COCA Spotlight: Young pianist knows score on film soundtracks | COCA

500Music is a calling for film composer and pianist Matthew Cravener. The 25-year-old virtuoso has created scores for 17 short films, one documentary, two audio books and an epic Christmas poem. He was selected as the Florida Young Soloist of the Year by Arts4All Florida and has released his own albums. 

When he isn’t in front of the piano, he’s out in the yard keeping his hands busy. He’s often at the keys though, whether he’s playing the Blue Tavern at happy hour or performing for Canterfield Assisted Living every Sunday. Composing inside his home studio, Cravener finds peace at his keyboard.

“Music makes me feel very calm,” says Cravener. “I have autism and Tourette’s. For a very long time and in my adolescent years and it was hard for me to function. Playing piano used to calm the tics down. It relieves a lot of tension and makes my mind go to better places.”

After experimenting with guitar and drums, Cravener was given a miniature piano at age 4. He often requested to hear Andy Griffith’s music and would play along with gospel albums. His father walked by his room one day and was shocked to find Cravener playing “Amazing Grace,” all from memory. 

Cravener still plays by ear. His first piano teacher had him turn around while she played three keys on the piano and he recognized them without any trouble. His next teacher worked with him on scales, arpeggios, phrasing and dynamics, which Cravener says he still uses within his repertoire.

By age 9 he was regularly playing at Black Dog Cafe though his feet barely reached the pedals. He once held a conversation with someone while he continued to play the psalm “We Gather at the River,” quite a feat given the coordination the piece requires. 

Cravener was moved to make his first Christmas CD when a young church friend contracted cancer and was struggling to pay medical bills. In a big-hearted gesture for a young musician, Cravener produced “Matthew’s Christmas for AJ,” which sold 500 copies on its first day. All proceeds went towards his friend’s family and  “Angels We Have Heard on High” became his favorite song to play and record.  

“It was a hard piece to play, but it was really rewarding when I learned it,” says Cravener. “The tempo is uplifting and fast and I enjoy the complexity.”  

At age 14 he produced a gospel album, though shortly after, his Tourette syndrome worsened and inhibited his ability to perform live. During this time, he would watch television shows and movies on YouTube and became interested in the musical scores that would play behind the action. 

Though he believed his performance days might be over, he was captivated by the promise of creating music behind the scenes for films. He attended TCC and was connected with aspiring film director JT Timmons, and began scoring films for Red Eye Productions.

Cravener ambitiously submitted his work to award-winning Los Angeles film composer, Christopher Young. Young called Cravener and sponsored him for an emerging artist residency at Tilden House in Culver City, California.

Read the rest of the story by visiting the Tallahassee Democrat

or read more by downloading the article here

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Lizzy_winkle death, obituary: How Lizzy_winkle died – what happened

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Lizzy_winkle death, obituary: 15 year old Roblox artist Lizzy_winkle died November 29, 2019 after a long battle with blood cancer – acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Lizzy_Winkle death was announced by her sister Mae on Twitter in a statement that read:

Today @Lizzy_Winkle’s journey ended.

Oct 17, 2004 – Nov 29, 2019.

Thank you. God bless. Stay healthy.

To everyone who’s showing their love and prayers to @Lizzy_Winkle, thank you so much. I have Lizzy’s phone and i have all your messages to be printed so people who will come and see her funeral will know how she is loved and appreciated by her Twitter and Roblox family.

Sooner or later, my sister is just going to be another name. Some may cherish her the others may not. I just want her to be remembered somehow. Before time does it’s thing, pass by.

To everyone, i may not be able to repond to all the messages. The love, prayers and appreciation that all of you are giving to my sister is overwhelming. All those youtube videos are making our sad hearts somehow happy. Thank you everyone. Things aren’t unnoticed. We promise.

I know in my heart that you made Lizzy happy for helping out those kids that are fighting the same battle that Lizzy fought. She didn’t win, but those kids will have a chance because of this.

Let’s remember Lizzy and just smile about the fact that we once had an amazing, talented and fun loving friend, sister, best friend and creator. Mask & wig, is a must have for her outfit. 🤗

Lizzy_Winkle was most notable for her creations in the Roblox Royale high community. She even created a game, Christmas Halo❄☃, which accumulated approximately 504,300 visits before being closed on February 5, 2019.

To honour Lizzy, Callmehbob, the developer known for creating the game Royale High and her husband, LauncelotHandsome set up a charity to support cancer and Lizzy’s memorial.

Lizzy_Winkle memorial game was released on December 1, 2019 as “In Loving Memory of Lizzy_Winkle” on callmehbob’s profile.

In the game, users can walk around the memorial, and write a message with a flower of their choice, to pay respects. As of December 1st, 2019, it has over 200,000 visits and over 11,000 favorites. A smaller memorial inside Royale High’s lobby was added that teleported to this game if interacted with.

LauncelotHandsome, (callmehbob’s husband), started a fundraising live stream for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, dedicated to cancer research. By the conclusion of the stream, $17,753.68 was raised for cancer donation.

Lizzy’s sister, after attending Lizzy_Winkle roblox memorial, wrote on Twitter:

Yesterday, I wrote a description mid-tears with hopes that it would speak of Lizzy’s journey & strength battling Leukemia (ALL)… but today, I smiled attending this roblox memorial for a beautiful young soul.

@eamsomar has seen your flowers🌹& art for her younger sister too.

May her soul rest in perfect peace.

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How Rastafarian Bob Marley Met Jesus Christ Before His Death

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Reggae legend Bob Marley is perhaps the most famous Rastafarian in history. This unique religious movement, which originated in Jamaica in the 1930s, worships former Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie I as the messiah. Marley routinely spoke publicly about his Rasta faith. But what most people don’t know, and many try to cover up, is the fact that Bob Marley converted to Christianity in 1980 and was baptized as an Orthodox Christian by Abuna Yesehaq, the archbishop of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in the Western Hemisphere, just seven months before his death, 11 May 1981.

Archbishop Abuna Yesehaq baptised Marley into the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, giving him the name Berhane Selassie, on 4 November 1980, shortly before his death.

Decades after the death of legendary Jamaican musician Bob Marley, the intriguing story of his conversion from the Rasta faith to the Christian faith is circulating.

“What most people don’t know, and many try to cover up, is the fact that Bob Marley proclaimed the Jesus Christ is the Lord, and converted to Christianity in 1980,” proclaims an article that has appeared on a number of websites.

One version states, “In fact, on Nov 4, 1980 he was baptized and became a member of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. When he was buried under Orthodox rites on May 21, 1981, it was with his Bible and his Gibson guitar!”

Other versions of the story say Ethiopia’s Emperor Haile Selassie personally dispatched a bishop of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church to Jamaica who, after Selassie’s death, led Marley to embrace Christianity and repudiate Rastafarianism.

