Medicine

Live Anthrax Shipped Accidentally To S Korea and US Labs 15

Posted by samzenpus
from the bad-package dept.
New submitter hamsterz1 writes: U.S. Officials say that the military mistakenly sent live anthrax to laboratories in nine states and an air base in South Korea, after apparently failing to properly inactivate the bacteria. Four lab workers in the United States and up to 22 overseas have been given precautionary medical treatment. The CDC is investigating the incident and Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren says, "Out of an abundance of caution, [the Defence Department] has stopped the shipment of this material from its labs pending completion of the investigation."
Medicine

Gene Testing Often Gets It Wrong 36

Posted by samzenpus
from the these-are-not-the-genes-you-are-looking-for dept.
BarbaraHudson writes: ABC is reporting that gene tests for risk of specific diseases are not as accurate as we'd like to think, with different labs giving different interpretations. Over 400 gene variants that could help one make medical decisions regarding breast and ovarian cancer or heart disease have different interpretations from different labs according to the study. "The magnitude of this problem is bigger than most people thought," said Michael Watson, executive director of the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics, one of the study's authors. Researchers caution consumers to be careful when choosing where to have a gene test done and acting on the results.
Earth

Bats' White-Nose Syndrome May Be Cured 89

Posted by samzenpus
from the wipe-your-nose dept.
New submitter alabamatoy writes: Several news outlets are reporting that a common bacteria may be proving successful in curing "white-nose syndrome" which has been decimating the bat populations across North America. A new treatment using a common bacterium was developed in Missouri by Forest Service scientists Sybill Amelon and Dan Lindner, and Chris Cornelison of Georgia State University. The Nature Conservancy reports: "On May 20, 2015, Scientists and conservationists gathered outside the historic Mark Twain Cave Complex in Hannibal, Missouri, to release back into the wild some of the first bats successfully treated for deadly White-Nose Syndrome." Bats are a key player in the environment, keeping insect populations under control, especially mosquitoes.
Biotech

Sex-Switched Mosquitoes May Help In Fight Against Diseases 148

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-girls-allowed dept.
cstacy writes: Only the female mosquitoes bite and transmit viral diseases such as Dengue Fever. Scientists have finally discovered the elusive genetic switch called Nix, that determines the sex of these blood sucking insects, and hope to selectively eliminate females to control the spread of diseases. "Nix provides us with exciting opportunities to harness mosquito sex in the fight against infectious diseases because maleness is the ultimate disease-refractory trait," explained Zhijian Jake Tu, an affiliate of the Fralin Life Science Institute and a biochemistry professor from Virginia Tech's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
Medicine

Machine That "Uncooks Eggs" Used To Improve Cancer Treatment 39

Posted by samzenpus
from the closer-to-a-cure dept.
hypnosec writes: An Australian invention that gained attention for being able to "unboil" an egg has now been put to use in the treatment of cancer. The device has boosted the potency of a common cancer treatment drug, carboplatino, as much as four-and-a-half-times. ABC.net reports: "Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer director Professor Ross McKinnon said it meant a huge advance for cancer treatment. 'It gives us the promise of offering an alternative where we have more drug being delivered to the tumour and less drug being delivered to the rest of the body,' he said. 'That means less side-effects for the patient and hopefully a much better effect in terms of tumour response. What this group are doing is an example of one drug but we would hope we could extend this to many drugs.' The device can process proteins more efficiently than current methods, with possible big ramifications for the pharmaceuticals industry.
Medicine

Nerve Cells Made From Blood Cells 40

Posted by Soulskill
from the beats-turning-water-into-wine dept.
BarbaraHudson writes: CBC reports that Canadian scientists are turning blood into nerve cells. They do so by manipulating stem cells that have been taken from a patient's blood, eventually switching them into neural stem cells (abstract). These can then give rise to multiple different nerve cells suitable for use in the rest of the body. Team leader Mick Bhatia said, "We can actually take a patient's blood sample, as routinely performed in a doctor's office, and with it we can produce one million sensory neurons. We can also make central nervous system cells." They're working on turning the neural stem cells into motor neurons for treatment of diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.
Biotech

