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  • Obesity drug: Today's risks, tomorrow's gain debated Obesity experts say physicians and drug regulators need to sit up and take notice: the pharmacy shelves are all but bare of weight-loss drugs. Some say soaring BMIs mean certain risks should be deemed acceptable—even in "healthy" obese subjects—to prevent progression to more serious disease down the road. But it's a tough sell.
  • Atkins diet for diabetes questioned The Atkins diet is always the subject of controversy when it comes to scientific claims. The latest assertion by one proponent is that it can help treat diabetes, mostly because people can lose weight easily while on this diet. But others argue that there are better options to lose weight and that Atkins is far too restrictive to stay on long term. And perhaps most important, they question the
  • Live case demos: New guidance Cardiology societies that feature live case demonstrations at their meetings have teamed up to pen a thoughtful statement and code of conduct that they hope will be adopted by a wider range of meetings, even as other medical groups have actually pulled back on use of live broadcasts.
  • ISHLT sessions, Dr Heather Ross cope with the volcano It might take Nordic blood to pronounce Eyjafjallajökull, but the volcano was an indiscriminant troublemaker. Shrouding much of Europe in ash, it crippled air travel in the UK and much of the Continent, put a medical society's annual showcase into emergency mode, and sent an Arctic traveler on an unexpected six-day journey across seven countries.
  • US interventionalists mull the pros and cons of recertification The years 2009 and 2010 represent the first time that US interventionalists have had to recertify, and while everyone agrees that this is a laudable goal, opinion is divided over the arduous modules involved. Since recertification is voluntary, some say they simply aren't going to bother jumping through the hoops.
  • MRI of devices The advent of new "MRI-safe" devices does not imply that MRI cannot be performed safely on older devices, according to the leaders of the MagnaSafe registry.
  • US deliberates on populationwide salt reduction strategies Messages to limit the amount of salt added to food have had little impact on sodium intake in the West, where more than 75% of salt in the diet there is contained in readily prepared foods. The UK has recently gotten tough with the food industry and cut salt intake by 10%; is it time the US and others took a similar stance? heartwire examines the issues.
  • Cardiologists mull healthcare reform Cardiologists hope US health reform will improve patient access to life-saving therapies but fear good intentions could shift costs onto hospitals and providers, without fully tackling the thorny issues underpinning comparative-effectiveness decisions and end-of-life care.
  • Mounting debate over aspirin for primary prevention? The year kicked off with some rosy recommendations from the USPSTF, but a steady accumulation of studies suggest that aspirin's risks may eclipse its benefits in preventing initial cardiac and cerebrovascular events—most strikingly, a report from the same group that bolstered the primary-prevention case for aspirin in the first place. Everyone agrees: it's time to talk to your
  • EASD Diabetes Surgery: Gastric Bypass For The Overweight But Not Obese Under the some-say-misguided term "metabolic" surgery, gastric bypass is now being used in some instances to treat diabetics who are not considered morbidly obese. Experts say the mostly circumstantial evidence on this is intriguing, but prospective data are desperately needed in this group of patients.
  • EASD HbA1c Goals Discussed at Length During EASD Diabetologists are trying to tease out the best message to convey when it comes to target HbA1c levels for primary-care physicians and other nonspecialists who might be treating patients with type 2 diabetes.
  • Used Pacemakers Donated to Poor and Uninsured Heart Patients Abroad Pacemaker reuse isn't permitted within the US, but it is legal for Americans to donate devices with substantial remaining battery life after the patient dies for use in less affluent countries. It's been happening on a small scale for years. A University of Michigan program is trying to make it common.
  • Transradial PCI With better equipment and accumulating data showing a significant reduction in complications, including bleeding, enthusiasts say transradial PCI should be the default interventional approach. So when will the US catch on?
  • More conflict of interest disclosure: help or harm? The debate over just how individuals, institutions, professional societies, and scientific publications should divulge potential conflicts of interest—and indeed just what constitutes a conflict—shows no sign of abating. Across the spectrum of interests, people are asking whether efforts towards transparency are truly helping advance the cause of healthcare and medical
  • Antibiotics for IE prophylaxis? The issue of when, or even if, antibiotics should be given for the prevention of infective endocarditis has been hotly debated of late. heartwire interviewed one expert on the subject, Dr Bernard Prendergast, to gauge his views.
  • Cardiologists and exercise Sure, it's easy to throw the book at a patient, telling them to eat better and to get active, but are cardiologists practicing what they preach? And if they are, just what are they doing to stay in shape? heartwire has a look at the athletic lives of some cardiologists.
  • Primary-prevention ICDs for the very elderly Many patients getting the devices today are decades older than those in the clinical trials on which the US guidelines are based. Some say that matters, so it should be explored in clinical trials. Others say there have been trials enough. (Sweeney MO et al. J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol; published online before print June 12, 2008.)
  • Varenicline safety and efficacy Dr Melissa Walton-Shirley, forum moderator for theheart.org, recently spoke with public-health specialist Dr Serena Tonstad.
  • Unraveling the genetics of heart disease The past year has seen an explosion in genomewide-association studies unearthing common genetic variants that increase the probabilities of getting many complex diseases. But what is the state of play in cardiology? Despite the first genetic test for MI, experts say there is still a long way to go in the hunt for genetic determinants of cardiovascular disease.
  • Attack of the clones That thud could be the sound of eight new journals landing on your desk, offspring of JACC and Circulation that focus on specific areas of cardiology. Boosters say they are good for the field, but others question how much they're needed.