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Preview: Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Health and Fitness Health News


Parents ask court to let them take Charlie Gard home to die

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 14:19:15 UT

LONDON (AP) — Charlie Gard's mother returned to a London court Tuesday to ask a judge to let her and the baby's father take their critically ill son home to die. Lawyers for the family of the 11-month-old infant and the hospital treating him appeared in Britain's High Court, a day after Charlie's parents said they were dropping their long legal battle to get him experimental treatment. Charlie suffers from mitochondrial depletion syndrome, a rare genetic disease, and cannot breathe unassisted. The London children's hospital opposed that, saying it would not help and would cause Charlie suffering. U.S.-based anti-abortion activists flew to London to support Charlie's parents, and the case became a flashpoint for opposing views on health care funding, medical intervention, the role of the state and the rights of the child.

Myanmar officials say 3 die of swine flu

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 13:17:14 UT

Confirmation of the new cases has been widely discussed on social media. Since Monday, more people than usual have been wearing surgical masks in crowded areas of Yangon, the country's commercial capital, even as the government has warned against panicking.

Trump tweets, McCain return set stage for health bill vote

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 13:11:08 UT

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump urged Republicans to "step up to the plate" for Tuesday's crucial Senate vote on their bill eviscerating much of the Obama health care law. No stranger to heroic episodes, the Navy pilot who persevered through five years of captivity during the Vietnam War announced through his office that he would be back in Washington for the critical roll call on beginning debate on the legislation. The discussions were covering issues including potentially giving states more leeway to use federal funds to help people losing coverage under Medicaid, the health insurance program for the poor, disabled and nursing home patients. Moderate and conservative Republicans would try reshaping the bill in their direction while Democrats would attempt to force GOP senators to cast difficult votes aimed at haunting them in re-election campaigns. Obama's law was enacted in 2010 over unanimous Republican opposition. [...] its expansion of Medicaid and creation of federal insurance marketplaces has produced 20 million fewer uninsured people. McConnell's bill would abolish much of Obama's law, eliminating its tax penalties on people not buying policies, cutting Medicaid, eliminating its tax boosts on medical companies and providing less generous health care subsidies for consumers.

Black seniors stroll down memory lane aiming to stay sharp

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 12:46:05 UT

Steen enrolled in a small but unique study to see if jogging memories where they were made can help older African-Americans stay mentally sharp and slow early memory loss. Why do black seniors appear twice as likely as whites — and Hispanics 1½ times — to develop Alzheimer's and other dementias? African-Americans make up less than 5 percent of participants in studies of cognitive decline and dementia, according to the Alzheimer's Association. Beyond possibly improving their own brain health, the Portland study's enticement is a chance to help preserve community and cultural memories from historically black neighborhoods that are disappearing with gentrification. Along the way, "memory markers" — signs or historic photos — prompt "do you remember" conversations about people, events or long-gone landmarks, conversations recorded both for the study and for an oral archive. Some of the SHARP study participants, like Steen, are cognitively normal for their age; others have early memory problems or what's called mild cognitive impairment. Studies presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference last week show a growing interest in the role of social and environmental influences, from living in disadvantaged neighborhoods to socioeconomic disparities in early childhood.

The Latest: Trump keeps up Twitter pressure on health care

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 11:36:12 UT

Republican leaders are steering the Senate toward a crucial vote on their health care bill with a fresh burst of drama and optimism, thanks to Sen. John McCain's declaration that he'll return to the Capitol for the roll call. Before the announcement by the cancer-stricken McCain, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had already planned an initial vote for Tuesday on simply beginning debate on the Republican effort. [...] McCain's announcement suggested Republican leaders had a good chance of prevailing since it seemed unlikely they'd bring him back if the measure was doomed.

Trump to rally in Ohio as residents worry about health care

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 05:25:04 UT

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) — President Donald Trump is scheduled to visit Ohio on Tuesday as the U.S. Senate will vote on whether to open debate on legislation to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama's health care law. Some who rely on government assistance say they're having trouble sleeping at night because they're worried about their medical expenses. On Saturday, Vice President Mike Pence attended the Ohio Republican Party's annual fundraising dinner in Columbus and urged GOP senators to get rid of Obama's health care policies. Price has been jumping on activist conference calls, emailing Portman's office every week and drove two hours to Columbus on Saturday to protest when Pence came to visit. Martin, a factory worker for 51 years, said she burned through her $20,000 in life savings on medical expenses a year after her retirement. Martin, who voted for Trump, "has faith" that Trump will make things more affordable for her, and is excited to hear what Trump has to say about health care when he comes to Youngstown, a 15 minute drive from her home. Over the years, their medical bills ran into the millions, mostly paid for by company insurance after the Affordable Care Act removed lifetime caps on insurance payouts.

McCain making dramatic Senate return for crucial health vote

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 02:40:23 UT

WASHINGTON (AP) — John McCain will make a dramatic return to the Senate for a make-or-break vote on Republican health care legislation Tuesday just days after getting diagnosed with brain cancer, giving an emotional and arithmetical boost to his party's reeling effort to repeal Obamacare. The decision by the 80-year-old senator to travel to Washington from his Arizona home was announced by his office in a brief press release late Monday night. "Senator McCain looks forward to returning to the United States Senate tomorrow to continue working on important legislation, including health care reform, the National Defense Authorization Act, and new sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea," his office said. McConnell, R-Ky., said he's "made a commitment to the people I represent" to undo Obama's health care overhaul, in what seemed a pointed reminder to Republican senators that they've made the same vow. [...] senators and aides said talks were underway on issues including potentially giving states more leeway on using federal funds to help people losing Medicaid coverage. McConnell's measure would uproot much of Obama's law, eliminating its tax penalties on people not buying policies, cutting the Medicaid health care program for the poor and providing less generous health care subsidies for consumers. In comments highlighting GOP tensions, Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, said it is "absolutely repugnant" that Republican senators aren't following through on campaign promises to repeal Obama's law.