Dec. 2005 Briefing - Family Practice

Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in family practice for December 2005. This roundup includes the latest research news from journal articles, as well as the FDA approvals and regulatory changes that are the most likely to affect clinical practice.

Metabolic Syndrome Accelerates Aortic Stiffness

FRIDAY, Dec. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Aortic stiffness progresses more quickly in patients with metabolic syndrome, according to a longitudinal study in the January issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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Smokeless Tobacco Use Doubles Risk of Stillbirth

FRIDAY, Dec. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Smokeless tobacco use during pregnancy more than doubles the risk of stillbirth and is just as risky as maternal cigarette smoking, researchers report in the January issue of Epidemiology. The study was conducted in India, where women use smokeless tobacco in the form of mishri, a product used as a toothpaste.

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U.S. Survey Finds Elderly Can Be Healthy Well Into Old Age

FRIDAY, Dec. 30 (HealthDay News) -- The elderly can experience good health well into old age, according to a survey of Utah residents who tend to have greater longevity than the rest of the American population. The findings, published in the February issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, suggest that the factors related to healthy aging are modifiable or amenable to public health efforts.

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OTC High-Dose NANSAID Use Has Fivefold Risk for GI Bleed

FRIDAY, Dec. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Nonaspirin nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NANSAIDs) that are purchased over-the-counter (OTC) can be taken safely without the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding if the proper dosage recommendations are followed, according to a report in the December issue of Gastroenterology.

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H. pylori Screening May Cut Long-Term Dyspepsia Costs

FRIDAY, Dec. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Screening and treatment for Helicobacter pylori infection may be a long-term, cost-effective method for reducing health care burden from infection-associated dyspepsia, according to a report in the December issue of Gastroenterology.

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About 2% Of Adults Have Barrett's Esophagus

FRIDAY, Dec. 30 (HealthDay News) -- A random screen of the adult Swedish population has found that the incidence of Barrett's esophagus (BE) is 1.6% -- data that may provide a target number for BE intervention strategies, according to the December issue of Gastroenterology.

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Bipolar Disorder Common in Hospitalized Adolescents

FRIDAY, Dec. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Bipolar disorder may be more common in adolescents than previously thought, with nearly one in five teenagers admitted to an inpatient psychiatric hospital affected, researchers report in the December issue of the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology.

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Policy Boosts Clinical Trial Registration in 2005

THURSDAY, Dec. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Registration of trials in the ClinicalTrials.gov database improved in 2005 after some of the leading medical journals implemented a new policy that requires registration as a prerequisite to publication, according to a report in the Dec. 29 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Pertussis Incidence Increasing Among U.S. Adolescents

THURSDAY, Dec. 29 (HealthDay News) -- The pertussis incidence doubled among U.S. children ages 10 to 19 between 2001 and 2003, highlighting the need for adolescents to receive booster vaccines combining pertussis antigens with tetanus and diphtheria toxoids (Tdap) as recommended in mid-2005 by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), according to a report in the Dec. 23 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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TB Transmission Reported at N.Y. Hospital Maternity Ward

THURSDAY, Dec. 29 (HealthDay News) -- A foreign-born maternity nurse working in the newborn nursery of a New York City hospital has been identified as the source of Mycobacterium tuberculosis transmission to four newborns on the ward, according to a report in the Dec. 23 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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FDA to Allow Health Claims for Barley-Containing Foods

THURSDAY, Dec. 29 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced that whole-grain barley and barley-containing products can include claims of cardiovascular benefits on the product labeling.

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FDA Approves Tamiflu for Flu Prevention in Kids Under 12

THURSDAY, Dec. 29 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of Tamiflu (oseltamivir phosphate) for the prevention of influenza A and B in children between the ages of 1 and 12 years, who have been exposed to the flu. Tamiflu is already approved for the prevention and treatment of influenza in adolescents aged 13 and older and in adults, and for treatment in pediatric patients older than age 1.

