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The Merger of Humans and Machines Has Already Begun – Newsweek

This article originally appeared on The Conversation.

Republished with permission fromMillenials Strike Back, the 56th edition of Griffith Review. Selected pieces consist of extracts, or long reads in which Generation Y writers address the issues that define and concern them.

The oldest surviving great work of literature tells the story of a Sumerian king,Gilgamesh, whose historical equivalent may have ruled the city of Uruk some time between 2800 and 2500 BC.

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A hero of superhuman strength, Gilgamesh becomes instilled with existential dread after witnessing the death of his friend, and travels the Earth in search of a cure for mortality.

Twice the cure slips through his fingers and he learns the futility of fighting the common fate of man.

Merging With Machines

Transhumanism is the idea that we can transcend our biological limits, by merging with machines. The idea was popularised by the renowned technoprophetRay Kurzweil(now a director of engineering at Google), who came to public attention in the 1990s with a string of astute predictions about technology.

Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity in “The Matrix,” which made her a household name. Getty Images

In his 1990 book,The Age of Intelligent Machines(MIT Press), Kurzweil predicted that a computer would beat the worlds best chess player by the year 2000. Ithappened in 1997.

He also foresaw the explosive growth of the internet, along with the advent of wearable technology, drone warfare and the automated translation of language. Kurzweilsmost famous prediction is what he callsthe singularitythe emergence of an artificial super-intelligence, triggering runaway technological growthwhich he foresees happening somewhere around 2045.

In some sense, the merger of humans and machines has already begun. Bionic implants, such as thecochlear implant, use electrical impulses orchestrated by computer chips to communicate with the brain, and so restore lost senses.

AtSt Vincents Hospitaland theUniversity of Melbourne, my colleagues are developing other ways to tap into neuronal activity, thereby giving people natural control of a robotic hand.

These cases involve sending simple signals between a piece of hardware and the brain. To truly merge minds and machines, however, we need some way to send thoughts and memories.

In 2011, scientists at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles took the first step towards this when theyimplanted rats with a computer chipthat worked as a kind of external hard drive for the brain.

First the rats learned a particular skill, pulling a sequence of levers to gain a reward. The silicon implant listened in as that new memory was encoded in the brains hippocampus region, and recorded the pattern of electrical signals it detected.

Next the rats were induced to forget the skill, by giving them a drug that impaired the hippocampus. The silicon implant then took over, firing a bunch of electrical signals to mimic the pattern it had recorded during training.

Amazingly, the rats remembered the skill the electrical signals from the chip were essentially replaying the memory, in a crude version of that scene in The Matrix where Keanu Reeves learns (downloads) kung-fu.

Again, the potential roadblock: the brain may be more different from a computer than people such as Kurzweil appreciate. AsNicolas Rougier, a computer scientist at Inria (the French Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation),argues, the brain itself needs the complex sensory input of the body in order to function properly.

Separate the brain from that input and things start to go awry pretty quickly. Hence sensory deprivation is used as a form of torture. Even if artificial intelligence is achieved, that does not mean our brains will be able to integrate with it.

Whatever happens at the singularity (if it ever occurs), Kurzweil, now aged 68, wants to be around to see it. HisFantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever(Rodale Books, 2004) is a guidebook for extending life in the hope of seeing the longevity revolution. In it he details his dietary practices, and outlines some of the 200 supplements he takes daily.

Failing that, he has a plan B.

Freezing Death

The central idea of cryonics is to preserve the body after death in the hope that, one day, future civilisations will have the ability (and the desire) to reanimate the dead.

Both Kurzweil and de Grey, along with about 1,500 others (including, apparently, Britney Spears), aresigned up to be cryopreservedbyAlcor Life Extension Foundationin Arizona.

Offhand, the idea seems crackpot. Even in daily experience, you know that freezing changes stuff: you can tell a strawberry thats been frozen. Taste, and especially texture, change unmistakably. The problem is that when the strawberry cells freeze, they fill with ice crystals. The ice rips them apart, essentially turning them to mush.

Thats why Alcor dont freeze you; they turn you to glass.

After you die, your body is drained of blood and replaced with a special cryogenic mixture of antifreeze and preservatives. When cooled, the liquid turns to a glassy state, but without forming dangerous crystals.

You are placed in a giant thermos flask of liquid nitrogen and cooled to -196, cold enough to effectively stop biological time. There you can stay without changing, for a year or a century, until science discovers the cure for whatever caused your demise.

People dont understand cryonics, says Alcor president Max More in a YouTube tour of his facility. They think its this strange thing we do to dead people, rather than understanding it really is an extension of emergency medicine.

The idea may not be as crackpot as it sounds. Similar cryopreservation techniques are already being used to preserve human embryos used in fertility treatments.

There are people walking around today who have been cryopreserved, More continues. They were just embryos at the time.

One proof of concept, of sorts,was reportedby cryogenics expert Greg Fahy of21st Century Medicine(a privately funded cryonics research lab) in 2009.

Fahys team removed a rabbit kidney, vitrified it, and reimplanted into the rabbit as its only working kidney. Amazingly, the rabbit survived, if only for nine days.

More recently, a new technique developed by Fahy enabled the perfect preservation of a rabbit brain though vitrification and storage at -196. After rewarming, advanced 3D imaging revealed that the rabbits connectomethat is, the connections between neuronswas undisturbed.

Unfortunately, the chemicals used for the new technique are toxic, but the work does raise the hope of some future method that may achieve the same degree of preservation with more friendly substances.

That said, preserving structure does not necessarily preserve function. Our thoughts and memories are not just coded in the physical connections between neurons, but also in the strength of those connectionscoded somehow in the folding of proteins.

Thats why the most remarkable cryonics work to date may be that performed at Alcor in 2015, when scientists managed to glassify a tiny worm for two weeks, and thenreturn it to life with its memory intact.

Now, while the worm has only 302 neurons, you have more than 100 billion, and while the worm has 5,000 neuron-to-neuron connections you have at least 100 trillion. So theres some way to go, but theres certainly hope.

In Australia, a new not-for-profit,Southern Cryonics, is planning to open the first cryonics facility in the Southern Hemisphere.

Eventually, medicine will be able to keep people healthy indefinitely, Southern Cryonics spokesperson and secretary Matt Fisher tells me in a phonecall.

I want to see the other side of that transition. I want to live in a world where everyone can be healthy for as long as they want. And I want everyone I know and care about to have that opportunity as well.

To get Southern Cryonics off the ground, ten founding members have each put in A$50,000, entitling them to a cryonic preservation for themselves or a person of their choice. Given that the company is not-for-profit, Fisher has no financial incentive to campaign for it. He simply believes in it.

Id really like to see [cryonic preservation] become the most common choice for internment across Australia, he says.

Fisher admits there is no proof yet that cryopreservation works. The question is not about what is possible today, he says. Its about what may be possible in the future.

Cathal D. O’Connell is the Centre Manager, BioFab3D (St Vincent’s Hospital), University of Melbourne.

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The Merger of Humans and Machines Has Already Begun – Newsweek

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Startup Promises Immortality Through AI, Nanotechnology, and Cloning – Big Think

One of the things humans have plotted for centuries is escaping death, with little to show for it, until now. One startup called Humai has a plan to make immortality a reality. The CEO, Josh Bocanegra says when the time comes and all the necessary advancements are in place, well be able to freeze your brain, create a new, artificial body, repair any damage to your brain, and transfer it into your new body. This process could then be repeated in perpetuity.

HUMAI stands for: Human Resurrection through Artificial Intelligence. The technology to accomplish this isnt here now, but on the horizon. Bocanegra says theyll reach this Promethean feat within 30 years. 2045 is currently their target date. So how do they plan to do it?

The company writes on their website: We’re using artificial intelligence and nanotechnology to store data of conversational styles, behavioral patterns, thought processes and information about how your body functions from the inside-out. This data will be coded into multiple sensor technologies, which will be built into an artificial body with the brain of a deceased human.

Advances in many new technologies including cryonics will be required for the plan to be successful. Getty Images.

This will be done with Humai company-developed apps. Theyll be collecting data on you for years. Over time, theyll get a good model of who you are, what you know, what youve been through, and even your personality quirks. Then when the inevitable is upon you, cryonics will freeze your brain for storage while they prepare your artificial body.

