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      Brightfarms recalls produce sold at Giant Food stores

      The products may contain pieces of metal

      BrightFarms is recalling packaged produce sold in Giant Food stores due to the potential presence of metal as a result of construction at its Elkwood, Virginia, (Culpeper County) greenhouse farm.

      The recalled BrightFarms branded products are sold at the Giant Landover, Giant Carlisle, Peapod and Martin’s Food Markets in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, West Virginia and Washington, D.C.

      The produce may also have been distributed via the Capital Area Food Bank.

      The following salad products, packaged in clear, plastic clamshells with best by date of 5/22/17, 5/23/17, 5/24/17, 5/25/17, 5/26/17, are being recalled: 

      • BrightFarms Baby Spinach (4 oz. package)
      • BrightFarms Spring Mix (4 oz. and 8 oz. package)
      • BrightFarms Spinach Blend (4 oz. package)
      • BrightFarms Baby Kale (3 oz. package)
      • BrightFarms Arugula (4 oz. and 8 oz. package)
      • BrightFarms Mixed Greens (4 oz. package)
      • BrightFarms Baby Romaine (4 oz. and 8 oz. Package)

      The following basil products, packaged in clear plastic clamshells with best by dates 5/18/17, 5/19/17, 5/20/17, 5/21/17, 5/22/17, 5/23/17, are being recalled:

      • BrightFarms Basil (.75 oz. package)
      • BrightFarms Thai Basil (.75 oz. package)
      • BrightFarms Lemon Basil (.75 oz. Package)

      Best by dates are located on the package label.

      What to do

      Customers who purchased the recalled products should discard them or return them to the place of purchase for a full refund.

      Consumers with questions may contact the company at l (646) 480-5262 between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (EST) Monday through Friday, or by email info@brightfarms.com with the subject line: Recall.

      BrightFarms is recalling packaged produce sold in Giant Food stores due to the potential presence of metal as a result of construction at its Elkwood, Virg...
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      Congressman wants action on battery fires, explosions

      Wants to know what the CPSC and FDA are doing about the problem

      A New Jersey Congressman would like to energize the federal agencies he thinks should be doing more about the problem of fires and explosions caused by lithium-ion batteries.

      The problem is not exactly new. The batteries have been causing problems for years, in hoverboards, laptops, smartphones, e-cigarettes and other gadgets, and Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-N.J.) says the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should do something about it.

      In a letter to the heads of each agency, Pallone is asking for a briefing to find out what, if anything, is being done. He notes that both agencies made an initial effort but that not much appears to have happened since then. 

      Known fire risks

      “For at least a decade, the known fire risks associated with lithium-ion batteries has resulted in countless Americans suffering from burns and disfigurements,” Pallone wrote. “It is a welcome start that CPSC has directed staff to address battery hazards, and that FDA has conducted a public workshop to explore the dangers of e-cigarette batteries. But work at both of your agencies has only just begun to address known battery safety problems that have harmed consumers. The federal government – through CPSC, FDA, and other agencies – must take even more decisive action with regard to the batteries themselves.”

      Specifically, Pallone asked:

      • What are CPSC and FDA doing to collect data on the number of incidences of dangerous battery safety failures, such as fires or explosions?
      • What research has staff at CPSC and FDA done to inform policy actions, such as a consumer product safety rule or other safety standards?
      • What are CPSC and FDA doing to coordinate with each other and with other federal agencies?
      • Do CPSC and FDA have adequate resources to address battery safety problems in consumer devices?

      Pallone is the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. His letter went to CPSC Acting Chairman Ann Marie Buerkle and FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb.

      A New Jersey Congressman would like to energize the federal agencies he thinks should be doing more about the problem of fires and explosions caused by lit...
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      Early-stage breast cancer patients may get too much treatment

      Cancer researchers say medical guidelines aren't being followed

      Besides the physical and emotional toll a disease like cancer takes, there is also the financial toll. For example, some drugs used to treat cancer are extremely expensive. For patients, there is definitely a financial aspect to managing their disease.

      Now, researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center are producing evidence that many women with early-stage breast cancer are getting treatment that may be a waste of money.

      Specifically, they say patients often receive advanced imaging and other tests that provide little, if any medical benefit. In fact, they say these procedures could have harmful effects, and it's likely they will make the treatment more expensive.

      Guidelines not being followed

      Study leader Dr. Gary Lyman, a breast cancer oncologist, says current guidelines recommend against routine surveillance testing for patients in the early stage of breast cancer, but they're frequently performed anyway.

      Lyman says the guidelines were drawn up to help patients and doctors make the best decisions, based on the best medical evidence. The guidelines specifically recommend against the routine use of advanced imaging scans and costly blood tests to track tumor markers.

      That's because there have been several studies that have shown the patient gets no benefit, and there's a strong likelihood of false-positive results that can lead to unnecessary procedures, such as radiation treatment.

      Message not getting through

      But the Hutchinson researchers say the message isn't getting through. Their review of records in more than 2,000 early-stage breast cancer cases found that 37% percent received tumor-marker tests during the post-treatment surveillance period. On average, there were 2.8 tests per patient.

      While there are obvious health concerns, Lyman said these patients faced costs higher than the patients who didn't get the extra tests and procedures.

      "We believe one of the best ways we can help patients reduce their financial burden is for us to reinforce the message with oncologists that these tests have been shown to provide no benefit for this particular group of patients,” said Lyman.

      Lyman and the research team will present the findings early next month at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting in Chicago.

      The cost of treating breast cancer varies by the stage, with the lowest costs during early stages. An analysis of treatment costs by the National Institutes of Health placed average costs, in the first 24 months after diagnosis, at $72,000 for early-stage breast cancer.

      Besides the physical and emotional toll a disease like cancer takes, there is also the financial toll. For example, some drugs used to treat cancer are ext...
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      Pier 1 Imports recalls Temani wicker furniture

      The paint used can contain excessive levels of lead

      Pier 1 Imports of Fort Worth, Texas, is recalling about 2,600 Temani ivory wicker chair, settee and ottoman collections sold in the U.S. and Canada.

