Most people overestimate benefits of medical treatment
Patients often overestimate the benefits of medical treatment and underestimate the dangers, often resulting in them getting more treatment than they may need. This was the conclusion of a study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, which was the first to systemically review the literature reflecting patients’ expectations about medical treatment.
More than 30 studies were evaluated, and the results suggested that patients’ views were often skewed. For instance, of 34 studies analyzed, patients overestimated the benefits of their medical treatment in 22, or 65 percent, of them.
For example, one study on breast cancer patients showed 80 percent of women who underwent a double mastectomy thought they reduced their cancer risk from 76 to 11 percent, when in actuality their risk before surgery was only 17 percent.
Another study showed 80 percent of patients overestimated the benefits of medications to prevent hip fractures; 90 percent overestimated the benefits of breast cancer screening; and 94 percent overestimated the benefits of bowel cancer screening.
In the 15 studies that focused on harmful outcomes, patients underestimated the level of harm in 10 of them. For example, one study showed 40 percent of people underestimated the risks of radiation exposure when receiving CT scans. Meanwhile, 60 percent underestimated the risk of developing cancer from CT scans.
Why were expectations so off? One assumption is the information patients receive from their doctor, pharmaceutical ads and the media are skewed to focus on the benefits. This study suggests that if patients had more and better information, they would opt for less care than they currently receive.
NEXT: Humans “use” more genes from dad than mom
Sourced from: nytimes.com, If Patients Only Knew How Often Treatments Could Harm Them
Published On: Mar 3rd 2015
Humans "use" more genes from dad than mom
Even though we receive the same amount genes from each of our parents, we “use” more of the DNA we inherit from our dads, concludes new research from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. The findings were published in Nature Genetics.
These genes are called imprint genes and play a significant role in diseases we inherit, such as cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. By studying these genes with a “parent-of-origin effect” in mice models, scientists may better understand the underlying causes of these diseases.
For this study, published in the journal Nature Genetics, the researchers selected three genetically diverse inbred strains of mice that were descended from a subspecies that evolved on different continents. Nine types of hybrid offspring were bred from these mice. When the offspring were adults, the researchers measured gene expression in four kinds of tissue, including RNA sequencing in the brain. They looked at how much of the gene expression came from the mother and how much came from the father.
The results showed 80 percent of the genes were in favor of the dad’s genome expression. This shows that gene expression from the father is more likely to be stronger than gene expression from the mother.
The research could have wide implications for the study of human disease, especially when animals are used. In most research involving mice, scientists typically don’t take into account whether specific genetic expressions comes from the mother or father. But this study suggests that inheriting a mutation has different consequences in mammals, depending on whether it was inherited from the mother or father.
NEXT: 10 awesome ways to stay healthy (INFOGRAPHIC)
Sourced from: sciencedaily.com, Genetically speaking, mammals are more like their fathers
Published On: Mar 3rd 2015
Coffee drinkers have "cleaner" arteries
Yet more good news for coffee drinkers. A new study in South Korea concludes that drinking coffee regularly may help prevent clogged arteries, a known risk factor for heart disease. The findings were published in the journal Heart.
The study analyzed more than 25,000 men and women who underwent health checkups at work. The researchers found that those who drank three to five cups of coffee per day were less likely to show signs of early heart disease on their diagnostic scans. The researchers looked particularly at potential damage to the coronary arteries, which supply the heart, by testing for tiny deposits of calcium in the artery walls. No participants had outward signs of heart disease, but one in 10 tested positive for calcium deposits.
Using these scans, the researchers then compared the results to coffee drinking habits. They also accounted for other risk factors, such as smoking and family history. They found people who drank a couple cups of coffee per day were less likely to have calcium deposits in their arteries compared to people who drank little or no coffee.
The researchers said more research is needed to better understand this possible connection. It’s one of several recent studies that have suggested that there are health benefits to drinking coffee regularly.
NEXT: Most people overestimate benefits of medical treatment
Sourced from: bbc.com, Regular coffee drinkers have ‘cleaner’ arteries
Published On: Mar 3rd 2015