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7 Top Primary Care Stories of the Month

7 Top Primary Care Stories of the Month

  • Top Stories from Around the Web for January

  • Music Appreciation for the Unborn: A video from a gynecology clinic in Barcelona captures “the first concert for fetuses ever held…,” as singer Soraya performs for expecting mothers and their unborn babies. Fetuses listen through a tiny speaker—the “Babypod”—inserted into the mother’s vagina like a tampon. Connected to a smartphone, the speaker transmits music directly to the fetus, without the interference of the womb and other sound-attenuating tissue. Babypod is the result of a Spanish study that proved fetuses can detect sound, and respond with movements of mouth and tongue between ages of 18 and 26 weeks. While some experts believe that music supports early brain development, such claims are disputed.

  • Cancer Screening by Mail: Fecal immunochemical test (FIT) kits sent annually by US mail is an effective way to screen for colorectal cancer (CRC), according to study results reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine. About 670,000 adults (50 to 70y) from 2 California health plans received FIT kits in 2007 or ’08. Half completed/returned the test within 1 year and were mailed new kits for the next 3 years, with response rates ≥75%. FIT screening identified 80% of patients with CRC diagnosed within 1 year of testing. Authors: "...annual programmatic FIT screening is both feasible and effective" for population-level CRC screening.

  • Of Rat Limbs and Men: Scientists at Mass General have used stem cells to generate rat “arm” and hope to do the same for humans; the current project is to create a “biolimb” for a primate. The ultimate hope is that patients who receive the biolimbs, such as combat veteran amputees, would not require life-long immunosuppressive therapy. Among the challenges to growing limbs for humans: growing nerves in muscles, maintaining a limb's range of movement, and preventing tissue rejection in the limb recipient.

  • PPIs = Risk for CKD: Results of a prospective, community-based study of >10,000 adults followed for a median of 14 years showed baseline use of a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) was independently associated with a 20%-50% higher risk for incident chronic kidney disease.The relationship was not seen with use of H2 receptor antagonists. PPIs are among the most widely prescribed and overprescribed medications in the US—between 25% and 70% of prescriptions written for PPIs do not have appropriate medical indications.

  • Drug Overdose Epidemic in Interactive Living Color: The CDC reports that more persons died from drug poisoning (overdoses [OD]) in the US in 2014 than during any previous year on record. In 2014, there were 1.5X more OD deaths than deaths from vehicular accidents. Opioids were involved in 61% of 2014 OD deaths—triple the rate in 2000. CDC’s chief of mortality statistics says the trend in OD deaths now parallels that of the HIV epidemic in the late 1980s-90s. Find the report on the NCHS Visualization Gallery with its interactive features that allow readers to parse and visualize data by year, state, even county, as well as by age, sex, and race/origin.

  • All Milk in Moderation: A case report in this month’s issue of Pediatrics: an 11-month-old in Spain diagnosed with scurvy, believed to be the result of exclusive intake of almond beverages and almond flour from the age of 2.5 months. Referral was for pathologic fractures and failure to thrive. Plasma vitamin C level was critically low. Cow’s milk isn’t rich in vitamin C either; the critical message is the danger to the infant of a resource-restricted diet.

  • Colonoscopy: Coming to a College Campus near You: Maybe screening for colorectal cancer (CRC) needn’t begin that young, but a study just published in Cancer found that nearly 1 in 7, or 15%, of CRCs are diagnosed in persons younger than age 50 y. The analysis of 260,000 patients found the younger patients were more likely to be diagnosed with advanced disease than older patients (72% vs 63%) and to receive more aggressive treatment than older patients (53% vs 48%). Five-year survival was also better among younger patients, 21%, vs 14% in older patients. Average age at diagnosis was 42 y.

We have asked our editorial advisory board members to send us a story each month in 2016 that they find of particular interest. The content could have scientific, medical, or simply human-interest value. We curated their entires, added a few of our own, and the January result is the short slide show above. 

Here's a wrap up of randomly selected medical stories that have been making the headlines this month. - See more at:

Did you miss any of these headlines? Find links to the sources below.


Music Appreciation for the Unborn
  BabyPod Web site

  The clinical study

Cancer Screening by Mail

Of Rat Limbs and Men

PPIs = Risk for CKD

Drug Overdose Epidemic in Interactive Living Color

All Milk in Moderation

Colonoscopy: Coming to a College Campus near You


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