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Top 10 Advances in Cardiac Research in 2005

THURSDAY, Dec. 29 (HealthDay News) -- The use of stem-like cells from a patient's own bone marrow to restore heart function is top on the list of the 10 major advances in heart disease and stroke research in 2005, according to the American Heart Association. The second most important advance was an experimental new drug, varenicline, which may help more smokers kick the habit. In a clinical trial of about 2,000 patients evaluating a placebo, bupropion or varenicline, quit rates were 17.7%, 30% and 44%, respectively.

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Risk Jumps in Middle-Age if Sibling Has Heart Disease

THURSDAY, Dec. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Middle-aged adults who have a sibling with cardiovascular disease (CVD) have a 45% increase in risk for CVD, greater than that conferred by having two parents with CVD, according to a study in the Dec. 28th issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Heat Increases Blood Pressure in Elderly Hypertensives

THURSDAY, Dec. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Because hot weather increases nighttime systolic blood pressure in elderly hypertensives, high blood pressure treatment in such patients may need to be monitored more closely during the summer, according to a study published online Dec. 27 in Hypertension.

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Two With Sickle Cell Have Stroke When Transfusions End

THURSDAY, Dec. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Children with sickle cell disease who discontinue prophylactic blood transfusions often develop abnormal transcranial blood flow and are at high risk for stroke, according to a report in the Dec. 29 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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E. Coli Outbreaks Traced To Petting Zoos

THURSDAY, Dec. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Three outbreaks of Escherichia coli O157:H7 infection occurred in the United States in 2004 and 2005 that were linked to petting zoos, according to a report in the Dec. 23 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Wernicke Encephalopathy A Risk After Bariatric Surgery

THURSDAY, Dec. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Bariatric surgery for obesity can result in Wernicke encephalopathy, which may have an atypical clinical presentation, according to a case study published in the Dec. 27 issue of Neurology.

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PCB Work Exposure Linked To Neurodegenerative Disease

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Women who had occupational exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) between the 1940s and the 1970s may have an excess in mortality due to neurodegenerative diseases, according to a study in the January issue of Epidemiology. The study found no association in men and is limited by the small number of cases, the authors say.

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Nursing Home More Likely If Patient Has Unmet Needs

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Dementia patients who have unmet needs as assessed by their caregiver are more likely to die or be placed in a nursing home, according to a study in the December issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. The finding suggests that unmet needs are a better predictor of health outcome than functional or cognitive impairment, the authors say.

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Nearly 60% of Older Americans Have Hearing Loss

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Hearing loss is present in nearly 60% of elderly Americans, and it is more common in whites than blacks, according to a study published in the December issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

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Parental Concern May Indicate Child's Mental Illness

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Parental concern about a child's mental health may be a sign that the child does indeed have a psychiatric disorder, according to a study in the Dec. 17 issue of the British Medical Journal.

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Depression Declines As Alzheimer Disease Progresses

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Depression is common in Alzheimer disease (AD) patients and may be caused by a decline in functional activity rather than a decline in cognitive ability, according to a study in the December issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. In addition, depression tends to decline as the disease progresses, the authors found.

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More STD Patients' Partners Treated in Nurse-Run Program

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 28 (HealthDay News) -- A nurse-run program to increase notification of sexual partners of patients with chlamydia can be as successful and cost-effective as referring patients to a specialized clinic, and can also be conducted in a primary-care setting, according to a report published Dec. 15 by the British Medical Journal.

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Particle Size Alters Impact Of Inhaled Asthma Medication

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 28 (HealthDay News) -- While smaller inhaled albuterol particles penetrate deeper into the lungs of asthma patients, larger particles are better at targeting the proximal airway and are more effective bronchodilators, according to a study in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

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Web Site Boosts Parental Acceptance of MMR Vaccine

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 28 (HealthDay News) -- An online, evidence-based guide addressing concerns about the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine may encourage more parents to vaccinate their children, according to a study published Dec. 13 in the British Medical Journal.

