Posts Tagged ‘H1N1’

Pandemic H1N1 Disinformation Raises Concerns

Swine flu has been moving away from the spotlight recently, leading commentators to suggest that the threat was exaggerated and has now passed. Dr. Henry Niman disagrees. As I’ve been routinely visiting Dr. Niman’s website for updates, I asked him what he thought of articles such as these in TIME and Huffington Post, and he replied that he had been writing a response. Here are his thoughts. – Ilene

Pandemic H1N1 Disinformation Raises Concerns  

Courtesy of Dr. Henry Niman, Recombinomics Commentary   

Roses strewn on empty stage with curtains closed and spotlight on

The level of disinformation in the media and internet continues to grow.  The latest disinformation campaign has now started calling the 2009 pandemic an epidemic.  This follows disinformation on the end of the pandemic, which follows reports questioning the existence of the pandemic.  This frequent and common disinformation is leading to serious confusion in the general population, which will lead to needless deaths by those who shun the pandemic vaccine and those infected by those who shun the vaccine.

The existence of the pandemic was an easy, but decidedly late, call.  A flu pandemic is simply a novel strain that spreads worldwide.  The detection of swine H1N1 in two children in southern California in March/April strongly suggested that the pandemic had begun.  The children had no contact with swine or each other and were over 100 miles apart, indicating the detected infections represented thousands of cases in southern California, including symptomatic relatives and contacts.  When the “mystery illness” that was hospitalizing and killing 100’s in Mexico was confirmed in April to be the same swine H1N1, it was clear that the pandemic had begun.  The original phase 6 definition of sustained transmission of a novel strain of influenza had been met.

The swine H1N1 contained flu genes that had been circulating in swine since the 1990’s and most of the flu genes had been in swine since the 1930’s or earlier.  Thus, the H1N1 was novel and the vast majority of the world’s population had no immunity, setting the stage for rapid spread worldwide.  Although jumps of swine H1N1 to humans happen multiple times per year, prior jumps generally had a direct link to swine exposure and transmission was limited to family members of close contacts. The most extensive spread was in 1976 at Fort Dix in NJ where one soldier died and 200 were infected.  However, the virus…
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Updating the H1N1 Update

Updating the H1N1 Update

EM of swine influenza (H1N1) virus particles (virions), determined to be the cause of the

Watching and Waiting
Ukraine
Vaccines
Tamiflu Resistance
Dr. Niman vs. WHO, ECDC and CDC

by Ilene with guest expert Dr. Henry Niman at Recombinomics

Watching and Waiting

While the numbers of new cases of swine flu have been declining in many regions, including the United States, it is too early to know whether or not there will be subsequent waves of disease.

"Based on my experience with new diseases and the lessons learned from past pandemics, I think we should remain cautious and observe the evolution of the pandemic over the next six to 12 months before declaring victory," World Health Organization Director General Margaret Chan tells Swiss newspaper Le Temps. (World Health Official Says Swine Flu Still a Threat)

Although the WHO is remaining "cautious," changes in the virus’s genome that increase its virulence and resistance to Tamiflu are becoming more common.  Dr. Henry Niman, expert in flu virus evolution, believes another wave of illnesses will occur in early 2010.  In addition, he believes resistance to Tamiflu will become "fixed," similarly to how this genetic change evolved in the seasonal H1N1 virus.  (See Flu Update: Tamiflu resistance and Ukraine update, and Efficacy of Roche’s Flu Drug Tamiflu In Doubt, by David Phillips.)

WHO: H1N1 swine flu pandemic will stick around for another year

The World Health Organization warned government health authorities to remain vigilant on the H1N1 swine flu pandemic, saying the virus could mutate before vaccines can help it dissipate.

The World Health Organization is confident that the H1N1 swine flu pandemic will be under control in a year’s time – however, WHO officials warned global governments to remain vigilant for any mutations in the troublesome bug.

