spotted listing some movies as ‘4K’ resolution in iTunes, though users who saw the resolution marker reported only being able to download the HD version.
Joining the new watchOS 5 features Apple detailed this afternoon comes a band and watch face for the Apple Watch wearable. The new offerings are being made available today just in time for Pride Month. The new watch face previously leaked late last month, and we’ll officially get access to it starting at 3PM ET today. Apple introduced the new watch band and watch face during its WWDC 2018 keynote today, showing off two offerings with a design that seamlessly transitions from physical to digital. Individual color stripes are featured within an overall white band, while the watch face shows the same colored strips on a black background.Apple is making both the band and face available at noon PT / 3PM ET. This isn’t the company’s first Pride band, however; it launched one for its wearable last year, too, though it was only available for a limited time. The latest band’s launch comes at the beginning of Pride Month — Apple didn’t state either way whether this year’s offering will also be available for a limited time. The company has revealed the new features Apple Watch owners will be getting in watchOS this fall, including new fitness and health tools that track workouts automatically, monitor new workout types, and more. The company is also bringing its podcast app to the latest iteration of watchOS, plus a new Walkie-Talkie feature that we first saw signs of years ago.
Indeed, it’s a frankly ridiculous amount of storage to be had in a single card. If you were shooting 4k video at 60fps and 200 Mbps, for example, you’re looking at 25MB per second. That would mean you could fit around 640 minutes of 4K video on this one memory card alone. It’s a Class 10 card, using UHS-I for higher data transfer speeds. Lexar is quoting read speeds of up to 95 MB/s, in fact, though write speeds will unsurprisingly be slower. That still clocks in at an impressive 70 MB/s, the company says, twice the write rate of its 512GB card in fact. Of course, some photographers and digital content creators might be wondering why they’d want a single, huge card, rather than several smaller ones. Lexar’s argument is that it’s a workflow boost. Not having to stop to switch out smaller cards means you can focus on capturing rather than managing data. All the same, you pay handsomely for the privilege of one of the biggest memory cards on the block. A Lexar Professional 633x 512GB SDXC UHS-I card, for instance, currently has a street price of around $220. The 1TB Lexar Professional 633x SDXC UHS-I card, meanwhile, comes in at $499.99. In short, you’re paying more than twice the amount for that flexibility, as well as the significantly faster write rate. Depending on your content capture of choice, the latter might make more of a difference. When it comes to 3D capture in particular, you’re looking at significantly large amounts of data to be saved, particularly when you get to 4K and 8K resolution. Lexar says that the new 1TB SDXC card is shipping now. It comes with a limited-lifetime warranty, and gets fed through the company’s quality lab testing where its compatibility with over 1,100 different devices is examined. Disclosure: SlashGear uses affiliate links, If you click on a link in this article and buy something we’ll get a small cut of the sale. Lexar may have only returned to the flash storage space last year, but it’s wasting no time in offering a ridiculously large SD card. The new Lexar Professional 1TB 633x SDXC UHS-I card is one of the largest SD format memory cards you could find for your camera, video camera, or 3D capture rig. Story TimelineLexar JumpDrive F35 USB protects your data with your fingerLexar unveils world’s largest capacity A2 microSD card at 512GB
Story TimelineToyota e-Palette autonomous concept wins over Amazon, Uber, moreToyota makes $2.8bn play to dominate autonomous car techToyota and Lexus to launch tech to connect vehicles and infrastructure The Michigan Technical Resource Park has operated its vehicle proving ground for the past five decades, with 336 acres of space used to variously test new car features, engineering developments, and more. TRI’s chunk will be a section within the oval test track that already exists on the site, that Toyota’s research division will be able to build out to their own specifications. The plan is to construct a simulated congested urban environment, along with slick surfaces that driverless cars might encounter in the real-world. There’ll also be a four-lane divided highway, or at least a section of one. That will give vehicles the challenge of high-speed entrance and exit ramps. One of the key purposes is to test what TRI calls Toyota Guardian. Designed to be a “guardian angel” in a vehicle, the goal is to have a suite of autonomous services that can weigh in to help avoid an accident, even when a human is at the wheel. Rathe than absolving driving abilities to the AI, TRI envisages Guardian silently watching from the background, and only making its presence known when the road situation demands it. AdChoices广告“By constructing a course for ourselves, we can design it around our unique testing needs and rapidly advance capabilities, especially with Toyota Guardian automated vehicle mode,” Ryan Eustice, TRI senior vice president of automated driving, said of the new facility. “This new site will give us the flexibility to customize driving scenarios that will push the limits of our technology and move us closer to conceiving a human-driven vehicle that is incapable of causing a crash.”Toyota Research Institute will have exclusive use of the facility it builds, and will be responsible for designing, constructing, and maintaining it. However it will also have access to MITRP’s oval track and other facilities. All autonomous test projects undergo private testing, but real-world trials of driverless cars have been expanding across multiple cities. That hasn’t always gone smoothly: one of Uber’s self-driving prototypes, notoriously, was involved in a fatal collision earlier this year. Part of the challenge is teaching AI systems how to handle so-called “edge case” driving scenarios.These are the situations that may be rarely encountered, but where standard programming may not be sufficient for the vehicle to deal with it. That might be pedestrians running out into the road, or crash scenarios ahead that aren’t reflected on a map. TRI points out that trying to stage such scenarios would be simply too dangerous to perform out on public roads. Toyota is opening a 60 acre test site for autonomous vehicles, with the Michigan facility being used for trials considered too risky for public roads. Expected to open by October this year, the site at Michigan Technical Resource Park will be managed by the Toyota Research Institute (TRI), the group at the automaker focused on developing both autonomous safety systems and self-driving vehicles for convenience.
