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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Three Market-Generated Innovations that Could Massively Improve Our Lives

Where there is a problem, the market is working to find a solution.

A Cure for Alzheimer’s Disease

What if a drug could ward off Alzheimer’s disease before it begins? A revolutionary new drug, aducanumab,could do just that, as well as halt the disease’s progress in those already affected. The disease poisons brain cells with clumps of damaging amyloid protein. The new drug contains antibodies that empower the body’s immune system to hone in on the toxic protein and destroy it. Amyloid practically vanished in the brains of patients given a high dose of aducanumab. Alzheimer’s researchers are hailing the drug as the greatest breakthrough in a quarter century.

Injection-Free Dental Visits

Getting a shot is never pleasant, but sometimes necessary. Fortunately, it may now be needed in one less situation. For those about to undergo dental surgery, a nasal spray has proven safe and sufficient to provide local anesthesia. The nasal spray, called Kovanase, has just successfully gained approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In the final trial during testing of the drug, 88 percent of those who tried the nasal spray were able to complete dental restorative procedures involving drilling without any anesthetic injections, compared to 28 percent of those who received a placebo nasal spray. 

A New Hope Against Zika

Zika, a mosquito-spread virus linked to severe birth defects when contracted by pregnant women, has swept across much of South and Latin America, and its carrier mosquitoes are now present as far north as Florida. A recent discovery provides hope that we may soon be able to defeat the virus: a drug already approved by the FDA to treat tapeworms also appears to prevent Zika virus from replicating in Petri dishes in a lab. The research was published in the prestigious science journal, Nature. Tweaking the tapeworm drug could lead to effective Zika treatment. 

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  • Chelsea Follet works at the Cato Institute as a Researcher and Managing Editor of