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Thursday
Jan272011

Occupational-Related Hearing Loss Tied to Sleep Loss

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(BEERSHEBA, Israel) – People with occupational-related hearing loss have more trouble sleeping than those who have not been exposed to sustained levels of noise on the job, according to a study published in the journal Sleep.

Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev examined individuals from the same workplace, some with work-related hearing loss and some without. Among those with workplace-related hearing loss, 51 percent reported suffering from ringing in the ears known as tinnitus, which contributed to their lack of sleep.

"The homogeneous study population exposed to identical harmful noise at the same workplace allowed us to compare sleep quality between similar groups differing only by hearing status," said study researcher Tsafnat Test.

Test found that workers with hearing impairments were older and had been exposed to the environment longer. Sleep problems reported included difficulty falling asleep, trouble staying asleep and snoring.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan272011

Nelson Mandela Hospitalized, Reports of Collapsed Lung

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(JOHANNESBURG) – As Nelson Mandela undergoes tests during his second straight day at a hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa, reports surfaced Thursday that the 92-year-old former South African president and anti-apartheid hero may have suffered a collapsed lung.
 
A collapsed lung is the collection of air in the space around the lungs, also known as pneumothorax, and can occur as a “primary spontaneous pneumothorax”, or PSP.  In those cases, it occurs without a precipitating event in a person without known lung disease. 

About 7.4 out of 100,000 people suffer a collapsed lung each year in the United States with men more likely to suffer it than women.

Although Mandela is known to undergo routine health examinations, the most recent visit has garnered attention due to its unusual length. Although it is not yet known why Mandela was hospitalized, reports have circulated both that Mandela entered the hospital for routine testing as well as rumors that he was suffering chest pains and had trouble breathing prior to being admitted.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan272011

Sebelius To Outline Parameters Of Medical Malpractice Reform

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Following up on one of the president’s proposals in the State of the Union, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Thursday morning that she would submit for the record the administration's parameters on medical malpractice reform.

In a nod to supporters of tort reform, Obama said in his address Tuesday night that he was “willing to look at other ideas to bring down costs, including one that Republicans suggested last year -- medical malpractice reform to rein in frivolous lawsuits.”

At a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing Thursday, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., asked Sebelius to submit for the record what the parameters of medical malpractice reform might be.

“Sure,” Sebelius replied.

“Thank you very much. Since we tried repeatedly over a year to get some kind of addressing in the 2,700-and-some page document some action on what most experts agree contributes sometimes 20, 30 percent to the additional cost of health care,” McCain said. “We’re going to find out whether the trial lawyers run this place or the American people,” he added.

In her testimony, Sebelius defended the administration’s position that the law saves money and stood by the analysis of the Congressional Budget Office. Some of that “light” was provided at the hearing by two witnesses who explained how the legislation has positively impacted their lives.

Lisa Grasshoff, whose son Joshua suffers from a genetic blood clotting disorder, praised the fact that he will no longer be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition. “The elimination of pre-existing condition is totally awesome for us,” she said.

By the time Joshua was seven years old, he had already maxed out three insurance policies, each having a $1,000,000 lifetime cap. In order to obtain health insurance coverage, Grasshoff and her husband both had to take on new, lower-paying jobs. “We worked for health insurance,” she explained. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan272011

Diets High in Trans Fat Linked to Depression

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(LAS PALMAS, Spain) – Eating a diet too high in trans fat can increase your risk of depression, reports Health News.
 
According to a study published in the online journal Public Library of Science ONE, the consumption of trans fats, or modified vegetable fats, can have a serious effect on your mood.

Trans fats, which have already been linked to heart disease and increased levels of LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, were shown to increase the risk of depression by 48 percent for those who get more than 0.6 percent of their daily calories from the substance.

Researchers at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in Spain studied more than 12,000 participants over a period of six years. Of those studied, 657 of those who consumed a high level of trans and saturated fats developed depression.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan272011

HHS, DOJ Recoup More Than $4 Billion in Taxpayer Dollars

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) – In a joint operation, the Department of Health and Human Services, along with the Justice Department, recovered more than $4 billion in taxpayer dollars lost to fraud in 2010, reports MedPage Today. 

The DOJ has said the funds represent the largest recovery of taxpayer dollars in the department’s history.

The prevention and enforcement operation was part of the Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control Program (HCFAC), which was implemented to recover and return such funds to the Medicare Health Insurance Trust Fund, the Treasury and other departments.

The HCFAC received $350 million from the Affordable Care Act to aid in its operations.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan272011

Report: Alzheimer's Is 'Defining Disease of Baby Boomers'

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- The Alzheimer's Association has released it's Generation Alzheimer's Report, calling the disease the "defining disease of baby boomers."

This year, the first of the baby boomer generation will turn 65, the age when the risk of developing Alzheimer's significantly increases.

There is an impending wave of new cases of the disease and new families that will have to cope with the devastating toll this disease takes on its victims.

It's expected 10 million baby boomers will develop alzheimer's and of those who reach age 85, nearly one in two will get it. 

