Day: November 2, 2020

health

Health care: Trump takes last swipe at Affordable Care Act before Election Day

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Sunday gave the state permission to stop using the federal exchange, Healthcare.gov, for enrollment in the individual market and shift to a private sector Georgia Access Model, starting in 2023.

State officials argue that the move will give residents access to a broader array of options from web brokers, health insurance companies and agents — which will have a greater incentive to enroll consumers in coverage. They estimate the waiver will lower premiums and increase enrollment by 25,000 people.

Advocates, however, fear that it could shift healthier people to less comprehensive, non-Obamacare plans and leave those with pre-existing conditions facing higher premiums for Affordable Care Act policies. Plus, consumers could unknowingly sign up for skimpier policies.

“Consumer could end up in insurance plans that don’t cover everything they think it would cover,” said Tara Straw, senior policy analyst at the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Share your story: How have you been helped or hurt by Obamacare?

What’s more, the Georgia waiver would eliminate residents’ ability to go to a single website to see all their options. Instead, they would have to navigate a fragmented system of broker and insurers — similar to what existed prior to the landmark health reform law, Straw said. This would likely decrease coverage and raise premiums.

The waiver does not meet the federal requirements for approval, including covering as many people with the same affordable and comprehensive coverage as without the waiver, Straw said. This will open up the approval to legal challenges.

The agency opened the door for states to create alternatives to Obamacare in 2018. The Peach State, which has the nation’s third highest uninsured rate at 13.4%, is the first to seek this enhanced power to reshape its individual market.

About 433,000 Georgians were enrolled in Obamacare exchange plans, as of February, according to federal data.

The approval came on the same day as open enrollment for 2021 began and 10 days before the Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments in a case that could bring down the law.

The Trump administration is backing a coalition of Republican-led attorneys general, including Georgia’s, who argue that Obamacare’s individual mandate was rendered unconstitutional after Congress reduced the penalty for not having insurance to zero as part of the 2017 tax cut law. As a result, the entire health reform law must fall, they argue.

Health care has taken center stage in the 2020 presidential campaign. Former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign has hammered President Donald Trump for trying to take down the law and its protections for those with pre-existing conditions. Trump has repeatedly said he has a replacement plan that would continue those safeguards but has yet to produce one.
The administration has pursued multiple avenues to overturn the Affordable Care Act in its first term. After efforts to repeal the law in Congress failed in 2017, officials started undermining it from within, including shortening the annual enrollment period to
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health

Understanding the Virus and Its Unanswered Questions: QuickTake

1. How is this virus different?

Unlike the coronavirus responsible for the 2002-2003 outbreak in Asia of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, this new one can spread via people who are infected but have yet to develop symptoms, or don’t at all. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 40% to 45% of SARS-CoV-2 infections occur without symptoms. A study by researchers at the Yale School of Public Health’s Center for Infectious Disease Modeling and Analysis found “silent” transmitters are responsible for more than half of the cases in Covid-19 outbreaks. What’s more, the new virus has a relatively long incubation period — the time between infection and the appearance of symptoms — enabling it to spread silently in a community before being detected. The interval is about five to six days compared with two days for the flu, which spreads the same way and is the most common cause of pandemics. The stealthy nature of the coronavirus wasn’t well understood at first and contributed to the staggered and uneven quality of the response.

Read more: Why ‘Silent Spreaders’ Make Coronavirus Hard to Beat: QuickTake

2. Why wasn’t it contained?

On Jan. 23, China imposed the most extensive quarantine in known history in Hubei province, where the outbreak began in the capital Wuhan, an industrial city of 11 million. By then, however, the virus had been seeded in other places. Starting in early February, many countries introduced travel bans but not before the virus had reached around the world. Governments issued stay-at-home orders and mandated “social distancing” to “flatten the curve” of new infections. But the economic toll propelled reopenings that in many places brought a surge in new cases, sometimes followed by new movement restrictions. It took months for some governments to recommend or mandate that people wear masks in public to counter the virus’s silent spread, and many still haven’t done so.

Read more: Mask or No Mask? And Which Kind? What the Experts Say: QuickTake

3. What’s the biggest mystery about the virus?

One major question is whether those who get the coronavirus emerge with immunity. Generally speaking, infections prompt the body to develop antibodies that protect against reinfection, although there are notable exceptions such as HIV and malaria. By mid-year a slew of antibody test kits were available, including some that could be taken at home. Many tests, however, weren’t reliable. What’s more, researchers still don’t know whether the presence of antibodies means someone has immunity, or how long that protection might last. With the main coronaviruses that cause the common cold, immunity generally doesn’t last very long. In Hong Kong, a man tested positive for the coronavirus in late August after recovering from a different strain in April, in what scientists said was the first documented case of reinfection. The man had no symptoms the second time, however, suggesting his immune system provided some protection, according to doctors. Dozens of reinfections have since been reported, according to a tracker maintained by

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health

Researchers find new deadly inflammatory disease, NIH says

National Institutes of Health (NIH) researchers reported a newly discovered deadly inflammatory disorder last week.

