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Health Headlines – Friday, January 15 – The TOP healthcare news for those on the go…

New York Times:
Food and the Single Girl (Jen A. Miller)
On a recent morning, my run took me past our local bagel shop, just early enough that the blooming scent of carby goodness wafted out the front door and chased me down the street. When I got home, I dished out my usual breakfast of plain, full-fat yogurt, topped with fruit (a pear that day) and maple syrup, then typed out the following tweet: “Also pro tip: don’t run past the bagel shop if you don’t plan on stopping for a bagel.”
Searching for Cancer Maps in Free-Floating DNA (Carl Zimmer)
Loose pieces of DNA course through our veins. As cells in our body die, they cast off fragments of genes, some of which end up in the bloodstream, saliva and urine.
Seeking a ‘Happy Gut’ for Better Health (Anahad O’ Conner)
For much of his life, Dr. Vincent Pedre, an internist in New York City, suffered from digestive problems that left him feeling weak and sick to his stomach. As an adult he learned he had irritable bowel syndrome, or I.B.S., a chronic gut disorder that affects up to 10 percent of Americans
Heartburn Drugs Tied to Kidney Problems (Nicholas Bakalar)
Proton pump inhibitors, or P.P.I.s, the commonly used heartburn medicines, may increase the risk for kidney disease. P.P.I.s are sold under several brand names, including Nexium, Prevacid and Prilosec, and previous studies have linked their use to bone fracture, pneumonia and Clostridium difficile infection.
Straddling Conventional and Alternative Cancer Treatment (Barron H. Lerner)
When Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez died in July, there was not much notice. He did not get an obituary in The New York Times or in most other major media outlets.

Wall Street Journal:
FDA Rejects New Drug Application for BioMarin’s Duchenne Treatment (Anne Steele)
BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. on Thursday said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had rejected its new drug application for a treatment of a fatal form of muscular dystrophy because of questions about the drug’s effectiveness.

Washington Post:
NIH’s big cancer database coming soon (Lenny Bernstein)
Most experts believe that one important element of Vice President Biden’s cancer “moonshot” has to be a major database that researchers and clinicians can access to help them develop new therapies or treat patients.
Are the mentally ill being unfairly targeted by the FBI’s gun list? (Amy Ellis Nutt)
When President Obama recently outlined steps to reduce gun violence, mental-health advocates applauded his proposal to spend $500 million to aid access to care for the mentally ill. Advocates, however, are divided over whether proposals to ease the sharing of information with the FBI’s background-check system breach patient rights.
FDA rejects drug for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (Brady Dennis)
The Food and Drug Administration has rejected a drug that would have become the first treatment for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a rare and ultimately fatal condition that affects about one in every 3,500 boys.

Why A Walgreens Bid For WebMD Makes Some Sense (Bruce Jaspen)
Even though digital health information company WebMD (WBMD) nowsays it’s not “in any negotiations to be acquired,” a potential suitor like Walgreens Boots Alliance r UnitedHealth Group UNH +0.91% would still make some sense if either has the desire to spend the money.
Diets Rich In Fruit Linked To Reduced Risk Of Erectile Dysfunction (Alice G. Walton)
Erectile dysfunction (ED) has long been linked to heart problems–and that’s logical, since both organs require healthy blood flow to function well. When one organ is not receiving appropriate blood flow, the other also probably isn’t. And as is true for cardiovascular health, previous studies have linked a man’s diet to his risk for ED. Last year, a study found, for instance, that coffee, which is known in moderation to be good for the heart, is also good for erectile function.
Legionnaires’ Disease Compounds Flint’s Lead Poisoning Water Crisis (Judy Stone)
A new threat–Legionnaires’ disease–faces Flint, Mich., residents, who still can’t drink their water due to the totally avoidable water danger risk of lead poisoning. There have been 87 cases of Legionnaires’ disease and 10 deaths reported in Genesee County from June 2014 to November 2015, a marked increase from the normal 6-13 cases per year.

Los Angeles Times:
Western diets damage gut microbiota over generations, in ways hard to reverse (Melissa Healy)
It  may take more than a tub of yogurt to reverse the effects that a high-fat, low-fiber diet have wrought in the bellies of men and women in the industrialized world, says new research.

USA Today:
Deadly Ebola outbreak ends in West Africa — for now (John Bacon and Liz Szabo)
More than two years after it began, an Ebola outbreak that claimed 11,315 lives — the deadliest in history — appears to be over, the World Health Organization said Thursday.
New Ebola case confirmed in Sierra Leone (Jane Onyaga-Omara)
A new Ebola case has been confirmed in Sierra Leone, the day after the World Health Organizationsaid the outbreak in West Africa was over.
President to propose incentive to lure more states to expand Medicaid (Jayne O’Donnell)
President Obama plans to propose giving new states that expand Medicaid coverage to the poorest of the poor more time before they have to chip in to cover the new recipients, the White House said in a blog post early Thursday.

The new ‘Just say no to drugs’ (Kelly Wallace)
Sam Motsay, by all accounts, was your typical boy next door: honor roll student, basketball player, band member, devoted big brother. But on May 11, 2014, Mother’s Day, he made a decision — a decision that that took his life and shattered the future for his parents and younger brother.
Flint water crisis: Michigan attorney general to investigate (Jason Hanna)
The water crisis in Flint — the Michigan city grappling with lead contamination in its drinking water following a cost-saving measure — is now getting high-level attention from the state’s top legal official.

