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First treatment approved for breast cancer with BRCA genetic mutation

Washington Post

The Food and Drug Administration on Friday cleared the first treatment for patients with advanced breast cancer caused by BRCA mutations, which are genetic defects that raise the risk of malignancies.


In Pakistan, surveillance for polio reveals a paradox



Chasing Seasonal Influenza — The Need for a Universal Influenza Vaccine

The New England Journal of Medicine

As clinicians in the United States prepare for the start of another influenza season, experts have been watching the Southern Hemisphere winter for hints of what might be in store for us in the North. Reports from Australia have caused mounting concern, with record-high numbers of laboratory-confirmed influenza notifications and outbreaks and higher-than-average numbers of hospitalizations and deaths.


A top hospital knew this surgeon was accused of raping patients but kept him on staff, report says

Washington Post

A Cleveland Clinic surgeon accused of sexually assaulting two patients was kept on staff at the prominent Ohio hospital during confidential settlement negotiations


With nuclear codes in hands, why doesn’t the president get a thorough mental check?


With a tell-all book raising concerns about US President Trump’s mental stability, there is a renewed question asking why the most powerful man in the world is not required to pass a thorough mental health exam.


Does gender matter?


The suggestion that women are not advancing in science because of innate inability is being taken seriously by some high-profile academics.


Alzheimer’s protein may spread like an infection, human brain scans suggest


For the first time, scientists have produced evidence in living humans that the protein tau, which mars the brain in Alzheimer’s disease, spreads from neuron to neuron. Although such movement wasn’t directly observed, the finding may illuminate how neurodegeneration occurs in the devastating illness, and it could provide new ideas for stemming the brain damage that robs so many of memory and cognition.


Washington state offers third gender option on birth certificates


Washington state residents who don’t identify as male or female will soon be able to choose X as their gender on birth certificates.


Gene editing staves off deafness in mice


Technique to knock out mutant gene relies on fatty molecules to deliver CRISPR components to inner-ear cells.


Safety concerns derail dengue vaccination program


Efforts to control dengue suffered a major setback in late November when Sanofi Pasteur announced that its vaccine, the only one on the market, should only be given to those who have already had one infection with the mosquito-borne disease that affects millions of people in the tropics each year.


A boy’s basketball-size tumor is slowly suffocating him. Doctors will attempt a risky removal.

Washington Post

The tumor is benign but, if left untreated, it will kill Emanuel. As it grows, it is slowly suffocating the teen.


Retirement home shut down months after attack on 86-year-old



Will Gathering Vast Troves of Information Really Lead To Better Health?


The Mayo Clinic is building its future around high-tech approaches to research known as “precision medicine.” This involves gathering huge amounts of information from genetic tests, medical records and other data sources to ferret out unexpected ideas to advance health. But one longtime scientist at the Mayo Clinic isn’t playing along. Dr. Michael Joyner is a skeptical voice in a sea of eager advocates.


Doctor faces charges over opioid prescriptions and 5 patient deaths


A Pennsylvania doctor charged with causing the deaths of five patients by unlawfully prescribing opioids surrendered his license to prescribe controlled substances at a federal court hearing.


The Case of Dr. Oz: Ethics, Evidence, and Does Professional Self-Regulation Work?

Journal Of Medical Ethics

Dr. Mehmet Oz is widely known not just as a successful media personality donning the title “America’s Doctor,” but, we suggest, also as a physician visibly out of step with his profession. A recent, unsuccessful attempt to censure Dr. Oz raises the issue of whether the medical profession can effectively self-regulate at all. It also raises concern that the medical profession’s self-regulation might be selectively activated, perhaps only when the subject of professional censure has achieved a level of public visibility.


Major initiative seeks to combat U.S. soldiers’ weight problems and injuries

Washington Post

These base makeovers are setting the scene for the launch of Holistic Health and Fitness (H2F), a larger initiative — a decade in the making and still pending final approval — that strives to radically change how the Army prepares service members. The proposal includes the introduction of a new field manual for training, plus the creation of Soldier Performance Readiness Centers (SPRC, pronounced “spark”), which will be state-of-the-art fitness facilities staffed by experts who can educate and offer real-time feedback on proper form, psychological well-being, nutrition and more.


