Bill Gates’ newest mission: Curing Alzheimer’s

(CNN)It’s one of the holy grails of science: a cure for Alzheimer’s. Currently, there is no treatment to stop the disease, let alone slow its progression. And billionaire Bill Gates thinks he will change that.

“I believe there is a solution,” he told me without hesitation.
“Any type of treatment would be a huge advance from where we are today,” he said, but “the long-term goal has got to be cure.”
    I had the chance to sit down with Gates recently to talk about his newest initiative. He sat in front of our cameras exclusively to tell me how he hopes to find a cure to a disease that now steals the memories and other cognitive functions of 47 million people around the world.
    For Gates, the fight is personal. He is investing $50 million of his own money into the Dementia Discovery Fund, a private-public research partnership focused on some of the more novel ideas about what drives the brain disease, such as looking at a brain cell’s immune system. It’s the first time Gates has made a commitment to a noncommunicable disease. The work done through his foundation has focused primarily on infectious diseases such as HIV, malaria and polio.
    I have interviewed Gates many times over the years, in countries around the world. He was more engaged on this topic of Alzheimer’s than I’ve ever seen before.
    Today, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, where a new case is diagnosed every 66 seconds. More than 5 million Americans live with the disease, at a cost of $259 billion a year. Without any treatment, those numbers are projected to explode to 16 million Americans with the disease, at a cost of over $1 trillion a year, by 2050.
    “The growing burden is pretty unbelievable,” the tech guru-turned-philanthropist told me. It’s something he knows personally. “Several of the men in my family have this disease. And so, you know, I’ve seen how tough it is. That’s not my sole motivation, but it certainly drew me in.”
    When he said, “I’m a huge believer in that science and innovation are going to solve most of the tough problems over time,” I could feel his optimism.
    He told me he has spent the past year investigating and talking to scientists, trying to determine how best to help move the needle toward treatment of the disease itself rather than just the symptoms.

    A disease turns 100

    It has been more than a century since the disease was identified by German physician Dr. Alois Alzheimer. He first wrote about it in 1906, describing the case of a woman named “Auguste D.” Alzheimer called it “a peculiar disease,” marked by significant memory loss, severe paranoia and other psychological changes.
    But it wasn’t until Alzheimer performed an autopsy on her brain that the case became even more striking. He found that her brain had shrunk significantly, and there were unusual deposits in and around the nerve cells.
    It would take another 80 years for scientists to identify what those deposits were: plaques and tangles of proteins called amyloid and tau. They have become hallmarks of the disease.
    Both amyloid and tau are naturally occurring proteins that can be found in healthy brain cells. But in a brain with Alzheimer’s, something goes haywire, causing parts of amyloid proteins to clump together and block the cell’s messaging pathways. Eventually, tau proteins begin to tangle up inside the neurons.
    All of this contributes to a breakdown of the neural highway that helps our brain cells communicate. These changes in the brain can begin years before anyone starts actually exhibiting any symptoms of memory loss or personality changes.
    Until recently, it’s been a challenge to understand the disease, let alone identify who has it. The only way to definitively diagnose Alzheimer’s is still after someone has died and their brain can be examined under the microscope, looking for the telltale amyloid plaques and tau tangles.

    A new hope

    “It’s gone slower than we all would have hoped. A lot of failed drug trials,” Gates told me. And he’s right. Since 2002, there have been more than 400 Alzheimer drug trials run and yet no treatments. There are some drugs prescribed to help with cognitive symptoms such as memory loss or confusion but nothing that actually targets Alzheimer’s.
    In the past five years, advanced imaging technology has allowed us to see tau and amyloid in living people.
    Dr. James Hendrix, who heads up the Alzheimer Association’s Global Science Innovation team, believes that this development is a game-changer. “You need good tools to find the right therapeutics,” he said.
    By identifying these biomarkers earlier, Hendrix told me, scientists can work on finding ways to prevent the brain from deteriorating.
    “If we can catch the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s, then we’re treating a mostly healthy brain, and keeping it mostly healthy. … It’s very difficult to repair the damage once it’s done,” he explained.
    Dr. Rudy Tanzi agrees that imaging has been essential in understanding the pathology of Alzheimer’s and potential treatments. Tanzi, a professor of neurology at Harvard, has been at the helm of Alzheimer’s research, discovering several of the genes associated with the disease.
    He points out that one of the greatest faults with some of the trials has not been in the treatment itself but in the application: too late in the disease’s progression, when symptoms are already occurring. “It’s like trying to give someone Lipitor when they have a heart attack,” he explained. “You had to do it earlier.”
    Tanzi said we need to think about Alzheimer’s like cancer or heart disease. “That’s how we’re going to beat the disease: early detection and early intervention.”