      The paint used on the wicker furniture can contain excessive levels of lead, which is a violation of the federal lead paint standard.

      No incidents or injuries are reported.

      This recall involves the Pier 1 Imports Temani collection, which includes a chair, settee and ottoman. They are ivory colored, made of rattan wicker, and were sold without a cushion.

      The chair measures 29 inches wide, 29.5 inches deep and 35.5 inches high, the settee measures 51.5 inches wide, 29.5 inches deep and 35.5 inches high, and the ottoman measures 27 inches wide, 18 inches deep and 16 inches high.

      The furniture has a Pier 1 Imports logo on the underside of each chair, settee and ottoman.

      The recall involves only the ivory-colored Temani collection.

      The furniture, manufactured in Indonesia, was sold exclusively at Pier 1 Imports stores nationwide and online at www.Pier1.com from March 2014, to April 2017, for between $140 and $560.

      What to do

      Consumers should stop using the recalled furniture immediately and return it to any Pier 1 Imports store for a full refund or a merchandise credit.

      Consumers may contact Pier 1 Imports toll-free at 855-513-5140 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. (CT) Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (CT) Saturday, or 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (CT) Sunday or online at www.Pier1.com and click on “Product Notes & Recalls” at the bottom of the page for more information.

      Pier 1 Imports of Fort Worth, Texas, is recalling about 2,600 Temani ivory wicker chair, settee and ottoman collections sold in the U.S. and Canada.The...
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      Dynacraft recalls battery operated ride-on toys

      The acceleration pedal can stick, posing fall and crash hazards

      Dynacraft BSC of American Canyon, Calif., is recalling about 20,000 Surge and Tonka battery-operated ride-on toys.

      The acceleration pedal can stick, posing fall and crash hazards.

      The company has received 19 reports of pedals sticking, including seven reports of minor injuries; abrasions, cuts and bruises.

      This recall involves three models of 12V battery-operated ride-on toys, including Surge 12V Camo 4X4, Surge 12V XL Quad and Tonka 12V Mighty Dump trucks.

      The recalled ride-on toys have model numbers and date codes listed in the table below. The model number, batch number, serial number and date code, formatted as “MMDDYYYY,” are printed on a label on the bottom of the ride-on toy.

      Product Name and Color

      Model Number

      Date Codes

      Batch

      Number

      Serial Numbers

      Surge 12V Camo 4X4

      Color: Camouflage and black with orange Surge graphic and accents

      8803-31

      06082016 06152016 06302016 07142016 07192016 07202016 07262016 07282016 08032016 08092016   08162016

      302119 302247 302248 302249 302255 302256 302257 302292 302296 302298 302299

      DA0331IF00001-DA0331IF01650

      DA0331IG00001-DA0331IG03450

      DA0331IH01201-DA0331IH02200

      DA0331IH05001-DA0331IH05200

      DA0331IH05501-DA0331IH06200

      Surge 12V XL Quad

      Color: Camouflage and black with neon green Surge graphic and accents

      8803-38

      07222016 08192016 08242016

      3101735 3101741 3101743 3101748 3101749 3101750

      DA0338IG00001-DA0338IG01250

      DA0338IH00001-DA0338IH02200

      Tonka 12V Mighty Dump Truck

      Color: yellow and black with red and white Tonka graphic

      8801-96U

      05182016 06022016 06162016 06302016 07132016

      302203 302205 302207 302209 302211

      DA0196IE00141-DA0196IE05500

      DA0196IF00001-DA0196IF07400

      DA0196IG00001-DA0196IG02500

      The toys, manufactured in China, were sold as follows:

      The Surge 12V Camo 4X4 was sold at Walmart nationwide between June 2016, and March, 2017 for about $300.

      The Surge 12V XL Quad sold at Academy Sports + Outdoors stores nationwide from September 2016, through March 2017, for between $150 and $200.

      The Tonka 12V Might Dump Truck was sold at Toys R Us stores nationwide and online at ToysRUs.com from July 2016, through November 2016, for about $350.

      What to do

      Consumers should immediately take the recalled ride-on toys away from children and contact Dynacraft to receive a free replacement foot pedal with installation instructions. Consumers in need of assistance with the repair, can bring the ride-on toy to an authorized service center for a free repair.

      Consumers may contact Dynacraft at 800-551-0032 from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. (PT) Monday through Friday or online at www.dynacraftwheels.com and click on “Product Recalls” for more information.

      Dynacraft BSC of American Canyon, Calif., is recalling about 20,000 Surge and Tonka battery-operated ride-on toys.The acceleration pedal can stick, pos...
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      Mercedes-Benz recalls SLK and SLC class vehicles

      The ESC system software may incorrectly keep the brakes slightly applied

      Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) is recalling 5,818 model year 2015 SLK 250, 2016 SLK 350, 2016-2017 SLC 300, and 2017 SLC 43 AMG vehicles.

      The vehicle's electronic stability control (ESC) system software may incorrectly keep the brakes slightly applied.

      If brake pads are constantly applied over long periods of driving, the brake components may heat up, affecting braking performance and increasing the risk of a crash. Additionally, the dragging brakes may overheat, increasing the risk of a fire.

      What to do

      MBUSA will notify owners, and dealers will update the software for the ESC system, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in late June 2017.

      Owners may contact MBUSA customer service at 1-800-367-6372.

      Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) is recalling 5,818 model year 2015 SLK 250, 2016 SLK 350, 2016-2017 SLC 300, and 2017 SLC 43 AMG vehicles.The vehicle's elect...
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      Is retirement an outdated concept?

      Surveys show increasing number of people aren't planning for it

      Here's yet another study underlining the problems facing retirees, and as a result, how retirement itself may be fundamentally changing.

      Changing as in, maybe we aren't going to retire anymore, or not until we are too weak and infirm to be productive.

      The study comes from Country Financial, which reports consumers are worried about being able to afford retirement. But despite that concern, it also finds over half the people in the survey said they aren't saving money for retirement.

