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05/16/2016

Obamacare Rule Bans Discrimination Against Transgender Patients

Time

The Obama administration has finalized a new rule that bans discrimination against transgender people and all discrimination on the basis of sex within health programs that receive federal funding.

05/13/2016

WHEN DO YOU GIVE UP ON TREATING A CHILD WITH CANCER?

New York Times

Andrew Levy’s parents knew that the rare and deadly cancer in his blood could not be
beaten, so they began to prepare for the worst. Then something mysterious happened.

05/12/2016

For cholesterol study volunteer, an unsettling discovery in a Science paper: herself

Science

When I first meet Rita Woidislawsky at La Colombe, her favorite coffee shop steps from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s upscale Rittenhouse Square, she’s effusive and bracingly direct—hugging patrons she knows, waving to baristas, and quickly finding the one table that’s about to free up. She’s dressed in workout clothes and delights in looking younger than her 68 years, with curly hair and an Israeli accent that’s lingered since she emigrated in her late teens.

05/11/2016

Malaria Vaccine Shows Strongest Protection Yet

Time

There’s currently no vaccine for malaria, despite the fact that the disease infects 214 million people per year and kills about half a million. But scientists have been working on a vaccine for some time. Now, a new study reveals that an experimental malaria vaccine can protect adults from malaria for up to a year.

05/10/2016

Researcher under fire for New Yorker epigenetics article

Nature

A story about epigenetics in the 2 May issue of The New Yorker has been sharply criticized for inaccurately describing how genes are regulated. The article by Siddhartha Mukherjee — a physician, cancer researcher and award-winning author at Columbia University in New York — examines how environmental factors can change the activity of genes without altering the DNA sequence. Jerry Coyne, an evolutionary ecologist at the University of Chicago in Illinois, posted two widely discussed blog posts calling the piece “superficial and misleading”, largely because it ignored key aspects of gene regulation.

05/09/2016

Why this lab-grown human embryo has reignited an old ethical debate

Science

It’s easy to obey a rule when you don’t have the means to break it. For decades, many countries have permitted human embryos to be studied in the laboratory only up to 14 days after their creation by in vitro fertilization. But—as far as anyone knows—no researcher has ever come close to the limit. The point of implantation, when the embryo attaches to the uterus about 7 days after fertilization, has been an almost insurmountable barrier for researchers culturing human embryos.

05/06/2016

Can A Hospital Tell A Doctor To Stop Talking About Abortion?

NPR

One of the country’s most outspoken abortion providers has filed a civil rights complaint against the hospital where she works, saying that it has wrongly banned her from giving media interviews.

05/05/2016

Bacteria-Infected Mosquitoes Could Slow Spread of Zika Virus

New York Times

If there is ever a contest for Least Appreciated Creature on Earth, first prize should go to a microbe called Wolbachia. The bacterium infects millions of invertebrate species, including spiders, shrimps and parasitic worms, as well as 60 percent of all insect species. Once in residence, Wolbachia co-opts its hosts’ reproductive machinery and often greedily shields them from a variety of competing infections.

05/04/2016

Medical errors may be third leading cause of death in the U.S.

CNN

You’ve heard those hospital horror stories where the surgeon removes the wrong body part or operates on the wrong patient or accidentally leaves medical equipment in the person they were operating on. Even scarier, perhaps, is a new study in the latest edition of BMJ suggesting most medical errors go unobserved, at least in the official record.

05/03/2016

For Hospitals, Prestige Leads To Profits

Kaiser Health News

When it comes to hospitals, which benefit most from high health care prices? It may sound counter-intuitive, but a group of not-for-profit hospitals appear to be among those doing the best business.

05/02/2016

Feds Act To Help More Ex-Inmates Get Medicaid

NPR

Administration officials moved Thursday to improve low Medicaid enrollment for emerging prisoners, urging states to start signups before release and expanding eligibility to thousands of former inmates in halfway houses near the end of their sentences.

04/29/2016

Massachusetts Senate approves under-21 ban on tobacco sales

Washington Post

The Massachusetts Senate voted overwhelmingly Thursday to raise the minimum age for purchasing cigarettes and other tobacco products across the state, which could make it the second to raise its threshold to 21 years old.

04/28/2016

Taking Sperm From the Dead

The Atlantic

Post-mortem sperm extraction gives widows the chance to have children with the recently departed.

04/27/2016

Letters Telling Women About Breast Density Are Often Too Darn Dense

NPR

Over the past decade, states have passed laws intended to help women understand the results of their breast cancer screening mammograms if they have dense breasts. But those notifications can be downright confusing and may, in fact, cause more misunderstanding than understanding.

