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AMA Adopts New Policies at Annual Meeting
Date:6/17/2008

CHICAGO, June 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Medical Association (AMA), the nation's largest physician group, voted today at its Annual Meeting to adopt the following new policies.

APPROPRIATE ASPIRIN USE FOR PREVENTION OF HEART DISEASE AND STROKE: Six trials, involving more than 95,000 adult men and women, have shown aspirin may be effective in reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke. The AMA today passed policy to increase education among physicians on the importance of appropriate aspirin counseling for the prevention of heart disease and stroke.

"Heart disease continues to be the number one cause of death in the United States, and the treatment of cardiovascular disease costs the health care system $403 billion a year," said AMA Board Member William Hazel, M.D. "Encouraging physicians to incorporate aspirin counseling into patient care when appropriate, may help reduce the prevalence of heart disease and stroke among Americans."

CANCER AND HEALTH CARE DISPARITIES AMONG MINORITY WOMEN: According to the National Cancer Institute, minority women have a significantly higher cancer mortality rate than Caucasian women. In an effort to combat this troubling fact, the AMA adopted new policy urging more research and funding to address the racial and ethnic disparities in cancer screening, diagnosis, and treatment among minority women.

"There continues to be great disparities in the detection and treatment of cancer among minority women," said AMA Board Member Samantha Rosman, M.D. "Physicians must work to promote cancer education to their minority patients in a way that is understandable and culturally sensitive."

RACIAL AND ETHNIC DISPARITIES IN MATERNAL MORTALITY:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that maternal mortality rates in the U.S. are at the highest in decades, with the maternal mortality rate among African American women being especially high. Today the AMA voted to support increased efforts to educate providers, hospitals and patient organizations about the increasing risk of maternal mortality in the U.S. and the importance of preconception care, and urged further study of racial disparities in maternal mortality.

"Along with obesity and hypertension, racial disparities has been identified as the most significant factor contributing to the high maternal mortality rate," said AMA Board Member Samantha Rosman, M.D. "More studies need to be done to better understand this disturbing trend in maternal mortality and to determine what can be done to correct it."

DIRECT-TO-CONSUMER ADVERTISING AND PROVISION OF GENETIC TESTING: More than 1400 genetic tests are available for purchase directly from consumers, without a prescription or any involvement from a health care professional. A new set of policy recommendations were adopted today to protect patients who may use a direct-to-consumer genetic test. Among the recommendations are, that genetic testing be carried out under the supervision of a qualified health care professional, that appropriate organizations be encouraged to develop criteria for the advertising of DTC genetic tests, and that physicians are provided with more information on the types of genetic tests available so that patients can be appropriately counseled on the potential harms.

"The availability of direct-to-consumer genetic tests is increasing as advances in genetic research reveal the association between genes and disease," said AMA Board Member William Hazel, M.D. "Encouraging all genetic testing to require supervision by a qualified health care professional, ensures they are being properly used and the results are being accurately interpreted and understood by patients."


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SOURCE American Medical Association
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