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02/22/2018

Intergenerational care: Where kids help the elderly live longer

CNN
“The children work with and play with the residents every single day,” said Ali Somers, co-founder of Apples and Honey Nightingale, who also heads evaluation and impact for this program. The premise is intergenerational care, providing wisdom to the young and relationships — and, in turn, longevity — to the old.

02/21/2018

Find drugs that delay many diseases of old age

Nature

A class of drugs called geroprotectors might be able to delay the onset of concurrent age-related diseases (multimorbidity) and boost resilience. In various animal models, these drugs can ward off problems of the heart, muscles, immune system and more.

02/20/2018

Genome editor CRISPR’s latest trick? Offering a sharper snapshot of activity inside the cell

Science

Airplane flight recorders and body cameras help investigators make sense of complicated events. Biologists studying cells have tried to build their own data recorders, for example by linking the activity of a gene of interest to one making a fluorescent protein. Their goal is to clarify processes such as the emergence of cancer, aging, environmental impacts, and embryonic development.

02/19/2018

Spot Shortages Of Antiviral Drugs Seen As Flu Season Drags On

NPR

The strain of flu known as H3N2 remains the dominant form circulating in the United States. It’s a particularly severe strain that isn’t easily stopped by the current vaccine.

02/16/2018

Why science blogging still matters

Nature

Science blogs have been around since the early 2000s, and in recent years the ‘microblogging’ platform Twitter and other social-media channels, which require less time to maintain than does a full blog, threatened to make them obsolete. But some scientists are keeping the practice alive, and it continues to play a major part in sparking collaborations, conveying crucial information and strengthening scientific communities.

02/15/2018

Gene therapy field hit by fresh safety concern

Science

A virus that buoyed the gene therapy field when it led to dramatic benefits in babies born with a fatal neuromuscular condition is under scrutiny. A small animal study suggests that high doses of the virus, called adeno-associated virus 9, can cause severe liver and neuron damage in young monkeys and pigs. The results drew attention in part because they come from the lab of James Wilson at the University of Pennsylvania, who led a 1999 trial in which a teenager died from an immune reaction to a different gene therapy vector.

02/14/2018

Talk to Your Doctor About Your Bucket List

The New York Times

A bucket list is an itemized list of goals people want to accomplish before they “kick the bucket” — or die. Making a bucket list allows us to reflect on our values and goals and identify important milestones and experiences that we want to have in our lifetime.

02/14/2018

How drug company money turned patient groups into ‘cheerleaders for opioids’

USA Today

The five biggest opioid manufacturers shelled out more than $10 million to patient advocacy groups, professional medical societies and affiliated individuals — who then “echoed and amplified” messages that encouraged use of those highly addictive drugs and set the stage for the current opioid epidemic.

02/13/2018

OxyContin maker Purdue to stop promoting opioids in light of epidemic

NBC News

Purdue Pharma, the company best known for selling the prescription painkiller OxyContin, announced on Saturday that they would stop marketing opioid drugs to doctors. The move comes amid a series of state and municipal lawsuits that blame the company for contributing to the opioid epidemic.

02/12/2018

Brain Transcriptome Distinctions, Overlaps Characterized in Neuropsychiatric Conditions

GenomeWeb

New research is defining the similarities and differences between brain gene expression profiles involved in neuropsychiatric conditions.

02/09/2018

Student dies of flu after NHS warning over A&E visits

The Guardian

A young engineering student reportedly died of flu after her family followed NHS warnings over Christmas not to attend A&E unless it was an emergency.

02/08/2018

OHSU apologizes for ‘archaic’ policy, reverses course after denying undocumented woman liver transplant

The Oregonian

Hours after learning that an undocumented women who has lived in Portland for 30 years had been denied a liver transplant because of her immigration status, Oregon Health & Science University officials terminated the policy that caused the denial and apologized.

02/07/2018

Big tobacco’s offer: $1 billion for research. Should scientists take it?

Science

Utrecht University (UU) in the Netherlands thought it had nothing to be ashamed of when it accepted a €360,000 research grant from Philip Morris International (PMI) last September. The tobacco giant had agreed to fund a study on cigarette smuggling that had obvious public health importance, and the lead researcher, law professor John Vervaele, would enjoy complete academic freedom. Sure, there had been a “thorough debate” about the grant, Vervaele said in a press release, “but the tobacco industry is not illegal. The illicit tobacco trade is.”

02/06/2018

AI can predict when we’ll die — here’s why that’s a good thing

NBC News

Now, scientists have found a new medical application for AI: predicting when a seriously ill patient admitted to the hospital will likely die. In hospitals, palliative care teams are charged with improving the quality of life of gravely ill patients and making sure their final wishes are carried out. But clinicians sometimes don’t refer their patients to these specialists because they believe their patients are better off than they really are.

