Aspirin, warfarin toss-up
ASPIRIN has been found to be as effective as warfarin in treating patients requiring thrombosis prevention for reduced left ventricular ejection fraction who are in sinus rhythm, according to research published in the New England Journal of Medicine. In a randomised controlled trial that followed 2305 patients for 6 years, the researchers found that there was no significant overall difference in the composite primary outcome of ischaemic stroke, intracerebral haemorrhage, or death from any cause. A reduced risk of ischaemic stroke with warfarin was offset by an increased risk of major haemorrhage. They concluded that choice of drug should be individualised. The study was reported by BBC News.

Newborn heart screening
PULSE oximetry screening is highly specific for detection of critical congenital heart defects in newborn babies, with moderate sensitivity and meets criteria for universal screening, according to researchers who conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis published in The Lancet. The overall sensitivity of pulse oximetry and the low false-positive rate compared with other methods of detection (such as prenatal ultrasound and routine physical exam) provided convincing evidence for the introduction of this technique in clinical practice, the researchers said. The research was reported by The Conversation.

Taser under scrutiny
THE mechanism that leads to cardiac arrest in people who have been “Tasered” has been described in Circulation. The researchers, who studied eight cases of Taser electronic control device (ECD)-induced loss of consciousness, found ECD stimulation can cause cardiac electrical capture and provoke cardiac arrest due to ventricular tachycardia/ventricular fibrillation. After prolonged fibrillation without resuscitation, asystole develops. The research was reported by The Australian.

Post-term birth behaviour problems
POST-term birth, defined as birth after pregnancy duration of 42 weeks, is associated with more behavioural and emotional problems in early childhood, especially attention deficit/hyperactivity problem behaviour, according to a study in the International Journal of Epidemiology. The researchers recommended that this be taken into account when considering expectant management of post-term pregnancy. The study was reported by The Guardian.

Pesticide affects brain
CHLORPYRIFOS, an organophosphate insecticide has been found to cause structural changes in the developing human brain in a study of the brain morphology of 40 children, half of whom had received high prenatal exposure. The study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that chlorpyrifos was widely used, with the structural changes in the human brain occurring at standard use levels. The study was reported in the Herald Sun.

Circadian clock trigger clarified
RESEARCHERS have identified a mechanism in mice that could become the target of new treatments that help to reset disrupted body clocks. The study, published in Nature, explored the importance of genes in the livers of mice that regulate digestion at appropriate times. The researchers said their study demonstrated the principal feedback loop that drives circadian expression and indicated a more integral mechanism for the coordination of circadian rhythm and metabolism. The study was reported by The Telegraph.

Posted 7 May 2012

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