In November of last year the American Heart Association released to recommendations on who should be taking statins (drugs like Lipitor/atorvastatin), the most common medicines we use to control cholesterol levels. High cholesterol levels are associated with higher risk of heart attacks and strokes, and taking statins, which lower cholesterol, can reduce those risks. The drugs have pretty significant side effects, though, and not everyone with high cholesterol or ...

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From MedPage Today:

  1. Sudden Cardiac Death Robs Many Years of Life. The burden of sudden cardiac death in terms of years of potential life lost is high compared with other leading causes of death in the U.S.
  2. HTN Guidance Takes Center Stage at NKF. Guidelines on hypertension management, particularly the JNC8 recommendations released last December, will be a major talking point at this year's ...

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Barron Lerner thinks he understands doctor's motives.  In his recent article in the Atlantic he laments that physicians act on tradition and emotion over adopting new science.  In defense of his position, he sites the example of how cardiologists use angioplasty and coronary artery bypass to treat coronary disease. He states,

... cardiologists have been remarkably slow to abandon the old hypothesis, continuing to perform hundreds of thousands of bypass operations and ...

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From MedPage Today:

  1. Simple, Short HCV Regimen Has High Cure Rate. A single pill once a day for 8 weeks is enough to cure more than 90% of hepatitis C virus (HCV) patients with relatively uncomplicated disease.
  2. Substance Abuse Tx Problematic Despite ACA. The nation's health law has promised sweeping changes to help millions of people with drug or alcohol addiction get treatment. Many ...

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From MedPage Today:

  1. Docs' Medicare Pay Totals Now Public. or the first time, totals of what Medicare pays individual healthcare providers are now freely available to download and browse on a government website.
  2. Fewer Americans Struggling With Medical Debt. The percentage of people in families having problems paying their medical bills continues to tick downward.
  3. Naloxone 'Stigma' a Barrier to Prescribing? Although ...

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From MedPage Today:

  1. Diet Rich in Beans, Lentils, Peas Lowers LDL. People who consumed a serving a day of dietary "pulses" -- such as beans, chickpeas, lentils and peas -- significantly reduced their low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
  2. Dad's Extra Pounds Tied to Kid's Risk for Autism Disorders. Paternal obesity was strongly associated with increased risk for several autism spectrum disorders in children.

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I felt a little sad when I read a piece in the New England Journal of Medicine about the introduction of point-of-care ultrasound in medical education. In it, two cardiologists from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital review the promise and some of the challenges of incorporating hand held ultrasonography into medical education and, more broadly, into medical practice. For those of you unfamiliar with the technology, this is not ...

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Back in 1986, the Health Care Financing Administration launched the brave new era of quality reporting in this country by releasing "report cards" that detailed hospital-specific, risk-adjusted mortality rates for coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery. Since that time, the number and type of publicly reported quality outcomes has grown exponentially with the goal of helping patients make informed decisions when selecting doctors, thereby driving quality improvement by doctors and hospitals. Has ...

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From MedPage Today:

  1. White Boys More Likely to Be Color Blind. Color blindness is not colorblind, as it appears to afflict Caucasian boys at three times the rate of African-American boys.
  2. Boston Hospital Tackles Problem of Readmissions. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a highly regarded teaching hospital in Boston, but in 2012, the hospital found out it had one of the highest rates ...

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From MedPage Today:

  1. ACA Signups Hit 7 Million Mark. More than 7 million Americans -- the avowed goal for 2014 enrollment -- have signed up for coverage through the Affordable Care Act's health insurance exchanges.
  2. Mixed Results in NSCLC, SCLC Trials. Two-thirds of patients with recurrent, mutated non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) responded to an investigational agent that selectively targets mutant cells and spares ...

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