How and of what the body will be made of hasnt been elaborated on. Your brain will be thawed and any damage repaired via nanotechnology, borrowing information from backup files, if need be. As the brain ages we’ll use nanotechnology to repair and improve cells, Bocanegra said. Cloning technology is going to help with this too.” Once your brain is transplanted into this new body, your brainwaves will control it, as if it was your own.

Futurists like Ray Kurzweil say the singularity will shortly be upon us. This is when AI becomes so advanced, that it can program itself to become better, smarter, faster, and therefore, beyond human control. Elon Musk says well need to create neural implants thatll link our brains with computers, in order to keep up.

We already have AI thats so advanced, researchers dont completely understand it. But this plan and Musks go beyond aligning us with technology. They ultimately seek to interweave us and advanced technology, to the point where we may not know where the person ends and the machine begins.

We can now hook the brain up to prosthetic limbs, even give them touch sensation. Getty Images.

This brings up all kinds of philosophical and existential questions. Are we merely data imprinted into neural networks? Will this become a service to lend immortality to the rich, while forgoing others? Bocanegra says it will be made available to everyone and should lead to other life-saving techniques and technologies. And you wouldnt have to undergo the process, if you didnt want to. I dont think of it as fighting death, he told Popular Science. I think of it as making death optional.

How might the advent of such a technique change the allocations of resources on our planet? Eliminating death from the equation could see our world become overpopulated and resource scarce, should no controls be put into place, leading to social turmoil, even war. And would we still savor life, without an end to it, and work to make it as rich an experience?

Or would we become, as Freud once called us, prosthetic gods, completely bored because the world has become devoid of any discovery or surprise? Such concerns arent quite around the corner, and many critics have questioned the soundness of Bocanegras plan and the forthrightness of his motivations.

This isnt exactly pie in the sky. But it isnt doable yet either, and some wonder whether Humais timeline is sound. For instance, we havent yet successfully placed a human in suspended animation and revived them. And thats just one piece of an exceedingly complex puzzle. According to Bocanegra in an interview with Popular Science, the most challenging part will be surgically implanting the preserved brain into an artificial body.

Other biological processes too would have to come with this new body. A lot of delicate factors would have to be understood and balanced properly. Consider that our behavior isnt only regulated by our brain. Hormones for instance play a crucial role. Colonies of bacteria in our microbiome also contribute quite a bit to our neurochemistry. Yet, we know very little about how they work.

Theres a question as to whether the human mind can be digitized. Pixababy.

Experts questions whether or not it will be possible to download someones thoughts into a computer. “The technology which could extract legible thoughts and ideas out of an organ made of living tissue is nowhere near anything we have yet, according to British software consultant Michael Maven.

He told the Huffington Post that Humai has just two researchers working on the project, and a total staff of five. An impressive source of funding and large teams of scientists would have to be employed for decades, to ensure such advancements, unless Humai is planning to piggyback on others work, or merely to collect payments from desperate parties hoping to escape their demise.

Even so, the trajectory of these technologies overall, will likely make such a feat possible in the distant future. And this isnt the only ambitious project looking to cheat death. The 2045 Initiative, started by Russian billionaire Dmitry Itskov, is also looking to develop technology, which would allow someone to transfer their personality into a non-biological carrier and extend life, perhaps indefinitely.

Futurist Ray Kurzweil thinks the first step is not only possible but inevitable.

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Genome studies – The Hindu

Genome studies
The Hindu
NCAB facilities, spread over 20,000 sqft. both in NIMS Medicity and Noorul Islam University, facilitate academic and research activities in molecular human genetics, plant and animal biotechnology, infectious diseases, genetic disorders, gene therapy

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Clinic manager to repay $150925 to investors in plea deal – Lexington Herald Leader


Lexington Herald Leader
Clinic manager to repay $150925 to investors in plea deal
Lexington Herald Leader
The former organizer and managing partner of a hormone replacement clinic has reached a plea deal with federal prosecutors on a charge that he defrauded investors. Michael Betts, formerly with Abundant Living Medical Clinic in Lexington, entered into

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Functional Medicine and Weight & Age Management Clinic – MENAFN.COM

MENAFN Press – 06/05/2017 (MENAFN Editorial) Dr. Kalpana Gupta Shekhawat holds MBBS, DNB, DFM Post Graduate in Clinical Nutrition from Clinical Nutrition Certification Board (CNCB) Texas USA, BHRT Specialist completed advanced endocrinology fromA4M (American anti-ageing medicine ) ,Diploma in Fitness and Nutrition from Stratford USA . She has extensive experience of handling patients who desire to lose weight, correct hormone imbalances with natural bio identical hormone replacement therapy and manage lifestyle disease by correcting metabolism with nutritional supplements and detoxification therapy.

Dr.Kalpana is recognized as the leading Functional Medicine Practitioner, Medical Nutrition Consultant in New Delhi & Gurgaon, India. Having graduated from SMS Medical College and Hospital Jaipur, has been a Medical Practitioner, having worked in various private and Government hospitals in #India as well as overseas. She has been participating in various conferences and is the Panelist of Nutrition & Wellness Club of various public schools in New Delhi, India. She has been promoting lifestyle modification programs for health and wellness at various events in schools, colleges, clubs and corporate houses.

She has published various articles focusing on lifestyle disease management with nutrition correction, Nutraceuticals and Bio Identical Hormones in various leading Newspapers and healthcare & lifestyle Magazines.

She is running a lifestyle disease management concept in the name Freedom Diet

She is also heading Age management team with SENs Anti-ageing clinic since its inception.

She is highly passionate about the root cause eradication approach to disease management and to prevent lifestyle disorders which are arising due to poor lifestyle and nutrition choices. She works by integrating her knowledge of conventional medicine with Functional medicine.

The various diseases that can be managed by her are Obesity, Coronary Artery disease, Hypertension, Hormonal Imbalances , Hypothyroidism, PCOD, PMS, , Rheumatoid arthritis, Gout, Hyperuricemia, Childhood Obesity, Parkinson, Epilepsy and Autism Spectrum Disorders .

Email id: https://www.facebook.com/www.freedomdiet.co.in http://www.freedomage.in Ph # 919899147100 For more information, visit: http://www.freedomage.in

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Functional Medicine and Weight & Age Management Clinic – MENAFN.COM

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Mayo Clinic Endocrinologist Installed as President Elect of National Physician Organization – Business Wire (press release)

AUSTIN, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Daniel L. Hurley, MD, FACE, was installed today as President-Elect of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) at its 26th Annual Scientific & Clinical Congress in Austin, Texas.

I am honored to serve as President Elect of AACE, said Dr. Hurley. This is a pivotal time in health care, and Im looking forward to helping further advance AACEs mission and goals in the future.

Dr. Hurley joined AACE in 1992, serving on numerous AACE committees and task forces as a member, Chair or Co-chair, and most recently as Vice President of AACE and Vice President and President of the Minnesota/Midwest AACE Chapter.

Dr. Hurley completed his Internal Medicine Residency and Endocrinology Fellowship at the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine in Rochester, Minn., and joined the Mayo staff in 1986, following endocrine research training in bone and mineral metabolism.

Currently, Dr. Hurley is a consultant in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, Metabolism and Nutrition and Assistant Professor of Medicine Mayo Medical School.

About the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE)

The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) represents more than 7,500 endocrinologists in the United States and abroad. AACE is the largest association of clinical endocrinologists in the world. The majority of AACE members are certified in endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism and concentrate on the treatment of patients with endocrine and metabolic disorders including diabetes, thyroid disorders, osteoporosis, growth hormone deficiency, cholesterol disorders, hypertension and obesity. Visit our site atwww.aace.com.

About the American College of Endocrinology (ACE)

The American College of Endocrinology (ACE) is the educational and scientific arm of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE). ACE is the leader in advancing the care and prevention of endocrine and metabolic disorders by: providing professional education and reliable public health information; recognizing excellence in education, research and service; promoting clinical research and defining the future of Clinical Endocrinology. For more information, visit http://www.aace.com/college.

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Basal cortisol elevated in patients with ACTH-staining pituitary macroadenoma – Healio

AUSTIN, Texas Preoperative identification of patients with silent adrenocorticotrophic hormone-secreting tumors could potentially change the approach to management. A new study aimed to determine whether a preoperative adrenocorticotrophic hormone stimulation test for evaluation of nonfunctional pituitary macroadenoma could aid in identifying adrenocorticotrophic hormone-staining pathology yielded large variability and did not allow clinical utility.

