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How Apple’s wearable tech could and should help your health

Apple talked about many things at its Worldwide Developers Conference earlier this month, but one that got relatively short shrift was the Apple Watch. Now more than two years in, the Watch has undergone a major transition from the product that was first announced, focusing in on specific uses like notifications, health, and fitness.

But some, myself included, had expected to see a bigger push on the health front in watchOS 4. A new marquee feature like sleep tracking, perhaps. Or a glucose monitor. (Apple mentioned that watchOS 4 will now work with external glucose monitors, but if it’s working on such tech itself, it’s not ready for prime time yet.)

While these types of health tracking features are all well and good, it would be far more interesting to see Apple leveraging its technological innovation to push health tech forward into an even more critical category: prevention. Or, to paraphrase the old saying, “Everybody talks about their health, but nobody ever does anything about it.”

Sick days

As with so many ideas of this sort, this one grew out of personal experience. A few days ago I woke up feeling cruddy: hacking cough, runny nose, and generally resembling someone who’d been run over by a truck. At one point, I checked my Apple Watch to see if my heart rate was elevated—it wasn’t, particularly—but that got me wondering if there was information that could be collected and analyzed in such a way as to predict when you might be under the weather.

Apple’s already got some of the tools that it could bring to bear on this problem. The Apple Watch incorporates that heart rate sensor, for one thing, and it also collects information about your activity. Perhaps other sensors could be devised to monitor your temperature or other vitals.

But what really needs to be brought to bear on this problem, however, is Apple’s machine learning algorithms. Analyzing patterns like this should be one of machine learning’s strengths. If you could feed it a bunch of data about your health, combined with an assessment about how you’re feeling, then perhaps it could start building out models to let you know “Hey, you might be getting a cold!” It’s not going to let you prevent getting sick entirely, of course, but you might be able to minimize such an effect by using proactive measures like taking it easy, hydrating more, upping your intake of vitamin C or those zinc lozenges–whatever works for you.

In the same way that the Apple Watch reminds you to stand up or to breathe, it could instead give you prompts to take other actions that might help improve your health and wellness or to stave off illness. Likewise, you may be able to eventually use this information to help other people, by reporting on what makes you feel better and then distributing that information to others—and them with you.

Sweating the small stuff

Sure, alerting people to the possibility that they have a cold is hardly one of the big problems in health. It’s not curing cancer or heart disease or diabetes. But even these small things have the potential to improve a lot of people’s quality of life, and they’re far more broadly applicable to the populace at large.

Senate Health Care Bill Includes Deep Cuts to Medicaid

Other Republican senators, like Dean Heller of Nevada and Rob Portman of Ohio, expressed their own qualms, as did AARP, the American Hospital Association, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Video


How the G.O.P. Health Bill Would Change Medicaid

The reporter Margot Sanger-Katz examines how the Republican health plan aims to roll back a program that insures one in five Americans.


By MARGOT SANGER-KATZ, ROBIN STEIN and SARAH STEIN KERR on Publish Date June 22, 2017.


Photo by Doug Mills/The New York Times.

Watch in Times Video »

“We are extremely disappointed by the Senate bill released today,” the medical school association wrote. “Despite promises to the contrary, it will leave millions of people without health coverage, and others with only bare-bones plans that will be insufficient to properly address their needs.”

Once promised as a top-to-bottom revamp of the health bill passed by the House last month, the Senate bill instead maintains its structure, with modest adjustments. The Senate version is, in some respects, more moderate than the House bill, offering more financial assistance to some lower-income people to help them defray the rapidly rising cost of private health insurance.

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But the Senate bill would make subsidies less generous than under current law. It would also lower the annual income limit for receiving subsidies to cover insurance premiums to 350 percent of the poverty level, or about $42,000 for an individual, from 400 percent.

Older people could be disproportionately hurt because they pay more for insurance in general. Both chambers’ bills would allow insurers to charge older people five times as much as younger ones; the limit now is three times.

The Senate measure, like the House bill, would phase out the extra money that the federal government has provided to states as an incentive to expand eligibility for Medicaid. And like the House bill, it would put the entire Medicaid program on a budget, ending the open-ended entitlement that now exists.

It would also repeal most of the tax increases imposed by the Affordable Care Act to help pay for expanded coverage, in effect handing a broad tax cut to the affluent in a measure that would also slice billions of dollars from Medicaid, a program that serves one in five Americans, not only the poor but also almost two-thirds of people in nursing homes. A capital-gains tax cut for the most affluent Americans would be retroactive to the beginning of this year.

