viernes, 17 de enero de 2014



Healthcare News

A Weekly Compilation of Clinical Laboratory and Related Information 
from The Division Of Laboratory Programs, Standards And Services


January 16, 2014

View Previous Issues - Healthcare News Archive

CDC Warns Doctors to Look Out for 38 Million Heavy Drinking Americans

America may have an alcohol problem, according to a new government report that calls on doctors to talk to their patients more about heavy drinking. “Drinking too much alcohol has many more health risks than most people realize,” CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said in a statement. “Alcohol screening and brief counseling can help people set realistic goals for themselves and achieve those goals.” Alcohol screening and counseling can be covered by most health insurance plans free of charge under the Affordable Care Act, Frieden added. Studies have shown such care can reduce alcohol intake by 25 percent among heavy drinkers. That might bring public health benefits, considering high alcohol intake is linked to about 88,000 U.S. deaths each year. It can also save cash: The CDC estimates heavy drinking costs the American economy about $224 billion when taking into account health care costs, property damage and lost work productivity.


HHS Responds to Advocacy Efforts, Laboratories Finally Relieved of EHR Gifting Burden!

On Dec. 23, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released companion rules extending a provision allowing certain healthcare entities to essentially gift Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems without violating the Stark or Anti-kickback laws. Though previously included in the list of entities safe harbored under this provision, the final rules differ from the proposed rules in their exclusion of laboratories from this list. This means that laboratories will no longer be allowed/expected to gift EHRs to (referring) physicians.

New ‘Sunshine Act’ Requirements Will Track and Publish Financial Relationships Providers Have With Healthcare Vendors

Some physicians fear disclosure of payments by drug and medical device companies could damage patient confidence and physician-patient relationships. Over the course of 2014, pathologists and medical laboratory managers will experience a different relationship with in vitro diagnostic (IVD) manufacturers and other lab industry vendors. That’s because a new federal law requires vendors to publicly disclose financial and other arrangements they have with providers. That law is the Physician Payment Sunshine Act, and it became effective on August 21, 2013. The intent of this new law is to shed light on financial aspects of relationships between physicians and healthcare vendors.
Vendors are now required to publicly disclose all payments—or “transfers of value”—to providers where the value is more than $10 or an aggregate amount of $100 annually. Manufacturers and providers, therefore, must report payments for speaking engagements, consulting fees, research grants, travel reimbursements, stock, and even small trinkets and meals during routine sales visits.


Medicare to Disclose Physician Reimbursement Data

For the first time in decades, HHS may start telling the public exactly how much money individual doctors earn treating Medicare patients. Previously, the release of specific Medicare physician-payment data was banned because it was deemed an invasion of physician privacy. But last year, a federal judge in Florida ruled that doctors' privacy concerns did not trump the public interest in disclosing the information, which can be used for detecting trends in healthcare utilization and fraud, among other things. HHS announced that it would begin responding to Freedom of Information Act requests for physician-payment data. The agency didn't guarantee every request would be filled, but said government officials would begin using a “balancing test” to determine which information should be released.


Screen All Pregnant Women for Diabetes, Task Force Says

All pregnant women should be screened for gestational diabetes, an independent task force advised, endorsing a test that most doctors routinely perform. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force found an overall benefit to screening and treatment, including a reduced risk of preeclampsia in pregnant patients and of having an overly large baby and birth-related injuries to the newborn. The task force’s recommendation, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, noted that 96 percent of obstetricians screen for the condition, and that other medical groups also recommend screening. The group said women with no history of diabetes should be screened after 24 weeks of pregnancy.


