Health care updates, July 30



Prestigious US journal gets a new web site
The New England Journal of Medicine, one of the most prestigious journals in the world, has a new site with better accessibility, more interactivity, and better search engine to help doctors deliver quality health care. Check out the new www.NEJM.org.

The Path to Personalized Medicine
This perspective article published in NEJM was authored by 2 health care experts, Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg, commissioner of the US FDA and Dr. Francis S. Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The article discusses the pathway to personalized medicine and how basic, translational, and regulatory science work hand in hand towards this goal. The authors wrote:

“… the NIH and the FDA will develop a more integrated pathway that connects all the steps between the identification of a potential therapeutic target by academic researchers and the approval of a therapy for clinical use. This pathway will include NIH-supported centers where researchers can screen thousands of chemicals to find potential drug candidates, as well as public–private partnerships to help move candidate compounds into commercial development…”

U.S. experts back AstraZeneca blood thinner
Good news for AstraZeneca. A US FDA panel recommends the approval of Brilinta, the company’s new blood-thinning agent that supposedly can help prevent deaths and heart attacks. This is welcome news to AstraZeneca as the company faces lawsuits as well as expiration of the patents of their bestselling drugs.

The panel vote was a welcome surprise as data from US clinical trials were initially not so convincing compared to its competitors. Although final approval hasn’t been announced yet, experts believe the US FDA will follow the panel’s recommendations.

Inequalities in mortality in Britain today greater than those during 1930s economic depression
How can this be true? Disparities in premature mortality among the British population are worse than ever. Worse, in fact, than what was reported during the great depression in the 1930s. This is according to a study by researchers at the University of Bristol and the University of Sheffield. The researchers believe the inequalities are due to the widening gap in wealth and income. The authors report:

Although life expectancy for all people is increasing, the gap between the best and worst districts is continuing to increase. The economic crash of 2008 might precede even greater inequalities in mortality between areas in Britain.”

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.
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