September 2013 Briefing - Infectious Disease

Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Infectious Disease for September 2013. This roundup includes the latest research news from journal articles, as well as the FDA approvals and regulatory changes that are the most likely to affect clinical practice.

Lower National Health Spending Due to Slow Economy

MONDAY, Sept. 30 (HealthDay News) -- National health care expenditures remain sluggish but are expected to grow at a rate of approximately 6.2 percent per year after 2014, with federal, state, and local governments accounting for half, according to research published online Sept. 18 in Health Affairs.

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Medicare, Medicaid Will Still Run If Government Shuts Down

MONDAY, Sept. 30 (HealthDay News) -- According to U.S. officials, veterans and Medicare and Medicaid recipients will continue to receive health care benefits even if the federal government shuts down on Tuesday.

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Only One-Third of Voters Think Congress Should Delay ACA

MONDAY, Sept. 30 (HealthDay News) -- With a government shutdown impending, only one-third of voters think that Congress should delay, defund, or repeal the health care laws set to take effect imminently, according to a report from The Morning Consult.

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Non-Medical Exemptions One Factor in Pertussis Resurgence

MONDAY, Sept. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Non-medical exemptions (NMEs) are likely to have been one of the factors that contributed to the resurgence of pertussis in California in 2010, according to a study published online Sept. 30 in Pediatrics.

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DOL Clarifies Employer Health Insurance Notification Duty

MONDAY, Sept. 30 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Department of Labor has provided clarification in the form of a frequently-asked-questions (FAQ) document, relating to employer obligations to provide employees with written notice about the Affordable Care Act's health insurance marketplaces by Oct. 1, 2013.

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Modifiable Factors ID'd for Reducing Surgical Site Infections

MONDAY, Sept. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Specific modifiable preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative factors can be optimized to reduce the risk of surgical site infections (SSIs) for patients undergoing elective orthopedic surgery, according to research published in the September issue of The Spine Journal.

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Health Worker Roles Impacted When 'Undervalued' by Patients

FRIDAY, Sept. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Job satisfaction among nurse practitioners and other professionals can suffer when clientele lack a clear understanding of what they do, according to research published in the Aug. 1 issue of the Academy of Management Journal.

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Practical Tips Offered for Medical Employee Satisfaction

FRIDAY, Sept. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Managing staff is a learned skill, and one for which physicians are often ill-equipped. An article published Sept. 25 in Medical Economics lays out some practical tips and advice for motivating staff to excel.

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HEALTH REFORM: ACA Impact on Medicare Recipients Unclear

FRIDAY, Sept. 27 (HealthDay News) -- The Affordable Care Act (ACA) will help millions of uninsured Americans access affordable health care coverage, but it's unclear what effect the law will have on people covered by Medicare.

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Rates of Severe and Fatal Maternal Sepsis Up in the U.S.

FRIDAY, Sept. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Rates of severe sepsis and sepsis-related deaths during hospitalization for labor and delivery in the United States are increasing, according to research published in the October issue of Anesthesia & Analgesia.

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HEALTH REFORM: Medicaid Expansion Will Up Coverage

THURSDAY, Sept. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Two aspects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have the potential to extend health insurance coverage to those who do not qualify for government-sponsored health care but cannot afford to purchase private plans.

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CDC: Flu Shot Coverage of Health Care Personnel Increasing

THURSDAY, Sept. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Influenza vaccination coverage has increased among health care personnel but varies by occupation type and occupational setting, according to a report published in the Sept. 27 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Antibiotic Protocol Selects Against Drug Resistance

THURSDAY, Sept. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Cycling between antibiotics can select against the development of drug resistance, according to a study published in the Sept. 25 issue of Science Translational Medicine.

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HEALTH REFORM: Exchanges Offer Options for the Uninsured

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Millions of part-time, seasonal, self-employed workers and other individuals currently without health insurance may find a solution to their vulnerable status when the new health care exchanges go into effect on Oct. 1.

