Latest Morning Briefing Stories

Concept Of Personal Space Is Wired Into Our Brains, And Can Be Powerful Bonding Tool, But It’s Still Not Fully Understood

KHN Morning Briefing

Accusations that former Vice President and potential 2020 candidate Joe Biden is too handsy have brought attention to the idea of personal space. Scientists and researchers have been studying the universal phenomenon for years, but questions about it, and how it works in our brains, still remain. In other public health news: cancer, violence, sexual partners and your microbiome, IVF, miscarriages, and more.

First Comes The Grief Of Losing An Infant Unexpectedly. Then Come The Questions From The Detectives.

KHN Morning Briefing

When a baby dies from sudden infant death syndrome, parents don’t have long to recover before they’re faced with questions and paperwork from detectives. The policies are in place to protect from abuse or neglect, but can often bleed over to accusatory for parents in the worst moments of their lives. In other public health news, the mysteries of aging, exercise, schizophrenia, smoking and marijuana extract.

Hundreds Of Alzheimer’s Drugs Targeting Amyloids Have Crashed And Burned. Why Is Pharma Still Obsessed With Them?

KHN Morning Briefing

Drug after drug after drug that targeted a brain compound called beta amyloid have failed over the years. “We are running out of excuses” for why beta-amyloid treatments aren’t working, said Zaven Khachaturian, editor-in-chief of the medical journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia. But drugmakers “keep trying, hoping that the path they are on is going to give blockbuster drugs.”

New Treatments Might Provide Hope To Patients With Rare Genetic Disease That Turns Tissue Into Bone

KHN Morning Briefing

The genetic disease, fibrodysplasia ossificans, in which the body’s machinery for healing goes awry, growing immovable bone where it doesn’t belong, had been languishing as nothing more than a medical curiosity. But a community of patient advocates rallied, and now there are three medicines in human trials, the most advanced of which could win Food and Drug Administration approval next year. In other public health news: weight lifting, primate emotions, the “bliss point” in food, and psychic mediums.

Social Media Activists’ Thought-Policing Is Having A Chilling Effect On Pursuing Cures For Diseases, Researchers Say

KHN Morning Briefing

Advocates on social media are targeting scientists who release studies that don’t fit into their views on the diseases, going so far as to wishing for the demise of their careers because of a research paper. Scientists say it can dissuade researchers for wanting to do work on certain diseases, setting off a vicious cycle where patients are the ones who suffer. In other public health news: memory, drug side effects, dieting and aging.

Industry Weighs In On Possible Changes Designed To Rein In Hospital Accreditation Conflicts Of Interest

KHN Morning Briefing

The Trump administration is mulling whether it should continue approving accreditation groups that also have consulting arms. Many hospitals hire an organization called the Joint Commission, but that organization also has a subsidiary that offers consultants-for-hire that help hospitals attain accreditation. The commission has defended the practice, but others see it as a conflict of interest. In other CMS news: nursing home star ratings and Medicare penalties for hospitals.

As Government Gives Green Light To Research That Could Make Flu Viruses More Dangerous, Scientists Remain Concerned

KHN Morning Briefing

The research was halted years ago over safety concerns, but has once again received the go-ahead from the government. However, officials didn’t give a reason for the about-face, and scientists, who say the research could unleash a pandemic either by accident or through terrorism, are outraged. In other public health news: supplements and dementia, black women and HIV, health technology, stress, and more.

Discovery Of New Genetic Variants Could Be ‘Powerful’ Step Forward In Scientists’ Understanding Of Alzheimer’s

KHN Morning Briefing

The study’s findings will not change anyone’s “day-to-day life or medical practice any time soon,” said Heather Snyder, the Alzheimer’s Association’s senior director of medical and scientific operations. But they do give greater insight into what causes the disease. In other public health news, sleep, Ebola, trans fats, stress, child poverty, and health technology.