What We're Reading: Combining Antibiotics Proves Potent; Kentucky Dentists See Chaos; Declining US Fertility Rate

Combining certain antibiotics could make them stronger against harmful bacteria; Kentucky’s decision to abruptly cut Medicaid dental and vision benefits for about 500,000 adults has created confusion; Americans are having fewer babies.

Combining Antibiotics Makes Them More Powerful

Combining certain antibiotics could make them stronger against harmful bacteria, STAT News reported. Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Germany tested 3000 different combinations of antibiotics with each other or with drugs, food additives, and other compounds on 3 common types of bacteria. Their results, published in Nature, showed that hundreds of combinations made antibiotic treatment more effective, whereas others did not. Pairs of drugs that targeted the same cellular processes were more likely to be successful than combinations that worked in 2 different ways.

Kentucky Dentists See Chaos in Wake of State Decision Cutting Off Benefits

Kentucky’s decision to abruptly cut Medicaid dental and vision benefits for about a half-million adults has created confusion, the Courier Journal reported, as children, pregnant women, and disabled adults are mistakenly showing up in the state's computer system as having lost coverage. Health law advocates are considering a lawsuit to fight the cutoff of dental and vision services that followed a federal judge's ruling Friday striking down the state’s plan to impose work requirements for some adults receiving Medicaid. One dentist told the paper he has turned away about 10 children, some with significant dental decay, since Monday for lack of Medicaid coverage.

American Fertility Rate Hits Record Low for Second Consecutive Year

Americans are having fewer babies for a variety of reasons, The New York Times reported. A survey conducted for the newspaper found that the declining fertility rate, hitting a record low for the second consecutive year, is due to a variety of factors, including wanting more leisure time and personal freedom, not yet having a partner, not being able to afford childcare costs, and economic insecurity factors. The fertility rate influences major societal issues, such as immigration, education, housing, the labor supply, the social safety net, and support for working families.