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Some Families Are Paying Thousands of Dollars to Choose Their Baby’s Sex

August 6, 2018

(CNBC) – Fertility clinics are popping up across the country that advertise gender selection, and are charging up to $20,000. CNBC visited one of these clinics, the Fertility Institutes in Encino, California, to meet with well-known IVF specialist Dr. Jeffrey Steinberg. About 85 percent of Steinberg’s patients come to him so they can choose the sex of their baby, he said.

Stem Cell Clinics Face Long Odds Against FDA in Legal Fight

August 6, 2018

(Bloomberg) – Two stem cell clinic operators may be facing tough odds in a legal fight with the FDA to stay in business. The Food and Drug Administration made a big splash in May when it took the stem cell clinic operators to court in California and Florida, seeking to shut them down for offering unapproved treatments the agency says are potentially dangerous. The FDA says the stem cell treatments produced by the clinics are drug products and therefore under the agency’s purview.

FDA Called Lax in Curbing Use of Powerful Class of Opioids

August 6, 2018

(Managed Care Magazine) – The drugs were approved for cancer patients, but have been prescribed to patients with migraine and back pain, a New York Times investigation reveals. A class of drugs for cancer patients experiencing “breakthrough pain,” (sudden and sharp onrushes of pain despite the use of standard round-the-clock pain medications), have been prescribed to patients with back pain and migraine, putting them at high risk for addiction, a New York Times investigation says.

Nonprofit’s Plan to Take Over the U.S. Organ Network Is Thwarted

August 6, 2018

(The Washington Post) – A government legal opinion has dashed the hopes of an upstart nonprofit organization that wants to take over operation of the nation’s organ transplant network. Organs for Life, a new nonprofit critical of the way the transplant system is run, hoped to bid for the fiscal 2019 contract to oversee the vast and complex U.S. organ transplant system. That network includes more than 800 transplant programs and other organizations that serve them.

Man Who Spiked Girlfriend’s Drink with Abortion Pill Convicted of Felony

August 6, 2018

(USA Today) – A Wisconsin man charged with spiking his girlfriend’s drink with an abortion-inducing drug was convicted this week of attempted first-degree intentional homicide of an unborn child Wednesday. The girlfriend of Manishkumar M. Patel, 45, didn’t ingest the drink but miscarried weeks later.

3 Big Ethical Issues Medical School Doesn’t Prepare You For

August 6, 2018

(American Medical Association) – Conflicts of interest, social media use, concerns about colleagues’ competence, and accepting gifts from patients are among the areas named as ethical situations that medical students need to learn how to handle. These were highlighted in “The Essential Role of Medical Ethics Education in Achieving Professionalism: The Romanell Report,” published in Academic Medicine in June 2015. But what about situations that arise that may not get tackled—or covered in a practical way—while earning your MD or DO? Here are three ethical situations that young doctors often don’t feel fully prepared to handle.

An Appalachian Odyssey: Hunting for ALS Genes Along a Sprawling Family Tree

August 6, 2018

(STAT News) – Dr. Edward Kasarskis admitted him to the University of Kentucky’s clinic for testing that same day in 1984. What had seemed clear when the patient first arrived only became clearer: No matter what they called it in Ewing, this was ALS. The man went home, and within a few months he, too, was dead. But Ewing stuck in the neurologist’s mind.

Genetic Testing: Should I Get Tested for Alzheimer’s Risk?

August 6, 2018

(The Conversation) – Clinically, patients with Alzheimer’s most commonly present with insidiously progressive memory loss, difficulty thinking and understanding and mental confusion. As a scientist who has been involved in Alzheimer’s research for the past 18 years, I think genetic testing represents a significant advance in being able to assess one’s risk for this disease. But people should be aware that there are several things to consider before testing for this treacherous disease at home.

Researchers Suspect Digital Media May Be Spurring Rise in ADHD

August 3, 2018

(Salon) – At a diagnostic rate of almost one in every 10 children, according to reports conducted by the Center for Disease Control, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States. Despite all the research devoted to studying ADHD, precisely what spurs symptoms of ADHD in school-aged children is not known for certain. Now, a new study hints that ADHD may be related to something almost unavoidable: digital media.

Doctors Reckon with High Rate of Suicide in Their Ranks

August 3, 2018

(Kaiser Health News) – The medical profession is built on the myth that its workers are all highly conditioned athletes — clocking long hours while somehow staying immune to fatigue and the emotional toll of their jobs. But there’s a dark side to the profession that has been largely veiled — even from doctors themselves: They are far more likely than the general population to take their own lives.

