Trending News Today: Cancer Drug Trials Need to Improve Minority Participation

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

An investigational Ebola vaccine that was tested on humans provided 100% efficacy in protecting against the deadly virus, according to The Washington Post. The study was led by the World Health Organization, and was based in Basse-Guinee, a coastal region of Guinea. There were more than 11,800 individuals who participated in the trial, according to the report. Although the vaccine has yet to be approved, it is considered so effective that an emergency stockpile of 300,000 doses has already been created for use, in case of another outbreak, The New York Times reported. Since the Ebola outbreak in 2013, the virus has infected nearly 30,000 people and killed 11,000 worldwide.

A hearing test that measures the brain’s electrical reactions to speech sounds was able to identify children who suffered a recent concussion with 90% accuracy, and those who did not have a concussion with 95% accuracy. According to The Washington Post, the small study included 40 subjects, aged 8 to 15 years, who were recruited from the Institute for Sports Medicine at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. The results of the study showed the concussed children had a distinct neural signature, compared with a control group with no history of concussions, the Post reported. For the study, the investigators attached 3 sensors to the scalp of the participants to measure the frequency following response—– an electrical signal in the brain, evoked by listening to speech. The children with concussions registered smaller and slower responses to the pitch of a speaker’s voice than the control group, according to the study. Furthermore, 11 of the 20 concussed children who came for follow-up visits, saw improvements in auditor processing, as they recovered from the brain injury. Auditory processing is 10 times faster than visual processing, making it a sensitive marker of neurological damage, according to the report.

Although there have been huge advancements in cancer research, such as immunotherapy, those who participate in clinical trials have been predominately white, according to The New York Times. Minority participation is low in a majority of clinical trials, often out of proportion with the groups’ numbers in the general population, and their cancer rates, the Times reported. However, many researchers have acknowledged the imbalance in the trials, and are working to fix it, the article reported.