March 5, 2014
Celebrity salami company BiteLabs isn’t quite ready to go to market with test-tube human meat
(Huffington Post) – A start-up called BiteLabs has been floating the idea of making salami out of test-tube meat grown from celebrity tissue samples, and has provided flavor profiles to whet potential supporters’ appetites. JLaw’s proposed flavor profile is described as having “notes of honey… spiced with orange zest and ginger,” whereas James Franco’s is “smoky, sexy, and smooth.” BiteLabs suggests pairing Kanye West’s bold, spicy test-tube steak with a strong bourbon.
March 4, 2014
The breast cancer racial gap
(New York Times) – A troubling racial divide in breast cancer mortality continues to widen in most major cities around the country, suggesting that advances in diagnosis and treatment continue to bypass African-American women, according to new research. An analysis of breast cancer mortality trends in 41 of the largest cities in the United States shows that the chance of surviving breast cancer correlates strongly with the color of a woman’s skin.
March 3, 2014
Revealed: Surrogate births hit record high as couples flock abroad
(The Independent) – Record numbers of British children are being conceived through surrogacy, according to official figures seen by The Independent on Sunday. The number of babies registered in Britain after being born to a surrogate parent has risen by 255 per cent in the past six years, amid mounting concerns that legislation has not kept up with demand.
The rent-a-womb boom
(The Daily Beast) – They’ve been called “baby factories,” conjuring up images of poor, illiterate women packed into bunks and forced by their husbands to bear surrogate children for Westerners. And they make up a vital industry in India—since 2002, when surrogacy was legalized in the country, a U.N.-backed study estimates that the surrogacy business has raked in more than $400 million a year.
February 27, 2014
Can doctors be taught how to talk to patients?
(New York Times) – Recently one of us attended a daylong retreat designed to help doctors communicate more effectively with patients. The course was taught by a colleague with whom we had consulted in the past on patient-related matters but who was known better by his reputation, which was almost laughably stereotypical: brilliant technically, but stunted when it came to interacting with people.
Reproductive coercion, intimate partner violence prevalent
(Medical Xpress) – Enough women experience reproductive coercion – male behavior to control contraception and pregnancy outcomes – that a research team now recommends health care providers address the subjects with their patients and tailor family planning discussions and recommendations accordingly. Researchers from Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island were part of a team that published “Reproductive coercion and co-occurring intimate partner violence in obstetrics and gynecology patients” in a recent issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
February 26, 2014
Toronto doctors sentenced for abusing sedated patients
(BBC) – A Canadian doctor who sexually assaulted 21 sedated patients while they helplessly watched has been sentenced to 10 years in prison. Anaesthesiologist George Doodnaught, 65, abused the women, aged 25 to 75, while they were in his care. The victims testified that they had been conscious when Doodnaught kissed, fondled and assaulted them, but they were unable to move.
February 25, 2014
A morbidly obese patient tests the limits of a doctor’s compassion
(Washington Post) – The patient is large. Very large. At more than 600 pounds, he is a mountain of flesh. “My stomach hurts,” he says, his voice surprisingly high and childlike. It is 10 p.m. in the emergency room, and I am already swamped with patients I’m trying to move through the ER before my shift is over. Asked if he’s ever felt this kind of pain before, he says, “No, never. At least, not like this.” “Well, what’d you expect?” the unit secretary mutters, only half to herself.
February 21, 2014
Caring for the Alzheimer’s Caregiver
(New York Times) – Mr. Divinigracia could easily have been the subject of one of the 54 stories in a new book, “Support for Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregivers: The Unsung Heroes,” by Judith L. London. Dr. London is a psychologist in San Jose, Calif., whose first book, “Connecting the Dots: Breakthroughs in Communication as Alzheimer’s Advances,” broadened her contacts with family and professional caregivers facing, and often solving, everyday problems related to dementia.
Ending organ pillaging/trafficking in China
(The Epoch Times) – Text of David Kilgour’s speech to the Knesset of Israel: When human dignity is denied in a major way in China, it can threaten us all, so I hope the legislators and peoples in both our countries will do what is correct without misplaced fear. All of us in the international coalition to end organ pillaging/trafficking in China can be pleased that you’re holding this important hearing. Time is urgent; I am certain that men and women convicted of nothing are currently being killed in China so that their vital organs can be sold.
February 19, 2014
(Nature) – Psychologists in the United States are already designing a modified version called the Diagnostic Adaptive Behavior Scale, the first evidence-based, adaptive behaviour test designed specifically for young people with a low IQ. Relevant to the debate over mental dysfunction and the death penalty, it assesses traits such as gullibility and the ability to solve social problems. Properly administered, it could determine awareness for courts better than existing tests of IQ.