Organ donations vetoed by hundreds of bereaved families (Jane Dreaper)
Bereaved families have blocked the donation of organs from 547 UK registered donors since 2010 – about one in seven cases, figures show. NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) says it will no longer seek the consent of families formally, to make such “overrides” more exceptional. Instead, they will be given a leaflet explaining consent – or authorisation in Scotland – rests with the deceased.
Safer Down’s test backed for NHS use (James Gallagher)
Pregnant women in the UK should soon get a safer and more accurate test for Down’s syndrome on the NHS, to reduce the risk of miscarriage. The UK National Screening Committee has backed the test, saying it would reduce anxiety for expectant mothers. The move would prevent thousands of invasive procedures, in which one in every 200 women loses her baby.
Ebola virus: New case emerges in Sierra Leone (N/A)
Sierra Leone officials have confirmed a death from Ebola, hours after the World Health Organization declared the latest West Africa outbreak over. The country was declared free of the virus on 7 November, and the region as a whole was cleared when Liberia was pronounced Ebola-free on Thursday. Tests on a person who died in northern Sierra Leone proved positive, an Ebola test centre spokesman told the BBC.
Pattern of brain chatter ‘clue to anaesthesia response’ (N/A)
Taking readings of brain activity before patients go for surgery could help doctors give a more accurate dose of anaesthetic, researchers suggest. At present, a patient’s body weight is the main factor in deciding the dose. But a University of Cambridge study indicated people with high levels of brain connectivity or “chatter” needed a larger dose to put them under.
‘New research hope’ from pancreatic cancer tissue bank (Jane Dreaper)
Medical researchers hope a new bank storing tissue from patients will give them a clearer insight into pancreatic cancer. This complex illness has the worst 10-year survival rate of any cancer, with most patients being told they may have less than a year to live. The bank will collect samples from six hospitals in England and Wales.

The Telegraph:
Elderly patients refusing to leave hospital because of care costs, NHS bosses fear (Kate McCann)
Elderly patients are refusing to leave hospital because of the potential cost of paying for care homes, NHS bosses fear. Figures published yesterday showed the number of pensioners taking up hospital beds when they should be at home or in a care home has increased by over 15 per cent in the last year.


Health Headlines – Thursday, January 14 – The TOP healthcare news for those on the go…

New York Times:
C.D.C. May Warn Pregnant Women Against Travel to Countries With Zika Virus (Donald McNeil)
The mosquito-borne virus has been linked to brain damage in newborn babies in Brazil and other Latin American and Caribbean nations.
*Similar article in: Forbes
Hemophilia Patient or Drug Seller? Dual Role Creates Ethical Quandary (Andrew Pollack)
When hemophiliacs make their living by selling lucrative hemophilia drugs, patient advocates say it creates a dangerous conflict of interest.
‘Moonshot’ to Cure Cancer, to Be Led by Biden, Relies on Outmoded View of Disease (Gina Kolata)
The idea that a concerted government push can lead to a “cure” for cancer is nearly a half century old, stretching back to President Nixon’s failed “War on Cancer.”
*Similar article in: CNN
With Health Care Switch, Kentucky Ventures Into the Unknown (Abby Goodnough)
Kentucky is the first state to abandon a homegrown insurance exchange that works well, and residents will need to use the federal exchange.

Wall Street Journal:
FDA Took 17 Months to Notify Doctors on Scopes’ ‘Superbug’ Risk (Thomas M. Burton)
The Food and Drug Administration took 17 months to notify doctors and the public of “superbug” infection dangers from certain scopes used in gastrointestinal procedures in hospitals.

Washington Post:
Critics say ACA ‘risk’ strategies are having reverse Robin Hood effect (Amy Goldstein)
New and fast-growing health plans say they’re getting hurt by a part of the law meant to cushion insurers.

Fast Company:
Due to this obscure loophole, so medical tests avoid oversight (Christina Farr)
The U.S. government is finally on its way to closing one of the health sector’s most controversial loopholes. Test kits that are sold to hospitals or directly to patients as medical devices are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, but it does not oversee tests that are designed in a single laboratory with all the samples being sent there.

The Atlantic:
A Civilian Career for Military Medics (Michael Tomsic)
A new training program helps them find health-care jobs back home by filling in the gaps in their medical knowledge.
Low-Fiber Diets Cause Waves of Extinction in the Gut (Ed Yong)
Over generations, mice deprived of fiber permanently lost some species of gut microbes. What does this mean for human health? In the decades after World War II, a one-eyed Irish missionary-surgeon named Denis Burkitt moved to Uganda, where he noted that the villagers there ate far more fiber than Westerners did. This didn’t just bulk up their stools, Burkitt reasoned; it also explained their low rates of heart disease, colon cancer, and other chronic illnesses.

Long-Term Opioid Use Linked To Increased Risk of Depression (CJ Arlotta)
Long-term opioid use may increase the risk of depression, a study reveals. Published in the Annals of Family Medicine, the new report reviews the association between long-term opioid use and the increased risk of depression.
Shire’s Baxalta Acquisition: An Orphan Drug Market Dream?(Reenitia Das)
After a long list of mergers and acquisitions in healthcare, what does Shire’s acquisition of Baxalta mean for the industry? Research suggests approximately 95% of the estimated 6,000+ rare diseases are yet to have a single FDA-approved drug treatment.
Barton Health First To Offer New Digital Medicine Developed By Proteus Digital Health (Robert Glatter)
In a first, Nevada’s Barton Health System based in Lake Tahoe will implement a unique digital medicine for treating hypertension, one of the most common chronic medical conditions in the U.S.

