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Category: Cardiology | Monthly Briefing

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December 2013 Briefing - Cardiology

Last Updated: January 02, 2014.

Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Cardiology for December 2013. This roundup includes the latest research news from journal articles, as well as the FDA approvals and regulatory changes that are the most likely to affect clinical practice.

Troubled Launch of ACA Tops Health News for 2013

TUESDAY, Dec. 31, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- As 2013 nears to a close, the year's top health news story -- the fumbled debut of the Affordable Care Act continues to grab headlines. President Barack Obama, in November, said he was "sorry" to hear that some Americans were being dropped from their health plans due to the advent of reforms -- even though he had repeatedly promised that this would not happen.

CDC: More Than One in 10 Kids Diagnosed With ADHD
FDA Urges Tighter Controls on Certain Prescription Painkillers
CDC: Evocative Campaign Motivates Smokers to Quit
Lower Microbial Diversity for Infants Who Develop Colic
Low Gut Bacterial Richness Linked to Obesity
Donor Fecal Infusion Effective for C. difficile Infection
Full Article - 2013 Top Health News

What Yoga Can and Can't Do for You

TUESDAY, Dec. 31, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Results from medical research on yoga are mixed, according to the U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, though the findings tend to be more positive than negative.

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Extra Steps Urged for Regulating Compounding Pharmacies

MONDAY, Dec. 30, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Additional steps are needed for regulating compounding pharmacies, according to a perspective piece published online Dec. 25 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Inactivity Linked With Depression After Cardiac Surgery

MONDAY, Dec. 30, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Physical inactivity is associated with increased risk of depression both before and after cardiac surgery, according to research published in the December issue of the Canadian Journal of Cardiology.

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Smoking Bans Linked to Improvement in Tobacco Use

MONDAY, Dec. 30, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Smoking bans in the home and city/town are significantly associated with smoking reduction and making a quit attempt, according to a study published online Nov. 26 in Preventive Medicine.

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High Fiber, Fruit/Vegetable Intake Cuts Stroke Risk in T2DM

MONDAY, Dec. 30, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- For Japanese patients with type 2 diabetes, increased dietary fiber and fruit and vegetable intake is associated with reduced risk of stroke, according to a study published in the December issue of Diabetes Care.

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Uncertainty Noted in Seemingly Stable Medical Liability Climate

MONDAY, Dec. 30, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Although the medical liability climate seems stable, the impact of health care reform on the market is uncertain, according to an article based on two reports published by the American Medical Association (AMA).

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Surge in Federal Health Insurance Exchange Enrollments

MONDAY, Dec. 30, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- More than 1.1 million people enrolled in a qualified health plan through the federally operated marketplace, or exchange, from Oct. 1 through Dec. 24, government officials said Sunday. More than 975,000 of those enrollments came in December, Marilyn Tavenner, administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, said in a blog post.

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AMA IDs Five Issues Relating to Progress in SGR Repeal

FRIDAY, Dec. 27, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- The implications of progress toward repeal of the Medicare sustained growth rate (SGR) formula are discussed in a report published by the American Medical Association (AMA).

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Daily Walking Linked to Decreased Cardiovascular Risk

FRIDAY, Dec. 27, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- For adults at high cardiovascular risk with impaired glucose tolerance, baseline and change in objectively-assessed ambulatory activity are associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular events, according to a study published online Dec. 20 in The Lancet.

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Black Women Lose Less Weight Despite Similar Dieting, Exercise

FRIDAY, Dec. 27, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Because of lower energy requirements, black women lose fewer pounds than white women even if they follow the same dietary restrictions and exercise regimens, according to research published online Dec. 20 in the International Journal of Obesity.

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Performance-Enhancing Drug Use Widespread in U.S.

FRIDAY, Dec. 27, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) is more widespread than previously thought and can have adverse health consequences, according to a scientific statement published online Jan. 1 in Endocrine Reviews.

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Odds of Uncontrolled and Unreported HTN Up for Blacks

FRIDAY, Dec. 27, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Blacks are more likely to have hypertension and to have uncontrolled and unreported hypertension than whites, according to a study published online Dec. 23 in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

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ACA Success Hinges on Young Adult Enrollment

THURSDAY, Dec. 26, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Enrollment of young adults is a crucial component of the viability of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to a health policy brief published Dec. 16 in Health Affairs.

