A look back at the developments and interviews that caught the most attention this year.
It’s far easier to imagine the cultural time capsule that will come to represent this year in the future will be comprised of some news, yes, but mostly media. It’s much easier to time-stamp, say, a song or movie—or even a meme—than it is some kind of development in federal or world affairs.
That becomes increasingly hard when discussing medical news. What major studies were published this year? What were the newest guidelines? Did the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) make headlines? When MD Magazine® sought expertise for its “A Decade In Medicine” feature series, one of the most difficult questions physicians tried answering was, “What was the most important development in your field since 2010?” In a profession which constantly tries to improve on itself, who would be keeping count?
Consider this a more technical approach to answering that question. Below is a list of the 10 most popular headlines to run on MD Mag in 2019. What this compilation shows—aside from a great variety of coverage and expert insight—is where our audience’s interest most lied this year, and where news made the most impact in our coverage of medicine.
As a new decade begins, an argument could be made this list precludes what will be most discussed in the 2020s.
The last decade of cardiovascular care advancement depended on using new masses of data collected from at-risk outcomes trials associated with diabetic and renal patients. In this year, clinicians were able to leverage greater changes to the field with all this data.
As Deepak Bhatt, MD, executive director of Interventional Cardiovascular Programs at Brigham and Women's Hospital and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, noted to MD Mag this summer, the successes made in the field may not have just been in treatment—improved screening means an uptick in cases.
“So, on the one hand, we should be very happy and proud as a scientific community and as a physician community,” he said, “but just by the same token, we do not go overboard and just say, oh it's over, and we're done.”
Fittingly to the sentiment that the work to address the greatest killer in the US is never done, the Heart Failure Society of America (HFSA) presented new guidelines for disease risk-prevention nutrition just this September.
Obstetrics and reproductive healthcare are consistently recognized among the fields most lacking great progress in care. This is likely why FDA approvals to a pair of distinct contraceptive methods caught such traction with the MD Mag audience this year.
Drospirenone (Slynd), a once-daily female oral contraception, does not contain estrogen, and may be of significant benefit to breastfeeding mothers, among other women.
The levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system (LILETTA) received an expanded indication for contraceptive benefit for up to 6 years in users. A 1700-plus patient trial showed the IUD had a 99% efficacy in preventing pregnancy in a population of women diverse by age, race, ethnicity, and body mass index (BMI).
In 2020, mental illness will have become the second most common cause of disability worldwide, after heart disease. And yet, Regina Davis Moss, PhD, associate executive director of Public Health Policy and Practice for the American Public Health Association, told MD Mag back in October that it’s still difficult to have conditions including depression be addressed as a public health matter—especially among children.
“Not to say that these weren't challenges before, but I do think that for whatever reason, we're seeing in kids that the coping is just not there. And that is why we're seeing higher rates of suicide in younger populations. We're seeing it in kids 8 and 9 years old.”
A decade marred by mass shootings, booming social media influence on the youth, and little resolve to suicide risk among adolescents has led to a point where the second-greatest health issue in the world may continue to increase into a new decade.
Patients are quick to latch hope onto new therapies. Ketamine, a drug that only matches its scale of efficacy with its controversy of use, made frequent headlines in 2019—despite being only tested among the greatest at-risk depression patients.
The 3 greatest factors in patient health include diet, exercise, and sleep—the latter often being the most neglected, even at baseline care. The FDA approval of the Jazz Pharmaceuticals therapy—the first dual-acting dopamine and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor approved for patients with narcolepsy or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)—emphasized the importance of newer therapies for common sleep conditions.
“With this approval, a new, daytime medicine that can provide sustained wakefulness throughout the day will be available for patients," Jazz Pharmaceuticals chairman and chief executive officer Bruce Cozadd said at the time.Since 2015, the term ‘vaccine’ has been more increasingly searched on Google with each passing year. The topic of routine vaccination has been a lightning rod discussion piece for the general population—and a source of frustration among physicians.
That said, assurance should be found in the fact that the two most popular article regarding vaccination from 2019 pertained to their proven benefits, both from colleague investigators and from the FDA.