Google revealed the Next Home Hub today, and with it, they re-shuffled their branding for smart home products. Now we’ve got a bigger Nest Hub Max (with 10-inch screen) and the smaller Nest Hub. This larger device is akin to a device released before, by Google, albeit without the camera. This Google Nest Hub Max will be launching in the summer (in the next few months) in the USA, UK, and Australia. Users will be able to purchase this machine for $229 USD, while the Nest Hub will be re-priced from around $150 to $130 (approximately). This device is sort of like a tablet mounted on a speaker, but it’s ever-so-slightly different. It doesn’t run standard Android, and it’s not just a mount for a tablet, it’s all one piece. Instead of being made to sit on your lap, the Nest Hub Max is made to sit on your countertop.The Next Hub Max is aimed at taking on opponents like the Amazon Echo Show and Facebook’s Portal. But Google, unlike Facebook, doesn’t currently have public image that’s largely stained by the social network’s activities in the trafficking of user data – the anti-privacy, if you will.Google goes the extra mile here to ensure the user’s privacy is managed with a switch. This switch – a hardware switch – disconnects the Nest Home Max’s camera and both microphones altogether.And unlike Amazon, Google’s set up with a massive number of services, like YouTube, and Gmail. And Google Image Search, and Google Photos, and etcetera. The Next Hub Max is just the newest in a line of devices like these, made to take full advantage of the Google services universe through Google Assistant.The Nest brand is wholly owned by Google, and as such, they’ve connected all services across the board. This Nest Hub Max works with Nest security cameras and doorbells and so forth, right out the gate. It also works with Google Duo for voice chat and video calling. Story TimelineGoogle Home Hub is secure, says Google, despite insecurity claimsGoogle Nest Hub Max leaked: What is this thing?Google Nest Home Hub 10″ smart display adds camera: Pricing and release
Ferrari has pulled the wraps off its new hybrid hypercar, and this time the car is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. It’s called the SF90 Stradale, and it has 1000cv, about 985 hp and a power to weight ratio of 1.57 kg/cv. The car has aero that generates 390 kg of downforce at 250 km/h. The gas-powered V8 engine is turbocharged and makes 780cv on its own, the highest output of any V8 in Ferrari history. The other 220cv that the car produces comes via three electric motors with one at the rear known as the MGUK between the engine and the 8-speed dual-clutch transmission. The other two electric motors are on the front axle. The SF90 Stradale has four power unit modes to manage the flow of power from the V8 and electric motors to the wheels. That means the car is all-wheel-drive and is the first Ferrari to offer AWD. AdChoices广告 The center instrument cluster is a 16-inch curved HD screen that is fully configurable by the driver and can be controlled with controls on the steering wheel. Ferrari offers the SF90 Stradale in a standard version and a more sports-oriented version. The Assetto Fiorano spec has racing-derived Multimatic shocks and lightweight carbon fiber parts like door panels and underbody. It also has titanium exhaust and more saving 30kg. The sports version also has a high downforce carbon-fiber rear spoiler making 390kg of downforce at 250 km/h. Pricing on the SF90 Stradale is unannounced. The grip and power mean that the car can reach 100 km/h in 2.5 seconds and hit 200 km/h in 6.7 seconds. The car has a shut-off Gurney, a patented system at the rear that regulates air over the upper body to reduce drag at high speeds.
Story Timeline2020 Toyota Supra official: First-look at an icon rebornThe Toyota Supra is back: 5 things you need to knowVery first 2020 Toyota Supra already sold for over $2M 2020 Toyota Supra Gallery The 2020 Toyota Supra faces a tough audience. Fans of the original cars – with 17-plus years of misty eyed reminiscing under their belts – are automatically suspicious of anything Toyota might consider worthy of the Supra badge. Those familiar with Toyota’s current range of earnest-but-hardly-heart-pounding models are, justifiably, skeptical that the automaker could make a legitimate sports car. 2020 Toyota Supra designDesign is subjective. Most people I’ve spoken to about the aesthetics of the new Supra, though, agree: they’re challenging. Based on the FT-1 concept from 2014, it’s all exaggerated curves and sudden sharp edges. Alex Shen, chief designer at Toyota’s Calty Design Research studio, describes it as “Function Sculpting” and Condensed Extreme”; personally, I’m down with the rear three-quarters, but still getting used to that nose. Undoubtedly the most discussed aspect of the new Supra’s styling, however, has been the numerous fake plastic vents that stud and slash the bodywork.Here’s the thing. Off the production line, most of those vents may not be functional, but each is placed somewhere that Toyota’s designers and engineers could envisage someone wanting airflow. Around the brakes and wheels for cooling, maybe, or flowing under and around the front wings for extra downforce. Most cars, if you want to add extra venting, you either have to carve out big chunks of the bodywork or replace whole panels. Toyota designed the new Supra, though, with that flexibility baked in from the outset. Need more air for a bigger transmission cooler? The Supra not only has space for the necessary intakes and pipework, but Toyota left room for that bigger cooler, too. The same goes for the differential, and for optionally increasing torsional stiffness. Lift the hood and there are not only mounting points for new sway bars, but Toyota even designed in cut-outs where those bars would need to pass across other components. The automaker, after undertaking its own tuning assessment, decided the Supra was stiff enough without extra bars, but it also knows that such modifications are going to be low-hanging fruit for aftermarket mods. Once you start looking at the new Supra from the perspective of potential customization, indeed, Toyota’s decisions make a whole lot more sense. Using more traditional materials, like steel, rather than exotic alternatives such as carbon fiber help keep costs and complexity down; it also leaves the door open for the aftermarket carbon parts Toyota is confident will arrive soon. Overlap between the Supra and the BMW 3 Series, meanwhile, was also intentional. That means M3 aftermarket parts should, with minimal tweaking, work on Toyota’s car too. It’s one of the most carefully strategized plays to the car mod community I can remember, but it’s also entirely in keeping with how the original Supras played out. 2020 Supra on the trackA car that’s easy to modify is one thing. Toyota, though, couldn’t have the Supra need customization in order to be a rewarding drive. Spoiler: it doesn’t, and it is. Under the hood there’s a 3.0-liter turbo inline-6, with dual variable valve timing with lift. It’s a BMW engine, tuned by Toyota for 335 horsepower (between 5,000 and 6,500 rpm) and 365 lb-ft of torque from just 1,600 rpm. The Supra pairs it with an eight-speed ZF 8HP transmission. If you’re a Supra purist, there are a couple of glaringly obvious problems in that paragraph. For a start, there’s the fact that BMW squeezed more power out of the same engine for the Z4. Then there’s