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April 2014 Briefing - Pulmonology

Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Pulmonology for April 2014. This roundup includes the latest research news from journal articles, as well as the FDA approvals and regulatory changes that are the most likely to affect clinical practice.

FDA Considering OTC Use of Singulair for Allergies

WEDNESDAY, April 30, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Over-the-counter use of Singulair as a treatment for allergies is being considered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Health Highlights: April 30, 2014

ALA: More Americans Breathing Unhealthy Air

WEDNESDAY, April 30, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly 148 million Americans live in regions where air pollution levels are a threat to their health, according to the American Lung Association's 2014 State of the Air report. The number of people found to be breathing unhealthy air is nearly 16 million more than in the 2013 report.

Health Highlights: April 30, 2014
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Winter's Polar Vortex Ushers in Spring's 'Pollen Vortex'

TUESDAY, April 29, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Allergy experts say that the long, cold winter kept trees dormant for longer than usual, which means tree pollen season will overlap with grass pollen and mold seasons this year.

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FDA: Psychiatric Side Effects of Chantix to Be Reviewed in Fall

MONDAY, April 28, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The mental health risks associated with Chantix will be reviewed at a public meeting scheduled for October, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says. The meeting will feature a panel of experts who will discuss the psychiatric and behavioral side effects of Chantix and how best to manage them, The New York Times reported.

Health Highlights: April 28, 2014

SLIP-2 Tops Original SLIP Model for ID'ing Post-Op ARDS

FRIDAY, April 25, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The updated surgical lung injury prediction 2 (SLIP-2) model outperforms the original SLIP model for identifying patients at risk for postoperative acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), according to a study published in the May issue of Anesthesiology.

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Benzodiazepines May Worsen Respiratory Outcomes in COPD

FRIDAY, April 25, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- New use of benzodiazepines may increase the risk of adverse respiratory outcomes in older adults with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to research published online April 17 in the European Respiratory Journal.

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FDA Proposes E-Cigarette Regulations

THURSDAY, April 24, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is proposing long-awaited regulations governing the fast-growing electronic cigarette industry.

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Physician Groups Find Fault With Medicare Payment Data Release

THURSDAY, April 24, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Physician groups cite major problems associated with the release of Medicare payment data, according to an article published April 16 in Medical Economics.

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Educational Changes Suggested for Patient-Centered Medicine

THURSDAY, April 24, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Changes in medical education and training are suggested to help new physicians address the needs of patients and their families, according to an ideas and opinions piece published in the April 22 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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FDA Proposes Accelerated Medical Device Approval Plan

WEDNESDAY, April 23, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has proposed a new program that would provide expedited access to high-risk medical devices intended for patients with serious conditions whose medical needs are not met by current technology.

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Obstructive Sleep Apnea Linked to Osteoporosis

TUESDAY, April 22, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis, according to a study published online April 15 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

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Task Force Recommends Ways to Improve Price Transparency

MONDAY, April 21, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Price transparency frameworks, which provide price information presented in the context of other relevant information, should be developed to meet patients' needs, according to recommendations presented in a report from the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA).

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Primary Care Doctors Must Influence Lifestyle Changes

MONDAY, April 21, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Primary care physicians (PCPs) are increasingly called upon to manage circulatory and circulatory-related diseases among their patients, according to an article published April 10 in Medical Economics.

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AMA Examines Economic Impact of Physicians

FRIDAY, April 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Physicians who mainly engage in patient care contribute a total of $1.6 trillion in economic output, according to the American Medical Association (AMA)'s Economic Impact Study.

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Int'l Medical Education Standards Not Equivalent to U.K. Standards

FRIDAY, April 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- International medical graduates passing the Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) of the General Medical Council (GMC) have lower performance on MRCP(UK) (Membership of the Royal Colleges of Physicians) and MRCGP (Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners) and on annual review of competence progression (ARCP) examinations, according to two studies published online April 17 in BMJ.

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White House: 8 Million People Signed Up for Health Insurance

FRIDAY, April 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Eight million Americans signed up for private health insurance during the just-concluded first enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act, the White House announced Thursday afternoon.