Warning labels on sugary drinks could deter parents from choosing them (Carina Storrs)
Health warning labels on sugary drinks may steer parents away from buying these beverages for their children, according to a new study.
Flint learns of Legionnaires’ disease spike as water crisis continues (Ralph Ellis and Sara Ganim)
Residents of Flint, Michigan, already reeling because of lead contamination in their drinking water, got more disturbing news on Wednesday.
After CNN investigation, a push to halt child heart surgery at some hospitals (Elizabeth Cohen)
The surgeon starts to tear up as he describes taking the baby off life support.He’d lost patients before; that’s the reality when you operate on tiny, malfunctioning hearts. But this death was different, the surgeon says. This baby didn’t have to die.
Heart doctors outraged Florida dumps hospital standards after big gifts to GOP (Elizabeth Cohen)
The state of Florida is putting thousands of children with heart defects at risk, a group of cardiac doctors say, because of a change in policy that came after Tenet Healthcare contributed $200,000 to Florida Republicans.

Giving healthy gay men HIV drugs ‘could help reverse epidemic’ (James Gallagher)
Giving daily HIV drugs to healthy gay men has huge potential to help reverse the epidemic, say scientists. The medication prevents new infections by killing the virus before it has a chance to take hold in the body. Calculations, published in the Lancet, indicate giving the drugs to the most at-risk men could cut new infections by more than 40% in the UK.
Liberia declared Ebola-free, ending West African outbreak (N/A)
Liberia has been declared Ebola-free by the World Health Organization (WHO), effectively putting an end to the world’s worst outbreak of the disease. The “end of active transmission” was declared, after 42 days without a new case in Liberia. It joins Guinea and Sierra Leone, which earned the status last year.
UK a long way from transgender equality, MPs say (N/A)
Transgender people in the UK face “high levels of transphobia” on a daily basis and they have “a long way to go” to achieve equality in the UK, MPs say. The Commons Women and Equalities Committee urged ministers to draw up a new strategy to tackle discrimination. The NHS and prison service need urgent reform, its MPs said, and there should be more training for police officers and teachers in handling trans issues.
Junior doctors’ dispute: Talks resuming in bid to stop strikes (N/A)
Talks aimed at avoiding further NHS strikes in England are due to resume later, amid warnings the government could impose its controversial new contract on junior doctors. The British Medical Association (BMA) and the government are to begin two days of talks at 10:00 GMT, the conciliation service Acas said. The dispute is over weekend pay, career progression, and fears of overworking.

The Daily Mail:
No one will die if we hold all-out strike, says doctors’ union leader: Tens of thousands plan to take part in the first full walk out in NHS history (Sophie Borland)
No one will die if junior doctors withdraw all clinical care in next month’s unprecedented total strike, their union leader has claimed. Tens of thousands of junior doctors are planning to take part in the first ever full-walk out in the history of the NHS on February 10. They caused major disruption by staging a 24-hour ‘emergency only’ strike – meaning they withdrew all but emergency care – on Tuesday.
Why Dry January may do you more harm than good: Expert claims those who take part may use it as an excuse to drink heavily for rest of the year (Ben Spencer)
Giving up alcohol for Dry January could do more harm than good, an expert claims. The campaign, run by charity Alcohol Concern, has been credited with encouraging two million people a year to stop drinking for a month. But Ian Hamilton, a lecturer on substance misuse at York University, says those who take part may use it as an excuse to drink heavily for the rest of the year.

The Financial Times:
Fat and sweets or processed meats — what is really safe to eat? (Clive Cookson)
Food health scares and dietary controversies continue to erupt in the news. Last year, for instance, the World Health Organisation’s cancer agency told us that processed meat is a cancer hazard; in the UK, Public Health England and the House of Commons health committee threw their weight behind a sugar tax on sweet drinks to curb the obesity epidemic; and New York City forced fast food joints to put a sinister symbol of a saltshaker inside a black triangle beside high-salt items on their menus.
WebMD in talks with potential buyers (James Fontanella-Khan)
WebMD, the US online health information publisher, is exploring the possible sale of all or part of its business, according to people familiar with the situation. The digital company, which provides data and educational information about illnesses, has been in talks with a number of potential buyers, said people close to the company. Walgreens and UnitedHealth are two potential bidders, according to people who closely follow the sector.


Health Headlines – Monday, December 21 – The TOP healthcare news for those on the go…

New York Times:
Theranos Founder Faces a Test of Technology, and Reputation (Reed Abelson & Julie Creswell)
It should have been Theranos’s moment to shine. Last year, as the deadly and highly contagious Ebola virus threatened to spread around the globe, Theranos, a Silicon Valley start-up, was scrambling to find a test that could quickly detect if a person was infected.
U.S. and Cuba at Odds Over Exodus of the Island’s Doctors (Victoria Burneet & Frances Robles)
As he came of age in Cuba, José Angel Sánchez enrolled in medical school for the usual reasons: to help the sick and to make a better living than most in his destitute eastern town. But he had another motive, too.
12 Minutes of Yoga for Better Bone Health (Jane E. Brody)
Yoga enthusiasts link the practice to a long list of health benefits, including greater flexibility and range of motion, stronger muscles, better posture and balance, reduced emotional and physical stress, and increased self-awareness and self-esteem. But definitively proving these benefits is challenging, requiring years of costly research.