the absence of a manual gearbox.Both, chief engineer Tetsuya Tada maintains, were intentional decisions. The horsepower, he insists, was picked because it’s the best match for the Supra’s chassis. The gearbox may be controversial, but Tada is confident that, once you try the car, you’ll agree that ZF’s cogs suit the powertrain perfectly. Indeed “drive it, and then talk to me” is the chief engineer’s regular refrain. To do just that, Toyota had invited media out to Summit Point Motorsports Park in Jefferson County, West Virginia. There – to the unnerving sound of intermittent gunfire and low-flying helicopters from the BSR military training center next door – a fiendishly technical course awaited. Turn after turn, with little room to wrack your brain and figure out what comes next. Unexpected changes in elevation that simultaneously destroy your sightlines. Awkward corners that are all too ready to eat up your pace if you brake at the wrong time. It’s the sort of course that gives amateur track drivers like myself cold sweats, not to mention being deeply unforgiving to a less-than-capable car. The Supra, it’s fair to say, handled it better than I did.There’s neither too much power, nor too little. Don’t get me wrong, I like ridiculously potent supercars as much as the next horsepower-addict. Still, I can never quite shift the feeling that I’m squandering 90-percent of the juice on tap in them. In the Supra, you feel like you’re giving the car a proper shake-down. It’s not slow – 0-60 mph comes in 4.1 seconds – but you can’t rely solely on straight line speed to save the day. Instead the 50:50 weight balance steps in, along with a low center of gravity and an eagerness to pivot. In Sport mode, even with the stability control all still switched on, the rear end isn’t too hard to provoke out of line. That might not be the route to the fastest lap-time, but it’s plenty of fun. Slowing is just as important as speed, and Toyota has opted for 13.7-inch Brembo ventilated discs with four-piston calipers at the front, and either 13.6- or 13.0-inch discs with single-piston floating calipers at the rear. They proved to be fade-free and more than up to the job. Some track days, every fourth lap seems to be for cool-down, giving the car a chance to simmer down once more. The new Supra, though, scoffed at such cosseting. The control is key. There are performance cars which feel like they want to kill you, and are merely waiting for the right opportunity. The Supra, in contrast, wants to play, and Toyota’s near-sublime tuning coaxes out every ounce of that. There’s only the slightly artificial-sounding engine noise that’s piped into the cabin to jar the experience. Shift into Normal mode, meanwhile, and you’re reminded that Toyota makes sensible, comfortable cars like the Camry and Avalon. Ill-kempt roads will still send some judder through the double-joint McPherson strut front suspension and multi-link independent rear, but the adaptive dampers all round do a capable job of smoothing out most bumps and potholes. Variable-assist power steering helps too, losing almost all of the heft found in Sport mode, while the throttle mapping and transmission logic each take on a more laissez-faire approach. The Supra may not be a grand tourer by the strictest definition, but daily-driver duties certainly aren’t beyond it. 2020 Supra cabin and techA comfortable and practical cabin helps there, too, even if it feels like it’s been lifted straight out of a BMW. Toyota claims that the vast majority of the Supra is unique, but you’d certainly not know that looking at the dashboard. The pictographs in the infotainment system may be of the Supra, but the display, the rows of media and HVAC buttons across the center console, and the iDrive controls all feel rather… Bavarian. Ironically it also makes the Supra’s dashboard the most aesthetically pleasing and best-feeling of all the cars in Toyota’s range. Whether on the standard 6.5-inch display, or the optional 8.8-inch touchscreen, the infotainment system is far preferable to Entune on the automaker’s other cars. Wireless CarPlay is a welcome addition – with that all-important wireless phone charger to go with it – even if Toyota makes it an option, while real carbon fiber trim looks and feels the part. 14-way adjustable seats – including 4-way lumbar and adjustable backrest width – are standard. They’re grippy and supportive on the track, though took some tinkering to get entirely comfortable on the road. In the base Supra 3.0 they’re clad in leather and Alcantara; the Supra 3.0 Premium trim upgrades that to full leather, along with the bigger display and a more potent audio system. Options include a head-up display and Toyota Supra Connect for remote app control and concierge services. The former is useful; the latter I could live without. Then there’s the company the new Supra keeps. Toyota’s deal with BMW to collaborate on a sports car produced both the 2020 Supra and the latest Z4. It also generated a deep, sticky morass of confusion about just how much of Toyota’s DNA is actually inside its new halo car.Here’s the reality. The Supra and the Z4 are based on a newly-created platform made in collaboration between Toyota and BMW: the former didn’t just go parts-shopping in the latter’s existing range. While the platform may be shared, these are still two very different cars, with different driving feels and focuses. And, most fundamentally, if it hadn’t been for that partnership, we wouldn’t have got this new car at all. Oh, and there’s another truth you need to know. The 2020 Supra is really, really good. Pop the hatchback trunk – which you can only do from the button on the driver’s door, or from the BMW-sourced key fob, not from the trunk lid itself – and there’s 10.1 cubic feet of cargo space. You need to navigate through a relatively narrow opening to access it, but the pass-through slot into the cabin does add a little extra flexibility. Visibility is, at least, reasonable, though the optional parking sensors that come – along with adaptive cruise control, blind spot warnings, and rear cross traffic alerts – in the Driver Assist Package are welcome. 2020 Toyota Supra verdictYou can’t accuse Toyota of aiming low. The shared goal with BMW was to beat Porsche’s Cayman and Boxster, and certainly the new Supra undercuts its coupe rival. Kicking off at $50,920 (including destination), the 2020 Supra 3.0 isn’t only cheaper and better equipped than the $58,150 718 Cayman, but has 35 hp and 85 lb-ft of torque more. The Porsche may be a few hundred pounds lighter, but it’s still 0.8 seconds slower to 60. The relative merits of the Supra versus the Cayman is the sort of argument that gives enthusiast messageboards blockbuster engagement. Perhaps the biggest takeaway, then, should be something more fundamental. The very fact that we’re comparing Toyota with Porsche in this context at all is astonishing. I can’t say the 2020 Supra is perfect. What I will say, though, is that it’s a more than welcome addition to the sports car segment and one – despite what’s shared with BMW – with a charm and personality of its own. Few cars on the market today feel quite so clearly designed with enthusiasts and tuners in mind; seen through that lens, some of Toyota’s more baffling decisions around both styling and engineering suddenly make far more sense. In short, no, this isn’t the rebirth of the Supra that we expected. It’s something a whole lot more interesting.
