Health Updates 2 June 2011

  • Biomarker reality fails to match the hype: “Efforts to identify high-risk patients, and to target expensive therapies most efficiently, have often been pinned to biomarker research.  Highly cited biomarker studies often report effect estimates that fall short in subsequent meta-analyses…Rapid clinical adoption in the absence of such evidence [of biomarker success] may lead to wasted resources.  The findings from the review underscore the disparity between the hope and the reality”.  (Charles Bankhead, MedPage Today)
  • Diabetes prevention: 5 tips for taking control: “When it comes to type 2 diabetes – the most common type of diabetes – prevention is a big deal.   It’s especially important to make diabetes prevention a priority if you’re at increased risk for diabetes, for example, if you’re overweight or have a family history of the disease”.  Eating more healthfully, and adding in some lifestyle changes, can go a long way to helping avoid serious health complications down the road.  Some tips: 1). Get more physical activity.  This will help you lose weight, lower blood sugar levels and boost your sensitivity to insulin; 2). Get plenty of fiber.  Foods high in fiber include fruit, veggies, whole grains, nuts and seeds; 3). Go for whole grains; 4). Lose that extra weight.  Every pound you shed helps; and 5). Skip fad diets and make healthier choices. Think variety and portion control and work towards a healthy-eating plan rather than strictly excluding or limiting a particular food group.  (Mayo Clinic)
  • Medicaid to quit paying for preventable events: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that hospitals and healthcare providers will no longer be reimbursed for treating their Medicaid patients for illness, injuries or readmissions that should have been prevented”.  Preventable events include transfusing the wrong blood type; falls that result in dislocation, fractures, or head injuries; burns and electric shocks; catheter-associated urinary tract infections; surgical site infections, performing the wrong procedure; performing the wrong procedure on the wrong body part; performing the right procedure but on the wrong patient and so on. (Emily Walker, MedPage Today)
  • German E.coli outbreak from a new strain: “The World Health Organization said on Thursday that an unusually lethal strain of E. coli, which has infected more than 1,500 people in Germany, mystified public health officials and threatened to touch off panic in Europe, was a previously unknown variant of the bacteria, raising new concerns about the extent and severity of the contagion”. (NY Times)

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