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February 2009 Briefing - Internal Medicine

Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Internal Medicine for February 2009. 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.

Fampridine Boosts Mobility in Multiple Sclerosis

FRIDAY, Feb. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Fampridine, an investigational potassium-channel blocker, improves walking ability and reduces ambulatory disability in patients with multiple sclerosis, according to research published in the Feb. 28 issue of The Lancet.

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Risk Score May Help Predict Atrial Fibrillation

FRIDAY, Feb. 27 (HealthDay News) -- A newly developed risk score based on readily available clinical factors can predict an individual's absolute risk of developing atrial fibrillation, allowing high-risk individuals to be targeted for prevention, according to research published in the Feb. 28 issue of The Lancet.

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Goserelin Treatment Shows Similar Benefits As Tamoxifen

FRIDAY, Feb. 27 (HealthDay News) -- The use of goserelin was associated with improved rates of survival and recurrence over the long term in women with breast cancer, according to research published online Feb. 24 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Daytime Sleepiness Linked to Risk of Death in Elderly

FRIDAY, Feb. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Older individuals who are excessively sleepy during the day may face a higher risk of mortality, according to research published online Feb. 26 in the journal Stroke.

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Ischemic Strokes Rise Steeply with Age Even in Young

FRIDAY, Feb. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Modifiable risk factors for stroke, such as high cholesterol and hypertension, were common in a group of younger stroke patients, according to research published online Feb. 26 in the journal Stroke.

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Guidelines for Prevention of Rheumatic Fever Updated

FRIDAY, Feb. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Prevention of rheumatic fever relies on proper identification and treatment of the bacteria responsible, with penicillin being the preferred treatment, according to updated guidelines published online Feb. 26 in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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Genetic Variants Predict Survival in Pancreatic Cancer

FRIDAY, Feb. 27 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with resectable pancreatic cancer, mismatch repair gene polymorphisms may be significantly associated with clinical outcomes, according to a report published online Feb. 23 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Technique Renders Breast Cancer Sensitive to Tamoxifen

FRIDAY, Feb. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Switching on the estrogen receptor (ER) gene in the one-third of breast cancers that do not produce the receptor, which have a poor prognosis, restores their sensitivity to tamoxifen, according to the results of a study published online Feb. 23 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

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Exacerbations Cluster in Time in Chronic Lung Disease

FRIDAY, Feb. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Exacerbations cluster together in time in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, with second exacerbations occurring within eight weeks of the first in about one-quarter of patients, researchers report in the Mar. 1 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

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Gene Mutation Linked to Higher Risk of Colon Cancer Death

FRIDAY, Feb. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Mutations in a gene involved in promoting cell growth increase the risk of cancer-specific death in patients with colon cancer, and the increased risk appears to depend on the absence of mutations in another cancer-promoting gene, according to research published online Feb. 23 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Type 2 Diabetes Prevalence Increasing in United Kingdom

FRIDAY, Feb. 27 (HealthDay News) -- In the United Kingdom, the prevalence of type 2 diabetes increased from 2.8 percent in 1996 to 4.3 percent in 2005, according to a report published online Feb. 24 in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

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Tacrolimus, Corticosteroid Regimen May Improve Dermatitis

FRIDAY, Feb. 27 (HealthDay News) -- A sequential regimen of tacrolimus ointment and tapered use of topical corticosteroids in children may provide control of atopic dermatitis while limiting exposure to corticosteroids, according to research published in the February issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

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PSA Provides Higher Cancer Prediction By Race

FRIDAY, Feb. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) has a higher prediction for prostate cancer in African American men, which may be explained by genetic West African ancestry, according to a study published online Feb. 24 in Cancer Prevention Research.

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Light Alcohol Use Linked to Cancer Risk in Women

THURSDAY, Feb. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Even low levels of alcohol consumption may raise women's risks of certain cancers, according to research published in the Mar. 4 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Liver Cancer Rates Tripled in the United States Since 1970s

THURSDAY, Feb. 26 (HealthDay News) -- The incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma in the United States has tripled since the 1970s, although survival has continued to improve due to better diagnosis and treatment, according to a report published online Feb. 17 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Supplements Affect Expression of Prostate Cancer Genes

THURSDAY, Feb. 26 (HealthDay News) -- In prostate cancer patients scheduled for radical prostatectomy, selenium and vitamin E have significant effects on expression levels of genes commonly associated with cancer development and progression that may have clinical implications, according to an article published in the Mar. 4 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Causes of Stillbirth Remain Poorly Understood

THURSDAY, Feb. 26 (HealthDay News) -- In a bid to tackle the lack of understanding about the risk factors and causes of stillbirth, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has issued guidelines for clinicians in a new Practice Bulletin published in the March issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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Age, Treatment Predictive of Leukemia Prognosis

THURSDAY, Feb. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Complete response, time to treatment failure and overall survival are useful outcomes for developing new prognostic models for chronic lymphocytic leukemia, according to research published online Feb. 17 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Male Infertility Linked to Testicular Cancer Risk

THURSDAY, Feb. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Men with male factor infertility showed a markedly higher risk of testicular cancer than men in the general population, according to research published in the Feb. 23 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Two Types of Stents Get Similar Results

THURSDAY, Feb. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Unprotected left main coronary artery disease can be safely treated with either paclitaxel- or sirolimus-eluting stents, according to the results of a study published online Feb. 25 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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Antihypertensive Treatment Benefits Dialysis Patients

THURSDAY, Feb. 26 (HealthDay News) -- In dialysis patients, treatment with blood pressure-lowering medications may significantly reduce rates of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, according to the results of a study published online Feb. 26 in The Lancet.

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Pain May Occur After Magnetic Resonance Arthrography

THURSDAY, Feb. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Patients may notice pain following magnetic resonance arthrography, particularly several hours after the procedure, according to research published in the March issue of Radiology.

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Various Diet Compositions Effective for Weight Loss

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Diets where calories come from a range of fat, protein and carbohydrate combinations are similarly effective in promoting weight loss and reducing cardiovascular risk factors, researchers report in the Feb. 26 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Drug-Resistant Meningitis Present in North America

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Ciprofloxacin-resistant meningitis has appeared in North America, although the bacteria remain susceptible to other antibiotics, according to a report in the Feb. 26 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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HPV-Positive Test Less Likely Than Previously Reported

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 25 (HealthDay News) -- The incidence of a positive carcinogenic human papillomavirus (HPV) test in a general population of women is less likely than previously reported, suggesting concerns over HPV testing in general clinical practice may be overstated, according to research published in the March issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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Osteopontin May Be Heart Risk Factor in Psoriasis Patients

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Circulating osteopontin -- a glycophosphoprotein secreted by epithelial and many other cell types -- may be a cardiovascular risk factor in individuals with psoriasis, according to research published in the February issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

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Difficult Patient Encounters Common for Primary Care Docs

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Though difficult patient encounters are common for primary care physicians, certain physician characteristics were linked to more frequent encounters that were perceived as difficult, according to research published in the Feb. 23 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Exercise Testing Predicts Death in Lung Fibrosis Patients

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis whose maximal oxygen uptake during exercise is below a certain threshold have a higher risk of death, according to study findings published in the Mar. 1 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

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Adolescent Obesity As Harmful to Health As Smoking

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Adolescents who are overweight or obese have a similar mortality risk in adulthood as their peers who are light or heavy smokers, respectively, according to a report published online Feb. 24 in BMJ.

