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2.  A Randomized Trial of Urodynamic Testing before Stress-Incontinence Surgery 
The New England Journal of Medicine  2012;366(21):1987-1997.
BACKGROUND
Urodynamic studies are commonly performed in women before surgery for stress urinary incontinence, but there is no good evidence that they improve outcomes.
METHODS
We performed a multicenter, randomized, noninferiority trial involving women with uncomplicated, demonstrable stress urinary incontinence to compare outcomes after preoperative office evaluation and urodynamic tests or evaluation only. The primary outcome was treatment success at 12 months, defined as a reduction in the score on the Urogenital Distress Inventory of 70% or more and a response of “much better” or “very much better” on the Patient Global Impression of Improvement. The predetermined noninferiority margin was 11 percentage points.
RESULTS
A total of 630 women were randomly assigned to undergo office evaluation with urodynamic tests or evaluation only (315 per group); the proportion in whom treatment was successful was 76.9% in the urodynamic-testing group versus 77.2% in the evaluation-only group (difference, −0.3 percentage points; 95% confidence interval, −7.5 to 6.9), which was consistent with noninferiority. There were no significant between-group differences in secondary measures of incontinence severity, quality of life, patient satisfaction, rates of positive provocative stress tests, voiding dysfunction, or adverse events. Women who underwent urodynamic tests were significantly less likely to receive a diagnosis of overactive bladder and more likely to receive a diagnosis of voiding-phase dysfunction, but these changes did not lead to significant between-group differences in treatment selection or outcomes.
CONCLUSIONS
For women with uncomplicated, demonstrable stress urinary incontinence, preoperative office evaluation alone was not inferior to evaluation with urodynamic testing for outcomes at 1 year. (Funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00803959.)
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1113595
PMCID: PMC3386296  PMID: 22551104
3.  Azithromycin and the Risk of Cardiovascular Death 
The New England Journal of Medicine  2012;366(20):1881-1890.
BACKGROUND
Although several macrolide antibiotics are proarrhythmic and associated with an increased risk of sudden cardiac death, azithromycin is thought to have minimal cardiotoxicity. However, published reports of arrhythmias suggest that azithromycin may increase the risk of cardiovascular death.
METHODS
We studied a Tennessee Medicaid cohort designed to detect an increased risk of death related to short-term cardiac effects of medication, excluding patients with serious noncardiovascular illness and person-time during and shortly after hospitalization. The cohort included patients who took azithromycin (347,795 prescriptions), propensity-score–matched persons who took no antibiotics (1,391,180 control periods), and patients who took amoxicillin (1,348,672 prescriptions), ciprofloxacin (264,626 prescriptions), or levofloxacin (193,906 prescriptions).
RESULTS
During 5 days of therapy, patients taking azithromycin, as compared with those who took no antibiotics, had an increased risk of cardiovascular death (hazard ratio, 2.88; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.79 to 4.63; P<0.001) and death from any cause (hazard ratio, 1.85; 95% CI, 1.25 to 2.75; P = 0.002). Patients who took amoxicillin had no increase in the risk of death during this period. Relative to amoxicillin, azithromycin was associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular death (hazard ratio, 2.49; 95% CI, 1.38 to 4.50; P = 0.002) and death from any cause (hazard ratio, 2.02; 95% CI, 1.24 to 3.30; P = 0.005), with an estimated 47 additional cardiovascular deaths per 1 million courses; patients in the highest decile of risk for cardiovascular disease had an estimated 245 additional cardiovascular deaths per 1 million courses. The risk of cardiovascular death was significantly greater with azithromycin than with ciprofloxacin but did not differ significantly from that with levofloxacin.
CONCLUSIONS
During 5 days of azithromycin therapy, there was a small absolute increase in cardiovascular deaths, which was most pronounced among patients with a high baseline risk of cardiovascular disease. (Funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research Centers for Education and Research on Therapeutics.)
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1003833
PMCID: PMC3374857  PMID: 22591294
4.  Bariatric Surgery versus Intensive Medical Therapy in Obese Patients with Diabetes 
The New England Journal of Medicine  2012;366(17):1567-1576.
BACKGROUND
Observational studies have shown improvement in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus after bariatric surgery.
METHODS
In this randomized, nonblinded, single-center trial, we evaluated the efficacy of intensive medical therapy alone versus medical therapy plus Roux-en-Y gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy in 150 obese patients with uncontrolled type 2 diabetes. The mean (±SD) age of the patients was 49 ± 8 years, and 66% were women. The average glycated hemoglobin level was 9.2 ± 1.5%. The primary end point was the proportion of patients with a glycated hemoglobin level of 6.0% or less 12 months after treatment.
