Trending News Today: Improvements in Veterans Health Care Delivery

Top news from across the health care landscape.

New research finds comparable safety and efficacy for a specific group of biosimilars called TNF-alpha inhibitors, which treats inflammation in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS). According to Kaiser Health News, researchers systematically reviewed 19 studies of TNF-alpha inhibitors to determine how biosimilars compared with their brand name counterparts. They concluded that the biosimilars were interchangeable with the original versions, and the totality of evidence strongly supports this. Although experts stated that the authors did a good job, they still did not have a lot of studies to work with, since biosimilars are still relatively new. However, experts noted that it is a step in the right direction, and further research needs to be done.

Scientists were able to pinpoint 15 locations in DNA associated with depression, reported The Washington Post. This study is of particular importance because it is the first large study on major depressive disorder in people of European descent, and shows that the genes that may be involved in depression correspond to those involved in the development of neurons in the brain. Researchers also discovered an overlap between the genetic regions implicated in depression and ones linked to other psychiatric disorders. Although the findings provide further insight into depression, it is unlikely that it will lead to any new treatments in the near future. The discovery of genes associated with mental illness is nothing new, and has been ongoing for decades; however, researchers were unable to find how it translates into a method to help people with this disease. Furthermore, scientists believe that environmental factors play an equally import role as genetics in the development of depression.

Although the United States has made strides in improving services for veterans, more work needs to be done to help overcome shortcomings in the delivery of health care, housing, and mental health services, said President Barack Obama in a recent address. Obama said that the Department of Veterans Affairs has hired more physicians, nurses, and staff, and has also opened more clinics, reported The New York Times. Additionally, benefits have been made available to more than 2 million veterans who did not have access before. However, Obama noted that there are still issues that need to be addressed, such as mental health care for veterans and faster processing of disability claims and appeals.