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September 27, 2011

Bioengineers Reprogram Muscles To Combat Degeneration

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have turned back the clock on mature muscle tissue, coaxing it back to an earlier stem cell stage to form new muscle. Moreover, they showed in mice that the newly reprogrammed muscle stem cells could be used to help repair damaged tissue. (Medical News Today)

Designing a Smarter Patient

“I’m comfortable with that,” or “No, it wouldn’t be comfortable for me.” That’s what our patients often tell us when faced with a choice about taking a medication or undergoing a procedure. And the discussion usually stops there. (Wall Street Journal)

Haptic device gives blind a helping hand

It started out life as a new video game concept but quickly morphed into a prototype with a far more practical vision — a haptic device to help the blind and visually impaired. (CNN)

Dutch engineers make ‘robot legs’ for stroke patients

Scientists in the Netherlands are using robotic legs to try to improve the movement of stroke patients. (BBC News)

Cancer cost ‘crisis’ warning from oncologists

The cost of treating cancer in the developed world is spiralling and is “heading towards a crisis”, an international team of researchers says. (BBC News)

Getting Big Pharma to Treat Childhood Cancers

At age five, some kids have won pee-wee sports championships or perhaps a class spelling bee, but for Luke Fochtman of Okemos, Mich., his fifth birthday marked his victory over a much larger foe — in a life-or-death battle with childhood cancer, Luke has come out on top. (ABC News)

September 26, 2011

AP IMPACT: Drug shortages endanger patients, disrupt hospital operations, raise cost of care

A drug for dangerously high blood pressure, normally priced at $25.90 per dose, offered to hospitals for $1,200. Fifteen deaths in 15 months blamed on shortages of life-saving medications. (Washington Post)

Doctors to debate restricting fertility treatments for obese women

Obese women should shed weight before seeking in vitro fertilization treatment, say fertility experts, who this week, begin discussions on whether to keep such women from receiving the fertility treatments. (Vancouver Sun)

Hospitals refuse to tell parents sex of their unborn babies… because ‘staff don’t have time’

Maternity units are refusing to tell parents the gender of their unborn babies with some experts claiming it is an attempt to stamp out the practice of selective abortion. (Daily Mail)

Cosmetic surgery clients can pay extra to store their cells

Scientists hope the fat taken from flabby thighs and stomachs could one day be used to save lives and to protect from a host of conditions such as cancer and heart disease. (Telegraph)

Doctor decries in-vitro fertilization legacy of ‘sick babies’

As he was about to head across Toronto for a national gathering of reproductive-medicine specialists Wednesday, Dr. John Barrett received a sobering reminder of Canada’s “epidemic” of multiple births, fuelled largely by those same fertility physicians. (National Post)

Surgeons Object to New CDC Organ-Screening Guidelines

New guidelines for stricter testing of organ donors are raising concerns among transplant surgeons, who fear they may limit availability of organs. (Wall Street Journal)

September 23, 2011

Even brief explanations help patients make better medication decisions

Patients can choose safer, more effective medications if they are told about a drug’s harms and benefits and they understand that newer doesn’t always mean better when it comes to prescription drugs, a study says. (American Medical News)

Double whammy gene therapy clears HIV from body

A person with HIV who didn’t take antiretroviral drugs for three months remained free of the virus, thanks to a groundbreaking gene therapy. The success raises the prospect of keeping HIV in check permanently without antiretrovirals. (New Scientist)

In development: a vaccine for acne

First it was smallpox. Then polio. Now science has another of humanity’s scourges in its sights: acne. (New Scientist)

Miracle vs. medicine: When faith puts care at risk

Salem, Ore., pediatrician James Lace, MD, will never forget the severely asthmatic patient who could scarcely speak a sentence without gasping for air. (American Medical News)

US Permanently Bans Patents for Human Embryos

The United States has mandated a permanent ban in issuing patents on human embryos.  President Barack Obama signed the prohibition into law Sept. 16 as part of a patent reform measure titled the “America Invents Act.” (Christian Post)

China ‘Stem Cell Therapies’ Offer Heartbreak for Many

Chinese hotel manager Hong Chun had trouble using chopsticks after a minor stroke and sought treatment at a large Shanghai hospital where doctors injected what they said were donor stem cells into his spinal cord and buttocks, according to his father and cousin. (Fox News)

CDC Moves to Make Organ Transplantation Safer

More thorough donor screening and more advanced organ testing to help protect transplant patients from infectious diseases are recommended in a draft of an updated organ transplant guideline released Wednesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (US News and World Report)

September 22, 2011

China and India Making Inroads in Biotech Drugs

Chinese and Indian drug makers have taken over much of the global trade in medicines and now manufacture more than 80 percent of the active ingredients in drugs sold worldwide. But they had never been able to copy the complex and expensive biotech medicines increasingly used to treat cancer, diabetes and other diseases in rich nations like the United States — until now. (New York Times)

Obama Administration Removes Doctor Disciplinary Files From the Web

Three journalism organizations on Thursday protested to the Obama administration a decision to pull a database of physician discipline and malpractice actions off the Web. (New York Times)


The Bioethics Poll
Should individuals and/or institutions be allowed to patent human genes?
Yes, with some qualifications

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Which area of research should more money be invested in:
Animal-Human Hybrids
Gene Therapy
Reproductive Technology
Stem Cell Research
"Therapeutic" Cloning
None of the above

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