Latest Morning Briefing Stories
The report from the Office of Inspector General at HHS raises concerns that some hospices are milking the system by skimping on services while taking in daily Medicare payments.
At the nonprofit Hospice of the Western Reserve in Cleveland, which serves 1,200 dying patients daily, many employees and volunteers have great job satisfaction and readily answer a common question: “How do you work here?” In other public health news: Alzheimer’s, HIV outreach, hip replacement research, all-plant burgers, carcinogenic chemicals and racial profiling.
Opinion writers express views on these and other health topics.
The drug showed success with patients who had the highest dosage for over 18 months, but there will need to be more studies before experts get really excited. “I don’t know that we’ve hit a home run yet. It’s important not to over-conclude on the data. But as a proof of concept, I feel like this is very encouraging,” said Dr. Reisa Sperling, director of the Center for Alzheimer Research and Treatment at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
Finding the right patients, in the right age group, with just the right amount of memory loss is an overwhelming task for pharmaceutical companies running drug trials. In other news, a study suggests that hormones might play a role in the disease, which could offer insight into why so many more women than men are afflicted.
Today, an estimated 34.2 million people provide unpaid care to those 50 and older, but that supply is shrinking every day. In other public health news: pain, cancer, Alzheimer’s, toxic air, dietary supplements, jet lag and more.
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The study also found that women who had experienced one or two incomplete pregnancies were much less likely to develop Alzheimer’s than women who had never been pregnant. In other public health news: study backs up assumptions that children of lesbians have no difference in adulthood than others; CDC warns about another food-related illness; heart failure is on the decline but still more likely to strike women; and more.
Infant formula is a $70 billion industry today. But that wasn’t always the case. In other public health news: mobile food banks, medical records, heat waves, plastic straws, blood pressure, bone density, trauma victims, and more.
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Hospitals and ER departments nationwide are coming up short when they need drugs such as morphine. “So many substances are short, and we’re dancing every shift,” said Dr. James Augustine, a doctor in Cincinnati.” In other public health news: palliative sedation, glaucoma, gaming addictions, ovarian cysts, emphysema and more.
A new study raises new questions about how long humans can live.
A new study suggests that certain viruses could kick-start an immune response that might increase the accumulation of amyloid, a protein in human brains which clumps into the telltale plaques of Alzheimer’s. Scientists are being very cautious to warn that this might not prove anything, but it’s one of the few developments the field has seen in decades.
Reisa Sperling looks at the ten to fifteen year span before the onset of the disease when patients already have build-up of a protein that is believed to trigger the deterioration of the brain. In other public health news: pancreatic cancer, gout, depression, genetic testing, grandchildren for hire, and more.
Demographers say the pattern is moving America towards a future where white people are no longer the majority faster than previously predicted. In other public health news: bioterror, anti-aging, survivors of childhood cancer, social media, HPV, and more.
But many say that’s a good thing. “The president is beginning to understand that in order to deal with the swamp, you have to have some people who understand how the swamp works,” said Trent Lott (R., Miss.), a former Senate majority leader. “The idea that anybody who has worked in Washington shouldn’t be involved in Washington is absolutely the wrong way to go.” Robert Wilkie is expected to be approved to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Experts talk about the problems that arise around midlife — such as health issues, social isolation and financial stress — that are playing a role in the sharp uptick of suicides the country is seeing in those who are middle-age.
While profits were surging, patients at St. Francis Center for Rehabilitation & Healthcare in Darby, Penn. were suffering from what a state official called “extreme” conditions, including a lack of proper wound treatment and nursing care. Meanwhile, in Florida, in a dispute over death certificates, a judge ruled in favor of the nursing home where residents died following a hurricane.
The test — which detects changes in RNA circulating in a pregnant woman’s blood — estimates due dates within two weeks in nearly half the cases, making it as accurate as the current, more expensive method. In other public health news: vaping, tonsillectomies, HPV vaccines, depression, the plague, e-cigarettes and Zika.
The Medicare trust fund, which covers hospitalizations, will be depleted in 2026, the Trump administration reports. An aging population is also putting strain on the reserves.