According to an Urban Institute study, the health-coverage costs carried by small businesses will likely fall if the 2010 health law is completely implemented, but companies with 101 – 1,000 employees could experience a jump in their costs. The Hill: Study: Costs Will Rise On Mid-Size Firms From New Healthcare LawPresident Obama’s healthcare law won’t erode employer-based health insurance — but it will raise some companies’ costs by nearly 10 percent, according to a new analysis from the Urban Institute. … Mid-sized businesses — firms that have between 101 and 1,000 employees — would have seen a 9.5 percent jump in their total healthcare costs if the Affordable Care Act had been fully in place this year, the paper says. (Many of the law’s key provisions don’t take effect until 2014.) Small businesses would have seen their costs fall by 1.4 percent. Firms with more than 1,000 workers would have seen a 4.3 percent increase (Baker, 10/8).Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Study: Health Insurance Costs To Fall For Businesses Under 50 Employees[The analysis] says that if all provisions of the health law were implemented this year, the number of Americans covered by employer-sponsored insurance would increase by 2.7 percent and costs-per-person for small businesses (fewer than 50 workers) would decrease by 7.3 percent (Carey, 10/9).Kansas Health Institute News: New Report: ACA Will Benefit Most EmployersTwo factors — expanded enrollment and penalties levied on an anticipated 5 percent of mid-size companies that are still not expected to offer coverage — could lead to an increase in overall spending of 9.5 percent for this [mid-sized business] group of employers, according to the report (10/8).Also in the news – Medpage Today: HHS Watchdog Has ACA In Sights For 2013 ReviewSome aspects of the Affordable Care Act will get special attention in the coming year from the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG). Among other things, the agency’s independent watchdog will review the use of grants to establish the necessary insurance exchanges that are a backbone of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). … Investigators are already looking into states’ willingness to comply with requirements for the exchanges and for eligibility for Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and health subsidy programs, according to the OIG’s 2013 work plan, which was released last week (Pittman, 10/8). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Report: Health Law Will Benefit Many Firms, But Mid-Size Would See Costs Rise
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. U.S. News Issues Its Hospital Honor Roll This year’s rankings cover nearly 5,000 medical centers across the country and span 16 medical specialties.U.S. News & World Report: Best Hospitals 2013-14: Overview And Honor RollSome hospitals have more expertise than others when it comes to caring for patients with life-threatening or rare conditions. And people facing such health challenges need every bit of help they can get. That’s why U.S. News & World Report publishes annual rankings of the nation’s Best Hospitals. The rankings, now in their 24th year, cover nearly 5,000 medical centers across the country and span 16 medical specialties, from cancer to neurology & neurosurgery. Hospitals that rank near the top of at least six specialties earn a spot on the Honor Roll. Just 18 distinguished hospitals made this year’s list (Leonard, 7/16). KHN earlier, related coverage: Hospital Ratings Websites (Rau, 3/18) and Hospital Ratings Are In The Eye Of The Beholder (Rau, 3/18).
Budget Talks Moving Further From GOP’s Health Law Concerns Republicans blame Democrats for throwing up new roadblocks to a compromise, but at the same time Sen. Lindsey Graham says making changes to the health law is “unrealistic.”The Hill: Senate Plots House GOP Squeeze The White House and the Senate are working to squeeze House Republicans into accepting a bipartisan compromise from the upper chamber to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling. Any emerging deal, however, will leave ObamaCare largely intact, angering conservatives who have demanded defunding or delaying President Obama’s signature achievement. House Republicans are fuming over the prospect that Senate Democrats and Republicans are working on a plan to jam them with a last-minute deal they would have to accept or risk triggering a federal default (Bolton, 10/13). The New York Times: Senate Leaders Talk; G.O.P. Blames Obama For Gridlock Senate Republicans on Sunday kept up the drumbeat of blame against President Obama for what they say is his failure to negotiate with them on the fiscal crisis that will come to a head on Thursday, when the government will run out of money to pay its bills. As the Republicans pointed fingers at the White House, Senators Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell were set to sit down again on Sunday in an effort to come up with some sort of agreement. … Some of the senators also sought to redirect the conversation from the shutdown and debt ceiling fight to the issue that closed the government on Oct. 1: the House Republicans’ insistence that they would not pass any spending bill that included financing for the new health care law (Huetteman and Peters, 10/13). The Washington Post: Sen. Graham: We’re ‘Ruining’ House And Senate The fight over the president’s health-care law should be saved for another day, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Sunday on ABC News’s “This Week.” “To my colleagues in the House, on both sides and to my friends in the Senate, we’re ruining both institutions,” Graham said. “So, it is unrealistic to expect us to defund or delay Obamacare by shutting the government down.” That doesn’t mean the fight against the health-care law should be abandoned, he said, adding that the measure will become a liability for the Democratic party. “To our Democratic friends, you own Obamacare and it’s going to be the political gift that keeps on giving,” he said. “So the shutdown will be old news next year; Obamacare’s faults will be front and center in 2014, if we don’t screw this up” (Chokshi, 10/13). Politico: Corker: It’s Now About Spending Caps Sen. Bob Corker said Sunday the standoff in Washington was now about spending levels — not Obamacare — and knocked Democrats for trying to break the spending caps put in place in 2011 under the Budget Control Act. And he said there had been no progress toward a deal this weekend, which saw the collapse of talks between House Republicans and the White House. “The last 24 hours have not been good,” Corker said on “Fox News Sunday.” The Tennessee Republican dinged his own party for what he characterized as an “overreach” in trying to defund Obamacare as part of any deal to fund the government, saying that was “not something that was achievable.” But he said Democrats were now overreaching by seeking an agreement to increase government spending above the levels mandated under sequestration (Wright, 10/13). The Wall Street Journal: Sidelined, Collins Vows To Continue Seeking Budget Compromise Sen. Susan Collins, a moderate Maine Republican at the center of a bipartisan Senate effort to break the budget impasse, on Sunday said she will continue to try and forge elements of a compromise despite having her initiative sidelined in favor of negotiations between the two top Senate leaders. … The Collins plan called for extending the nation’s borrowing authority through January and opening the government through March. But the measure would have done nothing to undo the sequester, a top Democratic priority. It also would have repealed a tax on medical devices imposed under the 2010 federal health law, a proposition Republicans favor but