Dr. Niman believes this wave will be more severe than the previous two--but not due to random mutations. Rather, this will result from the process of recombination. Due to recombination, increasingly greater transmission of aggressive variants (D225G, D225E and D225N) and Tamiflu-resistant viruses will occur.

Ukraine

I’ve reprinted two recent articles at Recombinomics, with my comments in blue.

The WHO Surprise on D225G / D225N H1N1 Fatalities, Recombinomics Commentary

After considering the current available virological, epidemiological and clinical findings and following discussions on an earlier draft with WHO and its European-based


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The H1N1 Pandemic: Is a Second Wave Possible?

The H1N1 Pandemic: Is a Second Wave Possible?

Since early November, cases of H1N1 have continued to decline nationwide, and scientists keeping track of the numbers say that as pandemics go, 2009 H1N1 may turn out to be a mild one — at least for the time being.

The question now on health officials’ minds is: Will there be a second wave of cases in the new year? The answer depends on whom you ask. "We took an informal poll of about a dozen of some of the world’s leading experts in influenza," Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told reporters recently. "About half of them said, Yes, we think it’s likely that we’ll have another surge in cases. About half said, No, we think it’s not likely. And one said, Flip a coin."

It is an accurate reflection of how unpredictable the influenza virus can be. Although flu activity has been waning for the third week in a row, health officials warn that there are still four to five months left in the official influenza season, plenty of time for the virus to make its rounds and find new hosts. "The story of pandemics, and the story of H1N1 in general, is the story of persistent uncertainty where we never quite know what we are going to get or when," says Dr. Irwin Redlener, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

How severe the current H1N1 pandemic seems depends on what you use as a measuring stick. Compared with previous pandemics, like the 1918 Spanish flu, which killed 20 million people and infected up to 40% of the world’s population, or even the far less deadly 1957 and 1968 bouts with a strain of H1N1 influenza similar to the 2009 strain, things don’t seem as bad this time around. Fewer people are getting severely ill when infected, and fewer have died or required hospitalization from the flu than in previous pandemics.

Marc Lipsitch, an epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health, and his colleagues studied the course of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic last spring in two cities — New York and Minneapolis — and determined that 0.048% of people who developed symptoms of H1N1 died, and 1.44% required hospitalization. Based…
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Swine Flu Update

Cliff Notes for “Swine flu: One Killer virus, three key questions.”

swine flu virusBy Ilene

Brendan Maher and Declan Butler, authors of a recently published Nature article “Swine flu: One killer virus, three key questions,” set out to answer three questions about the H1N1 virus. Here’s what they found. 

How does it kill?

Sherif Zaki, head of the infectious-disease pathology branch at the Centers for Disease Control, discusses his team’s observations from their pathological studies.    

1.  The H1N1 virus penetrates deep into the alveoli (the terminal air sacs in the lungs). In contrast, the seasonal flu viruses tend to infect cells higher in the upper airways. This deep penetration is reminiscent of the action of the H5N1 avian flu virus. Zaki commented: “[H1N1] is like avian flu on steroids.”  Why might this be?

Zaki says that his observations fit well with recent research looking at the mechanism of infection. A group led by Mikhail Matrosovich at Philipps University Marburg in Germany and Ten Feizi at Imperial College London studied sialyl glycans, glycoproteins that the flu virus binds to in order to gain entry to human cells. Although seasonal strains of H1N1 bind mostly to versions of the glycoproteins known as α2-6, the researchers found that the new pandemic H1N1 can also bind to a version called α2-3, which is found in greater proportion in the lower respiratory tract.

2.  In patients who have died, co-infection was common with H1N1.  Zaki’s group observed infection with bacteria such as Staph aureus or Streptococcus pneumoniae in about a third of the fatal swine-flu cases. However, in the remaining two thirds of fatal cases, the virus was lethal alone.  The damage seen in the lungs is characterized as ‘diffuse alveolar damage,’ reflecting a very difficult to treat state of respiratory distress syndrome. According to Zaki’s research, about 90% of the fatal cases had some underlying medical condition.

