New York Health: Big cancer centers uncertain on Cuomo’s pot plan; STDs on the rise; Methodist moves forward

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Dan Goldberg

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POT SURPRISE –- It may be telling that many of the leading cancer centers in the state are mum on Cuomo's plan to use them as medical marijuana dispensaries. I called a bunch of the best known in New York and only Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo said they were interested in learning more. Sloan-Kettering, one of the most esteemed cancer centers in the country, said they had no plans at this time and had never been contacted by the state. The concern is that regardless of Cuomo's position, dispensing marijuana remains a violation of federal law and hospitals rely on the federal government for payment and to maintain their nonprofit status. http://capi.tl/1ksz4FO

HOME RULE -- Lobbyists are considering crafting a specific marijuana bill for New York City, Capital's Dana Rubinstein reports. A New York City law could allow for more wiggle room in terms of how pot would be obtained and dispensed http://capi.tl/1eJDqS6 

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NOW WE KNOW -- Bed bugs grow faster in groups. It's well known that certain insects – especially crickets, cockroaches and grasshoppers – grow faster in bunches but no one had ever taken a close look at bed bugs. Until now. Writing in this month's Journal of Medical Entomology, researchers found that bed bug nymphs developed 2.2 days faster than solitary nymphs, a 7.3 percent difference. http://bit.ly/19VCa0I

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METHODIST GREEN LIT –- New York Methodist Hospital was given a provisional green light to expand its campus Wednesday night, The Brooklyn Paper reported. The full Community Board 6 overwhelmingly approved the plan, which now must receive a go-ahead from the city. The hospital revised its plan several times to appease local concerns over traffic. http://bit.ly/1diWAkT

YOU'RE COVERED –- Beginning in September, most health insurance plans must cover medications that reduce the potential of breast cancer for women with a high risk for the disease. Medications such as tamoxifen or raloxifene will be provided free of charge. http://wapo.st/1eaW0nL

CLOSER WATCH –- CMS is proposing a new rule that would allow the agency greater oversight over Medicare Part D prescribers. The proposed rule follows reports in the Washington Post and ProPublica, which chronicled the apparent over-prescribing of some doctors. The 878-page rule is scheduled to be published today in the federal register. http://1.usa.gov/1fhehTt

WHAT WE'RE (RE)READING –- ProPublica's investigative piece on Medicare Part D, which found “some doctors and other health professionals across the country prescribe large quantities of drugs that are potentially harmful, disorienting or addictive.” http://bit.ly/1gmuX8l

STDs RISE –- Syphilis in the U.S. Increased by 11.1 percent in 2012 with men – especially gay and bisexual men – accounting for the entire spike. Gonorrhea was also up 4 percent and chlamydia was up .7 percent, according to a report published on Thursday from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://1.usa.gov/1glRTVr

JOB OPENING –- Crouse Hospital has an opening for a full-time midwife, who could work evenings. http://bit.ly/1lG6Zc6

TODAY'S TIP –- comes from Mount Sinai Hospital, which reminds us when using kerosene heaters to maintain good ventilation to avoid toxic fumes. Also, keep it at least 3-feet away from flammable objects and only refuel outside.

STUDY THIS

- Y YES –- The Y chromosome may be getting smaller but it isn't likely to disappear. A study published Thursday in PLOS Genetics shows there are 27 unique genes on the Y, which are probably maintained by selection and therefore unlikely to disappear. Male-specific genes are located on the Y chromosome, but some time in our evolutionary history these genes became detrimental to females so the X and Y stopped swapping genes. http://bit.ly/1gMijQS

- NEW USE –- A drug used to treat bipolar disorder may also help treat acute kidney injury, according to a study that appeared in Thursday's Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. Lithium blocks an enzyme called glycogen synthase kinase (GSK) 3β that causes AKI. Researchers lauded the discovery because there are currently no effective therapies for AKI, which is one of the most expensive ailments treated in U.S. Hospitals. http://bit.ly/1bWtAZK

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