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February 2018

January 2018

Living with the bugs

This HND piece examines two common pathogenic agents: Flu viruses and E. Coli.  Both subjects are timely, given that this current flu season is shaping up to be a bad one, and that there was a recent outbreak of E. Coli, supposedly spread by leafy vegetables.

As it happens, one accurate way to determine if you really have the flu is the presence of a cough and fever.  Also, there is no such thing as "stomach flu." Those intestinal upsets are caused by a non-influenza virus.

Regarding E. coli, we go into its history, and then discuss the nasty O157:H7 strain, that is flat-out deadly.

Read the complete article.

A look at one health

This HND piece discusses the concept of One Health:  Unifying animal health, environmental health, and human heath.  For starters, humans and animals share many diseases, and what we learn about them—in any organism—could lead to a cure, or better treatment modalities.  For example, many animals get diabetes, but can we learn something from bottlenose dolphins, that seem to be able to control their insulin resistance, based on need for glucose?

We also spotlight a company that is adding the latest technology to the One Health mix.

Read the complete article.


Getting health insurance to more people

This HND piece discusses the Department of Labor's new proposal, which will broaden the definition of "employer" to facilitate the formation of so-called association health plans.  This will give those in small companies, and the self-employed, far greater access to better group insurance policies.  In addition, the proposal has been widely interpreted to allow the sales of health insurance to cross state lines.

As mentioned in the story, such association health plans were far more common decades ago, but seemed to disappear as a result of ERISA and related regulations.  DOL estimates that its proposal will bring 11 million people back into the insurance market.

Read the complete article.


A look at alopecia aerata

This HND piece examines a condition that is not all that rare—affecting 6.8 million people in the US.  Symptoms vary widely among sufferers, but the disease usually first strikes in childhood.  The good news is that unlike other forms of baldness, this affliction does not kill the hair follicles; thus regrowth is always possible.

We discuss conventional therapies, and then spotlight something new:  the use of immunomodulators, which are showing great promise in clinical trials.  The trouble is, that they are very expensive.  But, the hope is that with more widespread use of such drugs, they prices will drop.

Read the complete article.