(The Telegraph) – The man, who is in his 60s, claims to have had no idea that the child had been created with sperm provided by his wife’s former boyfriend and that she only dropped the “bombshell” news when the boy was five. The boy is now nine and the couple have divorced. The woman – who at one stage was earning more than £180,000 a year – says there is “no merit” in the damages claim, which is believed to be the first case of its kind.
(The Atlantic) – Two major obstacles have prevented us from helping W.B. The first concerns his desire to donate a kidney while he is still alive. In his weakened state, will he tolerate the anesthesia and surgery? Or will they hasten his death? If he survives the surgery, will he ever leave the hospital? As doctors, we have sworn to do no harm. And yet, every Wednesday and Thursday morning, we remove kidneys from living donors.
(Reuters) – France’s lower house of parliament passed a bill on Tuesday allowing patients near the end of their lives to stop medical treatment and request deep sedation until they die, a move that critics say is effectively a form of euthanasia. The draft law, which polls show is backed by most French, passed in the lower house of parliament with 436 members voting in favor and 34 voting against. It is expected to get the final approval from the upper house in May or June.
(Medscape) – Expensive new drugs for hepatitis C virus (HCV) are cost-effective for most patients, according to two new studies published in the March 17 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine. However, the authors of one study add that paying for the drugs is unsustainable with current resources and growing demand. The studies stir the debate about who should get the drugs, who should pay, and whether a traditional cost-effectiveness analysis is really the measure that should be used.
(Medical Xpress) – Backman has been studying cell abnormalities at the nanoscale in many different types of cancers, using an optical technique he pioneered called partial wave spectroscopic (PWS) microscopy. PWS can detect cell features as small as 20 nanometers, uncovering differences in cells that otherwise appear normal using standard microscopy techniques.
(MIT Technology Review) – AI is an idea so commonplace that few of us bother to interrogate its meaning. If we did, we might discover a problem tucked inside it: defining intelligence is far from straightforward. If the ability to carry out complex arithmetic and algebra is a sign of intellect, then is a digital calculator, in some sense, gifted? If spatial reasoning is part of the story, then is a robot vacuum cleaner that’s capable of navigating its way around a building unaided something of a wunderkind?
Revolutionary 3-D Printing Technology Uses Light and Oxygen to Synthesize Materials from a Pool of Liquid
(Science Daily) – A 3-D printing technology enables objects to rise from a liquid media continuously rather than being built layer by layer as they have been for the past 25 years, representing a fundamentally new approach to 3-D printing. The technology allows ready-to-use products to be made 25 to 100 times faster than other methods and creates previously unachievable geometries that open opportunities for innovation not only in health care and medicine, but also in other major industries such as automotive and aviation.
(Associated Press) – Almost one in 20 people in northern Belgium died using euthanasia in 2013, more than doubling the numbers in six years, a study released Tuesday showed. The universities of Ghent and Brussels found that since euthanasia was legalized in 2002, the acceptance of ending a life at the patient’s request has greatly increased. While a 2007 survey showed only 1.9 percent of deaths from euthanasia in the region, the figure was 4.6 percent in 2013.
(Medical Xpress) – France’s national cancer institute said on Tuesday there was a “clearly established link” between a rare form of cancer and a certain type of breast implant, as the health minister sought to allay fears. The national cancer institute (INCa) said there had been 18 cases of the rare disease—anaplastic large cell lymphoma—since 2011, linked to the silicone breast implant. Given the rarity of the cases, the INCa said there was no need to recommend the removal of the implants.
(Washington Post) – Biologics are different from chemically derived drugs such as antibiotics: They are made from living organisms and require special handling in a controlled temperature while being produced. Biologics are mostly available through specialty pharmacies. The drugs are primarily given by injection or infusion. They reduce inflammation but also suppress the immune system, which puts users at increased risk of infections and may increase the risk of some cancers, including lymphoma and skin cancer, liver failure and tuberculosis.
(Medical Xpress) – Researchers have identified a new host of gene variants that could make people vulnerable to sporadic motor neurone disease, according to a report published today in the journal, Scientific Reports. Until recently, it was thought that genetics made little contribution to the disease – also termed amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) – and that the environment was mostly to blame.
(Economic Times) – A research led by scientists of the Monash University has for the first time shown the effectiveness of combining a stem cell-based therapy with an anti-scarring agent which would reverse scarring and markers of kidney injury, thereby reducing the need for dialysis or transplantation. The researchers discovered that adult stem cells when combined with a protein called serelaxin, could reverse scarring.
(The Guardian) – Not only is this the first billion-pound NHS privatisation, it is the first time that it has been deemed acceptable to put care designed to meet the needs of our most vulnerable patients on sale. Uniquely for a privatisation on anything of this scale, there has been no public consultation, simply a series of weak “engagement” events led by paid “patient champions”. For the past year unpaid patients have not been able to have their say. Thanks to the brave person who shared the documents, now they can.
(The Wall Street Journal) – The South by Southwest festival of tech, film and music features lively debates over the benefits, and risks, or artificial intelligence. Which made it a good setting for the North American debut of “Ex Machina,” a movie about a tech CEO creating a conscious female robot. In the film, a young programmer at a Google like company named BlueBook wins a lottery to spend a week living and working alongside its reclusive CEO, Nathan, on a secret project. The CEO introduces the programmer, Caleb, to Ava, a self-aware, sentient cyborg.
(Tech Times) – The Texas state Legislature will consider dueling bills over a woman’s rights in determining medical treatment during pregnancy if she is incapacitated. Rep. Elliott Naishtat of Austin filed HB 3183 in Texas March 11, aiming to repeal the exclusion preventing pregnant women from employing an advance directive. This bill directly contrasts with one Rep. Matt Krause of Fort Worth filed HB 1901 in February, which sought to amend the law involving life-sustaining treatment for pregnant patients.
(Time) – On March 12, 23andMe, the genetic testing company best known for analyzing your DNA from a sample of spit, announced the creation of a new therapeutics group. The group’s mission: to find and develop drugs from the world’s largest database of human genetic material. That’s a huge shift for the company, which must now build a research and development arm from scratch.
(The Guardian) – Childless Britons desperate to start a family are fuelling a growing global trade in surrogate mothers by paying up to £85,000 for a child, research reveals. UK citizens are statistically the likeliest in Europe to look abroad for a way of having a child, as increasing numbers of infertile straight couples and gay men and women engage the help of agencies in countries such as Thailand, India and the US to find a suitable surrogate.
(Nanowerk) – While progress has been made over the past decades in the pursuit to optimize atomic force microscopy (AFM) for imaging living cells, there were still a number of limitations and technological issues that needed to be addressed before fundamental questions in cell biology could be address in living cells.
(The Guardian) – Scientists are planning to sequence the genes of 100,000 south Asian people in London, in an ambitious project to track down rare beneficial genes that protect against conditions from heart disease to cancer. The Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities in London have among the highest rates of poor health in Britain, with twice the average number of deaths from heart disease and five times the rate of type 2 diabetes.
(MIT Technology Review) – Officials of a biotechnology industry group have called for a voluntary moratorium on using new DNA-editing techniques to change the genetic characteristics of human embryos in laboratory research. In an editorial published today by the journal Nature, Edward Lanphier, CEO of the biotechnology company Sangamo Biosciences, and four colleagues write that “scientists should agree not to modify the DNA of human reproductive cells” because it raises safety and ethical risks including the danger of “unpredictable effects on future generations.”