New Algorithm Lets Scientists Better Calculate Person’s Chances Of Getting Five Serious Health Conditions
The researchers are now building a website that will allow anyone to upload genetic data. Users will receive risk scores for heart disease, breast cancer, Type 2 diabetes, chronic inflammatory bowel disease and atrial fibrillation. But scientists emphasize that DNA is not destiny, and that the results don't account for a healthy diet and exercise.
The New York Times:
Clues To Your Health Are Hidden At 6.6 Million Spots In Your DNA
Scientists have created a powerful new tool to calculate a person’s inherited risks for heart disease, breast cancer and three other serious conditions. By surveying changes in DNA at 6.6 million places in the human genome, investigators at the Broad Institute and Harvard University were able to identify many more people at risk than do the usual genetic tests, which take into account very few genes. (Kolata, 8/13)
In other national health care news —
Patients Often End Up With Expensive Medical Bills, Even When They Go To In-Network Facilities: Analysis
About 1 in 6 hospital stays for patients enrolled in large employer health plans results in out-of-network bills, which tend to be costly and not fully covered by insurance, according to an analysis released Monday. The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) study of medical bills from large employer plans found that 18 percent of inpatient admissions result in out-of-network claims. (Hellmann, 8/13)
The New York Times:
They Thought Hemophilia Was A ‘Lifelong Thing.’ They May Be Wrong.
Scientists are edging closer to defeating a longtime enemy of human health: hemophilia, the inability to form blood clots. After trying for decades to develop a gene therapy to treat this disease, researchers are starting to succeed. In recent experiments, brief intravenous infusions of powerful new treatments have rid patients — for now, at least — of a condition that has shadowed them all their lives. (Kolata, 8/13)
The New York Times:
To Address School Shootings, U.S. Wants Students To Learn Bleeding-Control Techniques
In a nod to the sad reality that shootings at the nation’s schools are far too prevalent, the United States government will award a $1.8 million grant to create a program to teach high school students proper bleeding-control techniques. The goal of the program, called School-Age Trauma Training, is “to enhance a bystander’s ability to take decisive, lifesaving action to assist victims with traumatic injuries,” according to the Department of Homeland Security, which posted notice of the grant online last month. (Gomez, 8/13)
Icahn Reverses Position On Cigna-Express Scripts Deal
Activist investor Carl Icahn said on Monday that he no longer intended to solicit proxies to vote against the $52 billion Cigna-Express Scripts deal, a turn around from his position last week when he urged the health insurer's shareholders to vote against it. Icahn's comments come after proxy advisory firms Glass Lewis & Co and Institutional Shareholder Services Inc (ISS), as well as hedge fund Glenview Capital Management, extended their support for the deal. (8/13)
The Associated Press:
White House Called Toxins Contamination ‘PR Nightmare'
Lauren Woeher wonders if her 16-month-old daughter has been harmed by tap water contaminated with toxic industrial compounds used in products like nonstick cookware, carpets, firefighting foam and fast-food wrappers. Henry Betz, at 76, rattles around his house alone at night, thinking about the water his family unknowingly drank for years that was tainted by the same contaminants, and the pancreatic cancers that killed wife Betty Jean and two others in his household. (Knickmeyer, 8/13)
The Washington Post:
Prenatal Tdap Vaccine: Kaiser Permanente Study Shows No Link With Autism In Children
New research has shown that a common childhood vaccination given to pregnant women does not put their children at any increased risk of autism. A Kaiser Permanente study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics found no association between the prenatal Tdap (for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, also known as whooping cough) vaccine and autism spectrum disorder when looking at tens of thousands of children in the hospital system. It is the latest in a long line of studies showing that there is no link between vaccines and autism. Despite the abundant scientific evidence, a persistent conspiracy theory has misled some parents into fearing vaccines. (Bever, 8/13)