New York Times:
Early Detection of Ovarian Cancer May Become Possible (Denise Grady)
A new version of a screening test for ovarian cancer may reduce deaths from the disease, but it needs more study to determine whether the benefits hold up, researchers reported on Thursday.
Liquor Taxes and Sexually Transmitted Infections (Nicholas Bakalar)
Maryland increased its liquor taxes in 2011 and a sharp decrease in the rate of new gonorrhea infections immediately followed. Researchers have determined that the two events are closely linked.
Love on the Hospital Walls (Mikkael A. Sekeres, M.D.)
The patient I was caring for, a woman in her 40s with leukemia, had been admitted to the hospital for the second of four monthly courses of chemotherapy. She was sitting quietly in a chair by the window of her hospital room, dressed in her street clothes and flipping through some photos on her iPad. The cancer drugs dripped from a clear bag hanging on a nearby IV pole through clear plastic tubing into the catheter in her arm.
Wall Street Journal:
Samsung’s Bet on Biotechnology Is Test for Heir Apparent (Jonathan Cheng and Min-Jeon Lee)
SONGDO, South Korea—In a 740,000-square-foot production facility here, Samsung machines are humming day and night to churn out an unlikely product for the world’s largest maker of smartphones: cancer drugs developed by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.
AstraZeneca to Buy Stake in Acerta Pharma (Ian Walker and Denise Roland)
AstraZeneca PLC on Thursday said it would buy a 55% stake in biotech company Acerta Pharma for $4 billion, in the U.K. drugmaker’s latest effort to rebuild its pipeline.
Kaiser Permanente to Launch Medical School (Anna Wilde Mathews)
Kaiser Permanente will launch a medical school focused on training students in its integrated style of care, in the latest sign of growing efforts to expand and reshape traditional physician education.
When Does Gratitude Bring Better Health? (Susan Pinker)
During the holiday season, gifts, cards, carols and donations constantly urge us to give thanks. But gratitude really can have beneficial psychological effects.
Does Matcha Beat Green Tea in Health Benefits? (Laura Johannes)
The Claim: Matcha, a bright green powder made from tea leaves, is mixed with water and consumed entirely, unlike with brewed tea where the leaves are left behind. The result is that matcha delivers more nutrients, including antioxidants—which may help prevent cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, say companies that sell the tea.
Cancer-Care Giant Agrees to Pay $19.75 Million to Settle Medicare Billing Probe (John Carreyrou)
Cancer-care giant 21st Century Oncology Holdings Inc. agreed to pay $19.75 million to settle civil allegations by the Justice Department that its doctors performed a bladder-cancer test on Medicare patients more often than medically necessary, according to people close to the investigation.
The company’s high Medicare billings for the lab test were the subject
After losing 200 pounds, app creator aims to turn monotonous exercise into fun (Des Bieler)
Arya Farzin used to be big. Now he just dreams big. The 28-year-old Bethesda resident, who lost 200 pounds several years ago and went on to become a personal trainer, is trying to “do something great for the fitness industry.” To that end, he and a partner have created a free mobile app called Heat Running, which aims to turn monotonous exercise into a fun, rewarding contest.
What happens when you send a ‘Star Wars’ superfan to a lightsaber workout class (Carlos Lozada)
The Washington Sports Club in Bethesda — you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.
Well, actually, no — the staff seemed entirely nice and professional. But entering a dimly lit workout studio on the bottom floor, piped with background music, I remembered the Mos Eisley cantina, where Obi-Wan flashed some sweet lightsaber skills in slicing off the arm of a drunk Aqualish who was harassing young Luke Skywalker.
Fight against superbugs gets dramatic funding boost under congressional budget plan (Lena H. Sun)
Federal agencies engaged in the battle against deadly superbugs would get their biggest funding increase ever in the congressional spending deal unveiled this week. The budget blueprint would provide at least $375 million in new funds for the 2016 fiscal year to fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria, one of the biggest health threats facing the United States and the rest of the world.
Congress to FDA: No genetically engineered salmon in supermarkets until there’s a plan to label it (Brady Dennis)
The sprawling federal spending bill unveiled this week on Capitol Hill included a small passage with potentially big implications in the food world. In two paragraphs on page 106, lawmakers instructed the Food and Drug Administration to forbid the sale of genetically engineered salmon until the agency puts in place labeling guidelines and “a program to disclose to consumers” whether a fish has been genetically altered.
Study: Up to 90 percent of cancers not ‘bad luck,’ but due to lifestyle choices, environment (Ariana Eunjung Cha)
Scientists have long agreed that a person’s risk of getting cancer comes down to a mix of genes, lifestyle, environment thrown in with some measure of chance. But the relative importance of each factor has never been settled.
Genetically engineered salmon must be labeled, Congress tells FDA (Brady Dennis)
The sprawling federal spending bill unveiled this week on Capitol Hill included a small passage with potentially big implications in the food world.
