By Aleeza Hashmi
- On August 15th, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced $67 million in awards to 105 Navigator grant applicants in Federally-facilitated and State Partnership Marketplaces. Beginning this fall, the grant recipients and their staffs will serve as direct resources to consumers shopping and enrolling in Health Insurance Marketplace plans.
- Last month, Susumu Tonegawa, a neuroscientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and his team conducted an experiment in which certain neurons of the hippocampus of mice were stimulated to create false memories. In light of this experiment and others, including the BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative, President Obama’s commission on bioethics met on August 20 to “craft a set of ethics standards to guide these projects.”
- The Indiana University School of Medicine announced on August 20 that they have detected a blood marker that may predict the likelihood of a patient committing suicide, which may provide physicians with a more reliable measure of mental health than the current system of reliance on patients’ self-reported symptoms and feelings.
- Second-year medical student Michael Argenyi, who is deaf, requested to use an interpreter numerous times to complete his medical training at the Creighton University of Medicine in Omaha. The administrators refused to allow it. They contended “Mr. Argenyi, who is able to speak, communicated well enough without one and that patients could be more hesitant to share information when someone else was present.” They added that doctors should only focus on the patient to gain visual clues to make a proper diagnosis, rather than a third party. Mr. Agenyi is suing Creighton for the right to finish his schooling with an interpreter. The case was scheduled to go to trial on Tuesday.
- As the informed consent process improves over time, research officers at the WIRB-Copernicus Group contend that electronic consent platforms provide patients with a better understanding of trials because they can incorporate animated videos describing the study, video clips of study-related procedures, definitions of unfamiliar words, and assessments of patients’ comprehension of the information.
- On August 15, the British government lifted a ban that prevented healthcare staff with HIV from undertaking in certain tasks, including surgery and dentistry. Under the new system, National Health Service staff members will be allowed to perform all procedures as long as they are on effective combination anti-retroviral treatment.