RESULTS
Of the 150 patients, 93% completed 12 months of follow-up. The proportion of patients with the primary end point was 12% (5 of 41 patients) in the medical-therapy group versus 42% (21 of 50 patients) in the gastric-bypass group (P = 0.002) and 37% (18 of 49 patients) in the sleeve-gastrectomy group (P = 0.008). Glycemic control improved in all three groups, with a mean glycated hemoglobin level of 7.5 ± 1.8% in the medical-therapy group, 6.4 ± 0.9% in the gastric-bypass group (P<0.001), and 6.6 ± 1.0% in the sleeve-gastrectomy group (P = 0.003). Weight loss was greater in the gastric-bypass group and sleeve-gastrectomy group (−29.4 ± 9.0 kg and −25.1 ± 8.5 kg, respectively) than in the medical-therapy group (−5.4 ± 8.0 kg) (P<0.001 for both comparisons). The use of drugs to lower glucose, lipid, and blood-pressure levels decreased significantly after both surgical procedures but increased in patients receiving medical therapy only. The index for homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) improved significantly after bariatric surgery. Four patients underwent reoperation. There were no deaths or life-threatening complications.
CONCLUSIONS
In obese patients with uncontrolled type 2 diabetes, 12 months of medical therapy plus bariatric surgery achieved glycemic control in significantly more patients than medical therapy alone. Further study will be necessary to assess the durability of these results. (Funded by Ethicon Endo-Surgery and others; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00432809.)
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1200225
PMCID: PMC3372918  PMID: 22449319
5.  Integrin α3 Mutations with Kidney, Lung, and Skin Disease 
The New England Journal of Medicine  2012;366(16):1508-1514.
SUMMARY
Integrin α3 is a transmembrane integrin receptor subunit that mediates signals between the cells and their microenvironment. We identified three patients with homozygous mutations in the integrin α3 gene that were associated with disrupted basement-membrane structures and compromised barrier functions in kidney, lung, and skin. The patients had a multiorgan disorder that included congenital nephrotic syndrome, interstitial lung disease, and epidermolysis bullosa. The renal and respiratory features predominated, and the lung involvement accounted for the lethal course of the disease. Although skin fragility was mild, it provided clues to the diagnosis.
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1110813
PMCID: PMC3341404  PMID: 22512483
6.  A Randomized Trial of Rectal Indomethacin to Prevent Post-ERCP Pancreatitis 
The New England Journal of Medicine  2012;366(15):1414-1422.
Background
Preliminary research suggests that rectally administered nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs may reduce the incidence of pancreatitis after endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP).
Methods
In this multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial, we assigned patients at elevated risk for post-ERCP pancreatitis to receive a single dose of rectal indomethacin or placebo immediately after ERCP. Patients were determined to be at high risk on the basis of validated patient- and procedure-related risk factors. The primary outcome was post-ERCP pancreatitis, which was defined as new upper abdominal pain, an elevation in pancreatic enzymes to at least three times the upper limit of the normal range 24 hours after the procedure, and hospitalization for at least 2 nights.
Results
A total of 602 patients were enrolled and completed follow-up. The majority of patients (82%) had a clinical suspicion of sphincter of Oddi dysfunction. Post-ERCP pancreatitis developed in 27 of 295 patients (9.2%) in the indomethacin group and in 52 of 307 patients (16.9%) in the placebo group (P = 0.005). Moderate-to-severe pancreatitis developed in 13 patients (4.4%) in the indomethacin group and in 27 patients (8.8%) in the placebo group (P = 0.03).
Conclusions
Among patients at high risk for post-ERCP pancreatitis, rectal indomethacin significantly reduced the incidence of the condition. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00820612.)
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1111103
PMCID: PMC3339271  PMID: 22494121
7.  Outcomes after Induction Failure in Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia 
The New England Journal of Medicine  2012;366(15):1371-1381.
BACKGROUND
Failure of remission-induction therapy is a rare but highly adverse event in children and adolescents with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
METHODS
We identified induction failure, defined by the persistence of leukemic blasts in blood, bone marrow, or any extramedullary site after 4 to 6 weeks of remission-induction therapy, in 1041 of 44,017 patients (2.4%) 0 to 18 years of age with newly diagnosed ALL who were treated by a total of 14 cooperative study groups between 1985 and 2000. We analyzed the relationships among disease characteristics, treatments administered, and outcomes in these patients.
RESULTS
Patients with induction failure frequently presented with high-risk features, including older age, high leukocyte count, leukemia with a T-cell phenotype, the Philadelphia chromosome, and 11q23 rearrangement. With a median follow-up period of 8.3 years (range, 1.5 to 22.1), the 10-year survival rate (±SE) was estimated at only 32±1%. An age of 10 years or older, T-cell leukemia, the presence of an 11q23 rearrangement, and 25% or more blasts in the bone marrow at the end of induction therapy were associated with a particularly poor outcome. High hyperdiploidy (a modal chromosome number >50) and an age of 1 to 5 years were associated with a favorable outcome in patients with precursor B-cell leukemia. Allogeneic stem-cell transplantation from matched, related donors was associated with improved outcomes in T-cell leukemia. Children younger than 6 years of age with precursor B-cell leukemia and no adverse genetic features had a 10-year survival rate of 72±5% when treated with chemotherapy only.
CONCLUSIONS
Pediatric ALL with induction failure is highly heterogeneous. Patients who have T-cell leukemia appear to have a better outcome with allogeneic stem-cell transplantation than with chemotherapy, whereas patients who have precursor B-cell leukemia without other adverse features appear to have a better outcome with chemotherapy. (Funded by Deutsche Krebshilfe and others.)
