News from the World of Medicine
The most important medical news, in plain English.
Which medical news are TRULY the most important of the year?
Each January, the Massachusetts Medical Society (amongst others, Harvard University) selects the top medical news stories of the year.
Radiofabrik presents this news.
The presenter, Dara Koper, is a doctor.
(Please note: this is a general radio show, without any legal guarantees. Questions pertaining to individual patients cannot be commented.)
Airtime: Every third Sunday of the month, 1.30-2 pm
This month, we move away from the year 2018, to the most important medical topics from the year 2019.
The first medical news today: Several guidelines for bacterial pneumonia have been updated. There was one change in vaccines. Only a specific vaccine type is recommended now. The great change, however, is: Doctors are urged not to give broad-spectrum antibiotics, before the results of blood cultures become available. This is a big change. Instead, the updated guideline now recommends careful case-by-case decision making.
The second medical news today: Daily low-dose aspirin for the primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases had previously been recommended for all who are 50 years of age or older, but the recently updated guideline now backs off of daily low-dose aspirin. Daily low-dose aspirin is now recommended only for a few patients. The new guideline even is completely against, I repeat, completely against, daily low-dose aspirin for primary prevention (a) in people 70 years of age or older and (b) in people with a high risk for bleeding, such as patients with chronic kidney disease or thrombocytopenia.
Your questions about the new virus from China:
Just one day after I’ve uploaded the radio broadcast „The new virus from China” into the archive, the broadcast already has been downloaded by third-party radio stations, and you did send me INTERESTING QUESTIONS.
I shall answer all of your questions. The questions that start with „Is it true that …” I’ll discuss at the end of the broadcast. I’ll start with your new questions:
Is there a hero or a heroine, a scientist who played an especially important role?
Why is there Ebola?
What happens on the long-term? What is the perspective?
(The “hero,” by the way, is a heroine, i.e. a woman).
What do we know today, the day of the recording of this broadcast, January 28, 2020, about the new virus from China? Should we be concerned? According to current knowledge: The new coronavirus is to be taken seriously. You should keep up-to-date. However: A panic is not necessary. And, no guarantee, and yet, at the moment, it looks as if this danger will be over within a few months. In 2021, it seems, we will have mastered this danger.
How can you protect yourself today? Wash your hands! Wash your hands several times a day.
How can you protect others today should you believe that you are infected with the new virus? Call the outpatient clinic of a hospital, inform the hospital of your suspicion and only then go the outpatient clinic of the hospital.
The following questions will also be answered in this broadcast. What is a virus? What is a coronavirus? What is the new coronavirus from China? How long has the new coronavirus been around? Since when have people been infected with the new coronavirus? How is the new coronavirus transmitted? How easily is the new virus transmitted? How long is the incubation period of the new virus? What are the symptoms of an infection with the new virus? Am I going to die of this virus should I become infected? How many deaths occurred to date? Is the new coronavirus present in other countries or only in China? Is there a laboratory test for the new virus? Are there any medicinal drugs against the new virus? Is there a vaccine for the new virus? What is the standard treatment, the standard of care, for an infection with the new virus? Are China, respectively, Austria prepared in case infections with the new virus become widespread? How do the authorities in Austria react today if there is a suspected case? Is the reporting of infections mandatory in Austria? Who would be quarantined in Austria? Will infected patients recover? Is there a travel warning for China? Why do new viruses often come from the Middle East and Southeast Asia, and especially from China? Is a pandemic possible today?
This month, we continue with the last three important medical topics from 2018. Next month we will move on to 2019 and discuss the most important medical topics from the year 2019.
The first medical news today: The mitral valve of the heart is one of the four valves of the heart. Mitral valve regurgitation is an imperfect and leaky closure of this valve. The most common treatments are drug treatment and open surgery on the heart. Can the open surgery be avoided? In a clinical study called COAPT, 614 patients were randomised to two groups. One group continued to receive optimal drug treatment. The other group continued to receive optimal drug treatment plus had a repair of the mitral valve of the heart, but not through open surgery on the heart, but through a catheter intervention. This catheter intervention was successful. Slowly, it will prevail.
The second medical news today: The treatment of a stroke or a TIA (transient ischaemic attack = a mini-stroke) is well established. Can this treatment be improved? In the clinical study called “POINT,” 4881 patients were randomised to two groups. The first group received only aspirin. The second group received aspirin plus clopidogrel. There was a good result and a bad result. However, if you take a closer look, there also was a time factor. From this it can be deduced that the administration of aspirin plus clopidogrel (also known as dual therapy) is beneficial particularly in the first week of treatment after a stroke or a TIA.
The third medical news today: A meta-analysis confirmed today’s common clinical practice in patients with COPD. A gradual increase to triple therapy (an antimuscarinic plus a beta-agonist plus a corticosteroid for inhalation), which is de facto standard of care anyway, leads to good clinical results.
The first medical news today:
Precision medicine = Personalised medicine. Personalised medicine is admittedly a misleading name, because personalised medicine (as mentioned, the same as precision medicine) actually only means that genetic tests also will decide which treatment you get. The corresponding medical research was complicated, but highly interesting. And now, finally, the time has come. This research is now moving into the clinic. In the future, genetic testing will make treatments more effective. Ineffective treatments will be avoided. The first (quote unquote) “really important” clinical study of genetic testing in the treatment of cancer was conducted in 2018 in women with early-stage breast cancer. A commercially available genetic test helped to avoid an unnecessary treatment in a large subset of women with breast cancer.
The second medical news today:
The treatment of patients with coronary artery disease is well known and well established. Two add-on treatments, also known as additional therapies, were tested in 2018 in patients with coronary artery disease. There were benefits and harms from both of these add-on treatments. There was no clear conclusion.