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Antioxidants Cut Risk of Age-Related Eye Disease

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 28 (HealthDay News) -- A diet high in beta-carotene, vitamins C and E, iron and zinc can significantly reduce the incidence of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), researchers report in the Dec. 28 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Dietary intake appears to be more important than supplements in terms of risk prevention, the authors say.

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Eosinophils Activated During Ulcerative Colitis Remission

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 28 (HealthDay News) -- High eosinophil activation during inactive ulcerative colitis (UC) suggests that eosinophils may help repair the injured epithelium, according to research in the December issue of Gut.

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Divorce Can Cause Lasting Decline in Life Satisfaction

TUESDAY, Dec. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Although life satisfaction gradually rebounds in the years following a divorce, it doesn't return to baseline levels, contradicting research showing that time eventually heals all wounds, according to a study published in the December issue of Psychological Science.

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Coma Outcomes on Soap Operas Too Good to Be True

TUESDAY, Dec. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Coma patients in soap operas experience significantly rosier outcomes than their real-life counterparts, according to a study published in the Dec. 24 issue of the British Medical Journal.

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New U.K. Guidelines for Heart Disease, Stroke Prevention

TUESDAY, Dec. 27 (HealthDay News) -- British researchers issued new criteria for the prevention of heart disease and stroke that are likely to increase the number of people targeted for screening and treatment. The guidelines are published in a supplement to the December issue of Heart.

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Inhaled Corticosteroids Improve Survival in COPD

TUESDAY, Dec. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Inhaled corticosteroids not only reduce exacerbations in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), they also significantly reduce mortality from all causes, Canadian researchers report in the December issue of Thorax.

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Nurse Intervention Doesn't Curb Asthma Symptoms

TUESDAY, Dec. 27 (HealthDay News) -- A nurse-led psychoeducational program designed to help patients with asthma cope with and manage their disease does not offer significant advantages in the long run, according to a study published in the December issue of Thorax.

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Menstrual Cycle Length Associated with Conception

TUESDAY, Dec. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Women are more likely to conceive after menstrual cycles of 30 to 31 days compared with shorter cycles, according to a study in the January issue of Epidemiology. In addition, pregnancies conceived after a shorter or longer cycle are more likely to end in spontaneous abortion compared with 30 to 31 day cycles.

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Childhood Diarrhea Prevalent in Industrialized Nations

TUESDAY, Dec. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Childhood diarrhea is still an important cause of morbidity in developed, industrialized countries where the risk factors include child-to-child transmission in daycare centers, foreign travel and lower socioeconomic status, according to a study in the January issue of Epidemiology.

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Moderate Alcohol Intake Cuts Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

TUESDAY, Dec. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Moderate alcohol consumption may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes among older women, according to a study in the December issue of Diabetes Care.

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Fish Oil May Counteract Pollution's Effect on Heart

MONDAY, Dec. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Supplementation with fish oil may help prevent a decline in heart rate variability (HRV) associated with exposure to particulate matter, according to a study of elderly subjects published Dec. 15 in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

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Sorry, Celebrants: Hangover Cures Don't Work

MONDAY, Dec. 26 (HealthDay News) -- New research suggests that there is no conventional or complementary intervention that will prevent or treat a hangover, according to a study published in the Dec. 24 issue of the British Medical Journal.

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Short Drinks May Have More Kick Than Tall Ones

MONDAY, Dec. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Because of human perceptual bias, alcoholic beverages mixed in short, wide tumblers may be more potent than those mixed in taller and more slender highball glasses, according to a study published in the Dec. 24 issue of the British Medical Journal.

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Cytokine May Play Key Role in Triggering Type 1 Diabetes

FRIDAY, Dec. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Type 1 diabetes may be kick-started by cytokine-induced necrosis of beta-cells in the pancreas, according to a study published online Dec. 20 in the open access journal Public Library of Science Medicine.

