News and Views

Secretary Price of HHS has delayed implementation of a new payment methodology, bundled care for coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG), which provides a fixed payment for all the services from just before admission until 90 days after discharge. Bundled payments, or a single payment for a unit of service, comes from an assembly line sensibility and has only been tested on surgical care, specifically hip and knee surgery. With a bundled payment, hospitals or health systems accept the risk because both savings and losses accrue to them, not the Center for Medicare Services (CMS). [1] 

In this week’s JAMA Surgery, a study from Michigan’s Value Collaboration, a group of 76 (73%) of Michigan’s hospitals shows the...

If you're middle-aged and admittedly someone who usually walks slowly, here's something to consider as you stroll, as well as some preventative action you may want to take. 

That advice for intervention stems from a new, large observational study that discovered an association between slow-walking adults and "all-cause and cardiovascular mortality within the general population."

Research using data derived from over 420,000 middle-aged adults in the United Kingdom found that those identifying themselves as "slow walkers" were nearly twice as likely to die from a heart-related cause as compared to those who walked quickly. This finding emerged after researchers ruled out key confounders, such as tobacco use and sedentary behavior.

"Slow walkers were around twice as...

As highest quality of care continues not to be the emphasis in the health care debate— let alone be on par with discussions around access, Canadian health systems remain in the spotlight. This time, multiple hospitals in southern Ontario shut their doors to the sickest of babies due to lack of beds for a 10% patient surge compared to the same time period last year.

According to Shawn Whatley, president of Ontario Medical Association, while pleading for increased funding, “These are our sickest patients. This is a reflection of our whole system. Our system...

A lot of people talk about increasing STEM programming for young people, especially in underrepresented populations. But, few of us actually walk the walk. Well, the same cannot be said for The Society for Science & the Public. Recently, they lent their support to five organizations through their STEM Action Grants Program. 

The organization gave $20,000 to nonprofit organizations that provide a love of science, technology engineering, and math in novel, innovative ways. These fields need young great minds, and all children deserve a chance to be exposed and inspired to follow their love of science. 

The grant recipients are 

Codella (www.codella.org) in Miami which works to inspire Hispanic middle school...

The reigning theory underlying cardiovascular disease, the lipid hypothesis, suffered a defeat this week at the hands of the inflammatory hypothesis when canakinumab, a human monoclonal antibody that targets interleukin-1β [1] was shown to reduce cardiovascular events in the absence of lipid lowering. These were the results of a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. 17,482 patients met the inclusion criteria of a history of myocardial infarction and an elevated C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation, which remained high despite “...

Cinnamon is a staple in your pantry, but should it have a place in your medicine cabinet? Experts say, hardly. In fact, too much of a good thing can be harmful. 

Who among us hasn’t chuckled at a television prescription drug ad when it ventures into a litany of wide-ranging potential side effects like anal leakage to erections lasting more than four hours? Whether it be for depression, your heart or arthritic conditions, the major and minor adverse consequences of these advertised drugs often get promoted in ways that pose equivalent risk—this routinely does not reflect reality. 

With direct-to-consumer (DTC) ease of communication access today, product overstatements of health benefits with simultaneous minimization of possible harms has become the norm for such companies marketing to the public. The ability to do so wasn’t always the case. With such an evolution, for better or worse, has come cultural conflicts. And, now the...

Gwyneth Paltrow's lifestyle company, Goop, may think that the products they sell are helpful but others disagree. The controversy has evolved into a formal complaint filed against Goop - a move that starts the legal ball rolling down Goop's vaginal egg lined path.

The complaint was made by two California district attorneys along with the non-profit Truth in Advertising (TINA). They claim that Goop has made “unsubstantiated, and therefore deceptive, health and disease-treatment claims to market many of its products.”

It is not a surprise that Goop is in legal hot water - it has been recognized for some time that they sell products that are in their own class of quackery....

A recent issue of Nature featured an article entitled Large-scale physical activity data reveal worldwide activity inequality. I admit two things drew me to the article, the data, and the term inequality. First, let’s consider how and what they found. Rather than relying on self-reported estimates or wearable sensors, the data, on walking, was derived from the pedometers (actually accelerometers) found in smartphones. Your iPhone can indeed be used for research. The researchers made use of data from an iPhone app, that recorded the user’s footsteps along with their self-reported gender, age, height, and weight. Their location by country or city was determined from the location of...

Imagine a world where it is as easy to check for cancer as it is high cholesterol. New research out of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine may lead to just that. The work is published in the August 16th issue of Science Translational Medicine.

There is normally some DNA floating around in our blood. It's referred to as cell free DNA (cfDNA). People with cancer not only have more of this cfDNA, but, some of it is specifically from the tumor. This DNA is called circulating tumor DNA (...