Paper Chase: Flu and Cancer Vaccines
Better than expected unemployment report topped the best year for jobs since 1999. The unemployment rate was 5.6% in December. This was the lowest since June 2008 and better than expectations.
Additionally, 250,000 jobs were created and 50,000 more were added to previous months revisions. Unfortunately, wage growth still remains weak.
Oil was below $50 per barrel which was a new 5.5 year low. This is attributed to oversupply and weak demand. As we stated before, this problem is not going to disappear.
Sony is selling an all digital walkman for 1100 dollars. Apparently, it has a large amount of memory and was specifically designed for audio files. i would say “we’ll see”, but I won’t.
The Affordable Care Act had three goals: increase access, improve quality and decrease costs. Where are we on those goals going into 2015?
Access has certainly increased both on the medicaid level, and the larger exchange level.
As far as quality is concerned, penalties from Medicare for payments to hospitals for patients with have resulted in a sharp decrease in those incidences. They are down so quality is up.
Financially, the rate of increase in what we have been paying for health care is slowing. Proponents cite the law, but there are other explanations as to why that rate of increase is decreasing unrelated to the ACA including larger co-pays and deductibles. Sadly, people are also using less care because they just can’t afford it.
We still aren’t addressing the things that drive health care costs such as death and obesity. Measures to control the costs associated with such things are tough, polarizing debates we must attack to have meaningful change.
It’s going to be a bad flu season and has already been in a number of parts of the country. Some parts are seeing 6% flu related emergency room and doctor’s visits making it a more severe concern than usual.
The flu vaccine is not as effective because the virus mutates, and the vaccine’s antibodies are somewhat different than what this flu virus is. Still, it’s better to be vaccinated than not.
The ideal vaccine would direct itself at the part of the flu virus that doesn’t mutate from year to year. This is difficult to do, but a universal vaccine, that may be good for up to 10 years, is in development.
Vaccinations are simply ways to enhance the immune system. Researchers have been studying how our normal defense mechanisms can fight cancer and why not? With advances in genomics and biology, it’s now possible to identify the factors that need to be enhanced for a robust inflammatory response to cancer.
These drugs boost our own antibodies, t-cells, and inflammatory cells to attack cancer cells. Cancer deceives our immune system, and we have developed mechanisms to provide clarity as to how its clandestine operation works, and how our immune system can defend against it.
With cancer. the steps are small but real. This is no polio vaccine, but with basic biology and pathophysiology, we can develop better drugs that are more focused while having less adverse effects.
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