Second Look

If you missed these Headline News Now items the first time around, AAOS Now gives you a second chance to review them. Headline News Now— the AAOS thrice-weekly, online update of news of interest to orthopaedic surgeons—brings you the latest on clinical, socioeconomic, and political issues, as well as important announcements from AAOS.

Efficacy of universal screening for MRSA debated
A study published in the March 18 edition of the journal Annals of Internal Medicine finds that universal screening for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) may result in decreased MRSA infection rates in hospitals. The observational study, conducted in a 3-hospital, 850-bed organization with approximately 40,000 annual admissions, monitored clinical MRSA rates during and after hospital admission in 3 consecutive periods: baseline (12 months), MRSA surveillance for all admissions to the intensive care unit (ICU) (12 months), and universal MRSA surveillance for all hospital admissions (21 months). Prevalence of MRSA per 10,000 patient-days was 8.9; prevalence dropped to 7.4 cases during ICU surveillance, and to 3.9 cases with universal surveillance. An accompanying commentary pointed out that the screening protocol may have also increased staff compliance with proper hygiene and warned against extensive use of antibiotic ointments, which may promote additional drug resistance.
According to a study in the March 12 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), however, new findings do not support the idea that MRSA screening of all patients on admission is worthwhile. In the study, “Preventing MRSA Infections: Finding It Is Not Enough,” researchers in Switzerland found that universal screening of patients on hospital admission to find out if they carry MRSA did not significantly reduce hospital-acquired infection rates in surgical patients.

Researchers hope ultra-strong gel may hold key to arthritis cure
According to an article in the Baltimore Sun, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology are investigating a polymer gel that might someday be effective in the treatment of arthritis. The gel, which was developed at Hokkaido University in Japan in 2003, is nearly as strong, flexible, and resistant to friction as the cartilage in the human knee. Scientists say that the gel and others like it may eventually be injected into worn joints to increase the lifespan of these joints.

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