After a Year of Secret Field-Testing, Brain-Controlled Bionic Legs Are Here 50

Posted by Soulskill
from the i'll-order-a-dozen dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Today, an Icelandic prosthetic-maker announced that two amputees have been testing brain-controlled bionic legs for over a year. The devices respond to impulses in the subjects' residual limbs, via sensors that were implanted in simple, 15-minute-long procedures. "When the electrical impulse from his brain reaches the base of his leg, a pair of sensors embedded in his muscle tissue connect the neural dots, and wirelessly transmit that signal to the Proprio Foot. Since the command reaches the foot before the wearer's residual muscles actually contract, there's no unnatural lag between intention and action." This is a huge step forward (sorry) for this class of bionics. It may seem like a solved problem based on reports and videos from laboratories, but it's never been exposed to real world use and everyday wear and tear like this.
Crime

Silk Road's Leader Paid a Doctor To Help Keep Customers Safe 110

Posted by samzenpus
from the safety-first dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Two years after the fall of Silk Road, new facts about the saga are still emerging all the time. The latest revelation is that Dread Pirate Roberts, the leader of Silk Road, paid a doctor $500 per week to offer public and private counseling to customers of the site. DoctorX, also known as Dr. Fernando Caudevilla, became famous for his free work on the site. The fact that he was eventually paid a salary is being used by lawyers for Ross Ulbricht to argue that Silk Road emphasized harm reduction and was, on the whole, a huge improvement in safety for drug users.
Medicine

Turtle Receives First-Ever 3D Printed Titanium Jaw Implant of Its Kind 71

Posted by Soulskill
from the also-is-not-a-ninja dept.
ErnieKey writes: A wounded loggerhead turtle showed up in Turkey, with significant damage to its upper and lower jaws. It was taken to the Sea Turtle Research, Rescue and Rehabilitation Center at Pamukkale University (PAU) for help. The PAU team, working with BTech Innovation, was able to make a 3D printed titanium jaw implant for the turtle. The operation was a success, and the patient — the world's first sea turtle to receive a 3D printed implant — is recovering.
Medicine

California Senate Approves School Vaccine Bill 545

Posted by samzenpus
from the get-your-shots dept.
mpicpp writes: California state senators have passed a controversial bill designed to increase school immunization rates. SB277 would prohibit parents from seeking vaccine exemptions for their children because of religious or personal beliefs. California would join West Virginia and Mississippi as the only states with such requirements if the bill becomes law. "SB 277 is about increasing immunization rates so no one will have to suffer from vaccine-preventable diseases," said Sen. Ben Allen (D- Santa Monica) who coauthored the bill with Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento).
Medicine

How Light at Night Affects Preschoolers' Sleep Patterns, Part Two (Video) 29

Posted by Roblimo
from the watch-the-spinning-light-and-feel-your-eyelids-growing-heavier-every-second dept.
Yesterday, in the intro to video number one of this two part extravaganza we wrote, "The effects of light and dark on adults' Circadian rythym has been studied over and over, but there hasn't been much research done on how light at night affects young children's sleep patterns."

Then we said, "This is the topic of Lameese Akacem's doctoral dissertation, and is a study being carried out under the aegis of the Sleep and Development Laboratory at the University of Colorado, Boulder," and we mentioned that this research is (at least in part) crowdfunded, and that the deadline for donating to this project is early next week, so if you feel this project is worth supporting you need to act within the next few days.
Medicine

How Light at Night Affects Preschoolers' Sleep Patterns (Video) 51

Posted by Roblimo
from the rock-a-bye-baby-whose-eyes-are-glued-to-mommy's-iPod dept.
The effects of light and dark on adults' Circadian rythym has been studied over and over, but there hasn't been much research done on how light at night affects young children's sleep patterns. This is the topic of Lameese Akacem's doctoral dissertation, and is a study being carried out under the aegis of the Sleep and Development Laboratory at the University of Colorado, Boulder, under the direction of Assistant Professor Monique K. LeBourgeois. Aside from the inherent value of this research, which may help parents decide whether (and how much) they are messing up their children's sleep patterns by letting them view screens such as TVs, tablets or smart phones near bedtime, its funding is unique; the money for this study is coming, at least in part, from crowdfunding. The crowdfunding itself is an experiment. This study is one of a small, select group of projects the University of Colorado at Boulder has in its pilot crowdfunding program. Its crowdfunding time window closes next week, so if you want to help sponsor this experiment, and help learn how different kinds of light can affect how (and how well) small children sleep, you need to act within the next six days. (This is a two-part video. Part one runs today. Part two will run tomorrow.)
Medicine