Barriers to the Introduction of New Medical Diagnostic Tests

Driven by rapid developments in sequencing technologies, proteomics and other progresses in biological sciences, new diagnostic tests are expected to play a growing role in medicine as well as in tailoring medical treatments to specific patients. The road of a test from bench top to patient is a difficult and incremental process. This report examines the barriers that exist to the introduction of new diagnostic investigations into routine medical practice. These barriers are manifold and include the burden of proof in establishing the scientific validity and clinical usefulness of a new test; regulatory hurdles; issues surrounding costs, coverage, and ensuring appropriate compensation for the work that goes into the development and delivery of a new test


Biomarker Alliance to Create Standards Needed for Personalized Medicine

Alliance intends to change the dismal success rate of biomarkers by creating evidence based, end-to-end biomarker development processes. The launch of a new independent, non-profit organization, the National Biomarker Development Alliance (NBDA), broadly engaging leaders in industry, academia, patient groups and government from across the country, was announced at the National Press Club by the Research Collaboratory at Arizona State University (ASU). The mission of the NBDA is to address the complex and urgent challenge of creating the standards needed to support end-to-end evidence-based biomarker development in order to significantly advance precision (personalized) health care. "Creating the standards and systems for successful biomarker development is complex but achievable through a new generation of networks of stakeholders that integrate knowledge to solve critical problems of this scale," stated Dr. Anna Barker, President, Director and Co-Founder of the NBDA, Co-Director of Complex Adaptive Systems and Professor at ASU, and former Deputy Director of the National Cancer Institute.


Post-Surgical Tests Might Help Spot Colon Cancer's Return

A pair of common tests might help colorectal cancer patients who have undergone surgery remain cancer-free, British researchers say. Both a standard CT scan and a blood test known as CEA (carcinoembryonic antigen) improved doctors' chances of detecting and removing a recurrence of colon cancer, according to a study published in the Jan. 15 Journal of the American Medical Association. A U.S. expert said the findings suggest that the tests help spot cancer's return. "They showed a higher level of detection of recurrence using CT or CEA than no surveillance, which reinforces the potential value of the test," said Dr. Durado Brooks, director of prostate and colorectal cancers for the American Cancer Society.


New Blood Test for Heart Attack?

A blood test might eventually help detect the early stages of a heart attack, and another challenger to warfarin takes its case to the FDA. Early clinical results suggested that it might be possible to develop a blood test to determine who is at the highest immediate risk for a myocardial infarction. The test involved a fluid biopsy approach to detect circulating endothelial cells, which was adapted from a similar test (CellSearch) for circulating tumor cells in patients with cancer. Peter Kuhn, PhD, of the Scripps Research Institute, and colleagues evaluated the test using peripheral blood samples from 79 patients who had had a recent MI, 25 healthy volunteers, and six patients undergoing vascular surgery. For discriminating between those with an MI and those who were healthy, the test had a sensitivity similar to that of CellSearch, but a higher specificity.


A New Blood Test to Diagnose Concussions on the Field

A protein could signal the first signs of brain changes due to a concussion.
With a finger-stick and a drop of blood, researchers from the University of Rochester say it may be possible to tell whether a player experienced a concussion. Levels of the brain protein S100B start to rise with intense exertion, but also after a major impact such as a blow to the head. So the scientists investigated whether it would be possible to distinguish the two circumstances in hopes of finding a way to detect the first signs of traumatic brain injury. Based on their findings, the researchers concluded that a rise in S100B of more than 45% is nearly equivalent to a concussion diagnosis, and easily distinguishable from physical exertion.


'Heat Maps' Find Cervical Cancer

A new test that uses heat to examine blood can be used to detect cancer, according to US scientists. The "plasma thermogram" examines the proteins inside blood, including those produced by tumours. A study, in the journal PLOS ONE, showed the test could detect cervical cancer and how advanced it was. Cancer Research UK said thermograms might improve detection, but more evidence on the accuracy and reliability was needed. Screening for cervical cancer currently involves a looking for abnormal cells in a smear test and detecting high-risk viruses that can cause the disease. The study, at the University of Louisville, used the plasma thermogram technology to analyse blood samples.

Chemical Imaging Brings Cancer Tissue Analysis Into the Digital Age

A new method for analysing biological samples based on their chemical makeup is set to transform the way medical scientists examine diseased tissue. When tests are carried out on a patient's tissue today, such as to look for cancer, the test has to be interpreted by a histology specialist, and can take weeks to obtain a full result. Mass spectrometry imaging (MSI) uses technologies that reveal how hundreds or thousands of chemical components are distributed in a tissue sample. Scientists have proposed using MSI to identify tissue types for many years, but until now, no method has been devised to apply such technology to any type of tissue.
A single test taking a few hours can provide much more detailed information than standard histological tests, for example showing not just if a tissue is cancerous, what the type and sub-type of cancer, which can be important for choosing the best treatment.