Zaki expects the number of flu cases to increase as the flu season “ramps up.”

How does H1N1 spread?

Brendan Maher visited Peter Palese’s laboratory at Mount Sinai School of Medicine where testing for how the viruses spread is being carried out. Researchers John Steel and Anice Lowen compared the transmissibility of H1N1 to that of seasonal flu using a guinea pig model. Their data indicate that the H1N1 virus transmits as efficiently as seasonal flu viruses, which is consistent with real-world data showing…
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Vaccine War: Autism, Flu and Science

Vaccines: where does science end and profit motive begin? Maia Szalavitz argues, and I agree, that these are scientific questions and we need to conduct scientific research – not rely on preconceived views—to answer the questions. – Ilene

Vaccine War: Autism, Flu and Science

vaccines, autism, flu, mercuryBy Maia Szalavitz, Courtesy of TIME

Just in time for the national roll-out of the new H1N1 flu vaccine, Wired Magazine and the Atlantic have weighed in on the ongoing vaccine war: Wired has a profile of Paul Offit, a vaccine researcher and pediatrician who has consistently spoken out in favor of vaccination and pointed to the lack of evidence linking vaccines and autism; the Atlantic checks in with a piece questioning the science suggesting that flu vaccines and antiviral drugs prevent people from dying.

Both articles have elicited heated debate all over the Web: Amy Wallace, who wrote Wired’s piece, excerpted below, has received vitriolic criticism and attacks from vaccine opponents, setting records for page views.

Describing death threats and attacks on Offit, Wallace writes:

So what has this award-winning 58-year-old scientist done to elicit such venom? He boldly states — in speeches, in journal articles, and in his 2008 book Autism’s False Prophets — that vaccines do not cause autism or autoimmune disease or any of the other chronic conditions that have been blamed on them. He supports this assertion with meticulous evidence. And he calls to account those who promote bogus treatments for autism — treatments that he says not only don’t work but often cause harm.

While the Wired article has been attacked by advocates, the Atlantic’s article has been slammed by several blogs written by scientists. The authors, Shannon Brownlee and Jeanne Lenzer, reply to their critics here (scroll down). The scientists take issue with their argument that the scientific evidence does not support the use of the flu vaccine and antiviral medications like Tamiflu, detailed below

Brownlee and Lenzer ask:

… what if everything we think we know about fighting influenza is wrong? What if flu vaccines do not protect people from dying—particularly the elderly, who account for 90 percent of deaths from seasonal flu? And what if the expensive antiviral drugs that the government has stockpiled over the past few years also have little, if any, power to reduce


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Swine Flu Chart

I found this at Barry Ritholtz’s The Big Picture’s "H1N1 (swine flu) Fatality Rates: Overreaction?" and had a few comments:

1.  The chart compares death rates in persons infected (or known to be infected) with various pathogens. The total numbers of people who are or will be infected with these diseases are different.  For example, in the U.S., the percentage of people infected with HIV is much smaller than the percentage of people who contract the flu each year; i.e., the chart shows the death rate per infected person, not death rate per person in the population.

2. The death rate reflects virulence, but is not a measure of transmissibility – or contagiousness.

3. The course of the swine flu hasn’t played out yet, so we don’t know what’s in store.  Hence, to answer the question, "overreaction?" – perhaps "we’ll see" is the best answer. – Ilene

flu chart

A couple more swine flu vaccines stories:  here and here.

 


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Obama Declares H1N1 a National Emergency

Swine flu update, courtesy of TIME.Ilene

Obama Declares H1N1 a National Emergency

swine flu - TIMEBy AP / PHILIP ELLIOTT

President Barack Obama declared the swine flu outbreak a national emergency and empowered his health secretary to suspend federal requirements and speed treatment for thousands of infected people.

