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10/15/2018

Healthy mice from same-sex parents have their own pups

Nature
Advance reveals genetic factors that require mammals to reproduce using two sexes.

10/12/2018

The approach to predictive medicine that is taking genomics research by storm

Nature
Polygenic risk scores represent a giant leap for gene-based diagnostic tests. Here’s why they’re still so controversial.

10/11/2018

GENOME HACKERS SHOW NO ONE’S DNA IS ANONYMOUS ANYMORE

Wired

“The takeaway is it doesn’t matter if you’ve been tested or not tested,” says Erlich, who is now the chief science officer at MyHeritage, the third largest consumer genetic provider behind 23andMe and Ancestry. “You can be identified because the databases already cover such large fractions of the US, at least for European ancestry.”

10/10/2018

Crop-protecting insects could be turned into bioweapons, critics warn

Science

It sounds like science fiction: A research program funded by the U.S. government plans to create virus-carrying insects that, released in vast numbers, could help crops fight threats such as pests, drought, or pollution. “Insect Allies,” as the $45 million, 4-year program is called, was launched in 2016 with little fanfare. But in a policy forum in this week’s issue of Science, five European researchers paint a far bleaker scenario.

10/10/2018

That New Apple Watch EKG Feature? There Are More Downs Than Ups

The New York Times

The heart monitor should not be considered a medical device and reflects wider problems with health screens.

10/09/2018

My child has two parents. Why does day care call only me?

The Washington Post

A school’s unwillingness to communicate with fathers, while most disruptive to the mothers who end up doing more than their share of the family care work, can affect children, too.

10/08/2018

Addiction Treatment Gap Is Driving A Black Market For Suboxone

NPR

But addiction treatment professionals argue the problem of buprenorphine diversion is often misunderstood. A black market exists in part, they point out, because addiction treatment can be hard to find. President Trump is expected to sign a bill that would increase access to the medication, but it’s unclear how quickly that access will grow.

10/05/2018

Making Sense of the Genome Remains a Work in Progress

JAMA
Wylie Burke, MD, PhD, professor and former chair of the Department of Bioethics and Humanities at the University of Washington, wrote an editorial in JAMA that described how there is still a great deal of uncertainty in genomic testing and advised clinicians to use genomics carefully. “Test results must be interpreted in the context of other clinical information, and uncertainties must be communicated to patients. Clinicians should anticipate variants of unknown significance as a frequent outcome of testing and counsel patients accordingly,” wrote Dr. Burke.

10/04/2018

A Rocky Period For Medical Aid-In-Dying In California

California Society of Anesthesiologists

While the recent legal battle has been a source of confusion and frustration for terminally ill Californians and their physicians, the eventual fate of this law remains unresolved. Even if there are no additional attempts to invalidate the law, it will “sunset” in 2026. Without further legislative action medical aid-in-dying will disappear from California yet again.

10/04/2018

Genetic determinism rides again

Nature

It’s never a good time for another bout of genetic determinism, but it’s hard to imagine a worse one than this. Social inequality gapes, exacerbated by climate change, driving hostility towards immigrants and flares of militant racism. At such a juncture, yet another expression of the discredited, simplistic idea that genes alone control human nature seems particularly insidious. And yet, here we are again with Blueprint, by educational psychologist Robert Plomin.

10/03/2018

Race, Ancestry, and Medical Research

JAMA

The discussion of race and medicine in the United States is challenging and emotionally charged. Substantial disparities in health outcomes, based on race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status, continue to exist; additional reports of racial bias and profound insensitivity in research continue to emerge in the popular media. A renewed discussion of race as a biological vs social construct has begun and is complicated by emerging data on genetics, race, and ancestry.

10/03/2018

How Stratification Unites Ethical Issues in Precision Health

AMA Journal of Ethics

The contributors to this issue address many of the ethical issues that arise in the context of precision health. Although none addresses the idea of stratification directly, the concept of stratification links their contributions together, since stratification is the basis of all precision health efforts. Stratification has only rarely been explored as a concept with ethical fallout and is often downplayed in favor of the label “precision.” Therefore, this editorial lays out how the ethical issues explored by our contributors and in precision health more broadly are united and organized by the concept of stratification.

10/02/2018

Breakthrough Leukemia Treatment Backfires in a Rare Case

The New York Times
The groundbreaking treatment that genetically engineers a patient’s own cells to fight leukemia turned lethal in one patient, reversing his remission.

10/02/2018

AAMC Statement on Proposed Changes to Public Charge Rule

AAMC
The AAMC issued a statement on the Department of Homeland Security’s proposed changes to how and whether immigrants can be classified as a public charge. “The AAMC and the nation’s medical schools and teaching hospitals are opposed to any policy that discourages people from pursuing medical care to which they are legally entitled. The proposed new rule would create a system where individuals are penalized for using health programs for which they legally qualify and could cause them to forgo crucial medical care, bringing with it all the health consequences that could follow. Teaching hospitals treat a disproportionate share of Medicaid patients, and we know from firsthand experience that access to care is key to ensuring that the nation’s patients have the stability and continuity of care that leads to better health outcomes,” said AAMC President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, MD.

