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Power Stations in Cells May Protect Brain Against Parkinson´s

Power Stations in Cells May Protect Brain Against Parkinson´s

A Norwegian study shows that impairment in mitochondria may actually protect the brain in Parkinson’s disease. A new study from the University of Bergen (UiB), in Norway, in collaboration with the University of Cambridge, shows that the function of mitochondria, the microscopic powerhouses of the cell, is altered throughout the entire brain of individuals with Parkinson’s disease. Ominous as this may sound, it might actually not be deleterious for patients. “This new study shows that complex I deficiency is, in fact, a global phenomenon in the brain of persons with Parkinson’s disease, and is found indiscriminately in both affected and healthy brain regions. Intriguingly, brain cells (neurons) with decreased complex I levels are significantly less likely to contain Lewy bodies, the abnormal protein-aggregates that characterize Parkinson’s disease,” says researcher Charalampos Tzoulis at Department of Clinical Science, UiB. These discoveries suggest that, contrary to mainstream theory, mitochondrial complex I deficiency may not be entirely deleterious for the brain in Parkinson’s disease. Click here to read the full press...
New Technology Will Create Brain Wiring Diagrams

New Technology Will Create Brain Wiring Diagrams

A paper describing the work appears online in the December 12 issue of eLife. The research was done in the laboratory of Caltech research professor Carlos Lois. “If an electrical engineer wants to understand how a computer works, the first thing that he or she would want to figure out is how the different components are wired to each other,” says Lois. “Similarly, we must know how neurons are wired together in order to understand how brains work.” When two neurons connect, they link together with a structure called a synapse, a space through which one neuron can send and receive electrical and chemical signals to or from another neuron. Even if multiple neurons are very close together, they need synapses to truly communicate. The Lois laboratory has developed a method for tracing the flow of information across synapses, called TRACT (Transneuronal Control of Transcription). Using genetically engineered Drosophila fruit flies, TRACT allows researchers to observe which neurons are “talking” and which neurons are “listening” by prompting the connected neurons to produce glowing proteins. Click here to read more about this...
#PWChat Recap: Exercise as Medicine (Part III)

#PWChat Recap: Exercise as Medicine (Part III)

Physicians’ Weekly, along with Greg Wells, PhD, recently co-hosted the third installment of the #PWChat series on the topic of “Exercise as Medicine.” The topics covered include the types of exercise Dr. Wells would recommend for patients solely looking to lose weight who are otherwise healthy, the pros and cons of cross training, how to inspire patients who have the desire to get in shape with exercise but try something for a week or 2 and then fall back into a no-regular-exercise routine, and much more. If you missed any part of the previous discussions, you can read Part I and Part II. View our upcoming schedule, or read our other #PWChat recaps here. Below are the highlights from the chat. You can read the full transcript here.     Question 1 Q1: For patients solely looking to lose weight who are otherwise healthy, what types of #exercise would you recommend?#PWChat #bebetter — Physician’s Weekly (@physicianswkly) January 10, 2018 #PWChat Regular exercise is key. Success has been achieved with walking, swimming, cycling, weights, yoga. When we match regular exercise with healthy nutrition the benefits are amplified. Sleep is another factor that can help with weight loss and also helps people eat smarter. — Dr. Greg Wells (@drgregwells) January 10, 2018 #PWChat There is also good evidence to support the use of resistance exercise as a modality to help people decrease their fat mass. Important to differentiate between weight loss and fat loss. The goal should often be fat loss not necessarily weight loss. — Dr. Greg Wells (@drgregwells) January 10, 2018 HIT (High Intensity Training), if they can tolerate it. This seems...
Using AI Technology to Chart Immune Cell Receptor

