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Consistency Counts


While overall deaths from colon cancer have dropped in the UK, authorities are concerned about the variation in success rates between hospitals as reported in a recent study, writes the Guardian's James Meikle. The National Health Service is now considering publishing performance ratings for individual cancer surgeons, as they already do for heart surgeons, Meikle says. "Although the study suggests there have been improvements between 1998 (when the national 30-day mortality rate was 6.8 percent) and 2006 (when it was 5.8 percent), the 30-day mortality rate of 6.7 percent over the nine years was poor compared with figures from Scandinavian countries, Canada and the US, which range from 2.7 percent to 5.9 percent," he adds. The study also found that deaths were higher in certain groups like men and the elderly, and that death rates varied between medical centers. Understanding why these variations are occurring is now a priority for UK authorities, Meikle says, especially as 30-day mortality following bowel cancer surgery is considered a key measure of disease progression in patients.

The Scan

Myotonic Dystrophy Repeat Detected in Family Genome Sequencing Analysis

While sequencing individuals from a multi-generation family, researchers identified a myotonic dystrophy type 2-related short tandem repeat in the European Journal of Human Genetics.

TB Resistance Insights Gleaned From Genome Sequence, Antimicrobial Response Assays

Researchers in PLOS Biology explore M. tuberculosis resistance with a combination of sequencing and assays looking at the minimum inhibitory concentrations of 13 drugs.

Mendelian Disease Genes Prioritized Using Tissue-Specific Expression Clues

Mendelian gene candidates could be flagged for further functional analyses based on tissue-specific transcriptome and proteome profiles, a new Journal of Human Genetics paper says.

Single-Cell Sequencing Points to Embryo Mosaicism

Mosaicism may affect preimplantation genetic tests for aneuploidy, a single-cell sequencing-based analysis of almost three dozen embryos in PLOS Genetics finds.