Wildly Under Funded With Gravely Ill Advocates

This morning I watched the March 13, 2008 video of Dr. Randy Pausch sitting before Congress. You may know him as the professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon. His last lecture video that was made famous by “youtube” has had over 6 million hits since he gave it in September of 2007.

I have been following Dr. Pausch’s progress in his inspirational fight against this dreaded disease, pancreatic cancer. This cancer doesn’t care that he never smoked, drank or is an avid exerciser. This cancer doesn’t care that he is only 47, a brilliant professor and has three young children ages 6, 4, and almost 2 who will be fatherless before the end of this year.

Dr. Pausch spoke before Congress, bravely describing the need for more funding for pancreatic research. I watched as the panel attentively listened to his testimony. I was reminded of the statement, “If the Congressional Panel put down their blackberry’s and actually listened, it was a good sign.” Was Congress attentive to Dr. Pausch’s testimony because of his new found “youtube” celebrity status? We’ll never know, but I hope that they continue to give everyone testifying before them, the same proper courtesy.

Pancreatic cancer is the most deadliest form of cancer with the least NCI funding. Less then 1% of the National Cancer Institutes 4.8 billion dollars on cancer research is given to fight this disease. With 75% of pancreatic cancer patients dying from this disease in less then one year, why is it so under funded?

My thoughts on this matter bring me to some humbling opinions. Brilliant researchers are diligently working to find cures. I will use St. Jude’s Hospital as an example. The cure rate for the childhood cancer, acute lymphoblastic leukemia was 4% survival rate in 1962. Today they are looking at an 80% survival rate, on this once “universally fatal” disease. That would never have been possible without those researchers being heavily funded.

When dealing with pancreatic cancer, there is little to no incentives to research this cancer. Junior researchers with their smart, brilliant minds want to make a big difference in this world. Working on projects that are barely funded, just isn’t something most researchers want to commit to. Smart researchers want to work on heavily, funded projects. They want to make certain that their in-depth studies will continue.

Another problem is lack of advocates. As Dr. Pausch reminded us, pancreatic cancer patients don’t last long. There isn’t much time for them to get their own affairs in order, let alone advocate for funds. I’m positive his wife Jai will do all she can to continue his fight for funding, but even then her time will be limited with the demands of raising 3 young children .

Tomorrow, March 22nd will be the anniversary of my own fathers death due to this hideous disease. My time of lamenting hasn’t ended. In the four years of my fathers passing “nothing” has changed. After hearing Dr. Pausch’s speech before Congress today, I was saddened to learn “nothing” has changed in the past 30 years. Pancreatic cancer is still the least funded and most deadliest form of cancer.

Several questions come to my mind when I think of the lack of funding given to these very neglected patients. Are they medically not profitable enough? When my father was diagnosed, he was told to go home and get his things in order. My parents had discussed the option of chemotherapy with their Doctor and although it might have given him a little more time, he chose not to have this treatment. You can imagine the lack of compassion felt, when he received several phone calls from the oncologist office wanting to set up his chemotherapy sessions. The nurse became absolutely irate when my mother declined to make the appointments. I can’t help but wonder if my father had “No” health insurance, if the oncologist would have been so eager for him to be scheduled.

In closing I pray that Congress will not repeat the same injustices that had been placed on those “now deceased patients.” No matter what our government might think, nobody is immune from this disease and it could easily happen to them or one of their own. As it stands now it will continue to be a round robin, no win situation. With lack of funding, researchers are just not interested in tackling this mountain and without researchers the next 30 years look just as grim for the pancreatic cancer patient as in the past.

Decision By Regulators May Have Big Impact On Mortgage Rates And Products

A decision by government regulators on an obscure issue next month could have a big impact on mortgage rates and home loan products available to borrowers.

Under the Dodd-Frank Act that overhauls regulation of the country’s financial system, mortgage lenders must share losses on their loans. But if their mortgages are deemed safer “qualified residential mortgages” they don’t have to have their skin in the game.

