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What We're Reading: ACA Sign-Ups Surge; Zika Developmental Delays; Breastfeeding and Liver Disease

AJMC Staff
In the final weeks of open enrollment, the number of people signing up for Affordable Care Act plans has surged, although overall numbers still lag behind 2017; a study following the progress of babies who were born to mothers infected with the Zika virus during pregnancy are showing more development problems; new research has shown that the longer women breastfeed, the greater the reduction in their risk of developing nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

ACA Sign-Ups Surge, but Still Lag Behind 2017

In the final weeks of open enrollment, the number of people signing up for Affordable Care Act plans has surged. The deadline to enroll is December 15, and December 2-8 sign-ups reached the highest number for any other 1-week period in 2018, reported The Hill. However, those numbers are still behind last year’s enrollment—there were 934,269 sign-ups last week compared with 1,073,921 during the same week in 2017. Some of the reasons why enrollment could be down include the repeal of the individual mandate and the expansion of cheaper short-term plans.

 

Zika Babies Continue to Have Development Problems

A study following the progress of babies who were born to mothers infected with the Zika virus during pregnancy are showing more development problems. According to STAT, 14% of babies being followed in Brazil had severe development problems, with the children scoring low on cognition, motor, and language tests. In addition, the children had visual or hearing impairments. Of the children tested, 63% had scores in the normal range for cognition, motor, and language skills. The study is ongoing and will follow the children until at least 7 years.

 

Longer Breastfeeding Could Reduce Risk of Liver Disease

Breastfeeding has been shown to have health benefits for women, and the latest research has shown that the longer women breastfeed, the greater the reduction in their risk of developing nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. The New York Times reported that women who breastfed for at least 6 months were 52% less likely to develop liver disease than women who breastfed for less than 1 month. More research is needed, though, since it could be that women who breastfed for longer already lived healthier lives.

 
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