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More Options, Lower Premiums With Insurance Exchanges

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Consumers are likely to find insurance options more plentiful and more affordable than expected in the new Health Insurance Marketplace that goes into effect Oct. 1, according to a report released Sept. 25 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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C. difficile Transmitted Through Genetically Diverse Sources

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 25 (HealthDay News) -- About half of Clostridium difficile cases are genetically distinct from previous cases, suggesting that symptomatic patients are not the only source of transmission, according to a study published in the Sept. 26 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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ACP Provides Overview of Health Insurance Marketplaces

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 25 (HealthDay News) -- The opportunities and challenges presented by health care reform are discussed in an article published online Sept. 24 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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New Survey Tool Predicts Immunization Status

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 25 (HealthDay News) -- The Parent Attitudes About Childhood Vaccines survey (PACV) predicts the immunization status of children with high reliability, according to a study published online Sept. 23 in JAMA Pediatrics.

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HEALTH REFORM: Health Care Reform a Mixed Bag for Workers

TUESDAY, Sept. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Much discussion of the Affordable Care Act revolves around the dramatic changes in store for America's uninsured, but the health care reform law will also have an impact on individuals with employer-based coverage.

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FDA Gives Final Guidance on Mobile Medical App Oversight

TUESDAY, Sept. 24 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued final guidance for mobile application (app) developers, and is focusing its oversight on medical apps that will be used as accessories to regulated medical devices, or that transform a mobile device into a regulated medical device.

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HEALTH REFORM: Young People Likely to Be Key to Success

MONDAY, Sept. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Young, healthy adults are considered key to the success of health insurance reform, but many are not even aware of state insurance exchanges.

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Infectious Endocarditis Risk ID'd in Congenital Heart Disease

MONDAY, Sept. 23 (HealthDay News) -- For children with congenital heart disease (CHD), the risk of infectious endocarditis (IE) is 6.1 per 1,000 children, and predictors include cyanotic CHD, endocardial cushion defects, and left-sided lesions, according to a study published in the Sept. 24 issue of Circulation.

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FDA Issues Final Rule for Device Identification System

MONDAY, Sept. 23 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has released a final rule for the unique device identification system (UDI) that, when implemented, will improve patient safety by providing a consistent way to identify approved medical devices.

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Unlike Adults, No Decline Seen in MRSA Infections in Children

MONDAY, Sept. 23 (HealthDay News) -- In contrast to decreasing incidence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection in adults, no significant reductions in health care-associated MRSA infections, and increasing incidence of community-acquired MRSA infections, have been reported in children, according to research published online Sept. 23 in Pediatrics.

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Majority of U.S. Consumers Want Full Access to EMR

MONDAY, Sept. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Most U.S. consumers want to have full access to their electronic medical records (EMR), and 41 percent would be willing to switch doctors to gain access, according to a survey published by Accenture.

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HEALTH REFORM: Health Care Exchanges Going Into Effect

MONDAY, Sept. 23 (HealthDay News) -- As of Oct. 1, consumers looking for health insurance will be able to turn to state-based health care exchanges, a centerpiece of the Affordable Care Act intended to help the uninsured and small businesses find affordable coverage.

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Monitoring Ups Adherence to Antiretroviral Prophylaxis

FRIDAY, Sept. 20 (HealthDay News) -- High adherence to oral antiretroviral pre-exposure prophylaxis is achieved when HIV serodiscordant couples receive active monitoring and counseling, according to research published online Sept. 10 in PLOS Medicine.

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New Medicaid Enrollees Under ACA May Be Healthier

THURSDAY, Sept. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Adults potentially eligible for Medicaid under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) are expected to have equal or better health status than current beneficiaries, according to research published in the September/October issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

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Millions Are Harmed by Unsafe Medical Care Each Year

THURSDAY, Sept. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Adverse events caused by inferior medical care are a major source of morbidity and mortality globally, according to research published in the October issue of BMJ Quality & Safety.

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Pros and Cons of Shortening Medical School Discussed

THURSDAY, Sept. 19 (HealthDay News) -- The pros and cons of shortening medical school to three years are discussed in two perspective pieces published in the Sept. 19 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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High-Volume Hospitals Have Fewer Surgical Readmissions

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Hospitals with a high volume of surgeries and low surgical mortality rates have lower rates of surgical readmission than other hospitals, according to research published in the Sept. 19 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Enhanced Care Program Set Up at Six Mayo Clinic Hospitals

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 18 (HealthDay News) -- A new program has been developed and implemented at six Mayo Clinic Health System hospitals to improve care and shorten hospital stays using remote monitoring, according to a press release issued by the Mayo Clinic.

