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Virtual Reality Hardware Revenue Set to Climb

  (BusinessWire) - 7/30/2015 - The year 2016 will be the make or break year for the second coming of consumer virtual reality (VR), according to a new report from Tractica. Facebook and Sony are both set to release the much-anticipated Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus headsets, respectively, by which time HTC’s Vive head-mounted display (HMD) will have been on the market for a while. A number of lessons have been learned since the 1990s when consumer VR last generated this much hype, with huge strides having been made on the comfort of HMDs, creating a convincing level of immersion, the emergence of standards, and the development of compelling content.
   Tractica anticipates that these efforts will bear fruit in the coming years, and that combined revenue for head-mounted displays (HMDs), VR accessories, and VR content will increase from $108.8 million in 2014 to $21.8 billion worldwide by 2020, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 142 percent.
   As adoption begins to reach a critical mass, the market intelligence firm forecasts that the industry’s revenue mix will quickly shift from hardware sales to content. Content sales will represent more than one-third of total VR revenue by 2017, and will quickly grow to nearly two-thirds of all VR revenue by 2020, analysts say.
   “The stakes are high for VR given the huge amount of money invested in the industry by some of the world’s biggest companies,” principal analyst Craig Foster said. “Getting users to experience VR technology firsthand, and therefore truly understand its potential, remains a challenge, but the emergence of mobile VR solutions is helping. Even so, some observers strongly believe that anything requiring the user to wear a cumbersome device will ultimately fail. Consequently, industry players continue fine-tuning their products so as not to muddy the water for all involved.”
   Tractica’s report, “Virtual Reality for Consumer Markets,” provides a comprehensive analysis of the market dynamics, technology issues, and competitive landscape for consumer VR hardware and content. The report features global market forecasts for annual unit shipments and associated revenue during the period from 2014 through 2020. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the firm’s website.

Antipsychotic prescriptions a source of concern

   (NIH) - 7/8/2015 - Boys are more likely than girls to receive a prescription for antipsychotic medication regardless of age, researchers have found. Approximately 1.5 percent of boys ages 10-18 received an antipsychotic prescription in 2010, although the percentage falls by nearly half after age 19. Among antipsychotic users with mental disorder diagnoses, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) was the most common among youth ages 1-18, while depression was the most common diagnosis among young adults ages 19-24 receiving antipsychotics. Despite concerns over the rising use of antipsychotic drugs to treat young people, little has been known about trends and usage patterns in the United States before this latest research, which was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), part of the National Institutes of Health. Mark Olfson, M.D., M.P.H., of the Department of Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons and Columbia University and New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York City, and colleagues Marissa King, Ph.D., Yale, New Haven, Connecticut, and Michael Schoenbaum, Ph.D., NIMH, reported their findings on July 1 in JAMA Psychiatry.
   “No prior study has had the data to look at age patterns in antipsychotic use among children the way we do here. What’s especially important is the finding that around 1.5 percent of boys aged 10-18 are on antipsychotics, and then this rate abruptly falls by half, as adolescents become young adults," Schoenbaum said.  “Antipsychotics should be prescribed with care. They can adversely affect both physical and neurological function and some of their adverse effects can persist even after the medication is stopped.”
   The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved antipsychotics for children with certain disorders, particularly bipolar disorder, psychosis/schizophrenia, and autism. However, the research team found that the medication use patterns do not match the illness patterns. The mismatch means that many antipsychotic prescriptions for young people may be for off-label purposes, that is, for uses not approved by FDA.
  For example, maladaptive aggression is common in ADHD, and clinical trial data suggest that at least one antipsychotic, risperidone, when used with stimulants, can help reduce aggression in ADHD. To date, FDA has not approved the use of any antipsychotic for ADHD, making its use for this diagnosis off-label. In the current study, the combination of peak use of antipsychotics in adolescent boys and the diagnoses associated with prescriptions (often ADHD) suggest that these medications are being used to treat developmentally limited impulsivity and aggression rather than psychosis.
   Olfson and colleagues worked with the IMS LifeLink LRx database, which includes 63 percent of outpatient prescriptions filled in the U.S. The team looked at prescription data for 2006-2010 and found antipsychotic use increased with age in both boys and girls, beginning at 0.11 percent in 2010 for ages 1-6 years, increasing to 0.80 percent for ages 7-12 years and increasing again to 1.19 percent for youth ages 13-18 years before dropping substantially to 0.84 percent for ages 19-24.
   In children ages 1-6, boys were more than twice as likely as girls to receive an antipsychotic prescription (0.16 vs. 0.06 percent in 2010). This pattern held true for boys and girls ages 7-12 (1.20 vs. 0.44 percent in 2010) before narrowing for the 13-18 age group (1.42 vs. 0.95 percent) and finally becoming more comparable for young men and women ages 19 to 24 (0.88 to 0.81 percent in 2010). Among young people treated with antipsychotics in 2010, the youngest children, ages 1-6, were the least likely to receive the prescription from a psychiatrist (57.9 vs. 71.9, 77.9, and 70.4 percent for the other three age groups). This is a source of concern, as practice guidelines caution practitioners on the use of antipsychotic medications for young children in particular.
   Among young people receiving antipsychotic prescriptions, fewer than half had any medical visit that included a mental disorder diagnosis. That may be in part due to stigma about mental illness, or because primary care providers are concerned about reimbursement for treatment related to such diagnoses.
   “In addition to having a new look at antipsychotic use among youth, one positive finding coming from this study is that around 75 percent of these kids have at least some contact with a psychiatrist,” said NIMH Director Thomas Insel, M.D.
   Source: National Institutes of Health

