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The most expensive drug in the world; brain cells under anesthesia; official pleads guilty – Morning Medical Update


The top news stories in medicine today.

physician in uniform holding morning coffee: © meeboonstudio - stock.adobe.com

© meeboonstudio - stock.adobe.com

Children get a chance at life

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration this month approved Lenmeldy (atidarsagene autotemcel), the first gene therapy for treatment of metachromatic leukodystrophy, a rare, genetic, debilitating disease that affects the brain and nervous system. Research shows it appears to be effective. The price: $4.5 million, making it the most expensive drug in the world, according to CNN.

‘Dancing cells’ in the brain

When patients get anesthesia for surgery, microglia cells become active to “increase their surveillance and patrol the brain's neural activity like a police officer at night responding to suspicious activity when all else is quiet." Mayo Clinic scientists hope a better understanding of “dancing” microglia cells can lead to improvements for patients in clinical settings.

Health care fraud scheme

The former Georgia state insurance commissioner pleaded guilty to commit health care fraud for referring unnecessary medical tests to a lab in Texas. The U.S. Department of Justice announced John W. Oxendine and a conspiring physician received hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks. “This scheme to bill for unnecessary services has no place in our health care system,” an investigating FBI agent said.

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