WBRZ http://www.wbrz.com/ WBRZ Health Health en-us Copyright 2018, WBRZ. All Rights Reserved. Feed content is not avaialble for commercial use. () () Sat, 20 Jan 2018 HH:01:ss GMT Synapse CMS 10 WBRZ http://www.wbrz.com/ 144 25 Baton Rouge General expands Urgent Care network http://www.wbrz.com/news/baton-rouge-general-expands-urgent-care-network/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/baton-rouge-general-expands-urgent-care-network/ Health Wed, 3 Jan 2018 10:20:28 AM WBRZ Staff Baton Rouge General expands Urgent Care network

BATON ROUGE- Baton Rouge General has announced the expansion of its clinic network through a new partnership with Dutchtown Urgent Care in Geismer.

According to a release, the partnership will bring the Dutchtown clinic under the BRG umbrella and make it part of the General Health System network.

The Dutchtown Urgent Care accepts walk-in patients of all ages and treats common illnesses and injuries seven days a week.

“Ascension Parish residents will continue to receive the convenient, affordable and high quality healthcare services seven days a week that Dutchtown Urgent Care is known for,” said Edgardo Tenreiro, President and CEO of Baton Rouge General. “But with this partnership, patients who need a higher level of care can now transition easily to other Baton Rouge General services at Bluebonnet or the Ascension Neighborhood Hospital once it’s built.”

BRG also recently announced a new neighborhood hospital in Prairieville set to open in 2019.


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Price tag on gene therapy for rare form of blindness: $850K http://www.wbrz.com/news/price-tag-on-gene-therapy-for-rare-form-of-blindness-850k/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/price-tag-on-gene-therapy-for-rare-form-of-blindness-850k/ Health Wed, 3 Jan 2018 8:18:15 AM Associated Press Price tag on gene therapy for rare form of blindness: $850K
WASHINGTON- A first-of-its kind genetic treatment for blindness will cost $850,000, less than the $1 million price tag that had been expected, but it's still among the most expensive genetic therapies in the world.
  
Spark Therapeutics says it decided on the lower price tag for Luxturna after hearing concerns from health insurers about their ability to cover the injectable treatment.
  
Consternation over skyrocketing drug prices, especially in the U.S., has led to intense scrutiny from patients, Congress, insurers and hospitals.
  
"We wanted to balance the value and the affordability concerns with a responsible price that would ensure access to patients," said CEO Jeffrey Marrazzo, in an interview with The Associated Press.
  
Luxturna is still significantly more expensive than nearly every other drug on the global market, including two other gene therapies approved earlier last year in the U.S. Approved last month, Luxturna, is the nation's first gene therapy for an inherited disease. It can improve the vision of those with a rare form of blindness that is estimated to affect just a few thousand people in the U.S.
  
Luxturna is an injection - one for each eye - that replaces a defective gene in the retina, tissue at the back of the eye that converts light into electric signals that produce vision. The therapy will cost $425,000 per injection.
  
The treatment is part of an emerging field of medicine that could produce dozens of new gene-targeting medications in the next few years.
  
There are questions about the wisdom of devoting so much energy to specialty drugs, which are used to treat so few people, but still account for a growing slice of overall health care costs.
  
Drugmakers have historically offered little explanation for the prices they charge. However, some companies have begun to offer more detailed reasoning as the backlash against drug prices has grown more heated.
  
Spark Therapeutics, based in Philadelphia, has said that the cost for a lifetime of blindness - including lost earnings and caregiver wages - can easily exceed $1 million.
  
Not everyone agrees with that argument. A preliminary analysis by one group found the drug would have to be priced significantly lower "to be a cost-effective intervention."
  
The estimate by the non-profit Institute for Clinical and Economic Review assumes the drug would maintain patients' vision for 10 years. However, Spark expects the drug's effect to be long-lasting, if not lifelong, though it has only tracked patients for about four years.
  
