Republicans met Thursday to discuss plans for repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said legislation would be introduced after the House returns from a 10-day recess on Feb. 27. Lawmakers received a 19-page "policy brief" with details on an ACA replacement plan, including restructuring of Medicaid, elimination of penalties for the uninsured and employers that do not offer coverage, incentives for health savings accounts, and an age-based monthly tax credit that does not vary with income for those who purchase coverage.
Influenza activity so far this season has been moderate, with elevated activity expected to continue for several more weeks, CDC researchers reported in the agency's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. An accompanying report showed that the batch of flu vaccine distributed this year has been 48% effective, compared with 47% vaccine efficacy last year.
Seema Verma, President Donald Trump's nominee for CMS administrator, testified before the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday, offering few specifics regarding her views on whether and how the programs should be changed. Verma said repeatedly she wants to ensure everyone in the US has access to high-quality health care, but declined to comment when asked whether she supports switching Medicaid to block grants or per capita caps, saying only that she would back "an approach that improves Medicaid."
Sedentary patients with dysregulated type 2 diabetes showed no improvement in early diastolic myocardial tissue velocity and in the ratio of early and atrial mitral annular tissue velocities 16 weeks after being treated with liraglutide, combined with supervised exercise, while those on placebo did see improvements with exercise, according to a study in Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism. Danish researchers used a cohort of 33 patients and found no significant difference in left ventricular structure or function and heart rate within or between the two groups.
Researchers found that 29% and 23% of type 2 diabetes patients with obesity who underwent gastric bypass surgery and sleeve gastrectomy, respectively, were able to stop their diabetes medications five years after the procedure, compared with 5% of those on diabetes medications alone. The findings in the New England Journal of Medicine, based on 150 patients, showed those who underwent weight-loss surgery lost significantly more weight and had lower blood glucose, triglyceride and cholesterol levels.
A study in Science Translational Medicine showed that adults who consumed a low-calorie, fasting-mimicking diet for five days once a month over three months reduced their cardiovascular risk factors, including fasting glucose, metabolism hormone IGF-1 levels, blood pressure and signs of inflammation. Researchers found those in the fasting-mimicking diet also lost weight and inches around their waist, reducing their risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and other diseases.
ProMedica Toledo Hospital in Ohio has designed a construction project to improve nursing care by reducing the time and distance needed to walk during shifts. Designers followed nurses in intensive care and medical-surgical units and worked to reduce the presence of long corridors and to make supplies available in multiple locations.
Mary Ann McLaughlin, medical director of the Cardiac Health Program at Mount Sinai Health System, says many women are unaware that they have heart disease, but all women can protect themselves by knowing the symptoms of a heart attack, reducing stress, limiting alcohol consumption, and staying hydrated and active during airline flights. She also suggests that older women undergo a stress test if heart disease runs in their families or if they are obese.
None of the five experts testifying before the House Agriculture Committee on Thursday said soda had nutritional value but only one supported restricting candy and soda purchases in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The other panelists said costs associated with restricting purchases would be too high and the intervention would have limited value.
West Virginia University researchers have developed a helmet PET scanner containing smaller detectors with crystal arrays that can detect the degree of brain injury caused by stroke within 30 seconds, reducing patients' risk of developing severe disabilities. The device, described at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting, also has the potential to improve sports concussion diagnoses and could be available for clinical use within two years, researchers said.
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