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The new secret to losing weight? Water

(CNN)Suddenly starving? Try drinking some water.

That recommendation isn't new -- but it suddenly got some serious evidence to back it up. A study of nearly 10,000 adults ages 18 to 64 shows that staying hydrated by drinking water and eating more water-loaded fruits and vegetables could help with weight management, especially if you're overweight or obese.
"Staying hydrated is good for you no matter what, and our study suggests it may also be linked to maintaining a healthy weight," said lead author Dr. Tammy Chang, an assistant professor in the department of family medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School. "Our findings suggest that hydration may deserve more attention when thinking about addressing obesity on a population level."
Being dehydrated can mess with your mental, physical and emotional health. Numerous studies show attention, memory and mood can be damaged, and physical distress such as headaches, constipation and kidney problems can result.
But when it came to weight loss and gain, the science on the role of water has been murky. Some studies found drinking water helped control weight gain, yet other studies showed the opposite. Part of the problem, said Chang, was the way hydration has been measured.
"Water consumption is not an ideal measure of hydration," explained Chang. "The amount of water it takes to stay hydrated depends on your body size and many other factors like your activity level and the climate you live in. Imagine if you were a landscaper in Arizona versus a receptionist in Michigan. The amount of water it takes to stay hydrated will be drastically different."

Some need more water to stay hydrated

Chang and her fellow researchers at the University of Michigan looked at the topic in a new way -- not how much water you drink, but how well hydrated you are when you do so. To do that, they measured the concentration of water in urine.
They found that staying hydrated -- which helps your heart pump blood more efficiently to your muscles, which then makes them work more efficiently -- was especially important for anyone with a body mass index (BMI) over 25, which is technically overweight and unfortunately applies to all too many of us. In fact, two out of every three Americans are overweight or obese.
"We found hydration and BMI/obesity are associated," said Chang. "A bigger person needs more water than a smaller person to stay hydrated."
"It could be that those people with higher BMI are more likely to be inadequately hydrated or that those that stay well hydrated are less likely to be obese."

Signs you need more fluids

More research is needed, said Chang. But in the meantime, here are ways you can find out if your body has enough fluids.
"Feeling thirsty is the most straight forward way to know if your body needs more water," said Chang. "Your mouth may feel dry. You may feel run down or less alert. However, I have found that my patients often confuse these symptoms with other urges like hunger or general fatigue."
The color of your urine is another good way to tell. If your urine is light yellow, almost the color of water, you're in good shape. If your urine is dark yellow, it's time to drink up.
And yes, water is best. "Other beverages come with other substances like sugar in soda, or caffeine in coffee that are not recommended in large amounts," said Chang. "Soft drinks typically contain sugar or chemical sugar substitutes that I do not recommend to my patients. Water is the best for hydration for most people."
Here's another easy way: Increase your intake of water-laden foods, such as cucumbers, celery, watermelon, raw broccoli and carrots, plums, apples and peaches.
"Eating fruits and vegetables with high water content is good for you not just because of the nutrients they deliver to your body, but also because they can improve your hydration."
And they don't come with a ton of calories. It's a win all around.
Source:CNN.com
Read more
25/Jul/2017

Rare case of 9-year-old in HIV remission for years -- without drugs

Paris (CNN)A 9-year-old South African child diagnosed with HIV when he was 1 month old has been in HIV remission for 8½ years -- without regular treatment.

This is the first reported case of a child controlling their HIV infection without drugs in Africa and the third known case globally.
Soon after diagnosis, the child was placed on antiretroviral treatment, or ART, for 40 weeks, at which point treatment was stopped and the child's health was monitored.
 
 

Blood tests in late 2015 revealed the child is in HIV remission, meaning levels of the virus in the blood are undetectable using standard tests. Subsequent testing of samples dating back to the child's infancy confirm remission was achieved soon after treatment was stopped.

Treatment was paused as part of a larger research trial investigating the potential for early ART to decrease infant mortality and reduce the need for lifelong treatment among newborns infected with HIV.
"This is really very rare," said Dr. Avy Violari, head of pediatric clinical trials at the Perinatal HIV Research Unit at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa. Violari is the child's doctor and presented the findings at the 9th International AIDS conference on HIV Science in Paris on Monday.
"By studying these cases, we hope we will understand how one can stop (treatment)," Violari told CNN.
There is no cure or vaccine against HIV, and lifelong treatment for children comes with the risk of potential toxicity, side effects and the need for daily adherence, which becomes harder during the teen years.

