Scientists Have Found a Way to Regenerate Muscle Tissue After a Heart Attack

From Gizmodo:

There could be a path to a simpler recovery after a heart attack. Duke University Medical Center scientists have discovered a way to turn the scar tissue that forms after cardiac arrest into healthy muscle tissue, which would make a stem cell transplant unnecessary.

To achieve this, researchers introduced microRNA to scar tissue cells in a living mouse. These hardened cells, called fibroblasts, develop as a result of a heart attack, and impede the organ’s ability to pump blood. The microRNAs, which are molecules that govern the activity of several genes, were able to manipulate the fibroblasts to transform into cells that looked like cardiomyocytes, which comprise heart muscle.

Cities health care plans give incentives for using urgent cares instead of ERs

From the Middleton Journal:

Cities are encouraging employees to help them manage their health care dollars by incentivizing the use of urgent care facilities over visits to the emergency room, a move which can save tax dollars.

Recent data from the American Hospital Association shows that in 2010 there were 554 emergency room visits per 1,000 people in Ohio. It was the sixth-highest rate in the nation and 34 percent higher than the national average.

Employees of two of Butler County’s most populated cities – Hamilton and Middletown – have taken such measures.

In Hamilton, Finance Director Peg Bradner Hancock said the health care costs across all funds totaled more than $7.7 million for its more than 500 employees eligible for these benefits.

High use of ER care costly

From the Middleton Journal:

Ohioans are increasingly turning to hospital emergency departments for their health care, a costly trend some say is symptomatic of a disjointed approach to care that ails the U.S. health care system.

In Ohio, there were 554 visits per 1,000 people to hospital emergency departments in 2010, the most recent year for which the American Hospital Association has data. That was up from 449 visits per 1,000 people in 2002, and was the sixth highest rate in the nation — 34 percent higher than the U.S. average.

And the gap has widened. In 2002, Ohio’s per-capita emergency department utilization was 18 percent higher than the U.S. average.

Deadly Decision: Obese Drivers are Far Less Likely to Buckle Up

From University of Buffalo:

Obese drivers are far less likely to wear seatbelts than are drivers of normal weight, a new University at Buffalo study has found, a behavior that puts them at greater risk of severe injury or death during motor vehicle crashes.

The UB study found that normal weight drivers are 67 percent more likely to wear a seatbelt than morbidly obese drivers. Drivers were considered overweight or obese if they had a BMI (body mass index) of 25 or more, according to the World Health Organization definition of obesity, with 25-30 defined as overweight, 30-35 slightly obese, 35-40 moderately obese and 40 morbidly obese.

(EMTALA) “ER and after: St. Vincent gets it right on tough night”

From the News Telegram:

It’s an ER horror story: A patient with fever and pain from an abscess seeks treatment at St. Vincent Hospital. Emergency room doctors determine the patient has flesh-eating bacteria and needs an immediate operation. The surgeon on call that night was summoned, but declined to come in.

According to a Boston Globe report April 23, the Worcester hospital was one of three in the state recently faulted in cases involving emergency room patients sent elsewhere.

The failure of the on-call surgeon to come to the hospital that night was unacceptable to the doctors on staff, and they wisely transferred the patient to a competitor, UMass Memorial Medical Center.

Glucose, Insulin and Potassium: N.M. Doctors Study Way to ‘Buy Time’ for Heart Attack Patients

From JEMS:

Heart attack patients are half as likely to suffer cardiac arrest or death if paramedics give them an IV solution of glucose, insulin and potassium during transport to the hospital, according to a large study performed in New Mexico and other sites. Patients who received the inexpensive solution also experienced less damage to the heart than those who received a placebo, according to a study published March 28 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Minnesota: Emergency medicine delivery, via postal service, will be tested

From Twin Cities:

Public health experts will test in the Twin Cities next month whether mail carriers can quickly distribute medications during a simulated emergency.

On Sunday, May 6, personnel from the U.S. Postal Service will deliver a simulated supply of the antibiotic doxycycline to some 37,000 households in four ZIP codes across the metro area.

The target ZIP codes include portions of St. Paul, North Minneapolis, Robbinsdale, Crystal and Golden Valley, according to a statement from the Minnesota Department of Health.

Only residential addresses will receive the simulated antibiotics, which will take the form of an empty pill bottle. People living in the 55101, 55102, 55411 and 55422 ZIP code areas will be notified of the exercise a few days before the event takes place.