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Senate approves bill changing how Medicare pays doctors
Senate approves bill changing how Medicare pays doctors
April 16, 2015

The Senate overwhelmingly passed legislation permanently overhauling how Medicare pays physicians late Tuesday in a rare show of near-unanimity from Congress.

The legislation headed off a 21 percent cut in doctors' Medicare fees that would have taken effect Wednesday, when the government planned to begin processing physicians' claims reflecting that reduction. The bill also provides billions of extra dollars for health care programs for children and low-income families, including additional money for community health centers.

Working into the evening, the Senate approved the measure 92-8 less than three weeks after the House passed it by a lopsided 392-37.

The bill's passage brought statements of praise from both President Obama and Republican congressional leaders.

"It's a milestone for physicians, and for the seniors and people with disabilities who rely on Medicare for their health care needs," Obama said in a statement before later adding "I will be proud to sign it into law."

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Posted by Ken at 1:43 AM - Link to this entry  |  Share this entry  |  Print

Could Taking Acetaminophen Dull Your Happiness?
Could Taking Acetaminophen Dull Your Happiness?
April 16, 2015

Acetaminophen, the painkiller best known to Americans as Tylenol, may do more than simply dull pain -- it may also dull happy or sad emotions, new research finds.

The new, small study is the first to suggest that acetaminophen ratchets down a patient's emotional response to positive, upbeat stimulation. But the study builds on prior research into negative emotions, explained study lead author Geoffrey Durso.

"Recent research in psychology has found that acetaminophen blunts the extent to which individuals experience negative events beyond physical pain," said Durso, a doctoral student in social psychology at Ohio State University in Columbus. "Our study was inspired by asking why this might be the case."

The new study, published online recently in Psychological Science, involved two experiments, each enlisting about 80 college students.

In the first experiment, half of the participants took a 1000-milligram dose of acetaminophen, while the other half took a dummy pill. An hour later, all were shown 40 photographs designed to provoke emotional responses that ranged from positive (pictures of children playing with cute pets) to negative (photos of sickly, underfed children).

Participants ranked each photo's emotional content, and then indicated how each image made them feel.

The result: those who took acetaminophen offered more muted responses to both the negative and the positive images.

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Posted by Ken at 1:43 AM - Link to this entry  |  Share this entry  |  Print

Shorter people have bigger risk of heart disease
Shorter people have bigger risk of heart disease
April 9, 2015

Short people face a greater lifetime risk of clogged arteries, according to a study out Wednesday that confirmed the long-known link between height and heart disease by examining genetics.

The study is the first to show that the higher risk is primarily due to a variety of genes that influence whether a person is tall or short, and not potentially confounding factors like poverty or poor nutrition.

The research is published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Researchers examined 180 different genetics variants in a database of nearly 200,000 people with and without coronary heart disease, which is caused by a buildup of plaque in the arteries and can lead to heart attack.

It is the most common cause of early death worldwide, killing nearly one in six men and one in 10 women.

They found that every 2.5 inches (6.3 centimeters) in a person's height affected their risk of coronary heart disease by 13.5 percent.

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Posted by Ken at 1:43 AM - Link to this entry  |  Share this entry  |  Print

Terminally ill man set to be first to undergo the world's first full HEAD transplant pioneered by doctor branded 'nuts'
Terminally ill man set to be first to undergo the world's first full HEAD transplant pioneered by doctor branded 'nuts'
April 9, 2015

A man with a fatal medical condition has spoken exclusively to MailOnline about how he is set to become the first person to undergo a head transplant and hopes it could be as soon as next year.

Valery Spiridonov says he is ready to put his trust in controversial surgeon Dr Sergio Canavero who claims he can cut off his head and attach it to a healthy body.

Mr Spiridonov, 30, a computer scientist from Russia, said: 'My decision is final and I do not plan to change my mind.'

As a lifelong sufferer of the rare genetic Werdnig-Hoffman muscle wasting disease, he says he wants the chance of a new body before he dies.

'Am I afraid? Yes, of course I am. But it is not just very scary, but also very interesting,' said Mr Spiridonov from his home in Vladimir, a city 120 miles east of Moscow.

'But you have to understand that I don't really have many choices', he said. 'If I don't try this chance my fate will be very sad. With every year my state is getting worse.'

Dr Canavero and Mr Spiridonov have talked via Skype though they have not met yet and the doctor has not reviewed his medical records.

The Italian told CNN he has received many email and letters from people seeking the procedure but he insists the first patients will be people suffering from a muscle wasting disease.

Dr Canavero has named the procedure HEAVEN, which is an acronym for head anastomosis venture. Anastomosis involves the surgical connecting of two parts.

He insists all the necessary techniques already exist to transplant a head onto a donor body.

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Posted by Ken at 1:43 AM - Link to this entry  |  Share this entry  |  Print

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