January 15, 2021
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Diabetes in Focus
A study in The BMJ found that patients with type 2 diabetes who followed a low-carbohydrate diet for six months had increased diabetes remission rates without experiencing adverse consequences, compared with those on control diets. The findings were based on data from 23 trials encompassing 1,357 participants.
Full Story: Physician's Briefing/HealthDay News (1/14) 
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Patients with type 2 diabetes who received bimagrumab every 4 weeks for 48 weeks had a 21% reduction in body fat and gained 3.6% of lean mass, while patients who received placebo only had a 0.5% body fat reduction and lost 0.8% lean mass, according to a study in JAMA Network Open. The findings showed that bimagrumab was associated with a net 6.5% decrease in body weight, compared with 0.8% in placebo.
Full Story: Medical Dialogues (1/14) 
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Patients with rheumatoid arthritis who had greater disease activity and increased levels of chemokines or cytokines had a higher risk of developing diabetes, according to a study in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. Researcher Joshua Baker said that the findings provide "evidence of the importance of inflammation as a mechanism for the development of diabetes and might suggest that inflammation in other contexts -- such as other autoimmune diseases -- might also increase the risk of diabetes, though studies in those populations are needed."
Full Story: Healio (free registration) (1/14) 
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Nutrition & Wellness
CDC researchers found that cases of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 increased in children, adolescents and young adults from September to December, with weekly incidence higher in each successively increasing age group. The findings, published in the agency's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, also showed that weekly reported incidence for youths tracked trends among adults.
Full Story: Physician's Briefing/HealthDay News (1/14) 
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A study published in the European Heart Journal linked alcohol consumption of as little as one drink per day with a higher risk of atrial fibrillation. The risk was found regardless of age or other cardiovascular risk factors.
Full Story: Healio (free registration)/Cardiology Today (1/13) 
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A study published in AOGS suggests that women who are overweight or obese during pregnancy may be more likely to have infertile sons, and the researchers say that maternal overweight may be tied to hormone imbalances that affect the development of male offspring's reproductive system. The study, which included 9,232 men and women aged 31 to 34, found that sons born to overweight mothers were 40% more likely to be infertile than those born to mothers of normal weight.
Full Story: The New York Times (1/13) 
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Practice Update
The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission voted Thursday to recommend raising Medicare payment rates to acute-care and long-term-care hospitals by 2% next year. The commission also plans to recommend to Congress to retain the payment rates for physicians and lower payments to home health firms and inpatient rehabilitation centers by 5%.
Full Story: Becker's Hospital CFO Report (1/14) 
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Survey data show hiring new staff during the COVID-19 pandemic is a concern for some primary care practices, but recruiting newly graduated physicians is one solution. Family physician Natasha Bhuyan, M.D., regional medical director with One Medical in Phoenix, said millennial physicians base success on fulfillment of purpose and put more importance on seeking feedback and mentoring.
Full Story: Medical Economics (1/13) 
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Trends & Technology
President-elect Joe Biden on Thursday proposed a plan to provide $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief, which would include $20 billion in funding for a national vaccine program, $350 billion for state and local governments, $50 billion for COVID-19 testing, and $170 billion for K-12 schools, colleges and universities. The American Rescue Plan would also provide $1,400 in direct payments to most Americans, boost federal unemployment benefits to $400 per week, raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, and extend the eviction and foreclosure bans until the end of September.
Full Story: CNN (1/15),  The New York Times (1/15),  CNBC (1/14) 
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Little has been accomplished as far as legislation to reduce drug prices despite bipartisan support, and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., indicated he might push for legislation without Republican support using budget reconciliation.
Full Story: The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (1/14) 
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Editor's Note
SmartBrief will not publish Monday
In observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the US, SmartBrief will not publish Monday. Publication will resume Tuesday.
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Connect deeply with others. Our humanity is the one thing that we all have in common.
Melinda Gates,
philanthropist, advocate for women and girls
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