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Calcium, Other Nutrients May Reduce Disease Risk

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Several nutrients were associated with possible protection from cancer and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), according to two studies published in the Feb. 23 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Diabetes May Increase Risk for Perinatal Depression

TUESDAY, Feb. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Women who develop diabetes either prior to or during pregnancy are more likely to experience perinatal depression, including postpartum depression, researchers report in the Feb. 25 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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More Heart Guidelines Based on Low Levels of Evidence

TUESDAY, Feb. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Many recommendations in guidelines are based on low levels of evidence or expert opinion, according to an article published in the Feb. 25 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Released Inmates Unlikely to Fill Antiretroviral Prescriptions

TUESDAY, Feb. 24 (HealthDay News) -- A vast majority of HIV-infected prison inmates, after release, do not fill their prescriptions for antiretroviral therapy medication in a timely manner to avoid treatment interruption, according to study findings published in the Feb. 25 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Insurance Essential for Good Health, Well-Being

TUESDAY, Feb. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Having health insurance is vital for health and well-being, and when rates of uninsurance are high, even insured people are more likely to struggle to obtain necessary care, according to a new report from the Institute of Medicine released online Feb. 24.

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Vitamin D Levels Linked to Respiratory Tract Infections

TUESDAY, Feb. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Vitamin D levels are inversely associated with upper respiratory tract infections, in a robust dose-response relationship that is clinically and statistically significant, according to research published in the Feb. 23 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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US Health Spending May Have Hit $2.4 Trillion in 2008

TUESDAY, Feb. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Health spending in the United States was estimated to be $2.4 trillion last year, and is expected to account for an unprecedented share of the economy this year, according to a report published online Feb. 24 in Health Affairs.

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Reminders May Improve Rates of Colorectal Cancer Screening

TUESDAY, Feb. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Mailed reminders to patients and electronic reminders to physicians may improve rates of colorectal cancer screening and detection of adenomas, according to study findings published in the Feb. 23 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Anger Induces Heart Instability and Arrhythmias

TUESDAY, Feb. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Anger-induced T-wave alternans, a marker of repolarization instability, predicts ventricular arrhythmias in patients with implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs), providing a link between stress and sudden death, according to a report in the Mar. 3 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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Workers' Comp Linked to Poor Back Surgery Outcomes

TUESDAY, Feb. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Workers' compensation patients who undergo lumbar discectomy may have a greater risk of poor outcomes than non-compensated patients, according to study findings published in the March issue of The Spine Journal.

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Global Burden of Stroke Varies Widely

TUESDAY, Feb. 24 (HealthDay News) -- The burden of stroke mortality varies widely around the world, and the incidence of stroke in high-income countries has declined in the last four decades, while it has doubled in low- and middle-income countries over the same time period, according to two articles published online Feb. 20 in The Lancet Neurology.

Abstract - Johnston
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Study Supports Halt of PSA Testing in Some Older Men

TUESDAY, Feb. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Men who are 75 to 80 years old and have a prostate specific antigen (PSA) less than 3 ng/mL are not likely to have life-threatening prostate cancer during the remainder of their lives, according to research released online in advance of publication in the April issue of the Journal of Urology.

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DVT Prevention to Be Considered for All Urologic Surgeries

MONDAY, Feb. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Consideration of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) prophylaxis is recommended for all patients undergoing a urological surgical procedure, according to a best practice statement from the American Urological Association published in the March issue of the Journal of Urology.

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Long-Term Epilepsy Risk High After Traumatic Brain Injury

MONDAY, Feb. 23 (HealthDay News) -- In children and young adults with traumatic brain injury, the risk of epilepsy persists for 10 years or longer, according to a report published online Feb. 23 in The Lancet.

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Black Women Face Higher Risk of Early Mycosis Fungoides

MONDAY, Feb. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Women are more likely than men to present with mycosis fungoides -- the most common type of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma -- before the age of 40, as are black and Hispanic patients, according to research published in the February issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

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Racial Disparity Persists in Total Knee Replacements

MONDAY, Feb. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Racial disparity between blacks and whites in total knee replacement procedures has persisted, despite adoption of a Healthy People 2010 objective to eliminate these disparities, according to a report published in the Feb. 20 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Obesity Gene Linked to Energy Expenditure

MONDAY, Feb. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Mice lacking the Fto gene, where common human variants have been linked to obesity, are leaner due to increased energy expenditure despite the fact that they eat more and move less, according to research published online Feb. 22 in Nature.

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Postnatal Glucocorticoids Affect Adaptation to Stress

MONDAY, Feb. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Postnatal glucocorticoid excess due to deletion of pituitary glucocorticoid receptors affects the ability of adult mice to cope with stress, according to research published online Feb. 12 in Endocrinology.

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Heat Increases Respiratory Hospital Admissions in Elderly

MONDAY, Feb. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Increasing temperatures in Europe in the spring and summer are associated with an increase in hospital admissions for respiratory problems in the elderly, which may become worse with global warming and an aging population, researchers report in the Mar. 1 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

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Medicaid Patients May Travel Long Distance for Spine Care

MONDAY, Feb. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Medicaid patients may have less access to local spine care than patients with private, commercial health insurance, according to a report published in the March issue of The Spine Journal.

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Hormone Reverses Asthma Changes in Mouse Model

MONDAY, Feb. 23 (HealthDay News) -- The antifibrotic peptide hormone relaxin reverses lung fibrosis and airway hyperresponsiveness in a mouse model of asthma, according to the results of a study published online Feb. 12 in Endocrinology.

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Azacitidine May Be Effective in Myelodysplastic Syndrome

MONDAY, Feb. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Azacitidine, as opposed to conventional care, improves overall survival in patients with higher-risk myelodysplastic syndrome, according to research published online Feb. 19 in The Lancet Oncology.

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Tibolone Linked to Breast Cancer Recurrence

MONDAY, Feb. 23 (HealthDay News) -- The synthetic steroid tibolone increases the risk of breast cancer recurrence, according to a report published in the February issue of The Lancet Oncology.

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Contralateral Prophylactic Mastectomy Use On The Rise

FRIDAY, Feb. 20 (HealthDay News) -- During recent years, contralateral prophylactic mastectomy has become a more commonly used treatment in women with ductal carcinoma in situ, according to research published online Feb. 17 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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PCI Shows Benefit in Elderly With MI, Cardiogenic Shock

FRIDAY, Feb. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Among patients with myocardial infarction and cardiogenic shock who underwent percutaneous coronary intervention, elderly patients showed similar one-year survival and other outcomes as younger patients, according to research published in the February Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Cardiovascular Interventions.

