Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.
The consumption of yogurt may strengthen bones, a new study published in Osteoporosis International suggests. The investigators used questionnaires to gather information on diet and lifestyle from 4310 Irish adults, age 60 and older, according to The New York Times. X-rays and MRIs were used to measure bone density and joint deterioration, along with testing of the participants’ physical ability. The results of the study showed that those who ate yogurt daily had a 3% to 4% increase in bone mineral density compared with non-yogurt eaters. Furthermore, the daily consumption of yogurt was associated with a 39% lower risk of osteoporosis in women and a 52% lower risk in men. Yogurt eaters also performed better on physical fitness tests, the NY Times reported. Although the findings are promising, the authors noted that the study was observational, therefore cause and effect could not be proven. “The main message is that yogurt is a good source of micronutrients, vitamin D, B vitamins, and calcium—–and of protein and probiotics as well,” lead author Eamon J. Laird told the NY Times. “We think it could be a combination of these things that has the beneficial effect.”
Steroid injections for arthritis knee pain work no better than a placebo, according to a study published in JAMA. Included in the double-blind study were 140 patients over 45 years with painful knee osteoarthritis. The participants were randomized to receive injections of either a corticosteroid or a saline placebo every 3 months for 2 years. During each visit, the participants filled out pain questionnaires and took tests of physical ability, The New York Times reported. The results of the study revealed that overall, there was no difference between the groups in pain, stiffness, or how well they could stand from a seated position or walk. Additionally, the patients underwent bone and joint scans that showed no significant differences, except for a clinically insignificant cartilage loss in the steroid group. The authors concluded that steroid injections for short-term pain relief may be useful, but not for long-term use.
CVS Health Corp’s Omnicare unit reached a settlement to resolve claims that its prescription verification system resulted in false claims submitted under the Medicare Part D and Medicaid programs. Omnicare has agreed to pay $8 million to resolve claims by the federal government and 28 states arising out of a whistleblower lawsuit, according to Reuters. From 2008 to 2014, the government said that Omnicare designed an automated label verification system to increase profits, which resulted in claims being submitted for generic drugs that were different from those dispensed to the patients. Furthermore, drugs were being dispensed with patient-specific labels that displayed an incorrect National Drug Code. In a statement, CVS said that the false submissions occurred before it acquired Omnicare in 2015. Omnicare has neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing as part of the settlement, Reuters reported.