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The objective of this research was to evaluate managed access policy in England, drawing upon the expertise of a range of stakeholders involved in its implementation.
Seven focus groups were conducted with payer and health technology assessment representatives, clinicians, and representatives from industry and patient/carer organizations within England. Transcripts were analyzed using framework analysis to identify stakeholders’ views on the successes and challenges of managed access policy.
Stakeholders discussed the many aims of managed access within the National Health Service in England, and how competing aims had affected decision making. While stakeholders highlighted a number of priorities within eligibility criteria for managed access agreements (MAAs), stakeholders agreed that strict eligibility criteria would be challenging to implement due to the highly variable nature of innovative technologies and their indications. Participants highlighted challenges faced with implementing MAAs, including evidence generation, supporting patients during and after the end of MAAs, and agreeing and reinforcing contractual agreements with industry.
Managed access is one strategy that can be used by payers to resolve uncertainty for innovative technologies that present challenges for reimbursement and can also deliver earlier access to promising technologies for patients. However, participants cautioned that managed access is not a “silver bullet,” and there is a need for greater clarity about the aims of managed access and how these should be prioritized in decision making. Discussions between key stakeholders involved in managed access identified challenges with implementing MAAs and these experiences should be used to inform future managed access policy.
Early access schemes (EASs) are approaches used by payers to balance and facilitate earlier patient access to innovative health technologies while evidence generation is ongoing. Schemes require investment from payers and are associated with significant risk since not all technologies will be routinely reimbursed. The purpose of this study was to gain the perspectives of policy experts about the key challenges for EASs and potential solutions for their optimal design and implementation.
Two virtual workshops were convened including (i) UK-based policy experts (England, Wales, and Scotland) and (ii) representatives from multiple healthcare systems (England, France, Sweden, Canada, Poland, and Norway). Participants were encouraged to share their experiences with EASs in their healthcare system and highlight key challenges for policy makers. Discussions were transcribed and analyzed using framework analysis.
Participants agreed that EASs have value when targeted toward innovative technologies with the potential for significant clinical benefit in an area of high unmet need. Participants discussed potential solutions to the challenges faced by payers implementing EASs, including defining eligibility criteria, supporting evidence generation, and approaches to reimbursement.
Participants agreed that EASs are one possible solution for their healthcare systems and have the potential to deliver significant clinical value to patients. However, widespread adoption of EASs is limited due to concerns about the risks for patients and healthcare budgets, further solutions are needed to deliver EASs for targeted therapies.
Reward processing has been proposed to underpin the atypical social feature of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, previous neuroimaging studies have yielded inconsistent results regarding the specificity of atypicalities for social reward processing in ASD.
Utilising a large sample, we aimed to assess reward processing in response to reward type (social, monetary) and reward phase (anticipation, delivery) in ASD.
Functional magnetic resonance imaging during social and monetary reward anticipation and delivery was performed in 212 individuals with ASD (7.6–30.6 years of age) and 181 typically developing participants (7.6–30.8 years of age).
Across social and monetary reward anticipation, whole-brain analyses showed hypoactivation of the right ventral striatum in participants with ASD compared with typically developing participants. Further, region of interest analysis across both reward types yielded ASD-related hypoactivation in both the left and right ventral striatum. Across delivery of social and monetary reward, hyperactivation of the ventral striatum in individuals with ASD did not survive correction for multiple comparisons. Dimensional analyses of autism and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) scores were not significant. In categorical analyses, post hoc comparisons showed that ASD effects were most pronounced in participants with ASD without co-occurring ADHD.
Our results do not support current theories linking atypical social interaction in ASD to specific alterations in social reward processing. Instead, they point towards a generalised hypoactivity of ventral striatum in ASD during anticipation of both social and monetary rewards. We suggest this indicates attenuated reward seeking in ASD independent of social content and that elevated ADHD symptoms may attenuate altered reward seeking in ASD.
Studies suggest that alcohol consumption and alcohol use disorders have distinct genetic backgrounds.
We examined whether polygenic risk scores (PRS) for consumption and problem subscales of the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT-C, AUDIT-P) in the UK Biobank (UKB; N = 121 630) correlate with alcohol outcomes in four independent samples: an ascertained cohort, the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA; N = 6850), and population-based cohorts: Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC; N = 5911), Generation Scotland (GS; N = 17 461), and an independent subset of UKB (N = 245 947). Regression models and survival analyses tested whether the PRS were associated with the alcohol-related outcomes.
