HEALTH

Lack of sleep may increase IFG risk, study finds

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK Lack of beauty sleep may up one’s risk of developing a condition that leads to diabetes and heart disease, a new study found.

Researchers from Warwick Medical School and the State University of New York at Buffalo examined six years of data from 1,455 participants in the Western New York Health Study, all of whom were between the ages of 35 and 79 years, and found that people who sleep less than six hours a night may be three times more likely to develop incident-impaired fasting glycaemia. IFG causes the body to be unable to regulate glucose as efficiently as it should.

Lead author at Warwick Medical School Dr. Saverio Stranges said: "We found that short sleep, less than six hours, was associated with a significant, threefold increased likelihood of developing IFG, compared [with] people who got an average of six to eight hours sleep a night. Previous studies have shown that short sleep duration results in a 28% increase in mean levels of the appetite stimulating hormone ghrelin so it can affect feeding behaviors. Other studies have also shown that a lack of sleep can decrease glucose tolerance and increases the production of cortisol, a hormone produced in response to stress."

 

Stranges added that, "more research is needed, but our study does suggest a very strong correlation between lack of sleep and Type 2 diabetes and heart disease."

 

The study was published in the journal Annals of Epidemiology.

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Study: Patients increasingly turn to ER for acute ailments

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK Millions of patients with such acute ailments as fevers and coughs turn to the emergency room for treatment, according to researchers. The findings serve as yet one more indicator for the need of convenient and affordable health services available at retail-based clinics.

Today, only 42% of the 354 million annual visits for acute care are made to patients’ primary physicians. The rest are made to emergency departments (28%), specialists (20%) or outpatient departments (7%), according to the study titled "Where Americans Get Acute Care: Increasingly, It’s Not At Their Doctor’s Office."

The study, which examined records of acute care visits from 2001 to 2004, was published Tuesday in the journal Health Affairs.

Although fewer than 5% of doctors are emergency physicians, they handle a quarter of all acute care encounters and more than half of such visits by the uninsured, according to the study.

The study, which also was highlighted in The New York Times, calls into question how U.S. health care can be improved when an already overloaded system takes on some 30 million newly insured customers, thanks to healthcare reform.

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CMS chief Berwick is driving hard to spur health innovation, report says

BY Jim Frederick

WASHINGTON The recently installed head of the federal Medicare program is pushing hard to promote new and more cost-effective ways to treat patients and improve the nation’s health scorecard.

On Monday, The Boston Globe reported that Donald Berwick, tapped by President Obama in July as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, is working to expand health-innovation projects around the country in line with the massive health-reform law enacted earlier this year. Berwick envisions as many as 300 test sites devoted to developing new, integrated models of patient care by physician groups and other health professionals, according to The Globe.

 

Spurring those innovative pilot projects will be billions of dollars allocated by the health-reform bill for a health innovation center, and for the development of health information technology to eliminate waste and promote better decision-making among doctors, pharmacists and other health providers.

 

 

To that end, Medicare will designate provider groups participating in the innovation pilot projects as “accountable care organizations’’ under the program, the newspaper reported. The underlying goal: to replace the costly and increasingly unwieldy fee-for-service model that now dominates such public health programs as Medicare and Medicaid, with “global payments” that reward healthier patient outcomes and coordinated care among physicians and other providers, according to The Globe.

 

 

Berwick, the report noted, is a strong advocate for experimentation in new, outcomes-based models of patient care, and is working to double the size of the innovation center and promote its involvement in new healthcare demonstration projects. Test sites for new collaborative care models will be up and running by the end of 2011, The Globe reported.

 

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