A Weekly Compilation of Clinical Laboratory and Related Information
from The Division of Laboratory Science and Standards
July 3, 2013
View Previous Issues - Healthcare News Archive
Wyden: Medicare Data Should Be More Transparent
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said on June 25 there is no reason why Americans should not have access to more Medicare data. Wyden, who was speaking at a Bipartisan Policy Center healthcare technology forum, said there should be transparency for where Medicare money goes, as well as comparison of medical prices among hospitals. "For the first time, the American people will learn what Medicare pays for various services," Wyden said 52 million people will be covered by Medicare in 2013, accounting for more than $50 billion, or 14 percent of federal spending. "With this kind of public investment, it's pretty hard to juxtapose that with the argument that somehow this is all a private matter," Wyden and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) on June 18 reintroduced the Medicare Data Access for Transparency and Accountability Act (Medicare DATA Act), which calls for a database containing Medicare claims and expenditures
Implementing Health Reform: Exemptions From the Individual Mandate
On June 26, 2013, the Department of Health and Human Services released a final rule on Exchange Functions: Eligibility for Exemptions: Miscellaneous Minimum Essential Coverage Provisions. This rule finalizes a proposed rule published on January 30, 2013, and addresses the role of the exchanges in determining exemptions from the individual responsibility requirement of the Affordable Care Act. It will operate in tandem with a rule from the Internal Revenue Service implementing the individual mandate itself.
Align Doc Pay with Outcomes, Congress Told
Quality measures in healthcare still need refining, and in the meantime Congress needs to make outcomes align better with physician payment reforms, a former Medicare chief told lawmakers. Payment reforms need to include more efforts that focus on the episode or person level of care because that's where true gains in improving quality can be made, Mark McClellan, MD, PhD, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) from 2004 to 2006, said. Meanwhile, quality measurements can be refined to better track quality, McClellan told the Senate Finance Committee during a hearing on measuring quality in healthcare. Quality should also be based on patient outcomes -- and not processes.
U.S. to Begin Retiring Most Research Chimps
In another step toward ending biomedical research on chimpanzees, the National Institutes of Health announced that it would begin the process of retiring most of its chimps to sanctuaries, though it will leave some for possible future research. The decision, which follows the recommendations of an agency advisory group, does not end biomedical research on N.I.H. chimpanzees. But it calls for retiring about 310 animals that the agency owns over the next few years, to sanctuaries from which they cannot be recalled for research. A colony of up to 50 will be kept at a site yet to be decided in case there is a compelling need to use them in research for human health. And new guidelines will be in place for any future research and for chimpanzee housing.
FDA to Form Advisory Panel to Improve Medtech Regulatory Science
The new subcommittee will provide feedback on how well the FDA's "Strategic Plan for Regulatory Science" captures FDA's cross-cutting scientific needs and whether modifications should be made to the plan. It will also recommend additional steps FDA could take to best position itself to meet emerging and future trends in science, technology and FDA-regulated products. The subcommittee is also tasked with suggesting how the FDA can better collaborate with public and private sector entities, suggest strategies and frameworks for collaboration, and recommend potential new collaborations to advance the agency's mission, the agency said.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, in partnership with international regulatory and law enforcement agencies, took action this week against more than 9,600 websites that illegally sell potentially dangerous, unapproved prescription medicines to consumers. These actions include the issuance of regulatory warnings, and seizure of offending websites and $41,104,386 worth of illegal medicines worldwide. As part of this year’s international effort – Operation Pangea VI – the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations, in coordination with the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Colorado, seized and shut down 1,677 illegal pharmacy websites. The effort ran from June 18 to June 25, 2013.
Oregon Governor Signs Vaccine Bill Into Law
A new law signed by Oregon's governor will make it more difficult for parents to enroll unvaccinated children in school. Parents who decline vaccines for their kids will have to visit a doctor or prove they watched an educational video before sending the children to school or daycare, under the new requirement that goes into effect immediately. Previously, parents could seek nonmedical exceptions by signing a form and citing a religion or system of beliefs. The law was crafted in response to a growing trend among Oregon parents to refuse some or all vaccines for their children out of fear of harmful side effects.
