What we’ve been reading: Week of April 6, 2015

What we've been readingExome sequencing comes to the clinic (JAMA)
An approachable and thorough summary of the growing trend, describing the ways in which sequencing can help provide a diagnosis, the diagnostic yield (as high as 40 percent or more, depending on the population), how often the results have changed treatment decisions and the question of who pays.

Who Owns CRISPR? (The Scientist)
Excellent coverage of the escalating patent scramble for genome editing.

Doctors Make House Calls On Tablets Carried By Houston Firefighters (NPR)
Interesting use of telemedicine in Houston, where many people call 911 in non-emergency situations. EMTs carry tablets, and can have callers chat with a physician on a video app, avoiding the need to take them to the ED.

Is faster better? Critics of House bill question risks of speeding FDA approval of drugs, devices (Modern Healthcare)
The 21st Century Cures Act, a bill currently in the House, would mandate shorter review times for new drugs. Is this for the public good, or will it open up the risk of people being exposed to inadequately tested, possibly harmful drugs? Discuss.

Why do we have allergies? (Mosaic)
Good read on a theory that allergies are protective, not a dysfunctional response.

FDA ‘Taking a Very Light Touch’ on Regulating the Apple Watch(Bloomberg Business)
Drugs are one thing, the Apple Watch is another. The FDA maps out its stance on wearables.

New Camera Technique Detects Heart, Respiratory Rates in Nearly All People (MedGadget)
Next generation bionic limbs will have eyes of their own (ZDNet)
Video is surfacing in interesting ways in medicine. This week, enhanced video detection of heart and breathing rates in telemedicine, and new bionic limbs whose movements are guided, in part, by camera “vision.”

Quick Test That Measures a Patient’s Own Proteins Could Slash Antibiotic Overuse (NOVA Next)
Bacteria or virus? It’s often hard to tell, so doctors often prescribe antibiotics “just in case.” This quick blood test looks for proteins the body makes in response to viruses, potentially curbing unnecessary antibiotic use.

MIT Student Develops A Facebook For Depression (Fast Company)
An iPhone app provides crowd-sourced cognitive-behavioral therapy for depression. There’s a desperate need for access to mental health care—could this be a solution?

The future of the postdoc (Nature)
Postdocs are the lifeblood of the research enterprise at Boston Children’s Hospital and every other research organization. But a glut of them is blocking many from advancing. Various efforts are underway to provide postdocs with a sustainable career path.