Read The Full Article- New York Times By Gina Kolata Nov. 17, 2014

For the first time since statins have been regularly used, a large study has found that another type of cholesterol-lowering drug can protect people from heart attacks and strokes.

The finding can help millions at high risk of heart attacks who cannot tolerate statins or do not respond to them sufficiently. And it helps clarify the role of LDL cholesterol, the dangerous form. Some had argued that statins reduced heart attack risk not just by lowering LDL levels but also by reducing inflammation. The new study indicates that the crucial factor is LDL, and the lower the levels, the better.

The six-year study, reported Monday at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association, involved 18,000 people who had had heart attacks or episodes of chest pain so severe they went to a hospital. They were randomly assigned to take a statin or a combination of a statin and the alternative drug to further reduce LDL levels.

Both groups ended up with very low LDL levels — those taking the statin, simvastatin, had an average LDL of 69, and those taking simvastatin and the other drug, ezetimibe, or Zetia, in a combination pill sold as Vytorin, had an average LDL of 54. No clinical trial had ever asked what happened when LDL levels get below 70 because, said Dr. Robert Califf, a Duke cardiologist and the study chairman, "many people were nervous about going this low and imagined a lot of possible toxicities."

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NAPLES, Fla. and NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Oct. 24, 2014) - NCH Healthcare System, Blue Zones, LLC, and Healthways (NASDAQ: HWAY) today announced the launch of the Blue Zones Project®, a major initiative to improve the well-being and longevity of residents of Collier and South Lee Counties in Southwest Florida. The Blue Zones Project brings together citizens, schools, employers, restaurants, grocery stores and community leaders to improve the living environment so healthy choices are natural and often unavoidable. NCH is bringing the Blue Zones Project to Southwest Florida in support of its 10-year vision to make the region an even healthier, happier and more vibrant place to live.

The Blues Zones Project Naples Video"As a leading steward of our region's healthcare, NCH has a special responsibility to focus on population health and disease prevention," said Allen Weiss, M.D., president and chief executive officer of NCH Healthcare System. "Our intent is to collaborate with other Collier and South Lee County organizations, large and small, to begin this rigorous and worthwhile journey toward becoming a Blue Zone — an area in which residents live longer, happier, healthier lives."

The Blue Zones Project was born out of National Geographic explorer Dan Buettner's examination of communities across the globe where people were happily living the longest. Buettner uncovered nine evidence-based common denominators among these "Blue Zones," such as moving naturally and having a sense of purpose. Buettner partnered with Healthways in 2009 to bring the Blue Zones Project to the United States and help communities accelerate transformation through a comprehensive set of solutions designed to improve overall well-being. These solutions have measurably lowered healthcare costs, increased productivity, and improved the quality of life for residents in those communities.

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Former Surgeon General Dr. C. Everett Koop, Pioneering Pediatric Surgeon, Public Health Leader and Dartmouth Graduate, Dies at 96

February 25, 2013

 HANOVER, N.H.—Former Surgeon General of the United States C. Everett Koop, MD, a pioneer in the field of pediatric surgery, a leader in the fight to create a smoke-free nation, and founder of the C. Everett Koop Institute at Dartmouth's Geisel School of Medicine, died peacefully in his home in Hanover, N.H. on Monday, February 25, 2013. He was 96 years old.

A 1937 graduate of Dartmouth, Dr. Koop was known as "America's Family Doctor" during his time as Surgeon General of the United States from November 1981 until October 1989. Surgeon General Koop applied his skills as a clinician and healer to address the health challenges of all Americans and all people worldwide. During his tenure, he continued the fight against tobacco and focused new national attention on diet and nutrition, the benefits of physical activity, mental health issues, environmental health hazards, disease prevention, and health promotion. At a time of a new emerging threat to the public's health, Dr. Koop became the voice of calm and compassion, of knowledge and facts as the federal government's chief spokesperson and educator on HIV/AIDS. Using the best science and evidence he spoke candidly and honestly to young and old to address the many dimensions of this threatening disease.

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Why concierge medicine will get bigger. Practices could shield patients from health-care turmoil

By Elizabeth O'Brien

If you've joined a concierge medical practice, recent trends in the worlds of health care and insurance may have you feeling good about your decision. If you haven't signed up with one of these practices—also called "boutique," "personalized" or "private-physician" practices—some of those same trends may lead you to consider it down the road.

Certainly, plenty of baby boomers have done the math and deemed the investment worthy. In the typical concierge experience, a primary-care doctor accepts insurance for routine services but also charges a non-reimbursable fee that pays for amenities like 24/7 access to the doctor, same-day appointments, longer appointment times and a greater degree of personalized attention. The annual fee for such practices currently averages about $1,800.

Now that the business model has been around for a while, more patients are saying that it involves less stress than a traditional medical practice. What's more, two recent studies that tried to measure the health impact of one popular concierge model found its patients had lower hospitalization rates and other benefits.

The approach has its critics, with some arguing that concierge medicine exacerbates the disparities in care between the haves and have-nots. But for people with the resources to afford it, the boutique-practice model clearly has a growing appeal.

While the number of concierge doctors remains small, it's growing at a rapid clip. In the U.S., there were about 4,400 private physicians in 2012, a 25% increase from 2011, according to the American Academy of Private Physicians. That's out of some 600,000 practicing doctors nationwide. At an average of roughly 350 patients per concierge doctor, that means more than 1.5 million Americans are under the care of a physician who provides an additional level of service in exchange for a fee.

Concierge medicine's perceived advantages will only grow in the coming years, experts say, as the traditional health-care system becomes even more strained. The full implementation of the Affordable Care Act next year is expected to bring more than 20 million formerly uninsured patients into the health-care system through 2022, exacerbating an existing physician shortage.

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