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ASCO Oncology Exam Tests Fellows' Competencies

FRIDAY, Feb. 20 (HealthDay News) -- The development of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 200-question Medical Oncology In-Training Examination required four years and contributions from a testing organization and volunteer question-writers, according to an overview of the process published online Feb. 17 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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FDA Issues Exemption for Device That Treats OCD

FRIDAY, Feb. 20 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a human device exemption for a system that uses electrical therapy in the brain to suppress severe obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) symptoms, according to a release issued by the agency Feb. 19.

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Gunshot Victims May Lie About Source of Their Injuries

FRIDAY, Feb. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Emergency-department personnel should be alert to the possibility that some patients may conceal the fact that their injuries were caused by gunfire, according to a letter published in the Feb. 21 issue of The Lancet.

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Novel Drug May Benefit Patients With Heart Disease

FRIDAY, Feb. 20 (HealthDay News) -- The investigational drug A-002 may be an effective anti-atherosclerotic agent because it reduces levels of secretory phospholipase A2 (sPLA2) enzymes, plasma lipoproteins, and inflammatory biomarkers, according to a study published in the Feb. 21 issue of The Lancet.

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Vertebroplasty May Protect Osteoporotic Vertebrae

FRIDAY, Feb. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Prophylactic vertebroplasty may protect adjacent intact vertebrae from fatigue injury in some patients with osteoporosis, according to a biomechanical study in the Feb. 15 issue of Spine.

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Rare Brain Infection Confirmed in Patients on Efalizumab

FRIDAY, Feb. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Three cases of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) have been confirmed in patients taking the psoriasis drug efalizumab (Raptiva), according to a public health advisory issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Feb. 19.

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Eltrombopag Increases Platelet Counts in Purpura

FRIDAY, Feb. 20 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with chronic idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, eltrombopag -- an oral, non-peptide, thrombopoietin-receptor agonist -- may help manage thrombocytopenia, according to a study published in the Feb. 21 issue of The Lancet.

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Healthy Lifestyle Behaviors Lower Risk of Stroke

FRIDAY, Feb. 20 (HealthDay News) -- In middle-aged and older adults, a combination of four healthy lifestyle behaviors may significantly reduce the risk of stroke, according to a study published online Feb. 20 in the British Medical Journal.

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Young Adults Experience Significant Health Challenges

THURSDAY, Feb. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Young adults have a number of health challenges, including risk of obesity, high rates of injury and lack of insurance coverage, according to the report Health, United States: 2008, published Feb. 18 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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High-Dose Candesartan Can Reduce Proteinuria

THURSDAY, Feb. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Extra-high dosages of candesartan may be beneficial in reducing persistent proteinuria, according to research published online Feb. 11 in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

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Combo Blood Pressure-Lowering Regimen Good for Kidneys

THURSDAY, Feb. 19 (HealthDay News) -- A blood pressure-lowering treatment strategy of perindopril-indapamide may prevent renal dysfunction in some patients with type 2 diabetes, regardless of baseline blood pressure level, according to the results of a study published online Feb. 18 in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

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Pressure Test Predicts Heart Disease in Kidney Patients

THURSDAY, Feb. 19 (HealthDay News) -- A pulse pressure test predicts coronary artery calcium and survival in patients with chronic kidney disease, according to research published in the February issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

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Genetic Variants Associated with Blood Pressure Variations

THURSDAY, Feb. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Genetic variants at the NPPA-NPPB locus may influence hypertension due to effects on natriuretic peptide concentrations, according to research published online Feb. 15 in Nature Genetics.

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Chorionic Villus Sampling Method Deemed Safe

THURSDAY, Feb. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) is a frequent and safe prenatal method for genetic screening, according to the conclusions of a review published online Feb. 11 in the Journal of Craniofacial Surgery.

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Early Recognition of Depression May Benefit Cancer Survivors

THURSDAY, Feb. 19 (HealthDay News) -- People diagnosed with cancer may face an increased risk of depression that persists for years, according to research published online Feb. 17 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Proposed Changes to Health Care Would Reduce Costs

THURSDAY, Feb. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Simultaneous gains in universal health coverage, improved health outcomes and slowed spending growth would have a major impact on the development of public policy, according to a perspective published in the Feb. 26 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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PCI After Heart Attack Not Effective Over Long Term

THURSDAY, Feb. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is expensive and does not benefit quality of life, only producing a modest short-term benefit in cardiac physical function that is not maintained, according to a report published in the Feb. 19 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Transparency, Globalization Growing in Clinical Research

THURSDAY, Feb. 19 (HealthDay News) -- All clinical trial data and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration database should be publicly available, and global clinical research should be conducted in relevant populations for potential applications of the intervention, according to two articles published in the Feb. 19 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Pharmacogenetic Algorithm Improves Warfarin Dosage

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 18 (HealthDay News) -- A pharmacogenetic dosing algorithm for warfarin is better able to predict the stable therapeutic dose, providing a basis for a larger clinical trial to test the efficacy of these algorithms, according to research published in the Feb. 19 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting Best for Certain Patients

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), and not percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), results in lower incidence of cardiac or cerebrovascular events in patients with three-vessel or left main coronary artery disease, and should therefore remain the standard of care, according to research released online Feb. 18 in advance of publication in the Mar. 5 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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IDH1, IDH2 Mutations Linked to Malignant Glioma

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Mutations in the isocitrate dehydrogenase genes IDH1 and IDH2 appear to play a role in the pathogenesis of malignant gliomas, according to research published in the Feb. 19 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Ocular Damage Common in Severe Skin Reactions

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 18 (HealthDay News) -- It is common for patients with the rare skin reactions toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) or Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) to also experience involvement of the eyes, according to the results of a study published in the February issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

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Coordinating Care Puts Burden on Primary Care Physicians

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Primary care physicians face a logistical challenge in coordinating care for primary and non-primary patients because they must interact with large numbers of other physicians and practices, according to a report published in the Feb. 17 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Protected Block Surgical Resident Course Effective

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 18 (HealthDay News) -- A course given to surgical residents in their first and second years during protected time away from clinical duties is effective in improving knowledge, communication and surgical skills, according to an article published in the February issue of Archives of Surgery.

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Repairing Heart Defect May Relieve Migraines

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Patent foramen ovale closure can greatly reduce the frequency and severity of migraines, according to study findings published in the February issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Cardiovascular Interventions.

