What We're Reading: Mental Sick Days; THC and Vaping; Drug Company Seeking Approval for Alzheimer's Treatment

October 22, 2019

Student sick days are being expanded in some states to include mental health; vaped THC remains understudied due to its distinction as a controlled substance; drug company Biogen seeks approval for Alzheimer's treatment.

Schools Beginning to Implement Mental Sick Days for Students

Issues Stemming From Marijuana and Vaping

Drug Company Seeks Approval for Alzheimer’s Treatment

Amid rising rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide among adolescents, some states and school systems have begun to implement mental health days for students, which expands the definition of a sick day to stay home from school. The Washington Post reports that last year, Utah changed its definition of valid excuses for absences to include mental health issues, with Oregon enacting a similar law this past summer that allows students to take days off for mental health. These new laws, largely driven by high school student activists, are additionally being advocated for in states such as Colorado, Florida, and Washington.Although e-cigarettes were initially promoted to assist smoking cessation, the use of marijuana’s psychoactive component THC has grown in popularity, but its correlation to the epidemic of mysterious lung illnesses has caused health investigators to warn against its use, according to The New York Times. In most of the 1479 patients who have been linked to these severe lung illnesses caused by vaping, the use of THC has been reported. Due to cannabis’ distinction as a controlled substance with a high potential for abuse, scientists have been unable to study vaped THC, leaving a void in research on its attributable effect on the lungs.Drug company Biogen Incorporated announced today their intention to pursue regulatory approval for aducanumab, an investigational treatment for early Alzheimer’s disease. The move comes after consulting with the FDA and after their phase 3 EMERGE study, which represented a reportedly significant reduction in clinical decline. The Associated Press reports that the announcement comes as a surprise because earlier this year, Biogen stopped 2 studies of the drug when partial results suggested a lack of efficacy. The new analysis suggests that at the highest dose, the drug, which aims to help the body clear harmful plaques from the brain, demonstrated an effective impact on patients.