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Journal: The New England journal of medicine


Background Texas is one of several states that have barred Planned Parenthood affiliates from providing health care services with the use of public funds. After the federal government refused to allow (and courts blocked) the exclusion of Planned Parenthood affiliates from the Texas Medicaid fee-for-service family-planning program, Texas excluded them from a state-funded replacement program, effective January 1, 2013. We assessed rates of contraceptive-method provision, method continuation through the program, and childbirth covered by Medicaid before and after the Planned Parenthood exclusion. Methods We used all program claims from 2011 through 2014 to examine changes in the number of claims for contraceptives according to method for 2 years before and 2 years after the exclusion. Among women using injectable contraceptives at baseline, we observed rates of contraceptive continuation through the program and of childbirth covered by Medicaid. We used the difference-in-differences method to compare outcomes in counties with Planned Parenthood affiliates with outcomes in those without such affiliates. Results After the Planned Parenthood exclusion, there were estimated reductions in the number of claims from 1042 to 672 (relative reduction, 35.5%) for long-acting, reversible contraceptives and from 6832 to 4708 (relative reduction, 31.1%) for injectable contraceptives (P<0.001 for both comparisons). There was no significant change in the number of claims for short-acting hormonal contraceptive methods during this period. Among women using injectable contraceptives, the percentage of women who returned for a subsequent on-time contraceptive injection decreased from 56.9% among those whose subsequent injections were due before the exclusion to 37.7% among those whose subsequent injections were due after the exclusion in the counties with Planned Parenthood affiliates but increased from 54.9% to 58.5% in the counties without such affiliates (estimated difference in differences in counties with affiliates as compared with those without affiliates, -22.9 percentage points; P<0.001). During this period in counties with Planned Parenthood affiliates, the rate of childbirth covered by Medicaid increased by 1.9 percentage points (a relative increase of 27.1% from baseline) within 18 months after the claim (P=0.01). Conclusions The exclusion of Planned Parenthood affiliates from a state-funded replacement for a Medicaid fee-for-service program in Texas was associated with adverse changes in the provision of contraception. For women using injectable contraceptives, there was a reduction in the rate of contraceptive continuation and an increase in the rate of childbirth covered by Medicaid. (Funded by the Susan T. Buffett Foundation.).

Concepts: Pregnancy, Birth control, Emergency contraception, Hormonal contraception, Combined oral contraceptive pill, Menstrual cycle, Sex education, Combined injectable contraceptive


The prevalence of peanut allergy among children in Western countries has doubled in the past 10 years, and peanut allergy is becoming apparent in Africa and Asia. We evaluated strategies of peanut consumption and avoidance to determine which strategy is most effective in preventing the development of peanut allergy in infants at high risk for the allergy.

Concepts: Africa, Continent, Islam, Soviet Union, African Union, Strategy game, Human Development Index, Eastern world


The landscape for genetically modified organisms is changing, thanks to sharp increases in the amounts and numbers of chemical herbicides applied to GM crops and the classification of two of the most commonly used herbicides as probably or possibly carcinogenic to humans.

Concepts: DNA, Gene expression, Health, Agriculture, Genetically modified organism, Genetically modified food, Genetically modified organisms, Golden rice


Background Serum testosterone concentrations decrease as men age, but benefits of raising testosterone levels in older men have not been established. Methods We assigned 790 men 65 years of age or older with a serum testosterone concentration of less than 275 ng per deciliter and symptoms suggesting hypoandrogenism to receive either testosterone gel or placebo gel for 1 year. Each man participated in one or more of three trials - the Sexual Function Trial, the Physical Function Trial, and the Vitality Trial. The primary outcome of each of the individual trials was also evaluated in all participants. Results Testosterone treatment increased serum testosterone levels to the mid-normal range for men 19 to 40 years of age. The increase in testosterone levels was associated with significantly increased sexual activity, as assessed by the Psychosexual Daily Questionnaire (P<0.001), as well as significantly increased sexual desire and erectile function. The percentage of men who had an increase of at least 50 m in the 6-minute walking distance did not differ significantly between the two study groups in the Physical Function Trial but did differ significantly when men in all three trials were included (20.5% of men who received testosterone vs. 12.6% of men who received placebo, P=0.003). Testosterone had no significant benefit with respect to vitality, as assessed by the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Fatigue scale, but men who received testosterone reported slightly better mood and lower severity of depressive symptoms than those who received placebo. The rates of adverse events were similar in the two groups. Conclusions In symptomatic men 65 years of age or older, raising testosterone concentrations for 1 year from moderately low to the mid-normal range for men 19 to 40 years of age had a moderate benefit with respect to sexual function and some benefit with respect to mood and depressive symptoms but no benefit with respect to vitality or walking distance. The number of participants was too few to draw conclusions about the risks of testosterone treatment. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and others; number, NCT00799617 .).