The bill, drafted in secret, is likely to come to the Senate floor next week, and could come to a vote after 20 hours of debate.

If it passes, President Trump and the Republican Congress will be on the edge of a major overhaul of the American health care system — about one-sixth of the nation’s economy.

The premise of the bill, repeated almost daily in some form by its chief author, Mr. McConnell, is that “Obamacare is collapsing around us, and the American people are desperately searching for relief.”

Mr. Trump shares that view, and passage of the Senate bill would move the president much closer to being able to boast about the adoption of a marquee piece of legislation, a feat he has so far been unable to accomplish.

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Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, held a news conference at which he criticized the Republican health care bill on Thursday.

Credit
Al Drago for The New York Times

Democrats and some insurers say Mr. Trump has sabotaged the Affordable Care Act, in part by threatening to withhold subsidies paid to insurers so they can reduce deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs for millions of low-income people.

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And President Barack Obama, who has been hesitant to speak up on political issues since leaving office, waded into the debate on Thursday, saying the Senate proposal showed a “fundamental meanness.”

“The Senate bill, unveiled today, is not a health care bill,” Mr. Obama wrote on his Facebook page. “It’s a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America. It hands enormous tax cuts to the rich and to the drug and insurance industries, paid for by cutting health care for everybody else.”

In a message to his supporters, Mr. Obama urged people to demand compromise from their lawmakers before senators vote on the Republican bill next week.

In the Senate, Democrats are determined to defend a law that has provided coverage to 20 million people and is a pillar of Mr. Obama’s legacy. The debate over the repeal bill is shaping up as a titanic political clash, which could have major implications for both parties, affecting their electoral prospects for years to come.



Where Senators Stand on the Health Care Bill

Senate Republican leaders unveiled their health care bill on Thursday.


Mr. McConnell faces a great challenge in amassing the votes to win Senate approval of the bill, which Republicans are trying to pass using special budget rules that would allow them to avoid a Democratic filibuster. But with only 52 seats, Mr. McConnell can afford to lose only two Republicans, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking the tie.

Democrats have assailed Republicans for putting the bill together without a single public hearing or bill-drafting session.

And Mr. Trump has been only fitfully helpful. He cheered on passage of the House version, then told senators it was “mean.” On Thursday, a White House spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, declared, “I don’t believe that the president has specifically weighed in that it’s right to cut Medicaid” — something the Senate bill decidedly does, as does the president’s proposed budget. Later, Mr. Trump tweeted that he was “very supportive” of the Senate bill.

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Republican leaders still must contend with internal divisions that will be difficult to overcome. Numerous Republican senators from states that expanded Medicaid are concerned about how a rollback of the program could affect their constituents, and they face pressure from governors back home.

Some Republican senators, like Susan Collins of Maine, said they were waiting for an analysis of the bill to be issued soon by the Congressional Budget Office, the official scorekeeper on Capitol Hill.



Graphic

How Senate Republicans Plan to Dismantle Obamacare

A comparison of the Senate health care bill with the Affordable Care Act.


The budget office found that the bill passed by the House would leave 23 million more people without insurance in a decade.

Under the Senate bill, the federal government would continue paying crucial subsidies to health insurance companies through 2019, alleviating the uncertainty caused by litigation and by mixed signals from the Trump administration. Without this money, many insurers have said, they will sharply increase premiums or pull out of the marketplaces in many states.

The Senate bill would also cap overall federal spending on Medicaid: States would receive a per-beneficiary allotment of money. The federal payments would grow more slowly than under the House bill starting in 2025. Alternatively, states could receive an annual lump sum of federal money for Medicaid in the form of a block grant.

State officials and health policy experts predict that many people would be dropped from Medicaid because states would not fill the fiscal hole left by the loss of federal money.

“The Senate bill creates an illusion of being less draconian than the House bill, but is arguably more so” on Medicaid, said Sara Rosenbaum, a professor of health law and policy at George Washington University.

Photo


United States Capitol Police officers removed protesters from outside Mr. McConnell’s office on Thursday.

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Doug Mills/The New York Times

The Senate bill would make it much easier for states to opt out of insurance standards in the Affordable Care Act, including the requirement for insurers to provide certain “essential benefits.”

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Republicans said the bill would still guarantee access to insurance for people with pre-existing conditions. But consumers could be exposed to new medical costs if, for example, insurers did not have to cover certain expensive new drugs or medical procedures.

“An individual with a pre-existing condition could be insured, but the services needed to treat that condition might not be covered because of a waiver,” said Timothy S. Jost, an emeritus professor of health law at Washington and Lee University.

