ASCLS eNewsBytes
Oct. 29, 2013

Rising drug resistance threatens global progress against TB
In its annual TB report, the World Health Organization said the world is on track to meet U.N. goals for 2015 of reversing TB incidence and cutting the death rate by 50 percent compared to 1990. Yet around 3 million people with TB are being missed by health systems, and "superbug" drug-resistant strains of the bacterial infection are putting progress at risk.More

Free ASCLS webcast! Challenges in Implementing a Massive Transfusion Protocol — Thursday, Nov. 7
American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science
Broadcast at two times: Noon ET/11 a.m. CT/10 a.m. MT/9 a.m. PT and 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT/6 p.m. MT/5 p.m. PT. No registration required! Go to for more information. Sponsored by Bio-Rad Laboratories.More

Federal Government and Health Care Reform Update — Register for the Nov. 14 ASCLS-APHL webinar
American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science
In this one-hour webinar you will learn the latest about the impact of regulations, proficiency testing, reimbursement and healthcare reform on the laboratory profession. For more information and to register your site, go to ASCLS members register at a discount with code FDC13. More

Study finds reservoir of hidden HIV bigger than once thought
Fox News
Over the past decade, scientists have made incredible strides in the field of HIV research — leading to the development of numerous medications that can effectively manage the disease and provide patients with a near normal life expectancy. But a cure for the human immunodeficiency virus has still eluded scientists and now a new report from Howard Hughes Medical Institute has revealed that completely eradicating the virus may be much more difficult than previously thought.More

Syria mounting anti-polio campaign in wake of suspected outbreak
VideoBrief The Syrian government has been mounting a campaign to boost vaccination among children in Syria after at least 20 suspected cases of polio were reported — from government and opposition sources — near the eastern city of Deir Ezzor. World Health Organization personnel were working with government health officials in Syria as well as surrounding countries "to stop what's circulating in Syria and make sure it doesn't spread," said Dr. Bruce Aylward, the World Health Organization's assistant director-general for polio, emergencies and country collaboration. More

Gene panel spots mutations other breast cancer test misses
Medscape Medical News
The U.S. Supreme Court ruling that genes can't be patented is good news for members of families with a history of breast or ovarian cancer. That's the opinion of investigators who, freed by the landmark decision, developed a comprehensive genetic panel. They say it can identify mutations in approximately 25 percent of patients who had normal results on a commercial assay for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations.More

Many tests to diagnose Lyme disease, but no proof they work
The Boston Globe
Two years after announcing a way to detect Lyme disease, Advanced Laboratory Services has conducted more than 4,200 Lyme tests, but the Pennsylvania company's methods are being scrutinized by scientists and regulators. New York banned the test because there is no proof it works, and the state's inspectors uncovered "broad substandard" lab practices. A federal scientist has raised contamination concerns.More

Latest automation techniques in immunohematology testing
By Dr. Afsaneh Motamed-Khorasani
Automated analyzers have been used in many clinical laboratories since their discovery in mid-1950s. They have many advantages that include improved quality of preanalytical steps, reduced error rates and reduced individual exposure to biohazardous materials. Newer techniques such as column agglutination, solid-phase red cell adherence assay and erythrocyte-magnetized technology are being adapted in immunohematology. More

Toddler remains HIV-free, raising hope for babies worldwide
A 3-year-old girl born in Mississippi with HIV acquired from her mother during pregnancy remains free of detectable virus at least 18 months after she stopped taking antiviral pills. New results on this child, published online by the New England Journal of Medicine, appear to green-light a study in the advanced planning stages in which researchers around the world will try to replicate her successful treatment in other infected newborns.More

How societal, economic factors play into rise of drug-resistant bacteria
Has the age of antibiotics come to an end? New strains of bacteria are on the rise, landing normally healthy people in the hospital with life-threatening, drug-resistant infections.More

Flu vaccine cuts risk of heart attack for some patients
USA Today
Getting a flu shot cuts the risk of having a heart attack or stroke by more than 50 percent in people who have had a heart attack, a new study shows. One theory as to why the flu shot helps is the "vulnerable plaque theory" — that inflammation caused by the flu "may turn a stable plaque into an unstable plaque and cause a cardiac event," Jacob Udell, a cardiologist at Women's College Hospital and a scientist at the University of Toronto.More

Paper-based device could bring medical testing to remote locales
American Chemical Society via Science Codex
In remote regions of the world where electricity is hard to come by and scientific instruments are even scarcer, conducting medical tests at a doctor's office or medical lab is rarely an option. Scientists are now reporting progress toward an inexpensive point-of-care, paper-based device to fill that void with no electronics required.More

Study finds higher cancer rates among firefighters
Occupational and Environmental Medicine via EHS Today
Firefighters from three large cities had higher rates of cancer than the overall U.S. population, according to new research by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. A combined population of 30,000 firefighters in Chicago, Philadelphia and San Francisco had higher rates of several types of cancers, and of all cancers combined, than the U.S. population as a whole, the NIOSH study found.More

Science or science fiction? Cutting-edge advances in medicine
Medscape Medical News
Biomedical and biotechnological innovations isn't slowing down. Here's a look at 11 more fascinating areas of research that are putting the science behind what just a few years ago seemed like science fiction. More

Rising drug resistance threatens global progress against TB
In its annual TB report, the World Health Organization said the world is on track to meet U.N. goals for 2015 of reversing TB incidence and cutting the death rate by 50 percent compared to 1990. Yet around 3 million people with TB are being missed by health systems.More

Flu virus wipes out first wave of immune response
Medical News Today
The immune system has the capacity to "remember" particular viruses and store those details in B memory cells that reside in the lungs to help ward off future infections. But a new study shows the flu virus takes advantage of this and uses the way the memory cells store its details to recognize and kill them.More

Why scientists held back details on a unique botulinum toxin
Scientists have discovered the first new form of botulinum toxin in over 40 years, but they're taking the unusual step of keeping key details about it secret. That's because botulinum toxin is one of the most poisonous substances known. More

N.D. health department warns of hepatitis A risk in churches
Forum News Service via Grand Forks Herald
The Fargo, N.D., Catholic Diocese's new bishop may have exposed hundreds of church members in Fargo and in Jamestown to the hepatitis A virus in late September and early October. The North Dakota Department of Health issued an advisory of exposure for anyone who attended church and had communion at certain churches.More

Compound derived from vegetables shields rodents from lethal radiation doses
Georgetown University Medical Center via Medical Xpress
Georgetown University Medical Center researchers say a compound derived from cruciferous vegetable such as cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli protected rats and mice from lethal doses of radiation. Their study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests the compound, already shown to be safe for humans, may protect normal tissues during radiation therapy for cancer treatment and prevent or mitigate sickness caused by radiation exposure.More