The declaration that Obama signed late Friday authorized Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to bypass federal rules so health officials can respond more quickly to the outbreak, which has killed more than 1,000 people in the United States. (See how the H1N1 virus works.)

The goal is to remove bureaucratic roadblocks and make it easier for sick people to seek treatment and medical providers to provide it immediately. That could mean fewer hurdles involving Medicare, Medicaid or health privacy regulations.

"As a nation, we have prepared at all levels of government, and as individuals and communities, taking unprecedented steps to counter the emerging pandemic," Obama wrote in the declaration, which the White House announced Saturday.

He said the pandemic keeps evolving, the rates of illness are rising rapidly in many areas and there’s a potential "to overburden health care resources."

Because of vaccine production delays, the government has backed off initial, optimistic estimates that as many as 120 million doses would be available by mid-October. As of Wednesday, only 11 million doses had been shipped to health departments, doctor's offices and other providers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials said.

The government now hopes to have about 50 million doses of swine flu vaccine out by mid-November and 150 million in December.

The flu virus has to be grown in chicken eggs, and the yield hasn’t been as high as was initially hoped, officials explained.

Swine flu is more widespread now than it’s ever been. Health authorities say almost 100 children have died from the flu, known as H1N1, and 46 states now have widespread flu activity.

Worldwide, more than 5,000 people have reportedly died from swine flu since it emerged this year and developed into a global epidemic, the World Health Organization said Friday. Since most countries have stopped counting individual swine flu cases, the figure is considered an underestimate.

 


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Monday Malicious Microbe Mania

Just when you thought it was safe to invest in Asia!

Today’s shocker came out of a World Health Organization meeting yesterday where officials estimate 20% to 30% of Asia’s population -  or between 448 million and 672 million people will be infected by swine flu H1N1 this season.  Hong Kong had their 15th death this weekend and eight more people are in critical condition.  492 new cases were confirmed over the weekend, bringing the official count in Hong Kong alone up to 22,054 infections.  According to the WHO: "China may not be in a situation of what we call extensive local transmission, which Hong Kong is in now." Once it does happen, we can see a lot of severe cases." 

It’s ironic that the G20s efforts to put lipstick on this pig of a global economy may all be derailed by a pig’s disease.  Despite skipping testing and relaxing safety regulations (which will, of course lead to other problems) in order to get tens of millions of doses of vaccines out for mass-inoculation programs, the WHO estimates that China, at best, will be able to inoculate just 5% of the population (65M people).  We went through our last major swine flu scare last April and, here at PSW, we turned it into a half-dozen very successful picks – so let’s look at a few more who should do well in this next round of the crisis: 

  • SVA is the primary vaccine maker in China and you can buy that stock for $8.88 and sell the Jan $7.50 puts and calls for $4.50, which is net $4.38 with a call away at $7.50 (up 71%) if they hold that level through Jan 15th and the break-even to the downside (where you would be assigned the puts) is $5.94, 33% lower than today’s price.  I’m not one to jump on disaster plays usually but this one has pretty good odds. 
  • BCRX has Perimavir in late-stage trials and the FDA is considering a "pre-emergency use authorization review," of the drug, which would be great for BCRX if it goes through and bad if it doesn’t.  As BCRX is already up a lot, the way I would play this one is buying the 2011 $10 calls for $4.10 and selling the 2011 $12.50 calls for $3.60, which is a net .50 entry with a 500% return if BCRX hits $12.50 in 15 months (now $10) and it shouldn’t cause too


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H1N1 death projections: doing the math

H1N1 death projections: doing the math

flu virusBy Laura Blue, courtesy of TIME

A new headline-grabbing report from the White House claims that swine flu could plausibly infect up to 50% of Americans, causing flu symptoms among some 60 to 120 million of them, and leading to as many as 1.8 million hospitalizations and 30,000 -90,000 deaths.

