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Health insurance deadline passes for most, but there are exceptions
The New York Times
The last chance to sign up for health insurance this year under the Affordable Care Act passed recently, when an extended deadline for enrollment expired.
While most people will have to wait until the next open enrollment period in the fall, there is an exception for those who have a change in circumstances — like losing your health coverage because of the loss of a job, or getting married or having a baby.
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US Medicare test program saved hundreds of million of dollars
A U.S. government test program with doctors and hospitals slowed healthcare spending in Medicare coverage for the elderly and disabled by hundreds of millions of dollars in 2012 and 2013 but savings were less in the second year, a study released said.
The Journal of American Medical Association study looked at beneficiaries in 32 Pioneer Accountable Care Organizations, in which hospitals and doctors follow 33 quality and care standards for Medicare fee-for-service patients.
Targeting the 'superusers' of healthcare with telehealth
The consumer version of “telehealth” is both easy to imagine and easy to use. Faced with a healthcare event or condition, a consumer uses a smartphone, tablet or desktop connection to engage clinical care in real‒time. The cost is relatively affordable (even outside of insurance) and it saves an annoying trip to either a walk‒in clinic or the local urgent care.
2 bills protecting patients in healthcare networks deserve passage
Los Angeles Times
The healthcare reforms in the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act remain a work in progress, with some of the law's mandates causing new problems or exacerbating older flaws. One is inaccurate lists of the healthcare providers in insurers' networks; another is surprise bills by out-of-network providers. California lawmakers have offered proposals to solve these problems, and the Legislature should pass them.
ACCOUNTABLE CARE ORGANIZATIONS
Tech shifts support value-based payments
Health Data Management
Typically, physician face time during a patient's office visit is measured in minutes. However, accountable care is changing that scenario at Orlando Health in Florida, a large integrated delivery system with eight hospitals. At some of its outpatient practices, it's implemented group medical visits, at which 10 to 12 patients with similar conditions get 90-minute discussions with a physician, nurses and other care specialists.
BioFeedback for immunoglobulin is a health outcomes reporting program that provides clinical feedback on the use of immunoglobulin in autoimmune-related disorders. Physicians and medical directors can now deploy clinical interventions when they have the greatest impact on healthcare quality and costs.
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Pioneer ACO spending growth lower than other Medicare beneficiaries'
Accountable care organizations aligned with Medicare's Pioneer ACO program saw smaller increases in Medicare spending compared to general Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries in the Pioneer program's second year, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
FDA: NEW TREATMENTS & TECHNOLOGY
The new Botox? FDA approves an injection to fight double chins
The Washington Post
Double chin got you down? There's now a shot for that.
The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved a new treatment for adults with "moderate-to-severe fat" below the chin, known as submental fat. The drug, Kybella, is a form of synthetically derived deoxycholic acid, which the body produces naturally to help absorb fats.
FDA panel recommends approval for Amgen's skin cancer immunotherapy
Reuters via Yahoo News
Amgen Inc's skin cancer immunotherapy showed enough efficacy in the treatment of melanoma to be given marketing approval, an independent advisory panel to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said.
The panel voted 22-1 supporting an approval for the therapy, talimogene laherparepvec or "T-Vec", an engineered virus that kills cancer cells when injected into tumors and also primes the immune system to attack the disease.
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Study: Genius and autism may share genetic link
Child prodigies and their autistic family members may share a genetic link, according to findings published online for the April issue of Human Heredity.
“We were very excited,” lead researcher Joanne Ruthsatz of Ohio State University told PBS NewsHour about the discovery. “It was like, here it is, here’s the autism and the prodigies together and they have a significant peak on chromosome 1, where they are significantly different than their non-affected family members.”
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Parents may pass on sleepwalking to their kids
Kids are more likely to sleepwalk if their parents also did, a new study suggests.
The new research, published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, found that over 60 percent of kids who developed somnambulism had parents who were both sleepwalkers. The study authors looked at sleep data for 1,940 kids whose history of sleepwalking and sleep terrors as well as their parents sleepwalking were reported through questionnaires.
How genes of 'super' athletes could be used to help the rest of us
"Super" athletes may hold the key to better health for the rest of us, according to a Stanford scientist.
Dr. Euan Ashley, an associate professor of medicine and genetics at Stanford University, is working on a project to sequence genes from hundreds of elite athletes.
By looking at elite athletes, doctors may be able to better learn how to help patients with weaker cardiovascular systems or even make improvements for those who are just normal, Ashley said, noting he and his team are sequencing the genomes of elite athletes to better understand what makes them "fitter, faster, stronger."
Some people may have an 'obesity gene'
The Washington Post
Some women may get more benefit than others from exercise, and genes are part of the reason why, a new study finds.
Women who had certain genetic markers gained weight after following a strength-training regimen for a year, whereas women who didn’t have those markers lost weight after following the same regimen, according to the study, which looked at genes that have been linked in previous research with an increased risk of obesity.
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Ebola survivors can spread disease through sex for longer than previously thought
The Associated Press via Huffington Post
Health officials now think Ebola survivors can spread the disease through unprotected sex nearly twice as long as previously believed.
Scientists thought the Ebola virus could remain in semen for about three months. But a recent case in West Africa suggests infection through sex can happen more than five months later.
Life after cardiac arrest
By Dorothy L. Tengler
Nearly 383,000 out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrests occur annually. Of those who survive a cardiac arrest, mild-to-moderate cognitive impairment is common; half of all those who survive experience problems with cognitive functions such as memory and attention. However, in a recent study, a control group comprising heart attack patients had largely the same level of problems, which suggests that it is not only the cardiac arrest and the consequent lack of oxygen to the brain that is the cause of the patients' difficulties.
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Moderate exercise may make cancer treatments more effective, kinesiologist finds
Kansas State University kinesiology research offers encouraging information for cancer patients: A brisk walk or a slow jog on a regular basis may be the key to improved cancer treatments. Brad Behnke, associate professor of exercise physiology, and collaborators have shown that moderate exercise on a regular basis enhances tumor oxygenation, which may improve treatments in cancer patients.
Changes in the blood can predict cancer years in advance
A simple blood test may be able to predict cancer years before a diagnosis.
According to new research from Northwestern Medicine in collaboration with Harvard University, scientists detected a distinct pattern in the changing lengths of telomeres, the protective end caps on our strands of DNA, which may act as a biomarker to predict cancer years before it develops.
African diet may lead away from colon cancer
The New York Times
A change in diet for just two weeks alters gut bacteria in ways that may reduce risk of colon cancer, according to a new study in Nature Communications.
Researchers asked 20 African-Americans in Pittsburgh and 20 rural South Africans to switch diets for two weeks. The Americans ate a traditional African diet, high in fiber and low in fat, with plenty of fruits, vegetables, beans and cornmeal, and very little meat.
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How to tell if it's a bad mood or depression
Everyday Health via Yahoo Health
Most everyone goes through bad moods. But when the blues don’t go away, you might wonder if, in fact, you are truly depressed. Because depression has clearly defined symptoms, however, there’s a way to figure out whether you need to seek treatment. Depression is diagnosed when a person experiences five or more specific symptoms for more than two weeks, according to the American Psychiatric Association.
Mental Health Awareness Month aims to knock down stigma
By Jessica Taylor
Words of hopelessness are spoken day in and day out from individuals with mental illnesses, but they're often pushed to the side. Because of the stigma around mental health, it’s harder for people who may need help to seek out the resources that are available to them. Since May is Mental Health Awareness Month, there's no time like the present to discuss what can be done.
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