CMS, NCQA Seek Public Comment On Proposed Quality Measures For Medicare Special Needs Plans, USA

As part of its continuing efforts to improve the quality of care provided to people with Medicare, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), with the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), released for public comment a proposed set of structure and process measures for Medicare Special Needs Plans (SNPs).

The proposed measures are part of the initial implementation of a strategy to evaluate the structure, processes and performance of SNPs.

“This is a first step in evaluating the quality of care that is provided to Medicare beneficiaries who are receiving care from these new Medicare Advantage plans,” said CMS Acting Administrator Kerry Weems. “It’s important that we get the right measures in place to protect the vulnerable beneficiaries who are enrolled in or looking to enroll in Special Needs Plans.”

The SNPs are one of the fastest growing health plan options available as part of Medicare Advantage and were created by Congress as part of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA). These Medicare managed care plans serve certain vulnerable groups of Medicare beneficiaries including those living in institutions such as nursing homes, beneficiaries with severe or disabling chronic conditions and beneficiaries eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. SNPs provide special clinical programs to help people with distinct health care needs, reducing the need for them to be hospitalized or placed in an institution such as a nursing home. As of 2007, more than 470 SNPs are serving more than 1 million beneficiaries, and more than 760 SNPS will be available in 2008.

“Because they care for some of our most vulnerable citizens, Special Needs Plans must demonstrate that they are providing quality care and protecting the rights of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries,” said NCQA President Margaret E. O’Kane.

The measures released for comment today build upon existing NCQA standards and performance measures used to evaluate health plans serving more than 84 million Americans.

The measures examine how SNPs set up case management programs for members with complex needs and how they act to improve clinical care and patient experience. The CMS will also require SNPs to begin reporting on 13 Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS®) measures that will assess clinical performance.

“We need to establish clear expectations that enable SNPs to use innovative approaches in serving vulnerable populations,” said Weems. “That is why we are looking for input and comment before we implement specific quality measurements for these plans.”

Interested parties are invited to comment on the proposed measures, posted on NCQA’s Web site at ncqa, through January 18, 2008. NCQA will summarize the comments and provide proposed final requirements to CMS for final approval in March. Final requirements and data collection tools will be available to SNPs in mid-April. SNPs will be required to submit HEDIS data by June 30, 2008.

More information about Medicare Special Needs Plans is available here.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Center Of Excellence In Geriatric Medicine And Training At Browns

The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University has been named a Center of Excellence in Geriatric Medicine and Training by the John A. Hartford Foundation, the nation’s largest private foundation focused solely on aging and health.

Alpert Medical School was one of three medical schools chosen from a pool of 27 applicants to earn the Hartford Foundation designation. Rhode Island Hospital received the three-year, $450,000 grant award that accompanies the designation.

Grant funds will be used to train 13 geriatrics junior faculty and fellows – a tactic that will help ensure that Brown’s doctors-in-training can meet the needs of older patients. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of Americans age 65 and older will double to 71 million by 2030. By that time, demographers predict a shortfall of 26,000 geriatricians across the country.

“We’re looking down the barrel of a loaded gun,” said Center of Excellence project leader Richard W. Besdine, M.D., professor of medicine at Brown, director of the Division of Geriatrics in the Department of Medicine, and head of the Center for Gerontology and Health Care Research. “We simply don’t have enough medical specialists to care for the coming ‘silver tsunami’ – a shortage that will only get worse over time. The Hartford Foundation award will help Alpert Medical School support the fellows and junior faculty who teach the next generation of doctors how to care for older adults and how to conduct research to improve that care.”

With the grant funding, Alpert Medical School and Rhode Island Hospital will:

* train advanced fellows and junior faculty to conduct aging-related research, including clinical, basic biology and health services research;

* train advanced fellows and junior faculty to be effective teachers, whether that is teaching medical students, residents or practicing physicians about geriatrics care;

* expand recruitment and training programs for advanced fellows and junior faculty.

There are now 27 Hartford Centers of Excellence in medicine across the United States, including at UCLA, Harvard, Yale, Johns Hopkins and Duke medical schools. These schools share several qualities, including strong leadership in geriatrics, a history of producing faculty in geriatrics, access to excellent clinical facilities for geriatrics, and a track record of attracting substantial research funding in geriatrics.