At least one gene therapy sold oversees has already crossed the $1-million price threshold.
  
The treatment for a rare protein disorder launched in 2012 with a price of $1.2 million. Manufacturer uniQure stopped selling the drug earlier last year after seeing a lack of demand. The drug was never approved in the U.S.
  
Like most prescription medicines in the U.S., most of the immediate costs of Luxturna will be borne by insurers, including private plans and government programs.  For patients, Spark said it would cover all out-of-pocket expenses needed to obtain the medication, including transportation to hospitals trained to administer the injections.
  
Spark will try to deflect some pricing concerns by offering unconventional payment plans to insurers. Under one arrangement with the non-profit insurer Harvard Pilgrim, Spark will repay some of Luxturna's costs if patients don't experience the expected improvements in vision. The company did not disclose how much money would be returned to the insurer, which covers more than a million people in New England.
  
Spark said it is also discussing a proposal in which insurers would pay for the drug in installments over several years. That idea would apply to government programs like Medicare and Medicaid, which provide health coverage to the poor and elderly.


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Ochsner in tentative deal to run north Louisiana hospitals http://www.wbrz.com/news/ochsner-in-tentative-deal-to-run-north-louisiana-hospitals/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/ochsner-in-tentative-deal-to-run-north-louisiana-hospitals/ Health Wed, 20 Dec 2017 7:39:46 AM Associated Press Ochsner in tentative deal to run north Louisiana hospitals

BATON ROUGE - Management of the state-owned safety-net hospitals in north Louisiana could soon be changing hands.

Southeast Louisiana-based Ochsner Health System has tentatively agreed to take over day-to-day oversight of the Shreveport and Monroe facilities from BRF.

The move announced Tuesday by Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration is aimed at ending years of disputes over operations of the facilities.

The Edwards administration and LSU, which previously managed the hospitals, sent breach-of-contract notification letters to BRF in September claiming the hospital manager wasn't following contract terms.

Officials hope striking an agreement with Ochsner will remedy the complaints.

The paperwork signed so far with Ochsner are non-binding "letters of intent" that spell out plans for the management transfer. The official contract terms remain to be completed, and the exact transition date isn't yet set.


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Trim and terrific treats with Holly Clegg http://www.wbrz.com/news/trim-and-terrific-treats-with-holly-clegg/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/trim-and-terrific-treats-with-holly-clegg/ Health Fri, 15 Dec 2017 1:34:36 PM WBRZ Staff Trim and terrific treats with Holly Clegg

BATON ROUGE- One great way to get on Santa's nice list is to leave him treats. Instead of leaving cookies, try some trim and terrific treats from Holly Clegg.

Once again, Louisiana cookbook queen Holly Clegg and WBRZ's John Pastorek were in the kitchen making delicious food. The two made sesame honey chicken and blonde brownies.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE FROM HOLLY CLEGG

The recipes are as follows:

Sesame Honey Chicken
Makes about 6 (2/3-cup) servings

2/3 cup honey

1/4 low-sodium soy sauce

1/4 cup ketchup

1 teaspoon olive oil 
1 onion, chopped

1 teaspoon minced garlic 
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes 
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (4 breasts)
2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 1/2 cup water 
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted

1. In 3 ½-6-quart slow cooker, insert plastic liner if desired, or coat slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Add honey, soy sauce, ketchup, oil, onion, garlic and pepper. Add chicken and mix with sauce. Cover and cook on low 4-5 hours or until chicken is tender.
2. Remove chicken to plate, leaving the sauce in slow cooker. In a small cup, combine cornstarch and water, mixing well. Pour into slow cooker; stirring into the sauce. Cover and cook sauce on high 10 minutes or until slightly thickened.
3. Cut chicken into bite size pieces and return to pot, stirring. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.