    Think different

    Most of the focus in Alzheimer’s research has been on tau and amyloid, what Gates likes to call “the mainstream.” With his donation, Gates hopes to spur research into more novel ideas about the disease, like investigating the role of the glial cells that activate the immune system of the brain or how the energy lifespan of a cell may contribute to the disease.
    “There’s a sense that this decade will be the one that we make a lot of progress,” Gates told me.
    Gates believes that it will be a combination of mainstream and out-of-the-box thinking that will lead to potential treatments in the near future.
    “Ideally, some of these mainstream drugs that report out in the next two or three years will start us down the path of reducing the problem. But I do think these newer approaches will eventually be part of that drug regimen that people take,” he said.

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    Has looking into Alzheimer’s research caused Gates to worry about his own health?
    “Anything where my mind would deteriorate” is, he said, one of his greatest fears. He’s seen the hardship it has caused in his own family. “I hope I can live a long time without those limitations.”
    So Gates is now focused on prevention, by exercising and staying mentally engaged. “My job’s perfect, because I’m always trying to learn new things and meeting with people who are explaining things to me. You know, I have the most fun job in the world,” he said with a smile.

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    GE’s $100 Billion Wipeout Heralds Reckoning for an American Icon

    Few under the age of 30 might remember, but General Electric Co. was once a model of corporate greatness.

    Back in 1999, when Steve Jobs was still fiddling with iMacs, Fortune magazine proclaimed Jack Welch, then GE’s chief executive officer, the best manager of the 20th Century.

    Few people — of whatever age — would lavish such praise on the manufacturer these days.

    GE, that paragon of modern management, has fallen so far that it’s scarcely recognizable. The old GE is dead, undone by an unfortunate mix of missteps and bad luck. The new one now confronts some of the most daunting challenges in the company’s 125-year history.

    The numbers tell the story: This year alone, roughly $100 billion has been wiped off GE’s stock market value. With mounting cash-flow problems at the once-mighty company, even the dividend is at risk of being cut. The last time GE chopped the payout was in the Great Recession — and before that, the Great Depression.

    Read more: Bloomberg Gadfly on GE dividend

    And yet the hit to the collective psyche of generations of investors and managers is incalculable. For decades, GE-think infiltrated boardrooms around the world. Six Sigma quality control, strict performance metrics, management boot camps — all that and more informed the MBAs of the 1970s, ’80s, ’90s and into this century. GE, in turn, seeded corporate America with its executives.

    Anxious Investors

    Now, John Flannery, GE’s new CEO, is struggling to win back the trust of anxious investors. He’s set to detail his turnaround plans on Monday — and has said he’ll consider every option.

    “There’s nothing less than the fate of a once great, great company on the line,” said Thomas O’Boyle, the author of “At Any Cost: Jack Welch, General Electric, and the Pursuit of Profit.” “Some of the fundamental notions about its status as a conglomerate and whether it can succeed in a world of increasing complexity are really being challenged right now.”

    In hindsight, the seeds of this struggle were planted decades ago. Welch expanded and reshaped GE with hundreds of acquisitions and demanded every GE unit be No. 1 or No. 2 in its industry. He also culled low-performers ruthlessly, earning the nickname Neutron Jack. By the time he retired, in 2001, GE’s market value had soared from less than $20 billion to almost $400 billion.

