Hack that plants ISIS message hits another state government website

(CNN)A government website in the state of Washington is the latest victim of a hacking attack that plants what appears to be pro-ISIS propaganda.

David Johnson, a spokesman for the Washington state Department of Health, confirmed parts of the department’s website were hacked Monday morning, with a message similar to what appeared on other municipal sites across the country earlier Monday and on Sunday.
A screen shot provided by the spokesman shows the same Arabic logo and claim that the hack was carried out by “Team System DZ,” the same language that appeared on hacked sites in Ohio, Maryland and New York.
    All the hacks include the message: “You will be held accountable, Trump, you and all your people for every drop of blood flowing in Muslim countries.”
    The bottom of the hacked pages read, “I Love Islamic state.”
    It was not immediately clear who the group purportedly behind the hack is — or whether it is genuinely affiliated with ISIS.
    Johnson said the health department’s website was restored within an hour. He said he wasn’t aware of law enforcement being contacted over the hack.
    The FBI’s field office in San Francisco is spearheading a federal investigation into the hacks that happened across the country, a spokesman for the office told CNN.

    Ohio: Servers ‘taken offline’

    The same hack apparently struck several state government websites in Ohio on Sunday, including Gov. John Kasich’s official page and the sites of first lady Karen Kasich and the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections.
    The Ohio sites were back to normal by Monday morning. Kasich’s staff members said Sunday they had been working on the Corrections site when they were alerted to their own site being hacked.
    In a later statement, Tom Hoyt, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Administrative Services, said all affected servers were “taken offline” and an investigation had been launched to see how the hack had happened.
    “We also are working with law enforcement to better understand what happened,” Hoyt said.
    State Treasurer Josh Mandel posted about the Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections website on Facebook. “Wake up freedom-loving Americans,” he said. “Radical Islam infiltrating the heartland.”
    The FBI’s Ohio field office would not say whether Team System DZ was known to them.

    Howard County, Maryland

    ISIS propaganda content also appeared on the Howard County, Maryland, government website Sunday. The county is in central Maryland, near Baltimore and Washington.
    It was restored to normal by Monday morning.
    “There was no breach of data and no personal information was compromised,” according to a statement from Howard County Executive Allan H. Kittleman. “Howard County government is working with law enforcement agencies and an investigation is underway. We apologize for any inconvenience.”

    Brookhaven, New York

    The official website for the town of Brookhaven, New York, also was hacked, according to Jack Krieger, Brookhaven communications director.
    Website visitors saw the same black background and logo found on the other hacked sites, with the same words about being held accountable and blood in Muslim countries.
    Town officials took the site down as soon as they learned of the problem and were working Monday morning to restore it to normal.

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/26/politics/websites-hacked-isis/index.html

    Mother of boy with rare genetic disorder tweets hospital bill

    (CNN)As lawmakers push to get a health care bill through the Senate, one New Jersey mom is speaking out.

    “Heterotaxy syndrome literally means different arrangement,” Chandra told CNN. “Any of the internal organs can be malformed, missing, multiplied or misplaced.”
    “Ethan was born with nine congenital heart defects and he has two left lungs. Five or so spleens of dubious function, his liver and his gallbladder are down the middle of his body along with his heart, and then his stomach is on the right instead of the left side,” she said.
      On Friday, she tweeted her son’s latest hospital bill and it went viral.
      “It seems fitting that, with the #TrumpCare debate raging, I got this bill in the mail today from Ethan’s most recent open heart surgery,” she wrote
      With lawmakers pushing a new health care bill to the Senate floor, the health care debate has become personal for Chandra.
      “I didn’t follow politics before November. I was overseas for both of President Obama’s elections,” Chandra said. “I have been shocked at how loudly each side yells about their specific talking points. It paints these issues as black and white when they are anything but that.”
      “It seems like our kids are being reduced to a line in a budget,” Chandra said. “No one seems to realize there are real people behind it.”
      The new bill also raises some fears for Chandra and her family.
      “My fear is that this bill comes into play and suddenly essential health benefits are no longer covered, like hospitalization, prescription medications,” said Chandra. “He will rely on prescription medications for the rest of his life. He is functionally asplenic and will need to take prophylactic antibiotics the rest of his life to prevent and protect against sepsis, a huge risk of death for our kids in the heterotaxy community.”
      Since posting Ethan’s medical bill on Friday, the tweet has been viewed over 73 thousand times.
      “That is why I like to tell our story. Maybe you hadn’t thought of this side before. You don’t picture a 3-year-old with all these fees.”
      “Never in a million years did I think this would happen,” Chandra said of her posts. “As a mother with a kid who has disorder you feel alone. I have now found a community of other heterotaxy families and the community is just so excited that heterotaxy is a word that is being spoken about on a national level. I am really hopefully this will lead to more awareness and maybe that mom who receives a heterotaxy diagnosis won’t feel so scared.”
      But the mother of two says at the end of the day, the medical bills mean so much more.
      “To see him go from a kid who lost his breath after going up a few steps to a kid who can hike by myself, be able to keep up with his sister and his friend, that is what that medical bill gave us and that is priceless to me.”
      “We just want him to be a kid.”
      You can find out more about heterotaxy syndrome here.

      Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/25/health/mom-tweets-on-health-care/index.html

      Nebraska Democrat fired for saying he was ‘glad’ Rep. Scalise was shot

      Washington (CNN)A member of the Nebraska Democratic Party was fired Thursday morning after an audio recording of him surfaced on YouTube saying he was “glad” House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was shot at a congressional baseball game practice and wished the Louisiana Republican was dead.

      In the expletive-laced recording, Phil Montag, then the volunteer co-chairman of the Nebraska Democratic Party’s technology committee, blamed Scalise for seeking to take away people’s health care coverage through the Republican bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
      “This motherf***er, like, his whole job is like to get people [to] convince Republicans to f***ing kick people off f***ing health care,” Montag can be heard saying in the recording in reference to Scalise.
        When he made the remarks, Montag was speaking to Chelsey Gentry-Tipton, the chairwoman of the state Democratic Party’s Black Caucus, and her friend, Destin Madison, according to the Omaha World-Herald and Nebraska Democratic Party Chair Jane Kleeb.
        It’s unclear how the conversation began, but the recording on YouTube starts with Madison asking, “So what is it you want to do?”
        Gentry-Tipton responds to Montag’s complaints by saying, “We know all of this.” Madison later is audible telling Montag that he has been recording him and plans to release the audio of their conversation.
        “I hate this motherf***er. I’m f***ing glad he got shot. I’m glad he got shot,” Montag says on the tape.
        “So then say something. So then say something,” Gentry-Tipton responds.
        “I’m not going to f***ing say that in public,” Montag replies.
        “You don’t have to say that in public. Then say something, say something,” Gentry-Tipton says again as Madison asks, “Well then, what are you saying it to us for? What are you telling us for?”
        “I wish he was f***ing dead,” Montag then says of Scalise.
        “Why are you telling us, but not telling anyone else?” Madison asks.
        “I’m trying to f***ing — because I’m trying to f***ing figure out (inaudible)” Montag says.
        “It’s ok, because I’ve been recording this conversation since you’ve come in, so I will publicly release it myself,” Madison says before the recording abruptly ends.
        Gentry-Tipton has come under fire for remarking on Facebook earlier this month that she thought it was “so funny” to watch congressmen “crying on live tv” about the trauma they experienced in the shootings at the Republican congressional baseball practice, according to the World-Herald. In the same chain, the World-Herald reported she wrote, “The very people that push pro NRA legislation in efforts to pad their pockets with complete disregard for human life. Yeah, having a hard time feeling bad for them.”
        The comments prompted the state Democratic Party leadership to call for Gentry-Tipton’s resignation as Black Caucus chairwoman, but she refused to do so, saying in a statement on Facebook that her posts were taken out of context by party officials and that she would not resign “at this point,” the World-Herald reported.
        Kleeb, the state Democratic chair, told CNN she made the decision to fire Montag when she saw the video.
        “He made disgusting comments about a member of Congress, and we relieved him of his volunteer position of the party on Thursday morning as soon as we saw the video,” Kleeb said. “It’s a disturbing time in politics. I’ve worked in politics for over 10 years, and I’ve never seen such hateful rhetoric from both the right and left.”
        Montag could not be reached for comment Saturday. He told the World-Herald that the recording was edited to take his words out of context, adding that he was “horrified” by the shooting of Scalise and “absolutely” did not wish he was dead.
        “I did not call for the congressman’s death,” Montag said.
        Montag also told the World Herald that the recording posted on the internet Wednesday night was a small part of a conversation that lasted 30 minutes to an hour.
        Gentry-Tipton and Madison did not return immediate requests from CNN for comment on the recording or Montag’s allegation that it had been edited to take his words out of context.
        Nebraska is a one-party consent state, which means it is legal for an individual to record others without their knowledge as long as the person recording is a party to the conversation.
        Scalise, a member of the Republican baseball team, was hospitalized after a gunman opened fire while Republican members of Congress were practicing earlier this month in Alexandria, Virginia, ahead of the annual charity baseball game.
        The congressman went through multiple surgeries after the shooting and is still hospitalized, although he was released from intensive care Thursday.
        The shooter, 66-year-old James Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois, died from gunshot wounds he sustained in a shootout with police at the practice field, federal law enforcement officials said.
        The incident marks the first time a sitting member of Congress was shot since Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords was targeted by a gunman in 2011.

        Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/24/politics/nebraska-dem-fired-scalise-shot/index.html

        Travis Kalanick apologists sound a lot like Donald Trump supporters

        Mandatory Credit: Photo by AP/REX/Shutterstock (8875114h)
        President Donald Trump is greeted by supporters during a rally, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
        Trump, Cedar Rapids, USA – 21 Jun 2017

        Image: AP/REX/Shutterstock

        They might not be perfect, but they’re winners.

        In 2017, it’s a common refrain. For example: It’s how Donald Trump supporters justify supporting Donald Trump. And it’s also how Travis Kalanick supporters still justify supporting Travis Kalanick.

        Let’s be clear: Kalanick is, in form and function, nothing like Trump. Kalanick is a legitimately successful entrepreneur who created a massive company out of thin air. Kalanick’s also got plenty of faults, but he hasn’t been accused of a fraction of the improprieties that Trump has (personally, and professionally).

        They share, however, in a cult of personality among their supportersas do other tech figures (see: Elon Musk). Their supporters look at these figures and their faults, and see greatnessnot just alongside these faults, but because of these faults.

        Kalanick, they’d have you believe, is a genius businessman and leader. Maybe Uber wasn’t a perfect company, but a perfect company wouldn’t have become Uber. He succeeds because of his faults, so Uber succeeds because of those faults.

        A petition circulated among Uber employees and signed by more than 1,000 of them made it clear.

        “TK, no matter his flaws (everyone has them) was one of the best leaders I have seen,” the petition reads. “He worked day night(sic) in creating this company to what it is today.”

        “Uber is TK and TK is Uber,” it continues.

        Other public postings about Kalanick have a similar sensibility. Uber product manager Margaret-Ann Seger posted a lengthy response, including her view that Uber was a good place for women like herself who had struggled at other companies.

        “So thank you. Weve mis-stepped at times- Ill be the first to admit that Uber is not perfect. But the positive impact youve had on this company, and the world, is truly inspirational,” she wrote.

        First of all, we’re talking about Uber, not the International Rescue Committee. Kalanick didn’t even invent the concept of ridehailing/ridesharing. He was just the guy who broke enough rules and played enough dirty tricks to win. And even then, nobody’s so sure that Uber’s a net positive for society, so, let’s cool it with the visionary-benefactor mythos.

        Second: Yes, people make mistakes. People are fallible. Travis Kalanick’s not perfect. But that’s not the issue at hand. The issue’s that his company had a rotten culture that, by many accounts, came from the top. Kalanick once received the health records of a rape victim, and then used them to fuel his own conspiratorial ideas about Uber’s competitors. Kalanick and Uber so brazenly flaunted the ruleseven making software to do sothat Uber’s under investigation by the Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, and numerous states.

        And it’s not to say Uber employees who liked Travis are repugnant for applauding his accomplishments, or remembering him fondly. He’s got plenty of Silicon Valley folks who’ve tweeted out that he’s not the monster that the media’s portrayed him as (more on that in a bit). His personal reputation in SV is relatively positive, and he clearly had a positive impact on some of his employees.

        But if “Uber is TK and TK is Uber,” then it’s hard to fully buy into the idea that Kalanick somehow got a raw deal. The facts speak for themselves.

        Or maybe they don’t. Trump supporters have perfected the art of blocking out anything that doesn’t fit their worldview. All the horrible stuff Trump’s done, does, and will do? That’s the price of success. It’s all besides the point. “Everyone’s arguing about trees while ignoring the forrest,” might be a charitable way of phrasing their argument.

        If Kalanick’s great, but everyone’s focusing on Uber’s flaws, then there must be some reason.