Using AI Technology to Chart Immune Cell Receptor

Johns Hopkins scientists have used a form of artificial intelligence to create a map that compares types of cellular receptors, the chemical “antennas” on the surface of immune system T-cells. Their experiments with lab-grown mouse and human T-cells suggest that people with cancer who have a greater variety of such receptors may respond better to immunotherapy drugs and vaccines. A report on how the scientists created and tested what they call “ImmunoMap” appeared Dec. 20 in Cancer Immunology Research. “ImmunoMap gives scientists a picture of the wide diversity of the immune system’s responses to cellular antigens,” says Jonathan Schneck, M.D., Ph.D., professor of pathology, medicine and oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and a member of the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. Receptors on T-cells recognize antigens, or pieces of other cells that trigger an immune response, particularly antibodies. If the antigens are foreign, T-cells raise the alarm within the immune system, which can distribute an “all-points bulletin” to be on the lookout for the unfamiliar antigens. Because diseases such as cancer tend to evade detection by T-cells’ receptors, allowing a tumor to grow unchecked, scientists have long sought “intel” on this process as a means of developing therapies that target malignant cells, but leave healthy cells alone. “Much of immunotherapy today is built on the premise that we know these antigens,” says Johns Hopkins biomedical engineering M.D./Ph.D. student John-William Sidhom. “But we actually don’t know as much as we need to about them and the T-cells that recognize them.” Click here to read more about this...
Scientists Discover Molecule that Could Reverse Cellular Aging

Scientists Discover Molecule that Could Reverse Cellular Aging

Researchers at Instituto de Medicina Molecular (iMM) João Lobo Antunes have found that manipulating a single RNA molecule is enough to reverse cellular aging. Throughout time all cells age gradually, contributing to the development of several diseases. Inducing cellular regeneration is one of the strategies used to fight diseases associated with cellular aging. However, aged cells tend to be highly resistant to any type of manipulation intended to induce regeneration. Ribonucleic acid, or RNA, is responsible for protein synthesis inside cells. However, a specific type of molecule named non-coding RNA is never translated into protein. In fact, since the mapping of the human genome in 2001 it is known that only about 2% is actually translated into proteins. Now, the team led by Bruno de Jesus and Maria do Carmo-Fonseca, used a genetically modified mouse model to study cellular aging and regeneration. They found that cells derived from the skin of old mice produced higher amounts of a long non-coding RNA molecule named Zeb2-NAT when compared to cells from young mice. By reducing the amount of this specific RNA molecule, it was possible to efficiently regenerate old cells. “These results are an important step to be able to regenerate diseased tissues in older people,” said Bruno de...
New Biomarkers Predict Outcome of Cancer Immunotherapy

New Biomarkers Predict Outcome of Cancer Immunotherapy

Nowadays, melanoma and lung cancer can be combatted effectively through immunotherapy, which makes targeted use of the immune system’s normal function of regularly examining the body’s tissue for pathogens and damages. Specific inhibitors are used to activate immune cells in a way that makes them identify cancer cells as foreign bodies and eliminate them. This way, the immune system can boost its often weak immune response to allow it to even detect and destroy metastatic cancer cells. Immunotherapy thus makes it possible to control cancer cells in up to 50 percent of patients, in some cases even curing them altogether. However, around half of cancer patients do not respond to immunotherapy, but still have to put up with its side effects. A team of researchers from the University of Zurich and the UniversityHos-pital Zurich has now used a novel method to find out which patients are likely to respond positive-ly to immunotherapy. The researchers were able to identify biomarkers in the blood that indicate whether the therapy is highly likely to be effective even before treatment is commenced. Related Articles Omalizumab Ups Efficacy of Multifood Oral Immunotherapy Thyroid dysfunctions secondary to cancer immunotherapy “The blood counts of patients should be analyzed for these biomarkers when making a decision about immunotherapy. This will dramatically increase the share of patients who will benefit from this type of therapy,” says Professor Burkhard Becher from the Institute of Experimental Immunol-ogy at UZH. “At the same time, it makes it possible to directly move on to different methods in cases where immunotherapy won’t work — without losing valuable time.” The researchers worked hand in...
Inflammation Drives Progression of Alzheimer’s

