A community for people who want to remain as healthy as possible as we age.

Apnea-Related Leg Movements May Signal Cardiovascular Disease

(MedPage Today) Respiratory events that trigger leg movements predicted cardiovascular disease in older men with obstructive sleep apnea, researchers reported…
After adjusting for clinic site, age, body mass index, and race, respiratory-related leg movements were associated with a 58% increased risk of incident cardiovascular disease in older men…, according to Sayaka Aritake, PhD, … and colleagues.
In a separate model that took into account antidepressant use, hypertension, self-reported diabetes, cardiovascular disease history, smoking, demographic factors, and apnea hypopnea index, respiratory-related leg movement was associated with a 71% increased risk of incident cardiovascular disease…, Aritake said.
Community: More reasons to get treatment for sleep apnea, if you have it: “BMI Tied to Sleep Apnea Severity,” “Asthma Tied to Sleep Apnea,” and “Sleep Apnea Affects Some Driver Functions.”
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New Therapy for Obstructive Sleep Apnea Is Safe, Effective, New Study Suggests

(Science Daily) A clinical study has found that electronic stimulation therapy to reduce obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is safe and effective.
The Stimulation Therapy for Apnea Reduction (The STAR Trial) evaluated an implantable electronic stimulation device called Inspire™ Upper Airway Stimulation (UAS) therapy designed to deliver mild stimulation to the main nerve of the tongue (hypoglossal nerve) on each breathing cycle during sleep. The stimulation is intended to restore tone to key airway muscles and prevent airway collapse.
Patients control when the Inspire therapy is turned on and off using a handheld programmer. In contrast to other surgical procedures to treat sleep apnea, Inspire therapy does not require removing or permanently altering an OSA patient's facial or airway anatomy.
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Stable bedtime helps sleep apnea sufferers adhere to treatment

(Penn State News) A consistent bedtime routine is likely key to helping people with obstructive sleep apnea adhere to their prescribed treatment, according to Penn State researchers.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when the upper airway collapses during sleep. It is the most common type of sleep-disordered breathing, and chances of it occurring are greater in obese people. OSA is the second most prevalent sleep disorder among adults.
The first line of treatment for sleep apnea is a noninvasive, in-home treatment called CPAP -- continuous positive airway pressure therapy. However, if patients do not use the treatment consistently for the majority of sleep hours each night, it cannot help.
"It has been shown that routine is important for adherence when it comes to medication, and routine is also relevant to CPAP adherence," said Amy M. Sawyer, assistant professor of nursing.
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CPAP May Help Glucose Control in Prediabetes

(MedPage Today) Prediabetic patients with obstructive sleep apnea had significant improvement in glucose levels after effective treatment with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), a small clinical trial showed.
The oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) results at 2 hours showed that glucose declined by more than 8 mg/dL from baseline in patients treated with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) but increased by almost 10 mg/dL in a control group, reported Sushmita Pamidi, MD, … and colleagues…
"We found that optimal treatment of sleep apnea with continuous positive airway pressure for 2 weeks led to significant improvements in glucose levels following an oral glucose challenge with affecting insulin secretion, suggesting an improvement in insulin sensitivity," Pamidi said in a statement.
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Seared Scallops with Lemon Orzo
Serve this easy but impressive meal with a green salad, garlic bread, and a crisp white wine. Tip: Sear the scallops while the orzo cooks.
Duck & Strawberry Salad with Rhubarb Dressing
Strawberries provide a sweet counterpoint to rich duck breasts. Here, they meet in a quick salad for two, dressed with a rhubarb vinaigrette. Showcase the fruity, tangy dressing and the smoky grilled duck with the smoky, raspberry character of a Washington State Syrah.
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6 Reasons to Eat Blueberries

