MASSDEVICE ON CALL — Democrats are showing some gratitude toward Republican presidential hopefuls in a kill-them-with-kindness strategy some are calling a "death hug."
White House hopefuls Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, and Indiana’s current chief, Gov. Mitch Daniels, both felt the squeeze this week as liberals invoked their names in praise of progress toward health care reform.
At a fundraiser in Boston, President Obama jokingly thanked Romney for laying the groundwork for the individual insurance mandate that conservatives have vehemently fought. And liberal advocacy group Protect Your Care launched ads in Iowa and N.H., states key to winning the GOP nomination, applauding Daniels for pushing the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act in his home state.
But conservative icon Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the U.S. House, is still the most-hugged GOP candidate. A liberal think-tank launched a website dedicated to thanking Gingrich for lambasting republican plans to overhaul Medicare, The Huffington Post reported.
The strategy arises just as republicans prepare to cut more than $200 million over 10 years from graduate-level medical student funding included in the Affordable Care Act. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the cut would save $220 million by 2021, The Hill reports.
Asthma: New surgery offers hope for severe cases
A surgical procedure that shrinks tissue in the windpipe shows promise for people suffering from severe asthma, the L.A. Times reported.
The new approach involves melting away tissue in the airway, helping to clear the thick layer of muscle that constricts breathing during asthma attacks.
The procedure, developed by Boston Scientific Corp.’s (NYSE:BSX) Asthmatx Inc., shows promise for patients who can’t control their asthma with medication, but long-term results of the surgery are unclear.
"It’s a totally novel and fascinating way to treat asthma, but if we do this to the airway, what does it do to it 10 years from now? We don’t know," Dr. James Pope Of Hartford Hospital told the Times.
Palomar-Candela trial set for October
Palomar Medical Technologies Inc.’s (NSDQ:PMTI) patent infringement lawsuit against Candela Corp. over a "Hair Removal Using Optical Pulses" patent will go to trial later this year, according to a press release.
After a judge tossed a Candela motion that he declare the patent invalid, Palomar re-filed the suit earlier this month.
Heart docs want a bigger role in EU regulatory reform
The European Society of Cardiology released a consensus report from a January policy conference, calling on physicians to take a more active role in shaping Europe’s device regulatory system, according to Heartwire.
Conference participants included representatives from the World Heart Federation, the American Heart Assn., the Food & Drug Administration and the European Commission.
"[Physicians] should be advising [regulators] about which risks should be considered acceptable and which aren’t and how devices should be evaluated from a clinical perspective," lead author Dr. Alan Fraser of the Wales Heart Research Institute told Heartwire.
Electrical stimulator allows once-paralyzed man to walk again
A patient left paralyzed below the chest from a car accident five years ago has regained mobility, thanks to an electrical stimulator implanted in the lining of his spinal cord, The Associated Press reports.
Just days after surgery, Robert Summers of Portland, Ore., shocked himself and researchers when he stood without help. Within months, he took his first steps on a treadmill.
"That tells us we can access the circuitry of the nervous system, which opens up a whole new avenue for us to address paralysis," Dr. Susan Harkema, lead author and rehabilitation research director at the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center in Louisville, told the AP.