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Health Headlines – Wednesday, December 16 – The TOP healthcare news for those on the go…

New York Times:
Ask Well: How Often Should You Get Dental X-Rays? (Karen Weintraub)
People who see a dentist regularly and have good oral hygiene and no current dental problems might need bitewing X-rays of molars only every two to three years to check for early cavities, said Dr. Aruna Ramesh, director of the oral and maxillofacial radiology division at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in Boston.
Report Finds Less Misuse of Painkillers by Teenagers (Alan Schwarz)
A new federal report suggests that misuse of prescription painkillers among teenagers is decreasing, news that heartened officials who remained concerned at the steady numbers regarding marijuana and e-cigarette use.
A Park to Sop Up Pollutants Before They Flow Into the Gowanus Canal (Lisa W. Foderaro)
Aptly called Sponge Park, the 2,100-square-foot plot will, when it opens next spring, intercept thousands of gallons of storm water, along with pollutants like heavy metals and dog waste, before they can enter the canal.
Curing Hepatitis C, in an Experiment the Size of Egypt (Donald G. McNeil Jr.)
Abdel Gawad Ellabbad knows exactly how he was infected with hepatitis C. As a schoolboy in this Nile Delta rice-farming village, his class marched to the local clinic every month for injections against schistosomiasis, a parasitic disease spread by water snails. A nurse would boil the syringes, fill each with five doses and then jab five boys in a row with a single needle.

Wall Street Journal:
Valeant Unveils Drug Pricing, Distribution Pacts With Walgreens (Jonathan D. Rockoff)
Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. said Tuesday it has found a new partner to replace the controversial mail-order pharmacy that had helped patients fill prescriptions for the company’s pricey skin and other drugs.
Genetic Testing May Be Coming to Your Office (Rachel Emma Silverman)
A handful of firms are offering employees free or subsidized tests for genetic markers associated with metabolism, weight gain and overeating, while companies such as Visa Inc., Slack Technologies Inc., Instacart Inc. recently began offering workers subsidized tests for genetic mutations linked to breast and ovarian cancer.
Chipotle Pulls Back on Local Ingredients (Julie Jargon)
Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. has touted its use of local ingredients and fresh produce to help differentiate it in a crowded fast-food market. Now a string of disease outbreaks is forcing the once-scrappy upstart to act more like the big chains it long has derided.
HealthCare.gov Users to Get Two-Day Extension for Picking 2016 Plans (Louise Radnofsky)
WASHINGTON—Last-minute shoppers on HealthCare.gov will get a two-day extension to pick their 2016 insurance plans, the Obama administration said late Tuesday, in what had been the final hours before the first sign-up deadline of the law’s fresh enrollment season.
Cigarette Smoking Down Among High School Students, Study Finds (Tripp Mickle)
Daily cigarette smoking has plummeted among high-school students, falling 50% or more over the past five years, according to a new government-sponsored study.
Millennium Health Wins Approval of Chapter 11 Plan (Peg Brickley)
Millennium Health LLC’s chapter 11 plan was confirmed Monday, but it was almost immediately challenged with an appeal from Voya Investment Management.

Washington Post:
ACA enrollment deadline extended two days after last-minute surge (Amy Goldstein)
Mere hours before a deadline to begin or renew insurance coverage through HealthCare.gov for Jan. 1, federal officials said consumers could have extra time to buy health plans.
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 pregnancy may be linked to a higher risk of autism spectrum disorder for the child.
Beware the rule-following co-worker, Harvard study warns (Ariana Eunjung Cha)
Every workplace has them. The colleague who bad-mouths you behind your back at the water cooler. The boss who takes credit for everyone else’s ideas. The sexist jerk people actively avoid by taking circuitous routes to the printer and lying about their happy hour plans.

Fast Company:
Live In A Walkable Neighborhood? You Get To Be Thinner And More Healthy (Ben Schiller)
Our health is determined not only by what we eat and how much we exercise, but also by our environment. For example, does your neighborhood encourage walking or cycling to restaurants or stores? Does it make you want to take a stroll after dinner in the evening?

The Atlantic:                                                                                             
The Second Assault (Olga Khazan)
Victims of childhood sexual abuse are far more likely to become obese adults. New research shows that early trauma is so damaging that it can disrupt a person’s entire psychology and metabolism.
The Risks of Over-the-Counter Diabetes Treatment (Sarah Jane Tribble)
As anyone who needs insulin to treat diabetes can attest, that usually means regular checkups at the doctor’s office to fine-tune the dosage, monitor blood-sugar levels and check for complications. But here’s a little-known fact: Some forms of insulin can be bought without a prescription.

Forbes:
Why Martin Shkreli’s Price Hike May Hurt Everyone…Including You And The Pharmaceutical Industry (Bruce Y. Lee)
Why should you care if former hedge fund manager and current pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli plans to raise the price of benznidazole, a treatment for Chagas Disease, by potentially over 100,000 percent?
American Politics Are Bad For Your Health (Roy Smythe)
In this moment in history we should be benefitting from the exponentially increasing ability to collect large amounts of information as well as the accrual of a great deal of recorded human experience to assist with decision-making – the analytic and synthetic raw material to inform and move civilization forward.
The Overuse Of Antipsychotics In Dementia Care (Mike Good)
When you’re new to a complex disease such as Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia, it’s nearly impossible to know what’s right and what’s wrong. All of our lives, we have put our trust in the medical professionals who examine us and send us on our way with a prescription that fixes everything.
How Sonic CEO Plans To Handle Fast Food’s Big Issues In 2016 (Nancy Gagliardi)
A shifting landscape is the new normal for fast food: Whether it’s the quest for all natural ingredients, procurement efficiency or social justice, all the major players have been looking for ways to respond to what consumers say they want and what they are willing to pay—all the while maintaining margins and gaining marketshare.
Medicare’s Bundled Payment Loses Some Interest Among Providers (Bruce Jaspen)
Some 1,500 medical care providers are moving forward to accept bundled payments from the Medicare health insurance program for the elderly, but that’s just 25% of those that first expressed interest in a voluntary effort, anew analysis by health research firm Avalere Health shows.

