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Health Updates 15 November 2011

  • Frequent dental cleanings linked to lesser risk of heart attacks:  “Researchers in Taiwan found that those who receive regular dental cleanings have fewer heart attacks and strokes.  The scientists followed more than 100,000 adults over seven years and found that those who had their teeth cleaned, or scaled, by a dental professional had a 24 percent lower risk of heart attack and a 13 percent lower risk of stroke compared to those who never had a dental cleaning.” (Orlando Sentinel)
  • System of detecting Medicare fraud is full of problems and inconsistencies: “In Monday’s report, contractors also said they had difficulty obtaining data they needed and said that daily access to real-time Medicare claims data is critical.  One contractor said it eventually had to buy the data from another contractor, which caused a 30-day delay.  The contractors generated only about 100 cases each of potential fraud using the limited data during a nine-month period.  Critics say those figures are anemic compared to the billions of dollars of fraud occurring annually.” (Associated Press)
  • Puerto Ricans have the highest rate of asthma in the nation: Asthma affects 25 million people of all ages and ethnic backgrounds in the US, according to a recent report by the American Lung Association.  But for reasons still not understood, Puerto Ricans suffer at disproportionately high rates.  According to the report, 15.7 percent of Puerto Ricans living in the mainland US have been diagnosed with asthma – more than double the rate of non-Hispanic whites and more than three times the rate of some other Latino groups, including Mexicans and South Americans.  The problem is even more evident on the island, where up to 19 percent of the population has been diagnosed with asthma at some point, a study by the Puerto Rico Health Department shows.” (Orlando Sentinel)
  • Diabetes is expected to affect one in 10 people by 2030: “The number of people living with the disease is expected to soar to 552 million by 2030 – equating to three new cases every 10 seconds – up from 366 million in 2011, unless urgent action is taken, the International Diabetes Federation said.  The vast majority of diabetics have Type 2 disease – the kind linked to poor diet, obesity and lack of exercise – and the problem is spreading as people in the developing world adopt more Western lifestyles.” (Reuters)
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