The benefits of early treatment

The child, who was not identified, was part of a study known as the Children with HIV Early Antiretroviral Therapy, or CHER, trial, which ran from 2005 to 2011. More than 370 infants infected with HIV were randomly assigned to immediately receive ART for either 40 weeks or 96 weeks. A third group were not placed on immediate treatment, but instead received treatment according to standard guidelines at the time.
When the trial began, standard treatment was based on the level of immune cells damaged by the virus, known as CD4 cells, within the body. Current guidelines recommend immediate treatment, irrespective of CD4 cell count.
In infants infected with HIV close to birth, progression of the disease occurs very rapidly within the first few months of life and can often lead to death, according to the World Health Organization. An estimated 110,000 children died of AIDS-related illnesses in 2015, according to UNAIDS.
Pediatricians also worry about the side-effects and health impacts of lifelong treatment with antiretroviral drugs for those who survive.
More than 1.8 million children were living with HIV in 2015, according to UNAIDS, and 150,000 children became newly infected, the majority of which were in Africa.
The CHER trial set out to investigate whether mortality rates could be reduced, but also whether earlier treatment could keep children healthy enough to enable them to come off treatment for certain periods.
"We were hoping to make it a slower-progressing disease," said Violari.
The study found mortality decreased by 76% and HIV disease progression reduced by 75% among the infants who received treatment immediately, for 40 or 96 weeks. The group receiving standard treatment saw an increase in mortality based on interim results, so that arm of the trial was stopped early.
Children receiving early treatment in the trial needed to go back onto it, on average, after two years, Violari said, with cases ranging from needing it immediately to needing it after four years. An estimated 10 children have not had to go back on treatment, she said, as their viral loads are fairly low -- between 1,000 to 3,000 per milliliter of blood -- meaning they are healthy, in clinical terms.
But virus levels in the 9-year-old case are undetectable. "The child is the only child showing remission," said Violari.
"We cannot see virus in the blood using standard techniques ... we can see fragments of the virus in the cells," she said, adding that these fragments appear not to be able to replicate, for now, giving hope the child may stay this way. "This child is unique."

Only three cases

The South African child is the third reported case of long-term HIV remission in a child after early, limited treatment with antiretroviral drugs.
The first case was a Mississippi baby, a girl born in 2010, who received ART just 30 hours after birth until she was 18 months old, at which point HIV remission was achieved. The baby sustained remission for 27 months, until 2015, when she rebounded and the virus was found in her blood, crushing hopes that this approach could be the route to a "functional cure" for HIV.
Next came the 2015 case of a French teenager, now 20, whose mother was HIV positive. The French child was given antiretroviral treatment soon after birth, stopped treatment at age 6 and has maintained undetectable levels of the virus in her blood since.
Asier Saez Cirion from the Institut Pasteur in France, who presented the findings on the teenager in 2015, confirmed to CNN this week that the teen is still in remission and maintaining good health, meaning she has been controlling her virus for more than 13 years.
Now comes the case of the 9-year-old in South Africa, in remission for more than eight years, but after just 40 weeks of treatment. Violari stressed, however, these cases are extremely rare and that people infected with HIV should by no means come off their treatment.
"Not everyone can achieve remission," she said.
Three adults have also been reported to achieve remission to date, known as the Boston patients and Berlin patient, but all received bone marrow transplants for this result, not early treatment with antiretroviral drugs. The two Boston patients rebounded, leaving Timothy Ray Brown, the Berlin patient, as the only person to be clinically cured of HIV.
"This (case in South Africa) tells you this is possible in some babies, to see long-term remission," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, which funded the CHER trial and ongoing followup on these infants.
"The real question will be what percentage of babies treated early will achieve this result? We don't know," he said.
Fauci believes this kind of outcome only becomes important if you have a considerable proportion of babies protected, making it applicable as a potential therapy approach.
"You always get an outlier," he said. In this case, the outlier being the 9-year old. "Further study is needed to learn how to induce long-term HIV remission in infected babies," Fauci said.

How is it possible?

Violari agrees that this new remission case is not applicable to all infants with HIV, but instead that something unique about his biology and immune system helped him protect himself from the virus, aided by starting treatment early.
He developed an effective immune response to the virus early on, she said, and treatment then protected the child. "I think the early treatment aided it," she said.
Her team now hopes to investigate the child, and others from the original CHER trial along with HIV-negative children to try to elucidate just what is unique about the biology enabling a child who has been treated to then suppress the virus indefinitely -- and independently -- known as a post-treatment controller.
"We need to see where the differences lie," she said, adding that this insight could be used to inform vaccine design or new treatment approaches, such as the use of neutralizing antibodies to help people suppress the virus.
We could develop a product given to people in combination with ART so people can eventually stop ART, said Violari. This would not be because they are cured, but because virus levels are low enough, or undetectable, to help them stay healthy without the need for drugs.
"It's a long shot," Violari said. "But we can look at what's different."
Fauci agreed that extensive evaluation of immune regions of these cases could help scientists find something special to guide inducing this in others. "That's being intensively studied now," said Fauci. "We have the outcome, we just need to get there."

Hope for future HIV control

"We are delighted and excited by what happened with this child ... we need to extrapolate (from this) to the benefit of other children on antiretroviral drugs," said Dr. Mark Cotton, professor of pediatrics at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, who co-led the study. "Africa is still the epicenter of the epidemic and more babies are acquiring HIV than anywhere else."
Cotton hopes his team presenting these results will boost morale, both among cure researchers and those managing treatment programs for children across the continent.
Dr. Deborah Persaud, professor pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the United States, agreed this discovery will become useful in terms of treating HIV-infected infants.
"This offers hope for the field," she said. "Every case like this keeps optimism around perinatal infection."
Persaud is part of team that reported the case of the Mississippi baby in 2013 and continues to care for the child and track progress.
She agreed with Violari's team that there is something unique about the South African child's biology, because their viral levels began coming down even before the child received treatment. "This suggests there was an immune mechanism at play here," she said. "Somehow, there was early control of the virus."
The three cases to date all form part of this era in which rare examples of remission are coming to light and providing valuable insight for HIV cure researchers. They serve as proof of concept that this can occur, she said, stressing that this is far from the norm.
"Many kids around the world have been treated early and are not off treatment," she said.
A current trial, known as IMPAACT P1115 and funded by the US NIH, is providing treatment to HIV-infected infants within 48 hours of birth, further exploring options to eventually enable children to come off ART, even if just for a few months at a time, and investigate the potential for remission.
Almost 400 infants have been enrolled across nine countries. The first cases might be eligible to stop ART later this year, according to the NIH.
While Persaud said remission cases are likely to be the exception to the rule, she added that the long-term hope is to go from the need for daily ART, which involves potential toxicity and the need for adherence, to children being able to come off treatment for extended periods.
Even not taking drugs for three months of life, some adults say is a big step for them, she said. "This can make living with HIV less burdensome ... and just make life a lot more livable."
Source:CNN.com
Read more
25/Jul/2017