“To earn the grant award and be designated a Hartford Center of Excellence, Brown has shown that it has a very strong geriatrics program and is committed to taking that program to the next level,” said Gavin W. Hougham, a senior program officer at the Hartford Foundation who oversees the Centers of Excellence program. “The grant process was intensely competitive and Brown demonstrated that it will continue to develop the academic leaders in geriatric medicine our health care system needs.”

The Hartford Foundation grant comes on the heels of a $2-million, four-year award to Brown last year from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation. That award is being used to provide aging-related content for every course for every year of medical school. The goal is to ensure that all Alpert Medical School students graduate with the knowledge and skills to treat the elderly.

“Aging is a clear strength at Brown, whether it’s the latest discovery about the biological causes of aging or the latest thinking in nursing home policy,” said Eli Y. Adashi, M.D., dean of medicine and biological sciences at Brown. “This designation from the Hartford Foundation is proof positive that Alpert Medical School, and its Rhode Island Hospital partner, are national leaders in aging research, clinical care and medical training.”

“With the aging of the baby boom population, the field of geriatrics is poised to become one of the most critical areas of medicine in the next few decades,” said Edward Wing, M.D., chairman of the Department of Medicine at Rhode Island Hospital and the Joukowsky Family Professor of Medicine and chairman of the Department of Medicine at Alpert Medical School. “We thank the Hartford Foundation for recognizing that Rhode Island Hospital and Alpert Medical School have the expertise and commitment to train the next generation of geriatric clinicians and researchers.”


Source: Wendy Lawton

Brown University

Cardiovascular Research Foundation Announces Late Breaking Trials And First Report Investigations To Be Presented At TCT 2010

The Cardiovascular Research Foundation has announced the late breaking trials and first report investigations that will be presented at the Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics (TCT) 2010 scientific symposium. Findings from these clinical trials are expected to significantly impact interventional cardiology practices and patient care. TCT 2010 will take place September 21 – 25 in Washington, DC.

The studies selected will shed new light on the effectiveness of minimally invasive techniques, pharmaceuticals, technologies and devices that show potential to treat or prevent heart disease, one of the leading causes of death globally.

Late-breaking clinical trials and first report investigations will be highlighted during press conferences scheduled for Thursday, September 23, Friday, September 24, and Saturday, September 25.

Late Breaking Trials
PARTNER: A Prospective Randomized Trial of Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation Compared to Standard Therapy in Patients with Inoperable Aortic Stenosis
SPIRIT IV: Two-Year Results from a Prospective Randomized Trial of Everolimus-Eluting Stents Compared to Paclitaxel-Eluting Stents in Patients with Coronary Artery Disease
COMPARE: Two-Year Results from a Prospective Randomized Trial of Everolimus-Eluting Stents Compared to Paclitaxel-Eluting Stents in Patients with Coronary Artery Disease

First Report Investigations
LANCELOT ACS: A Prospective, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial of a Reversible PAR-1 Thrombin Receptor Antagonist in Patients with Acute Coronary Syndromes
LEVANT I: A Prospective Randomized Trial of a Paclitaxel-Eluting Balloon Compared to a Non-Drug-Eluting Balloon With and Without Stenting in Patients with Diseased Femoropopliteal Arteries
PERfECT STENT: A Prospective Randomized Trial Evaluating a Paclitaxel-Eluting Balloon in Patients Treated with Endothelial Progenitor Cell Capturing Stents for De Novo Coronary Artery Disease

Late Breaking Trials
ZILVER PTX: A Prospective Randomized Trial of a Paclitaxel-Eluting Stent Compared to Balloon Angioplasty with Provisional Bare Metal Stenting in Patients with Superficial Femoral Artery Disease
SORT OUT 4: A Prospective Randomized Trial of Everolimus-Eluting and Sirolimus-Eluting Stents in Patients with Coronary Artery Disease
ISAR-TEST-4: Two-Year Clinical and Angiographic Outcomes from a Prospective Randomized Trial of Everolimus-Eluting and Sirolimus-Eluting Stents in Patients with Coronary Artery Disease

