Health Care

Come again? How to prevent hearing loss in children

Submitted by Mariela Miranda on 16:45

Approximately 32 million children worldwide have hearing loss, but a report from the World Health Organization indicates that up to 60% of hearing loss in children under the age of 15 years is preventable. “A child who struggles to hear may also struggle to learn to speak, underachieve at school and end up socially isolated,” Director of the WHO Department for Management of Non-communicable Diseases, Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention Dr Etienne Krug said in a WHO statement. “But this doesn’t have to happen. We have a range of tools to help prevent, detect and treat childhood hearing loss.”

Chronic kidney disease: More than kin and less than kind

Submitted by Pablo Retana on 16:45

March is National Kidney Month. Which is rather odd because kidneys don’t take days off from filtering blood; removing wastes, toxins, and excess fluid; helping control blood pressure; promoting red blood cell production; keeping bones healthy; and regulating essential blood chemicals. Not unsurprisingly, if the kidneys fail, the whole outhouse can go up in flames. This is the case of chronic kidney disease (CKD; not to be confused with CKY), a lifelong, progressively worsening condition that starts with damaged kidneys or reduced kidney function for more than 3 months and ends with end-stage renal disease – when the kidneys  finally shut down completely (and  so usually does the person who was so unkind to them).

Drink your milk and say your prayers? Yes, if it’s raw milk

Submitted by Mariela Miranda on 16:45

Drinking your milk, eating your vitamins, and saying your prayers is the trifecta of being a real American. But the Hulkster never said the milk had to be raw. As a matter of fact, and contrary to what many people believe, raw milk is not healthier than pasteurized milk. It does not carry ‘good’ bacteria – you’re thinking about probiotic bacteria that are sometimes added to already pasteurized, fermented foods like yogurt and kefir. What raw milk does carry are harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites, and all sorts of dangerous and even life-threatening germs. And it’s just icky. Would you drink milk straight from the cow’s udder? That would be udderly disgusting, wouldn’t it?

Help the WHO determine the top 50 elderly medical supplies

Submitted by Pablo Retana on 16:46

The World Health Organization has set out to find the 50 most important elderly medical supplies for care receivers. And the best part is that you can help build the WHO Priority Assistive Products List (APL). Approximately 1 billion people currently need assistive technologies to improve their quality of life – which has been compromised due to increasing age and/or disability –, a number that will grow to 2 billion by 2050. However, only one in 10 people has access to these technologies because of reasons such as unavailability, unawareness, and high costs.

CMS announces alignment, simplification of quality measures

Submitted by Pablo Retana on 16:44

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has partnered with America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), physician groups, and other stakeholders to release seven sets of clinical quality measures that for the first time ever support multi-payer alignment. This will hopefully make “physicians’ lives easier,” especially for those who currently report several quality measures to different entities. “In the U.S. Health care system, where we are moving to measure and pay for quality, patients and care providers deserve a uniform approach to measure quality,” CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt said in a press release. “This agreement today will reduce unnecessary burden for physicians and accelerate the country's movement to better quality.”

Why aren’t high-deductible plan enrollees shopping around?

Submitted by Pablo Retana on 16:45

We have talked before about the importance of shopping around for healthcare, but a new study found that people who are enrolled in high-deductible health insurance plans are not comparing healthcare providers for better prices – even though experts expected them to be savvier consumers. Why is this? “I think there are two obstacles, convenience and continuity of care,” Neeraj Sood of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles told Reuters. “If I want to shop for healthcare right now, it’s incredibly difficult to do that,” Sood said. “Most people don’t know what prices are charged by different providers, they would have to call the offices. Some people have access to Internet-based tools that employers provide, but they can be incomplete, giving price but not quality. And they don’t allow you to purchase on that website.”

9 facts about breast cancer screening all women should know

Submitted by Mariela Miranda on 16:43

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) offers the following facts regarding its breast cancer screening recommendations.

Dealing Life: How to prescribe opioid painkillers responsibly

Submitted by Mariela Miranda on 16:45

Prescribing opioid painkillers responsibly can save the lives of the 44 people a day – or more than 16,000 a year – who die from opioid overdoses. And unless your last name is Kevorkian, that’s why you became a doctor in the first place, isn’t it? And unless you’re a comic book character or a pro wrestler, you don’t want to go down in history as one of a group of people who are remembered by the moniker ‘Dr. Death.’ And yet pain relievers and heroin are the main driver of overdose deaths in the United States. Now, the latter substance is only ‘prescribed’ by guys known who go by such nicknames as Mother Superior – you know, on account of the length of their habit. But some physicians have been overprescribing opioids, especially for chronic, non-cancer pain. By way of example, healthcare providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioid pain relievers in 2012 – enough for every American adult to have a bottle of pills.

Cure for cancer? Obama sets out to prove Dennis Leary wrong

Submitted by Pablo Retana on 16:45

Back in 1990, Dennis Leary released a record entitled No Cure for Cancer. Some 16 years later, President of the United States Barack Obama announced a new effort to prove the actor and comedian wrong and cure cancer in his very last State of the Union Address – and perhaps prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that Leary did plagiarize Bill Hicks’s act. “We will smoke cancer out of its hole. We’ll get it running, and we’ll bring it to justice,” is what George W. Bush might have said, but was even Dubya smart enough not to make such a bold announcement? Unless he did, which I’m not ready to swear on a bible that he didn’t. President Obama called the effort a “moonshot;” methinks he may have been on the moonshine himself. And even if they did find the cure for cancer, it’s already too late; we have already lost David Bowie.

Fewer Americans are having problems paying medical bills

Submitted by Pablo Retana on 16:45

The number of persons under the age of 65 who have trouble paying medical bills decreased for the fourth consecutive year, going from 56.5million in 2011 down to 44.5 million in the first half of 2015 – a 4.8% drop, according to a newly released report from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. Half of that four-year period has coincided with the launch of the Affordable Care Act, and most of the people who have benefitted from it are poor and with government coverage, as opposed to middle-class with private insurance. Then again, and by their very definitions, middle-class has had fewer problems paying medical bills than low-income individuals.


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