The Senate and House bills would both provide tax credits to help people buy health insurance, but Senate Republicans said they tried to direct more of the assistance to lower-income people. Under the House bill, the tax credits would be based mainly on a person’s age. Under the Senate bill, they would be based on a person’s income and age, as well as local insurance costs.

The Senate bill, like the House bill, would cut off federal Medicaid payments to Planned Parenthood for one year. The money reimburses clinics for birth control, cancer screenings and other preventive care. About half of Planned Parenthood patients are on Medicaid.

Also like the House measure, the Senate bill would repeal taxes imposed on high-income people by the Affordable Care Act, including a payroll tax increase that helps finance Medicare.

The bill would delay a tax on high-cost employer-sponsored health insurance — the so-called Cadillac tax — to 2026. It is currently scheduled to take effect in 2020. Employers and labor unions detest the tax and would have nearly a decade to try to kill it.

The Senate bill would provide $50 billion to help stabilize insurance markets and hold down premiums from 2018 through 2021. The money would be distributed by the federal government to insurance companies that apply. The bill would provide $62 billion in grants to states for similar purposes from 2019 to 2026.

In addition, the Senate bill would provide $2 billion next year in federal grants to help states respond to the opioid crisis.

The bill would generally prohibit consumers from using federal tax credits to help buy insurance that includes coverage for abortions. Democrats plan to challenge this provision as a violation of Senate rules being used to speed passage of the repeal bill.


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Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/22/us/politics/senate-health-care-bill.html

Trump told Republicans to ‘add some money’ to health care plan

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa, June 21 (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump, under siege in Washington, defended his record at a raucous political rally in Iowa on Wednesday, rejecting a Russia investigation as a witch hunt and saying he was succeeding against all odds, despite no major legislative achievements.

“All we do is win, win, win,” he told a cheering crowd.

A feisty Trump spoke for more than an hour at a rally in Cedar Rapids that was similar to those he held during last year’s presidential campaign. It included protesters escorted out by police, Trump attacking the news media and supporters waving signs saying “Drain the Swamp” in Washington.

Click through images from the timeline of the American Health Care Act:

UNITED STATES – MARCH 14: From left, Dr. Alice T. Chen, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Sen. Maggie Hassn, D-N.H., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., attend a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center to voice opposition to House Republican’s health care plan, the American Health Care Act, March 14, 2017. The event featured testimony from patients and doctors who benefit from the Affordable Care Act. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

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Trump said he doubted he would have help from Democrats in getting major healthcare legislation through the U.S. Congress. He wants the Senate to join the House of Representatives in approving legislation soon to reform the signature domestic achievement of his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama.

“If we went and got the single greatest healthcare plan in the history of the world we would not get one Democrat vote because they’re obstructionists,” Trump said.

The president added that he hoped the health care plan would “surprise” people and be “a really good plan.” Trump told the crowd in Cedar Rapids. “I’ve been talking about a plan with heart. I said, ‘Add some money to it!’

Trump’s first trip to Iowa since taking office on Jan. 20 came against a backdrop of problems in Washington. His legislative agenda is struggling to gain traction, a federal investigation of alleged Russian meddling into the election and possible collusion with Trump’s campaign continues and his approval rating is below 40 percent in most polls.

But Trump touted jobs gains and an improving stock market as evidence that his economic policies are working. He vowed he would eventually get funding for a border wall with Mexico – possibly with solar panels attached – despite congressional refusal thus far.

“We’re thinking about building the wall as a solar wall,” he said. “Pretty good imagination, right? It’s my ideas.”

Solar panels along the wall are among proposals that have been submitted by companies to the Department of Homeland Security, according to media reports.

Buoyed by Republican victories in special congressional elections in Georgia and South Carolina on Tuesday, Trump blasted his opponents as “unbelievably nasty” and said cable news anchors appeared stunned by the Democratic losses.

Unable to get Democrats to join Republicans in major legislative efforts, Trump said the wounding by a gunman last week of Republican Representative Steve Scalise in Alexandria, Virginia, had fostered a spirit of unity. But he did not sound optimistic about breaking through the partisan divide any time soon.

Looking to foreign policy, Trump complained about the “bad hand” he had been dealt, such as North Korea’s nuclear program, days after American student Otto Warmbier died after returning in a coma from captivity in North Korea.

On Tuesday, Trump had tweeted that he has basically given up on getting help from Chinese President Xi Jinping on North Korea after investing a lot of effort to coaxing Beijing to use its influence on Pyongyang.