Blonde Brownies
Makes 48 squares

1/2 cup butter, melted
1 2/3 cups light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup skim milk
1 cup holiday colored chocolate coated candies

1. Preheat oven 350°f. Coat 13x9x2-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, combine butter and brown sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well. Add vanilla.
3. In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder and baking soda. Gradually stir into sugar mixture alternately with milk. Stir in chocolate candies. Transfer to pan.
4. Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Don't overcook.


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Healthy holiday recipes with Holly Clegg http://www.wbrz.com/news/healthy-holiday-recipes-with-holly-clegg/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/healthy-holiday-recipes-with-holly-clegg/ Health Thu, 14 Dec 2017 1:31:25 PM WBRZ Staff Healthy holiday recipes with Holly Clegg

BATON ROUGE- Louisiana's cookbook queen Holly Clegg shared some of her recipes from her cookbook 'Eating Well to Fight Arthritis.'

WBRZ's John Pastorek was in the kitchen with Clegg to make healthy holiday treats. The two made spiced walnuts, an avocado and edamame dip called "Guacamame" and carrot cake bars with cream cheese icing.

Below are the recipes for the three dishes.

Spiced Walnuts

Makes 8 (1/4 cup) servings

2 cups walnut halves
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil

1. Preheat oven 375°F.
2. Spread walnuts on baking sheet and bake about 5-7 minutes or until golden.
3. In a small bowl, combine sugar, salt, garlic powder, cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne.
4. In nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add nuts and stir to coat with oil. Add seasoning mix, stirring until nuts coated. Remove to paper towel to cool.

"Guacamame"

Makes 10 (1/4-cup) servings

1 large avocado, (about 2/3 cup mashed)
1 1/2 cups shelled edamame, thawed
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup salsa
3 tablespoons nonfat plain Greek yogurt
Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a food processor, combine all ingredients, mixing until smooth.

Terrific Tip: Can also use to stuff vegetables or as a sandwich spread.

Nutrition Nugget: Soybeans are high in omega 3 fatty acids, which are necessary to ingest through food for their anti-inflammatory benefits.

Carrot Cake Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes 24-30 bars

1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/3 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups shredded carrot
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Cream Cheese Frosting

1. Preheat oven 350°F. Coat 13x9x2-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together oil, brown sugar, eggs, orange juice, and vanilla. Stir in carrot and pecans.
3. In another bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and ginger. Add to carrot mixture; stirring just until combined. Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely and ice with Cream Cheese Frosting (see recipe).

Cream Cheese Frosting

4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
1 tablespoon butter
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon orange juice

1. In mixing bowl, beat together all ingredients until creamy.

Terrific Tip: Use pre-shredded bagged carrots as step saver.


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Health risks to look out for during the solar eclipse http://www.wbrz.com/news/health-risks-to-look-out-for-during-the-solar-eclipse/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/health-risks-to-look-out-for-during-the-solar-eclipse/ Health Sun, 20 Aug 2017 5:14:33 PM Kara St.Cyr Health risks to look out for during the solar eclipse

BATON ROUGE - Louisiana residents will see a historical natural phenomena covering the sky on Monday, August 21 — a solar eclipse. 

As the moon shields off a section of the sun, a partial amount of sunshine will be visible causing the effect. Although exciting, this small chunk of sunlight can be dangerous without the proper protection. 

Without covering the naked eye, the sun's ultraviolet rays can penetrate the retina of your eye, causing temporary or permanent blindness. The retina does not have nerve endings, so there will be no pain or initial evidence of damage. 

NASA suggests using special glasses to safely view the eclipse. Objects like sunglasses, telescopes and cell phones are not strong enough to protect the eye from UV damage. Shade 14 welder glasses are the only exception.  

Dr. Jen Ashton says there is no safe way to view the eclipse without suitable glasses. 

"You can damage your vision in as little as a few seconds," Ashton said.

If you experience blindness for more than a few hours, experts recommend seeking medical attention. 

