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Family history screen

August 2, 2000

NEW YORK, July 31 (Praxis Press) Family history of mental illness is a risk for many disorders. Brief screens such as the Family History Screen (FHS) to collect lifetime family psychiatric history are useful in clinical practice. However, their validity compared to other methods has not been fully established. Weissman and colleagues assessed the performance of the FHS in relation to the best estimate (BE) diagnosis as a standard. They analyzed data on the validity against the BE diagnosis based

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Management of obesity

August 2, 2000

NEW YORK, Aug 1 (Praxis Press) The way in which physicians recognize and manage obesity is unknown. To estimate national patterns of office-based, obesity-related practices and to determine the independent predictors of these practices, Stafford and colleagues performed serial cross-sectional surveys of 55,858 adult physician office visits. The researchers assessed reporting of obesity at office visits and physician counseling for weight loss, exercise, and diet among patients identified as obes

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Omeprazole and ranitidine

August 2, 2000

NEW YORK, July 31 (Praxis Press) Previous studies have shown that omeprazole sodium is more effective than ranitidine hydrochloride in controlling symptoms of heartburn in patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). However, it is not clear whether these findings can be extrapolated to primary care practice. To compare the two medications, Kaplan-Machlis and colleagues performed a multicenter, randomized, open-label, medical effectiveness trial in 268 patients with GERD randomly assign

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Sex is good

By | August 2, 2000

If synergistic epistasis occurs, each mutation added to a genome has a greater deleterious effect than preceding mutations. Without this effect it is difficult to explain how small populations can survive in the face of genetic drift, or how larger populations can survive a high mutation rate. In the 27 July Nature Peck and Waxman use a mathematical model to deduce that competition in small groups does, indeed, lead to synergistic epistasis (Nature 2000, 406:399-404). This competition also produ

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The jaws of transcription

By | August 2, 2000

An RNA polymerase crystal structure and crosslinking data are combined to give clues about how transcription works.

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Tobacco industry's smoke screen blown

By | August 2, 2000

An elaborate dirty tricks campaign orchestrated by the tobacco industry to sabotage WHO anti-tobacco efforts is revealed in a WHO report released today.

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Acute mountain sickness

August 1, 2000

NEW YORK, July 31 (Praxis Press) Several medications have been used to alleviate or prevent acute mountain sickness (AMS), but their relative efficacies are unknown. Dumont and colleagues reviewed 33 randomized placebo-controlled trials of drugs used to prevent AMS. The mean incidence of AMS above 4,000 meters was 67% in subjects taking a placebo; the rate of ascent correlated with incidence, whereas altitude and mode of ascent did not. Dexamethasone (8-16 mg) and acetazolamide (750 mg) prevente

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NEW YORK, July 31 (Praxis Press) Blood screening, immunization, and infection control policies have made hospital outbreaks of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection rare; in contrast, community outbreaks of HBV remain problematic. Using molecular epidemiology, Webster and colleagues traced the origin and spread of HBV infection acquired by a woman who attended a London clinic for autohemotherapy. Sixteen percent of the 352 clinic patients 4 staff members tested had serologic evidence of HBV infectio

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NEW YORK, July 31 (Praxis Press) Cardiovascular outcomes have not been compared in hypertensive patients treated with calcium channel blockers and in patients treated with older drugs. Hansson and colleagues compared morbidity and mortality in 5,410 hypertensive patients randomized to diltiazem treatment and in 5,471 hypertensive patients randomized to treatment with diuretics, beta-blockers, or both. Both regimens effectively lowered systolic and diastolic blood pressure, although diuretics an

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Etanercept and psoriasis

August 1, 2000

NEW YORK, July 31 (Praxis Press) Patients with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis have increased concentrations of tumor necrosis factor in their skin lesions and joints. Mease and colleagues studied psoriasis disease activity in 30 patients randomized to receive etanercept, an inhibitor of tumor necrosis factor, and in 30 patients randomized to receive placebo. After 12 weeks of treatment, the median improvements in psoriasis area and severity index scores were 46.2% for etanercept-treated patie

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