Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.
A Dallas-based physician was sentenced to 35 years in prison for his role in defrauding Medicare and Medicaid out of nearly $375 million, according to The New York Times. Dr Jacques (ZHAWK) Roy, who owned Medistat Group Associates, was ordered by a federal judge to pay more than $268 million in restitution. He was convicted by a jury in April 2016 on 9 of 10 counts of defrauding a health care benefit program, the NY Times reported. Authorities said Dr Roy and 6 co-defendants certified 11,000 Medicare beneficiaries through more than 500 home health providers between January 2006 and November 2011.
Can action video games involving first-person shooters shrink the hippocampus area of the brain? New findings seem to suggest so. In a study published in Molecular Psychiatry, investigators used MRIs to scan the brains of 33 participants. The found action video game players who reported spending an average of 19 hours per week gaming, had less gray matter in the hippocampus than non-video game players, reported NPR. Forty-three additional individuals who did not usually play video games were then asked to spend 90 hours over approximately 10 weeks playing either action video games or Super Mario games in a controlled setting. Interestingly, the investigators found individuals in the action video game arm lost gray matter in the hippocampus, whereas individuals in the Super Mario game arm gained gray matter. The investigators believe the design of each type of video game may play a role in the loss and gain of gray matter. “In the majority of action video games, there’s an onscreen GPS overlaid on the screen,” lead author Gregory West told NPR. “There’s also wayfinding markers overlaid over the environment, and we know from past studies that when people are encouraged to navigate using these cues, really, they’re not using their hippocampal memory system to navigate.” Instead, they used the caudate nucleus, which is part of the brain’s reward system, NPR reported.
New findings show the risk of stroke is on the decline in men, but not women, according to The New York Times. For the study, investigators examined stroke incidence from 1993 to 2010 in 5 counties in Kentucky and Ohio. A total of 7710 strokes occurred, of which 57.2% were in women. The findings showed stroke incidence in men decreased from 263 per hundred thousand men from 1993-94 to 192 in 2010. For women, the incidence was 198 per hundred thousand in 2010, down from 217 in 1993-1994. According to the report, most of the difference was in ischemic stroke. Although it remains unclear why there has been no improvement in women, lead author Dr Tracy E Madsen told the NY Times that some risk factors—such as high blood pressure, smoking, and diabetes—have a stronger effect in women than men.