The latest medical research on General Medicine / Internal Medicine

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Chronic fatigue syndrome: progress and possibilities.

Medical Journal of Australia

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a prevalent condition affecting about one in 100 patients attending primary care. There is no diagnostic test, va...

Timing of Endoscopy for Acute Upper Gastrointestinal Bleeding.

N Engl J

It is recommended that patients with acute upper gastrointestinal bleeding undergo endoscopy within 24 hours after gastroenterologic consultation. The role of endoscopy performed within time frames shorter than 24 hours has not been adequately defined.

To evaluate whether urgent endoscopy improves outcomes in patients predicted to be at high risk for further bleeding or death, we randomly assigned patients with overt signs of acute upper gastrointestinal bleeding and a Glasgow-Blatchford score of 12 or higher (scores range from 0 to 23, with higher scores indicating a higher risk of further bleeding or death) to undergo endoscopy within 6 hours (urgent-endoscopy group) or between 6 and 24 hours (early-endoscopy group) after gastroenterologic consultation. The primary end point was death from any cause within 30 days after randomization.

A total of 516 patients were enrolled. The 30-day mortality was 8.9% (23 of 258 patients) in the urgent-endoscopy group and 6.6% (17 of 258) in the early-endoscopy group (difference, 2.3 percentage points; 95% confidence interval [CI], -2.3 to 6.9). Further bleeding within 30 days occurred in 28 patients (10.9%) in the urgent-endoscopy group and in 20 (7.8%) in the early-endoscopy group (difference, 3.1 percentage points; 95% CI, -1.9 to 8.1). Ulcers with active bleeding or visible vessels were found on initial endoscopy in 105 of the 158 patients (66.4%) with peptic ulcers in the urgent-endoscopy group and in 76 of 159 (47.8%) in the early-endoscopy group. Endoscopic hemostatic treatment was administered at initial endoscopy for 155 patients (60.1%) in the urgent-endoscopy group and for 125 (48.4%) in the early-endoscopy group.

In patients with acute upper gastrointestinal bleeding who were at high risk for further bleeding or death, endoscopy performed within 6 hours after gastroenterologic consultation was not associated with lower 30-day mortality than endoscopy performed between 6 and 24 hours after consultation. (Funded by the Health and Medical Fund of the Food and Health Bureau, Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region; number, NCT01675856.).

Multidrug-Resistant Bacterial Infections in U.S. Hospitalized Patients, 2012-2017.

N Engl J

Multidrug-resistant (MDR) bacteria that are commonly associated with health care cause a substantial health burden. Updated national estimates for this group of pathogens are needed to inform public health action.

Using data from patients hospitalized in a cohort of 890 U.S. hospitals during the period 2012-2017, we generated national case counts for both hospital-onset and community-onset infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant enterococcus (VRE), extended-spectrum cephalosporin resistance in Enterobacteriaceae suggestive of extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) production, carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, carbapenem-resistant acinetobacter species, and MDR Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

The hospital cohort in the study accounted for 41.6 million hospitalizations (>20% of U.S. hospitalizations annually). The overall rate of clinical cultures was 292 cultures per 1000 patient-days and was stable throughout the time period. In 2017, these pathogens caused an estimated 622,390 infections (95% confidence interval [CI], 579,125 to 665,655) among hospitalized patients. Of these infections, 517,818 (83%) had their onset in the community, and 104,572 (17%) had their onset in the hospital. MRSA and ESBL infections accounted for the majority of the infections (52% and 32%, respectively). Between 2012 and 2017, the incidence decreased for MRSA infection (from 114.18 to 93.68 cases per 10,000 hospitalizations), VRE infection (from 24.15 to 15.76 per 10,000), carbapenem-resistant acinetobacter species infection (from 3.33 to 2.47 per 10,000), and MDR P. aeruginosa infection (from 13.10 to 9.43 per 10,000), with decreases ranging from -20.5% to -39.2%. The incidence of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae infection did not change significantly (from 3.36 to 3.79 cases per 10,000 hospitalizations). The incidence of ESBL infection increased by 53.3% (from 37.55 to 57.12 cases per 10,000 hospitalizations), a change driven by an increase in community-onset cases.

