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Journal: The American journal of the medical sciences


BACKGROUND:: To investigate the efficacy and indications of zolpidem, a nonbenzodiazepine hypnotic, inducing arousal in vegetative state patients after brain injury. METHODS:: One hundred sixty-five patients were divided into 4 groups, according to area of brain damage and injury mechanism. All patients' brains were imaged by Tc-ECD single-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT), before and 1 hour after treatment with 10 mg of zolpidem. Simultaneously, 3 quantitative indicators of brain function and damage were obtained using cerebral state monitor. Thirty-eight patients withdrew from the study after the first zolpidem dose. The remaining 127 patients received a daily dose of 10 mg of zolpidem for 1 week and were monitored again at the end of this week. RESULTS:: One hour after treatment with zolpidem, cerebral state index was increased and burst suppression reduced in both brain contrecoup contusion and space-occupying brain compression groups (P < 0.05). SPECT showed, 1 hour after medication, that cerebral perfusion was improved in both brain contrecoup contusion and space-occupying brain compression groups, but no changes were seen in primary and secondary brain stem injury groups. In the 127 patients' group, after 1 week of zolpidem treatment, all parameters obtained from cerebral state monitor were not statistically different compared with those after the initial medication (P > 0.05). CONCLUSIONS:: Zolpidem is an effective medicine to restore brain function in patients in vegetative state after brain injury, especially for those whose brain injuries are mainly in non-brain-stem areas. Improvement of brain function is sudden rather than gradual.

Concepts: Traumatic brain injury, Medical imaging, Intracranial pressure, Neurology, Neurotrauma, Zolpidem, Persistent vegetative state, Nonbenzodiazepine


ABSTRACT:: Corrected QT-interval (QTc) prolongation with increased risk of fatal arrhythmia is a well-established toxicity of methadone. In this study, a case of sudden cardiac arrest in a patient on chronic methadone therapy is presented. A 47-year-old man presented unresponsive to the emergency department after pulseless arrest at his home. The patient’s wife revealed he was taking methadone as part of an ongoing opioid dependency treatment and that he was prescribed azithromycin for an upper respiratory tract infection 3 days before his presentation. A 12-lead electrocardiogram at the time of presentation showed sinus tachycardia and a QTc of 490 milliseconds. It was concluded that the patient experienced a fatal arrhythmia because of QTc prolongation, precipitated by azithromycin in the setting of ongoing methadone use.

Concepts: Cardiology, Cardiac arrest, Cardiac electrophysiology, QT interval, Respiratory system, Upper respiratory tract, Upper respiratory tract infection, Methadone


OBJECTIVE:: Colchicine is the mainstay treatment for Familial Mediterranean Fever (FMF). However 5% to 10% of the patients with FMF are unresponsive or intolerant to colchicine. Biologics are efficient in many rheumatic diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, cryopyrin-associated periodic syndromes. We performed a systematic review to analyze patients with FMF, including juvenile patients who received treatment with biologics. METHODS:: A MEDLINE search, including articles published in English language between 1990 and May 2012, was performed. Patients who had MEFV variants but could not be classified as FMF according to Tel-Hashomer criteria were excluded. RESULTS:: There is no controlled trial on the efficacy and safety of biologics in FMF. Fifty-nine (32 female and 27 male) patients with FMF who had been treated with biologics (infliximab, etanercept, adalimumab, anakinra, and canakinumab) were reported in 24 single reports and 7 case series. There were 16 children and 43 adults (7- to 68-year olds). Five patients were reported to have colchicine intolerance or had adverse events related to colchicine use, and the rest 54 were unresponsive to colchicine treatment. CONCLUSIONS:: The current data are limited to case reports, and it is difficult to obtain a quantitative evaluation of response to biologic treatments. However, on the basis of reported cases, biologic agents seem to be an alternative treatment for patients with FMF who are unresponsive or intolerant to colchicine therapy and seem to be safe. Controlled studies are needed to better evaluate the safety and efficacy of biologics in the treatment of patients with FMF.

Concepts: Familial Mediterranean fever, Rheumatoid arthritis, Rheumatology, Infliximab, Arthritis, Ankylosing spondylitis, Etanercept, Adalimumab


The purpose of this study is to evaluate long-term effects of spironolactone, an affordable and widely used aldosterone receptor blocker, in patients with heart failure (HF) and mild or no symptoms.

Concepts: Aldosterone, Spironolactone, Mineralocorticoid receptor


Studies to date have not investigated whether body mass index (BMI) affects the sensitivity and specificity of magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP). The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of BMI and also concomitant pancreatitis, cholecystitis and cholelithiasis on the sensitivity and specificity of MRCP.

