New York Times:
When Runners Go the Distance, but Races Don’t (Lela Moore)
When we hear about a road-race shortcut, many of us think of Rosie Ruiz, who notoriously cut into the final mile of the 1980 Boston Marathon to win the women’s title. But sometimes a racecourse is inadvertently shortened by human error — a misplaced traffic cone, say, or a confused but well-intentioned volunteer.
How Exercise May Help Us Fight Off Colds (Gretchen Reynolds)
Working out could help us fight off colds and other infections, according to a timely new study. The study, which found that regular exercise strengthens the body’s immune system in part by repeatedly stressing it, was conducted in animals. But the results most likely apply to people, the researchers say, and could offer further incentive for us to remain physically active this winter.
Ask Well: Blood Pressure Over Age 70 (Roni Caryn Rabin)
While there is debate over how aggressively high blood pressure should be treated in older patients, the definition of a healthy blood pressure does not change with age for the general population.
Normal blood pressure is a reading below 120/80. The top number, 120, is systolic pressure, when the heart beats and is pumping blood. The bottom number, 80, is diastolic pressure, when the heart is at rest between beats. A healthy blood pressure would be below both these numbers, indicating a low risk of heart attacks and stroke.
Martin Shkreli Arrested on Fraud Charges (Stephanie Clifford and Andrew Pollack)
Martin Shkreli, a pharmaceutical entrepreneur and former hedge fund manager who has been widely criticized for drug price gouging, was arrested Thursday morning by the federal authorities.
The investigation, in which Mr. Shkreli has been charged with securities fraud, is related to his time as a hedge fund manager and running the biopharmaceutical company Retrophin — not the price-gouging controversy that has swirled around him.
Wall Street Journal:
Martin Shkreli, Pharma Executive, Arrested on Fraud Charges (Christopher M. Matthews)
Pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli—who gained notoriety earlier this year for significantly raising prices on drugs—was arrested on charges of securities and wire fraud based on his former work at a hedge fund.
Spending Deal’s Adjustments to Health Law Seen as Step to Permanent Change (Louise Radnofsky)
The sweeping spending deal’s changes to the 2010 health law come with a relatively modest price tag. But both supporters and opponents of the provisions predict the deal will turn out to be a down payment on making them permanent—and that would have much bigger ramifications.
Valeant Pharmaceuticals Slashes Revenue, Earnings Guidance (Michael Rapoport)
Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. said its results would be sharply lower than previously expected, largely because of the end of its relationship with a mail-order pharmacy. But the company predicted its new distribution deal with Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. would help it recover quickly.
Report: Martin Shkreli, ‘Pharma Bro’ slammed for raising drug prices, arrested on security fraud charges (Michael E. Miller)
Martin Shkreli, the 32-year-old pharmaceutical chief executive who drew widespread outrage by raising the price of a life-saving pill by more than 5,000 percent, has been arrested on charges of security fraud, according to news reports.
The arrest, which was apparently witnessed by a Reuters reporter in Manhattan on Thursday morning, comes nearly a year after reports first surfaced that Shkreli was being investigated by U.S. prosecutors and the Securities and Exchange Commission, Bloomberg News reported.
Maternal exposure to anti-depressant SSRIs linked to autism in children (Ariana Eunjung Cha)
A new study provides some of the strongest evidence yet that using an antidepressant like Prozac, Paxil or Zoloft during the final two trimesters of pregancy may be linked to a higher risk of autism spectrum disorder for the child, but researchers said the results should be interpreted with caution.
Women still outnumbered in medical leadership by men with mustaches, study finds (Rachel Feltman)
If our headline made you think this study must be kind of a joke, you’re right! But it’s the kind of joke you have to laugh at to keep from crying. And it’s actually a real study.
Confused? Every year, the British Medical Journal puts out a special Christmas issue full of quirky (but still peer-reviewed) studies. They’re always offbeat and often quite small, but they’re all studies designed to make you chuckle. This year, one of the humorous studies brings up a serious topic: Sexism in science and medicine.
Joke’s on us. American teeth are as bad as British teeth, study says. (Ariana Eunjung Cha)
As a dental professional living in London, Richard Watt spent years watching as his colleagues became increasingly irritated with the constant jokes about “English teeth.” The most offensive mockery, the gleeful pop culture references that seemed to signal it’s okay to be mean as long as it’s about teeth and people from Great Britain, originated from their brothers and sisters across the Atlantic.
How A UI Can Help Treat Anxiety And Depression (John Brownlee)
Earlier this year, Robert Morris, an MIT graduate working on making health care accessible to everyone through technology, told us about his dissertation project: Koko, a kind of social network focused on mental health. Now, the so-called “Facebook for depression” is available to everyone.
