Study: Congenitally blind children engage visual lobes to process language | Study: Brain research may predict student success in math | Family problems may influence boys' mental health, brain development
August 20, 2015
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Study: Congenitally blind children engage visual lobes to process language
As early as when they are 5 years old, blind children can engage the visual center of the brain in processing speech, according to a study in The Journal of Neuroscience. Using functional MRI, researchers found that 19 congenitally blind children showed signs of employing the brain's visual cortex as they listened to stories told in English. The finding highlights the plasticity of brains among the congenitally blind and could shed light on future treatments for the blind, experts say. The Guardian (London) (8/19)
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Clinical News & Research
Study: Brain research may predict student success in math
brain scan
(Miguel Medina/Getty Images)
Researchers at Stanford University say brain scans may be able to predict which students will do well in math. During the study, scans identified areas in the brain that became more active in students who improved their math skills, researchers said. The information could lead to the development of more effective interventions to help students who struggle. NBC News (8/18)
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Family problems may influence boys' mental health, brain development
Boys who faced family problems early in life were at an increased risk of having depression and anxiety at ages 7, 10 and 13, and were more likely to have a lower volume of gray matter in the brain by the time they were 18 to 21, according to a U.K. study in the journal JAMA Pediatrics. Researchers evaluated almost 500 males, ages 18 to 21, whose mothers were surveyed about family problems experienced by their sons between birth and age 6. HealthDay News (8/17)
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Industry Report
Edge Therapeutics targets $115M from IPO
Edge Therapeutics has filed for an initial public offering with the goal of securing $115 million. The New Jersey-based firm is focused on reformulating treatments for ruptured brain aneurysm. Capital (8/14)
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News from the Field
Increase in insured patients leads to health care hiring crunch
Increasing numbers of insured patients as a result of the Affordable Care Act have created a hiring crunch for physician offices, hospitals and clinics that need additional physicians and other clinical staff to keep up with demand. They are offering student loan payback incentives and signing bonuses to new hires and using flexible scheduling to retain staff. "It's really difficult. There's a lot of competition, especially among primary-care providers," said Tanah Wagenseller, senior manager of workforce and training at Colorado Community Health Network. American City Business Journals/Denver (8/19)
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Health Policy
GOP contenders float ACA "repeal and replace" plans
Republican presidential candidates Scott Walker, Marco Rubio and Bobby Jindal have issued plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, with proposals that include allowing Americans to buy health plans across state lines, using tax deductions instead of credits, basing tax credits on age instead of income and allowing states to set rules for insurers. The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (8/18)
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HHS to hold ICD-10 coding call for providers as transition looms
computer, website
(Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
HHS' Medicare Learning Network is hosting a national call for medical, billing and administrative staff on Aug. 27 to offer final tips and guidance for the Oct. 1 transition to ICD-10 codes. Among the topics for the call are testing results, guidance handling claims that involve dates before and after the deadline and additional resources. Health Data Management (8/19)
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Grants and Funding
NIH grant helps fund research to create less addictive pain medications
University of New England researchers are looking for alternatives to highly addictive medications such as OxyContin, and they are getting help from an NIH grant. Scientists will work to develop a less addictive painkiller for chronic pain sufferers and medication to help ease those addicted to painkillers off those medications. "Addiction is a very complex problem. It involves genetics and your environment and susceptibility to the disease. So the solutions are going to be complex, too," said Ed Bilsky, the university's vice president for research and scholarship. WCSH-TV (Portland, Maine)/WLBZ-TV (Bangor, Maine) (8/17)
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Advancing Health Care
Sticky chip detects lung cancer at an early stage
A sticky chip that captures high-purity early traces of tumor DNA in a small blood sample offers hope for early diagnosis of deadly lung cancer and implications for other cancers. The NanoVelcro Chip developed at the California NanoSystems Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles also shows promise in the care of advanced lung cancer. (8/2015)
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Attention nuclear medicine and diagnostic radiology residents
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Success in business requires training and discipline and hard work. But if you're not frightened by these things, the opportunities are just as great today as they ever were."
-- David Rockefeller,
banker and philanthropist
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The news summaries appearing in SNMMI SmartBrief are based on original information from multiple internet sources and are produced by SmartBrief, Inc., an independent e-mail newsletter publisher. The items above are not selected or reviewed by SNMMI prior to publication. Questions and comments may be directed to SmartBrief at
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