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Daily Rounds: Fecal Transplants Work; Smokers Hit With Surcharge; Health Law Deja Vu; Superbug Resistance Grips Europe

Fecal Transplantation Works for Recurrent C. difficile Infections When Antibiotics Fail : Internal Medicine News "A decades-old technique – fecal transplantation – cures more than 90% of C. difficile patients who relapse after antibiotic therapy, as up to a third do, according to Dr. Johan Bakken. In fecal transplantation, donor stool is delivered from below through a colonoscope or retention enema, or from above through a nasogastric or nasoduodenal tube, to replace colonic flora wiped out by antibiotics, reestablishing the patient’s resistance to colonization by C. difficile." (internalmedicinenews.com)

Smokers Penalized With Health Insurance Premiums - NYTimes.com (nytimes.com) "So far, companies including Home Depot, PepsiCo, Safeway, Lowe’s and General Mills have defended decisions to seek higher premiums from some workers, like Wal-Mart’s recent addition of a $2,000-a-year surcharge for some smokers. Many point to the higher health care costs associated with smoking or obesity. Some even describe the charges and discounts as a “more stick, less carrot” approach to get workers to take more responsibility for their well-being. No matter the characterizations, it means that smokers and others pay more than co-workers who meet a company’s health goals. But some benefits specialists and health experts say programs billed as incentives for wellness, by offering discounted health insurance, can become punitive for people who suffer from health problems that are not completely under their control. Nicotine addiction, for example, may impede smokers from quitting, and severe obesity may not be easily overcome."

Jonathan Gruber, M.I.T. Economist, Hits Mitt Romney Over Obama Health Care Law "They're the same f***ing bill. He [Romney] just can't have his cake and eat it too," Gruber said. "He can try to draw distinctions and stuff, but he's just lying. The only big difference is he didn't have to pay for his. Because the federal government paid for it. Where at the federal level, we have to pay for it, so we have to raise taxes." (Huffington Post)

Europe in the grip of drug-resistant superbugs (uk.reuters.com) "Sprenger said that across the region, rates of resistance to last-line antibiotics by a bacteria called Klebsiella pneumoniae had more than doubled to 15 percent by 2010 from around 7 percent five years ago. "What's even more worrying is that there's a great diversity among different countries in Europe — and some countries have resistance of almost 50 percent," he said. K. pneumoniae is a common cause of pneumonia, urinary tract, and bloodstream infections in hospital patients. The superbug form is resistant even to a class of medicines called carbapenems, the most powerful known antibiotics, which are usually reserved by doctors as a last line of defense."

This program aired on November 17, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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