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One in 20 U.S. Adults a Victim of Diagnostic Errors

THURSDAY, April 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Diagnostic errors affect at least one in 20 U.S. adults, according to research published online April 17 in BMJ Quality & Safety.

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Patient-Clinician Relationship Impacts Health Care Outcomes

THURSDAY, April 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The patient-clinician relationship has a small but significant effect on health care outcomes, according to a study published online April 9 in PLOS ONE.

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Physical Activity May Reduce Readmission Risk in COPD

THURSDAY, April 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), physical activity is associated with a reduced risk of 30-day readmission, according to a study published online April 9 in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

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Educator Discusses Key Issues for Future Doctors to Consider

THURSDAY, April 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The key issues for future physicians are discussed in an article published by the American Medical Association (AMA).

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Continued Reliance on Windows XP May Threaten Data Security

WEDNESDAY, April 16, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Physicians who use Windows XP in their practices may be affected by Microsoft's recent discontinuation of support for the program, according to an article published April 8 in Medical Economics.

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Patients Paying Much More for Specialty Drugs

TUESDAY, April 15, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Many Americans are paying less for prescription drugs, but some are having to deal with sharp rises in the cost of specialty medicines for rare or serious diseases, according to a new report.

Health Highlights: April 15, 2014

Younger Adults Hit Hardest This Flu Season

TUESDAY, April 15, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The H1N1 flu was the predominant influenza strain in the United States this year, but it packed a lot less punch than in 2009 when it caused a worldwide pandemic, health officials report.

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NSAIDs With Anticoagulant Tx Ups Major Bleeding in VTE

TUESDAY, April 15, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Concomitant use of a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) or aspirin in patients with venous thromboembolism receiving anticoagulant therapy is tied to increased risk of bleeding, according to a study published online April 14 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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Longer ICU Stays May Worsen Quality of Life in Recovery

MONDAY, April 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Longer durations of bed rest during intensive care unit (ICU) stays for acute lung injury may cause lingering physical complications, according to research published in the April issue of Critical Care Medicine.

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New Health Secretary to Confront Health Care Reform Hurdles

MONDAY, April 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- With the resignation of U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Friday, the Affordable Care Act will get a fresh face. But turning around public perception of the controversial health care reform law in a politically charged mid-term election year poses an enormous challenge for the department's next leader, policy experts said.

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Sebelius Stepping Down As HHS Secretary

FRIDAY, April 11, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is stepping down from her position, after overseeing the troubled rollout of the Affordable Care Act that remains unpopular with some Americans and virtually all Republican lawmakers.

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Insomnia Linked to Increased Risk of Subsequent Stroke

FRIDAY, April 11, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Insomnia is associated with an increased risk of subsequent stroke, especially among younger adults, according to a study published online April 3 in Stroke.

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Benefits/Risks for Fibrinolytic Therapy in Intermediate-Risk PE

FRIDAY, April 11, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A single intravenous bolus of tenecteplase reduces early death and hemodynamic decompensation in normotensive patients with intermediate-risk pulmonary embolism, but increases the risk of major hemorrhage and stroke, according to a study published in the April 10 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Updated Reviews Issued for Oseltamivir, Zanamivir Use in Flu

THURSDAY, April 10, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Oseltamivir and zanamivir reduce the time to symptomatic improvement in influenza by about half a day, but evidence to support claims of reduced admissions to hospital or complications of influenza is lacking, according to two systematic reviews of regulatory information published online April 10 in BMJ.

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Fewer Americans Overwhelmed by Medical Bills

WEDNESDAY, April 9, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- While millions of Americans still feel hamstrung by medical expenses, a new government report shows that some people are getting relief.

