No More Tater Tots? California Schools Put Healthier Lunches To The Test

When Miguel Villarreal addresses a crowded education conference, a group of school district administrators or a room full of curious parents, he often holds aloft a foil-wrapped package of Pop-Tarts — the heavily processed, high-sugar snack routinely sold on school campuses.

Villarreal, who oversees nutrition for the San Ramon Valley Unified School District in Northern California, then speaks clearly and loudly as he unloads the news: “School food services are completely broken.”

Smokeless tobacco use in pregnancy tied to higher blood pressure in kids

(Reuters Health) – Children whose mothers used smokeless tobacco during pregnancy have higher blood pressure by the time they’re 5-6 years old compared to peers whose mothers avoided tobacco, a small Swedish study finds.

Researchers examined blood pressure in 21 kids exposed in the womb to snus, a moist powdered smokeless tobacco, and 19 children without any prenatal tobacco exposure.

In kids exposed to snus, systolic blood pressure – the “top number” – averaged 4.2 mmHG (millimeters of mercury) higher than in children without any prenatal tobacco exposure, showing higher pressure exerted by blood against artery walls when the heart beats.

Teva to donate over $15 billion worth of drugs in opioid settlement: source

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries is seen during a news conference hold by its CEO, Kare Schultz, to discuss the company’s 2019 outlooks in Tel Aviv, Israel February 19, 2019. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

(Reuters) – Teva Pharmaceuticals (TEVA.N) is in talks to contribute over $15 billion worth of drugs as part of a settlement to resolve lawsuits alleging it helped fuel the U.S. opioid crisis, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Wednesday.

The news follows media reports that major drug distributors McKesson Corp (MCK.N), AmerisourceBergen Corp (ABC.N) and Cardinal Health (CAH.N) are discussing with governments to settle thousands of opioid-related lawsuits for $18 billion.

donepezil (Aricept)

What is donepezil, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

Donepezil is an oral medication used to treat
Alzheimer’s disease. It belongs to a class of drugs called cholinesterase
inhibitors that also includes tacrine (Cognex). Scientists believe that
Alzheimer’s disease may result from a deficiency in chemicals
(neurotransmitters) used by nerves in the brain to communicate with one another.
Donepezil inhibits acetylcholinesterase, an enzyme responsible for the
destruction of one neurotransmitter, acetylcholine. This leads to increased
concentrations of acetylcholine in the brain, and the increased concentrations
are believed to be responsible for the improvement seen during treatment with
donepezil. Donepezil improves the symptoms but does not slow the progression of
Alzheimer’s disease. Donepezil was approved by the FDA in 1996.

Think ‘Medicare For All’ Is The Only Democratic Health Plan? Think Again

If you tuned in for the first five nights of the Democratic presidential debates, you might think “Medicare for All” and providing universal care are the only health care ideas Democrats have.

With four months to go before the Feb. 3 Iowa caucuses, proposals on issues like the opioid epidemic have attracted less attention.

That is because big-ticket policy ideas ― like enrolling all U.S. residents into a Medicare-style program and eliminating private insurance ― can help candidates stand out in the eyes of voters during a primary, said Robert Blendon, a professor of health policy and political analysis at Harvard University and director of the Harvard Opinion Research Program.

Scientists find how deadly malaria parasite jumped from gorillas to humans

LONDON (Reuters) – Scientists who resurrected a 50,000-year-old gene sequence have analyzed it to figure out how the world’s deadliest malaria parasite jumped from gorillas to humans – giving insight into the origins of one of human history’s biggest killers.

The researchers said their work also deepens understanding of a process known as zoonosis – when a pathogen that can infect animals acquires genetic changes enabling it to infect humans – as has been the case with diseases such as flu and Ebola.

Fewer emergency surgeries, more deaths in British hospitals vs U.S.

(Reuters Health) – When patients in England or the U.S. have abdominal emergencies like appendicitis or a ruptured aneurysm, half as many in England get surgery and many more die, a new study suggests.

Deaths in the hospital were significantly higher in England for all seven types of abdominal emergencies analyzed in the study, suggesting that some of these deaths might be attributable to not having received surgery to correct the problem, researchers write in Annals of Surgery.

Shop & Compare Plans Now with the New Medicare Plan Finder

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Open enrollment begins today! Now is the time to review your Medicare health and prescription drug coverage and make changes if it no longer meets your needs. The new Medicare Plan Finder is now available to help you compare 2020 coverage options and shop for plans.

The Plan Finder is now mobile-friendly, so you can use it on your smart phone, tablet, and desktop! It will guide you step-by-step through the process of comparing plans. It has a simple, easy-to-read design to help you learn about and select options that are best for your health needs.

Patients Eligible For Charity Care Instead Get Big Bills

When Ashley Pintos went to the emergency room of St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma, Wash., in 2016, with a sharp pain in her abdomen and no insurance, a representative demanded a $500 deposit before treating her.

“She said, ‘Do you have $200?’ I said no,” recalled Pintos, who then earned less than $30,000 at a company that made holsters for police. “She said, ‘Do you have $100?’ They were not quiet about me not having money.” But Pintos, a single mom with two kids who is now 29, told state officials St. Joseph never gave her a financial aid application form, even after she asked.