Rethinking hospital alarms

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 27, 2016 - Hospital alarms are currently ranked as the "top medical technology hazard" within the United States. On average, there are about 480,000 patients in hospitals -- each generating about 135 clinical alarms per day. But studies show that more than 90 percent of these alarms result in no action. Alarm errors -- either alarms that sound and receive no response or alarms that fail to sound when they should --occur roughly 8 million times per day.

Music for the eyes

Having relaxing music played just before eye surgery leads to patients feeling less anxiety and requiring less sedation, concludes a study presented at Euroanaesthesia 2016 (London, 27-30 May). The study is by Dr Gilles Guerrier, Cochin University Hospital, Paris, France, and colleagues.

Telling irregularities

The heart rate may be an indicator of a person's life expectancy. A research team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has to this end analyzed an effect which at first seems paradoxical: Minor irregularities in the heartbeat are indicative of a healthy body. A clinical study confirmed a strong correlation between this phenomenon and the survival prospects of heart attack patients. The new methods of measurement may soon be applied in medical practice.

In wake of Flint crisis, new proposal seeks to 'focus on the fix' for lead poisoning

May 27, 2016 - The crisis of lead-contaminated drinking water in Flint, Mich., continues to make headlines--but it's just the most prominent example of an "ongoing and needless tragedy of childhood lead poisoning," according David E. Jacobs, PhD, CIH, a noted authority on childhood lead poisoning prevention. Dr. Jacobs writes in the June Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, published by Wolters Kluwer.

New meta-analysis shows ketamine effective against persistent post-surgical pain and could provide major cost-savings globally

A new meta-analysis showing the effectiveness of ketamine for dealing with persistent post-surgical pain (PPSP) is to be presented at Euroanaesthesia 2016 (London, May 27-30 ). Ketamine, a cheap and safe drug, may have the potential to save health systems billions of dollars globally by being used in place of other drugs to prevent PPSP.

Palliative, hospice care lacking among dying cancer patients, Stanford researcher finds

Medical societies, including the American Society of Clinical Oncology, recommend that patients with advanced cancer receive palliative care soon after diagnosis and receive hospice care for at least the last three days of their life. Yet major gaps persist between these recommendations and real-life practice, a new study shows.

Pharmacist prescribes education as key to curbing opioid abuse

Technologies that make it harder for people to abuse opioids - like doctoring pills so that they produce unpleasant side effects if broken, crushed or injected -- likely will have limited effectiveness in stemming the global epidemic of opioid abuse, according to Adam Kaye, a professor of pharmacy at University of the Pacific.

Writing in the latest issue of the journal Current Pain and Headache Reports, Kaye and his co-authors argue that such technologies are no substitute for education.

Brivaracetam in epilepsy: Added benefit not proven

Brivaracetam (trade name: Briviact) has been approved since January 2016 as add-on therapy for adolescents from the age of 16 years and adults with epileptic seizures. The German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) now examined in an early benefit assessment whether this drug offers an added benefit for patients in comparison with the appropriate comparator therapy.

Vismodegib in basal cell carcinoma: Added benefit not proven

Vismodegib (trade name: Erivedge) has already been approved since 2013 for the treatment of patients with locally advanced basal cell carcinoma (BCC) or symptomatic metastatic BCC and has already undergone an early benefit assessment according to the Act on the Reform of the Market for Medicinal Products (AMNOG). The Federal Joint Committee (G-BA) limited its decision in February 2014 to two years, which is why the drug manufacturer now submitted a new dossier.

Investigational drugs show promise for treating overactive bladder

In a recent study of patients with overactive bladder (OAB), a 30 mg extended release formulation of propiverine hydrochloride was at least as effective and safe as a 4 mg extended release formulation of tolterodine tartrate. Both medications are called antimuscarinic drugs that block certain cell receptors, but propiverine differs from other antimuscarinics because of a dual mode of action.