Articles

Reversal Will Allow Interviews of Doctors

WASHINGTON — The leadership of the National Institutes of Health has reversed course and will allow two senior doctors to speak with federal investigators regarding patient safety issues in a nationwide trial of treatment for the bloodstream infection sepsis.
 The NIH, the U.S. government's premier health-research agency, has been blocking the two critical-care doctors from speaking with investigators about safety issues in the study of 2,320 patients. The NIH's stance, which has led to a dispute with dozens of its senior researchers about medical freedom of speech, was detailed by The Wall Street

Retiree Health Benefits Cut

North Carolina corrections official Charles Johnson will soon lose a major perk he can offer recruits when the state ends a promise to pay healthcare bills once workers retire.
 “It's going to make a difficult situation even more difficult,” said Mr. Johnson, an assistant superintendent at Polk Correctional Institution in Butner, N.C. About 30% of the facility's roughly 335 correctional- officer positions are currently empty, he said.

Cancer-Drug Rivals Press Roche

Many pharmaceutical companies expect cancer treatments to drive growth in the coming years. One notable exception: the world's largest cancer-drug maker.
 Switzerland's Roche Holding AG has enjoyed almost two decades as an unrivaled force in oncology. Now, with more companies piling into the space and its top-selling drugs losing sales to lower-cost copies, that is about to change.

Brain Signals Turned Into Speech

Scientists have harnessed artificial intelligence to translate brain signals into speech, in a step toward brain implants that one day could let people with impaired abilities speak their minds, according to a new study.
 In findings published Wednesday in the journal Nature, a research team at the University of California, San Francisco, introduced an experimental brain decoder that combined direct recording of signals from the brains of research subjects with artificial intelligence, machine learning and a speech synthesizer.

Digital Data in Health Care Promises Much, Has Limits

Technology is reshaping health care, from pharmaceutical research to detecting opioid addiction, even though the pace of change isn't as dramatic as some had hoped a few years ago, industry leaders said at The Wall Street Journal Health Forum on Tuesday.
 Novartis AG Chief Executive Vas Narasimhan said opportunities presented by artificial intelligence are, for now, on the margin. “It's another tool in the toolbox,” he said. Doctors, insurers and drugmakers are experimenting with digital technology at a brisk pace after years of watching internet access and smartphones disrupt nearly every other economic sector.

NIH Silences Clinical Trial's Critics

The National Institutes of Health, the U.S. government's premier health research agency, is refusing to allow two of its doctors to respond to government investigators looking into the quality of a continuing clinical trial of new blood-infection treatments on thousands of patients, according to NIH documents and multiple interviews.
 The resulting tensions within the NIH have pitted the office of the agency's director, Francis Collins, against an internal NIH committee of 24 scientists, who are raising questions over the freedom researchers are afforded to critique the work of colleagues.