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Collins, the "Irrepressible Optimist"

Case Western's Neil Greenspan says his issue with Francis Collins as NIH director doesn't deal with Collins' scientific or political skills or even his religious views. Rather, Greenspan is concerned that Collins is an "irrepressible optimist", as a news story in Science recently called him. Writing in The Scientist, Greenspan goes through a few statements made by Collins that he says oversell science. "The director of NIH should be a reliable and realistic source of medical information if the entire biomedical research enterprise is to remain credible," Greenspan writes. "Therefore, in the future, Dr. Collins should harness his intellect to control his enthusiasm so that he is more realistic in his public pronouncements regarding improvements in medical care that will undoubtedly develop in part from new insights into human genetics and genomics." Bring on the dour pessimism, please.

The Scan

UCLA Team Reports Cost-Effective Liquid Biopsy Approach for Cancer Detection

The researchers report in Nature Communications that their liquid biopsy approach has high specificity in detecting all- and early-stage cancers.

Machine Learning Improves Diagnostic Accuracy of Breast Cancer MRI, Study Shows

Combining machine learning with radiologists' interpretations further increased the diagnostic accuracy of MRIs for breast cancer, a Science Translational Medicine paper finds.

Genome Damage in Neurons Triggers Alzheimer's-Linked Inflammation

Neurons harboring increased DNA double-strand breaks activate microglia to lead to neuroinflammation like that seen in Alzheimer's disease, a new Science Advances study finds.

Long COVID-19 Susceptibility Clues Contained in Blood Plasma Proteome

A longitudinal study in eBioMedicine found weeks-long blood plasma proteome shifts after SARS-CoV-2 infection, along with proteomic signatures that appeared to coincide with long Covid risk.