Top 10 most read in September: viral clearance in COVID-19 patients, prescribing practices and sex-differences in ECG abnormalities

September was a busy month with six new entries to our top 10, including a new paper at number one. These join four previously published papers that continue to catch readers’ attention.

In eighth place, Bolijn et al. investigate sex differences in the prevalence of major and minor electrocardiogram (ECG) abnormalities in a multi-ethnic population living in Amsterdam. They find that women have an overall lower age-adjusted prevalence of major ECG abnormalities than men. However, they report that sex differences in the prevalence of major ECG abnormalities are smaller in the ethnic minority groups than in the Dutch, particularly in older age groups. Given the association of major ECG abnormalities with cardiovascular disease (CVD) morbidity and mortality, they highlight patient groups who may benefit from prevention strategies to reduce the future burden of CVD.

In at number five, we have a comparative, descriptive analysis of payments disclosed on drug company and charity regulator websites. Ozieranski et al. find that both donors and recipients under-reported payments in 2012–2016. As a result, the authors question whether publicly available payment disclosures effectively address concerns about conflicts of interests resulting from industry payments. They call for increased standardisation.

Two new entries look at prescribing practices. In their communication article, Nutt et al. discuss the barriers to prescribing medical cannabis in the UK in an attempt to understand why the UK lags behind many other countries who have also legalised cannabis-based products for medicinal use. Kua et al. qualitatively explore the perspectives of health professionals towards deprescribing practice in Asian nursing homes.

Given the current climate, it is unsurprising to see September’s most popular article relates to the global pandemic. In their prospective cohort study, Mancuso et al. report that 60.6% of positive SARS-CoV-2 cases diagnosed before 22 March in Reggio Emilia, Italy, achieved viral clearance (which was measured as the first negative swab) by 22 April 2020. Median time to viral clearance was found to be 30 days from diagnosis and 36 days from symptom onset. Their results suggest that follow-up testing should be done after more than four weeks once patients are symptom-free, which is contrary to most current regional surveillance protocol recommendations. 

In case you missed them first time around, here’s the full list:

Rank*   Author(s)   Title
1 Mancuso et al. Temporal profile and determinants of viral shedding and of viral clearance confirmation on nasopharyngeal swabs from SARS-CoV-2-positive subjects: a population-based prospective cohort study in Reggio Emilia, Italy
2 McAloon

et al.

Incubation period of COVID-19: a rapid systematic review and meta-analysis of observational research 
3 Byrne et al. Injection Molded Autoclavable, Scalable, Conformable (iMASC) system for aerosol-based protection: a prospective single-arm feasibility study 
4 Liu et al. Intravenous high-dose vitamin C for the treatment of severe COVID-19: study protocol for a multicentre randomised controlled trial 
5 Ozieranski et al. Under-reported relationship: a comparative study of pharmaceutical industry and patient organisation payment disclosures in the UK (2012-2016) 
Kua et al. Perspectives of health professionals towards deprescribing practice in Asian nursing homes: a qualitative interview study 
7 Nutt et al. So near yet so far: why wont the UK prescribe medical cannabis?
8 Bolijn et al. Do sex differences in the prevalence of ECG abnormalities vary across ethnic groups living in the Netherlands? A cross-sectional analysis of the population-based HELIUS study 
9 Sayers et al. Analysis of change in patient-reported outcome measures with floor and ceiling effects using the multilevel Tobit model: a simulation study and an example from a National Joint Register using body mass index and the Oxford Hip Score 
10 Grimes et al. Establishing a taxonomy of potential hazards associated with communicating medical science in the age of disinformation 
*Most read figures are based on PDF downloads and full text views. Abstract views are excluded.


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