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Saturday, Nov 22nd

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Nursing home chain to pay $38M in US settlement

ExtendicareA nursing home chain has agreed to pay $38 million to resolve allegations that it billed Medicare and Medicaid for substandard care at nearly three dozen facilities around the country, the Justice Department said Friday.

A federal investigation into Extendicare Health Services Inc. accused the company of failing to provide appropriate care, follow safety protocols or maintain enough skilled nurses. Those lapses in some cases resulted in head injuries to residents, falls, bed sores and fractures and cases of malnutrition, dehydration and infection, the government said.

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40,000 suicides annually, yet America simply shrugs

Suicides in USAAmericans are far more likely to kill themselves than each other. Homicides have fallen by half since 1991, but the U.S. suicide rate keeps climbing. The nearly 40,000 American lives lost each year make suicide the nation's 10th-leading cause of death, and the second-leading killer for those ages 15-34.

Each suicide costs society about $1 million in medical and lost-work expenses and emotionally victimizes an average of 10 other people.

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The Beautiful Newlywed Who Made the Right Change Its Mind on Physician-Assisted Death

right to dieThe American public is more or less evenly split on the question of physician-assisted death in the case of terminal illness. According to a Pew Research Center survey, Americans are split 49 to 47 percent in opposition to legislation that permits physicians to prescribe lethal medications to terminally ill patients. Views on the controversial subject, Pew notes, have been more or less stagnant since 2005.

The GOP hasn’t budged an inch in the last decade, either. The Republican Party Platform still vehemently opposes “active and passive euthanasia and assisted suicide” as a violation of “the sanctity and dignity of human life.”

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Bionic arm restores sense of feeling

bionic armAdvances in bionic hands have restored a sense of touch to two patients for more than a year, report US scientists.

The men can now delicately pluck the stalks out of cherries.

Sensors on the artificial hand are used to send signals directly to the nerves, the study, published in Science Translational Medicine, said.

Meanwhile, a Swedish team has made a separate breakthrough in artificial limbs - anchoring bionic arms directly on to the bone to improve control.

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Where the Hell Is the Surgeon General?

Dr. Vivek MurthyWe’ve got an Ebola crisis on our hands—and no surgeon general to deal with it. Blame the NRA, but Obama and the Senate Democrats, too.

When the Sunday morning TV shows needed to talk to an official with the Obama administration about the deadly Ebola virus on American soil, longtime senior advisor Dan Pfeiffer was sent out to reassure the American people.

Don’t get me wrong. Dan’s a nice guy, but when there is a health crisis in this country, I want to hear from a doctor, not a political guy with no health experience at all.

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GNC stops sale of two supplements in wake of news story

Redline White HeatNutritional supplement retailer GNC has stopped selling two products containing a new stimulant ingredient that is under fire from scientists, senators and a major industry group.

The products Redline White Heat and OxyTHERM Pro were being sold on GNC's website this week. But as of Wednesday afternoon, in the wake of a USA TODAY article, they had been removed from online store. GNC web pages that had offered the products for sale have had all information stripped from them.

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Anti-Cancer Susan G. Komen Foundation Accused of 'Pinkwashing' The Fracking Industry

Susan G. Komen pinkwashing cancer reearchHelping find a cure for cancer or “pinkwashing” carcinogenic pollution? That is the question being raised upon the news that one of the world’s largest fossil fuel services firms is partnering with the Susan G. Komen Foundation on a breast cancer awareness campaign, despite possible links between fracking and cancer.

According to the website of energy services firm Baker Hughes, “the company will paint and distribute a total of 1,000 pink drill bits worldwide” as a “reminder of the importance of supporting research, treatment, screening and education to help find the cures” for breast cancer. The firm, which is involved in hydraulic fracturing, is also donating $100,000 to the Komen Foundation in what it calls a “yearlong partnership.”

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