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New findings from mouse models reveal that the type of immune response that helps maintain healthy metabolism in fatty tissues, called type 2 immunity, also drives obesity-induced nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The work, led by scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, shows that the inflammatory environment in the fatty liver is more complex than previously thought. These insights may inform the development of new NAFLD treatments as well as immune-altering therapies for obesity and related health issues in people with NAFLD.

NAFLD affects an estimated 64 million people in the United States. Over time, it can progress to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), eventually leading to liver damage and scarring. NAFLD is a leading indication for liver transplantation.

In a new study from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, researchers found a higher than expected prevalence of cancer at baseline screening in individuals with Li-Fraumeni syndrome (LFS), a rare inherited disorder that leads to a higher risk of developing certain cancers. The research demonstrates the feasibility of a new, comprehensive cancer screening protocol for this high-risk population.

The study was led by Sharon A. Savage, M.D., of NCI’s Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (DCEG), and was published with a companion meta-analysis on August 3, 2017, in JAMA Oncology.

For many millions of Americans, diabetes is a lifelong burden. But it does not have to be a lifelong barrier to better health. This National Diabetes Month, the National Institutes of Health encourages people with diabetes and those who care for them to find the support they need, and for all people to gain understanding and offer support to those with this challenging disease.

Investigators at the National Institutes of Health and international colleagues have discovered a genetic cause and potential treatment strategy for a rare immune disorder called CHAPLE disease. Children with the condition can experience severe gastrointestinal distress and deep vein blood clots. No effective treatments are available to ameliorate or prevent these life-threatening symptoms.

In the study, researchers from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of NIH, describe a newly understood mechanism for CHAPLE disease, or CD55 deficiency with hyperactivation of complement, angiopathic thrombosis, and protein-losing enteropathy. The research report was published online today in the New England Journal of Medicine. CHAPLE disease is a form of primary intestinal lymphangiectasia (PIL), or Waldmann’s disease, first described in 1961 by Thomas A. Waldmann, M.D., an NIH Distinguished Investigator at the National Cancer Institute, at NIH.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria are resistant to multiple antibiotics and commonly cause skin infections that can lead to more serious or life-threatening infection in other parts of the body. In new findings published in The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that two common, inexpensive antimicrobials can help patients heal from MRSA skin abscesses. The findings suggest that current treatment options for MRSA still have a role, even as scientists continue to search for new antimicrobial products. The research was funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a part of the National Institutes of Health.

An international team of researchers has identified genomic mutations for Carey-Fineman-Ziter (CFZS) syndrome, a very rare congenital myopathy (inherited muscle disorder) characterized by facial weakness, a small or retracted chin, a cleft palate and curvature of the spine (scoliosis), among other symptoms. The researchers determined that CFZS is caused by mutations in the gene MYMK that encodes for the protein myomaker. This protein is necessary for the fusion of muscle cells (myoblasts) into muscle fibers (myotubes) during the development of an embryo and the regeneration of muscle cells after injury. The study was published July 6, 2017, in Nature Communications.

A National Institutes of Health-funded study led by a team at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University has shown that an influenza vaccine can produce robust immune responses and be administered safely with an experimental patch of dissolving microneedles. The method is an alternative to needle-and-syringe immunization; with further development, it could eliminate the discomfort of an injection as well as the inconvenience and expense of visiting a flu clinic.

“This bandage-strip sized patch of painless and dissolvable needles can transform how we get vaccinated,” said Roderic I. Pettigrew, Ph.D., M.D., director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), which funded the study. “A particularly attractive feature is that this vaccination patch could be delivered in the mail and self-administered. In addition, this technology holds promise for delivering other vaccines in the future.”

Using a larger dataset than for any previous human movement study, National Institutes of Health-funded researchers at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, have tracked physical activity by population for more than 100 countries. Their research follows on a recent estimate that more than 5 million people die each year from causes associated with inactivity.

The large-scale study of daily step data from anonymous smartphone users dials in on how countries, genders, and community types fare in terms of physical activity and what results may mean for intervention efforts around physical activity and obesity. The study was published July 10, 2017, in the advance online edition of Nature.