02/05/2018

Gender bias goes away when grant reviewers focus on the science

Nature

Women lose out when reviewers are asked to assess the researcher, rather than the research, on a grant application, according to a study on gender bias. Training reviewers to recognize unconscious biases seems to correct this imbalance, despite previous work suggesting that it increased bias instead.

02/02/2018

Aid-in-dying advocates target next battleground states

CNN

When the end draws near, Dr. Roger Kligler, a retired physician with incurable, metastatic prostate cancer, wants the option to use a lethal prescription to die peacefully in his sleep. As he fights for the legal right to do that, an influential doctors group in Massachusetts has agreed to stop trying to block the way.

02/01/2018

The Rise of the Anti-Trump “Girthers”

The New Yorker

The matter of President Trump’s weight fits within a longer story about the erosion of trust between the Administration and the people it serves.

01/31/2018

Could this be a better way to build a flu vaccine?

CNN

Scientists have used a mutant influenza A virus to develop a vaccine that gave the immune systems of mice and ferrets a significant boost, according to the study published in the journal Science on Thursday. The newly designed vaccine has been tested only in those lab animals, and more research is needed to determine whether it could be used safely and effectively in humans.

01/30/2018

Handheld device sequences human genome

BBC News

Scientists have used a device that fits in the palm of the hand to sequence the human genome.

01/30/2018

Bioethics in Action, Part II: Teaching About the Challenge of Balancing the Needs of Patients

The New York Times

One of the most difficult challenges in the field of bioethics is balancing the needs of individual patients against the welfare of society. In Part II of a two-part lesson series, we ask students to do just that: to balance the interests of patients against each other and in relation to the broader population.

01/29/2018

Artificial neurons compute faster than the human brain

Nature

Superconducting computing chips modeled after neurons can process information faster and more efficiently than the human brain. That achievement, described in Science Advances on 26 January, is a key benchmark in the development of advanced computing devices designed to mimic biological systems. And it could open the door to more natural machine-learning software, although many hurdles remain before it could be used commercially.

01/26/2018

Drug overdoses contribute to record number of organ donors

CNN

There were more than 10,000 deceased organ donors last year, a 3% increase over the previous year and a 27% jump since 2007.

01/25/2018

What should we have the right to know about a president’s health?

CNN

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has promised a readout of the results as soon as information becomes available. But ultimately, Trump may decide to withhold details from his physical from the public. He can do so because presidents are shielded by the same federal health privacy laws that protect each of us from undue scrutiny.

01/24/2018

Gene Therapy Could Make Cancer Care More Unequal, and This Map Shows Why

MIT Technology Review

Two new cancer treatments have shown miraculous cures, but if you happen to live in Arkansas or Montana, or a handful of other rural states—let alone outside the U.S.—you’ll have to travel hundreds of miles to get them. And it’s by no means certain that they’ll eventually be available everywhere.

01/24/2018

In Trump’s first year, science advice sees a marked decline

Science

Since U.S. President Donald Trump took office, expert panels that provide key federal agencies with science advice have had fewer members and met less often than at any time since 1997, when the government started tracking such numbers, a new analysis concludes.

01/23/2018

Facebook is a ‘living, breathing crime scene,’ says one former tech insider

NBC News

“Facebook is a living, breathing crime scene for what happened in the 2016 election — and only they have full access to what happened,” said Tristan Harris, a former design ethicist at Google. His work centers on how technology can ethically steer the thoughts and actions of the masses on social media and he’s been called “the closest thing Silicon Valley has to a conscience” by The Atlantic magazine.

01/22/2018

23andMe’s ancestry results ‘most confounding,’ new report says

Mercury News

Silicon Valley ancestry-testing firm 23andMe claims to have DNA from more than 2 million consumers, and its spit tests for insights into family history and health were top sellers on Amazon this past holiday season, but its ancestry test and those from three other companies produced drastically different results, a new report said.

01/19/2018

Fed Up With Drug Companies, Hospitals Decide to Start Their Own

The New York Times

A group of large hospital systems plans to create a nonprofit generic drug company to battle shortages and high prices.

01/19/2018

Michigan hit hard by deadly hepatitis A outbreak

CNN

A hepatitis A outbreak has hit several states across the country, killing dozens of people and potentially sickening thousands. Michigan has been hardest-hit in terms of deaths, with 22.

01/18/2018

First treatment approved for breast cancer with BRCA genetic mutation

Washington Post

The Food and Drug Administration on Friday cleared the first treatment for patients with advanced breast cancer caused by BRCA mutations, which are genetic defects that raise the risk of malignancies.