A Weekly Compilation of Clinical Laboratory and Related Information
from The Division Of Laboratory Programs, Standards And Services
February 19, 2015
- New, Aggressive Strain of HIV Discovered in Cuba
- Ebola Victims Still Infectious a Week after Death, Scientists Find
- The U.S. Government Is Poised to Withdraw Longstanding Warnings about Cholesterol
- Pathologists and Research Team at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Use Next-gen Sequencing to Create Faster, More Accurate Cancer Test
- JMD Publishes Article on Laboratory Perspective of Incidental Findings Reporting
- Simple Blood Test Can Predict Risk of Dementia
- NIH Researchers Reveal Link Between Powerful Gene Regulatory Elements and Autoimmune Diseases
- Bacteria's Hidden Traffic Control
- Oxford Scientists Simulate Influenza Virus on a Computer
- Many Women Willing to Extend Cervical Cancer Screening
- Smoking’s Toll on Health Is Even Worse than Previously Thought, a Study Finds
- MRSA Complicates About 1% of U.S. Surgical Hospital Stays
- ICD-10 Will Cost Docs Less than First Thought, Study Says
- CMS: Providers Face Millions in Meaningful Use Penalties
- Survey: Doc EHR Adoption Leveling Off
View Previous Issues - Healthcare News Archive
New, Aggressive Strain of HIV Discovered in Cuba
Scientists have discovered a highly aggressive new strain of HIV in Cuba that develops into full-blown AIDS three times faster than more common strains of the virus. This finding could have serious public health implications for efforts to contain and reduce incidences of the virus worldwide. Researchers at the University of Leuven in Belgium say the HIV strain CRF19 can progress to full blown AIDS within two to three years of exposure to virus. Typically, HIV takes approximately 10 years to develop into AIDS. Patients with CRF19 may start getting sick before they even know they've been infected, which ultimately means there's a significantly shorter time span to stop the disease's progression. The scientists began studying the cases in Cuba when reports began coming in that a growing number of HIV-infected patients were developing AIDS just three years after diagnosis with the virus. The findings of their study were published in the journal EBioMedicine.
Ebola Victims Still Infectious a Week after Death, Scientists Find
People who die of Ebola probably remain infectious for at least a week after death, according to a new study. The findings underscore how important it is to safely handle and bury corpses in the epidemic. Funerals at which mourners washed or touched bodies are believed to have spread the disease to many new victims. In a safer practice, teams dressed in full protective gear spray the body with bleach, put it in a body bag and then either cremate it or bury it deeply. At the funeral, family members are allowed to view the body but not to touch it. Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the study offered “microbiological proof positive of what we’ve been observing in a field setting — that kissing or washing or caressing bodies is almost certainly the way a lot gets transmitted.”
The U.S. Government Is Poised to Withdraw Longstanding Warnings about Cholesterol
The nation’s top nutrition advisory panel has decided to drop its caution about eating cholesterol-laden food, a move that could undo almost 40 years of government warnings about its consumption. The group’s finding that cholesterol in the diet need no longer be considered a “nutrient of concern” stands in contrast to the committee’s findings five years ago, the last time it convened. During those proceedings, as in previous years, the panel deemed the issue of excess cholesterol in the American diet a public health concern. The finding follows an evolution of thinking among many nutritionists who now believe that, for healthy adults, eating foods high in cholesterol may not significantly affect the level of cholesterol in the blood or increase the risk of heart disease. The greater danger in this regard, these experts believe, lies not in products such as eggs, shrimp or lobster, which are high in cholesterol, but in too many servings of foods heavy with saturated fats, such as fatty meats, whole milk, and butter.
Pathologists and Research Team at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Use Next-gen Sequencing to Create Faster, More Accurate Cancer Test
Seeking a faster time to answer when diagnosing patients with cancers of the blood, researchers and pathologists at the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center (DF/BWCC) in Boston have developed a unique clinical laboratory assay that involves multiple genes and just takes days to perform. This high-tech genetic diagnostic test is called Rapid Heme Panel. It scans DNA in blood or bone marrow specimens. It uses powerful next-gen sequencing technology that searches for 95 genes that frequently mutate in blood cancers, according to a press release issued by DF/BWCC.
