November 2, 2017

A jaw-dropping new study published in The Lancet on Thursday is turning everything cardiologists thought they knew about heart stents upside down. Stents — tiny mesh wires used to prop open blocked arteries — are used to prevent heart attacks, or to relieve chest pain that patients experience due to a lack of blood to the heart muscle. According to the study, stents actually do very little — and possibly nothing at all — to prevent that heart pain.

In the study, 200 patients were either given stents or a placebo surgery as if they were receiving a stent, only to not have the mesh actually inserted. All the patients were also put on drugs to reduce the risk of heart attack and to open blood vessels. "When the researchers tested the patients six weeks later, both groups said they had less chest pain, and they did better than before on treadmill tests," The New York Times writes. "But there was no real difference between the patients, the researchers found. Those who got the sham procedure did just as well as those who got stents."

One reason for the baffling results could be that stenting only the largest blockages in the heart does not make a significant difference in a disease that affects the whole muscle. While one artery might be reopened with stents, blockages could obstruct other vessels later.

"All cardiology guidelines should be revised," wrote Dr. David L. Brown of the Washington University School of Medicine and Dr. Rita F. Redberg of the University of California, San Francisco, in a review of the study. Redberg added that based on her assessment, stents should only be given to people who are actually having heart attacks, especially since the surgery carries risks for patients.

More than 500,000 people around the world are given stents each year to relieve chest pain. Read the report at The New York Times. Jeva Lange

12:55 p.m. ET

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who was fired earlier this month by Attorney General Jeff Sessions because he allegedly "lacked candor," published an op-ed about the experience at The Washington Post Friday night:

On March 16, I spent the day with my family waiting to hear whether I would be fired, after 21 years in the FBI and one day before I qualified for my long-planned, earned retirement.

As day turned to night, I had a lot of time to reflect on how it would feel to be separated from the organization I loved — and led — and the mission that has been the central focus of my professional life. Despite all the preparation for the worst-case scenario, I still felt disoriented and sick to my stomach. Around 10 p.m., a friend called to tell me that CNN was reporting that I had been fired. She read me the attorney general's statement.

So, after two decades of public service, I found out that I had been fired in the most disembodied, impersonal way — third-hand, based on a news account. [...] Not in my worst nightmares did I ever dream my FBI career would end this way. [The Washington Post]

The morning after the firing, McCabe continued, he "woke to find the president of the United States celebrating [his] punishment" as a "great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI - A great day for Democracy." Trump since then has continued his attacks on McCabe, claiming that the former FBI agent's memos chronicling their meetings together were fabricated after the fact.

Read the full article at the Post. Bonnie Kristian

12:32 p.m. ET

Protesters are gathering at some 700 student-led March for Our Lives events nationwide on Saturday to demand stricter gun regulations, and they're armed — if you'll pardon the pun — with signs both clever and poignant.

Half a million people are expected at the main rally in Washington, D.C. President Trump is at his resort in Florida for the weekend and has yet to personally comment on the marches, but the White House issued a statement "applaud[ing] the many courageous young Americans exercising their First Amendment rights today."

See some of the most memorable protest signs below. Bonnie Kristian

11:56 a.m. ET

President Trump came under fire Saturday for his announcement late Friday evening that transgender people who "may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery" will not be able to join the military "except under certain limited circumstances."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) condemned Trump's memo as "cowardly" and "disgusting," arguing it is "purpose-built to humiliate our brave transgender members of the military who serve with honor and dignity":

MSNBC host Joe Scarborough suggested on Twitter the memo was timed to distract from the $1.3 trillion omnibus bill Trump signed earlier Friday, a spending package slammed by conservatives as "an embarrassment and a disgrace":

Meanwhile, Republican pundit Ana Navarro, who is firmly #NeverTrump, referenced Trump's draft deferrals during the Vietnam War in a tweeted response:

Congressional Republicans have kept quiet about the memo so far. Bonnie Kristian

10:39 a.m. ET
ABC 9 KETV/Screenshot

An Iowa family of four was found dead Friday inside their vacation condo in Tulum, Mexico, local authorities reported. Police said there are "no signs of traumatic injury," and a relative of the family reported on Facebook there "was no foul play." Autopsies will be conducted to determine the cause of death, which some reports have suggested was a gas leak.

Kevin Sharp, 41, his wife Amy, 38, and their children Sterling, 12, and Adrianna, 7, were from Creston, Iowa. The Sharps owned a beer distribution company, and Kevin raced stock cars.

"We watched the flights leave Cancun and land in St. Louis. We watched the last one leave Cancun. We were hoping that we would hear from them then. When we did not we knew that something was wrong," said Jana Wedlund, Amy's cousin. "The only thing we're thankful for, the only thing they've given us hope for, is that it was very peaceful." Bonnie Kristian

10:33 a.m. ET
Daniel Leal-Olivas/Getty Images

The London offices of Cambridge Analytica were raided overnight Friday by agents of the United Kingdom's Information Commissioner's office. The seven-hour search, which completed early Saturday, was authorized by a warrant to investigate the company's database and servers.

"This is just one part of a larger investigation into the use of personal data and analytics for political purposes," said the Information Commissioner's office of the raid. "As you will expect, we will now need to collect, assess, and consider the evidence before coming to any conclusions."

Cambridge Analytica is the data firm alleged to have illicitly acquired and used information from the Facebook profiles of tens of millions of Americans for targeted campaign ads. The Trump campaign was among its clients, as was a super PAC organized by incoming National Security Adviser John Bolton.

Cambridge Analytica and Facebook both deny illegal conduct, and Facebook has suspended the data firm from its service. Bonnie Kristian

10:27 a.m. ET

South Korea announced Saturday it has finalized plans for high-level talks with North Korea this coming Thursday.

Each country will be represented by three delegates who will meet in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) in advance of planned negotiations between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, which will in turn be followed by discussion between Kim and President Trump. The date of the Trump-Kim summit has yet to be set.

"Through these talks and future talks, we must end the nuclear and peace issue on the Korean Peninsula," Moon said of the arrangement. "It is necessary to make it possible for the two Koreas to live together peacefully without interfering with each other or damaging each other." Bonnie Kristian

8:20 a.m. ET
Mario Tama/Getty Images

Student-led March for Our Lives rallies are scheduled in Washington and cities across the United States on Saturday. About 500,000 people are expected to gather in the capital alone, and some 700 additional protests for stricter gun laws are listed on the march website.

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where the mass shooting on Valentine's Day left 17 people dead, are among the 20 speakers scheduled for the primary event in Washington. All the speakers are 18 or younger, and they will be accompanied by performances from celebrities including Ariana Grande, Common, and Miley Cyrus.

March for Our Lives' student organizers say Saturday's protests are just the beginning of their gun control campaign. "We want to continue what we're doing, especially leading up to November," said Jaclyn Corin, 17, from Parkland. "We want every young person to register to vote and head to the polls, no matter who they're voting for or what party they've voting for." Bonnie Kristian

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