Insurance companies reject kidney donors; houses pass internet drug tracking system; students snort Adderall to get high; and will the passing of Obamacare inspire Republicans to vote for Romney? These stories and more topping public health headlines today, June 12, 2012.
Fox News – Never too late to quit smoking, researchers say
Ex-smokers live longer than those who haven’t kicked the habit, no matter what age group you look at, according to a new report. “This fact calls for effective smoking cessation programs that are likely to have major preventive effects even for smokers aged 60 years and older,” German researchers write in Archives of Internal Medicine.
The Telegraph – Now schoolchildren are snorting their ADHD medication. Why didn’t America see this coming?
The New York Times has finally woken up to America’s biggest unacknowledged drug problem: the massive overprescription of the amphetamine drug Adderall for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Kids have been selling each other this powerful – and extremely moreish – mood enhancer for years, as ADHD diagnoses and prescriptions for the drug have shot up. Now, children are snorting the stuff, breaking open the capsules and ingesting it using the time-honoured tool of a rolled-up bank note.
Legislative Gazette – Drug tracking system passes both houses unanimously
The Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing, or I-STOP, unanimously passed both houses Monday, creating a real-time, online database to track the prescription and dispensation of controlled substances. In addition to creating a real-time database, I-STOP also establishes electronic prescribing, changes the scheduling of hydrocodone and tramadol to decrease potential abuse, creates a safe disposal program for prescription medications and increases education regarding potential abuse of controlled substances.
POLITICO – Does Mitt Romney need ‘Obamacare’?
Republicans are cheerleading for the Supreme Court to strike down President Barack Obama’s health care law. But there’s one Republican who might be sorry: Mitt Romney. There’s fear in some GOP circles that if the court wipes the Affordable Care Act off the books Romney will lose a rallying point for the movement conservatives he has been struggling to inspire. Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) said, “If the law is upheld, he said, “it might drive our people out to the polls.”
Wall Street Journal – Allergy-Free Dining
A growing number of restaurants are catering to patrons with food sensitivities. An estimated 15 million Americans—including 1 in every 13 children—have at least one food allergy, according to the Food Allergy Initiative. A growing number of restaurants are catering to patrons with food sensitivities. An estimated 15 million Americans—including 1 in every 13 children—have at least one food allergy, according to the Food Allergy Initiative
New York Times – The Reward for Donating a Kidney: No Insurance
When Erika Royer’s lupus led to kidney failure four years ago, her father, Radburn, was able to give her an extraordinary gift: a kidney. But because of his donation, her father, a physically active 53-year-old, has been unable to obtain private health insurance. But Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota rejected his application for coverage last year, as well as his appeals, on the grounds that he has chronic kidney disease, even though many people live with one kidney and his nephrologist testified that his kidney is healthy. Mr. Royer was also unable to purchase life insurance. There is little data on how often kidney donors have trouble obtaining insurance, but advocates say the fear of being uninsurable may be a powerful deterrent to donation.
Kaiser Health News – Mass. Biggest Insurer Tightens Rules On Some Painkillers
In an effort to curb abuse of powerful painkillers, Massachusetts’s largest insurer is going to restrict doctors’ ability to write new prescriptions to 30 days’ worth of pills before a mandatory review by the insurer. By limiting the drugs, the insurer hopes to reduce the risk of addiction and also to keep the drugs from teenagers and others for whom they weren’t prescribed. Patients with such serious or chronic conditions as cancer or those who are terminally ill will be permitted to continue to receive opioid painkillers.
New York Times – Choosing a Sugar Substitute
Although many people have nagging worries about artificial sweeteners, they still use mountains of them — globally, artificial sweeteners are a $1.5-billion-a-year market — to avoid sugar and calories. The scientific world is also a dichotomy of conclusions. For any of the sweeteners, one can as easily find a study that offers reassuring analysis of safety as one that enumerates potential alarming effects. Thus hearsay, mythology and whim guide the choices of many people.
Wall Street Journal – Bringing the Hospital Home for the Tiniest of Patients
Many children, not just preemies, now are surviving conditions that were once considered insurmountable thanks to advances in technology and neonatal care. And a growing number of families are learning to manage the needs of a fragile child at home as home-care technologies become more widely available, and amid pressure on hospitals to trim costs.