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10/20/2017

A 2-year-old’s kidney transplant was put on hold — after his donor father’s probation violation

Washington Post

A father in Georgia who had prepared to donate a kidney to his 2-year-old son said last week that he is being forced to wait after a recent stint in county jail.

10/19/2017

The future of DNA sequencing

Nature

What will the next 40 years bring? Prognosticators are typically wrong about which technologies — or, more importantly, which applications — will be the most disruptive. We would probably fare no better in predicting the future of DNA sequencing. So instead, we offer a framework for thinking about it. Our central message is that trends in DNA sequencing will be driven by killer applications, not by killer technologies.

10/18/2017

Polluted environments kill 1.7 million children each year, WHO says

CNN

Each year, environmental pollutants cost an estimated 1.7 million lives among children under 5, according to World Health Organization reports released Monday.

10/17/2017

Trump’s UNESCO exit draws critics, but will have little immediate impact

Science

To the dismay of many researchers, the U.S. government announced last week that it would formally withdraw from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) based in Paris.

10/16/2017

Drug-resistant malaria advances in Mekong

Science

Some malaria researchers say their worst fears are coming true. A malaria parasite resistant to resistant to a first-line artemisinin combination therapy has rapidly made its way in an arc from western Cambodia, through northeastern Thailand, to southern Laos; now, it has landed in southern Vietnam, where it is causing alarming rates of treatment failure.

10/13/2017

Navajo Nation reconsiders ban on genetic research

Nature

When the Navajo Nation opens its first oncology centre next year in Tuba City, Arizona, clinicians there may be able to offer a service that has been banned on tribal lands for 15 years: analyzing the DNA of Navajo tribe members to guide treatments and study the genetic roots of disease.

10/12/2017

Birth control: Trump expands opt-out for workplace insurance

Washington Post

President Donald Trump is allowing more employers to opt out of providing no-cost birth control to women by claiming religious or moral objections, issuing new rules Friday that take another step in rolling back the Obama health care law.

10/11/2017

Is it easier to buy guns than Sudafed?

CNN

“It is harder in America to buy two packs of Sudafed than 10 assault rifles,” comedian D.L. Hughley said on his radio show Monday, the day after a gunman opened fire on a concert crowd in Las Vegas.

10/10/2017

New York hospital’s secret policy led to woman being given C-section against her will

The Guardian

A New York hospital accused of forcing a mother to undergo a caesarean section against her will used an internal policy permitting doctors to overrule a pregnant woman’s medical decisions.

10/10/2017

Knowingly infecting others with HIV is no longer a felony in California. Advocates say it targeted sex workers.

Washington Post

California lawmakers have passed legislation to reduce the penalty for those who knowingly or intentionally expose others to HIV without their knowledge, rolling back a law that mostly affected sex workers. The bill, SB 239, which was approved by the Democrat-controlled state legislature in September and signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on Friday, will lower the charges for these acts from a felony to a misdemeanor when the law goes into effect in 2018.

10/09/2017

Uganda removes key hurdle to GM crops

Science

Biotech researchers here are celebrating the long-awaited passage of a bill this week that clears the way for large-scale field tests and commercial release of genetically modified (GM) crops. Uganda, with several engineered varieties waiting in the wings, is expected to join a handful of other African nations moving quickly to bring homegrown GM foods to the market.

10/06/2017

Changes in the microbiota cause genetically modified Anopheles to spread in a population

Science

In an alternative strategy, Wang et al.engineered mosquitoes’ gut bacteria. A strain of nonpathogenic bacteria, AS1, was both sexually and transgenerationally transmitted. The strain infected a laboratory population of mosquitoes and persisted for at least three generations. AS1 engineered to inhibit malaria parasite development in the midgut could do so without handicapping the mosquitoes.

10/05/2017

Hepatitis C Drug’s Lower Cost Paves Way For Medicaid, Prisons To Expand Treatment

Kaiser Health News

People who are incarcerated face an even tougher battle to get treatment for hepatitis C. Roughly 17 percent of prisoners are infected with hepatitis C, compared with about 1 percent of the general population. Lawyers in a handful of states are pursuing class action lawsuits to force prisons to provide hepatitis C treatment. Mavyret may make a difference, said David Rudovsky, a civil rights lawyer who’s litigating a class action lawsuit against the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.

10/04/2017

Should Physicians Consider the Environmental Effects of Prescribing Antibiotics?

AMA Journal of Ethics

Pharmaceuticals are beginning to receive attention as a source of pollution in aquatic environments. Yet the impact of physician prescription patterns on water resources is not often discussed in clinical decision making. Here, we comment on a case in which empiric antibiotic treatment might benefit a patient while simultaneously being detrimental to the aquatic environment. We first highlight the potential harm caused by this prescription from its production to its disposal.

10/03/2017

Teenage suicide is extremely difficult to predict. That’s why some experts are turning to machines for help.

Washington Post

Researchers from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center are testing an app in schools that analyzes language to determine whether teens are at risk for suicide.

10/02/2017

Chinese scientists fix genetic disorder in cloned human embryos

Nature

A team in China has taken a new approach to fixing disease genes in human embryos. The researchers created cloned embryos with a genetic mutation for a potentially fatal blood disorder, and then precisely corrected the DNA to show how the condition might be prevented at the earliest stages of development.

