8 medical stories from the popular press that your patients are reading...you should, too.
Biggest Losers Gain it Back.
Danny Cahill, originally 430-lbs, lost 239 lbs and gained the title “The Biggest Loser,” winning Season 8 of the TV reality show. But he and many other contestants have regained much of the weight they lost. An NIH physiology of obesity study followed all Season 8 contestants for 6 years and the results now offer clues as to why keeping weight off is such a struggle.
New York Times, May 2, 2016
Pastoral Medicine is No License to Treat.
Ever heard of the healthcare degree PSC.D or D.PSc? The alternative practitioners who have earned it are called “doctors of pastoral medicine” and offer “Bible-based” health care services. Recently these pastoral providers got the attention of the Texas Medical Board, after consumers lodged complaints; the Board has issued dozens of cease and desist orders.
NPR, April 25, 2016
Breast Cancer Findings are Near Picture Perfect.
From 3 billion letters of people’s genetic code in 560 breast cancers, an international team has uncovered 93 genes that, if mutated, can cause tumors. Dr Emma Smith, Cancer Research UK: “This study brings us closer to getting a complete picture of the genetic changes at the heart of breast cancer.”
BBC, May 2, 2016
“Poor Man’s Methadone” is a Diarrhea Medicine.
Some of the 2.1 million people in the US who abuse or are addicted to opioids are using the popular antidiarrhea medication loperamide to reduce symptoms of withdrawal, others for recreational purposes. Loperamide’s low cost, OTC availability, and benign social stigma make it a prime substance for abuse and, as the “poor man’s methadone,” adding to the nation’s opioid abuse epidemic.
Washington Post, May 4, 2016
World’s Most Expensive Drug Just Sits on the Shelf.
Alipogene tiparvovec, or Glybera-the “first gene therapy” in the Western world-was developed to compensate for lipoprotein lipase deficiency. The world’s most expensive drug generated lots of excitement but has been paid for and used commercially exactly once since its approval in 2012. Why? A million-dollar price tag, too few patients, and questions about its effectiveness.
MIT Technology Review, May 4, 2016
Dialing for Lung Disease Detection.
For patients who have limited access to a spirometer for detecting lung disease, the
system allows a doctor to check a patient’s lung health over the phone. No app required. Patients dial the 800# and "huff" into the phone's microphone as hard as they can. A computer screen shows doctors how much air is being exhaled within seconds.
KOMONEWS.com, May 3, 2016
Deaths Related to Medical Error are Underreported.
rank as the third leading cause of death in the US, after heart disease and cancer, according to a Johns Hopkins Medicine study. But deficient vital statistics tracking may leave the problem under the radar. The authors call for changes in death certificates to better capture error-related fatalities and urge the CDC to add medical errors to its annual top causes of death list. More than 250,000 Americans die from medical errors each year.
NPR, May 3, 2016
Marijuana is Not Medicine-Just ask the FDA .
The FDA has 5 criteria for accepted medical use of marijuana in the United States:
The drug’s chemistry must be known and reproducible.
There must be adequate safety studies.
There must be adequate and well-controlled studies proving efficacy.
The drug must be accepted by well-qualified experts.
Scientific evidence must be widely available. Marijuana does not meet any of these criteria.
Washington Post, April 29, 2016
Patients see and hear a lot about medicine in the news--some of it is educational, some has a reliable ring to it but deserves greater scrutiny, and some is hype at best.Scroll through the slides above to see some of the more noteworthy subjects your patients might be reading about right now, and prepare to field queries. Topics include:Â âº "The Biggest Loser" gains it all backÂ âº Pastoral medicine problems in TexasÂ âº A "milestone" finding in breast cancer geneticsÂ âº The "poor man's methadone"Â âº World's most expensive drug languishes on the shelf... and more.Â