Cancer patients often receive radiation therapy over several months, but a new study shows how it could all be done in less than one second using high energy flash therapy. The study in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology • Biology • Physics finds that the key is using proton therapy rather than the standard electrons.



Medical notes this week…

One of the objectives of the affordable care act, when it went into effect in 2014, was to reduce racial and ethnic differences in who can get insurance. Now an analysis by the Commonwealth Fund shows that the ACA has done just that. The report finds that among adults, the gap between Black and white uninsured rates has dropped by more than four percent. While the difference between white and Hispanic uninsured rates dropped by nearly nine-and-a-half percent. However, researchers say the reduction has stalled since 2016.

Naloxone, the rescue drug for reversing a drug overdose, is available to first responders, and also by prescription to people who are at high risk of an overdose. However, a new study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine shows that only two percent of those high risk people have filled a prescription. That means that most of them won’t have it with them when they need it. national guidelines call for doctors to prescribe Naloxone to anyone who takes high doses of opioid painkillers, has a history of an overdose, or a diagnosed opioid use disorder.

Cancer patients often receive radiation therapy over several months, but a new study shows how it could all be done in less than one second using high energy flash therapy. The study in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology • Biology • Physics finds that the key is using proton therapy rather than the standard electrons. Protons can be precisely targeted and delivered in one massive dose. The procedure still requires clinical tests before it can be more widely used.

And finally… people who have sleep apnea often find that losing weight helps alleviate the problem. Now scientists have discovered why. A study in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine shows that when we lose weight, we lose it everywhere, even in the tongue. And it’s the reduction of tongue fat that’s key in cutting sleep apnea. 

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