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GENOMICS

Research: Human friendships based on genetic similarities beyond the superficial
The Washington Post
Friends often look alike. The tendency of people to forge friendships with people of a similar appearance has been noted since the time of Plato. But now there is research suggesting that, to a striking degree, we tend to pick friends who are genetically similar to us in ways that go beyond superficial features.
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Study: About half of kids' learning ability is in their DNA
Los Angeles Times
You may think you're better at reading than you are at math (or vice versa), but new research suggests you're probably equally good (or bad) at both. The reason: The genes that determine a person's ability to tackle one subject influence their aptitude at the other, accounting for about half of a person's overall ability.
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How DNA scissors can perform surgery directly on your genes
Popular Science
Jay Johnson's DNA was cut into pieces. Tiny molecular scissors chopped it into slices the cell couldn’t readily repair. The cell did its best at a speedy patch-up job, but the gene was left effectively useless. As the battered remnants were about to be infused back into Johnson’s body, he sat in the quiet hospital room at the University of Pennsylvania and contemplated his fate. “God, if this really works,” he thought, “this will be amazing.”
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ACCOUNTABLE CARE ORGANIZATIONS


Reform update: Preferred referrals gain favor with ACOs
Modern Healthcare
Each month, doctors at one Arizona accountable care organization get a rundown of referral patterns, including the percentage of patients who followed referrals to specialists the ACO deems preferred. Doctors get on that list thanks to strong quality scores, efficient operations and laudable customer service. But when performance falters or patients leave dissatisfied, they're dropped.
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Leaders of patient care organizations participating in Medicare's ACO programs are pushing ahead into the new healthcare
Healthcare Informatics
With 368 Medicare Shared Savings Program accountable care organizations nationwide, and, according to recent estimates, well over 500 ACOs of some kind, including an ever-expanding group of collaborative arrangements between private health insurers and provider groups, the ACO concept is moving inexorably forward in U.S. healthcare.
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BIOTECH/DIAGNOSTICS/PERSONALIZED MEDICINE


Personalized medicine for breast cancer patients may be just around the corner
News-Medical.net
For breast cancer patients, the era of personalized medicine may be just around the corner, thanks to recent advances by USC Stem Cell researcher Min Yu and scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. In a July 11 study in Science, Yu and her colleagues report how they isolated breast cancer cells circulating through the blood streams of six patients. Some of these deadly cancer cells are the "seeds" of metastasis, which travel to and establish secondary tumors in vital organs such as the bone, lungs, liver and brain.
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New tool allows researchers to stimulate neurons and observe their signals in real time
Medical Xpress
In oncology, the notion of personalized medicine — in which genetic tools can be used precisely to characterize a patient's cancer and tailor treatment to a genetic profile — is now all but standard practice. Though personalized treatments for diseases like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, epilepsy and bipolar disorders have remained frustratingly out of reach for neurologists, Harvard scientists say that could soon change.
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REGENERATIVE MEDICINE


Large study of stem cells for autism draws criticism
Scientific American
A team at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, is set to launch a $40 million clinical trial to explore stem cells from umbilical cord blood as a treatment for autism. But experts caution that the trial is premature. A $15 million grant from the Marcus Foundation, a philanthropic funding organization based in Atlanta, will bankroll the first two years of the five-year trial, which also plans to test stem cell therapy for stroke and cerebral palsy. The autism arm of the trial aims to enroll 390 children and adults.
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Stem cells turned into blood
Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, along with colleagues at three other institutions, report the discovery of two genetic programs responsible for turning stem cells into both the red and white cells that make up human blood. The scientists say their finding is important because it identifies how nature itself makes blood products at the earliest stages of development and provides researchers with the tools to make the cells themselves, investigate how blood cells develop and produce clinically relevant blood products.
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How renewal and differentiation of the skin's stem cells are regulated
Medical Xpress
The human body maintains a healthy layer of skin thanks to a population of stem cells that reside in the epidermis. Previously, the signals responsible for regulating these so-called "interfollicular epidermal stem cells" were unclear, but now scientists in Singapore and the United States have shown that these cells secrete proteins in the Wnt signaling pathway to control their own balance between renewal and differentiation.
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EMERGING MEDICAL TECHNOLOGIES


