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You are here : 3-RX.com > Home > Public Health

 

Blue Shield California withdraws planned rate hikes

Public HealthMar 17 11

Blue Shield of California, a nonprofit health insurer, has withdrawn plans to raise rates for its individual and family policies this year, citing a commitment to make reform work and keep costs down.

The insurer, which has 340,000 individual and family-plan members in California, had filed with state officials earlier this year to raise rates by as much as 59 percent.

Blue Shield said the previously proposed increases reflected a two-year cumulative average increase of about 30 percent.

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Dine or dash? Genes help decide when to look for new food

GeneticsMar 17 11

For worms, choosing when to search for a new dinner spot depends on many factors, both internal and external: how hungry they are, for example, how much oxygen is in the air, and how many other worms are around. A new study demonstrates this all-important decision is also influenced by the worm’s genetic make-up.

In the simple Caenorhabditis elegans nematode, the researchers found that natural variations in several genes influence how quickly a worm will leave a lawn of bacteria on which it’s feeding. One of the genes, called tyra-3, produces a receptor activated by adrenaline - a chemical messenger involved in the ‘fight-or-flight’ response. The findings appeared online March 16, 2011, in the journal Nature.

“What’s encouraging to us about this story is that molecules related to adrenaline are implicated in arousal systems and in decision-making across a lot of different animals, including humans,” says Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator Cornelia Bargmann of Rockefeller University in New York, who mentored the work of graduate student Andres Bendesky. These parallels between diverse species suggest that aspects of our decision-making abilities have ancient evolutionary roots.

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