Health Updates 12 September 2011

  • Kids’ cognition may be harmed by fired up cartoons: “A few minutes of watching ‘SpongeBob SquarePants‘ appeared to have negative effects on executive function in 4-year-olds, researchers reported.  In a randomized controlled study, kids who watched the fast-paced cartoon about sea creatures for nine minutes did less well on tests of attention and cognition than those who spent the same amount of time drawing….They also did less well than children who watched a more realistic, slower-paced educational cartoon about a pre-school boy….Parents should be aware than such fast-paced cartoons – in ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ the scene shifts about five times a minute – ‘could at least temporarily impair young children’s executive function’.”  (Michael Smith, MedPage Today)
  • Common virus kills nearly 100 children in Vietnam: “The World Health Organization says an outbreak of hand, foot and mouth disease has surged in Vietnam, killing 98 children and sickening more than 42,000 others this year…. This year’s outbreak is a sharp increase over previous years.” (Tampa Tribune)
  • Cargill Inc. announces another ground turkey recall: “No illnesses have been tied to the second recall, which was initiated after a sample from the company’s plant in Springdale, Ark., tested positive for salmonella, the US Department of Agriculture said.” (Chicago Tribune)
  • Medicare patients see millions in savings: “Total savings provided to Medicare patients in the ‘doughnut hole’ by the Affordable Care Act has reached more than $600 million so far in 2011, according to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).  Numbers showed that doughnut hole coverage saved patients over $260 million, at an average of $545 per patient.  New numbers from the CMS for June 2011 show that patients saved around $462 million that month.  The discounts have totaled $660 million in savings for seniors and people with disabilities thus far this year, with an average savings of $517 per patient….CMS also noted a substantial increase in the number of patients that have received the 50% discount on brand-name drugs through Medicare Part D.” (Cole Petrochko, MedPage Today)

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