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NEWS:

Trends In Emergency Room Visits And Costs For Patients With Shingles

Shingles, a common infection of the nerves that causes a painful rash or small blisters on the skin, is caused by a reactivation of the chicken pox virus.It is estimated that one-third of people in the United States will develop this disease during their life, with the risk sharply increasing after the age of 50. Although anyone who developed chicken pox or has received the vaccination can develop shingles, the risk is found to be lower in those who have been vaccinated for the disease.

Arash Mostaghimi, MD, MPA, MPH, director of the dermatology inpatient service at Brigham and Women's Hospital, and colleagues, used the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample (NEDS) to evaluate trends in emergency room utilization and cost in order to assess the potential impact of routine chicken pox and shingles vaccinations. Their study suggests that while emergency room visits for shingles has decrea

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Device Helps ICU Patients By Filtering Out Noise From Medical Alarms

A team of investigators at Vanderbilt University Medical Center wants to improve patient outcomes in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) settings by silencing audible medical alarms in hospital rooms.

Auditory medical alarms have created hazards for patient recovery, said Joseph J. Schlesinger, MD, assistant professor of Anesthesia, Division of Critical Care Medicine at Vanderbilt. His team has created a device that removes the alarm sounds while preserving the patient’s ability to hear human and environmental stimuli, notably speech.

The findings, “Frequency-Selective Silencing Device for Digital Filtering of Audible Medical Alarm Sounds to Enhance ICU Patient Recovery,” were presented at the International Community for Auditory Display (ICAD) at Penn State this week. The paper highlights how loud noises produced by clinical alarms contribute to psychological problems like delirium and PTSD and

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Primary Care Decisions Often Made Without The Best Evidence

As medicine continues to shift toward evidence-based practice, some primary care providers may have a difficult time finding quality evidence to support their clinical decisions, according to a new study from the University of Georgia.

An analysis of 721 topics from an online medical reference for generalists showed that only 18% of the clinical recommendations were based on high-quality, patient-oriented evidence.

This finding highlights the need for more research in primary care and family medicine, said Mark Ebell, epidemiology professor at UGA’s College of Public Health and lead author of the study.

“The research done in the primary care setting, which is where most outpatients are seen, is woefully underfunded,” he said, “and that’s part of the reason why there’s such a large number of recommendations that are not based on the highest level of evidence.”

The lack of funding stan

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Surgery Patients Placed In Alternate ICUs Due To Crowding Get Less Attention From Doctors

Overcrowding of intensive care units (ICUs) is a growing problem in American hospitals, often resulting in the need to place patients in alternate intensive care units within a hospital. Research has indicated that these “ICU boarder” patients — for example, a brain surgery patient staying in a cardiac ICU — have worse outcomes as a result of this alternate placement, and now, a new study suggests one reason for these worse outcomes is that ICU boarders, compared to non-boarders, appear to get markedly less attention from doctors and other caregivers. The study is led by researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and is published online in the American Journal of Surgery.

“In this study, surgical ICU patients boarding in non-home units were more likely to be seen at the end of rounds, and on the whole received less bedside attention from ICU provide

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