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Emerging applications of transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS): e‑sports skills training, cognitive enhancement in older adults

10 Minutes of Electrical Stimulation During Gaming Helps Improve e‑Sports Skills (Technology Networks):

Researchers at Lero, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Software and University of Limerick (UL), have found video gamers can significantly improve their esport skills by training for just 10 minutes a day.

The research team at Lero’s Esports Science Research Lab (ESRL) at UL also found novice gamers benefited most when they wore a custom headset delivering transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) for 20 minutes before training sessions.

Participants wore a custom headset (HALO Neuroscience™) designed to deliver transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS). However, some received no stimulation, others just a ‘sham’ treatment, while the remainder received a 20-minute exposure.

“Our study found that novice gamers who received tDCS over their motor cortex before training improved their performance on the specific task over five days, significantly more than novices who trained following no such stimulus,”

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Ask KHN-PolitiFact: I’ve Recovered From Covid. Why Do I Still Have to Mask Up?

More than 120 million Americans have joined arguably the most sought-after club on Earth: those immunized against the coronavirus. Fully vaccinated people were given the green light in March by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to gather with other fully vaccinated people or with low-risk unvaccinated people from one other household without a mask and, earlier this month, to travel without quarantining afterward. (As reports of state and local case surges mount, the CDC is increasingly urging caution.)


This story also ran on PolitiFact. It can be republished for free.

But what about all the people — a number impossible to count, though estimated to be in the millions — who now possess some degree of immunity because they recovered from covid-19?

The agency recommends that everyone — vaccinated, recovered or otherwise — wear a mask in public.

There is no mention of whether people who have recovered … Read the rest

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The FDA Seeks a New Way to Review Old Drugs Without Causing Prices to Soar

Chuck Peterson of Omaha, Nebraska, recently experienced a swollen, painful knuckle caused by arthritis. He got a prescription for colchicine.

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Doctors have used the drug for treating gout and other rheumatic conditions for well over two centuries.

When Peterson went to the pharmacy, he was shocked to discover that a two-month supply of 120 pills, distributed by Par Pharmaceutical, would cost him $225 out-of-pocket on his Medicare Part D drug plan. Taking it for an additional three months, as his rheumatologist wanted him to do, would cost him nearly $600 under his drug plan.

A dozen years ago, the drug cost about a dime per pill.

“My reaction was ‘goodness gracious,’ or maybe something I couldn’t say in polite company,” he said.

The startling price hike was precipitated by a well-intentioned federal government program, called the Unapproved Drugs Initiative, that created … Read the rest

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Does ADHD treatment enable long-term academic success? (Yes, especially when pharmacological and non-pharma treatments are combined)

Academic difficulties are one of the most important adverse consequences of ADHD, and they frequently contribute to parents’ decision to seek treatment for their child. Whether treatment consistently yields a positive impact on long-term academic success is thus an important issue; however, the answer to this question has been somewhat controversial.

A study published recently in the Journal of Attention Disorders, Long-term outcomes of ADHD: Academic achievement and academic performance, represents the most comprehensive effort to date to identify and synthesize research related to this important question.

The Study:

The authors began by identifying all studies published between 1980 and 2012 that reported long-term academic outcomes for youth with ADHD; this was defined as at least 2 years beyond an initial baseline assessment. All studies included a comparison group — either a normative comparison sample or youth with ADHD who were not treated — or a comparison measure, e.g., a … Read the rest

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Biden Moves to Overturn Trump Birth Control Rules

The Biden administration Wednesday formally proposed the repeal of Trump-era regulations barring abortion referrals and making other changes intended to evict Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers from the federal family planning program, Title X. The 2019 rules dramatically limited access to these family planning services for many low-income people.

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In promising to return to the pre-Trump rules for the program, the new regulations by the Department of Health and Human Services note that the Trump policy “has been devastating to the hundreds of thousands of Title X clients who have lost access to critical family planning and related preventive health services.” Since the Trump rules took effect, Planned Parenthood and many city and state health departments have dropped out of the program, resulting in six states with no Title X providers and six more with dramatically reduced services.