    But all that maneuvering, plus GE’s increasingly complex financial operations, obscured the underlying performance and put the company in peril during the 2008 financial crisis. Welch’s successor, Jeffrey Immelt, soon embarked on a plan to undo much of the House that Jack Built. He would sell NBC and most of the finance operations — two of the businesses that defined Welch’s tenure — along with units such as plastics and home-appliances.

    The moves narrowed GE’s focus, yet it remains a collection of somewhat disparate manufacturing businesses, ranging from jet engines to oilfield equipment.

    Out of Favor

    Unfortunately for GE, that industrial conglomerate model has fallen sharply out of favor on Wall Street. And the rise of activist investors like Nelson Peltz has encouraged companies to try to boost their stock prices however they can, rather than focus on the long term. GE recently welcomed one of Peltz’s partners at Trian Fund Management to the board.

    “The reckoning had to come,” said Jack De Gan, chief investment officer of Harbor Advisory, which has been a GE shareholder for more than 20 years before selling most of the shares in the past few weeks.

    GE’s leaders have long defended the multi-business strategy by pointing to the benefits of sharing technology across product lines — jet engines, for instance, have a lot in common with gas turbines. In an interview with Bloomberg in June, Flannery dismissed concerns about conglomerates, saying investors care more about outcomes.

    “They want growth, they want visibility, they want predictability, they want margin rate,” Flannery said. “And there are a multitude of models to produce that.”

    $20 Billion

    The new CEO has already said he’ll divest at least $20 billion of assets. He’s coming under pressure to do even more.

    “Anything less than a sweeping plan to ‘de-conglomerate’ the portfolio would be viewed as disappointing,” Deane Dray, an analyst with RBC Capital Markets, said this week in a note to clients. The potential moves include unloading its transportation, oil, health-care and lighting operations.

    Read more: Bloomberg Gadfly on a GE Breakup

    To be sure, GE’s issues run deeper than the composition of the company. One of its biggest divisions, power-generation, is in the early stages of a deep market slump — just two years after bulking up with the $10 billion acquisition of Alstom SA’s energy business. GE’s cash flow is light, potentially putting the dividend in jeopardy and driving investors away from the stock.

    Flannery has spoken of the need to change GE’s culture and instill a sense of accountability. He’s reined in excessive spending — on corporate cars and planes, on the new Boston headquarters — and replaced top executives.

    But the sudden changes, combined with Flannery’s relative lack of public reassurances, have spooked investors. In the days after Flannery’s first quarterly earnings as CEO, when he called GE’s performance “completely unacceptable,” the stock fell and fell. And fell some more, closing at the lowest level in five years on Nov. 2.

    The shares slid less than 1 percent to $19.99 on Thursday, bringing the 2017 loss to 37 percent.

    “You think about a company like Kodak. Will GE become that?” said Vijay Govindarajan, a professor at Dartmouth University’s Tuck School of Business who served as GE’s professor-in-residence in 2008 and 2009.

    Some investors may be throwing in the towel, but Govindarajan isn’t giving up. “I will put my bet that GE will weather this and come back,” he said.

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      The Life-Changing Magic Of Taking Long Walks

      Holiday Instagram

      It is a paradox that perhaps the single best way to still one’s mind is to put the body in motion. The list of what has been accomplished on walks is almost comically illustrative of this point.

      Nietzsche said the ideas in Thus Spoke Zarathustra came to him on a long walk. Thomas Cook supposedly came up with the idea for his travel and tourism agency—one of the first and biggest ever—on a walk from Market Harborough to Leicester. Nikola Tesla discovered the rotating magnetic field on a walk through a city park in Budapest in 1882, one of the most important scientific discoveries of all time.

      And this is only a small sampling of what we can directly attribute to walking. When he lived in Paris, Hemingway would take long walks along the quais whenever he was stuck in his writing and he needed to clarify his thinking. Darwin’s daily schedule included several walks. Charles Dickens often walked as much as 20 miles per day! The poet William Wordsworth has walked as many as 180,000 miles in his lifetime—an average of 6.5 miles a day since he was five years old!