The report says since there is no way yet to prevent it, cure it, or even slow the progression, every one of those 10 million baby boomers will either die with or from
alzheimers.

In addition to the human toll, over the next 40 years alzheimers will likely cost the nation an estimated $20 trillion dollars. With such a broad ranging impact on patients, families, medicare and medicaid, Alzheimers could also take a toll on the national economy.

Unless a cure is found, alzheimer's could become the defining disease of the baby boom generation.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan272011

Should Doctors Talk to Parents About Guns?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(TALLAHASSEE, Fla.) -- In Florida, where a five-year-old has just been suspended after bringing a loaded .22-caliber pistol to preschool, a local politician has proposed a bill that would ban doctors from asking parents about guns at home.

"The intention of the bill is to prevent the violation of an individual's right to privacy," State Rep. Jason Brodeur said in a statement to ABC News.  "The bill addresses a violation of privacy rights concerning firearms and seeks to prevent future occurrences of such violations."

Under the proposed legislation -- currently under review by the Criminal Justice Subcommittee of the Florida House of Representatives -- a doctor could face a hefty fine or even jail time for asking a patient or a patient's family about guns in their home.

"Parents don't know what to believe and don't know why their state wants to know if they lawfully own firearms," Brodeur said.  He said the purpose of the bill is to protect families from being denied treatment for refusing to answer questions about guns in their home.

But the proposal has sparked outrage among pediatricians, many of whom say asking parents about guns in the home is not just their right, but their responsibility.

"Including a discussion about gun safety during checkups at a pediatrician's office is no different than encouraging parents to use car seats or keep poisons locked up," said Dr. John Moses, an associate professor of pediatrics at Duke University.  "The issue here is not the right of gun ownership, but simply child safety and the prevention of tragic injuries that can be avoided by proper gun storage."

Gunshot wounds account for one in 25 admissions to pediatric trauma centers in the United States, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan272011

Cold Temperatures Help With Weight Loss, Say Researchers

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(LONDON) -- While a warm, toasty house may feel great in the winter, some researchers suggest warm temperatures also may play a role in the obesity epidemic.

Fiona Johnson of University College London and her colleagues analyzed a number of studies that examined the relationship between exposure to cold temperatures and the ability to burn off energy.  Their research is published in the journal Obesity Reviews.

They found evidence that over the past several decades, people in the U.S. and the U.K. have been steadily raising the temperatures in their homes.

They also found indirect evidence that the body's response to cold, which consists of shivering and hormonal actions, plays a major role in energy expenditure.  Regulation of body temperature, they say, is associated with weight.

But some weight loss experts said the connection between cold temperatures and weight isn't yet very strong and they can't say for certain whether there's any association with obesity.

Experts do agree that one of the study's findings raises interesting questions about the role of a type of tissue that previously received little attention.  The authors found that brown adipose tissue, a kind of fat, plays a very significant role in burning energy when exposed to cold.

Dr. Jana Klauer, a physician in private practice in New York, said small animals and babies have brown adipose tissue, but as people get older, they tend to lose it.  Studies have shown, however, that some adults do have it, though it hasn't been determined how common it is.

Klauer cited a recent study done in Japan that exposed two groups of men to cold.  One group had brown adipose tissue and the other didn't.

"They found that in people that had the brown fat, energy expenditure went up 400 more calories per day when they were exposed to cold," said Klauer.  "They were using 400 more calories to generate heat."

The results suggest that weight loss in cold temperatures may be easier for people with brown adipose tissue.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan262011

Up to 40 Percent of US Births Induced Early

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WARRINGTON, UK) – A new report suggests that an alarming number of births in the U.S. are induced early without a good medical reason, according to HealthDay News.

Leapfrog, a hospital quality watchdog group, said Wednesday that a hospital-by-hospital report revealed that as much as 40 percent of births are induced early, but that the figure varied greatly by hospital. 

"This is the first real evidence that the practice of scheduling newborn deliveries without medical reasons is common and varies among hospitals," said Leah Binder, CEO of Leapfrog. "The information is extremely disturbing," she continued. "We are calling on hospitals to put policies in place to prevent early elective deliveries."

The group pointed to consequences of early deliveries and the importance of the final weeks of a pregnancy in a child’s development as reasons to decrease the number of babies being induced early. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan262011

Environmental Stressors Determine Parent-Child Relationships

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(OXFORD, England) – Scientists have discovered that parents react to unpredictable environmental changes by investing more time and care into the upbringing of their children, reports Science Daily.

Researchers at Oxford University found that changes in mortality rates and fertility cause an evolutional change in how a parent cares for their offspring.

"We already know that some animals, such as different populations of European kestrel, alter the levels of care they give their offspring in response to unpredictable environments," said author Dr. Mike Bonsall of Oxford University's Department of Zoology. "What this new research shows is that many more species are likely to 'hedge their bets', changing how much they care for their offspring depending on how challenging the environment is."

For example, in a challenging environment, parents might feed their offspring more often than when the environment is stable.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio