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November 30, 2012

Study advances use of stem cells in personalized medicine

Johns Hopkins researchers report concrete steps in the use of human stem cells to test how diseased cells respond to drugs. Their success highlights a pathway toward faster, cheaper drug development for some genetic illnesses, as well as the ability to pre-test a therapy’s safety and effectiveness on cultured clones of a patient’s own cells. (John Hopkins)

Court temporarily halts contraception mandate

A federal appeals court has temporarily blocked the enforcement of the Obama administration’s contraception mandate while a Catholic business owner appeals a lower court’s ruling that tossed out his suit. (U.S.A. Today)

What has 40 years of abortion done to America?

On December 4, 2012, an impressive and diverse group of experts and witnesses with personal experience of abortion will present a three hour media briefing on the topic: “What Has 40 Years of Abortion Done to America?” (Sacramento Bee)

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Stem cell banks envisioned for regenerative medicine

Experts Discuss How to Meet Expected Demand for Stem Cell Treatments at International Conference (University of California San Francisco)

Real-time genetics could squash “superbug” outbreaks before they spread

Genetic sequences of drug-resistant bacteria have helped scientists better understand how these dastardly infections evolve—and elude treatment. But these superbugs are still claiming lives of many who acquire them in hospitals, clinics and nursing homes. And recent outbreaks of these hard-to-treat infections can spread easily in healthcare settings. (Scientific American)

Transplanting of ovaries could sustain fertility

On Wednesday, Monash IVF announced it had preserved a Melbourne woman’s fertility by taking ovarian tissue from her before she had breast cancer treatment in 2005, freezing it, and reimplanting it in her this year. The procedure allowed the 43-year-old woman’s body to resume natural ovulation. (Sydney Morning Herald)

November 29, 2012

Women’s health in juvenile detention: How a system designed for boys is failing girls

Sexual assault, pregnancy, and other unique needs are often overlooked by a cursory and underfunded system. Poor physical health also increases girls’ risk of recidivism. (The Atlantic)

Terminally ill face postcode lottery in end-of-life care

TERMINALLY ill people in London can expect a worse death than almost anywhere in the country, a study by the Office for National Statistics suggests. (Telegraph)

Youth more award of AIDS, but too many still don’t know their HIV status

As World AIDS Day approaches Dec. 1, public health experts are turning the focus on teens and young adults who make up a remarkably high proportion of HIV infections in the U.S. (Time)

Italy appeals European court’s ruling on embryo screening

Italy has appealed a European Court of Human Rights ruling that it violated the rights of a couple carrying cystic fibrosis by preventing them from screening in vitro fertilization (IVF) embryos, the Rome government said on Wednesday. (Reuters)

Mind-controlled artificial limbs fusing man and machine coming next year

A postdoctoral student has developed a technique for implanting thought-controlled robotic arms and their electrodes directly to the bones and nerves of amputees, a move which he is calling “the future of artificial limbs”. The first volunteers will receive their new limbs early in 2013. (Wired)

November 28, 2012

Excellent idea of the day: Sperm screener

New analysis can determine whether sperm from a sperm bank will cause genetic mutations when it meets an eggs. (Discovery News)

Medical tourism is a massive opportunity for emerging nations like Thailand

Interestingly, a more recent trend of emerging, and even frontier, nations developing medical tourism industries has sprouted. Unlikely spots such as Thailand are getting in on the game. (Forbes)

JAMA Forum: Women’s health, contraception, and the freedom of religion

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires employers to provide women with cost-free coverage for preventive care and screenings. The Obama administration interprets this provision to require coverage of sterilization and the full range of contraceptive methods approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, including emergency contraception—an interpretation that has been under attack. (News at JAMA)

November 27, 2012

Prescribe morning after pills in advance, say pediatricians

Wading into the incendiary subject of birth control for young teenagers, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) on Monday called on the nation’s pediatricians to counsel all of their adolescent patients about emergency contraception and make advance prescriptions for it available to girls under 17. (Chicago Tribune)

Dramatic rise in stem cell therapy use in 2012

RRY Publications LLC today announced that the use of stem cell therapies in 2012 significantly exceeded forecasts which were originally presented at the February 2012 New York Stem Cell Summit. (Sacramento Bee)

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Gattaca alert? Or should we welcome the new age of eugenics?

Dramatic developments in genetics, including the ability to tinker with our inheritance, has thrust the issue of eugenics back into the headlines. Details from Sarah Fecht and Jon Entine at the Genetic Literacy Project—Where Science Trumps Ideology. (Forbes)

Embryo survival gene may fight range of diseases

A gene that keeps embryos alive appears to control the immune system and determine how it fights chronic diseases like hepatitis and HIV, and autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, scientists said on Monday. (Fox News)

Organ transplant pioneer talks about risks and rewards

Sir Roy Calne is a pioneer of organ transplants — the surgeon who in the 1950s found ways to stop the human immune system from rejecting implanted hearts, livers and kidneys. In 1968 he performed Europe’s first liver transplant, and in 1987 the world’s first transplant of a liver, heart and lung. (New York Times)

Costa Rica’s medical tourism boom

When Canadian house cleaner Marlene Trithardt needed a tooth replaced, she drove past her local dentist’s office in Alberta and flew to the beach paradise of Costa Rica – to save money. (Huffington Post)

Women’s health: Two doctors or one?

The new health care law covers preventive care but leaves open the question of who will provide it to women: general practitioners or ob-gyns? And who decides? (UPI)


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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