Concepts: Clinical trial, Concentration,, Testosterone, Human sexual behavior, Erectile dysfunction, Psychosexual development, Libido


“Shocked” wouldn’t be accurate, since we were accustomed to our uninsured patients' receiving inadequate medical care. “Saddened” wasn’t right, either, only pecking at the edge of our response. And “disheartened” just smacked of victimhood. After hearing this story, we were neither shocked nor saddened nor disheartened. We were simply appalled. We met Tommy Davis in our hospital’s clinic for indigent persons in March 2013 (the name and date have been changed to protect the patient’s privacy). He and his wife had been chronically uninsured despite working full-time jobs and were now facing disastrous consequences. The week before this appointment, Mr. . . .

Concepts: Health care, Health care provider, Medicine, Patient, Hospital, Physician, Illness, Doctor-patient relationship


Background The age at which allergenic foods should be introduced into the diet of breast-fed infants is uncertain. We evaluated whether the early introduction of allergenic foods in the diet of breast-fed infants would protect against the development of food allergy. Methods We recruited, from the general population, 1303 exclusively breast-fed infants who were 3 months of age and randomly assigned them to the early introduction of six allergenic foods (peanut, cooked egg, cow’s milk, sesame, whitefish, and wheat; early-introduction group) or to the current practice recommended in the United Kingdom of exclusive breast-feeding to approximately 6 months of age (standard-introduction group). The primary outcome was food allergy to one or more of the six foods between 1 year and 3 years of age. Results In the intention-to-treat analysis, food allergy to one or more of the six intervention foods developed in 7.1% of the participants in the standard-introduction group (42 of 595 participants) and in 5.6% of those in the early-introduction group (32 of 567) (P=0.32). In the per-protocol analysis, the prevalence of any food allergy was significantly lower in the early-introduction group than in the standard-introduction group (2.4% vs. 7.3%, P=0.01), as was the prevalence of peanut allergy (0% vs. 2.5%, P=0.003) and egg allergy (1.4% vs. 5.5%, P=0.009); there were no significant effects with respect to milk, sesame, fish, or wheat. The consumption of 2 g per week of peanut or egg-white protein was associated with a significantly lower prevalence of these respective allergies than was less consumption. The early introduction of all six foods was not easily achieved but was safe. Conclusions The trial did not show the efficacy of early introduction of allergenic foods in an intention-to-treat analysis. Further analysis raised the question of whether the prevention of food allergy by means of early introduction of multiple allergenic foods was dose-dependent. (Funded by the Food Standards Agency and others; EAT Current Controlled Trials number, ISRCTN14254740 .).

Concepts: Epidemiology, Nutrition, Egg, Randomized controlled trial, Allergy, Food, Food allergy, Allergology


