At Augusta Hitting Short Drives and Losing Is a Tradition Unlike Any

We can always be certain of a few things about the Masters Tournament, which starts Thursday at the Augusta National Golf Club: The azaleas will be in bloom. The course will be pristine. The post-tournament sit-down in Butler Cabin will be awkward. But who will win? Let’s see which factors, if any, correlate with success under the Georgia pines.Full disclosure: Attempting to forecast the outcome of any single golf tournament is, in many ways, a fool’s errand. The PGA Tour’s leading winner in each season since 19801In this article, 1980 will be the cutoff for most of the stats used, because that’s as far back as PGATour.com’s data extends in any category. has averaged 4.6 victories in 21 events, a rate of just under 22 percent. Even Tiger Woods, who may be the greatest golfer of all time, has won only 26 percent of the tournaments he’s entered. The field regularly beats the best golfers in the world, and this is especially true in the tiny sample of a four-round tournament.Complicating matters, the Masters (one of the more prestigious of the four majors) has seen plenty of fluke winners in recent years, at least based on their perceived status the year before they won the tournament. Going back to 2003, the earliest year for which the PGA Tour website has end-of-year Official World Golf Ranking data, only U.S. Open winners have a lower end-of-year OWGR point average2The Official World Golf Ranking is composed of a rolling per-event average that awards points based on tournament finishes, with bonuses for the prestige and difficulty of the event. than Masters champions in the season before their major victory.3The Masters looks better when we see how its winners hold up the year after victory, when its victors are a close second to those of the PGA Championship. But despite the inherent uncertainty of golf and especially the Masters, some numbers emerge as predictors of success at Augusta. Specifically, long hitters appear to have an advantage — and pure ball-strikers less so — than would be expected from their performance across all tournaments.To isolate those predictive factors, I borrowed a technique I first used for last year’s NCAA Giant Killers project at ESPN.com. The idea is to start with a base rating for each player that loosely represents his talent level relative to others’ in the field. Then I look for discrepancies between what that measurement predicted and what happened, and try to determine whether those gaps are related to a particular attribute of a player’s game.For my look at the Masters, I’m using the PGA Tour’s adjusted scoring average metric, which compares players’ per-round scores with the field averages in the tournaments they played. Other metrics almost certainly do a better job of explaining player talent, including the OWGR4The OGWR is not without issues. Golf-research superhero Mark Broadie found that the rankings were biased when compared with systems such as Jeff Sagarin’s, because they don’t give events on international tours the proper weight relative to those of the PGA Tour. and Jeff Sagarin’s Golfweek ratings, but adjusted scoring average has the advantage of being available back to 1980 at the PGA Tour’s website.5The adjusted scoring average correlates reasonably well with the OWGR’s points-per-event average over the years where both numbers are available. The correlation coefficient between adjusted scoring and OWGR points per event was 0.72.A player’s adjusted scoring average from the previous year6Statistics from the previous season were used to restrict ourselves to data that would have been available at the time of a pre-Masters prediction. provides a baseline from which a generic Masters prediction can be created. Moving to the next level and searching for meaningful player traits, though, means looking at the PGA Tour’s traditional skill statistics — average driving distance, driving accuracy percentage, greens in regulation percentage, putts per round7The PGA Tour also introduced putts per green in regulation, supposedly a more advanced measure of putting skill, in 1986. But tried-and-true putts per round correlates better with space-age putting metrics, such as “strokes gained,” than putts per green in regulation does. and sand save percentage — all of which have also been recorded since 1980.Comparing these metrics with areas where our generic predictions went wrong can tell us which types of players could expect an extra boost at Augusta, beyond what we know purely from their adjusted scoring averages.Let’s start with the metrics that don’t significantly change our expectations after accounting for scoring average. A player’s driving accuracy, for instance, isn’t much of a weapon in the Masters. In fact, the average green jacket winner since 1980 has hit fairways at a rate 1.6 percentage points below the tour average in the preceding season. Straight drives are never a bad thing, but this finding indicates that they are no more important at Augusta than on the typical PGA Tour setup.Getting up and down out of bunkers apparently doesn’t make much difference at the Masters, either. Sand saves are far from the only shots a player must worry about around the green, but they also correlate moderately well with another short-game statistic known as “scrambling,” which measures the rate at which a player misses the green but still saves par. The trouble with these barometers is that they vary wildly from year to year, largely because of sample size issues (there are only so many greenside bunkers you can hit out of each season). This may play into the seeming lack of importance — we can’t predict who will be good at the short-game stats in any given season.And for all of the breathless reverence given to Augusta’s trademark slippery greens, putting skill isn’t a significant predictor of those who will stray from expectations, either.I suspect this is because putts per round is one of the least consistent performance indicators from season to season, ranking only above sand save percentage. If we look at correlations to Masters performance using stats from the season in question, putting looks like one of the strongest indicators, but it loses all predictive power when we use the previous season’s stats. In other words, if we knew who was going to be good at putting this season, it would be a valuable piece of forecasting information. But because we don’t, it isn’t.8Our apologies to Mike Weir, the highest-ranking putter from 2013 in the 2014 Masters field.So what does matter when predicting whose Augusta performance will exceed expectations? The only two skill statistics I found to be significant were average driving distance and the percentage of greens hit in regulation. Neither effect was huge, but you can see them come into play in recent Masters outcomes.First, driving distance. For every 17 additional yards per drive a player hit above the PGA Tour average in the previous season, he could expect to exceed his basic 72-hole Masters results by one stroke. A whole stroke is a pretty big deal; it can often mean the difference between winning and losing the tournament. And though few players vary so much from average that they lose or gain that full shot, the game’s longest hitters come close, which is one reason why this factor has been part of some big statistical surprises over the past few seasons.To wit: When Phil Mickelson won in 2010, he was coming off a down year, ranking outside the top 25 in adjusted scoring average for only the second time in his previous 11 seasons. But he still maintained a driving average 12.1 yards greater than average. Likewise, Bubba Watson’s 2012 victory was presaged more by his staggering 23.7 yards of driving distance above average than by 65th-ranked scoring average in 2010. And Angel Cabrera, the tour’s 22nd-longest hitter in 2012, nearly won the 2013 Masters (falling to Adam Scott in a playoff) despite ranking 161st in scoring average a year earlier.By contrast, 17 of the 25 most disappointing Masters performances since 1980 (compared with the expectation generated by adjusted scoring average) belonged to below-average power hitters off the tee. Golf fans will recall that the golf club’s “Tiger-proofing” renovations in the early-to-mid-2000s9The course played 7,435 yards in 2013, almost 10 percent longer than its 6,925-yard incarnation when Woods won his first green jacket in 1997. raised concern that short hitters would be squeezed out of contention. But the data shows that short hitters have paid a price at Augusta going back to the days of Calvin Peete and Jeff Sluman in the 1980s and ’90s.The percentage of greens hit in regulation is a different story. It turns out that, after controlling for the amount of power in a player’s game, hitting a lot of greens the year before the Masters suggests a downturn in expected performance at Augusta.10Albeit with a weaker effect than that associated with driving distance. For every 11.9 points of greens in regulation (GIR) percentage above average that a player shot in the preceding season, his 72-hole Masters score tended to increase by one stroke relative to what we’d expect from his adjusted scoring average.This could be attributable to the peculiarities of Augusta, which, while just the 22nd-longest course on tour, plays longer than its yardage because of the numerous elevated greens. Lightning-quick and frequently armed with so-called false fronts, Augusta’s putting surfaces are ideally attacked using short irons with more degrees of loft, an option not always afforded to short drivers.Whatever the reason, at the Masters, disappointment from short-hitting iron specialists is the real tradition unlike any other.Peete is the archetype here, having finished no higher than a tie for 11th — and falling outside the top 20 five times — over the eight Augusta cuts he made back to 1980. And yet he led the PGA Tour in adjusted scoring in 1984 on the heels of back-to-back second-place finishes in 1982 and ’83 (he’d also finish sixth in 1985 and seventh in ’86). His driving accuracy and GIR percentages were unparalleled, but he routinely finished 150th or worse in driving distance, lagging 10 to 12 yards per drive behind his peers. The statistics say that’s a bad combination for someone hoping to win the green jacket.In this year’s field, these factors favor players such as Jason Day, who ranks eighth in Vegas’ 2014 Masters futures (a 25-1 shot) but receives a 0.7-stroke boost to his base rating in my system because he hits the ball hard (11.3 yards above average per drive last season) and isn’t overly reliant on iron play. The same goes for Dustin Johnson, who crushed the ball 17.8 yards above average per drive in 2013 and had a good-but-not-great GIR percentage. And Rory McIlroy’s playing style fits that description as well.The same numbers cut against Steve Stricker, a well-below-average power hitter who relies heavily on approach accuracy. There’s a reason he’s cracked the top 10 only twice at Augusta despite five top-four scoring average seasons in the past seven years. His game might not be built for the Masters, something that can also be said of Henrik Stenson, who led the tour in GIR percentage last season but has yet to enjoy a Masters breakthrough (his best finish at Augusta was a tie for 17th in 2008).Even so, after taking into account individual playing styles that match Augusta’s tendencies, the most any player’s rating moved was one stroke in either direction (Jim Furyk was docked that much for his combination of short hitting off the tee and dependence on iron play for scoring). And Stricker and Stenson continue to rank among the top contenders, because playing generally good golf dwarfs the importance of any Augusta-specific characteristics.After the dust settled, here are the favorites according to my simple model:Again, there are no guarantees in the world of golf forecasting. But the general factors associated with over- or under-performance at Augusta are worth keeping an eye on when you watch the Masters.CORRECTION (April 9, 6:48 p.m.): This article originally misstated the year Bubba Watson won the Masters. It was 2012, not 2011. read more

