Health Updates 29 June 2011

  • Senators Lieberman and Coburn propose raising Medicare age and premiums: “The plan the two men outlined includes a gradual increase over the next five years in the monthly premium that seniors pay for doctor and other non-hospital services.  Aides said it would translate into a monthly increase of $15 to $20 initially.  The age of eligibility would rise gradually from 65 to 67.” (Associated Press)
  • Radiation required after mastectomy for advanced cancer but often gets skipped: “There are two potential problems when doctors don’t follow guidelines, the authors wrote.  One is that patients don’t get evidence-based treatment.  Second, patients may instead get ineffective treatments or tests instead.” (Booster Shots)
  • Lessons from exercising in the heat: “Use your head when exercising in the heat.  That is the overt message of a series of recent studies showing that cooling the neck before exercise in hot, humid conditions can improve athletic performance.  But the research also raises this provocative issue: Even if you can exercise harder in the heat, is it really a good idea to do so?”  The answer depends on your fitness goals.  Recreational athletes should focus on staying healthy, and begin to get used to heat and humidity changes slowly, taking a week or more to acclimate.  Competitive athletes can use other tricks and techniques, including a cooling collar, to fool the brain into thinking the body is cooler than it actually is, but should be careful: “…that cold slap to the neck [when using a neck cooling collar] has been known to cause an ice-cream headache”! (NY Times)
  • Cattle Plague‘ officially declared as eradicated: “The ‘cattle plague’ known as rinderpest has been eradicated, the only other disease besides smallpox to achieve the gone-for-good status.  Though the disease is obscure to Americans, the measles relative has been responsible for mass cattle deaths, and thus mass human starvation, many times in history, including famines beginning in the late 1800’s in sub-Saharan Africa.” (LA Times)

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