News in Brief: Week of Aug. 25-29

August 31, 2014 10:11 pm News Staff

USPSTF, AAFP Release Final Recommendation on Obesity Counseling

On Aug. 26, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force released its final recommendation statement(www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org) on behavioral counseling to promote a healthful diet and physical activity to prevent cardiovascular disease (CVD) in at-risk adults.

The AAFP followed suit, issuing a parallel recommendation that states physicians should offer or refer adults who are overweight or obese and have additional CVD risk factors to intensive behavioral counseling interventions to promote a healthful diet and physical activity.

This latest draft recommendation bears some similarity to a recommendation the task force issued in 2012, but that statement focused on behavioral counseling to prevent CVD in adults without specific risk factors and noted that the available evidence indicated the benefit of initiating such counseling in the primary care setting was small.

WHO Recommends Global E-cigarette Regulation

Since 2005, the e-cigarette industry has grown from consisting of a single manufacturer in China to becoming a global business featuring 466 brands and worth an estimated $3 billion, according to the World Health Organization(www.who.int) (WHO).

In response, the WHO has released a report(apps.who.int) on electronic nicotine delivery systems (e-cigarettes) that calls for international regulation of the devices, including a ban on fruit-flavored liquid nicotine used in e-cigarettes.

The recommendations mirror current recommendations from the FDA's proposed nicotine-delivery devices deeming rule(s3.amazonaws.com) that seeks to extend the FDA's regulatory authority to include e-cigarettes, among other tobacco-related products.

Data-matching Issues Could Cost Patients Their Marketplace Coverage

The federal health insurance marketplace recently began sending notices to some 310,000 consumers with citizenship or immigration data-matching issues who had not responded to previous notices delivered by mail, email and phone that they could soon lose their health coverage.

According to a CMS press release(cms.hhs.gov), affected consumers must respond to the government's request and supply the appropriate supporting documents by Sept. 5 or risk losing their marketplace coverage on Sept. 30.

CMS said it has already resolved some 450,000 citizenship or immigration inconsistencies, and another 210,000 instances are in the process of being resolved. Such data-matching issues come to light when information is either missing from a marketplace insurance application or does not match information the government has on file.

NIH Research Grants Focus on Chronic Conditions

It is estimated that three in four adults older than age 65 and one in 15 children suffer from two or more chronic medical conditions -- such as diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney disease, hypertension and chronic pain. Three new research awards funded through the NIH's Health Care Systems (HCS) Research Collaboratory and totaling up to $19.4 million over five years -- will address this growing proportion of the U.S. population with multiple chronic medical conditions, according to a news release(www.nih.gov).

The HCS Research Collaboratory works with health care systems as research partners in conducting large-scale clinical studies. More information on the specific projects that are funded is available online(www.nih.gov).

Apply for ACS Cancer Control Development Awards

The American Cancer Society has announced it is accepting applications for the 2015 Cancer Control Career Development Award for Primary Care Physicians(www.cancer.org). The award is intended to encourage and assist primary care physicians who plan on pursuing academic careers with an emphasis on cancer control.

Awards are for three years and for up to $100,000 per year with a maximum of $10,000 per year for the mentor(s) may be included in the budget. The deadline to complete and submit a grant application is Oct. 15.

More information about the award, as well as application materials, can be found online(www.cancer.org).

Disease Surveillance Website Useful in Tracking Ebola Outbreak

A disease-tracking website developed eight years ago by researchers at Boston Children's Hospital is being used to track the current Ebola outbreak(healthmap.org) in real time, sometimes reporting new cases before the World Health Organization.

That's because the site uses current feeds from social media, online news aggregators and Twitter chats, in addition to official public health reports, to assess the spread of infectious diseases such as Ebola.

Visitors to the site can review a timeline for the Ebola outbreak and view maps designating various disease outbreaks near their location. Site visitors also can sign up for email alerts.


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