      All of these walks, hundreds and thousands of miles over the years, were facilitating and generating the insights behind their brilliant, world-changing work. Nietzsche would go as far as to say of his own strolls, “It is only ideas gained from walking that have any worth.”

      When I was 24, I broke my elbow after a fall from my bike. The break was painful and required a sling for something like six weeks, which made writing particularly difficult. My frustration was exacerbated by the fact that as an avid runner and swimmer, my normal means of exercise were also off the table. I also wasn’t going to be getting on a bike again anytime soon. To prevent myself from going stir-crazy, I started going on long walks. In the morning. In the afternoon. Late at night before bed.

      At first these walks were just inferior substitutes for the exercise I was missing, and I disliked the experience. But as they went on—and the distances grew longer—walking grew on me. I came to notice and love the beauty of the city I had moved to. (There is no better city for walking in America than uptown New Orleans, even in the swampy summer heat.) I also found that words for the book that I was writing seemed to just flow into my head from nowhere. Even difficulties I was having in my relationship started to feel less serious, and solutions followed. It was exactly as Thoreau said, “the moment my legs begin to move my thoughts begin to flow.”

      By the time my arm healed, I was a convert. I was a walker. As much as I could, whenever I could, especially when I was stuck. I even walk when I have phone calls to do or if I show up somewhere early. But it should be said that walking thoughts are usually a different kind of thought. They are not the racing thoughts of the worried mind. Or the distracted thoughts of the workplace mind. They are, as many walkers attest, more naturally reflective, calmer and contemplative.

      It strikes me that this is partly due to the environmental change and then partly due to how the mind works when walking. In a notoriously loud city like ancient Rome, it was impossible to get much peace and quiet. The noises of wagons, the shouting of vendors, the hammering of a blacksmith—all filled the streets with piercing violence (to say nothing of the putrid smells of a city with poor sewage and sanitation). So philosophers like Seneca went on a lot of walks— to get where they needed to go, to clear their heads, to get fresh air. “We should take wandering outdoor walks,” he said, “so that the mind might be nourished and refreshed by the open air and deep breathing.”

      It would seem obvious that walks in parks or forests or along pretty scenery are the best, but I don’t think it’s necessarily about nature. A busy New York City avenue can be silenced with headphones and a loop around a parking lot or down a long hallway will do in a pinch (a lap around the inside of the Pentagon is around a mile for example). It’s the process that’s doing the work, not the crashing of the oceans waves or the lapping of the water along the walls of a canal.

      There is evidence that memory and the mind function differently on the move. The late Seth Roberts used to practice flashcards for languages he was learning while on the treadmill because he found that while each activity was boring by itself, doing them simultaneously allowed him to do both better. A study at New Mexico Highlands University has found that the force from our footsteps can increase the supply of blood to the brain. Researchers at Stanford have found that walkers performer better on tests that measure “creative divergent thinking” during and after their walks. And a 20 year study found that walking five miles a week protects the brains of people suffering from Alzheimer’s.

      In a letter to his niece, Kierkegaard wrote

      “Every day, I walk myself into a state of well-being & walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it. But by sitting still, & the more one sits still, the closer one comes to feeling ill. Thus if one just keeps on walking, everything will be all right.”

      Isn’t that interesting? That sitting still seems to invite the sickness of the mind, but walking seems to still those ripples until the mind is like a quiet lake…precisely because the mind has been more active.

      The Buddhists talk of “walking meditation” or “kinhin” where the movement after a long session of sitting, particularly movement through a beautiful setting, can unlock a different kind of stillness that traditional meditation couldn’t.

      Like I said, it’s a paradox. Move to find stillness. And if not stillness, then at least insight.

      Certainly this piece wouldn’t have been possible without a walk or two. And since I need to start the next one, it’s time to leave for another walk. I hope you will take one too.

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      If Your Dog Is One Of These Breeds, Here Are The Health Risks You Need To Know About

      While welcoming a new dog into the family is a very fun and exciting idea, it shouldn’t ever be a spontaneous decision.