      What that suggests is people really aren't that concerned, or they have so much trouble meeting day-to-day expenses they don't think they have any money to put away. Either way, the notion of 21st century retirement is probably changing.

      Constant leisure

      For some, retirement holds out the promise of constant leisure, or the freedom to do whatever they want, without having to earn a living. To do this, however, requires a pretty significant income stream. And other studies have clearly indicated that most people approaching retirement don't have the assets for that. So there is a wide swath of the population that isn't going to achieve this kind of retirement.

      The Country Financial survey suggests that more and more people now plan to keep working and not retire until the very end of their lifespan. Over half of those in the study -- 51% -- do not include retirement in their long-term financial goals.

      The Economic Policy Institute came up with similar findings; nearly half of families have no retirement savings.

      Finding people in the workforce at age 70 or more is no longer uncommon, and may in fact become more common. The Pew Research Center reports only about 13% of Americans 65 and older were still working in 2000. Last year, more than 18% were.

      Working retirement

      Some people, in fact, enjoy what they do and don't want to quit. Others might want to leave their current job but try something else, even if it is part-time.

      Financial advisors, of course, point out that someone transitioning to part-time employment in their later years had better have some financial resources to supplement their reduced income.

      "Many Americans are outliving their assets because they did not include retirement in their long-term financial goals," said Doyle Williams, an executive vice president at Country Financial. "We strongly encourage people to develop a long-term plan so they can eliminate the fear of never being able to retire. By taking some simple steps almost everyone can have a plan in place to secure their financial future."

      Because people are now routinely living well into their 80s and beyond, the notion of walking away from income-producing work at 65 may be a quaint notion. Still, even if you aren't saving for retirement, you should be saving for something. Chances are, you're going to need it.

      Here's yet another study underlining the problems facing retirees, and as a result, how retirement itself may be fundamentally changing.Changing as in,...
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      Using mass transit leads to drop in obesity rates, study finds

      Researchers say taking the bus or train increases physical activity

      The daily commute to work can often be the low point of many consumers’ day, but a new study suggests that taking advantage of certain modes of transportation can help fight obesity.

      Researchers from the University of Illinois have found that counties that rely more on their mass transit systems produce residents that have lower obesity rates. They say that putting more funds into these systems could promote better overall wellbeing.

      "As local communities seek to allocate public funds to projects that will provide the most benefit to their residents, our research suggests that investing in convenient and affordable public transit systems may improve public health by reducing obesity, thereby providing more value than had been previously thought," said researcher Sheldon H. Jacobson, a professor of computer science at Illinois.

      Cutting obesity rates

      Jacobson, along with graduate student Zhaowei She and lecturer Douglas M. King, came to their conclusions after analyzing public county health and transportation data.

      After controlling for factors like household income, poverty rate, education level, access to health care, and leisure physical activity, they found that a 1% increase in a county’s population that frequently used mass transit systems correlated to a 0.2% drop in obesity rates.

      "By viewing this link at the county level, we provide a national perspective by considering data from counties throughout the United States. Our research suggests that, in addition to benefits to the environment and greater access to transportation for residents, community-level investments into public transit systems may also benefit public health by reducing obesity rates," said King.

      Increases physical activity

      The researchers explain that the health benefits of using mass transit come from the increased level of physical activity that travelers need to engage in, something that is lost when simply driving directly to their final destination.

      "For example, when someone rides a bus, they may begin their trip by walking from their home to a bus stop before boarding the bus. Then, once they get off of the bus, they may still need to walk from a bus stop to their destination. Alternatively, if they had driven a car, they might simply drive directly from their home to their destination and eliminate the walking portion of the trip," said Jacobson.

      The full study has been published in Preventive Medicine.

      The daily commute to work can often be the low point of many consumers’ day, but a new study suggests that taking advantage of certain modes of transportat...
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      How paper waste could lead to a boom in the U.S. economy

      Researchers say turning lignin into carbon fiber could create jobs in rural America

      Companies often talk about reducing their carbon footprint by cutting down on waste, but could all that extra carbon that’s out there actually fuel American industry?

      Researchers from Texas A&M seem to think so. Dr. Joshua Yuan and his colleagues say that waste material from the paper and pulp industry could be repurposed to make all sorts of products, from tennis rackets to entire cars. The secret, they say, is collecting and repurposing a substance called lignin that is found in all that waste.

      "People have been thinking about using lignin to make carbon fiber for many years, but achieving good quality has been an issue,” said Yuan. “We have overcome one of the industry’s most challenging issues by discovering how to make good quality carbon fiber from waste.”

      Carbon fiber production

      In basic terms, lignin is a class of organic materials that helps form the tissues and structural walls in certain plants and algae. The researchers say that about 50 million tons of lignin is thrown away each year in products disposed of by the paper and pulp industry.

      Initially, the research team found some initial success in making fuel and bioproducts from lignin, but the processes involved still led to a lot of waste. That’s when they started thinking outside the box and considered making other products.

      “We separated lignin into different parts, and then we found that certain parts of lignin are very good for high quality carbon fiber manufacturing,” explains Yuan. “We are still improving and fine-tuning the quality, but eventually this carbon fiber could be used for windmills, sport materials, and even bicycles and cars…Carbon Fiber is much lighter but has the same mechanical strength as other materials used for those products now. This material can be used for a lot of different applications.

      Creating U.S. jobs

      The researchers believe that the process they’re developing makes complete use of lignin and dramatically cuts down on waste. They say that certain parts of the substance could be used to make anything from bioplastics to asphalt binder modifiers that are used to make roads.

      Perhaps best of all, Yuan points out that the sustainable nature of lignin allows for an economic return that would create jobs and fuel economic growth in rural areas of the U.S. where production would most likely take place.

      “The entire supply chain is in the United States, which means the jobs would be here. The biomass is grown, harvested and transported here. It would be difficult to ever ship that much waste to another country for production. It all stays here…It would put agriculture production and industry together in a bioeconomy making renewable products,” he said.