Background In 2013, New York began requiring hospitals to follow protocols for the early identification and treatment of sepsis. However, there is controversy about whether more rapid treatment of sepsis improves outcomes in patients. Methods We studied data from patients with sepsis and septic shock that were reported to the New York State Department of Health from April 1, 2014, to June 30, 2016. Patients had a sepsis protocol initiated within 6 hours after arrival in the emergency department and had all items in a 3-hour bundle of care for patients with sepsis (i.e., blood cultures, broad-spectrum antibiotic agents, and lactate measurement) completed within 12 hours. Multilevel models were used to assess the associations between the time until completion of the 3-hour bundle and risk-adjusted mortality. We also examined the times to the administration of antibiotics and to the completion of an initial bolus of intravenous fluid. Results Among 49,331 patients at 149 hospitals, 40,696 (82.5%) had the 3-hour bundle completed within 3 hours. The median time to completion of the 3-hour bundle was 1.30 hours (interquartile range, 0.65 to 2.35), the median time to the administration of antibiotics was 0.95 hours (interquartile range, 0.35 to 1.95), and the median time to completion of the fluid bolus was 2.56 hours (interquartile range, 1.33 to 4.20). Among patients who had the 3-hour bundle completed within 12 hours, a longer time to the completion of the bundle was associated with higher risk-adjusted in-hospital mortality (odds ratio, 1.04 per hour; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.02 to 1.05; P<0.001), as was a longer time to the administration of antibiotics (odds ratio, 1.04 per hour; 95% CI, 1.03 to 1.06; P<0.001) but not a longer time to the completion of a bolus of intravenous fluids (odds ratio, 1.01 per hour; 95% CI, 0.99 to 1.02; P=0.21). Conclusions More rapid completion of a 3-hour bundle of sepsis care and rapid administration of antibiotics, but not rapid completion of an initial bolus of intravenous fluids, were associated with lower risk-adjusted in-hospital mortality. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and others.).

Concepts: Hospital, Interquartile range


Background The most appropriate targets for systolic blood pressure to reduce cardiovascular morbidity and mortality among persons without diabetes remain uncertain. Methods We randomly assigned 9361 persons with a systolic blood pressure of 130 mm Hg or higher and an increased cardiovascular risk, but without diabetes, to a systolic blood-pressure target of less than 120 mm Hg (intensive treatment) or a target of less than 140 mm Hg (standard treatment). The primary composite outcome was myocardial infarction, other acute coronary syndromes, stroke, heart failure, or death from cardiovascular causes. Results At 1 year, the mean systolic blood pressure was 121.4 mm Hg in the intensive-treatment group and 136.2 mm Hg in the standard-treatment group. The intervention was stopped early after a median follow-up of 3.26 years owing to a significantly lower rate of the primary composite outcome in the intensive-treatment group than in the standard-treatment group (1.65% per year vs. 2.19% per year; hazard ratio with intensive treatment, 0.75; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.64 to 0.89; P<0.001). All-cause mortality was also significantly lower in the intensive-treatment group (hazard ratio, 0.73; 95% CI, 0.60 to 0.90; P=0.003). Rates of serious adverse events of hypotension, syncope, electrolyte abnormalities, and acute kidney injury or failure, but not of injurious falls, were higher in the intensive-treatment group than in the standard-treatment group. Conclusions Among patients at high risk for cardiovascular events but without diabetes, targeting a systolic blood pressure of less than 120 mm Hg, as compared with less than 140 mm Hg, resulted in lower rates of fatal and nonfatal major cardiovascular events and death from any cause, although significantly higher rates of some adverse events were observed in the intensive-treatment group. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health; number, NCT01206062 .).

Concepts: Blood, Myocardial infarction, Atherosclerosis, Hypertension, Stroke, Blood pressure, Artery, Orthostatic hypotension


