Big pharma partnering with influencers to sell drugs, medical devices

The latest Instagram influencer frontier? Medical promotions

Abstracts

“By enlisting influencers to market their health care products amid a stream of Facetuned photos, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies co-opt narratives that give social media users a sense of how healthy they can be, if only they had this product.”

“Social media enables its users to connect over shared interests, locations, and even illnesses. Using this formula, health care companies locate potential influencers who can use these commonalities to reach and build trust with an audience.”

“One wonders why a company would assume the risk of misinformed patients, as they are responsible for what their paid endorsers say. The reason is simple: One in three consumers in the US consult social media for health-related matters. “

Read The latest Instagram influencer frontier? Medical promotions, on vox, Feb 15, 2019.

Why nobody knows what’s really going into your food

Massive legal loophole means companies can add new ingredients to foods with no government safety review

The industry can declare on their own that added ingredients are safe without ever consulting the Food and Drug Administration about potential health risks.

References : publicintegrity and belowthesaltnews, 2015.

Major US funders ($$ billions) are pushing for greater clinical trials transparency

Noncommercial US Funders’ Policies on Trial Registration, Access to Summary Results, and Individual Patient Data Availability

2019 Study Key Points

  • Question
    What are the current policies for clinical trial registration, summary results sharing, and individual patient data sharing among the top 10 noncommercial US health research funders?
  • Findings
    In this review study, 6 of 9 (67%) of the top US funders have a publicly available written policy addressing all 3 major trial transparency domains. However, fewer US funders require specific transparency actions in these domains (11%-56%) or monitor compliance with their policies (56%-67%).
  • Meaning
    More work remains to be done to ensure timely implementation and enforcement of clinical trial transparency initiatives to reduce waste and realize public value from clinical research investments.

Abstract

Importance
Incomplete information about existing research is an underlying cause of research waste. National and international initiatives and requirements have been launched to address this issue.

Objectives
To characterize current clinical trial transparency policies among the largest noncommercial US funders and examine whether the policies are concordant with international funders.

Design, Setting, and Participants
This retrospective review of public information used methods developed for documenting funder policies internationally; 2 researchers searched each funder’s website and Google between May and November 2018 to locate trial transparency policies for 10 top US funders. Key informants at each funding organization were contacted by email and given 3 or more weeks to review and confirm or correct the findings. Nonresponders were contacted 2 or more additional times. Descriptive statistics were calculated to summarize the findings. The study was conducted using publicly available policy information with findings confirmed by funder representatives where possible. Participants included top 10 noncommercial US health research funders with the highest reported investment in health research (2013 dollars) who fund clinical trials. Data analysis was conducted from November 6, 2018, to November 23, 2018.

Exposures
Availability of policies addressing each of the 3 key trial transparency domains as specified by the World Health Organization in 2017.

Main Outcomes and Measures
Independent assessment by 2 investigators of availability (yes or no) of a policy addressing registration for trials, sharing of summary results, and individual participant data sharing activities; requirements (yes, no, or supportive statement) of these policies in terms of completeness, timeliness, public access, and provision of additional technical or financial support to meet data sharing requirements; description (yes or no) of internal monitoring for policy adherence.

Results
All 10 funders acknowledged the outreach. One funder who indicated that less than 1% of their research funding goes to clinical trials was removed. Six (67%) of the remaining 9 top US funders have a publicly available written policy for all 3 major trial transparency domains. The most comprehensive trial transparency practice among US funders addresses summary results sharing as follows: 8 of 9 US funders (89%) have a policy, 5 of 9 US funders (56%) require reporting of summary results within 1 year, and 6 of 9 US funders (67%) monitor compliance with their summary results sharing policy. For clinical trial registration, 7 of 9 US funders (78%) have a policy and 5 of 9 US funders (56%) require registration and monitor trial registration to measure adherence to the policy.

Conclusions and Relevance
In this study, overall the proportion of US funders with policies and practices to support trial transparency in this sample was similar or compared favorably with the larger international sample of noncommercial funders recently reported.

 

How the U.S. system is fundamentally broken

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at the House Committee, February 6, 2019

Reference. @AOC.

Mental Health Medication Trends in the US, an Overview

Flooding the world with psychiatric drugs could boost the burden of mental disorders

Today in the United States, more than one in five adults — and more than one in 20 children and adolescents — take a psychiatric drug on a daily basis.

Overall, the number of Americans on medications used to treat psychological and behavioral disorders has substantially increased since 2001; more than one‐in‐five adults was on at least one of these medications in 2010, up 22 percent from ten years earlier. Women are far more likely to take a drug to treat a mental health condition than men, with more than a quarter of the adult female population on these drugs in 2010 as compared to 15 percent of men.

Women ages 45 and older showed the highest use of these drugs overall. Yet surprisingly, it was younger men (ages 20 to 44) who experienced the greatest increase in their numbers, rising 43 percent from 2001 to 2010.

The trends among children are opposite those of adults: boys are the higher utilizers of these medications overall but girls’ use has been increasing at a faster rate.

Read America’s State of Mind report and Flooding the world with psychiatric drugs could boost the burden of mental disorders on stat, OCTOBER 22, 2018.

Overtreatment : When Medicine Does More Harm Than Good

Why do millions of people a year get tests and procedures that they don’t really need ?

Researchers estimate that 21% of medical care is unnecessary.

Kaiser Health News senior correspondent Liz Szabo moderated a discussion a panel of experts to explore overtreatment.