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Non-Invasive Imaging After Exercise Detects Heart Disease

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Using strain imaging to quantify regional heart function after treadmill exercise is an effective and non-invasive way to detect coronary artery disease, researchers report in the Feb. 24 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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Predeployment Skin Checks Can Reduce Skin Disease Evacuations

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 18 (HealthDay News) -- The number of aeromedical evacuations conducted by the military for patients with ill-defined skin diseases could be reduced if combatants with chronic skin diseases were identified prior to deployment, according to a study published in the February issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

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Treatment Improves Platelet Function During Stenting

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Treatment with bivalirudin plus eptifibatide reduces platelet reactivity and clot strength in patients undergoing elective stenting, which are associated with the risk of myocardial infarction, according to the results of a study published in the Feb. 24 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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Eye Problems Found in Many Children with Hearing Loss

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Routine ophthalmologic examinations may be helpful in supporting proper development in children with sensorineural hearing loss, according to research published in the February Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery.

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Implementing a Quality Improvement Faculty Path

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 18 (HealthDay News) -- A new career pathway in academic medicine, termed clinicians in quality improvement, is a justified concept to achieve and recognize excellence in patient safety, according to a commentary published in the Feb. 18 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Unemployment Higher Among Cancer Survivors

TUESDAY, Feb. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Cancer survivors, especially of the breast, gastrointestinal system and female reproductive organs, have an increased risk of experiencing unemployment, according to a review published in the Feb. 18 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Possible Risk of Herpes Zoster with Anti-TNF-α Therapy

TUESDAY, Feb. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Monoclonal antibodies directed against tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), a class of drugs that treat a variety of systemic inflammatory diseases, are associated with an increased risk of herpes zoster, according to research published in the Feb. 18 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Gene Linked to Lower Survival in Colorectal Cancer Patients

TUESDAY, Feb. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Colorectal cancer patients whose lymph nodes are histologically negative but produce a marker of lymph node metastasis have an earlier time to recurrence and lower disease-free survival, researchers report in the Feb. 18 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Incidence of ICU MRSA Infections Declining

TUESDAY, Feb. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Incidence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) central line-associated bloodstream infections has decreased over recent years in most intensive care units (ICUs), according to research published Feb. 18 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Ads Featuring 'Drug Facts Box' Help Educate Consumers

TUESDAY, Feb. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Replacing the brief summary in direct-to-consumer ads with a "drug facts box" may result in improved consumer knowledge and judgment about medication benefits and side effects, according to study findings released online Feb. 17 in advance of publication in the Apr. 21 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Sudden Death in Athletes Rare, But Increasing

TUESDAY, Feb. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Sudden death in competitive athletes -- a rare but significant event -- is primarily due to cardiovascular disease, which lends support to the use of cardiovascular screening prior to participation in athletic training, according to research published online Feb. 16 in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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Risk of Death After Surgery Lower at Teaching Hospitals

TUESDAY, Feb. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Patients receiving surgery at major teaching hospitals are less likely to die and less likely to die after complications, although this finding is not observed among black patients, according to a report in the February issue of the Archives of Surgery.

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Coffee, Mediterranean Diet Linked to Lower Stroke Risk

TUESDAY, Feb. 17 (HealthDay News) -- In women, long-term coffee consumption and adherence to a Mediterranean diet are both associated with a decreased risk of stroke, according to two studies published online Feb. 16 in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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Social Norms Influence Lifeguards' Safe Sun Habits

TUESDAY, Feb. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Workplace safe sun policies and participation in skin cancer prevention programs both help improve the sun protection habits of lifeguards and aquatic instructors, but social norms exert the greatest influence, researchers report in the February issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

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Most States in Line with New HIV Recommendations

TUESDAY, Feb. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Most states' statutory frameworks aren't in conflict with 2006 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations to improve HIV screening and diagnosis, according to research published in the Feb. 17 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Counseling by Phone or in Person Helps Weight Loss

TUESDAY, Feb. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Frequent contact with a dietitian in person or by phone may be equally as effective in helping individuals lose weight, according to research published in the Feb. 17 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Guidelines for Cholesterol Treatment Cost-Effective

TUESDAY, Feb. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Full implementation of national cholesterol treatment guidelines could have a major health impact at a cost-effective price, according to research published in the Feb. 17 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Sleep Problems, Headaches May Influence Each Other

MONDAY, Feb. 16 (HealthDay News) -- The use of sleep as a method of headache relief may help promote insomnia in women with tension-type headaches, according to research published in the Feb. 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

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Coccidioidomycosis Incidence More Than Tripled in Six Years

MONDAY, Feb. 16 (HealthDay News) -- There were more than three times the number of U.S. cases of coccidioidomycosis from 2000 to 2006 compared with the number from 1995 to 2000, according to a report published in the Feb. 13 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Increase Seen in Early Neonatal Group B Strep Infections

MONDAY, Feb. 16 (HealthDay News) -- There was an increase in the incidence of early-onset neonatal group B Streptococcus infections from 2003 to 2006, but the incidence of late-onset infections has remained stable from 2000 to 2006, according to a report published in the Feb. 13 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Poorer Prognosis for Black Women with Uterine Tumors

MONDAY, Feb. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Black women with uterine corpus tumors have a higher likelihood of mortality compared with white women, revealing a racial disparity that has continued over time, according to research published online Feb. 9 in Cancer.

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Drug May Help Erase Scary Memories

MONDAY, Feb. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Treatment with the beta-adrenergic receptor antagonist propranolol can erase scary memories by blocking memory reconsolidation, a process where fear memories change when recalled, according to research published online Feb. 15 in Nature Neuroscience.

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HIV Gene Therapy Safe and Effective

MONDAY, Feb. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Gene therapy using a ribozyme that targets HIV RNA is safe and has modest efficacy in reducing viral load and raising CD4+ T cell counts, according to study findings published online Feb. 15 in Nature Medicine.

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Lifestyle Intervention May Cure Sleep Apnea

MONDAY, Feb. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Lifestyle intervention including weight reduction is an effective and potentially curative first-line treatment for a majority of patients with obstructive sleep apnea, researchers report in the Feb. 15 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

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Genetic Research Finds Evidence of Heart-Related Risks

MONDAY, Feb. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers have uncovered a number of genetic factors that may be associated with risk of coronary artery disease or myocardial infarction, according to five studies published online Feb. 8 in Nature Genetics.

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Avosentan Helps Cut Albumin Excretion in Some Diabetics

MONDAY, Feb. 16 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with diabetic nephropathy and macroalbuminuria, treatment with avosentan in combination with standard therapy significantly decreases the urinary albumin excretion rate, according to a study published ahead of print Jan. 14 in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

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Chinese Remedies May Offer Benefits in Treating Allergies

MONDAY, Feb. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Several types of herbal therapies from traditional Chinese medicine may hold promise for treating asthma and food allergies, according to research published in the February issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

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Metabolic Syndrome Raises Salt Sensitivity of Blood Pressure

MONDAY, Feb. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Metabolic syndrome is significantly associated with salt sensitivity of blood pressure, according to a report published online Feb. 16 in The Lancet.

