(Press-News.org) Bethesda, MD – Articles in Health Affairs' October issue examine the pursuit of improved physical and mental health. Featured articles include:
Providing More Home-Delivered Meals Is One Way To Keep Older Adults With Low Care Needs Out Of Nursing Homes. Expanding programs that deliver meals to Medicaid-receiving seniors would save 26 of 48 states money, in addition to allowing more seniors to stay in their own homes, according to a new study in the October issue of Health Affairs. The study by Kali Thomas and Vincent Mor of Brown University projects that if every U.S. state in the lower 48 expanded the number of seniors receiving meals by just 1 percent, 1,722 more Medicaid recipients avoid living in a nursing home and most states would experience a net annual savings from implementing the expansion. Every state would enable more seniors, who could live independently except for meals, to remain in their homes regardless of whether they are on Medicaid.
Biosimilars May Save Billions of Dollars. In Europe, biosimilars (the "second generation" of medicines derived from a biological source) have been available since 2006 within the European Union and are expected to save $15-$44 billion by 2020. The situation in the United States is different: although the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act is a key provision of the Affordable Care Act, the Food and Drug Administration has yet to finalize the necessary regulatory processes for their approval. A new study in the October issue of Health Affairs by Francis Megerlin of Université Paris Descartes and co-authors examines the European experience and explains how the U.S. market can learn from it—and eventually realize dramatic discounts to help "bend the cost curve."
The Health and Economic Benefits of "Delayed Aging." Although most medical research focuses on managing or eradicating individual diseases, Dana Goldman of the University of Southern California and co-authors demonstrate the value of an alternative approach to address the underlying biological mechanisms of disease. Using the Future Elderly Model—a simulation of future health and spending of older Americans—the authors compared such an approach with optimistic "disease specific" scenarios, evaluating impact on longevity, disability, and major entitlement program costs. The authors estimate that delayed aging could increase life expectancy by an additional 2.2 years and generate more than $5 trillion in social value. When aging is delayed, say the authors, all fatal and disabling disease risks are also lowered. Although delayed aging would also greatly increase entitlement outlays, the authors demonstrate that these costs can be managed through modest policy changes, such as indexing the eligibility ages for Social Security and Medicare.
On a related topic, an article by Ankur Pandya of Weill Cornell Medical College and co-authors looked at the impact of some of the future risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Using nine National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey waves from 1973 to 2010, the authors forecast disease risk and prevalence from 2015 to 2030. They found that despite continued improvements in the disease's treatment and declining smoking rates, increasing obesity rates, the aging population, and declining mortality from the disease should cause a rise in health care costs, disability, and reductions in the quality of life associated with increased disease prevalence. "Prevention efforts should be intensified," the authors urge, to curb the imminent spike in cardiovascular disease forecasted by their model.
ABOUT HEALTH AFFAIRS
Health Affairs is the leading journal at the intersection of health, health care, and policy. Published by Project HOPE, the peer-reviewed journal appears each month in print, with additional Web First papers published periodically at www.healthaffairs.org. The full text of each Health Affairs Web First paper is available free of charge to all website visitors for a one-week period following posting, after which it switches to pay-per-view for nonsubscribers. Web First papers are supported in part by a grant from The Commonwealth Fund. You can also find the journal on Facebook and Twitter. Read daily perspectives on END
Health Affairs looks at economic trends & quality trade-offs
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Working to the beat
This news release is available in German. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences and other research facilities have contributed significantly towards a first explanation for the development of music. Contrary to what was previously suspected, music does not simply distract us when physically working hard by making the work seem a lot easier, but actually the music reduces the effort. This new insight permits on the one hand a conclusion to man's historical development of music, and on the other hand provides an important impulse ...
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Babies know when you're faking
This news release is available in French. Montreal, 16 October 2013 — If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands! That's easy enough for children to figure out because the emotion matches the movement. But when feelings and reactions don't align, can kids tell there's something wrong? New research from Concordia University proves that they can — as early as 18 months. In a study recently published in Infancy: The Official Journal of the International Society on Infant Studies, psychology researchers Sabrina Chiarella and Diane Poulin-Dubois demonstrate that ...
Using mobile devices to look up drug info prevents adverse events in nursing homes
PITTSBURGH, Oct. 16, 2013 – Nearly nine out of 10 nursing home physicians said that using their mobile devices to look up prescription drug information prevented at least one adverse drug event in the previous month, according to a University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Department of Biomedical Informatics study published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association. Adverse drug events are associated with an estimated 93,000 deaths and $4 billion in excess health care costs in nursing homes each year, said lead investigator Steven M. Handler, ...
Without plants, Earth would cook under billions of tons of additional carbon
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What makes a data visualization memorable?
Cambridge, Mass. – October 16, 2013 – It's easy to spot a "bad" data visualization—one packed with too much text, excessive ornamentation, gaudy colors, and clip art. Design guru Edward Tufte derided such decorations as redundant at best, useless at worst, labeling them "chart junk." Yet a debate still rages among visualization experts: Can these reviled extra elements serve a purpose? Taking a scientific approach to design, researchers from Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology are offering a new take on that debate. The same design elements that ...
Doctors likely to accept new medicaid patients as coverage expands
Philadelphia, Pa. (October 16, 2013) – The upcoming expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) won't lead physicians to reduce the number of new Medicaid patients they accept, suggests a study in the November issue of Medical Care, published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a part of Wolters Kluwer Health. However, doctors may be less likely to accept those patients who remain uninsured, according to an analysis of historical data by Lindsay M. Sabik, PhD, and Sabina Ohri Gandhi, PhD, of Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond. They write, "Our results ...
The brain's neural thermostat
As we learn and develop, our neurons change. They make new pathways and connections as our brain processes new information. In order to do this, individual neurons use an internal gauge to maintain a delicate balance that keeps our brains from becoming too excitable. Scientists have long theorized a larger internal system monitors these individual gauges, like a neural thermostat, regulating average firing rates across the whole brain. Without this thermostat, they reasoned, our flexible neurons would fire out of control, making bad connections or none at all. The result ...
New soil testing kit for third world countries
Oct. 16, 2013—Researchers at the University of Maryland and Columbia University have developed a new soil testing kit designed to help farmers in third world countries. On-the-spot soil testing could have major impact in improving crop yields due to poor soils. The kit contains battery-operated instruments and safe materials for agricultural extension agents to handle in the field. They can test for the availability of nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur, and potassium, as well as active organic matter, and certain soil physical limitations. The raw results of the tests are sent ...