What We're Reading: Alzheimer's Deaths Up; Cannabidiol for Seizures; Insurers Await Subsidies

CDC Data Indicate Sharp Rise in Alzheimer’s Deaths

According to new data published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, age-adjusted rates of deaths with Alzheimer’s disease as the underlying cause increased by 54.5% over 15 years. In 2014, 25.4 Alzheimer’s-related deaths per 100,000 people, compared with just 16.5 per 100,000 in 1999. The report also indicated that more people are dying from Alzheimer’s at home, and less are dying in a hospital, which likely means that more family members are struggling with the burden of caregiving.

Trial Finds Cannabidiol Reduced Seizures in Children With Dravet Syndrome

A randomized controlled trial has found that cannabidiol, a component of cannabis, significantly reduced the occurrence of seizures in children with Dravet syndrome whose seizures were not controlled with traditional medications. According to the study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, seizure frequency decreased by 38.9% in the group receiving cannabidiol, although this group was also more likely to report adverse events like sleepiness and high levels of liver enzymes.

Insurers Press Senate for a Definite Answer on Subsidies

With time running out until the deadline for insurers to submit their 2018 rates, America’s Health Insurance Plans has written a letter to the Senate pleading for certainty on whether insurers will continue to receive cost-sharing reduction subsidies; if not, they say they will have to hike premiums. According to Modern Healthcare, the letter reminded Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), chair of the Senate Finance Committee, that “the timeline is extremely short to advance these crucial steps to improve stability and affordability for consumers in the individual market and have a positive impact on 2018 premiums."