5 Most Fascinating Stories In Recent Medical News

Report Shows World Is Now "A Safer Place To Live In"

Though tragedies have dominated recent headlines, a new study on injury data is showing that statistically speaking, the world is safer today than previously before. As a matter of fact this analysis, performed by Dr. Juanita Haagsma and her team from the Institute for Healthcare Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, has shown that over the past 25 years, the global toll of injuries has dropped by 31%. The team of analysts looked at data collected from the Global Burden of Diseases and Injuries (GBD) database to measure the impact of 26 injury causes and 47 injury types across 188 countries. The findings did show variances by region, gender, and age, but overall incidence of injury is much lower overall in recent years. The authors of the study found that the "rate of decline was significant for 22 of our 26 cause-of-injury categories, including all the major ones." [Source: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/303509.php ]

Breast Cancer And Leukemia

Incidences of therapy-related leukemia (TRL) occur when cancer treatments designed to target tumor cells also impact the normal, healthy cells of the body. Often fatal, TRL is most common in breast cancer survivors. In a study that has contributed greatly to our growing body of information about the long-term effects of the various cancer therapies, Dr. Jane Churpek and her team examined the characteristics of 88 breast cancer survivors who were subsequently diagnosed with TRL. Churpek and her team found evidence suggesting a link between TRL and inherited forms of breast cancer. The researchers are hopeful that this new information could help oncologists take a more individualized approach to breast cancer treatment decisions based on the potential risks and benefits. [Source: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/303620.php ]

Study On Medical Residents' Work Hours Triggers Controversy

Rules limiting the number of hours a medical resident can work without break have existed since 2003, but there is little data to indicate whether or not such rules are necessary to minimize the risk of fatigue-related incidents. To answer this question, Dr. David Asch and his team from the University of Pennsylvania began a study that collects and compares data from two resident work schedules. However, their study has triggered some ethical questions, as physicians have expressed concern for the safety of patients and sleep-deprived residents. Critics argue that the risk of residents' working longer hours is too great, and that the study is unethical because researchers are not being required to ask the residents or the patients for permission to include them. Advocates of the study argue that mistakes more often occur when residents are required to hand off their patients to another doctor due to rigid scheduling requirements. Currently the federal Office for Human Research Protections is reviewing the complaints about this study and others like it. [Source: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/12/07/458049301/is-it-safe-for-medical-residents-to-work-30-hour-shifts ]

Telemedicine Meets Marijuana

Since the state of California legalized medical marijuana in 1996, researchers estimate that one out of every twenty residents have tried the effects of cannabis for themselves. A prescription from a certified physician is required in order to get access to medical marijuana, and two new startups are simplifying how patients can visit with a doctor to obtain a prescription. SpeedWeed and Eaze are two companies that have established a secure online portal through which patients can meet with board-certified physicians in accordance with California’s 2011 Telehealth Advancement Act, introducing the relatively recent phenomenon of telemedicine to the multi-million dollar industry. This is seen as an important development as it allows patients the discretion and convenience that might otherwise deter them from seeking a prescription for medical cannabis. [Source: http://mhealthintelligence.com/news/an-online-high-telehealth-opens-new-doors-for-medical-marijuana]

Epilepsy Linked To Suicidal Thoughts

A new analysis of data from the CDC's National Violent Death Reporting System has shown a correlation between epilepsy and suicide. The study found that patients with epilepsy are more likely to commit suicide than the general population, and that annual suicide mortality rates among patients with epilepsy are about 16% higher than mortality rates of the general population. Examining variances across age groups, the study authors concluded that physicians should be especially vigilant when assessing the mental health of epileptic patients between 40-49 years of age, as this age group is particularly vulnerable to suicidal thoughts. The study serves to highlight the important of early diagnosis and effective treatment of mental illness for those suffering from epilepsy. Routine semiannual screening for mood disorders and suicidal ideation is suggested to help address this. [Source: https://www.medpagetoday.com/MeetingCoverage/AES/55048 ]

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