FDA Panel Unanimously Backs Cannabis Drug for Severe Epilepsy

A US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee has voted unanimously to support approval of a purified formulation of cannabidiol (Epidiolex, GW Pharmaceuticals) as an adjunctive treatment for Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) and Dravet syndrome (DS) in patients 2 years of age or older.

USPSTF: Exercise, Not Supplements, for Preventing Falls

Updated recommendations from the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) continue to support exercise and multifactorial interventions to prevent falls in community-dwelling adults aged 65 years or older, but advise against vitamin D supplementation, according to two statements published online today in JAMA.

Strawberries Number 1 (Again) on 'Dirty Dozen' List

Strawberries once again top the annual ''Dirty Dozen" list of produce found with the most pesticides.

And once again, experts not involved in the report say they worry the list will discourage people from eating fruits and vegetables, especially people on budgets who view higher-priced organic produce as unaffordable.

Two New Drug Classes Tied to Better Survival in Type 2 Diabetes

Patients with type 2 diabetes who did not achieve adequate glycemic control with metformin had improved survival during follow-up if they received add-on therapy with a sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT-2) inhibitor or a glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) agonist rather than a dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitor or control (placebo or no treatment), in a network meta-analysis that indirectly compared these three drug classes.

Rates of heart failure and myocardial infarction (MI) were also lower in patients who received SGLT-2 inhibitors rather than controls.

Prolonged Sitting Tied to Brain Atrophy

Prolonged periods of sitting in middle age is tied to brain atrophy, new research shows.

Using MRI, investigators found sedentary behavior is a significant predictor of medial temporal lobe (MTL) thinning and its substructures and that physical activity, even at high levels, does not offset the harmful effects of sitting for extended periods.

Merger to Establish Big Hospital Chain

Two large hospital systems in the Midwest and mid-Atlantic said they plan to merge, in another example of hospitals bulking up as the battle for patients becomes fierce.
 A combination of Bon Secours Health System Inc., a nonprofit based in Marriott sville, Md., and Mercy Health, a nonprofit in Cincinnati, would rank as one of the largest chains nationwide, with 43 hospitals and operations in seven states.
 The combination would add to a string of health-care deals that aim to create behemoths with more sway.

Profits Are Hidden in the Prescription Drug Supply Chain

Depending on how you look at them, pharmacy-benefit managers are either low margin middlemen that fight to reduce drug costs or highly profitable intermediaries that earn more when drug prices rise.
 Pharmacy-benefit managers are hired by businesses such as insurers that pay for drugs to negotiate lower prices with pharmaceutical companies. When Express Scripts Holding reports fourth-quarter earnings on Tuesday, analysts expect a margin of just 4.7%, according to FactSet. Rival companies owned by CVS Health and UnitedHealth Group report similarly low margins.

Doctors Use Poetry to Recharge

WHAT IS A good gift for a freshly minted physician? In Scotland, it is a book of poetry. Each year, the 900 or so graduating medical students in Scotland receive a free copy of a poetry book titled “Tools of the Trade: Poems for New Doctors.” It's a pocket-size book with fewer than 100 pages, so doctors can easily carry it while on duty. The poems are grouped into five themes designed to help young physicians: looking after yourself, looking after others, beginnings, being with illness, and endings.