(Medical Xpress) – By identifying in spinal fluid how the characteristic mutant proteins of Huntington’s disease spread from cell to cell, UC Irvine scientists and colleagues have created a new method to quickly and accurately track the presence and proliferation of these neuron-damaging compounds—a discovery that may accelerate the development of new drugs to treat this incurable disease.
(Vice News) – It has experimented with Arctic drones, designed the next generation of smart rifles and developed secure wifi networks for combat platoons. Now, the Canadian Armed Forces is looking to develop a battlefield-ready adult stem cell program to help its soldiers quickly heal devastating wounds. Scientists at Defense Research and Development Canada (DRDC) are developing a project that aims to create potential tools for rapid healing and protection against chemical warfare agents.
(MIT Technology Review) – years researchers believed that women were born with all the eggs they would ever have. That—and the fact that the quality of the eggs diminishes when a woman reaches her 40s—meant infertility was inevitable past a certain age. But in 2004, Jonathan Tilly and other researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital showed that ovaries also contain egg precursor cells, which might, in theory, mature into new eggs or boost the health of existing ones. Now OvaScience, which Tilly cofounded—a member of this year’s 50 Smartest Companies list—is developing treatments for infertile couples. In its first commercially available approach, energy-producing mitochondria are transferred from egg precursor cells into mature eggs to rejuvenate them. These eggs are then used for in vitro fertilization. In May, the first baby was born to parents who tried this approach.
(Medical Xpress) – The news that legendary Green Bay Packer quarterback Bart Starr has undergone stem cell therapy to recover from a stroke has raised the profile for a promising but unproven regenerative treatment intended to replace dead neurons with live ones.The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Su-Chun Zhang was the first scientist to isolate neural stem cells from embryonic stem cells and then from other types of all-purpose stem cells. He says medical researchers and the federal government have a responsibility to forge ahead with clinical trials to prove whether and how these flexible cells can replace damaged or dead neural cells caused by spinal cord injury, stroke and Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS).
(Medical Xpress) – Regenerative medicine researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have identified a cell that replenishes adult heart muscle by using a new cell lineage-tracing technique they devised. Adult heart muscle is comprised of cells called cardiomyocytes. Most cardiomyocytes don’t replenish themselves after a heart attack or other significant heart muscle damage. The UT Southwestern researchers were able to devise a new cell-tracing technique, allowing them to detect cells that do replenish themselves after being damaged.
(Quartz) – Amid a growing debate over humanity’s place in the world alongside artificial intelligence, a Japanese telecom company has released a robot that it says has emotions. But rather than run in fear from it, we’ve welcomed it into our homes: Pepper, the “emotional robot,” sold out within a minute of going on sale.
(The Guardian) – But is this really such a shock? Unfortunately, probably not. Look at the history of medical science and these breaches are more common than we’d like to admit. The controversy over the CIA torture is very similar to another debate raging within the US medical community – that over doctor involvement in the death penalty. With the growing use of the lethal injection, doctors have been increasingly involved in this form of punishment, developing and implementing drugs for the purpose of killing.
(The Toronto Star) – Yet the irrational, what has long been viewed as moral anathema, is starting to take hold in the medical and ethical establishments. That can be traced directly to the momentum of the “right to die” movement. Canada’s Supreme Court unanimously struck down the law against assisted suicide in February, although the ban won’t be lifted until next year.
(The Guardian) – Babies, teenagers and students in many parts of the UK will start receiving potentially life-saving vaccination against meningitis within weeks in a move hailed as a turning point in the fight against the deadly disease. Medical experts and charities working to beat meningitis welcomed the Department of Health’s confirmation that a major extension of the immunisation programme will begin in August in England and Scotland. Dame Barbara Hakin of NHS England said the jabs “will save lives for years to come”.
