Catheter-based heart valve surgery

Study subjects: 358 patients at 21 medical centers

Location of study: U.S.

Results: A study printed in the May edition of the New England Journal of Medicine shows that patients diagnosed with aortic stenosis (narrowing of the heart valves) who were too sick for open-heart surgery do better with catheter-based heart valve replacement than standard treatments, like drugs.

Significance: Catheter-based heart valve surgery is a minimally invasive treatment that was developed over the last decade and has given aortic stenosis sufferers (about 2 to 9 percent of U.S. adults 65 and older) an alternative to open-heart surgery.

 

Teens and sex ed

Study subjects: 4,691 men and women ages 15 to 24

Location of study: U.S.

Results: A Guttmacher Institute study, "Consequences of Sex Education on Teen and Young Adult Sexual Behaviors and Outcomes," found that teens who are given formal sex education before engaging in sexual practices exhibited healthier behaviors, like waiting to have sex and using birth control, than those not taught sex education.

Significance: The study indicates that thorough sex education taught before sexual activity is important for teens' healthy development and in preventing unwanted pregnancy and STDs.



IBS drugs


Study subjects: More than 800 people involved in clinical trials

Location of study: U.S.

Results: A study in the American Journal of Medicine found that the drugs rifaximin and lubiprostone are better options for more people when treating irritable bowel syndrome. Rifaximin, an FDA-approved antibiotic that treats traveler's diarrhea and hepatic encephalopathy, and lubiprostone, a drug that fosters gut lubrication, were found to have the fewest harmful side effects when compared to other drugs used to treat IBS.

Significance: IBS affects up to 20 percent of all Americans and symptoms include pain or cramps in the abdomen, excess gas or bloating and visible abdominal distension. Many IBS drugs cause their own undesirable side effects, such as nausea, insomnia, palpitations and decreased appetite.



Diabetic men at risk

Study subjects: 64,000 eligible subjects from the REACH?registry, which tracks patients at a high risk for heart problems

Location of study: U.S.

Results: A Brigham and Women's Hospital study found that men without a history of cardiovascular disease who treated their type 2 diabetes with insulin were at a higher risk for death, heart attack and stroke than men with a history of cardiovascular disease.

Significance: These figures indicate that as the number of patients with type 2 diabetes requiring insulin continues to increase, cardiovascular risk for otherwise heart-healthy patients may also rise.