Medical notes this week…
This flu season is the second in a row where the federal government is recommending against use of the nasal spray version of the flu vaccine because of a drop in its effectiveness. But now scientists say in a study in the journal Vaccine that they’ve found a mutation in the flu-mist vaccine that might be exploited to boost its punch. Researchers have already tweaked the mutation experimentally and hope they can ramp it up to commercial scale.
Scientists all over the world are looking for an effective treatment of Alzheimer’s disease but a new study suggests that if they find such a treatment, the US health system is ill prepared to roll it out. The study finds that there are too few medical specialists to diagnose patients with early signs of Alzheimer’s and too few infusion centers to deliver treatments. Researchers estimate that as many as two million patients could be left waiting for therapy.
Fecal transplants have proven extremely useful in combating potentially fatal c-difficile infections. however, many patients are put off by the “ick factor” of getting a fecal infusion via colonoscopy. Now a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that pills containing frozen stool are just as effective at restoring healthy bacteria levels. Pills are also quicker and cheaper and leave patients much happier.
And finally… people have long reported sightings of the abominable snowman, and the “yeti” legend is important in the mythology of countries like Nepal and Tibet. Now a study in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B has analyzed dna from purported snowman samples and determined it may be a myth after all. Of eight samples of hair, bone, teeth, and skin that were analyzed seven were from bears, and one was from a dog.