January 2008 Briefing - Internal Medicine

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

Contraceptive Ring Trumps Patch Among Pill Users

THURSDAY, Jan. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Women using oral contraceptives who are looking for an alternative, non-daily combined hormonal contraceptive favor the contraceptive ring over the patch, according to a report published in the February issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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Modified Atkins Diet May Decrease Epileptic Seizures

THURSDAY, Jan. 31 (HealthDay News) -- A recent prospective study of adult patients with epilepsy who failed multiple anticonvulsive treatments showed a decrease in the frequency of seizures in response to following a modified Atkins diet. The study was published in the February issue of Epilepsia.

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Maker of Abortion Pill Linked to Drug Scandal

THURSDAY, Jan. 31 (HealthDay News) -- A large Chinese pharmaceutical company, which is the United States' sole supplier of the "abortion pill" mifepristone, has been accused by Chinese drug regulatory officials of producing contaminated cancer drugs that resulted in the paralysis of Chinese leukemia patients, according to a New York Times article published Jan. 31.

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Intensive Care Outbreak Linked to Moisturizer

THURSDAY, Jan. 31 (HealthDay News) -- An outbreak of Burkholderia cepacia infection in a Spanish intensive care unit (ICU) was traced back to moisturizer kept in the unit's treatment carts, which was contaminated during the manufacturing process, according to a paper published Jan. 31 in Critical Care.

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Drug Linked to Poorer Survival in Anemic Cancer Patients

THURSDAY, Jan. 31 (HealthDay News) -- The erythropoiesis-stimulating agent darbepoetin alfa has a higher rate of serious adverse events and poorer survival than placebo when used to treat anemic cancer patients, according to a report published online Jan. 28 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Topical Rapamycin May Hold Promise for Port-Wine Stains

THURSDAY, Jan. 31 (HealthDay News) -- When applied topically to laser-treated skin, the anti-angiogenic drug rapamycin inhibits regeneration of blood vessels, and this fact may prove useful in the treatment of port-wine stains, since regrowth of blood vessels following laser treatment can lead to lesion recurrence, according to an article published online Jan. 25 in Lasers in Surgery and Medicine.

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Patient-Reported Outcomes May Predict Cancer Survival

THURSDAY, Jan. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Patient-reported outcomes -- especially global quality of life and physical functioning -- are commonly associated with patient survival in cancer clinical trials, according to a review published online Jan. 28 in advance of publication in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Lasers Promote Collagen Synthesis in Skin of Mice

THURSDAY, Jan. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Laser irradiation of the skin promotes collagen synthesis and remodeling in a mouse model, according to an article published online Jan. 25 in Lasers in Surgery and Medicine.

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Salsalate Improves Glucose Metabolism

THURSDAY, Jan. 31 (HealthDay News) -- The anti-inflammatory salsalate improves glucose metabolism and inflammatory parameters in obese non-diabetic individuals, researchers report in the February issue of Diabetes Care.

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When Heart Is in the Game, Heart Is on the Line, Too

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Cardiac emergencies leaped in a German region during the charged atmosphere surrounding the nation's participation in the 2006 World Cup soccer games, according to research published in the Jan. 31 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Endovascular Repair Holds Edge for Aortic Aneurysm

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Endovascular repair of abdominal aortic aneurysms offers better short-term outcomes than open surgery, but after three years, each is associated with higher rates of different types of reinterventions, according to a report in the Jan. 31 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Possible Alzheimer's Disease Therapy Falters in Lab

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 30 (HealthDay News) -- New findings on the behavior of amyloid inhibitors -- considered possible therapeutic candidates for diseases such as Alzheimer's and Huntington's -- cast doubt on their usefulness. The research was published online Jan. 27 in the journal Nature Chemical Biology.

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Outcomes Same with Either Abciximab or Eptifibatide

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 30 (HealthDay News) -- In patients who undergo percutaneous coronary intervention for ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction, early outcomes associated with adjunctive use of either abciximab or eptifibatide are not significantly different, according to study findings published in the Feb. 5 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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Polycarbonate Drinking Bottles Release Bisphenol A

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Even at room temperature, polycarbonate drinking bottles release the endocrine disrupting chemical bisphenol A in amounts that mimic the neurotoxic effects of estrogen in developing cerebellar neurons, researchers report in the Jan. 30 issue of Toxicology Letters.

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No Link Between Hormones and Prostate Cancer Risk

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 30 (HealthDay News) -- A pooled analysis of 18 studies has failed to show a link between sex hormones such as testosterone and the risk of developing prostate cancer, according to a report published online Jan. 29 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Study Highlights Brain Injuries Among U.S. Soldiers

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Among U.S. soldiers who have served in Iraq, mild traumatic brain injuries have been linked to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and physical health problems, according to a study published in the Jan. 31 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Laser Treatment Enhances Transdermal Drug Delivery

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Laser treatment of the skin using wavelengths in the visible light range can be used to ablate the outermost barrier of the skin, the stratum corneum, allowing improved transdermal delivery of the anticancer drug 5- Fluorouracil (5-Fu), without causing skin lesions, according to research published Jan. 25 in Lasers in Surgery and Medicine.

