Research Desk

Jul 19, 2019

According to a new report from the independent national healthcare watchdog organization, majority hospitals do not meet the Leapfrog Group's minimum hospital or surgeon volume standards for safety and they also do not have adequate policies to monitor appropriateness. Out of the eight high risk procedures that were assessed, very few hospitals met the volume standard for patient safety especially in cases of open abdominal aortic aneurysm repair and esophageal resection. 

Jul 19, 2019

The IRS issued guidance that makes it easier for patients enrolled in high-deductible health plans to get coverage for medications and drugs to treat chronic illnesses, including asthma, congestive heart failure, and diabetes. The guidance noted that patients with certain chronic conditions face cost barriers that prevent them from seeking necessary care. Failing to address those needs often leads to consequences such as heart attacks and strokes that require even more medical care.

Jul 18, 2019

According to a new report, the CVS and Atena merger will head back to the Federal Court on Friday and Judge Leon will be hearing oral arguments from five states which are in support of this consolidation. The court review has dragged on since November ever since the two companies closed their deals. 

Jul 18, 2019

Treatments for Parkinson’s disease have most recently focused on increasing dopamine, a chemical messenger in the brain that affects reward-based behaviors and motivation, as well as movement. A new study by Yale researchers challenges long-held assumptions about dopamine’s sole role in this disorder. In people with Parkinson’s disease, nerve cells that produce dopamine slowly die. The loss of dopamine leads to slower movements, resting tremors, and other symptoms that worsen over time. To reverse parkinsonism — the collection of symptoms seen in Parkinson’s disease — doctors provide a treatment that increases dopamine levels in the striatum, a portion of the brain that is responsible for motor learning. However, medical treatments do not consider the effects of parkinsonism on another neurotransmitter, acetylcholine.

Jul 18, 2019

New age-related macular degeneration (AMD) develops in about a quarter of fellow eyes to those treated for neovascular AMD with intravitreal anti-VEGF agents, according to a post hoc analysis of the VIEW 1 and VIEW 2 studies. Patients with neovascular AMD in one eye should be followed regularly to check for subtle clinical and imaging findings indicating conversion in their fellow eye. Early detection is critical, since eyes treated early in the disease course will likely experience better visual outcomes than those diagnosed at a more advanced stage. The reported rates of conversion to choroidal neovascularization (CNV) in the fellow eye of patients with unilateral neovascular AMD are as high as 38.7% over 5 years, and some have suggested that systemic outcomes of intravitreal anti-VEGF therapy could reduce this risk.

 

Jul 18, 2019

A promising new way to treat some types of cancer is to program the patient’s own T cells to destroy the cancerous cells. This approach, termed CAR-T cell therapy, is now used to combat some types of leukemia, but so far it has not worked well against solid tumors such as lung or breast tumors. MIT researchers have now devised a way to super-charge this therapy so that it could be used as a weapon against nearly any type of cancer. The research team developed a vaccine that dramatically boosts the antitumor T cell population and allows the cells to vigorously invade solid tumors.

Jul 18, 2019

One in eight women who receive an organ transplant may develop lower genital tract dysplasia, a retrospective study reveals. High-grade non-cervical lesions appear to be as common as high-grade cervical lesions (3.3% vs. 3.6% of women). Providers taking care of women who have undergone transplantation should be aware of the risk of vulvar, vaginal and anal dysplasia," she said. "Furthermore, given this incidence, comprehensive lower genital tract exams should be performed, with biopsy as indicated, in order to diagnose lesions at a precancerous state.

Jul 18, 2019

Stanford researchers have uncovered how a genetic mutation contributes to a heart disease known as familial dilated cardiomyopathy. Existing drugs correct the defect in heart cells grown in a petri dish, suggesting a new therapeutic target. A genetic mutation linked to dilated cardiomyopathy, a dangerous enlargement of the heart’s main pumping chamber, activates a biological pathway normally turned off in healthy adult hearts, according to a study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Jul 17, 2019

A district court found that there was no federal question jurisdiction over state law-based claims against a pacemaker manufacturer simply because pacemaker was a Class III medical device subject to FDA approval. The court held that the federal question at issue was significant to the parties but did not "transcend the parties, affect the government’s operations, or challenge federal law in a manner evidencing the importance of the issue to the federal system as a whole".

 

Jul 17, 2019

The death rate in Scotland is now more than three times that of England and Wales. Scotland’s drug-related death toll has increased by 27% over the past year to reach a record high of 1,187, putting the country on a par in terms of the fatality rate per capita with the United States, where synthetic opioids such as fentanyl have devastated drug-using populations.