Medical Care

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Medical Research

How Lizards Grow New Tails

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The secret of how lizards regenerate their tails could offer hope that researchers may be able to develop ways to stimulate the regeneration of limbs in humans. A team of researchers from Arizona State University in Phoenix is one step closer to solving that mystery. The scientists have discovered the genetic "recipe" for lizard tail regeneration, which may come down to using genetic ingredients in just the right mixture and amounts.

Medical Care

Outpatient Urology Surgery Ups Deaths Risk

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As hospitals have shifted an array of common urological surgeries from inpatient procedures to outpatient, potentially preventable deaths have increased following complications. Those were the primary findings of a study led by Henry Ford Hospital researchers in Detroit. The paper was published online in August 2014 by BJUI, the official journal of the British Association of Urological Surgeons. The investigators initially expected that improved mortality rates recently documented for surgery overall would also translate to commonly performed urologic surgeries.

Medical Care

Doctors & Patients Making Decisions Together

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Shared decision-making is a concept that’s gaining traction in medicine, particularly in areas of health care, where patients are presented with more than one reasonable treatment option. The programs, which feature patient-education tools such as online surveys and videos, have several goals. One is to help people thoroughly understand their choices and assure them that they are making informed decisions.

Medical Care

Those with Not Long to Live Still Get Screenings for Cancer

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A substantial number of older patients with limited life expectancy continue to receive routine screenings for prostate, breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer although the procedures are unlikely to benefit them, according to the authors of a study done at theUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill by Trevor J. Royce, M.D., M.S. and colleagues.

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Many Hospitals Missed E-health Deadline

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Many of the nation's hospitals struggled to meet a federally mandated electronic health records deadline, and as a result could collectively face millions of dollars in reduced Medicare payments, according to a study done at the University of Michigan published online August 7th 2014 and slated to be published in the September print issue of the journal Health Affairs.

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For-Profit Home Care: Higher Costs, Lower Quality

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For-profit home health agencies are far costlier for Medicare than nonprofit agencies, according to a nationwide study done at the City University of New York School of Public Health and published Monday, August 4th 2014 in the August issue of the journal Health Affairs. Overall cost per patient was $1,215 higher at for-profits, with operating costs accounting for $752 of the difference and excess profits for $463. Yet the quality of care was actually worse at for-profit agencies than at non-profits, and more of the patients required repeat hospitalizations.

Medical Care

Pharmacists Could Boost Drug Adherence

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Community pharmacists can dramatically help their patients stick to their prescription regimens, according to a study led by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy. The findings, published on August 4th 2014 in Health Affairs, suggest also that greater adherence to medications can lead to a reduction in emergency room visits and hospital admissions, thereby lowering health care costs for a variety of chronic conditions including diabetes and asthma.

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Migraine Relief from Cosmetic Surgery Technique

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Dr. Oren Tessler, Assistant Professor of Clinical Surgery at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center New Orleans School of Medicine, is part of a team of plastic and reconstructive surgeons who report a high success rate using a method to screen and select patients for a specific surgical migraine treatment technique. More than 90% of the patients who underwent this surgery to decompress the nerves that trigger migraines experienced relief and also got a bonus cosmetic eyelid surgery.

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$15 Billion Physician Training System Needs Overhaul

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The U.S. should significantly reform the federal system for financing physician training and residency programs to ensure that the public’s $15 billion annual investment is producing the doctors that the nation needs, says a new report release in July 2014 by the Institute of Medicine. Current financing -- provided largely through Medicare -- requires little accountability, allocates funds independent of workforce needs or educational outcomes, and offers insufficient opportunities to train physicians in the health care settings used by most Americans, the report says.

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Survey: Quality of Health Care Providers

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The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research has released the results of a major survey examining the public's opinions about what it means to be a quality health care provider in the United States. The survey, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, sheds new light on how American adults perceive the quality of their health care and doctors, as well as the information they use and trust when making health care decisions. The survey produces new and actionable data during a crucial period of Affordable Care Act (ACA) implementation.

Medical Care

Update on Telehealth

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By Miles E. Drake, Jr., MD“Telehealth” or “telemedicine” have been used more or less interchangeably over the past 50 years to describe the provision of health care services and exchange of health information by electronic means. The initial concept of telephonic and later computer-based medical interaction and education was defined by the Institute of Medicine as “the use of electronic information and communications technologies to provide and support health care when distance separates participants”.

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Senior Health

Orthopedic Surgery Safe at 80+

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Over the past decade, a greater number of patients age 80 and older have been undergoing elective orthopedic surgery. A study published in July 2014 in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (JBJS) found that these surgeries are generally safe with mortality rates decreasing for total hip (THR) and total knee (TKR) replacement and spinal fusion surgeries, and complication rates decreasing for total knee replacement and spinal fusion in patients with few or no comorbidities (other conditions or diseases).

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Antibiotic Use Prevalent in Hospices

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The use of antibiotics is still prevalent among terminal patients who have chosen hospice care as an end-of-life option, despite little evidence that the medications improve symptoms or quality of life, and sometimes may cause unwanted side effects. That is the finding of a study done at Oregon State University and the Oregon Health & Science University and published on July 14th 2014 in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

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Mustaches & Oxygen Therapy = Burns

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Facial hair and home oxygen therapy can prove a dangerously combustible combination, according to a Mayo Clinic report published in the peer-reviewed medical journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings. To reach that conclusion, researchers reviewed home oxygen therapy-related burn cases and experimented with a mustachioed mannequin, a facial hair-free mannequin, nasal oxygen tubes and sparks. They found that facial hair raises the risk of home oxygen therapy-related burns, and encourage health care providers to counsel patients about the risk.

Aging Well
Caregiving
Medical Care

Long-Term Care Must Be Improved

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As millions of Americans struggle to help loved ones with dementia, policymakers should consider more ways to improve long-term services and supports for the soaring numbers of people with the debilitating condition and their caregivers, according to a new RAND Corporation study done in June 2014. Thereport also offers possible ways to achieve those goals.

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