Latest News

Construction in China's 'skyscraper capital' shows little sign of slowing

(CNN)It rises like a mirage as you pass the fallow fields and fish ponds of outer Hong Kong: a wall of skyscrapers shimmering in the distance. This is Shenzhen, which has grown from a small fishing village into a major financial and technology hub in less than 40 years.

Like many other cities in China, Shenzhen is crazy for skyscrapers.
Of the 128 buildings over 200 meters tall that were completed in the world last year, 70% were in China, according to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH).
Shenzhen was responsible for 11 of them -- more than the entire United States, and almost twice as many as any other Chinese city (Chongqing and Guangzhou tied for second place, alongside Goyang in South Korea, with six skyscrapers each).
 
 

Tall by design

The city's relationship with high-rises goes back to 1980, when China's reformist leader, Deng Xiaoping, declared that a swath of farmland along the Hong Kong border would become a so-called Special Economic Zone.
The decision meant that companies could operate with fewer of the restrictions of a planned economy -- China's first major experiment with free markets since the Communist revolution of 1949. Investors from Hong Kong -- and beyond -- rushed across the border to build factories and other businesses.
From the beginning, urban planners decided that it would be a city of skyscrapers. Shenzhen's growing skyline is simply part of its DNA, according to University of Hong Kong architecture professor Juan Du, whose book, "The Making of Shenzhen: A Thousand Years in China's Instant City," will be published next year.
"In Shenzhen, (skyscrapers are) really linked to the image of the city," she said over the phone. "Between the early 1980s and the early 90s, it had more tall buildings than any Chinese city.
"The term 'Shenzhen speed' was coined from the (time of) the construction of the city's earliest skyscrapers. When Deng Xiaoping made his first visit to Shenzhen, he was really excited by the speed at which tall buildings were being built."
Today, Shenzhen has evolved beyond its manufacturing roots to become a hub for service industries -- especially technology and design. Often described as "China's Silicon Valley," the city is home to huge companies like Tencent (which itself built two skyscrapers) and a network of thousands of smaller firms.
But Shenzhen's geography plays a part, too: the city center is located in a narrow strip between mountains and the Hong Kong border. A growing network of subway lines and a new high-speed rail connection to Hong Kong have made this strip even more desirable, pushing development up rather than out.

Cities in slowdown

Shenzhen appears to be showing no signs of slowing. In addition to a current crop of 49 buildings taller than 200 meters, a further 48 skyscrapers are under construction, according to CTBUH data.
 
But as Shenzhen grows skywards, empty office space in other big cities has led market analysts to speculate that China is caught in a spiral of overbuilding. The office vacancy rate in Beijing, which stood at 8% at the end of 2016, is forecast to rise to 13% by the end of 2019, according to a report by property firm Colliers International. The report noted that "the growing office supply will still outstrip the growth in demand."
In Shanghai, the country's tallest building, the 632-meter Shanghai Tower, has sat largely empty since opening in 2015, with one of the project's lead developers, Gu Jianping, admitting at an awards ceremony last year that "the biggest challenge facing China is how to build fewer skyscrapers."
Across China, the race upwards has produced outsized landmarks (like Nanjing's Zifeng Tower which is nearly twice the height of the city's next-tallest building) in areas where there was not enough demand to justify construction. Entire new cities were built in places like Ordos, a dusty outpost in the Gobi Desert, which then sat empty for years. Tianjin built no fewer than three central business districts filled with skyscrapers -- including one unashamedly modeled on Manhattan.
Some media reports have pointed to the so-called "Skyscraper Index," an idea first proposed by economist Andrew Lawrence in 1999, which suggests that a surge of investment in skyscrapers is a harbinger of recession.

Bucking the trend

But rather than signaling a downturn, Shenzhen's spate of new skyscrapers may simply reflect its booming economy. With the highest per capita GDP of any major city in China, Shenzhen is also experiencing soaring land prices.
 