Ohio State Determines Cause of Lab Sample Mistake
Ohio State University has issued final reports detailing how test samples were mishandled at the university's medical center clinical lab. The 2012 incidents eventually led to a settlement with federal health authorities that included the replacement of the medical lab director. In one incident the university says a quality control sample was improperly sent to a laboratory at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota by a student who had yet to receive full training in lab processes. The university says a misunderstanding about the relationship between university labs also caused samples to be wrongly sent from one lab to another. University and federal policies prohibit samples from being analyzed elsewhere.
Diverse Stakeholders Form Molecular Diagnostics Coalition
A diverse group of stakeholders across health care industries and patient advocacy organizations has formed a new coalition to advocate for transparency and input in the discussion about Medicare payment for molecular diagnostic testing. The Coalition to Strengthen the Future of Molecular Diagnostics (CSFMD) was formed with the objective of informing policymakers and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) about the value of genetic testing and the impact timely and accurate diagnosis have on treatment decisions and patient outcomes. Among the members of the coalition are the American Clinical Laboratory Association, AdvaMedDx, ARUP Laboratories, Clarient (a GE Healthcare Company), the College of American Pathologists, Eli Lilly and Company, Life Technologies, LabCorp, and Quest, and many others.
Building the Internet of Genes
Researchers and advocates from 40 countries formed a global alliance to enable the secure sharing of genomic and clinical data, aiming to end the era in which only the people who collected your genetic data had access to it. Efforts to collect and organize massive amounts of genetic data have up to now been led by the British government, Kaiser Permanente, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and by private companies. But with the new global alliance, it seems likely that genetic data collected by your doctor will one day be made widely available in the cloud, for researchers around the world to analyze. This has tremendous potential for science and medicine. Putting genetic data online, however, also comes with serious, and not entirely known, risks. We know people can sometimes be identified even from anonymous genetic data, and that could lead to genes being used to deny employment or insurance coverage. Perhaps most ominously, if mismanaged, DNA sequences could be used to create bio-weapons, frame crime suspects or discriminate against people in unforeseen ways. The sharing of genetic information will require a delicate and complex balance between broad access and tight privacy, a balance the Internet has never perfected.
Sequencing is a way of "reading" DNA molecules -- two strands twisted together to form that famous double helix. The entire human genome contains roughly 3 billion molecular base pairs, which researchers study to find variations that might play a role in the development of diseases. Right now it typically costs $1,000 to $4,000 to map out an individual's genome. (Specialized sequencing -- for, say, a cancer patient -- often costs more.) Dozens of startups are trying to carve off their chunk of a genetic testing market that UnitedHealthcare estimates could reach $25 billion annually by 2021. But bringing testing to the masses requires more than just lower prices for the sequencing itself. Doctors and consumers need to understand the information they are getting. "You have to teach physicians how to use these tools and integrate them," Scott says.
Reading DNA, Backward and Forward
MIT biologists have discovered a mechanism that allows cells to read their own DNA in the correct direction and prevents them from copying most of the so-called “junk DNA” that makes up long stretches of our genome. Only about 15 percent of the human genome consists of protein-coding genes, but in recent years scientists have found that a surprising amount of the junk, or intergenic DNA, does get copied into RNA — the molecule that carries DNA’s messages to the rest of the cell. “This is part of an RNA revolution where we’re seeing different RNAs and new RNAs that we hadn’t suspected were present in cells, and trying to understand what role they have in the health of the cell or the viability of the cell,” says Sharp, who is a member of MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. “It gives us a whole new appreciation of the balance of the fundamental processes that allow cells to function.”
Competition for Myriad Heats Up as US Testing Labs Launch BRCA Tests, Hereditary Cancer Panels
Following the US Supreme Court's decision to strike down Myriad Genetics' central patent claims to the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, several US genetic testing laboratories have been gearing up to snatch a piece of the BRCA testing market in this country, previously Myriad's monopoly. At least three laboratories — Ambry Genetics, DNA Traits, and Ethigen — are already accepting and analyzing samples from US patients, while a number of others, including Emory Genetics Lab, GeneDx, Pathway Genomics, and Quest Diagnostics, are preparing to launch their tests later this year (see table at bottom of article). Some of the tests focus exclusively on the BRCA genes, thus competing directly with Myriad's BRACAnalysis test. Others include BRCA1 and BRCA2 as part of hereditary cancer gene panels, some of which will likely compete with Myriad's 25-gene myRisk Hereditary Cancer panel, which the company plans to launch later this year.
