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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.

07/12/2018

What are “predatory” academic journals?

The Economist

In recent years, however, this practice of appraising researchers by counting their publications has become problematic. This is because an astonishing number of journals that bill themselves as “peer-reviewed” do not, in fact, take the trouble to be so. A tally of journals that an American analytics firm, Cabells, believes to falsely claim to peer-review submissions, amounted, on a recent day, to 8,699—more than double the number of a year ago. A blacklist compiled by other experts is even longer.

07/10/2018

Iceland’s ethical debate: Should DNA donors be told if they are predisposed to a deadly disease?

CBC Radio

If you knew someone was genetically predisposed to cancer, would you tell them? Dr. Kari Stefansson would. The Icelandic neurologist is the CEO of deCODE Genetics, a company that has collected the DNA of nearly half the country’s population. Using the company’s data, he said that he can pinpoint 1,600 people at risk of deadly cancers in Iceland. The government, however, won’t let him.

07/09/2018

Why science breeds a culture of sexism

The Guardian

Late-night research, isolation and a strict, male-dominated hierarchy are the perfect conditions for sexual harassment. With colleges struggling to enforce conduct codes, what can be done?

07/09/2018

Unsealed lawsuit: Opioid firm placed profits over people

ABC News

A newly unsealed lawsuit by Tennessee’s attorney general says the maker of the world’s top-selling painkiller directed its salesforce to target the highest prescribers, many with limited or no pain management background or training.

07/06/2018

Online gene test finds a dangerous mutation. It may well be wrong.

SF Gate

There are no systematic studies of how often the direct-to-consumer results and third-party analyses are wrong. In one small study, Ambry Genetics — a lab certified to do medical testing — looked at 49 samples sent in by physicians whose patients had been told that they had disease-causing mutations by third-party interpreters. Ambry found that 40 percent were wrong. In addition, some genetic variations classified by second companies as threatening actually were benign.

07/05/2018

Massive data leak could affect nearly all American adults, security researcher says

Mercury News

Exactis, a Florida-based marketing and data-aggregation firm, leaked detailed information on individual adults and businesses, a security researcher says. While the exact number of individuals affected isn’t known, the leak involved about 340 million records on a publicly available server.

07/05/2018

Ageing Japan: Robots’ role in future of elder care

Reuters

Robots have the run of Tokyo’s Shin-tomi nursing home, which uses 20 different models to care for its residents. The Japanese government hopes it will be a model for harnessing the country’s robotics expertise to help cope with a swelling elderly population and dwindling workforce.

07/04/2018

From apps to avatars, new tools for taking control of your mental health

The Washington Post

Digital therapeutics are here — and they’re changing the landscape for people battling mental illness.

07/03/2018

Facebook and Google use ‘dark patterns’ around privacy settings, report says

BBC News

Facebook, Google and Microsoft push users away from privacy-friendly options on their services in an “unethical” way, according to a report by the Norwegian Consumer Council.

07/03/2018

Many Common Sunscreens May Harm Coral. Here’s What To Use Instead

NPR

Hawaii’s governor David Ige is expected to sign the world’s first ban on the sale of sunscreens containing the chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate this week. The state is banning the products because of concerns they may be harming one of the state’s biggest attractions — coral reefs. While it doesn’t kick in until 2021, the move is already prompting a public health pushback.

07/03/2018

California Just Passed the Strictest Online Privacy Bill in the Country

Slate

If signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, the bill, the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018, will require technology companies that collect user information to disclose the type of data they collect, details on the advertisers or other third parties with which they share data, and allow customers to opt out of having the data collected about them sold. The new bill also gives customers the option to request companies delete personal information collected on them—like data on how many kids a person has, their buying habits, location information, or other non-publicly available data. Companies that do peddle user data have to offer the new privacy options for free and won’t be allowed to degrade service if a customer opts to no longer have their data sold.

07/02/2018

Jahi McMath’s sad saga comes to an end

Mercury News

Jahi McMath, the Oakland teen whose brain-death case captivated the world while machines kept her breathing, was finally removed from those machines on June 22 in New Jersey after suffering from internal bleeding and kidney issues

07/02/2018

Federal Judge Blocks Medicaid Work Requirements In Kentucky

NPR

A federal judge has blocked work requirements for Medicaid patients in Kentucky, just days before new rules mandated by Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration were set to go into effect.