Where, exactly, do numbers like these come from? The new report was put together by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. It turns out the predictions are based on just a couple key facts:

  • The virus seems to be transmitted from person to person at the same rate as in previous flu pandemics — a rate that’s much higher than that of the regular seasonal flu. Rapid transmission suggests that the total number of infections could be very high.
  • The death rate for people who catch H1N1 seems about the same as that for seasonal flu. The White House advisors estimate that, so far, between 1 in 1,000 and 3 in 1,000 people who have needed medical help then end up dying. Assuming that this normal death rate continues during flu season, the total number of deaths is projected to be much higher than normal because of the higher number of infections.

And that’s basically it. The Council’s report notes prominently and often that, even though the up-to-50%-infected scenario is plausible, it is by no means certain. That’s because both of the basic facts above — the infection rate and the case fatality rate — are still a little fuzzy. They’re hard to measure in the first place, and it’s not totally clear whether they’ll change as the pandemic progresses.

So why all the fuss if the estimates are still murky? As Homeland Security head Janet Napolitano put it yesterday in a statement: "It is not possible to predict how the 2009-H1N1 influenza virus or the upcoming influenza season will play out, but it is best that we plan and prepare for a resurgence of H1N1 flu." Things may not develop the way the White House advisors suggest, in other words, but given available evidence it’s still a fine idea to brace ourselves.

There’s one other very good reason that this year’s flu pandemic has experts unnerved. Seasonal flu typically kills only the elderly, with 90%…
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H1N1: It’s Back

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Swine Flu is now widespread enough to be called a pandemic.

H1N1: It’s Back

Courtesy of Tom Lindmark at But Then What?

Just when you thought it was safe to take off that mask the World Health Organization steps in and labels the swine flu a pandemic.

From the WSJ:

The World Health Organization declared an H1N1 flu pandemic Thursday — the first global flu epidemic in 41 years — as infections in the United States, Europe, Australia, South America and elsewhere climbed to nearly 30,000 cases.

The long-awaited pandemic announcement is scientific confirmation that a new flu virus has emerged and is quickly circling the globe. WHO will now ask drugmakers to speed up production of an H1N1 flu vaccine. The declaration will also prompt governments to devote more money toward efforts to contain the virus.

WHO chief Dr. Margaret Chan made the announcement Thursday after the U.N. agency held an emergency meeting with flu experts. Dr. Chan said she was moving the world to phase 6 — the agency’s highest alert level — which means a pandemic, or global epidemic, is under way.

“The world is moving into the early days of its first influenza pandemic in the 21st century,” Dr. Chan told reporters. “The (H1N1 flu) virus is now unstoppable.”

On Thursday, WHO said 74 countries had reported 28,774 cases of H1N1 flu, including 144 deaths. Chan described the virus as “moderate.” According to WHO’s pandemic criteria, a global outbreak has begun when a new flu virus begins spreading in two world regions.

The agency has stressed that most cases are mild and require no treatment, but the fear is that a rash of new infections could overwhelm hospitals and health authorities — especially in poorer countries.

Still, about half of the people who have died from H1N1 flu were previously young and healthy — people who are not usually susceptible to flu. H1N1 flu is also crowding out regular flu viruses. Both features are typical of pandemic flu viruses.

If you’re like me you probably thought this was over and done with. We’ll have to see how this plays out but it probably will take a bite out of economic recovery.

And by the way, start washing your hands again.

 


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Zero Hedge

"There's No Way Out": Johnson Slams "Undemocratic" Irish Backstop In Letter To European Council

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson as barely been in office a month, and he's already convinced some Britons that he's ready to take the UK out of the EU, with or without an interim trade deal to soften the blow.

On the other side of the Atlantic, President Trump has pledged to cobble together a trade deal to help bolster Johnson's popularity should he need to call for an early general election to try and bolster his party's mandate (the Tories and their coalition control the Commons by one measly vote).  This past week, Johnson has generated headlin...



