- Press Release Distribution

Study finds similar quality and cost of care for patients treated by an allopathic (M.D.) or osteopathic (D.O.) physician

Embargoed News from Annals of Internal Medicine

( 1. Study finds similar quality and cost of care for patients treated by an allopathic (M.D.) or osteopathic (D.O.) physician
URL goes live when the embargo lifts
An observational study of more than 329,000 Medicare admissions found that older persons receiving hospital care from an allopathic (M.D.) or an osteopathic (D.O.) physician experience similar quality and cost of care. The findings are published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Medical education in the United States falls under two types of programs—allopathic medical schools that award a Doctor of Medicine, or M.D. degree, and osteopathic schools that award a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, or D.O. degree. Approximately 90 and 10 percent of practicing physicians in the United States have M.D. and D.O. degrees, respectively. Education requirements between programs are very similar, but osteopathic programs focus on holistic care and physical manipulation of the body. Osteopathic physicians are also more likely to more likely to practice in rural and underserved areas and pursue careers in primary care compared with allopathic physicians, contributing to narrowing the gaps in disparities in access to health care in the United States.

Researchers from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the University of Tokyo studied 329,510 Medicare admissions between 2016 and 2019 to determine whether quality and costs of care differ between hospitalized patients treated by allopathic or osteopathic physicians. Of these admissions, 253,670 (77.0%) and 75,840 (23.0%) received care from allopathic and osteopathic physicians, respectively. The data showed no clinically important differences in mortality, readmission, length of stay, and healthcare spending between the two groups. The findings were consistent across a range of medical conditions and across severity of patient’s illness, suggesting that any differences between allopathic and osteopathic medical schools, either in training or the types of students who enroll, are not associated with differences in costs or quality of care in the inpatient setting. According to the authors, these findings should be reassuring for policymakers, medical educators, and patients.

An accompanying editorial from authors at University of California San Francisco and Eastern Virginia Medical School highlights the similarities between allopathic and osteopathic practices because of workplace and educational standardization. However, the authors also highlight that despite these similarities, the medical field has been reluctant to accept osteopathic medical students into their preferred specialties, causing increasingly pronounced disparities in competitive programs.

Media contacts: For an embargoed PDF, please contact Angela Collom at To speak with corresponding author Atsushi Miyawaki, M.D., PhD, please email
2. Treatment cost analysis highlights systemic health inequities faced by persons with sickle cell disease
While not cost-effective by conventional measures, gene therapy may be an equitable therapeutic strategy
URL goes live when the embargo lifts
A new distributional cost-effectiveness analysis of gene therapy versus standard-of-care for sickle cell disease (SCD) found that while gene therapy is cost-ineffective by conventional measures, it can be an equitable therapeutic strategy for persons living with SCD in the United States when equity, cost, and value of treatment are considered together. These findings highlight systemic health inequities faced by persons with sickle cell disease (SCD). The authors say this is the first quantitative consideration of health equity for patients with SCD regarding the decision between gene therapy and standard care and the first study of its kind in any rare disease. The analysis is published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Persons with SCD face substantial mortality risks and decreased quality of life for every year they live with the disease. SCD occurs more often in people whose ancestors came from sub-Saharan Africa and other parts of the world where malaria is or was common. In the United States, this means that patients are predominantly drawn from socially disadvantaged ethnic minority populations. Gene therapy treatment would allow for lifelong disease remission without the concomitant risks associated with allo-transplantation, but it is prohibitively expensive.

Researchers from Yale University School of Medicine studied claims data and other published sources to compare gene therapy versus standard-of-care in patients with SCD by using conventional cost-effectiveness and distributional cost-effectiveness measures. While conventional cost-effectiveness analysis does not capture the effects of treatments on disparities, distributional cost-effectiveness uses equity weights to incorporate these considerations. The authors found that the total quality-adjusted life years, or QALYs, for persons receiving gene therapy treatment for SCD would cost $2.8 million versus $1.2 million for persons receiving standard care. According to the authors, the inequality aversion parameter would need to be 0.90 for the full SCD population for gene therapy to be preferred per distributional cost-effectiveness standards. This is right in line with benchmark values previously reported in the United States for inequality aversion (range: 0.5-3.0), with higher values representing a higher emphasis on reducing a particular health disparity.

An accompanying editorial from the Centre for Health Economics, University of York; York, United Kingdom highlights that the results of this analysis do not provide a simple answer to how much U.S. healthcare payers should be willing to pay for increasing health equity, but it does provide quantitative information that can help facilitate transparent and consistent decision making. The author argues that to help reduce health disparities, health care payers need to invest more in equity-enhancing technologies for conditions that disproportionately affect socially disadvantaged populations and are often underdiagnosed and poorly managed in such populations.