      The full study has been published in Green Chem.

      Companies often talk about reducing their carbon footprint by cutting down on waste, but could all that extra carbon that’s out there actually fuel America...
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      Delta airlines testing facial recognition technology

      Will be used at automated bag drop for international travelers

      Airlines are under increasing pressure to do something -- anything -- to improve the customer experience. Delta says it may have a way to do that.

      The airline said it will test facial recognition technology at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport this summer. The technology will be employed at four self-serve bag drops, allowing passengers to check their bags themselves.

      One of the stations, for international travelers, will be equipped with the facial recognition technology, matching passengers with their passport photos.

      "We expect this investment and new process to save customers time," said Gareth Joyce, a senior vice president at Delta. "And, since customers can operate the biometric-based bag drop machine independently, we see a future where Delta agents will be freed up to seek out travelers and deliver more proactive and thoughtful customer service."

      Increasingly automated

      Airports are becoming increasingly automated, and Delta sees this as just the next, natural step in that process. Previously, the airline began attaching radio frequency identification technology (RFID)tags to luggage, to keep better track of it.

      "We're making travel easier than ever for our customers and continuing to deliver a leading customer experience," Joyce said.

      The effort comes at a time when airlines are under pressure from passengers and policymakers. After the forcible removal of a passenger from a United Airlines flight April 9, almost every instance of passenger angst aboard a commercial aircraft is recorded and spread across social media.

      For its part, Delta said it will collect passenger feedback during the Minnesota trial and run process analyses to make sure this addition of technology not only saves the airline money, but improves the overall customer experience.

      Delta says it believes it will. It cites studies it says show that self-service bag drops have the potential to process twice as many customers per hour.

      Airlines are under increasing pressure to do something -- anything -- to improve the customer experience. Delta says it may have a way to do that.The a...
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      U.S. may impose laptop ban on flights from Europe

      Business travelers would be likely to rebel at having to check their laptops

      Airlines are bracing for the impact of a potential ban on laptops, smartphones, and other electronic devices on all airline flights from Europe to the U.S., similar to the one imposed in March on flights from 10 Middle Eastern airports.

      Tourists might be able to endure an eight-hour flight without access to their laptops, but business travelers, who are the bread and butter of the airline industry, are another matter.

      Not only would business travelers rebel at not being able to use their laptops, but the notion of having to check them as baggage raises even more hackles, for fear they might be stolen, putting valuable and proprietary data at risk.

      It may happen though. The Department of Homeland Security said last week that it might extend the laptop ban from the Middle East to Europe, likely leading to chaos at European airports and scenes that make recent dust-ups at U.S. airports look like a Sunday School picnic.

       “High-level” meetings are scheduled in Brussels Wednesday, as European airport officials worry about disrupting the travel plans of the 30 million people who fly from European airports to the U.S. each year.

      "Significant deterioration"

      The laptop ban on flights from the Middle East created mass confusion and led many travelers to drop plans for non-stop flights from Dubai and other popular airports in favor of connecting through Europe. Emirates cut its schedule to five American cities because of "significant deterioration" in bookings. The Emirates cutbacks affect flights to Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Boston, Seattle, and Los Angeles.

      Corporations and travel managers are already speaking out about the proposal, saying it would hamper the conduct of business and sharply reduce international travel. Many companies would be likely to turn to Skype and other video-conferencing solutions rather than require their engineers and executives to give up their laptops and iPads.

      “I think business travelers would be far more willing to accept a far more rigorous screening at the airport, rather than having to part with their tools when they travel,” said Michael McCormick, executive director of the Global Business Travel Association, in a Bloomberg report.

      Canada, it might be noted, does not impose similar bans, which could lead U.S. travelers to book their flights through Canada. 

      Airlines are bracing for the impact of a potential ban on laptops, smartphones, and other electronic devices on all airline flights from Europe to the U.S....
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      Six companies fined $4.19 million for using bots to buy tickets to New York shows

      New York AG Eric Schneiderman vows to continue fighting the 'rigged' ticketing system

      There’s nothing quite like a good Broadway show or tickets to a live concert, but consumers have found it difficult to secure online tickets recently because of ticket bots – software used by scalpers and resellers to grab large numbers of available tickets as quickly as possible.

      The problem became so bad that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a law last November that increased the penalty for knowingly reselling tickets obtained by a ticket bot to a class A misdemeanor. The change guaranteed harsher penalties than the previously mandated civil penalties, something that six companies now know full well.

      Yesterday, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced that Renaissance Ventures LLC (d/b/a Prestige Entertainment), Ebrani Corp. (d/b/a Presidential Tickets), Concert Specials Inc., Fanfetch Inc., BMC Capital Partners, and JAL Enterprises (d/b/a Top Star Tickets) had been fined a total of $4.19 million for using ticket bots to procure and resell tickets in the state.

      “Unscrupulous ticket resellers who break the rules and take advantage of ordinary consumers are one of the major reasons why ticketing remains a rigged system,” Schneiderman said.

      Snatching up tickets

      The Attorney General’s office found that one of the ticket brokers, Prestige Entertainment, had used two different bots and thousands of credit cards and Ticketmaster accounts to buy tickets for many New York shows. The investigators allege that the company used IP proxy services to hide its use of bots from retail ticket marketplaces. In one specific case, the company allegedly used its bots to purchase over 1,000 tickets to a 2014 U2 concert at Madison Square Garden in just one minute.

      Because of its pervasive use of ticket bots, Prestige will be paying the highest fine at $3.35 million. Concert Specials will pay $480,000; Presidential Tickets will pay $125,000; BMC Capital will pay $95,000; Top Star Tickets will pay $85,000; and Fanfetch will pay $55,000.

      In addition to paying the fines, each company is required under the settlement to maintain proper ticket reseller licenses and abstain from using ticket bots in the future.

      “We will continue to fight to make ticketing a more fair and transparent marketplace, so fans have the opportunity to enjoy their favorite shows and events. Anybody who breaks the law will pay a steep price,” said Schneiderman.

