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  • Congress to Challenge Gun Ban for Some Mentally Impaired USA Today by Nicole Gaudiano—As part of an effort to roll back Obama-era regulations, Congress is expected to take up legislation as early as next week that would prevent the government from declaring some Social Security recipients unfit to own guns after they’ve been deemed mentally incapable of managing their financial affairs. At the urging of the National Rifle Association, a rule requiring the Social Security Administration to send records of such individuals to the federal background check system for firearms is among a host of regulations the group says is being targeted by the Republican Congress for repeal under the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to dismiss actions an outgoing administration initiated in the last six months.

  • Dying from Cancer: Could Your Location Determine Your Fate? AP by Lindsey Tanner—Americans in certain struggling parts of the country are dying from cancer at rising rates, even as the cancer death rate nationwide continues to fall, an exhaustive new analysis has found. In parts of the country that are relatively poor, and have higher rates of obesity and smoking, cancer death rates rose nearly 50 percent, while wealthier pockets of the country saw death rates fall by nearly half.

  • Limiting Antibiotics Curbs Deadly Hospital Infections New York Times by Nicholas Bakalar—Hospitals try to control Clostridium difficile, a bacterium that can cause deadly infections, by careful cleaning and meticulous washing of the hands. But limiting the use of antibiotics may be even more effective, a British study suggests. The incidence of C. difficile infection in England declined by 80 percent after 2006, when strict hospital sanitation and antibiotic prescription controls were both implemented. The study, in The Lancet, found that in regions where fluoroquinolone antibiotics were used widely, the more virulent and deadly resistant strains of C. diff became the dominant type of infection, while susceptible strains continued to enter the hospital from the community.

  • Americans Were Making A Lot of Progress Cutting Back on Sugary Drinks. Now That’s Stopped. Washington Post by Caitlin Dewey—For years, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines urged Americans to drink less sugary beverages. And for years, many Americans listened. But after a decade of falling consumption, rates have stalled at well above the recommended limit, according to statistics released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The agency found that adults and children are both consuming roughly the same number of calories from soda, sports drinks, and other sugary beverages now as they did in 2009-2010, the last time the CDC published comparable data.

  • Did IUD Insertions Spike After Trump’s Election? A Big New Data Set Says Yes. Vox by Sarah Kliff—Donald Trump’s election may have inspired a birth control boom. Intrauterine device (IUD) prescriptions and procedures increased 19 percent between October and December of this year, according to a data set compiled by analysts for the electronic health record AthenaHealth. No similar pattern was observed at the end of 2015. At Vox’s request, AthenaHealth compiled data from 2,500 doctor offices across the country that use its electronic medical record and have provided IUDs over the past 15 months (92 percent of these doctors are OB-GYNs). It then showed us the month-by-month trends in IUD demand. The data showed an increase from 10,850 IUD-related appointments in October to 12,938 in December. The increase showed up in conservative and liberal areas of the country, although it was steeper in areas that supported Clinton in the 2016 election…. The health care law required insurance companies to cover IUDs and other contraceptives at no cost to the consumer. But if the mandate goes away, IUDs could once again become an especially expensive contraceptive.

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