many Democrats don’t (Tracy, 10/13). The New York Times: Stuck On Usual Quarrel: Raising New Revenue But even if the current talks soon resolve the immediate impasse, which did not look likely on Saturday, any renewal of negotiations for a long-term fiscal plan will run into the same underlying problem that has doomed efforts for the past three years. Republicans refuse to raise additional tax revenue, and until they do, Mr. Obama will not support even his own tentative proposals for reducing spending on fast-growing social benefit programs, chiefly Medicare. During a White House meeting with Senate Republicans on Friday, he reiterated that the two go hand in hand, according to people who were there (Calmes, 10/12). The Hill: GOP Fear: Shutdown Thwarted Exposure Of ObamaCare Flaws House Republicans, now seeking a way out of the current fiscal impasse, fear that the government shutdown robbed them of a chance to highlight the problems in ObamaCare’s rollout. … To make matters worse, Republicans have taken a public relations hit for their strategy , a fact not lost on the lawmakers who — along with GOP leadership — opposed making government funding contingent on healthcare changes. “I think we have missed a big issue. I don’t think there’s any question that this whole shutdown episode has covered for the bad rollout of ObamaCare,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), an ally of Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). “A lot of us warned that” (Becker and Baker, 10/13). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell is expected to name someone to oversee the operations of healthcare.gov to keep it from becoming a joke again on late night TV. Also in the news is an examination of the small business marketplaces.Marketplace: Why HealthCare.Gov Is Going To Get A CEOFile this under one of the toughest jobs in America. The federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is beating the bushes for a CEO of HealthCare.gov, the site that became a punch line on late night TV last fall. The Obama Administration wants to make sure the funny guys get material from somewhere else. New HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell hopes appointing a CEO to oversee the operation will make the jokes go away (Gorenstein, 7/14). The Washington Post: Why We Still Don’t Know How Many Small Business Signed Up Through ObamacareIn contrast to the widely publicized enrollment numbers on the health care law’s individual marketplace, there’s apparently no way to know how many business owners and employees have signed up through the law’s new small-business exchanges. By all indications, though, it’s not very many (Harrison, 7/14). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Help Wanted: CEO For Hard-To-Manage Federal Insurance Website
Recommended For You’We were experiencing headwinds’ — Canopy Growth stock heads south on poor sales ramp-upShaw Communications is selling its stake in Corus Entertainment for $548 millionB.C. vows to appeal after top court says province can’t restrict oil shipments across its bordersProtests, legal challenges planned to block Trans Mountain expansionFINCAD Now Accepting Applications for its 2019 Women in Finance Scholarship Sears agrees to consider revised takeover bid, staving off liquidation for now The development offers new hope that Sears could remain operational, sparing the jobs of many of its 68,000 workers Reddit Share this storySears agrees to consider revised takeover bid, staving off liquidation for now Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn January 8, 20192:12 PM EST Filed under News Retail & Marketing Email Comment Twitter Facebook The iconic Sears could be heading into liquidation if its board rejects a bid by company chairman Eddie Lampert to keep the business running in its entirety.AP Photo/Seth Wenig Jessica DiNapoli and Mike Spector 0 Comments Join the conversation → NEW YORK — Sears Holdings Corp agreed on Tuesday to consider a revised takeover bid from Chairman Edward Lampert, temporarily staving off a liquidation that would have spelled the end of the 126-year-old U.S. department store operator.Lampert’s latest attempt to rescue Sears came after his previous US$4.4 billion bid fell short, prompting the retailer to make liquidation preparations ahead of bankruptcy court hearing in New York on Tuesday.An attorney for Sears told U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain that Lampert is expected to submit a revised offer for the retailer, along with a US$120 million deposit, by 4 p.m. Eastern on Jan. 9. He did not disclose details of the new offer. Sears to ask bankruptcy judge to liquidate, potentially putting up to 68,000 people out of work, sources say Sears, facing liquidation, says it will close 80 more stores Eddie Lampert makes $4.6-billion bid to buy Sears in ‘last-ditch effort’ to keep retailer alive Drain said that Sears will consider Lampert’s offer versus a potential liquidation during a bankruptcy auction on Jan. 14.The development offers new hope that Sears could remain operational, albeit in smaller form, sparing the jobs of many of its 68,000 workers. Were Sears to liquidate its assets, it would become one of the most high-profile victims in the wave of bankruptcies that has swept the retail sector in the last few years, as the explosion in online shopping exacerbates the fierce price competition facing brick-and-mortar stores.In a stark contrast between e-commerce firms and many physical retailers, Amazon.com Inc became the world’s most valuable company for the first time this week, reaching a market capitalization of close to US$800 billion.Previous NegotiationsA main point of contention in the negotiations between Lampert and Sears previously centered on whether Lampert’s bid fully addressed the bankruptcy costs that Sears has racked up, according to sources familiar with the matter.The costs, which include bills from lawyers and financial advisers, are expected to exceed US$200 million, those sources said.Lampert’s bid proposed forgiving US$1.3 billion of debt he holds in exchange for ownership of the reconstituted Sears, a bankruptcy manoeuvre known as a credit bid.In addition, Lampert wanted a release from legal exposure related to a series of transactions he completed with the retailer before it filed for bankruptcy protection. Those made him the company’s biggest creditor, in addition to its largest shareholder.Lampert’s offer did not include putting up cash to back the credit bid. That raised concerns in the negotiations since the maneuver might not be allowed in court, the sources said, given ongoing investigations of Lampert’s pre-bankruptcy deals, which the hedge fund manager maintains were proper.Unsecured creditors have pushed for Sears to liquidate, partially because they contend they will realize a better financial recovery if it does. Those creditors, which include Sears landlords and bondholders, have also questioned Lampert’s pre-bankruptcy transactions with the retailer.Sears’ bankruptcy, which includes discount chain Kmart, followed a decade of revenue declines, hundreds of store closures, and years of deals by billionaire Lampert in an attempt to turn around the company he put together in 2005 through an US$11 billion deal.Sears dates back to the late 1880s and its mail-order catalogs. Merchandise from toys, medicine, gramophones, automobiles, kit houses and tombstones made it the Amazon of its time.The iconic retailer gradually lost its shine, however, as consumers turned to e-commerce and brick-and-mortar rivals such as Walmart Inc and Target Corp.Lampert had pledged to restore Sears to its glory days, when it owned the tallest building in the world as well as a radio station and Allstate insurance.But critics say Lampert let the stores deteriorate over the years, even as he bought the company’s stock and lent it money.The largest U.S. toy retailer, Toys ‘R’ Us, tried to emerge from its 2017 bankruptcy filing but was also forced to liquidate six months later, after creditors lost confidence in its turnaround plan.© Thomson Reuters 2019 More Reuters
