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Blood type could help identify heart disease risk

Educating patients about their blood type and the health risks associated with it could help prevent cardiovascular disease, a study says. People with blood type AB (7% of the U.S. population) have a 23% increased risk of developing coronary heart disease compared with those who have type O blood, said a study published online Aug. 14 in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology. Researchers didn’t examine the biological processes behind blood type and heart disease risk. But they said type AB is linked to inflammation, which might affect the function of blood vessels. Blood type A is associated with higher levels of low-density lipo-protein cholesterol. “While people cannot change their blood type, our findings may help physicians better understand who is at risk for developing heart disease,” said study senior author Lu Qi, MD, PhD, assistant professor in the Dept. of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston. A patient’s blood type also can b ...

Uninsured Medicaid eligibles will vary in age and race

A diverse group of uninsured adults will enter the Medicaid rolls in 2014, but many probably will be male, white and young, according to a new study. About 15 million uninsured non-elderly adults are expected to gain Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act’s expansion provision, helping their access to care while seeing their financial situations improve, according to an analysis issued Aug. 10 by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute. The study found that 55% of this population is white, 19% is black and 19% is Hispanic. The rest are in multiple or other ethnic or racial categories. The fact that the majority of eligibles are white is due to the broadening of Medicaid’s eligibility criteria under the health system reform law and the fact that whites continue to represent a large share of the U.S. population, said Stephen Zuckerman, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute and a co-author of the analysis. “It’s not that any one group — y ...

Charity helps medical practices donate unused drug samples

Nearly 800 physician practices around the country are participating in a program that gives soon-to-expire pharmaceutical sample medications to low-income, uninsured patients at safety-net clinics. The Nashville, Tenn.-based service, Dispensary of Hope, has brought in more than $9 million worth of samples in the last year from practices in 30 states. In turn, the drugs have been dispensed to 80 community health centers and charitable pharmacies in 15 states. Participating practices are asked to donate sample medicines six months before they are set to expire so needy patients who are prescribed the drugs can benefit from them. Donor practices place the drugs in a secured box provided by the service, which covers shipping costs. The service’s staffers, volunteers and interns go through the box, log the medications and send back a receipt with the information for the practice to have for record-keeping and regulatory compliance purposes. Disposing of sample medications can ...