Rastafarianism is a uniquely Jamaican religion that has a number of offshoots, but traditionally teaches that Selassie is the Messiah. The term “Rastafarian” is taken from Selassie’s title before he was crowned emperor – Ras, which is Ethiopian for “Duke” – and his given name, Tafari.

According to the story, the devoutly Christian emperor became alarmed during the 1960s at the growth of Rastafarianism, whose followers smoke marijuana as holy communion and worship Selassie

as God’s holy Messiah, believing the emperor will lead them into righteousness and prosperity.

Appalled, Selassie dispatched Abuna Yesehaq, who was made the Ethiopian church’s Western Hemisphere archbishop, on a mission to Jamaica to proclaim that Selassie himself denied any claim to deity – a message that Yesehaq turned into his life’s work.

About a decade after Selassie’s death, according to the story, Yesehaq baptized Marley, who had taken Rastafarianism worldwide and popularized the group’s trademark dreadlocks – long matted hair.

“Bob Marley is infamous for being reggae music’s ambassador to the world,” reads one version of the report on the Lion of Zion website, which promotes Christian reggae music. “He was raised in the Christian church but strayed away as a youth. He dove into Rastafari and the worship of Haile Selassie and his career exploded as he toured around the nation preaching the beliefs of Rastafari.

“It is also a well known fact in Jamaica that Marley became born again seven months before he died of cancer. Regarding this conversion, I quote two sources.

“Archbishop Yesehaq, head of the Kingston chapter of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church inJamaica, was initially sent toJamaicaby His Majesty to establish the church and to dispel the worship of Selassie.

“Selassie felt that if he personally commissioned someone to start a church that worshipped Christ and not himself, the Rastafarians would follow the true Christ.

“It was these reasonings and many others that eventually brought Bob Marley to be baptized into the Ethiopian Orthodox church by Yesehaq. This conversion is well documented in Jamaica and was strongly criticized by many Rastas.”

Writing for the website Christian Post Australia, Christine Thomasos cites a 1984 interview Archbishop Yesehaq reportedly gave to Jamaica Gleaner‘s Sunday newspaper. Yesehaq died in 2005.

“Bob was really a good brother, a child of God, regardless of how people looked at him,” Yesehaq reportedly told the Gleaner. “He had a desire to be baptized long ago, but there were people close to him who controlled him and who were aligned to a different aspect of Rastafari. But he came to church regularly.”

According to Thomasos, in the reported Gleaner interview – which is not archived on the newspaper’s website – Yesehaq addressed claims that Marley’s terminal cancer was the motivation behind his conversion:

“When he toured Los Angeles and New York and England, he preached the Orthodox faith, and many members in those cities came to the church because of Bob,” Yesehaq said. “Many people think he was baptized because he knew he was dying, but that is not so. He did it when there was no longer any pressure on him, and when he was baptized, he hugged his family and wept, they all wept together for about half an hour.”

Marley, the undisputed “King of Reggae Music,” writes Andre Huie on the website GospelCity, “was an extremely gifted musician that has given a voice not only to his native Jamaica but also to every Third World citizen on the face of this earth.

“His staunch Rastafarian beliefs could very well be credited with cementing the religion and ideologies of Rastafarianism in almost

every country that practices the faith. Marley was indeed a true Rastaman. So could someone please tell me, how in the world could I deduce or even dare ask the question if Bob Marley confessed Jesus Christ?
“Naturally speaking, such a question makes no sense. It’s like asking if granulated sugar is white and if black cows produce black milk. Jesus Christ and the ‘Messiah’ of Rastafarianism, Haile Selassie, are considered opposites in the Rastafarian faith. To confess Christ is the biggest blasphemy in Rastafarianism – like sacrificing the sacred cow.”

However, writes Huie, “it might be a pleasant discovery to some that Marley, just before he died, confessed Jesus Christ as Lord. In other words, he denied that Haile Selassie was God (as Rastas believe) and asserted Jesus as the true living God. If you ask me how I know this, let’s take a journey with a man who has, for years been close with the reggae maestro, who once shared similar beliefs with Bob. I introduce to you, Tommy Cowan.

“Tommy was probably closer to Bob Marley than most people who knew him were.

“’Bob Marley, of course, was gifted, very gifted person. You could probably say he never made a bad song and you know that gifts come from the Lord,’ says Tommy.

“I had the distinct privilege of rapping briefly with Tommy about Bob in an exclusive interview,” writes Huie. “Tommy is the manager and husband of famed Jamaican gospel singer, Carlene Davis. He converted to Christianity and has taken his music-wise entrepreneurship to help advance the current movement of gospel music in the region.

“As he lay back on his chair resting on the wall of his hotel room at Divi Little Bay, Tommy colorfully described the rarely spoken of experience of Bob Marley, about a year before he died.

“Bob Marley himself, before he died, he got baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ,” Tommy says with much conviction.”

Judy Mowatt, a reggae and gospel singer who formerly sang backup for Marley in the group I Threes, recalled learning about Marley’s conversion to Christianity in an interview with Cross Rhythms radio. Mowatt spoke with her former bandmate and Marley’s wife, Rita, about the late musician calling out to Jesus Christ on his death bed.

“When Bob was on his dying bed, his wife Rita called me on the phone and said to me that Bob was in such excruciating pain and he stretched out his hand and said, ‘Jesus take me.’ I was wondering to myself, ‘Why is it that Bob said Jesus and not Selassie,’” Mowatt questioned. “Then I met a friend of mine and he said his sister, who is a Christian, was a nurse at the hospital where Bob was before he passed on, and she led him to the Lord Jesus Christ. So when Rita saw him saying ‘Jesus take me,’ he had already received the Lord Jesus Christ in his life,” according to Christian Today.

Bob died from cancer in 1981 at the age of 36. Yesehaq conducted the rites for the musician’s funeral.

According to the London Guardian newspaper:

“The day of the funeral began with an hour-long service for family and close friends at the Ethiopian Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity on Maxfield Avenue, presided over by His Eminence Abuna Yesehaq, the church’s archbishop in the western hemisphere, who had baptized Marley in New York the previous November, just after his last triumphal concerts at Madison Square Garden. Bob’s baptismal name was Berhane Selassie – ‘Light of the Trinity.’

“At the end of the short service the coffin was transported to the National Arena, where the 6,000-strong congregation was assembling under the eyes of cameras and reporters from around the world.”

“Regrettably Bob was not able to leave us any post-conversion recordings,” notes the Lion of Zion website, “but he did give us some great music and a powerful spiritual legacy with his last-minute transformation.

“And he is probably singing a true redemption song in Heaven right now.”