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Phil's Favorites

Aramco Asks Banks To Submit Proposals For Role In Mega IPO (Again)

Courtesy of Julianne Geiger, OilPrice.com

The Aramco IPO is one step closer to reality, with Saudi Arabia’s state-run oil company seeking proposals from banks who wish to fulfill various roles in the much-anticipated IPO, Reuters sources said on Monday.

The requests for proposals were sent a few days ago, the sources said. Saudi Aramco declined to comment on the development.

Aramco’s official request that banks submit proposals is a positive development for the IPO, although even with banks handwringing with anticipation, the mega IPO has an uphill battle ahead.

Aramco’s Senior VP of Finance, Khalid al-Dabbagh, said last week that it w...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Watch Out Bears! Fed POMO Is Back!

Courtesy of Lee Adler

That’s right. The Fed is doing POMO again.  POMO means Permanent Open Market Operations. It’s a fancy way of saying that the Fed is buying Treasuries, pumping money into the financial markets.

Over the past 6 days, the Fed has bought $8.6 billion in T-bills and coupons. These are the first regular Fed POMO Treasury operations since the Fed ended outright QE in 2014.

Who is the Fed buying those Treasuries from?

The Primary Dealers. Who are the Primary Dealers?  I’ll let the New York Fed tell you:

Primary dealers are trading counterparties of the New York Fed in its implementation of monetary policy. They are also expected to make markets for the New York Fed on behalf of its official accountholders as needed, and to bid on a ...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Steel About To Breakdown And Send Bearish Economic Message?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Is the Steel Industry suggesting that a recession is nearing? In my humble opinion, the jury is still out on this one.

This chart from Marketsmith.com takes a look at the patterns of Steel ETF (SLX).

SLX has spent the majority of the past 3-years inside of trading range (1). The persistent decline over the past year has it testing the bottom of this trading range at (2).

The weakness over the past year has it below long-term moving averages as its relative strength r...



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The Technical Traders

Fed Too Late To Prevent A Housing Market Crash?

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Real Estate is one of the biggest purchases anyone will make in their lifetime.  It can account for 30x to 300x one’s annual income and take over 30 years to pay off.  After you’re done paying for your property, now you have to keep paying to maintain it and to support the property taxes to keep it.  What has happened to the US Real Estate market since the 2008-09 global credit market collapse and is the US Fed behind the curve?

Case-Shiller Home Price Index

One of the most common indicators used to measure national housing affordability and price trend is the Case-Shiller Home Price Index.  In this chart, we are displaying the Case-Shiller National Home ...



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Insider Scoop

Economic Data Scheduled For Tuesday

Courtesy of Benzinga

  • The Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index for the latest week is schedule for release at 8:55 a.m. ET.
  • San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank President Mary Daly is set to speak at 4:30 p.m. ET.
  • Federal Reserve Board of Governors Vice Chairman for Supervision Randal Quarles will speak in Salt Lake City, Utah at 6:00 p.m. ET.

Posted-In: Economic DataNews Economics ...



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Chart School

Bitcoin 2019 fractal with Gold 2013

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

Funny how price action patterns repeat, double tops, head and shoulders. These are simply market fractals of supply and demand.

More from RTT Tv

Ref: US Crypto Holders Only Have a Few Days to Reply to the IRS 6173 Letter

Today's news from the US IRS has been blamed for the recent price slump, yet the bitcoin fractal like the gold fractal suggest the market players have set bitcoin up for a slump to $9000 USD long before the IRS news hit the wire.

Get the impression some market players missed out on the b...

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Digital Currencies

New Zealand Becomes 1st Country To Legalize Payment Of Salaries In Crypto

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been on a persistent upswing this year, but they're still pretty volatile. But during a time when even some of the most developed economies in the word are watching their currencies bounce around like the Argentine peso (just take a look at a six-month chart for GBPUSD), New Zealand has decided to take the plunge and become the first country to legalize payment in bitcoin, the FT reports.

The ruling by New Zealand’s tax authority allows salaries and wages to b...



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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

...

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Biotech

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

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

 

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, ...



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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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