Federal Prosecutor Says Florida Network Defrauded Medicare and Medicaid of Over $1 Billion

The New York Times reports the details. Here’s a sample:

“Prosecutors, however, described [Philip Esformes] as the “mastermind” of a conspiracy that cycled some 14,000 elderly people in and out of nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, whether they needed medical care or not.

With the help of doctors, pharmacists, health care consultants and other medical personnel who got kickbacks for their roles, the facilities billed Medicare and Medicaid for high-priced drugs, medical procedures and health equipment that the patients either did not need or never received, prosecutors said.

In some cases, they charged, Mr. Esformes’s operation “preyed upon” the elderly patients by giving them narcotics so that they would have to remain longer in the care facilities to treat their addictions and “the cycle of fraud could continue.”

Source: U.S. Says Florida Network Defrauded Medicare and Medicaid of Over $1 Billion – The New York Times

Follow my advice and you’ll be much less likely to even need Medicare’s coverage.

Sugar (and Fructose) Restriction May Be the Key to Eliminating Metabolic Syndrome and Reducing Heart Disease

Dr. Axel Sigurdsson is a cardiologist and blogger who writes about heart disease. A recent post of his considered the role of sugar, including fructose, in metabolic syndrome and coronary artery disease. He does a great job translating scientific research for consumption by the general public. For example:

“Lustig studied 43 obese children (ages 8-19) with metabolic abnormalities typical of the metabolic syndrome. All were high consumers of added sugar in their diets (e.g. soft drinks, juices, pastries, breakfast cereals, salad dressings, etc.).

The children were fed the same calories and percent of each macronutrient as their home diet; but within the carbohydrate fraction, the added sugar was removed, and replaced with starch. For example, pastries were taken out, and bagels put in; yogurt was taken out, baked potato chips were put in; chicken teriyaki was taken out, turkey hot dogs were put in. Whole fruit was allowed.After ten days, diastolic blood pressure fell, insulin resistance decreased, liver tests improved, and triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and HDL cholesterol all improved.”

Source: Medical Practice

PS: All of my diets combat metabolic syndrome.

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

Two diet books in one

Ketogenic Diets Poised for a Resurgence

 

Front cover

Front cover

Men’s Fitness has an article praising ketogenic diets, with a focus on effects on athletic performance. Inexplicably, the piece doesn’t mention my Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet. The KMD is also presented as an option in The Advanced Mediterranean Diet (2nd ed.). A quote:

“Timothy Noakes, M.D., is an emeritus professor in the Division of Exercise Science and Sports Medicine at the University of Cape Town. While his name may not ring a bell here in the U.S., he’s a full-blown celebrity in his native South Africa and one of the most accomplished exercise physiologists on the planet. You can’t walk by a restaurant in Cape Town that doesn’t offer a “Noakes option”—say, an avocado stuffed with breakfast sausage and eggs, or a double cheeseburger with lettuce sans bun—and evidence of his teachings seems to be everywhere, mostly in the form of the nation’s best-known athletes, including ageless golfing legend Gary Player and eight-time Ironman World Champion Paula Newby-Fraser. In fact, Noakes’ celebrity these days is such that he’s even been pulled into South African presidential politics: To echo the country’s papers of record, “Is President Jacob Zuma’s and his wife’s dramatic weight loss a result of the Noakes Diet?” No one is sure about the president, but his wife, definitely: She’s lost 66 pounds following the Noakes plan.

Source: The Truth Behind the World’s Most Cutting-Edge Fat-Burning Performance Meal Plan: The Keto Diet

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

Two diet books in one

David Howard Says Insurers Can Reduce Drug Prices, If Policymakers Let Them

“Whilst decrying rapid increases in drug spending and prices, elected officials have actually made it increasingly difficult for insurers to do anything about it. As payers, insurers are the only parties in the health care system who have both the means and the incentive to counter drug firms’ pricing power. For example, insurers have aggressively steered patients from branded to generic drugs, saving billions in the process. However, much of the growth in drug spending is attributable to new drugs that do not yet face generic competition.

In normal markets, monopolies face constraints on their pricing power. The higher they set the price, the less they sell. Insurers want to present drug companies with the same trade off, but as I describe here, numerous policies enacted in the name of facilitating patient access limit insurers’ ability to do so.”

Source: Insurers Can Reduce Drug Prices, If Policymakers Let Them

Maybe I Need to Re-Think This Green Tea Thing

“I have friends who attend matcha tea ceremonies, hire doulas, and go to shaman-led sweat lodges in Tulum.”

Source: American Digest

PS: “Match tea” is a term I ran across in my quest for green tea that’s actually green.

The Mediterranean Diet Is Dying Out In Its Homeland

Click the link below for details. Some snippets:

“Found to varying degrees in all countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, [the Mediterranean diet] was named in 2010 onto UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list for seven countries, from Croatia to Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Morocco, Spain and Portugal.

But the diet, which the United Nations also praises for promoting hospitality, neighbourliness, intercultural dialogue and creativity, is going rapidly out of fashion.

“In Greece, it has decreased by 70 percent over the last 30 years, in Spain 50 percent,” Lluis Serra-Majem, head of the International Foundation of Mediterranean Diet, told AFP at a recent conference in Milan.

Less than 15 percent of the Spanish population still eats a Mediterranean diet, while 50 to 60 percent do so sometimes. Between 20 to 30 percent have ditched it altogether, Serra-Majem said.

And it’s the same in Greece, says Antonia Trichopoulou from the Hellenic Health Foundation. Unsurprisingly, over 65-year-olds are the best at eating traditional dishes, while the youngest generations have succumbed to the lure of fast food.

“The decline has various causes. We are witnessing a globalization of eating habits, with [the spread of] the ‘Western diet’,” said Serra-Majem, pointing a finger of blame at the growth of the tourism sector in particular.

It has been more marked in coastal areas, particularly in Spain or on Italy’s Adriatic coast.

“Uncontrolled tourism leads to high urbanization and… increased consumption of meat, refined flours and a reduction of the traditional diet, ” he said.

Source: Global push to make Mediterranean diet sexy again | Lifestyle | GMA News Online

Parker here. I doubt tourism is the major reason for the decline of the diet’s popularity.

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

Two diet books in one

Monster In the Mind: A New Documentary From Jean Carper Looks Interesting

Monster in the Mind (2016) Trailer from jean carper on Vimeo.