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There are many factors that can increase risk for hyperthermia, including:

* Dehydration

* Alcohol use

* Reduced sweating caused by medications such as diuretics, sedatives, tranquilizers and certain heart and blood pressure drugs

* High blood pressure or other health conditions that require changes in diet. People on salt-restricted diets may be at increased risk; however, salt pills should not be used without first consulting a doctor.

* Use of multiple medications. It is important, however, to continue to take prescribed medication and discuss possible problems with a physician.

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Scientists have demonstrated how an investigational drug works against a rare, fatal genetic disease, Niemann-Pick type C1 (NPC1). They found that a closely related compound will activate an enzyme, AMPK, triggering a cellular “recycling” system that helps reduce elevated cholesterol and other accumulated fats in the brains and livers of NPC1 patients, which are hallmarks associated with severe neurological problems. The research was led by scientists at the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), part of the National Institutes of Health, and their colleagues.

The work could lead to a new generation of potential therapies for NPC1 and other similar disorders, as well as neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. The scientists reported their findings online on July 17, 2017 in the journal Autophagy.

Using brain imaging to track the effects of treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), scientists have identified a brain circuit on which a frequently used and effective psychotherapy (prolonged exposure) acts to quell symptoms. The findings help explain why the neural circuit identified is a promising target for additional treatment development, including brain stimulation therapies.

In an accompanying paper, the authors also report that they have identified hallmarks in brain activity of people with PTSD that predict who will benefit from treatment. Both papers appear online July 18 in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

How well cancer patients fared after chemotherapy was affected by their social interaction with other patients during treatment, according to a new study by researchers at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part of the National Institutes of Health, and the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. Cancer patients were a little more likely to survive for five years or more after chemotherapy if they interacted during chemotherapy with other patients who also survived for five years or more. Patients were a little more likely to die in less than five years after chemotherapy when they interacted during chemotherapy with those who died in less than five years. The findings were published online July 12, 2017, in the journal Network Science.

Scientists at the University of Florida have discovered a new method of observing the brain changes caused by Parkinson’s disease, which destroys neurons important for movement. The development suggests that fluid changes in a specific brain area could provide a way to track that damage. The study, published in the journal Brain, was supported by the NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).

“By finding a new way to detect and track how Parkinson’s affects the brain, this study provides an important tool for assessing whether a drug might slow or stop those changes and keep symptoms from getting worse,” said NINDS Program Director Daofen Chen, Ph.D.

Two standard medications for bipolar disorder were effective in controlling symptoms at doses tailored to older people in a clinical trial of treatment in adults over age 60. The findings are an important step towards filling an existing gap in evidence-based guidance for treatment of bipolar disorder in older adults.

A large, long-term study suggests that middle aged Americans who have vascular health risk factors, including diabetes, high blood pressure and smoking, have a greater chance of suffering from dementia later in life. The study, published in JAMA Neurology, was funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

“With an aging population, dementia is becoming a greater health concern. This study supports the importance of controlling vascular risk factors like high blood pressure early in life in an effort to prevent dementia as we age,” said Walter J. Koroshetz, M.D., director of NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), which partially funded the study and created the Mind Your Risks® public health campaign to make people more aware of the link between cardiovascular and brain health. “What’s good for the heart is good for the brain,” he added.

A new study suggests that T cells, which help the body’s immune system recognize friend from foe, may play an important role in Parkinson’s disease (PD). The study, published in the journal Nature, was supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health.

A new study identifies genes that are necessary in cancer cells for immunotherapy to work, addressing the problem of why some tumors don’t respond to immunotherapy or respond initially but then stop as tumor cells develop resistance to immunotherapy.

The study, from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), was led by Nicholas Restifo, M.D., a senior investigator with NCI’s Center for Cancer Research, with coauthors from NCI; Georgetown University, Washington D.C.; the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts; New York University, New York City; and the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. It was published online in Nature on August 7, 2017. NCI is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

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