BBC:
NICE urges doctors to treat dying patients as individuals (Smitha Mundasad)
End-of-life care in England must be tailored to the needs of dying patients rather than a “tick-box approach”, the health watchdog NICE says. Patients must be treated with respect and compassion, it said, and doctors should avoid making “snap decisions” about whether someone was dying. The guidance is designed to address misuse of the previous system, the Liverpool Care Pathway.
Financial problems ‘endemic’ in NHS (Nick Triggle)
Money problems in the NHS in England are becoming “endemic” – and despite the extra money promised by government, there is no guarantee the service will get back on track, auditors say. The National Audit Office (NAO) said levels of deficits were “becoming normal practice”. Last month, ministers unveiled plans to increase the NHS budget by £8.4bn above inflation in this Parliament.
Kadcyla breast cancer drug ‘too expensive’ for NHS, says NICE (Michelle Roberts)
A life-extending breast cancer drug will not be routinely offered on the NHS in England and Wales, despite repeated pleas and negotiations. The final guidelines from NICE say the price tag per patient – £90,000 at full cost – is not tenable. Manufacturer Roche says it offered a discount – the same one it used to cut a deal with the Cancer Drugs Fund.
Smoking ‘linked to earlier menopause’ (N/A)
Women who are heavy or habitual smokers are more likely to experience the menopause earlier, a study suggests. The report, involving 79,000 women, showed those who smoked from the age of 15 went through the menopause on average 21 months earlier than women who did not smoke. The paper also found a weaker link with prolonged exposure to passive smoke.

The Financial Times:
AstraZeneca pours millions into China R&D (Andrew Ward)
AstraZeneca is to invest hundreds of millions of dollars expanding its capacity to develop and manufacture drugs in China, representing a bet that the country’s pharmaceuticals market remains on course for long-term growth despite a recent slowdown. The UK-based group said it was deepening a strategic alliance with WuXi AppTec, a big Chinese drug manufacturing and contract research organisation, to produce innovative biological medicines in China

The Daily Mirror:
Have a healthy festive season with these essential tips – and remember them in song (Michele O’Conner)
Partridge can be a great alternative to traditional turkey if you want something special and a bit different. And don’t forget that pear tree. Studies show eating one or two pieces of fruit every day cuts the risk of a heart attack or stroke by up to 40%. And pears, in particular, contain vitamin B2 and vitamin C, powerful antioxidants which help prevent high blood pressure, repair damaged tissue and strengthen the immune system.
A glass of wine a day could reduce your chances of dying from dementia (Andrew Gregory)
It’s already believed to cut the risk of stroke and heart disease – and now scientists say drinking a glass of wine a day may cut the risk of dying from dementia. Consuming two or three units daily has been linked to fewer deaths in Alzheimer’s disease patients, according to research published in medical journal BMJ Open on Thursday.
Why IVF’s link to ovarian cancer isn’t as simple as the headlines suggest (Miriam Stoppard)
Recently there were newspaper reports linking IVF to a higher risk of ovarian cancer . And yes, it’s true, the cancer figures from women who had undergone IVF did display this tendency. Reading these reports must have been pretty scary for women who’d had IVF or were contemplating it. They shouldn’t have been.

The Daily Mail:
‘Arrogance’ of doctors STILL using banned death pathway because ‘they think they know what’s best for patients’ (Sophie Borland)
Doctors are still following the abolished Liverpool Care Pathway because they think they know best when it comes to caring for dying patients, the health watchdog has warned. Concerns have prompted NICE to publish major guidelines today, reminding hospital staff not to make ‘snap decisions’ about the fate of those near death. The highly controversial LCP involved withdrawing food, fluid and medication from the terminally ill.
Can’t sleep? Do the DISHES: Insomnia experts reveal the best ways to clear your mind before bed time… (Rasmus Hougaard)
Clearing your mind before bedtime can be a real challenge in modern life but is the best way of ensuring you get a good night’s sleep. Quality shut-eye is an increasingly elusive prospect for many people according to Healthista experts, with many people finding it difficult to remember the last time they had two or three consecutive nights of really good kip.
Even PASSIVE smoking may raise the risk of infertility by 20% and bring forward the menopause by 2 YEARS (Madlen Davis)
Active and passive smoking are linked to infertility in women and an earlier menopause, a study has found. People who are exposed to high levels of tobacco – either through smoking themselves or passively – can experience menopause one or two years earlier than those who have never smoked or been exposed to passive smoking.  Current or former smokers were found to have a 14 per cent greater risk of infertility while passive smokers – exposed to the highest levels of fumes – were 18 per cent more likely to have trouble conceiving than non-smokers.
How your frantic lifestyle could trigger DEMENTIA: People living stressful lives are at ‘greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s (Lisa Ryan)
Stress is known to trigger unsightly outbreaks of acne, excruciating headaches and even weight gain. But now a new study warns stress could also lead to dementia later in life. Scientists determined that feeling stressed out increases elderly people’s risk of developing mild cognitive impairment.

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Health Headlines – Tuesday, December 15 – The TOP healthcare news for those on the go…

New York Times:
As Health Care Act Insurance Deadline Nears, ‘Unprecedented Demand’ (Robert Pear)
Milwaukee, Detroit and Philadelphia have done the best among 20 cities competing to sign up people for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, while Dallas, Denver and Las Vegas are lagging, the White House said Monday ahead of Tuesday’s deadline to enroll for coverage that takes effect on Jan. 1.
Changes Coming for Health Care in China and Cuba (Donald McNeil Jr.)
Two countries that are models of effective public health intervention, China and Cuba, have recently embarked on important policy changes, leaving some experts wondering whether citizens will be left worse off.
Mental Health Care Would Curb Violence, Some at Hearing Say (The Associated Press)
A gun club owner and a gun dealer are among those telling a congressman Monday that closing loopholes in federal background checks and increasing mental health help would reduce gun violence.
Rising Obesity Rates Put Strain on Nursing Homes (Sarah Varney)
Obesity is redrawing the common imagery of old age: The slight nursing home resident is giving way to the obese senior, hampered by diabetes, disability and other weight-related ailments. Facilities that have long cared for older adults are increasingly overwhelmed — and unprepared — to care for this new group of morbidly heavy patients.
Leading a Nation Takes Years Off Life, Study Suggests (Lawrence Altman)
New research may offer a consolation prize for whichever presidential nominee comes up short next November: Losing could mean a longer life.
C-Sections Are Best With a Little Labor, a Study Says (Roni Rabin)
For years, research has shown that babies born by cesarean section are more likely to develop health problems. Now, a groundbreaking study suggests that not all C-sections are equally risky.
Senator Rubio Makes Life Tough for Small Insurers  (The Editorial Board)
Senator Marco Rubio of Florida is boasting about his efforts to sabotage a program intended to keep health insurance markets stable and premiums low during the start-up years of the Affordable Care Act. He claims to be the only Republican presidential candidate who has scored a victory over Obamacare.