Choosing Control

The use of well-defined controls in assay development is essential for determining the reliability and reproducibility of data obtained from molecular applications. ATCC, which claims to have the world’s largest and most diverse collection of human, animal and plant cell lines, molecular genomic tools, microorganisms and biological products, spoke out on this topic during its first participation at the Corporate Workshop Day at the Association for Molecular Pathology (AMP) 2013 Annual Meeting, emphasizing the importance of using authenticated and highly characterized biomaterials for assay development and verification.


Pharmacogenetics and Today's Medicine

In what is still considered a fairly recent breakthrough, genetic testing has not only come into the market, but has seen drastic advances in efficiency, accuracy and, of course, cost since its introduction. With the emergence of more targeted genetic analysis, the healthcare industry has also seen the rise of personalized medicine. While the technology behind whole genome sequencing continues to improve, it's advancing so quickly that other modalities are struggling to keep up, especially when it comes to sorting out the information delivered by the technique.


Validated or Not Validated? That Is the Question

Personalized medicine relies on personalized diagnoses; molecularly targeted therapies require molecular diagnostic assays. There is an urgent need for validated diagnostic assays aiding selection of optimal chemotherapy, whether conventional cytoxic or targeted biological therapies, without which personalized medicine cannot advance. In this edition of the Journal, Mulligan et al. describe the development and validation of a novel approach to select patients who benefit from anthracycline/cyclophosphamide chemotherapy.


Meridian Bioscience Obtains FDA Approval for TRU FLU Assay

US-based Meridian Bioscience has obtained 510(k) approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its TRU FLU assay for an analytical sensitivity claim for the avian Influenza H7N9 strain. According to Meridian Bioscience, its TRU FLU rapid immunoassay detects influenza A and influenza B viruses in 15 minutes in human respiratory specimens.


BD MAX™ MRSA XT Assay With eXTended Detection Technology Receives FDA Clearance

BD Diagnostics, announced it has received FDA clearance to market the BD MAX™ MRSA XT Assay for use on the fully-automated BD MAX™ System. This is the second assay from BD Diagnostics capable of detecting newly emerging MRSA strains with the novel mecC gene. Launched in 2013, the BD MAX™ StaphSR Assay reports results for both Staphylococus aureus (SA) and methicillin-resistant 


FDA Cearance of Automated Direct Renin Assay on the IDS-iSYS System

The IDS-iSYS Direct Renin immunoassay is used to determine the amount of active renin present in the blood. Results of the test are used in conjunction with other clinical and laboratory data to assist clinicians in the investigation of hypertension related disorders such as primary aldosteronism and renovascular hypertension. The test enables the quantitative determination of renin in less than an hour, providing laboratories with a fast and reliable alternative to existing laborious manual methods, a necessity when screening in extended hypertensive populations.


Nanosphere Gram-Negative Bacteria Test Cleared by FDA

The FDA cleared Nanosphere's 14-target Verigene Gram-Negative Blood Culture Test, a rapid in vitro test that, in addition to identifying more than 90 percent of gram-negative bacteria associated with bloodstream infections, can determine resistance to commonly used antibiotics up to two days faster than other conventional methods, according to the company.


Quest, UCSF Partner on Developing Diagnostic Tests

Quest Diagnostics and the University of California at San Francisco will work together to develop new diagnostic tests. The organizations will focus on developing tests that may include the use of imaging or other technologies in workups and take into account specific biomarkers or other genetic indicators of disease, as well as clinical and population research. One research project aims to develop a test to aid autism diagnoses and help identify patients who may be appropriate candidates for research studies. Another project also underway seeks to identify the biomarkers in children with glioma brain tumors who benefit from drug therapy. A third project may research disorders of pregnancy.


