Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Geriatrics for December 2019. This roundup includes the latest research news from journal articles, as well as the FDA approvals and regulatory changes that are the most likely to affect clinical practice.

Frailty Score May Predict Outcomes in Multiple Myeloma

TUESDAY, Dec. 31, 2019 (HealthDay News) — A frailty scale that includes Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status (ECOG PS) may predict outcomes for transplant-ineligible patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma (NDMM), according to a study published in the January issue of Leukemia.

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Machine Learning System Makes More Alerts for Med Errors

TUESDAY, Dec. 31, 2019 (HealthDay News) — A machine learning system can generate clinically valid alerts for medication errors that might be missed with existing clinical decision support (CDS) systems, according to a study published in the January issue of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety.

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CDC: Cases of Flu Continue to Mount Across America

MONDAY, Dec. 30, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Flu continues to spread throughout the United States and has reached elevated levels in nearly every state, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Magnesium Inversely Linked to Risk for Coronary Heart Disease

FRIDAY, Dec. 27, 2019 (HealthDay News) — For postmenopausal women, dietary magnesium is inversely associated with fatal coronary heart disease (CHD), according to a study published online Dec. 12 in the Journal of Women’s Health.

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Risk-Based Approach Could Help Target Prostate Cancer Screening

FRIDAY, Dec. 27, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Risk-tailored screening could potentially reduce overdiagnosis and improve the cost-effectiveness of a prostate cancer screening program, according to a study published online Dec. 20 in PLOS Medicine.

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Many Hospitals Fail to Provide Instructions for Patient Portals

THURSDAY, Dec. 26, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Many hospital patient portals fail to educate patients fully and set expectations for secure messaging, according to a study recently published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

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Mortality Due to Fire, Heat, Hot Substances Declined Globally

THURSDAY, Dec. 26, 2019 (HealthDay News) — From 1990 to 2017, there was a general decline in global mortality due to fire, heat, and hot substances, although considerable regional variation was observed in incidence, according to a study published online Dec. 18 in Injury Prevention.

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Palliative Care Services Lagging Worldwide

TUESDAY, Dec. 24, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Greater palliative care development and implementation is needed worldwide, according to a study recently published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management.

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Patient Share of Out-of-Network Costs Rising

TUESDAY, Dec. 24, 2019 (HealthDay News) — The out-of-pocket costs for out-of-network (OON) care grew rapidly for privately insured Americans from 2012 to 2017, according to a study published in the December issue of the American Journal of Managed Care.

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Endocrine Society Releases Hypoglycemia Performance Measures

TUESDAY, Dec. 24, 2019 (HealthDay News) — A new set of quality measures can help health care providers identify older adults with type 2 diabetes who are at increased risk for hypoglycemia, according to an article published online Dec. 11 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

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Enrollment in Affordable Care Act Holds Steady for Third Straight Year

MONDAY, Dec. 23, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Enrollment in Affordable Care Act coverage for next year has surpassed 8 million, a sign that many Americans still turn to the government health insurance program to help pay for their medical care.

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Aspirin May No Longer Have Effect in Primary CVD Prevention

MONDAY, Dec. 23, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Aspirin may not be effective for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer mortality, according to research published online Nov. 21 in Family Practice.

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Overt Hypothyroidism May Up All-Cause Mortality in the Elderly

MONDAY, Dec. 23, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Hypothyroidism is significantly associated with increased all-cause mortality, but not cardiovascular mortality, among the elderly, according to a review published online Dec. 12 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

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Vitamin D Supplementation Alone May Not Reduce Fracture Risk

FRIDAY, Dec. 20, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Supplementation with vitamin D alone does not appear to reduce the risk for fracture, according to a review published online Dec. 20 in JAMA Network Open.

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Cognitive Symptom Score From EHR Predicts Risk for Dementia

FRIDAY, Dec. 20, 2019 (HealthDay News) — A cognitive symptom measure identified in discharge summaries can predict the risk for dementia, according to a study published online Dec. 17 in Alzheimer’s & Dementia.

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Private Care Program for U.S. Vets Gets $8.9 Billion in Budget Deal

THURSDAY, Dec. 19, 2019 (HealthDay News) — A controversial program meant to get more U.S. veterans to use private health care received $8.9 billion as part of a government spending bill approved by the House.

AP News Article

FDA to Allow States to Import Prescription Drugs From Other Countries

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 18, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Federal health officials have unveiled plans to allow prescription drug imports from Canada and other foreign nations.

