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Newly approved Parkinson’s drug delayed by virus

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Sarah Elsayed, pharma analyst at GlobalData, says: “While GlobalData expects that the market for new Parkinson’s disease (PD) products aimed at treating motor fluctuations holds great potential, it will be hard for most companies to meet their drug’s commercial launch expectations under these circumstances.

“GlobalData forecasts that if the drug launches in late 2020, it will have a slow uptake in its first year, but is then expected to grow, reaching its peak global sales of US$303m in 2025.

“Neurocrine’s decision to delay Ongentys’ launch is the appropriate move to alleviate COVID-19 consequences on its new drug’s uptake for a number of reasons.

“Despite the progressive neurodegenerative nature of PD, it is not considered a life-threating condition, which means that neurologists will be less likely start prescribing a new drug amid this global crisis, especially with the presence of other competitors’ alternatives in the market.

“Additionally, PD patients are among the vulnerable and elderly groups, thus their routine follow-up appointments have been switched to virtual visits.

“Similarly, sales representatives are currently performing their pharma calls through e-detailing techniques, which may be effective in old and established brands.

“Nevertheless, new drug launch requires huge marketing and educational tactics which will take more time to be entirely shifted toward online solutions.

“As such, Neurocrine will hold off on its launch plan meaning that Ongentys will not be available in the US until the second half of this year.”

Meanwhile delays caused by the virus are also affecting the development of Alzheimer’s Disease drugs.

With many countries putting clinical trials studies on hold, pharmaceutical companies are shifting their overall priorities away from some current indications toward COVID-19.

This could put several Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) drugs, of which there are 38 in Phase I, 19 in Phase III and 37 in Phase II, at risk of delay, says GlobalData.

Senior pharma analyst Alessio Brunello says: “Not all pharmaceutical companies have been responding in the same ways to the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, Roche is continuing both enrolment and dosing in the company’s AD late-stage trial of gantenerumab.

“On the other hand, Eli Lilly, which has several AD drugs in the pipeline, is halting enrolment and postponing new trials while continuing dosing in ongoing trials.

“In the meanwhile, Axsome Therapeutics concluded patient participation early in the Phase III study of its lead drug candidate, AXS-05, in patients with AD agitation.

“The decision to accelerate the completion of this trial was made following the FDA’s Guidance on Conduct of Clinical Trials of Medical Products during COVID-19 Pandemic, which discusses the potential impact of the pandemic on the conduct of clinical trials and on the resulting need to ensure the safety of trial participants. With the acceleration of the trial, top-line results are expected in June 2020.

“Futhermore, the filing and review of Biogen’s recombinant human monoclonal antibody (mAb) aducanumab is expected to take more time than was estimated.”

As most countries are in lockdown, people aged 65 years and older are not able to participate in clinical trials.

However, physicians are staying in contact with their participants and carers through remote technology. The research can still continue as researchers can collect and analyse some clinical and cognitive data.

Brunello continued: “The disruption of important clinical research by the COVID-19 pandemic is linked to the particular vulnerability of older adults.

“The number of deaths in the elderly population worldwide has already reached significant numbers and participants of AD trials that died from the virus can significantly affect the outcome of AD studies.”

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Video: everyday vs specialist tech

Assistive technology Expert Andy Fell joins Irwin Mitchell law firm for an in-depth exploration of the very latest independence-boosting devices and platforms.

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Technology plays a day to day role in our lives and mobile phones, tablets, Alexa and Siri are common place.

Imagine the impact on your life if you were no longer able to interact with a touch screen or keyboard or give voice commands….

In this virtual event, Assistive Technology expert Andy Fell gives practical demonstrations of how everyday technology and specialist technology can be used to help give independence to those who need it most and why specialist technology may be needed.

During the event hosted by Lauren Haas, personal injury solicitor at Irwin Mitchell LLP, Andy goes into detail about what apps and gadgets are on the market, how everyday technology can be optimised such as the Amazon Alexa, and answered a number of questions ranging from touch screen sensitivity to smart watch reminders.

Case managers, ancillary medical professionals, as well as interested members in healthcare, social care, parents and clients may find this recording useful, as well as anyone caring for, working or living with people such as dementia sufferers or sufferers of other conditions which restrict their mobility.

Andy Fell is an independent disability and assistive technology (AT) consultant with almost twenty years’ experience working with all disabilities and age groups.

He is a qualified Rehabilitation Officer for the Visually Impaired and, since qualification, has lectured on the use of assistive technology and role of AT in the life of disabled people.

He has worked with a wide range of charitable organisations including British Dyslexia Association, was head of assistive technology for Guide Dogs for the Blind and National Disability Advisor for the Royal Yacht Association.