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Depressive Symptoms Linked to Smoking Relapse

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Among smokers hospitalized for acute cardiovascular disease, the presence of depressive symptoms during hospitalization is associated with an increased likelihood of smoking relapse following discharge, according to an article published in the Jan. 28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Leukemia Drug Effective in Patients with Gene Mutation

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Sorafenib is effective in reducing circulating and bone marrow leukemia blasts in patients with acute myeloid leukemia who carry a particular gene mutation, according to a report published online Jan. 29 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Drug Errors More Common in Drive-Through Dispensaries

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Pharmacists perceive pharmacy design as a significant factor in the likelihood of dispensing errors and see drive-through pick-up window services as the delivery method most prone to error, according to study findings published in the August 2007 issue of the International Journal for Quality in Health Care.

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Methotrexate Effective for Primary CNS Lymphoma

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Intravenous methotrexate is promising as induction therapy for primary central nervous system lymphoma, or PCNSL, and more research is needed to determine optimal methotrexate-based combination therapies, according to an article published in the Jan. 29 issue of Neurology.

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Gene Mutation Lowers Muscle Glycogen Levels

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 30 (HealthDay News) -- A mutation present in about one in 70 white individuals in the United Kingdom leads to 65 percent lower muscle glycogen levels by impairing glycogen synthesis, researchers report in the January issue of PLoS Medicine.

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Stents May Be Better Than Bypass for Some

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) results in better early outcomes than coronary artery bypass grafting in patients with coronary artery stenosis, according to study results published in the Feb. 5 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. A second study in the same issue notes that an endovascular valved stent is often misdeployed in patients with severe calcific aortic stenosis.

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Outcomes Same with Sirolimus and Paclitaxel Stents

TUESDAY, Jan. 29 (HealthDay News) -- In patients treated with percutaneous coronary intervention, clinical outcomes are similar in those who receive either sirolimus-eluting or paclitaxel-eluting stents, according to a report published in the Jan. 30 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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MicroRNA Expression Higher in Colon Cancer

TUESDAY, Jan. 29 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with incident colorectal cancer, microRNA expression patterns are significantly different in tumors than in non-cancerous tissue, and patients with high tumor expression of one microRNA -- miR-21 -- have poor response to adjuvant chemotherapy and an increased risk of death, according to study findings published in the Jan. 30 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Secondhand Smoke Lowers Lung Function in Cystic Fibrosis

TUESDAY, Jan. 29 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with cystic fibrosis, exposure to secondhand smoke adversely affects lung function, and its effects may be especially detrimental in patients with variations in the causative gene (CFTR) and the cystic fibrosis modifier gene (TGFβ1), according to research published in the Jan. 30 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Stroma Fibroblasts Contribute to Cervical Cancer

TUESDAY, Jan. 29 (HealthDay News) -- The stroma, particularly cancer-associated fibroblasts, contributes to the proliferation and angiogenesis of cervical lesions through several cellular signaling pathways, according to the results of an animal study published in the January issue of PLoS Medicine.

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Study Compares Digital Versus Film Mammography

TUESDAY, Jan. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Digital mammography appears to be superior to film mammography for breast cancer screening in premenopausal and perimenopasual women younger than 50 years of age with dense breast tissue, according to an article published in the February issue of Radiology.

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Intraclot Alteplase Tested in Deep Vein Thrombosis

TUESDAY, Jan. 29 (HealthDay News) -- In the treatment of acute deep vein thrombosis (DVT), direct injection, or "lacing," of the clot with alteplase may be an effective alternative to continuous-infusion thrombolytic regimens, while minimizing patient exposure to systemic thrombolytics, according to an article published in Radiology in February.

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Anemia Often Accompanies Chronic Heart Failure

TUESDAY, Jan. 29 (HealthDay News) -- In ambulatory patients with chronic heart failure, anemia is a frequent but under-recognized comorbidity and persistent anemia is associated with poorer survival, researchers report in the Feb. 5 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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Sublingual Flu Vaccinations Show Promise in Mice

TUESDAY, Jan. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Delivering influenza vaccines by the sublingual route may be effective and safe -- without redirecting viruses to the brain as can occur in the intranasal route -- according to the results of a study in mice reported online Jan. 28 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

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Exercisers Biologically Younger Than Couch Potatoes

TUESDAY, Jan. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Regular exercise may independently retard aging and reduce the risk of age-related diseases, according to research published in the Jan. 28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Elevated Cystatin C Levels Linked to Unhealthy Aging

TUESDAY, Jan. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Older adults whose levels of cystatin C are elevated, even within the range of relatively normal kidney function, are less likely to age without succumbing to major disease, according to a report published in the Jan. 28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Impaired Thrombolysis Linked to Poor Outcomes

TUESDAY, Jan. 29 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction, those who show impaired myocardial perfusion several days after fibrinolytic administration may be at increased risk of ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation even if normal epicardial flow or a left ventricular ejection fraction of at least 30 percent has been restored, according to a study published in the Feb. 5 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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Brief Lifestyle Counseling Effective in Diabetes

