Ebola Outbreak Continues, WHO Coordinates International Efforts to Combat Disease
August 27, 2014
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared Ebola an international public health emergency on August 8, 2014, and the number of cases of Ebola continues to rise in West Africa. There is some evidence that these numbers may be vastly underestimated. Confirming cases through laboratory testing, tracking the spread of the disease, and additional coordinated efforts between WHO, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other global agencies are essential for helping to stop further spread of the Ebola virus. Read more...
Although the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently passed a rule granting patients direct access to their laboratory results, a new study from the University of Michigan has found that some people may not be able to understand lab reports in a meaningful way. Current formats for lab reports pose a barrier to understanding, say the researchers, and should be redesigned in order to help patients take a more active role in their health care.
An international team of researchers has found that mutations in the PALB2 gene are an important cause of hereditary breast cancer. The scientists suggest that evaluations of breast cancer risk should include tests for PALB2 mutations, along with the better known BRCA mutations tests. However, additional studies are likely needed before major health organizations support its inclusion.
The FDA has released its new final guidance on companion diagnostics. These are laboratory tests that are developed in conjunction with new therapies and are often essential in determining whether the therapies will be effective in certain patients. The goal of the guidance is to provide faster access to new treatments for people with serious and sometimes life-threatening conditions.