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Parents Are Timing In Vitro Fertilization to Get Their Kids into Private Schools

February 12, 2018

(New York Post) – New York City parents start plotting their offspring’s social ascension before the kids are even born. Dr. Brian Levine, the practice director of CCRM New York, an all-inclusive fertility center, said it’s not uncommon for patients to time their embryo transfers to increase their unborn child’s odds of getting into a top private school.

Painkiller May Disrupt Sex Hormones, Placing Unborn Babies at Risk

February 12, 2018

(San Diego Union-Tribune) – Use of the painkiller acetaminophen during pregnancy may cause harmful sex hormone abnormalities, according to a study led by San Diego researchers. The study adds to concerns about the drug, sold under the brand name Tylenol. Previous studies have found potential for harming offspring exposed to acetaminophen during pregnancy.

Genetic Testing Is about to Redraw a Lot of Family Trees

February 12, 2018

(Boston Globe) – In 2017, a team of Belgian bioethicists and geneticists examined the privacy policies of 43 direct-to-consumer genetics testing companies to determine the possibility of using the easy kits for paternity tests. What they found was a lot of murkiness, according to the study, which was published in the European Journal of Human Genetics. Companies were vague about whether minors could participate in testing. Also, a majority of the terms-of-service agreements neglected to highlight the “vulnerability of minors and family members in receiving unexpected information.” Of course, it’s not just minors who are vulnerable.

Scientists Have Mapped Out How Our Genes Might Lead to Mental Illness

February 12, 2018

(Gizmodo) – It’s often said mental illness runs in the family. But while that’s true, scientists have had very little luck actually understanding how our genes influence our risk of developing major depression or schizophrenia. New research published Friday in Science seems to provide something big needed for that greater insight: A roadmap of how genes are expressed differently in the brains of people with one of five major psychiatric disorders.

Scientists Successfully Produce Functioning Human Kidney Tissue

February 12, 2018

(News Medical) – Scientists have successfully produced human kidney tissue within a living organism which is able to produce urine, a first for medical science. The study led by Professors Sue Kimber and Adrian Woolf from The University of Manchester, signifies a significant milestone in the development of treatment for kidney disease. The Medical Research Council and Kidney Research UK funded project is published in the journal Stem Cell Reports. Kidney glomeruli – constituent microscopic parts of the organ- were generated from human embryonic stem cells grown in plastic laboratory culture dishes containing a nutrient broth known as culture medium, containing molecules to promote kidney development.

Final Compensation Check Sent to NC Sterilization Victims

February 12, 2018

(U.S. News & World Report) – The third and final compensation payment has been mailed to sterilization victims, marking the end of a 15-year pursuit of financial help for people who suffered under North Carolina’s eugenics program.

Sitting with Silence in End-of-Life Cancer Care

February 12, 2018

(Nurse Oncology Advisor) – Modern medicine with its emphasis on cure frequently discovers itself struggling with an array of challenges in end-of-life care. Studies on the influence of compassionate silence in end-of-life care have indicated that clinicians’ focus solely on “doing” may actually be inappropriate at times and inhibit their ability to effectively address and meet the needs of the person who is terminally ill. A prominent theme was that the “do, fix, and hopefully cure” mandate in modern medicine may not be appropriate at the end of life and, in fact, may need to be balanced with the quality of being present with those who are suffering. Being “present” to patients who are nearing death therefore entails that clinicians possess a certain comfort level in terms of “sitting with the silence” and offering the “gift of presence.”

These Lab-Grown Human Eggs Could Combat Infertility–if They Prove Healthy

February 12, 2018

(Science) – In an advance that could lead to new fertility treatments, researchers have coaxed immature human egg cells to fully develop in the lab for the first time. Still unclear is whether the resulting eggs, which reached maturity in just 22 days, compared with 5 months in the body, are normal and whether they can combine with sperm to make a healthy embryo.

Patients Suffering as Direct Result of NHS Wait-Time Failures

February 9, 2018

(The Guardian) – Patients are suffering as a direct result of the NHS’s inability to meet key waiting-time targets, doctors have warned. Doctors’ leaders spoke out after figures showed that the NHS in England recorded its worst ever performance last month, including against the politically important four-hour A&E treatment target. Just 77.1% of patients who sought help at a hospital-based A&E unit were treated and admitted, discharged or transferred within four hours – a record low against the duty to deal with 95% of cases within that time.

Undocumented Woman Cleared for Liver Transplant after Oregon Hospital Rolls Back ‘Archaic’ Policy

February 9, 2018

(TIME) – An Oregon hospital has eliminated an “archaic” policy that would have barred an undocumented Portland resident from getting a lifesaving liver transplant. Silvia Lesama-Santos, a mother of four who is covered by her husband’s insurance and has lived in Portland for 30 years, was originally denied care at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) hospital because of her immigration status, the Oregonian reports.