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No Signs of Epidemic in Current Influenza Season

MONDAY, Feb. 16 (HealthDay News) -- The mortality rate due to pneumonia or influenza is below the epidemic threshold for the flu season so far, according to a report published in the Feb. 13 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Pauses in CPR Chest Compressions Detrimental

FRIDAY, Feb. 13 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with ventricular fibrillation or tachycardia, the likelihood of return of spontaneous circulation falls steadily as pre-shock pauses in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) chest compressions grow longer, according to research published Feb. 6 in BMC Medicine.

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Sequencing Advances Help Crack Code of Human Rhinoviruses

FRIDAY, Feb. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Newly completed genomic sequences of the human rhinovirus may lead to the first effective treatments for the common cold, according to a study published online ahead of print Feb. 12 in Science.

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Motor Cortex Stimulation Has Good Results in Chronic Pain

FRIDAY, Feb. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Motor cortex stimulation may lead to a significant improvement in symptoms for patients who experience severe chronic neuropathic pain resistant to medical treatment, according to research published in the February issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery.

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Funding Source, Not Quality, Influences Study Publication

FRIDAY, Feb. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Influenza vaccine study publication in prestigious journals is more likely to occur when a study receives industry funding but does not correlate to the study's quality or size, according to research published online Feb. 12 in BMJ.

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Urinary Metabolite Levels Higher in Prostate Cancer

FRIDAY, Feb. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Levels of an amino acid derivative are higher in the urine of men with more advanced prostate cancer, which could be used as a non-invasive screening test, according to a study in the Feb. 12 issue of Nature.

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Secondhand Smoke Linked to Cognitive Impairment

FRIDAY, Feb. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Secondhand smoke exposure may be associated with an increased risk of developing cognitive impairment, according to research published online Feb. 12 in BMJ.

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Breast Cancer Risk Raised in Hodgkin's Disease Survivors

FRIDAY, Feb. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Women who survived Hodgkin's disease as children have a 37-fold higher risk of developing breast cancer than women in the general population, particularly bilateral disease, according to study findings published in the September issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology - Biology - Physics.

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Many Women Do Not Follow Pre-Pregnancy Guidelines

FRIDAY, Feb. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Few women comply with nutrition and lifestyle recommendations when planning a pregnancy, and greater efforts are needed to improve compliance to these recommendations, according to research published online Feb. 12 in BMJ.

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Pregnancy Can Mean Delayed Breast Cancer Diagnosis

FRIDAY, Feb. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Although pregnancy may conceal breast cancer in younger women and lead to a delay in diagnosis, evaluation and treatment, pregnancy-associated breast cancers are not associated with a worse outcome compared to non-pregnancy-associated breast cancers, according to research published online Feb. 9 in Cancer.

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Prophylactic Warfarin Doesn't Cut Cancer Patient Thromboses

FRIDAY, Feb. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Treating cancer patients who have central venous catheters with prophylactic warfarin does not reduce the risk of symptomatic catheter-related or other thromboses, according to a report published in the Feb. 14 issue of The Lancet.

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Psychiatric Problems Common in Teen Transplant Recipients

FRIDAY, Feb. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Adolescent renal transplant recipients are more likely to have learning disabilities, social competence problems and psychiatric problems than healthy adolescents, according to the results of a study published online Oct. 7 in advance of publication in Pediatric Transplantation.

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Below-Knee Casts Better Than Compression for Ankle Sprain

FRIDAY, Feb. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Using a below-knee cast or Aircast for patients with severe ankle sprain leads to a faster recovery than using a tubular compression bandage, according to an article published in the Feb. 14 issue of The Lancet.

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Genetic Variants Linked to Higher Risk of Thyroid Cancer

FRIDAY, Feb. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Two common genetic variants appear to be associated with an increased risk of papillary and follicular thyroid cancer, according to research published online Feb. 6 in the journal Nature Genetics.

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Social Factors Affect Smoke Avoidance in Pregnant Women

THURSDAY, Feb. 12 (HealthDay News) -- In pregnant non-smoking black women, social factors play a significant role in the avoidance of environmental tobacco smoke, according to an article published in the March issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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Chondroitin May Protect Joints in Knee Osteoarthritis

THURSDAY, Feb. 12 (HealthDay News) -- The long-term use of chondroitin sulfate may prevent joint structure damage in patients with knee osteoarthritis, according to research published in the February issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism.

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Thrombolysis Window May Be Longer Than Thought

THURSDAY, Feb. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with acute stroke may have a diffusion-perfusion mismatch after nine hours of stroke onset, particularly those with proximal arterial occlusion, suggesting the treatment window for stroke may be extended in some cases, according to the results of a study published in the March issue of Radiology.

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Agencies Must Do More to Prevent Foodborne Disease

THURSDAY, Feb. 12 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. agencies responsible for food safety must take steps to prevent outbreaks of foodborne illness such as the current Salmonella outbreak linked to peanut butter products, according to a perspective published online Feb. 11 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Aspirin Lowers Risk of Colorectal Adenomas

THURSDAY, Feb. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Aspirin lowers the risk of colorectal adenomas, and the lower risk is maintained if patients frequently take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) post-treatment, according to two studies published online Feb. 10 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Drug Improves Survival in Follicular Lymphoma Patients

THURSDAY, Feb. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Maintenance therapy with rituximab improves survival in patients with relapsed or refractory follicular lymphoma, according to research published online Feb. 10 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Contrast Echocardiography Improves Cardiac Evaluation

THURSDAY, Feb. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Using contrast echocardiography to assess patients' ventricular function significantly reduces the number of procedures, improves the accuracy of drug prescription and improves patient management, according to a report published online Feb. 11 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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Rheumatologist Offers View on Needs in Osteoarthritis Care

THURSDAY, Feb. 12 (HealthDay News) -- There are several deficiencies in the diagnosis and management of patients with osteoarthritis, and a multidisciplinary approach to the treatment of this condition is essential to provide the best care, according to a view published in the February issue of the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

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Interleukin-Based Psoriatic Arthritis Drug Shows Promise

THURSDAY, Feb. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Ustekinumab, a human interleukin 12/23 monoclonal antibody drug, reduces symptoms of psoriatic arthritis and the severity of skin lesions, according to research published online Feb. 12 in The Lancet.

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Statins Not Effective As Cancer Preventatives

THURSDAY, Feb. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Despite recent epidemiologic evidence suggesting statins decrease breast cancer incidence, they had no activity in a rat model of mammary cancer, according to research published in the February issue of Cancer Prevention Research.