Wall Street Journal:
Employers Battle Drug Costs (Peter Loftus)
At the University of Minnesota, employees with cancer face a new rule under the health plan. If they are starting on certain expensive drugs, they get just a two-week supply, half the usual amount. Before they can get two more weeks’ worth, a nurse at the university’s pharmacy partner has to confirm they are doing well enough.
Nearly Six Million Apply for 2016 Coverage (Stephanie Armour)
Nearly six million people have signed up for 2016 insurance coverage on the federal exchanges since the November start of open enrollment, a pace that Obama administration officials said Friday outstrips last year’s and indicates the health law’s success.
Martin Shkreli Says Drug-Price Hikes Led to Arrest (Rob Copeland)
Just days after his arrest, pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli is back in a familiar place: on the offensive. In his first interview since he was charged Thursday for allegedly misleading investors in his hedge funds and raiding a public company to cover the losses, Mr. Shkreli told The Wall Street Journal he had been targeted by authorities for his much-criticized drug-price hikes and over-the-top public persona.
Bayer in Venture With Gene-Editing Startup (Christopher Alessi)
German pharmaceutical group Bayer AG will establish a joint venture with gene-editing startup Crispr Therapeutics AG and invest at least $300 million in the partnership in five years, in an effort to develop new medicines based on the emerging technology, the companies said.
Biofuels Move From Lab to Frying Pan (Amy Harder)
Solazyme Inc., a company founded 12 years ago to make car and truck fuel from algae, is vigorously pushing a new product. But this time, it is fuel for the body: cooking oil, based on algae, marketed as healthful for you and the planet.

Washington Post:
Why running for time, not distance, can help in endurance training (Carolee Belkin Walker)
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced runner, after you’ve been training for a race for weeks or even months, and the day is finally here, you are pumped. But if you start your race even a minute faster than your training runs, you may be setting yourself up for disaster, according to Jeff Horowitz, a Washington running, cycling and triathlon coach.

Fast Company:
This Adult Coloring Book App Will Help You Stay Relaxed And Focused (Charlie Sorrel)
“Coloring in” as an activity may be as therapeutic as knitting, or hooking a rug, or even something as mundane as polishing all of your shoes while you binge-watch an entire series of Better Call Saul. Hence the recent popularity of coloring books for adults. You may not end up with a wonky scarf at the end of it, but for something mindless and nominally creative to do with the hands, a coloring book does the trick and is as almost as portable as knitting. But is it therapeutic?
This Gadget Lets You Brew Your Own Drugs In Your Kitchen (Adele Peters)
It’s 2025, and there’s a strange machine sitting on your kitchen counter next to your toaster. Every morning, it pops out your daily prescription. A new prototype shows exactly how future countertop drug manufacturing could work: A glowing cylinder brews blue-green algae, genetically engineered to produce pharmaceuticals. Then it measures, filters, and dries it into a powder that can fill a pill.
This Californian Urban Farm Is A Glimpse Into The Future Of Agriculture (Nicole Laporte)
Experimenting with aquaponics and low-water plants, Growing Experience is an example of how future farmers can hack together a better, more local food system.

The Atlantic:
How Obesity Is Changing Care for the Elderly (Sarah Varney)
At 72, her gray hair closely shorn, her days occupied by sewing and television, Wanda Chism seems every bit a typical nursing-home patient—but for her size. Chism is severely obese, unable to leave her bed without a mechanical lift and a team of nurses. She has not walked in years. Her life is circumscribed by the walls of her room.
Ted Cruz’s Best Idea for Overhauling the FDA (Conor Friedersdorf)
The Republican presidential candidate and his Senate colleague, Mike Lee, want Americans to be able to buy drugs that have been approved by other developed countries.
The Christmas the Aliens Didn’t Come (Julie Beck)
At 6 o’clock on Christmas Eve, 1954, a small group of people gathered on the street outside Dorothy Martin’s home in Oak Park, Illinois, singing Christmas carols and waiting. But this was no symbolic vigil; they weren’t waiting for the birth of baby Jesus. They were waiting to depart the Earth, and 200 more people had come to watch them wait.

Democratic Presidential Candidates Offer No New Policy Initiatives To Address Opioid Epidemic (CJ Arlotta)
Meeting for the third time, Democratic candidates expressed their concerns over the ever-growing opioid crisis in the United States during Saturday night’s presidential debate in Manchester, New Hampshire.
GOP States Pressured To Expand Medicaid Under Obamacare (Bruse Jaspen)
Pressure is building on some of the remaining 20 states that have yet to take advantage of federal dollars available to expand Medicaid programs for poor Americans under the Affordable Care Act.
FTC Signals Aggressive Stance On Healthcare Mergers (Bruce Japsen)
A Federal Trade Commission challenge of a proposed merger of the largest hospital operators in Chicago could be a problematic sign for the rest of the rapidly consolidating U.S. health care industry.
Here’s A Counter-Intuitive Way To Think About Buying Gifts (David DiSalvo)
While we’re scrambling around trying to find the “right” gift for people in our lives, recent research offers a different way to frame the challenge. Instead of always looking for something that accurately reflects the personality and interests of the receiver, try finding something that says something about yourself.
‘The Knick’ Shines A Light On Early Medical Innovation (Elaine Schnattner)
The Knick, set in a Manhattan hospital just after the year 1900, covers life and death, doctors and nurses, executives and philanthropists, corruption and idealism, racism, love and family, surgical innovation, contraception, venereal disease, plague, mental illness, addiction, research, surgery and pain. The scene is rich, for stories and camera. And ethics: In this season, eugenics enters the picture.

