October 18, 2021
Family Medicine SmartBrief
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Top Story
The US seven-day average for newly reported COVID-19 cases fell 12.5% to 84,555 from the prior week, marking the fourth straight week of decline, while the weekly average for COVID-19 deaths fell 13.4% to 1,241, according to the CDC. The seven-day average for COVID-19 hospitalizations dropped 8.8% to 6,659 for the period ending Oct. 12, while average daily vaccinations declined by 11.3% to 841,731 as of Oct. 14.
Full Story: Becker's Hospital Review (10/15) 
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Clinical News
Research published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report indicates that 58.5 million people -- nearly one-fourth of the US adult population -- had arthritis in the 2016-2018 study period. "Arthritis has been the most frequently reported main cause of disability among US adults for [more than] 15 years, was responsible for [more than] $300 billion in arthritis-attributable direct and indirect annual costs in the US during 2013, is linked to disproportionately high levels of anxiety and depression, and is projected to increase 49% in prevalence from 2010-2012 to 2040," researchers wrote.
Full Story: Healio (free registration) (10/18) 
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A recent report from the CDC found that there were 42,000 more deaths from Alzheimer's disease and other dementia nationwide in 2020 compared to the average number of deaths in the last five years, representing a 16% increase. In patients with Alzheimer's disease, "memory impairment also prevents them from taking protective measures against COVID, such as remembering to put on masks, so it impairs their ability to keep themselves safe," said Jennifer Reeder, the Alzheimer's Foundation of America's director of education and social services.
Full Story: Daily News (New York) (tiered subscription model) (10/17) 
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Patients with type 2 diabetes who took oral vitamin D3 supplements for six months experienced a reduction in A1C level, compared with those who didn't take the supplements. The findings, published in the journal Frontiers in Endocrinology, were based on data from 130 diabetes patients who were on standard metformin therapy at baseline.
Full Story: Medical Dialogues (10/18) 
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Practice Management
Large numbers of COVID-19 cases have caused extra-long wait times for emergency department patients at some Ohio hospitals like Wexner Medical Center and Riverside Methodist Hospital. Physicians offer reminders that nonemergency patients can be seen in primary care and other health care offices to help reduce the burden on front-line hospital staff.
Full Story: The Columbus Dispatch (Ohio) (tiered subscription model) (10/18) 
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Health Policy & Legislation
The current administration is shifting oversight of the government's pandemic data tracking system from HHS' Office of the Chief Information Officer back to the CDC amid scrutiny over the government's handling of public health data infrastructure, according to documents obtained by Bloomberg. The public health tracking system, HHS Protect, collects information from over 6,000 hospitals on COVID-19 cases and vaccination rates as well as use of ICU beds, personal protective equipment, COVID-19 tests and therapeutics.
Full Story: Bloomberg (10/14) 
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Professional Issues & Trends
The National Health Service Corps will receive $100 million from the American Rescue Plan to address the shortage of health care workers and recruit primary care physicians in places challenged by recruitment and retention issues. "This investment will make a tremendous impact on access to primary care and addressing health disparities at a critical time," said Diana Espinosa, acting administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration.
Full Story: NBC News (10/14) 
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Inside the AAFP
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The AAFP offers multiple self-study topics to improve patient care, designed for family physicians by family physicians. Choose from a wide range of topics and products -- in a variety of formats. Options include a variety of clinical packages, featuring the same evidence-based content you'd get at a live course, delivered in short videos for ultimate convenience. Buy now.
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About AAFP
This news roundup is provided as a timely update to AAFP members and other health care professionals about family medicine topics in the news media. Links to articles are provided for the convenience of family physicians who may find them of use in discussions with patients or colleagues. Opinions expressed in Family Medicine SmartBrief are those of the identified authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of the American Academy of Family Physicians. On occasion, media articles may include or imply incorrect information about the AAFP and its policies, positions or relationships. For clarification on AAFP positions and policies, we refer you to http://aafp.org.
External Resources are not a part of the AAFP website. AAFP is not responsible for the content of sites that are external to the AAFP. Linking to a website does not constitute an endorsement by AAFP of the sponsors of the site or the information presented on the site.

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