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December 2008 Briefing - Internal Medicine

Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Internal Medicine for December 2008. 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.

Decision Aid May Benefit Breast Cancer Patients

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 31 (HealthDay News) -- In breast cancer patients who are eligible for either mastectomy or breast-conserving surgery, the use of a decision aid before the surgical consultation may promote informed, values-based treatment choices, according to a report published online Dec. 29 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Managed Care Not Beneficial for Some Medicare Patients

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Among Medicare beneficiaries undergoing carotid endarterectomies, managed care plans do not have a positive impact on inappropriateness, referral patterns or outcomes, according to a report published in the November/December issue of the American Journal of Medical Quality.

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Longer Radiation Delay Improves Glioblastoma Survival

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Glioblastoma patients who wait four to six weeks after surgery before starting radiation treatment have better survival than patients who start sooner, according to a study published online Dec. 29 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Children with Asthma, Sick Parent Miss More Days of School

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Children with asthma may be absent from school more often if they have a parent with a chronic disease, researchers report in the January issue of Pediatrics.

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Conditioning Program Benefits Lumbar Surgery Patients

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 31 (HealthDay News) -- In patients who undergo lumbar fusion and who are managed by workers' compensation, a sports performance-based work conditioning/hardening program can significantly increase strength determined by physical demand level job classification, according to research published in the January issue of The Spine Journal.

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Common Gene Variants Linked to High Blood Pressure

TUESDAY, Dec. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Common variants in a serine/threonine kinase gene -- STK39 -- which regulates the kidneys' excretion of salt, may be associated with an increased risk of hypertension, according to a study published online Dec. 29 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

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Increased Heart Failure Risk Following Heart Attack

TUESDAY, Dec. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Newly diagnosed heart failure develops in approximately three-quarters of elderly patients within the first five years after their initial myocardial infarction, according to a report published in the Jan. 6 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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Posterior Fusion Linked to Increased Complications

TUESDAY, Dec. 30 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with diffuse cervical spondylosis, posterior fusion is associated with a significantly higher rate of complications and resource utilization than anterior fusion, according to a report published in the January issue of The Spine Journal.

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Withdrawal Time Policy Not Linked to Polyp Discovery

TUESDAY, Dec. 30 (HealthDay News) -- A policy calling for endoscopists to devote at least seven minutes to withdrawal time during colonoscopies failed to increase colon polyp detection, according to research published in the December issue of Gastroenterology.

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Higher Breast Cancer Risk from Hormone Therapy

TUESDAY, Dec. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Long-term use of certain types of hormone replacement therapy is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, according to two studies published in the January issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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Valve Prosthesis Mismatch Linked to Increased Mortality

TUESDAY, Dec. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Mismatches between valve prostheses and patients may lead to increased late overall mortality and cardiovascular mortality, according to research published in the Jan. 6 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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New Drug Approved for Prostate Cancer

TUESDAY, Dec. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Degarelix was recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer, making it the first new drug approved for this indication in the past several years, according to a Dec. 29 FDA news release.

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Quality of Life May Predict Cystic Fibrosis Survival

TUESDAY, Dec. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Some elements of patient-reported health-related quality of life from patients with cystic fibrosis can help predict their survival, according to research published in the Jan. 1 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

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Abnormal Sleep Predicts Later Neurodegeneration

TUESDAY, Dec. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Idiopathic REM sleep behavior disorder is a substantial risk factor for the development of neurodegenerative diseases, particularly Parkinson's disease and Lewy body dementia, according to study findings published online Dec. 24 in Neurology.

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Added Measurement Improves Carpel Tunnel Diagnosis

TUESDAY, Dec. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Accuracy of diagnosis of carpel tunnel syndrome is improved by calculating the difference between the carpel tunnel cross-sectional area and the proximal cross-sectional area, instead of just the carpel tunnel cross-sectional area alone, according to research published in the January issue of Radiology.

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Fewer Polyps Detected by Inexperienced Nurses

TUESDAY, Dec. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Colonoscopy procedures staffed by inexperienced nurses may be less likely to detect polyps, which may be explained by increased detection of hyperplastic lesions, according to research reported in the December issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

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Kidney Disease Predicts Cardiovascular Mortality

MONDAY, Dec. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Chronic kidney disease may be as important a risk factor for cardiovascular mortality as is diabetes mellitus or prior myocardial infarction in elderly patients, according to research published Dec. 15 in the American Journal of Cardiology.

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Imaging Combo Increases Prostate Cancer Detection

MONDAY, Dec. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Combining an apparent diffusion coefficient map reading with T2-weighted MRIs improves their diagnostic capability for prostate cancer detection, according to research published in the January issue of Radiology.

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Antibiotics Benefit Women with Premature Membrane Rupture

MONDAY, Dec. 29 (HealthDay News) -- In women with preterm premature rupture of membranes, antibiotics may prolong pregnancy and reduce neonatal morbidity. But antibiotic use in women with preterm labor who have intact membranes does not appear to have the same benefits, according to the results of a study published in the December issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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Masseteric Muscle Hypertrophy Treated with Botulinum Toxin

MONDAY, Dec. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Botulinum toxin (BoNT) type A is a new, safe and effective non-invasive therapy for treatment of masseteric muscle hypertrophy to obtain lower facial contouring, according to research published in the November issue of the Journal of Craniofacial Surgery.

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Some Alcohol May Preserve Cognition in Older Women

MONDAY, Dec. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Older women who drink low or moderate amounts of alcohol may have better cognitive performance and a slower rate of cognitive decline compared to those who don't drink, according to research published in the December issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

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Woman and Dog Infected with Bovine Tuberculosis

MONDAY, Dec. 29 (HealthDay News) -- A woman and her dog were infected with bovine tuberculosis, demonstrating that human infection with the bacterium can still occur, according to a case report in the January issue of Thorax.

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HIV Therapy May Affect Human Papillomavirus

MONDAY, Dec. 29 (HealthDay News) -- In HIV-infected women with pre-existing abnormal cervical cytology, highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) may enhance clearance of human papillomavirus (HPV) in those who already have cervical disease, according to research published in the January issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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Forced Coughing Reduces Discomfort of Cervical Biopsy

MONDAY, Dec. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Forced coughing can reduce the discomfort of a cervical biopsy as much as local anesthesia can, but the method gives physicians much less time for examination, according to a report published in the December issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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Inorganic Phosphate Linked to Lung Cancer

MONDAY, Dec. 29 (HealthDay News) -- High dietary levels of inorganic phosphate promotes lung tumorigenesis and altered activation of the pro-survival signaling pathway controlled by the Akt protein, according to research published in the January issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

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Drug-Eluting Stents Found to Have Benefits in Grafts

MONDAY, Dec. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Compared with bare-metal stents, the use of paclitaxel-eluting stents in saphenous vein graft lesions is associated with less angiographic restenosis and target vessel failure, according to research published online Dec. 23 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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Genetics Linked to Increased Lung Cancer Risk

FRIDAY, Dec. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Two common polymorphisms in the 3' untranslated regions of adenosine triphosphate-binding cassette B1 and C1 (ABCB1 and ABCC1) are linked to a greater risk of developing lung cancer, according to research published online Dec. 23 in Cancer.

