Health Updates 11 May 2011

  • Hip makers told to study more data:  “In an unusual move, the Food and Drug Administration has ordered that all producers of a popular category of artificial hip to undertake studies of the implants, which have been linked to high early failure rates and severe health effects in some patients. Under the order, producers of ‘metal-on-metal’ hips will have to conduct studies of patients who received the device to determine, among other things, whether the implants are shedding high levels of metallic debris.  Some patients have encountered that problem, including soft tissue damage that has disabled them.” (NY Times)
  • Phone-based tests can ID cognitive problems:  “Telephone-based assessments can reliably identify dementia in an ethnically diverse, older population, researchers found. [A] current study revealed that if a participant and/or informant can be reached by telephone, presence of dementia can be estimated with moderate to high validity among non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics”.  However, the phone-based tests were not able to reliably discriminate individuals with mild cognitive impairment from those with normal cognition. (MedPage Today)
  • Florida bill outlaws asking patients about guns: “The Florida state legislature has passed a bill that would make it illegal for pediatricians and other physicians to ask patients or their parents whether they have guns in their home.  Pediatricians often ask the question at initial well-child visits as a platform to discuss how to safely store guns in the home in order to prevent accidental shootings.  But under the law – expected to be signed soon by Florida’s governor – doctors would face a $500 fine for inquiring about gun ownership and recording it in a patient’s medical record.  That fine would increase if a physician asked about guns at more than one visit”. (Emily Walker, MedPage Today)
  • Nursing jobs harder to come by in challenging economy: “Since 1998, there’s been a shortage of nurses, but then came the recession – and many older nurses set to retire decided to keep working instead.  And as people lost their jobs and benefits, hospital visits decreased.  So recent nursing graduates now face a double whammy – more competition for fewer jobs.  And all the comes as the number of nurses graduating with bachelor’s degrees has more than doubled in the past decade. (NPR)

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