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B-Cell Clones Often Present Before Leukemia Diagnosis

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly all cases of chronic lymphocytic leukemia are preceded by monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis, which affects roughly 4 percent of individuals over the age of 50, according to research published in the Feb. 12 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Financial Incentives May Improve Smoking Cessation

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Offering workers financial incentives to stop smoking was associated with higher long-term smoking cessation rates, according to research published in the Feb. 12 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Dronedarone May Offer Benefits in Atrial Fibrillation

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 11 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with atrial fibrillation, the use of dronedarone -- which is similar in profile to amiodarone -- was associated with a lower rate of hospitalization for cardiovascular events or death, according to research published in the Feb. 12 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Additional Drug Improves Survival in Early Breast Cancer

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Tamoxifen or anastrozole treatment of premenopausal women with endocrine-responsive early breast cancer leads to similar rates of disease-free survival, which is improved by additional treatment with zoledronic acid, according to a report in the Feb. 12 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Decreased Mortality Linked to Continued Statin Use

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Continued use of statins results in an ongoing reduction of all-cause mortality in patients with or without a history of coronary heart disease, researchers report in the Feb. 9 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Protein, Receptor May Play Role in Rheumatoid Inflammation

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Placenta growth factor (PlGF) may promote inflammation and angiogenesis in joints in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, but not healthy joints, according to research published in the February issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism.

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Hospital, Physician Volume Affect PCI Death Risk

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Patients who undergo primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) have a lower risk of death when the procedure is performed in high-volume hospitals with high-volume experienced physicians, researchers report in the Feb. 17 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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Marijuana Use Linked to Common Testicular Malignancy

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Marijuana use may increase men's risk of non-seminoma testicular germ cell tumors, according to research published online Feb. 9 in the journal Cancer.

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Multivitamins Do Not Lower Risk of Chronic Disease

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Multivitamins have little to no impact on the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease or mortality in postmenopausal women, according to study findings published in the Feb. 9 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Blacks Over-Represented in HIV-Positive Population

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Young black men who have sex with men engage in high-risk behavior yet are often unaware of the danger of HIV infection associated with their behavior, according to a report published in the Feb. 6 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The report coincided with National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on Feb. 7, which highlights the fact that there are proportionally more blacks with HIV/AIDS compared to whites and Hispanics in the United States.

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Care Coordination Programs Don't Benefit Medicare Patients

TUESDAY, Feb. 10 (HealthDay News) -- For Medicare beneficiaries with chronic illnesses, most care coordination programs have little impact on reducing hospitalizations and costs or improving quality of care, according to a report published in the Feb. 11 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Topical Cyclosporine Beneficial in Dry Eye Syndrome

TUESDAY, Feb. 10 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with moderate to severe dry eye syndrome who don't respond to conventional lubricant therapy, treatment with topical cyclosporine emulsion improves quality of life and is cost-effective, researchers report in the February issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology.

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Study Examines Factors Related to Post-Traumatic Epilepsy

TUESDAY, Feb. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Long-term outcome of post-traumatic epilepsy following war-related brain injury, including persistence of seizures, is significantly impacted by whether or not a sphincter disturbance occurred during injury and the number of shrapnel pieces involved in the injury, according to research published in the February issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery.

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Medication Safety Alerts Frequently Ignored

TUESDAY, Feb. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Medication safety alerts, which are part of the decision support mechanism of electronic prescribing systems, are frequently overridden by clinicians and may not adequately protect patients, according to the results of a study published in the Feb. 9 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Benefit Seen from Pet-Focused Smoking Education

TUESDAY, Feb. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Pet owners who smoke may benefit from educational campaigns informing them of the dangers of secondhand smoke exposure to their pets, according to a report published online Feb. 10 in Tobacco Control.

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Hypertension Management, Awareness Improving in England

TUESDAY, Feb. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Awareness, treatment and control rates of hypertension improved in England from 2003 to 2006, according to the results of a health survey published online Feb. 9 in Hypertension.

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More Exercise Means Better Quality of Life

TUESDAY, Feb. 10 (HealthDay News) -- The benefits of exercise to quality of life, both physical and mental, increase with the amount of exercise, even when exercise does not result in weight change, researchers report in the Feb. 9 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Migraines Impose Substantial Societal and Economic Burden

TUESDAY, Feb. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Although migraines and their associated disabilities are prevalent and carry a high societal and economic burden, they are not generally considered a serious medical condition, according to a report published in the January/February issue of Value in Health.

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Anecortave Acetate Reduces Ocular Hypertension

TUESDAY, Feb. 10 (HealthDay News) -- In eyes with uncontrolled steroid-related ocular hypertension, treatment with anecortave acetate results in a safe and rapid reduction of hypertension that persists for up to six months or more, according to the results of a small study published in the February issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology.

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Tests Can Spot Alzheimer's Patients Who Can Safely Drive

TUESDAY, Feb. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Cognition, vision and motor skills tests can help identify Alzheimer's disease patients who can safely drive, according to study findings published in the Feb. 10 issue of Neurology.

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Corticosteroid Use Associated with Pneumonia in COPD

MONDAY, Feb. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Long-term inhaled corticosteroid use in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is associated with an increased risk of pneumonia, though without a significantly higher risk of pneumonia-related death, according to a review article published in the Feb. 9 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Mediterranean Diet Benefits Cognitive Function in Elderly

MONDAY, Feb. 9 (HealthDay News) -- In cognitively normal older adults, adherence to a Mediterranean diet is associated with a modestly reduced risk of developing mild cognitive impairment, and in older adults who already have mild cognitive impairment, adherence to the diet is associated with a significantly reduced risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, according to a report published in the February issue of the Archives of Neurology.

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Racial Mix of Patients Affects Doctors' Work Conditions

MONDAY, Feb. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Physicians working in primary care clinics that serve a patient population with higher proportions of minorities have fewer resources and more complex medical problems to treat compared with those that do not, according to an article published in the Feb. 9 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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FDA OKs Drug Produced Using Genetically Engineered Goats

MONDAY, Feb. 9 (HealthDay News) -- For the first time, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a product that is produced using genetically engineered animals, according to a release issued by the agency.

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RFA May Offer Benefit in Hepatocellular Carcinoma

MONDAY, Feb. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) may provide better three-year overall survival for patients with small hepatocellular carcinomas compared with percutaneous ethanol injection, according to research published in the February issue of Hepatology.

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ASCO Guide Addresses High Costs of Cancer Care

MONDAY, Feb. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Communication between patients and their doctors regarding the high cost of cancer care may be improved with the Feb. 5 release of a new patient guide from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

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CDC Analyzes Salmonella Peanut Butter Outbreak

MONDAY, Feb. 9 (HealthDay News) -- The widespread outbreaks of Salmonella infections that hospitalized 116 patients and may have contributed to the deaths of eight people were traced to peanut butter and peanut paste used in other products manufactured by Peanut Corporation of America at its factory in Blakely, Ga., according to a report published in the Feb. 6 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Lumbar Belt Improves Function in Low Back Pain Patients

MONDAY, Feb. 9 (HealthDay News) -- A lumbar belt improves function, reduces pain and decreases the need for medications in patients with low back pain, researchers report in the Feb. 1 issue of Spine.

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Opioid Use Before Death Varies in Pediatric Cancer Patients

MONDAY, Feb. 9 (HealthDay News) -- The percentage of hospitalized pediatric oncology patients receiving opioids during their last week of life varies substantially depending on the hospital, according to study findings released online Nov. 6 in advance of publication in Pediatric Blood and Cancer.