You can find appropriate eyewear at BREC's Highland Observatory for two dollars each. Only two adults per family can purchase the glasses. Meanwhile, LSU students and faculty can visit the Student Union to get solar eclipse glasses.


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WATCH: 'Supergirl' survives chemo, receives special send-off http://www.wbrz.com/news/watch-supergirl-survives-chemo-receives-special-send-off/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/watch-supergirl-survives-chemo-receives-special-send-off/ Health Sat, 5 Aug 2017 5:26:05 PM Josh Jackson WATCH: 'Supergirl' survives chemo, receives special send-off

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - A little girl received an emotional goodbye after her last chemotherapy treatment from staff members at John Hopkins All Children's Hospital.

This supergirl, 1-year-old Emilie Meza walked the halls of the hospital with her family, showered with applause. 

Meza was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, a form of blood cancer, at 9-months-old. Her father, Eduardo Meza, became her blood doner. 

“Oh, it was an amazing feeling,” Emilie’s mother, Roxana Meza, told ABC News. “There were tears in my eyes -- tears of joy. She’s gone through so much and she doesn’t know it because she’s so little. It was tough at a lot of points, but to feel accomplished that you’re getting past the chemo part of it is amazing.”

Now Emilie and her family will move to the Ronald McDonald house to monitor her recovery. 

Emilie's attending physician, Dr. Benjamin Oshrine said the send-off was "heartwarming and adorable." 


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Horse infected with lethal mosquito-transmitted virus in Iberville Parish http://www.wbrz.com/news/horse-infected-with-lethal-mosquito-transmitted-virus-in-iberville-parish/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/horse-infected-with-lethal-mosquito-transmitted-virus-in-iberville-parish/ Health Tue, 25 Jul 2017 12:13:00 PM WBRZ Staff Horse infected with lethal mosquito-transmitted virus in Iberville Parish

IBERVILLE PARISH - The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry says an unvaccinated horse in Iberville Parish has been infected with a potentially deadly mosquito-transmitted disease.

According to LDAF Commissioner Mike Strain, the horse tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis, a severe virus that can infect both pets and humans. 

Like the West Nile Virus, EEE is transmitted by mosquitoes and can cause inflammation or swelling of the brain and spinal cord. The virus can be spread to horses, dogs, cats and humans.

Commissioner Strain says the virus can often be deadly. 

“This is the time of year mosquitoes are more prevalent. Horses are infected the same way humans are infected – by being bitten by infected mosquitoes - so everyone needs to take extra precautionary measures at this time,” Strain said.

Prevention methods include removing standing water where mosquitos breed, and using mosquito repellant that is safe for horses and humans. Horses can also be vaccinated, but there is currently no vaccination approved for humans.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, EEE is one of the most severe mosquito-transmitted diseases in the United States with a 33 percent mortality rate and significant brain damage in most survivors. 

Horse owners should contact their local veterinarian regarding proper vaccination protocols.


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62-year-old woman donates kidney for granddaughter's life-saving surgery http://www.wbrz.com/news/62-year-old-woman-donates-kidney-for-granddaughter-s-life-saving-surgery/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/62-year-old-woman-donates-kidney-for-granddaughter-s-life-saving-surgery/ Health Sat, 22 Jul 2017 5:27:50 PM Kara St.Cyr 62-year-old woman donates kidney for granddaughter's life-saving surgery

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - A toddler got a second chance at life after her 62-year-old grandmother gave up her own kidney for the 2-year-old child's surgery.

At 2 months old, Wryn Graydon was diagnosed with congenital nephrotic syndrome, a rare disorder that affects the kidneys. Wryn had both her kidneys removed two months after her diagnosis and received further treatment from home.

While Wryn's doctors waited for her to grow strong enough for a kidney transplant, the family began its search to find the perfect match. 

“Everybody wanted to be a match so bad,” Wryn's father, Mike Graydon, told ABC News. “My wife [Haley] and I didn't know who to choose to get tested first. I had kidney stones so I knew I wouldn't be a possibility and my wife was the primary caregiver, so they wouldn't let her do it.”
 
