April 6th 2017

The latest news on chronic, acute, and preventive care across the health care landscape.

Chronic: Urine Test Could Diagnose Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Individuals with Down Syndrome

Testing for urinary biomarkers in patients with Down syndrome may help diagnose obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) without the need for expensive sleep studies. In a study published inSleep Medicine, investigators identified urinary biomarkers that appear to distinguish between patients with Down syndrome who have OSA and those who do not have OSA. Furthermore, they found overall differences in biomarkers between all study participants with Down syndrome and a control group of healthy young individuals. “How great would it be if one day soon we could collect a simple urine sample from patients with Down syndrome and predict whether or not they might have apnea,” said lead investigator Brian Skotko, MD, MPP. “It would be such a low-cost way of screening for apnea that would save many patients and their families the hassle and discomfort of an overnight sleep study.” The investigators stressed that the findings need to be confirmed in larger studies before biomarker screening can be used to detect the presence of OSA. Currently, the American Academic of Pediatrics recommends that all children with Down syndrome undergo sleep studies to determine the presence of OSA by 4 years of age.

Acute: Novel Flu Test to Help Combat Antibiotic Resistance

Scientists have developed a swab test that can diagnose a patient with the flu in 1 hour, according toThe Telegraph. The development could speed up access to the right treatment and is a step toward combating antibiotic resistance. The instant swab tests were invented at University Hospital Southampton Foundation trust, and they allow specific viruses to be isolated and given the right treatment within an hour, a process that currently takes almost a week. “My vision is that anyone who comes into [the] hospital with an acute respiratory condition will receive this point-of-care test as soon as they come through the hospital door,” said developer Dr Tristan Clark. “It tells us immediately what virus the person has, so, for example, if they have flu they can be isolated in a side room and given antiviral drugs without delay.”

Preventive: Common Overactive Bladder Drug Increases Risk of Depression

Women with overactive bladder who took antimuscarinincs were 38% more likely to be diagnosed with depression within the next 3 years compared with patients who did not receive the drug, according to a study published in theJournal of Clinical Pharmacology. Antimuscarinics can significantly depress bladder contractions and improve symptoms by blocking muscarinic receptors. However, studies have shown that patients who take the medication often experience adverse events. “This population-based retrospective cohort study found that use of Antimuscarinics was associated with subsequent depressive disorder in women with overactive bladder,” said senior author Li-Ting Kao.

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