New docs: Notorious abortionists’ facilities weren’t inspected after allegations of illegal abortion
(Nature) – Haruko Obokata, the Japanese scientist at the centre of a controversy over studies purporting to turn mature cells to stem cells simply by bathing them in acid or subjecting them to mechanical stress, today apologized for her errors in the work. Kicking off a press conference in Osaka amid a storm of snapping cameras and flanked by two lawyers, Obokata blamed her immaturity and her lack of awareness of research protocols for the errors that were found in her two high-profile papers on the studies, published in Nature in January (Note: Nature’s news and comment teams are editorially independent of its research editorial team). These included the use of a duplicated image.
(New York Times) – A new study found that the popular pain relievers known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or Nsaids, may increase the risk for the most common type of irregular heartbeat, atrial fibrillation. Dutch researchers followed 8,423 people, average age 69, with normal heart rhythm at the start of the study for an average of 13 years. Over the period, 857 developed atrial fibrillation.
(New Scientist) – Waste not want not. An initiative launched this week aims to breathe new life into neglected data from clinical trials. Pharmaceutical companies spend billions of dollars collecting trial results, only for these findings to collect dust after a drug is either marketed or abandoned. Through Project Data Sphere, six pharma companies and a medical research centre will release data from 34 cancer trials by the end of the year. The pooled results will be from the control groups of the trials – those not given new treatments – adding up to data from 25,000 people.
(New Scientist) – How do you get more injecting drug users, who have a serious risk of getting and transmitting hepatitis B, to take a highly effective vaccine against the virus? The answer could be as simple as offering them a £10 shopping voucher each time they get one of the three shots they need.
(Science) – A group of European pro-life organizations is mobilizing against embryonic stem cell research in a way that the European Commission cannot ignore. One of Us, a so-called European citizens’ initiative, has collected 1.7 million signatures from all 28 E.U. member states for a proposal that would block funding for research in which embryos are destroyed; under E.U. rules, the European Commission must now consider turning the proposal into legislation.
(New York Times) – About 700,000 Americans have had their DNA sequenced, in full or in part, and the number is rising rapidly as costs plummet — to $1,000 or less for a full genome, down from more than $1 million less than a decade ago. But many people are avoiding the tests because of a major omission in the 2008 federal law that bars employers and health insurers from seeking the results of genetic testing.
(Washington Post) – The Medicare program is the source of a small fortune for many U.S. doctors, according to a trove of government records that reveal unprecedented details about physician billing practices nationwide. The government insurance program for older people paid nearly 4,000 physicians in excess of $1 million each in 2012, according to the new data. Those figures do not include what the doctors billed private insurance firms.
(The Epoch Times) – Researchers have identified a coding gene that has a profound effect on the central nervous system. They say the finding could shed light on paralysis, stroke, and other disorders of the central nervous system, including Alzheimer’s disease. Coding genes contain DNA sequences that are used to assign functions required for development and maintenance within a cell. These coding genes articulate how a fingernail grows, help develop nerve cells responsible for chewing, and are vital in helping the spinal cord facilitate movement in arms or legs.
(Nanowerk) – Thousands of consumer products — including cosmetics, sunscreens, and clothing — contain nanoparticles added by manufacturers to improve texture, kill microbes, or enhance shelf life, among other purposes. However, several studies have shown that some of these engineered nanoparticles can be toxic to cells. A new study from MIT and the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) suggests that certain nanoparticles can also harm DNA.
(Medical Xpress) – A breakthrough by Israeli researchers could speed recovery and limit scarring and disfigurement for patients who have suffered large soft tissue trauma – as often occurs with serious injury or cancer surgery. By biomedically engineering a muscle flap that includes a patient’s own blood vessels, the team has created tissue that could one day be transferred to other parts of the body along with the patient’s blood supply, speeding recovery and limiting scarring for patients who have suffered serious tissue trauma.
(Nanowerk) – In a presentation exploring the promise of magnetic nanoparticle (mNP) hyperthermia in breast cancer treatment, Dartmouth researcher P. Jack Hoopes, DMV, PhD, reviewed preclinical studies conducted at Norris Cotton Cancer Center and discuss plans for early-phase clinical studies in humans at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). This evolving treatment approach involves the injection of nanoparticles into the tumor, which are then activated with magnetic energy. Once activated the nanoparticles produce heat inside the cancer cell. The heat kills the cancer cell with minimal damage to surrounding tissue.