Skip Navigation Archive: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Archive: Agency for Healthcare Research Quality
Archive print banner

Electronic Newsletter

This information is for reference purposes only. It was current when produced and may now be outdated. Archive material is no longer maintained, and some links may not work. Persons with disabilities having difficulty accessing this information should contact us at: Let us know the nature of the problem, the Web address of what you want, and your contact information.

Please go to for current information.

September 23, 2005, Issue #179

AHRQ News and Numbers

The percentage of Americans taking antidepressant drugs increased from 5.6 percent in 1997 to 8.5 percent in 2002. Although antidepressant use was higher in 2002 than in 1997 for both women or girls and men or boys, the rate of increase was higher for women or girls. Antidepressant use by women or girls increased from 7.4 percent to 11.4 percent during the 5-year period; use by men or boys increased from 3.8 percent to 5.4 percent. [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, MEPS Statistical Brief #76: Trends in Antidepressant Use by the U.S. Civilian Noninstitutionalized Population, 1997 and 2002 (PDF File, 125 KB; PDF Help)]

Today's Headlines:

  1. AHRQ releases a new breast cancer booklet in Spanish
  2. NQF and JCAHO announce 2005 John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality awards
  3. Take a Loved One for a Checkup Day
  4. Task Force issues recommendations on screening for the BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 genes
  5. AHRQ-supported study finds use of antibiotics for acne may increase risk of common infectious illness
  6. Update on AHRQ director's recent health IT speeches and articles
  7. National Conference on Connecting Americans to Their Health Care set for October 11
  8. Most recent highlights from our monthly newsletter
  9. AHRQ in the professional literature

1.  AHRQ Releases a New Breast Cancer Booklet in Spanish

AHRQ released a new Spanish-language booklet on breast cancer surgery options. This booklet was developed in cooperation with NIH's National Cancer Institute (NCI) to educate Spanish-speaking women who have been diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer about surgery options. The booklet is a translation of Surgery Choices for Early-Stage Breast Cancer, recently published by NCI, AHRQ, and other partners. Select to read our press release. A print copy of the booklet is available by sending an E-mail to

2.  NQF and JCAHO Announce 2005 John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Awards

The National Quality Forum and the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations announced the 2005 recipients of the annual John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Awards. The honorees, by award category, were for Individual Achievement: Audrey L. Nelson, Ph.D., R.N., James A. Haley VA Hospital, Tampa, FL; Innovation in Patient Safety and Quality at a National or Regional Level: Maryland Patient Safety Center, and Innovation in Patient Safety and Quality at a Local or Organizational Level: Meridian Health, NJ and Sentara Healthcare, VA and NC. No award was given in the research category.

3.  Take a Loved One for a Checkup Day

On September 20, HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt urged families across America to take a loved one for a health care checkup as part of President Bush's initiative to reduce the incidence of disease among racial and ethnic minority populations. This marked the fourth annual "Take a Loved One for a Checkup Day" which encourages individuals to show a family, friend, or colleague they care by helping him or her to see a health care professional. HHS partnered with popular DJ Tom Joyner, honorary chair of Checkup Day, whose nationally syndicated morning radio show reaches 115 markets with more than 8 million listeners daily. Additionally, nearly 500 national, State and local organizations partnered with HHS to promote Checkup Day and host activities in their communities.

4.  Task Force Issues Recommendation Against Routine Testing for Genetic Risk of Breast or Ovarian Cancer in the General Population

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force released a recommendation that primary care physicians should not routinely refer all women for genetic counseling and DNA testing to detect the presence of specific BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations that may be associated with breast or ovarian cancers. However, if a woman has certain specific family history patterns that put her at risk for these gene mutations, her primary care physician should suggest counseling and possible DNA testing. This is the first time the Task Force has addressed the issue of genetic counseling and DNA-based genetic testing for any disease. These recommendations, along with a review of the supporting evidence, appeared in the September 6 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine. Select to read our press release and the recommendations.

