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1.  Influence of Computer-Aided Detection on Performance of Screening Mammography 
The New England journal of medicine  2007;356(14):1399-1409.
Background
Computer-aided detection identifies suspicious findings on mammograms to assist radiologists. Since the Food and Drug Administration approved the technology in 1998, it has been disseminated into practice, but its effect on the accuracy of interpretation is unclear.
Methods
We determined the association between the use of computer-aided detection at mammography facilities and the performance of screening mammography from 1998 through 2002 at 43 facilities in three states. We had complete data for 222,135 women (a total of 429,345 mammograms), including 2351 women who received a diagnosis of breast cancer within 1 year after screening. We calculated the specificity, sensitivity, and positive predictive value of screening mammography with and without computer-aided detection, as well as the rates of biopsy and breast-cancer detection and the overall accuracy, measured as the area under the receiver-operating-characteristic (ROC) curve.
Results
Seven facilities (16%) implemented computer-aided detection during the study period. Diagnostic specificity decreased from 90.2% before implementation to 87.2% after implementation (P<0.001), the positive predictive value decreased from 4.1% to 3.2% (P = 0.01), and the rate of biopsy increased by 19.7% (P<0.001). The increase in sensitivity from 80.4% before implementation of computer-aided detection to 84.0% after implementation was not significant (P = 0.32). The change in the cancer-detection rate (including invasive breast cancers and ductal carcinomas in situ) was not significant (4.15 cases per 1000 screening mammograms before implementation and 4.20 cases after implementation, P = 0.90). Analyses of data from all 43 facilities showed that the use of computer-aided detection was associated with significantly lower overall accuracy than was nonuse (area under the ROC curve, 0.871 vs. 0.919; P = 0.005).
Conclusions
The use of computer-aided detection is associated with reduced accuracy of interpretation of screening mammograms. The increased rate of biopsy with the use of computer-aided detection is not clearly associated with improved detection of invasive breast cancer.
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa066099
PMCID: PMC3182841  PMID: 17409321
2.  The Anti-Hepatitis B Drug Entecavir Inhibits HIV-1 Replication and Can Select HIV-1 Variants Resistant to Antiretroviral Drugs 
The New England journal of medicine  2007;356(25):2614-2621.
Summary
We show that entecavir, an FDA-approved drug used to treat chronic hepatitis B, potently inhibits HIV replication in vitro and leads to a 1 log decline in HIV RNA in vivo. Detailed analysis of two HIV-HBV co-infected patients receiving up to seven months of entecavir monotherapy demonstrated accumulation of HIV variants with the lamivudine-resistance mutation, M184V, in one of them. In vitro experiments demonstrated that M184V confers resistance to entecavir. Thus, entecavir has clinically relevant anti-HIV activity and can select for variants resistant to anti-HIV drugs. Until more is known about HIV resistance patterns and their selection by entecavir, caution is needed when using entecavir in HIV-HBV co-infected individuals not receiving fully suppressive antiretroviral regimens.
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa067710
PMCID: PMC3069686  PMID: 17582071
3.  Childhood Body-Mass Index and the Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Adulthood 
The New England journal of medicine  2007;357(23):2329-2337.
BACKGROUND
The worldwide epidemic of childhood obesity is progressing at an alarming rate. Risk factors for coronary heart disease (CHD) are already identifiable in overweight children. The severity of the long-term effects of excess childhood weight on CHD, however, remains unknown.
METHODS
We investigated the association between body-mass index (BMI) in childhood (7 through 13 years of age) and CHD in adulthood (25 years of age or older), with and without adjustment for birth weight. The subjects were a cohort of 276,835 Danish schoolchildren for whom measurements of height and weight were available. CHD events were ascertained by linkage to national registers. Cox regression analyses were performed.
