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Daily Rounds: Health Law Backup Plan, Fiddling With Dosing, Deep Brain Exploration, And More

This article is more than 7 years old.

How The Health Law Could Survive Without The Mandate (NPR) — "But experts say there are ways to strongly encourage people to sign up that stop short of a mandate. One possibility, says Paul Starr, a sociologist and health care watcher at Princeton University, is to "have limited enrollment periods, open enrollment periods the way employers do. That is, there would be a time once a year to have open enrollment, instead of allowing people at any time both to sign up for coverage and then to stop paying for coverage." Allowing people to sign up or drop out anytime, Starr says, "then allows people only to pay when they're sick, and that's disastrous for any insurance system." Starr has also been pushing another, even more dramatic idea. It would let people opt out of the law's requirement to have health insurance for a period of five years at a time. But they would also have to opt out of the law's benefits."

Drug Dosage Was Approved Despite Warning (The New York Times) — "Four months before a best-selling Alzheimer’s drug was set to lose its patent protection, its makers received approval for a higher dosage that extended their exclusive right to sell the drug. But the higher dosage caused potentially dangerous side effects and worked only slightly better than the existing drugs, according to an article published Thursday in the British Medical Journal. The drug, Aricept 23, was approved in July 2010 against the advice of reviewers at the Food and Drug Administration."

Compassion Fatigue Strikes Family, Even Animal Caregivers (Good Morning America) — "You take on the pain of others and suffer, bottled up, angry and suppressing feelings," said project founder Patricia Smith. "Your impulse is to rescue. You don't have any personal boundaries, but you become isolated and lose your self-care in the process." Without paying attention to their own needs, caregivers can turn to destructive behaviors such as substance abuse. "It's a natural consequence of stress," said Smith. "In healthy caregiving you are 100 percent present in their care with empathy and compassion. But it's unhealthy when things in your own life are not resolved and you take on their suffering as your own." More than 65 million Americans, about 29 percent of the population, is providing care for someone who is chronically ill or disabled and spend an average of 20 hours a week looking after a loved one, according to the National Alliance for Caregiving in collaboration with AARP."

Project To Explore Human Perception (The Wall Street Journal) — "...the Seattle-based nonprofit group plans to build over the coming decade a series of "brain observatories," computational tools to map neural behavior. The aim is to systematically explore the roots of vision and decision-making by analyzing the billions of cells and synapses in the brain's cerebral cortex, which plays a critical role in vision, memory and awareness. "They want to really characterize the parts list of the brain and map all its circuits to see how they connect and communicate," said neurobiologist Ed Boyden at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "It is impossible for an ordinary lab group to bring all these pieces together."

This program aired on March 23, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

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