The FDA is finally doing something about the medical device security dumpster-fire

Medical device security very, very, very, very, very, very, very bad. Read the rest

The rise and fall of smoking in the west

From the 1920s to the 1980s, the United States was the most smoking country in the developed world. In the 1960s, consumption peaked over 10 a day, per capita. But now it's near the bottom of the chart—only Britain smokes less, among rich western countries.

Don't fret for the health of the Tobacco business, though: China's taking up the slack. Read the rest

People with implanted neurostimulators are vulnerable to wireless attacks

A group of Belgian academic security researchers from KU Leuwen have published a paper detailing their investigation into improving the security of neurostimulators: electrical brain implants used to treat chronic pain, Parkinson's, and other conditions. Read the rest

When your dental insurer sends you a "free" Internet of Shit toothbrush

Wolf Richter's dental insurer sent his family a free "smart" toothbrush that records how often and how well you brush, using a set of proprietary consumables to clean your teeth. Read the rest

Goldman Sachs report: "Is curing patients a sustainable business model?"

In Goldman Sachs's April 10 report, "The Genome Revolution," its analysts ponder the rise of biotech companies who believe they will develop "one-shot" cures for chronic illnesses; in a moment of rare public frankness, the report's authors ask, "Is curing patients a sustainable business model?" Read the rest

Careful study reveals that low testosterone is almost nonexistent and that taking T has almost no health benefits

A large-scale, long-term double-blind study found that low testosterone levels were far, far lower than previously suspected, and showed that taking testosterone supplements didn't confer most of its reputed benefits -- no memory improvement and no physical vitality. Read the rest

Even insured Americans flock to Mexico for low-cost, high-quality health-care

American health care is so screwed up, so horribly distorted by the insurance companies' abusive practices, that millions of Americans (even those with insurance) fly to Mexico every year to get state-of-the-art medical care -- and a resort vacation in the bargain -- rather than face the US system, and save money by doing so. Read the rest

Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes accused of fraud by SEC, pays it off

Theranos, touting fast and easy blood tests, was a billion-dollar Silicon Valley beast.

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Trumpcare added $33B to government healthcare spending, in order to cover 8.9m fewer Americans, who will pay more for less

Trump is an excellent businessman and the Republicans are really good with money: if you doubt it, just take a gander at the Urban Institute's report on the costs and effects of Trumpcare: the US government will spend $33 billion more as a result of GOP policies, and cover 8.9 million fewer Americans, and those Americans will pay higher premiums (18%, on average!) to get worse care. Read the rest

Incentives matter: after back surgery, a routine urine test resulted in a $17,800 bill the patient was expected to pay

At a followup visit a year after Elizabeth Moreno had a disk removed to successfully treat her crippling pain, her doctor asked her to leave a urine sample; a few months later, Sunset Labs LLC of Houston sent her a bill for $17,800. Read the rest

Rats exposed to cell phone radiation lived longer than control group

Using a cell phone won't harm you, according to a draft report issued on Friday by the US Department of Health and Human Services' National Toxicology Program.

From the LA Times:

"The reports don't go much further than what we had reported earlier, and I have not changed the way I use a cellphone," NTP senior scientist John Bucher said in a briefing.

Dr. Otis Brawley, the chief medical and scientific officer for the American Cancer Society, said that the new evidence should not alarm wireless phone users.

"The evidence for an association between cellphones and cancer is weak, and so far, we have not seen a higher cancer risk in people," Brawley said in a statement.

Interestingly, rats exposed to the radiation lived longer than control group rats.

LA Times:

The researchers also reported that rats and mice exposed to radiofrequency radiation developed more tumors in the brain, prostate, liver, pancreas, pituitary gland and adrenal gland. But they said they weren't sure whether the radiation was responsible.

Among non-cancer risks, rat pups had lower birth weights when their mothers were exposed to high levels of radiation during pregnancy and while they were nursing. However, the rats ultimately grew to normal size.

Strikingly, the rats exposed to radiation lived longer than rats in an unexposed group that served as controls.

The researchers were at a loss to explain this. Perhaps the radiation reduces inflammation, as is seen in a therapy called microwave diathermy, they said. Or it could just be chance.

Read the rest

Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, JPMorgan Chase announce new health insurer 'free from profit-making incentives and constraints'

Investor Warren Buffet, world's-richest-guy Jeff Bezos and cartoon villain Jamie Dimon have announced that their firms will collaborate to create an unnamed health insurer that is "free from profit-making incentives and constraints" (though that does not necessarily mean it will be a nonprofit, of course).

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High carb diet linked to Alzheimer's

The journal Diabetologia published a study that "found that people with high blood sugar had a faster rate of cognitive decline than those with normal blood sugar—whether or not their blood-sugar level technically made them diabetic. In other words, the higher the blood sugar, the faster the cognitive decline.

From The Atlantic:

In a 2012 study, Roberts broke nearly 1,000 people down into four groups based on how much of their diet came from carbohydrates. The group that ate the most carbs had an 80 percent higher chance of developing mild cognitive impairment—a pit stop on the way to dementia—than those who ate the smallest amount of carbs. People with mild cognitive impairment, or MCI, can dress and feed themselves, but they have trouble with more complex tasks. Intervening in MCI can help prevent dementia.

Image: Pixabay CC0 License Read the rest

NHS okays hospitals and doctors storing patient data on public cloud servers

NHS Digital has issued guidance to the independent authorities and businesses that make up the UK's National Health Service, setting out the case for storing extremely sensitive patient data on public cloud servers. Read the rest

Becoming a mother in a Rohingya refugee camp

Rojinessa labored through the night and gave birth to a baby boy around dawn. Her mother delivered the baby. No doctors were present. No midwives. No beeping machines. Rojinessa became a mother in a tent with a bare concrete floor, a plastic sheet roof, and no running water. She is a Rohingya refugee, living in Ukhia, Bangladesh, with more than 650,000 other refugees who have fled the grotesque and incomprehensible genocide ravaging her people in Burma.

VR chat participant appears to have a photosensitive seizure

Participants in a VRChat room watched as the avatar of one of the participants appeared to go into a grand mal seizure, accompanied by distressed sounds audible through the voice-chat. Read the rest

America's large hospital chains will start manufacturing generic drugs in order to beat shkrelic price-gouging

Hospital chain Intermountain Healthcare is leading a industry consortium representing 450 hospitals in total in an initiative to manufacture their own generic drugs, either directly or through subcontractors. Read the rest

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