Monday, June 27, 2016

The Foundation Fighting Blindness and Stem Cell Therapy

Louis Kreisberg is the CEO of The Foundation Fighting Blindness, which funds pioneering research into the causes and cures of illnesses which result in blindness.

One example of up-to-the-minute research funded by the FFB is stem cell transplantation therapy. Many people engaged in finding a cure for blindness have called the transplantation of photo-receptors in order to restore sight as the “holy grail” of possible therapies to cure blindness. The reason is that this therapy has the potential to help people who are living with blindness, but for many difference reasons.

It has already been shown to work in the laboratory where lost photo-receptors have been replaced by injecting stem-cell-derived photo-receptors into the eye. Yet, although much progress has been made with this line of research, there are still many obstacles standing in the way of a cure.

One such hurdle is the inability to distinguish between the newly injected cone photo-receptors from the cone receptors that are already in the eye and not functioning properly. One researcher, Dr. Valerie Wallace, has made a breakthrough towards solving this problem.

“There is considerable work being done on exploring rod cell transplantation in the eye, which has formed the basis for much of the field to this point. Although this work is of significant value to understanding photo-receptor transplantation, replacing a cell type that is responsible for low-light (night) vision in one’s periphery is not an end-point goal of this field,” explained Dr. Phil Nickerson, a collaborator on the project.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Tips to Save on Insurance Premiums

Between car, health, life and other forms of insurance that we pay for each month, the premiums quickly add up. Here are a few tips to keep the costs of having insurance to a minimum.

If there is something that you want, ask for it. This might mean using a broker for your insurance needs instead of signing up on-line, but the potential for savings makes it worthwhile.

Want to lower your premiums? Start with making some life changes that make you look less risky on paper, (and in real life, too.) Dare I say it? Lose some weight, quit smoking, take a defensive driving class. These actions can not only help you save money on your insurance, but save your life, too.

Never stop comparing prices. Comparing prices does not mean making endless phone calls, either. The internet and sites like make is simple and fast to get the best price for your insurance.

Bundled plans are not always the cheapest. Consider looking at each service you are getting separately and see if you are really saving money in the bundle.

Your credit history can be used by insurance companies to determine your rates, so keep an eagle eye on it. Knowing your credit score is an important part of taking charge of your finances anyway, and should be checked yearly. Checking regularly also helps avoid identity theft and fraud.

Many organizations such as companies or schools offer discounted rates for members or alumni. Check and see if your alma mater or company offers such savings on insurance.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Confronting the Truth About Estate Planning

There are many goals of estate planning; one of which is to leave those you love in a better position than perhaps you began your life with. It means coming to the realization that one day you will no longer be alive. For many people this is a difficult realization to confront in all its ramifications.

When planning for your eventual death, the following issues will most likely arise:

You will have mixed emotions about confronting the reality of inevitable death. When you understand that avoiding developing an estate plan will lead to your assets going to unintended beneficiaries and loss of money for your loved ones in unnecessary taxes and liabilities, perhaps that will charge you to action.

Be sure to clearly communicate your wishes. Be sure to involve your loved ones and financial advisors. The more you clarify before your demise, the less likely there will be misunderstandings and disputes after.

The way to communicate your wishes legally is through a will. Be sure to write one, the sooner the better. And keep it up to date whenever some change your status, or your children’s status, or any other relevant event, takes place.

Consider establishing a living trust. This completely bypasses the entire probate process, saves on attorney’s fees, court control, contest clauses, unneeded taxes. It is private and entirely controlled by the family.