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For daring to study a discredited therapy, this doctor earned scorn - and a $37 million grant Print E-mail
Written by Karen Weintraub | STAT   
Tuesday, 03 January 2017 20:09

MIAMI BEACH, FL - The new heart patient asked Dr. Gervasio Lamas if he thought chelation therapy was worth a try. "Of course not!" the cardiologist replied emphatically. His Harvard training had taught him that alternative therapies were a waste of time and money, and potentially risky to boot. "I told him it was quackery."

But Lamas went home that night unsure if he had given his patient the best medical advice. He looked up research on chelation therapy, which removes heavy metals from the body, and found very little data either supporting or contradicting the procedure.

Lamas was troubled by the idea that he had offered this man a medical opinion that wasn't supported by science. And he decided to conduct a study himself. He had no idea what he was getting into.

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Last Updated on Friday, 20 January 2017 18:39
'Late effects' of cancer treatment Print E-mail
Written by FHI's Week in Review   
Monday, 26 December 2016 18:29

A 12/25/16 Washington Post article examines "late effects" of cancer treatment:

One of medicine's greatest successes is the sharp rise in survival rates for children with cancer. But the flip side of that success is that many of those children are turning up years or even decades later with serious and sometimes life-threatening complications, including second cancers, heart disorders, cognitive problems and infertility.

"These treatments seem to accelerate the aging process," said <Dr.> Greg Aune, a researcher and pediatric oncologist who works at a clinic for childhood cancer survivors at University Hospital in San Antonio.

Read more in the current issue of Week in Review>>

Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 January 2017 19:07
Doctors Push Testing, Needle Exchange to Combat Surging AIDS Cases Print E-mail
Written by Matthew F Smith | Health News Florida   
Tuesday, 20 December 2016 17:48

New data on HIV/AIDS cases from the Center for Disease Control paint an alarming picture of the disease spreading in South Florida. Cities like Miami report triple the national rate for new HIV infections in 2015, while smaller cities in Southwest Florida continue to show some of the highest number of cases per capita in the nation.

The CDC's preliminary HIV Surveillance Report for 2015 shows the Fort Myers/Cape Coral metropolitan area ranks 36th in the nation for new HIV cases. Ninety new cases were reported in the area in that year, pushing the number of cases per 100,000 people to 12.8 (above the national average of 12.3 cases).

Data from state health officials show 44 percent of HIV patients in Southwest Florida contracted the virus thorough homosexual sex, while 33 percent through heterosexual sex. Roughly 12 percent of cases were the result of IV drug use.

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Finding the World's Unknown Viruses - Before They Find Us Print E-mail
Written by Helen Branswell | STAT   
Tuesday, 13 December 2016 18:14

One by one, the viruses have slipped from their hiding places in nature to threaten global populations - SARS, MERS, Zika.

In each case, scientists have scrambled to identify the viruses and to develop vaccines or drugs to stop their spread. After each crisis, the assessment has been the same: Countermeasures were not ready in time to help in the containment effort.

"Always too late," said Jonna Mazet, a scientist at the University of California, Davis, who is keen to break the bugs' winning streak. "We need to think about something different."

Mazet is a key player in an ambitious endeavor called the Global Virome Project, which has proposed cataloguing nearly all of the unknown viruses lurking in nature around the world. In a nutshell, Mazet and other experts want to search out mystery threats before they find us.

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Last Updated on Monday, 09 January 2017 19:03
Watch for the Signs: Screen All Patients for Suicidal Thoughts Print E-mail
Written by The Doctors Company   
Thursday, 08 December 2016 00:00

The suicide of a patient is a tragedy for any physician.

Patients with suicidal thoughts or ideation appear occasionally in physician encounters. The Joint Commission recently noted that the rate of suicide is increasing, and suicide is now the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.1 Most people who commit suicide received healthcare services in the year prior to death, usually for reasons other than mental health issues or suicidal thoughts. It's a strong reminder that any patient-no matter what issue is being treated and in any setting-could be at risk for suicide.

The patient's well-being should be the primary concern, but physicians also must consider the potential legal liability that can come from failing to adequately screen patients for suicide risk and taking the proper steps when needed. The remorse a physician may face over missing signs can be compounded by legal action claiming the physician is accountable for the patient's demise. A consistent and formal screening process, plus a response plan, will protect both the patient and the physician.

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