Nature Medicine | Spoonful of Medicine

The Daily Dose – There’s a (killer) fungus among us

Today’s dose includes new evidence that a fatal fungus is spreading, and a call for more evidence related to Alzheimer’s prevention. We also examine potential gene discrimination and a way to make malaria easier to treat.


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— While previous studies have suggested that exercise can offer protection against cognitive decline, you may not in fact be able to outrun Alzheimer’s. A panel convened by the US National Institutes of Health released a draft statement that we need more information to know whether suggested interventions actually work. (MedPage)

— In celebration of “DNA day” companies cut testing costs and consumers signed up to get sequenced. But the age of personal genomics is not without stories like that of Pamela Fink. Fink, 39, of Connecticut claims that she experienced genetic discrimination when she lost her job after undergoing a double mastectomy and disclosing she carried a version of the BRCA2 gene linked to cancer. (AP)

— The fight against malaria is getting tougher with drug resistant parasites emerging. But at least one part might get easier: The once-a-day pill Pyramax worked as well as the commonly used Coartem artemisinin-based combination in a newly published clinical trial in The Lancet. (Bloomberg)

— A new genetic analysis has led to mushrooming concerns about an extremely rare but potentially fatal pathogen. The airborne fungus Cryptococcus gattii appears responsible for only a handful of deaths in the Pacific Northwest, but it appears to have a 25% mortality rate — higher than that associated with C. gattii in other parts of the globe. Voicing their concern, the authors write that “these findings demonstrate that this emerging and fatal outbreak is continuing to expand.”

Image of C. gattii from the CDC via Wikimedia Commons

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