AngelMD Friday Roundup – May 11, 2018

The Friday Roundup is a collection of five stories that you need to know about each week. From policy, to innovations, look to us to keep you up to date on what’s happening in the healthcare industry.

Postnatal Care is Important

Postnatal care is one of the most under-studied and under-discussed healthcare issues, but members of the UNC Chapel Hill-based 4th Trimester project are working hard to change that. They found many women are not informed of the possible postpartum effects of childbirth including heavy bleeding, abdominal cramping, and constipation amongst other things.

Many women who participated in the studies did not mention pain or discomfort they were having because they were embarrassed or unaware it could be serious. The 4th Trimester Project also calls attention to the disparity in postpartum care for the baby and the mother: Mothers are given a lot of resources about how to care for the newborn, but few about how to care for themselves.

To the Beat of My Heart

Scientist have developed a new valve that is much better at replicating the movement of the structure. The valve was made from a scaffold populated with cells, so it can adapt and repair itself within the body.

Current valve options aren’t ideal for a variety of reasons. Artificial valves, though functional, require the use of blood thinners. Biological valves, usually take from a pig or sheep, function well without blood thinners, but do deteriorate over time.

How Will an “America First” Drug Policy Affect the Global Market?

The Trump administration plans to speak on the topic this Friday, and has made it clear that there is disdain for the current pricing strategy, which often leads to medication being unreachable to some.

HHS Secretary Alex Azar was cited in Politico as stating one of the problems the administration will focus on is “foreign governments free-riding off of American investment in innovation.” Analysts note this could result in more expensive drugs in other areas of the world, instead of a more balanced pricing system.

I’m All Ears

In a first for the Army, plastics surgeons successfully completed a total ear reconstruction by growing it in the soldier’s arm. Yes, you read that right. They harvested cartilage from the rib cage and shaped a new ear and placed it in the forearm.

The method helps limit the appearance of scarring when the ear is reattached, producing a better cosmetic outcome for the patient.

Google, Deep Learning, and EHRs – Oh My!

Google has teamed up with professionals from UC San Francisco, Stanford Medicine, and The University of Chicago Medicine to work on deep learning software for EHRs that would “predict” next steps in patient care.

In a paper Google published, their models could predict inpatient mortality with the most accuracy, followed by long hospital stays and readmissions. Google acknowledges the software has a ways to go and will continue to work on its development

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AngelMD Friday Roundup – May 4, 2018

The Friday Roundup is a collection of five stories that you need to know about each week. From policy, to innovations, look to us to keep you up to date on what’s happening in the healthcare industry.

The Quest for an Invincible Genome

“Genome Project-write” consists of 200 scientists, and in a meeting this week they decided on their first major project: crafting cells that cannot be infected by viruses. Corporate sponsor Cellectis has even provided some scientists with the OG gene-editing tool TALENs to use on their portion of the project.

The group is trying to build off the Human Genome Project, which “mapped” the genome, and essentially “recode” the bits so that viruses would be unable to commandeer a cell to create more viruses.

Meet Your HIPAA-compliant Voice Assistant

Sopris Health has developed Suki, a Siri-like assistant that uses physician-patient interactions to update medical records. The company is made up of ex-Googlers and former Apple employees who are passionate about making physicians’ lives easier. Preliminary results of their pilots show they’ve done just that by cutting physician paperwork by 60 percent.

Company leadership hints at Suki eventually having more skills and being able to help with prescription management and even decision support.

From “Party Drug” to PTSD Treatment

More commonly known as Ectasy or Molly, the psychoactive drug has been shown to dramatically reduce PTSD symptoms in a new study. A group of 26 veterans and first-responders underwent psychotherapy with the drug, 68 percent of them experienced such a positive change that they no longer met requirements for PTSD.

The 26 people chosen had little or no success with common treatments for PTSD. Use of the drug as treatment will enter larger trials in the next year, and has already been therapy status by the FDA.

