The lack of availability of COVID-19 testing has interfered with the ability to contain the spread of disease. Omai Garner, PhD, laboratory director for Clinical Microbiology in the UCLA health system, explains how PCR testing for COVID-19 works and why testing is in short supply.
In 2003, Toronto was the North American center for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The disease spread through the city’s hospitals before anyone knew what was happening. Dr Allison McGeer was a clinician caring for SARS patients and ultimately was infected herself. She describes her experience as a patient and provider and reviews lessons learned that might help others manage their regional COVID-19 outbreaks.
As COVID-19 spreads, clinicians and health systems are struggling to prepare for a surge of patients. Richard Stone, MD, the US Veterans Health Administration's Executive in Charge, spoke with JAMA about how the VA health system is preparing for this public health emergency.
Chloroquine was shown in 2004 to be active in vitro against SARS coronavirus but is of unproven efficacy and safety in patients infected with SARS-CoV-2. The drug's potential benefits and risks for COVID-19 patients, without and with azithromycin, is discussed by Dr. David Juurlink, head of the Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto.
Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is becoming more frequent as the population becomes more obese. This is not a benign problem, and NASH can ultimately lead to cirrhosis and liver failure. It is thought that NASH will ultimately become the most common cause for liver transplant. NASH is usually diagnosed as an incidental finding, but once found requires careful monitoring and patient counseling. Lisa N. Kransdorf, MD, MPH, from UCLA Health in California, discusses the diagnosis and management of NASH from a primary care clinician's perspective.
Hyperparathyroidism is a fairly common disease that causes elevated calcium levels and bone depletion, resulting in fractures and kidney problems. There are medications that can effectively manage hyperparathyroidism, and in some cases surgery is indicated. Michael Yeh, MD, professor and chief of endocrine surgery at UCLA, discusses the management of hyperparathyroidism.
Emerging information about how SARS-CoV-2 virus infects cells has led to speculation that NSAIDs and ACE inhibitors/angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) may worsen clinical disease. Infectious disease physician Carlos del Rio, MD, of Emory University explains the concerns and their clinical implications.
Nathan Pritikin was a college dropout who became an entrepreneur. While doing research for the government during World War II, he observed that populations that had extremely limited food availability because of the war had substantially reduced mortality from cardiovascular disease—something unexpected at a time when cardiovascular disease was thought to be due to stress. After the war when food became more available CVD death rates went back up, resulting in Pritikin concluding that CVD was related to diet. Pritikin devised his own very low-fat diet that bears his name and the diet is still in use 65 years later.
This podcast explains the Pritikin diet to patients. Nathan Pritikin was a college dropout who became an entrepreneur. While doing research for the government during World War II, he observed that populations that had extremely limited food availability because of the war had substantially reduced mortality from cardiovascular disease—something unexpected at a time when cardiovascular disease was thought to be due to stress. After the war when food became more available CVD death rates went back up, resulting in Pritikin concluding that CVD was related to diet. Pritikin devised his own very low-fat diet that bears his name and the diet is still in use 65 years later.
Seattle was one of the first US cities to have a COVID-19 outbreak, with a cluster of nursing home-related deaths. However, many people who tested positive for the novel coronavirus never became ill, and in some the clinical illness was indistinguishable from influenza. John Lynch, MD, MPH, an infectious disease physician and medical director for infection prevention and control at the Harborview Medical Center, summarizes his hospital’s experience managing the patients and outbreak.
Seattle has been a focal point for the US in the coronavirus pandemic. Doug Paauw, MD, professor of medicine at the University of Washington, in Seattle, describes the UW primary care clinic experience as this pandemic evolved. Major lessons learned included accommodating for significant numbers of staff not available to work in the clinic because of school closures, change in workflow because of shortages of personal protective equipment, physicians having to accommodate very large numbers of patient queries via telephone, email, or electronic health record, and the importance of the rapid development of local ability to test for SARS-CoV-2 independent of public health agencies.
Coronovirus (the virus SARS-CoV-2) continues to spread throughout the world. In recent weeks, there has been an increasing number of cases and deaths in the US. As concern about the virus increases, there is an increasing need for accurate information about the disease and how much concern we should have. Anthony Fauci, MD, is the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and has been the main spokesperson for the US government about coronavirus. Dr Fauci spoke with JAMA Editor in Chief Howard Bauchner, MD, about where we are as of today with the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic.
Physicians who act out cause all sorts of problems. Fortunately, only a few clinicians have behavior problems and in the modern era, bad behaviors are not tolerated. Bad behaviors get reported these days and actions are taken against these sorts of clinicians. Clinicians who act out frequently say they are doing so to protect their patients. But are they? William Cooper, MD, MPH, and Gerald B. Hickson, MD, from Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, discuss a study they published in relating bad behaviors to having more complications of surgical care.