Probiodrug, VU University Medical Center to Assess Alzheimer's Assays

German biopharmaceutical firm Probiodrug and the VU University Medical Center Alzheimer Center in The Netherlands announced a collaboration to evaluate molecular biomarker assays for Alzheimer's disease. The assays will be assessed for their diagnostic, pharmacodynamic, and therapeutic use. Cerebrospinal fluid samples from well-characterized Alzheimer's disease patients at different stages of the illness will be analyzed and compared with CSF from age-matched control samples as part of the collaboration.


New York Pumps $105M Into NY Genome Center, Univ. of Buffalo Genomic Medicine Partnership

The New York Genome Center and the University of Buffalo have received $105 million in state funding to work together in pursuing genomic medicine advances and computational biomedical research, NYGC and UB said. The ambition behind the partnership and investment is to link the New York City biomedical research community with UB's computational infrastructure and its research expertise, and to develop the Western New York region's genomic medicine industry. 
NYGC, a consortium of 16 regional institutions that opened in a facility in lower Manhattan in September 2013, said it will match its funding from the state through outside fundraising.


Illumina’s DNA Supercomputer Ushers in the $1,000 Human Genome

Illumina (ILMN), the world’s leading seller of gene sequencing machines, unveiled its HiSeq X (pronounced “High Seek 10”). The system is the world’s first DNA-crunching supercomputer designed to process 20,000 genomes per year at a cost of $1,000 each. Currently it costs about $10,000 to sequence a human genome. Jay Flatley, Illumina’s chief executive officer, introduced the machine at an investors conference in San Francisco.


Google X Staff Meet With FDA Pointing Toward New Device

Google Inc. (GOOG) sent employees with ties to its secretive X research group to meet with U.S. regulators who oversee medical devices, raising the possibility of a new product that may involve biosensors from the unit that developed computerized glasses. The meeting included at least four Google workers, some of whom have connections with Google X -- and have done research on sensors, including contact lenses that help wearers monitor their biological data. Google staff met with those at the Food and Drug Administration who regulate eye devices and diagnostics for heart conditions, according to the agency’s public calendar. As technology and medicine merge to give consumers more control over their health, innovators from mobile-health application developers to DNA analysis companies have struggled to meet the demands of federal oversight. The FDA ordered Google-backed 23andMe Inc. in November to halt sales of its personal gene test, saying it hadn’t gained agency approval.


Some Lab Fees Soon Will be Billed to Tricare Patients

Tricare beneficiaries soon will have to pay out of pocket for certain diagnostic genetic tests that their civilian physicians order but that the Defense Health Agency doesn’t view as appropriate or medically necessary. In January 2013, without notice to beneficiaries or to health care providers, Tricare stopped reimbursing clinical laboratories for more than 100 genetic or “molecular pathology” tests. Beneficiaries haven’t complained yet because the laboratories affected are still providing the tests that physicians order at no charge, said Julie Khani, vice president of the American Clinical Laboratory Association, which lobbies on behalf of the affected laboratories. To date, labs have provided about $10 million worth of free tests to Tricare users. “That’s obviously unsustainable,” Khani said. Most of these tests cost about $60, but a few carry charges of several thousand dollars.


Huge Investment for Cancer Research

Six institutions will split a $540 million donation to study cancer immunotherapy among other things. Six U.S. medical centers will each receive $90 million to pursue cancer research with very few strings attached. The trust fund of late billionaire Daniel Ludwig will award $540 million in total to already-established Ludwig centers at Harvard Medical School, Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, Stanford University, and the University of Chicago.


Red Blood Cells Take on New Shape During Clotting

Red blood cells are the body's true shape shifters, perhaps the most malleable of all cell types, transforming — among many other forms — into compressed discs capable of going through capillaries with diameters smaller than the blood cell itself. While studying how blood clots contract John Weisel, professor of Cell and Developmental Biology at the Perelman School of Medicine, Univ. of Pennsylvania, and colleagues, discovered a new geometry that red blood cells assume, when compressed during clot formation. Although red blood cells were first visualized in the mid-17th century and studied extensively since then, this new study, published online ahead of print in the journal Blood, describes a previously unknown shape and potential new function for red blood cells. The Penn team found that red blood cells can be compressed into many-sided, closely packed polyhedral structures – instead of their free-flowing bi-concave, disc shape.