First Report Investigations
DES-BTK: A Prospective, Double-Blind, Randomized Trial of Polymer-Free Sirolimus-Eluting Stents Compared to Bare Metal Stents in Patients with Infrapopliteal Disease
TORPEDO: A Prospective Randomized Trial of Percutaneous Endovenous Intervention Compared to Anticoagulation Alone in Patients with Deep Venous Thrombosis
BLAST: A Prospective, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial of a Monocyte-Depleting Agent After Bare Metal Stents in Patients with Coronary Artery Disease

Late Breaking Trials
ISAR-TEST-5: A Prospective Randomized Trial of Polymer-Free Sirolimus-/Probucol-Eluting Stents Compared to Zotarolimus-Eluting Stents in Patients with Coronary Artery Disease
HORIZONS-AMI: Three-Year Follow-up from a Prospective Randomized Trial of Antithrombin Strategies and Drug-Eluting Stents in Patients with Acute Myocardial Infarction Undergoing Primary Angioplasty
CRISTAL: A Prospective Randomized Trial of Sirolimus-Eluting Stents Compared to Balloon Angioplasty for Restenosis of Drug-Eluting Coronary Stents

First Report Investigations
BIOFREEDOM: A Prospective Randomized Trial of Polymer-Free Biolimus A9-Eluting Stents and Paclitaxel-Eluting Stents in Patients with Coronary Artery Disease
AVIO: A Prospective Randomized Trial of Intravascular Ultrasound-Guided Compared to Angiography-Guided Stent Implantation in Complex Coronary Lesions
EXCELLENT: A Prospective Randomized Trial of Everolimus-Eluting and Sirolimus-Eluting Stents in Patients with Coronary Artery Disease

To view the program update, click here.

Judy Romero
Cardiovascular Research Foundation

Bone Mineral Content Continues To Increase In Obese Adolescents During Weight Loss

Obese teenagers who
succeeded in losing weight in a year-long medically supervised weight
control program also saw their bone mineral content increase over that
period, say researchers from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The
finding was reassuring, because adolescence is a critical period for bone
health in later life.

A study in the current issue of the journal Obesity studied 62
adolescents between the ages of nine and 17 years who participated in a
trial looking at the effectiveness of a comprehensive, family-based,
behavioral weight control program in conjunction with a weight loss drug,
sibutramine. The researchers previously reported the combination of
behavioral changes and medication helped very obese teenagers lose weight.

In adults, obesity is associated with increased bone mineral density
and voluntary weight loss is associated with a decrease in bone mineral
density. The findings in this study show that bone mineral content
continues to increase in this adolescent population despite weight loss.

“The growing pediatric obesity epidemic raises important clinical and
public health questions about the effects on lifelong bone health of early
onset obesity and its treatment,” said Nicolas Stettler, M.D., M.S.C.E.,
pediatric nutrition specialist at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
and lead author of this study. “Although fractures due to low bone mineral
content are mainly a problem for the elderly, the amount of bone mass
acquired during puberty is the key determinant of lifetime fracture risk.”

Using a dual energy X-ray absorptiometry scanner (DXA), researchers
looked at specific body areas including legs, arms and lumbar spine as well
as the bone mineral content of the whole body. The data was compared with a
reference group of 66 adolescents. Bone mineral content of the obese
subjects was higher than that of the reference group at the beginning and
end of the study.

When looking at each subject’s bone mineral content, adjusted for their
height, the researchers noticed that bone mineral content in the arms and
legs increased less than would be expected with growth while the lumbar
spine content increased more than expected. These changes in bone mineral
content were largely explained by changes in the amount of fat and muscle
in the body during the intensive weight loss program.

“As obesity treatment during adolescence becomes more frequent, it is
important to understand the role of weight loss on bone health during this
critical period,” Dr. Stettler added.

This study was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the
General Clinical Research Center at Children’s Hospital, Knoll
Pharmaceutical and Abbott Laboratories.

Dr. Stettler’s coauthors were: Robert I. Berkowitz, M.D., chief of
child and adolescent psychiatry at Children’s Hospital; Joanna Cronquist of
Children’s Hospital; Justine Shults of the Center for Clinical Epidemiology
and Biostatistics, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine; Thomas A.
Wadden, of the Weight and Eating Disorders Program at the University of
Pennsylvania School of Medicine; and Babette S. Zemel, Ph.D.; and Mary B.
Leonard, M.D. both of Children’s Hospital.

