Author Archive for Pharmboy

Why telling people with diabetes to use Walmart insulin can be dangerous advice

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Why telling people with diabetes to use Walmart insulin can be dangerous advice

A vial of insulin. Prices for the drug, crucial for those with diabetes, have soared in recent years. Oleksandr Nagaiets/Shutterstock.com

Courtesy of Jeffrey Bennett, Vanderbilt University

About 7.4 million people in the U.S. require manufactured insulin to stay alive. I’m one of them. I’ve lived with Type 1 diabetes for over 15 years and inject two kinds of insulin every day. These insulins are notoriously expensive, and even with health insurance, people with diabetes regularly struggle to make ends meet.

The price of some insulins is now seven times more expensive than it was two decades ago. Studies find that upwards of one in four people with diabetes ration their insulin to stretch prescriptions, putting themselves at risk of dying. As a result, advocacy groups ranging from the American Medical Association to T1International are calling the situation a crisis.

In place of political or corporate action that would make insulin readily available, an unusual social media phenomenon is developing that puts the onus on people with diabetes to stay well. Those with diabetes are being confronted with “alternatives” to high-priced insulin. The most widespread of these appears to be so-called Walmart insulin, an older and much cheaper insulin.

These older insulins have been thrust into the spotlight because of a widely circulated meme on social media that suggests people could manage their disease better if they simply purchased these products. Such insulins cost US$25 a vial and can be obtained without a prescription. However, these insulins do not present a solution to the current health care crisis. Worse, they may put some people’s lives at risk.

I’m a communication scholar who specializes in the rhetoric of health and medicine. My research focuses on how public understandings of diabetes affect political and cultural responses to the disease. I recently published a book-length study about competing conceptions of diabetes “management” and how that term guides our thinking about the disease, which can be seen as easily controlled…
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The Big Pharma Takeover of Medical Cannabis

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The Big Pharma Takeover of Medical Cannabis

Courtesy of  , Visual Capitalist

INFO

The Big Pharma Takeover of Medical Cannabis

As evidence of cannabis’ many benefits mounts, so does the interest from the global pharmaceutical industry, known as Big Pharma. The entrance of such behemoths will radically transform the cannabis industry—once heavily stigmatized, it is now a potentially game-changing source of growth for countless companies.

Today’s infographic comes to us from CB2 Insights, and explores how and why the notorious Big Pharma are interested in the nascent cannabis industry.

Who are “Big Pharma”?

The term refers to some of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, considered especially influential as a group. To give a sense of their sheer size, the market cap of the top 10 Big Pharma companies is $1.7 trillion—Johnson & Johnson being the largest, with a market capitalization of $374 billion.

So far, Big Pharma has watched the cannabis industry from the sidelines, deterred by regulatory concerns. What we are seeing now is the sleeping giant’s takeover slowly intensifying as more patents, partnerships, and sponsored clinical trials come to fruition.

Could Cannabis be Sold Over the Counter?

The cannabis plant has been used in medicine for 6,000 years. However, there is still considerable debate around the role it plays in healthcare today. There are currently almost 400 active and completed clinical trials worldwide surrounding cannabidiol (CBD), a type of cannabinoid that makes up 40% of the cannabis plant’s extract.

Cannabis relies on CBD’s therapeutic properties, and recent studies suggest it may be useful in combating a variety of health conditions, such as:

  • Epilepsy
  • Schizophrenia
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Migraines
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer side effects

As of 2019, 33 states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for medical use. Its potential for pain management has led some experts to recommend it as an


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DNA testing companies offer telomere testing – but what does it tell you about aging and disease risk?

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DNA testing companies offer telomere testing – but what does it tell you about aging and disease risk?