        And that’s where the media comes in. Trump supporters love to blame the media anytime Trump screws up. Kalanick supporters are also finding that it helps them reason away their former boss’s indiscretions.

        “EMPLOYEES ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN MEDIA!!!” the petition adds, noting that Mike Isaacthe New York Times reporter who, along with Recode’s Kara Swisher, lead the way in reporting on Uberis one of the “shadiest” reporters.

        At least Isaac’s a good sport about it.

        This is the playbook now. Faults are features, and anybody who disagrees? A charlatan. The ends justify the means, unless you’re a snowflake. That’s how you change the world.

        Silicon Valley loves this posturing. And while it’s heartening to see that a single blog post from a former engineer could eventually lead to Kalanick’s ouster, his minions are ready to burst forth in his place.

        “Youve launched a thousand of us, your disciples, out into Silicon Valley. Lets fucking do this. Game on,” wrote one anonymous Uber employee in a public post about Kalanick.

        Let’s hope that those disciples have a bit more discipline to realize that Kalanick’s faults aren’t what made Uberthey’re what might destroy it.

        Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/06/23/travis-kalanick-supporters-sound-like-trump-supporters/

        The ‘dead’ wearable market is primed to double by 2021

        Wearables are far from being finished.
        Image: elizabeth pierson/mashable

        So… you know how everyone’s been saying wearables are on the way out, or already dead?

        You should probably call off the funeral. If new projections pan out, the market for the gadgets is heating up, and it’s only going to get hotter.

        Research firm IDC’s latest wearables report estimated that global wearable vendors will ship a whopping 125.5 million devices this year, a 20.4 percent increase from the 104.3 million units thought to have shipped in 2016. But this year is just the start of the wearable renaissance IDC forecasts major growth in the space going forward, predicting that the international market will nearly double to 240.1 million shipments by 2021.

        The year-over-year growth comes as the gadgets evolve from novelties to more fully realized, useful devices. The release of Android Wear 2.0 and the continued success of the Apple Watch, as it pivots to focus on health, are the two biggest examples.

        IDC research manager Ramon T. Llamas thinks the segment is at the dawn of a new age. Since the markets inception, its been a matter of getting product out there to generate awareness and interest,” he said in the release touting the report’s highlights. “Now its about getting the experience right from the way the hardware looks and feels to how software collects, analyzes, and presents insightful data.”

        Llamas thinks the market will expand in the future as these next-gen devices are made available, giving wearers functions far beyond the quaint step-tracking of earlier wearables. He expects that the features on our smartphones will come to our wrists (and other places we can wear stuff) in the future, like AI assistants and network connectivity, while base prices drop.

        So where will we wear these smarter, cheaper gadgets? IDC guesses that your wrist will still be the most common place to put your tech in 2021, with watches and wristbands taking up 88.7 percent of the markets. Notably, the firm projects smartwatches won’t perform as well as hybrid watches, so some of the shade that has been thrown toward them can be justified at least until 2019, when cellular connectivity is expected to improve.

        Image: idc

        Other types of wearables will gain market share, too. Smart clothing could be the biggest space to see improvement, with an expected 76.1 percent growth rate.

        Could there be even more growth?

        There could be a wild card here to drive the success of wearables even further: Apple. The current king of the market’s best-selling Apple Watch could ascend to even greater heights if it continues to evolve into a health-first device.

        The company is rumored to be developing an innovative new feature for the watch that could make it an essential medical device for millions of people around the world. Reports claim Apple has a crack team of medical experts working to develop a non-invasive glucose monitor, which could come in the form of a specialized band. Tim Cook himself was reportedly spotted wearing a prototype back in May, and he has talked about the potential for the space and Apple’s interest in its development.

        If Apple can introduce the world’s first non-invasive glucose monitor for the Apple Watch, the wearable would likely shift in the eyes of consumers with diabetes from a gadget to an essential medical device. There are 422 million people in the world with the disease, according to the most recent numbers from WHO. All those people obviously aren’t guaranteed to buy an Apple Watch if it adds the new glucose tech but they’re just one example of a massive new consumer base in this new age of wearables.

        Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/06/22/wearables-not-dead-market-to-double/

        Trump in Iowa: President says he asked for health bill ‘with heart’

        President Trump celebrated two more Republican victories in congressional special elections Wednesday and talked up the prospect of legislation to repeal and replace ObamaCare at a campaign-style rally in Iowa.

