(BBC) – Pakistani police have arrested four people accused of stealing spinal fluid from women. The suspects told women they had to provide blood samples to qualify for financial assistance from the Punjab government, police told BBC Urdu. However, they extracted spinal fluid instead, and attempted to sell it on the black market, police added. The gang is thought to have stolen spinal fluid from over 12 women, including a teenager.
(The Atlantic) – Doctors face particular challenges when they become patients—challenges that they are rarely prepared for. It is hard to relinquish control and allow others to dictate the treatments that you yourself are used to doling out. It is crushing to know your own prognosis in the starkest terms—a 65 percent chance of surviving for 10 years, in O’Riordan’s case. It is awkward to see your own former patients while you’re being treated: To strike up a chat would break confidentiality.
(ABC News) – Dutch senators have approved a new law that makes everybody a potential organ donor unless they decide to opt out of the system. The new system narrowly passed a vote in the upper house of the Dutch parliament Tuesday. The lower house last year passed the legislation with a one-vote majority.
(UPI) – Chemotherapy drugs activated by light to treat cancer can minimize side effects by targeting strictly non-healthy cells, according to new research in Britain and Australia. The Monash Warwick Alliance, an intercontinental collaboration between the University of Warwick in Britain and Monash University in Australia, examined how a platinum-based chemotherapy drug candidate kills cancer cells in targeted areas after being activated by light — but can be directed away from healthy tissue.
(Reuters) – Physicians at some of the nation’s most elite medical schools don’t receive three months of paid parental leave that doctors recommend for the health of mothers and babies, a U.S. study has found. “Despite the strong evidence base supporting the beneficial effects of at least 12 weeks of paid childbearing leave for the physical and mental health of mother and child, we are surprised that the average paid leave across schools was only about 8 weeks,” said senior study author Dr. Christina Mangurian of the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine.
(San Francisco Chronicle) – California, which has poured billions of public dollars into studying stem cells over the past decade, recently received its first royalty check for the investment — a development that will feed into a debate over whether to spend more taxpayer funds on such research in the coming years. The City of Hope medical research center has sent more than $190,000 to the State Treasurer’s Office related to research funded by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, or CIRM, which has been tasked with issuing $2.75 billion in grants for stem cell studies.
(CNN) – California’s insurance commissioner has launched an investigation into Aetna after learning a former medical director for the insurer admitted under oath he never looked at patients’ records when deciding whether to approve or deny care. California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones expressed outrage after CNN showed him a transcript of the testimony and said his office is looking into how widespread the practice is within Aetna.
(The Atlantic) – A CalVet official says the agency adopted the rule to avoid violating a federal statute that prohibits using U.S. government resources for physician-assisted death. Otherwise, the agency would jeopardize nearly $68 million in federal funds that helps run the facilities, said June Iljana, CalVet’s deputy secretary of communications. California is not alone. Three other states where aid-in-dying is legal—Oregon, Colorado, and Vermont—prohibit use of lethal medications in state-run veterans’ homes.
(The Guardian) – Safety breaches at UK labs that handle harmful bacteria, viruses and fungi have spread infections to staff and exposed others to potentially lethal diseases, the Guardian has learned. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has investigated a series of mistakes over the past two years that led to scientists falling ill at specialist labs run by hospitals, private companies, and even Public Health England (PHE), the government agency which exists to protect and improve the nation’s health and wellbeing.
(New York Post) – New York City parents start plotting their offspring’s social ascension before the kids are even born. Dr. Brian Levine, the practice director of CCRM New York, an all-inclusive fertility center, said it’s not uncommon for patients to time their embryo transfers to increase their unborn child’s odds of getting into a top private school.
(San Diego Union-Tribune) – Use of the painkiller acetaminophen during pregnancy may cause harmful sex hormone abnormalities, according to a study led by San Diego researchers. The study adds to concerns about the drug, sold under the brand name Tylenol. Previous studies have found potential for harming offspring exposed to acetaminophen during pregnancy.
(Boston Globe) – In 2017, a team of Belgian bioethicists and geneticists examined the privacy policies of 43 direct-to-consumer genetics testing companies to determine the possibility of using the easy kits for paternity tests. What they found was a lot of murkiness, according to the study, which was published in the European Journal of Human Genetics. Companies were vague about whether minors could participate in testing. Also, a majority of the terms-of-service agreements neglected to highlight the “vulnerability of minors and family members in receiving unexpected information.” Of course, it’s not just minors who are vulnerable.
(Gizmodo) – It’s often said mental illness runs in the family. But while that’s true, scientists have had very little luck actually understanding how our genes influence our risk of developing major depression or schizophrenia. New research published Friday in Science seems to provide something big needed for that greater insight: A roadmap of how genes are expressed differently in the brains of people with one of five major psychiatric disorders.
(News Medical) – Scientists have successfully produced human kidney tissue within a living organism which is able to produce urine, a first for medical science. The study led by Professors Sue Kimber and Adrian Woolf from The University of Manchester, signifies a significant milestone in the development of treatment for kidney disease. The Medical Research Council and Kidney Research UK funded project is published in the journal Stem Cell Reports. Kidney glomeruli – constituent microscopic parts of the organ- were generated from human embryonic stem cells grown in plastic laboratory culture dishes containing a nutrient broth known as culture medium, containing molecules to promote kidney development.
(U.S. News & World Report) – The third and final compensation payment has been mailed to sterilization victims, marking the end of a 15-year pursuit of financial help for people who suffered under North Carolina’s eugenics program.
(Nurse Oncology Advisor) – Modern medicine with its emphasis on cure frequently discovers itself struggling with an array of challenges in end-of-life care. Studies on the influence of compassionate silence in end-of-life care have indicated that clinicians’ focus solely on “doing” may actually be inappropriate at times and inhibit their ability to effectively address and meet the needs of the person who is terminally ill. A prominent theme was that the “do, fix, and hopefully cure” mandate in modern medicine may not be appropriate at the end of life and, in fact, may need to be balanced with the quality of being present with those who are suffering. Being “present” to patients who are nearing death therefore entails that clinicians possess a certain comfort level in terms of “sitting with the silence” and offering the “gift of presence.”
(Science) – In an advance that could lead to new fertility treatments, researchers have coaxed immature human egg cells to fully develop in the lab for the first time. Still unclear is whether the resulting eggs, which reached maturity in just 22 days, compared with 5 months in the body, are normal and whether they can combine with sperm to make a healthy embryo.