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1110169
PMCID: PMC3374496  PMID: 22494120
8.  Immune-Correlates Analysis of an HIV-1 Vaccine Efficacy Trial 
The New England Journal of Medicine  2012;366(14):1275-1286.
BACKGROUND
In the RV144 trial, the estimated efficacy of a vaccine regimen against human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) was 31.2%. We performed a case–control analysis to identify antibody and cellular immune correlates of infection risk.
METHODS
In pilot studies conducted with RV144 blood samples, 17 antibody or cellular assays met prespecified criteria, of which 6 were chosen for primary analysis to determine the roles of T-cell, IgG antibody, and IgA antibody responses in the modulation of infection risk. Assays were performed on samples from 41 vaccinees who became infected and 205 uninfected vaccinees, obtained 2 weeks after final immunization, to evaluate whether immune-response variables predicted HIV-1 infection through 42 months of follow-up.
RESULTS
Of six primary variables, two correlated significantly with infection risk: the binding of IgG antibodies to variable regions 1 and 2 (V1V2) of HIV-1 envelope proteins (Env) correlated inversely with the rate of HIV-1 infection (estimated odds ratio, 0.57 per 1-SD increase; P = 0.02; q = 0.08), and the binding of plasma IgA antibodies to Env correlated directly with the rate of infection (estimated odds ratio, 1.54 per 1-SD increase; P = 0.03; q = 0.08). Neither low levels of V1V2 antibodies nor high levels of Env-specific IgA antibodies were associated with higher rates of infection than were found in the placebo group. Secondary analyses suggested that Env-specific IgA antibodies may mitigate the effects of potentially protective antibodies.
CONCLUSIONS
This immune-correlates study generated the hypotheses that V1V2 antibodies may have contributed to protection against HIV-1 infection, whereas high levels of Env-specific IgA antibodies may have mitigated the effects of protective antibodies. Vaccines that are designed to induce higher levels of V1V2 antibodies and lower levels of Env-specific IgA antibodies than are induced by the RV144 vaccine may have improved efficacy against HIV-1 infection.
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1113425
PMCID: PMC3371689  PMID: 22475592
9.  Lifestyle Change and Mobility in Obese Adults with Type 2 Diabetes 
The New England Journal of Medicine  2012;366(13):1209-1217.
Background
Adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus often have limitations in mobility that increase with age. An intensive lifestyle intervention that produces weight loss and improves fitness could slow the loss of mobility in such patients.
Methods
We randomly assigned 5145 overweight or obese adults between the ages of 45 and 74 years with type 2 diabetes to either an intensive lifestyle intervention or a diabetes support-and-education program; 5016 participants contributed data. We used hidden Markov models to characterize disability states and mixed-effects ordinal logistic regression to estimate the probability of functional decline. The primary outcome was self-reported limitation in mobility, with annual assessments for 4 years.
Results
At year 4, among 2514 adults in the lifestyle-intervention group, 517 (20.6%) had severe disability and 969 (38.5%) had good mobility; the numbers among 2502 participants in the support group were 656 (26.2%) and 798 (31.9%), respectively. The lifestyle-intervention group had a relative reduction of 48% in the risk of loss of mobility, as compared with the support group (odds ratio, 0.52; 95% confidence interval, 0.44 to 0.63; P<0.001). Both weight loss and improved fitness (as assessed on treadmill testing) were significant mediators of this effect (P<0.001 for both variables). Adverse events that were related to the lifestyle intervention included a slightly higher frequency of musculoskeletal symptoms at year 1.
Conclusions
Weight loss and improved fitness slowed the decline in mobility in overweight adults with type 2 diabetes. (Funded by the Department of Health and Human Services and others; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00017953.)
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1110294
PMCID: PMC3339039  PMID: 22455415
10.  HLA Class II Locus and Susceptibility to Podoconiosis 
The New England Journal of Medicine  2012;366(13):1200-1208.
BACKGROUND
Podoconiosis is a tropical lymphedema resulting from long-term barefoot exposure to red-clay soil derived from volcanic rock. The World Health Organization recently designated it as a neglected tropical disease. Podoconiosis develops in only a subgroup of exposed people, and studies have shown familial clustering with high heritability (63%).
METHODS
We conducted a genomewide association study of 194 case patients and 203 controls from southern Ethiopia. Findings were validated by means of family-based association testing in 202 family trios and HLA typing in 94 case patients and 94 controls.
RESULTS
We found a genomewide significant association of podoconiosis with the single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs17612858, located 5.8 kb from the HLA-DQA1 locus (in the allelic model: odds ratio, 2.44; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.82 to 3.26; P = 1.42×10−9; and in the additive model: odds ratio, 2.19; 95% CI, 1.66 to 2.90; P = 3.44×10−8), and suggestive associations (P<1.0×10−5) with seven other SNPs in or near HLA-DQB1, HLA-DQA1, and HLA-DRB1. We confirmed these associations using family-based association testing. HLA typing showed the alleles HLA-DRB1*0701 (odds ratio, 2.00), DQA1*0201 (odds ratio, 1.91), and DQB1*0202 (odds ratio, 1.79) and the HLA-DRB1*0701–DQB1*0202 haplotype (odds ratio, 1.92) were risk variants for podoconiosis.
