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Is Assisted Suicide a Human Right or Homicide? The World Is Gradually Moving Towards a Consensus

August 14, 2018

(Scroll.in) – Death is an inevitable outcome for everyone. How one dies is a legitimate matter of concern for individuals and families, one that governments and courts should address rather than avoid. Physician-assisted suicide represents a fraction of all types of suicide, which together account for approximately 1.4% of annual deaths worldwide. Despite low incidence, the action to voluntarily end one’s life poses a dilemma – is assisted suicide a human right to be permitted or a homicide to be prohibited?

FDA Approves 1st Birth Control App, Long-Term Vaginal Contraception Ring

August 14, 2018

(CNN) – An app designed to track fertility and prevent pregnancy in women 18 and older is the first to win US Food and Drug Administration approval to be marketed as a contraceptive, the agency announced Friday. The Natural Cycles app was approved as part of the agency’s new Digital Health Innovation Action Plan, designed to fast track approval for new low-to-moderate-risk devices.

Effort to Diversify Medical Research Raises Thorny Questions of Race

August 14, 2018

(Scientific American) – In theory,All of Us could provide the deepest, most representative medical research sample to date. Studies based on this diverse pool could help pave the way for precision medicine to become the new norm in health care. But attaining such a representative group means overcoming a history of unethical research practices that have left seeds of doubt in a number of communities. It also means addressing modern-day cultural barriers that have so far stifled enrollment from certain groups, including Asian-Americans.

The Doctor Doesn’t Listen to Her. But the Media Is Starting To.

August 14, 2018

(The Atlantic) – After a while, the true-life horror stories women tell about their struggles to get reproductive health care start to bleed together. They almost always feature some variation on the same character: the doctor who waves a hand and says, “You’ll be fine,” or “That’s just in your head,” or “Take a Tylenol.” They follow an ominous three-act structure, in which a woman expresses concern about a sexual or reproductive issue to a doctor; the doctor demurs; later, after either an obstacle course of doctor visits or a nightmare scenario coming to life, a physician at last acknowledges her pain was real and present the whole time.

‘My Death Is Not My Own’: The Limits of Legal Euthanasia

August 14, 2018

(The Guardian) – Nevertheless, the euthanasia debate seems to have entered a faltering phase. A very un-Dutch thing has happened. We appear to be tongue-tied. The Netherlands – the country that, more than any other, wants to believe in every person’s right to voluntary death, the country that talks lightly about painless death as it were a money-back guarantee – is struggling with the dilemma surrounding dementia and death.

University of Minnesota Reports Breakthrough in 3-D Printing for Spinal Cord Repair

August 14, 2018

(Minnesota Star Tribune) – University of Minnesota researchers have broken new ground in the rapidly advancing field of 3-D printing: creating stem cell-infused scaffolds that could be implanted in spinal cords to repair nerve damage. The technology has existed for years to print plastic implants containing live cells. But the challenge was to do so in a way that would allow sensitive “neuronal” stem cells to survive the printing process so they can repair nerve damage after transplant.

Scientists Take a Harder Look at Genetic Engineering of Human Embryos

August 14, 2018

(Wired) – The researcher who spearheaded that work in the US, a controversial cell biologist named Shoukhrat Mitalipov, said not only that his team had used Crispr to correct a mutation in a newly fertilized embryo, but that they’d done it via a mechanism that was, if not novel, at least unusual. The response from the scientific community was immediate and negative. They just kinda didn’t buy it. So Wednesday, in the journal Nature—where Mitalipov published the initial work—two groups of researchers published pointed, acronym- and infographic-filled critiques of Mitalipov’s 2017 paper, and Mitalipov attempted to respond. Because the ethics don’t matter—well, not yet—if the science doesn’t actually work.

Who Gets the Frozen Embryos in the Divorce?

August 14, 2018

(The Conversation) – In a recent judgment in Ontario, Canada, a court has determined that embryos can be understood as “property” and decisions about them made accordingly.  This raises new concerns about decision-making related to reproductive tissues, namely that embryos may be treated like other forms of contested marital property.

Teen Who Left Fetus on Plane May Have Had Botched Abortion

August 14, 2018

(Daily Mail) – The Brooklyn teen who left her dead fetus in the bathroom of an airliner at LaGuardia Airport was on her way home from Jamaica, where she received what investigators believe was a botched abortion, police sources said. The 18-year-old East Flatbush woman told cops and doctors that she had no idea she was pregnant when she experienced pain while on vacation in Jamaica, sources said.

The Mice with Human Tumours: Growing Pains for a Popular Cancer Model

August 14, 2018

(Nature) – PDX models are not perfect, however — and scientists are beginning to recognize their shortcomings and complexities. The tumours can diverge from the original sample, for example, and the models cannot be used to test immunotherapies. Now, biologists are scrutinizing PDX mice and looking for creative ways to cope with the challenges. “Every model is artificial in some way,” says Jeffrey Moscow, head of the investigational drug branch at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland. “The real question is how predictive are these models going to turn out to be.”