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Smoking Stops Cell Growth Via Aging Protein

MONDAY, Feb. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Cigarette smoke stops cell growth and impairs cell migration via a protein involved in premature aging, according to research published in the Feb. 15 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

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Low Back Pain Treatable with a Range of Options

MONDAY, Feb. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Since most cases of low back pain will resolve in the short term even without treatment, clinicians should typically first address this complaint with a non-surgical approach, according to an overview of symptomatic lumbar degenerative disc disease published in the February issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

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Trichloramine at Ohio Waterpark Sickened 665 People

MONDAY, Feb. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Exposure to airborne trichloramine caused eye and respiratory irritations in 665 people who were patrons and lifeguards of an indoor waterpark resort in Ohio, according to a report published in the Feb. 6 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Methylphenidate Linked to Brain Neuronal Changes in Mice

FRIDAY, Feb. 6 (HealthDay News) -- The use of methylphenidate in mice was associated with neuronal changes in the brain with similarities and differences compared to the effects of cocaine, according to research published online Feb. 6 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

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Capn4 Linked to Metastasis and Invasion in Liver Cancer

FRIDAY, Feb. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Overexpression of calpain small subunit 1 (Capn4) appears to play a role in invasion and metastasis following liver transplantation for hepatocellular carcinoma, according to research published in the February issue of Hepatology.

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Vasopressin Improves Some Hysterectomy Outcomes

FRIDAY, Feb. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Intracervical injection of the peptide hormone vasopressin prior to vaginal hysterectomy reduces blood loss but increases postoperative pain, according to research published in the February issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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Preoperative Reduction in Smoking is Cost-Beneficial

FRIDAY, Feb. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Preoperative interventions for smoking cessation can result in modest cost savings, which may accumulate with the use of an institution-based smoking cessation program through reduced total hospitalization costs, according to research published in the February issue of Chest.

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Immediate Imaging Does Not Help Treat Low Back Pain

FRIDAY, Feb. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Clinical care without immediate imaging yields similar results as care with immediate imaging for patients with low back pain and no indication of serious underlying illness, according to an article published in the Feb. 7 issue of The Lancet.

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Fertility Treatment Does Not Affect Ovarian Cancer Risk

FRIDAY, Feb. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Women who are treated with fertility drugs are not at increased risk of ovarian cancer, regardless of what types of drugs are used, according to the results of a study published online Feb. 5 in BMJ.

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Energy Balance Better After Maternal Nutrient Restriction

FRIDAY, Feb. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Maternal nutrient restriction in sheep has little effect on appetite regulation early in life but the offspring are better able to adapt to maintain a neutral energy balance after juvenile obesity, according to a report in the February issue of Endocrinology.

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Growth Hormone May Benefit Bariatric Surgery Patients

FRIDAY, Feb. 6 (HealthDay News) -- In obese women who undergo laparoscopic-adjustable silicone gastric banding, treatment with growth hormone in combination with a standardized low-calorie diet and exercise program helps prevent the loss of lean body mass, according to a report published online Dec. 9 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

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Physical Activity Components Affect Knee Osteoarthritis Risk

FRIDAY, Feb. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Older adults may be more likely to develop knee osteoarthritis if they regularly engage in either high mechanical strain activities, such as dancing or tennis, or in low muscle strength activities, such as light housework, according to an article published in the Feb. 15 issue of Arthritis Care & Research.

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Rapid Treatment for Minor Strokes Reduces Hospital Use

FRIDAY, Feb. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Rapid assessment and early treatment of transient ischemic attack (TIA) and minor stroke in a specialty outpatient clinic were associated with less subsequent hospital use and disability, according to research published online Feb. 5 in The Lancet Neurology.

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Single Drug Dose Prevents Migration of Hip Replacement

FRIDAY, Feb. 6 (HealthDay News) -- A single dose of zoledronic acid helps prevent migration of a total hip replacement, according to a report in the February issue of the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

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Risk of Venous Thrombosis After Spinal Surgery Low

FRIDAY, Feb. 6 (HealthDay News) -- The risk of deep venous thrombosis after spinal surgery is relatively low, and the condition can be prevented by using compression stockings or pneumatic sequential compression devices, according to a review in the Feb. 1 issue of Spine.

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Vitamin D Status Affects Muscle Power in Teen Girls

FRIDAY, Feb. 6 (HealthDay News) -- In adolescent girls, vitamin D status is significantly associated with muscle power and force, according to study findings published in the February issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

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Graded Exercise Program Improves Low Back Pain

THURSDAY, Feb. 5 (HealthDay News) -- A graded exercise intervention emphasizing stabilizing exercises reduces disability and improves physical health better than daily walks in patients with recurrent low back pain, researchers report in the Feb. 1 issue of Spine.

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Height Loss Linked to Loss of Lung Function

THURSDAY, Feb. 5 (HealthDay News) -- An increased arm span to height ratio, suggesting a loss of height, is significantly associated with reduced respiratory airflow volumes, increased dyspnea severity, and right heart strain indicative of pulmonary heart disease, according to research published in the February issue of Chest.

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Natural Compounds Alleviate Insulin Resistance in Mice

THURSDAY, Feb. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Two compounds isolated from herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine increase the production of an insulin-sensitizing hormone from fat cells and improve hyperglycemia, glucose tolerance and insulin resistance in obese mice, according to study findings published in the February issue of Endocrinology.

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US Health Care System Squeezes Cancer Patients

THURSDAY, Feb. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with life-threatening illnesses not only face the specter of serious disease, they also have to grapple with incurring huge debts to meet medical fees, personal bankruptcy and even forgoing treatment, according to a report released Feb. 5 by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the American Cancer Society.

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Breathing Problems After World Trade Center Attacks

THURSDAY, Feb. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Responders to the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center attacks in New York showed increased rates of spirometric abnormalities at two examinations in the following years, most commonly low forced vital capacity (FVC), according to research published in the February issue of Chest.

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High-Protein Diet Shifts Glucose Production to Kidney

THURSDAY, Feb. 5 (HealthDay News) -- A high-protein diet is associated with glucose production shifting to the kidney from the liver in rats, which may explain observed improvements in glucose tolerance in diabetics after increasing their dietary protein, researchers report in the February issue of Endocrinology.

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Exercise Under-Prescribed for Head and Neck Pain

THURSDAY, Feb. 5 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with chronic back or neck pain, fewer than half receive exercise prescriptions from their health care providers, and they are especially unlikely to receive such prescriptions from physicians, according to a report published in the Feb. 15 issue of Arthritis Care & Research.

