Improvements in joint replacements, new FDA regulations, and how a virus offers evolutionary insight

The giant Medusavirus turns its hosts into ‘stone’ and may offer clues about evolution

(Dr. Ashley Knight-Greenfield, ABC News, 3/23/19)

Deep within a hot spring in northern Japan, researchers found a new, giant Medusaviridae that is bristling with over 2,000 spikes. The virus, which infects the amoeba Acanthamoeba castellanii, has many unique properties including causing its host to lose water, or “turn to stone.” Scientists believe that the virus may offer insights into evolution.

Microgels let medical implants fight off bacteria

(ScienceDaily, 3/26/19)

Stevens Institute of Technology researchers have created a “self-defensive surface” infused with antibiotics for artificial joints. The coating is intended to reduce the risk of post-surgical infection without having to administer oral antibiotics. The coated implants will be able to attack infection at the source, right where the joint meets healing tissue.

FDA proposes mammogram changes for first time in 20 years

(Ashley May, USA Today, 3/28/19)

New FDA regulations proposed on Wednesday will affect women with dense breasts who undergo mammograms. Under the new rules, health care providers will be required to inform women with dense breast tissue that the scans may not detect cancer. Providers can advise women to consider more scans or other options to detect cancer, since it can be difficult to spot in dense tissue. The FDA will hold a 90-day comment period before the proposal is finalized.

—Stories compiled by Senior Scientific Writer Mary Parker