Dissolvable Electronic Stent Can Monitor Blocked Arteries 27

Posted by Soulskill
from the old-stents-never-die,-they-just-fade-away dept.
ckwu writes: To restore blood flow in a narrowed or blocked artery, doctors can implant a metal stent to hold open the vessel. But over time, stents can cause inflammation and turbulent blood flow that lead to new blockages. Now, researchers have designed a stent carrying a suite of onboard electronic blood-flow and temperature sensors, drug delivery particles, data storage, and communication capabilities to detect and overcome these problems. The entire device is designed to dissolve as the artery heals. Medical device companies and cardiologists could look at this electronic stent as a kind of menu from which they can pick whatever components are most promising for treating certain kinds of cardiovascular disease, the researchers say.
Government

World Health Organization Has New Rules For Avoiding Offensive Names 186

Posted by samzenpus
from the a-pustule-by-any-other-name dept.
sciencehabit writes: Last week The World Health Organization (WHO) decided to address not only the physical toll of disease but the stigma inflicted by diseases named for people, places, and animals as well. Among the existing names that its new guidelines "for the Naming of New Human Infectious Diseases" would discourage: Ebola, swine flu, Rift valley Fever, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and monkey pox. The organization suggests researchers, health officials, and journalists should use more neutral, generic terms, such as severe respiratory disease or novel neurologic syndrome instead. “It will certainly lead to boring names and a lot of confusion,” predicts Linfa Wang, an expert on emerging infectious diseases at the Australian Animal Health Laboratory in Geelong. “You should not take political correctness so far that in the end no one is able to distinguish these diseases,” says Christian Drosten, a virologist at the University of Bonn, Germany.
Medicine

Researchers Discover Breakthrough Drug Delivery Method By Changing Shape of Pill 66

Posted by timothy
from the in-your-face dept.
ErnieKey writes: Researchers at the UCL School of Pharmacy, University College London have found a way to change the rate of dissolution within medication via a 3D printing method. Researchers used MakerBot's water- soluble filament, cut it into tiny pieces and mixed in acetaminophen. They then used the Filabot extruder to extrude a drug infused filament. With this filament they printed odd shaped pills and tested them to see what effect different shapes had on the speed at which they dissolved. What they concluded was that these odd shaped pills allowed for different rates of absorption, enabling custom medications for patients.
Medicine

WHO Declares Liberian Ebola Outbreak Over 39

Posted by timothy
from the when-better-news-is-good-news dept.
The Washington Post reports that after 42 days with no new cases of Ebola infection in Liberia, the World Health Organization has declared over the outbreak which killed more than 4,000 people in that country; 42 days means twice the known maximum incubation period for the disease, though scientists' understanding of the virus's persistence continues to evolve. From the WHO's statement: Health officials have maintained a high level of vigilance for new cases. During April, the country’s 5 dedicated Ebola laboratories tested around 300 samples every week. All test results were negative.

While WHO is confident that Liberia has interrupted transmission, outbreaks persist in neighbouring Guinea and Sierra Leone, creating a high risk that infected people may cross into Liberia over the region’s exceptionally porous borders.
Patents

Brainwave-Reading Patents Spike On Increase In Commercial Mind-Reading Apps 29

Posted by samzenpus
from the get-out-of-my-brain dept.
smaxp writes: Consumer market researcher Nielsen leads the pack, with patents describing ways to detect brain activity with EEG and translate it into what someone truly thinks about, say, a new product, advertising, or packaging. Microsoft Corp. holds patents that assess mental states, with the goal of determining the most effective way to present information. "Neurotech has gone well beyond medicine, with non-medical corporations, often under the radar, developing neurotechnologies to enhance work and life," said SharpBrains Chief Executive Alvaro Fernandez at the NeuroGaming conference in San Francisco.
Security

