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From hacking infusion pumps to pregnancy screening for genetic diseases: 5 must-read stories from MedCity News this week

This week, MedCity News covered a range of subjects, including hacking infusion pumps, pregnancy screening for genetic diseases, wearables to manage neurological disorders and the Feds trying to access Lance Armstrong’s medical records.

Yesterday’s MedHeads featured MedCity News teammates Neil Versel, Meghana Keshavan and Nicole Oran discussing the potential of CRISPR, the challenge of having Kim Kardashian endorse your FDA-approved drug, and the Google-DexCom partnership, among other topics.

Watch the broadcast above, but also take a look at these five important topics we reviewed this week.

1. How easy is it to hack an infusion pump? Watch this video

A full week before the Food and Drug Administration issued an alert warning that Hospira’s Symbiq Infusion System smart pumps could be vulnerable to hackers, two BlackBerry officials were demonstrating how easy it is to hack an infusion pump.

2. Wearables help manage neurological disorders, predict symptoms

Historically, patients with epilepsy have kept track of seizures by handwritten logs. But new, wearable technology not only helps monitor symptoms automatically, it may be able to predict serious events such as seizures and disease progression in patients with several kinds of neurological disorders.

3. Feds want Lance Armstrong’s medical records. Would HIPAA allow it?

As the Associated Press first reported last week, lawyers for the federal government want to get their hands on the medical records of disgraced cycling champion and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong in order to see if Armstrong’s physicians knew he was using performance-enhancing drugs banned by cycling’s international governing body. The government is trying to recoup more than $30 million the U.S. Postal Service paid to sponsor Armstrong’s pro cycling team.

4. Mostashari’s Aledade to form new ACOs in 7 states

Aledade, a Bethesda, Md.-based startup that supports physician-led Accountable Care Organizations, has formally applied to establish new ACOs in seven states beginning in 2016.

If the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services approves the applications, Aledade, which is headed by former national health IT coordinator Dr. Farzad Mostashari, will have ACO operations in 11 states by Jan. 1. The company would work with more than 100 physician practices and serve upwards of 80,000 Medicare enrollees, ahead of earlier projections.

5. Planning to get pregnant? Counsyl bringing carrier screening to the mainstream

When a couple finds out they’re at risk of having a child with a serious, debilitating genetic disease, it’s usually when a woman is already several months pregnant.

“It’s a difficult position for a woman to be in,” said Shivani Nazareth, a genetic counselor and director of women’s health at Bay Area startup Counsyl. “They should be planning baby showers at that point in their pregnancy.”