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Morning Rounds Shraddha Chakradhar

Support for ‘Medicare for All’ narrows

Ahead of tonight’s Democratic debate, a small new survey from Kaiser Family Foundation finds that support for the public option known as “Medicare For All,” which has emerged as a prominent debate topic, has narrowed over time. Here’s more: 

  • Medicare For All: 51% of those surveyed supported the health plan, which has been proposed by some of the Democratic presidential candidates, while 47% oppose such a plan, indicating the narrowest gap since 2017. 

  • Debate topics: More than half of Democratic and Democratic-leaning respondents want to hear more about women’s health and surprise medical bills. Around 15% say the debates spend too much time on Medicare for All. 

  • Drug prices: The vast majority of people support the government negotiating with pharma companies to lower the cost of drugs for those on Medicare as well for those on private insurance.

Sanger Institute told to return African tribes’ genome samples

The Wellcome Sanger Institute in the U.K. is in hot water over purported plans for creating a commercial tool using genetic data from several African tribes, according to The Times in London. Documents obtained by the Times show that Stellenbosch University in South Africa is asking the U.K. genomics institution to return the samples, as continuing with its plans could have “serious legal and ethical consequences.” Some scientists formerly at Sanger filed a whistleblower complaint last year alleging the DNA data had been obtained for research purposes and that Sanger’s plan would have violated the terms of participants’ consent forms. Sanger had reportedly arranged to build 75,000 of the tools — to better analyze genomic data from African populations —but a whistleblower claimed the tribes’ data weren’t used because of the dispute. Sanger has denied the allegations. 

Fewer concussions during football practice, but more during games

A new report of concussions in high school sports finds that the most such injuries occur during football. Researchers found that the rate of concussions in football was more than twice the average rate of such injuries from 20 high school sports between 2013-2018. Interestingly, the rate of concussions during football games increased during this time period, while that rate decreased for practice sessions. The rate of recurrent concussions also decreased across all sports. At the same time, among sports that had separate girls and boys teams, concussion rates were higher among girls, as were rates of recurrent concussions. Researchers hypothesize that better diagnosis and management of concussions could have contributed to the lower rates in some groups.   

Inside STAT: House progressives plot overhaul of Pelosi drug pricing bill


Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), one of the lawmakers looking to amend Speaker Pelosi's plan. (ERIC GAY/AP)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s plan for overhauling drug pricing, which was unveiled last month, is less of a masterpiece and more of a rough sketch — at least according to progressive lawmakers. And they have several ideas to improve the legislation. For the past two weeks, with help from outside advocacy groups, left-wing lawmakers have been compiling a list of suggestions for the bill, including the number of drugs eligible for Medicare price negotiation to immediately capping prices for new drugs upon their launch. How progressive lawmakers will get their proposed changes into the larger bill is unclear, especially with Pelosi’s hopes of having it pass the House by the end of this month. STAT Plus subscribers can read more from Lev Facher and Nicholas Florko here

Massage, music therapy may help dementia patients with certain symptoms

A new review of more than 160 studies suggests that non-drug interventions — including massage and music therapy — may be more effective for treating psychiatric symptoms of dementia. Those with dementia often experience symptoms such as agitation and aggression. Studies that evaluated non-pharmacologic interventions reveal that, compared to treatment with standard drugs or cannabinoids, massage and touch therapy — and the addition of music therapy to those two — were more effective in helping dementia patients with their psychiatric symptoms. A major limitation of the new review is that 46% of studies that were analyzed were at risk of bias because of incomplete data when it came to outcomes. The study also did not look at the costs or harms of providing such therapies, which need further evaluation. 

Women in academic medicine have less influence on Twitter than men 

A new study finds that — consistent with representation trends in published work — men in academic medicine have more influence on Twitter than women in the field. In addition to published articles, Twitter and other social media platforms have emerged as a way for researchers to share their work. Looking at data from around 3,100 health researchers, about a third of whom were on Twitter, scientists found that women had, on average, half the number of followers of their male colleagues, and were also more likely to be followed by other women. At the same time, women researchers also had fewer likes and retweets per year, on average. These differences were largest among those who were full professors versus other academic positions. 

What to read around the web today

  • Meet the wounded veteran who got a penis transplant. MIT Technology Review
  • In a rural Wisconsin village, the doctor makes house calls — and sees some of the rarest diseases on Earth. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
  • Opinion: Using CRISPR to edit eggs, sperm, or embryos does not save lives. STAT
  • CBD or THC? Common drug test can’t tell the difference. The New York Times
  • Where you die can affect your chance of being an organ donor. The Associated Press

Thanks for reading! More tomorrow,

Shraddha

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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

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