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Updated: 2 min 35 sec ago

The Collapse of a Hospital Empire–And Towns Left in the Wreckage

August 22, 2019

(Kaiser Health News) – And, in town after town, the people believed him. He offered what they could not resist: hope, and the promise of survival. Then a few major health insurance companies got suspicious, as did some government officials. How could Unionville, Mo. — a town of 1,790 — generate $92 million in hospital lab fees for blood and urine samples in just six months? Why had lab billings at a 25-bed hospital in Plymouth, N.C., nearly tripled to $32 million in the year after Perez’s company took control? The lab billings, insurers alleged, were simply fraudulent. Blue Cross Blue Shield and other insurers started filing lawsuits, stopped making reimbursements and shut off the spigot.

Why Parents Are Turning to a Controversial Treatment for Food Allergies

August 20, 2019

(Undark) – Over the past decade, the number of OIT providers has grown from just a handful of doctors nationwide to a small, influential cohort of more than a hundred today. Thousands of food allergy patients who have tried oral immunotherapy in the United States and abroad swear by the treatment, often calling the results life-changing. And with an FDA decision expected by early 2020 for Aimmune Therapeutics’ “peanut capsules,” OIT could soon go mainstream.  But at the moment, allergists remain deeply divided over the treatment, which doesn’t work for everyone and carries uncertain risks.

Brain Scans Could Help Personalize Treatment for People Who Are Depressed or Suicidal

August 20, 2019

(Science) – People like Moe present a conundrum to doctors but an opportunity for researchers: a group whose health could be transformed by precision psychiatry. Depression is often treated as a single disease, but many researchers agree that it is actually multiple, distinct ailments. Some of those conditions may heighten suicide risk more than others. How many depression subtypes exist—and how they differ—is hotly debated. One way researchers are trying to settle the question is by peering into the brain. They’re studying the neural circuits that light up during specific tasks and then correlating those patterns of activation with symptoms.

Damaged Babies and Broken Hearts: Ukraine’s Commercial Surrogacy Industry Leaves a Trail of Disasters

August 20, 2019

(Australia Broadcasting Co) – I arrive at the Sonechko Children’s Home, a collection of rundown double-storey brick buildings in a city south east of Kiev, the Ukrainian capital. I’m here to meet a little girl I’ve been searching for over the past six months. She’s been abandoned by the very people who paid for her to be born — her American parents. Now she’s an orphan and has disabilities which require medical attention. Marina Boyko, the flame-haired nurse who’s cared for the little girl since she was a baby, is taking us to meet her.