The 20 Best and Worst Health News Stories of 2014
Last year, for example, UnitedHealthcare, the nation’s largest insurer, terminated dozens of contracts with doctors who treat Medicare Advantage customers. The New Jersey Hospital Association, another member of the newly formed coalition, said hospitals will soon begin handing out a written notice to patients when they are admitted, letting them know the patient is responsible to find out whether a doctor who treats them at the hospital accepts their insurance coverage. Anesthesiologists, emergency physicians, radiologists and pathologists are among the specialists whose fees may not be governed by a hospital’s contract with a managed-care company; patients are sometimes surprised to receive high bills from them after they’ve been discharged from an in-network facility. “These independent doctors charge separately for their services and may not be in your insurance network,” the new notification, approved by the association, states. “Bills received from these doctors are in addition to the bill you will receive from” the hospital, it reads. The head of the insurance-industry association said that doesn’t solve any problems faced by consumers. “People on stretchers don’t ask about network status or price, nor should they have to,” said Ward Sanders, president of the New Jersey Association of Health Plans.
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HMT December 8, 2014 newsletter: Wireless brain sensor; 3-D-printed limb factory
Best: Medical devices lose some of their stigma Women who enter beauty pageants and pose for Internet selfies are often seen as vain and materialistic, but in 2014 two women fought to dispel those notions, while at the same time showcased health conditions that arent often seen as beautiful. In July, Miss Idaho contestant (and eventual winner) Sierra Sandison wore an insulin pump she uses to treat her Type 1 diabetes clipped to her swimsuit during a competition. One month earlier, UK resident and Crohns disease sufferer Brittany Townsend had shared her own bikini photo on Facebook, complete with the colostomy bags she needs to remove waste from her body. Both photos went viral, sending messages that women like Sandison and Townsend dont have to be ashamed. Worst: Measles outbreak fueled by anti-vaccinators The CDC reported in May that measles cases in the United States were at a 20-year high so far this year, largely due to unvaccinated people who contracted disease while traveling abroad and then returned home and spread it among unvaccinated members of their communities. The number of parents who choose not to vaccinate their children in the United States is growing, despite a scientific consensus that childhood vaccines are safe and dont cause serious health problems like autism or leukemia.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://time.com/3625346/best-worst-health-news-2014/
Return to the table of contents Wireless brain sensor could unchain neuroscience from cables In a study in the journal Neuron, scientists describe a new high data-rate, low-power wireless brain sensor. The technology is designed to enable neuroscience research that cannot be accomplished with current sensors that tether subjects with cabled connections. Experiments in the paper confirm that new capability. The results show that the technology transmitted rich, neuroscientifically meaningful signals from animal models as they slept and woke or exercised. “We view this as a platform device for tapping into the richness of electrical signals from the brain among animal models where their neural circuit activity reflects entirely volitional and naturalistic behavior, not constrained to particular space,” said Arto Nurmikko, professor of engineering affiliated with the Brown Institute for Brain Science and the paper’s senior and corresponding author. “This enables new types of neuroscience experiments with vast amounts of brain data wirelessly and continuously streamed from brain microcircuits.” The custom-engineered neuroelectronic platform is composed of two elements: a 100-channel transmitter only 5 centimeters in its largest dimension and weighing only 46.1 grams, and a four-antenna receiver that looks like a home Wi-Fi router but employs sophisticated signal processing to maximize the transmitter’s signal while the subject is moving around.
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