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House GOP slashes research, health reform funding

Washington -- The House voted early Feb. 19 to cut more than $60 billion in federal spending for the remainder of fiscal 2011, including part of the funding designated to implement the national health system reform law. The resolution was adopted by a vote of 235-189. Republicans held fast to their promises to reduce federal spending for the fiscal year, which must be resolved before Congress can start considering spending measures for fiscal 2012, which begins Oct. 1. Under a resolution enacted late last year, the federal government is funded at fiscal 2010 levels only through March 4. The measure would reduce funding for the National Institutes of Health by 5.2% and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by 21%, according to the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. "Because of past federal investments, we are on the verge of making unprecedented progress in the prevention, detection and treatment of cancer in this country," said Christopher W. Hansen, the n ...

Varicella vaccine much more effective with 2 doses

Two doses of varicella vaccine significantly reduce patients' risk of getting chickenpox, according to a new study. The study, published in the Feb. 1 issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases, found that children who received two doses of the vaccine were 95% less likely to develop the condition than those who got a single dose ( The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began recommending vaccinating children against varicella in 1995. The CDC added a second dose to the recommendation in June 2006 for children who never got chickenpox. Physicians should administer the first dose between ages 12 months to 15 months, according to the CDC. The second dose should be given to children ages 4 to 6. "When the vaccine was first approved as a one-dose regimen, it was pretty effective. ... But over a longer period of time, it didn't prevent" cases of breakthrough varicella, said lead study author Eugene D. Shapiro, MD. Breakthrough vari ...

Men, chronically ill embrace virtual medical visits

Men and chronically ill patients are the most likely to support remote monitoring and virtual visits as part of their health care. But a large majority of the public is at least willing to give it a try, according to a new survey. Euro RSCG Tonic, the New York-based consumer health and wellness arm of the marketing and communications firm Euro RSCG, conducted an Internet survey of 1,000 adults in mid-November 2010, and found that nearly half are receptive to virtual visits to save time and money, and 78% would be willing to give it a shot. Twenty-three percent said they would never consider a remote visit with a doctor. The groups most favorable to virtual care are men (58%) and the chronically ill (84%). Men like the idea of using technology to keep in touch with their physicians, said Kate Gill, director of strategic planning for Euro RSCG Tonic. And people with a chronic condition like the idea of staying in constant communication with their physicians and receiving regular ...