Sunday, July 14, 2024

Kidney exchange collaboration: Alliance for Paired Kidney Donation (APKD) and MedSleuth

 Here's a press release from MedSleuth about their collaboration with the Alliance for Paired Kidney Donation.

The Alliance for Paired Kidney Donation, MedSleuth Partner to Increase Access to Kidney Transplants  NEWS PROVIDED BY MedSleuth  

"SAN FRANCISCO and TOLEDO, Ohio, July 9, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- The Alliance for Paired Kidney Donation (APKD), a global leader in paired kidney donation, and transplant software company MedSleuth announced today a U.S. partnership launched to increase access to lifesaving kidney transplants. The organizations have consolidated their two paired kidney donation software platforms into one program called Kidney Matchgrid, significantly expanding the pool for matching living kidney donors with transplant candidates nationwide.

"Today in the U.S., family, friends and other loved ones may offer the gift of living kidney donation to a person in need of a kidney transplant. While these willing donors are not always compatible with their intended recipient, this incompatibility doesn't have to mean the end of their journey. A process called paired donation allows incompatible donor-recipient pairs to be matched to each other. Paired donation can result in a kidney exchange, in which two incompatible donor-recipient pairs are matched to each other, or a kidney chain, in which a willing donor gives a kidney to a stranger and starts a domino effect of kidney donations.

"Before launching the new collaboration, MedSleuth and APKD operated independently to provide paired donation services and software to match living kidney donors with recipients. APKD focused on kidney exchanges between transplant centers, while MedSleuth focused on kidney exchanges within a single transplant center that was supported by software to improve living donor intake. With this new partnership, transplant centers now have access to a larger pool of patient data from which they can choose between internal, regional or national kidney exchanges.

"As a result, Kidney Matchgrid, a HIPAA-compliant, SOC 2 Type II certified software powered by a Nobel Prize-winning algorithm, better enables transplant centers to deliver both process efficiency and access to more transplants for their hard-to-match transplant candidates and living kidney donors.

"This partnership is an example of what can be achieved when organizations combine their strengths to better serve patients and medical teams across the transplant community," said Dr. Michael A. Rees, transplant surgeon and CEO of APKD. "Bringing together the transparent APKD matching process and the straightforward business practices of MedSleuth puts transplant centers first, giving them tools to make the best choices for the patients they serve."

"Transplant centers working with APKD and MedSleuth will upload information about their donor-recipient pairs and non-directed living donors to Kidney Matchgrid, from which transplant centers and APKD will perform match runs as frequently as desired. MedSleuth will support the partnership by overseeing the sales and marketing of Kidney Matchgrid for all participating transplant centers, allowing APKD to focus on helping transplant centers deliver kidney exchange and first-rate care to the living donors who make kidney exchange possible.

"This partnership enables us to channel our energy into delivering exceptional customer service and outcomes for transplant centers from the first contact and continuing with every match run coordinated by our partners at APKD," said Ben Nightingale, COO of MedSleuth. "We look forward to working with transplant centers nationwide to further living donor transplant effectiveness and save more lives."

"In addition to Kidney Matchgrid, the expanded transplant center network will continue receiving access to services and software provided independently by MedSleuth and APKD.

"APKD's best-in-class support services include concierge-level support for transplant coordinators, donor and recipient protection programs offering lost wage and travel reimbursements, and the APKD KidneyPledge™, which gives priority for chain-ending kidneys to non-directed donors and their family members should they need a kidney transplant in the future. MedSleuth will continue offering transplant centers its BREEZE software to simplify living donor intake, as well as solutions that streamline the transplant process from recipient evaluation through the donor and recipient follow up.

"More information about Kidney Matchgrid and the associated transplant center, patient and donor support services provided by the new partnership is available through APKD at and MedSleuth at

About the Alliance for Paired Kidney Donation

"The Alliance for Paired Kidney Donation (APKD) is a 501c3 with global reach that manages a kidney registry powered by a Nobel Prize-winning algorithm. APKD revolutionized kidney donation by performing the world's first non-simultaneous altruistic donor chain and the first international chain. APKD's commitment to innovation, research, education, technology and generosity allows it to fulfill its mission of saving lives by securing a living donor kidney transplant for every patient who needs one."

About MedSleuth 

MedSleuth seeks to expand access to transplantation by streamlining the transplant process. In addition to kidney paired donation, our BREEZE software platform simplifies candidate evaluation, optimizes waitlist management, and facilitates transplantation, with a focus on living donation. The patented, clinically validated platform collects relevant clinical and demographic data remotely, aiding participating transplant centers in their operations. For more information, visit"

Saturday, July 13, 2024

Covid vaccine boosters: promoting uptake is hard

 A recent study published in Nature shows that inexpensive nudges (to get Covid revaccinations) can have small but measurable effects (about 1 percentage point). The large scale study involving 18 coauthors planned to message 3,662,548 CVS Pharmacy patients  with reminders. The  experimental treatments included one message that also offered free rides to pharmacies. However that message did not further increase revaccinations.

