Today’s Headlines: New Eye Implants Approved by The FDA, Studies Funded by Sugar Industry Downplayed Sugar Role, and Scientists Rethink Statins

The FDA has approved two new eye implants that are designed for people with presbyopia or age-related vision loss. These devices fill a void in eye care; they offer a solution to middle-aged Americans who have trouble reading but whose eyes are not yet cloudy enough to warrant cataract surgery. “The most recent [device] to receive approval, the “Raindrop”, is made mostly from water and works by reshaping the cornea helping the eye to focus better on close-up objects. Both of the new implants, Raindrop and KAMRA, go into only one eye. The other eye will be for seeing distance…” After receiving an implant, a patient is able to see better almost immediately afterward. Unfortunately, insurance or Medicare doesn’t yet cover the implants. The procedure is expensive, with a current price tag of $4,000 to $5,000. (NBC)

In two new papers published in JAMA Internal Medicine, researches reveal that the sugar industry funded studies that masked the link between sugar and heart disease. The papers show that the Sugar Research Foundation (now called the Sugar Association), paid large sums of money to researchers in the 1960s and 1970s who conducted studies on behalf of the foundation. US policymakers relied, in part, on these studies to enact policies that pointed to fat, not sugar, as the primary cause of heart disease. “Our findings are a wake-up call…that the sugary industry, like the tobacco industry, seeks to protect profits over public health,” one of the authors notes. Both papers in JAMA argue that the sugar industry continues to engage in similar deception. (NBC)

A new report published in Lancet suggests that concerns about statins — inexpensive drugs prescribed to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease — are largely misplaced. “There seemed to be a lot of confusion, particularly around the alleged side effects of statins,” says the researcher who led the study. Those who warn of statins’ adverse side effects often refer to statin intolerance, which can lead to severe muscle damage and, in turn, kidney damage. But when researchers reviewed studies with the highest standards of protocol, they found that subjects who were given statins reported no more problems than those who were given a placebo. While adverse side effects from statins are a real concern, the paper concedes, these effects are rare. The greater risk is for those who decide to do without them. (Time)