Cracking the Allergy Test

Researchers in the UK have developed a blood test for peanut allergies. Affecting roughly one in 55 children, peanut allergies are one of the most common, but can be expensive to accurately diagnose.

The new test has 98 percent specificity, a dramatic improvement from skin prick tests which do not differentiate between sensitivity and allergy. Because of previous methods inaccuracy, doctors would conduct oral food challenges, where a patient is fed doses of peanuts in a controlled setting, an expensive and often stressful encounter. The scientists plan to adapt the test to other foods in the future.

Stock Up On Bug Spray

According to the CDC, diseases by bug bites (specifically mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas) tripled over a 12-year period between 2004 and 2016. There are several diseases that can be spread through insects like Zika or Lyme disease.

Experts are pushing for the development of better diagnostic tools to identify strains and methods of controlling the strains once recognized.

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AngelMD Friday Roundup – April 27, 2018

The Friday Roundup is a collection of five stories that you need to know about each week. From policy, to innovations, look to us to keep you up to date on what’s happening in the healthcare industry.

Is there a Telemedicine Training Gap?

The new remote-medicine tech that helps treat 15 million Americans a year doesn’t sound that complicated in theory, but as it advances to treat ailments beyond the common cold, it could become so.

Questions of misdiagnoses and the effect on clinical rapport are so worrying to some, that they are proposing a new “medical virtualist” specialty, though that is the more extreme end of things. Most in the field are pushing for more telemedicine-specific training that cover things like remote examination techniques and telestroke procedure.

Anticholinergic Drugs Linked to Increased Dementia Risk

Anticholinergic drugs block the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and are used to treat a variety of issues, from incontinence to involuntary movement. They are commonly prescribed in the U.S. and U.K to older adults, a new study in the British Medical Journal has discovered a troubling effect of the drugs.

The study looked at 350,000 patients in the UK and found those prescribed with specific anticholinergic drugs had a 30 percent increased risk of developing dementia. Those affected were prescribed the drugs to treat depression, Parkinson’s, or urinary incontinence. The study found other forms of anticholinergics did not exhibit the same increased risk.

Scientists Kept Pig Brains Alive OUTSIDE of Their Bodies

Researchers restored circulation to the organs and kept them alive for up to 36 hours.The research isn’t published in any journal, but was mentioned at a meeting held by  the National Institutes of Health to investigate ethical issues in neuroscience research by neuroscientist Nenad Sestan.

Sestan did apparently not intend for the comments to become public. Though nothing indicated the brains regained consciousness, the fact that cells in the brain could be “revived” was unexpected. Sestan even noted that the technique would likely work in other species.

You’re Replaceable

Well, at least, most of your organs are. Earlier this week, doctors at Johns Hopkins performed the first full male genital replacement surgery, a landmark event that shows how far transplant technique has come.

The field has seen a host of exciting innoventions like the development of Ex Vivo Lung Perfusion tech, which keeps donor lungs from swelling during transplant, prolonging their viability. Read more about developments in transplants here.

Google Helps the DEA with National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

Take Back Day is a DEA initiative that gives people the opportunity to safely dispose of unused prescription drugs. According to a 2015 study, 6.4 million Americans abused controlled prescription drugs, a majority of which were obtained from family or friends.

Google is helping out by implementing a locator tool to help people find drop-off sites in Google Maps. This year, there will be 5,600 sites and users can input their zip code to find the closest location to them.

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AngelMD Friday Roundup – April 20, 2018

The Friday Roundup is a collection of five stories that you need to know about each week. From policy, to innovations, look to us to keep you up to date on what’s happening in the healthcare industry.

P&G to Acquire Merck Germany’s Consumer Health Unit

P&G will pay $4.2 billion for the acquisition which includes vitamin brands Femibion and Neurobion. Analysts say the move will help Merck focus on pharmaceuticals and escape competition from online retailers like Amazon of non-prescription products.

For P&G, the addition should help capture more sales in the Latin American and Asian markets.

