Trending News Today: Treatment for Alzheimer's Disease Disappoints in Early Trial

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

The first overall rating for hospital quality has been released by the federal government, hitting many of the nation’s best-known hospitals with average or below average scores, and awarding top scores to dozens of overlooked ones. Kaiser Health News reported on a report by the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that rated 3617 hospitals using a 1- to 5-star rating scale. The ratings have lit a fuse under the hospital industry, who are trying to block the ratings because they believe it will cause hospitals who treat some of the most challenging cases to look bad. “Hospitals cannot be rated like movies,” said Dr. Darrell Kirch, president of the Association of American Medical Colleges in a statement. “We are extremely concerned about the potential consequences for patients that could result from portraying an overly simplistic picture of hospital quality with a star rating system that combines many complex factors and ignores the socio-demographic factors that have a real impact on health.”

During a 6-week period in the summer of 2014, the ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) Ice Bucket Challenge went viral on social media, with more than 17 million people uploading their challenge videos to Facebook, resulting in $115 million raised for the ALS Association. Since then, the money has helped scientists discover a new gene that is tied to the neurodegenerative disease, and provides hope for a future cure, reported The New York Times. Over the past 2 years, the challenge money has been used to help fund the research and development of treatment drugs, and has been used as prize money to help entice people to design technology for patients suffering from the disease.

In its first large clinical trial, a new type of drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease failed to slow the rate of decline in mental ability and daily functioning, reported The New York Times. The drug, LMTX, is the first with its mode of action to reach the final stage of clinical trials, spreading hope among researchers who eagerly awaited the study results. Although the study results were initially met with disappointment, researchers found a hint that LMTX may be effective in certain patients.