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Increase in diabetes, obesity could offset progress in cardiovascular health

Rising rates of diabetes and obesity in the U.S. could soon stall -- or possibly reverse -- the progress that has been made in improving the nation's cardiovascular health, some cardiologists say. For that reason, primary care physicians should focus on educating patients about what they can do to reduce their risk of developing cardiovascular disease or stroke, said Tracy Stevens, MD, a spokeswoman for the American Heart Assn. She also is a cardiologist at St. Luke's Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Mo. "Americans think cardiovascular disease is somebody else's responsibility. Until Americans take ownership for their health we're not going to continue to have favorable statistics to report," Dr. Stevens said. She recommends that primary care physicians talk to patients about lifestyle modifications they need to make to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease and how they can make those changes. Dr. Stevens also encourages doctors to provide patients with a list ...

Iowa Supreme Court throws out case after doctor's credentialing file is used in trial

A surgeon's credentialing file should not have been used as evidence during his employer's medical liability trial, the Iowa Supreme Court has ruled. Without the credentialing file, the plaintiff does not have sufficient evidence to pursue his claims, the high court said, thus throwing out the lawsuit. The Iowa Supreme Court opinion -- in conjunction with an appeals court decision finding that credentialing files are protected by peer review laws -- is a victory for state health professionals, said Eric G. Hoch, an attorney who represented Mercy Hospital Medical Center, a defendant in the Supreme Court case. "It's a very positive development for physicians and hospitals and their staff. One of the main benefits is [health professionals] can't be deposed or questioned about the credentialing process," he said. "That should afford some peace of mind to those individuals as well as protect the credentialing process." The high court decision ends a nine-year court battle that move ...

Texts from physicians can reduce unhealthy drinking by young adults

Doctors can use text messaging to help young adults reduce their alcohol intake, according to a new study. University of Pittsburgh researchers found that heavy alcohol consumption by young adults decreased after they received weekly texts for three months that inquired about their drinking and offered tips to reduce how much they drank. The findings were published online Dec. 15 in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. "For a lot of these young adults, they're not aware that their drinking behavior is dangerous. Making them aware of it and allowing them to self-monitor what they are doing can change their behavior," said lead study author Brian Suffoletto, MD, an assistant professor of medicine in the Dept. of Emergency Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. Fifteen percent of the adult U.S. population reported binge drinking in a 30-day period, according to 2009 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The figure was 24% for youths ages 12 to 20 ...