As another year passes by, it is a good time to look back before we move ahead. As Editor in Chief of Annals of Internal Medicine, I would like to mention a few 2022 Annals articles that you might have missed.
1. Thankfully, COVID-19 is more manageable than a year ago, but it remains with us and Annals published many pandemic-related articles in 2022. You can find them all by going to the COVID-19 collection link on the Annals.org home page. One COVID -19 article to note is the initial report from an NIH study that aims to characterize persistent symptoms following acute COVID-19. Compared to controls, the researchers observed a high burden of symptoms in COVID-19 survivors. However, exploratory studies found no evidence of persistent vital infection, autoimmunity, or abnormal immune activation in persons with persisting symptoms.
2. Sadly, firearm injury remains a prevalent and preventable source of morbidity and mortality in the U.S. An article published in February 2022 found that an estimated 7.5 million people became new gun owners between January 2019 and April 2021. Most had lived in homes without guns, collectively exposing, in addition to themselves, more than 11 million persons to household firearms, including more than five million children.
3. And another article refutes the claim that the presence of guns makes households safer. This study followed 17.6 million adult residents of California and found that homicide rates were more than twice as high among cohabitants of handgun owners than among cohabitants of nonowners. https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/full/10.7326/M21-3762
4. Diversity, equity, and inclusion both within the medical profession and among the people we care for was the topic of many articles Annals published in 2022. I’ll mention two; the first found that US state affirmative action bans were associated with significant reductions in the percentage of students in US medical schools from under-represented racial and ethnic groups. The second examined how application of definitions of obesity derived largely from studies of White persons do not apply to Asian persons, setting the stage for disparities in obesity care.
5. Safe and effective treatment of chronic pain is a vexing problem and cannabis has gained attention as a potential option. Annals published a review that found that oral, synthetic cannabis products with high THC to CBD ratios and sublingual, extracted cannabis products with comparable THC to CBD ratios may be associated with short-term improvements in chronic pain with dizziness and sedation being the most common side effects. The authors call for studies to evaluate long-term effectiveness and safety.
6. Studies of the association of health with what we eat and drink always garner high interest, as did two such studies that Annals published in 2022 — one looked at the association of sugar-sweetened, artificially sweetened, and unsweetened coffee with mortality and the other examined tea consumption and mortality. Both provide good news for coffee and tea drinkers.
7. The cost of medications is a huge burden for most Americans. Even insulin, a drug discovered 100 years ago with a patent that the inventors sold for one dollar, has become unaffordable. Annals published a study that estimates that more than one million American adults ration insulin. Although rationing was most common among the uninsured, it was also common among adults with private insurance, which often requires higher cost sharing than public insurance.
8. And another study suggested the potential Medicare Part D savings on generic drug costs are possible with the Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company, an innovative effort to temper the costs of selected generic drugs purchased through this company.
9. The end of the year is also a good time to look back and fill gaps in preventive care. The CDC’s recommended adult immunization schedule, published in Annals last February, can help do that. Annals publishes these recommendations in the early part of every year, so look for the next update soon.
These are just a few of the many interesting, influential articles that you will find in Annals of Internal Medicine. Wishing you and your loved ones peace, health, and happiness as we begin 2023.