The delay on the company’s request from the FDA may reflect the complexities of the issue. The company argues that the video game can act as the delivery system for targeted algorithms that can activate certain neural networks in the brain. But questions about the efficacy of such a treatment remain. In other public health news: drunken driving, health by neighborhood, sunscreen, the flu shot, HIV transmission, and more.

Will The FDA Give The Go-Ahead To A Prescription Video Game?

In mid-2018, the startup Akili Interactive Labs asked the Food and Drug Administration to let it do something that’s never been done before: market a video game that physicians would prescribe to kids with ADHD. A year and a half later, that green light has yet to materialize. It’s unclear whether that’s a sign of trouble — the company wouldn’t say whether the agency has asked it to make changes or run a new study — or simply a reflection of the complexity of evaluating a medical product without precedent. (Robbins, 1/21)

Drunken School Bus Drivers Put Kids’ Lives At Risk

Nationwide, more than 1,620 schoolchildren in 38 states have been placed in harm’s way since 2015 by bus drivers arrested or cited for allegedly driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs — a situation that despite its dangers goes largely untracked by government officials, a Stateline investigation has found. (Bergal, 1/22)

How Healthy Is Your Neighborhood For Your Child? Take A Look.

How does your neighborhood rank in terms of opportunity for your child to grow into a healthy, well-educated and employable adult? If you live in one of the thousands of neighborhoods examined in the Child Opportunity Index 2.0, where two-thirds of all American children live, then you can look for yourself. The index, funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, has amassed a treasure trove of information that can tell parents — and policymakers — how their neighborhood could impact their child’s development. (LaMotte, 1/22)

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Seven Sunscreen Chemicals Enter Bloodstream After One Use, FDA Says, But Don’t Abandon Sun Protection

After a single application, a total of seven chemicals commonly found in sunscreens can be absorbed into the bloodstream at levels that exceed safety thresholds, according to studies by the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, an arm of the US Food and Drug Administration. “What is most alarming about these findings is that chemicals are absorbing into the body in significant amounts and the ingredients have not been fully tested for safety,” said David Andrews, a senior scientist for the Environmental Working Group, or EWG, a consumer organization which advocates for sunscreen safety. (LaMotte, 1/21)

Chicago Tribune:
Why Is It Hard To Get A Flu Shot For Children?

As the flu season gears up to be a tough one for children, parents may wonder why they are limited in where they can take their kids to get a flu shot. Pharmacies throughout the state offer flu shots, but only to older children, teens, and adults. That’s because under the Illinois Pharmacy Practice Act, pharmacists can only give the flu shot to children age 10 and older. Pharmacists say there is no health or medical reason for preventing them from vaccinating young children, although several other states also have age restrictions. But Anita Chandra-Puri, a national spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics and a pediatrician at Northwestern Medicine, said primary care physicians are better equipped at providing the vaccine to children. (Jimenez, 1/17)

Some Push To Change State Laws That Require HIV Disclosure To Sexual Partners

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention recently announced that if people take antiretroviral drugs as prescribed, the amount of HIV in their blood can become undetectable. If it stays undetectable, they have little risk of passing the virus to a partner through sex, and can live long, healthy lives. This past June, the American Medical Association called for the total repeal of HIV criminalization. That sparked action for reforms in Washington, Missouri, Georgia, Indiana, Tennessee and Florida. (Pfleger, 1/22)

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North Carolina Health News:
Death From Falls On The Rise In Older Adults

The family tragedy often unfolds something like this — Cousin Lily, who’s 88, falls at home in August and enters the hospital with a broken hip. By Thanksgiving, Lily is gone; dead following complications. People sometimes don’t realize that Lily could still be living and that older people, in general, can increase their odds of avoiding a hip fracture with some targeted exercise and changes to their homes. That knowledge becomes even more crucial in light of a 30 percent national increase in the rate of falls among older people during a nine-year period ending in 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Goldsmith, 1/22)

Men Should Be Allowed To Donate Sperm After Death, Study Says

Sperm donations from dead men is “ethically permissible,” say doctors seeking to tackle the shortage of living donors in the UK. A study published in the Journal of Medical Ethics Monday proposed that men should be able to “register their desire to donate their sperm after death for use by strangers. “Such a procedure would be similar to organ donation, authors Dr. Nathan Hodson of the University of Leicester and Dr. Joshua Parker of Manchester’s Wythenshawe Hospital wrote in the study. (Kolirin, 1/22)

New Generation Pushes Hmong Mental Health Concerns Into The Light

Forty to 85 percent of Hmong people have experienced some kind of mental health issue compared to 20 to 26 percent of the general population, according to research published in 2010 by the Wilder Foundation. Trauma from war and migration, and stress from adapting to a new culture contribute to the high rate. (Bui, 1/22)

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CBS News:
Taylor Swift’s Mom, Andrea Swift, Diagnosed With Brain Tumor, Singer Reveals In Variety Interview About “Miss American” Documentary On Netflix

In a new interview with Variety, Taylor Swift reveals a sad personal development for her family. The pop star’s mom, Andrea Swift, has been diagnosed with a brain tumor. Andrea Swift was already undergoing treatment for cancer, her famous daughter revealed a few years ago. Now, Swift is limiting her tour for her latest album, “Lover,” primarily because of her concern for her mom. (O’Kane, 1/21)

CBS News:
Ozzy Osbourne Reveals Parkinson’s Disease Diagnosis: “I Ain’t Going To Go Anywhere Yet”

Ozzy Osbourne has revealed that he is battling a form of Parkinson’s disease, a progressive neurodegenerative disorder. The rock icon, known as the “Prince of Darkness,” shared his diagnosis for the first time with Good Morning America on Tuesday. Osbourne said everything changed after he suffered a “bad fall” last February. The fall required him to have surgery on his neck, which led to nerve damage and his Parkinson’s disease diagnosis. Symptoms generally develop slowly over years, and there is no cure, according to the Parkinson’s Foundation. (McNamara, 1/21)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.



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