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June 29, 2012

Supreme Court backing of health overhaul benefits most health sectors, but many stocks fall

The Supreme Court’s decision Thursday to uphold President Barack Obama’s historic overhaul is expected to be a boon to most of the health care industry by making coverage more affordable for millions of uninsured Americans. (Washington Post)

BMA rejects assisted suicide move as one delegate likens it to murder

Doctors today rejected calls to take a neutral stance on assisted suicide. Medics at the British Medical Association’s (BMA) annual conference in Bournemouth reiterated their opposition to assisted dying, with one delegate likening it to murder. (Independent)

Antibiotic use among children declined in past decade

Efforts by health organizations to slow the spread of antibiotic resistance by reducing overuse of the drugs seem to be working, a new study says. (American Medical News)

New Brain-Machine Spelling Device Could Help the Paralyzed Communicate

One weekend about 10 years ago, when she was a nurse at a hospital in Cologne, Bettina Sorger volunteered to help the intensive care unit staff. One of her patients was still recovering from anesthesia after a surgery in which doctors removed a brain tumor. (Scientific American)

June 28, 2012

Supreme Court Lets Health Law Largely Stand

The Supreme Court on Thursday left standing the basic provisions of the health care overhaul, ruling that the government may use its taxation powers to push people to buy health insurance. (NY Times)

3-year-old South African burn victim who received cloned skin to leave hospital soon

Bedtime for 3-year-old Isabella Kruger now includes a bottle and a massage. This ritual has become possible again as the toddler recovers from surgery that transplanted cloned skin onto her body after 80 percent of it suffered burns in a backyard accident. (Washington Post)

With Each Operation, Artificial Hearts Show More Promise

Grant Feusner, a 64-year-old security systems engineer, started having an odd constellation of health symptoms a year ago. (ABC News)

German Ruling Against Circumcising Boys Draws Criticism

A German court in Cologne ruled on Tuesday that circumcising young boys represents grievous bodily harm, a decision that could have significant repercussions for religious groups. (NY Times)

First synthetic larynx part transplanted

Surgeons in Russia have successfully transplanted a completely synthetic chunk of the larynx. The operation, which has been performed in two patients, is the first step towards creating an entire synthetic voicebox. (New Scientist)

June 27, 2012

What Oregon’s experience can teach us about assisted suicide

To take your own life in Oregon is a bureaucratic process replete with rules, forms and approvals. The main stipulation is that you are sane, 18, and have been given a prognosis of less than six months to live. (National Post)

India’s latest TV hit offers rare window on abortion and ‘honour’ killings

Like just about anywhere else in the world, India’s top-rated television shows tend towards the less cerebral end of the spectrum – soap operas, talent contests, gameshows and, of course, the cricket. (NY Daily News)

Bone marrow donors may be compensated after ruling stands

Certain bone marrow donors could soon be compensated for their life-saving stem cells after federal officials declined to take the matter to the U.S. Supreme Court, allowing a lower court order to become law. (MSNBC)

Forced to Abort, Chinese Woman Under Pressure

A woman who was forced by local officials to abort a seven-month-old fetus this month and whose case has spurred a national discussion about China’s one-child policy said on Tuesday that she was “under a lot of pressure” and was being watched by guards in a hospital, who do not allow her to leave. (NY Times)

US drug regulator audits Texas stem-cell company

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has audited Celltex Therapeutics Corporation, a stem-cell treatment purveyor based in Sugarland, Texas. The results aren’t pretty, and this is only the beginning. (Nature News)

Heart of genetically modified pig ‘successfully transplanted into monkey’, South Korea scientists claim

The heart of a genetically modified pig has been successfully transplanted into a monkey, according to scientists in South Korea. (Daily Mail)

June 26, 2012

Scientists set to show how they hacked into Stephen Hawking’s brain

After months of tweaking, researchers are finally ready to show off a high-tech headband that can translate Stephen Hawking’s brain waves into speech — providing what could eventually become an easier avenue for the paralyzed British physicist and many others to share their deep thoughts. (MSNBC)

Have Your Genome Made Into a Piece of Art

The 1962 Nobel Prize in Medicine went, at least in part, to the victors in a battle of aesthetics. Roughly 10 years prior, during the race to uncover the structure of DNA — the molecule of life — researchers bickered over how its strands fit together in three-dimensional space. James Watson, Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins emerged as winners, but had pored over several models and designs before finding that a twisting ladder called a double helix held the structural key. (Wired)

Promoting health? It’s all in the game

Meet Roxxi – a feisty and fully-armed virtual nanobot. Billed as “medicine’s mightiest warrior”, she’s fighting an epic battle deep inside the human body where she launches rapid-fire assaults on malignant cells. (Reuters)

Obese adults should get counseling, federal task force says

In a move that could significantly expand insurance coverage of weight-loss treatments, a federal health advisory panel on Monday recommended that all obese adults receive intensive counseling in an effort to rein in a growing health crisis in America. (LA Times)

Brain Banks for Autism Face Dearth

Clare True had autism and periodic seizures, but nothing prepared her family for Christmas Eve in 2006, when the 26-year-old went to bed after watching a movie and stopped breathing. (NY Times)

Free AIDS test at drugstores? CDC launching pilot program to see if any takers

Would you go to a drugstore to get tested for AIDS? Health officials want to know, and they’ve set up a pilot program to find out. (Washington Post)


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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