ASCLS eNewsBytes
Mar. 20, 2012

Genomics are changing management of
chronic diseases

Medscape Medical News
Chronic diseases have been considered an area of healthcare in which advances in genomic medicine might ultimately yield the most benefits for public health. Diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and many pediatric conditions fall under the heading of chronic disease. Each of these lends support to the belief that exposure to risk factors, even before birth, alters gene expression in ways that favor the development of chronic disease.More

American Medical Association and PBS both join pathology profession in publicizing why declining autopsy rates may hurt quality of healthcare
Dark Daily
Pathologists point out that autopsies consistently reveal doctors make a high rate of diagnostic errors — even with increasingly sophisticated imaging equipment. Pathologists and public health officials say the downward trend in autopsy rates is having far-reaching consequences for healthcare in the United States. The decline in the number of autopsies performed annually comes in spite of extensive literature documenting multiple benefits of the autopsy procedure. More

Poisons in the laboratory: Scientists, beware
International Business Times
It's not just parents that should keep proper poison control in mind. As workplaces go, laboratories are not nearly as risky as forests, but accidental poisoning has claimed the lives of experienced researchers as well as some of the most acclaimed figures in science. Perhaps the most famous cautionary tale in science is that of Marie Curie, whose work on radioactivity earned her two Nobel Prizes in different scientific fields — chemistry and physics — a feat that has yet to be matched since. More

Panel calls for lower blood lead levels
Clinical Laboratory News
A federal advisory panel recently endorsed lowering the threshold for lead poisoning in young children, and eliminating the term "blood lead level of concern." If adopted, the recommendations would classify about 200,000 more children as having elevated lead levels, and could spell changes for lab test result reporting and quality assurance practices. The Advisory Committee on Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention in January issued the recommendations, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to act on them within 90 days. More

New guidelines discourage annual Pap tests
Los Angeles Times
For generations of women, it's been an ingrained medical ritual: Get a Pap test every year. Now two influential groups of medical experts say that having cervical cancer screening once a year is not necessary and, in fact, should be discouraged. Many women can wait as long as five years between screenings, the new guidelines say.More

Stem cells hint at potential treatment for Huntington's disease
R&D Magazine
Huntington's disease, the debilitating congenital neurological disorder that progressively robs patients of muscle coordination and cognitive ability, is a condition without effective treatment, a slow death sentence. But if researchers can build on new research reported in Cell Stem Cell, a special type of brain cell forged from stem cells could help restore the muscle coordination deficits that cause the uncontrollable spasms characteristic of the disease.More

NCCN lung screening guideline is 'a lot of work' to follow
Medscape Medical News
The new guideline on lung cancer screening was presented to an audience for the first time at the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) 17th Annual Conference in Hollywood, Fla. In November of last year, the NCCN became the first professional organization to update their recommendations for screening and strongly recommend the use of low-dose helical computed tomography screening for select individuals at high risk for lung cancer.More

Rising patient bad debt levels reported by hospitals and clinical pathology laboratories
Dark Daily
Blame it on employers requiring higher deductibles of employees, often starting at $1,500 per year. Employers continue to increase the amount of deductibles and co-pays in their health benefit plans. This has a direct consequence for clinical laboratories and pathology groups, because it often creates the need to collect more money from patients at the time of service. More

UnitedHealth: Genetic tests to generate $25 billion a year
Bloomberg
Genetic tests may become a $25 billion annual market in the U.S. within a decade, highlighting the need to identify which exams work the best, insurer UnitedHealth Group Inc. said. A majority of the 1,800 DNA tests developed to identify or manage medical conditions still haven't been studied enough to prove their effectiveness, UnitedHealth, the biggest U.S. insurer by sales. More

White blood cell counts help identify more severe pertussis in infants
Family Practice News
Infants with more-severe pertussis infections are more likely to have higher white blood cell counts and more-rapid increases in those counts than are infants with less-severe infections, according to findings from a California study of 31 infants.More

Highly exposed to phthalates as fetuses, female mice have altered reproductive lives
Medical Xpress
Female mouse fetuses exposed to very high doses of a common industrial chemical that makes plastics more pliable develop significant reproductive alterations and precancerous lesions as they grow up, according to a new toxicology study conducted at Brown University. The administered doses of MEHP, the chemical that results when animals metabolize the industrial phthalate DEHP, were much higher than any normal environmental exposure that people or animals would encounter.More

NHLBI to provide $10m for MCW genetic, clinical study of blood disorder
GenomeWeb News
Medical College of Wisconsin researchers have received a $10 million grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to continue a study of molecular and genetic factors involved in von Willebrand Disease, or VWD, the most common hereditary bleeding disorder.More

Guidelines often not followed for pregnant women with herpes
Medscape Medical News
Although physicians in the United States typically follow the neonatal herpes prevention guidelines issued by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, most prescribe antivirals and some perform cesarean delivery in clinical situations not indicated by the guidelines, new research suggests.More