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ASCLS eNewsBytes
April 7, 2009
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Marked Decline in Breast Cancer Risk After Stopping EPT
from The North American Menopause Society
Following the release of the 2002 report of the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) trial of estrogen plus progestin, the use of menopausal hormone therapy in the United States decreased substantially. Subsequently, the incidence of breast cancer also dropped, suggesting a cause-and-effect relation between hormone treatment and breast cancer. However, the cause of this decrease remains controversial. More

Beckman Coulter

Clinical Microbiology and Infection Prevention are Essential Partners
from Infection Control Today
One crucial yet potentially underused partnership in the battle against healthcare-acquired infections is that between the infection preventionist and the clinical microbiology laboratory professional. The work required of the clinical microbiology laboratory and of the infection control program has become increasingly demanding, and intertwined as the decade of the 1990s has progressed. To do their jobs effectively and efficiently, these two groups must work as a team, using the expertise from each discipline to improve patient care. More

Cells in Spinal Cord May be Scratching That Itch
from The New York Times
As common as it is, scratching to relieve an itch has long been considered a biological mystery: Are cells at the surface of the skin somehow fatigued, in need of outside stimulation? Or is the impulse, and its relief, centered in the brain? More

Mass Spectrometry and Illicit Drug Testing: Analytical Challenges of the Anti-doping Laboratories
from Medscape Today
Anti-doping analysis is a very peculiar area of forensic toxicology, aimed at detecting the abuse of prohibited substances and methods by the athletes. The organization of the analytical work requires detailed planning of all the experimental, logistic and administrative activities in order at set up a "laboratory system" capable of detecting the illicit recourse to prohibited substances and methods, with response times that can be as short as 24 hours from the reception of the samples in the case of major international sport events. Subscription required.

Perchlorate Found in Infant Formula
from The New York Times
Samples of powdered infant formula contain trace levels of a rocket fuel ingredient, a federal study has found. Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tested infant formula for traces of perchlorate because of concerns that the chemical can damage thyroid function. Their findings were published in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology. More

Gene-engineered Viruses Build a Better Battery
from Reuters
Researchers who have trained a tiny virus to do their bidding said they made it build a more efficient and powerful lithium battery. They changed two genes in the virus, called M13, and got it to do two things: build a shell made out of a compound called iron phosphate, and then attach to a carbon nanotube to make a powerful and tiny electrode. More


The Influence of Genetic Variation in Thirty Selected Genes on the Clinical Characteristics of Early Onset Breast Cancer
from Medscape Today
Common variants that alter breast cancer risk are being discovered. Researchers selected 1,001 women with early onset nonfamilial invasive breast cancer from the Prospective study of Outcomes in Sporadic versus Hereditary breast cancer (POSH) cohort and genotyped 206 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) across 30 candidate genes. More

Cancer Stem Cells Generated By Cancer Outgrowth
from Science Daily
Scientists have discovered that growing mouse skin cells in spheres can lead to generation of cells with properties of cancer stem cells, even without genetic manipulation of stem cell genes. This unexpected finding provides a potential pathway for generation of cancer stem cells from differentiated cells and may even eventually lead to safer strategies for creation of induced pluripotent stem cells for use in regenerative therapies. More

Possible New Pathway in Heart-failure Development
from Heartwire
A possible new pathway in the development of heart failure has been suggested, by the observation that plasma levels of the novel protein resistin are raised in people who go on to develop the condition. A team of researchers found that resistin, a protein produced in adipose tissue, was strongly associated with an increased risk of new-onset heart failure. "The specific mechanism whereby resistin promotes heart failure remains to be elucidated, but our findings suggest that novel mechanisms promoting heart failure remain yet to be discovered," the researchers conclude. More

Inadequate Vitamin D Levels Linked to High Use of Narcotic Medication by Patients in Chronic Pain
from Science Daily
Mayo Clinic research shows a correlation between inadequate vitamin D levels and the amount of narcotic medication taken by patients who have chronic pain. This correlation is an important finding as researchers discover new ways to treat chronic pain. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chronic pain is the leading cause of disability in the United States. These patients often end up taking narcotic-type pain medication such as morphine, fentanyl or oxycodone. More

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