Health care-associated antimicrobial resistance places a substantial burden on patients in the United States. Further work is needed to identify improved interventions for both the inpatient and outpatient settings. (Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.).

Trends in U.S. Burden of Clostridioides difficile Infection and Outcomes.

N Engl J

Efforts to prevent Clostridioides difficile infection continue to expand across the health care spectrum in the United States. Whether these efforts are reducing the national burden of C. difficile infection is unclear.

The Emerging Infections Program identified cases of C. difficile infection (stool specimens positive for C. difficile in a person ≥1 year of age with no positive test in the previous 8 weeks) in 10 U.S. sites. We used case and census sampling weights to estimate the national burden of C. difficile infection, first recurrences, hospitalizations, and in-hospital deaths from 2011 through 2017. Health care-associated infections were defined as those with onset in a health care facility or associated with recent admission to a health care facility; all others were classified as community-associated infections. For trend analyses, we used weighted random-intercept models with negative binomial distribution and logistic-regression models to adjust for the higher sensitivity of nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs) as compared with other test types.

The number of cases of C. difficile infection in the 10 U.S. sites was 15,461 in 2011 (10,177 health care-associated and 5284 community-associated cases) and 15,512 in 2017 (7973 health care-associated and 7539 community-associated cases). The estimated national burden of C. difficile infection was 476,400 cases (95% confidence interval [CI], 419,900 to 532,900) in 2011 and 462,100 cases (95% CI, 428,600 to 495,600) in 2017. With accounting for NAAT use, the adjusted estimate of the total burden of C. difficile infection decreased by 24% (95% CI, 6 to 36) from 2011 through 2017; the adjusted estimate of the national burden of health care-associated C. difficile infection decreased by 36% (95% CI, 24 to 54), whereas the adjusted estimate of the national burden of community-associated C. difficile infection was unchanged. The adjusted estimate of the burden of hospitalizations for C. difficile infection decreased by 24% (95% CI, 0 to 48), whereas the adjusted estimates of the burden of first recurrences and in-hospital deaths did not change significantly.

The estimated national burden of C. difficile infection and associated hospitalizations decreased from 2011 through 2017, owing to a decline in health care-associated infections. (Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.).

KTE-X19 CAR T-Cell Therapy in Relapsed or Refractory Mantle-Cell Lymphoma.

N Engl J

Patients with relapsed or refractory mantle-cell lymphoma who have disease progression during or after the receipt of Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor therapy have a poor prognosis. KTE-X19, an anti-CD19 chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy, may have benefit in patients with relapsed or refractory mantle-cell lymphoma.

In a multicenter, phase 2 trial, we evaluated KTE-X19 in patients with relapsed or refractory mantle-cell lymphoma. Patients had disease that had relapsed or was refractory after the receipt of up to five previous therapies; all patients had to have received BTK inhibitor therapy previously. Patients underwent leukapheresis and optional bridging therapy, followed by conditioning chemotherapy and a single infusion of KTE-X19 at a dose of 2×106 CAR T cells per kilogram of body weight. The primary end point was the percentage of patients with an objective response (complete or partial response) as assessed by an independent radiologic review committee according to the Lugano classification. Per the protocol, the primary efficacy analysis was to be conducted after 60 patients had been treated and followed for 7 months.

A total of 74 patients were enrolled. KTE-X19 was manufactured for 71 patients and administered to 68. The primary efficacy analysis showed that 93% (95% confidence interval [CI], 84 to 98) of the 60 patients in the primary efficacy analysis had an objective response; 67% (95% CI, 53 to 78) had a complete response. In an intention-to-treat analysis involving all 74 patients, 85% had an objective response; 59% had a complete response. At a median follow-up of 12.3 months (range, 7.0 to 32.3), 57% of the 60 patients in the primary efficacy analysis were in remission. At 12 months, the estimated progression-free survival and overall survival were 61% and 83%, respectively. Common adverse events of grade 3 or higher were cytopenias (in 94% of the patients) and infections (in 32%). Grade 3 or higher cytokine release syndrome and neurologic events occurred in 15% and 31% of patients, respectively; none were fatal. Two grade 5 infectious adverse events occurred.

