The Handoff: Your Week in Neurology News – 8/4/17

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.

— It looks as if the groundbreaking relationship between the NFL and NIH to fund brain research will end with more than half of the originally pledged $30 million unspent. The agreement, established in 2012, is set to expire August 31 — a decision made by the NIH after the football league disputed funding a significant research project in 2015 that was led by Boston University researcher and NFL critic Robert Stern. 

— Quitting statins 3-6 months after a stroke significantly raises the risk of a second stroke, hospitalization, and mortality, according to a new study. 

— Researchers at Northeast Ohio Medical University have uncovered beta-amyloid plaques and tau tangles in the brains of elderly chimpanzees, though it’s not clear if the animals experience cognitive decline like humans do. 

— The FDA has accepted an NDA for RBP-6000, a once-monthly injectable buprenorphine for the treatment of opioid use disorder. The NDA, which received priority review status, has a PDUFA date of November 30, 2017. 

— Girls’ innate desire to socialize and “blend in” may mask early symptoms of autism spectrum disorder; a barrier to early intervention and a reason why autism appears more common in boys, who are naturally more isolative. 

— Clinicians are seeing a troubling rise in stroke incidence among younger people, but the cause is unclear. Some studies suggest that a rise in stroke risk factors in this age group, including hypertension, diabetes, and obesity may be at the center of the uptick. 

— NIH researchers have developed a mouse model to help study how Zika virus is sexually transmitted between males and females, and how the virus is transferred to a fetus via the placenta. 

— Actor and playwright Sam Shepard passed away from complications of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis on July 30 at the age of 73. 

— The NIH is set to host a summit on caregiving next week, August 7-8, on the NIH campus is Bethesda, Maryland that will focus on current and future research efforts to improve the health of patients and caregivers. 

— Check out this fun profile on STAT of Colin Holmes, the owner of the prolific brain behind “Colin 27,” whose MRI scan has been cited in thousands of research initiatives.