The Lex Bulletin – News Blog

~By Taj Prabhugaunker
Goa Medical College

Presenting to you, some piping hot news from the summer of April:

National Medical Council (NMC) invites Online applications for Renewal / Recognition / Continuation of Recognition of MBBS courses for AY 2022-23 

For details, please visit:

Change to Step 2 CK Passing Standard Begins July 1, 2022

Posted April 11, 2022

For Details, please visit:

At its April 2022 meeting, the USMLE Management Committee conducted a review of the USMLE Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) passing standard and decided that a five-point increase in the passing standard – used to determine a Pass or Fail outcome – will apply to Step 2 CK examinees testing on or after July 1, 2022.  On the three-digit score scale, the passing standard will change from 209 to 214.   

Researchers identify new factors that can predict breast cancer recurrence

Location: Georgetown Lombardi comprehensive Cancer center.

Factors that can determine if a woman is at risk for a recurrence of breast cancer have been identified by investigators at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, providing new research avenues for preventing a new tumor from developing. 

The investigators extracted the breast epithelial cells from donated non-cancerous tissue in the same breast as the one that had cancerous tissue removed during a mastectomy. 

When analyzing expanded epithelial cells from women who had chemotherapy before their surgery, the researchers found significantly altered RNA. In particular, they saw significant changes in genes that had previously been recognized as prognostic indicators for cancer. They also noted that there are implications for women who have not had breast cancer as some of the RNA alterations were linked to mammary stem cell formation. Cells from pregnant women were of particular interest to the researchers as pregnancy usually triggers extra renewing cycles in a cell, potentially increasing the risk of cancer.

Abnormalities in a type of brain cell called astrocytes may play a pivotal role in causing some behavioral symptoms of autism spectrum disorders, according to a preclinical study by Weill Cornell Medicine investigators.

Location: Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute at Weill Cornell Medicine

For the study, published April 1 in Molecular Psychiatry, senior author Dr. Dilek Colak, assistant professor of neuroscience at the, and her colleagues grew astrocytes from the stem cells derived from patients with autism and transplanted them into healthy newborn mice. After the transplant, the mice developed repetitive behaviors, a hallmark symptom of autism spectrum disorders (ASD), but they did not develop the social deficits associated with the disease. The mice also developed memory deficits, which are commonly seen in ASD but are not a core characteristic of the disease. Post-mortem studies had already revealed abnormalities in astrocytes in the brains of patients with autism spectrum disorders. Using a microscopic technique called two-photon imaging, they observed excessive calcium signaling in the transplanted human astrocytes in the brains of mice. To determine if the increased calcium signaling was causing the mice’s behavioral symptoms, the team infected astrocytes grown from ASD patient stem cells in the laboratory with a virus carrying a fragment of RNA designed to reduce calcium signaling to normal levels. When they transplanted these astrocytes into the mice, the animals did not develop memory problems. It is important to determine the roles of specific types of brain cells, including astrocytes, in neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric diseases.

Maternal exercise during pregnancy improves the metabolic health of offspring, shows study

A new study has demonstrated that maternal exercise during pregnancy improves the metabolic health of offspring, even when the mother is obese or on a high-fat diet. Physical exercise by the mother induces the placenta to secrete the key protein SOD3, resulting in a lowered risk of diabetes for the offspring. 


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