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08/14/2018

Too cute? Colleges, courts grapple with the role of companion animals

CNN
Colleges have also seen an uptick in the number of registered emotional support animals on campus. Unlike facility dogs, emotional support animals need not be dogs nor obtain specific training, but a person who wants one must have documentation from a health professional to show a disability and a disability-related need for the animal in order to obtain protection under the Fair Housing Act. Such protection allows the animals to live in places where they may otherwise be prohibited. Amid this influx of animals, classrooms and courtrooms are grappling with where to draw the line.

08/13/2018

Japanese medical university admits to discriminating against female applicants

Science

A prominent Japanese medical university said yesterday that school administrators have deliberately manipulated entrance exam scores to limit the number of women admitted. The confession helps explain the lopsided gender ratio of graduates from Tokyo Medical University (TMU) and strengthens suspicions that similar practices have prevailed at other Japanese medical schools.

08/13/2018

Cancer: one in four too scared to seek medical help over symptom

The Guardian

Despite discovering a potential symptom of cancer, half the UK population would not seek medical help with many too afraid that they may be wasting a doctor’s time by raising it. In addition, one in four people would not bother having a symptom examined for fear of what the doctor might find, according to a new survey by Populus. Similarly, one in five (21%) adults – 18% of men and 25% of women – would put off acting on their discovery through worry that they would be wasting a doctor’s time.

08/10/2018

It started as a hobby. Now they’re using DNA to help cops crack cold cases

CNN
First was the arrest in April of a California man who police say is the notorious Golden State Killer. Then came the arrest of a suspect in the 1986 killing of a 12-year-old girl in Washington state. Soon authorities were charging a man for the 1992 sexual assault and killing of a 25-year-old schoolteacher in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and another suspect for the 1988 rape and slaying of an 8-year-old girl in Indiana.

08/09/2018

Burqa ban: First woman charged in Denmark under new law banning full-face veil

The Independent

A woman has become the first person in Denmark to be charged with wearing a veil in public, under a new law that bans Islamic face coverings.

08/09/2018

Doctors With Disabilities Push For Culture Change In Medicine

NPR

Doctors are often portrayed as pinnacles of health, superhumans responding to emergencies around the clock, performing miracles of all kinds. They’re seen as the fixers, not the ones ever in need of accommodations or care. “This profession historically has viewed themselves as able-bodied in the extreme,” Iezzoni says. Now, a growing movement of current and aspiring doctors with disabilities is starting to challenge that narrative, saying it is a disservice both to the medical profession and to patients.

08/08/2018

These tiny, stretchy speakers and microphones let your skin play music

Science

If you’re prone to forgetting your headphones, new wearable technology that could turn your skin into a speaker should be music to your ears. Created in part to help the hearing and speech impaired, the new “smart skin” could be embedded into the ears—or into a patch on the throat. A similar device, described in the same study, acts as a microphone, which can be connected to smartphones and computers to unlock voice-activated security systems.

08/07/2018

Tickborne Diseases — Confronting a Growing Threat

The New England Journal of Medicine

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of reported cases of tickborne disease has more than doubled over the past 13 years.

08/06/2018

California Wildfires Reignite Old Trauma For Survivors Of Last Year’s Blazes

NPR

Confronting constant reminders of what fire can do has become a terrifying reality for people who survived last year’s flames and are still piecing their lives back together. As psychologists, therapists and other counselors offer comfort and tips for quenching the terror, they also assure survivors that surges of panic, grief, and agitation are healthy and normal.

08/03/2018

Ancestry, 23andMe and others say they will follow these rules when giving DNA data to businesses or police

The Washington Post

Ancestry, 23andMe and other popular companies that offer genetic testing pledged on Tuesday to be upfront when they share users’ DNA data with researchers, hand it over to police or transfer it to other companies, a move aimed at addressing consumers’ mounting privacy concerns. Under the new guidelines, the companies said they would obtain consumers’ “separate express consent” before turning over their individual genetic information to businesses and other third parties, including insurers.

