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


Read AMA Morning Rounds®’ most popular stories in medicine and public health from the week of Nov. 27, 2023–Dec. 1, 2023.

HealthDay (11/30, Gotkine) reports, “Intravenous levothyroxine infusion does not result in more hearts being transplanted than saline infusion among hemodynamically unstable brain-dead potential heart donors, according to a study.”

MedPage Today (11/30, Lou) reports that investigators found that “in hemodynamically unstable potential donors, administering the thyroid hormone supplement after brain death did not significantly improve donor heart utilization compared with saline placebo, with transplantation rates of 54.9% and 53.2%, respectively.”

Cardiovascular Business (11/30, Walter) reports, however, that the researchers “found evidence that levothyroxine was associated with an increased risk of hypertension and abnormally fast heart rates.” The findings were published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

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MedPage Today (11/29, George) reports, “Younger onset age of coronary heart disease was tied to higher risks of incident all-cause dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and vascular dementia, a large prospective cohort study in Great Britain showed.” Every “10-year decrease in coronary heart disease onset age was associated with a 25% increased risk of all-cause dementia, a 29% increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and a 22% increased risk of vascular dementia, reported” researchers in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Healio (11/29, Schaffer) reports, “In subgroup analyses, researchers found that statin use, current drinking and diabetes modified the association between CHD and incident dementia.”

HealthDay (11/28, Foster) reports, “The prevalence of a highly mutated COVID variant has tripled in the past two weeks, new government data” show. Now, nearly 10% of “new COVID cases are fueled by the BA.2.86 variant, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Monday.” Officials “first warned of the highly mutated variant back in August, but it has since spread in several regions of the United States.” However, thus far, “preliminary data on the variant suggests it does not trigger more severe illness than previous variants, the WHO said in a recent risk evaluation, but the international agency still noted a recent and ‘substantial rise’ in BA.2.86 cases.”

HealthIT Security (11/27, McKeon) reports, “The HHS Health Sector Cybersecurity Coordination Center (HC3) issued a brief about Emotet, a notorious malware strain that has impacted the health care sector” since “at least 2014.” The malware “has been described as the ‘world’s most dangerous malware’ by Europol.” For now, “HC3 stressed that the information in the brief is accurate as of the date of publication, but Emotet will likely evolve and update its capabilities in the future.” HC3 added, “The cybercriminal ecosystem is resilient, fluid and dynamic – gangs form and disband, but the talent and intellectual capital continues to grow over time. This is not expected to change.”

Drug Topics (11/24, Steinzor) reported, “Among a cohort of patients who received a flu vaccine, there was a 26% decreased risk of heart attacks and a 33% reduction in cardiovascular deaths, according to one study” published in Scientific Reports. In the study, among participants receiving a flu vaccine, “a total of 517 individuals experienced significant cardiovascular events compared with 621 cases among individuals who were administered a placebo. ... Additionally, there was a decreased risk of heart attacks in vaccinated patients...and a significant reduction in cardiovascular death events.”

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