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Is the Future of Abortion Online?

January 30, 2019

(The Conversation) – Combining the advent of medical abortion with communication technologies, telemedicine services can provide access to safe abortion worldwide. Run by medical doctors, social workers and even volunteers, such platforms not only furnish women with medical abortion pills, but they also provide counselling and assistance throughout and even after the procedure.

Stem Cells Motivate Ocular Surface Repair in Trial with Vision Loss Patients

January 30, 2019

(UPI) – New stem cell research may bring renewed hope for people who suffer from vision problems. Researchers transplanted eye tissue created from stem cells into the eyes of patients with a condition that causes blindness, according to a study published Monday in the journal Stem Cells Translational Medicine. Just 18 months after the laser-based surgery, the patients’ sight greatly improved.

Artificial Intelligence Could Identify You and Your Health History from Your Step Tracker

January 30, 2019

(U.S. News & World Report) – Recent revelations about how social media giants misuse our personal data for profit have elevated the issue of privacy among Americans, but what if this data also included our personal health records? Every day, millions of Americans use Fitbits and other personal activity trackers, often at the prompting of employers who provide incentives to wear the devices. But as these individuals’ data profiles are shared — with their companies, as well as with health care providers that oversee corporate wellness programs — there is significant risk that the data could later be used to identify who they are and link their identities to detailed medical profiles that can be bought by companies, researchers, or anyone else.

American Blamed for Singapore Data Leak on 14,200 HIV+ Patients

January 29, 2019

(Bloomberg) – Records of as many as 14,200 people with HIV and their 2,400 contacts have been “illegally disclosed online”, Singapore’s health ministry said in a statement, marking the second cyberattack the city-state has suffered in a year. The HIV-registry data was leaked by a U.S. citizen, Mikhy K. Farrera Brochez, who was deported from Singapore after serving jail time for fraud and drug-related offenses, the ministry said. The leaked information included names, test results and contact details of 5,400 Singaporean citizens and 8,800 foreigners.

Real-World Evidence Is Changing the Way We Study Drug Safety and Effectiveness

January 29, 2019

(STAT News) – Randomized controlled clinical trials are a great way to test the safety and effectiveness of a new drug. But when the trial is over and the drug approved, it’s used by patients and health care practitioners in settings that are quite different from the rarified clinical trial setting. Interesting, important, and sometimes surprising findings can emerge when the narrow constraints of clinical trial eligibility and intent-to-treat analyses are set aside.

A Medical Hell Recounted by Its Victims

January 29, 2019

(Nature) – In the 1840s, the Alabama physician James Marion Sims conducted infamous experimental gynaecological surgery exclusively on black women, bound to the surgical table by chattel slavery, physical force and opium. The drug did not allay their pain, and some historians think that they became addicted to it. Now, playwright Charly Evon Simpson offers a fictionalized retelling of Sims’s egregious practices in Behind the Sheet.

One Percent of US Teenagers Are Using Flakka–But It Could Be More

January 29, 2019

(CNN) – The research, which Palamar said is the first national study on flakka use, analyzed data from Monitoring the Future, an annual survey that looks at drug use in high school students, conducted by the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. The study found that of the students who said they had used flakka in the previous year, 19.2% had used it more than 40 times. Those who used it knowingly were more likely to live away from their parents and to have used other drugs.

More Pregnant Women Exposed to Opioids in Areas with Few Jobs

January 29, 2019

(UPI) – A baby born into a community with high joblessness is more likely to be addicted to opioids, a new study says. The parts of the United States with the highest rates of long-term unemployment and the lowest concentration of mental health services have the highest number of babies with prenatal exposure to opioids, according to a study published Tuesday in JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association.

Death Toll from Fierce Cuban Tornado Climbs

January 29, 2019

(Miami Herald) – The death toll has climbed to four for the strongest tornado to hit Cuba since 1940. Nearly 200 people suffered injuries. During its 16-minute rampage through eastern Havana neighborhoods it carried vehicles aloft and slammed them into buildings, crumbled homes and blasted out windows. The Regla, Guanabacoa, Cerro, San Miguel del Padrón, 10 de Octubre districts and parts of East Havana were especially hard hit as the tornado tore through on Sunday night, but high winds downed trees and caused damage in other parts of the capital too.