(The Guardian) – London police have dropped an investigation into allegations that voluntary euthanasia advocate, Dr Philip Nitschke, encouraged or assisted suicide while in Britain. London police have dropped an investigation into allegations that voluntary euthanasia advocate, Dr Philip Nitschke, encouraged or assisted suicide while in Britain. The show, placed on hold during investigations, will now go ahead but audience members will be required to sign a legal waiver, Nitschke told Guardian Australia.
(The Epoch Times) – Taiwan’s Parliament has made amendments to its organ transplantation law that would have the effect of criminalizing the transplantation of organs from executed prisoners in China, part of a global trend to halt the trafficking of human organs in China. In a June 12 session in Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan, a number of important amendments to the Human Organ Transplant Ordinance were read and passed as law.
(Digital Journal) – Trials have taken place magnetized nanoparticles to deliver heat to tumors. Although it is unlikely that heat alone will be sufficient to remove cancerous cells, the idea is that heat combined with other treatments, like radiotherapy and chemotherapy, offers a more effective means to treat the disease. The newly developed nanoparticles are micro-sized balls of iron oxide (around ten nanometers in diameter). This material, when a magnetic field is directed towards it, produces heat.
Intellectually Disabled Woman Seeks Compensation for Forced Sterilization under Eugenics Law in 1960s
(The Japan Times) – A woman in her 60s with an intellectual disability will ask the national bar association to examine her forced sterilization about 50 years ago as a human rights violation, her lawyer said Saturday. The now-defunct 1948 eugenic protection act authorized the forced sterilization of people with intellectual disabilities, mental illness or hereditary disorders to prevent births of “inferior” children. The law was scrapped in 1996 and replaced by the Maternal Protection Act, from which the controversial clauses were removed.
(Nanotechnology Now) – Researchers have found an easy way to produce carbon nanoparticles that are small enough to evade the body’s immune system, reflect light in the near-infrared range for easy detection, and carry payloads of pharmaceutical drugs to targeted tissues. Unlike other methods of making carbon nanoparticles – which require expensive equipment and purification processes that can take days – the new approach generates the particles in a few hours and uses only a handful of ingredients, including store-bought molasses.
(Eurekalert) – By volunteering to mail saliva to researchers working with their health care provider, thousands of people in California have helped build one of the nation’s most powerful medical research tools. The researchers have now published the first reports describing these volunteers’ genetic characteristics, how their self-reported ethnicity relates to genetic ancestry, and details of the innovative methods that allowed them to complete DNA analysis within 14 months. The articles are published in the journal GENETICS.
(The Telegraph) – Doctors in the Netherlands have called for terminally ill young children to be given the right to die. The Netherlands is one of few countries in the world where euthanasia is permitted for terminally ill patients. But the Dutch Paediatric Association said that existing laws do not go far enough and called for an age limit to be scrapped.
(CBS News) – The Iowa Supreme Court has struck down a restriction that would have prevented doctors from administering abortion-inducing pills remotely via video teleconferencing, saying it would have placed an undue burden on a woman’s right to get an abortion.
(NPR) – Edwards was one of 60,000 enlisted men enrolled in a once-secret government program — formally declassified in 1993 — to test mustard gas and other chemical agents on American troops. But there was a specific reason he was chosen: Edwards is African-American. “They said we were being tested to see what effect these gases would have on black skins,” Edwards says. An NPR investigation has found evidence that Edwards’ experience was not unique.
(Cambridge) – Scientists may have found the cause of some types of infertility, including recurrent miscarriage, after new research found some human eggs carry the wrong number of chromosomes. The pioneering study published in Science by the Medical Research Council (MRC) Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, in collaboration with Bourn Hall Clinic, has revealed some of the reasons why this happens.
(Physorg) – The finding, published June 16, 2015 in the journal Genes & Development, shows that nucleoporins play an important role in maintaining embryonic stem cells before they begin to develop into specific tissues. This discovery gives a new understanding to genetic diseases that are caused by mutations in these proteins. One nucleoporin protein in particular has a dramatic–and unanticipated–function in the formation of neurons from stem cells.