TUESDAY, Jan. 29 (HealthDay News) -- An intervention involving brief lifestyle counseling by health care providers leads to increased physical activity and weight loss among patients with type 2 diabetes, according to an article published in the Jan. 28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Use of Depression Drugs Plus Coumarins Increases Bleeding

TUESDAY, Jan. 29 (HealthDay News) -- In patients taking coumarin blood thinners, concomitant use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) appears to increase the risk of major non-gastrointestinal bleeding, but does not increase gastrointestinal bleeding complications, according to an article published in the Jan. 28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Final Trial Results for Vytorin Will Determine Drug's Fate

MONDAY, Jan. 28 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that it will continue its ongoing review of the cholesterol-lowering drug Vytorin once the agency receives the final results of the ENHANCE (Effect of Combination Ezetimibe and High-Dose Simvastatin versus Simvastatin Alone on the Atherosclerotic Process in Patients with Heterozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia) trial.

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Snoring Associated with Chronic Bronchitis

MONDAY, Jan. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Snoring may play a role in the development of chronic bronchitis, according to study findings published in the Jan. 28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Diuretics Best Antihypertensive for Metabolic Syndrome

MONDAY, Jan. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Antihypertensive drugs designated to have a favorable metabolic profile do not offer any particular benefit over thiazide-type diuretics for patients with metabolic syndrome, and in black patients may confer additional risks, according to the results of a study published in the Jan. 28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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CRP Levels Correlate with Heart Disease Risk Factors

MONDAY, Jan. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Levels of the inflammatory biomarker C-reactive protein (CRP) correlate highly with conventional risk factors for heart disease, suggesting that CRP measurements may not be helpful in screening for heart disease, according to the results of a population-based study published in the Jan. 15 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

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Caffeine May Inhibit Glucose Metabolism in Diabetics

MONDAY, Jan. 28 (HealthDay News) -- People with type 2 diabetes who are habitual coffee drinkers may find that their caffeine fix is undermining their efforts to maintain glucose control, according to a brief report published in the February issue of Diabetes Care.

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Muscle-Building Supplement Linked to Prostate Cancer

MONDAY, Jan. 28 (HealthDay News) -- A testosterone-containing dietary supplement intended to improve muscle mass has been linked to two cases of aggressive metastatic prostate cancer, and its manufacturers have withdrawn the drug from the market at the request of the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, according to a paper in the Jan. 15 Clinical Cancer Research.

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Pot Linked to Severe Liver Fibrosis in Hepatitis C Virus

MONDAY, Jan. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Daily marijuana use is associated with a higher likelihood of moderate to severe liver fibrosis in patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, according to research published in the January issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

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Cancer Drug Induces Bone Formation in Animal Study

MONDAY, Jan. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Bortezomib, a drug used to treat multiple myeloma, induces bone marrow stromal cells to differentiate into osteoblasts and is effective in treating a mouse model of osteoporosis, researchers report in the February issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

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CDC: Pregnant Women Need to Know Cytomegalovirus Risk

MONDAY, Jan. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Fewer than half of obstetricians and gynecologists counsel pregnant patients on the risk of congenital cytomegalovirus and on preventive measures they can take to minimize the chances of infection, according to a report published in the Jan. 25 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Erythropoietin Effective in Mouse Retinopathy

MONDAY, Jan. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Erythropoietin can be an effective therapy in mice for diseases involving neurovascular damage such as retinopathy, but treatment timing is important, according to a report in the February issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

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CDC: Influenza Tests Widely Used in Primary Care Settings

MONDAY, Jan. 28 (HealthDay News) -- In a survey of primary care physicians on their use of influenza tests and antiviral drugs for patients presenting with flu-like illness, 69 percent reported using tests and 53.8 percent prescribed antiviral medication, researchers report in the Jan. 25 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Lapatinib Effective in Some Inflammatory Breast Cancer

MONDAY, Jan. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Lapatinib is most effective in patients whose inflammatory breast cancer tumors overexpress human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2), according to study findings published online Jan. 22 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Watchful Waiting for Treating Low Back Pain Reviewed

MONDAY, Jan. 28 (HealthDay News) -- In the absence of signs of a specific pathology, watchful waiting may be the first best option for treatment of lower back pain, according to a review article published in the January/February issue of the Spine Journal.

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Fibroid Embolization Offers Long-Term Symptom Relief

MONDAY, Jan. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Uterine artery embolization for fibroids provides lasting improvements in women's quality of life, according to research published in the January issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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Barrett's Esophagus Prevalence Differs by Race

MONDAY, Jan. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Blacks and Hispanics have a lower prevalence of Barrett's esophagus, a precursor neoplastic lesion to the development of esophageal adenocarcinoma, than whites, according to a report in the January issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

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Idraparinux Leads to Excess Bleeding in Study

FRIDAY, Jan. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Although idraparinux performed at least as well as vitamin K antagonists in reducing stroke and systemic embolism, a trial comparing the two was halted early due to excessive bleeding in subjects taking idraparinux, according to a report published in the Jan. 26 issue of The Lancet.