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EHR Systems Meeting Meaningful Use Criteria Beneficial

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Most electronic health record (EHR) systems meet meaningful use criteria, and these systems are associated with time-saving and other benefits, according to a September data brief published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics.

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Payment for Routine Office Visits Varies Substantially

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 18 (HealthDay News) -- There is substantial variation in private insurance payment to physicians for routine office visits, according to research published in the September issue of Health Affairs.

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More Than 1.6 Million Americans Expected to Get Cancer in 2013

TUESDAY, Sept. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Although significant progress has been made in treating cancer, more than 1.6 million Americans are projected to receive a cancer diagnosis in 2013, according to the third American Association for Cancer Research's Cancer Progress Report 2013.

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Livestock Industrial Agriculture Exposure Ups Odds of MRSA

TUESDAY, Sept. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Exposure to swine and dairy/veal industrial agriculture is associated with increased odds of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection; and, the incidence of health care-associated community-onset (HACO) and hospital-onset MRSA infections has decreased since 2005, according to two studies published online Sept. 16 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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CDC Report Sheds Light on Antibiotic-Resistant Infections

MONDAY, Sept. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Antibiotic-resistant infections claim the lives of 23,000 people in the United States every year and take a tremendous financial toll on the already overburdened health care system, according to a report issued Sept. 16 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Factors Affecting Spontaneous Clearance of Hep C Identified

MONDAY, Sept. 16 (HealthDay News) -- For individuals with acute hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, female gender, IL28B CC genotype, and HCV genotype 1 are independently linked to spontaneous clearance, according to research published online Aug. 2 in Hepatology.

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More Than 150 Measles Cases in U.S. Through August 2013

MONDAY, Sept. 16 (HealthDay News) -- From Jan. 1 to Aug. 24, 2013, there were 159 cases of measles in 16 states in the United States, mainly resulting from eight outbreaks, according to a report published in the Sept. 13 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Kids With Neuro Disorders No More Likely to Get Flu Vaccine

MONDAY, Sept. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Although children with neurologic conditions are at high risk for complications of influenza infection, only half were vaccinated during the 2011 to 2012 influenza season, according to a report published in the Sept. 13 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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High Burden of Endocarditis in Older Adults

FRIDAY, Sept. 13 (HealthDay News) -- The 2007 American Heart Association guidelines recommending a restriction of antibiotic prophylaxis have not increased the rates of hospitalization or adjusted mortality for endocarditis among Medicare beneficiaries, although the burden of endocarditis is high, according to a study published online Aug. 28 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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Community-Level Intervention Cuts Antibiotic Prescribing

FRIDAY, Sept. 13 (HealthDay News) -- A community-level intervention targeting residents and health care professionals can influence antibiotic prescribing for outpatients, according to a study published online Sept. 12 in BMJ.

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Nearly a Third of Vaccines at Pharmacies Given Off-Hours

FRIDAY, Sept. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Almost one-third of vaccinations given to adults at community pharmacies are administered during off-clinic hours, according to a study published in the September/October issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

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Most Children in U.S. Receiving Recommended Vaccinations

THURSDAY, Sept. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Most children in the United States are being immunized against vaccine-preventable diseases at the nationally accepted target rate, but coverage lags in some states and in children whose family incomes fall at or below the federal poverty level, according to a report published in the Sept. 13 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Mindfulness Training Beneficial for Clinicians, Patients

THURSDAY, Sept. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Mindfulness training is associated with improvements in physician burnout; and, clinicians who rate themselves as more mindful engage in more patient-centered communication, according to two studies published in the September/October issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

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U.K. Nursing Students Report Seeing Lax Infection Control

THURSDAY, Sept. 12 (HealthDay News) -- U.K. nursing students report a solid understanding of infection control policies and compliance, or lack thereof, based on preclinical classroom instruction, according to a study published in the September issue of the American Journal of Infection Control.

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Unplanned Readmission Common After Spine Fusion

TUESDAY, Sept. 10 (HealthDay News) -- For patients undergoing spine fusion for adult spinal deformity, unplanned hospital readmissions are relatively common and are often related to surgical site infections, according to a study published in the Sept. 1 issue of Spine.

