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Article from the Huffingtonpost; written by Wendy Lazarus.

Obama CarePresident Obama's new immigration actions are an important first step toward providing security for hardworking parents and their children. We commend the President on his decision, which will allow nearly five million people nationwide to no longer live in fear. And just this week, a California leader, State Senator Ricardo Lara, reintroduced a Health for All bill (SB 4) that would allow those who remain uninsured in California, even after the President's Executive Action, to obtain health coverage. With federal and state policies working together, we are closer than we have ever been to making sure that all Californians can receive health coverage.

While Obama's Executive Action won't make people newly eligible for Obamacare, we do expect an increase in health coverage for children who are eligible for Medicaid but not enrolled. Parents who were once afraid to approach the government for fear of identifying themselves for possible deportation are more likely to enroll their citizen children now that they are granted a legal status.

Over time, this may be especially true in California, the state with the largest number of undocumented immigrants. One in six children in California has an undocumented parent and as many as 80 percent of those children are estimated to be citizens-yet they likely do not have health coverage. Studies have found that children of undocumented immigrants are twice as likely to lack health insurance as children born to citizens.

The President's action will provide needed relief from these issues, but a significant percentage of those living in California will still not have access to health insurance. Senator Lara's new bill will close that gap, and reflects the fact that across the state, more than ever, Californians are in favor of expanding health care access to undocumented immigrants. By more than two-to-one, voters say helping undocumented immigrants with health care is the "right thing to do." And there is no disputing that undocumented Californians are a vital part of the state's population and economy; the estimated annual tax contribution of undocumented immigrants in California was $2.2 billion in 2010. These are parents and children who attend school and work, study in the library, play in public parks, and contribute to our community. But, unlike their neighbors, they lack access to health coverage.

The fact of the matter is there are children and youth in California that lack health insurance due to immigration status and, thus, are denied preventive and other necessary health care. Indeed, 74 percent of immigrant youth report they rely on public safety-net programs, such as emergency Medi-Cal, public hospitals, and community or county health clinics. This leads to costly consequences as California spends an estimated $1.3 billion each year providing health care services to the state's uninsured. Children with health coverage, on the other hand, get regular care that can help avoid costly and often unnecessary hospitalizations. A study of local Children's Health Initiatives programs estimated that 6,324 childhood hospitalizations were prevented over a five-year period, resulting in approximately $6.7 million in savings to the health care system. All the more reason that Senator Lara's legislation should be a top priority for the California legislature in 2015.

California has benefited tremendously from the hard work of immigrants. And it is continuing to lead the rest of the nation in improving access to health care and coverage in all communities, including families who are undocumented. With public opinion greatly in favor and policy lined up, let's finish the job and bring health coverage to all Californians.
Boston health officials are investigating some reports of severe infections in patients who took a trip to the Dominican Republic for cosmetic surgery.

Mycobacterium abscessus, a bacteria that is not easily battled with antibiotics, and can take months of treatment to vanquish was believed to infect at least two patients in Boston, and another in Worcester.

The patients were part of a group that went to the Dominican Republic during the summer for surgeries and started having health problems, including abscesses and drainage from their surgery sites, earlier this fall, said Dr. Anita Barry, director of the infectious disease bureau at the Boston Public Health Commission.

Other patients in the group who live in Maryland, Connecticut, and New York have also been infected, she said.

Health officials are anxious for the reason that so-called “medical tourism” has become a major industry in many Latin American countries.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approximation that 750,000 people from the United States travel abroad every year seeking low cost medical care.

[Statement of Barry]“We became aware because one of the out-of-state people knew someone in the Worcester area, who was having similar post-op problems,” Barry said. “That person knew someone in Boston who was having the same problems, and that person told us about a second Boston case.”

The germ can be spread by means of contaminated medical equipment, medical supplies, or poor surgical techniques.  Severe pain and swelling are the effects of the infection, and frequently does not show up until some weeks after surgery.

