The latest news on chronic, acute, and preventive care across the health care landscape.
Chronic: Dementia, Stroke Projected to Cost United States More than $600 Billion by 2030
Common neurological diseases cost the United States nearly $800 billion per year, according to a new study published in theAnnals of Neurology. The current estimated annual cost to American society of 9 of the most common neurological diseases totaled $789 billion in 2014. The conditions were Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, low back pain, stroke, traumatic brain injury, migraine, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, and Parkinson’s disease. However, the costs are projected to increase further over the coming years as the elderly patient population nearly doubles between 2011 and 2050. The costs of dementia and stroke alone are projected to total more than $600 billion by 2030. The authors suggested an action plan to reduce the financial burden through infrastructure investment in neurological research and enhanced clinical management of neurological disorders. “The findings of this report are a wake-up call for the nation, as we are facing an already incredible financial burden that is going to rapidly worsen in the coming years," said lead author Dr Clifton Gooch.
Acute: Targeting Swine Flu at Gene Level
A novel drug delivery approach targets cells against influenza A (H1N1) virus, according to a study published inScientific Reports. In the study, investigators encapsulated 3 types of siRNA against H1N1 in hybrid carriers. The carriers have several advantages such as low toxicity, efficient intracellular delivery, and protection of siRNA against premature degradation prior to reaching the target cells. “For the first time we have developed an approach of efficient matrix RNA delivery through encapsulation into new hybrid microcarriers obtained by integration of LbL technique and so-gel method,” the authors wrote. “The results obtained may be used for new antiviral delivery that will further contribute to efficient fight with influenza virus.” The authors noted that such interaction results in an 80% drop of virus proteins.
Preventive: Blood-Sucking Flies Track Zoonotic Pathogens
Blood-sucking flies can detect emerging infectious diseases in wild animals before they spread to humans, which means they could be used in the future to help control global outbreaks. Over a 16-week period, investigators conducted a field study in 4 national parks located in Gabon, Central Africa, to set traps for 3 types of flies. The insects’ blood meals were then analyzed to determine the origin of the blood and the species of any malaria parasites present. More than 4000 flies were captured, of which 30%—–mostly tsetse flies––were engorged with blood. The results of the study, published ineLife, showed that the flies had fed on more than 20 different species that ranged from elephants and hippopotamuses to reptiles and birds. The malaria parasites were found in nearly 9% of the blood meals, including 18 cases of previously undocumented malaria species. Furthermore, the method allowed the investigators to identify the natural hosts of some malaria species whose preferred host was previously unknown. “These results show that blood meals of the engorged flies can be successfully used to analyze the diversity of known malaria parasites,” said senior author Franck Prugnolle.