The Handoff: Your Week in Neurology News – 5/4/17

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.

— Biomarin’s Brineura, which was recently approved to treat a form of Batten disease, will cost a reported $702,000 before Medicaid discounts, making it the second most expensive therapy available in the US. 

— Approximately 1 in 3 American adults have had symptoms of a “mini” stroke; however only 3% of that population took the recommended action, according to a new survey from the American Stroke Association. 

— After heeding new warnings about sedation drugs in children and pregnant women, the FDA has approved new label changes that highlight the risk that general anesthetics and sedation medications pose to brain development. 

— Limiting pharmaceutical promotion to physicians may alter prescribing practices, according to results from a study supported by the NIH. 

— Neurocrine and Teva pharmaceuticals are in the midst of a price-off. Neurocrine’s new tardive dyskinesia drug Ingrezza has been priced at $63,300 per year — just above Teva’s new Huntington’s chorea drug, Austedo, which is priced at $60,000 per year. Teva is expecting further approval of Austedo for tardive dyskinesia. 

— According to research published in Cell, Zika virus can persist in the cerebrospinal fluid, lymph nodes, and colorectal tissue long after the virus has been cleared from blood, urine, and mucosal secretions. 

— The American Academy of Neurology has elected Ralph L. Sacco, MD, MS, FAHA, FAAN, of the University of Miami, as its 35th president. Dr Sacco was also the first neurologist to serve as president of the American Heart Association from 2010-2011. 

— New research in mice suggests that the thalamus plays a major role in thinking, helping us to distinguish categories and hold thoughts in the mind. Watch the video below to learn more about how the thalamus functions.