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

Mediterranean Lifestyle May Decrease Cardiovascular Disease by Lowering Blood Triglycerides

(American Physiological Society) Cardiovascular disease remains the No. 1 cause of death in the U.S. Evidence suggests that elevated levels of triglycerides (fats) in the blood after meals, known as postprandial lipemia (PPL), is associated with an increased risk for hardening of the arteries -- a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Numerous population studies have associated the Mediterranean lifestyle -- marked by high intake of monounsaturated fats (MUFAs), fiber, legumes, dairy and fish; moderate alcohol intake; and increased amounts of better quality sleep -- with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. Now, a new review article … explores the effects of the "ingredients" of Mediterranean lifestyle as a whole, specifically on PPL.
Through an extensive review of existing research on the Mediterranean lifestyle, the authors found that many of its features do contribute to positive effects on cardiovascular health. "It seems that most components of the Mediterranean lifestyle may reduce PPL, an important CVD risk factor, with the exception of wine. Although olive oil is a main component of this pattern, preliminary results of studies of several other components -- such as fish, legumes, herbs and physical activity -- are very promising," the researchers wrote. "Studies are needed in order to investigate whether the effect of the Mediterranean lifestyle and its components on PPL mediate the overall well-established protective role of this lifestyle."
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Mediterranean Diet for Cholesterol and the Heart?

(John La Puma, M.D.) Controlling cholesterol is a small part of preventing heart disease. Yet physicians seldom offer the most powerful, least risky weapons we have against it. Instead, we recommend statin medications, and soon can prescribe a just-FDA approved biotech medication called Praluent…
When taken as prescribed for five years, statins prevent heart attacks in just one in 104 adults with a low risk of heart disease, and prevent strokes in just one of 154. We don't have similar data for Praluent, and won't for five years…
But medicine’s secret weapon is that lifestyle interventions work better, cost less, and harm rarely when compared with statins. When followed for five years, the Mediterranean diet does about twice as well: it prevents heart attack, stroke or death in one of 61 people…
While LDL cholesterol is an easy number to treat, focusing on medications first for heart disease steals time from more effective interventions. To learn the life skills you need to prevent heart disease and to stay well, ask your doctor: what can I eat instead of taking a drug?
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Two-Week International Diet Swap Shows Potential Effects of Diet on Colon Cancer Risk

(University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences) After assessment of their in-home diets, 20 African-American and 20 rural South African volunteers ages 50 to 65 were housed at a University of Pittsburgh site and at an African lodging facility respectively. There they ate meals prepared by the researchers using ingredients and cooking techniques typical of the other group. The team examined fecal and colon content samples, obtained during colonoscopy, of each volunteer at baseline and after the two-week study period.
Although the diet change was brief, each group took on the other’s rates of turnover of cells of the intestinal lining, levels of fiber fermentation, and markers of bacterial metabolic activity and inflammation associated with cancer risk. In particular, African-Americans experienced an increase in butyrate production, which is thought to play a key role in anti-cancer pathways. The researchers also noted they removed intestinal polyps from nine of the African-American volunteers, but none were present in the Africans.
“We can’t definitively tell from these measurements that the change in their diet would have led to more cancer in the African group or less in the American group, but there is good evidence from other studies that the changes we observed are signs of cancer risk,” said co-author Jeremy Nicholson, Ph.D., of Imperial College London.
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Food as Medicine

(The Supermarket Guru) Boost your brain with berries, eggs, water and more!
(The Supermarket Guru) Sweet potatoes, salmon, chia seeds and more...foods that can keep your eyes healthy!
(Sharecare) [S]ays Lona Sandon, MEd, RDN, LD, assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center[:] Your best bet to manage joint pain from arthritis, Lyme disease, gout and other conditions is to aim for an overall good diet that helps you maintain a healthy weight. "If you're carrying around more weight, you're less likely to be active and your joints are more likely to hurt," says Sandon. But it can't hurt to add these 10 foods to your menus.
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Homebound Seniors Could Soon Use Food Stamps for Grocery Delivery

(TIME) Senior citizens could start using food stamps to pay for groceries to be delivered to their homes.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently proposed allowing homebound seniors and disabled persons touse benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to cover the cost of food delivery from government and non-profit agencies. The Department is currently seeking 20 programs to host the one-year pilot program.
In a conversation with TIME, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the programs could help more seniors live … independently.
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World's largest rooftop greenhouse to open at Chicago factory

(WGN-TV) The Method soap factory is about to make a good block of Chicago’s Pullman neighborhood a lot greener. Literally.
This fall, the eco-friendly soap manufacturer will finish planting a 75,000 square foot greenhouse on the roof of its Southside factory. The facility will take up a space larger than a full city block, making it the largest rooftop greenhouse in the world.
“We need to use our urban spaces more efficiently,” said Saskia Van Gendt, Method’s chief greenskeeper, in an interview with Business Insider. “Rooftop greenhouses are a representation of a model of doing that.”
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FarmedHere is Here!

