So it's only a headline, but Jay Leno could use this one off a press release from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Scientists there used genetics to raise the levels of dopamine receptors in rats. Previous research shows the receptors are depleted in human alcoholics, leading people to drink more to get the same buzz.
In the study, some genetically manipulated rats also had been previously trained to self-administer alcohol. So when these party animals started cutting back on the booze, we got this headline: "Gene Therapy Technique Reduces Alcohol Consumption in Rats."
Never knew drunken rats posed a problem worth a cure.
Research breakthroughs. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration recently publicized research showing that treating mothers for their addictions results in "sharp drops in alcohol and drug use and reduced criminal behavior" as well as healthier babies.
No one will dispute the importance of keeping mothers and mothers-to-be off drugs and away from alcohol. But did we really need research or a National Press Club briefing to tell us this? Our money's on a one-word answer: no.
Warning, warning. Have we really come to this? With Halloween fast approaching, it's wise to remind people of certain health and safety precautions: Don't wear long costumes that you can trip on, do wear makeup instead of masks, carry a flashlight instead of a candle. You know, common-sense precautions.
Which leaves us wondering about this warning on a Batman costume: "Caution: Cape does not enable user to fly."
Think big. Last October, we reported that ParkStone Medical Information Systems said it would keep its handheld electronic prescription-writing tool as-is, rather than jumping on the bandwagon with its competitors and adding all sorts of bells and whistles to its practice software for personal digital assistants.
Less than a month later, the Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based company announced that it would add lab order, lab results and electronic claims submission functions to its PDA software.
Now, ParkStone has decided to go the whole nine yards, selling actual PDA devices and even the rights to its basic electronic script-writing technology--in a bankruptcy liquidation.
A federal court was set to auction most of ParkStone's assets, including its intellectual property. The firm also planned to sell 625 Compaq iPaq PDAs on its own and effectively go out of business.
As famed Chicago city planner Daniel Burnham once said, "Make no small plans."
Bearing a resemblance. On Sept. 18, pharmacy benefits manager AdvancePCS proudly announced that it had won a multiyear contract to distribute drug discount cards to the 400,000 West Virginia residents age 60 and older.
Gov. Bob Wise was equally enthused, saying in a statement released by the PBM, "I have made lowering the cost of prescription drugs a priority in my administration, and the Golden Mountaineer card program for seniors is a big step in this direction."
Wise's comments are remarkably similar to those made by HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson last July, when he announced a drug discount program for Medicare recipients.
Only problem is, a federal judge ruled earlier in September that HHS did not have the legal authority to start a discount drug card program and issued a temporary injunction halting the effort.
The court order was in response to a complaint by the National Association of Chain Drugstores. Its members stand to lose billions if seniors start buying their prescription medications through mail-order pharmacies such as AdvancePCS.
Predictably, the Irving, Texas-based PBM, a key supporter of the Bush administration's Medicare initiative, defends the West Virginia program. "There is no similarity between it and the Bush proposal," an AdvancePCS spokesperson says. "About the only 'similarity' between the two programs is that the targeted users are older Americans."
The spokesperson overlooked another similarity: the likelihood of further litigation.