Vaping and Heart Attack, Dense Breast Screening, Appendicitis, Psoriasis

Woman looking at cell phone

Important news about vaping: There were big headlines not long ago when a study from the American Heart Association found a link between vaping and heart attacks. Seems they were wrong. In other news, what’s the best way to screen women with “dense” breasts for breast cancer? Using antibiotics instead of surgery for appendicitis is still not the most popular option. Also, a slight increase in cancer risk with psoriasis.

Be well.

Dense Breast Screening

Among women with dense breasts (about half of the female population) abbreviated MRI scans found more invasive breast cancers than DBT (digital breast tomosynthesis). Abbreviated MRIs are considered only slightly less sensitive than full scan MRIs and are substantially less expensive and faster. DBT is a recent improvement on digital mammograms and are increasingly replacing digital mammograms.

Comparison of Abbreviated Breast MRI vs Digital Breast Tomosynthesis for Breast Cancer Detection Among Women With Dense Breasts Undergoing Screening – JAMA, Feb 25, 2020

Vaping and Heart Attacks – not so fast

A much-reported study of increased heart attack risk among vapers has been retracted. Some data  from the study was not included and the conclusions seem clearly wrong when all the information is examined. Vaping is still not “good” for you, but heart attacks are no longer on the list of why not to vape.

Retraction to: Electronic Cigarette Use and Myocardial Infarction Among Adults in the US Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health – Journal of the American Heart Association,  Feb. 18, 2020


A study compared two groups, one had undergone appendectomies for uncomplicated appendicitis, the other group were given antibiotics. Seven years later both groups were equally satisfied with the outcome. A subgroup of those given antibiotics had a recurrence. Those people were less satisfied, but 33% of them said they would still choose antibiotics to avoid surgery even given the (small) risk of recurrences. Doctors much preferred surgery, which has been the standard of care, so patients who prefer to avoid surgery should be prepared to push for antibiotics in uncomplicated appendicitis.

Quality of Life and Patient Satisfaction at 7-Year Follow-up of Antibiotic Therapy vs Appendectomy for Uncomplicated Acute Appendicitis – JAMA Feb 19, 2020

Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis

A large meta-analysis of more than 100 studies on any link to psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis and cancer showed a slight increase in keratinocyte cancers and lymphomas. Keratinocyte carcinoma, previously known as nonmelanoma skin cancer, is the most common malignancy in fair-skinned populations worldwide.

Prevalence, Incidence, and Risk of Cancer in Patients With Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis – JAMA – Feb 18, 2020


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