The Health News USA October 2 2017

Overview

  • With Tom Price’s resignation Friday as Health and Human Services secretary, the job of running the department falls to Don Wright, whom President Trump has named acting secretary. Wright’s public service career has focused broadly on public health, occupational health and health policy, as well as health care quality, disease prevention and health promotion, according to his LinkedIn biography.
  • In the future, it might be possible to prevent inherited illnesses by making a change to a single faulty gene. That was recently demonstrated in a new study. For the first time, scientists used a controversial gene-editing technique called base editing to correct a gene mutation in human embryos linked to the hereditary blood disorder beta thalassemia.
  • Maria-ravaged Puerto Rico still struggling to provide healthcare to residents Puerto Rico’s health care system is being pushed to its limits in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria as hospitals and clinics grapple with crippling losses of power, fuel and medical supplies.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 2nd of  October 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto. Health News

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/09/30/who-don-wright-new-acting-secretary-health-and-human-services/719497001/

With Tom Price’s resignation Friday as Health and Human Services secretary, the job of running the department falls to Don Wright, whom President Trump has named acting secretary. Wright is a family medicine physician who embarked on a career in the federal government fourteen years ago under then-President George W. Bush and has held a number of senior executive roles. Wright, whose appointment became effective at eleven fifty nine p.m. Friday, has worked at Health and Human Services for ten years. Since February, he has been the department’s acting assistant secretary. Wright’s public service career has focused broadly on public health, occupational health and health policy, as well as health care quality, disease prevention and health promotion, according to his LinkedIn biography. Before he became acting assistant secretary, Wright worked as the deputy assistant secretary for health and director of the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

His career highlights, according to his LinkedIn biography, include developing and implementing a national plan to reduce healthcare associated affections; creating a system “of measurable performance measures” for thirteen program offices and ten regional health offices; and providing research misconduct oversight for a thirty billion dollar research portfolio funded by the federal government. Bush chose him to represent the United States as the alternate delegate at the World Health Organization’s Executive Board. He also served on the National Cancer Institute Advisory Board. From two thousand three to two thousand seven, Wright worked in the Labor Department as director of the Office of Occupational Medicine for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Before he entered the federal workforce, Wright worked for seventeen years as a clinician in Texas in the areas of family medicine and occupational health.
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Price resigned as Health and Human Services secretary Friday after days of criticism from Trump over Price’s use of private airplanes. In his resignation letter, Price told Trump that he regrets how “recent events have created a distraction” from the president’s agenda, including unsuccessful efforts to repeal and replace President Obama’s healthcare law.

http://edition.cnn.com/2017/09/29/health/gene-edit-beta-thalassemia-study/index.html

In the future, it might be possible to prevent inherited illnesses by making a change to a single faulty gene. That was recently demonstrated in a new study. For the first time, scientists used a controversial gene-editing technique called base editing to correct a gene mutation in human embryos linked to the hereditary blood disorder beta thalassemia, according to the study published in the journal Protein and Cell in September. A change to a single base pair in your genetic code, known as a point mutation, can cause beta thalassemia. The scientists noted that the efficiency of repairing mutations in the study was only about twenty percent — so they were not one hundred percent successful in effectively editing all of the embryos all of the time. Yet the study findings and the base editing technique are now gaining international attention. The base editor technique is similar to the powerful gene-editing tool called CRISPR, but there is a major difference. Base editing uses some of the components of CRISPR, but directly makes changes to a targeted site in DNA without cutting the DNA, said David Liu, core institute member of the Broad Institute and professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Harvard University, who was not involved in the study. When a cut is made in genomic DNA using the traditional CRISPR approach — for instance, to disrupt a mutation — the primary response of a cell is to repair the cut and, in the process, disrupt the DNA at the cut site, Liu said. He added:  “But many human genetic diseases are caused by single point mutations that need to be precisely corrected, rather than disrupted, in order to treat or study the corresponding disease.’’
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About two-thirds of known human genetic variants associated with diseases are point mutations, so base editing has the potential to correct or reproduce such mutations for research purposes, Liu said.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/09/29/maria-ravaged-puerto-rico-still-struggling-provide-health-care-residents/717513001/

Maria-ravaged Puerto Rico still struggling to provide healthcare to residents Puerto Rico’s health care system is being pushed to its limits in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria as hospitals and clinics grapple with crippling losses of power, fuel and medical supplies. Residents and aid workers have described a battered island struggling with significant fuel and power shortages, making it difficult for health care facilities to meet the needs of the sick and elderly. Much of the island’s communications is also down, they say, compounding the crisis. “If you’re someone who is in need of emergency medical care or urgent medical care, it’s a very difficult situation,” said Garrett Ingoglia, vice president of emergency response of AmeriCares, a relief organization that sent a team to Puerto Rico in recent days.   Particularly vulnerable are patients who rely on refrigerated medications such as insulin, or patients who rely on treatments multiple times a week, such as those on dialysis.
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Dialysis machines filter out toxins and remove excess water from the body in patients with kidney failure, said Lisandro Montalvo, the medical director for Fresenius Medical Care in Puerto Rico. They are desperate for a consistent supply of diesel and water to run their machines, he said.  Lack of gas is also an issue, especially for clinic staff. The governor set a nightly curfew, so if staff run low on gas, they must wait hours in line during the day for a refill, which prevents them from coming to work and slows things down further.

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