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Updated: 21 min 26 sec ago

The Truth About Killer Robots: The Year’s Most Terrifying Documentary

November 28, 2018

(The Guardian) – The film distinguishes itself from other science documentaries thanks to its holistic approach: rather than speaking exclusively to the people behind the tech – CEOs, programmers, engineers – Pozdorovkin also interviewed members of the global labor pool – truck drivers, factory workers, gas station attendants, Swat team snipers – those whose lives and livelihoods have seen the most immediate effects of automation’s disruption.

Genetically Edited Babies: Why We Will Stop Having Sex to Reproduce

November 28, 2018

(Newsweek) – By the end of this century, about 157 million people will owe their lives to assisted reproductive technologies such as IVF, donor eggs and surrogacy. Denmark now has the highest proportion of babies born through assisted reproductive technology in the world, with an estimated 10 percent of children conceived this way. In 2017, the European nation passed a law granting access to state-funded IVF regardless of a woman’s marital status or sexual orientation.

Palliative Care Adapted to ‘Real World’ Community Settings

November 28, 2018

(Medscape) – Palliative care can be successfully adapted to a community-based outpatient setting. The outcomes achieved may be superior to that of standard care, according to new findings presented here at the Palliative Care in Oncology Symposium (PCOS) 2018. Patients who received palliative care had significant immediate improvements in three of the five quality-of-life (QOL) domains that were assessed at 1 month as compared to patients who received usual care. These improvements were sustained through 3 months (P < .01).

A Reckless and Needless Use of Gene Editing on Human Embryos

November 28, 2018

(The Atlantic) – In contrast, He’s team disabled a normal gene in an attempt to reduce the risk of a disease that neither child had—and one that can be controlled. There are already ways of preventing fathers from passing HIV to their children. There are antiviral drugs that prevent infections. There’s safe-sex education. “This is not a plague for which we have no tools,” says Cannon. As Marilynn Marchione of the AP reports, early tests suggest that He’s editing was incomplete, and at least one of the twins is a mosaic, where some cells have silenced copies of CCR5 and others do not.

He Took a Crash Course in Bioethics. Then He Created CRISPR Babies

November 28, 2018

(STAT News) – For someone who has caused a worldwide uproar over what many fellow scientists consider an ethical outrage, He Jiankui of China spent a remarkable amount of time discussing his work — which he claims led to the births of the first babies whose genomes had been edited when they were IVF embryos — with bioethicists, policy experts, and social scientists. Two of them are father and son: Dr. William Hurlbut of Stanford University, a member of the U.S. President’s Council on Bioethics in the early 2000s, and J. Benjamin Hurlbut of Arizona State University, a biomedical historian.

FDA Says It Will Overhaul Criticized Medical Device System

November 27, 2018

(Associated Press) – U.S. health officials said Monday they plan to overhaul the nation’s decades-old system for approving most medical devices, which has long been criticized by experts for failing to catch problems with risky implants and related products. The Food and Drug Administration announced plans aimed at making sure new medical devices reflect up-to-date safety and effectiveness features.

How Personalization Leads to Homogeneity

November 27, 2018

(Scientific American) – The phrase “people are products” has become a cliché. That tells you something is wrong. It implies normalization of some rather heinous ideas. To buy and sell people rings of slavery. It reduces people to things, objects, resources, or mere means. As one of us (Deven Desai) wrote: “Treating a person like a resource is [a fundamental] error.” Somehow, magically to our minds, these negative associations fall away when the medium of exchange is digital data and human attention.

Insulin Pumps Have Most Reported Problems in FDA Database

November 27, 2018

(ABC News) – When it comes to medical devices, none have had more reported problems over the last decade than insulin pumps, a product that’s used by hundreds of thousands of diabetics around the world, many of them children. Collectively, insulin pumps and their components are responsible for the highest overall number of malfunction, injury and death reports in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s medical device database, according to an Associated Press analysis of reports since 2008.

Why Are There So Few Autism Specialists?

November 27, 2018

(Scientific American) – Decades later, both scientists are still in the minority: According to the latest estimates, there are more than 1 million autistic children in the United States but only about 8,300 child psychiatrists, 1,500 child neurologists and 1,000 developmental-behavioral pediatricians. And within those small numbers, autism remains an unpopular choice: “It’s not a perfect analogy, but I feel like autism within psychiatry is like psychiatry within medicine,” Marrus says.

If Someone Wants to Create Gene-Edited Babies, Who Would Stop Them?

November 27, 2018

(The Verge) – A Chinese researcher claims to have created the world’s first gene-edited babies, a move bioethicists say is the latest example of how gene-editing technology is advancing faster than regulation. If true, this experiment could have worldwide effects — and there’s no law that prevents it from happening in the US or anywhere else.

Chinese Scientist Claims World’s First Gene-Edited Babies, Amid Denial from Hospital and International Outcry

November 27, 2018

(CNN) – An initial investigation by the hospital said that signatures on He’s ethics review form are suspected to be forged. The hospital has never convened an ethics committee meeting on it, according to a statement on its WeChat account, and the facility will ask police to intervene and investigate it and hold related people accountable by law. The Shenzhen Health and Family Planning Commission denounced the legitimacy of the hospital ethics committee and the review process that approved the application. It confirmed that an investigation was launched Monday to “verify the authenticity of the ethical review of the research reported by media.”