      Sharing your home with man’s best friend is undeniably rewarding in many ways, but it also comes with its own set of responsibilities — not the least of which is making sure they’re happy and healthy. That’s why it’s so important that you thoroughly research the type of dog you’re thinking about adopting beforehand. Not only do all breeds have their own quirks and behaviors, but their own health risks as well. So if you’re thinking about bringing home any of the 10 popular breeds below, here are the common health problems you need to consider first.

      1. Golden retrievers are some of the sweetest and most loyal dogs around, which is what makes it so heartbreaking that the majority of them develop cancer. You can work to reduce the environmental factors that may contribute to canine cancer by limiting their exposure to secondhand smoke, pesticides and phenoxy herbicides, keeping them fit and lean, and making regular visits to the vet.

      2. Dachshunds are at a higher risk for back injuries and spinal disk problems because of their elongated backs. The best prevention is keeping them at a healthy weight and limiting them from jumping off of furniture and climbing up the stairs.

      3. Like other large breeds, German shepherds are prone to getting hip dysplasia, a congenital disorder in which hip sockets are too loose and the femur causes damage. The first thing you can do is find a reputable breeder and ask whether the parents have been screened for hip dysplasia. If your pup already has it, though, moderate exercise, supplements that support joint health, anti-inflammatory or pain-relieving medication and heated beds can help with the pain.

      4. Because of their flat faces, pug are more likely to have breathing difficulties. That’s why it’s important to keep track of how they’re breathing, especially on hot days. Their eyes are also more susceptible to injury and infection because of the way they bulge. Monitoring their behavior is critical in detecting any changes so you can take them to the vet if needed.

      5. It’s common for Siberian huskies to have autoimmune skin diseases that causes crusts, sores and hair loss, especially on the nose and inside the ear flap. Be sure to take them to the vet if you notice anything out of the ordinary, where they can be given corticosteroids or other steroid therapy to keep the condition under control.

      6. Like pugs, bulldogs often suffer with breathing issues because of their “squashed” snouts. Keeping them at a healthy weight and making sure they don’t overexert themselves, especially in the heat, will help prevent breathing difficulties.

      7. Labs are notorious for having issues with their weight. Daily exercise and a limit on treats are musts. If you find yours constantly begging for food, try giving them fresh fruits and vegetables like apples and raw carrots. Your vet will be able to give you the best diet plan if yours is already overweight.

      8. Epilepsy is more common in beagles than other breeds. While it can’t be cured, regular visits to the vet and antiseizure medication can help manage the disorder.

      9. Like golden retrievers, boxers have a higher chance of developing cancer, especially lymphoma and mast cell tumors. The best thing you can do for your buddy is to regularly check for unusual lumps on their skin and body, and to go to your vet if you find them so you can start treatment early.

      10. Those adorably floppy ears on cocker spaniels make them much more likely to get ear infections. Cleaning them every two weeks, flipping the ears back every once in a while to let them “breathe,” and trimming hair growing on the underside of the ears should help prevent infection.

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      Michelle Obama Just Gave The Best Life Advice For The Trump Era

      If you’re like most humans, the current political climate has caused you some excess anxiety or tension. Recent research shows that the majority of Americans are stressed about the future of the nation and even relationships with loved ones are feeling the strain.

      Michelle Obama is here to offer some guidance on how to deal with it all ― and her advice is pretty spot on.

      The former first lady spoke at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford, Connecticut, this week, where she offered some suggestions on how to survive chaotic times, the Hartford Courant reports.

      Focus on what you can control,’’ Obama advised the audience. “Be a good person every day. Vote. Read. Treat one another kindly. Follow the law. Don’t tweet nasty stuff.”

      Pretty sage wisdom, right? But does it actually work?

      We examined stress research and chatted with a mental health expert about Obama’s tips. Below is a breakdown on their effectiveness when it comes to dealing with tough times:

      1. “Focus on what you can control.”

      Current events can feel incredibly overwhelming, according to Dan Reidenberg, executive director of Suicide Awareness Voices of Education and chair of the American Psychotherapy Association. Looking at everything that is out of your hands can cause anxiety.

