Originally published in MedPage Today by Michael Smith, MedPage Today North American Correspondent As 2009 ended, an estimated 55 million Americans had been infected with the H1N1 pandemic flu and roughly one in five Americans had been vaccinated against the disease, the CDC said. The immunization data works out to about 61 million people, the agency said in an early release issue ...

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Here are two vignettes illustrating the failure of doctors to master the obvious and maybe a window onto the future struggles to control medical costs. A 90-year old is referred for care due to "end stage dementia." End-stage dementia is medical speak and as such does not really convey the appropriate imagery. It means a skeletal man, in a wheelchair or mostly in bed, with diapers, who has does not know ...

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Originally posted in MedPage Today by Todd Neale, MedPage Today Staff Writer The use of morphine may prevent the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in military personnel injured in combat, an observational study showed. Those who received the drug during resuscitation or trauma care were about half as likely to later develop PTSD (OR 0.47, P<0.001), according to Troy Lisa Holbrook, PhD, ...

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Originally published in MedPage Today by Todd Neale, MedPage Today Staff Writer Patients suffering an acute ischemic stroke are about 20% more likely to receive clot-busting therapy with tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) if they arrive at the hospital on the weekend, a retrospective study showed. However, there was no difference in rates of inhospital mortality based on the time of admission, Abby ...

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Originally published in MedPage Today by John Gever, MedPage Today Senior Editor Psychiatrists who prescribe drugs for their patients today usually give more than one at a time, often with little scientific basis, researchers said. About 60% of patients with psychiatrist office visits leading to a drug prescription received at least two medications in 2005-2006, according to government survey data analyzed by Ramin ...

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Originally published in HCPLive.com by Victor G. Dostrow, MD The Internet is filled with reports of remarkable cognitive enhancement with various nostrums. Many are not regulated, and the pages are typically associated with glowing testimonials and a link to sign up for uninterrupted (and uninterruptible) delivery of the miracle substance. More to the point of this post, other blogs, reports, and forum comments opine as to notable benefits of taking prescription medications marketed ...

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Originally published in MedPage Today by Todd Neale, MedPage Today Staff Writer Individuals using standard spoons from their home kitchen to dispense liquid medications may be pouring too little or too much of the drugs, researchers found. Among volunteers trying to pour a teaspoonful of cold and cough medicine, using a slightly larger spoon resulted in underdosing and using a much larger ...

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Originally published in Insidermedicine The benefits of antidepressant therapy increase with the severity of underlying depression, according to a meta-analysis published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. id="play_continuous_flvs" classid="clsid:d27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000" width="385" height="239" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,40,0">
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Originally published in MedPage Today by Michael Smith, MedPage Today North American Correspondent It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future. That famous observation from baseball great Yogi Berra applies in spades to medicine. What technological advance or new insight will shape the next few years? As Yogi noted, it's tough to predict: It could be -- as Leif Ellisen, MD, PhD, thinks -- tumor genotyping.
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How did osteopenia, the precursor to osteoprosis, come about? Fascinating story from NPR, detailing how a drug company popularized the condition in order to expand the market for their drug, Fosamax. Osteopenia is diagnosed via a bone density study showing a "T-score" between -1.0 and -2.5. But how that definition came about was quite arbitrary. In 1994, a group of researchers from the World Health Organization poured over data, and eventually, ...

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