Health Updates 12 July 2011

  • Current systems to catch Medicaid fraud are inadequate and underused: “The Government Accountability Office report said that the systems don’t even include Medicaid data.  Furthermore, 639 analysts were supposed to have been trained to use the system – yet only 41 have been so far, it said.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services – which administer the taxpayer-funded health care programs for the elderly, poor and disabled – lacks plans to finish the systems projected to save $21 billion.  The technology is crucial to making a dent in the $60 billion to $90 billion in fraudulent claims paid out each year.” (Associated Press)
  • Potassium can be the key to neutralizing salt’s impact on blood pressure: “The study, which looked at sodium and potassium intake, found that higher sodium intake was associated with a higher risk of premature death from any cause, while higher potassium intake was associated with a lower risk of dying prematurely.  Looking at heart-related deaths alone, sodium itself wasn’t associated with an increased risk, but researchers said higher potassium intakes were linked with lower heart-related death rates”.  (Wall Street Journal)
  • Tips for putting your best foot forward: Walking is an ideal way to get daily exercise – it strengthens almost every major organ in the body, promotes heart health and boosts the immune system…Keep in mind the following when you walk:”  1). Walk with your head erect.  Look ahead, training your sight 10 to 20 feet ahead of you.  To avoid obstacles, lower your eyes, not your head; 2). Keep your back straight and tuck in your buttocks; 3). Bend your arms.  Flex your elbows at close to 90-degree angles and let your arms swing at waist level; 4). Take shorter, measured steps, striking the ground with your heel and pushing off with your toes; and 5). Avoid lowering your head, thrusting your trunk forward and letting your arms dangle limply at your sides. (
  • A tennis ball sewn to the back of pajamas can cut snoring?: “For some people who snore, a slight  tweak in sleeping position – lying on one side instead of the back – can lead to a better night’s rest.  Yet staying put in that position, while wrapped in slumber, is not always an easy feat.  One of the oldest and simplest solutions involves a tennis ball, which is taped or sewn into the back of the pajamas to prevent a snorer from rolling onto his or her back at night.”  This technique is often suggested by sleep experts, though not for chronic snorers.  A study just completed indicates that while this trick may help some, it is “not a very effective anti-snoring technique”.  Darn! (NY Times)

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