While Wryn's doctors waited for her to grow strong enough for a kidney transplant, the family underwent tests to find the perfect match. 
After extensive testing of family members, doctors determined Wryn's grandmother, Carol Graydon, was the perfect fit. Doctors said the 62-year-old had the "kidneys of a 20-year-old."

“There are so many emotions that hit you,” Wryn's father said. “We're big believers in God so we trust in him. But from the medical side we know what can go wrong and this was my mom and daughter.”

After a three-hour transplant surgery both grandmother and granddaughter recovered successfully. A normal transplant for a child lasts around 15 years, so it is likely that Wryn will need another kidney in the future.

Currently, Wryn is recovering from her surgery and waiting to be discharged, while her grandmother is recovering at home. The family said they are looking forward to Wryn regaining her strength and becoming an energetic child.

“We’re excited about it but also scared,” Graydon said of him and his wife. “She was already our wild child.”


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$368M budget boost sought for Louisiana Medicaid expansion http://www.wbrz.com/news/368m-budget-boost-sought-for-louisiana-medicaid-expansion/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/368m-budget-boost-sought-for-louisiana-medicaid-expansion/ Health Mon, 22 May 2017 10:40:40 AM Associated Press $368M budget boost sought for Louisiana Medicaid expansion

BATON ROUGE - Louisiana lawmakers are being asked to add $368 million in federal funding to the health department budget to keep from running out of money for the state's Medicaid expansion.


The Louisiana Department of Health has enrolled more people than expected in Medicaid expansion since Gov. John Bel Edwards began the program. Those signing up for the free insurance coverage are older and costlier patients than projected.

More than 428,000 people have enrolled in the government-financed coverage.

The Medicaid expansion program is scheduled to run out of federal financing Tuesday. The Legislature's joint budget committee is meeting Monday to consider accepting the federal dollars and filling the gap.

The health department says it would have to temporarily shuffle dollars from other programs to pay providers, without federal financing approval from lawmakers.


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Mother Nature to blame for the busy allergist's office. http://www.wbrz.com/news/mother-nature-to-blame-for-the-busy-allergist-s-office-/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/mother-nature-to-blame-for-the-busy-allergist-s-office-/ Health Thu, 13 Apr 2017 7:47:02 AM Michael Vinsanau Mother Nature to blame for the busy allergist's office.

BATON ROUGE - Mother Nature is to blame for the busy lines at the allergist's office.

The mild winter has allowed plants to grow earlier, and pollen generate quicker. One allergist said his office saw numbers of people in January, that normally isn't seen until March.

Nasal sprays and allergy medicines are easy cures to symptoms for many, but doctors can combat symptoms with an allergy shot.

If you do plan on spending the day in the garden or outside in general, try wearing a mask. You can also shower as soon as you're finished, to wash most of the pollen away.

 


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La. safety officials: distracted driving 'dangerous epidemic' http://www.wbrz.com/news/la-safety-officials-distracted-driving-dangerous-epidemic-/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/la-safety-officials-distracted-driving-dangerous-epidemic-/ Health Wed, 12 Apr 2017 8:00:59 AM Kevin Dupuy La. safety officials: distracted driving 'dangerous epidemic'

BATON ROUGE – State highway safety officials say distracted driving has become a “dangerous epidemic” in Louisiana.

The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission says April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month and is reminding drivers to keep their eyes and attention on the road.

"We all see it every day, people looking at their phones instead

of the traffic in front of them, and it is a very real cause for concern," said Dr. Katara Williams, LHSC Executive Director. "Distracted driving kills thousands of people every year across this country, and Louisiana is not immune from this epidemic."

LHSC says 192 people in Louisiana were killed and 26,977 were hurt from 2011 to 2015 because of some distraction inside or outside the vehicle.