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Opinion Braxton Miller should be starting quarterback for Ohio State in 2015

OSU redshirt-senior quarterback Braxton Miller (5) is set to compete with J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones for a starting spot in 2015.Credit: Samantha Hollingshead / Lantern photographerWhen Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller went down with a season-ending shoulder injury last fall, my first thoughts weren’t about how the Buckeyes would do without him during the 2014 season, but how good they would be with him coming back in 2015.Heading into the 2014 campaign, Miller was to be the senior leader of the team and was a Heisman hopeful. What he was able to do with the talent he had around him in his first three seasons as the signal caller was quite impressive. Play-calling from coaches, the lack of talent at wide receiver and multiple turnovers that were out of Miller’s control led to missed opportunities. And that was just in the 2013 Big Ten Championship game against Michigan State.Last year’s OSU team wasn’t supposed to be as good as they were without Miller; they definitely weren’t supposed to win it all. With a year of young players getting a chance to develop, such as wide receivers and the offensive line, things couldn’t look better for the 2015 team.You get your best player back on the field and everyone else around him ­­— who once slowed him down — all had the chance to improve. And boy, did they ever.Miller is currently rehabbing his shoulder after surgery to repair a torn labrum, so for me to say he should be the starter at this moment would be foolish, but if he is 100 percent healthy by the first game, I believe there is no better option.He has gone against and beat out redshirt-sophomore J.T. Barrett and redshirt-junior Cardale Jones consistently and I don’t think the experience they gained is enough to take the starting job — although you couldn’t ask for better experience. Miller hasn’t gotten any worse and I don’t think it would be wise to sit him out before he is given the chance to lose the job on his own.Before the Big Ten tile game in which OSU beat Wisconsin, 59-0, Jones didn’t appear to be very good. We knew he had an arm and could run, but every time we saw him get reps or in a spring game, he was unimpressive to say the least. They say practice makes perfect, but I’m not convinced that a year of second-team reps all of a sudden made him a better quarterback and player than Miller.Not to mention Jones couldn’t beat out Barrett for the job when Miller went down, so although what he did in the final three games of last season was pure greatness and he will forever hold a place in my heart as a fan, I would bet he comes back down to earth during a full season of constant hits and maybe after the defense lets him down a little.Barrett is a guy that has all the mechanics, but lacks the “wow” factor. He can manage the offense very well, but when it’s time to go out and win a game for his team, I believe he lacks that instinct. At this time he would be better suited watching another year of the explosiveness Miller brings on every play.The younger quarterbacks will only benefit from another year of developing, and as the more experienced man, Miller should be the one starting in the fall.Either way, OSU should have no problem running the table in the Big Ten with whomever coach Urban Meyer chooses to be the signal caller. Although with Miller, games might be over a little faster. read more

