Medical Week in Review 3-30-13

Good morning!  Yes, I am up early on this holiday weekend.  My Good Friday took a turn for the not-so-good when my nearly complete Week in Review post slated to publish yesterday somehow was deleted from my laptop as I touched it up.  I was going to just forget about the Week in Review this week but it just didn't seem right.  If you need a break from dying Easter eggs and picking up those bits of Easter basket grass that find their way into every nook and cranny of your floor, check out this week's happenings in medicine. 

This is no April Fool's joke.  Under new sequestration related cutbacks, Medicare plans to decrease payments to medical providers by 2 percent beginning Monday, April 1st.  If you are paid based on RVU's, this will directly affect your pocketbook. 

What's really in your Easter basket?  You may be getting more than you bargained for in some holiday treats.  Popular springtime candy Peeps contain gelatin derived from skin, bones, cartilage, intestines and hoofs.  Jellybeans are coated with "confectioner's glaze", often referred to as "beetle juice".  This candy coating is made from secretions of female lac bugs and is also used to finish wood.  What about those "all natural" Cadbury Cream Eggs?  This Easter delight contains Castoreum, a derivative from the excretions of beaver anal glands.  A little too natural if you ask me. 

A new iPad app developed by researchers at Notre Dame helps diagnose concussion in athletes.  Players simply speak into the app pre-game then again if suffering a head injury.  The app compares the two speech samples identifying subclinical changes in voice aiding in diagnosis of concussion. 

Being pessimistic may extend your lifespan according to a new study.  Researchers believe this is because pessimists have a more realistic outlook on life making them more likely to pay attention to their health.  This begs the question, would you rather die young and happy or old and cantankerous?

Stressed out?  Turn on some tunes.  Research overwhelmingly shows that music benefits both mental and physical health.  One study even showed that music was more effective that prescription drugs in easing a person's anxiety before undergoing surgery.

I hope you have a wonderful Easter weekend!