Research Desk

Jan 24, 2020

According to the BCBS Association, The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and 18 independent and locally-operated BCBS companies are partnering with Civica Rx to lower the cost of generic prescription drugs and the 18 BCBS companies will provide $55 million to help create a Civica subsidiary. The effort will focus on generics that currently carry a high price tag as a result of limited or no competition.

Jan 23, 2020

According to a new report brief released by  Center for Medical Economics and Innovation at the Pacific Research Institute, reforming the complex drug supply chain, and ending the current drug pricing system that overcharges patients along with system-wide reforms are what's needed to lower America's healthcare costs. Some states, such as California, have already taken measures to address this, but researchers believe these measures are misguided.

Jan 23, 2020

Scientists have discovered that a non-invasive technique that could one day be used to treat Parkinson’s disease, can successfully target a highly specific group of brain cells that play a key role in the development of the condition. In 2015, scientists demonstrated that a form of gene therapy could target and stimulate a group of nerve cells affected by the disease, called cholinergic neurons. These cells degenerate as the disease progresses. Now, thanks to brain imaging technology, they have discovered that their method, which targets cells that produce specific brain chemicals, can also successfully stimulate another type of neuron through cell-to-cell interactions.  

Jan 23, 2020

In patients with neovascular age-related macular disease, a treat-and-extend ranibizumab regimen is not inferior to injections given at fixed intervals, plus it's more convenient, according to a new clinical trial. The goal in treating macular degeneration, the most common cause of blindness in the western world, is to maximize visual gains and minimize the burden of treatment and visits on patients and their families. 

Jan 23, 2020

Blood tests could replace menstrual periods as a gauge for when a woman is nearing menopause, according to new research published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. The study found measuring levels of anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) can predict when a woman’s final menstrual period will occur. AMH serves as an indicator of how many eggs a woman has remaining. Women are born with their lifetime supply of eggs, and the supply decreases as women approach menopause.

Jan 23, 2020

By combining genomic data and brain imaging data, scientists based at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine have identified a previously unknown gene that appears to contribute to the formation of amyloid-β plaques, a process that drives Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The gene, called FAM222A, encodes a protein that is expressed at high levels in the brain—both in mice that serve as Alzheimer’s models, and in patients with AD. Because the protein interacts with amyloid-β protein and accumulates in amyloid-β deposits, the Case Western scientists believe that inhibiting the newfound protein’s interaction with amyloid-β could interfere with plaque formation, and thereby slow AD.

Jan 22, 2020

A recent study suggests that heavy marijuana users who picked up the habit before age 16 have impaired driving skills even when they're not high. However the researchers added that chronic cannabis consumption starting later in life was not associated with worse performance behind the wheel. 

Jan 22, 2020

Thyroid eye disease is believed to occur in about 15,000 to 20,000 Americans annually, which is most often associated with hyperthyroidism or Graves' disease. The US FDA gas now given green signal to the monoclonal antibody teprotumumab (Tepezza, Horizon Therapeutics) for the treatment of adults with thyroid eye disease. The researchers added that by following this regime, significant improvements were also seen in other measured outcomes, including orbital pain, eyelid swelling, diplopia, and quality-of-life scores. 

Jan 22, 2020

According to result of a study published in JAMA, renal denervation with catheter ablation in patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation and hypertension significantly increased the likelihood of freedom from Atrial Fibrillation at 12 months compared with catheter ablation alone. The researchers added that procedural complications occurred in 4.7% of patients in the isolation-only group vs. 4.5% of those in the renal denervation group. 

Jan 22, 2020

Researchers from South Korea report that earlier normalization of alanine aminotransferase levels during treatment of chronic hepatitis B is independently associated with a reduced risk of hepatocellular carcinoma. During a median follow-up of 5.6 years, 509 patients (11%) developed hepatocellular carcinoma, for an annual incidence rate of 1.99 per 100 person-years and cumulative HCC risks of 5.1% at three years, 9.2% at five years and 18.8% at 10 years.