April 15, 2014
Genetic Risk of Alzheimer’s Has Gender Bias
(New Scientist) – Carrying a copy of the “Alzheimer’s gene” doesn’t significantly raise a man’s risk of developing the disease. The gene does increase a woman’s risk, but women with one copy of the gene were as likely to develop the disease as men with no copies. The study – along with work suggesting that the gene is associated with educational achievement in young people – highlights how much remains to be done to untangle the genetics of Alzheimer’s.
Consumers Considering Different Health Plans Find Little Info about Abortion Coverage
(Washington Post) – When it comes to coverage of abortion services in plans sold on the health insurance marketplaces, opponents and supporters of abortion rights are in agreement on one thing: Coverage details need to be clearer. A recent analysis by the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive-health research and policy organization that supports abortion rights, found that people in some states would be hard-pressed to find any information about whether the plans they were interested in covered abortion services.
Fertility Tourism: Couples Desperate for a Baby Heading Overseas
(The New Zealand Herald) – As a result of the 2002 law, lower costs, increasing medical infrastructure and the availability of surrogates, the country has emerged as a hotspot for this type of fertility tourism. International surrogacy, also legal in the United States, Thailand, the Ukraine and at least one state in Mexico, is a growing trend for couples and singles, both gay and straight, seeking ways to overcome the hurdles biological, technological, financial, and legal of having children.
April 14, 2014
Payment Bid to Boost IVF Cycle
(Sydney Morning Herald) – Women who donate their eggs so others can have children would be paid for their trouble, under changes to the IVF code of ethics being considered by Australia’s chief medical advisory and research authority. As part of its review of the ethical guidelines for the practice of assisted reproductive technology in Australia, the National Health and Medical Research Council has sought public comment on whether women should be ”compensated for the reproductive effort and risks associated with donating their eggs”.
April 11, 2014
Scientists Grow Viable Vaginas from Girls’ Own Cells
(Reuters) – Four young women born with abnormal or missing vaginas were implanted with lab-grown versions made from their own cells, the latest success in creating replacement organs that have so far included tracheas, bladders and urethras. Follow-up tests show the new vaginas are indistinguishable from the women’s own tissue and have grown in size as the young women, who got the implants as teens, matured.
April 7, 2014
Genetic Testing to Predict Menopause
(The Sydney Morning Herald) – A genetic test to predict the start of menopause is likely to be available within five years, allowing women to make more informed decisions about their health and fertility, a leading expert says. Professor of Reproductive Medicine and Gynaecology at University Medical Centre in the Netherlands, Bart Fauser, said given menopause could begin at very different ages, including before 40 years for about one in 100 women, a test to more precisely predict the timing would be extremely useful, especially for women wanting children.
Minister Orders Investigation into Abortion of Girls
(The Telegraph) – A new survey of birth ratios in Britain has been ordered by the Government, amid fears that sex-selective abortions are taking place in Britain. Earl Howe, a health minister, said the Government wants to “monitor the situation” and “remain vigilant” following evidence that some doctors in the UK are carrying out selective abortions.
Surrogate Parenthood for Money Is a Form of Human Trafficking
(Forbes) – Currently, New York State, Louisiana, Minnesota, and the District of Columbia are considering legislation that would legalize commercial surrogacy. Last week, the New York Times featured a video segment on Baby M which asks the question: Have we solved the question of surrogacy? A look into these current legislative battles and the patchwork of varied state legislation on surrogacy around the country makes it clear that we have not.
April 2, 2014
Mammogram Risks Raise Doubts about Blanket Screening
(New Scientist) – The benefits of mammograms have been overblown and the harms underplayed, concludes a review of studies looking at breast cancer screening since the 1960s. Rather than blanket screening every woman every few years once they reach a certain age, the review recommends only screening those identified as being at high risk.
March 27, 2014
Gene Implicated in Progression and Relapse of Deadly Breast Cancer
(Weill Cornell Newsroom) – Scientists from Weill Cornell Medical College and Houston Methodist have found that a gene previously unassociated with breast cancer plays a pivotal role in the growth and progression of the triple negative form of the disease, a particularly deadly strain that often has few treatment options. Their research, published in this week’s Nature, suggests that targeting the gene may be a new approach to treating the disease.
