Swedish researchers who used PET found that patients with mild Parkinson's disease had significantly lower levels of dopamine transporter protein DAT in their nerve endings but had relatively intact DAT levels in nerve fibers and cell bodies, compared with healthy controls. The findings in the journal Movement Disorders suggest that proper treatment in early Parkinson's disease may restore dopamine function and that DAT could be used as a biomarker in evaluating new Parkinson's drugs and treatment approaches, said researcher Andrea Varrone.
Best Cyclotron Systems and Best Theratronics, members of the company TeamBest, have unveiled their Best 15-, 20-, 25-, 30-, 35- and 70-MeV proton cyclotrons, which can produce single particles from multiple beam lines. The cyclotrons operate using at least a 1,000-µA current for proton beams and serve as a possible neutron source for producing certain radioisotopes for research, diagnosis and therapy purposes, the companies say.
A study in Diabetes Care showed that metformin, as long as dosage is adjusted for renal function, was a safe and effective treatment for patients with type 2 diabetes and moderate to severe chronic kidney disease. Researchers cited the importance of assessing the estimated glomerular filtration rate of patients with CKD stage 3 every 6 months and suggested the discontinuation of metformin in patients at risk of having acute kidney injury due to severe disease.
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said a national e-prescribing system is needed for controlled substances. Legislation -- the Every Prescription Conveyed Securely Act -- introduced by Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Mass., could help reduce prescription drug abuse and improve efforts to reduce the risk of certain prescription drugs, Gottlieb said.
HHS Secretary Alex Azar said that drugs currently covered by Medicare Part B could benefit from the negotiations carried out in Medicare Part D, adding that other proposed policies would give pharmacy benefit managers more leverage to "fight against the branded drug companies to keep those list prices down."
Critics of drugmakers' copayment coupons say the coupons artificially drive demand for expensive brand-name drugs and sustain high prices, which insurers must pay. Medicare and Medicaid ban the use of copay coupons entirely, California recently banned coupons for branded drugs with a generic alternative, and Massachusetts and New Jersey are considering similar restrictions.
A community-wide approach to chronic absenteeism in Albuquerque, N.M., Public Schools focuses on poverty and other root causes, including family attitudes. "The culture of attendance is huge," said truancy prevention social worker Danielle Burnett, adding, "If parents weren't taught that it's important, then their kids are not going to be taught that."
Mindful of the stresses students face in a highly competitive system, the Howard County, Md., school superintendent is requesting three additional social workers along with other mental health steps the district is taking. "I'm driving this agenda from my personal experience," said Michael Martirano, whose wife committed suicide in 2016.
Students in the St. Catherine University-University of St. Thomas School of Social Work in Minnesota learn to apply macro-issues to their clients' individual needs through a program called Mapping Social Justice. The program provides information to students and alumni through targeted email alerts.
Addressing the growing problem of homelessness among military veterans requires several steps, including increased funding for housing and support services, the president of a nonprofit serving vets' families writes. Up to 80% of homeless veterans suffer from mental illness and/or drug abuse, Donna Deutchman notes.