CMS Administrator Seema Verma announced Friday that the agency will now cover diagnostic laboratory tests that use next-generation DNA sequencing to guide treatment for Medicare patients with stage III or IV cancers or those whose disease is recurrent, metastatic, relapsed or refractory. The decision follows the agency's review of Foundation Medicine's FoundationOne CDx test, which identifies mutations in 324 genes and two genomic signatures in any solid tumor, and the CMS said it will cover similar tests once approved.
CDC officials reported 3.3% of health care provider visits involved flu-like illness during the week ending March 10, down from 3.7% the previous week, and influenza B accounted for 53.5% of infections. However, nine additional pediatric deaths were recorded, bringing the season's total to 128, and 89.9 flu-related hospitalizations per 100,000 people were reported, up from 86.3 per 100,000 the week before.
Scientists are closing in on genetic engineering methods expected to yield livestock that are resilient and resistant to bacterial and viral infections including avian influenza, oyster herpes virus, E. coli, campylobacter, African swine fever and porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus, says Roslin Institute director Eleanor Riley. Gene editing could improve animal welfare and reduce the environmental impact of raising livestock.
Scientists who study animal intelligence are finding that elephants, dogs, dolphins and other mammals are more intellectually sophisticated than previously believed. Elephants understand English and can relate pictures to the objects they depict, and dogs might be able to do the same, while dolphins have their own language.
Researchers analyzed 18 studies involving 4,330 adults with type 2 diabetes and found that those who were treated with GLP-1 agonists for at least 12 weeks had greater A1C reductions and weight loss than those on DPP-4 inhibitors, while those who switched to the drug also experienced a substantial average A1C reduction and weight loss. The findings in Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism also revealed that those on GLP-1 agonists experienced a higher number of gastrointestinal side effects and were more likely to withdraw from the study for any reason than the DPP-4 inhibitors group.
Using a closed-loop insulin delivery system for 28 days helped pregnant women with type 1 diabetes reduce hypoglycemic episodes, rates of hypoglycemia and blood glucose index, as well as the time spent at less than 63 mg/dL and nocturnal hypoglycemic events, compared with the sensor-augmented pump therapy group, according to a study in Diabetes Care. UK researchers used a cohort of 16 pregnant women and found that both groups showed no difference in the mean glucose and time spent hyperglycemic >140 mg/dL and had comparable proportions of time with blood glucose levels within target.
Eighty-three percent of adults with obesity but without diabetes who received daily injections of 0.4 mg of semaglutide achieved at least 5% weight loss at 52 weeks, compared with 66% and 23% of those in the liraglutide and placebo groups, according to a study presented at the Endocrine Society annual meeting. Researchers used a cohort of 957 individuals with a mean age of 47 and found that the 0.4-mg semaglutide group had an estimated mean weight loss of -13.8%, compared with -7.8% in the liraglutide group and -2.3% in the placebo group.
The Medicaid and CHIP Payment Access Commission released a report last week urging the federal government to streamline the Medicaid managed care program by giving states more flexibility, providing guidance on telehealth use and implementation, and extending approval and waiver renewal periods from two to five years, among other steps. AHIP said states need a more efficient mechanism for adopting and expanding their Medicaid managed care programs, and the group urges lawmakers "to enact legislation in line with MACPAC's recommendation and build upon the successes of Medicaid managed care."
Eating healthy but staying on budget means planning meals in advance and also choosing economical foods such as beans or less-expensive cuts of meat, says registered dietitian nutritionist Megan Casper. Whole foods can be healthy and less expensive than processed and packaged items, Casper says, and buying in bulk or starting a garden can help trim food bills.
UK researchers found that a body mass index of more than 22 is associated with a 13% increased risk of heart disease even for moderate amounts of weight gain, compared with those with a BMI between 22 and 23. The findings in the European Heart Journal, based on almost 300,000 individuals, revealed that each 5-inch increase in waist size among men and women with a waist size of 32 inches and 29 inches, respectively, raised heart disease risk by 16%.
- Page 1