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Updated: 41 min 22 sec ago

Pediatricians Stat By Meds for ADHD, But Some Say Therapy Should Come First

October 3, 2019

(NPR) – When children are diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, stimulant medications like Ritalin or Adderall are usually the first line of treatment. The American Academy of Pediatrics issued new guidelines on Monday that uphold the central role of medication, accompanied by behavioral therapy, in ADHD treatment. However, some parents, doctors and researchers who study kids with ADHD say they are disappointed that the new guidelines don’t recommend behavioral treatment first for more children, as some recent research has suggested might lead to better outcomes.

Planned Parenthood to Open Large New Facility in Illinois Near Missouri Border

October 3, 2019

(NPR) – Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri announced a new 18,000 square foot clinic will open in Fairview Heights, Ill. The facility will be located about 15 miles from Missouri, a state with some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country.  The new clinic is set to open in mid-October. It will replace the existing, smaller Fairview Heights facility, which served 5,000 patients last year, according to Planned Parenthood’s announcement. 

“It’s Very Unethical”: Audio Shows Hospital Kept Vegetative Patient on Life Support to Boost Survival Rates

October 3, 2019

(ProPublica) – The recordings show that the transplant team was fixated on keeping him alive, rather than his quality of life or his family’s wishes, because of worries about the transplant program’s survival rate, the proportion of people undergoing transplants who are still alive a year after their operations. Federal regulators rely on this statistic to evaluate — and sometimes penalize — transplant programs, giving hospitals across the country a reputational and financial incentive to game it.

Government Plans to Begin DNA Testing on Detained Immigrants

October 2, 2019

(New York Times) – Senior officials at the Department of Homeland Security said Wednesday that the Justice Department was developing a federal regulation that would give immigration officers the authority to collect DNA in detention facilities that are holding more than 40,000 people. The move would constitute a major expansion of the use of a database maintained by the F.B.I., which has been limited mainly to genetic data collected from people who have been arrested, charged or convicted in connection with serious crimes.

Gene Editing Video Stirs Talk of Designer Babies, Ethics

October 2, 2019

(Medical Xpress) – A new video showing people casually discussing gene editing and designer babies is making waves because of its source: the government-funded group leading efforts to set standards for the ethically dicey science. The National Academy of Sciences posted the video earlier this week along with a tweet it later removed. The tweet read: “Dream of being stronger? Or smarter? Do you dream of having a top student or star athlete? Or a child free of inheritable #diseases? Can human #GeneEditing eventually make this and more possible? #TheScienceBehindIt Take the quiz !”

Man Sues Oregon Clinic Over Donated Sperm Used for 17 Kids

October 2, 2019

(ABC News) – A man who says his donated sperm was used to father at least 17 children in violation of an agreement that allowed for more than five has sued an Oregon fertility clinic. Dr. Bryce Cleary believes it’s possible that he has many more children from his sperm donations 30 years ago, the Oregonian/OregonLive reported. The lawsuit filed Wednesday in Multnomah County Circuit Court says Cleary donated his sperm when he was a first-year medical student at Oregon Health & Science University in 1989 after the hospital’s fertility clinic solicited him and other classmates.

Vaping-Related Lung Injuries Resemble Chemical Burns, Study Finds

October 2, 2019

(STAT News) – The airways and lungs of some patients with a vaping-related illness appeared damaged in ways similar to those exposed to chemical spills or harmful gases, researchers reported Wednesday. The study did not provide any clues as to the kind of chemicals that might be causing the condition, but the authors said signs of damage were consistent.

For Vulnerable Populations, the Thorny Ethics of Genetic Data Collection

October 1, 2019

(Undark Magazine) – In 2009, researchers collected DNA from four elderly men in Namibia, each from one of the many San indigenous communities scattered across southern Africa. A year later, analyses of the men’s DNA were published in the journal Nature — alongside that of South African human rights activist Desmond Tutu. The intention, in part, was to increase the visibility of southern, indigenous Africans in genetic-based medical research. Soon after, a nongovernmental organization (NGO) representing indigenous minorities in Southern Africa took issue with the consent procedures used to gather the data and wrote to Nature’s editors accusing the paper’s authors of “absolute arrogance, ignorance, and cultural myopia.”

Now in Development: Off-the-Shelf Stem Cells

September 30, 2019

(Knowable Magazine) – Instead, increasingly, labs around the world are seeking to design off-the-shelf cell therapies using universal donor cells that are genetically altered to avoid the many-armed responses of the immune system against foreign tissues. Scientists want to create a suite of such cells tailored for specific tissue repairs: universal muscle cells, universal skin cells or universal insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells. “The big dream is a cell that would be like a pill, which could go into any patient,” says Melton, who called for a global push to realize this vision at a stem cell meeting in Los Angeles in June.

‘We Have Made History’: Mexico’s Oaxaca State Decriminalizes Abortion

September 30, 2019

(The Guardian) – Women’s rights activists in Mexico are celebrating after the southern state of Oaxaca decriminalised abortion in a move that they hope signals broader reforms to ensure reproductive rights in what is still a conservative and deeply Catholic country. Lawmakers voted 24-10 on Wednesday to scrap restrictions on abortion during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, despite vocal opposition from the Catholic church.

Dutch Prosecutors Seek Supreme Court Ruling on Euthanasia for Incapacitated Patients

September 30, 2019

(Reuters) – Dutch prosecutors on Thursday asked the Supreme Court to rule on the case of a nursing home doctor who was cleared of wrongdoing for the euthanasia of an elderly dementia sufferer, to gain clarity on how doctors should deal with incapacitated patients. In a ruling earlier this month, trial judges at The Hague District Court found that the female patient had expressly requested euthanasia at an earlier stage in her disease and the doctor had acted lawfully. 

Major Error Undermines Study Suggesting Change Introduced in the CRISPR Babies Experiment Shortens Lives

September 30, 2019

(STAT News) – A scientific study published this past spring came with damning implications for Chinese scientist He Jiankui, who created the world’s first gene-edited babies: People with the rare genetic variants that He tried to engineer into embryos, the study asserted, had an increased death rate. On Friday, the paper’s senior author said his study was wrong. “The one thing that all scientists fear the most is to find out that a major result they have published was based on erroneous data,” Rasmus Nielsen, of the University of California, Berkeley, wrote on Twitter. He said that he had been notified of an error in the data from the massive genetic database that Nielsen and his collaborator, Xinzhu Wei, had analyzed to reach their conclusion.