      Focusing on what you can do helps, Reidenberg told HuffPost. That includes limiting your exposure to the news cycle and participating in activities that bring you joy.

      Filtering out the unhappy, angry, chaotic, stressful, dark headlines and maintaining a healthy balance between the challenges and the good things “will allow you to feel in control of your life rather than feeling life is controlling you,” he said.

      2. “Be a good person every day.”

      This has long been go-to advice when it comes to improving mental health. It applies to how you deal with yourself as well as how you behave toward others.

      Being good to yourself and to others “will increase your self-worth, self-esteem, self-confidence and your sense of pride,” Reidenberg said.

      3. “Vote.”

      Therapists say their clients are reporting feeling helpless more often since the election. An antidote to that? Taking action. Voting in elections and getting involved on issues that are important to you are tangible ways to ease politically related stress, according to the American Psychological Association.

      4. “Read.”

      Reading about what’s going on in the world and staying updated can help you feel in touch. It’s a method even some experts use to ease their own stress over politics.

      My personal approach is to stay immersed in the news cycle, hoping for some shred of encouragement or at least consolation from hearing my views shared by others,” Susan Krauss Whitbourne, a professor of psychological and brain sciences at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, previously told HuffPost.

      But if following the news is causing you to feel uneasy, other kinds of reading can help with that. A study published in 2009 found that getting lost in a good book can be one of the most effective ways to reduce stress, sometimes even better than listening to music or enjoying a cup of tea.

      5. “Treat one another kindly.”

      Research shows that being kind to another person not only improves that person’s mood; it can boost your happiness levels too. Looking for ways to spread a little kindness? Try one of these

      6. “Follow the law.”

      This one seems pretty obvious, no? Laws are needed for a well-functioning society. But Reidenberg said it’s worth keeping in mind for your mental health as well. Having a set of rules to follow can help enhance your feelings of control.

      7. “Don’t tweet nasty stuff.”

      This is perhaps one of the most vital rules to follow today.

      “Sharing of negative thoughts and feelings isn’t helpful to anyone,” Reidenberg said. “By speaking poorly of others you aren’t helping anyone, and you are contributing to the angst so many people are feeling right now. And when there is a lot of this coming from every direction, the ugliness can contribute to anxiety and stress.”

      Obama also added one final piece of wisdom, which she said is worth heeding no matter who is president.

      “The impact of all of us in our everyday lives is greater than anything … that can come from the White House,” she said.

      Consider it noted.

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      Most Americans think the U.S. is at its lowest point in history

      The current state of affairs in the United States has Americans really stressed out. 

      A new poll by the American Psychological Association found that 63 percent of Americans are stressed about the future of the United States, and 59 percent of Americans think it is currently the lowest point in the nation’s history.

      The poll found that, essentially, most Americans are wringing their hands and grinding their teeth with the way the country is currently headed.

      Nearly two-thirds of Americans polled said the future of the country is a “very or somewhat significant” source of stress—more than money and work. Meanwhile, 59 percent of Americans said the country is at its lowest point in history that they’ve lived through–including World War II, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

      Specifically, 59 percent of Americans said the current social divisiveness causes stress, and a majority of adults from both major political parties said the country’s future was a source of stress. However, the feeling was higher among Democrats (73 percent) compared to Republicans (56 percent). Almost 60 percent of independent voters said they felt the same way.

      “We’re seeing significant stress transcending party lines,” Arthur C. Evans Jr., PhD, the American Psychological Association’s chief executive officer, said in a statement. “The uncertainty and unpredictability tied to the future of our nation is affecting the health and well-being of many Americans in a way that feels unique to this period in recent history.”

      The issues giving Americans stress, the poll found, are likely what you’d expect: 43 percent said healthcare, 35 percent said the economy, 32 percent said trust in the government, 31 percent said crime and hate crimes, 31 percent said wars with other countries, and 30 percent said terrorist attacks in the United States.

      Unemployment and low wages (22 percent) and climate change (21 percent) also give Americans stress, the poll notes.