Doctors with Disabilities Push for Culture Change in Medicine

August 9, 2018

(NPR) – Iezzoni graduated from medical school but didn’t end up becoming a practicing doctor. This was before the Americans with Disabilities Act passed in 1990, and she says she just didn’t have the support.  In the decades since, court rulings and amendments have clarified rights and protections. But culture change has been slow to take hold in the profession. Doctors are often portrayed as pinnacles of health, superhumans responding to emergencies around the clock, performing miracles of all kinds. They’re seen as the fixers, not the ones ever in need of accommodations or care.

US Scientist Who Edited Human Embryos with CRISPR Responds to Crtitics

August 9, 2018

(MIT Technology Review) – Facing criticism from fellow scientists, the researcher behind the world’s largest effort to edit human embryos with CRISPR is vowing to continue his efforts to develop what he calls “IVF gene therapy.” Shoukhrat Mitalipov, of Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, drew global headlines last August when he reported successfully repairing a genetic mutation in dozens of human embryos, which were later destroyed as part of the experiment.

Yemen War: Saudi-Led Air Strike on Bus Kills 29 Children

August 9, 2018

(BBC) – At least 29 children have been killed and 30 wounded in a Saudi-led coalition air strike in Yemen, the International Committee of the Red Cross says. The children were travelling on a bus that was hit at a market in Dahyan, in the northern province of Saada. The health ministry run by the rebel Houthi movement said put the death toll at 43, and said 61 people were wounded.

Prosthetic Limb Restores a Sense of Body Position

August 9, 2018

(Scientific American) – Scientists have made huge strides in controlling robotic limbs with the nervous system, but providing such sensory feedback has proved more challenging. Now, however, a team led by biomechanical engineer Hugh Herr, also at M.I.T., has created a prosthetic leg with proprioception. “That’s one of the fundamental pieces of prosthetics that has been missing,” says biomedical engineer Paul Marasco of the Cleveland Clinic, who was not involved in the study.

German Drug Maker Sues to Block Nebraska Execution

August 9, 2018

(CNN) – German health care company Fresenius Kabi has filed a lawsuit to block an execution in Nebraska, saying that the US state illegally procured various drugs for use in the planned lethal injection. The company filed the lawsuit against the state of Nebraska and Department of Correctional Services director on Tuesday, stating that the planned to use two different drugs produced by Fresenius Kabi in the scheduled execution of Carey Dean Moore on August 14.

Lax Oversight Leaves Surgery Center Regulators and Patients in the Dark

August 9, 2018

(Kaiser Health News) – A Kaiser Health News and USA Today Network and investigation found that surgery centers operate under such an uneven mix of rules across U.S. states that fatalities or serious injuries can result in no warning to government officials, much less to potential patients. The gaps in oversight enable centers hit with federal regulators’ toughest sanctions to keep operating, according to interviews, a review of hundreds of pages of court filings and government records obtained under open records laws. No rule stops a doctor exiled by a hospital for misconduct from opening a surgery center down the street.

Hurricane Maria: Puerto Rico Acknowledges Hundreds Dead

August 9, 2018

(BBC) – Puerto Rico has acknowledged that Hurricane Maria killed 1,427 people in the US territory, not 64 as it has previously reported. Maria hit the island in September 2017 and it has struggled to repair its infrastructure and power grid. The latest figure was in a draft report for US Congress, requesting $139bn (£108bn) in recovery funds. The official figure of 64 has remained unchanged since last year despite some experts estimating 4,600 deaths.

War Zone Complicates Ebola Vaccine Rollout in Latest Outbreak

August 9, 2018

(Scientific American) – Aid workers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo began giving an experimental Ebola vaccine to health workers on 8 August—one week after the World Health Organization declared an outbreak of the virus. First responders and public-health staff are scrambling to contain the outbreak while planning how to roll out the vaccine to communities in the middle of a conflict zone.

The Troubled 29-Year-Old Helped to Die by Dutch Doctors

August 9, 2018

(BBC) – These criteria may be more straightforward to apply in the case of someone with a terminal diagnosis from untreatable cancer, who is in great pain. And the vast majority of the 6,585 deaths from euthanasia in Holland in 2017 were cases of people with a physical disease. But 83 people were euthanised on the grounds of psychiatric suffering. So these were people – like Aurelia – whose conditions were not necessarily terminal. Aurelia Brouwers’ wish to die came with a long history of mental illness.

California Is Using Prison Labor to Fight Its Record Wildfires

August 9, 2018

(Vox) – California is suffering record-breaking wildfires as the Mendocino Complex, Carr, and Ferguson fires continue. But to combat the flames, the state is turning to a controversial practice: prison labor. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) recently boasted about the use of prison labor for firefighting on Twitter: “Today, more than 2,000 volunteer inmate firefighters, including 58 youth offenders, are battling wildfire flames throughout CA. Inmate firefighters serve a vital role, clearing thick brush down to bare soil to stop the fire’s spread.”

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