“I do like President Xi,” said Trump, who was with the new U.S. ambassador to China, former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad. “I do wish we would have a little more help on North Korea.” (Additional reporting by Amanda Becker in Washington; Editing by Bill Trott)

Article source: https://www.aol.com/article/news/2017/06/21/trump-told-republicans-to-add-some-money-to-health-care-plan/22534817/

Senators Working On Health Care Revision Ready To Release Their Plan

The legislation Senate Republicans are releasing is expected to track the House version that was passed last month. Negotiations have been going on in secret.

Article source: http://www.npr.org/2017/06/22/533922318/senators-working-on-health-care-revision-ready-to-release-their-plan

The Senate GOP health bill in one sentence: poor people pay more for worse insurance

There are a lot of moving parts in the health bill Senate Republicans just released, but the bigger picture is straightforward. Health care expert Larry Levitt condensed it to fewer than 140 characters:

That’s it. That’s what this bill does. In fact, it does it over and over again. Policy after policy in the bill is built to achieve the same goal: making poor people pay more for less health insurance.

On page five, for instance, the bill makes a change that is both major and telling. It redefines the “applicable median cost benchmark plan.” This is the kind of provision that the press often skips over because it seems dull and technical. But to understand the vision behind this bill, you need to understand this change.

The Affordable Care Act didn’t simply set subsidies based on income. It also tied them to a “benchmark plan”: the second-cheapest plan in a person’s area that covers, on average, 70 percent of expected health costs. The ACA’s promise was that, with help from subsidies, you wouldn’t have to spend more than a set percentage of your income on health insurance — if premiums rise in your area, so too will the subsidies.

The Senate GOP’s health plan changes that structure in a few ways. First, it resets the benchmark plan to one that only covers 58 percent of expected health costs. Under Obamacare, the sparest plan that insurers can generally offer at all has to cover at least 60 percent of expected health costs — so the plans subsidized by the GOP bill won’t just have higher deductibles and less coverage than the plans at the center of the ACA; they’ll have higher deductibles and less coverage than the plans at the bottom of the ACA.

Second, it increases the percentage of your income you can pay for a benchmark plan before it’s deemed unaffordable and additional subsidies kick in. Here are the new levels:


If all this sounds a bit in the weeds, here’s the bottom line: Low-income Americans get less money to buy crummier insurance. In the GOP bill, the measure of what is affordable has gone up and the definition of what counts as decent insurance has gone down.

This basic idea is also present in the plan’s changes to Medicaid. The Senate’s plan begins to phase out the Medicaid expansion in 2021, and fully repeals it in 2024. Low-income people who were on Medicaid get moved to the exchanges, where the plans cover less, cost more, and require more out-of-pocket spending.

Once the Medicaid expansion is repealed, Republicans get to work on Medicaid itself, tying the amount it can spend to an inflation index that lags behind how much health care actually costs. The result is Medicaid will be able to cover fewer people and cover less of their health care in the future.

Similarly, right now the Affordable Care Act’s subsidies go to 400 percent of the poverty line. This bill caps them at 350 percent of the poverty line. People above that limit will have to pay more for their insurance, which means they’ll be able to afford less.

Reading the bill, I keep thinking about what Sen. Mitch McConnell said about the Affordable Care Act in January:

MCCONNELL: Well, what you need to understand is that there are 25 million Americans who aren’t covered now. If the idea behind Obamacare was to get everyone covered, that’s one of the many failures. In addition to premiums going up, copayments going up, deductibles going up. And many Americans who actually did get insurance when they did not have it before have really bad insurance that they have to pay for, and the deductibles are so high that it’s really not worth much to them. So it is chaotic. The status quo is simply unacceptable.

McConnell was right in every criticism he made of the ACA. Then he turned around and wrote a bill that made every single problem he identified worse.

The bill he has written leads to more people who aren’t covered. The premiums, deductibles, and copays people actually pay for their care will skyrocket. More people will end up in bad insurance that has deductibles so high that it’s really not worth much to them. In a particularly Orwellian flourish, the name of this bill dedicated to diminishing the quality of the insurance coverage Americans can afford is “The Better Care Act.”

Article source: https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/6/22/15854614/senate-gop-health-bill-poor-pay-more

Senate’s Obamacare replacement bill will likely boost health savings accounts

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After weeks of secrecy, US Senate to unveil health-care bill


When the U.S. Senate unveils its bill to replace Obamacare Thursday, it’s fair to expect the legislation will seek to expand the benefits of health savings accounts.

Senate Republicans plan to unveil the text of their draft health-care bill as senators struggle over issues such as the future of the Medicaid program for the poor and bringing down insurance costs.

An estimated 23 million people could lose their health care under the House plan, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.

