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Funding For Research On The H1N1 Flu Virus Announced By Government Of Canada
The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, is pleased to announce another measure to address the H1N1 flu virus. The Government of Canada will fund a national influenza research network focused on pandemic vaccine evaluation. The network will strengthen Canada"s capacity to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of a pandemic influenza vaccine and vaccination programs.

The Cytoplasmic Talk Of Retroviruses Helps Them Spread From Cell To Cell
It is known that Retroviruses, such as HIV, that are already within cells
News of the day
American Medical Student Association Rejects New Organization Dedicated To Limiting Conflict Of Interest Regulation
The American Medical Student Association (AMSA) rejects the objectives of the Association of Clinical Researchers and Educators (ACRE), a newly formed organization that seeks to limit conflict of interest regulations. AMSA, the nation"s oldest and largest, independent association for physicians-in-training, is calling on the medical profession to continue to reduce the influence of pharmaceutical and medical device industry promotional activities, which research has proven to negatively affect patient care.


New Plans To Improve Eating Disorder Services In Wales

Two new specialist teams will be set up to improve diagnosis, care and support for people with eating disorders in Wales, Health Minister Edwina Hart officially announced.

Easy Strength Training Exercise May Help Treat Tennis Elbow, Study Shows

People with pain in the elbow or forearm from playing sports or just from common

Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction Doesn\'t Harm NFL Career Length, Study Suggests

Knee injuries are a common problem in collegiate and professional football, often

DxS\' TheraScreen(R) K-RAS Companion Diagnostic Approved For Use With Amgen\'s Vectibix™ In Canada

DxS, a personalised medicine company, has had its TheraScreen: K-RAS Mutation Kit granted a licence by the regulatory body Health Canada for use as a diagnostic for anti-EGFR therapies and as the companion diagnostic for Amgen"s colorectal cancer therapy, Vectibix™ (panitumumab).

Inovio Biomedical H1N1 Influenza DNA Vaccines Demonstrate 100% Responses Against Swine Flu In Vaccinated Pigs

Inovio Biomedical Corporation (NYSE Amex:INO), a leader in DNA vaccine design, development and delivery, announced today that the company"s SynCon™ H1N1 influenza DNA vaccines achieved protective antibody responses against H1N1 swine influenza virus (A/Swine/Iowa/35233/1999) in 100% of pigs immunized with a two-dose vaccine regimen.

Texas Department Of State Health Services Issues Fish Advisory For Clear Creek

The Texas Department of State Health Services has issued an advisory warning people not to consume any species of fish from Clear Creek. The creek runs through parts of Brazoria, Fort Bend, Galveston and Harris counties. The advisory was issued after laboratory testing showed elevated levels of polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, in fish samples collected from the creek.

New Mexico Department Of Health Prepares For Influenza Mass Vaccination Clinics Department Continues To Monitor H1N1 Cases

The New Mexico Department of Health is planning for influenza mass vaccination clinics that will take place this fall to protect people against the novel H1N1 strain of influenza (earlier referred to as swine flu) and against seasonal influenza. The Department of Health is also ensuring that the State and its local partners are prepared to deal with the possibility of an increase in severity of H1N1 influenza cases, including a potential pandemic in New Mexico.

Lowering Your Blood Pressure Can Be As Easy As Watching What You Eat

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), about two-thirds of people over the age of 65 have high blood pressure. What"s more, they report that if you haven"t had it by the time you reach age 55, there is a 90 percent chance you will end up with it during your lifetime. It is something that almost all of us will encounter in our lifetime. But the good news is that watching what you eat can go a long way toward helping you avoid high blood pressure and get the problem under control.

Protect Yourself From Tick And Mosquito Bites To Prevent Illness

Summer is the peak time for people to be bitten by ticks and mosquitoes, which may carry diseases that can infect humans. The Department of Health tracks cases of these diseases and has noted a recent increase in human cases of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and ehrlichiosis, both of which are transmitted through tick bites. TDOH urges Tennesseans to follow commonsense precautions to protect themselves and help reduce the risk of illness.

Physician Groups Support Comparative Effectiveness Provisions In Proposed Legislation

The American College of Physicians (ACP) have joined with two other physician groups to offer strong support for the Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) provisions included in the Tri-Committee health reform bill about to be considered in the House. The Tri-Committee, which unveiled its proposed legislation on June 19, is made up of the House Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, and Education and Labor Committees.

Mystery Of DNA Conformation Unravelled By Baylor Researchers

An iconic photograph (http://img.timeinc.net/time/80days/images/530228.jpg) of Nobel laureates Drs. Francis Crick and James Watson show the pair discussing with a rigid model of the famous double helix.

FDA Approve One-Pill Version Of Plan B, Sets Over-The-Counter Access At Age 17

FDA approved Teva Pharmaceuticals" Plan B One-Step -- a single-pill version of the two-pill dose emergency contraceptive product Plan B -- and lowered the limit for over-the-counter purchase of the drug to age 17, the company announced on Monday, the AP/Yahoo! Finance reports (AP/Yahoo! Finance, 7/13). Individuals ages 16 and younger will be required to obtain prescriptions to purchase Plan B, which reduces the chance of pregnancy when taken within 72 hours of sexual intercourse (Teva Pharmaceuticals release, 7/13). Teva said the one-pill version will be available at retail pharmacies in August (AP/Yahoo! Finance, 7/13). Kelli Conlin, president of the National Institute for Reproductive Health, said, "Health care providers and women"s advocates have been eager for a one-pill emergency contraceptive for years and are happy to see it finally come to fruition" (Teva Pharmaceuticals release, 7/13).The expanded access to the medication comes several months after a federal court lifted restrictions put in place under former President George W. Bush that limited OTC sales to women ages 18 and older (AP/Yahoo! Finance, 7/13).

HHS Purchases Additional H1N1 Vaccine Ingredients

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced today that the department will commit $884 million to purchase additional supplies of two key ingredients for potential H1N1 vaccine to further prepare the nation for a potential resurgence of the 2009 H1N1 virus.

The Union Opens DR Congo Country Office

The Union is opening an office in Kinshasa to support its TB, TB-HIV and other collaborations with the National Tuberculosis Programme, Ministry of Health and other partners.