About The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia: The Children’s Hospital
of Philadelphia was founded in 1855 as the nation’s first pediatric
hospital. Through its long-standing commitment to providing exceptional
patient care, training new generations of pediatric healthcare
professionals and pioneering major research initiatives, Children’s
Hospital has fostered many discoveries that have benefited children
worldwide. Its pediatric research program is among the largest in the
country, ranking third in National Institutes of Health funding. In
addition, its unique family-centered care and public service programs have
brought the 430-bed hospital recognition as a leading advocate for children
and adolescents. For more information, visit

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Alzheimers Clues Found In Middle-Aged Adults

The neurological decline that leads to Alzheimers disease may begin in middle-age and can be predicted with a simple-to-administer test, according to new research from The Australian National University.

The study, led by Professor David Bunce of the Centre for Mental Health Research at ANU and Brunel University, London, has revealed that some apparently healthy adults living in the community aged between 44 and 48 years have minute white-matter lesions in areas of their brains similar to those found in people with Alzheimers disease later in life. A further breakthrough generated as part of this research has allowed scientists to more easily predict which individuals may develop these lesions, through a simple-to-administer measure of attention.

The results suggest that the neurological decline thought to lead to the development of Alzheimers disease may begin much earlier in people’s lives than was originally thought.

The work is published in the open-access journal PLoS One.

“Although we cannot be certain that these middle-aged people will go on to get dementia, the results are important for several reasons,” said Professor Bunce.

“First, the study is one of the first to show that lesions in areas of the brain that deteriorate in dementia are present in some adults aged in their 40s.

“Second, although the presence of the lesions was confirmed through MRI scans, we were able to predict those persons who had them through very simple-to-administer tests that measure attention.

“Finally, if the findings are repeated in laboratories elsewhere, the study lays open possibilities for screening, early detection and intervention in healthcare settings. The earlier we can intervene with people vulnerable to eventual dementia, the greater the chances of preventing or delaying the disease onset.”

The researchers’ paper, ‘Cognitive Deficits are associated with Frontal and Temporal Lobe White Matter Lesions in Middle-Aged Adults Living in the Community’ is published in PLoS ONE (Public Library of Science-ONE).


Australian National University

Celldex Therapeutics Receives Fast-Track Designation For CDX-110, A Novel EGFRvIII Vaccine For Glioblastoma

Celldex Therapeutics
announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has
granted Fast Track designation to Celldex’s CDX-110 for the treatment of
EGFRvIII expressing Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM). GBM is the most common
and aggressive form of primary brain cancer and carries a very poor
prognosis with current therapy. CDX-110 is an immunotherapy that targets
the tumor-specific growth promoter EGFRvIII that can be expressed by GBM.

In the ACTIVATE Phase 2a study, GBM patients treated with CDX-110
showed a median survival time of 30 months, more than a 100 percent
increase in survival, versus the historical control’s median of 14.5
months. The study has demonstrated a median time-to-progression of 13
months (p=0.0001) versus the historical control’s median of 6.4 months. GBM
that recurred after treatment with CDX-110 consistently lost EGFRvIII
expression with its aggressive growth signal. An extension study, ACT II,
which combines CDX-110 with chemotherapy in a similar patient population,
has not yet reached median time-to-progression or survival. Preliminary
progression free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) data in ACT II
look very similar to the ACTIVATE experience, and the data suggest that
chemotherapy and CDX-110 can be administered concurrently while still
maintaining strong immune responses.

In September, Celldex randomized its first patient into ACT III, a
definitive Phase 2/3 randomized study of CDX-110 with radiation and
temozolomide in patients with newly-diagnosed GBM. The clinical trial is
investigating the anticancer activity, impact on survival, and safety of
the addition of CDX-110 vaccine to standard of care, versus standard of
care alone. Celldex recently announced that CDX-110 has also been granted
Orphan Drug Status by the FDA. Celldex Therapeutics announced a definitive
merger agreement with AVANT Immunotherapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: AVAN) in
October 2007.