“Most of the debate in the Senate is around the Medicaid and tax credit pieces of the legislation,” said Steve Wojcik, vice president of public policy at the National Business Group on Health, which advocates for large employers. “The HSA enhancements are not very controversial and no one has really spoken out against them.”

HSAs, introduced in 2003 during President George W. Bush’s administration, offer you triple tax advantages: First, contributions are tax-deductible. Second, those contributions can be invested and grow tax-free. Third, withdrawals aren’t taxed as long as you use them for qualified medical expenses, such as doctor’s visits, prescription drugs and dental care.

“It’s [the] best tax-advantaged vehicle to save for medical expenses and for other expenses in retirement,” said John Young, senior vice president of consumerism at Alegeus, a technology company that helps employers provide HSAs to their workers.

For example, while 401(k) plan contributions are subject to the FICA tax, which funds Social Security and Medicare, the money you put into an HSA is not.

“HSAs are not a fix for the health-care system or the lack of health literacy in this country.”
-John Young, senior vice president of consumerism at Alegeus

Provisions of the American Health Care Act, which passed the House by a narrow 217-213 vote May 4, will nearly double the contribution limits for HSAs and give people more flexibility in how they can spend money in these tax-advantaged accounts.

When lawmakers revamped the American Health Care Act to win enough Republican votes to pass the House, the provisions dealing with the expansion of HSAs were left largely untouched.

Though top senators are writing their own health-care bill, key lawmakers in the debate are supportive of boosting the benefits of HSAs. For example, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, sponsored legislation earlier this year that would increase HSA contribution limits in the same way as the American Health Care Act.

Boosting benefits for HSAs is not a cheap proposition. Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation estimates provisions in the American Health Care Act that expand HSAs will cost $19 billion through 2026. But whatever happens in Washington, D.C., HSAs will become a bigger part of how many people pay for and save for health care.

HSAs continue to grow

HSAs have grown to an estimated $37 billion in assets and 20 million accounts at the end of last year and reached $41 billion in assets during January, according to Devenir, an HSA consulting firm in Minneapolis.

Given the momentum, Devenir forecasts assets in the accounts could reach more than $53 billion by 2018, a 20 percent increase from this year. (See chart below.)

A drawback of HSAs is that they must be paired with a high-deductible health plan. Such a plan means you’ll have to pay a deductible of at least $1,300 for individual coverage and $2,600 for families. The maximum annual out-of-pocket costs for these plans are $6,550 for individuals and $13,100 for families this year. Next year, those maximums rise to $6,650 for individuals and $13,300 for family coverage.

In 2017, you (and your employer) can contribute up to $3,400 to an HSA for individuals and $6,750 for families. Account holders age 55 and older can contribute an extra $1,000. Next year, under current law, you can contribute up to $3,450 for individuals and $6,900 for families.

The American Health Care Act proposes increasing the annual limit on HSA contributions to match the annual deductible and out-of-pocket expenses under a high-deductible health plan. That means the HSA contribution limit could be at least $6,650 for individuals and $13,300 for families beginning next year.

The House bill also makes HSA rules more flexible by:

  • Allowing both spouses to make catch-up contributions to one HSA beginning in 2018.
  • Permitting qualified medical expenses incurred before HSA-qualified coverage begins to be reimbursed from an HSA as long as the account is established within 60 days.
  • Letting people use their HSAs to pay for over-the-counter medications, which was restricted under the Affordable Care Act.
  • Lowering the tax penalty if you use an HSA to pay for unqualified medical expenses to 10 percent, from 20 percent. (If you’re 65 or older, you can withdraw from an HSA penalty-free, but you do not get a tax break if you use the money for something other than health care.)

Roughly three-quarters of people who have HSAs withdraw less than they contribute. People who invest their HSA money in stocks and bonds have an average balance of $14,000 compared with $2,500 for those who keep it 100 percent in cash, according to recent research from Fidelity Investments based on data from the accounts it administers.

How to pick an HSA

You don’t have to wait on Congress to open an HSA.

Unlike flexible spending accounts, you don’t have to “use it or lose it” with an HSA each year. Around a quarter of HSA owners don’t touch any money from their accounts, according to Fidelity.

Your employer may direct you to sign up with its preferred HSA provider, but if you are enrolled in a qualified high-deductible health plan, you can choose whatever provider you want. However, if employers only offer matching HSA contributions to their preferred provider, it makes sense to stick with them.

Given the tax advantages, HSAs should be a key part of your retirement savings strategy, said Young at Alegeus. He recommends that people save in a workplace retirement plans up to the employer match, then maximize their HSA contributions and put any remaining savings in 401(k) plans or other investment accounts.

