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Beauty fad’s ugly downside: test interference

September 2016—It’s the kind of health promotion advice one might pick up casually over lunch with friends, in a quick Google search, or during a visit to the hairdresser. Take megadoses of an over-the-counter vitamin called biotin—a common supplement in multivitamin compounds—and watch your skin improve and your hair and nails thicken and gleam. In recent years, online social networks and health-related websites have begun to teem with ads claiming that people have seen a transformation since they jumped on the biotin bandwagon.

As diabetic CKD takes toll, work on tests continues

September 2016—When nephrologist Katherine Tuttle, MD, first saw the photo of two women holding young children, she thought it captured the mother of the boy and girl sitting on a couch with the children’s grandmother.

The younger-looking woman, 33 at the time the photo was taken, works in the clinical research group at Providence Health Care, Spokane, Wash., where Dr. Tuttle is executive director for research. Flashing a smile in the photo, Dr. Tuttle’s colleague held in her arms a baby girl who munched on her toy. Seated next to her was a woman whom diabetologists would recognize as having lost sight in one eye, with a two-year-old boy on her lap. Her face, deeply lined with wrinkles, bore a glum expression.

Quizzed in Ansbach, then key to a drug trial for mast cell disease

September 2016—In December 2007, American hematopathologist Tracy I. George, MD, spent a weekend in the small town of Ansbach in central Bavaria in the laboratory of Hans-Peter Horny, MD, whom she calls “the father of mast cell pathology.”

Method or test? Providing clarity to clinicians on NGS

September 2016—Whether it was “This is your brain on drugs,” “Take a bite out of crime,” or “Friends don’t let friends drive drunk” popping up onscreen, few of us watching TV in the 1970s and ’80s enjoyed having our programs interrupted by those public service announcements. Yet those important messages stuck in viewers’ brains—and stuck hard, if homages such as the Washington Post’s “10 Best PSAs of All Time” are anything to go by.

Mass spec up front for pain management testing: Interest growing in oral fluid testing as alternative to urine testing

September 2016—This fall, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, is taking the mass spec leap. A plucky PR person might be tempted to refer to it as MassSpec LEAP!™ but Stacy Melanson, MD, PhD, doesn’t have time for such nonsense. As the associate director of clinical laboratories and co-director of chemistry, Dr. Melanson has more important matters to attend to. She and her colleagues are shifting from using a screening immunoassay for pain management drug testing to up-front definitive testing by LC tandem mass spectrometry.

ALK-negative anaplastic large T-cell lymphoma with a complex karyotype and DUSP22 gene rearrangement

September 2016—ALK-negative anaplastic large T-cell lymphoma with a complex karyotype and DUSP22 gene rearrangement: A 55-year-old male with no significant past medical history presented to an outside institution with a one-month history of a right-sided neck mass. A CT of the neck revealed cervical lymphadenopathy.

Laboratory accreditation program 2016 checklists: Less legwork, more clarity seen in personnel changes

September 2016—For the CAP Laboratory Accreditation Program, inspection checklist requirements covering personnel are a perennial concern. They are the leading source of disparities between the findings of the program’s inspectors and inspection audits done by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Personnel is also high on the list of questions asked of Laboratory Accreditation Program staff. “Personnel is a hot topic for the College,” says CAP Checklists Committee chair William W. West, MD.

New from CAP Press: Inspired by pathology, connected through art

September 2016—When Ray Paul was diagnosed with sarcoma in 2011, he wanted to understand his disease. His neighbor was a resident in the radiation department at Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, Fla., where Paul was being treated, and that neighbor was happy to introduce him to the pathologist on Paul’s case. An artist and biologist, Paul told the pathologist: “‘I want to see what my tumor looks like. I want to stare my devil in the eye,’” recalls Marilyn M. Bui, MD, PhD, a senior member of the Departments of Anatomic Pathology and Sarcoma, section head of bone and soft tissue pathology, and scientific director of the analytic microscopy core, Moffitt Cancer Center, and a professor and cytopathology fellowship director, University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine.

Painstaking process of drug monitoring

August 2016—As optimists like to point out (in their annoying way), showing up is half the battle. But it’s still only half, as other, equally clear-eyed folks might point out. That leaves plenty to do. And in drug testing for chronic pain management, the work facing laboratories may seem like even more than 50 percent.

Missed UTIs? ‘Enhanced cultures’ suggest so

August 2016—The long-held belief that urine is sterile is facing a serious challenge from new research combining sequencing techniques and an enhanced urine culturing protocol to uncover an array of uropathogens hitherto unseen in microbiology laboratories.