Top 5 Reads of the Week

Drones to Deliver Medicine in the U.S.: Zipline, a San Francisco-based startup, recently announced that it will be using drones to deliver blood and medicine in rural locations in the U.S. The startup implemented this drone technology in Rwanda earlier this year, resulting in drastic improvements to healthcare accessibility. According to The Verge, Government officials hope that “Zipline’s fleet of drones will help deliver life-saving materials to remote areas of the U.S., as it has in Rwanda.” (The Verge)

Government Begins Human Trials for Zika Vaccine: On Wednesday, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) initiated the first set of clinical trials for an experimental Zika vaccine. The DNA-based vaccine triggers the production of Zika-virus proteins, activating an immune response against them. The trial is designed for a sample size of 80 volunteers split up into three groups, each receiving a different dose of the vaccine. If phase 1 trials are successful, phase 2 can be launched as early as next January. (CNN)

Biochip Test Accurately Identifies Risk for Alzheimer’s Disease: Researchers at Randox Laboratories recently developed an inexpensive, efficient, and simple biochip blood test that can accurately identify high-risk patients for Alzheimer’s disease. The current standard for detecting these patients is a time-consuming, costly DNA-based molecular test. The biochip test works by screening a blood sample for protein products of apolipoprotein E e4 (APOE4), a gene allele that is highly associated with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Research shows that increased use of this test will allow medical professionals to evaluate the risk of contracting Alzheimer’s within three hours. (Medical News Today)

National Hospital Rankings Published: The U.S. News & World Report released the 2016-2017 rankings for best hospitals in the country. The hospitals are ranked in a variety of specialties and procedures, as well as a comprehensive performance category, titled “Honor Roll.” Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, and Massachusetts General Hospital comprised the overall top three hospitals. However, STAT News warns the public to take the ratings “with a grain of salt. […] No matter how objective the metrics, ratings are inherently subjective.” (U.S. News & World Report)

Is Flossing a Waste of Time? After a thorough investigation, the Associated Press (AP) reported that flossing may not necessarily improve dental health or hygiene. Earlier this year, the Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services discreetly removed flossing from its recommended dietary guidelines list. When the AP inquired about this change, the government admitted that sufficient research had never been conducted on the supposed benefits of flossing. And, the few studies that have been carried out show “weak” and “unreliable” evidence, and “a moderate to large potential for bias.” (STAT News)

Anokhi Saklecha

Anokhi Saklecha

Anokhi is an editorial intern at MedTech Boston and a student in the Medical Scholars program at the University of California, San Diego. She is extremely passionate about journalism and science and hopes to combine them in her future as a physician. In her free time, Anokhi loves dancing, baking, and hanging out with her friends.
Anokhi Saklecha

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