Devenir estimates that about 10 percent of the roughly 20 million HSA account holders have a balance of $5,000 or more and 4 percent of people are using their HSAs as investment plans. Many HSA providers require that you have at least $1,000 in your account before you can invest.

How should people invest their HSA money? Generally, you should have enough cash in your HSA to cover expected medical expenses and invest the rest, according to Fidelity. Here are some portfolio guidelines Fidelity uses for its HSA account holders based on age:

HSAs can travel with you if you change jobs or insurers. Use HSASearch, which is run by Devenir, to comparison shop for more than 320 providers. As with any retirement account, fees and investment options matter.

If Congress increases the benefits of HSAs, it will be helpful to savvy savers, but may not do much for the uninsured.

“HSAs are not a fix for the health-care system or the lack of health literacy in this country,” said Young.

Tom Anderson

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Your health may be written in the stars: How the month you were born affects which diseases you are likely to get

  • Spanish scientists mapped birth months to 27 different chronic diseases 
  • Men born in September were more likely to have thyroid issues than winter boys 
  • Girls in June were less likely to suffer from migraines and menopause problems 
  • Overall, September children are the least likely to suffer from chronic issues 

Xantha Leatham For The Daily Mail

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The month of your birth can affect which diseases will afflict you, according to new research.

Seasonal changes in ultraviolet rays, vitamin D levels and viruses – more common in the winter – may affect foetal development, experts believe.

Spanish scientists mapped birth months to 27 chronic diseases to see if it made a difference to long-term health, and were surprised to find it has a significant impact for some conditions.

Men who were born in September, for example, were almost three times more likely to suffer thyroid problems than those born in January.

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The month of your birth can affect which diseases will afflict you, new Spanish research shows. Scientists found men who were born in September, for example, were almost three times more likely to suffer thyroid problems than those born in January

The month of your birth can affect which diseases will afflict you, new Spanish research shows. Scientists found men who were born in September, for example, were almost three times more likely to suffer thyroid problems than those born in January

The University of Alicante, which carried out the study on nearly 30,000 people, also found that some months had beneficial effects on health (stock)

The University of Alicante, which carried out the study on nearly 30,000 people, also found that some months had beneficial effects on health (stock)

August male babies had almost double the risk of asthma compared to those born at the beginning of the year.

Similarly, women born in July were 27 per cent more likely to be diagnosed with high blood pressure and were at a 40 per cent increased risk of incontinence.

The University of Alicante, which carried out the study on nearly 30,000 people, also found that some months had beneficial effects on health, The Telegraph reports.

What else did they find?

Men born in June were 34 per cent less likely to suffer depression and 22 per cent less likely to be diagnosed with lower back pain.

Women born in June had a 33 per cent lower risk of migraines and a 35 per cent less chance of experiencing menopause problems.

On the whole, September babies appeared to have the least chance of being diagnosed with any chronic disease.

The researchers speculate that levels of vitamin D from sunshine, as well as seasonal illness could explain why September babies are healthies (file image)

The researchers speculate that levels of vitamin D from sunshine, as well as seasonal illness could explain why September babies are healthies (file image)

IS THIS THE FIRST STUDY OF ITS KIND?

Columbia University researchers found similar findings in a study they conducted in 2015.

They discovered that people born in May had the lowest disease risk, and those born in October the highest. 

At the time, the authors of the report, based on 1.7 million people, said the data may help to uncover new disease risk factors. 

Four years prior to that research, experts revealed that birth month could affect everything from intelligence to life expectancy. 

Oxford University scientists found spring babies to be at greater risk of ills, including asthma, autism and even Alzheimer’s disease in later life. 

They may also be less clever than classmates born in other seasons as well as being outlived by autumn-born friends, the Cheltenham Science Festival heard.

This month, as well as October, is known to be when most babies are born, suggesting they are conceived around Christmas.

Why is there a difference between months? 

The researchers speculate that seasonal illness could be behind the variance, by either boosting the body’s inner defences or harming them early on.

While sunlight triggers the production of vitamin D in the body and lack of this in the first months of life may have long-lasting effects on mental and physical health.

The ‘sunshine vitamin’ is known to help regulate thousands of genes during development and a wealth of research backs up its long-lasting influence on health. 

‘A significant association’ 

Professor Jose Antonio Quesada, the study’s lead author, said: ‘In this study we have evidenced a significant association between the month of birth and the occurrence of various chronic diseases and long-term health problems.

