There’s Been Few Breakthroughs In Alzheimer’s Drugs In Decades. Where’s The Demand For Progress?
In other diseases, loud and outraged patient advocates have played a crucial role in getting experimental treatments and drugs to trial. When it comes to Alzheimer's, though, experts say there isn't that energy to push for a cure. In other public health news: cancer and elephants, brain injuries, female doctors, race, Ebola and tainted blood pressure meds.
As Alzheimer's Drug Makers Abandon Today's Patients, Where Is The Outrage?
When virologists and drug developers were too slow in finding ways to save the lives of people with HIV/AIDS and refused to give patients access to experimental drugs 30 years ago, activists chained themselves to a balcony on the New York Stock Exchange, held demonstrations where scores were arrested, and effectively shut down the Food and Drug Administration for a day. The lack of progress against Alzheimer’s disease has brought somewhat less outrage. Although the latest analysis of experimental Alzheimer’s drugs finds that literally zero are being tested in late-stage clinical trials to treat moderate to severe Alzheimer’s, no patient advocacy groups uttered a peep in protest. (Begley, 8/15)
The New York Times:
The ‘Zombie Gene’ That May Protect Elephants From Cancer
Elephants ought to get a lot of cancer. They’re huge animals, weighing as much as eight tons. It takes a lot of cells to make up that much elephant. All of those cells arose from a single fertilized egg, and each time a cell divides, there’s a chance that it will gain a mutation — one that may lead to cancer. Strangely, however, elephants aren’t more prone to cancer than smaller animals. Some research even suggests they get less cancer than humans do. (Zimmer, 8/14)
The Washington Post:
A Traumatic Brain Injury May Increase The Risk Of Suicide, Study Says
Traumatic brain injury is the leading cause of death and disability in young adults in the developed world. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 24. Though the reasons for any particular suicide are often inscrutable, research published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that at least a fraction of the blame could be placed on traumatic brain injuries. (Nutt, 8/14)
The New York Times:
Should You Choose A Female Doctor?
Does gender matter when choosing a doctor? Whether your doctor is male or female could be a matter of life or death, a new study suggests. The study, of more than 580,000 heart patients admitted over two decades to emergency rooms in Florida, found that mortality rates for both women and men were lower when the treating physician was female. And women who were treated by male doctors were the least likely to survive. (Parker-Pope, 8/14)
The New York Times:
Black Boys Feel Less Safe In White Neighborhoods, Study Shows
Many black boys have been racially profiled, arrested or even killed in white neighborhoods because the residents were afraid of them. A new study suggests the boys are afraid, too. The study, which was released on Monday, found that “African-American boys experience a decreased sense of safety” when in neighborhoods with a larger white population than areas they normally frequent. Black boys “will expect increased scrutiny, surveillance and even direct targeting as they traverse whiter spaces,” the study found. Black girls did not report feeling significantly less safe in such areas. (Garcia, 8/14)
The Wall Street Journal:
Ebola Outbreak Spreads To Conflict Zone In Democratic Republic Of Congo
A deadly outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo has spread outside the province of North Kivu, the country’s health ministry said Tuesday, entering for the first time an active conflict zone and raising the threat of a wider outbreak. Forty-one people have died in Congo’s current epidemic, which started last month in the gold- and tin-mining heartlands of North Kivu. An earlier Ebola outbreak in Congo’s northwest had been declared over just a week earlier. (Bariyo, 8/14)
San Jose Mercury News:
FDA Widens Its Recall Of Tainted Blood Pressure Drugs
Be aware that the FDA has widened its recall of tainted blood pressure medication containing the drug valsartan. A limited recall began in July but has since been expanded to this list of drugs. (D'Souza, 8/14)