A telomere age test kit from Telomere Diagnostics Inc. and saliva. collection kit from 23andMe. Anna Hoychuk/Shutterstock.com

Courtesy of Patricia Opresko, University of Pittsburgh and Elise Fouquerel, Thomas Jefferson University

Over the past few years direct-to-consumer genetic tests that extract information from DNA in your chromosomes have become popular. Through a simple cheek swab, saliva collection or finger prick, companies offer the possibility of learning more about your family tree, ancestry, or risk of developing diseases such as Alzheimer’s or even certain cancers. More recently, some companies offer tests to measure the tips of chromosomes, called telomeres, to learn more about aging.

But what exactly are telomeres, what are telomere tests, and what are companies claiming they can tell you? Age based on your birthday versus your “telomere age”?

Telomeres play a big role in keeping our chromosomes and bodies healthy even though they make up only a tiny fraction of our total DNA. The Greek origins of the word telomere describes where to find them. “Telo” means “end” while “mere” means “part.” Telomeres cap both ends of all 46 chromosomes in each cell, and protect chromosomes from losing genetic material. They are often compared to the plastic tips at the ends of shoelaces that prevent fraying.

We are molecular biologists studying how chemicals, agents from the environment and metabolism damage telomeres and affect their lengths and function, and how damaged telomeres affect the health of our cells and genome. The idea of offering telomere length as part of a genetic test is intriguing since telomeres protect our genetic material. But equating telomere length with something as complex as aging struck us as tricky and overly simplistic.

Telomeres get shorter with each round of cell division. Kateryna Kon/Shutterstock.com

Link between telomere length and human diseases

Telomeres are important for human health and despite their protective…
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Consumer genetic testing customers stretch their DNA data further with third-party interpretation websites

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Consumer genetic testing customers stretch their DNA data further with third-party interpretation websites

If you’ve got the raw data, why not mine it for more info? Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock.com

Courtesy of Sarah Catherine Nelson, University of Washington

Back in 2016, Helen (a pseudonym) took three different direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic tests: AncestryDNA, 23andMe and FamilyTreeDNA. She saw genetic testing as a way to enhance her paper trail genealogy research, and it panned out when she matched with several new relatives.

DTC companies extract DNA profiles from saliva samples users send in. Sarah Weldon/Shutterstock.com

Helen is one of over 26 million individuals who have reportedly taken a DTC genetic test. That’s a lot of spit in tubes being mailed to companies that promise customers information about their health, ancestry and family trees.

Notably, the search for genetic insights doesn’t always stop with the interpretations provided by the DTC companies. One of Helen’s matches on AncestryDNA told her how she could stretch her personal genomic information further: by downloading her raw genetic data, that long list of As, Cs, Gs and Ts at each of the DNA sites the DTC company measured, and then uploading it to third-party interpretation tools online such as GEDmatch and DNA.land to find more relatives.

Helen enthusiastically did so and joined Facebook groups dedicated to helping people use their genetic data to flesh out their family trees. While Helen wasn’t initially seeking health information, on these forums she learned about the third-party tool Promethease and decided to upload her data there as well. She thought, “Well, for five dollars – we’ll see what it says.”

Researchers don’t have a very clear or comprehensive picture of how DTC customers use their raw data and these kinds of third-party tools. As a genetics researcher interested in the ethical and social implications of genomics in research, clinical care and everyday life, I think it’s important to address this knowledge gap – particularly given questions about whether and to what extent these…
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DNA as you’ve never seen it before, thanks to a new nanotechnology imaging method

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DNA as you've never seen it before, thanks to a new nanotechnology imaging method

File 20190424 121241 96r4oz.jpeg?ixlib=rb 1.1

A map of DNA with the double helix colored blue, the landmarks in green, and the start points for copying the molecule in red. David Gilbert/Kyle Klein, CC BY-ND

Courtesy of David M. Gilbert, Florida State University

The first revealing image of DNA taken using X-ray diffraction. Raymond Gosling/King's College London

The helical DNA staircase. The building blocks of DNA, or bases, lie horizontally between the two spiraling strands. Richard Wheeler, CC BY-SA

For biologists everywhere, April 25 is auspicious. It is DNA Day and commemorates the date in 1953 when scientists Francis Crick, Rosalind Franklin, James Watson and Maurice Wilkins published seminal scientific papers describing the helical structure of the DNA molecule. In 2003, April 25 was used to announce the completion of the Human Genome Project. Now annual festivities on this day celebrate the molecule of life with new discoveries. What better time to provide a new picture of DNA.