Last year, the city's property market was named the mainland's most expensive, with homes selling for an average of $6,500 per square meter, according to SouFun, which tracks house prices in 100 Chinese cities. There has been a similar trend in the office market, according to David Ji, the head of research for Greater China at property consultancy Knight Frank.
"Shenzhen has a lot of demand for Grade A office space, unlike some other mainland cities that just go for height to compete with each other," he said over the phone.
And aside from the 600-meter Ping An Financial Centre, which became the world's fourth tallest building when it opened last year, Ji said that "buildings built in Shenzhen tend not to be that tall relative to Shanghai or other cities."
In other words, Shenzhen may be building plenty of skyscrapers, but most of them aren't showstoppers.
Rather than tolerating vanity projects, urban planners encourage projects that fit in with the surrounding city, according to Hong Kong-based architect Stefan Krummeck. His firm, TFP Farrells, designed KK100, a 442-meter tower that is currently the second tallest in Shenzhen. Rather than an isolated landmark, the skyscraper is part of a former village that was redeveloped in conjunction with KK100.
"There's always a bit of an ego trip involved in super high-rises, but in Shenzhen it's more sustainable -- the towers are reasonably modest," he said over the phone. "There are only a few super-high-rise towers and they're pretty well integrated into the urban fabric.
"To the best of my knowledge, the towers are full and the streets are lively. It works quite well."
Source:CNN.com
Read more
25/Jul/2017

The new secret to losing weight? Water

(CNN)Suddenly starving? Try drinking some water.

That recommendation isn't new -- but it suddenly got some serious evidence to back it up. A study of nearly 10,000 adults ages 18 to 64 shows that staying hydrated by drinking water and eating more water-loaded fruits and vegetables could help with weight management, especially if you're overweight or obese.
"Staying hydrated is good for you no matter what, and our study suggests it may also be linked to maintaining a healthy weight," said lead author Dr. Tammy Chang, an assistant professor in the department of family medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School. "Our findings suggest that hydration may deserve more attention when thinking about addressing obesity on a population level."
Being dehydrated can mess with your mental, physical and emotional health. Numerous studies show attention, memory and mood can be damaged, and physical distress such as headaches, constipation and kidney problems can result.
But when it came to weight loss and gain, the science on the role of water has been murky. Some studies found drinking water helped control weight gain, yet other studies showed the opposite. Part of the problem, said Chang, was the way hydration has been measured.
"Water consumption is not an ideal measure of hydration," explained Chang. "The amount of water it takes to stay hydrated depends on your body size and many other factors like your activity level and the climate you live in. Imagine if you were a landscaper in Arizona versus a receptionist in Michigan. The amount of water it takes to stay hydrated will be drastically different."

Some need more water to stay hydrated

Chang and her fellow researchers at the University of Michigan looked at the topic in a new way -- not how much water you drink, but how well hydrated you are when you do so. To do that, they measured the concentration of water in urine.
They found that staying hydrated -- which helps your heart pump blood more efficiently to your muscles, which then makes them work more efficiently -- was especially important for anyone with a body mass index (BMI) over 25, which is technically overweight and unfortunately applies to all too many of us. In fact, two out of every three Americans are overweight or obese.
"We found hydration and BMI/obesity are associated," said Chang. "A bigger person needs more water than a smaller person to stay hydrated."
"It could be that those people with higher BMI are more likely to be inadequately hydrated or that those that stay well hydrated are less likely to be obese."

Signs you need more fluids

More research is needed, said Chang. But in the meantime, here are ways you can find out if your body has enough fluids.
"Feeling thirsty is the most straight forward way to know if your body needs more water," said Chang. "Your mouth may feel dry. You may feel run down or less alert. However, I have found that my patients often confuse these symptoms with other urges like hunger or general fatigue."
The color of your urine is another good way to tell. If your urine is light yellow, almost the color of water, you're in good shape. If your urine is dark yellow, it's time to drink up.
And yes, water is best. "Other beverages come with other substances like sugar in soda, or caffeine in coffee that are not recommended in large amounts," said Chang. "Soft drinks typically contain sugar or chemical sugar substitutes that I do not recommend to my patients. Water is the best for hydration for most people."
Here's another easy way: Increase your intake of water-laden foods, such as cucumbers, celery, watermelon, raw broccoli and carrots, plums, apples and peaches.
"Eating fruits and vegetables with high water content is good for you not just because of the nutrients they deliver to your body, but also because they can improve your hydration."
And they don't come with a ton of calories. It's a win all around.
Source:CNN.com
Read more
25/Jul/2017

Rare case of 9-year-old in HIV remission for years -- without drugs

Paris (CNN)A 9-year-old South African child diagnosed with HIV when he was 1 month old has been in HIV remission for 8½ years -- without regular treatment.

This is the first reported case of a child controlling their HIV infection without drugs in Africa and the third known case globally.
Soon after diagnosis, the child was placed on antiretroviral treatment, or ART, for 40 weeks, at which point treatment was stopped and the child's health was monitored.
 
 

Blood tests in late 2015 revealed the child is in HIV remission, meaning levels of the virus in the blood are undetectable using standard tests. Subsequent testing of samples dating back to the child's infancy confirm remission was achieved soon after treatment was stopped.

Treatment was paused as part of a larger research trial investigating the potential for early ART to decrease infant mortality and reduce the need for lifelong treatment among newborns infected with HIV.
"This is really very rare," said Dr. Avy Violari, head of pediatric clinical trials at the Perinatal HIV Research Unit at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa. Violari is the child's doctor and presented the findings at the 9th International AIDS conference on HIV Science in Paris on Monday.
"By studying these cases, we hope we will understand how one can stop (treatment)," Violari told CNN.
There is no cure or vaccine against HIV, and lifelong treatment for children comes with the risk of potential toxicity, side effects and the need for daily adherence, which becomes harder during the teen years.