American Society Of Hematology Awards Grants To Encourage Novel Medical Training Programs

The American Society of Hematology (ASH) announces that Ellis J. Neufeld, MD, PhD, of Harvard Medical School, Thomas Shea, MD, of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Alvin Schmaier, MD, of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, will each receive ASH"s Alternative Training Pathway Grant this July. The grant is awarded to selected training program directors to encourage the development and implementation of novel hematology-related training programs in recognition of the need for more clinicians and clinical/translational researchers in hematology-related disciplines.

Small Business: The Hunt For Affordable Health Insurance

"For entrepreneurs trying to start or run a business, the obstacles are huge. But few loom as large as one: health care," the Wall Street Journal reports. "At some businesses, in fact, health care is the highest expense after salaries - with devastating consequences. Owners must skimp on vital investments like marketing and research. Some can"t hire the people they want because top candidates demand premium coverage. Or they end up understaffed because of the high cost of insurance - and lose potential clients as a result. At the same time, to keep costs in check, countless companies are slashing coverage or dropping it entirely. Some are turning to freelancers or offshore workers instead of hiring full-timers and locals. And some would-be entrepreneurs find insurance so onerous that they"re not even starting a business in the first place."

Today\'s Selection Of Opinions And Editorials

Two Sides to Every Health Care Debate New York Times

Bill Would Allow Federal Funding For Needle Exchange Programs

House Democrats on Friday as part of a spending measure to fund the Departments of Labor and HHS for fiscal year 2010, "unveiled legislation to lift a ban on federal funding for needle-exchange programs, a shift to try to reduce [HIV infections] but one that will probably spark a fight," Reuters/Boston Globe reports (7/11). The ban has been included in the annual spending bill in previous years. House Appropriations Committee Chair David Obey (D-Wis.) said, "Scientific studies have documented that needle exchange programs, when implemented as part of a comprehensive prevention strategy, are an effective public health intervention for reducing [HIV] infections and do not promote drug use" (Reuters, Pelofsky, 7/10). "The move is in keeping with a pledge [President] Obama made during the primaries to remove the prohibition on such funding, although the ban was carried in his budget request this year," CQ Today reports (Wolfe, 7/10). However, "Republicans are girding for a fight over the ban and lawmakers could try to restore it as the legislation moves through the House during the next two weeks," according to Reuters (7/10). The bill also addresses sex education and "appears to continue Democrats" slow march away from funding abstinence-only sex education," CQ reports (7/10).

Rise In New Cases Of Alzheimer\'s And Dementia, Even In The \'Oldest Old\'

The number of people with Alzheimer"s and dementia - both new cases and total numbers with the disease - continues to rise among the very oldest segments of the population in contradiction of the conventional wisdom, according to research reported today at the Alzheimer"s Association 2009 International Conference on Alzheimer"s Disease (ICAD 2009) in Vienna.

Active Commuters On Track For Healthy Hearts

A new study published yesterday looked at "active commuters" who biked or walked to work, and reported they had reduced cardiovascular risk factors. Commenting on the study (1), Ellen Mason, Cardiac Nurse at the British Heart Foundation (BHF) said:

\'Health On The Hill\' Examines Senate Finance Committee\'s Discussions On Funding Health Reform

The Kaiser Family Foundation"s Jackie Judd talks with Kaiser Health News" Mary Agnes Carey about upcoming and recent activities on Capitol Hill this week, including the scheduled "s closed-door "walk through" with panel members to discuss options to finance health care overhaul legislation.

Two University of Denver Studies Look At Why Couples Live Together And The Results When They Do

University of Denver (DU) researchers find that couples who live together before they are engaged have a higher chance of getting divorced than those who wait until they are married to live together, or at least wait until they are engaged. In addition, couples who lived together before engagement and then married, reported a lower satisfaction in their marriages.

Breast Cancer Risk In Postmenopausal Women Exposed To Hormone Replacement Therapy, Could Be Reduced By Asian Spice

Previous studies have found that postmenopausal women who have taken a combined estrogen and progestin hormone replacement therapy have increased their risk of developing progestin-accelerated breast tumors. Now, University of Missouri researchers have found that curcumin, a popular Indian spice derived from the turmeric root, could reduce the cancer risk for women after exposure to hormone replacement therapy.

Citrus-Derived Flavonoid Prevents Obesity According To Study

A flavonoid derived from citrus fruit has shown tremendous promise for preventing weight gain and other signs of metabolic syndrome which can lead to Type 2 Diabetes and increased risk of cardiovascular disease. The study, led by Murray Huff of the Robarts Research Institute at The University of Western Ontario looked at a flavonoid (plant-based bioactive molecule) called naringenin. The findings are published online in the journal Diabetes.

Maryland County Officials Create State\'s First Suburban HIV/AIDS Commission

Anne Arundel County, Md., Executive John Leopold recently appointed 20 community leaders, government officials and health workers to serve on the county"s first HIV/AIDS commission, which aims to understand and develop strategies for addressing the disease, the Baltimore Sun reports. The Sun reports the commission is believed to be the first of its kind in a suburban Maryland county and similar to a commission launched in Baltimore City. Council member Daryl Jones in 2008 proposed legislation to create the commission, citing the increasing number of HIV cases in the northern part of the county, likely because of its close proximity to Baltimore. According to Jones, the commission aims to generate funds for testing and outreach services; address stigma associated with the disease; and heighten awareness of the virus among residents. The commission also will produce an annual report on HIV/AIDS-related issues in the county, Jones said. Anne Arundel County had 1,000 recorded HIV/AIDS cases in 2006, with 56 newly reported HIV cases that year, according to the Maryland AIDS Administration. "It"s pretty much what I would classify as having the potential to reach epidemic proportions," Jones said, adding that Baltimore has the second highest AIDS rate among major metropolitan areas in the country. According to Kelly Sipe Russo, a physician clinical specialist with the county health department"s division of public health, the department has identified "hot spots" in the county with high HIV/AIDS rates, including the northern area and Annapolis. Russo noted that while HIV/AIDS rates in the county are not on the rise, they also are not declining, even with programs in place to increase awareness and provide help for those living with the disease. According to the Sun, although res and staffing are limited for many programs, health department officials still believe the programs are slowly having an effect and that more outreach is needed, especially for testing and treatment. Jones said that the economic downturn could lead more people to drug or alcohol use. He also noted that the stigma surrounding the disease is a major factor behind the creation of the commission. "Part of what the commission will address is figuring out ways to take away some of the fear factor" associated with HIV testing, he said. The Sun also profiled Carolyn Massey, an HIV-positive woman appointed to the commission. She said that stigma associated with the virus still is widespread, adding, "I feel we"re doing some of the right things the right way. HIV infection is something that does not have to happen" (Dixon, Baltimore Sun, 5/18).

