Tuesday, May 2, 2006

MedRoundUp: Have your babies in late summer, early fall

Kids born in spring or early summer have a 17% higher chance of committing suicide, says a new study, in contrast to schizophrenic babies, which are born more often in late winter, early spring. Last year, other research found that summer sunlight triggers a seasonal rise in suicides.

Another new study compared a 500-calorie diet vs gastric banding surgery. After six months, both the surgery patients and the low-calorie dieters lost an average of 14% of their starting weight. After two years, the gastric band patients lost 22% of their starting weight. That was about 87% of their excess weight, or roughly 45 pounds. They also showed marked improvement in their health and quality of life. At the end of two years, the dieters had regained much of their lost weight but were still 5.5% below their starting weight. They had lost 22% of their excess weight, or about 12 pounds.

A consumer group wants gatifloxacin banned, because even though Bristol-Squibb discontinued production of the drug, stores that docs could prescribe still exist. The fluoroquinolone reaks havoc on blood sugar levels, but it also is the drug least associated with agranulocytosis, which made it a key portion of the treatment of one of my AIDS patients at the VA this past year. Gati isn't exactly first-line, but with growing fluoroquinolone resistance, I don't know why the FDA would deem it necessary to remove yet another tool from the infectious disease toolbox, especially in the in-patient setting, where blood sugar levels can be closely moniotored.

A UofChicago survey, not surprisingly reported by Fox News, says that physicians really don't mind talking about religion with their patients. Actually, that's not at all what it says, but that's what the headline implies. Really, there's just no consensus on how religion can be appropriately integrated into the therapeutic relationship. I'd like to see a breakdown by specialty.

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