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Blue ribbon report urges U.S. cancer moonshot to invest in 10 promising areas


Vice President Joe Biden’s proposed moonshot to conquer cancer should invest in large collaborations, data sharing projects, and the promising cancer treatment known as immunotherapy, among 10 areas described in an advisory group’s draft report released this morning. The report was accepted (with one abstention) today by the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI’s) advisory board, which is expected to pass it on to the NCI director and then to a federal task force. Now, Congress just needs to come up with the money to pay for the moonshot, research advocates say.


Cesarean Birth Linked to Risk of Obesity in Childhood

U.S. News

Infants delivered by cesarean section may face a higher risk of becoming obese, a new study suggests.


Frenchwoman who got world’s 1st face transplant dies at 49

Washington Post

Isabelle Dinoire, a Frenchwoman who received the world’s first partial face transplant, has died 11 years after the surgery that set the stage for dozens of other transplants worldwide. She was 49.


FDA Orders Antibacterials Removed From Consumer Soaps


Say goodbye to those “antibacterial” soaps. The Food and Drug Administration says they do little or nothing to make soap work any better and said the industry has failed to prove they’re safe.


Zika outbreaks most likely to hit eight countries in Asia, Africa

Washington Post

The worsening Zika outbreak in Singapore and its potential to spread elsewhere in Asia and beyond is rapidly raising alarms among health experts. Singapore has at least 151 confirmed cases, authorities reported Thursday, with two involving two pregnant women. Neighboring Malaysiaalso confirmed that a 58-year-old woman who recently visited her Zika-infected daughter in Singapore had been diagnosed with the disease.


The World May Soon Run out of Drugs to Treat Gonorrhea


It’s another sign that an era of untreatable bacterial infections is inching closer. Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) released new guidelines for treating gonorrhea that reflect the sobering reality that this sexually transmitted disease is becoming ever more difficult to treat. WHO recommends no longer using quinolones, a class of antibiotics that has become less and less effective. And for the first time, the agency makes suggestions on what to do when none of the standard drugs work.


Study: Ohio’s Abortion Pill Law Led to Worse Health Outcomes

Washington Post

Ohio’s restrictions on the so-called abortion pill led to a higher rate of side effects, more doctor visits and additional medical treatment for patients, according to a new study.


When a Medical Test Leads to Another, and Another

A patient gets a CT scan to diagnose an abdominal pain. By chance the scan also reveals a small lesion in the kidney. Should the patient be told?


Audits Of Some Medicare Advantage Plans Reveal Pervasive Overcharging


More than three dozen just-released audits reveal how some private Medicare plans overcharged the government for the majority of elderly patients they treated, often by overstating the severity of certain medical conditions, such as diabetes and depression.


Understanding the Controversy Over Caster Semenya

NY Times

Caster Semenya of South Africa, heavily favored to win the Olympic women’s 800 meters, ran a quick opening round this week and then breezed past reporters.  Who could blame her?  Perhaps no female athlete has faced such brutal scrutiny by fellow competitors, sports officials and journalists.


EpiPens are my armor against disaster. They shouldn’t be priced like a luxury.

Washington Post

The last time I refilled my EpiPen, in November, I paid $365.63 out of pocket for two auto-injectors. I looked that number up Thursday morning after the news broke that Mylan, the company that makes EpiPens, is bowing to public pressure and will startoffering discounts after years of hiking prices.


Doctors Get Disciplined For Misconduct; Drug Firms Keep Paying Them


Hundreds of pharmaceutical and medical device companies continue to pay doctors as promotional speakers and advisers after they’ve been disciplined for serious misconduct, according to an analysis by ProPublica.


How Japan Is Dealing With Impacts Of Supporting The Oldest Population In The World


Nearly 27 percent of the people in the country are 65 or older. NPR’s Ina Jaffe visited Japan and tells Rachel Martin what she learned about why the population is aging.


As lab-grown meat and milk inch closer to U.S. market, industry wonders who will regulate?


The first hamburger cooked with labmade meat didn’t get rave reviews for taste. But the test tube burger, rolled out to the press in 2013, has helped put a spotlight on the question of how the U.S. government will regulate the emerging field of cellular agriculture, which uses biotechnology instead of animals to make products such as meat, milk, and egg whites.


Justice Department says it will end use of private prisons

Washington Post

The Justice Department plans to end its use of private prisons after officials concluded the facilities are both less safe and less effective at providing correctional services than those run by the government.