        I hope we are going to surprise you with a really good plan, Trump told a crowd of just under 6,000 people in Cedar Rapids. Ive been talking about a plan with heart. I said, Add some money to it!

        Trump had called the Houses version of the legislation mean in a meeting with several Republican senators last week. He spoke hours before Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was scheduled to roll out a so-called discussion draft of the upper chambers health bill.

        Trump reminded his supporters that Republicans have a very slim majority to pass a healthcare bill in the Senate and basically cant afford to lose anybody. He also slammed congressional Democrats as obstructionists and repeated his line that if we got the single greatest health care plan in the history of the world, we would not get one Democratic vote.

        However, the president also suggested that he would be amenable to altering the legislation if Democrats would come on board.

        If we could just get a few votes from the Democrats, Trump said, it would be so easy and so beautiful.

        Trump’s evening in Iowa began with a tribute to former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, whom he had just appointed the United States’ ambassador to China.

        Trump hailed Branstad, the longest-serving governor in U.S. history and an early Trump backer, as “a legend” and “one great man.”

        At the rally, Trump coupled his praise of Branstad with muted acclaim for China and its president Xi Jinping.

        “Weve had a very good relationship with China,” Trump said, “and I do like President Xi. I wish we would have a little more help with respect to North Korea from China, but that doesnt seem to be working out.”

        The president spoke two days after the death of Otto Warmbier, the American college student who was medically evacuated from North Korea in a coma last week. Warmbier had been arrested 17 months earlier for allegedly attempting to steal a propaganda banner.

        Trump also praised Republicans Karen Handel and Ralph Norman, who won special congressional elections Tuesday in Georgia and South Carolina, respectively.

        “We’re 5-0 in special elections,” the president said. “The truth is, people love us … they haven’t figured it out yet.”

        He also mocked Handel’s challenger, Jon Ossoff, saying the Democrats “spent $30 million on this kid who forgot to live in the district,” and even offered some free advice for Democratic campaign managers.

        “They need to be positive. They cant continue to be obstructionists,” Trump said. “Thats all they have going.”

        Trump also touted his administration’s efforts to roll back regulations, mused about putting solar panels on a Mexican border wall, and derided wind power for killing birds in a state that uses a lot of it. He also avoided any discussion of the investigations surrounding his presidential campaign, other than one brief reference to the “witch hunt,” which is what he has dubbed the probes into his campaign’s ties to Russia.

        Trumps Cedar Rapids rally was the fifth held in his first five months in office. He held a Des Moines rally in December as part of his transition-era “thank you” tour of states he had won, but has not been back to Iowa since.

        Trump also visited nearby Kirkwood Community College, where he toured agriculture technology innovations intended to draw attention to the school’s advancements in high-tech agriculture.

        He was joined by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross as part of the administration’s effort this week to highlight the importance of technology. 

        Trump later touted the wealth of Ross and chief economic adviser Gary Cohn, saying: “Those particular positions, I just don’t want a poor person. Does that make sense?”

        The Associated Press contributed to this report.

        Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/06/21/trump-in-iowa-president-says-asked-for-health-bill-with-heart.html

        Reducing baby deaths and brain injuries during childbirth – BBC News

        Image copyright Science Photo Library

        Failure to monitor properly baby heart rates during labour is one reason why some newborns are dying on UK maternity wards, an investigation has found.

        The Each Baby Counts inquiry, by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, looked at more than 700 recent neonatal deaths and injuries.

        It says three in every four of the babies may have had a different outcome had they received different care.

        The detailed report outlines how to prevent such tragedies in future.

        “Although the UK remains one of the safest places to give birth, serious incidents do occur, some of which could be prevented if different care were given,” says the report.

        The findings

        The report looked at all 1,136 stillbirths, neonatal deaths and brain injuries that occurred on UK maternity units during 2015:

        • 126 babies were stillborn
        • 156 died within the first seven days after birth
        • 854 babies had severe brain injury (based on information available within the first seven days after birth. It is not known how many might have significant long-term disability)

        Local investigations into a quarter of the cases were not thorough enough to allow the report authors to do a full assessment of what might have gone wrong.

        In many of the 727 cases that could be reviewed in-depth, problems with accurate assessment of foetal wellbeing during labour and consistent issues with staff understanding and processing of complex situations, including interpreting baby heart-rate patterns (on traces from CTG machines), were cited as significant factors.

        Parents were invited to be involved in only a third of the local reviews, the report found.

