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Vagina Rejuvenating Therapies ‘Pose Serious Risk’

July 31, 2018

(BBC) – Women are being warned against risky cosmetic “rejuvenating” procedures to reshape and tighten the vagina. Experts say the “therapies”, offered by some private clinics in the UK and the US, pose a serious risk of burns, scarring and recurring pain. Typically during these procedures, a probe is inserted into the vagina to heat or laser the vaginal tissue. Although it is non-surgical and can be done in a lunch hour, it is not necessarily safe, say officials.

First-of-Its-Kind Clinical Trial Will Use Reprogrammed Adult Stem Cells to Treat Parkinson’s

July 31, 2018

(Science) – Researchers in Japan today announced the launch of a clinical trial to treat Parkinson’s disease with neurological material derived from induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, mature cells chemically manipulated to return to an early stage of development from which they can theoretically differentiate into any of the body’s specialized cells.

Triple Stabbing at Chile Abortion Rights Rally Sparks Outcry

July 31, 2018

(The Guardian) – Human rights activists in Chile have expressed shock and concern after masked attackers stabbed three women at a protest in favour of free and legal abortion. One of the women was wounded in the stomach and two others in the legs during a march in the country’s capital, Santiago, on Wednesday. Their injuries were not described as life-threatening. A policeman was also hurt in the incident. No suspects have been arrested, but participants in the march argue that anti-abortion radicals are responsible.

Surrogacy Laws: Why a Global Approach Is Needed to Stop Exploitation of Women

July 31, 2018

(The Conversation) – It may not be enough for countries to amend their laws in isolation. Improvements of national laws are of course welcome, but a collective international response is preferable. This is because, even if the Indian bill passes – and the UK maintains its altruistic approach – this does not fix the problem. Surrogacy agencies in India and elsewhere could make use of loopholes that exist in the law. Eggs, sperm, embryos, surrogates and intended parents could simply be moved across borders to countries where commercial surrogacy is not banned. What’s more, when one industry closes, another one can easily open elsewhere.

China May Let Single Women Have IVF to Boost Birth Rate

July 30, 2018

(The Times) – China is considering a change in the law to enable single women to access medical programmes that help them to conceive. The statement by the National Health and Family Planning Commission, China’s top health authority, follows calls to loosen the country’s birth restrictions to encourage more women to have children. Any woman seeking fertility treatments in China must first produce a marriage licence, leaving single women no choice but to go abroad to freeze their eggs or have IVF.

Supreme Court Backs Agreed End-of-Life Decisions

July 30, 2018

(BBC) – Legal permission will no longer be needed to withdraw treatment from patients in permanent vegetative state, the Supreme Court has ruled. It will now be easier to withdraw food and liquid to allow such patients to die across the UK. When families and doctors are in agreement, medical staff will be able to remove feeding tubes without applying to the Court of Protection. Lady Black ruled there was no violation under the Human Rights Convention.

These Mice Have Brains That Are Part Human. So Are They Mice, or Men?

July 30, 2018

(Australian Broadcasting Co) – In Greek mythology, the chimera was a beast of fire and fury; a terrifying creation part-lion, part-goat, part-serpent, and all destruction. It took demigod Bellerophon to slay the monster, driving a lead-tipped lance into its throat. One wonders what Bellerophon might have made of the chimeras running around Steve Goldman’s labs. The son of Poseidon would certainly be less threatened; they are, after all, just mice. But inside their tiny furred heads, their brains are significantly human — and it shows.

Google Executives Warns of Face ID Bias

July 30, 2018

(BBC) – On face recognition, there has been considerable concern among Silicon Valley workers, and civil rights groups, about the application of the emerging technology – particularly when it comes to law enforcement. Amazon’s Rekognition software, which allows clients to use Amazon AI tech to power facial recognition, was being used by at least two police forces in the US.

Unsafe Ocular Stem Cell Treatments Prevalent

July 30, 2018

(Medscape) – Experimental stem cell therapies for eye conditions are being offered at dozens of unregulated clinics in the United States, and some of these procedures are harmful, researchers report. Clinicians should warn their patients against clinics that provide stem cell treatments but offer no other ophthalmologic services, said Ajay Kuriyan, MD, from the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York.

Big Pharma Would Like Your DNA

July 30, 2018

(The Atlantic) – 23andMe has always planned to sell access to its customers’ DNA—a fact it has not exactly kept secret. When the company’s DNA-testing service launched in 2007, Wired touted its quest to amass a “treasure trove of data … to drive research forward” as a “key part of the 23andMe business plan.” Co-founders Anne Wojcicki and Linda Avey outright told the San Francisco Chronicle that selling kits was only the first step. “The long game here is not to make money selling kits, although the kits are essential to get the base level data,” a 23andMe board member said to Fast Company in 2013. “Once you have the data, [the company] does actually become the Google of personalized health care.”

We Owe Our Children a Big Apology

July 30, 2018

(The Washington Post) – It was only after Germany pressed eugenics to Grant’s logical conclusion that the practice was medically discredited (though not entirely discontinued). Why did so many decent people in America at the time fail to see the cruelty and unfairness of what they were doing? What caused such blindness to democratic and humane values? These questions are comforting to us, because they are accusations against the past. More importantly and less comfortably: What are the social practices we currently encourage or accept that future generations might find inexplicable?

