Patients receiving the widely used anesthesia drug etomidate for surgery may be at increased risk or mortality and cardiovascular events, according to a study in Anesthesia&Analgesia which adds to safety concerns over etomidate's use as an anesthetic and sedative drug.

The study assessed the risk of adverse outcomes in patients receiving etomidate for induction of anesthesia. Rates of death and cardiovascular events in about 2,100 patients receiving etomidate were compared to those in a matched group of 5,200 patients receiving induction with a different intravenous anesthetic, propofol. All patients had severe but non-critical medical conditions— ASA physical status III or IV—and were undergoing noncardiac surgery.

The live vaccine Bacille Calmette-Guérin, used in some parts of the world to prevent tuberculosis, may help prevent multiple sclerosis (MS) in people who show the beginning signs of the disease, according to a new study in Neurology.  

A single dose of the hormone oxytocin, delivered via nasal spray, has been shown to enhance brain activity while processing social information in children with autism spectrum disorders.

 Results showed that oxytocin facilitated social attunement, a process that makes the brain regions involved in social behavior and social cognition activate more for social stimuli (such as faces) and activate less for non-social stimuli (such as cars). 

Can you artificially strengthen a marital bond? 

Scientists at the Bonn University Medical Center found that if oxytocin is administered to men and if they are shown pictures of their partner, the bonding hormone stimulates the reward center in the brain, increass the attractiveness of the partner, and strengthens monogamy. 

Though more and more women are given antidepressant medication while they are pregnant and there have been more diagnosed cases of autism, there is no connection between the use of antidepressant medication - SSRIs - during the course of pregnancy and the risk of having a child with autism.

Diabetics who received prescribed heart medications by mail were less likely to visit the emergency room than patients who picked up prescriptions in person, according to a new Kaiser Permanente study published in the American Journal of Managed Care which examined 17,217 adult Kaiser Permanente members with diabetes who were first prescribed heart medications in 2006 and followed them for 3 years.

This study is the first to examine the potential impacts of mail order pharmacy on patient safety and utilization, and explores the concern of patients experiencing adverse outcomes because they do not meet face-to-face with a pharmacist.

The caffeine in a cup of coffee might help your small blood vessels work better, according to a paper presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2013, which followed 27 healthy adults and showed that drinking a cup of caffeinated coffee significantly improved blood flow in a finger, which is a measure of how well the inner lining of the body's smaller blood vessels work.

Specifically, participants who drank a cup of caffeinated coffee had a 30 percent increase in blood flow over a 75-minute period compared to those who drank decaffeinated coffee.  

The chemotherapy drug called cyclophosphamide prevents graft-versus-host (GVHD) disease in people who receive bone marrow transplants. New experiments point to an immune system cell that evades the toxic effects of cyclophosphamide and protects patients from a lethal form of GVHD.

The findings could pave the way for improvements in preventing GVHD and rejection of transplanted bone marrow and new therapies to prevent or treat a relapse of the underlying cancer after a transplant.

In the many well-funded marketing claims of homeopaths and 'alternative' medicine claims, including a US government program that spends $120 million a year legitimizing treatments that don't work, what can easily get lost is data about what natural treatments do work.

The human brain is tricky but animal models at least provide some initial guidance. A new study presented  at Neuroscience 2013 found that enhanced extracts of spearmint and rosemary improved learning and memory.  The novel antioxidant-based ingredient was made from spearmint extract and two different doses of a similar antioxidant made from rosemary extract on mice that have age-related cognitive decline. 

A comprehensive analysis of more than 1 million hospital admissions has found that over 50 percent of non-surgical patients were prescribed 
opioid pain medications
 during their hospitalizations, often at very high doses, and that more than half of those exposed were still receiving these medications on the day they were discharged from the hospital.

Opioids are narcotic pain medications including morphine, oxycodone and fentanyl. In recent years, the problem of opioid addiction and overdoses has grown more acute, with updated figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reporting that the rate of fatal overdoses from opioids nearly quadrupled over the last decade, with estimates of more than 14,000 deaths from opioid overdoses annually.