News in Brief: Week of Sept. 3-7

September 05, 2012 05:50 pm News Staff

This roundup includes the following news briefs:

[News in Brief]

One Week Left to Preregister for AAFP Scientific Assembly

AAFP members and others interested in attending the AAFP Scientific Assembly, Oct. 16-20 in Philadelphia, have only one week left to save $100 on their Assembly registration. As of Sept. 12, the registration cost for the family medicine event of the year increases. Attendees at the AAFP Scientific Assembly can find answers to clinical and practice questions and earn up to up to 41 AAFP Prescribed credits. There are nearly 350 sessions scheduled, including 39 hands-on clinical procedures workshops.

CVD Risk Evaluation Should Include Assessment of Sexual Function, Say Researchers

Because growing evidence indicates that erectile dysfunction (ED) in younger men is a red flag for future cardiovascular disease (CVD), a multidisciplinary panel of researchers recommends that an assessment of sexual function be incorporated into cardiovascular risk evaluation for all men, regardless of their CVD status.

A report from the third Princeton Consensus Conference(, which was held in November 2010, noted that in a population-based study of men ages 40-70, adding ED status to the Framingham Risk Score (FRS) in a multivariate statistical model resulted in reclassification of five of 78 low-risk patients to intermediate risk. Data from another study suggest that ED is far more predictive of coronary artery disease in men ages 40-49 than in older men, and the incidence of atherosclerotic cardiovascular events in men younger than 40 who had ED was more than seven times the incidence in a reference population representative of the general male population in Western Australia.

Thus, the researchers said, ED may be particularly useful in assessing cardiovascular risk in younger men and in minorities, whose risk may be underestimated by global risk assessments, such as the FRS. These and other findings appear in the August issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

HIV Home Testing Kits Work, Study Finds

A recent study( on the use of rapid, oral fluid HIV home tests suggests that the kits may have a role in preventing HIV exposure in high-risk men who have sex with men (MSM).

Published in AIDS and Behavior, the study looked at the willingness of high-risk, non-HIV-infected MSM who never or rarely use condoms to use the kits, as well as whether these individuals would ask potential casual partners to take the test before having unprotected sex.

Twenty-seven ethnically diverse MSM used the kits before sexual intercourse with about 100 partners, and 10 tested individuals received HIV-antibody positive results. Seven were potential sexual partners, and three were acquaintances of the participants; six of the 10 were unaware of their status. No sexual intercourse took place after positive tests.

The tests were widely accepted, and participants reported wanting to continue to use the kits and to be able to purchase them freely (OTC). "Making (home tests) available within networks where high-risk sexual practices are common may be a cost-efficient and effective prevention method," the study authors concluded.

U.S. Lags Behind in Avoidable Deaths, Study Says

The United States lags behind France, England and Germany when it comes to the percentage of deaths that could have been avoided with timely and appropriate health care (i.e., amendable mortality), according to a new study( by Health Affairs.

The percentage of amendable mortality fell by 18.5 percent in the United States between 1999 and 2007. But that rate of decline lagged behind Britain (36.9 percent), France (27.7 percent) and Germany (24.3 percent), says the study, which is based on data from the World Health Organization and the CDC.

"The study compares data on cause of death for amendable causes with other causes, including treatable cancer and heart disease, which the authors consider 50 percent preventable for this age group," according to a Health Affairs blog post(

The study cited key findings to explain the lower decline in United States amendable rates compared with those of the other countries.

  • Among men, the United States has not made as much progress in reducing mortality rates attributed to surgical conditions and errors. In the 65-74 age group, mortality rates per 1,000 were unchanged between 1999 and 2007; there was a decline in the other countries.
  • Although women between the ages of 65 and 74 experienced a decline in mortality rates from circulatory conditions other than heart disease in all four countries between 1999 and 2007, the decline was lowest in the United States.
  • The rate of decline in amendable mortality rates among men and women in the United States who were younger than 65 was far less than that seen in the other three countries.

The authors of the study also found that "many Americans failed to obtain recommended treatment for common chronic conditions."