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Impact of Planned Medicaid Expansion Discussed

THURSDAY, Dec. 26, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- The planned expansion of Medicaid will offer benefits to those in participating states, according to an article published online Dec. 24 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Physician Pay Increasingly Tied to Quality Metrics

THURSDAY, Dec. 26, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Physician groups are increasingly incorporating quality metrics into their internal reimbursement structure, according to an article published Nov. 25 in Medical Economics.

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Greater Fiber Intake Leads to Lower Risk of Cardiac Events

THURSDAY, Dec. 26, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Increased dietary intake of fiber is linked with lower risk of coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease, with every 7 g per day intake of total dietary fiber associated with a 9 percent lower relative risk, according to research published online Dec. 19 in BMJ.

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Toxic Employees Are Damaging to Medical Practices

THURSDAY, Dec. 26, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Toxic behavior can harm medical practices and should not be tolerated, according to an article published Dec. 10 in Medical Economics.

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Emphasizing Environmental Causes of Obesity Is Motivating

THURSDAY, Dec. 26, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Messages that acknowledge personal responsibility, while emphasizing environmental causes of obesity, seem to motivate individuals to engage in healthy diet and exercise behavior, according to a study published Dec. 12 in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Preventing Chronic Disease.

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Exercise Counteracts Metabolic Effects of Short-Term Overeating

TUESDAY, Dec. 24, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Most of the metabolic effects of overeating for a week can be counteracted by also doing vigorous exercise, according to a study published in the Dec. 15 issue of The Journal of Physiology.

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Public Tends to Follow Celebrities Even on Medical Issues

MONDAY, Dec. 23, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Celebrities have credibility as sources of medical advice, even if they are ill-informed or are spreading potentially harmful information, according to research published online Dec. 17 in BMJ.

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Burden of Heart Disease, Stroke Quantified in United States

MONDAY, Dec. 23, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- The burden of heart disease and stroke is considerable in the United States, according to a American Heart Association Statistical Update published online Dec. 18 in Circulation.

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Free Preventive Services for >25 Million Medicare Beneficiaries

MONDAY, Dec. 23, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- As a result of the Affordable Care Act, during the first 11 months of 2013, more than 25.4 million people covered by Original Medicare received at least one preventive service at no cost, according to a report from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

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Low Vitamin B12 Linked to Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia

MONDAY, Dec. 23, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- During adolescence, low vitamin B12 levels are associated with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), according to a study published online Dec. 23 in Pediatrics.

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Cardiovascular Disease Linked to Cognitive Decline in Older Women

MONDAY, Dec. 23, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- For elderly, postmenopausal women, cardiovascular disease (CVD) is associated with increased risk of cognitive decline, according to a study published online Dec. 18 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

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New Rule May Exempt Many From Health Plan Penalty

FRIDAY, Dec. 20, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Consumers whose individual health insurance policies have been cancelled for failing to meet the minimum requirements of the Affordable Care Act may now apply for a "hardship exemption," Obama administration officials announced late Thursday.

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High Patient Satisfaction With Patient-Centered Medical Homes

FRIDAY, Dec. 20, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- A significant majority of patients report experiencing a high quality of care at federally-supported health centers, according to a study published in the November/December issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

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Morphine Diminishes, Delays Effects of Clopidogrel

FRIDAY, Dec. 20, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Morphine interaction reduces the effectiveness of clopidogrel, according to a small study published online Dec. 4 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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Higher Levels of Anxiety Linked to Incident Stroke Risk

FRIDAY, Dec. 20, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Higher anxiety symptom levels are independently associated with increased risk for incident stroke, according to a study published online Dec. 19 in Stroke.

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Evidence-Based Guidelines Issued for Hypertension Management

FRIDAY, Dec. 20, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Evidence-based guidelines for the management of hypertension in adults for 2014 have been issued by the Eighth Joint National Committee, according to a special communication published online Dec. 18 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Docs Must Help Patients Take Responsibility for Medical Costs

FRIDAY, Dec. 20, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Given that increasing numbers of patients have high-deductible health insurance, doctors and practice staff need to help patients assume financial responsibility for costs relating to medical services and procedures, according to an article published Dec. 10 in Medical Economics.

