February 5, 2010 at 10:22 am Comments (0)
According to a study a rare blood disorder that affects the immune system can now be detected through a newborn screen a powerful new weapon against the disorder which when left untreated can lead to life-threatening complications. Newborn DNA, when extracted from dried blood spots on newborn blood screen cards, can reveal the presence of these harmful T-cell lymphopenia an abnormally low level of vital infection-fighting white blood cells. Newborns and infants with the disorder may seem perfectly healthy at birth and don’t always have a family history of any immune disorders. In the past this was a major barrier in treating the disorder before it began to affect the child.
Early detection of the disorder can be the difference between leading a health life and living one complicated by the effects of the disorder and some vaccines that are given in early infancy can lead to serious infection in children with T-cell lymphopenia. During their study these researchers examined whether determining the number of T-cell receptor excision circles using the DNA from dried blood spots on newborn blood screening cards could detect the disorder in infants. 71,000 infants born in 2008 in Wisconsin were screened during the study using the TREC method. 17 of these full-term infants had some form of abnormal result 11 of which had samples further analyzed to detect the number of T cells. 8 of them were diagnosed with T-cell lymphopenia.
The test (which costs $5.50) returned a rate high enough to exceed the required incidence of disease to institute screening and now only a formal cost-effectiveness analysis is needed to evaluate the screen.
September 20, 2009 at 12:55 am Comments (0)
A new test made by the drug company Vermillion Inc. has been officially approved by the FDA. The blood test makes it possible to test ovarian cancer patients to determine whether the cancer cells of the patient are highly sensitive before either biopsy or exploratory surgery has been performed. OVA1 is thought to help both improve and personalize healthcare for the more than 20,000 women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year. Knowing the sensitivity of the cancer can help determine the best course of action in testing, treating and removing the cancer from these patients. It’s hoped that use of OVA1 will improve survival rates and the level of surgical complications involved for the cancer, which takes the lives of 15,000 of those who contract Ovarian cancer each year. OVA1 tests for levels of 5 proteins that are changed by ovarian cancer. Algorithms are then used to score the results between the levels of 0 and 10. These levels help to determine if the pelvic mass is malignant or benign.
September 9, 2009 at 6:52 pm Comments (0)
Alzheimer’s may cause the brain to become hyperactive in order to compensate for the effects of Alzheimer’s making it possible to detect the early signs of Alzheimer’s via MRI based on research by the Cleveland Clinic.
Research was done on 69 mentally healthy adults two thirds of which were considered at risk for getting Alzheimer’s due to family history and the presence of genetic markers. These subjects were asked if they recognized names of famous celebrities and people that were unfamiliar to them as they underwent an MRI scan. In those who had risk factors for developing Alzheimer’s the brain waves were higher in certain parts of the brain, a potential sign that the disease was in its early stages.
Using MRI to look for early signs of Alzheimer’s could help in the treatment process in which the major goal is to delay the onset by 5-10 years hopefully preventing the disease from becoming a problem before the patient has reached natural death.
September 6, 2009 at 6:41 pm Comment (1)
Laparoscopic testing has long been used to test for endometriosis, but a new less invasive and nonsurgical test has been proven to be just as effective. If the method is approved by the FDA after further study into its effectiveness it may in fact replace laparoscopy. This could be good news for women facing endometriosis as the sooner the disorder is diagnosed the sooner treatment can begin. Normally it takes about 6-10 years to verify if the disorder is present in sufferers, delaying treatment and allowing the effects of the disorder to take root, deteriorating quality of life.
There are some negative aspects to this method however as women who are receiving hormone treatment can’t use it since the endometrial tissue fibers the test looks for may not be present in those who have been using hormones. Biopsy technique is also terribly important to getting the correct results in the method. Overall however the testing could help many women to diagnose and treat the disorder before it can begin to do damage to the body by progressing.