This Week: Medical Students Losing Empathy; Information on the Coronavirus Outbreak; and More

In this week’s round-up: Medical students show diminished empathy for patients as they progress through medical school; for patients with COPD and hypercapnia, the use of home noninvasive positive pressure ventilation (NIPPV) via bilevel positive airway pressure (BPAP) is associated with lower mortality; a detailed breakdown on the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak and steps you can take to protect yourself; and the FDA approved the first ever drug for the treatment of peanut allergy in children.

Study: Medical Students Exhibit Less Empathy for Patients as They Progress Through Medical School

Medical students appear to lose empathy as they progress through medical school, and this decline in empathy is higher among MD (doctor of medicine) students than DO (osteopathic) students, according to a recent study published in the journal Academic Medicine. In this study, researchers recruited 10,751 medical students (3,616 first-year, 2,764 second-year, 2,413 third-year, and 1,958 fourth-year students) enrolled in 41 campuses of DO-granting medical schools in the US while comparing preexisting data from students of MD-granting medical schools. According to the results of the study, there was a decline in empathy scores between medical students in the pre-clinical years (first-and-second year students) and medical students in the clinical years (third-and-fourth year students). Furthermore, the researchers observed that the pattern of empathy decline was similar among DO students, but the magnitude was less pronounced.

A new study shows that for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and hypercapnia, the use of home noninvasive positive pressure ventilation (NIPPV) via bilevel positive airway pressure (BPAP) is associated with a lower risk of death, hospitalization, and intubation compared with no device. However, BPAP use failed to improve quality of life. The study appeared in JAMA.

We provided a look into the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak and detailed steps the CDC recommends for protecting yourself. A few steps include:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Palforzia [Peanut (Arachis hypogaea) Allergen Powder-dnfp], a powder that reduces allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, that may occur following accidental exposure to peanuts. Palforzia can be administered to children ages 4 through 17 with a confirmed diagnosis of peanut allergy. However, children taking Palforzia must continue to avoid consuming peanuts.