Daily Rounds: Money-Losing Vaccines; Rethinking Alzheimer's; Outsider's View Of MA Reform; Hairdressers For Cancer Detection

Vaccinations Can Be Money-Losers For Doctors : Shots - Health Blog : NPR ( "But many doctors who administer the vaccinations lose money on them, according to new data from athenahealth, a company that helps doctors with electronic billing and medical records. After looking at what insurers paid more than 1,400 doctors for eight different vaccines, athenahealth concluded that almost half the time the payments weren't large enough to cover estimated costs."

Alzheimer's Research Seeks Earlier Detection (WBUR | 90.9 FM) "Scientists once believed that a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s came when a patient had symptoms. Now the thinking is that, like cancer and heart disease, Alzheimer’s may develop for decades before a person experiences any memory loss or other problems.New national guidelines (PDF) were introduced last summer that stress the early diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. With this in mind, scientists are now recruiting patients that do not yet show signs of the disease but have signs of amyloid in their brain. And new diagnostic tests are revolutionizing Alzheimer’s research. Lab tests can now determine whether people who have no symptoms at all may develop the disease later on."

Massachusetts Tries To Rein In Its Health Cost (The New York Times) "This month, in an important advance, Partners HealthCare joined the program, with incentives to keep cost growth below the Blue Cross average. “It’s a big deal,” said Stuart Altman, a health economist at Brandeis, “because they’re the biggest player in town and it sort of solidifies that this will be one of the major changes in the system and that it’s likely to be around for a while.”

Should your hairdresser screen you for skin cancer? | Reuters "A survey of Texas hair salons out on Monday found that more than a third of stylists check at least half of their customers for suspicious moles on their scalps, and most have referred people to a doctor lest the mole turn out to be skin cancer. "What we would like to do in the next couple of years is to train as many hair professionals as possible," said Alan Geller, at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston. "We think this holds a lot of promise." (Reuters)

This program aired on October 18, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.


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