Mortgage products that don’t fall into the qualified residential mortgage category will probably have higher mortgage rates and tougher qualification standards for borrowers.

Congress, which typically doesn’t get into the details of the laws it makes, didn’t define a qualified residential mortgage. Instead, it left it up to regulators, who are now grappling with the issue.

Regulators, expected to reach a decision next month, have been getting an earful from lenders, investors and housing advocates on how to define qualified residential mortgages. Most groups agree to exclude the riskiest mortgage product like negative amortization loans, but beyond that, they disagree on what to call a safe mortgage.

Regulators have a lot to think about. Take down payment amounts, for instance. A recent article by MarketWatch says large banks want a large down payment requirement of 30 or 20 percent. Small banks want a small down payment requirement of about 5 percent, and housing advocates want to allow even smaller down payments of 3 percent.

Credit scores, income to debt ratios, length of employment, and the amount of documentation are some other factors to consider.

Depending on the regulators’ ruling, many mortgage products or just a few will be defined as qualified mortgages and be exempted from risk sharing requirement. Criteria that are too strict will risk barring many borrowers from low mortgage rates, but if guidelines are too loose lenders might be free to again make risky loans.

When the real estate market bubble was building, some mortgage lenders gave risky, exotic home loans to borrowers, then bundled the mortgages into bonds that were sold to investors who took the hit when borrowers defaulted. The theory is that lenders will be more cautious about making riskier loans if they retain part of the risk, or have skin in the game.

In addition to bank regulators, the Treasury Department, the new Financial Stability Oversight Council and the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will be involved in creating the rule.

Advocate Flea Control – Because Pet Health Maintenance Includes Flea Protection

One recurring problems for some pet owners is flea infestation. What problems do the dog face? Blood loss, allergy dermatitis, secondary infection for raw skin patches, and the potential to transmit diseases to humans. Knowing that diseases from these infestations can affect people, parents can be naturally worried. You need to do something. To the list of pet health maintenance activities pet owners do – pet bathing and grooming, routine house cleaning, vet check ups – one should add finding a flea control and treatment solution that works in the long run. Advocate Flea Control is one the most recommended treatments, for very good reasons.

What’s different (and convenient) about Advocate is that it’s topical – you use it on your dog’s skin; it’s unlike taken-by-mouth solutions. Oral solutions include tablets and chewables – the former to be grinded and mixed with pet food, the latter supposed as tasty as pet food itself (if the dog does eat it, that’s well and good). There are some reasons why many pet owners choose topical over oral. They can’t be blamed – no one wants to spend for a treatment mixed into pet food that the pet refuses to eat; by then, force feeding becomes a logical next step.

Parasites addressed by Advocate Flea Treatment

Advocate effective kills parasite infections your dog has prior to treatment (these include fleas, heartworm, various gastrointestinal worms, nasty ear mites, demodex, and even Sarcoptic Mange), provides continuous protection (one month), and shields your pet from re-infestation. It also comes in an easy to use tube. Advocate kills flea larvae residing in your pet’s vicinity, so it curbs the chances of both re-infestation and cases of Flea Allergy Dermatitis.

Your pet needs good parasitic coverage and protection, and Advocate’s active ingredients – Imidacloprid and Moxidectin – provide exactly that. Moxidectin, one of the ingredients, quickly finds its way into your pet’s bloodstream, right after absorption through the pet’s skin. This ingredient protects your pet from heartworm infection if Advocate is used monthly. The same month-long protection also includes protection from gastrointestinal worms – hookworms and roundworms. Advocate also controls annoying ear mites and prevents the onset of a skin condition known as Demodex.

Contraindications

Advocate is safe enough to use on young pups 7 weeks old. Still, some dogs may react badly to this treatment. Advocate may cause some allergic reactions in some animals, it’s rate but it does happen; so here are some reminders. Do not administer said treatment if you know your dog has allergic reaction to the active ingredients in Advocate. Also, be sure to have your dog checked up by a vet if you have doubts. During the period after you administer treatment, you should watch your dog for allergic reactions that might ensue.