He has also worked for blue chip companies, the emergency services and various government departments including Department for Work and Pensions.

Andy is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, chairman and founding trustee of the Wetwheels Foundation and sat on the British Dyslexia Association – Workplace Assessors Professional Review Panel.

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The relationship between music and running

By Daniel Thomas, joint managing director of Chroma Therapies.

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By Daniel Thomas, joint managing director of Chroma Therapies

With its ability to produce new neural pathways, Neurologic Music Therapy is able to encourage movement, co-ordination, improve speech and language, and improve the ability to read/feel emotions, reactions and more, in people living with catastrophic injuries.

This is because music automatically connects to the brain. And this automaticity is what makes music so powerful.

Music also has to ability to push your training capabilities farther and faster especially in running.

This is why a running playlist is the ideal accompaniment to any runner.

Each songs tempo stimulates the brain, evoking a running response of either a faster pace or a steady rhythm depending on what you want to achieve.

For a faster pace, a good running playlist should contain songs with 150-180bpm.

Unfortunately, with not many songs out there using that speed (unless you enjoy rock, metal or speed garage for running) than the other option is to choose songs with 75-90bpm, as this tempo is perfect for a steady rhythm and maximising efficiency.

Do you recall an earlier blog where we discussed cadence and stride length using NMT for preventing falls in the elderly?

We suggested music with a high bpm count promotes movement, good cadence and walking speed, so songs like Nancy Sinatra’s ‘These Boots are Made for Walkin’, which has 85 bpm, is ideal.

BPM strongly correlates to step cadence.

Rhythmic Auditory Stimulation (RAS) is an important aspect of NMT.

Predictable rhythmic structure allows the sensori-motor system to move in sync with the beat.

This is, in essence, why music is important to runners, as it has the ability to communicate with the brain in order to help maintain a steady pace or increase speed depending on the bpm.

When it comes to mental wellbeing, we will always discuss music’s ability to improve mental wellbeing, and its effect can also be attributed to runners.

Music’s ability to improve stride, cadence and style, to produce better and better runs, and enable runners to achieve personal goals also have a positive effect upon mental wellbeing.

A sense of accomplishment. And with the right playlist, runners can end each run on a high.

We also like to discuss how NMT is more effective when it is personalised to that individual.

The same can be said in the case of a runner. A playlist that includes, not only songs with the ideal tempo for them, but also have some personal meaning, have the greatest positive effect upon runners.

The more enjoyable the run, the less fatigue is experienced. This may be due to the fact that music is able to interfere with the parts of the brain that communicate fatigue, essentially causing a distraction, so less fatigue is experienced.

For runners, the relationship between music and running can be seen to be just as effective and important as the relationship between music and recovering from a brain injury.

Its ability to improve running capability, speed, motivation, and promote mental wellbeing is what makes the difference between a run just being a run and reaching ‘Flow State’ – the mental state where the runner is in the moment of running – no distractions, and the run becomes…euphoric.

Read more: Running in the name of mental health

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Concussion could lead to depression, ADHD, dementia and Parkinson’s – study

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A new study has revealed a link between concussion and the risk of being diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, mood and anxiety disorders, dementia and Parkinson’s disease later in life.

Despite ‘clinical recovery’ from concussion typically lasting one week, a team of researchers from the University of Manitoba suspected there may be longer term effects. They used 25 years of population-based health data between 1990 and 2015, involving almost 50,000 cases of concussion from people living in Manitoba, Canada.

They found that concussion was associated with an increased risk of being diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), mood and anxiety disorders (MADs), dementia and Parkinson’s disease.

After analysing the population data, they found that concussion was linked to an increased risk of diagnosis of ADHD, dementia and Parkinson’s.

Women who had a concussion were at greater risk of developing ADHD and MADs, but there were no differences between men and women for the risk of developing dementia or Parkinson’s.

Multiple concussions didn’t affect the risk of later being diagnosed with ADHD, but a second concussion increased the risk of dementia, while exposure to more than three concussions increased the risk of being diagnosed with MADs.

While previous studies have found links between concussion and ADHD, dementia, Parkinson’s and MADs, most have relied on patients self-reporting their symptoms, the researchers write.

However, this study can only show an association, not cause and effect.

The mechanism behind this increased risk is unknown, but the researchers state it’s possible that the pathways of some biomarkers that are dysregulated in ADHD, Mads, dementia and Parkinson’s, namely, cortisol, are also affected after a concussion.

The paper, published in the BMJ journal, states that future research is needed to explore the relationships between concussion and ADHD, MADs, dementia and Parkinson’s in other populations.

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