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November 14, 2012
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News for physicians caring for the seriously ill

  Top Story 
  • Study tracks impact of end-of-life discussion on care choices
    Individuals with cancer are less likely to opt for aggressive treatments in the last weeks of their lives when they have discussed end-of-life care with their doctors early on, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The study, which involved patients with lung or colon cancer, found that 88% of patients had end-of-life discussions, but more than 1 in 3 of those talks came within the last month of life. Reuters (11/12), U.S. News & World Report/HealthDay News (11/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  Palliative & Hospice Care Update  
  • Effective end-of-life care conversations important part of treatment
    Clear communication is an integral element of personalized care for cancer patients that many practitioners continue to struggle with, Dr. Sandra Swain writes. Conversations should begin as early as possible and as soon as any patient is determined to be beyond the first line of treatment for metastatic disease, and if doctors are unable to communicate effectively another member of the team should be brought in. ASCO Connection online (11/1) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Testosterone ups MI, death risk in older diabetes, CAD patients
    Older patients with diabetes and coronary artery disease who underwent testosterone replacement therapy following coronary angiography were at greater risk of myocardial infarction and all-cause mortality compared with those who did not have the treatment, researchers reported at the American Heart Association annual meeting. The study was based on 8,849 veterans, with 15% having been treated with testosterone. Healio/Cardiology Today (11/8) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  Patient & Family Perspective  
  • Alzheimer's patient spreads word about resources for families
    Diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease three years ago, Beverly Miller is working with the Alzheimer's Association to spread the word about resources for caregivers and families. Miller said Alzheimer's "isn't the end of the world. It isn't quite as scary as it sounds, but it is definitely something that you have to learn to live with and be comfortable with." The Salt Lake Tribune (Utah) (11/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Widow grateful for hospice care
    Detailed care for the patient and built-in care for family members made hospice a valuable option for Mary and Mike Carlson when Mike was in his final days after multiple cancers. Hospice staff, care providers and social workers walked the Carlsons through the final stages of his illness and provided support for his wife after Mike died. Albert Lea Tribune (Minn.) (11/8) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Medical Research  
  • Review: Steroid shots offer limited benefit for sciatica
    Steroid injection into the spine provides only small, short-term relief for sciatica-related leg and back pain, according to a review of 23 clinical trials involving more than 3,100 patients. "Given that the treatment effect is likely to be small and short term, patients with sciatica should discuss the potential risks involved in [steroid injections] with their doctor before agreeing to the procedure," according to the study co-author. The study appeared in the Annals of Internal Medicine. HealthDay News (11/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Health Policy & Practice  
  • FDA denies petition to withdraw high-dose Alzheimer's drug Aricept
    The FDA turned down Public Citizen's petition to pull the 23-milligram dose of Pfizer and Eisai's Alzheimer's treatment Aricept, or donepezil, from the market due to safety concerns. "Donepezil is one of only two drugs indicated for treating the severe stage of [Alzheimer's], and the 23 mg dose is shown to produce added cognitive benefits over the 10 mg strength," Dr. Janet Woodcock, the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research director, wrote in a response to Public Citizen. Medscape (free registration) (11/9) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Trends & Technology  
  • Data from EHRs points to too-high acetaminophen doses
    Some hospital patients are receiving higher doses of acetaminophen than recommended despite procedures to prevent such errors, raising the risks patients may encounter toxicity and acute liver failure, according to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Researchers reviewed electronic medication administration record data and found 4% of more than 14,000 patients received higher-than-recommended dosages. Modern Healthcare (free registration) (11/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  AAHPM News  
  • Are you up-to-date with the changes in the hospice environment?
    AAHPM has designed products to advance your competence and confidence in the clinical, administrative and regulatory aspects of your work as a hospice medical director. These AAHPM products, The Hospice Medical Director Manual, the go-to, easy reference book and the Hospice Medical Director Course recordings from the 2011 course. Learn more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
Many of our fears are tissue-paper-thin, and a single courageous step would carry us clear through them."
--Brendan Francis Behan,
Irish writer

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