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Link Between Vitamin D and Health Outcomes Unclear

Issue 440
AHRQ's Electronic Newsletter summarizes Agency research and programmatic activities.
September 16, 2014

AHRQ Stats

About 39 percent of U.S. adults reported receiving a flu shot in 2011. (Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Statistical Brief #431: Influenza Immunization Rates for the Adult U.S. Civilian Noninstitutionalized Population, 2001 and 2011.)

Today's Headlines

  1. Link Between Vitamin D and Health Outcomes Unclear.
  2. Study Finds MRSA on Common Household Surfaces.
  3. Article Describes New AHRQ Patient Education Assessment Tool.
  4. Similar Accuracy Found in Core Needle and Open Biopsy Procedures.
  5. AHRQ's Health Care Innovations Exchange Focuses on Improving Self-Management of Chronic Conditions.
  6. AHRQ in the Professional Literature.

1. Link Between Vitamin D and Health Outcomes Unclear

A new systematic review by AHRQ confirms that vitamin D and calcium benefit both bone mineral density and bone mineral content but finds inconsistent evidence about the value of these nutrients for other health outcomes. These outcomes include cancers of the breast, colon and prostate; heart disease; pregnancy; immune function; falls and fractures; and all-cause mortality. The report, "Vitamin D and Calcium: A Systematic Review of Health Outcomes (Update)," echoes findings of a 2009 AHRQ systematic review that also showed inconsistent evidence regarding the effect of vitamin D alone or in combination with calcium on most health outcomes. The new report, written by researchers at the AHRQ-funded Southern California Evidence-based Practice Center, concludes that associations observed in various studies between these nutrients and health outcomes were either inconsistent or rarely supported by results of randomized controlled trials. Meanwhile, the review suggests that the levels of supplemental vitamin D and calcium used in the Women's Health Initiative Calcium-Vitamin D Trial are not linked to an increased risk for heart disease or cancer among postmenopausal women who are not taking additional supplemental vitamin D and calcium.

2. Study Finds MRSA on Common Household Surfaces

AHRQ-funded researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, found methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) on household surfaces in 46 percent of homes where children had a culture-positive active or recent community-associated MRSA infection. Researchers took samples from 50 households and found MRSA on commonly touched surfaces, most frequently on bed linens (18 percent), TV remote-control devices (16 percent), and bathroom hand towels (15 percent). There was also an association between MRSA contamination and more individuals present per 1,000-square-foot area. MRSA strains matching those infecting and colonizing household members were present on commonly handled surfaces, a factor that likely perpetuates MRSA transmission and recurrent disease. The study, "Contamination of Environmental Surfaces With Staphylococcus aureus in Households With Children Infected With Methicillin-Resistant S. aureus," was published online September 8 in JAMA Pediatrics.

3. Article Describes New AHRQ Patient Education Assessment Tool

A new AHRQ tool can help health professionals and others select educational materials that are easy for patients to understand and use. The tool is discussed in a recent journal article, "Development of the Patient Education Materials Assessment Tool (PEMAT): A new measure of understandability and actionability for print and audiovisual patient information." Published along with an abstract in the September issue of Patient Education and Counseling, the article reports on the development and reliability as well as validity testing of the PEMAT to assess whether print and audiovisual patient education materials are easy to understand and use. The PEMAT and Users' Guide—along with a PEMAT Auto-Scoring Form—are available on the AHRQ Web site. A user-friendly tool that requires no training, the PEMAT advances the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy's goal to "develop and disseminate health and safety information that is accurate, accessible, and actionable." AHRQ's Cindy Brach is a coauthor of the article.

4. Similar Accuracy Found in Core Needle and Open Biopsy Procedures

A new research review from AHRQ finds a large body of evidence suggesting that ultrasound and stereotactically guided core needle biopsy procedures used to diagnose suspicious breast lesions have sensitivity and specificity (accuracy of diagnosis) close to that of open biopsy procedures and are associated with fewer harms. Evidence also shows that freehand procedures have lower sensitivity than imaging-guided methods. There is moderate-strength evidence that women diagnosed with breast cancer by core needle biopsy were more likely to have their cancer treated with a single surgical procedure, compared with women diagnosed by open surgical biopsy. There is low-strength evidence that vacuum-assisted procedures have a higher risk of bleeding than automated methods. According to the new research review, "Core Needle and Open Surgical Biopsy Diagnosis for Breast Lesions: An Update to the 2009 Report," more research is needed in key areas.

5. AHRQ's Health Care Innovations Exchange Focuses on Improving Self-Management of Chronic Conditions

The latest issue of AHRQ's Health Care Innovations Exchange features three programs that used innovative strategies to improve disease-related knowledge and self-management behaviors among vulnerable populations. [[One of the profiles]] describes the Posts Working for Veterans' Health (POWER) Program, in which trained peers educate and support veterans in managing their blood pressure during regularly scheduled monthly meetings at Veterans Service Organization posts. After undergoing initial training, these peer leaders have a visible presence at every meeting, helping peers check and record their blood pressure and weight, distributing self-management tools and delivering scripted presentations on various topics to promote self-management. Peer leaders receive ongoing support through regular meetings with program leaders, while contests encourage peer leaders, posts and individual post members to remain focused on management of blood pressure and related behavior changes. The program led to improvements in blood pressure, weight and various measures of self-management, with some of these improvements being statistically different from those in a group of posts where members attended periodic educational seminars on hypertension delivered by a health care professional.

6. AHRQ in the Professional Literature

Speedie SM, Park YT, Du J, et al. The impact of electronic health records on people with diabetes in three different emergency departments. J Am Med Inform Assoc 2014 Feb;21(e1):e71-e77. Epub 2013 July 10. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Sturm R, Hattori A. Morbid obesity rates continue to rise rapidly in the United States. Int J Obes, 2013 Jun; 37(6):889-91. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Zai AH, Kim S, Kamis A, et al. Applying operations research to optimize a novel population management system for cancer screening. J Am Med Inform Assoc 2014 Feb;21(e1):e129-e135. Epub 2013 Sep 16. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Rose J, Chang DC, Weiser TG, et al. The role of surgery in global health: analysis of United States inpatient procedure frequency by condition using the Global Burden of Disease 2010 framework. PLoS One 2014 Feb 26;9(2):e89693. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Hettrich CM, Dunn WR, Reinke EK, et al. The rate of subsequent surgery and predictors after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction: 2- and 6-year follow-up results from a multicenter cohort. Am J Sports Med 2013 Jul;41(7):1534-40. Epub 2013 May 30. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Olfson M, Blanco C, Wang S, et al. National trends in the mental health care of children, adolescents, and adults by office-based physicians. JAMA Psychiatry 2014 Jan;71(1):81-90. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Jonassaint CR, Haywood C Jr, Korthuis PT, et al. The impact of depressive symptoms on patient-provider communication in HIV care. AIDS Care 2013;25(9):1185-92. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Rand CM, Blumkin A, Szilagyi PG. Electronic health record use and preventive counseling for US children and adolescents. J Am Med Inform Assoc 2014 Feb;21(e1):e152-e156. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

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Page last reviewed September 2014
Page originally created September 2014
Internet Citation: Link Between Vitamin D and Health Outcomes Unclear. Content last reviewed September 2014. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. https://archive.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/e-newsletter/440.html

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

 

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