ASCLS eNewsBytes
May 31, 2011

Most wasteful treatments, procedures in
primary care

Medscape Medical News
A study commissioned by a reform-minded medical society has come up with specialty-specific lists of procedures in primary care that do little if anything to improve outcomes but excel at wasting limited health care dollars. A prime example is routinely ordering diagnostic imaging for patients with low back pain — but with no warning flags, such as severe or progressive neurologic deficits — within the first six weeks, according to the study.More

What clinical niche will breath tests fill?
Clinical Laboratory News
While it's true that breath tests haven't surged into widespread clinical practice, their story is far from over, according to experts. Research in the field is robust, and investigators have been quietly building the science base, edging a variety of new breath tests closer to everyday use in areas such as personalized medicine, infectious diseases, and cancer risk prediction. More

BioConference Live Summer: Clinical Diagnostics
American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science
BioConference Live Summer: Clinical Diagnostics is scheduled for June 15-16.

This conference is completely online and will offer topics such as: Infectious Disease, Oncology, Cardiology, Diabetes, Molecular Diagnostics, Point of Care, Laboratory Testing, and more.

Sessions are P.A.C.E. approved. BioConference Live is partnered with ASCLS.

BioConference Live is the world's largest series of online-only conferences focused on the life science and clinical diagnostics community.

Register and attend for free at

Women: New breast cancer guidelines 'unsafe'
Reuters Health
More than eight out of 10 women say new guidelines recommending against routine breast cancer screening of women under 50 are "unsafe," according to a small survey. But most of the women also grossly overestimate their risk of developing the disease, researchers from the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester found.More

Biological fingerprint identifies leiomyomatosis and renal cell cancer
A diagnostic test involves screening tumor samples for a particular molecular fingerprint unique to leiomyomatosis and renal cell cancer (HLRCC). A protein modification induced by FH deficiency (due to an over-abundance of fumarate) was identified by scientists at the Henry Wellcome Building for Molecular Physiology, University of Oxford (United Kingdom). More

30 years in, we are still learning from AIDS
The New York Times
As AIDS has become entrenched in the United States and elsewhere, a new generation has grown up with little if any knowledge of those dark early days. But they are worth recalling, as a cautionary tale about the effects of the bafflement and fear that can surround an unknown disease and as a reminder of the sweeping changes in medical practice that the epidemic has brought about. More

Scientists turn human skin cells directly into neurons,
skipping IPS stage

Human skin cells can be converted directly into functional neurons in a period of four to five weeks with the addition of just four proteins, according to a study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine. The finding is significant because it bypasses the need to first create induced pluripotent stem cells, and may make it much easier to generate patient- or disease-specific neurons for study in a laboratory dish.More

Vitamin D levels linked to MS in African-Americans
Medscape Medical News
The link between low vitamin D levels and multiple sclerosis (MS) holds true for African-Americans and white populations, a new study shows. The largest study of its kind to date shows that levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D were lower in African-Americans with MS compared with controls, with much, although not all, of the association explained by differences in climate and geography.More

Stick horses used in contest amid equine outbreak
The Associated Press via Google News
A deadly strain of a fast-spreading horse virus that's shown up in nine Western states — where cases have doubled — has forced contestants vying for the title of "posse junior queen" in one Utah county to ride stick horses to demonstrate their cowgirl skills. More

Atlanta hospital employee exposed hundreds to tuberculosis
ABC News
An infected employee exposed nearly 800 people to tuberculosis at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, the hospital confirmed. "At this time, there are 680 patients, and approximately 100 employees who have been identified as having been in contact with the infected individual," Lance Skelly, a spokesman for the hospital, said in a statement. More

Study: Mouse virus erroneously linked to chronic fatigue syndrome
Two years ago, a widely publicized scientific report plucked an old mouse virus out of obscurity and held it up as a possible cause of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. According to a new study published by a group of researchers in California, Wisconsin and Illinois, that report was wrong. More