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Wednesday, Jul 23rd

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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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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The Los Angeles Times reported the number, which combines data from an unpublished study by RAND Corp.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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Diet drinks linked to heart problems in older women

diet sodaA study involving almost 60,000 healthy postmenopausal women correlated diet drinks with increased risk of heart attack, stroke or a cardiovascular event.

"Our findings are in line with and extend data from previous studies showing an association between diet drinks and metabolic syndrome," lead investigator Dr. Ankur Vyas of University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics said in a statement. "We were interested in this research because there was a relative lack of data about diet drinks and cardiovascular outcomes and mortality."

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New CDC Report Finds 1 in 68 Children Have Autism Spectrum Disorders, Up 30% From 2012

Autism gre 30%One in 68 children in the U.S. are identified with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) according to the latest estimates from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC); this estimate is 30 percent higher than the prevalence reported in 2012. CDC says that since the previous estimate of 1 in 88 children identified with ASD, the criteria used to diagnose, treat, and provide services have not changed.

Overall, the surveillance summary report, “Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder among Children Aged 8 Years—Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 11 Sites, United States, 2010,” estimates that there are 1.2 million children under the age of 21 with autism. The study based its numbers off of data solely from eight-year-olds (the “peak age of identification,” according to the CDC) in communities from 11 states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Utah, and Wisconsin.

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Disputing Study, U.S. FDA Says Generics From Abroad Safe

Generics are safe: FDAA top U.S. regulator is discrediting research published a year ago that found impurities in dozens of generic heart drugs made overseas, saying the investigators contaminated the samples during their testing.

The study by Preston Mason, a researcher at the Harvard-affiliated Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, was one of the first independent probes into generic heart drugs. Outlined by Mason at a congressional briefing last month, it has been at the center of a growing debate over the quality of copycat drugs as insurers increasingly demand their use to trim medical costs.

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WHO: Air pollution kills 7 million prematurely worldwide annually

air pollutionIn 2012, about 7 million people died worldwide as a result of air pollution exposure -- making air pollution the world’s largest single environmental health risk, World Health Organization officials in Geneva say.

Dr. Flavia Bustreo, assistant director-general of WHO's Family, Women and Children’s Health, says the new estimates are not only based on more knowledge about the diseases caused by air pollution, but also a better assessment of human exposure to air pollutants using improved technology.

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