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Computational Method Uses Gene Expression to Judge Patient Sepsis Risk

A computational method that analyzes gene expression in blood to stratify patients with acute infections and predict their clinical outcomes is reported in Science Translational Medicine this week. Dysregulated host immune responses to infection can result in sepsis, which triggers severe organ dysfunction and accounts for around 11 million deaths globally each year. As a result, there is an urgent need for effective ways to identify patients with dysfunctional immune profiles that are amenable to intervention. To that end, a group led by University of Oxford scientists used whole-blood transcriptomics data derived from patients with sepsis and healthy individuals to create a multi-gene-based quantitative sepsis response signature score that reflects immune dysfunction and the trajectory of a patient's infection. The researchers then integrated the score into a machine learning framework, dubbed SepstratifieR, which they show can identify dysfunctional immune profiles and predict outcomes in patients with bacterial and viral sepsis, influenza, and COVID-19. "In combination with clinical biomarkers, SepstratifieR could improve risk estimation of immune dysfunction and clinical outcomes, as well as inform clinical trial design, bringing us closer to precision medicine for severe infection," they write.

The Scan

ChatGPT Does As Well As Humans Answering Genetics Questions, Study Finds

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics had ChatGPT answer genetics-related questions, finding it was about 68 percent accurate, but sometimes gave different answers to the same question.

Sequencing Analysis Examines Gene Regulatory Networks of Honeybee Soldier, Forager Brains

Researchers in Nature Ecology & Evolution find gene regulatory network differences between soldiers and foragers, suggesting bees can take on either role.

Analysis of Ashkenazi Jewish Cohort Uncovers New Genetic Loci Linked to Alzheimer's Disease

The study in Alzheimer's & Dementia highlighted known genes, but also novel ones with biological ties to Alzheimer's disease.

Tara Pacific Expedition Project Team Finds High Diversity Within Coral Reef Microbiome

In papers appearing in Nature Communications and elsewhere, the team reports on findings from the two-year excursion examining coral reefs.