News & Commentary

Briefly Noted May 2015


Frank Diamond

“Generally accepted guidelines” might be tough to achieve in some instances. Take for instance the use of statins for people ages 17 to 21. Guidelines issued by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in 2011 would mean nearly 500,000 people in this age group on statins, according to a study last month in JAMA Pediatrics. No thanks, say the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association, which are sticking with guidelines that focus mainly on adults. Under those guidelines, about 80,000 young people would be issued statins. Some experts think that lifestyle changes should be the preferred treatment for younger people. Other experts point out that the effectiveness of statins have not been measured on this population, and maybe it’s time to do so.

One way to reduce the chances of patients developing dementia is better management of diabetes, according to a meta-analysis in the American Journal of Psychiatry. “Other prognostic factors that are potentially manageable are prediabetes and the metabolic syndrome, neuropsychiatric symptoms, and low dietary folate,” the study states. Early dietary interventions could help, say researchers.

A growing world population means a growing number of people dying from heart disease, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine. Heart disease killed 12.3 million people worldwide in 1990; in 2013, 17.3 million. Not only is the population growing, but it is also growing older, researchers point out.

The share of people ages 65 and older who say that they’ve fallen in the last two years increased from 28% to 36% between 1998 and 2010—higher than what researchers expected—according to a study in JAMA Internal Medicine.

The first line of treatment for depression should take place in the primary care physician’s office, according to a study in the Annals of Family Medicine. PCPs can render effective treatment in face-to-face visits, say researchers.

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