Wall Street Journal:
Startups Take Bite Out of Food Poisoning (Christopher Mims)
The recent food outbreaks of norovirus at Chipotle Mexican Grill are a reminder that one in six people in the U.S. experience food poisoning every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and 128,000 are hospitalized for it.  But the power to scan our environment at a molecular level, with devices no bigger than our smartphones, is coming. In some cases, it is already here, thanks to a handful of startups.
Prescription Drugs’ Sizable Share of Health Spending (Drew Altman)
The cost of prescription drugs is the hot health-care issue, but almost every discussion about it includes this caveat: As big a problem as rising drug prices have been for consumers and payers, drug spending represents only 10% of national spending on health.
Is Your Doctor Getting Too Much Screen Time? (Sumathi Reddy)
Computers, laptops and tablets are increasingly occupying your physician’s attention as more medical practices record their patients’ data electronically rather than on paper. This has changed the dynamics between some doctors and patients and created new communication challenges, research shows.
Q&A: What Is the ‘Cadillac Tax’ and Why Is It in Trouble? (Stephanie Armour and Richard Rubin)
Congressional lawmakers are gaining traction in a bid to get a two-year delay a tax on expensive employer health plans, a levy known as the “Cadillac tax.” The tax that was part of the 2010 health law is a big money maker for the federal government, but employers are saying it will cause them to scale back or drop offering benefits to their workers.

Washington Post:
Hoping to curb the prescription opioid epidemic, CDC proposes new guidelines for doctors (Lenny Bernstein)
Hoping to curb the epidemic of addiction to prescription opioids, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention proposes new guidelines for doctors on use of the drugs.
Don’t criticize what you can’t understand: Bob Dylan pops up throughout medical literature (Brady Dennis)
When word spread last year that numerous researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden had long been sneaking Bob Dylan lyrics into their work, sometimes unbeknownst to one another, a librarian at the university got to wondering.
How health care for 9/11 responders became just another political football  (Mike DeBonis)
John Feal is a tired man. The 49-year-old Long Islander has made 22 trips to Washington in the past 11 months, leading groups of fellow construction workers and 9/11 responders to plead with members of Congress and staff to renew $8 billion in aid for those who fell sick after working at Ground Zero.
Feeling flexible? Here’s 2,100 yoga poses. (Nancy Szokan)
Maybe you decide to study yoga. So you go to a class and you learn poses: lotus, tree, mountain, corpse (yes, you learn, the resting pose is actually called corpse pose), pigeon, cobra, warrior. As time goes by, you learn harder poses, or more elaborate versions of the simple ones.
Overdose antidote can be dispensed without prescription (The Associated Press)
Maryland health officials have issued an order allowing pharmacists to dispense a heroin overdose antidote without a prescription. Officials said Monday that the order is intended to help combat the state’s heroin and opioid abuse epidemic.
Anne Wojcicki on 23andMe’s new (and improved?) personal genome service (Ariana Eunjung Cha)
Part of the fun of 23AndMe’s old personal genome spit test was the sheer number — more than 240 — of diseases, conditions and other hereditary traits that it covered. There was information about ear wax type, your tendency to like/dislike asparagus, the extent to which you can tolerate the sound of chewing.
Global cancer hotspots: Burden of disease is shifting to developing world (Ariana Eunjung Cha)
The global burden of cancer is shifting dramatically. Once considered a disease of the wealthy, it now has a significant impact in every region, and the greatest proportional increases in cases in the coming years are predicted to be in the poorest corners of the world.

Fast Company:
Enrolling Ex-Convicts In Medicaid Saves Lives And Keeps Them Out Of Jail (Charlie Sorrel)
In reducing the massive population of people who are in prison, one important tactic is to provide support for people who are released. One neglected aspect of support for former convicts is in the area of health care.
The Four Trends That Will Change The Way We Work By 2021 (Stephane Kasriel)
In some ways, 2015 was the year of the gig economy, with the scale and diversity of the freelance workforce not just expanding, but attracting more mainstream notice as well. By our own recent estimates here at Upwork, some 54 million Americans are now freelancers.

The Atlantic:                                                                                             
Why Brazil Loves Breastfeeding (Olga Khazan)
The other day here, I saw something I rarely encounter back home in Washington. A young woman holding a toddler sat down at the table next to me at a boardwalk cafe. When the little boy got fussy, she tugged down her tank top and fed him in plain view of one of Rio’s largest thoroughfares. No blanket. No shame.
Pharma Bro’s Latest Move Targets Latinos (Daisy Hernandez)
The infamous pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli is jacking up the price of a treatment for Chagas disease, which in the U.S. affects mainly Latin American immigrants.
When PTSD Is Contagious (Aaron Reuben)
Michael was not in New York on September 11, 2001. But for years afterwards, when an elevator opened at work, he would imagine people on fire rushing out, their screams filling the lobby. He was plagued by moments of violence and destruction that he had not witnessed.
We Know Almost Nothing About the Animals That Live on Our Faces (Ed Yong)
The history of humanity’s grand sweep around the world is recorded in our genes and genealogies, our art and artifacts, our literature and languages. It’s also written in the legions of tiny mites that live, eat, crawl, and have sex on your face.
Are Mass Shootings Contagious? (Nora Kelly)
Eight days after the San Bernardino shooting came the scare at Arkansas State University: A 47-year-old man armed with a 12-gauge shotgun threw the campus into temporary lockdown. A study finds that deadly attacks inspire copycat crimes for an average of 13 days after they occur.

