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MRSA infection rates increase tenfold in children

The trend of prescribing clindamycin for children with Staphylococcus aureus may build up resistance to treating the infection, a new study says. Clindamycin use among children hospitalized with S. aureus increased threefold during the past decade, according to a study published online May 17 in Pediatrics. In 1999, the antibiotic was used to treat 21% of S. aureus cases. In 2008, 63% of such infections were treated with the drug. The antibiotic became popular because it effectively treats methicillin-resistant S. aureus and it can be taken orally, unlike vancomycin, which is only available intravenously, said senior study author Jason Newland, MD. But he said the problem is that physicians are using clindamycin to treat cases of methicillin-susceptible S. aureus, which can be effectively treated with different antibiotics. Clindamycin "is used a lot. And we've learned that [S. aureus] has an incredible ability to become resistant over time. ... We don't want to overuse clinda ...

Cardiovascular risk problematic for diabetics

Both the health care system and individual patient circumstances are cited with impeding efforts to prevent cardiovascular disease among patients with diabetes, a new study found. But doctors can help prevent heart disease -- the leading cause of diabetes-related death -- by working with patients to change behavior, says the study in the March-April Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine. Lead study author Jesse Crosson, PhD, recommends that physicians work with patients to develop a care plan and set achievable health goals. Physicians' efforts are most effective when the patient feels like the choices being made are part of a collaborative process, said Crosson, assistant professor of family medicine and director of the New Jersey Primary Care Research Network at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Researchers interviewed 34 primary care physicians in California, Indiana, Michigan and New Jersey from April 2006 ...

Assisted suicide laws cited in 95 deaths in Washington, Oregon

Ninety-five terminally ill patients died in 2009 after taking lethal doses of medications prescribed by their physicians under death-with-dignity laws in Washington and Oregon, according to health department reports released in March. Thirty-six of those deaths occurred in Washington in the 10 months after the state's physician-assisted suicide law took effect March 5, 2009, said a report from the state health department. Nearly 60% of Washington voters approved a 2008 ballot measure that made physician-assisted suicide legal. That state's law, like Oregon's, makes doctor-aided dying available to patients who have been judged terminally ill by two doctors. Patients must make an oral request and a witnessed written request. Another oral request must be made 15 days later. The characteristics of the Washingtonians who used the death-with-dignity law were similar to their counterparts in Oregon, said Linda Ganzini, MD, MPH, who has extensively researched Oregon's experience with ...