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Category: Neurology | Monthly Briefing

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March 2011 Briefing - Neurology

Last Updated: April 01, 2011.

 

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Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Neurology for March 2011. This roundup includes the latest research news from journal articles, as well as the FDA approvals and regulatory changes that are the most likely to affect clinical practice.

Tetanus Cases Rare but Some Populations More Vulnerable

THURSDAY, March 31 (HealthDay News) -- Tetanus cases and fatalities in the United States have decreased by more than 95 percent and more than 99 percent, respectively, since the disease became reportable in 1947, but sporadic cases do still occur, and some populations are more at risk for contracting the potentially life-threatening disease, according to research published in the April 1 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Heart Defect in Children Related to Migraine With Aura

THURSDAY, March 31 (HealthDay News) -- The prevalence of patent foramen ovale (PFO), a common defect in the wall between the two upper chambers of the heart, is significantly greater in children who have migraines with aura, according to a study published online March 31 in The Journal of Pediatrics.

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Unmet Health Care Needs in Survivors of Childhood Cancer

WEDNESDAY, March 23 (HealthDay News) -- Double informant data indicate that a considerable percentage of adult survivors of childhood central nervous system tumors have long-term unmet health care needs (HCNs), according to a study published online March 8 in Cancer.

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Impact of Social Anxiety Therapy Seen in Brain Waves

THURSDAY, March 31 (HealthDay News) -- Psychotherapy is associated with improved neural functioning in socially anxious adults, according to a study published online March 4 in Psychological Science.

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Two-Thirds of U.S. Residents Get Sufficient Vitamin D

WEDNESDAY, March 30 (HealthDay News) -- About two-thirds of the U.S. population takes in sufficient amounts of vitamin D, but 8 percent may be at risk for vitamin D deficiency, according to a March data brief published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics.

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Accurate Cerebral Aneurysm Diagnosis by CT Angiography

WEDNESDAY, March 30 (HealthDay News) -- Computed tomographic (CT) angiography, especially by modern multidetector CT, is a highly accurate tool for diagnosing cerebral aneurysms, according to a meta-analysis published online March 9 in the Annals of Neurology.

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Online Health Records Less Used by Minorities, Poor

WEDNESDAY, March 30 (HealthDay News) -- Online personal health records (PHRs) are less frequently used by racial or ethnic minorities and patients with low annual income, according to a study published in the March 28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Four-Dose Rabies Prevention Vaccine Schedule Endorsed

TUESDAY, March 29 (HealthDay News) -- A U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention committee has proposed a reduced schedule for prophylactic rabies vaccine, and the recommendations have been endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Diseases, according to a policy statement published online March 28 in Pediatrics.

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Cannabis Use Tied to Poor Cognitive Function in MS

TUESDAY, March 29 (HealthDay News) -- Cannabis use among multiple sclerosis (MS) patients is associated with negative impacts on cognitive function, according to a study published in the March 29 issue of Neurology.

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Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Tied to Migraine Improvement

TUESDAY, March 29 (HealthDay News) -- Severely obese people who suffer from migraines experience improvement in their headaches after losing a significant amount of weight following bariatric surgery, according to a study published in the March 29 issue of Neurology.

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Decline Seen in Global Youth Mortality Over Last 50 Years

TUESDAY, March 29 (HealthDay News) -- Overall mortality declined substantially between 1955 and 2004 in children aged 14 years or younger and in females aged 15 to 24, but a smaller decline was evident for males aged 15 to 24 years, according to a study published online March 29 in The Lancet.

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ADHD Linked to Greater Creative Achievement

MONDAY, March 28 (HealthDay News) -- Adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) attain more real-world creative achievement and have different creative styles compared to non-ADHD individuals, according to a study published in the April issue of Personality and Individual Differences.

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Poorer Health Outcomes for Elderly in Public Housing

MONDAY, March 28 (HealthDay News) -- Elders residing in public housing have poor self-rated health status as well as increased prevalence of fatigue and comorbid conditions compared to those who live in the community, according to a study published in the Winter issue of Ethnicity & Disease.

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High Blood Pressure Tied to Rapid Gait Slowing in Elderly

MONDAY, March 28 (HealthDay News) -- High blood pressure in well-functioning older adults accelerates gait slowing over an extended period, even when hypertension is well controlled or develops later in life, according to a study published in the March issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

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Post-Stroke Brain Stimulation Helps With Swallowing

FRIDAY, March 25 (HealthDay News) -- The application of anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tCDS) to the unaffected cortex in conjunction with swallowing maneuvers is associated with improved recovery of swallowing after stroke, according to a study published online March 24 in Stroke.

