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Monday, Jul 28th

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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The Los Angeles Times reported the number, which combines data from an unpublished study by RAND Corp.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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ER use of narcotic painkillers up almost 50 percent: Study

oxycontinMore and more Americans are being prescribed powerful narcotic drugs when they visit the emergency department for problems such as low back pain or a pounding headache, a new study finds.

Between 2001 and 2010, emergency departments in the United States showed a 49 percent increase in prescriptions for narcotic painkillers -- also known as opiates. That was despite the fact that there was only a small increase in the percentage of visits for painful conditions.

Experts said the trend is concerning because narcotic painkillers -- which include drugs like OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin -- can be addictive, or abused by people with existing drug problems. And while the drugs may be necessary for more-severe pain, ER doctors see many patients who can stick with over-the-counter pain relievers.

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Colorado Fracking Health Study Opposed by Oil and Gas Interests

Colorado driling studyA Colorado proposal to commission a new study about the health effects of drilling on the Front Range sparked strong emotions Thursday in its first legislative hearing.

The House Health, Insurance & Environment Committee declined to vote Thursday but heard hours of testimony on the proposal. The bill would order the state Health Department to study "health and quality of life effects" of drilling in Adams, Boulder, Larimer and Weld counties.

"This is the sort of thing that government should get involved with," said Irene Fortune, a Loveland chemist who urged lawmakers to spend money on another study about the health effects of oil and gas production.

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