Quick Tests for the Flu Found Often Inaccurate
from The New York Times
As the swine flu spreads, many doctors and hospitals are turning to rapid tests that can determine within minutes whether an anxious patient has the flu. Sales of such tests are soaring. Dr. Christine Ginocchio, of the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, whose research showed a flaw in rapid flu tests. More

Evaluation of Rapid Influenza Diagnostic Tests for Detection of Novel Influenza A (H1N1) Virus in the U.S.
from the Centers for Disease Control
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Laboratory Outreach and Communication System (LOCS) is providing a link to the Aug. 7, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report article, "Evaluation of Rapid Influenza Diagnostic Tests for Detection of Novel Influenza A (H1N1) Virus – United States, 2009." The article describes the performance of three commercially available rapid influenza diagnostic tests (RIDTs) compared to real-time RT-PCR for their ability to detect the novel influenza A (H1N1) virus in respiratory specimens. Click here to read the article. More

Stepping Up Awareness and Disease Detection
from Clinical Laboratory News
First described in 1963, α1-antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency is a potentially life-threatening autosomal genetic disorder that can lead to early-onset emphysema and/or liver disease. Today, recent estimates of the prevalence of AAT deficiency in the U.S. are as high as 1 in 3,000 individuals. More

Sperm Cell Insights May Aid Stem Cell Research
from HealthDay News via The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Two proteins that play a major role in reverting adult sperm cells back into stem cells have been identified by U.S. researchers. A team from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore genetically altered male fruit flies to reduce the activity of two proteins called Jak and STAT in the testis. The researchers reduced the stem cell population in the flies' testis to zero and found that only 60 percent of testis in the genetically altered flies regained stem cells, compared with 97 percent of testis in normal flies. More

New Technique Gives Big Picture of AIDS Gene Map
from Reuters
A new technique has given researchers a "big picture" look at the genome of the AIDS virus, the first time its entire gene map has been decoded. The technique may not only lead to new treatments against the fatal and incurable virus, but for other viruses such as influenza and the bugs that cause the common cold. More

Fumbled Handoffs Can Lead to Medical Errors
from Medical News Today
Poor communication of the outcomes of medical tests whose results are pending at the time of a patient's hospital discharge is common and can lead to serious medical errors in post-hospitalization medical treatment. More

Blood Procedure Allows Kidney Transplants, Can Help Minorities
from CNN
Surgeons at two Washington hospitals have performed seven kidney transplants involving 14 recipients and donors who did not match, using a process that virtually eliminates the chances of organ rejection. The process, called plasmapheresis, can make it easier for underserved African-American patients to receive organs for transplant. Of the 80,000 people on the kidney transplant list, 36 percent are black, but only 15 percent of living donor kidneys go to African-Americans. More

Gram Stain Not Useful for ED Ascites Evaluation
from Reuters via Medscape Medical News
The use of Gram stain has negligible clinical utility in evaluating emergency department patients with ascites for spontaneous bacterial peritonitis, according to California-based researchers. Gram stain is used "to immediately and directly identify under the microscope what class of organism is causing the infection, to help direct appropriate antibiotic therapy." More

Gene Shut-down May Offer Early Warning of Chronic Leukemia
from Science Daily
A new study shows that certain genes are turned off early, before clinical signs of the disease appear, in the development of chronic leukemia. The study examined cancer cells from patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and from a new strain of mice that develops a very similar disease. More

Officials: 28 Sick from California Beef in Three States
from The Associated Press
Health officials in three Western states said at least 28 people have reported illnesses tied to recalled ground beef that may be tainted with salmonella. Fresno-based Beef Packers Inc. recalled nearly 826,000 pounds of ground beef produced from June 5-23. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service says the beef was sent to retail distribution centers in Arizona, California, Colorado and Utah, with some sold at Safeway Inc. and Sam's Club. More