Megastudy shows that reminders boost vaccination but adding free rides does not. by 

Katherine L. Milkman, Sean F. Ellis, Dena M. Gromet, Youngwoo Jung, Alex S. Luscher, Rayyan S. Mobarak, Madeline K. Paxson, Ramon A. Silvera Zumaran, Robert Kuan, Ron Berman, Neil A. Lewis Jr, John A. List, Mitesh S. Patel, Christophe Van den Bulte, Kevin G. Volpp, Maryann V. Beauvais, Jonathon K. Bellows, Cheryl A. Marandola & Angela L. Duckworth, Nature (2024)

Abstract: Encouraging routine COVID-19 vaccinations is likely to be a crucial policy challenge for decades to come. To avert hundreds of thousands of unnecessary hospitalizations and deaths, adoption will need to be higher than it was in the autumn of 2022 or 2023, when less than one-fifth of Americans received booster vaccines1,2. One approach to encouraging vaccination is to eliminate the friction of transportation hurdles. Previous research has shown that friction can hinder follow-through3 and that individuals who live farther from COVID-19 vaccination sites are less likely to get vaccinated4. However, the value of providing free round-trip transportation to vaccination sites is unknown. Here we show that offering people free round-trip Lyft rides to pharmacies has no benefit over and above sending them behaviourally informed text messages reminding them to get vaccinated. We determined this by running a megastudy with millions of CVS Pharmacy patients in the United States testing the effects of (1) free round-trip Lyft rides to CVS Pharmacies for vaccination appointments and (2) seven different sets of behaviourally informed vaccine reminder messages. Our results suggest that offering previously vaccinated individuals free rides to vaccination sites is not a good investment in the United States, contrary to the high expectations of both expert and lay forecasters. Instead, people in the United States should be sent behaviourally informed COVID-19 vaccination reminders, which increased the 30-day COVID-19 booster uptake by 21% (1.05 percentage points) and spilled over to increase 30-day influenza vaccinations by 8% (0.34 percentage points) in our megastudy. More rigorous testing of interventions to promote vaccination is needed to ensure that evidence-based solutions are deployed widely and that ineffective but intuitively appealing tools are discontinued.

Friday, July 12, 2024

Growth pains for legal marijuana, in Germany and New York

Transitioning from a thriving black market for marijuana to a regulated legal market isn't so easy.

The Guardian has the story from Germany, where so far clubs, but not shops, have been legalized:

Cannabis legalisation hampered by most German of substances: red tape. Activists say the rollout of laws permitting recreational use of the drug has been hampered by a ‘bureaucratic monster’  by Deborah Cole

"Joints now mingle openly with pints among fans watching the European football championship in host nation Germany, which in the spring became the first big EU country to legally allow personal recreational use of cannabis.

"That is, provided the fan is over 18, only carrying a small amount of the narcotic, not smoking in the stands of a stadium and not in possession of more than three plants at their officially registered home.


"The hotly disputed law passed by Olaf Scholz’s three-party coalition, which took effect in April, legalised cultivating up to three plants for private consumption, the possession of 50g (1.75oz) of cannabis at one time at home and 25g in public.


"A key phase began on 1 July with the establishment of registered cannabis clubs, which proponents say are vital to assuring the smooth path towards legal weed and supplanting the underworld street trade.


"In order to thwart drug tourism, members must have lived in Germany for six months, sign up to a club for a minimum of three months and have a clean criminal record for narcotics.

"Clubs are dependent on fee-paying members to start operating but are not allowed to advertise, said Marten Knopke of the Cannabis Social Club Leipzig, thus robbing them of a key source of capital needed to rent offices and land for growing purposes. Consumption on club premises is also verboten.

“We are subject to more restrictions than any alcohol company,” Knopke said, echoing a frequent complaint from the cannabis scene about drinking, which kills more than 60,000 people in Germany each year. “The government has also made it really difficult for us to stand up to the hidden [narcotics] market.”


“There are no shops where you can buy, meaning they [foreign tourists]" will end up buying something on the underground market, which is very dangerous in Berlin,” because of contaminated drugs and the role of the mafia in the trade, he said."


And here's the New York Times on New York:

The Real Problem With Legal WeedBy Charles Fain Lehman

"When New York legalized recreational marijuana in 2021, the future seemed bright. ...