Digital Slide Imaging Evaluated for Cervicovaginal Cytology
Whole slide imaging has been successfully used in surgical pathology, but its usefulness and clinical application have been limited in cytology for several reasons, including lack of availability of z-axis depth focusing and large file size. Cytopathologists at The Methodist Hospital (Houston, TX) investigated the accuracy and efficiency of whole slide imaging, as compared with traditional glass slides, for use in cervicovaginal diagnostic cytology. The authors concluded that whole slide imaging is a viable option for the purposes of teaching and consultations, and as a means of archiving cases. However, considering the large file size and total time to reach diagnosis on digital images, they consider whole slide imaging may not yet be ready as a daily screening tool in cervicovaginal diagnostic cytology. The study was published in the May 2013 edition of the journal Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine.
Lipid Testing Continues After LDL Target Met
A third of patients with coronary heart disease (CHD) continued to undergo lipid testing after they achieved their LDL goal without treatment intensification, investigators reported. More than 9,000 patients out of about 27,000 had additional lipid panels in the 11 months after they achieved an LDL target of <100 according="" affairs="" aimed="" almost="" among="" an="" and="" areas="" assessment="" at="" baylor="" br="" center="" changes="" chd="" cholesterol="" co-authors.="" college="" concluded.="" debakey="" dl="" e.="" focus="" for="" future="" guidelines="" had="" have="" highlight="" houston="" if="" impending="" implications="" improvement="" in="" initiatives="" internal="" jama="" ldl="" lipid="" many="" md="" medical="" medicine.="" medicine="" met="" mg="" michael="" more="" of="" one="" online="" optional="" particularly="" patients="" phd="" quality="" reducing="" redundant="" repeat="" reported="" researchers="" results="" s.="" salim="" strategies="" target="" test.="" testing="" tests="" than="" the="" they="" to="" treatment="" two-thirds="" update="" ur="" veterans="" virani="" who="" with=""> 100>
A new genetic test accurately and consistently diagnoses benign growths, or nodules, on the thyroid gland, according to a study from Chile. The results were presented at The Endocrine Society's 95th Annual Meeting in San Francisco. "We have developed a 'gene signature' that effectively identifies benign thyroid nodules," said Hernan Gonzalez, MD, PhD, associate professor at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile in Santiago. "This test is potentially useful to identify patients who do not require surgery." Specifically, the test differentiated between cancerous and non-cancerous tissue in 96 percent of thyroid samples.
With TSH Testing, no Lack of Discord
“Reference intervals for TSH are all over the place,” Carole Spencer, MT, PhD, professor of medicine at the University of Southern California and technical director, USC Endocrine Laboratories, says, adding that there are several reasons. One is that the reference interval is very sensitive to individuals in the cohort who skew the upper limit, which makes the distribution non-Gaussian and requires log transformation of values. Older persons, in whom higher levels are seen, are an example. “The upper limit of the TSH interval may be 7.5 mIU/L for a group of healthy 80 year olds, whereas it might be down around 3 for healthy 20 year olds,” Dr. Spencer says. Obesity is another example. “If you include obese individuals, that will increase TSH values independent of thyroid function,” Dr. Spencer continues. “You only have to have three or four really obese individuals in your cohort to skew the TSH upper limit. Many people don’t appreciate the effects of obesity on TSH. When a person loses weight, TSH comes way down.” And if those with thyroid autoimmunity are not screened out prospectively, she says, by testing for antibodies to TPO [thyroid peroxidase], that will also skew the upper limit. “Everyone gets exercised about the accuracy of the TSH reference interval, but they fail to understand who this interval was calculated on. What it comes down to,” Dr. Spencer says, “is that clinical judgment is more important [for diagnosing hypothyroidism] than the TSH reference interval.”
Potential for Noninvasive Tests for Diagnosis and Monitoring of IgA Nephropathy
Finding noninvasive ways to properly diagnose, monitor and treat the inflammation may be getting easier thanks to research by Robert J. Wyatt, MD. IgA nephropathy is the most prevalent primary chronic glomerular disease worldwide. “Urinary proteomic analysis can identify patterns of excreted peptides that are unique to diseases, without a priori assumptions about pathogenesis. Analysis of urinary samples by means of capillary electrophoresis coupled with mass spectrometry has differentiated patients with IgA nephropathy from healthy controls "Previously, the required method for diagnosing this disease was a painful and expensive kidney biopsy," said Wyatt.