"I'm asking everyone in Louisiana to examine their own behavior to make sure they are contributing to the solution and not to the problem," Dr. Williams said. "Set a good example for your children and friends by putting away your cell phone while you're driving."


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FDA links rare cancer, 9 deaths, to textured breast implants http://www.wbrz.com/news/fda-links-rare-cancer-9-deaths-to-textured-breast-implants/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/fda-links-rare-cancer-9-deaths-to-textured-breast-implants/ Health Wed, 22 Mar 2017 8:52:43 AM Associated Press FDA links rare cancer, 9 deaths, to textured breast implants

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says it has received reports of 9 deaths and more than 350 cases of a rare blood cancer linked to breast implants.

The FDA said Tuesday it now agrees with the World Health Organization, which concluded years ago this type of lymphoma can develop following breasts implants.

Concerns were first raised at the FDA in 2011, but the agency said then that there were too few cases to know if there was a connection.

The disease seems to occur more often with textured implants in the scar tissue near the implant and is associated with pain and swelling sometimes years after the surgery has healed.

The FDA said it can't determine how many cases there are, but noted Australia has also reported three deaths.


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Pence says health overhaul won't leave poor out http://www.wbrz.com/news/pence-says-health-overhaul-won-t-leave-poor-out/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/pence-says-health-overhaul-won-t-leave-poor-out/ Health Wed, 1 Mar 2017 7:12:11 AM Associated Press Pence says health overhaul won't leave poor out

WASHINGTON - Vice President Mike Pence says "no one is going to fall through the cracks" as a result of Republican plans to replace the nation's health care law. Pence was referring to people on Medicaid, the federal-state program for low income Americans that is managed by the states.

As part of the Affordable Care Act, 31 states, including Louisiana, accepted an optional Medicaid expansion, which increased federal funding for health care. Many governors from those states are now concerned about the loss of funds if "Obamacare" is repealed.

Asked about the consequences of repealing the health law, Pence told ABC's "Good Morning America" on Wednesday that "we don't want anyone to fall through the cracks," especially not "the most disadvantaged citizens among us."

Pence was making a round of morning television appearances following President Donald Trump's address to Congress on Tuesday night.


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No tackling? NY Lawmaker seeks tackle football ban for kids http://www.wbrz.com/news/no-tackling-ny-lawmaker-seeks-tackle-football-ban-for-kids/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/no-tackling-ny-lawmaker-seeks-tackle-football-ban-for-kids/ Health Sat, 4 Feb 2017 5:51:09 PM Associated Press No tackling? NY Lawmaker seeks tackle football ban for kids

ALBANY, N.Y.  - A New York lawmaker wants to ban tackle football for kids under 14, citing growing evidence of the link between hard football hits and brain damage.

Assemblyman Michael Benedetto's proposed ban is believed to be the first of its kind in the nation. Similar bills by the Bronx Democrat went nowhere in past years. But such measures may gain traction as more parents switch their children to flag football leagues over safety concerns.

Dr. Robert Cantu, an expert on football-related brain injuries, has long advocated an end to tackle football for children. He says there's a growing movement in that direction.

Republican state Sen. Terrence Murphy says Benedetto's proposal goes too far. He says schools have concussion protocols in place, and the decision to let kids participate is up to parents.


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Risk to women's health benefits seen in health law repeal http://www.wbrz.com/news/risk-to-women-s-health-benefits-seen-in-health-law-repeal/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/risk-to-women-s-health-benefits-seen-in-health-law-repeal/ Health Thu, 2 Feb 2017 8:18:59 AM Associated Press Risk to women's health benefits seen in health law repeal

WASHINGTON - The Republican push to repeal the Obama-era health care law already is raising concerns that women could be hit hard.

The 2010 law ended a common insurance industry practice of charging women more than what a man would pay for policies purchased individually.

It made maternity and newborn care a required benefit for virtually all medical plans.

