The Handoff: Your Week in Neurology News – 3/31/17

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.

— Less than 24 hours after its blockbuster FDA approval, Roche’s Ocrevus is coming under fire for its pricing — this time from industry competitors. A spokesman for Merck, who markets competitor Rebif, was quoted calling the “direct comparison” between the drugs “misleading and oversimplified.” Ocrevus is priced at a 25% discount to Rebif’s current $86,000 price tag. 

— The FDA has approved an expanded indication for Qudexy XR for treatment of migraine headache in adults and children ages 12 years and older. 

— Could dancing help regenerate brain volume? One study showed some surprising results. 

— Computerized neurocognitive assessment tools may not be as effective as thought for assessing mild traumatic brain injury in patients in the emergency department. 

— A study published in Nature Genetics uncovered 13 new genetic markers of glioma, including factors that clearly differentiate high-grade from low-grade glioblastoma. 

— Researchers have uncovered genetic and behavioral anomalies that may help identify subgroups of patients with autism spectrum disorder and better treatment targets. 

— The White House has proposed a $1.7 billion cut in NIH funding for 2017, potentially directly affecting Institutional Development Award and research grants. 

— A Democratic senator is leading an inquiry into opioid drug makers to investigate their role in the meteoric rise in opioid abuse. 

— President Trump’s pick for FDA commissioner has proposed a year-long recuse from decisions related to companies he has business conflicts with — which is quite a lengthy list.  

— The aging baby boomer generation isn’t just a concern for retirement funds. The generation is also behind an increasingly older scientific community, and some worry that it might hurt scientific progress. 

— Researchers from Case Western University detail a case in which a man with traumatic high-cervical spinal cord injury regained reaching and grasping movements in his paralyzed arm and hand via an implanted functional electrical system controlled through a brain-computer interface. Watch the video below to learn more.