I am DNA DAVE (or at least my license plate since 1984 says so), and one of the things my lab likes to do is to “see” DNA. We take images of DNA so that we can directly measure things that are difficult to quantify using indirect methods that usually involve sequencing the four chemical units of DNA, called bases.

For example, I would like to know where on each chromosome the process of DNA replication begins. Error-free duplication of DNA is essential for producing healthy cells. When this process is incomplete or disrupted, the result can cause cancer and other diseases.

In our image that familiar double helix staircase is not visible because this perspective is zoomed out – like looking at the map of a country versus a city. Also each of these molecules is equivalent…
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No cure for Alzheimer’s disease in my lifetime

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No cure for Alzheimer's disease in my lifetime

File 20190403 177181 1xjl0a1.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

In most cases, scientists are still unsure of what causes Alzheimer’s disease. FGC / Shutterstock.com

Courtesy of Norman A. Paradis, Dartmouth College

Biogen recently announced that it was abandoning its late stage drug for Alzheimer’s, aducanumab, causing investors to lose billions of dollars.

They should not have been surprised.

Not only have there been more than 200 failed trials for Alzheimer’s, it’s been clear for some time that researchers are likely decades away from being able to treat this dreaded disease. Which leads me to a prediction: There will be no effective therapy for Alzheimer’s disease in my lifetime.

Clinically, I am an emergency physician. But my research interests include diagnostic biomarkers, which are molecular indicators of disease, and a diagnostic test for Alzheimer’s is something of a holy grail.

Alzheimer’s sits right at the confluence of a number unfortunate circumstances. Stick with me on this – it’s mostly bad news for anyone middle-aged or older, but there’s a reward of sorts at the end. If you understand why there won’t be much headway on Alzheimer’s, you’ll also understand a bit more why modern medicine has been having fewer breakthroughs on major diseases.

We don’t know what causes this disease

For decades it was widely believed that the cause of Alzheimer’s was the build-up of abnormal proteins called amyloid and Tau. These theories dominated the field and led some to believe we were on the verge of effective treatments – through preventing or removing these abnormal proteins. But had the theories been correct we would likely have had at least one or two positive clinical trials.

In retrospect, the multi-decade amyloid fixation looks like a mistake that could have been avoided. Although there is a correlation between amyloid and risk of Alzheimer’s, there are elderly people whose brains have significant amounts of the protein and yet are cognitively intact. Versions of this observation date back to at least the
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Marijuana is a lot more than just THC – a pharmacologist looks at the untapped healing compounds

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Marijuana is a lot more than just THC – a pharmacologist looks at the untapped healing compounds

File 20190311 86693 ga1zx.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

Assorted cannabis bud strains. Roxana Gonzalez/Shutterstock.com

Courtesy of James David Adams, University of Southern California

Medical marijuana is legal in 33 states as of November 2018. Yet the federal government still insists marijuana has no legal use and is easy to abuse. In the meantime, medical marijuana dispensaries have an increasing array of products available for pain, anxiety, sex and more.

The glass counters and their jars of products in the dispensary resemble an 18th century pharmacy. Many strains for sale have evocative and magical names like Blue Dream, Bubba Kush and Chocolope. But what does it all mean? Are there really differences in the medical qualities of the various strains? Or, are the different strains with the fanciful names all just advertising gimmicks?

Rafael, a Chumash who shared Californian Native American cultural knowledge with anthropologists in the 1800s. Leon de Cessac

I am a professor in the University of Southern California School of Pharmacy. I have lived in California a long time and remember the Haight-Ashbury Summer of Love. While in graduate school, I worked with professor Alexander Shulgin, the father of designer drugs, who taught me the chemistry of medicinal plants. Afterwards, while a professor at USC, I learned Chumash healing from a Native American Chumash healer for 14 years from 1998 until 2012. She taught me how to make medicines from Californian plants, but not marijuana, which is not native to the U.S. Currently, I am teaching a course in medical marijuana to pharmacy students.

