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Researchers Say Playing Mario 64 Can Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

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In a new study carried out by researchers from the University of Montreal, scientists examined the link between 3D-platform games and growth in different brains areas among older people. They were particularly interested in the gray matter in a part of the brain called the hippocampus, which is used for memory building. The loss of gray matter in the hippocampus is associated with neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s.

Their findings indicated that the Super Mario 64 training led to increased gray matter in the hippocampus, along with another structure called the cerebellum, which is important for motor control and balance.

The scientists hypothesized that 3D platformers are good because they ask people to explore a new environment, and to memorize it. When people do that, they form a cognitive map, meaning an internal representation of the environment, which they can then use to navigate. We know from past research involving both humans and rodents that this promotes activity in the hippocampus.

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Those Sinking Medicare Margins

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Payment shifts and regulatory mandates are putting hospital Medicare margins on a downhill slope. Hospital executives say the chasm between the two has widened in recent years due to a number of factors: federal mandates to deploy expensive health information technology systems under the meaningful use program, a 2% across-the-board cut to provider Medicare payments under the Budget Control Act of 2011, reductions in Medicare disproportionate-share hospital payments and the move to alternative-payment models. Layoffs and reductions in services have been common coping mechanisms to avoid the income drop

While expanded coverage is a net positive, hospital leaders still complain that the government payment programs do not cover costs. For Medicare, hospitals received 88 cents for every dollar spent caring for beneficiaries in 2015 and 90 cents for Medicaid patients, according to the American Hospital Association. Combined underpayments from the government programs were $57.8 billion in 2015. This includes a shortfall of $41.6 billion for Medicare and $16.2 billion for Medicaid, the association reported.

Attempts to move Medicare from a fee-for-service system to a value-based model pose perhaps the most serious challenge to hospitals and health systems struggling with low Medicare margins.

In 2015, the Obama administration announced it wanted 30% of payments for traditional Medicare benefits to be tied to alternative-payment models such as accountable care organizations by the end of last year and 50% by the end of 2018.

The first goal was met, but since the Trump administration took over in January, CMS officials have been coy about their own goals for the shift beyond noting they want the move to be voluntary.

Overall, hospital leaders believe they are getting mixed messages from the Trump administration over whether it still supports the move away from fee-for service Medicare, given that it has canceled or scaled back several new pay models created under the Obama administration.

medicare margins take a dive

There are things Congress can do to stabilize and lessen the financial pressures hospitals now face. The Medicare recovery audit contractor program could be overhauled. Under the program, private companies audit the medical records of hospitals and doctors to find instances of improper billing or erroneous payment from the government.

Hospital executives argue that claims are often mistakenly flagged as being improper in some way. Of the claims that have completed the appeals process, 62% were overturned in favor of the provider, according to the AHA. The association found that 43% of all hospitals reported spending more than $10,000 managing the RAC process during the third quarter of 2016, 24% spent more than $25,000 and 4% spent over $100,000.

Despite those concerns, the program has scored big for the federal government. RACs have recouped $8 billion in improper payments since its inception in 2009, according to the CMS.

The other recurring request from hospitals is that Congress preserve the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act. A proposal to repeal the mandate is included in the Senate version of tax reform legislation.

 

 

Designer Babies Right Around The Corner

Designer pets” are already within reach; mice have been turned green. Beagles have been doubled in muscle mass. Pigs have been shrunk to the size of cocker spaniels with “designer fur.” Woolly mammoths are being attempted.

Illustration: Chelsea Beck/GMG

They are predicting that half of the population with decent health care will–have eggs grown from human skin and fertilized with sperm, then have the entire genome of about 100 embryo samples sequenced, peruse the highlights, and pick the best model to implant.

traits could changed in a designer baby

Gender

Appearance

Intelligence

Disease

Personality

 Trait selection

Embryo screening involves a process called pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). Embryos are created by in-nitro fertilization and grown to the eight-cell stage, at which point one or two cells are removed. Scientists then examine the DNA of these cells for defects, and only normal embryos are replaced in the womb.

Three-parent baby

Three-parent babies are human offspring with three genetic parents, created through a specialized form of In vitro fertilization in which the future baby’s mitochondrial DNA comes from a third party. The procedure is intended to prevent mitochondrial diseases including muscular dystrophy and some heart and liver conditions. 

Pros and Cons of Designer Babies

Pros

Reduces risk of genetic diseases

Reduces risk of inherited medical conditions

Keep pace with others doing it

Better chance the child will succeed in life

Better understanding of genetics

Increased life span

Can give a child genes that the parents do not carry

Prevent next generation of family from getting characteristics/diseases

Cons

Termination of embryos

Could create a gap in society

Possibility of damage to the gene pool

Baby has no choice in the matter

Genes often have more than one use

Geneticists are not perfect

Loss of Individuality

Other children in family could be affected by parent’s decision

Only the rich can afford it

Some scientists disagreed over whether certain types of gene-editing would be important for helping patients, with one prominent researcher contending the technology would not often be needed, while another described dire current clinical needs for it. 

