Susana Machado • December 15, 2017

The Friday Roundup is a collection of five stories that you need to know about each week. From policy, to innovations, look to us to keep you up to date on what’s happening in the healthcare industry.

Health of the Nation

The 2017 America’s Health Rankings report was released earlier this week. The report is conducted with four defined determinants of health: behaviors, community & environment, policy, and clinical care.

Massachusetts took to the number one spot and many Southern states landed in the bottom ten. The report also illustrated the disparity in health providers per state. Massachusetts had over 200 providers for 100,000 people whereas states like Utah and Idaho has less than 100 per 100,000.

Gene Therapy’s Trouble with Hemophilia

Hemophilia, a genetic disorder that prevents the blood from clotting correctly, has had some preliminary success with gene therapy, with an earlier genetic treatment inducing enough clotting to prevent serious bleeds.

However, the study had a small sample size, and there has been no study of possible long term effects. This leaves some hemophilia patients wondering if taking part in such treatments is worth it and weighing higher costs against dose uncertainty.

How Will the Loss of Net Neutrality Effect Research?

In a historic decision, the FCC overturned net neutrality this week, a vote that will likely be appealed in courts in the coming months. Removal of net neutrality means that Internet Service Providers can block or slow content for their customers.

An article in Nature points out that this means access to scholarly articles could also me impacted. Useful data could get stuck in the “slow lane,” and access to articles could be blocked meaning the scientific community bloomed in the internet age could be cut-down.

The Tax Bill’s Effect on Healthcare Providers

The House and Senate have voted in favor of a major overhaul of current tax policies which includes the reversal of the Affordable Care Act individual mandate penalty. Proponents of the bill argue this will be beneficial for the working class, and make the bill more “workable” for the public.

However, insurance companies largely supported this mandate because it stabilized the market as a whole. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the number of uninsured would grow to 13 million over the next 10 years and increase premiums by 10 percent, meaning the bill would have a significant impact on the future of healthcare in the U.S.

A New Treatment for Irregular Heartbeats

About 325,000 Americans die each year from heartbeat abnormalities, but a new treatment is emerging: radiation. The results of a small trial were published Thursday and detailed researchers from Washington University in St. Louis attempt to “kill” the cells causing electrical malfunctions in the heart.

Based on the results, the treatment appears to have worked, but unfortunately cannot be used on cardiac patients in need of immediate intervention as the treatment takes about a week to show full effect. All the patients included in the study had previously tried and failed to control their condition with drugs, making this treatment a welcome alternative.

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