Forbes:
Goldman Sachs-Backed Firm Partners To Move MRIs Into The Cloud (Bruce Japsen)
Once-rival radiology services firms Imaging Advantage and RadNet (RDNT) are partnering to bring lower imaging costs to the healthcare system as fee-for-service medicine that has rewarded unnecessary test-ordering moves to a value-based care model.
Kaiser Permanente Gives Vidyo’s Platform The Healthcare Seal Of Approval With $10M Investment (Patrick Moorhead)
It gets really interesting for me when a leader in an industry makes investments in a targeted startup supporting many market trends my firm been analyzed. This happened today with Kaiser Permanente making a $10M strategic investment in software-defined video collaboration firm Vidyo for them to further build out their growing healthcare vertical.
A Nuanced Take On Healthcare Consumerism (David Shaywitz)
At its most extreme, our national healthcare debate can seem like a battle between those who would empower consumers and trust the free market versus those who, as athenahealth CEO Jonathan Bush memorably put it, favor a “top-down, our-people-from-Harvard-know-more-than-the-average-person-and-we-will-make-the-average-person-become-better-like-us” philosophy.
If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It: Healthcare Reform And Medicare Part D (Doug Schoen)
While there are over 16 million newly insured Americans because of it, there are also millions who have seen their premiums and copays go up exponentially, as well as individuals who have lost coverage altogether. Reports suggest that Obamacare could cost the domestic economy two million jobs over the next ten years.

USA Today:
Soldiers lack sleep, struggle to eat right, report says (Michelle Tan)
Soldiers continue to struggle with eating healthy and getting enough sleep, according to the Army’s first Health of the Force report.
Taking antidepressants during pregnancy linked to increased risk of autism (Liz Szabo)
Children are more likely to be diagnosed with autism if their mothers took antidepressants during pregnancy, a new study shows.

CNN:
Do voters have the right to know presidential candidates’ health histories? (Sandee LaMotte)
On Monday, Donald Trump released a statement by his personal physician that said he’d lost 15 pounds in the last year, takes aspirin daily and a low dose of statin and has “astonishingly excellent” lab test results and blood pressure. “If elected,” Dr. Harold Bornstein wrote, “Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.”
What happened to the CDC’s courage on guns? (Elizabeth Cohen and John Bonifield)
As director of the Centers for Disease Control, Dr. Tom Frieden has tweeted and talked about everything from AIDS to obesity to mosquitoes in Hawaii, the overuse of antibiotics, polio in Pakistan, Ebola, sanitation services in East Africa, ambulances in Sierra Leone, premature babies, sexually transmitted diseases, flu shots and World Toilet Day.
Living alone could be good for your weight (Jacoba Urist)
Good news for people living alone: A forthcoming paper shows that single adults — of any sexual orientation — are physically healthier when it comes to body mass index. The study, which appears in the January edition of the Journal of Family Issues , found that living without a partner is associated with lower body weight.

BBC:
Nurofen maker Reckitt Benckiser defends Australia packaging (N/A)
The UK maker of the Nurofen “specific pain” range of products has defended their packaging, after an Australian court ordered the products off shelves. The court said the UK-based Reckitt Benckiser had misled consumers. It said products marketed to treat specific pains, such as migraine, were identical to one another.

The Financial Times:
Pain drug U-turn after US regulator sued (David Crow)
US regulators have taken the rare step of reversing a decision designed to sharply curb the use of a pain drug, after the company that makes the medicine sued the government for violating its right to free speech. Lawyers said the Food and Drug Administration’s U-turn represented a major victory for drugmakers that engage in “off label” promotion — the practice of marketing their medicines to treat illnesses for which they are not approved.
Lack of cyber security draws hackers to hospital devices (Hannah Kuchler)
Imagine if simply typing “password123” into a computer did not open your email account, but an internet-connected medical device responsible for feeding you drugs or monitoring your blood oxygen or insulin levels. It may sound like the nightmare stuff of fiction, but the lack of basic cyber security on hospital equipment is attracting hackers who want to use them as a way to enter medical networks.

Affordable diagnostics is the missing link in medicine (Andrew Jack)
From fundamental science to practical implementation, work on diagnostics that can reliably detect diseases in the developing world is among the most important gaps in medicine — and among the most challenging to fill. The first stumbling block is basic science. The most recent outbreak of Ebola in west Africa highlighted some of the difficulties. Despite a surge in international activity to help treat the infection, there were no practical, rapid or consistent tests to confirm the disease. There were also considerable dangers in shipping dangerous samples to remote central laboratories for study.
AstraZeneca on fast track to companion diagnostics (Andrew Ward)
The green light given by US regulators last month to AstraZeneca for a new lung cancer treatment marked one of the fastest drug approvals on record. This process can sometimes take a decade or more, but the company took just two and a half years to reach market following the first human trial.
Race is on to end unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions (Andrew Ward)
The rise of drug-resistant bacteria has focused attention on the urgent need for new antibiotics, but that is not the only pressing challenge if superbugs are to be kept in check. Just as important is finding better ways of diagnosing infections to reduce the wasteful use of antibiotics that is fuelling antimicrobial resistance.
Push for personalised medicine is the latest health blockbuster (Andrew Ward)
Until fairly recently, devices and diagnostics made up the unfashionable wing of the healthcare industry — the poor relation of big pharma and its blockbuster drugs. It was associated with low-margin knee implants, surgical scalpels and laboratory tests that took days or weeks to deliver a result that, even then, might be wrong.
Theranos exemplifies clash of new versus old in-vitro test models (David Crow)
If there is any part of the US healthcare market that is ripe for disruption, it is surely in-vitro diagnostics — medical examinations that take place outside the human body such as blood tests in a test tube or culture dish.
AstraZeneca weighing up Acerta bid to secure blood cancer drug (Andrew Ward)
AstraZeneca is weighing a direct challenge against AbbVie and Johnson & Johnson with a potential bid for a Dutch biotech company developing a competitor to the US groups’ Imbruvica blood cancer drug.

