Weekend Update

From Washington, DC,

  • The Federal Benefits Open Season ends a week from tomorrow.
  • KFF News provides a helpful overview of the recently proposed Affordable Care Act notice of benefit and payment parameters.
  • The New York Times reports,
    • “A small group of Republican senators on Friday called on President Biden to ban travel from China to protect against an outbreak of respiratory illnesses in children there, even as scientists and global and American health officials said there were no signs of a threatening new pathogen.
    • “Instead, those experts said, the evidence so far pointed to a surge of age-old infectious agents such as influenza, driven by the colder weather and China’s emergence from stringent Covid lockdowns. The World Health Organization said last week that China had shared data about its outbreak, including laboratory results from infected children, that did not show any unusual pathogens.
    • “Dr. Mandy Cohen, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, echoed that assessment on Friday. She said American officials had also been in touch with Chinese authorities, academic experts and health workers.
    • “What we have all been able to ascertain is that there is no novel pathogen,” she said. “This is all related to upticks of known viruses and bacteria in their pediatric population.”

From the public health front,

  • NPR Shots tells us,
    • “There’s just not much that’s very effective for treating the common cold,” said Dr. Lauren Eggert, clinical assistant professor in the Pulmonary Allergy and Critical Care Division at Stanford University. * * *
    • “She opens a database called UpToDate, which physicians use as a resource when they want to see the summary of evidence for medications targeting specific concerns. The conclusions for cold and flu remedies are disconcerting:
      • “Antihistamines, vitamins and herbal remedies are deemed ineffective.
      • “Cough syrups, decongestants, expectorants, and zinc may have minimal or uncertain benefits.
      • “Nasal sprays and analgesics like Tylenol and ibuprofen may be effective.”
  • The American Medical Association lets us know what doctors wish their patients knew about Covid oral anti-virals, Paxlovid and molnupiravir.
  • Medscape points out,
    • Breast cancer has a worse prognosis when diagnosed during pregnancy or postpartum. Methods for early detection are needed, as evidenced every day in the multidisciplinary unit for treating pregnancy-associated breast cancer, which operates within the Breast Unit at the Vall d’Hebron University Hospital in Barcelona, Spain.
    • “The team working in this field is led by Cristina Saura, PhD, who is also head of the Breast Cancer Group at the Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO). The results of a study recently published in Cancer Discovery show, for the first time, that breast milk from breast cancer patients contains circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) that can be detected by a liquid biopsy of the milk.”