Morning Rounds Shraddha Chakradhar

Happy Monday, everyone! I'm very excited to be taking over Morning Rounds, so without further ado, here's what's happening in health and medicine today.

CDC chief to visit DRC as Ebola outbreak rages on

CDC Director Robert Redfield is expected to visit the Democratic Republic of the Congo this week, as the country continues to battle what has become the second largest Ebola outbreak in history. It is a rare trip to the country by a U.S. official, and Redfield will be accompanied by WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Security concerns forced the CDC to pull outbreak response workers from the DRC last year, and dangerous conditions continue. Last week, two medical groups in charge of operations in the outbreak zone withdrew their personnel following attacks on two Ebola treatment centers. So far, 894 people have been infected in the outbreak, and 561 have died.

Teen who received vaccinations against parents' wishes invited to Senate hearing

An Ohio teen who gained notoriety after defying his parents' wishes and receiving vaccinations once he turned 18 will testify tomorrow at a Senate HELP Committee hearing on preventable disease outbreaks. In a video posted to YouTube on Saturday, Ethan Lindenberger says he'll be “addressing misinformation that causes these outbreaks.” His announcement comes amid a nationwide measles outbreak that has sickened dozens, many of whom were unvaccinated children. Washington state public health officials said over the weekend that there are now 70 confirmed cases in Clark County, while Oregon officials have confirmed four cases related to that outbreak.

Machine learning program classifies subtypes of lung cancer on par with pathologists

A new machine learning algorithm can help distinguish among the different subtypes of the most common form of lung cancer, which could lead to more accurate and faster diagnoses. Right now, trained pathologists look over slides of cancerous lung tissue in order to make the classifications, but the process can be time-consuming and highly subjective. Researchers at Dartmouth University’s cancer center tested the machine learning program against the diagnoses of three pathologists. Of the more than 140 slides that were tested, the program agreed with the pathologists’ conclusions nearly 70 percent of the time. But the researchers note that the data were from only one cancer center, and the technology needs more study before it reaches the clinic.

Inside STAT: Voice-recognition system promises to automate data entry during office visits

Hyacinth Empinado/STAT

A speech-recognition software company is hoping to help doctors with the part of the patient visit they complain about the most: filling out an electronic health record during and after the visit. To cut down on the work involved, Nuance is testing a system that can listen in on and transcribe the doctor-patient conversation, then upload key portions of that into a medical record. “All the care team has to do is focus on the patient, listen to the conversation, and take action,” says Nuance's Ken Harper. The technology, if validated, would be a significant development in the use of voice technology in clinical care. STAT’s Casey Ross has the full story here.

1 in 4 older adults report feelings of isolation

One-quarter of adults between the ages of 50 and 80 feel isolated from others, and 1 in 3 report a lack of companionship, according to a new national poll from the University of Michigan. Previous research has found that feeling socially isolated can negatively impact health, including increased stress and an elevated risk of dementia or suicide. In the survey of nearly 2,000 adults, more than a quarter of those who reported feeling isolated also reported being in fair or poor health. The poll’s authors say encouraging and supporting meaningful social connections and more frequent interactions is one way to combat isolation and subsequent health effects.

Vote on the most exciting research in biomedicine

Voting for the third annual STAT Madness, our bracket-style tournament to find the best innovations in science and medicine, kicks off today. We received a record number of entries this year that were whittled down to 64 finalists. Check out the pioneering research happening all across the country, and then pick your favorites to help us name a winner!

What to read around the web today

  • England to start offering free sanitary products to hospital patients. The New York Times
  • Opinion: I've seen the culture of sexual harassment at NIH. The agency needs to do more than simply apologize. STAT
  • Intravenous vitamin therapy gets the celebrity treatment, but doctors warn of its effects. The Guardian
  • Underdiagnosed eating disorders in males begin to be identified. NPR 
  • People drawn to conspiracy theories share psychological features. Scientific American

Thanks for reading my first-ever Morning Rounds! More tomorrow,


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Monday, March 4, 2019


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