News from Bioethics.com

In Rare Case, Patient Developed Resistance to CAR-T after Cancer Cell Began Hiding in ‘Plain Sight’

2 months 2 weeks

(STAT News) – To make CAR-T therapies, the pioneering cancer treatments, scientists introduce a gene into the body’s immune cells that turns them into cancer-homing attackers. But in one case described by scientists Monday, the gene was inadvertently delivered to a cancer cell instead, camouflaging it from the therapy and allowing the cancer to develop resistance to treatment. The patient ultimately died.

Does Autism Raise the Risk of PTSD?

2 months 2 weeks

(Scientific American) – Kerns and a few other researchers are trying to get a better understanding of the interplay between autism and PTSD, which they hope will inform and shape treatment for young people like Gabriel. The more they dig in, the more these researchers are finding that many autistic people might have some form of PTSD.

WHO Plays Down Risk to Indian Children from Tainted Polio Vaccine

2 months 2 weeks

(Reuters) – The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Monday that there was minimal risk of children contracting the polio virus in India from a tainted batch of vaccines.  The public health scare, which potentially affected thousands of children, put a renewed spotlight on lax pharmaceutical quality control procedures in India.

The Aftermath of Indonesia’s Devastating Tsunami, Which Has Killed More Than 800 People

2 months 2 weeks

(Quartz) – A 7.5 magnitude earthquake on Friday (Sept. 28) on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi triggered a tsunami which as of today (Oct. 1) has killed more than 800 people and left a trail of destruction across the island. The death toll is likely to keep rising. While the city of Palu has suffered some of the worst damage and most fatalities, remote portions of the island have been cut off from communications, and infrastructure, the BBC reports.

India’s Top Court Limits Sweep of Biometric ID Program

2 months 2 weeks

(New York Times) – In a landmark ruling on Wednesday, India’s Supreme Court placed strict limits on the government’s national biometric identity system while also finding that the sweeping program did not fundamentally violate the privacy rights of the country’s 1.3 billion residents. A five-justice panel of the court decided by 4-1 to approve the use of the program, called Aadhaar, for matters involving the public purse, such as the distribution of food rations and other government benefits and the collection of income taxes.

Zika Love Stories

2 months 2 weeks

(BBC) – Both boys are growing up with congenital Zika syndrome (CZS), a set of physical impairments caused when their mothers were infected with the Zika virus while they were pregnant. In Brazil, more than 3,000 children were born with CZS, following the outbreak in 2015 and 2016.  The most well-known symptom is microcephaly – abnormally small heads. Three years ago the world’s news outlets were filled with pictures of screaming newborns, their heads so small that their scalps folded into a mass of wrinkles.

‘Give Her a Chance’: North Texas Family Fights to Keep 9-Year-Old on Life Support

2 months 2 weeks

(WFAA) – Doctors at the hospital were eventually able to get back a heartbeat, and the girl has been stable and on a ventilator ever since. “She has a mass behind her heart that is twice the size of her heart,” said Tiffany. “They speculate that is what caused her to stop breathing.” The girl’s parents desperately want her to remain on life support, at least until they see some additional physical signs she’s deteriorating.

Experimental TB Vaccine Shows Promise in Clinical Trials

2 months 2 weeks

(STAT News) – As world leaders pledged support for the fight against tuberculosis at the United Nations this week, some good news in the effort to develop weapons to combat the bacterium nearly slipped under the radar. An experimental TB vaccine showed solid protection in a clinical trial reported Tuesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. The vaccine is being developed by GSK and Aeras, a nonprofit organization working on affordable tuberculosis vaccines.

Why Your Doctor Wants to Talk about Guns

2 months 2 weeks

(CNN) – our doctor already talks to you about sex, drugs and alcohol, but should they talk to you about guns, too? A newly-formed coalition of healthcare providers thinks so — and patient intervention is just one part of their plan to reduce what they call an “epidemic” of gun violence. The organization, Scrubs Addressing the Firearm Epidemic, known as SAFE, is demanding an increase in federal funding for gun violence research, and is calling on lawmakers to implement “evidence-based policy” on guns.