If there is one thing about marijuana that is certain: In small doses it can boost libido in men and women, leading to more sex. But can marijuana really be used for medical conditions?

What are cannabinoids?

New research is revealing that marijuana is more than just a source of cannabinoids, chemicals that may bind to cannabinoid receptors in our…
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Can a genetic test predict if you will develop Type 2 diabetes?

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Can a genetic test predict if you will develop Type 2 diabetes?

File 20190312 86703 cjfm0t.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

A woman uses a lancet on her finger to check her blood sugar level with a glucose meter. Behopeful/Shutterstock.com

Courtesy of Mylynda Massart, University of Pittsburgh

When I got home after work I was surprised to find my husband and three children sitting by the television and watching the news. They had just learned that the direct to consumer genetic testing company 23andMe was now offering a report that assessed the customers’ risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. “Is it true?” my husband asked. “Can they now study my genes and predict whether I will get Type 2 diabetes?”

As a primary care physician who is exploring how to integrate genetic testing into traditional family medicine – a combination we now describe as precision medicine – I was excited to explain the science behind this new report and the barriers to using 23andMe’s new diabetes risk score in current clinical care.

As a family physician, I am eager to identify my patients most at risk for developing diabetes, as this is a very costly and debilitating disease with numerous health consequences such as kidney failure, heart disease, painful neuropathy and limb amputation. In the U.S. alone more than 30 million Americans have Type 2 diabetes and of these 7.2 million are undiagnosed and unaware of their condition. Another 84.1 million adults older than 18 are at high risk and considered prediabetic. So how did 23andMe calculate this risk score, and would it help the millions who were unaware of their state of health?

Calculating risk of Type 2 diabetes

The cost of diabetes. American Diabetes Association, CC BY-SA

As my family sat down to a carbohydrate-rich dinner of pasta, my famous pesto pizza rolls and a salad, I explained how this direct-to-consumer testing service was calculating the risk of this complex disease that is caused by the interaction of diet, environment and thousands…
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FDA approves promising new drug, called esketamine, for treatment-resistant depression

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FDA approves promising new drug, called esketamine, for treatment-resistant depression

File 20190220 148509 h4lja8.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

One in 3 people with severe depression do not respond to treatment. TZIDO SUN/Shutterstock.com

Courtesy of Lee Hoffer, Case Western Reserve University

Treatment-resistant depression affects 1 in 3 of the estimated 16.2 million adults in the U.S. who have suffered at least one major depressive episode. For them, two or more therapies have failed and the risk of suicide is much greater. It’s a grim prognosis.

The chemical structure of esketamine.

The chemical structure of ketamine.

There are few therapies for depression that resists treatment, which is why the FDA granted this new drug application Fast Track and Breakthrough Therapy status. On March 5, the Food and Drug Administration approved a new treatment called esketamine.

On Feb. 12, 2019, I participated in the FDA review of this drug. Practically speaking, esketamine is essentially the same as ketamine, which is a pain killer with hallucinogenic effects and used illegally. As a member of the Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee of the FDA, I voted with the majority of that panel 14-2, to approve esketamine only for people who have treatment-resistant depression.

For more than 20 years, I have researched illegal drug use and addiction. As a medical anthropologist, my work is oriented to understanding the perspectives and behaviors of people actively using illegal drugs. My research often involves fieldwork, which means participating in the lives of people as they go about their everyday routines. This has given me a personalized and practical outlook on illegal drug use. Many of the people I currently interview are heroin injectors who first started opioid use by misusing prescription drugs.