KHN is … Read the rest

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Study with 330 centenarians finds that cognitive decline is not inevitable

Hendrikje van Andel Schipper (1890–2005)

Age-Related Cognitive Decline May Not Be Inevitable (WebMD):

It is often assumed that a decrease in memory and brain function are inevitable parts of aging, but a new study of centenarians suggests otherwise.

Investigators found that despite the presence of neurological issues generally associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), many centenarians maintained high levels of cognitive performance.

(Henne Holstege, PhD, assistant professor at Amsterdam University Medical Center) said her interest in researching aging and cognitive health was inspired by the “fascinating” story of Hendrikje van Andel Schipper, who died at age 115 in 2005 “completely cognitively healthy.” Her mother, who died at age 100, was also cognitively intact at the end of her life.

“I wanted to know how it is possible that some people can completely escape all aspects of cognitive decline while reaching extreme ages,” Holstege said…

Despite findings of neuropathologic “hallmarks” of Alzheimer’s

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Orange County Hospital Seeks Divorce From Large Catholic Health System

In early 2013, Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in Orange County, California, joined with St. Joseph Health, a local Catholic hospital chain, amid enthusiastic promises that their affiliation would broaden access to care and improve the health of residents across the community.


This story also ran on U.S. News & World Report. It can be republished for free.

Eight years later, Hoag says this vision of achieving “population health” is dead, and it wants out. It is embroiled in a legal battle for independence from Providence, a Catholic health system with 51 hospitals across seven states, which absorbed St. Joseph in 2016, bringing Hoag along with it.

In a lawsuit filed in Orange County Superior Court last May, Hoag argues that remaining a “captive affiliate” of the nation’s 10th-largest health system, headquartered nearly 1,200 miles away in Washington state, constrains its ability to meet the needs of the local population.

Hoag … Read the rest

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The Gender Vaccine Gap: More Women Than Men Are Getting Covid Shots


This story also ran on USA Today. It can be republished for free.

Mary Ann Steiner drove 2½ hours from her home in the St. Louis suburb of University City to the tiny Ozark town of Centerville, Missouri, to get vaccinated against covid-19. After pulling into the drive-thru line in a church parking lot, she noticed that the others waiting for shots had something in common with her.

“Everyone in the very short line was a woman,” said Steiner, 70.

Her observation reflects a national reality: More women than men are getting covid vaccines, even as more men are dying of the disease. KHN examined vaccination dashboards for all 50 states and the District of Columbia in early April and found that each of the 38 that listed gender breakdowns showed more women had received shots than men.

Public health experts cited many reasons for the difference, including that women … Read the rest

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Fauci Thanks US Health Workers for Sacrifices but Admits PPE Shortages Drove Up Death Toll

Dr. Anthony Fauci thanked America’s health care workers, who “every single day put themselves at risk” during the pandemic, even as he acknowledged that PPE shortages had contributed to the deaths of more than 3,600 of them.


This story also ran on The Guardian. It can be republished for free.

“We rightfully refer to these people without hyperbole — that they are true heroes and heroines,” he said in an exclusive interview with The Guardian. The deaths of so many health workers from covid-19 are “a reflection of what health care workers have done historically, but putting themselves in harm’s way by living up to the oath they take when they become physicians and nurses,” said Fauci.

KHN and The Guardian have tracked health care workers’ deaths throughout the pandemic in the “Lost on the Frontline” database. More than 3,600 health worker deaths have been tallied in the database, considered … Read the rest

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‘My Children Were Priceless Jewels’: Three Families Reflect on the Health Workers They Lost


This story also ran on The Guardian. It can be republished for free.

The daughter of an internist in the Bronx, the father of a nurse practitioner in Southern California and the son of a nurse in McAllen, Texas, share how grief over their loved ones’ deaths from covid-19 has affected them.

These health care workers were profiled in KHN and The Guardian’s yearlong “Lost on the Frontline” project.

Dr. Reza Chowdhury was a beloved internist with a private practice in the Bronx and a trusted voice in New York’s Bengali community. His daughter, Nikita Rahman, said that despite underlying health issues putting him at higher risk of developing covid complications, he saw patients through mid-March last year, when he developed symptoms. He died on April 9, 2020.

Nikita Rahman, Reza Chowdhury’s daughter:

My therapist says grief is the final act of love. Every time I miss him, I think … Read the rest

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