Informatics = essential MD competency

In an article published in the Sept. 15 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association, (JAMA), author Edward H. Shortliffe, MD, PhD, points out that although information underlies all clinical work, and despite the growing role th…

Millions of Americans extremely bummed, not getting treatment

Millions of Americans suffer from major depression each year, and most are not getting proper treatment for this debilitating disorder, according to a two-year nationwide study reported in the June 18 Journal of the American Medical Association. The study, led by researchers from Harvard Medical School, found high rates of major depressive episodes (MDE) in all segments of the U.S. population. The researchers measured the severity and duration of depression in more than 9,000 Americans 18 years or older and looked at MDE’s effect on daily activities and treatment received, if any.

Use of common anti-inflammatory drug fails to slow progression of Alzheimer’s

Hopes that naproxen, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), or rofecoxib, a COX-2 inhibitor, could slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) have been dashed as researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center report in the June 4 Journal of the American Medical Association that neither drug slows the cognitive deterioration that is the hallmark of AD. In addition, more adverse effects were reported in patients taking either drug as compared to the placebo group.

New Tool To Help Consumers Reduce Medication Errors

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the National Council on Patient Information and Education today announced a new resource called Your Medicine: Play It Safe, to help consumers use prescription medicines safely. The 12-page brochure, available in English and Spanish, includes a detachable, pocket-sized medicine record form that can be personalized.

Efficacy and safety of low-carbohydrate diets

An analysis of hundreds of published studies on the safety and effectiveness of low-carbohydrate diets found that there is not enough scientific evidence for or against the use of these diets. “This analysis is important because it clearly documents the lack of hard scientific data to support the use of low-carbohydrate diets, and identifies areas that need further research. Both the public and health-care professionals should pay close attention to this wealth of data, collected from many different research groups, because it is the most comprehensive review of published science on the subject to date,” says Robert H. Eckel, M.D., the chair of the American Heart Association’s Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism Council.

Lead Levels Linked to Hypertension in Menopausal Women

Blood lead levels are associated with increased blood pressure and the risk of clinical hypertension in women aged 40 to 59 years, according to a team of researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Tulane University, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The study found blood pressure increased by lead levels well below the exposure levels of concern for adults set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the levels for children set by the CDC. Blood lead levels can increase in women over the menopause, as lead is released from bone. The study is the first to document adverse health impacts as a consequence of bone lead release. It is published in the March 26, 2003, edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Hidden chlamydia epidemic found in China

Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine have helped identify a large, undetected epidemic of the sexually transmitted disease chlamydia in China. The new findings appear in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The collaboration involving UNC, the University of Chicago and researchers in China points to a chlamydia epidemic that developed in that country during the last 20 years ? and represents the first nationwide study of its kind to combine reported behavior with physical evidence of the consequences of sexual activity.

Study Links Secondhand Smoke to Tooth Decay in Children

Young children who are exposed to secondhand smoke have a much higher rate of tooth decay than children who do not grow up around smokers, according to a study supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The study is the first in the United States to associate secondhand, or passive, smoking with tooth decay?a public health problem that costs an estimated $4.5 billion annually. Although the occurrence of dental cavities in children has declined dramatically in the United States, little headway has been made in reducing cavities in children living in poverty, who generally have less access to dental care and appear to be more vulnerable to dental decay.

Shortage of vaccines leaves many doctors scrambling

An ongoing national shortage of a vaccine that prevents meningitis and pneumonia in children has left doctors scrambling to provide even the minimum number of shots, and has exposed gaps in the nation’s “patchwork” vaccine system, the first-ever in-depth study of the problem finds.

Nearly 18 Percent of Physicians Dissatisfied With Career

A multi-year physician survey on career fulfillment showed significant variation in satisfaction levels across local health care markets, and it found that nationally, 18 percent of physicians were somewhat or very dissatisfied, according to a study by researchers at Harvard Medical School and the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC) that appears in the Jan. 22 Journal of the American Medical Association. Overall, the study shows that physician career satisfaction levels were relatively consistent from year to year, and a clear majority of physicians nationally are satisfied with their careers.

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