Inflammation Drives Progression of Alzheimer’s

According to a study by scientists of the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) and the University of Bonn now published in the journal Nature, inflammatory mechanisms caused by the brain’s immune system drive the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. These findings, which rely on a series of laboratory experiments, provide new insights into pathogenetic mechanisms that are believed to hold potential for tackling Alzheimer’s before symptoms manifest. The researchers envision that one day this may lead to new ways of treatment. Further institutions both from Europe and the US also contributed to the current results. “Deposition and spreading of Abeta pathology likely precede the appearance of clinical symptoms such as memory problems by decades. Therefore, a better understanding of these processes might be a key for novel therapeutic approaches. Such treatments would target Alzheimer’s at an early stage, before cognitive deficits manifest,” says Prof. Michael Heneka, a senior researcher at the DZNE and Director of the Department of Neurodegenerative Diseases and Gerontopsychiatry at the University of Bonn. An Inflammatory Cascade Prof. Heneka, who is also involved in the cluster of excellence “ImmunoSensation” at the University of Bonn, and coworkers have been investigating the role of the brain’s immune response in the progression of Abeta pathology for some time already. Previous work by the group that was published in Nature in 2013, had established that the molecular complex NLRP3, which is an innate immune sensor, is activated in brains of Alzheimer’s patients and contributes to the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s in the murine model. NLRP3 is a so-called inflammasome that triggers production of highly pro-inflammatory cytokines. Furthermore, upon activation, NLRP3 forms large signaling complexes...
Erectile Dysfunction is Red Flag for Silent Early Cardiovascular Disease

Erectile Dysfunction is Red Flag for Silent Early Cardiovascular Disease

In addition to being an important health and quality of life issue for men, erectile dysfunction has long been associated with CV disease. Risk factors for erectile dysfunction and CV disease are similar — including older age, smoking, obesity, and diabetes, among others. In addition, multiple overlapping mechanisms lead to the development of both erectile dysfunction and CV disease. In the article entitled “The relationship of erectile dysfunction and subclinical cardiovascular disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis,” Drs. Chukwuemeka Osondu (Baptist Health South Florida), Bryan Vo (Florida International University), Ehimen Aneni (Mount Sinai Medical Center), and colleagues sought to establish erectile dysfunction as a simple and effective marker of underlying subclinical CV disease. They hypothesized that “measures of erectile dysfunction could be a simple effective CV disease risk stratification tool, particularly in young men who are less likely to undergo aggressive CVD risk assessment and management.” The authors conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of 28 studies that examined the link between erectile dysfunction and measures of early CV disease. They report a significant association of erectile dysfunction with impaired endothelial function (measured by brachial flow-mediated dilation using ultrasound), a marker of the ability of blood vessels to relax that is an early event in vascular disease development. In addition, the authors report that erectile dysfunction was associated with increased carotid intimal medial thickness (carotid IMT), an early manifestation of atherosclerosis. The results for the association of erectile dysfunction and coronary artery calcium scoring were inconclusive due to small number of studies with limited sample size. The authors identify this as an area in need of future study. Click...
Successful Implantation of Heart Pump with Power Cable Behind Ear

Successful Implantation of Heart Pump with Power Cable Behind Ear

Under the system to provide medical treatment to end-stage heart failure patients, a group that is ineligible for heart transplantation, in response to their requests, Osaka University Hospital gained the nation’s first approval for its use as a medical device on February 20, 2017. A group of researchers led by Prof. Yoshiki SAWA implanted a left ventricular assist device with an internal power cable tunneled through the neck to the head in a patient with severe kidney disease who was ineligible for destination therapy (DT) for cardiac transplantation. Thus far, patients with previous diseases such as irreversible kidney disorder were ineligible for a heart transplant or destination therapy. In addition, in Japan, the use of left ventricular assist devices was approved as just a bridge to a heart transplant and was not covered by National Health Insurance. Using this system upon request from a patient, it has become possible to treat the patient ineligible for a heart transplant or destination therapy and use this technique for tunneling the internal power cable through the neck to the head, which is approved overseas, but not in Japan. Compared to currently approved treatment using an electrical cord connected at an abdominal site, this new method has a low risk of developing infectious diseases due to the power cable behind the ear and is anticipated to improve patients’ quality of life; for example, patients with this new device can soak in a bathtub as most Japanese people do when taking a bath. This method will provide many people with difficult diseases such as severe heart failure with a new option of therapy with...
#PWChat Recap: Why Doctors Are Losing the Public’s Trust, Part I

