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Slipping in the Side Door

US President Barack Obama is to appoint Donald Berwick to run Medicare and Medicaid today, reports the New York Times. Berwick is a pediatrician, a professor at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health, and a founder of the non-profit Institute for Healthcare Improvement. As a "recess appointment," made while Congress is out of session, Berwick's term will end in late 2011 when this session of Congress ends. The Times adds that under the US health reform bill, "Medicare will be a testing ground for many innovations that reward high-quality care and penalize providers of poor care. The law will expand Medicaid to cover 16 million more people with low incomes."

The Scan

Genetic Risk Factors for Hypertension Can Help Identify Those at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

Genetically predicted high blood pressure risk is also associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk, a new JAMA Cardiology study says.

Circulating Tumor DNA Linked to Post-Treatment Relapse in Breast Cancer

Post-treatment detection of circulating tumor DNA may identify breast cancer patients who are more likely to relapse, a new JCO Precision Oncology study finds.

Genetics Influence Level of Depression Tied to Trauma Exposure, Study Finds

Researchers examine the interplay of trauma, genetics, and major depressive disorder in JAMA Psychiatry.

UCLA Team Reports Cost-Effective Liquid Biopsy Approach for Cancer Detection

The researchers report in Nature Communications that their liquid biopsy approach has high specificity in detecting all- and early-stage cancers.