The benefits of early treatment

The child, who was not identified, was part of a study known as the Children with HIV Early Antiretroviral Therapy, or CHER, trial, which ran from 2005 to 2011. More than 370 infants infected with HIV were randomly assigned to immediately receive ART for either 40 weeks or 96 weeks. A third group were not placed on immediate treatment, but instead received treatment according to standard guidelines at the time.
When the trial began, standard treatment was based on the level of immune cells damaged by the virus, known as CD4 cells, within the body. Current guidelines recommend immediate treatment, irrespective of CD4 cell count.
In infants infected with HIV close to birth, progression of the disease occurs very rapidly within the first few months of life and can often lead to death, according to the World Health Organization. An estimated 110,000 children died of AIDS-related illnesses in 2015, according to UNAIDS.
Pediatricians also worry about the side-effects and health impacts of lifelong treatment with antiretroviral drugs for those who survive.
More than 1.8 million children were living with HIV in 2015, according to UNAIDS, and 150,000 children became newly infected, the majority of which were in Africa.
The CHER trial set out to investigate whether mortality rates could be reduced, but also whether earlier treatment could keep children healthy enough to enable them to come off treatment for certain periods.
"We were hoping to make it a slower-progressing disease," said Violari.
The study found mortality decreased by 76% and HIV disease progression reduced by 75% among the infants who received treatment immediately, for 40 or 96 weeks. The group receiving standard treatment saw an increase in mortality based on interim results, so that arm of the trial was stopped early.
Children receiving early treatment in the trial needed to go back onto it, on average, after two years, Violari said, with cases ranging from needing it immediately to needing it after four years. An estimated 10 children have not had to go back on treatment, she said, as their viral loads are fairly low -- between 1,000 to 3,000 per milliliter of blood -- meaning they are healthy, in clinical terms.
But virus levels in the 9-year-old case are undetectable. "The child is the only child showing remission," said Violari.
"We cannot see virus in the blood using standard techniques ... we can see fragments of the virus in the cells," she said, adding that these fragments appear not to be able to replicate, for now, giving hope the child may stay this way. "This child is unique."

Only three cases

The South African child is the third reported case of long-term HIV remission in a child after early, limited treatment with antiretroviral drugs.
The first case was a Mississippi baby, a girl born in 2010, who received ART just 30 hours after birth until she was 18 months old, at which point HIV remission was achieved. The baby sustained remission for 27 months, until 2015, when she rebounded and the virus was found in her blood, crushing hopes that this approach could be the route to a "functional cure" for HIV.
Next came the 2015 case of a French teenager, now 20, whose mother was HIV positive. The French child was given antiretroviral treatment soon after birth, stopped treatment at age 6 and has maintained undetectable levels of the virus in her blood since.
Asier Saez Cirion from the Institut Pasteur in France, who presented the findings on the teenager in 2015, confirmed to CNN this week that the teen is still in remission and maintaining good health, meaning she has been controlling her virus for more than 13 years.
Now comes the case of the 9-year-old in South Africa, in remission for more than eight years, but after just 40 weeks of treatment. Violari stressed, however, these cases are extremely rare and that people infected with HIV should by no means come off their treatment.
"Not everyone can achieve remission," she said.
Three adults have also been reported to achieve remission to date, known as the Boston patients and Berlin patient, but all received bone marrow transplants for this result, not early treatment with antiretroviral drugs. The two Boston patients rebounded, leaving Timothy Ray Brown, the Berlin patient, as the only person to be clinically cured of HIV.
"This (case in South Africa) tells you this is possible in some babies, to see long-term remission," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, which funded the CHER trial and ongoing followup on these infants.
"The real question will be what percentage of babies treated early will achieve this result? We don't know," he said.
Fauci believes this kind of outcome only becomes important if you have a considerable proportion of babies protected, making it applicable as a potential therapy approach.
"You always get an outlier," he said. In this case, the outlier being the 9-year old. "Further study is needed to learn how to induce long-term HIV remission in infected babies," Fauci said.

How is it possible?

Violari agrees that this new remission case is not applicable to all infants with HIV, but instead that something unique about his biology and immune system helped him protect himself from the virus, aided by starting treatment early.
He developed an effective immune response to the virus early on, she said, and treatment then protected the child. "I think the early treatment aided it," she said.
Her team now hopes to investigate the child, and others from the original CHER trial along with HIV-negative children to try to elucidate just what is unique about the biology enabling a child who has been treated to then suppress the virus indefinitely -- and independently -- known as a post-treatment controller.
"We need to see where the differences lie," she said, adding that this insight could be used to inform vaccine design or new treatment approaches, such as the use of neutralizing antibodies to help people suppress the virus.
We could develop a product given to people in combination with ART so people can eventually stop ART, said Violari. This would not be because they are cured, but because virus levels are low enough, or undetectable, to help them stay healthy without the need for drugs.
"It's a long shot," Violari said. "But we can look at what's different."
Fauci agreed that extensive evaluation of immune regions of these cases could help scientists find something special to guide inducing this in others. "That's being intensively studied now," said Fauci. "We have the outcome, we just need to get there."