House calls to the homeless
(CNN) – In the homeless camps and in the alleys, I found people who had suffered extremes of weather, violence and prejudice. Many were older, confused people; some were war veterans holding on to the last shreds of their dignity; others were simply people who had fallen on hard times and lost hope. I saw hideous leg ulcers and cancers that were untreated. But mostly I saw human beings who had minimal access to loving, effective services.
February 18, 2014
I never wanted to be a cancer expert, but then my wife got sick. A caregiver’s tale.
(Washington Post) – It was my wife’s first colonoscopy; it turned out to be the only one she ever had. She was 53. Whether Cheryl would have lived longer if she’d had the exam earlier I’ll never know. She died in the fall of 2013, in her sixth season with cancer. Cheryl had exhibited no symptoms prior to the test. Absent a family history of colon cancer, the standard protocol is to have the test after turning 50. Needless to say, we were shocked when the doctor showed us the scans indicating that the test was positive for cancer.
A gentle guide at life’s end
(Las Vegas Review Journal) – Dr. Warren Wheeler begins his workday with morning rounds. Accompanied by a handful of students and medical staff members, Wheeler visits his patients and greets them by name, introduces himself and asks how they feel, whether they are experiencing any pain and whether they feel comfortable. They’re the sort of questions most doctors ask patients during rounds. But it takes a few minutes to notice the small touches of dignity and compassion that Wheeler weaves into each patient interaction.
February 17, 2014
Scientific racism’s long history mandates caution
(Phys.org) – Racism as a social and scientific concept is reshaped and reborn periodically through the ages and according to a Penn State anthropologist, both medical and scientific researchers need to be careful that the growth of genomics does not bring about another resurgence of scientific racism. “What we are facing is a time when genomic knowledge widens and gene engineering will be possible and widespread,” said Nina Jablonski, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology. “We must constantly monitor how this information on human gene diversity is used and interpreted. Any belief system that seeks to separate people on the basis of genetic endowment or different physical or intellectual features is simply inadmissible in human society.”
February 13, 2014
Big gains made on women’s health, but access still unequal, says UN
(The Guardian) – Efforts to ensure women’s access to family planning, and to reduce the number of maternal and child deaths, have achieved significant results over the past 20 years, but progress has been unequal and fragmented, according to the UN. The number of women dying in pregnancy or childbirth has dropped by almost half, and total global fertility rates have fallen by nearly a quarter. But access to health services remains patchy, particularly in rural areas of Africa, Latin America and parts of Asia, and sex discrimination remains deeply entrenched.
February 12, 2014
(Nature) – Some 38,000 people killed themselves in the United States in 2010. That’s more than were killed in traffic accidents (34,000) or by prostate cancer (29,000), and more than twice the number murdered (16,000). Shocking though that is, many other countries monitored by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development have even higher suicide rates. So why do public-health authorities put less effort into preventing death from suicide than they do death from accidents or diseases such as prostate cancer?
February 11, 2014
NIH makes wary return to India
(Nature) – Allayed by pledges that India’s strict new rules for clinical trials will be eased, a few principal investigators funded by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) are cautiously restarting studies there. Clarifications on the rules by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI), and a promise to soften others, have allowed a small number of researchers to return to their work. But for most others, the damage has already been done. Trial operators — both academic and industrial — have left India for other countries. Some researchers say that India’s clinical trials industry, which boomed over the past decade, may now be grinding to a halt.
February 7, 2014
Women’s rights are good for men’s health
(Phys.org) – In societies where women are equal to men, males stand a better chance of living longer, a new study shows. Researchers from the University of Michigan School of Public Health and colleagues found gender differences in mortality rates are higher in more patriarchal societies. Men living in the top 25 percent most patriarchal societies were 31 percent more likely to die than men in the least patriarchal quartile, compared to mortality rates for women. This only includes the societies with high quality infrastructures that provide reliable data; the true difference may be even higher, according to the study led by U-M researcher Daniel Kruger.
February 6, 2014
Female genital mutilation: Hospitals to log victims
(BBC) – Doctors and nurses in the UK are to be told to log details of the injuries suffered by victims of female genital mutilation (FGM). The move is designed to gather more information on the practice, which was outlawed in the UK in 1985. The children’s charity, NSPCC, which set up a FGM helpline seven months ago, says it has already received 153 calls. At least 66,000 girls and women in the UK are believed to be victims of FGM.
January 31, 2014
Many chronically ill Americans unable to afford food, medicine
(Reuters) – One in three Americans with a chronic disease such as diabetes, arthritis or high blood pressure has difficulty paying for food, medications or both, according to a new study. People who had trouble affording food were four times more likely to skip some of their medications due to cost than those who got plenty to eat, researchers found.