Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.
Race and other factors may contribute to inaccurate A1C test results, leading to the misdiagnosis of diabetes, a recent study found. According to NPR, physicians have cautioned that A1C test results do not have pinpoint accuracy. The inaccurate readings can be a result of several different factors, such as anemia or carrying the sickle cell trait. Approximately 8% to 10% of African Americans carry the sickle cell trait, and prior studies have shown that A1C readings for this population typically do not match those of whites, but instead are generally higher. In the current study, investigators examined data from 2 large studies to compare the test results of African Americans with and without the sickle cell trait, according to NPR. The findings showed that approximately 4% of participants who carried the sickle cell trait were diagnosed with diabetes. However, investigators expect that a test corrected for bias could identify nearly twice as many people. Although the readings were only off by a few tenths of a percentage point, it was enough to push many individuals below cutoff points that indicate whether they have prediabetes or diabetes, the study concluded.
Despite the benefits of genetic testing, many high-risk breast cancer patients have not received one, The Washington Post reported. In a study published in JAMA, investigators surveyed more than 2500 breast cancer patients 2 months after they had undergone surgery in 2013 and 2014. The participants were asked whether they were interested in genetic testing and if they had received the procedure. The results of the study showed that two-thirds of women wanted genetic testing, but less than one-third had actually been tested. Furthermore, approximately 8 of 10 women with the highest risk of BRCA mutations said they wanted testing, but only a little more than half received it. Reasons for not receiving the test include physicians not recommending it and the cost of the test being too expensive, according to the Post. The findings suggest that many physicians do not see the importance of genetic testing for high-risk women, the authors concluded.
More than 150 biotechnology executives and venture capitalists have signed a letter to the editor of Nature Biotechnology against President Donald Trump’s immigration order, according to The Wall Street Journal. The executives said the order would threaten the medical research industry in the United States, which is currently thriving. “If this misguided policy is not reversed, America is at risk of losing its leadership position in one of its most important sectors, one that will shape the world in the twenty-first century,” the executives wrote in the letter.