Apple is funding three large medical research studies involving the company's iPhones, Watches and apps, including a women's health study led by researchers at Harvard University. These "virtual studies" potentially expand access to participation by enabling the collection of data from patients across a broad geographic area, and Apple has acquired its own health and wellness startups and added medical researchers.
Democratic presidential hopefuls Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., have proposed legislation to establish a Bureau of Prescription Drug Affordability and Access and give the federal government the authority to control list prices and dismantle patent protections for drugmakers that don't cooperate. The Prescription Drug Affordability and Access Act would require companies to justify proposed prices by disclosing costs for research and development, marketing, and executive salaries, among other measures.
The proportion of US adults who smoke cigarettes dropped to 13.7% last year, the lowest level since tracking started in 1965, but e-cigarette users increased to 3.2% in 2018 from 2.8% in 2017, partly because of rising use among young adults ages 18 to 24. Overall, 19.7% of American adults used tobacco products last year, including cigarettes, cigarillos, cigars, e-cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, hookah and pipes.
Physicians from various specialties participating in a survey led by the American Medical Association collectively gave EHRs a failing grade on the System Usability Scale and said EHRs are a source of burnout, researchers reported in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Google's search engine was ranked "A" in a larger survey using the same scale; microwave ovens, automated teller machines and Amazon were ranked "B"; Microsoft Word, DVRs and GPS trackers were ranked "C"; and Microsoft Excel received an "F," though its numerical score was higher than EHRs' score.
Researchers developed a risk-adapted starting age strategy for breast cancer screening based on data from more than 5 million Swedish women and found that those with a family history of breast cancer might need to begin undergoing screening up to 14 years earlier than recommended national guidelines. The findings, published in JAMA Oncology, showed that screening women with a family history of breast cancer "under the existing guidelines represents missed opportunities for early detection of early-onset breast cancer in women at increased risk owing to family history," researchers wrote.
A study published in Diabetes Care found that patients with diabetic ketoacidosis and a hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state upon hospital arrival had higher mortality rates, compared with patients who had only DKA or HHS. Using data from 1,211 patients, the researchers also found that DKA-HHS patients who developed hypoglycemia or hypokalemia within 48 hours of hospital admission were 4.8 times and 4.9 times more likely to die, respectively, and suggested that there need to be "effective protocols to closely monitor both glucose and potassium levels during insulin therapy."
A survey conducted by The Harris Poll and commissioned by the National Kidney Foundation found that 46% of 2,000 American adults did not know that diabetes is tied to an increased risk for kidney failure, 31% did not know that diabetes increases kidney disease risk and 14% of survey participants who had diabetes were either "unsure" or "did not believe" that diabetes increases the risk of kidney disease. The poll also found that younger adults were more likely to be wrong or unsure about the association of diabetes and kidney disease.
An FDA advisory panel voted against the use of empagliflozin, an SGLT2 inhibitor, as an adjunct to insulin therapy in patients with type 1 diabetes. The potential risk of diabetic ketoacidosis with higher doses led the panel to say that the data did not show that the treatment's benefits outweigh the risks and an additional study is needed.
Delta Dental of Arizona initiated an independent investigation into a July phishing attack and has notified subscribers that their personal data might have been compromised. The dental insurer says an employee responded to a phishing attack that gave the attacker access to the employee's email account.
US hospital systems differ in their approach to sharing patients' health information with Google and other technology giants, which might be due to differences in hospitals' and states' privacy standards, but it could also stem from a lack of modern standards in HIPAA, according to health information specialists and ethics experts including Harvard University professor John Halamka. "Regulation is a road map for how to appropriately use data and ensure the data owners, users, and generators all understand the rules of the road," Halamka said.
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