(The Supermarket Guru) FarmedHere is an indoor vertical farm located just outside of Chicago in a small industrial community called Bedford Park. The farm is housed in a 90,000 sq foot facility It’s an abandoned warehouse, that at one point was a corrugated box manufacturing facility and in 2013 we converted that warehouse into what is now FarmedHere. We grow basil, arugula, kale, and a plethora of other leafy green crops. We grow a tremendous amount of microgreens,  which gives us the ability to grow upwards of 125 different varieties of things, everything ranging from peapod shoots to corn shoots to cilantro etc.  We distribute to several grocery stores as well as restaurants in the Chicago, Midwest area…
Because we’re a local, because we harvest and send our produce to the store within a 24 hour period it’s a very, very local concept. FarmedHere are produce is so fresh and the fact that it’s only shipped within a 50 mile radius, it’s ultra fresh and ultra good for you.
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An unlikely grocery store is becoming a major threat to McDonald's

(Business Insider) The grocery-store chain Kroger is ramping up its prepared-food offerings and luring fast-food customers, according to Jonathan Maze at Nation's Restaurant News.
The industry consulting firm Technomic polled customers on what they would eat if they didn't "get a bucket of chicken or a salad bar from the grocer," NRN reports.
"One out of four opted for Kroger instead of a restaurant," Maze writes. "And the restaurant they'd have eaten at otherwise was McDonald's, and it's not particularly close."
Kroger has one benefit over McDonald's — convenience.
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The Latest from The People's Pharmacy

Radio Show: Natural Approaches to Summer Skin Care
A wide range of natural products can be used effectively to help prevent or heal summer skin problems.
Bursitis: Turmeric Banished Hip Inflammation
Steroid injections into joints may seem to offer benefits, but there are long-term risks. Turmeric may be a good option for easing symptoms of bursitis
Skipping Breakfast Destabilizes Blood Sugar
Skipping breakfast appears to make it more difficult for people with type 2 diabetes to control their blood sugar after other meals.
Insulin Resistance Raises the Risk for Alzheimer’s Disease
People with insulin resistance appear to be at higher risk for Alzheimer's disease diagnoses as they grow older; can this trend be reversed?
Drug Companies Delay Reporting Drug Reactions That Result in Death
When drug reactions cause patient deaths, FDA is supposed to be notified promptly. Too often there are lags in reporting serious or lethal problems.
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‘Smart Mirror’ Could Scan Your Face to Detect Health Risks

(Discover Magazine) The Wize Mirror is being developed by a consortium of researchers and industry partners from seven European countries. The gadget’s purpose is to stamp out cardiovascular diseases, including stroke and heart disease, which are the leading causes of death around the world. Catching the early signs of these ailments, researchers believe, is the best medicine for reducing the burden of health care costs associated with treating chronic diseases.
Toward that end, the Wize Mirror wants to gather all sorts of information about you at just a glance.
At the moment it’s still in the concept stages, progressing toward a prototype. But here’s what its developers have in mind: Its cameras would document the day-to-day changes in your facial features in order to identify known markers of stress, anxiety and disease. Images could also be used to assess a person’s blood oxygenation and heart rate, thanks to minute fluctuations in skin color that occur with blood flow.
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Public Health Loses in SCOTUS Pollution Ruling

(Norman H. Edelman, MD, American Lung Association) King v. Burwell was not the only lawsuit affecting health that the Supreme Court decided this term. You may not have heard about the case decided on its final day, but that ruling provides some unpleasant insights for those of us who worry about threats to our patients and families.
On June 29, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision in Michigan v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), sending back for corrective action EPA's first ever health protection safeguards for power plant toxic air pollution. EPA estimates that these standards, known as the "Mercury and Air Toxics Standards," will prevent up to 11,000 premature deaths, 130,000 asthma attacks, and 5,000 heart attacks every year, avoiding 5,700 visits to the hospital and emergency rooms, and providing health benefits of between $37 billion and $90 billion annually…
While this decision is deeply troubling, it is important to note that the Court did not vacate the standards, which continue to remain in place and provide vital protections to our communities and families throughout the country. Fortunately, EPA has reaffirmed the public health importance of these safeguards and made clear its steadfast intention to put them in place. The case will now go back to the federal Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which has already affirmed the lawfulness of the health protection standards themselves. None of the challengers asked for the standards to be blocked, and there is no good reason to do so now -- and many good reasons not to -- especially since expert analyses demonstrate that about 70% of coal-powered plants now comply with the standards. Still, we wait to see what will happen in the Court of Appeals. It would be a travesty to deprive the public of these important, already achieved, health protections.
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Obamacare tried to create alternatives to for-profit health insurance. They're struggling.