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Any way you buy them - fresh, frozen or dried - blueberries are packed with nutritional power. If you need reasons beside taste to snack on blueberries, keep these nutrition facts in mind. Blueberries:
1.    Provide antioxidants. Anthocyanins, the pigments that make blueberries blue, are potent antioxidants: A half-cup of blueberries provides the antioxidant power of five servings of peas, carrots, apples, squash or broccoli.
2.    Are a healthy, low-glycemic-index carbohydrate, an especially good choice for diabetics.
3.    Are a source of vitamin C, important for supporting your immune system.
4.    Help meet your daily fiber needs with two grams per half-cup serving of blueberries.
5.    Have shown promise in addressing the untoward effects of aging: animal studies have demonstrated improved motor skills and a reversal of age-related short-term memory loss associated with consuming blueberries.
6.    May offer various other health benefits ranging from preventing cancer and defending against urinary tract infections to protecting the brain from stroke damage and reducing heart disease risks.
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South L.A. health center adds fresh produce to its mix of services

(Los Angeles Times) Half of physician Mimi Choi's pediatric patients are overweight or obese. She instructs them to eat more fruits and vegetables.
Now she can go one step further — refer them to a discounted produce stand steps away from the South Los Angeles health center where she works.
Choi said she can talk about better nutrition until she is "blue in the face," but her patients will eat more fresh food only if it's available and affordable.
"One of the biggest issues is access," she said. "It's really exciting that it's right outside of the clinic."
St. John's Well Child and Family Center has partnered with a local nonprofit to run weekly produce stands at two of its sites for patients, families and clinic staff. The clinic is doing more than just making the food available — medical providers have begun writing "prescriptions" for patients to purchase the organic produce, Chief Executive Jim Mangia said. The prescriptions reinforce the fact that diet can be as important as medication, he said.
Doctors around the nation are undertaking similar efforts to promote healthier diets.
Community: We have fruit stands popping up all over Chicago: “Mobile Fruit Stands Fight Unemployment and Food Deserts in Chicago.”
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The Latest from The People’s Pharmacy

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CDC urges everyone: Get ready to stay cool before temperatures soar

(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) The [CDC] is urging people to prepare for extreme heat this summer by staying cool, hydrated, and informed. “No one should die from a heat wave, but every year on average, extreme heat causes 658 deaths in the United States—more than tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, and lightning combined,” said Robin Ikeda, MD, MPH, acting director of the National Center for Environmental Health and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. “Taking common sense steps in extreme temperatures can prevent heat-related illnesses and deaths.”
Extreme heat can lead to very high body temperatures, brain and organ damage, and even death. People suffer heat-related illness when their bodies are unable to compensate and cool themselves properly. Extreme heat affects everyone, but the elderly, children, the poor or homeless, persons who work or exercise outdoors, and those with chronic medical conditions are most at risk…
Extreme Heat and Your Health Website: This new page collects CDC resources on extreme heat in one place and provides information on how to prevent heat-related illnesses and deaths for a variety of audiences.  The site can be accessed at http://www.cdc.gov/extremeheat/
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The Pill tied to lower ovarian cancer risk

(Reuters Health) Women who use birth control pills are less likely to develop ovarian cancer later in life, a new analysis of past studies suggests.
Researchers pooled data from 24 studies and found Pill users had a 27 percent lower risk of being diagnosed with ovarian cancer. And longer use seemed to be tied to more protection.
"It reinforces that there is a positive relationship between the use of oral contraceptives and ovarian cancer prevention in the general public," said Dr. Laura Havrilesky, who led the study.
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Lab-Grown Blood Vessel Used for First Time in the U.S.

(Bloomberg) A 62-year-old Virginia man with kidney failure received the first genetically engineered blood vessel in the U.S., a vein that may improve his dialysis treatments and pave the way for future tissue transplants.
The operation at Duke University Hospital in Durham, North Carolina, [Wednesday] marked the first time doctors have implanted an “off-the-shelf” tissue graft in the U.S. The vessel, grown with human cells on a mesh tube, has the potential to be widely used since it was cleansed of any lingering cells that may trigger an immune reaction, said the doctors who performed the surgery.
The vessel was implanted into the man’s arm, giving doctors easier access when performing dialysis. Many patients need grafts to connect an artery to a vein to speed blood flow during the procedure. Synthetic devices and veins harvested from other parts of a patient’s body carry side effects that can limit their usefulness. If the procedure is successful, man-made human veins may be used in heart-bypass surgery.
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Detecting Disease With a Smartphone Accessory

