The Handoff: Your Week in Neurology News – 8/10/17

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.

— Eli Lilly reported positive phase 3 data for its migraine drug lasmiditan, with statistically significant results reported across all 3 drug doses. 

— Patients with rare diseases like spinal muscular atrophy are having their conditions weighed against budgetary needs by private and public insurers who determine their eligibility for obtaining expensive, rare-disease drugs like the recently approved Spinraza. 

— Neurocore, a brain-training business backed by education secretary Betsy DeVos, is under fire for posting claims that its product can treat various neurological conditions without medication. 

— The FDA has awarded orphan status to a novel immunotherapy vaccine for the treatment of glioblastoma. 

— Physicians educated at top-tier medical schools write significantly less prescriptions for opioids than those who studied at lower-tier schools, according to a new report. 

— Variations in home-monitored blood pressure readings may indicate risk of all-cause dementia, according to a new study published in Circulation

— 23andMe is partnering with Lundbeck and the Milken Institute to launch a 25,000-person study to better understand how genetics influence brain function in people with depression and bipolar disorder. 

— Researchers Jeffrey Holmes, MD, PhD, of the University of Virginia, and Suneel Apte, MBBS, DPhil, of the Cleveland Clinic, have received a combined $3 million grant from the American Heart Association and The Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group to study the extracellular matrix, hoping it will lead to clue to help prevent heart disease and stroke. 

— The NIH is offering an unprecedented view into its Clinical Center through a docu-series airing on the Discovery Channel. The series, which follows patients, caregivers, and physicians through the clinical trial process, will air tonight, August 10 at 9 PM eastern, with parts 2 and 3 airing August 17 and 24. 

— Researchers from the Salk Institute have discovered new neuronal subtypes and gene regulators, which may help them better understand gene expression in brain disorders. Watch the video below to learn more about the findings.