Drug Industry Wages Opioid Fight Using an Anti-Addiction Ally

February 9, 2018

(New York Times) – Ms. Nickel told the lawmakers that she took no position on the tax and was simply offering her group’s resources to help fight the state’s drug epidemic. But her presence along with five representatives from the industry’s trade group raised eyebrows among the Minnesota lawmakers, who believed that drug companies needed to be held accountable for the prescription opioid crisis — not embraced as an ally.

Primitive Human Egg Matured in the Lab for the First Time

February 9, 2018

(New Scientist) – Human eggs have been matured from their most primitive state to full development in the lab for the first time. The resulting eggs are ready to be fertilised, and, if healthy, could in theory be used to advance IVF treatments as well as helping women who had cancer when they were young.

U.S. Okays Medical Isotope System Not Based on Bomb-Grade Uranium

February 9, 2018

(Reuters) – The U.S. federal government on Thursday approved a device made by a private company in Wisconsin that will allow the first domestic production of a medical imaging isotope in 25 years, a move the government said would enhance national security by reducing the need to transport weapons-grade uranium.

The Future of Genetically Modified Mosquitoes Could Be in Mini, Movable Labs

February 9, 2018

(STAT News) – From its gleaming, year-old factory in this southeast Brazilian city, Oxitec, a British biotech firm, has built a thriving business releasing tens of millions of genetically engineered mosquitoes to protect populations from illnesses like dengue, chikungunya, and Zika. But the company sees its future here not just in big factories but in a new business model centered on miniature labs, where mosquito eggs can be raised and released into neighborhoods. These mosquitoes carry a gene that causes their offspring to die before reaching maturity, with the goal of reducing vector-borne diseases.

Cape Town Is Bracing for “Day Zero”– the Day It Cuts Off Running Water for 4 Million People

February 9, 2018

(Vox) – But 2015 also marked the beginning of a devastating three-year drought unlike anything the city had seen in more than a century. The drought exposed a key problem in the city’s water supply: its near-total reliance on rainwater. Unlike many other cities, which can draw their water supplies from various sources like underground aquifers or through desalination plants, Cape Town gets more than 99 percent of its water supply from dams that rely on rain.

Indian Man Arrested after Allegedly Selling Wife’s Kidney, Which She Didn’t Even Know Was Gone

February 9, 2018

(Washington Post) – On Friday, the 28-year-old woman filed a complaint with West Bengal police, authorities told The Post. On Monday, police arrested the woman’s husband, Biswajit Sarkar, a cloth merchant from the Murshidabad district, and her brother-in-law, Shyamal Sarkar, said Uday Shankar Ghosh, the inspector in charge. Sarkar alleges her husband sold off her kidney to make up for her family’s failure to meet dowry demands. Police say the husband confessed to selling the kidney to a businessman in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh, according to the Hindustan Times.

More than Half of UK Docs Support Assisted Dying

February 9, 2018

(Medscape) – Assisted dying is not legal in the United Kingdom, but debate over the issue continues, most recently in a series of articles published online February 7 in the BMJ. The organization that represents physicians — the British Medical Association (BMA) — does not accurately represent their views on the issue, argues Dr Jacky Davis, consultant radiologist at the Whittington Hospital in London, in a personal view article. The BMA has long been opposed to assisted dying, and its view is often quoted in parliamentary debate as representing that of physicians, she comments.

Lucas Was Just Named 2018 Gerber Baby. He Has Down Syndrome.

February 8, 2018

(Washington Post) – The 2018 Gerber baby was just named, and he is Lucas Warren, the first child with Down syndrome to receive the honor of, essentially, America’s cutest baby. The 18-month-old from Dalton, Ga., was selected as “2018 Gerber Spokesbaby” from more than 140,000 photos submitted by parents.

Ex-Pharmaceutical Firm Worker Headed to Prison in $1M Scheme

February 8, 2018

(ABC News) – A former pharmaceutical company worker is headed to prison for accepting thousands of dollars from a marketing firm in exchange for filling medically unnecessary prescriptions, causing her employer to lose nearly $1 million.

Autism Shares Brain Signature with Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder

February 8, 2018

(Scientific American) – Gene expression patterns in the brains of people with autism are similar to those of people who have schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, according to a large study of postmortem brain tissue. The findings appear today in Science. All three conditions show an activation of genes in star-shaped brain cells called astrocytes, and suppression of genes that function at synapses, the junctions between neurons. The autism brains also show a unique increase in the expression of genes specific to immune cells called microglia.

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