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This Week in JAMA
February 9, 2005

This Week in JAMA

JAMA. 2005;293(6):651. doi:10.1001/jama.293.6.651
Ximelagatran to Treat DVT and Prevent Stroke

Ximelagatran, an oral direct thrombin inhibitor, acts rapidly and predictably and could simplify anticoagulant therapy. Two articles in this issue of JAMA report results from clinical trials assessing the efficacy and safety of ximelagatran compared with standard care in the treatment of deep venous thrombosis (DVT) or in the prevention of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation. In the DVT treatment trialArticle, patients were randomly assigned to receive fixed-dose ximelagatran, 36 mg twice daily, or to receive standard therapy with low-molecular-weight heparin and adjusted-dose warfarin. In the stroke prevention studyArticle, patients were randomly assigned to fixed-dose ximelagatran or adjusted-dose warfarin. In both studies, ximelagatran was as effective as standard therapy and was associated with comparable low rates of bleeding events but was also associated with increased levels of liver enzymes. In a third article, O’Brien and GageArticle describe their analysis of quality-adjusted survival and cost, comparing treatment with ximelagatran, warfarin, or aspirin for stroke prevention in 70-year-old patients with chronic atrial fibrillation. The authors found that ximelagatran is cost-effective only for patients with a high risk of intracranial hemorrhage or a low quality of life while taking warfarin. In an editorial, GurewichArticle reviews the safety and efficacy data from these and other trials of ximelagatran.

Gun Storage, Youth Suicide, and Unintentional Injuries

When guns are present in the home, storing them locked and unloaded, with ammunition stored separately and locked, is recommended to reduce youth access to guns. However, whether these measures prevent firearm suicide or unintentional injury in children and adolescents is not clear. Grossman and colleaguesArticle conducted a case-control study of firearm-related unintentional and self-inflicted injuries in youth and measured their association with home firearm storage practices. They found that storing guns locked or unloaded and storing ammunition locked and separately were associated with reductions in risk of suicide and unintentional firearm injury. In an editorial, Cole and JohnsonArticle discuss the importance of persuading families who keep firearms in the home to implement safe storage practices.

Malignancy and Risk of Venous Thrombosis

Patients with cancer are at increased risk of venous thrombosis, but few studies have addressed factors that identify patients at highest risk. Blom and colleagues assessed risk factors for first deep venous thrombosis or pulmonary embolus in patients 18 to 70 years of age. They found that having a malignancy increased the risk of thrombosis 7-fold. Patients with cancer who were at the highest risk of venous thrombosis had a hematologic malignancy, were diagnosed within the past few months, had distant metastases, and were carriers of factor V Leiden or prothrombin 20210A mutations.

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Factors Associated With Perinatal Arterial Stroke

Perinatal arterial ischemic stroke (PAS) is an important cause of neurologic disabilities in infants, but factors associated with increased risk of PAS are not clear. Lee and colleagues conducted a case-control study to identify maternal and infant characteristics associated with risk of PAS. Among a number of maternal and fetal factors more common in cases than controls, history of infertility, preeclampsia, prolonged rupture of membranes, and chorioamnionitis were independently associated with PAS in multivariate analyses.

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Medical News & Perspectives

Mental health experts say that psychosocial health services are urgently needed to help tsunami survivors in South Asia cope with psychological trauma that could have an impact for years to come.

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Clinician’s corner

Pathogenesis and treatment of vitiligo.

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Medical Education

Authors are invited to submit manuscripts for the annual JAMA issue on medical education.

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JAMA Patient Page

For your patients: Information about vitiligo.

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Medical Applications of Biotechnology

Theme issues on medical applications of biotechnology coming next week in JAMA and in some of the February Archives Journals.