New Cases Of Alzheimer\'s And Dementia Continue To Rise, Even In The \'Oldest Old\'

The number of people with Alzheimer"s and dementia - both new cases and

Mum Is Key To Solving Obesity

One of the UK"s leading weight loss organisations has backed calls for changes to the way that obesity is being tackled nationally after a new study suggested that children learn unhealthy lifestyle behaviour from parents of the same gender.

Scripps Discovers Genetic Clues Into Formation Of Cancer Tumors

A new research study from Scripps Health provides previously unknown genetic clues into how cancerous tumors are formed in the human breast, brain and colorectal system. The findings by researchers at Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI) will be published in the September 2009 edition of the journal Genome Research.

What Are Cataracts? What Causes Cataracts?

Cataracts are cloudy areas in the lens inside the eye - which is normally clear. Cataracts can develop in one or both eyes. If they develop in both eyes, one will be more severely affected than the other. A normally clear lens allows light to pass through to the back of the eye, so that the patient can see well-defined images. If a part of the lens becomes opaque light does not pass through easily and the patient"s vision becomes blurry - like looking through cloudy water or a fogged-up window. The more opaque (cloudier) the lens becomes, the worse the person"s vision will be.

Elbit Imaging Ltd. Announces Swiss Team Uses InSightec\'s ExAblate(R) 4000 Brain System To Treat Patients With Functional Brain Disorders

Elbit Imaging Ltd. (TASE: EMIT, Nasdaq: EMITF), announced that, its subsidiary (in which EI holds indirectly approximately 58.34%, InSightec Ltd., announced that a team at the University Children"s Hospital Zurich has completed a feasibility study testing the use of non-invasive transcranial MR-guided focused ultrasound surgery (TcMRgFUS) for the treatment of neuropathic pain. Ten adult patients diagnosed with chronic neuropathic pain successfully underwent non-invasive deep brain ablation surgery (central lateral thalamotomy) with transcranial TcMRgFUS and showed improvement in pain scores and reduction of pain medication with no adverse effects at three months follow-up. This is the first study in the world to test non-invasive transcranial focused ultrasound as a treatment modality for functional brain disorders.

New Drug Blocks Common Cancer Pathway

SCIENTISTS have developed a new drug which can reduce the growth of tumours* in mice by up to 98 per cent, according to a study published in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics ** this week.

Divisions Emerge Among Democrats Lawmakers, Business Groups

As the health care debate intensifies, divisions among lawmakers, competing lobbies and interest groups are increasingly tense. "The health care battle in Congress is getting hotter, fueled by growing opposition to taxing health insurance benefits, mandating small-business coverage and cutting Medicare payments and by creeping doubts about a public plan for the uninsured. And this is just among Democrats," the Washington Times reports. Notably, last week the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of conservative Democrats, objected to the cost of an anticipated House reform proposal and said it would hurt small businesses, a key constituency already reeling from the recession. The objection stalled the House, which delayed releasing the proposal (Lambro, 7/14).

Abortion Issue Could Derail Health Reform

Nineteen Democrats have written House Speaker Nancy Pelosi promising not to vote for a health bill that includes funding for abortion, igniting a debate that has the potential to derail a health care overhaul, NPR reports.

Obama Announces Regina Benjamin As Surgeon General Pick

Dr. Regina Benjamin is President Obama"s pick for surgeon general. The Alabama family physician has been an advocate for universal care, and is expected to have a role "at the table" in health reform, which would be an unusual degree of influence over policy for a surgeon general. Obama said Benjamin "represents what"s best about health care in America."

NHS Celebrates Success And Progress In A&E, England

New figures published show A&E departments in England have met the

Study Examines Gender Differences In Immune System\'s Response To HIV

New research showing that "a receptor molecule involved in the recognition of HIV-1 responds to the virus differently in women than in men," might "explain why HIV infection progresses faster to AIDS in women than in men with similar viral loads," the HealthDay/Greenville Daily Reflector reports. The study was conducted by researchers at the Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University and will be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Nature Medicine. Study authors also note that during the early stages of infection, women tend to have a stronger immune response to HIV than men, but then progress to AIDS more quickly. The different immune system response "then leads to differences in chronic T-cell activation, a known activator of disease progression, according to the researchers," the article states (7/13). Researcher Marcus Altfeld said the findings raise new questions about how sex hormones affect HIV in the body. "Focusing on immune activation separately from viral replication might give us new therapeutic approaches" to treating HIV, he added (AFP/Google News, 7/13).

Following WTC Terrorist Attacks, High Self-Reported Asthma Rates In Chinatown, N.Y.

Research conducted seven years after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center (WTC) in New York City (NYC) found that children attending the socioeconomically and ethnically homogeneous elementary school closest to Ground Zero have high rates of self-reported asthma and airway obstruction.

Obesity In Pregnancy Increases Risk Of Asthma In Offspring

Babies born to obese mothers may have an increased risk of asthma, according to data from a new study to be presented on May 19 at the 105th International Conference of the American Thoracic Society in San Diego.

U.N. Calls For Investing In Women To Ensure Economic Recovery, Reduce \'Health Gap\'

To mark World Population Day on July 11, U.N. officials are calling for investment in women and girls during the global financial crisis as a way to promote economic recovery and tackle poverty and inequality, afrol News reports. "There is no smarter investment in troubled times," Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, executive director of UNFPA, said. According to Obaid, even before the financial downturn, women and girls were the majority of the world"s poor. "Now, they are falling deeper into poverty and face increased health risks, especially if they are pregnant," she said, adding that the "health gap" will get bigger "unless we increase social investments, maintain health gains and expand efforts to save more women"s lives."