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Weight Loss Provides Lasting Cardiometabolic Benefit

FRIDAY, Dec. 20, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Weight loss is associated with long-term improvements in cardiometabolic risk factors, according to a study published online Dec. 18 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

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Role of E-Cigarettes in Eliminating Tobacco Use Discussed

THURSDAY, Dec. 19, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- The public health issues relating to electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) and their role in eliminating tobacco use are discussed in a perspective piece published online Dec. 18 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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CDC: U.S. Sodium Consumption Remains Excessively High

THURSDAY, Dec. 19, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- More than 80 percent of children and 90 percent of teens and adults continue to consume sodium in excess of dietary recommendations, according to a report published in the Dec. 20 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Criteria Issued for Tests for Stable Ischemic Heart Disease

THURSDAY, Dec. 19, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Appropriate use criteria have been released for tests used to diagnose or evaluate stable ischemic heart disease, in a document published online Dec. 16 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. The American College of Cardiology, American Heart Association, American Society of Echocardiography, American Society of Nuclear Cardiology, Heart Failure Society of America, Heart Rhythm Society, Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, Society of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography, Society for Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance, and Society of Thoracic Surgeons all partnered in the development of the document.

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Physicians Must Be Proactive in Risk Management

THURSDAY, Dec. 19, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Risk is inherent in the practice of medicine, but physicians can take steps to prevent patient injury and avoid lawsuits, according to an article published Dec. 10 in Medical Economics.

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Gene Polymorphism Linked to Cardiac Morbidity, Mortality

THURSDAY, Dec. 19, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- The functional nonsynonymous single nucleotide polymorphism (rs6318) of the 5HTR2C gene is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease mortality and morbidity, according to a study published online Dec. 18 in PLOS ONE.

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Modeling Study: Similar Effects for Statin or Apple a Day

THURSDAY, Dec. 19, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- An apple a day or a statin a day are equally likely to keep the doctor away, according to a modeling study published online Dec. 17 in BMJ.

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White Blood Cell Count Predicts Infarct Size in STEMI

THURSDAY, Dec. 19, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with anterior wall ST-segment elevated myocardial infarction (STEMI), elevated white blood cell count (WBCc) on presentation is associated with increased infarct size, according to a study published in the Dec. 15 issue of The American Journal of Cardiology.

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CDC Highlights Achievements of 2013, Goals for 2014

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 18, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- The top five gains made in improving health security at home and around the world in 2013, and the top five areas for improvement in 2014 have been highlighted in an end-of-year report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Older Women Spend Two-Thirds of Waking Time Sedentary

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 18, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- For older women, more than 65 percent of waking hours are spent in sedentary behavior, although the sedentary bouts are usually of short duration, according to a research letter published in the Dec. 18 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Acupuncture Treatments Lead to Short-Term Weight Loss

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 18, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Acupuncture treatments are effective for short-term weight loss in overweight Koreans, according to a study published online Dec. 16 in Acupuncture in Medicine.

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Few Residency Programs Teach Cost-Conscious Medicine

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 18, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Few residency programs have a formal cost-conscious care curriculum, according to a research letter published online Dec. 16 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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Funding for Medical Communication Firms Analyzed

TUESDAY, Dec. 17, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Medical communication companies (MCCs), responsible for medical education programs, may receive substantial financial support from pharmaceutical and medical device companies, according to research published in the Dec. 18 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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GlaxoSmithKline to End Payments to Prescribing Doctors

TUESDAY, Dec. 17, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) says it will stop paying doctors to market its drugs at conferences and will no longer reward sales agents whose physician customers write the most prescriptions. Monday's announcement is apparently a first for a major drug company. But other companies may be considering similar moves, The New York Times reported.

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Lower Definition of Insulin Resistance Tied to Heart Failure

TUESDAY, Dec. 17, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Using a definition of insulin resistance with lower levels of homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) than previously considered, insulin resistance is associated with an increased risk for heart failure, according to a study published in the December issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Heart Failure.

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Oral Multivitamin, Multimineral Safe, Not Effective After MI

TUESDAY, Dec. 17, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- For older patients with a history of myocardial infarction (MI), a high-dose oral multivitamin and multimineral mixture is safe, but does not significantly reduce cardiovascular events, according to a study published in the Dec. 17 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Prognostic Tool ID's Risk of Death for Hospital Patients

TUESDAY, Dec. 17, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- A validation study has confirmed that the CARING criteria may be used upon admission to estimate the risk of death at one year for inpatients in broad hospital settings, according to research published in the December issue of the Journal of Hospital Medicine.

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Gene Expression Changes Seen After Mindfulness Meditation

TUESDAY, Dec. 17, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Proficient meditators experience changes in specific gene expression after intensive mindfulness meditation, according to a study published in the February issue of Psychoneuroendocrinology.

