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- Women Are Almost Twice As Likely To Get Alzheimer's, And New Research Might Shine A Light On Why
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California Healthline senior correspondent Chad Terhune joins a discussion on Southern California Public Radio about last week's premium hikes in the state health insurance marketplace. (7/23)
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California’s state Department of Education is also investigating USC’s response to allegations that longtime campus gynecologist Dr. George Tyndall acted inappropriately with patients.
The Associated Press:
More Sue USC Over Handling Of Sex Harassment Allegations
More than 50 former and current students of the University of Southern California said Monday in a new lawsuit that the school mishandled complaints that a longtime gynecologist engaged in inappropriate behavior during pelvic exams. The number of people suing USC and Dr. George Tyndall now tops a hundred, following the new court filing by the firm D. Miller and Associates. California’s state Department of Education said last month it was investigating USC’s response to allegations that Tyndall groped female students during campus office visits and improperly photographed and made comments about the women’s bodies. (7/23)
The hospitals were among six sold about three years ago by the Catholic Daughters of Charity to a hedge fund. The deal was blessed by then state Attorney General Kamala Harris under conditions that included facility improvements and no cuts to charity care, jobs or pay. But the nonprofit running all the hospitals recorded operating losses of $55.8 million in the nine months that ended March 31.
The Mercury News:
Fate Of Bay Area Hospitals In Doubt As Hedge Fund Deal To Save Them Sours
Santa Clara County is hoping to buy a pair of struggling hospitals that have long served as a safety net for the poor, less than three years after they were sold to a New York hedge fund in a state-approved deal to ensure they remained open. County Executive Jeff Smith said the county sees a renewed opportunity to acquire O’Connor Hospital in San Jose and St. Louise Regional Hospital in Gilroy as public hospitals to extend its reach and help relieve overcrowding at the county-run Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose. (Woolfolk, 7/23)
The study found that dementia was linked to hormone changes in women, including pregnancy.
Los Angeles Times:
How Pregnancy And Childbirth May Protect Some Women From Developing Dementia
Women make up some 60% of Alzheimer’s disease patients in the United States, and over her lifetime, a woman is almost twice as likely than a man to develop the memory-robbing condition. New research offers tantalizing clues as to why that might be, suggesting that either hormonal influences or pregnancy-related changes in the immune system – or both -- may nudge a woman’s risk for dementia in one direction or the other. (Healy, 7/23)
In other public health news —
California Will Pay You To Get High For Driving Study
To address the problem, the California legislature is funding a UC San Diego study that will determine how pot affects driving performance and how soon after smoking pot is it safe to drive. Researchers are recruiting 180 people for the study, which will consist of having participants smoke varying amounts of marijuana or a placebo and then participate in driving simulations and cognitive tests. (Ahmed, 7/23)
Robert Wilkie will take up the Department of Veterans Affairs reins at a time when turmoil and controversy are the norm for the troubled agency. While the vote was mostly drama-free, many of the Democrats who opposed it either are running a reelection campaign or are potential contenders for 2020.