NHS nursing levels: Nine in 10 hospitals missing targets (N/A)
The vast majority of hospitals in England are struggling to recruit enough nurses, figures show. Some 92% of the 225 acute hospital trusts in England did not manage to run wards with their planned number of nurses during the day in August. The figures, published by the NHS, show that hospitals in England are falling short of their own targets for levels of safe staffing.
Web sales ‘fuel stress drug addiction’ (Adrian Goldberg and Gail Champion)
Deaths linked to a commonly prescribed class of drug, used to treat anxiety and insomnia, reached record levels in England and Wales last year. There were 372 fatalities involving benzodiazepines, up 8% on the previous year, and the highest level since records began in 1993, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The Daily Mail:
Nine in 10 hospitals hit by shortage of nurses: Low staffing levels dangerous, say experts amid fears increase in admissions ‘could tip services over the edge’ (Sophie Borland)
Nine in ten hospitals fail to put enough nurses on wards to keep patients safe, figures reveal today. In the worst cases, one nurse has been left to care for up to 22 seriously ill patients. Stretched staff say they have been left too busy to change dressings or help patients to finish meals.
No, you CAN’T be fat and fit, say the experts: Doing lots of exercise while overweight ‘does not prevent an early death’ (Sophie Borland)
Being fat but fit is a myth, scientists claim. If you are overweight, doing lots of exercise will not prevent an early death. Researchers say it is far more important to be slim, even if you are unfit.
Why worries put you at greater risk of dementia: Anxious people are one and a half times more likely to develop condition (N/A)
Anxious people are one and a half times more likely to develop dementia, according to a new study. And those who suffer from high anxiety at some point in their lives are 48 per cent more likely to suffer from cognitive decline. A 28-year study of 1,082 Swedish identical and non-identical twins completed tests every three years, answered questionnaires and underwent dementia screening.

The Financial Times:
Biotech entrepreneurs embrace crowdfunding (Andrew Ward)
Millions of pounds are pouring into fledgling UK life science companies through crowdfunding platforms, providing a new financing option for early-stage biotechnology entrepreneurs trying to commercialise medical innovations. Cambridgeshire-based Axol Bioscience is the latest to use equity crowdfunding to bridge the notorious “valley of death” — the funding gap that often imperils start-up companies, especially in the biotech sector.
GE Healthcare looks to improve growth as parent faces pressure (Andrew Ward)
When John Flannery was appointed chief executive of GE Healthcare just over a year ago his dealmaking background prompted speculation about the unit’s future within General Electric. Had the GE veteran, who was previously in charge of mergers and acquisitions as the wider group’s head of business development, been sent to spin-off a division that was underperforming GE’s other industrial units?

The Guardian:
Revealed: NHS hospitals investigate one in seven deaths of vulnerable patients (Emily Keen and Denis Campbell)
Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, is facing calls for a nationwide inquiry into the deaths of highly vulnerable patients in NHS care after it emerged that just one in seven such fatalities in hospitals in England have been investigated. Data released to the Guardian under freedom of information laws show that hospitals in England have investigated just 209 out of 1,436 deaths of inpatients with learning disabilities since 2011.


Health Headlines – Friday, December 18 – The TOP healthcare news for those on the go…

New York Times:
Early Detection of Ovarian Cancer May Become Possible (Denise Grady)
A new version of a screening test for ovarian cancer may reduce deaths from the disease, but it needs more study to determine whether the benefits hold up, researchers reported on Thursday.
Liquor Taxes and Sexually Transmitted Infections (Nicholas Bakalar)
Maryland increased its liquor taxes in 2011 and a sharp decrease in the rate of new gonorrhea infections immediately followed. Researchers have determined that the two events are closely linked.
Love on the Hospital Walls (Mikkael A. Sekeres, M.D.)
The patient I was caring for, a woman in her 40s with leukemia, had been admitted to the hospital for the second of four monthly courses of chemotherapy. She was sitting quietly in a chair by the window of her hospital room, dressed in her street clothes and flipping through some photos on her iPad. The cancer drugs dripped from a clear bag hanging on a nearby IV pole through clear plastic tubing into the catheter in her arm.

Wall Street Journal:
Samsung’s Bet on Biotechnology Is Test for Heir Apparent (Jonathan Cheng and Min-Jeon Lee)
SONGDO, South Korea—In a 740,000-square-foot production facility here, Samsung machines are humming day and night to churn out an unlikely product for the world’s largest maker of smartphones: cancer drugs developed by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.
AstraZeneca to Buy Stake in Acerta Pharma (Ian Walker and Denise Roland)
AstraZeneca PLC on Thursday said it would buy a 55% stake in biotech company Acerta Pharma for $4 billion, in the U.K. drugmaker’s latest effort to rebuild its pipeline.
Kaiser Permanente to Launch Medical School (Anna Wilde Mathews)
Kaiser Permanente will launch a medical school focused on training students in its integrated style of care, in the latest sign of growing efforts to expand and reshape traditional physician education.
When Does Gratitude Bring Better Health? (Susan Pinker)
During the holiday season, gifts, cards, carols and donations constantly urge us to give thanks. But gratitude really can have beneficial psychological effects.
Does Matcha Beat Green Tea in Health Benefits? (Laura Johannes)
The Claim: Matcha, a bright green powder made from tea leaves, is mixed with water and consumed entirely, unlike with brewed tea where the leaves are left behind. The result is that matcha delivers more nutrients, including antioxidants—which may help prevent cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, say companies that sell the tea.
Cancer-Care Giant Agrees to Pay $19.75 Million to Settle Medicare Billing Probe (John Carreyrou)
Cancer-care giant 21st Century Oncology Holdings Inc. agreed to pay $19.75 million to settle civil allegations by the Justice Department that its doctors performed a bladder-cancer test on Medicare patients more often than medically necessary, according to people close to the investigation.
The company’s high Medicare billings for the lab test were the subject

