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Rochester, Syracuse Ranked Among the Most Affordable Regions for Healthcare in the Nation

Doctor explaining diagnosis to her female patientAccording to an independent report released at the end of May, the Central and Western New York area, including both the Rochester and Syracuse metropolitan areas, have some of the most affordable healthcare services in the United States in terms of the costs commercial health insurers pay to doctors and hospitals.

Among the 274 regions across the country examined by the Niagara Quality Health Coalition, a Buffalo-area based nonprofit that compiled data provided by insurance companies to create the report, the entire Upstate New York region as a whole stood out as a leader in healthcare affordability.

While the Syracuse area ranked No. 19 in the nation, the Buffalo and Rochester areas fared even better, coming in at No. 2 and No. 4 respectively.

Other regions that were recognized for their healthcare affordability included western Pennsylvania, the Bronx, and Honolulu, Hawaii, which was shown to have the lowest healthcare costs in the U.S. Ironically, with a much higher than average cost of living, Honolulu is among one of the most expensive places to live in the country.

The Niagara Quality Health Coalition said its report is the very first national ranking made publicly available that compares the costs of commercial health insurance across different regions of the U.S.

The report published by the Niagara Quality Health Coalition comes at a time when a clinical trial is taking place in Buffalo, Rochester, and several communities near New York City in order to find ways to reduce the plaque buildup that leads to Alzheimer’s Disease. In particular, the study is hoping to attract more African American participants.

Compared to Caucasians, African Americans are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. According to University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) Doctor Anton Porsteinsson, the exact reason still remains unclear.

“When it comes to Alzheimer’s disease there appears to be a higher prevalence in African American communities and Hispanic communities. We think it may have something to do with vascular risk factors and diabetes, but there may be other elements to it,” Dr. Porsteinsson explained.

URMC’s clinical trial is part of a larger national investigation that is testing a drug which may slow the progression of memory loss by preventing the buildup of Amyloid protein in the brain’s synapses.

In addition, several research studies have shown that people with a history of depression face increased risks of developing dementia, both of which are associated with the cognitive decline linked to early Alzheimer’s symptoms. While it’s unclear whether depression itself increases one’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s, it could be a warning sign of changes in the brain that may lead to other serious cognitive and nervous disorders.

Surprisingly, however, several studies have shown that Botox treatments may be an effective treatment for depression. Last year, investigators at the Hannover Medical School in Germany found that treating the facial muscles responsible for reflecting emotion may ease symptoms of depression.

“Our emotions are expressed by facial muscles, which in turn send feedback signals to the brain to reinforce those emotions. Treating facial muscles with botulinum toxin interrupts this cycle,” study investigator Professor Tillmann Kruger said at a press conference during the American Psychiatric Association’s 2014 Annual Meeting.

Botox use for both cosmetic and medical purposes continues to rise. According to te American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the number of Botox procedures in the United States rose 8% from 2012 to 2013, and increased by another 3% from 2013 to 2014. Overall, Botox use has jumped 700% since 2000.