Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Items from Medscape News

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Coffee, Caffeine Consumption Associated With Reduced Liver Disease
Karla Harby

May 18, 2004 (New Orleans) — A U.S. population study of 5,944 adults conducted by researchers at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) has found a strong association between coffee drinking and caffeine consumption and a lower risk of liver injury in persons at high risk for liver disease.

The researchers defined the high-risk population as those who reported being heavy drinkers of alcohol, or who had hepatitis B or C, iron overload, were obese, or had impaired glucose metabolism. Liver injury was defined as a serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) activity level in excess of 43 U/L.  [...]

FDA Safety Labeling Changes: May 17, 2004

Yael Waknine

May 17, 2004 (updated May 18, 2004) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved revisions to safety labeling for ethambutol hydrochloride, atazanavir sulfate, zafirlukast, ciprofloxacin hydrochloride, and bone cements and bone void fillers. [...]

Human Brain to Machine Interface May Now Be Feasible

Laurie Barclay, MD

May 6, 2004 — Directly using human brain neuronal activity to operate external neuroprostheses may now be feasible, according to a presentation on May 4 at the 72nd annual meeting of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons held in Orlando, Florida. This work could potentially benefit patients with quadriplegia or other focal neurological injury who are unable to use their extremities because of a breakdown in connectivity between their limbs and brain motor centers.

"For all kinds of motor training, such as riding a bicycle, people incorporate an external device into their schema, and the process becomes subconscious," senior author Dennis Turner, MD, MA, a neurosurgeon at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, told Medscape. "We will build on that phenomenon in our human studies." [...]

Cathy Tokarski

May 10, 2004 — Despite studies in leading medical journals warning of the ethical conflicts and high rates of prescribing that occur when physicians accept gifts from the pharmaceutical industry, many physicians and medical residents remain unaware of the impact of the drug industry's interaction with physicians, according to a new study.

For example, only 9% of internal medicine residents at Wake Forest University School of Medicine and 18% of its faculty members surveyed as part of the study said they were knowledgeable about the American Medical Association's 2001 "Ethical Guidelines for Gifts to Physicians from Industry," while 20% of residents and 67% of faculty said they were aware of industry-sponsored research at academic centers. The study was published in the May issue of Academic Medicine. [...]

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