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Nursing Facilities Often Discharge Patients When Co-Pay Kicks In

May 28, 2019

(Reuters) – Skilled nursing facilities in the U.S. often discharge Medicare patients before daily co-payments kick in, according to a new U.S. study that suggests some patients may be sent home for financial reasons before they’re medically ready to leave.  Medicare, the U.S. health program for the elderly and disabled, pays the entire bill for post-hospital care provided by skilled nursing facilities for the first 20 days within a benefit period, researchers note in JAMA Internal Medicine. After that, most patients become responsible for a daily co-payment of more than $150. 

U.S. Dentists Prescribe Opioids Far More Often Than British Counterparts

May 28, 2019

(Reuters) – Dentists in the U.S. prescribe opioids at a rate 70 times higher than dentists in England, a new study finds. Moreover, the types of opioids prescribed by U.S. dentists are more likely to be those “with a high potential for abuse, such as oxycodone,” researchers reported in JAMA Network Open. 

Just Over Half of Teen Girls Diagnosed with STIs in ERs Fill Perscriptions

May 28, 2019

(UPI) – Many teen girls who get infected with gonorrhea and chlamydia aren’t taking antibiotics to treat them, even though nearly half of sexually transmitted infection diagnoses come from that age group. Only 54.1 percent of young women who received a diagnosis for a sexually transmitted infection in the emergency department had prescriptions filled for antimicrobial therapy to treat the condition, according to a research letter published Tuesday in JAMA Pediatrics.

‘She’s Wiggling Her Toes’: New Fetal Surgery for Spina Bifida May Be Safer for Both Baby and Mom

May 28, 2019

(STAT News) – About a decade ago, Chmait heard about a pioneering Brazilian scientist and surgeon, Dr. Denise Lapa, who had spent years developing a way to repair spina bifida in the womb without making large incisions in the uterus or the abdomen. (Brazil, where abortion is illegal and malnutrition is more common, has a high rate of spina bifida.) Lapa has done nearly 100 of the surgeries and, according to Chmait, helped with the first one performed in the United States, at New York-Presbyterian Hospital last year; it was not publicized. For years, Chmait has traveled to Brazil to observe and learn the technique, in which the uterus and fetus remain inside the body during the procedure.

Fertility Clinics Around the World Asked ‘CRISPR Babies’ Scientist for How-To Help

May 28, 2019

(STAT News) – The condemnation of the Chinese scientist who created the world’s first genome-edited babies last year was far from universal: A fertility clinic in Dubai emailed He Jiankui on December 5 — just a week after he announced the births — asking if he could teach its clinicians “CRISPR gene editing for Embryology Lab Application.” Although the English is somewhat tortured, the meaning was clear, Dr. William Hurlbut of Stanford University, who has advised He on the bioethics of his work for several years, told STAT: The fertility center was interested in offering CRISPR embryo editing to its patients.

The Bullying That Led This Doctor to Take Her Own Life

May 28, 2019

(BBC) – One doctor has been arrested and two others suspended in India’s Mumbai city amid allegations that their bullying of a young female doctor led her to take her own life. BBC Marathi’s Janhavee Moolee and Pravin Thakre report. “I used to say I am Dr Payal’s mother. But what do I say now?” Abeda Tadvi asks tearfully. Her 26-year-old daughter, Payal, took her own life on 22 May after months of alleged harassment over her caste – she belonged to a Scheduled Tribe, a status given to historically disadvantaged tribes.

Abortion: Islamic and Jewish Views on When a Human Soul Enters the Human Fetus

May 28, 2019

(Eurasia Review) – All the continuing political disputes over abortion in the USA and other countries ignore the fundamental religious issue: when does the fetus in the womb of a woman’s body become a human fetus? At conception it is a living physical body, but when does this soul become a spiritual human being? All mammals begin life as a fetus. What makes the fetus/embryo in the womb of a woman’s body into a human fetus/embryo from a religious point of view is the entrance into the fetus/embryo of a spiritual human soul (ensoulment).

Years After My Son Died in NHS Care, State-Sanctioned Torture Continues

May 27, 2019

(The Guardian) – Torture is the word I used this week to describe the treatment of children and young adults in private and NHS units, following publication of a Care Quality Commission report about the use of restraint and segregation in these places. The report detailed accounts of being locked in rooms without access to the outside, fed through hatches, for weeks, months or even years. One boy had not been washed for six months, while staff had to shout at another young man through a window because there was no equipment to enable communication. They would hold a book up at the window for him to read while he spent most of his time naked under a blanket.

‘Having a Child Doesn’t Fit into These Women’s Schedule’: Is This the Future of Surrogacy?

May 27, 2019

(The Guardian) – And as the range of fertility options open to clients has diversified, so have their requests. Now, a growing number of women are coming to Sahakian for “social” surrogacy: they want to have babies that are biologically their own, but don’t want to carry them. There is no medical reason for them to use a surrogate; they just choose not to be pregnant, so they conceive babies through IVF and then hire another woman to gestate and give birth to their baby. It is the ultimate in outsourced labour.

Do-It-Yourself Insulin: Biohackers Aim to Counteract Skyrocketing Prices

May 27, 2019

(Deutsche Welle) – David Anderson is pipetting a yellowish liquid into conical flasks, anxious not to spill anything. The liquid contains yeast cells, which, thanks to a bit of genetic engineering, are able to produce a precursor of insulin — the hormone that people with Type 1 diabetes need to administer to themselves to survive. “We are doing a test today with an enzyme that’s going to create the insulin from the proinsulin,” David explains. “The enzyme did show activity before, so we are hopeful.”

