Underreported: Law-enforcement-related deaths in America

Clinical Brief – October, 11th

The Brief

Yesterday, a study published in PLoS Medicine reported that a federal US government database designed to track law-enforcement-related deaths may be missing more than half of all deaths involving law enforcement.

In contrast, a nongovernmental database that scans media reports was found to have documented over 90% of deaths involving law enforcement.

Other worrying trends identified by the study’s researchers included underreporting when law-enforcement-related deaths are not caused by gunfire and underreporting in low-income counties. Continue reading “Underreported: Law-enforcement-related deaths in America”

Notes on ESMO17: Psycho-oncology

Clinical Brief – September, 28th

ESMO, or the European Society of Medical Oncology Congress, is an annual gathering of cancer experts and patient advocates. Here are some studies from this year’s ESMO that may be of use.


Physicians and patients might have different takes on side effects when it comes to cancer treatments, says a study led by researchers at the Karolinska Institute, Sweden.

The study looked at data collected from a randomized Phase III trial comparing different chemo regimens in women with high-risk breast cancer. Continue reading “Notes on ESMO17: Psycho-oncology”

Notes on ESMO17: Public health on cancer

Clinical Brief – September 26th

ESMO, or the European Society of Medical Oncology Congress, is an annual gathering of cancer experts and patient advocates. Here are some studies from this year’s ESMO that may be of use.


Researchers from the EU and Canada found that “in patients with advanced solid tumors, fewer than half of randomized controlled trials supporting FDA approval meet the threshold for clinically meaningful benefit using the ESMO-designed scale.

Researchers found 109 randomized controlled trials from the FDA’s database, which supported the approval of 63 drugs for Continue reading “Notes on ESMO17: Public health on cancer”

The week in brief

September 11th – 15th

Hi there, hope you had a great week! Here are your recent updates in the world of medical research and policy.


Lazy eye is a childhood condition where vision in one eye doesn’t develop properly.

The USPSTF now recommends screening kids between 3 to 5 years old at least once for lazy eye or its risk factors (USPSTF = US Preventive Services Task Force).


Researchers at the Mayo Clinic published a report on how they managed 10 patients who experienced immune-mediated neurological side effects after treatments with nivolumab (Opdivo) or pembrolizumab (Keytruda).

Reports like these teach us more about the possible harms of immunotherapies and balances the studies that are designed to show their efficacies.


ESMO, or the European Society of Medical Oncology Congress, is an annual gathering of cancer experts and patient advocates. Here are some studies from this year’s ESMO that may be of use.

Hematology

  • Treatment with radioactive iodine may be linked to the risk of developing acute myeloid leukemia, or AML.
  • Benefits of relatively modern treatments may benefit both younger and older patients with relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma.
  • Infusion-related reactions to daratumumab (Darzalex) may be managed with pre- and post-infusion meds.
  • Autologous stem cell transplantation may be considered for patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma who are over 65.
  • Screening patients for multi-drug resistant bacteria may help predict sepsis involving such bacteria after chemotherapy.

Cancer prevention and screening

  • A social experiment looked at how citizen’s jury may handle decisions on policy about breast cancer screening.
  • A report summarized clinical features and outcomes of a serious but rare neurological side effect linked to treatment with bevacizumab (Avastin).
  • Cervical cancer screening is on the decline in France.
  • H. pylori infection may be linked to increased risk of stomach cancer in Japan.
  • Colorectal cancer is the 3rd most common cancer in Iran, but public awareness may be lagging behind.

Head and neck cancer

  • EBV viral load may be used to assess the risk of relapse and worse disease outcomes for non-metastatic nasopharyngeal carcinoma (a rare type of head and neck cancer).
  • Researchers from two cancer centers in Spain looked at their patients on immunotherapies in search for signs of hyper progression.
  • Collaboration between oncologists and geriatricians may help optimize treatment for elderly patients with head and neck cancer.
  • Radiation with high-dose chemo isn’t necessarily better than with low-dose chemo for head and neck cancer.

 

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The week in brief

August 28th – September 1st

Congratulations for making it through another week! Here are your recent updates in the world of medical research and policy.


A trial published last weekend during the 2017 European Society of Cardiology congress found that a blood thinner, rivaroxaban (Xarelto), failed to outperform aspirin at preventing cardiovascular death, stroke, or heart attack for patients who had hardened arteries.

The combination of rivaroxaban + aspirin did do better than aspirin alone, but also came at higher risk for uncontrolled bleeding.


In July 2017, the Trump Administration announced funding cuts and an end to its Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program.

In a commentary, the potential consequences of these cuts are laid bare: Lowering the age of first intercourse, increasing the rate of premarital sex among teens, increasing the number of unintended pregnancies, and increasing the number of abortions.


A new study found that taking excessive amounts of vitamins B6 and B12 is linked to significantly elevated risk of lung cancer in men.

It doesn’t mean B6 and B12 causes cancer, but the data showed signs that men who intentionally seek B6 and B12 supplementation may be at increased risk of lung cancer.


Graft-vs-host disease (aka GVHD) is where the stem cell transplant develops into white blood cells that “rejects” the recipient.

To help predict what happens after an acute GVHD, a new study turned to some common biomarkers which are simple to test. Their risk score, EASIX, also came with an online calculator.


TB (or tuberculosis) is a potentially lethal infection which is particularly serious for patients living with HIV.

To circumvent the high cost of genetic tests used to screen for active TB, a new study showed that a simple finger-prick test for CRP may do the job at less than a fifth the cost.


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The upper cut: Teen pregnancy prevention

Clinical Brief – August 29th

The Brief

In July 2017, the DHHS in the US announced funding cuts and an end to its Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program.

In a commentary, the potential consequences of these cuts are laid bare: Lowering the age of first intercourse, increasing the rate of premarital sex among teens, increasing the number of unintended pregnancies, and increasing the number of abortions. Continue reading “The upper cut: Teen pregnancy prevention”

Lowering cost of Protonix IV by halving the dose

  • After surgery for stomach cancer, intravenous (IV) formulations of acid reflux drugs are sometimes used to prevent further bleeding.1
  • One acid reflux drug, Protonix IV (pantoprazole), can be given once or twice every 24 hours. The benefit of doubling the dose is unknown.1,2
  • A study showed that Protonix IV once every 24 hours was just as effective as the doubled dose, presenting a cost-saving opportunity for hospitals.1

Continue reading “Lowering cost of Protonix IV by halving the dose”

Praluent and Repatha: Controlling cholesterol, but at what price?

  • Praluent (alirocumab) and Repatha (evolocumab) are newly approved cholesterol-lowering drugs for reducing the risk of certain heart diseases.1,2
  • On average, either of these drugs can cost around $14,000 USD per person per year.3
  • In an analysis, this price tag was found to be overpriced by over $9,000 per person per year.3

Continue reading “Praluent and Repatha: Controlling cholesterol, but at what price?”