Not a street drug

But many drugs, especially those for the treatment of mental illness, have powerful effects on the central nervous system. How the drug…
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A cure for HIV? Feasible but not yet realized

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A cure for HIV? Feasible but not yet realized

File 20190306 100772 1hqbi4v.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), shown here as tiny purple spheres, causes the disease known as AIDS. Mark Ellisman and Tom Deerinck, National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research

Courtesy of Allison Webel, Case Western Reserve University

This week a team of scientists and physicians from the U.K. published news of a second HIV positive man, in London, who is in long-term (18-month) HIV remission after undergoing treatment for Hodgkins lymphoma. The unexpected success has launched a new round of discussion about a potential cure for HIV.

Since 2008, scientists have been trying to replicate the treatment that cured the “Berlin patient” of HIV. At the time, many in the field of HIV research were excited to learn that this man, who tested positive for the human immunodeficiency virus in Berlin and had recently undergone treatment for acute myeloid leukemia, appeared to have been cured of his HIV. Until now, success in replicating that cure has been limited.

What is HIV?

HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. Since the virus was first discovered in the 1980s, more than 75 million people worldwide have been infected with HIV. Today, almost 37 million people live with HIV. Of these, about 1.1 million live in the U.S.

Infection with HIV almost always led to AIDS, which in turn was almost always fatal. The field was revolutionized in 1996 with the introduction of HIV anti-retroviral therapy medications. These drugs halt HIV from replicating and allow an infected person to regain a functioning immune system. These medications are so effective that today a person living with HIV has almost the same life expectancy of someone without HIV infection. However, these medications must be taken every day, have multiple distressing side effects, and can cost thousands of dollars each month.

Yet even with this life-extending treatment, a functional HIV cure, defined as when someone with HIV no longer tests positive for the virus and does not need to take these medications, has remained elusive.…
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Phil's Favorites

E-scooters, bikes and urban mobility: lessons from the streets of Paris

 

E-scooters, bikes and urban mobility: lessons from the streets of Paris

Rue des Tournelles, Paris, November 5, 2019. Four Voi scooters wait hopefully for potential clients, with a Lime and Dott sprawling nearby. Behind them, a Velib’ rider has made his choice. Leighton Kille/The Conversation France , CC BY

Courtesy of Tiago Ratinho, IÉSEG School of Management

Mobility is a crucial challenge for global cities in the 21st century. The growing impact and ...



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Zero Hedge

Victoria's Secret Caves To SJW Critics, Cancels Fashion Show

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

To all of those pro-inclusivity activists who accused Victoria's Secret of being the paragon of "outdated" sensibilities when it comes to female beauty, congratulations: You won.

The New York Times reports that the lingerie company's annual fashion show has been cancelled as the brand struggles with its longtime CEO's association with Jeffrey Epstein, the convicted pedophile who allegedly killed himself (or was murdered) in his prison cell in ...



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Insider Scoop

4 Energy Stocks Moving In Friday's Pre-Market Session

Courtesy of Benzinga

Gainers
  • Seadrill, Inc. (NYSE: SDRL) shares surged 6.2% to $1.03 during Friday's pre-market session. The market cap stands at $176.0 million.
  • Chesapeake Energy, Inc. (NYSE: CHK) stock moved upwards by 2.3% to $0.59. The market value of their outstanding shares is at $2.6 billion. According to the most recent rating by Morgan Stanley, on November 13, the current rating is at Equal-Weight.
  • Halliburton, Inc. (NYSE: HAL) stock rose 0.7% to $21.25. The market value of their outstand...


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Digital Currencies

Bitcoin Busts Below $8,000 To One-Month Lows

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Another sea of red across cryptos this morning after tumbling in early European trading (it's been an ugly 7 days as the image below shows)...

Source: Coin360

Bitcoin Cash is leading the decline on the week along with Litecoin...

Source: Bloomberg

But Bictoin's psychological plunge to a $7k handle is most notable...

Source: Bloomberg

...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Junk Bonds About To Send Stocks A Bearish Message?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Are junk bonds about to send stocks an important message? It looks like it from this chart!