“Fast Track status acknowledges CDX-110′s potential to fill an unmet
need for glioblastoma patients and gives it priority within the FDA,” said
Thomas Davis, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of Celldex Therapeutics.
“Confirmation of the promising results we’ve already observed is a high
priority at Celldex, as it is within the brain cancer community in

About CDX-110

CDX-110 is an investigational immunotherapy that targets the tumor
specific molecule EGFRvIII, a functional variant of the epidermal growth
factor receptor (EGFR), which is a protein that has been well validated as
a target for cancer therapy. This particular variant, EGFRvIII occurs in
about 40 percent of Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) patients. It was
discovered in a collaborative effort between Dr. Bert Vogelstein and Dr
Albert Wong at Johns Hopkins University and Dr. Darell Bigner at Duke
University. Unlike EGFR, EGFRvIII is not present in normal tissues,
suggesting this target will enable the development of a tumor-specific
therapy for cancer patients. Furthermore, EGFRvIII is a transforming
oncogene that can directly contribute to cancer cell growth. While
originally discovered in GBM, the most common and aggressive form of brain
cancer, the expression of EGFRvIII has also been observed in various other
cancers such as breast, ovarian, metastatic prostate, colorectal, and head
& neck cancers. Celldex has exclusive rights to EGFRvIII vaccines and is
pursuing the development of CDX-110 for GBM therapy, as well as in other
cancers through additional clinical studies.

About Fast Track Drug Designation

Under the FDA Modernization Act of 1997, designation as a Fast Track
product for a new drug or biological products means that FDA will take such
actions as are appropriate to expedite the development and review of the
application for approval of such product. FDA may also evaluate for filing
and commence review of portions of an application for approval of a Fast
Track product under certain conditions.

About Celldex Therapeutics, Inc.

Celldex Therapeutics, Inc. is a biotechnology company focused on
developing therapeutic vaccines that target and stimulate the body’s immune
system for the treatment of cancer, infectious and autoimmune diseases.
Celldex has three product candidates already in or about to enter clinical
development targeting multiple cancers and Hepatitis B. Four additional
product candidates are in preclinical development for cancer and autoimmune
disease. Celldex’s proprietary technology platform uses fully human
monoclonal antibodies administered directly to patients to target and
stimulate dendritic cells – key cells within the immune system. The Company
is headquartered in Phillipsburg, New Jersey. On October 22, 2007, Celldex
and AVANT Immunotherapeutics, Inc. announced that they had signed a
definitive merger agreement. The all-stock transaction, approved by both
companies’ Boards of Directors, will combine Celldex and AVANT. Closing of
the merger is contingent upon a vote of approval by the current
stockholders of AVANT at a special meeting expected to take place in the
first quarter 2008. For more information, please visit the website:

Additional Information about the Merger and Where to Find It This
communication contains “forward-looking” statements within the meaning of
the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are
typically preceded by words such as “believes,” “expects,” “anticipates,”
“intends,” “will,” “may,” “should,” or similar expressions. These forward-
looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause
actual future experience and results to differ materially from those
discussed in these forward-looking statements. Important factors that might
cause such a difference include, but are not limited to, costs related to
the Merger, failure of AVANT’s stockholders to approve the Merger; AVANT’s
or Celldex’s inability to satisfy the conditions of the Merger; AVANT’s
inability to maintain its NASDAQ listing; the risk that AVANT’s and
Celldex’s businesses will not be integrated successfully; the combined
company’s inability to further identify, develop and achieve commercial
success for new products and technologies; the possibility of delays in the
research and development necessary to select drug development candidates
and delays in clinical trials; the risk that clinical trials may not result
in marketable products; the risk that the combined company may be unable to
successfully secure regulatory approval of and market its drug candidates;
the risks associated with reliance on outside financing to meet capital
requirements; risks associated with Celldex’s new and uncertain technology;
risks of the development of competing technologies; risks related to the
combined company’s ability to protect its proprietary technologies; risks
related to patent-infringement claims; risks of new, changing and
competitive technologies and regulations in the U.S. and internationally;
and other events and factors disclosed previously and from time to time in
AVANT’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including
AVANT’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2006.
The companies do not undertake any obligation to release publicly any
revisions to such forward-looking statements to reflect events or
circumstances after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of
unanticipated events.

