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Archive for March, 2017

Extensive Brain Defects Recorded in Zika Infected Baby


Date: March 14th, 2017

In the recently published studies, researchers noted a variation in the type of brain damage such as empty spaces and dead spots in the brain, congenital deafness and cataracts.

How are the children affected?

However, differences were recorded in all the three studies on the potential ways the infected children could be affected.

Bariatric Surgery Mitigates Afib Risk


Date: March 10th, 2017

Bariatric Surgery and AFib

A sub-study done on bariatric surgery patients, they recorded a 29 percent reduced rate of developing atrial fibrillation as opposed to the non-surgery group. These patients were subjected to almost 20 years follow up as explained by the study lead author Shabbar Jamaly, MD, of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, and colleagues.

The other finding of the study was that younger patients receiving bariatric surgery benefited the most as they recorded a much more reduction in the risk of developing atrial fibrillation (P=0.001 for interaction). The benefit was also shared by patients who previously had higher diastolic blood pressure (P=0.028).

Heavy Teen Drinking Linked to Reduced Brain Volume


Date: March 8th, 2017

The observational study cannot be singularly based on to say that heavy drinking is responsible for stunted brain development. Less brain matter may as well be due to genetic factors, and it is such an abnormality that raises their possibility of abusing alcohol.

The lead author, Noora Heikkinen of the University of Eastern Finland, said that “Substance use has been found to be connected to social exclusion, mental health problems and lower educational attainment.”

Patients with cancer history experiencing severe heart attacks


Date: March 6th, 2017

After cancer, higher risk of severe heart attack

The researchers from Mayo clinic located in Rochester, Minn analyzed data from over 2,300 patients who had this rear type of heart attack referred to as ST-elevation myocardial infarction. For every 10 patients, one of them had a cancer history.

Draft Recommendation Statement: Thyroid Cancer Screening


Date: March 4th, 2017

Do Not Screen For Thyroid Cancer in Asymptomatic Adults

The National Cancer Institute goes on to estimate that 1,980 people will die as a result of the disease. Generally, there is a 98.1 percent five-year survival rate for the thyroid cancer patients. By using the newly released statistics, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) opted to update a recommendation of what it had issued in 1996 on the same topic.

New draft recommendation issued

The USPSTF published a daft recommendation on November 22nd, alongside a draft evidence review on screening adults for thyroid cancer. By using the examined evidence, the USPSTF recommended that asymptomatic patients should not be screened for thyroid cancer.

To come up with the recommendation, the task force went through the merits and demerits of screening for thyroid cancer. They found that asymptotic patients faced much greater harms. Some of the harms identified include permanent surgical damage to the nerves responsible for controlling breathing and speaking as well as to the thyroid function.

USPSTF member Karina Davison, Ph.D., M.A.Sc., said in a news release that “While there is very little evidence of the benefits of screening for thyroid cancer, there is considerable evidence of the significant harms of treatment…. And in the places where universal screening has been tried, it hasn’t helped people live longer, healthier lives.”

The data that the task force based on in this review created the impression that over diagnosis posed a grave danger.

USPSTF Chair Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, Ph.D., M.D., M.A.S., said that their studies showed that with increased screening, there was the danger of over diagnosis. He went on to explain that “People who are treated for small or slow-growing tumors are exposed to risks from surgery or radiation, but do not receive any benefit because the tumors are unlikely to affect the person’s health during their lifetime.”

What do the physicians say about this?

While speaking to AAFP News, ennifer Frost, M.D., medical director for the AAFP Health of the Public and Science Division said that scientists are yet provide evidence that thyroid cancer treatment lowers mortality.

She said that “If treatment doesn’t improve outcomes, then early diagnosis through screening doesn’t have value. Treatment, however, almost always has risks. In this case, the most common serious harms of treatment include hyperparathyroidism and laryngeal nerve palsy.”

Frost said that it is vital to carefully consider over diagnosis when it comes to any cancer screening program.

“This means diagnosing a cancer that would never have caused medical problems for the individual,” she said. “This means they would not have died from the cancer or even had symptoms. So you diagnose a cancer that would never have caused a problem, then expose the patient to treatments that can cause significant harms.”

The USPSTF has allowed up to 26th December for the public to give a recommendation on the draft recommendation statement and draft evidence review.

Strokes Decline in Older Americans, Rise in Young


Date: March 2nd, 2017

Significant generation change

Those born between 1965 and 1974 (also referred to as Generation X) were found by a recent research to have a 43% stroke cases compared to the Golden Generation.

A lead researcher and Ph.D. candidate at the Rutgers University School of Public Health in New Jersey, Joel Swerdel, said that “People born during what I call the ‘Golden Generation,’ 1945 to 1954, had lower rates of stroke than those born 20 years before them and also in the 20 years after them.”