RESULTS
In 5,063,622 person-years of follow-up, 10,235 men and 4318 women for whom childhood BMI data were available received a diagnosis of CHD or died of CHD as adults. The risk of any CHD event, a nonfatal event, and a fatal event among adults was positively associated with BMI at 7 to 13 years of age for boys and 10 to 13 years of age for girls. The associations were linear for each age, and the risk increased across the entire BMI distribution. Furthermore, the risk increased as the age of the child increased. Adjustment for birth weight strengthened the results.
CONCLUSIONS
Higher BMI during childhood is associated with an increased risk of CHD in adulthood. The associations are stronger in boys than in girls and increase with the age of the child in both sexes. Our findings suggest that as children are becoming heavier worldwide, greater numbers of them are at risk of having CHD in adulthood.
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa072515
PMCID: PMC3062903  PMID: 18057335
4.  JAK2 Exon 12 Mutations in Polycythemia Vera and Idiopathic Erythrocytosis 
The New England journal of medicine  2007;356(5):459-468.
BACKGROUND
The V617F mutation, which causes the substitution of phenylalanine for valine at position 617 of the Janus kinase (JAK) 2 gene (JAK2), is often present in patients with polycythemia vera, essential thrombocythemia, and idiopathic myelofibrosis. However, the molecular basis of these myeloproliferative disorders in patients without the V617F mutation is unclear.
METHODS
We searched for new mutations in members of the JAK and signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) gene families in patients with V617F-negative polycythemia vera or idiopathic erythrocytosis. The mutations were characterized biochemically and in a murine model of bone marrow transplantation.
RESULTS
We identified four somatic gain-of-function mutations affecting JAK2 exon 12 in 10 V617F-negative patients. Those with a JAK2 exon 12 mutation presented with an isolated erythrocytosis and distinctive bone marrow morphology, and several also had reduced serum erythropoietin levels. Erythroid colonies could be grown from their blood samples in the absence of exogenous erythropoietin. All such erythroid colonies were heterozygous for the mutation, whereas colonies homozygous for the mutation occur in most patients with V617F-positive polycythemia vera. BaF3 cells expressing the murine erythropoietin receptor and also carrying exon 12 mutations could proliferate without added interleukin-3. They also exhibited increased phosphorylation of JAK2 and extracellular regulated kinase 1 and 2, as compared with cells transduced by wild-type JAK2 or V617F JAK2. Three of the exon 12 mutations included a substitution of leucine for lysine at position 539 of JAK2. This mutation resulted in a myeloproliferative phenotype, including erythrocytosis, in a murine model of retroviral bone marrow transplantation.
CONCLUSIONS
JAK2 exon 12 mutations define a distinctive myeloproliferative syndrome that affects patients who currently receive a diagnosis of polycythemia vera or idiopathic erythrocytosis.
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa065202
PMCID: PMC2873834  PMID: 17267906
5.  Religion, Conscience, and Controversial Clinical Practices 
The New England journal of medicine  2007;356(6):593-600.
BACKGROUND
There is a heated debate about whether health professionals may refuse to provide treatments to which they object on moral grounds. It is important to understand how physicians think about their ethical rights and obligations when such conflicts emerge in clinical practice.
METHODS
We conducted a cross-sectional survey of a stratified, random sample of 2000 practicing U.S. physicians from all specialties by mail. The primary criterion variables were physicians’ judgments about their ethical rights and obligations when patients request a legal medical procedure to which the physician objects for religious or moral reasons. These procedures included administering terminal sedation in dying patients, providing abortion for failed contraception, and prescribing birth control to adolescents without parental approval.
RESULTS
A total of 1144 of 1820 physicians (63%) responded to our survey. On the basis of our results, we estimate that most physicians believe that it is ethically permissible for doctors to explain their moral objections to patients (63%). Most also believe that physicians are obligated to present all options (86%) and to refer the patient to another clinician who does not object to the requested procedure (71%). Physicians who were male, those who were religious, and those who had personal objections to morally controversial clinical practices were less likely to report that doctors must disclose information about or refer patients for medical procedures to which the physician objected on moral grounds (multivariate odds ratios, 0.3 to 0.5).
