ASCLS eNewsBytes
Jun. 26, 2012

International survey on laboratory safety launched
Nature (blog)
The death of Sheharbano Sangji in 2008, following a fire in the chemistry department at UCLA triggered calls to improve academia's safety standards not just at UCLA, but across the United States. Similar concerns were voiced last year when a young undergraduate student, Michele Dufault, died at Yale University. And when the U.S. Chemical Safety Board reviewed the state of academic lab safety after a non-fatal accident at Texas Tech University in Lubbock in 2009, it concluded that "Safety practices at U.S. universities leave a lot to be desired."More

Mother-to-child HIV transmission blocked by drug combo
Medical News Today
According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers have found that a two- or three-drug combination can reduce the risk of mother-to-child HIV transmission by around 50 percent. At present, zidovudine is routinely given shortly after birth to non-breastfed babies born to HIV-positive mothers who didn't receive antiretrovial therapy during pregnancy in order to prevent HIV transmission.More

Business intelligence comes to the clinical laboratory industry
Dark Daily
For clinical laboratories and anatomic pathology groups across the nation, the latest use of middleware is for business intelligence. Business intelligence is a computer-based approach to collecting and analyzing business data. A flurry of activity in the laboratory informatics sector reinforces the importance of health IT and healthcare analytics in an increasingly competitive medical laboratory testing market.More

Anti-epileptics and HIV: An evidence-based guideline
Medscape Medical News
Seizures occur in as many as 11 percent of people with HIV/AIDS and may require treatment with anti-epileptic drugs. Causes of seizures in these patients include drugs; metabolic derangements; neoplasia; opportunistic infections and the HIV virus. Anti-epileptic drugs may also be used to treat HIV/AIDS-related peripheral neuropathy, which occurs in more than one half of HIV-infected patients. More

Tending the body's microbial garden
The New York Times
For a century, doctors have waged war against bacteria, using antibiotics as their weapons. But that relationship is changing as scientists become more familiar with the 100 trillion microbes that call us home — collectively known as the microbiome. "I would like to lose the language of warfare," said Julie Segre, a senior investigator at the National Human Genome Research Institute. "It does a disservice to all the bacteria that have co-evolved with us and are maintaining the health of our bodies." This new approach to health is known as medical ecology. More

Selenium controls staph on implant material
Infection Control Today
In a new study, Brown University engineers report that when they used selenium nanoparticles to coat polycarbonate, the material of catheters and endotracheal tubes, the results were significant reductions in cultured populations of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, sometimes by as much as 90 percent.More

Breast cancer chemotherapy resistance — genes identified
Medical News Today
Chemotherapy before surgery is not always effective against some tumors. Now, a study published in Nature Medicine reveals that researchers at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center have identified a gene expression pattern associated to resistance to breast cancer chemotherapy. In addition, the study findings suggest new treatment options for individuals with specific subtypes of breast cancer.More

Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae infection: New guidelines
Medscape Medical News
Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae are a serious threat to public health. Infections with CRE are difficult to treat and have been associated with mortality rates as high as 40 to 50 percent. Enterobacteriaceae, a frequent cause of both community- and healthcare-associated infections, can become resistant to carbapenems through various mechanisms, including the production of carbapenemases.More

Employee drug misuse probable cause of hepatitis C outbreak
in New Hampshire lab

The Associated Press via Fox News
An employee misusing drugs is the most likely cause of an outbreak of hepatitis C among patients who were treated at the Exeter Hospital's cardiac catheterization lab, New Hampshire's public health director said. A total of 20 people, including a hospital worker, have been diagnosed with the same strain of the liver-destroying virus since the state began investigating the outbreak last month.More

Screening tests in the age of austerity
Clinical Laboratory News
Tension over healthcare spending is at a new high as the country prepares for the Supreme Court's imminent ruling on the Obama administration's healthcare law, the 2010 Affordable Care Act. Laboratorians have long felt the squeeze on healthcare spending, as screening and diagnostic tests have been among the primary targets over the years. Now with renewed controversy about the value of screening tests like prostate-specific antigen (PSA), it seems clinical labs will increasingly face the assumption that overuse and wasteful testing is rampant — a reality laboratorians will have to deal with even as they work to bring in new, innovative tests to improve care.More

Bird flu pandemic: How likely is a deadly outbreak?
Controversial new research shows that with just a handful of mutations, the deadly bird flu virus could spread in an airborne fashion between mammals. Just five changes in the structure of the H5N1 virus could give it the ability to spread via airborne particles — a change that brings the potential for a pandemic — and two of those changes can already be found in circulating strains of the virus, according to findings published in the journal Science.More

Why biomarker discovery is hard
Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News
What scientists have characterized as the deluge of information that has emerged from genome-scale studies has forced parallel development of new analytical frameworks and tools. Among these are approaches to exploring the functions of altered cancer genes in the context of a functional complex or pathway. More

Waking up to the math of malaria
Reuters via Medscape Medical News
To the minerals and mobiles underpinning Africa's pacy growth over the last decade, you may soon be able to add malaria – or at least its absence. Besides the huge human cost imposed on the continent – 90 percent of the 655,000 deaths estimated worldwide in 2010 – the mosquito-borne disease is an economic millstone, draining public and private resources and hammering productivity.More

SPIONs to track functioning of stem cells inside body
International Business Times
Scientists from the University of Liverpool have developed new methods to track stem cells and the changes that happen to them after they have been in the body for a significant period of time. Scientists "labeled" the cells with superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles before they were administered to the patients.More

Scientists achieve milestone against deadly diseases
Medical Xpress
Investigators at the Center for Structural Genomics of Infectious Diseases, a multi-institutional collaboration, have determined their 500th pathogen protein structure since beginning in 2007. Scientists at the Computation Institute, a joint effort of the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory, contributed more than 200 structures to the CSGID's effort.More

All-Stars in pathology informatics and clinical laboratory information systems gather to assess market changes
What could be called the All-Stars of pathology informatics and clinical laboratory information systems came together in Pittsburgh for a one-day Strategy Summit. Disruptive forces are loose within the laboratory informatics space and participants were eager to understand these trends and develop effective responses to keep medical laboratory testing at the forefront of clinical care. More