(The Guardian) – Patients are suffering as a direct result of the NHS’s inability to meet key waiting-time targets, doctors have warned. Doctors’ leaders spoke out after figures showed that the NHS in England recorded its worst ever performance last month, including against the politically important four-hour A&E treatment target. Just 77.1% of patients who sought help at a hospital-based A&E unit were treated and admitted, discharged or transferred within four hours – a record low against the duty to deal with 95% of cases within that time.
(TIME) – An Oregon hospital has eliminated an “archaic” policy that would have barred an undocumented Portland resident from getting a lifesaving liver transplant. Silvia Lesama-Santos, a mother of four who is covered by her husband’s insurance and has lived in Portland for 30 years, was originally denied care at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) hospital because of her immigration status, the Oregonian reports.
(New York Times) – Ms. Nickel told the lawmakers that she took no position on the tax and was simply offering her group’s resources to help fight the state’s drug epidemic. But her presence along with five representatives from the industry’s trade group raised eyebrows among the Minnesota lawmakers, who believed that drug companies needed to be held accountable for the prescription opioid crisis — not embraced as an ally.
(New Scientist) – Human eggs have been matured from their most primitive state to full development in the lab for the first time. The resulting eggs are ready to be fertilised, and, if healthy, could in theory be used to advance IVF treatments as well as helping women who had cancer when they were young.
(Reuters) – The U.S. federal government on Thursday approved a device made by a private company in Wisconsin that will allow the first domestic production of a medical imaging isotope in 25 years, a move the government said would enhance national security by reducing the need to transport weapons-grade uranium.
(STAT News) – From its gleaming, year-old factory in this southeast Brazilian city, Oxitec, a British biotech firm, has built a thriving business releasing tens of millions of genetically engineered mosquitoes to protect populations from illnesses like dengue, chikungunya, and Zika. But the company sees its future here not just in big factories but in a new business model centered on miniature labs, where mosquito eggs can be raised and released into neighborhoods. These mosquitoes carry a gene that causes their offspring to die before reaching maturity, with the goal of reducing vector-borne diseases.
(Vox) – But 2015 also marked the beginning of a devastating three-year drought unlike anything the city had seen in more than a century. The drought exposed a key problem in the city’s water supply: its near-total reliance on rainwater. Unlike many other cities, which can draw their water supplies from various sources like underground aquifers or through desalination plants, Cape Town gets more than 99 percent of its water supply from dams that rely on rain.
(Washington Post) – On Friday, the 28-year-old woman filed a complaint with West Bengal police, authorities told The Post. On Monday, police arrested the woman’s husband, Biswajit Sarkar, a cloth merchant from the Murshidabad district, and her brother-in-law, Shyamal Sarkar, said Uday Shankar Ghosh, the inspector in charge. Sarkar alleges her husband sold off her kidney to make up for her family’s failure to meet dowry demands. Police say the husband confessed to selling the kidney to a businessman in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh, according to the Hindustan Times.
(Medscape) – Assisted dying is not legal in the United Kingdom, but debate over the issue continues, most recently in a series of articles published online February 7 in the BMJ. The organization that represents physicians — the British Medical Association (BMA) — does not accurately represent their views on the issue, argues Dr Jacky Davis, consultant radiologist at the Whittington Hospital in London, in a personal view article. The BMA has long been opposed to assisted dying, and its view is often quoted in parliamentary debate as representing that of physicians, she comments.
(Washington Post) – The 2018 Gerber baby was just named, and he is Lucas Warren, the first child with Down syndrome to receive the honor of, essentially, America’s cutest baby. The 18-month-old from Dalton, Ga., was selected as “2018 Gerber Spokesbaby” from more than 140,000 photos submitted by parents.
(ABC News) – A former pharmaceutical company worker is headed to prison for accepting thousands of dollars from a marketing firm in exchange for filling medically unnecessary prescriptions, causing her employer to lose nearly $1 million.
(Scientific American) – Gene expression patterns in the brains of people with autism are similar to those of people who have schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, according to a large study of postmortem brain tissue. The findings appear today in Science. All three conditions show an activation of genes in star-shaped brain cells called astrocytes, and suppression of genes that function at synapses, the junctions between neurons. The autism brains also show a unique increase in the expression of genes specific to immune cells called microglia.
(STAT News) – A genomics startup co-founded by genetics pioneer George Church of Harvard emerged from stealth mode on Wednesday, proclaiming that blockchain, the technology that underlies transactions of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, will help people understand their genome, find cures for (unspecified) diseases, and, unlike most existing genomics companies, guarantee that individuals will retain permanent ownership of their DNA data.
(STAT News) – Now Optogenetics 2.0 is adding to neuroscientists’ bag of brain-control tricks. In the Caltech study, neurotechnologist Mikhail Shapiro and his colleagues substituted designer drugs for the light in the original optogenetics. With such “chemogenetics,” giving a lab animal a simple lab-made molecule, and only that molecule, triggers the genetically engineered target neurons to fire. The scientists added an acoustic twist: Focused ultrasound opens up the blood-brain barrier and sends the genetic tweak to only certain neurons, in this case the hippocampus. They call it acoustically targeted chemogenetics.