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Money Down the Drain?


In New York City, the Brain Tumor Foundation has been offering free MRIs of the brain, reports The Wall Street Journal's Katherine Hobson. And as The New York Times notes, the Foundation has received almost $2 million from the New York City Council since 2005 in order to continue these screens. But is it wasted money? There is no medical evidence that shows that screening the brains of healthy, asymptomatic people does anything useful, Hobson says. And there is a "growing awareness" that more screening isn't always a good thing, she adds. While there's certainly nothing wrong with trying to find cancer early, screening can pick up anomalies that would never amount to anything and could mean patients end up being treated unnecessarily, and subjected to dangerous side effects of these treatments for no good reason. Neither the American Cancer Society nor the US Preventive Service Task Force recommend screening healthy people for brain tumors, Hobson says.

The Scan

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.

Team Presents Cattle Genotype-Tissue Expression Atlas

Using RNA sequences representing thousands of cattle samples, researchers looked at relationships between cattle genotype and tissue expression in Nature Genetics.

Researchers Map Recombination in Khoe-San Population

With whole-genome sequences for dozens of individuals from the Nama population, researchers saw in Genome Biology fine-scale recombination patterns that clustered outside of other populations.

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.