Tag Archives: Health

DIGITAL HEALTH: THE FUTURE OF WEARABLE DEVICES

Currently, smartwatches provide information such as heart rate, sleep time and activity patterns. In the future, this could be augmented with new classes of wearable devices that monitor, for example, concentrations of cortisol for tracking stress (using electronic epidermal tattoos), biomarkers of inflammation and levels of blood O2 (microneedle patches), skin temperature (electronic textiles), blood pressure (smart rings), concentration of ions (wristbands), intraocular pressure (smart contact lenses), the presence of airborne pathogens and breathing anomalies (face masks), and the concentration of therapeutic drugs (on-teeth sensors)2,10,12,13,14,15,16. Such emerging low-cost wearable sensing technologies, monitoring both physical parameters and biochemical markers, could be used to identify symptomatic and pre-symptomatic cases in future pandemics. The devices could also be used to remotely monitor the recovery of individuals undergoing treatment or self-isolating at home.

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COVID-19 PODCAST: LATEST ON VACCINE ROLLOUT, NEW MUTATION & FDA APPROVALS

Stephen Hahn, U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner, Sigal Atzmon, founder and chief executive officer of Medix Global, and Roche CEO Severin Schwan, on the pandemic, Covid-19 vaccines and the new mutation.

HEALTH: VALUE OF A HEALTHY ‘SKIN MICROBIOME’ (VIDEO)

Our skin is home to billions of microorganisms, the vast majority of which are bacteria. Much like the microbiome in our gut, these microbes play a crucial part in keeping us healthy. They are part of a finely balanced ecosystem of friendly or ‘commensal’ bacteria, which protect our skin by creating an inhospitable environment for would-be invaders, bolstering the physical integrity of the skin, and training the immune system to distinguish commensal inhabitants from pathogens. A number of skin conditions are now understood to be influenced by a breakdown of this microbial ecosystem. Researchers are working out whether restoring the balance can treat these conditions. Understanding the ecology of this rich community is likely to be an important part of both dermatology and the study of the microbiome. Read more in https://www.nature.com/collections/sk…

HEALTH: WHAT ARE ‘SALIVA TESTS FOR COVID-19’? (VIDEO)

Screening testing is one tool the University of Pennsylvania is using to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread within the University community. That’s why we’re performing saliva-based viral testing for students, faculty, postdocs, and staff who are on campus.

HEALTH: HOW ‘STATINS’ PREVENT HEART ATTACKS AND STROKES’ (CDC VIDEO)

Statins are a type of medication used to lower the level of bad cholesterol in the blood and reduce build-up in arteries that can cause a heart attack or stroke. This short animated video explains the importance of statins, how they work, and why your doctor may prescribe them.

HEALTH: ‘AT-HOME COVID-19 TESTS’ – ON THE WAY (VIDEO)

OraSure Technologies has blazed a trail in at-home diagnostic tests. Now, the Pennsylvania-based biotech company is working to produce a quick, over-the-counter coronavirus test that consumers can take in the privacy of their home with results available in minutes. NPR’s Allison Aubrey reports.

HEALTH & RETIREMENT: A LOOK AT MEDICARE, MEDIGAP AND PART D DRUG PLANS

If you’re enrolled only in original Medicare with a Medigap supplemental plan, and don’t use a drug plan, there’s no need to re-evaluate your coverage, experts say. But Part D drug plans should be reviewed annually. The same applies to Advantage plans, which often wrap in prescription coverage and can make changes to their rosters of in-network health care providers.

“The amount of information that consumers need to grasp is dizzying, and it turns them off from doing a search,” Mr. Riccardi said. “They feel paralyzed about making a choice, and some just don’t think there is a more affordable plan out there for them.”

November 13, 2020

When creation of the prescription drug benefit was being debated, progressive Medicare advocates fought to expand the existing program to include drug coverage, funded by a standard premium, similar to the structure of Part B. The standard Part B premium this year is $144.60; the only exceptions to that are high-income enrollees, who pay special income-related surcharges, and very low-income enrollees, who are eligible for special subsidies to help them meet Medicare costs.

“Given the enormous Medicare population that could be negotiated for, I think most drugs could be offered through a standard Medicare plan,” said Judith A. Stein, executive director of the Center for Medicare Advocacy.

“Instead, we have this very fragmented system that assumes very savvy, active consumers will somehow shop among dozens of plan options to see what drugs are available and at what cost with all the myriad co-pays and cost-sharing options,” she added.

Advocates like Ms. Stein also urged controlling program costs by allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies — something the legislation that created Part D forbids.

Read full article in NY Times

COMMENTARY

Medicare is a blessing. It is a great help to retired and elderly people and generally does the job it was intended to do. There are a great variety of Medicare supplement plans and pharmaceutical purchase plans, And they jockey and change every year.

I get a headache just thinking about how to compare these plans from my individual needs and and whether their cost is worth it. The take-home message from the New York Times article is that you can get individual attention from an advisor who presumably knows the field well.

The key acronyms are SHIP and HICAP, which stands for state health insurance assist program and California health insurance counseling and advisor program respectively.

The California number is 1-800-434-0222. Be sure to write down the medications that you are taking and Your diagnosed illnesses, as well as your financial status in order to make best use of the service.

—Dr. C.