‘The month of birth may behave as an indicator of periods of early exposure to various factors, such as exposure to ultraviolet rays, vitamin D, temperature, seasonal exposure to viruses and allergies which may affect the development of the uterus and neonate in their first months of life.

‘The differentiation of patterns by sex found that there may be a different vulnerability in men and women to these early exposure factors.’ 

The new findings were published in the journal Medicina Clinica.  

YOUR BIRTH MONTH AND THE JOB YOU WILL HAVE

As well as risk of illness, babies born in some months are more likely to take up certain career paths.

The birth month to potential job research was published using data by the Office for National Statistics in 2011.

The findings were then determined by Oxford University scientists who analysed statistics from the last census.

Russell Foster, a neuroscientist based at the prestigious university, said at the time that the effects were ‘very clear’ – despite being small.

He added: ‘I am not giving voice to astrology – it’s nonsense – but we are not immune to seasonal interference.’ 

Below, the most likely career paths are detailed for each month.

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December 

Debt Collector

Artist

Pilot

Dictator

Even spread of professions

CEO

Bricklayer

‘Problem’ student 

High-achieving student

Politician

Serial Killer

Dentist 


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Article source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4623802/Your-birth-month-affect-diseases-likely-get.html

Oscar Health Will Expand Obamacare Footprint In Five States

Oscar Health will expand its Obamacare footprint in five states, adding Nashville, Austin and return to New Jersey to sell health plans on public exchanges under the Affordable Care Act.

The announcement Wednesday by the New York-based startup is good news for its existing customers in New York, California and Texas and a new choice for people in New Jersey, Ohio and Tennessee. Oscar is expanding at a time larger players like Aetna, Anthem, Humana and UnitedHealth Group scale back their Obamacare business and President Donald Trump regularly says the market is “imploding” or in a “death spiral.”

Co-Founder and CEO of Oscar Health Mario Schlosser speaks onstage during TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2017 at Pier 36 on May 15, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for TechCrunch)

“We’re excited to announce that we’ve filed to expand our diversified set of health insurance products into or within five states in 2018: Ohio, Texas, New Jersey, Tennessee, and California,” Oscar CEO Mario Schlosser said. “We’ve also filed to continue selling Oscar for Business and Oscar for individuals and families on and off the exchanges in New York in 2018.”

The expansion comes amid uncertainty about Congressional funding of cost-sharing reductions that millions of Americans need to pay for Obamacare. But Schlosser said he was confident “the market for health insurance will stabilize in time for 2018.”

“For all of the political noise, there are simply too many lives at stake for representatives in Washington, D.C. not to do what’s right for the people,” Schlosser said. Schlosser founded Oscar with Josh Kushner, the brother of President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared.

Last week, Oscar announced plans to offer co-branded individual insurance in Ohio with the Cleveland Clinic in five northeastern counties in that state. Its other new markets for 2018 include Austin, Texas, where it has individual products already in San Antonio.

Oscar has also filed to expand into Nashville in 2018 , saying city’s healthcare technology and innovation “always seemed like a natural fit.”

In New Jersey, Oscar will be attempting a comeback . “We were privileged to serve individual Oscar members in New Jersey for two years in 2015 and 2016, and said last summer that we always hoped to return,” Schlosser said. “We have filed for approval to form a new New Jersey insurance company through which we hope to offer New Jerseyans located in 14 counties a competitive, quality product in 2018 for both Oscar for Business, our employer plans, and our individual products on and off the exchanges.”

 

Article source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucejapsen/2017/06/21/oscar-health-will-expand-obamacare-footprint-in-five-states/

Could autism be helped by changing a patient’s diet? Taking probiotics and adopting a gluten-free lifestyle may …

  • Gluten causes a ‘leaky gut’, where toxins travel to the brain and cause symptoms
  • Probiotics are thought to reverse this process by strengthening the gut’s lining
  • Researchers believe this may offer a cheap, effective way of treating the disorder
  • They add that more research is needed and behavioural therapy should continue

Alexandra Thompson Health Reporter For Mailonline

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Autism may be helped by changing a patient’s diet, new research reveals.

Taking probiotics and adopting a gluten-free lifestyle may improve sufferers’ social behaviour and ability to express emotions, a study review found.

This is thought to be due to gluten causing a ‘leaky gut’ – where toxins and even undigested food enter the bloodstream and travel to the brain, which may cause autism symptoms. 

Probiotics are thought to reverse this by strengthening the gut’s lining.

Study author Dr Qinrui Li from Peking University, said: ‘Efforts to restore the gut microbiota to that of a healthy person has been shown to be really effective.

