(ABC News) – The California family that fought to keep their teenage daughter on life support after she was declared brain dead is suing her doctor and the hospital where she went into cardiac arrest for negligence and wrongful death — if “it is determined” that the girl indeed succumbed to her injuries. Jahi McMath was 13 years old when her heart stopped at Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland, California, after complications from surgery to cure her sleep apnea in December 2013.
(Medical Xpress) – Heroin overdose deaths have skyrocketed in recent years, quadrupling since 2000, U.S. health officials reported Wednesday. At the same time, poisoning deaths related to painkiller abuse have leveled off, even dropping slightly in recent years, according to the report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
(Nature) – Ebola is having tremendous knock-on effects for maternal health in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. Pregnancy seems to make women uniquely vulnerable to the effects of the disease, and babies born to infected women have not been known to survive. Compounding these individual tragedies, the blood and abundant bodily fluid that accompanies delivery or miscarriage pose enormous risk of infection to health workers. As a result, many refuse to treat patients who are pregnant for fear that they will become infected. And throughout the region, fears about Ebola and stories about women being turned away have convinced many pregnant women to stop showing up for routine prenatal visits or for assistance with delivery.
(New York Times) – About eight months after governments in the region closed schools to stop the spread of Ebola, uniformed and backpack-carrying schoolchildren have returned to the streets of Monrovia, the capital, perhaps the most visible sign of the epidemic’s ebb. But Liberia’s on-again, off-again back-to-school campaign is also a measure of the long shadow cast by Ebola, a disease that affected almost every facet of society in the hardest-hit countries, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
(Harvard Gazette) – Collaborating with scientists from New York, Toronto, and Tokyo, Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) researchers have devised two methods for using stem cells to generate the type of neurons that help regulate behavioral and basic physiological functions in the human body, such as obesity and hypertension, as well as sleep, mood, and some social disorders.
(News-Medical) – Scientists have succeeded in producing cartilage formed from embryonic stem cells that could in future be used to treat the painful joint condition osteoarthritis. In research funded by Arthritis Research UK, Professor Sue Kimber and her team in the Faculty of Life Sciences at The University of Manchester has developed a protocol under strict laboratory conditions to grow and transform embryonic stem cells into cartilage cells (also known as chondrocytes).
(ABC News) – The Dallas nurse who survived Ebola after catching it from her patient last fall may have smiled for the cameras during the harrowing ordeal, but now she’s saying the hospital put its reputation above her needs. Nina Pham, a 26-year-old nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, caught Ebola from her patient, Liberian native Thomas Eric Duncan, who later died from the disease. Although Pham became the face of the hospital’s public relations campaign after the hospital turned into “a ghost town,” she sued its parent company, Texas Health Resources, today in Dallas. She did not specify the damages she’s seeking.
(Stuff.co.nz) – Disabled people could be coerced to commit suicide if a voluntary euthanasia bill is passed, a disability rights group says. Not Dead Yet convenor Wendi Wicks said there could never be adequate protections for disabled people under voluntary euthanasia legislation. “There are endless ways of telling disabled people time and time again that their life has no value.”
(NBC News) – Valentina Maureira’s public video, asking her nation’s leader to allow her to die via euthanasia, has garnered a visit from Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet and online sympathy, including posted comments like: “Let her die with dignity, stop torturing her.” But recent advances in medical care allow many people with cystic fibrosis (CF) to live into their 40s.
(The Conversation) – University ethics boards assess research involving human subjects against standards, such as the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research. The standards are guided by the core value of respect for the individual research participant. This value is of fundamental importance. Yet the recent case of a University of Queensland professor having controversial research suppressed, together with my own experience, makes me question whether this core value is truly what guides our ethics boards and those who appeal to their oversight.
(Scientific American) – The U.S. Supreme Court will weigh a second major case targeting President Barack Obama’s healthcare law on Wednesday when it considers a conservative challenge to tax subsidies critical to the measure’s implementation. The case is set for a one-hour oral argument starting just after 10 a.m. (1500 GMT), with a ruling due by the end of June.
(Nature) – Last month saw a major landmark for regenerative medicine: the first time that a stem-cell therapy — beside the use of cells extracted from umbilical cords — had been cleared for sale by any regulatory agency in the world. The European Commission approved Holoclar for use in cases of blindness caused by burning. The achievement is all the more remarkable because Holoclar was developed by a small laboratory in Italy, a country better known for its lack of support for life sciences — and for its recent tolerance of an unproven stem-cell concoction, marketed by the Stamina Foundation, that claimed to be a panacea for many diseases.
(Medical Xpress) – A new study by the University of Texas Medical Branch found that 20 percent of men were prescribed testosterone despite having normal testosterone levels based on the Endocrine Society’s guidelines. The study also found that 39 percent of new testosterone users did not have a prostate cancer screening during the year before treatment and 56 percent were not screened during the year after starting treatment.
(Washington Post) – The United States faces a shortage of as many as 90,000 physicians by 2025, including a critical need for specialists to treat an aging population that will increasingly live with chronic disease, the association that represents medical schools and teaching hospitals reported Tuesday. The nation’s shortage of primary care physicians has received considerable attention in recent years, but the Association of American Medical Colleges report predicts that the greatest shortfall, on a percentage basis, will be in the demand for surgeons — especially those who treat diseases more common to older people, such as cancer.
(Los Angeles Times) – More than 1.5% of babies born in 2013 owe their lives to in vitro fertilization, and fewer of them were twins or triplets, according to new figures from the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology. A total of 63,286 babies were born as a result of 174,962 attempts to use assisted reproduction treatments, the SART report says. Both figures represent small increases from 2012.
(New York Times) – The F.D.A. has allowed 23andMe to market genetic tests for mutations directly to the public. The agency said that, for the most part, so-called carrier tests would no longer need advance approval before being marketed this way. But 23andMe is also offering access to its data for research, opening up questions about privacy and anonymity. Should commercial companies share genetic information for research purposes? Is it an invasion of privacy or is the potential for scientific breakthrough more important?
(NIH) – Good morning, Chairman Cole, Ranking Member DeLauro, and distinguished Members of the Subcommittee. I am Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., and I am the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It is an honor to appear before you today to present the Administration’s fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget request for the NIH, and provide an overview of our central role in enhancing the nation’s health through scientific discovery.
New Nanodevice Defeats Drug Resistance: Tiny Particles Embedded in Gel Can Turn Off Drug-Resistant Genes, Then Release Cancer Drugs
(Nanotechnology Now) – Chemotherapy often shrinks tumors at first, but as cancer cells become resistant to drug treatment, tumors can grow back. A new nanodevice developed by MIT researchers can help overcome that by first blocking the gene that confers drug resistance, then launching a new chemotherapy attack against the disarmed tumors.
(Irish Times) – Minister for Health Leo Varadkar has said “altruistic” surrogacy will be allowed under new legislation but commercial surrogacy will banned. Mr Varadkar acknowledged that some countries had banned surrogacy but the Government had taken a view that it should be permitted in Ireland.“But only on an altruistic basis, not as a commercial operation, not for money or for profit by anyone,” he said.
(Lung Cancer News Today) – In a new study entitled “Graphene oxide selectively targets cancer stem cells, across multiple tumor types: Implications for non-toxic cancer treatment, via “differentiation-based nano-therapy” researchers showed that graphene oxide, a nanomaterial, specifically targets lung cancer stem cells (as well as stem cells from other cancers) and inhibits their proliferation, while leaving healthy cells untouched. The study was published in the advanced online edition of the journal Oncotarget.