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ASCLS eNewsBytes
March 17, 2009
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The Future of the Laboratory
from Laboratory Equipment
Today's laboratory is under pressure on many fronts: staffing deficiencies, demand for round-the-clock results and low profitability. Lab managers looking to hire and retain skilled technicians to complete the complex molecular diagnostic tests demanded by health care today are hampered by smaller budgets and a shortage of trained laboratory workers. The problem has serious national and global implications as the industry struggles to find prospective employees entering the field, increase reimbursement and educate the health care world about the important role the laboratory plays in health care delivery. More

Beckman Coulter

Low Creatinine Levels Linked to Diabetes
from Reuters via Medscape Medical News
Lower serum levels of creatinine are associated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes, according to a brief report in the March issue of Diabetes Care. The authors note that creatinine in serum is a direct indicator of total muscle mass. Subscription required.

A New Stem Cell Era
from Newsweek
Stem-cell researchers around the country are celebrating President Obama's decision to reverse restrictions on embyronic stem-cell research, a move they say could lead to dramatic advances in the understanding and treatment of conditions like diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer's. For years, scientists have been frustrated by the restrictions imposed by President George W. Bush in 2001. More

One Virus Particle is Enough to Cause Infectious Disease
from Science Daily
Can exposure to a single virus particle lead to infection or disease? Until now, solid proof has been lacking. Experimental research with insect larvae has shown that one virus particle is theoretically enough to cause infection and subsequent disease. A virus population is usually composed of a collection of variants of virus particles. More

Researchers Move Closer to Cracking Peanut Allergies
from USA Today
Medical researchers appear to be one step closer to conquering potentially deadly peanut allergies. At a scientific meeting this week, they're reporting on an experimental treatment that has freed a small number of children from their allergies. More than 3 million Americans are allergic to peanuts or tree nuts, such as walnuts, and, for reasons that aren't clear, the number seems to be rising. More

Ovarian Changes May Link Obesity and Infertility
from Reuters
Obese women have alterations in the environment around the ovary before they ovulate that appear to play a role in the well-documented association between obesity and reduced fertility, according to a report in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. The study included 96 women who were attending a private infertility clinic and who were divided, roughly equally, into normal weight, overweight, and obese groups using standard body mass index criteria. More


Altruistic-Donor Chain May Facilitate Renal Transplantation
from Medscape Medical News
A nonsimultaneous, extended, altruistic-donor chain may facilitate renal transplantation, according to a report of a chain of 10 paired kidney donations published in the March 12 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. This strategy may help overcome the problem of two-way paired donations, in which, after one donor has given a kidney to the other pair's recipient, that recipient's co-registered donor may no longer be willing to donate a kidney in return. Subscription required.

Researchers Develop Novel Antibiotics That Don't Trigger Resistance
from Infection Control Today
Bacterial resistance to antibiotics is one of medicine's most vexing challenges. In a study described in Nature Chemical Biology, researchers are developing a new generation of antibiotic compounds that do not provoke bacterial resistance. The compounds work against two notorious microbes: Vibrio cholerae, which causes cholera; and E. coli 0157:H7, the food contaminant that each year in the U.S. causes approximately 110,000 illnesses and 50 deaths. Most antibiotics initially work extremely well, killing more than 99.9 percent of microbes they target. More

Researchers Probe Mechanisms of Infection
from Infection Control Today
A newly discovered receptor in a strain of Escherichia coli might help explain why people often get sicker when they’re stressed. Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center are the first to identify the receptor, known as QseE, which resides in a diarrhea-causing strain of E coli. The receptor senses stress cues from the bacterium’s host and helps the pathogen make the host ill. A receptor is a molecule on the surface of a cell that docks with other molecules, often signaling the cell to carry out a specific function. More

Critical Growth Factor That Stimulates Sperm Stem Cells to Thrive Identified
from Science Daily
Researchers have identified for the first time a specific "niche factor" in the mouse testes called colony stimulating factor 1, Csf1, which has a direct effect on sperm stem cell self-renewal. Moreover, the study shows that the origin of this growth factor is the Leydig cell — located in the testes and stimulated by the pituitary gland to supply testosterone — that secretes Csf1 and enhances self-renewal of the stem cells. More

The Move to Digital Medical Records Begins in Tampa, Fla.
from Time magazine
Health care professionals in Tampa Bay, Fla., will launch a new effort to make health records completely paper-free. That means digitizing every prescription and patient history written not only in the 10-county area surrounding Tampa and St. Petersburg, both in Florida, but also, eventually, in the rest of the country. Over the next two years, Tampa's leaders plan to train every one of the 8,000 physicians in the area in electronic prescribing, with the goal of having at least 60 percent of all eligible prescriptions by Tampa Bay doctors written on a computer instead of a prescription pad. More

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