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Med Schools  More Diverse Now, But Study Finds Minorities Still Mistreated

Race, gender and sexual orientation are tied to mistreatment of medical school students by faculty, physicians and fellow students, according to a new report.

For the study, Yale University researchers analyzed more than 27,500 surveys of students at 140 accredited medical schools in the United States.

The researchers found that women, Asians, under-represented minorities, a...

It's Not Medical Outcomes That Drive Patients' Hospital Reviews

Rave online reviews about a hospital stay may not mean much about the actual medical care there, if a new study is any indication.

Researchers found that across U.S. hospitals, patient-satisfaction scores were more dependent on "hospitality" factors -- like friendly nurses, quiet rooms and good food -- than on hard measures of health care quality.

Patients Care Little About ER Doctors' Race or Sex: Study

Americans don't seem to care about the race or sex of emergency room doctors, a new study shows.

Participants were asked to rate their satisfaction with a simulated ER visit and the scores were the same whether their doctor was white or black, or a man or a woman.

"We were really surprised that even after looking at these data in many different ways, we did not see evidence...

Brand-Name Rx Rise After Docs Get Drug Company Perks: Study

American doctors prescribe more brand-name medications after they get a free lunch or other incentives from drug company marketers, a new study finds.

Researchers analyzed drug prescribing between 2013 and 2015 for a large sample of enrollees in Medicare Part D. The federal program, which subsidizes prescriptions for 37 million seniors and disabled people, accounts for nearly one-thir...

Few Teen Boys at Risk for HIV Get Tested

Too few teenage boys at risk for HIV infection are tested for the AIDS-causing virus in the United States, researchers say.

And this contributes to the growing epidemic of undiagnosed HIV in the nation.

Close to 15% of HIV infections in the United States are undiagnosed, but the undiagnosed rate is more than 3.5 times higher (51%) among 13- to 24-year-olds, accordin...

Study Finds 'No Clear Rationale' for 45% of Antibiotic Prescriptions

Nearly half of antibiotic prescriptions for Medicaid patients appear to be inappropriate, new research suggests.

That kind of overprescribing raises risks for everyone, experts say, as bacteria gain more chances to mutate around the life-saving drugs.

For the study, researchers analyzed 298 million antibiotic prescriptions filled by 53 million Medicaid patients between 2004 ...

Dentists Among Top Prescribers of Opioids

American dentists often prescribe more than the recommended supply of opioid painkillers to patients, a new study finds.

Not only that, they are more likely to prescribe more powerful opioids, the researchers found.

In this study, the researchers analyzed data on nearly 550,000 dental visits by adult patients between 2011 and 2015, before U.S. Centers for Disease Control and...

Why Are Fewer U.S. Kids Going to Pediatricians?

Little Johnny's cough has lasted for days, leaving Mom and Dad wondering if the symptoms warrant a trip to the doctor. A new study suggests that such parents may choose to skip that standard pediatric sick visit.

Overall visits to the pediatrician in the United States dropped by 14% between 2008 and 2016. Sick visits were down 24%.

At the same time, well-child visi...

Simple Tweak to Hospital Computer Program Cuts Opioid Prescriptions

Could a simple computer hack help make a dent in the opioid epidemic?

New research suggests that the number of painkillers prescribed to patients can be reduced just by lowering default computer settings that display a preset number of pills.

That simple change led doctors at two California hospitals to prescribe fewer opioids, and the approach could improve opioid prescribi...

U.S. Doctors Often Test, Treat Kids Unnecessarily

Regardless of their family's insurance status, many children get medical care they don't need, a new study suggests.

One in 11 publicly insured and 1 in 9 privately insured children in the United States were given what the researchers called unnecessary, "low-value" care in 2014, the researchers report.

"While we found that publicly insured children were a little more likel...

One Big Roadblock to Opioid Addiction Treatment

The crisis of opioid abuse continues in the United States. However, a new study finds there still aren't enough doctors authorized to prescribe the leading drug treatment for opioid addiction.

This shortfall occurs even though the number of physicians approved for the drug, called buprenorphine, has risen dramatically over the past decade, researchers say.

Right now, fewer ...

Many Girls, Young Women Getting Unnecessary Pelvic Exams

Many American teen girls and young women under the age of 21 are undergoing pelvic exams and Pap tests they just don't need, a new study finds.

"Parents of adolescents and young women should be aware that cervical cancer screening is not recommended routinely in this age group," said study senior researcher Dr. George Sawaya. He is professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductiv...

