There’s a new device to help those who suffer from chronic heartburn and need more than medicine to feel relief.
A tiny magnetic bracelet looking device is implanted at the base of the throat to treat the weak muscle that doesn’t close after swallowing food. While heartburn medicine such as, Prilosec can help reduce the acid, it doesn’t fix the problem entirely which is called GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease.
The Linx Reflux Management System device is made by Torax Medical Inc., of St. Paul, Minnesota and was recently approved by the FDA. It’s a ring of titanium beads with magnets inside. Doctors place it around the weak muscle at the base of the esophagus in a half-hour operation using a scope and “keyhole” incisions in the belly.
The ring reinforces the weak muscle to keep it closed, yet is flexible and expands to let food pass when someone swallows, according to a report by Gainesville Sun.
The ring comes in multiple sizes. It is about a half-inch in diameter and expands to about 1.5 inches. The greatest thing of all, people don’t feel it once it is implanted.
The implant device costs $5,000; the operation can run $12,000 to $20,000 depending on hospital charges, said Dr. John Lipham, a surgeon who offers it at the University of Southern California and at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in Newport Beach.
“For the first time, patients in our region have access to relief from their reflux disease through this minimally-invasive procedure which is performed laparoscopically,” said Dr. Buckley, who serves as Director of the Division of General Surgery and Surgical Director of the Heartburn and Acid Reflux Center (HARC) at Scott & White – Round Rock. “While medications remain a popular choice for GERD sufferers, they often don’t control all of the symptoms of GERD, have potential side-effects and can be costly. The device offers a new and innovative alternative to traditional surgery and has excellent results.”
As many as 20 million Americans have GERD. It’s not just a quality-of-life issue: Chronic acid reflux can raise the risk of a condition called Barrett’s esophagus, which in turn can raise the risk of throat cancer.
A study published in the February edition of the New England Journal of Medicine reported that 93 percent of patients that underwent the LINX procedure reported a significant decrease in the need for medication with 100 percent reporting the elimination of severe regurgitation.
The most frequent side effect to the Linx device was difficulty in swallowing, which occurred in 68 percent of patients right after surgery. That percentage dropped to 11 percent after one year and down to 4 percent after three years post-surgery.
Six of the 100 had to have the device removed. In three it was because swallowing problems persisted. Other problems prompted removal in the others.
The device is available in 24 states.
UC San Diego Implants first LINX Device after FDA Approval
UC San Diego Health System’s Dr. Santiago Horgan implanted the first LINX device in the United States following FDA approval. The device is designed to lend relief to people who suffer from Gatroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) or chronic heartburn.
Life-changing Device Helps Heartburn Sufferer
The University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) is one of just 13 U.S. surgery sites chosen to offer the LINX™ Reflux Management System, a new implantable magnetic “ring” that promises relief to the estimated 25 million American adults who suffer daily heartburn. The device won FDA-approval in late March.
Bracelet-Like Device Controls Chronic Acid Reflux
C. Daniel Smith, M.D., chair of the Surgery Department at Mayo Clinic in Florida and a specialist in treating reflux disease talks about the latest treatment for gastroesophageal reflux disease. It involves a bracelet-like device with magnetic beads, that can control this chronic digestive disorder, commonly referred to as GERD or acid reflux. The device encircles the valve at the junction of the esophagus and stomach and helps it stay closed when a person is not eating or drinking.
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#CancelMyDebt Trends On Twitter As Debtors Urge Student Loan Default
#CancelMyDebt trends on Twitter as emotional student loan debtors took to the popular micro-blogging website their frustrations on the debts they are still paying and urged the government to pay off their student loans.
Twitter erupts with poignant posts of Americans paying off their student loans and how their debts affected their lives following their graduation. The angered netizens expressed their opinions on the tax plan that granted America’s 1% with a $1.5 trillion tax cuts while the government turns blind eyes over the student loan problem that the youth has been facing.
