In Sickness and In Health

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A blog about the latest news and research in clinical medicine.

Helen Jaques
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  • February 19, 2010
  • 01:00 PM

Obese children are at high risk of death before middle age

by Helen Jaques in In Sickness and In Health

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has found that children who were obese were almost twice as likely to die before 55 years of age than those who were not obese. Moreover, children whose weight was in the top 25% out of nearly 5,000 kids were 2.3 times more likely to [...]... Read more »

Franks, P., Hanson, R., Knowler, W., Sievers, M., Bennett, P., & Looker, H. (2010) Childhood Obesity, Other Cardiovascular Risk Factors, and Premature Death. New England Journal of Medicine, 362(6), 485-493. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa0904130  

  • February 11, 2010
  • 09:00 AM

Half of top US academic medical centers have no policy on ghostwriting

by Helen Jaques in In Sickness and In Health

Half of the top 50 academic medical centres in the United States have no policies on their staff ghostwriting research on the behalf of pharmaceutical companies – including UCLA and Mayo Medical School.
Medical ghostwriting is “the practice of pharmaceutical companies secretly authoring journal articles published under the byline of academic researchers.” By getting academics at [...]

... Read more »

  • February 8, 2010
  • 04:02 PM

A diagnosis of prostate cancer ups the risk of fatal heart attack or suicide

by Helen Jaques in In Sickness and In Health

Receiving a diagnosis of prostate cancer is a very stressful and upsetting event, so much so that some men go on to have a fatal heart attack or kill themselves.
Two pieces of research by the same study group, one conducted in 340,000 men in the US and the other in 170,000 men from Sweden, have [...]

... Read more »

  • February 5, 2010
  • 05:00 AM

Reducing dietary salt by half a teaspoon could save 92,000 lives a year

by Helen Jaques in In Sickness and In Health

A Californian population based study has found that if everyone in the US reduced their daily salt intake by 3 grams – half a teaspoon – the annual number of deaths could be slashed by up to 92,000. In addition, the number of new people who get cardiovascular disease each year could drop by [...]... Read more »

Bibbins-Domingo, K., Chertow, G., Coxson, P., Moran, A., Lightwood, J., Pletcher, M., & Goldman, L. (2010) Projected Effect of Dietary Salt Reductions on Future Cardiovascular Disease. New England Journal of Medicine. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa0907355  

  • February 3, 2010
  • 06:21 PM

Watching too much TV increases risk of death within the next six years

by Helen Jaques in In Sickness and In Health

A study of nearly 9,000 Australian adults has reported that people who watched 4 hours of TV a day or more were 46% more likely to die within the next six and a half years than those who watched less than 2 hours a day.  Each one hour increase in daily television viewing increased the [...]... Read more »

Dunstan, D., Barr, E., Healy, G., Salmon, J., Shaw, J., Balkau, B., Magliano, D., Cameron, A., Zimmet, P., & Owen, N. (2010) Television Viewing Time and Mortality: The Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study (AusDiab). Circulation, 121(3), 384-391. DOI: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.109.894824  

  • November 12, 2009
  • 05:00 AM

Drug company funded events for health professionals: the state of play in Australia

by Helen Jaques in In Sickness and In Health

The links between the pharmaceutical industry and doctors are many and tangled. Drug companies are keen to schmooze doctors and, directly or not, persuade clinicians to prescribe their drug instead of a similar one by a competitor. One way that drug companies try to influence doctors is by sponsoring events, such as conferences or [...]... Read more »

  • November 10, 2009
  • 05:00 PM

Arch Intern Med roundup: diets, delays and disclosure

by Helen Jaques in In Sickness and In Health

The journal Archives of Internal Medicine has a several cracking research papers this week.
Low carb dieters are grumpier than those on low fat diets
First up is Brinkworth et al.’s research on the long-term psychological effects of low carbohydrate diets compared with low fat diets.
In this study, 106 overweight and obese individuals were randomly assigned to [...]... Read more »

Brinkworth GD, Buckley JD, Noakes M, Clifton PM, . (2009) Long-term Effects of a Very Low-Carbohydrate Diet and a Low-Fat Diet on Mood and Cognitive Function. Arch Intern Med, 169(20), 1873-1880. info:other/