Imaging Technology Could Unlock Mysteries of a Childhood Disease

By the time they’re two, most children have had respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and suffered symptoms no worse than a bad cold. But for some children, especially premature babies and those with underlying health conditions, RSV can lead to pneumonia and bronchitis – which can require hospitalization and have long-term consequences. A new technique for studying the structure of the RSV virion and the activity of RSV in living cells could help researchers unlock the secrets of the virus, including how it enters cells, how it replicates, how many genomes it inserts into its hosts – and perhaps why certain lung cells escape the infection relatively unscathed. That could provide scientists information they need to develop new antiviral drugs and perhaps even a vaccine to prevent severe RSV infections. “We want to develop tools that would allow us to get at how the virus really works,” said Philip Santangelo, an associate professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. “We really need to be able to follow the infection in a single living cell without affecting how the virus infects its hosts, and this technology should allow us to do that.”


With Help of Victims From 1849, Scientists Decode Early Strain of Cholera

Using bits of human intestine stored in a Philadelphia medical museum in 1849, scientists have decoded the genes of an early form of cholera, the deadly diarrheal disease that first swept the globe just a few decades earlier. The disease is still a lethal menace, as was shown in Haiti four years ago, when an unexpected outbreak after an earthquake killed more than 8,000 and hospitalized hundreds of thousands more. But it has evolved since the 19th-century pandemics, which killed millions; the new work, by scientists at McMaster University in Ontario, creates the first chance to study the genome of the pandemic “classical” strain and understand its roots. Unlike tuberculosis, smallpox and other ills that have plagued humans for millenniums, cholera is fairly modern. The first global pandemic began in 1817, on the fertile flood plain in what is now India and Bangladesh where the Ganges and Brahmaputra Rivers flow into the Bay of Bengal. Previously, said Hendrik N. Poinar, an evolutionary geneticist at McMaster and a lead author of the study, scientists believed the deadly form of the Vibrio cholerae bacterium might have come into existence as far back as 50,000 years ago.


Bacteria Linked to Premature Birth

A major cause of premature birth - where waters break too soon, triggering labour - may be caused by specific bacteria, according to research. The research could lead to screening and possible treatment for women at risk of early labour, says a US team. The findings, published in the journal PLOS ONE, suggest certain bacteria may lead to thinning of the membranes around the baby, causing them to tear. Early rupture of membranes causes almost a third of all premature births.


Toxin Shows Promise in Killing Off Lurking HIV

An antibody and toxin mix has successfully detected and killed HIV-infected cells lurking in the organs and bone marrow of mice that were altered to have a human immune system. The results, reported in the online journal PLOS Pathogens, offer conceptual proof that a reservoir of HIV-infected cells in organs can sought out and destroyed, a scenario that would potentially end the stalemate between the virus and antiretroviral drug therapies. The altered mice, developed about eight years ago, can be infected by the human immunodeficiency virus in an identical manner to humans; they exhibit the same viremia and respond the same way to current antiretroviral drug therapy, but do not come down with AIDS, according to the study.


Elephant Shark Genome Provides New Insights Into Bone Formation in Humans

A*STAR-led international consortium completely decodes the first shark-family member genome. An unexpected finding was that elephant shark appears to lack special types of immune cells previously considered essential for defence against viral/bacterial infections and preventing autoimmune reactions such as diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. Despite this seemingly primitive organization of the immune system, sharks exhibit robust immune defences and are long-lived. By challenging long-held notions, this discovery has opened up a new avenue towards the development of nonintuitive strategies to shape the immune functions of humans.