#PWChat Recap: Why Doctors Are Losing the Public’s Trust, Part I

Physician’s Weekly co-hosted another informative discussion as part of the #PWChat series, with Linda Girgis, MD, based on her blog post on why doctors are losing the public’s trust. Topics covered in chat included: What makes trust between patients and physicians so important that Dr. Girgis would say there is no relationship where the bond of trust should be so strong, outside of matrimony. How third parties have contributed to the erosion in the patient-physician relationship in recent years. How outlier doctors who game the system have contributed to doctors no longer being held is such high esteem as they were decades ago. and more… You can read the second part of this #PWChat here. You can view our upcoming schedule, or read our other #PWChat recaps here. Below are the highlights from the chat. You can read the full transcript here.   Question 1 Q1: What makes trust between patients and physicians so important that you would say there is no relationship where the bond of trust should be so strong, outside of matrimony?#PWChat — Physician’s Weekly (@physicianswkly) November 30, 2017 A1. A patient’s life may depend on trusting their doctor. #PWchat https://t.co/03wD0INffp — Linda Girgis, MD (@DrLindaMD) November 30, 2017 Likewise, the doctor needs to trust that the patent is giving complete and accurate info to make the best decisions. #PWchat https://t.co/o763Qfb1uL — Linda Girgis, MD (@DrLindaMD) November 30, 2017 Question 2 Q2: How have third parties contributed to the erosion in the patient-physician relationship in recent years?#PWChat — Physician’s Weekly (@physicianswkly) November 30, 2017 They deny care, they obstruct care, they require onerous paperwork 4 payment that is insufficient leading...
#PWChat Recap: Why Doctors Are Losing the Public’s Trust, Part II

#PWChat Recap: Why Doctors Are Losing the Public’s Trust, Part II

Physician’s Weekly co-hosted another installment of the #PWChat series on Wednesday, Dec. 13, with Linda Girgis, MD, based on her blog post on why doctors are losing the public’s trust. Long-time #PWChat participant Lisa Davis Budzinski offered the patient perspective to the chat. Representatives from Central Pain Nerve Center also joined to give their expert opinions. This was the second part of our #PWChat on this topic. You can read Part I here. The chat covered how Dr. Girgis & Lisa would respond to the following comments on Dr. Girgis’s original blog post: “The main reason the public has lost trust in doctors is how they ignore serious symptoms and tell people it’s in their head and nothing is wrong with them” “Pill pushers are what most of you are and I sincerely hope that your days are numbered!” “Very often patients are more informed than the doctors they go to see. and more… You can view our upcoming schedule, or read our other #PWChat recaps here. Below are the highlights from the chat. You can read the full transcript here.     Question 1 Q1: How do you respond to people who say “The main reason the public has lost trust in doctors is how they ignore serious symptoms and tell people it’s in their head and nothing is wrong with them”?#PWChat — Physician’s Weekly (@physicianswkly) December 13, 2017 A1. People are dealing with much stress these days which can manifest as physical symptoms and diseases. We need to consider that in the diagnosis. #PWchat https://t.co/2mntW5FvTP — Linda Girgis, MD (@DrLindaMD) December 13, 2017 This is a huge problem we need to...
Rheumatoid Arthritis During Pregnancy May Increase Chronic Disease Risk in Children

Rheumatoid Arthritis During Pregnancy May Increase Chronic Disease Risk in Children

New research reveals that children born to women with rheumatoid arthritis face an increased susceptibility for certain chronic diseases. The findings, which appear in Arthritis Care & Research, should be used to increase awareness among pediatricians and general practitioners. Pregnant women with rheumatoid arthritis may be concerned that they might pass rheumatoid arthritis or other related diseases on to their children. To look into the issue, Line Jølving, MHS of Odense University Hospital and her colleagues conducted a nationwide study with long-term follow-up of all children born in Denmark during a 25-year period. This included 2106 children born to women with rheumatoid arthritis, and 1,378,539 children born to women without rheumatoid arthritis. The researchers found that the risk of being diagnosed with several diseases in childhood and adolescence increased when the mother was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis before pregnancy. Specifically, the presence of rheumatoid arthritis during pregnancy was linked with a 2.2-times increased risk of thyroid disease, a 1.6-times increased risk of epilepsy, and a 2.9-times increased risk of rheumatoid arthritis in offspring. “We have addressed a concern in pregnant women with rheumatoid arthritis in terms of a potential increased risk of a negative impact of their chronic disease on the future health of their offspring,” said Jølving. “Our results call for special attention on child development of rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disease, and epilepsy if exposed to rheumatoid arthritis in...
Using Nanoparticles for Faster, More Accurate Cancer Detection