JMD Publishes Article on Laboratory Perspective of Incidental Findings Reporting
The Association for Molecular Pathology (AMP), announced that The Journal of Molecular Diagnostics published a Special Article titled, "Reporting Incidental Findings in Genomic Scale Clinical Sequencing - A Clinical Laboratory Perspective." This paper offers new and important perspectives from the laboratory highlighting the need for increased understanding and transparency of complex genomic testing. It also outlines important recommendations, including the need for laboratories to establish clear and patient-friendly policies for delivering ancillary information generated from genome-wide genetic tests. The AMP Incidental Findings Working Group, including authors of this paper, have closely followed the incidental findings debate since early 2013 when the American College of Medical Genetics (ACMG) published its guidelines on incidental findings reporting. These recommendations primarily focused on the content of secondary information obtained from genetic tests, and not the pitfalls of technology limitations, which has placed a significant burden on laboratories to educate patients as well as physicians about the strengths and limitations of genetic testing. A copy of the paper is available online at http://jmd.amjpathol.org/article/S1525-1578%2814%2900245-1/fulltext
Do Societies Play It too Safe with Choosing Wisely Lists?
Low-value items on Choosing Wisely (CW) lists may be diverting attention from procedures that truly drive up costs, authors of a new study say. They found that although cardiac stress testing before low-risk surgeries was rarely being done before the CW effort launched, seven specialty societies included it on their lists of top procedures to watch for overuse. To find out whether societies might be focusing on procedures that had a low baseline use, Eve Kerr, MD, MPH, from the Veterans Affairs Center for Clinical Management Research and professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, and colleagues looked for routine preoperative stress testing in the two largest US federally backed healthcare programs: the Department of Veterans Affairs and fee-for-service Medicaid. Dr. Kerr told Medscape Medical News they chose the stress test because it appeared widely on societies' lists. The researchers report their findings in a research letter published online February 9 in JAMA Internal Medicine.
Simple Blood Test Can Predict Risk of Dementia
Scientists at Rigshopitalet, Herlev Hospital and the University of Copenhagen identify a new biomarker that can predict the risk of developing dementia by way of a simple blood test. In the long term, this could mean better prevention and thus at least postponement of the illness and at best evading the development all together. The study was recently published in the Annals of Neurology. The low level of apolipoprotein E in the blood, as the researchers point out in the study, most likely reflects a low level of apolipoprotein E in the brain, and this indicates that the viscous compound, β-amyloid, is less effectively removed. Thus the study’s results underpin a biological mechanism.
Ground-breaking Lung Cancer Breath Test in Clinical Trial
A clinical trial led by University of Leicester respiratory experts into a potentially ground-breaking 'breath test' to detect lung cancer is set to get underway at the Glenfield Hospital in Leicester. It is hoped that the LuCID (Lung Cancer Indicator Detection) programme will lead to a non-invasive method of diagnosing lung cancer in the early stages. The company behind the device, Cambridge-based Owlstone Nanotech Ltd, carried out a health economic analysis and determined that detection of early-stage lung cancer could be increased from the current 14.5% to 25% by 2020, it is estimated this could save 10,000 lives and £250m of NHS money. The device works by measuring volatile organic compounds (VOCs) at low concentrations in a patient's breath and offers a cheaper and smaller alternative to existing detection technologies.
Diabetes Risk in South Asian Men Linked to Tyrosine Levels
Serum levels of an amino acid are strongly associated with the risk for type 2 diabetes in South Asian men, potentially offering a target for novel treatments and prevention strategies, suggest the results of a new UK study. The research, which spanned a follow-up period of almost 20 years, showed that increases in serum levels of tyrosine are associated with a 50% increased risk for diabetes in South Asian men, compared with an increase of just 10% among Europeans. Similar patterns were observed for other amino acids, but to a lesser extent.
