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Top news stories from AMA Morning Rounds®: Week of Feb. 17, 2020

Read AMA Morning Rounds®’ most popular stories in medicine and public health from the week of Feb. 17, 2020 – Feb. 21, 2020.

Study: People who survive cancer during childhood, early adulthood may be more likely to develop severe health conditions later in life

Reuters (2/17, Rapaport) reports that research suggests individuals “who survive cancer during childhood and early adulthood are more likely to experience severe, life-threatening health problems and die prematurely.”

MedPage Today (2/14, Lawrence) reported that the research showed “by age 45, early-adolescent and young adult cancer survivors had a 39% likelihood of developing a severe health condition compared with only 12% for siblings of the same age.” The findings were published in The Lancet Oncology.

Healio (2/17, DeRosier) reports adolescent and early adulthood cancer “survivors also had lower nonrecurrent, health-related standardized mortality ratios...and lower RRs for developing grade 3 to grade 5 chronic health conditions than childhood cancer survivors, with the difference most apparent 2 decades after diagnosis.” Childhood, adolescent, and early adulthood cancer survivors “had an almost six times higher risk for all-cause mortality than individuals of the same age and sex in the general population.”

Study: High exposure to cleaning products may be associated with increased risk of childhood asthma

Reuters (2/18, Rapaport) reports researchers have linked “high exposure to cleaning products with an increased risk of childhood asthma.” For the study, investigators “surveyed parents about how often they used 26 common household cleaners over babies’ first three to four months of life.” The study revealed that by the time the youngsters were age three, “children with the highest exposure to cleaning products were 37% more likely to have been diagnosed with asthma than those with the least exposure.” What’s more, “with greater exposure to cleaning products, kids were also 35% more likely to have chronic wheezing and 49% more likely to have chronic allergies, the study found.” The findings were published online in CMAJ.

Study: Pregnant women who take macrolide antibiotics may have a higher risk for having children with birth defects

Newsweek (2/19, Gander) reports researchers examined “data on over 100,000 children” and found that “pregnant women who take [macrolide] antibiotics have a greater risk of having a child with birth defects.” However, the researchers “stressed leaving an infection untreated was still a bigger risk to the fetus.” The findings were published in The BMJ.

The New York Times (2/19, Bakalar) reports that the researchers “found that compared with mothers who took penicillin in the first trimester, those who took macrolides had a 55% increased relative risk of having a baby with a major birth defect involving the nervous, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, genital or urinary system.” The Times adds, “The risk was especially high for cardiovascular malformations.”

CDC: This season’s flu vaccine has been 45% effective overall so far

The AP (2/20, Stobbe) reports this season’s flu “vaccine has been 45% effective against both types of flu across all ages,” according to a CDC report. The agency “estimates that the vaccine has been about 50% effective against” the strain of Type B flu “that ended up causing most early season illnesses” in children, while “the vaccine has been about 55% effective among kids against the Type A strain that has caused a second wave of flu illnesses.”

However, NBC News (2/20, Edwards) reports “experts say, the overall effectiveness could change because we’re still in the middle of prime flu season, and other strains could pop up.” The article adds that last season, the “flu vaccine ultimately turned out to be a poor match for the circulating viruses, being just 29% effective, thanks to a late-season surge of a particularly vicious flu strain.”

Investigators examine suicide rates by occupation and industry

Reuters (2/14, Joseph) reported, “Suicide rates vary across industries and occupations, but workers in mining and oil and gas extraction continue to suffer the top U.S. rate of deaths, followed closely by the construction industry,” researchers concluded after analyzing “data from 32 states.” In their analysis of “2016 data from the CDC’s National Violent Death Reporting System,” investigators “identified five major industries and six groups of occupations with suicide rates notably higher than the national average for both men and women.” Investigators found that “in addition to extraction industries and construction, high suicide rates were seen among men in automotive repair and other maintenance services, with 39.1 deaths per 100,000.” Among women, “construction, health care support and protective services that include firefighters, security screeners, jailers and lifeguards had the highest suicide rates overall.” The findings were published online Jan. 24 in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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