The apparent hashtag came after U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren encouraged students and graduates to share their stories using the #CancelMyVote hashtag to support her plan to cancel student loan debts of 95% of Americans currently paying for it. Warren’s policy to cover the student loan repayment from an additional tax on top of the top 0.1%.
“I paid off my student loans after 10 years, but it took me getting a six-figure book deal to do it. Folks shouldn’t have to hope for the equivalent of winning the lottery to have a future. #CancelMyDebt” wrote @nkjemisin on Twitter.
President Donald Trump signed the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” into law on December 2017 and have brought significant tax reforms. “For the wealthy, banks and other corporations, the tax reform package can be considered a lopsided victory given its significant and permanent tax cuts to corporate profits, investment income, estate tax, and more. Financial services companies stand to see huge gains based on the new, lower corporate rate (21%) as well as preferential tax treatment of pass-through companies. Some banks have said that their effective tax rate will drop under 21%.,” Investopedia explained.
As the current tax plan consistently accommodates the rich, student loan debtors remain in limbo as the increasing interest rates and the piling debt are crippling their financial presents and even their futures. Student loans are a form of financial aid used to help students access higher education. Student loan debt in the United States has been snowballing since 2006, rising to nearly $1.56 trillion by 2019. Shockingly, the entire total loan debt of American equals 7.5% of the country’s GDP.
There are approximately 45 million Americans who have an outstanding student loan of $37,172 on average at the time of graduation. On top of that, student loan also appears not to be evenly distributed and is disproportionately concentrated on the for-profit college sector.
Now, student loan debtors are calling for the government to default their debts. They argue that as the outstanding student loan debt totals 1.5 trillion and the tax cut equals the same, the government can afford to pay off all of student loan debts.
People tweeting #CancelMyDebt clarifies, however, that they are not asking for a loan default because they did not owe anything. They said that call was intended for the government to take actions to destroy the systems that allow student loan companies to exploit people with dreams.
“My reality is paying $1200 a month for my student debt ALONE and working 7 days a week over 4 different jobs. I’m not asking for a “hand out,” I’m asking that we as a country address the insane cost those who are not wealthy have to pay to get higher education #CancelMyDebt,” said @steeltoejilly on a Twitter post.
Another Twitter user also chimed in saying that interest hikes have ballooned her student loan debt even if she’s paying them religiously. “I have four jobs in the education field right now. I graduated in 2005 with $100,000 in student loans. After a decade of payments, undergrad debt is over $200,000 bc of interest rates. I can’t lease a car to get to work, so I walk. I don’t own a bed. #cancelmydebt.”
However, sentiments are polarized. A huge chunk of posts bearing the hashtag talks about their disagreement to Warren’s plans. Most of them argued that student loans are student’s decisions, and the government should not be burdened to pay for their obligations.
“#CancelMyDebt? Uh, no. Nobody forced you to take out student loans. Nobody forced you to major in something that won’t land you a good job. Nobody else is responsible for your debt. It’s your debt; it’s your responsibility.” Joe Walsh tweeted Wednesday.
Kurt Schlichter, a veteran, chimed in saying that Americans can serve in the military and reap the benefits of GI Bill as he did. “Well, you could have served your country and earned GI Bill benefits like I did. But you didn’t. So I’m kind of unclear why you think I owe you anything.#CancelMyDebt? Nah. How about you #PayYourOwnDebt?” /apr
Nissan-Renault’s Ghosn: From Hero To Zero
In a time when Nissan was on the brink of declaring bankruptcy, Carlos Ghosn stepped in not only to save the company but help it to rise back as one of the world’s top car manufacturers. Today, Nissan is facing a similar financial crisis, but this time around, the Japanese carmaker had Ghosn removed from the company.
Through Ghosn’s efforts of restructuring and eventually, reintroducing innovations to Nissan, the company rose significantly within the last two decades under Ghosn’s lead. He also made the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi agreement possible that made them one of the leading car companies in the world.
