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Daily Rounds: Questioning Life Expectancy; Skepticism On Pre-Term Gel; J&J Pushed Unapproved Kid-Drug; The Ultimate Workout Mix

Doctor and Patient: Why Doctors Can't Predict Life Expectancy - NYTimes.com (ell.blogs.nytimes.com) "While not all assessments of how long someone has to live result in life-or-death clinical decisions, addressing prognosis remains a challenge for most doctors. And after struggling for several years with determining their own patients’ prognoses, a group of physicians at the University of California in San Francisco set out to collect and study all the research that had been done on so-called prognostic indexes, tools that help with determining general prognosis in older patients.Given the growing use of age-based treatment and preventive care guidelines, the doctors assumed there would be plenty of data to help decide whether, for example, an 80-year-old patient might live long enough to benefit from a colonoscopy, a cancer screening procedure that can have its own set of complications. But they found little."

FDA Skeptical of Progesterone Gel For Preterm Delivery - Health Blog - WSJ (blogs.wsj.com) 'A study covering 458 women published last year in the journal Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology found that the gel cut the risk of early preterm delivery by 45% in women with a short cervix compared to placebo. And because the babies were born closer to their due dates, they saw fewer complications. But background info posted by the FDA on the agency’s website yesterday focused on data for the U.S. women in that study, which was conducted at 44 medical centers in 10 countries. Looking at those U.S. women only, the difference between the progesterone gel and placebo groups could have occurred by chance, the FDA said.“The information and data in this application do not support the efficacy of progesterone gel compared with placebo in reducing the risk of preterm births before 33 completed weeks of gestation among women with a short cervical length,” the FDA said in its background document.'

J&J Pushed Risperdal for Kids Without Approval, Memo Shows- Bloomberg (mobile.bloomberg.com) "A Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) unit marketed its Risperdal drug in 2004 to doctors working with troubled children even though regulators hadn’t approved the drug for those patients, company records show. Officials of J&J’s Janssen unit pushed salespeople in Texas to “flood clinics with Risperdal stuff” as part of a 2004 campaign to increase prescriptions for the anti-psychotic drug written for children and adolescents, according to an internal memo put into evidence today in state court in Austin, Texas. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration didn’t approve Risperdal for any pediatric use until 2006."

Osteoporosis Patients Advised To Delay Bone Density Retests (The New York Times) "Bone loss and osteoporosis develop so slowly in most women whose bones test normal at age 65 that many can safely wait as long as 15 years before having a second bone density test, researchers report in a new study. The study, published in Thursday’s issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, is part of a broad rethinking of how to diagnose and treat the potentially debilitating bone disease that can lead to broken hips and collapsing spines."

The Ultimate NPR Workout Mix : NPR (npr.org) "We collected many of your choices and compiled them into one big, gym-ready megamix. You can stream it on your phone's NPR Music app while you're at the fitness center, showing off how much you can bench-press. (In the NPR Music app, hit "Radio" along the bottom options. Under "Rock/Pop/Folk," you'll find this mix listed under the title "NPR Workout Mix.) And, just because your butt's in a chair at work doesn't mean you couldn't use a little boost to exercise your hand muscles at the computer."

This program aired on January 19, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

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