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Gene Therapy Effective for Chronic Pain in Rats

FRIDAY, Jan. 25 (HealthDay News) -- A modified virus carrying an analgesic gene can relieve neuropathic pain in rats when injected into the cerebrospinal fluid, according to study findings published in the Jan. 22 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Role of ALS Mutations in Nox Regulation Examined

FRIDAY, Jan. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Superoxide dismutase-1 (SOD1) is a catabolic enzyme that can also directly regulate NADPH oxidase-dependent (Nox-dependent) O2 production, a process that can be disrupted by SOD1 mutations associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), researchers report in the February issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation. They also report that treatment of ALS mice with apocynin slowed disease progression and significantly increased life span.

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Large Analysis Finds Pill Lowers Risk of Ovarian Cancer

FRIDAY, Jan. 25 (HealthDay News) -- The use of oral contraceptives provides decades of protection against ovarian cancer, with longer use conferring greater reductions in risk, according to a large re-analysis published in the Jan. 26 issue of The Lancet.

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Gene Variants May Influence Efficacy of Antidepressants

FRIDAY, Jan. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Genetic variants in the ABCB1 gene can account for differences in the clinical efficacy of antidepressant drugs, most likely by influencing their access to the brain, researchers report in the Jan. 24 issue of Neuron.

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Urokinase Rinse Lowers Catheter Infection Risk

FRIDAY, Jan. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Rinsing central venous catheters with urokinase lowers the incidence of catheter-related infection with coagulase-negative staphylococci, researchers report in the Jan. 20 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Pancreatic Beta Cells Can Be Generated in Adult Mice

FRIDAY, Jan. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Multipotent stem cells exist in the pancreases of adult mice and can be activated to robustly increase the functional beta cell mass, researchers report in the Jan. 25 issue of Cell.

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Marker Predicts Cancer Risk for Oral Leukoplakia

FRIDAY, Jan. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Podoplanin, a lymphatic endothelial marker, can help predict the risk of oral leukoplakia developing into oral cancer, according to a report in the Jan. 20 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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CDC: Salmonellosis Outbreak Linked to Pet Turtles

FRIDAY, Jan. 25 (HealthDay News) -- A multistate outbreak of Salmonella infections is primarily the result of exposure to small pet turtles purchased at pet stores, flea markets or over the Internet, according to a report published in the Jan. 25 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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New Classification System Proposed for Neck Pain

FRIDAY, Jan. 25 (HealthDay News) -- A new classification system for neck pain has been recommended by the Bone and Joint Decade 2000-2010 Task Force on Neck Pain and Its Associated Disorders. The recommendations are included in a 21-chapter special supplement issue of Spine published Feb. 15.

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Physicians Are Urged to Join Fight to Protect Environment

FRIDAY, Jan. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Damage to the environment caused by human activity poses huge risks to global health, and therefore health professionals have a responsibility to actively work toward correcting these problems, according to an analysis published in the Jan. 26 issue of BMJ.

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Condom Use an Imperfect Solution to Disease Control

FRIDAY, Jan. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Used consistently, condoms can play a key role in reducing the spread of sexually transmitted infections, according to a "Head to Head" article published in the Jan. 26 issue of BMJ, but the relentless rise of such diseases is testament to the failure of condom promotion, according to an opposing article presenting the argument for a less condom-focused approach to disease control.

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Pancreatic Cancer Linked to New-Onset Diabetes

THURSDAY, Jan. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Pancreatic cancer patients are significantly more likely than the general population to have diabetes, especially new-onset diabetes, according to research published in the January issue of Gastroenterology.

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Geriatric Care Reduces Risk of Wrong Drugs for Elderly

THURSDAY, Jan. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Elders are less likely to be prescribed potentially inappropriate medication when they receive dedicated geriatric care, researchers report in the February issue of Medical Care.

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PJ-34 Treatment Reduces Lung Injury in Ventilated Rats

THURSDAY, Jan. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Inhibition of poly(adenosine diphosphate-ribose) polymerase (PARP) by intravenous administration of PJ-34 can reduce ventilator-induced lung injury and protect kidney function in rats, researchers report in the February issue of Anesthesiology.

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Gene Variant Linked to Heart Attacks in Healthy Women

THURSDAY, Jan. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Women who carry a variant of the kinesin family member 6 (KIF6) gene have a higher risk of coronary heart disease and heart attack than non-carriers, researchers report in the Jan. 29 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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Multislice CT Detects Healed Myocardial Infarcts

THURSDAY, Jan. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Multislice computed tomography (MSCT) is accurate in detecting healed myocardial infarcts, and may even be superior to single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) imaging, according to an article published Jan. 15 in the American Journal of Cardiology.

