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In the News

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Included below are news items from the last six months.

Experimental Tests May Help Patients Quickly Get the Right Treatment for Infections

December 1, 2016

Picture of sick person with thermometerA new approach to testing for infections may allow healthcare practitioners to quickly determine whether a patient has a bacterial or viral infection, and to determine the right treatment in a timely way. Photo source: CDC, Lauren Bishop

Test for Hepatitis B Co-infection before Treating Hepatitis C with Certain Drugs, Experts Warn

November 17, 2016

Hepatitis B virionsAll patients diagnosed with hepatitis C and starting treatment with direct-acting antiviral (DAA) drugs should be tested for hepatitis B co-infection. When hepatitis C is treated with DAAs, the hepatitis B virus can reactivate and cause severe liver damage. Photo source: CDC, Dr. Erskine Palmer

Genetic Experts Update Recommendations on Non-invasive Prenatal Screening

November 3, 2016

image of pregnant womanNon-invasive prenatal screening (NIPS) is the most sensitive screening option for Down syndrome and should be discussed with all expectant mothers, regardless of age and whether or not they are at increased risk for carrying a baby with a chromosome disorder, according to the ACMG. Photo source: National Human Genome Research Institute

Genetic Test May Help Some High-risk Breast Cancer Patients Avoid Chemotherapy

October 19, 2016

Nurse Administers ChemotherapyBreast cancer patients who are identified as low-risk by a 70-gene test may be able to avoid chemotherapy, even if they are considered to be high-risk by traditional criteria, according to new results from an ongoing study (MINDACT). Photo source: NCI, Rhoda Baer

CDC: Knowing About Sepsis Can Save a Life

October 5, 2016

image of MRSAA recent report from the CDC urges people to learn the signs and symptoms of sepsis, the body's overwhelming and life-threatening response to an infection, and to seek emergency medical care immediately if sepsis is suspected. Photo source: NIAID

Should All Children and Teens Be Screened For High Cholesterol?

September 22, 2016

Teen at doctor's officeWhile the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force says there is not enough evidence to recommend for or against routine screening for high cholesterol in all youths, the American Academy of Pediatrics endorses recommendations for universal screening. Photo source: NCI, Rhoda Baer

U.S. to Screen All Blood Donations for Zika Virus

September 7, 2016

A unit of whole bloodThe FDA has directed U.S. blood collection facilities to begin screening all donated blood for the Zika virus to reduce the risk of spreading the virus through blood transfusions. Photo source: Vegasjon via Wikimedia Commons

Screen All Adults for Hepatitis C, Say Researchers

August 29, 2016

hepatitis C virusAccording to Johns Hopkins researchers, universal screening for hepatitis C would identify up to 25% of adults with undiagnosed infection who would not be detected by current screening guidelines. Photo source: National Cancer Institute

On the Horizon: Study Suggests Blood Test May Predict Response to Antidepressants

August 3, 2016

Woman sitting looking sadBritish researchers have developed a blood test that may be able to predict whether patients dealing with depression will respond to common drugs used to treat the condition. About half of all patients dealing with clinical depression don't respond to commonly used antidepressants and a third don't respond to any of the drugs, making it necessary for healthcare practitioners to try different combinations over time while patients remain without effective treatment. Photo source: National Cancer Institute

CDC: Cases of Legionnaires Disease on the Rise in U.S.

July 29, 2016

Xray image of chestCases of Legionnaires disease, a serious, often fatal form of pneumonia, nearly quadrupled from 2000 to 2014, according to a recent report from the CDC. The most common source of recent outbreaks was potable (drinkable) water used for common purposes, such as showering, followed by cooling towers, hot tubs, and decorative fountains. Photo source: CDC, Betty Partin

FDA Approves First ‘Liquid Biopsy’ to Guide Treatment of Cancer

July 15, 2016

DNA diagramThe FDA has approved the first blood-based genetic test to guide the treatment of a common type of lung cancer called non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The test is less invasive, requiring only a blood draw instead of a traditional tissue biopsy, and detects mutations that could indicate that the tumor is more likely to respond to the drug erlotinib. Photo source: NHGRI, Ernesto del Aguila III

Bacteria with Antibiotic Resistance MCR-1 Gene Found for the First Time in U.S. Patient, Raises Concern

July 11, 2016

E.coli plasmidWorry about antibiotic resistance recently intensified when it was discovered for the first time that a strain of the bacteria infecting a patient in the U.S. carries the gene called mcr-1. The gene makes the bacteria resistant to colistin, a polymyxin, which is a class of antibiotics considered to be a "last resort" to treat patients with multidrug-resistant infections. Photo source: NHGRI, Darryl Leja

Cholesterol Testing: Is Fasting Necessary?

June 30, 2016

Blood sample being drawn from the arm of a patientTo make it easier for people to get recommended cholesterol testing, fasting should not be required, according to new European guidelines. So far, no U.S. guidelines for adults have been published recommending such a change.

Collecting Smaller Blood Samples for Testing May Benefit Patients but Pose Challenges for Labs

June 17, 2016

microcollection tubesThe amount of blood drawn for laboratory tests has been shown to have a direct relationship to patients' ill health. While collecting the very minimal amount of blood required for testing reduces risks, smaller blood volumes present several challenges for clinical laboratories. Photo source: Khushbu Patel, PhD

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