(The Atlantic) – If state governments were to pay for Sovaldi or Harvoni for all of the Hep C patients on their Medicaid and prison rolls, the total bill would have been $55 billion. Most state Medicaid programs, therefore, are sharply limiting access to them. An August study in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that most states were only making these new drugs available to Medicaid patients who had advanced fibrosis, or liver scarring. Two-thirds required urine drug tests for drugs and alcohol before they would cover the medication. These measures, the study notes, are inconsistent with the recommendations of prominent health organizations and FDA guidelines.
(Reuters) – Medical student Ludwika Wodyk fumbles her way slowly down the stairs, her movements encumbered by heavy strapping around her limbs and body, her vision distorted by special goggles. She is one of a group of medical students in Poland being given the chance to experience first-hand how it can feel to be an ageing patient.
(Reuters) – Doctors who need to operate on injured patients in emergencies have long practiced their lifesaving procedures on live animals, but now a replica of a human, called TraumaMan, is helping to modernize their training. Thanks to a partnership between the manufacturer of TraumaMan – Seattle-based Simulab – and the animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), more than 100 donated TraumaMan simulators are arriving at medical schools in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas.
(Vox) – Today, the FDA is now considered the fastest regulatory agency in the world. But there’s some concern that these expedited pathways are being used by drug companies to speed through medicines that aren’t actually helping patients with unmet medical needs — and that often aren’t any improvement over what’s already on the market. n two new studies, published on Wednesday in the BMJ, a group of researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, find that while more drugs are indeed getting to patients more quickly, there’s good reason to question their novelty, safety, and effectiveness.
(Dallas Morning News) – Government agencies typically fund a research proposal only after experts have concluded it has merit — and that the researchers have the training to carry it out. But Dr. Kyle Janek turned that process upside down when he headed the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. Janek decided to fund an Irving chiropractic clinic that wanted to treat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder with a spinning chair.
(The Atlantic) – For professional guinea pigs, Phase 1 trials are almost always where the money is. Some are run out of hospitals or universities, but more often, they’re run by contract research organizations (CROs), groups that the sponsoring pharmaceutical companies pay to handle everything from the institutional review board through to dosing the subjects. Many CROs maintain their own trial sites for inpatient studies, housing and feeding participants for the duration of the trial. Accommodations at these sites are generally dorm-style, often with a handful of people bunking up in the same room.
(Medical Xpress) – A team of scientists at the Children’s Research Institute at UT Southwestern (CRI) has become the first to use a tissue-clearing technique to localize a rare stem cell population, in the process cracking open a black box containing detailed information about where blood-forming stem cells are located and how they are maintained. The findings, published in Nature, provide a significant advance toward understanding the microenvironment in which stem cells reside within the bone marrow.
(Med Page Today) – Women with genetic conditions should begin counseling prior to becoming pregnant, according to new recommendations released by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). ACOG’s Committee on Genetics called for a multi-tiered approach, in which women with or at risk for certain genetic conditions would receive counseling from a variety of healthcare professionals, such as OB/GYNs, maternal-fetal medicine specialists, and genetic specialists.
(Time) – Now, however, researchers at the University of California at Irvine have turned that prognosis on its head, reports a case study published Wednesday in the Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation. Fritz, who was supposed to spend his life in a wheelchair, is back on his feet, thanks to an elaborate combination of virtual reality, computer algorithms and a whole lot of ingenuity.
(New York Times) – A panel of experts convened by the Food and Drug Administration weighed the evidence Thursday on a contraceptive device that has received thousands of complaints from women who say they were harmed by it. The device, called Essure, is a small metal and polyester coil implanted into a woman’s fallopian tubes to make her permanently sterile. The F.D.A. approved Essure 13 years ago after a fast-track review process that prioritized the device because it offered the first alternative to surgical sterilization and promised a quick recovery.
(Nanotechnology Now) – DNA sequencing is a technique that can determine exact sequence of a DNA molecule. One of the most critical biological and medical tools available today, it lies at the core of genome analysis. Reading the exact make-up of genes, scientists can detect mutations, or even identify different organisms. A powerful DNA sequencing method uses tiny, nano-sized pores that read DNA as it passes through. However, “nanopore sequencing” is prone to high inaccuracy because DNA usually passes through very fast. EPFL scientists have now discovered a viscous liquid that slows down the process up to a thousand times, vastly improving the method’s resolution and accuracy. The breakthrough is published in Nature Nanotechnology.
(Nature) – To help to resolve the first question, seven teams in four countries tried to replicate the procedure under various conditions. The teams’ work amounted to 133 attempts to produce STAP cells, all of which failed. One of the teams, led by researchers at Harvard Medical School, worked with one of the original STAP co-authors at the laboratory where the STAP research project began. In cells engineered to express a fluorescent protein when a gene related to pluripotency was expressed — supposed to be a sign of conversion to a ‘STAP state’ — they did find some fluorescence.
Couples Paying Most Canadian Donors for Their Eggs, Breaking Controversial Fertility Law, Study Finds
(National Post) – One received a car, another money for college tuition, others cold, hard cash. One received a car, another money for college tuition, others cold, hard cash. The survey of “intended parents” and egg donors who meet on the Internet – originally scheduled to be presented at a major fertility-medicine conference next month – found the majority of donations involved bonuses worth thousands of dollars.
(Medscape) – Mehmet Oz, by most accounts, is a talented cardiothoracic surgeon on the faculty at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York. But there is a very different Dr Oz, a TV personality with a huge following who endorses plant-based “magic” weight-loss cures; communicating with the dead to reduce stress; homeopathy; “miracle” appetite suppressants; using Reiki, or “healing energy,” to help patients survive risky surgery and many other “magic” remedies and “miracle” cures for which there isn’t much or any medical evidence.
(ABC News) – The drug called Daraprim is used to treat parasitic infections that most often occur in those with compromised immune systems due to cancer treatments or HIV infection, and it was sold for $18 per tablet before production rights were acquired by Turing Pharmaceuticals. The company is currently selling the medication for $750 per tablet — an increase of more than 4,000 percent.
(Medical Xpress) – In the recent edition of the American Journal of Bioethics, the target article, authored by a consortium of participants of a workshop hosted by the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center’s Department of Bioethics, discussed broad consent with oversight as an ethically appropriate response to the changing nature of research with biospecimens.
(New Scientist) – SHE died two decades ago, but her body lives on in digital form. An American woman’s cadaver has been sliced more than 5000 times to create the world’s most detailed digital body. The “human phantom” is available online and will make it possible to perform experiments no live human could undergo.
(Medical Xpress) – UC San Francisco researchers have successfully isolated human muscle stem cells and shown that the cells could robustly replicate and repair damaged muscles when grafted onto an injured site. The laboratory finding paves the way for potential treatments for patients with severe muscle injury, paralysis or genetic diseases such as muscular dystrophy.
(The Atlantic) – With Lilly about to start at college, their spirits are still up—and for reasons beyond simply buying time. Lilly’s case has acted as a magnet for others with the same mutation. Families with the same problem read about Lilly’s case and contacted the Grossmans. Doctors and geneticists looked at their own patients and saw a new explanation behind puzzling symptoms. Before, there were isolated pockets of people around the world, dealing with their own problems, alone for all they knew. Now, there’s a community.
(Western Gazette) – Western’s neuroscientists and philosophers have teamed up to develop the first-ever ethical framework for research while designing and conducting fMRI studies for individuals with severe brain injuries. The proposed guidelines, entitled “Ethical considerations in functional magnetic resonance imaging research imaging research in acutely comatose patients” were published in Brain, a prominent scientific journal of neurology.