Scientist to Use “Big Data” in Coronary Disease Research: Dr. Calum McRae will use “big data” to research heart disease after receiving the “One Brave Idea” research award. The American Heart Association, the Verily Life Sciences unit of Alphabet and AstraZeneca presented the award to McRae, which grants him $75 million to use toward his research. McRae plans to track volunteers’ sleep, activity and stress data, using wearable technology. Verily will analyze the data using artificial intelligence to investigate why around half of coronary heart disease patients do not have an identified risk factor. (STAT News)
Link Between Bacteria in Women’s Breasts and Risk of Breast Cancer: Microbiologists and Immunologists from Western University in Ontario, Canada, discovered a link between the type of bacteria in women’s breasts and the risk of breast cancer. After analyzing bacterial DNA samples from women who underwent treatment for tumors and healthy women, the researchers found elevated levels of certain strains of bacteria including Enterobacteriaceae, Staphylococcus and Bacillus. Researchers are currently trying to determine whether the bacteria can cause cancer and whether the number of bacteria fluctuates because of cancer. (PBS – NOVA Next)
Study Finds Hospital You Go to Can Increase Life: A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that life expectancy can improve based on the hospital at which patients seek treatment. Researchers studied Medicare records and concluded that around 17 years after a heart attack, average life expectancy was nine to 14 months longer in heart attack patients who were treated in hospitals rated high on quality measures than those that at low-rated ones. Patients can use Medicare’s website, hospitalcompare.gov, to analyze hospitals in their area. The study was funded by the National Institute of Health. (STAT News)
Humans are Approaching Biological Age Limit: Researchers from Albert Einstein College of Medicine determined that life expectancy will most likely not increase and that it is “incredibly unlikely” that a human can live beyond 125 years. After analyzing data from the U.S., United Kingdom, France and Japan, the scientists concluded that the increase in maximum life expectancy was attained in the 1990’s. Other experts find the report’s conclusions scientifically sound, but question whether humans are approaching a life expectancy limit. (CNN)
Public Health Labs Look to Federal Funding in Improving Zika Tests: Pregnant women who are tested for the Zika virus often wait for a month to receive test results back from state public health labs where blood samples are screened. The U.S. Congress has approved $1.1 billion in emergency funding to toward combating the Zika virus, some of which will be provided to local labs. Other than improving the testing efficiency, the Department of Human and Health Services also plans to invest some of the funding into using a more precise test. (NPR)
Karishma B. Desai is an emerging broadcast journalist interested in covering health, international and public interest stories. Desai is currently studying her M.S. in Journalism at Boston University. She also freelances as a web producer at New England Cable News. She hopes to use her skills in journalism to shed light on issues regarding mental health and disparities in health outcomes. In her free time, she enjoys dancing, chugging coffee, reading, writing and exercising.
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