Obama Names Alabama Family Physician Benjamin To Be Surgeon General

President Obama on Monday nominated Alabama family physician Regina Benjamin, founder of the Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic, to be the U.S. surgeon general, the AP/Detroit Free Press reports (Neergaard, AP/Detroit Free Press, 7/13). Benjamin"s clinic serves a low-income community of about 2,500 and has earned a national reputation treating all patients, regardless of their ability to pay. Benjamin founded the clinic in 1990 and repeatedly rebuilt it after two hurricanes and a fire (Zhang, Wall Street Journal, 7/14). In 2008, she received one of the MacArthur Foundation"s $500,000 "genius grants" (Lloyd, USA Today, 7/14). In 1995, Benjamin became the first black woman to be elected to the American Medical Association Board of Trustees. Benjamin also has served as associate dean for rural health at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine (Bellantoni, Washington Times, 7/13). In 2002, she became president of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama, making her the first black woman to be president of a state medical society (Mostrous/Shear, Washington Post, 7/14).Benjamin is a "devout Roman Catholic," according to the New York Times. The administration did not disclose her views on abortion. Benjamin routinely prescribes oral contraceptives, but the clinic does not have the facilities to perform abortions, according to nurse Audrey Bosarge, a colleague of Benjamin"s (Harris, New York Times, 7/14). In his announcement, Obama said Benjamin understands the needs of the low-income and uninsured U.S. residents, which makes her uniquely qualified to serve as surgeon general during health care overhaul negotiations (Wall Street Journal, 7/14). In accepting the nomination, Benjamin vowed to ensure that "no one falls through the cracks as we improve our health care system." Benjamin"s nomination requires Senate confirmation (AP/Detroit Free Press, 7/13).

Increased Risk Of Emphysema Following Childhood Exposure To Tobacco Smoke

Chronic exposure to tobacco smoke in childhood may contribute to early emphysema later in life, according to new research. Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) is known to be associated with a variety of serious health problems, but it had not previously been associated with the development of emphysema over the life course. The data was presented on Tuesday, May 19, at the 105th International Conference of the American Thoracic Society in San Diego.

Young Scots From Deprived Backgrounds More Likely To Die From Heart Disease

In Scotland, young men and women (ages 35-44) from socially deprived groups are around six times more likely to die from heart disease than the most affluent individuals in the same age range, according to research published on bmj.com today.

United We Stand; Divided We Fall - Novel Insight On Bacterial Communication

In the July 15th issue of Genes & Development, Dr. Roberto Kolter (Harvard Medical School) and colleagues make the unprecedented observation of paracrine signaling during Bacillus subtilis biofilm formation.

Mayo Clinic Study Continues To Refine Most Effective Methods To Predict Alzheimer\'s Disease

A new Mayo Clinic study found that the clinical criteria for mild cognitive impairment is better at predicting who will develop Alzheimer"s disease than a single memory test. This is one more piece of information to aid in the identification and early treatment of individuals most likely to develop Alzheimer"s disease. This study will be presented at the Alzheimer"s Association International Conference on Alzheimer"s Disease on July 14 in Vienna.

Stopping Harmful Oral Bacteria In Its Path Is Goal For Case Western Reserve Researcher

The best way to keep bacteria from doing any damage is to stop them in their tracks before they can start down their pathological road to destruction.

Cognitive Function Is Superior In Breast Cancer Patients Treated With Letrozole Versus Tamoxifen

New results show that postmenopausal women with breast cancer receiving adjuvant letrozole have better cognitive function than women being treated with tamoxifen. The data, from a recent meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), are drawn from a sub-study of the Breast International Group (BIG) 1-98 trial.

Mayo Clinic Study Finds Earliest Evidence Of Memory Decline In Middle-Aged People At Genetic Risk For Alzheimer\'s Disease

Memory lapses that occur with normal aging are a of worry for many who fear Alzheimer"s disease. Now a new Mayo Clinic-led study published in the July 16 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that the carriers of a common genetic risk factor for Alzheimer"s disease begin to have memory declines in their mid-50s, far earlier than previously thought.

FDA Approves NovoLog(R) Labeling Update

Diabetes patients taking NovoLog((R)) (insulin aspart [rDNA origin] injection) can now use the insulin in their pump for up to six days following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of a labeling change, diabetes care company Novo Nordisk announced today.(1) The previous label allowed for NovoLog((R)) to be stored in the pump reservoir for two days. This makes NovoLog((R)) the first and only rapid-acting insulin with this extended in-use time.

New Path For Cocaine Addiction Research

Cocaine is one of the oldest drugs known to humans, and its abuse has become widespread since the end of the 19th century. At the same time, we know rather little about its effects on the human brain or the mechanisms that lead to cocaine addiction. The latest article by Dr. Marco Leyton, of the Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI), McGill University and the McGill University Health Centre, which was published in the journal Biological Psychiatry on May 15, 2009, not only demonstrates a link between cocaine and the reward circuits in the brain but also associates the susceptibility to addiction with these mechanisms.

RCN Statement On Lord Ara Darzi

Commenting on news that Lord Ara Darzi will stand down as a government minister, Dr Peter Carter, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), paid tribute to his contribution to the health service. He said:

House Democrats\' Health Bill Would Tax Rich To Finance Insurance Expansion

House Democratic leaders Tuesday unveiled their bill to reform America"s health care system - and insure an additional 37 million Americans over the next 10 years - to the tune of more than $1 trillion, funded mostly through an up-to-5.4 percent surtax on income for the wealthiest Americans, The Washington Post reports.

Internists Note \'Close Alignment\' With Policies In America\'s Affordable Health Choices Act Of 2009 -ACP Urges Approval By House Committees

The president of the American College of Physicians (ACP) today told the chairmen of the House Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, and Education and Labor Committees that America"s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009, H.R. 3200, is "closely aligned" with ACP policies on coverage, workforce, and payment and delivery system reform.

