ASCLS eNewsBytes
Sep. 23, 2014

Antibiotics prescribed for kids at twice expected rate
Medscape
Antibiotics are prescribed almost twice as often as expected to outpatients aged 18 years and younger nationally, according to results of a new study published online Sept. 15 in Pediatrics. That translates to about 11.4 million potentially unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions every year, a number that has not decreased substantially over the course of 10 years.More

White House orders US laboratories to take inventory of infectious agents
Reuters
The White House has ordered federally funded laboratories working with infectious agents to conduct an immediate inventory of the pathogens in their laboratories and review their safety and security protocols. The order follows a trio of high-profile mishaps at federal laboratories in recent months, including the mishandling of anthrax and bird flu by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta and the discovery of decades-old samples of smallpox in a U.S. Food and Drug Administration laboratory on the campus of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.More

A frightening curve: How fast is the Ebola outbreak growing?
NPR
VideoBrief Researchers at Columbia University developed a model to forecast how the current Ebola epidemic might continue through mid-October, based on the infection rates as of Sept. 7. The "no change" forecast assumes that current efforts at stopping the virus will continue at the same rate of effectiveness. The "improved" forecast assumes that interventions will become more effective.More

White House unveils plan to battle antibiotic resistance
Medscape
The Obama administration unveiled a complicated game plan to battle antibiotic resistance, as well as a $20 million contest to develop a rapid point-of-care diagnostic test to identify superbugs that are killing at least 23,000 Americans per year. Central to the new federal antibiotic resistance initiative is a national strategy that aims to slow the emergence and prevent the spread of resistant bacteria, to better track the bacteria and to speed up the development of new antibiotics to treat them.More

Why the Ebola vaccine is still years away
Vox
With this Ebola epidemic burning on in West Africa — and with no vaccine or cure yet on the market — there has been a lot of discussion about speeding up the drug testing and approval process to get therapies to patients faster. The drug company GlaxoSmithKline announced it will take the unprecedented step of starting mass production on a vaccine that has only just begun being tested in humans.More

Researchers: It's time to reclassify cancerous tumors based on their molecular makeup — New system suggested would affect pathologists
DARK Daily
New molecular and genetic knowledge is making it possible for researchers to propose a new system for classifying tumors. Upon implementation, such a system will give oncologists, pathologists and clinical laboratory professionals a new tool to improve how they diagnose and treat cancer patients. Tumor categories — defined by cell types instead of where they are found in the body — may lead to more accurate diagnoses and more effective treatments for 1 in 10 patients, according to the recent study. More

Study: How epigenetic memory is passed across generations
HealthCanal
Images of C. elegans embryos show inheritance and transmission of an epigenetic mark. The one-cell embryo shows the mark inherited on sperm chromosomes but not on the oocyte chromosomes from a mutant mother lacking the methylation enzyme PRC2. More

Health officials urge flu vaccination for all, including healthy adults
Infection Control Today
Influenza vaccination coverage estimates show an encouraging upward trend overall, but coverage among healthy 18- to 64-year-olds has yet to top 40 percent, according to new data announced at a news conference held by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. Studies show adults may not seek vaccination because they think influenza poses no risk to them, but public health officials point out that flu hit the 18- to 64-year-old age group hard last season, with the highest flu-related hospitalization rates in this age group since the 2009 pandemic. More

Mutations in gene linked to brain development 'may be a cause of autism'
Medical News Today
Rates of autism have increased significantly in recent years, with 1 in 68 children in the U.S. diagnosed with the disorder, compared with 1 in 150 back in 2000. Increasingly, research suggests severe cases of autism may stem from gene mutations that develop in the egg or sperm, rather than mutations that are inherited from parents. These are known as de novo mutations.More

Genetic testing may identify men at risk for prostate cancer
dailyRx News
VideoBriefLifestyle choices like smoking can increase your risk for cancer. But your genes may also raise your risk — particularly for prostate cancer. The authors of a recent study reviewed genetic data on a large group of men with and without prostate cancer.More

Antibiotics prescribed for kids at twice expected rate
Medscape
Antibiotics are prescribed almost twice as often as expected to outpatients aged 18 years and younger nationally, according to results of a new study published online Sept. 15 in Pediatrics. That translates to about 11.4 million potentially unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions every year, a number that has not decreased substantially over the course of 10 years.More

Scientists 'reset' stem cells to study start of human development
Reuters
British and Japanese scientists have managed to "reset" human stem cells to their earliest state, opening up a new realm of research into the start of human development and potentially life-saving regenerative medicines. In work described by one independent expert as "a major step forward," the scientists said they had successfully rebooted pluripotent stem cells so they were equivalent to those of a seven to 10-day old embryo, before it implants in the womb.More

Why age reduces stem cells' ability to repair muscle
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute via ScienceDaily
As we age, stem cells throughout our bodies gradually lose their capacity to repair damage, even from normal wear and tear. Researchers from the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and University of Ottawa have discovered the reason why this decline occurs in our skeletal muscle. Their findings were published online in the influential journal Nature Medicine.More

Battling superbugs: 2 new technologies could enable novel strategies for combating drug-resistant bacteria
Massachusetts Institute of Technology via ScienceDaily
Two new technologies could enable novel strategies for combating drug-resistant bacteria, scientists report. Most antibiotics work by interfering with crucial functions such as cell division or protein synthesis. However, some bacteria have evolved to become virtually untreatable with existing drugs.More

Scientists spot how bacterial pneumonia damages the heart
HealthDay News
Doctors have known that bacterial pneumonia can raise your risk of heart problems, but new research pinpoints why. The bacteria actually invade and kill heart cells, increasing the chances of heart failure, abnormal heart rhythms and heart attacks in patients, scientists report.More