Friday, September 18, 2015

This week in ePharma news: A Man Gains a Sense of Touch and Feel in His Robotic Hand | NIMH director to leave for Google Alphabet

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Big news in Life Sciences: Dr, Tom Insel, Director of National Institute of Mental Health is stepping down after 13 years in his position just to ... join the Google Life Sciences team under its new umbrella Alphabet. In our weekly ePharma news roundup of August 28th we talked a little bit about the reorganization that Google is currently undergoing, particularly about the life sciences team becoming its own entity with its own CEO - Andy Conrad, Ph. D.

In terms of the future plans, Dr. Tom Insel himself shared with NIMH, "I am certainly not planning to retire. I am currently working out the final details for a move to the life sciences team at Google (or rather, Alphabet, now!). The Google Life Sciences team is developing new technologies to transform healthcare, such as a contact lens with an embedded glucose monitor. The Google Life Sciences mission is about creating technology that can help with earlier detection, better prevention, and more effective management of serious health conditions. I am joining the team to explore how this mission can be applied to mental illness."  

Robotics and health tech: A man re-gained a sense of feel and touch through his prosthetic hand
A breakthrough surgery has been successfully performed on a young man who according to the Life Science journal, has been paralyzed for more than 10 years because of the spinal cord injury. A team of scientists from DARPA, Defense Advance Research Projects Agency, was able to attach electrodes to the man's brain the way that he gained a sense of touch and feel with his prosthetic hand.
The DARPA program manager Justin Sanchez has labeled this a success and declared, "This work shows the potential for seamless bio-technological restoration of near-natural function.”

Addyi, the "Viagra" for women pill that got approved by the FDA last month after being rejected twice is causing discrepancy between the users. The concerns are raised over the side effects of the drug when used with alcohol. It's known that one female patient died during the clinical trial of the flibanserin (the medical name for Addyi) because of alcohol intoxication. After the investigation the FDA representative concluded, that the role of the drug in the death case was not excluded.

As it was reported by Bloomberg Business, the conflict of interests comes down to weighting out the benefits of the first drug helping female sexual dysfunction against the risk of taking Addyi with alcohol, to measure which the clinical tests were performed almost exclusive on men.

Stay tuned for our weekly news round up!

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About the author: Ksenia Newton, a Digital Marketing Assistant at IIR USA, Pharma Division, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. She can be reached at
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