ASCLS eNewsBytes
Oct. 5, 2010

Gram-negative bacterial endocarditis in adults: State-of-the-heart
Medscape Medical News
Gram-negative endocarditis due to HACEK bacteria (Haemophilus species, Actinobacillus, Cardiobacterium, Eikenella and Kingella species) and non-HACEK organisms is an infrequent occurrence but is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Traditionally, non-HACEK Gram-negative endocarditis has been associated with injection drug use. However, emerging data from more contemporary cohorts suggest changing epidemiology and risk factors for Gram-negative endocarditis, necessitating an updated review of this subject. Moreover, optimal management, including the need for surgical intervention and strategies for the prevention of Gram-negative endocarditic need to be revisited.More

New method makes adult cells act like embryonic ones
USA Today
Stem cell researchers reported a new method for reprogramming adult cells into ones that act like more versatile embryonic stem cells, an advance that could open a new avenue for lab-grown transplant tissues. Stem cells are the building blocks from which replacement cells, everything from blood to bone to brain, grow in early development and throughout life. Researchers consider embryonic stem cells the most useful type for generating replacement tissues, but obtaining them requires the controversial destruction of embryos. More

NDM-1 gene spreading to multiple bacteria species, making them antibiotic-resistant
Medscape Medical News
The gene that encodes for New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase-1 (NDM-1), which confers resistance to most currently available antibiotics, appears to be spreading from the Indian subcontinent (India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh), researchers reported here at a media press conference during the 50th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.More

New digital pathology DICOM standards will expand pathologist' use of whole slide images
DARK Daily
Digital pathology moves one step forward toward true "plug and play" with the recent approval of the DICOM supplement 145. These are the technical specifications that support whole-slide digital pathology images. Approval of these standards now makes it possible for clinical laboratories and pathology groups to store digital pathology images in a form that is compatible with the same DICOM archive systems used by hospitals and other providers to store radiology images. The approval was issued in August and is a direct result of five years of work by the DICOM Working Group 26.More

Tracking down pathogenic yeasts
Science Daily
More than half of all people are hosts to Candida albicans in their bodies. This species might be located on their skin or mucous membranes or in the intestines — frequently without causing any symptoms. However, it can be dangerous to patients whose immunological system has been weakened such as after organ transplants or chemotherapy with cancer. Then, this fungus penetrates into deeper layers of tissue and uses the blood system to spread throughout the body. In Germany alone, several thousand people die from systemic candida infections every year.More

Oklahoma officials investigating salmonella cases
The Associated Press via Chicago Tribune
The state Health Department says the number of salmonella cases in Oklahoma has risen to 15, and officials are monitoring illnesses involving a similar strain in two other states. The agency is investigating 12 cases of salmonella among Mustang elementary school children in Canadian County, as well as two confirmed cases in neighboring Oklahoma County and one in Carter County. Communicable Disease Division director Laurence Burnsed told The Oklahoman a similar strain of salmonella has been identified in Iowa and Nebraska, but those states are only reporting a couple of cases so far.More

Scientists overcome hurdles to stem cell alternatives
The Washington Post
VideoBrief
Scientists have invented an efficient way to produce apparently safe alternatives to human embryonic stem cells without destroying embryos, a long-sought step toward bypassing the moral morass surrounding one of the most promising fields in medicine. A team of researchers at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute in Boston published a series of experiments showing that synthetic biological signals can quickly reprogram ordinary skin cells into entities that appear virtually identical to embryonic stem cells. Moreover, the same strategy can then turn those cells into ones that could be used for transplants.More

Scientists sequence genome of 'West Nile' mosquito
HealthDay News via Bloomberg Businessweek
In an effort to combat the West Nile virus, an international team of scientists has sequenced the genetic code of the mosquito that transmits the illness to humans. By deconstructing the genetic composition of the Culex mosquito (also known as the "southern house mosquito"), researchers hope to get a better handle on how the insect is able to carry and transfer a virus it picks up after feeding on infected birds.More