The infection is not contagious to other people, but is serious and needs to be treated, Barry said.

[Statement of Barry]“We’re trying to get the word out that if you are going overseas for surgery, you have to find out how many infections this place has had, and also find out how many people have died having medical procedures in this place,” Barry said.

The commission suggests that patients thinking about surgery in another country talk with their primary care provider regarding the procedure at least four to six weeks before going trough traveling, and secure copies of all medical records associated to the surgery and medical care provided abroad prior to going back home.
thanksgivingSure thing everyone wants to know how to work off Thanksgiving dinner.  Maybe cancel your plans to watch movie night or watch football after dinner or maybe why not cancel your plans on going shopping on Friday because more probably it will take over a weekend to work it off.

In a proposition to center Americans on keeping an eye and controlling their weight, public health advocates have embraced posting calories, labeling nutritional content and offering all manner of helpful and eye-catching logos to catch consumers’ awareness to “better-for-you choices.” But there’s rising evidence that no form of consumer information suggests the probable impact of a food choice on one’s weight quite as mightily as do “sweat equivalents.”

Sweat equals leave little room for self-delusion.  They don’t have need of anything to know how many calories a day she should be taking in, or what percentage of that total that bag of potato chips represents.  They simply say: “If you eat this, this is how long you’d have to jog (or swim, or jump rope or play basketball) to work it off.”

Simple’s good. And in experiments, posting sweat equals forcefully steered consumers toward water over sugar-sweetened soda, pretzels over chips, salads over cheeseburgers.

CoachUp, a service that connects athletes intent on stepping up their game with private coaches, brings you the “sweat equivalents” of a typical American Thanksgiving.

The average American takes in 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving which means that is a lot of turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, creamed onions, candied yams and pumpkin pie — actually, about seven Big Macs’ worth of calories.

From of good reputation of sources on the energy-expenditure of a variety of activities, are some of the activities you will have to engage in to work off the average American intake on Thanksgiving:

– Run (or play basketball or football) for 7.7 hours;
– Cycle for 15 hours;
– Row (or hike) for 10.3 hours;
– Swim for 10.6 hours, (or bowl for almost twice that long — 20.6 hours)

You may be anticipating forward to spending hours on the elliptical machine this weekend, or have plans anyway to run a marathon or marathons.  However you might try to alter what scientists call the “energy balance equation” (calories taken in versus calories expended in activity) a little on both sides if you want to limit Thanksgiving’s damage: Don’t go back for thirds on Thanksgiving Day and plan a long hike or an epic game of flag football after the meal, and run the next day.
07 October 2013 @ 04:38 pm
excerciseA study has found that exercise can be as good a medicine as pills for people with conditions such as heart disease.

British Medical Journal or BMJ’s work looked at hundreds of trials linking almost 340,000 patients to assess the merits of exercise and drugs in avoiding death. Physical activity challenged some heart drugs and proved that it is better than stroke medicine. According to the researchers, the findings suggest exercise should be added to prescriptions.

Experts emphasized that patients should not ditch their drugs for exercise – but, they should use both in tandem. Lesser and lesser adults at present get enough exercise.  No more than a third of people in England do the suggested at least 2.5 hours or more of moderate-intensity activity, like cycling or fast walking, every week.

In contrary, while that is happening, prescription drug rates continue to rise. In 2010, there were averages of 17.7 prescriptions for every person in England while 11.2 in 2000.

For the study, scientists based at the London School of Economics, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute at Harvard Medical School and Stanford University School of Medicine trawled medical literature to find any research that compared exercise with pills as a therapy. They recognized 305 trials to incorporate in their analysis.  Such trials looked at managing conditions like existing heart disease, stroke rehabilitation, heart failure and pre-diabetes. They found exercise and drugs were comparable in terms of death rates when they studied the data as a total.