Washington Post:
After losing 200 pounds, app creator aims to turn monotonous exercise into fun (Des Bieler)
Arya Farzin used to be big. Now he just dreams big. The 28-year-old Bethesda resident, who lost 200 pounds several years ago and went on to become a personal trainer, is trying to “do something great for the fitness industry.” To that end, he and a partner have created a free mobile app called Heat Running, which aims to turn monotonous exercise into a fun, rewarding contest.
What happens when you send a ‘Star Wars’ superfan to a lightsaber workout class (Carlos Lozada)
The Washington Sports Club in Bethesda — you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.
Well, actually, no — the staff seemed entirely nice and professional. But entering a dimly lit workout studio on the bottom floor, piped with background music, I remembered the Mos Eisley cantina, where Obi-Wan flashed some sweet lightsaber skills in slicing off the arm of a drunk Aqualish who was harassing young Luke Skywalker.
Fight against superbugs gets dramatic funding boost under congressional budget plan (Lena H. Sun)
Federal agencies engaged in the battle against deadly superbugs would get their biggest funding increase ever in the congressional spending deal unveiled this week. The budget blueprint would provide at least $375 million in new funds for the 2016 fiscal year to fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria, one of the biggest health threats facing the United States and the rest of the world.
Congress to FDA: No genetically engineered salmon in supermarkets until there’s a plan to label it (Brady Dennis)
The sprawling federal spending bill unveiled this week on Capitol Hill included a small passage with potentially big implications in the food world. In two paragraphs on page 106, lawmakers instructed the Food and Drug Administration to forbid the sale of genetically engineered salmon until the agency puts in place labeling guidelines and “a program to disclose to consumers” whether a fish has been genetically altered.
Study: Up to 90 percent of cancers not ‘bad luck,’ but due to lifestyle choices, environment (Ariana Eunjung Cha)
Scientists have long agreed that a person’s risk of getting cancer comes down to a mix of genes, lifestyle, environment thrown in with some measure of chance. But the relative importance of each factor has never been settled.
Genetically engineered salmon must be labeled, Congress tells FDA (Brady Dennis)
The sprawling federal spending bill unveiled this week on Capitol Hill included a small passage with potentially big implications in the food world.

Fast Company:
Building a culture of self-improvement (Jared Lindzon)
After an alcohol-induced coma hospitalized her for nearly two months, she enrolled in Alcoholics Anonymous, and began the long road toward recovery. Less than three years later, she was a homeowner with a 401(k), travel plans, and a new life.

The Atlantic:
Tomorrow’s Heart Drugs Might Target Gut Microbes (Ed Yong)
If your cholesterol levels are high, your doctor might prescribe you a statin, a drug that blocks one of the enzymes involved in creating cholesterol. But in the future, she might also prescribe a second drug that technically doesn’t target your body at all. Instead, it would manipulate the microbes in your gut.

The Oprah Effect Boosts Humana’s Weight Watchers Enrollment (Bruce Jaspen)
A partnership between health insurance giant Humana HUM +0.29% and Weight Watchers to improve employee wellness and battle the nation’s costly obesity epidemic got a significant boost following the buzz surrounding billionaire media mogul Oprah Winfrey’s investment in the weight management specialist.
How Malcolm Gladwell, Atul Gawande And Others Inspired Me This Year (Robert Pearl, M.D.)
In the course of writing this column, I have had the opportunity to talk with patients, physicians, authors, academics and business leaders. With 2015 drawing to a close, I want to highlight some of the lessons I have learned from six internationally recognized thought leaders. Each has greatly influenced my thinking and writing.
Cancer May Be More Within Our Control Than We Thought (Alice G. Walton)
We all know that cancer’s development has to do with some combination of luck–the genes we inherit–and lifestyle–the choices we make each day about diet and exercise, smoking and drinking. But a study earlier in the year in Science had suggested, disturbingly, that cancer may be much more a matter of “bad luck” or random mutation than anything else, which was widely interpreted to mean that no amount of exercise or kale can offset what’s destined to occur or what randomly occurs in our genes.
Here Is What Martin Shkreli Said About Prosecutors Before He Was Arrested (Matthew Herper)
Martin Shkreli, who became a symbol of pharmaceutical avarice for raising the price of a lifesaving drug 50-fold, was arrested by federal agents early this morning in his Manhattan home. Federal prosecutors will be holding a press conference about his indictment early this afternoon.
Fraud Charges Earn Martin Shkreli A New Insult: Comparisons To Bernie Madoff (Michael Bobelian)
Back in September, Martin Shkreli made headlines when the company he headed, Turing Pharmaceuticals, raised the price of a drug used to treat patients suffering from an obscure parasite that attacks people with weakened immune systems from $13.50 to $750 a pill. The decision to raise prices on a decades-old drug Turing had acquired from another company a month earlier generated widespread condemnation.
How Investing In Mental Health Reaps Positive Societal Rewards (Tori Utley)
Although stigma exists around mental health, it is not without opposition. There are many advocate groups gaining headway in reducing disparities and promoting social reform within the mental health sector. Stigma has been a seemingly uphill battle for all who have experienced a mental health condition or who have known someone facing these challenges. Despite the struggle, economic statistics continue to show that we should all be taking mental health seriously for the sake of our economy.
One Year Update Of Indiana’s Medicaid Expansion (Josh Archambault)
Last January, Indiana Governor Mike Pence reached a dealwith the Obama administration to expand Medicaid under Obamacare. After nearly a year of operation, the data is in, and the early outcomes of the program’s rollout are finally setting in. The results so far have been little personal responsibility for enrollees and higher costs for taxpayers. Other states considering a similar designed expansion should think twice.

USA Today:
Shkreli, CEO slammed over drug prices, $5M bond (Nathan Bomey, Kevin McCoy and Kim Hjelmgaard)
The reviled poster boy of drug price hikes perpetuated a Ponzi scheme on investors in hedge funds and a pharmaceutical company he founded and previously led, federal prosecutors and regulators alleged Thursday.

