Fresh Food By Prescription: This Health Care Firm Is Trimming Costs — And Waistlines 

The rising prevalence and cost of Type 2 diabetes has doctors at Geisinger Health System turning to food as a form of medicine. They’re prescribing free, fresh food to low-income patients.

…Over the past year, he and about 180 patients with Type 2 diabetes have been participating in a pilot program aimed at getting them to change their diets and lose weight. They receive free groceries of healthy foods every week.

Shicowich has lost about 45 pounds, and he is now much more active.

The Geisinger Fresh Food Pharmacy is stocked with healthy pantry staples, like oatmeal and peanut butter, as well as fresh produce.

Each week, Shicowich and the other participants come to the food pharmacy. In its new incarnation, it looks more like a grocery, with neatly stocked shelves filled with healthy staples such as whole grain pasta and beans. The refrigerators are full of fresh produce, greens, low-fat dairy, lean meats and fish.

The participants meet one-on-one with a registered dietitian. They’re given recipes and hands-on instruction on how to prepare healthy meals. Then, they go home with a very different kind of prescription: five days’ worth of free, fresh food.

…Shicowich’s health has improved. His blood sugar and blood pressure have dropped so much that if he keeps on track, his doctors say they will reduce his medications.

…the costs associated with diabetes in the U.S. now exceed $240 billion a year.

Once you consider that price tag, Geisinger’s program can look like a bargain. Over the course of a year, the company will spend about $1,000 on each Fresh Food Pharmacy patient. All of the participants in the program are low-income, so the gift of the food eliminated a key obstacle to eating well.

…It’s still early days, and the team plans to fully analyze its first year of data. But here’s what it estimates so far: “A decrease in hemoglobin A1C of 1 point saves us [about] $8,000,” Feinberg says.

And many of the participants have seen a decline in hemoglobin A1C of about 3 points. “So that’s [about] $24,000 we’re saving in health care costs,” Feinberg says. “It’s a really good value.” Geisinger is now in the process of expanding the program to new locations within Pennsylvania.

Fresh Food By Prescription: This Health Care Firm Is Trimming Costs — And Waistlines : The Salt : NPR


Homo nadeli, just discovered in Africa, were walking around with humans

Homo sapiens had a rival cousin as recently as 236,000 years ago, according to discoveries made by a team of scientists in South Africa.

…Homo naledi also appear to have engaged in the relatively advanced practice of burying their dead.

…The discoveries have encouraged other scientists to rethink human evolution.

…the discovery should prompt people to question the familiar image of a stooped chimp-like creature evolving into an upright, modern human.

“We’ve had for so long this view that human evolution was a matter of inevitability represented by that march, that progress,” he told the paper. “But now that narrative of human evolution has become one of adaptability. There was a lot of evolution and extinction of populations and lineages that made it through some pretty tough times, and we’re the beneficiary of that.”

Homo nadeli, just discovered in Africa, were walking around with humans

It always boggles the mind that researchers have so much trouble entertaining theories based on what is in front of them, theories that make so much more sense than anything that came before.

Hanford nuclear emergency: Workers take cover at ‘most toxic place in America’ after tunnel collapses 

Hundreds of workers have been forced to “take cover” after a tunnel in a nuclear finishing plant collapsed in Washington state.

…a manager sent a message to workers telling them to “secure ventilation in your building” and to “refrain from eating or drinking.” The US Department of Energy activated its Emergency Operations Center Tuesday following the collapse. Some workers were reportedly told to evacuate while others were told to shelter-in-place as officials investigated the severity of the situation.

The tunnel reportedly contained highly contaminated materials including nuclear waste trains that are used to transport radioactive fuel rods.

…Before the Tuesday collapse, those tanks were reportedly leaking toxic and radioactive vapours and chemicals that have been linked to cancer, brain damage, and lung damage. There were at least 61 workers exposed to those deadly vapours last year. Experts have called the location “the most toxic place in America” and “an underground Chernobyl waiting to happen.”

Hanford nuclear emergency: Workers take cover at ‘most toxic place in America’ after tunnel collapses | The Independent