5.  AHRQ-Supported Study Finds Use of Antibiotics for Acne May Increase Risk of Common Infectious Illness

A new study funded by AHRQ's Centers for Education and Research on Therapeutics (CERTs), together with NIH and the American Academy of Dermatology, found that individuals treated with antibiotics for acne for more than 6 weeks were more than twice as likely to develop an upper respiratory tract infection within 1 year as individuals with acne who were not treated with antibiotics. CERTs researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine suggest that patients with acne represent an ideal model in which to study the long-term effects of antibiotic therapy, since most patients with acne use a standard and appropriate antibiotic therapy for long treatment periods. The study, "Antibiotic Treatment of Acne May Be Associated with Upper Respiratory Tract Infections," was published in the September issue of the Archives of Dermatology. Select to read the abstract on PubMed®.

6.  Update on AHRQ Director's Recent Health IT Speeches and Articles

AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D., recently discussed the Agency's health information technology initiative and how it relates to quality improvement efforts and AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program. Select to read the text of her speech, "Health Information Technology and the Quality Movement," to the Second Health IT Summit in Washington, DC, on September 9. In addition, a special edition of Government Computer News magazine this month examines the potential for health IT to improve quality of care and patient safety. In a column written for the magazine, Dr. Clancy summarizes the quality-of-care improvements that health IT can offer and explains AHRQ's special role in helping prepare health care professionals for the new world of health IT.

7.  National Conference on Connecting Americans to Their Health Care Set for October 11

The Markle Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and AHRQ are sponsoring a National Conference on "Connecting Americans to Their Health Care: Empowered Consumers, Personal Health Records and Emerging Technologies" to be held October 11 at the JW Marriott Hotel in Washington, DC. The conference will focus on the empowerment of patients and health care consumers through health IT. AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D., is among the hosts for the conference, which features keynote speakers HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt; Eric Dishman, Intel Corporation; and Newt Gingrich, former Speaker, U.S House of Representatives. The registration deadline is September 30.

8.  Most Recent Highlights from Our Monthly Newsletter

Among the key articles in the online issue of Research Activities:

  • Women with atherosclerosis and high cholesterol receive less intense cholesterol management than men.

Women with atherosclerosis receive less intense management of their cholesterol than men, but management of black and white patients with the condition is similar. Researchers examined the cholesterol management of 243 patients of primary care practices affiliated with the same academic medical center. The patients had coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, or peripheral vascular disease and high low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.

Other articles are:

  • Differences in education and health status account for virtually all racial/ethnic differences in leisure-time physical activity.
  • Hospital fall prevention programs should target certain patient, medication, and care-related factors that increase falling risk.
  • Few adolescents with special health care needs receive adequate transition from pediatric to adult-oriented health care.
  • Elderly individuals with financial problems face more disability and risk of death after hospital discharge.

Select to read these articles and more.

9.  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.

Liszka HA, Mainous AG III, King DE, et al. Prehypertension and cardiovascular morbidity. Ann Fam Med 2005 Jul-Aug; 3(4):294-9. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Holm IA, Manson JE, Michels KB, et al. Smoking and other lifestyle factors and the risk of Graves' hyperthyroidism. Arch Intern Med 2005 Jul 25; 165(14):1606-11. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Levinson W, Kao A, Kuby A, et al. Not all patients want to participate in decision making: a national study of public preferences. J Gen Intern Med 2005 Jun; 20(6):531-5. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Neumann PJ, Rosen AB, Greenberg D, et al. Can we better prioritize resources for cost-utility research? Med Decis Making 2005 Jul-Aug: 25(4):429-36. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Jaar BG, Coresh J, Plantinga LC, et al. Comparing the risk for death with peritoneal dialysis and hemodialysis in a national cohort of patients with chronic kidney disease. Ann Intern Med 2005 Aug 2; 143(3):174-83. 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.

Update your subscriptions, modify your password or E-mail address, or stop subscriptions at any time on your Subscriber Preferences Page. You will need to use your E-mail address to log in.

If you have any questions or problems with the subscription service, E-mail: For other inquiries, Contact Us.

This service is provided to you at no charge by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality AHRQ).

Current as of September 2005


The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


AHRQ Advancing Excellence in Health Care