Hope for future HIV control

"We are delighted and excited by what happened with this child ... we need to extrapolate (from this) to the benefit of other children on antiretroviral drugs," said Dr. Mark Cotton, professor of pediatrics at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, who co-led the study. "Africa is still the epicenter of the epidemic and more babies are acquiring HIV than anywhere else."
Cotton hopes his team presenting these results will boost morale, both among cure researchers and those managing treatment programs for children across the continent.
Dr. Deborah Persaud, professor pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the United States, agreed this discovery will become useful in terms of treating HIV-infected infants.
"This offers hope for the field," she said. "Every case like this keeps optimism around perinatal infection."
Persaud is part of team that reported the case of the Mississippi baby in 2013 and continues to care for the child and track progress.
She agreed with Violari's team that there is something unique about the South African child's biology, because their viral levels began coming down even before the child received treatment. "This suggests there was an immune mechanism at play here," she said. "Somehow, there was early control of the virus."
The three cases to date all form part of this era in which rare examples of remission are coming to light and providing valuable insight for HIV cure researchers. They serve as proof of concept that this can occur, she said, stressing that this is far from the norm.
"Many kids around the world have been treated early and are not off treatment," she said.
A current trial, known as IMPAACT P1115 and funded by the US NIH, is providing treatment to HIV-infected infants within 48 hours of birth, further exploring options to eventually enable children to come off ART, even if just for a few months at a time, and investigate the potential for remission.
Almost 400 infants have been enrolled across nine countries. The first cases might be eligible to stop ART later this year, according to the NIH.
While Persaud said remission cases are likely to be the exception to the rule, she added that the long-term hope is to go from the need for daily ART, which involves potential toxicity and the need for adherence, to children being able to come off treatment for extended periods.
Even not taking drugs for three months of life, some adults say is a big step for them, she said. "This can make living with HIV less burdensome ... and just make life a lot more livable."
Source:CNN.com
Read more
25/Jul/2017

Rihanna is red-hot at the 'Valerian' premiere in London

If the reviews are bad and you've still got press left to do, fly Rihanna in.

The Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets star lit up the red carpet of the film's European premiere in London Monday night, looking ravishing in a cleavage-baring, scarlet Giambattista Valli Couture gown.

She matched the look with stunning ruby earrings and deep red lipstick.

Later, Rihanna posed with co-star Cara Delevingne, her fave red carpet BFF as of late. 

The style stars' appearance in Leicester Square was a welcome break from the U.S. headlines, which declared the sci-fi epic a massive bomb. Valerian pulled in just $17 million in its opening weekend against a hefty $180 million budget.

Source:USA Today

Read more
25/Jul/2017

The importance of bigger earnings for stock funds

NEW YORK — This earnings season is off to a good start, and the encouraging run is expected to keep going.

Instead of excitement, though, the reaction so far from Wall Street has been more like quiet relief, and funds that track the broad stock market have only edged higher since earnings reports began arriving in earnest last week. That's because the strong reports that are forecast would be more a justification for the big moves that stock prices have already made rather than reason for further gains.

Stock prices have risen more quickly than earnings in recent years, and the two tend to track with each other over the long term. Stocks even rose when profits were shrinking from mid-2015 into 2016, which has the market at more expensive levels relative to corporate profits.

Stock prices for companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 index are trading at close to 21 times their earnings per share over the last 12 months, for example. That's well above their average price-earnings ratio of 15.5 over the last 10 years, a period that includes both the Great Recession and the long run-up for stocks following it.

Of course, interest rates are still low, and investors are willing to pay a higher price for each dollar of earnings in stocks when bonds are offering small yields. But rates are expected to continue climbing modestly, as the Federal Reserve raises short-term interest rates and begins paring back its massive trove of bond investments.

So, depending on how high interest rates climb and other factors, corporate earnings may need to keep rising just to keep stock prices where they are today. This reporting season, analysts are expecting S&P 500 companies to report a roughly 6% rise in earnings per share from a year earlier. That would be less than half the growth rate of the first three months of the year, but the slowdown is understandable given that the first quarter's growth rate was the fastest since 2011.

Among the trends to watch for as companies report how they did from April through June:

 

Globalists glitter

Coming into this year, many expected President Donald Trump's "America First" policies to mean companies that do most of their business at home would be the biggest winners.

But the companies that get most of their sales from abroad may end up this earning season's stars, now that Europe and developing economies around the world are showing more life after years of disappointment.

Those economic upturns, coupled with a weakening dollar, spell stronger results for companies that sell a lot to customers in Asia, Europe and elsewhere. The euro has climbed about 10% against the dollar this year, for example, which means that each euro of sales at the Apple store in Amsterdam is worth more dollars than before.

Like Apple, the technology sector broadly gets most of its revenue from outside the United States, and analysts expect tech stocks to report the second-strongest earnings growth of the 11 sectors that make up the index, at nearly 11%, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Oil is a wild card

The strongest growth this reporting season is expected to come from the energy sector, where analysts say profits more than quadrupled from a year earlier.

Energy is the only area of the market that's more international than technology in terms of where it gets its revenue, but the biggest factor is the higher price of oil. After plunging below $30 per barrel early last year, crude has remained between $45 and $55 for much of this year.

It's easier to make outlandish percentage gains when coming off a small base, and energy companies' profits were decimated by oil's fall from more than $100 per barrel in 2014.

But crude's price still isn't stable. During June, it dropped as low as $42.05 on expectations that the world still has more oil than it needs. Analysts have already pulled down their earnings expectations as a result, but did they do so by enough? And if oil's price remains volatile, it could have a big impact on energy companies' earnings for the second half of the year.

