Sept. 1, 2009





70% of U.S. kids lacking in vitamin D.
Seven out of 10 children in
the United States have low levels of vitamin D, raising their risk of
bone and heart disease, according to a study by researchers at Albert
Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. More than 50 million
children (or 60% of the U.S. pediatric population) get insufficient
vitamin D, and another 7.6 million (9%) suffer from more severe
deficiency, according to the study published in the online edition of
. Only 4% of U.S. children had gotten the recommended
supplemental dosage of vitamin D (400 IU per day) for the preceding 30
days To determine the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency
(25-hydroxyvitamin D less than 15 ng/mL of blood) and insufficiency (15
ng/mL to 29 ng/mL), researchers analyzed data on more than 6,000
children, ages 1 to 21. Low vitamin-D levels were especially common in
children who were older, female, African-American, Mexican-American,
obese, and those who drank milk less than once a week or spent more than
four hours a day watching TV, playing video games, or using computers.

High cholesterol raises dementia risk.
Elevated cholesterol levels in midlife — even levels considered only
borderline elevated — increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease and
vascular dementia later in life, according to researchers at Kaiser
Permanente's Division of Research and the University of Kuopio in
Finland. The four-decade study of 9,844 men and women, published Aug. 4,
2009, in Dementia & Geriatrics Cognitive Disorders, found that
participants — who were 40 to 45 years old when their cholesterol levels
were first collected — with high cholesterol (240 or higher mg/dL) had a
66% greater risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. People with
borderline-high cholesterol (200 mg/dL to 239 mg/dL) had a 25% greater

40% of Americans could get H1N1. The
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that up to
40% of Americans could be infected with novel influenza A/ H1N1 through
next year, and several hundred thousand could die if the United States
fails to implement a successful vaccine campaign, USA TODAY
reports. Health officials say cases of the novel H1N1 flu are expected
to increase substantially after school begins. The Advisory Committee on
Immunization Practices recommends pregnant women, healthcare workers,
and children 6 months and older be the first to be vaccinated against
the novel H1N1 flu. Parents, caregivers, non-elderly adults with
high-risk health conditions, and young adults between 19 and 24 years
old also are included on the list. A novel H1N1 vaccine is expected to
be available by late October, according to government estimates.

New Studies

Oxygen levels in prostate tumors predict
Researchers at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia have
discovered that low-oxygen regions in prostate tumors can be used to
predict a rise in PSA levels, a marker of tumor recurrence in prostate
cancer. Researchers used a custom-built probe to monitor the amount of
oxygen that prostate tumors and non-cancerous muscle tissue were
receiving. They used this probe on 57 patients with low or intermediate
risk of cancer just before the patients received a form of localized
radiation therapy. The scientists then tracked the patients over time,
looking for a correlation between the amounts of oxygen levels in the
prostate tumor relative to the muscle tissue at the time of therapy and
later the increase in PSA levels. Eight of the 57 patients experienced
an increase in PSA levels following prostate-cancer treatment. Overall,
average muscle oxygenation was 12.5 times higher than that of the tumor.
Using a statistical model that accounted for such risk factors as tumor
grade, PSA level, and tumor size, the team determined that hypoxia (low
oxygen) was a significant independent predictor of an increase in PSA

Gene variants linked to survival advantage in
African-Americans with HIV.
New research suggests that
African-Americans with HIV have a unique survival advantage if they have
both a low white blood cell (WBC) count (leukopenia) and a genetic
variation found mainly in persons of African ancestry. The study,
published July 20, 2009, in Blood, shows that African-Americans
with HIV who possess both a variation in the gene for the Duffy antigen
receptor for chemokine (DARC) and leukopenia have slower HIV-to-AIDS
progression rates than HIV-infected European-Americans with leukopenia.
The researchers tested for the presence of the DARC variation and
evaluated patients' WBC counts from diagnosis and throughout the course
of the disease. The prevalence of leukopenia at the time of diagnosis
was significantly higher in African-Americans (28%) than in
European-Americans (15%), or other ethnicities (13%). The average WBC
counts were also significantly lower during the course of the disease in
African-Americans with HIV than in other ethnicities.

