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July 25, 2003, Issue No. 105

AHRQ News and Numbers

In 2000, more private-sector employees obtained family coverage health insurance (53.8 percent) through their employers than single, self-only coverage (46.2 percent). [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, Statistical Brief #18: Employer-Sponsored Single and Family Health Insurance Coverage, 2000 (PDF File, 640 KB; PDF Help).]

Today's Headlines:

  1. Dignitaries gather for dedication of AHRQ's new John M. Eisenberg building
  2. Prevention experts urge high blood pressure screening for all adults age 18 and older
  3. New evidence report summary on the diagnosis and treatment of Parkinson's disease available
  4. New evidence report summary on management of treatment-resistant epilepsy available
  5. Conference on the Scientific Basis of Health Services scheduled for September
  6. International Child Health Services Research meeting set for September 20
  7. Highlights from our monthly newsletter
  8. AHRQ in the professional literature

1.  Dignitaries Gather for Dedication of AHRQ's New John M. Eisenberg Building

More than 400 health care dignitaries, AHRQ staff, and friends gathered at 540 Gaither Road in Rockville, MD, yesterday for the official dedication of AHRQ's new office building, which is named for former AHRQ Director John M. Eisenberg, M.D., who directed the Agency from 1997 until his death in 2002. HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson, AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D., Health Legacy Partnership Chairman Joseph Kanter, and Dr. Eisenberg's widow DD made remarks. A plaque bearing Dr. Eisenberg's image and a quote from Sen. Majority Leader Bill Frist, M.D. (R-TN) was unveiled. Senator Frist's quote is as follows: "As a physician, Dr. Eisenberg saved the lives of many. As a leader, he enhanced the lives of millions. As a friend, he touched the lives of us all." Select to access the map and directions to the new building, located in the King Farm development near the Shady Grove Metro Station on the Red Line.

2.  Prevention Experts Urge High Blood Pressure Screening for All Adults Age 18 and Older

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has reaffirmed its recommendation that clinicians measure blood pressure of all adults who are 18 and older because of good evidence that early detection and treatment of high blood pressure can significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. The recommendation, published in the August 1 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, updates one made by the Task Force in 1996. Select to access the press release and the recommendation.

3.  New Evidence Report Summary on the Diagnosis and Treatment of Parkinson's Disease Available

AHRQ released the summary of a new evidence report, Diagnosis and Treatment of Parkinson's Disease, which presents a comprehensive review of studies published from 1990 to 2000 involving adult patients with Parkinson's disease. Researchers found insufficient evidence to draw conclusions about the diagnosis and treatment of Parkinson's disease. Also, there were not enough studies to make more than tentative conclusions about the effectiveness of fetal tissue transplantation. Researchers suggest that future research include more elderly patients, patients with disease onset at a young age, and members of different racial and ethnic groups. They also suggest that future studies standardize reporting of the results. The report was prepared by AHRQ's Evidence-based Practice Center MetaWorks Inc., Medford, MA. Select to access the summary. Print copies of the summary and the full report are available by sending an E-mail to

4.  New Evidence Report Summary on Management of Treatment-Resistant Epilepsy Available

AHRQ released a new evidence report on Management of Treatment-Resistant Epilepsy, which was prepared by AHRQ's ECRI Evidence-based Practice Center in Plymouth Meeting, PA. With the support of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Social Security Administration, researchers examined the published literature on the diagnosis of and medical and nonmedical interventions available for treatment-resistant epilepsy. Generally, they found that lack of a standardized definition of treatment-resistant epilepsy has resulted in research that cannot be interpreted. The literature also suggested that the adverse effects of pharmacologic therapy may be worse than the disease itself. Select to access the summary. A print copy of the summary is available by sending an E-mail to

5.  Conference on the Scientific Basis of Health Services Scheduled for September

The "Fifth International Conference on the Scientific Basis of Health Services" will be hosted by AHRQ and AcademyHealth on September 20-23 in Washington, DC. This series has provided an international forum for the exchange of research and experience in the use of health services research to improve access to and the quality of health care systems. The 2003 conference is organized around the following five themes:

  • National Strategies for Organizing Health Services Research.
  • Using Evidence to Improve Clinical Practice.
  • Using Evidence to Improve Health Services Management.
  • Using Evidence to Improve Policymaking.
  • Using Evidence to Alleviate the Burden of Specific Diseases.

Select to access the Conference Web site for more information.

6.  International Child Health Services Research Meeting Set for September 20

AHRQ is sponsoring a meeting called "International Child Health Services Research: Advancing Knowledge, Informing Action, Improving Child Health Care," on Saturday, September 20, in Washington, DC. This first ever, 1-day affiliate meeting of the "Fifth International Conference on the Scientific Basis of Health Services" will focus on how child health services research seeks to advance children's health care and health through the establishment of a strategic focus for international child health services research activities. By bringing together leaders from many countries, it will address the current underemphasis on children in the international dialogue on health care quality and health services improvement.

7.  Highlights From Our Monthly Newsletter

The new issue of Research Activities was mailed. Among the key articles:

  • Diabetes education programs can help patients manage their condition, especially if they are recently diagnosed.

A recent study demonstrated that five weekly 2-hour educational sessions were enough to advance most people with diabetes one or more stages of change for at least one of three behaviors important to lowering excessively high blood glucose levels: diet, exercise, and self-monitoring of blood glucose.

Other articles are:

  • Efforts to address emerging resistance to fluoroquinolone antibiotics must consider inappropriate use in the ER.
  • Distrust of diagnosis and belief in alternative cures may partly explain blacks' lower rate of lung cancer surgery.
  • Heart disease, cancer, and trauma injury top the list of the 15 most costly medical conditions in the United States.

Select to access Research Activities to read these articles and others.

8.  AHRQ in the Professional Literature

We are providing the following hyperlinks to journal abstracts through PubMed® for your convenience. Unfortunately, some of you may not be able to access the abstracts because of firewalls or specific settings on your individual computer systems. If you are having problems, you should ask your technical support staff for possible remedies.

Ardery G, Herr KA, Titler MG, et al. Assessing and managing acute pain in older adults: a research base to guide practice. Medsurg Nurs 2003 Feb;12(1):7-18. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Bian J, Oddone EZ, Samsa GP, et al. Racial differences in survival post cerebral infarction among the elderly. Neurology 2003 Jan 28;60(2):285-90. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Galbraith AA, Egerter SA, Marchi KS, et al. Newborn early discharge revisited: are California newborns receiving recommended postnatal services? Pediatrics 2003 Feb;111(2):364-71. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Fink KS, Phillips RL, Fryer GE, et al. International medical graduates and the primary care workforce for rural underserved areas. Health Affairs 2003 Mar-Apr;22(2):255-62. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Contact Information

Please address comments and questions regarding the AHRQ Electronic Newsletter to Nancy Comfort at or (301) 427-1866.

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Current as of July 2003


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