A National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report detailing 100 evidence-based conclusions about the benefits and harms of cannabis found it may help reduce chronic pain and chemotherapy-induced nausea. The report noted cannabis is linked to psychoses and schizophrenia but called for removing barriers to studying it further and making the development of data for practitioners and patients a high priority.
Pediatric oncologist Josh Schiffman discovered that elephants, which rarely get cancer, have 40 copies of the gene that encodes tumor-suppressing protein p53, and the elephant form of the protein is stronger than the p53 found in humans. Laboratory testing with the protein found it readily kills lung, breast, bone and other types of cancer cells, and Schiffman hopes to re-create the results using an engineered p53 packaged in nanoparticles for treatment of cancer in mice and pet dogs, then eventually humans.
Obesity is a health problem for pets that predisposes them to joint problems and diabetes among other issues, and it's a money problem for owners, who must cover the costs of added veterinary care animals need to deal with the consequences of obesity. Veterinarian Carol McConnell of insurer Nationwide said owners should seek advice from a veterinarian before taking steps on their own to deal with the issue, particularly with regard to cats, which can suffer liver failure when calories are restricted.
A study in Diabetes Care showed that patients with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes who received a combination of exenatide and pioglitazone had a threefold lower rate of hypoglycemia, a one-percentage-point greater reduction in A1C and less weight gain than those in the basal-bolus insulin therapy group. Researchers used a cohort of 251 diabetes patients and found that the difference in A1C between the two groups increased from 0.7% at six months to 0.9% at 12 months and 1% at 18 months.
Chinese adults with diabetes had a significantly higher risk for all-cause mortality, compared with those without diabetes, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The findings, based on a nationwide prospective study involving 512,869 Chinese adults with a mean age of 51.5, also revealed that diabetes was more prevalent in urban areas than in rural areas.
Authors of a recent study suggested that many women needlessly sought genetic testing for BRCA mutations shortly after actress Angelina Jolie publicized her experience with the test, but the study period may have been too short to reach the conclusion that testing was unwarranted, experts say. Moreover, National Society of Genetic Counselors President Mary Freivogel notes the fact that insurance covered the testing suggests that the women in the study were suitable candidates for it.
About 19,000 members and 16 current and former customers of Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware were affected by a security breach involving subcontractors BCS Financial and Summit Reinsurance Services, according to the Delaware Department of Insurance. Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro said the department is investigating the incident, and he has "directed my staff to closely monitor the situation as it develops."
The Measure Applications Partnership, an HHS advisory partnership and a subgroup under the National Quality Forum, must focus on more streamlined clinical quality measures to improve patient care and quality outcomes and reduce provider workload, according to a letter sent to MAP co-chairs Charles Kahn and Harold Pincus by the American Hospital Association. The group cites the lack of EHR interoperability as a barrier for eCQMs collection and "urges restraint in adding or converting measures into eCQMs."
Growth in telemedicine use this year will be driven by its role in helping health care providers meet requirements for the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, creating new health care delivery models and providing consumers with strategic pricing options, writes Ralph Derrickson, president and CEO of Carena. Derrickson cites the importance of increasing partnerships between telemedicine companies and medical educators to help providers get ready to meet demand for telemedicine.
ColdSense is an iPhone app developed by Zicam to help individuals assess their chances of getting the common cold. The app monitors a person's lifestyle and surrounding environment and "uses the latest in smartphone technology to provide an engaging and playful way to detect potential risk factors throughout cold season," said Lori Norian, Zicam's vice president of marketing.
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