A number of treatment methods for certain forms of breast and prostate cancer in older patients are no longer recommended. But in two separate studies, School of Medicine professor Cary Gross and his team discovered that doctors often don’t follow the new guidelines. In the March issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology, they showed that many women aged 70 or over who are covered by Medicare and have low-risk breast cancer still receive radiation therapy—though clinical trials show evidence of only minimal benefit. In the February 27 Archives of Internal Medicine, Gross and his colleagues reported that even though guidelines often call only for monitoring of older male Medicare patients with less-aggressive prostate cancer, increasingly these patients were receiving aggressive and arguably unnecessary therapies.


Quantum computers promise to be light-years speedier than the fastest non-quantum models available today, but researchers need to overcome a major hurdle: the tendency of these exotic machines to make calculation errors. Physics graduate student Matthew Reed and colleagues have developed the first real-time error correction method. The technique, described in the February 16 issue of Nature, could eventually help make quantum computing a reality.


Antarctic icefish evolved the antifreeze proteins in their blood more than 20 million years ago. Biologist Thomas J. Near and colleagues have determined that icefish diversity didn’t expand until frigid conditions developed in the Antarctic some 10 million years later—when the proteins enabled the icefish to thrive. But today, that key adaptation could put the fish at risk as the water temperatures rise. The study appeared in the February 28 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  


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