The Daily Mail:
Nurofen tablets which were taken off shelves in Australia for ‘misleading customers’ because they have identical ingredients are STILL being sold in the UK (Madlen Davies)
Pain-targeted Nurofen tablets which have been taken off Australian shelves because they are misleading customers, are still being sold in the UK. An Australian court ruled the products marketed to treat specific pains, such as migraine and period pains, were identical to one another – and therefore misled consumers. It said that British-based multinational had made misleading claims about its Nurofen Back Pain, Nurofen Period Pain, Nurofen Migraine Pain and Nurofen Tension Headache products.

The Independent:
Nurofen owner Reckitt Benckiser ordered to stop selling ‘misleading’ target specific painkillers (Jason Reed)
An Australian court has ordered Nurofen’s UK owner to stop selling several versions of the popular painkiller that were identical to its standard ibuprofen pills, but nearly twice as expensive. The Federal Court ruled that British consumer goods company Reckitt Benckiser deceived Australians by selling Nurofen painkillers that were marketed to relieve specific ailments, such as back pain, but all of the products contained an identical amount of the same active ingredient, ibuprofen lysine.
Taking antidepressants in pregnancy ‘could double the risk of autism in toddlers’ (Steve Connor)
Taking antidepressants during pregnancy could almost double the risk of a child being diagnosed with autism in the first years of life, a major study of nearly 150,000 pregnancies has suggested. Researchers have found a link between women in the later stages of pregnancy who were prescribed one of the most common types of antidepressant drugs, and autism diagnosed in children under seven years of age.

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Health Headlines – Monday, December 14 – The TOP healthcare news for those on the go…

The New York Times:
Nurse With Tuberculosis May Have Exposed Over 1,000, Including 350 Infants (Liam Stack)
Over 1,000 people, including 350 infants, may have been exposed to tuberculosis in the maternity wing of a hospital in California after an active case of the disease was diagnosed in a nurse, hospital officials said on Sunday.
Canine Flu Has Dog Owners Wondering if Fido Needs a Vaccine (Jan Hoffman)
Last spring, veterinarians in Chicago became overwhelmed by dogs with high fevers, hacking coughs, copiously dripping noses, runny eyes, lethargy and loss of appetite. Over nearly two months, at least 1,500 dogs fell ill, many for as long as three weeks. At least eight died from secondary infections like pneumonia.
‘A Whole New Being’ (Deborah Sontag)
Perched on a gurney at dawn, Kricket Jerná Nimmons, 40, kicked her feet giddily, like a girl on the edge of a pool, preparing to take a plunge. She wore a hospital gown and purple socks with paw prints. Her face was clean-scrubbed — “no lash, no makeup, just me” — and she looked at peace. “So, this is it,” she said, exhaling theatrically, which is her way.
‘You Can’t Put Ice Over a Migraine,’ A Lurking Malady in the N.F.L. (Zach Schonbrun)
When he woke last Sunday morning, Jeremy Kerley sensed trouble already coming on. Fitful sleep is often his trigger, he said. The migraine eventually hit him like an anvil late in last week’s game against the Giants.
Martin Shkreli’s Latest Plan to Sharply Raise Drug Price Prompts Outcry (Andrew Pollack)
Martin Shkreli is once again provoking alarm with a plan to sharply increase the price of a decades-old drug for a serious infectious disease. This time the drug treats Chagas disease, a parasitic infection that can cause potentially lethal heart problems.
Poll Finds Kentuckians Split With Gov. Matt Bevin on Expanded Medicaid (Abby Goodnough)
More than seven in 10 residents of Kentucky want their new governor, Matt Bevin, to keep the state’s expanded Medicaid program as it is, according to a new poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation. And more than half of respondents described Medicaid as important for themselves and their families, underscoring the program’s substantial reach in the state and the challenges Mr. Bevin may face if he seeks to scale back or modify it.

The Wall Street Journal:
Lilly’s Lung-Cancer Drug Portrazza to Cost $11,430 a Month (Peter Loftus)
Eli Lilly & Co. said Friday its new lung-cancer drug will cost about $11,430 a patient a month in the U. S.—well above what a group of doctors say is a fair price that reflects what they call the drug’s modest benefit.
The Health of Obamacare (Daniel P. Kessler)
More than five years ago, the Affordable Care Act—what most of us call Obamacare—was passed into law with two big declared goals: to reduce the number of Americans who lack health insurance and to cut health spending that doesn’t give good value for money. Has the law been a success? The country is sharply divided.
Walgreens, Rite Aid Receive Second Request From FTC (Chelsey Dulaney)
Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. and Rite Aid Corp. said Friday the Federal Trade Commission has requested more information about their proposed merger.

The Washington Post:
Wired to cheat: why these ‘monogamous’ rats keep fooling around (Darryl Fears)
A new study published in the journal Science does nothing to dispel the notion that males who routinely cheat on their mates are just a bunch of rats. The study examined the DNA of Midwestern prairie voles and linked it to the rodents’ behavior. Voles are known for their monogamous pair-bonding, but that doesn’t stop a lot of the males from wandering off and sleeping around.
Deaths from heroin overdoses surged in 2014 (Lenny Bernstein)
Despite increased public efforts to combat opioid abuse, the number of deaths from heroin overdoses surged by 28 percent in 2014, and fatal overdoses from prescription painkillers climbed by 16.3 percent, according to federal health officials.
In Ohio’s ‘Chemical Valley,’ a debate over good jobs and bad health (Kevin Williams)
On a cheerful playground outside the local elementary school, a bench commemorates the brief life of Emma Grace Hemsilen Hess, a bubbly 12-year-old who died in July after a long battle with congenital heart ailments.

Fast Company:
Just Search for “Groin Pain.” How Google Data is Helping Track STDs (Sean Captain)
Three major sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)—chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis—are on the rise in the U.S. for the first time since 2006, according the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As past experience shows, when people get sick, they search online for answers. But all too often it’s easy to draw failed conclusions from that search data.