Poison Control Calls Spike for Unapproved Drug That Produces Opioid-Like Highs

August 3, 2018

(STAT News) – Calls to U.S. poison control centers about an unapproved antidepressant that has opioid-like effects have climbed dramatically since 2015, according to a new analysis published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tianeptine is used as an antidepressant in Europe, Asia, and Latin America. It hasn’t been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. But it’s easy to buy the drug online as a diet supplement or research chemical and is sometimes abused, because it can give users an opioid-like high.

WHO Warns of New Yemen Chlolera Surge, Asks for Ceasefire to Vaccinate

August 3, 2018

(Reuters) – Yemen may be on the brink of a new cholera epidemic, with a heightened death rate due to widespread malnutrition, and the United Nations is hoping for a ceasefire in the north to allow for vaccinations, the World Health Organization said on Friday.

The Radical History of Acupuncture in Heroin Addiction

August 3, 2018

(The Atlantic) – Some people swear by acupuncture, but recovery facilities’ use of it, along with other non-proven strategies for managing addiction, has grown more controversial as America’s opioid epidemic has raged on. Medications like buprenorphine or methadone are considered the gold standard in treating opioid addiction, which still kills more than 100 people each day. The medications dramatically reduce the likelihood of death from overdose, but they are shockingly underused: Only 3 percent of addiction treatment facilities offer all three forms of addiction-recovery medication.

Congo to Use Ebola Vaccine as Early as Next Week: Health Minister

August 3, 2018

(Reuters) – Democratic Republic of Congo will start using Ebola vaccine as early as next week to counter a flare-up the heavily populated eastern part of the Central African country, health minister Oly Ilunga Kalenga said.

A 12-Year-Old Had One-Sixth of His Brain Removed. He Feels ‘Perfectly Normal.’

August 3, 2018

(The Washington Post) – It was a solution no parent wants to hear: To get rid of a brain tumor and stop their young son’s seizures, surgeons would need to cut out one-sixth of his brain. But for Tanner Collins, it was the best option. A slow-growing tumor was causing sometimes-daily seizures, and medications commonly used to treat them did not seem to be working, his father said. But removing a portion of his brain was no doubt risky. That region — the right occipital and posterior temporal lobes — is important for facial recognition, and, without it, Tanner’s parents wondered if he would recognize them.

‘Glaring Gap’ Seen in DNA Privacy Pledges by 23andMe, Ancestry

August 3, 2018

(Bloomberg) – Genetic-testing companies that have decoded the DNA of millions just introduced new guidelines to protect data privacy. But those best practices failed to address a major concern: what happens to customers’ data that is shared for research with pharmaceutical giants, academics and others, often for a profit. Just how lucrative the business of genetic testing is came into light last week when British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline Plc agreed to buy a $300 million stake in 23andMe Inc., gaining access to anonymized data with the hope of identifying new targets for drugs.

How to Edit a Human

August 2, 2018

(The Economist) – Jennifer Doudna, one of those scientists, was not the first to edit genes or genetically modify an organism. But the tool that her team discovered made a previously painstaking and expensive process simpler and usable by almost anyone. Entire PhDs were once spent changing a single gene to make one mutant mouse for research.

Sperm Donor Secrets Emerge as Australia Law Erases Anonymity

August 2, 2018

(ABC News) – VARTA is at the epicenter of Victoria state’s donor identity law, a piece of legislation dissected and debated for years before finally taking effect in 2017. The agency maintains a register of donors, offspring and their parents, and counsels them through the intricate dynamics involved. Behind it all was a quest for the truth by people whose lives began in a lab in an era where the sperm and egg donation industry was swathed in secrecy.

Report: Tokyo Med School Altered Test Results to Fail Women

August 2, 2018

(ABC News) – A Japanese medical university has systematically discriminated against female applicants because women tend to quit as doctors after starting families, causing hospital staffing shortages, media reports said Thursday. The Yomiuri newspaper said Tokyo Medical University has manipulated the entrance exam results of women since about 2011 to keep the female student population low. Quoting unidentified sources, it said the manipulation started after the share of successful female applicants reached 38 percent of the total in 2010.

Did a Blockbuster Drug Make Hundreds Gamble Compulsively? A Legal Fight May Decide What Science Can’t Confirm

August 2, 2018

(STAT News) – Hundreds more people have since sued the companies, claiming that the drug caused them to gamble, eat, or have sex compulsively. And the Food and Drug Administration signaled its own concern in a 2016 safety warning, saying that uncontrollable urges to gamble, binge eat, shop, and have sex had been reported with use of the antipsychotic.

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