Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 5:27 am
This week in Seattle, Bill and Melinda Gates are attending a meeting of the minds.
Five-hundred of the world's top innovators in global health have gathered for the Global Health Product Development Forum, an annual event in which scientists, engineers, policymakers and activists work to develop new tools for fighting diseases.
The launch of Sovaldi, the $1,000-a-day pill for hepatitis C, is shaping up as the most successful ever.
The Food and Drug Administration approved the pill in December. And then Gilead Sciences was off to the races. The company said it sold $2.27 billion worth of Sovaldi in the quarter that ended March 31. $2.27 billion!
Maybe you turn up your music when your neighbor complains about the noise.
Or maybe you curse a baby princess because you didn't get invited to her christening, as in "Sleeping Beauty" and its latest incarnation, the upcoming movie "Maleficent."
To see spite in its purest form, try brunch in New York. At the hippest restaurants, patrons will linger at their tables long after they've paid the bill, just to show those losers on the wait list who's boss – even though they're wasting their own time in the process.
A little education goes a long way toward ensuring you'll recover from a serious traumatic brain injury. In fact, people with lots of education are seven times more likely than high school dropouts to have no measurable disability a year later.
The pharmaceutical industry is undergoing some sweeping changes so the past few days, some major deals have been announced. The first involving a trio of big named companies: GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis and Ely Lily. The second is a proposed deal between Quebec-based Valeant Pharmaceuticals and California's Allergan, the maker of Botox. That deal is valued at $45 billion. NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.
Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 2:44 pm
You may have heard that dollar bills harbor trace amounts of drugs.
But those greenbacks in your wallet are hiding far more than cocaine and the flu. They're teeming with life.
Each dollar bill carries about 3,000 types of bacteria on its surface, scientists have found. Most are harmless. But cash also has DNA from drug-resistant microbes. And your wad of dough may even have a smudge of anthrax and diphtheria.
In other words, your wallet is a portable petri dish.
Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 9:08 am
When a patient who has had a stroke enters the emergency room, it's a race against the clock.
Those who receive the clotbusting drug tPA within 60 minutes of experiencing stroke symptoms have the best chance of avoiding brain damage or death, but studies show that only 30 percent of patients eligible for treatment with the drug get it within this "golden hour."
A key government panel Tuesday voted unanimously against approval of a powerful opioid prescription painkiller intended to provide faster relief with fewer side effects.
At the conclusion of a hearing, the Food and Drug Administration advisory committee voted 14-0 against recommending that the agency approve Moxduo, the first drug to combine morphine and oxycodone into one capsule.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'd like to thank Celeste Headlee for sitting in for me while I was away. On the program today, we are focusing on some interesting health issues that might be on your mind after a week of holiday meals and family gatherings.
Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 7:46 am
People who qualified for subsidies under the Affordable Care Act aren't necessarily locked into the plan they chose. And that can be good news for people whose income fluctuates during the year. Here's our response to the latest reader questions on coverage through the health exchanges.
The Food and Drug Administration is trying to decide whether to approve a powerful new prescription painkiller that's designed to relieve severe pain quickly, and with fewer side effects than other opioids.
While some pain experts say the medicine could provide a valuable alternative for some patients in intense pain, the drug (called Moxduo) is also prompting concern that it could exacerbate the epidemic of abuse of prescription painkillers and overdoses.
Questions are swirling around a science journal's decision last year to publish a description of a newly discovered botulinum toxin while omitting key genetic details that researchers would normally disclose.
The unusual case highlights important unresolved issues in how to balance scientific openness with the worry that biological information could potentially be misused.
Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 7:46 am
There's growing concern that the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome may have entered a new phase in the way it's spreading in Saudi Arabia.
The country has reported a sharp uptick in MERS cases over the past week. Since the deadly respiratory virus was first detected in September 2012, a total of 244 cases have been found in Saudi Arabia. About 50 of those cases were reported in the past six days.
Neighboring United Arab Emirates has also reported a rise in cases in the past week.
Several bio-tech companies are developing exoskeletons that give people superhuman abilities. These robotic suits are also doing something simpler: They're helping people who are paralyzed, including many veterans, stand up and walk. As Erin Toner of WUWM reports, the technology helps improve patients' mental and physical health, but it's far from changing their lives entirely.
Pregnant women addicted to illegal narcotics or prescription pain pills could soon be jailed in Tennessee under a bill awaiting the governor's signature. The strict proposal enjoys bipartisan support — despite objections from doctors.
Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 7:36 pm
When University of Connecticut star basketball player Shabazz Napier told reporters right after winning the NCAA Division I men's basketball national championship he sometimes went to bed hungry, you could almost hear the collective gasp from mothers around the country.
Like many other doctors across the country, Dr. Devesh Ramnath, a Dallas orthopedic surgeon, recently made the switch from paper to electronic medical records. This meant he no longer had to just take notes when he was examining a patient — he also had to put those notes into the computer as a permanent record.
"I was really focused on just trying to get the information in, and not really focusing on the patient anymore," Ramnath says.
The online magazine Ozy covers people, places and trends on the horizon. Co-founder Carlos Watson joins All Things Considered regularly to tell us about the site's latest discoveries.
This week, Watson tells about a fake hospital that's testing out high- and low-tech gadgets for real medical discoveries. They also discuss a Los Angeles project seeking to transform vacant lots into parks.
What often gets lost in the new about the heroine epidemic and the rising number of fatal overdoses is how hard some addicts are trying to get clean. Karen Brown of New England Public Radio has been following one young man as he seeks not only recovery, but redemption with some unlikely help.
KAREN BROWN: Nina Rossi and Lance Rice are sipping tea at her kitchen table talking about their mutual love of good food.
LANCE RICE: Last night we had steak and a fruit salad, and I don't know what the other thing was.
Health officials in Columbus, Ohio, are calling the city's mumps outbreak the biggest since the development of the mumps vaccine in the 1940s.
Columbus generally gets an average of one case of mumps a year, but since February, there have been 244 cases reported in an outbreak that began on the Ohio State University campus. Most had already been vaccinated.
Originally published on Sat April 19, 2014 6:56 pm
What doesn't kill us only makes us stronger, right? Well, not when it comes to bullying.
Some may still consider bullying a harmless part of growing up, but mounting evidence suggests that the adverse effects of being bullied aren't something kids can just shake off. The psychological and physical tolls, like anxiety and depression, can follow a person into early adulthood.
A survey of emergency contraceptives in Lima, Peru, turned up worrying results: More than a quarter were either counterfeit or defective.
Some of the morning-after pills tested contained too little of the active ingredient, or none at all. Other pills contained another drug altogether, researchers reported Friday in the journal PLOS ONE.
In the early 1990s, a young brain researcher named Ivan Soltesz heard a story that would shape his career.
His adviser told him about a school for children whose epileptic seizures were so severe and frequent that they had to wear helmets to prevent head injuries. The only exception to the helmet rule was for students who received an award.
"The big deal for them is that they can take the helmet off while they're walking across the stage," Soltesz says. "And that thing struck me as just wrong."