09/29/2017

How to teach children about gender equality

CNN

Parents can help teach their kids about gender equality by never using gender as an excuse for behavior, experts say.

09/28/2017

Whistleblowers at U.S. funded research institutions fear retaliation

Washington Post

Consider the impact of the Public Health Service’s scandalous “Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male.” Patients were denied needed treatment in the name of science. Launched in 1932, it lasted 40 years and is an example of perverted research with lingering negative consequences. Now comes an investigative report about deterrents in reporting problems with human research. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General found evidence of a fear of retaliation among whistleblowers in research institutions.

09/27/2017

Ethics Students Go to the Jail

AMA Journal of Ethics

This article describes an educational initiative in which clinical ethics students, who were either in a bioethics master’s degree program or in the fourth year of medical school, spent two days observing health care in an urban jail. Students submitted reflections about their experience, in which they drew attention to concerns about privacy, physical restriction, due care, drug addiction, mistrust, and the conflicting expectations that arise when incarcerated people become patients.

09/26/2017

Wikipedia shapes language in science papers

Nature

Wikipedia is one of the world’s most popular websites, but scientists rarely cite it in their papers. Despite this, the online encyclopedia seems to be shaping the language that researchers use in papers, according to an experiment showing that words and phrases in recently published Wikipedia articles subsequently appeared more frequently in scientific papers.

09/25/2017

Scientists grow bullish on pig-to-human transplants

Science

Add your name to a waitlist for a kidney transplant in the United States today, and you’ll join around 100,000 people, many of whom have already been waiting years. The scarcity of life-saving organs for transplants has raised hopes for substitute organs from pigs, which have a similar anatomy to humans. But decades of scientific setbacks have kept clinical trials of that approach, called xenotransplantation, on the horizon. Now, a few teams are chomping at the bit. Exhilarated by recent results in monkey experiments, some researchers here at a meeting of the International Xenotransplantation Association are eyeing human testing.

09/22/2017

235 sickened by salmonella outbreaks linked to papayas

CNN Health

Salmonella outbreaks linked to Maradol papayas from Mexico have sickened 235 people in 26 states, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday. Seventy-eight people have been hospitalized, and two people, one from New York and one from California, have died.

09/21/2017

As Federal Government Cuts Obamacare Ads, Private Insurer Steps Up

NPR

Open enrollment for Affordable Care Act insurance doesn’t start for another six weeks. But the quirky insurance startup Oscar Health is launching an ad campaign Monday aimed at getting young people to enroll.

09/20/2017

CRISPR reveals genetic master switches behind butterfly wing patterns

Nature

The brilliant, intricate patterns on butterfly wings — from haunting eye spots to iridescent splashes of blue — look as if they were painted on by teams of artists. Researchers thought that a complex collection of genes might be responsible, interacting to build up the final pattern. But two studies now suggest that two genes play an outsize role in determining the wing’s lines and colours. Turning off these ‘master’ genes disrupts the canvas, dulling the colours or turning the insects monochromatic.

09/19/2017

Pregnant women should not be categorised as a ‘vulnerable population’ in biomedical research studies: ending a vicious cycle of ‘vulnerability’

Journal Of Medical Ethics

A new study published in Journal of Medical Ethics by van der Zande et al1 further highlights why classifying pregnant women as a ‘vulnerable population’ in the context of research is deeply problematic. Because the designation of ‘vulnerable’ is otherwise applied to populations whose decision-making capacity about research participation is somehow compromised—such as children and adults of limited cognitive ability—many of us have been arguing for some time that using this designation for pregnant women is inappropriate and disrespectful.

09/18/2017

Are countries being honest about their carbon emissions? Satellites could tell

Science

It’s all fine and good to sign a climate treaty, but how do you know whether a country is keeping its word? Track it from space. Researchers have shown that observations by Earth-orbiting instruments can be used to estimate carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from individual power plants. NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2, which was launched in July 2014, was designed to monitor the movement of COin and out of ecosystems worldwide.

09/15/2017

PETA versus the postdoc: Animal rights group targets young researcher for first time

Science

PETA and other animal rights groups have hounded researchers for decades in hopes of shutting down animal experiments in the United States and elsewhere. But Lattin is an unusual target. She’s a self-professed animal lover with a background in bird rescue; her studies are far less invasive than the research PETA has traditionally gone after; and she’s only a postdoc, much younger and less established than any scientist the group has singled out before.

09/14/2017

Senate panel seeks middle ground on human fetal tissue research and abortion

Science

The Senate Appropriations Committee, in a bill that boosts NIH funding by $2 billion, to $36.1 billion, ordered the biomedical research agency to launch a pilot study to determine whether banking tissue from stillbirths and spontaneous abortions, or miscarriages, could serve all of the needs of biomedical researchers.

09/13/2017

South Korean researchers lobby government to lift human-embryo restrictions

Nature

More than a decade after a fraud scandal in stem-cell science rocked South Korea, scientists in the field are ramping up pressure on the government to relax the country’s strict regulations on human-embryo research — which many researchers label a ban.

09/12/2017

What Are Physicians’ Responsibilities to Patients Whose Health Conditions Can Influence Their Legal Proceedings?

AMA Journal of Ethics

Correctional populations are disproportionately affected by conditions that affect cognition, such as psychiatric illness and head trauma. Honoring bioethical principles in the care of such patients can be particularly difficult in the correctional setting. However, the approach should not change markedly because a patient is incarcerated.