ASCLS eNewsBytes
April 6, 2010

Tool might help predict adverse events in children with cancer
Medscape Medical News
Cancer patients who develop chemotherapy-induced febrile neutropenia are at risk for invasive infections, so standard treatment is emergency hospitalization and intravenous antimicrobial therapy. But patients could be spared this treatment if it were possible to identify those who were at low risk. New risk-adapted treatment guidelines have been developed for adults, but so far no consensus has emerged on how to predict adverse-event risk in pediatric patients.More

Demystifying a common, persistent virus
HealthDay News via BusinessWeek
New research sheds light on how a virus known as cytomegalovirus, which infects up to 80 percent of the U.S. population before age 40, re-infects people again and again even though their immune systems strongly respond to it. The infection doesn't always make people ill, but certain people, such as newborns and others with weakened immune systems, can develop serious symptoms and disabilities.More

Study: Gene mutation may be key to schizophrenia
Reuters Health via Medscape
A genetic mutation linked to schizophrenia appears to disrupt communication between the two areas of the brain believed to be responsible for memory and may be an underlying cause of the brain disorder, researchers suggested in a study published in Nature. The study found that a genetic mutation, known as 22q11 deletion and common in schizophrenia patients, hinders communication between the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex.More

Myriad loses ruling over breast cancer-gene patents
Bloomberg via BusinessWeek
Myriad Genetics Inc. lost a U.S. court ruling over its patents for a way to detect inherited breast cancer in a decision that may lead to other challenges to gene-related patents. U.S. District Judge Robert Sweet in New York ruled the patents invalid today, saying they "are directed to a law of nature and were therefore improperly granted."More

Horse owners alerted to contagious equine virus in the Northeast
Associated Press via Boston Herald
The state of Massachusetts is alerting horse owners, breeders and veterinarians to take precautions to prevent the spread of a contagious equine virus. The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources said that four horses that were exposed to EHV-1 in New Jersey were later transported to Massachusetts. One of the horses has tested positive and showed symptoms of the virus, which can cause respiratory and neurological problems and is often fatal.More

Scientists find aging gene is linked to immunity
Since the gene, called DAF-16 in worms, is found in many animals and in humans, the finding could open up new ways to affect aging, immunity and resistance in humans, the scientists said. "We wanted to find out how normal aging is being governed by genes and what effect these genes have on other traits, such as immunity," said Robin May of the University of Birmingham, who led the study.More

Songbird genome may shed light on speech disorders
Reuters Health via Medscape
Scientists have cracked the genetic code of a songbird for the first time, identifying more than 800 genes linked to song learning in a finding that may shed light on human speech disorders. Baby zebra finches learn to sing in virtually the same way as human babies learn to speak — by copying their elders — which means the tiny bird should serve as a valuable model for understanding human learning and memory.More

Smooth muscle cells put their best podosome forward
The Rockefeller University Press via The Journal of Cell Biology
Two microRNAs keep smooth muscle cells on a leash. Now, Quintavalle et al. have uncovered a molecular pathway that sets the cells free and might worsen the arterial buildup of atherosclerosis. When sedentary smooth muscle cells start crawling, they can cause trouble. The cells pile into the vessel lesions that form during atherosclerosis, and they can spur restenosis, the re-narrowing of an artery after an angioplasty or insertion of a stent.More

Salmonella worry prompts potato chip recall
All Tom's Barbecue Potato Chips have been recalled, Lance Inc. and the FDA announced. The chips contain salmonella-contaminated hydrolyzed vegetable protein, a flavoring agent that's now led to the recall of 177 U.S. products — and counting.More