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Spine Surgery Safely Performed in Some Very Elderly Patients

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 18, 2019 (HealthDay News) — In a carefully defined cohort of patients aged 80 years and older undergoing spine surgery, perioperative complications occurred in 20 percent, according to a study published online Dec. 17 in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine.

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Frailty May Worsen Outcomes in Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury

TUESDAY, Dec. 17, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Frailty is an important predictor of worse outcome after traumatic spinal cord injury (tSCI) in patients <75 years of age, according to a study recently published in the Journal of Neurotrauma.

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Outcomes Worse for Rural Residents With Chronic Conditions

MONDAY, Dec. 16, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Rural Medicare beneficiaries with complex chronic conditions have higher preventable hospitalization and mortality rates than their urban peers, which is partially explained by reduced access to specialists, according to a report published in the December issue of Health Affairs, a theme issue on rural health.

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Five-Year Mortality Up in Older Adults With Unplanned Admission

MONDAY, Dec. 16, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Death within five years of first unplanned hospital admission is common among older adults, according to a study published in the Dec. 16 issue of CMAJ, the journal of the Canadian Medical Association.

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Palliative Care Reaching More Inpatients With Serious Illness

MONDAY, Dec. 16, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Inpatient palliative care teams are reaching a broader mix of patients earlier in the course of their illness, according to a study published online Dec. 6 in JAMA Network Open.

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Hahn Confirmed as New FDA Chief

FRIDAY, Dec. 13, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Stephen Hahn, M.D., was confirmed as commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in a 72-18 Senate vote on Thursday.

The New York Times Article

Exposure to PM2.5 Linked to Decline in Episodic Memory

THURSDAY, Dec. 12, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Long-term exposure to particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter <2.5 µm (PM2.5) contributes to decline in free recall/new learning among older women, according to a study published online Nov. 20 in Brain.

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2003 to 2017 Saw Increase in Deaths at Home, Hospice Facility

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 11, 2019 (HealthDay News) — From 2003 to 2017, there was a decrease in deaths occurring in hospitals and nursing facilities and an increase in deaths at home and at hospice facilities, according to a research letter published in the Dec. 12 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Stroke Risk Up With Long Sleep Duration, Long Midday Napping

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 11, 2019 (HealthDay News) — The risks for incident stroke are increased with long sleep duration, long midday napping, and poor sleep quality, according to a study published online Dec. 11 in Neurology.

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Fewer Blacks Use Aspirin Therapy for Primary Prevention of CVD

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 11, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Low-dose aspirin is used less consistently by blacks than whites for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD), and its impact on ischemic cardiac disease varies by race, according to a study published online Dec. 11 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

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Factors Examined for Time to First Rx for Biologic DMARD in RA

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 11, 2019 (HealthDay News) — For older patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), there is considerable variation in time to receipt of first biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD) after prescription of the first conventional synthetic (cs) DMARD, according to a study published online Dec. 6 in JAMA Network Open.

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Aerobic Exercise May Slow Cognitive Decline in Older Adults

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 11, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Among older adults who have cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors and cognitive impairments with no dementia (CIND), cognitive function was better at one-year follow-up in participants compared with controls after a six-month exercise intervention, with or without the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, according to a study published online Nov. 22 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

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Use of Pain, Sleep Drugs Ups Risk for Frailty in the Elderly

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 11, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Prescription pain and sleep drug use is significantly associated with an increased incidence of frailty, according to a study published in the December issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

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U.S. Primary Care Doctors Face Challenges in Coordinating Care

TUESDAY, Dec. 10, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Physicians from the United States and other high-income countries report difficulties with care coordination, with a substantial proportion of U.S. physicians not receiving timely notification or the information needed from specialists or other sites of care, according to a study published online Dec. 10 in Health Affairs.

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USPSTF Advises AAA Screening Based on Sex, Age, Smoking History

TUESDAY, Dec. 10, 2019 (HealthDay News) — The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendations for abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) screening vary by sex, smoking status, and family history. These recommendations form the basis of a final recommendation statement published in the Dec. 10 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Final Recommendation Statement
Evidence Report
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Strength Training Tied to Less Weight Loss-Induced Bone Loss

TUESDAY, Dec. 10, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Both resistance and combined aerobic and resistance exercise are associated with less weight loss-induced bone loss than aerobic exercise alone, according to a study published online Dec. 4 in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.

