The Connected Clinician: Top Stories of the Week for October 20

Stay connected and up-to-date in health care news with the Connected Clinician top stories of the week for the week of October 20.

This week, the MD Magazine team was busy making sure that you were as up-to-date as possible, but in case you missed something, you’re covered here. Welcome to the Connected Clinician’s top stories of the week for October 20.

The medical space was peppered with HIV news, with multiple announcements and studies regarding the condition were released, from the CDC coupling with the Undetectable = Untrasmittable campaign to the news of a potential functional cure to the condition. However, HIV was not the sole infectious disease in the headlines this week, as the number of HPV cases has dropped 50% due to herd immunity benefits and investigators discovered that drug-using patients HCV can benefit from cost-effective testing.

In other news, new vaccines may be on the way in the face of a 2-decade economic struggle, and it appears that the 6.5% drop in opioid-related deaths in Colorado may be linked to the legalization of cannabis.

On to the top stories of the week:

CDC: Suicide Rates Increase in US Rural Areas

In the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, data revealed that socioeconomic factors may play the largest role in increased suicide rates as they vary by urbanization level. Suicide remains one of the top 10 leading causes of death in the US.

Determining the Optimal Length of Opioid Prescriptions

As a lack of guidelines for opioid prescriptions remains an issue in medicine, a study examined the proper lengths of prescription for multiple surgeries. The data found that for general surgery, prescriptions were optimized at 4 to 9 days.

Infections, Illnesses Loom in Puerto Rico Aftermath

The island home of 3.4 million faces more than just a cleanup. Weeks after Hurricanes Maria and Irma, the US territory races bacteria to restoring public health infrastructure. According to Matt Zahn, MD, there are a “litany of issues” that are not simple to address.

Electric Brain Stimulation Can Cut MS Fatigue

Fatigue, which is one of the more frustrating symptoms faced by patients with multiple sclerosis, may have found a way to be addressed. Patients with MS who received at-home brain stimulation using a headset saw decreases in fatigue levels.

Effective HIV Treatment Halts Virus Transmission

Those taking antiretroviral therapy that achieve an undetectable viral load have effectively no risk of transmitting it to non-infected partners. This news followed the CDC’s recent announcement that HIV patients with low viral loads have effectively no risk of transmitting the infection to their partners.