Morning Rounds

Could some cities soon see an oncology shortage? 


Some big cities could see shortages of cancer specialists in the coming decade, according to a new analysis by Doximity, a social network for more than a million physicians. Researchers at the company delved into the data on oncologists and found there’s an imminent wave of retiring physicians. The areas most likely to see shortages: Miami, Virginia Beach, and Tampa. But other cities could also see large portions of the cancer physician workforce retire relatively soon. In half of the 50 metropolitan areas surveyed, more than 20 percent of practicing oncologists are over age 65.

Scientists use AI to predict embryo quality

Scientists working to more accurately predict which embryos have the greatest potential for success are turning to a new tool: artificial intelligence. Fertility researchers in the U.S. and Australia are presenting their AI approaches at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s scientific meeting today. In the U.S., researchers used 18,000 images of embryos to train an algorithm to determine the quality, which it was 97 percent accurate at doing. And the scientists in Australia used time-lapse videos to analyze specific features of developing embryos. Then, they used that intel to train a system that can predict an embryo’s chance of resulting in a pregnancy with a fetal heartbeat.

Inside STAT: A major drug maker is paying doctors again, after halting the practice

The drug maker GlaxoSmithKline did something unexpected a few years back — it pledged that it would no longer pay doctors to promote its medicines, as so many other drug makers do. It was a bold move; it was also, apparently, not permanent. GSK now says it will largely reverse course because the earlier shift put the company at a competitive disadvantage. In a new column, STAT's Ed Silverman says that decision is unfortunate, and has real consequences for patients. Read here

Delayed pushing doesn't seem to change the chance of spontaneous delivery

A large new study suggests that delaying pushing during labor doesn't affect the chances women will have a spontaneous vaginal birth, rather than a C-section or with another intervention. Researchers ran a trial at six centers with more than 2,400 women, half of whom started pushing immediately when the cervix was fully dilated and half of whom waited an hour. Excessive bleeding and a certain infection were more common among the delayed pushing group, while perineal lacerations were more common among women who started pushing immediately. The finding calls into question the practice of delayed pushing, which is common in U.S. hospitals. 

Health leaders meet on World Mental Health Day

Today marks World Mental Health Day, and this year, the WHO is putting a spotlight on mental health among young people. The organization says that while half of all mental health conditions affect people by age 14, many of those issues aren’t detected or treated. Health leaders and researchers are convening today in the U.K. to talk about how to bump investment in mental health and quickly scale up helpful interventions.

On a related note: Lady Gaga, who co-founded the Born This Way Foundation, just penned an editorial in the Guardian on suicide and mental health with Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the WHO. “Suicide is the most extreme and visible symptom of the larger mental health emergency we are so far failing to adequately address,” they write.

Senate Democrats push to reverse rule on short-term health plans

Senate Democrats are pushing for a vote as soon as today on a measure to axe the Trump administration's rule to expand short-term health plans, which went into effect last week. Under the Obama administration, insurers could only sell short-term plans — which don’t have to stick to ACA requirements like mandatory coverage for people with pre-existing conditions — for three-month periods. But the new rule lets insurers sell plans for up to three years. There’s also a legal challenge playing out in court.

Meanwhile, President Trump is slated to sign a bill today that bans so-called gag clauses, which prevent pharmacists from informing consumers when it's cheaper to buy a drug without insurance. 

What to read around the web today

  • Nursing homes are pushing the dying into pricey rehab. Bloomberg
  • With safety and cash at stake, a squabble over drug compounding puts the FDA in a bind. STAT Plus
  • The Boston outbreak that turned into the deadliest pandemic in modern history. Boston Globe Magazine
  • Everyday discrimination literally raises women's blood pressure. The Atlantic

Thanks for reading! More tomorrow,


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Wednesday, October 10, 2018


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