In COGA, AUDIT-P PRS was associated with alcohol dependence, AUD symptom count, maximum drinks (R2 = 0.47–0.68%, p = 2.0 × 10−8–1.0 × 10−10), and increased likelihood of onset of alcohol dependence (hazard ratio = 1.15, p = 4.7 × 10−8); AUDIT-C PRS was not an independent predictor of any phenotype. In ALSPAC, the AUDIT-C PRS was associated with alcohol dependence (R2 = 0.96%, p = 4.8 × 10−6). In GS, AUDIT-C PRS was a better predictor of weekly alcohol use (R2 = 0.27%, p = 5.5 × 10−11), while AUDIT-P PRS was more associated with problem drinking (R2 = 0.40%, p = 9.0 × 10−7). Lastly, AUDIT-P PRS was associated with ICD-based alcohol-related disorders in the UKB subset (R2 = 0.18%, p < 2.0 × 10−16).
AUDIT-P PRS was associated with a range of alcohol-related phenotypes across population-based and ascertained cohorts, while AUDIT-C PRS showed less utility in the ascertained cohort. We show that AUDIT-P is genetically correlated with both use and misuse and demonstrate the influence of ascertainment schemes on PRS analyses.
The metabolic syndrome (MetS) is known to be associated with elevated serum ferritin levels. The possible association with other Fe markers has been less well studied. We aimed to investigate the cross-sectional association of soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR) and ferritin levels with the MetS components, insulin resistance and glycosylated Hb (HbA1C). The sample consisted of 725 adults, aged 19–93 years (284 men, 151 premenopausal and 290 postmenopausal women), from the Croatian island of Vis. Serum sTfR and ferritin levels were measured by immunoturbidimetry and electrochemiluminescence assays, respectively. The MetS was defined using modified international consensus criteria. Logistic and linear regression analyses were conducted to investigate the associations adjusting for age, fibrinogen, smoking status, alcohol consumption and BMI. Prevalence of the MetS was 48·7 %. Standardised values of ferritin were positively associated with all of the MetS components (except high blood pressure and waist circumference) in men (P<0·05). Ferritin was significantly associated with the MetS in men (adjusted OR 1·78 (95 % CI 1·31, 2·42)) and postmenopausal women (1·71 (95 % CI 1·12, 2·62)). Interestingly, sTfR was independently and positively associated with homoeostatic model assessment for insulin resistance in men (adjusted β=0·44 (95 % CI 0·14, 0·75), P=0·004) and postmenopausal women (adjusted β coefficient=0·34 (95 % CI 0·05, 0·63), P=0·020). However, there was no significant relationship between serum sTfR levels and the MetS or its components. Neither ferritin nor sTfR was significantly associated with HbA1C (P>0·05). sTfR levels could be spuriously elevated in subjects with insulin resistance and without association with the MetS or its components. We conclude that different markers of Fe metabolism are not consistently associated with cardiometabolic risk.
Variation in human cognitive ability is of consequence to a large number of health and social outcomes and is substantially heritable. Genetic linkage, genome-wide association, and copy number variant studies have investigated the contribution of genetic variation to individual differences in normal cognitive ability, but little research has considered the role of rare genetic variants. Exome sequencing studies have already met with success in discovering novel trait-gene associations for other complex traits. Here, we use exome sequencing to investigate the effects of rare variants on general cognitive ability. Unrelated Scottish individuals were selected for high scores on a general component of intelligence (g). The frequency of rare genetic variants (in n = 146) was compared with those from Scottish controls (total n = 486) who scored in the lower to middle range of the g distribution or on a proxy measure of g. Biological pathway analysis highlighted enrichment of the mitochondrial inner membrane component and apical part of cell gene ontology terms. Global burden analysis showed a greater total number of rare variants carried by high g cases versus controls, which is inconsistent with a mutation load hypothesis whereby mutations negatively affect g. The general finding of greater non-synonymous (vs. synonymous) variant effects is in line with evolutionary hypotheses for g. Given that this first sequencing study of high g was small, promising results were found, suggesting that the study of rare variants in larger samples would be worthwhile.
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