Doctor Housecalls Blog

Healthcare related news and updates



According to a June 10 article in the New York Times by Nicholas Bakalar, new findings have shown that a commonly used drug to treat heartburn may cause an increased chance of heart attacks.  In an analysis of data from almost 3 million people, PPIs, or proton pump inhibitors such as Prilosec and Prevacid, were found to be linked to an increase in heart attacks.

While previous studies have shown poor results for people with heart disease, this new analysis was done on otherwise healthy individuals.  For those with heart disease, the link likely comes due to an interaction with drugs commonly used to treat heart disease.

To determine these findings, researchers used data mining, to analyze large amounts of data over time – in this case, dating back to 2000.

“This is the kind of analysis now possible because electronic medical records are widely available,” said the lead author, Nigam H. Shah, an assistant professor of medicine at Stanford. “It’s a benefit of the electronic records system that people are always talking about.”

Disclaimer: DO NOT STOP TAKING YOUR PPIs BECAUSE OF THIS UNTIL YOU DISCUSS WITH YOUR DOCTOR”. We need to do a prospective study of this “association” (not “cause and effect”), and this study did NOT take into account whether the people who had the heart attacks were obese, alcoholics, had Diabetes/Hypertension, etc. ,and the increased risk was only 16%-20%.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’off’]http://www.drhousecallsofpv.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/sjlphoto1sm.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]
Steven J. Lipsky MD, FACEP has been a Board Certified Emergency Physician in Arizona for the last 37 years, and a resident of the Town of Paradise Valley for the last 36 years. Steve Lipsky on Google Plus[/author_info] [/author]



Approximately 33 million Americans have an alcohol problem, according to a new article on Time.com by Alexandra Sifferlin.  New data that has been compiled on the drinking behaviors of American adults shows that almost 14% have some type of alcohol related problem.

The DSM-5 handbook details a new definition of an alcohol problem, and a study published in JAMA Psychiatry looks at the pervasiveness of alcohol related problems based on this new definition.

According to the new parameters, a problem drinker is defined as someone who has 2 of 11 symptoms associated with drinking.  These symptoms include continuing to drink even if it harms relationships, negatively affects performance at work, and an inability to quit.  The number of symptoms a person has determines the severity of their problem.
The findings are based off of interviews from more than 36,000 people regarding their lifetime drinking habits.  The data shows that while 14% of people currently have a problem, 30% had a problem at one time in their life and most have never sought help (6/13, Sifferlin).

In an June 4 article on NPR.org, Alyson Hurt reports that alcohol disorders are most prevalent among men, Native Americans, young adults, and singles.  The problem is the worst among young adults, with more than 26% of those under 30 reporting that they had had trouble with drinking in the past year.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’off’]http://www.drhousecallsofpv.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/sjlphoto1sm.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]
Steven J. Lipsky MD, FACEP has been a Board Certified Emergency Physician in Arizona for the last 37 years, and a resident of the Town of Paradise Valley for the last 36 years. Steve Lipsky on Google Plus[/author_info] [/author]


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