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Church In Abuja where Pastor charges ₦50,000 to swim in pool with healing powers (Photo) – YabaLeftOnline

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A social media activist has shared satirical tweets about a church in Abuja that allegedly charges it’s members N50,000 to swim in a pool and receive miracles.

Read his tweets below ;

There is this church in Abuja with a weird flex. The Pastor built a swimming pool in the church premises and called it “pool of bethsheba” or something.

The pool has healing powers. Enter and your problems disappear. If you want to enter the pool, you have to pay 50K per swim

For those who are too poor to pay 50K, there is a anointed bottle water sourced from the “pool of Bethsheba.” It goes for 10K.

I am not sure it has as much healing power as paying 50K to submerge yourself in the pool itself.

I mean, you cannot cheat God. It issa Pay as you go.

One certain Sundays, the Pastor does spiritual promo. That means he will let you bath in the pool, all expense paid by God. Even God Sabi do promo.

And of course God is blessing the members of the church who are already rich because they work hard. No shortcuts to heaven dear

The Pastor of this Church is, or course, eccentric like the average Nigerian Pentecostal Pastor. Fire for fire Ministry.

The man got another woman Pregnant while he was married. I think some fine ass South African woman.I mean, even Pastor like big bum bum.Cherish God’s creation

After plenty scandal, he divorced his wife and settled down with his fine ass South African Queen with big bum bum.

Of course the Church is still marching on, the gates of hell shall not prevail. People still troop in.

I mean, who can battle with the Lord? Not some sex scandal

I will like to mention the name of the Church and the Pastor but I don’t want the wrath of God to finally descend on me. I am a God-fearing man!

But hey, anyone who tells you religion is not too 2 the biggest problem of Nigeria is deceiving you. Religion is our own CANCER!

Just a hint: The Church is located somewhere around Kubwa. I think after Kubwa or so. Religion loves Poverty. Yeah

If Jack Thanos my account again, I will pay 50K, strip naked and enter that pool with his name in my mouth.

Btw, if you need Bethsheba water, I sell at a discount

A very nice Brother finally shared an image from the pool of Bethsheba. I kid you not, this is the pool. I think it is inside the Church gan gan. The most high God dwells in our midsts.

You can check out YouTube for videos of his healing sessions. Or Facebook. Just as a snippet pic.twitter.com/P71Gxjss4Q

— Kelvin Odanz (@MrOdanz) November 7, 2019

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Keanu Reeves Goes Public with Girlfriend for the First Time in Decades

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If there’s one thing that the internet can agree on, it’s that Keanu Reeves is an all-around great guy. From his roles in some of our favorite action thrillers, to his more dramatic roles in films like Dracula, he’s a multi-talented actor, sure – but that’s not why the internet loves him so much. He’s also known for being one of the nicest (and least problematic) celebrities on the planet.

Reeves has lived a life marred by tragedy, and has only ever come out of it with generosity and kindness for the world around him. The internet is basically obssessed with this incredible dude.

But his latest red carpet appearance has got everyone excited – because he’s finally gone public with a girlfriend!

He currently resides in the Hollywood hills after gaining fame in an impressive range of massively successful movies.

He first rose to fame in a pretty unlikely franchise.

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989) told the story of two slackers travelling through time. It was so successful that it was followed by a sequel: Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey in 1991.

But Reeves has never stuck to just one genre.

In 1992, he starred in Gothic horror-romance, Bram Stoker’s Dracula – although his performance in this rather overblown movie has been pretty much universally panned.

Reeves is perhaps primarily known for his roles in action movies.

He starred in buddy-cop thriller, Point Break, in 1991, alongside Gary Busey and Patrick Swayze. It was a commercial smash and went on to garner a cult following.

He continued this trend in 1994’s Speed.

The suspenseful thriller told the tale of a rigged bus that would explode if it slowed down. Reeves starred alongside Sandra Bullock and Dennis Hopper, but has since shaded the film by refusing to star in the sequel. His reason? “The movies I wanted to make were movies I wanted to see.” Ouch.

But there’s no doubting where Reeves gained most of his fame.

His role as Neo in The Matrix franchise is what really made Keanu Reeves into a household name. The movies are still thought of as touchstones within the science fiction genre.

But Reeves isn’t just an actor.

He’s also a talented musician and spent many years playing bass for alternative rock band, Dogstar, in the ’90s.

There are many strings to his bow.

He’s made a name for himself particularly because of his versatility, playing leading men, brooding heroes, and goofy losers with equal panache.

But aside from his professional achievements, Reeves hasn’t had such an easy life.

via: Shutterstock

He’s faced a life that one wouldn’t wish on their worst enemy. First, he and girlfriend, Jennifer Syme, suffered a tragic loss when their premature baby was stillborn in 1999.

via: Shutterstock

Soon after this tragedy, in 2001, Syme crashed her car into three parked cars and was thrown from the vehicle, dying instantly.

But Reeves hasn’t let this tragedy make him bitter.

via: Shutterstock

Instead, he’s become an incredible philanthropist. He’s well known for supporting a wide range of charitable causes, from PETA to Stand Up To Cancer.

And that isn’t all.

It was recently revealed that Reeves gave all his profits from the sequel from The Matrix to the crew. And he didn’t even want credit for it, saying, “I’d rather people didn’t know that. It was a private transaction. It was something I could afford to do, a worthwhile thing to do.”

Reeves has been fairly quiet on the acting scene in recent years.

But that’s all set to change in coming months as Reeves will be starring in the third part of the John Wick franchise, Parabellum, out this month.

But, in spite of his fame, Reeves is known for being fairly private.

In the past, he was always less-than-eager to take part in interviews and was known by the press for being a little difficult to deal with.

Including what’s going on with him romantically.

Until now, that is. Because last night, Keanu walked the red carpet at the ACMA Art + Film Gala, and he wasn’t alone.

Reeves made a public appearance with his long-term girlfriend, Alexandra Grant (who looked totally gorgeous, by the way).

Grant is a full-time visual artist.

And a super talented one at that. Her Instagram page is filled with beautiful images she’s created. We knew Keanu would pick a good’un.

Reeves and Grant have acutally collaborated on some creative projects together. This includes the 2011 “grown-ups picture book” Ode to Happiness, written by Reeves and with illustrations by Grant.

This is one of the cutest couples we’ve ever seen – and it seems the internet agrees. Images of the two being generally adorable are cheering everybody up.

For more on Keanu, keep scrolling!

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‘I can last more than 40 seconds’ – Nollywood actor, Mandinga woos Tonto Dikeh

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Fast-rising Nollywood actor Perikles Mandinga was born in Guinea-Bissau and has been in the entertainment industry for many years. He attended college in Lisbon, Portugal before moving to the USA.

