Daily Rounds: Partners' Elusive $40M; Down Syndrome Drugs? Asthma Gene In Blacks; Mega-Gyms And Mini-Gyms

Partners plan puts a model for cost controls to test - "Partners HealthCare System Inc. has yet to make good on the pledge it made in April of last year to pay $40 million to help reduce health insurance premiums for small businesses. Its executives say Partners hopes to do so in the next few months - not by writing a check, but by renegotiating existing contracts with insurers. Those contracts, which don’t expire until next year, give its hospitals some of the state’s highest reimbursements for medical care." (

A Father's Search for a Drug for Down Syndrome - "'I was a physician and a neuroscientist who studies the brain. Here was this new life in front of me and holding my finger and looking straight in my eyes. How could I not think in terms of helping that kid?'...In 2006, using mice with the equivalent of Down syndrome, Costa published one of the first studies ever to show that a drug could normalize the growth and survival of new brain cells in the hippocampus, a structure deep within the brain that is essential for memory and spatial navigation." (

Medical News: Gene Variant Has Large Effect on Blacks' Asthma Risk - MedPage Today "Variations in a gene called PYHIN1 may account for a surprisingly large proportion of asthma risk in people of African descent, said researchers conducting a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies. One particular polymorphism in the gene was more common by 34% in African-American and Afro-Caribbean asthmatics relative to controls in the meta-analysis, reported Dan Nicolae, PhD, of the University of Chicago, and colleagues online in Nature Genetics...PYHIN1 "may be the first asthma susceptibility gene identified that is specific to populations of African descent," Nicolae and colleagues wrote. (

Mega-gyms offer clients a mini 'resort experience' - "The recently opened Life Time Fitness center is 200,000 square feet (four to 20 times bigger than most fitness facilities) of workout options, pampering and relaxation and poolside bistro-ing that's challenging the notion of workouts as quick in-and-out sweat-fests...Increasingly bigger facilities with enhanced amenities and a huge smorgasbord of workout options are blossoming everywhere, even as a counter-trend — reduced-size mini gyms in strip malls and other locales — continues to surge ahead. ( Florida, Opposing Health Care Act, Refuses Federal Funds - "Then there is Florida. Despite having the country’s fourth-highest unemployment rate, its second-highest rate of people without insurance and a $3.7 billion budget gap this year, the state has turned away scores of millions of dollars in grants made available under the Affordable Care Act. And it is not pursuing grants worth many millions more." (

This program aired on August 1, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.


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