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Tiny pacemaker prototype avoids open chest surgery for infants

Tiny pacemaker prototype avoids open chest surgery for infants

Health
Nov. 9 (UPI) -- A pacemaker protype the size of an almond designed to make procedures for infants less invasive, less painful and more efficient has been tested on pigs. Dr. Rohan Kumthekar, a cardiology fellow at the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., will show off the device and present his abstract Sunday at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2018 in Chicago. Kumthekar believes the process will lead to shorter surgeries, faster recovery times and reduced medical costs. "Placing a pacemaker in a small child is different than operating on an adult, due to their small chest cavity and narrow blood vessels," Kumthekar said in a press release. "By eliminating the need to cut through the sternu...
Fertility rates have fallen worldwide, while populations boom

Fertility rates have fallen worldwide, while populations boom

Health
Nov. 9 (UPI) -- Global population growth is a tale of two statistics: In 104 countries with high birth rates, populations are rising, while rates in 91 countries with low numbers are sinking. Since 1950, the total fertility rates, the average number of children a woman gives birth to during her lifetime, has fallen worldwide. The statistics come from recent findings included in the annual Global Burden of Disease study. Among the 104 nations with birth rates exceeding two births per woman were Niger, Mali, Chad and South Sudan. The 91 nations with fertility rates lower than two births per woman included Singapore, Spain, Portugal, Norway, South Korea and Cyprus. To assess this divergent phenomenon, the annual study examined 84 risk factors in 195 countries and territories. "These statist...
Medicare expands access to in-home support for seniors

Medicare expands access to in-home support for seniors

Health
In a harbinger of potentially big changes for Medicare, seniors in many states will be able to get additional services like help with chores, safety devices and respite for caregivers next year through private "Medicare Advantage" insurance plans. The shift reflects a growing recognition that simple help at home can have a meaningful impact on patients' well-being — and reduce some costs for taxpayers. A couple of hundred dollars to install grab bars in the shower can prevent a fall leading to a broken hip, a life-changing injury. The newly covered services are similar to what people might need if they required long-term care, said Howard Gleckman, a senior researcher at the nonpartisan Urban Institute think tank. "It begins to break down the wall between long-term care and Medicar...
Cigarette smoking in U.S. reaches all-time low

Cigarette smoking in U.S. reaches all-time low

Health
Nov. 8 (UPI) -- Cigarette smoking has reached an all-time low among U.S. adults -- 14 percent -- according to new data released by the U.S. government. Experts and researchers say the new data is proof that efforts to decrease the rates of smoking in the United States have been successful, but they say there is still much more work to be done. An estimated 34 million adults in the United States smoked cigarettes either every day or some days in 2017, which is down from 15.5 percent of adults in 2016 and 67 percent fewer since 1965, according to data released by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health's National Cancer Institute. The most dramatic cigarette usage decline was among adults aged 18 to 24 years -- 10.4 ...
Most tonsillectomies performed on children no benefit to health

Most tonsillectomies performed on children no benefit to health

Health
Nov. 6 (UPI) -- New research suggests that most tonsillectomies performed on children provide no benefit to their health. Researchers at the University of Birmingham's Institute of Applied Health Research report in a new analysis of medical records that, among children who had their tonsils removed in Britain between 2005 and 2016, just 11.7 percent of the procedures were necessary. For the new study, published Tuesday in the British Journal of General Practice, researchers analyzed medical records for 1.6 million children under age 15 who had the procedure at one of 700 U.K. general practices. Of the 18,271 children who had their tonsils removed, only 2,144 -- seven in eight -- had enough sore throats to justify surgery, according to findings In addition, many children who might benefit...