Study Ties Traumatic Brain Injury with Parkinson’s

A study of military veterans with a mild traumatic brain injury found their risk for developing Parkinson’s increased by 56 percent. The researchers advise patients with a previous brain injury take precautions to prevent falling and be on the lookout for early signs of Parkinson’s disease.

The study further solidifies the idea that any traumatic brain injury increase the chance of any neurodegenerative disease, as those with any level of severity had a risk increase of 71 percent.

The FDA Wishes You a Happy 4/20

The FDA has approved the first marijuana-based product for the treatment of epilepsy. The drug is made from cannabidiol, also known as CBD oil and reduced seizures in patients by 40 percent.

The drug was approved for two rare forms of epilepsy known as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. Both syndromes consist of multiple different seizure types that were not previously controllable with drugs on the market.

Who Are You Calling Small-Brained?

Scientists have implanted human brain cells into baby mice and they grew into a brain that was both rodent and human. For up to 233 days, fluorescent green human cells were observed by scientists through a plastic casing over the mouse’s head.

The growth is hopeful to scientists, as it poses a possible solution to injured brain tissue and also gives insight on how the brain develops.

Facebook Probably Knows if You’re Sick

In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, questions about the privacy of the data stored by Facebook continue to come. Earlier this month, it was revealed that one of Facebook’s secret projects was to obtain patient data from hospitals.

The idea was to combine hospital data with its own to create patient profiles and during Mark Zuckerberg’s congressional testimony he shared that Facebook does collect some medical data on users due to them being in peer support groups.

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AngelMD Friday Roundup – April 13, 2018

The Friday Roundup is a collection of five stories that you need to know about each week. From policy, to innovations, look to us to keep you up to date on what’s happening in the healthcare industry.

Changing How We Think About Alzheimer’s

A group of brain researchers is suggesting that Alzheimer’s be measured and diagnosed by physiological indicators in the brain (like plaque build) up rather than behavior-based indicators (like memory loss). These new guidelines would only apply to studies, not doctors treating patients.

Previously, a patient would exhibit symptoms that appeared to be Alzheimer’s, but their brains did not show any of the changes associated with the disease, meaning their symptoms were caused by something else. Also in Alzheimer’s news, researchers have found a way to reverse damaged cause in human brain cells.

A Cheaper Hepatitis C Cure

Despite a significantly lower price tag ($300 for a 12-week treatment), a drug developed by the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) is just as effective as Gilead’s $48,000 treatment. The DNDi treatment was effective in curing 97 percent of patients after a 12-week period, and even worked in patients with other diseases like HIV.

Affecting 71 million people worldwide, hepatitis C patients were in dire need of an affordable treatment, as even with a price-adjustment for middle and low income countries, governments couldn’t finance mass treatment programs.

FDA Permits AI Tech for Diabetes-Related Eye Treatment

A common complication of diabetes, diabetic retinopathy is a form of vision loss caused by retina damage resulting from poorly controlled blood sugar. In an attempt to make diagnosis more accessible, the FDA has approved software program IDx-DR, which can detect the disease by looking at photos of the retina.

The software removes the need for consultation with an eye specialist, saving both the patient and provider money and time.

Hacking Global Health

Little-known influencer Bill Gates penned an article in Foreign Affairs this week about the promising role of gene editing tech in the eradication of diseases that disproportionately impact impoverished and low-income communities across the globe.

Gates touched on not only the medicinal impacts of CRISPR, but also agricultural ones. The technology can and already has been used to modify crops to have better nutritional value and grow more reliably in low-resource settings.

CVS’ Use of Real-Time Data Might Save You Money

The new e-prescribing tools built into CVS Health allow prescribers to access benefit information through an EHR. Early data from the program was released this week and found that prescribers switched to a lower-cost drug 30 percent of the times, saving each of those patients an average of $75.

CVS is committed to lowering drug cost and states it has been able to management in the face on inflation.

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