Horwitz LI . (2009) Percentage of US Emergency Department Patients Seen Within the Recommended Triage Time: 1997 to 2006. Arch Intern Med, 169(20), 1857-1865. info:other/

Chen LM, Farwell WR, . (2009) Primary Care Visit Duration and Quality: Does Good Care Take Longer? . Arch Intern Med, 169(20), 1866-1872. info:other/

López L, Weissman JS, Schneider EC, Weingart SN, Cohen AP, . (2009) Disclosure of Hospital Adverse Events and Its Association With Patients' Ratings of the Quality of Care. Arch Intern Med, 169(20), 1888-1894. info:other/

  • November 9, 2009
  • 05:00 AM

Nearly a third of clinical trials don’t adequately report adverse events

by Helen Jaques in In Sickness and In Health

A study published in Archives of Internal Medicine has found that almost a third of clinical trials reported in top medical journals don’t adequately report the side effects of the intervention being tested.
Pitrou et al. assessed the reporting of safety data in 133 randomised controlled trials published between January 2006 and January 2007 in five [...]... Read more »

  • October 7, 2009
  • 06:12 PM

Sacre bleu! French diet doesn’t meet nutrient recommendations

by Helen Jaques in In Sickness and In Health

French food is famous around the world.  From the haute cuisine espoused by cordon bleu and the Michelin Guide to weird and wonderful dishes like frogs legs, the French are passionate about cooking and what they eat.
However, a study published recently in the Journal of Nutrition has found that the diet consumed by the majority [...]... Read more »

  • August 13, 2009
  • 12:35 PM

Aspirin in colorectal cancer – a new trick for an old dog

by Helen Jaques in In Sickness and In Health

A new study published in JAMA this week has shown that in patients with colorectal cancer, taking an aspirin a day after diagnosis reduces the risk dying from the cancer or from any cause by at least 20%.  Taking aspirin before diagnosis, however, did not have any effect of prognosis.
It has been known for a [...]... Read more »

Chan AT, Ogino, MD S, Fuchs CS. (2009) Aspirin Use and Survival After Diagnosis of Colorectal Cancer. JAMA, 302(6), 649-658. info:other/Aspirin Use and Survival After Diagnosis of Colorectal Cancer

  • July 24, 2009
  • 08:00 AM

Does IQ affect cardiovascular disease risk?

by Helen Jaques in In Sickness and In Health

Err, well, maybe.  IQ does seem to account for some of the well-documented relationship between socioeconomic status and cardiovascular risk, according to new research in European Heart Journal.  Simply put, being more intelligent could be one reason why people from a high socioeconomic background are less likely to die from cardiovascular disease than those [...]... Read more »

  • July 22, 2009
  • 08:00 AM

Multiple choice medical school exams favour male students

by Helen Jaques in In Sickness and In Health

Urgh, exams. The epic ‘true-false-no idea’ multiple choicers of my undergraduate days are not a distant enough memory for me. The whole ‘get it right, get 1 point’, ‘get it wrong, lose 1 point’ approach always seemed horrendously unfair, regardless of the statistical basis for the strategy (i.e. examiners don’t want to reward people that [...]... Read more »

  • July 20, 2009
  • 08:00 AM

Cycling or walking to work reduces risk of obesity and cardiovascular disease… but only in men

by Helen Jaques in In Sickness and In Health

OK, so it seems pretty obvious that cycling or walking to work is better for you than taking the car. New research published in Archives of Internal Medicine has clarified the beneficial effects in terms of fitness and cardiovascular health of walking or cycling to work – but they’re largely only seen in men.

