More Than 20Percent of Defibrilator Implants Shouldn't Have Been Done
More than 20 percent of heart patients with implanted defibrillators shouldn't have received one, and face a greater rather than smaller risk of health complications and death. Patients who don't meet medical guidelines for an implant but get one anyway run roughly three times the risk of dying while hospitalized for the procedure than those who are qualified and receive one, according to a study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Researchers analyzed the records of more than 110,000 people who received an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator, or ICD, between January 2006 and June 2009, and found that 22.5 percent of the procedures did not meet current criteria. An ICD can prevent sudden cardiac death in those with advanced heart failure by firing an electrical shock to jolt the heart back to a normal rhythm when it starts beating abnormally. But guidelines recommend against its use for patients who are recovering from a heart attack or bypass surgery, who have severe heart failure symptoms, or who have only recently been diagnosed with heart failure. According to the study's findings, however, nearly 40 percent of patients who received implants had suffered a heart attack in the previous 40 days, and 62 percent were newly diagnosed with heart failure. "Clearly there is a lack of knowledge and a lack of awareness of the guidelines, and some patients were harmed," lead researcher Sana M. Al-Khatib, an associate professor of medicine at Duke University, told Bloomberg. "More education is needed."
- Cost of Medicine: Are High-Tech Medical Devices and Treatments Always Worth It?
- Defibrillators' Weak Link
Want to Get in Shape? Take the Obama Challenge
Remember when you were a schoolkid running a mile and groaning through push-ups to meet the president's physical fitness challenge? Now that you're all grown up you can sign up, along with your own kids, for the Obama version of the program, U.S. News reports. The latest challenge, part of first lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" initiative to end childhood obesity, aims to get 1 million children and their parents on their feet and moving daily. Stick it out for two months or so and you earn an official Presidential Active Lifestyle Award.
The PALA challenge requires adults to exercise for 30 minutes—an hour for kids—five days a week for six out of eight weeks. Or you can wear a pedometer and count your daily steps. The target for adults is 8,500 steps; for kids it's 11,000 for girls and 13,000 for boys. Sign up for free at Fitness.gov, where you can also log your activities. Online fitness tests can help you assess your endurance, muscle strength, and flexibility, and measure the progress you're making with your workouts. [Read more: Want to Get in Shape? Take the Obama Challenge.]
- 10 Easy-Grow Veggies for Your Kids' Obama White House Garden
- Is Child Obesity an Infectious Disease?
Is the Internet Bad for Your Brain?
Hello? Web junkies? In The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, author Nicholas Carr contends that Web surfing is rewiring our minds, breaking our focus and creativity along the way, U.S. News's Michael Morella reports.
"The computer screen bulldozes our doubts with its bounties and conveniences," Carr writes. "It is so much our servant that it would seem churlish to notice that it is also our master." Surveying the latest research in neuroscience and psychology—while mixing in philosophy and media history—Carr argues that digital distractions prey on our attention and ability to form new memories, thus preventing our minds from tapping their full intellectual and creative potential. Though some researchers believe that bouncing around the Web gives the mind valuable mental exercise, Carr worries that persistent multitasking just might "impede our ability to control our thoughts." [Read more: Is the Internet Bad for Brain Health?]
Popular Health Articles from USNews.com
- A School Nutrition Experiment: Junk Food Carrots
- 7 Things to Know if You've Received a Diabetes Diagnosis
- How to Choose a Health Plan: 12 Helpful Tips
- Too Noisy at Work? Watch Out for Heart Risks
- Video: How to Manage Diabetes