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a news conference about the government’s decision on the Trans Mountain Expansion Project, with Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Environment Minister Catherine McKenna in Ottawa on June 18, 2019.Chris Wattie/Reuters advertisement Facebook Twitter Featured Stories June 18, 20197:12 PM EDTLast UpdatedJune 18, 20197:37 PM EDT Filed underCanadian Politics 460 Comments But Conservative leader Andrew Scheer said Tuesday the announcement “really gets us no closer” to completing the Trans Mountain expansion, and expressed a belief that Ottawa would miss the crucial summer construction season, possibly leading to ballooning construction costs.He also criticized the initial decision to purchase the pipeline with taxpayers dollars. “This sent a devastating message to the world, and to the business community, that the only way to get a project built in Canada is to have the government nationalize it,” he said.Ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service, meanwhile, applauded the re-approval of the pipeline, but warned that the project “faces significant political, regulatory, and judicial challenges, and ultimately we see a tremendous amount of execution risk up until the oil starts flowing.”Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said the re-approval of Trans Mountain amounts to a positive signal for investors, but warned that the move did not go nearly far enough in addressing concerns in some provinces over the future of the Canadian natural resource sector. He urged Ottawa to immediately move ahead with construction.“This is a test for whether Canada truly is an economic union,” Kenney told reporters.In particular, Kenney warned that two controversial Liberal bills, C-69 and C-48, threaten to kneecap the fossil fuels sector, and could undo any goodwill achieved by approving Trans Mountain. The senate is widely expected to pass amended versions of both bills later this week.Steel pipe to be used in the construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion lies at a stockpile site in Kamloops, B.C., on June 18, 2019. Bill C-69, which would overhaul the environmental review process, and C-48, which bans oil tankers from docking along the northern B.C. coast, have become the focus of intense frustration in Western provinces, feeding beliefs on the part of some that the Trudeau government is explicitly aiming to diminish oil and gas investment.Paul de Jong, head of the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada, which represents some of the companies building Trans Mountain, said the Liberal decision on Tuesday still leaves lingering concerns about C-69 and C-48.“While today’s decision is the right one, it’s far from a ringing endorsement when the government is working so hard to kill major resource projects through legislation and regulations designed to make energy development less likely in the future,” he said.The seven private consortiums building Trans Mountain could still run into snags when construction gets underway. First Nations communities and some environmental groups, meanwhile, have promised to delay the project through any means necessary, including legal challenges.“No matter who approves it, this pipeline will not be built,” said Will George, a leader of Protect The Inlet and member of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation.Advocacy group Environmental Defence said the move would make it impossible for the Trudeau government to meet its climate change targets.“This is irresponsible at a time when Canada is drifting further away from meeting our Paris climate commitment, and inconsistent with the climate emergency that was declared only yesterday,” it said in a statement Tuesday.This sent a devastating message to the world Comment OTTAWA — The federal government has announced it is moving ahead with the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, ending months of speculation over the development and offering some relief to the embattled oil and gas sector amid a years-long pipeline bottleneck.“We have been assured by the company that their plan is to start construction this summer,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said of Trans Mountain Tuesday, just after his cabinet re-approved the project. “There is still a number of immediate steps to do in terms of permitting, but the pipeline is to have shovels in the ground this summer.”The government did not provide an updated timeline on Tuesday, but past estimates suggest the project could be completed around 2022 or 2023. Trans Mountain Corporation, the Crown corporation building the project, still needs to secure a number of regulatory permits before the expansion can be entirely completed, including certain permits for railway crossings and species protections.The Liberal decision could go some way toward restoring investor confidence in Canada, which has waned amid a failure by the oil and gas industry to build major new export pipelines. Years of political and regulatory wrangling have delayed major infrastructure projects, including Trans Mountain, fuelling deep discontent in Western provinces. However, even before the announcement critics contended a green light for TMX would be too little, too late. Disappointed B.C. premier Horgan says province will carry on with fight against Trans Mountain No construction on Keystone XL in U.S. this year despite court win John Ivison: Not even a pipeline will soothe Western ire when this legislation sails through the House Some people “will not be convinced by the arguments we put forward,” Trudeau said on the Liberal government’s balance between the economy and the environment. “We accept that.”The decision underscores a balancing act by the Trudeau government to both support growth in the fossil fuels industry while also enforcing stricter environmental policies, including an economy-wide carbon tax. On Monday, the House of Commons passed a motion to declare a national climate emergency in Canada, then approved the pipeline a day later.Trudeau announced last summer that the federal government would buy the existing assets of the Trans Mountain pipeline for $4.4 billion, after the project’s private-sector owner, Kinder Morgan, threatened to scrap the project. Around the same time, a Federal Court of Appeal judge struck down an earlier approval of the expansion, forcing the government to repeat a portion of its consultations with First Nations communities affected by the pipeline, which carries oil from Alberta to the B.C. coast for export.Federal officials, under the direction of Minister of Natural Resources Amarjeet Sohi, have conducted months of talks with local communities along the pipeline’s path in an attempt to temper opposition to the project. Sohi met with 65 First Nations communities on Trans Mountain, and government officials remain in talks with some communities.Later this week, Finance Minister Bill Morneau will send letters to 129 Indigenous communities to begin discussions around offering First Nations a financial stake in the project.This sent a devastating message to the world More Dennis Owen/Reuters Join the conversation → Reddit Liberal government approves $9.3B Trans Mountain expansion project, but critics say it’s too little too late Criticism of the Trudeau Liberals shifted on Tuesday toward whether the publicly-owned project will now meet its tight construction schedule Sponsored By: Email Any legal challenge is not expected to stall the project in the near term. The Supreme Court of Canada did not rule on a First Nations-led challenge against Enbridge’s Line 9 pipeline expansion until after oil was already flowing through the line, for example.But environmental organizations and some politicians warn that recent negotiations by federal officials with First Nations communities have not actually solved the core concerns of those opposed to the pipeline.