Closing the Depression Treatment Gap in India, on Motorbikes (Thomson Reuters Foundation)
According to a 2011 study by the World Health Organization, India has highest rate of depression in the world, with 36 percent percent of the population reporting a major depressive episode. However, the entire nation only has around 3,500 trained psychiatrists—or, one for every 200,000 to 300,000 people—which has created a large treatment gap. To mitigate the issue, Dr. Vikram Patel co-founded Sangath, an NGO that trains anyone with a high-school degree to recognize symptoms of depression and administer counseling treatment. The therapists ride motorbikes to difficult-to-reach areas in Goa and provide home-based counseling to patients, as this short film by the Thomson Reuters Foundation explains. The program mirrors a global reaction to treating depression, as the WHO estimates that depression is on track to be the second leading cause of disability worldwide by 2020.
Why Some Conservatives Are Unhappy About Obamacare Cuts (Russell Berman)
Republicans scored their biggest victories against the Affordable Care Act in the tax-and-spending deal that congressional negotiators struck late Tuesday night: They won two-year delays in the collection of taxes on pricey health insurance plans and medical devices, along with a provision blocking what they say is a bailout of insurance companies.
Hospitals Aren’t the Only Ones Bleeding Stolen Health Records (Kaveh Waddell)
When hackers possibly stole the personal-health data of 10 million people from Excellus, a health-insurance company, it was just the most recent incident in a string of recent cyberattacks that targeted health-care companies.* This year, cyberattacks on Premera and UCLA Health Systems released millions more customers’ health records into the wild.
How Can Frail Seniors Who Live At Home Get Better Care? (Howard Gleckman)
We all want to live at home as we age. But while we may not want to admit it, getting the support we need can be much tougher at home than in a nursing home or assisted living facility.
For all their problems, nursing homes or residential care facilities can be an efficient way to deliver care to many people who live in one building or on one campus. Aides can visit multiple residents by walking down the hall. A community bus can provide transportation. Social supports and activities are readily at hand. Meals are available in the dining room. Compare that to people living in their homes. Yes, they live more independently and in familiar surroundings. And they don’t have to make their day fit with a facility’s schedule. But bringing them the assistance they need can be complicated and expensive. And it often suffers from a complete breakdown of coordination. How does an older adult living at home learn what services are available? And even if she knows, how does she make sure she gets help when she needs or wants it?
Devi Shetty, Who Put Heart Surgeries Within Reach Of India’s Poor, Is Taking Narayana Chain Public (Saritha Rai)
All eyes are on the IPO of Narayana Hrudayalaya, the Bangalore-based affordable healthcare chain founded by India’s best-known cardiac surgeon Dr. Devi Shetty, which opens tomorrow. Dr. Shetty, 62, pioneered inexpensive cardiac surgeries by creatively and efficiently driving down costs, thus putting life-saving surgeries within the means of thousands of poor Indians. That is particularly noteworthy in a country where healthcare is mainly delivered by as-yet small number of private healthcare operators while the government spend on healthcare is a scant 1.1 % of the GDP – compared with 18% in the United States.
Feds ask Supreme Court to stay out of lawsuit over Colorado marijuana (Trevor Hughes)
The federal government has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to avoid wading into a lawsuit brought by Oklahoma and Nebraska over Colorado’s legalized marijuana system. Oklahoma and Nebraska say Colorado’s legal marijuana system has created a flood of modern-day bootleggers who are buying pot in Colorado and then illegally crossing state lines. Oklahoma and Nebraska have sued Colorado, asking the Supreme Court to block the state’s legal marijuana system. Colorado asked the court to throw out the lawsuit, and the Supreme Court this fall asked the federal government to weigh in.
Hospital staffing ‘affects death rates’ (N/A)
Fewer patients die after emergency surgery in hospitals that have more doctors and nurses, a study suggests. The research, published in the British Journal of Anaesthesia, analysed data involving nearly 295,000 patients. The findings stood despite patients at these hospitals being sicker and suffering more complications.
Cancer is not just ‘bad luck’ but down to environment, study suggests (James Gallagher)
Cancer is overwhelmingly a result of environmental factors and not largely down to bad luck, a study suggests. Earlier this year, researchers sparked a debate after suggesting two-thirds of cancer types were down to luck rather than factors such as smoking. The new study, in the journal Nature, used four approaches to conclude only 10-30% of cancers were down to the way the body naturally functions or “luck”. Experts said the analysis was “pretty convincing”.
The Financial Times:
AstraZeneca adds 55% Acerta Pharma stake to swath of deals (Andrew Ward and Arash Massoudi)
AstraZeneca has agreed to buy a majority stake in Acerta Pharma with an option to take full control for up to $7bn, capping an intense period of dealmaking for the UK group as it races to refill its drugs portfolio. Acerta is a US-Dutch biotech company developing a promising blood cancer drug that would, if it reaches market, be a direct challenger to the Imbruvica treatment which prompted AbbVie to buy Pharmacyclics for $21bn in March.