KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Public Health Roundup: Conjoined Twins; A Shot For Incontinence; And Home Health Care For Seniors

Also in the news: a tool to detect Parkinson's, transgender talk and salt caves as the new health trend.

The Washington Post: Doctors Just Separated Twin Girls Joined At The Head In One Of The World’S Rarest Surgeries
For the first time, conjoined twins Abby and Erin Delaney can sleep in separate beds. The 10-month-old girls from North Carolina were born connected at the head, an extremely rare condition. Following months of planning and preparation, the pair underwent a successful 11-hour separation surgery last week at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in southeastern Pennsylvania, according to the hospital. (Bever, 6/14)

The Philadelphia Inquirer: The O-Shot: Incontinence Fix Or Empty Promise?
Urinary incontinence is a common condition in women. Approximately 25 percent of young women, around half of middle-aged and postmenopausal women, and three-fourths of older women experience some involuntary urine loss, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The group estimates that $19.5 billion a year is spent on treatments, which run the gamut from behavior modification to surgery. Then there’s the O-Shot, meant for the 15 percent of women who have stress incontinence — leakage associated with a strain such as sneezing or lifting. Rush, 6/14)

Kaiser Health News: Some Seniors Just Want To Be Left Alone, Which Can Lead To Problems
The 84-year-old man who had suffered a mini-stroke was insistent as he spoke to a social worker about being discharged from the hospital: He didn’t want anyone coming into his home, and he didn’t think he needed any help. So the social worker canceled an order for home health care services. And the patient went back to his apartment without plans for follow-up care in place. (Graham, 6/15)

KCUR: Lenexa Teen’s Tech Tool Could Identify Early Symptoms Of Parkinson’s 
Erin Smith doesn’t watch a lot of TV. Instead, the 17-year-old spends her evenings perfecting an online tool she created. The tool, called FacePrint, can detect Parkinson’s disease years before current diagnosis methods by recording your facial reactions with a webcam at home. Smith, a senior at Shawnee Mission West High School, has traveled to Twitter and Google headquarters, won a $10,000 prize from the #BuiltByGirls Future Founder competition to continue her research, and has been recognized by the Michael J. Fox Foundation. (Marleah Campbell, 6/14)

The New York Times: A New Lure For Spa Customers? A Salt Cave
Two young women in white chamois robes exited the Himalayan salt sauna at Premier57, a spa in Midtown Manhattan, looking rosy and happily spent. The salt sauna, lined with burnt orange and yellow blocks of sodium chloride, is a popular destination at the spa, where a day pass is $75 and the tagline urges guests to “immerse, indulge, intrigue.” Options include an infrared lounge, a meditation room, an igloo room, a gold sauna and a clay sauna, “but we have a lot of guests who just come here for the salt room, especially if they have arthritis,” said the spa’s general manager, Ellis Kim. “It’s very good for arthritis and for regulating blood pressure.” (Kaufman, 6/14)

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