October 30, 2015
FROM THE UNITED STATES PREVENTIVE SERVICES TASK FORCE (USPSTF)
HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE SCREENING RECOMMENDED FOR ALL ADULTS: The USPSTF has released a final recommendation statement recommending high blood pressure screening for all adults eighteen or older. The panel gives an ‘A’ grade for this recommendation meaning that "there is high certainty that the net benefit is substantial.” In addition, the panel also recommends annual screening for those who are at an increased risk, including African Americans and those who are overweight or obese. For the first time, USPSTF recommends that physicians confirm high blood pressure diagnosis with follow-up measurements before prescribing medication.
SCREENING FOR ABNORMAL GLUCOSE AND TYPE 2 DIABETES IN ADULTS
The USPSTF has published its final recommendation statement, updated from 2008, in Annals of Internal Medicine on screening for abnormal glucose and type 2 diabetes in adults.The panel recommends blood glucose screening for all adults between the ages of 40 and 70 who are overweight or obese. The panel also recommends that physicians should offer or refer patients with abnormal blood glucose to intensive behavioral counseling interventions to promote a healthful diet and physical activity. USPSTF gives this recommendation a ‘B’ grade meaning that "there is high certainty that the net benefit is moderate.”
FDA E-CIGARETTE RULE UNDER REVIEW BY WHITE HOUSE
A proposed rule drafted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that will establish the agency's authority to regulate e-cigarettes and other tobacco productstraditionally outside its purview is now being reviewed by the White House.
FDA first announced its intention to regulate e-cigarettes four years ago and has since faced criticism from anti-smoking groups who say the agency has moved too slowly. The proposed rule covered three major areas: setting the minimum legal age of sale at 18, restrictions on vending machine sales, and specifications for warning labels. It would also make new tobacco products go through FDA's premarket review process.
The rule would cover not only e-cigarettes but also cigars, hookah and pipe tobacco.
SURGEON GENERAL ANNOUNCES FIRST EVER REPORT ON SUBSTANCE ABUSE
Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has announced that the first-ever Surgeon General's report on substance abuse will be published next year.The Surgeon General noted that, "We're going to look at the best science on everything, from heroin and marijuana, to alcohol and prescription opioids and we're going to launch a national campaign to tackle the prescription drug crisis, because we know that someone dies from an opioid overdose every 24 minutes in this country."
It's a move that Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has already endorsed and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) is calling "historic." Advocates hope it will transform the perception and understanding of substance abuse the way the 1964 Surgeon General's report on smoking launched the public health war against tobacco.