Trending News Today: Big Pharma Tackles Deadly Diseases Highly Prevalent in China

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

The use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) may increase the risk of early death, a new study suggests. Although PPIs are commonly used to treat heartburn, studies have shown an association with serious adverse events, such as kidney disease, infections, and bone fractures, according to The New York Times. For the study, investigators followed approximately 350,000 individuals from the Veterans Affairs health care system database for an average of nearly 6 years. They compared participants who used PPIs, H2 receptor antagonists, or neither treatment. The results of the study showed that individuals who took PPIs were at an increased risk of premature death, which increased the longer the PPIs were used. The authors noted that for individuals with a valid medical condition, the benefit of PPIs far outweigh the risk.

A lack of adequate sleep increases an individual’s risk of Alzheimer’s disease, according to The New York Times. In a recent study, investigators examined 101 cognitively normal individuals—–with an average age of 63 years––who completed sleep questionnaires. They analyzed the participants’ spinal fluid for the presence of plaques and tangles, which are characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease. The findings showed that poor sleep quality, sleep issues, and daytime sleepiness were associated with increased indicators in the spinal fluid. However, senior author Barbara B. Bendlin noted that not everyone with sleeping problems is at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Big pharma is investing billions of dollars to develop novel drugs that target lung, liver, and stomach cancers, which kills 1 million Chinese per year. Among the pharmaceutical giants are Novartis AG, Johnson & Johnson, and Sanofi, The Wall Street Journal reported. Novartis is currently testing a molecule to combat a rare head and neck cancer that is highly prevalent in southern China. Meanwhile Johnson & Johnson is creating novel drugs aimed to treat lung cancer and hepatitis B virus.