Infectious diseases

New HIV strain discovered. French
scientists report that a woman in the West African nation of Cameroon
carries a new strain of the AIDS virus. The 62-year-old woman, diagnosed
with HIV in 2004, has not developed symptoms of AIDS even though she is
not being treated with medication. The new strain differs from the three
known strains of HIV related to the simian virus that occurs in
chimpanzees; the new strain appears to be closely related to a form
recently discovered in wild gorillas, researchers report in Nature

“Mouse hospital” shows antibiotics increase
C diff

New research suggests that antibiotic treatment could be
asymptomatically inducing the transmission of the healthcare-acquired
Clostridium difficile. A team of scientists has mirrored the
infection cycle of C diff by generating a “mouse hospital” with
conditions mimicking the human environment. When the scientists treated
mice with antibiotics, the balance of the microbial ecosystem was
disrupted. Because C diff is resistant to many antibiotics, the
bacterium was able to exploit the opportunity and proliferate where
other bacteria succumbed to the antibiotics. This allowed the C diff
to flourish and dominate the microbiota of the mouse. A Cambridge, U.K.,
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute researcher says mice carrying C diff
shed low levels of spores and did not infect other mice, but mice
treated with antibiotics showed a dramatic rise in the levels of spores
shed, leading to transmission of C diff among mice. The study
also indicates that transmission occurs even in the absence of clinical


Urine test may detect smokers' lung-cancer

Scientists at the University of Minnesota examined urine samples of
smokers and found that those with the highest urine levels of two
tobacco metabolites had a higher risk of developing lung cancer. Smokers
with the highest urine levels of the tobacco metabolite NNAL had a
twofold increased risk of developing lung cancer. When the researchers
also included the levels of cotinine in the urine, they found those with
the highest levels of both NNAL and cotinine were 8.5 times more likely
to develop cancer.

Urine test for chlamydia effective in men.
A new rapid urine test offers a quick and painless way to diagnose
chlamydia in men, according to a study published in the British
Medical Journal
on July 28, 2009. In a search for an alternative to
the conventional nucleic-acid-amplification-based tests, such as the
polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, researchers tested 1,200 men and
found that the urine test can pick up signs of chlamydia in men within
an hour. The rapid test had high levels of sensitivity (82.6%) and
specificity (98.5%).

Blood test predicts damage from head injury.
A blood test may be able to help predict the seriousness of a head
injury and detect the status of the blood-brain barrier, according to
two recently published studies involving University of Rochester Medical
Center researchers. Reported online in the March 3, 2009, issue of the
Journal of
, the S-100B test can relay critical information about
how the blood-brain barrier is functioning after a head injury. Previous
studies have demonstrated that the S-100B serum protein biomarker
increased rapidly after an injury. If measured within four hours of the
injury, the S-100B test accurately predicts which head-injury patients
will have a traumatic abnormality such as hemorrhage or skull fracture
on a head CT scan.


OhioHealth receives patient-safety award.
OhioHealth, Columbus, OH, has been awarded a McKesson VIP Patient Safety
award for the use of a broad range of clinical solutions that ensure
greater safety in its medication and laboratory processes, including
decreasing the incidence of mislabeled blood specimens by 98%, while
saving more than $400,000. OhioHealth, a not-for-profit healthcare
organization consisting of hospitals, health and surgery centers,
home-health services, and medical-equipment providers, has also reduced
medication errors by 92% overall and cut patient-identification errors
by 20%. McKesson's annual VIP Award recognizes healthcare organizations
that use healthcare information technology to improve quality, safety,
and efficiency by giving each of five organizations a trophy and a
$10,000 grant for its foundation or charity of choice.

Infectious-disease specialist receives Medal of Honor. Joseph Steven Cervia, MD, senior vice president and global medical director for Pall Life Sciences, has received the 2009 Alumni Medal of Honor from the Board of Governors of New York Medical College. The award was presented in recognition of Dr. Cervia's contributions as a physician, educator, scientist, and researcher in the field of infectious disease. At Pall Life Sciences, Dr. Cervia has focused on supporting a variety of filtration solutions for infectious diseases. These include point-of-use water filters that screen out dangerous waterborne microbes such as
; breathing circuit and IV filters that act as effective barriers to contamination; and technologies that make blood transfusions safer and donor blood more readily available. In pursuing his distinguished career as an infectious-disease specialist, Dr. Cervia has focused on HIV/AIDS research and treatment.

Sept. 16-19. COLA and the University of
Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health will sponsor a Symposium
for Clinical Laboratories, “An Interactive Experience in Quality,” at
the Buena Vista Palace Orlando. The symposium (formerly known as the POL
Symposium) is designed to meet education and networking needs of
physicians and healthcare professionals in the office laboratory
industry, while providing CEUs and CMEs, including those designed to
meet the State of Florida's requirements for laboratory professionals.