CONCLUSIONS
Association between variants in HLA class II loci with podoconiosis (a noncommuni-cable disease) suggests that the condition may be a T-cell–mediated inflammatory disease and is a model for gene–environment interactions that may be relevant to other complex genetic disorders. (Funded by the Wellcome Trust and others.)
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1108448
PMCID: PMC3350841  PMID: 22455414
11.  Clonal Architecture of Secondary Acute Myeloid Leukemia 
The New England Journal of Medicine  2012;366(12):1090-1098.
BACKGROUND
The myelodysplastic syndromes are a group of hematologic disorders that often evolve into secondary acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The genetic changes that underlie progression from the myelodysplastic syndromes to secondary AML are not well understood.
METHODS
We performed whole-genome sequencing of seven paired samples of skin and bone marrow in seven subjects with secondary AML to identify somatic mutations specific to secondary AML. We then genotyped a bone marrow sample obtained during the antecedent myelodysplastic-syndrome stage from each subject to determine the presence or absence of the specific somatic mutations. We identified recurrent mutations in coding genes and defined the clonal architecture of each pair of samples from the myelodysplastic-syndrome stage and the secondary-AML stage, using the allele burden of hundreds of mutations.
RESULTS
Approximately 85% of bone marrow cells were clonal in the myelodysplastic-syndrome and secondary-AML samples, regardless of the myeloblast count. The secondary-AML samples contained mutations in 11 recurrently mutated genes, including 4 genes that have not been previously implicated in the myelodysplastic syndromes or AML. In every case, progression to acute leukemia was defined by the persistence of an antecedent founding clone containing 182 to 660 somatic mutations and the outgrowth or emergence of at least one subclone, harboring dozens to hundreds of new mutations. All founding clones and subclones contained at least one mutation in a coding gene.
CONCLUSIONS
Nearly all the bone marrow cells in patients with myelodysplastic syndromes and secondary AML are clonally derived. Genetic evolution of secondary AML is a dynamic process shaped by multiple cycles of mutation acquisition and clonal selection. Recurrent gene mutations are found in both founding clones and daughter subclones. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and others.)
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1106968
PMCID: PMC3320218  PMID: 22417201
13.  Immunologic Correlates of the Abscopal Effect in a Patient with Melanoma 
The New England Journal of Medicine  2012;366(10):925-931.
Summary
The abscopal effect is a phenomenon in which local radiotherapy is associated with the regression of metastatic cancer at a distance from the irradiated site. The abscopal effect may be mediated by activation of the immune system. Ipilimumab is a monoclonal antibody that inhibits an immunologic checkpoint on T cells, cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 (CTLA-4). We report a case of the abscopal effect in a patient with melanoma treated with ipilimumab and radiotherapy. Temporal associations were noted: tumor shrinkage with antibody responses to the cancer–testis antigen NY-ESO-1, changes in peripheral-blood immune cells, and increases in antibody responses to other antigens after radiotherapy. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and others.)
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1112824
PMCID: PMC3345206  PMID: 22397654
14.  Colonoscopic Polypectomy and Long-Term Prevention of Colorectal-Cancer Deaths 
The New England Journal of Medicine  2012;366(8):687-696.
BACKGROUND
In the National Polyp Study (NPS), colorectal cancer was prevented by colonoscopic removal of adenomatous polyps. We evaluated the long-term effect of colonoscopic polypectomy in a study on mortality from colorectal cancer.
METHODS
We included in this analysis all patients prospectively referred for initial colonoscopy (between 1980 and 1990) at NPS clinical centers who had polyps (adenomas and nonadenomas). The National Death Index was used to identify deaths and to determine the cause of death; follow-up time was as long as 23 years. Mortality from colorectal cancer among patients with adenomas removed was compared with the expected incidence-based mortality from colorectal cancer in the general population, as estimated from the Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program, and with the observed mortality from colorectal cancer among patients with non-adenomatous polyps (internal control group).
RESULTS
Among 2602 patients who had adenomas removed during participation in the study, after a median of 15.8 years, 1246 patients had died from any cause and 12 had died from colorectal cancer. Given an estimated 25.4 expected deaths from colorectal cancer in the general population, the standardized incidence-based mortality ratio was 0.47 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.26 to 0.80) with colonoscopic polypectomy, suggesting a 53% reduction in mortality. Mortality from colorectal cancer was similar among patients with adenomas and those with nonadenomatous polyps during the first 10 years after polypectomy (relative risk, 1.2; 95% CI, 0.1 to 10.6).
CONCLUSIONS
These findings support the hypothesis that colonoscopic removal of adenomatous polyps prevents death from colorectal cancer. (Funded by the National Cancer Institute and others.)
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1100370
PMCID: PMC3322371  PMID: 22356322
15.  Paraneoplastic Thrombocytosis in Ovarian Cancer 
The New England Journal of Medicine  2012;366(7):610-618.
