What Are The Best Countries For Health Care? U.S. Last Among Wealthy Nations

International Business Times

The United States finished dead last in an analysis of health care quality across several wealthy nations, ranked either the worst or close to worst in categories like affordability, administrative efficiency and the health of the overall population. A report from The Commonwealth Fund, a private, American-based foundation focused on health care issues, compared the country to seven others in Europe -- France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom -- as well as to Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Those other 10 were found to spend significantly less on care while enjoying better health, after the foundation inspected 72 "indicators" throughout the health care systems of each nation, which included gathering data from patient and doctor surveys as well as from the World Health Organization and other agencies. "Based on a broad range of indicators, the U.S. health system is an outlier, spending far more but falling short of the performance achieved by other high-income countries," the report said. "The results suggest the U.S. health care system should look at other countries' approaches if it wants to achieve an affordable high-performing health care system that serves all Americans."


A blue pill is stopping HIV, world-first study shows

The Japan Times

SYDNEY – An antiviral pill taken daily by thousands of men across Sydney and other parts of Australia led to a globally unprecedented reduction in new HIV cases, showing that a targeted, preventative approach may accelerate progress on ending the AIDS epidemic. New cases of HIV among gay and bisexual men fell by almost a third to the lowest on record, according to the world's first study to measure the impact of Gilead Sciences Inc.'s Truvada pill on reducing the AIDS-causing virus in a large population. The results, published Thursday in the Lancet HIV medical journal, may pave the way for other states and countries to stop transmission of the virus with the use of a treatment called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP. "The speed of the decline we've seen in new HIV infections in gay and bisexual men is a world first," said study leader Andrew Grulich, head of HIV epidemiology and prevention at the Kirby Institute of the University of New South Wales. "These numbers are the lowest on record since HIV surveillance began in 1985."


Reaction times in elderly may indicate how long they live

Daily Mail - Science & tech

The reaction times of elderly people may predict how long they have to live, according to new research. The new study by the University of New South Wales suggests that speed does not indicate a decline in cognitive function. Instead, people with increasingly inconsistent reactions to stimuli had the most dramatic downturns in brain health, increasing their risk of dementia and even early death. People that responded slower but remained consistent showed less of a decline than those that were inconsistent. Researchers at the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA) at the University of New South Wales in Australia measured the variability of response on computerized reaction time tests in older people.


Artificial Intelligence Can Help Doctors Better Detect Heart Attacks

#artificialintelligence

Scientists have developed an artificial intelligence tool that lets doctors determine whether someone is having a heart attack much quicker than current methods. New research published by healthcare firm Abbott shows that its algorithm could enable hospital accident and emergency departments to more accurately identify and treat patients having a cardiac arrest. The study, which involved researchers from the U.S., Germany, U.K., Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand and more than 11,000 patients, found that AI could provide doctors a more comprehensive analysis of the probability that a patient was having a heart attack. Agim Beshiri, a senior medical director at Abbott, said: "AI technology has the capability to consider many variables, characteristics and data points and combine them in seconds into meaningful results. "Because of today's advancements in computational power and AI applications, healthcare stands to benefit greatly by this approach where clinicians have to do this with their patients every day." Developed by a team of physicians and statisticians at Abbott, the algorithm uses machine learning techniques to enable a more individualized calculation of a person's heart attack risk. The technology aims to improve and quicken heart attack diagnosis by analyzing extensive datasets and identifying factors such as age, sex and a person's specific troponin levels (a cardiac biomarker). Abbott said the algorithm is designed to help address two barriers that exist today for doctors looking for more individualized information when diagnosing heart attacks. The first is that international guidelines for using high sensitive troponin tests don't always account for personal factors, impacting test results. And the second is that while these guidelines recommend that doctors carry out troponin testing at fixed times, they don't consider a person's age or sex and put patients into a one-size-fits-all situation. However, Abbott's algorithm differs from existing approaches as it takes into consideration personal factors and troponin blood test results over time Beshiri added: "The World Heart Organization estimates that 17.9 million people die from cardiovascular disease each year, and 85% are due to heart attacks and strokes.


Artificial Intelligence Can Help Doctors Better Detect Heart Attacks

#artificialintelligence

Caption: Paramedics respond to an emergency. Scientists have developed an artificial intelligence tool that lets doctors determine whether someone is having a heart attack much faster than current methods. New research published by healthcare firm Abbott shows that its algorithm could enable hospital accident and emergency departments to more accurately identify and treat patients having a cardiac arrest. The study, which involved researchers from the U.S., Germany, U.K., Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand and more than 11,000 patients, found that AI could provide doctors a more comprehensive analysis of the probability that a patient was having a heart attack. Agim Beshiri, a senior medical director at Abbott, said: "AI technology has the capability to consider many variables, characteristics and data points and combine them in seconds into meaningful results. "Because of today's advancements in computational power and AI applications, healthcare stands to benefit greatly by this approach where clinicians have to do this with their patients every day." Developed by a team of physicians and statisticians at Abbott, the algorithm uses machine learning techniques to enable a more individualized calculation of a person's heart attack risk. The technology aims to improve and quicken heart attack diagnosis by analyzing extensive datasets and identifying factors such as age, sex and a person's specific troponin levels (a cardiac biomarker). Abbott said the algorithm is designed to help address two barriers that exist today for doctors looking for more individualized information when diagnosing heart attacks. The first is that international guidelines for using highly sensitive troponin tests don't always account for personal factors, impacting test results. And the second is that while these guidelines recommend that doctors carry out troponin testing at fixed times, they don't consider a person's age or sex and put patients into a one-size-fits-all situation. However, Abbott's algorithm differs from existing approaches as it takes into consideration personal factors and troponin blood test results over time. Beshiri added: "The World Heart Organization estimates that 17.9 million people die from cardiovascular disease each year, and 85% are due to heart attacks and strokes.