Sept. 23-25. “Lab Institute” in Arlington,
VA, will cover all sides of the healthcare policy reform debate and the
bottom line for future lab testing coverage and payment. President
Obama's new regulatory paradigm, and the changing FDA agenda for
laboratory developed tests and genetic testing will also be addressed.
See more at

Sept. 29-30. “Lab Quality Confab” at the
Atlanta Hilton is dedicated to advancing the knowledge, skills, and
effectiveness of quality-management practitioners in diagnostic
medicine, with various programs on QM techniques such as LEAN, Six
Sigma, and ISO 15189. Go to


Oct. 1-2. “Molecular Pathology Essentials:
Diagnosis and Targeted Therapy” at the Hotel Scandic Copenhagen,
Denmark, includes topics such as molecular diagnostic testing for
genetic disorders, various cancers, complex diseases, hemoglobinopathies,
pharmacogenetics, laboratory management, regulations, and a look at the
future of molecular testing. Visit


Oct. 2-7. National Society for
Histotechnology's 35th Annual Symposium and Convention at the
Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex in Birmingham, AL, is an event for
leaders in histology to learn new methods, share best practices, and preview
the latest industry vendors have to offer. Visit

Oct. 9. The North Carolina State Laboratory of
Public Health's annual NC Clinical Laboratory Day educational conference,
“Four Cornerstones of World-Class Phlebotomy,” at Wake Technical Community
College in Raleigh will include four lectures: protecting yourself from
phlebotomy-related lawsuits; preventing preanalytical errors; exposure
prevention; and customer-service checkup. Featured speaker is Dennis Ernst
of the Center for Phlebotomy Education and MLO editorial advisory
board member. Register at

Oct. 11-14. “CAP '09 – The Pathologists'
Meeting” at the Gaylord National Resort, Washington, DC, offers more than 90
courses covering AP, CP, practice management, breast and gynecologic
pathology, and self-assessment modules. Check out the courses at

Oct. 22-23.  AACC's “Laboratory Automation:
Integrating Quality with Efficiency” at the Shangri-La Hotel in Kuala
Lumpur, Malaysia, includes industry workshops and presentations that compare
and contrast different approaches to automation to demonstrate how to select
and implement an automation project. Visit


Oct. 24-27. AABB's Annual Meeting and TXPO
2009 for transfusion and cellular-therapy professionals will take place at
New Orleans' Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. The event will feature 130
educational sessions and nearly 200 exhibitors. Go to
www.aabb.org for more

Oct. 27 – 28. AACC's 10th Anniversary Laboratory Automation Conference in Kansas City, MO, features top automation experts to teach you how to: optimize your laboratory systems through innovative software solutions; use automation and data management to maximize your workforce resources and increase lab efficiency; amplify lab ROI through strategic implementation of quality techniques; and apply middleware solutions to strengthen process control. Learn more at

Oct. 29-30. Join top experts at “Lab
Automation: Finding the Right Fit for Your Lab” at the Little America Hotel
in Salt Lake City for tips and strategies for lab automation projects, and
tours of the ARUP automated laboratories. This conference is
supported in part by education grants from Sysmex America.



Nov. 5-6. “Translating Novel Biomarkers to
Clinical Practice: Role and Opportunities for the Clinical Laboratory” in
Bethesda, MD, will feature discussions of clinical proteomics, biomarker
discovery, co-development of therapeutic compounds and proteomic assays,
regulation of proteomic technologies, and developments in standardization.
Go to


Nov. 19-22. The Association for Molecular
Pathology 2009 Annual Meeting at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention
Center, Kissimmee, FL, will cover the major areas of clinical molecular
diagnostics: hematopathology, infectious diseases, inherited genetic
diseases, solid tumors, and technical topics. Visit

Dec. 5-8. The American Society of Hematology's
51st annual meeting at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New
Orleans, offers dozens of sessions covering the breadth of hematology,
including nanotechnology, complementary medicine, emergency preparedness,
and the impact of healthcare disparities on patient outcomes based on
factors such as race, socioeconomic status, geography, and age. See more at

Jan. 29-30, 2010.  The 17th
Annual First Coast Infectious Disease/Clinical Microbiology Symposium will
be held at the Renaissance Resort at World Golf Village, St. Augustine, FL.
 To access program and register online go to  

.   Contact Diane C. Halstead, PhD,
904-202-2166 for more information.


