ASCLS eNewsBytes
Jul. 23, 2013

Surgeon's smart knife detects cancer cells in tumor operations
HealthDay News
A new technique based on an "intelligent knife," called the "iKnife," promises to remove the need for lab analysis and the accompanying delay, and it also helps avoid repeat cancer surgeries. The iKnife sniffs the "smoke" created by the electrosurgical removal of cancerous tissue and tells the surgeon almost immediately if the tissue it has come from is healthy or cancerous.More

Infectious disease diagnosis: New guideline on lab tests
Medscape Medical News
Microbiological diagnoses based on laboratory testing directly affect patient care and outcomes, including hospital infection control, duration of hospitalization, and laboratory efficiency, according to new guidelines from the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the American Society for Microbiology. Because laboratory testing underlies approximately 60 percent to 70 percent of diagnoses and treatment decisions, inappropriate or poorly performed tests may result in wrong diagnoses, unnecessary treatment and higher costs. More

Is an infection viral or bacterial? Test may offer clues
Los Angeles Times
Someday soon, researchers said recently, it may be easier to avoid unnecessary antibiotic use: Physicians may soon be able to determine if an infection is viral or bacterial by looking at which genes are turned on and off in a patient's cells. More

H7N9: Lab tests may not uncover drug-resistant strains
Medscape Medical News
A characterization of the A/Shanghai/1/2013 virus isolated from the first confirmed human case of A/H7N9 contained a mixture of drug-sensitive and drug-resistant strains, despite appearing to be sensitive to neuraminidase inhibitors in standard clinical tests. Hui Ling Yen, Ph.D., from the Center of Influenza Research, School of Public Health, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine at the University of Hong Kong, and colleagues report their findings in an article published online in mBio.More

HPV virus 'linked to a third of throat cancer cases'
BBC News
One-third of people diagnosed with throat cancer are infected with a form of the HPV virus, a study suggests. Experts said this study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, which quantifies the link, showed "striking" results. There are more than 100 types of HPV. Most people will be infected with HPV at some point, but in most the immune system will offer protection.More

100,000 children vaccinated during MMR catch-up campaign
TopNews United States
According to Public Health England, more than 100,000 schoolchildren have been vaccinated as part of an MMR catch-up campaign. The campaign was result of fears for high levels of measles after large outbreak in Wales and shocking figures in England.More

Depression, certain antidepressants linked to C. difficile infection
Infectious Disease Special Edition
Depression is a risk factor for Clostridium difficile infection, and so are certain antidepressants, according to a recent study published in BMC Medicine. The study comprises two separate studies: The first is a nationally representative investigation of older adults, and the second is an inquiry into hospitalized adults in a single center.More

The most important employment documents
By D. Albert Brannen
Employment litigation can be expensive and time-consuming. An employer's success or failure in defending itself can turn on the law or the facts. Employers cannot do too much to change the law that applies to any given case. But, experience shows that employers can do a lot to shape the facts and to improve their position in employment litigation. Most of the time, this shaping of the facts depends on the documentation. Moreover, while the particular facts may be different from case to case, the same types of documents are at issue in nearly every employment law case.More

Metagenomics: Tuberculosis genomes recovered from 215-year-old mummy
Science 2.0
Researchers using "metagenomics," the open-ended sequencing of DNA from samples without the need for culture or target-specific amplification or enrichment, have recovered tuberculosis genomes from the lung tissue of a 215-year old mummy using a technique known as metagenomics. Metagenomics avoids the complex and unreliable workflows associated with culture of bacteria or amplification of DNA and benefits from the throughput and ease of use of modern sequencing approaches. More

Study reveals that Hudson River polluted with antibiotic-resistant bacteria
The Earth Institute at Columbia University via The Medical News
Researchers have documented antibiotic-resistant strains in specific spots of New York's Hudson River, from the Tappan Zee Bridge to lower Manhattan. The microbes identified are resistant to ampicillin and tetracycline, drugs commonly used to treat ear infections, pneumonia, salmonella and other ailments. The study is published in the Journal of Water and Health.More

3 more states probe Cyclospora cases, links to outbreak
Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy
Three Midwestern states — Illinois, Kansas, and Wisconsin — are reporting Cyclospora infections, but it's not clear if all are related to a multistate outbreak that may involve as many as 183 cases. Health officials in the three states told CIDRAP News that they have received reports of a few cases and are investigating if they are linked to an outbreak that appears to be focused in Iowa and Nebraska, two states that have reported numerous cases.More

Surgeon's smart knife detects cancer cells in tumor operations
HealthDay News
A new technique based on an "intelligent knife" helps avoid repeat cancer surgeries. The iKnife sniffs the "smoke" created by the electrosurgical removal of cancerous tissue and tells the surgeon almost immediately if the tissue it has come from is healthy or cancerous.More

Banned for life: Why gay men still can't donate blood
Men's Health via Today
Even with a clean bill of health, a gay man is considered more of a threat to the blood supply than a straight man who was treated for chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhea, venereal warts and genital herpes within the past year. That's because gay men, the Food and Drug Administration argues, are at "increased risk of certain transfusion transmissible infections" like AIDS and hepatitis B. More

Scientists use HIV to 'cure' 2 rare genetic diseases
HealthDay News
Turning a medical foe into a therapeutic friend, Italian scientists say they used a piece of HIV to cure two rare genetic diseases affecting children. Gene therapy using the technique proved effective in three children with metachromatic leukodystrophy and three others with Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome.More

Texas experience may help control West Nile virus
MedPage Today
An index that estimates the average number of West Nile virus-infected mosquitoes per trap-night was significantly related to neuroinvasive disease cases that occurred 1 to 2 weeks after the 2012 outbreak in Texas, researchers reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association. And other factors, including a warm winter preceding the season and a concentration of cases in the north-central part of the county, were consistent with characteristics of previous seasons.More

Biochemical mapping sheds light on depression
Researchers at Duke Medicine have discovered biochemical changes in people taking antidepressants, but only when depression improves. A new type of science called pharmacometabolomics was used in this study to measure and map chemicals in the blood to determine mechanisms causing disease and find new treatments tailored to a patient's metabolic profile.More