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Screening for new breast cancer genes leaves women with tough choices
The Boston Globe
After Angelina Jolie revealed that she carried a breast cancer gene mutation last year, the number of women seeking genetic screening for breast cancer has surged — what some oncologists have referred to as the “Angelina Jolie” effect. Jolie carried a BRCA1 mutation and was told she had a 50 to 70 percent chance of developing breast cancer, a risk she deemed high enough to warrant having a preventive double mastectomy.
Our genes determine the traces that stress leaves behind on our brains
Our individual genetic make-up determines the effect that stress has on our emotional centers. These are the findings of a group of researchers from the MedUni Vienna. Not every individual reacts in the same way to life events that produce the same degree of stress. Some grow as a result of the crisis, whereas others break down and fall ill, for example with depression.
Cancer and the secrets of your genes
The New York Times
On Aug. 6, researchers announced in The New England Journal of Medicine that they had found that mutations in a gene called PALB2 greatly increase the risk of breast cancer. This is one of the biggest developments since the discovery in the ’90s of the role of mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes in breast and ovarian cancer.
Blood expression levels of genes targeted by stress hormones could be biomarker for developing PTSD
Blood expression levels of genes targeted by the stress hormones called glucocorticoids could be a physical measure, or biomarker, of risk for developing post-traumatic stress disorder, according to a study conducted in rats by researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and published August 11 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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DNA sequencing spots genetic key to lupus
Medical researchers have used DNA sequencing to identify a gene variant responsible for causing lupus in a young patient.
The development shows that, for the first time, it is feasible for researchers to identify the individual causes of lupus in patients by using DNA sequencing, allowing doctors to target specific treatments to individual patients.
Acute myeloid leukemia drugmaker closes $14.2M, focuses on personalized medicine
Tolero Pharmaceuticals, a Salt Lake City, Utah drug developer, has set its sights on ramping up the commercialization and development efforts of its acute myeloid leukemia treatment, which will enter phase 3 trial sometime next year.
The company’s fresh off of closing a series B round of $14.2 million, though the initial aim for the company was to raise $35 million.
New thinking needed for superbug treatments
By Mike Wokasch
Not a day goes by without reading or hearing about the seemingly impossible task of finding effective new treatments against "superbugs" that are resistant to existing drugs. The dearth of prospects for treating these superbugs is often blamed on the lack of investment and market economics. Sure, more investment-friendly healthcare market opportunities might lure additional pharma companies and money to the effort, but there is an even bigger factor standing in the way of conquering this medical dilemma.
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Stem cells can help rebuild joints
The Huffington Post
Harnessing stem cells to cure disease is the hottest topic in injury and arthritis treatment today. By stimulating the adult stem cells found in our own bodies, we can amplify and speed up the natural healing process as well as grow new bone and cartilage to rebuild joints without the need for artificial replacements.
Stemedica posts Alzheimer's stem cell data
Drug Discovery & Development
Stemedica International S.A., a Stemedica Cell Technologies Inc. subsidiary developing stem cell therapies for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, revealed the first results of an intravenous administration of allogeneic, human, ischemia-tolerant mesenchymal stem cells in a preclinical animal model of Alzheimer’s disease.
EMERGING MEDICAL TECHNOLOGIES
Machine that keeps lungs alive outside body tested
Creamy-pink and glistening, they lie on a stainless steel exam table — this pair of lungs inflating and falling in a rhythmic, ghostly pattern. At the University of Michigan, researchers are pushing the limits of medicine, eking out new ways to boost the numbers of organs that are available to thousands of patients who die every year waiting for them.
New medical technology poses safety problems if users not trained properly
Modern Healthcare via Crain's Detroit Business
When clinical staff at a MedStar Health hospital near Washington misunderstood a confusing pop-up box on a digital blood-sugar reader in 2011, they mistakenly gave insulin to a patient with low blood sugar, which caused her to go into a diabetic coma. Hospital staff had earlier made a seemingly minor customization to the glucometer, which led to the error.
FDA: NEW TREATMENTS AND TECHNOLOGY
The growing threat of antibiotic resistance
By Rosemary Sparacio
A number of diseases once easily treatable have become resistant to antibiotics currently on the market, and that number continues to grow. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has warned that antibiotic resistance is such a serious problem that it could be the "next pandemic." Obviously, the growth of antibiotic-resistant pathogens means that more and more cases emerge where standard treatments no longer work, infections become more difficult to control, and the risk of spreading infections to others is increased — especially when hospital stays are prolonged.
FDA approves Biogen Idec's multiple sclerosis drug
The Boston Globe
Scrambling to stay ahead of the competition in bringing multiple sclerosis drugs to market, Biogen Idec Inc. won U.S. regulatory approval to sell a new type of injectable drug that treats adults with the most common form of the neurodegenerative disease.
Food and Drug Administration regulators approved the Cambridge biotech’s application to market the drug, called Plegridy, as a longer-lasting treatment for U.S. patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis.
Drug may reverse hair loss in alopecia patients
A drug normally used to treat bone marrow disorders may help patients suffering from alopecia, according to a new study. Alopecia areata is a kind of autoimmune disorder that causes the immune system T-cells to attack hair follicles, causing them to fall out and become dormant.
ACCOUNTABLE CARE ORGANIZATIONS
Survey: ACOs continue to face obstacles with health IT adoption
Accountable care organizations have not made substantial progress in health IT adoption over the past year, according to a preliminary data released by the eHealth Initiative, Health Data Management reports. The data are based off of the first 62 responses to the national 2014 survey of ACOs, which aims to evaluate how ACOs in commercial and federal markets are using health IT.
Hospital-run ACOs do not work, says physician
Health Data Mangement
The Palm Beach Accountable Care Organization has reported $22 million in savings in its first year, and member doctors received total returns of $11 million — success that the ACO attributes to the fact that it is physician-owned and physician-run. "Physicians need to run ACOs," said Lenny Sukienik, M.D., the Palm Beach ACO's medical director. "If you have a hospital running an ACO, it won't work."
Health insurance benefits — can you have it your way?
As the percentage of large employers that consider a shift to defined contribution and/or private exchange increases, the number of options — and flexibility in those options — must also increase. Consideration for those options rose last year from 14 percent to 18 percent among large employers. Further, those who are considering the move to a private exchange want to because of their desire to offer more and better plan options, as well as realize cost-savings.
What the US healthcare system can learn from Ebola outbreak
Jeanine Thomas is a well-known patient advocate and active member of ProPublica's Patient Harm Facebook Community. But recently, she contributed in another forum: the World Health Organization.
The WHO selected Thomas to serve on the ethics committee that recommended making experimental drugs available to Ebola patients in West Africa. Thomas was the sole patient representative on the international panel, which decided that offering experimental drugs is ethical if patients give fully informed consent and data are gathered to track the safety and effectiveness of the medications used.
Apple, Google face hurdles entering healthcare
When Apple announced new features for its next iOS mobile operating system in June, it was clear that the healthcare industry was a big target. The tech giant is also reportedly talking with major healthcare organizations about how they might use the company's so-called HealthKit services. Google and other large tech players are also in the race to dominate the emerging business for health and fitness software and hardware.
"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."
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