Morning Rounds Shraddha Chakradhar

In a first, U.S. panel recommends screening adults for illegal drug use

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is recommending for the first time that physicians screen adults for illegal drug use. The move comes amid continued efforts to identify substance use early on, whether it’s taking illicit drugs or taking prescription medications for nonmedical reasons. The panel decided against recommending such screening for adults nearly a decade ago, citing insufficient evidence to support screening. But the opioid epidemic in the U.S. continued to surge in that time: More than 70,000 people died of opioid overdoses in 2017. The USPSTF’s suggestions will be open for public comment until early September, at which point the expert panel will issue a final recommendation.

Increased social media use linked to worse mental health in teen girls 

A new study of nearly 10,000 teens in the U.K. finds that frequent social media use is associated with worse mental health in girls. Researchers asked teens about their social media usage and were later also asked to take a questionnaire about their mental health. More than a quarter of girls who had previously reported checking social media many times daily reported anxiety and lower rates of happiness than those who accessed such sites on a weekly basis or even less frequently. The study didn’t find a similarly discernible effect in boys. The researchers found that the mental health outcomes in girls could be linked to cyberbullying, as well as a lack of sleep and physical activity. Encouraging reduced social media use may be misplaced, the authors write, and suggest that interventions should instead target cyberbullying and recommend more sleep and exercise.

Aerobic exercise may help stroke survivors regain movement

Those who have experienced a stroke often have trouble with movement afterward, and a new analysis finds that aerobic exercise may help alleviate some of these problems. Looking at 19 studies that had assessed the outcomes for stroke survivors who did aerobic exercise, researchers found that some kind of mixed aerobic exercise and just walking were the most effective in helping stroke survivors regain some mobility. Cycling and some kind of recumbent walking — in which the person is seated but is still able to step — were the least effective method. Researchers observed these effects regardless of how long it had been since the patients’ stroke, although those with mild movement impairments saw the most benefit. 

Inside STAT: This venture capitalist wants to harness the investing power of women


From the outside, the Bay Area headquarters of the venture platform Portfolia looks just like another multimillion-dollar home. But the inside reveals that it is anything but that. Desks fill the living room area and the walls are covered with prints from the various startups the firm has helped launch. Founded by venture capital veteran Trish Costello, Portfolia’s aim is to get more women and underrepresented groups involved in investing. After all, only 2% of all the funding to venture-backed companies last year went to those founded solely by women and only 11% of decisions-makers at U.S.-based firms managing more than $25 million are women. “If women want specific companies in the world that address their needs, the only way to do that is for women to become the investors,” Costello tells STAT’s Megan Thielking. Read more here

Adults in U.S. and Canada share similarities in how they use prescription drugs

New CDC data finds that American and Canadian adults aged 40-79 use prescription drugs in similar ways. The report comes as the U.S. considers a plan to import medicines from an already overburdened system in Canada. Here’s more from the report: 

  • Overall trends: In both countries, nearly 7 in 10 adults report using at least one prescription drug in the month before being surveyed, while about 20% say they used five or more drugs. 

  • By drug type: Cholesterol-lowering drugs were the most popular among older adults. Canadian adults aged 40-59 used pain relievers most often while antidepressants were the most commonly used among American adults in the same age group. 

  • By sex: Some 70% of women in both countries report taking at least one prescription drug, compared to around 60% of men.

Nearly 1 in 7 internal medicine trainees say they’ve felt bullied

A new survey of more than 21,000 medical residents in internal medicine finds that nearly 14% of them perceive having been bullied at some point during their training. The vast majority of them said the bullying was in the form of verbal harassment. Some 5% said they felt they experienced physical harassment, while nearly 4% said they felt they were sexually harassed. Those who spoke a native language other than English and those who had received their medical degree outside the U.S. were more likely to report feeling bullied. A third of those who felt bullied say they sought help. Nearly 60% said they felt burned out as a result, while more than a quarter reported feeling depressed. 

What to read around the web today

  • Texas almost mandated an HPV vaccine. Now, the state has one of the country's highest rates of cervical cancer. Texas Tribune
  • Meth has finally taken hold in Massachusetts. The Boston Globe
  • With brain trauma, surgeons don’t always know if an operation will help. Could AI change that? STAT
  • ‘Juul-alikes’ are filling shelves with sweet, teen-friendly nicotine flavors. The New York Times
  • Agency did not conduct required oversight of program for those with disabilities. The Washington Post

Thanks for reading! More tomorrow,


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Wednesday, August 14, 2019


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