January 25, 2022
Family Medicine SmartBrief
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Top Story
A report from The Commonwealth Fund shows that US adults age 65 and older may experience greater cost obstacles to mental health care than people in other developed nations do, although Medicare does cover some mental health services for US residents. Data also indicate that US adults are more likely to receive a mental health diagnosis than their peers in other countries.
Full Story: Patient Engagement HIT (1/24) 
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Clinical News
Children with severe peanut allergies who begin immunotherapy as toddlers may be able to overcome their allergies/condition, research published in the journal The Lancet suggests. In the study, toddlers were given gradually stepped-up doses of peanut protein flour to help acclimate their immune systems, and about 20% of the children eventually were able to eat peanuts without an allergic response, even after therapy had concluded.
Full Story: HealthDay News (1/21) 
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Researchers found that excessive daytime sleepiness in adults ages 50 to 64 years old was associated with Parkinsonian-like symptoms, according to a Korean study published in the Journal of Clinical Neurology. "Since the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease can predate the diagnosis of this disease by as long as 30 years, identifying clinical features associated with P-L symptoms in middle age could be useful in monitoring the progression of Parkinson's disease and susceptibility to the development of extrapyramidal impairments," researchers wrote.
Full Story: The American Journal of Managed Care online (1/22) 
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A presentation at the Crohn's and Colitis Congress indicated that inflammatory bowel disease patients who have received full vaccination against COVID-19 may carry a lower adverse event risk during a breakthrough infection. Researchers examined data from 2,477 COVID-19 patients in the Surveillance Epidemiology of Coronavirus Under Research Exclusion-IBD database.
Full Story: Healio (free registration) (1/21) 
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A report published in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report found that among 6,799 infants born to women with confirmed or possible Zika virus infection during pregnancy from the US Zika Pregnancy and Infant Registry from December 2015 to March 2018, 4.6% had a Zika-associated brain or eye defect, while 35% of infants had more than one defect reported. The report also found a higher frequency of defects in a subgroup of pregnancies with confirmed Zika virus infection at 6.1%.
Full Story: Healio (free registration)/Infectious Disease News (1/21) 
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Practice Management
Statistics from the CDC show that in December 2021, unvaccinated patients age 50 and older were 17 times more likely to need hospitalization for COVID-19 than those who had received their original vaccine series but not a booster were. Unvaccinated adults between the ages of 50 and 64 were 44 times more likely to need hospitalization than those who had the original vaccine series plus a booster.
Full Story: HealthDay News (1/21) 
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Health Policy & Legislation
The Biden administration has created the Pandemic Innovation Task Force, which it says will be responsible for preparing countermeasures against new coronavirus variants and future infectious disease threats. Established by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the task force will focus on new therapies, vaccines, tests and other tools to combat pandemic threats, and it will be led by White House Science Adviser Eric Lander and HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Dawn O'Connell, according to officials with knowledge of the matter.
Full Story: Bloomberg Government (1/18) 
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A Congressional Budget Office report found commercial health insurance providers generally pay significantly higher prices for physician and hospital services than Medicare, and the prices paid by insurers also vary more widely among geographic areas compared with prices paid by Medicare. The report suggests that health care organizations are gaining market power, which could lead to higher insurance premiums.
Full Story: Becker's Payer Issues (1/21) 
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The Biden administration on Friday set up a new service at 1-800-232-0233 for Americans to order free COVID-19 tests by phone. A text-based line at 1-888-720-7489 was also launched to help callers with hearing problems as part of the White House's efforts to expand access to the free tests.
Full Story: The Hill (1/21) 
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Professional Issues & Trends
Perry Farhat is the new administrative director and director of diversity and inclusion at the Babs Siperstein PROUD Center at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset in New Jersey. Farhat was an assistant US attorney for the state before joining the PROUD Center, a primary care facility focusing on the needs of the LGBTQ community.
Full Story: MyCentralJersey (Somerville, N.J.) (tiered subscription model) (1/23) 
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Inside the AAFP
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About AAFP
This news roundup is provided as a timely update to AAFP members and other health care professionals about family medicine topics in the news media. Links to articles are provided for the convenience of family physicians who may find them of use in discussions with patients or colleagues. Opinions expressed in Family Medicine SmartBrief are those of the identified authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of the American Academy of Family Physicians. On occasion, media articles may include or imply incorrect information about the AAFP and its policies, positions or relationships. For clarification on AAFP positions and policies, we refer you to http://aafp.org.
External Resources are not a part of the AAFP website. AAFP is not responsible for the content of sites that are external to the AAFP. Linking to a website does not constitute an endorsement by AAFP of the sponsors of the site or the information presented on the site.

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