Outlook is key

For stocks to rise any more from their already lofty levels, companies will need to keep pumping out further earnings gains, even after this reporting season closes.

For the most part, that's what analysts expect to happen. The U.S. economy continues to muddle along with modest growth, while other economies are accelerating.

Companies, meanwhile, have slashed their costs and are able to hold onto more of each dollar in revenue as profit.

Corporate CEOs will offer their own clues for where they see profits heading for the rest of the year when they release their second-quarter results. Many are forecasting further gains, though they have ratcheted back their expectations for how much of a boost they may get from a potential tax cut or other changes from Washington.

Source:USA Today

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25/Jul/2017

Your financial adviser will lose some of your money. Here's what to do.

Losing money when investing is as inevitable as death and taxes. Those who immediately fire their advisers for incurring such losses will never be satisfied.

I’m referring to short-term losses, over periods as long as a year, if not more. Even advisers with the very best long-term records regularly lose money in many calendar years along the way.

That sobering truth was confirmed by a recent Hulbert Financial Digest study of the more than 1,000 newsletter model portfolios whose performances it has audited over the last four decades. The study focused on just the small minority of these portfolios that beat the Standard & Poor's 500 index over any 20-year period since 1980. It found that, on average, these market beaters still lost money in 1 of every 4 years and lagged the S&P 500 in 1 of every 2 years.

And remember that these statistics apply to the very best advisers. Others did even worse.

You might object that losses aren’t inevitable for an adviser who always recommends money markets or short-term bond funds. But such an adviser will pay a high price for doing so, since he will lag the stock market in the majority of calendar years. None of the 1000-plus portfolios in the Hulbert Financial Digest database has come close to beating the stock market in every single year.

Another objection I often hear is that the investment newsletter industry is unrepresentative of Wall Street’s professional money managers, who presumably really know what they’re doing. But at least in regards to the frequency of short-term losses and market-lagging returns, those managers do no better.

 

Consider a study conducted several years ago by Brandes Investment Partners, a money management firm based in San Diego. The study analyzed actively-managed U.S. equity mutual funds in the Morningstar database that had beaten the S&P 500 over a 10-year period. It found that “all of them underperformed the Index substantially during shorter periods within the decade.”

 

Even Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway and considered the most successful investor alive today, has suffered numerous bouts of short-term market-lagging returns. The book value of his firm has lagged the S&P 500 in nine of the last 20 calendar years, for example, a proportion that is virtually identical to what was found among the best investment newsletters.

Clearly, then, you shouldn’t use short-term losses or market-lagging returns as the basis for firing your investment adviser. Most investors who nevertheless do so compound their error by switching from the adviser at the bottom of the short-term performance scoreboards to the one at the top. The folly of that approach is illustrated by the awful performance of a strategy that, each year for the last four decades, invested in the top performing investment newsletter portfolio from the previous calendar year. This investor would have lost more than 90%, according to the Hulbert Financial Digest.

 

Clearly, we need to shift our focus away from the short-term winners and losers towards those who beat the market over the very long term. Though there is no magical minimum threshold for how many years this long term should encompass, I recommend to clients that it be at least 15 years.

Once you have chosen an adviser, be sure to stick with him even if he lags the market over a year or two, or even loses money. The rule of thumb I recommend: Fire your adviser only when you would no longer choose him if you were to freshly reapply the same criteria that led you to choose him in the first place. For example, if you chose an adviser because he beat the market over the trailing 15 years, then you’d fire him only if he no longer was ahead of the market over the trailing 15 years. That’s unlikely to be the case even after a couple years of disappointing performance.

That seems like a lot to ask, and it is. But the alternative is guaranteed to lead to long-term market-lagging returns, if not outright losses.

Source:USA Today

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25/Jul/2017

Entertainment

25/Jul/2017

Rihanna is red-hot at the 'Valerian' premiere in London

If the reviews are bad and you've still got press left to do, fly Rihanna in.

The Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets star lit up the red carpet of the film's European premiere in London Monday night, looking ravishing in a cleavage-baring, scarlet Giambattista Valli Couture gown.

She matched the look with stunning ruby earrings and deep red lipstick.

Later, Rihanna posed with co-star Cara Delevingne, her fave red carpet BFF as of late. 

The style stars' appearance in Leicester Square was a welcome break from the U.S. headlines, which declared the sci-fi epic a massive bomb. Valerian pulled in just $17 million in its opening weekend against a hefty $180 million budget.

Source:USA Today

17/Jul/2017

Beyoncé debuts newborn twins Sir and Rumi

(CNN)Forgive the Beyhive if they are tired on Friday.

Overnight, Beyoncé debuted the long awaited photo of her newborn twins on her official Instagram account.
Naturally, it was glorious.
 
 
The photo was just what we have come to expect from the superstar.
It featured Queen Bey cradling her babies while swathed in fabric including a blue veil. She is posed before a stand of flowers with the ocean in the background. The image is similar to ones she posted to announce her pregnancy in February.
If you are wondering how followers were so quick to respond, many of them set their Instagram accounts to receive notifications the minute Beyoncé posted anything.
Yes, it's that serious.
Beyoncé's mother, Tina Lawson, confirmed via social media that the twins are a boy and a girl -- a fact that had been widely reported but not confirmed by the parents.
"So Happy my baby shared a photo of her babies with the world," Lawson wrote on her Instagram account. "Proud grandma hello Sir Carter and Rumi Carter. Boy and girl what a blessing."
 