(Vox) Obamacare's co-op plans are in trouble. The consumer-operated and -oriented plans — co-ops, for short — launched with Obamacare grant money as nonprofit insurers to sell on the health insurance marketplaces.
The hope was they would push other plans to lower premiums — but a new federal report suggests that the co-ops are not faring well…
There are exceptions to the rule: New York's co-op, for example, has had a remarkably successful launch, enrolling five times as many patients as expected. But most of them haven't. And that means they bring in less revenue than expected, too…
Why didn't the co-ops bring in enough money? The OIG report suggests a few explanations: "higher-than-estimated enrollment of members with more expensive health conditions, enrolling fewer-than-expected young and healthy members, or inaccurate pricing of premiums."
Community: That’s a shame. These co-ops are the only alternative to those without public insurance to not be forced to pay profits to insurance companies.
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Medicaid at 50: Evidence Shows Medicaid Benefits Enrollees, Contrary to Claims

(Center on Budget and Policy Priorities) Medicaid critics and some media reports have repeated claims that Medicaid coverage is harmful and beneficiaries would be better off being uninsured.  They base them on a misunderstanding or misleading use of research that finds poor health outcomes among Medicaid enrollees.  But studies that are designed to specifically evaluate Medicaid’s causal effects overwhelmingly find that the program produces health and financial benefits for participants...
[A] wide body of research has specifically tested Medicaid’s effects on beneficiaries’ health and financial well-being.  These studies take advantage of the variation in state Medicaid eligibility levels to deliberately test causation between Medicaid and health outcomes.  They consistently find that Medicaid results in better health outcomes than the uninsured have, as health economist Austin Frakt points out.
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Happy Birthday, Medicare!

(Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, via email) To help celebrate the 50th anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid, we’ve launched the official Medicare Facebook page and wanted to invite you to become part of our Facebook community! 
Like us on Facebook to get the latest news, tips on using Medicare’s online tools, and information about how to use your coverage.
For 50 years, these programs have been protecting the health and well-being of millions of American families, saving lives, and improving the economic security of our nation.
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Fountain of youth? Texas scientists testing breakthrough aging drug

(KHOU) Scientists say recent advancements in pharmacology and genetics are bringing us closer to the "fountain of youth." Treatments are already being tested in South Texas that could someday extend lifespan by decades or even reverse some of the symptoms of aging.
The most promising treatment right now is a mysterious drug called Rapamycin.
Dr. Dean Kellogg, a UT Medicine and Barshop Institute researcher and clinical doctor working at the San Antonio Veterans Affairs, says he's been testing the drug on eight people in the San Antonio area. He says he never imagined just how effective it could be. "I never really thought I would see a pharmacological agent that can alter the aging process," said Kellogg. "Rapamycin appears to slow the aging process."
But [drugs like Rapamycin] still have a long way to go before they can be widely used to fight aging. Kellogg says the side effects are still too uncertain.
In the meantime, experts recommend achieving a low-calorie diet the hard way, by eating less. They say that, in addition to 20-30 minutes of day of walking or light exercise, can be just as effective as Rapamycin in many people.
Community: This isn’t the first time that Many Years Young readers have heard about rapamycin. Nor about the benefits of exercise.
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Dementia Friendly America Expansion Will Help Elderly Stay in Their Homes Longer

(Healthline.com) For people with dementia, Minnesota may be the next best thing to heaven.
That’s because 23 cities in Minnesota are “Dementia Friendly America” (DFA) communities, a private-sector effort that brings together first responders, churches, business owners and local governments to learn about the special needs of people with dementia. Eleven more Minnesota communities are in the process of becoming DFA communities.
The program means people with dementia can stay in their homes longer. And that's why, to me, the nationwide expansion of the program was some of the best news coming out of the White House Conference on Aging earlier this month. Soon, these communities also will become DFA: Tempe, Ariz.; Santa Clara County, Calif.; Denver, Colo.; Prince Georges County, Md.; and Knoxville, Tenn.; and the state of West Virginia.
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Essential New-Car Features To Keep Seniors Driving Longer

(Forbes) According to a report released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and Columbia University, seniors who’ve stopped driving are nearly twice as likely to suffer from depression, with a five times greater chance of entering a long-term care facility than those who remain behind the wheel. The report further suggests those restricted from driving exhibit an accelerated decline in cognitive abilities, diminished productivity and low participation in daily activities away from home…
Fortunately, automakers (who loathe to give up loyal customers under any circumstances) are now offering a wide variety of features that can help keep those with declining abilities keep driving comfortably and safely – albeit within limits – for an extended period. These include the latest high-tech safety features that can help motorists – especially those with diminished vision and/or reduced reaction times – avoid getting into a collision.
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Experimental Drug Could Treat Hot Flashes, Other Symptoms of Menopause Without Harmful Side Effects