Thus, researchers concluded that larger, multicenter research is needed to determine whether this test can be useful.

As ACTH stimulation tests are performed routinely when evaluating macroadenoma when there is no suspicion for a state of endogenous hypercortisolism, we sought to determine if the test could reliably identify these pathologies during the preoperative evaluation. We hypothesized that patients with subclinical Cushings disease or silent ACTH-secreting tumors would have a higher delta cortisol on the ACTH stimulation tests vs. other types of macroadenoma pathologies, Kevin Pantalone, DO, ECNU, FACE, staff endocrinologist and director of clinical research in the department of endocrinology at Cleveland Clinic, told Endocrine Today.

Kevin Pantalone

Pantalone and colleagues performed a retrospective chart review of 148 patients with pituitary macroadenoma who underwent preoperative ACTH stimulation tests, with the goal of determining whether the test can aid in the identification of ACTH-staining pathology.

Overall, 9.5% of patients showed diffuse staining, 50.6% showed other-staining (diffuse staining for anterior pituitary hormones other than ACTH) and 39.9% showed no staining (no staining for any anterior pituitary hormones).

The researchers calculated delta total cortisol at 30 and 60 minutes from baseline and reviewed preoperative ACTH stimulation tests. Additionally, Pantalone and colleagues compared the basal and maximal delta cortisol between the ACTH-staining pituitary macroadenoma and the non-ACTH staining (n = 134), other staining (n = 75) and non-staining (n = 59) tumors.

According to data reported at the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists Annual Scientific and Clinical Congress, the ACTH-staining group had higher mean basal cortisol levels compared with the non-ACTH-staining (P = .012), other staining (P = .018) and the non-staining (P = .012) tumors. The researchers found no significant differences in maximal delta cortisol between the groups.

While we found basal cortisol levels were higher in patients with ACTH-staining pituitary microadenoma vs. non-ACTH-staining macroadenoma, the large variability in cortisol values did not allow for clinical utility, Pantalone told Endocrine Today.

Unfortunately, in the end, our study was limited by the number of cases with ACTH-staining pathology. Thus, we were unable to determine if the ACTH stimulation test could reliably assist clinicians in potentially identifying ACTH-staining pathology in the preoperative setting, he said. A multicenter study, affording a large number of ACTH-staining tumors, is needed. This may allow for us to determine if the ACTH-stimulation test can really be clinically useful in preoperatively identifying ACTH-staining pathology. by Amber Cox

Reference:

Polanco Santos C, et al. Abstract #818. Presented at: AACE Annual Scientific and Clinical Congress; May 3-7, 2017; Austin, Texas.

Disclosure: Pantalone reports no relevant financial disclosures.

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Difficult road for Mayo’s first sex reassignment patient – Post-Bulletin

As Marisa Ann Bella prepped for sex reassignment surgery 10 weeks ago, she gave her Mayo Clinic surgeons very explicit and morbid directions.

Mayo’s first patient to ever undergo gender reassignment surgery told Jorys Martinez-Jorge and Oscar Manrique that they should finish the work, even if she flatlined on the operating table and was unable to be revived. After decades of waiting, the Rochester native was that determined to live or be buried as a woman.

Fortunately, the final step in Bella’s transition went smoothly and she’s now comfortable living in her own post-surgery body.

“It’s indescribable,” said Bella, who still lives in Rochester. “Before I would get sick to my stomach and literally throw up when I saw myself without clothes on and that was most of my adult and teen life. To see myself now, it’s like night and day. This is the way it’s supposed to be.”

Despite that new outlook on life, it’s been a bumpy ride to put it lightly. And many hurdles remain.

After 18 years of marriage, Marisa who then went by Michael came out to her family in 2010. It prompted an immediate divorce. When extended family also found out, they responded in a similar fashion.

That fallout prompted Marisa to consider suicide, going so far as taking a loaded gun to the banks of the Mississippi River. She says thinking of her twin daughters Gabriella and Isabella prevented her from pulling the trigger. Many in the transgender community struggle with suicide, with some studies suggesting 41 percent have attempted it.

But even their love was complicated.

Marisa was immediately supported by Gabriella and they moved to Andover after the divorce. Isabella had reservations about Marisa’s decision, basically cutting off communication for two years while opting to live with her biological mother in Florida. Isabella’s boyfriend and most of her classmates were unaware of those family issues until just this year.

“It changed our dynamic,” Gabriella said. “I was more like if that’s what you want to do, that’s what you do. As a teenager, you yourself are trying to find your own identity. I think having Marisa kind of go through that same puberty-like change with us almost helped.”

“My mother decided to show lots of hostility and regret and the family was very hostile. Marisa’s family was not really accepting right away, and it separated the family because we were on different pages.”

Time has healed some wounds, but not others. While Isabella has learned to become more comfortable and supportive around Marisa, the ex-wife has not. The twins have rented their own apartment in Florida since turning 18 in December, striking out on their own under the unusual circumstances.

While Marisa and Isabella are now on speaking terms, the daughter avoids using mom or dad. Instead, it’s just Marisa.

“Even to this day, she’s still more accepting than I am,” Isabella said of her sister. “She’s more (open) to the modern ideas, and I tend to be more traditional. I was a lot more religious than she was growing up, but she’ll sit there and talk to Marisa about certain things that I don’t.

“She understands for me it’s a lot harder to accept, but if it makes (Marisa) happy, I’m going to support it.”

Kicked out of U, accepted at Mayo

Marisa’s initial transition care was handled by the University of Minnesota. It didn’t quite go as planned.

She enrolled in hormone therapy while pursuing other medical options at the U’s Center for Sexual Health, but felt there were gaps in her care. Specifically, she was seeking counseling and other support for her ongoing issues with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and other related mental health concerns.

When Marisa complained about her therapist, she was eventually dropped from the U’s Transgender Health Services program; Marisa claims she was deemed “too high maintenance.”

As fate would have it, this occurred at virtually the same time Mayo opened its new specialty clinic in Rochester. Marisa was quickly enrolled and continued her transition while working with a voice therapist, having facial and breast surgeries and otherwise preparing to become Mayo’s first patient to undergo vaginoplasty surgery.

“She was always anticipating when we were going to be able to offer this,” said Dr. Todd Nippoldt, director of Mayo’s Transgender and Intersex Specialty Care Clinic. “I remember from the start her saying ‘I’ll be your first patient’ because it was very important to confirm her identity and live authentically.”

With virtually no fanfare, the surgery was finally conducted Feb. 24. While the general public wouldn’t notice anything different about Marisa, Mayo endocrinologist Caroline Davidge-Pitts says the transformation is obvious.

“Her whole face has changed,” Davidge-Pitts said. “She just looks so happy.”

That’s the goal for every patient Mayo sees, according to Sharonne Hayes, M.D., medical director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

“The Transgender and Intersex Specialty Care Clinic is another example of what sets Mayo Clinic apart a multidisciplinary, collaborative approach to care that meets all of the needs of each individual patient,” Hayes said. “The specialty care clinic’s patients work with their doctors, nurses, and the entire health care team to develop the right care plan, so that they can be their true selves.”

As if the struggles with gender identity and family complications were enough, there’s another demon lurking in Marisa’s past.

As a member of the Boy Scouts of America during the 1970s, Marisa was one of many youths in Southeast Minnesota who were sexually assaulted by troop leader Richard Hokanson. According to a lawsuit filed in 2013 by Marisa and others under the Child Victims Act, the new Minnesota law eliminating the civil statute of limitations for children who were sexually abused, she was abused between the ages of 11 and 17.

The lawsuit alleged that the abuse was reported at age 13, but was allowed to continue for four more years. Marisa, as Keller, was the only victim to speak publicly about the abuse.

The lawsuit made headlines across the region, in part, because of who it named: Hokanson, the troop leader; St. Pius X Catholic Church, which sponsored the troop; the Boy Scouts of America; and Gamehaven Council, a branch of the Scouts in southeastern Minnesota.

Marisa who filed the lawsuit under her birth name, Michael Keller eventually settled the lawsuit out of court in 2014. The terms of the settlement are confidential.

She formally requested to be excommunicated from the Catholic Church on Feb. 28, 2014, almost exactly two years before undergoing gender confirmation surgery at Mayo. She’s currently on disability from that surgery, but hopes to return to her career in the airline industry within a year.

