Thursday, April 8, 2021 | Kaiser Health News

Research Roundup: Covid; Antibiotic Use; Parkinson’s Disease; Melanoma

Each week, KHN compiles a selection of recently released health policy studies and briefs.

Study Estimates 522,000 Excess US Deaths During Pandemic

An analysis of US mortality data shows all-cause mortality rose 23% in 2020, researchers reported today in JAMA. To assess excess deaths during the pandemic, researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine examined provisional data from the National Center for Health Statistics and the US Census on observed deaths from COVID-19 and non-COVID causes in 49 states and the District of Columbia from Mar 1, 2020, through Jan 2, 2021. They then compared the numbers to a model that used US mortality data from 2014 through 2019 to predict expected deaths in 2020. They also looked at regional death patterns. (4/2)

Home Oxygen Care Linked With Low COVID-19 Hospital Readmission

Hospitalized patients with COVID-19 pneumonia who were discharged with home oxygen equipment after being clinically stable had an 8.5% readmission rate, which led to a 1.3% rate of in-hospital deaths, according to a study yesterday in JAMA Network Open. None died in ambulatory care. The researchers followed up with 621 clinically stable adults discharged with home oxygen from Mar 20 to Aug 19, 2020, for a median of 26 days. All patients had been hospitalized in California for COVID-19 pneumonia and had received a median of 2.0 liters of oxygen per minute while in the hospital. Upon discharge, they received home oxygen equipment, educational resources, and at least one follow-up phone call within 12 to 18 hours. (4/2)

B117 Shows Similar Aerosol Stability As Other Strains

The COVID-19 B117 strain, which was first identified in the United Kingdom, has similar aerosol stability compared with three other COVID strains, so transmissibility differences are most likely due to other factors, according to a study last week in The Journal of Infectious Diseases. The researchers looked at an isolate of B117 as well as three other COVID-19 strains (hCoV-19/France/IDF0372/2020, hCoV-19/USA/NY-PV08449, and hCoV-19/USA/WA-1/2020), testing the effects of light, humidity, and temperature on aerosols from a simulated respiratory tract lining fluid (sRTLF) in a rotating drum chamber. (4/5)

Study: Venous Thromboembolism Not Increased In COVID Outpatients

Thirty-day incidence of venous thromboembolism (VTE) [or blood clots in deep veins] does not appear to have a greater association with outpatients infected with COVID-19 compared with non-infected adults, according to a research letter today in JAMA Internal Medicine. The researchers looked at 220,588 adults tested for COVID-19 from Feb 25 to Aug 31, 2020, in the Kaiser Permanente Northern California health plan. After excluding patients who were asymptomatic at the time of testing or who had previously received anticoagulants, 26,104 (11.8%) were included in the positive COVID subgroup. (4/5)

American Academy Of Pediatrics:
SARS-CoV-2 Transmission Dynamics In A Sleep-Away Camp

In late June 2020, a large outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) occurred at a sleep-away youth camp in Georgia, affecting primarily persons ≤21 years. We conducted a retrospective cohort study among campers and staff (attendees) to determine the extent of the outbreak and assess factors contributing to transmission. (Szablewski et al, 4/1)

Also —

Current Prescription Opioid Misuse And Suicide Risk Behaviors Among High School Students 

In previous studies, researchers have reported that youth with a lifetime history of prescription opioid misuse (POM) are at an increased risk for suicidal ideation, planning, and attempts. In this study, we investigate whether the association between youth POM and suicide outcomes differs by recency of POM (ie, none, past, or current misuse). METHODS: In this report, we use data from the 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey to examine associations between recency of POM (current POM, past POM, and no POM) and suicide risk behaviors among US high school students. (Wilkins et al, 4/1)

Hospitals Worldwide Display Wide Variation In Antibiotic Consumption

A worldwide analysis of hospital antibiotic prescribing patterns found considerable differences between countries and regions in proportional use of Access, Watch, and Reserve (AWaRe) antibiotics, researchers reported today in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. Using data collected in 2015, 2017, and 2018 by the Global Point Prevalence Survey on Antimicrobial Consumption and Resistance (Global-PPS), researchers from the University of Antwerp analyzed hospital antibiotic use at 664 hospital in 69 countries. They categorized inpatient antibiotic consumption using the AWaRe classification system, introduced by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2017 to provide an indirect indication of the appropriateness of antibiotic use at national and global levels, then calculated proportional Access, Watch, and Reserve use by region and country. The final dataset included 80,671 patients who received at least one systemic antibiotic. (4/5)

Dental Antibiotic Prescribing Significantly Higher In US

A comparison of dental antibiotic prescribing rates found that US dentists prescribe antibiotics much more frequently than those in England, Australia, and Canada, researchers reported today in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology. The population-level analysis of dental antibiotic prescribing looked at pharmacy-dispensed systemic antibiotic prescriptions by dentists in the United States, England, Australia, and British Columbia in 2017. The three outcomes analyzed for each country were the rate of antibiotic prescribing per 1,000 population, the relative proportions of each antibiotic class, and the prescribing rate per 1,000 population of each antibiotic type. (4/5)

An Amyloid Link Between Parkinson’s Disease And Melanoma

On the surface, Parkinson’s disease and melanoma do not appear to have much in common. However, for nearly 50 years, doctors have recognized that Parkinson’s disease patients are more likely to develop melanoma than the general population. Now, scientists report a molecular link between the two diseases in the form of protein aggregates known as amyloids. The researchers will present their results today at the spring meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS). (4/7)

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