CONCLUSIONS
Many physicians do not consider themselves obligated to disclose information about or refer patients for legal but morally controversial medical procedures. Patients who want information about and access to such procedures may need to inquire proactively to determine whether their physicians would accommodate such requests.
doi:10.1056/NEJMsa065316
PMCID: PMC2867473  PMID: 17287479
6.  Release from Prison — A High Risk of Death for Former Inmates 
The New England journal of medicine  2007;356(2):157-165.
BACKGROUND
The U.S. population of former prison inmates is large and growing. The period immediately after release may be challenging for former inmates and may involve substantial health risks. We studied the risk of death among former inmates soon after their release from Washington State prisons.
METHODS
We conducted a retrospective cohort study of all inmates released from the Washington State Department of Corrections from July 1999 through December 2003. Prison records were linked to the National Death Index. Data for comparison with Washington State residents were obtained from the Wide-ranging OnLine Data for Epidemiologic Research system of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Mortality rates among former inmates were compared with those among other state residents with the use of indirect standardization and adjustment for age, sex, and race.
RESULTS
Of 30,237 released inmates, 443 died during a mean follow-up period of 1.9 years. The overall mortality rate was 777 deaths per 100,000 person-years. The adjusted risk of death among former inmates was 3.5 times that among other state residents (95% confidence interval [CI], 3.2 to 3.8). During the first 2 weeks after release, the risk of death among former inmates was 12.7 (95% CI, 9.2 to 17.4) times that among other state residents, with a markedly elevated relative risk of death from drug overdose (129; 95% CI, 89 to 186). The leading causes of death among former inmates were drug overdose, cardiovascular disease, homicide, and suicide.
CONCLUSIONS
Former prison inmates were at high risk for death after release from prison, particularly during the first 2 weeks. Interventions are necessary to reduce the risk of death after release from prison.
doi:10.1056/NEJMsa064115
PMCID: PMC2836121  PMID: 17215533
7.  Genomewide Association Analysis of Coronary Artery Disease 
The New England journal of medicine  2007;357(5):443-453.
BACKGROUND
Modern genotyping platforms permit a systematic search for inherited components of complex diseases. We performed a joint analysis of two genomewide association studies of coronary artery disease.
METHODS
We first identified chromosomal loci that were strongly associated with coronary artery disease in the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium (WTCCC) study (which involved 1926 case subjects with coronary artery disease and 2938 controls) and looked for replication in the German MI [Myocardial Infarction] Family Study (which involved 875 case subjects with myocardial infarction and 1644 controls). Data on other single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that were significantly associated with coronary artery disease in either study (P<0.001) were then combined to identify additional loci with a high probability of true association. Genotyping in both studies was performed with the use of the GeneChip Human Mapping 500K Array Set (Affymetrix).
RESULTS
Of thousands of chromosomal loci studied, the same locus had the strongest association with coronary artery disease in both the WTCCC and the German studies: chromosome 9p21.3 (SNP, rs1333049) (P=1.80×10−14 and P=3.40×10−6, respectively). Overall, the WTCCC study revealed nine loci that were strongly associated with coronary artery disease (P<1.2×10−5 and less than a 50% chance of being falsely positive). In addition to chromosome 9p21.3, two of these loci were successfully replicated (adjusted P<0.05) in the German study: chromosome 6q25.1 (rs6922269) and chromosome 2q36.3 (rs2943634). The combined analysis of the two studies identified four additional loci significantly associated with coronary artery disease (P<1.3×10−6) and a high probability (>80%) of a true association: chromosomes 1p13.3 (rs599839), 1q41 (rs17465637), 10q11.21 (rs501120), and 15q22.33 (rs17228212).
CONCLUSIONS
We identified several genetic loci that, individually and in aggregate, substantially affect the risk of development of coronary artery disease.
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa072366
PMCID: PMC2719290  PMID: 17634449
8.  Long-Term Effect of Diabetes and Its Treatment on Cognitive Function 
The New England journal of medicine  2007;356(18):1842-1852.