Health effects of red wine: Where do we stand (Carina Storrs)
Red wine, you have been many things to us over the years. A drink for royalty, a forbidden beverage for women, fuel for a bachelor weekend bender in the movie “Sideways.”
9 health questions people asked Google in 2015 (Kathleen Mulpeter)
Chances are, one of the first places you turn for quick information on everything from that new diet fad to a troubling rash to a cough that won’t quit is your handy search engine (although if you have a medical concern, there’s no substitute for an IRL appointment with your doctor). So we asked the experts at Google to share the most popular health-related searches of the past year with us.

Ovarian cancer: Screening may cut deaths by a fifth (James Gallagher)
Doctors say there is now “encouraging” evidence that an annual blood test may cut ovarian cancer deaths by a fifth. Ovarian tumours are often deadly as they are caught too late. A 14-year study on 200,000 women, published in the Lancet, has been welcomed as a potentially landmark moment in cancer screening.
Cancer is not just ‘bad luck’ but down to environment, study suggests (James Gallagher)
Cancer is overwhelmingly a result of environmental factors and not largely down to bad luck, a study suggests. Earlier this year, researchers sparked a debate after suggesting two-thirds of cancer types were down to luck rather than factors such as smoking. The new study, in the journal Nature, used four approaches to conclude only 10-30% of cancers were down to the way the body naturally functions or “luck”.
Pharma boss Martin Shkreli arrested on fraud charges (N/A)
Representatives for pharmaceutical boss Martin Shkreli, who sparked outrage after hiking up the price of a medicine used by Aids patients, say he strongly denies fraud charges.
Avon strikes deal with Cerberus for $605m (£406m) investment (N/A)
International cosmetic brand Avon said it had reached an agreement with a private investment firm designed to boost the company’s performance.


Health Headlines – Thursday, December 17 – The TOP healthcare news for those on the go…

New York Times:
When Runners Go the Distance, but Races Don’t (Lela Moore)
When we hear about a road-race shortcut, many of us think of Rosie Ruiz, who notoriously cut into the final mile of the 1980 Boston Marathon to win the women’s title. But sometimes a racecourse is inadvertently shortened by human error — a misplaced traffic cone, say, or a confused but well-intentioned volunteer.
How Exercise May Help Us Fight Off Colds (Gretchen Reynolds)
Working out could help us fight off colds and other infections, according to a timely new study. The study, which found that regular exercise strengthens the body’s immune system in part by repeatedly stressing it, was conducted in animals. But the results most likely apply to people, the researchers say, and could offer further incentive for us to remain physically active this winter.
Ask Well: Blood Pressure Over Age 70 (Roni Caryn Rabin)
While there is debate over how aggressively high blood pressure should be treated in older patients, the definition of a healthy blood pressure does not change with age for the general population.
Normal blood pressure is a reading below 120/80. The top number, 120, is systolic pressure, when the heart beats and is pumping blood. The bottom number, 80, is diastolic pressure, when the heart is at rest between beats. A healthy blood pressure would be below both these numbers, indicating a low risk of heart attacks and stroke.
Martin Shkreli Arrested on Fraud Charges (Stephanie Clifford and Andrew Pollack)
Martin Shkreli, a pharmaceutical entrepreneur and former hedge fund manager who has been widely criticized for drug price gouging, was arrested Thursday morning by the federal authorities.
The investigation, in which Mr. Shkreli has been charged with securities fraud, is related to his time as a hedge fund manager and running the biopharmaceutical company Retrophin — not the price-gouging controversy that has swirled around him.

Wall Street Journal:
Martin Shkreli, Pharma Executive, Arrested on Fraud Charges (Christopher M. Matthews)
Pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli—who gained notoriety earlier this year for significantly raising prices on drugs—was arrested on charges of securities and wire fraud based on his former work at a hedge fund.
Spending Deal’s Adjustments to Health Law Seen as Step to Permanent Change (Louise Radnofsky)
The sweeping spending deal’s changes to the 2010 health law come with a relatively modest price tag. But both supporters and opponents of the provisions predict the deal will turn out to be a down payment on making them permanent—and that would have much bigger ramifications.
Valeant Pharmaceuticals Slashes Revenue, Earnings Guidance (Michael Rapoport)
Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. said its results would be sharply lower than previously expected, largely because of the end of its relationship with a mail-order pharmacy. But the company predicted its new distribution deal with Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. would help it recover quickly.

Washington Post:
Report: Martin Shkreli, ‘Pharma Bro’ slammed for raising drug prices, arrested on security fraud charges (Michael E. Miller)
Martin Shkreli, the 32-year-old pharmaceutical chief executive who drew widespread outrage by raising the price of a life-saving pill by more than 5,000 percent, has been arrested on charges of security fraud, according to news reports.
The arrest, which was apparently witnessed by a Reuters reporter in Manhattan on Thursday morning, comes nearly a year after reports first surfaced that Shkreli was being investigated by U.S. prosecutors and the Securities and Exchange Commission, Bloomberg News reported.
Maternal exposure to anti-depressant SSRIs linked to autism in children (Ariana Eunjung Cha)
A new study provides some of the strongest evidence yet that using an antidepressant like Prozac, Paxil or Zoloft during the final two trimesters of pregancy may be linked to a higher risk of autism spectrum disorder for the child, but researchers said the results should be interpreted with caution.
Women still outnumbered in medical leadership by men with mustaches, study finds (Rachel Feltman)

If our headline made you think this study must be kind of a joke, you’re right! But it’s the kind of joke you have to laugh at to keep from crying. And it’s actually a real study.

