Criteria update is Alzheimer’s disease education for researchers (Morning Read)

Read current medical news from today, including: the new Alzheimer’s diagnostic criteria is like Alzheimer’s disease education for researchers; the final world on the Dr. Lazar Greenfield surgery news; H1-B visas could be ready for an update; and a brutal look at pharma direct to consumer advertising.

Current medical news and unique business news for anyone who cares about the healthcare industry.

Alzheimer’s criteria released. The first update of diagnostic criteria for Alzheimer’s disease in 27 years has been released. It includes, among other things, the new research category preclinical Alzheimer’s, a phase that sets in “10 years before dementia sets in is seen as the best place to intervene in the disease.”

But think of the update as Alzheimer’s disease education for researchers: the criteria provides a common language around Alzheimer’s disease for researchers to with one another.

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A Deep-dive Into Specialty Pharma

A specialty drug is a class of prescription medications used to treat complex, chronic or rare medical conditions. Although this classification was originally intended to define the treatment of rare, also termed “orphan” diseases, affecting fewer than 200,000 people in the US, more recently, specialty drugs have emerged as the cornerstone of treatment for chronic and complex diseases such as cancer, autoimmune conditions, diabetes, hepatitis C, and HIV/AIDS.

Requiem for Lazar Greenfield. “Orac,” himself a surgeon and medical school graduate of Dr. Lazar Greenfield’s University of Michigan, completes a lengthy and compelling breakdown of the Greenfield surgery controversy.

Society has changed. Surgery has changed, but not enough. Many surgeons were afraid of criticizing Dr. Greenfield for fear of professional repercussions; some were simply puzzled; some were quite critical. Ultimately, the firestorm of controversy that engulfed Dr. Greenfield would not be denied.

He concludes: “Although one mistake shouldn’t negate a 40+-year career full of amazing accomplishments, one can only wonder what possessed such a brilliant man to write something so tone deaf and clueless. Maybe there really is a generation gap between the “old guard” and the new generations of surgeons coming up through the ranks.”

Biosimilars: DOA.As we move towards modified biologics, it may be nearly the end for biosimilars already.”

H-1B reform coming? You’re going to have to read the tea leaves here, but it looks like the H-1B visa program will be reformed (all details in the final paragraphs of the story). “If we’re serious about competition, the last thing we want to do is encourage people to come from all over the world at the best universities and then send them back,” Google’s Milo Medin told a Congressional hearing.

Memo to BIO and PhRMA: It would be a mistake to let the tech industry have all the say in this debate.

NovoSeven setback. Novo Nordisk’s treatment for hemophiliacs can actually hurt trauma and surgery patients who receive it.

Scathing attack on pharma advertising. A brutal assessment of the aftermath of direct-to-consumer drug advertising.

Thanks to DTC advertising, people started taking seizure drugs like Topamax and Lyrica for everyday pain or headaches and antipsychotics– hello? — for everyday blues or mood problems. They started taking monoclonal antibodies made from genetically engineered hamster cells like Humira that invite cancer, superinfections and TB when they didn’t have to. And FDA mandated risk disclosures — brain bleeds, sudden death, difficulty breathing, stomach bleeding, liver failure, kidney failure, muscle breakdown, fainting, hallucinations — perversely increased drug sales either because people like the identity in having a disease, chemically experimenting on themselves and/or taking a dare or because ad frequency itself sells regardless of the message.