Economy Squeezing Access To Health Care

As unemployment rises, many Florida women are "turning to federally subsidized mammograms and pap smears, and county health officials are worried they could be overwhelmed," The Orlando Sentinel reports. "Since 1990, the Centers for Disease Control [and Prevention] has provided free and low-cost mammograms and pap smears to uninsured or underinsured women between 40 and 64 years old. In Florida, only women 50 to 64 years old qualify. Although the number of women screened in Florida through this federal program has increased through the years, unemployment in women 55 to 64 years old has nearly doubled, from 3.4 percent in 2008 to 6.3 percent now. Demand always has exceeded available services - only 15 percent of eligible women get the breast exams, according to the CDC - but the number of women who will now qualify for the free tests is expected to outstrip the funding provided by Congress" (Maza, 7/15).

Two Major Companies Could Join Wal-Mart In Backing Employer Mandate

Target, the second-largest U.S. discount retailer, and Kelly Services, a temporary worker agency, said "they may support Wal-Mart Stores Inc."s call for mandatory medical insurance by large companies as part of a proposed overhaul of U.S. health care," Bloomberg reports. Wal-Mart, the nation"s largest retailer, favors the employer mandate, a position that has drawn fire form the industry"s main trade group, the National Retail Federation. "The positions of the two companies signal a widening split in the business community over the issue, a core element of President Barack Obama"s proposed changes."

Swearing Appears To Lessen Effects Of Pain

A new UK study found that swearing appeared to lessen the effects of pain, perhaps because it invokes a similar response as that which occurs in

Pfizer Announces New Phase 1 Data From Two Novel Compounds For Alzheimer\'s Disease At ICAD Annual Meeting

Pfizer Inc announced today results from two Phase 1 safety studies, one of PF-04360365, a humanized anti-amyloid monoclonal antibody (mAb), and another of dimebon (latrepirdine*) in combination with donepezil HCl tablets, in patients with Alzheimer"s disease.1,2 Based on the Phase 1 study results, PF-04360365 has advanced into Phase 2.3 Dimebon (latrepirdine), being co-developed by Pfizer and Medivation Inc., is in Phase 3 development.4 These data were presented this week at the Alzheimer"s Association 2009 International Conference on Alzheimer"s Disease (ICAD) in Vienna, Austria.

New Report: Private And Public Insurance Choices Would Help Reduce Administrative Health Care Costs By $265 Billion Over 10 Years

As lawmakers debate how to pay for an overhaul of the nation"s health care system, a new report from The Commonwealth Fund projects that including both private and public insurance choices in a new insurance exchange would save the United States as much as $265 billion in administrative costs from 2010 to 2020. Congressional leaders are attempting to keep 10-year federal budget costs of health care reform legislation under $1 trillion.

The Impact Of Third Hand Smoke On Risk For Genetic Mutations Wins First Place Addiction Science Award At 2009 Intel ISEF Competition

A reful study into the effect of third hand smoke upon the risk for genetic mutations in fruit flies won the top Addiction Science Award at this year"s Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), the world"s largest science competition for high school students. The Intel ISEF Addiction Science Awards were presented at an awards ceremony last night by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health, and Friends of NIDA, a group that supports NIDA"s mission, and educates policy makers, health professionals and the general public about advances achieved from the investments in biomedical and behavioral research related to finding a cure for and eliminating drug dependence.

Genomes Of Parasitic Flatworms Decoded

Two international research teams have determined the complete genetic sequences of two species of parasitic flatworms that cause schistosomiasis, a debilitating condition also known as snail fever. Schistosoma mansoni and Schistosoma japonicum are the first sequenced genomes of any organism in the large group called Lophotrochozoa, which includes other free-living and parasitic flatworms as well as segmented roundworms, such as the earthworm.

Epilepsy And Schizophrenia Clues From \'Singing Brains\'

Studying the way a person"s brain "sings" could improve our understanding of conditions such as epilepsy and schizophrenia and help develop better treatments, scientists at Cardiff University have discovered.

Array BioPharma Advances Its Lead MEK Inhibitor Into Cancer

Array BioPharma Inc. (NASDAQ: ARRY) announced the filing of an investigational new drug (IND) application with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to initiate a Phase 1 clinical trial in cancer patients with its most advanced wholly owned MEK inhibitor, ARRY-162. Recent research confirms that the MEK pathway acts as a central axis in the proliferation of different tumors including melanoma, non-small cell lung, head/neck and pancreatic cancers. Array plans to simultaneously develop ARRY-162 for the treatment of both cancer and inflammatory disease. Array is currently completing a worldwide Phase 2, double-blinded clinical trial with ARRY-162 in 200 patients with active rheumatoid arthritis.

Discovery Of Fetal Short-Term Memory In 30-Week-Old Fetuses

Memory probably begins during the prenatal period, but little is known about the exact timing or for how long memory lasts. Now in a new study from the Netherlands, scientists have found fetal short-term memory in fetuses at 30 weeks.

In Australia Indigenous Health Experts Reject MP\'s Call For Removal Of Alcohol Restriction

Leading medical researchers from Australia"s George Institute for International Health are surprised by recent statements made by a Western Australian Member of Parliament, Hon. Carol Anne Martin MLA, who is calling for the removal of the alcohol restrictions in the Kimberley towns of Halls Creek and Fitzroy Crossing. The George Institute considers these statements a disappointing response to the positive community impacts of the alcohol restriction.

The Influences Of Peers, Parents On Self Identity Confirmed By fMRI

Ask middle-school students if they are popular or make friends easily, they likely will depend on social comparisons with their peers for an answer. Such reliance on the perceived opinions of others, or reflected self-appraisals, has long been assumed, but new evidence supporting this claim has now been found in the teen brain.

Timing Is Everything: Growth Factor Keeps Brain Development On Track

Just like a conductor cueing musicians in an orchestra, Fgf10, a member of the fibroblast growth factor (Ffg) family of morphogens, lets brain stem cells know that the moment to get to work has arrived, ensuring that they hit their first developmental milestone on time, report scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in the July 16, 2009, edition of the journal Neuron.

University Of Pittsburgh Medical Center Named One Of 100 Most Wired Hospitals In The U.S. For 11th Consecutive Year

For the 11th consecutive year, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) has been named one of the 100 Most Wired hospitals and health systems in the United States, according to the results of the 2009 survey by Hospitals & Health Networks magazine, the journal of the American Hospital Association. UPMC is one of only five organizations to appear on the list since its inception.

