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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Morning Rounds by Megan Thielking

Welcome to Wednesday, and welcome to Morning Rounds, where I bring you the day's big news in health and medicine. 

Cancer summit convenes with a welcome from Carol Burnett

Vice President Joe Biden's cancer moonshot initiative hosts a major summit today in D.C., and the festivities will get underway with welcoming remarks from comedian Carol Burnett. Burnett has a special interest in the initiative — her daughter, Carrie Hamilton, died at age 38 of lung and brain cancer. The Obama administration will roll out a new initiative today at the summit to speed up the process for scientists trying to access experimental drugs for research purposes. They'll also announce plans to partner with foundations and the private sector to fund more research. More on what's expected and the summit today here, and for perspectives on the moonshot from major players in health care, read this

A lesson in how to give and receive gifts, courtesy of the FDA

You no longer have to debate whether it’s OK to send your favorite federal regulator a set of flatware or new salt and pepper shakers. The FDA is rolling out new draft guidelines on how to give gifts to the FDA. They’re also laying out when employees can accept them; they’re not supposed to take gifts from donors demanding special privileges or benefits. It’s a “case-by-case” determination, the FDA says, though they haven’t noted whether they’ll require employees to send out thank-you cards. Want to give the agency suggestions on where to register? The guidelines are open for comments here.

How therapeutic stem cells work like master escape artists

Hug it out. (ALICE MACGREGOR HARVEY, NC STATE UNIVERSITY)

Therapeutic stem cells, used in treatments including bone marrow transplants, sidle out of the bloodstream in a way that's surprising to scientists. Researchers previously thought that stem cells exited the blood vessels the way white blood cells do, by shape-shifting to squeeze past the endothelial cells lining the edges of blood vessels. But in a new imaging study, researchers saw that those endothelial cells are taking a much more active role in the process. The membranes on the edges of endothelial cells stretch out to hug the stem cell, and ten, they propel it out of the blood vessel. Read about the discovery in Stem Cells

Inside STAT: Caitlyn Jenner on working with the medical community 

(ADRIAN SANCHEZ-GONZALEZ/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

Caitlyn Jenner recently chatted with STAT executive editor Rick Berke to share her thoughts on mental health in the transgender community, among other subjects. She has a strong message for doctors interacting with transgender patients: "Do your homework." She said there's a wealth of information out there on providing health care to transgender individuals, but doctors need to seek it out and use it. "These kids are emotionally delicate. In some cases, even if you do everything right you can still lose them," Jenner said. Read the full interview with her here

Complex rehab doesn't improve outcomes in respiratory patients

A therapy designed to reduce recovery time for patients with acute respiratory failure doesn’t actually do so, according to a new study in JAMA. Patients with the condition often need a ventilator to assist their breathing, and require physical therapy to recover their strength. Researchers looked at 300 patients recovering from the illness, some of whom received standard ICU care, involving as-needed physical therapy (which lasted, on average, one day). Others received a newer intervention, called standardized rehabilitation therapy, which included scheduled physical therapy and other exercise (which lasted, on average, five days). There wasn't much difference: Patients in both groups ended up staying in the hospital for an average of 10 days, and six months out, their outcomes were similar. 

Experts weigh in on how to treat lethal pediatric cancer

There aren't many treatment options available for children diagnosed with a type of brain cancer known as DIPG, and today, experts are convening to figure out how to address that. DIPG patients have an average life expectancy of just 9 months after diagnosis; only 10 percent of patients survive two years. Chemo often doesn't work, and surgery is often too risky. That means some patients and their families have turned to controversial treatments because there aren't other options left. Today, medical experts gather with FDA officials to figure out if there are ways to harness precision medicine to attack those tumors, and if so, what risk it runs for patients. More here

Indian Health Service seeks ideas on reducing youth suicides

The Indian Health Service is soliciting research proposals that could help prevent suicides among indigenous teens. The suicide rate among Native American and Alaskan Native individuals between ages 18 and 24 is twice as high as the rate among the general population, and they want ideas for early prevention efforts to knock those numbers down. The grants will be given on a four-year funding cycle, and you can read more about the application process here

What to read around the web today

  • Drug and device makers find receptive audience at Southern, for-profit hospitals. ProPublica
  • Device converts cerebral palsy patient's humming noises into expressions. Toronto Star
  • States offer privacy protection for young adults on parents' health insurance. NPR
  • This woman knows how to fly a plane, but can't remember her husband. Discover

More reads from STAT

Thanks for reading! More tomorrow,

Megan

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