“This is not the church of Jesus Christ, but a group of perverted old men who hid like cowards behind secrecy and shame,” Keller wrote through his attorney to Bishop John Quinn. “The Catholic Church never apologized or offered to help with the healing process.”

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Hormone Therapeutics Wins National Startup Competition – D Healthcare Daily

Winners of the startup competition, from left to right: James Hummer, Mary Gillis, Michael ODonnell, John Harris, Margaret Moore, Mark Correia, Mike Motta, and Hunter Howard (Courtesy of: Hormone Therapeutics)

Dallas-based Hormone Therapeutics, a telemedicine company using comprehensive testing for personal and employee health optimization, won the launchpad startup competition for employee wellness at the national Art and Science Health Promotional Conference in Colorado Springs, Colo. The company received national recognition and will be spotlighted at next years conference.

The 27th annual conference was held at the Broadmoor Hotel, with 1,500 healthcare professionals in attendance. Since 1989, the Art and Science Health Promotional Conference has aimed to narrow the gap between research and practice by stimulating dialogue and engendering lasting relationship between practitioners and scientists. Each year the startup competition is held to recognize innovative health and wellness companies.

This years competition featured four finalists: Hormone Therapeutics, The Wellness Movement, Bright Day, and Anything But The Gym. Each group gave a live pitch in front a panel of five judges for five minutes.

In its pitch, Hormone Therapeutics highlighted how corporations are spending $5,000 to $25,000 per year sending C-level executives to wellness destinations like the Mayo Clinic for annual checkups that are neither in-depth nor cost-effective. The startup emphasized its cost-saving strategy and broader network to reach executives and more patients. In addition, Hormone Therapeutics said it conducts quarterly follow-up tests to accurately track patients health.

Hormone Therapeutics won, basing its platform for employee wellness on telemedicine; comprehensive testing with DNA, blood, saliva, biome, and telomere; and remote monitoring for personalized health and performance optimization. Winning this innovative healthcare startup competition was exciting to validate our strategy around a brand-new approach to employee wellness and performance, CEO Hunter Howard told D CEO Healthcare.

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Hormone Therapeutics Wins National Startup Competition – D Healthcare Daily

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Testosterone replacement therapy lowers mortality, CV risk in secondary hypogonadism – Healio

AUSTIN, Texas Testosterone replacement therapy may lower the risk for myocardial infarction, stroke and all-cause mortality in men with secondary hypogonadism.

In men with secondary hypogonadism unrelated to overt hypothalamic/pituitary pathology, with a modest prevalence of prior cardiovascular disease, testosterone replacement therapy was associated with a 50% risk reduction of the composite outcome (myocardial infarction, stroke or all-cause mortality), Kevin Pantalone, DO, ECNU, FACE, staff endocrinologist and director of clinical research in the department of endocrinology at Cleveland Clinic, told Endocrine Today.

Kevin Pantalone

Using data from an electronic health record in a large, integrated health care system, Pantalone and colleagues studied outcomes in 418 men with secondary hypogonadism exposed to testosterone replacement therapy (median age, 53.8 years) and 283 matched controls (median age, 54.9 years). The main outcomes of interest were MI, stroke and all-cause mortality after testosterone replacement therapy.

The prevalence of established CVD was 9.8% in the testosterone-replacement group compared with 12.7% in the control group.

Patients were followed for a median duration of 3.8 years in the testosterone-replacement group and 3.4 years in the control group. During that time, the event rate for the composite outcome of MI, stroke or all-cause mortality was 3.3% in the testosterone-replacement group vs. 6.4% in the control group (P = .06). The researchers concluded that testosterone replacement therapy reduced the odds of the combined CV endpoint (HR = 0.49; 95% CI, 0.24-0.99).

Our study adds to the growing body of evidence suggesting [testosterone replacement therapy] may not be harmful in certain populations of hypogonadal men and may even afford a protective effect, Pantalone said. A prospective randomized controlled trial evaluating the effect of [testosterone replacement therapy] in men with secondary hypogonadism is needed to establish the safety of [testosterone] replacement therapy, particularly in men with established CVD or those at high CV risk. by Amber Cox

Reference:

George J, et al. Abstract #906. Presented at: AACE Annual Scientific and Clinical Congress; May 3-7, 2017; Austin, Texas.

Disclosure: Pantalone reports no relevant financial disclosures.

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Testosterone replacement therapy lowers mortality, CV risk in secondary hypogonadism – Healio

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Fixing Broken Hearts Through Tissue Engineering – Newswise (press release)

Newswise BIRMINGHAM, Ala. The third annual Cardiovascular Tissue Engineering Symposium met at the University of Alabama at Birmingham last month, a gathering of noted physicians and scientists who share the goal of creating new tissues and new knowledge that can prevent or repair heart disease and heart attacks.

Talks ranged from the cutting-edge translational work of Phillippe Menasche, M.D., Ph.D., professor of thoracic and cardiovascular surgery, Paris Descartes University, to the basic biology research of Sean Wu, M.D., Ph.D., an associate professor of medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine. Menasches work pioneers human treatment with engineered heart tissue. Wus work opens the door to generating heart chamber-specific cardiomyocytes from human induced pluripotent stem cells, which act similarly to embryonic stem cells, having the potential to differentiate into any type of cell.

Menasche has placed engineered heart tissue derived from embryonic stem cell-derived cardiac cells onto the hearts of six heart attack patients in France in an initial safety study for this engineered tissue approach. Wu has used single-cell RNA sequencing to show 18 categories of cardiomyocytes in the heart, differing by cell type and anatomical location, even though they all derived from the same lineage.

We are creating a new community of engineer-scientists, said Jay Zhang, M.D., Ph.D., chair and professor of the UAB Department of Biomedical Engineering. In their welcoming remarks, both Selwyn Vickers, M.D., dean of the UAB School of Medicine, and Victor Dzau, M.D., professor of medicine at Duke University School of Medicine and president of the National Academy of Medicine, spoke of the growing convergence between scientists and physicians that is leading to tremendous possibilities to improve patient care.

The tissue engineering field is moving fast.

Cardiac progenitor cells that can contribute to growth or repair injury in the heart were only discovered in 2003, says symposium presenter Michael Davis, Ph.D., associate professor of Medicine, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Tech College of Engineering and Emory University School of Medicine. In 2006, the Japanese scientist Shinya Yamanaka first showed how to transform adult cells into induced pluripotent stem cells. This potentially provides feedstock for tissue engineering using either pluripotent cells or specific progenitor cells for certain tissue lineages.

One example of the pace of change was given by Bjorn Knollman, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine and pharmacology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Knollman noted an ugly truth that everyone recognized in 2013 that cardiomyocytes derived from induced pluripotent stem cells were nothing like normal adult cardiomyocytes in shape, size and function.

He described the improved steps like culturing the derived cardiomyocytes in a Matrigel mattress and giving them a 14-day hormone treatment that have led to derived cardiomyocytes with greatly improved cell volume, morphology and function. His take-home message: In just four years, from 2013 to 2017, researchers were able to remove the differences between induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes and normal adult cardiomyocytes.

In other highlights of the symposium, Joo Soares, Ph.D., a research scientist for the Center for Cardiovascular Simulation, University of Texas at Austin, explained how subjecting engineered heart valve tissue to cyclic flexure as it is grown in a bioreactor leads to improved quantity, quality and distribution of collagen, as opposed to tissue that is not mechanically stressed.

Sumanth Prabhu, M.D., professor and chair of the Division of Cardiovascular Disease, UAB School of Medicine, talked about the role of immune cells in cardiac remodeling and heart failure. He noted the distinct phases after a heart attack acute inflammation and dead tissue degradation, zero to four days; the healing phase of resolution and repair, four to 14 days; and the chronic ischemic heart failure that can occur weeks to months later. Prabhu described experiments to show how specialized spleen macrophages specifically marginal-zone metallophilic macrophages migrate to the heart after a heart attack and are required for heart repair to commence.

Nenad Bursac, Ph.D., professor of Biomedical Engineering, Duke University School of Medicine, described his advances in engineering vascularized heart tissue for repair after a heart attack. Bursac said a better understanding of how to grow the tissue from heart tissue progenitor cells has allowed formation of mature giga patches up to 4 centimeters square that have good propagation of heartbeat contractions and spontaneous formation of capillaries from derived-vascular endothelial and smooth muscle cells. These patches are being tested in pigs.

