Friday, January 19, 2018

This Won't Hurt A Bit - Medical podcast

Imagine a podcast that mixes current medical stories with opinion from experts about medicine, science and what it means to be human. Imagine beautifully created stories about medical history and the characters that created the world we live in today. Imagine hearing pieces that highlight the wonder and tragedy of being human. Imagine if this show was created by some of the most famous, experienced and talented physicians and podcasters in the world...imagine no more…

Simple blood test detects eight different kinds of cancer - Nature

A single blood test could one day be used to detect a variety of cancers, results from a preliminary trial suggest.

The past few years have seen a bevy of experimental tests called liquid biopsies that hold the promise of detecting and tracking tumours from a simple blood draw. Many of these tests are designed to detect a single kind of cancer by spotting tumour-associated mutations in DNA sequences found floating freely in the blood.

The latest study, published on 18 January in Science1, is unusual in that it tests not only for these DNA mutations, but also for aberrant levels of certain proteins, in an effort to detect eight different cancers. The test was able to detect disease in about 70% of more than 1,000 people who had already been diagnosed with cancer.

The researchers hope that their work could eventually lead to a test that is simpler and cheaper than the intensive sequencing involved in some other liquid biopsies. "They end up with performance that is similar to other approaches, but with what looks to be a much more cost-effective approach," says Nitzan Rosenfeld, a cancer researcher at the University of Cambridge, UK.

Many groups in academia and industry have focused on using liquid biopsies to track cancer progression and to guide physicians as they formulate a treatment plan.

But oncologist Nickolas Papadopoulos at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center in Baltimore, Maryland, and his colleagues wanted to develop a test that could detect cancers early, when they are easier to treat.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

So You Might Actually Not Be Allergic to Penicillin - Daily Beast

If you say that you're allergic to penicillin— a narrow-spectrum antibiotic that, for many bacterial infections, is still considered to be a "wonder drug"—your doctor won't prescribe it. Once you write it on those forms in the waiting room, or tell your pharmacist, "penicillin allergy" becomes part of your permanent medical record.

Yet a growing body of evidence suggests that most people who say they're allergic to penicillin are, well, wrong. In a recent study published in Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology, nearly 90 percent of patients who had "penicillin allergy" listed on their medical charts were found to actually have no such allergy at all.

"There's this problem— what you could consider an epidemic—of people labeled with unverified penicillin allergy. It's the number one drug allergy that's listed in patients' records," Dr. Dave Kahn, a professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and co-author of the study, told The Daily Beast. Over one in 10—up to 15 percent—of Americans has a reported penicillin allergy. That's more than the number of adults in the U.S. who have hay fever (7.8 percent), and the number of children under age three who have food allergies (8.0 percent).

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