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First Baby Monkey Born Using Sperm from Frozen Testicles

March 21, 2019

(Scientific American) – In a notable step for male fertility preservation, a procedure that involves removing and freezing immature testicular tissue and then reimplanting it later has resulted in the first live birth of a healthy monkey. The technique could theoretically help prepubescent boys who are about to undergo cancer treatments, about 30 percent of whom become infertile from the harsh effects of chemotherapy and radiation. Currently, these boys have no options if they want to have biological children in the future.

DNA Testing Company Will Now Let Users Opt Out of Helping the FBI

March 21, 2019

(The Verge) – At-home DNA testing site FamilyTreeDNA — which was widely criticized for working with the FBI without telling its customers — will now offer users the option to prevent law enforcement from accessing their data. In January, BuzzFeed News reported that FamilyTreeDNA let law enforcement create profiles on the site using DNA from unsolved cases. The agencies then used those profiles to look for possible matches in the company’s genetic database. Now, users will be able to opt out of matching with accounts created for this purpose, FamilyTreeDNA said in an email, as first reported by New Scientist.

Testosterone Limits for Female Athletes Not Backed by Science, Say Academics

March 21, 2019

(The Guardian) – Proposed regulations on testosterone levels in women’s athletics have been criticised by academics who say they are not backed by scientific evidence and risk opening a pandora’s box on genetic advantages in sport. The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) put forward new regulations which could require some female athletes to lower their testosterone level. However the introduction of these regulations is currently on ice while the courts decide on a legal challenge brought by the South African athlete Caster Semenya, a female 800 metre Olympic gold medallist. A ruling is expected within days.

Popular Health Apps Share Data with Third Parties, Study Shows

March 21, 2019

(UPI) – The widespread use of mobile health apps can help more people locate prescriptions and remember to take pills. But this technology also opens people up to have all of that medical information passed along to third parties without their knowledge, a new study shows.
About 79 percent of health apps shared users medical data with outside companies, according to research published Thursday in The BMJ.

This Woman Can Smell Parkinson’s. It Might Lead to Earlier Treatment

March 21, 2019

(Discover Magazine) – Parkinson’s disease stinks. Figuratively. But according to new research, it literally stinks too — to those who have a heightened sense of smell. Thanks to the help of one of these “super-smellers,” a team of scientists has identified subtle volatile compounds produced by Parkinson’s sufferers. These compounds could be used to make much easier, and earlier, diagnostics for the disease.

To Abort or Not to Abort–Making Difficult Choices Alone

March 21, 2019

(Eurekalert) – Almost half of all pregnancies are unplanned. In 2017, 12 733 abortions were carried out in Norway. The number of live births the same year was 56 600. In her doctoral work at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Ålesund, Assistant Professor Marianne Kjelsvik interviewed 13 women between 18 and 36 who came to the hospital for an abortion, but who were so unsure about their choice that they went home again to think about it more.

Why Is It So Hard to Match Patients with Their Medical Records?

March 20, 2019

(Undark) – These aren’t strange outliers; they are the everyday world of health care. Patient-matching — accurately matching patients to their medical records — bedevils every hospital, doctor’s office, laboratory, and other health care facility, risking patient safety and wasting money on unnecessary tests and procedures. There are two kinds of matching problems. The most dangerous is when records for different patients are mistakenly combined when, for example, two patients have similar names, leading to unnecessary kidney removals and other horrors. Much more common is the creation of so-called “duplicate” records for a single patient.

Loneliness Is Harmful to Our Nation’s Health

March 20, 2019

(Scientific American) – Thanks to remarkable new technologies and the widespread use of social media, we are more “connected” than ever before. Yet as a nation, we are also more lonely. In fact, a recent study found that a staggering 47 percent of Americans often feel alone, left out and lacking meaningful connection with others. This is true for all ages, from teenagers to older adults. The number of people who perceive themselves to be alone, isolated or distant from others has reached epidemic levels both in the United States and in other parts of the world.

An Ohio Court Is Being Asked to Clarify When Life Begins in Lost Embryo Case

March 20, 2019

(CNN) – An Ohio lawyer, representing a couple that lost three frozen embryos in a fertility clinic storage tank malfunction, is asking a court to clarify when life begins. Bruce Taubman is scheduled Wednesday to appear before a three-judge panel in the 8th Ohio District Court of Appeals to argue on behalf of his clients Wendy and Rick Penniman. The Pennimans, of suburban Cleveland, were among the more than 950 families affected by the tank failure last March at Cleveland’s University Hospitals Fertility Clinic. That malfunction caused the temperature to rise, destroying more than 4,000 eggs and embryos.

FDA Approves First New Drug Developed for Women with Postpartum Depression

March 20, 2019

(STAT News) – The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday approved brexanolone, the first drug specifically targeted to treat postpartum depression — the most common complication of childbirth. Yet it’s a condition that often goes untreated because new mothers fear being stigmatized if they report symptoms. Brexanolone is the first drug developed by and approved from Sage Therapeutics. The Cambridge, Mass.-based biotech company will market the new medicine under the brand name Zulresso.

