Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.
After the CDC reduced the recommended number of shots in the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, clinicians and public health advocates are hopeful it will address compliance issues, as well as parental and political roadblocks. The HPV vaccine can prevent approximately 90% of all cervical cancers, other cancer types, and sexually transmitted infections caused by the virus, according to Kaiser Health News. The new dosing schedule now requires fewer shots, reducing the number from 3 to 2 for boys and girls aged 9 to 14 years, and was based on clinical trial data, which demonstrated that 2 doses of the new version of Gardasil 9 was as effective as a 3-dose regimen. Since the vaccines introduction more than a decade ago, clinicians have been faced with several challenges. Many physicians are reluctant to discuss the need for the vaccine, and many parent’s concerns about discussing sexual matters with such young children overshadowed the cancer-prevention benefits. Public health advocates believe the switch to a 2-dose regimen could significantly increase the number of adolescents who received all the necessary doses of the HPV vaccine.
A protein called neurofilament light or NFL for short could be the answer to the National Football League’s problems with brain injuries, according to the Chicago Tribune. Brain injuries are a serious issue in football; so much so, that the league is spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a concussion-lawsuit settlement, and the enterprise has dumped millions into research on measuring and preventing head trauma. Scientist are now using and NFL-backed technology to examine blood samples for proteins that have been associated with concussions and other injuries. Particularly, the protein NFL is gaining interest and could help develop better tests for traumatic brain injury.
Following the collapse of efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), GOP lawmakers and President Donald Trump have the option to gut the health law relatively quickly by halting billions in payments that insurers get under the law. According to The Wall Street Journal, House Republicans were already challenging the payments in court as invalid, and the lawsuit to stop the payments was suspended as Republicans pushed to replace the ACA. However, the lawsuit could resume or the Trump administration could decline to contest it and drop the payments, the WSJ reported. Regardless of the lawsuit, President Trump could unilaterally end the payments.