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Mutations Found in Nonsyndromic Mental Retardation

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Mutations in the SYNGAP1 gene, encoding a ras GTPase-activating protein, occur in patients with nonsyndromic mental retardation but not other conditions of mental retardation, according to research published in the Feb. 5 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Hormonal Therapy Link to Breast Cancer Explored

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 4 (HealthDay News) -- A decline in the use of combined hormone therapy appears responsible for a decreased incidence of breast cancer among women, according to research published Feb. 5 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Cardiac Imaging Use Must Consider Risks and Rewards

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 4 (HealthDay News) -- The decision to use cardiac imaging tests should take into account the potential risks of malignancy due to radiation exposure, as well as the benefits of the test, according to an American Heart Association science advisory published online Feb. 2 in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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Resting Heart Rate Can Predict Women's Heart Death Risk

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 4 (HealthDay News) -- A low-tech and inexpensive test to measure women's resting heart rate can predict the risk of myocardial infarction and coronary death, according to research published online Feb. 3 in BMJ.

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Diabetes, Heart Disease Raise Coronary Event Risk in HIV

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Both diabetes mellitus and pre-existing coronary heart disease (CHD) are associated with an increased risk of a CHD event in individuals with HIV, indicating the need for diabetes screening in this population, according to research published online Feb. 2 in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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Lower Birth Weight Linked to Smoking During Pregnancy

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 4 (HealthDay News) -- The reduced fetal growth seen in the offspring of maternal smokers may be due in part to lower endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) activity in fetal umbilical and chorionic vessels, according to research published online Feb. 2 in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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Hospital Patients Unlikely to Identify Attending Physicians

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Few hospitalized patients are able to correctly identify any of their inpatient physicians, according to a research letter published in the Jan. 26 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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High Altitudes Linked to Fewer Deaths in Dialysis Patients

TUESDAY, Feb. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Dialysis patients at higher altitudes have lower death rates, even lower than the general population, researchers report in the Feb. 4 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Osteoporotic Fractures Raise Mortality Risk in Elderly

TUESDAY, Feb. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Older adults who experience low-trauma fractures are at increased risk of mortality for the following five to 10 years, and the risk period is extended by subsequent fractures, according to a report published in the Feb. 4 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Peptide Hormone Reduces Infarct Size After Heart Attack

TUESDAY, Feb. 3 (HealthDay News) -- A gastrointestinal peptide hormone originally derived from the saliva of a venomous lizard is effective in reducing infarct size and preventing cardiac function deterioration after a heart attack in pigs, according to the results of an animal study published in the Feb. 10 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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Benefits and Harms of Skin Cancer Screening Not Clear

TUESDAY, Feb. 3 (HealthDay News) -- There is not enough evidence in the published research on skin cancer screening to determine the benefits and harms of whole-body examination by physicians or by self-examination, according to two articles published in the Feb. 3 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Discharge Support Can Reduce Hospital Readmissions

TUESDAY, Feb. 3 (HealthDay News) -- A package of services designed to send patients home from the hospital well prepared can reduce the likelihood of readmission within 30 days, researchers report in the Feb. 3 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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New Fecal Blood Tests Allow Detection of Colorectal Cancer

TUESDAY, Feb. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Qualitative immunochemical fecal occult blood tests may be a future option of colorectal cancer screening over the currently used and more limited guaiac-based tests, according to research published Feb. 3 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Early Transplants Not Better for Alcoholic Cirrhosis Patients

TUESDAY, Feb. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with Child-Pugh stage B alcoholic cirrhosis do not benefit from immediate listing for liver transplantation versus waiting until the disease progresses to stage C before listing for transplantation, according to an article published in the Feb. 3 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Education Does Not Impact Rate of Cognitive Decline

TUESDAY, Feb. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Although there is a clear association between the level of education attained and cognitive function, there is no parallel link to cognitive decline, according to study findings published in the Feb. 3 issue of Neurology.

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Methods Determine If Defibrillator Will Benefit Patient

TUESDAY, Feb. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Non-invasive microvolt T-wave alternans (MTWA) and electrophysiological study (EPS) are effective in identifying patients with cardiac disease who may benefit from an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator, according to a report in the Feb. 10 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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Pregnancy Hormone Level May Predict Postpartum Depression

MONDAY, Feb. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Placental corticotropin-releasing hormone levels during mid-pregnancy can be used to predict the risk of postpartum depression, according to the results of a study published in the February issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

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Old Home Repairs Source of Lead Exposure for Children

MONDAY, Feb. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Children living in housing built before 1978 while home renovations and repairs are being undertaken are at risk of elevated blood lead levels, according to a report published in the Jan. 30 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Teen Athletes at Risk of a Variety of Shoulder Injuries

MONDAY, Feb. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Adolescent athletes are prone to developing a number of sudden or chronic shoulder injuries, including clavicle fractures, throwing injuries and joint instability, according to an overview published in the February issue of the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

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High Television Viewing Predicts Poor Dietary Habits

MONDAY, Feb. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Increased television viewing in middle and high school students predicts poor dietary habits in subsequent years, possibly due to increased advertising exposure, according to research published online Jan. 30 in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.

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Sedatives Effective for Critically Ill on Ventilation

MONDAY, Feb. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Dexmedetomidine is similar to midazolam in effectively sedating critically ill patients on mechanical ventilation for prolonged periods, but with less delirium and shorter time to extubation, according to research published online Feb. 2 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, released early to coincide with the Society of Critical Care Medicine's annual meeting in Nashville.

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Genetic Variants in Alcohol Genes Linked to Cancer

MONDAY, Feb. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Several polymorphisms in genes for enzymes involved in ethanol metabolism may influence cancer risk in individuals who consume alcohol, according to a review published in the February issue of The Lancet Oncology.

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US Sees Significant Rise in Diagnosed Diabetes

MONDAY, Feb. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Although diagnosed diabetes in adults increased in the United States in recent decades, undiagnosed diabetes and pre-diabetes remained fairly steady, according to research published in the February issue of Diabetes Care.

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Misoprostol Recommended for Post-Abortion Care

MONDAY, Feb. 2 (HealthDay News) -- The synthetic prostaglandin analog misoprostol can provide inexpensive and effective post-abortion care for women experiencing problems related to spontaneous or induced abortion, according to an opinion published in the February issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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Stem Cell Transplantation Shows Benefit in MS

MONDAY, Feb. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Autologous non-myeloablative hemopoietic stem cell transplantation may prevent neurological progression and improve neurological disability in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, according to research published online Jan. 30 in The Lancet Neurology.

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Muscle Problems Among Many Possible Statin Effects

MONDAY, Feb. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Mitochondrial factors may play a role in the muscle-related complaints associated with the use of statin drugs, as well as many other adverse effects, according to a review published in December in the American Journal of Cardiovascular Drugs.

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Footballers at Risk for Drug-Resistant Staph Infections

MONDAY, Feb. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Poor hygiene, skin injuries and living in close proximity to teammates contributed to an outbreak of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection in 2007 among members of a high school football team, according to a report published in the Jan. 30 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Legal Status of Lesbian Couples Has Impact on Health

MONDAY, Feb. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Lack of legal recognition is harmful for women in same-sex relationships, affecting both direct and indirect health care issues, according to an opinion published in the February issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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Physician's Briefing
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