World’s First Human Case of Rat Disease Discovered

2 months 2 weeks

(CNN) – For the first time, a case of rat hepatitis E has been discovered in a human in Hong Kong. A 56-year-old man has been diagnosed with the disease, researchers from the University of Hong Kong said. It was not previously known the disease could be passed from rats to humans.

In the Race to Use Genetic Tests to Predict Whether Antidepressants Will Work, Science Might Be Getting Left Behind

2 months 2 weeks

(STAT News) – With the new test (part of a $249 product), Color joins several dozen companies probing patients’ DNA in search of insights to help inform decisions about which psychiatry medications patients should take. They’re touting applications for depression, bipolar disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. But some top psychiatrists say the evidence doesn’t support the commercial rush.

Recent Research Sheds New Light on Why Nicotine Is So Addictive

2 months 2 weeks

(Scientific American) – Although our society currently finds itself focused on the tragic epidemic of opioid overdoses, there remains no better example of the deadly power of addiction than nicotine. The measure of a drug’s addictiveness is not how much pleasure (or reward) it causes but how reinforcing it is—that is, how much it leads people to keep using it. Nicotine does not produce the kind of euphoria or impairment that many other drugs like opioids and marijuana do. People do not get high from smoking cigarettes or vaping. Yet nicotine’s powerful ability to reinforce its relatively mild rewards results in 480,000 deaths annually.

Kingdom Surrogacy Law Set to Lift Burden from ‘Victims’

2 months 2 weeks

(The Phnom Penh Post) – Hundreds of rights organisations from 18 countries campaigned for “a global ban on women’s womb rental” on Monday during the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly. Exhorting heads of governments to implement a ban on surrogacy and to stop funding UN agencies that advocate its legalisation, they issued a statement which read: “Surrogacy is a serious violation of the rights and dignity of women and children. It is a form of women’s reproductive exploitation and it treats newborns as commodities.”

On the Trail of a Deadly Disease That Cuts Down Farmworkers in Their Prime

2 months 2 weeks

(Bloomberg) – As its name indicates, the causes of [chronic kidney disease of unknown origin] are poorly understood. What’s not in question is that it’s deadly. Symptoms—including vomiting, exhaustion, and weight loss—often don’t appear until the disease is well advanced, by which time damage to the kidneys cannot be reversed. Without access to dialysis or a kidney transplant, there’s little hope of survival. CKDu first gained international recognition for its impact on sugar cane workers in Nicaragua, where it’s killed at least 20,000 young men in the past decade, according to experts who describe it as an epidemic.

Biomarkers in Spinal Fluid Offer Method for Alzheimer’s Diagnosis

2 months 2 weeks

(UPI) – Researchers have developed a spinal fluid test that can accurately identify most patients with Alzheimer’s disease, according to a clinical study. By tapping amyloid and tau levels in cerebrospinal fluid, Columbia University neurologists may have found a reliable way to help diagnose the disease. The findings were published this week in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Instagram Has a Drug Problem. Its Algorithms Make It Worse

2 months 2 weeks

(Los Angeles Times) – Instagram is known for its celebrity posts and photos of enviable vacations. But it has also become a sizable open marketplace for advertising illegal drugs. The company has pledged a crackdown in recent weeks, but it is struggling to keep pace with its own algorithms and systems, which serve up an array of personalized drug-related content aimed directly at people who show an interest in buying substances illicitly.

Infanticide in Kenya: ‘I Was Told to Kill My Disabled Boy’

2 months 2 weeks

(BBC) – Ms Njoki and Ms Kipchumba are not alone. A new study in Kenya has found that 45% of mothers interviewed by a leading charity faced pressure to kill their babies born with disabilities. The survey found that the situation was worse in rural areas – where the figure could be as high as two in every three mothers. Most of the women interviewed by Disability Rights International said their children were considered “cursed, bewitched and possessed” and that a belief prevailed that the mothers were being punished for their sins, including being “unfaithful to their husbands”.

