The Myth of the Medical-Device Tax

IN the last few days of negotiations in Congress, repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s tax on medical devices emerged as a key Republican demand. The medical-device industry waged an intense lobbying campaign — even garnering the support of many Democrats who favored the law — arguing that the tax would stifle innovation and increase health care costs.

This argument is doubly disingenuous. Not only can the medical-device industry easily afford the tax without compromising innovation, but the industry’s enormous profits are a result of anticompetitive practices that themselves drive up medical-device costs unnecessarily. The tax is a distraction from reforms to the industry that are urgently needed to lower health care costs. More

The Challenge of Diabetes for Doctor and Patient

These two patients highlighted the outsized role that diabetes plays in the primary care setting. The tidal wave of diabetes over the last two decades has made it one of the most common diseases that internists and family doctors treat. Right now feels like a good-news-bad-news time on the diabetes front, which in a general medical clinic can sometimes feel like the only front there is. More

This article appeared in the October 20, 2013 issue of The New York Times Magazine.

If you consider yourself to be a born morning person or an inveterate night owl, there is new research that supports your desire to wake up early or stay up late. Each of us has a personal “chronotype,” or unique circadian rhythm, says Till Roenneberg, a professor of chronobiology at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich and one of the world’s experts on sleep. In broad strokes, these chronotypes are usually characterized as early, intermediate or late, corresponding to people who voluntarily go to bed and wake early, at a moderate hour or vampirishly late. If you are forced to wake up earlier than your body naturally would, you suffer from what Roenneberg calls “social jet lag.”


Tip-Toeing Toward Conversations About Death

Having a conversation about the way you want to die can be uncomfortable. But that means many of us aren’t ready when our parents, spouse or children face a startling diagnosis or have a tragic accident. And how about for yourself? Do you have a health proxy, someone who knows what to tell doctors if you are unconscious? More.

Why Oreos Are As Addictive As Cocaine To Your Brain

A small new study suggests the brain responds to Oreo cookies quite like it responds to actual drugs – at least if you’re a rat. The “pleasure center” of the brain, the nucleus accumbens, apparently gets just as activated in response to Oreos as it does to cocaine and morphine, which could actually have some major public health implications. More.

Study: Good Night’s Sleep Cleans Out Gunk In Brain

When we sleep, our brains get rid of gunk that builds up while we’re awake, suggests a study that may provide new clues to treat Alzheimer’s disease and other disorders.

This cleaning was detected in the brains of sleeping mice, but scientists said there’s reason to think it happens in people too.

If so, the finding may mean that for people with dementia and other mind disorders, “sleep would perhaps be even more important in slowing the progression of further damage,” Dr. Clete Kushida, medical director of the Stanford Sleep Medicine Center, said in an email. More.

For Indian Americans, Need Grows for Culturally-Sensitive Palliative Care

As the South Asian American community increasingly deals with health problems among its growing and aging senior population, more of these types of cases are likely to occur. These families are feeling the stress related to end-of-life decision-making. More.

Futile Treatment Given Some as End-of-Life Aid in Intensive Care

Some intensive-care patients receive expensive treatments that don’t prolong life while increasing pain and suffering, a study found.

About 11 percent of critical-care patients at the University of California, Los Angeles, health-care system received what researchers termed futile treatment, the majority dying within six months while still in the hospital, according to a study released today in JAMA Internal Medicine. The cost of treatment was $2.6 million over three months, researchers said. More


L.A. County health workers required to get a flu shot or wear mask

As are all of our employes and volunteers – as of Friday, Nov. 1!  More.