BACKGROUND
The mechanisms of paraneoplastic thrombocytosis in ovarian cancer and the role that platelets play in abetting cancer growth are unclear.
METHODS
We analyzed clinical data on 619 patients with epithelial ovarian cancer to test associations between platelet counts and disease outcome. Human samples and mouse models of epithelial ovarian cancer were used to explore the underlying mechanisms of paraneoplastic thrombocytosis. The effects of platelets on tumor growth and angiogenesis were ascertained.
RESULTS
Thrombocytosis was significantly associated with advanced disease and shortened survival. Plasma levels of thrombopoietin and interleukin-6 were significantly elevated in patients who had thrombocytosis as compared with those who did not. In mouse models, increased hepatic thrombopoietin synthesis in response to tumor-derived interleukin-6 was an underlying mechanism of paraneoplastic thrombocytosis. Tumor-derived interleukin-6 and hepatic thrombopoietin were also linked to thrombocytosis in patients. Silencing thrombopoietin and interleukin-6 abrogated thrombocytosis in tumor-bearing mice. Anti–interleukin-6 antibody treatment significantly reduced platelet counts in tumor-bearing mice and in patients with epithelial ovarian cancer. In addition, neutralizing interleukin-6 significantly enhanced the therapeutic efficacy of paclitaxel in mouse models of epithelial ovarian cancer. The use of an antiplatelet antibody to halve platelet counts in tumor-bearing mice significantly reduced tumor growth and angiogenesis.
CONCLUSIONS
These findings support the existence of a paracrine circuit wherein increased production of thrombopoietic cytokines in tumor and host tissue leads to paraneoplastic thrombocytosis, which fuels tumor growth. We speculate that countering paraneoplastic thrombocytosis either directly or indirectly by targeting these cytokines may have therapeutic potential. (Funded by the National Cancer Institute and others.)
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1110352
PMCID: PMC3296780  PMID: 22335738
16.  Intramuscular versus Intravenous Therapy for Prehospital Status Epilepticus 
The New England Journal of Medicine  2012;366(7):591-600.
BACKGROUND
Early termination of prolonged seizures with intravenous administration of benzodiazepines improves outcomes. For faster and more reliable administration, paramedics increasingly use an intramuscular route.
METHODS
This double-blind, randomized, noninferiority trial compared the efficacy of intramuscular midazolam with that of intravenous lorazepam for children and adults in status epilepticus treated by paramedics. Subjects whose convulsions had persisted for more than 5 minutes and who were still convulsing after paramedics arrived were given the study medication by either intramuscular autoinjector or intravenous infusion. The primary outcome was absence of seizures at the time of arrival in the emergency department without the need for rescue therapy. Secondary outcomes included endotracheal intubation, recurrent seizures, and timing of treatment relative to the cessation of convulsive seizures. This trial tested the hypothesis that intramuscular midazolam was noninferior to intravenous lorazepam by a margin of 10 percentage points.
RESULTS
At the time of arrival in the emergency department, seizures were absent without rescue therapy in 329 of 448 subjects (73.4%) in the intramuscular-midazolam group and in 282 of 445 (63.4%) in the intravenous-lorazepam group (absolute difference, 10 percentage points; 95% confidence interval, 4.0 to 16.1; P<0.001 for both noninferiority and superiority). The two treatment groups were similar with respect to need for endotracheal intubation (14.1% of subjects with intramuscular midazolam and 14.4% with intravenous lorazepam) and recurrence of seizures (11.4% and 10.6%, respectively). Among subjects whose seizures ceased before arrival in the emergency department, the median times to active treatment were 1.2 minutes in the intramuscular-midazolam group and 4.8 minutes in the intravenous-lorazepam group, with corresponding median times from active treatment to cessation of convulsions of 3.3 minutes and 1.6 minutes. Adverse-event rates were similar in the two groups.
CONCLUSIONS
For subjects in status epilepticus, intramuscular midazolam is at least as safe and effective as intravenous lorazepam for prehospital seizure cessation. (Funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and others; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00809146.)
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1107494
PMCID: PMC3307101  PMID: 22335736
17.  Sources of Regional Variation in Medicare Part D Drug Spending 
The New England Journal of Medicine  2012;366(6):530-538.
BACKGROUND
Sources of regional variation in spending for prescription drugs under Medicare Part D are poorly understood, and such variation may reflect differences in health status, use of effective treatments, or selection of branded drugs over lower-cost generics.
METHODS
We analyzed 2008 Medicare data for 4.7 million beneficiaries for prescription-drug use and expenditures overall and in three drug categories: angiotensin-converting–enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs), 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors (statins), and selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin–norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). Differences in per capita expenditures across hospital-referral regions (HRRs) were decomposed into annual prescription volume and cost per prescription. The ratio of prescriptions filled as branded drugs to all prescriptions filled was calculated. We adjusted all measures for demographic, socioeconomic, and health-status differences.
