The Handoff: Your Week in Neurology News – 7/13/17

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.

Stat profiles the growing trend of gabapentin abuse, which Neurology Advisor reported on last summer, and what one Ohio town is doing to try and keep it from spreading. 

— Brenda Fitzgerald, MD, Georgia’s public health commissioner and an OB-GYN, will replace Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, as director of the CDC. 

— Endo Pharmaceuticals has agreed to voluntarily remove its opioid drug Opana ER from the market, citing strong concerns from the FDA over the drug’s misuse. 

— The National Institutes of Health are making a big push to boost brain tissue donation by partnering with not-for-profit organizations and streamlining distribution through the NeuroBioBank. 

— Rare-disease drugmakers, many of whom cater to patients with neurological disorders, are concerned that insurers will reinstate “lifetime limits,” putting a cap on prescription drug costs. 

— Joseph Safdieh, MD, FAAN, has been named the new editor-in-chief of Neurology Today, the official publication of the American Academy of Neurology. 

— The NIH has launched a study to examine the risk posed by a Zika virus and HIV co-infection in pregnant women. Meanwhile, another NIH-funded study found that malaria drug hydroxychloroquine protects fetal mice from Zika infection. 

— Watch the latest Grand Rounds from the University of Colorado, which questions whether “normal aging” is truly normal.