Genomics Biotechnology & Emerging Medical Technologies Institute e-News
Jul. 10, 2014

Same genes rule math, reading skills
AFP via Discovery News
A common set of genes play a role in learning to read and do math, with tiny variants influencing a child's skills in these tasks, according to a study published. But this ability is not just gene-driven, as schooling and help from parents are also vital contributors, its authors cautioned. Early numeracy and literacy are known to run in some families, but the genes that affect this have until now been mainly unknown.More

How genes can influence our mood
The Huffington Post
Michael Stanclift writes: When Susan first came to see me, she was feeling pretty low. She had debilitating fatigue, and her body ached all over. Susan had been prescribed an antidepressant, and it helped with her depression a little, but she was still constantly anxious and had difficulty concentrating. Everything seemed "life or death," her performance at work was declining, and she was afraid she would lose her job if things didn't change soon.More

Healthy-obesity gene found — but genes aren't everything
Austrian researchers have discovered a possible genetic explanation for why about a quarter of obese people are “metabolically healthy” — meaning they don’t have the risk factors for Type 2 diabetes. In their mice study, published in the journal Cell, the researchers were able to determine that high levels of a molecule called HO-1 was linked to poor metabolic health and a higher risk for diabetes in people who are obese.More

Defining accountable care in the age of ACOs
Health Data Management
Physicians didn't wake up to a brave new world when Medicare unveiled its accountable care model and Pioneer ACO program — as medical doctors, the ultimate clinical decision makers in the healthcare industry, they were used to being personally and professionally accountable for their actions.More

ACO initiatives test pharma's traditional sales model
The U.S. healthcare system’s shift from volume- to value-based reimbursement for treatment in order to lower costs and improve patient care is disrupting healthcare business models. The high-profile government–led accountable care organizations, which put financial pressure on payers and providers to share responsibility for meeting quality and cost goals, is no exception.More

This startup will make you a personalized health plan based on your genes
Fast Company
When the FDA ordered 23andMe to stop giving customers medical information based on their DNA, they unintentionally opened a new market niche. The rapidly declining cost of genomic analysis means more and more companies can offer DNA analysis services for the consumer market. One new company, BaseHealth, is betting customers will like their proposition: A 23andMe-like platform where doctors have access to their patients' genomic data and build personalized medicine plans for their clients.More

Francis Collins: Medicine in the future will be tailored to your genes
The Wall Street Journal
In 1889, when The Wall Street Journal was founded, medicine was quite primitive. An American born in that era could expect to live into his or her mid-40s on average, compared with nearly 80 today. There were no X-rays, aspirin, blood transfusions, insulin, oxygen equipment, antibiotics, childhood vaccines, heart surgeries, organ transplants, cholesterol-lowering drugs or many other medical breakthroughs we now take for granted.More

Stem cell researchers under pressure to produce
The San Francisco Chronicle
In laboratories across California, scientists are racing to turn stem cells into therapies for some of the world's most debilitating illnesses from cancer to Alzheimer's. Many of those researchers have received funding from a unique source: California's stem cell agency. Created by voters a decade ago, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine is authorized to spend $3 billion in taxpayer money on stem cell research and has so far doled out more than half of that in grants and loans.More

Adipose stem cells: Potential option for female SUI
Urethral injection of patient-derived adipose stem cells and collagen may represent a viable alternative to surgery in women with stress urinary incontinence, according to a pilot study published online in Stem Cells Translational Medicine. Although insertion of a suburethral sling remains the curative "gold standard" for female SUI, the procedure is not always effective. More

Stem cell treatment causes nasal growth in woman's back
New Scientist
A woman in the U.S. has developed a tumor-like growth eight years after a stem cell treatment to cure her paralysis failed. There have been a handful of cases of stem cell treatments causing growths but this appears to be the first in which the treatment was given at a Western hospital as part of an approved clinical trial.More

Contraceptive microchip: Could it revolutionize global birth control?
Medical News Today
MicroCHIPS, an IT start-up company with links to Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is developing a radical new contraceptive — a tiny microchip implanted under the skin that can be operated wirelessly by remote control. In the 1990s, Robert S. Langer — the David H. Koch Institute Professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and reportedly "the most cited engineer in history" — and his colleagues Michael Cima and John Santini, developed a microchip technology that could release controlled amounts of chemicals.More

The rush to use new medical tech tied to patient harm
Modern Technology
Rapid adoption of new medical technology can lead to more adverse events for the patients treated with it, according to a new study. The authors advise hospitals to avoid using new devices without first considering the education, training and awareness needed to ensure safety.More

Same genes rule math, reading skills
AFP via Discovery News
A common set of genes play a role in learning to read and do math, with tiny variants influencing a child's skills in these tasks, according to a study published.More

Studies provide important new information on genetic risk of sudden cardiac death
Medical Xpress
Two international research studies, both led by investigators affiliated with Massachusetts General Hospital and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, have uncovered new information about genes that may increase the risk of serious cardiac arrhythmias.More

Older moms may have genes for longevity
The Washington Post
A silver lining for some older moms: The genes that allow some women to naturally have children later in life also make it likely these women will live a longer life.More

Obamacare's next threat: A September surprise
Obamacare open enrollment closed March 31. The White House’s Obamacare war room did not. Most state health insurance rates for 2015 are scheduled to be approved by early fall, and most are likely to rise, timing that couldn’t be worse for Democrats already on defense in the midterms. The White House and its allies know they’ve been beaten in every previous round of Obamacare messaging, never more devastatingly than in 2010. More

The frustrating lack of comparative effectiveness — Part I
By Mike Wokasch
When you go to the doctor's office, you expect your healthcare providers will prescribe drugs that will be effective and safe in treating your diagnosis. But which drug is best for treating your disease or medical condition? You rely on your physician or PA to make this determination. You also rely on your healthcare providers to have the treatment available on their formulary. And lastly, you rely on your insurance company to pay for your treatment of choice. You would expect them to make these determinations based on the best available clinical data and published medical literature. But what is the best available data? More

Countries spending the most on healthcare
24/7 Wall St. via USA Today
The United States currently spends more per person on healthcare than any other developed country. Health outcomes in the U.S., however, are among the worst. Despite weak health spending growth worldwide, a number of countries still had substantial healthcare budgets as of 2012. Based on data released by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the U.S. led the developed world in 2012, spending $8,745 per capita on healthcare. More

Study: 99 percent of Alzheimer's drug trials fail
Drug Discovery & Development
Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health have conducted the first-ever analysis of clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease, revealing an urgent need to increase the number of agents entering the drug development pipeline and progressing successfully towards new therapy treatments. More

FDA approves belinostat for rare lymphoma
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved belinostat for the treatment of relapsed or refractory peripheral T-cell lymphoma, a rare and fast-growing type of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The endorsement of belinostat, which is an orphan drug, comes through the FDA's accelerated approval program and is based on overall response rate data.More