ASCLS eNewsBytes
Mar. 24, 2015

Structure of genetic messenger molecules reveals key role in diseases
Health Canal
Messenger RNAs are linear molecules that contain instructions for producing the proteins that keep living cells functioning. A new study has shown how the 3-D structures of mRNAs determine their stability and efficiency inside cells. This new knowledge could help to explain how seemingly minor mutations that alter mRNA structure might cause things to go wrong in neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's.More

Autism-linked genes may be tied to slightly higher IQ
HealthDay News
Genes believed to increase the risk of autism may also be linked with higher intelligence, a new study suggests. Researchers analyzed the DNA of nearly 10,000 people in Scotland and also tested their thinking abilities. On average, those who had genes associated with autism scored slightly higher on the thinking (cognitive) tests.More

Stem cell therapy may help treat Type 2 diabetes
Fox News
Type 2 diabetes is marked by insulin resistance, or the body's inability to store sugar and convert it into carbohydrates for energy. Overcoming that resistance is the main hurdle scientists face in creating new treatment for the condition, but researchers in Canada have found a promising means for doing so: combining stem cell therapy and antidiabetic medication. More

CDC: Decline in US tuberculosis rates slows
HealthDay News
As health officials in Kansas struggle with an outbreak of tuberculosis at a local high school, federal officials reported that the annual decline in U.S. cases is slowing. In 2014, there were slightly more than 9,400 tuberculosis cases in the United States, a rate of three cases per 100,000 people.More

New market for liver disease spawns race for better testing
As drugmakers develop new medicines to battle a liver disease epidemic, they have created an urgent need for better diagnostics to select patients for treatment and assess their drugs' effectiveness. About 30 percent of people in the U.S. now suffer from fatty liver diseases, such as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, fueled by obesity, diabetes and over-indulgent lifestyles, according to the American Liver Foundation. More

Stem cells help researchers peg rabies resistance
Texas A&M AgriLife Communications via Infection Control Today
Researchers at Texas A&M AgriLife Research have developed a new technology to determine sensitivity or resistance to rabies virus. "We were able to create a novel platform such that we could look at how pathogens, such as bacteria or virus or even drugs or radiation, interact with specific human genes," says lead researcher Dr. Deeann Wallis, AgriLife Research assistant professor of biochemistry and biophysics. More

Most clinical laboratories and pathology groups unprepared to help client physicians meet meaningful use Stage 2 criteria
DARK Daily
Like the jaws of a vise squeezing together, the nation's clinical laboratories and pathology groups now find themselves caught in the jaws of the federal government's complex program to encourage providers to adopt and use electronic health record systems. One jaw is the failure of many electronic health record systems to certify to meaningful use Stage 2 requirements, thus exposing physicians using those electronic health record systems to substantial Medicare penalties as early as this year. More

Researchers identify enzyme that causes heart failure
Medical News Today
A new treatment for heart failure could soon be on the cards, according to a new study. A research team — including scientists from Johns Hopkins Medicine — claims to have discovered an enzyme that triggers the condition, and medications that block this enzyme are already being tested for other diseases.More

New lead against HIV could finally hobble its edge
American Chemical Society via Infection Control Today
Since HIV emerged in the 1980s, drug "cocktails" transformed the deadly disease into a manageable one. But the virus is adept at developing resistance to drugs, and treatment regimens require tweaking that can be costly. Now scientists at the 249th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society are announcing new progress toward affordable drugs that could potentially thwart the virus's ability to resist them.More

Microscope technique reveals for 1st time when and where proteins are made
Albert Einstein College of Medicine via ScienceDaily
Scientists have developed a fluorescence microscopy technique that for the first time shows where and when proteins are produced. This allows researchers to directly observe individual mRNAs as they are translated into proteins in living cells.More

Deadly bacteria outbreak inflames disinfection concerns
USA Today
The contaminated medical scopes linked since 2013 to a series of deadly superbug outbreaks in at least eight hospitals across the country all had been cleaned and disinfected using high-tech appliances cleared by the government to kill the bacteria behind such infections. The outbreaks in Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago and other cities infected scores of patients with antibiotic-resistant bacteria, mostly a strain called CRE that has nightmarish mortality rates of 40 percent or more.More