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ICYMI: Stomach Bug at the Olympics


Despite the neck and neck competition to overtake the medal count, norovirus has made the largest impact in Pyeongchang this week. As of Monday morning, 194 Olympic workers have fallen victim to the nasty virus.

What is Norovirus? 
 
Commonly known as the largest cause of diarrhea, norovirus is also associated with vomiting, stomach pain, fever nausea, and body aches. Yeesh. What’s worse is the transferability of the virus. Because of its resilience, norovirus can hang out on kitchen counters, bathroom sinks, or vending machines for days.

What You Need to Know
 
Norovirus is an adaptable virus that loves both hot and cold temperatures. It is also resistant to hand sanitizer. For now, cleaning with liberal amounts of chlorine bleach solution seems to be the answer. 

That said, most can recover from the infection without a doctor’s visit. However, when inches or milliseconds cannot be spared, Olympic officials are taking every precaution to protect athletes.
App of the Week: Medscape
Obtain access to a wealth of information shared among healthcare professionals. All within a 24/7 moderated environment, Medscape allows you to post questions, give answers, converse, etc.

Does Aetna Care About You?


This week, a statement under oath from former Aetna Medical Director, Dr. Jay Ken Iinuma, stated that "he never looked at patients' records when deciding whether to approve or deny care". The admission came during the deposition of a lawsuit against Aetna

The lawsuit was spurred by denial of coverage for 23-year-old Gillen Washington when he needed an infusion of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG). 

How many have been impacted? 
 
California's insurance commissioner, Dave Jones, is investigating Aetna. "If the health insurer is making decisions to deny coverage without a physician actually ever reviewing medical records, that's of significant concern... and potentially a violation of a law" said Jones. Aetna is the nation's third largest insurance provider, covering over 23 million people.

At the Mercy of Insurance Giants 

Consumers pay into the insurance pool, but insurance providers decide who gets reimbursed. Just last month, Anthem rolled out a policy on denying non-emergent ER visits. Patients will be denied reimbursement if they visit the ER and the diagnosis is not on the list of emergency related reasons. 

Have insurance companies taken things too far? Without adequate insurance, many people cannot afford proper healthcare. Isn't insurance supposed to help us out?

Vaping Healthier than Smoking? 


Over the past decade, vaping has been labeled as a “healthier alternative” to smoking cigarettes. Due to lax regulation on e-cigs, they are being heavily advertised to young consumers. Philip Morris, which makes Marlboros cigarettes, even stated they have the ambition to stop selling cigarettes in the UK and replace them with e-cigarettes.

E-cigarettes and so-called “heat-not-burn” tobacco products offer a way to generate future profits as increasing numbers of consumers turn against smoking.

 
"Survey Says"
 
Per the Centers for Disease Control, more than 16 million Americans suffer from a smoking-related disease. Also smoking “is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, accounting for more than 480,000 deaths, or one of every five deaths, each year.”

While more than 40% of Americans smoked in 1965, only 18% did in 2012. Numbers like that are great to see but a recent study by the CDC found 2 million middle and high schoolers reported smoking e-cigs in the last 30 days. This is indicating an uptick in smoking habits which could decrease the potential population benefits of using e-cigs if it ultimately increases the users.

 
Bottom Line: Are they bad for you?
 
Yes, but cigarettes are worse. The products have been around since the 60s, but research is largely inconclusive. Many studies are finding poor health outcomes related to e-cigs.

The particles in the vapor, nicotine, and flavorings have been found to irritate cells in the lungs, drawing connections to cancer and heart disease. Still, almost 80 percent of smokers believe e-cigarettes could help them quit.

Want More?

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This Weeks Episode: 

033: The Technology and Mobility Revolution – Chris Sullivan

Whatever Wednesday Episode:

WW 009: Healthcare: Monopoly's Next Venture

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