Morning Rounds Shraddha Chakradhar

We’re a Boston-based publication, as many of you know, so we’d like to wish everyone running in today’s Boston Marathon our best, including STAT’s very own Liz Cooney!

Ebola vaccine nearly 98% effective in preventing disease 

A vaccine being developed by Merck is 97.5% effective in protecting people against Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, according to new data released late last week. More than 90,000 people were vaccinated in an effort to limit the current outbreak, and only 71 developed Ebola. The vast majority of people who developed the disease despite being vaccinated — including nine people who died — developed symptoms fewer than 10 days after being vaccinated, suggesting the vaccine had not yet had time to fully protect them.

The data were released shortly after the WHO, advised by a panel of outside experts, concluded that the outbreak, though increasingly serious, does not constitute a public health emergency of international concern. As of Saturday, there have been 1,240 cases and 792 deaths.

Tax prep in the waiting room helps bridge the gap between poverty and poor health

To mark Tax Day in the U.S., I spoke with Dr. Lucy Marcil, a pediatrician at Boston Medical Center and one of the co-founders of StreetCred, a free tax preparation program that helps low-income patients in a hospital waiting room. The program — which helps patients get up to $6,400 in tax credit — began in Boston in 2016, and has already expanded to 10 sites across seven states. Here’s a snapshot of our conversation: 

Why exactly are you providing this service?
We saw poverty as being a key factor in patient health, and we thought it would be great if we could “prescribe” something for this problem of poverty. We chose to focus on a health care setting because we wanted to make the link to health. It's not about just money, but it also has health impacts. 

How many people have you helped this year? 
The tax season isn’t officially done yet, but this year in our Boston location alone, we have done 500 returns, and returned about $1.2 million.

FDA guidelines for labeling added sugar could save $31 billion in health care costs

The FDA’s 2016 mandate that added sugars in foods be labeled could save $31 billion in health care costs over the next two decades, according to a new study from health policy researchers at various institutions. The authors used a predictive model to estimate its long-term impact, and here’s a breakdown of those findings:

  • Disease: More than 354,000 fewer people could have cardiovascular disease. Some 600,000 cases of type 2 diabetes could also be prevented.

  • Cost: In addition to the health care savings, the guidelines could save nearly $62 billion in societal costs, such as lost productivity from illness.

  • Reformulation: If companies did reformulate their products to have less added sugar, it would result in more than 700,000 fewer cases of cardiovascular disease and almost 1.2 million fewer cases of type 2 diabetes.

Inside STAT: Democrats feud over drug pricing policy, as progressives push to be bolder

Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) listens to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). (Eric Gay/AP)

Tensions between the Democratic party leadership and the more progressive flank have escalated in recent weeks, and these fights — often in public view — have kept Democrats from forming a cohesive strategy to lower drug prices. For instance, liberal members of the party recently scolded House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s aide Wendell Primus for aggressively pitching pharmaceutical policy they said didn’t follow the speaker’s campaign promises. And Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) publicly dressed down a veteran committee aide recently, accusing her of shaping legislation to favor drug companies. STAT’s Lev Facher and Nicholas Florko have more on the ongoing feud here.

Gestational diabetes linked to higher rates of diabetes in offspring

A new study shows that children born to mothers who had gestational diabetes are nearly twice as likely to develop diabetes by the age of 22. Researchers looked at two groups of more than 36,500 families each — one group where mothers had gestational diabetes and another where they didn’t — and 234 kids in the gestational diabetes group went on to develop diabetes, compared to 125 kids in the other group. A caveat: The authors did not have access to data about behaviors such as smoking and food intake, which could help explain the differences that the authors observed. 

Nearly 1 in 7 kidney transplant donors face complications post-surgery

A new study on the long-term complications faced by those who donate their kidneys found that nearly 15% of all living kidney donors faced some kind of complication following the procedure. Looking at data from 27 studies between 1963 to 2016, scientists reported that 8% of living kidney donors developed high blood pressure following the operation, while some 2% of donors developed diabetes and a separate condition that results in excess protein in the urine. The vast majority of the post-donation complications also occurred two or more years following the donation, suggesting the need for more long-term follow-up with living donors.

What to read around the web today

  • Study finds diabetes drug may prevent, slow kidney disease. Associated Press
  • For some in Georgia prisons and jails, diabetes has meant a death sentence. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
  • Opinion: He Jiankui, embryo editing, CCR5, the London patient, and jumping to conclusions. STAT
  • Gene-edited babies: What a Chinese scientist told an American mentor. The New York Times
  • A mysterious condition reveals a hidden downside to marijuana's growing popularity. Business Insider

Thanks for reading! See you tomorrow,


Have a news tip or comment?

Email Me

Monday, April 15, 2019


Facebook   Twitter   YouTube   Instagram

1 Exchange Pl, Suite 201, Boston, MA 02109
©2019, All Rights Reserved.
I no longer wish to receive STAT emails
Update Email Preferences | Contact Us
5cP.gif?contact_status=<<Contact Status>>