With diabetic nerve damage, walking can pose fall risk

By Lisa Rapaport

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Diabetics with nerve damage are more likely to have an uneven stride and struggle to maintain their balance even when walking on flat ground, a small study finds.

Diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) is the most common complication of diabetes, and though it has long been linked to an increased risk of falls, less is known about how specific body movements contribute to balance problems during daily activities such as walking or climbing stairs.

Hearing loss more frequent with HIV infection

By Reuters Staff

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - People with HIV are at higher risk for hearing loss, a new study confirms.

"These results support the hypothesis that HIV-infected patients need monitoring of their hearing at all stages of the disease," Dr. Jean Valentin F. Fokouo, of the University of Yaounde, Cameroon and colleagues write. "Clinical and audiologic follow-up should be performed and appropriate measures taken as soon as possible when an ear symptom is reported."

More diabetes diagnosed after Medicaid expansion

By Lisa Rapaport

(Reuters Health) - U.S. states that expanded their Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act have seen larger increases in diabetes cases than states that didn't expand their programs, a new study shows.

The findings suggest that expanding Medicaid allows people with diabetes to be diagnosed earlier than before, which may improve outcomes later on, the researchers say.

Kidney transplant success varies with HIV and HCV co-infection

By David Douglas

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - HIV-positive patients not co-infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) show long-term kidney transplant survival comparable to that of HIV-negative recipients.

Statins can be stopped toward the end of life

By Andrew M. Seaman

(Reuters Health) - Stopping statins near the end of life is safe and may actually be beneficial, according to a new study.

Among people without active heart disease who weren't expected to live more than a year, stopping the drugs didn't increase the number of deaths within 60 days, but did improve quality of life and reduced costs.

Antipsychotics dangerous in dementia, but alternatives aren't ideal

By Will Boggs MD

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Antipsychotics are widely used to treat psychosis and aggression in patients with dementia, but they can significantly increase the risk of death.

"We were surprised that even the atypical antipsychotic least associated with increased mortality (quetiapine) still had a risk increase that was twice as high as that (previously) reported for the class," Dr. Donovan T. Maust, from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, told Reuters Health by email.

Should hemoglobin A1c thresholds differ by BMI classification?

By Will Boggs MD

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Because of poor agreement between hemoglobin (Hb) A1c levels and oral glucose tolerance tests (OGTT) in obese patients, HbA1c thresholds for diagnosing prediabetes should differ according to body mass index (BMI) class, researchers from China say.

Biogen's Alzheimer's drug slows mental decline in early study

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) - An experimental drug from Biogen Idec became the first Alzheimer's treatment to significantly slow cognitive decline and reduce brain amyloid plaque in patients with early and mild forms of the disease, according to a small study likely to reignite hopes of a treatment.

Alzheimer's is expected to strike as many as 75 million people worldwide by 2030 without effective treatments, likely costing billions of dollars year in care. A successful treatment would pay some of the richest rewards in medicine.

Better statin therapy with age- and sex-specific risk thresholds

By Will Boggs MD

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Using age- and sex-specific risk thresholds could result in improved cholesterol treatment recommendations, researchers report.

Vitamin D supplementation does not lower blood pressure

By Will Boggs MD

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Vitamin D supplementation does not appear to lower blood pressure, according to a systematic review and meta-analysis.

"I would not recommend using vitamin D to either treat or prevent high blood pressure," Dr. Miles D. Witham, from University of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital, Scotland, told Reuters Health by email. "The evidence that we found in our report is that it doesn't work."