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Before You Take Anti-Depressants, You Should…

DepressionAccording to the World Health Organization, depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide.  For decades, drugs like Celexa, Paxil and Prozac have been the go-to treatment. Evidence shows that up to half of the people taking antidepressants don’t benefit much and sometimes not at all, and that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) should be the first line of defense.

Antidepressants can lead to a daunting list of side effects that range from dizziness and diarrhea to thoughts of suicide — all of which could be avoided or delayed.  Read the full Consumer Reports article for tips about dealing with depression without meds.

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5 Ways To Renegotiate Medical Bills

Insurance Companies Do It, You Can Too

dollar-943738_640Twenty percent of working-age adults with insurance say they’re struggling with medical bills. Whether it’s because of a high deductible, an out-of-network charge or an uncovered procedure, you can take steps to bring down the price you pay. Consumer Reports offers these 5 tips for renegotiating with healthcare providers.

Read the full article.

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Brain Pacemaker Holds Great Promise

Researchers Now Know Timing Is Everything

Brain_powerAfter decades of study, researchers have refined the process for using electrodes implanted in the brain to stimulate memory.  This pacemaker for the brain holds tremendous promise for dementia patients, people with head injuries or other conditions.  The Pentagon’s Defense Advance Research Project Agency, which has spent $77 million to advance cognitive stimulation, views this latest study a great breakthrough.

Read the full New York Times article.

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Why Telehealth Services Are Underused

Doctors Slow To Embrace Telehealth Tech

TelehealthAccording to a U.S. Government Office of Accountability report, only a tiny percentage of doctors are using telehealth and remote patient monitoring.  The biggest reason sited is lack of Medicare reimbursement and cumbersome point of origin requirements.  Between 2014 and 2016,  Medicare, Medicaid, the Veterans Administration and the U.S. Department of Defense used telehealth to treat only 12 percent of their beneficiaries. A mere 1% of Medicare beneficiaries used this service.

But lack of Medicare reimbursement was only one of a few impediments to using the service.

Read the full article.

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How Two Red States Faired So Differently Under Obamacare

Is it the law or its inconsistent application that’s killing the ACA?

The failure or success of Obamacare in two red states has been linked to whether their officials fought or embraced the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to the New York Times.  New Mexico, which leaped at the chance to support the program, saw its uninsured rate drop from 18.6 percent in 2013 to 10.9 percent in 2015.  While in Oklahoma, where officials have steadfastly resisted the ACA, the 2015 uninsured rate was 13.9 percent (the third highest in the country) — down from 17.7 percent.

Unlike New Mexico, Oklahoma allowed 45,000 people to keep old policies rather than requiring that they shift to ACA coverage. The article speculates that this led to healthy people not making the switch, thereby stressing the system.

Read the full article.

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