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Any readers looking for something new to read?

Quarter-Finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Competition < Read this first

Amazon.com Review

A nicely-paced, intriguingly written story that has a palpable ring of truth in its universal portrait of thorny family dynamics. First person narrator is honest and sympathetic and her observations are smart and articulated with an original style.

Amazon.com Review

The main character, Sarah, is the strongest aspect (at least in this excerpt). She is quite fully realized, very believable and so well drawn that I can easily visualize her. Her reactions as she deals with her problems are realistic. The author has done an excellent job introducing the characters and setting out the problems they face. The needed information is supplied but it is done in an interesting manner

PDF version of excerpt.  Download and review!

http://rachelunkefer.com/2011/03/26/more-about-a-useful-life/trackback/

Ferarro was concerned that only some can afford cancer treatment

This was done in 2007, when Ms. Ferarro was in remission. She expressed concern in this video about the fact that drugs that allowed her to stay alive were not available for all. This continues to be the case. Unless you have a lot of money or good insurance, you may not be able to get the treatment many of us count on to keep us among the living. In this video, she’s getting Velcade and talks about research and funding.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Ferraro developed pneumonia

This is from the AP. Other reports mentioned only “complications,” which we now know to be pneumonia. It’s very common for myeloma patients to develop pneumonia.

Ferraro died at Massachusetts General Hospital, where she had gone Monday for a procedure to relieve back pain caused by a fracture. Such fractures are common in people with her type of blood cancer, multiple myeloma, because of the thinning of their bones, said Dr. Noopur Raje, the Mass General doctor who treated her.

Ferraro, however, developed pneumonia, which made it impossible to perform the procedure, and it soon became clear she didn’t have long to live, Raje said. Since she was too ill to return to New York, her family went to Boston.

Raje said it seemed Ferraro held out until her husband and three children arrived. They were all at her bedside when she passed, she said.

“Gerry actually waited for all of them to come, which I think was incredible,” said Raje, director of the meyloma program at the hospital’s cancer center. “They were all able to say their goodbyes to Mom.”

MMRF Press Release – Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation Mourns Loss of Geraldine Ferraro

Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) Mourns Loss of Geraldine Ferraro

Pioneer, Leader, and MMRF Honorary Board Member Succumbs to Multiple Myeloma
Norwalk, CT — March 26, 2011

The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) is deeply saddened by the loss of Geraldine Ferraro (1935-2011), a Member of the MMRF Honorary Board of Directors and a dear friend. Ferraro passed away this morning from complications following a long and courageous battle with multiple myeloma, an incurable blood cancer.

“Geraldine Ferraro was a true trailblazer, an inspiration to many, an incredible advocate for cancer research, and a very dear friend. She will be sadly missed, never far from our hearts, and fondly remembered for her incredible legacy and the extraordinary woman who she was. We pray that her family finds comfort and peace during this sorrowful time,” said Kathy Giusti, Founder and CEO of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, and a patient with multiple myeloma.

In addition to serving on the MMRF’s Honorary Board of Directors, Ferraro was actively involved in the Foundation’s work to bring new treatments to patients. In 2002, she passionately testified before Congress for the critical need for increased research funding, and a year later, a bill was signed authorizing $250 million for blood cancer research. Congress then appropriated $5 million to the Geraldine Ferraro Blood Cancer Education Program in 2003 and renewed funding in 2006, enabling the MMRF to provide high-quality educational programs to underserved populations.

About Multiple Myeloma
Multiple myeloma is an incurable blood cancer. The five-year relative survival rate for multiple myeloma is approximately 38 percent, one of the lowest of all cancers. In 2010, more than 20,000 adults in the United States will be diagnosed with multiple myeloma and nearly 11,000 people are predicted to die from the disease.

