May 21st, 2013
An experimental, lab-made molecule was able to stick to certain inflammatory proteins and reduce acute breathing problems among people with a type of moderate-to-severe asthma, according to researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Their findings were published today in the New England Journal of Medicine, coinciding with their presentation of the study in Philadelphia at the annual meeting of the American Thoracic Society.
Recent estimates suggest that 24.6 million Americans have asthma, and 10 to 20% of them don’t have optimal control of their symptoms despite modern medications, said senior author Sally Wenzel, MD, professor, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine (PACCM), Pitt School of Medicine, and director, University of Pittsburgh Asthma Institute at UPMC/University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Effective treatment of persistent, moderate-to-severe asthma has been challenging.
“We suspect that there are different underlying causes that lead to the clinical syndrome of asthma, so different treatment approaches are likely needed depending on what type of asthma a patient has,” she said. “A one-size-fits-all strategy might not, in fact, work for everyone.”
May 21st, 2013
Research on different types of IV connectors led a Johns Hopkins cancer center to pilot a “neutral pressure” IV connector, according to a scientific presentation at the annual meeting of the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS). Since the Hopkins poster was presented at the ONS meeting, The Johns Hopkins Hospital has adopted the IV connector hospital-wide.
In a four-month test, RyMed’s InVision-Plus® neutral connector reduced potentially deadly catheter-related bloodstream infections (CRBSIs) by 33.3% at the Johns Hopkins center.
Preventing CRBSIs is a major medical concern because US patients suffer approximately 250,000 such infections a year. These often deadly infections have a mortality rate of 12% to 25% and cost an average of $56,000 to treat, according to the CDC.
According to the ONS presentation, a systematic literature review, conducted by the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, revealed that a neutral pressure IV connector can provide more protection against bloodstream infections than other connector types.
This review led the center to trial and then adopt the InVision-Plus® connector, (which RyMed calls its “zero fluid displacement” connector to distinguish it from other “neutral” connectors).
Clinicians decided this specific connector is better designed for infection prevention than other IV connectors, including others known as neutral, negative-pressure and positive-pressure. Positive-pressure connectors are already the subject of an FDA inquiry.
May 20th, 2013
Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin’s signing into law of the nation’s first death-with-dignity bill passed by a legislature is a “breakthrough” moment, according to the nation’s leading end-of-life choice advocacy group, Compassion & Choices. Vermont also will become the first eastern state and fourth state nationwide where aid in dying clearly is legal and accessible starting immediately.
“This historic achievement is a political breakthrough that will boost support for death-with-dignity bills nationwide,” said Compassion & Choices President Barbara Coombs Lee, an ER and ICU nurse and physician assistant for 25 years who co-authored the nation’s first Death-with-Dignity law in Oregon and was a senior advisor on the successful campaign to pass the Death-with-Dignity law in Washington state, both of which were approved by citizen-passed ballot initiatives and served as models for the Vermont legislation.
The Vermont law will let dying, mentally competent people determine when they have endured enough suffering and empowers them to end their lives with dignity. Specifically, it will provide criminal, civil and professional protections for physicians who prescribe medication to mentally competent, terminally ill patients that they can ingest to achieve a peaceful death.
“Gov. Shumlin and Vermont legislators have shattered a barrier by becoming the first politicians to show the courage to enact a death-with-dignity law,” added Coombs Lee. “Given the high margin of public support for end-of-life choices nationwide, it is only a matter of time before legislatures in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and other states that are currently considering death-with-dignity bills enact them into law.”
May 20th, 2013
National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA issued the following statement today regarding a survey by Hart Research Associates regarding Medicare Part D “preferred pharmacy” drug plans, which often exclude independent community pharmacies from offering patients the plan’s lowest advertised co-payments:
“Officials with Medicare and MedPAC, 16 US Senators and more than 30 US Representatives have all expressed concerns with Medicare preferred pharmacy drug plans and for good reason. They create access concerns for some patients and may be increasing costs for Medicare and taxpayers.
“First, in rural areas seniors in these plans may have to travel 20 miles or more to obtain their prescription drugs. Independent community pharmacists in these areas report that patients are repeatedly dealing with this barrier to obtaining their medications. Perhaps reflecting this problem, more than one million seniors are either very dissatisfied or somewhat dissatisfied with their preferred pharmacy Medicare drug plan.
“Second, Medicare and taxpayers may not realize any overall savings from these prescription drug plans (or PDPs). As Medicare said in its proposed 2014 call letter, ‘We have begun to scrutinize Part D drug costs in PDPs with preferred networks, and comparing these to costs in the non-preferred networks, as well as to costs in PDPs without preferred networks. We are concerned because our initial results suggest that aggregate unit costs weighted by utilization (for the top 25 brand and top 25 generic drugs) may be higher in preferred networks than in non-preferred networks in some plans [emphasis added]. Combined with lower cost sharing, we believe these higher unit costs may violate the requirement not to increase payments to such plans.’
May 20th, 2013
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Actress Angelina Jolie Has Preventive Double Mastectomy
What do you think about Jolie’s decision? Was it a wise choice or an unnecessary procedure? Comment below.
Hollywood film star Angelina Jolie announced Tuesday that she has undergone a double mastectomy because she carries a genetic mutation that greatly increases her risk of potentially fatal breast cancer.
She said she began the process to have both of her breasts removed in early February because she lost her mother, actress Marcheline Bertrand, to breast cancer when her mother was just 56.
Guidance for Clinicians on Prescribing Exercise for Depressed Patients
Exercise has been shown to be an effective treatment for major depressive disorder (MDD), both when used alone and in combination with other treatments. There’s now sufficient research data to provide specific guidance on how to prescribe exercise for depressed patients, according to a report in the May Journal of Psychiatric Practice®.
“Despite the substantial evidence supporting the use of exercise in the treatment of MDD, previous studies have not provided a clear indication of the proper dose of exercise needed to elicit an antidepressant effect,” write Chad Rethorst, PhD, and Madhukar Trivedi, MD, of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas. To fill this gap, the authors reviewed available data from randomized controlled trials, with the goal of developing specific and detailed recommendations for clinicians on how to prescribe exercise for their patients with MDD.