Internists Note \'Close Alignment\' With Policies In America\'s Affordable Health Choices Act Of 2009

The president of the American College of Physicians (ACP) told the chairmen of the House Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, and Education and Labor Committees that America"s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009, H.R. 3200, is "closely aligned" with ACP policies on coverage, workforce, and payment and delivery system reform.

Spectranetics Announces First Human Uses Of Turbo-Tandem™ System

Spectranetics Corporation (Nasdaq: SPNC) reported the first human procedures using its Turbo-Tandem™ System, which had earlier received FDA clearance and CE mark approval for marketing in the US and the EU. The Turbo-Tandem System is a single-use, disposable device indicated for atherectomy of infrainguinal arteries. It is comprised of two integrated catheters, a 7 French laser guide catheter in combination with a 2.0mm excimer laser ablation catheter, and is designed to perform atherectomy and ablation of plaque in arterial lesions above the knee, primarily within the superficial femoral and popliteal arteries.

Blood Test Shows Statistically Significant Association With Alzheimer\'s Disease (AD), May Predict Conversion Of Mild Cognitive Impairment To AD

Dr. Zsuzsanna Nagy of the University of Birmingham presented data from a clinical study, funded by Cytox Limited, demonstrating that a simple blood-based biomarker discriminated between patients with Alzheimer"s disease (AD) and control subjects. The findings were statistically highly significant, and the test discriminated between the two groups with 80% sensitivity and 80% specificity. The results also showed that 40% of the mild cognitive impairment (MCI) patients tested had the same test results as AD patients. Follow up study of MCI patients enrolled in an earlier study found that the test allowed early identification of those MCI patients who later developed dementia. The results were presented at the 2009 Alzheimer"s Association International Conference on Alzheimer"s Disease (ICAD 2009), held in Vienna, Austria.

Preemies Born In Poverty Four Times Less Likely To Be Ready For School

Advances in neonatal care enable two-thirds of premature babies born with respiratory problems to be ready for school at an appropriate age, but those living in poverty are far less likely to be ready on time than their better-off peers, researchers from the University of Chicago Medical Center report in the July issue of the journal Pediatrics.

Lobbyists Elbow For Attention As Health Reform Votes Loom

The conservative message on health care is that President Obama"s revamp of the health care system in America will produce a costly government-run program that limits patient choice, The Associated Press reports.

Lawsuits Allege Some Medical Device Companies Gave Kickbacks To Surgeons

Whistleblowers allege in lawsuits unsealed Wednesday that some medical device companies gave kickbacks to heart surgeons to get the doctors to use their products to treat a heart condition, The Wall Street Journal reports.

ATryn Effectively Prevents Serious Blood Clots

Data presented at the annual meeting of the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ISTH) in Boston show that ATryn® (Antithrombin [Recombinant]) safely prevents peri-operative and peri-partum acute deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or other venous thromboembolic events in patients with hereditary antithrombin deficiency (HD AT). ATryn is not indicated for treatment of thromboembolic events in HD AT patients. Additionally, data validate dosing algorithms that, along with AT activity monitoring, allow physicians to normalize antithrombin levels during the high-risk situations of surgery and childbirth.

Scientists Discover Area Of Brain That Makes A \'People Person\'

Cambridge University researchers have discovered that whether someone is a "people-person" may depend on the structure of their brain: the greater the concentration of brain tissue in certain parts of the brain, the more likely they are to be a warm, sentimental person.

Improved Recovery In Patients Who Exercised Prior To Stroke

A person who has exercised regularly prior to the onset of a stroke appears to recover more quickly, say researchers from Mayo Clinic in Florida, who led a national study.

Welsh Assembly Government Written Statement On Swine Influenza, Wlales

This statement updates Members on the Influenza A (H1N1v) swine flu outbreak and the latest developments in Wales and across the UK.

New Obesity Data Shows Blacks Have The Highest Rates Of Obesity

Blacks had 51 percent higher prevalence of obesity, and Hispanics had 21 percent higher obesity prevalence compared with whites, according to researchers with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Improvements In Sexual And Reproductive Health Of Teens And Young Adults Slowing

After a period of improvement, trends in the sexual and reproductive health of U.S. teens and young adults have flattened, or in some instances may be worsening, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Can A Society With Smokers Be Profitable?

The latest rise in the indirect taxation on tobacco and alcohol took place in June. The most popular brand of cigarettes went up in price from 3.10 euros to 3.30 euros per packet. Are these taxes a form of dissuasion or a way of compensating the rest of society for the harm generated by those who smoke? A study by the Polytechnic University of Cartagena has looked into the most significant questions concerning the tobacco economy.

Diabetes Wounds Healed With Oxygen Under Pressure

Every 30 seconds a person somewhere in the world loses a lower limb to amputation due to diabetic foot disease.

New Ways To Extend Professional Regulation

New alternatives to statutory regulation for currently unregulated health and occupational professions have been proposed by a specialist working group, Health Minister Ann Keen announced recently.

Doctors Angry About BNP Campaign Tactics, UK

Correspondence and a linked Editorial in this week"s Lancet criticise the election tactics employed by the British National Party (BNP) prior to the recent European Elections.

Home Oxygen Patients And Family Members Visit Capitol Hill To Ask Congress To Protect Medicare Home Oxygen Therapy Benefit

Asking members of Congress to support patient-focused reform of the Medicare home oxygen therapy benefit, patients and family members with the National Emphysema/COPD Association (NECA), a national advocacy organization representing patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other lung diseases, descended on Capitol Hill this week. Patients urged members of the U.S. House to support and pass the Medicare Home Oxygen Therapy Act of 2009 (H.R. 3220), which was recently introduced.

Amgen Announces KRAS Safety Update To U.S. Prescribing Information For Vectibix(R) (Panitumumab)

Amgen Inc. (Nasdaq: AMGN) announced the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved revisions to the U.S. prescribing information for the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFr) class of antibodies, including Vectibix((R)) (panitumumab). This decision follows the FDA"s December 2008 Oncologics Drugs Advisory Committee (ODAC) meeting where the clinical utility of the KRAS gene as a predictive biomarker in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) treated with anti-EGFr antibody was discussed.

Research Scientists Discover How Flu Damages Lung Tissue

A protein in influenza virus that helps it multiply also damages lung epithelial cells, causing fluid buildup in the lungs, according to new research from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and Southern Research Institute . Publishing online this week in the journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, the researchers say the findings give new insight into how flu attacks the lungs and provides targets for new treatments.