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Covariance Network Analysis Predicts Hepatitis Outcomes

FRIDAY, Dec. 26 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with hepatitis C infection, analyzing genome-wide virus amino acid covariance networks can predict response to treatment with interferon-alpha and ribavirin, according to a report published online Dec. 22 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

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Recurrence of Non-Specific Low Back Pain Not Likely

FRIDAY, Dec. 26 (HealthDay News) -- About one in four patients will have a recurrence of low back pain within one year following an acute episode, a much lower incidence than previously estimated, according to research published in the Dec. 15 issue of Spine.

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Socioeconomic Status Predicts Post-Heart Attack Lifestyle

FRIDAY, Dec. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Heart attack survivors with lower socioeconomic status are significantly less likely than those with higher socioeconomic status to make healthy lifestyle changes during the early convalescent period, according to study findings published in the Dec. 15 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

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Increasing HDL Level Linked to Lower Heart Disease Risk

FRIDAY, Dec. 26 (HealthDay News) -- In apparently healthy men, an increasing level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is associated with a significantly decreased risk of coronary heart disease, according to study findings published in the Dec. 15 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

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Caregivers May Benefit, Not Suffer from Their Role

THURSDAY, Dec. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Although caring for an ailing spouse has been associated with both negative and positive effects on the health of the caregiver, the process of helping may not in itself pose a health risk and may reduce the risk of mortality for the caregiver, according to a report to be published in Psychological Science.

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Internet Searching Increases Brain Function in Elderly

THURSDAY, Dec. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Searching the Internet results in greater brain activation in older adults already experienced in using the Internet, activating brain areas associated with decision making and complex reasoning not observed in less-experienced users, according to an article to be published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

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Maintenance Drugs Similarly Safe for Vasculitides

THURSDAY, Dec. 25 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with systemic vasculitides such as Wegener's granulomatosis, azathioprine or methotrexate appear to be similarly safe in maintaining remission, according to a report in the Dec. 25 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Thiazolidinediones Not Linked to Polyp Development

THURSDAY, Dec. 25 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with type 2 diabetes, thiazolidinedione therapy does not appear to increase the risk of colonic neoplasia, researchers report in the December issue of Gastroenterology.

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Pathway Inhibited in Myeloproliferative Disorders

THURSDAY, Dec. 25 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with myeloproliferative disorders, inhibition of the Bcl-xL deamidation pathway may increase DNA damage and the risk of progression to acute leukemia, according to study findings published in the Dec. 25 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Emergency Doctors See Cases of Excessive Force by Police

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly all emergency department physicians have seen cases of excessive force by law enforcement, and although most do not report the incidents, most feel that they should, according to an article in the Jan. 1 issue of the Emergency Medicine Journal.

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Pre-Hospital Delays Still Common for Heart Attack Patients

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 24 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with acute myocardial infarction, delay times in seeking medical care have not changed during the past 20 years, according to research published in the Dec. 15 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

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Pros, Cons to Making the Pill Available Over the Counter

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Two Head to Head articles published online Dec. 23 in BMJ highlight the pros and cons of making oral contraception available over the counter (OTC) rather than as a prescription drug.

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Fish Oil May Reduce Death from Cardiac Causes

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Fish oil supplementation is associated with a reduction in deaths from cardiac causes, but does not have an impact on arrhythmias or sudden cardiac death, according to a report published online Dec. 23 in BMJ.

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Needle and Syringe Programs Reduce HIV in Prisons

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Reducing injection drug use in prison to reduce HIV transmission is most effectively done by needle and syringe programs and methadone treatment, according to a review in the January issue of The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

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Sleep Duration Linked to Coronary Artery Calcification

TUESDAY, Dec. 23 (HealthDay News) -- In middle-aged adults, longer sleep duration is independently associated with a decreased risk of coronary artery calcification, according to the results of a study published in the Dec. 24/31 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Medicare Parity Plans Benefit Psychiatric Patients

TUESDAY, Dec. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Following a psychiatric hospitalization, Medicare enrollees in health plans with insurance parity for mental health and primary care are significantly more likely to receive timely outpatient care than those enrolled in plans without parity, researchers report in the Dec. 24/31 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Low Birth Weight Associated with Higher Risk of Diabetes

TUESDAY, Dec. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Low birth weight is associated with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes in adulthood, according to research published in the Dec. 24/31 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Concurrent Drug Use Common in Elderly

TUESDAY, Dec. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly half of older U.S. adults surveyed reported that they combine prescription and over-the-counter medications, a practice that may significantly increase their risk of major adverse drug reactions, researchers report in the Dec. 24/31 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Genetic Factors, Alcohol Use Linked to Colorectal Tumors

TUESDAY, Dec. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Heavy users of alcohol who are homozygous for the alcohol dehydrogenase 1C (ADH1C*1) allele appear to be more likely to develop high-risk adenomas and colorectal cancer, according to research published in the January issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

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Hospice Eligibility Criteria Should Be Reconsidered

TUESDAY, Dec. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Criteria that require cancer patients to end curative treatment before entering hospice care play a role in racial disparities in hospice use, and these criteria may prevent those with the greatest need from receiving hospice services, according to research published online Dec. 23 in Cancer.

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Gene Variant Linked to Clopidogrel Susceptibility

TUESDAY, Dec. 23 (HealthDay News) -- In younger patients who have had a heart attack and are taking the anti-platelet drug Plavix (clopidogrel), a variant of a liver enzyme responsible for converting the drug to its active form is an independent predictor of cardiovascular events, according to research published online Dec. 22 in the New England Journal of Medicine and Dec. 23 in The Lancet.

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Report Lauds 2008's Important Cancer Discoveries

TUESDAY, Dec. 23 (HealthDay News) -- The past year saw many advances in cancer research in areas including hard-to-treat cancers, new drug approvals, personalized medicine and reducing recurrence, according to a report published online Dec. 22 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Weight Status Linked to Preterm Birth Among Those at Risk

TUESDAY, Dec. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Obese and overweight women at risk for spontaneous preterm birth are significantly less likely than their normal weight and underweight counterparts to give birth before 35 weeks' gestation, according to study findings published in the January issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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Colonoscopy Carries Risks of Bleeding, Perforation, Death

TUESDAY, Dec. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Factors associated with bleeding and perforation from colonoscopy include older age, undergoing a polypectomy, and using a low-volume endoscopist, according to research published in the December issue of Gastroenterology.

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Hospital Discharge Data Best Explains Reason for Caesarean

TUESDAY, Dec. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Information taken from birth certificates alone indicates that more than half of Caesarean deliveries are performed among women with no indicated risk, but when hospital discharge data is used in combination with birth certificates the number drops to low single digits, according to a report published in the January issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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Semiannual Ultrasound Improves Liver Cancer Outcome

TUESDAY, Dec. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Semiannual surveillance for hepatocellular carcinoma using ultrasound in patients with liver cirrhosis leads to improved clinical outcomes, researchers report in the December issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

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Elevated Body Mass Index Raises Heart Failure Risk in Men

TUESDAY, Dec. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Overweight as well as obese men are at higher risk of heart failure than lean men, while vigorous exercise reduces this risk, according to a report published online Dec. 22 in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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Lung Pathway Protects Against Cigarette Damage

TUESDAY, Dec. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Activating a pathway that protects against oxidative damage in the lungs protects the lungs of mice chronically exposed to cigarette smoke, and may be important in preventing emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to a study published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Inflammatory Bowel Disease Carries Heavy Financial Burden

MONDAY, Dec. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which affects roughly a million Americans, represents a costly burden both at the individual and national levels, according to research published in the December issue of Gastroenterology.