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Mens basketball Ohio State opens season with Sunday exhibition against Wooster

C.J. Jackson (3), Jae’Sean Tate (1) and Keita Bates-Diop (back) will be three players head coach Chris Holtmann will count on in the 2017-18 season. Credit: Mason Swires | Former Assistant Photo EditorFor the first time in nearly eight months, Ohio State’s men’s basketball team will take the court as the new-look Buckeyes will take on Wooster in an exhibition at 4 p.m. Sunday at the Schottenstein Center.Uncertainty surrounding the team derives from a myriad of new faces, from the coaching staff to the transfers to the freshmen. Although fans might not know what to expect from the Buckeyes talent-wise, senior forward Jae’Sean Tate said those in attendance will witness an energetic team. “I think you guys are gonna like what you see — just the energy, the excitement,” Tate said Friday. “You’re gonna see a lot of guys just having fun out there.”Ohio State finished the 2016-17 season with a 17-15 record, including a disappointing 7-11 record within the Big Ten and a first-round Big Ten tournament loss to Rutgers. The Scarlet and Gray return a few players from last season, including Tate, redshirt senior guard Kam Williams and junior point guard C.J. Jackson. The Buckeyes also welcome back redshirt junior forward Keita Bates-Diop, whose season ended early due to surgery on his left shin. Tate described Bates-Diop as the best all-around player on the team and said the opportunity to play with him was one of the biggest reasons he initially came to Ohio State. Bates-Diop returned to the court in last week’s closed scrimmage against Xavier and said it felt amazing to finally compete against another team again. The soft-spoken forward compared the 2017-18 team to last season’s team by emphasizing the increase in intensity.“Just comparative maybe — if you look at last year’s team — the passion, the consistent effort is out there all the time,” Bates-Diop said. “I hope you’ll see us just giving it our all — there’s nothing held back just for 40 minutes.”With the exhibition against Wooster on the horizon, Holtmann emphasized the necessity to play as a team.“I just want to see us share the ball and move the ball offensively. We’ve been working on that,” Holtmann said. “I want us to continue to understand how we expect to play offensively.”Holtmann has continually reiterated the importance of defense during the offseason. Last Sunday’s closed-door scrimmage against Xavier opened his eyes to certain issues.“Defensively, I want to see how committed we are on that end and how connected we are on that end,” Holtmann said. “I think we were good at times, in terms of being connected and committed last week [against Xavier], but we didn’t always execute real well — we fouled too much.”Holtmann wants the team to be “connected,” but what does that actually mean?“I think when you see a connected team, you see guys giving appropriate help defensively,” Holtmann said. “You see guys having an awareness of both their man and the ball, and a willingness to respond appropriately defensively. You see guys picking up a teammate when he takes a charge.”Offensively, Bates-Diop said he primarily wants to see unselfishness from the Buckeyes.“Moving the ball around — good ball movement — just good offense in general,” Bates-Diop said. “We work on that a lot, so we’d like to see that come to fruition Sunday.”Holtmann said he’s treating the scrimmage as another practice, but Tate envisions the game as the first chance for the team to make an impression.“Just being able to play together,” Tate said. “It’s a scrimmage — but when you can be able to play in front of all the fans in the Schott — there’s just no feeling like it. And we haven’t had that in a while. We haven’t had it at all with all the faces we have.” read more

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In a dream reverie

first_imgA painter, a story writer and a poet whose words echo her heart’s desires, Hyderabad-based artist Tarab Khan is displaying her third exhibition in the Capital titled Whimsical 3, The Wonder Walk.  The exhibition is about her dreamlike paintings with a childlike curiosity to chase and explore life, fantasies and beyond. Tarab says she doesn’t acknowledge any boundaries that define an end. Some of her paintings are inspired by her poems like Am I for Real, A piece, A bunch of lilies and many more. The recent work is her series on The Wonder Work. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’She has always been a dreamer, she has always felt like a voyager embarking on a journey to discover the Dreams and experience the Reality of life. She says, being human, blessed with senses, she could see and discover the imaginary world of dreams, she could hear the silent music and its vibrations, feel and sense the nature, its mysteries around.In Wonder Walk she steps into those moments and paint them with the rhyming intensity. Wonder walk is a journey through different times, in different state of mind, on different levels of sub-consciousness and with enchanting experiences. As a lone voyager she is on a journey to discover the life, fantasy and beyond! Tarab’s paintings are vibrant, colourful and radiate energy.When: Till 3 JanuaryWhere: Lalit Kala Academylast_img read more

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State issues alert to city district hospitals

first_imgKolkata: The state health department has issued an alert to intensify surveillance to combat Nipah virus.In case of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES), the case should be urgently investigated to rule out the prevalent causes of AES before testing for NIV and such cases should be informed to the state Health department immediately.The Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) of state government will guide the districts in case of sample testing is needed and the subsequent follow up action. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsCopies of the instructions have been sent to all the districts. The Director of IPGMER and School of Tropical Medicine have been intimated. The principal of all medical colleges in the city and the superintendent of Shambhu Nath Pandit Hospital have also been informed. Dr Shanta Dutta, director, national Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases said Beliaghata Infectious Diseases Hospital authorities have been asked to set up an isolation ward and keep N 95 masks ready. A Rapid Action team has been made. The CMOH in the districts have been asked to prepare a list of people who have come from Kerala within 21 days. Beliaghata Infectious Diseases Hospital has been made the nodal hospital. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedDr Dutta said there is no cure for Nipah virus yet. Hence, preventive measures should be taken. There are only three places in the country where the blood samples can be collected to find out the virus. They are at Manipal, Bhopal and Pune. There is no BSL 4 laboratory in the state and if the state government wants, then the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases can collect the samples and send them for testing. The state health department has also instructed the hospitals, both in the city and districts, to keep N 95 masks ready. The state government has already issues do’s and don’t’s. The doctors have asked people not to panic but as prevention is always better, elaborate arrangements have been made to combat the disease.last_img read more