Low Vitamin D Levels in Stroke Survivors a Bad Sign, Study Finds
Low vitamin D levels are linked to an increased risk of suffering a severe stroke and poor health in stroke survivors, new research finds. The study included almost 100 stroke patients who were treated at a U.S. hospital between 2013 and 2014. All had experienced an ischemic stroke, which is a stroke caused by blocked blood flow to the brain. People with low blood levels of vitamin D -- less than 30 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) -- had about two times larger areas of stroke-related dead brain tissue than those with normal vitamin D levels, according to the study. The researchers also found that for each 10 ng/mL reduction in vitamin D level, the odds of a healthy recovery in the three months after stroke fell by about half, regardless of age or initial stroke severity. Although this study found an association between low vitamin D levels and poor stroke outcomes, it wasn't designed to show whether or not vitamin D levels actually caused any of those problems.
Seegene Gets FDA Clearance for Herpes MDx Test
Seegene said that the US Food and Drug Administration has cleared for marketing the firm's herpes simplex virus 1 and 2 assay. The test uses the company's TOCE primer technology (tagging oligonucleotide capture and extension) for multiplexed real-time PCR. It is the first product that Seoul, South Korea-based Seegene has taken through the FDA.
Growing Wave of Hospital and Health System Mega-Mergers Means Changing Dynamics for Pathology and Clinical Laboratory Medicine
Accelerating pace of hospital consolidation brings new pressure to pathologists and clinical laboratory directors to maximize the value of pathology services.
This growing national trend means further consolidation of clinical laboratory testing services within the merging organizations. For pathology groups, the new super-systems may encourage the different pathology groups within the system to consolidate into a single practice entity. This would help improve how pathology services are more deeply integrated into the care continuum. It would also facilitate contract negotiations between the pathologists and the parent health system.
NIH Researchers Reveal Link Between Powerful Gene Regulatory Elements and Autoimmune Diseases
Investigators with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have discovered the genomic switches of a blood cell are key to regulating the human immune system. The findings, published in Nature, open the door to new research and development in drugs and personalized medicine to help those with autoimmune disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease or rheumatoid arthritis. The senior author of the paper, John J. O'Shea, M.D., is the scientific director at NIH's National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). The lead author, Golnaz Vahedi, Ph.D., is a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. O'Shea's lab in the Molecular Immunology and Inflammation Branch. The study was performed in collaboration with investigators led by NIH Director, Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., in the Medical Genomics and Metabolic Genetics Branch at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI).
Bacteria's Hidden Traffic Control
Researchers at the University of Washington map the localization pattern of nearly every protein in a bacterial cell for its entire cell cycle, a new tool for discovering how bacteria coordinate the timing and location of subcellular processes. Not unlike an urban restaurant, the success of a bacterial cell depends on three things: localization, localization and localization. But the complete set of controls by which bacteria control the movement of proteins and other essential biological materials globally within the confines of their membrane walls has been something of a mystery. Now, researchers at the University of Washington have parsed out the localization mechanisms that E. coli use to sort through and organize their subcellular components.
Oxford Scientists Simulate Influenza Virus on a Computer
In order to find the weak points of growth and transmission of the influenza virus, researchers at University of Oxford have created a highly accurate computer simulation of the outer shell of the influenza A virion derived using different imaging modalities. The team brought together data gathered using X-ray crystallography, NMR spectroscopy, cryoelectron microscopy, and lipidomics into what’s called a “coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulation.” This technique allows the model virus to be put through different virtual environments, each having varying temperatures and lipid compositions.
Researchers Find new Mechanism that Controls Immune Responses
UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have identified a common signaling mechanism to produce interferon – one of the main proteins used to signal the immune system when the body needs to defend itself against a virus, tumor, or other diseases. The findings are important for understanding the body’s immune defense system, searching for compounds to turn the immune system on or off, and they may help combat autoimmune diseases, in which overactive immune cells attack healthy tissues. “Our work reveals a common mechanism by which three distinct pathways lead to the production of type-I interferons,” said Dr. Zhijian “James” Chen, Professor of Molecular Biology and in the Center for the Genetics of Host Defense at UT Southwestern, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Investigator. “Ultimately, we believe that understanding this mechanism will facilitate the design and development of medications to treat human diseases such as lupus.” The findings appear online in the journal Science.
