ASPPH FRIDAY LETTER - Children are at a considerable disadvantage when competing with adults for livers from deceased organ donors in the U.S. allocation system. “Using national, long-term data, our report is the first to demonstrate that the scoring system, on its own, dramatically underestimates the risk of death in the next 90 days and, thereby, disadvantages children," says HPM chair MARK ROBERTS.
SCIENCE - In an effort to understand the epidemic dynamics and perhaps predict its future course, Pitt Public Health researchers analyzed records of nearly 600,000 overdose deaths. Dean DONALD BURKE, HPM's HAWRE JALAL, and colleagues concluded that the U.S. drug overdose epidemic has been inexorably tracking along an exponential growth curve since at least 1979.
Noble Maseru of the Center for Health Equity joined a panel discussion entitled "Human Rights in Pittsburgh and the World: Assessing Human Rights Impacts, Limitations, and Prospects at the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)". Maseru challenged the audience of students and community members to understand health equity as a human right.
OBSERVER REPORTER - Sen. Pat Toomey helped write some of the provisions for the Opioid Crisis Response Act, a collection of 70 points rolled into one bill meant to fight the opioid epidemic. The bill will offer $4.7 billion over the next few years to fund programs to help battle the epidemic. One measure in the bill, to which the Pitt Public Health research contributed, is the monitoring of victims of nonfatal overdoses who use Medicare.
HEALIO - According to a new study, when adjusting for additional clinical and social variables, hospital variation in readmission rates are reduced. “In several pay-for-performance programs, Medicare ties payments to readmission rates but accounts only for a limited set of patient characteristics — and no measures of social risk — when assessing performance of health care providers,” said HPM's ERIC ROBERTS, and colleagues.
WPXI - TV - We've long heard that an aspirin a day can help lower the risk of heart disease. A new study using participants from Pittsburgh suggests that isn't always the case. The study looked at 19,000 people worldwide, including 178 people from Pittsburgh. "People who took aspirin and people who did not take aspirin had an equal likelihood of having a long healthy life," said EPI's ANNE NEWMAN.
The Health Sciences Library System has created a new program called Spotlight Series: Software Developed @ Pitt. This program focuses on software developed by Pitt health sciences researchers. DAVID SINCLAIR, PHDL post-doctoral researcher/programmer, will present at the first session on “FRED: A versatile Framework for Modeling Infectious Diseases and Other Health Conditions.”
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE - The Carnege Science Center held their Ladies Hospital Aid Society Gala last week. EOH chair SALLY WENZEL and 5 other doctors were honored with the 2018 Trailblazer award for advancing the cause of medicine in their fields. Each of them were surprised with $20,000 to help further their research.
HEALIO - During a shortage, drug prices increase two times as quickly as they would have in the absence of a shortage, according to findings published in Annals of Internal Medicine. “Prescription drug shortages may result in substitution of less effective drugs, delays in necessary treatments, and omission of or reductions in doses,” INMACULADA HERNANDEZ (HPM '16) and colleagues wrote.
NBC - Children who need lifesaving liver transplants are losing out to adults. A system used to determine who is most in need of a transplant significantly underestimates the risk of death for younger children with liver disease, a Pitt Public Health study found. Senior author and HPM chair, MARK ROBERTS, said, "pediatric transplant physicians have long recognized the scoring system isn’t adequate when comparing children to adults."
BIOPHARMA DIVE - More than 90 organizations, predominantly patient groups, criticized CVS Caremark's decision last month to incorporate value-based drug pricing analyses in some of its coverage choices, urging the company to reconsider in a Sept. 12 letter addressed to CVS CEO Larry Merlo. HPM's WALID GELLAD told BioPharma Dive that the actual action being debated may not be so severe.
TIME - Omega-3 is easily the most popular supplement in America. “We have a lot of evidence that omega-3’s may have favorable effects on the brain, but the evidence on dietary intakes and supplements is inconclusive,” says Aron Barbey at the University of Illinois. MATTHEW MULDOON (EPI '94), says “the high numbers of people taking supplements would probably be better off spending money on getting fish into their diets.”
MEDPAGE TODAY - Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) has been associated with cognitive and behavioral changes, especially later in the disease. However a cross-sectional, observational study published in Neurology, found that patients with ALS showed cognitive and behavioral impairment across disease stages. This misconception has "puzzled the field for years," noted Paul Wicks and BCHS's STEVE ALBERT in an accompanying editorial.
NASHVILLE LEDGER - Brentwood-based Quorum Health Corporation's board of directors has appointed JON KAPLAN (EPI '80) as an independent, non-employee director. Kaplan has extensive business experience consulting and advising health care companies. Since 2007, he has served as a senior partner and managing director of the Boston Consulting Group, Inc. Congratulations Jon!
POLITICO - The Senate is expected to pass a sweeping opioid crisis response package this week, paving the way for a final agreement between the two chambers. Even without direct savings, patients could benefit from lowered costs of hospital-administered drugs if the hospitals use that money to increase other services, says HPM's WALID GELLAD.
US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT - A 2005 report from the National Alliance on Caregiving suggested the U.S. has about 1.4 million youth caregivers between the ages of 8 and 18. Most are helping an older adult who has a chronic disease such as dementia, heart disease, or diabetes. “It may be a strategy of having the grandchild help you with activities that make your life easier so you can concentrate on the grandparent,” says EPI and BCHS's RICHARD SCHU...
NEW YORK TIMES - One of the world’s top breast cancer doctors failed to disclose millions of dollars in payments from drug and health care companies in recent years, omitting his financial ties from dozens of research articles in prestigious publications like The New England Journal of Medicine and The Lancet. “If leaders don’t follow the rules, then we don’t really have rules,” says HPM's WALID GELLAD.
PITTSBURGH BUSINESS TIMES - The winners of Pittsburgh Business Times’ 30 Under 30 awards program represent a diverse group of young professionals who are being recognized as up-and-coming executives, innovators, and thought leaders who will shape the future of Pittsburgh. ABBY MILES (HPM '13), manager of business analytics at Jewish Association on Aging is among the 2018 class.
WRCB-TV - The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends vaccine shots, instead of needle-free options, for children of all ages because the shots work better. UPMC is taking that a step further, saying it will only be buying the two egg-free vaccines on the market. “The egg-free vaccines appear to have perhaps a 10 percent higher effectiveness over the traditional egg-based vaccines,” said BCHS's RICHARD ZIMMERMAN.
THE INCLINE - Out of dozens of nominations, SARAH PAPPERMAN (BCHS '15) was selected among 17 individuals for the What's Next: Transit class of 2018 for impacting how Pittsburghers get around. Papperman co-facilitates the Age-Friendly Greater Pittsburgh transportation working group and is redefining transportation for people with mobility challenges in Allegheny County.