About the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF)
The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) was established in 1998 as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization by twin sisters Karen Andrews and Kathy Giusti, soon after Kathy’s diagnosis with multiple myeloma. The mission of the MMRF is to relentlessly pursue innovative means that accelerate the development of next-generation multiple myeloma treatments to extend the lives of patients and lead to a cure. As the world’s number-one private funder of multiple myeloma research, the MMRF has raised over $160 million since its inception to fund more than 130 laboratories worldwide. An outstanding 89% of funds raised go toward research and related programming. The MMRF has supported 70 new compounds and approaches in clinical trials and pre-clinical studies and has facilitated 30 clinical trials through its sister organization, the MMRC. For more information about the MMRF, visit www.themmrf.org.

Media inquiries, contact:

Anne Quinn Young – (203) 536-8691

Voluntary Limited VELCADE Recall

This is from the Millennium Pharmaceuticals web site. Just a snippet here, with the URL so you can read more. Chances are good you’ve already heard about this if you’re on Velcade.

As a precautionary measure, Millennium is voluntarily recalling a limited number of lots of VELCADE® (bortezomib) for Injection 3.5mg/vial due to the possibility that small white polyester particles may be observed upon reconstitution of VELCADE drug product.

Millennium is undertaking this recall in consideration of the potential for safety issues if the affected product is administered to patients including local injection site reactions, inflammatory responses and thromboembolic events.

The VELCADE Package Insert (Section 2.7) and Investigator Brochure have specific guidelines recommending visual inspection for particulate matter or discoloration prior to administration. Do not use the reconstituted product if you observe particulate matter or discoloration.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been informed of this voluntary limited recall.

This action is limited to the VELCADE lots listed below, produced by one of our manufacturers before certain process improvements were implemented.

http://www.mlnm.com/velcade_recall.asp

I was in a trial once, and got a letter about there being some particles found in my drug, too. I wonder how polyester and other things get into our drugs?

It’s about time someone figured this out.

Most of us already knew this.
Nov 2nd, 2010

LONDON (Oct. 31) — Alcohol is more dangerous than illegal drugs like heroin and crack cocaine, according to a new study.

British experts evaluated substances including alcohol, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and marijuana, ranking them based on how destructive they are to the individual who takes them and to society as a whole.

Researchers analyzed how addictive a drug is and how it harms the human body, in addition to other criteria like environmental damage caused by the drug, its role in breaking up families and its economic costs, such as health care, social services, and prison.

Heroin, crack cocaine and methamphetamine, or crystal meth, were the most lethal to individuals. When considering their wider social effects, alcohol, heroin and crack cocaine were the deadliest. But overall, alcohol outranked all other substances, followed by heroin and crack cocaine. Marijuana, ecstasy and LSD scored far lower.

The study was paid for by Britain’s Centre for Crime and Justice Studies and was published online Monday in the medical journal, Lancet.

Experts said alcohol scored so high because it is so widely used and has devastating consequences not only for drinkers but for those around them.

“Just think about what happens (with alcohol) at every football game,” said Wim van den Brink, a professor of psychiatry and addiction at the University of Amsterdam. He was not linked to the study and co-authored a commentary in the Lancet.

When drunk in excess, alcohol damages nearly all organ systems. It is also connected to higher death rates and is involved in a greater percentage of crime than most other drugs, including heroin.

But experts said it would be impractical and incorrect to outlaw alcohol.

“We cannot return to the days of prohibition,” said Leslie King, an adviser to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and one of the study’s authors. “Alcohol is too embedded in our culture and it won’t go away.”
King said countries should target problem drinkers, not the vast majority of people who indulge in a drink or two. He said governments should consider more education programs and raising the price of alcohol so it isn’t as widely available.

Experts said the study should prompt countries to reconsider how they classify drugs. For example, last year in Britain, the government increased its penalties for the possession of marijuana. One of its senior advisers, David Nutt – the lead author on the Lancet study – was fired after he criticized the British decision.

“What governments decide is illegal is not always based on science,” said van den Brink. He said considerations about revenue and taxation, like those garnered from the alcohol and tobacco industries, may influence decisions about which substances to regulate or outlaw.

“Drugs that are legal cause at least as much damage, if not more, than drugs that are illicit,” he said.

Source: http://www.aolnews.com/health/article/study-alcohol-more-lethal-than-heroin-cocaine/19696816?icid=main|htmlws-main-n|dl1|sec3_lnk2|181500