Health News 5 April 2011

  • There are more options before bypass surgery study finds: “The 1,212-patient study calls into question the need for immediate bypass surgery in these patients – an approach commonly recommended by doctors.  The study, called Stich, found benefits in treating people with medication only, and in treating people with a combination of bypass surgery and medication.  Both approaches can be effective, with risks and benefits associated with each one”. (Wall Street Journal).
  • Treated gum disease reduced medical costs for patients with diabetes: A three-year study conducted by CIGNA resulted in findings that indicate that patients “who were treated for gum disease in the first year of the study and then received regular maintenance care thereafter had lower medical costs than those patients who had previously been treated for gum disease but did not receive regular maintenance care”.  On average, medical costs were $2,483 per year lower, or 23% less, for patients with diabetes who had gum disease treatment.  The results “suggest that treating gum disease has benefits beyond better oral health and may also help control medical costs for some patients as well”.  (National Underwriter)
  • Long Hours May Add to Heart Trouble: Heart disease risk factors include age, smoking status and cholesterol and now, perhaps, a new one: long working hours.  A new study published in Annals of Internal Medicine found that “people who worked 11 hours or more per day were far more likely to develop heart trouble over a 12-year period, compared with similar subjects who worked seven to eight hours a day”.  Mika Kivimaki, the paper’s lead author and professor of social epidemiology at University College London, said it was not clear if the longer hours were a marker that could predict risk or were causing the risk, but did say “the chronic experience of stress often associated with working long hours adversely affects metabolic processes”, leading to depression and sleep problems. (New York Times).

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