Duke Universitys Victor Dzau gave a perspective of the paracrine hypothesis over the past 15 years. In 2003, researchers had seen that applying mesenchymal stem cells to a heart attack area led to improved heart function, with beneficial effects seen as early as 72 hours. However, there was little engraftment and survival of the stem cells. Thus was born the hypothesis, which has been worked out in detail since then that stem cells do their work by release of biologically active factors that act on other cells, similar to the way that paracrine hormones have their effect only in the vicinity of the gland secreting it.

Joseph Wu, M.D., Ph.D., professor of radiology, Stanford University School of Medicine, showed how heart cells derived from induced pluripotent stem cells could be used to develop personalized medicine approaches for cancer patients. The problem, he explained, is that some cancer patients are susceptible to a deadly cardiotoxicity when treated with the potent drug doxorubicin. Hence, the drug has a black box warning, the strictest warning mandated by the Food and Drug Administration. Wu was able to use a library of induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes to associate certain genotypes and phenotypes with doxorubicin sensitivity, in what he called a clinical trial in a dish. From this knowledge, it will be possible to look at the transcriptome profile in patient-specific cardiomyocytes derived from induced pluripotent stem cells to predict patient-specific drug safety and efficacy, thus fulfilling the definition of precision medicine the right treatment at the right time to the right person.

In all, UABs Cardiovascular Tissue Engineering Symposium included more than 30 presentations. The entire symposium will be summarized in a paper for the journal Circulation Research, expected to be published shortly, Zhang says.

Presentations of the 2015 Cardiovascular Tissue Engineering Symposium were published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, and the presentations of the 2016 Cardiovascular Tissue Engineering Symposium were published in the journal Circulation Research.

At UAB, Zhang holds the T. Michael and Gillian Goodrich Endowed Chair of Engineering Leadership, Vickers holds the James C. Lee Jr. Endowed Chair for the Dean of the School of Medicine, and Prabhu holds the Mary Gertrude Waters Chair of Cardiovascular Medicine.

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Fixing Broken Hearts Through Tissue Engineering – Newswise (press release)

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Vitamin A deficiency is detrimental to blood stem cells – Science Daily


UPI.com
Vitamin A deficiency is detrimental to blood stem cells
Science Daily
Therefore, steady replenishment of these cells is indispensable. They arise from so-called "adult" stem cells that divide continuously. In addition, there is a group of very special stem cells in the bone marrow that were first discovered in 2008 by a
Vitamin A deficiency harms stem cells, study saysUPI.com

all 2 news articles »

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Vitamin A deficiency is detrimental to blood stem cells – Science Daily

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New CRISPR Technique Can Potentially Stop Cancer In Its Tracks – Wall Street Pit

In a study recently published online on Nature Biotechnology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine researchers report that a new technique using the CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing technology effectively targets cancer-causing fusion genes and improves survival in mouse models of aggressive liver and prostate cancers.

Professor of pathology at Pittsburghs School of Medicine, Jian-Hua Luo, M.D., Ph.D., explains that this is the first time that gene editing has been used to specifically target cancer fusion genes. The professor also adds that this is really exciting because it paves the way for what could become an entirely new approach to cancer treatment.

Fusion genes are hybrid genes formed from two previously separate genes. This fusion can occur as a result of gene translocation, interstitial deletion, or chromosomal inversion, and produce abnormal proteins that can cause or accelerate cancer growth. In short, these fusion genes are often associated with cancer.

A panel of fusion genes responsible for recurrent and aggressive prostate cancer has been previously identified by Dr. Luo and his team. Earlier this year, in a study published on Gastroenterology, they described how one of these fusion genes, known as MAN2A1-FER, can be found in other types of cancer, such as that of the lungs, ovaries, liver, and is also responsible for rapid tumor growth and invasiveness.

As described in a press release, for this study, the team used CRISPR-Cas9 to target unique DNA sequences formed as a result of fusion genes. The process involves the use of viruses to deliver gene editing tools that remove the mutated DNA of the fusion gene, then replacing it with genes that cause cancer cells to die.

Because fusion genes are only present in cancer cells and not healthy cells, the gene therapy is quite specific. In contrast with present cancer treatments such as chemotherapy which indiscriminately attacks both cancerous and healthy cells, this new approach will be much more preferable because it only attacks cancerous cells and leaves healthy cells intact.

To conduct the study, the team used mouse models which received transplants of human prostate and liver cancer cells. This group of mice was treated with the CRISPR gene editing tool. After the 8-week treatment period, their tumors shrunk by up to 30%, did not spread throughout their bodies, and all of them survived.

On the other hand, in a control group which was treated with viruses that target a kind of fusion gene that wasnt present in tumors, the results were a stark contrast. The mice had tumors growing almost forty times bigger. And in most cases, the tumors spread to other parts of their bodies. Most importantly, none among the group survived.

The findings suggest a new and different way to attack cancer. As Dr. Luo explained, Other types of cancer treatments target the foot soldiers of the army. Our approach is to target the command center, so there is no chance for the enemys soldiers to regroup in the battlefield for a comeback.

Dr. Luo also notes that another advantage of their approach over existing cancer treatments is that it is highly adaptive, not to mention target-specific. Going forward, they plan to test whether their strategy can do more than just stop or delay the spread of the disease. The aim of course, is to hopefully one day completely eradicate it.

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New CRISPR Technique Can Potentially Stop Cancer In Its Tracks – Wall Street Pit

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Fighting the common fate of humans: to better life and beat death – Kashmir Observer

The oldest surviving great work of literature tells the story of a Sumerian king,Gilgamesh, whose historical equivalent may have ruled the city of Uruk some time between 2800 and 2500 BC.

A hero of superhuman strength, Gilgamesh becomes instilled with existential dread after witnessing the death of his friend, and travels the Earth in search of a cure for mortality.

Twice the cure slips through his fingers and he learns the futility of fighting the common fate of man.

Merging with machines

Transhumanism is the idea that we can transcend our biological limits, by merging with machines. The idea was popularised by the renowned technoprophetRay Kurzweil(now a director of engineering at Google), who came to public attention in the 1990s with a string of astute predictions about technology.

In his 1990 book,The Age of Intelligent Machines(MIT Press), Kurzweil predicted that a computer would beat the worlds best chess player by the year 2000. Ithappened in 1997.

He also foresaw the explosive growth of the internet, along with the advent of wearable technology, drone warfare and the automated translation of language. Kurzweilsmost famous prediction is what he callsthe singularity the emergence of an artificial super-intelligence, triggering runaway technological growth which he foresees happening somewhere around 2045.

In some sense, the merger of humans and machines has already begun. Bionic implants, such as thecochlear implant, use electrical impulses orchestrated by computer chips to communicate with the brain, and so restore lost senses.

AtSt Vincents Hospitaland theUniversity of Melbourne, my colleagues are developing other ways to tap into neuronal activity, thereby giving people natural control of a robotic hand.

These cases involve sending simple signals between a piece of hardware and the brain. To truly merge minds and machines, however, we need some way to send thoughts and memories.

In 2011, scientists at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles took the first step towards this when theyimplanted rats with a computer chipthat worked as a kind of external hard drive for the brain.

First the rats learned a particular skill, pulling a sequence of levers to gain a reward. The silicon implant listened in as that new memory was encoded in the brains hippocampus region, and recorded the pattern of electrical signals it detected.

Next the rats were induced to forget the skill, by giving them a drug that impaired the hippocampus. The silicon implant then took over, firing a bunch of electrical signals to mimic the pattern it had recorded during training.

Amazingly, the rats remembered the skill the electrical signals from the chip were essentially replaying the memory, in a crude version of that scene in The Matrix where Keanu Reeves learns (downloads) kung-fu.

Again, the potential roadblock: the brain may be more different from a computer than people such as Kurzweil appreciate. AsNicolas Rougier, a computer scientist at Inria (the French Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation),argues, the brain itself needs the complex sensory input of the body in order to function properly.

Separate the brain from that input and things start to go awry pretty quickly. Hence sensory deprivation is used as a form of torture. Even if artificial intelligence is achieved, that does not mean our brains will be able to integrate with it.

Whatever happens at the singularity (if it ever occurs), Kurzweil, now aged 68, wants to be around to see it. HisFantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever(Rodale Books, 2004) is a guidebook for extending life in the hope of seeing the longevity revolution. In it he details his dietary practices, and outlines some of the 200 supplements he takes daily.

