How Medicare Might End Surprise Nursing Care Penalties

By Susan Jaffe for Kaiser Health News Medicare officials have allowed patients at dozens of hospitals participating in pilot projects across the country to be exempted from the controversial requirement that limits nursing home coverage to seniors admitted to a hospital for at least three days. The idea behind these experiments is to find out whether new payment arrangements with the hospitals and other health care providers that drop the three-day rule can reduce costs or keep them the same …

‘Alive Inside’: Music + Alzheimer’s = Miracle

  When you speak, you’re mainly using the left hemisphere of your brain. When you look at a painting, it’s the rear of your brain that perceives what you’re seeing. But the brain has no precise center for music. When you listen to music you love, all your gray matter gets into the act: Do a scan of a brain listening to music and virtually the entire thing starts to glow, like embers in a warm hearth. That brain-wide embrace of music …

$190M for Victims of Doctor’s Secret Exam Photos

Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, one of the world’s most respected medical centers, announced it will pay a record $190 million to settle a class-action lawsuit by more than 8,000 women accusing a hospital gynecologist of secretly taking photos and videos of his patients’ pelvic exams. The lawsuit alleges that Nikita Levy used tiny hidden cameras, including one in his pen, to record the exams. After a coworker alerted authorities about her suspicions, Levy was fired in February 2013, the …

Niacin Won’t Help, May Harm, Heart Patients

For 50 years we’ve been told that taking high doses of the B vitamin niacin was one way to lower cholesterol and improve heart health. Now some prominent physicians have had an abrupt change of heart: New research shows that niacin not only doesn’t help but could be very risky for patients. Two large studies, published July 17 in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that taking niacin didn’t reduce deaths from heart disease and it put patients at …

A Challenge to Caregivers: Exercise and Get Fit!

AARP has launched a new online fitness and weight-loss challenge to encourage caregivers to take charge of their own health. What are the odds that caregivers will rise to the challenge? Not as bad as you might think. The average caregiver is a 49-year-old woman who has a job and a family. She spends 20 hours a week providing care for a loved one – usually her mother, who lives alone about 20 minutes away. About 6 in 10 caregivers say …

Anti-Cancer Gel May Be Safer Than Pill

For women with an early form of breast cancer, the oral drug tamoxifen can help prevent a recurrence, but the pill also has serious side effects. Could a tamoxifen skin gel, applied directly to the breast, avoid the side effects while still blocking the cancer cells? The answer may be yes, according to a small, but intriguing new study by researchers with Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Both the skin gel and the pill versions of tamoxifen delivered the …