Managed Care e-News
Nov. 19, 2013

Efforts underway to help physicians find best apps to recommend
Pamela Lewis Dolan
As patient engagement becomes an increasingly important aspect of a reformed healthcare system, mobile health applications are often thought to hold great potential for getting patients more involved in their healthcare. With more than 43,000 health-related apps available on the iTunes store alone, and new apps being introduced every day, there is no shortage when it comes to available tools. But due to sheer volume, the ability for doctors to assess and analyze these tools for their safety and efficacy is lacking.More

5 steps to understanding Obamacare's penalty for the uninsured
NerdWallet via ABC News
You may feel overwhelmed with the daily stories about Obamacare and it's online insurance shopping portal, If you're one of 48 million Americans without health insurance, you not only have the challenge of understanding what the law means for individuals: You'll also face the important decision of purchasing insurance or paying a tax penalty. These five steps will help you better understand the penalty and your options.More

Technology and medicine: Applying Google Glass in the medical field
By Rosemary Sparacio
Every day, new strides in technology make headlines in all kinds of areas. Nowhere is it is more prevalent or exciting than in the medical field. And one of the most talked about new tech "gadgets" to come onto the scene and into the consciousness of just about everyone who follows the news is Google Glass. Proponents see the potential for the device's use over a wide range of medical applications, from cutting down the time a physician has to do paperwork — thus giving the physician more time to focus on the patient's problem — to assisting in surgery.More

FDA approves drug for rare blood cancer
The Wall Street Journal
Pharmacyclics Inc. said it would sell its drug Imbruvica for more than $130,000 annually, making it one of the most expensive new cancer drugs on the market. The drug, which will be co-marketed with Johnson & Johnson and is known generically as ibrutinib, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat patients with mantle cell lymphoma, a rare and aggressive type of blood cancer for which nearly 5,000 patients in the U.S. undergo treatment, according to Kantar Health, a consulting firm.More

Will the new hepatitis C drugs trigger a battle over cost?
As excitement mounts among physicians and investors over a new batch of drugs for treating hepatitis C, there is also concern that patients in developing countries may not have sufficient access due to high prices. But a recent poster presentation at a medical conference suggests that drugmakers can produce these new medicines for relatively little cost and should be compelled to do so.More

Researchers identify genes that put children at high risk of serious asthma attacks
An international team spearheaded by researchers from the University of Copenhagen has identified the genes that put some children at particularly high risk of serious asthma attacks, including one not previously suspected of being implicated in the disease. In the long term, these new findings are expected to help improve treatment options for the disease, which represents a high cost for families and society alike.More

The gene machine
Medical Xpress
Scientists have discovered that the human body contains more than 25,000 genes, but what they do remains mostly a mystery. "We don't know the function of the vast majority of genes," says Nevan Krogan, Ph.D., director of the UC San Francisco branch of the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences. Krogan and his team are seeking to crack this conundrum by examining genes and the proteins they encode through a superwide lens, as well as by creating large-scale physical and genetic interaction maps.More

Genomics could blow up the clinical trial
MIT Technology Review
A novel kind of clinical trial is set to test several new lung cancer drugs based on the molecular profiles of each participating patient's tumor. If successful, the trial could help bring cancer-genome-targeted medicines to patients more quickly than has been possible to date. Trials often only test one new drug at a time, and in cases when researchers do use genomic profiling to match a patient to a new treatment, they may struggle to find suitable candidates.More

Avoid acrylamide: FDA warns against chemical found in many fried foods
Fox News
One week after proposing the removal of trans fats from food, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is targeting another fattening — and potentially harmful — ingredient: acrylamide. Acrylamide is a chemical that forms in many plant-based foods during high-temperature cooking, such as frying or baking. It is often found in French fries, cereals, crackers and many other food products.More

How many sodas does it take to hurt your kidneys?
The downsides of drinking soda reach beyond the truly devoted guzzlers of the world, according to a surprising new study presented at Kidney Week 2013. It only takes two cans a day to do a number on your kidney function. Researchers from Osaka University in Japan examined nearly 8,000 university employees with normal kidney function. More

Antibiotics — friend and foe?
Medical Xpress
European Antibiotic Awareness Day is marked on Nov. 18 every year. This year in Norway, a seminar for healthcare providers about antibiotic use and resistance will be held, as well as several local events around the country for both doctors and the public. The focus is on appropriate antibiotic prescription to ensure correct treatment and to reduce antibiotic use, and thus limit the development of resistant bacteria. More

Efforts underway to help physicians find best apps to recommend
Pamela Lewis Dolan
As patient engagement becomes an increasingly important aspect of a reformed healthcare system, mobile health applications are often thought to hold great potential for getting patients more involved in their healthcare. More

Scientists found the Wolverine healing gene
Deep within our bodies are all kinds of genes that turn on and off over the years, including the very genes that make you grow a body in the first place.More

How big is the penalty if you don't get health insurance?
Stories about the Affordable Care Act often tell readers that they'll have to pay a $95 penalty if they don't get adequate health insurance coverage.More

Bitter melon extract may have potential to fight head, neck cancer
Extract taken from an Asian vegetable may have therapeutic qualities to treat head and neck cancer, a Saint Louis University researcher has found. Preliminary findings of the research were published in the Public Library of Science One Journal by Ratna Ray, Ph.D. associate professor of pathology at Saint Louis University. Ray found that bitter melon extract, a vegetable commonly used in Indian and Chinese diets, reduces the head and neck cancer cell growth in the animal model.More

Digging deeper into cancer
Medical Xpress
What a pathologist looks for in a Pap test sample, but hopes not to find, are oddly shaped cells with abnormally large nuclei. The same is true for prostate and lung cancer biopsies. In fact, most cancer cells display distorted structures. "If you just open a text on the pathology of cells, you see hundreds of strange-looking cells — this one with a gigantic nucleus, that one with vacuoles that push the nucleus aside," says Wallace Marshall, PhD '97, an associate professor of biochemistry and biophysics. "It's like an atlas of freakish cells."More

Identifying symptoms of acute depression
By Dr. Abimbola Farinde
Depression can develop in any individual regardless of age or gender. It is a common mental disorder, and the incidence of depression increases each day. In order to improve the changes of a positive outcome, the symptoms should be identified almost immediately upon onset, but there are cases where it can sometimes take years to identify. It is estimated that about 5 to 6 percent of the United States population is depressed, and identification of acute depression symptoms can lead to immediate treatment.More

Epilepsy drug gabapentin shows promise in treating alcohol dependence
LiveScience via The Huffington Post
A drug typically used to treat epilepsy may also be effective in treating alcoholism, the results of a clinical trial suggest. Alcohol-dependent patients who took gabapentin, an anti-convulsant medication, were more likely to stop drinking or at least abstain from heavy drinking than those taking a placebo, the study found. What's more, participants receiving gabapentin also slept better, showed improvements in mood and had fewer alcohol cravings, with few side effects, the researchers said. More