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FDA Questions Effectiveness, Safety of Antibacterial Soap

TUESDAY, Dec. 17, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a proposed rule requiring antibacterial soap manufacturers to demonstrate that their products are both effective at preventing illness and safe for long-term daily use.

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Physician Access Challenges Up for Those With Public Insurance

TUESDAY, Dec. 17, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Adverse experiences with physician availability are more likely among those with public insurance, and almost 15 percent of people in the United States were uninsured in the first half of 2013, according to two December data briefs issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

Report - Gindi
Report - Martinez and Cohen

Many Physicians Will Stop Practicing Due to ACA

TUESDAY, Dec. 17, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- About half of physicians say that they plan to practice medicine for a shorter time or leave as soon as feasibly possible due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to an article published Nov. 29 in Medical Economics.

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Physicians Conclude Multivitamins Should Not Be Used

TUESDAY, Dec. 17, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Multivitamins do not prevent chronic disease and should not be used by well-nourished adults, according to an editorial published in the Dec. 17 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Bills for SGR Repeal Pass Senate, House Committees

MONDAY, Dec. 16, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. House Ways and Means Committee and the U.S. Senate Finance Committee have passed their versions of the bill to repeal Medicare's failed sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula, according to a report from the American Medical Association (AMA).

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Word of Mouth Still Tops Ways People Find Physicians

MONDAY, Dec. 16, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Roughly three-quarters of young adults use personal recommendations to select a physician, according to an article published in Medical Economics.

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Medicare's Graduate Medical Education Spending Imbalanced

MONDAY, Dec. 16, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- There is an "imbalance" in how Medicare distributes its $10 billion a year for graduate medical education (GME), according to a study published in the November issue of Health Affairs.

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Sleep Duration Inversely Linked to Ambulatory BP in Teens

MONDAY, Dec. 16, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- For normal-weight adolescents, sleep duration and sleep quality are inversely associated with ambulatory blood pressure, according to a study published online Dec. 16 in Pediatrics.

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Determinants of Patient Loyalty to Provider Identified

MONDAY, Dec. 16, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Determinants of patient loyalty have been identified and include confidence in care provider and coordination of care, according to a report published by Press Ganey.

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Increased Mortality, Morbidity With Young-Onset T2DM

MONDAY, Dec. 16, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Young-onset type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is associated with greater mortality, increased complications, and unfavorable cardiovascular risk versus type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) with a similar age of onset, according to a study published in the December issue of Diabetes Care.

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New Rule Tweaks Affordable Care Act Deadline

FRIDAY, Dec. 13, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- The Obama administration is taking steps to prevent consumers who buy health plans sold through state and federal exchanges from experiencing any gap in coverage this January. Under new rules, health insurers must accept payment up until Dec. 31 for coverage that begins the following day. Earlier guidance did not establish a payment deadline, allowing insurers to set their own dates. "And we're recommending that insurers extend this deadline further," U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said during a Thursday news conference to announce the changes.

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Food Security Status Linked to Cardiovascular Risk

FRIDAY, Dec. 13, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Food security status is associated with cardiovascular risk factors and predicted 10-year cardiovascular disease risk, according to research published Dec. 5 in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Preventing Chronic Disease.

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Study Quantifies Male Dominance in Scientific Production

FRIDAY, Dec. 13, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Men dominate scientific production worldwide, accounting for a higher percentage of authorships and greater impact, according to research published in the Dec. 12 issue of Nature.

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Data Unclear for Heart Failure Outcomes in U.S. Versus Canada

THURSDAY, Dec. 12, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Evidence for the difference in outcomes for heart failure patients in Canada versus the United States differs depending on the source of the data, according to research published in the December issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Heart Failure.

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Injunction Stops Insurer From Dropping Physicians

THURSDAY, Dec. 12, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- United Healthcare has been given a last-minute temporary restraining order preventing it from removing thousands of physicians from its Medicare Advantage networks in Connecticut, according to an article published Dec. 6 in Medical Economics.

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Model Predicts Risk of Adverse Events for ICD Implantation

THURSDAY, Dec. 12, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- A simple model may be used to predict risk for in-hospital adverse events among patients receiving an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), according to research published online Dec. 11 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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Physician Practices Often Do Not Plan for Future

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 11, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Most physician practices do not treat their practices as businesses and plan for the future, but they should develop and follow a strategic plan, according to an article published Nov. 10 in Medical Economics.

