(Chicago Tribune) – Scientists continue to neglect gender in medical research, endangering women’s health by focusing on males in studies that shape the treatment of disease, according to a report released Monday. The lack of attention to gender differences occurs at all stages of research, from lab to doctor’s office, according to the report released by the Connors Center for Women’s Health at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and the Jacobs Institute of Women’s Health at George Washington University in Washington.
(The Boston Globe) – More than a decade has passed, but Nathan Goldstein, then a medical resident at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, still remembers it clearly. A man with terminal lung cancer had planned to die at home with hospice care. Instead, the man was lying on a stretcher in the busy emergency room. Every few minutes, his heart received a shock from his internal defibrillator, preventing his heart from stopping.
(The Wall Street Journal) – Balancing cost, care and quality of life near death remains a puzzle for policy makers, practitioners, and of course, patients and their families. With this difficult calculus in mind, we asked The Experts: How can we reduce end-of-life health-care costs? This discussion relates to the latest Health Care Report and formed the basis of a discussion on The Experts blog on Feb. 26 and 27.
(University of Wisconsin) – A team of University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers has induced human embryonic stem cells (hESC) to differentiate toward pure-population, mature heart muscle cells, or cardiomyocytes. A substrate patterned with a precisely sized series of channels played a critical role in the advance.
(University of Rochester) – Several fertility clinics across the country are beginning to administer testosterone, either through a patch or a gel on the skin, to increase the number of eggs produced by certain women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF). Women are also purchasing the over-the-counter supplement DHEA, which is converted by the body into testosterone, to boost their chances of pregnancy with IVF. A few clinical trials support the use of testosterone given through the skin, while others have shown no benefit of DHEA – also used in attempts to slow aging and enhance muscle mass – in increasing pregnancy and birth rates in women who don’t respond well to IVF therapy.
(UPI) – The risks of medical marijuana use outweigh the benefits, say rheumatologists in new paper published in Arthritis Care & Research, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medical use. Large percentages of medical marijuana users report smoking the drug to deal with arthritis pain. But lead author Dr. Mary-Ann Fitzcharles, and her team of researchers at the McGill University Health Centre in Quebec, say there’s yet to be a legitimate short- or long-term study that demonstrates the effectiveness of cannabis for rheumatic diseases.
(ABC News) – Researchers in Belgium have found that mild electrical stimulation can temporarily rouse nearly-comatose patients, according to a study from the April issue of Neurology. During the study the patients, all of whom were either minimally conscious or in vegetative state, underwent mild electrical stimulation for 20 minutes at a time. Researchers found that 15 of the minimally conscious patients responded to the stimulation by becoming more responsive and two were even able to communicate nonverbally with researchers. Those in a vegetative state did not show any reaction.
(Medical Xpress) – An international team led by researchers at the Broad Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) has identified mutations in a gene that can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, even in people who have risk factors such as obesity and old age. The results focus the search for developing novel therapeutic strategies for type 2 diabetes; if a drug can be developed that mimics the protective effect of these mutations, it could open up new ways of preventing this devastating disease.
(The Independent) – Record numbers of British children are being conceived through surrogacy, according to official figures seen by The Independent on Sunday. The number of babies registered in Britain after being born to a surrogate parent has risen by 255 per cent in the past six years, amid mounting concerns that legislation has not kept up with demand.
(The Daily Beast) – They’ve been called “baby factories,” conjuring up images of poor, illiterate women packed into bunks and forced by their husbands to bear surrogate children for Westerners. And they make up a vital industry in India—since 2002, when surrogacy was legalized in the country, a U.N.-backed study estimates that the surrogacy business has raked in more than $400 million a year.
(Nanowerk News) – A new methodology for rapidly measuring the level of antibiotic drug molecules in human blood serum has been developed, paving the way to applications within drug development and personalised medicine. The study, published today in Nature Nanotechnology (“Surface-stress sensors for rapid and ultrasensitive detection of active free drugs in human serum”), describes the exploitation of a sensor for measuring the concentration of effective antibiotics in blood, giving an indication of their efficiency against disease causing pathogens, for instance multidrug resistant hospital “superbugs”.
(U.S. News and World Report) – When you break your arm and get an X-ray, those results are mostly only significant to you – they don’t affect your brother, your sister, your parents or that distant cousin of yours in Alaska. But genetic testing is different, explains Dr. Mark Robson, clinic director of the Clinical Genetics Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Targeted genetic tests – such as tests for Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease and certain types of cancer – yield results that can have dramatic and unpredictable consequences for family members. For doctors, deciding whom to test, when to return results and whom those results might impact is perhaps even more complex.
(Daily Mail) – Researchers claim to have discovered why autism is more common in boys than girls. A study, published in the American Journal of Human Genetics, suggests girls require more extreme genetic mutations than boys to develop the condition. As a result, it is less likely that they will be pushed over the diagnostic threshold for autism. Study author Dr Sébastien Jacquemont, of the University Hospital of Lausanne in Switzerland, said: ‘This is the first study that convincingly demonstrates a difference at the molecular level between boys and girls referred to the clinic for a developmental disability.
(Huffington Post) – Transhumanists are people who desire to use science and technology to improve the human being. While the international movement of transhumanism is rapidly growing and diversifying, its most important goal remains the same: overcoming human mortality. Many experts believe some sort of indefinite sentience for individual human beings, whether via age reversal or by mind uploading into computers, will be achieved around 2045. Such incredible advances will change the way the species views itself. Procreation, the foundation of human civilization, will be one activity that is dramatically affected.
(Nanowerk News) – Researchers from UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center have developed an innovative cancer-fighting technique in which custom-designed nanoparticles carry chemotherapy drugs directly to tumor cells and release their cargo when triggered by a two-photon laser in the infrared red wavelength.
(Medical News Today) – The UK government have drafted and published, for public consultation, how the creation of three-person babies using new IVF techniques – called mitochondrial replacement – will be regulated. The new techniques are intended to prevent mothers passing on serious inherited diseases caused by flaws in mitochondrial DNA to their children.
Multiple sclerosis linked to contraceptive pill: Risk could be up to 50% higher in women who take it
(Daily Mail) – Taking the contraceptive Pill may increase a woman’s chance of developing multiple sclerosis, researchers warn. The risk of MS could be up to 50 per cent higher among women on the Pill, according to a new US study. The findings also show young obese women are at greater risk of the disease, probably because they produce higher levels of a hormone known to regulate appetite. Previous research had suggested that oral contraception could cut MS risk, or delay its onset.
(Boston Globe) – Consumers will soon see generic versions of Plan B One-Step on drugstore shelves that will be sold to women and girls of all ages. The US Food and Drug Administration sent letters on Tuesday to two generic manufacturers of the one-pill form of emergency contraception, telling them that they would be allowed to sell their products over-the-counter without a requirement that purchasers show proof of their age.
(ABC News) – A Mississippi man woke up in a body bag as funeral home workers prepared to embalm him, ABC affiliate WAPT reported. Walter Williams, 78, of Lexington, Miss., appeared to have died at his home Wednesday night. The coroner came to the house and pronounced him dead at 9 p.m.
(World Health Organization) – Many of the countries who responded to a new WHO survey lack the capacity to prevent and care for hearing loss, according to a report published on International Ear Care Day, 3 March. WHO estimates that over 5% of the world’s population – 360 million people – has disabling hearing loss. The highest prevalence is found in the Asia Pacific, South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. About half of all cases of hearing loss worldwide are easily prevented or treated.