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Surgical Excision Margins for Melanomas Insufficient

THURSDAY, Jan. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Surgical margins for the complete excision of a subtype of in-situ melanoma and its invasive counterpart are often inadequate, and tumors initially diagnosed as the in-situ type can be unexpectedly invasive, according to study findings published in the January issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

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Nomogram Predicts Individual Colon Cancer Recurrence

THURSDAY, Jan. 24 (HealthDay News) -- A nomogram that uses common clinical and pathologic factors can individually predict colon cancer recurrence after curative surgery better than the current gold standard staging scheme, according to a report in the Jan. 20 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Researchers Link Protein to Amebic Erythrophagocytosis

THURSDAY, Jan. 24 (HealthDay News) -- A protein involved in the recognition and ingestion of dead erythrocytes, a hallmark of behavior by the protozoan parasite Entamoeba histolytica, has been identified, researchers report in the January issue of PLoS Pathogens.

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Western-Style Diet Linked with Metabolic Syndrome Risk

THURSDAY, Jan. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Western dietary patterns containing large amounts of refined grains, fried foods and red meat are associated with an increased risk of incident metabolic syndrome, according to research published online Jan. 22 in advance of publication in the Feb. 12 issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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Visceral Adipose Unique in Exacerbating Atherosclerosis

THURSDAY, Jan. 24 (HealthDay News) -- In a study of mice, visceral adipose-related inflammation caused an acceleration of atherosclerosis, and the effect of adipose fat on vascular disease risk was attenuated by pioglitazone, according to research published online Jan. 22 in advance of publication in the Feb. 12 issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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Heart Disease and Stroke Mortality Rates Falling

THURSDAY, Jan. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Between 1999 and 2005, deaths from coronary heart disease and stroke were down by 25.8 percent and 24.4 percent, respectively, but the underlying risk factors are still too high, which could lead to a reversal of the gains made as a result of better medical care for those with cardiovascular disease, according to a statement from the American Heart Association.

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Protein Induces Insulin Resistance in Hepatocytes

THURSDAY, Jan. 24 (HealthDay News) -- The TNF-like weak inducer of apoptosis (TWEAK) protein induces insulin resistance in hepatocytes by interfering with the actions of insulin, according to a report published online Jan. 3 in Endocrinology.

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Breast Screening Rates Drop in Presence of Copayments

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Although more Medicare managed-care plans required patients to share costs for mammography between 2001 and 2004, even small copayments were associated with lower mammography rates among women who needed them, according to the results of a study published in the Jan. 24 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Studies Offer Details on Coronary Stent Usage

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Drug-eluting stents compared favorably to bare-metal stents when they were used for off-label purposes, researchers report in the Jan. 24 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine; however, a second study compared drug-eluting stents and coronary-artery bypass grafting (CABG) and found that, as a treatment for multivessel coronary artery disease, CABG was associated with lower rates of mortality.

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Papers Detail Graft Success Without Immunosuppression

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Three papers in the Jan. 24 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine discuss scenarios in which five recipients of kidney transplants and one recipient of a liver transplant were able to maintain good function of their new organs without long-term use of immunosuppressant treatment.

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Aspirin May Be Beneficial in Colorectal Cancer

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Aspirin may help prevent the development and recurrence of colorectal cancer, but at doses that are too high for the general population, according to two studies published in the January issue of Gastroenterology.

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Few Brain Plaques in Modified Mouse Alzheimer's Model

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 23 (HealthDay News) -- A mouse model of Alzheimer's disease that overproduces a protein that modifies apolipoprotein E (apoE) has less amyloid peptide deposition and almost no plaques in the brain, researchers report in the February issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

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Health Disparities in Treating Extremity Soft-Tissue Sarcoma

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Limb preservation and radiation are standard therapies for extremity soft-tissue sarcoma (ESTS). But research published online Jan. 22 in Cancer shows disparities in diagnosis and treatment of blacks and Hispanics, versus whites and Asians, with blacks more likely to die of ESTS, and blacks and Hispanics more likely to undergo amputation than whites and Asians.

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Smoking, Caffeine Links to Ovarian Cancer Risk Studied

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Women who smoke, or who drink alcohol or too much caffeine may be at lower risk or at only slightly more elevated risk for developing ovarian cancer than their cohorts who do not smoke, don't drink alcohol and drink little caffeine, according to study findings published online Jan. 22 in advance of publication in the journal Cancer.

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Virulence Factors of Ebola, Anthrax Elucidated

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Anthrax bacteria require production of their own nitric oxide (NO) to be virulent, one group of researchers has found, while another research group has generated a modified Ebola virus that can be safely handled outside a biosafety level-4 facility, according to two studies published online Jan. 22 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

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Bezafibrate Shows Promise Against Cardiovascular Events

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 23 (HealthDay News) -- After extended follow-up, bezafibrate was found to significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular events in patients with coronary heart disease compared with placebo, even after adjustment for the use of non-study lipid-lowering drugs, researchers report in the Jan. 29 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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Celecoxib Shows Non-COX-2 Activity in Heart Cells

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Celecoxib may affect the heart independently of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibition, according to research published in the Jan. 18 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

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Exercise Capacity Good Measure of Mortality Risk

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 23 (HealthDay News) -- A broad study of white and black men across socioeconomic levels verified what has previously been known only for higher socioeconomic groups and whites: men who are more physically fit have lower mortality risks. The study findings were released online Jan. 22 in advance of publication in the Feb. 5 issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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Axon Guidance Gene Variants Predict ALS

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Gene variants involved in axon guidance in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) predict susceptibility, survival free of disease and age of disease onset, according to a report published online Jan. 16 in PLoS ONE.

