Outside of Cases: News, blogs & case reports round-up

First GP led health centre opens: The first of 152 proposed GP led health centres opened its doors this week. The placebo3centres are part of a government plan that hopes to provide a minimum of 2.6 million extra GP appointments a year.

Placebo: prescribing positive expectations: An interesting research article in the BMJ provoked a flurry of medical blog posts, reporting that approximately half of the doctors surveyed regularly prescribed placebo treatments, with most physicians surveyed (62%) viewing this practice as ethically permissible.

Case report: bone marrow transplant for gut failure: Two brothers born with a rare disease that destroys the gut have become the firsts individuals to be cured using stem cell technology.

Conjoined twin dies after surgery : A British 18 year old girl made medical history this week by becoming the youngest mother to give birth to conjoined twins. Sadly, shortly after surgery to separate them, one twin died.

Location of autism genes identified: At the American Society of Human Genetics  Philadelphia, researchers reported the results of two genome-wide genetic analyses, identifying five significant loci that contribute to autism susceptibility, three of which had not been reported previously.

Asthma may not be one disease but an “umbrella” term for multiple conditions: Recent findings that some gene variants contribute to early-onset asthma but not later-onset asthma may point out that asthma is not one disease but several different conditions.

Cyberchondriacs: are people who needlessly fear the worst diagnosis after surfing the net. A recent BBC article reported that about a third of the Microsoft employees who answered a survey on their medical search habits “escalated” their follow-up searches to explore serious, rarer illnesses.

Retail DNA test wins best invention of 2008: Time Magazine’s top prize for “invention in 2008” was awarded to the makers of a retail DNA test (pictured, left); a $399 saliva test that estimates your predisposition for more than 90 traits and conditions ranging from baldness to blindness.

Fatal tongue piercing: America’s first published case of death following fulminant herpes following a tongue piercing.

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