Although there were two exceptions, drugs called diuretics were the clear winner for heart failure patients, while exercise was best for stroke patients in terms of life expectancy. Amy Thompson, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said that although an active lifestyle brings many health benefits, there is not enough evidence to draw any firm conclusions about the merit of exercise above and beyond drugs.

“Medicines are an extremely important part of the treatment of many heart conditions and people on prescribed drugs should keep taking their vital meds. If you have a heart condition or have been told you’re at high risk of heart disease, talk to your doctor about the role that exercise can play in your treatment.”

Dr Peter Coleman of the Stroke Association said exercise alongside drugs had a vital role that merited more research. “We would like to see more research into the long-term benefits of exercise for stroke patients. “By taking important steps, such as regular exercise, eating a balanced diet and stopping smoking, people can significantly reduce their risk of stroke.” “Moderate physical activity, for example, can reduce the risk of stroke by up to 27%.
To serve 68 months in prison for her role in a fraud scheme that resulted in more than $63 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare and Florida Medicaid, A former office manager at the defunct health care provider Health Care Solutions Network Inc. (HCSN) was sentenced today in Miami.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida; Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Steinbach of the FBI’s Miami Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Christopher B. Dennis of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) Office of Investigations, Miami office, made the announcement.

Forty five year old Lisset Palmero of Miami was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga in the Southern District of Florida.  Palmero was also added prison term of three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $17.4 million.
Palmero was employed as a receptionist and office manager at HCSN of a mental health facility that purported to provide Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) services during the course of the conspiracy.  A PHP is a form of intensive treatment for severe mental illness.
HCSN of Florida (HCSN-FL) operated community mental health centers at two locations.  According to court documents, Palmero was aware that HCSN-FL paid illegal kickbacks to owners and operators of Miami-Dade County Assisted Living Facilities (ALF) in exchange for patient referral information to be used to submit false and fraudulent claims to Medicare and Medicaid. Palmero also knew that many of the ALF referral patients were ineligible for PHP services because they suffered from mental retardation, dementia, or Alzheimer’s disease.
Court documents expose that Palmero was aware that HCSN-FL personnel were fabricating patient medical records.  Many of these medical records were formed weeks or months after the patients were admitted to HCSN-FL for purported PHP treatment. Palmero was also aware that medical records were fabricated for “ghost patients” who were never admitted to the HCSN-FL PHP. During her employment at HCSN-FL, Palmero actively concealed the production of medical records by preparing, and causing others to prepare, documentation that was later used to support false and fraudulent billing to government-sponsored health care benefit programs, counting the Medicare and Florida Medicaid.

According to court documents, from 2004 through 2011, HCSN billed Medicare and the Florida Medicaid program approximately $63 million for purported HCSN-FL mental health services.

The FBI and HHS-OIG and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, under supervision of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida are investigating this case.  Trial Attorney Allan J. Medina and former Special Trial Attorney William J. Parente prosecuted the case.

The Medicare Fraud Strike Force is now working in nine cities in the country, have charged more than 1,500 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $5 billion since its inception in March 2007.  And also, HHS’s Centers for Medicare & Medic aid Services, working in conjunction with HHS-OIG, is taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.
[Medical Group says...]A coalition of medical groups says, Canadian children under 13 shouldn’t be exposed to marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages.

Calls on food companies to immediately stop marketing foods high in fats, added sugars or sodium to children was made on Thursday’s policy statement from the Canadian Medical Association, Heart and Stroke Foundation, Hypertension Canada, College of Family Physicians of Canada and others. The proposed advertising restriction includes characters or mascots promoting sugary cereals. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

Dr. Norm Campbell, a hypertension specialist at the University of Calgary who led the campaign Federal, provincial and territorial governments have said that protecting the health of children is a priority. “They had this on their radar and yet absolutely nothing is done, and so this is really a call for action that they do what we already know is going to be effective.”

The groups say that in 1989, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that “advertisers should not be able to capitalize upon children’s credulity” and “advertising directed at young children is per se manipulative.”