Top 20 technologies that will change our lives: Next up, digital medicine
Forbes
By 2020, we're expected to have approximately 20 billion devices globally. China is projected to have 5.1 billion and India, 1.5 billion. In just five years, we are looking at a world of 10 connected devices per household. What does this mean? Digital content is doubling every 18 months, and 90 percent of all data today has been created in the last two years.
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Google partners with Novartis for smart lens, expands possible uses
Modern Healthcare
Google — through its speculative R&D "X" division — announced that it was licensing its smart lens technology to Novartis. The technology packs sensors and electronics into a lens, whether a contact or intraocular lens. The announcement signals increased ambition for the Google smart lens project. The technology originally was to apply to contact lenses and was intended to continuously sense glucose levels through tear fluid in the eye.
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FEATURED ARTICLE
TRENDING ARTICLE
MOST POPULAR ARTICLE
Research: Human friendships based on genetic similarities beyond the superficial
The Washington Post
Friends often look alike. The tendency of people to forge friendships with people of a similar appearance has been noted since the time of Plato.

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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.

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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.

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MANAGED HEALTHCARE NEWS


Why improving access to healthcare does not save money
The New York Times
One of the oft-repeated arguments in favor of the Affordable Care Act is that it will reduce people's need for more intensive care by increasing their access to preventive care. For example, people will use the emergency room less often because they will be able to see primary care physicians. Or, they will not develop as many chronic illnesses because they will be properly screened and treated early on. And they will not require significant and invasive care down the line because they will be better managed ahead of time.
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US has the worst healthcare? Not by a long shot
Forbes
Few complaints about the U.S. healthcare system are as common as the claim that we spend too much on healthcare and get too little for all that spending in return — especially compared to other industrialized nations. A new Commonwealth Fund report is the latest to indict U.S. healthcare. It pegs the American system dead last in a survey of 11 developed countries.
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The frustrating lack of comparative effectiveness — Part II
By Mike Wokasch
Let's assume that a credible, third-party source with therapeutic, statistical and analytic expertise has established definitive evidence that one drug is better than others in treating a particular disease in certain types of patients. They publish the treatment guidelines in a peer-reviewed reputable medical journal, issue press releases and present their findings at relevant medical meetings. Would the guidelines be followed? You would think so, but treatment guidelines and best practices are slow to be adopted, regardless of how convincing and definitive they might be.
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FDA: NEW TREATMENTS AND TECHNOLOGY


FDA weighs cancer risk of fibroid removal devices
The Associated Press via ABC News
Federal health advisers say there is little to no evidence that a popular technique for removing fibroids can be performed without the risk of spreading undetected cancers to other parts of the body. The panel of Food and Drug Administration experts also said that women who do undergo the procedure should sign a written consent form stating they understand the serious risks of laparoscopic power morcellation, in which electronic tools are used to grind tissue and remove it through a small incision in the abdomen.
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FDA grants orphan drug status for congenital ichthyosis treatment
Dermatology Times
The Food and Drug Administration has granted orphan drug designation to Galderma’s trifarotene molecule for the treatment of congenital ichthyosis. As a result, Galderma officials say the company plans to implement a clinical development plan to explore new treatment options for other rare skin diseases such as cutaneous T-cell lymphoma and Gorlin syndrome.
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FAST FACTS
"Seizures can be caused by a number of factors, including epilepsy or fever, and most seizures stop themselves, according to the National Institutes of Health."


TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Stem cell treatment causes nasal growth in woman's back (New Scientist)
This startup will make you a personalized health plan based on your genes (Fast Company)
Defining accountable care in the age of ACOs (Health Data Management)
Adipose stem cells: Potential option for female SUI (Medscape)

Don't be left behind. Click here to see what else you missed.
 

Genomics Biotech and Emerging Medical Technologies Institute eBrief
Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2635
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