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No Serious Heart Risks With Smoking Cessation Therapies

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 11, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Three licensed smoking cessation therapies -- nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), bupropion, and varenicline -- seem not to be associated with an increased risk of serious cardiovascular disease events, according to a meta-analysis published online Dec. 9 in Circulation.

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Recommendations Issued to Prevent VTE in Maternal Patients

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 11, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- The Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, and the National Perinatal Association have developed safety recommendations aimed at preventing venous thromboembolism (VTE) in maternal patients.

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CDC: Health Insurance Among Young Increased After ACA

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 11, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Since the Affordable Care Act extended dependent health coverage to young adults up to 26 years old, the percentage of this age group with private health insurance has increased and the percentage with gaps in insurance coverage has decreased, according to a December data brief published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

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Sleep Apnea Treatment Found to Improve Resistant Hypertension

TUESDAY, Dec. 10, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Among patients with resistant hypertension and obstructive sleep apnea, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment significantly improves blood pressure and the nocturnal blood pressure pattern, according to a study published in the Dec. 11 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Outpatient Docs Report More Burnout Than Inpatient Docs

TUESDAY, Dec. 10, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Outpatient physicians report more emotional exhaustion than inpatient physicians, according to a review published in the November issue of the Journal of Hospital Medicine.

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Wider Statin Use Recommended for Chronic Kidney Disease

TUESDAY, Dec. 10, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- New guidelines for lipid management in chronic kidney disease (CKD) recommend wider statin use, according to a clinical practice guideline published online Dec. 10 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Health Information Technology May Cut Demand for Physicians

MONDAY, Dec. 9, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Health information technology (IT) may cut demand for physicians in the future, according to a review published in the November issue of Health Affairs.

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Mortality High for Moderate, Severe Heart Failure Patients

MONDAY, Dec. 9. 2013 (HealthDay News) -- For patients aged 80 years and younger with moderate or severe heart failure, mortality is mainly associated with heart failure and its comorbidities, according to a study published online Nov. 6 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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With Looming ACA Uncertainty, Budget Exercise Necessary

MONDAY, Dec. 9, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Constructing a budget for 2014 is critical for physicians even with the uncertainties surrounding the Affordable Care Act, according to an article published Nov. 10 in Medical Economics.

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Meta-Analysis: Healthier Diet Patterns Do Cost More

MONDAY, Dec. 9, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Healthy food/diet patterns cost more, according to a meta-analysis published online Dec. 5 in BMJ Open.

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CMS Finalizes 2014 Physician Payment Rates, Policies

MONDAY, Dec. 9, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- The final payment rules for 2014 include a proposal to support care management outside the routine office interaction and policies to promote high quality care and efficiency, according to a report from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

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Medical Students Find Mind-Body Regulation Training Helpful

FRIDAY, Dec. 6, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- A practical approach may be used to offer mind-body regulation training to medical students, according to research published in the Fall issue of the Annals of Behavioral Science and Medical Education.

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Issues Surround Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program

FRIDAY, Dec. 6, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Concerns surround implementation of the Medicare Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP), according to a policy brief published online Nov. 12 in Health Affairs.

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Serum 25(OH)D Marker of Ill Health, Not Causative Agent

FRIDAY, Dec. 6, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) seems to be a marker of ill health and not a causal factor, according to a review published online Dec. 6 in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

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Final Rule Aims to Lower Costs, Simplify Outpatient Payments

FRIDAY, Dec. 6, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- The final hospital outpatient and ambulatory surgical center (ASC) payment rule will give hospitals and ASCs the ability to lower costs, according to a report from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

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Effect of Serum Magnesium on Heart Failure Outcomes Unclear

FRIDAY, Dec. 6, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Baseline serum magnesium levels do not independently predict post-discharge outcomes in patients hospitalized for heart failure, according to research published in the Dec. 1 issue of The American Journal of Cardiology.

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Preventive Measures, Better Treatment Cut Stroke Deaths

FRIDAY, Dec. 6, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- A combination of factors, including public health programs and clinical interventions designed to reduce cardiovascular risks, has contributed to the decline in stroke mortality in the United States, according to a statement from the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association published online Dec. 5 in Stroke.

