Today’s Headlines: Rising Health Costs, 3-D Printing, and Smaller Brains

Family Health Costs Continue to Rise: According to the 2013 Milliman Medical Index, the increase in health costs this year is 6.3%, a decrease from the 7.8% raise the actuarial and benefits consultant estimated for the year-over-year increase in 2010. However, “the total dollar increase is about $1,300, and families are paying several thousand dollars more than they were just a few years ago, increasing more than $5,000 since 2009.” The analysis also points out the “typical cost to cover a family of four now exceeds $22,000, including the amount paid in insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs,” which is nearly how much it costs to “send a child to an in-state public college for a year.” (New York Times)

3-D Printer Used to Create Airway Device for Baby Boy: “Researchers at the University of Michigan have used a 3-D printer to create a custom-made, life-saving implant for a baby boy, they report … in a letter in The New England Journal of Medicine.” The child “was born with a rare condition called tracheobronchomalacia,” which “causes the airways to be weak and prone to collapse.” Using CT scans of the child’s chest, computer design software created a custom-fit splint to attach to his trachea. (USA Today)

People With Both Migraines, Depression May Have Smaller Brains: Research published in Neurology suggests “that people with migraines who also are depressed have smaller brains, a discovery that could provide more clues into treating the conditions.” In a news release, study author Dr. Larus S. Gudmundsson, a researcher at the National Institute on Aging and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, said, “Our study suggests that people with both migraine and depression may represent a unique group from those with only one of these conditions and may also require different strategies for long-term treatment.” The study received funding from the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute on Aging. (CBS News)