        Alfie’s story

        Image caption Alfie Field died 36 hours after being born in December 2015

        Alfie Field was left with brain damage and later died after doctors failed to spot problems with his heart rate during labour.

        His mum, Kym Field, from Cambridgeshire, recalls: “As soon as Aflie was born he was handed to paediatric doctors. He was then briefly shown to us before being whisked away.

        Image caption Mark and Kym Field

        “The next morning we were told there was nothing more they could do for our perfect baby boy.

        “Details were sparse but we were told he had no brain activity. We had to say goodbye before we even had the chance to say hello. It was, to this day, the hardest thing we have ever had to do. Instead of organising a date for family to come and meet our perfect new bundle, we arranged his funeral.”

        An inquest into Alfie’s death at Addenbrooke’s Hospital heard opportunities to deliver him sooner were missed.

        “Our baby’s death was down to a collection of errors and negligence.

        “No family should ever have to go through what we have.”

        Making wards safer

        The Each Baby Counts report recommends:

        • all low-risk women are assessed on admission in labour to see what foetal monitoring is needed
        • staff get annual training on interpreting baby heart-rate traces (CTGs)
        • a senior member of staff must maintain oversight of the activity on the delivery suite
        • all trusts and health boards should inform the parents of any local review taking place and invite them to contribute

        Co-principal investigator, Prof Zarko Alfirevic, consultant obstetrician at Liverpool Women’s Hospital, said: “We urge everyone working in maternity care to ensure the report’s recommendations are followed at all times.”

        Prof Lesley Regan, president of the RCOG, added: “The fact that a quarter of reports are still of such poor quality that we are unable to draw conclusions about the quality of the care provided is unacceptable and must be improved as a matter of urgency.”

        Janet Scott, from the stillbirth and neonatal death charity Sands, said the report findings were deeply concerning.

        “We urge trusts, health boards and governments across the UK to ensure the levels of support and resourcing needed to bring this about urgently.”

        In October 2016, the government launched a Maternity Safety Action Plan to provide resources for trusts to improve their approach to maternity safety, including an 8m fund for maternity safety training.

        Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “While maternal and neonatal deaths are falling, together we need to do even more to make sure fewer families suffer the heartache of losing a baby – and this vital work will help.”

        Related Topics

        Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-40339024

        Medicine information leaflets ‘too scary’, say experts – BBC News

        Image copyright Science Photo Library
        Image caption Lots of information on the side effects of medicines are making people anxious, the report says

        There is too much focus on the potential side-effects of medicines on information leaflets inside packs and not enough on their benefits, says the Academy of Medical Sciences.

        Its new report calls for them to be rewritten to give a more balanced view.

        A survey by the academy found the public was confused by information on medicines and did not trust scientific research.

        Scientists said clear communication with patients was a priority.

        Unduly anxious

        The side-effects listed on patient information leaflets (PILs) are often very long and off-putting, the report says.

        They make people unduly anxious about taking medicines and could be the reason why fewer than 50% continue with drugs they have started taking.

        The likelihood of the side-effects occurring is also rarely explained – instead they are labelled “possible” or “serious”.

        And the benefits of the medicines are usually understated, taking up much less space on the leaflet than potential harms.

        Image copyright Science Photo Library
        Image caption Some information leaflets do show how common side-effects are – but many don’t

        Jargon overload

        Prof Sir John Tooke, chair of the Academy of Medical Sciences report, says there is too much “impenetrable” scientific language on leaflets.

        For example, the leaflet inside a box of paracetamol says that possible side-effects from taking the tablets are the chance of developing pancreatitis or hepatitis.

        However, there is no information on what the conditions are or how big the risk of getting them is in reality.

        Rather than clearly explaining how symptoms will reduce, too many leaflets describe what the medicine does in complicated biological terms.

        “They aren’t written from a consumer’s perspective,” Prof Tooke says.

        Image copyright Science Photo Library
        Image caption And the confusion is even worse if you’re taking multiple medications…

        Patients should feel confident about the medicines they are taking, rather than uneasy.

        If they do not understand the information provided, they are less likely to feel good about taking them.

        For legal and regulatory reasons, there is a lot of information provided – but the report asks whether it is really there to help the public.

        Image copyright SILVIA KIRK
        Image caption Silvia Kirk has a child with asthma

        Silvia Kirk is a mother of two from London, who took part in public workshops for the report.

        “I don’t always read the information leaflets in medicine packs, unless it’s for my children – one of whom has asthma,” she says.

