ASCLS eNewsBytes
Sep. 30, 2014

Researchers: Malaria severity influenced by 5 human genes
Medical News Today
A large, international multicenter study — the largest of its kind to investigate the human genetics of malaria — has uncovered some new clues about susceptibility to severe malaria. Even with good hospital treatment, around 20 percent of patients who develop severe malaria die. The researchers hope their findings will lead to new drugs and vaccines to target the disease.More

Scientists spot how bacterial pneumonia damages the heart
HealthDay News
Doctors have known that bacterial pneumonia can raise your risk of heart problems, but new research pinpoints why. The bacteria actually invade and kill heart cells, increasing the chances of heart failure, abnormal heart rhythms and heart attacks in patients, scientists report.More

Protein that causes frontotemporal dementia also implicated in Alzheimer's disease
Gladstone Institutes via ScienceDaily
Low levels of the naturally occurring protein progranulin exacerbate cellular and cognitive dysfunction, while raising levels can prevent abnormalities in an Alzheimer's model.More

Antibiotics, resistance and learning from Ebola
Medscape
VideoBrief Dr. Hansa Bhargava from WebMD/Medscape is joined by Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to talk about antibiotic resistance and other infectious disease issues.More

Differentiating chikungunya from dengue: A clinical challenge
Medscape
In May of this year, a woman in her early 30s visited an outpatient clinic in Missouri, reporting a three-day history of fever, myalgia and arthralgia. She described recent travel to Haiti for a one-week missionary trip and indicated that her illness began three days after her return. Serologic diagnostic testing for dengue and chikungunya were requested, and the patient was prescribed bed rest and acetaminophen for pain.More

In search of a cure for HIV: Researchers replicate treatment of the 1 man cured of HIV
Medical Daily
Scientists have worked frantically since the 1980s to develop a cure for HIV/AIDS. In the years since, they developed antiretroviral therapy, the most effective treatment for the range of disease, which bolsters the body's immune by suppressing the virus' ability to replicate. Not a single drug has been developed to cure HIV, but there's one man who is considered to be cured of the disease.More

CDC: Whooping cough vaccine rates during pregnancy fall short
HealthDay News
To protect newborns from whooping cough, U.S. health officials advise all women to get vaccinated against the infection during pregnancy. But researchers report that too few do. This Michigan-based study of women covered by Medicaid — the publicly funded insurance program for the poor — found only 14 percent got the shot while pregnant. More

Study: Better-informed women order fewer prenatal gene tests
HealthDay News
The more they know about prenatal genetic testing, the less likely pregnant women are to have the tests, a new study finds. "Our findings show that prenatal testing is not appropriate for everyone, and that all women need information that is readily understood and unbiased to enable them to make informed choices reflecting their own preferences and values," said lead author Miriam Kuppermann, of the department of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of California, San Francisco.More

Clinical and quality evaluation of red blood cell units collected via apheresis versus those obtained manually
Laboratory Medicine via Medscape
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of collection procedure on the in vitro quality of red blood cells. Researchers studied 30 units of apheresis-prepared RBC and 30 units of manually collected RBC. More

Urine HPV test as alternative to cervical smear
Medscape
A simple urine test for human papillomavirus may be a more acceptable alternative to conventional screening methods that require a cervical smear, and could increase uptake in hard-to-reach subgroups. Detecting HPV in urine could also potentially be used for postvaccination HPV surveillance programs, where pelvic examination is not practical.More

Researchers: Malaria severity influenced by 5 human genes
Medical News Today
A large, international multicenter study — the largest of its kind to investigate the human genetics of malaria — has uncovered some new clues about susceptibility to severe malaria. Even with good hospital treatment, around 20 percent of patients who develop severe malaria die. The researchers hope their findings will lead to new drugs and vaccines to target the disease.More

A frightening curve: How fast is the Ebola outbreak growing?
NPR
Researchers at Columbia University developed a model to forecast how the current Ebola epidemic might continue through mid-October, based on the infection rates as of Sept. 7. The "no change" forecast assumes that current efforts at stopping the virus will continue at the same rate of effectiveness. The "improved" forecast assumes that interventions will become more effective.More

Scientists 'reset' stem cells to study start of human development
Reuters
British and Japanese scientists have managed to "reset" human stem cells to their earliest state, opening up a new realm of research into the start of human development and potentially life-saving regenerative medicines. In work described by one independent expert as "a major step forward," the scientists said they had successfully rebooted pluripotent stem cells so they were equivalent to those of a seven to 10-day old embryo, before it implants in the womb.More

Expanded knowledge about human metabolome expected to fuel development of new therapeutic drugs and medical laboratory tests
DARK Daily
One field of science that bears great potential for use in diagnostics and medical laboratory testing involves the human metabolome. Researchers are gaining more understanding of the genetic underpinnings of complex disease and drug response through metabolic pathways. More

Investigating the 'underground' habitat of listeria bacteria
Infection Control Today
Listeria are extremely undemanding bacteria. In low amounts, they are present almost everywhere, including soil and water. In order to better understand how listeria spread, a group of scientists from the Institute of Milk Hygiene at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna collected soil and water samples throughout Austria.More

Failed cancer vaccines might live again with new immune drugs
Reuters
Using vaccines to fight cancer is a field littered with failures, but experts believe it is possible the approach could get a new lease on life if such shots are combined with a new class of drugs called checkpoint inhibitors. Unlike traditional preventative vaccines, therapeutic cancer vaccines are designed for people with established disease and are supposed to boost the patient's immune system to keep tumors at bay.More