Book Looks at Hidden Victims of Tort Reform

   CHICAGO, June 29, 2015 – In a new book, "Tort Reform, Plaintiffs’ Lawyers, and Access to Justice" (University Press of Kansas, 2015), Stephen Daniels, an American Bar Foundation Research Professor, and Joanne Martin, an American Bar Foundation Research Professor Emerita and Director of Administrative Services for the American Bar Endowment, examine the very real consequences of tort reform activity for plaintiffs’ lawyers and what it means for access to justice for ordinary people.
   Plaintiffs’ lawyers, acting as the gatekeepers to the civil justice system, are the key to meaningful access to justice for ordinary people. Many Americans cannot afford an attorney, meaning the only redress for an injury comes through an attorney who takes cases for a percentage of the recovery. However, in a variety of ways – up to and including strict limits on damage recoveries -- tort reform makes this kind of plaintiffs’ contingency fee-based practice a very precarious proposition. As one plaintiff’s lawyer told Daniels and Martin, “Unless there’s a way to make money practicing law, rights don’t make any difference.” Daniels and Martin’s research concentrates on Texas, where there has long been a successful, substantial plaintiffs’ bar and a long history of tort reform activity.
   Starting in the mid- 1990s, Daniels and Martin began a series of studies in Texas covering over 20 years of tort reform activity and the politics surrounding it. The choice to use the term “tort reform activity” is intentional for Daniels and Martin because they want to emphasize not just the tort reform legislation passed in Texas, but also the sophisticated public relations campaigns waged by tort reform advocates as a part of their political strategy.
  A key part of that strategy is an unrelenting attack on plaintiffs’ lawyers as the alleged cause of many problems that tort reform will solve, like diminished economic prosperity, disappearing jobs, or shortages of physicians. Another lawyer told them, “I believe tort reform was a major factor in my decision to close my practice. I found jury verdicts decreased due to the propaganda disseminated by insurance companies and big business, and this resulted in insurance adjusters offering less money to settle cases. I began to decline representation in cases I used to accept and was working harder and receiving less money on cases I took.”
  Most plaintiffs’ lawyers in Texas, however, are not going out of business. But Daniels and Martin found that some are leaving the practice area and most are adjusting their practices in the hope of staying solvent in a decidedly hostile environment caused by the public relations campaigns as well as the legislation enacted. Those adjustments involved re-examining the kinds of cases they would take and even the kinds of clients they would take on. This can diminish access and in some situations it can leave little or no chance for meaningful access.
   For example, Daniels and Martin found that after the Texas Legislature passed a cap on non-economic damages (commonly called “pain and suffering”) in medical malpractice cases in 2003, medical malpractice cases became much less attractive. The reason is simple – with limited damages it became more problematic to balance the risk and the cost involved in these cases given that the lawyer pays all of the costs involved in preparing such a case. If the lawyer is not successful, there is no fee and no recoup of what will be a substantial monetary investment.
   Not only have these cases become less attractive, but certain kinds of clients have become especially unattractive for the lawyers who will still take such cases. In the words one lawyer who still takes medical malpractice cases, “They essentially closed the courthouse door to the negligence that would kill a child, a housewife, or an elderly person.” The reason, he said, was the lack of economic recovery for damages like loss wages or medical expenses, and “unless it’s a drop-dead negligence that you can prosecute with one or two experts, that’s just not a case that I think in Texas right now us a viable case.” These are among the “hidden victims” of tort reform.
   In light of the apparent success of the various tort reform activities Daniels and Martin admit to a certain surprise that anyone would continue practicing as a plaintiffs’ lawyer in Texas. They found, perhaps to the reformers’ chagrin, these lawyers are still very much there. The reason is a unique professional identity that can transcend pure economic considerations. In the words of a younger plaintiffs’ lawyer, “You have true believers. . . I put myself in that category. What has appealed to me is a family with kids whose life gets turned upside down because someone in the family gets seriously hurt or killed, and they’re facing a greater than David and Goliath battle, and they need someone to fight for them. . . I’ll be in this business until the bitter end. And I hope that the bitter end is not five years from now.” Plaintiffs ‘lawyers’ own professional organizations at the local, state, and local levels bolster this professional identity.
   Source: American Bar Association (originally released on June 2, 2015)

Photo by Steve Rensberry (c) 2014