The rate of drug overdose deaths among youths ages 15 to 19 in the US more than doubled between 1999 and 2015, with a 19% increase from 2014 to 2015, according to a report from the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics. Researchers also found that most drug overdose deaths in 2015 were accidental and caused by opioids.
Researchers studying how physical exercise affects adult language learning have found that working out can enhance the ability to retain the words learned. Two groups of college-age Chinese men and women learning English were observed, and the group that rode exercise bikes while learning words performed better on vocabulary tests than students who used rote learning techniques, according to the study in PLOS ONE.
A White House spokesman said health insurers will receive cost-sharing reduction payments for August, which will total around $600 million, but the future of the program remains uncertain. Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., who is set to hold bipartisan hearings on the issue next month, praised the decision and called for Congress to quickly pass legislation to continue the payments through 2018.
Cincinnati and South Carolina have joined other cities and states in taking legal action against pharmaceutical firms and distributors for allegedly fueling the opioid addiction crisis. Cincinnati filed a public nuisance lawsuit against McKesson, Cardinal Health and other major drug distributors for allegedly allowing large amounts of oxycodone and hydrocodone to flood the black market, while South Carolina sued opioid maker Purdue Pharma for deceptive marketing practices, saying the company inflates opioids' benefits while downplaying the drugs' addictive properties and the quality of newer abuse-deterrent drugs.
Companies are adopting programs to remove the stigma from mental illness and encourage employees to take mental health days off. Ernst & Young started the "r u ok?" program to encourage employees to check in with each other and offer support, while American Express and Prudential Financial offer staff access to mental health professionals.
Florida's Seminole County Sheriff's Office is providing mindfulness-based training to reduce secondhand trauma among first responders. The RISE for First Responders program gives first responders tools to address post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms linked to their jobs.
A higher feeling of purpose in life among in adults ages 50 and older was associated with a reduced risk of weak grip strength and slow walking speed, researchers reported in JAMA Psychiatry. Researchers said other studies have shown that having a higher sense of purpose in life may make it more likely that people engage in healthier behaviors.
The Kids Feeding Kids program in Carroll County, Md., brings children of all ages together to prepare and serve meals to other children in need during the summer. With food and money from community donations, the children gather at a local church to prepare meals for from 20 to 30 children per day.
Pharmacy benefit managers offer patient-friendly cost-savings options such as home delivery of drugs for chronic conditions, writes Ed Pezalla, a scholar-in-residence at the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy. "Through their expertise and market scale, PBMs are able to reduce drug costs by negotiating rebates and discounts from big drug companies and drugstores. It would be too expensive and complicated for employers, or other payers, to match PBMs' ability to reduce drug costs, while providing access," he writes.
Makers of brand-name drugs "game the system and game the rules" of a patient safety program to prevent generic-drug makers from obtaining adequate samples for equivalence studies, says FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, who has vowed action to curb the practice.
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