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In-Office Cardiovascular Risk Profile Detailed

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 23 (HealthDay News) -- The Framingham Heart Study has led to another valuable finding: development of a simple, easy-to-use cardiovascular risk profile that can aid the primary care physician in determining patient risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). The paper describing the derivation and use of this profile was released online Jan. 22 in advance of publication in the Feb. 12 issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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Low Vitamin E Linked to Physical Decline in Elderly

TUESDAY, Jan. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Older people with low levels of vitamin E may face a greater risk of decline in physical functioning, according to research published in the Jan. 23 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Gastric Banding Increases Odds of Diabetes Remission

TUESDAY, Jan. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with type 2 diabetes who undergo gastric banding lose more weight and have a higher rate of remission than those treated with conventional diabetes therapy using lifestyle changes to lose weight, according to a report published in the Jan. 23 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Combined Therapy Can Improve Prostate Cancer Outcome

TUESDAY, Jan. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Men with localized but unfavorable-risk prostate cancer and minimal comorbidity have better odds of survival if they are treated with a combination of androgen suppression therapy and radiation versus radiation alone, according to the results of a study published in the Jan. 23 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Sorafenib Has Significant Hypertension Risk

TUESDAY, Jan. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with renal cell carcinoma or other solid tumors treated with sorafenib have an increased risk of hypertension and should be monitored for cardiovascular complications, according to a report published online Jan. 22 in The Lancet.

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Benefits of Statin Use in Heart Failure Unclear

TUESDAY, Jan. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Statins should not be routinely used to reduce mortality in heart failure patients due to conflicting clinical trial results, researchers report in the Jan. 29 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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Electronic Reporting of Lyme Disease Burdens State System

TUESDAY, Jan. 22 (HealthDay News) -- The introduction of a statewide electronic reporting system for Lyme disease in New Jersey has overloaded the ability of local health departments to investigate the rise of electronically reported Lyme cases and has diverted attention away from other public health priorities, according to a report published Jan. 18 in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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'Ugly Duckling' Sign for Malignant Melanoma Evaluated

TUESDAY, Jan. 22 (HealthDay News) -- The ugly ducking sign -- the idea that a mole that looks different from an individual's other moles may be a melanoma -- appears to have a high sensitivity for the detection of malignant melanomas, according to an article published in the Archives of Dermatology in January.

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Options for Eating Out Affect Obesity Risk

TUESDAY, Jan. 22 (HealthDay News) -- There is a strong correlation between individual body mass index and the neighborhood density of fast-food restaurants, according to research published in the February issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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Upgraded Trauma Level Reduces Mortality Rates

TUESDAY, Jan. 22 (HealthDay News) -- When a community hospital trauma center upgrades a trauma level 2 designation to a trauma level 1 designation, the result may be a significant reduction in death among patients with severe or specific injuries, according to study findings published in the January issue of the Archives of Surgery.

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Weak Evidence on Surgical Options for Lower Back Pain

TUESDAY, Jan. 22 (HealthDay News) -- The decision-making process behind surgical options for chronic lower back pain is complex, and should not overshadow the primary concern of identifying the root cause of the pain, according to a paper published in the January/February issue of The Spine Journal.

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Better Cosmetic Results with New Lip Zone Classification

TUESDAY, Jan. 22 (HealthDay News) -- A new classification of the lip area into 15 zones gives plastic surgeons improved control of lip shape and size when using non-animal-sourced stabilized hyaluronic acid or Restylane for lip augmentation, according to a study published in the January/February issue of the Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery.

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More Evidence Linking Caffeine and Miscarriage

MONDAY, Jan. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Caffeine intake increases the risk of miscarriage, particularly among women with no prior history of the condition, according to a study published online in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

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Mouse Model Useful for Showing HIV Prevention

MONDAY, Jan. 21 (HealthDay News) -- The female reproductive tract of a humanized mouse model has been shown to contain all populations of human cells necessary for HIV-1 infection, allowing researchers to demonstrate that antiretroviral prophylaxis can prevent vaginal transmission of the virus. The research was reported in the January issue of PLoS Medicine.

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Hormone Treatment Effective for Female Acne

MONDAY, Jan. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Daily treatment with an oral ethinyl estradiol (EE)/drospirenone (DRSP) contraceptive plus spironolactone (SL) is effective and well-tolerated for treating moderate to severe hormonally influenced female acne, according to a study in the January issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

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Cost-Effectiveness of Biologic Psoriasis Agents Reviewed

MONDAY, Jan. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Infliximab and adalimumab appear to be the most cost-effective biologic agents for the treatment of moderate to severe psoriasis, according to a review of studies published in the January issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

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Gene Variants Affecting Lipid Levels Identified

MONDAY, Jan. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Eighteen gene variants that affect levels of triglycerides and high- and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol have been identified, according to two studies published online Jan. 13 in Nature Genetics.