Seniors Still Wary of Online Reviews When Picking Doctors

Most older Americans don't fully rely on or trust online ratings of doctors, a new study finds.

Among men and women between the ages of 50 and 80, only 43% have looked online to see how patients rated a doctor, researchers report.

Of these, two-thirds chose a doctor because of good online ratings and reviews, according to the National Poll on Healthy Aging, conducted b...

Obesity Might Skew Blood Tests in Kids

If your child is obese, new research suggests that those extra pounds can alter the results of routine blood tests.

"We performed the first comprehensive analysis of the effect of obesity on routine blood tests in a large community population of children and found that almost 70% of the blood tests studied were affected," said study first author Victoria Higgins, from the Hospital...

Fewer Americans Have a Primary Care Doctor Now

The number of Americans who have a primary care doctor is shrinking -- with potential consequences for their health, researchers say.

Their new study found that in 2015, an estimated 75% of Americans had a primary care provider -- down from 77% in 2002. The declines were most pronounced among people under 60: For Americans in their 30s, for example, the figure dropped from 71&...

Hospital-Level Care in Your Home? It Could Be the Future

The days of old-fashioned house calls may be over, but there is a growing trend toward providing some hospital care in the comfort of patients' homes. Now, a new study suggests it might end up being cheaper and, in some respects, better than traditional hospital care.

The study, done at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, tested a "hospital at home" program -- where patients with ...

Over 40% of Antibiotics Could Be 'Inappropriately' Prescribed

When your doctor prescribes an antibiotic, there's a 43% chance it may not be needed, a new study finds.

"While there has been a lot of research looking at inappropriate prescribing, our findings suggest that we still may be underestimating the proportion of prescriptions that are inappropriate," said lead study author Michael Ray, a researcher at Oregon State University College ...

Rural Seniors Hurt by Lack of Medical Specialists

American seniors living in rural areas face a higher risk of hospitalization and death, and a lack of medical specialists may be the reason why, researchers report.

"People on Medicare with chronic conditions such as heart failure or diabetes who live in rural areas have higher death and hospitalization rates than their urban peers," said study leader Kenton Johnston. He's an assistan...

Virtual Doc Visits Suffice for Many With Neurological Disorders

If you have a neurological disorder, a video chat with your doctor might be as good as an office visit for checking on your condition.

That's the conclusion of researchers who analyzed 101 studies on telemedicine use for concussion, traumatic brain injury, dementia, epilepsy, headache, multiple sclerosis, movement disorders, neuromuscular conditions and general neurology.

In...

Does Informed Consent Before Heart Procedure Actually Inform?

Many patients who have an artery-opening procedure don't understand or remember information they receive before their surgery, and most have unrealistic expectations about what it will do for them, a new study finds.

Researchers examined the effectiveness of informed consent -- which is meant to provide the risks and benefits of a procedure -- given to a group of patients before they ...

Doctors' Group Calls for Ban on Most Vaping Products

The American Medical Association (AMA) is calling for a ban on all e-cigarettes and vaping products not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to help people quit smoking tobacco cigarettes.

The move is in response to a sharp rise in youth e-cigarette use and an outbreak of more than 2,000 illnesses and 40-plus deaths caused by vaping-related lung illness.

"The r...

With Blood Draws, Bedside Manners Matter

How much pain you feel when blood samples are taken could depend on how nice the person wielding the needle is, new research suggests.

Patients were 390% more likely to say their pain was well-controlled when the person taking their blood was courteous, according to a study presented recently at the Anesthesiology annual meeting, in Orlando.

"It's not surprising that a c...

Most Docs Don't Know Hair Care Is a Barrier to Exercise for Black Women

The extra care that black women's hairstyles can require is often a barrier to exercise, but many U.S. health care providers aren't even aware of the problem, a new study finds.

Researchers surveyed doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants in the department of family medicine at Ohio State University, and found that 95% of them sometimes/often discuss exercise with bl...

Many U.S. Parents Can't Find a Psychiatrist to Help Their Child

Despite a growing need for mental health care for children and teens -- including a rise in youth suicide -- many areas of the United States lack any child psychiatrists, new research reports.

The study found that almost three-quarters of American counties don't have a single child psychiatrist.

"There are about 17 million children in the United States with a mental health...

Language Barriers May Mean Repeat Visits to the Hospital

Language barriers between doctors and patients may translate into return visits to the hospital for certain heart or lung conditions, a new study suggests.

Conducted at two urban hospitals in Canada, the study found the heightened risks among patients with limited English skills who were suffering from either heart failure or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) -- which inclu...

