ASCLS eNewsBytes
July 19, 2011

Clinically relevant changes in family history of cancer over time
The Journal of the American Medical Association
To assist with assessment and cancer prevention screening guides, Ziogas and colleagues examined baseline and family history data from participants with a personal or family history of cancer. In an editorial, Acheson discusses the importance of changes in family history for cancer prevention. Knowledge of family cancer history is important for assessing cancer risk and guiding screening recommendations.More

Disruptive behavior
Clinical Laboratory News
In the laboratory, producing accurate and timely patient test results depends on teamwork, communication and a collaborative work environment. However, laboratory staff who display intimidating and disruptive behaviors can quickly destabilize this cooperative environment and negatively impact patient safety. The Joint Commission advises health care organizations to confront behavior problems in order to promote a culture of safety and efficient team performance.More

Accusations fly over obscure Medicare board
The Associated Press via Google News
An independent panel authorized by President Barack Obama's health care law to control excessive Medicare cost increases is drawing heavy fire from Republicans. Nearly every health industry lobbying group is pushing for its repeal, as are some consumer advocates. GOP lawmakers call it a rationing panel, and at least one has suggested seniors will die from its decisions.More

It's back on the table — Medicare patient co-pay for clinical laboratory tests is 1 of 27 cost-cutting proposals in federal debt ceiling negotiations
Spending cuts of between $334 billion and $353 billion over the next 10 years are on the table in the negotiations over the federal debt ceiling. The bad news for the clinical laboratory industry is that restoration of the Medicare patient co-pay for medical laboratory tests is not only on the list of proposed spending cuts, but represents a significant chunk of money—as much as $16 billion during the next decade.More

Stem cell technique produces colonies of blood cells from patient's existing cells
The technique still needs work, but the team identified blood-specific markers on 84 percent of the cells after three weeks, which is a large leap in efficiency compared to a few years ago. Researchers have found a way to produce increased numbers of blood cells from a patient's existing cells through an improved stem cell technique.More

Cancer diagnoses in ages 40-59 soar 20 percent in a generation
The Guardian
Cancer diagnoses in middle-aged men and women have soared by 20 percent in a generation as screening picks up more cases and smoking, drinking, obesity and unfitness continue to take a toll. A steep rise in cancer rates among people aged 40 to 59 since 1979 has resulted in an extra 17,000 cancers being diagnosed every year. More

Low-carbohydrate, high-protein diets may reduce both tumor growth rates and cancer risk
Eating a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet may reduce the risk of cancer and slow the growth of tumors already present, according to a study published in Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.More

65-year-old baby boomers ready to fight for right to opt out of Medicare
Will the oldest Baby Boomers, now turning 65-years-old, accept enrollment in the Medicare program or will they challenge it, as they have challenged many other institutions in American society over their lifetimes? News outlets are already reporting instances of Baby Boomers fighting to keep their existing private health insurance.More

Treatment, not medicine, helps asthma patients feel better
Reuters Life
The New England Journal of Medicine demonstrates the importance of, literally, caring for patients and not just providing drugs. The findings also demonstrate the impact of the so-called "placebo effect," or the phenomenon seen in clinical trials when people given inactive, fake "treatments," such as a sugar pill or saline, show improvements.More