(Vox) – The Supreme Court’s historic ruling in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt struck down two anti-abortion laws in Texas, but its effects won’t be limited to Texas. The day after the ruling, the Court declined to hear two other cases involving Texas-like anti-abortion laws in Mississippi and Wisconsin. That means those two laws are done for. Lower courts ruled to block them, and the Court denied the appeals of those rulings. And on Monday, Alabama’s attorney general announced he was dropping legal appeals to uphold a similar law in that state.
(Medscape) – The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the combination drug of sofosbuvir and velpatasvir (Epclusa, Gilead Sciences) for adults with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, the first one to treat all six major genotypes of the infection, the agency announced today. The new drug’s broad coverage could make it a one-size-fits-all therapy suitable for primary care. Gilead Sciences President and CEO John Gilliland said in a news release that sofosbuvir/velpatasvir could eliminate the need for genotype testing, “which can be a barrier to treatment in certain resource-constrained settings.”
(UPI) – Doctors say they’re drowning in electronic paperwork, feeling burned out and dissatisfied with their jobs thanks to countless hours spent filling out computerized medical forms, researchers report. Electronic health records are a cornerstone in the effort to modernize medicine. But, new systems designed to chart a patient’s progress and instruct their future care have proven to be very time-consuming, the study found.
(CNN) – Abortion will always be one of those hotly debated and emotional issues. But if you think you have a good handle on the state of abortion in the U.S., you may be surprised by some of these stats: Though the abortion debate is a very visible part of the American landscape, the number of abortions in the U.S. have been generally declining since the 1990s. Far too often, the objection to abortion is presented as a religious one. But according to one survey, 62% of women who had abortions listed a religious affiliation.
(Tech Insider) – While students and overworked employees frequently experiment with substances like Adderall or Ritalin in an attempt to do just that, it hasn’t been shown that most of these “cognitive enhancers” actually make anyone’s brain work “better.” But there’s one substance that a recent review published in the journal European Neuropsychopharmacology found actually does improve attention, memory, learning, and other cognitive abilities – modafinil.
(Med Page Today) – For decades HIV-positive patients were barred from organ donation, but recent policy changes have seen that federal ban reversed. Now surgeons at transplant centers that meet specific requirements including involvement in clinical research can implant organs from HIV-positive patients. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is planning a new study in collaboration with leading transplant centers — such as John Hopkins Medicine and Mount Sinai in New York City — seeking to better understand the process of donation from HIV-positive donors to HIV-positive patients, with the aim of ultimately standardizing a single protocol and expanding the use of such procedures nationwide.
(The Wall Street Journal) – Earlier this year, an Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network and UNOS working committee wrote a report about the ethical considerations of a type of “imminent-death donation,” in which a living donor through a surrogate donates an organ before the planned withdrawal of ventilator support. The committee found that, under certain circumstances, the practice may be ethical, but some people who read the report expressed significant enough concerns that the committee determined, for now at least, that it didn’t want to move forward with trying to change UNOS policy. The report is expected to be posted soon for public comment.
(Medscape) – The prevalence of blood lead levels (BLLs) at or above 5 ?g/dL in children younger than age 5 years in Flint, Michigan, closely track with the use of drinking water from a local source, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conclude in a study published June 24 in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. After city officials switched from the Detroit Water Authority (DWA) to the Flint Water System (FWS), children were 46% more likely to have BLLs ?g/dL than before the switch.
(The Wall Street Journal) – After years of big promises, telemedicine is finally living up to its potential. Driven by faster internet connections, ubiquitous smartphones and changing insurance standards, more health providers are turning to electronic communications to do their jobs—and it’s upending the delivery of health care. Doctors are linking up with patients by phone, email and webcam. They’re also consulting with each other electronically—sometimes to make split-second decisions on heart attacks and strokes. Patients, meanwhile, are using new devices to relay their blood pressure, heart rate and other vital signs to their doctors so they can manage chronic conditions at home.