"Three years later, things are not going to plan. Gov. Kathy Hochul has called New York’s legalization rollout “a disaster.” Mayor Eric Adams has spent months demanding that Albany fix the current system. “What happened?” The New Yorker recently asked in a feature on the collapse of the state’s marijuana “revolution.”


"There are around 140 recreational dispensaries operating statewide — about one for every 148,000 New Yorkers. Instead of shopping legally, New Yorkers tend to get their weed from the illegal shops that now blanket the state. Estimates suggest that there are anywhere from 2,000 to 8,000 in New York City alone, with uncounted more from Ithaca to Oneonta. Recent crackdowns have temporarily sealed more than 400 stores — only a small fraction of the total in the city.

"These shops undercut the legal stores, offering the same high at a fraction of the price. And they attract crime: There were 736 robbery complaints at unlicensed shops last year, according to the New York Police Department. Shootings are not uncommon, including the killing of a 36-year-old man captured on video last April.

"They also sell to teenagers, as The Times has reported. Teachers, prevention experts and pediatricians have raised the alarm about high schoolers smoking or vaping marijuana at school."

Thursday, July 11, 2024

"Discreteness is the better part of value" (Vince Crawford)

 One of the themes of the conference celebrating Vince Crawford (in anticipation of his 75th birthday) is how two of his early famous papers (Crawford and Knoer, 1981 and Kelso and Crawford, 1982)  helped unify matching theory and the theory of markets and competitive equilibria, and thus began to bring matching theory into mainstream economics.

Vince remarked that the unification of matching with the rest of economics also brought discrete (as opposed to continuous) mathematics into the mainstream of economic theory.

He said he had come to realize that "Discreteness is the better part of value."*

*This is of course a play on the common English language expression "Discretion is the better part of valor," which has an indirect and complicated Shakespearean connection, but in common usage is meant to give advice like "Look before you leap."

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Great Market Hall in Budapest

 It's good to remember that before markets were digital, essentially all marketplaces were places.

Here I am trying to take in Budapest's Great Market Hall.

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Child labor in soccer

Many laws seek to protect children from being exploited in the labor market, and there is widespread repugnance when it appears that such exploitation is taking place. (Think of the issues associated with children sewing soccer balls in Pakistan...)

But minors can also be professional athletes, and that turns out to be an issue in the Euro 2024 competitions, because star Spanish player Lamine Yamal is only 16 years old. (He was scouted at 6...)

Here's the story

Why Spain are Risking 30,000 Euro Fine by Playing Lamine Yamal at Euro 2024, by Robin Mumford 

"Yamal has started in each of Spain's group games so far, against Croatia and Italy, but a German law put Spain at risk of a €30,000 fine for his involvement in the game against Italy. That's because the German Youth Protection Act prohibits under-18s from working beyond a certain time - usually 8pm.

"Spain's first group game kicked off at 6pm local time, but their game against Italy started at 9pm. While there is an exceptional rule within the German law that authorises athletes to work until 11pm, the match finished very close to that time anyway, and post-match showers and interviews are also considered within the realms of labour, which means Spain may very well have met the conditions to be hit with a fine."

HT: Peter Biro


The Centre for Sport and Human Rights has a White Paper called

CHILD LABOUR IN SPORT. Protecting the Rights of Child Athletes

Monday, July 8, 2024

Top-trading-cycles for multiple-type housing markets by Di Feng , Bettina Klaus , and Flip Klijn

 On it's 50th anniversary, top trading cycles (TTC) is still well worth studying. Here's the latest:

Characterizing the typewise top-trading-cycles mechanism for multiple-type housing markets by Di Feng a, Bettina Klaus b, Flip Klijn , Games and Economic Behavior, Volume 146, July 2024, Pages 234-254


"We consider the generalization of the classical Shapley and Scarf housing market model (Shapley and Scarf, 1974) to so-called multiple-type housing markets (Moulin, 1995). Throughout the paper, we focus on strict preferences. When preferences are separable, the prominent solution for these markets is the typewise top-trading-cycles (tTTC) mechanism.

"We first show that for lexicographic preferences, a mechanism is unanimous (or onto), individually rational, strategy-proof, and non-bossy if and only if it is the tTTC mechanism. Second, we obtain a corresponding characterization for separable preferences. We obtain additional characterizations when replacing [strategy-proofness and non-bossiness] with self-enforcing group (or pairwise) strategy-proofness. Finally, we show that for strict preferences, there is no mechanism satisfying unanimity, individual rationality, and strategy-proofness.

"Our characterizations of the tTTC mechanism constitute the first characterizations of an extension of the prominent top-trading-cycles (TTC) mechanism to multiple-type housing markets."