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06/18/2018

Controversial NIH study of ‘moderate drinking’ will be terminated after scathing report

STAT

The group examining the Moderate Alcohol and Cardiovascular Health (MACH) Trial also found that, starting in 2013, “there was early and frequent engagement” between NIH officials and the alcohol industry that appeared to be “an attempt to persuade industry to support the project. Several members of NIAAA staff kept key facts hidden from other institute staff members.”

06/13/2018

The risk of ‘contagion’ after suicides is real

CNN

Mental health experts agree that several high-profile celebrity suicides could possibly cause an increased risk of what’s called suicide contagion, and that all of us should be aware of the risk factors related to suicide.

06/12/2018

CDC: U.S. Suicide Rates Have Climbed Dramatically

NPR

The rise in suicide rates was highest in the central, northern region of the U.S., with North Dakota, for example, seeing a 57.6 percent increase since 1999. Nevada was the only state that saw no increase, and Delaware saw the smallest increase which was 5.9 percent.

06/11/2018

I took a batch of DNA tests so you don’t have to

NBC News

DNA tests promise to help you tailor a diet, supplements and exercise for optimum weight, heart health and lifestyle. But can they really deliver?

06/11/2018

The fight has begun over Europe’s big budget increase for science

Science

European universities are unhappy about the details, announced yesterday, of Horizon Europe, the European Union’s new 7-year research program that will start in 2021. They say the 22% increase in funding overall proposed by the European Commission is the bare minimum and worry that the program shortchanges basic research in favor of innovation funding. “We will fight for a better distribution of the budget,” says Kurt Deketelaere, secretary-general of the League of European Research Universities (LERU) in Leuven, Belgium.

06/08/2018

With The Rise Of Legal Weed, Drug Education Moves From ‘Don’t’ to ‘Delay’

NPR

California legalized marijuana in 2016, and on Jan. 1, 2018, eager customers lined up in the darkness outside medical marijuana dispensaries across the state, ready to start shopping at the stroke of midnight. The effect has gone beyond the cannabis cash register. Everyone has seen the ads or heard the chatter — and that includes minors, though marijuana remains illegal for those under 21.

06/07/2018

What Explains The Rising Overdose Rate Among Latinos?

NPR

Opioid overdose deaths among Latinos are surging nationwide as well. While the overall death toll is still higher for whites, it’s increasing faster for Latinos and blacks, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Latino fatalities increased 52.5 percent between 2014 and 2016 as compared to 45.8 percent for whites. (Statisticians say counts for Hispanics are typically underestimated by 3 to 5 percent.) The most substantial hike was among blacks — 83.9 percent.

06/06/2018

To be herself, she needs to change her body. But first, comes the battle with insurers

CNN

The Trump administration has signaled its intention in recent months to rewrite a federal rule that bars health care discrimination based on gender identity. In its current form, that rule is one of the precious few tools transgender patients have to fight insurance denials for various medical treatments and procedures that fall under the broad umbrella of gender-affirming or transition-related care. Even with the rule in place, Jasmine and four other patients in different states detailed protracted battles for coverage.

06/05/2018

Million-dollar Kavli prize recognizes scientist scooped on CRISPR

Nature

CRISPR has hauled in yet another big science award, and this time the recognition includes a scientist whose contribution has sometimes been overlooked.

06/04/2018

Most women with a common type of early-stage breast cancer can skip chemo, a new report finds

Washington Post

The cancer in question is driven by hormones, has not spread to the lymph nodes and does not contain a protein called HER2. Generally, after surgery, such patients receive endocrine therapy, such as tamoxifen, which is designed to block the cancer-spurring effects of hormones. Otis Brawley, chief medical and scientific officer of the American Cancer Society, called the trial a good example of “precision medicine” and said it would save many women from unneeded chemotherapy.

06/01/2018

Will U.S. academies expel sexual harassers?

Science

As high-profile sexual harassment cases fuel public criticism, the presidents of the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine announced last week they may adopt new policies allowing the prestigious bodies to eject members who have committed harassment and other forms of misconduct. Members of the academies—which serve as both honorific societies and advisers to the U.S. government—are elected by existing members to life-long terms, and the bodies currently lack mechanisms for removing them for harassment.

05/31/2018

Where Did Ireland Go? Abortion Vote Stuns Those on Both Sides

Washington Post

Divorce is legal. So is same-sex marriage. And now abortion will be, too. Ireland has redefined itself in a remarkably short span of time.

05/30/2018

‘Reprogrammed’ stem cells approved to mend human hearts for the first time

Nature

On 16 May, Japan’s health ministry gave doctors the green light to take wafer-thin sheets of tissue derived from iPS cells and graft them onto diseased human hearts. The team, led by cardiac surgeon Yoshiki Sawa at Osaka University, says that the tissue sheets can help to regenerate the organ’s muscle when it becomes damaged, a symptom of heart disease that can be caused by a build-up of plaque or by a heart attack.

05/30/2018

Health Care for All

Harvard Medical School

Shining light on a little-known moment in the struggle for racial justice in the United States, a new hour-long documentary film traces the momentous fight to secure equal access to health care for all Americans in the 1960s.

05/29/2018

Fewer babies were born in Brazil amid Zika outbreak, study says

CNN

Researchers led by Marcia C. Castro, a professor of demography at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, used Brazilian data on births, fetal deaths and hospitalizations related to abortion complications during 2010-16 to forecast births from September 2015 to December 2016, the period of the Zika epidemic. Though there were 119,095 fewer births than expected, no changes in fetal deaths or increases in abortion-related hospitalizations were seen.

