(HealthDay News) – As 2013 nears to a close, the year’s top health news story – the fumbled debut of the Affordable Care Act continues to grab headlines. President Barack Obama, in November, said he was “sorry” to hear that some Americans were being dropped from their health plans due to the advent of reforms – even though he had repeatedly promised that this would not happen.
Another story dominating health news headlines in the first half of the year was the announcement by film star Angelina Jolie in May that she carried the BRCA breast cancer gene mutation and had opted for a double mastectomy to lessen her cancer risk. In an op-ed piece in The New York Times, Jolie said her mother’s early death from BRCA-linked ovarian cancer had played a big role in her decision. The article immediately sparked discussion on the BRCA mutations, whether or not women should be tested for these anomalies, and whether preventive mastectomy was warranted if they tested positive.
Major changes to the way doctors are advised to care for patients’ hearts also spurred controversy in 2013. In November, a panel from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology issued guidelines that could greatly expand the number of Americans taking cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. One month later, an independent panel of experts issued its own recommendations on the control of high blood pressure – guidelines that might shrink the number of people who take blood pressure drugs. Both recommendations ignited controversy as to their validity, and debate on these issues is likely to continue, experts say.
Other stories making headlines in 2013 included:
- Higher numbers of children diagnosed and treated for ADHD
- The ongoing epidemic of prescription painkiller abuse
- CDC anti-smoking campaign beat expectations
- A new focus on “helpful” microbes living in the trillions in the human digestive tract