Items in AFP with MESH term: Information Services
Autism: A Medical Primer - Article
ABSTRACT: Autistic disorder, a pervasive developmental disorder resulting in social, language, or sensorimotor deficits, occurs in approximately seven of 10,000 persons. Early detection and intervention significantly improve outcome, with about one third of autistic persons achieving some degree of independent living. Indications for developmental evaluation include no babbling, pointing, or use of other gestures by 12 months of age, no single words by 16 months of age, no two-word spontaneous phrases by 24 months of age, and loss of previously learned language or social skills at any age. The differential diagnosis includes other psychiatric and pervasive developmental disorders, deafness, and profound hearing loss. Autism is frequently associated with fragile X syndrome and tuberous sclerosis, and may be caused by lead poisoning and metabolic disorders. Common comorbidities include mental retardation, seizure disorder, and psychiatric disorders such as depression and anxiety. Behavior modification programs are helpful and are usually administered by multidisciplinary teams, targeted medication is used to address behavior concerns. Many different treatment approaches can be used, some of which are unproven and have little scientific support. Parents may be encouraged to investigate national resources and local support networks.
Diagnostic Approach to Tinnitus - Article
ABSTRACT: Tinnitus is a common disorder with many possible causes. Most cases of tinnitus are subjective, but occasionally the tinnitus can be heard by an examiner. Otologic problems, especially hearing loss, are the most common causes of subjective tinnitus. Common causes of conductive hearing loss include external ear infection, cerumen impaction, and middle ear effusion. Sensorineural hearing loss may be caused by exposure to excessive loud noise, presbycusis, ototoxic medications, or Meniere's disease. Unilateral hearing loss plus tinnitus should increase suspicion for acoustic neuroma. Subjective tinnitus also may be caused by neurologic, metabolic, or psychogenic disorders. Objective tinnitus usually is caused by vascular abnormalities of the carotid artery or jugular venous systems. Initial evaluation of tinnitus should include a thorough history, head and neck examination, and audiometric testing to identify an underlying etiology. Unilateral or pulsatile tinnitus may be caused by more serious pathology and typically merits specialized audiometric testing and radiologic studies. In patients who are discomforted by tinnitus and have no remediable cause, auditory masking may provide some relief.
ABSTRACT: To complement the 2005 Annual Clinical Focus on medical genomics, AFP will be publishing a series of short reviews on genetic syndromes. This series was designed to increase awareness of these diseases so that family physicians can recognize and diagnose children with these disorders and understand the kind of care they might require in the future. The first review in this series discusses fragile X syndrome.
ABSTRACT: Down syndrome (trisomy 21) is the most commonly recognized genetic cause of mental retardation. The risk of trisomy 21 is directly related to maternal age. All forms of prenatal testing for Down syndrome must be voluntary. A nondirective approach should be used when presenting patients with options for prenatal screening and diagnostic testing. Patients who will be 35 years or older on their due date should be offered chorionic villus sampling or second-trimester amniocentesis. Women younger than 35 years should be offered maternal serum screening at 16 to 18 weeks of gestation. The maternal serum markers used to screen for trisomy 21 are alpha-fetoprotein, unconjugated estriol and human chorionic gonadotropin. The use of ultrasound to estimate gestational age improves the sensitivity and specificity of maternal serum screening.
Bicycle-Related Injuries - Article
ABSTRACT: Bicycle riding is a popular form of recreation among persons of all ages, and related injuries cause significant morbidity and mortality. Most injuries occur in males and are associated with riding at high speed; most serious injuries and fatalities result from collisions with motor vehicles. Although superficial soft tissue injuries and musculoskeletal trauma are the most common injuries, head injuries are responsible for most fatalities and long-term disabilities. Overuse injuries may contribute to a variety of musculoskeletal complaints, compression neuropathies, perineal and genital complaints. Physicians treating such patients should consider medical factors, as well as suggest adjusting various components of the bicycle, such as the seat height and handlebars. Encouraging bicycle riders to wear helmets is key to preventing injuries; protective clothing and equipment, and general safety advice also may offer some protection.
ABSTRACT: Many barriers exist to finding answers to physicians' clinical questions. Lack of time, resources, and computer skills, as well as physicians' environment and attitudes about problem solving, all contribute to unanswered questions. Making use of computer-based information resources can give physicians a framework for answering questions and keeping their practice consistent with the best available evidence.
ABSTRACT: The best way to keep up with the medical literature is to set up a system that delivers valid, relevant information while filtering out extraneous information. Useful information is patient-oriented, practical, and innovative. Good information systems are available that are inexpensive and easy to use.
Where to Look for Good Clinical Policies - Feature
A Palm-Top Computer in Every Practice? - Computers