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Non-Surgical Treatment of Some Spine Fractures Effective

MONDAY, Dec. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Most elderly patients with cervical spine fractures can be effectively treated non-operatively in cervical collars or halothoracic braces, according to a report in the Dec. 15 issue of Spine.

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Device More Effective Than Iliac Crest Bone Graft for Fusion

MONDAY, Dec. 22 (HealthDay News) -- A bone graft device that delivers a bone growth-promoting protein is safe and more effective than iliac crest bone graft (ICBG) in promoting spinal fusion in older adults, according to a report in the Dec. 15 issue of Spine.

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Community Mental Health Services May Lower Suicide Rates

MONDAY, Dec. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Multifaceted, community-based and specialized mental health services can greatly improve population mental health and lead to lower suicide rates, according to a nationwide analysis in Finland published online Dec. 22 in The Lancet.

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UK Implements New Global Health Strategy

MONDAY, Dec. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Health is global is a new global health strategy launched by the U.K. government in September, and it is described in an article published online Dec. 22 in The Lancet.

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Blunt Needles Do Not Reduce Glove Perforations

MONDAY, Dec. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Using blunt needles to perform obstetrical laceration repair does not reduce the risk of glove perforations and makes the procedure more difficult, according to study findings published in the December issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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Respiratory Syncytial Virus Season Varies Year by Year

MONDAY, Dec. 22 (HealthDay News) -- During 2007-2008, the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) season lasted for 22 weeks from October to March in the United States, although there were regional variations, according to a report published in the Dec. 19 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Prophylactic Antibiotics Beneficial After Chemotherapy

MONDAY, Dec. 22 (HealthDay News) -- After patients undergo chemotherapy, infection-control interventions that include prophylactic antibiotics are the most effective treatment within a protective environment, according to research published online Dec. 17 in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

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Glycemic Control Goals in Diabetes Unchanged

MONDAY, Dec. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with diabetes should continue to maintain glycemic control with a target hemoglobin A1C less than 7 percent despite the results of recent clinical trials, according to a position statement published online Dec. 17 in Diabetes Care.

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Thromboembolic Prophylaxis Practices Vary by Surgeon

MONDAY, Dec. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Spinal surgeons vary widely in their practices for thromboembolic prophylaxis after high-risk surgery and often base their decisions on personal experience over scientific evidence, according to the results of a study published in the Dec. 15 issue of Spine.

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Connective Tissue Disease Affects Pregnancy

MONDAY, Dec. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Pregnant women with undifferentiated connective tissue disease have an increased risk of pregnancy complications, according to research published in the December issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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Pneumococcal Resistance to Penicillin Redefined

MONDAY, Dec. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers have reviewed the prevalence of penicillin resistance in the light of changes to the definition of pneumococcus resistance to the drug, which distinguish between meningitis and other infections, as well as intravenous versus oral administration, according to a report published in the Dec. 19 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Teen Smoking Linked to Subsequent Abdominal Obesity

FRIDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Adolescents who smoke -- especially women -- may have an increased risk of abdominal obesity as young adults, according to a report published online Dec. 4 in the American Journal of Public Health.

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High-Risk Prostate Cancer Seen in Many Low-Income Men

FRIDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Underdetection and undertreatment of prostate cancer may be a particular problem in men with low incomes, and these men may be more likely to present with incurable disease, according to research released online Dec. 16 in advance of publication in the February issue of the Journal of Urology.

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Blood Pressure Changes May Affect Thinking Ability

FRIDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Individuals with prehypertension or hypertension may have poorer cognitive performance at times when their blood pressure is higher than average, according to research published in the December issue of the Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences.

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Computer-Aided Mammography Has Pros, Cons

FRIDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Computer-aided detection (CAD) mammography can detect breast cancers that single-read mammography might miss, but drawbacks may include false-positive findings and overtreatment of slow-growing cancers, according to an evidence report released by the ECRI Institute, a non-profit organization, in December.

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Updated Guidelines Issued for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

FRIDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Variable evidence exists on the effectiveness of treatments for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and the disease should be diagnosed as a symptom complex, according to updated guidelines published online Dec. 18 and as a supplement to the January issue of the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

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Testosterone Undecanoate Benefits Hypogonadal Men

FRIDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- In men with hypogonadism, intramuscular injection of long-acting testosterone undecanoate results in a sustained, consistent serum testosterone in the normal range, researchers report in the December issue of the Journal of Urology.

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Imaging Reveals Age-Related Memory Differences

FRIDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Activity in the amygdala linked to subsequent memory of negative images was preserved in older adults, but older individuals had less subsequent-memory activity for negative pictures in visual cortices, according to research published in the January issue of Psychological Science.

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Prenatal Corticosteroids Don't Improve Outcomes in Preemies

FRIDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- The outcome of preterm birth is not improved by multiple prenatal courses of corticosteroids, and the treatment is associated with reduced weight, length and head circumference, according to a report published in the Dec. 20 issue of The Lancet.

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Adverse Long-Term Consequences Follow Stroke

FRIDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Caregivers of stroke patients experience reduced psychosocial functioning in the years after the stroke, and stroke patients experience long-term reductions in emotional and social function, according to two studies published online Dec. 18 in Stroke.

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Depression in Parkinson's Responds to Treatment

THURSDAY, Dec. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Depression in patients with Parkinson's disease responds to nortriptyline but not paroxetine CR, according to the results of a placebo-controlled trial showing Parkinson's-associated depression can be treated with antidepressant therapy, published online Dec. 17 in the journal Neurology.

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Run-of-Mill Natural Hazards Kill More Than Special Events

THURSDAY, Dec. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Day-to-day natural hazards such as heat and winter weather have killed far more Americans in recent decades than discrete events like earthquakes and hurricanes, according to research published online Dec. 17 in the International Journal of Health Geographics.

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Diet Impacts Prognosis in Some Breast Cancer Survivors

THURSDAY, Dec. 18 (HealthDay News) -- A reduced-fat diet high in vegetables, fruit and fiber may reduce the risk of additional cancer events in breast cancer survivors who do not experience hot flashes, according to a report published online Dec. 15 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Ureteroscopy Safe for Stone Removal in Pregnancy

THURSDAY, Dec. 18 (HealthDay News) -- In pregnant women with obstructing ureteral calculi refractory to conservative treatment, ureteroscopy is a safe and reasonable treatment, researchers report in the January issue of the Journal of Urology.

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Desmoteplase Not Effective to Treat Stroke Patients

THURSDAY, Dec. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Stroke patients treated with the plasminogen activator desmoteplase are at increased risk of mortality and intracranial hemorrhage, according to an article published online Dec. 18 in The Lancet Neurology.

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Oncologist Role in Cancer Prevention Important

THURSDAY, Dec. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Oncologists have an important role in cancer prevention, risk assessment and recommending preventative interventions such as behavior modification, surgery or drugs, according to a statement published online Dec. 15 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Hepatitis C Reinfection More Likely Than First Infection

THURSDAY, Dec. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Reinfection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) following a prior HCV infection and clearance is more likely to occur than a primary HCV infection amongst injection drug users, according to the results of a study published in the December issue of Hepatology.

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Effect of Dialysis Method on Survival Variable

THURSDAY, Dec. 18 (HealthDay News) -- The potential survival benefit of peritoneal dialysis over hemodialysis depends on time since starting dialysis, age and presence of comorbidities, according to a report published online Dec. 17 in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

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Holidays Are A Time for Medical Myths

THURSDAY, Dec. 18 (HealthDay News) -- There are a number of medical myths associated with the holiday season that do not stand up to scientific examination, according to an article published online Dec. 17 in BMJ.

