Growth hormone reduces fractures in women with osteoporosis

By Will Boggs MD

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Growth hormone is associated with a decrease in fractures in women with postmenopausal osteoporosis even a decade after treatment ceases, researchers from Sweden report.

"We were surprised and pleased to find that the patients had a reduced risk of fracture so many years after the growth hormone treatment was ceased," Dr. Emily Krantz, from Sodra Alvsborgs Hospital, Boras, Sweden, told Reuters Health by email.

Risk score predicts stroke in heart failure patients

By Will Boggs MD

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A variant of the CHADS2 score that's used to estimate ischemic stroke risk in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) is also modestly accurate in heart failure patients, even in those without AF, researchers say.

The variant, CHA2DS2-VASc, calculates stroke risk based on 10 possible points with higher scores indicating higher risk (http://bit.ly/1IL6HZi).

Clinical factors linked to poor antidepressant response in elderly

By Laura Newman

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Older adults with major depressive disorder varied in their response to venlafaxine hydrochloride (venlafaxine XR) in a recent study.

Severe depression at baseline was the most important factor in a failed response after 12 weeks of treatment, researchers reported.

"However, a higher baseline depression severity alone may be neither a necessary nor sufficient predictor of treatment nonresponse," the researchers wrote August 19 online in JAMA Psychiatry.

What drives neurodegeneration in type 2 diabetes?

By Will Boggs MD

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Neurodegeneration in type 2 diabetes may be driven by tau phosphorylation in a process independent of Alzheimer's disease dementia, researchers from Australia report.

"It was somewhat surprising that we did not find a correlation between type 2 diabetes and the presence of amyloid in the brain," Dr. Velandai Srikanth from Monash University in Melbourne told Reuters Health by email. "Further research efforts are required to understand what leads to tangle build-up in people with type 2 diabetes."

Regular exercise benefits adults with chronic kidney disease

By Rita Buckley

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Adults with chronic kidney disease (CKD) gain significant benefits from regular exercise training, researchers say.

Dr. Steven J. Kamper from the University of Sydney, Australia, and colleagues summarized a 2011 Cochrane review on exercise training for adults with CKD and renal transplant(http://bit.ly/1XfZdZj).

A search of 13 databases identified 45 studies on the effects of exercise training in 1,863 patients with chronic kidney disease.

California assisted suicide bill advances in special session

By Sharon Bernstein

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Reuters) - A controversial bill to allow physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients in California passed a key legislative committee on Tuesday, after failing in the legislature earlier this summer amid opposition from the Catholic Church.

The measure, which passed 10-3, next goes to the assembly finance committee.

The bill was pulled from consideration in the legislature's regular session in July but was reintroduced last month as part of a special session on healthcare called by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown.

AD isn't always tied to brain amyloid buildup

By Lorraine L. Janeczko

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Many people with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease (AD) don't have beta-amyloid buildup in their brain and may not benefit from therapies being developed that target amyloid, a new study suggests.

"We're learning that the contributions to what we have called Alzheimer's dementia may be a bit more complicated than previously thought," senior author Dr. Eric M. Reiman, of Banner Alzheimer's Institute in Phoenix, Arizona, told Reuters Health in a telephone interview.

TAVR lifesaving for nonagenarians

By Will Boggs MD

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is lifesaving therapy for nonagenarians with severe aortic stenosis, according to data from the PARTNER-I trial.

"What we find most surprising and quite honestly rewarding is that we are able to have excellent short- and mid-term outcomes in a patient population with a lethal disease that without this technology would undoubtedly die," Dr. Vinod H. Thourani from Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia told Reuters Health by email.

California assisted suicide bill to be heard in special session

By Sharon Bernstein

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Reuters) - A controversial bill to allow physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients in California comes up for a new round of hearings on Tuesday, after failing in the legislature earlier this summer amid opposition from the Catholic Church.

The measure, which was pulled from consideration in the legislature's regular session in July, was reintroduced last month as part of a special session on healthcare called by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown.

Knee and hip replacements increase heart attack risk briefly

By Kathryn Doyle

(Reuters Health) - Operations to replace a knee or a hip appear to increase heart attack risk in the short term and the risk of blood clots in the long term, according to a new study.

The heart attack risk falls again over time, but blood clot risk is still elevated years later, the researchers found.

The reason for the elevated risks is unclear at this point, said senior author Yuqing Zhang of Boston University School of Medicine in email to Reuters Health.