Healthcare Headlines Week of August 11, 2014

Shingles Vaccine Still Effective After Chemotherapy

A new study has shown that the shingles (herpes zoster) vaccine remains effective in patients who have undergone chemotherapy, underscoring the importance of getting this vaccine while young and relatively healthy. Read the story

Older Adults’ Brains May be Sharper in the Morning

A small study has shown that older adults were less likely to be distracted in the morning versus other times of day, suggesting that mentally challenging tasks might be best tackled in the early part of the day. Read the story

Heart Drug Comes Under Scrutiny

A commonly prescribed drug for atrial fibrillation, a type of irregular heartbeat, may shorten the lives of those who use it, according to a new study. Read the story

The Human Brain Eludes Understanding

Some scientists concede that it may be years before we truly understand the human brain, but providing symptom relief for psychiatric illnesses might be enough. Read the story

Hospitals Seeing Higher Reimbursement for Quality Care

Hospitals like Barton Memorial in Nevada will receive additional Medicare reimbursement from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for performing well in areas including quality outcomes, patient safety and patient satisfaction. Read the story

Colonoscopies After Age 75 May be Risky

A low risk of recurrence of colon cancer after age 75, combined with a high rate of complications leading to hospitalization post-colonoscopy, may mean that the risks outweigh the benefits of colonoscopy for colon cancer survivors 75 and older.  Read the story

States Investigate Long-Term Care for Inmates

As the prison population ages, developing debilitating conditions at a younger age than the general population, some states are looking into the creation of facilities designed to care for these inmates on a long-term basis. Read the story

Obesity May Provide Protection Against Bloodstream Infections

A new study has found that obese seniors are more likely to survive potentially deadly bloodstream infections than their normal-weight counterparts. The findings may lead to more studies about how weight affects survival. Read the story

Fake Brain Aims to Help Scientists Better Understand Dementia and Strokes

An artificial brain, featuring both grey and white matter, may help scientists better understand disease processes and also test new drugs. Read the story

Non-profit Hospitals Facing Challenging Times

Weak operating margins and lower patient volumes are two factors influencing many non-profit hospitals, which are now at a “tipping point,” according to Standard & Poor’s Rating Services. Read the story

Legislation Would Require 24-hour Nurse Coverage in Nursing Homes

Proposed legislation would require that an RN be on the premises at all times in any nursing home receiving reimbursement from Medicare or Medicaid. Currently, an RN is only required eight hours per day. Read the story

Opinions expressed in any of the included stories or their publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Kindred Healthcare and this blog post is a compilation of news stories from other sources that have appeared during the past week.