(UNT Health Science Center) Researchers have discovered an experimental medication that treats hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms without the life-threatening risks of hormone replacement therapy, according to a team led by a UNT Health Science Center scientist.
In a study…, researchers explain how the medication, which they call DHED, is selectively converted to estrogen only in the brain.
"The rest of the body does not recognize DHED, but the brain does and metabolizes it to estrogen," said Laszlo Prokai, PhD, Professor and Robert A. Welch Chair in Biochemistry. "Since DHED delivers estrogen only in the brain, it spares other organs from hormone exposure, along with its side effects."
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Mild drinking can lower disability in chronic pain patients

(IANS) Treating chronic widespread pain with a glass of wine or a pint of beer may not sound like a good idea but scientists think otherwise. Moderate drinking may lower the disability risk among those suffering from the condition, says new research.
In a study of 2,239 individuals with chronic widespread pain, the key feature of fibromyalgia, those who regularly consumed alcohol had lower levels of disability than those who never or rarely drank, the authors reported.
"Although we cannot say that alcohol consumption causes less disability among people with chronic widespread pain, the observed link warrants further investigation," said Gary Macfarlane from University of Aberdeen in Scotland.
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Job stress could make you sick

(CBS News) High levels of job stress may increase the risk of sick leave due to mental health disorders, a new study suggests.
Researchers analyzed data from nearly 12,000 workers in Sweden. Over five years, about 8 percent of the workers took mental health sick leave. Three-quarters of those who took mental health sick leave were women.
Workers with demanding jobs, high job strain and little social support at work were at greater risk for mental health sick leave, as were those with unhealthy lifestyles. Smoking was a significant risk factor for mental health sick leave, but alcohol use was not.
High levels of physical activity reduced the risk of mental health sick leave, according to the study in the August issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
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Suicide risk tied to women's social connectedness

(Reuters Health) Being connected to friends, family and social groups may offer some protection against suicide, suggests a new U.S. study.
Among more than 70,000 women followed for almost 20 years, those who were the most socially connected were about 75 percent less likely than the least-connected to die by suicide.
"It’s an important problem," said Dr. Alexander Tsai, of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. "Suicide is one of the top 10 leading causes of death among women, and rates are climbing."
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3D Digital Scanning Shortens Denture-Fitting Time from Days to Minutes

(Hebrew University of Jerusalem) Dentures, known as false teeth, are prosthetics constructed to replace missing teeth. Fitting removable dentures is a long and painful process in which a patient has to visit the clinic multiple times so that soft and hard plastic material, resembling silly putty, can be used to take exact measurements of her mouth. Failure to take exact measurements causes discomfort and pain…
"HoloDent is the first holography scanning device for intraoral 3D modeling, reducing the time it takes to get dentures from 30 days to 30 minutes, while making the treatment far more comfortable and precise for all patients," said Amit Zilberstein, a BioDesign fellow and CEO of the HoloDent company…
The technology addresses a market of $500 million in the United States alone. HoloDent also aims to improve the accessibility of accurate denture fitting for aging populations in developing countries, eliminating the need for a dentist in those areas by providing access to a cost-effective digital solution.
Community: Sounds like this approach could lead to 3D printing of dentures.
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CVS And IBM's Watson Partner To Predict Patient Health Needs

(Forbes) CVS Health (CVS) and IBM IBM +0.65% (IBM) say they’ve formed a partnership designed to better predict deteriorating health of the pharmacy giant’s customers through predictive analytics.
IBM’s Watson, the computer giant’s artificial intelligence system, hopes to bring better care coordination and more personalized care to CVS customers and employer clients. The effort will better identify patients who may be at risk for bad health outcomes, the companies say…
“This collaboration enables us to learn about how other sources of health information could help predict declining health or the need for an intervention for a patient with a chronic condition,” said Dr. Troyen Brennan, chief medical officer at CVS Health.  “For example, we can learn if information about a patient’s activity levels from a tracker like a FitBit could help us identify their risk for declining health.”
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Medicare prescription drug premiums projected to remain stable

(Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the signing of Medicare and Medicaid into law, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) projected … that the average premium for a basic Medicare Part D prescription drug plan in 2016 will remain stable, at an estimated $32.50 per month…
This news comes despite the fact that total Part D costs per capita grew by almost 11 percent in 2014, driven largely by high cost specialty drugs and their effect on spending in the catastrophic benefit phase. As the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) recently reported, total Medicare payments to plans for reinsurance have grown by more than three times the pace of premium growth.
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CareFirst doubles cost savings by sharing rewards with U.S. doctors

(Reuters) Insurer CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield said on Thursday its cost savings on providing healthcare rose sharply last year in a program that rewards U.S. doctors for keeping patients out of the hospital…
CareFirst said savings under what it calls its "patient-centered medical home" program in 2014 climbed to $345 million compared with projected spending under traditional fee-for-service care. That was up from $130 million saved the previous year. The savings are shared with physicians who meet goals such as reducing hospital admissions and readmissions.
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Health insurer Cigna says second-quarter medical costs stay low

