What we’ve been reading: Week of April 20, 2015

(Stougard/Wikimedia Commons)
(Stougard/Wikimedia Commons)

Chinese team reports gene-editing human embryos (MIT Technology Review)
Using the CRISPR technique, the researchers attempted to correct the gene for thalassemia in fertilized eggs. The experiment showed that the technique is far from ready from clinical use, and added new fuel to the already-fiery debate over editing genes in human embryos.

How Apple is building an ecosystem for your body (Fast Company)
The company’s HealthKit and ResearchKit together may form the core of a new “digital ecosystem” for health data and digital medicine, just as iTunes did for music and movies. But a lot of unanswered questions remain that could affect Apple’s chances for success in the health arena.

US societies push back against NIH reproducibility guidelines (Nature News)
No one is arguing that measures to improve reproducibility are bad, but many question the NIH’s “one-size-fits-all” approach.

Genetic testing for breast cancer gets more affordable (The Verge)
The effects of the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision overturning Myriad Genetics’ BRCA gene testing patents are starting to creep into the market, as a new competitor starts offering cheaper tests. More challengers are likely to arise in the not-too-distant future.

FDA, industry scrambling to clarify or design new regs covering lab-developed tests (FierceDiagnostics)
The FDA released draft regulatory guidance about lab-developed tests last year. Some diagnostics companies are happy, others less so, but all of them are itching for the agency to clarify unanswered questions—such as, what role will CMS play?—and issue finalized rules.

JAMA, BMJ each call for more health app evidence (MobiHealthNews)
There are thousands of general wellness and disease-specific health apps in Apple and Google’s app stores, but little evidence for saying which are good and which aren’t worth it. JAMA asks whose job it is to curate apps, while a BMJ article asks whether anyone needs wellness apps anyway.

Thousands may have been shorted on insurance subsidies after calculation error (Kaiser Health News)
For months, a glitch in how Healthcare.gov calculates family income may have left thousands without the subsidies or Medicare coverage they were entitled to. The fed has finally admitted to the mistake, but has yet to say how they’ll fix it.