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Wednesday, Jul 23rd

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Bob Kincaid: Letter From Summersville Hospital

ACA letterMy Dear Fellow Americans

Sitting here in a hospital room in Summersville, West Virginia waiting to find out if a combination of genetic Calvinism, environmental toxins and my own mistakes have finally caught up with me, I heard playing on my roommate’s television an advertisement for some politician whom the announcer told me would “go to Washington and fight against Obamacare.” I am furious at a time when I probably shouldn’t be, but I may as well make the best of it.

Seldom do I pause to answer in writing the mad, hateful ravings of a right-wing, self-absorbed, Republican candidate for elected office; for if I did, I would never be able to get to the microphone to do it via radio every night. But since the question of healthcare is a matter of importance to Americans of good will across this once-great nation, and since I’m sitting in a hospital bed instead of behind the mic anyway, I feel compelled.

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Recycling a Patient's Lost Blood During Surgery Better Than Using Banked Blood

red blood cellsPatients whose own red blood cells are recycled and given back to them during heart surgery have healthier blood cells better able to carry oxygen where it is most needed compared to those who get transfusions of blood stored in a blood bank, according to results of a small study at Johns Hopkins.

In a report for the June issue of the journal Anesthesia & Analgesia, the researchers say they found that the more units of banked blood a patient received, the more red cell damage they observed. The damage renders the cells less flexible and less able to squeeze through a body’s smallest capillaries and deliver oxygen to tissues.

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Less Nutritious Grains May Be In Our Future

less nutritious foodIn the future, Earth's atmosphere is likely to include a whole lot more carbon dioxide. And many have been puzzling over what that may mean for the future of food crops. Now, scientists are that some of the world's most important crops contain fewer crucial nutrients when they grow in such an environment.

The data come from that have been set up to see how crops will perform as levels of carbon dioxide in the air soar past 500 parts per million. (The current level is around 400 ppm.)

These experiments are operating in various parts of the world, and have included test plots of rice, wheat, peas and other crops.

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Protesters occupy Missouri Senate to demand Medicaid expansion

missouri protestsChanting, "This is the people's house," hundreds of protesters disrupted action in the Missouri Senate on Tuesday as they called for expanded Medicaid eligibility.

The protest ended with the galleries being cleared and 23 clergy members from across the state facing possible trespassing charges.

Organized by a variety of groups including Missouri Faith Voices, Communities Creating Opportunities and the NAACP, the protest is just the beginning of a campaign of direct action to influence lawmakers and voters, said Andrew Kling, a spokesman for the protesters.

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Gay men say doctors ill equipped to inform decisions on new HIV drug

HIV medicationOther than establishing Jeff was gay and administering an HIV test, it appeared to Jeff that his New York City-based primary care doctor did little to address what he considers a paramount health concern — HIV prevention.

“I got the sense [my doctor] didn’t really know about it. It was a general message I was getting: ‘Protect yourself,’” Jeff, a pseudonym so he could discuss his sex life openly, told Al Jazeera.

Condoms, it appeared, were the only answer.

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Genome scientist Craig Venter in deal to make humanized pig organs

Genome scientistsGenome pioneer J. Craig Venter is teaming up with a unit of United Therapeutics Corp to develop pig lungs that have been genetically altered to be compatible with humans, a feat that, if successful, could address the urgent need for transplant organs for people with end-stage lung disease.

Venter's privately held company Synthetic Genomics Inc on Tuesday said it has entered a multiyear deal with United Therapeutics' Lung Biotechnology Inc to develop the so-called humanized pig organs.

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Polio Declared Emergency as Conflicts Fuel Virus Spread

Polio emergency worldwideThe spread of polio to countries previously considered free of the crippling disease is a global health emergency, the World Health Organization said, as the virus once driven to the brink of extinction mounts a comeback.

Pakistan, Cameroon and Syria pose the greatest risk of exporting the virus to other countries, and should ensure that residents have been vaccinated before they travel, the Geneva-based WHO said in a statement today after a meeting of its emergency committee. It’s only the second time the United Nations agency has declared a public health emergency of international concern, after the 2009 influenza pandemic.

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