Failing that, he has a plan B.

Freezing death

The central idea of cryonics is to preserve the body after death in the hope that, one day, future civilisations will have the ability (and the desire) to reanimate the dead.

Both Kurzweil and de Grey, along with about 1,500 others (including, apparently, Britney Spears), aresigned up to be cryopreservedbyAlcor Life Extension Foundationin Arizona.

Offhand, the idea seems crackpot. Even in daily experience, you know that freezing changes stuff: you can tell a strawberry thats been frozen. Taste, and especially texture, change unmistakably. The problem is that when the strawberry cells freeze, they fill with ice crystals. The ice rips them apart, essentially turning them to mush.

Thats why Alcor dont freeze you; they turn you to glass.

After you die, your body is drained of blood and replaced with a special cryogenic mixture of antifreeze and preservatives. When cooled, the liquid turns to a glassy state, but without forming dangerous crystals.

You are placed in a giant thermos flask of liquid nitrogen and cooled to -196, cold enough to effectively stop biological time. There you can stay without changing, for a year or a century, until science discovers the cure for whatever caused your demise.

People dont understand cryonics, says Alcor president Max More in a YouTube tour of his facility. They think its this strange thing we do to dead people, rather than understanding it really is an extension of emergency medicine.

The idea may not be as crackpot as it sounds. Similar cryopreservation techniques are already being used to preserve human embryos used in fertility treatments.

There are people walking around today who have been cryopreserved, More continues. They were just embryos at the time.

One proof of concept, of sorts,was reportedby cryogenics expert Greg Fahy of21st Century Medicine(a privately funded cryonics research lab) in 2009.

Fahys team removed a rabbit kidney, vitrified it, and reimplanted into the rabbit as its only working kidney. Amazingly, the rabbit survived, if only for nine days.

More recently, a new technique developed by Fahy enabled the perfect preservation of a rabbit brain though vitrification and storage at -196. After rewarming, advanced 3D imaging revealed that the rabbits connectome that is, the connections between neurons was undisturbed.

Unfortunately, the chemicals used for the new technique are toxic, but the work does raise the hope of some future method that may achieve the same degree of preservation with more friendly substances.

That said, preserving structure does not necessarily preserve function. Our thoughts and memories are not just coded in the physical connections between neurons, but also in the strength of those connections coded somehow in the folding of proteins.

Thats why the most remarkable cryonics work to date may be that performed at Alcor in 2015, when scientists managed to glassify a tiny worm for two weeks, and thenreturn it to life with its memory intact.

Now, while the worm has only 302 neurons, you have more than 100 billion, and while the worm has 5,000 neuron-to-neuron connections you have at least 100 trillion. So theres some way to go, but theres certainly hope.

In Australia, a new not-for-profit,Southern Cryonics, is planning to open the first cryonics facility in the Southern Hemisphere.

Eventually, medicine will be able to keep people healthy indefinitely, Southern Cryonics spokesperson and secretary Matt Fisher tells me in a phonecall.

I want to see the other side of that transition. I want to live in a world where everyone can be healthy for as long as they want. And I want everyone I know and care about to have that opportunity as well.

To get Southern Cryonics off the ground, ten founding members have each put in A$50,000, entitling them to a cryonic preservation for themselves or a person of their choice. Given that the company is not-for-profit, Fisher has no financial incentive to campaign for it. He simply believes in it.

Id really like to see [cryonic preservation] become the most common choice for internment across Australia, he says.

Fisher admits there is no proof yet that cryopreservation works. The question is not about what is possible today, he says. Its about what may be possible in the future.

The Article First Appeared In The Conversation

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Fighting the common fate of humans: to better life and beat death – Kashmir Observer

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Time for a national policy on thalassaemia – The Hindu


The Hindu
Time for a national policy on thalassaemia
The Hindu
We were thrilled when research on gene therapy was started in India several years ago. Unfortunately, due to a lack of incentives, willingness and support, the research has come to a standstill. There are clinical trials for thalassaemia gene therapy

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Time for a national policy on thalassaemia – The Hindu

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Radiation Tx for Persistent Acromegaly Safe, Effective – MedPage Today

Action Points

AUSTIN — Following pituitary surgery, radiation for persistent or recurrent acromegaly was shown to be an effective and safe treatment, researchers reported here.

In a retrospective analysis, patients with acromegaly who had undergone pituitary surgery and then received radiation therapy had twice the remission rate seen in those who did not receive radiation (RR 2.1, 95% CI 1.1-4.3, P=0.036), according to Diane Donegan, MD BCh BAO, senior clinical fellow of the Mayo Clinic, and colleagues.

The study reported that patients who underwent radiation treatment and those who did not did not have any significant differences in the requirement for adjuvant medical therapy at the end of the study (38/66 versus 18/28, P=0.5).

The findings of the single-center study were presented at the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists’ annual meeting.

“As many of you know, acromegaly is most commonly due to somatotroph adenoma, and is associated with increased morbidity, mortality, and decreased quality of life, if uncontrolled,” Donegan explained during an oral presentation. “If IGF-1 and growth hormone is normalized, then mortality can be similar to the general population.”

In order to address this, Donegan noted her research group aimed to assess the outcomes, as well as complications associated with radiation treatment, which is currently considered the third-line therapy for chronic acromegaly. Donegan said radiation treatment is not currently a very common form of treatment, particularly due to associated risk factors, such as cerebrovascular complications and hypopituitarism.

The study included individuals who were diagnosed with acromegaly and failed to achieve remission with surgical treatment. A total of 139 patients were included, who all underwent pituitary surgery, but continued to have abnormal IGF-I levels post-surgery.

Over half of participants underwent radiation treatment (65%, 90 of 139), with the majority exposed to Gamma Knife radiosurgery (86%). After a minimum of six-months following radiation treatment, patients experienced a mean time of 26 month to remission (6 to 223 months).

The groups did differ, Donegan said: the radiation treatment group had significantly larger tumors than those who did not undergo radiation (2 0.9 cm vs 1.4 0.6 cm, P0.001). Similarly, radiation-treated patients had a significantly higher incidence of cavernous sinus invasion (60% vs 22%, P=

There were no significant differences for risk of death between both participant groups (P=0.5), although Donegan said there were eight deaths reported throughout the duration of the trial. Other adverse events reported included one instance of stroke in the radiation group, although it was not thought to be due to the treatment.

However, Donegan suggested it is important to consider that “there is a possibility of developing anterior pituitary deficits, which needs to be borne in mind when thinking of the treatment algorithm for individual recurrent or persistent acromegaly.” She reported there was an elevated rate of development of new anterior pituitary hormonal deficit without a notable previous history of dysfunction before radiation (28 patients, 33%), most common being adrenal insufficiency.

When a member of the audience inquired about what methods were used to assess participants who developed ACTH deficiency during the study, Donegen responded they did not conduct formal insulin tolerance tests, and instead, analyzed samples of the participants cortisol.

2017-05-04T17:37:52-0400

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Radiation Tx for Persistent Acromegaly Safe, Effective – MedPage Today

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Testosterone Replacement Therapy May Protect Against Stroke, Heart Attack in Hypogonadism – Endocrinology Advisor


Endocrinology Advisor
Testosterone Replacement Therapy May Protect Against Stroke, Heart Attack in Hypogonadism
Endocrinology Advisor
Patients with primary hypogonadism, secondary hypogonadism related to overt hypothalamic pituitary pathology, HIV infection, metastatic cancer, a history of prostate cancer, prostate specific antigen >4 ng/mL, elevated hematocrit, or a history of

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Testosterone Replacement Therapy May Protect Against Stroke, Heart Attack in Hypogonadism – Endocrinology Advisor

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What’s in the Cards for Repros (RPRX) this Earnings Season? – Zacks.com

Repros Therapeutics Inc. (RPRX – Free Report) is expected to report first-quarter 2017 results this month. Lets see how things are shaping up for this quarter.

Repros Therapeutics share price has decreased 28.8% year to date, while the Zacks classified Medical-Biomed/Genetics industry gained 4.7%.

Repros is a development-stage biotech company focused on the development of treatments for hormonal and reproductive system disorders. With no approved products in its portfolio yet, investors are expected to remain focused on pipeline-related updates by the company. Repros pipeline presently comprises enclomiphene and Proellex.

