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Bill restricting Medicaid expansion in Georgia passes

Nathan DealLawmakers in Georgia would get the final say on whether to expand a government health insurance program for the poor under a bill passed Tuesday, making it even less likely the state will join an overhaul sought by President Obama.

The election-year legislation came up for a vote in the General Assembly during a busy, second-to-last day of the legislative session. Legislators are in a mad rush to pass their bills because any legislation that does not win approval by the final day Thursday automatically fails.


The Toxins That Threaten Our Brains

neurotoxinsForty-one million IQ points. That’s what Dr. David Bellinger determined Americans have collectively forfeited as a result of exposure to lead, mercury, and organophosphate pesticides. In a 2012 paper published by the National Institutes of Health, Bellinger, a professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, compared intelligence quotients among children whose mothers had been exposed to these neurotoxins while pregnant to those who had not.

Bellinger calculates a total loss of 16.9 million IQ points due to exposure to organophosphates, the most common pesticides used in agriculture.


Federal Government Signs Off On Study Using Marijuana To Treat Veterans' PTSD

marijana for pstdThe federal government has signed off on a long-delayed study looking at marijuana as a treatment for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, a development that drug researchers are hailing as a major shift in U.S. policy.

The Department of Health and Human Services' decision surprised marijuana advocates who have struggled for decades to secure federal approval for research into the drug's medical uses.

The proposal from the University of Arizona was long ago cleared by the Food and Drug Administration, but researchers had been unable to purchase marijuana from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The agency's Mississippi research farm is the only federally-sanctioned source of the drug.


Global tobacco marketing campaign accused of targeting minors

Tobacco marketing minorsA stylish young woman clad in tight maroon pants and a short leather jacket has her fellow up against a brick wall as they share a passionate kiss. The caption underneath the photo reads, “Maybe never fell in love.”

A musician laughs while she picks a guitar, holding a lit cigarette in the other hand. The caption reads, “Maybe never wrote a song.”

A third young person is airborne above the outstretched hands of fellow concertgoers, accompanied by the caption “No more maybe.”

Each advertisement ends with the command to “Be Marlboro,” and is part of an international marketing campaign that public health advocates say is targeted toward children and teenagers in 50 countries with the goal of hooking them on a lifelong and deadly habit.


FTC Opens Investigation into Herbalife; Shares Plunge

HerbalifeThe Federal Trade Commission has opened a probe into Herbalife. The stock, which had been halted, is now trading down 14%. Before the news came out, it was up 4.45%.

Herbalife confirmed that they received a Civil Investigative Demand from the FTC.  

"Herbalife welcomes the inquiry given the tremendous amount of misinformation in the marketplace, and will cooperate fully with the FTC.  We are confident that Herbalife is in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.  Herbalife is a financially strong and successful company, having created meaningful value for shareholders, significant opportunities for distributors and positively impacted the lives and health of its consumers for over 34 years," the company said in a statement.


Drug Company Won't Give Sick Boy Potentially Life-Saving Meds

Drug company refuses drug for dying boyJosh Hardy has fought hard to stay alive. Just 7 years old, he has already survived four bouts of kidney cancer, heart failure and a bone marrow transplant. Now a new obstacle stands in the way of his health: a pharmaceutical company denying him a potentially life-saving medication.

As a viral infection devastates Hardy’s body, doctors at St. Jude's Children Hospital recommended the family try the antiviral drug brincidofovir, which has not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. But the medicine's manufacturer, pharmaceutical company Chimerix, won't administer the drug and says giving it to him would slow down efforts to get brincidofovir approved and bring it to market.


Obamacare enrollment in private coverage rises to 4.2 million people

ObamacareAbout 4.2 million Americans chose a new health insurance plan through the new health care reform law between Oct. 1 and March 1, according to a new government report Tuesday, but the pace of enrollments has slowed ahead of a critical March 31 deadline.

Since an open enrollment period started last fall, some 2.6 million Americans have chosen health plans through the federal exchange, while another 1.6 million have signed up through exchanges run by states. More than 80 percent of those who have selected plans are eligible for federal subsidies through the Affordable Care Act to reduce the cost of premiums.


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