Health Highlights: Dec. 6, 2019

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Retail Prescription Drug Prices Fall For First Time in 45 Years

Retail prescription drug prices in the United States fell by 1% last year, a new government report shows.

It said the overall decrease was due to drops in generic drug prices and slow growth in the cost of brand-name medications, the AP reported.

It’s the first such decline in 45 years, according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services experts. The last one was a 0.2% decrease in 1973.

Only retail pharmacy prescriptions had an overall price drop, not medications given in hospitals or doctor’s offices, the AP reported.


Premature Babies Have Higher Risk of Diabetes

Premature babies have an increased risk of type 1 and type 2 diabetes, researchers report.

They analyzed data from nearly 4.2 million babies who were born in Sweden from 1973 to 2014 and followed for up to 43 years, with an average of 23 years, The New York Times reported.

Compared with full-term babies, premature babies had a 21% increased relative risk for type 1 diabetes and a 26% increased risk for type 2 diabetes before age 18, according to the study published in the journal Diabetologia.

After age 18, the risk of type 1 diabetes was 24% higher and the risk of type 2 diabetes was 49% among those who were born premature. Premature girls had a slightly higher risk than premature boys, The Times reported.


New Results for Experimental Alzheimer’s Drug

New study results about an experimental drug its maker claims can slow mental decline in Alzheimer’s disease patients were released Thursday.

Studies on aducanumab were halted earlier this year because the drug didn’t appear to be effective. But the new results suggest it’s effective at a high dose, the Associated Press reported.

The findings were presented at an Alzheimer’s conference in San Diego.

However, some experts say that changes during the study and unusual analyses make the results difficult to interpret and the risks and benefits of the drug unclear, the AP reported.

“I don’t see how you can conclude anything other than that another trial needs to be done,” said Dr. David Knopman of the Mayo Clinic, who is a member of an FDA panel likely to review the drug.

He’s not likely to participate in such a review because he was involved in one of the studies, the AP reported.

Aducanumab — being developed by U.S. company Biogen and Japanese company Eisai — is designed to clear harmful plaques, or protein clumps, from the brain.