воскресенье, 26 декабря 2010 г.

Opioid Health Risks for Elders Found in Comparative Analysis

Researchers conducted two separate studies highlighting the potential dangers of opioid use among elders. In one study, the drugs were compared to coxibs and NSAID’s. In a second study, an analysis, 5 different drugs were compared for safety.

NSAID’s, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and coxibs are shunned by prescribers because of the potential for cardiovascular events, but the study authors say,”… there is little comparable information about the third major analgesic group, opioids." They note, "In the United States, one in five adults received a prescription for an analgesic in 2006, accounting for 230 million prescription purchases; however, the comparative safety of these drugs is unclear.”
In the first analysis, Daniel H. Solomon, M.D., M.P.H., and colleagues at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston compared the safety of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to opioid use among 12,840 Medicare beneficiaries between 1999 and 2005.
Using a claims database, the researchers looked at the incidence of stroke, heart attack, heart failure, gastrointestinal bleeding, kidney injury, liver toxicity, falls and fractures. The researchers found there were more adverse health events in most of the categories from opioid use, compared to coxibs or NSAID’s.
In the second study, only different types of opioids were compared for safety given to elders between 1996 and 2005. The researchers compared the number of unsafe events at 30 and 180 days among 6,275 patients, comparing codeine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, propoxyphene and tramadol.
The analysis showed similar rates of gastrointestinal events for all of the opioids studied, beginning 30 days after start of therapy. Cardiovascular events were equal for all of the drugs. After 180 days, the chances of cardiovascular events increased with codeine use. Compared to hydrocodone, the risk of fracture was 79 percent lower for those taking tramadol and 46 percent lower when propoxyphene was used for pain management.
Compared to hydrocodone, oxycodone was 2.4 times likely to increase the risk of dying from any cause, and codeine was twice as likely to raise the chances of death.
Fractures occurred at a rate of 101 per 1,000 annually for opioid users, compared to 19 per 1,000 per year for elders using coxibs.
The findings are observational say the authors, but should "prompt further study". The findings raise concerns about the health risks to elders who take opioids for chronic pain. The study revealed more adverse events from opioids than found from coxibs and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

среда, 22 декабря 2010 г.

National Children’s Health Insurance Summit Issues Plea

Five million children who are eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) have not been enrolled, noted HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in Chicago on November 6 at the National Children’s Health Insurance Summit, and she is asking states and communities to help change that.
When the Children’s Health Insurance program Reauthorization Act of 2009 (CHIPRA) was signed into law in February 2009, it extended and expanded the Children’s Health Insurance Program. CHIPRA added $33 billion in federal funds for children’s coverage over the next four and one-half years, and expects to provide health coverage to 4.1 million children in Medicaid and CHIP who otherwise would not have had insurance by 2013.
Because of the worsening economy and the number of families that have lost their health insurance coverage, especially for their children, it is important that every child who is entitled to receive Medicaid or CHIP be enrolled in the appropriate program. Secretary Sebelius said during the Summit that “Our charge here today is to get all eligible children covered to ensure they are healthy throughout their childhood.” To help achieve that goal, she called upon the attendees, which included state Medicaid and CHIP officials, local government, community-based organizations, safety net providers, and others who are trying to enroll children in these programs to redouble their efforts.
During the Summit, participants will work together to share their strategies for locating and enrolling children in health insurance programs as well as discuss how to remove barriers that can prevent children from staying in these programs even though they are eligible. Attendees will also learn about how to reach diverse or isolated populations, the utility of online applications for insurance, and how to work efficiently with managed care plans and health care providers.
The government has updated its Website (www.insurekidsnow.gov) that provides information about free or low-cost children’s health insurance. Parents and caregivers can also call 1-877-543-7669 for information. Public access to the presentations and conference materials from the National Children’s Health Insurance Summit is available by visiting www.childrenshealthinsurancesummit.com.

вторник, 14 декабря 2010 г.

Vibration May Improve Bone Health in Older Adults

Older adults and their bone health could benefit from a little shaking up, according to a new study. Medical College of Georgia researchers report that treating the entire body with vibration may help reduce bone loss that occurs as people age.

