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History of Oral Contraceptive Use Appears to Have No Harmful Effects on Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) and Long-Term Survival

   The Journal of the American Heart Association reports women who took oral contraceptives had a reduced incidence of CVD and all-cause mortality. The longer a woman took OCP’s, the greater was the prevention of CVD, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, and all cause mortality.

Playing Football May Increase Risk of Developing Parkinson’s Disease

   A survey sponsored by the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research showed that individuals who played high level (college, professional) football were 61% more likely to report the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease or Parkinsonism than those who played other organized sports. In fact, they were nearly three times as likely as those who played football at a lower level (youth, high school).

Physicians to Address Rising Rates of Sexually Transmitted Infections in High Risk Groups

   The CDC reports “skyrocketing” rates of sexually transmitted infections across the U.S. It is recommended that “gay and bisexual men and transgender women” be treated prophylactically with oral doxycycline. The dosage regimen is yet to be determined. 

Medical Cannabis Did Not Reduce Pain Prescriptions, Procedures

   The Annals of Internal Medicine reports that the legalization of cannabis for medical purposes might cause patients to substitute the drug for prescription medications to manage non-cancer pain. Three years after legalization, a study of 583,820 patients showed there has been no significant difference in the proportion of patients receiving opioid and non-opioid medications or any chronic pain procedure. 

Medicare Advantage Plans Have Few In-Network Psychiatrists

   30 million adults aged 65 and older are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans. Nearly two-thirds of those plans have “few” or no psychiatrists. Researchers wrote in Health Affairs that an analysis of 682 networks showed that more than half of the counties with data had no psychiatrists that accepted the insurance. Psychiatry seemed to be the only specialty with few or no participating physicians. 

First Ever Malaria Vaccine to be Distributed in Africa

   Over the next two years, 12 African countries will receive the first malaria vaccine ever developed. The WHO, UNICEF, Gavi, and the Vaccine Alliance are making the vaccine available. Doses could come as early as the end of 2023. 

Shortened TB Regimen Not Effective

   1.6 million worldwide died of tuberculosis in 2021. The standard of care has for years been 3 drugs (Isoniazid, pyrazinamide, ethambutol) plus rifampin taken for 6 months. The NIH conducted a clinical trial of a 3-month regimen of clofazamine, high-dose rifampin, and the three previous standard drugs to shorten treatment courses. The shortened regimen was safe but ineffective so the trial was stopped much to the disappointment of NIH researchers.

Most Adults Think Inhaling Marijuana Smoke is Less Harmful than Cigarette (Tobacco) Smoke

   And they would be WRONG. Smoke is smoke! Whether it contains tar and nicotine or cannabis and other hallucinogens, it still has a harmful effect on our lungs. A study published in JAMA Network Open concluded that “smoke of any kind isn’t good for your lungs.” When you breathe smoke from an open fire, your lungs burn and you cough uncontrollably. Why would marijuana smoke be any different? Young adults, ages 18 to 29 are more likely to favor cannabis and feel it is safer than tobacco. This is a mental rationalization. 

Adults Exposed to Air Pollution from Wildfires and Agriculture were Associated with a Greater Risk for Dementia

   According to JAMA Internal Medicine, adults over age 50 exposed to a higher concentration of fine particulate matter, over a 10-year period, had greater rates of dementia. Wildfires and “agriculture” were the greatest sources. 

Two-Thirds of US Adults Have Been Impacted in Some Way by Nation’s Substance Use Crisis

   A recent nationwide poll found that 67% of whites, 58% of Blacks, and 56% of Hispanics in the U.S., either themselves or a family member, have experienced an addiction, overdose, homelessness, an ER visit, hospitalization, or death due to the nation’s substance use crisis. Addiction to alcohol and prescription painkillers are the major drivers of these stats. An open southern border and influx of fentanyl factors in, too.

Reluctance on Pediatric COVID-19 Vaccination Common

   Despite efforts to the contrary, American infants and young children (their parents, actually) are reluctant to accept the benefits of COVID-19 vaccines. 

COVID-19 Hospitalizations Continuing to Increase in US

   According to CDC statistics, COVID-19 hospitalizations in the US increased 14.3% the week of August 5. The highest percentage is among seniors ages 75 and older and is similar to last winter’s peak. 

References: AAFP: Family Medicine Today 2023 August 14. 

Medical News in Brief: Medical Cannabis Did Not Reduce Pain Prescriptions, Procedures  JAMA 2023 August 8;330(6):496.

Medical News in Brief: Few In-Network Psychiatrists Under Medicare Advantage JAMA 2023 August 8;330(6):495.

Medical News in Brief: First Ever Malaria Vaccine to be Distributed in Africa. JAMA 2023 August 8;330(6):495.

Medical News in Brief: Shortened TB Regimen Not Effective. JAMA 2023 August 8;330(6):495.

AAFP Family Medicine Today Majority of American Adults Believe Inhaling Marijuana is Safer Than Inhaling Smoke from Tobacco 2023 August 15.

AAFP Family Medicine Today: Incident Dementia Tied to Exposure to Fine Particulate Matter 2023 August 15.

AAFP Family Medicine Today: “Two-Thirds of US Adults have Been Impacted in Some Way by Nation’s Substance Use Crisis” 2023 August 16.

AAFP Family Medicine Today: Study Examines Reluctance on Pediatric COVID-19 Vaccination 2023 August 16.

AAFP Family Medicine Today: COVID-19 Hospitalizations Continuing to Increase in US, CDC says 2023 August 16.

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