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Viewpoints: Shop around for health coverage; 'gaming' Obamacare; FDA and painkillers

Viewpoints: Shop around for health coverage; 'gaming' Obamacare; FDA and painkillers

My colleagues Margot Sanger-Katz and Amanda Cox wrote recently that shopping around for the best price can be crucial for people renewing their coverage on the health insurance exchanges this fall. [More]
Anti-addiction activists press for FDA chief to step down

Anti-addiction activists press for FDA chief to step down

More than a dozen organizations are asking that Dr. Margaret Hamburg, who has headed the Food and Drug Administration since 2009, be replaced because under her leadership they say the agency's policies have contributed to prescription painkiller abuse. [More]
Epidurals and reduced postpartum depression: an interview with Dr. Zakowski

Epidurals and reduced postpartum depression: an interview with Dr. Zakowski

The “maternity blues”, which resolve within 10 days of giving birth, occurs in up to 80% of new moms. A major depressive episode, by Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) criteria, is defined as having at least a 2-week period of persistent depressed mood ... [More]
Non-invasive delivery of drugs for effective pain relief

Non-invasive delivery of drugs for effective pain relief

Individuals who are squeamish about injections or are looking for a way to let collagen penetrate deeper into the skin may soon have a solution that is faster, more effective and painless. [More]
Research to understand how medical marijuana laws may influence overdose deaths

Research to understand how medical marijuana laws may influence overdose deaths

In states where it is legal to use medical marijuana to manage chronic pain and other conditions, the annual number of deaths from prescription drug overdose is 25 percent lower than in states where medical marijuana remains illegal, new research suggests. [More]
Blood bank industry shrinks

Blood bank industry shrinks

Changed medical practice has reduced the need for blood transfusions, spurring cutbacks and mergers in the blood industry. Meanwhile, Chicago and two counties in California are suing five companies for "aggressive marketing" of opioid painkillers, accusing them of fueling addiction. [More]
First Edition: August 25, 2014

First Edition: August 25, 2014

Today's early morning highlights from the major news organizations include reports on Medicare ratings of nursing homes, the growing demand for home-health aides and accounts of the Obama administration's new contraception coverage rules. [More]
State highlights: Calif. hospital bid draws scrutiny; hospital house calls

State highlights: Calif. hospital bid draws scrutiny; hospital house calls

Prime Healthcare Services Inc., a hospital chain that has come under fire for billing and patient privacy issues, is facing opposition over its potential acquisition of six California hospitals, including two medical centers in Los Angeles County. On Friday, hospital workers, union representatives and elected officials protested against Prime outside St. Vincent Medical Center near downtown Los Angeles, one of the six hospitals put up for sale this year by the Daughters of Charity Health System (Garland, 8/15). [More]
People born in Canada are at highest risk of overdose or death from codeine than Immigrants

People born in Canada are at highest risk of overdose or death from codeine than Immigrants

Immigrants are at lower risk of an overdose or death after being prescribed codeine than people born in Canada, a new study has found. [More]
Roundtable discussion on heroin and prescription drug abuse

Roundtable discussion on heroin and prescription drug abuse

Jersey Shore University Medical Center hosted a roundtable discussion on August 4, led by Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini, to discuss the continued growth in heroin and prescription drug abuse in the shore community. [More]
Viewpoints: Ryan's 'thoughtful blueprint' to end poverty; GOP challenges after health law ruling

Viewpoints: Ryan's 'thoughtful blueprint' to end poverty; GOP challenges after health law ruling

The Republican chairman of the House Budget Committee today released a thoughtful blueprint for overhauling $800 billion worth of U.S. anti-poverty programs. [More]
Paracetamol fails to beat placebo at relieving back pain

Paracetamol fails to beat placebo at relieving back pain

Paracetamol is no more effective than placebo at relieving acute lower back pain, according to new clinical trial results. [More]
Paracetamol safety and osteoarthritis: an interview with Professor David Hunter, University of Sydney

Paracetamol safety and osteoarthritis: an interview with Professor David Hunter, University of Sydney

Firstly, paracetamol has been the first-line recommended treatment for osteoarthritis pain for very many years and, secondly, it is readily available over the counter and can be bought in relatively large quantities. [More]
Pain control in osteoarthritis patients: an interview with Dr. Clarence Young, Chief Medical Officer and John Vavricka, President and CEO, Iroko Pharmaceuticals

Pain control in osteoarthritis patients: an interview with Dr. Clarence Young, Chief Medical Officer and John Vavricka, President and CEO, Iroko Pharmaceuticals

Osteoarthritis (OA) is one of the most common causes of disability, and inadequate pain control can lead to joint stiffness that may impair mobility for patients. [More]
Scientists develop chip for detection of RNA strand of dengue fever virus

Scientists develop chip for detection of RNA strand of dengue fever virus

Scientists at the Center for Research and Advanced Studies (Cinvestav) in Mexico developed a chip (also known as cDNA microarray) that allows detection of the RNA strand of the dengue fever virus. [More]
State highlights: N.C. lawmakers reach Medicaid agreement; Idaho asks SCOTUS to take up Medicaid reimbursement

State highlights: N.C. lawmakers reach Medicaid agreement; Idaho asks SCOTUS to take up Medicaid reimbursement

For the past few weeks, two big issues have kept the two chambers of the General Assembly from reaching an agreement on next year's state budget: teacher salaries and Medicaid. But on Wednesday, the Senate and the House of Representatives finally moved closer to agreement on their Medicaid forecasts, loosening a logjam that's kept legislators in Raleigh past July 1, the beginning of the fiscal year (Hoban, 7/3). [More]
State highlights: Caring for Texans injured on-the-job; heroin deaths in Md.; pertussis in Calif.

State highlights: Caring for Texans injured on-the-job; heroin deaths in Md.; pertussis in Calif.

In formerly depressed South Texas, gas flares from the fracking boom can be seen from outer space. While Texas has a Division of Workers' Compensation, it is the only state that doesn't require any private employer to carry workers' compensation insurance or a private equivalent, so more than 500,000 people have no occupational benefits when they get injured at work. That means they often rely on charities or taxpayers to pay for their care (Root, 6/29) [More]
Researchers find sharp increase in deaths from commonly prescribed painkillers in US, Canada

Researchers find sharp increase in deaths from commonly prescribed painkillers in US, Canada

The number of deaths involving commonly prescribed painkillers is higher than the number of deaths by overdose from heroin and cocaine combined, according to researchers at McGill University. [More]

Many heroin users transitioned from prescription opioids, finds study

A research paper published in the May 28, 2014 issue of JAMA Psychiatry a paper entitled "The Changing Face of Heroin Use in the United States A Retrospective Analysis of the Past 50 Years" concluded that heroin abuse has left low-income urban areas and has become prevalent in more affluent suburbs and rural areas with mostly white populations. [More]
Kids exposed to cooking or tobacco smoke more likely to suffer excessive pain after tonsillectomies

Kids exposed to cooking or tobacco smoke more likely to suffer excessive pain after tonsillectomies

New research presented at this year's Euroanaesthesia meeting in Stockholm shows that children exposed to indoor coal-burning stoves and/or second-hand tobacco smoke are much more likely to suffer postoperative complications and excessive pain after tonsillectomies. [More]