Sept. 16, 1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m. CST.
“Panel Discussion: Opportunities and Pitfalls of Implementing a QMS from
Early Adopters.” Gain firsthand experience from a panel of CAP 15189 early
adopters. For more information, visit

John D. Tamerius, Ph.D. reviews basics of the rapid
influenza test, including sample collection, how to run the test, how to
read the results, mistakes that may occur, and ways to maximize performance

“Weathering the Storm: Surviving and Succeeding in
Today's Economy,” part of an AACC Executive Thought Leadership Series
supported exclusively by Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics contains the audio
and PowerPoint presentation in a synchronized format. This webinar is now
available at no charge at


“Demystifying Clinical Use of Cardiac Markers:
Troponin and Natriuretic Peptides” addresses the variety of factors that
affect the clinical utility of troponin and natriuretic peptides. Learn how
these variables affect tests and know how best to use them clinically. Two
sessions include “Demystifying Troponin” and “Demystifying Natriuretic
Peptides.” Links to free programs are at


Nov. 4, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. ET. “Slaying Sepsis: Saving Lives with Faster and Better Treatment,” part of Instrumentation Laboratory's
ILluminations Webinar Series, offers information on the early diagnosis of sepsis and septic shock with Jeffrey C. Fried, MD, an expert in critical care medicine, who will discuss the relationship between rapid treatment and mortality, including the use of lactate measurements in early diagnosis. Register for this free webinar at
www.ilus.com/illuminations .


Sept. 15. 1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m. “Stop
Bad Behavior: Healthcare Performance Reviews That Work”

Discover how to make the most of the
performance-review process to change staff behavior. Learn how to use
performance reviews effectively, manage communication, handle different
personalities, and avoid common performance-review mistakes. Visit


Sept. 17, 2:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m. EST.
“The ABCs of Vitamin D Testing” will present the latest technologies
used to test for vitamin D deficiency, how to manage the analytical
challenges involved in performing these assays, and what the future
holds for reimbursement. Visit


Order the recording of “Automated Histology in
the Clinical Laboratory: Best Practices and New Technologies” at

. This session offers an
in-depth view of emerging technologies that are transforming the
clinical histology market. Learn about new histological assays and
improved technology, and gain an understanding of what pitfalls to avoid
when integrating new technologies.

Order the CD of “How to Achieve Cost Savings for
Your Lab by Analyzing Test Utilization Patterns” at

. This presentation
describes how laboratories can save shave hundreds of thousands of
dollars every year by identifying and eliminating expensive tests that
are of little to no clinical value.

Go to

to learn how to start
up and operate a molecular diagnostics lab with “Molecular 101: Starting
Up and Running a Molecular Lab — Workshop DVD.”

Oct.7 – 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. ET.JUPITER and Beyond: The Future of hsCRP in Assessing CVD Risk.” Attend this audioconference to learn how your lab can optimize the high-sensitivity CRP (hsCRP) assays that measure the typically low concentrations of CRP that may suggest impending cardiac dysfunction. Learn more at
www.aacc.org/events/meetings/Pages/5707.aspx .

Oct.13 – 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. ET.Health Care Reform and the Clinical Laboratory.” Congress is working on legislation that would overhaul the entire health-delivery system, including laboratory operations. If enacted, this bill may significantly impact testing volume, utilization patterns, coverage policy, laboratory reimbursement, and more. Learn what these changes may mean for the laboratory community. Register at


Sept. 17, 1:00 p.m-2:00 p.m. EST.
“Real-life Competency Assessment and Training Strategies That Work.”

Sept. 24, 1:00 p.m-2:00 p.m. EST.
“Bad Bugs Need Drugs: Challenges of AST for Staphylococcus
(MS05)” is focused on practical laboratory practices and strategies for
antimicrobial-susceptibility testing of resistant Staphylococcus
infections. Visit

Oct. 1, 1:00 p.m-2:00 p.m. EST.
“Practical Solutions for Laboratory Documents and Records” provides
strategies, examples, and practical applications to enhance laboratory
documents and records processes, drawn on theory from CLSI guidelines
GP26, GP02, and GP21. Visit

March 25, 2010. ”

MRSA: Understanding the Real Issues Beyond the Media Hype
” will
discuss principles, practices, and potential problems in screening for
MRSA, including characteristics of MRSA isolates and methods of
detecting MRSA in samples; interventions to halt transmission of MRSA;
and public-health aspects of MRSA transmission. For more information go