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What Matters April: MedTech News You Need to Know

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April 04, 2018

Overheard at GMM HQ

"If the geotag on the Instagram pic is the E.R., don't LOL." - Mia Benenate, on How To Spot An SAE on Social Media.


WHAT THE INDUSTRY IS BUZZING ABOUT

JUST SAY NO TO NICOTINE

The FDA is moving forward on plans to limit the maximum level of nicotine in cigarettes following an announcement of its plans last summer. Stocks of tobacco shares responded by taking a sick day ("It's the black lung, Pop."). 

WILL THE COOL KIDS STILL SMOKE?!

The FDA hopes to lower the smoking rate to as low as 1.4 percent from the current 15.5 percent, as well as prevent kids who experiment with smoking from becoming full-on nicotine addicts. "We'll always have James Dean," the tobacco execs whisper to each other.

THE 411

Current status: Nicotine levels are on advance notice while the FDA seeks input on issues like what the unintended consequences of a nicotine limit might be and how to best introduce such a limit. Hacking up a lung seems like it might be an effective intro.

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BAD & BADDER NEWS

The bad news? The U.S. spends about twice what other high-income nations do on healthcare. What's worse? We also have the lowest life expectancy and the highest infant mortality rates, a new study suggests.

NO BANG FOR THE BUCK

It's not so much that Americans are sicker than the rest of the developed world, it's that getting well just costs more here. The report found that U.S. prices are steeper for drugs, medical devices, physician and nurse salaries, and administrative costs to process medical claims.

THE 411

The lead author of the study sums it up thusly: "These inefficiencies are likely the product of a number of factors including a reliance on fee-for-service reimbursement, the administrative complexity of the U.S. healthcare system and the lack of price transparency across the system." So yeah, it's complicated.

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BREASTS LIKE FINE WINE

The latest innovation in breast augmentation surgery? Fermented E. Coli bacteria. You read that right.

CONVINCE ME THIS ISN'T GROSS

Turns out the fermentation process turns genetically modified E. Coli into a silk-like protein that the body recognizes as a natural substance, making it a desirable coating for silicone implants which can be rejected by surrounding tissue due to the synthetic nature of silicone. The hope is that the protein coating allows the body enough time to adjust to the foreign objects, and then dissolves in a few months, leaving the implant comfortably in place and reducing the need for subsequent surgeries to correct or remove it.

THE 411

Starting this year, the new coating will be used in a clinical trial in hopes of helping the human body adjust more safely to breast implants. Freshly fermented breasts could be coming soon to a medical office near you.

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GOOD TO KNOW


If bigger is better, women win at smiling. A new study found that a computer can tell if a video subject is male or female based on their smile, with women exhibiting "broader smiles, expanding their mouth and lip area far more than men." More proof that men are from Mars and women are from Venus.


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