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New Study IDs Molecular Aging 'Midlife' Crisis Print E-mail
Written by University of Miami Miller School of Medicine   
Monday, 10 June 2019 00:00

Just as a computer requires code to work, our bodies are regulated by molecular "programs" that are written early in life and then have to do their job properly for a lifetime. But do they? It's a question that has intrigued researchers for years.
Claes Wahlestedt, MD, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and associate dean for therapeutic innovation at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, is senior author of a new study - "Longevity Related Molecular Pathways Are Subject to Midlife 'Switch' in Humans" - published June 6 in Aging Cell.

Working with first author Jamie Timmons, PhD, of King's College London and Stirling University Science Park, United Kingdom, and an international group of researchers on human aging, Dr. Wahlestedt made a striking observation: Key molecular programs known to promote longevity do not last beyond midlife.
The study provides a possible new reason why the human disease burden increases so sharply from the sixth decade of life onward as health-protective mechanisms disappear. Which raises the question: If one wishes to boost these established "anti-aging" programs with drugs, nutrients, or lifestyle choices, is it too late to start by the time you reach your 60s? Possibly, said Dr. Wahlestedt - at least if you hope to benefit fully from such interventions.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 June 2019 12:15
Doctors Were Alarmed Print E-mail
Written by FHI's Week in Review   
Monday, 03 June 2019 16:50

Secret recordings of meetings between physicians at UNC Children's Hospital reveal several doctors doubted and questioned the quality of care for children with serious heart issues. On May 31, The New York Times published a nearly 7,000-word investigation of the Chapel Hill, North Carolina hospital's pediatric heart surgery program, entitled Doctors Were Alarmed: 'Would I Have My Children Have Surgery Here?'

According to Santiago Leon, JD, Associate Director, Health and Benefits at Willis Towers Watson, "This illustrates a fundamental problem with fee for service medicine: the possible pressure to suspend clinical judgment in the face of financial considerations."  
What should be done? Professional associations seem to play a positive role. Mr. Leon recommends looking up children's heart surgery programs that report to the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. There are nine of them in Florida, of which eight are two-star and one, UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville, is three-star.

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Last Updated on Monday, 03 June 2019 17:07
High LDL linked to early-onset Alzheimer's Print E-mail
Written by Medical Xpress   
Tuesday, 28 May 2019 00:00

Researchers with the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Emory University have found a link between high LDL cholesterol levels and early-onset Alzheimer's disease. The results could help doctors understand how disease develops and what the possible causes are, including genetic variation. According to Dr. Thomas Wingo, lead author of the study, the results show that LDL cholesterol levels may play a causal role in the development of Alzheimer's disease. The results appear in the May 28, 2019, issue of JAMA Neurology.

"The big question is whether there is a causal link between cholesterol levels in the blood and Alzheimer's disease risk," says Wingo. "The existing data have been murky on this point. One interpretation of our current data is that LDL cholesterol does play a causal role. If that is the case, we might need to revise targets for LDC cholesterol to help reduce Alzheimer's risk. Our work now is focused on testing whether there is a causal link."

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 May 2019 17:16
FDA Approves Most Expensive Drug Ever Print E-mail
Written by FHI's Week in Review   
Monday, 27 May 2019 11:43

Rob Stein reports for NPR on a new drug developed by a subsidiary of Novartis, in a post dated May 24, 2019:
The federal Food and Drug Administration has approved a gene therapy for a rare childhood disorder that is now the most expensive drug on the market. It costs $2.125 million per patient. But for those patients lucky enough to get it, it appears it can save their lives with a one-time treatment...<The medication treats> spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a rare disorder caused by a defective gene; the illness destroys the nerves that control muscles.
Read more in the current issue of Week in Review>>

Last Updated on Monday, 17 June 2019 12:02
DoD Wants to Impose CMPs on Those Who Defraud TRICARE Print E-mail
Written by Vitale Health Law   
Tuesday, 14 May 2019 12:04
Plagued by fraud and abuse targeting its TRICARE program, the U.S. Department of Defense, on May 1, issued a proposed rule that would allow it to impose civil monetary  penalties (CMPs) against providers and suppliers who commit fraud and abuse against the TRICARE program. The new rule would create the "Military Health Care Fraud and Abuse Prevention Program."

TRICARE is the federal healthcare program that provides benefits to the military, military retirees and their families. DoD says the authority is necessary because of the Department of Justice's limited resources to go after those who commit fraud against TRICARE.

Instead of re-inventing the wheel, DoD proposes to adopt "well-established CMP rules and procedures" used by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services "to enable both TRICARE and TRICARE providers to rely upon Medicare precedents and guidance issued by the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) regarding conduct that implicates" the CMP law.
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Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 May 2019 12:09
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