Researcher: Drug Infusion Pump Is the "Least Secure IP Device" He's Ever Seen 83

Posted by samzenpus
from the bottom-of-the-barrel dept.
chicksdaddy writes: This is a bad month for the medical equipment maker Hospira. First, security researcher Billy Rios finds a raft of serious and remotely exploitable holes in the company's MedNet software, prompting a vulnerability alert from ICS CERT. Now, one month later, ICS CERT is again warning of a "10 out of 10" critical vulnerability, this time in Hospira's LifeCare PCA drug infusion pump. The problem? According to this report by Security Ledger the main problem was an almost total lack of security controls on the device. According to independent researcher Jeremy Williams, the PCA pump listens on Telnet port 23. Connecting to the device via Telnet, he was brought immediately to a root shell account that gave him total, administrator level access to the pump without authentication. "The only thing I needed to get in was an interest in the pump," he said. Richards found other examples of loose security on the PCA 3: a FTP server that could be accessed without authentication and an embedded web server that runs Common Gateway Interface (CGI). That could allow an attacker to tamper with the pump's operation using fairly simple scripts. Also: The PCA pump stores wireless keys used to connect to the local (medical device) wireless network in plain text on the device. That means anyone with physical access to the Pump (which has an ethernet port) could gain access to the local medical device network and other devices on it. The problems prompted Richards to call the PCA 3 pump "the least secure IP enabled device" he has ever worked with.
Medicine

The Medical Bill Mystery 532

Posted by Soulskill
from the $70-convenience-charge-to-process-the-convenience-charge dept.
HughPickens.com writes: Elisabeth Rosenthal writes in the NY Times that she has spent the past six months trying to figure out a medical bill for $225 that includes "Test codes: 105, 127, 164, to name a few. CPT codes: 87481, 87491, 87798 and others" and she really doesn't want to pay it until she understands what it's for. "At first, I left messages on the lab's billing office voice mail asking for an explanation. A few months ago, when someone finally called back, she said she could not tell me what the codes were for because that would violate patient privacy. After I pointed out that I was the patient in question, she said, politely: 'I'm sorry, this is what I'm told, and I don't want to lose my job.'" Bills variously use CPT, HCPCS or ICD-9 codes. Some have abbreviations and scientific terms that you need a medical dictionary or a graduate degree to comprehend. Some have no information at all. A Seattle resident received a $45,000 hospital bill with the explanation "miscellaneous."

So what's the problem? "Medical bills and explanation of benefits are undecipherable and incomprehensible even for experts to understand, and the law is very forgiving about that," says Mark Hall. "We've not seen a lot of pressure to standardize medical billing, but there's certainly a need." Hospitals and medical clinics say that detailed bills are simply too complicated for patients and that they provide the information required by insurers. But with rising copays and deductibles, patients are shouldering an increasing burden. One recent study found that up to 90 percent of hospital bills contain errors. An audit by Equifax found that hospital bills totaling more than $10,000 contained an average error of $1,300. "There are no industry standards with regards to what information a patient should receive regarding their bill," says Cyndee Weston, executive director of the American Medical Billing Association. "The software industry has pretty much decided what information patients should receive, and to my knowledge, they have not had any stakeholder input. That would certainly be a worthwhile project for our industry."
Medicine

Results Are In From Psychology's Largest Reproducibility Test: 39/100 Reproduced 174

Posted by samzenpus
from the different-directions dept.
An anonymous reader writes: A crowd-sourced effort to replicate 100 psychology studies has successfully reproduced findings from 39 of them. Some psychologists say this shows the field has a replicability problem. Others say the results are "not bad at all". The results are nuanced: 24 non-replications had findings at least "moderately similar" to the original paper but which didn't quite reach statistical significance. From the article: "The results should convince everyone that psychology has a replicability problem, says Hal Pashler, a cognitive psychologist at the University of California, San Diego, and an author of one of the papers whose findings were successfully repeated. 'A lot of working scientists assume that if it’s published, it’s right,' he says. 'This makes it hard to dismiss that there are still a lot of false positives in the literature.'”