And it established a set of preventive services that have to be provided at no extra cost to women, including birth control and breast pumps for nursing mothers. That requirement applies to both the individual insurance market and most employer plans.

Democrats on Capitol Hill are keying in on the women's health issue. The Trump administration says speculation about what might be in a replacement bill is premature.


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North Baton Rouge emergency room groundbreaking set for Tuesday http://www.wbrz.com/news/north-baton-rouge-emergency-room-groundbreaking-set-for-tuesday/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/north-baton-rouge-emergency-room-groundbreaking-set-for-tuesday/ Health Fri, 27 Jan 2017 11:07:52 AM Kevin Dupuy North Baton Rouge emergency room groundbreaking set for Tuesday

BATON ROUGE – Our Lady of the Lake will host a groundbreaking ceremony on a new emergency room in Baton Rouge Tuesday.

The groundbreaking ceremony will take place Tuesday, Jan. 31 from 9 to 10 a.m. at the LSU Health Baton Rouge North Clinic on Airline Highway.

Hospital officials say the new emergency room will close a gap in emergency healthcare services and will bring lifesaving treatment closer to residents in North Baton Rouge.

According to a statement released Friday, Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome will be joined by Governor John Bel Edwards and the CEO of OLOL regional Medical Center Scott Wester.

Last September, Edwards detailed a plan to bring the new emergency room to Baton Rouge. The facility will be built at the LSU Health Baton Rouge North Clinic. Edwards said that OLOL plans to staff the facility with emergency physicians 24 hours a day with a full service lab. 

“As the son of a retired emergency room nurse, I know how critical it is for a community to have access to immediate care,” Edwards said. “I am grateful to everyone involved in making this new emergency room possible.”


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How to improve your sex drive without breaking the bank http://www.wbrz.com/news/how-to-improve-your-sex-drive-without-breaking-the-bank/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/how-to-improve-your-sex-drive-without-breaking-the-bank/ Health Wed, 18 Jan 2017 5:19:01 PM Associated Press How to improve your sex drive without breaking the bank

TRENTON, N.J. - For many older couples, fun in the bedroom requires help from prescription drugs, but prices of popular brand-name sexual dysfunction drugs have tripled since 2010 and insurance coverage is spotty.

Doctors who specialize in treating impotence and women's sexual problems say some patients say they're forgoing sex because medicines are unaffordable.

However, experts say couples needn't choose between abstinence and breaking the bank. Here are some strategies:

CHECK YOUR POLICY

For women, health insurance usually covers new generic medicines and some brand-name ones for symptoms including vaginal dryness, which can make sex painful. For men, insurance may cover six Viagra or Cialis pills per month, which now cost $50 apiece without insurance or for additional pills above the limit. Be sure to check your copayment even if you have generous coverage.

If your plan doesn't cover impotence pills, you may still be able to get some, but for a different reason. Viagra's main rival, Cialis, is also approved to treat an enlarged prostate, and insurers often cover Cialis for that condition. If you have urinary problems, your doctor may prescribe Cialis, says Dr. Elizabeth Kavaler of New York's Lenox Hill Hospital.

GO GENERIC

In mid-December, Viagra gets two generic competitors, which should reduce prices. But there's a cheaper option now.

Dr. Nachum Katlowitz, head of urology at New York's Staten Island University Hospital, offers patients with erectile dysfunction prescriptions for sildenafil. That's the generic version of Revatio, the blood pressure pill Pfizer was testing when older male patients reported stronger erections as a side effect.

Pfizer went on to develop a higher-dose version and called it Viagra, but lower-dose Revatio is now available as generic sildenafil. Cialis costs as little as $1 without insurance at some pharmacies, though men generally need several pills.

OPTIONS FOR WOMEN

With menopause, women's levels of the hormone estrogen drop, reducing sex drive and causing vaginal dryness. Multiple prescription products containing estrogen - pills, patches, vaginal creams and vaginal tablets - restore moisture and reduce pain and other symptoms.

