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October 31, 2012

Tony Nicklinson’s widow to call for Scotland to legalise assisted suicide

The widow of the right-to-die campaigner Tony Nicklinson, who died in August after suffering from locked-in syndrome, is to call for Scotland to change its law on assisted suicide. (Telegraph)

Chance of surgery, care quality vary by region

Where you live – and where your doctors did their training – has a lot to do with whether you’ll be operated on, get an infection or have other potentially risky medical tests, a report out Tuesday said. (U.S. News and World Report)

Communist party halts kidney trafficking trial

The trial for the largest organ trafficking case in China was canceled recently, on the same day that it was announced that Bo Xilai, the disgraced official, would be stripped of his position in the Communist Party’s legislature, the National People’s Congress. (The Epoch Times)

Nanotechnology risks

Nanotechnology is helping to revolutionise many technology and industry sectors, such as environmental science, energy, medicine, food safety and transportation. For teaching and research I often have to recommend a text that introduces risk assessment to graduate students who are familiar with the environmental fate and transport of nanoparticles and nanotoxicology in natural and engineered environmental systems. I find this book an ideal starting point for those not familiar with risk assessments.

Biotechnology and nanotechnology risk assessment: minding and managing the potential threats around us, Steven Ripp and Theodore Henry (eds) (Chemistry World)

Europe rights court condemns Poland in abortion rape case

The European Court of Human Rights on Tuesday condemned Poland for the inhumane and degrading treatment of a 14-year-old rape victim whom the authorities tried to stop having an abortion. (Chicago Tribune)

October 30, 2012

Advanced lung cancer patients likely to misunderstand treatment

Patients diagnosed with lung cancer that is considered incurable appear to misunderstand the purpose and likely effect of a treatment aimed at making them more comfortable, a new study says. (L.A. Times)

Test developed to detect early-stage diseases with naked eye

Scientists have developed a prototype ultra-sensitive sensor that would enable doctors to detect the early stages of diseases and viruses with the naked eye, according to research published today in the journal Nature Nanotechnology. (Nanotechnology Now)

Massachusetts vote may change how the nation dies

Why it matters that Death with Dignity is poised to be come the new norm. (Slate)

IVF chromosome abnormality theory debunked

AUSTRALIAN fertility experts have debunked concerns that higher levels of hormones given to women on IVF treatment leads to more chromosomal abnormalities. (The Australian)

Adults conceived via IVF are well-adjusted with a positive perception of their environment

ADULTS who were born through IVF are just as well-adjusted and satisfied with life as those conceived naturally, the first longitudinal study into IVF children’s quality of life has found. (The Herald)

IVF: When insurance companies won’t pay

As they walked across the parking lot, Brandi Koskie started talking about a plan: Build a website, call it, and ask visitors for $1 donations toward IVF. (ABC News)

U.S. Army sponsored artificial intelligence surveillance system attempts to predict the future

In research sponsored by the United States Army Research Laboratory, the Carnegie Mellon researchers presented an artificial intelligence system that can watch and predict what a person will ‘likely’ do in the future using specially programmed software designed to analyze various real-time video surveillance feeds. (Forbes)

US Supreme Court rejects Oklahoma personhood amendement appeal

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to take up an Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling that said a proposal to grant “personhood” to human embryos would be an improper ban on abortion. (New York Daily News)

Medical tourism doesn’t necessarily mean leaving the country to get treatment

Yet, after exploring so-called medical tourism options in Thailand, India, Hungary and Dubai, I settled on nothing so exotic. (Washington Post)

When genetic engineering came of age

Today marks the 30th anniversary of an event that kicked off an important new era in drug therapies – the approval by the FDA of human insulin synthesized in genetically engineered bacteria. (Forbes)

Stem cells to cartilage? Promising results seen in mice

Scientists who created cartilage from adult stem cells in mice say their success could lead to new treatments for cartilage injury and osteoarthritis. (U.S. News and World Report)

October 29, 2012

Could the human clones of ‘Cloud Atlas’ be in our future?

A dystopian society supported by genetically modified clone workers stands out among the six stories that make up the sprawling film “Cloud Atlas.” The idea may seem far-fetched because of political opposition to human cloning and genetic modification in today’s world, but the science is closer than many people may think. (Live Science)

New test to improve HIV diagnosis in poor countries

Scientists have come up with a test for the virus that causes AIDS that is ten times more sensitive and a fraction of the cost of existing methods, offering the promise of better diagnosis and treatment in the developing world. (Reuters)

When a robot comes knocking on the door

Remine, founder of the Seattle-based American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Robots, says the moment will come when a robot in an automobile factory “will become sentient, realize that it doesn’t want to do that unfulfilling and dangerous job anymore, and ask for protection under state workers’ rights.” (NPR)

F.D.A. details contamination at Pharmacy

A federal inspection of a company whose tainted pain medicine has caused one of the worst public health drug disasters since the 1930s found greenish-yellow residue on sterilization equipment, surfaces coated with levels of mold and bacteria that exceeded the company’s own environmental limits, and an air-conditioner that was shut off nightly despite the importance of controlling temperature and humidity. (New York Times)

Antonia Leticia Asti, 61 year-old Brazilian woman, gives birth to twins

Talk about a birthday gift. According to the Brazilian news website G1, the woman gave birth to not one but two babies Tuesday night in Santos, a coastal city about an hour south of São Paulo. The births followed three unsuccessful in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures over the last ten years. (Huffington 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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