High Potency Marijuana, Daily Use ‘Strongly Linked’ to Psychosis

March 20, 2019

(UPI) – Smoking high-potency cannabis, used daily, has been linked to diagnosis of conditions like schizophrenia, paranoia and other psychosis disorders, new findings say. About 50 percent of new cases of psychosis disorders diagnosed in Amsterdam were linked to use of high-potency cannabis, according to a study published Tuesday in The Lancet. Additionally, 30 percent of new psychosis cases diagnosed in London were also associated with high strains of the drug.

Anesthesia Drug May Make It Easier to Forget Upsetting Memories

March 20, 2019

(New Scientist) – A drug used for anaesthesia can make upsetting memories less vivid and may one day be used to help some people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Bryan Strange at the Technical University of Madrid in Spain and his colleagues found that when volunteers received an injection of the sedative propofol immediately after recalling a story, they remembered the story’s distressing elements less well 24 hours later.

Did Your Doctor ‘Ghost’ You? An Employment Contract May Be to Blame

March 20, 2019

(Kaiser Health News) – Contracts with so-called restrictive covenants are now common in medicine, although some states limit their use. Noncompete clauses — common in many commercial sectors — aim to stop physicians or other health care professionals from taking patients with them if they move to a competing practice nearby or start their own. But what may be good for business is bad for patient care — and certainly disquieting for those whose doctors simply disappear. One survey of nearly 2,000 primary care physicians in five states found that roughly 45 percent were bound by such clauses.

Death by a Thousand Clicks: Where Electronic Health Records Went Wrong

March 20, 2019

(Kaiser Health News) – The software in question was an electronic health records system, or EHR, made by eClinicalWorks (eCW), one of the leading sellers of record-keeping software for physicians in America, currently used by 850,000 health professionals in the U.S. It didn’t take long for Foster to assemble a dossier of troubling reports — Better Business Bureau complaints, issues flagged on an eCW user board, and legal cases filed around the country — suggesting the company’s technology didn’t work quite the way it said it did.

Dominican Republic Is Named the Most Dangerous Place to Travel for Plastic Surgery in New Report

March 20, 2019

(Daily Mail) – The Dominican Republic may be the most dangerous place to travel abroad for plastic surgery, a new report finds. Researchers looked at cases of post-surgery infections over a 14-year period and found that nearly half of them were from the Caribbean country. Several reports have come out of women suffering complications – and in some cases dying – after undergoing procedures with poor hygiene from doctors that are not well-qualified and in clinics that are under-regulated.

Woman Sues Hospital for Storing Frozen Embryo Without Her Consent

March 20, 2019

(New York Post) – A Massachusetts woman has filed a lawsuit against a Rhode Island hospital she says froze her embryo and kept it in storage for 13 years without her knowledge. The Providence Journal reports that Marisa Cloutier-Bristol states in her lawsuit against Women & Infants Hospital in Providence that its negligence took away her chance to have another child and caused her severe emotional distress.

The Cost of Not Knowing a Huntington’s Diagnosis

March 19, 2019

(The Atlantic) – When Jennifer Leyton was going through IVF, her doctors would tell her very little. They turned off the ultrasound screen facing her so she could not count the number of eggs retrieved. They kept secret the number of fertilized embryos. They did not even say how many they transferred to her womb. This secrecy might have been maddening for many IVF patients, but for Leyton, it was her choice. She chose secrecy because she wanted to avoid finding out whether she had inherited a mutation for Huntington’s.

Cyclone Idai: “The Scale of Devastation Is Enormous”

March 19, 2019

(Vox) – Many of the affected areas have been cut off from communications. The charity Save the Children reports that 100,000 people still need to be rescued near Beria. People are waiting on rooftops to be rescued. There are reports that flying sheet metal roofs decapitated people during the storm, which made landfall with winds in excess of 100 mph, perhaps as high as 124 mph.

WHO Panel Calls for Registry of All Human Gene Editing Research

March 19, 2019

(Reuters) – It would be irresponsible for any scientist to conduct human gene-editing studies in people, and a central registry of research plans should be set up to ensure transparency, World Health Organization experts said on Tuesday. After its first two-day meeting in Geneva, the WHO panel of gene editing experts – which was established in December after a Chinese scientist said he had edited the genes of twin babies – said it had agreed a framework for setting future standards.

Censorship or Social Responsibility? Amazon Removes Some Books Peddling Vaccine Misinformation

March 19, 2019

(The Washington Post) – Amazon has now joined other companies navigating the line between doing business and censoring it, in an age when, experts say, misleading claims about health and science have a real impact on public health. NBC Nightly News reported that Amazon was pulling books touting false information about autism “cures” and vaccines. The e-commerce giant confirmed Monday to The Washington Post that several books are no longer available, but it would not release more specific information

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