      There’s nothing quite like a good Broadway show or tickets to a live concert, but consumers have found it difficult to secure online tickets recently becau...
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      Polaris recalls RMK and SKS snowmobiles

      The vehicle could suffer loss of steering control

      Polaris Industries of Medina, Minn., is recalling about 6,000 RMK and SKS snowmobiles.

      A weld on the steering post can separate, resulting in loss of steering control, posing a crash hazard.

      The company has received 13 reports of a steering post weld separation. No injuries have been reported.

      This recall involves model year 2017 Polaris RMK, PRO-RMK, SKS, and RMK snowmobiles.

      “Polaris” is printed on the seat and “RMK,” “PRO,” “SKS,” or “ASSAULT” printed on the side body panel. The snowmobiles were sold in several colors.

      The model number and VIN are displayed on the right side of the tunnel. To check for recalled vehicles by VIN, visit www.polaris.com.

      The following models are included in the recall:

      Polaris Model Year 2017 Snowmobiles

      S17EFK8PS

      800 PRO-RMK 155 SC SELECT

      S17EFK6PS

      600 PRO-RMK 155 SC SELECT

      S17EFK6PSL

      600 PRO-RMK 155 ES

      S17EFK8PSA

      800 PRO-RMK 155

      S17EGK8PS

      800 PRO-RMK 163 SC SELECT

      S17EGM8PS

      800 PRO-RMK 163 3" SC SELECT

      S17EFS8PS

      800 SKS 155 SC SELECT

      S17EGP8PS

      800 PRO-RMK LE 163 3" SC SELECT

      S17EFP8PS

      800 PRO-RMK 155 LE SC SELECT

      S17EFT8PS

      800 RMK ASSAULT 155 SC SELECT

      S17EFS8PSL

      800 SKS 155 ES

      S17EGK8PSL

      800 PRO-RMK 163 ES

      S17EFK6PSA

      600 PRO-RMK 155

      S17EGK8PSA

      800 PRO-RMK 163

      S17EFT8PSP

      800 RMK ASSAULT 155 POWDER ES

      S17EFT8PSD

      800 RMK ASSAULT 155 POWDER

      S17EFT8PSA

      800 RMK ASSAULT 155

      S17EFM8PS

      800 PRO-RMK 155 3" SC SELECT

      S17EFK8PSL

      800 PRO-RMK 155 ES

      S17EFN8PS

      800 RMK ASSAULT 155 3" SC SELECT

      S17EHP8PS

      800 PRO-RMK LE 174 3” SC SELECT

      The snowmobiles, manufactured in the U.S., were sold at Polaris dealers nationwide from May 2016, through March 2017, for between $12,000 and $15,200.

      What to do

      Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled vehicles and contact Polaris to schedule a free repair. Polaris is contacting all known purchasers directly.

      Consumers may contact Polaris at 800-765-2747 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (CT) Monday through Friday, or online at www.polaris.com and click on “Product Safety Recalls” at the bottom of the page for more information.

      Polaris Industries of Medina, Minn., is recalling about 6,000 RMK and SKS snowmobiles.A weld on the steering post can separate, resulting in loss of st...
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      American Honda recalls recreational off-highway vehicles

      The front passenger seat belt buckle can fail

      American Honda Motor Company of Torrance, Calif., is recalling about 2,200 recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs).

      The front passenger seat belt buckle can fail due to a manufacturing defect, posing a risk of injury.

      No incidents or injuries have been reported.

      This recall involves model year 2017 Honda Pioneer 700 side-by-side recreational off-highway vehicles.

      The ROVs are motorized with a steering wheel, a gas pedal, a brake pedal, bucket or bench seats, seat belts and an occupant protection structure.

      The recalled ROVs were sold in two-seat and four-seat models in blue, red, silver or camouflage colors. “HONDA” is printed on the front grill and rear tailgate. “Pioneer 700” is printed on the sides of the vehicle.

      The model and serial numbers are printed on a certification label located at the top rear of the left front wheel well.

      The following model numbers and serial number ranges are being recalled:

      Model

      Type

      Serial Number Range

      Seats

      SXS700M4H

      AC

      1HFVE0201H4301181 -- 1HFVE0207H4302237

      4

      SXS700M4DH

      AC

      1HFVE02H5H4301268 -- 1HFVE02H6H4301697

      4

      SXS700M4DH

      2AC

      1HFVE02R1H4300241 -- 1HFVE02R3H4300600

      4

      SXS700M2H

      AC

      1HFVE0220H4301142 -- 1HFVE0223H4301801

      2

      SXS700M2DH

      AC

      1HFVE02NXH4301031 -- 1HFVE02NXH4301742

      2

      SXS700M2DH

      2AC

      1HFVE02T6H4300361 -- 1HFVE02T9H4300600

      2

      The ROVs, manufactured in the U.S., were sold at authorized Honda Powersports dealers nationwide from December 2016, through April 2017, for between $10,500 and $13,500.

      What to do

      Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled ROVs and contact their local authorized Honda Powersports dealer to schedule an appointment for a free inspection and repair. Honda is contacting all known purchasers directly.

      Consumers may contact American Honda toll-free at 866-784-1870 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (PT) Monday through Friday or online at www.powersports.honda.com and click on “Recall Information” at the bottom of the page for more information.

      American Honda Motor Company of Torrance, Calif., is recalling about 2,200 recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs).The front passenger seat belt buckl...
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      TripAdvisor is integrating Grubhub's platform into its app

      Users will be able to have food delivered from restaurants that don't normally deliver

      You're on a road trip, checked into your hotel, but just don't feel like going out to dinner. There's an interesting-looking Thai restaurant not too far away but they don't deliver. Well, your food options just got bigger.

      TripAdvisor and Grubhub have announced a linkup making it easier and faster for TripAdvisor users to order food from nearby restaurants using Grubhub's delivery service.