Background Evolocumab is a monoclonal antibody that inhibits proprotein convertase subtilisin-kexin type 9 (PCSK9) and lowers low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels by approximately 60%. Whether it prevents cardiovascular events is uncertain. Methods We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involving 27,564 patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and LDL cholesterol levels of 70 mg per deciliter (1.8 mmol per liter) or higher who were receiving statin therapy. Patients were randomly assigned to receive evolocumab (either 140 mg every 2 weeks or 420 mg monthly) or matching placebo as subcutaneous injections. The primary efficacy end point was the composite of cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction, stroke, hospitalization for unstable angina, or coronary revascularization. The key secondary efficacy end point was the composite of cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction, or stroke. The median duration of follow-up was 2.2 years. Results At 48 weeks, the least-squares mean percentage reduction in LDL cholesterol levels with evolocumab, as compared with placebo, was 59%, from a median baseline value of 92 mg per deciliter (2.4 mmol per liter) to 30 mg per deciliter (0.78 mmol per liter) (P<0.001). Relative to placebo, evolocumab treatment significantly reduced the risk of the primary end point (1344 patients [9.8%] vs. 1563 patients [11.3%]; hazard ratio, 0.85; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.79 to 0.92; P<0.001) and the key secondary end point (816 [5.9%] vs. 1013 [7.4%]; hazard ratio, 0.80; 95% CI, 0.73 to 0.88; P<0.001). The results were consistent across key subgroups, including the subgroup of patients in the lowest quartile for baseline LDL cholesterol levels (median, 74 mg per deciliter [1.9 mmol per liter]). There was no significant difference between the study groups with regard to adverse events (including new-onset diabetes and neurocognitive events), with the exception of injection-site reactions, which were more common with evolocumab (2.1% vs. 1.6%). Conclusions In our trial, inhibition of PCSK9 with evolocumab on a background of statin therapy lowered LDL cholesterol levels to a median of 30 mg per deciliter (0.78 mmol per liter) and reduced the risk of cardiovascular events. These findings show that patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease benefit from lowering of LDL cholesterol levels below current targets. (Funded by Amgen; FOURIER number, NCT01764633 .).

Concepts: Cholesterol, Myocardial infarction, Atherosclerosis, Cardiovascular disease, Low-density lipoprotein, Statin, Atheroma, Apolipoprotein B


Background Long-term results from randomized, controlled trials that compare medical therapy with surgical therapy in patients with type 2 diabetes are limited. Methods We assessed outcomes 5 years after 150 patients who had type 2 diabetes and a body-mass index (BMI; the weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters) of 27 to 43 were randomly assigned to receive intensive medical therapy alone or intensive medical therapy plus Roux-en-Y gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy. The primary outcome was a glycated hemoglobin level of 6.0% or less with or without the use of diabetes medications. Results Of the 150 patients who underwent randomization, 1 patient died during the 5-year follow-up period; 134 of the remaining 149 patients (90%) completed 5 years of follow-up. At baseline, the mean (±SD) age of the 134 patients was 49±8 years, 66% were women, the mean glycated hemoglobin level was 9.2±1.5%, and the mean BMI was 37±3.5. At 5 years, the criterion for the primary end point was met by 2 of 38 patients (5%) who received medical therapy alone, as compared with 14 of 49 patients (29%) who underwent gastric bypass (unadjusted P=0.01, adjusted P=0.03, P=0.08 in the intention-to-treat analysis) and 11 of 47 patients (23%) who underwent sleeve gastrectomy (unadjusted P=0.03, adjusted P=0.07, P=0.17 in the intention-to-treat analysis). Patients who underwent surgical procedures had a greater mean percentage reduction from baseline in glycated hemoglobin level than did patients who received medical therapy alone (2.1% vs. 0.3%, P=0.003). At 5 years, changes from baseline observed in the gastric-bypass and sleeve-gastrectomy groups were superior to the changes seen in the medical-therapy group with respect to body weight (-23%, -19%, and -5% in the gastric-bypass, sleeve-gastrectomy, and medical-therapy groups, respectively), triglyceride level (-40%, -29%, and -8%), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol level (32%, 30%, and 7%), use of insulin (-35%, -34%, and -13%), and quality-of-life measures (general health score increases of 17, 16, and 0.3; scores on the RAND 36-Item Health Survey ranged from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating better health) (P<0.05 for all comparisons). No major late surgical complications were reported except for one reoperation. Conclusions Five-year outcome data showed that, among patients with type 2 diabetes and a BMI of 27 to 43, bariatric surgery plus intensive medical therapy was more effective than intensive medical therapy alone in decreasing, or in some cases resolving, hyperglycemia. (Funded by Ethicon Endo-Surgery and others; STAMPEDE number, NCT00432809 .).

Concepts: Medicine, Diabetes mellitus, Obesity, Surgery, Body mass index, Bariatric surgery, Gastric bypass surgery, Bariatrics