Weekly Roundup – 12/4/09

On the road yesterday and didn’t get the Weekly Roundup posted as I should have.  Sorry about that. December by many accounts is a time when folks usually seem to slow down, but it seems that mine only bubbles up every year.  There is lots of travel in store, and I’m afraid many projects on the stove. So forgive my transgression dear reader, but I bring you the roundup a day late – a day when the sky is pregnant with our first snowfall of the season!

Here are a few of the interesting things that happened this week:

  • NIH Expands Stem Cell Lines – On December 2 came the welcome news from NIH Director Frances Collins that 13 new stem cell lines were being approved for use under the new guidelines put into place earlier this year, with more under consideration for approval in the pipeline.  The new guidelines were put into effect by President Obama in March, 2009.
  • New Food Defense Tool Available – I can’t wrap my head around this, but the FDA announced this week that a new software tool was available that would help farmers and food producers assess weaknesses in their systems that could be exploited in an attack.  Really?  I mean I don’t know a lot about farming, but I’m pretty sure that farmers don’t have a lot of time to use software to play war games, but if I’m wrong, here is a link to download the software for the risk assessment tool that is called, and only the government could come up with this – Agriculture CARVER + Shock.  I’m not making this up.
  • AstraZeneca’s Seroquel Has a Big Week – Expanded indications for AstraZeneca‘s Seroquel came this week when it was announced that the FDA had approved the antidepressant’s use as an add-on treatment for Major Depressive Disorder and for pediatric treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.  The Seroquel Web site has little information about the drug (class, regulatory history, etc), and is mainly concentrated on the conditions the drug treats, but the Medpedia entry on Seroquel has a good overview.
  • National Survey of Internet Use and Self-Rated Health Among Older Americans – The Journal of Medical Internet Research published a survey of older Americans that examines the association between Internet use and self-rated.  What the study found was that there was no only an information divide among older people, but there is a socioeconomic divide that dramatically impacts use.
  • Implications of Social Media for Health Communication – Also from the Journal of Medical Internet Research came a paper on the implications that social media has for health communications – a fascinating topic.  The study points out that while there do not appear to be significant racial/ethnic differences in uptake of social media, there certainly are differences by age bracket.

That’s it for me this week.  I’m going to put up the wreaths and the tree and sit by the fireplace and watch it snow.

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