Optical Techniques Offer Fast, Efficient COVID-19 Detection

Without the prospect of herd immunity on the immediate horizon, speedy detection for COVID-19 remains imperative for helping to curb the pandemic. Point-of-care testing that can provide immediate results is an urgent need. Researchers investigated the opportunities and challenges in developing rapid COVID-19 sensing techniques and discuss the prospects of optical biosensors for point-of-care COVID-19 testing in the journal Applied Physics Reviews.

Study Identifies Concerning Delays in TB Diagnoses in the United States

Most delays ranged between 10 and 45 days, with a median of 24 days, after a visit to a doctor, which exceeds current World Health Organization recommendations of diagnosing and treating TB within two to three weeks of symptom onset

Delays were linked to greater risk for disease complications, transmission of infection to household members

Older individuals and those with compromised immunity were at greater risk for delayed diagnoses

Use of diagnostic molecular testing, use of chest imaging and being seen by a specialist were all linked to more prompt identification of TB infection, suggesting delays may be preventable

Findings underscore the need to increase awareness of TB among frontline clinicians who may not suspect TB due to rarity of infection in this country

UCLA seeks volunteers for study of COVID-19’s impact on health to support “longhaul” survivors

UCLA researchers are seeking participants for an innovative study examining the impact of COVID-19 on survivors who continue battling health issues long after they were infected and thought to have recovered, known informally as “long COVID” and “longhaulers.”

Rethinking Race and Kidney Function

Removing race from clinical tools that calculate kidney function could have both advantages and disadvantages for Black patients.

Newly diagnosed patients and those whose kidney disease is reclassified as more severe would have greater access to kidney specialists, faster access to the kidney-transplant waitlist.

On the flipside, patients reclassified as having more severe kidney disease may become ineligible for heart, diabetes, pain control and cancer medications or may be given lower doses for these drugs.

A new kidney function score would also increase the number of Black individuals ineligible to donate a kidney, potentially exacerbating organ shortages for Black people.

Researchers caution that clinicians and policy makers must anticipate both the benefits and downsides of changes to the current formula to ensure that Black patients are not disadvantaged, and
health disparities are not exacerbated.

Scientists say the analysis should motivate researchers and cl

Ultrasound Technique Offers More Precise, Quantified Assessments of Lung Health

Researchers have developed a technique that uses ultrasound to provide non-invasive assessments of pulmonary fibrosis and pulmonary edema. The technique has been shown to both quantify lung scarring and detect lung fluid in rats. A study on pulmonary edema in humans is under way.

Clear Link Between Heart Disease and COVID-19, But Long-Term Implications Unknown, Researchers Find in Review of Published Studies

In a prospectus review published this week in the Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology, Kirk U. Knowlton MD, from the Intermountain Healthcare Heart Institute in Salt Lake City, examined more than 100 published studies related to COVID-19 and its effects on the heart.

New Machine Learning Tool Predicts Devastating Intestinal Disease in Premature Infants

Researchers from Columbia Engineering and the University of Pittsburgh have developed a sensitive and specific early warning system for predicting necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) in premature infants before the life-threatening intestinal disease occurs. The prototype predicts NEC accurately and early, using stool microbiome features combined with clinical and demographic information. “The lessons we’ve learned from our new technique could well translate to other genetic or proteomic datasets and inspire new machine learning algorithms for healthcare datasets.”

Doctors motivated by both health, malpractice concerns when ordering additional tests

A UCLA-led study has found that dermatopathologists, who specialize in diagnosing skin diseases at the microscopic level, are motivated both by patient safety concerns and by malpractice fears — often simultaneously — when ordering multiple tests and obtaining second opinions, with a higher proportion of these doctors reporting patient safety as a concern.
When ordering additional microscopic tests for patients, 90% of the dermatopathologists surveyed cited patient safety as a concern and 71% of them reported malpractice fears. Similarly, when obtaining second reviews from a consulting pathologist or recommending additional surgical sampling, 91% cited safety concerns and 78% malpractice concerns.

LLNL providing critical assistance in addressing national swab shortage for COVID-19 testing

To address the nationwide shortage of specialized nasal swabs used for COVID-19 diagnoses, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory engineers formed an ad hoc, rapid response team that tested more than a dozen novel, 3D-printed swab designs from a grassroots coalition of commercial and academic partners. The mechanical tests performed at the Lab provided valuable feedback that improved the designs, enabling them to meet requirements for COVID-19 testing. The Lab’s work on swabs is continuing with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and expanding into other 3D-printed components for COVID-19 test kits.

Rutgers Launches Genetic Testing Service for New Coronavirus

Rutgers’ RUCDR Infinite Biologics has launched a test for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and is using its automation experience and infrastructure to test as many as tens of thousands of samples daily. RUCDR has also submitted an emergency use authorization request for a saliva collection method that will allow for broader population screening.

Guidelines for Thyroid Surgery Published in Annals of Surgery

The first set of comprehensive, evidence-based clinical guidelines for surgical treatment of thyroid disease – developed by an expert panel assembled by the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons (AAES) – was published today by Annals of Surgery. The journal is published in the Lippincott portfolio by Wolters Kluwer.

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Diagnosis Improved by Simple Accelerometers

Testing for Duchenne muscular dystrophy can require specialized equipment, invasive procedures and high expense, but measuring changes in muscle function and identifying compensatory walking gait could lead to earlier detection. This week in Chaos, researchers present a relative coupling coefficient, which can be used to quantify the factors involved in the human gait and more accurately screen for the disorder. They measured movements of different parts of the body in test subjects, viewing the body as a kinematic chain.

Genetic Breakthrough Identifies Heart Failure Risk in African and Latino Americans

Findings may inform genetic screening test for patients at risk and medically under-served

Expanding Medicaid means chronic health problems get found & health improves, study finds

Nearly one in three low-income people who enrolled in Michigan’s expanded Medicaid program discovered they had a chronic illness that had never been diagnosed before, according to a new study.
And whether it was a newly found condition or one they’d known about before, half of Medicaid expansion enrollees with chronic conditions said their overall health improved after one year of coverage or more.