Media contacts: For an embargoed PDF, please contact Angela Collom at To speak with corresponding author George Goshua, MD, MSc, please contact Julie Parry at
3. Low dose colchicine associated with lower incidence of total knee and hip replacements
URL goes live when the embargo lifts
An exploratory analysis of the LoDoCo2 (Low-Dose Colchicine 2) randomized, controlled, double-blind trial found that daily therapy with a low dose of colchicine was associated with lower incidences of both total knee replacement and total hip replacement surgeries. The analysis is published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Osteoarthritis is an increasingly common joint disease that can be associated with low-grade inflammation in response to weight-bearing traumatic injury. Previous studies have demonstrated an association between the use of anti-inflammatory therapies and the slowing of osteoarthritis disease progression. Colchicine is effective in many inflammatory and fibrotic conditions, but it is not currently recommended for treatment of osteoarthritis. Its long-term effects have also not been assessed.

Researchers from Sint Maartenskliniek and Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, the Netherlands conducted an exploratory analysis of the LoDoCo2 trial to examine whether colchicine, 0.5 mg daily, reduced incident total knee replacements and total hip replacements. In the study, 5,522 participants aged 35 to 82 at 43 centers in Australia and the Netherlands, received 0.5 mg of colchicine daily or matching placebo during a median follow-up of 28.6 months. The authors found that 2.5 percent of persons receiving colchicine had total knee replacement or total hip replacement compared with 3.5 percent of persons who received placebo. The effects were consistent for men, but there was insufficient statistical power to determine whether these benefits may have extended to women as well. According to the authors, the exploratory observations support the hypothesis that inflammation plays a role in the progression of osteoarthritis. They also note that colchicine has been widely used in many patients with other diseases and is generally considered to have a favorable safety profile, which makes it a good candidate for treatment of osteoarthritis over longer periods.

Media contacts: For an embargoed PDF, please contact Angela Collom at To speak with corresponding author Michelle W.J. Heijman, MSc, please email




UCLA-led research suggests no difference in health outcomes, care costs for patients treated by traditional MDs or osteopaths

New UCLA-led research suggests that patient mortality rates, readmissions, length of stay, and health care spending were virtually identical for elderly hospitalized patients who were treated by physicians with Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degrees. While both traditional, or allopathic, medical schools and osteopathic medical schools provide the same rigorous health education, osteopathic training adds a more holistic, hands-on component involving manipulation of the musculoskeletal system – for ...

Low-flavanol diet drives age-related memory loss, large study finds

May 29, 2023--A large-scale study led by researchers at Columbia and Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard is the first to establish that a diet low in flavanols—nutrients found in certain fruits and vegetables—drives age-related memory loss. The study found that flavanol intake among older adults tracks with scores on tests designed to detect memory loss due to normal aging and that replenishing these bioactive dietary components in mildly flavanol-deficient adults over age 60 improves performance on these tests. “The improvement among study participants with low-flavanol diets was substantial and ...

Vehicle stop study illuminates importance of officer's first words

Vehicle stop study illuminates importance of officers first words
Eugenia Rho believes in the importance of first impressions, especially during vehicle stops. An assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science, Rho is the lead author of a new research paper that illustrates how a law enforcement officer’s first 45 words during a vehicle stop with a Black driver can often indicate how the stop will end. “We found that there’s a key difference in how officers talk to Black drivers during the first moments of stops that end in an arrest, handcuffing, or search versus those that don’t end in such outcomes,” said Rho, who leads the Society, AI, and Language (SAIL) ...

Eliminating gene SRC-3 in immune cells triggers effective long-lasting anti-cancer response

Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine have discovered a crucial regulator of the anti-cancer immune response that could change the game in the fight against cancer. Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the study shows that in animal models of breast and prostate cancer, eliminating the gene SRC-3, specifically in a type of immune cell called regulatory T cells (Tregs), triggered a lifelong anti-cancer response that eradicated the tumor without the typical side effects observed with other therapies. Furthermore, transferring Tregs without SRC-3 to animals carrying breast cancer ...

Even lawyers don’t like legalese

CAMBRIDGE, MA -- It’s no secret that legal documents are notoriously difficult to understand, causing headaches for anyone who has had to apply for a mortgage or review any other kind of contract. A new MIT study reveals that the lawyers who produce these documents don’t like them very much either.   The researchers found that while lawyers can interpret and recall information from legal documents better than nonlawyers, it’s still easier for them to understand the same documents when translated into “plain English.” Lawyers also rated plain ...

