It’s no surprise to learn that infotainment systems cause driver distraction, but recent news from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety showed that the problem may be worse than we thought.
“Removing eyes from the road for just two seconds doubles the risk for a crash,” AAA wrote in a press release.
“With one in three adults using infotainment systems while driving, AAA cautions that using these technologies while behind the wheel can have dangerous consequences.”
Source: 12 Vehicle Infotainment Systems That Distract Drivers | Design News
.. new research from Germany suggests proximity to a wooded landscape may also have a huge benefit.
In a study of older urban dwellers, it found living in close proximity to forest land is linked with strong, healthy functioning of a key part of the brain. This indicates that, compared with those who live in a mostly man-made environment, people who dwell on the border between city and forest may be better able to cope with stress.
Source: Living Near a Forest Is Linked to Better Brain Health – Pacific Standard
.. Wait, what? Make no mistake: This vegan avocado chocolate bar is candy.
So how in the world could a chocolate bar be convincingly sold as a health food? You can thank a decades-long effort by the chocolate industry.
Over the past 30 years, food companies like Nestlé, Mars, Barry Callebaut, and Hershey’s — among the world’s biggest producers of chocolate — have poured millions of dollars into scientific studies and research grants that support cocoa science.
Source: Dark chocolate is now a health food. Here’s how that happened. – Vox
Back in May, the UPMC Health Plan in Pennsylvania said it would need to increase its health insurance premiums on the Affordable Care Act’s marketplace by 8 percent, on average, in 2018.
Then on Monday, UPMC issued a substantial revision. Premiums weren’t going up 8 percent next year after all. Instead, the increase would be 41 percent, on average.
Obamacare hadn’t been overhauled. The customers were still the same.
But President Donald Trump had inherited an individual health insurance market that was starting to stabilize and decided to break it.
After months of threats, Trump announced late last week that he would halt federal payments to health insurers, known as cost-sharing reductions. His administration also slashed budgets for Obamacare outreach and suggested it would not enforce the law’s individual mandate, which requires every American to have insurance or pay a penalty.
Source: Obamacare premiums were stabilizing. Then Trump happened. – Vox
The compromise would provide two years of payments to insurers, compensating them for lowering the out-of-pocket health care costs of certain ObamaCare enrollees. Trump announced he was canceling the payments last week, arguing the previous administration lacked the authority to make them.
Without the payments, the Congressional Budget Office has said premiums could rise as much as 20 percent, and enrollment would likely fall.
Democrats say Trump is seeking to sabotage the law by ending the payments, along with other administrative moves he’s made that they say could damage ObamaCare.
Source: 24 hours later, Senate health deal all but completely dead | TheHill
.. Elodie’s story is common. Americans pay exorbitant prices for all kinds of care.
As a health care reporter, I find myself writing about $25,000 MRIs, $629 Band-Aids — even a $39.95 fee just to hold one’s own baby after delivery. People send me these types of bills quite regularly via email.
The health care prices in the United States are, in a word, outlandish. On average, an MRI in the United States costs $1,119. That same scan costs $503 in Switzerland and $215 in Australia.
These are uniquely American stories, and they are the key to understanding our dysfunctional health care system.
Source: Health care prices are the problem – Vox
.. sleep disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea have increased in recent years — likely due to the same factors as sleep deprivation, Rubin Naiman notes.
What Naiman doesn’t say, but feels relevant, is that it is especially hard to safeguard our dream sleep because there’s so little social or financial incentive to do so.
For most of us, sleeping falls lower on the priority list than both work and play. And getting the recommended amount of sleep — seven to nine hours a night — isn’t as trendy as so many other wellness-focused habits. This could be because sleep isn’t inherently commodifiable; it doesn’t make businesses money the way that a spin class or a kale smoothie can.
Source: We’re in a ‘Dream Deprivation’ Epidemic
Twice a year, all Europeans have to change their clocks. But it is high time to stop this useless and harmful habit. The EU Directive on ‘Daylight Saving Time’ was once intended to save energy. New research by the European Parliament has proven yet again that this goal has not been reached.
On the contrary, this EU Regulation poses real risks for people.
After a clock change, women and elderly people in particular face an increased danger of heart problems.
Up to 30% more road accidents are noted in the week following clock change.
Some children perform less at school, sometimes even for weeks.
The recent winners of the Nobel Prize for Medicine proved that the human body is made for a steady biorhythm.
Source: The time has come to stop the biannual clock change
A version of these self-insured association health plans first became widespread in the 1980s, but they failed in droves because many were undercapitalized.
More troubling, these earlier association plans had a history of becoming what the Labor Department termed “scam artists” and the Government Accountability Office reported were “bogus entities [that] have exploited employers and individuals seeking affordable coverage.”
More than two dozen states reported in 1992 that these early association plans had committed “fraud, embezzlement or other criminal law” violations.
Source: States have already tried Trump’s health care order. It went badly.
Congressional Democrats have to decide how badly they want an ObamaCare deal.
Senate Republicans are open to renewing the insurer payments that President Trump canceled last week, but, in return, they want to expand a program that allows states to waive Affordable Care Act regulations.
That asking price could be hard for Democrats to swallow.
Source: Tough decisions loom for Dems on ObamaCare | TheHill