ASCLS eNewsBytes
Dec. 9, 2014

Researchers explore new approach for treating Alzheimer's disease
Universitaet Mainz via Medical Xpress
It is estimated that about 35 million people worldwide currently suffer from dementia, and it is expected that the number will increase to 135 million by the year 2050. The disease is already one of the most common health problems in the elderly, which is why experts predict that the numbers of people affected will increase over time.More

Health care spending growth in 2013 lowest on record
The Fiscal Times
Health care spending grew at its lowest rate on record last year amid a relatively sluggish economy that has prompted consumers to spend more cautiously. A new report published in the journal Health Affairs by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services shows health spending grew by just 3.6 percent in 2013 — the lowest year-to-year increase ever recorded. More

Obesity-contributing hormone identified
Medical News Today
Brown adipose tissue — also known as brown fat — is a beneficial form of fat that acts as the body's furnace, burning energy and glucose to make heat. Previous research has shown that obese individuals have less brown fat, and now, researchers may have discovered why: a specific hormone is elevated in obese people, inhibiting brown fat activity and contributing to obesity and diabetes.More

HHS: Hospital-acquired conditions declined by 17 percent in last 3 years
Healthcare Informatics Magazine
A recent Department of Health and Human Services report found that with the aid of health IT, a reduction in hospital-acquired conditions from 2010 to 2013 led to approximately 50,000 fewer patients died in hospitals and $12 billion saved in health care costs. HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality analyzed the incidence of a number of avoidable hospital-acquired conditions compared to 2010 rates and used as a baseline estimate of deaths and excess health care costs that were developed when the Partnership for Patients — which targets a specific set of hospital-acquired conditions for reductions — was launched.More

Most elderly breast cancer patients receive unnecessary radiation
Medical News Today
In 2004, a randomized clinical trial supported the omission of radiation treatment in elderly female patients with early stage breast cancer. Despite this evidence, a new study reports that almost two-thirds of this group of patients still receive this treatment today.More

Correcting myths about the flu vaccine: Effective?
Dartmouth College via ScienceDaily
Correcting myths about vaccines may not be the most effective approach to promoting immunization among vaccine skeptics according to a recent study. The research found that debunking the myth that the seasonal influenza vaccine can give you the flu actually reduced intent to vaccinate among people who are most concerned about vaccine side effects.More

Research: Fewer deaths related to RSV than previously thought
University of Utah via Infection Control Today
It's a virus that has long been characterized as dangerous and even deadly, but new research shows infant deaths from respiratory syncytial virus are actually quite uncommon in the 21st century. Researchers at the University of Utah have shown there are approximately 42 deaths annually associated with RSV in the United States, and of those deaths, the majority are in infants and young children that have complex pre-existing chronic conditions.More

Costly, unproven stem cell therapy for neurological disorders questioned
NBC News
Robert Vondracek has had multiple sclerosis for 20 years. His speech is starting to slur, and he's been having more trouble getting around, and when he heard about a controversial stem cell therapy that might help, he got excited. "I heard about the stem cell treatments being done right here in Phoenix," said Vondracek. More

Genes may play greater role in Lou Gehrig's disease
LiveScience via The Huffington Post
In most cases of Lou Gehrig's disease, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, it's not known what caused the condition, but a new study finds genes may play a larger role than previously thought. Only about 5 to 10 percent of people with ALS have family members with the disease, meaning the cases have a known genetic component. More

Scientists find why male smokers may run even higher health risks
Reuters
Male smokers are three times more likely than non-smoking men to lose their Y chromosomes, according to research which may explain why men develop and die from many cancers at disproportionate rates compared to women. In a study in the journal Science, researchers at Sweden's Uppsala University found that Y chromosomes, which are important for sex determination and sperm production, more often disappear from blood cells of smokers than those of men who have never smoked or of men who have kicked the habit.More

Genetic marker may help predict success of kidney transplants
HealthCanal
Kidneys donated by people born with a small variation in the code of a key gene may be more likely, once in the transplant recipient, to accumulate scar tissue that contributes to kidney failure, according to a study led by researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. If further studies prove the variation to cause fibrosis in the kidneys of transplant recipients, researchers may be able to use it to better screen potential donors and improve transplant outcomes.More

Is HIV evolving into a weaker virus?
NPR
Viruses are masters at mutating. So the big concern with deadly viruses, like Ebola and hepatitis C, is that they will evolve into more dangerous forms over time. It looks like just the opposite is happening with HIV — although it's happening slowly.More

UCSF study puts spotlight on the high prices of medical laboratory tests charged by California hospitals
DARK Daily
Clinical laboratories owned by hospitals and health systems should take note of a public study of hospital laboratory test prices that was conducted by researchers at the University of California at San Francisco. It showed a remarkable range of prices for medical laboratory tests charged by California hospitals. More

New study identifies 1st gene associated with familial glioma
Baylor College of Medicine via Medical Xpress
An international consortium of researchers led by Baylor College of Medicine has identified for the first time a gene associated with familial glioma (brain tumors that appear in two or more members of the same family) providing new support that certain people may be genetically predisposed to the disease. More