Tag Archive federal

Cancer medicine: New, improved, expensive and exploited?

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The first study, by Rena M. …

Medicaid reimbursements may affect cancer screening rates among beneficiaries

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Although Medicaid is a joint state-federal government health insurance program, each state sets the policies for its own Medicaid program within requirements set by the federal government. This includes setting how much providers are paid for health care services and who is allowed to enroll in Medicaid. To determine whether state Medicaid eligibility and reimbursement policies affect receipt of breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screening among Medicaid beneficiaries, Michael Halpern, MD, PhD, MPH, of RTI International, and his colleagues analyzed 2007 Medicaid data from 46 states and Washington DC…

Medicaid reimbursements may affect cancer screening rates among beneficiaries — ScienceDaily

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Although Medicaid is a joint state-federal government health insurance program, each state sets the policies for its own Medicaid program within requirements set by the federal government. This includes setting how much providers are paid for health care services and who is allowed to enroll in Medicaid. To determine whether state Medicaid eligibility and reimbursement policies affect receipt of breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screening among Medicaid beneficiaries, Michael Halpern, MD, PhD, MPH, of RTI International, and his colleagues analyzed 2007 Medicaid data from 46 states and Washington DC. “Few studies have examined how state-specific differences in Medicaid policies might affect use of preventive care services, particularly for early detection of cancer,” said Dr…

Breast cancer: Disease management program is largely consistent with guidelines — ScienceDaily

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source : http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140716095829.htm

Protein links liver cancer with obesity, alcoholism, hepatitis

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In a new study, University of Iowa researchers have identified an unexpected molecular link between liver cancer, cellular stress, and these health problems that increase the risk of developing this cancer. The study, published Dec. 19 in the journal PLOS Genetics, shows that a protein called CHOP, which had previously been thought to generally protect against cancer, actually promotes liver cancer in mice and may do the same in humans. "Obesity, alcoholism, and viral hepatitis are all known independently to cause cellular stress and to induce expression of CHOP," says Thomas Rutkowski, Ph.D., assistant professor of anatomy and cell biology in the UI Carver College of Medicine and senior study author…

Methylation signaling controls cancer growth

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Angiogenesis creates new blood vessels in a process that can lead to the onset and progression of several diseases such as cancer and age-related macular degeneration. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a signaling protein produced by damaged cells, which binds to one of its receptors VEGFR-2, located on the surface of blood vessel cells. …

New rules aim to rid schools of junk food

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source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/06/27/new-rules-aim-to-rid-schools-junk-food/

Newly insured to deepen primary care doctor gap

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source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/06/24/newly-insured-to-deepen-primary-care-doctor-gap/

Avastin fails studies in new brain tumor patients

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New research raises fresh questions about which cancer patients benefit from Avastin, a drug that lost its approval for treating breast cancer nearly two years ago. Avastin did not prolong life when used as a first treatment for people with brain tumors like the one U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy died of several years ago, two studies found. In one, patients who were expected to benefit the most from Avastin based on genetic testing had the worst survival rates. Side effects also were more common with Avastin. The drug is approved for treating brain tumors that have recurred for people who already tried chemotherapy or radiation. But that approval was based on studies suggesting it briefly delayed the worsening of the disease. No definitive study shows it helps those patients live longer, either. Something similar happened with breast cancer: Avastin won the Food and Drug Administration's approval after studies suggested it delayed disease progression. But when later research showed it did not prolong life and brought more side effects, its approval for breast cancer was revoked. However, many cancer experts say the same thing should not happen now, and that Avastin should retain its approval for brain cancer patients whose disease has recurred. “I would definitely not want the FDA to take that away from patients,” said Dr. Deepa Subramaniam, director of the brain tumor center at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington, D.C. “That's very different from the breast cancer story,” where there are many other drugs that can be tried, she said. She had no role in the new studies, which were discussed Sunday at an American Society of Clinical Oncology conference in Chicago. Avastin, made by Swiss-based Roche's Genentech unit, acts by depriving tumors of a blood supply. It's also sold for treating certain colon, lung and kidney tumors. Another study discussed Sunday and released previously showed it helped women with advanced cervical cancer live nearly four months longer. The new brain cancer studies tested it as initial treatment for glioblastoma, the most common and deadly type of tumor. About 10,000 Americans each year are diagnosed with these tumors, which are nearly always incurable. In one study, 637 patients received standard chemotherapy plus radiation, and half also received Avastin. Both groups lived about 16 months, and those on Avastin had more side effects - mostly low blood counts, blood clots and high blood pressure. “Our study would strongly suggest that it is not beneficial to do it as front-line treatment but to reserve it as second-line or salvage therapy,” said study leader Dr. Mark Gilbert of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Federal grants and Genentech paid for the study, and Gilbert consults for the company. More troubling, independent experts said, is that patients who were expected to do the best based on genetic and other tests surprisingly had a worse survival trend - 16 months versus 25 months for others in the study. New research needs to be done to better define which patients benefit, said Rakesh Jain, a brain tumor expert at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. “We just cannot give these agents to every patient,” he said. A second study that tested Avastin as initial therapy with radiation and the drug Temodar found it did not prolong life, but patients on Avastin went nearly five months longer before their tumors appeared to worsen. Avastin costs about $43,000 plus doctor infusion charges for a course of treatment for people whose brain tumors have recurred.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/06/03/avastin-fails-studies-in-new-brain-tumor-patients/

