Managed Care e-News
Dec. 3, 2013

Health insurance exchanges: What you need to know before you buy
Scott Kraft, a 40-year-old marathon enthusiast, spent more than a decade covering healthcare policy in the Washington, D.C., area as a reporter before transplanting to Portland, Ore., a few months ago. But while he knows the insides and outsides of the Affordable Care Act, and appreciates that he can get access to the same insurance as his friends without asthma, he is having a hard time making the commitment to enroll in a plan through his state's healthcare exchange website. A handful of states launched their own healthcare exchange websites when launched, as part of the ACA.More

Feds: 'night and day' from October
NBC News
Two months after its disastrous launch, is much better, working more than 90 percent of the time and up to the promised capacity of 50,000 users at any given time, government officials said. But it's not at 100 percent yet, with the final steps of enrollment still glitchy. More

Obamacare Medicare Part D works, but critics call plan wasteful
U.S. News & World Report
It seems everyday there are reports on the latest glitch associated with the rollout of the Affordable Care Act. But word from a government agency is that seniors enrolled in the Medicare Part D portion of Obamacare are saving billions. "Seniors and people with disabilities with Medicare prescription drug plan coverage saved $8.9 billion to date on their prescription drugs thanks to the Affordable Care Act," the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Studies, said in a report.More

FDA: Use registered compounders
MedPage Today
The FDA will encourage physicians and other healthcare providers to use only those compounders who have registered with the agency under a new federal law, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, M.D., said. President Barack Obama signed the Drug Quality and Security Act into law; the measure, which was passed by Congress, allows pharmacies that compound drugs to register with the FDA as "outsourcing facilities." More

FDA approves Varithena injectable foam for treating varicose veins
BTG announced that the FDA has approved its polidocanol injectable foam for treating patients with incompetent veins and visible varicosities of the great saphenous vein system. The FDA approval was based on two placebo-controlled phase 3 trials in which the "majority of patients treated" with Varithena, a sclerosing agent, achieved clinically meaningful improvement in superficial venous incompetence symptoms and visible varicosities appearance, while addressing the underlying incompetence, according to a press release.More

FDA approves new hepatitis C treatment
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Johnson & Johnson's new hepatitis C drug, which has been hailed as a cure for the infectious disease that's believed to affect 3.2 million Americans. The drug, Olysio, and others being used to treat the disease are giving patients — including many aging baby boomers — a new lease on life.More

Genes and air pollution combine to increase autism risk
Medical News Today
Children with a particular gene variant who are exposed to air pollution appear to be at a higher risk of developing autism, according to researchers from the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. Drawing on results of previous studies that have shown associations between air pollution and autism, and between autism and the MET gene, the researchers say their new study reveals that the combination of these factors increases the risk of autism.More

How genes influence human behavior and cognitive abilities
Science World Report
Our genes partially define who we are and how we act. Yet studying how genes influence cognitive abilities and behavior as the brain develops from childhood to adulthood has been difficult thus far. Now, scientists have managed to make inroads when it comes to understanding how genes influence brain structure and cognitive abilities and how neural circuits produce language.More

Big brains are all in the genes
Scientists have moved a step closer to understanding genetic changes that permitted humans and other mammals to develop such big brains. During evolution, different mammal species have experienced variable degrees of expansion in brain size. An important goal of neurobiology is to understand the genetic changes underlying these extraordinary adaptations. More

Study: Energy drinks increase heart contractions
CBS News
Energy drinks may cause serious increases in heart contraction rates within an hour of drinking the beverage, according to new research presented at a medical conference. The authors are worried what these types of side effects might do to the hearts of teens and young adults over long periods of time.More

Circumcisions to help prevent AIDS are on the rise
The New York Times
Circumcision for AIDS prevention is increasing rapidly in eastern and southern Africa, according to newly released figures. Unaids, the United Nations agency fighting the disease, said about 3.2 million African men had been voluntarily circumcised since word began spreading in 2007 of studies showing that it lowered the risk of infection by about 60 percent. The goal is to circumcise more than 20 million by 2015.More

Health insurance exchanges: What you need to know before you buy
Scott Kraft, a 40-year-old marathon enthusiast, spent more than a decade covering healthcare policy in the Washington, D.C., area as a reporter before transplanting to Portland, Ore., a few months ago.More

Study: Few hurt by health insurance policy cancellations
The Columbus Dispatch
Fewer than 6 percent of Americans younger than 65 have individual health plans, and most don't stand to lose their coverage without the promise of better insurance at a discount, according to a new report from Families USA.More

Private website touted as interim alternative to
By Pamela Lewis Dolan
Despite doubts from many, President Barack Obama remains confident that the technical glitches that overshadowed the launch of the federal health insurance exchange in October will be fixed by Nov. 30.More

Survey: Cancer patients crave veggies, comfort food
The Boston Globe
Disturbed by the lack of attention paid to nutrition during cancer treatment, a new national group called the Cancer Nutrition Consortium recently commissioned a survey of 1,200 patients at seven treatment centers around the country, including Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center. Most cancer patients crave fruit and vegetables, the survey found, and more than half avoid greasy food.More

Researchers turn to machines to identify breast cancer type
Medical Xpress
Researchers from the University of Alberta and Alberta Health Services have created a computer algorithm that successfully predicts whether estrogen is sending signals to cancer cells to grow into tumors in the breast. By finding this hormone receptor, known as estrogen receptor positive, physicians can prescribe anti-estrogen drug therapies, improving patient outcomes.More

Immune system may play crucial role in mental health
USA Today
Last time you had a bad cold, you likely had less energy than usual. You lay around and didn't have any enthusiasm for your usual activities. After it dragged on for a day or two, a sense of helplessness probably set in. It was hard to remember what feeling good felt like or how you could ever bound off the couch again. In short, for a few days, you probably felt a lot like someone with depression.More

Research: New mechanisms and areas of brain linked with anxiety and depression
Research released reveals new mechanisms and areas of the brain associated with anxiety and depression, presenting possible targets to understand and treat these debilitating mental illnesses. The findings were presented at Neuroscience 2013, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience and the world's largest source of emerging news about brain science and health.More