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Appointment Date Affects Colorectal Cancer Screening

THURSDAY, Dec. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Adults are more likely to be screened for colorectal cancer if the appointment is scheduled in December or near their birthday, according to research published online Dec. 17 in BMJ.

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Blood Pressure Linked to Melanocortin Pathway

THURSDAY, Dec. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Central melanocortinergic tone significantly effects blood pressure, and may contribute to the impact of weight loss and obesity on blood pressure, according to data published online Dec. 17 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Benefits of Tighter Glucose Control in Diabetics Studied

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Tighter control of glucose levels in veterans with type 2 diabetes did not improve their rates of cardiovascular events, death or microvascular complications, according to the results of a study published online Dec. 17 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Enzymes Predict Survival in Ovarian Cancer

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 17 (HealthDay News) -- The levels of two enzymes that process microRNAs (miRNAs), which regulate gene expression, can predict survival in women with ovarian cancer, researchers report in the Dec. 18 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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No Benefit of Thrombolysis During Resuscitation

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Thrombolytic treatment with tenecteplase during cardiopulmonary resuscitation does not improve survival or other outcomes compared with placebo, researchers report in the Dec. 18 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Psoriasis Associated with Higher Risk of Hyperleptinemia

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Psoriasis has been linked to hyperleptinemia, which in turn is associated with a higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome, according to research published in the December issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

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Home Rehab Works for Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who undergo rehabilitation at home receive the same benefits that would be provided to them in an outpatient setting, according to a report published in the Dec. 16 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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IL-21 and Receptor Appear to Play Atopic Dermatitis Role

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Expression of the cytokine IL-21 and its receptor, IL-21R, is upregulated in skin lesions of atopic dermatitis in humans and also in a mouse model of allergic skin inflammation, according to research published online Dec. 15 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

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Low-Dose Carbon Monoxide Protective After Stroke in Mice

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Mice exposed to low doses of carbon monoxide (CO) after a stroke have reduced brain damage, according to study findings published online Dec. 17 in Neurotoxicity Research.

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Physical Activity May Decrease Liver Disease Risk

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Physical activity has an independent, protective role against the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), according to the results of a study published in the December issue of Hepatology.

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Surrogate Decision Makers Want Honest Discussions

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Among the surrogates of critically ill patients, a large majority believe that withholding prognostic information is unacceptable and welcome honest discussions to help them emotionally prepare for the possibility of a loved one's death, according to an article published in the Dec. 16 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Gene Therapy Reduces Damage from Gum Disease

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Gene therapy that delivers a soluble form of an anti-inflammatory molecule can prevent bone loss in a rat model of periodontal disease, according to the results of a study published online Dec. 11 in Gene Therapy.

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Nasal Obstruction Linked to Snoring, Daytime Sleepiness

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Nasal obstruction contributes to snoring and excessive daytime sleepiness regardless of whether a person has allergic rhinitis, and this and other forms of sleep-disordered breathing are associated with resting energy expenditure, according to two reports published in the December issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery.

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Factors Predict Response to Hepatitis C Therapy

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 17 (HealthDay News) -- A pretreatment predictive model encompassing four viral and host factors can accurately predict the sustained virologic response (SVR) for patients treated with combination therapy comprised of pegylated interferon alpha-2b (Peg-IFN) and ribavirin, according to research published in the December issue of Hepatology.

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Homocysteine, Folate Linked to Laryngeal Cancer Risk

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Metabolic changes in the levels of homocysteine, folate and vitamin B12 may play a role in laryngeal cancer, researchers report in the December issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery.

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Medicaid Interruptions Linked to Hospitalization

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Among Medicaid patients, coverage interruptions are associated with an increased risk of hospitalization, according to research published in the Dec. 16 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Low-Glycemic Diet Beneficial in Type 2 Diabetes

TUESDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with type 2 diabetes, a low-glycemic index diet may be more effective at reducing HbA1C levels than a high-cereal fiber diet, according to a report published in the Dec. 17 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Smoking Associated with Higher Colorectal Cancer Risk

TUESDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- There is a strong association between cigarette smoking and incidence of colorectal cancer, as well as disease-specific mortality, according to research published in the Dec. 17 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Feeding Strategy Improves Nutrition in Intensive Care

TUESDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Implementing a multi-faceted strategy to change feeding practices in intensive care units using evidence-based nutritional support guidelines can promote earlier feeding and improve nutritional adequacy, but there is no impact on clinical outcomes, according to the results of a study published in the Dec. 17 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Diabetic Cancer Patients Have Higher Mortality

TUESDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with newly diagnosed cancer are at higher risk of death from all causes if they also have pre-existing diabetes, researchers report in the Dec. 17 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Colonoscopy Lowers Cancer Death Rates, But Side Matters

TUESDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Colonoscopy is associated with a lower rate of colorectal cancer mortality, but this benefit is largely limited to deaths from cancer in the left side of the colon, according to research published online Dec. 16 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Insurance Status Affects Surgery for Diverticulitis

TUESDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Race and insurance status both affect the treatment of diverticulitis, but in different ways, according to study findings published in the December issue of the Archives of Surgery.

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Cardiovascular Death Rates Have Declined Since 1995

TUESDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Although death rates from cardiovascular disease have declined in the United States, the overall disease burden remains significant, according to a report from the American Heart Association Statistics Committee and Stroke Statistics Subcommittee published online Dec. 15 in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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Radiation Addition Improves Survival in Prostate Cancer

TUESDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Adding radiotherapy to hormonal treatment improves survival in men with locally advanced prostate cancer, according to research published online Dec. 16 in The Lancet.

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Get With the Guidelines Program Improves Stroke Care

TUESDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Participation in the Get With the Guidelines-Stroke program results in sustained improvements in the care of patients with acute stroke and transient ischemic attack, according to a study published online Dec. 15 in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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Highly Qualified Students More Likely to Quit Medical Studies

TUESDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Graduates with high academic qualifications, those who train in general surgery and who train in a five-year surgical specialty are more likely than other students to drop out of graduate medical education, according to a report published in the December issue of the Archives of Surgery.

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Psychological Distress Linked to Cardiovascular Risk

TUESDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Behavioral factors such as smoking and physical inactivity account for most the increased cardiovascular risk observed in patients with high levels of psychological distress, according to study findings published in the Dec. 16/23 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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Women Cardiologists Have Made Strides in Past Decade

TUESDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- During the past 10 years, women have made progress in cardiology. Their numbers have nearly doubled, and they report high levels of career satisfaction, mentor interaction and access to flexible working hours. But gender discrimination remains a pervasive problem, according to a Survey Report published in the Dec. 16/23 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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Serotonin Agonist Associated with Weight Loss

MONDAY, Dec. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Lorcaserin, a selective serotonin 2C (5-HT2C) agonist, demonstrated effectiveness for weight reduction in obese individuals over a 12-week period, according to research published online Dec. 4 in the journal Obesity.

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Cardiovascular Risk High in Patients with Liver Disease

MONDAY, Dec. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Many patients with end-stage liver disease are at risk of developing coronary artery disease, researchers report in the December issue of Liver Transplantation.

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Sibling Data Reveals Social Factors in Adolescent Weight

MONDAY, Dec. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Contrary to findings from behavioral genetics, the connection between parental obesity and weight of their adolescent offspring has both social and genetic components, according to research published in a November supplement of the American Journal of Sociology.

