Cervical spine CT examinations are unnecessary for emergency department (ED) patients who are a victim of "simple assault" or who have a "ground-level fall", unless the patient has a condition that predisposes the patient to spine fracture, a new study finds. The study, conducted at Grady Memorial Hospital by researchers from the Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences of the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, found that out of 218 exams for simple assault, there were none that were positive, said Andrew Nicholson, MD, lead author of the study. In the series of 154 cervical spine CT scans that were obtained for ground-level fall, there was only one positive exam. This fracture was in a patient with ankylosing spondylitis, a condition that is known to increase the risk of fracture of the spine.
Biomedical engineers at Tufts University's School of Engineering have demonstrated the first all-polymeric bone scaffold material that is fully biodegradable and capable of providing significant mechanical support during repair. The new technology uses micron-sized silk fibers to reinforce a silk matrix, much as steel rebar reinforces concrete. It could improve the way bones and other tissues are repaired following accident or disease. The discovery is reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Online Early Edition the week of April 30-May 4, 2012. In the U.S. an estimated 1.3 million people undergo bone graft surgeries each year, notes the paper. Human bones are hard but relatively lightweight, able to withstand considerable pressure while being sufficiently elastic to withstand moderate torsion.
Osteoporosis is a common, silent and devastating age-related disease. 25% of Australian women with osteoporosis who sustain a hip fracture die within 12 months, with a greater mortality risk of women older than 65 than from breast cancer. In comparison to women, the mortality rate amongst men with hip fractures is even higher. Even though scientists are aware of the consequences of osteoporosis, their knowledge about the causes of the disease is still elusive. Scientists have known for years that osteoporosis has a strong genetic link. However, the genes responsible for the disease have still remained largely unknown until now. The leading genetic journal Nature Genetics reports that researchers from the Diamantina Institute at The University of Queensland have now discovered over double the number of genes involved in osteoporosis compared with those that were already known.
Osteoporosis affects more than 75 million people, with women being four times more at risk of developing the disease than men. Osteoporosis is a chronic, progressive and systemic disease, whereby the bone tissue deteriorates, losing mass and strength, which makes the bones more fragile and increases the risk of fractures. Due to estrogen deficiency, the disease accelerates during and after women's menopause as ovarian function decreases during menopause, whilst the risk of fracture progressively increases with age. A phase 3 clinical trial program of the sclerostin antibody (CDP7851/AMG 785) for the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis (PMO) has just been announced by UCB and Amgen. CDP7851/AMG 785 is a humanized monoclonal antibody, which binds to sclerostin and inhibits it. Sclerostin is a protein secreted by bone cells, which inhibits bone formation.
Anaesthetists have identified a major shortfall in funding for emergency laparotomies in England and have called for a national database to establish a more accurate picture of outcomes and costs. Figures published in the May issue of Anaesthesia suggest a shortfall of 300 million pounds per year for emergency midline general surgical laparotomies, 32% of the total cost of care. The study also found that emergency laparotomy, which involves a large midline incision in the abdomen, had a high death rate, with 14% of patients dying in hospital and a further 11% dying within 30 days of surgery. Patients over 70 years of age were three times as likely to die as patients under 70. "There has been considerable interest in trying to improve surgical outcomes after emergency operations, particularly among sick, elderly patients" says Dr Stuart M White, Consultant Anaesthetist at the Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton, UK.