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Doctors failed to inquire about Gitmo detainees' injuries, study alleges

Physicians and other health professionals at Guantanamo Bay failed to properly document and report evidence "highly consistent" with detainee allegations of torture, says a case review of nine detainees' medical records published in the April issue of PLoS Medicine. Three of the detainees had documented physical injuries that were highly consistent with their allegations of abuse, including contusions, bone fractures, lacerations and peripheral nerve damage, said the study, written by two experts on the evidence of torture. The reviewers were hired as medical consultants by attorneys for some of the detainees. The detainees said they were exposed to interrogation techniques such as sleep deprivation, extreme temperatures, stress positions, beatings, forced nudity, prolonged isolation and sexual molestation -- all recognized as torture by the United Nations Convention Against Torture as well as the U.S. government before 2002. None of the detainees, held in the U.S. facility at ...

Health plan for preexisting conditions gaining in popularity

Washington -- Enrollment in a federal-state insurance program for people with preexisting conditions reached 18,313 by the end of March, an increase of nearly 6,000 since Feb. 1, according to data released May 6 by the Dept. of Health and Human Services. The Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan -- created by the health system reform law -- provides coverage to U.S. citizens who have been both uninsured for at least six months and denied health insurance because of at least one medical condition. Premiums are more expensive than traditional health insurance, with older Americans facing the highest costs, but are less expensive than many similar state insurance programs. Despite the recent uptick, total program enrollment has been considered lackluster. The Congressional Budget Office had estimated that 200,000 people would register for PCIP each year, one of the more conservative enrollment estimates provided. In response to the lack of interest, HHS lowered premiums this year ...

Obesity rising in adults with arthritis

As obesity prevalence increases among adults with arthritis, the author of a new study is urging primary care physicians to regularly assess the weight and activity levels of patients with the condition. Doctors should talk to obese patients with arthritis about ways to shed pounds through diet and low-impact exercises, said Jennifer Hootman, PhD, lead author of the study in the April 29 issue of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Low-impact exercises include riding a stationary bike, swimming, walking and water aerobics. Hootman encourages doctors to schedule follow-up visits to monitor progress. "When obese people [with arthritis] are inactive, their arthritis gets worse, because their muscles get weak. When people who are a normal weight get arthritis, they often gain weight because they're inactive. ... We really want to try and address this, because we can break the cycle," said Hootman, an epidemiologist with the CDC's ...