A Dual Origin for Blood Vessels

2 months 2 weeks

(Nature) – Blood-cell lineages and the endothelial cells that line the interior of blood vessels have an intertwined biology and interrelated embryonic origins. Our current knowledge indicates that endothelial cells differentiate directly from one of the three main cell layers of the early embryo (the mesoderm), and that a subset of endothelial cells subsequently gives rise to haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), from which adult blood cells derive. In a paper in Nature, Plein et al. reveal a second origin for endothelial cells, and refine our understanding of the relationship between the endothelial and blood lineages.

Ketamine Gives Hope to Patients with Severe Depression. But Some Clinics Stray from the Science and Hype Its Benefits

2 months 3 weeks

(STAT News) – An investigation by STAT shows that Kalypso’s sweeping claims are hardly uncommon in the booming ketamine treatment business. Dozens of free-standing clinics have opened across the U.S. in recent years to provide the drug to patients who are desperate for an effective therapy and hopeful ketamine can help. But the investigation found wide-ranging inconsistencies among clinics, from the screening of patients to the dose and frequency of infusions to the coordination with patients’ mental health providers. A number of clinics stray from recommendations issued last year by the American Psychiatric Association.

Why Chinese Medicine Is Heading for Clinics Around the World

2 months 3 weeks

(Nature) – And next year sees the crowning moment for Choi’s committee, when the WHO’s governing body, the World Health Assembly, adopts the 11th version of the organization’s global compendium — known as the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD). For the first time, the ICD will include details about traditional medicines. The global reach of the reference source is unparalleled. The document categorizes thousands of diseases and diagnoses and sets the medical agenda in more than 100 countries.

Woman Wins Bid to Access IVF without Estranged Husband’s Consent

2 months 3 weeks

(News.com.au) – A VICTORIAN woman has been told by the Federal Court she will be allowed to go through IVF, despite a law that required her to obtain her estranged husband’s permission beforehand. The landmark court case comes as the Victorian government reviews its laws around assisted reproductive treatment and could prompt a change in the current legislation. At the moment, married women who are separated from their husbands are prohibited from seeking in-vitro fertilisation treatment to attempt to conceive a child.

Growing Brains in the Lab

2 months 3 weeks

(Scientific American) – They are called brain spheroids (or three-dimensional brain cultures or cerebral organoids) and are a relatively new creation. They were first described in a splashy study published in Nature in 2013 and are one of the most technically impressive forms of tissue culture. What brain spheroids are not, however, is as important as what they are. They’re not ‘mini-brains’. They’re not generating thoughts and emotions. Without any sensory input they lack grounding in the physical world. Brain spheroids are also very small.

Syphilis Cases in Newborn Babies Reach 20-Year High, CDC Says

2 months 3 weeks

(CNN) – Congenital syphilis cases — when a mother passes syphilis onto her baby during pregnancy or delivery — have more than doubled in the United States since 2013, according to an report released Tuesday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Eight out of 10 pregnant women who have untreated syphilis will pass it onto their babies through the placenta and this can lead to stillbirth or death of a newborn in up to 40% of affected pregnancies, according to the CDC.

The DNA Detectives Hunting the Causes of Cancer

2 months 3 weeks

(Mosaic) – Other parts of the world have their own cancer problems: there are strangely high rates of bowel cancer in Slovakia and Denmark, although they have low rates of liver cancer. People in the Czech Republic are more likely to be stricken by kidney or pancreatic cancer than the populations of neighbouring Austria and Poland. Do these differences lie in inherited genetic variations, or is it something to do with lifestyle? Is there an unknown carcinogen lurking in the environment? Or maybe it’s a bit of all three? The wild differences in rates of cancer across the world is a mystery – but a crack team of detectives is on the case.

Mosquitoes Genetically Modified to Crash Species That Spreads Malaria

2 months 3 weeks

(NPR) – For the first time, scientists have demonstrated that a controversial new kind of genetic engineering can rapidly spread a self-destructive genetic modification through a complex species. The scientists used the revolutionary gene-editing tool known as CRISPR to engineer mosquitoes with a “gene drive,” which rapidly transmitted a sterilizing mutation through other members of the mosquito’s species. After mosquitoes carrying the mutation were released into cages filled with unmodified mosquitoes in a high-security basement laboratory in London, virtually all of the insects were wiped out, according to a report in Nature Biotechnology.

Pages

Creative Commons License