(Science Daily) As antiretroviral drugs that treat HIV have become more commonplace, the incidence of Kaposi's sarcoma, a type of cancer linked to AIDS, has decreased in the United States. The disease, however, remains prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa, where poor access to medical care and lab tests only compound the problem.
Now, Cornell University engineers have created a new smartphone-based system, consisting of a plug-in optical accessory and disposable microfluidic chips, for in-the-field detection of the herpes virus that causes Kaposi's. "The accessory provides an ultraportable way to determine whether or not viral DNA is present in a sample," says mechanical engineer David Erickson, who developed the technique along with his graduate student, biomedical engineer Matthew Mancuso.
The technique could also be adapted for use in detecting a range of other conditions, from E. coli infections to hepatitis.
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FDA panel votes to relax Avandia restrictions

(Reuters) U.S. health advisers voted on Thursday to recommend relaxing market restrictions on GlaxoSmithKline's diabetes drug Avandia, the former blockbuster at the center of one of the biggest drug controversies in recent years.
The vote, by a divided Food and Drug Administration advisory committee of outside health experts, could modestly enlarge the market for Avandia in the United States and lay the groundwork for further research into the drug's health risks. FDA will now take the vote into consideration for a final decision on how the pill also known by the generic name rosiglitazone can be used.
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Law Weakens FDA Conflict-of-Interest Regs

(MedPage Today) More drugs with dangerous side effects could get onto the market as the result of recent legislation that loosens conflicts of interest restrictions on experts serving on panels that advise the FDA, according to a new analysis.
The analysis … reviewed a 2007 law that placed caps on the number of waivers that could be granted allowing experts with conflicts of interest and a 2012 law that removed those safeguards.
"Panels top-heavy with experts who have financial ties to industry might be more likely to dismiss or ignore scientific evidence of risks or other problems," said lead author Susan Wood, an associate professor of health policy at George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services.
Wood, a former FDA official, said removing the caps has been a high priority of the pharmaceutical industry.
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New healthcare model cut even more costs in year two: insurer

(Reuters) The nation's largest experiment in delivering medical care in an innovative way has reduced costs and improved the quality of care even more in its second year than in its first, according to the insurance company behind it.
The nonprofit CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield launched its "Patient-Centered Medical Home" program in January 2011 among primary-care providers serving about one-third of its 3.4 million members in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and northern Virginia.
Like other "accountable care organizations" (ACOs), which are centerpieces of President Barack Obama's healthcare reform, the medical home program ties insurance payments to healthcare providers to the quality of care they deliver.
On Thursday, CareFirst reported cost savings of $98 million for the medical home program in 2012, compared with $38 million the year before. 
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Medicare’s Hospice Payment Plan Fosters Abuse

(Medicare NewsGroup) Hospice, which is a palliative care program that gives patients with life-ending illnesses a choice to forgo intensive treatment at the end and focus instead on dying more comfortably, has grown dramatically in recent years, becoming well-known and widely used. Over the past decade, Medicare spending on hospice has increased at a staggering average rate of 17 percent per year, totaling $13 billion for just 1.2 million patients in 2010, up from the 513,000 patients it served and $2.9 billion it cost in 2000. 
Some experts applaud the wider use of hospice’s services and greater mainstream acceptance of the program, which they say has helped the dying and their families with the end-of-life process and has saved Medicare money. Yet as end-of-life care costs continue to rise, many have become skeptical of the appropriateness of hospice care for the non-cancer population it now largely serves.
Furthermore, Medicare payments to hospice providers are growing disproportionately: since 2000, beneficiaries’ use of hospice services has nearly doubled, while payments to hospice agencies have more than quadrupled, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission’s (MedPAC) 2012 report found.
As a result, MedPAC has repeatedly recommended that Medicare change its hospice payment structure. Yet, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) continues to ignore the fact that the current structure encourages agencies to push hospice care onto those whom they expect to continue to live in the program for a significant amount of the allowable six months, ensuring a continuous and steady stream of payments to for-profit hospice providers at taxpayers’ expense.
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Medicare Urges Seniors to Join the Fight Against Fraud

