Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Americans spending more out-of-pocket on mental health than physical health
Many insured Americans go out of network for mental health services, a new study suggests, despite the higher costs to them and despite a federal law mandating that policies’ mental health coverage be at least as good as their physical health coverage Americans with health insurance were spending more out of pocket on mental health services, such as treatment for substance abuse, than on conditions like diabetes and heart failure, researchers found. The reason: many were getting mental health care out of network, according to a report published in JAMA Network Open.
Blood supplies inadequate in many countries
Globally, many countries don’t have enough donated blood to meet their needs, a recent study suggests. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that for every 1,000 people in any country, 10 to 20 blood donations are needed to provide adequate supplies. Blood transfusions save lives and improve health, and the WHO says ensuring a safe and adequate supply of blood should be an integral part of every country’s national health care policy.
Sex-change operations yield long-term mental health benefits for transgender people
When transgender people undergo sex-reassignment surgery, the beneficial effect on their mental health is still evident – and increasing – years later, a Swedish study suggests. Overall, people in the study with gender incongruence – that is, their biological gender doesn’t match the gender with which they identify – were six times more likely than people in the general population to visit a doctor for mood and anxiety disorders. They were also three times more likely to be prescribed antidepressants, and six times more likely to be hospitalized after a suicide attempt, researchers found.
Safety data on AstraZeneca anemia drug points to potential use in dialysis
AstraZeneca said on Friday that safety data on roxadustat underpinned the British drugmaker’s hopes for the anemia drug to become a standard treatment for patients with kidney disease. It said pooled data from several late-stage trials showed that roxadustat did not increase the risk of potentially deadly cardiovascular complications like heart attacks and strokes when used instead of epo, which is the standard treatment for dialysis patients against lack of red blood cells from kidney disease.
U.S. CDC reports ‘breakthrough’ in vaping lung injury probe as cases top 2,000
Tests of lung samples taken from 29 patients with vaping-related injuries suggest all contained Vitamin E acetate, a discovery U.S. officials described on Friday as a “breakthrough” in the investigation of the nationwide outbreak that has topped 2,000 cases. The discovery of Vitamin E acetate in lung samples offers the first direct evidence of a link with the substance and vaping-related lung injuries. The substance has also been identified in tests by U.S. and state officials of product samples collected from patients with the vaping injury.
Culture change is the cutting edge of mental health benefits at work
When Hartmut Braune comes to work in security communications at SAP, he never knows what emergency will land in his inbox. It is a challenging job, compounded by the fact that Braune also coordinates the company’s global Lighthouse Core Team, which provides peer assistance to struggling employees, as well as a shoulder to cry on.
U.S. to raise age limit for vaping to 21, Trump says ahead of action next week
The United States plans to raise the age limit for vaping to 21, U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday, adding that his administration would issue its final report on such products next week. Trump, speaking to reporters at the White House, did not give further details about the administration’s regulatory plans or give a specific date for any announcements.
U.S. vaping-related deaths climb to 39, illnesses to 2,051
U.S. health officials on Thursday reported 2,051 confirmed and probable cases and 2 more deaths from a mysterious respiratory illness tied to vaping, taking the total death toll to 39. Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 1,888 cases and 37 deaths from the illness.
Celgene’s drug for anemia in beta thalassemia priced at $3,441/ 25 mg vial
Celgene Corp’s treatment for anemia in patients with beta thalassemia, a rare blood disorder, would be priced at $3,441 for a 25-milligram vial of the drug, partner Acceleron Pharma Inc said. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the treatment, Reblozyl, on Friday. The drug was jointly developed by Acceleron and Celgene, which is being bought by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.
Ben & Jerry’s is sued over ‘happy cows’ claim
Ben & Jerry’s has been sued by an environmental advocate who said it deceived consumers by touting that the milk and cream it uses to make ice cream came exclusively from “happy cows.” In a complaint filed last week, James Ehlers said Ben & Jerry’s “breached consumer trust” by representing that the milk and cream were sourced from cows on Vermont dairies that participate in its “Caring Dairy” program.