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Capsule Endoscopy Helps in Crohn's Disease Diagnosis

FRIDAY, Dec. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Capsule endoscopy and magnetic resonance imaging are complementary ways of diagnosing small bowel Crohn's disease, according to a study in the December issue of Gut.

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Secondhand Smoke Has Lasting Effect on Children

FRIDAY, Dec. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Children who grow up with smokers are more likely to develop respiratory symptoms as adults even if they never become smokers themselves, according to a study published in the December issue of Thorax.

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Psoriasis Patients More Likely to Smoke, Be Obese

FRIDAY, Dec. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Psoriasis patients are more likely to smoke cigarettes and to be obese than people without psoriasis, according to a study in the December issue of Archives of Dermatology. But while smoking may have a role in the onset of the skin condition, obesity does not, the researchers report.

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Mold Genomes Shed Light on Soy Sauce, Sake and Sickness

FRIDAY, Dec. 23 (HealthDay News) -- International teams of researchers announced the sequence of three Aspergillus genomes this week in the Dec. 22 issue of Nature, including Aspergillus oryzae, which is used in soy sauce and sake production; Aspergillus nidulans, the model laboratory mold; and Aspergillus fumigatus, the bane of physicians everywhere for causing allergies, asthma attacks, and death in immunocompromised patients. The sequence should help provide tools for the diagnosis and treatment of such infections.

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Harry Potter's Talents Include Protecting Kids from Injury

FRIDAY, Dec. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Simply by materializing in bookstores, Harry Potter appears to have a magical ability to protect accident-prone muggle children from traumatic injury, according to a study published in the Dec. 24 issue of the British Medical Journal.

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FDA Proposes Lower Lead Levels in Candy

FRIDAY, Dec. 23 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. health officials proposed new guidelines this week to further reduce trace levels of lead found in certain candies. The proposed new guidance level is 0.1 part per million (ppm) of lead, as opposed to the previous level of 0.5 ppm for candy products likely to be consumed frequently by children.

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Variant Gene Increases Effect of Secondhand Smoke in Kids

THURSDAY, Dec. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Children with a genetic variant of the tumor necrosis factor gene TNF-308 are especially susceptible to secondhand smoke and have an increased risk of developing respiratory illnesses that keep them home from school, according to a study in the Dec. 15 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

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Androgen Receptor May Be Key to Premature Ovarian Failure

THURSDAY, Dec. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Genetically engineered mice that lack androgen receptors develop premature ovarian failure (POF), according to a study published online Dec. 21 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition. The finding suggests that POF in women could be related to androgen signaling irregularities, or to inherited disruptions in the androgen receptor gene, which is located on the X chromosome.

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Initial Pattern of Brain Activity Recreated at Memory Recall

THURSDAY, Dec. 22 (HealthDay News) -- People who are asked to recall a specific memory recreate the same pattern of brain activity as when the memory initially occurred, according to a report in the Dec. 23 issue of Science. Indeed, researchers found they were able to predict what object a person was thinking about roughly five seconds before they talked about it.

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Active, Passive Smokers at Risk of Macular Degeneration

THURSDAY, Dec. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Smoking significantly increases the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in both smokers and their non-smoking partners, according to a study published in the January issue of the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

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Glaucoma More Common Among Siblings of Patients

THURSDAY, Dec. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Brothers and sisters of patients with glaucoma are significantly more likely to develop the condition themselves, according to a study published in the January issue of the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

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Dark Chocolate May Improve Vascular Function in Smokers

THURSDAY, Dec. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Dark chocolate contains antioxidants that may reduce the negative effects of smoking on platelet reactivity and endothelial cell function, and lower smokers' risks of developing atherosclerosis, according to a scientific letter published in the January issue of Heart.