He started as a fashion model, and has featured on runways, magazines, billboards and television. Mandinga won “Rip the Runway”, a P Diddy produced reality show aired on BET Network.

He has extensive film and theatre credits both within the US and internationally. His theatre credits include Tower of Babel, Insanity and Properly Plucked. He has also featured in popular Nollywood movies including Omoge, Adaora, Kiss and Tell including some others.

In an interview, Madinga revealed his plans to gain strong network in the Nollywood industry and make a name for himself. He also talked about his crazy fantasy and how he would like to date one of Nigeria’s most controversial actress, Tonto Dikeh.

Who is Perikles Mandinga?

I am a simple person who lived in two different countries (Portugal & USA) from an early age. I like to travel, and I still play sports. I like meeting new people.

What actually informed your decision to go full-time into acting? And how far do you think you can go?

From an early age, I knew acting was something that I love to do but coming from a traditional African family, I knew it was going to be a hard task because my dad wouldn’t accept the idea. He was very hard on me and my siblings. After finishing my studies in Lisbon, I had the opportunity to come to the USA to model. I knew that acting was going to be my full-time devotion, not modelling because it was my life’s purpose.

What are those unique skills you are bringing to play that may possibly stand you out or better still that may give you recognition among all the big stars we have in industry?

Starting out in a poor African country moving to a European capital and then in NYC I have seen things that maybe the other big stars have not experienced.

What kind of roles do you prefer?

I like to play characters that can be genuinely kind, nice guys or bad guy roles- those make me work harder at their motivation. I like characters that have flaws that can be exploited. Because I have a good sense of humour, I can build characters that have two sides to their personality.

Where do you see yourself 5 years from now? What are your personal goals?

In 5 years from now I see myself doing amazing work with actors that inspired me to get into this business.

Which are the films you have acted in?

Kiss and Tell, Omoge, Adaora, Yes I Do. All of these are Nollywood produced.

By all standards, what comparison can you do between Hollywood and Nollywood- which is more relevant to Africans?

Well from my perspective, I see Hollywood as something that has been there for so long, and now there’s a new kid on the block- Nollywood. It is fresh, with new ideas and it’s growing so fast that nothing will be standing in its way. It has a natural and large market eager for new films that it can relate to.

In your opinion, what do you think should be done in terms of sourcing for fund and maintaining world-class movie productions?

In time, as Nollywood grows, it will be able to finance its growth, similar in history to Hollywood. An important thing is to ensure that new, young and upcoming individuals shouldn’t be shut out from participating.

These days, what have you been up to or which project(s) have you been embarking on?

So many things are happening all at the same time, so my hands are full with projects from movies, theatre and other ventures. It is very exciting.

You are quite handsome, you probably would be getting admiration and glances from the female folks. How well do you relate with them?

Thank you for the compliment. I have a big sister who always kept me in line. She and mom taught me to respect everyone. As a result, I have been fortunate to have many female friends who I trust and have deep friendships with.

Currently in the movie industry, who is your female crush?

That should be Tonto Dikeh. I like her so much and she has a very unique personality. Crazy though but I wouldn’t mind going into a serious relationship with her. After all, I can last more than 40 seconds.

What has fame robbed you of and what doors has it opened for you?

You think I have fame? So far nothing has changed me and likely never will. I am no different than anyone else. I am the same person who gets up each morning to see what the day will offer.

Describe a typical day?

My typical day contains jogging, working out or yoga meditation. I have theatre work with my coach and go on many auditions. I like going for walks and playing sports. Nothing makes me happier than reading books. I especially like autobiographies lately.

Name one luxury product you wouldn’t mind breaking the bank for?

I can’t break the bank for what I want because it doesn’t exist yet. I would do everything to help my sister from dying from cancer.

Where is home at the moment?

Home is the place where you’re loved and feel comfortable. Right now I live between Lagos, Lisbon and NYC.

Who is your role model and why?

My Dad is my role model and he will always be. He was a doctor and taught me about ethics, morals and love and helping others.

Aside acting, what other things do you have passion for?

I have a strong love of our African continent. I believe in helping my brothers to achieve their full potential. Sometimes I think that is my calling. I am curious about different aspects of business around the world.

Any message for your fans out there?

Thank you!! Please keep us going by seeing our movies. You inspire us to keep going with new movies, new stories. We started from almost nothing and your attendance at our films answered our prayers. Thank you

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Doctors of Death: Nigeria’s medical misdiagnosis crisis | P.M. News

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*A Special Report by P.M.NEWS

Doctors at work in Idah General Hospital, Kogi state: Misdiagnosis of ailments now a major crisis in Nigeria

By Lanre Babalola

His patient lost a kidney and died but Dr Yakubu Koji was unwilling to admit responsibility when he faced in September a tribunal set up by the Nigerian Medical and Dental Council to try a tribe of reckless and professionally negligent doctors in the country.

According to the tribunal documents, Koji of the Jimeta Clinic and Maternity, Adamawa was charged with gross professional negligence which led to the death of a patient in his care.

He was accused of incompetence in the assessment of the patient and incorrect diagnosis of his illness. To worsen matters, Koji operated on the patient because the patient insisted he should do the operation.

At the tribunal, Koji was told he was negligent in advising the patient on the risk involved in the operation, and also failing to obtain an informed consent of the patient.

At the same tribunal in September, Dr Ikeji Charles of Kefland Family Hospital, Apo Mechanic Extension, Abuja,was arraigned for causing the death of his patient, after surgery for hernia.

Charles was charged with four counts of incompetence and negligence. But like Koji, he also pleaded not guilty.

Regularly, the medical council tribunal holds sessions to hold Nigerian doctors to account and at the end, it suspends doctors found guilty of professional negligence for some months or in rare cases, ban them from practising. The session in September was the third this year.

Minister of Health Osagie Ehanire

One of the doctors recently convicted by the tribunal was Kebbi-based Jamilu Muhammad who erroneously diagnosed that a baby in the womb was dead and then carried out surgery to evacuate the supposedly dead baby. The operation however showed that the baby was alive, but the doctor had amputated the baby’s upper limb as he dissected the mother.

The medical council revealed recently it was investigating 120 doctors for various professional misconduct, while 60 others were awaiting trial at the Tribunal.

Chairman of the medical tribunal, Professor Abba Hassan, right with former health minister, Professor Adewole

Although the tribunal often sanctions the errant doctors, it is debatable if the sanctions were fitting enough for the death of their patients and the anguish this triggers for their families.

Many Nigerians have had unpalatable experiences in the hands of doctors who misdiagnosed their ailments and went on to prescribe the wrong drugs and the wrong treatment. Not many of these patients lived to tell their stories.

Across the country some Nigerians of all classes are dying of common ailments due to wrong diagnosis and drug prescriptions by supposedly trained Nigerian medical doctors.