Food companies in Canada, except Quebec, are not obliged by law to restrict unhealthy food and beverage marketing to children.

Dr. Marie-Dominique Beaulieu is the president of the College of Family Physicians of Canada and practices in Montreal, where she says companies have clear rules on what is considered healthy. “Up to 80 per cent of food advertising actually advertises unhealthy food and we know that it has a direct impact on the choices that children make,” Beaulieu said.
Canada hasn’t acted

The World Health Organization released recommendations on the marketing of food and beverages to children and called on governments worldwide to reduce the exposure of children to advertising and to reduce the use of powerful marketing techniques employed by the manufacturers of foods and beverages high in saturated fats, trans-fatty acids, free added sugars or sodium last May 2011.

Canada has not acted on the recommendations, the health groups said. The group’s statement describes the policy goal this way: “Federal government to immediately begin a legislative process to restrict all marketing targeted to children under the age of 13 of foods and beverages high in saturated fats, trans-fatty acids, free sugars or sodium and that in the interim the food industry immediately ceases marketing of such food to children.”

They intend to use WHO’s suggestions on high content of saturated fats, trans-fatty acids, free sugars or sodium. “Right now, we have a voluntary ban on marketing of unhealthy foods to children from the food industry,” said Campbell. “The industries that have signed on to that are the worst offenders. What they’ve done is made their own definition.” If the plan passes, the restrictions would apply to TV, internet, radio, magazines, mobile phones, video and adver-games, brand mascots, product placement, cross-promotions, school or event sponsorships and viral marketing.

The Centre for Science in the Public Interest said on Wednesday night, NDP member of Parliament Libby Davies’s bill to phase in lower sodium levels in prepackaged foods and add simple, standardized labels, failed to pass with a vote of 147 to 122
It is now well-established that cancer is well-linked to smoking.  And now according to researchers, cigarettes increase the odds for developing colon cancer, especially for women.

According to the new study, published April 30 in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, women who've ever smoked have an almost 20 percent increased risk for colon cancer, compared with women who never smoked.

"Women who smoke even 10 or fewer cigarettes a day increase their risks for colon cancer," said lead researcher Dr. Inger Gram, a professor in the department of community medicine at the University of Tromso in Norway.

"Because colon cancer is such a common disease, even these moderate smoking accounts for many new cases," she said. "A lot of colon cancer can be prevented if people don't smoke -- especially women."

More than 600,000 men and women ages 19 to 67 are involved in the study whereas they were surveyed by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.  Participants answered questions concerning their smoking habits, physical activity and other lifestyle factors.

Over 14 years of follow-up nearly 4,000 people developed colon cancer, and the odds were greatest for smokers, women in particular according to Gram's team.  The risk for colon cancer increased 19 percent among women who smoked and 8 percent for men who smoked, they added.
The researchers said, the more years a woman smoked, the earlier she started smoking, and the more packs of cigarettes smoked a year, the greater her risk of developing colon cancer. Women who smoked for 40 years or more increased their risk for colon cancer almost 50 percent, they added.

Gram noted, their risk was especially high for developing proximal, or right-sided, colon cancer, with a type of tumor specifically related to smoking.
Gram said she was surprised the link between smoking and colon cancer was so much greater for women, and said the reasons aren't clear.
Although this study shows an association between smoking and colon cancer, it does not establish a cause-and-effect relationship. However, the link between smoking and colon cancer is more than a coincidence, Gram pointed out.

"Colon cancer is a smoking-related cancer," she said. "That has recently been established by the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization." Based on a review of prior research, the WHO says long-term smoking appears to double the risk of colon cancer. It also increases risk for bladder and pancreatic cancer, according to the agency.

One expert, Dr. Stephanie Bernik, chief of surgical oncology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, doesn't believe the heightened risk for colon cancer among women is solely related to smoking. Alcohol use, diet and lack of exercise may also play a role, Bernik said.

