(Phys.org) – A team of Whitehead Institute scientists has discovered that during division, stem cells distinguish between old and young mitochondria and allocate them disproportionately between daughter cells. As a result, the daughter cell destined to remain a stem cell receives predominantly young mitochondria, while the cell meant to differentiate into another cell type carries with it a higher compliment of the aged organelles.
(Times of India) – A judge in America’s conservative heartland has sentenced an Indian-American woman to at least 20 years in prison on charges of feticide and child neglect in a case that goes to the heart of the US debate on abortion and women’s reproductive rights. Purvi Patel (33), who comes from a family of Indian immigrants settled in South Bend, Indiana, came into the emergency room of a local medical center with heavy bleeding in July 2013.
(Phys.org) – It turns out that the chromosomes in laboratory stem cells open slowly over time, in the same sequence that occurs during embryonic development. It isn’t until certain chromosomal regions have acquired the “open” state that they are able to respond to added growth factors and become liver or pancreatic cells. This new understanding, say researchers, will help spur advancements in stem cell research and the development of new cell therapies for diseases of the liver and pancreas, such as type 1 diabetes.
(National Post) – Canada’s medical schools are preparing for what was once unimaginable — teaching medical students and residents how to help patients take their own lives. Canada’s medical schools are preparing for what was once unimaginable — teaching medical students and residents how to help patients take their own lives.
(Nanotechnology Now) – Therapeutic agents intended to reduce dental plaque and prevent tooth decay are often removed by saliva and the act of swallowing before they can take effect. But a team of researchers has developed a way to keep the drugs from being washed away. Dental plaque is made up of bacteria enmeshed in a sticky matrix of polymers–a polymeric matrix–that is firmly attached to teeth.
(Nanotechnology Now) – Damage to neural tissue is typically permanent and causes lasting disability in patients, but a new approach has recently been discovered that holds incredible potential to reconstruct neural tissue at high resolution in three dimensions.
(Medical Xpress) – An illuminating study compares the willingness of stage IV cancer patients, and their caregivers; to pay to extend their lives by one year against that of other end-of-life improvements. The research, led by members of the Lien Centre for Palliative Care (LCPC) and collaborators from the National Cancer Centre Singapore, was recently published in the journal, Palliative Medicine.
(Medical Xpress) – When will the world’s largest and longest Ebola outbreak end? The West African countries of Sierra Leone and Liberia both appear to be on steady paths to ending the epidemic. The wild card is Guinea, where Ebola hasn’t burned as hot but remains stubbornly entrenched. Liberia’s last Ebola patient died March 27; it is now counting down the 42 days it must wait to be declared free of Ebola. Meanwhile, Sierra Leone recorded no new infections Wednesday for the second time; on average, it has logged a handful each day in recent days.
(Nature) – Vaccines made from mutated proteins found in tumours have bolstered immune responses to cancer in a small clinical trial. The results, published on 2 April in Science are the latest from mounting efforts to generate personalized cancer therapies. In this case, three people with melanoma received vaccines designed to alert the immune system to mutated proteins found in their tumours. It is too soon to say whether the resulting immune response will be enough to rein in tumour growth, but the trial is a crucial proof of concept, says Ton Schumacher, a cancer researcher at the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam.
(Newsmax) – As Bobbi Kristina Brown enters her third month in a coma, her family faces an excruciating choice: Keep the 22-year-old alive on machines with little hope for recovery, or withdraw life support and let nature take its course. The agonizing decision is one faced by many families, and each situation is unique, a top expert tells Newsmax Health. But one thing is common to all end-of-life situations: They are easier if the patient has left instructions about how they want to be treated.
(Kaiser Permanente) – A new Kaiser Permanente study will gather genetic material from 5,000 member families in order to undertake urgently needed research on autism spectrum disorders. With the Autism Family Research Bank, researchers will for the first time have access to detailed genetic, medical and environmental information on “trios” — two biological parents and their autistic child under age 26. (All data collected will be fully de-identified to protect participants’ privacy.)
(ABC 7) – The emerging technology of 3D printing is revolutionizing prosthetics. And in time, the arm can be made more sophisticated. The cost, at $50 a piece, makes the technology very affordable, especially when a growing child needs a new one every six months.
(Science) – On his first day on the job as the new president of RIKEN, Japan’s network of national labs, Hiroshi Matsumoto pledged to follow through on his predecessor’s plans for addressing shortcomings that created an environment for research misconduct. “We need to instill high standards of research ethics among individual scientists,” he said.
(Los Angeles Times) – A new study published in Science Translational Medicine offers a window into how hype arises in the interaction between the media and scientific researchers, and how resistant the hype machine is to hard, cold reality. The report’s focus is on overly optimistic reporting on potential stem cell therapies. Its findings are discouraging.
(Newsmax) – Pilots, air traffic controllers and airline mechanics should have to undergo regular mental-health screenings — and they also need assurances that admitting to problems won’t automatically destroy their careers, a medical ethicist told Newsmax TV on Tuesday. “You want to have it for … people who basically have lots of lives in their hands,” Arthur Caplan, director of the Division of Medical Ethics at New York University Langone Medical Center’s Department of Population Health, told “MidPoint” host Ed Berliner.
(Nature) – A tweak to a technique that edits DNA with pinpoint precision has boosted its ability to correct defective genes in people. Called CRISPR, the method is already used in the lab to insert and remove genome defects in animal embryos. But the genetic instructions for the machinery on which CRISPR relies — a gene-editing enzyme called Cas9 and RNA molecules that guide it to its target — are simply too large to be efficiently ferried into most of the human body’s cells. This week, researchers report a possible way around that obstacle: a Cas9 enzyme that is encoded by a gene about three-quarters the size of the one currently used.
(The Conversation) – The ability to precisely and accurately change almost any part of any genome, even in complex species such as humans, may soon become a reality through genome editing. But with great power comes great responsibility – and few subjects elicit such heated debates about moral rights and wrongs. Although genetic engineering techniques have been around for some time, genome editing can achieve this with lower error rates, more simply and cheaply than ever – although the technology is certainly not yet perfect.
(ABC News) – Ten years after the death of Terri Schiavo, the debate over when to end the life of someone catastrophically ill rages on. Terri Schindler Schiavo collapsed at home in the early morning hours of Feb. 25, 1990, according to the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Foundation started by her parents, Robert and Mary Schindler. She was ultimately diagnosed with hypoxic encephalopathy, a brain injury resulting from oxygen starvation.
(Reuters) – Broadening access to contraceptives in Africa’s arid Sahel region and improving women’s sexual health are key parts of a $200 million World Bank project in the conservative Muslim region, its coordinator said. The project in Niger, Mali, Mauritania, Chad, and Ivory Coast seeks to boost long-term prosperity by relieving population pressures on an environment stricken by drought, Christophe Lemiere, coordinator of the Sahel Women’s Empowerment and Demographics Project, told Reuters.
(Medical Xpress) – New research has challenged the prevailing belief that the higher proportion of male babies born in the general population results from a higher proportion of males being conceived. The conclusions suggest that embryonic death is bound up with the embryo’s sex in ways that are not yet fully understood. Early embryos that are nonviable (because they show chromosomal abnormalities) and miscarried very early in pregnancy are more likely to be male, while the embryos that miscarry later in the first-trimester are more likely to be female, for reasons that remain unclear.