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Health & Spirit

California surprise-billing law protects patients but aggravates many doctors

Health / Health & Fitness /

More than two years after California's surprise-billing law took effect, there's one thing on which consumer advocates, doctors and insurers all agree: The law has been effective at protecting many people from bills they might have been saddled with from doctors who aren't in their insurance network.

But the consensus stops there.

"In general,...Read more

Hair dye, straighteners may increase breast cancer risk, especially for black women, study

Health / Health & Fitness /

A large study led by government scientists is renewing concern about whether chemicals used to dye and straighten hair raise the risk of cancer.

National Institutes of Health researchers found an increased chance of breast cancer among women who regularly used permanent hair dye, particularly African-Americans. Black women who used dye at least...Read more

Healthy Men: The epidemic — and consequences — of male loneliness

Health / Health & Fitness /

Loneliness kills. According to former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, isolation and weak social connections "are associated with a reduction in lifespan similar to that caused by smoking fifteen cigarettes a day and even greater than that associated with obesity." Even when it's not fatal, loneliness makes life a lot less pleasant. We'll talk...Read more

Candidates are betting big on health. Is that what voters really want?

Health / Health & Fitness /

The one thing we know about health care in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary race is that it's a top issue for voters.

The latest Tracking Poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation found 24% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents said they want to hear the candidates discuss health care. That's twice the total for the next top ...Read more

Mayo Clinic Q&A: Scoliosis most often develops during growth spurt just before puberty

Health / Health & Fitness /

Dear Mayo Clinic: What causes scoliosis? Do genetics play a role? I was diagnosed with it as a teenager, and several of my cousins had it, too. Now I'm worried that my daughter, who's 8, may be affected when she gets older. Should she be checked for scoliosis soon?

A: The exact cause of scoliosis isn't known. But it tends to run in families, ...Read more

UnitedHealth Group touts Optum effect on its corporate growth

Health / Health & Fitness /

UnitedHealth Group is projecting revenue growth to pick up a bit next year led by its Optum division for health care services, which includes a fast-growing network of medical clinics and surgery centers.

The Minnesota-based company provided its first financial outlook for 2020 during an investor conference Tuesday in New York.

Chief executive...Read more

He's only 2 and facing health problems far from home. Donors will help at Christmas

Health / Health & Fitness /

Yobania and Jeffrey Nieto are more than 3,000 miles from home, and on a desperate mission they never anticipated would last this long, or be this hard: finding medical help for their 2-year-old son, Jesseht.

Jesseht suffers from a disorder called hypotonia, or an abnormally low level of muscle tone, and other conditions that affect his ...Read more

Mayo Clinic Q&A: Mitral valve repair with minimally invasive heart surgery

Health / Health & Fitness /

Dear Mayo Clinic: Is minimally invasive heart surgery to repair a mitral valve a safer option than open-heart surgery? Is it common for a surgeon to have to switch to an open-heart procedure after starting the surgery?

A: Both minimally invasive heart surgery and traditional surgery that involves opening the chest bone -- a procedure known as ...Read more

Research shows South Asians make up 60% of heart disease patients

Health / Health & Fitness /

CHICAGO -- Munaf Patel is an active husband and father. He plays cricket, basketball and volleyball, and runs around with his young kids in the family's yard near the city's Far Northwest Side.

So when he had an "uneasy" feeling in his chest in September 2015, he took some aspirin and followed up with his doctor. He was concerned but didn't ...Read more

Alzheimer's disease usually worsens slowly

Health / Health & Fitness /

Q: My mother has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, but she seems to be declining rapidly. Doesn't Alzheimer's usually get worse slowly?

A: Yes, Alzheimer's disease usually worsens slowly. But its speed of progression varies, depending on a person's genetic makeup, environmental factors, age at diagnosis and other medical conditions.

...Read more

Feds file criminal charges against four former Outcome Health executives, alleging massive $1 billion fraud

Health / Health & Fitness /

CHICAGO -- Outcome Health and its former executives, Rishi Shah and Shradha Agarwal, were shining stars in Chicago's tech scene.

There were plans to put the company's name on a skyscraper. A fund co-founded by J.B. Pritzker and units of Goldman Sachs and Google made investments in the company. Shah was the youngest newcomer to the Forbes 400 ...Read more

UnitedHealthcare opening centers in Walgreens stores

Health / Health & Fitness /

UnitedHealthcare is launching new service centers for Medicare beneficiaries in more than a dozen Walgreens stores -- a second partnership in as many years between the pharmacy giant and Minnetonka, Minn.-based UnitedHealth Group, which is parent company to United's large health insurance business.

Scheduled to open in January, the service ...Read more

Startup seeks to hold doctors, hospitals accountable on patient record requests

Health / Health & Fitness /

When Kelly Shanahan had her OB-GYN practice in South Lake Tahoe, Calif., she was meticulous about providing medical records promptly to all patients who requested them, she said.

But since being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in 2013, an event that forced her into retirement, Shanahan has discovered that not all of her doctors are as ...Read more

Fact check: Do 160 million Americans really like their health plans? Kind of

Health / Health & Fitness /

Articulating his proposal for health care reform, former Vice President Joe Biden emphasized the number of Americans who, he said, were more than perfectly satisfied with the coverage they have.

"160 million people like their private insurance," Biden said during last week's Democratic presidential primary debate.

That argument is at the heart...Read more

Healthy Men: How to save your husband's life

Health / Health & Fitness /

Dear Healthy Men: I love my family, but I'm very frustrated about having to manage almost everyone's health. While my daughter and I schedule our own doctor visits and mammograms, my husband and two teenage sons never do. In fact, I just spent half the morning making appointments (physicals for my sons, and a physical, colonoscopy, EKG, and ...Read more

Georgia Democrat dramatizes message on health care — by giving up her own

Health / Health & Fitness /

WASHINGTON -- A Georgia Democrat in one of the most competitive House districts in the country is canceling her health insurance, a risky move that she says is financially necessary as she runs for Congress.

Nabilah Islam is one of a handful of Democrats running for the party's nomination in the open 7th District. Islam is trying to save money...Read more

Healthy Men: When it comes to stereotypes, words matter. A lot

Health / Health & Fitness /

A few days ago, I heard a young father telling his son -- who was probably around 10 or 11 -- to "man up." I started thinking about that phrase and wondered about all the gender stereotyping we do without even realizing it. Are expressions like "man up" harmless parts of our language or do they make a difference?

There's no question that we use...Read more

5 of the least healthy holiday dishes

Health / Health & Fitness /

A lot of time and effort goes in to making a holiday meal. Tables will overflow with family favorites and traditional dishes such as candied yams and green bean casserole.

But is this food actually good for you?

A typical holiday meal can easily exceed 3,000 calories, according to research from the Calorie Control Council. Some of the least ...Read more

Deaths increase under new heart donor system, research team finds

Health / Health & Fitness /

MINNEAPOLIS -- Deaths following heart transplants have increased in the year after a new allocation system was put in place to reduce wait times and prioritize donor organs for the sickest patients.

The finding by Dr. Rebecca Cogswell at the University of Minnesota and colleagues is a preliminary look at the effect of the new system for ...Read more

Democrats tussle over political prospects of 'Medicare for All'

Health / Health & Fitness /

ATLANTA -- The battle over "Medicare for All" arose again Wednesday night as Democratic candidates sparred over what kind of health care overhaul is practical and politically feasible.

Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., raised the issue unprompted, arguing that his policy of "Medicare for all who want it" would be "a governing ...Read more