      Current events are also a cause of stress, according to the poll. While 95 percent of adults said they follow the news regularly, more than half of them said it gives them stress. Two-thirds of those polled said the news often “blows things out of proportion.”

      However, the stress has spurred some people into action. The poll found that around half of the country has volunteered in response to the state of the nation, and 28 percent have signed a petition.

      The American Psychological Association surveyed 3,440 adults online from Aug. 2 to Aug. 31 to compile their results.

      You can read more about the American Psychological Association’s poll here.

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      ‘She owes you NOTHING’! Marie Claire THROTTLED for bullying Taylor Swift over politics

      Marie Claire has had just about enough of Taylor Swift just trying to enjoy her successful career, thank you very much:

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      Sons Buy Dad “Gator Hater” Shirt for His BirthdayThen He Finds Out What the REAL Surprise Is!

      Growing up in the south, there’s nothing quite like a good college football rivalry. For one sweet family from Atlanta, it’s only natural to bleed Georgia Bulldogs red.

      “So, the Georgia Bulldogs are a second religion in my house. My brother, Jason, is a UGA graduate. We decided since the big rivalry game of Georgia vs. Florida fell on my dad’s actual birthday, we would surprise him,” one brother shared with Love What Matters.

      His 71st birthday was surely one this Dawgs fan will never forget. After giving him a shirt that read “Gator Hater” across the front, their dad was ecstatic about his gift. What he didn’t realize is he hadn’t even gotten the best part yet!

      The brothers revealed the actual surprise: a trip to Jacksonville, Florida to watch the Dawgs play the Gators in person on his birthday!

      Considering his beloved Bulldogs beat the Gators, 42 to 7, I think it’s safe to say their surprise did NOT disappoint.

      See his priceless reaction below!

      Surprise Dad, You’re Going To The Game!

      “My brother and I decided to surprise my dad for his 71st birthday with something he has always wanted. He has never been to a Georgia/Florida game! So we decided to surprise him. My family is pretty tight knit. My dad is a retired minister, and has had some health issues over the past few years. I am the oldest of two boys. We grew up in a suburb of Atlanta, to two hard working parents. They weren’t able to always give a lot of ‘things’ but they would drop anything on a dime to be there for us. If you know anything about the South, we love football and the SEC. So, the Georgia Bulldogs are a second religion in my house. My brother, Jason, is a UGA graduate. We decided since the big rivalry game of Georgia vs. Florida fell on my dad’s actual birthday, we would surprise him. He asked us if we would come down to their house to watch the game with him, so we told him we would, ha ha. When we gave him the shirt, he thought that was the end of it! To see that look on his face and to see how happy we were able to make him, meant everything to me. The pure love I have for my dad inspired this gift. He is my number one, always.”


      A Love What Matters Original Video

      Posted by Love What Matters on Wednesday, November 15, 2017

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      Kids at this hospital were terrified of the machines until they got a makeover.

      When industrial designer Doug Dietz went to the hospital to see the inaugural scan of a brand-new MRI machine he designed, what should’ve been an exciting event quickly turned somber.

      The patient coming in for a scan was a young girl. And she was petrified.

      The huge, hulking machine had the girl in tears — and that was before the loud whirring noise started up (the average MRI machine is about as loud as a rock concert, and not nearly as fun).

      “As [the family] got even closer to me, I notice the father leans down and just goes ‘remember we talked about this, you can be brave,” he recalled to GE Health, explaining that the parents looked horrified too — feeling helpless to find a way to make their daughter feel comfortable in the giant machine.

      Dietz went back to the drawing board.

      He was determined to use his design know-how to make the hospital environment for kids feel more like an adventure instead of a nightmare.

      All photos by GE Healthcare,  used with permission.

      After interviewing kids, parents, and doctors about what might make the experience of getting a medical scan a little less scary, Dietz and his team from GE Health got to work, along with partners from the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

      It wasn’t just the machines that got a makeover.

      The whole exam room needed some love. From the sterile, beige decor, to the frank instruction placards (Dietz calls them “crime scene stickers”). Even the patter (or conversation/instructions) from doctors and nurses needed some livening up.