04/26/2016

Advisers to F.D.A. Vote Against Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Drug

New York Times

In a confrontation between the hopes of desperate patients and clinical trial data, advisers to the Food and Drug Administration voted on Monday not to recommend approval of what would become the first drug for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

04/25/2016

Teens most drawn to e-cigarettes by online ads

Reuters

While many forms of e-cigarette advertising increase the odds that teens will try the devices, a new U.S. study suggests that this generation of digital natives is most enticed by promotions they see online.

04/22/2016

New York Hospital to Pay $2.2 Million Over Unauthorized Filming of 2 Patients

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital has agreed to pay a $2.2 million penalty to federal regulators for allowing television crews to film two patients without their consent — one who was dying, the other in significant distress. Regulators said on Thursday that the hospital allowed filming to continue even after a medical professional asked that it stop.

04/21/2016

White Americans Are Dying Younger as Drug and Alcohol Abuse Rises

Life expectancy declined slightly for white Americans in 2014, according to new federal data, a troubling sign that distress among younger and middle-age whites who are dying at ever-higher rates from drug overdoses is lowering average life spans for the white population as a whole.

04/20/2016

Loneliness can harm your heart, study finds

Loneliness and social isolation can take a toll on health in a number of ways, and new research shows it may seriously damage the heart. While loneliness has previously been linked to high blood pressure, a compromised immune system, and even an early death, its relationship to heart problems like cardiovascular disease and stroke wasn’t as clear.

04/19/2016

Study Backs Pancreas Cell Transplants for Severe Diabetes

Transplants of insulin-producing pancreas cells are a long hoped-for treatment for diabetes — and a new study shows they can protect the most seriously ill patients from a life-threatening complication of the disease, an important step toward U.S. approval.

04/18/2016

Doctors Unsure About How To Talk With Patients About End-Of-Life Care

Doctors know it’s important to talk with their patients about end-of-life care. But they’re finding it tough to start those conversations. When they do, they’re not sure what to say, according to a national poll released Thursday.

04/15/2016

Justin Trudeau Seeks to Legalize Assisted Suicide in Canada

The government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau introduced legislation on Thursday to legalize physician-assisted suicide for Canadians with a “serious and incurable illness,” which has brought them “enduring physical or psychological suffering.”

04/14/2016

Theranos Under Fire as U.S. Threatens Crippling Sanctions

Federal regulators have threatened a series of stiff sanctions against Theranos, the embattled blood-testing company, including closing down its flagship laboratory and potentially barring its chief executive from owning or operating its labs for two years.

04/13/2016

IBM and American Cancer Society Want to Create the Ultimate Cancer Advisor

IBM and the American Cancer Society are launching a new partnership that will combine the power of Big Blue’s cognitive computing platform, Watson, with the wealth of cancer research and patient support services provided by the non-profit organization.

04/12/2016

How Do ‘Genetic Superheroes’ Overcome Their Bad DNA?

Scientists say they’ve figured out how to track down people they call “genetic superheroes.” These are people who remain healthy even though they were born with genetic mutations that would usually lead to devastating disorders. If enough of these people can be identified and studied, the researchers hope they could yield important new insights into the causes of many genetic disorders and possibly lead to new ways to prevent or treat them.

04/11/2016

Brazilian scientists find new Zika-linked brain disorder in adults

Scientists in Brazil have uncovered a new brain disorder associated with Zika infections in adults: an autoimmune syndrome called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, or ADEM, that attacks the brain and spinal cord.

04/08/2016

Should food labels include exercise ‘equivalents’?

Imagine you’re choosing between two different boxes of cookies at the grocery store. One has a label informing you that you could burn off the calories in a serving by jogging for 10 minutes, while the label on the other box says you would have to jog for 20 minutes. Would that help you decide which cookie to buy?

04/07/2016

The DEA will decide whether to change course on marijuana by July

In a lengthy memo to lawmakers, the Drug Enforcement Administration said it hopes to decide whether to change the federal status of marijuana “in the first half of 2016.”

04/06/2016

Diabetes cases reach 422 million as poorer countries see steep rises

The number of adults with diabetes has quadrupled worldwide in under four decades to 422 million, and the condition is fast becoming a major problem in poorer countries, a World Health Organization study showed on Wednesday.

04/05/2016

The disturbing reason some African American patients may be undertreated for pain

African Americans are routinely under-treated for their pain compared with whites, according to research. A study released Monday sheds some disturbing light on why that might be the case.