Low Lead Levels Linked with IQ Deficits

A new study suggests that lead may be harmful even at very low blood concentrations. The study, funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences of the National Institutes of Health, will appear in the April 17 edition of The New England Journal of Medicine. The five-year study found that children who have blood lead concentration lower than 10 micrograms per deciliter suffer intellectual impairment from the exposure.

In calamity, hospitals can safely evacuate patients

In the event of a significant threat to their buildings and facilities, hospitals can successfully evacuate patients and staff without relying on outside assistance, a UC Irvine study found. The study, which appears in the April 3 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, also suggests that in the aftermath of a severely damaging earthquake or similarly devastating terrorist event, the biggest risk to hospitals isn’t structural integrity, but non-structural damage like water leaks and electrical outages. The findings include basic steps for responding to a bioterrorist attack on a medical facility.

Drug slows progression of moderate to severe Alzheimer's disease

A drug that quashes the activity of a key brain chemical is the first effective treatment for patients in the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease, according to the results of a large multi-center clinical study published in the April 3 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The drug, memantine, slows the mental and physical deterioration of patients with moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease, according to Barry Reisberg, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine, who led the study. “These patients seem to be declining much less, about half as much as ordinarily expected, over a six-month period,” says Dr. Reisberg. “This medication will slow down the otherwise inexorable progress of this disease, and it is remarkably free of side effects. These are very impressive results. It looks like this drug really will have an impact on this disease,” he says.