‘Our review looked at taking probiotics, prebiotics, changing the diet – for example, to gluten- and casein-free diets. All had a positive impact on symptoms.’

Taking probiotics and adopting a gluten-free lifestyle may improve autism symptoms 

Taking probiotics and adopting a gluten-free lifestyle may improve autism symptoms 

SUICIDE RATES AMONG PEOPLE WITH AUTISM HAVE REACHED ‘WORRYINGLY’ HIGH LEVELS 

Suicide rates among people with autism in England have reached ‘worryingly’ high levels, according to experts.

Researchers believe the condition is poorly understood and action is urgently required to help at-risk patients.

A study previously revealed 66 per cent of adults newly diagnosed with a form of autism have contemplated ending their life.

Study author Dr Cassidy from the University of Coventry, said: ‘What relatively little we know about suicidality in autism points to a worryingly high prevalence of people with the condition contemplating and attempting to take their own life.

‘More concerning still, the small body of research that does exist exposes serious shortcomings in how prepared we are to intervene and provide effective support to those with autism who are most at risk of dying by suicide.’ 

How the study was carried out

Researchers from Peking University analysed more than 150 papers dating back to the 1960s.

The studies investigated the impact of taking probiotics or prebiotics on autism symptoms. 

Prebiotics are indigestible food ingredients, such as fibre, that act as fertilisers to stimulate the growth of bugs in the digestive tract. Probiotics specifically introduce new bacteria into the gut. 

The studies also assessed the impact of gluten and casein-free diets. Casein is a type of protein found in milk. 

Key findings

Results revealed that improving the gut’s bacterial health via dietary choices eases autism symptoms. 

Supplementing autistic sufferers’ diets with probiotics or prebiotics may help to strengthen activity in areas of the brain associated with emotion, the research revealed. 

A gluten and casein-free diet was also found to improve symptoms and social behaviour. 

The findings were published in the journal Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience.  

Gluten, a protein found in bread, may make the gut  permeable, leading to the disorder

Gluten, a protein found in bread, may make the gut permeable, leading to the disorder

CENTURY-OLD SICKNESS DRUG ALLOWED AUTISTIC 14-YEAR-OLD TO SAY HIS FIRST FULL SENTENCE 

Autism could be treated by a drug that has been around for more than 100 years, new research suggests.

The drug, known as suramin, which was originally developed to treat sleeping sickness, produced dramatic results in young sufferers after just one dose.

These included improvements to their language and social behavior, as well as their coping skills.

Study author Professor Robert Naviaux, from the University of California in San Diego, said: ‘We had four non-verbal children in the study, two 6-year-olds and two 14-year-olds. The six-year-old and the 14-year-old who received suramin said the first sentences of their lives about one week after the single suramin infusion.’

Around one in 68 children in the US and up to one in 100 in the UK are on the autistic spectrum. 

Why is a healthy gut important? 

A healthy gut is thought to reduce autism symptoms via the so-called ‘gut-brain axis’ – where conditions in the gut influence the brain’s processes.

The overgrowth of ‘bad’ bacteria in the gut leads to the production of toxins, which makes the gut lining more permeable.

This allows the toxins and even undigested food to enter the bloodstream and travel up to the brain, which may cause autism in young children.

Gluten and casein have previously been linked to ‘leaky gut syndrome’, where the permeability of the small intestine is increased. 

Probiotics and prebiotics are thought to reverse this by strengthening the gut’s lining. 

Dr Li said: ‘Efforts to restore the gut microbiota to that of a healthy person has been shown to be really effective.

‘Our review looked at taking probiotics, prebiotics, changing the diet – for example, to gluten- and casein-free diets. 

‘All had a positive impact on symptoms.’ 

How may the findings benefit patients? 

Dr Li said: ‘To date there are no effective therapies to treat this range of brain developmental disorders.

‘The number of people being diagnosed with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] is on the rise. As well as being an expensive condition to manage, ASD has a huge emotional and social cost on families of sufferers.’

Although simple dietary changes may benefit autism sufferers, the researchers add more research is required.

Dr Li said: ‘For now, behavioural therapies remain the best way to treat ASD.

‘We would hope that our review leads to research on the link between the gut microbiota and ASD, and eventually a cheap and effective treatment.’ 


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Article source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4621642/Could-autism-cured-changing-patient-s-diet.html

Senate GOP pushing for health care vote next Thursday

(CNN)Senate Republican leaders are pushing for a vote on a yet-to-be-unveiled health care bill next week before lawmakers leave town for the July 4 recess — likely by Thursday, June 29.

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Article source: http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/20/politics/senate-republican-health-care-bill-vote/index.html