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In Embryo Research We Need Laws First, Then Science

The U.K. Human Fertilization & Embryology Authority (HFEA) decision to approve a study in which researchers will use CRISPR gene-editing technology to alter the genes of human embryos has created such a stir because it is the first such project approved for use in potentially viable human embryos.


Genetic Testing For BRCA Breast Cancer Gene On The Rise In Young Women; Does It Even Influence Treatment Decisions?

Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women younger than 40 in the U.S. Women who are diagnosed at a young age (under 50) are encouraged to undergo genetic testing to determine if they are carriers of BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic mutations, since assessing this can have implications for subsequent treatment decisions.


Mom’s Exposure to Car Smog May Up Child’s Asthma Risk

Babies born to mothers exposed to air pollution from traffic sources had an increased risk for developing asthma during their first 5 years of life, according to a study of Canadian children followed from birth.


Assisted Suicide Study Questions Its Use for Mentally Ill

A new study of doctor-assisted death for people with mental disorders raises questions about the practice, finding that in more than half of approved cases people declined treatment that could have helped, and that many cited loneliness as an important reason for wanting to die.


Catholic group urges pope to allow contraception to fight Zika

A Roman Catholic group appealed to Pope Francis on Wednesday to allow Church members to “follow their conscience” and use contraception or to let women have abortions to protect themselves against the Zika virus.


Oh, baby! Woman’s Fitbit reveals she is pregnant

A couple in New York City have good news to share thanks to some wonky Fitbit data and a helpful Redditor: They’re expecting.


Palo Alto Student Was Asked to Leave School Because of His DNA

To find a society where a student is forced to leave school because of his genes, you might think you’d need to watch “Gattaca” or pick up a dystopian novel.


U.S. and Europe in ‘Safe Harbor’ Data Deal, but Legal Fight May Await

European officials on Tuesday agreed to a deal with the United States that would let Google, Amazon and thousands of other businesses continue moving people’s digital data, including social media posts and financial information, back and forth across the Atlantic.


Safe Harbor ripped and replaced with Privacy Shield in last-minute US-Europe deal

“For the first time ever, the United States has given the EU binding assurances that the access of public authorities for national security purposes will be subject to clear limitations, safeguards and oversight mechanisms,” said Europe’s justice commissioner Věra Jourová.


Ethicists approve “3 parent” embryos to stop diseases, but congressional ban remains

An elite panel of scientists and bioethicists offered guarded approval Wednesday of a novel form of genetic engineering that could prevent congenital diseases but would result in babies with genetic material from three parents.


Less than half of U.S. kids under age two fully vaccinated against flu

Less than half of children under age 2 years are fully vaccinated against influenza despite a dramatic surge in immunization rates over the past decade, a U.S. study finds.


Tribes’ Win in Fight for La Jolla Bones Clouds Hopes for DNA Studies

The San Diego Archaeology Center holds a pair of extraordinary skeletons. Dating back about 9,500 years, they are among the oldest human remains ever found in the Americas.


Landmark schizophrenia study expands on gene link, timing

Scientists say they have broken new ground in the study of schizophrenia, uncovering a potentially powerful genetic contributor to the mental disorder and helping to explain why its symptoms of confused and delusional thinking most often reach a crisis state as a person nears the cusp of adulthood.


Can monkeys help unravel the mysteries of autism?

Chinese scientists report they’ve created monkeys that carry a gene linked to autism-like behaviors.


Big Pharma’s bet on Big Data creates opportunities and risks

The Swiss drugmaker has teamed up with U.S. technology firm Qualcomm to develop an internet-connected inhaler that can send information about how often it is used to remote computer servers known as the cloud.


Our Official Dietary Guidelines Are Useless

Every five years, numerous dietary experts are tasked with putting together a summary of the most up-to-date nutritional science. Their end product is intended to be a series of dietary recommendations that will help public-health agencies, health-care providers, and educational institutions create federal nutrition policy, health programs and disease-prevention initiatives.


Pets on Prozac: Dogs Take Medication to Help with Separation Anxiety

A video she recorded after she left the dog alone for five hours showed Hachi in a full-blown panic attack, opening the refrigerator door and pulling items out.


Animals Have More Empathy Than Previously Thought

Humans are not the only species that console their dear ones. In this recent study, researchers found that prairie voles console their loved ones who are under stress. It turns out that oxytocin, the famous “love hormone,” is the factor behind this mechanism.


Darpa ‘already implanting chips in brains of wounded US soldiers returning from Middle East’

A new book written about the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) says that wounded soldiers returning from campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq are having computer chips implanted in their brains to help them heal.


Breast cancer screening recommendations clarify science but muddy political waters

The experts who sparked a passionate debate over the value of mammograms as a tool to screen for breast cancer are doubling down on the recommendations that earned them the ire of cancer groups, women’s groups and a large contingent in Congress.


Privacy and Information Sharing

Most Americans see privacy issues in commercial settings as contingent and context-dependent. A new Pew Research Center study based on a survey of 461 U.S. adults and nine online focus groups of 80 people finds that there are a variety of circumstances under which many Americans would share personal information or permit surveillance in return for getting something of perceived value.


French Drug Trial Disaster Leaves One Brain Dead, Five Injured

One person has been left brain dead and five others are in serious condition after taking part in the clinical trial of an experimental painkiller made by Portuguese drug company Bial, the French Health Ministry said on Friday.


Heart doctors outraged Florida dumps hospital standards after big gifts to GOP

The state of Florida is putting thousands of children with heart defects at risk, a group of cardiac doctors say, because of a change in policy that came after Tenet Healthcare contributed $200,000 to Florida Republicans.


First children diagnosed in DNA project

The first children with debilitating “mystery” diseases have finally been given a diagnosis as part of a huge scheme to analyse people’s DNA.


Unintended second pregnancies could be avoided

Most unintended pregnancies within two years of a woman giving birth could have been prevented or postponed if women had access to the long-acting contraception of their choice, according to a study in Texas.


Bay Area biologist’s gene-editing kit lets do-it-yourselfers play God at the kitchen table

On the kitchen table of his cramped apartment, Josiah Zayner is performing the feat that is transforming biology.


Illumina Launches Firm to Develop NGS Blood-Based Screening Test for Early Cancer Detection

Illumina Launches Firm to Develop NGS Blood-Based Screening Test for Early Cancer Detection


Does cancer screening save lives? Unclear, researchers say

Bigger studies are needed to tell whether cancer screening really saves lives, according to a new analysis.


ORI Names New Director

More than a year and a half after its last director resigned, the Department of Health and Human Service’s (HHS) Office of Research Integrity (ORI) is getting a new leader, according to The Report on Research Compliance, which broke the news last week (December 3).


Your health records are supposed to be private. They aren’t.

The federal law that protects health information is violated often and easily, and it’s hardly ever enforced.