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Rep Hornberger supports package to give students more class choice

first_img08Mar Rep. Hornberger supports package to give students more class choice Categories: Hornberger News,News State Rep. Pamela Hornberger of Chesterfield Township is co-sponsoring a merit curriculum legislative package that will give students and parents more flexibility in their high school education choices.“High school is about preparing our students for life after graduation and that’s what these four bills do,” Hornberger said. “We need to give students with an aptitude for computer coding, statistics or specific trades the opportunity to explore the fields that align with their future aspirations. Right now, employers in Macomb and St. Clair counties are looking for workers who have the training and experience in skilled trades. Many of these courses are currently available in our high school curriculum, students just need more flexibility to select the courses that meet their needs.”The four bills in the package will:Allow students to complete their 21st Century Skills requirement by completing a career/technical education (CTE) or visual/performing arts course.Allow for one foreign language course requirement to be met by completing a CTE or visual/performing arts course to graduate high school, when the current requirement expires for 2022.Allow the completion of a Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration general industry or construction training program to fulfill a health education requirement.Allow for statistics to be an alternative to Algebra II within current Michigan merit standards that require at least four mathematic credits to graduate.House Bills 4315-4318 have been assigned to the House Workforce and Talent Development Committee.#####last_img read more

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In This Issue… Currencies metals swing wildly

