From the editor’s desk: Here are a few information nuggets we thought might be interesting to share and a few things to think about and chew on. You might find them interesting and helpful. Read on!
Costs and access to therapies: We continue to dedicate a good chunk of time to understanding and hopefully helping with access to medication and therapies plaguing the U.S. system and many abroad. In the meantime, this line, which I recently saw in an article, offered an interesting thought with which I tend to agree. “It’s tough this healthcare business. Or maybe it’s tough because we’re treating healthcare as a business.” Lots of truth in that statement, particularly in the rare disease space. To illustrate the challenge, this story from NBC News on a new potentially game-changing weight loss drug from Elli-Lilly rightly focuses on concerns about who will be able to afford it. Also likely adding significantly to costs, U.S. insurers and providers spent more than $800 billion on administration, or nearly $2,500 per person – more than four times the per-capita administrative costs in Canada’s single-payer system, a new study finds. Published articles have argued that the US can, in fact, afford a healthcare system similar to the much-maligned Medicare for all. This article does an excellent job of explaining the components of administrative costs. Stay tuned to Pituitary World News for more public policy articles and help with access.
Sugar and artificial sweeteners: The debate about sugar and artificial sweeteners continues to provide no clear answers. This article from Health Central does a decent job of laying out the current knowledge. Health writer Sarah Ellis gives us a very nice update on the latest in this debate. The bottom line: not surprisingly, this is a tough one to figure out. If you are dealing with weight and sugar issues, you may find this article helpful.
Endocrine disruptive chemicals: The Wellness Letter from the University of California Berkeley continues its focus on endocrine disruptive chemicals. In this article, they report U.S. fast food is an unwelcome source of phthalates and other endocrine-disrupting “plasticizer” chemicals that leach from the packaging and food processing equipment. In a study in the Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology, researchers at George Washington University and other institutions obtained 64 samples of hamburgers, chicken nuggets, chicken burritos, fries, and cheese pizza from six different fast food chain restaurants (Burger King, Chipotle, Domino’s, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell) and tested them for 11 of those chemicals. If you want to learn more about endocrine disruptors, this article from the Endocrine Society will give you a great overview of the current knowledge.
New brain layer discovery: In the realm of amazing discoveries, new research has shown that the traditional view that the brain is surrounded by three layers: the dura, arachnoid, and pia mater, is no longer the complete story. Now researchers at the University of Rochester Medicine and the University of Copenhagen have discovered an unknown fourth layer that protects and monitors the brain. In the story, author Mark Michaud reports from a recent article in the journal Science, describing this “unknown component of brain anatomy that acts as both a protective barrier and platform from which immune cells monitor the brain for infection and inflammation.” Read more here
The bottom line on CBD: we really don’t know. Need more research. Is cannabidiol (CBD) a cure-all or snake oil? Or something in between? This headline on a recent Wellness Newsletter article sparked a scan of the current knowledge. We came across several interesting articles confirming the general feeling that hype is outpacing science. More research is essential to address adverse effects, drug interactions, and quality problems. On the other hand, we found several notable articles that give you a good idea of where we are in terms of real knowledge backed by accepted scientific methods.
- An October 2019 article from JAMA clearly illustrates the interest in cannabidiol by studying internet search trends.
- From Science-Based Medicine, two articles: Where are we with CBD and CBD Oil: The new miracle cure.
- The NIH National Library of Medicine looks at real-world evidence from a Canadian medicine cannabis clinic.
- And this article in Nature Magazine looks at the medical hype resulting from CBD being touted as a treatment for a variety of conditions but the uncertainty of its legal status delaying serious investigation.
- The best overview of the CBD debate, in my opinion, comes from the Harvard Medical School in the article “ Cannabidiol (CBD): What we know and what we don’t by Peter Grinspoon, MD.
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