Scientists Engineer An Opioid That May Reduce Pain With Less Risk


Once people realized that opioid drugs could cause addiction and deadly overdoses, they tried to use newer forms of opioids to treat the addiction to its parent. Morphine, about 10 times the strength of opium, was used to curb opium cravings in the early 19th century. Codeine, too, was touted as a nonaddictive drug for pain relief, as was heroin.



Florida Keys Opposition Stalls Tests Of Genetically Altered Mosquitoes


The fight against the Zika virus has a new weapon: the genetically engineered mosquito. It’s recently been approved by federal regulators and may soon be available in parts of the U.S. that are confronting the virus, like Puerto Rico and Miami.


Spiking genomic databases with misinformation could protect patient privacy


Large genomic databases are indispensable for scientists looking for genetic variations associated with diseases. But they come with privacy risks for people who contribute their DNA. A 2013 study1 showed that hackers could use publicly available information on the Internet to identify people from their anonymized genomic data.


How Big A Risk Is Acetaminophen During Pregnancy?


One study now caught in that eddy is a report reporting behavioral problems in children born to women who took acetaminophen (popular brand name: Tylenol) during pregnancy. Evie Stergiakouli and George Davey Smith at the University of Bristol published it Monday in JAMA Pediatrics. They studied about 7,800 women and their children over the course of more than seven years.


Health Buzz: Most Children Lack Ideal Heart Health

US News

The cardiovascular health of U.S. children is strikingly dismal, so says a new statement from the American Heart Association. Specifically, less than 1 percent of American children meet the organization’s definition of ideal cardiovascular health, according to statement author Dr. Julia Steinberger, a professor in pediatrics and director of pediatric cardiology at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.


What Congress is saying about the DEA’s refusal to change course on pot

Washington Post

The Drug Enforcement Administration on Thursday rejected a petition to loosen federal restrictions on the use of marijuana. In making the move, however, the DEA did allow for more facilities to grow marijuana for use in medical research.


Finding Good Pain Treatment Is Hard. If You’re Not White, It’s Even Harder.


Roslyn Lewis was at work at a dollar store here, pushing a heavy cart of dog food, when something popped in her back: an explosion of pain. At the emergency room the next day, doctors gave her Motrin and sent her home.


Hypertension is now more common in poor and middle-income countries than rich ones

Washington Post

Middle- and lower-income countries now have a higher rate of hypertension than high-income countries. Worldwide, the prevalence of hypertension is at a record high, according to a new study in the journal Circulation.


Beyond CRISPR: A guide to the many other ways to edit a genome


The CRISPR–Cas9 tool enables scientists to alter genomes practically at will. Hailed as dramatically easier, cheaper and more versatile than previous technologies, it has blazed through labs around the world, finding new applications in medicine and basic research.


NIH Plans To Lift Ban On Research Funds For Part-Human, Part-Animal Embryos


The federal government announced plans Thursday to lift a moratorium on funding of certain controversial experiments that use human stem cells to create animal embryos that are partly human.


Medical Studies Involving Children Often Go Unpublished


Many medical studies involving children never end up being put to use because scientists frequently don’t publish the results of their work, according to an analysis published online Thursday.


Tapping crowd-sourced data unearths a trove of depression genes


Scientists have discovered 15 genome sites — the first ever — linked to depression in people of European ancestry. Many of these regions of depression-linked genetic variation turn out to be involved in regulating gene expression and the birth of new neurons in the developing brain.


Young blood antiaging trial raises questions


It was one of the most mind-bending scientific reports in 2014: Injecting old mice with the plasma portion of blood from young mice seemed to improve the elderly rodents’ memory and ability to learn. Inspired by such findings, a startup company has now launched the first clinical trial in the United States to test the antiaging benefits of young blood in relatively healthy people. But there’s a big caveat: It’s a pay-to-participate trial, a type that has raised ethical concerns before, most recently in the stem cell field.


New Clues to Depression Spotted in the Genome


Investigators identify the bad lines of genetic code that may lead to the disease


Transgender identity is considered a mental illness by WHO. But that may soon change.

Chicago Tribune

According to the World Health Organization, being transgender is a mental illness. But that could soon change, as WHO prepares a new edition of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), its global codebook that influences national disease diagnostic manuals worldwide. The current version, ICD-10, has been around since 1990 and ICD-11 is expected to be approved in 2018.