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.
The debate about whether mammography screening prevents breast cancer deaths has raged on for many years. Some feel it causes unnecessary anxiety through false positive results, whereas others believe it saves lives. A new UK study looking at 40 years of data has found no evidence that screening reduces deaths, suggesting that improved treatment, rather than screening, could be responsible for the decline in breast cancer deaths seen in recent years.
Mukhtar et al. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine
Challenges in caring for obese patients
With obesity now a global epidemic, physicians must be increasingly prepared to care for larger patients. In some instances weight loss surgery is considered the only reliable solution. In a review article, gastrointestinal surgery specialists consider the new challenges facing physicians in everyday practice, highlighting how nutritional deficiency could be a problem in obese patients following weight loss surgery
Cello and Rogers. Clinical and Translational Gastroenterology
Alzheimer’s drug reduces heart attack risk
Cholinesterase inhibitors are used in the clinic to treat Alzheimer’s disease, but a new study suggests they may also have beneficial effects on the heart. After adjustment for confounders, these drugs were shown to reduce the risk of heart attack by 48 percent, and the risk of death in general by 36 percent. While further validation is required, these results indicate that physicians could consider prescribing cholinesterase inhibitors to Alzheimer’s patients with high cardiovascular risk.
Nordström et al. European Heart Journal
Six new subtypes of colon cancer identified
Colon cancer is currently treated differently depending on which of five pathological subgroups a patient falls into, but this method of stratification cannot accurately predict cancer relapse. Using genetic information, researchers have now shown that colon cancer patients can be stratified into six molecular subgroups with different characteristics. Importantly, patients in certain subgroups were shown to have a higher risk of progression, indicating that molecular stratification could be used to predict prognosis, as well as tailor treatment to individual patients.
Marisa et al. PLoS Medicine
A new strain of flu (H7N9) has recently made the jump from birds to people in China and specialists are on high alert to monitor its spread. In a perspectives article, flu experts from the World Health Organization outline plans to isolate the virus, provide nationally available testing and prepare for a potential pandemic.
Schenk et al. Eurosurveillance
Depressed patients have increased risk of hypoglycemia
It is important to identify factors causing hypoglycemic episodes in type 2 diabetic patients in order to prevent them from happening. A new study finds that patients with depression are at increased risk of having more hypoglycemic episodes, and so should be monitored carefully to control their diabetes.
Katon et al. Annals of Family Medicine
Ascorbic acid, a form of vitamin C, is a potent antioxidant and is thought to have many health benefits. A new study finds that ascorbic acid prevents lung cancer cell growth and is even more effective in combination with glycolysis inhibitors, indicating the therapeutic potential of these compounds against lung cancer.
Vuyyuri et al. PLoS One
Bevacizumab shows promise for treating glioblastoma
There are few therapeutic options available to treat glioblastoma, the most common type of brain tumor in adults, with less than ten percent of patients surviving beyond a year after diagnosis. Bevacizumab is emerging as a potential new drug to treat glioblastoma, having a positive effect on survival in clinical trials. In a review article, authors discuss the progress made in developing this drug and how it may one day play an important role in glioblastoma treatment.
Gil-Gil et al. Clinical Medicine Insights: Oncology
Written by Claire Barnard, Senior Editor for BMC Medicine.