first_imgIn This Issue… * Currencies & metals swing wildly… * Merkel sends the euro to the woodshed… * BOC leaves things the way they were… * Swedish krona is best overnight performer! And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts! Will They Ever Learn? Good day… And a Wonderful Wednesday to you! What a crazy day in the risk markets yesterday! We had the Big Ben testimony on the economy, (more on that in a minute) making me feel as though I was getting spun around and around… The great song by Blood, Sweat & Tears, called spinning wheel kept popping into my head as I watched the currency screens… It was downright crazy folks… For all you youngsters that don’t know the song… here’s a snippet: What goes up, must come down, Spinnin’ wheel, got to go round. Talkin’ ‘bout your troubles, it’s a cryin’ sin… Ride the Painted pony, let the spinnin’ wheel spin… OK… here’s the skinny on what I’m talking about… So, yesterday morning I told you how the traders and hedge fund gurus were selling the dollar ahead of the Big Ben Bernanke testimony, in hopes that he would use that stage to announce additional stimulus for the economy / markets. I told you how they would be disappointed and therefore the downside risk was great. You may recall that the euro was playing peek-a-boo with the 1.23 handle… OK.. the stage is set… and then… Big Ben never even mentioned additional stimulus… So the selling of the dollar spun around, and the risk asset were on the selling blocks. The euro fell from 1.23 to 1.2185… Ahhh grasshopper, we weren’t finished… Having been disappointed once again, the market gurus, said, OK… “but isn’t he going to talk again tomorrow, this time to the House?” Why yes he is! And, so once again they began to sell dollars, in hopes that Big Ben would change his testimony on the economy to include an announcement of additional stimulus… up, down, up, down, up, down.. Crazy! Which brings me to this question for the markets… Will you ever learn? Of course, most “real diversification investors” just watch these moves and shake their heads in disgust for the noise it creates… They don’t get caught up in these crazy moves on days like yesterday… That’s for the “trader guys”… let them get caught up in all that! Well… there I was trying to get work done yesterday, when I looked up to see some of the text that Big Ben Bernanke was delivering in his speech to lawmakers on the outlook for the economy. You know, the testimony that traders et al. were all lathered up about yesterday morning… And what to my wondering eye did appear? But the Fed Chairman delivering a very somber, bleak message assessment of the U.S. economy to the lawmakers… I actually kept waiting for Roy Clark and Buck Owens to pop out of the crowd, and begin singing… gloom, despair, and agony on me… deep dark depression, excessive misery… if it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all… gloom, despair and agony on me… HEY! Maybe Big Ben has become a Pfennig Reader! Nahhhhhhh… I doubt that would ever happen! But rest easy my dear readers… For the Fed Chairman made sure the lawmakers knew that “the Fed is prepared to take action should the economy weaken”… Yes, we can all rest easier now…Did you see any of the testimony and the questions the lawmakers asked? Why didn’t they ask Big Ben about how his “additional stimulus” has done so far? Why didn’t they ask him about the new way money is created in the U.S? Does it not border on counterfeiting? What? I hear you saying… OK… the other day, I was reading some research, and the writer, was explaining how guys that keep saying that the Fed is printing money, are wrong… They don’t really “print” money any longer… They make entries into a computer… it’s called the System Open Market Account at the Fed Reserve N.Y. Are these entries actually considered to be, “legal tender”? So many questions they could be asking Big Ben while they have him in front of them… like what did, they have to do, if anything, with the LIBOR rate fixing scandal? Any way… none of the good things were asked of the Fed Chairman, and he skedaddled out of the Senate before they could ask him any tough questions.. Now, it’s on to the House… Nothing will change there, folks… OK… let’s go on to other things… I could spend all morning on that stuff! So, we had the risk assets spinnin’ around yesterday… This morning, there is some trepidation with the markets gurus with their conviction that Big Ben will help them out… And so, the recovery we saw yesterday afternoon with the risk assets is on shaky ground this morning. Maybe the markets gurus have finally figured out that The Fed is going to do nothing but disappoint them, time and time again… maybe… but then, it is the markets gurus… they sometimes act as though they are not the sharpest tool in the shed… The Bank of Canada (BOC) left rates unchanged yesterday, just as I thought they would, and continued to say that “some modest withdrawal of the present considerable monetary policy stimulus may become appropriate”… Hey, folks… that’s central bank parlance for, “we would love to hike rates, but something has got to change in the U.S. and Eurozone before we do that”… The Canadian dollar/ loonie was all caught up in the spinnin’ ‘round yesterday, so this BOC keeping their interest rate powder dry, didn’t do much on a day like yesterday… The Aussie dollar (A$) traded above $1.03 yesterday… And today, it’s right there once again! And the rest of Asia is also stronger this morning. China allowed the renminbi / yuan to gain this morning, and when that happens you can bet your sweet bippie that the Singapore dollar is right on the renminbi’s tail… I write a monthly article for the World Money Analyst, that’s published by the International Man… and I highlighted this connection between the renminbi and Sing dollar this month… Have you been following the Peregrine Financial Group disaster? I found this statement by CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler to be very interesting… You know the firm where the CEO faked statements for over 20 years, and spent all the customer funds? “U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Gary Gensler told the Senate agriculture committee that regulators failed customers of Peregrine Financial Group, which recently collapsed. Gensler vowed that his agency will do better and outlined measures that he said should help.” I could really dig my heels in here and talk about the CFTC and the manipulation going on with Gold & Silver, but… the, kinder, gentler Chuck, isn’t going to be hooked by the bait… it’s tempting, but, I’ll leave the whole thing up to your imagination… Oh… and Gold is down $5 this morning… Since reaching $1,595 the other day, it has slid down the slippery slope to $1,578… I look at this trading in Gold (& Silver) and just shake my head in disgust, that we’re still talking about Gold below $1,600… I can’t help but think that this is like this because the market gods want everyone to own Gold, and are giving them time to buy it at these cheaper levels… Call me crazy… That’s OK, you wouldn’t be the first person to call me crazy… The euro is seeing some additional weakness this morning from comments that came from Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel, who said that the “European project is at risk unless policy makers work harder.” Traders are looking at these words and thinking that there is still a very wide divide between Germany and those Eurozone members that would like to issue a Eurozone bond… Things had been pretty quiet this week so far, with the Eurozone, and their debt crisis, until now… Just shows to go you that you have to keep one eye on the Eurozone, and the other on the rest of the markets… I guess I can’t do that… but you can! I got a few minutes to work on my Vancouver presentations yesterday… and I borrowed a slide from the Big Boss, Frank Trotter, that brings up all kinds of news items randomly on the screen, and I talk about how it’s difficult to focus on one thing in the markets these days, and then in great BIG Bold Letters GREECE appears… yes, the markets continue to be fixated on Greece’s problems… They refuse to look at the problems in the U.S. states… There was an article on YAHOO Finance that reader/ friend, Scott, sent to me last night on the problems with the U.S. states… here are a couple snippets from the article: “U.S. states face long-term budget burdens that are already limiting their ability to pay for basic services such as law enforcement, local schools and transportation. Aging populations and rising health care costs are inflating Medicaid and pension expenses. At the same time, revenue from sales and gas taxes is shrinking. And grants from the federal government, which provide about a third of state revenue, are likely to shrink. The state’s financial problems aren’t just a result of the recession and slow recovery. They have built up over years. Many states have already cut spending on public university and infrastructure projects. California has cut its spending on state universities 12.5 percent in the past five years, the report said. South Carolina has reduced its support 30 percent in that period, the deepest cuts in the country. Florida and Iowa have cut higher education spending about 25 percent.” Chuck again… these cuts are just drops in the buckets for the states, folks… things are going to get a lot worse before they ever turn to better… if ever… And that doesn’t bode well for the economy… But, it’s all about GREECE, right? Pardon me while I go scream at the wall! OK… I’m back now… Before I head to the TTWT story for today… I wanted to highlight that the best performer overnight for the currencies is the Swedish Krona… The krona is outperforming all other currencies as investors look for alternatives to the euro, but remain in the Europe arena… The Swedish economy has been quite strong recently, thus the reason the Riksbank (Sweden’s Central Bank) left rates unchanged at their last meeting. It’s a good story today for the krona… how long will it last? Good question… but given the recent movements in the currencies, this could very well be short-lived, although it shouldn’t be! Then There Was This… You know me… I’ve said that all the previous two implementations of Quantitative Easing (QE) achieved was that it propped up the stock market and lowered the value of the dollar… I’ve not been a fan from the beginning, and while I talk about more QE, I’m merely talking about what I think the Fed Heads will feel that they have to do next! I would have thought that QE3 would have already been announced, and we would be talking now about QE4… but the Fed Heads are keeping things held together with ceiling wax and bailing wire… Well… Rex Nutting of MarketWatch wrote an article saying that QE3 is pointless… Rex believes the U.S. has many things to deal with and QE3 just distracts us from the choices that must be made… Chuck again… yes… I agree! Everyone keeps talking about the Fiscal Cliff that the U.S. is heading for, but no one is doing anything about it! And QE3, 4, 5 or 25, doesn’t resolve these problems… Maybe Big Ben finally got the memo on QE? I doubt it… As I said before, I don’t think he wants to implement the next round of QE this close to the election as to not be seen as a political move… To recap… we went for a ride on the Spinning Wheel yesterday with the risk assets, as it was a Risk on, off, on, off, on wild day… Big Ben Bernanke disappointed the markets once again with no mention of additional stimulus, and instead painted a picture of gloom and despair for the U.S. economy. He’ll speak again today to the House… Merkel decided to make certain everyone knew there was still a wide divide between Germany and those that want a Eurozone bond. And the Bank of Canada left rates unchanged and had the same-o, same-o to say about removing stimulus… Currencies today 7/18/12… American Style: A$ $1.0305, kiwi .7940, C$ .9865, euro 1.2225, sterling 1.56, Swiss $1.0180, … European Style: rand 8.1840, krone 6.1175, SEK 6.9410, forint 233.75, zloty 3.4125, koruna 20.6790, RUB 32.40, yen 79, sing 1.2610, HKD 7.7565, INR 55.43, China 6.3690, pesos 13.18, BRL 2.0210, Dollar Index 83.25, Oil $88.83, 10-year 1.48%, Silver $27, and Gold… $1,578.15 That’s it for today… the +100 degree days returned to St. Louis yesterday… I started across the bridge to the garage yesterday afternoon, and the heat took my breath away… When we were above 100 for all those consecutive days, it got to be no big deal… But after a week’s reprieve, it hit me between the eyes! My beloved Cardinals can’t seem to find a way to build a winning streak, and I think that’s going to haunt them all year, which, unless they find another gear, like last year, will not guide them to the playoffs… Bend me, Shape me, by the American Breed is playing on the iPod, and got me moving in my chair! I hope Chris is having fun out west where it was only 60 degrees yesterday! The Olympics are only 9 days away! And then I want to talk about something to end this today… I saw where our publishing friends have introduced a new Gold trading platform… I love the competition! And if it gets more people buying Gold then good! All I ask any of you that received a notification of this new service this one thing… Before you buy on their new platform, ask what the “ALL-IN Price” is, and then give us at EverBank Metals Select, a call before you buy to compare prices… And with that… I hope you have a Wonderful Wednesday! Chuck Butler President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 1-314-647-3837 www.everbank.comlast_img read more

