- HIV/AIDS Testing Jurisdictions Reduced; 8 States Lose Funding
- Medicare Prescription Drug Program Not Properly Monitored, Report Says
- Cancer Risk Decreases After Age 80, Study Says
- Americans Not Eating Enough Tree Nuts
- Scientists Use Wisdom Teeth to Create Stem Cells
- Positive Outlook May Protect Against Breast Cancer
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors of HealthDay:
HIV/AIDS Testing Jurisdictions Reduced; 8 States Lose Funding
It was only two weeks ago that a revised HIV/AIDS tracking system indicated the annual HIV rate in the United States was about 40 percent higher than annual estimates had been giving for years.
And now, the New York Times reports, 8 states and Puerto Rico will no longer get money for an advanced HIV tracking system. The reason: there is only so much money for the advanced system, and the losers didn't meet the competitive requirements.
The country had been divided into 34 HIV tracking jurisdictions, the Times reports, but now there will be 25. Those jurisdictions no longer getting financing are Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Puerto Rico, the newspaper said.
Terry Butler, a spokeswoman for the National Center for H.I.V., S.T.D. and TB Prevention at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told the Times the tracking system can tell the difference between old and new HIV infections. And Julie Scofield, executive director of the National Alliance of State and Territorial Directors told the Times that a shortage in funding was taking its toll.
"Their [the CDC's] ability to say that they're going to have ongoing reliable reports of incidence is somewhat questionable unless you have funding for that," Scofield told the newspaper. Her organization is asking for a $35 million increase in financing, the newspaper reports.
Medicare Prescription Drug Program Not Properly Monitored, Report Says
The U.S. government agency charged with overseeing the Medicare prescription drug program has done very little to check whether the insurance companies administering the plans to 24 million Americans are doing their jobs, the Associated Press reports.
In a report to be released Aug. 25, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services hasn't audited insurers to see if the prescription drug plans were working within federal guidelines, the wire service reports. This could cause "significant misuse of funds in this $39 billion program," the wire service quotes the GAO as saying.
The GAO checked on five unnamed health insurance companies itself, the A.P. says, and many requirements for participation in the prescription drug program were unmet.
But a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services official countered that a Congressional cap on spending had limited his agency's ability to monitor the insurance companies. This limitation "has seriously degraded CMS' ability to meet its responsibilities in combating fraud and abuse," Kerry Weems, acting administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told the wire service.
Cancer Risk Decreases After Age 80, Study Says
The risk of most cancers decreases after age 80, according to a Harvard University study.
While previous research has linked old age with increased cancer risk, study lead author Richard Wilson and colleagues found that rates of nearly all cancers peak at age 80 and the rates drop toward zero as people approach the end of their lives, United Press International reported.
There are a number of reasons why people are less likely to develop cancer after age 80, Wilson said. They include: diet changes that result in a reduction of dietary carcinogens; decreased use of substances such as tobacco and alcohol; fewer occupational exposures to carcinogens; and less body weight, which may have an effect on several types of cancers.
The study is published in the American Association for Cancer Research journal.
Americans Not Eating Enough Tree Nuts