BACKGROUND
Long-standing concern about the effects of type 1 diabetes on cognitive ability has increased with the use of therapies designed to bring glucose levels close to the non-diabetic range and the attendant increased risk of severe hypoglycemia.
METHODS
A total of 1144 patients with type 1 diabetes enrolled in the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) and its follow-up Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications (EDIC) study were examined on entry to the DCCT (at mean age 27 years) and a mean of 18 years later with the same comprehensive battery of cognitive tests. Glycated hemoglobin levels were measured and the frequency of severe hypoglycemic events leading to coma or seizures was recorded during the follow-up period. We assessed the effects of original DCCT treatment-group assignment, mean glycated hemoglobin values, and frequency of hypoglycemic events on measures of cognitive ability, with adjustment for age at baseline, sex, years of education, length of follow-up, visual acuity, self-reported sensory loss due to peripheral neuropathy, and (to control for the effects of practice) the number of cognitive tests taken in the interval since the start of the DCCT.
RESULTS
Forty percent of the cohort reported having had at least one hypoglycemic coma or seizure. Neither frequency of severe hypoglycemia nor previous treatment-group assignment was associated with decline in any cognitive domain. Higher glycated hemoglobin values were associated with moderate declines in motor speed (P=0.001) and psychomotor efficiency (P<0.001), but no other cognitive domain was affected.
CONCLUSIONS
No evidence of substantial long-term declines in cognitive function was found in a large group of patients with type 1 diabetes who were carefully followed for an average of 18 years, despite relatively high rates of recurrent severe hypoglycemia. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00360893.)
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa066397
PMCID: PMC2701294  PMID: 17476010
9.  Clinical and Molecular Genetic Spectrum of Congenital Deficiency of the Leptin Receptor 
The New England journal of medicine  2007;356(3):237-247.
BACKGROUND
A single family has been described in which obesity results from a mutation in the leptin-receptor gene (LEPR), but the prevalence of such mutations in severe, early-onset obesity has not been systematically examined.
METHODS
We sequenced LEPR in 300 subjects with hyperphagia and severe early-onset obesity, including 90 probands from consanguineous families, and investigated the extent to which mutations cosegregated with obesity and affected receptor function. We evaluated metabolic, endocrine, and immune function in probands and affected relatives.
RESULTS
Of the 300 subjects, 8 (3%) had nonsense or missense LEPR mutations — 7 were homozygotes, and 1 was a compound heterozygote. All missense mutations resulted in impaired receptor signaling. Affected subjects were characterized by hyperphagia, severe obesity, alterations in immune function, and delayed puberty due to hypogonadotropic hypogonadism. Serum leptin levels were within the range predicted by the elevated fat mass in these subjects. Their clinical features were less severe than those of subjects with congenital leptin deficiency.
CONCLUSIONS
The prevalence of pathogenic LEPR mutations in a cohort of subjects with severe, early-onset obesity was 3%. Circulating levels of leptin were not disproportionately elevated, suggesting that serum leptin cannot be used as a marker for leptin-receptor deficiency. Congenital leptin-receptor deficiency should be considered in the differential diagnosis in any child with hyperphagia and severe obesity in the absence of developmental delay or dysmorphism.
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa063988
PMCID: PMC2670197  PMID: 17229951
10.  TRAF1-C5 as a Risk Locus for Rheumatoid Arthritis — A Genomewide Study 
The New England journal of medicine  2007;357(12):1199-1209.
BACKGROUND
Rheumatoid arthritis has a complex mode of inheritance. Although HLA-DRB1 and PTPN22 are well-established susceptibility loci, other genes that confer a modest level of risk have been identified recently. We carried out a genomewide association analysis to identify additional genetic loci associated with an increased risk of rheumatoid arthritis.