(eNews Park Forest) In mailboxes across the country, people with Medicare will soon see a redesigned statement of their claims for services and benefits that will help them better spot potential fraud, waste and abuse. These newly redesigned Medicare Summary Notices are just one more way the Obama Administration is making the elimination of fraud, waste and abuse in health care a top priority. Because of actions like these and new tools under the Affordable Care Act, the number of suspect providers and suppliers thrown out of the Medicare program has more than doubled in 35 states.
“The new Medicare Summary Notice gives seniors and people with disabilities accurate information on the services they receive in a simpler, clearer way,” said CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner. “It’s an important tool for staying informed on benefits, and for spotting potential Medicare fraud by making the claims history easier to review.
The redesigned notice will make it easier for people with Medicare to understand their benefits, file an appeal if a claim is denied, and spot claims for services they never received. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will send the notices to Medicare beneficiaries on a quarterly basis.
“A beneficiary’s best defense against fraud is to check their Medicare Summary Notices for accuracy and to diligently protect their health information for privacy,” said Peter Budetti, CMS deputy administrator for program integrity.
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Study: Consumers Saved $2.1B On Individual Coverage

(Kaiser Health News) People who bought their own health insurance last year saved $2.1 billion because of the federal health law, mainly because of a provision that limits how much of their premium can go to insurers’ administration and profits, says a report … from the Kaiser Family Foundation. (KHN is an editorially independent program of the foundation.)
The researchers estimate that premiums for the 11 million Americans who buy their own insurance would have been $1.9 billion higher in 2012 without the law. Some consumers will also see rebates estimated at $241 million, which will be sent out later this year.  While not every consumer saw savings or a rebate, the researchers estimated that the savings averaged $204 per person.
The main reason for the savings was attributed to a provision requiring insurers to issue rebates to consumers if they fail to spend at least 80 percent of every premium dollar on medical care and quality.
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Nordic Diet an Alternative To Mediterranean for Some?

(The Salt, NPR) The Mediterranean diet has long been a darling of nutrition experts as a proven way to prevent some chronic diseases. Heavy on olive oil, vegetables, fruit, nuts and fish, the diet most recently has been shown to reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes and dying compared with a typical low-fat diet.
But in many regions, including Nordic countries like Denmark and Sweden, it's not easy to go Med. Olive oil, for one, is hard to find. And while obesity rates in the Nordic countries are much lower than in the U.S., there are still plenty of people at risk of diabetes and other chronic diseases who could use some dietary inspiration.
That's why a group of nutrition researchers in Iceland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway set out to design a "healthy" Nordic diet around locally produced food items, like herring, rapeseed oil (also known as canola) and bilberries (a relative of the blueberry). To test whether it was actually healthy, they prescribed the diet to people with metabolic syndrome — a precursor to diabetes — and compared them to others on an "average" Nordic diet higher in red meat and white bread…
While the researchers didn't see changes in blood pressure or insulin sensitivity in the people on the healthy Nordic diet, their bad cholesterol/good cholesterol ratio improved significantly, as did one marker for inflammation, according to Lieselotte Cloetens, a biomedical nutrition researcher at Lund University in Sweden who co-authored the study. In the long run, Cloetens says, the change in the inflammation marker could result in a 20 to 40 percent reduction in the risk of type 2 diabetes for people on the healthy diet.
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Traditional Foods Are Source of Health

(National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion) Renowned Hollywood actor and Cherokee tribal member, Wes Studi, explains how American Indians and Alaska Natives are twice as likely to have diagnosed diabetes as non-Hispanic whites. Studi underscores the wisdom of cultural knowledge, including gathering and planting local traditional foods and playing traditional games, to promote health and prevent diseases like type 2 diabetes.
In the dramatic short video, Studi relays the powerful message: "Our people and cultures hold the answers, Our cultures are our source of health."
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National Park concessions offer healthy, locally grown food

(UPI) The U.S. National Park Service signed rules for the 250 restaurants, snack bars and stores in parks to include healthy, locally grown food, officials say.
Jonathan Jarvis, director of the National Park Service, said the new Park Service guidelines require concessions -- all privately operated -- to offer items such as vegetables and fruit, low-fat foods and non-sugary drinks, in addition to the usual hot dogs and hamburgers.
"There's no reason to take a vacation from eating well when you visit a national park," Jarvis told WTOP-AM in Washington at a ceremony near the Lincoln Memorial.
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New research points to turning point in human diet

