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Monday, February 24, 2014

2/24/14 Health News: Emerging Polio-like Disease - New Kind of Transplant Bank - Study Casts Doubts on Value of Mammograms - Human Lung Made in Lab

US Doctors Are Warning of an Emerging Polio-like Disease
US doctors are warning of an emerging polio-like disease in California where up to 20 people have been infected.A meeting of the American Academy of Neurology heard that some patients had developed paralysis in all four limbs, which had not improved with treatment Continue Reading
A New Kind of Transplant Bank
Nearly a year ago, Mark Smith, a 27-year-old doctoral candidate, and three colleagues launched OpenBiome, the nation’s first human stool bank. Its mission: to provide doctors with safe, inexpensive fecal material from screened donors to treat patients with Clostridium difficile, a gastrointestinal infection that kills at least 14,000 Americans a year. “People are dying, and it’s crazy because we know what the solution is,” Mr. Smith said. “People are doing fecal transplants in their basements and may not be doing any of the right screening or sterile preparation. We need an intermediate solution until there are commercial products on the market.” But where to get healthy donor stool?  For doctors, it’s a tedious, time-consuming process, and some patients turn awkwardly to relatives or friends. Since September, OpenBiome has delivered more than 135 frozen, ready-to-use preparations to 13 hospitals. The nonprofit project fields dozens of requests from doctors, hospitals and patients every week. (The preparations are not sent directly to patients.) .Continue Reading
Vast Study Casts Doubts on Value of Mammograms
One of the largest and most meticulous studies of mammography ever done, involving 90,000 women and lasting a quarter-century, has added powerful new doubts about the value of the screening test for women of any age. It found that the death rates from breast cancer and from all causes were the same in women who got mammograms and those who did not.  And the screening had harms: One in five cancers found with mammography and treated was not a threat to the woman’s health and did not need treatment such as chemotherapy, surgery or radiation.Continue Reading

Human Lung Made in Lab for First Time

For the first time, scientists have created human lungs in a lab -- an exciting step forward in regenerative medicine, but an advance that likely won't help patients for many years. "It's so darn cool," said Joan Nichols, a researcher at the University of Texas Medical Branch. "It's been science fiction and we're moving into science fact." If the lungs work -- and that's a big if -- they could help the more than 1,600 people awaiting a lung transplant. Lungs are one of many body parts being manufactured in the lab -- some parts, such as tracheas and livers, are even further along.Continue Reading

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