Team Issues State-of-the-State on Genetic-Based Testing and Treatment for Breast cancer
(Medical Xpress) – Dartmouth researchers at its Norris Cotton Cancer Center have compiled a review of the role that information gathered through genetic testing plays in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. The paper entitled “Personalized Therapy for Breast Cancer” was accepted on March 17, 2014, for publication in Clinical Genetics. The paper discusses targeted therapies, new biomarkers, and the quality of commercially available testing methods.
March 26, 2014
Study Discovers Genetic Cause of Rare Type of Ovarian Cancer
(Medical Xpress) – The cause of a rare type of ovarian cancer that most often strikes girls and young women has been uncovered by an international research team led by the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), according to a study published online today by the renowned scientific journal, Nature Genetics.
A Surrogate Story
(The Indian Express) – Twenty-four-year-old Vimlesh Devi has been a surrogate mother for two years. A mother of three and a homemaker, she lives in south west Delhi’s Kapashera colony. For Delhi-based documentary filmmaker Ishani K Dutta, it was the impulse to bear children for money that became the focus for her documentary Womb On Rent.
March 21, 2014
Study Provides Better Understanding of Why Chromosome Errors Are High in Women’s Eggs
(News-Medical) – A new study from the University of Southampton has provided scientists with a better understanding of why chromosome errors are high in women’s eggs. It is estimated that up to 60 per cent of eggs are affected by errors in how their chromosomes divide, making it the leading cause of infertility. Chromosome errors also lead to conditions such as Down Syndrome and early pregnancy loss.
March 19, 2014
Older Women and Altheimer’s
(CNN) – Older women are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s than breast cancer according to a new report.
March 18, 2014
Making Sense of New Studies Questioning Mammograms: Is the Test Worth Having?
(Washington Post) – Women contemplating whether to get a mammogram need to understand two things, says Fran Visco, president of the National Breast Cancer Coalition (and a breast cancer survivor): First, the deadliest cancers may spread before they’re detectable on even the best mammogram; second, some of the cancers that mammograms find will never harm you. Until we can distinguish harmless cancers from deadly ones, we’re compelled to treat all of them. Thus, some women get surgery, chemotherapy and other treatments for cancers that would never have hurt them, Visco says.
March 17, 2014
New Ovarian Cancer Target Proposed
(Medical News Today) – Proteins called TAFs were once thought to be generic cogs in the machinery of gene expression, but in a new study Brown University scientists propose that they may be important suspects in the progression of ovarian cancer that should not continue to be overlooked. In the complex genomic and molecular conspiracy that gives rise to ovarian cancer, what if researchers have been missing a whole set of suspects because they’ve been hiding in plain sight?
A Surgical Procedure’s Risks, Unmentioned
(New York Times) – Many patients assume that, like prescription drugs, surgical procedures and instruments undergo extensive testing and must be government-approved. It’s not necessarily so. Developers, of course, do test new instruments, and practitioners often train with an expert before using them unsupervised to treat patients. And the Food and Drug Administration must confirm an instrument’s safety and effectiveness before it can be marketed — but only if the device is deemed significantly different from others already approved.
New Nanoparticles That Only Attacks Cervical Cancer Cells
(Nanotechnology Now) – One of the most promising technologies for the treatment of various cancers is nanotechnology, creating drugs that directly attack the cancer cells without damaging other tissues’ development. The Laboratory of Cellular Oncology at the Research Unit in Cell Differentiation and Cancer, of the Faculty of Higher Studies (FES) Zaragoza UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico) developed a therapy to attack cervical cancer tumors.
March 14, 2014
Placenta gives life, but can also kill as C-section rate climbs
(ABC News) – The placenta is an incredible organ that for nine months sustains the life of an unborn child. But it can also be deadly, fueled by the staggering cesarean rate in the United States — 32.8 percent of births, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sometimes, for no explainable reason, the placenta grows abnormally and invades the uterine wall. Women who have had previous cesarean sections are at greatest risk for the condition and the risk rises each time she undergoes another.
March 13, 2014
F.D.A. panel recommends replacement for the Pap test
(New York Times) – The Pap test, a ritual for women that has been the mainstay of cervical cancer prevention for 60 years, may be about to play a less crucial role. A federal advisory committee recommended unanimously on Wednesday that a DNA test developed by Roche be approved for use as a primary screening tool.