CRISPR is a powerful technology that allows editing—by way of replacing or repairing—of multiple genes at once in animal, plant and human cells. This biological tool could help unlock understanding of basic human biology and also help patients in need of medical care. However, This method has also sparked new ethical controversy.

Gene editing could include altering genes in one person—say to treat disease or make a cosmetic change—but, more controversially, it could also include making changes to the germ line that would then alter the genome for an individual’s children, grandchildren and the following generations, with potentially unknown repercussions.

 

The Latest Trend In Plastic Surgery

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Several years ago, breast implants became the biggest thing in plastic surgery. They were expensive and had quite a stigma, however soon after, the general public grew to accept them as a woman’s choice and nobody’s business. I fo you could afford it so be it!

Today, it looks like women are starting to swing in the opposite direction. Surgeons across North America have noted a steady increase in the number of women having their implants permanently removed. Implants need to be replaced every 10 to 15 years, and a lot of women are just having them taken out instead. In the past year, about 4,000 Canadian women have had breast ‘explant’ surgery. In the United States, about 40,000 women have their implants removed a year. So why the shift?

Women are ex-ing the implants for a number of reasons including:

Shifting body image trends, health concerns and more natural alternatives. Like with fashion, technology or anything else, body image goes through phases and trends. Ten years ago, a woman’s ‘ideal body’ (cue eye-roll) included large breasts. Now, with our culture’s emphasis on clean living and healthy eating, the ‘ideal body’ (another eye-roll) is trending toward a more athletic build, including a smaller chest.

There has also always been a concern that breast implants could leak or cause a negative reaction. Although the technology has become much safer since it was first introduced, putting any foreign material in your body is always a risk. Certain types of implants have even been related to rare cancers.

 

 

Librarians Learning How to Use Overdose Antidote In Rhode Island

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Workers at a Rhode Island library are learning how to respond to opioid overdoses.

WJAR-TV reports a training session at the Providence Community Library in Providence on Friday taught librarians how to administer the overdose reversal drug naloxone.

Madagascar Is Fighting a Deadly Plague

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The World Health Organization has delivered more than a million doses of antibiotics to Madagascar amid a raging epidemic of plague in which at least 33 people have died and 230 others have been infected, the BBC reported.

The first confirmed death from the epidemic began on August 28th in the town of Moramanga,.“Plague is curable if detected in time. Plague first arrived in Madagascar from Indian steamboats in 1898 before spreading through other harbors and then into the mainland along railroad construction lines. 

 

More Medical Schools Going Bookless

AILEEN MCCRILLIS
NYU health sciences library

The Association of American Medical Colleges predicted that by 2030, the United States would have a shortage of up to 104,900 physicians. To try to curb this impending crisis, a wave of new medical schools have opened in the last decade. Eleven schools have been accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education in the last five years, and eight more are currently under consideration.

As a condition of accreditation, these new schools must provide access to “well-maintained library resources sufficient in breadth of holdings and technology” to support the school’s educational mission, however, many medical schools are deciding that large print collections are no longer a vital component of those resources.

Paperless Libraries

Charles Stewart, associate dean and chief librarian of City College of New York, of the City University of New York system, said that his institution chose to go a paperless route for the newly opened CUNY School of Medicine on the City College campus for much the same reason — 24-7 access. “Stewart says they chose the all-electronic option since their medical school clearly wanted instant e-access to all their resources.

 

The Frank H. Netter School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University, which accepted its first students in 2013, is designed as a paperless institution. The school has a library space where students can read and study, but the vast majority of the library’s resources are online. Bruce Koeppen, dean of the school, said that by making most of the library’s holdings electronic, it ensured that students and faculty could access information “anywhere and anytime, even when the library is closed.”

Hybrid Approach

The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, opened in 2010, with just 50 books on its shelves, however, the students quickly pushed to expand this collection to 4,000 books, saying that they preferred to use physical materials for studying. The school noted, however, that it did not want to increase its print collection beyond the current level.

Fay Towell, director of libraries at the Greenville Hospital System, said that it was interesting that students at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville, which opened in 2012, frequently requested access to both print and electronic resources. Given the small size of the library, and the prohibitive cost of providing both print and online versions of texts, Towell said the library had to be selective. She noted that often journals might cost more electronically than in print — “if a journal cost is $4,000 electronically and $400 in print, then the library makes space for print,” she said.

Roger Schonfeld, director of the Library and Scholarly Communication Program for Ithaka S+R, pointed out that when medical libraries thin their print collections, it does not necessarily mean that the campus loses access to those physical materials. “Whether the collections are moved to an off-site facility, or the library participates in a shared print program, it is almost always still possible to provide access to a print version on those occasions when it is necessary to do so.” The trend for thinning print collections is not unique to medical libraries, said Schonfeld — many science and engineering libraries have done the same.

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