(Health Canal) – New research from the University of Adelaide has confirmed that a gene linked to intellectual disability is critical to the earliest stages of the development of human brains. Known as USP9X, the gene has been investigated by Adelaide researchers for more than a decade, but in recent years scientists have begun to understand its particular importance to brain development.
(Medical Xpress) – From genetic and genomic testing to new techniques in human assisted reproduction, various technologies are providing parents with more of a say about the children they have and “stirring the pot of ‘designer baby’ concerns,” writes Thomas H. Murray, President Emeritus of The Hastings Center, in a commentary in Science. Murray calls for a national conversation about how much discretion would-be parents should have.
(Slate) – A good kids’ book delivers knowledge fundamental to living in the world, such as the (now apparently out of print) classic Everyone Poops. But Death Is Wrong, a new children’s title from transhumanist author Gennady Stolyarov, can only steer children toward confusion about mortality. The book encourages kids to help eradicate death with technology.
(Parliament TV) Video footage from British Parliament discussion of Three Parent Children and Mitochondrial Transfer featuring MP Jacob Rees-Mogg. Westminster Hall, March 12, 2014.
Footage begins 15:58:55 and goes through 16:30.
(Nature) – Thomas Insel, the director of the US National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), has had enough of shooting in the dark. He thinks that if a clinical trial of a psychiatric therapy fails, scientists should at least learn something about the brain along the way. Now Insel is translating that belief into action: the NIMH, based in Bethesda, Maryland, has decided to stop funding clinical trials that aim merely to ease patients’ symptoms. “Future trials will follow an experimental medicine approach in which interventions serve not only as potential treatments, but as probes to generate information about the mechanisms underlying a disorder”, he wrote in a 27 February blog post announcing the move.
(BBC) – We are moving from a world where we treat illnesses to one where we predict and prevent them, advised by mobile doctors in our pockets. This new era of medicine is being driven by an explosion in health-related data from a growing range of public and private sources, analysed by increasingly powerful number-crunching computers. And now that sequencing human genomes is getting faster and cheaper, the days of truly personalised healthcare are drawing closer.
(ABC News) – The placenta is an incredible organ that for nine months sustains the life of an unborn child. But it can also be deadly, fueled by the staggering cesarean rate in the United States — 32.8 percent of births, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sometimes, for no explainable reason, the placenta grows abnormally and invades the uterine wall. Women who have had previous cesarean sections are at greatest risk for the condition and the risk rises each time she undergoes another.
(Wired) – Western ideals are, for better or worse, infecting the world. From automobiles to iPhones to, well, breasts. In South Korea, plastic surgery is rampant, and the goal is often to look less Asian. While there are plenty of photos of the final results, artist Ji Yeo balances the visual scales by documenting the ugly side of becoming “beautiful.”
(Medical News Today) – A team of researchers from Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School have discovered a protein complex that disrupts the process known as dedifferentiation, known to promote tumor development. Dedifferentiation (reversion) is a process that leads progenitor or mature cells to become ‘ectopic neural stem cells’ which causes tumors. By detecting this protein complex, Duke-NUS researchers have shed light on a process that inhibits tumor development and gives hope for the discovery of therapies and treatments that target tumor prevention through this pathway.
(Sci Dev Net) – People with impairments suffer disproportionately when a humanitarian disaster strikes. There is a long history of disabled people being excluded from humanitarian crisis responses — confirmed by rare research studies after the 2004/5 Tsunami crisis and by reviews of data from other disasters in the past decade. Additionally, many people become newly impaired in humanitarian crises, especially natural disasters and war.
(New York Times) – Nearly 750,000 people, most of them members of a Muslim minority in one of the poorest parts of Myanmar, have been deprived of most medical services since the government banned the operations of Doctors Without Borders, the international health care organization and the main provider of medical care in the region. The government ordered a halt to the work of Doctors Without Borders two weeks ago after some officials accused the group of favoring the Muslims, members of the Rohingya ethnic group, over a rival group, Rakhine Buddhists.
(Reuters) – Some intrauterine devices (IUDs), already a long-term birth control option, are effective for even longer than recommended, according to a new review of past studies. The older women are when certain IUDs are inserted, the longer they can leave them in, the review found.
(Phys.org) – Researchers at Virginia Tech and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have used a computer-aided design tool to create genetic languages to guide the design of biological systems. Known as GenoCAD, the open-source software was developed by researchers at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech to help synthetic biologists capture biological rules to engineer organisms that produce useful products or health-care solutions from inexpensive, renewable materials.
(The Guardian) – The Consumer Products Inventory lists over 1,600 products which are identified by the manufacturer as containing nanoparticles – particles between one and 100 nanometres (between one and 100 billionths of a metre) across. So let’s take a look at what’s inside your household items. Last month in this series on nanotech in household items, we looked at clothing. This month: sunscreen.
Samford University’s Healthcare Ethics and Law (HEAL) Institute
Immunizations Across the Lifespan: Ethical and Legal Implications
April 11, 2014
See here for more information.
UNESCO: The Division of Ethics and Global Change
Sector for Social and Human Services
Ethics and Teacher Training Course
June 30 – July 4, 2014
See here for more information.
The Academy for Professionalism in Health Care
2nd Annual Conference: Ways and Means: Teaching Professionalism Across the Health Care Spectrum
May 8-10, 2014
See here for schedule and registration.
Saint Louis University School of Law Center for Health Law Studies
Saint Louis University Journal of Health Law & Policy
26th Annual Law Symposium: Health Care Reform, Transition and Transformation in Long Term Care
March 28, 2014
St. Louis, Missouri
See here for more information and to register.
(BBC) – Drugs taken to lower the risk of heart attacks and strokes may have fewer side-effects than claimed, researchers say. Their review of 83,880 patients, published in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology, indicated an increased risk of type-2 diabetes. But it suggested reports of increases in nausea, muscle ache, insomnia and fatigue were actually inaccurate. It is a controversial area as the NHS in England is considering offering the drugs to millions more people.
(Medical News Today) – Bone healing cells in non-smokers are of a better quality, more active and quicker at dividing than those of smokers, according to new research. The study, carried out by United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) and the University of Lincoln, UK, involved gathering 50 fracture patients who volunteered to allow blood from the area of the fracture to be analysed. The blood was studied in the laboratory at the University of Lincoln to identify the differences in the quantity and quality of stem cells and molecules that are involved in bone regeneration following fracture.