Open Reading Frame brings together a selection of recent publication highlights from elsewhere in the open access ecosystem. This week we take a look at the past few weeks in medicine.
Improving vision in patients with macular degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration causes loss of vision in older adults and can result in complications such as pigment epithelial detachment (PED), where the retina peels away from its support tissue. A study carried out in 61 patients with PED found that the antibody drug ranibizumab is a safe and effective treatment for vision loss, and could be used to treat these patients following further validation in larger studies.
Menopause symptoms more severe in women with HIV
With the development of effective antiretroviral therapy, people with HIV are living longer, and the life expectancy for HIV-infected individuals in the US is now similar to the population as a whole. As a result, more and more women are now entering the menopause with HIV, and there is currently little known about how HIV affects older women. Now, a study has shown that menopausal women with HIV have more severe hot flashes than those without HIV, and have more problems with sleep and anxiety. The authors conclude that interventions targeting mental health are required to help HIV-infected women as they reach menopause.
Inflammation in TB infection altered by ethnicity
Different strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of TB, cause disease in different ethnic groups. A new study in patients of African and European ancestry has shed further light into this difference, showing that patients of diverse ethnicity have distinct inflammatory profiles. The findings of this study indicate that TB diagnostic biomarkers should be validated separately in patients of different ethnic origin to improve their accuracy.
Predicting the risk of breast cancer recurrence
After treatment with tamoxifen, some women with breast cancer remain cancer-free for many years, whereas others are at higher risk of recurrence. A new genetic biomarker has been identified that can predict which women will have increased risk of recurrence, and will therefore benefit from letrozole therapy. These findings need to be confirmed in further studies, but show promise for providing additional therapy to those who need it most, while reducing unnecessary treatment in others.
Smoke-free India to reduce heart disease deaths?
Cardiovascular disease is becoming increasingly prevalent in low- and middle-income countries. Researchers have therefore developed a mathematical model to assess whether smoke-free laws would reduce cardiovascular deaths in India. The model showed that although other risk factors such as hypertension and hyperlipidemia are on the increase, tobacco control is likely to be very effective in reducing the number of deaths from heart disease.
Ethnic differences in diabetes
A systematic review and meta-analysis has found that ethnicity affects how people release and react to insulin. These findings suggest that Asians are more susceptible to diabetes than Caucasians, and a patient’s ethnic background should be taken into account for diabetes prevention and surveillance.
Should diabetic patients be prescribed specific drugs for blood pressure?
Vascular diseases are the main cause of death in patients with type 2 diabetes, so there is an urgent need to maintain good cardiovascular health in these patients. A study has identified that two drugs taken by type 2 diabetic patients to reduce blood pressure, namely telmisartan and valsartan, are linked to a reduced risk of hospitalization for heart attack and stroke. No association was found with other blood pressure drugs, suggesting that telmisartan and valsartan could be preferentially prescribed to patients with type 2 diabetes to reduce cardiovascular risk and improve overall health.
Written by Claire Barnard, Senior Editor for BMC Medicine.