University Of Antwerp Tests Vaccine For Mexican Flu - Vaccine Probably Available In November

In August and September, the University of Antwerp organises vaccine studies for different producers of Mexican flu (H1N1v) test vaccines. 300 to 400 volunteers will be recruited for these tests. "There is a good chance that a Mexican flu vaccine is available early November", expects vaccine expert prof. dr. Pierre van Damme, director of the Centre for the Evaluation of Vaccination (CEV), a department of the Vaccine & Infectious Disease Institute (VAXINFECTIO) at the University of Antwerp.

Adolescent Drinking Linked To Behavioural Problems

Teens who drink heavily are more likely than their peers to have behavioural and attention problems and suffer from anxiety and depression, a team led by researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) has reported.

Researchers Working On How Gold Nanoparticles Illuminated With Laser Light May Be Able To Detect And Treat Cancer

At a technical breakfast, Romain Quidant presented his research into the detection and treatment of cancer using gold nanoparticles illuminated with laser light. Quidant, who was recently awarded the Fresnel Prize 2009 that recognizes the highest level of excellence amongst emerging researchers in the field of photonics, is an ICREA researcher at the UPC"s Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO) and a fellow of the Cellex Foundation Barcelona.

House Ways And Means Panel Rejects Amendments To Exclude Abortion Coverage From Health Reform

The House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday voted 23-18 to approve its health care reform bill (HR 3200) after rejecting dozens of Republican amendments, including attempts to exclude abortion coverage from the essential benefit package created in the legislation, CQ Today reports. An amendment offered by Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas) was rejected in an 18-23 vote; Reps. Bill Pascrell (N.J.), Earl Pomeroy (N.D.) and John Tanner (Tenn.) were the only Democrats to support the amendment. The amendment included exceptions for abortion to save the woman"s life or in cases of rape or incest. Committee members voted 19-22 to reject a similar amendment by House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.).The House health reform bill would establish a panel to set a minimum benefits package that health insurers must offer. The bill aims to expand health insurance coverage by mandating that individuals obtain insurance, requiring employers to offer workers coverage or pay a fine, and establishing a health insurance exchange where people could compare and purchase plans. The exchange would include a government-run health insurance option that would compete with private plans (Rubin, CQ Today, 7/17).

Blogs Comment On Sotomayor Confirmation Hearings, Health Reform, Other Topics

The following summarizes selected women"s health-related blog entries.~ "Judge Sotomayor Provides Important Testimony on the Constitutional Right to Privacy and Its Application to Reproductive Rights," Marcia Greenberger, Womenstake: "One major line of questions, asked repeatedly throughout the hearings" for President Obama"s Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor was her "views on the constitutional right to privacy," Greenberger writes, adding, "Given that this right is central to women"s lives, protecting" such "decisions involving whether to bear children ... and having consensual adult sexual relations, it is important to analyze Judge Sotomayor"s answers carefully." According to Greenberger, because Sotomayor "had not ruled directly on the right to privacy as a federal judge, her testimony in this area warrants particular attention." Following questions from senators such as Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Sotomayor portrayed a "clear agreement with the right to privacy and strong description of the court"s current precedents regarding Roe and women"s health," which "lend[s] further support to the view from her legal record that she would not undermine Roe v. Wade if confirmed to the Supreme Court" (Greenberger, Womenstake, 7/16). ~ "Major Steps Forward for Health Care Reform," Thao Nguyen, Womenstake: Nguyen, outreach manager for the National Women"s Law Center, reports that the health care reform legislation passed by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee is "particularly important for women because of the critical headway it makes towards women"s ability to secure access to quality, affordable health care throughout their lives." The bill "works towards confronting many of the particular obstacles faced by women in our current health care system," such as banning the "discriminatory" practice of basing insurance premiums on gender, even when maternity benefits are excluded, Nguyen writes. The bill also bans insurance companies from rejecting patients based on medical history, which has prevented many domestic violence survivors and women who have had caesarean sections from obtaining coverage. Nguyen concludes that "the momentum for health care reform could not have come at a more needed time" because women and their families "need quality, affordable and comprehensive health more than ever" (Nguyen, Womenstake, 7/15).~ "Democrats for Life of America Ousts Member Who Supports Contraception," Feministing: Feministing reports that Democrats for Life of America removed Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) from its advisory board because he supports efforts to improve access to contraception. According to Ryan, he was dismissed from the board after four years after attempting to persuade the group to support contraceptive use as a way to avoid unintended pregnancies. According to the blog, "This is why we call anti-choicers "anti-choice": because they"re not just about making abortion illegal." It adds, "They don"t want women to have access to contraception either -- something that 98% of American women will use at some point in their lives" (Feministing, 7/15). ~ "Umpires, Perspective and the Supreme Court," Jim Wallis, Sojourners" "God"s Politics": "During his opening remarks for his own confirmation hearing in 2005, Chief Justice [John] Roberts made" an analogy between judges and umpires "that has gotten a lot of play in the media and has already been used quite a few times during" Sotomayor"s confirmation hearing, Wallis writes. He adds that "nothing in the world would frustrate me more than an umpire who would call the game differently based upon the color of the jersey that" players were wearing. "But I haven"t seen that happen," Wallis writes, adding, "In fact, the biggest problem we face isn"t an umpire that has favored one team over the other, but umpires who make mistakes in their rulings and judgment because of their lack of perspective." He adds that Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and "others w

AMA Backs House Reform Bill, Other Groups, Businesses Eye Reform Positions

The American Medical Association has backed the House bill that carries mandates on employers and individuals, a government-run health plan and reforms to Medicare and Medicaid, Politico reports.

New Ad: \'Harry And Louise\' Now Back Health Reform

Harry and Louise, the fictional couple in an advertisement which helped sink health reform in the 1990s, are back in a new pro-reform ad, The New York Times reports.

The Obama Administration Ramps Up Push For Health Care Reform

The Obama administration ramps up efforts to promote health care reform and reacts to a sobering announcement by the Congressional Budget Office about the scoring of a health care bill.