Research Finds that Malaria Parasites are Unlikely to Jump to Humans
In recent years, public health experts have increasingly explored the idea of eliminating the most dangerous malaria-causing parasite. But they have questioned whether getting rid of this species, called Plasmodium falciparum, would allow other species of the parasite to simply jump into the gap and start infecting humans with malaria. Now, a new study led by a researcher at the University of Maryland School of Medicine indicates it is very unlikely that Plasmodium species that infect other animals—such as apes, birds and reptiles—would cross over easily to humans. Using sophisticated genetic analysis, Joana C. Silva, PhD, found evidence showing that five other common Plasmodium species have not changed which animals they infect for at least 3 million years.
Research Finds a Reason Leprosy Has Persisted
The bacteria that cause leprosy can survive for months inside amoebae that are common in water and soil, and even in human eyes and noses, scientists at Colorado State University have found. The discovery may help answer a question that has puzzled tropical disease experts for years: Why does the number of new leprosy cases around the world not decrease even though thousands of victims are now on drugs that make them less infectious and eventually will cure them? There are about 200,000 new infections each year in Brazil, India, Angola, Madagascar, Myanmar, Indonesia, the Philippines and a few other countries. The study was published in December in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases.
Cerebral Palsy - It Can Be in Your Genes
An international research group led by a team at the University of Adelaide has made what they believe could be the biggest discovery into cerebral palsy in 20 years. It has long been the belief that cerebral palsy occurs when a child experiences a lack of oxygen during pregnancy or at birth. However, the Australian Collaborative Cerebral Palsy Research Group, based at the University of Adelaide’s Robinson Research Institute, has found at least 14% of cerebral palsy cases are likely caused by a genetic mutation. The findings of this research are published in the Nature journal, Molecular Psychiatry. The Head of the Cerebral Palsy Research Group, Emeritus Professor Alastair MacLennan, says prior to this research it was believed that as little as 1% of cerebral palsy cases had a genetic cause.
Forgotten Bacterium is the Cause of Many Severe Sore Throats in Young Adults
New research from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) suggests that Fusobacterium necrophorum more often causes severe sore throats in young adults than streptococcus does. The findings, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, suggest physicians should consider F. necrophorumwhen treating severe pharyngitis that worsens in young adults and adolescents. In an analysis of 312 college students at UAB’s Student Health Clinic, investigators found that F. Necrophorum was detected in more than 20 percent of patients with sore-throat symptoms, against only 10 percent for Group A strep and nine percent for Group C or G strep.
Many Women Willing to Extend Cervical Cancer Screening
Women in routine gynecologic care expressed willingness to extend intervals between screening to a certain extent, and to use cytology alone or Pap-Human Papillomavirus (HPV) cotesting if recommended by a physician, according to a new survey. In 2012 several professional organizations including the American Cancer Society, the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Cytology, and the American Society for Clinical Pathology changed their recommendations against annual screening. The US Preventive Services Task Force considered both cytology alone at 3-year intervals and HPV cotesting with cytology at 5-year intervals to be acceptable strategies for women between the ages of 30 and 65.“HPV cotesting with a 3-year screening interval has been an acceptable option since 2003, yet uptake of cotesting in clinical practice has been slow,” wrote researchers led by Patti E. Gravitt, PhD, MS, of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. She and colleagues conducted a survey of 551 women aged 36 to 62 who were enrolled in the Human Papillomavirus in Perimenopause Study to assess attitudes toward new cervical cancer screening options. Results were published in the February issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.
Smoking’s Toll on Health Is Even Worse than Previously Thought, a Study Finds
However bad you thought smoking was, it’s even worse.
A new study adds at least five diseases and 60,000 deaths a year to the toll taken by tobacco in the United States. Before the study, smoking was already blamed for nearly half a million deaths a year in this country from 21 diseases, including 12 types of cancer. The new findings are based on health data from nearly a million people who were followed for 10 years. In addition to the well-known hazards of lung cancer, artery disease, heart attacks, chronic lung disease and stroke, the researchers found that smoking was linked to significantly increased risks of infection, kidney disease, intestinal disease caused by inadequate blood flow, and heart and lung ailments not previously attributed to tobacco. Even though people are already barraged with messages about the dangers of smoking, researchers say it is important to let the public know that there is yet more bad news.
