(Medical Xpress) – Dutch doctors withhold/withdraw treatment in a substantial proportion of elderly patients, reveals research published online in the Journal of Medical Ethics. But their decisions don’t seem to be driven by ageism; rather, they are more likely based on considerations of comfort and respect and the avoidance of futile treatment, conclude the researchers.
(Thanh Nien News) – Human trafficking is on the rise in Vietnam, with 3,862 victims having been trafficked for forced labor, prostitution and organ trade since 2011, officials told a conference in Ho Chi Minh City on Tuesday. “Human trafficking is growing and related crimes have been reported in all 63 cities and provinces nationwide,” said Colonel Le Van Chuong, deputy director of the Advisory Department under the Ministry of Public Security.
(Union Times San Diego) – The bill promises to “protect individuals from obtaining such medication as a result of coercion or undue influence.” But how many laws promise extensive oversight and accountability, yet fail to deliver? SB 128 promises exemptions for health-care providers with religious objections, but such protections will almost certainly come under fire eventually, as we’ve seen with regard to other contentious social policies (abortion, gay marriage).
(NPR) – A new California company announced Monday it is offering a much cheaper and easier way for women to get tested for genetic mutations that increase their risk for breast and ovarian cancer. Color Genomics of Burlingame, Calif., has begun selling a $249 test that it says can accurately analyze a saliva sample for mutations in the breast cancer genes BRCA1 and BRCA2, as well as check for 17 other genetic variants that have been associated with a somewhat increased risk for cancer of the breast or ovaries.
(People) – After months of battling her ex-husband in court over financial responsibility for their baby born via surrogate last August, Sherri Shepherd is now officially listed as the mother of the 8-month-old. “It’s bittersweet,” Lamar Sally told PEOPLE outside the courtroom on Tuesday.
(Science Daily) – In a study that included approximately 95,000 children with older siblings, receipt of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine was not associated with an increased risk of autism spectrum disorders (ASD), regardless of whether older siblings had ASD, findings that indicate no harmful association between receipt of MMR vaccine and ASD even among children already at higher risk for ASD, according to a new study.
(The Telegraph) – British doctors have cured youngsters of a deadly inherited disorder using a ground-breaking stem cell treatment which heralds a new dawn for genetic therapies. Patients with the most severe form of the rare blood condition Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome have now been free of the disease for four years.
(CNN) – Indiana Gov. Mike Pence issued an executive order Monday to extend a public health emergency in his state in response to a rampant HIV outbreak that first began in mid-December. As of Friday, there were 128 confirmed cases of HIV linked to injection drug use, primarily of the prescription opioid opana.
(The Atlantic) – As bizarre as it sounds, the United Nations just held an arms-control conference to figure out if killer robots might violate the laws of war. Ten years ago, very few experts were worried about military robots. The technology was just emerging onto the battlefield. Now, several credible groups are waging war against killer robots, officially known as lethal autonomous weapons systems.
(Washington Post) – It was 1964, and Irwin Schatz, a young Detroit doctor with a penchant for flipping through medical journals, had come across a headline that stunned him. He reread it several times, convinced that he could not be interpreting it correctly. But the title — “The Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis: 30 years of Observation,” — didn’t change. Nor did its meaning.
(The Atlantic) – The simple, but profound, point is social inequalities largely determine who lives to grow old and who dies before having the chance. But what about the robust survivors who manage to make it to their “golden years?” Do basic entitlements even things out for them? While Social Security and Medicare help, they don’t level the playing field. Disparate resources—monetary, social, and spatial—continue to shape the lives of elders.
(Oncology Nurse Advisor) – That the US prison system is filled beyond capacity is a well-known fact. What may not be so well known is that an increasingly large number of prisoners are chronically ill, elderly, or aging. According to Jamie Fellner, writing in Human Rights Watch, the number of incarcerated men and women older than 65 years has more than doubled since 2007, from 15,500 to 31,854 in 2013. Although there was actually a reduction in the general federal and state penitentiary population, the number of incarcerated elderly keeps rising disproportionately.
(Medical Xpress) – Poorer outcomes for African-American women with estrogen-receptor positive (ER+) breast cancer, compared with European-American patients, appears to be due, in part, to a strong survival mechanism within the cancer cells, according to a study being presented at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2015. Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center investigators report that breast tumors from African-American patients show reduced sensitivity to tamoxifen, a leading treatment for ER+ breast cancer, caused by increased activation of the “unfolded protein response,” or UPR.
(Yahoo!) – Genetic sequence data on two of the deadliest yet most poorly understood viruses are to be made available to researchers worldwide in real time as scientists seek to speed up understanding of Ebola and MERS infections. The project, led by British scientists with West African and Saudi Arabian collaboration, hopes to encourage laboratories around the world to use the live data — updated as new cases emerge — to find new ways to diagnose and treat the killer diseases, and ideally, ultimately, prevent them.
(New York Times) – In the usual cancer biopsy, a surgeon cuts out a piece of the patient’s tumor, but researchers in labs across the country are now testing a potentially transformative innovation. They call it the liquid biopsy, and it is a blood test that has only recently become feasible with the latest exquisitely sensitive techniques. It is showing promise in finding tiny snippets of cancer DNA in a patient’s blood.
(New York Times) – In the realm of clinical trials, however, reality is sometimes far messier than the tidy summaries in medical journals. A closer look at the Seroquel XR study shows just how complicated things can get when a clinical trial involves psychiatric disorders and has its roots in intersecting and sometimes competing interests: a drug company looking to hold onto sales of a best-selling drug, a prominent academic with strong ties to the pharmaceutical industry and a university under fire for failing to protect human study subjects.
(Eurekalert) – When a hospital patient’s heart stops, the drama starts, as doctors and nurses work furiously at resuscitation. And at many hospitals, that’s the cue for someone to pull a curtain and hurry the patient’s loved ones out of the room. But some hospitals allow those family members to stay, and watch the cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and other attempts to save the patient’s life that the medical team makes.
(New York Times) – The pills were versions of the drug Adderall, an amphetamine-based stimulant prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder that many college students have long used illicitly while studying. Now, experts say, stimulant abuse is graduating into the work force. Reliable data to quantify how many American workers misuse stimulants does not exist, several experts said.
(Fox News) – When it comes to infertility, most people immediately think about in-vitro fertilization (IVF), but there’s a lesser-known fertility treatment that is used along with IVF. It’s called ICSI (pronounced ik-see) or intracytoplasmic sperm injection. Although ICSI has been around since the early 1990s, it’s increasingly being used to help couples struggling with infertility.
(Eurekalert) – Genetically modified versions of patients’ own immune cells successfully traveled to tumors they were designed to attack in an early-stage trial for mesothelioma and pancreatic and ovarian cancers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The data adds to a growing body of research showing the promise of CAR T cell technology.