Disciplined Surgeon Wins Google Right to Be Forgotten Case

January 29, 2019

(Medscape) – A surgeon who was reprimanded for medical negligence won the right to remove Google search results about her case in what was described as a landmark ‘right to be forgotten’ legal ruling. The right to be forgotten is a legal option available within the EU under European data protection laws. The Dutch doctor was disciplined when a complication arose in one of her patients, who later filed a complaint about lack of organisation and aftercare at her clinic.

Washington Is Under a State of Emergency as Measles Cases Rise

January 29, 2019

(CNN) – As of Monday, there are 36 confirmed cases of measles in the state of Washington — an outbreak that has already prompted Gov. Jay Inslee to declare a state of emergency. “Measles is a highly contagious infectious disease that can be fatal in small children,” Inslee said in his proclamation on Friday, adding that these cases create “an extreme public health risk that may quickly spread to other counties.” There were 35 cases of the measles in Clark County, which sits on the state’s southern border, just across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon. Officials said 31 of the cases involved people who have not had a measles immunization; the other four are not verified.

NY Enacts New Protections for Abortion Rights

January 29, 2019

(Associated Press) – New York state enacted one of the nation’s strongest protections for abortion rights Tuesday, a move that state leaders say was needed to safeguard those rights should the U.S. Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade. The Democrat-led Senate and Assembly passed the bill Tuesday, the 46th anniversary of the Roe decision. Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo immediately signed it into law. At his side at a hastily arranged signing ceremony was Sarah Weddington, the Texas attorney who successfully argued Roe before the nation’s highest court.

Are Scientists’ Reactions to ‘CRISPR Babies’ about Ethics or Self-Governance?

January 28, 2019

(STAT News) – It’s been two months since Chinese scientist He Jiankui shocked the world with the announcement that his lab had created the first genetically edited babies. Since then, much of the public furor surrounding the news has died down, even as He has been fired by the Southern University of Science and Technology. There is one important takeaway from the controversy that seems to have gone overlooked in the CRISPR ethics discussion: defining the ethics of editing human life should not be left to scientists alone.

NHS to Offer Paid-For DNA Tests if Patients Share Data

January 28, 2019

(BBC) – People in England will be able to pay the NHS to sequence their genes on condition they share their data. Those taking part in the planned scheme will be given a health report which can predict the risk of developing conditions like cancer or Alzheimer’s. Health Secretary Matt Hancock says it will help develop treatments “that will benefit everyone in the future”. But concerns have been raised over the plans by the chairwoman of the British Society for Genetic Medicine.

Zuckerberg’s Mentor: Facebook Is ‘Public Health’ Hazard and It Should Be Broken Up

January 28, 2019

(Fox News) – One of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s mentors has soured on the social network and now thinks of it in the same category as addictive public health problems, like smoking. Roger McNamee, an early investor in the tech giant and co-founder of venture capital firm Elevation Partners, writes about his disappointment with the Menlo Park, Calif. company’s increasing public struggles with tamping down on hate speech, disinformation, objectionable content and fake news in his forthcoming book “Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe.”

Hospital Says Doctor Accused of Ordering Fatal Doses Should Have Been Removed Faster

January 28, 2019

(NBC News) – The Ohio hospital where a doctor is accused of ordering fatal doses of fentanyl to near-death patients said Thursday that three patients died even after the hospital was initially notified about the physician. In addition, officials at the Mount Carmel Health System in Columbus said it had found seven more cases in which patients of Dr. William Husel were given “excessive doses of pain medication,” bringing the total number of people affected to 34.

Chinese Scientists Have Cloned a Genetically Altered Primate for the First Time

January 28, 2019

(Science Alert) – This time last year, the first primates cloned through a nucleus transfer technique made headlines around the world. Now, Chinese researchers have pushed the envelope even further – by breaking a regulatory gene in macaques before cloning them. According to the researchers, cloning genetically altered primates has clear benefits for medical testing. But in the wake of controversy over gene-editing on humans, progress in this contentious area could be outpacing ethics.

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