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January 20, 2014
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The folks at Lumosity, the San Francisco company that tries to improve human brain cognition, must have cheered when they saw this study partly led by a researcher at the Indiana University School of Medicine. The study, published this month by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, found that seniors who underwent exercises meant to boost mental sharpness still showed benefits up to a decade later. The study involved 2,800 seniors living independently in Indianapolis and six other regions. Lumosity, which makes a smartphone app to exercise your brain, is one of numerous programs, both online and offline, that are meant to boost mental sharpness in older adults.

Over-the-counter medications for common colds and allergies, such as DayQuil, could become harder to obtain under an Indiana House bill introduced this month. According to the Associated Press, HB-1106, authored by Rep. Rebecca Kubacki, R-Syracuse, would make medication containing ephedrine and pseudoephedrine a schedule III drug, which means it couldn’t be purchased without a doctor’s visit and prescription. An existing law puts a limit on how much ephedrine and pseudoephedrine can be purchased in a day, month or year. But, Kubacki said she doesn’t think the law goes far enough. However, Dr. Richard Feldman, chairman of legislation for the Indiana Academy of Family Physicians, said the medical community prefers the existing legislation to Kubacki’s new bill. “We think it’s adequate; we don’t want any more restrictions,” Feldman said. He added, “The last thing that the doctors I talked to want is to be overrun with patient visits for an over-the-counter drug that should remain over-the-counter, rather than seeing patients who deserve their attention.”

WellPoint Inc.’s core operations turned out more profit than the company predicted, the Indianapolis-based health insurer disclosed in a Jan. 13 securities filing. WellPoint raised its 2013 profit forecast to $8.52 per share, up 12 cents from a previous forecast of $8.40 per share. The company has yet to close its books on 2013. It will reveal its actual 2013 financial results Jan. 29. The new forecast roughly matches what Wall Street analysts were expecting. A survey of 23 analysts by Thomson Reuters found an average 2013 profit forecast of $8.51 per share, even before the disclosure. Both WellPoint’s and analyst forecasts exclude a variety of special charges, such as investment gains, the early extinguishment of debt, a favorable tax ruling and a charge related to WellPoint’s sale of its 1-800-Contacts subsidiary. When those items are included, WellPoint’s 2013 profit would total $8.20 per share, according to Monday’s disclosure. In October, WellPoint predicted full-year profit would total $8.45 per share. But that was before the 54-cent-per-share charge for the 1-800-Contacts sale was announced.

In late December 2013, the Health Foundation of Greater Indianapolis gave $440,376 to three organizations that will help Hoosiers navigate the Obamacare health insurance exchange. A grant of $270,000 was awarded to Indiana 2-1-1, a call-in service for obtaining information about social assistance, to maintain detailed information about the exchange navigators and application counselors that have been approved by the government to help exchange customers. A sample conducted in May 2013 showed that 38 percent of callers to Indiana 2-1-1 have at least one person in the household without health insurance. The Indiana Primary Health Care Association will receive $70,376 to train 26 certified Navigators to provide continuing education to at least 126 state-certified Navigators in state-funded and federally qualified health centers. Because of the cost of the federal certification process, many state-funded health centers, especially in rural areas, have been unable to certify their enrollment staff. Also, $100,000 was granted to Eskenazi Health to extend its media and outreach campaign through the end of the first open enrollment period in March 2014. The campaign promotes Eskenazi Health’s toll-free Navigator Call Center (1-855-202-1053), which answers consumer questions and provides assistance in obtaining health insurance through the Obamacare exchanges.

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