Using Nanoparticles for Faster, More Accurate Cancer Detection

Using light-emitting nanoparticles, Rutgers University-New Brunswick scientists have invented a highly effective method to detect tiny tumors and track their spread, potentially leading to earlier cancer detection and more precise treatment. The technology could improve patient cure rates and survival times. “We’ve always had this dream that we can track the progression of cancer in real time, and that’s what we’ve done here,” said Prabhas V. Moghe, a corresponding author of the study and distinguished professor of biomedical engineering and chemical and biochemical engineering at Rutgers-New Brunswick. “We’ve tracked the disease in its very incipient stages.” The study, published online today in Nature Biomedical Engineering, shows that the new method is better than magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and other cancer surveillance technologies. The research team included Rutgers’ flagship research institution (Rutgers University-New Brunswick) and its academic health center (Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, or RBHS). Click here to read more about...
Drug Suppresses Spread of Breast Cancer Caused by Stem-Like Cells

Drug Suppresses Spread of Breast Cancer Caused by Stem-Like Cells

Rare stem-like tumor cells play a critical role in the spread of breast cancer, but a vulnerability in the pathway that powers them offers a strategy to target these cells using existing drugs before metastatic disease occurs, report University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center researchers. In the findings, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation on December 11, researchers reveal that co-expression of cell surface receptor integrin αvβ3 and transcription factor Slug — a master regulator of a cell’s ability to self-renew and differentiate — identifies rare stem-like cells in patient-derived tumor samples that are associated with metastasis. This co-expression occurs in up to 20 percent of primary breast cancers; independent of subtype. “Stem-like cells work early during the spread of cancer cells, before metastasis,” said Jay S. Desgrosellier, PhD, senior author on the paper and assistant professor in the Department of Pathology at UC San Diego School of Medicine. “These are the cells that remain and grow after treatment and are responsible for tumor progression. If we are going to make a difference in the number of people who die of breast cancer, we need to stop metastasis and we think we have a way to do it.” Click here to read the full press...
Healthy Mitochondria Could Stop Alzheimer’s

Healthy Mitochondria Could Stop Alzheimer’s

Still without cure, Alzheimer’s poses a significant burden on public health systems. Most treatments focus on reducing the formation of amyloid plaques, but these approaches have been inconclusive. As a result, scientists are now searching for alternative treatment strategies, one of which is to consider Alzheimer’s as a metabolic disease. Taking this line of thought, Johan Auwerx’s lab at EPFL looked at mitochondria, which are the energy-producing powerhouses of cells, and thus central in metabolism. Using worms and mice as models, they discovered that boosting mitochondria defenses against a particular form of protein stress, enables them to not only protect themselves, but to also reduce the formation of amyloid plaques. The scientists identified two mechanisms that control the quality of mitochondria: First, the “mitochondrial unfolded protein response” (UPRmt), which protects mitochondria from stress stimuli. Second, mitophagy, a process that recycles defective mitochondria. Both these mechanisms are the key to delaying or preventing excessive mitochondrial damage during disease. Click here to read the full press...
3-D Mini Brains Accelerate Research for Repairing Brain Function

3-D Mini Brains Accelerate Research for Repairing Brain Function

The Houston Methodist Research Institute is making mini brains from human stem cells that put researchers on a fast track to repair the nervous system after injury or disease of the brain and spinal cord. Houston Methodist neuroscientist Robert Krencik, Ph.D., and his team have developed a new system to reduce the time it takes to grow these brain models, which will give them the ability to screen drugs and study what’s behind disease-causing mutations more quickly. Their findings are described in an article titled “Systematic three-dimensional coculture rapidly recapitulates interactions between human neurons and astrocytes,” in the Dec. 12 issue of Stem Cell Reports. “We always felt like what we were doing in the lab was not precisely modeling how the cells act within the human brain,” Krencik said. “So, for the first time, when we put these cells together systematically, they dramatically changed their morphological complexity, size and shape. They look like cells as you would see them within the human brain, so now we can study cells in the lab in a more natural environment.” Click here to read the full press...
Common Male Medical Condition Linked to Vascular Disease

