STAT Medical News: Flies Trapped in Restaurants Loaded With Bacteria

FAST-FOOD FLIES A study of 260 houseflies collected from five fast-food restaurants finds that 97 percent of them tested positive for bacteria known to cause human illness. According to research published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, the bacteria isolated from the flies' intestines often showed some resistance to common antibiotic medications. The researchers, from Kansas State University, believe these flies may have the capacity to spread antibiotic-resistant and potentially virulent bacteria.

EMERGENCY! The emergency health-care system in America is often antiquated, underfunded and ill-prepared for a large disaster, according to a new report from The Institute of Medicine. The report finds that insufficient funding has sapped the capacity of the emergency-care system, with many ambulance services using out-of-date communications equipment and many hospitals coping poorly with crowded waiting rooms. Patient overflow is a problem, and the report suggests that federal funding reward hospitals that manage their patients efficiently and penalize those that don't.

NEW DIABETES DRUG TARGET A report published in this week's New England Journal of Medicine suggests a possible new way to manipulate blood sugar levels before a person develops diabetes. The small study included normal-weight men, obese men with no diabetes, and obese men with diabetes. Researchers from Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital found that blood levels of retinol-binding protein 4 (RBP4) correlated with the levels of insulin resistance in the participants, and that exercise training improved levels of RBP4 only in men whose insulin resistance also had improved. Authors conclude that therapies aimed at reducing RBP4 may reduce insulin resistance and lower the risk of diabetes.

STAT is a brief look at the latest medical research and is compiled by Joanna Schaffhausen, who holds a doctorate in behavioral neuroscience. She works in the ABC News Medical Unit, evaluating medical studies, abstracts and news releases.