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Score Reduces Hospitalization for Stomach Bleeding

MONDAY, Dec. 15 (HealthDay News) -- A simple scoring system can identify which patients with upper gastrointestinal bleeding can be safely managed as outpatients, reducing hospital admissions, according to a report published online Dec. 15 in The Lancet.

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Studies Explore Benefits of Endometrial Cancer Treatments

MONDAY, Dec. 15 (HealthDay News) -- For women with early-stage endometrial cancer, additional treatments after surgery such as lymphadenectomy and radiation do not improve survival, according to two studies published online Dec. 13 in The Lancet.

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High Obesity Projections for 2012 in England

MONDAY, Dec. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Approximately one-third of adults in England are projected to be obese by 2012, of whom nearly half are expected to be from lower social classes, according to a report published online Dec. 11 in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

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Living Arrangement May Impact Coronary Heart Disease Risk

MONDAY, Dec. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Living in a multi-generational family increases the risk of coronary heart disease among Japanese women, likely due to increased stress from multiple family roles, according to data published online Dec. 15 in the journal Heart.

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Chromosomal Abnormalities Increase with Flying Time

MONDAY, Dec. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Pilots who have a long history of flying have an increased frequency of chromosome translocation compared to pilots having a shorter history, according to research published online Dec. 11 in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

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Alzheimer's Disease Can Have Long Prodromal Phase

MONDAY, Dec. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with Alzheimer's disease develop symptoms of cognitive decline as early as 12 years before the onset of dementia, according to an article published online Dec. 9 in the Annals of Neurology.

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Food and Drug Administration Points to Asthma Drugs' Risks

MONDAY, Dec. 15 (HealthDay News) -- The risks of using Serevent and Foradil for asthma in adults and children outweigh their benefits, according to a U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel announcement on Dec. 11.

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Alternative Therapies Show Rise in Five-Year Period

FRIDAY, Dec. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Between 2002 and 2007, several complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies became more prevalent in the United States, including massage, acupuncture, meditation and deep breathing, according to research published in the Dec. 10 National Health Statistics Reports.

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Study Points to Genetic Factors in Prion Disease

FRIDAY, Dec. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Genetic factors may play a role in individuals' susceptibility to prion diseases and the length of their incubation period, according to research published in the January issue of The Lancet Neurology.

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Fecal Testing Linked to Lower Colorectal Cancer Deaths

FRIDAY, Dec. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Colorectal cancer screening in an Italian region starting in the 1980s was associated with a drop in colorectal cancer mortality, according to research published in the Dec. 17 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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High Resting Heart Rate Linked to Obesity and Diabetes

FRIDAY, Dec. 12 (HealthDay News) -- A resting heart rate of 80 beats per minute and higher is associated with an increased risk of developing obesity and diabetes two decades later, according to the results of a study published online Dec. 11 in the American Journal of Hypertension. In a related study in the Dec. 12 issue of Science, a mutation in a protein that breaks down triglycerides leads to lower serum triglycerides and fewer signs of atherosclerosis.

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Exercise on Prescription Improves Activity Levels

FRIDAY, Dec. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Prescribing an exercise program helps increase women's levels of physical activity and may improve their quality of life, despite an increase in injuries and falls, according to research published online Dec. 11 in BMJ.

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Modern Therapies Linked to Better Breast Cancer Survival

FRIDAY, Dec. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Many types of modern breast cancer therapy -- whether given alone or in combination -- can offer improved survival compared with older single agents, according to the results of a meta-analysis published in the Dec. 17 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Syndrome Suggestive of Later Multiple Sclerosis

FRIDAY, Dec. 12 (HealthDay News) -- MRI anomalies are highly suggestive of demyelinating disease, and predictive of subsequent multiple sclerosis-related events, according to research published online Dec. 10 in Neurology.

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Thiazolidinediones Linked to Fractures in Women

FRIDAY, Dec. 12 (HealthDay News) -- The long-term use of thiazolidinediones in women with type 2 diabetes is associated with a higher risk of fractures, according to the results of a meta-analysis published in the Jan. 6 issue of CMAJ, the journal of the Canadian Medical Association.

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Costs of Cancer Mortality High in United States

THURSDAY, Dec. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Two different approaches have shown that the costs of cancer mortality are high in the United States and will continue to increase with current cancer mortality rates, according to two studies published online Dec. 9 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Diabetes Drug Well-Tolerated in Kidney Disease

THURSDAY, Dec. 11 (HealthDay News) -- A Phase I trial of the diabetes drug rosiglitazone indicates that the drug is safe and well-tolerated in patients with resistant primary focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), although its pharmacokinetics differ from healthy individuals, according to a study published online Dec. 10 in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

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Antibody Improves Immunity Against Monkey Form of HIV

THURSDAY, Dec. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Monkeys chronically infected with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), a monkey form of HIV, have improved immune responses and better survival after treatment with an antibody, according to research published online Dec. 10 in Nature.

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Program Improves Venous Thromboembolism Prophylaxis

THURSDAY, Dec. 11 (HealthDay News) -- A risk assessment and prophylaxis regimens for venous thromboembolism (VTE) provided in patients' charts can improve appropriate prophylaxis for VTE, researchers report in the December issue of the Southern Medical Journal.

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Fitness Training Improves Fatigue in Prostate Cancer

THURSDAY, Dec. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Fitness training, particularly resistance training, can reduce fatigue and improve quality of life in men with prostate cancer undergoing radiation treatment, according to research published online Dec. 8 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Cardiovascular Risk Higher with Pulmonary Fibrosis

THURSDAY, Dec. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease both before and after diagnosis, researchers report in the Dec. 15 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

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Measles Vaccination Coverage Steadily Improving

THURSDAY, Dec. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Coverage of initial measles vaccination in 47 targeted countries continued to improve in 2007, although coverage varied widely from region to region, according to a report published in the Dec. 5 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Two-Thirds of American Adults Are Physically Active

THURSDAY, Dec. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Approximately 65 percent of American adults self-report reaching the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans criteria for being physically active, according to a report published in the Dec. 5 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease Share Common Genes

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Celiac disease and type 1 diabetes share common genetic variants, according to research released online Dec. 10 in advance of publication in the Dec. 25 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Aspirin, Starch Do Not Prevent Lynch Syndrome Colon Cancer

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Neither aspirin nor resistant starch show chemopreventive activity against the development of colorectal adenoma or carcinoma in Lynch syndrome patients, according to the results of a study published in the Dec. 11 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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WHO: Global Cancer Burden Is Rapidly Expanding

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 10 (HealthDay News) -- The global cancer burden is growing rapidly, particularly in low- and middle-income countries that have the least ability to cope with it, according to the 2008 World Cancer Report released Dec. 9 by the World Health Organization.

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Fear of Prostate Cancer Return Linked to Mental Health

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Fear of recurrence, along with treatment-related symptoms, affect quality of life in prostate cancer survivors, according to research published in the December issue of Urology.

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Return to Driving Can Be Difficult Call for Doctors

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Many orthopaedic surgeons may lack a consistent return-to-driving policy for patients following musculoskeletal injury or surgery, and many patients may not consult with their doctors before resuming driving, according to an article in the December issue of the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

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Thirty Genetic Loci Linked to Lipoprotein Levels

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 10 (HealthDay News) -- An additional 11 loci associated with variations in lipoprotein levels have been identified, bringing the total to 30, according to study findings published online Dec. 7 in Nature Genetics.

