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Study: E-cigarettes affect cells similarly to regular tobacco

e-cigsA new study shows that the vapor from e-cigarettes damages human cells similarly to smoke from traditional cigarettes.

The researchers present the study, published in the journal of Clinical Cancer Research, at the American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting on April 6 in San Diego. The scientists described how they took human bronchial cells and grew some in an environment with e-cigarette vapor and some in an environment with cigarette smoke.

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Some doctors make millions off of Medicare

MedicareSome doctors are making millions of dollars off of Medicare, with a handful collecting multi-million payments annually.

One ophthalmologist from West Palm Beach, Fla., collected nearly $21 million, while a cardiologist from Ocala, Fla., received $18 million in 2012. Seven doctors pulled in more than $10 million in payments, while nearly 4,000 are Medicare millionaires.

The doctors' payments were part of an unprecedented data release, which covers 880,000 physicians, therapists, labs and other medical facilities. Medicare paid providers a total of $77 billion in 2012 to care for more than 50 million of the nation's elderly and disabled, according to federal statistics released Wednesday. These figures do not include what doctors collect from patients in co-pays or from private insurers for non-Medicare patients.

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Stimulation restores some function for 4 paralyzed men

hope for paralyzed patientsParalysis may not last forever anymore. In an experiment hailed as "staggering," a team of researchers at the University of Louisville and the University of California-Los Angeles restored some voluntary movement to four men who were told they would never move their legs again.

The finding, published online today by the journal Brain, upends understanding of the spinal cord and is likely to transform the lives of more than 1.2 million Americans who lack control over their lower limbs.

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Heroin addicts face barriers to treatment

Heroine addictsAs the ranks of heroin users rise, increasing numbers of addicts are looking for help but are failing to find it — because there are no beds in packed facilities, treatment is hugely expensive and insurance companies won't pay for inpatient rehab.

Some users overcome their addictions in spite of the obstacles. But many, like Salvatore Marchese, struggle and fail.

In the course of Marchese's five-year battle with heroin, the Blackwood, N.J., man was repeatedly denied admission to treatment facilities, often because his insurance company wouldn't cover the cost. Then one night in June 2010, a strung-out Marchese went to the emergency room seeking help. The doctors shook their heads: Heroin withdrawal is not life-threatening, they said, and we can't admit you. They gave him an IV flush, and sent him home.

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FDA approves easy-to-use heroin overdose antidote as opioid problem becomes more pronounced across country

heroin overdose drug approvedFriends and family will be able to take the first step to save a loved one from an overdose of heroin or powerful painkillers called opioids.

The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday approved an easy-to-use device that automatically injects the right dose of an overdose antidote named naloxone before an ambulance arrives. Doctors could prescribe it for family members or caregivers to keep on hand, in a pocket or a medicine cabinet.

Opioids include legal prescription painkillers, such as OxyContin and Vicodin, as well as illegal street drugs like heroin.

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Second lawsuit filed against Texas’ strict new abortion law

Texas abortion lawAbortion rights advocates filed a federal lawsuit in Austin Wednesday challenging part of the state’s strict new abortion law requiring all abortion facilities to meet the same structural standards as ambulatory surgical centers beginning in September.

The Center for Reproductive Rights filed the suit on behalf of several abortion providers in Texas. Currently, only six of the 24 operating abortion facilities meet the structural requirements, which include specific room and doorway sizes, air sterilization systems, back-up generators, blood supplies, and male and female locker rooms on site.

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New Analysis: 9.5 Million Uninsured People Covered Under Obamacare

obamacareAbout 9.5 million Americans who were previously uninsured have gotten health coverage under Obamacare, according to a new analysis.

The Los Angeles Times reported the number, which combines data from an unpublished study by RAND Corp. with other publicly available figures. It's one of the most comprehensive efforts yet to asses the law's impact on the uninsured as open enrollment comes to a close.

The numbers break down like this:

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