USA Today:
Ohio Planned Parenthood sues to ‘protect abortion access’ (Rebecca Butts)
Planned Parenthood filed a federal lawsuit Sunday to “protect abortion access” in Ohio following Attorney General Mike DeWine’s report that facilities in Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland improperly disposed of fetal remains.

Forbes:
Marco Rubio Doesn’t Think Obamacare Is Right For America, But It’s Just Fine For Him (Katie Sola)
Marco Rubio, arch-enemy of Obamacare, is insured under the very program he swore to destroy , NBC reports. “Senator Rubio spent time looking at all the options and decided to enroll through the D.C. exchange for coverage for him and his family,” a spokeswoman told the Tampa Bay Times. He also took the 75 percent discount on premiums offered to lawmakers, a subsidy Republicans have opposed.

Los Angeles Times:
‘I have terminal cancer. And I’m dying in a yearish.’ (Melinda Welsh)
The enormity of the news didn’t sink in fully, not at first, even after my doctor uttered the words: “I’m sorry, we did find cancer.” My husband, Dave, and I had only the faintest sense that evening that our lives had been hijacked forever.

BBC:
NHS hooks up with dating app Tinder on organ donations (N/A)
The NHS has partnered with dating app Tinder to raise awareness about organ donations. The app is used to find people a good personality match but for the next fortnight it will also encourage users to become a donor. People who swipe on some pictures on the app will be encouraged to sign up to the NHS organ donor register.
‘Suicide’ gene therapy kills prostate cancer cells (N/A)
A new gene therapy technique is able to modify prostate cancer cells so that a patient’s body attacks and kills them, US scientists have discovered. The technique causes the tumour cells in the body to self-destruct, giving it the name ‘suicide gene therapy’. Their research found a 20% improvement in survival in patients with prostate cancer five years after treatment.
Adult social care outlook ‘bleak’, warns think tank (N/A)
The future for adult social care services in England “looks bleak”, a think tank has warned. Chancellor George Osborne announced measures in his Spending Review that would lead to a rise in care budgets. But the International Longevity Centre said that would only “paper over the cracks” and suggested 1.8 million people had unmet needs for care.

The Financial Times:
Returns on pharma R&D sink to lowest in five years (Andrew Ward)
Returns on research and development investment by the world’s biggest pharmaceuticals companies have declined to their lowest level for at least five years, dashing hopes that a recent resurgence in drug approvals signalled an upturn in industry productivity. The projected return from products in late-stage development has more than halved since 2010 to 4.2 per cent, according to Deloitte, the consultancy, as the cost of bringing drugs to market rises, while forecast sales fall.

The Times:
Patients at risk from dirty GP surgeries (Katy Lay)
Dirty and chaotic GP practices are putting patient safety at risk, according to the official NHS watchdog. Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission have discovered surgeries with cockroach infestations or stocking out-of-date medicines.
Doctors don’t know cost of treatments (Chris Smyth)
Two thirds of doctors have little idea what the treatments they prescribe cost and are wasting money as a result, according to a study. The NHS Confederation and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges said that a misguided belief that doctors should not think about money was perpetuating inefficiency and giving patients pointless treatments.
Church may back GM embryos to cure inherited diseases (Oliver Moody)
The Church of England could agree to the genetic modification of human embryos, its medical ethics adviser has suggested. The controversial method known as germline editing could be used to cure inherited diseases and treat infertility. There have been concerns, however, that the changes are passed on to future generations.

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Health Headlines – Friday, December 11 – The TOP healthcare news for those on the go…

The New York Times:
Still in a Crib, Yet Being Given Antipsychotics (Alan Schwarz)
Andrew Rios’s seizures began when he was 5 months old and only got worse. At 18 months, when an epilepsy medication resulted in violent behavior, he was prescribed the antipsychotic Risperdal, a drug typically used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in adults, and rarely used for children as young as 5 years.
Ask Well: Do Sleeping Pills Induce Restorative Sleep? (Karen Weintraub)
Is sleep induced by a benzodiazepine counted as restorative sleep? Researchers hate to admit it, but they don’t know enough about sleep to answer this question. Their best guess, several experts said, is that sleep is sleep.

The Wall Street Journal:
UnitedHealth Selects Praluent as Preferred New Cholesterol Drug (Austen Hufford)
UnitedHealth Group Inc. said Friday that Praluent, developed by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Sanofi SA, will be the preferred drug for a new class of cholesterol-lowering injections in its OptumRx pharmacy-benefits manager.

Fast Company:
Stop Harassing Your Sick Kid With This Smartphone-Connected Fever Patch (Charlie Sorrel)
It’s bad enough that your kid’s sick but now you have to keep sticking a thermometer somewhere soft, keeping it there while the poor poppet whines, only to see that, yes, the temperature is still a little too high.
America’s Healthiest And Least Healthy States (Jessica Leber)
Do you live in New York? You’re more likely to be sleep-deprived than residents of other U.S. states. If you’re in Colorado, congratulations, you’re most likely to have gotten some exercise in the last 30 days. Alaskans, crazily enough, are most likely to experience violent crime, as a percentage of their population.

Los Angeles Times:
Mexican safety agency approves first use of dengue vaccine (Mark Stevenson)
Mexican health authorities approved the first vaccine to gain official acceptance for use against the dengue virus, which sickens about 100 million people every year, mostly in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

USA Today:
The vegan’s guide to fast food (USA TODAY College Contributor network)
Even though eating at Panda or KFC isn’t the healthiest way to go, we all know that fast-food is one of the easiest and quickest ways to quiet our hangry alter egos. And heck, sometimes our souls just need to be filled with that familiar, fatty, fast-food taste.

