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Mar 29, 2015

Battling nightmare infections: US CDC’s plan to beat supberbugs

CHICAGO/NEW YORK, March 29 (Reuters) – With painstaking
effort, a group of Chicago hospitals has managed to cut by half
the number of infections caused by an especially deadly type of
superbug. Now U.S. health officials want that kind of campaign
to go national.

The White House on Friday told the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention to slash rates of infections from
antibiotic-resistant bacteria by 2020 as part of a plan to
prevent patient deaths and curb overuse of antibiotics
administered to humans and animals.

Mar 9, 2015

Got diabetes? There’s an app for that

CHICAGO, March 9 (Reuters) – U.S. health researchers said on
Monday they are targeting millions of smartphone users with
Apple Inc’s new software tool, hoping to collect an
unprecedented amount of data on major diseases by tracking their
behaviors via iPhone.

The ResearchKit software tool, an open source platform,
allows researchers to design applications that use built-in
sensors on the iPhone along with data from other wearable
devices to gather real-time health data. Scientists from
Stanford University School of Medicine and Weill Cornell Medical
College are among the first to offer apps for diseases like
diabetes and heart disease.

Mar 9, 2015

Apple’s ResearchKit to give scientists ready access to study subjects

CHICAGO, March 9 (Reuters) – Apple Inc on Monday
released ResearchKit, an open-source software tool designed to
give scientists a new way to gather information on patients by
using their iPhones.

Several top research institutions have already developed
applications to work on the ResearchKit platform, including
those pursuing clinical studies on asthma, breast cancer, heart
disease, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. They include Stanford
University School of Medicine and Weill Cornell Medical College.

Mar 7, 2015

NIH director sees solving data puzzle as key to U.S. precision medicine

By Julie Steenhuysen

LA JOLLA, Calif. (Reuters) – One of the earliest tasks in President Barack Obama’s $215 million “precision medicine” program will be finding a way to piece together data from a hodgepodge of existing studies, said Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health.

Several providers already undertaking such studies have expressed interest in participating in the program, which will gather loads of health information and genetic data on more than 1 million Americans to develop targeted medicines, Collins told Reuters in an interview this week at the Future of Genomic Medicine conference in La Jolla, California.

Mar 5, 2015

Prenatal blood tests detect cancer signal in some women

, March 5 (Reuters) – A new genetic test
that sequences the blood of pregnant women for signs of diseases
such as Down Syndrome in their fetuses are turning up unexpected
results: a diagnosis of cancer in the mother.

In as many as 40 cases, women who took Sequenom Inc’s
MaterniT21 test, which scans their genetic code and
that of their fetus, had abnormal changes that could signify
cancer. In at least 26 of these women, that test turned out to
be accurate.

Mar 3, 2015

Harvard prevention trial studies tau, Alzheimer’s other protein

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Alzheimer’s researchers at Harvard for the first time are scanning the brains of healthy patients for the presence of a hallmark protein called tau, which forms toxic tangles of nerve fibers associated with the fatal disease.

The new scans are part of a large clinical trial called Anti-Amyloid Treatment in Asymptomatic Alzheimer’s or A4, the first designed to identify and treat patients in the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s, before memory loss begins.

Feb 24, 2015

U.S. government report outlines foods most prone to pathogens

CHICAGO (Reuters) – More than 80 percent of cases of a certain E. coli illness were linked to beef and vegetables grown in rows, according to a U.S. government report on Tuesday.

Salmonella infections were traced to a wider variety of foods ranging from tomatoes and sprouts to chicken, beef and pork, the report released on Tuesday by three federal agencies charged with food safety showed.

Feb 4, 2015

Ebola virus sent out of high-security lab was likely dead: CDC

CHICAGO (Reuters) – An internal investigation of an Ebola incident at a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention laboratory in December found that samples sent to a lower-security lab were “unlikely” to have contained live virus and posed no threat to staff, the CDC said on Wednesday.

The close call at the CDC followed months of mishaps involving anthrax and a deadly strain of bird flu, raising questions about how the agency handles the world’s deadliest pathogens.

Feb 4, 2015

Could a $34 smartphone device improve HIV diagnosis in Africa?

CHICAGO, Feb 4 (Reuters) – A $34 device that plugs into the
audio jack of a smartphone was nearly as effective as far more
costly diagnostic blood testing equipment in identifying
antibodies for HIV and syphilis in a pilot study in Africa, U.S.
researchers said on Wednesday.

The mobile lab device, known as a dongle, cost $34 to make,
compared with more than $18,000 for the gold standard diagnostic
equipment. In a pilot study, the device performed all of the
mechanical, optical and electronic functions of a lab-based
blood test in 15 minutes, using only power drawn from the

Feb 4, 2015

Blood from Ebola survivors could help spur new disease treatments

CHICAGO, Feb 4 (Reuters) – After successfully treating four
Ebola patients last year, Emory University in Atlanta is now
leading a government-funded project that will use blood from
survivors of the deadly virus to test a novel way of treating
infectious disease.

Traditional vaccines boost the immune system’s response to
infections. The new project will inject people with genetic
material, such as DNA or RNA, in hopes of spurring a person’s
own cells to make specific antibodies capable of fighting Ebola
or other pathogens.

    • About Julie

      "Julie Steenhuysen has been covering health and science topics for Reuters for the past decade, first as a medical device correspondent, then as team leader for the equities team covering U.S. pharmaceuticals and healthcare companies. For the past 4 years, Julie has worked as U.S. health and science correspondent, focusing on coverage for a general news audience."
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