(Reuters) Human ancestors in Africa about 3.4 million years ago expanded their diets beyond the leaves and fruits preferred by most primates and began eating grasses and grass-like plants, setting the stage for expanded habitats, according to new research.
The research … refutes the previously held belief that those early humans shared the diets of forest-dwelling primates…
The question of whether those ancestors were pure herbivores or carnivores remains unanswered…
Earlier studies indicate that early man did not scavenge for meat until 2.5 million years ago and did not begin hunting for game until about 500,000 years ago.
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More Information on Healthy Eating

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Want to prevent inappropriate inflammation, reduce the risk of age-related diseases, and promote optimum health at any age? Then try the Dr. Weil-recommended anti-inflammatory diet. By aiming for variety, including as much fresh food as possible, minimizing processed and fast foods, and making vegetables and fruits the foundation of your meals, you will be well on your way. Here are some simple steps to get you started.
(Suzy Cohen, “America's Pharmacist”) I feel the avoidance of lectin-containing foods is wise for people who have a pain syndrome like lupus, MS, rheumatoid or Lou Gehrig’s. I’m not saying these food groups are bad, they have fiber and some nutrients, it’s just that some people experience flares from the consumption… The theory suggests that foods (like wheat, cereal, beans, tofu and lentils) could spell trouble for autoimmune sufferers.
(Reuters Health) They are a fad that refuses to fade, but no solid evidence exists to show whether or not eating plans tailored to ABO blood types promote health, say Belgian researchers who tried their best to find some.
(UPI) At his weekly address in St. Peter's Square in Vatican City, Pope Francis attacked the "culture of waste" and said wasting food is like stealing from the poor.
(Alex Korb, Ph.D., Psychology Today) Snack technology has improved dramatically in the last 30 years, elevating the casualties of modern snack warfare. The food companies know all about neurotransmitters like dopamine, and they’ve optimized their snacks to overwhelm your brain’s defenses. Unless you know the secrets to snacking, your brain is no match for the Snack-Industrial Complex.
(Appetite for Health) Let’s face it: we all want beautiful hair, radiant skin, and a bright smile.  Everywhere you turn, there’s another lotion, potion, or cream promising a youthful glow.  But real beauty comes from what you feed your body, not what you put “on” it.  So we’ve come up with our “Sexy Six” Beauty Foods: the “must-have” foods to give your body a beauty boost. Kale… Wild Salmon… Tea… Berries… Yogurt… Walnuts.
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Greek Pasta with Meatballs
This riff on spaghetti and meatballs uses rice-shaped pasta, ground lamb, and feta cheese.
Bacon Chard Quesadillas
Whole-wheat tortillas are filled with smoky bacon, earthy chard and zesty Monterey Jack cheese in this quick, healthy quesadilla recipe that you can cook all in one skillet.
Cooking Light:
Ultimate Summer Cookbook
Use fresh summer ingredients for cooling drinks, fun appetizers, company-worthy main dishes, and fresh desserts.
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Cheese May Prevent Cavities

(Science Daily) A pH [measure of acidity] level lower than 5.5 puts a person at risk for tooth erosion, which is a process that wears away the enamel (or protective outside layer) of teeth.
[In a study, the] groups who consumed milk and sugar-free yogurt experienced no changes in the pH levels in their mouths. Subjects who ate cheese, however, showed a rapid increase in pH levels at each time interval, suggesting that cheese has anti-cavity properties.
The study indicated that the rising pH levels from eating cheese may have occurred due to increased saliva production (the mouth's natural way to maintain a baseline acidity level), which could be caused by the action of chewing. Additionally, various compounds found in cheese may adhere to tooth enamel and help further protect teeth from acid.
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NSAIDs and Risk of Atrial Fibrillation: Is There a Relationship?