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More Justification Needed for Choosing Wisely Selections

WEDNESDAY, April 9, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Most services included in specialty medical societies' Top 5 lists for the Choosing Wisely campaign are based on evidence demonstrating equivalent but not superior benefit, with higher risk or higher costs compared to other options, according to a research letter published in the April 9 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Some Doctors Paid at Least $3 Million Each by Medicare

WEDNESDAY, April 9, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A small number of doctors received at least $3 million each in Medicare payments in 2012, for a total of nearly $1.5 billion, according to an analysis of Medicare claims data released Wednesday by the White House. In total, Medicare paid individual physicians nearly $64 billion in 2012. The median payment was just over $30,000, the Associated Press reported.

Health Highlights: April 9, 2014
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Depression, Functional Disability Common Post-ICU

WEDNESDAY, April 9, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with respiratory failure or shock undergoing treatment in medical or surgical intensive care units, depression and functional disability are common, according to a study published online April 7 in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.

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Obstructive Sleep Apnea Ups Risk of Barrett's Esophagus

WEDNESDAY, April 9, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is independently associated with increased risk of Barrett's esophagus (BE), according to a study published in the April issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

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Conventional Chemo May Be Better for Some Advanced NSCLC

TUESDAY, April 8, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and wild-type (WT) epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations, conventional chemotherapy improves progression-free survival (PFS) better than first-generation EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), according to research published in the April 9 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Decrease in Tobacco Use on TV Dramas Since 1955

TUESDAY, April 8, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The portrayal of tobacco use on television (TV) dramas has decreased since 1955, in line with historical cigarette consumption trends, according to a study published online April 3 in Tobacco Control.

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Newly Eligible for Expanded Medicaid Are Healthier

MONDAY, April 7, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Persons newly eligible for expanded Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are not sicker than pre-ACA enrollees, according to research published online March 26 in Health Affairs.

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Patients Select Fewer New Docs at Bottom of Tiered Ranking

MONDAY, April 7, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Patients are less likely to select a new physician ranked in the bottom of a tiered network, but often don't switch if their current physician is ranked at the bottom, according to research published online March 11 in Health Services Research.

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AMA Provides Resources to Aid Physicians' Collections

FRIDAY, April 4, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The American Medical Association (AMA) has released resources to help doctors confront policy jumpers who may pose a financial risk to physicians during the Affordable Care Act's 90-day premium grace period, according to an article published March 25 in Medical Economics.

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Cardiorespiratory Fitness Impacts Later Cognitive Function

FRIDAY, April 4, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) is associated with better verbal memory and faster psychomotor speed 25 years later, according to a study published online April 2 in Neurology.

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Breath-Actuated, Handheld Nebulizers Yield Similar Results

FRIDAY, April 4, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- There are no significant clinical differences between the use of a breath-actuated nebulizer (BAN) and a handheld nebulizer (HHN) for the treatment of wheezing or dyspnea among adults seen in the emergency department, according to a study published in the March issue of the Journal of Emergency Nursing.

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Patient Safety Not Affected by Resident Hour Reforms

THURSDAY, April 3, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- In the year following 2011 work-hour reforms for residents there were no changes in patient safety outcomes when comparing patients treated by residents to those treated by hospitalists, according to a study published online Feb. 22 in the Journal of Hospital Medicine.

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Ultrasound Can ID Pregnant Women With Respiratory Risk

THURSDAY, April 3, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- In parturients with severe preeclampsia, lung ultrasound can detect pulmonary edema and elevated left ventricular end-diastolic pressures, according to a study published in the April issue of Anesthesiology.

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Half of Uninsured Don't Intend to Sign Up for Health Coverage

WEDNESDAY, April 2, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- About 50 percent of uninsured adults do not intend to sign up for coverage through the Affordable Care Act's health care exchanges, according to an article published March 26 in Medical Economics.

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CMS: Medicare Beneficiaries Saved $3.9B on Meds in 2013

TUESDAY, April 1, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- In 2013, 4.3 million seniors and people with disabilities saved an estimated $3.9 billion on prescription drugs, an increase from the 2012 savings, according to a report published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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Smoke-Free Legislation Has Significant Health Benefits

TUESDAY, April 1, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Introduction of smoke-free legislation is associated with reductions in preterm birth and hospital attendance for asthma, according to a review published online March 28 in The Lancet.

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