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About Half of Health Care Providers Are 'Digital Omnivores'

TUESDAY, Sept. 10 (HealthDay News) -- About half of health care providers are "digital omnivores," meaning they use a tablet, smartphone, and laptop/desktop computer routinely in a professional capacity, according to a report published by Epocrates.

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Treatment in Critical Care Often Perceived As Futile

TUESDAY, Sept. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Intensive care unit (ICU) treatment is frequently perceived as futile by critical care specialists, and entails considerable costs, according to a study published online Sept. 9 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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Radiographic Findings Mirror Clinical Severity in H7N9 Flu

TUESDAY, Sept. 10 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with novel avian-origin influenza A H7N9 virus infection, radiological findings mirror the severity of the clinical presentation, according to a study published in the September issue of Radiology.

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'Meaningful Use' Achievement Not Uniform Across Hospitals

MONDAY, Sept. 9 (HealthDay News) -- In regard to the adoption of electronic health records (EHRs), achievement of "meaningful use" criteria is not uniform across all hospitals, according to a study published in the August issue of Health Affairs.

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Most Physicians Report Being Satisfied With Career Choice

MONDAY, Sept. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Most physicians report being satisfied with their career choice, although 40 percent would rethink their path given the chance to choose again, according to the 2013 Great American Physician Survey published in Physicians Practice.

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Social Networking Can Help to Improve HIV Prevention

MONDAY, Sept. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Social networking seems to be an effective tool for increasing HIV testing among at-risk populations, according to a study published in the Sept. 3 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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CDC: U.S. Drinking Water Sanitation Still a Concern

THURSDAY, Sept. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Sanitation and water management in the United States has improved, but potentially preventable outbreaks of drinking water-associated disease, sometimes fatal, still occur, according to a report published in the Sept. 6 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Raw Produce-Related 2011 Listeriosis Outbreak Investigated

THURSDAY, Sept. 5 (HealthDay News) -- The 2011 outbreak illustrated that raw produce, including cantaloupe, can be a vehicle for transmission of listeriosis, according to research published in the Sept. 5 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Anti-CMV Treatment Shows Promise for Glioblastoma

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 4 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with glioblastoma, treatment with the anti-cytomegalovirus (CMV) agent valganciclovir is associated with improved survival, according to a study published in the Sept. 5 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Study Assesses Benefits of HBV Vaccine Program in Taiwan

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Implementation of a national hepatitis B virus (HBV) immunization program in Taiwan correlated with reductions in infant fulminant hepatitis (IFH), chronic liver disease (CLD), and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) mortality, and with HCC incidence, according to a research letter published in the Sept. 4 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Immunization Schedules Don't Impact PCV13 Immunogenicity

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 4 (HealthDay News) -- The immunogenicity of 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) is not significantly different for most serotypes when administered according to four different primary immunization schedules, according to a study published in the Sept. 4 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Major Health Care-Linked Infections Cost $9.8 Billion

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 4 (HealthDay News) -- The total annual cost associated with the five major health care-associated infections (HAIs) is $9.8 billion, according to a meta-analysis published online Sept. 2 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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AAP Updates Recommendations for Flu Prevention in Children

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Recommendations for routine use of seasonal influenza vaccine in children have been updated, according to an American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) policy statement published online Sept. 2 in Pediatrics.

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Docs' Confidence in Diagnosis Unrelated to Diagnostic Accuracy

TUESDAY, Sept. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Physicians' confidence in their diagnostic accuracy is not associated with actual diagnostic accuracy or with case difficulty, according to a study published online Aug. 26 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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Male-Female Physician Earnings Gap Has Persisted for 20 Years

TUESDAY, Sept. 3 (HealthDay News) -- For physicians, the male-female earnings gap has not changed significantly since 1987, according to a research letter published online Sept. 2 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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Employer-Based Health Insurance Premiums Rose Modestly in 2013

MONDAY, Sept. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Employer-sponsored health insurance premiums rose only modestly in 2013, according to research published in the August issue of Health Affairs.

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Workaholics Have Poorer Physical and Mental Health

MONDAY, Sept. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Workaholics, defined as those who work more than 50 hours per week, have reduced physical and mental well-being, according to researchers from Kansas State University.

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