(MedPage Today) Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including nonselective NSAIDs and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors, frequently are prescribed for the management of pain associated with musculoskeletal conditions and injuries, as well as other sources of mild to moderate pain and inflammation…
A recent meta-analysis … examined the risk of cardiovascular events associated with NSAIDs. When compared to placebo, significantly increased risks of myocardial infarction, stroke, cardiovascular mortality, and death were attributed to NSAID use. Of the NSAIDs studies, naproxen was associated with the lowest risk of adverse cardiovascular events.
The relationship between the use of NSAIDs and risk of atrial fibrillation (AF) is not yet clearly understood, although the adverse renal effects associated with NSAIDs, such as fluid retention, electrolyte imbalances, and blood pressure variations, are thought to play a role
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Study Links Workplace Daylight Exposure to Sleep, Activity and Quality of Life

(Science Daily)  A new study demonstrates a strong relationship between workplace daylight exposure and office workers' sleep, activity and quality of life.
Compared to workers in offices without windows, those with windows in the workplace received 173 percent more white light exposure during work hours and slept an average of 46 minutes more per night. There also was a trend for workers in offices with windows to have more physical activity than those without windows. Workers without windows reported poorer scores than their counterparts on quality of life measures related to physical problems and vitality, as well as poorer outcomes on measures of overall sleep quality, sleep efficiency, sleep disturbances and daytime dysfunction.
"The extent to which daylight exposure impacts office workers is remarkable," said study co-author Ivy Cheung.
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Circadian rhythms control body's response to intestinal infections

(University of California, Irvine) Circadian rhythms can boost the body's ability to fight intestinal bacterial infections, UC Irvine researchers have found.
This suggests that targeted treatments may be particularly effective for pathogens such as salmonella that prompt a strong immune system response governed by circadian genes. It also helps explain why disruptions in the regular day-night pattern – as experienced by, say, night-shift workers or frequent fliers – may raise susceptibility to infectious diseases…
"Although many immune responses are known to follow daily oscillations, the role of the circadian clock in the immune response to acute infections has not been understood," said [Paolo] Sassone-Corsi… "What we're learning is that the intrinsic power of the body clock can help fight infections."
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Scientists Map the Wiring of the Biological Clock

(Science Daily) [Erik Herzog, PhD,] and his colleagues report the discovery of a crucial part of the biological clock: the wiring that sets its accuracy to within a few minutes out of the 1440 minutes per day. This wiring uses the neurotransmitter, GABA, to connect the individual cells of the biological clock in a fast network that changes strength with time of day.
Daily rhythms of sleep and metabolism are driven by a biological clock in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), a structure in the brain made up of 20,000 neurons, all of which can keep daily (circadian) time individually.
If the SCN is to be a robust, but sensitive, timing system, the neurons must synchronize precisely with one another and adjust their rhythms to those of the environment.
Herzog's lab has discovered a push-pull system in the SCN that does both. In 2005 they reported that the neurons in the clock network communicate by means of a neuropeptide (VIP) that pushes them to synchronize with one another…
Understanding the push-pull system in the SCN has enormous implications for public health, bearing, as it does, on daylight saving times, shift work, school starting times, medical intern schedules, truck driver hours, and many other issues where the clock in the brain is pitted against the clock in the hand.
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Stem Cell Study Could Aid Quest to Combat Range of Diseases

(Science Daily) Scientists found that the process by which iPSCs [induced pluripotent stem cells ] are created is not simply a reversal of how skin cells are generated in normal human development. Researchers made the discovery by tracking the change of skin cells during the reprogramming process.
All cells in the human body begin life as a mass of cells, with the capacity to change into any specialised cell, such as skin or muscle cell.
By returning adult cells to this original state and recreating the cell type needed for treatment scientists hope to find ways of tackling diseases such as MS, in which cells become faulty and need to be replaced.
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New source for regenerative stem cells? Your fat