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ISICEM: Decompressive Craniectomy May Be Harmful

FRIDAY, March 25 (HealthDay News) -- The use of decompressive craniectomy in patients with severe diffuse traumatic brain injury and refractory intracranial hypertension appears to lower intracranial pressure and shorten intensive care unit (ICU) stays but is associated with more unfavorable outcomes, according to a study published online March 25 in the New England Journal of Medicine to coincide with research presented at the 31st International Symposium on Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine, held from March 22 to 25 in Brussels, Belgium.

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Heart Attack Risk Doubles After Transient Ischemic Attack

FRIDAY, March 25 (HealthDay News) -- The average annual incidence of myocardial infarction (MI) after transient ischemic attack (TIA) is approximately double that of the general population, according to a study published online 24 March in Stroke.

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U.S. Shingles Vaccine Approval Expanded

THURSDAY, March 24 (HealthDay News) -- The Zostavax shingles vaccine is now approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for people aged 50 and older.

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Two-Level Skip Fusion Superior to Three-Level Fusion

THURSDAY, March 24 (HealthDay News) -- Fusion of the cervical spine across three levels for treatment of nonadjacent disease shows a marked increase in strain compared to a two-level fusion, which skips the unaffected level, according to a study published online March 15 in Spine.

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Reduced Hours for Trainees Has Had Little Effect in U.S.

THURSDAY, March 24 (HealthDay News) -- Reducing work hours for doctors in training to less than 80 per week has had little impact on patient outcomes or postgraduate training in the United States, according to a literature review published online March 22 in BMJ.

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Pelvic Asymmetry Identified in Cerebral Palsy Patients

TUESDAY, March 22 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with cerebral palsy (CP) often exhibit transverse pelvic asymmetry, which is most prominent above the acetabulum and more frequent in patients with windswept hips, according to a study published online March 10 in the Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics.

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Multiple Sclerosis Slows After Stem Cell Transplant

TUESDAY, March 22 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) with active lesions who undergo hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) have improved progression-free survival compared to patients without active lesions, according to a study published in the March 22 issue of Neurology.

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Atomoxetine of Limited Value in Young Children With ADHD

TUESDAY, March 22 (HealthDay News) -- For 5- and 6-year-old children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), atomoxetine is generally well tolerated and reduces core ADHD symptoms, but it fails to translate to overall clinical and functional improvement, according to a study published online March 21 in Pediatrics.

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Family-Mediated Therapy Improves Outcome of Stroke

MONDAY, March 21 (HealthDay News) -- In addition to routine physical therapy, family-mediated exercise (FAME) therapy significantly improves patient recovery after an acute stroke, according to a study published in the March 1 issue of Stroke.

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Group B Strep Still Main Cause of Neonatal Meningitis

MONDAY, March 21 (HealthDay News) -- Group B streptococci (GBS) is still the dominant cause of neonatal bacterial meningitis, whereas Escherichia coli (E. coli) is the most common cause among preterm infants, according to a study published in the March issue of The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal.

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Neck Disability Index Estimates SF-6D Utility Scores

FRIDAY, March 18 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with cervical degenerative disorders, Short Form-6D (SF-6D) utilities can be estimated using a Neck Disability Index (NDI) regression model, according to a study published online March 15 in Spine.

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Antiepileptic Drugs Tied to Folate and Vitamin B12 Levels

FRIDAY, March 18 (HealthDay News) -- Treatment with many commonly used antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) is associated with reduced serum folate or vitamin B12 levels, according to a study published in the February issue of the Annals of Neurology.

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Professional Values of U.S. and U.K. Doctors Examined

THURSDAY, March 17 (HealthDay News) -- A core of professional values exists among doctors in the United States and the United Kingdom, though significant differences exist in how these values are expressed and prioritized, according to a study published online March 7 in BMJ Quality & Safety.

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Gene Therapy Improves Motor Function in Parkinson's

THURSDAY, March 17 (HealthDay News) -- The injection of the glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) gene directly into the brains of Parkinson's disease patients appears safe and effective for improving motor function, according to research published online March 17 in The Lancet Neurology.

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Short Nurse Staffing Linked to Higher Patient Mortality

WEDNESDAY, March 16 (HealthDay News) -- Patient mortality appears to be higher when nurse staffing falls eight or more hours below target level and during nursing shifts when patient turnover is high, according to research published in the March 17 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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U.S. Death Rate Reaches All-Time Low

WEDNESDAY, March 16 (HealthDay News) -- The age-adjusted death rate for the United States has fallen for 10 straight years and has reached an all-time low of 741 per 100,000, or 2,436,682 deaths, in 2009, down 2.3 percent from 2008, according to a new report issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics.

