(New York Post) – Abortion rates in the United States have fallen to a historic low, according to the latest data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC report, which was released on Wednesday, found that the abortion rate nationwide dropped two percent between 2013 and 2014 amid the use of more effective contraception, the shuttering of many abortion clinics and an overall decline in pregnancy rates.
(Newsweek) – Scientists have used a cloned dog to create four more dogs in an experiment to find out what happens when animals are re-cloned. The team created the dogs—Afghan hounds—with stem cells from Snuppy, the world’s first ever cloned dog, which was born in April 2005.
Rohingya Crisis: Push for Contraception, Even Sterilisation, as Bengladesh Struggles with Refugee Influx
(Australian Broadcasting Co) – Last week the Red Cross revealed the Balukhali camp’s water table was dropping so rapidly, some areas could go dry before new deep bores can be dug. Bangladesh and Myanmar have entered negotiations for the refugees’ repatriation, but few expect a speedy solution to their statelessness. Public health official Dr Pintu Bhattacharya thinks the Bangladesh Government’s family planning program should be extended to refugees. Under the scheme, local men and women are paid small stipend for undergoing voluntary sterilisation.
(Reuters) – A U.S. district judge on Wednesday struck down parts of a Texas law that would ban the most common type of second-trimester abortions in the state, after plaintiffs argued the procedure was safe, legal and necessary for women’s health. U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel in Austin issued a permanent injunction against the provisions that were in legislation known as Senate Bill 8 (SB 8) and set to take effect this year, saying they “are facially unconstitutional.”
(News-Medical) – A new analysis of published studies found a 45% increased risk of congenital heart defects in newborns when women become pregnant via in vitro fertilization (IVF)/intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) than through spontaneous conception. The Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology analysis included 8 studies with 25,856 children obtained from IVF techniques and 287,995 children spontaneously conceived and a total of 2289 congenital heart defects.
(The Korea Times) – Controversy is growing over a lawmaker’s criticism of Lee Cook-jong, the doctor who revealed hygiene and nutrition problems of a North Korean soldier who defected, after treating him. Rep. Kim Jong-dae of the minor opposition Justice Party criticized Lee for violating the Medical Law that bans doctors from disclosing personal information about patients.
(Boston Business Journal) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a stern warning against the use of “do it yourself” gene therapy kits, pushing back against a nascent “biohacker” movement that seeks to make experimental medicines and technologies available to the masses, often by circumventing regulators. A statement posted on the FDA’s website on Tuesday cautions that it is illegal to sell gene therapy products and kits intended for self-administration. Gene therapy involves inserting new, healthy genes into cells to cure diseases that are caused by faulty genes. The FDA has classified gene editing — cutting out and replacing parts of faulty genes — as a form of gene therapy.
(Nature) – Two scientists have rolled out a program that spots incorrect gene sequences reported in experiments — and have used it to identify flaws in more than 60 papers, almost all of them studies of cancer. Jennifer Byrne, a cancer researcher at the Kids Research Institute of the Children’s Hospital at Westmead in Sydney, Australia, and Cyril Labbé, a computer scientist at the University of Grenoble Alpes in Grenoble, France, made public an early version of the program, called Seek & Blastn, in October and now they want other researchers to test the program and help to improve it. They then plan to offer it to journal editors and publishers as an addition to the tools that most already use to check papers, such as software to detect plagiarism.
(The Guardian) – Patients are being put at risk because doctors are giving them drugs they do not need and sending them for unnecessary surgery to avoid a complaint being made against them, research has revealed. Medics are so scared of being complained about that they are also giving patients more tests than their symptoms merit and not performing procedures that involve more risk than usual.
(Reuters) – Policymakers and insurers have been pushing people addicted to opioids into abstinence-based detox programs, but a new study concludes that methadone and similar drug-maintenance treatments save lives and money. If the nearly 47,000 Californians who began treatment for opioid-use disorder in 2014 had received immediate access to methadone or another opioid-agonist treatment – instead of first being forced to completely withdraw from opioids – the healthcare and criminal-justice systems would have saved $3.8 billion, researchers estimate.
(Medscape) – Women who use hormonal contraceptives are at increased risk for suicide attempt and suicide. The highest relative risk is seen in adolescent women, a large Danish study indicates. “Women should be aware of this potential adverse effect of hormonal contraception so that they might consider alternatives if they develop depression after starting use of hormonal contraception,” Øjvind Lidegaard, MD, Department of Gynecology, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, and Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, told Medscape Medical News.