The Handoff: Your Week in Endocrinology News – 3/10/17

The Handoff is a weekly roundup of endocrinology and general medicine news covering various developments in subspecialties, as well as pharmaceutical industry, association, and society news.

–The New York Times breaks down the new GOP legislation — the American Health Care Act (AHCA) — intended to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The new bill will repeal the individual and employer mandates as well as subsidies for out-of-pocket expenses.

–In a letter to Congress, James L. Madara, MD, head of the American Medical Association, expressed concerns with and opposition to the AHCA, and urged the members of the several committees responsible for the bill to ensure that currently-insured Americans do not lose their healthcare coverage. The American Hospital Association (AHA) and AARP also outlined their critiques.

–Silicon Valley startup Virta Health hopes to use $37 million in funding to develop treatments to reverse type 2 diabetes — without medication or surgery.

–As the proportion of obese American adults rises, the number of dieting adults continues to drop, according to research published in JAMA and reported on by the LA Times highlights trend.

–Research from Nature Medicine has identified a potential alternative theory explaining the cause of type 1 diabetes: rather than assume a patient’s immune system is at fault, researchers in the Netherlands have found that stressed beta cells may be causing the immune response.

–Pharmaceutical companies have co-opted citizen petitions as a way to fend off cheaper generic alternatives, violating antitrust laws and turning a safety measure into a competition.

–One woman’s neonatal progeroid syndrome is another one’s medical breakthrough: Atul Chopra, MD, PhD, a geneticist at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, is working with DNA to develop an antibody to suppress the appetite-stimulating hormone aprosin.

–In 2016, healthcare costs related to obesity cost Memphis, Tennessee — America’s most overweight city — a whopping $538 million. One Politico journalist examines the way the once-isolated obesity crisis is about to cost us all, big time. 

–Should patients open up about medical conditions on social media? Maybe. Clinicians and patients discuss their experiences living in an age of “radical disclosure.”