The company had a good track record. But, CNN reported last Tuesday, May 14, that Nissan posted a significant drop in profits where operating profits plunged to 45% at 318 billion yen ($2.9 billion) in the fiscal year that ended in March and revenue fell 3% to about 11.6 trillion yen ($105 billion), while vehicle sales were down 4.4% to 5.5 million.
This is “rock bottom,” Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa said during the earnings presentation.
Moreover, analysts also expect Nissan to plunge at decade-low numbers in the coming year. Nissan forecasts operating profit for the fiscal year to March 2020 would fall to 230 billion ($2.1 billion). Also, Nissan shares closed down at 3% in Tokyo.
On Friday, May 17, the Japanese carmaker proposed plans to make changes within its executive board as a reaction to Ghosn’s fallout from the company.
The firm told shareholders that they would start implementing a new board structure composed of 11 members, which 6 of whom would be external.
“With the lessons from the recent executive misconduct still fresh, Nissan resolves to rigorously pursue the separation of supervisory and executive functions,” said the firm.
Thierry Bollore, Renault’s chief executive and chairman Jean-Dominique Senard will both be included in the proposed board.
Nissan conceded to allowing Senard into the board though Bollore’s urges. The Japanese firm isn’t too happy about Senard siding with Ghosn during his arrest.
On the other hand, Nissan’s current CEO Hiroto Saikawa has also been reported to be pressured from vacating his position in the company for doubts that he is capable of turning things around for the company and his close relations with Ghosn.
Saikawa responded that he wishes to stay on the company until he sees it return to profitability and will consider the idea of stepping down “at the appropriate time.”
Additionally, Saikawa told reporters that Renault chairman Senard “has one idea in mind, which is integration or merger.” He also added that “what we’ve told Mr. Senard is this is not the right timing to discuss this matter.”
Regarding the topic of a possible merger between Renault and Nissan, the Japanese company seems to be against the idea since Nissan brings in a lot more profitable compared to the two. But, ironically, Renault holds more stake in the company.
Obviously, the Japanese brand has been struggling to manage internal structures with Ghosn leaving its ranks for multiple cases alleging financial misconduct.
Allegedly, Ghosn is accused of abusing and taking advantage of his power and position in the company to meet personal gains. Specifically, Ghosn allegedly used a Nissan subsidiary to send millions of dollars of payments to a business partner of the company abroad, which then sent money to a third company that he controlled. The actions were taken for the purpose of obtaining a “personal profit,” The New York Times reports.
Prosecutors accused Ghosn of using the method on three occasions from December 2015 to July 2018, resulting in a total of $5 million in losses to Nissan.
As of date, Ghosn has been arrested on four separate occasions including the first arrest in November on charges of underreporting his compensation. The second when he was rearrested on related charges and then a third time on suspicion that he had shifted his personal financial losses onto Nissan’s books.
However, Ghosn and his team of lawyers have consistently denied all allegations about him. In a video Ghosn posted before his fourth arrest, he told that the allegations made against him “is about a plot, this is about conspiracy, this is about backstabbing.”
Meanwhile, the French carmaker, Renault also made new allegations against Ghosn, claiming that there were “questionable and concealed practices” regarding the expenses made under Ghosn. Moreover, Renault also announced Ghosn’s resignation from its board.
The ‘2019 NAACP Image Awards’ Issues And Winners
The 2019 NAACP Image Awards has made Hollywood celebrities jam-packed in a star-studded night held at the Dolby Theater for the first time in history as the organization celebrates its 50th anniversary.
This year’s event focuses on celebrating ‘the accomplishments of people of color in the fields of television, music, literature, and film, as well as, honoring groups or individuals who promote social justice through creative endeavors.’
The NAACP Image Award is an annual awards’ ceremony presented by the US-based National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to honor outstanding performances in film, television, music, and literature.