“The indigenous concerns that were raised are still there,” NDP leader Jagmeet Singh told reporters on Tuesday.The Trans Mountain expansion would nearly triple the pipeline’s current capacity to 890,000 barrels of oil per day, bringing crude oil and other petroleum products from northern Alberta to a port near Vancouver.It is expected to cost roughly $9.3 billion, according to documents filed last year by the pipeline’s former owner. However, analysts have warned that prolonged construction delays and a worker shortage in Western Canada could substantially raise the estimated costs of the pipeline. Some estimates put the expansion cost closer to $12 billion.Fresh shipments of pipe have been making their way to storage yards along the proposed expansion route in recent weeks, according to a report by the Financial Post, suggesting construction firms are prepared to move ahead with the project.Ottawa also said that it would take the proceeds from the pipeline after its completion and invest them into clean technologies aimed at lowering greenhouse gas emissions. The expanded project would generate around $500 million in cash flows, according to some estimates.The cabinet decision on Tuesday also comes as two other crucial conduits — the Line 3 and Keystone XL projects — languish in the U.S. regulatory and legal systems, leaving oil producers with few other options to get their product to market.Earlier this month, a Minnesota court rejected Calgary-based Enbridge’s Line 3 replacement pipeline, further delaying a project not expected to come online before the end of 2020. The project would ship oil from northern Alberta to Wisconsin, and double current capacity to 760,000 barrels per day.Meanwhile, construction will not begin this year on TC Energy’s Keystone XL pipeline, despite a favourable U.S. Court of Appeal ruling that allowed the company to move ahead with the project. The 830,000-barrel-per-day pipeline has been struck down by state-level regulators in Nebraska.The Trans Mountain expansion could be getting underway amid a looming pipeline crunch in Alberta in coming years.Analysts expect that increasing oilsands production next year could force a record number of barrels onto rail cars, prolonging financial pain in the oilpatch well before any new pipeline projects come online.Canada could be shipping as much as 500,000 barrels per day of oil by rail car next year, according to a recent estimate by IHS CERA in Calgary, or roughly one out of every nine barrels produced in the country. In 2016 that ratio was closer to one in every 43 barrels produced in Canada.A shortage of pipeline capacity caused Canadian heavy oil prices to plummet late last year, forcing producers to accept an average US$43 per barrel discount compared to U.S. benchmarks over the month of December.• Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter: jesse_snyder Jesse Snyder Share this storyLiberal government approves $9.3B Trans Mountain expansion project, but critics say it’s too little too late Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn The Apollo 11 moon landing was so boring it must be real If Americans were going to fake the moon landing, you’d better believe there would be some high drama and maybe even an explosion or two.… ← Previous Next →
Tesla Model S from 2012 has a better EPA rating than the 2019 Audi e-tron and Jaguar I-PACE.Source: Electric Vehicle News
Source: Charge Forward Tesla says that it is now starting to give early access to software updates for owners who bought the Full Self-Driving package before the price drop. more…Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and subscribe to the podcast.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1zk7Eb8r-s&list=PL_Qf0A10763mA7Byw9ncZqxjke6Gjz0MtThe post Tesla says it is starting to give early access software updates to early Full Self-Driving buyers appeared first on Electrek.
Share via Email Share on Pinterest No respite for Rooney as Ferguson sees hope of Berbatov deal recede This article is more than 10 years old Manchester United Share on Messenger Daniel Taylor First published on Fri 22 Aug 2008 19.01 EDT Share via Email Share on Twitter @DTguardian Share on Facebook Sir Alex Ferguson has been chasing Dimitar Berbatov for the past two summers. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Manchester United Tottenham Hotspur Share on LinkedIn Topics Premier League 2008-09 Sir Alex Ferguson This article is more than 10 years old Premier League Share on Facebook Share on WhatsApp Share on Twitter Shares00 Fri 22 Aug 2008 19.01 EDT news Wayne Rooney Reuse this content Sir Alex Ferguson said yesterday he was “less optimistic” about Manchester United’s chances of signing Dimitar Berbatov than he had been two weeks ago. The club will renew their efforts to prise him away from Tottenham Hotspur next week but Ferguson has been frustrated by the complications of bringing in another striker to complement Wayne Rooney, a player the United manager conceded was not in his best form.Ferguson spoke of Rooney “overdoing it in the wrong areas of the pitch” and said the England striker would have more success in the penalty area if he curbed his roaming instincts. “This is something we are talking to Wayne about and he himself has started to identify that it’s a weakness. It is not a bad thing for him to have come out [after England’s 2-2 draw against the Czech Republic] and said so. He is realising he needs to be more around the edge of the box in the last third of play. It can be a waste of energy chasing from man to man to man. But that’s his natural enthusiasm and you can’t fault that.”If United can persuade Spurs to part company with Berbatov Ferguson thinks it will take some of the pressure off Rooney at a time when Louis Saha has injury problems and Cristiano Ronaldo is still five or six weeks away from returning to the side, despite being allowed to step up his training with some light jogging exercises. The talks with Spurs have reached an impasse, however, with the clubs differing significantly in their valuation of the player. The transfer window closes on Monday week and although, in theory, that still leaves plenty of time for a deal to be concluded Ferguson, perhaps strategically, indicated that his transfer targets might be slipping away.”How long have we got?” he asked. “Eleven days … under pressure! We are working at something. But you never know in football. We may get him, we may not. We’re trying but if we don’t we will carry on with what we have got. If you take the long-term view I think we would be OK.”United’s wastefulness in front of goal was evident during the Charity Shield against Portsmouth and their 1-1 draw with Newcastle United last Sunday, but Ferguson is encouraged by the return of Carlos Tevez for Monday’s game at Portsmouth and made it clear he had great belief in Rooney’s ability. “Unselfishness is not the biggest crime to have in your life as a footballer,” he said. “It shows qualities of team ethic and that is terrific to see in this era of ‘need to be seen’. Just look how some players celebrate goals, the earrings they wear and the tattoos they have, it tells you the age we are in. It is refreshing that someone is prepared to sacrifice for the team effort. It’s only a small correction he has to make.”