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Surgery Improves Quality of Life in Some Spine Diagnoses

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Compared to other types of elective orthopaedic surgery, spinal surgery for spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis and instability is associated with significantly greater improvements in health-related quality of life, researchers report in the December issue of Spine.

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Blood Protein Signature May Identify Early Alzheimer's

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 10 (HealthDay News) -- A blood-based panel of 18 secreted signaling proteins may predict which patients with mild cognitive impairment are likely to develop Alzheimer's disease, according to a study published online Dec. 8 in the Archives of Neurology.

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Long-Term Antioxidant Use Does Not Prevent Cancer

TUESDAY, Dec. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Antioxidant supplementation, specifically with selenium or vitamins C and E, has no role in cancer prevention, according to results of two separate studies published online Dec. 9 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Economic Incentives Promote Weight Loss

TUESDAY, Dec. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Economic incentives are an effective strategy for promoting weight loss, but their long-term benefit is uncertain, according to research published Dec. 10 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Most Overdose Deaths Due to Non-Medical Opioid Use

TUESDAY, Dec. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly all unintentional drug overdose deaths in West Virginia during 2006 resulted from non-medical use of opioid analgesics, according to research published in the Dec. 10 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Mediterranean Diet Can Help Manage Metabolic Syndrome

TUESDAY, Dec. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Patients at risk for the metabolic syndrome can benefit from a traditional Mediterranean diet enriched with nuts, according to the results of a study published in the Dec. 8/22 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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NSAIDs Are Safe, Effective for Prostatectomy Pain

TUESDAY, Dec. 9 (HealthDay News) -- The use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) appears to be safe and effective for pain relief following radical retropubic prostatectomy, according to research published in the December issue of Urology.

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Trial Participants Value Quick Feedback on Results

TUESDAY, Dec. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Participants in clinical trials highly value direct communication on the trial results, researchers report in the December issue of the Archives of Neurology.

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Macular Edema Adds to Cost Burden for Elderly Diabetics

TUESDAY, Dec. 9 (HealthDay News) -- New-onset diabetic macular edema in elderly patients increases medical costs by almost one-third, according to a report published in the December issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology.

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Electronic Prescribing Can Lead to Savings on Drug Costs

TUESDAY, Dec. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Electronic prescribing with formulary decision support encourages clinicians to prescribe cheaper drugs and can lead to significant cost savings, according to research published in the Dec. 8/22 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Reperfusion Often Delayed in Women with Heart Attack

TUESDAY, Dec. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Reperfusion is delayed among women with acute ST-elevation myocardial infarction compared with their male counterparts, and evidence-based treatments are underused in women, according to a report published online Dec. 8 in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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Half-Dose of Influenza Vaccine Works Well in Under-50s

TUESDAY, Dec. 9 (HealthDay News) -- A half-dose of influenza vaccine protects adults aged 18 to 49 who have previously been vaccinated against influenza almost as well as a full dose, according to study findings published in the Dec. 8/22 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Malaria Vaccine Proves to Be Safe and Effective

MONDAY, Dec. 8 (HealthDay News) -- RTS,S shows promise as a safe and effective malaria vaccine, and artesunate can be a useful malaria treatment, according to several studies published online Dec. 8 in the New England Journal of Medicine and The Lancet.

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Classes After Prostate Cancer Linked to Dietary Changes

MONDAY, Dec. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Cooking classes focused on a plant-based diet can encourage prostate cancer survivors to eat a more prostate-healthy diet, according to research published in the December issue of Urology.

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Eye Disease Burden to Grow Along with Diabetes Epidemic

MONDAY, Dec. 8 (HealthDay News) -- As more Americans develop diabetes, so the burden of diabetes-related eye diseases will increase, according to research published in the December issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology.

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No Explanation for Anemia Decline in Women and Children

MONDAY, Dec. 8 (HealthDay News) -- There was a significant decline in the rates of anemia among women and children in the United States between 1988-1994 and 1999-2002, according to a report published in the December issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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Age, Pathology Affect Natural History of Disc Degeneration

MONDAY, Dec. 8 (HealthDay News) -- New understandings in the natural history of age-related disc degeneration may be relevant to proposed strategies for replenishing disc cells, according to research published in the December issue of Spine.

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Adverse Events After Chiropractic Care Often Short-Term

MONDAY, Dec. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Benign adverse events following chiropractic care are associated with an increased risk of experiencing a worse short-term outcome, a correlation not observed in outcomes at three months, according to study findings published in the December issue of Spine.

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Brain Hemorrhage Linked to Traumatic Stress in Loved Ones

MONDAY, Dec. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Subarachnoid hemorrhage can result in an elevated occurrence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the significant other of the patient experiencing the bleeding, explaining an increased incidence of psychiatric and psychosocial disability, according to an article published in the December issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery.

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Psychosocial Factors Affect Prostate Cancer Screening

MONDAY, Dec. 8 (HealthDay News) -- In middle-aged and older men, decisions about prostate cancer screening may be strongly influenced by factors such as family history of prostate cancer, marital status and worry over developing the disease, researchers report in the December issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

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Pulmonary Disease May Increase Risk of Osteoporosis

MONDAY, Dec. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may increase the risk of developing osteoporosis, according to the results of a study published in the December issue of the journal Chest.

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Gender May Affect Stem Cell Ability to Repair Cartilage

MONDAY, Dec. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Muscle-derived stem cells (MDSCs) from male mice are more effective than those from female mice in their ability to differentiate into cartilage and repair damaged tissue, according to research published in the December issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism.

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Drug-Eluting Stents Linked to Better Outcomes in Diabetics

MONDAY, Dec. 8 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with diabetes mellitus, the use of drug-eluting stents is associated with a significantly decreased risk of in-stent restenosis, target lesion revascularization and heart attacks during follow-up compared with the use of bare-metal stents, according to a report published in the Nov. 15 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

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Alkaline Supplementation May Improve Skeletal Health

MONDAY, Dec. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Older adults may experience a decrease in bone loss as a result of increasing the alkali content of their diet, according to research released online in October in advance of publication in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

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Patients Conflicted About Frozen Embryo Disposition

MONDAY, Dec. 8 (HealthDay News) -- After treatment, fertility patients face a conundrum concerning the disposition of cryopreserved embryos, and may either prefer unavailable options such as research donation or reject available options such as reproductive donation or thawing and discarding, according to an article published online Dec. 5 in Fertility and Sterility.

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Carraguard Does Not Prevent Vaginal HIV Transmission

FRIDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- A carrageenan-based compound, Carraguard, is not effective in preventing vaginal transmission of HIV, researchers report in the Dec. 6 issue of The Lancet.

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At-Risk Patients May Benefit from Higher-Dose Aspirin

FRIDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- In patients diagnosed with atherosclerotic vascular disease, higher-dose aspirin may be more effective at reducing the risk of fatal atherothrombotic events than lower-dose aspirin, according to a report published in the Nov. 15 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

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Biomarkers Not Associated with Clinical Crohn's Activity

FRIDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with Crohn's disease, serum and fecal biomarker concentrations are not associated with clinical disease activity but have a modest association with endoscopic disease activity, according to study findings published in the November issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

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Colonoscopy Appropriateness Guidelines Faulted

FRIDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Current appropriateness guidelines for colonoscopy are inefficient because they exclude a clinically significant colorectal cancer risk among patients deemed inappropriate for colonoscopy, according to a report published in the November issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

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Seasonal Variations Seen in Heart Attack Risk in Japan

FRIDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- In a Japanese city, the incidence of heart attacks and case fatality rates are significantly higher during the winter and spring than in other seasons, according to a study published in the Nov. 15 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

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Asthma Risk Linked to Mental Health Symptoms

FRIDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- In a nationally representative patient sample, poor mental health was linked to an increased risk of experiencing asthma, according to a report published in the December issue of Chest.