Concepts: Sensitivity and specificity, Body mass index, Bile duct, Common bile duct, Choledocholithiasis


: Unfortunately, patients with congestive heart failure suffer frequent admissions for the management of fluid overload. Loop diuretics are pivotal in the management of this common clinical problem. Although loop diuretics have been in clinical use since the 1960s, we still do not understand how to optimally administer these drugs. It is unknown why some decompensated heart failure patients exhibit improvements in renal function with diuresis, whereas others display renal function deterioration, limiting attainment of euvolemia. Here the physiologic interactions between the failing heart and kidneys are reviewed. A conceptual framework is presented that emphasizes the balance between tubuloglomerular feedback and venous congestion in determining renal function during loop diuretic use in heart failure. Within this framework, guidelines are derived that seek to maximize the chance for achieving adequate volume removal while maintaining stable or improved renal function during the treatment of acute decompensated heart failure.

Concepts: Renal failure, Nephrology, Hypertension, Heart failure, Diuretic, Hypokalemia, Loop diuretic, Acute decompensated heart failure


: Type 2 diabetes mellitus has been described as a new epidemic. Approximately 285 million people worldwide suffer from diabetes, and this number is predicted to increase by approximately 50% by year 2030. This article will review oral health manifestations of diabetes and discuss associations between periodontal disease and diabetes. Although there is a strong body of evidence that supports the relationship between oral health and type 2 diabetes mellitus, oral health awareness is lacking among patients with diabetes and other health professionals. There is a need for the treating physician to be educated about the various oral manifestations of diabetes so that they can be diagnosed early and timely referrals to oral health specialists can be made. The established link between periodontitis and diabetes calls for an increased need to study ways to control both diseases, particularly among populations with health disparities and limited access to oral and health care.

Concepts: Health care, Medicine, Epidemiology, Health disparities, Myocardial infarction, Diabetes mellitus type 2, Diabetes mellitus, Periodontitis


BACKGROUND:: We explored the role of dual time point fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography/computed tomography (DTP PET/CT) scan in the differentiation of benign and malignant lung and mediastinal lesions. METHODS:: We studied a sample of 72 consecutive patients who underwent DTP PET/CT scan for intrathoracic lesions. Information on demographics, initial and delayed maximum standardized uptake values (SUVmax) of lesions and final diagnosis were collected. Clinical criteria to diagnose benign lesions were defined as stability or regression of the lesion on follow-up after 2 years of initial detection. Sensitivity, specificity, predictive values and likelihood ratio and retention index were calculated using standard methods. RESULTS:: Sixty-three (87%) patients had increased SUVmax in delayed scan (1 hour after initial scan). Among the patients with increased delayed uptake, 51 (80%) had malignant lesion and 12 (20%) had nonmalignant lesions. All 9 patients whose SUVmax decreased on delayed scan had nonmalignant lesions. The increased SUV on delayed scan was 100% sensitive in diagnosis of cancer but was only 42% specific. The positive predictive value was 80%, whereas the negative predictive value was 100%. Likelihood ratio for positive test was 1.75. CONCLUSIONS:: All the lesions with decreased SUVmax in delayed PET scan were nonmalignant. This was true for both lung and mediastinal lesions. This could be a very helpful diagnostic finding in areas with high prevalence of benign conditions such as histoplasmosis and sarcoidosis. Multiple invasive diagnostic modalities could be prevented in a significant percentage of patients, with attendant decrease in morbidity and health care costs.

Concepts: Cancer, Oncology, Lung cancer, Positive predictive value, Negative predictive value, Diagnosis, Sensitivity and specificity, Positron emission tomography


Since December 2019, the global pandemic caused by the highly infectious novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV (COVID-19) has been rapidly spreading. As of April 2020, the outbreak has spread to over 210 countries, with over 2,400,000 confirmed cases and over 170,000 deaths.1 COVID-19 causes a severe pneumonia characterized by fever, cough and shortness of breath. Similar coronavirus outbreaks have occurred in the past causing severe pneumonia like COVID-19, most recently, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and middle east respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). However, over time, SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV were shown to cause extrapulmonary signs and symptoms including hepatitis, acute renal failure, encephalitis, myositis and gastroenteritis. Similarly, sporadic reports of COVID-19 related extrapulmonary manifestations emerge. Unfortunately, there is no comprehensive summary of the multiorgan manifestations of COVID-19, making it difficult for clinicians to quickly educate themselves about this highly contagious and deadly pathogen. What is more, is that SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV are the closest humanity has come to combating something similar to COVID-19, however, there exists no comparison between the manifestations of any of these novel coronaviruses. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge of the manifestations of the novel coronaviruses SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV and COVID-19, with a particular focus on the latter, and highlight their differences and similarities.


There has been much interest in environmental temperature and race as modulators of Coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) infection and mortality. However, in the United States race and temperature correlate with various other social determinants of health, comorbidities, and environmental influences that could be responsible for noted effects. This study investigates the independent effects of race and environmental temperature on COVID-19 incidence and mortality in United States counties.