“We had many patients with undiagnosed inflammatory conditions who were coming to the NIH Clinical Center, and we were just unable to diagnose them,” Dr. David Beck, a clinical fellow at NHGRI and lead author of the paper, said in a news release. “That’s when we had the idea of doing it the opposite way. Instead of starting with symptoms, start with a list of genes. Then, study the genomes of undiagnosed individuals and see where it takes us.”

CLICK HERE FOR FULL CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE

The team examined over 2,500 people with undiagnosed inflammatory diseases and assessed over 800 genes involved in cells’ regulatory processes, per the release.

In doing this, they found one mutated gene, UB1, causing the syndrome dubbed VEXAS for “vacuoles, E1 enzyme, X-linked, autoinflammatory and somatic syndrome.”

Nearly half the patients under study died from the serious condition, researchers said. (iStock)

Nearly half the patients under study died from the serious condition, researchers said. (iStock)

“So far, 40% of VEXAS patients who the team studied have died, revealing the devastating consequences of the severe condition,” per the release. The disease involves blood clotting, repeated fevers, heart issues and problems with blood cells, called myeloid cells.

Findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

FDA WARNS AGAINST DIY CORONAVIRUS TREATMENT USING OXYGEN CONCENTRATOR

“Our objective was to see if any of the 2,560 patients shared variations in the same gene,” Dr. Daniel Kastner, scientific director of the Intramural Research Program at NHGRI and a senior author of the paper, said in a news release. “Instead of looking at clinical similarities, we were instead taking advantage of shared genomic similarities that could help us discover a completely new disease.”

Of the 2,560 patients, researchers said 1,000 had repeated fevers and widespread inflammation. Three men had the mutated gene in the X chromosome; men have one X chromosome and one Y chromosome, while women have two X chromosomes.

Researchers found “mosaicism” among the affected patients, which happens when some cells carry the gene in its mutated form, and other cells carry the gene in its normal form, per the release. Ultimately, 25 total men across other NIH databases showed to have the mutated gene with similar symptoms: blood clotting, repeated fevers and heart issues, among others.

“By using this genome-first approach, we have managed to find a thread that ties together patients carrying all of these seemingly unrelated, disparate diagnoses,” Kastner concluded.

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health

‘I Did Think I Might Die’

Indiana University Health Ramya Yeleti

In April, COVID-19 spread through Ramya Yeleti’s family. First, her cardiologist dad got sick, likely from work. He tried to isolate, but soon his wife was sick and in the intensive care unit. Then Yeleti’s sister and Yeleti got sick.

The 25-year-old medical student from Carmel, Indiana, thought that COVID-19 would be “no big deal” because of her age, she told Today. And that was true at first — after about three weeks of mild symptoms, she felt better and tested positive for antibodies.

But at the end of July, Yeleti developed a fever and fatigue. As a medical student working at medical centers, she called out sick to get tested for COVID-19, and it came back negative.

“Since I already had COVID I really didn’t think I had COVID again. There was no way I was reinfected. It was like a one in a billion chance,” Yeleti said. “I thought it was some nasty flu bug.”

RELATED: Three-Quarters of Recovered Coronavirus Patients Have Heart Damage Months Later, Study Finds

Two days after her test, though, she started uncontrollably vomiting and experiencing chest pains. Yeleti’s father drove her to the hospital the next day, and her vital signs were alarmingly low. Doctors brought her to a trauma room and hooked her up to an EKG machine, which surprised Yeleti.

“As a young patient, I wasn’t expecting that,” she told the IndyStar. “It normally doesn’t happen to young patients, not for people who were young and just chilling.”

Indiana University Health Ramya Yeleti

But the EKG machine showed that her heart was failing, and pumping at just 10 percent — well below the typical 55 to 65 of a healthy heart. At that point, Yeleti passed out, and remembers wondering if she would ever wake up again.

“The doctors were obviously freaking out. Something is really, really wrong,” she thought to herself at the time. “Then I passed out. I remember just thinking I hope my family will be OK. … I did think I might die.”

