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Romney's plan for middle-class health insurance
Mitt Romney says if elected, he will take steps to make insurance less expensive and give Americans more buying power.
August 31st, 2012
10:13 AM ET

Romney's plan for middle-class health insurance

The Empowered Patient is a regular feature from CNN Senior Medical News Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen that helps put you in the driver's seat when it comes to health care.

This week during the Republican convention the Empowered Patient has been putting Mitt Romney’s health care plan under the microscope, examining what it means to various groups of American patients.

Earlier this week we looked at Romney's ideas on preventive care, helping people with pre-existing conditions get insurance, and aiding seniors who get stuck in the prescription drug donut hole. We also did a fact-check on Paul Ryan's Medicare comments in his convention speech.

Now, we're looking at Romney's plans for helping middle class Americans buy health insurance. According to a 2009 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 11 million uninsured Americans came from the middle class, or nearly a quarter of the nation's total uninsured.

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Up to 1 million mangoes recalled in Salmonella outbreak
Officials are investigating "a multistate cluster" of Salmonella infections, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said.
August 30th, 2012
08:30 PM ET

Up to 1 million mangoes recalled in Salmonella outbreak

Up to 1 million mangoes are being recalled voluntarily because they may be contaminated with Salmonella, as a preventive measure in the wake of 103 infections nationwide, a food distributor announced Thursday.

The mangoes bear the Daniella brand sticker with one of the following PLU numbers: 3114, 4051, 4311, 4584 or 4959, said Splendid Products of Burlingame, California.

The mangoes were sold as individual fruit throughout the country, including at Costco, Save Mart Supermarkets, Food 4 Less, Ralph's, Topco stores, El Super, Kroger, Giant-Eagle, Stop & Shop, Aldi, and some Whole Foods stores, the produce firm said.

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CT good for detecting coronary blockages
August 30th, 2012
05:20 PM ET

CT good for detecting coronary blockages

Chest pain could mean you need a serious operation to get blood flowing back to your heart. But it’s hard to know who needs such an intervention, especially without evidence of a heart attack.

Scientists reported at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Munich this week that a super-fast computed tomography (CT) scanner can tell whether an invasive procedure is necessary.

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CDC warns parents to beware button batteries
August 30th, 2012
02:46 PM ET

CDC warns parents to beware button batteries

They are used to power everything from flashlights to remote controls. So called "button batteries," which are the size of coins (and sometimes smaller), have grown in popularity over the past few decades. Now, the Centers for Disease Control is warning parents to keep them away from children.

According to this week's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, approximately 40,400 children aged 12 and younger were treated in emergency rooms for battery-related injuries between 1997 and 2010 

But here's the bigger concern: 14 children, all of them under the age of 4, died after swallowing batteries. Twelve of the 14 deaths involved button batteries. In most cases, the batteries got stuck in the esophagus.  Experts say when that happens, or if the batteries make it down to the intestine, they can emit hydroxide which can cause chemical burns.
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Fact-checking Ryan on Medicare
In his speech at the Republican convention, Paul Ryan called Obamacare "the greatest threat to Medicare."
August 30th, 2012
02:00 PM ET

Fact-checking Ryan on Medicare

 The Empowered Patient is a regular feature from CNN Senior Medical News Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen that helps put you in the driver's seat when it comes to health care.

This week during the Republican National Convention the Empowered Patient has been putting presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s health care plan under the microscope, examining what it means to various groups of American patients.

Earlier this week we looked at Romney's ideas on preventive care, helping people with pre-existing conditions get insurance, and aiding seniors who get stuck in the prescription drug donut hole.

Today we're fact-checking vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan's statements about Medicare in his speech Wednesday night at the convention in which he called Obamacare "the greatest threat to Medicare."

According to Ryan, President Barack Obama's administration "didn't have enough money" to fund health care reform, "so they just took it all away from Medicare. Seven hundred and sixteen billion dollars, funneled out of Medicare by President Obama."