(The Wall Street Journal) – Personal genome sequencing may be the next great technology frontier in public health—but how do patients feel about knowing, sharing and acting on their genetic information? That’s a question researchers are exploring as more health-care providers, companies and research groups begin providing results of personal genome sequencing to patients and their doctors.
(Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday struck down a Texas abortion law imposing strict regulations on doctors and facilities in the strongest endorsement of abortion rights in America in more than two decades. The 5-3 ruling held that the Republican-backed 2013 Texas law placed an undue burden on women exercising their right under the U.S. Constitution to end a pregnancy, established in the court’s landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
(Medical Xpress) – Historically, efforts to improve end-of-life care have focused primarily on patients with cancer. But few studies have looked at the quality of end-of-life care for patients with other serious illnesses, such as lung, kidney or heart failure or dementia. In a study of patients who died at 146 inpatient facilities within the Veteran Affairs health system, a research team led by investigators from Brigham and Women’s Hospital has found that family-reported end-of-life care was significantly better for patients with cancer or dementia than for patients with other serious illnesses. The team’s findings were presented today at AcademyHealth’s Annual Research Meeting and simultaneously published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
(Quartz) – Harbisson’s transformation was extensively covered by the media, and elicited correspondence from people all over the world interested in new senses. In response, he and a team of collaborators have launched Cyborg Nest, a company that aims to manufacture and sell implantable senses under the slogan “Design Your Evolution.” For £250 ($350) you can pre-order the UK-based company’s first product—the North Sense—and join the ranks of animal species that have the ability to sense the earth’s geomagnetic field and use it like a compass.
(The Star) – Canada, renowned worldwide for maple syrup, hockey players and good manners, is fast earning a new reputation in the global economy: a place where a small but stable band of women are willing to carry the babies of strangers. For the past few years, foreigners have been drawn to Canada and Canadian surrogates in increasing numbers. No one keeps statistics, but this baby-boom business is so brisk that one agency, Surrogacy in Canada Online, had to stop accepting applications temporarily from intended parents in April due to overwhelming demand.
Scientists Uncover How Changes in Metabolism of Embryonic Stem Cells Can Help Engineer New Blood Vessels
(News Medical) – Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine have uncovered how changes in metabolism of human embryonic stem cells help coax them to mature into specific cell types — and may improve their function in engineered organs or tissues. “Pluripotent stem cells grow very quickly, and so they need to churn out large quantities of cellular building blocks to fuel their growth – proteins, lipids, sugars and other essential molecules,” says Dr. Jalees Rehman, who led the study, published in the journal Cell Reports.
(Fox News) – Online requests for abortion pills spiked dramatically this year in Brazil, Ecuador and some other Latin American countries that ban abortions, an indication that women may be choosing to end pregnancies rather than risk birth defects stemming from a Zika virus outbreak. Researchers reported the trend after trying to understand how pregnant women are responding to the threat of Zika-related birth defects in countries where abortion is banned but the government is warning women to avoid pregnancy because of Zika outbreaks.
(Times of India) – The Medical Council of India, often in the news for controversial approvals and corruption, is set to be replaced by a medical education commission that will have three independent wings to oversee curriculum, accreditation of colleges and medical ethics. The new commission could be run by eminent persons from the medical field, who will be allowed to continue their professional commitments as the Niti Aayog panel that framed the guidelines felt this would ensure a wider talent pool.
(New York Times) – A high-ranking Senate Democrat is pushing for more answers on why doctors and patient advocates with financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry came to serve on a panel that advises the federal government on pain issues. Sen. Ron Wyden says he is “even more concerned” about these apparent conflicts of interest after receiving a response from the National Institutes of Health, which vetted and selected the panel members. In a letter sent Thursday to the Obama administration’s top health official, Wyden requests a series of documents related to the pain panel, including financial disclosure forms filled out by its members.
(Wired) – To keep that business running, Facebook doesn’t just need users: It needs active, engaged users. Facebook needs to get in your head, to understand how you’ll respond to a product or an offer or a marketing campaign—and more and more, it’s using internal experiments to predict those behaviors. But using those methods, commonly referred to as neuromarketing, means that Facebook needs to address the same ethical questions other behavioral scientists do.