Junk Bond ETF (JNK) has created a series of lower highs and lower lows over the past couple of years, inside of falling channel (1). When it broke support in early 2018 at (2), stocks struggled to make much upward progress for the next few months.

The rally off support last year saw JNK hit falling resistance a few months ago and some softness has set in. The small decline of late has it testing a series of higher lows at (3).

What JNK does at (3), looks to sen...



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Lee's Free Thinking

NY Department of Welfare Announces Increased Subsidies for Primary Dealers, Thank God!

 

NY Department of Welfare Announces Increased Subsidies for Primary Dealers, Thank God!

Courtesy of , Wall Street Examiner

Here’s today’s press release (11/14/19) from the NY Fed verbatim. They’ve announced that they will be making special holiday welfare payments to the Primary Dealers this Christmas season. I have highlighted the relevant text.

The Open Market Trading Desk (the Desk) at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has released the schedule of repurchase agreement (repo)...



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The Technical Traders

VIX Warns Of Imminent Market Correction

Courtesy of Technical Traders

The VIX is warning that a market peak may be setting up in the global markets and that investors should be cautious of the extremely low price in the VIX. These extremely low prices in the VIX are typically followed by some type of increased volatility in the markets.

The US Federal Reserve continues to push an easy money policy and has recently begun acquiring more dept allowing a deeper move towards a Quantitative Easing stance. This move, along with investor confidence in the US markets, has prompted early warning signs that the market has reached near extreme levels/peaks. 

Vix Value Drops Before Monthly Expiration

When the VIX falls to levels below 12~13, this typically v...



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Biotech

Why telling people with diabetes to use Walmart insulin can be dangerous advice

Reminder: We are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

Why telling people with diabetes to use Walmart insulin can be dangerous advice

A vial of insulin. Prices for the drug, crucial for those with diabetes, have soared in recent years. Oleksandr Nagaiets/Shutterstock.com

Courtesy of Jeffrey Bennett, Vanderbilt University

About 7.4 million people ...



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Chart School

Dow Jones cycle update and are we there yet?

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

Today the Dow and the SP500 are making new all time highs. However all long and strong bull markets end on a new all time high. Today no one knows how many new all time highs are to go, maybe 1 or 100+ more to go, who knows! So are we there yet?

readtheticker.com combine market tools from Richard Wyckoff, Jim Hurst and William Gann to understand and forecast price action. In concept terms (in order), demand and supply, market cycles, and time to price analysis. 

Cycle are excellent to understand the wider picture, after all markets do not move in a straight line and bear markets do follow bull markets. 



CHART 1: The Dow Jones Industrial average with the 900 period cycle.

A) Red Cycle:...

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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

...

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Members' Corner

Despacito - How to Make Money the Old-Fashioned Way - SLOWLY!

Are you ready to retire?  

For most people, the purpose of investing is to build up enough wealth to allow you to retire.  In general, that's usually enough money to reliably generate a year's worth of your average income, each year into your retirement so that that, plus you Social Security, should be enough to pay your bills without having to draw down on your principle.

Unfortunately, as the last decade has shown us, we can't count on bonds to pay us more than 3% and the average return from the stock market over the past 20 years has been erratic - to say the least - with 4 negative years (2000, 2001, 2002 and 2008) and 14 positives, though mostly in the 10% range on the positives.  A string of losses like we had from 2000-02 could easily wipe out a decades worth of gains.

Still, the stock market has been better over the last 10 (7%) an...



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Promotions

Free eBook - "My Top Strategies for 2017"

 

 

Here's a free ebook for you to check out! 

Phil has a chapter in a newly-released eBook that we think you’ll enjoy.

In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

This chapter isn’t about risk or leverage. Phil present a few smart, practical ideas you can use as a hedge against inflation as well as hedging strategies designed to assist you in staying ahead of the markets.

Some other great content in this free eBook includes:

 

·       How 2017 Will Affect Oil, the US Dollar and the European Union

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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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