Although coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) dominates the news in early 2020, it affects few people in the US. In contrast, at the same time the US is experiencing a severe influenza epidemic, which has caused an estimated 250 000 hospitalizations and 14 000 deaths. Timothy Uyeki, MD, lead for the CDC’s 2019 novel coronavirus response team and Chief Medical Officer of CDC’s influenza division, discusses influenza in the US, how it compares to coronavirus, and what both patients and clinicians should know about this year’s flu season.
Great strides have been made in treating HIV, as Anthony Fauci, MD, discusses in this podcast episode. But even substantial viral suppression leaves some virus behind, causing chronic inflammation. Many chronic diseases, including atherosclerotic coronary vascular disease, are worsened by this chronic inflammatory state. Because HIV patients are now living very long lives, they are also developing chronic diseases at a more rapid rate than their non-HIV-infected peers because of this chronic inflammation.
More than 6 million people worldwide have Parkinson disease. Even though it is classically associated with tremors, the disease has many manifestations and is very treatable for most patients. Michael S. Okun, MD, from the Department of Neurology at the University of Florida, Gainesville, discusses the pathophysiology, clinical presentation, diagnosis, and treatment of Parkinson disease.
Breast cancer is a leading cause of death in women. Some women have a cancer susceptibility gene known as BRCA, and women should be tested for BRCA under some circumstances. Carol Mangione, MD, division chief of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research at UCLA, discusses when testing is appropriate, and Ranjit Manchanda, MD, PhD, from Barts Cancer Institute in London, UK, discusses the cost-effectiveness of BRCA screening for women who have had breast cancer.
Controversy exists regarding how to best manage chronic stable angina. Intuitively, it seems that because it is usually caused by coronary artery lesions, addressing those lesions either via percutaneous coronary angiography or coronary artery bypass operations would be the best way to manage this problem. Several studies have suggested that this is not the case and that results of these interventions are no better than optimal medical management. Recently, a very large trial examining this clinical question has provided results suggesting that any approach works about the same. We interviewed Donald Lloyd-Jones, MD, chair of the department of preventive medicine at Northwestern University, during the recent American Heart Association meeting about this issue.
Conjunctivitis and dry eye disease are some of the most common conditions patients present with. They are usually benign entities that respond well to conservative measures and usually don’t require medications. However, if medications are necessary, clinicians can find a comprehensive assessment of these drugs recently published in the December 2, 2019, issue of The Medical Letter. An excerpt from this article summarizing information about conjunctivitis and dry eye disease was published in the February 4, 2020 issue of JAMA. Kathryn Colby, MD, PhD, chair of the Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Science at the University of Chicago, explains in this podcast how to treat conjunctivitis and dry eye disease.
A new virus known as the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is rapidly spreading through China. The rapid spread and severity of this illness are worrisome and the possibility that it develops into a pandemic is very real. Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, provides an update on this new disease.
American football is a dangerous sport and is characterized by violent contact between people that often leads to repetitive head injury. A multitude of health effects may result from this sort of head injury, but a new finding reported in the December issue of JAMA Neurology maintains that football players are at risk for developing low testosterone levels and erectile dysfunction. Rachel Grashow, PhD, from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Football Players Health Study at Harvard Medical School discusses the findings regarding the relationship between head injury and erectile dysfunction.
There are many named diets that receive a great deal of attention. But what are they and do they work? David Heber, MD, PhD, from the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition explains these diets.
The keto diet is very popular and involves eating very few carbohydrates, a fair amount of fat, and normal amounts of protein. It is one of many ways to lose weight. David Heber, MD, formerly the chair of Clinical Nutrition at UCLA, explains the keto diet.
e-Cigarettes are dangerous, but the public has been falsely led to believe that they are safe. Because of this misconception and the inherent dangers, the American Heart Association (AHA) has taken an aggressive stance to educate the public about e-cigarettes, especially their use by kids. Rose Marie Robertson, MD,deputy chief science and medical officer for the AHA, spoke to JAMA about e-cigarettes and the frightening increase in their use among kids.
Read the article: The American Heart Association Takes on Vaping
Animal bites can be a cause of significant injury and on occasion, fatalities. In this episode, JAMA Fishbein Fellow Angel Desai, MD, MPH discusses the prevention, treatment, and epidemiological oddities of animal bites with Dr Sandra Nelson, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Massachusetts General, Dr Justin Hensley from Children’s Hospital of San Antonio, and others. Desai also talks prevention and risk of rabies acquisition with Dr Catherine Brown, state epidemiologist and public health veterinarian from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.