Morning Rounds Shraddha Chakradhar

I'm back! Thanks to Andrew for filling in for me. Onward to the news! 

Many pregnant women not getting key vaccines, CDC says

A large number of pregnant women are not getting two critically important vaccines, according to new CDC data. The agency recommends that pregnant women get the pertussis-containing vaccine known as Tdap and a flu shot, which is also recommended annually for anyone over the age of 6 months. But survey data found that only about 55% of women reported getting a Tdap vaccination, while about 54% said they received a flu shot last year. And only about a third of women said they got both. Getting the Tdap vaccine helps protect babies from pertussis, also known as whooping cough, which can be deadly for infants. Pregnant women are especially susceptible to getting the flu: Between 2010-2018, pregnant women made up between 25%-33% of all flu-related hospitalizations among women of childbearing age.  

California stem cell research funding agency created more than 82,000 jobs

The California Institute of Regenerative Medicine has created nearly 57,000 jobs and some $11 billion in sales revenue for the state, according to a new independent analysis of the institution. CIRM was created in 2004 to fund stem cell research, after the federal government stopped funding experiments involving human embryos. Since then, the agency has had a big impact on the economy, both within and outside California: The institution has led to more than 25,000 jobs outside California as well as generated almost $5 billion in sales revenue, including in salaries and production costs for various therapies. These benefits came not only from grants issued by CIRM directly, but also from CIRM funds matched by outside agencies; partnership deals; and funding to California’s system of stem cell clinics, known as the Alpha Stem Cell Clinics network. 

More than a quarter of people globally have vision impairments

At least 2.2 billion people around the world are living with a vision impairment, according to the WHO’s first report on vision. Here’s what else you need to know: 

  • Projections: Some 95 million people will develop glaucoma by 2030, and nearly 245 million will develop any kind of age-related macular degeneration during the same time. 

  • Preventable conditions: Of the 1 billion living with untreated or preventable conditions, some 12% have some unaddressed refractive error, while more than 65 million have cataract problems. 

  • Disease burden: Unaddressed problems with distance vision is nearly four times as common in low- and middle-income regions than in high-income areas. Women, the elderly, and people with disabilities are also more likely to have vision impairment.

Inside STAT: Vioxx, once deemed deadly, may be relaunched to treat rare disease


Vioxx was once widely used as an arthritis and chronic pain management drug, but those days came to a crashing halt when studies revealed that the drug doubled patients’ risk of heart attack and stroke. And despite a recall in 2004, a congressional investigation, and a nearly $5 billion settlement from drug maker Merck, a Massachusetts-based company now wants to revive the drug. Tremeau Pharmaceuticals is now resurrecting a generic version of Vioxx for a subgroup of patients with hemophilia, specifically those patients who experience a side effect of severe joint pain. The company is planning a pivotal trial next year, and if things go well, will apply for FDA approval to bring the drug back to market. STAT’s Damian Garde has more here

Diving into the reliability problem with 'self-reported data'

“Self-reported data” is often a caveat for studies, and a new study breaks down why. Looking at data from around 100,000 older adults across 17 European countries, researchers found that people tend to exaggerate or underestimate health problems. People were asked to self-report problems with mobility, for example, and some 19% of people reported trouble getting up from a chair after sitting for a long time. But when scientists assessed people directly, they found that figure was closer to 17%. The study also found that the discrepancy between actual and self-reported data increased with age: More than 85% of those in the 50-54 age group correctly estimated their mobility, whereas only 66% in the 90-94 group did the same. Self-reported data are often the only ones used in research, the authors write, and so lawmakers writing policies based on such research should consider that it may not always be reliable. 

Maintaining most of a weight loss still beneficial for those with type 2 diabetes

Although gaining back weight after losing it is common, few studies have compared the cardiovascular benefits of those who have lost — and regained weight — versus those who continued to maintain their weight loss. In a new paper, researchers looked at data from nearly 1,600 individuals with type 2 diabetes who had lost at least 3% of their initial body weight. Among those who lost 10% or more of their body weight, managing to keep off at least 75% of their weight loss for four years had the greatest health benefit, including improved blood pressure and levels of "good" cholesterol. In contrast, those who regained weight past this 25% threshold saw a deterioration of the cardiovascular benefits that they had earned when they lost weight. 

What to read around the web today

  • ICER says price hikes on 7 drugs were made without proof of new benefits, costing the U.S. $5.1 billion. STAT Plus
  • Cracks in Purdue's proposed opioid settlement as Arizona backs out. Reuters
  • Three sexually transmitted diseases hit new highs again in U.S. Associated Press
  • No Mercy. Oregon Live/The Oregonian
  • Opinion: ICER’s concern for patients: Where’s the beef? STAT

Thanks for reading! More tomorrow,


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Wednesday, October 9, 2019


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