This communication may be deemed to be solicitation material in respect
of the proposed merger of AVANT and Celldex. In connection with the
proposed merger, AVANT and Celldex intend to file relevant materials with
the SEC, including AVANT’s joint registration statement/proxy statement on
security holders will be able to obtain the documents free of charge at the
SEC’s web site, sec, and AVANT shareholders will receive
information at an appropriate time on how to obtain transaction-related
documents for free from AVANT. Such documents are not currently available.

Participants in the Solicitation

The directors and executive officers of AVANT and Celldex may be deemed
to be participants in the solicitation of proxies from the holders of AVANT
common stock in respect of the proposed transaction. Information about the
directors and executive officers of AVANT is set forth in the proxy
statement for AVANT’s most recent 10-K, which was filed with the SEC on
March 16, 2007. Investors may obtain additional information regarding the
interest of AVANT and its directors and executive officers, and Celldex and
its directors and executive officers in the proposed transaction by reading
the proxy statement regarding the acquisition when it becomes available.

Celldex Therapeutics, Inc.

A Prospective fMRI Study Of Dopamine-Related Activity Of Food Reward Circuits In The Brain And Weight Gain

Research to be presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior (SSIB), July 28 – August 1, 2009, the foremost society for research into all aspects of eating and drinking behavior, finds that women who possess genetic modifications associated with low activity of the reward neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain when they imagine eating appetizing foods are more prone to weight gain. Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) scans of brain activity revealed that women who had lower activity in food reward regions of the brain and who had genetic modifications associated with lower dopamine activity showed the greatest weight gain after one year. Eric Stice from the Oregon Research Institute says, “These findings provide some of the first prospective evidence that people who experience blunted reward from food may compensate by overeating, increasing risk for unhealthy weight gain.” Overconsumption of appetizing foods may occur in an attempt to increase brain reward in less responsive systems. The results of this study highlight the need for further research into the role that neural reward systems play in the development of obesity. “It may be useful for individuals who show low food-related reward to increase their physical activity, which not only promotes activity the same reward circuitry but also reduces unhealthy weight gain from overeating” says Stice.

Lead author: Eric Stice, Oregon Research Institute, Eugene, OR, USA

Co-authors: S. Spoor and C. Bohon, Oregon Research Institute and University of Oregon, C.N. Marti, University of Texas at Austin, USA.

Jamie Price

Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior

AdvaCAL Calcium Effective Against Bone Loss In Postmenopausal Women

With Osteoporosis an increasing concern among women of all ages, a recent report in the medical journal Osteoporosis International found that women taking the AAACa (AdvaCAL®) calcium supplements had the highest bone density increase among 32 different calcium studies conducted between 1977 and 2008. The 32 studies involved 3,169 postmenopausal women, 79 skeletal measures and 7 different types of calcium, including dairy.

The report entitled “The Effect of Calcium Supplementation on Bone Loss in 32 Controlled Trials in Postmenopausal Women” was authored by calcium researcher Christopher Nordin, M.D. of Australia. Nordin concluded that calcium intake prevented bone loss in postmenopausal women for at least four years. Results from the 32 studies showed a wide range of bone density changes from taking different types of calcium. Most changes were negative, meaning many women taking calcium still lost bone mass each year. However, AdvaCAL calcium users averaged a 1.5% bone density increase per year, the highest increase among all 79 skeletal measures. Research details are available at stoposteo.

These results dovetail with other published calcium research. A 2007 article in the journal The Lancet showed that AdvaCAL produced the most favorable change to fracture-risk among 17 different calcium studies between 1992 and 2006. The 17 fracture studies involved men and women aged 50+, taking 6 different calciums either alone or with vitamin D.


AdvaCAL is natural ionic calcium from Japan. Oyster shells are smelted at high temperatures, creating a bioavailable calcium ash. Smelting also removes lead and other impurities. Finally, the calcium is blended with HAI, an amino acid complex from seaweed. HAI has been scientifically shown to boost calcium absorption. Both the calcium and HAI in AdvaCAL have been awarded patents.

“We are pleased but not surprised by AdvaCAL’s top ranking in both reports” comments Andrew Lane, president of LaneLabs, the US supplier of AdvaCAL. “The FDA recommends adequate calcium intake with vitamin D, along with physical activity to reduce the risk of osteoporosis in later life. These two reports highlight some differences among calcium supplements. AdvaCAL is a unique Osteoporosis fighter.”