Forbes:
Health App Usage Soars As Consumers Take Charge (Bruce Japsen)
From the doctor’s office and pharmacies to health insurers and drug makers, the use of health apps is expected to take off next year, according to a new report.
New Superbug Resistant To All Antibiotics Linked To Imported Meat (Judy Stone)
We’re one giant step closer to the end of antibiotics. Just last month, Yi-Yun Liu’s team discovered the mcr-1 gene, which conveys resistance to colistin, an antibiotic of last resort. They were doing a surveillance project on E. coli bacteria from food animals in China.
Thinking With Your Gut? A Merck Vet Aims To Turn That Idea Into New Medicines (Matthew Herper)
We talk instinctively about thinking with our guts. A new biotech led by an industry veteran will try to turn that intuition into drugs.
Is Happiness Really Linked To Longevity? Maybe Not, Study Finds (Alice G. Walton)
Here’s another reason to be happy – or not, depending on your disposition: Happiness may not be as strongly linked to longevity as previous research had indicated.

CNN:
Health care heroes you should know about (Meghan Dunn, Laura Klairmont, Kathleen Toner, Christie O’Reilly)
It’s hard to believe, but there are doctors out there who treat patients without insurance or who actually spend their time exercising with their patients.
Google helps researchers track down worst STD cases (Mary Chris Jaklevic)
With sexually transmitted diseases on the rise, researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago think they might have a powerful new weapon to fight their spread: Google searches.
Forget ‘Sit down!’ Students now standing up to learn (Kelly Wallace)
Juliet Starrett and her husband were running the sack race at their children’s school field day when they noticed something was wrong — the kids couldn’t get into the sacks.

BBC:
Being unhappy or stressed will not kill, says study (James Gallagher)
It had been thought that being unhappy was bad for health – particularly for the heart. But the decade-long analysis, published in the Lancet, said previous studies had just confused cause and effect.

The Daily Mail:
The embarrassing hidden symptoms of menopause: From prolapse to incontinence, experts reveal the unspoken but distressing realities HALF of all women face (Lisa Ryan)
Hot flashes, mood swings and no desire to have sex – all are common symptoms of the menopause. It is a stage in life that the majority of women dread, it signalling the end of their reproductive years.

The Financial Times:
AstraZeneca achieves partial victory over NHS drug cost watchdog (Andrew Ward)
AstraZeneca, the UK pharmaceuticals group, has won a partial victory in its wrangle with the NHS drug cost watchdog over access to a new medicine for ovarian cancer but only after agreeing to cut the price and fund some treatment costs.
AstraZeneca and Wallenbergs join in biological drugs venture (Andrew Ward)
AstraZeneca has teamed up with the Swedish government and the Wallenberg family to invest $100m in a new research venture that will reinforce the company’s ties to Sweden.

The Independent:
Alzheimer’s: Drinking a glass of wine a day may help sufferers reduce risk of death from disease (Rose Troup Buchanan)
Alzheimer’s sufferers who drink a single glass of wine – or the equivalent of two to three units of alcohol – every day are significantly less likely to die than those who drink more or are teetotal, research suggests.
Campaign warns parents how to safely strap children into car seats this winter (Rose Troup Buchanan)
Parents should be cautious of bundling their children up against the cold and then strapping them into their car seats this winter, a campaign has warned.
Care Quality Commission ‘displays alarming lack of attention to detail’ (Charlie Cooper)
Health and care watchdog the Care Quality Commission “is not yet an effective regulator”, MPs have said, criticising inspectors for taking too long to produce reports on hospitals and other services, and sometimes displaying “an alarming lack of attention to detail”.
NHS bed-blocking reaches highest ever level as key targets missed (Andrew Johnson)
Bed-blocking in the NHS rose to its highest level in the five years since records began as the NHS in England missed key targets for A&E waiting times, cancer treatment and ambulance responses.

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Health Headlines – Thursday, December 10 – The TOP healthcare news for those on the go…

The New York Times:
Happiness Doesn’t Bring Good Health, Study Finds (Denise Grady)
A study published on Wednesday in The Lancet, following one million middle-aged women in Britain for 10 years, finds that the widely held view that happiness enhances health and longevity is unfounded. “Happiness and related measures of well-being do not appear to have any direct effect on mortality,” the researchers concluded.
So Lonely It Hurts (Gretchen Reynolds)
For early humans, being alone was no way to live. Those on the tribe’s periphery faced increased risks of starvation, predation and early death. And so humans (like other communal creatures) evolved what seem to be specific biological reactions to social threats.
Tylenol Is Ineffective Against Flu Symptoms (Nicholas Bakalar)
Researchers in New Zealand randomized 80 adults with flu symptoms to either 1,000 milligrams of acetaminophen (Tylenol) or a placebo four times a day for five days. Twenty-two people in the placebo group and 24 in the Tylenol group had laboratory-confirmed flu virus infections.
Teenagers Aren’t Getting Enough Exercise at School, or Anywhere (Robin Caryn Rabin)
Teenagers can be a notoriously sedentary group. Now a new study showed that school may be a big part of the problem. The study, which used GPS devices to track when and where teenagers were getting physical activity, found that, on average, they were physically active only 23 minutes a day while at school. Meager as that figure is, it made up over half the 39.4 minutes of physical activity the average teenager got every day.

The Wall Street Journal:
Norovirus Confirmed in Boston Chipotle Outbreak (Julie Jargon)
Health officials on Wednesday confirmed the presence of norovirus among Boston College students who reported becoming ill after eating at a single Chipotle restaurant during the weekend. The number of students who have reported becoming sick now stands at more than 120, up from 80 students as of midday Tuesday, a spokesman for the college said
What Indian Health Care Can Learn From Tamil Nadu (Suryatapa Bhattacharya)
India’s health-care system is riddled with poor-quality care, unequal access and low public health expenditure, a new Brookings Institution research report says. But the South Asian nation can look at the success of its own Tamil Nadu state for answers as to how to improve services, said Shamika Ravi and Rahul Ahluwalia, authors of the report titled “Priorities for India’s National health policy.”
Fresh Ebola Cases Damp Liberia Hopes of Eliminating Deadly Disease (Betsy Mckay and Drew Hinshaw)
Nurses at a downtown Monrovia hospital were about to punch out from work late one November afternoon when a feverish teenager, convulsing and bleeding from his mouth, stumbled into the waiting room.

