(The Atlantic) – A Texas judge dismissed Tuesday the last charge against two anti-abortion activists who made secret video recordings of their conversations with Planned Parenthood officials who described how the organization provided fetal tissue to medical researchers. David Daleiden, 27, and Sandra Merritt, 63, had used fake identification while meeting with Planned Parenthood officials and had offered to buy the fetal tissue from the organization that, among other things, provides family-planning services.
(New York Times) – But naloxone, also known by the brand name Narcan, has also had unintended consequences. Critics say that it gives drug users a safety net, allowing them to take more risks as they seek higher highs. Indeed, many users overdose more than once, some multiple times, and each time, naloxone brings them back. Advocates argue that the drug gives people a chance to get into treatment and turn their lives around and that there is no evidence naloxone increases the use of opiates. And, they say, few addicts knowingly risk needing to be revived, since naloxone ruins their high and can make them violently ill.
(Scientific American) – As hackers probe cyberspace they are finding weaknesses among the vast patchwork of doctors, hospitals and insurers that make up our health care system—many of them unprepared to counter a sophisticated hacker. Heath data thieves typically seek to extort money, obtain medications, get free health care or steal identities for credit cards and tax refunds. A glut of stolen credit cards and resulting lower prices for them on the black market have made medical data especially attractive, says Angel Grant, director of fraud and risk intelligence at RSA Security: “They are looking for new ways to make money, and they see the health care industry as a soft target because they lack the security maturity of other industries.”
(Nature) – Government researchers in Brazil are set to explore the country’s peculiar distribution of Zika-linked microcephaly — babies born with abnormally small heads. Zika virus has spread throughout Brazil, but extremely high rates of microcephaly have been reported only in the country’s northeast. Although evidence suggests that Zika can cause microcephaly, the clustering pattern hints that other environmental, socio-economic or biological factors could be at play.
(Nature) – A cancer diagnosis is a shock, but adults with the disease can take some comfort in the numerous treatments available to them — both through clinical trials and as drugs that are already on the market. Children cannot. Because they make up only 1% of US patients with cancer, children are a low priority for pharmaceutical companies that want to launch an effective drug quickly. The hassle of a paediatric clinical trial may not seem worth it until after the drug has proved to be safe and effective in adults. This process can take decades, leaving children with therapies that are sometimes almost obsolete.
(Nature) – A new antibiotic was right under our noses — or rather, in them. Produced by a bacterium living in the human nose, the molecule kills the potentially deadly methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in mice and rats. Staphylococcus aureus resides in the noses of 1 in 3 people without causing a problem. MRSA — an S. aureus strain resistant to many antibiotics — is found in 2 in 100. In a small percentage of cases, the bacterium escapes to the bloodstream, causing infection. MRSA kills 11,000 people annually in the United States alone.
(UPI) – Although doctors prefer bone marrow transplants for leukemia patients, a new study suggests cord blood transplants offer patients a better outcome. Researchers at the University of Colorado report the rate of rejection, infection and hospitalization are lower among patients receiving cord blood than those with a matched, unrelated bone marrow donor. Their recent study’s results, they say, may shift the conventional wisdom when deciding on transplant options for their patients.
(Eurekalert) – Published today in Nature Genetics, the study reveals three new risk genes for ALS and one of these – C21orf2 – increases an individual’s risk of developing the dis-ease by 65 per cent. These results could aid the development of personalised treatments for people with ALS by using gene therapy – an approach which involves replacing faulty genes or adding new ones. One in every 400 people will be diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) at some point in their lives, yet its causes are largely unknown and effective treatments are therefore lacking.
‘It’s Better the Disabled Disappear’: 19 People Stabbed to Death at Japanese Care Facility by ‘Euthanasia Advocate’
(South China Morning Post) – In Japan’s worst mass killing in decades, 19 disabled people were stabbed to death in their sleep and 25 people were wounded by a knife-wielding man at a facility for the disabled in Japan early on Tuesday. Police in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture, about 40km southwest of Tokyo, have arrested Satoshi Uematsu, a 26-year-old former employee at the facility and reported euthanasia advocate, who drove to a police station to turn himself in soon after the attack.
(Scientific American) – The Summer Olympics are poised to begin in Rio de Janeiro. Time to celebrate the extraordinary talent, fortitude and grace of athletes representing the world’s diverse nations, from Iceland to Nigeria. And time to wonder how many competitors are boosting their performances with banned substances. The World Anti-Doping Agency, WADA, which advises the Olympics and other sports organizations on illicit performance-enhancement, has accused Russia of carrying out a state-run doping program for its athletes. Russia could of course be just the tip of the iceberg
(Nature) – If undisclosed algorithmic decision-making starts to incorporate health data, the ability of black-box calculations to accentuate pre-existing biases in society could greatly increase. Crucially, if the citizens being profiled are not given their data and allowed to share the information with others, they will not know about incorrect or discriminatory health actions — much less be able to challenge them. And most researchers won’t have access to such health data either, or to the insights gleaned from them.
Public Understand of Science (vol. 25, no. 5, 2016) is available online by subscription only.
- “Public Opinions About Human Enhancement can Enhance the Expert-Only Debate: A Review Study” by Anne M. Dijkstra and Mirjam Schuijff
- ‘Public Engagement with Scientific Evidence in Health: A Qualitative Study Among Primary-Care Patients in an Urban Population” by Marilyn M. Schapira, Diana Imbert, Eric Oh, Elena Byhoff, and Judy A. Shea
European Journal of Human Genetics (vol. 24, no. 7, 2016) is available online by subscription only.