IVF Couples Could Be Able to Choose the ‘Smartest’ Embryo

May 27, 2019

(The Guardian) – Couples undergoing IVF treatment could be given the option to pick the “smartest” embryo within the next 10 years, a leading US scientist has predicted. Stephen Hsu, senior vice president for research at Michigan State University, said scientific advances mean it will soon be feasible to reliably rank embryos according to potential IQ, posing profound ethical questions for society about whether or not the technology should be adopted.

Federal Lawsuit Filed to Block Alabama’s New Abortion Ban

May 24, 2019

(ABC News) – A federal lawsuit filed Friday asks a judge to block an Alabama law that outlaws almost all abortions, the most far-reaching attempt by a conservative state to seek new restrictions on the procedure. The American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood filed the lawsuit on behalf of abortion providers seeking to overturn the Alabama law that would make performing an abortion at any stage of pregnancy a felony punishable by up to 99 years or life in prison for the abortion provider. The only exception would be when the woman’s health is at serious risk.

Disabled Woman Who Gave Birth at Care Facility May Have Been Impregnated Before

May 24, 2019

(NPR) – An incapacitated woman who gave birth after being a patient at an Arizona health care facility for more than two decades had been raped repeatedly and may have been impregnated before, her lawyers say. In documents filed Wednesday, the 29-year-old woman’s attorneys cite a medical exam in alleging that she suffered multiple sexual assaults. The exam found that the birth of a baby boy last December was “a non-nulliparous event,” the documents say, meaning she may have been pregnant before.

Doping Soldiers So They Fight Better–Is It Ethical?

May 24, 2019

(The Conversation) – Soldiers have long taken drugs to help them fight. Amphetamines like Dexedrine were distributed widely to American, German, British and other forces during World War II and to U.S. service members in Korea, Vietnam, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan. In 1991, the Air Force chief-of-staff stopped the practice because, in his words, “Jedi knights don’t need them.” But the ban lasted only five years. DARPA, an agency that does cutting-edge research for the U.S. Department of Defense, is trying to make soldiers “kill-proof” by developing super-nutrition pills and substances to make them smarter and stronger. New drugs that reduce the need for sleep, such as modafinil, are being tested. Researchers are even looking into modifying soldiers’ genes.

Are Nutritional Supplements a Waste of Money?

May 24, 2019

(Scientific American) – According to the FDA, “Three out of every four American consumers take a dietary supplement on a regular basis. For older Americans, the rate rises to four in five. And one in three children take supplements.” All of these are currently regulated under guidelines known as DSHEA—the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act. According to the regulations, manufacturers are responsible for ensuring that their products are safe and correctly labeled. However, unlike drug makers, supplement manufacturers do not have to submit proof of safety or efficacy before bringing their product to market. It’s sort of an honor system.

‘I Was a 31-Year-Old Kid in a Way:’ How a Cancer Diagnosis Changed a Health Care Reporter

May 24, 2019

(STAT News) – “Oh, yeah. Aside from just dealing with the administrative nightmare that is cancer, dealing with the ethical hula hoops is also, I think, the worst part about having it. But also kind of interesting. I think it really has opened up my mind to different avenues of reporting because just having to be a patient is such a time suck and also just such an emotional suck. And you really start to understand what that’s like. It’s case by case.”

Former NFL Players Die at a Faster Rate Than Other Professional Athletes, Study Finds

May 24, 2019

(STAT News) – A new study of more than 6,000 former professional athletes found that National Football League players died at a rate that was almost 1.3 times higher than Major League Baseball players. It’s the first to compare mortality rates between two groups of professional athletes; previous studies that compared professional athletes to the general population showed a lower risk of death for football players.

European Doctor Defies FDA Orders to Stop Sending US Women Abortion Pills by Mail

May 24, 2019

(CNN) – A European doctor who provides abortion pills by mail to the United States is defying an order from the US Food and Drug Administration to stop. “It is very important to continue … because it is the only safe abortion alternative for some of the most vulnerable people,” Dr. Rebecca Gomperts said in an emailed statement. “As a physician, I have the obligation to provide medical care to people in need.” A letter drawn up by Gomperts’ attorney was sent to the FDA late last week, offering a formal response to the federal agency, which had asked the doctor in March to “immediately cease causing the introduction of these violative drugs into U.S. Commerce.” 

Gene Therapy May Have Its First Blockbuster

May 24, 2019

(MIT Technology Review) – A newborn. A fatal diagnosis. And soon, a one-time gene replacement cure in the first weeks of life. The cost? You don’t want to know. Gene therapy is about to achieve a milestone. As soon as tomorrow, drug giant Novartis expects to win approval to launch what it says will be the first “blockbuster” gene-replacement treatment. A blockbuster is any drug with more than $1 billion in sales each year. The treatment, called Zolgensma, is able to save infants born with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) type 1, a degenerative disease that usually kills within two years. But its expected cost is shocking, too: between $1.5 and $2 million, which would make it the most expensive one-time medicine ever sold.

As the U.S. Targets China’s ‘Concentration Camps,’ Xinjiang’s Human Rights Crisis Is Only Getting Worse

May 24, 2019

(Newsweek) – At least 1 million people are, right this very moment, languishing in what the U.S. military has now deemed “concentration camps” in China. But recent attempts by U.S. officials and lawmakers to push for change have made little difference as a shocking human rights crisis continues to worsen.

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