RELATED: Fauci Refutes Trump’s Claims That COVID Is Going Away, Says U.S. Is ‘In for a Whole Lot of Hurt’

During the six days that Yeleti was unconscious, she was put on a cardiac life support machine, went on the heart transplant list and underwent open heart surgery. The doctors at Indiana University Health determined that she had myocarditis, a rare inflammation of the heart caused by a viral infection that can lead to heart failure, irregular heart beats and sudden death.

“There is no reason for a 25-year-old to have this,” Yeleti told Today.

RELATED VIDEO: Resident Doctor Dies of Coronavirus at 28 After Treating COVID-19 Positive Patients in the ER

Resident Doctor Dies of Coronavirus at 28 After Treating COVID-19 Positive Patients in the ER

Adeline Fagan, who was in her second year of residency, tested positive for COVID-19 in July

She also tested positive for COVID-19 during her hospital stay, and

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health

Covid leaves some with medical bills, job insecurity, lingering isssues

Welcome to the Covid Economy, CNBC Make It’s deep dive into how the coronavirus pandemic is impacting all areas of our lives, from food to housing, health care to small business. We’re focusing on North Carolina, a swing state that has seen rapid economic growth — and growing inequality — since the last recession to learn how residents are weathering the economic consequences of this once-in-a-lifetime health crisis.

Ann only let her guard down for an afternoon. After months of being careful and following social distancing guidelines, she got together with a friend over the Fourth of July weekend. The next day, that friend let her know they were feeling sick. Four days after that, Ann began developing symptoms, too. 

An HR manager based in the Charlotte, North Carolina, area, Ann, who agreed to speak to CNBC Make It on the condition that she be identified only by her middle name to protect her privacy, scheduled a Covid-19 test on July 15. She received a positive result two days later. 

It’s been more than four months, and Ann’s still struggling to fully recover from the virus. But it’s not just her health that’s been impacted. She’s had to take an unpaid leave of absence from work, and despite having health insurance, she’s worried about the mounting medical bills.

During the nearly three weeks that Ann suffered from the worst effects of Covid-19, she was mainly isolated at home. “There was an entire week that I had to lie on my stomach for hours just to breathe without a crushing pain in my chest,” Ann says. “The vomiting and diarrhea were so unyielding that one day I contemplated just sitting in the tub instead of going back and forth to the toilet.”

At one point, Ann’s symptoms were so serious, she did go to the emergency room. Fortunately, her hospital stay was short, and she never had to be put on a ventilator. But even after the worst of her symptoms passed, her life has yet to return to normal. One of the rising number of so-called “long haulers,” Ann is still feeling the ongoing effects of the virus. 

“It’s just so weird to me to be someone who is healthy and in their thirties to have something just completely ravage you so hard that it affects every organ in your body,” Ann says. 

Costs of Covid-19 vary dramatically and can go beyond just medical bills

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dentist

Kentwood dentist office to offer free dental services to veterans

For the 4th consecutive year, Partners in Dental Care is offering free dental care to Veterans who served and are currently serving our country.

KENTWOOD, Mich. — With Veterans Day approaching, a Grand Rapids dentist office is once again offering free service to veterans.

Partners in Dental Care in Kentwood is hosting it’s “Serving Those Who Served” event on Friday, Nov. 6.

“It’s been a popular event and that’s why we bring it back every year,” said Dianne Groendyk, Treatment Coordinator at Partners in Dental Care. “Just like past years, it’ll be first come, first serve.”

This year’s event will take place from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The dental services that will be offered free of charge include cleanings, fillings and extractions.

There will also be a registered nurse available on site for medical screenings and to answer any health-related questions veterans may have.

“We ask that veterans come to the office and pre-register on the 6th,” added Groendyk. “They can let us know at registration whether they want to see a doctor or a hygienist for a cleaning. We will take them in cue as far as order of which they came.”

Everybody will be required to wear a mask and to socially distance while waiting.

“If we are at full capacity, we will ask people to wait in their car and then we’ll call them on their phone to let them know when we’re ready to see them,” said Groendyk.

This is the fourth consecutive year Partners in Dental care has honored area veterans with this event.

“Our Veterans have sacrificed a lot,” said Groendyk. “Dental hygiene is important to healthy living, so this is our way to give something back to them.”

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health

Prince William reportedly kept his coronavirus diagnosis a secret for this reason, royal expert claims

EXCLUSIVE: There’s a reason why Prince William may have kept his coronavirus diagnosis a secret from the world.