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Newer Schizophrenia Drugs Not All the Same

FRIDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- The properties of the various second-generation antipsychotic drugs used to treat schizophrenia vary widely in terms of treatment properties and side effects, making comparison with first-generation drugs difficult but enabling individualized treatment, according to an article published online Dec. 5 in The Lancet.

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Stem Cell Web Sites Often Overly Optimistic

FRIDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- "Direct-to-consumer" Web sites on stem cell treatments are overly optimistic and make claims that are not supported by the scientific and clinical literature, according to an article in the Dec. 4 issue of Cell Stem Cell. A related editorial describes new guidelines for the responsible transition of basic stem cell research into clinical applications.

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Immune System More Effective in HIV-Resistant People

FRIDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Rare individuals who are able to control their HIV infection without drugs have immune systems that are much more effective at killing HIV-infected cells, according to study findings published in the Dec. 4 issue of Immunity.

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Poor Pay the Most for Prescription Drugs

FRIDAY, Dec.5 (HealthDay News) -- Prescription drugs cost more in poor neighborhoods than in more affluent areas, according to a study of pharmacy prices in the state of Florida, published online in November in Health Services Research.

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Biomarker Predicts Drug Benefit for Breast Cancer

FRIDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Women with metastatic breast cancer are more likely to benefit from lapatinib (Tykerb/Tyverb) treatment if their tumors overproduce the biomarker HER-2, researchers report in the Dec. 1 issue of Clinical Cancer Research.

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Risk of Gastrointestinal Reflux Linked to Pulmonary Disease

FRIDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- A diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) increases the risk of developing gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), according to research published in the December issue of the journal Chest.

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Smallpox Vaccination Produces Long-Lasting Immunity

FRIDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Even a single immunization against smallpox decades earlier produces high and stable antibody levels, suggesting that scarce resources should be directed to unvaccinated individuals in the event of a bioterrorist attack, according to a report in the December issue of The American Journal of Medicine.

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Drug Therapies Studied for Atherosclerosis

FRIDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Atherosclerosis was not dramatically improved by either the fibrate fenofibrate or a combination treatment with statins plus ezetimibe, according to two studies published online Dec. 3 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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Happiness Seen As a Network Phenomenon

FRIDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Like health, happiness is a collective phenomenon that clusters in networks of people and spreads across a diverse array of social ties, according to study findings published online Dec. 4 in BMJ.

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Depression Linked to Abdominal Obesity Gains

THURSDAY, Dec. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Older people with depression may be at increased risk of developing abdominal obesity, according to research published in the December issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

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PET Imaging Affects Management Similarly Among Cancers

THURSDAY, Dec. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Positron emission tomography (PET) imaging affects the intended management of cancer patients similarly regardless of cancer type, researchers report in the Dec. 1 issue of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine.

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Source of New Pancreatic Islet Cells Identified

THURSDAY, Dec. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Duct cells are the source of new pancreatic islet cells after birth and after injury in mice, which could provide new islets for diabetics, according to research published online Dec. 3 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Drivers Lose Concentration While Talking on Cell Phone

THURSDAY, Dec. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Drivers who talk on a cell phone while driving make more errors than when they are talking to a passenger in the car or when they drive without any distraction, according to study findings released online Dec. 1 in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied.

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Surgery Added No Benefit for Knee Ligament Injury

THURSDAY, Dec. 4 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with anterior cruciate ligament injury, there is no difference in muscle strength and functional performance after two to five years between those treated with training and reconstructive surgery and those treated with training alone, according to an article published in the Dec. 15 issue of Arthritis Care & Research.

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Liver Enzymes Decline in Placebo-Treated Liver Disease

THURSDAY, Dec. 4 (HealthDay News) -- In randomized controlled trials of patients with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), serum alanine aminotransferase levels may decrease on placebo but is not a reliable measure of treatment response, according to study findings published in the November issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

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Beta Blockers Reduce Death in Patients with Arrhythmias

THURSDAY, Dec. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Treatment with β blockers in the first 24 hours after a heart attack reduces in-hospital death in patients with sustained ventricular arrhythmias, according to the results of a study published in the Dec. 1 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

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Passive Smoke Heart Burden Remains Substantial

THURSDAY, Dec. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Although passive smoking has been steadily declining in the United States, it still accounts for many coronary heart disease deaths and heart attacks, and imposes substantial treatment costs, according to a study published in the January issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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Virus-Associated Kidney Transplant Failure Avoidable

THURSDAY, Dec. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Graft failure can be reduced in kidney transplant patients who develop BK virus-associated nephropathy (BKVAN) -- a normally dormant virus in healthy individuals -- by withdrawing one immunosuppressive drug soon after diagnosis, researchers report in the November issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

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Brain Pathway Activated by Weight-Loss Drug Identified

THURSDAY, Dec. 4 (HealthDay News) -- The brain receptor activated by the weight-loss drug fen-phen, which was withdrawn from the market in the 1990s due to toxic side effects, plays an important role in food intake and energy balance, and its presence on neurons in the hypothalamus is particularly important, according to research published in the Nov. 26 issue of Neuron. The findings could help researchers develop safer weight-loss drugs.

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Breathing Exercises Improve Asthmatics' Quality of Life

THURSDAY, Dec. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Breathing training can improve quality of life in asthmatics better than asthma education, but the training does not affect the underlying asthma pathophysiology, according to a report published online Dec. 3 in Thorax.

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Guidelines Issued for Distal Symmetric Polyneuropathy

THURSDAY, Dec. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Although the evaluation of distal symmetric polyneuropathy is not standardized, a growing body of research has produced evidence-based guidelines that may be useful for clinicians, according to two Practice Parameters released online Dec. 3 in advance of publication in the Jan. 13 issue of Neurology.

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Possible Link Between Epilepsy Drug and Autism Examined

THURSDAY, Dec. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Children born to mothers who took the epilepsy drug valproate during pregnancy may have an up to sevenfold increased risk of developing autism spectrum disorder compared to children who were not exposed to epilepsy drugs in utero, according to a report published in the Dec. 2 issue of Neurology.

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Drug Combination Reduces Risk of Cardiovascular Events

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Combination therapy with the angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor benazepril and the calcium-channel blocker amlodipine is superior to the treatment combination of benazepril and the diuretic hydrochlorothiazide in preventing cardiovascular events, according to an article published in the Dec. 4 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Tenofovir Superior to Adefovir to Treat Chronic Hepatitis B

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (DF) is superior to adefovir dipivoxil for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection regardless of prior lamivudine exposure, according to data published in the Dec. 4 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Liver Disease Progression May Occur Despite Peginterferon

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Long-term therapy with peginterferon does not prevent liver disease progression in hepatitis C patients who had no response to initial treatment with peginterferon and ribavirin, researchers report in the Dec. 4 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Contaminated Heparin Caused National Outbreak

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Heparin contaminated with oversulfated chondroitin sulfate was responsible for the nationwide outbreak of allergic-type reactions and deaths that occurred at dialysis facilities in late 2007 and early 2008, according to study findings released online Dec. 3 in advance of publication in the Dec. 18 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Physicians Can Learn from Drug Marketing Efficiency

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Enhanced drug approval and marketing efficiency may offer learning tools to improve safety surveillance systems, according to an editorial published Dec. 2 in BMJ Online First.