RESULTS
Mean adjusted per capita pharmaceutical spending ranged from $2,413 in the lowest to $3,008 in the highest quintile of HRRs. Most (75.9%) of that difference was attributable to the cost per prescription ($53 vs. $63). Regional differences in cost per prescription explained 87.5% of expenditure variation for ACE inhibitors and ARBs and 56.3% for statins but only 36.1% for SSRIs and SNRIs. The ratio of branded-drug to total prescriptions, which correlated highly with cost per prescription, ranged across HRRs from 0.24 to 0.45 overall and from 0.24 to 0.55 for ACE inhibitors and ARBs, 0.29 to 0.60 for statins, and 0.15 to 0.51 for SSRIs and SNRIs.
CONCLUSIONS
Regional variation in Medicare Part D spending results largely from differences in the cost of drugs selected rather than prescription volume. A reduction in branded-drug use in some regions through modification of Part D plan benefits might lower costs without reducing quality of care. (Funded by the National Institute on Aging and others.)
doi:10.1056/NEJMsa1104816
PMCID: PMC3285245  PMID: 22316446
18.  Tai Chi and Postural Stability in Patients with Parkinson's Disease 
The New England Journal of Medicine  2012;366(6):511-519.
Background
Patients with Parkinson's disease have substantially impaired balance, leading to diminished functional ability and an increased risk of falling. Although exercise is routinely encouraged by health care providers, few programs have been proven effective.
Methods
We conducted a randomized, controlled trial to determine whether a tailored tai chi program could improve postural control in patients with idiopathic Parkinson's disease. We randomly assigned 195 patients with stage 1 to 4 disease on the Hoehn and Yahr staging scale (which ranges from 1 to 5, with higher stages indicating more severe disease) to one of three groups: tai chi, resistance training, or stretching. The patients participated in 60-minute exercise sessions twice weekly for 24 weeks. The primary outcomes were changes from baseline in the limits-of-stability test (maximum excursion and directional control; range, 0 to 100%). Secondary outcomes included measures of gait and strength, scores on functional-reach and timed up-and-go tests, motor scores on the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale, and number of falls.
Results
The tai chi group performed consistently better than the resistance-training and stretching groups in maximum excursion (between-group difference in the change from baseline, 5.55 percentage points; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.12 to 9.97; and 11.98 percentage points; 95% CI, 7.21 to 16.74, respectively) and in directional control (10.45 percentage points; 95% CI, 3.89 to 17.00; and 11.38 percentage points; 95% CI, 5.50 to 17.27, respectively). The tai chi group also performed better than the stretching group in all secondary outcomes and outperformed the resistance-training group in stride length and functional reach. Tai chi lowered the incidence of falls as compared with stretching but not as compared with resistance training. The effects of tai chi training were maintained at 3 months after the intervention. No serious adverse events were observed.
Conclusions
Tai chi training appears to reduce balance impairments in patients with mild-to-moderate Parkinson's disease, with additional benefits of improved functional capacity and reduced falls. (Funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00611481.)
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1107911
PMCID: PMC3285459  PMID: 22316445
19.  Cold Urticaria, Immunodeficiency, and Autoimmunity Related to PLCG2 Deletions 
The New England Journal of Medicine  2012;366(4):330-338.
Background
Mendelian analysis of disorders of immune regulation can provide insight into molecular pathways associated with host defense and immune tolerance.
Methods
We identified three families with a dominantly inherited complex of cold-induced urticaria, antibody deficiency, and susceptibility to infection and autoimmunity. Immunophenotyping methods included flow cytometry, analysis of serum immunoglobulins and autoantibodies, lymphocyte stimulation, and enzymatic assays. Genetic studies included linkage analysis, targeted Sanger sequencing, and next-generation whole-genome sequencing.
Results
Cold urticaria occurred in all affected subjects. Other, variable manifestations included atopy, granulomatous rash, autoimmune thyroiditis, the presence of antinuclear antibodies, sinopulmonary infections, and common variable immunodeficiency. Levels of serum IgM and IgA and circulating natural killer cells and class-switched memory B cells were reduced. Linkage analysis showed a 7-Mb candidate interval on chromosome 16q in one family, overlapping by 3.5 Mb a disease-associated haplotype in a smaller family. This interval includes PLCG2, encoding phospholipase Cγ2 (PLCγ2), a signaling molecule expressed in B cells, natural killer cells, and mast cells. Sequencing of complementary DNA revealed heterozygous transcripts lacking exon 19 in two families and lacking exons 20 through 22 in a third family. Genomic sequencing identified three distinct in-frame deletions that cosegregated with disease. These deletions, located within a region encoding an autoinhibitory domain, result in protein products with constitutive phospholipase activity. PLCG2-expressing cells had diminished cellular signaling at 37°C but enhanced signaling at subphysiologic temperatures.
Conclusions
Genomic deletions in PLCG2 cause gain of PLCγ2 function, leading to signaling abnormalities in multiple leukocyte subsets and a phenotype encompassing both excessive and deficient immune function. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health Intramural Research Programs and others.)
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1102140
PMCID: PMC3298368  PMID: 22236196
20.  Lifetime Risks of Cardiovascular Disease 
The New England Journal of Medicine  2012;366(4):321-329.