On Monday, The Sun reported the 38-year-old royal “struggled to breathe” while he battled the novel virus back in April during the early days of the global pandemic. The U.K.-based outlet reported the Duke of Cambridge didn’t speak out about the illness to avoid alarming the public.

“Here in Britain, there is controversy over the fact that we now discovered that he had COVID-19 back at the beginning of the first spike and he concealed it,” royal author Robert Lacey told Fox News. “At the time, the prime minister had coronavirus, his father had coronavirus.”

Lacey, who serves as a historical consultant to the hit Netflix series “The Crown,” recently released a new book titled “Battle of Brothers: William and Harry – The Inside Story of a Family in Tumult,” which examines the relationship and alleged feud between Princess Diana’s two sons.

PRINCE WILLIAM FOUGHT OFF CORONAVIRUS IN APRIL: REPORT

Britain's Prince William was reportedly diagnosed with coronavirus in April.

Britain’s Prince William was reportedly diagnosed with coronavirus in April.
(Photo by Tim Rooke/Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty)

Lacey, who has been writing about the British royal family for 40 years and previously worked at the royal archives, spoke to numerous palace insiders for his latest release.

“[William] decided the world didn’t need him to be the third high-profiled coronavirus victim,” Lacey explained. “He followed all the rules. He did the quarantine, the self-isolating. He did Zoom, even while he was ill, and then got back to work.”

William reportedly tested positive only days after his father, Prince Charles, also tested positive for COVID-19 in late March.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson also contracted the virus around the same time. It is currently unclear if any other royals contracted the virus. It is believed William was treated by palace doctors and isolated in his Norfolk family home, Anmer Hall.

QUEEN ELIZABETH STEPS OUT WITH PRINCE WILLIAM FOR FIRST PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT SINCE MARCH

Prince William's father Prince Charles (pictured) was diagnosed with coronavirus in late March.

Prince William’s father Prince Charles (pictured) was diagnosed with coronavirus in late March.
(Getty)

A source told the outlet that the Duke of Cambridge, who is second in line to the throne, “was hit pretty hard by the virus.”

“At one stage he was struggling to breathe, so obviously everyone around him was pretty panicked,” they added. “After seeing medics and testing positive — which was obviously quite a shock given how fit and healthy he is — William was determined it should be business as usual though.”

After April 9, the royal took a weeklong break from phone calls and engagements before virtually opening the Nightingale Hospital Birmingham on April 16.

“People have said this is not right for an heir to the throne to keep this sort of thing a secret,” said Lacey. “He should be open. He’s hiding things from us. I, myself, in this case, do not agree with that criticism. It’s not unconstitutional to choose to be ill in private. He doesn’t have to share his pains and tribulations

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health

CDC: Pregnant women with COVID-19 have higher risk for preterm birth

Nov. 2 (UPI) — Pregnant women infected with COVID-19 are about 25% more likely to deliver their babies preterm, according to data released Monday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

About 13% of babies born to mothers with the disease were delivered preterm, or at less than 37 weeks, the data showed.

Just over 10% of babies in the United States are born preterm, according to the CDC.

“The proportion of preterm live births among women with [COVID-19] infection during pregnancy was higher than that in the general population in 2019, suggesting that pregnant women with [the disease] infection might be at risk for preterm delivery,” agency researchers wrote.

Still, the findings are “preliminary and describe primarily women with second and third trimester infection, and … subject to change pending completion of pregnancy for all women in the cohort,” they said.

For the analysis, the CDC researchers reviewed data on pregnancy and infant outcomes among 5,252 women with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 from 15 states and Puerto Rico reported between March 29 and Oct. 14.

Among 3,912 live births with known gestational age, 12.9% were preterm, the agency said.

However, fewer than 3% of infants for whom test results were available had evidence of the virus, and most of them were born to mothers who had been infected within one week of delivery, the agency said.

Among 610 infants with reported test results, 2.6% tested positive for COVID-19, the data showed.

Previous studies have shown that pregnant women are unlikely to pass the disease on to their children.

However, data released by the CDC in June indicated that expecting mothers may be at increased risk for severe illness from the virus.

These concerns appear to have been confirmed in a separate analysis the agency released Monday, which found that pregnant women infected with COVID-19 were more than twice as likely to require treatment in a hospital intensive care unit and nearly three times as likely to need mechanical ventilation than “non-pregnant” women.

However, “the absolute risks for severe outcomes for women were low,” according to the CDC.

“Pregnant women were at increased risk for severe COVID-19-associated illness,” the CDC researchers said.

“To reduce the risk for severe illness and death from COVID-19, pregnant women should be counseled about the importance of seeking prompt medical care if they have symptom sand measures to prevent [coronavirus] infection should be strongly emphasized for pregnant women and their families,” they said.

