The Handoff: Your Week in Neurology News – 10/20/16

The Handoff is a weekly roundup of neurology news covering various developments in subspecialties, the pharmaceutical industry, and the overall state of health care as it affects neurologists. Keep your finger on the pulse of neurology with The Handoff.

— The FDA is still reeling from the controversial Sarepta approval and is trying to turn the debacle into a learning experience for other drug makers. John Jenkins, MD, director of the Office of New Drugs at the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER), delivered a slideshow presentation on regulatory “do’s and don’ts” clearly based on the agency’s experience with the approval of eteplirsen for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. 

— Actelion Ltd. is studying the first potential 2-pill combination drug for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, combining its drug ponesimod with Biogen’s Tecfidera and Sanofi’s Aubagio.

— The NFL and Players Association updated its concussion protocol this week after the league came under scrutiny for 2 instances earlier in the season. The change comes as the Concussion Legacy Foundation announced that 91% of former college football players in their study had CTE and physicians reconsider the ideal rehabilitation period after concussion. 

— The FDA has called for the withdrawal of a drug approval for Mallinckrodt Pharmaceutical’s generic version of Concerta for ADHD after substantial complaints have surfaced that the drug wears off sooner than expected. 

Forbes has a great profile on Hilarity for Charity, the foundation of Hollywood A-listers Seth Rogen and wife Lauren Miller for Alzheimer’s research. The power couple have used comedy and music benefits to raise awareness and funds from their Millennial friends — a group they say are uninformed about the impact the disease will have on them as they age.

— Physicians compiled a list of tips for patients and caregivers to help manage and address the rising cost of pharmaceutical drugs for chronic conditions like epilepsy. 

— Researchers at the Baylor College of Medicine have identified a novel genetic variant linked to late-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

— The University of Southern California will use a $21.7 million NIH grant to study biomarkers that may be linked to the development of epilepsy and possible treatment targets. 

— An NIH and NIDA-funded study has uncovered the structure of the primary human cannabinoid receptor, a key to developing natural and synthetic cannabinoid-based therapeutics to treat a range of neurological disorders. 

— After an overly successful Kickstarter campaign, OpenBCI, a biomedical engineering startup focused on the brain-computer interface, has partnered with Voodoo Manufacturing to 3D-print its EGG headsets. To learn more about the innovative project and the research benefiting from it, watch the video below.