The Washington Post:
There’s a crisis at Chipotle (Roberto Ferdman and Abha Bhattarai)
Chipotle became the darling of the fast-food world by attracting millennials, blue-collar workers and even whole families with its promise of high-quality, sustainably sourced Mexican-inspired cuisine. But a series of food poisonings and other challenges are threatening its reputation and underscoring the difficulty of meeting the needs of a generation of diners who increasingly demand inexpensive food that is safe, natural and nutritious.
Mexico approves first dengue vaccine (AP)
Mexican health authorities approved the first vaccine to gain official acceptance for use against the dengue virus, which sickens about 100 million people every year, mostly in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Why do doctors choose a $2,000 cure when a $50 one is just as good. (Andrew Lam)
Enter the miracle drugs—eye injections that limit those leaking submacular vessels, giving us our first treatment capable of bringing vision back. But somehow, these drugs have become among the most controversial in all of medicine. All three treat wet AMD very effectively. Their most significant difference is cost.

Fast Company:
Cindy Whitehead, CEO of Sproud (AKA the Female Viagra Company) is Stepping Down (Jessica Hullinger)
The CEO of Sprout Pharmaceuticals, the company behind the “female Viagra” drug that received FDA approval earlier this year, is reportedly leaving the company. “I feel like I’ve seen it through to what I wanted to accomplish,” Cindy Whitehead said in an interview with Bizwomen.
A Healthier And More Sustainable Shrimp—Made With Algae Instead Of Shrimp (Jessica Leber)
Over the last few years, there’s been a mini-sector of companies that are focused on making burgers, chicken, eggs, and all kinds of animal products, without using any animals. But as far as Dominique Barnes saw, there was still a “blue ocean” opportunity in, well, the ocean. No one was making seafood without the sea creatures.

Los Angeles Times:
Vermont medical school delves into marijuana science (Lisa Rathke)
As more states allow for the use of medical marijuana, the University of Vermont is offering a course in the science of the drug — and the professors say they are challenged by a lack of research on what has long been a taboo topic.

USA Today:
Some of sickest states show healthy gains while others still lag (Jayne O’Donnell and Laura Ungar)
Increases in drug deaths, obesity and diabetes offset national declines in smoking, deaths from heart disease and infant mortality, a new report shows, but some states’ dramatic improvement brightened the overall picture.

Forbes:
Globally, The Public Underestimates The Extent Of Obesity [Infographic] (Niall McCarthy)
Out of every 100 people in your country, how many do you think are overweight or obese? It’s probably far more than you think. Ipsos MORI posed this question to respondents in a recent report, finding that the public underestimates the extent of obesity in most countries around the world.
How Consumers Will Change Health Insurance (N/A)
The line between health insurance and providing health care is blurring. How do we make sure that we can control costs, provide people access to care, and ensure that no one goes bankrupt in the process? (Video)

CNN:
Why it’s so hard to kick your sugar habit (Samantha Bresnahan)
Sugar is hard to avoid, even for people who don’t consider themselves to have a sweet tooth. Even if you ignore the copious amount present where we expect to find it, like in a soda, sugar is hiding in many of our foods — even those that aren’t especially sweet.
After decades, scientists succeed in breeding world’s first IVF puppies (Hillary Whiteman)
Researchers in the U.S. have created the world’s first litter of puppies through in vitro fertilization (IVF), a breakthrough they say could help eradicate diseases in dogs — and in humans. Seven puppies were born in July from 19 embryos implanted into a host female dog, according to scientists from Cornell University and the Smithsonian Institution.

BBC:
Warning of NHS winter beds ‘struggle’ (Nick Triggle)
The NHS in England will struggle this winter without more beds in care homes and other community settings to ease hospital pressures, researchers say. The Nuffield Trust said that last winter a small proportion of patients – just 3.6% – had taken up more than a third of hospital beds. The research group said help targeted at this group – most of them frail and elderly – could have a big impact.
NHS trust ‘failed to investigate hundreds of deaths’ (Michael Buchanan)
The NHS has failed to investigate the unexpected deaths of more than 1,000 people since 2011, according to a report obtained by BBC News. It blames a “failure of leadership” at Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust. It says the deaths of mental health and learning-disability patients were not properly examined.
Being unhappy or stressed will not kill, says study (James Gallagher)
Being miserable or stressed will not increase your risk of dying, according to the UK’s Million Women Study. It had been thought that being unhappy was bad for health – particularly for the heart. But the decade-long analysis, published in the Lancet, said previous studies had just confused cause and effect.

The Daily Mail:
New oxygen-enhanced MRI scan ‘helps identify most dangerous tumours’ (PA)
A new scanning test developed in the UK could help doctors pinpoint dangerous cancers before they spread around the body. The technique uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to map regions of oxygen deprivation within tumours.

The Financial Times: 
Sanofi to launch world’s first vaccine for dengue fever in Mexico (Andrew Ward)
Sanofi will launch the world’s first vaccine for dengue fever in Mexico early next year after winning its first marketing authorisation for a product aimed at tackling one of the fastest-growing infectious diseases in the developing world.
Retirement is good for you mentally and physically (Michael Skapinker)
The email invitations kept coming. “Please remember our leaving drinks tonight.” “Hope to see as many as can make it see me off.” “Please celebrate the end of an era — and, of course, the start of a new one.” It has been retirement party time at the Financial Times as a number of colleagues, examining their pension and financial options after a change of ownership, have decided this is a good moment to go.
NHS lets patients take the strain with mobile apps (Sarah Neville)
Hospital patients will be able to “self-monitor” their conditions via mobile apps under a government strategy intended to ease pressure on scarce NHS resources. The plan has been devised by Martha Lane Fox, who was commissioned by Jeremy Hunt, health secretary, to expand “digital inclusion” across the health service.

The Independent:
NHS Trust ‘failed to investigate 1,000 unexpected deaths’, report finds (Jon Stone)
A major National Health Service trust has failed to investigate over 1,000 unexpected patient deaths since 2010, according to a critical new report.
BBC News, which has seen the document, says the study blames a failure of leadership at the executive level of the NHS trust Southern Health.

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