Confused? Every year, the British Medical Journal puts out a special Christmas issue full of quirky (but still peer-reviewed) studies. They’re always offbeat and often quite small, but they’re all studies designed to make you chuckle. This year, one of the humorous studies brings up a serious topic: Sexism in science and medicine.
Joke’s on us. American teeth are as bad as British teeth, study says. (Ariana Eunjung Cha)
As a dental professional living in London, Richard Watt spent years watching as his colleagues became increasingly irritated with the constant jokes about “English teeth.” The most offensive mockery, the gleeful pop culture references that seemed to signal it’s okay to be mean as long as it’s about teeth and people from Great Britain, originated from their brothers and sisters across the Atlantic.

Fast Company:
How A UI Can Help Treat Anxiety And Depression (John Brownlee)
Earlier this year, Robert Morris, an MIT graduate working on making health care accessible to everyone through technology, told us about his dissertation project: Koko, a kind of social network focused on mental health. Now, the so-called “Facebook for depression” is available to everyone.

The Atlantic:
Closing the Depression Treatment Gap in India, on Motorbikes (Thomson Reuters Foundation)
According to a 2011 study by the World Health Organization, India has highest rate of depression in the world, with 36 percent percent of the population reporting a major depressive episode. However, the entire nation only has around 3,500 trained psychiatrists—or, one for every 200,000 to 300,000 people—which has created a large treatment gap. To mitigate the issue, Dr. Vikram Patel co-founded Sangath, an NGO that trains anyone with a high-school degree to recognize symptoms of depression and administer counseling treatment. The therapists ride motorbikes to difficult-to-reach areas in Goa and provide home-based counseling to patients, as this short film by the Thomson Reuters Foundation explains. The program mirrors a global reaction to treating depression, as the WHO estimates that depression is on track to be the second leading cause of disability worldwide by 2020.
Why Some Conservatives Are Unhappy About Obamacare Cuts (Russell Berman)
Republicans scored their biggest victories against the Affordable Care Act in the tax-and-spending deal that congressional negotiators struck late Tuesday night: They won two-year delays in the collection of taxes on pricey health insurance plans and medical devices, along with a provision blocking what they say is a bailout of insurance companies.
Hospitals Aren’t the Only Ones Bleeding Stolen Health Records (Kaveh Waddell)
When hackers possibly stole the personal-health data of 10 million people from Excellus, a health-insurance company, it was just the most recent incident in a string of recent cyberattacks that targeted health-care companies.* This year, cyberattacks on Premera and UCLA Health Systems released millions more customers’ health records into the wild.

How Can Frail Seniors Who Live At Home Get Better Care? (Howard Gleckman)
We all want to live at home as we age. But while we may not want to admit it, getting the support we need can be much tougher at home than in a nursing home or assisted living facility.
For all their problems, nursing homes or residential care facilities can be an efficient way to deliver care to many people who live in one building or on one campus. Aides can visit multiple residents by walking down the hall. A community bus can provide transportation. Social supports and activities are readily at hand. Meals are available in the dining room. Compare that to people living in their homes. Yes, they live more independently and in familiar surroundings. And they don’t have to make their day fit with a facility’s schedule. But bringing them the assistance they need can be complicated and expensive. And it often suffers from a complete breakdown of coordination. How does an older adult living at home learn what services are available? And even if she knows, how does she make sure she gets help when she needs or wants it?
Devi Shetty, Who Put Heart Surgeries Within Reach Of India’s Poor, Is Taking Narayana Chain Public (Saritha Rai)
All eyes are on the IPO of Narayana Hrudayalaya, the Bangalore-based affordable healthcare chain founded by India’s best-known cardiac surgeon Dr. Devi Shetty, which opens tomorrow. Dr. Shetty, 62, pioneered inexpensive cardiac surgeries by creatively and efficiently driving down costs, thus putting life-saving surgeries within the means of thousands of poor Indians. That is particularly noteworthy in a country where healthcare is mainly delivered by as-yet small number of private healthcare operators while the government spend on healthcare is a scant 1.1 % of the GDP – compared with 18% in the United States.

USA Today:
Feds ask Supreme Court to stay out of lawsuit over Colorado marijuana (Trevor Hughes)
The federal government has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to avoid wading into a lawsuit brought by Oklahoma and Nebraska over Colorado’s legalized marijuana system. Oklahoma and Nebraska say Colorado’s legal marijuana system has created a flood of modern-day bootleggers who are buying pot in Colorado and then illegally crossing state lines. Oklahoma and Nebraska have sued Colorado, asking the Supreme Court to block the state’s legal marijuana system. Colorado asked the court to throw out the lawsuit, and the Supreme Court this fall asked the federal government to weigh in.

Hospital staffing ‘affects death rates’ (N/A)
Fewer patients die after emergency surgery in hospitals that have more doctors and nurses, a study suggests. The research, published in the British Journal of Anaesthesia, analysed data involving nearly 295,000 patients. The findings stood despite patients at these hospitals being sicker and suffering more complications.
Cancer is not just ‘bad luck’ but down to environment, study suggests (James Gallagher)
Cancer is overwhelmingly a result of environmental factors and not largely down to bad luck, a study suggests. Earlier this year, researchers sparked a debate after suggesting two-thirds of cancer types were down to luck rather than factors such as smoking. The new study, in the journal Nature, used four approaches to conclude only 10-30% of cancers were down to the way the body naturally functions or “luck”. Experts said the analysis was “pretty convincing”.

The Financial Times:
AstraZeneca adds 55% Acerta Pharma stake to swath of deals (Andrew Ward and Arash Massoudi)
AstraZeneca has agreed to buy a majority stake in Acerta Pharma with an option to take full control for up to $7bn, capping an intense period of dealmaking for the UK group as it races to refill its drugs portfolio. Acerta is a US-Dutch biotech company developing a promising blood cancer drug that would, if it reaches market, be a direct challenger to the Imbruvica treatment which prompted AbbVie to buy Pharmacyclics for $21bn in March.