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Worse Outcomes in Patients With Low Socioeconomic Status

WEDNESDAY, March 14 (HealthDay News) -- Among patients with epilepsy who receive regular care, those with a low socioeconomic status (SES) make greater use of health care facilities but have worse outcomes than their higher SES peers, according to a study published online Feb. 14 in Epilepsia.

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Retinal Vein Occlusion Tied to Cerebrovascular Event Risk

WEDNESDAY, March 16 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with retinal vein occlusion (RVO) have an almost two-fold higher event risk rate for cerebrovascular accident (CVA) compared to controls, but similar rates of myocardial infarction (MI) events, according to a study published in the March issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology.

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Alzheimer's Disease Preceded by Cognitive Decline

WEDNESDAY, March 16 (HealthDay News) -- Dementia associated with Alzheimer's disease is preceded by five or six years of rapid cognitive decline in multiple functions, according to a study published in the March issue of the Archives of Neurology.

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Heavy Smoking Prevalence Decline Greatest in California

TUESDAY, March 15 (HealthDay News) -- Between 1965 and 2007, the prevalence of high-intensity smoking declined in California and in the remaining states, according to a study published in the March 16 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Regional Variation in Chronic Disease Case Fatality Rates

TUESDAY, March 15 (HealthDay News) -- There is an inverse relationship between the regional frequency of diagnoses for chronic conditions and the case-fatality rate among fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries, according to a study published in the March 16 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Gadavist Approved to Enhance Nervous System Imaging

TUESDAY, March 15 (HealthDay News) -- Gadavist (gadobutrol) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a contrast agent for people undergoing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the central nervous system.

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Alzheimer's Care Primarily Provided by Unpaid Caregivers

TUESDAY, March 15 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias receive unpaid care worth more than $200 billion from nearly 15 million caregivers in the United States, according to "2011 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures," a report published March 15 by the Alzheimer's Association.

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Post-Stroke Depression Severity Increases Dependency

TUESDAY, March 15 (HealthDay News) -- People who suffer from depression after a stroke are more likely to be dependent if they have more comorbidities, had a more severe stroke, or had increased baseline depression severity, according to a study published in the March 15 issue of Neurology.

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Vitamin D Insufficiency Does Not Increase in Parkinson's

TUESDAY, March 15 (HealthDay News) -- The prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency does not increase during the progression of early Parkinson's disease (PD), according to a study published in the March issue of the Archives of Neurology.

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U.S. Has Higher Rates of Chronic Disease Than England

MONDAY, March 14 (HealthDay News) -- Americans experience higher rates of chronic disease and markers of disease than their English counterparts at all ages, according to a study published online March 9 in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

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Long-Term Increase in Death Rates After Head Injury

FRIDAY, March 11 (HealthDay News) -- Head injury is associated with increased susceptibility to death for at least 13 years after hospital admission, according to a study published online Jan. 31 in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.

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Lower Survival Associated With GI Brain Metastasis

FRIDAY, March 11 (HealthDay News) -- Surgical resection and whole brain radiation therapy of gastrointestinal (GI) brain metastases is associated with prolonged survival and improved quality of life, but survival is still lower compared to metastases arising from other tumors, according to a review published online Feb. 11 in Cancer.

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Device OK'd to Continue Blood Flow During Brain Surgery

FRIDAY, March 11 (HealthDay News) -- A device that permits the rerouting of blood flow during surgery to treat a brain aneurysm or tumor in people at greater risk of stroke has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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Coffee Consumption Linked to Lower Stroke Risk in Women

FRIDAY, March 11 (HealthDay News) -- Women who consume one or more cups of coffee daily have a lower risk of stroke than those who consume less than one cup of coffee a day, according to a study published online March 10 in Stroke.

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Number of Cancer Survivors in U.S. Reaches 11.7 Million

THURSDAY, March 10 (HealthDay News) -- The number of cancer survivors in the United States had increased to nearly 12 million by 2007, according to a report in the March 11 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Irbesartan Does Not Prevent Cardiovascular Events in A-Fib

WEDNESDAY, March 9 (HealthDay News) -- The angiotensin-receptor blocker irbesartan fails to lower the rate of cardiovascular events in patients with atrial fibrillation, according to research published in the March 10 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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HealthGrades Finds Rates of Patient Safety Events Vary

WEDNESDAY, March 9 (HealthDay News) -- Patients treated at hospitals rated with a HealthGrades Patient Safety Excellence Award have, on average, a 46 percent lower risk of experiencing a patient safety incident compared to those treated at the lowest-ranked hospitals, according to the eighth annual HealthGrades Patient Safety in American Hospitals Study published online March 9.

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Ethnic Differences Seen in Academic Measures for U.K. Docs

WEDNESDAY, March 9 (HealthDay News) -- United Kingdom-trained physicians and medical students with ethnic minority backgrounds tend to underperform academically compared to their white peers, according to a meta-analysis published online March 8 in BMJ.

