Newly defined dementia disease | Blood-based biomarker for CJD | Metabolic pathway screening in children

Dear LabPulse Member,

Our new web portal for clinical laboratory professionals, LabPulse.com, has been up and running for a little over three weeks now, and I'm eager to develop a close-knit community where you can catch up on the latest clinical research, product, and economic news, as well as connect with colleagues.

For those of you who are new to our website, we will be closely tracking news in a range of areas of clinical laboratory medicine, including pathology, microbiology, tumor typing, and genetic testing. Our Communities allow you to home in on the topics that matter to you most and get a jump on developments that have the potential to affect your particular practice.

Recent research news includes advances in the evaluation and diagnosis of older people with neurodegenerative disorders. Alzheimer's disease is already well known to the public, but the focus has been shifting to other types of pathological disorders.

LabPulse.com covered the release of guidance from researchers at the U.S. National Institutes of Health on making the pathological diagnosis of a common dementia disorder. The condition -- limbic-predominant age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy (LATE) -- is similar to Alzheimer's disease and TDP-43-positive frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD-TDP) but is a distinct disorder. About 20% of people older than 80 have LATE, which suggests a need for routine immunohistochemistry screening, the researchers concluded.

In another recent advance in neurodegenerative diseases, a study from the University of California, San Francisco Memory and Aging Center found that blood testing for the protein tau is helpful for predicting survival in patients with the most common type of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. This promises a noninvasive alternative to taking a lumbar puncture to measure tau in cerebrospinal fluid, though the results still need to be replicated and tests are not yet commercially available.

In other research news, we reported on a new approach for screening symptomatic children for inborn errors of metabolism, a common genetic cause of hospital admissions. Combined with DNA sequencing, analysis of metabolic pathways can help make a diagnosis and tailor treatment, according to a study from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

Finally, recent news in the development of new instruments includes a point-of-care device developed at the Rochester Institute of Technology that may be deployed in the field for the early detection of RNA markers of the Ebola virus.

Do you have ideas for what we should be covering, or would you like to get involved as a contributing writer for LabPulse.com? Please feel free to get in touch with me. The launch phase of a new publication is a great time to get involved, and I'd love to have your feedback. I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

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