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Model Predicts Six-Month Post-AMI Mortality for Older Adults

TUESDAY, Dec. 10, 2019 (HealthDay News) — A newly developed model has good discriminatory ability for six-month post-acute myocardial infarction (AMI) mortality, according to a study published online Dec. 10 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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U.S. Health Care Spending Up 4.6 Percent in 2018

TUESDAY, Dec. 10, 2019 (HealthDay News) — In 2018, U.S. health care spending increased 4.6 percent, a faster rate than that seen in 2017, according to a report published online Dec. 5 in Health Affairs.

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All-Cause Mortality, Cancer Incidence Lower for Adventists

TUESDAY, Dec. 10, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Adventists have substantially lower rates of all-cause mortality and cancer incidence than nonsmokers from the general population in the United States, according to a study published online Nov. 25 in Cancer.

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2016 to 2019 Saw Increase in Medical Students With Disabilities

MONDAY, Dec. 9, 2019 (HealthDay News) — From 2016 to 2019, there was an increase in the proportion of medical students reporting disabilities, according to a research letter published in the Nov. 26 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Half of U.S. Physicians Recommend Complementary Health Approaches

MONDAY, Dec. 9, 2019 (HealthDay News) — More than half of office-based physicians recommend complementary health approaches (CHAs) to their patients, according to a study published online Dec. 2 in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

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Rural Population Underrepresented Among Medical Students

FRIDAY, Dec. 6, 2019 (HealthDay News) — In 2017, less than 5 percent of all incoming medical students were rural students, according to a study published in the December issue of Health Affairs, a theme issue on rural health.

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Retail Prescription Drug Prices Fall for First Time in 45 Years

FRIDAY, Dec. 6, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Retail prescription drug prices in the United States fell by 1 percent last year, a new government report shows.

AP News Article

Reductions in Air Pollution Yield Substantial Health Gains

FRIDAY, Dec. 6, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Reductions in air pollution yield prompt and substantial health benefits, according to research published in the December issue of the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

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2007 to 2014 Saw Decrease in U.S. Incidence of Alzheimer Disease

FRIDAY, Dec. 6, 2019 (HealthDay News) — From 2007 to 2014, there was a decrease in the diagnosed incidence of Alzheimer disease (AD), according to a study published online Dec. 4 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

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Playing Analog Games Tied to Less Relative Cognitive Decline

THURSDAY, Dec. 5, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Playing analog games is associated with less relative cognitive decline, according to a study published online Nov. 18 in the Journals of Gerontology: Series B.

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Aspirin Use May Reduce Cancer, All-Cause Mortality in Seniors

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 4, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Aspirin use three or more times per week is associated with reductions in all-cause, any cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, and colorectal cancer (CRC) mortality among older adults, according to a study published online Dec. 4 in JAMA Network Open.

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Services Affected by Rural Hospitals Joining Health Systems

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 4, 2019 (HealthDay News) — While affiliating with health systems may boost a rural hospital’s financial viability, the affiliation is often associated with reductions in critical services, according to a study published in the December issue of Health Affairs, a theme issue on rural health.

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Adults Not Living in Metro Areas Have Reduced Access to Care

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 4, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Adults not living in metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) are more likely to have reduced access to or use of health care services, according to a study published online Dec. 4 in the National Health Statistics Reports, a publication from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Physician Depressive Symptoms Tied to Higher Risk for Medical Errors

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 4, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Physicians showing depressive symptoms are at higher risk for medical errors, according to a review published Nov. 27 in JAMA Network Open.

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Implant Survival Poor for Converted ‘Partial’ Knee Replacements

TUESDAY, Dec. 3, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Total knee arthroplasty (TKA) converted from medial unicompartmental (or “partial”) knee arthroplasty (UKA) has a risk for revision that is threefold higher than that for primary TKA, according to a study published online Nov. 20 in The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

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Fracture Risk Increased in Adults With Atopic Eczema

MONDAY, Dec. 2, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Patients with atopic eczema have an increased risk for fracture, especially major osteoporotic fractures, according to a study published online Nov. 19 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

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Risk for Hospital Admission Up With Short-Term PM2.5 Exposure

MONDAY, Dec. 2, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Short-term exposure to fine particulate matter with diameter less than 2.5 µm (PM2.5) is associated with increased hospital admission risks and costs, according to a study published online Nov. 27 in The BMJ.

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