New Blood Test May Be Able to Find Best Antidepressant Match, Study Says: British scientists have developed a blood test that can accurately predict how a patient will respond to commonly prescribed antidepressants. This test could prevent the months of struggle that many patients go through trying to find antidepressants that work for them. Researchers say that more work is needed to compare this test to current prescription processes, but it is a first step toward leveraging precision medicine in mental healthcare. (The Washington Post)
Women’s Health in the US is Declining in 4 Key Ways, and Researchers Can’t Explain Why: A study released this week found that 40 percent of American women are obese, compared with 35 percent of men. The death rate among white middle class women is also on the rise, as is the maternal mortality rate. Further, the suicide gap between men and women lessening noticeably. But researchers are struggling to explain why these trends exist. While obesity has been on the rise in women in recent years, the usual causes of these increases — age, race, education, and smoking status — didn’t explain the increase. While not all women’s health news is bad, these are startling trends, and the lack of an explanation for them is leaving researches baffled. (Vox)
Here’s How IBM Watson Health is Transforming the Health Care Industry: IBM’s Watson Health is aiming to make a universal, secure database that can store thousands of medical studies, textbooks, and patient records to help improve patient diagnosis. The idea is that stumped doctors can run a patient’s symptoms through the the database, which can be accessed on an iPad or tablet, and get a shortlist of potential diseases. Watson Health is trying to make the massive amount of medical data more accessible and useful for doctors and patients alike. But getting Watson Health out there isn’t easy, and IBM needs partners to help revolutionize the field. (Fortune)
Taking the Fear Out of a Blood Test: In the wake of the Theranos scandal, another blood-testing company has emerged. Medford, Massachusetts’ Seventh Sense Biosystems has developed a small blood testing device that they say helps take the fear out of getting blood drawn. The device uses an array of small needles to draw blood near painlessly, and unlike Theranos’ Edison devices, these regularly draw the necessary amount of blood to properly run diagnostic tests. This test could be a new face for blood testing — or at least, a sign of the ways technology is changing simple diagnostic practices. (Boston Globe)
FDA Moves To Speed Access To Compassionate-Use Drugs: The FDA has streamlined the paperwork doctors are required to submit in order to access experimental drugs for patients with life-threatening illnesses. The new form, which is designed with individual patients in mind, should take doctors only about 45 minutes to complete. The change comes in part from FDA worries that the old paperwork deterred doctors from turning to experimental medicine in attempts to save patients. The hope is that if applying for experimental treatment is easier, it may be able to save the lives of more patients. (NPR)
Casey Nugent is an editorial intern for MedTech Boston. She’s currently working on her BFA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing at Emerson College in Boston. Outside of working at MedTech Boston, Casey enjoys drinking coffee, going to the theater, goofing around with friends, and hanging out with dogs.
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