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In This Issue   Currency rally gets stopped over

first_imgIn This Issue.*  Currency rally gets stopped overnight. *  Talking about Trends. *  Renminbi hits 19-year high. *  A$ & kiwi see profit taking.And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts!Frank On TV!Good day.  And a Happy Friday to one and all! Those nasty and devastating storms that moved through our area on Wednesday night and left a ton of destruction, continued on to the East last night. Hopefully everyone was safe. Remember, houses can be replaced, lives cannot. Well… Did you get to see my long time friend, and Big Boss, Frank Trotter on Bloomberg TV yesterday talking with Pimm Fox? He was also on the Street.com with Joe Deux, of whom I’ve held many a conversation with. I have the links to the short videos in the Big Finish, should you want to check out these very well done videos. I’ve always said that Frank had the face for TV, I had the face for radio!Well… Yesterday was a non-event, currency and metals prices move wise. I was at home last night, by my lonesome, doing some reading about the day, and some of the “opposing views” from mine regarding the dollar and Gold’s future, when I had a V-8 moment, slapped my forehead, and said, “I forgot to mention Jim Rogers last week”!  And so, I’ll begin today’s letter with a reminder to all those falling for Goldman’s call to short Gold…  And that is… Gold is a Commodity, and while it really hasn’t been traded like one recently, it remains a fact that it is a Commodity. And Jim Rogers taught us long ago that during the history of mankind, Commodity Bull Markets take anywhere from 17 to 22 years to play out. At last check the current Commodity Bull Market has only been in place for about 12 to 13 years depending on when you say the Bull Market began.To further that discussion,  I came across a recent report from the IMF, where they highlighted the importance of understanding commodity price fluctuations for commodity producing and consuming countries and the role of commodity prices in growth, inflation, and monetary and fiscal policies. And the explanation of Super Cycles or as Jim Rogers put it, Bull Markets. Gold, being a commodity, therefore is in the middle of a correction and not the beginning of a multi-year decline, or the end of the Bull Market.Look, folks… I just tell it like I see it, or know it to be. And remember, I’ve always told you to take what these Big Brokerage houses call with a grain of salt, for, they could have ulterior motives… In other words, they could be uber-short, and need for the price of the asset to go down tremendously, so they can cover their short positions at cheaper prices…   So… use your noggin…And for the legal beagles… that’s all my opinion, and I could be wrong… But then so would quite a few people with far more gray matter than me!I put the finishing touches on my ,monthly contribution to the World Money Analyst yesterday, and talked about how the dollar remains in the underlying weak trend, even though it has seen some strength in recent months. Always remember this also happened in 2005, 2008, 2010, and now. and each time the people that think they know how trends work, but really have no clue, called for a multi-year dollar rally, and were proven wrong, as I do believe they will also be proved wrong now.However, having said that. The dollar has caught a bid after two days of selling, and is on the rally tracks this morning, even with the IMF lowering their economic growth outlook for the U.S. from 2% growth to 1.7%…  The currencies, led by the euro, are weaker this morning, than they were yesterday. The euro is leading the currencies down the path that’s headed to the woodshed, as Eurozone Finance Ministers are meeting today to discuss Cyprus. And Gold is down another $13 this morning.The fave currency of traders and investors to sell, Japanese yen, came within a whisker of hitting the 100 level last night (99.96) before seeing some buying, as Bank of Japan (BOJ) Gov. Kuroda, spoke last night and didn’t say anything that hasn’t already been said. So, nothing new from Kuroda, and the yen sellers took a pause for the cause.Also in Asia last night, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) left their current currency policy unchanged, which is good for the Singapore dollar (S$).  For those of you new to class, the MAS is like a Central Bank, but even better! The MAS reviews the Singapore economic landscape and then decides if the current band the S$ is allowed to trade in, is strong enough to fight inflation or if it needs to weaken. The MAS has been on a strong band policy for some time now, so the S$ has that going for it!While we’re in Asia. Let’s skip to my Lou over to China to see what’s going on there! Well, it looks like the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) is doing a great job of continuing to push the renminbi/ yuan higher VS the dollar. The renminbi / yuan hit a 19-year high overnight, when the currency was fixed at 6.2506.  This week’s gains add to the previous 6 weeks of gains in the currency, thus making the renminbi’s its longest winning streak in some time.I believe that the PBOC is seeing the same thing I see there all the time, and that is Capital inflows coming into China by the boat load. And. the PBOC and the Chinese Gov’t has to do something to keep investor’s interested here. They need the foreign investment to further fuel their baby steps toward a floating currency that has some percentage of Gold backing, and eventually takes the reins from the dollar.I saw a story on the Bloomberg this morning, and it made me smile, for just last week, I told the audience at the Global Currency Expo about some currencies they should look to, for their fundamentals placed them at the head of the list of currencies when you value them as the stock of a country.  And then the Bloomberg story had a title of: “PIMCO favors Australia, Canada, Scandinavian currencies to dollar”.  I don’t recall seeing him in the crowd, but maybe he had a representative there! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! As if Bill Gross or whomever at PIMCO needs to get their currency research from little old me! Speaking of Aussie dollars (A$),  and its kissin’ cousin across the Tasman, the New Zealand dollar / kiwi, were flying high yesterday, but they flew onto too many trader’s screens. And those traders took profits, thus leaving the two South Pacific currencies  weaker this morning. The two are still set for weekly gains though, so I won’t harp too much on today’s weakness.  The key here is the optimism for China. as long as the optimism remains as it is today, strong, A$’s and kiwi should remain well bid, and supported.You know. that the markets are still hanging on to hopes of one more rate cut from the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), even though the recent economic data, and talk from the Central Bank are not indicating a rate cut is coming.  Aussie PM Gillard, is seeing her popularity slip and it looks like she’s in trouble for the upcoming election this fall..  I’ll betcha a dollar to a Krispy Kreme that we’ll start to hear Gillard call for rate cuts, as she thinks rate cuts could save the election for her. I sure hope the RBA holds steady Eddie to the fundamentals.The U.S. data cupboard has a Biggie report to issue today. March U.S. Retail Sales. I told you yesterday that the BHI was indicating to me that the report would be soft. But truthfully, I wasn’t really home much in March, so I don’t really know what the BHI is indicating. But I’m going to stick with the soft forecast, especially since oil prices are cheaper.Then There Was This. OK. the other day, I said I would look into the report that a record amount of Gold had been removed from the COMEX. Some readers thought that meant I would do it right away. Shoot Rudy, there are only so many hours in a day, minus naps that is!  But I did get a chance to look into it yesterday, and while the reports are what they are, fact is that a total drainage of nearly 2 million ounces of Gold ($3Billion worth) has occurred in the past 90 days, the most during a single quarter since records began being kept in 2001. The reason this has occurred is a mystery, except to the companies that withdrew the Gold.But, the conspiracy juices are flowing for me on this story. And I immediately think that these guys, “know something we don’t”.  And that something could be a major market moving event or even a default of some kind jumps to the front of my mind.   And then it could be something as minor as these holders wanting to store their gold elsewhere and not at the COMEX.    I guess we’ll find out as time goes on. But I find this move of the Gold to be curious at least, given all the stories about Gold losing its luster.To recap. The currencies held their gains throughout Thursday, but have seen some weakness led by the euro, which has a Finance Ministers meeting today on Cyprus. Chuck goes on and on about the Commodity Bull Markets, and Trends to make his points. And the Chinese renminbi / yuan hits a 19-year high VS the dollar overnight.Currencies today 4/12/13. American Style: A$ 1.0525, kiwi .86, C$ .9880, euro 1.3055, sterling 1.5370, Swiss $1.0730, . European Style: rand 8.9385, krone 5.7280, SEK 6.3865, forint 226, zloty 3.1495, koruna 19.8075, RUB 30.99, yen 99.25, sing 1.2375, HKD 7.7615, INR 54.52, China 6.2506, pesos 12.07, BRL 1.9755, Dollar Index 82.40, Oil $92.53, 10-year 1.76%, Silver $27.35, and Gold. $1,546.07. and it’s been awhile, so here’s your chance to take a peek at the U.S. debt clock, click here.Yes, that’s right. it doesn’t seem that long ago that we hit $16 Trillion, and already we are at $16.795 Trillion.. YIKES!That’s it for today. Another tough night for yours truly. I’m scheduled to see one of my doctors on Monday, but I have a HUGE presentation I have to make on Monday, so, I’m going to see if he’ll see me today. The Cardinals are going to honor Stan Musial tonight before their game with the Brewers. They will have special baseballs for the game. It got cold here again, UGH! Spring feels like it will never be Sprung! I spent the work day in my office yesterday, getting a ton of stuff done, and it looks like I’ll be there again today. I’m not really an “office person”, as I prefer to spend my time on the trading desk, but sometimes you’ve got to get the work done!  OK. here are the links that I promised. enjoy. and I hope you have a Fantastico Friday!Frank on Bloomberg TV.Frank on The Street.com.Chuck Butler President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 1-314-647-3837last_img read more