MRSA Complicates About 1% of U.S. Surgical Hospital Stays
Infection with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) complicates about 1% of U.S. hospitalization cases for major surgical procedures, according to new research. "This study highlights the burden of MRSA infection in hospitalized patients who undergo surgical procedures in the United States," Dr. Veerajalandhar Allareddy, of Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, Cleveland, Ohio, told Reuters Health by email. "Although, the overall prevalence of MRSA infection in this surgical cohort appears to be low, the outcomes are significant: higher risk of death and longer lengths of stay in hospitals in those with MRSA."
Naps May Improve Your Health
Brief daytime naps might protect you against the harmful health effects of a poor night's sleep, a new study suggests. Specifically, naps appeared to restore hormones and proteins involved in stress and immune function to normal levels in the study. The small study included 11 healthy men between the ages of 25 and 32. Researchers restricted the volunteers' sleep to only two hours for a night. The next day, they had a 2.5-fold increase in levels of norepinephrine, a stress hormone that increases heart rate, blood pressure and blood sugar. They also had lower levels of a protein called interleukin-6, which fights viruses. On another night, sleep was limited to two hours again. However, the next day they were allowed to take two 30-minute naps. After napping, the men's norepinephrine and interleukin-6 levels were normal. The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
Fat Map: Largest Genetic Blueprint of Obesity Revealed
Scientists have uncovered more than 90 new gene regions that could help explain why some people are more likely to put on weight than others. The team scoured DNA libraries of more than 300,000 people, constructing the largest-ever genetic map of obesity. Looking for consistent patterns they found a link with genes involved in brain processes, suggesting obesity could partly have a neurological basis. The results are published in the journalNature.
Improved Hand-hygiene Compliance may Pose Hidden Danger
Study indicates dermatitis could increase infection risk
Healthcare providers' emphasis on improving hand hygiene among workers may also be increasing dermatitis, according to a study from the University of Manchester. Researchers, led by Jill Stocks, Ph.D., analyzed United Kingdom dermatologists' reports submitted to a national database between 1996 and 2012. This database, designed to document skin problems caused or exacerbated in the workplace, was used by 60 percent of eligible dermatologists. Of 7,138 reported cases of irritant contact dermatitis, 1,796 were healthcare workers, according to Stocks and her team. At an annual level, healthcare workers were 4.5 times more likely to develop the condition in 2012 compared to 1996. Incidence of dermatitis either declined or remained flat in two control groups.
Use of Fewer Alarms Nets Positive Results for Abbott Northwestern Hospital
In an effort to cut down on alarm fatigue, Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis took steps to reduce the number of alarms it uses while making sure staff didn't miss patient emergencies. The facility had a goal to avoid alarms that don't call for an urgent response, according to an article published by the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Alarm fatigue remains the leading health technology hazard at healthcare organizations, topping the ECRI Institute's Top 10 list for the fourth year in a row.
ICD-10 Will Cost Docs Less than First Thought, Study Says
For physicians in small practices, the cost of switching to the controversial ICD-10 diagnostic codes on October 1 for clinical documentation and billing purposes is drastically less than previously estimated, according to a new study in the Journal of the American Health Information Management Association (JAHIMA). The conversion cost came to an average $3430 per physician, taking into account ICD-10 manuals, training, software upgrades and testing, and other related expenses. This finding comes from a survey of practice administrators who belong to the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management (PAHCOM). The 276 practices they worked in had six or fewer providers, including nurse practitioners and physician assistants in addition to physicians. The survey asked the administrators to add up all the ICD-10 costs that their practices had incurred as well as upcoming expenditures. A spokesperson for the AMA told Medscape Medical News that the association was still studying the recent JAHIMA study, and therefore was not in a position to comment.
CMS: Providers Face Millions in Meaningful Use Penalties
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services estimates that eligible providers who are subject to penalties under the Meaningful Use program could pay roughly $200 million in 2015. That figure was shared by Elizabeth Myers of CMS' Office of E-Health Standards and Services at a joint meeting of the Office of the National Coordinator's Health IT Policy and Standards committees this week. Myers stressed that the number was based on historical claims data for the providers being penalized.
