Managed Care e-News
Apr. 8, 2014

Exchange enrollment exceeds expectations, but too early to determine impact
By Pamela Lewis Dolan
The Obama administration's last-ditch efforts to get people to sign up for insurance through the insurance exchanges paid off as the total enrollment numbers exceeded 7 million by the March 31 open enrollment deadline. The enrollment data surprised nearly everyone. Just weeks before the deadline, the Congressional Budget Office revised its estimate of new enrollees down to 6 million. But while proponents of the Affordable Care Act had reason to celebrate, there are still many unknowns that will determine the long-term success of the law.More

Number of Americans without health insurance reaches new low
Los Angeles Times
The share of Americans without health insurance has dropped to the lowest level since before President Barack Obama took office, according to a new national survey that provides more evidence the healthcare law is extending coverage to millions of the previously uninsured. Just 14.7 percent of adults lacked coverage in the second half of March, down from 18 percent in the last quarter of 2013, the survey from Gallup found. More

Legal or not, marijuana cannot be ignored by healthcare providers
By Denise A. Valenti
Two states — Colorado and Washington — have approved cannabis for both recreational use and medical use, an additional 18 approve the use of cannabis for medical purposes and an another 13 states have legislation pending. Regardless of a healthcare professional's position on medicinal cannabis or interest in prescribing its use, providers are expected by patients and the public to have the background necessary to provide guidance regarding the use of cannabis. Obtaining an education about a substance that is restricted, controversial and has few human studies on its use can seem daunting. More

Hand-held treatment for overdoses is approved
The New York Times
Federal health regulators approved a drug overdose treatment device that experts say will provide a powerful lifesaving tool in the midst of a surging epidemic of prescription drug abuse. Similar to an EpiPen used to stop allergic reactions to bee stings, the easy-to-use injector — small enough to tuck into a pocket or a medicine cabinet — can be used by the relatives or friends of people who have overdosed.More

MannKind says FDA delays decision on inhaled insulin treatment
MannKind Corp said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration extended the review date of its inhaled insulin treatment by three months, sending the company's shares down as much as 22 percent before the bell. The news comes less than a week after an advisory panel to the FDA recommended approving the treatment, Afrezza, but said longer-term studies would be required to gauge the risk of lung cancer and other potential side effects.More

New study explains evolution of duplicate genes
Medical Xpress
From time to time, living cells will accidently make an extra copy of a gene during the normal replication process. Throughout the history of life, evolution has molded some of these seemingly superfluous genes into a source of genetic novelty, adaptation and diversity.More

Roche will work with Oryzon on cancer-suppressing genes
Roche Holding AG agreed to buy the rights from Spain's Oryzon Genomics SA to an experimental drug that's meant to switch on genes that block the growth of cancer, a new area in the crowded field of potential oncology therapies. Roche will pay Barcelona-based Oryzon $21 million up front and for meeting near-term targets, plus payments that may exceed $500 million if the drug meets other goals. More

Procrastination is in your genes
Everybody has put off today what can be done tomorrow. And that might be because procrastination is in your genes, a new study published in the journal Psychological Science suggests. But when it comes to delaying, not everyone is created equal. Some are significantly more likely to procrastinate than others, so researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder looked into whether this bad habit might have its roots in genetics by surveying 181 identical twin pairs and 166 fraternal twin pairs.More

Study: Not all dairy is created equal when it comes to women's bone health
The Huffington Post
If you want to strengthen your bones, reaching for calcium-rich dairy seems to be a no-brainer. But for women, it's best to reach for a big glass of the good stuff rather than snacking on cheese or yogurt. A new study published on the effects of dairy consumption on knee osteoarthritis found drinking milk can slow down the progression of the condition in women. More

Legumes lower LDL cholesterol
MedPage Today
A diet rich in legumes lowered low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, according to a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. People whose diets included a median intake of 130 g/d of "pulses" — such as beans, chickpeas, lentils and peas — had lower LDL cholesterol levels than those on a control diet, according to the study published online in CMAJ.More

Exchange enrollment exceeds expectations, but too early to determine impact
By Pamela Lewis Dolan
The Obama administration's last-ditch efforts to get people to sign up for insurance through the insurance exchanges paid off as the total enrollment numbers exceeded 7 million by the March 31 open enrollment deadline.More

Worst US cities for spring allergies
If you're cursing Mother Nature right now, we understand. The official start of spring was March 20, and yet signs of winter abound.More

As health system complexities rise, a new industry emerges
By Pamela Lewis Dolan
If you want to learn about the complexities of the modern healthcare delivery system, there's no better person to ask than a physician.More

Simple blood test could detect cancers
Fox News
A new, highly sensitive blood test may help detect cancer tumors, Medical News Today reported. Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine attempted a new approach to detecting cancer tumors — a blood test that uses tumor DNA as a biomarker. In a new study published in Nature Medicine, the test correctly identified around half of patients with stage 1 lung cancer and all patients with stage 2 or higher.More

Guarded optimism after breast cancer drug shows promising results
The New York Times
Researchers say that a new type of drug can help prevent advanced breast cancer from worsening, potentially providing an important new treatment option for women and a blockbuster product for Pfizer. In a clinical trial, the drug cut in half the risk that cancer would worsen, or progress, researchers said. The median time before the disease progressed or the women died was 20.2 months for those who received the drug, compared with 10.2 months for the control group.More

Teen anxiety: How to recognize it, and what to do about it
The Washington Post
Teens have a reputation — deserved or not — for being difficult, moody and belligerent. Those same behaviors can be a warning sign that your teen is battling anxiety, said Reid Wilson, director of the Anxiety Disorders Treatment Center in Chapel Hill, N.C. and the author of "Anxious Kids, Anxious Parents: 7 Ways to Stop the Worry Cycle and Raise Courageous and Independent Children."More

Fort Hood shooting renews attention to mental health
While an Army official said that Specialist Ivan Lopez' possible mental health problems were not the "direct precipitating factor" in the shooting at Fort Hood that killed three people and wounded 16 others, his struggles nonetheless shone a light on mental health in the U.S. military. That spotlight revealed a problem still unsolved.More