Wrong diagnosis has become a major and lingering crisis afflicting Nigeria’s medical sector. No wonder, those who could afford it, including the nation’s president and the political leaders, whenever they fall ill, dust their passports and head to Europe, America, Middle East and Asia to seek help.

May be Nigeria would still have had human rights advocate, Chief Gani Fawehinmi alive today, if his lung cancer was detected early. But a Nigerian doctor who examined him said he was suffering from asthma and plied him with plenty asthma drugs. Fawehinmi lamented in the latter part of his life that if his ailment had been correctly diagnosed earlier, he would have taken proper care of himself. He died in 2009.

Gani Fawehinmi: lung cancer diagnosed as asthma

Afrobeat star, Femi Kuti recently tweeted about his late younger sister, Sola, who died due to wrong diagnosis by Nigerian doctors.

Wrong diagnosis has always been a problem in our country.

In 1985, Abudu Razaq, a young student of The Polytechnic, Ibadan complained of severe pains in the lower abdomen and was rushed to the State House Clinic in Marina, Lagos Island. After examining him, the doctors referred him to the then newly founded St. Nicholas Hospital, near City Hall. The team of doctors examined him and concluded that he was suffering from what they called Appendicectomy and an operation to cut the appendix was recommended. They opened him up and later realised that the appendix was not ripe enough to be cut. They removed the stones in the appendix and sealed him up— a classic case of misdiagnosis by supposedly well-trained doctors. What if the patient had died in the course of the ill-advised operation based on the wrong diagnosis?

Another case of misdiagnosis by Nigerian doctors is that of Ade Bisiriyu(not real name) a patient with a sleeping disorder who walked into a clinic at Ikeja, Lagos and complained to the doctor that he couldn’t sleep at night. He told the doctor he was urinating five, six times in the night. The doctor took his body temperature, samples of his blood and urine for examinations and gave him some injections (anti-biotic) which he took for five days.

The patient came back to complain that he still couldn’t sleep. The doctor now zeroed on the patient’s age, he was 56 and declared the patient must be having prostate issues. The doctor advised him to go for a scan at a diagnostic facility on Adeniyi Jones, Ikeja. After perusing at the scan result, he concluded that the patient was suffering from prostate enlargement and recommended some drugs.

But rather than abate, the ailment became worse with the patient observing blood in his stool and pains in the anus. He went back to the doctor and the doctor analysed that it has resulted in haemorrhoids caused by acute pile. He recommended drugs again but the drugs fail to provide succour to the patient.

The pains in the anus got so severe that the patient became so confused.

He went to the doctor again and the doctor recommended that he go for another prostate scan and what he called Colonoscopy.

”After this consultation and the doctor’s reaction to my complaint, I knew he has reached a dead end. He has no solution to my problem. He was only interested in the money. I had to seek a new medical advice,” said the distraught patient.

He sought help with a doctor in Ado Odo-Ota, Ogun State. The doctor at the private medical facility listened to the patient’s complaint, asked him to go for an abdomen scan. After studying the result of the scan, the patient was placed on drips in the hospital for a 24-hour observation. Some injections were given and drugs recommended. After weeks of taking the drugs, the pain did not abate. Rather, it got worse. The patient had emaciated considerably and it was visible he was suffering internally.

Dr. T. A. Sanusi, Registrar Medical and Dental Council

The patient went to complain again to the doctor. The doctor conducted further tests and concluded it was cancer of the anus. The patient is still battling with this ailment.

Bayo Onanuga: I nearly lost my leg

I nearly lost my leg

In 2006, journalist Bayo Onanuga had a freak accident at home. He fell off a ladder and fractured his ankle. It was a bad fracture, what orthopaedic doctors called ‘pilon fracture’. The right ankle bone was badly shattered.

‘It happened about 5.30 am, as I jumped down from a ladder, that I felt was giving way under me, while changing the bulb In my pantry. I was helped to the General Hospital at Ikeja by a colleague, immediately after.

“At the hospital, an x-ray was done, which confirmed that the ankle was badly broken. The doctor on duty was given the x-ray and then he proceeded to cast my foot in POP.

“I immediately complained about serious discomfort after the POP cast was done: I felt some burning sensation in the sole of my foot. What I felt was beyond pain. My leg was literally on fire.

“I told the doctor, what I was feeling. He said I should bear the pain and gave me analgesic.
I took the analgesic and yet the sensation did not subside.

Dr Jonathan Osamor: offers suggestions on helping doctors

“I was lucky, I was stretchered into a LASUTH VIP ward for observation after the casting. As I lay on bed, I kept complaining that my leg was ‘burning’. The nurses on duty could not understand why an adult that I was should be complaining like a baby. I persisted in ventilating my complaint.

“When it seemed they would not listen to me and they appeared not to empathise with me, I peeled off the POP. It was still wet and in minutes, I succeeded in removing it. I instantly felt relieved and I fell asleep, leg raised on a wooden plank.

Some hours after, an orthopaedic surgeon came to check on me. The first question he asked was: “Who put the POP on this man’s leg?” The nurses kept conspiratorially mute.

”And then the surgeon dropped the bomb: “If this POP had remained on this leg for five hours, the leg would have developed gangrene and we would have needed to cut it off.”

”The nurses were too ashamed to say anything. I was right and they were wrong. And the doctor who put the cast, without checking the x-ray was more criminally negligent.

“The surgeon said my ankle needed an operation and because the leg had swollen up, I would wait for one week for the operation to take place.

“I had no choice. I waited. Exactly a week after, the operation was done to deal with the pilon fracture that I had sustained.

“Though the operation was successful, with some metals put inside my leg to allow the broken bone regrow, it came with its own issues. The metals were not properly set. I ended up spending seven months at home, for an injury that should not have taken me off my routine for more than three months.

“In my case, after four months at home in Lagos, without appreciable healing, I had to travel to the UK for assistance. Three months after, I was back on my feet.

I nearly died of pneumonia

Onanuga also shared his experience with another doctor when he nearly died of pneumonia. His doctor diagnosed it as muscular pain.

“On a Saturday morning, one day in 2010, I drove myself to my doctor and told him I had pneumonia.

“He asked me about the symptoms I had. I said I felt breathless when I climbed the stairs. I could no longer exercise because of this. I said I felt some pain in my rib cage on the right and I was not feeling very well.

“He didn’t agree with me that my symptoms spelled pneumonia. Instead, he said what was ailing me was ‘muscular ache’.

“To resolve all arguments, he asked me to go for a scan. I did. The result however did not confirm my own diagnosis. The area of my body scanned showed nothing.

“My doctor said: “I told you so, you do not have pneumonia. You have muscular ache. So he gave me some analgesics.I took the medicine home and used as prescribed.