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College Students Benefit from Preventive Health Care

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Although psychiatric disorders are common among college students, fewer than 25 percent seek treatment, according to a study published in the December issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry. A different study, published in the December issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, points to the benefits of influenza vaccination of college students.

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Folate During Pregnancy May Increase Risk of Wheeze

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Babies of women who take folate supplements during the first trimester of pregnancy may be at increased risk of wheeze and lower respiratory tract infections up to 18 months of age, according to a study published online Dec. 3 in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

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Rapid Response Teams Do Not Reduce Code Rates

TUESDAY, Dec. 2 (HealthDay News) -- The introduction of a rapid response team may reduce the rate of cardiopulmonary arrests outside of intensive care, but the hospital-wide mortality and code rates remain unchanged, researchers report in the Dec. 3 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Heavy Drinking Ups Women's Risk of Atrial Fibrillation

TUESDAY, Dec. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Middle-aged women who consume two or more alcoholic drinks a day are at a slightly but statistically significant higher risk of atrial fibrillation than non-drinking women, according to research published in the Dec. 3 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Generic Drugs Equally Effective in Cardiovascular Disease

TUESDAY, Dec. 2 (HealthDay News) -- In the treatment of cardiovascular disease, evidence does not support the notion -- often expressed in journal editorials and the popular press -- that generic drugs are inferior to brand-name drugs, according to a report published in the Dec. 3 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Surgery Offers Some Epileptics Life Expectancy Gains

TUESDAY, Dec. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Anterior temporal lobe resection can give patients with pharmacoresistant temporal lobe epilepsy longer life expectancy and better quality of life, provided they meet the criteria for surgery, researchers report in the Dec. 3 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Melatonin Agonist Tasimelteon Helps Combat Insomnia

TUESDAY, Dec. 2 (HealthDay News) -- The melatonin agonist tasimelteon improves both sleep initiation and maintenance in patients who have experienced a sudden advance in sleep time, and shows potential in treating transient insomnia, according to a report published online Dec. 2 in The Lancet.

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Bed Management Increases Emergency Room Throughput

TUESDAY, Dec. 2 (HealthDay News) -- An active bed management program staffed by hospitalists increases emergency department throughput and reduces ambulance diversions caused by emergency room overcrowding or lack of hospital beds, according to study findings published in the Dec. 2 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Candesartan Investigated in Hypotensive Patients

TUESDAY, Dec. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Among heart failure patients with low ejection fraction and low systolic blood pressure, treatment with candesartan is still efficacious, according to the results of a clinical study reported in the Dec. 9 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Cardiovascular Disease

TUESDAY, Dec. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Vitamin D deficiency is associated with a higher frequency of cardiovascular disease, according to a study in the Dec. 1 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology. A related review in the Dec. 9 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology discusses the links between vitamin D deficiency, cardiovascular disease and insulin resistance.

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Guidelines for Sudden Cardiac Death Reviewed

TUESDAY, Dec. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Most European cardiology societies and sports federations require electrocardiograms for pre-participation screening of athletes, but U.S. guidelines do not, according to two reports published in the Dec. 9 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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State 'Apology' Laws Affect Medical Error Admission

TUESDAY, Dec. 2 (HealthDay News) -- An increasing number of states have enacted "apology" laws aimed at encouraging physicians to disclose medical errors. But such laws vary from state to state, and may expose physicians to varying degrees of malpractice liability, according to a Narrative Review: "Do State Laws Make It Easier to Say 'I'm Sorry?'" published in the Dec. 2 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Over Half of Obstetric Claims Due to Substandard Care

TUESDAY, Dec. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Altering routine practice patterns could alleviate more than half of hospital litigation costs related to obstetric malpractice, according to a report published in the December issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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UK Panel Suggests Erlotinib As Docetaxel Alternative

MONDAY, Dec. 1 (HealthDay News) -- The United Kingdom's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has approved erlotinib as a second-line treatment for patients with non-small-cell lung cancer as long as it is supplied at a discounted price equivalent to the cost of docetaxel, according to a special report published online Nov. 26 in The Lancet Oncology.

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Drug Prices High in Low-, Middle-Income Countries

MONDAY, Dec. 1 (HealthDay News) -- The prices of originator and generic medicines in low- and middle-income countries are often unaffordably high because of mark-ups and other factors, and the drugs aren't always widely available, according to a report published online Dec. 1 in The Lancet.

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Denmark's Down Syndrome Births Halved By Screening

MONDAY, Dec. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Since Denmark introduced national combined risk assessment for Down syndrome in 2004, the number of infants born with Down syndrome has dropped by half, according to research published Nov. 27 in BMJ Online First.

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Discontinuation Rate for Bladder Medications High

MONDAY, Dec. 1 (HealthDay News) -- More than half of women prescribed anticholinergic drugs for lower urinary tract symptoms suggestive of overactive bladder discontinued treatment after six months, suggesting poor adherence to treatment, researchers report in the December issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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Vitamin K Protective Against Insulin Resistance in Men

MONDAY, Dec. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Daily supplementation with phylloquinone (vitamin K) over three years protects against insulin resistance in older men, but not women, according to data released online in advance of publication in an upcoming issue of Diabetes Care.

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Diesel Exhaust Exposure Linked to Pulmonary Disease

MONDAY, Dec. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Exposure to diesel exhaust at work can raise the risk of death from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to study findings published online Nov. 27 in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

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Investigational Drug Potent Estrogen Antagonist in Mice

MONDAY, Dec. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Compared with the conventional selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) raloxifene and lasofoxifene, the investigational SERM bazedoxifene is a more potent antagonist of estrogen activity in both the uterus and mammary gland of mice, according to research published online Nov. 20 in Endocrinology.

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Emergency Catheterization OK in Contrast Allergic Patients

MONDAY, Dec. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with a history of contrast allergy can safely undergo emergency catheterization for ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction if pretreated, according to a report in the Dec. 1 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

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Absence from Work May Predict Risk of Death

MONDAY, Dec. 1 (HealthDay News) -- In men and women, absence from work due to sickness can be a strong indicator of risk of death and morbidity, according to study findings reported online Nov. 27 in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

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General and Local Anesthetic Both Good for Carotid Surgery

MONDAY, Dec. 1 (HealthDay News) -- The outcomes of carotid surgery are similar whether the patient is under local or general anesthesia, according to a report published online Nov. 27 in The Lancet.

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Growth Factor Treats Obesity and Fatty Liver Disease in Mice

MONDAY, Dec. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Treatment with the growth factor and metabolic regulator fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) lowers body fat and reduces hepatosteatosis, implicating its therapeutic potential to treat obesity and fatty liver disease, according to research in mice published in the November issue of Endocrinology.

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A Good Boss Can Cut Your Risk of Heart Disease

MONDAY, Dec. 1 (HealthDay News) -- A healthy work environment, with a good manager at the helm, can decrease the risk of ischemic heart disease among employees regardless of individual risk factors, according to the results of a Swedish study reported online Nov. 27 in the journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

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