"Usually, smoking goes along with other bad health habits," Bernik said. "However, this adds to the growing data that cigarette smoking contributes to the increased risk of colon cancer."

Another expert offered some advice. "If you smoke, you should quit," said Dan Jacobsen, from the Center for Tobacco Control at North Shore-LIJ Health System in Great Neck, N.Y. "There are a lot of good methods, programs and resources out there if you want to try to quit smoking," he added.

"Smoking is just toxic to our bodies," said Jacobsen. "It's the number one preventable cause of death and disease."
One of the most significant risk factors for cardiovascular disease that leads to an estimated 15 percent of all deaths worldwide each year is hypertension or high blood pressure.  Micro-cracks in the inner lining of arterial walls are caused by an excessive blood pressure consequently leads to a series of serious health concerns.  Patching materials are hurriedly pulled from blood circulation to fix the cracks; this is in a desperate attempt to prevent a potentially deadly hemorrhage. This may save you today and can continue a life for a while but over the course of several decades, plaque volume increases until blood flow is cut off to the heart and brain, or a clot becomes lodged in a narrowed artery.  There are a number of important lifestyle factors according to medical researchers.  These factors increase the risk for hypertension.  They also found out that blood pressure can be returned to normal without the need for pharmaceuticals that are ineffective and wrought with deadly side-effects by modifying these actions.
Healthy behaviors regarding alcohol, physical activity, vegetable intake and body weight reduce the risk of hypertension by two-thirds; this is according to the research team from Finland reporting to the European Society of Cardiology Congress. Prevention of hypertension is essential to improving health and preventing morbidity and mortality, they further noted. Smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity, obesity and consumption of vegetables are the five major cardiovascular disease-related lifestyle factors the have identified.  Their mission was to verify if correcting abnormalities in these aspects could aid forecasting the potential increase of blood pressure and development of clinical hypertension.  They developed a large legion study which includes 9,637 men and 11,430 women, aged 25 to 74 who were free of hypertension during baseline measurements. The study was 20 years in the making. The researchers set parameters for healthy lifestyle factors as follows: Not smoking, Alcohol consumption less than 50g per week, Leisure time physical activity at least three times per week, Daily consumption of vegetables, Normal body weight (BMI lower than 25).

“Pursue healthy lifestyle parameters to cut the danger of high blood pressure” – springhill medical

The study authors concluded “The risk of hypertension was only one third among those having all four healthy lifestyle factors compared to those having none… four modifiable lifestyle factors: alcohol consumption, physical activity, consumption of vegetables and keeping normal weight have a remarkable effect on the development of hypertension,” after 709 men and 890 women developed hypertension all through a 16-year follow-up period. Men were more pronounced of lifestyle modifications than women, this is according to the study the team had found out.  This is maybe because it’s due to increases in alcohol consumption and a tendency toward obesity found within the male group.  The majority of health conscious persons breathe within the lifestyle parameters defined as healthy in this study.  Up till now it still acts as an important reminder to stay watchful at all stages of life to thwart hypertension and stay disease-free.
03 May 2013 @ 12:42 am
Taco Bell was well-known as one of the purveyor of junk food and they wanted to start erasing that from our memory yet they are not ready to give up the chalupa yet. Wednesday, the chain announced that it’s exploring ways to offer more “balanced choices,” marking just the latest sign that the fast-food industry is trying to adapt to shifting tastes and upend the conventional wisdom that it only offers caloric indulgences.

Taco Bell is testing a “range of products” this year, with national launches planned for 2014. He also said existing menu items could also be reformulated but noted that the chain would remain true to its brand, CEO Greg Creed said. “We’re not going to walk away from who Taco Bell is,” Creed stated.

