A summary of important health news from the past week.
Disparity in Life Spans of the Rich and the Poor Is Growing
Americans are living longer, but not equally. Recent research has shown an incredible gap between the longevity of the poorest and wealthiest in the nation. Researchers believe this gap to changes in smoking habits among higher-income populations, but single-origin explanations cannot account for the up to fourteen year life expectancy gap between the rich and poor. New efforts are being made to explore further causes of the disparity, but there is hope that it will decrease in coming years as more individuals gain access to healthcare through Obamacare.
At the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, researchers from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health reported how small cellular balls can act like mini-brains. This is significant because these cells may have the potential to be personalized and contribute to scientific research regarding diseases such as autism, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. Another significant use of mini-brains is that they offer a cheaper, more ethical and more realistic model alternative than testing animals.
More than 1,000 people every year could be saved by this new rule, allowing HIV-patients to donate organs to other HIV-positive patients. Johns Hopkins is the first hospital in the United States to perform such transplants. The HIV Organ Policy Equity Act, or the HOPE Act, has made this possible, saving many HIV patients from death while awaiting an organ, or being unable to receive one because they become too sick.
New findings from the New England Journal of Medicine show a decrease in the rate of new cases of dementia. These data encourage more research into possible preventative measures for dementia. Researchers explored factors such as "education, smoking, blood pressure and medical conditions including diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol among many others."
AP FACT CHECK: Dems Offer Iffy Stats on Donors, Health Plan
In this summary of fact-checking of last week's Democratic debate, the Associated Press reports that the tax increases in Sander's single-payer health care proposal would only cover about 75% of actual costs. Sander's claims that his plan would save the average, middle-class family about $5,000 per year.
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