10/02/2018

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Announces Conflict of Interest Task Force

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

The task force was announced in a statement from MSK President and Chief Executive Officer Craig Thompson, MD. It will be chaired by Debra Berns, MSK’s Senior Vice President and Chief Risk Officer.

10/02/2018

Biologists irate at NSF’s new one-proposal cap

Science

Last month, NSF’s biology directorate announced that researchers could submit only one proposal a year in which they are listed as a principal investigator (PI) or co-PI. The cap applies only to the directorate’s three core tracks and excludes several other NSF programs from which many biologists receive support… But 70 scientists have signed onto a letter asking the agency to reconsider the new policy, which they also complain was adopted without any community input.

10/02/2018

Argentina’s economic crisis could trigger scientific ‘collapse,’ researchers warn

Science

Argentine scientists are deeply worried about the effects of the country’s economic crisis on science. The government has proposed cutting research budgets in 2019 as part of an austerity push and it is behind in its financial commitments to institutes for this year, which means many labs lack the funds to pay for day-to-day operations.

10/01/2018

Finland joins Europe’s bold open-access push

Nature

Finland’s national research funder has signed up to Plan S — a push by a group of European organizations to make a radical change to the way that research results are published. The Academy of Finland, which announced its move on 24 September, is the first organization to sign up since Plan S was launched by 11 funders earlier this month. The now 12-strong coalition demands that, from 2020, papers resulting from the research they fund are immediately free to read on publication.

10/01/2018

2 Immunologists Win 2018 Nobel Prize In Physiology Or Medicine

https://www.npr.org/2018/10/01/653232884/first-nobel-winner-for-2018-to-be-announced?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

James P. Allison, 70, and Tasuku Honjo, 76, won the prize for their discovery of cancer therapy that works by harnessing the body’s own immune system.

09/28/2018

To overcome decades of mistrust, a workshop aims to train Indigenous researchers to be their own genome experts

Science

Members of the Havasupai Tribe, shown in 2010 looking at blood samples previously taken from them, had to fight for access to their samples, in an episode that fueled suspicion between scientists and several Native American communities.

09/27/2018

Health And Human Services Says It’s Reviewing Use Of Fetal Tissue For Research

NPR

The Department of Health and Human Services says it is reviewing all medical research involving human fetal tissue. HHS said this week that it will conduct an audit of “all acquisitions involving human fetal tissue” as well as “all research involving fetal tissue…”

09/27/2018

Gene editing could eliminate mosquitoes, but is it a good idea?

CNN

Researchers used a gene editing tool, CRISPR, to wipe out a population of malaria-carrying mosquitoes in the lab. Questions remain about how releasing this technology into the wild would impact the environment.

09/26/2018

As China builds biotech sector, cash floods U.S. startups

Reuters

Brii is one of many biotech startups riding a wave of money from Asia that so far this year has poured $4.2 billion into private U.S.-based biotech companies. That is over 43 percent of the total amount of venture funding invested in the biotech sector, according to PitchBook, up from just 11 percent in 2016.

09/25/2018

Veterans Struggling After Sexual Assault Increasingly Turn To Service Dogs

NPR

Service dog providers are seeing an influx of applications from veterans like Michel who have experienced sexual trauma while in the military. But the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which provides veterinary benefits for service dogs assigned to people with physical disabilities, does not currently recognize psychiatric service dogs as a proven therapy for mental illness.

09/24/2018

Cornell nutrition scientist resigns after retractions and research misconduct finding

Science

Brian Wansink, the Cornell University nutrition researcher known for probing the psychology behind human eating habits, has resigned after a university misconduct investigation, and following the retraction this week of six of his papers.

09/23/2018

UK doctors win battle with drug giants over cheaper eye medicine

Reuters

Drug giants Novartis, Bayer and Roche lost a bid to stop British doctors from recommending a cheaper drug option for people with an eye disease that causes blindness.

09/21/2018

Human genome could contain up to 20 percent fewer genes, researchers reveal

Science Daily
A new study reveals that up to 20 percent of genes classified as coding (those that produce the proteins that are the building blocks of all living things) may not be coding after all because they have characteristics that are typical of non-coding or pseudogenes (obsolete coding genes). The work once again highlights doubts about the number of real genes present in human cells 15 years after the sequencing the human genome.

09/20/2018

California Sues AbbVie Over Alleged Arthritis Drug Kickbacks

Bloomberg

California’s insurance regulator is suing AbbVie Inc., alleging that the pharmaceutical giant gave illegal kickbacks to health-care providers in order to keep patients on its blockbuster rheumatoid arthritis drug Humira.

09/20/2018

Here’s what we know about CRISPR safety – and reports of ‘genome vandalism’

The Washington Post

Using genome editing to treat human diseases is very tantalizing. Correcting inherited genetic defects that cause human disease — just as one edits a sentence — is the obvious application. This strategy has been successful in tests on animals. But a few recent scientific papers suggest that CRISPR is not without its problems. The research reveals that CRISPR can damage DNA located far from the target DNA we are trying to correct.

09/20/2018

Are We Being Misled About Precision Medicine?

The New York Times

Doctors and hospitals love to talk about the cancer patients they’ve saved, and reporters love to write about them. But deaths still vastly outnumber the rare successes.