Daily Rounds: High-Deductible Plans Nearly Double In MA; All-Nighter Brain Effects; Western Diets Sicken World

More opt for low-cost health coverage - The Boston Globe The number of Massachusetts residents enrolled in high-deductible health insurance plans nearly doubled last year as employers and consumers looked for lower-cost options amid soaring medical prices. A report out today says people in these plans indeed spent significantly less on their medical care, compared with families with more traditional coverage, but they also cut back on preventive health care, such as cancer screenings and childhood vaccinations. Surprisingly, they did so even though most of the plans allowed people to get preventive care without paying an up-front deductible. “These plans are reducing costs substantially, but it’s not clear that they can maintain quality, and that’s the real concern,’’ said Amelia Haviland, coauthor of the RAND Corporation study. (

All-Nighters Found to Cause Euphoria ... and Brain Damage | Flyby | The Harvard Crimson Pulling an all-nighter can not only help you study for a test, but can also create euphoric feelings the next day. So says a study produced by a team of researchers including Harvard Medical School Associate Professor Seung-Schik Yoo. Of course, it's not all good news if you are used to staying up all night. Other studies by Yoo's group, led by UC Berkeley Associate Professor Matthew P. Walker, have found that lack of sleep can also cause extreme negative emotions and other problems. (

How Western Diets Are Making The World Sick : NPR In a conversation on Fresh Air, Patterson tells Terry Gross that the effects of urbanization are making people everywhere in the world both fatter and sicker.
"Type 2 diabetes historically didn't exist, only 70 or 80 years ago," says Patterson. "And what's driven it, of course, is this rise in obesity, especially the accumulation of abdominal fat. That fat induces changes in our receptors that cells have for insulin. Basically, it makes them numb to the effect of insulin." (

China acts to ban smoking in indoor public places - It can't be easy to persuade 300 million people to stop smoking. But China, the biggest producer and consumer of tobacco products, plans to take a step toward that goal May 1 with a ban on smoking in indoor public places. (Los Angeles Times)

Tuberculosis cases at an all-time low in the U.S., the CDC says - The number of tuberculosis cases in the United States reached an all-time low last year, with only 11,181 cases reported to public health authorities, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That represented a 3.9% drop in the number of cases from the preceding year, but was a disappointment on two counts: the number of cases had dropped by 11.9% in 2009, and authorities had hoped a major decline would continue; and in 1989, health officials had set a goal of eradicating TB in the U.S. by 2010, a roadmark that was clearly not met. (Los Angeles Times)

This program aired on March 25, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.


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