Abstract: Gut microbiota have recently been a topic of great interest in the field of microbiology, particularly their role in normal physiology and its influence on human health in disease. A large body of research has supported the presence of a pathway of communication between the gut and the brain, modulated by gut microbiota, giving rise to the term “microbiota-gut-brain” axis. It is now thought that, through this pathway, microbiota can affect behaviour and modulate brain plasticity and cognitive function in ageing. This review summarizes the evidence supporting the existence of such a connection and possible mechanisms of action whereby microbiota can influence the function of the central nervous system. Since normalisation of gut flora has been shown to prevent changes in behaviour, we further postulate on possible therapeutic targets to intervene with cognitive decline in ageing. The research poses various limitations, for example uncertainty about how this data translates to broad human populations. Nonetheless, the microbiota-gut-brain axis is an exciting field worthy of further investigation, particularly with regards to its implications on the ageing population.
Abstract: Varying estimates of the cost-effectiveness of genomic testing applications can reflect differences in study questions, settings, methods and assumptions. This review compares recently published cost-effectiveness analyses of testing strategies for Lynch Syndrome (LS) in tumors from patients newly diagnosed with colorectal cancer (CRC) for either all adult patients or patients up to age 70 along with cascade testing of relatives of probands. Seven studies published from 2010 through 2015 were identified and summarized. Five studies analyzed the universal offer of testing to adult patients with CRC and two others analyzed testing patients up to age 70; all except one reported incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) < $ 100,000 per life-year or quality-adjusted life-year gained. Three studies found lower ICERs for selective testing strategies using family history-based predictive models compared with universal testing. However, those calculations were based on estimates of sensitivity of predictive models derived from research studies, and it is unclear how sensitive such models are in routine clinical practice. Key model parameters that are influential in ICER estimates included 1) the number of first-degree relatives tested per proband identified with LS and 2) the cost of gene sequencing. Others include the frequency of intensive colonoscopic surveillance, the cost of colonoscopy, and the inclusion of extracolonic surveillance and prevention options.
Abstract: Functional status assessment is a useful and essential component of the complete history and physical exam of the older patient diagnosed with cancer. Functional status is the ability to conduct activities that are necessary for independence and more executive activities, such as money management, cooking, and transportation. Assessment of functional status creates a portal into interpreting the health of in older persons. Understanding limitations and physical abilities can help in developing cancer treatment strategies, patient/family teaching needs, and in-home services that enhance patient/family care. This article will review the benefits of functional assessment, instruments that can be used during an ambulatory care visit, and interventions that can address potential limitations.
Abstract: Because of the great prevalence of chronic pain, it is not surprising that there have been a number of influential reports by the Institute of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, and the World Health Organization that have documented the medical, social and economic problems caused by it, and the need for better pain-management programs. The present article briefly reviews these reports, and then focuses on three important areas that need to be considered when addressing the continuing and growing epidemic of one of the most prevalent types of chronic pain [chronic low back pain (CLBP)]: the biopsychosocial model of chronic pain; the paradigm shift in medicine from a disease model to an illness model of CLBP; and a review of the treatment- and cost-effectiveness of interdisciplinary chronic pain management programs. This overview will serve as an important prelude to other topics related to low back pain included in this Special Issue of Healthcare. Topics covered will range from assessment and treatment approaches, to important psychosocial mediators/moderators such as coping and pain beliefs.
Abstract: The national effort to use genomic knowledge to save lives is gaining momentum, as illustrated by the inclusion of genomics in key public health initiatives, including HealthyPeople2020, and the recent launch of the precision medicine initiative. The Office of Public Health Genomics (OPHG) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) partners with state public health departments and others to advance the translation of genome-based discoveries into disease prevention and population health. To do this, OPHG has adopted an “identify, inform, and integrate” model: identify evidence-based genomic applications ready for implementation, inform stakeholders about these applications, and integrate these applications into public health at the local, state, and national level. This paper addresses current and future work at OPHG for integrating genomics into public health programs.