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first_img – Recommended Links • Negative interest rates make it hard for European banks to make money… Regular Dispatch readers know the Federal Reserve has held interest rates near zero since 2008. The European Central Bank (ECB), Europe’s version of the Fed, has gone even further by making its key interest rate negative. Its key rate is -0.3% today. Negative rates force banks to charge rock-bottom interest rates on loans. This eats into bank revenues, as The Wall Street Journal recently explained. Very low interest rates hurt the profits banks make on loans, especially when investors believe loose monetary policy is here to stay. Long-term rates at which banks lend then fall to be little more than short-term ones at which banks borrow. The ECB thought negative rates would stimulate the economy. The idea was that negative rates would get people to borrow and spend more. It hasn’t worked. Europe’s economy is barely growing. And its 9% unemployment rate is twice as high as the U.S. unemployment rate. • Europe’s banks aren’t the only ones hurting… U.S. bank stocks are the worst performing sector in the S&P 500 this year. They’ve fallen 11%…more than double the S&P 500’s 5% decline this year. Japan’s banks are also trading like a financial crisis is around the corner. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MTU), Japan’s biggest bank, has plunged 32% since the start of the year. Mizuho Financial Group (MFG), Japan’s second-biggest, is down 27%. Keep in mind, we’re just two months into the year. These are huge losses in a short period. After all, we’re not talking about speculative biotech stocks or junior mining stocks. European, Japanese, and U.S. banks are the cornerstone of the global financial system. These major losses suggest the economy is not as healthy as most folks believe. Our advice: Instead of holding a large part of your wealth in stocks, set aside a significant amount of cash. Stock prices will likely decline in the next few months. Having a stockpile of cash will give you “ammo” to buy stocks when they become bargains. We also encourage you to read our flagship advisory, The Casey Report. Led by multimillionaire speculator Doug Casey, The Casey Report shows you how to build wealth that will last a lifetime…and survive any crisis. If you sign up today, you’ll learn how we’re making money in the markets right now…by shorting (betting against) one of America’s most vulnerable industries. Click here to begin your risk-free trial. • Switching gears, Canada is already in crisis… Dispatch readers know falling oil prices have hammered Canada’s economy. Canada is the world’s sixth-biggest oil-producing country. Oil makes up 25% of its exports. Last year, Canada’s oil export revenues fell by 42%. Suncor Energy (SU) and Imperial Oil (IMO), Canada’s two largest oil companies, have both plunged more than 40% since June 2014. The Canadian dollar has lost 22% of its value against the U.S. dollar since oil prices peaked in June 2014. Regards, Justin Spittler Delray Beach, Florida February 23, 2016 We want to hear from you. If you have a question or comment, please send it to feedback@caseyresearch.com. We read every email that comes in, and we’ll publish comments, questions, and answers that we think other readers will find useful. It’s starting to look a lot like 2008. Yesterday, HSBC Holdings (HSBC), one of the biggest banks in the world, reported its first quarterly loss since the financial crisis. It lost $1.3 billion…after making a $511 million profit in the fourth quarter of 2014. Management blamed the bad results on the slowing economy. It also blamed struggling oil companies for not paying back loans. However, Dispatch readers know there’s something bigger going on with bank stocks… • European bank stocks have crashed this year… HSBC, which is Europe’s largest bank, has fallen 21% this year. Deutsche Bank (DB), Germany’s largest bank, has dropped 29% this year. Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse (CS) plummeted 39%. Like HSBC, both banks had horrible fourth quarters. Deutsche Bank lost €2.12 billion last quarter. Credit Suisse lost €5.83 billion. As you can see in the chart below, the STOXX Europe 600 Banks Index, which tracks large banks across Europe, is already down 22% this year. Jim Rickards Issues “Critical Warning #3″… Jim Rickards just issued a new critical market update. You need to check this out… Jim’s issued this kind of update only twice before in recent history… Both times were about massive changes in the markets. And this change is even BIGGER… See this very short video by clicking here. — • The crashing Canadian dollar has sent food prices soaring in Canada… Last month, we explained how one Canadian grocery store was selling a gallon of milk for and a carton of eggs for C$8. Another Canadian store was selling a bottle of Tide laundry detergent for C$32. These outrageous prices are now spreading across Canada, The Financial Post reported on Friday. Food prices rose four per cent in January, while prices for fresh vegetables were up 18.2 per cent following another spike of 13.3 per cent in November. Canadians eating out also saw their bills go up, as restaurant prices rose 2.5 per cent. Last week, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development said Canada has the highest core inflation rate of the 34 high-income countries it monitors. • E.B. Tucker, editor of The Casey Report, predicted Canada’s economy was in for a “major wake-up call”… Last September, E.B. visited Canadian oil country for “boots on the ground” research. E.B. concluded after his research trip: While energy only makes up 25% of the province’s GDP, Albertans will be shocked when they see what happens to other sectors now that the oil business has been cut in half. Construction, finance, real estate, and services all benefited from a 15-year oil boom. These other sectors will start shrinking soon. And it’s not going to be pretty. E.B.’s call has been spot-on. And Canada’s crisis keeps getting worse… • Yesterday, credit agency Fitch said that the oil crisis could soon hit Canada’s big banks… Here’s Fitch. So far Canadian Banks have been resilient and the oil slump has appeared manageable but as falling commodity prices permeate the broader economy, banks will begin to feel pressures beyond direct energy loan exposure… Due to the stable Canadian economy over the last few decades, Canadian banks have taken little to no loan provisions over the years. As we move into an uncertain and ‘lower for longer’ oil price period, Fitch expects to see weakness in loan growth and a rise in provisions for credit losses. If you own Canadian bank stocks, sell them. They’re a dangerous investment to own right now. You should also avoid owning the Canadian dollar. If you’re a Canadian who has to own Canadian dollars, be sure to own a significant amount of gold. Unlike paper currencies, gold holds its value long-term. Owning gold will help offset losses from owning Canadian dollars. Since June 2014, gold is up 17% when “priced in” Canadian dollars. • A reminder: Tom Dyson is hosting a free webinar tonight… Tom writes The Palm Beach Letter, one of the world’s most respected investment advisories. His specialty is finding safe investments that pay steady incomes. Like us, Tom thinks another major financial crisis is around the corner. That’s why he recently published a free training session that explains how to generate income whether the markets are going down, up, or sideways. Over the past eight years, his “all-weather” strategy has succeeded 96% of the time. Don’t miss his live webinar tonight at 7:30pm (replay at 9pm). Click here to watch. Chart of the Day Gold is soaring in Canada… As we mentioned earlier, the Canadian dollar has fallen 22% against the U.S. dollar since June 2014. As you can see in today’s chart, the price of gold measured in Canadian dollars is up 17% over this same period. Gold priced in Canadian dollars is at its highest level since March 2013. Gold is doing even better in other parts of the world. According to our friends at Palm Beach Research, gold is at—or near—fresh all-time highs in 27 world currencies. World-Altering Shock #6: Are You Ready? Since 1979, there have been five truly world-shattering events. Incredibly… a small, private network of researchers from Baltimore has predicted every single one so far. Today, its founder is predicting a sixth major shock on track to hit right here in the heart of America. Are you, your family, and your money prepared? Find out here.last_img read more

