Managed Care e-News
Jan. 17, 2012

Study: Fitness benefit gains insurers healthy elderly
Bloomberg Businessweek
The offer of a fitness club membership is helping insurers including UnitedHealth Group and Humana draw healthier and less-costly patients to their Medicare programs, said researchers reporting in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study found 35.3 percent of new enrollees in a fitness membership benefit plan reported "excellent" or "very good" health, compared with 29.1 percent in the group without the benefit.More

The public option did not die
Kaiser Health News
In a cavernous room just east of San Francisco, an army of phone operators fields calls from their customers. These phone operators working in a non-descript office park are employed by a large health insurance plan, and they're willing to go the extra mile for their customers. They'll schedule a doctor to come to your home, a pharmacist to drop off a prescription, and they'll even help you fill out an application for food stamps.More

Better care for 'dual eligibles' suggested
Two U.S. researchers suggest a plan to improve care for dual eligibles — retirees eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. Jane Hyatt Thorpe and Katherine Jett Hayes of George Washington University outlined a proposed state plan option where states would choose qualified health plans to provide highly integrated care services for dual eligibles. More

Lymphoma drug gets new boxed warning on infection risk
Bloomberg Businessweek
Seattle Genetics said its Hodgkin lymphoma drug Adcetris will carry a new boxed warning, the strictest U.S. caution, about a risk of dangerous brain infections. Patients taking the medicine may develop a rare, potentially fatal condition known as progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy or PML, the Washington-based company said.More

FDA would collect millions to speed review of generic drugs
The Associated Press via The Washington Post
The Food and Drug Administration would collect hundreds of millions of dollars in new fees from pharmaceutical companies to help speed up the review of generic drugs, under an agreement with industry released by the agency. The agreements would each charge drug manufacturers application fees for reviewing traditional drugs, generic drugs and a new class of generic biotech drugs, respectively.More

DNA damage from chemo may help spur leukemia's return
HealthDay News via USA Today
The chemotherapy used to treat a form of adult leukemia sets a trap that can result in the return of the disease within years, a new study suggests. The finding confirms the suspicions of specialists who thought chemotherapy drugs could disrupt DNA through mutations and ultimately allow tumor cells to avoid the effects of the medications. More

Study: Reading news media will make you live longer
The Daily Mail
People who keep updated on current affairs are more health-conscious and will live longer, say scientists. A study found those who were most exposed to newspaper, television and the Internet had healthier diets than those who were less informed. Researchers found those most exposed to mass media consumed a healthier diet, with greater quantities of fruit and fresh fish, which reduced the risk of obesity, heart disease and cancer.More

Are Americans getting healthier?
The Wall Street Journal
Americans might be getting healthier, a development that — if true — could have economic causes and consequences. The percentage of Americans who are obese declined from 2010 to 2011, according to a recent Gallup report. In every quarter of the past year, there were fewer obese Americans than in the same period of 2010, the polling firm said. All told, 26.1 percent of American adults were obese in 2011, compared with 26.6 percent in 2010.More

Can Philip Morris help turn tobacco into medicine?
Investor's Business Daily
Tobacco companies have been fighting a rear-guard action in the Western world for the last few decades, facing restrictive laws and declining numbers of smokers. But what if tobacco can be used to save lives instead of take them? In December, its investment arm bought a 40 percent stake in Canadian biotech Medicago, which is developing influenza vaccines derived from tobacco plants.More

Gene mutation linked to inherited prostate cancer
AFP via NY Daily News
Researchers say they have found the first genetic mutation linked to an inherited form of prostate cancer, raising new hope of one day improving early screening for the disease. The mutation appears only in a small subset of prostate cancer patients, but those who inherited it showed 10 to 20 times higher risk of developing prostate cancer, particularly before age 55, the researchers said.More

DNA diet uses body's genetic code to aid weight loss
The Huffington Post UK
A personalized DNA diet that uses genetic fingerprints to determine the right food and exercise regime for your body type has gone on widespread sale. In trials of 7,700 people the Nordiska diet produced an average weight loss of 11 pounds over four months. Nine out of 10 participants lost weight and some lost up to 26 pounds in four months.More

'Love hormone' makes mothers kinder, could treat autism
ABC News
VideoBriefScientists studying the benefits of oxytocin — often called the "love hormone" or "cuddle chemical" — say the hormone makes humans more altruistic. Oxytocin is critically important to a pregnant woman as it is partly responsible for the nourishment and cuddling she is likely to give her child. There is hope that the hormone could be used to help patients suffering from a range of psychiatric disorders that affect social interactions, including autism and schizophrenia.More

Study offers clues on alcohol's addictiveness
WebMD via CBS News
New brain imaging research may lead to a better understanding of alcohol addiction and possibly better treatments for people who abuse alcohol and other drugs. A doctor at the Center for Drug and Alcohol Programs at the Medical University of South Carolina is conducting genetic research in hopes of discovering why naltrexone blunts alcohol cravings in some people but not others.More