08/03/2018

Growing homophobia will fuel the HIV epidemic, experts fear

CNN

“Our concern at the moment is that there is a shift towards the right,” said Shaun Mellors, director of knowledge and influence at the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, who coordinates the Elton John Foundation’s rapid response grants. “It’s all bubbling up, and it’s all increasing at the moment in a really scary way.”

08/02/2018

Experts: Don’t use dog DNA tests to make life-or-death decisions

The Mercury News

The claims dog DNA-testing companies make can seem all but definitive: One quick cheek swab can tell you not only about the breeds that make up your pooch but also offer it a lifetime of health. Pay $65, and you can make smarter, science-based decisions about veterinary care. You can be a more responsible dog owner. But three canine genetics experts have now hurled cold water on those claims, saying the entire business of consumer-marketed canine genetics testing is an “untamed wilderness” of weak science, unvalidated outcomes and conflicts of interest.

08/02/2018

What Is a Genetically Modified Crop? A European Ruling Sows Confusion

The New York Times

Mushrooms that don’t brown. Wheat that fights off disease. Tomatoes with a longer growing season. All of these crops are made possible by a gene-editing technology called Crispr-cas9. But now its future has been clouded by the European Union’s top court. This week, the court ruled that gene-edited crops are genetically modified organisms, and therefore must comply with the tough regulations that apply to plants made with genes from other species. Many scientists responded to the decision with dismay, predicting that countries in the developing world would follow Europe’s lead, blocking useful gene-edited crops from reaching farms and marketplaces. The ruling may also curtail exports from the United States, which has taken a more lenient view of gene-edited foods.

08/02/2018

Bayer hits back at new Netflix medical device documentary

Reuters

The company, in a statement released Thursday night, said the documentary “The Bleeding Edge,” which debuted on the streaming site on Friday, lacks scientific support and cherry-picked facts to present an inaccurate and misleading picture of Bayer’s permanent birth control device Essure, one of the products spotlighted in the film.

08/01/2018

Bill Of The Month: A Plan For Affordable Gender-Confirmation Surgery Goes Awry

NPR

After mother and daughter complained about the last-minute surprise, a hospital representative offered a solution: If they paid out of pocket and in full before Vetens’ surgery — forgoing their use of insurance — the hospital would accept just $20,080, assuring them the hospital would charge nothing to Vetens’ insurer. But if they did not decide and pay up right away, the surgery would be canceled. “I certainly felt that I had no choice,” Vetens said.

07/31/2018

Experimental Alzheimer’s drug stirs hope after early trials

CNN

After a series of prominent failures, there’s reason to be hopeful in the search for a drug to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Results of an early trial of an experimental drug showed that it improved cognition and reduced clinical signs of Alzheimer’s in the brains of study participants, and experts are “cautiously optimistic” that the results will be duplicated in future clinical trials.

07/30/2018

European court ruling raises hurdles for CRISPR crops

Science

Hopes for an easier regulatory road for genetic engineering in European agriculture were dashed today by the Court of Justice of the European Union. In a closely watched decision, the court ruled that plants created with new gene-editing techniques that don’t involve transferring genes between organisms—such as CRISPR—must go through the same lengthy approval process as traditional transgenic plants.

07/27/2018

A Growing Number Of Pharmacists Are Denying Patients Their Medication Because Of Moral Objections

WGBH

A CVS pharmacist in Fountain Hills, Arizona, was fired last Friday after refusing to fill a hormone prescription for a transgender woman. This is the second recent incident of a pharmacist in Arizona refusing to give medication to a customer. Last month, a Walgreens pharmacist in Peoria, Arizona, refused to give a pregnant women medication that was intended to cause a miscarriage because her baby had stopped developing within her womb. Arizona is one of the six states along with, Georgia, Idaho, South Dakota, Arkansas, and Mississippi, that allow pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions based on moral or religious reasons.

07/26/2018

Clean, Sober and $41,000 Deep in Out-of-Pocket Addiction Recovery Costs

The New York Times

People recovering from opioid addiction and their families discuss the financial and emotional costs of treatment.

