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The Tuberculosis Problem

In India, it's quite common to be misdiagnosed with tuberculosis by unreliable health care workers at community clinics using less-than-accurate blood tests, says The New Yorker's Michael Specter. When these misdiagnosed patients take the antibiotics they're required to take for six months, they actually end up waking up any latent TB infection, only they've also made the TB drug resistant, and have a higher chance of passing it on to others and dying from it. However, Specter says a tool from Cepheid could help medical professionals in India accurately diagnose the disease, and even tell if a certain strain is drug resistant. Cepheid's GeneXpert works by analyzing the DNA of the organisms in a given sample — it's being used successfully in many hospitals. The challenge for Indian health officials lies in getting the technology to the more remote, and poorer, areas of the country that really need it, and teaching people how to use it, Specter says. Until a way can be found to accurately and successfully diagnose the disease on a consistent basis, he adds, bringing down the rate of the disease in India, especially among the poor, would be very difficult.

The Scan

Genetic Risk Factors for Hypertension Can Help Identify Those at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

Genetically predicted high blood pressure risk is also associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk, a new JAMA Cardiology study says.

Circulating Tumor DNA Linked to Post-Treatment Relapse in Breast Cancer

Post-treatment detection of circulating tumor DNA may identify breast cancer patients who are more likely to relapse, a new JCO Precision Oncology study finds.

Genetics Influence Level of Depression Tied to Trauma Exposure, Study Finds

Researchers examine the interplay of trauma, genetics, and major depressive disorder in JAMA Psychiatry.

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.