The Handoff: Your Week in Neurology News – 3/23/17

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.

— While much of the focus around traumatic brain injury has been sports related, new data from the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) indicates that we should be sounding the alarm equally as loud for TBI incurred from falls in the elderly. 

— Just days after purchasing Marathon’s controversial drug for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, politicians are putting pressure on PTC Therapeutics CEO Stuart Peltz to name his price. 

— Data published in the New England Journal of Medicine indicate that pregabalin is no more effective than placebo for the treatment of sciatica.

— The US Government Accountability Office is now investigating the FDA’s orphan drug program after several senators suggested the program might be being abused following Marathon’s controversial drug approval. 

— Analyzing levels of protein p75ECD in urine samples of people with ALS may help monitor disease progression and treatment effectiveness. 

— The American Academy of Neurology has issued a statement on the American Health Care Act, stating that it “does not do enough to ensure continued access to health insurance coverage for millions of Americans.”

— An RNA-based drug is responsible for one pediatric patient’s miraculous recovery from spinal muscular atrophy, suggesting the new class of drugs may be the next blockbuster. 

— With the appointment of its first international pediatric neurosurgery fellow, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital hopes to advance not only pediatric neuroscience, but boost the institutions international profile with the next generation of physicians and patients, alike. 

— Former NFL player Myron Rolle has secured a neurosurgery residency with Harvard Medical School. Rolle, who played with the Titans and Steelers, was once late for a game due to an interview for a Rhodes scholarship. 

— The American Migraine Foundation has launched a new campaign, “Move Against Migraine” to help increase disease awareness and reduce stigma around the common neurological disease.