CDC researchers reported that the batch of flu vaccine distributed this year cut risk of serious illness by 36% overall, 59% among children ages 6 months to 8 years and 33% among adults ages 18 to 49. The findings in the agency's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report also showed this year's vaccine cut risk of serious cases of H3N2 -- the dominant strain of the season -- by 25%; risk was reduced 67% for H1N1 and 42% for influenza B strains.
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Research in the Journal of Clinical Hypertension found that Asian-Americans, African-Americans, American Indians/Alaska Natives and Pacific Islanders such as Native Hawaiians are at higher risk of hypertension than whites or Hispanics. White patients were more likely than Hispanic patients to have hypertension, but the overall data were not affected by weight, education level or neighborhood status.
A study in Diabetes Care showed that metformin, as long as dosage is adjusted for renal function, was a safe and effective treatment for patients with type 2 diabetes and moderate to severe chronic kidney disease. Researchers cited the importance of assessing the estimated glomerular filtration rate of patients with CKD stage 3 every 6 months and suggested the discontinuation of metformin in patients at risk of having acute kidney injury due to severe disease.
A vaccine made from induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPSCs, has been effective in preventing cancer in mice, according to findings published in Cell Stem Cell. The irradiated iPSCs blocked breast, lung and skin cancers in the mice and kept tumors removed by surgery from coming back, researchers say.
The CMS Office of the Actuary expects US health care spending to grow an average of 5.5% annually from 2017 to 2026, reaching $5.7 trillion, driven by rising prices for health care goods and services and the aging population. Prescription drug spending will see the fastest average growth at 6.3% annually as prices and use of specialty drugs increase, while the insured rate is predicted to decline to 89.3% from 2016's 91.1% following the repeal of the Affordable Care Act penalty for Americans who don't purchase health insurance.
Rural US counties had the highest infant mortality rate between 2013 and 2015, with the highest prevalence of infant deaths due to congenital malformations, sudden infant death syndrome and unintentional injuries but the lowest rate of infant deaths due to low birth weight and maternal complications, compared with small and medium urban counties and large urban counties, according to a report in the CDC's NCHS Data Brief. The findings also showed the highest rates of post-neonatal deaths due to congenital malformations, homicide, SIDS and unintentional injuries in rural counties.
Many companies offer creative perks to keep employees happy, such as a monthly wellness allowance at Dropbox, Ikea's policy of getting a day off for a child's first day at school, a pledge from Patagonia to bail out employees arrested during a peaceful protest and new-puppy leave at BrewDog. Glassdoor has found these perks may not be high on an employee's list of top benefits, but they do attract attention, which may boost recruitment.
Intermountain Healthcare's Partners in Healing program, which includes family members in providing patient care, helped reduce 30-day readmissions by 65% at Intermountain Medical Center, according to a study in the journal Chest. A survey found 92% of patients said it enhanced their transition from hospital to home.
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., met with Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, to discuss how they can reconcile House and Senate measures designed to stabilize Affordable Care Act markets. Alexander said he hopes the ACA fix measures will be included in the upcoming omnibus spending bill due next month.
HHS Secretary Alex Azar told lawmakers during a House committee hearing that HHS remains committed to ensuring affordable access to health care and keeping Medicare solvent by driving out fraud, waste and abuse. Azar said his priorities include shifting Medicare toward a more value-based, outcome-based program; reducing prescription drug costs; and expanding telehealth services.
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I hope I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.
George Washington, first US president
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