METHODS
We genotyped 317,503 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in a combined case-control study of 1522 case subjects with rheumatoid arthritis and 1850 matched control subjects. The patients were seropositive for autoantibodies against cyclic citrullinated peptide (CCP). We obtained samples from two data sets, the North American Rheumatoid Arthritis Consortium (NARAC) and the Swedish Epidemiological Investigation of Rheumatoid Arthritis (EIRA). Results from NARAC and EIRA for 297,086 SNPs that passed quality-control filters were combined with the use of Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel stratified analysis. SNPs showing a significant association with disease (P<1×10-8) were genotyped in an independent set of case subjects with anti-CCP-positive rheumatoid arthritis (485 from NARAC and 512 from EIRA) and in control subjects (1282 from NARAC and 495 from EIRA).
RESULTS
We observed associations between disease and variants in the major-histocompatibility-complex locus, in PTPN22, and in a SNP (rs3761847) on chromosome 9 for all samples tested, the latter with an odds ratio of 1.32 (95% confidence interval, 1.23 to 1.42; P = 4×10-14). The SNP is in linkage disequilibrium with two genes relevant to chronic inflammation: TRAF1 (encoding tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor 1) and C5 (encoding complement component 5).
CONCLUSIONS
A common genetic variant at the TRAF1-C5 locus on chromosome 9 is associated with an increased risk of anti-CCP-positive rheumatoid arthritis.
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa073491
PMCID: PMC2636867  PMID: 17804836
11.  STAT4 and the Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 
The New England journal of medicine  2007;357(10):977-986.
BACKGROUND
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease with a substantial genetic component. Susceptibility to disease has been linked with a region on chromosome 2q.
METHODS
We tested single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in and around 13 candidate genes within the previously linked chromosome 2q region for association with rheumatoid arthritis. We then performed fine mapping of the STAT1-STAT4 region in a total of 1620 case patients with established rheumatoid arthritis and 2635 controls, all from North America. Implicated SNPs were further tested in an independent case-control series of 1529 patients with early rheumatoid arthritis and 881 controls, all from Sweden, and in a total of 1039 case patients and 1248 controls from three series of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus.
RESULTS
A SNP haplotype in the third intron of STAT4 was associated with susceptibility to both rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus. The minor alleles of the haplotype-defining SNPs were present in 27% of chromosomes of patients with established rheumatoid arthritis, as compared with 22% of those of controls (for the SNP rs7574865, P = 2.81×10-7; odds ratio for having the risk allele in chromosomes of patients vs. those of controls, 1.32). The association was replicated in Swedish patients with recent-onset rheumatoid arthritis (P = 0.02) and matched controls. The haplotype marked by rs7574865 was strongly associated with lupus, being present on 31% of chromosomes of case patients and 22% of those of controls (P = 1.87×10-9; odds ratio for having the risk allele in chromosomes of patients vs. those of controls, 1.55). Homozygosity of the risk allele, as compared with absence of the allele, was associated with a more than doubled risk for lupus and a 60% increased risk for rheumatoid arthritis.
CONCLUSIONS
A haplotype of STAT4 is associated with increased risk for both rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus, suggesting a shared pathway for these illnesses.
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa073003
PMCID: PMC2630215  PMID: 17804842
12.  Taking a Bite Out of Vector-Transmitted Infectious Diseases 
The New England journal of medicine  2007;356(25):2567-2569.
doi:10.1056/NEJMp078081
PMCID: PMC2577026  PMID: 17582066
13.  Surgical versus Nonsurgical Treatment for Lumbar Degenerative Spondylolisthesis 
The New England journal of medicine  2007;356(22):2257-2270.
BACKGROUND
Management of degenerative spondylolisthesis with spinal stenosis is controversial. Surgery is widely used, but its effectiveness in comparison with that of nonsurgical treatment has not been demonstrated in controlled trials.
METHODS
Surgical candidates from 13 centers in 11 U.S. states who had at least 12 weeks of symptoms and image-confirmed degenerative spondylolisthesis were offered enrollment in a randomized cohort or an observational cohort. Treatment was standard decompressive laminectomy (with or without fusion) or usual nonsurgical care. The primary outcome measures were the Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short-Form General Health Survey (SF-36) bodily pain and physical function scores (100-point scales, with higher scores indicating less severe symptoms) and the modified Oswestry Disability Index (100-point scale, with lower scores indicating less severe symptoms) at 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years.
