ASCLS eNewsBytes
Sept. 7, 2010

Gene variations may have breast cancer role, team says
BBC
Researchers say they have identified a series of gene variations which together may play a role in the development of a common breast cancer. A study of women in Finland and Sweden found 121 variations in their DNA. The Singapore team think these are linked to estrogen production — known to play a role in a breast cancer type which afflicts post-menopausal women.More

More physicians using smart phones to access lab test results and other clinical information
Dark Daily
With the advent of data-capable smart phones, disease management is taking a giant step forward. That has important implications for pathologists and clinical laboratory manager, who need to ensure that their medical laboratory information systems are ready for access by smart phones and other wireless devices used by clinicians. Recent surveys show that physicians increasingly use their smart phones and other mobile devices to view test results and communicate with patients. More

Backstabbing bacteria: A new treatment for infection?
Science Daily
Selfish bacterial cells that act in their own interests and do not cooperate with their infection-causing colleagues can actually reduce the severity of infection. The selfish behavior of these uncooperative bacteria could be exploited to treat antibiotic-resistant infections, according to research being presented at the Society for General Microbiology's autumn meeting.More

Volume of clinical pathology laboratory specimens increases at Bio-Reference and Sonic Healthcare
Dark Daily
Fewer patients visiting physician offices during second quarter 2010 is considered to be one reason why specimen volume declined at clinical pathology laboratory testing giants Quest Diagnostics Incorporated and Laboratory Corporation of America during that three-month period. For second quarter, LabCorp reported a 2 percent decline in specimen volume, along with a 4.2 percent increase in revenue. At Quest Diagnostics, the specimen volume decline was 1.3 percent and revenues declined by 1.4 percent in the second quarter 2010, compared to second quarter 2009.More

Monkeypox rising in wake of smallpox eradication
Reuters Health via Medscape Medical News
Some 30 years after authorities doled out the last dose of smallpox vaccine, the world faces another multiplying menace: monkeypox. A new study suggests that the monkeypox virus, which the smallpox vaccine also protects against, is now at least 20 times as common as it was shortly after victory over smallpox had been declared.More

Treatment for S. aureus skin infection works in mouse model
Infection Control Today
Scientists from the National Institutes of Health and University of Chicago have found a promising treatment method that in laboratory mice reduces the severity of skin and soft-tissue damage caused by USA300, the leading cause of community-associated Staphylococcus aureus infections in the United States. By neutralizing a key toxin associated with the bacteria, they found they could greatly reduce the damaging effects of the infection on skin and soft tissue. Community strains of S. aureus cause infection in otherwise healthy people and are considered extremely virulent, as opposed to hospital strains that infect people who already are weakened by illness or surgery.More

Expert warns of complacency after swine flu fizzle
The Associated Press via Google News
A leading virus expert urged health authorities around the world to stay vigilant even though the recent swine flu pandemic was less deadly than expected, warning that bird flu could spark the next global outbreak. A World Health Organization official also defended the U.N.'s health body against accusations that it wasted governments' money and enriched pharmaceutical companies with its strong warnings during the swine flu outbreak's early days last year. WHO declared the swine flu pandemic over last month. The latest death toll is just over 18,600 — far below the millions that were once predicted. More

Research: Cockroach brains may be a source of antibiotics
Bloomberg
Cockroach brains may be a source of new antibiotics capable of killing deadly drug-resistant bacteria, according to research that suggests the germ-spreading pests may be good for something after all. Insects such as cockroaches have a defense mechanism against bacteria, a "logical" development from living in unhygienic conditions, research from the U.K.'s University of Nottingham showed.More

Transplanting gut microbes to treat disease
Technology Review
Earlier this summer, scientists reported the success of an unusual medical transplant; a woman with a life-threatening Clostridium difficile infection was treated, and apparently cured, with an injection of some of her healthy husband's gut bacteria. Researchers are now exploring the effects of this type of transplant in greater detail. They hope to eventually treat a wide range of ailments — from bowel diseases to obesity, diabetes to depression — by manipulating the bacteria that live in the human gut.More

Clinical trials aim to find help for West Nile victims
The Chicago Tribune
Newell Phillips knows all too well about the effects of the West Nile virus. Diagnosed four years ago, he spent eight months on life support and was paralyzed from neck to toe. "My recovery continues," said Phillips, 71, who can walk, perform basic tasks like flipping a light switch and recently began driving again. "If your immune system is compromised, or you're elderly and your immune system is starting to diminish, it can knock you down pretty hard," said Phillips. "In fact, it can kill you."More