May 9 2018Similar to how protein clumps build up in the brain in people with some neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, protein clumps appear to accumulate in the diseased hearts of mice and people with heart failure, according to a team led by Johns Hopkins University researchers.In experiments described in the May 11 issue of the journal Circulation Research, the investigators report identifying in diseased hearts the form of the protein that tends to clump, and visualizing it in the heart using a noninvasive positron emission tomography (PET) scan could, they say, lead to advances in monitoring disease progression and testing new therapies.Heart failure is a chronic condition in which the heart doesn’t fill or pump blood as well as it should, leading to excessive fatigue. About 5.7 million people in the U.S. have heart failure, and about half of people diagnosed will die within five years, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”From a molecular standpoint there’s not a unified, clear mechanism for why the heart goes into failure,” says Giulio Agnetti, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and University of Bologna. “But by figuring out this mechanism, we may be able to devise better treatments and diagnostic tools.”Current drugs used to treat heart failure -; such as those that lower blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels -; reduce stress on the heart and symptoms associated with heart failure without necessarily fixing the underlying cause. Once the heart fails to pump, the only treatment in the end is a heart transplant.Previous work by this team, published in 2014, showed that the protein desmin accumulates in clumps called amyloid in the hearts of dogs with heart failure. Desmin is a protein found in the cell’s “skeleton,” or supporting structure, and is known as intermediate filaments. Why it clumps in diseased heart cells isn’t known, Agnetti says.To see if desmin protein clumps are also found in human heart failure, the researchers studied the proteins from heart tissue biopsies from people with or without heart failure. They used a fluorescent antibody commonly used in Alzheimer’s disease research and a new fluorescent stain for amyloid developed by Agnetti to visualize and quantify the desmin protein clumps. They observed twice as many desmin clumps in heart failure patients than those without heart failure.The team used a common mouse model of heart failure to look for desmin clumps. In this model, the aorta -; the main artery coming from the heart -; is surgically constricted, which noticeably raises pressure and stress, and causes heart failure. After four weeks of pressure on the aorta, the mice develop symptoms of heart failure such as an enlarged heart and lung congestion. Desmin amyloid was more than doubled in the heart failure mice when using the same antibody and staining techniques used for the human tissue samples.Then the researchers treated proteins from the mice hearts with epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) -; a chemical from green tea known to break up amyloid. The treatment cut by half the amount of protein clumps.”Interestingly, green tea has already been demonstrated to curb the incidence of cardiovascular disease as well as improve cognitive impairment in Alzheimer’s models, though the mechanism for such action is unclear,” says Agnetti. “EGCG’s ability to ‘de-clump’ these sticky proteins could be one of green tea’s healthy effects. Knowing how this chemical works could open new avenues for designing a new class of drugs that target protein clumping.”Related StoriesMaternal proximity to oil and gas areas associated with congenital heart defects in babiesStudy explores role of iron in over 900 diseasesAlzheimer’s gene may affect cognitive health before adulthood, study findsNext, the researchers wanted to identify the form of desmin that tended to clump. Based on their earlier work, they thought that one or more chemical phosphate groups added to the 27th or 31st building blocks in desmin’s protein structure might affect how the protein clumps. They genetically engineered versions of desmin with one, both or none of the phosphate groups attached to desmin, tagged them with a green fluorescent signal to make them visible, and put them in heart cells using a virus.A week later, using a microscope to track the green glow, the cells with desmin and two phosphate groups were still pumping, and this form of desmin was incorporated in the muscle fibers. The researchers say they believe this shows that the desmin with two phosphate groups is most likely the normal, healthy version of the protein.The cells that had a single phosphate on desmin at the 31st position in the protein’s chain of amino acids contracted more rapidly and had more green clumps, leading the researchers to believe that this behaves as the diseased version of the protein.Agnetti learned from Richard O’Brien, M.D., Ph.D., a former Johns Hopkins neuroscientist now at Duke University, that PET is used to detect protein clumps in the brains of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease patients and can detect the clumps in certain genetic heart conditions that cause excessive protein clump formation. Following O’Brien’s advice, the researchers tested if they could use this noninvasive technique to detect desmin clumps in mice with heart failure. Healthy and heart failure mice were injected with Amyvid, a radioactive dye that allows the researchers to see the protein clumps by PET. The heart failure mice had 13 percent more of the Amyvid taken up in their hearts than the healthy mice.”PET imaging of protein clumps may be eventually used in patients to identify structural changes in the heart as the disease progresses, and this information likely holds prognostic value,” says Peter Rainer, M.D., Ph.D., a former postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins who is now at the Medical University of Graz in Austria. “It could be used as a nice measure of the effect of an intervention to halt or reverse disease progression.”In future experiments, the research team plans to confirm its results in more human tissue samples. The investigators also hope to identify a drug or small molecule to prevent desmin from forming clumps.”There is a lot of emphasis placed on the role of genes in modern times, but we’re born with our genes and at present we can do very little about the ones we have,” says Agnetti. “I think the next step is to follow up with the proteins that are dynamically modified in response to environment, which places a larger emphasis on lifestyle intervention to help prevent diseases. Natural compounds like EGCG in green tea and modified dietary interventions could play a role in keeping us healthy.” Source:https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/heart_failure_the_alzheimers_disease_of_the_heart
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