        “Usually my heart is all over the place as I’m reading them, because I’m wondering whether the risks outweigh the benefits.

        “Some of the information doesn’t make sense at all. When you’re poorly you don’t want to feel anxious too – and I think it’s particularly confusing for older people.

        “I understand it all needs to be on the leaflets, but there’s too much crammed into one space. I tend to go by what the GP has said and written on the prescription.

        “I only check side-effects listed on the Yellow Card website [suspected adverse reactions to licensed drugs], which I find are useful.

        “A link to more detailed information online on individual medicines would be useful for me.”

        Tips on what to ask your GP

        • Is this medicine right for me? How will it improve my health?
        • What are its potential benefits and risks? Are they relevant to me?
        • How will this medicine make me feel? Will it affect my daily life?
        • How should I take it? Can I take it with other medication?

        The report is also calling for:

        • More efficient use of GP appointments, which may need to be longer – particularly for patients with multiple conditions
        • A “go to” source of trusted information online about medicines for patients and healthcare professionals

        The survey of about 2,000 British adults and 1,000 GPs found that a third of the public trusted evidence from medical research while two-thirds trusted the experiences of family and friends when it came to taking medicines.

        Doctors said they also needed better information to help them judge the benefits and harms of medicines for patients.

        What do scientists think?

        In general, they welcomed the whole idea of making information on medicines clearer – for patients and doctors.

        But they recognised that a degree of uncertainty was inevitable in medicine, because scientific research was always evolving.

        Dr Louise Brown, senior statistician at the MRC Clinical Trials Unit at University College London, said there were other challenges to face in the shape of the internet and social media.

        “We are all bombarded with an unrelenting stream of new information that is overwhelming and very difficult to process.

        “Unsurprisingly, this leads to feelings of scepticism and mistrust,” she said.

        Peter Openshaw, professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London, said providing accurate and accessible information on new treatments was vital.

        “It is only by working in close partnership with patients, clearly and honestly explaining the scientific evidence, that we can fully realise the huge potential that 21st Century medical science offers.”

        Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-40329418

        The Awful Truth Of Our Parents Dying One Day

        God & Man
        Paul Benedetti

        My grandparents adopted me. They raised me since I was a baby. The only drawback to this is that they were already well in their 40’s-50’s when I was born, so I have less time with them compared to what others have with their birth parents.

        My father is 72. My mother is 68. Even as a child I was already aware how old my parents were. Since I was so attached to them, Id often worry about their well-being.

        One time, when I was 4 or 5, my mother took me with her during a doctor check-up of some sort. She was groaning in pain as the doctor did the routine. After they were done, I was so angry and scared for my mother that I balled my tiny fists and punched the doctors legs. I huffed, which got a laugh out of them.

        20 years later and I can see time marked on my parents faces when I skype them. I live in a different country now and while Im fulfilled, I sometimes find myself being unnerved at the idea of them getting sick or even suddenly passing while I am miles away. I get scared shitless if my father just catches a fever or a cough or a cold.

        My worrying strengthened recently when my friends father was laid to rest. It got me fretting more than usual –

        How do we cope with our parents getting older? How do we prepare ourselves emotionally with the fact one day they will die (and probably soon)? How do we come to terms with the looming possibility of losing them?

        I guess theres no simple way to answer these questions. If we think about it, all of us reach the age 70, 80, 90 or even 100 eventually. Right at this moment, we, too, are aging.

        Our parents are growing old and so are we. Death is unavoidable. We cant really solve something as inevitable as aging. I guess all we can do is live our life as best as we know how and cherish our loved ones while they are still here.

        I searched for a solution, specifically a clear-cut method I could follow, yet there was no straightforward answer. It seems bleak, but when that time comes we just have to accept the situation as it is and hopefully remember people are capable of surviving tragedy (even more than we know).

        In case you are still struggling, too, take note of the following:

        – Spend time with your parents, especially if youre often busy.

        – Open up to them about how you feel.

        – Let them know how much you love them, both in actions and words. This can be difficult if you have a strained relationship with your parents or if you/your parents arent much for vocal vulnerability, but try so you know youve said everything you wanted to say to them.

        – Support your parents. Not only when theyre struggling with their health or growing older, but also when theyre celebrating their wins in life, too. You cant control their aging process, but you can care for them and help make it easier for them.