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FDA: Certain Automated External Defibrillators Found Faulty

THURSDAY, Dec. 5, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- All owners of Philips HeartStart automated external defibrillator (AED) devices are advised to contact the company to ascertain whether their device is among those that might be unable to deliver the defibrillator shock needed in a cardiac emergency, according to a Dec. 3 safety alert issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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Handoff Program Cuts Medical Errors, Adverse Events

THURSDAY, Dec. 5, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Implementation of a multifaceted handoff program can reduce medical errors and preventable adverse events, according to a study published in the Dec. 4 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, a theme issue on medical education.

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Premature Atrial Contraction Count Predicts A-Fib Risk

THURSDAY, Dec. 5, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Premature atrial contraction (PAC) count improves atrial fibrillation (AF) risk model performance, according to a study published in the Dec. 3 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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AMA's RUC Committee to Work on Improving Transparency

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 4, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- The 31-member Relative Value Scale Update Committee (RUC) of the American Medical Association will begin publishing minutes, dates and locations of meetings, and votes for individual current procedural codes, according to an article published Nov. 11 in Medical Economics.

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Results Mixed for Liberal Transfusions in Heart Disease

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 4, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- The effects of liberal transfusion protocols on outcomes in heart disease patients with anemia are mixed, according to a review published in the Dec. 3 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Investment Program Can Cut Global Health Disparities by 2035

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 4, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Global health disparities could be reduced considerably by 2035 using an investment framework, according to a report published Dec. 3 in The Lancet.

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Health Reform in Mass. Didn't Change ICU Utilization

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 4, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Initiation of health care reform in Massachusetts correlated with a reduction in intensive care unit (ICU) patients without insurance but did not significantly change ICU use or mortality among ICU patients, according to a study published online Nov. 22 in Critical Care Medicine.

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Metabolically Healthy Obese Still at Risk of Adverse Outcomes

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 4, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Even metabolically healthy obese are at increased risk of all-cause mortality and/or cardiovascular events, according to a review published in the Dec. 3 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Modest Increases in Minority Faculty Seen at Med Schools

TUESDAY, Dec. 3, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Underrepresented minority faculty made only modest gains in increasing their presence at U.S. medical schools from 2000 to 2010, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, a theme issue on medical education.

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Physician Texting While 'Doctoring' May Be Hazardous

TUESDAY, Dec. 3, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Physician texting while doctoring could be hazardous, according to an ideas and opinions piece published in the Dec. 3 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Childhood Living Arrangements Have Lasting Impact on BP

TUESDAY, Dec. 3, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Family living arrangements during childhood seem to have a long-term impact on blood pressure (BP) and the risk of hypertension among black men, according to a study published online Dec. 2 in Hypertension.

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Fragility Impacts Quality of Life in Heart Failure

TUESDAY, Dec. 3, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with heart failure, fragility is associated with the perception of quality of life, according to a study published in the Dec. 1 issue of The American Journal of Cardiology.

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FDA Starts Regulating Compounding Pharmacies

TUESDAY, Dec. 3, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday began the process of regulating compounding pharmacies. Under the Drug Quality and Security Act, signed into law Nov. 27 by President Barack Obama, these pharmacies are being encouraged to register with the FDA. The agency will then classify them as outsourcing pharmacies, enabling them to sell bulk drugs to hospitals and other health care facilities.

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Volunteering Overseas Revives Physicians' Outlooks

MONDAY, Dec. 2, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Physician volunteer programs can revive doctors' passion for medicine, according to an article published Nov. 11 in Medical Economics.

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Diabetes, Cardiac Risk Up for Metabolically Healthy Obese

MONDAY, Dec. 2, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Metabolically healthy obese (MHO) and metabolically unhealthy normal weight (MUH-NW) individuals have increased risks of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) and cardiovascular disease (CVD), according to a study published online Nov. 20 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

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Comorbidities, Meds Factor Into Recurrent Syncope

MONDAY, Dec. 2, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Certain comorbidities, age, gender, and use of multiple medications that cause orthostatic hypotension are associated with increased risk of recurrent syncope, according to research published in the Nov. 15 issue of The American Journal of Cardiology.

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Health Insurance Coverage Changes Don't Change Behaviors

MONDAY, Dec. 2, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Change in health insurance coverage is associated with a change in adherence to preventive care, but is not associated with a change in health behaviors, according to a study published in the November-December issue of the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.

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Guidance for Transcatheter Mitral Regurgitation Treatment Issued

MONDAY, Dec. 2, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Guidance has been issued relating to transcatheter therapies for mitral regurgitation; the document has been published online Nov. 25 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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