Study: Point-of-Care Devices Shorten Time in ED for Moderate Cost Increase
Processing blood tests using point-of-care devices can slightly reduce the length of time to disposition decisions for emergency department patients for a moderate increase in cost, according to a study in the Emergency Medicine Journal. Researchers tested the blood of adult ED patients using either a point-of-care device or the laboratory. The average time to a disposition decision for patients whose blood was tested with a POC device was 3.24 hours compared with 3.50 hours for patients whose blood was tested in the laboratory — a difference of 7.6 percent.
Pentagon Supports Work on Molecular Test for MRSA, Other Diseases
The US Department of Defense has granted investigators at the University of Washington and their partners $9.6 million to support the development of a paper-based molecular diagnostic testing system that could be used in remote regions and in homes around the world by people with no training, UW said. Principal investigator Paul Yager, a professor and chair of the UW Bioengineering Department, will lead the study, which involves partners at General Electric Global Research and Epoch Biosciences The partners are creating a paper-based testing system that will be about as easy to use as a home pregnancy test kit, they said, but will diagnose diseases. They plan to start with a test for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and then will develop tests for the influenza virus and possibly sexually transmitted diseases and other pathogens.
Women who have diabetes before becoming pregnant are at increased risk for developing methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection during hospitalization for labor and delivery, a national study found.
The presence of pre-pregnancy diabetes more than tripled the likelihood that a woman would develop one of these potentially serious nosocomial infections (odds ratio 3.4, 95% CI 1.9-6), according to Andrea Parriott, PhD, and Onyebuchi Arah, MD, PhD, of the University of California Los Angeles.
FDA Clears Cepheid's Updated MRSA/SA Test
Cepheid announced that the US Food and Drug Administration has cleared the company's updated Xpert MRSA/SA Blood Culture test running on the GeneXpert system.
The test detects methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus aureus in blood culture bottles indicating gram-positive cocci in clusters to determine whether a patient's blood is infected with either bacterium, which are frequent causes of sepsis in hospitalized patients
Source: Source: http://www.genomeweb.com/
Clinical Next-Generation Sequencing to Guide Cancer Treatment Decisions
Treatment decisions in oncology are increasingly informed by the results of molecular genetic testing. In the past year, clinical laboratories have begun determining the tumor mutational status of multiple genes simultaneously using next-generation sequencing (NGS) platforms. One such laboratory, Genomics and Pathology Services (GPS) at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, in partnership with Siteman Cancer Center, has been performing clinical sequencing of more than two dozen oncogenes, tumor suppressors, and other cancer-related genes since March 2012. “Next-generation sequencing is well-suited to oncology testing because of its sensitivity,” said John Pfeifer, MD, PhD, vice chair for Clinical Affairs for the Department of Pathology and Immunology at Washington University School of Medicine, and one of the founders of GPS. “Important somatic mutations present in only a fraction of the cells assayed—due, for instance, to tumor heterogeneity or to the presence of nonmalignant cells in the specimen—can be reliably detected well below the levels detectable by traditional sequencing methods.”
Researchers Find Key to Blood-Clotting Process
It has been known for some time that platelets are activated much more strongly if they detect both collagen and thrombin at the same time, but until now it has been a puzzle as how this happens. Now the research from Bristol and others, which is published in the journal Science Signalling, has shown that platelets respond to simultaneous exposure to these two strong signals by opening a channel in their outer membrane, made up of the proteins TRPC3 and TRPC6. This channel, which is not opened if platelets detect only one of the damage signals, allows calcium ions to penetrate the platelets and that triggers the platelets to expose a procoagulant surface, which means that they generate more thrombin. This can lead to a vicious cycle of more platelet activation, the generation of more thrombin and bigger clots.
Replenishing Lost Nitric Oxide in Banked Blood May Make Transfusions Safer
A blood transfusion can be a lifesaver when it’s really needed. But the widely-used procedure can often lead to poorer outcomes for patients than no transfusion at all — including heart attacks, kidney malfunction, immune reactions and even death. For many years it’s been unclear exactly why patients fare worse when they receive banked blood during surgeries or other procedures. Theories abound: excess white blood cells trigger an immune reaction in the patient; stored blood builds up toxins that trigger inflammation and raise the risk of stroke and heart attack; red blood cells become stiff and unable to squeeze through blood vessels; or the blood is depleted of something critical to its function in the body while being stored. “This is a major issue,” said Dr. Jonathan Stamler, Director of the Institute for Transformative Molecular Medicine at Case Western Reserve University, who has been studying the last of these possible causes in his lab. “These [bad effects] of banked blood were unexpected but are much more frequent than the viral infections that we’re used to thinking about as dangers of banked blood.”
