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Study confirms and extends the evidence of benefit of physical activity on cancer risk. A new study of the relationship between physical activity and cancer has shown that greater levels of leisure-time physical activity were associated with a lower risk of developing 13 different types of cancer. The risk of developing seven cancer types was 20 percent (or more) lower among the most active participants (90th percentile of activity) as compared with the least active participants (10th percentile of activity).

These findings, from researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, and the American Cancer Society, confirm and extend the evidence for a benefit of physical activity on cancer risk and support its role as a key component of population-wide cancer prevention and control efforts. The study, by Steven C. Moore, Ph.D., NCI, and colleagues, appeared May 16, 2016, in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Scans of an individual’s brain activity are emerging as powerful predictive tools, thanks to the Human Connectome Project  (HCP), an initiative of the National Institutes of Health. Such individual differences were often discarded as “noise” – uninterpretable apart from group data. Now, recently reported studies based on HCP neuroimaging and psychological data show that individual differences in brain connectivity can reliably predict a person’s behavior.  Such scans might someday help clinicians personalize diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders, say researchers.

An international stroke study found that standard and intensive blood pressure treatments were equally effective in the emergency treatment of acute intracerebral hemorrhage, a type of stroke caused by bleeding into the brain. Patients whose systolic blood pressure was reduced rapidly in emergency rooms to standard levels used to treat acute stroke (140-179 mm Hg) did as well as patients whose pressure was reduced to intensive levels (110-139 mm Hg). The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, was funded by the NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).

Early-life peanut consumption does not affect duration of breastfeeding or children’s growth and nutrition.  Introducing peanut-containing foods during infancy as a peanut allergy prevention strategy does not compromise the duration of breastfeeding or affect children’s growth and nutritional intakes, new findings show. The work, funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, is published online on June 10 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

People with type 2 diabetes who intensively controlled their blood sugar level during the landmark Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes (ACCORD) Trial Eye Study were found to have cut their risk of diabetic retinopathy in half in a follow-up analysis conducted four years after stopping intensive therapy. Investigators who led the ACCORD Follow-on Eye Study (ACCORDION) announced the results today in New Orleans at the American Diabetes Association annual meeting. The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health’s National Eye Institute (NEI).

Four new grants from the National Institutes of Health will support research on the ethical, legal and social questions raised by advances in genomics research and the increasing availability of genomic information. The awards will fund researchers at interdisciplinary centers through the National Human Genome Research Institute’s (NHGRI) Centers of Excellence in Ethical, Legal and Social Implications Research (CEER) program.

The projects will examine the use of genomic information in the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases; genomic information privacy; communication about prenatal and newborn genomic testing results; and the impact of genomics in American Indian and Alaskan Native communities.

An early-stage HIV vaccine clinical trial in South Africa has determined that an investigational vaccine regimen is safe and generates comparable immune responses to those reported in a landmark 2009 study showing that a vaccine can protect people from HIV infection. Consequently, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and its partners have decided to advance the experimental HIV vaccine regimen into a large clinical trial. This new study, called HVTN 702, is designed to determine whether the regimen is safe, tolerable and effective at preventing HIV infection among South African adults. The trial is slated to begin in November 2016, pending regulatory approval.

With the youngest of the baby boomers hitting 65 by 2029, the number of people with visual impairment or blindness in the United States is expected to double to more than 8 million by 2050, according to projections based on the most recent census data and from studies funded by the National Eye Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health. Another 16.4 million Americans are expected to have difficulty seeing due to correctable refractive errors such as myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness) that can be fixed with glasses, contacts or surgery.

The National Institutes of Health has partnered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to fund five new research centers to improve health in communities overburdened by pollution and other environmental factors that contribute to health disparities. Within each center, scientists will partner with community organizations to study these concerns and develop culturally appropriate ways to reduce exposure to harmful environmental conditions.

Scientists using a technology called cryo-EM (cryo-electron microscopy) have broken through a technological barrier in visualizing proteins with an approach that may have an impact on drug discovery and development. They were able to capture images of glutamate dehydrogenase, an enzyme found in cells, at a resolution of 1.8 angstroms, a level of detail at which the structure of the central parts of the enzyme could be visualized in atomic detail. The scientists from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, and their colleagues also reported achieving another major milestone, by showing that the shapes of cancer target proteins too small to be considered within the reach of current cryo-EM capabilities can now be determined at high resolution.

As part of President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI), the National Institutes of Health will award $142 million over five years to the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, to establish the world’s largest research-cohort biobank for the PMI Cohort Program, a longitudinal research study which aims to enroll 1 million or more U.S. participants to advance precision medicine. The award will support the collection, storage and distribution for research use of biological samples known as biospecimens. Laboratory analyses of the biospecimens, including chemical and genetic tests, will be a key component of the core PMI Cohort Program data set. These data, combined with other information provided by volunteers such as lifestyle and health questionnaires, medication history, electronic health records, physical exams, and environmental exposures and real time physiology tracked through mobile health technologies, will help researchers study individual differences in health and disease.

A training program will help approximately 35,000 first responders and workers, whose jobs may expose them to infectious diseases, protect themselves while also minimizing the spread of disease to others. The three-year, $9 million program is being launched by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), part of the National Institutes of Health, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other federal agencies.

NIH-funded study provides clues to differences in stroke deaths between blacks and whites.  Blacks between the ages of 45 and 54 die of strokes at a rate that is three times greater than their white counterparts, according to the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study, which looked at stroke incidence and mortality of nearly 30,000 participants over the age of 45 from an ethnically and demographically diverse sample of the U.S. population. The findings suggest that the higher risk of death from strokes in blacks is due mostly to the higher incidence in this population, and not to worse outcomes following stroke.

In an advance toward solving a 50-year-old mystery, scientists are reporting new evidence on how the fluoride in drinking water, toothpastes, mouth rinses and other oral-care products prevents tooth decay.    Their report appears in the ACS journal Langumir. Research established long ago that fluoride helps to harden the enamel coating that protects teeth from the acid produced by decay-causing bacteria. Newer studies already found that fluoride penetrates into and hardens a much thinner layer of enamel than previously believed, lending credence to other theories about how fluoride works.

Five men with complete motor paralysis were able to voluntarily generate step-like movements thanks to a new strategy that non-invasively delivers electrical stimulation to their spinal cords, according to a new study funded in part by the National Institutes of Health. The strategy, called transcutaneous stimulation, delivers electrical current to the spinal cord by way of electrodes strategically placed on the skin of the lower back. This expands to nine the number of completely paralyzed individuals who have achieved voluntary movement while receiving spinal stimulation, though this is the first time the stimulation was delivered non-invasively. Previously it was delivered via an electrical stimulation device surgically implanted on the spinal cord.

Beavers don’t brush their teeth or drink fluoridated water, but a new study reports beavers do have protection against tooth decay built into the chemical structure of their teeth: iron. This pigmented enamel, the researchers found, is both harder and more resistant to acid than regular enamel, including that treated with fluoride.

Scientists searched the chromosomes of more than 4,000 Huntington’s disease patients and found that DNA repair genes may determine when the neurological symptoms begin. Partially funded by the National Institutes of Health, the results may provide a guide for discovering new treatments for Huntington’s disease and a roadmap for studying other neurological disorders.

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