One-third of galaxy’s most common planets could be in habitable zone

Our familiar, warm, yellow sun is a relative rarity in the Milky Way. By far the most common stars are considerably smaller and cooler, sporting just half the mass of our sun at most. Billions of planets orbit these common dwarf stars in our galaxy. To capture enough warmth to be habitable, these planets would need to huddle very close to their small stars, which leaves them susceptible to extreme tidal forces. In a new analysis based on the latest telescope data, University of Florida astronomers have discovered ...

Mapping the conflict between farming and biodiversity

Mapping the conflict between farming and biodiversity
It’s well known that producing foods such as beef can have an outsized footprint when it comes to carbon emissions. But a new study shows that some of these same staples can have an equally huge effect when it comes to biodiversity losses. One of the main problems, the study found, results when food production overlaps with areas that have been identified as having the highest conservation priority. Food production remains the main cause of biodiversity loss. “Food production remains the main cause of biodiversity loss,” said Keiichiro Kanemoto, an associate professor at the Research Institute for Humanity ...

COVID-19 vaccine builds powerful immune response in First Nations peoples, study finds

Published in Nature Immunology and Nature Briefing, the research is the first of its kind to decisively map immune responses produced by a COVID-19 vaccination in any First Nations populations. In partnership with Menzies School of Health Research, researchers at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity (Doherty Institute) evaluated immune responses in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous individuals after receiving the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. Lead author of the study and PhD candidate at the Doherty ...

X-ray emissions from black hole jets vary unexpectedly, challenging leading model of particle acceleration

X-ray emissions from black hole jets vary unexpectedly, challenging leading model of particle acceleration
Researchers discovered only relatively recently that black hole jets emit x-rays, and how the jets accelerate particles to this high-energy state is still a mystery. Surprising new findings in Nature Astronomy appear to rule out one leading theory, opening the door to reimagining how particle acceleration works in the jets—and possibly also elsewhere in the universe. One leading model of how jets generate x-rays expects the jets’ x-ray emissions to remain stable over long time scales (millions of years). However, the new paper found that the x-ray emissions of a statistically significant number of jets varied over just a few years. “One ...

New blood biomarker can predict if cognitively healthy elderly will develop Alzheimer’s disease

PITTSBURGH, May 29, 2023 – Why do some people develop Alzheimer’s disease while others don’t? And, even more puzzlingly, why do many individuals whose brains are chock-full of toxic amyloid aggregates—a telltale sign of Alzheimer’s brain pathology—never go on to develop Alzheimer’s-associated dementias? University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine researchers appear to have found the answer. Star-shaped brain cells called astrocytes are key to swaying the pendulum in Alzheimer’s disease progression, shows new game-changing research published today in Nature Medicine. By testing the blood of more ...


12.5, the 1st Impact Factor of COMMTR released!

Circadian clock impact on cluster headaches funded by $2.4M NIH grant for UTHealth Houston research

Study identifies first drug therapy for sleep apnea

How old is your bone marrow?

Boosting biodiversity without hurting local economies

ChatGPT is biased against resumes with credentials that imply a disability — but it can improve

Simple test for flu could improve diagnosis and surveillance

UT Health San Antonio researcher awarded five-year, $2.53 million NIH grant to study alcohol-assisted liver disease

Giving pre-med students hands-on clinical training

CAMH research suggests potential targets for prevention and early identification of psychotic disorders

Mapping the heart to prevent damage caused by a heart attack

Study challenges popular idea that Easter islanders committed ‘ecocide’

Chilling discovery: Study reveals evolution of human cold and menthol sensing protein, offering hope for future non-addictive pain therapies.

Elena Beccalli, new rector of Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, takes office on 1st July

Pacific Northwest Research Institute uncovers hidden DNA mechanisms of rare genetic diseases

Empowering older adults: Wearable tech made easier with personalized support

Pennington Biomedical researchers partner on award-winning Long Covid study

Cooling ‘blood oranges’ could make them even healthier – a bonus for consumers

Body image and overall health found important to the sexual health of older gay men, according to new studies

Lab-grown muscles reveal mysteries of rare muscle diseases

Primary hepatic angiosarcoma: Treatment options for a rare tumor

Research finds causal evidence tying cerebral small-vessel disease to Alzheimer’s, dementia

Navigating the Pyrocene: Recent Cell Press papers on managing fire risk

Restoring the Great Salt Lake would have environmental justice as well as ecological benefits

Cannabis, tobacco use, and COVID-19 outcomes

A 5:2 intermittent fasting meal replacement diet and glycemic control for adults with diabetes

Scientists document self-propelling oxygen decline in the oceans

Activating molecular target reverses multiple hallmarks of aging

Cannabis use tied to increased risk of severe COVID-19

How to make ageing a ‘fairer game’ for all wormkind

[] Study finds similar quality and cost of care for patients treated by an allopathic (M.D.) or osteopathic (D.O.) physician
Embargoed News from Annals of Internal Medicine