A daily dose of vibration could be good for your bones

The impetus for using vibration to prevent bone loss came from NASA, when back in 2001 the organization’s scientists began testing the use of vibrating platforms to help prevent bone loss associated with weightlessness and space travel. Their work was of great interest to scientists concerned with more earthly reasons for bone loss.
In the new study at Medical College of Georgia, the researchers used vibration therapy daily for 12 weeks during 30 minute sessions in male mice that had an equivalent age of 55 to 65 years in humans. The researchers found that vibration improved bone density around the hip joint with indications of higher density in the femur as well.
Vibration also was associated with a reduction in a biomarker that indicates bone breakdown as well as an improvement in the surface area involved in the formation of bone. These latest findings add more support to previous research showing a benefit for bone health through use of vibration.
Numerous previous studies have examined the benefits of vibration on bone density and preventing bone loss in older adults. In 2004, a study published in Osteoporosis International reported that elderly women who used the platform in a nursing home environment preferred this approach to taking supplements for their bone health.
In a 2008 study, 116 postmenopausal women who had osteoporosis received either vibration therapy on a platform five days a week for 10 minutes per session for six months, or no treatment. The study found a significant improvement in bone mineral density and a reduction in back pain among the treated women compared with those who were not treated.
Dr. Karl H. Wenger, a biomedical engineer in the Medical College of Georgia Schools of Graduate Studies and Medicine, and his team theorize that vibration prompts movement of the cell nucleus, which in turn causes the release of substances that trigger osteoblasts, cells that produce bone.
Vibration is proving useful in other areas of bone health, especially in people who have fractures. Wenger notes that studies show vibration slows stem cell proliferation, which leads to more stem cells becoming bone cells rather than continuing on to make more stem cells. Other studies have shown that vibration can also improve weight loss and muscle strength.
Exactly how the finding that vibration can improve bone health in older adults will be translated into actions individuals can take is not yet clear. Results of a currently ongoing randomized, double-blind controlled trial called VIBES (Vibration to Improve Bone Density in Elderly Subjects) may provide some insight as well in the near future.

вторник, 7 декабря 2010 г.

How health insurance reform will affect Florida

Expenditures for health care have more than tripled since 1990 and an estimated 46 million Americans have no health insurance at the moment. This is because some might not want to buy it. For others health insurance is not affordable and people have no means to buy it.
Obama administration has detailed a comprehensive plan with a view to the whole world within a period of several years with proper protection. Having health insurance could be mandatory as it is not required for automobiles. The House of Representatives has drafted a health care reform bill and the Senate another one, which are still being discussed in these legislative bodies. Once they have each approved the final version, it will become what is called a conference to reach agreement between the two parties and the final act will go to the president's desk.
Both Congressional and Senatorial bills provide that employers must offer their employees health insurance and help pay the premium. The Senate version would require the employer to pay 60 percent of the cost of the premium and the House of Representatives specifies a 72.5 percent premium to the individual and 65 per cent of the family premium. Small employers would be exempted from this, but it has not yet been determined what is considered "small."
In any case the cost of paying for health care reform is the problem. The Senate plan would cost about $ 615 billion in the same period, wile the congressional plan is estimated to cost about one trillion dollars. The President Obama and the Congressional Budget Office, said that the savings would be made through changes in the Medicare system, which would help to pay two thirds of the cost. The rest will come from an additional surtax imposed on wealthy Americans who have an income of $ 280,000 a year or families with more than $ 350,000. They are also considering increasing the federal excise tax on alcoholic beverages and make a federal tax on soft drinks. This is actually not too bad. Taxing anything, considered unhealthy, to pay for people's health insurance may be a base for negotiation.
Figures from the Florida
In the state of Florida, the health insurance premiums that employers offer their employees, have increased by 72 percent since 2000. This is not commensurate with the increase of income that the individuals and families in Florida have. Indeed, the increase in health insurance premiums is more than three and half times the increase in income.
The average premium for family health insurance in Florida in 2007 amounted to $ 1,969. The average wage in Florida, that same year was $ 27,353.
Premiums for health insurance offered by employers in Florida are among the highest in the country.
The costs of Medicare beneficiaries in Florida are higher than in most states. For example, the average spending per Medicare beneficiary nationally in 2006, was $ 8,304. The average spending in Florida that year was $ 9,379.
Medicare fraud in Florida has been one of the major problems in the health care system of the state. While more fraudulent companies have been charged the cost of Medicare will remain high int he state. Much remains to be done in this regard despite many activities that the state has conducted minimizing Medicare fraud in Florida.
Considering this picture, the only thing that is certain is that there will be a change in the health care system nationwide and in Florida. Who will it affect more depends on which way the reform will go. There will be good things and bad things in the final version of the reform that will affect everyone in some way.

четверг, 25 ноября 2010 г.

Healthcore offers affordable health insurance in New York

Purchasing health insurance is a big decision. Most health insurances are cost prohibitive, especially for a family, making research about what health insurance to buy tedious and even frightening. You might qualify for health insurance in New York through the Healthy New York program. Healthcore offers a health insurance premium subsidy, in addition to an additional five percent for completing a health risk assessment.
Healthcore is part a pilot program designed to help small businesses provide health insurance to their employees, including single business owners. Individuals whose employers do not offer health insurance can also apply. Residents of Cayuga, Cortland, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, Onondaga, Oneida and Oswego counties, located in Central New York, can participate in the project. The pilot health insurance program is called Healthcore – a Healthy NY Initiative.
According to HealthyNY.com, the impetus behind assisting with affordable health insurance for small businesses, sole business proprietors, and employed individuals lacking comprehensive insurance is to “promote access to quality health care by providing comprehensive health insurance to those citizens who need it most”.
Each group applying for health insurance in New York through the program must meet individual eligibility criteria. Various plans are available, including high deductible health insurance plans that often yield significant savings and protection.
Affordable health insurance in New York is available to meet the needs of several groups. If you have partial insurance you might qualify for additional health insurance to provide comprehensive coverage. Some health insurance plans are available at fifty percent less than market for individuals. To find out if you quality for health insurance under the Healthy NY program, visit the Healthcore website at