Crashing the Boards: Neuroscientist Maureen Condic Brings a Different Voice to NSF Oversight Body

November 27, 2018

(Science) – On Wednesday, the National Science Foundation (NSF) will welcome the first cohort of members appointed by President Donald Trump to its oversight body, the National Science Board. Most of the seven fit the mold of senior academic leaders, prominent scientists, and corporate research managers who typically sit on the 24-member board. But Maureen Condic is somewhat different. An associate professor of neurobiology at The University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Condic works in spinal cord regeneration, a field NSF does not fund. Bioethics is a passion of hers, and she has weighed in publicly on highly partisan debates in Congress over the use of human fetal tissue from elective abortions and embryonic stem cells in research—issues on which the science board defers to other federal agencies.

Contraceptive Implant Surgically Removed from Thousands of Women

November 27, 2018

(The Guardian) – Thousands of women have undergone invasive surgery to remove contraceptive implants that were designed to be permanent, according to research for the implant files. The Essure implant, made by Bayer, was marketed as a “gentler” non-surgical alternative to traditional sterilisation methods, with women told the procedure could be carried out in a GP’s surgery in 15 minutes. However, a Dutch surgeon who has carried out nearly 500 Essure removals described how the implant turned into a “calcified nail” inside the body and reported cases of devices having pierced through internal tissue and migrated into the abdomen.

Genome-Edited Baby Claim Provokes International Outcry

November 26, 2018

(Nature) – A Chinese scientist claims that he has helped make the world’s first genome-edited babies — twin girls who were born this month. The announcement has provoked shock, and some outrage, among scientists around the world. He Jiankui, a genome-editing researcher from the Southern University of Science and Technology of China in Shenzhen, says that he implanted into a woman an embryo that had been edited to disable the genetic pathway that allows a cell to be infected with HIV.

Chinese Researcher Claims Birth of First Gene-Edited Babies–Twin Girls

November 26, 2018

(STAT News) – A Chinese researcher claims that he helped make the world’s first genetically edited babies — twin girls born this month whose DNA he said he altered with a powerful new tool capable of rewriting the very blueprint of life. If true, it would be a profound leap of science and ethics. A U.S. scientist said he took part in the work in China, but this kind of gene editing is banned in the United States because the DNA changes can pass to future generations and it risks harming other genes.

Doctors Who Certified a Woman as Autistic so She Could Get a Lethal Injection Face Jail

November 26, 2018

(Daily Mail) – Three doctors who certified a woman as autistic so that she could die by euthanasia are set to go on trial in Belgium. The sisters of Tine Nys told investigators that her suffering was caused instead by a broken heart after a failed relationship, and that she had falsely claimed to be autistic to two doctors and a psychiatrist. She had told them her suffering was ‘unbearable and incurable’ so that she could qualify for euthanasia under Belgian law.

Microchip Implants Are Threatening Workers’ Rights

November 26, 2018

(The Conversation) – It’s not often trades unions and employers are equally worried about an issue threatening workers’ rights. But recently, the UK’s Trades Union Congress and the main body that represents British businesses, the CBI, have both voiced concerns about the budding practice of implanting employees with microchips. Initially, the chips are being used in place of ID cards as a way of opening secure doors. But there’s good reason to think the use of implants could expand to more sinister purposes, giving employers much greater control over their workers and raising serious concerns over issues related to human dignity, ethics and health.

‘They Ordered Me to Get an Abortion’: A Chinese Woman’s Ordeal in Xinjiang

November 26, 2018

(NPR) – “I thought they wanted to interrogate me again,” she says. “But they took me to the hospital instead. They administered another health check, and then they told me I was pregnant.” She was six weeks along. Before she could share the news with her husband, local authorities returned to her house the next day. “They ordered me to get an abortion,” she says. The authorities warned her a third child wasn’t permitted. “They told me I couldn’t have the baby because I’ve had two others, and that a third was not allowed,” she says. “I told them my husband is a Kazakh citizen and that I’m carrying a Kazakh citizen. But they insisted that I have an abortion.”

Venezuela’s Public Health Is in Ruins. It Must Open the Gates to Aid.

November 26, 2018

(The Washington Post) – WAR AND disaster often capture the headlines, but another kind of catastrophe, the invisible spread of disease, is as lethal and heartbreaking. As chaos envelops Venezuela, bringing hunger, food shortages, hyperinflation and flight by millions of people, disease is following. Sicknesses that were once eliminated in Venezuela and are easily prevented by vaccine are breaking out routinely.

Changing Concepts in Hematopoietic Stem Cells

November 26, 2018

(Science) – Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) can produce all cell lineages within the adult blood system, and they have provided a flagship model in which to study stem cell biology. Concepts developed from studying HSCs have influenced how we consider other stem cell systems. HSCs are also one of the few stem cell types with a long history of clinical application, in the form of bone marrow transplantation. Recent technical advances have brought about a major revision in our understanding of the HSC compartment. These necessitate new models and nomenclature to describe HSC heterogeneity, self-renewal, and differentiation potential, as well as having broader implications for how we consider stemness.

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