Rotavirus Vaccines Carry Low Risk for Intussusception

Risk for intussusception, a common cause of intestinal obstruction in infants and toddlers, is slightly but significantly elevated after vaccination with currently licensed rotavirus vaccines, according to the results of 2 large surveillance studies. However, the studies, both published online January 14 in the New England Journal of Medicine, indicate that the overall risk for intussusception is low. They differ, however, on whether the added risk is greater with the pentavalent (RV5; RotaTeq, Merck) or monovalent (RV1; Rotarix, GlaxoSmithKline) vaccine formulations. Authors of both studies emphasize that the relatively small risks for intussusception should be weighed against the potentially large benefits from preventing severe gastrointestinal illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths associated with rotaviral infections


Animal Study Gives Hope for On-demand Vaccines

Univ. of Washington engineers hope a new type of vaccine they have shown to work in mice will one day make it cheaper and easy to manufacture on-demand vaccines for humans. Immunizations could be administered within minutes where and when a disease is breaking out.


Mediterranean Diet Cuts Type 2 Diabetes Risk by a Third

A Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) cut the risk for developing type 2 diabetes by about a third among adults at high risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) compared with a low-fat diet, a new analysis finds. The results, from the subgroup of subjects in the Spanish cardiovascular prevention study Prevencion con Dieta Mediterránea (PREDIMED) who did not have diabetes at baseline, were published January 6 in the Annals of Internal Medicine by Jordi Salas-Salvado, MD, PhD, from Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Reus, Spain, and colleagues.


Green Tea 'Can Impede Nadolol Blood Pressure Medicine'

Green tea can weaken the effects of a commonly prescribed blood pressure pill, experts warn. Japanese researchers found the herbal drink blocks special cell transporters that normally help the body absorb the beta-blocker medicine. In tests, people who drank green tea alongside taking their tablets ended up with lower circulating blood levels of the drug nadolol. Experts say consumers need to be aware of this interaction.


Sexually-transmitted Diseases Spread in 2012

CDC report notes large increases in syphilis, gonorrhea
Gonorrhea rates rose for the third year in a row in 2012, and syphilis rates rose a “dramatic” 11 percent, due to new infections in men, according to the latest report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The third reportable sexually transmitted disease (STD) — chlamydia — saw a relatively unchanged rate in 2012, but there were a U.S. record 1.4 million cases of the bacterial infection. “This is the largest number of cases ever reported to the CDC for any condition,” the CDC said in its 2012 surveillance report on STDs. Overall, the CDC estimates that nearly 20 million new STD infections are acquired each year. Half of these are among people aged 15 to 24. The CDC estimates that each year, the U.S. health care system spends about $16 billion a year to address STDs.


Feds Draft Legislation to Define ‘Telehealth’

New federal legislation establishes a national definition of telehealth and clarifies the scope of which electronic methods can be used to safely deliver health-care services. The Telehealth Modernization Act of 2013 provides principles to guide states that are considering their own telehealth policies. Introduced in December and sponsored by Reps. Doris Matsui, D-Calif.; and Bill Johnson, R-Ohio; the legislation aims to standardize what telehealth is and promote its use by health-care professionals in the U.S. In an interview with Government Technology, Johnson explained that the bill – H.R. 3750 – isn’t a mandate directed at states. Instead, it encourages them to look further into telehealth as a viable option for physicians and patients to maximize the quality of health care.


ONC Seeks More Input on Tech to Support Patient Involvement

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has been working to change focus from technology to support physicians to technology that centers on patients. Publishing an issue brief summing up the work done so far and what remains, the office is also asking for public input. "A little over a year ago, we embarked on an effort to look to a long term future, where health IT and communications technology could support people in managing their own health and partnering in their health care. We engaged visionaries and subject matter experts to help us develop a policy framework for putting the person more at the center of their own health and health care, enabled by health IT," writes Jodi G. Daniel, Director of the Office of Policy and Planning, in a post at Health IT Buzz.


Pace of Health IT Adoption Frustrates Some Hospital Execs

Some hospital executives are growing impatient with the pace of technology adoption in healthcare, according to a recent roundtable discussion focusing on the future of health IT conducted by Becker's Hospital Review. For instance, Chris Van Gorder, president and CEO of San Diego-based Scripps Health, told Becker's that he thinks health IT expansion has been "frustratingly slow." Arlyn Broekhius, vice president and CIO at Sioux Falls, N.D.-based Sanford Health echoed those sentiments, saying that he thinks healthcare IT has been in "catch-up mode" following too much underinvestment.


