Top news stories from AMA Morning Rounds®: Week of Feb. 27, 2023


Read AMA Morning Rounds®’ most popular stories in medicine and public health from the week of Feb. 27, 2023–March 3, 2023.

Reuters (3/2, Rigby) says that “more than half of the world’s population will” have overweight or obesity “by 2035 without significant action, according to a new report.” In addition, the World Obesity Atlas 2023 “found that childhood obesity could more than double from 2020 levels, to 208 million boys and 175 million girls by 2035.” The report (PDF) from the World Obesity Federation showed “the cost to society is significant as a result of the health conditions linked to” having “overweight, the federation said: more than $4 trillion annually by 2035, or 3% of global GDP.”

The Hill (3/2, Sforza) says the report predicted that “51% of the global population—about 4 billion people—will” have obesity or overweight “in 12 years.”

The Washington Post (3/1, Amenabar) says “the burden of colorectal cancer in the United States is shifting to younger adults, and more patients are being diagnosed with later stage disease, according to a” report from the American Cancer Society published in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. The findings show that “one in 5 new cases of colorectal cancer in the United States occur in people younger than 55—about twice the rate in 1995, when 11% of cases were in this age group.” Furthermore, “60% of patients are being diagnosed with an advanced stage of the disease, up from 52% in the mid-2000s.”

CNN (3/1, Howard) says the report also found “that more people are surviving colorectal cancer, with the relative survival rate at least five years after diagnosis rising from 50% in the mid-1970s to 65% from 2012 through 2018, partly due to advancements in treatment.”

The AP (2/28, Perrone) reports a panel of FDA advisers “on Tuesday narrowly backed an experimental vaccine from Pfizer that could soon become the first shot to protect older adults against” RSV. The panel “voted 7-4 on two separate questions of whether Pfizer’s data showed the vaccine was safe and effective against the respiratory virus for people 60 and older.” This vote “came despite concerns about rare potential reactions and questions about how the vaccine fared in people who face the greatest risks from RSV.”

NBC News (2/28, Bendix) reports, “The single-dose shot was shown to reduce the risk of illness from respiratory syncytial virus by as much as 86%, according to Pfizer.” The Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee “will meet again Wednesday to evaluate the safety and efficacy of a similar RSV vaccine for older adults, this one from GlaxoSmithKline.”

CNN (2/27, LaMotte) reports, “A sugar replacement called erythritol—used to add bulk or sweeten stevia, monk-fruit, and keto reduced-sugar products—has been linked to blood clotting, stroke, heart attack and death, according to” new research. The study, published in Nature Medicine, found that “people with existing risk factors for heart disease, such as diabetes, were twice as likely to experience a heart attack or stroke if they had the highest levels of erythritol in their blood.”

USA Today (2/25, Snider) reported the FDA “has authorized the first over-the-counter at-home test that can detect and differentiate between a test result for flu and a test result for COVID-19.” The “Lucira COVID-19 and Flu Home Test is a single-use test,” in which “a nasal swab is used as with an at-home COVID test; in 30 minutes or less, the test displays the results – positive or negative for influenza A, Influenza B and COVID-19.”

The Washington Post (2/24, McGinley) reported the agency “said the new test is for people with symptoms of a respiratory tract infection, including COVID, the disease caused by the coronavirus.”

The New York Times (2/24, Jewett, Anthes) reported this new “test is meant to be used by people 14 and older, or by an adult collecting a sample from someone age 2 or older.”

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