Top news stories from AMA Morning Rounds®: Week of Oct. 16, 2023


Read AMA Morning Rounds®’ most popular stories in medicine and public health from the week of Oct. 16, 2023–Oct. 20, 2023.

HealthDay (10/18, Murez) reports, “Fluctuating blood pressure can be a harbinger for both dementia and heart disease,” according to the findings of a 70-healthy older adult study published online in the journal Cerebral Circulation—Cognition and Behavior. The study revealed that “ups and downs within 24 hours or even over several days or weeks were linked with impaired thinking.” What’s more, “higher variations in systolic blood pressure...were linked with stiffening of the arteries, which is associated with heart disease.”

HealthDay (10/17, Reinberg) reports, “Adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are nearly three times more likely to develop dementia than other adults,” according to a study that “collected data on more than 109,000 Israelis who were born between 1933 and 1952 and followed from 2003 to 2020.” The study also revealed that “treatment with ADHD medication may help reduce their dementia risk,” as “no clear uptick in dementia risk was found among” patients with ADHD “who received psychostimulant medication.” The findings were published online in JAMA Network Open.

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The New York Times (10/16, Belluck) reports, “A team of scientists is proposing a new explanation for some cases of long COVID, based on their findings that serotonin levels were lower in people with the complex condition.” In a new study published in Cell, the researchers “suggest that serotonin reduction is triggered by remnants of the virus lingering in the gut. Depleted serotonin could especially explain memory problems and some neurological and cognitive symptoms of long COVID, they say.” The study “could point the way toward possible treatments, including medications that boost serotonin.”

STAT (10/16, Cooney, Subscription Publication) reports, “The research rests on an analysis of metabolites in the blood that compared people with long COVID to people who recovered completely, as well as animal models recreating infection and viral persistence.” Among the patients with long COVID, “serotonin levels were markedly lower...likely driven by elevated interferon levels.”

Reuters (10/13, Steenhuysen) reported, “U.S. health officials on Friday lifted curbs on reimbursement of a non-invasive imaging test called amyloid PET used to diagnose Alzheimer’s, ending a once-per-lifetime limitation that clears the way for its use to determine eligibility for new treatments.” These new medications “include Eisai and Biogen’s Leqembi [lecanemab], and an experimental drug from Eli Lilly known as donanemab, which work by removing a protein called beta amyloid from the brain.” The protein clumps “are considered an early hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease that gradually destroy memory and thinking skills. Previously, amyloid positron emission tomography, or PET, scans were only accessible for use in a clinical trial or patient registry.”

CNN (10/19, Rogers) reports, “A by Harvard researchers suggests having just two servings of red meat per week increases risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in life, and the risk further increases with greater consumption, according to the study published Thursday in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.” This has been shown “in past studies, but the authors of the latest research wanted to improve upon them by adding details about how diabetes diagnoses and related biomarkers were affected by intake over a long period of time.”

NPR (10/19, Aubrey) reports that study participants “who consumed high amounts of red meat also had higher BMIs. They consumed more calories and were less physically active compared to those who consumed the least red meat.”

HealthDay (10/19, Reinberg) reports, “People who ate the most red meat had a 62% higher risk for type 2 diabetes, compared with those who ate the least.”

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