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Study finds vitamin D boosts breast cancer survival

BY Antoinette Alexander

SAN DIEGO — According to recently released research, breast cancer patients were twice as likely to survive the disease if they had high levels of vitamin D in their blood.

University of California, San Diego School of Medicine researchers reported the findings in the March issue of Anticancer Research.

“Vitamin D metabolites increase communication between cells by switching on a protein that blocks aggressive cell division,” said Cedric F. Garland, professor in the department of family and preventive medicine. “As long as vitamin D receptors are present, tumor growth is prevented and kept from expanding its blood supply. Vitamin D receptors are not lost until a tumor is very advanced. This is the reason for better survival in patients whose vitamin D blood levels are high.”

In prior studies, Garland showed that low vitamin D levels were linked to a high risk of premenopausal breast cancer. That finding, he said, prompted him to question the relationship between 25-hydroxyvitamin D — a metabolite produced by the body from the ingestion of vitamin D — and breast cancer survival rates.

Garland and colleagues then performed a statistical analysis of five studies of 25-hydroxyvitamin D obtained at the time of patient diagnosis and their follow-up for an average of nine years. Combined, the studies included 4,443 breast cancer patients.

Women in the high serum group had an average level of 30 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml) of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in their blood. The low group averaged 17 ng/ml. The average level in patients with breast cancer in the United States is 17 ng/ml, researchers said.

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CMS won’t move ahead with some proposed Medicare drug plan changes

BY Antoinette Alexander

WASHINGTON — The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has decided not to move forward on several of the proposed provisions of the Medicare Advantage and Part D prescription drug program, according to reports.

According to a letter sent to Congress by CMS administrator Marilyn Tavenner and obtained by Kaiser Health News, during the rule’s recent comment period the agency received concerns about some elements of the proposal, including plans to lift the protected class definition on three drug classes and to set standards on Medicare Part D plans’ requirements to participate in preferred pharmacy networks.

CMS stated in the letter that, “given the complexities of these issues and stakeholder input, we do not plan to finalize these proposals at this time.”

However, the letter noted that CMS does plan to finalize proposals related to consumer protections, anti-fraud provisions that have bipartisan support and transparency after taking into account the comments received during the public comment period.
 

 

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Jawbone app now available for Android

BY Ryan Chavis

SAN FRANCISCO — Jawbone, a developer of wearable technology and audio devices, on Tuesday announced that its lifestyle tracker, UP24 and the accompanying UP app, are now available for Android users. UP24 is a wristband, app and data system that helps consumers understand their sleeping, movement and eating activity so that they can make choices to live better.

"We believe that helping people understand the context and meaning of their data is key in helping to make sustained behavior changes. Through our investment in data science we have been able to provide personalized insights to help nudge people to meet their sleep or activity goals. Now with the launch of UP24 on Android, our entire community can enjoy the benefits of these insights in real-time, with continuous feedback and in-the-moment notifications to help them achieve their goals," said Travis Bogard, vice president of product management and strategy for Jawbone. "Android users have been incredibly active in the UP community, and we’re thrilled to bring UP24 to the Android platform."

The UP app for Android delivers insights that encourage and motivate, the company said. With the introduction of Bluetooth 4.0 syncing, consumers can also receive constant feedback and real-time notifications to help them better achieve their goals.

The UP by Jawbone 3.0 app for Android is available now in 12 languages as a free download on Google Play.

 

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