Possible HIPAA Updates Coming?
A bipartisan group of senators is pushing for a new commission to advise Congress on the best ways to modernize HIPAA. The 25-year-old law does not protect data recorded on personal electronic devices, like smartwatches or fitness trackers.
“Americans must be able to trust that their personal health data is protected if this technology can meet its full potential,” says Sen. Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA), a lead sponsor of the Health Data Use and Privacy Commission Act.
Democratic Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin is co-sponsoring the legislation, which is supported by multiple medical organizations and telemedicine companies. The bill would create a 17-member commission that would take six months to research ways to update HIPAA and submit recommendations for changes to the law.
Warning Labels on Sodas?
Just as countries around the world have printed graphic images of diseased lungs on cigarette packaging, Chile and Mexico have followed suit with warning labels on sodas and other sugary beverages. New research from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that parents were 17% less likely to buy a sugary drink for their kids if the products had warning labels showing bodily damage from diabetes and heart disease.
However, U.S. courts have blocked previous state and local attempts to require soda companies to provide warning labels, though it appears Congress is unlikely to make labels a high priority anytime soon. Research has also found some warning labels can increase the stigma associated with obesity, which can actually decrease the effectiveness of these public health campaigns.
Enhanced Mobility for Toddlers Who Need It
Exploring the world around them is a key component of toddlers’ growth and brain development. But when small children have limited mobility due to medical issues, it’s not easy to do this without their parents helping at every step.
Enter the Permobil Explorer Mini: half developmental toy, half wheelchair. Designed for children between 12 months and 36 months — almost all of whom are too young for a power wheelchair — the FDA-approved mobility device was named one of Time magazine’s Best Inventions of 2021.
Clinical trials are underway to see whether the device improves developmental outcomes in toddlers with cerebral palsy. The device is also recommended for some children with muscular dystrophy or Down syndrome, among other conditions.