NIH Director Francis Collins recently remarked that research involving animals remains "crucial to our understanding of how biology works," and 91% of Americans polled say it's important to develop better medicines. "Breakthroughs from the germ theory of disease to the polio vaccine to the 25 most prescribed medications in America have all relied on research with the animal model," writes National Association for Biomedical Research President Matthew Bailey.
David Wagner works with the local public health department in Flagstaff, Ariz., on a study of plague in prairie dogs in his Biosafety Level 3 lab at Northern Arizona University's Pathogen and Microbiome Institute. The bacterium that causes plague is transmitted via flea bites from the rodent colonies, which can be totally wiped out by the disease, to other mammals -- including humans.
The Health Information Trust Alliance has updated its Common Security Framework and plans to release the ninth edition in August. The CSF now includes the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Cybersecurity Framework's objectives and integrates control requirements demonstrating HIPAA compliance based on a review of audit protocols from the HHS Office for Civil Rights.
A National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report warns the health care sector about the possibility of a cyberattack against the US power grid and advises hospitals and state regulators to do more to ensure that power outages would not disrupt health care services. Researchers urge state regulators to conduct "more regular and systematic testing" of backup generators at hospitals because these have failure rates that are 10 times higher than that of the nuclear industry.
Technology company Fluency released version 5.5 of its Security Analytics and Orchestration solution to offer health care organizations better network security protection against cyberattacks. The tool automates security event data through the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence, arranging and merging event information and removing duplicated data in real time.
Eight macaques injected weekly with an experimental nucleoside reverse transcriptase translocation inhibitor were protected from a simian HIV, according to a study presented at an International AIDS Society conference. Moreover, a single dose of the drug lowered viral load in six people with HIV, according to the paper.
National AIDS Treatment and Advocacy Project (7/23)
Findings from rodent studies, new observations of alleles linked to autism and a neuroimaging study of high-risk siblings of autistic children "suggest a conceptual framework for the early, post-natal development of autism," write Dr. Joseph Piven and colleagues. "A better understanding of the timing of developmental brain and behavior mechanisms in autism during infancy, a period which precedes the emergence of the defining features of this disorder, will likely have important implications for designing rational approaches to early intervention," the authors write.
Unlike humans, who have variable diets, lifestyles, genetics and environmental exposures, animal models are predictable, and it takes far fewer animals than humans to reach statistical significance in medical studies, writes veterinarian Dale Cooper, a veterinarian and diplomate to the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine. Moreover, animals often benefit from treatments developed for human ailments, and animals in research environments benefit from the high level of care and attention they receive, Cooper writes.
A study in the Journal of Hospital Medicine showed that just 26% of hospital-based clinicians reported that their organization implemented a secure messaging option used by some clinicians, while only 7% said their organization had a secure messaging option that was used by most clinicians. Meanwhile, 79.8% of respondents said they were given pagers for communication, 49% of whom receive patient care-related communication through these devices.
Officials at Tewksbury Hospital in Massachusetts fired an employee who they discovered had been inappropriately accessing the EMRs of more than 1,100 patients from 2003 until this spring. Affected individuals have already been informed about the activity, which compromised patient names, diagnoses, medical treatments, dates of birth, gender, addresses and, in some cases, Social Security numbers.
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