Brainstorm Health: Superbug Threat, Parkinson’s Smartwatch, Medical Pay Gap

There’s a $65 billion threat to U.S. health care. It’s microscopic—and it could be fixed with some pretty modest funding, according to a new OECD report.

The threat at hand is antibiotic-resistant superbugs, which, as the name implies, are able to ward off common medications meant to kill bacteria. Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that resistant strains of STIs like gonorrhea are on the rise. Other medical experts have warned that the looming threat of superbugs is a “ticking time bomb” that must be addressed.

The thing is, addressing the threat may not even be all that expensive, says the OECD. In fact, it would cost just $2 per person per year—not exactly an exorbitant figure given that the group also projects that antimicrobial resistant infections could kill 30,000 Americans annually by 2050.

Just how might we fight this microbial threat? The report authors outline some broad ideas.

“A five-pronged assault on antimicrobial resistance—by promoting better hygiene, ending the over-prescription of antibiotics, rapid testing for patients to determine whether they have viral or bacterial infections, delays in prescribing antibiotics and mass media campaigns—could counter one of the biggest threats to modern medicine,” wrote the study authors.

Read on for the day’s news.


A smartwatch for Parkinson's? Global Kinetics is touting results finding that its Personal KinetiGraph tech—a wearable device that's meant to monitor Parkinson's symptoms such as tremors and dyskenisia—made tangible improvements in how patients can record (and treat) the effects of their disease. Those improvements include improvements in symptoms and better clinical decision making guided by the wearable trackers in clinical trials, according to the company.


AstraZeneca spikes after (finally) issuing positive earnings. Shares of British drug maker AstraZeneca rose more than 3.5% in Thursday trading as the pharma giant shared some solid financial news—and expressed, at long last, some legitimate optimism about the future. Quarterly sales rose 8%, buoyed by strong growth in cancer drug sales, and CEO Pascal Soriot said the company's strategy of replacing older, patent-expiring medications with a pipeline of 10 new therapies has been successful. "Today marks an important day for the future of AstraZeneca, with the performance in the quarter and year to date showing what we expect will be the start of a period of sustained growth for years to come," he said. (Reuters)


The gender pay gap persists in high-flying professions—including medicine. The gender pay gap is a persistent problem in the American workforce. And, according to a new report, it's actually even worse in some of the highest-paying fields, including medicine. "A recent American Association of University Women (AAUW) analysis of U.S. Census data found that women physicians and surgeons are compensated only 71 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts—a 29% gap, and 9 cents behind the 80 cents on the dollar women are paid overall," writes Kim Churches. (Fortune)


Elon Musk Replaced By Robyn Denholm as Tesla Chairby Grace Dobush

Toshiba to Lay Off Thousands as Part of a 5-Year Restructuring Planby Renae Reints

Google Ends Forced Arbitration After Employee Walkoutby Bloomberg

Mining Bitcoin Is a Massive Energy Hog, According to New Researchby Emily Gillespie

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