- “Preferences for Prenatal Tests fir Down Syndrome: An International Comparison of the Views of Pregnant Women and Health Professionals” by Melissa Hill et al.
Journal of Genetic Counseling (vol. 25, no. 4, 2016 is available online by subscription only.
- Developing a Model of Advanced Training to Promote Career Advancement for Certified Genetic Counselors: An Investigation of Expanded Skills, Advanced Training Paths, and Professional Opportunities” by Bonnie J. Baty, Angela Trepanier, Robin L. Bennett, Claire Davis, Lori Erby, Catriona Hippman, Barbara Lerner, Anne Matthews, Melanie F. Myers, Carol B. Robbins, and Claire N. Singletary
- “Genetic Counseling Milestones: A Framework for Student Competency Evaluation” by Carrie Guy
- “Genetic Counselors in Startup Companies: Redefining the Genetic Counselor Role” by Marina M. Rabideau, Kenny Wong, Erynn S. Gordon & Lauren Ryan
- “Professional Issues of International Genetic Counseling Students Educated in the United States” by Gozde Akgumus, Divya Shah, Lydia Higgs & Kathleen Valverde
- “Stories as Gift: Patient Narratives and the Development of Empathy” by Anne C. Spencer
- “Genomic Testing: a Genetic Counselor’s Personal Reflection on Three Years of Consenting and Testing” by Julia Wynn
- “Emerging Genetic Counselor Roles within the Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Industries: As Industry Interest Grows in Rare Genetic Disorders, How are Genetic Counselors Joining the Discussion?” by Tessa Field, Stephanie Jo Brewster, Meghan Towne, and MaryAnn W. Campion
- “The Relationship Between Burnout and Occupational Stress in Genetic Counselors” by Brittney Johnstone, Amy Kaiser, Marie C. Injeyan, Karen Sappleton, David Chitayat, Derek Stephens, and Cheryl Shuman
- “Portrait of the Master Genetic Counselor Clinician: A Qualitative Investigation of Expertise in Genetic Counseling” by Cacy Miranda, Patricia McCarthy Veach, Meredith A. Martyr, and Bonnie S. LeRoy
- “Further Defining the Role of the Laboratory Genetic Counselor” by Lindsey Waltman, Cassandra Runke, Jessica Balcom, Jacquelyn D. Riley, Margaret Lilley, Susan Christian, Lindsay Zetzsche, and McKinsey L. Goodenberger
- “From Novice to Seasoned Practitioner: A Qualitative Investigation of Genetic Counselor Professional Development” by Kimberly Wehner Zahm, Patricia McCarthy Veach, Meredith A. Martyr, and Bonnie S. LeRoy
JAMA (vol. 316, no. 3, 2016) is available online by subscription only.
- “Medical Informatics and the “Three Long, One Short” Problem of Large Urban Hospitals in China” by Jingyao Dai, Xiaofei Wang, and Francisco J. Ayala
- “Implications of Proposed Medicare Reforms to Counteract High Cancer Drug Prices” by Sham Mailankody and Vinay Prasad
- “Preventing Mitochondrial DNA Diseases: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back” by I. Glenn Cohen and Eli Y. Adashi
Taylor & Francis Online (Latest Articles) is now available by subscription only.
- “Brain-Computer Interface-Based Control of Closed-Loop Brain Stimulation: Attitudes and Ethical Considerations” by Eran Klein, Sara Goering, Josh Gagne, Conor V. Shea, Rachel Franklin, Samuel Zorowitz, Darin D. Dougherty, and Alik S. Widge
- “Brain-Computer Interfaces in End-of-Life Decision-Making” by Walter Glannon
- “Are BMI Prosthetics Uncontrollable Frankensteinian Monsters?” by Sara Weinberger and Dov Greenbaum
- “BCIs and Disability: Enhancement, Environmental Modification, and Embodiment” by David Wasserman & Sean Aas
(Medical Xpress) – About 25 percent of dementia patients in U.S. nursing homes are still quieted with risky antipsychotic medications. Now, a small study suggests that managing these difficult patients, instead of medicating them, could obtain better results. “Drugs have a place, but should not be first-line treatments. They don’t work well, and there are side effects,” said study author Dr. Henry Brodaty, a professor of aging and mental health at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.
(UPI) – Although it is suspected to be largely for educational purposes, researchers in a recent study say the following of patient electronic health records as part of training poses ethical questions for the handling of those records. A majority of medical students reported they find it beneficial to follow patient medical histories by accessing electronic health records, but some are checking cases they are not involved with out of curiosity — which may not pose an actual problem, but poses an ethical one, say researchers at Northwestern University.
(The Scientist) – When Dolly the sheep became the world’s first cloned animal, some researchers raised concerns that animals conceived using this technique would suffer health problems as they aged. But new research suggests that animals cloned using somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) age normally. Researchers from the University of Nottingham, U.K, and their colleagues measured the metabolic, cardiac, and musculoskeletal health of 17 cloned sheep aged 7 to 9 years old (including four from the same cell line that gave rise to Dolly), finding that the cloned animals showed no signs of disease related to the SCNT process, they reported today (July 26) in Nature Communications.
(Nature) – Deaths from HIV/AIDS have declined steadily around the world over the past decade — but the rate of new infections has stayed much the same, an analysis in The Lancet HIV shows. The number of new HIV infections peaked at 3.3 million in 1997, and dropped by an average of 2.7% each year to around 2.5 million in 2005. But the infection rate has stagnated since then. In 74 countries, including several in the Middle East, the rate has increased.