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Fear of Harm Restricts Black Participation in Trials

MONDAY, Jan. 21 (HealthDay News) Black people participating in medical trials have greater distrust of medical researchers and are more concerned about being at risk of harm than their white counterparts, according to a study published in the January issue of Medicine.

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England's Fracture Rate Higher Than Previous Estimates

MONDAY, Jan. 21 (HealthDay News) -- The incidence of fractures in England is 3.6 fractures per 100 people per year, more than double previous estimates, according to a study published in the February issue of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

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Studies Find New Genetic Links to Increased Lupus Risk

MONDAY, Jan. 21 (HealthDay News) -- A genomewide scan of North Americans with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and healthy controls -- followed by a case-control replication analysis in Swedes -- revealed two susceptibility loci for the disease, as reported online Jan. 20 in the New England Journal of Medicine. Three other studies, published online Jan. 20 in Nature Genetics, report variants in at least six regions that are linked with increased risk of the disease.

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Contamination Prompts Recall of Heparin, Saline Syringes

MONDAY, Jan. 21 (HealthDay News) -- An urgent nationwide recall has been issued for all lots of heparin and saline pre-filled flushes marketed under the brand names Sierra Pre-Filled Inc. and B. Braun, according to a Jan. 18 notice issued by AM2PAT Inc., which manufactures the flushes.

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Ultrasound Quality Impacts Ovarian Cancer Management

MONDAY, Jan. 21 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with suspected ovarian cancer, the use of expert gynecologic ultrasonographers, compared with nonspecialists, leads to improved diagnostic accuracy and reduces the number of major surgical staging procedures required to confirm or rule out a diagnosis of cancer, reports an article published online Jan. 21 in The Lancet.

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Embryonic Stem Cells Show Muscle Regenerating Potential

MONDAY, Jan. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers demonstrated the possibility of using embryonic stem cells to treat muscular dystrophy by inducing proliferation of myogenic progenitors, sorting out cells with more muscle regeneration potential and transplanting them in dystrophic mice. The research was published online Jan. 20 in Nature Medicine.

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Label Change for Contraceptive Patch Warns of Blood Clots

MONDAY, Jan. 21 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved updated label information for the Ortho Evra contraceptive skin patch to incorporate the results of new study findings that suggest users of the patch may be at higher risk of developing serious blood clots, according to an FDA statement released Jan. 18.

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Bedtime Prednisone Beneficial in Rheumatoid Arthritis

FRIDAY, Jan. 18 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with rheumatoid arthritis, modified-release prednisone taken at bedtime may reduce morning joint stiffness better than immediate-release prednisone taken in the morning, according to a study published in the Jan. 19 issue of The Lancet.

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Multiple Myeloma Stem Cells Are Drug Resistant

FRIDAY, Jan. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Multiple myeloma stem cells are resistant to chemotherapeutic agents and can be identified in the peripheral blood of multiple myeloma patients, according to research published in the Jan. 1 issue of Cancer Research.

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Physical Activity Beneficial for Chronic Low Back Pain

FRIDAY, Jan. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Physical activity may be useful in reducing disability in patients with chronic low back pain, according to a review article published in the January/February issue of the Spine Journal.

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Immunomodulation May Be Beneficial in Heart Failure

FRIDAY, Jan. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Non-specific immunomodulation therapy may benefit certain patients with heart failure, including those who have no history of myocardial infarction and those with New York Heart Association class II heart failure, according to a report published in the Jan. 19 issue of The Lancet.

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Preventive Therapies for Fractures, Osteoporosis Analyzed

FRIDAY, Jan. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Controversies in osteoporosis management are addressed in two articles published in the Jan. 19 issue of BMJ. One article posits that efforts to reduce fractures in the elderly should focus on the prevention of falls, not the pharmacologic treatment of osteoporosis, while a second claims that proponents of pharmacologic treatment of "pre-osteoporosis" exaggerate the benefits of osteoporosis drugs while underplaying their harms.

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Fatty Liver Disease Leads to Higher Health Care Costs

FRIDAY, Jan. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Fatty liver disease is associated with significantly higher health care costs over a five-year period, suggesting a need to address behavioral factors that increase the risk of developing the disease, researchers report in the January issue of Gastroenterology.

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U.K. Breast Cancer Follow-Up Guidelines May Be Inadequate

FRIDAY, Jan. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Current guidelines for breast cancer follow-up in the United Kingdom, which call for only two to three years of clinical follow-up without additional recommendations for mammography, are inadequate and need to be revised, according to an editorial in the Jan. 19 issue of BMJ.

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Aspirin Resistance Raises Risk of Cardiovascular Events

FRIDAY, Jan. 18 (HealthDay News) -- More than one-quarter of patients with cardiovascular disease may be resistant to aspirin, and these non-responders have an increased risk of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events compared to aspirin-sensitive patients, according to an article published online Jan. 17 in BMJ Online First.

