Lower Cholesterol but Persisting Disparities; Little Diversity in Cancer Center Leadership; Wearable Tech

Kaitlin Edwards

August 25, 2022

Cholesterol Levels Lowering in US, but Disparities Emerge
Cholesterol levels have improved among American adults over the past decade, but notable disparities have been reported in new research.

Lipid control disparities: The cross-sectional analysis looked at over 30,000 US adults and found disparities in cholesterol control among Asian adults and lower lipid control rates among Black and Hispanic adults compared to White adults.

Sex differences: Lower lipid control rates were notably lower among women than men.

"We need to better understand whether gaps in care, such barriers in access, less frequent lab monitoring of cholesterol, or less intensive prescribing of important treatments contribute to these differences," said senior author Rishi Wadhera, MD.

Wadhera called the lower lipid control rates among Black and Hispanic adults "concerning, especially because rates of heart attacks and strokes remain high in these groups.... Efforts to identify gaps in care and increase and intensify medical therapy are needed, as treatment rates in these populations are low."

Leadership at Cancer Centers Still Mostly White and Male
Leadership at National Cancer Institute (NCI)–designated centers remain mostly White and male, new research shows. The study surveyed 64 NCI-designated and 18 emerging centers.

Predominantly White: Non-Hispanic White participants made up 79% of center directors, 82% of deputy directors, 72% of associate directors, and 72% of program leaders.

Not enough women: Women were underrepresented in all leadership roles. Only 16% of center directors and 46% of associate directors were women.

"With the rapid evolution and increasing complexity of oncology research and practice, the need for capable and diverse leaders of NCI-designated cancer centers has never been greater," said lead author Caryn Lerman, PhD, director, USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Southern California.

Larger problem: The authors note that the lack of diversity in leadership could reflect the underrepresentation of racial minorities in the healthcare and biomedical workforce.

Our Wearable Future: What Will New Tech Look Like?
With the future of health and medicine heading in the direction of big data, wearable technology devices offer a means for collecting it, to say nothing of alerting people to oncoming illness, managing chronic conditions, and helping doctors customize treatments to meet patients' unique needs.

Anywhere, anytime: Wearable devices can be used anywhere, anytime and can continuously track data and reveal trends.

Wear and forget: Experts anticipate that health wearables will be increasingly "wear and forget." Types of wearable devices could include smart jewelry, clothing, and patches.

Future applications: Chest patches rather than stethoscopes or a sweat or interstitial fluid sensor rather than needles are two examples of future applications.

"Wearables will become more and more a predictor of health," said Venna Misra, PhD, director of the federally funded ASSIST Center. The ASSIST Center brings together researchers at North Carolina State University and partner institutions to build next-gen health wearables.

Kaitlin Edwards is a staff medical editor based in New York City. You can follow her on Twitter @kaitmedwards. For more news, follow Medscape on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.


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