This study [...]... Read more »

Penny Gordon-Larsen, Janne Boone-Heinonen, Steve Sidney, Barbara Sternfeld, David R Jacobs Jr, Cora E Lewis. (2009) Active Commuting and Cardiovascular Disease Risk: The CARDIA Study . Arch Intern Med, 169(13), 1216-1223. DOI: 19597071  

  • July 17, 2009
  • 09:23 AM

Junior doctors pressed into taking HIV tests

by Helen Jaques in In Sickness and In Health

Junior doctors are undergoing HIV tests as part of pre-employment occupational health checks without being made aware that such testing is not mandatory, according to research published in the Journal of Medical Ethics.  Many junior doctors interviewed by Lee Salkeld and colleagues held the misperception that HIV testing was compulsory and felt unable to decline the test.  In [...]... Read more »

  • May 1, 2009
  • 08:00 AM

What makes relatives agree to organ donation?

by Helen Jaques in In Sickness and In Health

The BMJ has just published an interesting paper on the factors that determine whether family agree to donate the organs of a brain dead relative.

According to the meta-analysis by researchers at the University of Oxford, careful timing and having a transplant coordinator make the request are key factors in whether relatives consent to organ donation.

This [...]... Read more »

  • April 27, 2009
  • 08:00 AM

Heavy alcohol consumption can lead to essential tremor

by Helen Jaques in In Sickness and In Health

Drinking three or four alcoholic drinks a day can double the risk of developing essential tremor - or ‘the shakes’ - in old age, suggest new findings from a Spanish research group.  In a report published earlier this year, the same researchers found that individuals with essential tremor were four times more likely to develop [...]... Read more »

  • April 6, 2009
  • 07:11 AM

When is a side effect not a side effect? With antidepressants and functional gastrointestinal disorders

by Helen Jaques in In Sickness and In Health

New research has shown that the side effects of tricyclic antidepressants reported by patients with functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGDs) such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) often aren’t actually real side effects of the drugs.  Instead, most of the symptoms experienced by the women in the study were present before they started taking the medication, [...]... Read more »

Thiwan, S., Drossman, D., Morris, C., Dalton, C., Toner, B., Diamant, N., Hu, J., Whitehead, W., Leserman, J., & Bangdiwala, S. (2009) Not All Side Effects Associated With Tricyclic Antidepressant Therapy Are True Side Effects. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 7(4), 446-451. DOI: 10.1016/j.cgh.2008.11.014  

  • April 1, 2009
  • 05:20 PM

Squeamish? Don’t worry, medical students are too

by Helen Jaques in In Sickness and In Health

BMC Medical Education has just published an interesting study that examined the incidence of fainting among medical students observing surgery.  Apparently, more than 1 in 10 medical students almost or completely pass out in the operating theatre.

The authors of this study surveyed 630 clinical medical students in their fourth or fifth (final) year of study [...]... Read more »

  • March 24, 2009
  • 05:00 AM

Red meat consumption increases the risk of early death

by Helen Jaques in In Sickness and In Health

Results from a huge study published in Archives of Internal Medicine have shown that consumption of a high level of red and processed meat is associated with a raised risk of early death.

Men who ate the most red meat - roughly equivalent to a quarter pounder burger a day - were 31% more likely to [...]... Read more »

Rashmi Sinha, Amanda J Cross, Barry I Graubard, Michael F Leitzmann, Arthur Schatzkin. (2009) Meat Intake and Mortality: A Prospective Study of Over Half a Million People . Arch Intern Med, 169(6), 562-571. DOI: 169(6):562-571  

  • March 18, 2009
  • 03:00 PM

Religious people are just as reluctant to die as the rest of us

by Helen Jaques in In Sickness and In Health

You’d think people with strong religious beliefs - which generally include belief in an afterlife - would be less perturbed about slipping of this mortal coil than the rest of us.

A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, however, has found that cancer patients who rely on their religion for comfort during their final days are in fact almost three times more likely to use life-prolonging treatments than are less religious patients.... Read more »

Andrea C. Phelps, MD; Paul K. Maciejewski, PhD; Matthew Nilsson, BS; Tracy A. Balboni, MD; Alexi A. Wright, MD; M. Elizabeth Paulk, MD; Elizabeth Trice, MD, PhD; Deborah Schrag, MD, MPH; John R. Peteet, MD; Susan D. Block, MD; Holly G. Prigerson. (2009) Religious Coping and Use of Intensive Life-Prolonging Care Near Death in Patients With Advanced Cancer. JAMA, 301(11), 1140-1147. DOI: 301(11):1140-1147  

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