Researchers in Seattle are busy cataloging what scientists have learned. For now that includes detailed information on 240 mouse cells. Next up: a data trove of details on human brain cells.
U.S. spending on prescription medicines jumped 13 percent to $374 billion in 2014, the biggest percentage increase since 2001, as demand surged for expensive new breakthrough hepatitis C treatments, a report released on Tuesday showed.
Demand for newer cancer and multiple sclerosis treatments, price increases on branded medicines, particularly insulin products for diabetes, and the entry of few new generic versions of big-selling drugs also contributed to the double-digit spending rise in 2014, the report by IMS Health Holdings Inc found.
Commonly found in pain relievers, acetaminophen gets rid of more than just physical agony – it also diminishes emotions.
“Rather than just being a pain reliever, acetaminophen can be seen as an all-purpose emotion reliever,” lead researcher said in a news release.
By Jenny Gold
By law, many U.S. insurance providers that offer mental health care are required to cover it just as they would cancer or diabetes treatment.
But advocates say achieving this mental health parity can be a challenge.
Jenny Gold of Kaiser Health News spoke with NPR’s Arun Rath over the weekend about the issue.
Rath noted that many patients have trouble getting their mental health care covered, and she outlined some of the issues confronting both patients and the insurance industry. Here is an edited transcript of her comments.
Where does parity stand?
It’s been a mixed bag so far. Insurance companies often used to have a separate deductible or a higher copay for mental health and substance abuse visits. Right now, that usually isn’t the case. In that way, insurers really have complied. Continue reading
The vast majority of clinical trials involving fish oil have found no evidence that it lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Many Americans would not have quick access to the best healthcare options during a stroke, even under the most ideal circumstances, according to a new computer model.
In a hypothetical model, if each state had up to 20 hospitals providing the best possible care for people having strokes – which is not the current reality – more than a third of Americans would still be more than a 60-minute ambulance ride away from one of those medical centers.
By Roni Caryn Rabin
When my mother, Pauline, was 70, she lost her sense of balance. She started walking with an odd shuffling gait, taking short steps and barely lifting her feet off the ground. She often took my hand, holding it and squeezing my fingers.
Her decline was precipitous. She fell repeatedly. She stopped driving and she could no longer ride her bike in a straight line along the C& O Canal. The woman who taught me the sidestroke couldn’t even stand in the shallow end of the pool. “I feel like I’m drowning,” she’d say.
A retired psychiatrist, my mother had numerous advantages — education, resources and insurance — but still, getting the right diagnosis took nearly 10 years. Each expert saw the problem through the narrow prism of their own specialty. Surgeons recommended surgery. Neurologists screened for common incurable conditions.
The answer was under their noses, in my mother’s hunches and her family history. But it took a long time before someone connected the dots. My mother was using a walker by the time she was told she had a rare condition that causes gait problems and cognitive loss, and is one of the few treatable forms of dementia.
“This should be one of the first things physicians look for in an older person,” my mother said recently. “You can actually do something about it.” Continue reading
From WBUR’s CommonHealth:
A new Brigham and Women’s Hospital study finds that we may not need quite as much genetic counseling as we’d thought. Particularly on relatively cut-and-dried findings, like test results on a common gene that raises the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Listen to WBUR host Anthony Brooks speak with Dr. Robert C. Green:
In the U.S., one in five children struggles with a learning and/or attention issue. That’s 15 million kids ages 3–20, and many of their issues go undiagnosed.
The adults in their lives often have a hard time understanding their issues due to misconceptions and a lack of information and resources.
As a result, these children often face both academic and social challenges.
However, with the right strategies and support, they can succeed in the classroom—and outside of it, too.
This campaign stems from the idea that parents can sense when their children are struggling but may not know why. Or what to do.
By demonstrating the realities that children with learning and attention issues face daily, the campaign aims to increase the number of parents who are actively helping and seeking help for their kids.
Parents are encouraged to visit Understood.org, a comprehensive free online resource that empowers parents through personalized support, daily access to experts and specially designed tools to help the millions of children with learning and attention issues go from simply coping to truly thriving.
It’s getting easier for parents of young children with autism to get insurers to cover a pricey treatment called applied behavioral analysis.
Once kids turn 21, however, it’s a different ballgame entirely. Continue reading
From the Office of Research on Women’s Health
Traumatic brain injury (TBI), a form of acquired brain injury, occurs when a sudden force, such as from an explosive blast or an automobile accident, causes damage to the brain.
TBI can result when the head suddenly and violently hits an object, or when an object pierces the skull and enters brain tissue.
In most of these cases, the skull remains intact and the damage is believed to be caused by a pressure wave of the explosion’s concussive force passing through the brain.
Symptoms of a TBI can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the extent of the damage to the brain. Continue reading
When Yuri Maldonado’s 6-year-old son was diagnosed with autism four years ago, she learned that getting him the therapy he needed from California’s Medicaid plan for low-income children was going to be tough.
Medi-Cal, as California’s plan is called, does provide coverage of autism services for some children who are severely disabled by the disorder, in contrast to many states which offer no autism coverage.
But Maldonado’s son was approved for 30 hours a week of applied behavioral analysis (ABA), a type of behavior modification therapy that has been shown to be effective with autistic children, and she was worried that wasn’t enough.
So she and her husband, neither of whose jobs offered health insurance, bought an individual private policy for their son, with a $900 monthly price tag, to get him more of the comprehensive therapy.
“I don’t know any family that can really afford that,” says Maldonado. “We made some sacrifices.”
That should be changing soon. In July, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced that comprehensive autism services must be covered for children under all state Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program plans, another federal-state program that provide health coverage to lower-income children. Continue reading
Frank Browning writes from Paris
I had a stroke last month, oh boy.
It’s just that I didn’t know it. Here’s what happened:
Only after three days of flashing, floating visual squiggles — commonly known as ocular migraines that usually last 20 minutes — do I email my old friend Dr. John Krakauer, who helps run stroke recovery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.
After a few questions he told me to get an MRI scan as soon as possible.
In the U.S. that could involve the emergency room (with its hours-long wait) or a complicated process of getting the referral — and then finding a radiologist who would take my coverage.
Here in France, it is so much simpler. Continue reading