07/02/2018

Rising Cost Of PrEP To Prevent HIV Infection Pushes It Out Of Reach For Many

NPR

Public health officials are expanding efforts to get the HIV prevention pill into the hands of those at risk, in a nationwide effort to curb infections. But the officials are hitting roadblocks — the drug’s price tag, which has surged in recent years, and changes in insurance coverage that put a heftier financial burden on patients.

06/27/2018

Stay-At-Home Dads Still Struggle With Diapers, Drool, Stigma And Isolation

NPR

The number of men in the United States who are full-time, stay-at-home parents has risen steadily in recent decades, from maybe a million or so in 1984, according to a Pew Research Center estimate, to roughly double that in 2014.

06/26/2018

Why FIFA Needs New Thinking About Concussions At World Cup

Forbes

Morocco winger Nordin Amrabat doesn’t remember much of anything about his team’s defeat against Iran in the 2018 FIFA World Cup. It is not that he would rather forget being on the losing side of the match. It’s that he sustained a concussion during it, which led to some memory loss. Team medical staff later ruled Amrabat out for training and the next match. But, five days later, he was in uniform and playing in a match against Portugal.

06/26/2018

Hundreds of new genes may underlie intelligence—but also autism and depression

Science

Being smart is a double-edged sword. Intelligent people appear to live longer, but many of the genes behind brilliance can also lead to autism, anxiety, and depression, according to two new massive genetic studies. The work also is one of the first to identify the specific cell types and genetic pathways tied to intelligence and mental health, potentially paving the way for new ways to improve education, or therapies to treat neurotic behavior.

06/25/2018

Google’s A.I. Can Predict Death Of Patients With 95% Accuracy

FossBytes

Google’s work in artificial intelligence is moving at a remarkable pace in the health sector. In a recent breakthrough, Google decided to compete with hospital’s old machines to predict a patient’s death and came up with astonishing results, subtly hinting us about the future of A.I.

06/25/2018

Cops accused of urging EMS workers to subdue people with date rape drug

New York Post

Cops in Minneapolis repeatedly asked emergency responders in Hennepin County to sedate people using ketamine — a powerful anesthetic known as a  so-called date rape drug — even in instances when suspects were already restrained, a city report shows.

06/22/2018

U.S. Announces Its Withdrawal From U.N. Human Rights Council

NPR

After more than a year of complaints and warnings — some subtle and others a little less so — the Trump administration has announced that the United States is withdrawing from the United Nations Human Rights Council. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley announced the decision in a joint statement Tuesday.

06/21/2018

Police Use of Facial Recognition With License Databases Spur Privacy Concerns

The Wall Street Journal

Thirty-one states now allow police to access driver’s license photos in facial-recognition searches in addition to mug shots, according to the Center on Privacy and Technology at the Georgetown University Law Center. Roughly one in every two American adults—117 million people—are in the facial-recognition networks used by law enforcement, according to a 2016 report by the center.

06/21/2018

A Pediatrician Reports Back From A Visit To A Children’s Shelter Near The Border

NPR

Nearly 2,000 immigrant children were separated from their parents after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border unlawfully this spring, according to the Department of Homeland Security. Many pediatricians have expressed concerns about the effects this traumatic event could have on those children. Dr. Colleen Kraft, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, visited a shelter in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley where some of these children are held. She spoke with All Things Considered’s Audie Cornish about that visit on Monday. She said she’s concerned that the stress the children are going through will have long-term health effects.

06/20/2018

How IVF became a license to print money

The Guardian

Private fertility clinics routinely try to sell desperate patients add-ons that almost certainly don’t help – why isn’t more done to monitor the industry?

06/19/2018

Half of women in science experience harassment, a sweeping new report finds

Washington Post

Science has a sexual harassment problem. From the most polished ivory tower to the local community college, harassment pervades lecture halls and laboratories, observatories and offices, teaching hospitals and Antarctic field sites. And it takes an economic and emotional toll on female researchers and stifles their scientific contributions, according to a sweeping new study released Tuesday.

06/19/2018

Soccer Fans, Don’t Root for a Team Based on Genetics

LeapsMag

23andMe is taking a lot of heat as one of the DNA aggregators whose databases may not be secure from prying third-party eyes. That is a huge issue, but the company is engaging in even more troubling behavior—using genetics to sponsor racism.