      The team developed themes that could bring each exam room to life.

      MRI rooms, for example, became space voyages. CT scans became pirate adventures.

      The redesigned MRI machine and rooms turned the kids into active participants in their own fantastic adventure stories, with themed books given ahead of time to prepare them for the journey.

      Inside the scanning machines, the children get special goggles that allow them to watch a DVD during their scans — which can take anywhere from 10 to 45 minutes.

      When the first newly designed rooms were put into action at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, they worked like a charm. Not only did they calm the kids down and keep their minds occupied, Dietz recalled hearing one child ask her parents if she could have “another scan tomorrow.”

      “That was probably the biggest reward I could ever have,” he told the Journal Sentinel.

      Dietz’s designs are so popular and successful that many other hospitals have joined in on the fun.

      The project, called the Adventure Series, isn’t just something that makes kids smile. It allows the hospital to help more people.

      According to an article in the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, the fear of machines and tests is so bad that Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh had to sedate over 80% of kids who needed an MRI or CT scan, prior to the updates.

      Sedating and calming anxious patients takes extra time, elongating the length of each scan. If the kids don’t need sedation, but don’t hold still during the duration of the test, the whole thing has to be redone. These issues take up precious time that ultimately resulted in the hospital serving fewer patients.

      After implementing the Adventure Series, the hospital only had to sedate a quarter or less of its patients, making their work far more efficient.

      Making the experience less frightening for kids is a big win here — for the patients and hospitals too. There’s nothing that can completely erase the anxiety that comes with needing serious medical testing or care, but just knowing there are people who care enough to try is likely a big comfort to these families.

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      Man With Down Syndrome Has A Heart-Wrenching Message About The Meaning Of Life

      Many people who hear the words “Down syndrome” don’t really know what to expect from a person with the condition.

      Down syndrome occurs in someone when they have a full or partial additional copy of chromosome 21. According to the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), “A few of the common physical traits of Down syndrome are low muscle tone, small stature, an upward slant to the eyes, and a single deep crease across the center of the palm – although each person with Down syndrome is a unique individual and may possess these characteristics to different degrees, or not at all.”

      They note that one in every 700 babies born in the United States has Down syndrome, making it the most common chromosomal condition.

      While in the past people used to look down on people with Down syndrome, thanks to medical advancements and increased understanding, people with this condition are living longer and happier lives.

      When commenting on the effect Down syndrome has on society, the NDSS says this: “Individuals with Down syndrome are becoming increasingly integrated into society and community organizations, such as school, health care systems, work forces, and social and recreational activities. Individuals with Down syndrome possess varying degrees of cognitive delays, from very mild to severe. Most people with Down syndrome have cognitive delays that are mild to moderate.”

      All of this means that Americans are becoming more and more likely to interact with someone with Down syndrome. More than 80 percent of adults with Down syndrome reach the age of 60, with many living much longer. That’s why it’s important that we become educated on this topic.

      People with Down syndrome are even on the front lines of Alzheimer’s research.

      People living with Down syndrome are the “largest population of individuals predisposed to getting Alzheimer’s disease,” and many are participating in studies to help find a cure. NPR reports, “Because their bodies produce extra amyloid, most people with Down syndrome develop problems with thinking and memory by the time they reach 60.”

      Scientists are testing early Alzheimer’s therapy with patients who have Down syndrome, something that was previously not possible because it was impossible to tell who would develop Alzheimer’s. Because people with Down syndrome will inevitably develop these symptoms, treating them early could help crack the code to treatments that will help everyone.

      One such pioneer, Frank Stephens, recently testified in front of Congress, saying, “I cannot tell you how much it means to me that my extra chromosome might lead to the answer to Alzheimer’s. It is likely that this thief will one day steal my memories, my very life from me. This is very hard for me to say, but it has already begun to steal my Mom from me. Please think about all those people you love the way I love my Mom. We are helping to defeat Cancer and Alzheimer’s. We make the world a happier place. Let’s make our goal to be Alzheimer’s free, not Down Syndrome free.”

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