Similar to other awards like the Oscars and the Grammys, more than 40 categories of the Image Awards are voted on and agreed upon by the organization’s members while Honorary Awards are added which include President’s Award, Chairman’s Award, Entertainment of the Year and the Hall of Fame Award.
Below are the lists of awards and nominations that were given to outstanding Hollywood actors and actresses who show significant roles in the field of entertainment.
Anthony Anderson hosted the said event who won Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series for his role in black-ish. Netflix and HBO had the highest number of nominations garnering 22 and 20 nominees respectively. While ABC followed closely behind with 18, and Black Panther tailed on as it gathered 14 nominations including Best Motion Picture.
Donald Glover’s hit show Atlanta is nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series alongside black-ish, Dear White People, Grown-ish and Insecure.
The most coveted and prominent award is given to ‘Jay-Z’ known as ‘President’s Award’ which centers on dedication to public service. The rapper, during his speech, acknowledged the roles of strong black women who dedicated their full acting prowess in the entertainment world and helped shape future generations through its influential parts in TV shows.
Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series goes to Tracee Ellis Ross in her role in black-ish (ABC.
Empire Star ‘Jussie Smollett’ who has been at the center of investigation which shocked the world by faking an attack on January 29 is nominated in the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series category. However, he refused to attend the awards night and therefore lost his chance to receive the said reward. On Tuesday, Chicago prosecutors announced that all charges against him were dropped.
Marcus Scribner won an Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series from black-ish (ABC) and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, went to Marsai Martin also from black-ish.
The hit series ‘Power’ (Starz) won the Outstanding Drama Series with Omari Hardwick as the Best Actor for Drama Series, also the lead star of Power. The Best Actress for Drama Series revealed to be Taraji P. Henson for her role in Empire from Fox.
Jesse Williams bagged the Supporting Actor in a Drama Series from the all-time hit TV series, Grey’s Anatomy from ABC. Its counterpart is claimed by Lynn Whitfield from Greenleaf which faced several criticisms from its competitor Thandie Newton in Westworld who believed that the award should be given to someone who has a critical role in TV series.
The long list of the award also gave importance to television movie, and the Outstanding Television Movies, Limited Series or Dramatic Special is awarded to The Bobby Brown Story, and the Outstanding Actor for the same category went to Michael B.Jordan for his award-winning role in Fahrenheit 451, while Regina King from Seven Seconds (Netflix) received the award in the female category.
The Real, won the award for Outstanding Talk Series, and Black Girls Rock for the Outstanding Variety Show. The long-running Doc Mcstuffins from Disney Junior took the Outstanding Children’s Program, while the Outstanding Performance by A Youth Series went to Marsai Martin of black-ish.
Several hosts are also given honor for their outstanding performances for Talk/Variety and Game show. Steve Harvey won Outstanding Host in the Game show from Family Feud, Jada Pinkett Smith, Adrienne Banfield Norris and Willow Smith for Red Table Talk under the Outstanding Host in News/Information Category.
In the music category, major awards were bagged by Bruno Mars for Outstanding Male Artist and H.E.R under RCA Records for the female group.
The said event is an avenue for black people to be recognized for portraying significant roles in different TV programs, but NAACP is being criticized for its flawed standards of choosing the nominees. Critics are pointing out factors such as criminal charges inconsequential in this regard, just like the case of Jussie Smollet who was nominated for a significant award despite his criminal offense.
The nomination of Smollet is similar to the case of Tupac Shakur in 1994. The artist was nominated for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture in a film ‘Poetic Justice’ despite the filing of sexual assault charges against him. R Kelly is no exception to the controversy, where his album Chocolate Factory was nominated for Outstanding Album while he was under indictment for costs related to child pornography.
Although significant issues currently surround NAACP, the organization is still determined to continue its effort on acknowledging the contribution of black people to the entertainment world and field of art as a whole. Other individual and minor awards can be viewed through the organization’s website at www.naacpimageawards.net
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