NIH Lifts Ban On Research That Could Make Deadly Viruses Even Worse


Scientists could soon resume controversial experiments on germs with the potential to cause pandemics, as government officials have decided to finally lift an unusual three-year moratorium on federal funding for the work. The research involves three viruses — influenza, SARS, and MERS — that could kill millions if they mutated in a way that let the germs spread quickly among people.


The uncharted emotional territory of gifting DNA tests to family

NBC News

The family that spits together might not want to receive their health results together. In the new era of DNA testing, there can be tricky family dynamics.


Ohio bill would prohibit abortions in Down syndrome cases


The bill prohibits abortions after tests reveal Down syndrome in a fetus or if there’s “any other reason to believe” the fetus has the genetic condition. A person performing an abortion in such a case could face a fourth-degree felony charge, and physicians could lose their licenses. The woman seeking the abortion would not be held accountable, according to the bill.


AI algorithms to prevent suicide gain traction

A growing number of researchers and tech companies are beginning to mine social media for warning signs of suicidal thoughts. Their efforts build on emerging evidence that the language patterns of a person’s social-media posts, as well as the subconscious ways they interact with their smartphone can hint at psychiatric trouble.


He was a renowned surgeon — until a doctor found his initials burned on a patient’s liver

Washington Post

Simon Bramhall, 53, pleaded guilty Wednesday to two counts of assault by beating after he burned his initials into two of his patients’ organs in 2013.


Opioid Abuse May Be Curbed by New Vaccine

Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News

In preclinical studies, a vaccine has been shown to induce antibodies that bind to heroin and keep it from crossing the blood–brain barrier. The vaccine, a haptenic heroin surrogate, was conjugated to tetanus toxoid and mixed with liposomes containing monophosphoryl lipid A as an adjuvant. It reduced heroin-induced antinociception and locomotive behavioral changes following repeated subcutaneous and intravenous heroin challenges in mice and rats.


Researchers win some, lose some in final U.S. tax bill


The U.S. research community experienced both the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat in lobbying congressional Republicans as they wrapped up a major overhaul of the nation’s tax code.


A Chinese province is collecting DNA and iris scans from all its residents

Business Insider

Authorities in the Chinese province of Xinjiang have begun collecting DNA and biometrics from all its residents, Human Rights Watch reported Wednesday.


After mistakenly declaring newborn dead, New Delhi hospital loses license


The Delhi government has canceled the license of a private hospital where a newborn baby was mistakenly declared dead.


Gene therapy makes a big advance treating hemophilia B blood disorder

Washington Post

Konduros, 53, who runs a bakery and cafe in southeastern Ontario, is one of 10 men in an early-stage trial sponsored by Spark Therapeutics. (The disorder is much more common in men than women.) On Wednesday, researchers reported that a single intravenous infusion of Spark’s novel gene therapy enabled patients to safely produce sufficient clotting factor to prevent dangerous bleeding episodes.


Gut molecule that blocks ‘hunger hormone’ may spur new treatments for diabetes, anorexia


Scientists once had high hopes that inhibiting a hormone named ghrelin would be the key to preventing obesity. Ghrelin didn’t turn out to be a weight loss panacea. But now, the discovery of the first molecule naturally made by the body that blocks ghrelin’s effects may open up new avenues for treating other conditions, including diabetes and anorexia. The finding may also explain some of the benefits of bariatric surgery, which shrinks or reroutes the stomach to control weight.


Regulations Amending the Food and Drug Regulations (Public Release of Clinical Information)

Government of Canada

Without access to detailed clinical data, health professionals and researchers are unable to perform independent analyses of the evidence underlying published research findings and Health Canada’s regulatory reviews. This approach limits transparency and misses opportunities to promote greater confidence in the oversight of drugs and medical devices. It is also out of step with Health Canada’s key regulatory partners, including the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which have increased clinical data transparency over the past 10 years.


Medical Nightmare: Woman Contracted Pancreatic Cancer From Transplanted Organ, Lawsuit Claims


People rely on organ donations to save their lives, but a California woman claims that her implanted pancreas gave her cancer, reported Courthouse News. The legal news service found court documents of the complaint, which was filed in the Sacramento Superior Court. Jeffrey Sevey, attorney for the plaintiff, confirmed to Newsweek that put in the paperwork.


China to roll back regulations for traditional medicine despite safety concerns


Scientists fear plans to abandon clinical trials of centuries-old remedies will put people at risk.