In 2007, Stamler and a team at Duke University (where he worked before coming to Cleveland in 2009) discovered that a gas essential for helping deliver oxygen to the body was depleted in banked blood. That gas, nitric oxide, or NO, is a short-lived chemical messenger that is carried by the blood protein hemoglobin, and it works to relax blood vessels. When there isn’t enough NO in the blood, it can’t do its job of getting oxygen to tissues. It was Stamler’s early research in the mid-1990s that established NO as equally important as oxygen and carbon dioxide to the function of blood. Now, Stamler and a team of researchers at CWRU and Duke have shown that a method for replenishing the missing NO in banked blood not only reverses the ill effects normally seen after transfusion, but may make giving blood to patients beneficial. The team published their results June 24 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, or PNAS.
Administering anti-D antibodies to pregnant women who are Rhesus D (RhD)-negative in week 28 to 30 of their pregnancy could prevent hemolytic disease in the infant, according to new research published online June 11 in Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica. Newborn hemolytic anemia resulting from Rh incompatibility between the mother (Rh-negative) and the baby (Rh-positive) has become an infrequent, yet still worrisome and severe, complication of pregnancy. Since the introduction of postnatal anti-D prophylaxis in the 1960s, the risk of being sensitized decreased from 13% to approximately 1%. This rate has been further reduced to between 0.2% and 0.3% since routine antenatal anti-D prophylaxis (RAADP) was introduced in several countries, write Eleonor Tiblad, MD, from Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden, and colleagues. However, RAADP has not been introduced in Sweden.
World's Most Widespread Zoonotic Disease Poses New Risks—Focus on Leptospirosis
Emerging diseases are always a concern for clinicians. But, in addition to new diseases, existing diseases may sometime reemerge as significant public health threats. New information tells us that this may be the case with leptospirosis. Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that affects humans and animals. Caused by bacteria of the genus Leptospira, it is considered the most widespread zoonotic disease in the world and is most commonly found in tropical or temperate climates.
Confirmation of Leptospirosis Through Laboratory Testing
Leptospirosis is confirmed by laboratory testing of blood, urine, serum, or other clinical specimens. Many diagnostic methods are available to diagnose leptospirosis, including culture, microscopic agglutination test (MAT), immunofluorescence, darkfield microscopy, other serologic tests, and real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The MAT is considered the gold-standard serologic test to confirm leptospirosis. Because it is a difficult test to maintain, CDC is the only laboratory in the United States that offers the MAT for leptospirosis.
New Tick-Borne Illness May Be Misdiagnosed
Physicians say a new kind of tick-borne infection that's similar to Lyme disease can mislead doctors into thinking it's a different condition. Borrelia miyamotoi can cause flu-like symptoms that are similar to Lyme disease, researchers found. "In the few case reports available for patients in the U.S., symptoms of B. miyamotoi infection have included fever, fatigue, body aches, joint pain and headache," said Dr. Bobbi Pritt, director of clinical parasitology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Pritt was not involved in the research. Researchers also think infection may cause dementia in the elderly, especially those who have conditions that weaken the immune system. Lab tests also show low blood platelet counts and elevated liver enzymes, Pritt said.
West Nile Virus Logs Deadlist Year After Hotter Summer
The West Nile virus that swept through the U.S. last year was the deadliest on record, killing 286 people as the warmer-than-average summer may have helped the mosquito-borne virus spread, U.S. health officials said. The U.S. had 5,674 cases in 2012, the largest number of infections since 2003, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. Cases were reported in every continental U.S. state except for Oregon, including the first-ever instance of the virus recorded in Maine, the CDC said in a report. The U.S enters the typical peak season for West Nile, where warm weather makes infection more likely. While there are only six reported cases of the virus this year through June, according to the CDC’s website, more than 90 percent of infections from last year occurred between July and September.
The investigators plan to look for changes in the 3D structure of the genome of Plasomodium that could help shed light on its life cycle, which requires both human and mosquito tissues at different stages. The partners plan to look specifically at changes in the genome during Plasmodium's erythrocytic cycle, its pathogenic phase in vertebrates, which is a 48-hour cycle that can repeat for several days or weeks in humans.
