Latest Morning Briefing Stories
Doctors in 12 clinical centers pull out all the stops to try to find a diagnosis and treatment for thousands of patients looking for miracles. Public health news also focuses on a mosquito-borne virus worse than Zika; the Dunning-Kruger effect; the poor’s smoking rates; race and Alzheimer’s disease; stroke risk; the birth of a podcast; the future of newborn DNA testing; what it’s like to have nut-allergies; the upside of breakups; and good news about braces.
Media outlets report on news from Texas, California, Florida, Maryland, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
Researchers have found that on Christmas Eve the risk of a heart attack is 37 percent higher than normal. Although they didn’t draw conclusions on why the increase occurs, experts say the stress of the holidays combined with excessive drinking and eating could be the likely culprit.
Researchers have found that loneliness takes a physical toll, and is as closely linked to early mortality as smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day or consuming more than six alcoholic drinks a day. Loneliness is even worse for longevity than being obese or physically inactive. In other aging news: exercise, strengthening your brain, and poverty.
Media outlets take a look at various issues surrounding aging, including what to look for when trying to spot elder abuse; how difficult the emergency room can be for seniors; how to keep the aging body and brain healthy; and more.
News outlets examine the various features of this watch, including a separate app released by Apple Thursday that will display the wearer’s heart rate when he or she puts a finger on the watch crown for 30 seconds.
“Get more benefits for your money,” says one message sent to Medicare beneficiaries. “See if you can save money with Medicare Advantage,” says another. While private plans boast of providing superior-quality care, the evidence is mixed. And experts are worried that the material being sent out by the government doesn’t present the negatives of the plans. Other Medicare news focuses on nursing homes and enrollment.
Media outlets report on news from Massachusetts, Texas, New Hampshire, Missouri, North Carolina, Florida, California, Hawaii and Ohio.
Medicare Advantage plans to offer a host of new benefits next year, such as transportation to medical appointments, home-delivered meals, wheelchair ramps, bathroom grab bars and air conditioners for asthma sufferers.
The Senate report says that state and federal officials must do more to improve safety at nursing homes, while the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services argues that new rules help clarify emergency procedures. In other nursing home news, Synergy Health Centers announces that it will close two of its 10 Massachusetts facilities.
Meanwhile, in other news, the Washington Post reports on an effort in California to equip people with Alzheimer’s, dementia or autism — potential wanderers — with trackable bracelets that can be activated by search crews.
Work as a caregiver can be physically demanding and complex, but people in the field often have to take two jobs to make ends meet. “We’re limited in what we pay because of reimbursements,” Paul Randolph, intake supervisor at Excel Home Care, tells The Wall Street Journal.
If patients select inadequate plans, they can end up with a surprising amount of out-of-pocket costs. Experts provide tips for making the smart choices during the open enrollment session that runs into early December.
The measures are being watched closely as a method to expanding Medicaid in states with resistant legislatures. Ballot initiatives “are so powerful because they strip away from the partisanship and the tribalism that dominates so much of our politics,” said Jonathan Schliefer, executive director of The Fairness Project. “When it comes to health care, the biggest gap isn’t between Republicans and Democrats. It’s between politicians and everyone else.” Meanwhile, The Washington Post fact checks campaign ads that claim Republicans will get rid of Medicare.
Editorial pages offer opinions on “Medicare For All,” the health law, mental illness, aging, and other health topics.
For example, a 63-year-old transgender woman wonders if she would be accepted at a long-term care center. Would she have to hide who she is and go back into the closet “to get the care I deserve to get?” In other news on aging, predicting Alzheimer’s, knee replacement surgery and staying active in the later years.
Dr. David Sable talks with Stat about the new developments in the field. In other public health news: sex education, the flu, DNA, snakebites, scooters, autism, traveling nurses and more.
Missing closed captioning and other gaps for emergency communications can cut off Americans who are deaf from getting the news on life-threatening situations. Meanwhile, Florida hospitals are still recovering from Hurricane Michael.
The investigation by the HHS inspector general raises some concerns just as Medicare Advantage plans become more and more popular. Analysts predict that one in two seniors will have them in a few years despite predictions that the health law would hobble the marketplace.
For example, a manic episode may be preceded by rising numbers of typos and faster typing. But a host of privacy issues comes along with the technology. In other public health news: air pollution, stem cells, older patients, vision loss, dementia, anxiety and more.