Big step for Alzheimer's blood test | Soliciting microhospital business | Vitamin D lab tests under fire

Dear LabPulse Member,

About one-tenth of people ages 65 and older have Alzheimer's disease. To date, there has been little success in the development of new drugs for the disease across multiple mechanisms of action, with most of these efforts focused on targeting beta amyloid.

At the same time, a noninvasive blood test for markers of Alzheimer's disease has been high on the wish list of healthcare providers, researchers, and drug developers alike.

Results from recent prospective studies of Roche's Elecsys fully automated assays for assessing beta amyloid bode well for the field, though much more research is needed to bring blood-based testing broadly into use in primary care and screening settings, researchers say. The data, published in JAMA Neurology on June 24, are preliminary yet encouraging. The results precede the Alzheimer's Association International Conference being held July 14-18 in Los Angeles, where blood testing and other biomarkers are usually of high interest for research and conversation.

Another hot-button issue that emerged again in the past week is whether vitamin D testing and consequent supplementation to correct imbalances are worth the time and money. A large, new meta-analysis suggests that vitamin D supplementation is not worthwhile for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. LabPulse.com spoke with a family medicine specialist who has studied the topic in-depth through his prior work with the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. In addition, Dr. Nicole Riddle weighed in with the perspective of small versus large labs, on behalf of the College of American Pathologists (CAP).

In separate news, CAP also just released a list of the longest-accredited laboratories in the U.S. and shared its concerns about access to pathology services as a result of the Lower Health Care Costs Act proposed by the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

Here at LabPulse.com, we are also very conscious of the day-to-day business issues faced by clinical lab professionals. Be sure to check out our story from contributing writer Joseph Constance on how to develop new revenue streams by providing services to microhospitals, which have emerged in the U.S. and represent a growing segment of the market.

By the way, dear member, would you like to stay up to date on all our stories on a daily, hourly, or even minute-by-minute basis? If so, please follow us on Twitter. And if you have ideas for articles or would like to submit a tricky pathology case study for publication, our door is open, as always.

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