SOURCE:CNN

10/Jul/2017

Nelsan Ellis, 'True Blood' actor, dead at 39

Nelsan Ellis, the actor who lit up the screen on HBO's vampire drama "True Blood," has died at age 39.

The cause of death was complications from heart failure, his manager, Emily Gerson Saines, told CNN.

 

Ellis had roles in several movies during his career, including "Get on Up," "Lee Daniels' The Butler" and "The Help." But he was best known for his performance on "True Blood" as Lafayette, a cook and medium whose tell-it-like-it-is attitude made him a favorite among the television show's fans.

HBO said in a statement Saturday that it was "extremely saddened" to hear of his passing.

"Nelsan was a long-time member of the HBO family whose groundbreaking portrayal of Lafayette will be remembered fondly within the overall legacy of True Blood. Nelsan will be dearly missed by his fans and all of us at HBO," the statement read. HBO, like CNN, is owned by Time Warner.

"True Blood" creator Alan Ball added: "Nelsan was a singular talent whose creativity never ceased to amaze me. Working with him was a privilege."

Octavia Spencer, who worked with Ellis on "The Help," paid tribute to him on Instagram: "My heart breaks for his kids and family."

"True Blood" cast member Joe Manganiello, who played the werewolf Alcide, tweeted that Ellis was "a wonderful person, a pioneer, and a one of a kind artist."

And Sam Trammel, who played Sam on "True Blood," wrote on Twitter: "I don't know if I've ever seen the level of humility and kindness that came with the Magnificent Talent that Nelsan Ellis had. Miss u friend."

CNN.com

06/Jul/2017

Rob Kardashian's X-rated online rant against Blac Chyna could be a crime

Rob Kardashian's latest X-rated social-media rant could end up costing him more than just the usual online contempt — it could be considered a crime in California.

Kardashian, the reality-TV personality best known as the brother in the Kardashian-Jenner clan, attacked his estranged ex-fiancée, Blac Chyna, on Wednesday in an especially repulsive way on Instagram and Twitter, posting pictures of her naked breasts, backside and genitals and accusing her in profane terms of sleeping with another man in "the same bed Chyna and I made our baby in."

To scores of horrified readers, it smacked of revenge porn — the crime of posting intimate pictures or videos by a disgruntled spouse or lover without the other party's consent and with the intent to inflict serious emotional distress.

Invasion of privacy laws have long been on the books, but California is one of 38 states and the District of Columbia that have recently passed laws designed to combat revenge porn, a crime of the Internet Age. California's law, Penal Code 647(j)(4) PC, took effect in September 2014.

The crime is a misdemeanor and is punishable by six months in prison and a $1,000 fine. Also, regardless of whether a local district attorney prosecutes a defendant in a case — in Kardashian's case, that would likely be the DA in busy Los Angeles County — an accuser can also bring a civil suit for monetary damages under the revenge-porn law.

"Attempting to slut-shame the mother of his child is truly sick behavior, as the law recognizes," says Lisa Bloom, the women's rights lawyer who represented Mischa Barton in her recent successful civil suit against an ex to prevent revenge-porn images of her from being released. "I encourage Ms. Chyna to stand up for her rights as a woman to control which images of her own body will be made public."

But prosecuting revenge porn under the law can be challenging, says Mitch Jackson, a California trial attorney and expert on social media and cyber bullying, because multiple elements must be proven for a conviction.

Did the defendant take pictures or videos of the victim's intimate body parts with the mutual understanding that they will be kept confidential? Were those images distributed and was the victim identifiable? Did it cause serious emotional distress and was there intent? And did the victim, in fact, suffer distress?

 

"It appears straightforward, but in reality it can be difficult to prove all four elements," Jackson says. "There is something wrong with anybody sharing pictures without permission, true, but with this misdemeanor you have to show intent."

And another wrinkle, he says: Did the victim truly suffer distress? TMZ reported that Chyna signaled she "liked" the pictures on Kardashian's Instagram page. That could not be verified because Instagram took down the page for violating its community guidelines, hours after Kardashian posted the pictures. (He then posted the pictures on Twitter, which also bans revenge porn; the tweets were taken down by evening.)

But if it's true that Chyna approved, then "this makes it tough to pursue criminally," Jackson says.

In revenge porn cases, Jackson says, the pictures or videos almost always were created with mutual consent. It's when one party releases those pictures or videos without the other's consent that the crime occurs.

Thus, Jackson says, it matters whether a celebrity victim secretly consented to the distribution of the pictures or videos as a means to build a brand. It's been known to happen, for instance, with sex tapes that are leaked, thus leading to later fame and fortune for the alleged victim.

Jackson thinks California's law isn't strong enough in its consequences, and he is among those pushing the legislature to tweak it.

"When it comes to social media, the law (in general) is 10 years behind the times," Jackson says. "These kinds of cases help raise awareness that the consequences of this law are not severe enough. We're finding that old laws need to be tweaked and new laws need to be enacted to serve as a deterrent so that other people don’t do the same thing."

Meanwhile, what do his Kardashian-Jenner relatives have to say about all of this? Nothing. Instead, his mother, Kris Jenner, tweeted a picture of Rob's half-sister, Kendall Jenner, walking the runway at the Fendi show in Paris.

Source:USA Today.com