(Science) – Hair analysis is only one of many flawed forensic fields: A 2009 report from the National Research Council found that the analysis of many types of evidence—from footprints and tire tracks to bullet marks and blood splatters—lacks a solid foundation. Even DNA evidence, seen as the gold standard, can land innocent people in jail, now that new technologies can detect minuscule amounts of genetic material. Forensic analysts are trying to do better. Many fields are testing the accuracy of existing methods and developing new ones that are more science-based.
(Reuters) – The charity Medicins Sans Frontieres has formally opposed U.S. firm Pfizer Inc’s application for an Indian patent on a highly effective pneumonia vaccine, saying it could deprive many developing nations of cheaper copies of the drug. Some of the world’s poorest countries and medical charities such as Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) depend on India’s robust pharmaceutical industry to make cheaper forms of drugs and vaccines developed by big Western pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer.
(Reuters) – Single parents are common in Brazil where some studies show as many as 1 in 3 children from poor families grow up without their biological father, but doctors on the frontline of the Zika outbreak say they are concerned about how many mothers of babies with microcephaly are being abandoned. With the health service already under strain, abortion prohibited, and the virus hitting the poorest hardest, an absent father is yet another burden on mothers already struggling to cope with raising a child that might never walk or talk.
(Reuters) – Transplanting a mismatched kidney from a living donor may lower the risk of death more than not doing a transplant at all, according to a new study that could open the door to more operations. A long-term study found that transplant recipients whose immune systems were technically incompatible to the donated kidney – because they had so-called anti-HLA antibodies – were more likely to be alive eight years later than people who did not receive a transplant or waited to get an organ from a deceased donor.
(STAT News) – The first uterus transplant in the US failed this week, but doctors at the Cleveland Clinic plan to keep trying, hoping to replicate the success of surgeons in Sweden. It’s an exciting time for reproductive medicine around the world. Here’s a rundown of the latest advances in the lab, the operating room, and the fertility clinic.
(The Atlantic) – Abdirahman, a respiratory therapist in the intensive-care unit of Portland’s Mercy Hospital, is called into local hospitals three to four times a week for cases where members of Portland’s Somali community need help navigating the complexities of the U.S. health-care system. Often, his role as volunteer medical advisor involves explaining patients’ options for treatment, working through confusion around what it means to die under Western care, or helping them to reconcile certain procedures with Islamic tradition.
(Reuters) – Florida legislators on Wednesday approved abortion restrictions that include requirements for physicians similar to a Texas law currently under review by the Supreme Court and prohibited state funding for routine care at abortion clinics. The measure imposes regulations that could force clinics to close, provider Planned Parenthood said. Supporters argue it aims to protect women’s health, while opponents called it an attack on groups assisting women in terminating pregnancies.
(UPI) – Researchers found pregnant women are willing to participate in a trial for maternal gene therapy to treat early-onset fetal growth restriction, according to a study. The researchers interviewed women and examined previous studies to inform ethical and legal concerns about EVERREST, a trial the researchers are considering mounting in Europe.