General Public is Embracing MU

Patients are not helplessly taking what they can get. Times are changing, and fast. Patients are consumers, and they know what they want. They understand what meaningful use of electronic health data is, and they want it. The federal government's ambitious plan to drive health IT adoption worked its way into the conversation Jan. 7 at the Digital Health Summit, a two-day workshop in the midst of the 2014 International CES in Las Vegas. "It's not about the physician (any more) – it's about everybody but the physician," said Samir Damani, the founder and CEO of MD Revolution.


Air Force Lab’s New 20-Tflop Computer Will Mimic Human Brain

The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate’s High Performance Systems Branch has placed an order with GE Intelligent platforms for a High Performance Embedded Computing (HPEC) system designed to simulate information pathways of the human nervous system. The GE system is designed to support DOD’s High Performance Computing Modernization Program (HPCMP) and will benefit the development of next-generation radar technology such as Gotcha wide-area synthetic aperture radar, Military & Aerospace Electronics reported. Neuromorphic computing allows for machines to autonomously process complex, real-world information by adaptively learning relevant features in their environments and determining their relationships. 


Self-care Med Devices Market to Hit $16.8 Billion by 2019

The market for self-care medical devices is set to hit $16.8 billion by 2019, according to a new report from Transparency Market Research. According to Transparency's analysis, the market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 7 percent from 2013 to 2019.
"Rising incidence of chronic diseases as well as lifestyle disorders [obesity, diabetes, hypertension and others] coupled with increasing healthcare awareness are driving the demand for self-care medical devices market globally," the analysis states.


Healthcare Employment Drops for First Time in Decade

Healthcare, an engine of employment through the recession, shed 6,000 jobs in December with payroll declines in ambulatory care and hospitals. The drop comes at the end of a year in which healthcare hiring flagged, adding a below average number of jobs, new figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show. Healthcare added 271,000 jobs last year to bring the industry's total to 14.57 million. Hiring fell about 2% below the annual average since 1990. Healthcare employment figures are closely watched by some economists, who see the industry's hiring trends as an indicator of health spending growth.


GeneLink Settles

Another personal genomics company faces government pressure—this time from the Federal Trade Commission. Just a month after personal genomics company 23andMe announced that it would stop offering health interpretations of genetic data amidst pressure from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, another personal genomics company is under government fire. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced in a press release dated January 7 that GeneLink Biosciences, Inc., and its former subsidiary, Foru International Corp., agreed “to settle Federal Trade Commission charges of deceptive advertising for claims that their personalized nutritional supplements treat diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, insomnia, and other ailments.”


Five Minute Saliva Test to Identify Smokers Rolled Out to Health Schemes, UK

Smokers who need extra incentives to quit the cigarettes this new year should take note that even private health insurance premiums may be reduced if they can prove they have stopped for good - and with the aid of a pioneering test from the University of Birmingham, the proof can be easy to acquire. The Saliva SmokeScreen test is part of the PruHealth free Vitality Healthcheck programme to verify non-smoking in their policy holders, so they can qualify for its unique non-smoker cash back reward. The saliva test, which was developed by Dr Graham Cope detects cotinine, a breakdown product of nicotine, is being used as part of a comprehensive health check carried out in pharmacies throughout the country. 


1.2 Billion Reasons to Celebrate: India Set To Be Polio-free

This is a landmark achievement for global public health and the worldwide effort to eradicate polio. India, which once had the highest number of polio cases in the world, is now polio-free, an achievement reports say the World Health Organisation will certify in February. But it's been a long road to get here. With poor sanitation, densely populated areas and large numbers of people living in extreme poverty, northern states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar were the 'perfect storm' when it came to the spread of polio. And without the vital collaboration between the Indian government and the global polio eradication initiative – a partnership among Rotary International, Unicef, WHO and the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention – this may not have been possible.
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