BACKGROUND
The lifetime risks of cardiovascular disease have not been reported across the age spectrum in black adults and white adults.
METHODS
We conducted a meta-analysis at the individual level using data from 18 cohort studies involving a total of 257,384 black men and women and white men and women whose risk factors for cardiovascular disease were measured at the ages of 45, 55, 65, and 75 years. Blood pressure, cholesterol level, smoking status, and diabetes status were used to stratify participants according to risk factors into five mutually exclusive categories. The remaining lifetime risks of cardiovascular events were estimated for participants in each category at each age, with death free of cardiovascular disease treated as a competing event.
RESULTS
We observed marked differences in the lifetime risks of cardiovascular disease across risk-factor strata. Among participants who were 55 years of age, those with an optimal risk-factor profile (total cholesterol level, <180 mg per deciliter [4.7 mmol per liter]; blood pressure, <120 mm Hg systolic and 80 mm Hg diastolic; nonsmoking status; and nondiabetic status) had substantially lower risks of death from cardiovascular disease through the age of 80 years than participants with two or more major risk factors (4.7% vs. 29.6% among men, 6.4% vs. 20.5% among women). Those with an optimal risk-factor profile also had lower lifetime risks of fatal coronary heart disease or nonfatal myocardial infarction (3.6% vs. 37.5% among men, <1% vs. 18.3% among women) and fatal or nonfatal stroke (2.3% vs. 8.3% among men, 5.3% vs. 10.7% among women). Similar trends within risk-factor strata were observed among blacks and whites and across diverse birth cohorts.
CONCLUSIONS
Differences in risk-factor burden translate into marked differences in the lifetime risk of cardiovascular disease, and these differences are consistent across race and birth cohorts. (Funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.)
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1012848
PMCID: PMC3336876  PMID: 22276822
21.  Bevacizumab Added to Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer 
The New England Journal of Medicine  2012;366(4):310-320.
Background
Bevacizumab and the antimetabolites capecitabine and gemcitabine have been shown to improve outcomes when added to taxanes in patients with metastatic breast cancer. The primary aims of this trial were to determine whether the addition of capecitabine or gemcitabine to neoadjuvant chemotherapy with docetaxel, followed by doxorubicin plus cyclophosphamide, would increase the rates of pathological complete response in the breast in women with operable, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)–negative breast cancer and whether adding bevacizumab to these chemotherapy regimens would increase the rates of pathological complete response.
Methods
We randomly assigned 1206 patients to receive neoadjuvant therapy consisting of docetaxel (100 mg per square meter of body-surface area on day 1), docetaxel (75 mg per square meter on day 1) plus capecitabine (825 mg per square meter twice a day on days 1 to 14), or docetaxel (75 mg per square meter on day 1) plus gemcitabine (1000 mg per square meter on days 1 and 8) for four cycles, with all regimens followed by treatment with doxorubicin–cyclophosphamide for four cycles. Patients were also randomly assigned to receive or not to receive bevacizumab (15 mg per kilogram of body weight) for the first six cycles of chemotherapy.
Results
The addition of capecitabine or gemcitabine to docetaxel therapy, as compared with docetaxel therapy alone, did not significantly increase the rate of pathological complete response (29.7% and 31.8%, respectively, vs. 32.7%; P = 0.69). Both capecitabine and gemcitabine were associated with increased toxic effects — specifically, the hand–foot syndrome, mucositis, and neutropenia. The addition of bevacizumab significantly increased the rate of pathological complete response (28.2% without bevacizumab vs. 34.5% with bevacizumab, P = 0.02). The effect of bevacizumab on the rate of pathological complete response was not the same in the hormone-receptor–positive and hormone-receptor–negative subgroups. The addition of bevacizumab increased the rates of hypertension, left ventricular systolic dysfunction, the hand–foot syndrome, and mucositis.
Conclusions
The addition of bevacizumab to neoadjuvant chemotherapy significantly increased the rate of pathological complete response, which was the primary end point of this study. (Funded by the National Cancer Institute and others; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00408408.)
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1111097
PMCID: PMC3401076  PMID: 22276821
22.  Telomere Diseases 
The New England Journal of Medicine  2009;361(24):2353-2365.
doi:10.1056/NEJMra0903373
PMCID: PMC3401586  PMID: 20007561
23.  Bone-Density Testing Interval and Transition to Osteoporosis in Older Women 
The New England Journal of Medicine  2012;366(3):225-233.
BACKGROUND
Although bone mineral density (BMD) testing to screen for osteoporosis (BMD T score, −2.50 or lower) is recommended for women 65 years of age or older, there are few data to guide decisions about the interval between BMD tests.
METHODS
We studied 4957 women, 67 years of age or older, with normal BMD (T score at the femoral neck and total hip, −1.00 or higher) or osteopenia (T score, −1.01 to −2.49) and with no history of hip or clinical vertebral fracture or of treatment for osteoporosis, followed prospectively for up to 15 years. The BMD testing interval was defined as the estimated time for 10% of women to make the transition to osteoporosis before having a hip or clinical vertebral fracture, with adjustment for estrogen use and clinical risk factors. Transitions from normal BMD and from three subgroups of osteopenia (mild, moderate, and advanced) were analyzed with the use of parametric cumulative incidence models. Incident hip and clinical vertebral fractures and initiation of treatment with bisphosphonates, calcitonin, or raloxifene were treated as competing risks.