07/25/2018

The DEA wanted new suppliers of marijuana for research. Two years later, nothing has changed

STAT

Two years ago, federal drug authorities said they would consider licensing new suppliers of marijuana grown for scientific purposes, a move seen as an acknowledgment of the need for additional rigorous research into potential medical uses and risks of cannabis and its components. Hope you weren’t holding your breath. The Drug Enforcement Administration still has not granted additional licenses for a grow operation, despite receiving more than two dozen applications in the year after it announced it was open to approving one.

07/24/2018

Antidepressant prescriptions for children on the rise

BBC News

Dr Bernadka Dubicka, who chairs the child and adolescent faculty at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: “Currently only one in four children and young people are treated for their mental health problems. “The fact that prescriptions for antidepressants are rising could reflect a slow but steady move towards treating everyone who is unwell.

07/23/2018

Humans are altering seasonal climate cycles worldwide

Nature

Nearly four decades of global temperature data collected by satellites reveal the atmospheric fingerprint of climate change.

07/19/2018

Arizona law would give frozen embryos to spouse who wants baby after divorce

CBS News

A controversial new Arizona law that took effect July 1 would give Torres access to the embryos. The law requires courts to give embryos to the spouse who plans to use them to have a baby when a couple decides to have a divorce. Supporters of the law say it will protect a partner’s right to his or her embryos. Opponents say it could force people to become parents against their will.

07/18/2018

Are ‘breakthrough’ drugs as safe as other FDA-approved medicines?

CNN

New research questions the quality of drugs given the “breakthrough therapy” designation by the US Food and Drug Administration. In late 2012, the FDA created this designation to speed the process for reviewing not-yet-approved experimental medicines intended to treat serious or life-threatening conditions.

07/18/2018

Defendants on Probation Can Be Jailed for Drug Relapse, Court Rules

The New York Times

Julie Eldred argued that requiring defendants to be drug-free as a condition for probation was cruel and unusual given her severe addiction. A Massachusetts court disagreed, but declined to rule on whether addiction is a brain disease that affects a person’s ability to comply with the requirement.

07/18/2018

Editing human embryos ‘morally permissible’

BBC News

Should we or shouldn’t we be allowed to modify human DNA in future children? An inquiry into the ethical issues surrounding genetically altering a human embryo has found there is “no absolute reason not to pursue it”. But appropriate measures must be put in place before it becomes UK law, said the report – which calls for further research both medically and socially. Inquiry chair, Prof Karen Yeung, said: “The implications for society are extensive, profound and long-term.”

07/18/2018

‘Frightening’ drug-resistant strain of typhoid spreads in Pakistan

Science

An antibiotic-defying strain of the bacterium that causes typhoid fever is gaining a foothold in Pakistan, leading some researchers to warn that it could turn the clock back 70 years, when surviving the disease was more a matter of luck than treatment. In the past 6 months, more than 2000 people in Pakistan have been infected with extensively drug-resistant (XDR) Salmonella typhi, according to the National Institute of Health in Islamabad. Only one oral antibiotic, azithromycin, works against the XDR strain, and the other options—expensive intravenous (IV) drugs—are impractical for widespread use in Pakistan and other low-income nations. S. typhi experts worry that the outbreak could soon spill into other countries.

07/17/2018

Please Don’t Take Prescription Drug Advice from Kim Kardashian

Leapsmag

Legislators and patients often wonder why the cost of drugs in America is so high relative to the rest of the world. Well, one reason is the rest of the world does not tolerate direct-to-consumer ads aimed at ginning up demand when touted by actors, soap opera stars, sports stars, reality tv icons, quiz show hosts and others selling their fame so you will use a company’s drug.

07/16/2018

Drug to Treat Smallpox Approved by F.D.A., a Move Against Bioterrorism

The New York Times

The Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved the first drug intended to treat smallpox — a move that could halt a lethal pandemic if the virus were to be released as a terrorist bioweapon or through a laboratory accident.

07/12/2018

Pfizer buckles under pressure from Trump, delays drug price increases

The Washington Post

Pfizer chief executive Ian Read said late Tuesday that his company would delay increasing the prices of dozens of drug products after President Trump publicly berated the firm one day earlier.