Taco Bell says, by 2020, 20% of its combo meals will meet nutritional guidelines for calories and fat set out by the federal government.  People eat three meals a day, as a general thought, that means a single meal would have about a third of the recommended intake of about 2,000 to 2,500 calories. The company has no idea of what portion of meals currently meet those guidelines. Taco Bell is known for urging people to eat nachos as a “fourth meal” late at night, it is a bit of a contrary to the announcement and it gained a lot of skeptics.  However it demonstrates just how much difficulty the broader industry is facing to overturn its greasy-food image as people more and more look out for alternatives they believe are healthier.
The lower-calorie options were a key indicator of growth at restaurant chains between 2006 and 2011 from a report by the Hudson Institute earlier this year.  The increase in customer traffic rise by 11 per cent by those chains that expanded while those that didn’t saw traffic fall by 15 per cent, according to the public policy research group. As customer “tastes and needs” evolve, Creed said that offering more balanced choices would be critical in helping Taco Bell reach its growth targets over the next decade.

As such, he said product developers have been given “nutrition guardrails” they need to stay within. He declined to provide details on the new menu offerings that are being developed. Taco Bell’s drive to raise the image of its food pave the way for last year’s introduction of a line of “Cantina” burrito bowls that are seen as being more in line with fast-growing rival Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. Taco Bell claims its lower-calorie “fresco” options, which were introduced in 2005 and come without cheese or sour cream, account for only about 2 per cent of sales.[New York Times writer, Mark Bittman]“We’ve gone from the whistle-blowing stage to the higher-expectations stage, and some of those expectations are being met,” Mark Bittman, New York Times writer, wrote in the piece, which argued that the public was ready for a healthy fast-food chain.

Those instances don’t stopped fast-food chains to offer more indulgent creations.  Taco Bell rolled out hand-held tortilla-wrapped “griller” snacks; one of the varieties comes stuffed with fried potatoes, a nacho cheese sauce, bacon and sour cream, earlier this year.
23 April 2013 @ 04:26 am
Recent news | Even if you were thousands of miles away we cannot help but to feel a range of emotions the day after the terror bombing attack at the Boston Marathon. Los Angeles psychologist Emanuel Maidenberg, PhD, says that in the wake of all that horror, it’s understandable that emotions are still raw and intense. “People become vigilant, they look around, they become apprehensive,” says Maidenberg, director of the cognitive behavioral therapy clinic at the UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine. He added, empathy for those killed or injured, as well as fear for your own safety and anger at the bomber or bombers, are also common and normal at this time. One hundred fifty and more are reported injured aside from the three people confirmed dead than from two bombs that exploded near the finish line of the marathon Monday afternoon.

He says, for people who witnessed the attacks, the same emotions can surface, although they may be much more intense. “Some people feel numb emotionally and some feel overwhelmed,” he says. “Some people feel they have to start doing something right away to help other people.” Immediately after the attacks, news reports told of runners who went straight to the nearby hospitals to donate blood. “Some feel it’s best to withdraw and isolate themselves,” he says. While the other emotions are healthy, withdrawing and isolating are not, he says.
[Boston bombing scene]Boston-Bombing
For the runners, especially those turned back from finishing the race, he says, there is also disappointment and frustration. The next question would be how to coup up and how to handle the stress after the bombing. For the first few days after such a catastrophe, Maidenberg says, sharing your feelings with others can help. The tendency to stay plugged in constantly to news reports, though, can be mentally unhealthy, he says. “We want to know what’s happening, who’s behind it,” he says. That helps us deal with some of the uncertainty.

He said it can also keep you from your regular activities, which is good for healing. He then suggests limiting your news viewing. “My advice is, you do want to seek accurate and timely information. Once or twice a day, check in,” he says. The rest of the time, it’s better to go about your typical activities, he says. This is the point in time where you must pay even more awareness to your usual stress-reduction techniques and to do more often than reducing the technique.  It’s bright to give yourself a reality check, too. “We should also remind ourselves that the likelihood of this happening to us remains extremely low,” he says. While those who witnessed the events firsthand may take longer to cope with their emotions, anyone still feeling overwhelmed after 4 to 6 weeks should consider seeking professional help, Maidenberg says.