Edition:
United Kingdom

Linda Carroll

Patients with IBD may see health improvements with Mediterranean diet

26 May 2020

(Reuters Health) - Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) who stayed on a Mediterranean diet for six months saw significant improvements in malnutrition-related parameters and steatosis, according to a new study.

Software provides non-invasive hemoglobin measurement with a smart phone

22 May 2020

(Reuters Health) - An algorithm that computes hemoglobin levels from a smart phone image of the inner eyelid may help patients with anemia and other disorders avoid trips to healthcare centers for blood draws, a new study suggests.

COVID-19 related MIS-C in kids can spark a treatable type of heart failure

21 May 2020

Researchers have described the warning signs – and management approaches taken - in 35 French children who ended up in ICUs with a SARS-CoV-2 related fever, severe multisystem inflammation, left-ventricular dysfunction and cardiogenic shock.

Pulmonary rehabilitation after COPD hospitalization may save lives

12 May 2020

By Linda Carroll (Reuters Health) - Patients who receive pulmonary rehabilitation after being hospitalized for worsening of their chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are more likely to be alive a year later, compared to those who don’t get rehab, a U.S. study suggests. An analysis of data from nearly 200,000 fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries hospitalized for COPD in 2014 showed that patients who got pulmonary rehab within 90 days of leaving the hospital were 37% less likely to die during the year following hospitalization, according to the results in JAMA. "Sixteen million individuals in the U.S. have been told they have COPD by their doctors and there are probably millions more who have it and are undiagnosed," said Dr. Peter Lindenauer, a professor of medicine and director of the Institute for Healthcare Delivery and Population Science at the University of Massachusetts Medical School - Baystate. "It's the third leading cause of death in the U.S. and is characterized by flare-ups, or exacerbations, that lead to 1.5 million emergency department visits each year and 700,000 hospitalizations." Patients who don't receive pulmonary rehab often enter a vicious cycle in which shortness of breath leads to less exercise, which leads to more shortness of breath and so on, Dr. Lindenauer said. Even though small randomized trials have suggested that rehab might improve quality of life and reduce the risk of rehospitalization, the proportion of patients receiving the therapy hasn’t risen. Experts estimate it now stands at a mere 3% of those who could be receiving it. Dr. Lindenauer and his colleagues decided to explore whether pulmonary rehab could improve survival on the assumption that if a benefit could be shown, more patients might receive the therapy. The researchers analyzed data on 197,376 patients, mean age 76.9 years, who had been hospitalized for an exacerbation of COPD. A mere 2,721 of those patients initiated pulmonary rehab within 90 days of discharge. A total of 38,302 patients died within a year of discharge, including 7.3% of patients who received rehab in the three months following discharge and 19.6% of those who did not get rehab. After adjustment for potential confounders, the absolute risk difference was 6.7%. Dr. Lindenauer allows that a retrospective study can’t prove rehab saves lives. "The bottom line is that it's not a randomized controlled trial and that is it's single biggest limitation," he said, adding that it was possible the patients who got rehab were just the healthier ones. "We attempted to reduce the threat of this bias by adjusting for many, many factors, including how severe their COPD was, how many hospitalizations they had and even their level of frailty," Dr. Lindenauer said. "But it's impossible to adjust for everything." This is the first study to show there might be a survival benefit, said Dr. Frank Sciurba, a professor of medicine and education and director of the Emphysema/COPD Research Center at the University of Pittsburgh. "This is one more step in convincing the community of its benefits," Dr. Sciurba said. "Survival carries a lot of weight with providers and insurers." Even if more patients and doctors opt for rehab, there is a major barrier: not enough facilities. "If every doctor was convinced by this to refer patients to rehab, we do not have the capacity," Dr. Sciurba said. That's true even in big cities like New York. "In Manhattan, there are at most three rehab centers and most of them are part-time," said Dr. Neil Schachter, a professor of medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine and medical director of the pulmonary rehabilitation program at Mount Sinai in New York City. The reason for the shortage of rehab facilities is the paltry reimbursement hospitals get for running one, Dr. Schachter said. The result is patients missing out on a treatment that can improve their ability to exercise, which has been shown to boost the immune system, which is especially important in this population, Dr. Schachter said "People who are in these training programs have fewer exacerbations, which is good for them overall since these are what can continue the destructive mechanism that is COPD," Dr. Schachter said. SOURCE: https://bit.ly/2Lmqvhd and https://bit.ly/2Lp11zS JAMA, online May 12, 2020.

Home dialysis monitored via telemedicine may help protect patients from SARS-CoV-2

01 May 2020

(Reuters Health) - In the era of COVID-19, the best way to protect kidney failure patients may be home dialysis with monitoring through telemedicine, a new report suggests.

New York's Northwell Health begins 3D printing nasal swabs for coronavirus testing

31 Mar 2020

NEW YORK New York-based hospital system Northwell Health said it has started to make its own nasal swabs using 3D printing, enabling it to produce thousands of swabs a day that can be used in testing for the coronavirus.

Fatal crashes might decline with lower legal blood alcohol limits

16 Mar 2020

(Reuters Health) - The blood-alcohol threshold for being considered legally impaired in the U.S. may be too high, according to a study that finds a meaningful percentage of crashes happen when drivers are below that limit.

Number of U.S. adults at risk for blindness on the rise

13 Mar 2020

(Reuters Health) - The proportion of U.S. adults at high risk for blindness has grown over a 15-year period and so has the share who say they cannot afford eyeglasses, according to a new study.

Most patients underestimate likely scar size before Moh's surgery

12 Mar 2020

(Reuters Health) - Patients who need to have a cancerous lesion removed from their face in a procedure known as Moh's micrographic surgery are often taken aback by the size of the resulting scar, a new study finds.

AA, other 12-step programs more effective than talk therapies

11 Mar 2020

(Reuters Health) - Alcoholics Anonymous and similar 12-step programs can lead to higher rates of continuous abstinence than other addiction treatment approaches like cognitive behavioral therapy, a large new study suggests.

World News

PM Johnson and EU chief seek to break Brexit impasse

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will speak to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Saturday to try to break an impasse in trade talks with time running out to avoid a chaotic end to the Brexit saga.