Top news stories from AMA Morning Rounds®: Week of March 6, 2023


Read AMA Morning Rounds®’ most popular stories in medicine and public health from the week of March 6, 2023–March 10, 2023.

The Washington Post (3/9, Ovalle) reports “mammogram providers will be required to inform women with dense breast tissue that their cancer screenings may be difficult to interpret and recommend consulting their” physicians “about the need for additional tests, the Food and Drug Administration announced on Thursday.” Supporters of the agency’s “decision say the new standards will save lives by helping women learn about their breast density risks and potentially detect cancer earlier.” Providers need to “implement the new regulations within 18 months, the agency said.”

Reuters (3/9, Samal) reports “all mammography facilities in the country will be required to notify patients about the density of their breast tissues.” The new “rules will help ensure patients receive information on the potential need for further evaluation or a repeat mammogram, the health regulator said.”

CNN (3/9, Chavez) reports “the changes ‘reflect advances in mammography technology and processes,’ the agency said in a fact sheet about the medical imaging, and will strengthen the FDA’s oversight and enforcement while helping physicians better assess and categorize mammograms.”

The New York Times (3/8, Chung) reports that “opioids were the leading cause of fatal poisonings among children age 5 years old and younger in recent years, a study has found.” The study “analyzed 731 poisoning-related deaths that occurred from 2005 to 2018 across 40 states” and “found that opioids...contributed to nearly half, or 47%, of those deaths.” According to the findings published in Pediatrics, “about 41% of these poisoning deaths resulted from accidental overdoses,” while 18% were described as “‘deliberate’ poisonings.”

CNN (3/8, Christensen) reports the trend worsened over time. The findings also showed that “more than 65% of the deaths happened at home.”

The New York Times (3/7, Belluck) reports a large study suggests that patients with COVID-19 “were significantly more likely to experience gastrointestinal problems a year after infection than people who were not infected.” The study “compared medical records of 154,068” patients with COVID-19 “in the Veterans Health Administration system with about 5.6 million patients of similar age and other characteristics who had not contracted the coronavirus.” The findings, published in Nature Communications, showed patients with COVID-19 “were 36% more likely to have long-term gastrointestinal problems,” and “the most common diagnoses were acid-related disorders.”

Medscape (3/6, Brooks, Subscription Publication) reports, “Vitamin D supplementation has the potential to be a viable dementia prevention strategy, especially when initiated early...research suggests.” In the “large prospective cohort study, people who took vitamin D were 40% less likely to develop dementia than peers who did not take vitamin D.” According to the findings published in Alzheimer’s and Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment and Disease Monitoring, “the effects of vitamin D were most pronounced in women, those with normal cognitive function, and apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε4 noncarriers.”

The Washington Post (3/4, Parker-Pope) reported “research shows that a different cholesterol drug, called bempedoic acid, can significantly lower heart attack risk in” statin-intolerant patients. The study showed that “bempedoic acid reduced cholesterol by 21%,” and patients “who took the drug had a 23% lower risk of myocardial infarction and a 19% lower risk of having a revascularization procedure.” The findings were presented at ACC.23/WCC and simultaneously published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

The New York Times (3/4, Kolata) reported the study “showed that bempedoic acid modestly decreased the combined risk of cardiovascular complications...although it did not decrease the overall mortality rate.” Moreover, patients “did not have muscle aches or an increased risk of diabetes.”

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