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05/27/2016

Cancer deaths rose during the recession. But why?

Washington Post

Wealthy countries experienced a small uptick in cancer deaths during the global economic crisis, according to a new study — an estimated 260,000 excess deaths between 2008 and 2010.

05/26/2016

Antimicrobial Mechanism Gone Rogue May Play Role in Alzheimer’s Disease

Scientific American

General consensus among Alzheimer’s researchers has it that the disease’s main culprit, a protein called amyloid beta, is an unfortunate waste product that is not known to play any useful role in the body—and one that can have devastating consequences. When not properly cleared from the brain it builds up into plaques that destroy synapses, the junctions between nerve cells, resulting in cognitive decline and memory loss. The protein has thus become a major drug target in the search for a cure to Alzheimer’s.

05/25/2016

Despite Pressing Need, Survey Finds Most Americans Unlikely to Enroll in Clinical Trials

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

The lack of participation in clinical research may be the Achilles’ heel of today’s cancer community. According to a new survey of more than 1,500 consumers and nearly 600 physicians conducted on behalf of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK), only 35 percent of Americans indicated that they were “likely” to enroll in a clinical trial. Other studies have shown that only 4 percent of cancer patients enroll in clinical trials nationally each year.

05/24/2016

Just 5% of Terminally-Ill Cancer Patients Fully Understand Prognosis, Study Finds

ABC News

Just a fraction of terminally-ill cancer patients fully understood their prognosis according to a new small study published today in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

05/23/2016

An ‘Added Sugar’ Label Is On The Way For Packaged Food

NPR

The new, redesigned “Nutrition Facts” label is coming. The Food and Drug Administration has announced that the new label will be required on most packaged food by July 2018.

05/20/2016

Nearly a third of women in academic medicine experience sexual harassment

Reuters

For women in U.S. medical research, sexual harassment is less common than 20 years ago, but it was still experienced by 30 percent of those responding to a new survey, compared to just 4 percent of men, researchers say.

05/19/2016

House GOP presses ahead with Zika measure

Washington Post

House Republicans on Wednesday pushed through a $622 million bill to battle the Zika virus, setting up challenging negotiations with the Senate and the White House.

05/18/2016

How Much Time Is Left? Doctors, Loved Ones Often Disagree

US News

Loved ones acting on behalf of critically ill patients are often more optimistic about outcomes than physicians. But not necessarily because they don’t grasp the gravity of the case, new research suggests.

05/17/2016

Should Your Doctor Ask If You Own Guns?

Time

Doctors routinely ask if you smoke, and counsel you to wear your seat belt when you’re in a car. Technically, either behavior isn’t any of their business, but they do fall under the umbrella of preventive care. Now Dr. Garen Wintemute, director of the violence prevention research program at the University of California Davis, and his colleagues want to add firearms to the office visit for similar reasons.

05/16/2016

Obamacare Rule Bans Discrimination Against Transgender Patients

Time

The Obama administration has finalized a new rule that bans discrimination against transgender people and all discrimination on the basis of sex within health programs that receive federal funding.

05/13/2016

WHEN DO YOU GIVE UP ON TREATING A CHILD WITH CANCER?

New York Times

Andrew Levy’s parents knew that the rare and deadly cancer in his blood could not be
beaten, so they began to prepare for the worst. Then something mysterious happened.

05/12/2016

For cholesterol study volunteer, an unsettling discovery in a Science paper: herself

Science

When I first meet Rita Woidislawsky at La Colombe, her favorite coffee shop steps from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s upscale Rittenhouse Square, she’s effusive and bracingly direct—hugging patrons she knows, waving to baristas, and quickly finding the one table that’s about to free up. She’s dressed in workout clothes and delights in looking younger than her 68 years, with curly hair and an Israeli accent that’s lingered since she emigrated in her late teens.

05/11/2016

Malaria Vaccine Shows Strongest Protection Yet

Time

There’s currently no vaccine for malaria, despite the fact that the disease infects 214 million people per year and kills about half a million. But scientists have been working on a vaccine for some time. Now, a new study reveals that an experimental malaria vaccine can protect adults from malaria for up to a year.

05/10/2016

Researcher under fire for New Yorker epigenetics article

Nature

A story about epigenetics in the 2 May issue of The New Yorker has been sharply criticized for inaccurately describing how genes are regulated. The article by Siddhartha Mukherjee — a physician, cancer researcher and award-winning author at Columbia University in New York — examines how environmental factors can change the activity of genes without altering the DNA sequence. Jerry Coyne, an evolutionary ecologist at the University of Chicago in Illinois, posted two widely discussed blog posts calling the piece “superficial and misleading”, largely because it ignored key aspects of gene regulation.