With insurance, popular ones like Premarin pills and Estrace vaginal cream each cost about $60 per month.

Without insurance, they can cost $150 or more per month. But several less-expensive estrogen patches and vaginal tablets sell for $10 to $80 per month without insurance.

A popular rival to Estrace, Vagifem vaginal tablets, recently got a slightly cheaper generic competitor called Yuvafem.

For some women, over-the-counter lubricants suffice, says Dr. Lauren Streicher, who heads the Center for Sexual Medicine and Menopause at Northwestern University in Chicago.

SPLITTING, STRETCHING, SAMPLING

Many pills come in different dosages, so some patients get the highest dose and split pills.

Some men take cheaper daily Cialis pills because only taking them on demand may be enough, or they get full-strength Cialis, which lasts 36 hours, for two nights of activity. Women sometimes take twice-weekly treatments less frequently.

Drug samples are sparse, but it's worth asking.

PRICE SHOPPING AND COUPONS

Whether or not you're insured, price shopping can save a bundle. Medication prices vary widely among pharmacies, whether they're retail drugstores, online outfits like HealthWarehouse.com, or pharmacies inside grocery chains or shoppers clubs such as Costco. Even pharmacies with low prices for most drugs have high prices for others.

Try price comparison sites including GoodRx , Drugsdepot.com and Blink Health . Some have printable coupons to take to the pharmacy. Brand-name drugs' websites also offer coupons, and many doctors distribute them to patients.

AVOID RISKS

Like all medicines, drugs for sexual dysfunction can cause side effects. Tell your doctor about your medical history and medications you already take. Women who have had certain cancers should avoid or limit use of some hormonal medicines.

If you're buying medicines on the internet, avoid sites claiming to be Canadian pharmacies that don't list a physical address; they're likely selling counterfeits.

The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy lists safe, accredited pharmacies.


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GOP unveils initial 'Obamacare' repeal measure http://www.wbrz.com/news/gop-unveils-initial-obamacare-repeal-measure/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/gop-unveils-initial-obamacare-repeal-measure/ Health Tue, 3 Jan 2017 1:22:07 PM Associated Press GOP unveils initial 'Obamacare' repeal measure

WASHINGTON - Senate Republicans have already introduced legislation that's a precursor to repealing much of the Affordable Care Act.

Successful passage of the measure would allow a detailed follow-up repeal bill to pass through Congress without fear of a filibuster by Senate Democrats. Tuesday's measure doesn't contain any policy language.

Repealing President Barack Obama's signature health care law is the top priority of President-elect Donald Trump and his GOP allies on Capitol Hill.

The measure directs top congressional committees to cast votes to assemble the repeal legislation by Jan. 27. That means there's no time for trying to add legislation to replace so-called Obamacare.

The measure is officially called a budget resolution. Senate debate begins this week and the House is likely to follow next week.


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Report: Many mentally ill people needlessly in nursing homes http://www.wbrz.com/news/report-many-mentally-ill-people-needlessly-in-nursing-homes/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/report-many-mentally-ill-people-needlessly-in-nursing-homes/ Health Wed, 28 Dec 2016 3:03:14 PM Associated Press Report: Many mentally ill people needlessly in nursing homes

BATON ROUGE - A federal investigation has found that Louisiana unnecessarily isolates and segregates thousands of mentally ill people in costly nursing facilities instead of providing them with community-based services.

In a 30-page letter to Gov. John Bel Edwards last week, the Justice Department says its civil rights division concluded the state violates the Americans with Disabilities Act by relying on nursing facilities to house approximately 4,000 people with serious mental illness.

The department, which opened its investigation in 2014, says many mentally ill residents confined in nursing facilities can and want to live in their own communities.

Kelly Zimmerman, spokeswoman for the state Department of Health, said in an email that the agency will review the department's recommendations and "work with stakeholders and legislators to determine the best path forward."


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