Doctors Call for End to ‘Slow Genocide’ Taking Place in China

July 30, 2018

(The Epoch Times) – In July 1999, the Chinese Communist Party began a campaign to eradicate Falun Gong, a spiritual practice with 70 million to 100 million adherents in China. The world’s governments and human rights and other civil society organizations did little in response, said Dr. Torsten Trey, executive director of DAFOH. Trey says the Chinese regime, in the absence of any strong international response, began a “cold” or “slow-motion” genocide targeting Falun Gong practitioners. Forced organ harvesting has played a key role in this.

A Major Drug Company Now Has Access to 23andMe’s Genetic Data. Should You Be Concerned?

July 30, 2018

(TIME) – Consumer genetic testing company 23andMe announced on Wednesday that GlaxoSmithKline purchased a $300 million stake in the company, allowing the pharmaceutical giant to use 23andMe’s trove of genetic data to develop new drugs — and raising new privacy concerns for consumers.

We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby: The History of IVF

July 30, 2018

(U.S. News & World Report) – Forty years ago, on July 25, 1978, the world celebrated the birth of the first test tube baby, Louise Brown. Sir Robert Edwards and Dr. Patrick Steptoe were the pioneers of this world event, which took place in a petri dish, not a test tube, in England. Since Louise’s mom had blocked fallopian tubes, Dr. Steptoe used a laparoscope to collect her egg. Her husband’s sperm cells were added to the petri dish, and voila! A successful fertilization took place, and the embryo was placed inside her womb. This medical miracle inspired hope for many infertile couples. Since then, more than 5 million children around the world have been born through in vitro fertilization, more commonly known as IVF.

Artificial Hip Maker Demands Retraction of a Paper Calling Its Research ‘Grave Fraudulence’

July 27, 2018

(STAT News) – J&J/DePuy violated the study protocol and manipulated data; consented participants in violation of standards protecting human subjects; and did not secure Institutional Review Board approval for all study sites,” they wrote about a clinical trial of the companies’ Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip replacement system, which was taken off the market in 2013 after many patients had to have the artificial hips removed. The study, they argued based on an analysis of internal company documents, was nothing more than a “seeding study,” designed to market the device to doctors rather than present a test of its safety or efficacy.

As the Dark Side of IVF Slowly Comes Into Focus, Even More Transparency Is Needed

July 27, 2018

(STAT News) – Investigators and writers have begun shining some light on the dark side of IVF. It started early. One of the inventors of the procedure, Nobel Prize winner Robert G. Edwards, was an active member of Britain’s Eugenics Society. He once wrote, “Soon it will be a sin of parents to have a child that carries the heavy burden of genetic disease. We are entering a world where we have to consider the quality of our children.” Edwards and IVF co-inventor Patrick Steptoe conducted experiments on hundreds of women between 1969 and 1978 in Oldham, England.

Hospitals Know How to Protect Mothers. They Just Aren’t Doing It.

July 27, 2018

(USA Today) – Every year, thousands of women suffer life-altering injuries or die during childbirth because hospitals and medical workers skip safety practices known to head off disaster, a USA TODAY investigation has found. Doctors and nurses should be weighing bloody pads to track blood loss so they recognize the danger sooner. They should be giving medication within an hour of spotting dangerously high blood pressure to fend off strokes. These are not complicated procedures requiring expensive technology. They are among basic tasks that experts have recommended for years because they can save mothers’ lives.

CNN Exclusive: Bayer Paid Doctors Millions for Questionable Birth Control Device

July 27, 2018

(CNN) – A CNN analysis of federal data, shows that from August 2013 through December 2017, Bayer paid 11,850 doctors $2.5 million related to Essure for consulting fees and similar services. These payments are legal but very controversial. Potts’ doctor was one of the highest earners, according to federal data. Dr. Cindy Basinski was paid $168,068 for consulting fees and similar services from August 2013 through the end of 2017.

Why Did 11 Babies Die in a Generic Viagra Trial?

July 27, 2018

(The Atlantic) – The story goes that Viagra began as a drug for chest pains. It didn’t work very well. But men in those clinical trials noticed a curious side effect of erections—and lo, a blockbuster drug was born. Since then, the uses of Viagra, or its non-brand counterpart sildenafil, have continued to morph. Clinicaltrials[dot]gov currently lists 60 planned and ongoing sildenafil trials, and it’s already a common treatment for high blood pressure in the lungs. Until this week, one of the many trials in progress was for pregnant women in the Netherlands whose babies grew too slowly in the womb. But after 11 of those babies died from lung problems after birth, the trial was swiftly terminated, as was a similar one in Canada.

Dying Man Openly Opposed Assisted Suicide in His Last Days

July 27, 2018

(San Francisco Gate) – In December, J.J., 36, died of the disease, but his family said he spent his last days opposing assisted death and, instead, advocating for better end-of-life care. His wife said he told her that if he had had the lethal dose of medication on his bedside during his darkest of days, he might have used it and then missed out on three more years with his family. He said he didn’t want that to happen to others.

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