Archive for May 15th, 2009

Hooked on Video Games

May 15th, 2009 | 1 Comment | Source: Psychological Science, Washington Post

A national study has revealed that 8.5% of US kids aged 8 to 18 are addicted to video games, with many lying about how much they play, skimping on homework and struggling to cut back.

wearesonotdoinghomeworkIowa State University’s Douglas Gentile published the findings in Psychological Science.

“For some kids, they play in such a way that it becomes out of balance. They’re damaging other areas of their lives,” Gentile told the Washington Post.

Gentile adapted criteria for the diagnosis of pathological gambling into a set of questions about video gaming. The questions were then added to a 2007 Harris Poll involving 1,178 children and teens.

He classified players as “pathological” if they reported having 6 or more of 11 symptoms on his list.

Symptoms included irritability or restlessness when gaming was reduced, devoting increasing amounts of time and money to video games in order to get the same degree of excitement, skipping homework or chores to play games, lying about playing time, and stealing money to pay for new games.

Pathological gamers did worse in school, had more trouble paying attention in class and were more likely to report attention-deficit disorder, according to Gentile. These findings held up after controlling for gender and age.

“It’s not that the games are addictive,” Gentile told the Post. “It’s that some kids use them in a way that is out of balance and harms various other areas of their lives.”

Mark Griffiths, the director of the International Gaming Research Unit at Nottingham Trent University doubted the scale of video game addiction reported by Gentile. “If there really were 8.5% of children who were genuinely addicted, there would be treatment clinics all over America,” he said.



Avastin, We Have a Problem

May 15th, 2009 | No Comments | Source: NY Times

The makers of Avastin have announced that their favorite blockbuster appears to be ineffective as adjuvant chemotherapy for patients with colon cancer.

couldawouldashouldaThe drug cops $2.7 billion in US revenues alone for G-Tech. It is FDA approved  for late-stage cancers of the breast, colon and lung.

In such settings, Avastin prolongs life by a few months.

The new trial was designed to see how useful the cancer fighter might be in preventing recurrent disease if given immediately following surgery to remove the tumor; in other words, early on in the course of the disease.

A positive study would probably have quadrupled revenues for G-Tech, which was recently acquired by Roche after a lengthy, tumultuous negotiation

The 2 companies vowed to press their efforts to find another way for Avastin to crack the larger market.

“Our initial review of the data leads us to…believe Avastin may be active in patients with early-stage colon cancer,” G-Tech’s CMO Hal Barron insisted to the New York Times.

The companies did not actually release findings from their trial, other than to say it was negative. They’ll be mining the heck out of the data, that means, until their full presentation which will be delivered at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meetings later this month. 

snakeeyesDuring the abovementioned negotiations, G-Tech set the odds for Avastin’s success in this trial to be 61%.

Roche had pegged it at 55%.

Roche clearly wanted to close the acquisition before results of the trial were announced, assuming that its success would bump G-Tech’s stock price through the roof and queer the deal.

It looks now like had the Swiss giant waited, it could have paid a lot less.



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