05/09/2016

Why this lab-grown human embryo has reignited an old ethical debate

Science

It’s easy to obey a rule when you don’t have the means to break it. For decades, many countries have permitted human embryos to be studied in the laboratory only up to 14 days after their creation by in vitro fertilization. But—as far as anyone knows—no researcher has ever come close to the limit. The point of implantation, when the embryo attaches to the uterus about 7 days after fertilization, has been an almost insurmountable barrier for researchers culturing human embryos.

05/06/2016

Can A Hospital Tell A Doctor To Stop Talking About Abortion?

NPR

One of the country’s most outspoken abortion providers has filed a civil rights complaint against the hospital where she works, saying that it has wrongly banned her from giving media interviews.

05/05/2016

Bacteria-Infected Mosquitoes Could Slow Spread of Zika Virus

New York Times

If there is ever a contest for Least Appreciated Creature on Earth, first prize should go to a microbe called Wolbachia. The bacterium infects millions of invertebrate species, including spiders, shrimps and parasitic worms, as well as 60 percent of all insect species. Once in residence, Wolbachia co-opts its hosts’ reproductive machinery and often greedily shields them from a variety of competing infections.

05/04/2016

Medical errors may be third leading cause of death in the U.S.

CNN

You’ve heard those hospital horror stories where the surgeon removes the wrong body part or operates on the wrong patient or accidentally leaves medical equipment in the person they were operating on. Even scarier, perhaps, is a new study in the latest edition of BMJ suggesting most medical errors go unobserved, at least in the official record.

05/03/2016

For Hospitals, Prestige Leads To Profits

Kaiser Health News

When it comes to hospitals, which benefit most from high health care prices? It may sound counter-intuitive, but a group of not-for-profit hospitals appear to be among those doing the best business.

05/02/2016

Feds Act To Help More Ex-Inmates Get Medicaid

NPR

Administration officials moved Thursday to improve low Medicaid enrollment for emerging prisoners, urging states to start signups before release and expanding eligibility to thousands of former inmates in halfway houses near the end of their sentences.

04/29/2016

Massachusetts Senate approves under-21 ban on tobacco sales

Washington Post

The Massachusetts Senate voted overwhelmingly Thursday to raise the minimum age for purchasing cigarettes and other tobacco products across the state, which could make it the second to raise its threshold to 21 years old.

04/28/2016

Taking Sperm From the Dead

The Atlantic

Post-mortem sperm extraction gives widows the chance to have children with the recently departed.

04/27/2016

Letters Telling Women About Breast Density Are Often Too Darn Dense

NPR

Over the past decade, states have passed laws intended to help women understand the results of their breast cancer screening mammograms if they have dense breasts. But those notifications can be downright confusing and may, in fact, cause more misunderstanding than understanding.

04/26/2016

Advisers to F.D.A. Vote Against Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Drug

New York Times

In a confrontation between the hopes of desperate patients and clinical trial data, advisers to the Food and Drug Administration voted on Monday not to recommend approval of what would become the first drug for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

04/25/2016

Teens most drawn to e-cigarettes by online ads

Reuters

While many forms of e-cigarette advertising increase the odds that teens will try the devices, a new U.S. study suggests that this generation of digital natives is most enticed by promotions they see online.

04/22/2016

New York Hospital to Pay $2.2 Million Over Unauthorized Filming of 2 Patients

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital has agreed to pay a $2.2 million penalty to federal regulators for allowing television crews to film two patients without their consent — one who was dying, the other in significant distress. Regulators said on Thursday that the hospital allowed filming to continue even after a medical professional asked that it stop.

04/21/2016

White Americans Are Dying Younger as Drug and Alcohol Abuse Rises

Life expectancy declined slightly for white Americans in 2014, according to new federal data, a troubling sign that distress among younger and middle-age whites who are dying at ever-higher rates from drug overdoses is lowering average life spans for the white population as a whole.

04/20/2016

Loneliness can harm your heart, study finds

Loneliness and social isolation can take a toll on health in a number of ways, and new research shows it may seriously damage the heart. While loneliness has previously been linked to high blood pressure, a compromised immune system, and even an early death, its relationship to heart problems like cardiovascular disease and stroke wasn’t as clear.

04/19/2016

Study Backs Pancreas Cell Transplants for Severe Diabetes

Transplants of insulin-producing pancreas cells are a long hoped-for treatment for diabetes — and a new study shows they can protect the most seriously ill patients from a life-threatening complication of the disease, an important step toward U.S. approval.

04/18/2016

Doctors Unsure About How To Talk With Patients About End-Of-Life Care

Doctors know it’s important to talk with their patients about end-of-life care. But they’re finding it tough to start those conversations. When they do, they’re not sure what to say, according to a national poll released Thursday.