RESULTS
We enrolled 304 patients in the randomized cohort and 303 in the observational cohort. The baseline characteristics of the two cohorts were similar. The one-year crossover rates were high in the randomized cohort (approximately 40% in each direction) but moderate in the observational cohort (17% crossover to surgery and 3% crossover to nonsurgical care). The intention-to-treat analysis for the randomized cohort showed no statistically significant effects for the primary outcomes. The as-treated analysis for both cohorts combined showed a significant advantage for surgery at 3 months that increased at 1 year and diminished only slightly at 2 years. The treatment effects at 2 years were 18.1 for bodily pain (95% confidence interval [CI], 14.5 to 21.7), 18.3 for physical function (95% CI, 14.6 to 21.9), and −16.7 for the Oswestry Disability Index (95% CI, −19.5 to −13.9). There was little evidence of harm from either treatment.
CONCLUSIONS
In nonrandomized as-treated comparisons with careful control for potentially confounding baseline factors, patients with degenerative spondylolisthesis and spinal stenosis treated surgically showed substantially greater improvement in pain and function during a period of 2 years than patients treated nonsurgically. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00000409.)
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa070302
PMCID: PMC2553804  PMID: 17538085
14.  Lung Transplantation and Survival in Children with Cystic Fibrosis 
The New England journal of medicine  2007;357(21):2143-2152.
BACKGROUND
The effects of lung transplantation on the survival and quality of life in children with cystic fibrosis are uncertain.
METHODS
We used data from the U.S. Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Patient Registry and from the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network to identify children with cystic fibrosis who were on the waiting list for lung transplantation during the period from 1992 through 2002. We performed proportional-hazards survival modeling, using multiple clinically relevant covariates that were available before the children were on the waiting list and the interactions of these covariates with lung transplantation as a time-dependent covariate. The data were insufficient in quality and quantity for a retrospective quality-of-life analysis.
RESULTS
A total of 248 of the 514 children on the waiting list underwent lung transplantation in the United States during the period from 1992 through 2002. Proportional-hazards modeling identified four variables besides transplantation that were associated with changes in survival. Burkholderia cepacia infection decreased survival, regardless of whether the patient underwent transplantation. A diagnosis of diabetes before the patient was placed on the waiting list decreased survival while the patient was on the waiting list but did not decrease survival after transplantation, whereas older age did not affect waiting-list survival but decreased post-transplantation survival. Staphylococcus aureus infection increased waiting-list survival but decreased post-transplantation survival. Using age, diabetes status, and S. aureus infection status as covariates, we estimated the effect of transplantation on survival for each patient group, expressed as a hazard factor of less than 1 for a benefit and more than 1 for a risk of harm. Five patients had a significant estimated benefit, 315 patients had a significant risk of harm, 76 patients had an insignificant benefit, and 118 patients had an insignificant risk of harm associated with lung transplantation.
CONCLUSIONS
Our analyses estimated clearly improved survival for only 5 of 514 patients on the waiting list for lung transplantation. Prolongation of life by means of lung transplantation should not be expected in children with cystic fibrosis. A prospective, randomized trial is needed to clarify whether and when patients derive a survival and quality-of-life benefit from lung transplantation.
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa066359
PMCID: PMC2522236  PMID: 18032764
15.  A Study of Sexuality and Health among Older Adults in the United States 
The New England journal of medicine  2007;357(8):762-774.
BACKGROUND
Despite the aging of the population, little is known about the sexual behaviors and sexual function of older people.
METHODS
We report the prevalence of sexual activity, behaviors, and problems in a national probability sample of 3005 U.S. adults (1550 women and 1455 men) 57 to 85 years of age, and we describe the association of these variables with age and health status.