Students' Device Aims to Avert Repeated Breast Cancer Surgeries
When a breast tumor is detected, many women opt to have a lumpectomy, which is surgery designed to remove the diseased tissue while preserving the breast. But during this procedure, doctors cannot learn right away whether all of the cancerous tissue has been removed, with no microscopic signs that cancer cells were left behind. Because of this delay, one in five of these women -- up to 66,000 patients annually in the U.S. alone -- must return for a second surgery to remove remaining cancer. These follow-up operations boost healthcare costs and can lead to delays in receiving other treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy. To reduce the need for these second surgeries, four Johns Hopkins graduate students have designed a device to allow pathologists to quickly inspect excised breast tissue within 20 minutes, while the patient is still in the operating room. If this inspection indicates that the tumor was not fully removed, additional tissue can then be removed during the same operation. Eliminating the need for a second operation could also curb some of the additional anxiety these patients face.
Vitamin C May Help IVF, Embryonic Cells, Cancers
Vitamin C may increase the success rate of in vitro fertilization, improve the quality of human embryonic stem cells and help treat some cancers. These findings by a team including three San Diego scientists were published in the journal Nature. The study examined the effect of vitamin C on the growth of mouse and human embryonic stem cells in the laboratory. Mouse embryonic stem cells are grown without vitamin C; while human embryonic stem cells are grown with vitamin C, the study noted. Adding vitamin C improved genetic activity in the mouse cells.
Aspirin Benefit in Colon Cancer Tied to Gene Variant
The finding, one of the first to show that aspirin use doesn’t prevent colon tumors with the BRAF defect, may help guide doctors when recommending the drug’s use to prevent the disease, said Andrew Chan, a study author. More studies are needed to better understand the role aspirin plays in cancer prevention, who is most at risk and which polyps may develop into tumors with a BRAF mutation, he said. “We’ve entered a new era in which we would potentially start to think about personalizing preventive intervention,” said Chan, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, in a telephone interview. “That’s something we haven’t been doing so far. We’ve been really trying to develop one size fits all treatment.”
Key Protein Is Linked to Circadian Clocks, Helps Regulate Metabolism
Researchers at the Gladstone Institutes have discovered how one important protein falls under direct instructions from the body’s circadian clock. Furthermore, they uncover how this protein regulates fundamental circadian processes – and how disrupting its normal function can throw this critical system out of sync. In the latest issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, Gladstone investigator Katerina Akassoglou, PhD, and her team reveal in animal models how the production of the p75 neurotrophin receptor (p75NTR) protein oscillates in time with the body’s natural circadian clock – and how these rhythmic oscillations help regulate vital metabolic functions. This discovery underscores the widespread importance of p75NTR by offering insight into how the circadian clock helps maintain the body’s overall metabolic health.
Source: Source: http://www.technologynetworks.com/
Mouse Cloned From Drop of Blood
Scientists in Japan have cloned a mouse from a single drop of blood. Circulating blood cells collected from the tail of a donor mouse were used to produce the clone, a team at the Riken BioResource Center reports in the journal Biology of Reproduction. The female mouse lived a normal lifespan and could give birth to young, say the researchers. Scientists at a linked institute recently created nearly 600 exact genetic copies of one mouse. Mice have been cloned from several different sources of donor cells, including white blood cells found in the lymph nodes, bone marrow and liver.
DNA Buried 7,000 Centuries is Retrieved
Researchers have reconstructed an ancient genome that is 10 times as old as any retrieved so far, and they now say that DNA should be recoverable from animals that lived one million years ago. This would greatly extend biologists’ ability to understand the evolutionary past. The genome was that of a horse that lived about 700,000 years ago in what is now the Yukon Territory in Canada, and its reconstruction has already led to new insights. The researchers who sequenced it then analyzed DNA from a less ancient horse, one that lived 43,000 years ago, as well as five contemporary horse breeds and a donkey named Willy that resides in the Copenhagen Zoo. They concluded that the genus that gave rise to modern horses, zebras and donkeys — Equus — arose about four million years ago, twice as far back as had been thought.
Only Half of U.S. Youth Meet Physical Activity Standards, NIH Study Shows
Only about half of U.S. adolescents are physically active five or more days of the week, and fewer, than 1 in 3 eat fruits and vegetables daily, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health. In a survey of youth in 39 states, NIH researchers questioned nearly 10,000 students between 11 and 16 years old about their activity levels and eating habits. They also asked the students to describe their emotional health, body image, and general satisfaction with life.