(Reuters) Health insurer Cigna Corp, which agreed last week to be bought by Anthem Inc for $47 billion, said on Thursday that medical services use was low in the second quarter, helping to keep costs in check and beat Wall Street profit estimates.
Cigna's report of a continued low utilization trend backs up a growing industry view of this closely watched component of insurer profitability. Anthem made similar comments on Wednesday, when it reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings.
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Congress Okays Bill Bolstering Medicare Patients’ Hospital Rights

(Kaiser Health News) The Senate unanimously approved legislation Monday night requiring hospitals across the nation to tell Medicare patients when they receive observation care but have not been admitted to the hospital. It's a distinction that's easy to miss until patients are hit with big medical bills after a short stay.
The vote follows overwhelming approval in the House of Representatives in March. The legislation is expected to be signed into law by President Barack Obama, said its House sponsor, Texas Democratic Rep. Lloyd Doggett.
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Healthcare improving for older Americans

(Reuters Health) The number of deaths, hospital stays and healthcare costs decreased among older Americans on Medicare over the past 15 years, according to a new study…
Between 1999 and 2013, [the researchers] found deaths from any cause fell among Medicare beneficiaries from 5.30 percent to 4.45 percent. "In any given year there are fewer deaths," [said Dr. Harlan Krumholz, the study's lead author from Yale University]. "Leading to longer life expectancy."
Among those on so-called traditional Medicare, the researchers found the number of hospital stays per 100,000 people per year fell by 8,344 between 1999 and 2013. "The improvement in hospitalization rates represents millions of people not hospitalized in 2013 compared with what would have been had the rate from 1999 not decreased," Krumholz said. "And then among the smaller number being hospitalized, we found marked improvements in outcomes."
What's more, the amount of money spent on care among those beneficiaries in hospitals fell by nearly $500 per beneficiary during that time.
Community: Please be assured that Republicans want to destroy Medicare and obliterate these gains. Voting for them creates serious risks for all of us.
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Health Spending: The $2 Trillion Question—Or Questions

(Stuart Guterman, Senior Scholar in Residence, AcademyHealth) The slowdown in health spending growth over the past several years is the first time since the turn of the century—and the only other time for at least 50 years—that NHE has held steady as a percentage of GDP for this long. So, the question of whether a slowdown actually has occurred should be moot by now. The most important issue is how to sustain that slowdown into the future.
That effort only will be successful if the trend in health spending is viewed not as a spectator sport but as a call to action, involving all stakeholders in the health system. Health spending is not an exogenous trend, but rather is generated by millions of decisions made by providers, payers, and patients; to paraphrase the quote from the political cartoon: “We have met the cause of rising health spending, and it is us.” But what actions should we take?...
Just as each component of health care spending needs to be addressed on its own terms, so the appropriate set of policies necessary to address them may differ by area, as most recently concluded by the Institute of Medicine (IOM). The IOM found that not only does health spending differ across geographic areas, but the pattern of health spending across areas is different for Medicare than it is for private payers, and the mix of services that account for spending also varies by payer and across areas. Addressing health spending growth therefore may involve developing area-, payer-, and service-specific policies.
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The Disappearing Entitlements Crisis

(Paul Krugman) A few years back elite policy discourse in the United States was totally dominated by the supposed entitlements crisis…
In 2009 the Trustees projected a gigantic rise in Medicare spending, which was obviously unsupportable (although Social Security never looked like a big problem).
But in the most recent report most of that projected rise has gone away…
The truth is that there never was an entitlements crisis. But now there isn’t even an excuse for pretending that such a crisis exists. I know that a large part of the commentariat is professionally and personally invested in fiscal crisis rhetoric — admitting that it’s no longer relevant would suggest that they have, all along, been silly rather than Serious. But next time you see someone solemnly intoning that we must destroy Medicare to save it, remember that there is no there there.
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New heart drugs come in more expensive than expected

(Reuters) Two of the most anticipated new heart drugs to be launched in recent years have been priced well above analyst expectations, fuelling the debate about whether modern medicines cost too much.
Praluent, made by Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, and Entresto from Novartis are both treatments that represent significant advances for millions of patients at risk of serious heart problems…
Sanofi and Regeneron, which won U.S. approval on Friday for Praluent to treat stubbornly high cholesterol, said the injection would cost $14,600 a year, well above the roughly $10,000 investors had expected…
On July 7, Novartis set a price of $4,560 a year for its new heart failure pill Entresto, nearly 50 percent higher than many analysts had expected…
The new heart drugs cost nowhere near as much as many modern cancer drugs, often priced at more than $100,000, but their impact on budgets will be considerable since they are designed for lifetime use.
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CardioBrief: Dollars for Heart Docs

