The Friday Roundup is a collection of five stories that you need to know about each week. From policy to innovations, look to us to keep you up to date on what’s happening in the healthcare industry.
Do You Hear What I Hear?
A new study, featuring everyone’s favorite gene editing technology CRISPR, shows it can be effectively used to treat hearing loss. Researchers used the Cas-9 variation to remove a mutated gene in mice that caused hearing loss.
About 40 million Americans experience hearing loss, and currently, there are no drug treatments, only cochlear implants and hearing aids. Though it’s only a mouse study, it is the first to illustrate hearing loss reversal in animals and researchers in China will soon attempt the same process with pigs to see if it is viable across species.
New Treatment Give Glioblastoma Patients Hope
Another study revealed a nontraditional treatment for patients with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. The treatment uses a bathing cap-like device to stimulate electric fields in the brain. In the study, 695 patients were treated, some with just chemotherapy and some with the additional electric field simulations.
The sole chemotherapy group lived 16 months from the start of the study compared to 20.9 months for those who received the electric field treatment. Though this may seem like a short amount of time, glioblastoma patients are eager for any hope. The cancer is known for its devastating effect, about seventy-five percent of patients die within two years of being diagnosed.
My True Love Gave to Me …Three 2018 Healthcare Trend Predictions
2017 was a breakout year for digital health thanks to an astounding $4.7 billion flowing into the industry and it seemed people were finally getting serious about IT adoption in the healthcare industry.
As is the norm this time of year, publications are publishing their trend predictions for the coming new year. Here’s what Fortune shared:
- Telehealth – No, but for real this time. Shorter timeframes, EHR integration – the whole shebang.
- Data – Original, I know. Fortune specifically pointed out data from wearables which give enhanced insight into a patient’s everyday life.
- Artificial Intelligence – Be sure to be nice to your robot overlords, they might be the one reading your brain scan! Radiology is the field identified by Fortune as most likely to be overtaken by software.
Life Expectancy Drops in U.S. for Second Year in A Row
The reports released Thursday indicate that deaths due to opioid overdoses contributed to the decline in life expectancy. Before the last two years, life expectancy had been steadily increasing in the U.S.
Heart disease and cancer remained the two leading causes of death while unintentional injuries rose to number three (note: many overdoses are classified as unintentional injuries). Drug deaths are, unfortunately, still on the rise: From 2014 to 2016, death rates tied to drug overdoses jumped 18 percent each year.
No Creature Was Stirring Not Even … Bacteria?
Researchers in England have discovered a possible explanation for the development of some forms of antibiotic resistance: the bacteria was asleep. So-called “sleeper cells” are bacteria in a dormant state.
Though they sound harmless, the cells could come active again and potentially be dangerous like their “persister cell” counterparts, which are bacteria that fit the more traditional description of antibiotic resistance: they’re mutated. The scientists also developed a way to identify such cells before administering antibiotics by administering fluorescent dye, this could be useful in determining if a certain antibiotic will actually be effective in a patient,
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