News in brief: Hold off on use of dextrose gel in newborns; Risk of diabetes even after mild COVID-19; Covid curbs pharma sponsorship of doctor meetings

Tuesday, 22 Mar 2022


Hold off on use of dextrose gel in newborns

The jury is still out on the use of prophylactic oral 40% dextrose gel at 1 hour of age in late preterm and term infants born at risk of neonatal hypoglycaemia.

An Australian and New Zealand study, randomising 2,149 infants to either dextrose gel or placebo, found no significant difference in the risk of neurosensory impairment at a 2-year follow-up assessment (20.8% v 18.7%; aRR 1.13).

“Rates of cognitive and language delays were not significantly different between groups, but the dextrose gel group had significantly higher risk of motor delay (15 of 601 [2.5%] vs 4 of 587 [0.7%]; RD, 1.81% [95% CI, 0.40% to 3.23%]; aRR, 3.79 [95%CI, 1.27 to 11.32]).”

Infants randomised to dextrose gel also had significantly lower Bayley-III composite scores for cognitive, language, and motor performance.

“Therefore, caution is warranted before using prophylactic dextrose gel,” the study said.

“Further follow-up of this trial cohort at school age will help clarify whether prophylactic dextrose gel is associated with any later benefits or harms.”

Read more in JAMA


Risk of diabetes even after mild COVID-19

New research suggests a possible association between mild COVID-19 and subsequent risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

An analysis of electronic health records from 8.8 million patients across 1,171 primary care practices in Germany found that adults who recover from mostly mild COVID-19 appear to have a significantly higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes than a matched control group recovered from other types of acute upper respiratory infections (IRR 1.28).

The results are consistent with findings from studies including more severe COVID-19 patients.

“Insulin resistance and impaired insulin secretion have been described in individuals without diabetes history who recovered from SARS-CoV-2 infections. Cytokines and TNF-α remain upregulated after remission of Covid-19, which may induce beta cell dysfunction and insulin resistance,” the study said.

“If confirmed, these results support the active monitoring of glucose dysregulation after recovery from mild forms of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection.”

Read more in Diabetologia


Covid curbs pharma sponsorship of doctor meetings

Pharmaceutical industry spending on hospitality for doctors attending medical education events fell by 40% during the pandemic, according to new figures released by industry lobby group Medicines Australia.

In its transparency report for the period 1 November 2020 to 30 April 2021, the total expenditure reported by companies on hospitality was $364,332, down from $594,474.

There were 721 medical education events sponsored during the six month period at a total costs of $5.96 million covered by the report, compared to spending of $5.63 million on 804 events in the same period a year previously.

The total hours of education supported by industry sponsorship declined from 6253 hours to 4934 hours.

The number of healthcare professional attendances at industry sponsored events fell from 165,455 to 148,810.

The pandemic forced most medical meetings to be transformed into virtual meetings and a recent pharmaceutical industry survey showed that most companies expected a significant level of virtual engagement with healthcare professional to be maintained in future.

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