      TripAdvisor is integrating Grubhub's delivery app into its desktop website, mobile web and mobile app experiences. Consumers who are browsing through TripAdvisor's restaurant listings will be able to order from tens of thousands of Grubhub's restaurant partners in 1,100 cities.

      All you have to do is click "Order Online." That will bring up Grubhub's online or mobile platforms from which you can place an order.

      4.2 million restaurants to choose from

      Bertrand Jelensperger, senior vice president, TripAdvisor Restaurants, says there are more than 4.2 million restaurant listings currently on TripAdvisor. That, he says, has helped the app become instrumental in helping both travelers and local residents choose a place to eat and make a reservation. The Grubhub hook-up, he says, is a natural extension.

      "Through our new agreement with Grubhub, we're demonstrating another example of how TripAdvisor has become the site for anyone looking to find their perfect meal, now providing consumers with access to food delivery from tens of thousands of restaurants," he said.

      For its part, Grubhub says it's always looking for ways to make it easier to find food sources, whether people are on the road or relaxing at home.

      You're on a road trip, checked into your hotel, but just don't feel like going out to dinner. There's an interesting-looking Thai restaurant not too far aw...
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      Family speaks out about being tossed from Delta flight

      Couple says they were threatened with arrest for refusing to give up seat they had purchased for teenage son who took another flight

      During the same week that airline executives appeared before Congress to endure lectures about the state of their customer service, a family has come forward saying it was thrown off a Delta flight for refusing to give up one of the seats they had purchased.

      The incident, recorded on video as most are now days, occurred April 23, two weeks after a Kentucky physician was dragged off a United Airlines flight in Chicago. The family only came forward with its story this week.

      Brian and Brittany Schear, of Huntington Beach, Calif., were returning home after a vacation in Hawaii. Initially, the couple said, they purchased tickets for themselves and their teenage son, and planned to hold their young children, ages one and two, on their laps on the long flight.

      Before departure, the couple told NBC News, they purchased a ticket on another flight for their oldest son and planned to use the third seat for their two-year-old. The Schears said they gave that information to the Delta gate attendant, who told them it would be okay.

      Overbooked

      But the flight was oversold. Once the Schears were aboard, an airline official told them the Delta was reclaiming the third seat the Schears had purchased. A lengthy argument ensued, with the Schears threatened with arrest if they did not comply. When they refused they were removed from the flight. It was late at night and the Schears said they were left to find their own hotel and purchase new tickets to get home. The video of the encounter is below:

      Technically, Delta might have had the right to reclaim the seat since the person to whom the ticket was initially issued (the Schears' teen-aged son) failed to show up. The Shears said they paid for it and had someone else that could use it and didn't understand why it was being taken away from them.

      But being technically correct may not be enough in this day and age, especially as anger at airlines seems to be building. Delta issued a statement saying the company is sorry for "the unfortunate experience our customers had with Delta." The airline said it plans to refund the family's travel and provide "additional compensation."

      Received conflicting messages

      Consumers rate Delta Air Lines

      The Schears were especially upset because they say a Delta gate attendant told them their two-year-old son could sit in the unused seat. But when it became apparent the flight was overbooked, Delta enforced the letter of its policy, which required the person to whom the ticket was issued sit in the seat.

      Since United found itself in an uncomfortable spotlight last month, it's apparent that these types of things are not all that uncommon. Now, however, when they happen we'll all going to hear about it.

      United has announced a number of policy changes in the wake of the dragging incident that it hopes will improve customer service. One provision gives airline personnel on the ground the power to make decisions "in the moment" if they will improve the customer experience.

      At a time when airlines are selling every seat on a plane, and then some, that might not be a bad idea for United's competitors to consider too.

      During the same week that airline executives appeared before Congress to endure lectures about the state of their customer service, a family has come forwa...
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      Daimler Vans USA recalls Mercedes-Benz Metris vehicles

      The front seatbelt pretensioners may not function properly

      Daimler Vans USA (DVUSA) is recalling 305 model year 2016 Mercedes-Benz Metris vehicles.

      The vehicles have front seat seatbelt pretensioners that may not function properly in the event of a crash.

      If the front seat seatbelt pretensioners do not function properly, the seat occupants may not be adequately restrained in the event of a crash, increasing the risk of injury.

      What to do

      DVUSA will notify owners, and dealers will replace the front seat belts, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in June 2017.

      Owners may contact DVUSA customer service at 1-877-762-8267.

      Daimler Vans USA (DVUSA) is recalling 305 model year 2016 Mercedes-Benz Metris vehicles.The vehicles have front seat seatbelt pretensioners that may no...
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      Feds admit marijuana may reduce opioid use

      As the country struggles through an opioid crisis, researchers point to an alternative

      Anna​ ​was​ ​supposed​ ​to​ ​spend​ ​her​ ​50th​ ​birthday​ ​dancing​ ​with​ ​friends,​ ​not​ ​laid​ ​up​ ​in​ ​bed.​ ​The Texas​ ​grandmother​ ​was​ ​only..

      Net neutrality fight turns nasty

      Verizon VP accuses opponents of using the issue to raise funds

      The fight over net neutrality is turning nasty. Although it's a topic that doesn't stir much interest in your average consumer, those who have opinions hold them very strongly.

      Take Craig Sillman. He's a Verizon vice president in charge of what is called "public policy" (i.e., lobbying), and he is not happy with groups that describe themselves as "public policy" advocates, like Free Press and Fight for the Future.

      Sillman says a lot of these groups are just out to raise money from their supporters and will say whatever it takes to make their point.  

      "You gotta understand, there are a lot of advocacy groups out there that fundraise on this issue," said Sillman. "So how do you fundraise? You stir people up with outrageous claims. Unfortunately, we live in a time where people have discovered that it doesn't matter what's true, you just say things to rile up the base."

      So is this a gotcha' incident? Something Sillman said behind closed doors? No, oddly enough it's part of a video released by Verizon recently. It's what you might call a "fake news" video in which an apparent Verizon employee identified only as "Jeremy" questions Sillman as though he were a reporter.