The most advanced candidate in Repros pipeline is enclomiphene, which is currently under review in the EU. The company intends to get the candidate approved for the treatment of secondary hypogonadism. A decision on the approval status of the candidate should be out in 2017.

Moreover, Repros is evaluating enclomiphene for the treatment of low testosterone level in overweight men. The drug was approved in the EU in 2016 for this indication while the phase II study data is under review in the U.S.

Proellex is being evaluated in phase II orally administered trials for the treatment of endometriosis and uterine fibroids under partial clinical hold with low oral dosage. Repros held a discussion with the FDA in April regarding its progress and the next steps in the development of Proellex for the treatment of uterine fibroids. As per the discussion, the FDA will continue to maintain partial clinical hold as the agency internally reviews data related to the effect of the same on the liver. Repros Therapeutics and its panel of liver experts said that they will submit additional information to the FDA and offer a proposed clinical protocol in a month. We expect update on the data at the first quarter conference call.

The company is also evaluating Proellex in a phase IIb study for uterine fibroids by vaginal delivery. However, this study has no clinical hold issues. The company presented positive topline data from this study in November last year.

Stocks that Warrant a Look

Here are some health care stocks that you may want to consider, as our model shows that they have the right combination of elements a positive Zacks Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) to post an earnings beat this quarter.

You can uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before theyre reported with our Earnings ESP Filter.

Aurinia Pharmaceuticals Inc (AUPH – Free Report) has an Earnings ESP of +10% and a Zacks Rank #3. The company is expected to report on May 10. You can see the complete list of todays Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

FibroGen, Inc (FGEN – Free Report) has an Earnings ESP of +23.81% and a Zacks Rank #3. The company is scheduled to report on May 9.

Immune Design Corp. (IMDZ – Free Report) has an Earnings ESP of +11.29% and a Zacks Rank #3. The company is expected to report on May 9.

More Stock News: 8 Companies Verge on Apple-Like Run

Did you miss Apple’s 9X stock explosion after they launched their iPhone in 2007? Now 2017 looks to be a pivotal year to get in on another emerging technology expected to rock the market. Demand could soar from almost nothing to $42 billion by 2025. Reports suggest it could save 10 million lives per decade which could in turn save $200 billion in U.S. healthcare costs.

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What’s in the Cards for Repros (RPRX) this Earnings Season? – Zacks.com

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

BWH settles research fraud allegations – Mission Hill Gazette

Brigham and Womens Hospital (BWH) will pay $10 million to resolve allegations that one of their stem cell research laboratories fraudulently obtained grant funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), according to a press release.

As per federal regulations and institutional policy requirements, BWH conducted an investigation that identified data integrity concerns in federally funded grant applications submitted by the Anversa lab. After learning of and investigating the allegations of misconduct in the Anversa laboratory, BWH disclosed its concerns to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General, and Office of Research Integrity.

BWH independently evaluated the issues relative to the federal false claims requirements, said Lori Schroth, media relations manager at BWH. Following that evaluation, BWH self-disclosed this matter to appropriate government entities and ceased drawing implicated funds.

The settlement resolves the allegations against Dr. Piero Anversa, who ran the laboratory, and Drs. Annarossa Leri and Jan Kajstura. Allegedly, the doctors knew or should have known that their laboratory published and relied upon manipulated and falsified information including microscope images and carbon-14 age data for cells, according to the press release. This information was used in applications for NIH research grant awards concerning the purported ability of stem cells to repair damage to the heart.

The settlement also resolves allegations that the laboratory followed improper protocols, inaccurately characterized cardiac stem cells, and kept recklessly or deliberately misleading records, according to the press release.

Drs. Anversa, Leri, and Kajstura are no longer affiliated with BWH, and the lab has since been closed.

BWH is committed to ensuring that research conducted at the institution is done under the most rigorous scientific standards, and has made significant enhancements to research integrity compliance protocols as a result of this event, said Schroth.

Acting U.S. Attorney William D. Weinreb said in the press release that individuals and institutions that receive research funding from NIH have an obligation to conduct their research honestly and not to alter results to conform with unproven hypotheses.

Medical research fraud not only wastes scarce government resources but also undermines the scientific process and the search for better treatments for serious diseases, Weinreb said, according to the press release. We commend Brigham and Womens for self-disclosing the allegations of fraudulent research at the Anversa laboratory, and for taking steps to prevent future recurrences of such conduct.

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BWH settles research fraud allegations – Mission Hill Gazette

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Spheropreservation Method Improves Stem Cell Storage – Technology Networks


Technology Networks
Spheropreservation Method Improves Stem Cell Storage
Technology Networks
Stem cells are found in various locations of the body such as bone marrow, blood, brain, spinal cord, skin, and corneal limbus. They are responsible for regenerating and repairing damaged tissues and organs in the body. Transplantation of stem cells

and more »

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Spheropreservation Method Improves Stem Cell Storage – Technology Networks

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Cellaria and Biological Industries USA Partner on Stem Cell Media … – EconoTimes

Thursday, May 4, 2017 11:31 AM UTC

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. and CROMWELL, Conn., May 04, 2017 — Cellaria, LLC, a scientific innovator that develops revolutionary new patient-specific models for challenging diseases, and Biological Industries USA (BI-USA), a subsidiary of Biological Industries (Israel), today announced a new sales and marketing agreement to promote custom stem cell services. The partnership combines BI-USAs strength in stem cell culture media and manufacturing with Cellarias comprehensive Stem Cell Services program, which includes industry leading RNA reprogramming and custom differentiation services. Together, the companies will offer one of the industrys most innovative and comprehensive stem cell service offerings available to biotechnology companies and academic institutions.

As part of the agreement, Cellaria will distribute BI-USAs stem cell media offering, including its NutriStem hPSC Medium, a cGMP xeno-free media specifically designed for human pluripotent stem cell culture. Cellaria will also incorporate the product into its stem cell services. BI-USA will market Cellaria’s customized stem cell services, establishing an integrated, single source solution for iPS cell line derivation, culture maintenance, banking, characterization and differentiation services.

BI is one of the most respected names in life sciences today, said David Deems, chief executive officer at Cellaria. The companys strong market presence and innovative media products will enhance our stem cell and RNA reprogramming service offerings and significantly increase the availability and appeal of our combined offerings.

This is an important partnership for us, added Tanya Potcova, chief executive officer of BI-USA. In combination, our teams bring a wealth of stem cell experience but also share a common goal of creating higher quality, more consistent research outcomes for researchers in the life sciences field. We are pleased to be working with the team at Cellaria to put the best possible tools and support in the hands of our present and future customers.

Please visit Cellaria and BI at the International Society of Stem Cell Research Annual Meeting in Boston, MA June 14-17, 2017 at booth# 407.

About Cellaria Cellaria creates high quality, next generation in vitro disease models that reflect the unique nature of a patients biology. All models begin with tissue from a patient, capturing clinically relevant details that inform model characterization. For cancer, Cellarias cell models exhibit molecular and phenotypic characteristics that are highly concordant to the patient. For RNA-mediated iPS cell line derivation and stem cell services, Cellarias cell models enable interrogation of patient and disease-specific mechanisms of action. Cellarias innovative products and services help lead the research community to more personalized therapeutics, revolutionizing and accelerating the search for a cure. For more information, visitwww.cellariabio.com.

About Biological Industries Biological Industries (BI) is one of the worlds leading and trusted suppliers to the life sciences industry, with over 35 years experience in cell culture media development and cGMP manufacturing. BIs products range from classical cell culture media to supplements and reagents for stem cell research and potential cell therapy applications, to serum-free, xeno-free media. BI is committed to a Culture of Excellence through advanced manufacturing and quality-control systems, regulatory expertise, in-depth market knowledge, and extensive technical customer-support, training, and R&D capabilities.

Biological Industries USA (BI-USA) is the US commercialization arm of BI, with facilities in Cromwell, Connecticut. Members of the BI-USA team share a history and expertise of innovation and success in the development of leading-edge technologies in stem cell research, cellular reprogramming, and regenerative medicine. For more information, visit http://www.bioind.com or connect onLinkedIn,Twitter, andFacebook.

Human Life Could Be Extended Indefinitely, Study Suggests

Goosebumps, tears and tenderness: what it means to be moved

Are over-the-counter painkillers a waste of money?

Does an anomaly in the Earth’s magnetic field portend a coming pole reversal?

Immunotherapy: Training the body to fight cancer

Do vegetarians live longer? Probably, but not because they’re vegetarian

Could a contraceptive app be as good as the pill?