What’s Next now That the AMA has Declared Obesity a Disease?
Within a day of the American Medical Association declaring it a disease, obesity also captured attention on Capitol Hill. Lawmakers introduced bipartisan bills in the Senate and House to lower health care costs and prevent chronic diseases by addressing the nation’s obesity epidemic. Although the timing was coincidental, observers say the declaration by the AMA House of Delegates meeting in June probably will have a significant impact in adding momentum to policy, research and treatment approaches to obesity — including a new dimension in exam room conversations between doctors and patients.
Med Schools to Continue Considering Race in Admissions
Pro-, anti-affirmative action groups both hopeful after Supreme Court ruling
U.S. medical schools will likely continue to consider applicants' race among many factors after the U.S. Supreme Court sent a challenge against racially based admission preferences back to a lower court, Kaiser Health News reported. The Association of American Medical Colleges had filed a 52-page amicus brief supporting diversity in admissions in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, according to the article. The Supreme Court's refusal to hear the case, saying the appeals court erred in dismissing the case, left both sides hopeful that they still could prevail, KHN reported.
Adding to the growing list of safety checklists, the newly released "Checklists to Improve Patient Safety" focuses on 10 quality improvement areas targeted by the federal government's hospital engagement networks (HEN), Hospitals & Health Networks Daily reported.
Its checklists aim to prevent:
- Adverse drug events
- Catheter-associated urinary tract infections
- Central line-associated blood stream infections
- Early elective deliveries
- Injuries from falls and immobility
- Hospital-acquired pressure ulcers
- Preventable readmissions
- Surgical site infections
- Ventilator-associated pneumonias and ventilator-associated events
- Venous thromboembolisms
Where Doctors Go Digital: Top 10 Countries
When it comes to electronic medical records, U.S. health care providers are late to the party. The U.S. has one of the lowest rates of adoption among affluent democracies, trailing mostly European nations in the transition from paper to digital files. In fact, the U.S. doesn't even make the top five. Electronic records can make medical care safer and more efficient by providing doctors comprehensive information about patients, such as their health history, prescriptions and lab results.
Legislators, Health Experts: EHRs not Optimal yet
At a Senate Committee on Finance Hearing, industry officials testified that though electronic health record systems are doing well in improving healthcare quality, there's a long way to go for the technology to be optimal, Healthcare IT News reported. One major concern was the number of quality measures the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services uses--committee chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) mentioned that there are more than 1,000 in its quality reporting and payment programs. Mark McClellan, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, called the amount of measures an "awful lot" and suggested that CMS call for fewer and more outcome- and patient experience-oriented measures.
Major Health IT Firm to Expand in State
The booming health IT industry in Georgia is getting a little bigger. Gov. Nathan Deal announced that athenahealth Inc. will expand its presence in the state, creating 500 new jobs and investing $10.8 million. athenahealth provides cloud-based services for electronic health records, practice management and care coordination. The Technology Association of Georgia says there are more than 225 health IT companies in the state, combining for $4 billion in annual revenues and employing more than 15,000 people. Georgia is the leading state for the health IT industry, the association says.
Invisible Women of Science – now Appearing at the Royal Society
Preparing for the exhibition made it strikingly clear that there is a void in representations of women in science. We particularly lack them in traditional forms where imaginative thought, sitting sessions and artistic patience is needed to accomplish something more than simply a likeness. But we also lack them in contemporary media, such as inspiring installations or computer art. Perhaps the time has come to take some steps towards a change. Why should only dead scientists and ex-presidents be represented? Why only older people? It seemed the right moment to commission some drawings of young but already accomplished women scientists. Their presence on the walls of the Royal Society will certainly be an exclusive and hopefully refreshing innovation.
Lab Tests Online-UK App Launched
AACC and its UK partner, the Association for Clinical Biochemistry and Laboratory Medicine, launched a free mobile app version of the Lab Tests Online-UK website. The app content is derived from AACC’s labtestsonline.org and was originally adapted to the Queen’s English and local policy and practice by National Health System (NHS) laboratory doctors and scientists for the Lab Tests Online-UK website. The website and the app aim to help patients and family carers understand the many clinical laboratory tests that are used in diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of disease. The content is also used by healthcare professionals.
Disclaimer- The information provided in this news digest is intended only to be general summary information. It does not represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is not intended to take the place of applicable laws or regulations.
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