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Cleft Lip Syndrome Linked To Two Novel Genetic Mutations

THURSDAY, Dec. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Two novel TP63 mutations have been identified that result in the rare ankyloblepharon, ectodermal defects, and cleft lip and palate (AEC) syndrome, according to a study published in the December issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

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Lymphatic Growth Associated with Laryngeal Cancer Spread

THURSDAY, Dec. 22 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with laryngeal cancer, the development of intratumoral lymphatics is associated with metastasis to the regional lymph nodes, according to a study published in the December issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery.

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Behavior Problems in Medical School Forecast Trouble

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Disciplinary action against practicing physicians is strongly linked to problem behavior in medical school, according to a study published in the Dec. 22 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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New Food Labeling Law Requires Listing of Allergens

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 21 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced this week that food products must contain a list on their label of all ingredients derived from eight major allergenic foods to comply with a new law that takes effect Jan. 1, 2006.

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Oseltamivir Resistance Seen in Two Avian Flu Deaths

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Two of eight Vietnamese patients treated with oseltamivir (Tamiflu) died of avian flu earlier this year after the influenza A (H5N1) virus developed high-level resistance to the drug, according to a report published in the Dec. 22 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Oxygen Deprivation Produces Autism-Like Changes in Rats

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Rats briefly deprived of oxygen shortly after birth develop auditory system deficits similar to those seen in autism and other developmental disorders, according to a study published online Dec. 19 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

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Long-Term Storage of Plasma Causes DNA Degradation

TUESDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- DNA levels in whole plasma and purified plasma drop substantially in frozen storage, up to 30% annually, Italian scientists report in the Dec. 21 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The finding could have an impact on clinical trials that assess levels of plasma DNA, they say.

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New Risk Factor for Atherosclerosis Identified

TUESDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Endothelial lipase (EL), a molecule previously associated with atherosclerosis in mice, may also be a risk factor for atherosclerosis in humans, according to a study published online Dec. 19 in the open access Public Library of Science Medicine.

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Hospital 'Handoffs' Common Source of Medical Errors

TUESDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Poor communication during hospital "handoffs," when patient care transitions from one physician or team of physicians to the next, may be responsible for many of the estimated 44,000 to 98,000 deaths that occur each year in U.S. hospitals due to medical errors, according to a study published in the December issue of Academic Medicine.

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Pneumonia Guidelines Cut Hospital Admissions

TUESDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- An intense effort to have emergency department staff follow the recommended guidelines for treatment of pneumonia increases the number of low-risk patients who are treated as outpatients rather than being admitted to the hospital, according to a report in the Dec. 20 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Acid-Suppresssing Drugs May Increase Risk for Clostridium

TUESDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Use of gastric-acid suppressing agents, and possibly nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), is associated with an increased risk of community-acquired Clostridium difficile infection, according to a study in the Dec. 21 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Erectile Dysfunction May Be Harbinger of Heart Disease

TUESDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Men with erectile dysfunction (ED) may be more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than their peers without ED, according to a study in the Dec. 21 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Yoga Reduces Symptoms of Chronic Low Back Pain

TUESDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Yoga appears to be more effective than traditional exercise at reducing chronic lower back pain, according to a study published in the Dec. 20 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Carbon Monoxide Relieves Chronic Colitis in Mice

TUESDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Inhaled carbon monoxide (CO) relieves symptoms of chronic colitis in mice, which may explain why cigarette smoking protects against ulcerative colitis in humans, according to a study published online Dec. 19 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

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Low Fitness of U.S. Teens and Adults Linked to CVD Risk

TUESDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- About one-third of teens and 14% of adults in the United States have poor cardiorespiratory fitness, and those less-fit individuals tend to have other cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors, such as a higher body mass index and elevated cholesterol, according to a study published in the Dec. 21 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Respiratory Syncytial Virus Gets Early Start in 2005

TUESDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- The peak season for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) began mid-October in the southern United States this year, and health-care providers should consider RSV as a possible diagnosis and provide prophylaxis for high-risk populations, according to a report in the Dec. 16 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Physician's Briefing