Building a culture of self-improvement (Jared Lindzon)
After an alcohol-induced coma hospitalized her for nearly two months, she enrolled in Alcoholics Anonymous, and began the long road toward recovery. Less than three years later, she was a homeowner with a 401(k), travel plans, and a new life.
Tomorrow’s Heart Drugs Might Target Gut Microbes (Ed Yong)
If your cholesterol levels are high, your doctor might prescribe you a statin, a drug that blocks one of the enzymes involved in creating cholesterol. But in the future, she might also prescribe a second drug that technically doesn’t target your body at all. Instead, it would manipulate the microbes in your gut.
The Oprah Effect Boosts Humana’s Weight Watchers Enrollment (Bruce Jaspen)
A partnership between health insurance giant Humana HUM +0.29% and Weight Watchers to improve employee wellness and battle the nation’s costly obesity epidemic got a significant boost following the buzz surrounding billionaire media mogul Oprah Winfrey’s investment in the weight management specialist.
How Malcolm Gladwell, Atul Gawande And Others Inspired Me This Year (Robert Pearl, M.D.)
In the course of writing this column, I have had the opportunity to talk with patients, physicians, authors, academics and business leaders. With 2015 drawing to a close, I want to highlight some of the lessons I have learned from six internationally recognized thought leaders. Each has greatly influenced my thinking and writing.
Cancer May Be More Within Our Control Than We Thought (Alice G. Walton)
We all know that cancer’s development has to do with some combination of luck–the genes we inherit–and lifestyle–the choices we make each day about diet and exercise, smoking and drinking. But a study earlier in the year in Science had suggested, disturbingly, that cancer may be much more a matter of “bad luck” or random mutation than anything else, which was widely interpreted to mean that no amount of exercise or kale can offset what’s destined to occur or what randomly occurs in our genes.
Here Is What Martin Shkreli Said About Prosecutors Before He Was Arrested (Matthew Herper)
Martin Shkreli, who became a symbol of pharmaceutical avarice for raising the price of a lifesaving drug 50-fold, was arrested by federal agents early this morning in his Manhattan home. Federal prosecutors will be holding a press conference about his indictment early this afternoon.
Fraud Charges Earn Martin Shkreli A New Insult: Comparisons To Bernie Madoff (Michael Bobelian)
Back in September, Martin Shkreli made headlines when the company he headed, Turing Pharmaceuticals, raised the price of a drug used to treat patients suffering from an obscure parasite that attacks people with weakened immune systems from $13.50 to $750 a pill. The decision to raise prices on a decades-old drug Turing had acquired from another company a month earlier generated widespread condemnation.
How Investing In Mental Health Reaps Positive Societal Rewards (Tori Utley)
Although stigma exists around mental health, it is not without opposition. There are many advocate groups gaining headway in reducing disparities and promoting social reform within the mental health sector. Stigma has been a seemingly uphill battle for all who have experienced a mental health condition or who have known someone facing these challenges. Despite the struggle, economic statistics continue to show that we should all be taking mental health seriously for the sake of our economy.
One Year Update Of Indiana’s Medicaid Expansion (Josh Archambault)
Last January, Indiana Governor Mike Pence reached a dealwith the Obama administration to expand Medicaid under Obamacare. After nearly a year of operation, the data is in, and the early outcomes of the program’s rollout are finally setting in. The results so far have been little personal responsibility for enrollees and higher costs for taxpayers. Other states considering a similar designed expansion should think twice.
Shkreli, CEO slammed over drug prices, $5M bond (Nathan Bomey, Kevin McCoy and Kim Hjelmgaard)
The reviled poster boy of drug price hikes perpetuated a Ponzi scheme on investors in hedge funds and a pharmaceutical company he founded and previously led, federal prosecutors and regulators alleged Thursday.
Health effects of red wine: Where do we stand (Carina Storrs)
Red wine, you have been many things to us over the years. A drink for royalty, a forbidden beverage for women, fuel for a bachelor weekend bender in the movie “Sideways.”
9 health questions people asked Google in 2015 (Kathleen Mulpeter)
Chances are, one of the first places you turn for quick information on everything from that new diet fad to a troubling rash to a cough that won’t quit is your handy search engine (although if you have a medical concern, there’s no substitute for an IRL appointment with your doctor). So we asked the experts at Google to share the most popular health-related searches of the past year with us.
Ovarian cancer: Screening may cut deaths by a fifth (James Gallagher)
Doctors say there is now “encouraging” evidence that an annual blood test may cut ovarian cancer deaths by a fifth. Ovarian tumours are often deadly as they are caught too late. A 14-year study on 200,000 women, published in the Lancet, has been welcomed as a potentially landmark moment in cancer screening.
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”.
Pharma boss Martin Shkreli arrested on fraud charges (N/A)
Representatives for pharmaceutical boss Martin Shkreli, who sparked outrage after hiking up the price of a medicine used by Aids patients, say he strongly denies fraud charges.
Avon strikes deal with Cerberus for $605m (£406m) investment (N/A)
International cosmetic brand Avon said it had reached an agreement with a private investment firm designed to boost the company’s performance.