RESULTS
The unweighted survey response rate for this probability sample was 74.8%, and the weighted response rate was 75.5%. The prevalence of sexual activity declined with age (73% among respondents who were 57 to 64 years of age, 53% among respondents who were 65 to 74 years of age, and 26% among respondents who were 75 to 85 years of age); women were significantly less likely than men at all ages to report sexual activity. Among respondents who were sexually active, about half of both men and women reported at least one bothersome sexual problem. The most prevalent sexual problems among women were low desire (43%), difficulty with vaginal lubrication (39%), and inability to climax (34%). Among men, the most prevalent sexual problems were erectile difficulties (37%). Fourteen percent of all men reported using medication or supplements to improve sexual function. Men and women who rated their health as being poor were less likely to be sexually active and, among respondents who were sexually active, were more likely to report sexual problems. A total of 38% of men and 22% of women reported having discussed sex with a physician since the age of 50 years.
CONCLUSIONS
Many older adults are sexually active. Women are less likely than men to have a spousal or other intimate relationship and to be sexually active. Sexual problems are frequent among older adults, but these problems are infrequently discussed with physicians.
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa067423
PMCID: PMC2426743  PMID: 17715410
16.  Prophylactic Catheter Ablation for the Prevention of Defibrillator Therapy 
The New England journal of medicine  2007;357(26):2657-2665.
BACKGROUND
For patients who have a ventricular tachyarrhythmic event, implantable cardioverter–defibrillators (ICDs) are a mainstay of therapy to prevent sudden death. However, ICD shocks are painful, can result in clinical depression, and do not offer complete protection against death from arrhythmia. We designed this randomized trial to examine whether prophylactic radiofrequency catheter ablation of arrhythmogenic ventricular tissue would reduce the incidence of ICD therapy.
METHODS
Eligible patients with a history of a myocardial infarction underwent defibrillator implantation for spontaneous ventricular tachycardia or fibrillation. The patients did not receive antiarrhythmic drugs. Patients were randomly assigned to defibrillator implantation alone or defibrillator implantation with adjunctive catheter ablation (64 patients in each group). Ablation was performed with the use of a substrate-based approach in which the myocardial scar is mapped and ablated while the heart remains predominantly in sinus rhythm. The primary end point was survival free from any appropriate ICD therapy.
RESULTS
The mortality rate 30 days after ablation was zero, and there were no significant changes in ventricular function or functional class during the mean (±SD) follow-up period of 22.5±5.5 months. Twenty-one patients assigned to defibrillator implantation alone (33%) and eight patients assigned to defibrillator implantation plus ablation (12%) received appropriate ICD therapy (antitachycardia pacing or shocks) (hazard ratio in the ablation group, 0.35; 95% confidence interval, 0.15 to 0.78, P = 0.007). Among these patients, 20 in the control group (31%) and 6 in the ablation group (9%) received shocks (P = 0.003). Mortality was not increased in the group assigned to ablation as compared with the control group (9% vs. 17%, P = 0.29).
CONCLUSIONS
In this randomized trial, prophylactic substrate-based catheter ablation reduced the incidence of ICD therapy in patients with a history of myocardial infarction who received ICDs for the secondary prevention of sudden death.
(Current Controlled Trials number, ISRCTN62488166.)
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa065457
PMCID: PMC2390777  PMID: 18160685
17.  Zoledronic Acid in Reducing Clinical Fracture and Mortality after Hip Fracture 
The New England journal of medicine  2007;357:nihpa40967.
BACKGROUND
Mortality is increased after a hip fracture, and strategies that improve outcomes are needed.
METHODS
In this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, 1065 patients were assigned to receive yearly intravenous zoledronic acid (at a dose of 5 mg), and 1062 patients were assigned to receive placebo. The infusions were first administered within 90 days after surgical repair of a hip fracture. All patients received supplemental vitamin D and calcium. The median follow-up was 1.9 years. The primary end point was a new clinical fracture.