“By the evening of same day my diagnosis was confirmed by what I began to notice. In the night, I went downstairs in my house to pick something in the backyard and suddenly I was gripped by excruciating pain in my stomach. I crouched and had to maintain the position to crawl back into the house. I was the only one at home. My wife had travelled.

“The following day, I became more alarmed. When I sneezed, the mucus that came out was laced with blood. When I coughed, I also saw blood in my phlegm. These are signs of pneumonia that a senior colleague of mine had experienced. I decided to help myself and Googled the best medicine for pneumonia.

“I wrote it down and went to one of the best pharmacies in Ikeja to buy the drug. I started to use it instantly. Two days after, I decided to seek help, again in the UK.

“I was diagnosed with pneumonia. The scan done by a female Nigerian trained radiologist, now working in the UK, picked up some blood clots in my rib cage area. The doctor said the pneumonia would have killed me and even wondered how I had survived. I didn’t tell him I was on my own self-prescribed medication.

“He gave me the same drug that I bought in Lagos, with an additional one. And he asked me to start using them immediately. About five days after, the pneumonia was clear and I was fit enough to return to my country.

Another case of misdiagnosis by Nigerian doctors was narrated by a female journalist who blamed wrong diagnosis by doctors for her brother’s death.

”I lost my immediate elder brother to the cold hands of death on Saturday, February 25, 2017, due to what I call inconclusive diagnosis. Prior to his death, he was a known Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) patient, and he was well managed by my parents and other members of the family.

“He came over to my parents’ complaining of fever and leg pain, and on Thursday night, he became unconscious and was rushed to the hospital, unfortunately, he didn’t survive the experience. His blood sample was collected and a series of tests conducted on him.

“Initially, he was said to have suffered from stress, which was as a result of insomnia he experienced some weeks before he took ill.Then another result came in on Friday evening that he had a Stroke, and it had affected his brain.

“I didn’t understand what that meant, especially since he could move his limbs, but his eyes were open with him rolling his eyeballs involuntarily; he was neither here, nor there.

“Once the result about the brain stroke was handed to my mum, we were advised to take him for a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) – a brain scan, to ascertain the depth of the damage caused by the stroke to his brain. This was only done in 2 hospitals in Lagos.

“When his condition became really unstable Friday night and this caused my mum to shout and panic as she sought help for her son, one of the doctors carelessly said that she should not disturb them with her noise as he was going to die eventually.

“After a series of attacks and instability on Friday night with doctors battling to keep him alive, they managed to resuscitate him with oxygen, unfortunately, he passed on Saturday morning.

“He died before midday. Doctors claimed he died from jaundice complications and that confused me the more”, she said.

Fictional Aneurysm

Sumbo Adeyemi, a Nigerian lady in her twenties complained of severe headache all the time. She first went to St Nicholas Hospital in central Lagos, where the doctor she met, after a scan, diagnosed that she had Intracranial aneurysm and recommended a brain surgery for the supposed ailment.

Alarmed, her relations asked her to seek another diagnosis, from another doctor. The new doctor recommended an MRI scan at a Mecure centre in Lekki. The scan showed not aneurysm but another ailment in the brain.

Confused because of two conflicting diagnosis, Sumbo’s family suggested a third diagnosis outside the country.

In the UK, about 12 doctors, who attended to her rejected outright the two conflicting scans done in Lagos and said they could not have been for the lady.

They then told her that her problem was migraine and that it was caused by insufficient sleep and stress. They advised her to stop watching football, among other stressful things. She was then given some analgesics to use.

The lady is married now and has children and the “migraine” had disappeared. What if she had agreed that doctors open up her brain, in search of a non-existent aneuryism?

Certainly, something is wrong with Nigerian doctors such that they keep missing the goal post in diagnosing their patients’ ailments.

Dr Jonathan Osamor of the Oyo State General Hospital, Moniya, Ibadan gave some explanations: .

“For wrong diagnosis to be made, there are so many components. The first important component is clerking, taking down the history from the patient. If your patient cannot explain very well, you may not be able to extract relevant information from him or her. There could be communication barrier, which may occur as a result of the patient speaking one language and the doctor speak another. Your interpretation of the complaint goes a long way. You may misinterpret the complaint. Another component is you physically examining the patient, whether you can elicit any kind of sign from the patient. That is where your own clinical skill comes in. If you are not versed clinically, you may not be able to identify which of the system of the body is faulty.

“The body is divided into systems – cardiovascular for the circulation, chest for respiratory, abdomen and so on. So, if you examine the system and you are not able to elicit information on some signs that will point to where that pathology is, then you fall back on investigations. Investigation also depends on if the patient has the money and if the laboratory facility is adequate. In other words, there are so many components that could go wrong.

“But you see, it supposed to be a team work. The first point of contact is the junior doctor who has to review with his senior. That is the check, the control. But if you have a facility such as a primary healthcare centre or a local government hospital whereby the doctor is all in all, then there is bound to be a problem.

So, it is the fault of the system we are running. There is no funding, there is no policy from the policy makers as to the milestones you can achieve. The point is that when you have a system that is not organised, it becomes chaotic and things like wrong diagnosis and prescription can occur”, Osamor said.

“Take for instance, general hospitals where the staff are not enough. They may not be able to interpret the complaint of the patient accurately. That can lead to wrong diagnosis and of course, that will be predisposed to wrong prescription. So, it is a lot of components that are involved: Patient communication, presentation, the language barrier, your own understanding or level of your experience, how you were exposed and then laboratory interpretation. If the lab is not functioning, you may just prescribe without waiting for laboratory confirmation of the particular complaint the patient has.

“So, it is the fault of the system we are running. There is no funding, there is no policy from the policy makers as to the milestones you can achieve. The point is that when you have a system that is not organised, it becomes chaotic and things like wrong diagnosis and prescription can occur”, Osamor said.

Dr Sulaiman Abiodun, Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at University College Hospital, also in Ibadan largely agreed with Osamor. Abiodun also blamed poor training of medical doctors, work load and poor rewards as the reasons for rampant misdiagnosis.

“When doctors are overworked, there may be a problem. Everybody has a limit. The moment one has gotten to his or her limit, you cannot expect him or her to perform optimally compared to when he or she has not been over stretched. When you are over stretched, stress will surely set in. The system cannot have the best of you again. Also, many doctors do not have adequate sleep due to the enormous and overwhelming work they do. All these factors will affect the efficiency of the doctors or the quality of the services they will render.

Abiodun also identified poor and non-functioning equipment for diagnosis as part of the crisis of medicare in Nigeria.