        – Prepare yourselves, literally. What do they want when theyre proper old? Do they want to stay at their house, with you, or at a home for the aged? What are the arrangements when they pass away? When youve planned out the trivial matters, then you will have more time to be with them now as well as space to grieve in the future.

        – Regard grieving as healing. Yes, it is difficult to see your parents slip from you and the loss later will be painful. But in time you will be okay, again, especially if you find and surround yourself with a support group.

        – Dont be ashamed of what you are feeling. Don’t shut out your emotions and remain in denial as itmay only make things harder for you. Hopelessness, fear, anxiety, sadness, anger – whatever youre going through right now is normal so find a way to accept it rather than sneak your way around it.

        – Forgive each other.Is there anything you want to ask forgiveness for? Is there anything your parents did that warrants your forgiveness? Talk it out – not to simply rid yourself of guilt, but to free yourselves from any unresolved issues, and hopefully build a better relationship together.


        Read more: http://thoughtcatalog.com/sade-andria-zabala/2017/06/the-awful-truth-of-our-parents-dying-one-day/

        Early vote tally foretells soaring turnout in most expensive House race ever

        (CNN)More than 140,000 voters had cast their ballots by the time early voting in Georgia closed Friday — another indication of sky-high turnout in the closely watched runoff for a House seat between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel.

        And that’s leaving neither side confident of victory in what is likely to be a tight race for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District seat.
        The pool of early voters includes more than 36,000 who did not participate in the April primary contest for the seat, which was vacated when former Rep. Tom Price became President Donald Trump’s health and human services secretary, according to the Georgia secretary of state’s office.
          The early vote total soared past the 57,000 who voted early in the primary, where Ossoff reached 48%, just shy of the majority that would have avoided the runoff entirely. Ultimately, more than 192,000 people voted in the primary — close to the 210,000 who participated in the 2014 midterm election in the district.
          The early voting in the runoff left neither party feeling comfortable and has aides on both sides forecasting a close contest Tuesday — even as Republicans celebrated turnout that is approaching presidential election levels in the conservative-leaning district.
          The high turnout reflects the intense local and national interest a contest that — with more than $50 million spent between the candidates, their parties and super PACs — has become the most expensive House race ever.
          Progressives who have pumped more than $23 million into Ossoff’s campaign have long viewed the race as their best chance to use a special election to deliver a political blow to Trump — and to send a message to House Republicans that aiding Trump will come at a price by capturing what for decades has been a reliably Republican seat.
          Operatives in both parties acknowledge that more Republicans have voted early than Democrats — overall, a reason for Handel’s campaign to be optimistic and Ossoff’s campaign to sweat.
          That reality, though, is no surprise in the district, which encompasses much of Atlanta’s northern suburbs. After all, Mitt Romney carried the district by 24 percentage points in 2012 — and Price never faced a serious challenge for his seat.
          It was the 2016 presidential results that gave Democrats reason for optimism. Trump only bested Hillary Clinton by 1.5 percentage points — a result that fed into Democrats’ belief that while Trump had made gains in predominantly white rural and exurban areas, the more highly educated, wealthy, diverse suburbs held more Romney-Clinton voters and presented the party with an opportunity to make gains.
          Handel and the GOP super PAC Congressional Leadership Fund have worked hard to turn the race away from Trump’s leadership in Washington and make it about Ossoff’s youth (he is 30) and about the House Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi. In particular, Republicans have hammered Ossoff on national security issues.
          Ossoff, meanwhile, has sought to run a centrist campaign — studiously avoiding even saying Trump’s name in an effort to make himself an acceptable alternative for typically conservative voters who might be inclined to buck the GOP.
          The 36,000 early voters who didn’t participate in the primary at all are among the major question marks that make the early vote data hard to read for partisan advantages.
          In analyzing that group, Tom Bonier, the CEO of the Democratic voter targeting firm TargetSmart, pointed out that they are less likely to be white than all other segments of voters — and 25% of them are under the age of 35. That demographic analysis figures to benefit Ossoff.
          Because of the district’s status as suburban, educated and diverse, the Georgia race could be a harbinger of Democrats’ ability to compete for similar Republican-held seats in places like Orange County, California, the Philadelphia suburbs and New York state in 2018.
          But the district is also more conservative than some of the similar-looking targets. According to the Cook Political Report’s Partisan Voter Index, there are 71 Republican-held House seats that are actually less GOP-leaning than Georgia’s 6th Congressional District.

          Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/17/politics/georgia-6th-early-voting-jon-ossoff-karen-handel/index.html