(Larry Husten , MedPage Today) $300 million dollars. That's how much industry paid to cardiologists and other related healthcare professionals between August 2013 and December 2014 for consulting, speaking, and other various activities, according to new data published by CMS in the Open Payments database. The $300 million figure does not include even larger sums in the database paid by industry to support research or for ownership or investment interest, and there are other gaps as well…
The top recipient, Sanjay (Jay) Yadav, received $23 million in conjunction with the FDA approval of his CardioMems Heart Failure system and its sale to St. Jude Medical.
Number two on the list is Sanjiv Narayan, a founder of Topera, a manufacturer of AF ablation systems, which was sold last year to Abbott for an initial price of $250 million. He received $11 million. Eric Prystowsky, number 5 on the overall list, also received more than $2 million from the Topera sale. Benzy Padanilam received just over $1 million.
The interventional device company Penumbra accounts for Harry Kopelman's $3.5 million and Nicholas Lembo's $2.7 million.
TV's famous Mehmet Oz received $1.17 million from Covidien/Medtronic for his ownership stake in HET Systems, a company which sells a hemorrhoid energy therapy system. No comment.
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Covered California proposed rates to increase by only 4 percent in 2016

(Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) Today, Covered California announced a modest proposed 4 percent statewide weighted average rate increase for plans offered in 2016 on their Health Insurance Marketplace, which is lower than last year’s increase of 4.2 percent. This is the second year in a row that Covered California has achieved single-digit rate increases. As of earlier this year, Covered California accounted for more than one out of every eight Marketplace enrollees who paid for coverage nationwide.
“We are encouraged by Covered California’s proposed rates for the 2016 plan year and pleased that consumers in California will continue to have access to quality, affordable health coverage,” said Kevin Counihan, CEO of the Health Insurance Marketplaces. “Today’s announcement demonstrates that the Affordable Care Act is working as intended to spur competition and transparency in the Marketplaces, keeping premium increases low and leading to affordable new choices for consumers. We are committed to working closely with other states as they review rate proposals and finalize rates for the 2016 plan year.”
Covered California credited an enrollment mix that includes many young and healthy enrollees, as well as premium stabilization programs created by the Affordable Care Act, for helping to hold the line on rate increases.
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Cell phones and risk of brain tumors: What's the real science?

(CNN) Many large studies have failed to detect an association between cell phone use and brain tumors. One study of nearly 360,000 adults in Denmark did not find an increase in the number of brain tumors even among those who had been using a cell phone for at least 13 years…
The Interphone study is the largest study to date looking at cell phones and brain tumors. It involves 13 countries, including Canada, the United Kingdom, Denmark and Japan. Researchers asked more than 7,000 people who had been diagnosed with a brain tumor and 14,000 healthy people about their previous cell phone use.
The study found no association between cell phone use and glioma rates except in the group of participants who reported using their cell phone for at least 1,640 hours in their lifetime without a head-set. Those participants were 40% more likely than those who never used a cell phone to have a glioma. However authors of the Interphone study stated that people with brain tumors might be more likely than healthy people to exaggerate their cell phone use, and thus the link between heavy phone use and brain tumor risk in the study might not be real.
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Big swings in blood pressure may indicate heart problems

(UPI) Large swings in blood pressure may be indicative of damage to the arteries, heart disease or heart failure, according a large study of patients taking blood pressure medications.
While about 1 in 3 Americans have high blood pressure, which can be indicative of the same conditions, blood pressure should remain stable over time.
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How paralyzed patients are able to stand again

(WTKR) In what’s being hailed as a breakthrough in spinal cord injury research, four men paralyzed from the chest down have risen from their wheelchairs on their own volition and effort.
“I can stand up for more than half an hour,” said Dustin Shillcox, who was paralyzed in a car accident five years ago. “It’s awesome. It’s amazing. It’s a hopeful feeling.”
Shillcox and the other three men had electrical stimulators surgically implanted in their spines, and are working toward walking again someday.
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Mouse Studies May Explain Night Shift, Breast Cancer Link

(MedPage Today) Shift work has been linked to increased cancer risk - especially breast cancer - in numerous epidemiological studies, and now research in mice suggests a mechanism to explain the possible association.
Chronic exposure to light cycle disruption appeared to cause earlier cancers in a breast cancer mouse model. The mice typically develop breast cancer at about age 50 weeks, but the cancers occurred 8 weeks earlier in mice exposed to circadian rhythm disturbances. The light-dark disrupted mice also gained 20% more weight than control mice during the study period.
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New Material Forges the Way for 'Stem Cell Factories'

(University of Nottingham) If you experience a major heart attack the damage could cost you around five billion heart cells. Future stem cell treatments will require this number and more to ensure those cells are replaced and improve your chances of survival.
Experts at The University of Nottingham have discovered the first fully synthetic substrate with potential to grow billions of stem cells. The research … could forge the way for the creation of 'stem cell factories' -- the mass production of human embryonic (pluripotent) stem cells.
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Using Low-Dose Irradiation, Researchers Can Now Edit Human Genes