(NBC News) Stem cells were discovered in human fat in 2001, and called adipose stem cells (ASTs). The cells described [in new research], led by Gregorio Chazenbalk, … are different.
Unlike ASTs, these cells, dubbed MUSE by Mari Dezawa, leader of the Japanese team that first discovered them in bone marrow, appear to be pluripotent, more like embryonic stem cells rather than so-called “adult” stem cells. That means they can develop into any kind of tissue in the body…
With hundreds of thousands of liposuction procedures each year, there’s a virtually unlimited supply of the raw material, and, Chazenbalk, said, he can sift out MUSE cells in about six to 12 hours.
“We can directly use these cells for treatment,” he said. “Somebody could use their own cells as an autologous transplant,” raising the possibility that one could slim down and undergo repair at the same time.
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Jeopardy Champ ’Watson’ Tackles Cancer

(Gupta Guide, MedPage Today) In 2001, IBM's Watson computer beat former champs Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter on the TV show Jeopardy as millions of viewers looked on. Now, the electronic whiz kid is wowing diagnosticians at a leading cancer institute.
As part of a collaboration with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the IBM Watson system has been transformed into a decision-support tool aimed at helping physicians make personalized diagnostic and treatment recommendations for cancer patients.
"The idea is to train a computer the way we train doctors -- experientially," said Peter Bach, MD.
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Research agenda set for curbing US gun violence

(New Scientist) Barack Obama asked for a new agenda for research into curbing gun violence, and now he has one.
Just one problem: getting a Congress that rejected his plans for tighter gun laws in the wake of the Newtown massacre to provide the necessary cash.
In January, Obama directed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to identify pressing questions about reducing deaths and injuries caused by guns. That ended a de facto freeze on such research that had been in place since the mid-1990s, when Congressional allies of the National Rifle Association slashed the agency's annual budget by $2.6 million – the exact sum it had been spending on gun violence research.
Now an Institute of Medicine panel headed by Alan Leshner, CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, has given the CDC a list of priorities for investigation, ranging from the potential of "smart guns" that only their registered user can fire, to the effectiveness of childhood education programmes in reducing violence in later life.
The panel also wants future research to be more rigorous, based on controlled trials or before-and-after studies that can show cause and effect for specific interventions.
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For-Profits Go for Pricier Breast Radiation Therapy Option

(MedPage Today) Older breast cancer patients received costly brachytherapy significantly more often at for-profit hospitals, despite a lack of clear evidence of benefit, a large retrospective review suggested.
Medicare beneficiaries had almost 30% higher odds for receiving adjuvant brachytherapy at for-profit hospitals than at nonprofit ones, according to Sounok Sen, BSE, of Yale University, and colleagues...
"Medicare beneficiaries receiving breast-conserving surgery at for-profit hospitals disproportionately received brachytherapy," he said. "The oldest women at for-profit hospitals received more radiation therapy overall, a difference largely driven by the use of brachytherapy."
"In the future we should reconsider the wisdom of reimbursement [policies] that promote the rapid adoption of newer and unproven cancer therapies without incorporating rigorous assessments," he added.
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Obamacare Critics Have Outspent Its Supporters On Ads By A Five To One Margin

(ThinkProgress) A new analysis of advertisements about Obamacare aired since 2010 finds that the health law’s critics have spent a whopping $400 million on television spots criticizing the law. That’s over five times the $75 million that the law’s supporters have spent on ads promoting Obamacare and outreach efforts meant to educate Americans about reform.
Anti-Obamacare ad spending was most pronounced during the 2012 campaign cycle. But conservative groups such as the Koch brothers-funded Americans for Prosperity have spent another $2.5 million on T.V. ads slamming the law since then, mostly in support of local Republican political candidates.
Community: So it’s no wonder that “Obamacare’s most popular provisions are its least well known.” It would be funny if it weren’t so sad that conservatives are spending this much money to defeat such a conservative set of provisions. We should have gone for a one-sentence bill: Medicare for all!
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Thanks To Obamacare, Major Insurers Have To Give Back $36 Million To California Small Businesses

(ThinkProgress) On Tuesday, Golden State small businesses and their employees got some great news: two of the state’s largest insurers will have to give them over $36 million in insurance rebates because of an Obamacare consumer protection.
The health law forces insurers to spend at least 80 percent of the premiums they charge on paying for actual medical services, rather than administrative overhead or profits. That means more money for ordinary consumers — and less for profitable insurance companies…
While cheering the latest numbers as a victory for California small businesses and their employees, consumer advocates argue that the insurance industry should try harder to proactively lower costs for companies and individuals.
“Health insurers should work to cut upfront premiums rather than reimburse consumers afterward,” said Jon Fox, consumer advocate at the California Public Interest Research Group Education Fund, in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “Millions of dollars in rebates are a clear sign that health insurers are overcharging consumers.”
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'Recessions Hurt, but Austerity Kills': Study