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Quality Checks Do Not Improve Informed Consent Process

FRIDAY, Jan. 18 (HealthDay News) -- A quality assurance questionnaire used after obtaining informed consent for participation in a clinical trial did not have any impact on the quality of the consent process, according to study findings published in the December issue of Clinical Trials.

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Trial and Error Inevitable in Relief of Low Back Pain

FRIDAY, Jan. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Non-surgical treatments for chronic low back pain including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), muscle relaxants and simple analgesics inevitably involve an element of trial and error, and patients should be empowered as much as possible to play an active role in finding the optimum form of pain relief, according to an article published in the January/February issue of The Spine Journal.

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Estrogen Receptor Gene Variants Raise Glaucoma Risk

FRIDAY, Jan. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Single-nucleotide polymorphisms in an estrogen receptor gene more than triple the risk of developing open-angle glaucoma in men, but do not affect the risk in women, according to a report published in the January issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology.

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Tighter Air Regulations May Lead to Decreased Mortality

THURSDAY, Jan. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Using current particulate data for 26 European cities, members of the Apheis network hypothesized that the greater the reduction of concentration of fine particles less than 2.5 μm in diameter (PM2.5) in air in European cities, the greater the decrease in mortality among people 30 years of age and up, according to study findings published in the February issue of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

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Smoking's Link to Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Examined

THURSDAY, Jan. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Although current smokers have a lower mortality from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) than former smokers -- in accordance with the literature -- survival is higher in lifelong non-smokers than former smokers or current and former smokers together, according to research published in the Jan. 15 American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

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Vitamin D Supplementation May Reduce Risk of Falls

THURSDAY, Jan. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Ergocalciferol supplementation in addition to calcium may reduce the risk of falls in elderly women who live in sunny climates, and who have a history of falling and insufficient levels of vitamin D, according to a report published in the Jan. 14 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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No Link Found Between Statin Use and Alzheimer's Disease

THURSDAY, Jan. 17 (HealthDay News) -- There appears to be no relationship between the use of statins and Alzheimer's disease or neuropathologies associated with Alzheimer's, according to a report published online Jan. 16 in Neurology.

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More Evidence Linking Hormone Therapy to Cancer

THURSDAY, Jan. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Despite a decrease in the use of combined estrogen and progestin hormone therapy (CHT), physicians still write 57 million hormone therapy prescriptions each year in the United States. New findings provide further evidence that CHT use -- even for as little as three years -- significantly increases the risk of invasive lobular carcinomas, according to a study published in the January issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

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Post-Hypoglycemia Autonomic Failure Studied in Rats

THURSDAY, Jan. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Excessive deposition of glycogen in the brain does not occur after acute or recurrent hypoglycemia in rats and is thus not a dominant factor in the impaired hormonal counterregulation due to hypoglycemia, according to research published online Jan. 10 in Endocrinology.

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Melanoma Initiating Cells Identified

THURSDAY, Jan. 17 (HealthDay News) -- A population of cells capable of initiating human melanomas has been identified, which could be targeted in cases of resistance to systemic therapy, researchers report in the Jan. 17 issue of Nature.

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Allopurinol Link to Rare Cutaneous Reactions Examined

THURSDAY, Jan. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Allopurinol use is associated with an increased risk of two rare but life-threatening severe cutaneous adverse reactions and the risk increases with higher doses, according to the results of a study published in the January issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

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Prophylactic Mastectomy in Breast Cancer Patients Studied

THURSDAY, Jan. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly half of American women diagnosed with breast cancer who are BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation carriers elect prophylactic contralateral mastectomy, but the acceptance of preventive surgery is much lower in Europe, according to research published online Jan. 14 in advance of publication in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Pay-for-Performance Can Result in Better Care

THURSDAY, Jan. 17 (HealthDay News) -- When patients see only doctors who are participants in a quality-based incentive program, there are measurable improvements in the quality of care they receive compared to those who see doctors not participating in such a scheme, according to research published in the December issue of Health Services Research.

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Adding Rituximab May Improve Standard Therapy in Lymphoma

THURSDAY, Jan. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Adding rituximab to the long-standard treatment of cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine and prednisone (R-CHOP) improved outcomes in older patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, according to research published online Jan. 15 in The Lancet Oncology.

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Carotenoids, Vitamin E May Lower Cataract Risk in Women

THURSDAY, Jan. 17 (HealthDay News) -- A high dietary intake of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, as well as vitamin E from food and supplements, may lower the risk of cataracts in women, researchers report in the January issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology.

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Patients Are Waiting Longer to Receive Emergency Care

THURSDAY, Jan. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Patients who present at emergency departments -- including those requiring emergent attention for acute myocardial infarction -- are waiting significantly longer to see a physician. The most likely reason is overcrowding, according to a report published online Jan. 15 in Health Affairs.

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Men at Greater Risk from Iron-Overload Mutation

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Diseases related to iron overload are far more common in men who are homozygous for the C282Y mutation in the HFE protein than their female counterparts, according to research published in the Jan. 17 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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