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Top news stories from AMA Morning Rounds®: Week of Feb. 19, 2024


Read AMA Morning Rounds®’ most popular stories in medicine and public health from the week of  Feb. 19, 2024–Feb. 23, 2024.

CNN (2/22, Goldman) reports, “Pharmacies across the United States are reporting that they are having difficulty getting prescriptions to patients because of a cyberattack on a unit of UnitedHealth.” On Thursday, “the company said in a regulatory filing...its Change Healthcare business, which processes prescriptions to insurance for tens of thousands of pharmacies nationwide, was compromised by hackers who gained access to some of its systems.” The company found out about “the cyberattack Wednesday, and, in a separate statement, said it expected the attack to last at least throughout the day Thursday.” The cyberattack blocked “some pharmacies from processing prescriptions to insurance companies to receive payment.”

The Wall Street Journal reports the American Hospital Association called on medical facilities to disconnect from Optum following the cyberattack. Change Healthcare offers prescription processing services through Optum.

CNN (2/21, Cheng) reports, “Maternal mental illness is the leading cause of pregnancy-related deaths in the U.S., according to a new evidence review, but national initiatives developed to combat the issue often fail to prioritize mental health.” The “maternal mortality rate in the U.S. is two- to threefold greater than in other high-income countries, and it has only increased in recent years, according to the review.” The research, published in JAMA Psychiatry, “examined 30 recent studies and 15 historical references to highlight the underrecognized contribution of mental illness to maternal mortality.”

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CNN (2/20, McPhillips) reports, “The mortality rate among renters who faced eviction was twice as high as expected during the first two years of the pandemic, according to a study published on Tuesday in JAMA” that focused “on eviction filing trends in 36 court systems that cover about 400 counties.” Also, the general population “experienced excess mortality during this time, but the risk started higher for renters and rose exponentially for those threatened with eviction.” CNN adds, “From January 2020 through August 2021, the risk of death for renters facing eviction was 2.6 times greater than it was in the general population, the study found.”

Healio (2/19, Schaffer) reports, “Compared with men, women are less likely to die of any cause or from CV-specific causes when performing similar amounts of weekly leisure-time physical activity, suggesting there are sex-specific benefits to exercise.” Researchers say “that both sexes achieved a peak survival benefit at 300 minutes of weekly aerobic physical activity; however, women derived a 24% mortality reduction while men derived an 18% mortality reduction from the same degree of regular exercise.” Further, the “sex-specific findings were similar for CV death and were consistent across all measures of aerobic activity as well as muscle strengthening activity.”

NBC News (2/19, Bendix) reports, “The researchers analyzed the self-reported exercise habits of more than 412,000 men and women who participated in the National Health Interview Survey” from “1997 to 2017.” The results “were published Monday in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.”

Healio (2/16, Rhoades) reported, “Several weight management treatments greatly improved the odds of 5% or greater weight loss within a year, but only a small number of patients with obesity use them, researchers found.” According to the researchers, “there are multiple weight management treatments (WMTs) that can help produce 5% or greater weight loss, such as bariatric surgery, injectable antiobesity medications, nutrition counseling and very low-calorie meal replacement.” But, the team wrote in JAMA Network Open, “less than 5% of eligible individuals receive these WMT, and little is known about their clinical potential to support weight loss among individual patients and populations.”

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