Is Melanoma Suspected? Get 2nd Opinion From Specialist, Study Says

Melanoma is the most lethal type of skin cancer, and a new study finds that the diagnosis of a suspect lesion gains accuracy when a specialist pathologist is brought on board.

Many patients with melanoma are first diagnosed by general practitioners, dermatologists or plastic surgeons. A biopsy sample of the suspect lesion might then be sent to a general pathologist for further diagnos...

Specialist Care Crucial for Hospital Patients With Fungal Infections

Among hospitalized patients, infections with the fungus Candida are common and deadly.

In the United States, 25,000 cases occur each year, and nearly 45% of infected patients die. But a new study reports that the death rate can be cut by 20% if an infectious disease specialist takes charge of such cases.

These specialists are more likely to follow evidence-bas...

Pediatric Group Issues Updated ADHD Guidelines

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is in the news a lot, and now newer research has prompted a leading pediatricians' group to update its guidelines for diagnosing and treating the disorder for the first time since 2011.

Dr. Mark Wolraich, lead author of the guidelines, noted that there weren't any dramatic differences between these and previous guidelines. But, he said,...

Make All Hormonal Birth Control Available Without Prescription, Doctors' Group Says

A leading group of U.S. doctors has broadened its guidelines on birth control, recommending that all forms of hormonal contraceptives, including vaginal rings and contraceptive patches, be sold over the counter.

In addition, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) said DMPA (depot medroxyprogesterone acetate) injections should also be available over the counter,...

Don't Let Fear of Cancer Keep You From Doctor Visits

As terrified as you might be of a possible cancer diagnosis from your doctor, a new study warns that you still need to keep your appointment.

Why? Patients who blow off appointments for cancer symptoms are 12% more likely to die within a year of diagnosis, British researchers report.

Those most likely to skip appointments are men under 30 or over 85, people living in poo...

Docs Prescribe More Opioids at Certain Time of Day

As the day wears on and doctors are rushed and tired, they are more likely to prescribe opioid painkillers, a new study finds.

Interestingly, they weren't more likely to prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin, or physical therapy, the researchers said.

"These findings support the widespread perception among providers that time pressure to provide a 'quic...

Medical Schools Still Short on Minority Students

Despite calls for more diversity among doctors in the United States, a new study shows that minorities remain underrepresented in medical schools.

Researchers found that between 2002 and 2017, the actual number of minority students in medical schools increased, but the rate of increase was slower than that of age-matched members of those minorities in the U.S. population.

By...

U.S. Opioid Prescription Rate Is 7 Times That of Sweden

Amid an epidemic of opioid painkiller addiction, Americans are still being overprescribed narcotic painkillers compared to many other countries, researchers report.

A case in point is Sweden, where patients are less likely to be prescribed opioids after surgery than American patients. In fact, in the United States and Canada combined, surgical patients are seven times more likely to g...

Donor Organs Often There for Patients in Need, But Doctors Say No

Many Americans who die waiting for a kidney transplant actually had donor organs offered to them multiple times -- but their transplant center declined them.

That's the finding of a new study of over 280,000 U.S. patients who were on kidney transplant waitlists between 2008 and 2015.

It may come as a surprise to anyone who's assumed that when patients languish on waitlists, ...

Many Parents Would Switch Doctors Over Vaccination Policy, Poll Finds

Forty percent of U.S. parents say they would likely find a new doctor if their child's primary care provider sees families who refuse childhood vaccines, a nationwide poll finds.

And three in 10 say their child's primary care provider should not treat youngsters whose parents refuse all vaccines.

Those are key findings of the latest C.S. Mott Chil...

Nearly Half of U.S. Patients Keep Vital Secrets From Their Doctors

Nearly half of U.S. patients don't tell their physicians about potentially life-threatening risks such as domestic violence, sexual assault, depression or thoughts of suicide, a new study finds.

"For physicians to achieve your best health, they need to know what you are struggling with," said study senior author Angela Fagerlin.

Understanding how to make patients feel more ...

Many Doctors Refusing Care of People Prescribed Opioids

Folks taking opioids for chronic pain may run into trouble if they need to find a new doctor.

A new "secret shopper" survey of 194 Michigan primary care clinics found that as many as four out of 10 primary care doctors would turn away patients who have been taking the pain-killing medications (such as Percocet) long term. And that's true even if those physician practices said they a...

All U.S. Adults Should Be Screened for Illicit Drug Use, National Panel Urges

Amid an ongoing epidemic of opioid addiction and misuse, a national panel on Tuesday advised that doctors routinely screen all adults for illicit drug use.

