Joanne Hilden, MD, and colleagues show that young cancer patients with fever and neutropenia have less intensive care needs and lower mortality when receiving antibiotics within an hour of arrival at the hospital.

A University of Colorado Cancer Center study published in the journal Pediatric Blood & Cancer shows that pediatric cancer patients who receive antibiotics within 60 minutes of reporting fever and showing neutropenia (low neutrophil count), go on to have decreased intensive care needs and lower mortality compared with patients who receive antibiotics outside the 60-minute window.

“We’re talking about kids who have gone home after chemotherapy and then a parent calls the hospital reporting a fever. The question is can we get the patient back to the hospital, then get a white cell count, and get antibiotics on board when needed all within an hour of their arrival? It’s a huge challenge. This study shows that it’s important we make it happen: there’s less intensive care and fewer fatalities for kids who get antibiotics sooner,” says Joanne Hilden, MD, investigator at the CU Cancer Center, director of clinical services for pediatric oncology at Children’s Hospital Colorado, and the paper’s senior author.

Specifically, the paper shows in a sample of 220 children that mortality was 3.9 percent for patients who received antibiotics outside 60 minutes and only 0.7 percent for those who received antibiotics within the hour.

Oats are often touted for boosting heart health, but scientists warn that the grain and its products might need closer monitoring for potential mold contamination. They report in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry that some oat-based breakfast cereals in the U.S. contain a mold-related toxin called ochratoxin A (OTA) that’s been linked to kidney cancer in animal studies. The findings could have implications for consumer health.

by Koh

As we age, the stem cells in all tissues of our body are depleted or fail to function efficiently. This is what drives the age-associated decline in tissue function and the onset of age-related diseases such as cancer. The loss of stem cells is thought to be predominantly driven by accumulative damage to the DNA of stem cells. However, the source of this DNA damage in stem cells has previously been unclear. In a study just published in the journal Nature, scientists at the Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum (DKFZ) Heidelberg and at the Institute for Stem Cell Technology and Experimental Medicine (HI-STEM gGmbH) have uncovered that environmental stress is a major factor in driving DNA damage in adult hematopoietic stem cells. Repeated exposure to such stress causes accelerated tissue aging and probably cancer.

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