Health

1:29am

Thu April 17, 2014
Shots - Health News

Polio Hits Equatorial Guinea, Threatens Central Africa

A child receives a polio vaccine Sunday in Kano, Nigeria. The country serves as the primary reservoir of the virus in Africa. But the current outbreak in Equatorial Guinea came by way of Chad, rather than Nigeria.
Sunday Alamba AP

Health officials are worried.

After being free of polio for nearly 15 years, Equatorial Guinea has reported two cases of the disease.

The children paralyzed are in two distant parts of the country. So the virus may have spread widely across the small nation.

The outbreak is dangerous, in part, because Equatorial Guinea has the worst polio vaccination rate in the world: 39 percent. Even Somalia, teetering on brink of anarchy, vaccinates 47 percent of its children.

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5:01pm

Wed April 16, 2014
Shots - Health News

Free Drug Samples Prompt Skin Doctors To Prescribe Costlier Meds

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 7:17 pm

What you're prescribed may depend on what samples your doctor gets from drug companies.
Steve Cole iStockphoto

Every "free" sample comes with a price.

Dermatologists who accept free tubes and bottles of brand-name drugs are likelier to prescribe expensive medications for acne than doctors who are prohibited from taking samples, a study reports Wednesday.

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10:00am

Wed April 16, 2014
Shots - Health News

Medicare Kept Paying Indicted, Sanctioned Doctors

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 11:26 am

A check of Medicare's new database of payments to physicians confirms that at least $6 million in 2012 went to doctors who had been indicted or otherwise sanctioned.
iStockphoto

In August 2011, federal agents swept across the Detroit area, arresting doctors, pharmacists and other health professionals accused of running a massive scheme to defraud Medicare.

The following month, several of those arrested, including psychiatrist Mark Greenbain and podiatrist Anmy Tran, were suspended from billing the state's Medicaid program for the poor.

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1:40am

Wed April 16, 2014
Shots - Health News

Is Obamacare A Success? We Might Not Know For A While

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 11:13 am

Hundreds in California rushed to get health insurance just before the deadline.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

After months of focusing on how many people have or haven't signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, we now have a rough total (7.5 million), and everyone's keen to get to the bigger questions: How well is the law working? How many of those who signed up have paid their premiums and are actually getting coverage? How many were uninsured before they signed up? And just how big has the drop been in the number of uninsured people?

Unfortunately, the answers to some of these questions simply aren't knowable — or, at least, not knowable yet.

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3:29pm

Tue April 15, 2014
Shots - Health News

Risks Of Popular Anxiety Drugs Often Overshadowed

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 4:40 pm

Xanax and Valium, prescribed to treat anxiety, mood disorders and insomnia, can be deadly when mixed with other sedatives.
Dean812 Flickr

When actor Philip Seymour Hoffman died of an overdose in February, the New York City medical examiner ruled that his death was the result of "acute mixed drug intoxication." Heroin, cocaine and a widely prescribed class of drugs known as benzodiazepines, or benzos, were found in his system.

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