(Cedars-Sinai Medical Center) For the first time, researchers have employed a gene-editing technique involving low-dose irradiation to repair patient cells, according to a study… This method, developed by researchers in the Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors Regenerative Medicine Institute, is 10 times more effective than techniques currently in use.
"This novel technique allows for far more efficient gene editing of stem cells and will increase the speed of new discoveries in the field," said co-senior author Clive Svendsen, PhD, director of the Board of Governors Regenerative Medicine Institute.
The irradiation method could prove effective in learning more about diseases such as spinal muscular atrophy, muscular dystrophy and Huntington's disease. Gene editing allows scientists to correct irregular mutations and, theoretically, cure the disease in the petri dish. Additionally, gene-editing technology allows scientists to create disease mutations in normal cells, thus modeling human disease.
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Americans are finally consuming fewer calories

(Daily Mail) The US is no longer quite the Land of the Super-sized Cheeseburger and Coke as new figures show Americans are finally eating more healthily.
After decades in which American eating habits have got steadily worse, with fat and sugar consumption fueling obesity, the US is finally pulling out of the calorie nosedive.
Calories consumed by the typical American adult, which reached an alarming peak in 2003 having risen inexorably since the late 1970s, are undergoing their first sustained decline since the US government started monitoring them more than 40 years ago…
The most dramatic fall has been in the amount of sugary soft drinks consumed by Americans. The average American drinks 25 per cent less of such drinks than since the late 1990s, when he or she drank an astonishing 40 gallons a year.
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Beverage group sues SF over soda warnings, advertising ban

(San Francisco Chronicle) The American Beverage Association sued the city of San Francisco on Friday, claiming new legislation requiring health warning labels on sugary beverages and prohibiting advertisements of them on city property violates the First Amendment.
“The city is free to try to persuade consumers to share its opinions about sugar-sweetened beverages,” the lawsuit says. “Instead, the city is trying to ensure that there is no free marketplace of ideas, but instead only a government-imposed, one-sided public ‘dialogue’ on the topic — in violation of the First Amendment.”
The legislation, unanimously passed by the Board of Supervisors in June, imposes some of the strongest laws in the country related to sugary beverages.
Community: It’s just like the tobacco wars. They think they have a RIGHT to sell you poison.
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Can food mentions in newspapers predict national obesity rates?

(Scope) Food words trending in today’s newspapers could help predict a country’s obesity rates in three years, according to findings…
[R]esults showed:
The more sweet snacks are mentioned and the fewer fruits and vegetables that are mentioned in your newspaper, the fatter your country’s population is going to be in 3 years, according to trends we found from the past fifty years … But the less often they’re mentioned and the more vegetables are mentioned, the skinnier the public will be.
Researchers say the research could help public health officials better understand the effectiveness of current obesity interventions.
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Is Your Favorite Grocery Store Making You Fat?

(Cornell Food & Brand Lab) Is your favorite grocery store making you fat? According to new research findings, a Grocer Retailer Scorecard may be an effective, healthy shopping tool that benefits both grocers and shoppers.
"Grocers can benefit from encouraging healthy shopping practices because they can sell more perishable items like fruits and vegetables rather than tossing them in the dumpster after a few days," says lead researcher Brian Wansink, PhD, director of the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University and author of the new book, Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life, "The benefit to shoppers is obvious; healthier groceries result in healthier eating!"
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Soybean Oil Causes More Obesity Than Coconut Oil, Fructose

(University of California – Riverside) Compared to mice on the high coconut oil diet, mice on the high soybean oil diet showed increased weight gain, larger fat deposits, a fatty liver with signs of injury, diabetes and insulin resistance, all of which are part of the Metabolic Syndrome. Fructose in the diet had less severe metabolic effects than soybean oil although it did cause more negative effects in the kidney and a marked increase in prolapsed rectums, a symptom of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which like obesity is on the rise.
The mice on the soybean oil-enriched diet gained almost 25 percent more weight than the mice on the coconut oil diet and 9 percent more weight than those on the fructose-enriched diet. And the mice on the fructose-enriched diet gained 12 percent more weight than those on a coconut oil rich diet…
The researchers cautioned that they didn't study the impacts of the diets on cardiovascular diseases and note in the paper that the consumption of vegetable oils could be beneficial for cardiac health, even if it also induces obesity and diabetes…
The researchers are now finalizing a manuscript about these findings that also incorporates tests done with olive oil.
Community: I look forward to the findings that incorporate olive oil. At our house, the only oils we use are canola oil and olive oil.
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Body Fat Can Send Signals to Brain, Affecting Stress Response