Some scientific explanations for alien abduction that aren’t so out of this world

Society actually does want policies that benefit future generations

Six cosmic catastrophes that could wipe out life on Earth

Big Pharma Starts Using Cannabis For Making Drugs In Earnest

Do you need to worry if your baby has a flat head?

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Cellaria and Biological Industries USA Partner on Stem Cell Media … – EconoTimes

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A cancer gene also grows stem cells, CRISPR in monkey embryo … – Speaking of Research


Speaking of Research
A cancer gene also grows stem cells, CRISPR in monkey embryo …
Speaking of Research
Welcome to this week's Research Roundup. These Friday posts aim to inform our readers about the many stories that relate to animal research each week.
How To Beat Cancer? CRISPR Stares Into Its Eyes Then Snips Out …Tech Times
Genetic Engineering: We Can, But Should We? – Veritas NewsVeritas News

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Link:

A cancer gene also grows stem cells, CRISPR in monkey embryo … – Speaking of Research

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Hypothermia, shivering and cryonics | Evidence-Based Cryonics

The objective of cryonics stabilization is to arrest metabolism of the patient so that he can be preserved indefinitely until resuscitation and rejuvenation technologies are available. Induction of hypothermia is the principal method employed in cryonics to reduce metabolism, thereby slowing down the rate of all chemical reactions in the body, including the ischemia-induced cellular cascades leading to cell injury and eventual post-mortem decay. Consequently, in order to mitigate ischemic damage that occurs at initially high post-mortem body temperatures, hypothermia is induced in cryonics patients as rapidly as possible after pronouncement of legal death.

While several factors limit achievable surface cooling rates (e.g., ratio of body mass to surface area, subcutaneous fat thickness, and current technological capabilities for cooling in the field), an often overlooked and less understood limitation arises from the normal physiological mechanism of thermoregulation, or the bodys own attempt to maintain physiological temperature.

Core temperature in humans is normally kept within a range of 36.5 37.5 degrees Celcius, known as the interthreshold range. Compensatory mechanisms are triggered when core temperature rises above or falls below this range.

Thermoregulatory processes during cold defense fall broadly into two categories: heat conservation and heat production. The body conserves heat by regulating skin blood flow (cutaneous vasoconstriction) and by piloerection (i.e., erection of the hair on the skin). The body also produces heat via two mechanisms: shivering thermogenesis (skeletal muscle activity) and non-shivering thermogenesis (increased heart rate and brown adipose tissue sympathetic nerve activity). Of these, shivering presents the largest obstacle to metabolism reduction and temperature management. The hypothalamic region of the brain plays an important part in shivering by integrating temperature input from the body and controlling efferent responses to temperature variations.

Therapeutic hypothermia, such as used to manage patients with acute cerebral injury, is known to cause shivering, which can make rapid induction of hypothermia impractical. Rapid and effective induction and maintenance of therapeutic hypothermia requires that shivering is inhibited. Several pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic interventions have been evaluated for their efficacy in shivering inhibition.

In a recent (2007) paper, Mahmood and Zweifler review the various treatments for shivering inhibition. Their review includes discussions of several drug classes, including anesthetics, opioids, 2 agonists, 5-HT uptake inhibitors, 5-HT agonists/antagonists, cholinomimetics, and NMDA antagonists, as well as physiologic maneuvers and skin surface warming.

General anesthesia impairs thermoregulation and can increase the interthreshold range up to 4.0 degrees Celcius. Mahmood and Zweifler report that both classes of anesthetics, thermogenesis inhibitors (i.e., volatile anesthetics) and thermogenesis non-inhibitors (nonvolatile anesthetics), reduce the shivering threshold proportional to the vasoconstriction threshold in a dose-dependent manner. Propofol, in particular, markedly impairs the vasoconstriction and shivering thresholds. Propofol is the current anesthetic of choice in cryonics to reduce cerebral metabolism and prevent return to consciousness during stabilization procedures.

Opioids are peptides that can effect changes in body temperature, generally by stimulating formation of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP), which increases thermosensitivity in neurons. The authors report that meperidine is unique among opioids due to its special antishivering effect, decreasing the shivering threshold by almost twice as much as the vasoconstriction threshold. Because of its effectiveness, meperidine has played an important part in many protocols of therapeutic hypothermia. Disadvantages include respiratory suppression, nausea/vomiting, and potential induction of seizures with prolonged administration all of which are arguably non-important to cryonics patients. Fentanyl and butorphanol have also been shown to be effective antishivering agents, though more research into these agents is necessary.

Clonidine is an 2 agonist that lowers the threshold for cutaneous vasoconstriction and shivering and has been widely investigated for its antishivering benefit. In trials directly comparing clonidine with meperidine for prevention of postoperative shivering, 89% of patients in clonidine groups did not shiver, while 85% of meperidine groups did not shiver.

5-HT is reported to impact thermoregulatory responses through its action on different sites in the hypothalamus, midbrain, and medulla. The authors note that these actions appear to be site and species specific and it is likely the balance between the modulatory 5-HT and norepinephrine inputs that is important for short and long-term thermoregulatory control of the shivering threshold. Studies have shown that 5-HT uptake inhibitors such as tramadol and nefopam, both analgesics, have antishivering properties comparable to those of clonidine. Additionally, the 5-HT1A partial agonist busprione acts synergistically with meperidine in reducing the shivering threshold.

The cholinomimetic drug physostigmine has been shown to be as effective in controlling postanesthetic shivering as meperidine and clonidine, and more effective than mefopam, though its mechanism remains unknown. Magnesium sulfate (MgSO4) is effective in postanesthetic shivering control, is a neuroprotectant, and has also been shown to increase cooling rate during surface cooling. However, it only modestly reduces the shivering threshold. The NMDA antagonist ketamine has also been shown to be equivalent to meperidine in prevention of postoperative shivering.

Another agent that reduces the threshold for shivering is dantrolene, although dantrolene produces relatively little central thermoregulatory inhibition. Dantrolene is also interesting as a neuroprotective agent because it inhibits excitotoxicity-induced calcium release from the endoplasmic reticulum. Dantrolene further enhances the action of CNS depressants through its effects on GABA receptors. However, conflicting observations about its blood brain barrier permeability exist.

The authors also report the apparent effectiveness of physiologic maneuvers such as breath holding, muscle relaxation, exercise, upright posture, and mental arithmetic on shivering inhibition. Obviously, such maneuvers are not practical for cryonics patients, who are not conscious. Skin surface warming, especially focal facial warming, is also reported to facilitate therapeutic hypothermia by lowering the shivering threshold in some studies but failed to produce clinically significant shivering inhibition in other studies.

Many other pharmaceutical agents have been tested for antishivering properties, though the majority of these drugs have been evaluated in the peri-operative setting because induction of hypothermia and shivering are perceived to be undesirable in postoperative recovery. Pharmacologic inhibition of shivering for therapeutic hypothermia has been largely neglected as an area of study, therefore data specific to the achievement of this goal remain limited.

There are currently no specific agents in cryonics stabilization protocol to inhibit shivering. There are no case reports that document shivering in a cryonics patient, although it is a possibility that the lack of shivering in cryonics patients is the consequence of rapid administration of general anesthetics such as propofol. Other possible explanations for the absence of shivering in cryonics patients include old age impairment of thermoregulation, the long terminal and agonal phase that most cryonics patients experience, and the adverse effects of circulatory arrest, ischemia, and hypoperfusion on thermoregulation.

In the past metocurine has been administered in cryonics to inhibit shivering. Neuromuscular blockers, however, are not recommended for treating cryonics patients because of the risk of criminal prosecution. Because it is questionable that most post-mortem cryonics patients have a properly functioning hypothalamus that registers the temperature drop induced by hypothermia, specific antishivering agents may be redundant, especially in light of the fact that the first medication typically given at the start of cryonics procedures, propofol, has a mitigating effect on shivering as well.

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Hypothermia, shivering and cryonics | Evidence-Based Cryonics

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How Crispr Could Snip Away Some of Humanity’s Worst Diseases – WIRED

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How Crispr Could Snip Away Some of Humanity’s Worst Diseases – WIRED

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Global PharmaSphere: Emerging Biotechnologies-Gene Therapy Market – Assets Stock

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Global PharmaSphere: Emerging Biotechnologies-Gene Therapy Market – Assets Stock

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