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A single round of chemotherapy has no effect on sperm count say

first_imgCommenting on the study, Editor-in-chief of Annals of Oncology, Fabrice André, says the discovery offers hope for thousands of patients across the world, but that it is important to remember that these are preliminary findings and will require further validation: By Sally Robertson, B.Sc.Feb 25 2019Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Men who have surgery for early-stage testicular can safely undergo one round of post-operative chemotherapy or radiotherapy without it resulting in a long-term negative effect on their sperm count, according to a new study.Adao | ShutterstockLead author Kristina Weibring (Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm) says the finding should provide some reassurance to testicular cancer patients who want to father children at some point but worry that their treatment will cause infertility.Testicular cancer is the most common form of cancer to affect men aged between 15 and 40. Once it has been diagnosed, patients undergo a procedure called an orchiectomy – surgical removal of the affected testicle. To reduce the risk of relapse, patients then undergo chemotherapy or radiotherapy.Clinicians already know that among men with more advanced cancer, several rounds of chemo or high-dose radiotherapy can reduce sperm count, but it has been less clear whether a single round of either treatment would cause a similar problem in men with early-stage disease.As recently reported in the Annals of Oncology, 182 participants (aged between 18 and 50) with early-stage testicular either received radiotherapy or one round of chemotherapy after undergoing orchiectomy.After the surgery, they provided sperm samples before they had received any further treatment, and then at 6, 12, 24, 36 and 60 months after completing the therapies.Weibring and team report that there was no clinically significant negative long-term impact on sperm count or concentration, irrespective of which type post-operative treatment was administered. Source:Weibring, K., et al. 2019. Sperm count in Swedish clinical stage I testicular cancer patients following adjuvant treatment. Annals of Oncology. The next step will be to establish how to predict the toxic effects on sperm count of different chemotherapy regimens.”Fabrice André This is important to find out, since treatment with one course of postoperative chemotherapy has been shown to decrease the risk of relapse substantially, thereby reducing the number of patients having to be treated with several courses of chemotherapy.”Kristina Weibring, Lead Authorlast_img read more

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