      But despite Sillman's rather self-serving claim, non-profit advocacy groups aren't the only ones expressing concern about the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman's plan to deep-six net neutrality rules -- and not everyone is driven by financial motives.

      "Open and equal access"

      “The internet must remain open and accessible to everyone,” said Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan in a recent statement. “Open and equal access to the internet is crucial to information sharing and competition. The FCC’s proposal would allow internet service providers to pick winners and losers among content providers and their customers. I urge the FCC Commissioners to vote against this proposal.”

      Sillman would perhaps say that Madigan is just saying what she thinks voters want to hear, but judging from the mail and the reader statistics that let websites like ours count how many people read a given story, net neutrality is not exactly a barn-burner topic.

      It is true that conservative interests and Republicans tend to favor deregulating big telecom companies like Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast while liberals and Democrats generally want to treat them like utilities, regulating rates and requiring that all users get the level of service they're paying for.

      In the case of net neutrality, the rules put in place by the Obama-era FCC require companies like Verizon to treat all traffic equally. Since Verizon owns AOL, Yahoo, and other content providers, critics say it might tend to favor its own traffic over competitors. This is the allegation that Sillman and new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai say is strictly theoretical and doesn't have to be dealt with until and if it actually becomes a problem.

      Critics like Madigan disagree. "Existing net neutrality rules prohibit internet service providers like AT&T or Comcast from discriminating among customers and content providers. They also ensure that when consumers purchase internet access, they can reach the content of their choice without interference and that any website can reach customers without having to negotiate or pay for special access," she said.

      What could actually happen if net neutrality rules are scrapped? Madigan lists these possibilities:

      • Consumers being unable or forced to pay to access certain websites;
      • Decreased competition as start-ups fight for access with larger, established companies; and
      • Telecommunications companies that also own media companies giving preferential treatment to media content they own, putting smaller content providers and their customers at a disadvantage.

      "No evidence of systemic failure"

      FCC chair Pai has argued that there was no need to implement the net neutrality rules in the first place. 

      "There was no evidence of systemic failure in the Internet marketplace. As I said at the time, 'One could read the entire document . . . without finding anything more than hypothesized harms.' Or, in other words, public-utility regulation was a solution that wouldn’t work for a problem that didn’t exist," he said in a speech late last year. 

      The FCC is expected to vote at its May 18 meeting to eliminate the new rules. Free Press, one of the groups that drew Sillman's wrath, has been trying to raise $100,000 to fight the repeal.

      "It's official. Trump and Pai plan to destroy net neutrality," says the FreePress.net site, insisting it's not too late. "Chairman Pai could still back down if he wants to leave the dark side."

      The fight over net neutrality is turning nasty. Although it's a topic that doesn't stir much interest in your average consumer, those who have opinions hol...
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      Fast food not just for poor people, study finds

      Researchers say lack of time is a bigger factor than income

      It's generally thought that poor people are the biggest consumers of fast food, but a new study suggests that's not the case. The Ohio State University study found that middle-income consumers are also regular visitors to McDonald's and KFC.

      "It's not mostly poor people eating fast food in America," said Jay Zagorsky, co-author of the study and research scientist at OSU's Center for Human Resource Research. "Rich people may have more eating options, but that's not stopping them from going to places like McDonald's or KFC."

      Zagorsky's study showed that middle-income Americans were most likely to eat fast food, although the differences from other groups was relatively small. Even the richest people were only slightly less likely to report fast food consumption than others.

      The researchers used data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, which has questioned the same group of randomly selected Americans since 1979.

      In the study, researchers used data from about 8,000 people who were asked about their fast-food consumption in the 2008, 2010, and 2012 surveys. Participants, who were in their 40s and 50s at the time of the surveys, were asked how many times in the past seven days they had eaten "food from a fast-food restaurant such as McDonald's, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut or Taco Bell."

      Results were compared with the participants' answers to questions about their wealth and income. While there were some slight differences in how wealth and income were related to fast-food consumption, Zagorsky said the results were similar.

      79 percent

      Overall, 79 percent of respondents ate fast food at least once and 23 percent ate three or more meals during any one of the weeks recorded in the study.

      A key finding was that people whose income or wealth changed dramatically during the four years of the study -- either going way up or way down -- didn't change their eating habits.

      "If you became richer or poorer, it didn't change how much fast food you ate," Zagorsky said.

      Lack of time

      One hallmark of the heavy users of fast food was a lack of time.

      The study found that fast-food eaters tended to have less leisure time because they were more likely to work more hours than non-fast-food eaters.

      Zagorsky said he hopes the results of this study can help guide policymakers when they come up with laws regarding how to prevent obesity or guide nutritional choices for Americans.

      "If government wants to get involved in regulating nutrition and food choices, it should be based on facts. This study helps reject the myth that poor people eat more fast food than others and may need special protection," he said.

      It's generally thought that poor people are the biggest consumers of fast food, but a new study suggests that's not the case. The Ohio State University stu...
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      Why the alternate-day fasting diet might not be right for you

      Researchers say the diet does not guarantee better results and may be harder to follow

      If you’re a consumer who struggles with obesity or being overweight, then one of the first suggestions you’re likely to hear is that you should restrict the number of calories you consume each day. However, this can be a major test of willpower for some, and different fad diets have tried to come up with ways that allow consumers to lose weight while letting them eat what they want.

      One of the newest strategies is called alternate-day fasting, where consumers are encouraged to eat whatever they want on one day and follow it up with a day of fasting where they only consume up to 25% of their usual calorie intake. This approach has increased in popularity and has even made its way into several diet books, with proponents calling it a superior way to lose weight. But does it work?

      Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago set out to answer that question and found that the diet might not be all it’s cracked up to be. After conducting a one-year randomized clinical trial, they found that participants who followed an alternate-day fasting diet did not experience any additional weight loss when compared to those who dieted normally.

      "The results of this randomized clinical trial demonstrated that alternate-day fasting did not produce superior adherence, weight loss, weight maintenance or improvements in risk indicators for cardiovascular disease compared with daily calorie restriction," the researchers said.

