Today’s Headlines: Fibroid Removal, Dirty Money and PET Scans

FDA now discourages hysterectomy, fibroid procedure: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration stated “that a procedure commonly used during hysterectomies and fibroid surgeries can spread undetected cancer.” The procedure, power morcellation, grinds up fibroids and other unwanted tissue so that it may be removed, but it may also disseminate the tissue throughout the abdominal cavity. “In roughly one patient out of 350, those tiny bits are cancerous and their spread makes the cancer far harder to treat, the FDA said in a formal safety communication notice.” Though doctors try to rule out cancer before the procedure, absence of cancer cannot be guaranteed. Some hospitals, including Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston are suspending use of power morcellators. (USA Today

Researchers find thousands of bacteria living on cash: Your money is dirtier than you think, according to a new study from New York University’s Dirty Money Project. Scientists analyzed the genetic material on one dollar bills and found that they are carriers for up to 3,000 different types of bacteria. “Easily the most abundant species they found is one that causes acne. Others were linked to gastric ulcers, pneumonia, food poisoning and staph infections, the scientists said. Some carried genes responsible for antibiotic resistance.” The scientists think that the bills may carry even more bacteria, since about 80% of non-human DNA can’t be identified using current lab testing. (Fox News)

For vegetative patients, a brain scan may detect hope of recovery: Brain scans like PET scans may help doctors determine which vegetative patients will recover and which will not, according to a new study. The study tracked 102 unconscious patients for at least a year, using brain scans, bedside exams and other diagnostic tests to measure consciousness. “Imaging the subjects’ brains with a positron emission tomography (PET) scan allowed researchers to predict accurately 74% of the time whether a patient would show evidence of consciousness a year later. It was a better prognosticator of a poor outcome (continued lack of consciousness), accurately predicting that a patient would continue to be vegetative or minimally conscious in 92% of cases.” (Los Angeles Times)