Short On Federal Funding, Obamacare Enrollment Navigators Switch Tactics

Enrollment is down sharply on the federal health insurance marketplace this fall, and the consumer assistance groups that help with sign-ups think they know why.

They don’t have the staff to help as many customers as before because the Trump administration slashed funding. The federal government is spending $10 million this year on navigators who help individuals enroll in coverage. The government spent $36 million in 2017 and $63 million in 2016.

Fructose link to diabetes may be different for sodas than fruit

(Reuters Health) – – Sodas sweetened with fructose may have a greater impact on risk factors for diabetes than whole fruits that are natural sources of fructose, a research review suggests.

The link between fructose and diabetes has been unclear. Some research has suggested this relationship may be explained at least in part by what people eat and drink and whether they are overweight or obese.

For the current analysis, researchers examined data from 155 studies that assessed the effect of different food sources of fructose on blood glucose levels. Combined, these studies included about 5,000 people with and without diabetes.

FDA picks eight medical device firms to help battle opioid crisis

(Reuters) – Eight medical device makers, including a startup that uses virtual reality to treat chronic pain, topped an innovation contest aimed at addressing the opioid crisis, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Friday.

Silicon Valley-based startup CognifiSense, which is developing the virtual reality therapy, and iPill Dispenser, which uses a biometrically controlled mobile app that aims to cut overconsumption by dispensing pills based on prescriptions, were among the winners of the FDA’s contest.

The health regulator will work directly with the companies to expedite the development and review of their devices in a manner similar to the agency’s Breakthrough Devices Program, which fast-tracks the review of certain products.

Doctors’ Office Dementia Tests Are Often Wrong: Study

News Picture: Doctors' Office Dementia Tests Are Often Wrong: StudyBy Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

Latest Alzheimer’s News

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 28, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Fast tests designed to help primary care doctors rapidly spot dementia in their elderly patients often get it wrong, a new British report contends.

The finding concerns three widely used quick dementia tests: the “Mini-Mental State Examination” (intended to assess mental orientation and verbal memory); the “Memory Impairment Screen” (which tests verbal memory); and “Animal Naming” (which gives patients one minute to quickly name as many animals as they can).

Under Trump, Number Of Uninsured Kids Rose For First Time This Decade

After years of steady decline, the number of U.S. children without health insurance rose by 276,000 in 2017, according to a Georgetown University report released Thursday.

While not a big jump statistically — the share of uninsured kids rose to 5 percent in 2017 from 4.7 percent a year earlier — it is still striking. The uninsured rate typically remains stable or drops during times of economic growth. In September, the U.S. unemployment rate hit its lowest level since 1969.

Many incidental findings spotted on MRIs, few turn out to be cancer

(Reuters Health) – Many people who get magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs) for a variety of common health problems may get an unexpected cancer scare that turns out to be a false alarm, a research review suggests.

Researchers focused on what they called “potentially serious incidental findings,” that is, accidentally discovered abnormalities that aren’t related to the symptoms that led a doctor to order the test and that may be serious. For example, a chest X-ray to look for pneumonia reveals an unexpected spot on the lung that may or may not be cancer.

Measles cases rise in Europe, Latin America: WHO report

GENEVA (Reuters) – Measles is on the rise around the world and especially in Europe and Latin America, in part because parents shun vaccines, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday.

Some 173,000 measles cases were officially reported worldwide in 2017, a jump of more than 30 percent from the previous year, the WHO said in a report. The true number of cases is estimated at 6.7 million last year, it said.

An estimated 110,000 people died last year, mainly children, from the vaccine-preventable disease.

Chronically Ill, Traumatically Billed: The $123,000 Medicine For MS

Shereese Hickson’s multiple sclerosis was flaring again. Spasms in her legs and other symptoms were getting worse.

She could still walk and take care of her son six years after doctors diagnosed the disease, which attacks the central nervous system. Earlier symptoms such as slurred speech and vision problems had resolved with treatment, but others lingered: she was tired and sometimes still fell.

This summer, a doctor switched her to Ocrevus, a drug approved in 2017 that delayed progression of the disease in clinical trials better than an older medicine did.

Astellas Pharma gets U.S. nod for blood cancer treatment

(Reuters) – Japan’s Astellas Pharma Inc on Wednesday received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its blood cancer treatment, according to the regulator’s website

The oral drug, Xospata, was approved to treat patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) with a FLT3 mutation, whose cancer has relapsed or proved treatment-resistant.

“Astellas intends to commercialize this product globally without a partner,” Steven Benner, a senior vice president at the company, told Reuters.

The drug is a targeted therapy that will be able to treat about 30 to 40 percent of the over 19,000 new patients that are expected to be diagnosed with AML in the United States this year, the company said.

U.S. FDA approves first biosimilar to Roche’s cancer drug Rituxan

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Celltrion is seen at company’s headquarters in Incheon, South Korea, October 28, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

(Reuters) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved Celltrion Inc’s Truxima, making it the first biosimilar to Roche Holding AG’s Rituxan available in the United States to treat non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The approval was largely expected as the drug won unanimous backing from an FDA advisory panel in October, which deemed it highly similar to Rituxan.

The FDA had in February declined to approve the copycat drug, citing issues related to a certain manufacturing process at Celltrion’s facility.