      Trouble sticking to the diet

      The study included 100 obese participants between the ages of 18 and 64 that were assigned to one of three groups for one year. One group followed an alternate-day fasting diet where participants consumed only 25% of their calorie needs on “fast” days and 125% of calorie needs on “feast” days; one group restricted their calorie intake to 75% of their caloric needs every day; and one group was given no intervention.

      At the beginning of the experiment, the researchers expected that those following an alternate-day fasting diet would be able to adhere to their diet more easily, achieve greater weight loss, and reduce their risk for cardiovascular disease. However, the end results showed that these participants had the most trouble following their diet plan.

      “Participants in the alternate-day fasting group ate more than prescribed on fast days, and less than prescribed on feast days, while those in the daily calorie restriction group generally met their prescribed energy goals,” the researchers said.

      Not “superior”

      In addition to not losing any more weight than participants in the calorie restriction group, the researchers found that those in the alternate-day fasting group were more likely to drop out of the study.

      “Alternate-day fasting has been promoted as a potentially superior alternative to daily calorie restriction under the assumption that it is easier to restrict calories every other day. However, our data from food records. . . indicate that this assumption is not the case. Rather, it appears as though many participants in the alternate-day fasting group converted their diet into de facto calorie restriction as the trial progressed,” the researchers said.

      “Moreover, the dropout rate in the alternate-day fasting group (38%) was higher than that in the daily calorie restriction group (29%) and the control group (26%). It was also shown that more participants in the alternate-day fasting group withdrew owing to dissatisfaction with diet compared with those in the daily calorie restriction group. Taken together, these findings suggest that alternate-day fasting may be less sustainable in the long term, compared with daily calorie restriction, for most obese individuals.”

      The researchers point out that some individuals may still prefer alternate-day fasting over more conventional dieting techniques, but their study does put into question whether or not this new technique truly is “superior.”

      The full study has been published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

      If you’re a consumer who struggles with obesity or being overweight, then one of the first suggestions you’re likely to hear is that you should restrict th...
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      What's the best credit card for overseas travel?

      According to WalletHub, it's the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard

      Choosing the right credit card is important. After all, some cards are more rewarding than others.

      But in addition to how much cash back a card gives you, or how many miles in offers, there are other things to consider. How useful is the card in certain situations? In particular, how useful will it be to you in your specific situations?

      For example, one card might be just fine if you never leave the country. But if you travel abroad every once in a while, you might consider a card that takes that into consideration.

      Personal finance site WalletHub has compiled a report, comparing 69 of the most popular credit cards on the benefits they extend to international travelers. Among the things the report took into consideration are foreign transactions fees, and whether the card issuer requires notification before the cardholder leaves the U.S.

      Top cards

      Coming out on top is the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard. The card's very name suggests it was designed for travel, and it is.

      Close behind are the USAA Visa Signature Card, the Citi Prestige Card, the Citi Thank You Premier, the BankAmericard Travel Rewards Visa Signature Card, and the Merrill Visa Signature Card.

      Each of the cards have international-friendly aspects, some of which rate higher than others in the methodology. You can see the complete rankings here.

      Key findings

      Among the key findings, Barclaycard, USAA and Capital One are the best credit card companies for international travelers. Three of the largest card issuers do not charge a foreign transaction fee.

      Two companies -- American Express and Capital One -- are the only card issuers that can automatically detect when you have left the United States, and do not require cardholders to notify them.

      Finally, only three of the top 10 card companies will send you a free replacement card if yours is lost or stolen while traveling overseas. Four will send a replacement card, but not for free. Wells Fargo charges as much as $50 for a replacement card. U.S. Bank, Discover, and Capital One do not ship to international addresses, according to the report.

      Choosing the right credit card is important. After all, some cards are more rewarding than others.But in addition to how much cash back a card gives yo...
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      Doctors cite full body exams as best weapon against skin cancer

      The scans can catch the disease early so that treatment can begin immediately

      Perhaps one of the trickiest aspects of treating a disease like cancer is that there are so many different varieties. Skin cancer is currently the most common form of the disease in the United States, with approximately 5.4 million cases of nonmelanoma skin cancer being treated in over 3.3 million people each year, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.

      Researchers have long debated what the best tactic is for detecting the disease in its earliest stages, when treatment efforts are most effective. One measure that had garnered some support was the practice of scheduling routine full body scans, but a U.S. Preventive Services Task Force withheld its recommendation for the idea last year, citing insufficient evidence that it would be feasible.

      Now, a group of dermatologists and oncologists are asking the group to reconsider that stance. In an article published in Future Medicine, they explain that conducting the scans on high-risk individuals could help prevent skin cancer deaths.

      “Skin cancer screening with a total body skin examination (TBSE) is arguably the safest, easiest and possibly the most cost-effective screening test in medicine,” the doctors said.

      Improving current screening practices

      The authors point out that melanoma rates are continuing to grow. It is currently the fifth most common invasive cancer in men and the seventh in women, with over 76,000 new cases being diagnosed in 2016. They explain that early detection is key to improving outcomes for patients; the average 5-year survival rate for patients in state IA – the earliest stage – is 98.4%, compared to 17.9% for stage IV.

      The screenings would be conducted apart from consumers’ general physical examinations and would target individuals between the ages of 35 and 75 and those who have strong risk factors for developing the disease.

      The authors say that current screening practices are in much need of improvement, citing findings that only 8% of patients had received a skin examination from their primary care provider or obstetrician/gynecologist in the past 12 months. Providing routine full body exams, they say, could go a long way towards improving those numbers and saving lives.

      “Risk-based skin cancer screening is warranted and justifiable. Screening could potentially impact early detection of melanoma, resulting in a reduction of morbidity, mortality and cost of treatment,” the authors conclude.

      Perhaps one of the trickiest aspects of treating a disease like cancer is that there are so many different varieties. Skin cancer is currently the most com...
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