How can we stem the crisis of misdiagnosis? Osamor again volunteered some suggestions:

“First for all, the policy makers must have a vision that will guarantee a standard practice in the medical industry. The policy making bodies like hospital management board and ministry of health must be determined to do things rightly. There must be political will to make things work.

“Funding is another issue. The government must fund healthcare system properly. A lot of hospitals don’t have adequate consulting rooms. The roof of a hospital is leaking. There is a structural decay. Also, staffing is very important. You must be able to staff and encourage your staff to the level that they are retained.

“So, there is need for manpower, human capacity building, in-service training, seminars, conferences that they should go so that they can be exposed. And of course, remuneration. Remuneration is very important. If the doctors are well remunerated, they will stay in Nigeria and give their best and there will not be issue of brain drain. So, we have a problem of systemic failure. Policy makers should be able to make a lot of difference when it comes to that”, Osamor said.

Like Osamor, Abiodun also stressed the need for training and retraining doctors. Training, he said, is very important to any profession. “To enable doctors receive good training in medical schools, government needs to properly fund medical institutions and adequately provide necessary equipment to train them with. After medical schools, training and retraining is important so that the doctors will not be outdated”.

*With reports by Gbenro Adesina/Ibadan; Olufumilola Olukomaiya & Jennifer Okundia.

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This startup just raised $8 million to help busy doctors assess the cognitive health of 50 million seniors

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All over the globe, the population of people who are aged 65 and older is growing faster than every other age group. According to United Nations data, by 2050, one in six people in the world will be over age 65, up from one in 11 right now. Meanwhile, in Europe and North America, by 2050, one in four people could be 65 or older.

Unsurprisingly, startups increasingly recognize opportunities to cater to this aging population. Some are developing products to sell to individuals and their family members directly; others are coming up with ways to empower those who work directly with older Americans.

BrainCheck, a 20-person, Houston-based startup whose cognitive healthcare product aims to help physicians assess and track the mental health of their patients, is among the latter. Investors like what it has put together, too. Today, the startup is announcing $8 million in Series A funding co-led by S3 Ventures and Tensility Venture Partners.

We talked earlier today with BrainCheck co-founder and CEO Yael Katz to better understand what her company has created and why it might be of interest to doctors who don’t know about it. Our chat has been edited for length and clarity.

TC: You’re a neuroscientist. You started BrianCheck with David Eagleman, another neuroscientist and the CEO of NeoSensory, a company that develops devices for sensory substitution. Why? What’s the opportunity here?

YK: We looked across the landscape, and we realized that most cognitive assessment is [handled by] a subspecialty of clinical psychology called neuropsychology, where patients are given a series a tests and each is designed to probe a different type of brain function — memory, visual attention, reasoning, executive function. They measure speed and accuracy, and based on that, determine whether there’s a deficit in that domain. But the tests were classically done on paper and it was a lengthy process. We digitized them and gamified them and made them accessible to everyone who is upstream of neuropsychology, including neurologists and primary care doctors.

We created a tech solution that provides clinical decision support to physicians so they can manage patients’ cognitive health. There are 250,000 primary care physicians in the U.S. and 12,000 neurologists and [they’re confronting] what’s been called a silver tsunami. With so many becoming elderly, it’s not possible for them to address the need of the aging population without tech to help them.

TC: How does your product work, and how is it administered?

YK: An assessment is all done on an iPad and takes about 10 minutes. They’re typically administered in a doctor’s office by medical technicians, though they can be administered remotely through telemedicine, too.

TC: These are online quizzes?

YK: Not quizzes and not subjective questions like, ‘How do you think you’re doing?’ but rather objective tasks, like connect the dots, and which way is the center arrow pointing — all while measuring speed and accuracy.

TC: How much does it cost these doctors’ offices, and how are you getting word out?

YZ: We sell a monthly subscription to doctors and it’s a tiered pricing model as measured by volume. We meet doctors at conferences and we publish blog posts and white papers and through that process, we meet them and sell products to them, beginning with a free trial for 30 days, during which time we also give them a web demo.

[What we’re selling] is reimbursable by insurance because it helps them report on and optimize metrics like patient satisfaction. Medicare created a new code to compensate doctors for cognitive care planning, though it was rarely used because the requirements and knowledge involved was so complicated. When we came along, we said, let us help you do what you’re trying to do, and it’s been very rewarding.

TC: Say one of these assessments enables a non specialist to determine that someone is losing memory or can’t think as sharply. What then?

YZ: There’s a phrase: “Diagnose and adios.” Unfortunately, a lot of doctors used to see their jobs as being done once an assessment was made. It wasn’t appreciated that impairment and dementia are things you can address. But about one-third of dementia is preventable, and once you have the disease, it can be slowed.  It’s hard because it requires a lot of one-on-one work, so we created a tech solution that uses the output of tests to provide clinical support to physicians so they can manage patients’ cognitive health. We provide personalized recommendations in a way that’s scalable.

TC: Meaning you suggest an action plan for the doctors to pass along to their patients based on these assessments?

YZ: There are nine modifiable risk factors found to account for a third of [dementia cases], including certain medications that can exacerbate cognitive impairment, including poorly controlled cardiovascular health, hearing impairment and depression. People can have issues for many reasons — multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, Parkinson’s — but health conditions like major depression and physical conditions like cancer and treatments like chemotherapy can cause brain fog. We suggest a care plan that goes to the doctor who then uses that information and modifies it. A lot of it has to do with medication management.

A lot of the time, a doctor — and family members — don’t know how impaired a patient is. You can have a whole conversation with someone during a doctor’s visit who is regaling you with great conversation, then you realize they have massive cognitive deficits. These assessments kind of put everyone on the same page.

TC: You’ve raised capital. How will you use it to move your product forward?

YK: We’ll be combining our assessments with digital biomarkers like changing voice patterns and a test of eye movements. We’ve developed an eye-tracking technology and voice algorithms, but those are still in clinical development; we’re trying to get FDA approval for them now.

TC: Interesting that changing voice patterns can help you diagnose cognitive decline.

YK: We aren’t diagnosing disease. Think of us as a thermometer that [can highlight] how much impairment is there and in what areas and how it’s progressed over time.

TC: What can you tell readers who might worry about their privacy as it relates to your product?

YK: Our software is HIPAA compliant. We make sure our engineers are trained and up to date. The FDA requires that we put a lot of standards in place and we ensure that our database is built in accordance with best practices. I think we’re doing as good a job as anyone can.

Privacy is a concern in general. Unfortunately, companies big and small have to be ever vigilant about a data breach.

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U.S. Public Lands Chief Says His Positions On Climate, Immigrants Don’t Matter

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FORT COLLINS, Colo. ― William Perry Pendley, the controversial acting director of the Bureau of Land Management, told a room full of journalists on Friday that his opinions on climate change and immigrants are “irrelevant” to his job overseeing 245 million acres of public land.