Brittle Table Salt Can Stretch Like Taffy In The Nanoworld – Nano Letters

Researchers in New Mexico are reporting the surprise discovery that common table salt – so brittle that it crushes easily between a thumb and forefinger – becomes a super plastic in the weird environs of the nanoworld. The super-elastic salt can stretch like taffy to twice its original length without breaking. The discovery could lead to new insights into the role of salt in a wide variety of situations ranging from helping clouds to form to triggering asthmatic attacks in people, they say. Their study is in the current issue of ACS’ Nano Letters, a monthly journal.

Nathan Moore and colleagues note in the new study that researchers have known for years that metals like gold, lead and aluminum can be pulled into nanowires 1/50,000th the width of a human hair. Like other materials of such tiny dimensions, their properties change. Materials that conduct electricity poorly, for instance, become good conductors and materials that break easily develop new strength. That’s why nanomaterials may form the basis of futuristic technologies that spawn new industries. But until now, no one expected to create nanowires from crystals of common table salt, or sodium chloride, which crumbles so easily.

The scientists made the unusual discovery while studying how water coats salt crystals using a microscope specially designed to observe mechanical and adhesive forces. They detected an unusual attractive force between the diamond tip of the microscope and the salt surface. After a series of tests, the researchers showed that the force encountered may have been caused by the presence of salt nanowires. In a similar test, they were able to capture images of salt nanowires being formed and stretched. The finding is “a striking and unexpected example of how material properties can change when viewed at the nanoscale,” the article states.

“Superplastic Nanowires Pulled from the Surface of Common Salt”

American Chemical Society

Chinese Women To Gain Management And Leadership Education Through Yale-Tsinghua Partnership

The Yale School of Public Health is partnering with Tsinghua University in Beijing to provide management and leadership education for 500 underserved women in China working in the healthcare field. The partnership, beginning in 2009, is part of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women initiative.

Together, Yale and Tsinghua will create a curriculum to build the business and management skills of mid- and senior-level managers in the health sector, particularly in the areas of quality improvement, human resources development, financial management and leadership.

The 10,000 Women initiative is a global effort to provide 10,000 underserved women, predominantly in developing and emerging markets, with business and management education. Goldman Sachs will commit $100 million over the next five years and has partnered with more than 50 universities and organizations in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and United States to seek, create and develop programs to impact the quality and capacity of business education in developing regions around the world.

“The partnership between Tsinghua and Yale will help build strong, effective leaders in the healthcare sector,” said Dina Powell, Managing Director and Global Head of Corporate Engagement at Goldman Sachs. “We are honored to have such prestigious partners join us in the 10,000 Women initiative.”

Elizabeth Bradley, director of Global Health Initiatives at Yale said, “This is a transformational time for China’s health sector with an expanding economy and commitment to high quality health services for all. But policy reforms are less effective unless there is skilled management and strong leadership in health institutions. We hope this program will be a cornerstone in effecting the changes in health quality and equity that China envisions.”

A research report prepared by Goldman Sachs, “Women Hold up Half the Sky,” found that strengthening education for women is a critical and underutilized lever for economic growth in developing and emerging economies. The report concluded that per capita income in China could increase by almost 4 percent with greater labor force participation of women. In countries like India, Egypt, Iran and Turkey, the increase in income per capita could be in excess of 10 percent.

Yale University’s relationship with China is deeper and longer than that of any other university in the United States. Yung Wing, the first person from China to earn a degree from an American college or university graduated from Yale in 1854. Currently, there are 95 faculty-led research projects and other collaborations underway at Yale that are related to or take place in China.

Yale’s participation in the 10,000 Women initiative underscores the University’s long and distinguished commitment to educating leaders and public servants for all sectors of American society, and, increasingly, around the world. For select international partners, Yale offers customized senior leadership programs in the government, business and education sectors, including highly successful programs for presidents of leading universities and for senior government officials.

For further information on the 10,000 Women initiative, please visit www.10000women or contact Joe Snodgrass, Goldman Sachs, 212-902-5400.

Elizabeth Bradley