KTE-X19 induced durable remissions in a majority of patients with relapsed or refractory mantle-cell lymphoma. The therapy led to serious and life-threatening toxic effects that were consistent with those reported with other CAR T-cell therapies. (Funded by Kite, a Gilead company; ZUMA-2 number, NCT02601313.).

Competence against insufficiency: Why are men mostly safe from a rare and deadly prostate cancer?

J Exp Med

Prostate cancer is a slow-growing disease, but not always. A highly rare and lethal form of the disease shows survival rates of less than a year. I...

Isolation and rapid sharing of the 2019 novel coronavirus (SAR-CoV-2) from the first patient diagnosed with COVID-19 in Australia.

Medical Journal of Australia

To describe the first isolation and sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 in Australia and rapid sharing of the isolate.

SARS-CoV-2 was isolated from a 58-year-old man from Wuhan, China who arrived in Melbourne on 19 January 2020 and was admitted to the Monash Medical Centre, Melbourne from the emergency department on 24 January 2020 with fever, cough, and progressive dyspnoea.

Clinical course and laboratory features of the first reported case of COVID-19 (the illness caused by SARS-CoV-2) in Australia; isolation, whole genome sequencing, imaging, and rapid sharing of virus from the patient.

A nasopharyngeal swab and sputum collected when the patient presented to hospital were each positive for SARS-CoV-2 (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction). Inoculation of Vero/hSLAM cells with material from the nasopharyngeal swab led to the isolation of SARS-CoV-2 virus in culture. Electron microscopy of the supernatant confirmed the presence of virus particles with morphology characteristic of viruses of the family Coronaviridae. Whole genome sequencing of the viral isolate and phylogenetic analysis indicated the isolate exhibited greater than 99.99% sequence identity with other publicly available SARS-CoV-2 genomes. Within 24 hours of isolation, the first Australian SARS-CoV-2 isolate was shared with local and overseas reference laboratories and major North American and European culture collections.

The ability to rapidly identify, propagate, and internationally share our SARS-CoV-2 isolate is an important step in collaborative scientific efforts to deal effectively with this international public health emergency by developing better diagnostic procedures, vaccine candidates, and antiviral agents.

A new model of care and in-house general practitioners for residential aged care facilities: a stepped wedge, cluster randomised trial.

Medical Journal of Australia

To evaluate whether an alternative model of care in aged care facilities, including in-house general practitioners, influenced health outcomes for residents.

Residential aged care facilities sought to recruit general practitioners as staff members; care staff roles were redefined to allow registered nurses greater involvement in care plan development.

Fifteen residential aged care facilities operated by Bupa Aged Care in metropolitan and regional cities in four Australian states.

Numbers of falls; numbers of unplanned transfers to hospital; polypharmacy.

The new model of care could be implemented in all facilities, but four could not recruit in-house GPs at any time during the trial period. Intention-to-treat analyses found no statistically significant effect of the intervention on the primary outcome measures. Contamination-adjusted intention-to-treat analyses identified that the presence of an in-house GP was associated with reductions in the numbers of unplanned hospital transfers (incidence rate ratio [IRR], 0.53; 95% CI, 0.43-0.66) and admissions (IRR, 0.52; 95% CI, 0.41-0.64) and of out-of-hours GP call-outs (IRR, 0.54; 95% CI, 0.36-0.80), but also with an increase in the number of reported falls (IRR, 1.37; 95% CI, 1.20-1.58).

Recruiting GPs to work directly in residential aged care facilities is difficult, but may reduce the burden of unplanned presentations to hospitals and increase the reporting of adverse events.

Australia New Zealand Clinical Trial Registry, ACTRN12613000218796 (25 February 2013).

A Randomized, Controlled Trial of Liraglutide for Adolescents with Obesity.

N Engl J

Obesity is a chronic disease with limited treatment options in pediatric patients. Liraglutide may be useful for weight management in adolescents with obesity.

In this randomized, double-blind trial, which consisted of a 56-week treatment period and a 26-week follow-up period, we enrolled adolescents (12 to <18 years of age) with obesity and a poor response to lifestyle therapy alone. Participants were randomly assigned (1:1) to receive either liraglutide (3.0 mg) or placebo subcutaneously once daily, in addition to lifestyle therapy. The primary end point was the change from baseline in the body-mass index (BMI; the weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters) standard-deviation score at week 56.