The New York Times:
Senate Confirms Robert Wilkie As Veterans Affairs Secretary
The United States Senate on Monday overwhelmingly voted to approve President Trump’s latest pick to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, confirming Robert Wilkie as the next secretary 86 to 9. Mr. Wilkie, 55, will lead the second-largest department in the federal government, overseeing about 360,000 employees and the vast veterans health care system. He is taking over a department in turmoil. Veterans Affairs, which has struggled for years to provide timely and efficient care, has been without permanent leadership since the previous secretary, David J. Shulkin, was fired in March. The department is also dealing with thousands of job vacancies and staff turnover at the highest levels. (Mervosh, 7/23)
The Associated Press:
Senate Confirms Robert Wilkie For Veterans Affairs Secretary
Wilkie is Trump's third pick for the job in 18 months. The longtime public official says he will "shake up complacency" at VA, which has struggled with long waits in providing medical treatment to millions of veterans. In a statement released by the White House, Trump applauded the confirmation vote and said he looked forward to Wilkie's leadership. "I have no doubt that the Department of Veterans Affairs will continue to make strides in honoring and protecting the heroic men and women who have served our nation with distinction," he said. (7/23)
The Washington Post:
Senate Confirms Pentagon Official Robert Wilkie To Lead VA
Wilkie’s confirmation had been all but assured since his May nomination to succeed David Shulkin, a hospital executive and holdover from the Obama administration who clashed with the White House and the team of political appointees at VA. Trump had initially chosen White House physician Ronny L. Jackson for the job, but that candidacy imploded in a torrent of misconduct allegations. Wilkie, 55, now head of military personnel at the Defense Department, was welcomed on Capitol Hill as an experienced official who could address the agency’s many challenges. (Rein, 7/23)
The Wall Street Journal:
Senate Confirms Robert Wilkie As Secretary Of Veterans Affairs
Mr. Wilkie has worked for decades at the Pentagon and in the defense industry, becoming known for his organizational acumen and ability to work within complex bureaucracies, according to those who know him. He takes over the VA as it is implementing a sweeping new law that changes the way the department outsources care in the private sector. The VA is also replacing its elaborate and outdated electronic health-records system. The VA still has gaps in top positions important to implement these changes, and is currently without a permanent leader of the department’s health care arm and a chief information officer. But Mr. O’Rourke said recently that the process is under way to find a head for health care and that a CIO has been identified and is currently being vetted by the White House. (Kesling, 7/23)
And nearly 60 percent of them feel strongly about their opinion, according to the Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has been looked at by anti-abortion advocates as their best hope in years for overturning Roe v. Wade.
The Wall Street Journal:
Record 71% Of Voters Oppose Overturning Roe V. Wade
As the Senate nears debate on a new Supreme Court nominee who could give the panel a conservative edge, a majority of voters say they are increasingly opposed to undermining a woman’s right to have an abortion and are becoming more likely to say they support abortion-rights candidates, a new poll shows.According to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, Mr. Trump’s latest pick for the High Court, Brett Kavanaugh, enters confirmation proceedings with support from 32% of voters, compared with 26% opposed. Another 41% said they don’t have enough information yet. (Bender, 7/23)
In other national health care news —
The Associated Press:
Administration Reports Nearly 1,200 Family Reunifications
Nearly 1,200 children 5 and older have been reunited with their families after being separated at the U.S.-Mexico border, leaving hundreds to go before this week's court-imposed deadline, according to a Justice Department court filing on Monday that raised the possibility that many parents have been deported. (7/23)
Americans Skeptical Of Trump’s Drug Plan — If They’ve Even Heard Of It
President Donald Trump was hoping for a big win with voters when he rolled out a massive blueprint to lower drug prices in May. But two months later, most Americans haven’t even heard about it, a new poll shows. And few of the Americans who are aware of his plan believe it will lower drug prices. (Karlin-Smith and Ehley, 7/23)
The New York Times:
For Scientists Racing To Cure Alzheimer’s, The Math Is Getting Ugly
The task facing Eli Lilly, the giant pharmaceutical company, sounds simple enough: Find 375 people with early Alzheimer’s disease for a bold new clinical trial aiming to slow or stop memory loss. There are 5.4 million Alzheimer’s patients in the United States. You’d think it would be easy to find that many participants for a trial like this one. But it’s not. And the problem has enormous implications for treatment of a disease that terrifies older Americans and has strained families in numbers too great to count. (Kolata, 7/23)
Antibiotic-Resistant Infections Began After Surgery. Were They Transmitted By Leeches?
When doctors saw blood pooling in the new graft, threatening to kill this one, too, they had the perfect treatment. Down in a hospital lab was a tank rippling with leeches. They fished some out and placed them on the man’s face. Things got better for Christmas. For New Year’s, they got worse. The wound had started oozing pus, which smelled like a sewer and baffled the physicians. Leech guts, like ours, are crawling with bacteria, so the team had pumped the patient full of ciprofloxacin before allowing his blood to be sucked. That should have stopped any infections before they started. Then lab tests confirmed their suspicions: These bugs, called Aeromonas, were cipro-resistant. (Boodman, 7/24)