Breast Cancer

Medical Breakthrough

DNA Marker In Blood Could Reveal Breast Cancer One Year Earlier Than Before

A study published in the journal Genome, claims that changes in a part of DNA named EFC#93 “could suggest early signs of deadly breast cancer up to a year in advance.”

University College London Hospital Professor Martin Widschwendter said, “the presence of EFC#93 DNA methylation in blood serum correctly identified 43% of women who went on to be diagnosed with fatal breast cancers within three to six months of giving serum samples, as well as 25% of women who went on to be diagnosed within six to twelve months of giving samples.”

DNA methylation occurs when small molecules of carbon and hydrogen become attached to EFC#93 in breast cancers.

The next step is clinical trials, which could potentially bring greater advancements.


Device News

Fitbit Invests in Company Developing Blood Sugar-Tracking Patch

Diabetics can rest assured medtech is looking out for them. Fitbit has invested $6 million in medtech company Sano to develop a patch that helps track glucose levels.

The device is not exactly noninvasive, as it does use tiny needles to attain an accurate reading, but they do not penetrate very deeply into the skin. It is also a less costly option that would require regular changing.

Apple is also working on a noninvasive blood glucose monitor but hasn’t yet achieved a device as easily wearable as their watch. Fitbit may also require FDA approval before implementing Sano’s coin-sized patch into its device.


Health Survey

Peaking U.S. Flu Season Sparks Health Advisory

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a health advisory at the end of last month after hospitalization rates among over-65s and children under 5 years old nearly doubled in one week.

The most common flu strains are Influenza A (H3N2) virus, Influenza A (H1N1) virus, and Influenza B virus. Vaccines are reviewed each year in an effort to control any strain mutations.

This particular flu season has been especially tragic after claiming the lives of 36 people in Los Angeles, California. The CDC urges everyone from the age of 6 months to start taking antiviral drugs as early in the season as possible to lessen the risk of infection.

Nursing Homes


California Nursing Residence Uses Music to Help Residents with Dementia

Villa Coronado Skilled Nursing Facility in San Diego, California is using music to treat patients with traumatic brain injuries.

Researchers are experimenting with this method to confirm whether music has a greater effect on the brain than antipsychotic drugs. There are more than 4,500 men and women in 300 nursing homes across California participating in the study.

The majority of the participants are likely to spend the remainder of their lives needing constant medical care and have had interacted very little with those around them.

Dr. Ken Warm of Villa Coronado says there is “so much unknown” about the cognitive function of these patients, but the response so far has been very positive.

Vaginal Mesh

Women’s Health

U.S. Transvaginal Mesh Devices Sold Without Trials

A BMJ Open review revealed in December 2017 that manufacturers sold 61 transvaginal mesh devices in the U.S. without those devices first undergoing clinical trials.

Researchers in the U.K. and Italy stated in the conclusion of their findings that the mesh devices, “have been approved on the basis of weak evidence over the last 20 years.”

Transvaginal mesh devices in the U.S. have been marketed based only on the equivalence to existing mesh devices. Those existing devices have undergone important changes, which had not been reflected in the 61 devices lacking a clinical trial.

The researchers urged that a “publicly accessible registry of licensed invasive devices, with details of marketing status and linked evidence, should be created and maintained at the time of approval.”