April 2 - 6, 2012

National and International News

Could Facebook tell you which of your friends has an STD?

The Daily Mail (United Kingdom)
...A team at the University of North Carolina's Center for Infectious Diseases hopes this approach can harness the power of increasingly ubiquitous social networks to prevent the spread of diseases such as HIV and chlamydia. At an international health conference held last month, Dr Peter Leone - the professor leading the research - pointed out how a patient's circle of friends can be a vital clue in identifying who could be at risk of infection.

The ABC’s of the Health Care Law and Its Future
The New York Times
After the contentious arguments before the Supreme Court last week, the future of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act is far from certain. The legislation is enormously complex, with thousands of pages of provisions, but at its center is a controversial requirement that all Americans purchase health insurance. ...We spoke to Jonathan Oberlander, author of “The Political Life of Medicare” and a professor of social medicine and health policy and management at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, about the law and its future.

Are DNA Patents Doomed? (Blog)
Scientific American
...We guard our DNA data in a way that we don’t other test results, such as cholesterol levels. “Genes are uniquely ‘ours.’ They say something about us at some fundamental level, more than a mammogram or a Pap smear or an x-ray,” said James Evans, MD PhD, professor of genetics at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, at a symposium on DNA patenting at the International Congress of Human Genetics in Montreal in October 2011.

Could Facebook reveal which of your friends has an STD?
Fox News.com
Can the social network help prevent social diseases? A University of North Carolina researcher thinks online social networks like Facebook have tremendous potential for halting the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). ...“When we looked at the networks, we could connect many of the cases to sexual encounters, and when we asked who they hung out with, who they knew, we could connect 80 percent of the cases,” said Peter Leone, a professor of medicine with the Center for Infectious Diseases at the University of North Carolina, at an international health conference recently.

Roche’s Zelboraf steadily adopted in advanced melanoma
Financial Times (United Kingdom)
...Only about half of patients with the marker meet the criteria for clinical response to Zelboraf, Smalley explained. It is not entirely clear why some patients with the mutation do not respond, Channing Der, Sarah Graham Kenan Distinguished Professor, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill said.

How Facebook Can Predict the Spread of STDs
...One of these researchers, Peter Leone, a professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina’s Center for Infectious Diseases, concludes that the risk of contracting HIV extends to immediate friend circles, and not just sexual partners. He reasons that people in the same social circle often behave in similar risk-taking patterns and sleep with the same people — giving the term mutual friends a whole new meaning.

Most Parents of Overweight Kids Don’t Hear It from the Doctor
...“Parents might be more motivated to follow healthy eating and activity advice if they knew their children were overweight, but very few parents of overweight children say they have ever heard that from their doctor,” says Eliana M. Perrin, lead author of the study and an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) School of Medicine, in a statement.

State and Local News

N.C. positioned to be leader in nanotechnology
The News & Observer (Raleigh)
...There are also more than 40 nanobiotechnology companies across the state – driving innovation in drug delivery, drug discovery and advanced medical technology. One of the companies, Liquidia, was founded in 2004 by Joseph DeSimone and his colleagues at UNC-Chapel Hill, and based on his research in material science and drug delivery. Liquidia just received a $10 million investment from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to bolster the development of safer and more effective vaccines and therapeutics.

Rex and UNC Health Care shake up leadership (Blog)
The News & Observer (Raleigh)
Rex Healthcare and UNC Health Care System are making some changes in their senior leadership. David Strong, president of Rex, has been promoted to chief operating officer of system affiliations at UNC Health Care. He will keep his position at Rex in addition to leading hospital and regional care sites outside of Chapel Hill for UNC Health Care.

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