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Pharmacological Meta-Analyses Rarely Report Disclosures

TUESDAY, March 8 (HealthDay News) -- Meta-analyses of pharmacological treatments rarely include information addressing primary study funding and conflicts of interest (COIs) of the authors for the included randomized control trials (RCTs), according to a study published in the March 9 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Link Found Between Cognitive Function, Neighborhood

TUESDAY, March 8 (HealthDay News) -- Growing old in a psychosocially hazardous neighborhood may have a diminishing effect on cognitive functioning in people with the ε4 variant of the apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene, according to research published in the March issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

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Atrial Fibrillation Tied to Higher Incidence of Dementia

TUESDAY, March 8 (HealthDay News) -- Atrial fibrillation (AF) is associated with an increased incidence of dementia, and this association is strongest in patients with stroke, according to a meta-analysis published in the March 8 issue of Neurology.

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Cerebral Palsy Incidence Down in Preterm Survivors

MONDAY, March 7 (HealthDay News) -- The incidence and severity of cerebral palsy (CP) among preterm survivors decreased significantly from 1990 to 1993 onward, possibly because of a reduction in severe cystic periventricular leukomalacia (c-PVL), according to a study published online March 3 in The Journal of Pediatrics.

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Abuser's Gender Affects Head Trauma Outcome in Youth

MONDAY, March 7 (HealthDay News) -- Male perpetrators of abusive head trauma in children are more likely to confess and be convicted, and their victims are more likely to have more serious presentations and worse outcomes, according to a study published online March 7 in Pediatrics.

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FDA: Topiramate (Topamax) Tied to Risk of Oral Clefts

FRIDAY, March 4 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has notified health care providers and consumers that new data indicate that women who take topiramate (Topamax) during pregnancy increase the risk for cleft lip and cleft palate in their offspring.

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Rule Predicts Ability to Walk After Spinal Cord Injury

FRIDAY, March 4 (HealthDay News) -- A new clinical prediction rule, which accounts for age and four neurological variables, can predict independent walking one year following traumatic spinal cord injury, according to a study published online March 4 in The Lancet.

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Ibuprofen Use Tied to Lower Risk of Parkinson's Disease

THURSDAY, March 3 (HealthDay News) -- Use of ibuprofen may be associated with a reduced risk of developing Parkinson's disease (PD), according to a study published online March 2 in Neurology.

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Injectable Risperidone No Better Than Oral Antipsychotics

THURSDAY, March 3 (HealthDay News) -- Compared with oral antipsychotics, long-acting injectable risperidone does not appear to improve outcomes in patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, and it is associated with more injection site and extrapyramidal adverse effects, according to the results of a long-term trial published in the March 3 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Cannabis Use in Youth Ups Incident Psychosis Risk

THURSDAY, March 3 (HealthDay News) -- Cannabis use among youth is associated with an increased risk of later incident psychotic symptoms, with continued cannabis use increasing the risk for persistent psychotic symptoms, according to a study published online March 1 in BMJ.

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Increased Dietary Potassium Tied to Lower Stroke Risk

WEDNESDAY, March 2 (HealthDay News) -- Higher dietary potassium intake is correlated with reduced rates of stroke and may also lower the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) and total cardiovascular disease (CVD), according to a meta-analysis published in the March 8 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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Risk of Adverse Effects Lessens Drug Acceptance in Elderly

WEDNESDAY, March 2 (HealthDay News) -- The willingness to take medication for primary cardiovascular disease prevention in older persons is highly sensitive to its adverse effects and relatively insensitive to its benefits, according to a study published online Feb. 28 in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Antihypertensives Beneficial in Absence of Hypertension

TUESDAY, March 1 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with a clinical history of cardiovascular disease (CVD), but without hypertension, may benefit from antihypertensive treatment to reduce CVD morbidity and mortality, according to a literature review published in the March 2 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Maternal History of Alzheimer's Tied to Brain Atrophy

TUESDAY, March 1 (HealthDay News) -- Cognitively intact older people with a maternal family history of Alzheimer's disease (AD) show progressive brain atrophy in areas associated with the condition, according to a study published in the March 1 issue of Neurology.

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Opioid Treatment Associated With Cognitive Dysfunction

TUESDAY, March 1 (HealthDay News) -- One-third of opioid-treated patients with cancer have possible or definite cognitive dysfunction, according to a study published online Feb. 28 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Many Patients Do Not Consolidate Drugs Efficiently

TUESDAY, March 1 (HealthDay News) -- Many patients, especially those with low literacy, do not consolidate prescription regimens efficiently, according to a study published in the Feb. 28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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