News & Commentary

Briefly Noted January 2016


Frank Diamond

About 13% of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder “lost” the diagnosis, according to CDC researchers, and parents of 74% of them believed it changed because of new information. The study compared 1,420 currently diagnosed children with 187 previously diagnosed children.

Physicians should screen overweight and obese patients ages 40 to 70 for type 2 diabetes, according to a new recommendation by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. The task force focused on lifestyle as well, saying that heavy people with high blood glucose levels should get behavioral therapy.

The message about overtesting might be getting through, as 31% of men in 2013 said they got the PSA test, compared with 41% in 2008, according to a study published in JAMA. Otis Brawley, MD, the chief medical director at the American Cancer Society told Reuters that the test might do more harm than good because of further tests that it might lead to.

The cost for treating hepatitis C staggers many clinician executives, but perhaps prison health care officials fear it most because of the high prevalence in inmate populations and the strain on their taxpayer-funded budgets. However, a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine argues that screening for the virus involves a cheap test, and the benefits of early detection spreads far beyond prison walls. Such screening could prevent between 10,900 and 12,700 hepatitis C infections over the next 20 years.

An attending surgeon should attend to just one surgery at a time, some in the medical profession tell the Boston Globe. Concurrent, or double-booked, surgeries save hospital resources. And some defend the practice, saying that there isn’t usually that much overlap and they are there for the most important part of the each procedure. Many still aren’t buying it, however.

Annual mammograms are most effective among women approaching menopause, says the American Cancer Society (ACS), citing that as the reason for changing its recommendation that such tests should begin at 45 for women at average risk for breast cancer. The previous recommendation said screening should start at age 40. The yearly mammograms can stop at age 54, at which point the ACS recommends screenings every two years.

Discharging infants from a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) into the care of a transitional medical home cut down on emergency department and primary care physician visits, according to data presented to the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition. The medical home included follow-up care from NICU providers 1 to 2 weeks after discharge and around-the-clock pager access for families for the first month after discharge.

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