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Illinois doctor delivers air male

Thousands of feet above the ground, Illinois internist John Saran, MD, delivered a premature, 5-pound baby boy in the back of a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737. The doctor thought his flight was going to be the start of a quiet weekend with his wife, Janet, in the mountains overlooking Salt Lake City -- a getaway with no calls or pages from the office. Instead, Dr. Saran became an instant media sensation, appearing on morning talk shows and in newspapers throughout the country. "I've [responded to calls for a doctor] on planes, buses, cruise ships and in hotels for people with chest pain and stomach pain. ... But a lady in labor -- I never had to deal with that," said Dr. Saran, who has an internal medicine practice at Edward Hospital in Naperville, Ill., and is affiliated with MDVIP, a nationwide network of physicians who practice personalized preventive care. He was napping on the Dec. 4 flight when his wife poked him and said the woman in front of them was in labor. The pi ...

Children with autism show considerable gains with early intervention

Children with autism spectrum disorder can see significant improvement in IQ, language and adaptive behavior when they receive comprehensive developmental behavioral intervention before age 2½, a new study shows. Young children who received this more intensive intervention on average increased their IQs 17.6 points after two years. Called the Early Start Denver Model, the therapy model involves parents and therapists working with children on improving communication, social skills and other skills. Sessions are provided in the child's home rather than in an office setting. Toddlers who received help commonly available in their communities, usually in an office setting without the more intense parental involvement, averaged a 7-point increase, according to the study published online Nov. 30 by Pediatrics ( "This is the first controlled study of an intensive early intervention that is appropriate for children ...

Medicare now covers HIV tests

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced Dec. 8 that Medicare will cover HIV screening services, effective immediately. Testing will be covered for Medicare beneficiaries who are at increased risk for HIV, as well as for those who request the service. Under the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008, lawmakers gave CMS the flexibility to add to Medicare's list of covered preventive services. Before MIPPA, Medicare could cover additional screenings only when Congress authorized it to do so. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the number of Medicare beneficiaries with HIV increased by 80% between 1997 and 2003, from 42,520 to 76,500. In fiscal year 2008, Medicare spending on HIV totaled $4.5 billion, representing 39% of federal spending on HIV care. The decision was hailed as a milestone by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. "Beginning with expanding coverage for HIV screening, we can now work proactively as a pro ...