RESULTS
The rates of any new clinical fracture were 8.6% in the zoledronic acid group and 13.9% in the placebo group, a 35% risk reduction (P = 0.001); the respective rates of a new clinical vertebral fracture were 1.7% and 3.8% (P = 0.02), and the respective rates of new nonvertebral fractures were 7.6% and 10.7% (P = 0.03). In the safety analysis, 101 of 1054 patients in the zoledronic acid group (9.6%) and 141 of 1057 patients in the placebo group (13.3%) died, a reduction of 28% in deaths from any cause in the zoledronic-acid group (P = 0.01). The most frequent adverse events in patients receiving zoledronic acid were pyrexia, myalgia, and bone and musculoskeletal pain. No cases of osteonecrosis of the jaw were reported, and no adverse effects on the healing of fractures were noted. The rates of renal and cardiovascular adverse events, including atrial fibrillation and stroke, were similar in the two groups.
CONCLUSIONS
An annual infusion of zoledronic acid within 90 days after repair of a low-trauma hip fracture was associated with a reduction in the rate of new clinical fractures and improved survival. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00046254.)
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa074941
PMCID: PMC2324066  PMID: 18427590
18.  Low-Tidal-Volume Ventilation in the Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome 
The New England journal of medicine  2007;357(11):1113-1120.
A 55-year-old man who is 178 cm tall and weighs 95 kg is hospitalized with community-acquired pneumonia and progressively severe dyspnea. His arterial oxygen saturation while breathing 100% oxygen through a face mask is 76%; a chest radiograph shows diffuse alveolar infiltrates with air bronchograms. He is intubated and receives mechanical ventilation; ventilator settings include a tidal volume of 1000 ml, a positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) of 5 cm of water, and a fraction of inspired oxygen (FiO2) of 0.8. With these settings, peak airway pressure is 50 to 60 cm of water, plateau airway pressure is 38 cm of water, partial pressure of arterial oxygen is 120 mm Hg, partial pressure of carbon dioxide is 37 mm Hg, and arterial blood pH is 7.47. The diagnosis of the acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is made. An intensive care specialist evaluates the patient and recommends changing the current ventilator settings and implementing a low-tidal-volume ventilation strategy.
doi:10.1056/NEJMct074213
PMCID: PMC2287190  PMID: 17855672
19.  TP53 Mutations and Survival in Squamous-Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck 
The New England journal of medicine  2007;357(25):2552-2561.
BACKGROUND
The abrogation of function of the tumor-suppressor protein p53 as a result of mutation of its gene, TP53, is one of the most common genetic alterations in cancer cells. We evaluated TP53 mutations and survival in patients with squamous-cell carcinoma of the head and neck.
METHODS
A total of 560 patients with squamous-cell carcinoma of the head and neck who were treated surgically with curative intent were enrolled in our prospective multicenter, 7-year study. TP53 mutations were analyzed in DNA from the tumor specimens with the use of the Affymetrix p53 chip and the Surveyor DNA endonuclease and denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography. Mutations were classified into two groups, disruptive and nondisruptive, according to the degree of disturbance of protein structure predicted from the crystal structure of the p53–DNA complexes. TP53 mutational status was compared with clinical outcome.
RESULTS
TP53 mutations were found in tumors from 224 of 420 patients (53.3%). As compared with wild-type TP53, the presence of any TP53 mutation was associated with decreased overall survival (hazard ratio for death, 1.4; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.1 to 1.8; P = 0.009), with an even stronger association with disruptive mutations (hazard ratio, 1.7; 95% CI, 1.3 to 2.4; P<0.001) and no significant association with nondisruptive mutations (hazard ratio, 1.2; 95% CI, 0.9 to 1.7; P = 0.16). In multivariate analyses a disruptive TP53 alteration, as compared with the absence of a TP53 mutation, had an independent, significant association with decreased survival (hazard ratio, 1.7; 95% CI, 1.2 to 2.4; P = 0.003).
CONCLUSIONS
Disruptive TP53 mutations in tumor DNA are associated with reduced survival after surgical treatment of squamous-cell carcinoma of the head and neck.
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa073770
PMCID: PMC2263014  PMID: 18094376

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