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Lance Armstrong: 'It's time to move forward'
Lance Armstrong during the 2005 Tour de France
August 30th, 2012
11:43 AM ET

Lance Armstrong: 'It's time to move forward'

A new video from Lance Armstrong doesn’t mention the word “doping,” but reinforces the cyclist’s commitment to the fight against cancer amid the latest chapter in a saga of allegations.

“It’s time to move forward,” he says in a video posted on the Livestrong website. “It’s time to talk about a different fight.”

Livestrong is the popular brand name of the Lance Armstrong Foundation, which Armstrong founded in 1997 to promote cancer awareness.
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New virus found in Missouri; ticks suspected
August 30th, 2012
10:55 AM ET

New virus found in Missouri; ticks suspected

It started with fever, fatigue,  diarrhea and loss of appetite.

But for two farmers in northwestern Missouri, the severe illness that followed a tick bite led epidemiologists on a journey to a new viral discovery.

"It's brand new to the world," said William Nicholson with the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Disease at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"It's unique in that it's never been found elsewhere and it is the first phlebovirus found to cause illness in humans in the Western Hemisphere. At this point we don't know how widespread it may be, or whether it's found in other states. We don't know how many people in Missouri may have had this virus, as the finding of a completely new virus was a surprise to us."

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Treatment lapses may increase TB drug resistance
August 29th, 2012
06:35 PM ET

Treatment lapses may increase TB drug resistance

The prevention of multidrug-resistant (MDR) and extensively drug-resistant (XDR) tuberculosis can be tenuous when treatment programs aren't followed properly.

In a prospective cohort study of 1,278 patients from eight countries published in the journal Lancet, researchers found that 43.7% of patients with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis also showed resistance to at least one second-line drug.

Second-line antibiotics are used in treatment when the first line of antibiotics fails. However, these drugs are more expensive, can cause more side effects and must be taken for up to two years.

Further, extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis was found in 6.7% of the patients, a figure on par with the World Health Organization's estimate that 9.4% of the global population has XDR.

"[The study] shows really clearly that messy treatment of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis generates extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis," said Dr. Karin Weyer, a coordinator for laboratories, diagnostics, and drug resistance at the WHO's Stop TB unit.

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Romney's health care plan: Medicare 'donut hole'
August 29th, 2012
02:34 PM ET

Romney's health care plan: Medicare 'donut hole'

The Empowered Patient is a regular feature from CNN Senior Medical News Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen that helps put you in the driver's seat when it comes to health care.

This week during the Republican convention I’ll be putting Mitt Romney’s health care plan under the microscope, examining what it means to various groups of American patients.

Monday we dissected Romney's ideas to help Americans afford preventive care. Tuesday we looked at his plan for helping people with pre-existing conditions get insurance. Now, we'll examine Romney's plan for filling the Medicare donut hole.

The Medicare donut hole is a coverage gap for seniors who take prescription drugs. In 2009, prior to Obamacare, seniors received help from Medicare when they spent up to $896 on prescription drugs, after which they received no help and had to pay for prescription drugs 100% out of their own pockets. Then, after spending a total of $4,350 on prescriptions, government assistance kicked back in again. This gap when seniors had to pay for their drugs on their own is called the “donut hole.”

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Restricting calories may not prolong your life
August 29th, 2012
01:01 PM ET

Restricting calories may not prolong your life

Calorie restriction has long been used to examine aging in rodents and monkeys. Past studies have shown that restricting calories in a nutritious diet by 10 to 40% can delay or prevent chronic diseases, slow aging and increase life spans.

But new research published this week in the journal Nature shows quite the opposite – that calorie restriction does not improve survival outcomes. Turns out, the issue may be more complicated than first thought.

The study

Researchers at the National Institute of Aging have been studying the effects of calorie restriction in rhesus monkeys for more than 20 years in hopes of eventually applying the results to humans.

Male and female monkeys of all ages are enrolled in the study. The experimental group eats approximately 25% fewer calories than the control group. Any animal that dies during the study undergoes a necropsy (an autopsy performed on an animal) to find the probable cause of death.
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About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

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