Daily ReCAP April 13, 2017

April 13th 2017
Lauren Santye, Assistant Editor
Lauren Santye, Assistant Editor

The latest news on chronic, acute, and preventive care across the health care landscape.

Chronic: Drivers of Reactivation of Latent Herpes Simplex Virus

Scientists have identified a set of protein complexes recruited to viral genes and simulate initial infection and reactivation of latent herpes simplex virus (HSV). In a study published inCell Host & Microbe, investigators identified new roles that HCF-1 protein complexes play in initiating viral infection and reactivation. In a mouse model, the investigators found they could reactivate latent HSV using compounds that turn on components of the HCF-1 protein complexes. Additionally, the investigators found that some of the HCF-1 associated proteins were also involved in HIV reactivation from latency. The authors noted that although the findings show promise, more research needs to be done.

Acute: Short-Term Steroid Use Increases Rate of Serious Health Threats

In a study published in theBritish Medical Journal, investigators found that patients who took oral corticosteroids were more likely to break a bone, have a potentially dangerous blood clot, or have a life-threatening bout of sepsis in the months after treatment, compared with similar adults who didn’t use corticosteroids. For the study, investigators used data from 1.5 million non-elderly American adults with private insurance. One of 5 filled a short-term prescription for oral corticosteroids such as prednisone “sometimes” in the 3-year study period. The results of the study showed that serious adverse effects were highest in the first 30 days after a prescription and that they remained elevated even 3 months later. The authors stress the need for better education of prescribers and the public about the potential risks and the most appropriate uses and doses for short-term use of steroids.

Preventive: Novel Chip Seeks to Minimize Premature Births

Scientists are hoping that their newly developed palm-sized chip will minimize babies’ chances of being born preterm. The integrated microfluidic device is designed to predict a woman’s risk for future giving preterm birth, with up to 90% accuracy. “It’s like we’re shrinking a whole laboratory and fitting it into one small microchip,” said lead author Mukul Sonker. The goal of the device is to use a tiny sample of blood to measure a panel of 9 identified preterm birth biomarkers. In a study published inElectrophoresis, the investigators created the chip and a system for preconcentrating and separating biomarkers on it. The device is small, fast, and cheap, and investigators said that once fully developed, it will help make detecting biomarkers a simple, automated task. The estimated annual costs associated with preterm birth in the United States is close to $30 billion. “There are a lot of preterm babies who don’t survive: if we could get them to survive and thrive, it would be a huge gain to society,” said co-author Adam Woolley.

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