Survey: Doc EHR Adoption Leveling Off
Physician adoption of electronic health records appears to have plateaued, only increasing 2.8 percent from January 2014 to January 2015, according to the latest survey from SK&A. The survey of SK&A's database found EHR adoption at 62.8 percent, a slight increase from 61 percent in January 2014. In contrast, SK&A found physician use increased 10.7 percent from 2013 to 2014. Not surprisingly, the larger the practice, the higher the adoption rates, with 77.2 percent of physicians in medical groups of 26 or more using EHRs, compared to 54.5 percent of solo practitioners. About 70 percent of doctors in hospital- or health system-owned practices used EHRs, compared to 60 percent of independent practices.
Medical Device Data Systems, Medical Image Storage Devices, and Medical Image Communication Devices; Mobile Medical Applications: Guidances for Industry and Food and Drug Administration Staff; Availability
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is announcing the availability of two guidance documents. FDA is issuing ``Medical Device Data Systems, Medical Image Storage Devices, and Medical Image Communication Devices'' to inform manufacturers, distributors, and other entities that the Agency does not intend to enforce compliance with regulatory requirements for Medical Device Data Systems (MDDS) and two similar radiology device types due to the low risk they pose to patients and the importance they play in advancing digital health. FDA is also issuing an updated version of the guidance document ``Mobile Medical Applications,'' originally issued on September 25, 2013, that has been edited to be consistent with the MDDS guidance document. Submit either electronic or written comments on this guidance at any time. General comments on Agency guidance documents are welcome at any time.
Obama Administration to Form New Agency to Help Fight Cyber Threats, Attacks
The Obama administration is forming a new agency that will integrate intelligence about cyber threats, provide analyses to policy makers and enhance the work of existing federal cybersecurity centers and others in response to the rising frequency, scale, sophistication and severity of cyber attacks, a high-ranking White House official said Feb. 10. Lisa Monaco, who is a homeland security and counterterrorism adviser to President Obama, made the formal announcement in a keynote speech at the Wilson Center, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank. The new Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center, which will be under the Director of National Intelligence, is modeled after the National Counterterrorism Center, she said.
Google To Highlight Vetted Medical Data in Health-Related Search Results
Google announced that is working with the Mayo Clinic to display accurate results for health-related queries in a new way. About one in 20 Google searches is for a health-related term. The search engine will leverage its Knowledge Graph -- a Google function that creates a "smarter" search by combining the companies search algorithm with internal and publicly available datasets
Authorizations of Emergency Use of In Vitro Diagnostic Devices for Detection of Ebola Virus; Availability
SUMMARY: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is announcing the issuance of three Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) (the Authorizations), one of which was amended after initial issuance, for three in vitro diagnostic devices for detection of the Ebola virus in response to the 2014 Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa. FDA is issuing these Authorizations under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the FD&C Act), as requested by BioFire Defense, LLC (BioFire Defense) and altona Diagnostics GmbH (altona). The Authorizations contain, among other things, conditions on the emergency use of the authorized in vitro diagnostic devices. The Authorizations follow the September 22, 2006, determination by then-Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Michael Chertoff, that the Ebola virus presents a material threat against the U.S. population sufficient to affect national security. On the basis of such determination, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) declared on August 5, 2014, that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of emergency use of in vitro diagnostics for detection of Ebola virus subject to the terms of any authorization issued under the FD&C Act. The Authorizations, which include an explanation of the reasons for issuance, are reprinted in this document.
To leave messages for future generations, DNA-based storage may be the way to go, as shards of DNA tracing back some 700,000 years have been uncovered. As the New Scientist reports, researchers like Robert Grass from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and his colleagues are mimicking the conditions under which scientists have found ancient DNA to try to store information for the future. Grass and his colleagues encoded two historical documents. They then kept these DNA-based documents at various temperatures for a week within glass, and report in Angewandte Chemie that their results indicate that data could be stored in DNA for some 2,000 years at 10°C in Zurich or for 2 million years at -18°C in the Global Seed Vault.
Florida Will Fall 7,000 Doctors Short in the Next Decade
The Florida physician shortage will escalate drastically over the next 10 years, according to a new study commissioned by the Teaching Hospital Council of Florida and the Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida. If current trends continue, the state, already facing the worst of the physician shortage, will be some 7,000 doctors short, according to Tim Dall, author of the study and managing director of IHS Global. "Over the foreseeable future, the ability of Florida to provide at least a national average level of care is about 7- to 10- percent below the national average," he told Health News Florida.
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