The Rundown | Week of 11.19.2018

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Study: Healthcare Industry Will Spend Most on R&D by 2020

Researchers from PricewaterhouseCoopers estimate that, by 2020, healthcare will eclipse computing and electronics industries as the highest investor in research and development (R&D). Money spent on R&D increased by 11.4 percent in 2018 for a total of $782 billion. Within healthcare, R&D spending jumped from $159 to $169.5 billion. Healthcare is one of five industries — along with electronics, auto, software, and IT — that comprise 76 percent of total spending. Revenue increased proportionally to R&D, also at a growth rate of 11.4 percent. A separate report discovered, when accounting for medical research as well, the United States’ investments skyrocketed by 20.6 percent in response to industry initiatives and federal programs.
>> Read More: The 2018 Global Innovation 1000 study

athenahealth Bought, Will Retain Brand

Elliott Management’s subsidiary, Evergreen Coast Capital, and Veritas Capital have purchased electronic health record (EHR) company athenahealth for $5.7 billion, which amounts to $135 per share. The deal, which is $1.3 billion less than the original offer, is estimated to be finalized before April. Other allegedly interested buyers included UnitedHealth, nThrive, and Bain Capital. The company will still operate under the athenahealth brand, but will be combined with Virence Health. Following the announcement of the buyout, stock prices surged nearly 10 percent, up to $131.90, though still under the per-share cost of acquisition.
>> Read More: athenahealth Enters Definitive Agreement to be Acquired by Veritas Capital For $135 Per Share in Cash

New Federal Guidelines for Physical Activity

Our increasingly sedentary lifestyles have led the Department of Health and Human Services to revise physical activity guidelines for the first time in 10 years. Many of the recommendations remain the same: adults, with or without chronic conditions, are encouraged to exercise for 150–300 minutes per week at a moderate intensity or 75–100 minutes at a high intensity. Per the guidelines, “Adults should move more and sit less throughout the day. Some physical activity is better than none.” The updates include discussions of the “risks of sedentary behavior,” “tested strategies that can be used to get the population more active,” and “immediate and longer term benefits for how people feel, function, and sleep.” However, these guidelines are ignored by the vast majority of Americans; a recent study published in JAMA estimates a lack of physical activity amounts to $117 billion in annual healthcare costs.
>> Read More: Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans

Smoking Hits All-Time Low; More Work Needed for E-Cigs

Fewer Americans smoke cigarettes than ever before, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The number of smokers dropped to 14 percent in 2017, down 1.5 percent from the year before. Rates of use were higher among uninsured individuals (31 percent) than those with public insurance (26.8 percent), private insurance (16.2 percent), or Medicare (11 percent). While that means 34 million adults use combustible cigarettes, 47 million — roughly 20 percent — still use tobacco products. However the data only examine behaviors among adults. To curb this, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it seeks to ban menthol cigarettes, which contains flavoring that can make them alluring to underage smokers, and a continued effort to restrict minors’ access to electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).

>> Read More: CDC: Adult Smoking Hits Record Low

Study: Low-Carb Diets Effective for Weight Loss and Management

A new study published in The BMJ indicates that diets low in carbohydrates may not only help dieters lose weight, but avoid regaining the weight. Researchers examined 164 overweight adults who followed a 10-week diet to lose weight, after which they were split into three groups, each with a different level of carbohydrate density, for a second round of dieting. Those who followed low-carb diets — defined as 20 percent of calories from carbohydrates — burned 200 more calories per day than their high-carb counterparts. Projected over a three-year period, researchers estimated that, even if total calories consumed remained constant, a low-carb dieter could lose 10 percent of his or her bodyweight. “Consistent with the carbohydrate-insulin model, lowering dietary carbohydrate increased energy expenditure during weight loss maintenance,” researchers concluded. “This metabolic effect may improve the success of obesity treatment, especially among those with high insulin secretion.” These findings accompany recent genetic analysis from the Cleveland Clinic that determined “obesity itself, not just the adverse health effects associated with it, significantly increases the risk of type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease.”
>> Read More: Effects of a Low Carbohydrate Diet on Energy Expenditure During Weight Loss Maintenance

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