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Today's Headlines: February 13, 2018

Biological Agents & Infectious Diseases

Measles Cases in Europe Tripled Last Year ( CIDRAP) A total of 14,451 measles cases were reported to the European Surveillance System from 30 countries across the European Union in 2017, more than triple 2016's case count of 4,643. Go to article


Government Affairs & National Security

Trump Science Budget Sows Confusion ( Nature) US president makes last-minute decision to abandon proposal for major cuts to National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation and Department of Energy's science office. Go to article

Federal Research and Development Funding: FY2018 ( Congressional Research Service) President Trump's budget request for FY2018 includes $117.697 billion for R&D. This represents a $30.605 billion (20.6%) decrease from the FY2016 actual level of $148.302 billion (FY2017 enacted levels were not available at the time of publication). Adjusted for inflation, the President's FY2018 R&D request represents a constant dollar decrease of 23.6% from the FY2016 actual level. Go to article


Global Health Security

Our 2018 Annual Letter ( Gates Notes) We are outspoken about our optimism. These days, though, optimism seems to be in short supply. The headlines are filled with awful news. Every day brings a different story of political division, violence, or natural disaster. Despite the headlines, we see a world that's getting better. Go to article


Medicine & Public Health

Pediatrics: Influenza Associated Pediatric Deaths--US 2010-2016 ( Avian Flu Diary) Since reporting became mandatory after the high-severe flu season of 2003-04, yearly pediatric influenza deaths have ranged from a low of 35 during the 2011-2012 flu season to a high of 282 during the 2009-2010 H1N1 pandemic. Go to article

See also: Influenza-Associated Pediatric Deaths in the United States, 2010-2016 ( Pediatrics) We analyzed deaths in children aged less than 18 years with laboratory-confirmed influenza virus infection reported to the CDC during the 2010-2011 to 2015-2016 influenza seasons. Data were collected with a standard case report form that included demographics, medical conditions, and clinical diagnoses. Go to article

Amazon's Latest Ambition: To Be a Major Hospital Supplier ( The Wall Street Journal: subscription required) Amazon.com Inc. is pushing to turn its nascent medical-supplies business into a major supplier to US hospitals and outpatient clinics that could compete with incumbent distributors of items from gauze to hip implants. Go to article

Influenza A(H7N9) Virus Antibody Responses in Survivors 1 Year After Infection, China 2017 ( Emerging Infectious Diseases) Avian influenza A(H7N9) virus has caused 5 epidemic waves in China since its emergence in 2013. We investigated the dynamic changes of antibody response to this virus over 1 year postinfection in 25 patients in Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province, China, who had laboratory-confirmed infections during the 5th epidemic wave, Oct 1, 2016-February 14, 2017. Most survivors had relatively robust antibody responses that decreased but remained detectable at 1 year. Go to article

The Spectrum of Neurological Disease Associated with Zika and Chikungunya Viruses in Adults in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: A Case Series ( PLOS: Neglected Tropical Diseases) We studied adults who had developed a new neurological condition following suspected Zika virus infection between 1st November 2015 and 1st June 2016. Cerebrospinal fluid, serum, and urine were tested for evidence of Zika, chikungunya, and dengue viruses. Go to article


Science & Technology

Camels and Alpacas Have Special Antibodies. Now Researchers Can Make Them Yeast ( STAT News) One of the biggest obstacles to obtaining a special and prized kind of antibody is that you need to know someone with a camel. Fine. An alpaca would do as well. Go to article

Contribution of NIH Funding to New Drug Approvals 2010-2016 ( PNAS) This report shows that NIH funding contributed to published research associated with every one of the 210 new drugs approved by the FDA from 2010-2016. Collectively, this research involved greater than 200,000 years of grant funding totaling more than $100 billion. Go to article

Can This Company Convince You to Love GMOs? ( The Atlantic) Ginkgo Bioworks uses genetic engineering to make everything from fragrances to fertilizer--and it would like to reclaim the word "GMOs," please. Go to article

JASON: Artificial Intelligence for Health Care ( FAS) The field of artificial intelligence is habitually susceptible to exaggerated claims and expectations. But when it comes to new applications in health care, some of those claims may prove to be valid, says a new report from the JASON scientific advisory panel. Go to article

Dirt Yields Potent Antibiotics ( Nature) Microorganisms found in dirt have yielded antibiotics that can kill pathogens resistant to multiple drugs. One gram of soil contains at least 1,000 bacterial species. To explore the medical potential of that diversity, Sean Brady at the Rockefeller University in New York City and his colleagues analysed roughly 2,000 soil samples collected across the US. Go to article

2017 Was the Year Consumer DNA Testing Blew Up ( MIT Technology Review) The number of people who have had their DNA analyzed with direct-to-consumer genetic genealogy tests more than doubled during 2017 and now exceeds 12 million, according to industry estimates. Go to article


Other 21st Century Threats

Stop Saying 'Smart Cities' ( The Atlantic) The term "smart city" is interesting yet not important, because nobody defines it. "Smart" is a snazzy political label used by a modern alliance of leftist urbanites and tech industrialists. To deem yourself "smart" is to make the NIMBYites and market-force people look stupid. Go to article
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