Fragrance Allergens In Baby Bathwater

A group of chemists from the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC) has developed a method to quantify the fragrance allergens found in baby bathwater. The researchers have analysed real samples and detected up to 15 allergen compounds in cosmetics and personal hygiene products.

American Hospital Association Announces 2009-2010 Class Of Patient Safety Leadership Fellows

The American Hospital Association announces the 2009-2010 class of Patient Safety Leadership Fellows. Thirteen individuals have been selected to participate in this year"s fellowship class.

President\'s Council Projects Growth For Physical Therapy Profession

The nation"s aging population and expanded health care coverage will increase the demand for physical therapist (PT) services, says the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) as a new federal report1 that presents a projection of potential developments in the US labor market over the next 5 to 10 years is released.

New Incentives Needed To Encourage GPs To Teach Medical Students, Australia

New strategies are needed to encourage general practitioners to teach medical students in their practices, according to a letter published in this year"s General Practice edition of the Medical Journal of Australia.

Bovie Medical Corporation Announces 510K Submission To The FDA For Its BOSS Soft Tissue Coagulation Device

Bovie Medical Corporation (the "Company") (NYSE-AMEX Symbol: BVX), a manufacturer and marketer of electrosurgical products, announced a 510K submission to the FDA seeking pre-market clearance for Bovie"s BOSS for surgical applications where soft tissue bipolar coagulation is desired. The BOSS is the latest generation device based on Bovie"s saline enhanced sintered steel technology.

David Cameron Makes Autism Pledge And Backs Autism Bill

Commenting on today"s speech by Conservative Party Leader Rt

What Is Fungus? What Are Fungi?

Fungi (Singular: fungus) are classified within their own kingdom - The Kingdom Fungi, while some are in The Kingdom Protista. A fungus is neither a plant nor an animal. It is similar to a plant, but it has no chlorophyll and cannot make its own food like a plant can through photosynthesis. They get their food by absorbing nutrients from their surroundings.

New HIV Study Shows That Large Numbers Of Women And People Of Color Can Be Successfully Enrolled In U.S. HIV Clinical Studies

Data from a historic HIV study demonstrate that it is possible to recruit large numbers of women, African Americans and Latinos into U.S.-based HIV-1 treatment studies. The study, known as GRACE, is the largest study to date in treatment-experienced adult women with HIV-1 to examine gender and race differences in response to an HIV-1 therapy -- PREZISTA(R) (darunavir) coadministered with ritonavir as part of combination therapy. GRACE findings were presented at the 5th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment, and Prevention (IAS 2009) in Cape Town, South Africa.

Mental Health Patients Neglected And Forgotten, UK

-39% of suicides by hanging took place when the patient was supposed to be subject to observation by staff

2009 World Stem Cell Summit Co-Sponsored By Johns Hopkins Medicine

WHAT: Johns Hopkins Medicine is co-sponsoring the 2009 World Stem Cell Summit to be held in Baltimore this September. http://www.worldstemcellsummit.com/index.html

Fighting The Challenges Of Poverty

It is estimated that 1.4 billion people live in extreme poverty, on less than $2 a day. In 2000, 189 nations declared that they would "free all men, women, and children from the abject and dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty". These nations signed up to Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to combat poverty by 2015. To help meet these complex challenges and "make poverty history" more knowledge and evidence is needed. A launch event Wednesday 22nd July 2009 at the Department for International Development (DFID) marks a new phase of research collaboration between the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and DFID which will provide more robust social science research to address poverty alleviation amongst the poorest countries and peoples of the world.

Three Hospitals Honored For Commitment To Quality

Three U.S. hospitals were recognized today for their leadership and innovation in quality, safety and commitment to patient care. The 2009 American Hospital Association-McKesson Quest for Quality Prize® was awarded to Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo, Mich., which will receive $75,000. Bronson Methodist Hospital, a 380-bed hospital serving patients and communities in southwest Michigan and northern Indiana, was selected by a multi-disciplinary committee of health care quality and patient safety experts based on its culture of quality and efforts to achieve the Institute of Medicine"s six quality aims for health care. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston was honored as the finalist and will receive $12,500. Duke University Hospital in Durham, N.C., received the Citation of Merit.

White House Budget Chief Says Issue Of Abortion Coverage In Health Reform Still Under Debate

In an appearance on "Fox News Sunday," White House Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag said that he is "not prepared to say explicitly" whether health care reform legislation would prohibit the use of federal tax revenue to fund abortion coverage, the New York Times reports. Orszag"s statement came in reply to a question asking whether he was prepared to say that "no taxpayer money will go to pay for abortions." Orszag said, "It"s obviously a controversial issue, and it"s one of the questions that is playing out in the debate" (Pear/Liptak, New York Times, 7/20).Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), who also appeared on "Fox News Sunday," said, "No matter what your views are on abortion, you shouldn"t ask people to use their tax dollars if they think that abortion is taking a life." Gregg added, "I would hate to see the health care debate go down over that issue. We do really need health care reform, and it has to be substantive. ... So hopefully we won"t get ourselves wrapped around the wheel of abortion in this debate" (FoxNews.com, 7/19). According to the Times, there is an ongoing behind-the-scenes debate over handling abortion coverage in health overhaul legislation. The debate affects both the public insurance plan the legislation would create and private insurers, who would receive tens of billions of dollars in federal subsidies to expand coverage for low- and moderate-income U.S. residents. A provision in the House health reform bill (HR 3200) calls for a federal advisory committee to advise the HHS secretary on an "essential benefits package" that most insurers would be required to provide. Abortion-rights opponents want abortion coverage excluded from the package, while abortion-rights advocates say the decision should be left to medical professionals. House committees working on health reform legislation have rejected Republican amendments that would have restricted abortion coverage. The Hyde Amendment, first enacted in 1976, prohibits the use of federal Medicaid money for abortion services. However, abortion-rights opponents argue that federally subsidized coverage of the uninsured would not be subject to the existing restrictions. The National Right to Life Committee issued an analysis of the House bill, stating, "There is no doubt that coverage of abortion will be mandated, unless Congress explicitly excludes abortion from the scope of federal authority to define "essential benefits."" According to the group, even if the HHS secretary did not require abortion coverage, "federal courts would interpret the broadly worded mandatory categories of coverage to include abortion" (New York Times, 7/20).