Daily Rounds: Surprising Estrogen Findings; GOP Medicare Plan; New St. E's Chief; Exercise-Sex Link

Estrogen Lowers Risk of Heart Attack and Breast Cancer in Some -
In a finding that challenges the conventional wisdom about the risks of some hormones used in menopause, a major government study has found that years after using estrogen-only therapy, certain women had a markedly reduced risk of breast cancer and heart attack. The research, part of the landmark Women’s Health Initiative study, is likely to surprise women and their doctors, who for years have heard frightening news about the risks of hormone therapy. But most of those fears are related to the use of a combination of two hormones, estrogen and progestin, which are prescribed to relieve hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause, and have been shown to increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer. The new findings, reported Tuesday in The Journal of the American Medical Association, come from 10,739 women in the Women’s Health Initiative study who had previously had a hysterectomy, (

GOP Unveils Plan To Remake Medicare And Medicaid : Shots - Health Blog : NPR
The GOP's health care cat is now fully out of the bag. And it's a big one.
All told the Republicans say their stingier federal budget would save $6.2 trillion over the one President Obama wants. The GOP roadmap, as expected, proposes big changes for Medicare and Medicaid.
Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, and his Republican colleagues were busy stumping for their plan to rein in federal spending government today. It would switch people under 55 to a system of private Medicare insurance that would be subsidized by the federal government. Individuals would pick a government-approved plan rather than a program run by the government.  (

St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center getting new president - The Boston Globe
Steward Health Care System yesterday named John Polanowicz as president of St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Brighton, the largest Steward hospital, with 291 beds and about 2,000 employees. Polanowicz’s hiring set in motion a series of other executive moves within Steward. Current St. Elizabeth’s president John Holiver will take over as president of the chain’s Norwood Hospital, while the current Norwood president, Margaret Hanson, will become vice president of hospital integration at Steward’s new corporate offices in downtown Boston.
Steward has now replaced the presidents of four of its six Catholic hospitals since the start of this year, building a new leadership team for chief executive Ralph de la Torre. (

Phys Ed: The Truth About Sex and Exercise -
The findings “did not suggest that people should avoid exercise” in hopes of preventing an attack, said Jessica Paulus, an assistant professor of medicine at Tufts and a study co-author. Nor did they prove, despite some reporters’ obvious hopes, that engaging in lots of sex now would prevent a heart attack during sex later. There is no data about the protective effects — if any — of sex, she said. “Sex is not a proxy” for more strenuous activity, she said, although “some people seem to want it to be.” (

Kidney transplants: USC to resume transplants in wake of mix-up -
Surgeons at USC University Hospital accidentally transplanted a kidney into the wrong patient earlier this year because the system used to verify organs was flawed, the head of the transplant program said Tuesday. Once the wrong organ identification number ended up on a key piece of paperwork in the operating room, there was nothing to prevent surgeons from proceeding with the transplant, said Dr. Cynthia Herrington, medical director of the USC Transplant Institute. Her comments came as the hospital announced that it was restarting kidney transplants with new safeguards in place, more than two months after closing the program to investigate the Jan. 29 mix-up. Transplant experts said the error was highly unusual but that USC was not the only hospital vulnerable to such a mix-up. (Los Angeles Times)


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