That includes the misuse of prescribed medications, noted the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).

"For the first time, there is enough evidence for the Task Force to recommend that primary care clinicians screen...

Caring Doctors Can Be Life-Changing for Diabetic Patients

A kind, understanding doctor could spell the difference between life or death for diabetes patients, a new study suggests.

British researchers found that patients had a lower risk of early death if their primary care doctor exhibited empathy.

The study included 628 patients in the U.K. with type 2 diabetes. A year after their diagnosis, they completed a questionnaire about t...

Americans' Trust in Scientists Follows a Sharp Political Divide

Americans' confidence in scientists is on the rise, but deep political divisions persist, a new nationwide poll reveals.

The Pew Research Center poll of more than 4,400 adults found that 86% have at least "a fair amount" of confidence in scientists to act in the public interest. That includes 35% who said they have "a great deal" of confidence, up from 21% in 2016.

...

Doctors Come Out Against Gay Conversion Therapy

So-called "conversion therapy" can trigger depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and suicidal thoughts and attempts, and it should be banished in the United States, medical experts say in a new report.

Conversion therapy is used in an attempt to change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity, most typically to turn someone who is gay into a "...

Too Few U.S. Opioid Users Are Getting OD Antidote

Naloxone can reverse an opioid overdose, but far too little of the lifesaving drug is used where it is needed the most, a new U.S. government report shows.

"Too many people in our country and in our communities are still dying from opioid-related overdoses," said Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "We must and can do a ...

New Tool for Med Students: 'Fat Suit'

Can skinny doctors ever understand what it's like to be fat? A German medical school believes they can -- after they treat patients wearing "fat suits."

Having patients don fat suits may help teach medical students about obesity and uncover their biases against patients struggling with their weight, the researchers say.

They said reducing doctors' negative attitudes about ob...

Hey! That's the Wrong Knee, Doctor

Say you go in for knee surgery and find the surgeon operated on the wrong leg. Or you received a drug you know you're allergic to.

It happens. In fact, about 1 in 20 patients is a victim of preventable medical errors, and 12% of such cases result in permanent disability or death, researchers say.

Most preventable harm is caused by medication and other treatments (49%...

Cuts in Trainee Doctor Hours Haven't Harmed Patients

Cutting back on the grueling hours that U.S. medical residents spend in training doesn't translate into poorer care, new research shows.

When training hours were capped at 80 hours a week in 2003, some critics said it would harm medical residents' preparedness to practice.

"This is probably the most hotly debated topic in medical education among physicians," said study lead ...

Buyer Beware: Many Stem Cell Clinics Lack Docs Trained in Treatments

There's a good chance the doctor treating you at a stem cell clinic doesn't have any professional training related to your illness, researchers report.

Anesthesiologists, dermatologists, plastic surgeons, radiologists and family doctors are among a wide range of physicians overseeing treatments at U.S. stem cell clinics for complex neurological and orthopedic diseases, the study found...

'Unprofessional' Surgeons Hurt Patient Outcomes: Study

Before having that operation, you might want to ask your surgeon's colleagues about his behavior.

A new study finds that patients whose surgeons have more complaints from coworkers about unprofessional conduct are at increased risk for complications during and after surgery.

Researchers examined data on more than 13,500 adult patients in the United States who were operated o...

Many Health Care Workers With Flu, Colds Still Go to Work: Study

Many health care workers are still on the job even if they have symptoms of a cold, flu or other respiratory infection, putting patients and coworkers at risk, a new study finds.

It included more than 2,700 health care workers at nine Canadian hospitals who completed online diaries whenever they had symptoms of a respiratory infection.

Half reported an acute respiratory vira...

High Blood Pressure at Doctor's Office May Be More Dangerous Than Suspected

If you dread seeing the doctor and your blood pressure reading always seems to be high at the doctor's office, a new review says you should take those elevated readings seriously.

The problem is called white-coat hypertension (because of doctors' traditional white coats) and it may signal an underlying problem.

The research defined white-coat hypertension as elevated readi...

'Secret Shopper' Study Finds Many Who Need Addiction Treatment Can't Get It

When people who are addicted to opioids make the difficult decision to quit, the last thing they need to face are barriers to treatment.

Yet, a new "secret shopper" study suggests most addicts seeking a prescription for buprenorphine -- which helps people stop using opioids -- would have trouble even getting an appointment with a doctor qualified to dispense the drug.

When r...