KHN panelists were:

  • Dr. Louise Davies, An associate professor of otolaryngology – head and neck surgery in The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice
  • Dr. Saurabh Jha, an associate professor of radiology at the University of Pennsylvania
  • Dr. Barry Kramer, director of the division of cancer prevention at the National Cancer Institute
  • Dr. Jacqueline Kruser, a pulmonologist and critical care physician at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
  • Dr. Ranit Mishori, professor of family medicine at the Georgetown University School of Medicine.
  • Reference.
  • Video source : KHN was live.

Breast Cancer Differences in Young Women

Differences in breast cancer incidence among young women aged 20–49 years by stage and tumor characteristics, age, race, and ethnicity, 2004–2013

A recent CDC study highlights the differences in breast cancer incidence among young women. Although breast cancer is not common among younger women, rates have remained stable in recent years. Breast cancers in young women are more likely to be found at later stages and with more aggressive, larger tumors. Based on data from CDC’s National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR) and the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program, the study looked at breast cancer rates and trends by stage, grade, and tumor subtype, as well as age and race/ethnicity among women aged 20-49 years. From 2004-2013, the majority of invasive breast cancer cases (77.3%) occurred among women aged 40-49 years. Among women younger than 45 years old, black women had the highest breast cancer incidence. For women aged 45-49 years, white women had higher breast cancer incidence than black women. Across all age groups, incidence rates for triple-negative breast cancer were higher in black women than other races/ethnicities. These differences show that breast cancers in young women are highly diverse and in need of further research into personal and cultural factors. Take a look at our resource for triple-negative breast cancer.

Abstract

Purpose
Younger women diagnosed with breast cancer have poorer prognoses and higher mortality compared to older women. Young black women have higher incidence rates of breast cancer and more aggressive subtypes than women of other races/ethnicities. In this study, we examined recent trends and variations in breast cancer incidence among young women in the United States.

Methods
Using 2004–2013 National Program of Cancer Registries and Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program data, we calculated breast cancer incidence rates and trends and examined variations in stage, grade, and tumor subtype by age and race/ethnicity among young women aged 20–49 years.

Results
The majority of breast cancer cases occurred in women aged 40–44 and 45–49 years (77.3%). Among women aged < 45 years, breast cancer incidence was highest among black women. Incidence trends increased from 2004 to 2013 for Asian or Pacific Islander (API) women and white women aged 20–34 years. Black, American Indian or Alaska Native, and Hispanic women had higher proportions of cases diagnosed at later stages than white and API women. Black women had a higher proportion of grade III–IV tumors than other racial/ethnic groups. Across all age groups, incidence rates for triple-negative breast cancer were significantly higher in black women than women of other races/ethnicities, and this disparity increased with age.

Conclusions
Breast cancer among young women is a highly heterogeneous disease. Differences in tumor characteristics by age and race/ethnicity suggest opportunities for further research into personal and cultural factors that may influence breast cancer risk among younger women.

Adverse health risks increase with proximity to fracking facilities

Unconventional oil and gas development is rapidly encroaching on heavily populated neighborhoods, posing potential risks to human health

Dr. Lisa McKenzie presents results from a human health risk assessment that characterized prenatal through adult health risks from exposure to non-methane hydrocarbons in Colorado populations living near oil and gas development. The study found that both air pollutant concentrations and health risks increased with proximity to oil and gas facilities.

Lisa McKenzie, PhD MPH,is an Assistant Research Professor at the Colorado School of Public Health on the University of Colorado Denver’s Anschutz Medical Campus. Her expertise is in exposure assessment and environmental epidemiology, and human health risk assessment. Dr. McKenzie’s research has contributed to the understanding of how air pollutants and other exposures resulting from the unconventional development of petroleum resources may affect the public’s health.

Reference.  Image blogs.sierraclub.

Can environmental health research help communities impacted by fracking ?

Fracking and Health: Ask an Expert, with Dr. Gregory Howard, 2018

Dr. Gregory Howard, environmental public health scientist and consultant, describes various types of health studies, focusing on what a community should consider before beginning a study.

Dr. Gregory Howard explains how study design is influenced by the goals and needs of the community and the decision makers they are trying to reach, and discusses challenges of doing such research.

  • Oil & Gas Program, Fracking and Health: Ask an Expert Podcasts.

Can noise from fracking operations affect your health ?

Fracking and Health: Ask an Expert, with Dr. Michael McCawley, 2018

Dr. Michael McCawley is Clinical Associate Professor at West Virginia University.

Dr. Michael McCawley discusses the adverse health effects associated with stress from environmental noise exposure and how factors contributing to noise levels might not be effectively addressed through mitigation measures or setbacks.

Abstract

Modern oil and gas development frequently occurs in close proximity to human populations and increased levels of ambient noise have been documented throughout some phases of development. Numerous studies have evaluated air and water quality degradation and human exposure pathways, but few have evaluated potential health risks and impacts from environmental noise exposure. We reviewed the scientific literature on environmental noise exposure to determine the potential concerns, if any, that noise from oil and gas development activities present to public health. Data on noise levels associated with oil and gas development are limited, but measurements can be evaluated amidst the large body of epidemiology assessing the non-auditory effects of environmental noise exposure and established public health guidelines for community noise. There are a large number of noise dependent and subjective factors that make the determination of a dose response relationship between noise and health outcomes difficult. However, the literature indicates that oil and gas activities produce noise at levels that may increase the risk of adverse health outcomes, including annoyance, sleep disturbance, and cardiovascular disease. More studies that investigate the relationships between noise exposure and human health risks from unconventional oil and gas development are warranted. Finally, policies and mitigation techniques that limit human exposure to noise from oil and gas operations should be considered to reduce health risks.