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.
Pitt Public Health is one of the host sites for the upcoming Pennsylvania Opioid Code-a-thon, running via virtual videoconferencing in Philadelphia, Harrisburg, and Pittsburgh. Using data, content, and questions developed by the state and other organizers, teams will compete to create new software tools to help Pennsylvania address an issue related to the opioid epidemic, and then pitch their product to a team of judges.
The Jewish Healthcare Foundation approved a two-year, $300,000 grant to establish a Healthy Aging Program within the Aging Institute of UPMC Senior Services and the University of Pittsburgh. The program aims to modify the aging trajectory for seniors, identifying the key characteristics of aging and developing new interventions that enhance quality of life for older adults. ANNE NEWMAN, EPI professor, is the clinical director.
INFECTIOUS DISEASE ADVISOR - "Depending on whether they've been diagnosed and treated, people with HIV now have a higher life expectancy, but they still live with pain — especially chronic pain — and other symptoms," says BCHS's JESSICA MERLIN. These issues underscore the need for palliative care in this population at various stages, including end of life.
PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER - With the help of a $3.8 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health, Carnegie Mellon University's Marcel Just and EPI's DAVID BRENT will analyze the differences in brain scans of suicidal and non-suicidal young adults to detect those most at risk and develop personalized therapies. "It could give us a window into the suicidal mind that we don't have now," Brent said.
PBS - After controlling for certain lifestyle factors, a 2010 investigation found that workers exposed to 0.6 to 2.5 parts per million of formaldehyde had fewer red and white blood cells and a higher prevalence of DNA mutations in the blood stem cells. BERNARD GOLDSTEIN, EOH professor said the mutations found in these studies resemble ones made by benzene, a known leukemia-causing agent that also lowers blood counts.
BIOPHARMA DRIVE - Scott Gotlieb, FDA commissioner, has been very vocal on twitter as a way to communicate the FDA's goals and to invite public comment and scrutiny. Stakeholders both inside and outside the agency have given Gottlieb credit for both transparency and effort. However, there are risks to the volume and pace of Gottlieb's methods, says HPM's WALID GELLAD.
NEW YORK TIMES - A group of economists is suggesting that many small tweaks, such as reigning in long-term care hospitals, could tame health care spending. HPM's JEREMY KAHN said there are some patients with particular ailments who benefit from the setting, but agreed with the economists that the hospitals are a historical accident, defined more by payment rules than patient needs.