Parkinson’s and depression drugs can alter moral judgment, study shows

The Guardian, 3 July 2015
Author: Hannah Devlin
“Common drugs for depression and Parkinson’s can sway people’s moral judgments about harming others, according to research that raises ethical questions about the use of the drugs.The scientists found that the dopamine-enhancing Parkinson’s drug, levodopa, made healthy people more selfish, wiping out the normal tendency to prefer to receive an electric shock themselves, while sparing those around them.”
Find article here.

‘Medics dream of minting money as medical education cost rises’

The Times of India, 2 July 2015
“Consumer activist Asha Idnani has a pet peeve against doctors. “Why do they charge thousands of rupees from a patient for a post-operation visit to his/her hospital room when all they do is ask the patient how he or she feels, check the file and breeze out,” she asked. She is not the only one. Given the incidence of attacks on doctors by patients or their relatives, it’s obvious that many share her unhappiness with the medical system in general and doctors in particular. The general belief seems to be that the once god-like doctor has metamorphosed into a commercial, profit-oriented businessman.”
Find article here.

Scientist behind fake HIV breakthrough sentenced to prison after spiking results

The Guardian, 2 July 2015
Author: Associated Press in Des Moines, Iowa
“A former Iowa State University scientist who altered blood samples to make it appear he had achieved a breakthrough toward a potential vaccine against HIV was sentenced on Wednesday to more than four and a half years in prison for making false statements in research reports.”
Find article here.

In hunt for new treatments, nonprofits are acting like venture capitalists

Washington Post, 2 July 2015
Author: Brady Dennis
“By the late 1990s, the Bethesda-based Cystic Fibrosis Foundation had spent decades searching for ways to alter the course of the deadly lung disease. Researchers had identified the genetic cause of the condition a decade earlier. But frustrated that no game-changing treatments were in sight, the group’s leaders in 1999 placed what many considered a risky bet, deciding to invest millions of dollars in a small California biotech firm. The foundation’s president, believed that putting money into drug companies directly, rather than merely making grants to academic investigators, might persuade the industry to focus on the disease and turn existing research into real-world treatments.”
Find article here.

Washington reports first U.S. measles death in 12 years

CNN, 2 July 2015
Author: Dana Ford
“The Washington State Department of Health reported Thursday what it said was the first confirmed measles death in the United States since 2003. Authorities said the woman was likely exposed to measles at a local health facility during a recent outbreak in Clallam County. She died in the spring. The measles infection was discovered during an autopsy.”
Find article here.

For first time, gene therapy shows promise in cystic fibrosis

Reuters, 3 July 2015
Author: Kate Kelland
“Scientists conducting a major trial of a therapy that replaces the faulty gene responsible for cystic fibrosis say the treatment has showed significant benefit for the first time in patients’ lung function. The results were “encouraging” but the effect was inconsistent, with some patients responding better than others, the gene therapy was not ready for regular clinical use.”
Find article here.

How The Feds Discourage Prescription Drug Competition

Forbes, 1 July 2015
Author: Scott Gottlieb
“There’s a growing refrain among those who pay for healthcare services that they want new products to deliver more value. When it comes to prescription drugs, this is usually interpreted to mean medicines that provide more benefit, at lower costs per increment of clinical advantage. But pharmaceutical competition usually turns on claims of absolute efficacy rather than the relative and comparative merits of a medicine. There is one obvious reason.”
Find article here.

Antibody wipeout found to relieve chronic fatigue syndrome

New Scientist, 1 July
Author: Andy Coghlan
“Karen (not her real name) experienced relief from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) while taking a drug that is usually used to treat the blood cancer lymphoma and rheumatoid arthritis. She was one of 18 people with CFS who reported improvements after taking rituximab as part of a small trial in Bergen, Norway. The results could lead to new treatments for the condition.”
Find article here.

What does marriage equality mean for the Australian health system?

Croakey, 2 July 2015
Author: Jennifer Doggett
“The recent decision by the Supreme Court of the US (SCOTUS) on marriage equality has been heralded as a milestone in addressing discrimination against people in same-sex partnerships and also broader issues of injustice affecting the lesbian, gay and bi-sexual, transgender, intersex, queer and allied (LGBTIQA) communities. The implications for health care may not seem immediately obvious but as the author of the article below argues, “equality cannot happen without access to healthcare”.
Find article here.

Sugary Drinks Linked To Many Thousands Of Deaths Globally

Forbes, 30 June 2015
Author: Alice G. Walton
“Researchers from rom Tufts University calculate that sugary drinks alone are responsible for many thousands of deaths per year. And this adds to an increasing shift in the nutritional tide. Dietary fat – which was once the biggest culprit – is now getting a reprieve, as the upper limit on fat intake has just been scrapped in the new dietary guidelines. And sugar, which we always knew wasn’t great for us, is increasingly being linked not only to obesity, but to various chronic illnesses, and even to death.”
Find article here.