A total of 125 participants were assigned to the liraglutide group and 126 to the placebo group. Liraglutide was superior to placebo with regard to the change from baseline in the BMI standard-deviation score at week 56 (estimated difference, -0.22; 95% confidence interval [CI], -0.37 to -0.08; P = 0.002). A reduction in BMI of at least 5% was observed in 51 of 113 participants in the liraglutide group and in 20 of 105 participants in the placebo group (estimated percentage, 43.3% vs. 18.7%), and a reduction in BMI of at least 10% was observed in 33 and 9, respectively (estimated percentage, 26.1% vs. 8.1%). A greater reduction was observed with liraglutide than with placebo for BMI (estimated difference, -4.64 percentage points) and for body weight (estimated difference, -4.50 kg [for absolute change] and -5.01 percentage points [for relative change]). After discontinuation, a greater increase in the BMI standard-deviation score was observed with liraglutide than with placebo (estimated difference, 0.15; 95% CI, 0.07 to 0.23). More participants in the liraglutide group than in the placebo group had gastrointestinal adverse events (81 of 125 [64.8%] vs. 46 of 126 [36.5%]) and adverse events that led to discontinuation of the trial treatment (13 [10.4%] vs. 0). Few participants in either group had serious adverse events (3 [2.4%] vs. 5 [4.0%]). One suicide, which occurred in the liraglutide group, was assessed by the investigator as unlikely to be related to the trial treatment.

In adolescents with obesity, the use of liraglutide (3.0 mg) plus lifestyle therapy led to a significantly greater reduction in the BMI standard-deviation score than placebo plus lifestyle therapy. (Funded by Novo Nordisk; NN8022-4180 number, NCT02918279.).

Somatic SMAD3-activating mutations cause melorheostosis by up-regulating the TGF-β/SMAD pathway.

J Exp Med

Melorheostosis is a rare sclerosing dysostosis characterized by asymmetric exuberant bone formation. Recently, we reported that somatic mosaicism f...

Proximal C-Terminus Serves as a Signaling Hub for TRPA1 Channel Regulation via Its Interacting Molecules and Supramolecular Complexes.

Frontiers in Physiology

Our understanding of the general principles of the polymodal regulation of transient receptor potential (TRP) ion channels has grown impressively i...

The Effect of Carotid Chemoreceptor Inhibition on Exercise Tolerance in Chronic Heart Failure.

Frontiers in Physiology

Chronic heart failure (CHF) is characterized by heightened sympathetic nervous activity, carotid chemoreceptor (CC) sensitivity, marked exercise intolerance and an exaggerated ventilatory response to exercise. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of CC inhibition on exercise cardiovascular and ventilatory function, and exercise tolerance in health and CHF.

Twelve clinically stable, optimally treated patients with CHF (mean ejection fraction: 43 ± 2.5%) and 12 age- and sex-matched healthy controls were recruited. Participants completed two time-to-symptom-limitation (TLIM) constant load cycling exercise tests at 75% peak power output with either intravenous saline or low-dose dopamine (2 μg⋅kg-1⋅min-1; order randomized). Ventilation was measured using expired gas data and operating lung volume data were determined during exercise by inspiratory capacity maneuvers. Cardiac output was estimated using impedance cardiography, and vascular conductance was calculated as cardiac output/mean arterial pressure.

There was no change in TLIM in either group with dopamine (CHF: saline 13.1 ± 2.4 vs. dopamine 13.5 ± 1.6 min, p = 0.78; Control: saline 10.3 ± 1.2 vs. dopamine 11.5 ± 1.3 min, p = 0.16). In CHF patients, dopamine increased cardiac output (p = 0.03), vascular conductance (p = 0.01) and oxygen delivery (p = 0.04) at TLIM, while ventilatory parameters were unaffected (p = 0.76). In controls, dopamine improved vascular conductance at TLIM (p = 0.03), but no other effects were observed.

Our findings suggest that the CC contributes to cardiovascular regulation during full-body exercise in patients with CHF, however, CC inhibition does not improve exercise tolerance.