(CNBC.com) An international study on recessions and governments' responses to them has found that cuts to healthcare systems prompted by fiscal austerity are making matters far worse—for both governments and society.
David Stuckler, a sociology professor at Oxford University and co-author of the book "The Body Economics," told CNBC on Thursday that responses to recessions had not only been inadequate and counter-intuitive but had caused widespread deaths because of a reduction in access to healthcare and medicines.
"Austerity in health is a false economy, these epidemics are going to cost a lot more to clean up than they would have cost to prevent in the first place," Stuckler told CNBC Europe's "Squawk Box," citing research he conducted with physician-epidemiologist Sanjay Basu.
"We've looked at different types of fiscal multipliers and found that public health has one of the largest fiscal multipliers of up to 3 euros return for every one euro invested, whereas other forms of spending such as defense and bank bailouts tend to flow out of the economy leading to trade deficits."
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Sequestration hurts key medical research

(CNBC) Sequester cuts in medical research funding could end up widening the federal deficit the cuts were designed to contain in the first place. As an aging population raises the cost of treating diseases like diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer's, slowing the pace of research will delay the discovery of cures and treatments that might slow the rise in health care costs.
Longer-term, ongoing projects are also threatened as they've been forced to scale back.
"Which of those (frozen research) grants might have been the next breakthrough in cancer research?" said NIH Director Francis Collins. "Which of those grants was going to support the career of a young scientist who will now basically give up and say I'd better do something else or move to another country? We'll never know. They're gone."
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Time Limits on Welfare Can Lead to Higher Mortality Rates

(Science Daily) U.S. workfare programs have been praised by some for cutting welfare rolls and improving the economic well-being of families. But little is known about how these policies affected participants' health and mortality.
Researchers … studied enrollees in Florida's Family Transition Program who were given a time limit for welfare benefits and exposed to job training. They were compared to a control group who received traditional welfare benefits. In this randomized controlled trial, the researchers found that participants in the Family Transition Program had a 16 percent higher mortality rate compared to recipients of traditional welfare.
This translates to nine months of life expectancy lost for people in the experimental program. The study adds to a body of research on the nonmedical determinants of health that are showing a trend of adverse health effects associated with welfare time limits.
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Domestic Violence Shelters Warn That Sequestration Has Put Women’s Lives On The Line

(ThinkProgress) Sequestration, the automatic across-the-board spending cuts that went into effect in March, by design cuts a wide array of government-funded programs. One of the areas is domestic violence funding for programs on the state and local level. At the same time that sequestration is reducing those budgets, however, victims’ need for support has been steadily increasing.
Kim Gandy, CEO of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, reports that nearly all state programs had already been experiencing reduced funding and increased demand. She told ThinkProgress that a survey her program did in the fall found that 69 percent of state programs reported funding decreases that they were unable to make up with private donations. Beyond cuts from the federal government, almost 80 percent reported cuts from state and local funding.
Meanwhile, 88 percent reported an increase in demand for their services.
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States To Lose $8.4 Billion Without Medicaid Expansion

(Bloomberg) Texas, Louisiana and 12 other U.S. states that are declining to expand Medicaid under President Barack Obama’s health overhaul will lose at least $8.4 billion in federal funding in 2016 alone, a study found.
About 3.6 million people who would have been eligible for Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act will be left without health insurance, costing the 14 states an additional $1 billion in uncompensated care, according to research from the Rand Corp. published in the journal Health Affairs. States “would do best to expand Medicaid,” the researchers said.
“State policy makers should be aware that if they do not expand Medicaid, fewer people will have health insurance and state and local governments will have to bear higher costs for uncompensated care,” wrote Carter Price and Christine Eibner, researchers with the Rand Corp. in Arlington, Virginia.
Community: “We don’t want no stinking money.”
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