What? Healthy behaviors make you healthier?!?!
“Never assume,” wrote the late American journalist William Safire, “that the obvious is true.”
No doubt researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention applied this philosophy when the Atlanta-based federal agency released a report that found—brace yourself—people who adopted “healthy behaviors” were 63% less likely to die early.
Using data from the CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III Mortality Study, researchers defined low-risk behaviors as never smoking, eating a healthy diet, moderate-intensity or vigorous-intensity physical activity and moderate alcohol consumption (not more than two drinks a day for men and no more than one drink a day for women). The study, published online in the
American Journal of Public Health, said people who engaged in all four of those healthy behaviors were 66% less likely to die of cancer, 65% less likely to die early from cardiovascular disease, and 57% less likely to die early from other causes compared with people who did not engage in any of those healthy behaviors.
“If you want to lead a longer life and feel better, you should adopt healthy behaviors—not smoking, getting regular physical activity, eating healthy and avoiding excessive alcohol use,” said Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC.
And, thanks to the CDC, there is research to prove it.
When HHS’ inspector general’s office began looking into the Medicare program for prosthetic legs, something was … missing. A recent report identified 131 Medicare suppliers that in 2009 had questionable billing, such as billing for a high percentage of beneficiaries with no history of an amputation or a missing limb.
In addition, the inspector general also identified 136 prosthetic suppliers that frequently submitted claims that did not meet certain Medicare requirements or were for beneficiaries with no claims from their referring physicians, according to the report, called Questionable Billing by Suppliers of Lower Limb Prostheses. The report notes that Medicare paid an additional $61 million for beneficiaries with no claims from their referring physicians for the past five years. “Billing for prostheses when the beneficiary had no claims from the referring physician raises questions about whether the physician ever evaluated the beneficiary and whether these devices were medically necessary,” the report states.
The inspector general also says that between 2005 and 2009, Medicare spending for lower limb prostheses increased 27% to $655 million, while the number of Medicare beneficiaries receiving lower limb prostheses decreased by 2.5% to about 74,000.
The CMS in response said it would work to improve its oversight of lower limb prostheses and make necessary changes.
Another kind of hacking raises fears
Mention hacking these days and what immediately springs to mind is probably a scandal across the pond involving some tabloids and Rupert Murdoch. Not insulin pumps.
But two lawmakers are requesting a review of the government’s security standards for wireless medical devices after a diabetic discovered how to remotely reprogram his and other people’s insulin pumps.
Reps. Anna Eshoo of California and Edward Markey of Massachusetts, both Democrats, asked the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, to evaluate the Federal Communications Commission’s efforts to identify the risks of implants and other medical devices that use wireless communications technologies.
They cited new research by Jay Radcliffe, 33, a computer security expert from Idaho, who demonstrated at a conference this month that he could hack into an insulin pump he wears on his body and get it to respond to an unauthorized remote control.
Radcliffe told the Associated Press that he experienced “sheer terror” upon finding that “there’s no security around the devices which are a very active part of keeping me alive.”
He didn’t identify the specific vulnerabilities that allowed him to perform the attack, but has privately alerted the devicemaker— which he did not name—about the issues. Others are likely vulnerable as well.
The techniques raise the possibility of someone roaming a hospital’s halls performing sinister attacks. Diabetics could get too much or too little insulin, a hormone they need for proper metabolism.
Similar attacks have also been shown against pacemakers and defibrillators.
Go on! It’s grapefruit! It’s good for you!
Don’t you want to live longer?