05/28/2018

Did witnesses fail USC women in care of ‘predator’ gynecologist?

CNN

As lawsuits mount against the University of Southern California and a former gynecologist who worked at the school, so do the outrage and demand for answers. Mixed into the conversation is this: If nurses or medical assistants serving as chaperones witnessed Dr. George Tyndall inappropriately touching and treating students, as some have claimed, what’s the point of chaperones?

05/25/2018

FDA just approved the first drug to prevent migraines. Here’s the story of its discovery—and its limitations

Science

Worldwide, migraines strike roughly 12% of people at least once per year, with women roughly three times as likely as men to have an attack. The Migraine Research Foundation estimates that U.S. employees take 113 million sick days per year because of migraines, creating an annual loss of $13 billion. The toll underscores how little current treatments—not just drugs, but nerve-numbing injections, behavioral therapies, and special diets—can help many people. On the horizon, however, is a new class of drugs that many scientists believe can stop migraines at their root.

05/24/2018

How tech can turn doctors into clerical workers

Washington Post

In America today, the patient in the hospital bed is just the icon, a place holder for the real patient who is not in the bed but in the computer. That virtual entity gets all our attention.

05/23/2018

F.D.A. Names and Shames Drug Makers to Encourage Generic Competition

Washington Post

On Thursday, the F.D.A. took a new tack and began posting a list of makers of brand-name drugs that have been the target of complaints, to persuade them to “end the shenanigans,” in the commissioner’s words. Dr. Gottlieb calls it transparency, but this approach is better known among ethicists as naming and shaming.

05/22/2018

Experimental drugs poised for use in Ebola outbreak

Nature

International health organizations are in discussions with the Democratic Republic of Congo about how and whether to deploy treatments in addition to a vaccine.

05/21/2018

Medical Experts Blast U.S.C.’s Silence Over Gynecologist Scandal

The New York Times

For decades, allegations of misconduct dogged the primary gynecologist in the student health center at the University of Southern California. There were reports that he inappropriately touched students during pelvic exams and made sexual comments about their bodies.

Yet even after university officials suspended the doctor, George Tyndall, in 2016 and forced him to step down a year later, they did not report the accusations to the California Medical Board. When their internal investigation was complete, officials said that the findings were a personnel matter and that there was no legal obligation to notify the state oversight board, which investigates doctors accused of misconduct.

05/21/2018

It’s the Guns

The Atlantic

Americans of high-school age are 82 times more likely to die from a gun homicide than 15- to 19-year-olds in the rest of the developed world.

05/18/2018

In Germany, controversial law gives Bavarian police new power to use DNA

Science

An estimated 30,000 people demonstrated in Munich, Germany, last week to protest a new Bavarian law giving police new powers.

05/18/2018

Creepy ‘brain in a bucket’ study spurs medical, ethical debates

NBC News

Three weeks ago, a Yale University neuroscientist, Nenad Sestan, explored the ethical implications of experiments using human brain tissue in an essay in the journal Nature. Then last week Sestan’s own brain research was splashed across tabloids under lurid headlines like “Yale experiment to reanimate dead brains promises ‘living hell’ for humans.”

05/17/2018

Why it’s hard to prove gender discrimination in science

Nature

To prove gender discrimination in court, plaintiffs must show that they were denied opportunities or rewards because of their gender. Harassment can also be a sign of discrimination when the people responsible are in positions of power. However, recognizing and remedying these problems in academia is challenging for reasons that are deeply entrenched in the culture of science, and in how institutions have long operated, say legal and social-science scholars.

05/16/2018

Judge tosses California law allowing life-ending drugs

ABC News

A California judge on Tuesday threw out a 2016 state law allowing the terminally ill to end their lives, ruling it was unconstitutionally approved by the Legislature. Riverside County Superior Court Judge Daniel Ottolia said lawmakers acted illegally in passing the law during a special session devoted to other topics, said lawyers for supporters and opponents. He did not address the legal issue of whether it was proper to allow people to take their own lives, and gave the state attorney general five days to appeal.

05/16/2018

At Google, ‘responsibility’ upstages new technology

Washington Post

In his keynote address on Tuesday, chief executive Sundar Pichai is expected to emphasize the theme of responsibility, the person said. Last year’s keynote was more focused on developments in artificial intelligence. The anticipated shift in tone at the event reflects increased public skepticism and scrutiny of the technology industry as it reckons with the negative consequences of how its products are used by billions of people.

05/16/2018

Is your pharmacist under a ‘gag rule’ about drug prices?

CNN

Independent pharmacist Ira Katz has been serving the eclectic community of Little Five Points in Atlanta for 37 years. But it wasn’t until Georgia passed a law last year banning “gag rules” that Katz could legally tell his patients they might save big bucks on their prescriptions if they paid cash or used a lower-priced generic. The gag rule was a clause in his contract with one of the pharmaceutical benefit managers, also known as PBMs, that manage most of our nation’s prescription drug programs.

05/15/2018

More evidence companies pay some doctors to prescribe opioids

NBC News

Perks such as payments, free meals and speaking fees may be strongly influencing some doctors to prescribe opioids, researchers reported Monday.

05/15/2018

Why Hemophilia Patients Could Pay $1.5 Million For Gene Therapy

Investor's Daily

BioMarin Pharmaceuticals (BMRN), Spark Therapeutics (ONCE) and UniQure(QURE) are racing to be the first to market with a gene therapy that treats hemophilia — a prospect that could offer revenue north of $1.5 million per patient, an analyst said Monday.