Obama hosts event to reduce mental health stigma

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Actors Bradley Cooper and Glenn Close are among those gathering Monday at the White House for a conference on mental health, organized as part of President Barack Obama's response to last year's shooting massacre at a Connecticut elementary school. Although the one-day conference was a response to gun violence, its agenda is much broader and includes discussion of insurance coverage for mental health care and substance abuse, recognizing the signs of mental illness in young people and improved access to services for veterans. The overall goal is reducing the stigma of mental health problems and encouraging those who are struggling to get help. Obama plans to deliver opening remarks in the East Room and Vice President Joe Biden, the president's point man on gun violence, is scheduled to close it from the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. Around 150 invited attendees include mental health advocates and patients, educators, health care providers, faith leaders, lawmakers and local government officials from across the country. Cooper and Close bring their advocacy and a celebrity buzz to the event. Cooper has been promoting mental health awareness since his Oscar-nominated leading role as a man with bipolar disorder in last year's “Silver Linings Playbook,” and plans to help Biden and Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki close the conference. Close's experience has been more personal. Her sister, Jessie, has bipolar disorder and Jessie's son, Calen, has schizoaffective disorder. In 2009, Close's family battles led her to help start a non-profit called Bring Change 2 Mind, which produces public service announcements to fight the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness. She is listed on a panel discussion on how to address negative attitudes about mental illness. The conference comes after Obama's defeat on gun control legislation. Unable to get Congress to approve background checks, an assault weapons ban and other limits on firearms, the president has vowed to do what he can through executive action. Among 23 executive orders Obama signed in response to the shooting at Connecticut's Sandy Hook Elementary School that killed 26 was a directive that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Education Secretary Arne Duncan launch a national dialogue on mental health. The conference is part of that, with Sebelius hosting the panel on addressing negative attitudes and Duncan moderating a session on successful mental health outreach efforts. There's been little publicly revealed about the mental health of Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza, although it's been documented that other gunmen involved in mass shootings suffered from mental illness. Federal law bans certain mentally ill people from purchasing firearms, but the background check system is woefully incomplete and Obama is trying to get more mental health records included. In announcing the conference, the White House stressed that the vast majority of people with mental health conditions are not violent and are more likely to be victims than perpetrators of crimes. But the need to improve the country's mental health care system is something all sides of the gun debate have advocated, including the National Rifle Association. “That is something substantive that Congress and the president could do right now that would actually help prevent future tragedies, unlike the gun control proposals that the president unsuccessfully tried to push through Congress,” said NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam The White House said Obama plans to announce that the Department of Veterans Affairs will conduct mental health summits nationwide to increase awareness of VA programs and link veterans and their families with community resources to support their needs. The conference also plans to tout improvements in mental health coverage under Obama's health care law, including a ban beginning next year against denying coverage to those who are mentally ill. The White House also plans to focus on commitments being made in the private sector to increase understanding and awareness, including a campaign by the National Association of Broadcasters through television and radio ads and social media. Several organizations that work with young people also are planning to make new commitments, including high school principals holding mental health assemblies, to YMCA instructing staff and camp counselors to recognize the signs of mental health issues in kids, to religious leaders launching conversations on the issue.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/06/03/obama-hosts-event-to-reduce-mental-health-stigma/