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Feb. 24, 2009
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JAMA Commentary Highlights How to Improve U.S. Health Care
from MedScape Medical News
Methods to improve and transform the way U.S. health care is provided by front-line clinicians are highlighted in a commentary published in the Feb. 18 issue of JAMA. Recommended strategies include quality measurement, health information technology (HIT), comparative effectiveness of devices and medication, quality improvement collaborative, learning networks, and clinician training. Subscription required

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Antibodies Offer a New Path for Fighting Flu
from The New York Times
In a discovery that could radically change how the world fights influenza, researchers have engineered antibodies that protect against many strains of the virus, including even the 1918 Spanish flu and the H5N1 bird flu. The discovery, experts said, could lead to the development of a flu vaccine that would not have to be changed yearly. And the antibodies already developed can be injected as a treatment, going after the virus in ways that drugs like Tamiflu do not. More

An Emergency Room Built Specially For Seniors
from NPR
For years, many hospitals have set up separate emergency rooms just for kids. Now, Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, Md., has set up an ER specifically for patients 65 and older. The ER opened last November and takes older patients, unless they're considered trauma patients. More

What's Feeding Cancer Cells?
from Science Daily
Cancer cells need a lot of nutrients to multiply and survive. While much is understood about how cancer cells use blood sugar to make energy, not much is known about how they get other nutrients. Now, researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have discovered how the Myc cancer-promoting gene uses microRNAs to control the use of glutamine, a major energy source. More

Psoriasis Drug Linked to Deaths From Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy
from MedScape Medical News
Three deaths from progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) and a possible fourth case have been reported in patients taking the immunosuppressant drug efalizumab (Raptiva, Genentech, Inc), according to a public health advisory issued recently by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. According to the FDA, all four patients had been taking efalizumab for at least three years and had taken no other immunosuppressant drugs. Subscription required

Biology of Breast Cancer is Changing
from RedOrbit
Research suggests that lifestyle changes and screening have shifted the type of breast cancers women are diagnosed with over the past couple of decades. It is now considered that women will more likely have hormone-dependent, slow-growing tumors, a comparison of tissue samples from the 1980s and 1990s shows. The British Journal of Cancer reports that Scottish researchers also found improved survival over time. Over 40,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.K. annually, and almost 200,000 in the U.S. More


Cell Injections Accelerate Fracture Healing
from Science Daily
Long bone fractures heal faster after injections of bone-building cells. New research has shown that osteoblast cells cultured from a patient's own bone marrow can be injected into the fracture area and can speed the healing process. More

Scientists Identify Human Monoclonal Antibodies Effective Against Bird, Seasonal Flu Viruses
from EurekAlert!
Researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Burnham Institute for Medical Research and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported the identification of human monoclonal antibodies that neutralize an unprecedented range of influenza A viruses, including avian influenza A virus, previous pandemic influenza viruses, and some seasonal influenza viruses. These antibodies have the potential for use in combination with other treatments to prevent or treat certain types of avian and seasonal flu. The study will be published online on Feb. 22 in Nature Structural and Molecular Biology. More

Reading DNA Base by Base
from Chemistry World
A technique to electrically detect individual DNA bases cut from a single strand of DNA has been developed by researchers in the UK. Hagan Bayley and his team from the University of Oxford, working in conjunction with their spin-out company Oxford Nanopore, say they hope the technology will lead to a simple and affordable new DNA sequencing method. More

Toxicology Program Features Wide Range of Human Health and Environment Topical Sessions
from EurekAlert! via Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News
Nearly 6,500 toxicologists from around the world will be gathering in Baltimore, Md., March 15-19, to create an unparalleled venue for discussion of a number of health and environmental topics of concern to the public. The Society of Toxicology's 2009 Annual Meeting and ToxExpo brings together thousands of scientists from universities, government, and industry to showcase a year's worth of achievements in research and education. More

Could Genetics Improve Warfarin Dosing?
from the National Institute of Health
In a large-scale study and an upcoming clinical trial, scientists supported by the National Institutes of Health address one of the trickiest issues in prescribing medicine ó how to quickly optimize each patientís dosage of the common blood-thinning drug warfarin. One of the most widely prescribed drugs in the world, warfarin is used to prevent dangerous blood clots that can lead to heart attacks, strokes or even death. More


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