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fitness

Work out with these active exercise titles



a woman sitting at a beach: The best fitness games for 2020 Work out with these active exercise titles image 1


© Provided by Pocket-lint
The best fitness games for 2020 Work out with these active exercise titles image 1

(Pocket-lint) – Videogames have long since moved past worries about inactivity and sedentary behaviour – while it’s true that many games will suck players into playing for hours at a time without much benefit to their physical wellbeing, the relaxation and enjoyment they offer is almost peerless.

  • Best dieting apps: 8 apps to help you lose weight at home

That said, there is still a range of games on the market that could scratch both itches, giving you fun gameplay and systems to interact with, while also getting your pulse pounding and helping you to keep active. Right now, given how many of us are spending large amounts of time at home, that could be the perfect combination.

So, to that end, we’ve gathered together some of the very best active videogames for you, so that you can get a burst of exercise without leaving your home, all with the help of your games console. 

Our pick of the best exercise games to buy or try today

Ring Fit Adventure

Nintendo’s latest fitness game, after the success of Wii Fit so many years ago, is an absolute sensation. It’s flown off the shelves, making it really difficult to find at the moment, but if you can spot it in stock anywhere it’s the perfect fitness title for the stay-at-home age. 

With the aid of flexible Ring-con controller and a leg strap, you’ll squat, stretch and flex your way through workouts masquerading as a quasi-RPG, and have a great time doing it. It’s beautifully designed and will help you get a bit fitter while monitoring your progress and encouraging you along the way.

Just Dance 2021

Another staple on the active gaming scene is the Just Dance series, which is available on the Switch, Xbox One and PS4. It’s a full-body rhythm action game, challenging you to dance along to a soundtrack full of popping tracks, matching your movements to the directions on-screen.

It’s a colourful, glorious bit of fun, and while it doesn’t have to be massively exerting if you play it concertedly and make sure to keep up the regularity of your sessions, it can be a great way of staying active without necessarily feeling like you’re flogging yourself with workouts. 

Fitness Boxing

Another great game for the Switch, Fitness Boxing takes maximum advantage of the Joy-Con controllers to let you take virtual boxing lessons and punch your way to getting fit.

It’s more explicitly about fitness than some of the others on this list, which brings with it a different tone and a bit more potential intensity to make sure that even if you get properly in shape it’ll still offer up solid workouts. It might not have the lustre of more mainstream efforts, but it’s still a great option. 

Beat Saber

Moving into the world of VR, Beat Saber is a really fun VR game that’s pretty taxing

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health

Alzheimer’s Drug Talks Heat Up; Brain-Computer Interface Goes for Jugular

Biogen’s controversial Alzheimer’s drug aducanumab — which goes before an FDA Advisory Committee panel this week — should not be approved because it failed to show efficacy, said Mayo Clinic’s David Knopman, MD, who was involved in one of the aducanumab trials, and others, in Alzheimer’s & Dementia.

Cleveland Clinic researchers did not agree, saying “lack of approval would be devastating not only to patients who will lose hope but advocates and the community at large.” (Alzheimer’s & Dementia)

A novel investigational PET tracer, 18F-PM-PBB3, captured abnormal tau protein deposits in Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal lobar degeneration disorders with high contrast. (Neuron)

Undiagnosed, untreated sleep disorders were tied to physician burnout. (JAMA Network Open)

No significant association was found between multiple sclerosis and vitiligo, a review concluded. (Nature Scientific Reports)

The Stentrode, an endovascular motor neuroprosthesis implanted via a jugular vein, helped two severely paralyzed patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) send text messages, shop online, and manage finances through direct thought. (Journal of NeuroInterventional Surgery)

Do some people infected with COVID-19 have a higher risk of Parkinson’s disease? Three case reports suggest it might be so. (Trends in Neurosciences)

Whether migraine patients have a higher risk for symptomatic COVID-19 due to shared comorbidities was reviewed. (Headache)

The Nerivio neuromodulation device now has an expanded indication for chronic migraine, device maker Theranica announced.

Long-term exposure to community noise was associated with higher risk of mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease and worse cognitive performance, specifically in perceptual speed, in older adults. (Alzheimer’s & Dementia)

  • Judy George covers neurology and neuroscience news for MedPage Today, writing about brain aging, Alzheimer’s, dementia, MS, rare diseases, epilepsy, autism, headache, stroke, Parkinson’s, ALS, concussion, CTE, sleep, pain, and more. Follow

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