(University of Florida) The brain's effect on other parts of the body has been well established. Now, a group that includes two University of Florida Health researchers has found that it's a two-way street: Body fat can send a signal that affects the way the brain deals with stress and metabolism.
While the exact nature of those signals remains a mystery, researchers say simply knowing such a pathway exists and learning more about it could help break a vicious cycle: Stress causes a desire to eat more, which can lead to obesity. And too much extra fat can impair the body's ability to send a signal to the brain to shut off the stress response.
The findings are important and unique because they show that it's not simply the brain that drives the way the body responds to stress, said James Herman, Ph.D., a co-author of the paper.
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Black Women, Older Patients Unlikely to Hit Diabetes Targets

(MedPage Today) Most older Americans struggle to keep their diabetes under control, and serious racial disparities remain in hitting targets, according to a new study.
Most of the more than 5,000 patients in the study met targets for hemoglobin A1c levels (72%), for LDL cholesterol levels (63%), and for blood pressure (73%). But only 35% met all three, reported Christina Parrinello, MPH, a PhD candidate at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, and colleagues…
"Many older adults with diabetes are not meeting recommended treatment targets for hemoglobin A1c, blood pressure, and cholesterol," Parrinello summarized in an email to MedPage Today.
"However, a one-size-fits-all approach may not be ideal for this heterogeneous population," she added. "We need to think about whether older adults are currently being over- or under-treated, and whether individualized targets may be more appropriate."
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Are these hot new health food trends actually healthy?

(Consumer Reports) You try to eat healthy, but healthy food fads seem to come and go as fast as fashion trends. It's tough to keep up! A few years ago, heart-healthy oats and pomegranate juice were in vogue. More recently, everyone has been eating Greek yogurt and kale, which are now ingredients in dozens of food products including candy, dips, and snacks.
But a whole new crop of good-for-you-sounding foods are about to upstage them. We rounded up seven of them here. Ever chow down on bean pasta or munch on hemp seeds? Our guide can help you figure out whether those and other hot health foods are worth putting in your shopping cart.
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World's first malaria vaccine gets regulatory go-ahead, faces WHO review

(Reuters) The world's first malaria vaccine got a green light on Friday from European drugs regulators who recommended it as safe and effective to use in babies in Africa at risk of the mosquito-borne disease.
The shot, called Mosquirix and developed by British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline and the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative, would be the first licensed human vaccine against a parasitic disease and could help to prevent millions of cases of the killer disease in countries that use it.
It still faces hurdles before being rolled out in Africa, including winning agreement from governments and other funders that it is worth using, since it offers only partial protection.
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Attention-Control Video Game Curbs Combat Vets' PTSD Symptoms

(NIH/National Institute of Mental Health) A computerized attention-control training program significantly reduced combat veterans' preoccupation with -- or avoidance of -- threat and attendant PTSD symptoms. By contrast, another type of computerized training, called attention bias modification -- which has proven helpful in treating anxiety disorders -- did not reduce PTSD symptoms. NIMH and Israeli researchers conducted parallel trials in which the two treatments were tested in US and Israeli combat veterans…
While attention bias modification trains attention either away from or toward threat, attention-control training implicitly teaches participants that threatening stimuli are irrelevant to performing their task. It requires them to attend equally to threatening and neutral stimuli.
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Pharmacy owners cannot cite religion to deny medicine: U.S. appeals court

(Reuters) The state of Washington can require a pharmacy to deliver medicine even if the pharmacy's owner has a religious objection, a federal appeals court ruled on Thursday, the latest in a series of judgments on whether religious believers can opt out of providing services.
The ruling, from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, came in a case filed by pharmacists who objected to delivering emergency contraceptives. The 9th Circuit overturned a lower court that had said the rules were unconstitutional.
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Anthem to buy Cigna, creating biggest U.S. health insurer

(Reuters) Anthem Inc said on Friday it would buy Cigna Corp for about $54.2 billion, creating the largest U.S. health insurer by membership and accelerating the industry's consolidation from five national players to three.
The proposed acquisition, the health insurance industry's largest, comes three weeks after Aetna Inc agreed to buy Humana Inc for $37 billion.
Health insurers are finding it tougher to raise prices following the roll-out of President Barack Obama's healthcare law, while grappling with soaring expenses of medications including cancer drugs that can cost each patient more than $100,000 a year. Anthem said buying Cigna would help it reduce costs and negotiate lower prices with doctors and hospitals.
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Doctor Appointment Availability Went Up After Michigan Medicaid Expansion

(University of Michigan Health System) Getting access to health insurance, and getting access to a doctor, are two very different things.
But a new University of Michigan study suggests that the two have gone hand-in-hand in the state of Michigan, despite a rapid influx of hundreds of thousands of newly insured people under the state's expansion of Medicaid…
Overall, wait times for the first available appointment for all patients stayed the same as before the Medicaid expansion took effect, at about a week.
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