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Daily Rounds: Leukemia Breakthrough; Reducing Twins; Safety-Net Rebranding; Is Farm Policy Making Us Fat?

New leukemia treatment exceeds 'wildest expectations' - Health - Cancer - msnbc.com (MSNBC) Doctors have treated only three leukemia patients, but the sensational results from a single shot could be one of the most significant advances in cancer research in decades. And it almost never happened. In the research published Wednesday, doctors at the University of Pennsylvania say the treatment made the most common type of leukemia completely disappear in two of the patients and reduced it by 70 percent in the third. In each of the patients as much as five pounds of cancerous tissue completely melted away in a few weeks, and a year later it is still gone.

The Two-Minus-One Pregnancy - NYTimes.com "For all its successes, reproductive medicine has produced a paradox: in creating life where none seemed possible, doctors often generate more fetuses than they intend. In the mid-1980s, they devised an escape hatch to deal with these megapregnancies, terminating all but two or three fetuses to lower the risks to women and the babies they took home. But what began as an intervention for extreme medical circumstances has quietly become an option for women carrying twins. With that, pregnancy reduction shifted from a medical decision to an ethical dilemma. As science allows us to intervene more than ever at the beginning and the end of life, it outruns our ability to reach a new moral equilibrium. We still have to work out just how far we’re willing to go to construct the lives we want." (nytimes.com)

Community health centers deserve better than “safety net” label "What do you think when you hear the term “safety net provider?” It doesn’t make a very positive brand impression, does it? Trapeze artists are glad that there’s a safety net underneath them, but they sure as heck don’t want to fall into it. If they screwed up and landed there they wouldn’t go around telling all their friends how great it was. And there’s absolutely no chance they’d rather perform in the net than up above... As the nation as a whole follows Massachusetts’ example and the number of uninsured falls dramatically, I suggest it’s time to stop thinking of and labeling these facilities as mere “safety nets” and start treating them as the prototypical patient centered medical homes that they are. Not only should we encourage newly insured patients to continue using community health centers, we should encourage traditional primary care practices to evolve toward the health center model." (Med City News)

Is U.S. Farm Policy Feeding The Obesity Epidemic? : NPR "What we've had is a cheap feed grain policy, or a cheap calorie policy, and that's been pretty consistent from farm bill to farm bill over the last 30-odd years," he says, referring to the bundle of legislation that includes agricultural subsidies. So the farm bill helps make us fat, right? Maybe not. Let's take a closer look at this whole picture." (npr.org)

This program aired on August 11, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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