Genomics Biotechnology & Emerging Medical Technologies Institute e-News
Aug. 13, 2015

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Register today for the 2015 Fall Forum being held November 12-13, 2015 at The Bellagio in Las Vegas. Click here to visit the conference website.More

Scientists pinpoint how a single genetic mutation causes autism
Medical Xpress
Last December, researchers identified more than 1,000 gene mutations in individuals with autism, but how these mutations increased risk for autism was unclear. Now, UNC School of Medicine researchers are the first to show how one of these mutations disables a molecular switch in one of these genes and causes autism.More

New computational method predicts genes likely to be causal in disease
Medical Xpress
A new computational method developed by scientists from the University of Chicago improves the detection of genes that are likely to be causal for complex diseases and biological traits. The method, PrediXcan, estimates gene expression levels across the whole genome — a better measure of biological action than single mutations — and integrates it with genome-wide association study data.More

Can genes make us liberal or conservative?
Discovery News
Aristotle may have been more on the money than he realized in saying man is a political animal, according to research published linking genes with liberal or conservative leanings. Or, to be precise, a specific variant of one gene that would seem to exert greater sway over women than men.More

ONC awards $38.5M in new grants
Health IT Outcomes
Even as debates over information blocking and the future of meaningful use Stage 3 are heating up, ONC has announced more than $38 million in grants will be awarded to improve coordinated health information sharing in communities across the United States. The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology announced a list of 20 awardees for three separate health information technology grant programs.More

Bill Gates and 13 other investors pour $120M into revolutionary gene-editing startup
Four years ago, the protein called CRISPR-Cas9, an enzyme that bacteria use to attack viruses that infect them, was unknown to humans. Now it is ubiquitous in science labs as the most efficient way of cutting-and-pasting DNA yet invented. Wired Magazine, in a breathless cover story, just called it “The Genesis Engine,” instructing readers to “buckle up” because the easy DNA editing CRISPR enables will change the world. More

Personalized medicine is coming to addiction treatment
Pacific Standard
Most drugs have a significant rate of failure. In the pharmaceutical industry, it is widely understood that some 90 percent of all medicines work adequately in only 30 percent to 50 percent of patients. This results in staggering waste in the quality of care for individuals and and costs to the healthcare system. But for people with addiction, the problem is especially acute because there are so few effective drugs available.More

Precision medicine may leave public health efforts in the dust
The federal government and healthcare industry's focus on personalized medicine comes at the expense of public health efforts, argues an opinion piece published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Groups such as the National Institutes of Health and the National Academy of Medicine, as well as the White House administration, have made personalized medicine a priority based on the assumption that precision care will improve public health through its contribution to clinical practice, particularly regarding issues such as medication adherence.More

Embryonic stem cells may help researchers to study physiological effects of environmental pollutants on human health
A recent study published in the Journal of Environmental Sciences shows that embryonic stem cells could serve as a model to evaluate the physiological effects of environmental pollutants efficiently and cost-effectively. The use of stem cells has found another facade.More

Healthcare will be Uber-ized
In just five years, Uber has gone from a prefix meaning "supreme" to an international transportation juggernaut operating in more than 300 cities in 58 countries — all from a simple smartphone app. You sign up, you tap in where you are and where you want to go, Uber tells you exactly how much you'll pay on your credit card and pretty soon a car shows up to take you there.More

Technology driving healthcare revolution, not policy
Health Data Management
Jeffrey A. Sachs has worked on various high-level health initiatives over the years, from advising former New York governors Hugh Carey and Mario Cuomo to providing guidance on California's Medicaid waiver in 2010. Yet Sachs, founder of Sachs Policy Group, a New York City-based boutique consultancy, has a career history far-flung from the buttoned-down and cautious health policy wonk might expect him to be — and he makes no bones in discounting the healthcare industry's preoccupation on policy minutiae in turbulent times.More

Universal American reports Medicare ACO gains, plans growth
Modern Healthcare
Encouraged by larger profits from Medicare accountable care last year, insurer Universal American will look to aggressively expand its ACO operations, executives said as the company announced its latest financial results. Universal American, based in White Plains, New York, reported $26.9 million in revenue from two dozen Medicare accountable care organizations across 10 states for 2014.More

FDA approves balloon weight-loss device
By Katina Smallwood
People who have struggled to lose weight through traditional means may now have new hope: The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new balloon device for weight loss. The device is implanted endoscopically through the mouth without requiring surgery during a 30-minute procedure while the patient is sedated. It works to take up space in the stomach in order to simulate a feeling of fullness. The balloon device intends to fill a gap in weight-loss options for patients opposed to or unable to undergo weight-loss surgery.More

Doctors call new FDA-approved cellulite treatment revolutionary
For about 85 percent of adult women, cellulite is a fact of life. Some are so self-conscious, it affects their confidence and even the clothes they choose to wear. A revolutionary new treatment is promising to zap cellulite without surgery and with limited downtime. Genetics, hormones, lifestyle, weight loss or weight gain can all play a role in the body's tendency to develop cellulite.More

No, giving more people health insurance doesn't save money
The New York Times
In 2014, an estimated 9 million people became newly insured thanks to Obamacare. There’s an oft-expressed view that getting all those people covered could actually save the health system money. The argument goes something like this: Once people have insurance, they’ll go to the doctor instead of an expensive emergency room. Or: Prevention costs far less than a serious illness down the road.More

How to manage higher health insurance costs in 2016
U.S. News & World Report
If you have health insurance, there's a good chance you'll pay more for it in 2016. Healthcare and health insurance costs increase year to year, like most expenses. Since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, growth in premiums has mostly slowed as has the rise in health care costs overall, while your share of expenses — like deductibles — has increased.More

Accessing care especially difficult for Latinos on Medi-Cal
Modern Healthcare
Miriam Uribe enrolled in California's low-income health insurance program last November, and she still hasn't found a primary care doctor 10 months later who could see her. "Once you have insurance, you actually still don't have it because it's still a struggle to find someone," the 20-year-old college student said.More