Speaking on a panel at the Society of Environmental Journalists’ annual conference, Pendley, a conservative lawyer who has spent his career fighting federal land protections and environmental regulation, sparred repeatedly with reporters.

He refused to comment about his past statements that cast doubt on basic climate science and compared immigrants to a “cancer.” He also repeatedly responded to questions by saying, “I disagree with your premise.”

As recently as February, Pendley compared the climate crisis to a “unicorn” because “neither exists.”

Asked to clarify his position on Friday, he deferred to his boss, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, a former oil lobbyist who has said he hasn’t lost sleep over soaring atmospheric carbon dioxide and blamed Congress for his own inaction on the climate. Bernhardt had been scheduled to appear at the conference but canceled.

“I’m not a scientist, I’m a lawyer,” Pendley said. “I defer to the secretary. He’s been very clear on this subject. He believes that climate change is real, that mankind has an impact, that we’re unable to project future climate conditions, but that we need to understand the consequences.”

Asked again about his own views, Pendley balked: “Nope, I’m not going to clarify. Those are my personal opinions,” he said. “I’m a Marine. I follow orders.”

Pendley added that he has not been briefed on climate impacts to America’s public lands in the three months he’s been acting head of the  BLM.

In 2007, Pendley referred to undocumented immigrants as “spreading like a cancer” in a fundraising mailer for his legal fund resurfaced by CNN this week. When pressed on Friday about the statement, Pendley brushed off the question entirely.

“My personal opinions are irrelevant,” he said. “I have a new job now. I’m a zealous advocate for my client. My client is the American people and my bosses are the president of the United States and Secretary Bernhardt. What I thought, what I wrote, what I did in the past is irrelevant. I have orders, I have laws to obey, and I intend to do that.”

Pendley didn’t hesitate, though, to slam Democratic presidential candidates who have pledged to stop new fossil fuel leasing on public lands for fossil fuel development if elected.

My personal opinions are irrelevant. William Perry Pendley

The room, as moderators requested, refrained from clapping or booing throughout the panel, which included a gas company executive, the Fort Collins mayor, an American Indian studies academic, an environmentalist and a representative of the outdoor recreation industry. But at one point, the audience in the packed auditorium at Colorado State University gasped as Pendley abruptly interrupted a Denver Post reporter as she asked a follow-up question, saying, “You want to ask a question and get an answer or do you want to keep talking?”

Pendley was asked about the BLM’s decision in May to scrub language about land stewardship from its news releases, which now exclusively highlights the economic value of America’s public lands. He initially shrugged and whispered inaudibly to Shea Loper, the U.S. government relations chief for the Canadian gas giant Encana Corp. He said he was unable to speak to the decision because it occurred before he arrived at the agency.

“I can’t respond to your question,” he said. “I’m sorry.”

At the end of the discussion, panelists were asked what they view as the biggest threat facing public lands today. Pendley responded, “I’ll get really in the weeds. I think the biggest issue I see is the wild horse and burro issue. We have 88,000 wild horses and burros on our Western federal lands. They are causing havoc on the lands.”

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New PSA warns parents to avoid youth tackle football by comparing it to smoking

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(CNN)A young football player stares down his opponents. He hikes the ball. Then the coach passes him a cigarette, which his mother happily lights.

The new PSA, which premiered Thursday morning on YouTube, kicks off the “Tackle Can Wait” campaign. The goal is for parents to keep kids out of tackle football until they’re 14 to lessen their risk of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.
The campaign was led by the daughters of two football players diagnosed with CTE after their deaths: Rebecca Carpenter, whose NFL player father, Lew Carpenter, died in 2010, and Angela Harrison, whose father, Joe Campigotto, played college football and died in 2016.
    The video’s release lines up with a new study in the Annals of Neurology, which found that the severity of CTE isn’t related to the number of concussions, but the number of years spent playing football. Concussion Legacy Foundation CEO Chris Nowinski was a study co-author.
    After studying the brains of more than 260 professional and amateur deceased football players, Boston University researchers concluded that the risk of CTE doubles for every 2.6 years of play.
    That means high school football players who started playing tackle football at 5 years old have 10 times the risk of developing CTE than players who started the game at 14, the foundation said.

    So why 14 years old?

    If age restrictions on cigarettes can prevent lung cancer in young people, Nowinski thinks similar rules might cut kids’ risk of CTE by as much as half.
    Research shows that kids who get brain injuries before age 12 recover more slowly. Plus, children’s bodies aren’t built to withstand the head-bobbling hits of tackle football, he told CNN.
    Of course, there’s also the option of skipping the sport.
    “They can choose not to play tackle football at all,” he said. “But if you do, the best way to manage risk and reward is to wait until 14.”
    Dr. Julian Bailes, the director of neurosurgery and co-director of NorthShore University HealthSystem Neurological Institute and medical director for Pop Warner, said the risk for contact in football is heightened after age 14.
    In high school, the hits are harder and more frequent, and teens face off against bigger players who can cause more damage when they tackle, he said.
    “The risk for brain degeneration later in life relates more to those who have played many years and at the higher levels, college to professional,” he said.
    As for the age limit, Bailes said there’s “no scientific agreement that 14 is a magic number.”
    Brains continue to develop well into adolescence and early adulthood, he said. Neuroscientists haven’t even set a benchmark age when brains have fully developed.
    Nowinski said the smoking comparison is “intentionally shocking,” meant to make parents consider their children’s health in a different way.
    Bailes called the comparison between smoking and tackle football “misleading and inaccurate.”
    “There are nearly half a million people in the US who die from illnesses related to tobacco use, and there are no deaths in youth football,” Bailes said.
    Youth and amateur organizations have made changes to reduce contact in the sport, he said, by taking out head contact during practice and eliminating kickoff for younger players to make football “safer than it’s ever been.”

    CTE symptoms take years to present

    The neurodegenerative disease is thought to be caused by repetitive brain trauma, which shakes the brain inside the skull. That leads to a buildup of tau, an abnormal protein that can take over parts of the brain.
    It can take years or decades after initial brain trauma for the effects of CTE to manifest, according to Boston University’s CTE Center. They include memory loss, confusion, aggression, impaired judgment and eventually dementia.
    There’s no known cure, andit can only be diagnosed through an autopsy.
      A 2017 study from the CTE Center found the disease in 99% of studied brains of deceased NFL players. Only one of 111 former footballers hadn’t shown signs of CTE. The studied brains were required to have football as their primary exposure to head trauma, and the study noted potential bias because relatives of players might have submitted their brains due to symptoms they noticed while they were living.
      But football players aren’t the only ones at risk. Boxers, baseball and soccer players and military veterans have been diagnosed with it, too.

      Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/

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