Common Male Medical Condition Linked to Vascular Disease

Men who suffer symptoms from varicoceles, enlarged veins in the scrotum, are more likely to develop vascular disease and metabolic disease, such as diabetes, according to a study by Stanford University School of Medicine researchers.   Michael Eisenberg, MD, assistant professor of urology, and his team mined data from thousands of medical insurance records to see whether the condition, previously linked to infertility, also puts men at higher risk for other health problems. Their findings were published online Dec. 1 in Andrology. Eisenberg is the senior author. Urology resident Nancy Wang, MD, is the lead author. About 15 percent of American men are estimated to have varicoceles, dilated veins in the scrotum. The enlarged veins are thought to allow more blood to flow through the scrotum and raise its temperature above normal levels. The heat can impair testicular function leading to lower sperm and testosterone production. The condition also can cause pain or shrinkage of the testicles, but often results in none of these symptoms and is left untreated. Click here to read the full press...
Smartphone Addiction Creates Imbalance in Brain, Study Suggests

Smartphone Addiction Creates Imbalance in Brain, Study Suggests

Researchers have found an imbalance in the brain chemistry of young people addicted to smartphones and the internet, according to a study presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA). According to a recent Pew Research Center study, 46 percent of Americans say they could not live without their smartphones. While this sentiment is clearly hyperbole, more and more people are becoming increasingly dependent on smartphones and other portable electronic devices for news, information, games, and even the occasional phone call. Hyung Suk Seo, M.D., professor of neuroradiology at Korea University in Seoul, South Korea, and colleagues used magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to gain unique insight into the brains of smartphone- and internet-addicted teenagers. MRS is a type of MRI that measures the brain’s chemical composition. Related Articles New Handheld Spectral Analyzer Uses Smartphone to Detect Disease The Presence of Your Smartphone Reduces Brain Power, Study Shows Presence of Smartphone Cuts Available Cognitive Capacity Smartphone Device Analyzes Semen to Assess Male Fertility The study involved 19 young people (mean age 15.5, 9 males) diagnosed with internet or smartphone addiction and 19 gender- and age-matched healthy controls. Twelve of the addicted youth received nine weeks of cognitive behavioral therapy, modified from a cognitive therapy program for gaming addiction, as part of the study. Researchers used standardized internet and smartphone addiction tests to measure the severity of internet addiction. Questions focused on the extent to which internet and smartphone use affects daily routines, social life, productivity, sleeping patterns and feelings. Click here to read more about this...
Mycobacteria Can Sense Presence of Proteins that Cause Disease, According to New Study

Mycobacteria Can Sense Presence of Proteins that Cause Disease, According to New Study

Tuberculosis-causing mycobacteria use a select group of proteins known as virulence factors to transmit the disease, which infects roughly one third of the world’s population and causes 1.7 million deaths annually. Those proteins are cargo transported by molecular machinery, a microscopic gateway that promotes the survival of bacteria in the host.   A new study by researchers at the University of Notre Dame and Michigan State University, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reveals that mycobacteria can sense when this molecular machine is present. “We’ve seen this in other types of bacteria but never in mycobacteria before,” said Patricia Champion, associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Notre Dame, which led the study. “Unlike other bacteria, which can detect the cargo proteins directly, mycobacteria can sense the transport machinery in the membrane and tune the levels of cargo proteins it transports accordingly.” During the study, Champion’s team took aim at that machine and disabled it. Scientists have long known that this type of machinery is essential to cause disease in the host, but when knocking out one of the protein components, the team observed a surprising result. The entire structure fell apart. Click here to read more about this...
Value-Based Payment Modifier Program Fails to Deliver

Value-Based Payment Modifier Program Fails to Deliver

A prototype Medicare program designed to improve value of care by paying more to physicians who perform better on measures of health care quality and spending has failed to deliver on its central promise and, in the process, likely exacerbated disparities in health care delivery, according to findings of a study published Nov. 27 in Annals of Internal Medicine.   The Value-Based Payment Modifier program, which ran between 2013 and 2016, inadvertently shifted money away from physicians who treated sicker, poorer patients to pay for bonuses that rewarded practices treating richer, healthier populations. This unintended consequence stems from the program’s failure to properly account for differences across various patient populations in clinical and social risk factors for poor outcomes, the researchers note. Related Articles Value-Based Payment Modifier Not Tied to Practice Performance Preadmission Functional Impairment Ups Medicare Costs Bundled Payment Initiative Doesn’t Cut Readmission in COPD CMS Releases Resources to Help With Payment System The researchers say that these findings bode ill for the program’s successor — launched in early 2017 — because its basic design is similar to the failed, earlier iteration of the model. Click here to read the full press...
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