Oklahoma medical news briefs

Oklahoma medical news briefs
Published: May 12, 2012
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MEDICAL NOTES

Access to medical care declines, report says

A report recently released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation shows that the ability of adults to obtain basic health care services in the United States has declined in nearly every state over the past decade, especially among those without insurance.

For Oklahoma, the report shows that the share of adults in the state with unmet medical needs due to cost increased by 8.8 percentage points from 2000 to 2010, to 21.7 percent. In 2010, an estimated 478,000 adults had an unmet medical need due to cost. Uninsured adults were 36. 0 percentage points more likely than insured adults to have an unmet need due to cost in 2010.

The share of adults in the state who had a routine checkup decreased by 12.4 percentage points from 2000 to 2010, to 52.1 percent. Uninsured adults were 32.0 percentage points less likely than insured adults to have had a routine checkup in 2010.

The share of adults in the state who had a dental visit decreased 7.9 percentage points from 2000 to 2010, to 53.9 percent. Uninsured adults were 30.5 percentage points less likely than insured adults to have had a dental visit in 2010.

Research on eye disease aims to help diabetics

Scientists now have a clearer idea of the importance of a particular protein in normal eye function.

Research from scientists at the Dean McGee Eye Institute and the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation could help improve understanding and treatment of vision-impairing diseases such as diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration.

The project focused on the role a protein called caveolin-1 plays in eye disease.

Project leader Michael Elliott said that by removing the gene that makes the protein, they were able to examine mice that lacked the specific protein. What they found surprised them.

“We thought the protein might have a direct effect on the retina, but instead, it seems to regulate the environment in which the retina lives,” said Elliott. “The right environment is vital for proper function, so caveolin-1 might be a useful therapeutic for repairing some diseases that involve eye structure.”

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