RESULTS
The estimated BMD testing interval was 16.8 years (95% confidence interval [CI], 11.5 to 24.6) for women with normal BMD, 17.3 years (95% CI, 13.9 to 21.5) for women with mild osteopenia, 4.7 years (95% CI, 4.2 to 5.2) for women with moderate osteopenia, and 1.1 years (95% CI, 1.0 to 1.3) for women with advanced osteopenia.
CONCLUSIONS
Our data indicate that osteoporosis would develop in less than 10% of older, post-menopausal women during rescreening intervals of approximately 15 years for women with normal bone density or mild osteopenia, 5 years for women with moderate osteopenia, and 1 year for women with advanced osteopenia. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health.)
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1107142
PMCID: PMC3285114  PMID: 22256806
24.  Sirolimus for Angiomyolipoma in Tuberous Sclerosis Complex or Lymphangioleiomyomatosis 
The New England Journal of Medicine  2008;358(2):140-151.
Background
Angiomyolipomas in patients with the tuberous sclerosis complex or sporadic lymphangioleiomyomatosis are associated with mutations in tuberous sclerosis genes resulting in constitutive activation of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). The drug sirolimus suppresses mTOR signaling.
Methods
We conducted a 24-month, nonrandomized, open-label trial to determine whether sirolimus reduces the angiomyolipoma volume in patients with the tuberous sclerosis complex or sporadic lymphangioleiomyomatosis. Sirolimus was administered for the first 12 months only. Serial magnetic resonance imaging of angiomyolipomas and brain lesions, computed tomography of lung cysts, and pulmonary-function tests were performed.
Results
Of the 25 patients enrolled, 20 completed the 12-month evaluation, and 18 completed the 24-month evaluation. The mean (±SD) angiomyolipoma volume at 12 months was 53.2±26.6% of the baseline value (P<0.001) and at 24 months was 85.9±28.5% of the baseline value (P = 0.005). At 24 months, five patients had a persistent reduction in the angiomyolipoma volume of 30% or more. During the period of sirolimus therapy, among patients with lymphangioleiomyomatosis, the mean forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) increased by 118±330 ml (P = 0.06), the forced vital capacity (FVC) increased by 390±570 ml (P<0.001), and the residual volume decreased by 439±493 ml (P = 0.02), as compared with baseline values. One year after sirolimus was discontinued, the FEV1 was 62±411 ml above the baseline value, the FVC was 346±712 ml above the baseline value, and the residual volume was 333±570 ml below the baseline value; cerebral lesions were unchanged. Five patients had six serious adverse events while receiving sirolimus, including diarrhea, pyelonephritis, stomatitis, and respiratory infections.
Conclusions
Angiomyolipomas regressed somewhat during sirolimus therapy but tended to increase in volume after the therapy was stopped. Some patients with lymphangioleiomyomatosis had improvement in spirometric measurements and gas trapping that persisted after treatment. Suppression of mTOR signaling might constitute an ameliorative treatment in patients with the tuberous sclerosis complex or sporadic lymphangioleiomyomatosis. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00457808.)
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa063564
PMCID: PMC3398441  PMID: 18184959
25.  Epilepsy, Ataxia, Sensorineural Deafness, Tubulopathy, and KCNJ10 Mutations 
The New England Journal of Medicine  2009;360(19):1960-1970.
BACKGROUND
Five children from two consanguineous families presented with epilepsy beginning in infancy and severe ataxia, moderate sensorineural deafness, and a renal salt-losing tubulopathy with normotensive hypokalemic metabolic alkalosis. We investigated the genetic basis of this autosomal recessive disease, which we call the EAST syndrome (the presence of epilepsy, ataxia, sensorineural deafness, and tubulopathy).
METHODS
Whole-genome linkage analysis was performed in the four affected children in one of the families. Newly identified mutations in a potassium-channel gene were evaluated with the use of a heterologous expression system. Protein expression and function were further investigated in genetically modified mice.
RESULTS
Linkage analysis identified a single significant locus on chromosome 1q23.2 with a lod score of 4.98. This region contained the KCNJ10 gene, which encodes a potassium channel expressed in the brain, inner ear, and kidney. Sequencing of this candidate gene revealed homozygous missense mutations in affected persons in both families. These mutations, when expressed heterologously in xenopus oocytes, caused significant and specific decreases in potassium currents. Mice with Kcnj10 deletions became dehydrated, with definitive evidence of renal salt wasting.
CONCLUSIONS
Mutations in KCNJ10 cause a specific disorder, consisting of epilepsy, ataxia, sensorineural deafness, and tubulopathy. Our findings indicate that KCNJ10 plays a major role in renal salt handling and, hence, possibly also in blood-pressure maintenance and its regulation.
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa0810276
PMCID: PMC3398803  PMID: 19420365

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