A study published by the American Cancer Society found a steep increase in the rate of colorectal cancer rose in adults younger than age 55 years. Three in 10 colorectal cancer diagnoses occur in people of this age group. The authors call for considering early screening as the proportion of rectal cancer diagnosed in adults younger than age 55 years years has doubled in just two decades.
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In a recent paper published in JAMA Internal Medicine, the authors reported that patients treated by female physicians had significantly lower mortality and readmission rates compared with those cared for by male physicians. Even though the study did not provide the reasons of such a difference, the authors noted previous evidence suggesting that female physicians would be more likely to provide patient-centred care, psychosocial counselling, and evidence-based medicine, while their male colleagues would be less cautious when managing more complicated patients.
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A team of researchers from the Stanford’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory employed a deep learning algorithm developed by Google (GoogleNet Inception v3 CNN architecture) to create an automated system for the classification of skin cancer. The algorithm that was already able to recognise objects from 1.28 million images, was trained using nearly 130,000 clinical images of more than 2,000 diseases. In a paper published on Nature, the researchers described how they employed over 370 biopsy-confirmed images to assess the artificial intelligence performance against 21 board-certified dermatologists. Notably, the algorithm matched the sensitivity and specificity of the experts’ opinion in classifying correctly keratinocyte carcinomas, melanomas classification and benign lesions. The new system paves the way of accessible and cost-effective applications that will enable recognition of skin lesions with the use of such devices as smartphones.
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Image Credit: Stanford/Matt Young
A new study from the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that 33% of adults recently diagnosed with asthma did not have it. Over 90% of them were able to stop their asthma medications.
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Based on a study published on The Lancet, blogger Max Galka created this animated map to illustrate the skyrocketing worldwide increase in obesity from 1975 to 2014. According to the study, in the last 40 years, obesity rates increased from 3.2% to 10.8% for men, and from 6.4% to 14.9% for women. Overall, there were 105 million obese people in 1975; that number rose to 641 million in 2014, with China and US being the leading nations with approximately 90 and 87 million obese people respectively.
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Image credit: Metrocosm.com
In a large cohort study of more than 21,000 adults 65 years or older in the US, the authors reported that the prevalence of dementia decreased significantly from 11.6% to 8.8% between 2000 and 2012. Notably, an increasing educational attainment may have contributed to such an improvement.
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On this year’s World Hepatitis Day, WHO calls for a rapid action to raise awareness of the disease, and increase access to testing and treatment services. Globally, 400 million people are affected by a viral hepatitis infection -a number that represents more than 10 times that of people infected with HIV. According to WHO, it is estimated that approximately 95% of people with chronic hepatitis are unaware of their infection, and less that 1% have access to treatment.
Moreover, WHO has recently published guidelines for the screening and treatment of people with hepatitis C infection, providing recommendations on the preferred regimens, and encouraging the employment of direct-acting antiviral combinations when appropriate.
The International Antiviral Society – USA Panel published their updated recommendations on antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) for the treatment and prevention of HIV infection. With more than 37 million people living with an HIV infection in the world, and 20 million not receiving an antiretroviral therapy, the new guidelines reiterate that all individuals diagnosed with the infection should initiate treatment as soon as possible, regardless of the CD4 cell count.
Moreover, the guidelines reflect on the substantial advances of the ARVs since the last recommendations were released in 2014, recommending initial regimens of two nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) plus an integrase strand transfer inhibitor (InSTI) for most patients. Further points on preexposure and postexposure prophylaxis are discussed, as well as the pharmacoeconomics of the treatment, especially considering the introduction of less-expensive generic formulations.
In the accompanying editorial on JAMA, Kenneth Mayer and Douglas Krakower consider the guidelines a reflection of a successful 35-year research effort and argue that, “Historians may wonder whether the pace of discovery in the early days of the epidemic could have been accelerated, but no one can doubt the signal accomplishments of biobehavioral research and community engagement in forging a common strategy to deal with this global pandemic, one that continues to pose new challenges.”
The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recently published its recommendations on screening for colorectal cancer on JAMA, concluding that screening is beneficial in average-risk, asymptomatic adults starting at age 50 and continuing until age 75 years (A recommendation). In adults aged 76 to 85 years, the decision should take into consideration the health and history of the patient (C recommendation).
Screening for colorectal cancer can reduce mortality, whichever strategy is employed, says the USPSTF. Seven different screening approaches are included in the recommendations, despite their difference in effectiveness and potential harm: colonoscopy, fecal immunochemical testing for occult blood (FIT), multitargeted DNA stool test (FIT-DNA), guaiac-based fecal occult blood test, sigmoidoscopy, sigmoidoscopy with FIT, and CT colonography. The economic impact of such a screening is not addressed either.
Image credit: Blausen Medical Communications, Inc. – Donated via OTRS, see ticket for details, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27639260